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Old June 11th, 2013, 07:43 AM
Ray Maverick's Avatar
Ray Maverick
life without liberty; body without spirit
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Age: 18
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Chapter 3: the Jungle of Heavana
Shango


"Land-ho!" the Grovyle shouted and leaped from the masthead on the deck, right next to Shango. The captain was looking off the port side of the ship with his spyglass, his cape billowing behind him with the sea breeze.

"Heavana island, isn't it?" Shango asked his first mate, giving the spyglass to Tristana to play with.

"Aye, cap'n," Nicholas agreed, "but best not land her too close to land."

"Why not?"

"Waters are shallow there, cap'n, and full of them betwattlin' reefs. Ye'll end up breakin' her hull."

Shango scanned the horizon. The island in front of him was so long, it seemed like a continent. Looking at it as he was, he spotted something - a small black dot. He grabbed the spyglass from Tristana and looked closely. It was a ship, flying the Navy's flag. "And here are our enemies," Shango announced.

Jarvis whimpered behind him. "Oh, Arceus grace us, this won't end well," he whined. The Swanna hadn't been feeling well the past few days, and the crew blamed his age for it. The saying of the Pokemon of Carajol was, sail the seas as a Pokemon of the land or the sweet waters for too long, and you'd end up hating the open sea. Shango felt it must have been true, although he did enjoy the smell of the sea and the rocking of the ship. He wouldn't have chosen to sail forever, though. He wasn't planning to.

Jarvis, on the other hand, as Nicholas informed him, had spend most of his life on a ship's deck, sailing around Carajol, searching for the legendary treasures the drunken pirates and wenches blabbed about in the taverns. Another trip with a ship would probably be the end of him, but Shango didn't seem to realize.

"Don't fret, they're people of the Naval Army. Armies are made to be killed," Shango told him, fastening the little spyglass on his red sash around his waist. "Well, then, gents. Best we find Sandor's home before they do."

"Shiver me timbers!" Jarvis exclaimed, "you're planning to go into the jungle?"

Shango threw him an isn't-it-obvious look, then patted Nicholas on his shoulder. "You'll be coming with me, too. Nicholas, find a spot suitable for landing and keep her in the ready; all things considered, we might have to confront the Navy."

"Aye, cap'n," Nicholas exclaimed and bolted off to man the wheel.

"You, Blake," Shango shouted at the Tyrogue who was up the mast, "make sure the gunwalls are loaded."

"Uhh, that's Alfred's duty," he said, reluctant to correct his captain.

"Carry on, then."

The Magnezone appeared from the stairs belowdecks. "Anybody called?"

"Load the guns," Shango ordered, "you've some special kind of firepower, haven't you?"

"Aye, captain, by your command!"

"Good," Shango said, looking off his yonder once again. The Navy's frigate was getting bigger and bigger as they approached Heavana. Tristana pulled at his cheek to draw his attention.

"You better get some treasure soon, Shango," she whispered. "They won't stay loyal without gold."

"Don't worry, Tristy," he said, watching the Navy's ship, with the sly smile that indicated he had a plan.


***


Sounds of Pokemon that didn't belong in this forest reached his ears. With a few leaps, his enemies were within sight - along with a mansion. The house was a rotten palace wood blackened and worn from the centuries, windows broken and walls cracked. Pokemon bearing the Navy's insignia patrolled around it, and more appeared to be searching inside the mansion, looking for this map Sandor supposedly left behind.

He jumped on a tree's long and thick branch which took him right above the passing group. They were five Pokemon, with the one behind being an Absol who wore the Navy's insignia on the black scythe on his head. His presence had gone unnoticed.

He hung from the branch above the Absol, deadly sharp claws brushing past his neck. The Absol fell quietly on the ground, drowning in his own blood, trying to call out for help. His killer leaped from branch to branch, stalking silently above the oblivious group. Machoke, Vigoroth, he thought, reaching for his boots. Seconds later, the two Pokemon flinched, each with a dagger sunken on his back, precisely where their lungs were. Shango leaped at the forth Pokemon, a Watchog, before the others fell; his claws sliced past his long neck as he tumbled to the ground with him, immediately getting up and running up to the fifth Pokemon: a Floatzel, who was turning around. His eyes widened when he saw the shadow pouncing on him with force, knocking him to the ground and cutting his throat open.

Gripping his throat tightly, he held him down as he struggled, eyes searching inside his hood for a last revelation. "Arceus save me," the Floatzel choked, his eyes flipping up.

"Quietly pass from this life to nothingness," Shango told him as he died.

He noticed a handgun that was tied with an iron leash on the Floatzel's wrist; the marine was aiming at his chest, but he hadn't managed to pull the loose trigger. How about that, Shango thought, taking it and fitting it on his wrist beneath his cloak and brace. A hidden flintlock, he mused, then, huh? What's that sound? It's coming from the... ground. He put his head sideways on the ground, listening to the sounds beneath. Most interesting.

Shango walked through the bodies and pricked off his two blades and cleaned the blood off of them, to sheathe them back on his boots. Jumping into a busy, he started moving quietly towards the mansion. His ears picked up the sounds of multiple other Pokemon inside the old house, walking around the rooms and corridors with the floor squeaking beneath them. One of them was standing guard outside, seeming easy prey

Jarvis and Tristana caught up with him just before he went in for the kill. "You were right, mister Jarvis," Shango told him in a low voice, "the Navy are indeed searching for something."

"I told you, didn't I?" said the old Swanna, wearily, examining the mansion. He sighed. "Last time I was here, twas to strike a deal with yours truly, Sandor Morrigan. I proposed we sail together; he'd do the pillaging, and I'd do the treasure hunting. He didn't like the terms, curse him. Bastard almost killed me as I ran for my life."

Shango almost laughed and Tristana flew above their heads, looking at the mansion. Its top floor protruded from the palm trees of the jungle. "They're too many, Shango. How're we ever getting past them?"

He shrugged. "With stealth," Shango replied, then leaped from the bush he was hiding, to approach the Gurdurr guard on the mansion's door from the side, quiet as a tiger.

"No, wait," Tristana tried to stop him, but it was too late. Before the guard could scream, Shango pounced on him, knocking him off the ground and slitting his throat. When he was up from the ground, he glanced inside the mansion, without noticing Tristana's horrendous look.

"I thought you said we were going to use stealth?" Jarvis asked him in a hushed voice.

"Stealth is either not being seen, or not letting there be witnesses," Shango answered, without looking at him. He walked into the mansion confidently, as if the threat of the Navy was extinguished.

"Stay here, mister," Tristana told Jarvis, who had nested on the bushes. "I'll follow him, before his luck runs out and he gets killed." The thought made her shiver, but she tried to hide it; she became invisible and headed to the mansion.

"I'm not like to go anywhere, lass," he said, sounding afraid. "Take care you don't burn the house down. This is a treasure of centuries to behold! Tis a wonder it's still standing."

The main hall looked like it belonged to a royal palace, once, or at least that's what Shango thought. Now the wooden floor had rotten black, half of the steps to the upper floor were destroyed, the furniture lay in rubble and the fallen crystal chandelier was shattered right in the middle of everything. There were multiple doors around the hall, leading further inside the mansion. Some were still standing on their hinges, some were missing. The moment Shango stood on the hall, a shout broke the silence. "He's here!"

The Pokemon of the Navy poured from the doors around him and stepped down the stairs from the second floor, the wood creaking beneath them. Only it was creaking too loudly and it looked as if bending and ready to break. Shango raised his head to greet his assailant with his casual smile. Best run, Tristana spoke to his mind.

"Lookie 'ere, da's the freebooter from Mimbletonia, in't it him?" a Pokemon said.

"Aye, that's 'im," another one rasped, "kill 'im."

Tristy, break the floor.

But--

Just do it.

Tristana became visible by engulfing herself in flames. Diving forcefully on the floor like a bomb torn it with a sharp crack and suddenly everyone was falling. It was a short flight through a cavernous tunnel the size of the mansion's hall. Shango rolled on the rocky ground, grunting. Dazed, he clutched his gut and got up as fast as he could; he had learned to always land softly, so he wasn't much hurt.
Sounds of bones breaking all around him in the dark reached his ears, along with moans and calls for sweet mother.

Shango! Tristy cried in his mind, flying around him in distress; she was dispersed into flames, lighting the cave around him, where the Navy's Pokemon were recovering. Are you alright?!

I've been through worse.
He grabbed and squeezed her to make her stop illuminating. In the dark, he navigated with his ears perked up. He was hearing a constant, rumbling sound from deeper within the cave, the sound he had heard when he had put his ear on the ground. A tunnel beneath Sandor's house... where could it lead?

Run,
Tristana advised him, slipping from his hands into the darkness ahead. Shango started running towards the rumbling sound.

"After him!" He heard his enemies rushing behind him. His eyes adjusted to the darkness as he run and run for minutes.

The darkness dispersed as he approached the source of the constant sound. He detected a breeze, which meant the cave was leading somewhere. Dampness made his fur bristle under his cloak. The sound belonged to a rushing river, he realized, when a light coming from above blinded him for a second. Ahead of him was a bridge, passing between two cliffs, the wild river crushing fifty feet below it. On the top of each cliff, there was jungle.

Shango leaped on the shaky bridge and kept on running, his eyes on the cave on the other side. The wood beneath his feet felt old and creaky, like the mansion before. It didn't seem to be able to take much more weight than his. Stopping midways, he turned to his pursuers, who had just reached the bridge. A Furret was in the front, bearing the Navy's insignia on his furry chest. He looked at Shango with hostility, which he only repaid with a calm smile; under his hood, that was the only thing they could see.

"Try your luck," Shango challenged them.

The Furret took the first step on the bridge, warily. Shango took a step back. He took two more steps... Shango brought his hand on his mouth, leaning forward, unleashing a stream of fire. Cries were covered by the sound of the roaring flames, the Pokemon of the Navy hurrying back into the safety of the cave.
__________________

"I'm surrounded by capable Pokemon who don't need me in battle. If they get themselves bloodied, and I am clean by the end of the battle, how long before they start questioning my bravery?"
- Garland Fordring, leader of the Exathian Gold Tribe

*****

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