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Penance 'Madman' Malum - Darkness again
Penance waited for the attacks to cause some sort of damage, but none came. He began to think deeply and formed his hands into fists. Of course, he was a legendary. 'Weakness' to him meant just a shield that protected him from harm. Of course he would shrug off anything normal mon would throw at him. If anything, only a legendary at this point could take him down. The question was, now that Darkrai was out here in the open, would any legendaries come? Surely they could have been blindsided by the silver crystal and simply not have realized that Darkrai was still around, but now since he was in the open it would not only be easy to feel his life force, but also it would be easy to see him. Penance could only hope that at least some legendaries would feel this and would come to try and combat him as well. He knew of one that would no doubt feel this dark presence... but if that was the case why hadn't she come earlier? He couldn't dwell on possibilities right now though. Either a legendary came or one didn't. He had to prepare for the worst case scenario, and that was a scenario based around the simple fact that they were against a god and probably anything they threw at him would barely scratch him. Still, they had to try.
"Hanso! No dark attacks!" Penance snapped, "They'll rejuvenate him no doubt! Stick to healing and porting everyone around!" He looked back at the dark being, trying think of what he would do. Well, for one, he had been building up power for quite some time. Being a god as well, he could just look away from them and cause their hearts to stop or such like that. When he did announce his attack Penance just frowned, "Not good." He muttered to himself.
He spoke out loud to the others, "Alright, no mental connections at all! The Chaos could infest us all if we connect our minds leading to an instant defeat! Psychics, he's dark type no doubt so avoid all psychic attacks. Scar, Gen! Keep a steady perimeter. HOPEFULLY since you two dealt with this you can fight against any illusions that start to settle in your mind. Do not focus on those that get turned! If you do any attacks aim them right at Darkrai, do you hear me!? No one falls asleep! Spread out and use ranged attacks! He's a god though... so since he isn't reacting to our attacks I'm afraid they won't have much effect, in essence don't do those status moves anymore! Go straight out and use damage dealing moves only! If you have moves that exhaust you, pump them out as fast as you can!"
He readied a Water Pulse in both hands and tossed his two balls at the creature of darkness. "Don't let up at any time! We take Darkrai down foremost! Don't worry about the others unless you have healing moves! I want to see some action and don't any of you f**king fall asleep on me!" He shouted out yet again.
He looked up at the legendary and snorted, "You think you can beat us... think you can take our free will away? You have another thing coming." He readied another Water Pulse, "Circle formation! Just blast him to oblivion!"
Hanso, Genevieve, and Blitzkrieg
Citadel, Top Floor
His attack didn't appear to do anything. Frowning, Blitzkrieg released another Draco Meteor at Darkrai, then a Fire Blast and a Dragon Rage. Still, the Legendary wasn't reacting much, except to prepare a 'Dark Void'. Blitzkrieg felt he would need to Protect others as well as himself; he lifted his wings and swung down, getting into the air to fly around.
No, no, no, no, no! Genevieve fired two charged Energy Balls at once; her arms then crackled briefly before she shot Thunderbolts at Darkrai's eyes. The Gardevoir aimed her attacks at his face from that moment on, but it seemed inevitable that the Dark One would get someone with his Dark Void.
Okay, that's not doing anything. Hanso dismissed his Dark orb, then looked at the rest of the Gold Tribe. It irked him that he couldn't do anything to directly hurt Darkrai. For once in his life, Hanso was stuck purely in a support role. He'd already released two rounds of Heal Pulses for the Gold Tribe, and no one had yet been hit by this foe in this fight. Until Darkrai did something, there wasn't much point in moving anyone around via Teleport. The Gold Crystals, both the gem and Zane - and apparently the Keeper - had already been broken or used up.
...but not all of the Gold Crystal's power. Hanso glanced down at the gem hanging from his neck, smirking for a moment. The little power he had probably wouldn't be a tiebreaker, but it was better than none. If anything, Hanso could use it to help anyone who was hit by the Dark Void. Speaking of which, Penance would have used Disable by now if it would work, wouldn't he?
Besides the occasional psychic message into the mind, Guardia had little experience with such an infiltration into her mind as the one that the Dark Void created. Almost instantly, she felt the cold whiff of blackness surround her and try to engorge her. The dark power seemed to creep closer and closer into her mind, and if clamping onto it, without letting go. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. It was so foreign, so new. How could she be expected to fight it off? Guardia tried to physically exert herself, to try and force the darkness back. But the more she tried to do this, the more she fell herself tire out, and only work to make the darkness creep further into her mind.
Just relax...let it happen. Soon, it will all be over, and then there will be nothing to fear. Nothing but the end. The voice of the Dark One pierced her mind, beckoning her to succumb. She wanted to resist. She tried everything she could to do so, but she knew she was failing, and fast. What would Zane do? What would her father do?
A sudden thought popped into her brain. Some words of wisdom her father had said to her long ago seemed to lodge in the forefront of the memories. He once said that there wouldn't always be an answer to everything, and a way to overcome every problem. The best is to prepare for every situation possible, and when a new one comes up, try to connect that one with whatever else could possible fit that is similar to the problem.
In other words, Guardia had to relate this experience to whichever one fit it the best. But what could possibly help her with this? Guardia thought long and hard about every possible Gold Tribe scenario, every memory she could think of that could help her decipher what way she could combat this. Nothing was coming to mind. Again, the darkness was closing in around her. She thought of her brothers, her sisters, the tribe, Valkaria, and how all of it was about to be lost if she didn't stop the darkness. But nothing happened. It continued to irk at her and force her deeper into the sleep...
And at the words, a sudden memory made its way to the front of her mind. It wasn't a Gold Tribe memory, or even a memory of training, really. In fact, it was the furthest memory she could think to use at a time like this. When she was little, she was somewhat of a brat. Her father would always tell tales to her of the Gold Tribe, and of his times with it. Her mother, however, disliked that she kept staying up so long to listen to his stories. The deal Guardia had with her mother then was that she would be able to listen to stories until she was tired and had to go to sleep. So, in order to listen to more stories, Guardia began to try and keep herself up for as long as possible. What resulted was her developing a way to stay up as a child to listen to her father's stories a little while longer.
And that was the best memory she could think of to fight the Dark Void. The power, after all, most closely related to that of falling into a deep sleep. In order to fight the power of the Dark One, she had to fight the urge to fall asleep.
Scar had less success finding such a memory that Guardia had to fight off the Dark One. However, he had the experience of dealing with many Psychic attacks on his mind throughout his life. Combined with his dealings with Genevieve as a Sentinel, to which he had his memories, and his previous effects with this exact attack when he was first inducted into the Wielder's forces, he had sufficient will to block out the first of the infiltration. Yet the power of the Dark One couldn't be denied. He was cunning, both in mind and body, and with each block Scar tried to put up, Darkrai would quickly worm his way around and delve deeper into his subconscious.
He wouldn't last much more of this...
Darkrai in the meantime dismissed most of the attacks thrown by him as nothing of concern. The Water Pulses damaged his form. The various fire blasts burned at his black, fog-like body for moments at a time. Guardia tried a Thunder and Scar hit with a Shadow Ball through their struggling. He let these attacks reach his form, but he payed them little mind in the long run. If he even had one Pokemon turn now, he would have enough power to heal his injuries as if nothing happened. Already, some were beginning to feel the effects.
His attention was drawn to the Gallade who carried with him an interesting gem, and the Golduck who had done most of the shouting. Seeing the Dark Void affect some more and others less, he focused more on the two of them, as well as other Psychic Pokemon like Genevieve, making them feel the full power of chaos.
EVERYBODY! TOGETHER NOW!
Penance frowned as the pressure seemed to become more intense. Darkrai apparently was so focused on using this Dark Void that he wasn't dishing out any other attacks. That was good... in a way. It meant less physical damage and more mental damage. Personally he was taking it in stride. He had spent many years in his maddened state after all, he knew how to drown out darkness better than most or to warp it in his eyes. The others though... at this rate everything would come crashing down. If just one of them fell, then the chances were that they would all die. He wasn't sure entirely how the corruption worked still, but he was certain another Sentinel was something they couldn't handle at this point.
His mind raced as he saw the others being affected in different ways, but more importantly he felt his own mind being hit by that chaos even more. Sure he had defeated Paradox, but he had no doubts in his mind. This chaos would probably ressurect him again. They had to work fast if anything... but they had to do something else. Personally, Penance would never do this beforehand, but it was something that was necessary now.
He began to expand his mind outwards, grunting as he extended his powers to wrap around the minds of Guardia, Scar, Wildfire, Hanso, Paladin, Rai, Blitzkrieg, Genevieve, and Levina.
Okay, so we're all fine and dandy here right? Right! Now here's the plan. A dead guy once showed me that it's usually better to stand together than to stand alone. This rings true here and now. I know, I know, I killed goldies before, but trust is key now. I haven't killed any of ya right? And I have no plans to. You all saw why I fought that good fight. Information is to be shared... and likewise we must share more. Our strength. We keep each other up here and now. We're going to lean on each other and survive this, because with this web up if one of us falls, we all fall. A bit of incentive to not be corrupted eh? We are going to stand tall and beat this m***erf****r! Get pumped everyone, because we are not dying today!
When Penance shared minds and expanded into the others, Guardia and Scar instantly felt the relief of the extra weight they were all carrying now together. With a shared consciousness, the Pokemon inside of it could now band together to help each other fight the darkness. The disadvantage however, was that now Darkrai could concentrate his darkness in the pool of connected minds. His Dark Void would be more focused, but so would their strength. It was time to see which one would overcome.
Guardia didn't expect it from Penance, but he was absolutely right. Right at the end of everything, the only way to win this was to help each other out. Those that had more experience to deal with it had to show the others the best way. With their connected minds, they could share their strength, their psychic resistance, their memories, and their will to win. The mental strength of connected minds relieved most of the pressure from her for the moment, but she saw what was coming ahead of them. Darkrai's wrath came forward.
The Dark Void now flowed through all of their connected channels, instead of reaching each of the minds separately, he pooled his energies toward the connected minds of the Pokemon who Penance linked. Darkness came out of the void he created, and slammed toward their minds, not in a string or even as a slow fog creeping along, but as a hammer of energy slamming against any barriers that possibly stood in the way.
Penance readied his own power to counteract, also hoping that Hanso would push forth some power as well. "Remember all! Remember what we have lost!" At that several images would flash before their eyes. Images of lost friends, images of destruction. "We are not going to lose now!" He cried out. The Golduck's eyes glowed a deep blue as anger flowed into his mind, "We fight, and we fight hard! Everyone, lay it on him!" He readied a Water Pulse in each hand and threw them at the legendary.
Hanso immediately took part of the workload in keeping their minds connected and set about building mental defenses. While he did so, he began feeding some of the Gold Crystal's power from his gem throughout their minds. Not all of it; Hanso felt he would need some for later. Thoughts flowed through his mind, memories of the last battle for Shine City, of his journey since the jailbreak, of finding his sister again and losing her. There was no way all their losses was going to be for nothing.
Blitzkrieg had initially put up a Protect in an attempt to block out the Dark Void, but it had worked only a little. When Penance connected their minds, the Salamence could feel the burden lessen. He let out a roar, energies combining inside him. "For Valkaria!" Blitzkrieg then released a Draco Meteor infused with a Fire Blast and Dragon Rage at Darkrai.
Genevieve did nothing at first, simply watching the Dark One as he targeted their collected minds. Now that he was bringing his power to bear, a part of Genevieve wanted to give up and give in. It would be so much easier, and she herself wouldn't have to worry. Just let the Siren loose once again... No! The Gardevoir's eyes lit up as she began to fight back in the mind. Her arms crackled once again as Genevieve fired more Thunderbolts at Darkrai.
Wildfire could feel the Dark Void almost as a physical force as it probed at her mind, bashing against the defences she attempted to put up. Exhausted as she already was, the temptation to just give in to the invading darkness was powerful... Sleep would be a welcome relief right now... As she felt her senses lulling and her vision blurring, she snapped her head up from where it had been close to falling limply against her chest. Her eyes burned as she forced them wide open, refusing to so much as blink. She needed something to focus on, something that would keep her mind on the battle; throwing out attacks was too instinctual and didn't require a lot of thought, so that wouldn't work... Wildfire was suddenly given the focal point she needed when Penance connected to all of their minds. Now she needed to stay awake not just for herself, but for her comrades; that was enough for her.
With the renewed strength she felt flowing through the link, Wildfire's flames flared a bit hotter and her limbs no longer felt like they were dragging her to the ground. Her gaze sharpened, and energy swirled to life in her palms much more quickly than it had before; with a thrust toward the Dark One, two more Focus Blasts launched towards him. While she wasn't nearly back to full power, and she still felt the pressing of the darkness trying to break through into her mind, she felt more alive than she had for the better part of the battle.
Guardia saw the images of Pokemon they had lost. She remembered all those that fell in the initial strike years ago. All her friends that fell in the invasion. She remembered taking back the cities, but watching Dark Lightning sacrifice himself to save them during the ambush. She still remembered looking back that final time and seeing him fighting off the armies of the Silver Tribe to give them this chance to fight back. She remembered Calamity, and all of the others who fell to bring them to this moment, including just on this very level in the Citadel. She remembered her father, and she remembered Zane. At this moment, she felt the spirit and will of everyone of her fallen brothers and sisters help push her way through the darkness as it clashed onto them all. She did everything she could to not only stop it in its tracks, but also push it back.
Scar too did his part, remembering the pain of the transformation, the pain of the memories of leading armies of Ancients to slaughter his brothers and sisters in the way. He remembered every Gold Tribe member's face as they were killed, and knew that he could never go back to what he was before. He had to fight back! Both Scar and Guardia fired off their attacks at Darkrai while they held him at bay. Scar launched a Shadow Ball, and Guardia struck him with his Lightning.
They were remarkably resourceful for ants. Darkrai stared and stared, awaiting the first of them to turn into his slave, to do his bidding. It only took one of them to turn for him to have enough power to summon forth more energy, to have enough power to take them all down. But that was the problem...the more they banded together, the stronger their will to survive and endure seemed to become. What was worse, at this very moment, all throughout Valkaria, all fighting had ceased. His Ancients were destroyed, and for the moment, the Pokemon all believed that the war was over, and that they had won. They felt no fear, no anger, no violence or chaos in their hearts. It was the disadvantage he was in, and to his great surprise, they held him off. Darkrai grumbled deeply, trying to add even more of his chaos energy into the void. He staggered back a bit at the last set of attacks which struck at him, the first sign that his body was not immune to personal damage.
Penance smiled at the sight and pointed a finger out at the legendary, "Gather up everyone! Gather and fire! He's not even worthy of legendary status!" He said more of a taunt to the dark mon himself. He threw out more Water Pulses and smirked, "Darkrai.. to think we were afraid of you. To think that here you are and all you can ever be is a puppet master. That you can't even hold your own in battle, I must say I am VERY dissapointed!"
He knew that the legendary was bound to be more powerful, but at the same time he had to rally his allies, to let them feel hope. That was this mon's one weakness, hope. "Come on all! Let's wrap this up in five minutes! I'm sure we're all starving after all of this!" Now that was a thought, food more important than the dark one! Hope was quite a lovely thing. With that said Penance smirked, "Guardia... ready an attack. Now. I have a plan, you trust me... " He looked over at her with a smirk, "Right?"
"I might regret it later, but for now, I do!" She yelled, simultaneously speaking and trying to fend off the darkness in front of her.
Snype stood firm as the Dark One used Dark Void on the group. The Sableye couldn't really make a good offense back at him since most of his attacks were about getting close and fooling his foes. He felt like he'd just get blown away. Either way his job was to hold the line and that was what he'd try to do, Even if it was tearing him apart. Levina and the rest of the Pokemon were linked together through their minds. She could hear what everyone else was thinking and even felt a little stronger. She was throwing Thunderbolts like nobodies buisness. Snype however, didn't feel different and seemed out of the loop.
"Hey uh... You forgetting someone over here?" Snype said to the Golduck. Levina looked over to Snype.
"He can't connect you with everyone else! Your a Dark Type you dolt!" Levina shouted. Well crap.
Penance looked over and narrowed his eyes, "Snype! Sorry, but you're on your own!" He looked back at Guardia, You ready? Everyone! Give Guardia your strength! Focus on her and channel everything to her! Trust me on this!
Wildfire's body was relunctant to relinquish the energy it had so recently acquired; however, she did as Penance ordered. While she still had her doubts about the Golduck, his brain was their best hope at this moment; and he was right, they needed to trust each other. She felt her movements grow more sluggish as energy filtered out of her body, through the connection, and to Guardia.
The Crucible, Paladin and Scar too poured their energies to Guardia at Penance's request, giving as much as they could while still trying to fight off the darkness coming toward them.
Blitzkrieg had little choice but to trust the Golduck. He did as Penance said, focusing on channeling his energy to Guardia. He was tired out after that last attack anyway.
Channel everything to one Pokemon? Yes, yes, do that, and Darkrai would either target them once they were weaker, or take out Guardia before she could do anything. Genevieve brought a hand up to her mouth, thinking. There was one way to stop it...in the manner of the Gold Tribe. Here goes. Genevieve calmly sat down on the floor, folding her legs under her as she closed her eyes. She could feel the darkness inside their network, the chaos that was trying to corrupt them. Genevieve began putting up additional walls to funnel it all in one direction. Into herself.
Immediately, she could feel the darkness trying to turn her again. The darkest part of Genevieve's own mind was already working with it, making it even more of a struggle. Regardless, she continued to funnel all of it into herself. Too much of it would kill Genevieve, or so she hoped, but it should take the pressure off everyone else.
Hanso could feel what was happening. How many more would they lose before this was over? He began funneling his energy to Guardia, including most of the remaining power in his gem. However, Hanso kept some of it for himself. He began walking toward Genevieve, arm-blades extended. There was no guarantee that what she was doing would work. It was possible that she would only become the Siren again.
Levina channeled her energy right into Guardia as planned. She sent whatever electric power that she had to offer toward her. For Penance's sake, this had better work. She was already growing weak the more that she did this. Snype meanwhile was a bit helpless to do much but he had to come up with something! These chumps couldn't take all of the glory! The most he could do was fend off the Dark Void that was slowly draining him. He literally was on his own.
Snype was down on one Knee. He could feel the chaotic effect messing with his mind and digging into his inner darkness which was pretty easy. Snype wasn't the nicest of guys around though he accepted that a long time ago. Snype already was a being of the Dark and he's experienced what its like to be a sentinel and how they behaved. He wasn't going to turn into a puppet like them! Snype attempted to hold his ground, slowly marching forward. He was making himself an easy target to get some pressure off of Guardia hopefully.
Penance felt the others working hard, working to ensure their survival. He closed his eyes and felt Gen's activities. He couldn't help but frown at that. If she fell... would they all fall? He couldn't let that hurt him now! He wasn't holding anything back. He had his faith in Guardia and so he poured out all of his remaing energy into her, even falling to a knee. "Hehe... Hanso... I said I had a surprise... you know." He chuckled a bit, "That thing... I was going to show ya? I think... it's best to do it... now. You... didn't think I beat... Paradox all on my own... right?"
A silhouette appeared behind the Golduck, one of a familair Gardevoir. "Just... a sliver of her saved. Thank you.... hehe. We're all in this together!" More energy flowed out from the Golduck, but it wasn't his own and he grinned at the Zangoose, "Do it."
Guardia could feel the surge of energies inside of her. This surge came not just from her own will and power, but from her friends around her. Together, they channeled all of their extra energy into her, per Penance's request. It was quite a feeling, holding that much energy in her body like that. She knew the great responsibility that came with it. Now, while Genevieve took all the darkness toward her, all the pressure of the incoming chaos was suddenly relieved, and Guardia felt she had this one chance to push back all of the darkness.
Both in her mind and body, she let it all go. The energy built up by her and the channeled energy was released in both a physical attack, in the most powerful Thunder she could manage, while inside of her mind, a block of power was suddenly thrust through the connection and launched at Darkrai's invasion with his Dark Void. The Thunder struck directly across the dark, fog-like body of the Dark One, hitting him straight across the chest and causing him to recoil and stagger back. Guardia continued to thrust the Thunder at him, causing a massive wave of lightning to strike along his chest. A terrible, deep, rumbing howl was heard from him, his acknowledgment of the pain that ruptured his impermanent body form. Yet, combined inside of the psychic energy pushing inside of his mind, it was enough to almost make it seem as if he did. He let out a threatening, shrieking howl, and forced the incoming psychic back. He focused primarily on the Gardevoir who had elected to siphon most of the energy herself. If he could turn just one of them to his side, that would be enough. Yet she had too much inside of her, and if they broke through her last defenses, she would likely die before becoming his slave. Even so, he tried to turn at least one of them, one would be enough...
But the Pokemon's energies continued to endure. Both on the outside and inside the mental barriers of the mind, they gave it their all. All their strength, and will, and determination and hope. Every last bit of every emotion and power they could muster was thrust at the Dark One, the one behemoth behind the chaos of this land. Soon, the powers almost seemed to converge, with the both striking right through their respective zones and at Darkrai. The Dark Void in the center of the room, the unofficial symbol of chaos, doom and darkness for the Pokemon, slowly began to disperse, with Darkrai no longer being able to control it. He no longer had the power to summon forth his own attack.
And, at long last, after everything that the Pokemon of Valkaria had gone through. After all the pain, the fear, the war, the blood, the darkness. The chaos. After everything that they had been put through since the start of this calamity, the Dark One faltered, and was hit all at once on both levels, physical and mental, by the combined efforts of Valkaria's last line of defense. The psychic wave targeted his mind as the Thunder burned at his form. Darkrai fell back and struggled to move. But it was not the end for him. No, this was not how he would end. He summoned the last bit of darkness that his form could muster, and began to form into a fog across the room, travelling out of the open room of the Citadel. As he passed through, this was the last message he said to the warriors of Valkaria.
"Darkness and chaos. These will always exist," His voice boomed through the broken remnants of the Citadel. "I will never become just a memory."
And with that, the Dark One, the scourge of Pokemon, the bringer of darkness and the master of chaos, disappeared through the night air. The clouds above cleared of their darkened forms, and the heavy burden of war and death was lifted from Valkaria, and from the soldiers who had fought in it. Valkaria was saved.
A Little of the Aftermath...
Hanso replied to Darkrai before the Legendary left: "Of course there will be. Problem was that you were pushing it too far." He stared after the fog for a few moments before turning back to the room. Genevieve was only a few yards away, lying limp on the floor. Hanso closed the gap and knelt on one knee, checking for signs of life. There was nothing. The Gardevoir had done what she set out to do.
"Looks like you got your wish after all," Hanso muttered, sitting back a bit. Not exactly, since it wasn't him that killed her in the end, but now Genevieve wouldn't have to worry. Now she was in the afterlife. Hanso had heard some Pokemon say that when a powerful Psychic died, they entered the mental realm known only to psychics. The whole thing was an unknown to him, something that he had always put to the side before. Well, he would have time to ponder it now.
Hanso slid his arms under the Gardevoir's body and stood up. "All right, then," he said, turning to everyone else. "Let's gather everyone and go, before this place collapses on itself."
After the last words of Darkrai, Guardia's knees just gave out. Any bit of sheer will or adrenaline that rushed through her body and gave her that extra strength to stand was now gone. She no longer needed it, either. For the first time in years, Valkaria had the air of peace and serenity about it. No longer was it a nation at war. All around the major cities and small towns, the Pokemon cheered, sighed, cried and danced happily at their freedom from the tyranny of the Silver Tribe. Word spread like wildfire around, and soon everyone was in on the large celebration.
The Healer was quick to patch up everyone on the top. That is, everyone who made it. There were those who had made it, and those who didn't. Genevieve was the last and latest among the fallen. But before that, it was Zane and the Keeper. Bloodthirster payed with his own life to make them get passed Rey. Before him, Sword and Shield and Dryad died valiantly against Rey. The Cleric died against Blackguard. The Swift gave his life to ensure the end of Sentry's. Before him, Gallant fell by Paradox's hands. Noctus fell trying to fight Auron after his thieves village was attacked and burned. The trio of Bane, Speculum, and the Shadow Protector fell as well to Blackguard. Before their fall, Hoodhide gave his life to stop the Inferno's carnage, who ended up destroying the Prince of Light. On the Thieves Forest's edge, Kivir Sveenis ensured that the Alpha Alliance would live by leading the Silver Tribe armies away, and paying with his life. Calamity fell in a blistering glory of energy to the chaos-infused Ignitus. Dark Lightning sacrificed himself at the ambush site in the Thieves Forest, to ensure the Gold Tribe continued on. This victory was paid for with the blood of many. Guardia didn't think she'd ever forget the sacrifices of the Pokemon who died along this grand journey. Each death took them one step closer to finally ending this. It went beyond just the Gold Tribe deaths too. This war was payed with the blood of thousands of Pokemon of the Alpha Alliance too. And now, it was finally done.
Having eventually rested and recovered in what was now once again known as Gold City, the survivors of the final fight met up eventually with the Generals and other survivors of the war with the Silver Tribe. They told the story of those who died in the end, and the events that cumulated in Darkrai departing. That night, celebrations began all across Valkaria in honor of the soldiers and the heroes of the war. In some cities, parties went in all the way through the night and into morning. Some Pokemon had trouble adjusting at first, not believing that everything was finally done. The following day, a large funeral service was held in each city for all the soldiers who died during the war, from the very first ones to the very last ones. In Gold City, in the Golden Cemetary, where all Gold Tribe members, past and present, were buried, the remainder of the Gold Tribe ensured that each of their fallen comrades would receive the burial they all deserved. This included those transformed into Sentinels, and those who had died during the initial invasion. Even if a body was never recovered, they all gained their place among the stones of the past protectors of Valkaria. It was difficult to find and name and bury them all, but eventually, the task was done.
The Alpha Alliance and the Gold Tribe also ensured the dismantlement and destruction of all remaining torturehouses throughout Valkaria, the last symbol of the heinous, evil, and corrupt acts of the Silver Tribe during the wars. The following evening and throughout the week, sporadic parties were held in the cities to signify the end of tyranny and the return of what truly made Valkaria special: freedom and peace. After a week of rest, recuperation, and celebration, the long process towards rebuilding began.
The survivors of the final clash with Darkrai each had their own stories during and following this grand undertaking, and when it was all complete, had their own paths to take.
A Magic Word For An Answer
A week. One full week after the battle with the Dark One himself, and Hanso still felt the need for rest. Not a surprise, given the war that lasted nearly three years, as well as the last few, grueling months. The Gallade was sitting on the ground with legs crossed in the middle of a mountain clearing with a stream nearby. The same place where Hanso had met Genevieve alone. It was the only place that meant something to him where he could find peace and quiet.
Hanso's slow breathing quickened as he opened his eyes. This meditation was both restful and frustrating. There was some dim hope in the back of his mind that he'd find some residue of Brynn and Genevieve in the psychic realm. No reason to look back, but Hanso couldn't keep himself from doing so just yet. Accept it already. Genevieve is dead, and so is Brynn...
Well, maybe not Brynn, not entirely. It was time to find Penance. Hanso slowly pushed himself off the ground, mind thinking over Cape City. In a blink, he teleported to the edge of the city's wall. He made his way down the stairs and into the city; if an Affiliate didn't find him first, he'd find Penance's lair.
As the Gallade moved about he would find that Cape wasn't as nearly crowded as it was before for obvious reasons, but in the corner of his eye he would see a familiar looking mon, a certain small Pawniard leaned against a wall and was looking right at him.
Hanso came to a halt as he turned his head, then nodded in recognition. Just what he was looking for. He walked toward the Pawniard and stopped a few feet away. "Hey, Lashire." He knew the war with the Dark One was over, but Hanso still had his usual mental defenses up and ready. He didn't really know anymore what Penance had planned now.
Lashire looked up at him and stood off of the wall, stretching his back a bit, "Hello Mr. Hanso." He said with a nod, "Penance has been waiting for you to come back. I've had to wait in this spot every single day, not good on my back." He admitted as he rubbed a it. "Come on, over here. He's in a house now, the tunnels are sort of chaotic right now, so no use living down there." He began to lead the way through the mostly vacant streets, "How have you been? You disappeared."
"Better than before," Hanso answered as he followed at a short distance. He wasn't about to go on about his reasons for leaving everyone on the second day after the end of the war. During his time in the mountains, Hanso had come back only for the funerals of Brynn and Genevieve. He did mourn for the rest of the Gold Tribe, but on his own time. It had been personal with the two Gardevoirs.
Lashire nodded and led him to a small house and stepped back, gesturing to the door, "Please knock first. He's very busy." With that the Pawniard turned away and went on down one of the streets.
Hanso stood motionless at the door for a few seconds. No, what good would knocking down the door do? He wanted more of a break before resuming any sort of fighting life. With that thought, Hanso knocked on the door twice. The gem that had once been his twin's still hung around his neck.
There was soon a shuffling on the other side and a familiar Golduck opened the door, though bizzarly behind the water type there were walls covered all over with pages. There were mountains of books inside as well. "Oh, hey Hanso!" He said with a genuine smile, "Eh, sorry about the mess. This is what Guardia took out so far. You know, documents and all. Heh, could have used this before hand, but we'll put all of this in the history books. Darkrai and all, please come in!" He stepped back inside, avoiding a small pile of books, "Missed ya when you left. So was it fun? Wherever you were?"
Hanso couldn't help but smile a bit as he stepped inside. "I wouldn't say fun, but it was what I needed at the time." Technically, Penance was still around half his age and had the energy to go with it. Hanso couldn't see how the Golduck's mind matched his age anymore. He glanced at one wall, eyes idly wandering over the information. Circles, underlined sections, other details that looked like planning. "What about you? Having fun?"
"You could say." The Golduck passed a chair and went on over to a shelf and pulled himself up as he balanced himself and then let his upper body hang down from the shelf as he pulled a book over and began to read it, "Yeah, fun here and there. But the most important question." He pulled his book down and stared at the Gallade. "You wonder. You're curious. And you know what about." He pulled his book up and continued to read. "If you say the magic word, I'll let you know for sure."
Aaand, there he goes again. Magic word. Hanso turned and closed the door behind him, thinking over how to respond. Blast it all, stop looking for complexities in his words! He leaned his back on the door and turned his eyes to Penance. "Would you please tell me what happened with Brynn? You mentioned that a sliver of her had been saved."
Penance grinned, "You go the magic word!" He came down and landed on his feet, putting the book away. He puffed out his chest, "Yes I do. You... want to see?" His smile grew, "No psychic mumbo jumbo needed after all." He closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. "Almost... there."
A few seconds passed before Hanso stepped away from the door. He didn't need to probe Penance's mind to know that something was different about it. He waited a few seconds longer. The Golduck opened his eyes again, only now the left eye was a steely gray. Hanso's breath caught in his throat. "Brynn?"
The Golduck grinned again, this time in a different way. "Of course, you silly. Did you think Penance and I wouldn't have a backup plan?"
Hanso took a few steps forward before stopping himself. It would be really awkward to hug the Golduck, but that was the only thing stopping him. His sister was alive!...after a fashion. "Well...you...I never thought you'd be that much taller than me." The Gallade smiled, his first real smile in a while.
Brynn raised her eyebrows, arms raised. "What, too awkward to hug me? Just because I'm inside Penance's head?" When Hanso didn't answer, she giggled a bit. "Trust me, I wasn't used to this arrangement at first. I can't be out long on my own, either. Not all of me is here." Her brother still didn't say anything, so the Golduck smirked and stepped forward like Brynn was going to hug Hanso anyway.
"Nonono, stop it, sis!" Hanso said hurriedly, raising a hand as he backed up. The Golduck stopped and snickered at his reaction. "Just 'cause you're used to it doesn't mean I am, okay? Just, yes, too awkward for me." Hanso's hand went to the gem at his neck, rubbing it absentmindedly. Then a thought struck him. "Have you tried moving to a new body?"
Brynn shook her head as she turned away and walked to one wall. "Even if it was that easy, we wouldn't ask some innocent Pokemon to vacate. This is pretty much the best arrangement I have right now." She turned her head to look back at Hanso. "Of course, you haven't been around for a few days, brother. Maybe you'd want to try something?"
Did he? Hanso looked down, chewing his lip. She was right when she said that they wouldn't ask another Pokemon to effectively die just so Brynn wouldn't be in someone else's mind. A week was long enough that Brynn's body would have begun decaying in its tomb. The only other option Hanso could think of right now was bringing her back into the gem. A cold, hard vault of isolation. He shook his head and looked back up. "No. Nothing would work unless someone just conveniently died any time soon."
"Conveniently?" Brynn raised an eyebrow. "No, you wouldn't dare. So here I'll stay, I suppose."
"Yeah..." Hanso blew a sigh, leaning against the door again. "You know what? If someone really did, eh, die, and left a body in good condition...maybe you'd call me in to help. Though I'd hope she doesn't die for you." The Gallade then reached out with his mind, connecting momentarily with his sister in the mental realm Only there did they hug each other, Gallade and Gardevoir. I know you're an Affiliate, but keep Penance here in check. Who knows what crazy plan he's concocted.
Ooh, I know what plans he has, Brynn replied cheekily. By the way, time's up. Will you come around sometime?
Depends. Hanso withdrew back to the house which he and the Golduck stood in. It wasn't long before the gray color faded from Penance's eye.
Penance took in a deep breath and relaxed himself, "We're going to be working on that. Hopefully as time passes she can spend more time out, probably get to the point where she can spend a day or two in control." He smiled a bit, "By the way..." He went over to a table and pulled up a letter, handing it to over to Hanso, "An invitation. The generals and some of the others might be coming. Essentially, I have a plan going. The fight isn't over yet Hanso. You saw him leave." Penance frowned for a moment, but then grinned again, "We just have to hit him back first. If you want to come, great! I know Brynn is looking forward to see you there. If not then it's all good." He looked about, "Heh, I have a lot of preparations to do, but seriously," He held up a thumbs up and winked, "Good work. Glad to have been there."
Hanso took the letter and nodded. "Right, right..." After a moment, he said, "I know you don't like titles, but no matter how mad you might be, you're still doing your part as a defender. I'll be there, but I'm not making any promises right now." Hanso lifted a hand to open the door. "Anything else?"
Penance was silent for a moment, "Thanks and... I'll take good care of her." He said with a firm tone, though for once Hanso could see the madness usually in his eyes was gone.
There was the Penance Malum that he'd first met. Hanso nodded one last time before walking out the door, leaving the Golduck as he walked back down the street. For that matter, five days of isolation was enough for now. Hanso needed to settle other business. He couldn't exactly be a full-time member of the Gold Tribe if he was going to keep an eye on everyone from now on.
Penance watched him leave and chuckled, "Hehe, he's going to do fine."
Rewind, Back To the Day of the Gold Tribe Funerals...
The funerals performed by the Alpha Alliance for their dead had been held the day after the final battles were finished. Obviously, all of the bodies and lives couldn't have been accounted for, but the warriors who fought deserved their peace as soon as possible. However, for the Gold Tribe, the funeral proceedings came some time after, when all of the bodies and deaths were accounted for. It was difficult to track down each one's location, with there being a bit over a thousand Gold Tribe members at one point. But the survivors had the advantage of knowing most of the dead. And those that they didn't know, a record was kept of each active member in Gold City. Eventually, all were found, and with empty caskets or filled ones, they were laid to rest in the Golden Cemetary. Here, Guardia paid her final respects to her family and friends, including Zane and her father Rey.
She stood before her father's grave, where right next to it his father was born, and his father, Kent "Kaiser" Reed before him.
Less than a week since the final battles, before he ever went back to Cape City, Hanso had left isolation only to be present at the funerals for those of the Gold Tribe. He hadn't yet figured everything out for himself, but there was one thing he needed to do. A sack over one shoulder, Hanso quietly walked along the line of graves until he stopped at Guardia's side. After a few moments, he cleared his throat. "So...the line of leadership continues."
Guardia looked from the grave to Hanso and gave him a warm smile and a nod. She brought her eyes back to her father's grave and sighed deeply. "I'd like to think he's at peace now, wherever he is," She began, but quickly shaking her head. "But I'm not sure I'm cut out to be the leader. I mean, I wasn't before when this all began. If anything, you should do it. You were with Zane since the beginning. And you've got the most experience out of us. Why don't you lead the Gold Tribe?" She asked him. "Well, what's left of it."
A short chuckle escaped Hanso's mouth. "Me? No, it shouldn't be me. I wouldn't be fit to lead the Gold Tribe, not when my training leaned more toward beating anyone I fought than principles."
He turned his head to face Guardia. "You're the one who should be the leader, Lyn Guardia Reed. It was months ago that you assumed you'd automatically be leader when we found you. Since then...since then, you've grown. I'd like to think you know better than any of us what to do with the Gold Tribe. You've been more of a leader than I was during our journey." Hanso smiled slightly. "I know for a fact that Blitzkrieg is going to stick with the Gold Tribe."
Guardia smiled back at the Gallade. "Thanks," She replied with a nod. "I really mean it. I mean, I don't know how well I'll do, but I'll be willing to do my best." She sighed again and stared at the many other graves of the fallen Gold Tribe around. "Scar said he'd stick around too. He said he owed too much of a debt from his Silver Tribe days to leave now. What about you?"
Hanso looked away, hesitant to say what he had to say. "...I can't say the same. I'm still trying to decide where I stand, but I know that it isn't as a member of the Gold Tribe." He pulled his sack round front and reached a hand in. "Do you know of Delnir Blake, also known as Divine Blade? I've found myself thinking he was right about the old Gold Tribe."
The Gallade pulled two Gold Tribe emblems out - his own and that of Penance. "The way I see it, I'm a product of the problem Delnir saw, even if I've changed. You can lead the Gold Tribe down the right path. I'm more likely to hold you back if I remain a member."
Hanso held out the two emblems to Guardia. His next words surprised him. "The old must become new, like the phoenix."
"Like the phoenix..." Guardia repeated, accepting the two emblems and holding them in her hands. The already small numbers of the Gold Tribe lost two more. But at least now, Hanso was leaving for what he thought were the right reasons, and she respected his wishes. After staring at them silently for a while, she finally nodded, and gazed back up at Hanso.
"You'll still come visit though, right, TrueS-, Hanso? You're not going to suddenly disappear off the map, are ya?"
The Gallade swung his sack back over his shoulder. "I'll be gone for a while longer, until I have everything straightened out in my mind. Once that's done, you can expect me to be hanging around." Hanso clapped Guardia's shoulder with a smile. "Do what you feel is best. That's the most anyone can expect from a leader." With that, he turned and began walking away.
Guardia looked on as Hanso began walking away, and suddenly, a thought occurred to her and she shouted after him. "Wait, Hanso!" She yelled after him, running up to him and embracing him in a hug. She shut her eyes tight opening them once to view the emblems in her hands. "You may not be with the Gold Tribe anymore, but you'll always be my brother."
After a moment of surprise, Hanso returned the hug, throat tightening. This was one of the few times when he felt something by the word 'brother'. It also reminded him of his twin, and that opened a whole new floodgate. "...Same with all of you...sister."
This was going to complicate things for him, wasn't it?
Daricka "Wildfire" Cambar
The light of the dying sun cast a soft pink glow over the gravestones, one in particular being lit up by a dark blue glow that mixed with the light of the setting sun to create a purple highlight across the name:
Darius "Hunter" Chalmers
The source of the blue glow was the faint midnight blue core of the flames belonging to Daricka the Infernape. Her oceanic blue eyes stared down at the name carved in stone, a silent plea in their normally emotionless depths. What should she do now...? The Dark One was still out their somewhere, and Daricka had no doubt that someday he would be back, so she hadn't really fulfilled her vow. Well, she supposed she had done what she said she would... The Silver Tribe was no more. But, would Darius be satisfied knowing she'd called it quits when the one behind it all was still alive and on the loose? Did she really believe that Valkaria would be safe simply because Darkrai had fled? No. But what could she do about it?
Lifting her left hand up, she stared down at it as the familiar blue energy of a Focus Blast swirled to life in it; however, before it could fully form and stabilize, the shimmering orb collapsed and the energy dissipated. Daricka released a sigh of disappointment; try as she might, even a full week after the final battle she still couldn't gather enough energy within her for a single ability. She could pump herself up with Calm Mind, but even then, the attack would fade away almost immediately after forming. While she had regained some energy when Penance had connected all of their minds, she'd given most of it to Guardia; and even with what she retained, nothing could replace the Life Flames she'd used. What use was she if she no longer had the power of a member of the Gold Tribe?
A squeak caught her attention; instinctively tensing she flashed her gaze about. Standing at the edge of the cemetery and staring up at Daricka with an awed look was a young Buizel. When Daricka's stare locked onto the water Pokemon, she squeaked again and shuffled awkwardly. Finally, when the Infernape offered up no words, the Buizel seemed to gather her wits and spoke up in a bold yet nervous voice, "You're from the Gold Tribe, right?" When Daricka gave a silent nod, the Buizel seemed to gain more courage and stood taller, her eyes shining in admiration. "I think it's amazing what you guys did, standing up against the Silver Tribe like that. I wanna be like you one day!" he stated confidently.
Daricka stared down at the Buizel in surprise, though it didn't show on her face. After a moment of silence, she said, "The Alpha Alliance did their part as well."
This simply caused the Buizel to squeal for some reason, Daricka wincing as the high-pitched sound grated on her ears. "Yeah, but they didn't have to go up against Auron and the rest!"
Daricka looked helplessly at the Buizel for a moment longer, then shrugged and turned away; it didn't seem as if anything she said was going to convince the young Pokemon that the Gold Tribe hadn't done all the work. However, the encounter had sparked an idea in her mind. Who said this generation had to be the one that saw the permanent downfall of the Dark One? Who said she had to physically take part in that battle? Returning her gaze to Darius' grave, she made a new promise to him: 'One day, whether it be in the next generation or not for many more generations to come, the Dark One will be brought down. And I'll do my part to help lead this generation on towards that future.'
But first... Daricka glanced down at here right hand, where a piece of paper was clutched. Written on the parchment was an invitation from Penance to attend a meeting. What that meeting would be about, she wasn't sure; but, she had a feeling it would be worth her while to attend.
Walking away from her mentor's grave, she paused as she passed the Buizel at the gate and turned her head slightly to look at the water-type. "If you really do want to be like us, don't wait until you're older to start working toward it. Start building your character now; then when you're ready, look for me at H.A.S. I'll be waiting." While she doubted H.A.S. was still operational after the war, it could be rebuilt just like everything else. With the Buizel still staring after her, Daricka continued away, her heart filled with a new determination.
Paladin looked on at the other 'mon, partying. Nobody congratulated him. Nobody even recognized him in his stolen body. His two eyes, one red and one yellow, scanned each member of the crowd, noticing common attributes: joy, relief, happiness, for the first time in over two years. Thinking back on when this had all started, he remembered wishing for such joy. Such happiness and relief seemed unimaginable to him; all he had was sorrow, confusion. No. He had nothing is what he had. He was an empty shell of his former self. But now he remembered everything, and he could understand and almost imagine the happiness these Pokemon might be feeling at that very moment. But still, it was unattainable.
Paladin sighed. He'd kept quiet after the battle, barely saying a word. There was no need. After revealing the truth about himself to the remaining survivors, he fled. There was no point in staying. Looking down at himself, he could see the monster he had once been. The red Lucario that was once Blackguard had been infused with splotches of gold and blue here and there, fortunately making him unrecognizable as that demon.
Hey, I wasn't a demon! Well... okay, maybe I was. Hehehe.
Paladin ignored him. As it turned out, taking in Blackguard had come with a price, which he would now have to bear for the rest of his life. No matter. In a sense, he was Blackguard too now. No point in rejecting it. Part of him still loved it: the chaos, the destruction, the thrill of squishing someone. He wanted to do it again and again and again. He chuckled weakly to himself as he thought of these things, the feeling being almost nostalgic. Then he shook his head, and returned to observing the partying civilians. The happiness seemed to be within arm's reach from the Lucario, but if he tried to grab it, it would shy away like a frightened Sentret.
Yeah, there's a reason it does that you know.
Paladin mentally told Blackguard to shut up. One question lingered on their mind, however: now what?
Yeah, good friggin question. What are we supposed to do now? I mean, you got your peace, and me... well, let's just say chaos isn't my style anymore.
He knew he'd changed, not only physically. Paladin and Blackguard, while still separated in some ways, were one and the same now. It would take some time to adjust, but after using their combined powers in combat like that they felt closer than ever. It was a strange sensation, being close to someone you'd hated so much.
Pretty much the definition of a love-hate relationship, eh Pally?
Again, Paladin mentally ordered him to shut up, prompting some sort of rude retort from the Blackguard, but nothing more.
What are we waiting here for again anyway? Blackguard asked after a moment of silence. I forget.
Paladin explained the situation to him, and Blackguard simply sighed mentally.
The kid, seriously? Why can't we just go now?
Paladin rolled his eyes and kept on scanning the crowd. Soon enough, a large, rather rotund figure appeared through them. His expression was hardly the same as that of the 'mon around him, appearing solemn and slightly angered. He held a small bundle in his arms.
The Paladin approached the Excadrill, and the two stood before one another for a moment, in utter silence. The sounds and chattering of the crowd around them seemed to dissipate into thin air, leaving nothing but the two. That was, until the small bundle in the Excadrill's arms cooed, snapping the two out of their trance.
"So... you're Paladin... now."
Paladin nodded abruptly, never taking his eyes off of the Excadrill. He'd known this Pokemon once. He'd helped him out with a few problems. Paladin owed this Pokemon.
"I should..." Paladin began in a coarse, gruff voice nothing like his own. But the Excadrill help up a hand to stop him.
"No need. I... lost everything," he said with some resentment in his voice, but also a deep sadness. "Everything I had is gone now... even with the Silver Tribe gone, nothing will bring it back." He shook his head. "I'm going to end this life. There's nothing left for me now. That, and only THAT, Paladin, is the reason I am doing this."
Paladin nodded again, sighing a bit to himself. He knew that this was because of him.
Hey, don't look at me, it was probably Paradox or something!
Paladin extended his arms, and the Excadrill carefully placed the bundle into them. Then, he took a step back, and sent a clenched fist flying right at the Lucario!
Paladin took the punch in its full force; all it did was rock his head back a little bit, not even causing him to flinch or fall back as his head bobbed back up once more. The Pokemon around the two had frozen and were quickly scurrying away from them, expecting a fight.
The Excadrill simply shook his head and turned around, walking through the thick crowd that had gathered around without another word. Paladin watched him go the whole way, not paying any mind to the faces staring right at him in confusion.
That confusion soon turned to anger.
"Hey... I recognize him!" One 'mon shouted out from the crowd. "Yeah!" Another shouted. "He's that Sentinel! The red Lucario!"
Paladin did not move, even as the Pokemon around him closed in on him. The baby Snivy in the bundle squirmed about a bit, close to waking up from all the noise around him. Paladin bent down, set the baby on the ground, and formed a protective shield of aura around the boy for protection. Then, he stood back up.
We should go now! Pally, what the hell?!
Paladin shook his head. The townsfolk, even those selling goods nearby and simple spectators, had all gathered angrily around the Lucario. And at once, they were upon him like a pack of rabid Mightyena.
Paladin lay on the ground, a pool of blood trickling out from underneath him. He blinked a few times to readjust his vision, which was severely blurred thanks to having his face beat down so many times. Looking about, he saw that everyone had finally left, after what had seem like an eternity of minor pains.
Jeez, what was the point of that?
"Retribution," Paladin grunted as he rose, rubbing at his head. Beside him, he saw the baby still sound asleep under the shield. The aura shield had a few cracks in it; clearly the townsfolk had tried to smash it to no avail. Paladin retracted the aura and took the bundle back in his arms, feeling some slight aches in his joints as he did.
Alright, we got the kid. Now what?
Paladin spoke once again, seeing that everybody had clearly left the area. "We're leaving this place," he said in that gruff voice. "It's like that Excadrill said. There's nothing left for us here either. I would rather the boy grow up far away from all this and what has happened here. He would be shunned for being our son."
Yeah... you're right. He deserves better than we had. But... where will we go?
Paladin never answered the question. He simply began walking away into the deserted streets. By this point, dusk was nearing, and the orange light bounced off of the Lucario almost reflectively. "We have one last matter to attend to here. I think we both know what that is."
The Golurk still lay exactly where he had last fallen. Its eyes were dark and lifeless, and a sickly yellow hue radiated off of it.
It's going to explode within a few days. You should've known you were a ticking time bomb; it's why Darkrai chose you. He hoped that if you.... if I died, I'd detonate, taking everything but him with me. Creates lotsa chaos, y'know?
Paladin nodded; he understood the situation perfectly. He had for some time now. He looked upon his old body with disdain.
"This thing..." He croaked, "Is the old me. It means nothing anymore."
At that moment, he generated two large sphere composed of aura, one around himself and the other around the Golurk. With a blast of energy the two 'mon rose into the sky at a blinding speed, the air splitting as they did. In a few seconds, they were high above the clouds.
"Here. For all of Gold City to see."
Below him the baby Snivy wriggled about in his arm, but he rocked it a few times sending him back to sleep. Zed certainly was a heavy sleeper.
Let's do it.
At that moment,powerful waves of Aura energy surged through the sphere which contained the Golurk, bombarding it with power, essentially crushing it to bits. It wouldn't last much longer. After a few seconds, the body began to shake violently, and Paladin stopped.
"Alright, let's go down."
With that he zoomed downwards, leaving the Golurk suspended in the sky. Paladin landed softly on two feet and looked up expectantly.
Hehe, now for the fireworks.
Not long after he said this, a deep rumble could be heard from high above, before the sound of a deafening BOOM! resonated throughout the city. Paladin did not flinch, and used aura to cover Zed's ears. The sound was soon followed by a giant, luminescent sphere of dark yellow energy that parted the clouds violently, and shone as bright as the setting sun, casting a warm light down upon the city.
And below it, the Paladin and the Blackguard stood together, basking in the warmth of the body they had once called their own. But the real Paladin was gone, and so was the real Blackguard; both perished in that very explosion. What emerged in turn was something new. Something... better.
~13 years later~
Zed sighed, taking a seat beside his father. "Dad, why are we moving again?" He asked with annoyance in his tone. "It's the third time this year, and I just made a friend!"
His father shrugged, taking a bite from his Oran Berry. "Cuz we can? I dunno," he said with a smile and a mouthful. "Anyway I don't like this place. The women are... mediocre, at best."
Zed punched him in the arm playfully, inadvertently hurting his own tiny knuckles instead. "Oh dad," he said with a slight chuckle, clasping his hand to relieve some of the pain.
"Heh, just kidding, boy," he replied in that same gruff voice as he always had, but more happily this time. "Nah, the real reason's cause I found us a much better place. Civilization."
Zed's eyes brightened with excitement. "Really?! We haven't been to a real civilization in-"
"Five years, I know," said the father. "You know the routine though, right?"
Zed nodded enthusiastically. "Stay beside you at all times, be ready to run if anything happens, and don't die. I know."
His father nodded. "Good. Civilization can be a dangerous place. Little forest villages like this can't compare."
"I know, I know," Zed replied impatiently, making his father smirk just a bit more as he gulped down the last of his food. He stood and knocked some of the dense undergrowth that covered nearly the whole forest out of the way. Zed also stood, but he had no problem with the growth, being a Grass type. It seemed after years of pushing this stuff away, his father envied him for that.
"D'you wanna go fast or take it easy today?" Zed's father asked.
"Fast! Fast as we can go!"
"You sure, kiddo? You just ate, and last time you-"
"Fast!" Zed insisted, his tone almost as gruff as his father's, almost as if in mockery.
His father sighed and obliged, generating a small sphere around the Snivy, and one at least ten times that size for himself. The two were lifted into the air by the orbs, and after a brief warning from the Lucario, were launched away into the distance, splitting the air behind them.
Zed held on to the side of the orb as he looked down upon the scenery below him, marveling at it as he always did. There was something about the dense greenery and the rolling hills far into the distance that never got old. Zed looked to his father, who floated right in front of him in his own orb. He'd often wondered about the Lucario... how could they be father and son? There was no way. They were so vastly different in appearance that it was impossible. Not to mention the strange coloration he had, which was unlike anything Zed had ever seen on a Lucario, or any Pokemon for that matter. And he'd seen a lot of Pokemon on his travels.
Although, as Zed found himself thinking these things, he remembered to look down at himself. There was something they shared after all. He hadn't told his father yet, and had done his best to keep the fact hidden, but a few days prior, he'd noticed that his hand had turned a similar shade of sickly, dark grey.
Hehehehe... hey Zeddy. Guess who?
TO BE CONTINUED
Evening of Hanso's Return - Another Meeting
It had taken around a couple hours to track down any of the Thieves, but then, Hanso wasn't expecting to find them easily. With the threat of Darkrai and the Silver Tribe gone, society and the Thieves were likely to go back to their previous relationship. In other words, Thieves were back to being criminals.
"How do I know you're not tryin' to put us all in jail now?" the Umbreon asked, eyes blinking lazily at Hanso.
Hanso rolled his eyes. "I can only give you my word. I am not working with anyone to capture any of you, especially after your help a week ago."
The Umbreon kept her eyes on the Gallade for several more seconds, then stretched her legs. "All right, then. Right this way."
Back after defeating Darkari, Snype took the opprotunity to get as far away from the gold tribe as possible. Considering all of the stuff he was involved with, who knows if he would be turned in or anything along those lines? Sure they saved the world and all that but one couldn't be too careful and he really wasn't interested in taking part of whatever celebrations or funerals they were doing. He had other things to worry about, like fixing up some mistakes he made. First of all, the thieves needed to be put together. Snype was involved in killing a good number of them when he was working with the Silver Tribe but after realizing he on the verge of being used as nothing more then a puppet, he grew to regret it. The least he could do was rebuild the thieves into what they originally were. But maybe with a little more omph then before... keheh.
Snype was aware Hanso was tracking down whatever was left of the thieves. Snype wanted to leave rebuilding everything a secret more then anything but looks like plans would have to change.
Snype was crawling through the forest, keeping an eye on both Hanso and the Umbreon from above. "Keh, hey! Whatcha doing bringing outsiders in here?" Snype shouted out to the Umbreon from above, giving off a big toothy grin. "Kehe, ya know if we're going to be getting this whole band of thieves back together, some better communication might be something we should work on eh?" Snype said, giving off a snicker. He turned his head to Hanso and just stared silently.
"Of course," the Umbreon purred, keeping her tone neutral. She sauntered to a tree and began climbing up, effectively leaving the imminent conversation.
"Snype, if I recall correctly." Hanso folded his arms as he looked up at the Sableye. "Not sure if you know me at all. Name's Hanso. I came looking for Ches, or whoever else would be in charge of the Thieves now."
Snype tilted his head and chuckled again. He hopped down in front of Hanso and crossed his arms. "Kehe, Chaz? Yeah he's helping scavenge whatevers left of our old hideout. I got a couple of the other thieves doing a bit of work too. Levina is gathering up any survivors or possible recruits who might wanna tag along. Keheh. But I'm talking too much. Your looking for the guy in charge? Your looking at him." Snype explained.
"All right, then." 'Old hideout' indicated that they were moving their base of operations. It wouldn't matter as much now that Hanso remembered enough to teleport to the Village if he wanted to. He wasn't here to uproot the Thieves as a group, though. Chances seemed slim to him, but Hanso still wanted to see if he could do this.
"I imagine you're all going back to your usual ways now. That includes avoiding the Gold Tribe?"
Snype nodded. "Ya got it. Nothing personal or anything... well... for the most part. Kehe. But we gotta make a living somehow ya know? It'd wouldn't feel right if the thieves just suddenly dissapeared! I know that first hand. Keheh. This time around we probably won't be so welcome to forming any kind of alliances. We'll keep ourselves strictly independent using whatever resources we find." Snype said. He really didn't want to bring up that he was kind of involved with destroying the thieves last time, but that was in the past. He'd rather just move on and just make amends. In the end, he still got his wish. He was finally in charge so its not like he had regrets.
"So yeah. we'll be doing what we usually do. I take that's not all you wanted to ask though right?" Snype said.
Hanso was silent as he thought over what he could say. On second thought, he probably wasn't going to get anything out of this. Whatever. "I do have something to ask. Prob'ly more to confirm it in my mind than anything else." His arms unfolded as he took a deep breath. "If you were paying attention, you would've seen how some of the Gold Tribe had been slowly falling away from the values they're supposed to uphold. I'm sure the Gold Tribe is going to be the best it can be now..."
Hanso paused. "If they don't, though...if the Gold Tribe somehow ends up trying to take over, the way the Silver Tribe did...will the Thieves keep them in check?"
Snype just kept his arms crossed and listened to Hanso. Snype hadn't really payed attention to the Gold Tribe all that much considering he was mostly involved with the Silver Tribe's activities. Even before the whole mess he never got himself involved. But this kind of info was good to know just incase. The possibility of the Gold Tribe repeating what the Silver Tribe did? They'd have alot more to prepare for in that regard.
"You think they'd really do that kind of thing huh? Keheh. I thought you were all like brothers or family or some junk like that? Well, if things do get out of control I suppose we could try to knock a bit of sense into their heads... if it directly involves us anyways. But why ask us? Kehe. Losing trust in your fellow tribe or something? Even after everything they went through?" Snype said.
"Those whom I traveled with for the last few months, I trust." Hanso raised an eyebrow. "I'm looking more at what can happen years from now, when there will be more of the Gold Tribe. Even if Darkrai doesn't show up again for decades, it's possible for a future generation to start thinking that they're better than everyone else. I don't want it to get as bad as it did with the Silver Tribe."
Essentially, Hanso felt he was asking if future generations of the Thieves would keep the Gold Tribe in check. He would have no guarantee of that. However, by passing on the word to the Thieves now, they could prepare for such a case.
Snype nodded. "Well I'm expecting some conflicts between the thieves and the Gold Tribe as usual. After all, we gotta keep them busy somehow right? Kehe. Not a moment of rest you know? We'll prepare for any possibilities though. It depends on how the thieves turn out throughout the years. Kehe. I can't make any promises, but we'll do what we can." Snype simply explained, being rather mature for a change. He gave off a different vibe then he did back in the Silver Tribe.
Hanso nodded in return. "Thank you. This was the most I was expecting." He glanced at the tree that the Umbreon had climbed up. No doubt she was still watching, along with any other Thief that might be around. "By the way, if I don't see Ches on the way out, let him know that he has my thanks for coming to me at Cape City." The Gallade began to turn and walk away.
"Shouldn't I be the one thankin' you?" Ches said, who was hanging around from a tree. He had come into the conversation about halfway in after one of the others told him that a Gallade with strange eyes was walking around. Ches jumped down from the tree trunk and walked up to Hanso. He stared at him silently, then placed a claw behind his head and scratched his head.
"Yeah, I'm not really good with this so...yeah. You know, if you didn't beat that guy, everythin' would be a mess...so yea..."
"A mess is one way to put it." Hanso looked down at the Sneasel, then gave Ches a friendly punch in the shoulder. Which was unusual for the Gallade. "I did want to talk to you, actually," Hanso relayed to Ches' mind. "I want to know if you'd spy on the Thieves for me. It would be for my benefit, not for the Gold Tribe or anyone else. If anyone within the Thieves were to be a traitor and do something that would affect the future of Valkaria, I want to know about it. I don't want a repeat of the Silver Tribe."
Ches's face scrunched up as he tried to relay a message back. This was one of the first times he had used mental communication. "Ok, how do I do this? Do I just talk and you'll hear? Ok!" He kept making different faces, thinking that would help in the communication. "Normally if anyone ever asked me to do somethin' like that, I'd say beat it! But I'll always 'member what you did for the Thieves, so I guess I don't mind. Don't wanna repeat of everythin', after all." He replied with a nod. "So, I guess we'll keep in touch, then?"
"Yes. Not out loud...and stop it with the faces. That doesn't help. Just think about talking to me, access this channel..." Without asking first, Hanso set up a more permanent 'station' on Ches' end for their communication. "...and I'll hear you. It'll probably be hard to hear at first, given the distance, but it should work. Of course, it doesn't have to be the only way to contact me. See you around, maybe." Hanso nodded to Ches and began walking away again.
So, what, I'm setting up my own network now?
As Hanso was leaving and as the talks were going on, a more... vibrant delivery system was being used. There was a twinkle among the trees as a thrown knife flew right by Snype and imbedded into the tree behind him. Attached to the tip was an envelope with the following words on it.
P.S. Your security kind of sucks. And you should REALLY read this letter soon.
Snype noticed the twinkle within the trees but stood still. It was aimed just beside him so no need to freak out. Though the letter did grind his gears a little. His security? Yeesh they just started! What did Penance want with Snype though? The Sableye grabbed onto the letter and opened it up.
Inside was only one thing that needed to be said... COME TO CAPE CITY. MEETING COMING ON. ONE WEEK. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.
Tsk. Snype supposed Penance was back to being the Madman or something like that. He remembered back when they both thought that they made some small chit chat and formed a deal or something like that. Guess it wouldn't hurt to get an outside source to rely on and get info but he wanted to do his best to keep the thieves as independent as possible from all the other outside messes. Either way, Snype was all for going to Cape City to see what this meeting was all about.
Trainer Academy RP Pokemon
Snype (Sableye)- Lv. 52- Detect, Shadow Sneak, Will-o-wisp, Low Sweep, Foul Play, Taunt (Ability: Keen Eye)
Commodore (Porygon-Z)- Lv. 55 -Signal beam, Conversion 2, Recover, Tri Attack, Ice Beam, Trick Room (Ability: Trace)
Len (Poliwraith)- Lv. 53- Bubblebeam, Brick Break, Body Slam, Belly Drum, Sleep Talk, Rest (Ability: Water Absorb)
Able (Ninjask)- Lv. 46 - X-Scissor, Slash, Double Team, Protect, Baton Pass, Swords Dance (Ability: Speed Boost)
Kara (Gligar) Lv. 35 Acrobatics, Substitute, Fury Cutter, Knock Off, Slash,Toxic (Ability: Poison Heal)
Xerox (Ditto) Lv. 35 Transform (Ability: Imposter)
Shedinja- Lv. 35 Fury Swipes, Confuse Ray, Sand attack, Leech Life, Mind Reader, Scratch (Ability: Wonder Guard)
Omanyte- Lv. 35 Brine, Mud Shot, Rollout, Ice Beam, Protect, Bite
(Ability: Swift Swim)
Vera Fayos & the late Sovereign Chronos
The loose dirt rolled over Vera's hands as she finished. There was still a rather large pile of dirt still nearby. Sovereign was a rather large Pokemon after all.
The mountain air was familiar to Vera. It was just the same as before. Cold and thin. The nearby opening had long since cooled and sealed from when she had been there as an adolescent. Funny how something so set as mountain terrain could so drastically change in such a short time as a life.
Vera heaved up a large rock she had found, shaped like a malformed egg. She placed it down solidly at the head of the plot, giving it a proper look. The "Mega Stone" around her neck came off with ease, and she looked at the strange stone as she thought about what had happened in the last year. "One more time. I only need you to work for me one more time."
Once more, the stone glowed with the force of the sun, and transformed Vera into something beyond what was known. She held her hand out to the the grave stone, and carved her claw into the surface.
Keeper of Lost Knowledge
Vera hesitated a moment.
Vera spent several days watching over the site, not quite ready to leave it behind. One day, she awoke to find something she had not expected. When her eyes cleared she could have sworn she was looking at Sovereign. Although it was not the Sovereign she should have been seeing if he had been there. It was a Larvitar, standing over her, looking down at her. She sat up abruptly, and stared at the young Pokemon. "Hello," she said nervously.
The Larvitar said nothing, and only stared. When Vera looked around, she could not see any Tyranitar around. Though if one had been there with the child, she probably would have known it quite quickly.
"Where's your mom?" The young Larvitar only averted his eyes and looked at the ground. Vera knew the look. "She's wrong you know. You're not a burden, or a weakling." The Larvitar looked twice at her, surprised that she could have known. "Pokemon like you have great destinies. And can even change the course of a war."
"Really? I could fight in a war?" The child asked, it was pretty obvious that it was a boy.
"You could, but you shouldn't want to. War changes you for the worse." Vera went silent, thinking about how Sovereign's transformation had been much more literal than hers.
"My mom said my dad was in the war. Said he was nothing but a servant who lost against wimps." Vera grabbed the child by the throat, and held him against the grave Stone.
"If you ever say that again, I will kill you. He was a great Pokemon!" Vera set the boy back down and took a deep breath.
Over the next few hours, the child asked many questions about his father, and Vera answered them with harrowing tales about Sovereign's battles against the Gold Tribe, his own flaws, and finally how he went back to face the one who had misled him. Vera left Sovereign's death as being against Auron. The boy didn't need to know about the monster his father had become. She began to wonder just how much of that had passed to this kid.
"My Name is Vera Fayos," Vera told him. "You?"
The Larvitar blinked. "I... don't really have one..."
As the days passed, Hanso began building his own house, somewhere in the plains between Albia and the bottleneck formed by Eden Forest and the Korhal Mountains. It was roughly in the middle of Valkaria, and relatively close to his personal mountain clearing. For that matter, his house was also relatively close to the Golden Catacombs, where the Keeper had once resided. Hanso wasn't sure he'd want to assume the position of librarian; it didn't suit him at this time.
All the same, it didn't take long to erect an acceptable shelter. It was still being constructed, but Hanso had the core rooms built first. He had nothing else important to do, aside from attending the imminent meeting that Penance had invited Pokemon to. So Hanso was surprised when he got a knock at the door. Putting down the saw, the Gallade strode to his front door and scanned the outside with his mind.
"Vera?" Hanso pulled the door open to look at the Blaziken. "Nice to know you didn't up and disappear."
"Nice to know you aren't dead," Vera retorted. "It's good to see you again, Hanso, but it's not why I'm here. I have someone I want you to meet." The Larvitar Vera had met on the mountain peeked out from behind her. "This is Sal Chronos, Sovereign's son." Sal looked up at Hanso in wonderment, never having seen a Pokemon like him before. Around the child's neck hanged the stone Vera had inherited from her family. "May I come in? I'd like to talk to you."
Hanso's eyebrows rose in surprise. Sovereign had a son? "Yeah, come right in," he said, stepping back to allow the two Pokemon in. The first room was a small entry hall, which opened out into a living room. Much of the house's structure was still visible on the inside, with temporary panels set up where windows and the doors to other rooms would eventually be erected. The floor was scattered with different pieces of wood and some tools; a bed and other essentials were shoved neatly into one corner.
Once they were inside, Hanso closed the door behind them. "You caught me on a day when Vanni isn't around. Sorry, I can't offer much in the way of food."
"It's quite alright. I didn't come here to eat. Sal, go play outside for a bit, I need to talk to Hanso in provate." Sal nodded and left promptly. "He seems so different from Sovereign. And yet somehow the same..." Vera paused and looked around the house Hanso had built. "I remember when I lived out on the plains. You think that you've secluded yourself, and then you find a familiar face at your door. Sorry about that."
Vera looked over at Hanso with a serious demeanor. "Before Sovereign joined the war, he was an Alpha among the mountains. He gained ned quite a reputation, which was the reason that Auron recruited him in the first place. As you can imagine, it probably made him a desirable mate. Sal seems to be the result of that." Vera was afraid of what she had to say next. The idea was a terrible one, and she hoped it was avoidable.
"Sovereign's blood probably passed to the boy. I fear for him. Sovereign was barely able to control it himself." Vera stared at her hand a moment. "The stone stopped working for me as well. Shortly after I met the boy. I don't think that power is meant for me anymore."
"I'll get to the point. Sal needs a mentor. Someone to help him learn self control, and teach him to be a good Pokemon. And I don't think I can do that. I'm a lost cause, but I have hope for the next generation. I want you to take care of him instead. If anyone can teach him about control, it's you."
Hanso listened to every word, absently rubbing his right arm, where it had been poisoned once by Ignitus. When Vera finished, Hanso's hand dropped. "First off, I'm not exactly trying to become a hermit. If I wanted to do that, I know a place in the lower mountains that's more out of the way." He shrugged. "Though it probably looks like I am. I don't have any other place of my own, though, especially since Shine City is still mostly rubble."
Self-control. Hanso almost laughed; he kept his face neutral. "Teach Sal self control. Before I agree to any of that, you need to know something." Hanso faced Vera, serious himself. "Varren's back." He let that sink in for a moment, then added, "It happened a couple nights ago, while I was meditating. I don't know how, but he found his way back into my head."
Nooo, I never left, in a way. I told you you would be stuck with this madness, twice.
Ignoring the voice in his head for now, Hanso said, "The most that's happened so far is a bunch of chattering. He seems weaker this time around, but I'm not sure yet of his limits. If you leave Sal with me, you'll have to accept that."
Vera smiled at Hanso. "I already know. I could see it in your eyes when you opened the door. But whatever was left of Varren's soul, his memory... it died with that Toxicroak. When he died, he almost seemed... grateful. Like I was releasing him."
Vera looked out the only window in the house, seeing Sal examining the new terrain. "That's exactly why it has to be you, though. You're the only one who truly understands what Sovereign went through. If I brought him to that madman... I don't know what he would do." Vera closed her eyes in disgust. "I can't let him become like Sovereign. It's not what he would want." Vera opened her eyes and put a hand on Hanso's shoulder. "He can't hurt anyone now. Whatever is left of Varren is only a memory."
"Yeah, I wouldn't take Sal to Penance, either." Hanso looked out at Sal, then nodded. "I'll do it. Not like Varren can ruin this, right?" To be honest, even if he was just a memory now, Varren wouldn't stay quiet on the matter. Hanso was fairly sure that the ghost would look for some way to influence the Larvitar. Eh, it'll be good practice to keep Varren in line.
Pfft, it's gonna be the other way around, hero boy.
"Thank you, Hanso." Vera was relieved that he had agreed. She wasn't 100% sure that he would.
The rest of her time there was spent discussing the events of the battle after she left. The idea that the Dark One was a real, Tangible force was rather disturbing. But Vera couldn't stay for too long, not wanting to intrude more than she already had. Eventually it came time to say good bye.
"Sal, Hanso is gonna take good care of you. And remember, whatever your mom said, you are strong. Stronger than most. Maybe stronger than your father. Or at least you can be. I'll be sure to visit occasionally, and when it comes time, I'll teach you how to use that stone I gave you." Vera almost cried at the saddened face of the Larvitar. He really was a lot like his father. "I promise I'll come back." She looked toward Hanso one more time. "See you around, Hanso. And take care of him."
Vera gave Sal a hug and went on her way. As she stood on the horizon, a chill wind blew through her feathers, flowing towards the mountains. "He'll be safe with Hanso, Sovereign. You know, you told me about that temple in the mountains. How no one without Dragon Blood has been there. I think maybe it's time someone found it. We may just find some useful knowledge there." The wind seemed to blow more gently, as if in approval. "I'll take that as a yes." Vera walked out of view of Hanso's house, venturing towards the Mountains in search of Draco Temple. Perhaps she could find something about the Dark One there. But more than anything, she wanted one final connection to her dead friend's life.
"It's been fun... Goodbye, Sovereign."
Accatosh "Blitzkrieg" Coronis
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Accatosh's wings beat down as he flew around the far end of Gold City, eyes on the other dragon in front of him. In another few moments, they had come back around the city and were racing back toward Cape City. It would have been unlikely for anyone on the ground to look up, let alone see two shapes among the clouds race on. Snorting, Accatosh beat harder, catching up as they got closer to Cape. In another minute, he passed her and spread his wings to catch the wind, braking himself as he skidded on the ground in front of Stoneguard.
Behind him, Veltra skidded to a halt, breathing just as hard as he was. "I can't believe you still beat me," she panted, giving Accatosh a mock glare. "You're supposed to be resting up still!"
Accatosh grinned despite himself, looking back at the other Salamence. "I was one of the three fastest sky racers in Valkaria. I probably still am." They turned and trudged down one of Cape's streets for a couple minutes before Accatosh spoke again. "So did you find anything?"
"That can wait," Veltra retorted, watching him. "I want to hear more about what happened with you while I was gone."
So Accatosh explained everything that he had been part of, from after the end of the battle for Cape City, to the Gold Tribe's triumph over the Dark One before he escaped as a dark fog. He then related a few of the events afterward, including how Daricka "Wildfire" Cambar had announced her intent to rebuild the Heroes Alliance School.
"That'll take some work." Veltra went quiet for a few seconds before asking, "What about you?"
"I intend to help my sister with the H.A.S.," Accatosh answered proudly. "Wildfire will need all the help she can get, and someone will have to teach the dragons of the next generation."
Veltra smirked. "Aren't you a bit hotheaded to be a mentor?" she joked, nudging Accatosh's shoulder. "You're gonna need someone to keep you in line for that."
Accatosh smiled in response. "And I wouldn't ask for anyone else, Veltra."
Penance 'Madman' Malum - Yes, another one of his crazy plans
It was time. It was so close now. He hummed as he moved some pages about on the stage and set the boads out. He looked over at Guardia, "So, got everything bundled and ready to go? It's your speech after all." He looked up through the window at the sun, "Yeah, almost time too. It's going to be quite a crowd you know. Those that are like us... and others who want answers regarding what the flying f**k happened with their cities and all. You sure you're ready?"
Guardia looked over the old texts she had gathered from the Golden Catacombs. There was a lot of information in them. Some of which was relevant and important, and the rest which was simply making it hard to find out what exactly happened during those turbulent times. It took a while to track down what they needed to know, but eventually, it was found with Penance's help. Now, it was time to share. "I'm ready," She nodded to him, standing up and looking around at the many gathered faces present, most of which she knew.
"Ok..." She began, not sure how exactly to relay everything. "It took a lot of digging. And I mean A LOT. Everything was a mess back then. If it wasn't for the Keeper keeping records of everything, things would be a lot messier." She took one more look at the books, then kept going. "Some of the language is older and words are a bit different, so it's hard to make clear of every detail to the bone. But from what we get, the crystals weren't created by us. In honesty, there's so many conflicting stories and words, it's hard to say where exactly they originated from. However, a few matching papers listed that the crystals were in the possession of...Darkrai. When he first came to Valkaria."
Penance nodded, "We've formed several theories to this... though my personal favorite is that... well, he could have been a different mon back then. Something could have happened to him that made him who he was today. Think about it, chaos exists and a guardian MUST control that chaos. In the beginning of the world if Darkrai was like this, our world wouldn't be in existence then. We would only have order and no chaos. No balance means no stable world. It very well could be that Darkrai saw what was going to happen to himself and brought these crystals. How else could the silver crystal capture him... if he didn't whoever made them details as to how TO capture him. But please, continue Guardia."
Lyn nodded and continued. She picked up another document, scanning it over again as she spoke. "There's some debate in several places as to what exactly happened, but after Darkrai was discovered by the different tribes and started causing havoc, the crystals came into the possession of the tribes of Valkaria. See, the crystals weren't always silver and gold in color. They were made into that. Apparently, wherever these crystals did come from, they're very adaptable to different energies, and could have a wide array of purposes pushed into them."
Lyn dropped the paper she was looking at, and looked around the room. "One crystal was fashioned into a prison for Darkrai, and reflected his energy signature, and thus became silver. The other was designed to combat the silver crystal's energy, a polar opposite of power, originating by the opposite energy signature of Darkrai." Lyn leaned in on the table in front of her. "It took a lot of digging, and at the moment, we can only guess on what did and didn't happen. But this other Pokemon, the one who used their energy for the Gold Crystal, most likely stole the two crystals from Darkrai and handed them to the tribes for them to use."
Penance nodded, "This... other being has been told in myths here and there, and we saw some mentions of her in the writings. She, as Lyn stated, is the opposite of Darkrai. Her golden energy no doubt inspired the name for the Gold Tribe itself and she probably even influenced how the tribe would work, why they have the rules they do. Simply put... she founded the tribe no doubt. At least that's what I'm going with. Now, given her polarity with Darkrai, she would try to keep the balance between chaos and order. She would aim to prevent Darkrai from becoming too powerful, hence why she donated her energy back then. However... she didn't come to help us. The crystals weren't together to hide Darkrai's return and he summoned ancients and all manners of chaos. She should have theoretically felt that.. but she never came."
"And she didn't," Guardia began, continued off of Penance's points. "Because she died." Lyn looked through the stack of papers in front of her, trying to find one in particular. "In the struggle back in those days, a lot happened. Darkrai had gained so much power, and nothing could be done. Except to seal him up. But that was payed for with many lives, including hers. She died sealing him up, and used the rest of her energies and memories and poured them into the Gold Crystal. So even though she was gone, she thought that with chaos sealed up, everything would turn out alright." Lyn shook her head. "Obviously, it didn't, but that's the reason we never received any help from her during the times that Darkrai's powers acted up. There was no one to give it."
"But..." Lyn frantically looked through the papers, trying to find one in particular in the stack, and found it, reading it through to remember what it said. "I did find something, something I think she wrote, or at least came from something she said," Lyn cleared her throat and read.
"Harmony never truly dies, and neither does chaos. If chaos returns to the world, light will follow in its rebirth."
Lyn placed the paper down, and looked up at everyone in the room.
Penance nodded and stood up, "We shall no longer be known as the Affiliates." Penance was silent for a bit, "We are going to spread this tale around. We are going to go row after row in the books to put everything that we experienced in history books, in school books even. But… sadly this isn't over. Some of you may think that, but it isn't. Let me say this… Rey managed to corrupt Paladin and myself with darkness. Where was Rey when we battled in the cities? Where was even Sentry for that matter? I realize Sentry was like Paladin and I… so why can't there be more like us? Those also infected by Darkrai's darkness. You know… it's a saying."
He resumed his pacing, "Never put all your eggs in one basket. Darkrai is a f**king genius, that much is shown. Why would he put all of his hopes in only Rey and for that matter only Paladin? He wouldn't. There are no doubt more of us out there. Maybe they are here in our country, or they could be in other places. As long as that possibility is out there, then this WILL happen again. It is why I refuse to have children of my own, if I so much as produce an egg then it is possible that the darkness will move onto my child and Darkrai will easily take him or her over. No doubt with Dakrai still roaming he could infect new pokemon born and begin to place them in his nightmare. A hundred years from now he could activate all of his drones which would number in the thousands by that point and finally take over our world. But there is a way we can combat such a future."
"Gentle'mon… my Affiliates have adopted a new name. Because we are… seeking a specific mon, one that can save us from this looming disaster, because if we cannot find her, then we are doomed. If we cannot find her then we cannot purge those corrupted by Darkrai. And even if we manage to identify them… then there is no way we could kill them all. Darkrai would take over and this would all start again."
Penance crossed his arms and looked about, his smile widening even more, "Gentle'mon. We must find our dear darling Cresselia."
Hanso SharpEye, formerly TrueStriker
A New Beginning, One of Many...
For the meeting, Hanso stayed at the back of the crowd, where he could easily walk out without drawing much attention. As if he hadn't already; Hanso had Sal up on his shoulders so the Larvitar could see over everyone else. He'd never known before how much a little kid could weigh! As for what Guardia and Penance were explaining, it...actually didn't matter so much anymore to Hanso. He didn't feel an obligation to help the Affiliates in their new search.
Hanso did find it interesting that the power of the Gold Crystal had came largely from Cresselia. With that kind of sacrifice, he would have to be careful about how to use the little that still remained in the gem around Hanso's neck. He wasn't going to give that up anytime soon. If they needed to know what kind of energy signature Cresselia would have, then Penance could ask Brynn, since she knew the looks of it from personal experience. Besides, Hanso had a few things to do himself.
"Gentle'mon. We must find our dear darling Cresselia." That was when Hanso decided to leave the meeting. Naturally, Sal had questions about the whole subject once they were away from all the other Pokemon. Hanso tried to answer them in a way that Sal would understand, but it was difficult when he hadn't raised a child before now.
They spent a few more days at Hanso's house; the Gallade had to leave more of the construction to Vanni while he spent time with Sal. If it hadn't been at Vera's request, Hanso might have been more lenient. Not with this. It got to the point where Vanni stopped and asked Hanso how he expected the Machoke to build most of the house by himself.
"I don't." Hanso took one more look at Sal; the Larvitar was deep asleep. "You're the construction expert here, Vanni. Do you know a reliable crew that can do this job?"
"Hm..." Vanni rubbed his chin with eyes half-closed. "I do. Last I checked, we'd lost only a couple o' the guys I work with t' the war. Helpin' you out here by myself for free is one thing, though. They're gonna want to be paid."
Hanso nodded. "I was expecting that. I never brought it up in the last three years, since it didn't matter during the war, but the SharpEye family had a considerable amount of money and influence before the Silver Tribe. I'm the last SharpEye standing, but I'd bet that some of that money is still buried in the rubble of Shine City."
"What, a secret vault or somethin' that Ancients and thieves missed for three years?" Vanni shook his head in disbelief. "I doubt it."
"Regardless, I'm going to go looking, alone or with help." Hanso held the Machoke's gaze until Vanni sighed and looked away.
"Fine. But they're gonna be mad if they help us look an' we find nothin'."
Typical of a child, as far as Hanso knew, Sal was exploring the surrounding rooms while the Gallade and Vanni's crew picked through the rubble of the SharpEye mansion in Shine City. The other Pokemon asked several times why he didn't just have this place rebuilt; Hanso told them he didn't want it, that he wanted a new start for himself. That was certainly true in the case of material belongings - they found nothing in the way of usable objects or valuable trinkets anywhere in the mansion. It wasn't long before they found a vault in the basement. The vault was ruined and empty, just as Hanso and Vanni had suspected.
Ignoring the crew's general dismay, Hanso ran his hand along the wall several yards to the left. He could sense Sal hanging near the stairs up to the ground floor. Everything was layered with dust, but Hanso knew what to look for. He had watched his father open it when he was a child. Hanso pushed on one brick, causing a few others to shift slightly as if opening a small cupboard in the wall. He pulled the door open the rest of the way, revealing the miniature vault and its contents.
"Would you look at that," Vanni rumbled, looking over Hanso's shoulder. Hanso pulled out a lump of gold the size of his fist and showed it to the crew. Someone in the SharpEye lineage had melted a few nuggets together in order to store it in savings for an emergency.
"For helping me today," Hanso said, handing the lump to Vanni. "And for building a house for me. Vanni knows the specifics." While the crew of Pokemon were busy with inspecting the gold, Hanso turned back to the savings vault. There was also a small pile of money and a few other important or valuable objects. The two Dawn Stones reminded Hanso of the day that his father had shown him this vault and given him the stone that would allow him to evolve. Opening his own pack, Hanso stowed the rest of the vault's contents and closed it all up. He was going to need all the resources he could get his hands on.
When the group got to the front door of the ruined mansion, Hanso waved them on. "I need to be alone for a bit. Except for Sal." The Larvitar stood by him while Vanni's crew walked away, talking to each other about their new project. Hanso waited until they were a good fifty yards away before turning back to the mansion. "What do you want?"
The Gardevoir's appearance from behind a doorway caused Sal to draw closer to Hanso. "I'll be honest," she said, hands folded in front of her, "I was half expecting you to never show up. I didn't know if you'd come back to your family house."
Hanso only returned eye contact at first. It disturbed him that she looked so much like Genevieve. "You know who I am, but who are you?"
"Morgan L'esprit." The Gardevoir raised her eyebrows at the look of surprise on Hanso's face. "No, of course you wouldn't know. Genevieve was my sister. I just never got the same amount of public notice that she did. So who's this?" Morgan tilted her head to look down at Sal, smiling slightly.
Now that Hanso was paying more attention, she seemed like something of a friendly character. Not at all cold like the Siren, but it remained to be seen whether this Morgan was manipulative. "None of your concern," Hanso answered, lightly pushing Sal around until they were both walking away. He ignored Morgan's questioning call; as far as he was concerned, she didn't have anything important to say. Besides, there was no point in paying attention to Morgan. She would probably just turn away upon learning of the madness that resided in Hanso, and possibly Sal.
Huh. I didn't think you'd turn away like that, hero boy. She's Genevieve's sister, after all.
Hanso didn't respond to Varren. He was sitting against the front wall of his house, which Vanni's house had begun to work on just the day before. Sal was still munching away on his lunch beside Hanso. The Gallade was still thinking over his next moves. Already found a couple Thieves who could be coerced into spying for me. Vanni's going to keep an eye and ear on things for me as well, along with a few others in the Alpha Alliance. Haven't tried to get anyone into the Affiliates, or whatever Penance calls them now. I still need to, though, I can't trust him despite everything we've been through.
There was very little reason to build this network of his, but Hanso did not want to be caught off-guard by anything. As far as he was concerned, the Affiliates, or Penance at least, could have any number of ulterior motives. The Thieves, being criminals, were the likeliest at this time to spawn someone who would attempt to conquer Valkaria. Same with the Alpha Alliance, considering how big this nation was. Even the Gold Tribe could revert to acting like the Silver Tribe, even if it would happen years from now. Sure, the Gold Tribe was supposed to be the elite of the Alpha Alliance, but who would guard the guardians?
Hanso frowned and looked up from his thinking; Sal was too busy eating to notice. A mind had appeared on his radar without warning. He stood up and marched to his front door, opening it and stepping inside. Sure enough, Morgan was standing against the back wall, a mischievous grin on her face. "What do you want, Morgan?" Hanso snapped, folding his arms.
"That's no way to greet a guest," Morgan retorted. "The very least you could do is offer me some food."
In response, Hanso pivoted and stepped back outside, shaking his head. That was the second time she had appeared unannounced. What in the world could she want? What do you think she wants? Don't tell me she's ugly, 'cause she isn't.
It's nothing to do with what she looks like, Varren.
I'm starting to think you really are oblivious.
Before Hanso could retort, he turned around to watch Morgan come outside. "Well, then." The Gardevoir shrugged. "I suppose I'll see you around, Mister SharpEye." With that, Morgan teleported out of sight.
Hanso wouldn't admit it to anyone except Varren, since the ghost could read his thoughts anyway, but Morgan looked too much like her sister for his liking. It also irritated him that she seemed to assume that Hanso would allow any more appearances like this, and that she was trying to get his attention. He had Sal to raise, a network to build...Hanso had even gotten Vera's agreement in helping write a biography of Sovereign Chronos. The Tyranitar deserved that much.
So what, no interest in keeping the SharpEye legacy alive, hero boy? If I were you, I wouldn't be so cold to Morgan next time she comes.
"Who was that?" Hanso looked down at Sal, who had walked up to him. "Who was she?"
Hanso shook his head. Despite himself, Varren had a point. "Someone who is going to show up again. I think...she will be coming here a lot." ...No, Varren, I'm not gonna do that. Not outside of marriage.
-you afraid?...are tools- -as you are expendab- -ecessary you will broken- -at’s not Bellator anymore, Silver. He’s long go- -your guard. Stay close to the Gold Cryst- -orce that will attack Eternity City is twi- -crifice is par- -of possible attacks by the Order- -ey do together, well, that's none of your concern, gent- -for such a small thing...
The question is, Zane: are you?
A thousand voices spoke to him in chaotic unison, and then abruptly, a thousand voices were permanently silenced. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders, a burden he felt like he was carrying for as long as he could remember. The burden was heavy, but as time went on, he didn't realize just how heavy it was until it was gone. Now, he felt the calmness of a peaceful disposition. He felt the comfort of relaxation and tranquility. With those pleasant thoughts roaming his mind, Zane Tyrael opened his eyes.
The brightness first took him by surprise, and he placed his arms in front of his eyes to slowly adjust to the light. They slowly began to become accustom to the brightness, which he realized was the sun directly above him. Taking in more of his surroundings, Zane could see that he was laying upon the grass of some plains. He rose himself from the ground and sat up. He expected his body to be met with the resistance of a thousand different injuries, but oddly, he didn't feel much in terms of pain. Perhaps a bit of soreness, though. Taking a quick look around, Zane noticed two crystals beside him. He recognized the shapes to be those of the Gold and Silver Crystals, but the colors that he had grown accustom to seeing on them was gone. Instead, a plain, colorless hue was present. What was more odd than the lack of agonizing discomfort in his body or the presence of the two crystals he thought were destroyed was the lack of something else. Looking upon his body, Zane noticed that his once gold-colored form was now the red, natural color of a Bisharp.
"Fascinating," A voice remarked to his right side. At the turn of his head, he saw the Keeper sitting upon the grass close beside him.
"Keeper?" Zane asked, slightly bewildered at the current situation.
"Yes, yes, young one. It is me," He replied with his light smile Zane had grown used to seeing over the last few months.
"Dead?" The Keeper interjected, finishing what he believed to be his eventual question. "I expected we would be. But no, no we are not dead."
"But...how did we escape? How did we end up...wherever we are?"
"On this, I suppose I can only speculate. I did notice in the Dark One's realm, at the pinnacle of his power, there was not just one, but quite a few different openings forming throughout the world. As Darkrai loosened the shackles of his realm, his realm began to merge with ours. Likely, he was feeling out other parts of the world with more potential for chaos, malice and violence. This may be one of those areas, and we have somehow been brought to it as his realm collapsed around us. Needless to say, there's probably quite a bit going on here."
The Keeper crossed his arms as he continued to explain his theory to Zane. "The Dark One was always quite clever. I highly doubt the plan with the Wielder was his only one for escape. Perhaps it was his best one, yes, but I doubt he didn't have other ways."
"What about the crystals?" Zane asked, looking at the two crystals in his hands. "How are they still even here? And me? Why am I...red?"
"Now that is quite interesting." The Keeper stated, examining the crystals, and then Zane. "If I were to guess, I would say that, that which we knew as the Silver and Gold Crystals are gone forever, as is all of their power. Now, it seems they are back to their original state, perhaps for their original purpose, whatever that may be. As such, it may be conceivable that they cannot be simply destroyed by stepping on them, or crushing them as the agents of Darkrai had done. Or perhaps, they cannot be destroyed at all. Of course, this is all simple speculation."
The Keeper closed his eyes for a moment. "But we are...quite far away. Very far from our home, you and I."
"How far exactly?" Zane quickly asked, slowly picking himself off the ground and dusting off any loose pieces of grass along his red form. He was still getting used to that.
"Far enough that I cannot sense or make contact with any of the others in Valkaria."
"Then...can we tell what happened to the others?! Guardia, Penance, TrueStriker...all the others? How do we know they succeeded?"
"Ah, I suppose we do not." The Keeper responded, to which Zane immediately sunk his head in dismay. He closed his eyes and inhaled sharply, before quickly tried to occupy his thoughts away from his friends by asking other questions.
Zane sighed, taking in his environment around. He proceeded to walk up toward the grassy plains, examining that they stood close to the top of a hill. He marched toward the top of this hill as he contemplated the Keeper's words. So much of what he said was speculation and his own theories, and so little was actual facts. This only left Zane with more questions, and those questions which he already asked were left insufficiently answered. The worst of all was that he absolutely no idea what had become of his brothers and sisters, his friends. Had they succeeded? Had they stopped Darkrai and saved Valkaria?
The Keeper, perhaps feeling what Zane was going through, or perhaps sensing it from his mind, walked up behind him and place a hand on his shoulder. Zane turned and faced the Keeper. "Our part in the tale of Valkaria is over, Vigil. That is the hard truth that we must deal with," Together, the two silently marched up to the top of the hill. They were quiet for what Zane felt to be longer than it probably was, before the Keeper eventually spoke again. "It is a cruel and relentless world we inhabit. Perhaps the worst of all its offenses is that it seeks to rob us of knowledge when it is most needed to us." The two Pokemon reached the top of the hill, finding that they were upon a high slope with much of the view of the land below them. "But the world can never take away one thing from us," The Keeper turned his head to look at Zane just as Zane did the same. "Belief."
"We do not know what happened to them. But what do you believe happened to them? What does your heart tell you, Vigil?"
"My heart..." Zane's voice trailed off. He placed a hand to his chest, and closed his eyes. Instantly, he began picturing the faces of his friends in his mind. A warmth originated from the center of his body, washing up in the feeling of satisfaction and comfort. In his heart, he believed that his friends were alive. And despite not having any proof or confirmation, he seemed to accept this belief. Zane Tyrael finally felt at peace.
He opened his eyes and gazed along with the Keeper from their hilltop at the vast and boundless country before them. A mammoth of infinite potential, the sea of green countryside before them extending to the very edges of their sight, before touching the deep blue sky.
"Think of this not as the end, but as the beginning. A new beginning."
"And that, dear ones, was the story of the Gold Tribe, and their fight with Darkrai," An older Dragonite explained to a group of young, Pokemon children. Instantly they murmured and talked among themselves, throwing out sets of 'oohs' and 'ahs'. They were excited to hear the stories of the heroes who saved the Alpha Alliance, who brought Valkaria back from the brink of destruction.
One of the Pokemon, a young Mankey, raised his paw into the air. "Yes, little one?" The old Dragonite asked gently.
"But...Mr. Hazone. What about Darkrai? What happened to him?"
"Well, the Gold Tribe pushed him back in the very end, but no one truly knows what became of him after the final battle. Some say he died of his injuries. Some say he's given up his legendary vows and took up permanent isolation. I think perhaps he's out there. Waiting. However, if he ever does decide to come back, we'll be ready for him with our greatest advantage."
"Do you mean the Gold Tribe?" Another Bellsprout asked the Dragonite eagerly.
"In a matter of speaking," The Dragonite remarked. Before he could explain his reasoning more, another Pokemon interrupted him.
"But Mr. Hazone," A Houndour asked the elderly Pokemon. "Didn't most of the Gold Tribe die in the war? Aren't most of them gone now?"
"Perhaps yes. But our greatest weapon against Darkrai isn't necessarily the Gold Tribe itself, but rather what the Gold Tribe stood for. What they preached at the very end of the war against the Silver Tribe. Freedom, love, and peace. Brotherhood, sisterhood, and comradery. Family, friendships, and eternal bonds. Selflessness, loyalty, and devotion. These weren't just the traits of the Gold Tribe. These were the Gold Tribe. These are the Gold Tribe. So as long as these ideals live on through us, we will always have our advantage. So long as these ideals live on through us, so too shall the Gold Tribe."
Many of the children huddled around him were down following his statement. Some groaned and wore frowns on their faces. He chuckled in response. He knew why that was. Many of these had grown up hearing the tales of the powerful warriors of the Gold Tribe, the ones that fought on while so many others turned back. They wanted the heroes in the stories. They wanted the continuations of their legacies. They wanted to grown up and be like the role models they grew up hearing about. They wanted to be like the Swift, Paladin, Vigil, TrueStriker, Guardia Blitzkrieg, Wildfire, Bloodthirster, Defender, and all the rest. And they couldn't do that if they didn't have a Gold Tribe to join.
He put a finger on his chin, as if contemplating, and then pointed his finger up as if he remembered something important. "You know, I recall something," He began to say to the children. The children stopped their murmuring and instantly focused on Hazone again. "A saying. An old, Gold Tribe saying passed down through the generations. Words of guidance:"
“For the Gold Tribe is a lot like a phoenix. It may be on the brink of death, and maybe even die. But from its ashes it will reborn and rise over and over again.”