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  #126    
Old July 30th, 2012, 06:05 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamVASIMR View Post
Just wanted to say, a while back I strongly suspected the bomb was fake... turned out I was right, although I have no way to prove it. Seems Cyrus has studied Sun Tzu.
I like your way of villain writing, you make them demonstrably competent instead of relying on cheap indicators (such as a scary reputation, or "intellectual" games such as chess or Rubik's cubes).

Well I have another speculation and a way to post it without Cutlerine knowing what it is and changing the story to mess with it.
Cyrus is a very intelligent young man. Not nearly as unpredictable as Maxie, nor as pig-headedly devoted to a character as Archie; less arrogant than Zero, and conscious of all his own flaws and weaknesses, he seems to me to be the most competent villain I've taken from the series so far. Maybe Ghetsis will outmatch him, but I'm by no means certain he will.

Actually, he probably will. I just love villains, you see; I've got a batch of dramatic monologues narrated by the most evil villain I've yet devised squirrelled away somewhere within the depths of my computer. How anyone can prefer heroes to villains is beyond me; all the cool kids live on the dark side.

Sorry I've not posted anything recently. I was first redecorating my room, and then away for the weekend; I'll be away again next week, but this week I hope to get well ahead of the game.

F.A.B.
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
  #127    
Old July 30th, 2012, 07:29 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Chapter Thirty-Eight: In Which All Hell Breaks Loose

'It's quite difficult taking control of a keyboard outside of fiction, but I had to get this message to you: Halley, don't you dare steal my part in the next story, or I'm going to kill you more inventively than Freddy Krueger on acid.'
—C\Users\cutlerine\Downloads\robin.exe


“So,” said Cyrus. “What exactly happened to you?”

Liza shrugged.

“I'm not sure. Don't remember. I had this weird dream, and felt better when I woke up.” She made a noise of unclear import. “Doesn't matter now – there's the end of the world to bring about.”

She was sitting in a new chair on the other side of Cyrus' desk; the replacement furniture had all been put in by now, and the office looked almost normal again.

“Ah, yes. That.” Cyrus paused. “Are you coming?”

For the first time since her arrival, Liza looked a little uncertain; however, the moment passed, and she recovered in an instant.

“Yes,” she replied. “I'm sure now.”

“You didn't find your real identity?”

“I destroyed the I.D. cards,” she told him. “It seemed so clear. Whatever – whoever – I was, I'm Liza Radley now. And in the new world, I won't even care.”

Cyrus nodded.

“If that's what you want,” he said. “All right.”

“Yeah. It is.”

There was a silence, and it lasted just long enough to start to feel uncomfortable when Liza said:

“Well, I'd better get back to work,” said Liza, getting up. “I need to check in with the vanguard, if we're leaving tomorrow.”

“Oh. Er, yes, of course,” said Cyrus, and saw her out.

“Cyrus,” said the Desk Sitter, as he made his way back to his desk.

“What is it?”

“You are being distinctly emotional about Liza Radley.”

Cyrus gave it a hard look.

“What do you mean by that?”

“That you are not conducting yourself in a purely rational manner,” answered the Desk Sitter. “Why else, for instance, would you care about her state of mind?”

“Because she endangers the operation with her irrationality,” replied Cyrus. “And if I'm to get the responses I want from people, I have to at least put up a façade of friendliness.”

The Desk Sitter was silent for a moment.

“We see,” they said at last. “How exceptional.”

“What do you mean by – actually, forget it,” Cyrus sighed. “You're far more enigmatic than you need to be, you know.”

“We know. We like it,” said the Desk Sitter smugly, and coiled themselves into a dark curl of silence to wait out the evening's work.

Cyrus waited for a moment, and, when it became apparent that they weren't going to say anything else, reached for his computer keyboard – but his hands never touched the keys. Instead, they hovered above them, frozen in surprise, for at that moment his office was invaded.

---

“Bloody hell,” murmured Jasper quietly. “Of all the rooms in all the halls...”

Heading up – from the few signs around, it seemed like that was where the laboratories were – we'd gone into a couple of rooms here and there to look around; on reaching the top floor, we'd pushed open the first door we came to, with the result that I was now about three feet away from Cyrus Maragos himself.

“What is this?” he asked, recovering faster than us. “Who are...” He narrowed his eyes, and I felt my pulse soar. “Pearl Gideon.”

The words were pronounced with such finality that there didn't seem to be any point hiding it; I nodded dumbly, and he leaned back in his chair with a threatening kind of ease.

“All right, that's one of you. Who are you two?”

“I believe we should flee,” said Looker anxiously, but Cyrus shook his head.

“No, no,” he said. “You've evidently come a long way, at least; come in, sit down.” Looker and I didn't move, but Jasper stepped forwards, pulled off his blue wig and arranged himself comfortably in one of the chairs facing Cyrus' desk.

“What the hell are you doing?” I hissed. “That's Cyrus—”

“Yes, and I suspect that the reason he slipped one hand under the desk just now was to press some sort of 'guard call' button,” replied Jasper, sounding vaguely bored. “They have those in the embassies, you know, and I assume Mister Maragos here has one too.”

Cyrus inclined his head in agreement.

“A man of intellect, I see,” he said. “I don't believe we've met.”

“Jasper Platinum.” He extended his hand, and, somewhat surprised, Cyrus shook it. “Usually I'd add 'at your service', but owing to the fact that I am in the employ of the League... well, you see the difficulty.”

“Of course,” replied Cyrus, a little disconcerted. “Now. Gideon and... whoever you are, sit down. Six armed guards will be here within the next few seconds.”

I glanced at Looker, but he didn't respond. Footsteps sounded in the corridor, and with some trepidation I took a seat in front of Cyrus.

“That's better,” he said. “Now, I know Gideon and I've been introduced to Platinum, but who are you?”

“I am Antoine Dupont, a glazier from Normandy,” replied Looker, which came as something of a surprise to all of us. I suppose he didn't want to reveal he was an International Police agent.

“And what exactly is a French glazier doing in my office?” enquired Cyrus.

“Looking for the broken windows,” Looker answered.

Before Cyrus could even begin to point out the magnificent weirdness of Looker's claim, the six armed guards he'd spoken about earlier appeared in the doorway.

“What is it, sir?” asked one, who sounded a little out of breath. It was probably, I reflected, because he was on crutches and had a heavily bandaged foot; it couldn't have been easy to get here so fast in that state.

“What happened to your foot?” asked Cyrus, frowning.

“I got shot, sir.”

“Who shot you?”

“I did, sir.”

Cyrus' frown deepened, and I could see the cogs of his mind turning in his skull: this, he was thinking, was not normal.

“Why did you shoot yourself in the foot?”

Jasper raised his hand.

“A stratagem of mine,” he said. “It involved Confuse Ray and spiders.”

The conversation was rapidly climbing out of Cyrus' control and, evidently aware of this, he closed the subject with an effort and moved on.

“Well, you shouldn't even be on guard duty like that. Go and sit down at once.”

“Right, sir,” said the unfortunate Galactic, and limped off to find a chair.

“You five, stay there and kill these three if they attempt to get up,” he continued. “Are we clear?”

“As crystal, sir,” replied a familiar voice, and I realised that the Galactic on the left with the Croagunk sitting on his head was none other than Tristan. Surprisingly, I actually felt kind of relieved to see him there; some of the tension seemed to leave the situation now someone I knew had turned up, even if he was an enemy.

“Good.” Cyrus returned his attention to us, and I turned back to face him. “Now, leaving aside the issue of the mysterious glazier, I'm assuming you're here to free the legendaries of the lakes?”

“Yeah,” I replied, eager to remain alive. “Oh, and we were going to get Marley's Pokémon back, if we found them.”

“Marley... Is that Walker? Lacrimére's daughter?”

“Yes. Have you met her?” asked Jasper. “She's... quite a character.”

“No, I haven't, and that's entirely irrelevant,” replied Cyrus sharply. “Can we return to the point?”

“Naturally, naturally.” Jasper waved a hand in an elegant gesture of obscure meaning. “Continue.”

“The fact of the matter is, I was always planning to release the legendaries afterwards,” said Cyrus. “In fact, you interrupted me in the very act of sending a memo to the research department to set them loose.”

“So... you can just let them go and then we'll be on our way, right?” I asked. “Right?”

Cyrus smiled, but it wasn't a nice smile; it was like Jasper's smiles, a thin skin of amusement over ice-cold bones.

“No,” he said simply. “Things aren't quite that simple.”

I swallowed; my throat felt suddenly dry.

“You see, you two constitute half of all those left to oppose me,” he continued. “I leave out our French friend here, of course; I have a feeling he is not my opponent, and that he would not make a particularly fearsome foe anyway. Without you in the picture, only Walker and our dear Champion remain to stand in my way – and they wouldn't be enough, I'm certain. Cynthia Buckley is a highly capable woman, but she won't realise what we're trying to do until it's far too late.”

“And what are you trying to do, out of interest?” asked Jasper calmly. “Your speech mentioned new worlds, the end of time, ascendency to perfect humanity – but what does all of that mean?”

Cyrus sighed.

“I know that from your perspective I must appear to be the villain, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid enough to reveal my entire plan just because you've made a half-hearted appeal to my ego. No,” he said, standing up, “I'm going to have you killed.”

I forgot to breathe, and a cold feeling prickled around my shoulders. This was not how things were meant to go. Cyrus was meant to reveal his plan and then we'd escape through some oversight of his; we weren't meant to die. But now... now there were five armed men and women behind us and we had absolutely no weapons and we didn't even have Ashley any more and we were going to die—

“Hum,” said Jasper. “I'm thinking quite hard, but I don't see a way out of this.”

“That's because there isn't one,” Cyrus told him. “This is a simple execution. No exotic poisons or slow-burning lasers or walls of spikes – nothing so melodramatic. I'll just take last requests and have you shot.”

Looker raised his hand.

“Yes?”

“Monsieur Maragos, I have no pork with you.”

“You mean 'beef',” pointed out Jasper quietly.

“Ah, just so. Monsieur Maragos, I am wholly ignorant of any nefarious plot of yours, and would ask that you let me go on my way—”

“How stupid do you people think I am?” snapped Cyrus. “You're obviously not a glazier, or you wouldn't be here! I have no idea who you are, but you are going to mysteriously disappear along with these two, and by the time anyone finds out it will be too late for any action to be brought against the Team.”

“Ah well,” said Looker sadly. “It was worth a try.”

Throughout this exchange I sat there in frozen panic; I was going to die. This was like the time Ashley had failed to disarm the bomb, only a thousand times worse: that had been fake, but the guns and Pokémon of the guards were definitely real. I was going to die – going to end my life sitting in an uncomfortable chair wearing stupid clothes and sitting between a lunatic and a sociopath.

And then I remembered that even in situations like this, the detective always gets free somehow, and I knew exactly how I was going to do it.

I focused hard and tried to keep still; my body wanted to run now, and it felt there were was enough adrenaline pumping in my veins to kill a rhino. I had to keep my agitation out of my face; if anyone noticed a change in me they might realise I had a plan...

“Do we get last requests?” I asked. My voice was thick with tension, but – I hoped – it sounded like fear.

Cyrus rolled his eyes.

“It depends whether or not they're a thinly-veiled attempt to turn the tables on me and escape. What do you want?”

“I was going to do my make-up. If I'm going to die, I'm at least going to die looking good.”

Cyrus stared.

“You are exactly as vapid as my people report,” he said. “You do realise that all people look much the same without a head?”

I shrugged.

“Still, I suppose there's no reason to forbid it.” Cyrus held out a hand. “Give me your bag.”

Cal.

“What? Why?”

“In case you have a gun or a Pokémon,” he explained. “I'd just like to confirm that you're not trying to trick me and escape.”

Reluctantly, I handed over my bag – and Cyrus reached inside, a moment later drawing out a small orb of red and white plastic. A Poké Ball that I'd completely forgotten about until just now, and which had been my last hope of getting out of here with my life.

“So you were trying to trick me,” he said. “Well, I can't say I'm surprised. I suppose if I was in your position I would try anything too—”

In one swift movement, Jasper reached up and squeezed Cyrus' hand around the ball.

Immediately, there was a sharp report and a hole opened up in Jasper's arm – but it was too late, he had crushed Cyrus' fingers against the button, and the room was filling with red light—

And all at once the desk had vanished, replaced by a mound of splinters and an extremely pissed-off Cave Drapion.

---

Jesus Christ!” cried Jasper, in a rare fit of passion. “Why the hell do you have one of those?”

“Long story!” I yelled back, leaping from my seat and jumping back out of the Drapion's way. Noticing that the guards outside had the temerity to shoot it with mere handguns, it bounded forwards, swinging its tail into Cyrus with enough force to fling him from his chair, and crashed through the doorway, lashing out with rock-hard claws.

“What in the earth is going on?” asked Looker helplessly, watching the Drapion headbutt a man so hard he crashed through a wall.

“I didn't realise Miss Gideon would be bringing the Pokémon equivalent of a tactical nuclear missile,” said Jasper. “Still, it did its job – so move!”

As the Drapion's tail swung back around, it demolished the remnants of the wall separating the office and the corridor; now, with our escape route (somewhat) clear, we skirted the rubble and flung ourselves out through a haze of dust and plaster. As soon as we were clear, we ran; I glanced back, but there was no way to get back towards the stairs: more Galactics were coming up them, drawn by the sound of the battle. Evidently the Drapion heard them, because it was screeching out an insectoid war cry and drumming its great white claws on the walls—

“Miss Gideon!” snapped Jasper. “Focus!”

I tore my eyes away and turned a corner with them, heading away from the beast behind us and the shrieks of the Galactics, and had just started to think we might get away when something new blotted out the fight behind us so completely that I forgot why we were running.

It was the legendaries, and they were screaming.

They sounded like the voice of the Driftenburg, a huge, noiseless cry for help pounding in my skull; images flashed before my eyes, of kicked puppies, of shackled children, of heaped heads, and dark, bloody colours dripped across my vision. Before I knew what I was doing, I'd stopped and turned towards a door to my left—

“What are you doing?” cried Looker. “We need to run!”

My head cleared a little, and I blinked.

“But – can't you hear—”

“Yes, of course,” said Jasper. “But Cyrus said he'd release them. They don't need our help. Now come on!”

He grabbed my arm and began to run again, but I shook him off and flung the door open; he didn't understand, he was broken, there was no choice and I had to save them all...

Beyond the door was a long, pale room dominated by a vast central machine, covered in switches and dials; men and women in white coats looked up as I entered, and a couple of them cried out in alarm.

“Oh, for the love of—!”

Jasper and Looker appeared on either side of me, both looking more than a little annoyed; one of them – I forget which – opened his mouth to speak, but was cut short by the Cave Drapion that flew through the wall behind us and landed with a hard crunch on a computer desk. Even the legendaries' cry wavered for a moment; wherever they were, they could see, and were surprised.

I turned to see what had done it, and saw a tall, lean figure loping through the wreckage of the wall, its too-long arms dangling at its sides, each trailing a huge, hooked talon.

“That's it, Reese,” said an unfamiliar voice, curiously mild, and I saw that there was a man standing behind the Toxicroak, one hand resting carelessly on his hip and the other in his pocket. “Keep at it.”

“Saturn,” hissed Jasper. “Miss Gideon, we need to—”

The Drapion suddenly burst back into life, hauling itself back onto its feet with an angry hiss; it seemed more irritated than hurt by its recent flight. The Toxicroak – Reese – made a sly little croaking sound, then dropped into a fighter's stance as the big bug charged it, claws akimbo.

“—run!” finished Jasper, but now Galactics were massing in the corridor outside, guns and Pokémon evident among them, and as Reese caught the Drapion's massive claws in its hands, the muscles in its arms bulging as if they were about to tear free of their bones, they began to shoot. As if in a dream, I saw a few bullets bounce off the Drapion's thick carapace, and then there was another one right next to my head—

The pain brought me back to reality, and as I screamed my legs moved without me, running for cover behind the central machine with Jasper and Looker. All around us, scientists were fleeing and panicking; the room shook with every blow that Reese and the Drapion traded, and dust kept falling from the ceiling as the walls groaned...

“Miss Gideon,” said Jasper urgently. “It's only a scratch – it grazed your neck—”

“The legendaries,” I interrupted, barely conscious of him. They were right there – right in front of us, in three cages of glass and steel at the back of the room. I could feel their eyes on me, feel their cry for help in my head, and, the battle fading to nothing at the back of my head, I walked towards them. There was nothing else in my eyes: just three little blue shapes, dripping black from their foreheads, eyes shining with a voice stronger than any sound could be. The crack and spit of gunfire, the screech and roar of Pokémon – none of it touched me, the fight raging impossibly far away, as if on the moon.

All at once I was there, right in front of them, and some impulse guided my hand to a large red button on a bank of switches on the wall—

There was a hiss of compressed air and the cages swung open. For a moment, the legendaries paused, their collective aura tinged with surprise, and then they leaped into the air, made a brief circuit of the room and flew up through the roof, their minds drilling a passage through the concrete before them. In their wake they left a cloud of gratitude, and for one blissful moment I basked in the most sincere thanks I'd ever received.

Then they were gone, and all at once I realised that I was standing in the middle of a battleground and my neck really hurt.

Cal!” I shrieked, and sprinted for the cover of the big central machine, where Jasper and Looker were still crouched. A moment later, the whole structure shook as something hit it hard on the other side, and a harsh yowl split the air: Mars' Purugly had joined the fight.

“I take it you're back to normal now?” asked Jasper tersely, and I nodded wildly. Then I stopped, pain blossoming in my neck. “Good.” He glanced around the edge of the machine. “No one can get in because of the Drapion,” he said, “but equally none of us can get out. Well done, Miss Gideon. Your pointless rescue mission has jeopardised all our chances of escape.”

“I couldn't help it!” I protested, but he didn't seem inclined to listen.

“Of course, it's not the death that bothers me,” he went on. “It's just so hopelessly unprofessional. Never deputise civilians, that's what they always say—”

“Monsieur!” cried Looker. “The situation at hand, s'il vous plait?”

“Ah, yes.” Jasper looked around again, then withdrew his head sharply as Jackson flew past. The big cat landed heavily on the cages, snapped the control panel off the wall in his struggle to get back to his feet, and limped off back to the fight with extreme reluctance. “Well, I appear to be out of ideas,” Jasper went on. “How about you two?”

“Perhaps we—” Looker broke off as the machine shook under another impact. “Perhaps,” he continued, looking a little concerned, “we might consider the timing?”

“Wait until the Drapion rushes them and break out during the confusion?” Jasper shook his head. “Not until that Toxicroak's out of the way. Nothing else is hurting it – the Pokémon are too small or weak, and the guns are too small-calibre – but it and the Toxicroak can't really do anything except get in each other's way. We need to break the stalemate.”

“How are we going to do that?” I asked, pressing one hand against my neck in an attempt to stop it hurting quite so much.

Jasper made a face.

“Perhaps you should stop asking questions and actually help for once,” he snapped.

“I got us out of being executed—”

“Yes, by trapping us behind a Cave Drapion and about fifty armed guards—”

“Monsieur, mademoiselle,” said Looker, “there is no time for this — this peculiar machine has broken!”

No sooner had he spoken than the mysterious engine we'd been hiding behind tore loose from whatever anchored it to the floor, rose up above our heads and embedded itself in the far wall with a deafening crash — leaving nothing at all between us, the Drapion and all the forces Team Galactic could muster.

---

One might well wonder what Bond, Ellen and Pigzie Doodle thought of this peculiar incident. After all, they had been in the laboratories when Pearl and company sneaked into the building; it would not be unreasonable to believe that they had noticed the ensuing battle.

Shortly before the other group blundered into Cyrus' office, Ellen and Bond's search had turned up results. It had taken them the rest of the night and a good part of the day, but they had finally collected together enough scraps of information to, with the help of Pigzie Doodle's knowledge, piece together what seemed to be a fairly coherent idea of what Team Galactic were doing, and from that, where they needed to go.

And once they came to the conclusion of their conversation, there was a very, very long silence.

“So they're going to... destroy the world?” asked Ellen, in a small voice.

It looks like it, replied Pigzie Doodle slowly. My future... ruined. He billowed angrily, his gases twitching with fury. What the hell? All these millennia, for nothing? To be reset, because one man decides that the world isn't quite to his liking? For God's sake, whatever happened to good old-fashioned suicide?

“This is worse than that – than Liza Radley being released, then,” said Bond, reading the Duskull's reaction and correctly judging him to be extremely angry.

Yes, snapped Pigzie Doodle. Of course it is. He broke apart into swirling mist and reformed a second later, buzzing with agitation. This is the smashing apart and restarting of the universe. If this happens, we all cease to exist. You, me, your butler, Sinnoh, the Pacific islands, Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, the sodding universe! Millions – billions – who could learn of my deeds, all gone in a moment. History, time itself – all sodding gone.

“It's very, very bad,” Ellen relayed to Bond. “Much worse than Liza Radley.”

“I realise we are somewhat limited in our capacity,” said Bond, who displayed very little emotion at the idea of an end to his and all existence, “but is there anything we can do to halt this... calamity?”

I— Pigzie Doodle broke off as a crash and the sound of gunfire reached their ears. Wait. What the hell was that?

And here, dear reader, is where the story of our three spectral intruders intersects with that of our three human ones, and where they decided, after a brief look at the chaos spilling from Cyrus' office, that they had perhaps best adjourn to a lower floor, where they might continue their discussion uninterrupted by monsters, gunmen, or fugitives.
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.

Last edited by Cutlerine; July 30th, 2012 at 07:37 AM.
  #128    
Old July 30th, 2012, 01:04 PM
sheep261
Beginning Trainer
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Gender: Male
You know, I was waiting for the moment that you would bring that drapion back into the plot, as ever since it was caught it's been bugging me as to "why has it been forgotten?!?!?"

But nevertheless, an excellent chapter as per usual, no mistakes yadyyadaya.

Keep up the good work.

P.S

I've kinda noticed that your doing stories in the way of the gen's released...coincidence maybe...But will you do a gen 5 maybe?
  #129    
Old July 31st, 2012, 03:05 PM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep261 View Post
You know, I was waiting for the moment that you would bring that drapion back into the plot, as ever since it was caught it's been bugging me as to "why has it been forgotten?!?!?"
Nope, not been forgotten. To tell the truth, I never had a concrete idea of when it would return - originally, I thought it'd come out in a climactic battle in the Galactic warehouse where Ashley would have gone berserk and started fighting the Galactics - but I always knew I'd need it at some point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheep261 View Post
I've kinda noticed that your doing stories in the way of the gen's released...coincidence maybe...But will you do a gen 5 maybe?
It's not a coincidence; it just seemed the natural way to write them. And yes, after Sinnoh comes Unova, never fear. For a hint at its content, check the quote at the top of Chapter Thirty-Eight. It's going to be weird.

F.A.B.
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
  #130    
Old July 31st, 2012, 06:17 PM
Zayphora's Avatar
Zayphora
Don't mess with the lights...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Somewhere beyond the Veil
Gender: Female
Nature: Sassy
Quote:
“Monsieur Maragos, I have no pork with you.”

PppffffffffchhhhchcpffffffLOOOOOOOOOOOL. oh Looker, you just made my day. Even when trapped in a room with a suicidal maniac and a bunch of armed guards, you still find time to be weird. I love this.

Okay. Who here feels like the desk sitter is actually some bizarre cross between Gollum, Mr Spock and Giratina, and that this is all Akuroma's fault? Looooooooooooool

Anyway good job. Keep it coming!
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  #131    
Old July 31st, 2012, 08:38 PM
c1234321's Avatar
c1234321
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Gender: Male
Huzzah! After a brief reprieve you have risen from the ashes of your vacation like a phoenix, burning bright with this newest triumph. And I need to stop talking like I am writing the English essay I stopped writing several minutes ago....Sorry. But yes. A triumph this chapter was. I was very excited to finally see that Drapion come into use. Finally. I appreciated the irony that Pearl would never have escaped had Cyrus not given her the Drapion. Delectable irony.

Continuing, I was so happy to read the excerpt at the top to see that Puck will be back again. If I were younger and perhaps the opposite gender I would squeak with happiness. Alas, I am not, and so I shall simply cheer.

The fight scene was pretty cool. And I know that our focus was supposed to be on Pearl, Platinum, and the Looker, but it was almost disappointing not to hear the gruesomely detailed description you are so capable of providing for this scene. But still, quite amazing how that Drapion took on the Purugly, Toxicroack, and guns without weakening. I assume you do not base your Pokemon's strength on their in-game stats.

Apart from all this, I sense the climax coming. It definitely involves Liza and most likely also involves Ellen, Bond, and Pigzie Doodle. I hope that it will be as exciting as I envision. I still cant help but wonder how Stephanie fits in to all of this. I feel her coming back soon, though whether she arrives before or during, or even after, the climactic scene remains to be scene.

Speaking of Stephanie, what the heck is up with her?? Who are the people who kidnapped her and why is she so freaking important? And while I am on the case of importance, I still have yet to discover why Pearl is important. Unless her major talent is screwing everything up yet still managing to survive, I have no idea. Unless her obvious reaction to the legendary Emotional Beings implies a connection to a different legendary, thus making her more subject to their pain...somehow.. Oh well. The fact that I still have this many questions left this far is incredible. Truly you are a fantastic author. If this were to ever somehow get published Id buy like 15 copies and gift them.

Oh! I almost forgot. Grammar. I see none. Then again my judgment may be impaired from stress caused by homework, but still. For what its worth I didnt see any mistakes. A wonderful success yet again Cutlerine. Great job.
  #132    
Old August 1st, 2012, 01:56 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zayphora View Post
PppffffffffchhhhchcpffffffLOOOOOOOOOOOL. oh Looker, you just made my day. Even when trapped in a room with a suicidal maniac and a bunch of armed guards, you still find time to be weird. I love this.
Ah, poor Looker. I'm sure he doesn't mean to, but he goes to a lot of countries and doesn't always have time to get the language quite right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Huzzah! After a brief reprieve you have risen from the ashes of your vacation like a phoenix, burning bright with this newest triumph.
Actually, I've been redecorating my room for the last week, and visiting friends at the weekend. That's why it took me so long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
A triumph this chapter was. I was very excited to finally see that Drapion come into use. Finally. I appreciated the irony that Pearl would never have escaped had Cyrus not given her the Drapion. Delectable irony.
Yeah, I've been waiting to use it for a while. I always like to include some form of big, dangerous animal in my stories, just to keep my characters on their toes, and the Cave Drapion is the biggest, toughest one I've come up with yet, so I've really been enjoying it.

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Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Continuing, I was so happy to read the excerpt at the top to see that Puck will be back again. If I were younger and perhaps the opposite gender I would squeak with happiness. Alas, I am not, and so I shall simply cheer.
He will always be back - probably never in as big a role as he had in TTMG2DTW, but he will be back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
The fight scene was pretty cool. And I know that our focus was supposed to be on Pearl, Platinum, and the Looker, but it was almost disappointing not to hear the gruesomely detailed description you are so capable of providing for this scene. But still, quite amazing how that Drapion took on the Purugly, Toxicroack, and guns without weakening. I assume you do not base your Pokemon's strength on their in-game stats.
Actually, statistically, Drapion is tougher than either Purugly or Toxicroak, and as this is a bigger, badder version of a regular Drapion, it's even tougher. Purugly, as a fast, lightly-hitting physical sweeper, can't really get past Drapion's impressive Defence, so I translated that here as it being ineffective; Toxicroak, while almost as strong as Drapion, is evenly-matched with it in terms of typing: it and Drapion resist each other, which I translated here as having them evenly matched without much hope of breaking the stalemate. Add to that the fact that I scaled my Drapion up from its original height of around four feet, meaning that its exoskeleton is now remarkably thick, and you'll see why it's essentially invulnerable to small-calibre firearms - which is all Team Galactic possesses, having never really thought that something like this would happen in their base.

So, in answer to your question, I do actually take the in-game stats into account. I always think about what sort of role a Pokémon plays in the game, what it can do, and what the Pokédex states about it - and in this case, the Pokédex says that not only does a regular Drapion have the power to 'make scrap of a car' with its claws, but attacks people without provocation and prides itself on its incredible strength, refusing to use its poisons. So my Cave Drapion is basically the same, but kicked up a notch.

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Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Apart from all this, I sense the climax coming. It definitely involves Liza and most likely also involves Ellen, Bond, and Pigzie Doodle. I hope that it will be as exciting as I envision. I still cant help but wonder how Stephanie fits in to all of this. I feel her coming back soon, though whether she arrives before or during, or even after, the climactic scene remains to be scene.

Speaking of Stephanie, what the heck is up with her?? Who are the people who kidnapped her and why is she so freaking important? And while I am on the case of importance, I still have yet to discover why Pearl is important. Unless her major talent is screwing everything up yet still managing to survive, I have no idea. Unless her obvious reaction to the legendary Emotional Beings implies a connection to a different legendary, thus making her more subject to their pain...somehow.. Oh well. The fact that I still have this many questions left this far is incredible. Truly you are a fantastic author. If this were to ever somehow get published Id buy like 15 copies and gift them.
Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie. The mystery of her kidnapping will soon be solved, I assure you - as will that of Pearl's power.

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Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Oh! I almost forgot. Grammar. I see none. Then again my judgment may be impaired from stress caused by homework, but still. For what its worth I didnt see any mistakes. A wonderful success yet again Cutlerine. Great job.
Thank you. I hope you continue to enjoy the story.

F.A.B.
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  #133    
Old August 4th, 2012, 12:23 AM
Cutlerine
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This is probably the last chapter for a while. It depends on whether or not I can get Internet where I'm going next week.

Chapter Thirty-Nine: In Which the Seeds of a Plan are Sown

'Kester Ruby formed one quarter of the group that fought – and eventually overcame – the criminal mastermind Zero during the 2011 Armageddon Crisis, which began with the killing of Rayquaza over London, England, and ended with the mysterious disappearance of Zero in the ruins of Sootopolis City, Hoenn. He worked alongside Sapphire Birch, daughter of the renowned Professor Birch, an illegal immigrant identified only as Felicity, and – it is rumoured – the infamous art thief, Robin Goodfellow.'

—Sootopolis City Memorial Plaque



“Well,” said Jasper, “that seems to have broken the stalemate.”

The machine had broken loose because the Drapion had picked up the Toxicroak and slammed it into it; its vanquished opponent dangling limply from one claw, it charged the Galactic lines, which promptly did the only sensible thing and scattered in a burst of blue and silver. One ran past us, and Jasper tripped him up, thumped him on the head and relieved him of his gun; a moment later, he beckoned to Looker and I and headed for the exit. No one was chasing us now; the Galactics were backing down the hall, their main defence gone, and the Drapion was in hot pursuit.

“Hurry,” said Jasper tersely. “They were taken by surprise, but they'll win in the end. I have a feeling Cyrus can probably stop that thing once he wakes up.”

Abruptly, he snagged a passing Galactic by the arm and pressed the gun to his head.

“Right,” he said. “Now we have a hostage. Let's go.”

“What? Help!” cried the Galactic, and I realised with some surprise that it was Tristan. What were the odds?

“Silence,” Looker ordered. “Or Monsieur Platinum will kill you.”

Hastily, Tristan obeyed, miming the zipping shut of his lips, and Jasper asked him:

“Is there another way downstairs besides that way?”

As he spoke, he nodded in the direction the Galactics and the Drapion had taken.

“Yes,” replied Tristan quickly. “Er, this way, this way!”

“What?” I asked, trying to keep up and feeling faintly dizzy. “Did that just happen? Did you seriously—?”

“Yes, I did,” Jasper told me. “This is the League, Miss Gideon. We don't mess around.”

We passed through a couple of corridors, and came to a bank of elevators; one set of doors slid open as soon as we pressed the button, and we piled in as soon as they did. A moment later, we were moving down, and the sound of the battle was fading rapidly. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief – but then the lift stopped again, and the doors opened to reveal three haggard-looking teenagers and a Rotom.

They stared at us – to all intents and purposes, four Galactics, one of whom was holding another at gunpoint – and we stared back. To be honest, they probably looked weirder: one of them, a girl, was wearing an outlandish deep blue fedora with a feather and a bullet hole in it, and another wore oversized rollerskates and had a weird single headphone attached to one ear.

Finally, the boy broke the silence.

“You're not real Galactics, are you?”

“No,” I replied. “No we are not.”

“Are you trying to escape?” asked Jasper.

“Yeah. But this place is like a maze, and Puck wasn't any help,” answered the boy, with a dirty look at the Rotom, and I realised that these were the same people we'd met back in Eterna City's park: Kester Ruby, Felicity Kusagari and Puck the art thief. It felt like aeons had passed since we'd spoken that day now – in fact, it felt like aeons had passed since we'd entered this damn building.

“Come with us, then,” I said. “This Galactic here has kindly volunteered to show us the way out.”

I could tell they were impressed – the three kids at least; I had no idea what the Rotom thought – and thought that that was the sort of aura I was supposed to have, as the master detective I was at some point going to become. I would probably have continued in that train of thought for a while, but at that moment my neck started hurting again, and I went to rub it with my left hand, which was the one that belonged to my bad arm, and that started hurting again, and all in all I was thoroughly distracted from any ideas of my own brilliance.

By the time I'd finished untangling that thought in my head, we were all in the lift, packed uncomfortably tightly, and descending fast toward the ground floor. No one else tried to take the lift, and it wasn't long before we were out again, following Tristan's directions through eerily silent corridors. There was no life down here at all; I suspected the Galactics had all dropped everything at the call to arms and were even now trying to stop the Drapion's rampage. That would buy us more time, I realised: the corridors here weren't that wide, and whichever direction they tried to come at the monster from, only a few of them would be able to get to it at any one time. With that kind of advantage, I didn't see any reason why it couldn't keep on fighting all weekend.

Upon reaching the lobby, Kester and his friends let out an involuntary cry of joy, and the girl whose name I didn't know explained they'd been looking for the exit for a very long time.
“Why are you here?” asked Jasper, dragging Tristan over to the doorway.

“We've, uh, been held prisoner here,” replied Kester. “For... I don't know. Quite a long time.”

Jasper's eyes gleamed.

“Would you be so good as to come with us?” he asked. “I'd like to present your evidence to the League. It would be excellent to have a real criminal charge to bring against Team Galactic.”
I saw his point. If we could justify a full-out attack, we'd have the whole power of the State behind us: the police force, the less shady side of the League authorities, even the special forces, if it turned out to warrant it. Finally being able to pin a crime on the Team would make the fight against them a whole lot less one-sided.

“The League?” asked Kester. “The actual League?”

“Yes,” replied Jasper, doubtless biting back a sarcastic retort but hiding it flawlessly. “I work for Cynthia Buckley, Pokémon Champion of Sinnoh, who has a rather... personal vendetta with the Galactics. She would be very interested to speak to you, I'm sure.”

“Uh, yeah, that'd be great,” Kester told him. “Yes, guys?”

His companions nodded their assent, and without any further ado, we left the building. After all we'd been through on the top floor, it was a bit of an anticlimax, but I didn't feel like complaining. I'd had enough danger for one day.

---

We must have made a strange sight, walking down the street from the Galactic building; Jasper hid his gun behind Tristan's back, and Puck hid inside Kester's phone, but we were still pretty battered and bloodstained, and if I'd had any energy left to look with I'm sure I'd have seen plenty of people staring at us. Thankfully, once we were a block or so away, Jasper hailed two taxis, one for us and one for Kester's group, and paid the drivers a considerable sum of money to not hear anything that we might say en route to Cynthia's apartment.

“Well,” said Looker, sinking deep into his seat with a sigh of relief and pulling the blue wig from his head, “I am certainly glad to be out of there.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, taking off my own wig and shaking my hair back out. “You didn't find Liza, though.”

“Liza?” asked Tristan, but Jasper shut him up with a look.

“What's that?” Looker inquired with interest, but Tristan got no chance to reply; Jasper leaned across him and said sharply:

“Miss Gideon, let me see your neck.”

Of course, I'd been shot. It actually came as a surprise to find out; I hadn't forgotten exactly, but the information had wandered away to the back of my head. I suppose I must have been in mild shock or something.

Regardless, I turned my head obediently, and Jasper cast a critical eye over the wound.

“No... very, very light,” he said. “More like a scratch with a needle than anything else.” He sat back and frowned. “You are extremely lucky, Miss Gideon,” he told me. “Perhaps more than lucky...”

“Oh!” I said, suddenly remembering something. “Jasper, you got—”

“Shot? Yes, I did,” he replied, regarding the hole in his sleeve with interest. I looked too, and a slow sense of horror crept over me: I could see through the sleeve, into the flesh of his arm where the bullet rested, and yet I couldn't see the smallest trace of blood.

“Monsieur Platinum,” said Looker in a faltering voice. “Your arm...”

“Reparable,” Jasper stated. “It's of no consequence.”

And then it hit me: I knew what was wrong with Jasper, why he seemed so unnatural, and why it was so hard to notice him when he didn't want to be noticed.

“You're a strülden,” I whispered, and he bared his teeth in one of those dark, hungry smiles.

“Yes,” he affirmed. “Well done, Miss Gideon. I've never been detected before – though of course, if anyone were to do so it would be the person who sees me shot without blood.”

Pardonnez-moi,” said Looker hesitantly, “but I do not understand...”

“He's a strülden,” I told him, not taking my eyes off Jasper's face. “Dead, but still moving. In order to survive after death, they drink the blood of humans.”

“Ah! A vampire.” This explanation perfectly satisfied Looker; evidently, they had them in France too, though they went by a different name.

“It's not nearly as supernatural as all that,” said Jasper with a trace of irritation. “And I don't drink anyone's blood. I'm simply a Ghost-type Pokémon resident in a corpse – tied quite strongly to it, in such a way that I can't leave.” He sighed. “I do have to eat some small quantity of human flesh, it's true – but only because in this state I lack the ability to consume your souls directly, or indeed utilise any of the powers displayed by my less corporeal brethren. We're fascinating creatures.”

“You're monsters.”

“You were quite happy with me a moment ago,” Jasper said. “It's not like I kill anyone – I just take a pound or two of meat from the recently deceased and have it with some fafa beans and a nice Chianti. I didn't even kill this man.” He indicated himself. “He died of cancer in Snowpoint City twenty years ago. My parents, seeing their chance, spawned me into the corpse, and in due course I hatched, attained sentience, repaired the body with a few spare parts and went on my way.” He shrugged. “It's symbiosis, Miss Gideon. If you don't like it, perhaps you should consider not dying.”

“But that guy might have had relatives, friends—”

“No. None at all. I'd have been discovered rather quickly had my body been recognised, wouldn't I? My species has been doing this for thousands of years, Miss Gideon, and we've learned to choose our hosts carefully.”

I didn't know what to say. My gut instinct was to ram a wooden stake through his heart and call for a priest, but he'd addressed every one of my concerns so well, and met my gaze so calmly, that the wind was kind of knocked out of my sails.

“I appreciate you're concerned,” Jasper went on patiently, “but I'm really not at all harmful to humanity. Why would I be? Without humans, we would become extinct; we can't survive on our own.” He frowned. “Well, I suppose we could try and inhabit dead animals, but that would be positively barbaric, and I think we'd prefer extinction to that.”

“You...” I trailed off, lost for words, and glanced at Looker for moral support. “Looker?”

“Ah, we know all about the vampires in Europe,” he said confidingly. “They are very popular in the films and novels at the moment. They do not any more have to keep the skeleton in the closet, and may throw the cat out with the baby.”

“I would correct you there,” said Jasper, “but I have no idea what you meant. There were at least three idioms in there somewhere, and they were more tangled than the process of the Law.”

I supposed that passed as a joke if you were an undead Ghostly monster, but I for one wasn't laughing.

“You,” I said, “Tristan. I can't be the only one who's... bothered by this, right?”

“Er, I'm not sure if I'm bothered by that,” he told me anxiously, “because I'm rather bothered about being kidnapped, and I'm not sure that I can distinguish the two sorts of botheredness. Please don't kill me,” he added, sounding even more worried.

For the first time, I realised that we'd actually just forced someone into a cab with us at gunpoint, and that was surprising enough to snap me out of my strülden fear.

“We... yeah, we kidnapped you,” I said slowly. “Wow. That was... No, I totally didn't notice.”

“I didn't have much choice,” replied Jasper. “We couldn't let him go back to the Galactics, not once he'd heard that we'd got evidence that would let us move openly against them. We want to take them by surprise, if possible.”

I glared at him. I hadn't liked him much before, and I definitely didn't like him now. I'd thought strülden were only to be found in whispered ghost's stories before I saw a news report about a nest of them being found out and destroyed when I was twelve; since then, they'd joined the list of dark dangers at the back of my head, lurking alongside such potential perils as rapists, Electabuzz and Goth/hipster battles. Now there was one sitting opposite me – and, worse, he'd been right beside me all day.

“I'm not Iago,” he said simply. “I don't hate you. All I want to do is live in peace, do a little work for the League here and there and attend ambassadorial lunches.”

“Hm,” I replied. “Whatever.”

Jasper sighed.

“You've met what is probably the closest thing to a friendly Ghost you will ever encounter in your entire life, and you're determined to make him your enemy.” He shrugged. “Such is humanity, I suppose. Bent on seeing monsters in the dark.”

He didn't really seem concerned by the fact that I didn't like him, or even that I'd found him out; perhaps there was something in what he said after all. Then again, maybe not. Given what I'd seen of him already, it was highly likely that he was an accomplished liar.

The rest of the cab ride passed in frosty silence; Tristan cowered in his seat, I glowered in mine, and Jasper stared out of the window, looking vaguely dissatisfied. The only person who appeared to be unaffected was Looker, who took out a small notebook and wrote copiously in French, smiling to himself as if every sentence were a private joke.

It was a relief to escape when we reached Cynthia's apartment, where Kester, Felicity and the other girl were standing on the pavement, looking lost. We collected them and led them upstairs, Puck reappearing as we went; he seemed not to be able to communicate outside electrical devices with speakers, but still managed to convey an aura of self-satisfaction so complete and unwarranted that I, in my irritable mood, developed a deep sense of annoyance at his existence – something that, I was later to find out, wasn't actually that unreasonable.

Cynthia, after being trapped in a room with her parents, Marley and no news of Ashley for an afternoon, was exceptionally glad to see us, if a little confused by our four new companions.

“I know why you three are here,” she said at the door, “but why have you brought a captive Galactic, three kids and an electric Ghost?”

“It's a long story,” I said tiredly. “Can we come in?”

She stepped aside and we followed her in; behind her were two elderly and very happy-looking people, who, as she told me later, seemed to be almost permanently attached to her.

“Mum, Dad,” said Cynthia, turning to this pair, “I'm going to take these people into the dining-room and I'd like it if you wouldn't disturb us until we come out. We're going to hold a council of war.”

“That's nice, dear,” said her mother. “Would you like any tea or coffee? Or biscuits?” she added, an idea suddenly seizing her mind. “We have biscuits.”

“No,” began Cynthia, but Jasper interrupted.

“If you have an ounce or two of raw meat, that would be very much appreciated,” he said.

“Raw... meat?” asked Cynthia's mother, looking like she'd never heard of it before.

“Yes, raw meat,” said Cynthia impatiently.

“Oh, of course, dear,” she said, beaming at her famous daughter, and bustled off, presumably to fetch Jasper his meat.

“I get the impression your parents still don't quite believe you're the Champion,” I said to Cynthia as she led us into the dining-room.

“I know, I know,” she sighed. “They mean well, though.” She turned to Jasper. “And why are you after meat? Did you get yourself shot or something?”

“Yes,” he admitted, holding out his arm and showing her the hole. “It was necessary, or else I think Monsieur Looker and Miss Gideon would have died.”

Cynthia knew Jasper was a strülden? I thought it was a secret – but then, this was the League, and they seemed to know just about everything about Sinnoh's supernatural, from Ashley to the Driftenburg to Riley.

“And we are very grateful, too,” said Looker warmly. “It was a most fortunate happening.”

“OK. Whatever.” Cynthia sat down, and the rest of us followed her example. “What exactly happened in there?”

A long and involved explanation ensued, in the middle of which Cynthia's mother came in with a little piece of steak, which Jasper thanked her for and crammed into his arm in place of the bullet. I sneaked a look at it later, and the wound was completely gone; I suppose he only needed the raw materials to repair it.

“So these four were held captive by the Galactics?” asked Cynthia eagerly, turning to look at Kester and his friends. “We've got a charge?”

“Yeah.” I turned to Kester. “Tell her your story.”

“Uh, OK,” he said. “Well, we were—”

“Wait,” interrupted Cynthia, holding up a hand. “What's he saying?”

It was then that I remembered that the former prisoners were Hoennian, and I'd been speaking to them in their language. Jasper and Looker spoke it, since they were both involved in foreign affairs, and I spoke it, since I was a linguist – so it came as quite a surprise to be reminded that most people weren't multilingual.

“Ah,” I said. “Um, I'm not really good enough at Hoennian to translate it completely accurately, but I can get the sense of it for you—”

“I am perfectly fluent,” announced Looker. “I shall translate.”

“You certainly won't,” said Jasper sharply. “Forgive me, but I place rather less faith in your language skills than in mine. Miss Buckley, I shall translate.”

“All right, just get on with it,” Cynthia told him.

Jasper turned to Kester.

“Continue.”

“Well,” he said, “we came to Sinnoh from Birth Island, near Hoenn.”

“We were looking for shattered meteorites,” added the girl whose name I didn't know, the one with the hat. “We had this meteorite that was supposed to react to them.”

“Yeah, that's right. Er, when we got off the plane in Snowpoint, our meteorite had disappeared,” Kester continued.

“Can you believe it?” chimed in Puck, disappearing into Kester's phone again. “I mean, in what kind of crazy world is it cheaper to fly from Rustboro to Snowpoint than Rustboro to Veilstone? I'll tell you what sort of world: the same sort of world that thinks TV shows about cookery and gardening constitute prime entertainment.”

“Shut up,” said Kester, without hesitation; evidently, the Rotom's interruptions came fairly frequently. “The meteorite was in a sealed, locked bag, which we thought meant that whoever had stolen it knew what they were doing.”

“It hadn't been ripped open or anything,” put in the girl with the hat. “It was still sealed.”

“Yeah. So we went looking for it.”

“Yeah, and I lost my little portable speaker,” said Puck gloomily. “But hey! Life goes on and all that. As Forrest Gump said, **** happens.”

“You had that when we met in Eterna,” I replied knowledgeably, which made them stare.

“Are you...? Yes, you're the woman who got our autographs in the park, aren't you?” asked Felicity.

“Yeah, that's me.” I decided not to tell them that I hadn't known why they were worthy of giving autographs; it would really ruin the whole 'sagacious detective' thing I had going.

“Oh. And the people with you—”

“Aren't here any more,” I said tactfully. “They had, er, an altercation.”

“O-K,” said Kester doubtfully. “We heard about Team Galactic, and we've had quite a bit of experience dealing with evil Teams, so we thought they might know something about the missing meteorite.”

“So we went to Veilstone,” continued the girl with the hat, “sneaked into their base, and got imprisoned there for asking questions and finding out too much.”

“Finding out too much?” I asked eagerly. “What did you find out?”

“I don't really know. I don't speak much Sinnish,” she told me. “But it was something to do with space, and time. Something like that.”

It took Jasper a moment to finish translating that for Cynthia, and then, as one, all eyes turned to Tristan, who shrank back into his chair as if we'd just pronounced his death sentence.

“Which brings us to you,” said Cynthia ominously. “Now, what's Cyrus doing with the legendaries? What's this space and time cal?”

Tristan looked at her, quailed, and looked at me imploringly; I must have seemed the least frightening person around. Finding that I wasn't about to help him, however, he stammered out a reply:

“W-well, I'm n-not really—”

“What's your name?” interrupted Jasper.

“W-what?”

“I really hope he keeps saying that,” said Puck to no one in particular. “We could re-enact the breakfast scene from Pulp Fiction, and it'd be awesome. Ooh! I want to be Samuel L. Jackson. English, mother****er, do you speak it?” With that, he started chuckling quietly to himself, and the interview could continue.

“What's your name?” repeated Jasper.

“Tr-Tristan. Tristan Shandy.”

“All right, Mister Shandy, I'd like you to listen to me. You're going to answer every single one of Miss Buckley's questions, truthfully, swiftly and without any nonsense about 'not really knowing'. And you are going to do this, or else I am going to shoot you in the head and eat your cooling corpse off the floor.”

Tristan went white, as well he might when faced with such a prospect, and Cynthia wrinkled her nose.

“Was that really necessary?” she said. “That's disgusting.”

“You eat prawns with the head and shell,” he retorted. “You have no right to question my eating habits.”

“OK, OK.” Cynthia returned her attention to Tristan. “Now. What is Cyrus doing with the legendaries?”

“He w-wanted the jewels in their h-heads,” replied Tristan, speaking so fast the words melted together. “I don't know why!”

“What? Why would he want those?”

“I told you I don't know!” he protested. “He's going to do something with them – to help him rebuild reality!”

“Rebuild reality? What the hell does that mean?”

“He's going to finish the universe,” Tristan told her. His stammer had disappeared; perhaps he felt safer now that he was giving us the information that we wanted. “It wasn't finished when Arceus started it – humans didn't turn out right – so he's going to change it so that it works.”

“What?” Cynthia looked at us. “Any idea what that means?”

“Not really,” I admitted. “Maybe we should have kidnapped a Team Galactic member with more brains.”

“I'm sorry, I didn't have time to give him an I.Q. test,” said Jasper frostily. “In case you've forgotten, we were fairly close to being killed.”

“I didn't mean it like that—”

“All right kids, stop fighting,” snapped Cynthia. “You. Galactic guy. Do you know anything else about this?”

“No, I don't – yes!” cried Tristan. “Yes, I do!”

“Well? What is it?”

“To rebuild the world,” said Tristan, “the boss needs to go to a certain place. There's only one place where it can happen.”

“And?” asked Cynthia eagerly. “Where is that?”

“Right at the top of Mount Celestic,” he answered. “At Spear Pillar.”
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  #134    
Old August 4th, 2012, 02:45 AM
dracoflare's Avatar
dracoflare
Togepi
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Oh, we are getting closer to the end!!

Puck's as annoying as ever. I knew there was something wrong with Jasper but I thought it was part of his character, but I seriously didn't expect a ghost again lol. I like how your portray Ghosts and they have an important part once again. Oh, that reminds me, we have the big daddy of ghosts, Giratina! Hmm, I suspect something on that line shall happen. Now I have started to believe that the Desk Sitter is in fact Giratina.
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  #135    
Old August 4th, 2012, 09:33 PM
c1234321's Avatar
c1234321
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Gender: Male
That was pretty action packed for such a considerably short chapter. And I agree with dracoflare, the end is near. And not even in a creepy apocalyptic way. Actually....if Cyrus gets what he wants it will be the end of the world. Creepy to think about. And would I be wrong in suggesting that Cyrus currently at least has some power? I mean he does seem to be the only one able to talk to the Desk Sitter, who seems either really powerful or a figment of Cyrus's imagination. Still, I think Cyrus has something.

Speaking of power, I think I'm beginning to realize what Pearl has. It's one of either two things as far as I can see. And since I am still unable to figure out how to make a spoiler side thing in my posting I will keep them to myself. Also, I dont want to be publicly wrong about my theories. Though, if one of my theories is right, Pearl is very powerful. If the other one is, she is significantly less powerful. I hope its my first theory.

PUCK. IS FINALLY. INVOLVED. And in his first full scene with the protagonists he is already making references. I love Puck. So much. He reminds me of myself....but as a possessed lightbulb Pokemon whose name is motor backward. Good God he is amazing. Whoa. I just went all fanboy....oops. But yeah. SO happy to see the TTMG2DTW cast in action. I still am not sure how they fit in to everything. and OH! Does Sapphire ever get her Combusken or Rono back?? Because I imagine that if she had them with her, they would have been confiscated. And I would die if she lost them forever.

Moving on, Tristan. Hah. I can not wait to see more of him with Cynthia and Jasper. They scare him immensely. It is quite hilarious. And I hope he has more in his story line then telling them where to go. Because that would be a lame ending..

Speaking of Jasper it doesnt really surprise me that he is a vampire-associated spirit. It makes a ton of sense. But, since that was explained in the chapter, I will not continue as I dislike unnecessary redundancy.

Marley. She was mentioned here so I will talk about her. I see her colliding with Cynthia and Ronwe/Liza. Ronwe is powerful but I dont see her being as big a threat as Cyrus. And so I see Marley and Cynthia taking her down, with help from Ellen, Bond, and perhaps Pigzie Doodle and Jasper. They will take Ronwe down. I can not see what Sapphire, Kester, Felicity and Puck will do in this final battle, but I definitely see Marley taking down Ronwe with help. It would only make sense for Marley, a being of little or no emotion, to take down Ronwe, a creature ruled by her emotions, primarily fear and anger.

Speaking of the final battle, I dont see how Ashley can't be involved. Even if he is beheaded at Acuity, he has to come back somehow. I dont even care if it doesnt make sense. He is coming back I can tell. He and Pearl will take down Cyrus.

But then, if this is a final battle, Iago has to be involved. Maybe Puck will take him down. I could see that. He would never stop bragging about how he took down the person who defeated Ashley Lacrimere/ the Diamond. It would definitely make sense.

I end this the way I always do; a French good bye and the assurance that your grammar is impeccable.
Au revoir!
  #136    
Old August 5th, 2012, 01:24 AM
chaoticlapras's Avatar
chaoticlapras
Ziggy Stardust
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: The Cake Contraption in Wish Park!
Age: 20
Nature: Lonely
OK, I just read chapters one to ten. OMG, how many more chapters to go? Anyways, the best thing I've read in a LONG time. Of course, I have my theories, but is
Spoiler:
Ashley still a child? He kind of seems like that to me.
Oh, another random theory.
Spoiler:
Does Pearl love Ashley? I'm kind of on the wrong track I think.
Next, Iago.
Spoiler:
OK, seems exactly like me!
Oh,
Spoiler:
The Rotom seems like he was the guy who ran off with Iago's money.Even though he's a Rotom.

Liza next
Spoiler:
I'm just thinking some sort of lunatic, who like killing people, sort of like Iago.
Tristan
Spoiler:
Regrettably, every time I read about him, I have to go and buy a Kinder Egg! I now have a plastic bag full of toys, and eel sick from eating too much. Anyway, the character just seems VERY VERY stupid. Not much more to add.

Oh, and a few ending things,
Spoiler:
best thing I've read ever. Is the croagunk going to appear again? And how long will it take me to catch up with the story?


When I finish reading page two, I will post another review. Thanks for writing this.
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  #137    
Old August 8th, 2012, 01:43 AM
Silent Memento's Avatar
Silent Memento
Memories are forever...
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Nature: Timid
I know. It's been a very long time. Trust me when I say that I have been keeping up with the story through its entirety. Here's my thoughts:

Iago...definitely someone to keep an eye on. He's incredibly dangerous and manipulative. Even Ashley didn't realize just how dangerous he was. He seriously underestimated Iago, and it burnt him badly. The call he made to Cynthia and Marley was absolutely priceless as well, and it only cemented his status as my favorite character. When you add in the fact that he is a Kadabra who cannot use psychic powers, it just makes him all the more impressive as a villain. I truly think that he will survive the course of this story; he knows how to lay low, and he's smart enough to distance himself from either side.

Speaking of Marley...I knew it. I knew that she knew more about Ashley than she was letting on, but I never would have guessed that she was his daughter. The fact that she's showing that she inherited even a small bit of her father's abilities is frightening; if Ashley had been more...promiscuous, who knows how many other kids would have turned out the same way? And if the kids could pass on their abilities as well...it's a very terrifying thought.

You know, I really don't think that Cyrus would have released the Emotion trio. It doesn't fit in with who he's shown himself to be. The fact that he ordered Pearl, Jasper, and Looker to be immediately killed shows that he's aware that they could really foul up his plans; the only reason they weren't killed was because of...him, actually. I bet he's regretting the fact that he gave Pearl that cave Drapion (although he probably figured that she'd try to give it away). That, and because he never counted on Jasper risking his life to push the button. I believe that when Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit had outlived their usefulness, he would have disposed of them; he doesn't seem like the type to risk them escaping. That, to me, was the biggest hole in the D/P/Pt game plot.

And he has a lot of competent hired help. This is not like the Aquas and Magmas where Matt was the only credible threat between the two teams; Cyrus has a few people who are quite competent (Saturn, who outsmarted Cynthia and held his own against one of the most dangerous Pokemon in the world, Mars when she isn't completely psychopathic, Jupiter when she isn't traumitized, Liza, who is much more than she appears to be, Iago for a short time, even Sorghum, who absolutely has the intelligence to be a commanding officer. I'm sure that there are even more grunts who are as competent as Sorghum is; Tristan seems like the exception rather than the norm.)

The cave Drapion makes its second (and quite possibly final) appearance, and it's a good one. That was remarkably quick thinking by Pearl (probably the first time I've ever said those words) to unleash its utmost fury inside of Cyrus' office. The Desk Sitter is probably going to be furious, though; the Drapion destroyed his favorite sitting area. ;P

And Pearl herself...I have no idea what role she's going to play...but Jasper seems to know something we don't.

Bond remains calm and composed when Pigzie Doodle is utterly freaking out about the end of the universe...that's pure gold.

As for Puck, Kester, Sapphire, and Felicity...I can't wait to see what role they play in the future.

To sum up everything, I apologize for not reviewing as I should have. I truly hope that this review is enough, and I will say that this story is turning out to be just as good as TTMGtDtW. The end of the universe is at hand, and only gods can stand in the way...what a plot.

Sincerely,

Mem.
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  #138    
Old August 16th, 2012, 03:22 PM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Ave, all. I'm back again, and hopefully ready for more writing action. I've got a few other things going on right now, so I can't give a definite date for the next chapter, but I do really want to get to the end soon - one, because I'm looking forward to the Spear Pillar confrontation; two, because I want to bring Iago back; and three, because I'm itching to start on my Unova story now that I've got its premise nailed down properly and have finally named the female lead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Oh, we are getting closer to the end!!

Puck's as annoying as ever. I knew there was something wrong with Jasper but I thought it was part of his character, but I seriously didn't expect a ghost again lol. I like how your portray Ghosts and they have an important part once again. Oh, that reminds me, we have the big daddy of ghosts, Giratina! Hmm, I suspect something on that line shall happen. Now I have started to believe that the Desk Sitter is in fact Giratina.
I've said it before, but I love Ghosts. In terms of potential in stories, they're streets ahead of any other type. Every single one of them has something unique to expand on: a Rotom's ability to possess machinery; a Gastly's unsurpassed toxicity; a Cofagrigus' memories of its life as a human. I suppose Jasper's species, while not exactly corresponding to anything existing in the games, is probably reasonably closely related to either the Gengar family or the Cofagrigus family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
That was pretty action packed for such a considerably short chapter. And I agree with dracoflare, the end is near. And not even in a creepy apocalyptic way. Actually....if Cyrus gets what he wants it will be the end of the world. Creepy to think about. And would I be wrong in suggesting that Cyrus currently at least has some power? I mean he does seem to be the only one able to talk to the Desk Sitter, who seems either really powerful or a figment of Cyrus's imagination. Still, I think Cyrus has something.
Hm. Yes, what is up with Cyrus? He's a strange man, apparently with rather strange abilities - so he fits in with the cast pretty well. Once again, all will be revealed atop Spear Pillar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Speaking of power, I think I'm beginning to realize what Pearl has. It's one of either two things as far as I can see. And since I am still unable to figure out how to make a spoiler side thing in my posting I will keep them to myself. Also, I dont want to be publicly wrong about my theories. Though, if one of my theories is right, Pearl is very powerful. If the other one is, she is significantly less powerful. I hope its my first theory.
Well, it doesn't really matter if your theory's in spoilers or not - I can't change what Pearl's ability is now. It was undecided for most of the story, but now that the ending is finally worked out, it can't change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
PUCK. IS FINALLY. INVOLVED. And in his first full scene with the protagonists he is already making references. I love Puck. So much. He reminds me of myself....but as a possessed lightbulb Pokemon whose name is motor backward. Good God he is amazing. Whoa. I just went all fanboy....oops. But yeah. SO happy to see the TTMG2DTW cast in action. I still am not sure how they fit in to everything. and OH! Does Sapphire ever get her Combusken or Rono back?? Because I imagine that if she had them with her, they would have been confiscated. And I would die if she lost them forever.
Puck is actually me, much to my embarrassment, only vastly exaggerated and much more conceited. I'm kind of sick of him, really, but I can't quite give him up.

As for Sapphire's Pokémon - and Kester's, actually, since he possesses a Castform named Cassie, if you remember - I presume they managed to find them before they left. If not, they'll be in for some trouble later on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Moving on, Tristan. Hah. I can not wait to see more of him with Cynthia and Jasper. They scare him immensely. It is quite hilarious. And I hope he has more in his story line then telling them where to go. Because that would be a lame ending..
Poor Tristan. His name means 'noise' and 'sorrow'. Make of that what you will. Hey, this would be a great time to make a Macbeth reference, but I think I'll hold back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Marley. She was mentioned here so I will talk about her. I see her colliding with Cynthia and Ronwe/Liza. Ronwe is powerful but I dont see her being as big a threat as Cyrus. And so I see Marley and Cynthia taking her down, with help from Ellen, Bond, and perhaps Pigzie Doodle and Jasper. They will take Ronwe down. I can not see what Sapphire, Kester, Felicity and Puck will do in this final battle, but I definitely see Marley taking down Ronwe with help. It would only make sense for Marley, a being of little or no emotion, to take down Ronwe, a creature ruled by her emotions, primarily fear and anger.
Perceptive thoughts - but are they accurate? Not much longer until we find out now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Speaking of the final battle, I dont see how Ashley can't be involved. Even if he is beheaded at Acuity, he has to come back somehow. I dont even care if it doesnt make sense. He is coming back I can tell. He and Pearl will take down Cyrus.
I shall say nothing at all, but do think of the ending of Platinum. Everything that happens there will happen in my story, just with some other things happening as well. There's a big clue in that, now I come to think of it, but I'm too lazy to hit Backspace and get rid of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
But then, if this is a final battle, Iago has to be involved. Maybe Puck will take him down. I could see that. He would never stop bragging about how he took down the person who defeated Ashley Lacrimere/ the Diamond. It would definitely make sense.
Iago. I have a lovely little bit lined up for him, let me tell you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
I end this the way I always do; a French good bye and the assurance that your grammar is impeccable.
Au revoir!
Glad you liked it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticlapras View Post
OK, I just read chapters one to ten. OMG, how many more chapters to go? Anyways, the best thing I've read in a LONG time. Of course, I have my theories, but is
Spoiler:
Ashley still a child? He kind of seems like that to me.
Oh, another random theory.
Spoiler:
Does Pearl love Ashley? I'm kind of on the wrong track I think.
Next, Iago.
Spoiler:
OK, seems exactly like me!
Oh,
Spoiler:
The Rotom seems like he was the guy who ran off with Iago's money.Even though he's a Rotom.

Liza next
Spoiler:
I'm just thinking some sort of lunatic, who like killing people, sort of like Iago.
Tristan
Spoiler:
Regrettably, every time I read about him, I have to go and buy a Kinder Egg! I now have a plastic bag full of toys, and eel sick from eating too much. Anyway, the character just seems VERY VERY stupid. Not much more to add.

Oh, and a few ending things,
Spoiler:
best thing I've read ever. Is the croagunk going to appear again? And how long will it take me to catch up with the story?


When I finish reading page two, I will post another review. Thanks for writing this.
Hello and welcome! I'd say more in reply, but it would be very difficult for me to respond to your comments without spoilers, because I can't remember the beginning of the story and my own copy is corrupted. However, I will say that I probably have a good deal more Kinder Egg toys than you do. In fact, I have a lot more Kinder Egg toys than anyone I know, and most of them make absolutely no sense whatsoever. One of my personal favourites is the paper inflatable bat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
I know. It's been a very long time. Trust me when I say that I have been keeping up with the story through its entirety.
I trust you - as much as I can trust any of you crazy Internet people, anyway. I mean, for all I know, you're just carefully constructed fictions created by a team of diabolical researchers who invented the Internet purely for the reason of testing my reactions to it. In this world, your replies are composed by resident authors, carefully adjusting grammar, syntax, and lexis to create the illusion of multiple peop—

You know what? I'm going to stop before I end up writing a 3000-word story instead of a reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
Iago...definitely someone to keep an eye on. He's incredibly dangerous and manipulative. Even Ashley didn't realize just how dangerous he was. He seriously underestimated Iago, and it burnt him badly. The call he made to Cynthia and Marley was absolutely priceless as well, and it only cemented his status as my favorite character. When you add in the fact that he is a Kadabra who cannot use psychic powers, it just makes him all the more impressive as a villain. I truly think that he will survive the course of this story; he knows how to lay low, and he's smart enough to distance himself from either side.
I was reading Othello the other day, and was pleasantly reminded of both the similarities and the differences between my Iago and Shakespeare's. In fact, I unearthed a wonderful piece of literary criticism from the 19th century that I think I'll have Iago quote when he next appears. And that will only make sense when the time comes, if I've done my misdirection and foreshadowing aright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
Speaking of Marley...I knew it. I knew that she knew more about Ashley than she was letting on, but I never would have guessed that she was his daughter. The fact that she's showing that she inherited even a small bit of her father's abilities is frightening; if Ashley had been more...promiscuous, who knows how many other kids would have turned out the same way? And if the kids could pass on their abilities as well...it's a very terrifying thought.
He was promiscuous. Looks like I forgot to put in a rather important piece of information: namely, that Ashley was under the impression that his... abilities... had rendered him sterile, and that therefore he was very surprised when Marley turned up. I'll have to find a way to wedge that in at some point, probably when Ashley makes his return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
You know, I really don't think that Cyrus would have released the Emotion trio. It doesn't fit in with who he's shown himself to be. The fact that he ordered Pearl, Jasper, and Looker to be immediately killed shows that he's aware that they could really foul up his plans; the only reason they weren't killed was because of...him, actually. I bet he's regretting the fact that he gave Pearl that cave Drapion (although he probably figured that she'd try to give it away). That, and because he never counted on Jasper risking his life to push the button. I believe that when Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit had outlived their usefulness, he would have disposed of them; he doesn't seem like the type to risk them escaping. That, to me, was the biggest hole in the D/P/Pt game plot.
I know, I know. It really screwed up my plans. I'd built Cyrus into what I thought the games implied he was, and then the story of the games themselves told me he did something completely opposite to that. And I try not to change the games' stories too much, only alter them, so I had to have the legendary Pokémon alive at the end. I couldn't very well claim that they were somehow magically unkillable, so I just had to have Cyrus release them as he did in-game, and try and disguise the fact that it was out of character by having a giant monster to distract people.

Actually, for the most part, that seems to have worked. I shall remember that trick if I ever rob a bank, and bring some sort of carnivorous whale along in to cover my exit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
And he has a lot of competent hired help. This is not like the Aquas and Magmas where Matt was the only credible threat between the two teams; Cyrus has a few people who are quite competent (Saturn, who outsmarted Cynthia and held his own against one of the most dangerous Pokemon in the world, Mars when she isn't completely psychopathic, Jupiter when she isn't traumitized, Liza, who is much more than she appears to be, Iago for a short time, even Sorghum, who absolutely has the intelligence to be a commanding officer. I'm sure that there are even more grunts who are as competent as Sorghum is; Tristan seems like the exception rather than the norm.)
Oh, he definitely is. Cyrus hasn't picked a lot of idiots who'll be easy to push around, nor has he gone for the sort of petty thug that the Hoenn teams like. He's taken people based on the results of psychological profiling, which means he's ended up with very competent - if partially insane - men and women working under him. It fits in with his goal, and it also helped me move away from the utter chaos of Hoenn a little; I wanted Sinnoh to have a (slightly) more serious feel, to give it a sense of a different national identity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
The cave Drapion makes its second (and quite possibly final) appearance, and it's a good one. That was remarkably quick thinking by Pearl (probably the first time I've ever said those words) to unleash its utmost fury inside of Cyrus' office. The Desk Sitter is probably going to be furious, though; the Drapion destroyed his favorite sitting area. ;P
Ah, my Cave Drapion. He's about to get a nasty surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
And Pearl herself...I have no idea what role she's going to play...but Jasper seems to know something we don't.
If he doesn't know, he's certainly capable of making an educated guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Memento View Post
Bond remains calm and composed when Pigzie Doodle is utterly freaking out about the end of the universe...that's pure gold.

As for Puck, Kester, Sapphire, and Felicity...I can't wait to see what role they play in the future.

To sum up everything, I apologize for not reviewing as I should have. I truly hope that this review is enough, and I will say that this story is turning out to be just as good as TTMGtDtW. The end of the universe is at hand, and only gods can stand in the way...what a plot.
The phantom trio and Kester's group both have their part to play. As we learned in Guide, saving the world is always a collaborative effort - and this time, a deus ex machina is only going to get them a third of the way there.

As for the Old Gods, it remains to be seen what use they'll be. After all, deities don't have a great track record when it comes to offering substantial miraculous aid to their believers.

F.A.B.
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  #139    
Old August 26th, 2012, 05:10 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Sorry for the delay. Things and such, y'know? They take up time.

Chapter Forty: In Which Decisions are Made

'The royal family of Sinnoh are not, in fact, the true heirs to the throne, but age has lent them legitimacy. Their dynasty began as a Regency when the first King, after unifying and ruling Sinnoh with an iron fist for fifty-one years, abdicated abruptly and vanished from the face of the earth.'

—Camilla Bannicker, Blood and Silver: The Royal House of Sinnoh


“Out of the way!”

Through the crush of Galactics in the halls, through knots of gunmen and little cliques that stood with Pokémon, ready to rush forwards at a moment's notice; past empty boardrooms, barracks, bedrooms; past laboratories and libraries; through the crowd of those waiting to get at the beast in the top-floor laboratory, the news passed in a murmur: someone was coming to kill the monster!

“Out of the way!”

The identity of the someone was not known; she did not wear the uniform of a grunt or even a commander, and her hair was long and undyed. Some said they had seen her before, but couldn't say where; others rebuked them and said there was no such person within the Team, and others still said obstinately that she had been in the stores not ten minutes ago, overseeing the packing of the vans.

“Out of the way!”

Where she went, the crowd parted, and where it could not part, it spilled into cupboards and side-passages; no one wanted to cross this woman who ran so confidently towards the dragon's den, who moved with the easy grace of a cat and the naked power of a wolf.

“Out of the way!”

This modern Amazon, gun in hand, reached the top floor, and came up against the densest crowd yet – but her presence cleared a path, carving a neat swathe through the throng and finally giving her a clear view of the beast that had caused so much trouble, rising whitely above its foes and screeching angrily from between red-stained mandibles.

Cave Drapion, thought Liza, as she reached the front of the crowd and pushed a terrified Croagunk out of her way. Right.

“Everyone get back!” she yelled, and such was the power in her voice that all who heard her obeyed. Even the Drapion hesitated for a moment, its great head swivelling, searching blindly for the source of the sound.

Then the moment passed, and now Liza and the Drapion stood facing one another in a clear space where a second corridor joined the main, three silent banks of wide eyes and staring faces looking on with mingled hope and disbelief.

Right, thought Liza, as the Drapion clicked and rattled, its fury replaced with unease at the sudden silence. Bullets are no good here, but guns...

She swiped up at the Drapion's head, smashing the butt of her pistol into what would have been its chin had it possessed one; it wasn't a hard blow, but it got the big bug's attention, and it swung one huge excavator's claw in her direction with the speed and force of a cannonball—

Liza stepped backwards out of its path faster than the eye could see, eyes burning green lines in the air. The Drapion, feeling nothing beneath its claw, hissed and struck again, but Liza was once more gone in a moment, ducking beneath its belly and slapping it on the tail; its anger mounting, the beast lashed out for a third time, its tail whipping the air and its claws scything like the six-fingered sword of Inigo Montoya – but still she eluded it, slipping around it again like a green-eyed ghost.

Liza smiled to herself, thirty-two sharp white teeth splitting her pale face in a deadly grin. The Drapion was fighting a woman who had beaten everything from the Mossad to the Grim Reaper, and she knew that it had approximately two minutes left before it came to the end of its brutal life.

She slithered out of reach once more, and, hearing her thump the wall to its right, the Drapion charged bodily after the sound. Its massive shoulder burst through the plaster in a cloud of dust, and a second later, its entire body crashed heavily into the office of Cyrus' secretary. Mercifully, she was currently driving away from the building as fast as she could, and so was not present to be squashed; Liza, however, rushing through the choking dust in a blur of brown hair and green fire, was, and the Drapion aimed one piledriver leg at her accordingly. However, she melted away beneath it, dodging with supernatural speed, and it merely rammed one spike-shaped foot through the floor, sending it seriously off-balance.

The monster's scream of rage shattered windows and the eardrums of several watching Galactics; it planted its great claws on the carpet and hauled itself upright, jaws clicking madly. It heard a noise from one side and charged – and there it was! It felt the little creature that had so annoyed it pressed against its chest, and it drove onwards hard to crush her against the wall—
Liza put one hand on the Drapion's shoulder and pulled herself adroitly onto its back, a millisecond before the monster ploughed through the wall – and out into empty space.

Time seemed to slow to a trickle as Liza's eyes burned and she sped up. She could see everything around her: the beast was looking around wildly, suddenly terrified by the lack of solid ground beneath it; six storeys below, the traffic roared on, as yet oblivious to the drama above; and one pedestrian stopped to see what had suddenly blocked out the sun.

This was it: a hunter's glory thrummed in her veins, and through the green mist Liza saw herself jump to her feet on the Drapion's back as it began to fall. One step – now she was running – two steps – now sprinting – three steps – four – and leap—!

At the apex of the jump, halfway between the monster's hips and the hole in the wall, time's trickle slowed to a halt. Liza had enough time to blink, to imagine vast black wings holding her aloft, to look down and see her opponent, frozen in a frenzied S-shape above the raging traffic.

She smiled, and it was over. Her feet hit the ground, she fell into a swift roll, shoulder-first to absorb the impact, and sprung up again.

Thee Drapion hit the ground in a crunch of splintering carapace and blaring horns.

There was a long silence as the Galactics stared.

“Someone sweep up and get medical help for cyrus,” said Liza, walking out without looking at them. “The rest of you get back to work. Don't forget, we need to be ready to leave tomorrow.”

---

This man must be stopped, said Pigzie Doodle decisively. The world will not be robbed of my legacy!

“Yes, we've established that,” replied Ellen patiently. “But how?”

Despite extensive debate, they had not yet managed to settle upon a course of action; Pigzie Doodle, the only one who might conceivably have had some idea of how to avert the total deconstruction of reality, was still in the grip of a formidable rage that Cyrus Maragos had the temerity to try to destroy the world that he lived in, and consequently wasn't being much help.

We should write a strongly-worded letter, he muttered darkly. Then I'll feast on his inhibitions and watch him start killing people.

“Um, I'm sure these are all very good suggestions in their way,” said Ellen, “but how will we stop this?”

“Madam, far be it from my place to interfere,” Bond began, but did not continue; naturally, he required the young mistress' permission before doing anything so impertinent as voicing an opinion.

“Yes? Go on?”

The sheer cheek of it! The wretched, scheming fitchew – hell-blasted caitiff—

“Very good, madam. I would suggest we head to Spear Pillar at the first opportunity. It may be that some idea of how to stop the Galactics comes to us during the journey; alternatively, it may be that we can arrive before them, and somehow render the site unsuitable for their purposes.”

Yeah, like crash a freight train into the sodding altar, said Pigzie Doodle, rejoining the conversation. Or burn the mountain down. Can we do that? Burn down the mountain? There must be some way to set stone on fire...

“I think Ishmael agrees,” Ellen told Bond. “Right. I suppose we shall need transport.”

Yes, you will, said Pigzie Doodle, an unholy light coming into his eye. And I know just the thing we're after...

---

“Oh no,” said Ellen, looking up at the mechanical monster before them. “No. I refuse to take to the air again!”

This time, Jeeves will be driving, said Pigzie Doodle cajolingly. Come on.

They stood on the asphalt helipad of the Veilstone Mountain Rescue Service, a worthy institute that saved those who fell foul of the surrounding area's rocky hills and hidden crevasses, and which was about to have its rescue helicopter stolen and probably destroyed.

Ellen looked doubtfully at Bond.

“Do you think you can pilot that... thing?” she asked.

Bond considered. He had never thought he could drive a motor-car before and yet he could; perhaps death had bestowed upon him the ability to operate unfamiliar machinery, in the same way it had conferred upon Ellen the power to hear Ghosts.

“I certainly don't see why not, madam,” he replied. “I should cut a sorry figure of a butler if I could not do that, would I not?”

That's the spirit, said Pigzie Doodle jovially. Everyone in, then, and don't spare the horses!

“Oh, does this use horses?” asked Ellen, looking slightly relieved; she had little faith in the capacity of mechanical engines to keep her airborne, but horses were a different matter. They were solid, reliable and irrefutably alive; you could see how they worked, and feel confident that nothing was going to cause their sudden failure. The same certainly couldn't be said of machines, she thought, recalling their first disastrous experience of powered flight with a shudder.

What? No, it doesn't use horses, answered Pigzie Doodle, confusion and scorn mingling in his voice. Do cars use horses? Do aeroplanes? God damn it, stupid humans... He trailed off, muttering to himself about the correlation between antique people and antic dispositions. If Bond had been able to hear him, he might well have recognised the allusion and given one of those small, near-invisible smiles by which means butlers express mirth – but he was not, and so did not.

“Oh. Um. Er, I'm still not sure...”

“It will be fine, madam,” Bond assured her. “I shall be at the helm, so you may be assured that I shall do all in my power to prevent any kind of harm to your person.”

“Well, if you're certain,” said Ellen doubtfully, and with Bond's hand on her shoulder and no small amount of trepidation, entered the helicopter. A moment later, they were joined by Pigzie Doodle, and the vehicle swayed, bucked and rose unsteadily into the sky, just as the radio operator in the Rescue Service office next door received a distress call from two men who had just fallen into a crevasse and broken their legs.

---

“Spear Pillar?” Cynthia frowned; whatever that was, I thought, she hadn't been expecting it. “That's... would that even work?”

“The boss thinks so—”

“Shut up.” Cynthia rose to her feet and started stalking up and down the room. “Spear Pillar...”

If the last couple of weeks had taught me anything, it was that it was always better to ask questions before it wast too late.

“Um... Am I allowed to ask what Spear Pillar is?”

“Spear Pillar is one of only two stone structures in Sinnoh that date back to before the Reform,” Cynthia replied. “Even the Lost Tower was built after the British came.”

I remembered that from school: in 1853, British explorers had come to Sinnoh, which at that time was still under the rule of the all-conquering Shinowh tribe – the tribe that later gave its name to the fledgling nation, and which had unified the various warring clans back in the sixteenth century. The explorers had told the tribes of the wonders of civilisation – of monotheism, of sewers, of education and tea – and had then gone home to fetch a conquering army. When they returned, however, they found that the Sinnish hadn't been willing to wait for them to come and civilise them, and had taken it upon themselves to do so: they'd already converted to Christianity and set up a parliamentary government, a school and the world's first Everstone mine. This being pretty far out of the experience of the British, they'd decided to leave well enough alone and go home again.

“It's not really a pillar,” Cynthia went on, “so much as the ruins of a giant temple. There are stairs, some broken columns and an alter, but nothing else. No one knows who built it, or how – it's made of Veilstone granite, which the ancients somehow transported halfway across the country and up the sixth-tallest mountain in the world – and no one knows exactly what it was for.” She paused.

“Except...” prompted Jasper.

“Except Ashley,” sighed Cynthia. “He claims he's older than it, and from all the evidence it seems he's right. But he won't tell anyone what the Pillar was for, and I'm pretty sure that's because it's for doing something very, very dangerous – something he doesn't want anyone to be able to do ever again.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like summoning Gods,” she said.

I sat up. Now that was a grand goal all right, if it was what Cyrus meant to do. Summon a god and use their power to finish the universe, maybe?

“Forgive me,” put in Looker, “but do you believe in these gods?”

“I didn't use to,” Cynthia told him, “but then I became Champion, and now I know for a fact that Sinnoh is stuffed to the gills with weird cal that doesn't care about obeying the laws of reality. If there are gods anywhere, it's here.”

He nodded, and withdrew.

“Where was I? Oh, yes. The ancients had a belief system developed over nine hundred years,” Cynthia continued. “By the time of the Reform, it was on the verge of evolving into monotheism.”

Hang on. This was religion: theology, and philosophy. I actually knew a bit about this.

“Yeah,” I said. “Schelow Mónk, right?”

Cynthia looked impressed, and even Jasper raised his eyebrows.

“That's right,” she said. “He put forth the theory of the Trinitarian Unity.”

“Easy to see how Christianity was taken up,” Jasper commented.

“Right. Anyway, at the core of the religion was Arceus. The One. A creator-god with a thousand hands that he used to make the universe. But Arceus only creates, not sustains, so he created six other, lesser gods to keep creation running. Three of those are the lake legendaries, Azelf, Mesprit and Uxie – you know them. It seems the ancients mistook them their power for divinity.”

I wondered if Cynthia realised that she was now speaking less like herself and more like a professor. Probably not, I thought; it didn't matter, but it reminded me unpleasantly of how much time I'd spent away from uni.

“And the others?” I asked.

“Palkia, the god of space, and Dialga, the god of time. I don't know how, but the tribes had a very sophisticated view of reality; they knew how it fitted together. Some sources list Palkia as a goddess rather than a god, but they're not supported by The Law of the Universe, which is pretty much the authoritative text on the matter.”

“The third one?” I pressed. She seemed reluctant to tell us anything about it.

“It's uncertain,” Cynthia said, after a pause. “They're male and female and sexless, all at once. In one shape they're Izh, the goddess that brings all into life at birth and takes all away at death. In another, they're the Destroyer that waits in Hell to be loosed at the end of time. Whatever they're true face, they keep the world in balance, and capable of overruling both Dialga and Palkia if they so chooses.” She hesitated. “According to the legends, they're also Ashley's mother.”

Ah. That explained her reticence – this god was a literal mother-in-law from Hell. If I had a steady boyfriend (something I tended to shy away from) I'd have considered that to be quite possibly the worst attached family ever.

“What does it have to do with the Pillar?” asked Marley suddenly. I started at the sound of her voice; I'd kind of forgotten she was there.

“Oh. Yeah. Uh, the point is that if Cyrus wants to finish reality or whatever and he's doing it at Spear Pillar, I don't think we can rule out the possibility that he's going to be calling down one of those three. And I don't know what might happen if he does – or how we might be able to stop him.”

There was a silence, during which we all considered exactly how deep we were in cal.

“Well,” said Looker at length, rising. “I am wishing you all the best of luck in your quest. I would stay and help, but alas I cannot; I am authorised to hunt for Mademoiselle Radley only.”

“What? Surely you can help,” I began, but he shook his head.

Pardonnez-moi, madame, but it is not so. The International Police is very strict on these matters. However,” he went on, “it might be that if I find Mademoiselle Radley, I will be in a position to help you, if you are catching the float.”

“The drift,” corrected Marley.

“Whatever,” said Cynthia, distracted. “Fine. Go.”

Looker gave a short bow and took his leave. To this day I have no idea where he thought he was going.

As he crossed the room, I saw Kester and his friends and remembered they were here; I told them in halting Hoennian that I was sorry they'd been kept waiting and that we'd deal with them in a moment, and turned back to Cynthia.

“What do we do?” I asked. “I mean, obviously we need to get to Spear Pillar, but should we get these four to give statements or something to the police so that we can try and get the Galactics' building locked down or something? We might be able to stop them leaving.”

“An excellent suggestion,” said Jasper, which surprised me. “No doubt Cyrus has a contingency plan in case he comes into conflict with the police, but after the havoc we wrought in his building I expect it's the last thing he wants right now. We must slow him down by whatever means we can.”

“Right. The decision's made.” Cynthia leaned on the table. “We'll get the Hoennians to make a statement, send the police to the Galactic building and go on ahead to the Pillar ourselves with as much backup as we can ge—”

At that moment, Jasper's phone rang; he looked at the screen, and told Cynthia it was Candice. She told him to answer it for God's sake, and he did.
It was a tense thirty seconds. What had the search for Ashley turned up? Had they found him? If not, why were they calling? Jasper's half of the conversation gave nothing away; if I hadn't known of his distaste for theatrics, I'd have suspected him of doing it deliberately to raise the tension.

“I see... Yes. No, I'd best inform her directly. Thank you for your efforts. Goodbye, Miss Willow.”

He lowered the phone.

“They've found part of him, they think,” he said quietly. “His blood, by the side of the lake. Something serious has happened to him, because there's a lot of it – so much, in fact, that it's still alive. Apparently it's formed into a sort of liquid red cable and is slithering around looking for his body. They're going to see if following it will lead them to him.”

Cynthia was silent for a while.

“I see,” she said at last, sounding subdued. “All right.” For a moment, she looked as though she were about to fall over – but then a visible shudder of energy passed through her, and she straightened up. “All right,” she repeated. “Let's get these four to the police.”

---

Cyrus sat at his desk, holding his head and fuming quietly. Let the end of time and the need to excise emotions from one's head be damned: he'd just been knocked out by the arthropod world's answer to Mike Tyson, and he wasn't happy about it.

Add to that the fact that the only way to kill the Drapion had been to throw it into the street (where it was now being loaded onto the back of a flatbed lorry by City Council employees), which had resulted in him being contacted by both the police and the Mayor's office, all demanding explanations for the rare, exotic and highly illegal animal that had just been hurled from his building, and it will be seen that Cyrus did not have a lot to be happy about.

“It is fine,” the Desk Sitter assured him. “Sincerely. The time for secrecy is all but past, anyway. If we can hold them at bay for just tonight and finish the preparations, we can leave – and once at Spear Pillar, no one will be able to reach us. There is ancient power there, from the Making, and it will repel all our foes.”

“It's not fine!” snapped Cyrus. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to fob off the police and the Mayor? I have contacts in the upper ranks of the police force – but if the Mayor pressures them directly, they have no choice but to keep asking me. So I'm dealing with people that were never supposed to be investigating me, and who I have no way of evading!”

“Plans often go awry,” continued the Desk Sitter, still infuriatingly calm. “If you would just hold to your tenet of emotionlessness, then you could think calmly and rationally through this crisis, to lead yourself and your Team to glory.”

“You seem to misunderstand me,” growled Cyrus. “I want to be emotionless, and yet I cannot: hence I must rebuild reality in the image I desire.”

“Stop quibbling!” snapped the Desk Sitter. “After thousands of years of bitterness we have very little sympathy for anyone, and you are using it up at an alarming rate. Stop sulking, take a painkiller and get back to work.”

Cyrus was about to reply, but thought better of it. The Desk Sitter existed somewhere between reality and hallucination, and he did not like to think of what it might be able to do to his already strained psyche if it took a dislike to him.

“All right,” he said at last. “All right. You're right. Let's deal with this issue calmly, in a manner befitting the new humanity.”

“There you go,” said the Desk Sitter. “It is not so difficult.”

Cyrus did not reply. He simply picked up the telephone and dialled for the Mayor's office. There was still a firestorm of anger and pain boiling under his skin, but he kept it in, pressed it down, and sealed it firmly away. Too much was at stake to risk anything on such quixotic beasts as emotions.
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
  #140    
Old August 28th, 2012, 04:34 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
To make up for my absence, have another update. Go on. It's free.

Interlude: Long Ago

The Goddess of birth and death lives in the stars, where she serves under the One, watching over Creation and keeping all life in order. For there are only so many spaces for lives in the world, and when one is born one other must die. Such is the nature of the Law, as the One in His wisdom intended.

I can hear the scientists talking, a long way away, about how it was badly damaged by the heat and impact of the fall, and from exposure to toxic gases, but the village sage seems so much nearer.

The Goddess's name is Izh, and the name of her Son is son-of-Izh, or Izhlei. Yes, the Goddess has a Son, who she made from a man and one of her own jewels, and who she sent from the stars to Earth through the woman Shiamat.

Recombinant, the scientists say. A survival mechanic, its body falling apart. But their explanation leaves me an aberration, an accident, and the sage says I am a God.

Shiamat could not survive the birth of a God. His power was too great, and when her time came she was consumed by fire. Such was the balance: her life taken as Izhlei's was granted.

It would have been a violent process, impossible for modern medicine to even conceive of. It was a miracle that any living creature could survive it.

At his birth he took three steps to the top of the hill where his mother fell, and raised his head to the sky and said: “I come to bring the Shinowh to glory.”

Of course, the results were startling, the scientists continue, as anyone can see. It's no wonder he was thought to be a god – no wonder people bowed before him.

The story is fading, blowing away from my grasp, and now I can hear nothing but the slow, deep rippling of the current – and all at once my eyes open, and I see the fish pass like silver arrows overhead.

Vỏtt. It's happened again.


Chapter Forty-One: In Which Bond Usurps the Monarchy

'The mountains of Sinnoh are among the largest in the world, and also the strangest. Very few others contain predatory forests and an abundance of sentient bells.'
—Carlo Pontani, Mountains: Nature's Finest Children


The Queen of the jagged Veilstone hills saw the metal bird thunder past, and a gleam came into her eye.

She had not named herself, of course – that had been the hikers who passed through the region – but she knew she was the ruler of all she surveyed. Since the long flight south from Stark Mountain many years ago, she had been the undisputed overlord of all the hills and crags from Veilstone to Celestic.

Well, almost undisputed.

There was one beast that dared defy her – another hardwing, she thought, or something similar: a huge bird made of steel, with whirling wings above and a glass face before, that kept cutting in across her territory and snatching up the wounded humans that collected in the ravines and on the slopes. A scavenger, barely worthy of the title of predator, muscling in on her kingdom.

But it was a cunning creature for all that: it always kept a few small humans beneath its steely feathers, and they would pop out and threaten her with thundersticks and lightning monsters whenever she came too close. For five years the Queen had tried to kill the metal bird, and for five years the humans in its hide had defended it, like the biting flies that lived in the thick fur of a Sinnish goat's back.

Now the Queen levelled her yellowed eyes at the bird as it flew by, and saw nothing behind its great glass head.

With a screech like grinding metal, she leaped from her perch, wings rattling, and flapped towards it. Had she been a reader of Shakespeare, she might have commented on how the winter of her discontent had been made glorious summer – but she was not, and so did not. The wind hummed in her feathers and the setting sun gleamed on her battle-worn brow as she directed her wild flight towards the interloper, her eyes shrinking to thin, jaundiced lines. The metal bird had ventured out here alone today, and the Queen was not going to stand for it any more.

---

It was a very calm flight, thought Ellen, once you got used to the noise. Bond sat right next to her, gloved hands manipulating the controls with expert ease, and she could see how the aircraft corresponded to his movements. Yes, she thought, she could handle this.

The sky was quite beautiful, too: it being close to eight now, the sun was setting, and it cast a flaming glow across the clouds. Pink and blue, orange and red, yellow and brown – they all had their place in the sky tonight, and Ellen thought it quite wonderful. Sunsets were still novel to her; while within Wickham Manor, her view of the sky was permanently blocked by the trees, and consequently these were the first she had seen in over sixty years.

“Beautiful,” she murmured to herself.

Now the glow was deepening, intensifying to red, as the sun began to disappear behind the hills. A little pocket of black was there too, right at the centre, like the hollow within a candle flame. Actually, the black part was growing, broadening, as if—

Ellen frowned. That was most certainly not part of the sunset.

“What is—”

Ah, said Pigzie Doodle. How... well, I suppose flying with you two is never uneventful, at least.

“What is it?” she asked, more insistently. “What is that thing?”

Bond spared the growing dot a glance. It was shining now, glittering like a knife blade.

“Some form of wildlife, madam,” he answered. “Judging by its colour, a Skarmory – and judging by its size, a very old Skarmory.”

“So it's not very strong?”

“On the contrary, madam. Skarmory grow bigger and stronger with every passing year; the only limit to their lifespan is the weight of their steel skins, which tends to eventually prohibit them from flying and so starve them to death.”

Yeah, that's right, said Pigzie Doodle. And if this one's still flying when it's the size of a pickup truck, it's got to be a really tough one. Like Blackbeard – when he finally went down, he had five bullets and about twenty sword wounds in him. Even then, he came back as a ghost. He's probably still around; not even Ghosts really want to mess with him. He blinked. Where was I? Oh, yeah. We're in real trouble.

And now the black dot was black no more: it was a rapidly-expanding bead of silver fire, transformed by the bloody sun from a metal crane into the benu bird of old Egypt, flying flaming from its pyre at Heliopolis. (A sound grounding in both poetry and the legends of the Ancient Egyptians were considered vital to a classical Sinnish education, and her governess, long since deceased, had drummed large quantities of both into her head by the effective means of rote learning underpinned by light beatings.)

“Bond, does this craft have any defences?” she asked hopefully.

“I regret to say it does not, madam,” he replied. “However, it might be that our illustrious friend has the capacity to return fire, as the expression goes.”

Eh? Me? Pigzie Doodle seemed surprised. Oh. Yeah, I guess I can. I haven't fought anything for years. He drifted over to the door. One of you get this open, he said, and hang on, because the wind's going to blast through here faster than a tramp through a—

Ellen slid the door open, held on hard, and watched as the wind blew Pigzie Doodle against the opposite wall.

Hey! he cried. I wasn't ready! And you interrupted what was going to be the best joke I've made in seven years.

“Just get on with it!” cried Ellen frantically, and he flew back to the doorway, hovering against the raging wind.

All right, he murmured, let's see what I remember...

---

The Queen was close now – just a few hundred metres off. The metal intruder was veering away from her, heading south over the hills, but it wasn't going to escape: she had chased down Staraptor before now, the fastest things in the Sinnish sky bar Garchomp, and broken their spines with a single blow of her beak. Soon, she would catch up with her nemesis, and then—

A bolt of darkness shot from its flanks and hit her squarely in the breast.

Caught by surprise, the Queen faltered, wings windmilling in an effort to stay aloft; if she once lost momentum, her immense weight would drag her out of the sky. The bird had some means of defence, it seemed – but it wouldn't stop her. The black missile had startled, not hurt her. If she just kept flying forwards, she could take all the blows and power on through.

The Queen threw back her head and screamed out a challenge, readying the steel quills in her wings for discharge.

---

“Ishmael,” said Ellen, trying very hard to sound calm, “that didn't seem to be awfully effective.”

Well... yeah. What did you expect? I'm a fairly weak Duskull throwing Shadow Balls at an unfeasibly tough Skarmory. It's like chucking rice at a Roman shield wall and wondering why Crassus still annexes you for the Empire.

The Skarmory flapped on towards them, its wings rattling like cutlery drawers; it was far too close now, far too close, thought Ellen—

“Bond!” she cried. “Fly faster!”

“I am flying as fast as I can, madam, but I suspect that that will only—”

Clang! Clang clang clang!

A spray of steel feathers flew towards them, hitting the helicopter so hard that they embedded themselves in its flanks; one shot through the open door and stuck in Pigzie Doodle's face-plate, and another hit something that gave a horrible grinding whirr.

“—cause it to fire its quills,” finished Bond, as something seized up and the helicopter swung erratically to the left, knocking Ellen from her feet.

Aaah! screamed Pigzie Doodle. My face! My beautiful face!

“Bond!” shrieked Ellen. “Do something!”

Bond hauled hard on the controls, and the helicopter righted itself with a sudden powerful jerk; outside, the Skarmory screeched loud enough to crack the windscreen, and suddenly Ellen saw it shoot out from underneath them, pulling away and banking around for another attack.

Get it out get it out get it out get it out get it OUT! Pigzie Doodle flew back and forth, whirling like a frenzied drunkard. Aaaah!

“Hold on, madam,” said Bond, unperturbed. “And if you get a chance, it might be wise to close the door.”

Ellen grabbed hold of the first thing she saw, and clung on so tightly her knuckles blanched even whiter than her dead flesh already was as another deadly rain of bolts whistled towards them—

—and Bond pushed the helicopter into a steep dive.

The metal feathers shot past overhead, Ellen was lifted bodily from her feet in a blast of rushing wind – and still, stabilised by some internal sorcery, Pigzie Doodle flew back and forth, yelling at the top of his telepathic voice.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save me! Someone get it out! For the love of God!

“I advise you make your way to a seat and fasten the safety belt, madam,” said Bond calmly, pulling the helicopter out of its dive ten metres from the ground and sending it roaring up into the sky again, a line of spikes thumping into the dirt behind it. “This may well be rather a hectic duel.”

“Duel?” cried Ellen, but Bond was no longer listening; he was solely focused on flying the helicopter.

Is this it? shrieked Pigzie Doodle. Is this the end for me? I watched Herakles punch the **** out of Cerberus and I get killed by a needle in the forehead?

---

It was faster than normal, the Queen realised – after the first volley, the metal bird had dodged her quills. She was wasting them with further attacks, throwing her ammunition away without thought for the future.

Time to change tactics. The Queen let her feathers fall flat against her body, and lowered her talons.

---

The helicopter spun wildly on its axis as a ton and a half of steel and anger smashed into its flank, bending metal and shattering plastic; for a brief moment Ellen's vision was a blur of helicopter cabins, overlaid atop one another in a crazy, shivering pattern – and then Bond got the craft back under control, and it swung away to the left as the Skarmory peeled off to the right.

“Bond! It's not shooting anymore!” she wailed, crawling across the floor and pulling herself into one of the seats.

“I should not be overly concerned, madam,” replied Bond. “It seems that whatever it broke was not essential to our continued flight.”

Oh! cried Pigzie Doodle weakly, sinking down onto the floor. I'm dying! Everything's going dark...

“Madam, I have decided that fleeing is no longer an option,” Bond said, as they rose sharply to avoid another ramming attack from the Skarmory. “This creature is not only tenacious but displays an inexcusable ignorance of the nobility of the house of Dennell. With your permission, I shall endeavour to destroy it.”

“Fine!” cried Ellen, fumbling with the straps of the seatbelt. She had not really heard him over the howling wind; if she had, she might have thought twice about sanctioning his attack.

“Thank you, madam,” said Bond, and cut the engines.

The helicopter continued on for half a second – and then fell like a rock, the wind whistling and howling around it, through the blades and through the opening in the side; Pigzie Doodle shot up and became stuck to the ceiling, and Ellen rose from her seat, held down only by the seatbelt—

—and then they hit the Skarmory.

It was as if they had crashed into a mountain: the big bird crumpled the base of the helicopter and snapped the landing rails to bits; the whole vehicle shook, juddering with the impact, and a set of twisted metallic feathers stabbed violently straight through the floor. An anguished screech resounded in the air, and all at once they were falling that much faster.

Now Bond started the engines again, but they were still falling; the blades needed time to build up the requisite speed to lift the machine aloft, and the Skarmory, now pinned to the underside by its own feathers, was a heavy load. Outside, the ground raced closer and closer, and the wind screamed out warnings to all those aboard to abandon ship—

But now they were slowing a little, just a little, as the blades began to speed up, and now a little more, and a little more – and though the ground still approached, it was now at more of a jog than a sprint, and Ellen thought that maybe they might be able to pull away. Then, all at once, the Skarmory came loose from the helicopter and they shot free, up into the sky, as the steel bird plummeted to earth, trailing a despairing shriek in its wake.

A moment later, Bond had them back on a stable course to the west.

“There,” he said, adjusting his tie, which had come slightly loose during the commotion. “Relatively painless.”

Pigzie Doodle dropped to the floor with a clatter, and the feather fell out of his face-plate.

Oh, he said, gathering himself. Oh, I'm fine now. Shall we keep going?

Ellen stared at her companions, and for the first time realised that neither of them were quite what she would have described as normal.

---

The Queen staggered upright, bashing one wing into a rock to knock out a dent, and looked up with bloodshot eyes at the metal bird, flying away to the west. It had won, she thought – had smashed into her harder than she had been able to take. And that sort of a blow was something impressive indeed: she had shrugged off rockslides and avalanches before almost without noticing, and this had been far stronger than that.

She threw back her head and screeched, a long, loud cry that acted as a formal resignation of her territory. Then, hoping she could still fly on her crumpled wings, the one-time Queen of the Veilstone hills turned and flew off, leaving the metal bird to enjoy its newly-earned kingdom.

---

When morning came, we set off.

It was amazing, the kind of resources that the League had. I mean, it had its own private jet – used, Jasper explained, in situations such as these – that was essentially free of any obligations to air traffic rules or regulations; we could call it in from Gibbous Island at the drop of a hat, and be flying out on it again within an hour or two. That was exactly what we did, and so it was that I found myself breakfasting at thirty thousand feet at ten o'clock on Sunday morning. If I hadn't been so nervous, I might have enjoyed it.

Because, of course, we were flying to Mount Coronet.

There was already trouble in Veilstone – it had been on the news by the time we got to the airport. Team Galactic had abandoned all attempts to talk to the police or the council about the Drapion incident, and were leaving their building in droves; in addition, a record number of people were driving out of the city. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was happening: Cyrus was evacuating, just as the police started to ask awkward questions.

In short, the final battle was drawing near – and there was still no sign of Ashley.

The people of Snowpoint Gym were incredibly worried. Despite continued searches, nothing more had been unearthed; Ashley's blood had died in the night, thickening and hardening into something black and rotten, and Riley Stone – the strange man who'd tracked him on Iron Island – was flying in to try and help them. Cynthia had barely slept last night. Nothing, as far as she knew, had ever incapacitated Ashley for as long as this before except the League's own measures – and they needed constant maintenance, or his flesh simply grew straight through the walls and reconnected.

The only good news was that we'd be arriving at Spear Pillar long before Cyrus, which gave us ample time to fortify it and work out a plan of action – not to mention to wait for Ashley. We'd land the jet at the airstrip on the military base north of Celestic Town, requisition a helicopter and be at the summit by five o'clock; Tristan had told us that the Galactics didn't hold out much hope of getting to the Pillar before Monday morning. That gave us time to rest on Saturday night and still be twelve hours ahead of the enemy.

Beneath us, the scree-covered hills of northeast Sinnoh rushed past, an endless sea of brown and green. Somewhere out there, I thought, looking out of the window to the east, was my house. Not that anyone would ever call Corvada Castle a mere house; it had once been an important defensive outpost protecting against attack from Sicar Isle, and as such was more of a fortress than anything else.

All at once, the desire to return home rose strongly in my mind; I didn't want to fight bad guys on mountaintops, I wanted to go and get drunk in the North Tower; I didn't want to preserve reality, I wanted to curl up in bed and watch TV. At this time on a Sunday morning I should have been nursing a hangover and wondering what exactly had happened last night. Instead, I was sitting in a jet and trying to stop my hands shaking.

“Nervous?” asked Marley. I looked up in surprise; I hadn't heard her approach.

“Yeah,” I replied, with a wan smile. “We don't even know what we're doing, do we? Let alone what Cyrus is doing.”

“I know what I'm doing,” she replied. “I'm going to kill her.”

I started. It was very clear that that was not an empty threat.

“What – Liza?”

“Yes.” Her eyes were blank, expressionless. “I don't know what Dad felt when she trapped us in that cave. I don't know what he felt when they fought before, when he was young. But I can avenge it.”

I didn't know what to say, and a moment later she walked away. All I could think of was how extraordinarily like her father she looked.

Shortly afterwards, we landed at the military base, and, after a late lunch, the second leg of the journey began. This was the more difficult part; the mountains weren't easy to navigate at the best of times and, as they loomed before us, rising out of the pine forest like waking giants, I could see white strings curling around their flanks. From this distance, they looked pretty, but Jasper – who was, it seemed, a qualified helicopter pilot, and hence was driving – clicked his tongue at the sight.

“Snowstorms,” he explained, seeing my look. “I suspect the Abomasnow are acting up again.”

“Do you think they sense something?” asked Cynthia. “Some sort of danger – from the Pillar?”

“Maybe,” he replied. “We won't know until we get closer. The fabric of reality is weak around Spear Pillar; occasionally, small rifts open, and strange things are blown through – from different times and places. Any one of those things could spook the Abomasnow; it's not necessarily Cyrus' plan.”

I didn't realise it at the time, but his sentence set off a chain of thoughts in the back of my head. They were to grow there for a while, to feed on scraps of information I'd gleaned over the last few days, to digest them and finally to mature into a single, crystalline realisation.

Unbeknownst to me, I'd just become a detective, and I'd just solved the mystery of Ashley's origins.

---

The exiled Queen was a fast flier, even on deformed wings, and as dawn broke she beheld something that looked startlingly similar to the land of her birth: a vast rock face, sheets of stone and snow heaped one atop another to form a colossal chain of mountains. A few Staraptor wheeled around above the lower slopes, searching for easy prey below; in the heights, the rising sun played across vast forests of snow-encrusted pines. Not forests, the Queen realised, for the trees were walking, grinding slowly across the mountainside. She focused her keen eyes on one, and perceived the glint of eyes in the middle.

Animal-trees, then. Prey, and height, and no competitors. With an exultant shriek, the Queen swept past the Staraptor, her razor-edged wings sending one to the great hunting grounds in the sky, and prepared to assume ownership of this new and glorious territory.

Unfortunately for her, Lady Fortune wasn't yet done with her – and the end of her bad luck was nowhere in sight.

---

Tristan was worried.

He had told Buckley, Gideon, the strülden and the kid everything he knew about Team Galactic's plans – which was, in his opinion, quite a lot. Now, as he sat in the back of the helicopter, caught up in violent opposition to the very cause he believed in most, he worried about what this would mean for his future.

After all, he had no illusions about his captors' chances of success. The end of time was a foregone conclusion; by Tuesday morning, Cyrus Maragos would have stopped the clocks and created his finished reality. The League couldn't stop him; the Diamond couldn't stop him; Pearl Gideon couldn't stop him. Not even the universe could stop him.

But that meant that all the things Cyrus didn't want in the new world would be destroyed, and Tristan had a funny feeling that 'things that Cyrus didn't want in the new world' would include people who betrayed the Galactics to their enemies.

And that meant, if Tristan was following his train of thought correctly, that he was fairly likely to be destroyed.

Now, he was understandably keen to avoid this fate. Complete and utter personal destruction does not feature highly on the list of many people's chief desires, and Tristan was no exception. He had to find a way of getting out of this situation, and he had to find it before they reached the Pillar.

Escape wasn't really an option, he decided. There was no getting out of this helicopter unless it landed – and even if he found a parachute or something, he'd still be stuck in the middle of nowhere, miles from Mount Coronet's peak. No, the best course of action would be to let the League team take him up to the Pillar, then slip away and rejoin the Team once they'd got there. Perhaps during the inevitable confrontation between the two forces, he would be able to make his escape and start fighting for his rightful side again. Yes, that seemed likely. Maybe someone would have brought Jackie along from the headquarters, and he could rejoin him. Ah, now that would be satisfying, he thought – everything all smoothed out, all the details settled, and the world put firmly to rights.

Tristan sat back, reasoning that since there would be no action for some time he might as well relax now, and was just getting into some high-quality daydreaming when an alien screech shocked him out of his seat with a bump.

---

No. Not again. Surely it couldn't be...?

It wasn't. It was a different one, the Queen saw. A different individual, bulkier and slower, but definitely a member of the same species.

Fed, rested and even partially repaired, she glared at the intruder from her new perch atop one of the lesser peaks of Coronet. At her feet was the corpse of one of the strange white dogs that she had found gathering here; currently, its internal organs were making a progress through her gut, and ordinarily very little would have disturbed her peace in such a replete condition.

However, another metal bird had shown up, and this time the Queen was determined that it would not get the better of her. She had lost her kingdom of twenty-seven years last night due to underestimating her opponent's physical strength; she would not make the same mistake this time. This one was carrying humans behind its feathers, too – another hazard, but there was no question in her mind of turning back. The foe had to die, or she would.

The Queen flexed her dented wings, and flung herself off into space, feathers ready to launch.

---

“What the hell was that?” I asked, gripping my seat so tightly my knuckles threatened to pop through my skin.

“A Skarmory,” said Jasper in some astonishment, pointing out of the window. “It just appeared from behind that mountain. How peculiar. It's very far from Sicar Isle.”

Cynthia spared it a glance and sighed.

“Hang on,” she said. “I'll get rid of it.”

She felt in her bag for a Poké Ball, found one and cautioned everyone to be careful of the wind. Then she opened the door and tossed it out into the howling wind.

It burst open in midair, a huge, nebulous creature expanding out of it in a flash of blue light; the monster looked a bit like a bird, a bit like an egg and a bit like an enormous ball of candyfloss, and circled the helicopter once, almost silently, before Cynthia pointed it ahead of us. I followed her finger, and stared.

Now, I'd never seen a Skarmory in real life before. I knew what they were, and I'd watched them on nature documentaries. But I had never realised that they were so big, so fast – and so terrifying. The thing bearing down on us seemed more like a small plane than anything living; it looked like something that might be carrying missiles rather than claws. By contrast, Cynthia's fluffy bird looked about as threatening as a prawn cracker.

That is, it did – until it glided lazily past the Skarmory, and the steel monstrosity fell out of the sky.

I gaped. I'd seen the tiniest of flashes pass between the two birds, but that was it: nothing more. And yet it had felled the Skarmory like a direct hit from a howitzer.

Cynthia stuck her arm out of the door, recalled her bird and sat down again if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. In the silence following the closing of the door and exclusion of the wind, I felt as if my stare actually made a noise; at least, she noticed it, and turned around to face me.

“What?” she asked. “I'm the Champion. What did you think would happen?”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“My Togekiss hit it with a Thunder Wave,” she said. “Skarmory rely on a combination of momentum and vigorous flapping to stay in the air. Paralyse them and they just... fall.” She mimed something crashing with one hand and turned back to the window.

I didn't really know what to say to that. There didn't seem to be any way I could could communicate to her exactly how unbelievable what had just happened was for me. I was not a member of the League. I was a university student who knew a bit about philosophy and German and a lot about getting black-out drunk. Yet somehow the two worlds had intersected, and now I was in a helicopter with the sort of people who, in ancient times, would have cheerfully wandered out of the village to slay some dragons – as light entertainment.

In the end, I leaned back and shook my head. There just weren't any words I could use to reply.

---

Half an hour later, after we had penetrated the outer layer of mountains and were getting closer to the taller peaks at the centre, Marley spoke.

“The police are raiding the Galactic building.”

Cynthia and I sat bolt upright, jerking out of our respective daydreams in an instant, and Tristan looked up sharply, biting his lip. I presume Jasper was surprised too, but he didn't show it.

“What? How do you know?” I asked.

“Amazingly, I get a signal here,” she said, holding up her phone. “Here. Read.”

I beat Cynthia to it, grabbed it and saw the NoS website.

“Anonymous tip... kidnappings... illegal possession of a dangerous species... damages... yeah, they're in trouble,” I surmised. “But apparently they're all gone. I guess they all drove out this morning, before anyone started looking.”

“Yeah,” agreed Cynthia. “They've got to travel cautiously now, in secret – which means they'll be moving much more slowly, especially carrying all that equipment. More advantage for us, I guess.”

“Yeah.”

“We're getting close,” said Jasper. “Look. You can see the Coronet peak from here.”

We crowded around to look, and there it was: a vast shadow over the minor peaks, blue-white against the sky. On the top, I could just about see a faint blur that I supposed must be Spear Pillar.

“That is spectacular,” I breathed. “Wow.”

“I know,” said Cynthia. “Gets me every time.”

“It's big,” Marley concluded, somewhat anticlimactically, and we flew on through the cold air.

There wasn't much further to go now, and about twenty minutes later, we were within a few miles of the peak.

“Ah,” said Jasper. “I... I think you might want to look at this.”

Cynthia, Marley, Tristan and I got up to see what it was he was talking about—

—and froze.

“No,” said Cynthia. “No, that can't – how?”

“I don't know,” I said. “It's... Cal. I don't know.”

“I believe we may need to rethink our plan,” murmured Jasper.

Because there on the mountaintop, amid the ruins of high stone walls and long-collapsed columns, was a swarm of silver suits and blue hair.

Team Galactic had done the impossible.

They'd beaten us to the Pillar.
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  #141    
Old August 28th, 2012, 06:56 PM
dracoflare's Avatar
dracoflare
Togepi
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Woo, two chapters. Both of them were cool as usual. I guess this chapter was merely a set-up for the grand end that is about to follow. I wonder what kind of twists await us, because you have already began with one.

Expecting more updates as things are getting more interesting!

P.S: I felt sorry for the Skarmory btw. The end was anti-climatic for the poor Pokemon.
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  #142    
Old August 29th, 2012, 06:07 PM
c1234321's Avatar
c1234321
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Gender: Male
Yay! More updates! I have been anxiously awaiting these updates and you delivered. On a side note I hope that whatever had you busy was nothing of a sad nature. Moving on to the unofficial reviews that I love to do!

The first Chapter that was posted in the past several days:

It was relatively short but incredibly b.a. That was the Liza I want to read and remember from the beginning. Although I have a question. Were those people she recalled killing from her time as Liza or people/creatures that Ronwe had killed? And if they were things Ronwe had killed, how did Liza remember them? Was it because of all the testing the Galactics had done in that area regarding weakening reality? Ah I love that I have this many questions this far in to the story!! And those are only minor questions! But anyway!

I liked the partial history of Ashley given in the previous Chapter. In addition to giving Ashley a sense of beginning, it also awes us and also makes us wonder which god/dess is Izh? Because I would assume based on Ashley being the Diamond it would be Dialga. However, the description of Izh makes me lean toward Giratina. Which then brings up the question of whether or not you are implying Arceus made Giratina who birthed Dialga and Palkia, or that Arceus made Dialga who then had Ashley created. So much mystery and, though I love mystery, I would love to see this cleared up. I have had too much disappointment in the remnants of mystery in the final installments of literature regarding Angela in the Inheritance Cycle......Oops I started to ramble.

Continuing on with the second installment recently released. I loved how the Skarmory was cunning and intelligent enough to understand how hikers called her the Queen, but also foolish enough to think helicopters are Pokemon. Though it may not have been intended it creates an amusing allegation that those in high political office are not smart enough to realize what is right in front of them. But anyway I loved the Skarmory battles with Bond and with Cynthia's Togekiss. They were both really funny in addition to being action-y.

Now going to Ashley's part in the second update. He finally woke up....and Im not sure if the vision of Ashley's head crawling out of the Lake and finding the rest of his body is terrifying or hilarious. I also wonder how he will literally pull himself together in time for the final battle.

And now the final battle again. I cannot wait for it. I knew Marley was gonna go after Liza/Ronwe. Didnt see it for those reasons but I predicted it nonetheless and I think Im gonna be arrogant for a second and say: HA! Just kidding Im not like that. But I am happy to see that Marley will be attacking Liza.

I still cant wait to see what the TTMG2DTW cast has to do with any of this. I am still lost as to their purpose in this plotline. I also want to know their perspective on what theyre actually going to do.

I have no idea how the Galactics got there so fast. Unless they were already there waiting for Cyrus. Which would have been smart of Cyrus. But still, I have a feeling this ties in to the guys who took Stephanie.

And Im back to Stephanie again. I cant get over the feeling that she has something vital to add to this situation. What that "something" may be I have no idea. Maybe she was secretly a Pokemon Trainer before retiring young and going to college. Maybe these alleged Pokemon are incredibly powerful and will turn the tide of the battle to come. That is if Stephanie can get out of whatever windowless, doorless, guarded-by-something-creepy prison she is in. Theres a lot going on with Stephanie. I know there is......I desperately want to know but am content to wait until it is revealed.

Wrapping this up before I ramble even more, you are doing/have done a fantastic job with this. I love how you can keep us guessing all the way up to the climax unlike with authors who have stories so predictable you know what happens waaaaay before the climax. I love all the characters. Pigzie Doodle and Puck are overly dramatic, Pearl is stupidly insightful, Jasper is brilliantly apathetic, as are Marley and Ashley. Cynthia and Liza are plain bad***. Iago is captivating-ly evil. I just am amazed at how amazing this story is. And now, I unfortunately noticed some grammar mistakes this time. There were a couple instances of confusion with the proper their/there/they're in your description if Izh. There was an extra "e" somewhere in there with the word "The" at the beginning of a paragraph. Both of those are really unhelpful I know but I cant find exactly where anymore. Sorry! But overall, a masterpiece. I look forward to the exciting conclusion.
  #143    
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:06 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Woo, two chapters. Both of them were cool as usual. I guess this chapter was merely a set-up for the grand end that is about to follow. I wonder what kind of twists await us, because you have already began with one.

Expecting more updates as things are getting more interesting!

P.S: I felt sorry for the Skarmory btw. The end was anti-climatic for the poor Pokemon.
Yeah. I'm almost done with the next chapter; I've got caught up in the excitement of it all, and now things are happening fast. There's doom, and unnatural heat, and an army of terrible harbingers, and all sorts. It's going to be fun - for me at least. I can't say my characters are enjoying it all that much.

Oh, and don't feel too bad for old Queenie. She ain't done yet.[/rucksvoice]

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Yay! More updates! I have been anxiously awaiting these updates and you delivered. On a side note I hope that whatever had you busy was nothing of a sad nature. Moving on to the unofficial reviews that I love to do!
More like spending a week and a half in Wales and then another week putting furniture together. I've finally got the last of that done today; now I have two sofas, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe and a bookcase, where previously I had an intimidatingly large pile of IKEA boxes.

That's the curse of IKEA, isn't it. You go there and have delicious Swedish meatballs, but afterwards you have to put your furniture together. Still, I couldn't possibly complain about anything Swedish ever, so I ignore it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
The first Chapter that was posted in the past several days:

It was relatively short but incredibly b.a. That was the Liza I want to read and remember from the beginning. Although I have a question. Were those people she recalled killing from her time as Liza or people/creatures that Ronwe had killed? And if they were things Ronwe had killed, how did Liza remember them? Was it because of all the testing the Galactics had done in that area regarding weakening reality? Ah I love that I have this many questions this far in to the story!! And those are only minor questions! But anyway!
No, things that Liza did herself. She tends to oscillate between being lost in her own mind and being a Terminator. Having a barely-disguised Ronwe as your guiding instinct tends to do that to a girl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
I liked the partial history of Ashley given in the previous Chapter. In addition to giving Ashley a sense of beginning, it also awes us and also makes us wonder which god/dess is Izh? Because I would assume based on Ashley being the Diamond it would be Dialga. However, the description of Izh makes me lean toward Giratina. Which then brings up the question of whether or not you are implying Arceus made Giratina who birthed Dialga and Palkia, or that Arceus made Dialga who then had Ashley created. So much mystery and, though I love mystery, I would love to see this cleared up. I have had too much disappointment in the remnants of mystery in the final installments of literature regarding Angela in the Inheritance Cycle......Oops I started to ramble.
Izh. One of Giratina's three names, to go with its three aspects: Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer. They don't make gods like that any more.

Seriously though, there was never meant to be any doubt that Izh is Giratina. I just took what the game tells you about Giratina's role and expanded it a little, because presumably the Ancient Sinnish had no end of legends about something as awesome as Giratina.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Continuing on with the second installment recently released. I loved how the Skarmory was cunning and intelligent enough to understand how hikers called her the Queen, but also foolish enough to think helicopters are Pokemon. Though it may not have been intended it creates an amusing allegation that those in high political office are not smart enough to realize what is right in front of them. But anyway I loved the Skarmory battles with Bond and with Cynthia's Togekiss. They were both really funny in addition to being action-y.
Nothing intended. Queenie's just an ordinary Skarmory, if a little more arrogant. She doesn't know she's called the Queen; she just knows that that's what she is, since no other predators dare to encroach on her territory. Still, she knows how to take a hit, and I doubt she's down for good. Kid hit her hard, but long as there's still breath in her body she'll keep on flyin'.[/rucksvoice]

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Now going to Ashley's part in the second update. He finally woke up....and Im not sure if the vision of Ashley's head crawling out of the Lake and finding the rest of his body is terrifying or hilarious. I also wonder how he will literally pull himself together in time for the final battle.
He did it once - twice, even. He can do it again. He hasn't got much energy, but I'm sure he'll make it to the Pillar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
And now the final battle again. I cannot wait for it. I knew Marley was gonna go after Liza/Ronwe. Didnt see it for those reasons but I predicted it nonetheless and I think Im gonna be arrogant for a second and say: HA! Just kidding Im not like that. But I am happy to see that Marley will be attacking Liza.
Yes. Marley... attacking Liza. Because that's totally going to work out just like she planned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
I still cant wait to see what the TTMG2DTW cast has to do with any of this. I am still lost as to their purpose in this plotline. I also want to know their perspective on what theyre actually going to do.
Oh, they'll turn up. They always do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
I have no idea how the Galactics got there so fast. Unless they were already there waiting for Cyrus. Which would have been smart of Cyrus. But still, I have a feeling this ties in to the guys who took Stephanie.
I suppose you'll have to wait and see. There's always a possibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
And Im back to Stephanie again. I cant get over the feeling that she has something vital to add to this situation. What that "something" may be I have no idea. Maybe she was secretly a Pokemon Trainer before retiring young and going to college. Maybe these alleged Pokemon are incredibly powerful and will turn the tide of the battle to come. That is if Stephanie can get out of whatever windowless, doorless, guarded-by-something-creepy prison she is in. Theres a lot going on with Stephanie. I know there is......I desperately want to know but am content to wait until it is revealed.
Ah, Stephanie. She's been out for a long time now. And the man in black is still there, waiting on the altar atop Mount Coronet. Waiting for everyone to arrive, and the fun to begin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Wrapping this up before I ramble even more, you are doing/have done a fantastic job with this. I love how you can keep us guessing all the way up to the climax unlike with authors who have stories so predictable you know what happens waaaaay before the climax. I love all the characters. Pigzie Doodle and Puck are overly dramatic, Pearl is stupidly insightful, Jasper is brilliantly apathetic, as are Marley and Ashley. Cynthia and Liza are plain bad***. Iago is captivating-ly evil. I just am amazed at how amazing this story is.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
And now, I unfortunately noticed some grammar mistakes this time. There were a couple instances of confusion with the proper their/there/they're in your description if Izh. There was an extra "e" somewhere in there with the word "The" at the beginning of a paragraph. Both of those are really unhelpful I know but I cant find exactly where anymore. Sorry! But overall, a masterpiece. I look forward to the exciting conclusion.
Yeah, those were pointed out to me the day after I uploaded it. See, while I was in Wales I kept writing, but I did it longhand - which is extremely slow for me since I can touch-type very fast, and I've got used to composing stories really quickly as a result. This means I spent a while typing everything up when I got back, and since I don't need to look at the screen while I type, my fingers occasionally made a few divergences from the original script. I checked it over afterwards, and corrected most of my mistakes, but I missed a few, as you've noticed. I keep meaning to go back and change them.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Next time: explosions! Helicopters! Ghosts! And much, much more, all to be found at the end of time!

F.A.B.
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  #144    
Old August 31st, 2012, 07:10 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
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All right, so I lied about the explosions.

Chapter Forty-Two: In Which Pearl Arrives at the End of Time

'There's no glory in saving the world until after the deed. Before, there's only nerves – and during, there's only sheer mind-numbing terror.'

—Kester Ruby, in an interview with Gabby van Horne for Hoenn National News


Unfortunately for Cyrus, his plan was now known. One of their goons had been captured, the prisoners had been sprung and his speech overheard. This presented him with a problem: how to stop the League group from beating him to Spear Pillar and fortifying it against him.

The solution had come to him in a sudden flash of inspiration. All he had needed to do was calm down and think. If that wasn't a solid testament to the power of keeping your emotions in check, Cyrus didn't know what was.
He had had everyone leave at midnight on Saturday.

It hadn't been easy, of course. There was a lot of equipment to be packed up and a lot of morons to be corralled into trains, but after Liza's impressive display with the Drapion earlier that evening, she was able to get the Galactics moving approximately twelve times faster than usual, and in consequence they had had the Team out of Veilstone on the last train for Celestic Town.

And that wasn't all. In order for his plan to work, it was imperative that no one realise that they were gone.

So he stayed behind, continually offering ineffective excuses to the council and the police, finally flying out of the building on the back of his Honchkrow just as Pearl and the others were reaching the Veilstone airport the League jet. Simultaneously, he told the fifty members of Team Galactic he had kept behind at the base to flood out all at once and go to ground, giving the impression of an exodus; the sudden spike in the number of cars leaving the city had been nothing but a serendipitous coincidence.

And so the Team was firmly installed at the Pillar by three o'clock, with Cyrus set to join them by six.

---

Long before Pearl and company reached the Pillar – long before even the Galactics reached it – there were three other people on it.

Well, four other people.

Well, two actual people, one Ghost, and one... thing.

For now, the thing – better known as the man in black – was firmly hidden; he had no intention of letting the three others he shared the ancient temple with know he was there. He would deal with them when the time came.

The two people and the Ghost, however, were not hidden. In fact, they were standing around rather conspicuously, inspecting their surroundings and wondering exactly what they might do now.

The helicopter had run out of fuel near Celestic Town; thankfully, there had been a charming little military base there, and, after a midnight trek to its fuel sheds, Bond had been able to refill the battered craft and get it going again. They had arrived in the mountains near dawn – much the same time, as a matter of fact, as the erstwhile Queen, though at a different location – and swiftly made their way to the central peak. They left the helicopter behind a convenient wall, and made their way out into what had once been the nave of the great temple.

“Most impressive,” remarked Bond. “The ancients certainly were remarkable.”

“Yeah, they were,” said Pigzie Doodle. “I watched them build this place. They used their bare hands, a quarryful of granite and a minor deity before they got it done. Hell of a project.”

“Astounding.” Bond blinked. There had been something strange about that.

Wait.

Had he...?

“Ishmael,” said Ellen, voice quavering in surprise. “You – you're talking!”

“Huh? Oh. Yes.” Pigzie Doodle waved one stubby arm at the sky above. “See that? Rooted in the altar?”

“I regret to say I do not, sir,” said Bond, taking this new development in his stride.

“It's kind of... actually, I don't think there's a word in Sinnish for that colour. It's the colour next to red in the rainbow.”

“Orange?” asked Ellen.

“No. On the other side.”

“There isn't one there.”

“Yes, there is. But apparently humans can't see it. Which would, now that I think about it, explain why you don't have a word for it. Anyway, it's a big old section of reality that looks like it's about to fall off the side of the universe. The laws of time and space don't apply here – or at least, they don't apply if you know how to avoid them. And believe me, I know how to avoid them. I really annoyed Isaac Newton, I can tell you that.” He chuckled dryly. “Anyhow, that means I can communicate directly with you, and you'll be able to talk to the living. Convenient, isn't it?” He turned to the altar. “Now, let's have a look around. See if we can figure out how to stop this wanton destruction.”

So they looked around – at the altar, which was a block of white granite whose edges were as crisp as the day they had been cut; at the columns, which were pillars of white granite with strange and alien glyphs incised on their surfaces; and at the walls, which, continuing the theme, were stacks of white granite with the remnants of carvings still visible on their sides.

“Is there anything you can suggest that we should do?” asked Ellen. “It's all very nice, but there isn't much here that looks at all apocalyptic.”

“Hark at her, with her big words,” murmured Pigzie Doodle. “Uh, anyway, the altar's our best bet. I don't know how it works, though – I can feel some sort of power in it, something Ghostly or possibly Psychic, but I'm not sure what it is.” He drifted closer, reached out a tendril of shadow and poked the stone experimentally. Nothing happened, and he turned back to the others. “Well, that's me out of ideas,” he said. “Anyone else?”

“Perhaps the altar can be destroyed or removed in some way?” suggested Bond.

Pigzie Doodle looked at the altar, and then at Bond.

“That thing's seen five hundred years of snow and wind and the corners are still sharp,” he said. “Short of a meteor strike, I don't think anything's going to break it. And I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I can't move it either.”

Bond pondered.

“Perhaps it would be best to wait for the Team to arrive, then,” he admitted. “We could simply relieve them of the Chain and cast it into a ravine.”

“There's something in that,” agreed Pigzie Doodle. “And I don't see what else we can do... All right. We'll try that.” He sighed. “Wish we hadn't got here so early now. Still, I've waited this long. I can wait a little more.”

So, having failed to render the site unsuitable for the Galactics' purpose, as Bond had put it, and indeed having failed to achieve anything at all, the three Ghosts sat down on a toppled column to wait.

Across the nave, the man in black sighed. It seemed he was going to have to remain in hiding for quite some time.

---

We stared. It just wasn't possible. The Galactics had left this morning, and had had to come here in stealth and with, presumably, a lot of equipment.
And yet they were here already, and they were—

“Ah!” cried Jasper, swerving violently and knocking us all over. “They're firing at us!”

As soon as we had come within range, a varied volley of bullets and Pokémon moves shot towards us, lighting up the sky in every colour of the rainbow; after a couple of rather tense (and probably extremely dangerous) evasive manoeuvres, Jasper brought us out of the firing line, and started flying towards a point on the mountainside.

“We can't land there,” he explained, as the helicopter descended. “We'll have to land lower down and go up the path.”

“Won't they have guards posted on that?” I asked.

“Yes, but we have Cynthia,” he replied, which I was forced to admit was a potent counter to pretty much any threat you cared to name.

He brought the helicopter down on a lesser peak than the Pillar one, and for the first time in several hours I heard blissful silence; I'd kind of forgotten how noisy the rotors were, and only now they were still did I remember.

“All right,” said Cynthia, jumping to her feet. “Let's get out there and storm the—”

“No,” interrupted Jasper. “We're not charging in blindly.”

She stared.

“Why not?”

“You could very easily break your way into the centre of the Galactic army up there,” he answered, unbuckling his seatbelt and stretching his legs, “but once you got there, you would be hemmed in. The only way out would be an escape on Cyrano or possibly Flossie – but neither of them, despite everything else, are bulletproof, and so I'm fairly certain that once surrounded you would be killed.”

Cynthia glowered, but I could tell she got the point.

“Fine,” she said irritably. “What do you suggest, then?”

“My plan is much the same as yours,” Jasper replied, “but taken more slowly. We work our way up the steps, incapacitating the Galactics we pass. That way we control the path by the time we reach the top – a small area that can be more easily held if we're attacked.”

When we're attacked,” Marley corrected.

“Yes, all right.” Jasper turned to Tristan. “Is there any more information you can offer us at this time?”

“Eh?” No one had spoken to Tristan since last night, and I don't think he was expecting anyone to talk to him for quite some time more. Jasper patiently repeated the question, and Tristran replied, “Er... no. I think.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

“Right.” Jasper thumped him on the back of the head and watched him slump to the floor. “Now, someone help me tie him to one of the seats. I suspect he's just waiting to betray us to the Galactics.”

This done, we finally ventured outside, onto the snowy ledge we'd landed on. To our left and right were sheer cliffs, and in front of us was a set of steps gouged out of the living rock; they wound upwards for what seemed a hideously long way, and at the top I could see a few Galactics watching us warily. I braced myself for cold, thin mountain air – but it actually felt like a summer's day, hot and muggy. I didn't know much about mountains, but I was pretty sure this wasn't right.

“Something's wrong,” Cynthia said. “Do you feel that?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “What is it?”

“I don't know.”

They might,” suggested Marley, pointing to a slender white shape half-concealed behind a boulder. It looked a little like a piebald wolf, but no wolf had such haunted eyes – or for that matter a large scythe growing from its temple.

Now that I looked, I saw they were everywhere: creeping out from behind the rocks, climbing mysteriously over the rim of the cliffs, even drifting down the stairs, looking like wind-blown snow. I shivered. Whatever they were, these things were staring at me, and I could feel their gaze as well as see it, a kind of nagging emptiness in the pit of my belly.

“What are they?” I asked.

“Absol,” replied Cynthia, biting her lip. “No one knows where they come from. They just appear when bad things are about to happen – to warn us.”

“Except usually only there's only one,” said Jasper softly. “And we're looking at more than a hundred.”

I swallowed; my mouth felt dry and clogged with the oppressive tropical heat. For a moment, no one said anything – hell, no one could. There was something about those Absol, something terrible that nipped away at the very core of your being. As a warning, it was more than sufficient. I wanted nothing more than to turn around and get back in the helicopter.

“We should go,” said Marley eventually, and from the strength of her voice I could tell she hadn't felt the Absol's warning at all. Somehow that was far more frightening than the warning itself. “We're behind the Galactics already.”

“You're right,” said Cynthia. “OK.” She took a deep breath, and stepped forwards onto the stairs; the Absol parted before her, sweeping their awful eyes upwards to stare at the summit. “Come on,” she said. “Let's save the sodding universe.”

---

“We can't leave them,” Sapphire said, pausing for a moment in her frantic pacing. “We just can't.”

“I beg to differ,” replied Puck through the hi-fi. “It would be really, really easy. All we have to do is stay right here in this fabulous hotel and watch TV.”

The Sinnish League had been every bit as gracious as the Hoennian one, and put them up in a rather expensive hotel in Veilstone City while the police investigation was ongoing. Unfortunately, as they knew from Puck's translation of the conversation the League operatives had had last night, that police investigation wasn't going to be all that much use now – though hopefully it would slow the Galactics down and let the League get to Mount Coronet first.

Kester sighed and flopped backwards onto the sofa.

“I don't know,” he said. “Saving the world once is cool. Saving it twice looks like you're a bit desperate for attention.”

Especially if it's twice in the same year,” added Puck.

“I can't believe I'm hearing this,” cried Sapphire. “The universe could well be ending! And if it isn't, it's at least going to be horrifically corrupted!”

Kester closed his eyes.

“Sapphire, I finally have the mental fortitude to resist your arguments. It's monumentally unfair that you're appealing to my conscience as well.”

“Atta boy,” said Puck happily. “I've taught you well.”

“What he means,” said Felicity, “is that he agrees with you and thinks we should go to Spear Pillar and save the world again.”

“Yeah, of course,” replied Kester, sitting up again and opening his eyes. “Are we going now?”

“Yes,” replied Sapphire. “Good to know you've seen sense.”

“Oh, come on,” said Puck. “Really? We're doing this? When we've just been put up in a really swanky hotel? This place has an elevator operator. Do you realise how rare that is these days?”

“Cyrus wants to change the nature of humanity,” said Sapphire. “That means humans might end up being superior to Ghosts.”

The speakers blew their fuses simultaneously.

Bastard!” cried Puck, transferring himself to Kester's mobile. “Destroy him! Cut him into little pieces! Bake him into a pie and serve him to his mother!”

“Yes, I thought that might do it,” mused Sapphire mildly. “All right. Let's get to the nearest Pokémon Centre and I'll call Dad. He can send us something big enough to carry all three of us over the PC Box system.”

The father of Sapphire Birch was, of course, renowned Pokémon Professor Birch of Littleroot town; renowned not so much for his sparkling intellect and great discoveries, but more for his ability to eat an entire roast hog at a single sitting and unfailing capacity to fart loudly in the middle of funerals. Despite his many shortcomings, he had survived over twenty years of rather adventurous Pokémon research and seventeen of Sapphire's company, which pointed to at least some measure of competence on his part.

“All right,” said Kester, getting up slowly. “Let's go.”

They left the room and headed for the lifts. If they were going to save the world again, they might as well have the pleasure of being conducted by an elevator operator first.

---

It really wasn't hard to get to the top of the stairs.

The Galactics sent people down to hold the stairway, of course, but what they – and we – hadn't counted on was the small army of Absol that were, apparently, perfectly willing to surrender their lives to save people who had only just discovered their existence. Cynthia was just reaching for Cyrano's Poké Ball when a river of white backs and black tails poured up the stairs; the Galactics fired a few wild shots but I only saw one Absol get hit, the rest tilting the strange blades on their heads to deflect the shots. Even that one just kept going, red spreading across its snowy side, until it literally could not walk any further.

And when they reached the Galactics... Well. Suffice to say that I didn't look, and couldn't have looked even if I'd wanted to. I was later told they didn't even have time to scream.

The Absol didn't stop there, though. They kept running, heading for the top, as unstoppable as Terminators. Another group of Galactics emerged, to see what had become of the first; they took a few Absol with them, but it was to no avail: the white wolves simply refused to die unless they could no longer move. It was as if they didn't feel pain, as if they felt nothing at all but the need to help avert the impending disaster.

Sometimes I look back on them, and wonder if they really were flesh and blood.

“Miss Gideon,” said Jasper urgently, tugging at my arm – my injured one, so as to get my attention. “Come on. We need to move!”

“What?”

“The Absol are buying us time,” he said grimly. “They're killing themselves so that we can get to the top. Look.”

The Galactics seemed to have rallied, and there was now a knot of gathered around the top few steps; it was a long way away, but I could see the flash of Pokémon moves and hear the crack of gunfire. They weren't beating the Absol back, but the Absol weren't gaining so much ground anymore, either.

“Soon they'll have cleared a path, but it won't remain open for long,” Jasper said. “So come on, unless you want them to die in vain.”

Cynthia and Marley were already partway up the stairs, and I followed them now with Jasper. Absol flowed past us in an unending stream, their soft fur rubbing against my legs and their blades held carefully out of the way, so as not to cut me.

“Are they really all going to die?” I asked quietly, as we hurried up the stairs. A vague cloak of unreality had settled over me; none of this could be happening. People were not dying up ahead. An army of spectral wolves had not just appeared from nowhere to help us fight the bad guys. I was not heading towards an ancient temple to stop a criminal genius from harnessing the power of the gods to change the world.

None of this could be happening, I told myself. And that was probably the only reason I didn't break down.

“Yes,” said Jasper, and I was surprised to note a tinge of regret in his voice. I wouldn't have thought he would be concerned about it. “They're quite intelligent, but they don't understand what's happening. They have no idea what they can do other than help us. And they can only think of one way to help. To die.”

This was it. No glory, no pithy remarks from hard-bitten heroes. We were running towards Hell, and it was definitely nothing like a movie.

I looked up, and saw that the top few stairs were packed absolutely full with Galactics; as soon as one on the front line fell, another would pop out to take their place. And yet still the Absol pressed on, unable to even consider stopping.

Cynthia was getting close now, and I could see her reaching for her Poké Balls again. She felt it too, I knew; she was going to help the Absol, to clear the way faster and make it so fewer of them had to die...

Cyrano and the Togekiss exploded away from her in different directions, flying away from the mountainside; for one moment, the Galactics were distracted, and a whole line vanished before the Absol – and then the two giant monsters circled around, and there was a single very bright light—

—before the knot of Galactics simply ceased to be. When my vision had recovered, the group was gone; instead, there was a truly horrific smell, and a thick layer of greasy soot lying on the top few steps.

“I can't do this,” I whispered to myself, but I kept moving. “It isn't... why am I here?”

I had no idea what my part was in this and I was wholly unsuitable for this sort of pitched battle but I kept moving.

“Don't fall,” said Jasper quietly. “The sides are steep and you look unsteady. Don't fall.”

The Absol's warning glare thrummed in my veins and the smell of atomised human scorched my nose and Cyrano and the Togekiss were circling round to take out another group of approaching Galactics but I kept moving.

Absol fell past me, ragged white bodies splotched with red slipping down the stairs as the Pillar ahead lit up with horrid fire but I kept moving.

“A little further, Miss Gideon,” said Jasper. “Just a little further, and we're there.”

Now the sooty remnants of the Galactics were on my shoes, and I was slipping a little on glassy pools of boiled fat and fur-flecked blood but I still kept moving.

And then I crested the summit, stepped onto Spear Pillar with Cynthia and Marley as the remaining Absol flooded ahead, and the Galactics took up positions among vast ruined columns and time-ravaged walls, and to the left and right was blood and fire but I still kept moving.

Then a black shadow passed overhead, and I finally stopped. Everyone did.
Cyrus was here.

And from his hands trailed a line of bloody starlight.

---

“I see everyone made it,” said Cyrus, dropping from the back of the big crow Pokémon he'd flown in on and landing lightly before the altar. “Although I will confess to being a little surprised at the quantity of corpses.”

I couldn't move. I don't think anyone could – the Galactics, frozen in ranks on either side; the Absol, crouched in front of our little group like wary watchdogs; Jasper and Cynthia and Marley and I, stood a hundred feet away from him but still hanging on his every word. It was the thing in his hands that did it: a length of red stone chain, the air around it boiling in its haste to get away from it – a vile thing, a thing whose wrongness resonated through the very fabric of reality, emanating a dull, vicious glow like dead stars shining through blood. I didn't even want to know what that thing was for, but I guessed immediately where it came from: the jewels in the lake legendaries' heads, harvested, allowed to regrow and then harvested again.

“Sa- Salazar,” croaked Cynthia. “Flossie.”

But they wouldn't, or couldn't, attack. Cyrano stayed where he had landed at the edge of the Pillar to our left, staring and whining, and the Togekiss hovered indecisively behind us. They might be Cynthia's loyal partners, but they didn't have anywhere near the fortitude required to face down someone holding that chain. I didn't blame them. I didn't want to go anywhere near it either.

Then, all at once, something kicked into action at the back of my head.

Right, it said brusquely, I've had enough.

And almost instantaneously, the shock and horror of the long walk up the stairs withdrew into a vault somewhere in my memories, slammed the door shut behind itself and was locked in. Clarity returned to my vision in a flash, and the only emotion battling with my reason was fear of the thing Cyrus held in his hands; at the time, I accepted this abrupt removal of my trauma as completely normal, but of course it was anything but. It didn't matter. I would find out what caused it soon enough.

I broke the stillness, and stepped forwards, ahead of my friends and just before the guardian Absol.

“Cyrus,” I said, in a surprisingly calm voice, “what is that?”

He raised an eyebrow.

“I'm beginning to see what the Diamond sees in you, Miss Gideon,” he said. “Look around. Everyone here is paralysed at the mere sight of the Chain. But you... you aren't. I wonder why that is?”

“What are you going to do?”

It was growing steadily darker; clouds were gathering overhead, thick black clouds that portended nothing good.

“I think you know the essence of it,” replied Cyrus. “Invoke Palkia and Dialga, the gods that govern the warp and weft of the universe. Bind them to my will.” He held up the chain, and I had no difficulty in believing that it was capable of shackling even deities. That thing could have chained a sound wave to a ray of light. “Then destroy this universe, and build another in its place. A better universe. A universe where everyone is like your young friend there.”

He was looking at Marley, and it hit me suddenly what he was trying to do.

“You want... a world without emotion?”

“Correct.” Cyrus spread his arms, and I could feel that strange force building up in him, the same one that had swept over us all in the Galactic headquarters. “Come on, Miss Gideon, don't you see? Without emotion there is no strife. Reason dictates the best possible action in every situation. The new world will be a place of harmony, free of division and that incoherent beast known as the human spirit.”

I was on the verge of agreeing when I caught myself, wary now of Cyrus' powers. He saw the expression on my face and smiled.

“I almost had you,” he said. “Ah well. It makes no difference.” He slung the chain over one arm and clapped his hands; the distorted air around the stone monstrosity made the sound echo strangely across the Pillar, and at once the paralysis was broken. Galactics murmured, Absol tensed to leap, and Jasper, Cynthia and Marley drew alongside me. “At least you made it here,” Cyrus said mockingly, and turned to face the altar as the battle began anew.

Absol tore into Galactics on either side of us, pushing them back out of the nave of the temple into the aisles; there, amid the ruins of the columns and walls, the terrain was in their favour, and they seemed to melt in and out of the stone like ghosts as they struck at the Team and their Pokémon.

“They're clearing the way,” cried Cynthia. “Come on!”

She recalled the still-frozen Cyrano and Flossie without looking at them, flinging a ball out in each hand; they disappeared in flashes of light and the four of us broke into a run down the nave—

“Not so fast, I'm afraid,” said a familiar voice, and three tall figures appeared in front of us, dressed so ridiculously that they had to be high-ranking Galactics. My eyes scanned them quickly – I knew Mars, and Saturn from yesterday's disastrous break-in, but not the third; I assumed she was Jupiter, the Commander who'd been interrogated by Ashley in Eterna. “You see,” continued Mars, Jackson the Purugly eyeing me from her side, “we're very dedicated to this project, and we really don't want to see it ruined now, when everything's ready.” She grinned. “So—”

“Quiet,” snapped Jasper, Harvey the terrifying Ariados appearing in front of him. “Miss Buckley, I may require your assistance with these four. You two, stop Cyrus!”

Saturn and his Toxicroak immediately tried to block our way, but something pale flickered through the air and forced them back; I glanced around and saw Flossie the Togekiss back again, circling around for another attack.

“Go!” yelled Cynthia. “We're armed – we'll hold them!”

I wasted no time and took the opportunity. Jupiter snatched at my arm, but she only had hold of my jacket, and I twisted out of it and raced ahead, catching up with Marley as she ran for the altar, my eyes fixed on Cyrus' back.

Now a few Galactics had noticed that we were past the Commanders, and a bullet or two lanced through the air around us; those who stopped to shoot at us, though, left themselves open to the Absol, who cut them down without remorse. I didn't notice any of it; whatever had sealed away my shock earlier was still acting in my head, and made sure I never looked at the bloody mayhem on either side of me. There was no time to be shocked, no time to even think: I just had to get to Cyrus...

And suddenly there he was, right in front of me. He had a knife in one hand and he had just cut open his palm, the blood running down onto the altar, black in the twilight created by the clouds overhead.

“...to the cries of your people, those who would hear your wor—”

I grabbed his shoulder, turned him around and punched him in the face.
I'd never actually done that before, and was surprised with how much force I packed into it: Cyrus recoiled sharply, dropping the knife and clutching at his eye.

“****!” he yelped, which under other circumstances would have been absolutely hilarious. “You—!”

He would have said more, but Marley had followed my lead and kicked him hard in the shin, and he staggered back a step, circling around the altar to get away.

“Give it up!” I shouted over the tumult of the battle. “Your Galactics are too busy to help you this time, Cyrus, and you can't fight us—”

He drew a Poké Ball from his pocket, and threw it down on the ground between us; it burst open and a small, dark-skinned Pokémon, as short and skinny as Marley, appeared from it. The main difference was that this thing had claws like fish hooks and an extravagant pink crest – and, I realised as it zoomed towards me, the ability to move at something close to the speed of light.

Its tiny fist connected with my belly and threw me backwards, all of its momentum transferred to me in an instant; I hit the ground far too hard, and by the time I got back up Cyrus was back at the altar. Marley's stolen Zubat lay at her feet, sheathed in ice; the little demon Pokémon was bearing down on her – and an all-too-familiar figure stood between us and our target, tall and shadowy in the half-light.

“Hey, girls,” said Liza Radley, green fire climbing out of the pits where her eyes had once been. “What's the rush?”
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.

Last edited by Cutlerine; August 31st, 2012 at 07:16 AM.
  #145    
Old August 31st, 2012, 01:16 PM
Zayphora's Avatar
Zayphora
Don't mess with the lights...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Somewhere beyond the Veil
Gender: Female
Nature: Sassy
Ahahaha, love the climax...you've got us now!

*snort* I lold when Pearl punched Cyrus in the face. And then he spazzed out and swore. Derp, derp, derp...punching a guy with a weapon like that is almost as dumb as punching Mewtwo...but nothing can beat the derpiness of ash.

Also did anyone else see Kcalb's face on Liza/Ronwe at the end there? Ehe...
__________________
  #146    
Old August 31st, 2012, 03:26 PM
c1234321's Avatar
c1234321
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Gender: Male
I love everything here. Everything. It just.....it is just fantastic. If I could have chosen anything to do after coming home from the NYS Fair, it would be this. This is just amazing.

I love the description of Absol. It definitely makes sense that they would try to stop the disaster with their lives. It is heroic, but tragic, and I love it.

The actual description of the battle was perfect. There is no glory, no thrill of battle. No warrior's deaths. Just the agonized screaming of victims as they end. Its beautiful in its hopelessness and tragically bleak. I love it.

Pearl is finally being a boss. Snapping out of the trance of the Red Chain, punching Cyrus in the face, racing past hordes of murderous Pokemon and Galactics without a second glance. She is redeeming her stupidity from the early chapters of the book in the best of ways.

Cynthia and Jasper versus the Galactic Commanders. That promises to be an epic battle. I will guess Cynthia and Jasper will either crush the Galactics in minutes or the opposite. Though it will possibly be short, that doesnt stop the epicness of seeing a Garchomp, Togekiss, and Ariados face off against a Purugly, Toxicroak, and Skuntank. It should be fun.

I wonder what the Queen will be doing in this battle. Obviously she will be doing a lot of destroying, but I wonder if it will help or hurt Pearl and Co. I also want to see if she will just go after the helicopters.

Bond, Ellen, and Pigzie Doodle. First let me say Pigzie Doddle cracks me up. I love all of your main character Pokemon. They are absolutely hilarious. Pigzie Doodle, Iago, Puck, the Smeargle in the Rocket Revival whose name escapes me, and of course the Gastly, Natu, and Magmar in the Rocket Case. In addition to being awesome, they are all hysterical. I do not know why I find them all hilarious, but I love the portrayal of Pokemon as having human-like intelligence. In addition to opening up more opportunities for humour (yes with a "u"), it also makes what all the Teams do to the Pokemon that much worse. Its actually pretty powerful.

Cyrus. If he wasnt evil, hed be up there with Puck as one of my favorite of your characters. His inability to control his own emotions really emphasizes his plight in this world. I also love how this Cyrus lines up with the Cyrus in Neither Here Nor There. Both of them are trying to conquer their emotions and both succeed most of the times but, when they do show emotion, it is extreme and volatile. It really shows how his plan is dangerous and would ultimately fail. His plan is to improve humans and take away their need for emotion. If he succeeds in removing emotion, we would no longer be human, like Marley, which would cause his plan of improving humanity to fail because he would have destroyed it. If he succeeded in improving humanity, they would still have emotions, but they would all be like him, making his initial goal fail. His plight in this story really emphasizes his hopelessness in Neither Here Nor There. I find it interesting the stories parallel each other so well.

Now, on to my favorite villain, Liza. It took me up until this chapter to realize that the metaphorical fire in her eyes, generally meaning her inner steel and bravado, was the literal fire in her eyes resulting from her turning slowly back into Ronwe because of the instability of reality on the Spear Pillar. And I love how murderous Liza is and how just plain awesome she is. Taking out a Drapion without Pokemon or shooting a bullet, facing off against Marley and Pearl at the same time. Its incredible. I really wish she werent a part of Ronwe because Liza is just...incredible on her own. Even though most of her decisions were probably influenced by Ronwe, I see good in her. I cant help but compare her to Felicity and whatever the name of her Froslass possessor was (Skuld I think?). The similarities are striking. Both were the members of their respective regional team, not by complete self-choice, both possessed by ravenous, murderous, bloodthirsty Ghosts. The only difference seeming to be that while Felicity was possessed, Liza is actually a part of her Ghost. Still, I love Liza and cant wait to see her eventual, and inevitable downfall. I hope it is befitting of someone of her stature.

Finishing up with Puck and Co. I love how easily Sapphire was able to manipulate Puck. Its nice to see that even the most arrogant of people have weaknesses, those weaknesses generally being their arrogance. I really want to see what Prof. Birch will send them to get them to the Spear Pillar in time. Were he smart, he would send a powerful Psychic type to Teleport them there. What will likely arrive through the PC System is a powerful Flying or Dragon type Pokemon. And it will have to be fast. They have to get from Veilstone to past Celestic Town before the battle ends, or either before or just after the Queen, Ashley, Pearl, Cyrus, or the man in black completely blow everything up.

Sorry, not wrapping up yet, forgot about Stephanie. I cant help the feeling that Stephanie is somehow involved in the godly Trio somehow. Clearly, Ashley is or is related to Dialga, Pearl is or is related to Palkia, a fact revealed by you telling us Palkia was considered by some to be a goddess. The Desk Sitter is probably a form of Giratina, probably the form of the Destroyer. I feel like Stephanie fits in there somewhere. Maybe she, like Iago, was Pearl's Keeper? Maybe she is something more powerful? Maybe she is Arceus? Or maybe the Desk Sitter is Darkrai and Stephanie is Cresselia? It would make a bit more sense for the Desk Sitter to be Darkrai because in the games, Giratina interferes in Cyrus's meddling with Dialga and Palkia because you have revealed they are its children. But then who is the man in black? I know Stephanie is involved in all this god stuff somehow. As of right now, I am going to establish my theory that she is Cresselia and the Desk Sitter is Darkrai and go from there. Wow. My conspiracy tower just gained like 50 new floors.

I end this with the assurance that any and all grammar mistakes were fixed for this chapter and the congratulations of an excellent beginning of the climactic battle scenes. I look forward to the ending!
  #147    
Old September 1st, 2012, 03:18 PM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zayphora View Post
Ahahaha, love the climax...you've got us now!

*snort* I lold when Pearl punched Cyrus in the face. And then he spazzed out and swore. Derp, derp, derp...punching a guy with a weapon like that is almost as dumb as punching Mewtwo...but nothing can beat the derpiness of ash.

Also did anyone else see Kcalb's face on Liza/Ronwe at the end there? Ehe...
The Chain is completely useless unless it holds something in its thrall; until Cyrus gets Dialga and Palkia held in it, it's just a scary, scary paperweight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
I love everything here. Everything. It just.....it is just fantastic. If I could have chosen anything to do after coming home from the NYS Fair, it would be this. This is just amazing.

I love the description of Absol. It definitely makes sense that they would try to stop the disaster with their lives. It is heroic, but tragic, and I love it.

The actual description of the battle was perfect. There is no glory, no thrill of battle. No warrior's deaths. Just the agonized screaming of victims as they end. Its beautiful in its hopelessness and tragically bleak. I love it.
Well, I do like to do certain things as they should be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Pearl is finally being a boss. Snapping out of the trance of the Red Chain, punching Cyrus in the face, racing past hordes of murderous Pokemon and Galactics without a second glance. She is redeeming her stupidity from the early chapters of the book in the best of ways.
She's about to get a whole lot cooler. Or, if not cooler, she'll at least have her ability revealed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Cynthia and Jasper versus the Galactic Commanders. That promises to be an epic battle. I will guess Cynthia and Jasper will either crush the Galactics in minutes or the opposite. Though it will possibly be short, that doesnt stop the epicness of seeing a Garchomp, Togekiss, and Ariados face off against a Purugly, Toxicroak, and Skuntank. It should be fun.

I wonder what the Queen will be doing in this battle. Obviously she will be doing a lot of destroying, but I wonder if it will help or hurt Pearl and Co. I also want to see if she will just go after the helicopters.
You might have to wait a while for Queenie to show up again. It'll be a while before she's flying again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Bond, Ellen, and Pigzie Doodle. First let me say Pigzie Doddle cracks me up. I love all of your main character Pokemon. They are absolutely hilarious. Pigzie Doodle, Iago, Puck, the Smeargle in the Rocket Revival whose name escapes me, and of course the Gastly, Natu, and Magmar in the Rocket Case. In addition to being awesome, they are all hysterical. I do not know why I find them all hilarious, but I love the portrayal of Pokemon as having human-like intelligence. In addition to opening up more opportunities for humour (yes with a "u"), it also makes what all the Teams do to the Pokemon that much worse. Its actually pretty powerful.
With the exception of Russell's Magmar and Tercier the Smeargle (made before I really sorted out my universe), I only grant Pokémon human intelligence when it makes sense. 90% of all the Pokémon in my stories are just animals. A select few - usually main characters - are species that I can see actually having real intellect, like Ghosts and Psychics, and they don't usually get abused by Teams simply for legal reasons.

As for why they're hilarious, it's because I designed them all that way. Priscilla is a personal favourite of mine. I don't know why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Cyrus. If he wasnt evil, hed be up there with Puck as one of my favorite of your characters. His inability to control his own emotions really emphasizes his plight in this world. I also love how this Cyrus lines up with the Cyrus in Neither Here Nor There. Both of them are trying to conquer their emotions and both succeed most of the times but, when they do show emotion, it is extreme and volatile. It really shows how his plan is dangerous and would ultimately fail. His plan is to improve humans and take away their need for emotion. If he succeeds in removing emotion, we would no longer be human, like Marley, which would cause his plan of improving humanity to fail because he would have destroyed it. If he succeeded in improving humanity, they would still have emotions, but they would all be like him, making his initial goal fail. His plight in this story really emphasizes his hopelessness in Neither Here Nor There. I find it interesting the stories parallel each other so well.
Huh. Neither Here Nor There. Now that's a title I haven't heard in a while. I'd be lying if I said I liked it, really, but I have to admit there's similarities between the two Cyruses. It's only because that's how I think Cyrus is. I mean, he has emotions, of course he does - he even says as much at the end of Platinum, and also says that he hates them. So I thought it would make sense that his struggle to keep his emotions in check would play a reasonably large part in his day-to-day existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Now, on to my favorite villain, Liza. It took me up until this chapter to realize that the metaphorical fire in her eyes, generally meaning her inner steel and bravado, was the literal fire in her eyes resulting from her turning slowly back into Ronwe because of the instability of reality on the Spear Pillar. And I love how murderous Liza is and how just plain awesome she is. Taking out a Drapion without Pokemon or shooting a bullet, facing off against Marley and Pearl at the same time. Its incredible. I really wish she werent a part of Ronwe because Liza is just...incredible on her own. Even though most of her decisions were probably influenced by Ronwe, I see good in her. I cant help but compare her to Felicity and whatever the name of her Froslass possessor was (Skuld I think?). The similarities are striking. Both were the members of their respective regional team, not by complete self-choice, both possessed by ravenous, murderous, bloodthirsty Ghosts. The only difference seeming to be that while Felicity was possessed, Liza is actually a part of her Ghost. Still, I love Liza and cant wait to see her eventual, and inevitable downfall. I hope it is befitting of someone of her stature.
Don't worry. Liza will shortly disappear, then reappear in what will hopefully be a blaze of awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Finishing up with Puck and Co. I love how easily Sapphire was able to manipulate Puck. Its nice to see that even the most arrogant of people have weaknesses, those weaknesses generally being their arrogance. I really want to see what Prof. Birch will send them to get them to the Spear Pillar in time. Were he smart, he would send a powerful Psychic type to Teleport them there. What will likely arrive through the PC System is a powerful Flying or Dragon type Pokemon. And it will have to be fast. They have to get from Veilstone to past Celestic Town before the battle ends, or either before or just after the Queen, Ashley, Pearl, Cyrus, or the man in black completely blow everything up.
They'll be there soon - in time to fight The Final Boss, at any rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c1234321 View Post
Sorry, not wrapping up yet, forgot about Stephanie. I cant help the feeling that Stephanie is somehow involved in the godly Trio somehow. Clearly, Ashley is or is related to Dialga, Pearl is or is related to Palkia, a fact revealed by you telling us Palkia was considered by some to be a goddess. The Desk Sitter is probably a form of Giratina, probably the form of the Destroyer. I feel like Stephanie fits in there somewhere. Maybe she, like Iago, was Pearl's Keeper? Maybe she is something more powerful? Maybe she is Arceus? Or maybe the Desk Sitter is Darkrai and Stephanie is Cresselia? It would make a bit more sense for the Desk Sitter to be Darkrai because in the games, Giratina interferes in Cyrus's meddling with Dialga and Palkia because you have revealed they are its children. But then who is the man in black? I know Stephanie is involved in all this god stuff somehow. As of right now, I am going to establish my theory that she is Cresselia and the Desk Sitter is Darkrai and go from there. Wow. My conspiracy tower just gained like 50 new floors.

I end this with the assurance that any and all grammar mistakes were fixed for this chapter and the congratulations of an excellent beginning of the climactic battle scenes. I look forward to the ending!
Glad you're enjoying it. I hope I can deliver.

F.A.B.
__________________

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
  #148    
Old September 2nd, 2012, 03:38 AM
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 20
Gender:
Nature: Impish
Chapter Forty-Three: In Which Titans Clash

'What do you do when the world's about to end and you're surrounded by impossible monsters? In the case of Indiana Jones, get your whip out and prepare to jump. In the case of Link, equip the Master Sword, because nothing else can defeat Ganon. In the case of Pearl Gideon, prepare to get beaten up and try not to break anything.'
—Luther Arkensotter, How the Heroes Do It


Liza felt good.

She didn't know if it was the approaching end of the universe or what, but things were loosening up in her mind, and she was recalling everything that made her special – those talents that had made her one of the most desired criminals-for-hire in the business. That incredible strength. The unnatural speed. The mind that raced faster than any human brain possibly could.

There were even flashes of memory in there – bits from before the Time When She Forgot. Some things about someone she'd known once, some woman named Ronwe.

Ronwe had been even better than she was, she remembered. She had taught Liza all she knew.

Honestly, Liza didn't know what had come over her. This search for her former identity – who cared? She was who she was. She suspected it was being in close proximity to that bastard Lacrimére that had done it; she'd heard he could get inside your head, fiddle things around. Maybe he hadn't liked the idea of going up against her at full strength. She could understand that.

Anyway. He was gone now, and wouldn't be back until it was too late. For now, all Liza had to do was to show the two girls in front of her all those lovely tricks that Ronwe had taught her. One by one.

And if they were still alive after that, she'd be happy to show them again.

---

“Hey, girls,” said Liza, green fire climbing out of the pits where her eyes had once been. “What's the rush?”

I stared. Her voice sounded like Ashley's when he released: a horrible parody of human speech, as if she usually communicated by other means and disliked having to stoop to using a tongue. Her hair was wrong, too – it was drifting around her head as if underwater, and sometimes lashing out like a bundle of snakes. Something was seriously wrong here.

There didn't seem to have been any prior warning signs, but I was getting the feeling that Liza Radley was not exactly human, and maybe never had been.

“What's the matter?” she asked. “It's kind of rude to stare.”

“What are you?” I asked.

“Who cares?” she rejoined. “I don't.”

The little dark Pokémon slammed headfirst into Marley and sent her flying through the air; unlike me, she turned it into a somersault and landed on her feet a few metres back. I supposed ninja skills ran in the family, along with crippling weirdness and superpowers.

“Now,” said Liza, as the Pokémon rushed over to stand next to her, keeping a wary eye on Marley. “You have two choices. Stand there and wait for Cyrus to finish, or try and get past me to stop him.” She smiled, and I saw that her teeth were very, very sharp. “I recommend the second option,” she told me confidingly. “It's much more fun for me.”

“How did you end up so differe—?”

Marley flung herself at the gap between Liza and Cyrus' Pokémon, but Liza caught her wrist and swung her into me, hard. One moment I was upright, the next I was lying on the floor in serious pain and a tangle of limbs.

“Does it matter?” she asked, taking a step forwards so she could stand over us. “Is this the real Liza, or is that the confused Liza? I don't know. We change places a lot.”

She bent down and hauled me to my feet by my injured arm; I would have cried out, but I was still struggling to breathe from the impact of Marley on my chest.

“Why are you even here?” asked Liza, staring into my eyes with those flames of hers. “You're nothing. Lacrimére has his powers, Cynthia's the Champion, that guy is a vampire, and the kid's got Lacrimére's blood and some of his strength – but you? What do you have that they don't?”

To my right, Marley and the Pokémon were circling each other warily; the Pokémon seemed to have realised that Marley was significantly tougher than a normal human, and appeared to be waiting for her to make the first move.

“I don't know,” I gasped. The heat of the fires in her head were combining with the pain and making me dizzy; sky and ground seemed to keep swapping places, so that there were weathered flagstones above and thunderclouds below. “I don't know. Ashley chose me...”

“Excuse me,” said a strange voice from behind Liza. “I believe I owe you something.”

Surprised, she turned – and a white-gloved fist struck her full in the face.

Immediately, Liza's grip slackened and I pulled away, staggering back; I blinked, gathering my senses, and then looked back to see a distinguished-looking man in a tailsuit looking at me with a certain subdued kindness.

“Please stand aside, madam,” he said. “I had been intending to take that Chain away from Mister Maragos over there, but I couldn't help but notice your predicament.”

“Jeeves!” howled another voice. “What are you doing? Grab the bloody Chain!”

The man – Jeeves, I presumed – turned to answer, only to be punched in the side of the head by Liza, who had just about pulled herself together.

“Who the **** are you?” she growled, swinging another fist in his direction.

Jeeves caught it adroitly in one hand, twisted it sharply and pushed her over.

“My name is Bond, madam,” he said. “Gabriel Bond. And seventy-five years ago you stabbed me to death with my own shadow.”

Liza stared up at him from the floor.

What?”

“You also murdered my employers,” Jeeves – or Bond or whatever he was called – said. “And I really would not be worthy of the service industry if I did not exact suitable vengeance on their behalf.”

So saying, he dragged her upright by the lapels of her jacket and threw her into the nearest knot of Absol.

“Now, madam,” he said, turning to me. “It seems our goals coincide. Would you be amenable to an offer of collaboration?”

“Uh... Yeah. Definitely yes. Thank you.”

“Excellent.”

Bond turned to the smaller fight going on between Marley and the Pokémon – the fight that was currently no more than a staring match – and kicked the little Pokémon hard; his highly-polished shoe caught it in the belly, and, weighing about the same as a nine-year-old child, it flew past the altar and hit the wall beyond. It did not, however, get up.

“There's no time to explain,” said Bond, turning back to Marley and me, who were both currently staring at him as if we'd seen a ghost. “We must stop him!”

He was right there, and the three of us approached Cyrus again; beyond the altar, I saw a small girl in an old-fashioned dress watching with wide eyes, and something that looked like the Grim Reaper's baby brother. What the hell was going on, I wondered. Who were these people and where had they come from?

I had no more time to wonder. Bond laid a hand firmly on Cyrus' shoulder, and pulled him around to face us.

“Sir, you really cannot be allowed to continue,” he said seriously. “Would one of you take the—”

“...as your servants below,” continued Cyrus coolly, staring back at him without concern. “In the name of Arceus—”

“The Chain!” I cried, and Marley and I lunged for it as Bond tried his best to silence Cyrus—

“—I charge you now—”

In a wholly inappropriate comedy moment our heads collided and we both fell back.

“—to appear before your priest—”

Now I had my hands around the lower links, but the Chain burned like acid and I jerked back hastily, crying out in pain and realising too late that Cyrus wore gloves.

“—by the blood of the summoner—”

Marley had it now and she tugged hard, ignoring the blisters that spread across her hands like voracious mould. It slipped a little, and with his free hand Bond tried to prise Cyrus' grip loose—

“—in your seat of power—”

“Quickly—!”

“—and without delay,” finished Cyrus.

There was a horrible ghastly silence.

The Chain surged up and out of his hands.

The heavens fell.

---

White heat poured out of Cyrus like an exploding star, and Bond, Marley and I were flung back again – but slowly, as if through treacle; space itself grew warm and sticky around us, and I was moving so very slowly by the time I hit the ground that I'd managed to get back into a perfectly upright position, and touched down lightly. I didn't even notice. All I saw was the sky above the Pillar, that flat mass of black cloud – only it wasn't cloud, I realised now, but the absence of sky: it was a huge circle of darkness studded with stars, as if night had fallen on Spear Pillar but nowhere else. In the middle of it was the Chain, curled into a loop and swirling around and around on some unseen current.

Now something was forming in the darkness – a crystal, I thought, some kind of gigantic sapphire – and now faint lines were spreading out from it, tracing alien, jagged shapes in the air. Two more jewels materialised to the right, pink this time, and again lines started to creep out from it, slowly carving out round forms in the night.

The lines spread and spread, but still I couldn't see what they were making; they spread more, and now they covered the entire dark disc, making it look as though it had been struck with a cosmic hammer and a cobweb of cracks had shot through it—

And then I saw it.

Oh my God.


I knew why I hadn't been able to see what had been forming in the sky.

They had been too big. I'd just been looking at a small part of them.

With a sound like a city pulling up its roots, the two shapes pulled away from the sky, and I saw the colours dance on their skin and I felt their colossal presence in my mind and I and everyone else on the Pillar had no choice but to fall to their knees in their presence.

Dialga. Palkia. You could put a name to a god, but no mortal being could ever do justice to the face.

I could tell you they looked like dragons. I could tell you that Dialga was all spines and hard edges, and Palkia was softer and rounder. I could tell you that Dialga was made of raw, undiluted time, and Palkia of the tribute given by every point in the universe.

But you'd never understand, if you hadn't seen them. No one ever could.

There was no battle. There was no plot to destroy the world. In that one endless second when the gods appeared and we looked on, all was forgotten. Across Sinnoh, I'm told people saw a globe of night that burned with silver fire appear above Mount Coronet, and lost themselves in the majesty of it. We were in the heart of that globe, and we forgot we'd ever been born in its glory.

And then Cyrus got to his feet, eyes shining, and he said three words in Old Sinnish that boomed in the air like thunder.

The Chain uncoiled in the air, and each end dived towards a god.

I never saw how they were bound. I couldn't look – couldn't bear the thought of being a part of the binding of these beings, so much greater and more perfect than myself. I was not worthy; no one was. So I closed my eyes, and prayed quietly to Arceus, in whose existence I had never before had even the slightest bit of faith, to do something.

By the time I opened them again, it was all over. Dialga and Palkia had shrunk, collapsed down, to the size of elephants, floating in the abyss beyond the altar. They had acquired a red glow, and I saw lines of searing red twisting tightly all around their bodies, like a series of ugly wounds. It actually hurt me to look at them; I could feel a pressure on me, as if my skin was suddenly too small for my body.

And then I heard a voice.

“I... I did it,” breathed Cyrus. “They're – they're here.”

He had probably meant to address the Team at this point, but he couldn't turn around and they couldn't listen to him. No one could give any attention to anything but the captive deities.

“Now,” he said, “remove it all. Sweep the universe from its foundations, and rebu—”

No.”

I knew that voice.

“What?” Cyrus turned, somehow wrenching his eyes away from Dialga and Palkia to see who had spoken. “Who said that?”

“I did.”

Now we were all turning, something in this new voice overpowering the attraction of the gods, and we saw a dark shape descending towards us from the west, silhouetted against the setting sun.

“Who – what is this?”

Now the shape was closer, and I saw that vast, fleshy panels extended out to either side of it, beating slowly like mutilated wings.

“I am the rightful King of Sinnoh. I am the High Chief of the Shinowh people of the western mountains. I am the Son of Izh, Izhlei of the Crownéd Mountain. I am the Diamond, Ashley Lacrimére, and you have fatally miscalculated how long it takes for my head to reattach to my body.”

And then Ashley landed, and I finally saw him as his enemies did.

---

Ashley, or the thing that had been Ashley, was slightly taller than a man, and roughly the same shape. His skin was a dull, burnt colour halfway between rust and dirt, and his body was full of voids and cankers; his torso was swollen and split apart by something that looked like a beating human heart wrought in purple crystal, and his legs resembled nothing so much as withered spikes, balanced on nubs of cancerous bone. Those horrific rags of wings on his back that had borne him here dissolved and decayed to thin, whiplike tendrils that wound around his arms and sank into the flesh, shedding gobbets of meat that rotted where it landed.

But his face was the worst of it – it wasn't even really a face at all, just a dark expanse of blue-green flesh, dotted with holes and tumours apparently at random, two great eyes staring out from halfway across like baleful moons. His mouth was a vertical slash, stretching from the crown of his head down to his chin, and it was filled with a thousand short, sharp teeth that looked as though they had been ripped from hundreds of tiny sharks and stuck in at random. All of this was framed by a pair of stubby horns, pressing out at his skin and stretching it to transparency but not piercing it. I was relieved to see he was alive, and even more relieved he was here – but I wished like hell it didn't have to be like this.

As Ashley strode forwards, parting the Galactics and the Absol with the mere force of his presence, the train of thought that had begun earlier that day came to a halt in my head. Without surprise, I realised that I knew what he was – kind of – and that it was nothing at all like I had thought. He was the result of something beyond the experience of the Ancient Sinnish, and the only way they had been able to explain him was to call him a god.

“Cyrus,” he said, mouth rippling with each word. “You must cease your efforts at once.”

“You're the Diamond, I presume,” replied Cyrus, as Ashley emerged into the nave, now standing between Marley and I and the altar. “I have to admit I never expected your true face to be quite like this.”

“This is the face of Izhlei,” replied Ashley quietly. “It is not me.” He held out his arms, and each limb wrenched itself in two with the horrific sound of tearing flesh, uncurling and reforming into twin tentacles, bone blades running down their length. “I warn you, Cyrus. I will kill you. Quite apart from being intent on destroying the universe, you have come very close to killing Cynthia and Marley – an act that would quite probably have been the greatest wound you could actually inflict on me.”

“Oh, thanks,” I muttered sarcastically. Looking back on it, I can't quite believe that I was of sound enough mind to say that. I mean, two gods had just appeared and my mind had recently been blown far more than a usual day's investigation with Ashley.

“And of course you would have killed Pearl Gideon,” he continued, “who, quite apart from the fact that she is the only one that can save the world, is also the first friend I have made in a very, very long time.”

Aw, I thought, genuinely touched. That was nice of—

Wait. Wait just a goddamn minute.

What did he just say?

“Cynthia! Jasper! All of you, stay back,” said Ashley. “I will need you later. For now, please do not help. Under any circumstances.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Cyrus, leaning on the altar. Dialga and Palkia bobbed silently in the air behind him, the Chain on their bodies casting a hellish glow over his face. “You're not going to fight me, are you?”

“Yes,” replied Ashley. “That is exactly what I am going to do.”

“You'll lose.”

“Yes,” Ashley agreed. “I will.”

“Ashley!” cried Cynthia, pushing past the Commanders she'd been fighting and running down towards Marley, Bond and me. “Don't—!”

“I told you not to help,” said Ashley, his head rotating 180° to face her. “Please, darling. I will need you later.”

Cynthia said nothing, but I could see the beginnings of tears swimming in her eyes. She would hold back, I knew. She had the mental strength to vaporise groups of Galactics in battle without thinking; she would hold back.

Cyrus sat down on the altar.

“I suppose it's your own business if you want to die,” he said. “Dialga!”

The god tossed its head, the Chain that bound it glowing brighter.

“Kill him,” Cyrus ordered, and Diagla opened its mouth and roared.

I can't explain what that roar was. I couldn't hear it, but it made the sun set suddenly in less than a second, then rise again and run backwards across the sky; the moon rose and set twice, and for a long moment time seemed to stop—

Then Ashley fell over backwards.

Dead.

And in the back of my head, the place where all the shock and terror and fear and panic had been hidden away burst wide open, letting all that suppressed emotion flood out. It picked up my concerns for Ashley, all my fears that the world was over and there was no stopping Cyrus now—

—and burst right out of my skull, flying out through the mountains and all through Sinnoh.

Ashley laughed, a horrible hoarse laugh, and sat up.

“That should do it,” he said, climbing stiffly to his feet and watching the crystal heart in his breast begin to beat again. “Thank you, Cyrus. You have just defeated yourself.”

“You're alive? What do you mean?” Cyrus raised a hand and Dialga poised itself again, ready to roar; all around, those Galactics with firearms aimed them at Ashley. “Tell me!”

“Nothing can kill me,” Ashley said. “Absolutely nothing.”

“Not that.” Cyrus gestured, and half a dozen bullets smacked into Ashley's flesh. He barely even noticed, and the Absol swiftly executed those who had fired. “What was that about me defeating myself?”

“Pearl Gideon,” Ashley told him, turning and dragging his hideous body closer to me. “She has Johnson's Syndrome, Type C – and she is the strongest I have ever encountered.”

Johnson's Syndrome? The genetic disorder that made you slightly psychic? Firstly, I hadn't known that, and secondly – what the hell?

“I noticed she had extreme reactions to psionic activity,” Ashley went on, as if explaining something to me or Iago, and not to an army of potentially lethal Galactics. “The Driftenburg, the voice of the Alakazam elders – they were magnified by her sensitive mind. She was even strong enough to attempt a weak form of psychic attack when she really needed to; thankfully, she was up against a Croagunk, which are very susceptible to Psychic-type attacks, and it was repulsed. And I have no doubt that right now she is only functioning because she is able use her power to compartmentalise and seal away the shock and terror she is feeling, and continue through otherwise traumatic circumstances.

“Type C is essentially an empathetic form of Johnson's Syndrome. Pearl can feel meaning in others' minds, and, with the right stimulus, can cause others to feel as she does.”

Psychic. I was sodding psychic, like Lucian Tallow of the Elite Four. Like the famous Tate and Liza of Hoenn's Mossdeep Island.

Only I was stronger than all of them.

Well, it didn't seem to have much application beyond realising that people were strülden, hurting Croagunk and occasionally apparently saving the world, but I supposed that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Ashley turned around again to face Cyrus.

“A moment ago, Pearl thought I died. That was a lot of emotion there. Enough to send a wave of fear and rage at you across Sinnoh. Right now, every creature with any sort of psychic sense at all is wondering how best to kill you, Cyrus – and three of those creatures also possess the power to come here, and have something of a grudge against you anyway.”

Ashley looked up, beyond Dialga and Palkia.

“Ah,” he said. “Here they come now.”

And there they came indeed: Azelf, Mesprit and Uxie, flying through the sky with murder in their tiny eyes. I could tell at a glance that in the few hours they had been free they had been feeding and sleeping, presumably preparatory to finding and brutally murdering Cyrus; when I had seen them last, they had been barely able to fly. Now, they glowed with coloured light and the world around them rippled.

Cyrus stared at them, and I could tell that he was very much regretting not having them killed.

“Galactics!” roared Mars. “Take them down!”

“I think not,” said Ashley quietly, and the Absol launched themselves into the attack with renewed fury; as quickly as it had ended, the battle between them and the Galactics flared into life again, the aisles of the temple suddenly full of flying fur and blood. “Now I need you, darling,” Ashley said, turning to Cynthia. “Stop the Commanders!”

With that, he launched himself forwards, wings forming on his back again, riding a nonexistent wind across to Dialga and Palkia with the lake legendaries at his back.

Marley grabbed my sleeve.

“He can't win,” she said urgently. “Those three can only balance one of the gods, not both. It's a distraction – we need to get the Chain from Cyrus!”

“Then get the Chain we shall, madam,” said Bond, apparently not at all bothered by the fact that the plan we were obeying had been devised by a flying, decaying monster and relied on the psychic abilities of someone who didn't even know they had them.

Doesn't matter, I thought as I began to run. Just get that sodding Chain and this is all over.

From behind, I heard Saturn cry out and Jasper say something in that acid voice of his; I hoped he and Cynthia could hold off the Commanders long enough. I didn't want to be caught between the gods on one hand and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on the other.

I glanced up, and saw the legendaries circling Dialga, streams of energy pouring into it from the jewels on their heads; it was like the effect of the Chain, I thought, but in miniature. Dialga was frozen, completely immobile – but Palkia was still moving, and as I watched it swung one huge, scintillating claw at Ashley, splitting apart the very air it passed through to reveal a leaking blackness beyond—

Concentrate, Pearl, concentrate. You brought the cavalry in, now finish the job.


I tore my eyes away from the battle in the sky and back down to Cyrus; Bond launched an incredible flying kick at his back and knocked him off the altar, but to my dismay he simply rose back onto his feet again – without moving his arms or legs. It seemed controlling the gods came with a few extra perks.

“You want the Chain?” he asked, holding up the one link that remained in his hand – the link that meant that he was the one in control of Dialga and Palkia. “I'm sorry, but you'll have to do better than that.”

Abruptly, Ashley fell out of the sky and hit the altar so hard his spine shattered, which interrupted our confrontation a little; he stared up at me, the yellow fire in his eyes dimmed, and said:

“I was hoping you might be a little faster, Pearl.”

“Look out!” shrieked an unfamiliar voice – the little girl in the corner behind the altar with the skull-faced thing – and I looked up to see Palkia descending from the sky claws-first—

Bond, Marley and I exploded away from the spot in all different directions, tripping over our feet in determination to get as far away from the god as possible—

Without a sound, a section of the floor of Spear Pillar was sheared away, leaving a pool of abstract nothingness behind; it swiftly filled in with rock, but the point was clear. If that had hit us, I thought, turning to see Palkia beating its mighty wings and rising up again for another shot, we would have been killed so completely that we would never even have existed.

“They're no threat,” said Cyrus, watching us flee with faint amusement. “Free Dialga from the legendaries!”

“No!” I cried, but it was too late. Palkia turned around and slashed at the air again, and part of the universe itself shifted out of joint, forming into a blade and moving through the sky, dragging half a cloud and several stars along with it; it impacted on the legendaries circling Dialga and burst into a shower of broken fragments of gravity. My brain hurt from thinking about it, but that didn't concern me: the fact was that the lake legendaries were blown back, scattered out across the sky like confetti; the glowing auras surrounding them dimmed, and though they flew back, it wasn't to surround Dialga again, it was to fly over the Pillar and down the steps, presumably to rest away from the battlefield.

Cyrus pulled Ashley's broken body up from the altar so that he could speak to him face to face, and said:

“It seems so childish to say it, but I simply can't resist: what was that you said about me having just defeated myself?”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” replied Ashley honestly. “I suppose I've been fortunate today – with the injuries I sustained, I did not like my chances of being able to fully release without passing out from lack of energy – and thought that my luck might hold.”

“There is no such thing as luck,” Cyrus told him. “And when I have rebuilt the world, everyone will know it.”

He dropped him again and proclaimed in ringing tones:

“Destroy these Absol! End this battle!”

Dialga roared. Palkia swung its claw.

Every Absol still on its feet fell down dead upon the spot, and I felt a horrible weight press down on my conscience. The Absol had died for us, for me. They had come here to die so that we could save the world – and we hadn't.
It was as if I'd gone around and personally broken each of their necks.

“Now hold all those who would stop me still,” he continued.

This time, only Palkia moved; space was its domain, and I felt something – not air, more like the space the air was in – rapidly solidify around me, holding me perfectly still. I couldn't even blink. The sudden cessation of the noise behind me told me that Jasper and Cynthia had been frozen too.

Cal.

“That's better,” said Cyrus, walking around the altar and sauntering down the nave, looking around at his bloodied Team and subdued foes. “You came to all this trouble to come to the end of your world. It's only fair you should stay and see it to the end.”

I looked at Ashley through eyes that were beginning to dry out, willing him to get back up, to have another plan, to tell us how we were going to get out of this one – but he didn't move. He was held as tightly as the rest of us.

Cal.

I thought of the legendaries, and tried my best to focus, to bring them back with another burst of psychic power – but they wouldn't come. I could feel my fear reaching out to them, my shock and terror, but they were hurt, and wary, and could barely move after Palkia's hit. If I'd had time, perhaps I would have wondered that I was now calling on powers I barely knew I had to try and save my life – but I didn't. The world was about to end and I was stuck in the middle of it.

Cal.

“My friends!” said Cyrus, spreading his arms and addressing the Team. “I told you yesterday that we were nearing the end of our journey.” He paused. “Well, now we have. Our foes are subdued. The Pillar is ours. And the gods themselves are shackled to our will!”

There it was again, that rush of positivity that flowed out from him when he gave a speech; this empathetic psychic thing had let it get to me once, but I knew both his game and mine now, and I didn't give in. It worked a treat on the Team, though – they stood knee-deep in corpses, and had been on their last legs until he started talking; now they were cheering and whooping as if they were safe and sound back in their auditorium.

“Now,” Cyrus continued, “I want you all to watch very carefully. You are about to see the birth of a brave new world – your world. A world where honest folk like you and I can live in endless, rational harmony.”

There was something odd about his emotional projection, though, I realised. It was like it wasn't coming from him, but something occupying the same space as him. Something else was there, I realised, something that was helping him.

“Dialga! Palkia!” he shouted, turning to face them. “I command you. Raze the universe down to its foundations, so that I may begin anew. Bring my Team and I back to the dawn of the world!”

Dialga and Palkia looked at each other. It was an oddly human gesture for such beings, and I wondered what it meant. What thought had they shared in that glance – and was it even possible for my mortal mind to comprehend it?

And then Dialga roared its silent roar, and Palkia slashed its reality-splitting slash, and pieces of the sky began to rain down onto the earth—

—but only for a split second, because at that moment the Spear Pillar altar exploded into a ball of darkness, sending shards of granite flying everywhere and Ashley skidding across the flagstones, and a pair of glowing red eyes appeared in the dark.

Perhaps it was surprise, perhaps it was the power of this shadowy interloper, but it seemed to me that Palkia's hold weakened just a little – enough for Ashley to tilt his head up, and speak through his shredded, toothy mouth.

“Mother,” he managed. “How nice of you to join us.”
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  #149    
Old September 2nd, 2012, 05:28 AM
dracoflare's Avatar
dracoflare
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
“There's no time to explain,” said Bond, turning back to Marley and me, who were both currently staring at him as if we'd seen a ghost. “We must stop him!”
Is 'who' the correct word there? I haven't written much in first person, so I never faced this situation but I wanted to know if 'who' was the correct word or it was a mistake. (Most probably the former, I guess.)

This chapter was really amazing, but at the same time very weird! You have packed lots of hot stuff like Pearl's powers, the birth of Dialga, Palkia etc.

Liza was terrifying, but I didn't expect Bond to put her out of commission that easily.

Now Bond was really bad-ass like he always was. The amount of bad-assness in this chapter is rivaled only by the chapter where he saves Ellen from Froslass.

I liked how he maintained his character despite the situation...but hey that's expected of a butler.

Secondly, Ashley is back!

My god, I didn't expect Ashley to be back in this chapter. I expected Cyrus to do something sinister(which he did) this chapter and then he would appear in the next chapter...but oh well this is fine too!

Third

Pearl's powers.

Oh you dropped the hints well but damn it! I couldn't figure it out.

Fourth

Giratina is Ashley's mother?!!! I had many many many theories but this-- Nah, you actually told he was the son of some goddess.


Now you left one person out. Yep I didn't forget him! I think he will come to action the next chapter. I wonder what secret identity does he posses? Is he perhaps Arceus himself? LOL, I won't be surprised.

But seriously, you dropped a lot of stuff in this chapter, maybe too much for my brain to take. Then again it makes this chapter epic in a way!
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  #150    
Old September 3rd, 2012, 10:59 AM
Cutlerine
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Is 'who' the correct word there? I haven't written much in first person, so I never faced this situation but I wanted to know if 'who' was the correct word or it was a mistake. (Most probably the former, I guess.)
As far as I know, that's right. It does look a little odd now I look at it, but I've done it many times before and never even thought about it, so I suppose it's probably correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
This chapter was really amazing, but at the same time very weird! You have packed lots of hot stuff like Pearl's powers, the birth of Dialga, Palkia etc.
Yeah, I wanted to loose it all into the readers' faces like a shotgun blast. It was meant to knock everything loose - to put you into a weaker version of Pearl's state of mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Liza was terrifying, but I didn't expect Bond to put her out of commission that easily.
Really? Haven't you noticed that Bond, well, never loses? It's kind of his thing. He never even gets hurt. He's just awesome, because he is a butler. (I'm following the example of Jeeves and Sebastian here.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Now Bond was really bad-ass like he always was. The amount of bad-assness in this chapter is rivaled only by the chapter where he saves Ellen from Froslass.

I liked how he maintained his character despite the situation...but hey that's expected of a butler.
See above for notes re. butler-related awesomeness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Secondly, Ashley is back!

My god, I didn't expect Ashley to be back in this chapter. I expected Cyrus to do something sinister(which he did) this chapter and then he would appear in the next chapter...but oh well this is fine too!
Like I said... boom. Blast of weirdness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Pearl's powers.

Oh you dropped the hints well but damn it! I couldn't figure it out.
Actually, I dropped half of those hints before I'd even worked out what Pearl's power was. I got very lucky there, but then again I usually do when it comes to this; it's the whole reason I still do this whole 'make it up as I go along' thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Giratina is Ashley's mother?!!! I had many many many theories but this-- Nah, you actually told he was the son of some goddess.
Actually, I haven't confirmed it. Ashley's story is not yet over.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoflare View Post
Now you left one person out. Yep I didn't forget him! I think he will come to action the next chapter. I wonder what secret identity does he posses? Is he perhaps Arceus himself? LOL, I won't be surprised.

But seriously, you dropped a lot of stuff in this chapter, maybe too much for my brain to take. Then again it makes this chapter epic in a way!
Thanks! Looks like I achieved what I meant to. But stick around: things aren't over on Spear Pillar. Not by a long shot.

F.A.B.
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