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Old July 25th, 2007 (10:26 AM). Edited July 29th, 2007 by silverfrost.
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silverfrost silverfrost is offline
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    Chapter 4- Diversion By a Persian

    Eralynn jumped out of bed as fast as she could. She nearly tripped over her blanket, which she had thrown on the floor while stumbling around the room for her sandals. When she found them, she kept feeling around the dark room for her cloak. Eventually, she found it in the corner, where she had carelessly thrown it the last time she’d worn it. Without hesitating, she threw it on and pulled the hood up over her head. Also, she grabbed her bow and arrows, attaching the bow to the arrow bag and then strapping it around her chest.

    “Was it a dream?” She asked herself suddenly. “No, no... I was awake. Someone spoke to me. They said it was all true...”

    The confused girl quickly put her hand over her mouth at the memory of what she had seen. She paced for a moment, unsure of what she should do. She really wanted to know who had spoken to her. She also wondered why this voice had shown her such a horrible thing. Was it just... to scare her? She couldn’t guess. Then, she thought for a moment that she should tell her father what she had seen... But, no. He would not believe her for an instant. He would just tell her to go back to sleep and that it was all due to a bad dream.

    Through all of her doubt, she was sure of one thing. Her heart yearned to escape Derelon... to leave... She did not know why, but she felt as if she must obey its order. She didn’t know how she would do it, but she had to find a way. Something in the distance called for her, needed her, even.

    She quickly ran through a plan in her mind. She needed something that would work fast and allow for an easy departure. There were night guards assigned to every exit, surrounding all sides of the city, and it would not be easy to get past them. However, she would try, no matter what.

    Eralynn emerged from her room and softly closed the door. The darkness remained thick around her, but fortunately, she knew her way through the corridor outside of her room and did not need the light. She crept towards the room next to hers and fumbled around for the doorknob. She moved her hand until she felt the cold, hard, round piece of metal, and turned it as quietly as possible.

    Inside lay Orriso, sleeping soundly. She could hear him snoring softly, but could not see anything. It was pitch dark, and she nearly tripped over a few things on the floor. She felt around with her hands, and found the edge of her father’s bed. Using this as a guide, she walked towards the other end of the room. However, she found what she was looking for sooner than she had intended. She stepped on something soft and thin, which, upon her touch, proceeded to squirm, agitated. Immediately, Eralynn heard a hiss come from where the long, furry object was. She tried to pull her foot away in time, but it didn’t work, and suddenly, there were sharp teeth sinking into her skin. She bit her lip in pain, trying desperately not to make any noise. She could not afford to wake her father up. So, she shook her foot lightly, making the irritable creature release its grip.

    “It’s only me, Donterr,” Eralynn whispered as quietly as possible.

    She couldn’t see, but she guessed now that he felt less threatened, as he was backing away from her. Eralynn kneeled down to his level, knowing that, with his eyes, he could see her clearly through the darkness.

    “Now, I have a-” She began, but immediately stopped when she heard her father shifting in his sleep to the side of her. She clenched her chest in fear as she heard him murmur something, but was relieved when he began snoring softly once again. She sighed in relief.

    “Okay... I have a favor to ask of you, Donterr. Please, follow me back to my room,” she requested to the Pokemon.

    They silently walked out of the room, Eralynn trying her best not to trip over anything, while Donterr was a type of Pokemon that was blessed with stealth, therefore, he barely needed to try. When Eralynn lit a candle in her room, she could finally see Donterr’s small, thin body, and his luxurious tan coat. He had rounded black ears and large shining eyes. Eralynn could see his sharp claws as he extended them from his paws while stretching. Donterr was a type of Pokemon known as a Persian. He was the Advisor’s pet, but being a cat, he wasn’t exactly loyal. He was completely independent, and mostly slept during the day. He was nocturnal, which meant he would normally be very active at night, roaming the streets of Derelon and hunting for mice. However, the Advisor always kept him locked in his bedroom with him during those hours, since he was worried that he would escape or get lost in the middle of the evening. Obviously, by assuming he would get lost, Orriso did not understand the level of a Persian’s intelligence.

    Eralynn sat down on her bed and watched Donterr as he licked his paws without paying much attention to anything else. She scratched her head, wondering exactly how to make him pay attention, since she knew how self-centered he could be.

    “Donterr, you know, I did you a favor by letting you out of that room, so I was hoping you could help me out with something,” the bargaining girl said.

    Donterr kept licking his paw, but opened one of his eyes to look at her while he did so. He turned his arm at a different angle with every lick, letting his tongue lap the top of it, the side, and the underside, where the pads of his paws were.

    “Okay. I’m in desperate need of a diversion tonight, to avert the attention of the guards at the borders of the city,” Eralynn said, her words spilling out of her mouth as she hoped that the cat Pokemon was listening.

    Donterr put his paw to the floor and stretched, sticking his back up into the air and straightening his tail. He yawned and returned to his normal sitting position, staring at Eralynn with his slit, snake-like eyes. His attitude constantly reeked of sarcasm, but Eralynn couldn't help but like his company anyway.

    “Um, well, it should be fun for you. I know how much you hate being cooped up in father’s room late at night. So, if I let you outside, and you do this for me, you can chase all the Rattata you want afterwards,” she wagered.

    Donterr looked up at her now that he realized that there would be something in it for him as well. Selfish as he was, Eralynn sighed with relief, guessing that he was accepting to go through with this task for her. She opened her window, and Donterr immediately sprang from the ground and up onto the window sill. He sat for a second, allowing himself to absorb his surroundings. Head darting to the left and right to check which way he wanted to make it down, the Persian finally leapt out onto the roof and continued to climb down towards the earth.

    Eralynn looked out the window and at the ground beneath her. She was only about twenty feet up, but it would still be something of a challenge to get down. She watched Donterr with jealousy as he made it down easily. Wishing she had the same climbing talent as him, she grabbed her bed sheet and tied the very end to her bedpost. She then attached her blanket to the other end of the sheet, forming a rope. She threw the attached sheet and blanket out the window, watching them as they fell. She could see that there was only about seven feet between the end of the blanket and the ground, so it wouldn’t be a long drop.

    She climbed up onto the window sill and grabbed the sheet in one hand. Slowly, she pushed herself out the window, and held onto her assembled rope. She carefully climbed down, keeping her feet against the edge of the palace for extra balance. In her mind formed images of Spinarak gracefully descending as they hung onto their spiderwebs. Eralynn frowned when she realized that, in her struggling, she probably looked nothing like this. When she successfully reached the end of the rope, she dropped to the ground.

    She now dusted herself off and looked around for Donterr. Of course, she couldn’t see well at night, so she was relying on him to come to her. “Donterr!” She whispered through the night air, hoping that he was in hearing distance.

    Not amused by having to do Eralynn this favor, he trotted up to her slowly, but she could barely see him. She knelt down to where she imagined his eye level would be. “Listen, you need to act as a diversion for me, all right?” She asked.

    “Mrawr,” Donterr meowed loudly.

    “Shhh!” Eralynn responded, nearly losing her cool. “Now, I just need you to distract the guards at the South exit of Derelon. That’s the way I need to leave, since it’s closest to the forest. Also, I really need you to bring them towards... um, the archery hill, if possible. That’s the opposite way I need to go, so they’ll never see me.”

    She got up and walked around the edge of the palace, towards the front, since they had hopped down into the back area. Once she got close enough to the street located in the front, she began to be able to see once more. The roads of Derelon were luminated by torches on either side, attached to the outter walls of pubs, banks, restaurants, and homes. They lit the way for anyone that traveled through the city by night, which was usually only the guards.

    Eralynn stopped for a moment to take in the sight. The orange flames flickered and swayed on their torches as their soft light poured onto the street before the escaping girl. Before her, the stone roads were covered in the soft, beautiful glow, and it made Eralynn realize that she might miss this place in her absence... Wherever it was that she was going. She did not know... She only had a strong desire to continue on with the plan.

    Eralynn looked down and saw Donterr walking at her side. They advanced towards the South side of Derelon, where Eralynn would make her escape. They walked the same way that Eralynn had gone the other day to see Aerance, but during the day, there would no guards on duty, so leaving the city wasn’t much of a problem.

    Now, as they approached their destination, Eralynn could see two men on lookout. They stood atop the stone steps that led out into the plains, which in turn, led into the forest. They were mainly watching towards the outside of the city and not paying much attention to what was going on behind them.

    Eralynn looked down at Donterr once again and nodded, directing him to begin his favor. She walked into an alleyway, where she could see what happened perfectly just by peering out from behind a building. She prayed it would work, because she didn’t want to have to struggle to escape.

    The citizens of Derelon were not typically allowed to leave the city, unless it had to do with their job, or if they King permitted it. If one was to suddenly leave, many naturally would assume that this person was a traitor and was going to become one of Varlo Scantlar’s followers. However, people with duty of being a messenger were allowed to leave the city whenever they wanted. Sometimes, the King sent his loyal warriors on scouting missions, to see if they could find Varlo’s base, which, unfortunately, they never seemed able to. Also, the new warriors had to take their Last Journey. But, all in all, the remainder of people stayed in Derelon, in the comfort of their own homes.

    This, therefore, was why the King needed guards. They were assigned to different locations on the border of the city of Derelon. Their objective was to make sure no one left, or got into Derelon City, without the King knowing about it.

    Still, Eralynn knew that eventually, someone would find her room unoccupied, and figure that she had left, but she needed time to escape before they actually found out. The further that she could get away from Derelon without anyone knowing, the less chance they’d have of finding her. This would work especially well by her leaving the city at night. She was aware that her father and the King would probably send scouts to search for her, so she needed to gain a considerable amount of ground.

    Eralynn watched Donterr creep silently up behind one of the guards, and then pounce. He landed square on the large man’s back, clinging to his uniform with his claws.

    The guard jumped and instinctively reached back to grab Donterr and pull him off. He was too late, however, and Donterr jumped from this man’s shoulders to the other guard’s. The other reacted in the same way, but also dropped his weapon and reached for his back with both hands. Donterr was far too quick for these men, though, and hopped off, landing in between the two of them.

    And now, he was done scaring them. He stood there, licking his paw for a moment, waiting for one of the guards to recognize him. He closed his eyes lazily as he did so and let his thin, flexible tail whip back and forth.

    “Heyyy, isn’t that the Advisor’s pet?” One of them said, in a husky, unintelligent voice.

    “I believe it is,” the other replied.

    He sounded a bit smarter than his partner. The guard carefully approached the haughty Persian with his hands reached out, so as to grab him.

    Donterr immediately stopped what he was doing, and leapt out of this man’s reach. He sprinted down the stone steps, causing the guards to chase after him. The heels of their boots padded on the steps until, at last, they reached the bottom and Eralynn could no longer hear them running. They had followed Donterr to the grass, and he would probably take them much further than that. Eralynn watched as they headed towards the archery hill, where she had terrorized those who were training the other day.

    “Don’t let ‘im get away!” yelled the dumb-sounding one.

    Eralynn took this as her opportunity. She ran out from behind the building, sprinting towards the steps. She hesitated, though. She could still hear the guards speaking. They couldn’t be too far from her, but she knew that this was her only chance, so she fled. She nearly tripped over rocks that lay on the stone steps as she flew down them as fast as she possibly could.

    She reached the bottom of the steps, feeling the soft grass brush against her feet as she ran. She was tired, since she did not get any sleep, but she kept her eyes on the forest: her goal. She stared at the trees ahead of her as she ran, pumping her arms back and forth and never looking back. All there was to guide her was the faint moonlight. She squinted through the distance, trying to spot the familiar entrance to the forest, which she’d always used. She grew nervous when she could not find it, and she could feel her rapid heartbeat thudding out of sync with her pounding footsteps.

    The exhausted girl stopped running at the edge of the forest, nervously scanning the area for anything familiar. Finally, she spotted what looked like a dark gap. She assumed that this was it, and she ran towards it.

    While she could barely see out in the plains, she could not see in the woods at all. It was pitch black, and as soon as she had walked only about ten feet in, she lost sight of everything. Luckily, she had traveled this path so many times during the day, that she did not really need to see it to follow it correctly. She crept slowly along, reaching both arms out to feel for the trees as she walked by them. She tripped over a large branch laying across the narrow path once, but got up and continued on.

    Eventually, after getting poked in the face by many a tree branch, Eralynn came to the familiar sound of rushing water ahead, and now knew for sure that she had been traveling in the right direction. She carried on, finally reaching the river, but she became worried.

    How was she supposed to cross it in such darkness? She could walk the path with ease, but she needed to see the stepping stones in order to get across the river safely. She stopped right before the steep angle of the river’s bank, listening to the water and thinking of how she could possibly do this.

    She slid down the steep slope, letting her feet into the shallowest part of the river. She removed her bow from its position and reached it out in front of her, feeling for the rocks that stuck out. She only had to check for a moment, then she felt her bow tap against something hard. She kept it there, picturing it in her mind, and stepped out onto it. It took her a second to catch her balance, but soon, she was standing on the smooth, cold rock without any trouble, avoiding the rushing water directly beneath her.

    She continued to do this, gradually making her way across the dangerous moat guarding Aerance's cave. It wasn’t easy, but she managed to get about halfway across the river. She stood on one of the narrow stones, still panting from running earlier.

    Everything had happened so fast. One moment, she was having some sort of vision, the next, she was standing in the middle of a river on top of a tiny rock and praying she wouldn’t fall. It seemed as if it had all occurred in one second.

    Eralynn reached her bow out once again, feeling for the next rock. Once she had it, she stepped out. Then, when she believed it to be safe, she put all of her weight on the foot in front of her. Instantly, she knew something had gone wrong, as she felt her foot slide off of the next rock and into the water. Her knee slammed against the stone, causing her to scream in pain as her entire body collided with the river below.

    She felt the cold water envelop her body, its current strong enough to pull her for a long way. In a split second, she struggled to pull her hands out from its depths, pushing out away from herself. She badly needed to grab hold of something, and she threw her hands threw the icy liquid that surrounded her. Arms flailing for some kind of contact, she felt her fingers finally clutch the rock that she previously meant to step on. Her bow was around her arm, now up at her shoulder from the force of the current. Her legs dangled behind her, as she kicked and struggled to find the bottom of the river.

    In the end, she used her arms to pull herself up onto the rock into a sitting position. She was drenched from head to toe, dripping everywhere. Feeling it throb, she grabbed her bruised knee, and decided it would be best to take a short break. The girl rubbed the hurt kneecap, trying to stop the blood from flowing to the source so much. As she touched her wet skin, she forgot for a moment about what she had seen.

    That vision... What did it mean?

    Being reminded again so suddenly, she was up on her feet once more, struggling across the river. When she reached the other side, she hopped from the last stone to the steep bank, clinging to the wet grass and mud. She pulled herself up to where the ground was flat again, sinking her fingers into it and getting them tangled in the plants. Then, with a great sigh, she fell down onto her back.

    She looked up at the stars through the treetops, not even really sure of what she was doing out here. The stars twinkled back at her, as if they were distant, clear, faintly glowing crystals. They were pinned in place by the dark blue surrounding them, which seemed to go on forever, as if the heavens didn't only look this way at night. Around Eralynn, the flowing sound of the river was still imminent, reminding her of her current situation once more.

    The soaked girl gradually let the shock of nearly drowning in the river lessen, and soon, she got up and tried to ring some of the water out of her cloak. Now that she was a bit drier, she stumbled through the dark towards Aerance’s cave. The thought of seeing her friend again cheered her up immensely, and she momentarily forgot that she had plunged beneath a fast flowing river.

    As she got close to the cave, she saw an orange light glowing from inside. It lit her way, slowly becoming brighter and brighter as she went further inside. Holding the rough, uneven stone walls of Aerance's home, Eralynn crept all the way to the back. Now, she could see that Aerance was in the middle of a deep slumber. She was laying with her legs stretched out and her head resting on the ground, the flames of her mane dancing in the darkness.

    Eralynn hated to break up such a nice sight, but she was in a hurry, and she needed her best friend’s assistance. “Aerance,” Eralynn whispered, hoping not to wake her too abruptly.

    Aerance awoke with a start, though, whinnying in fear. It took her a moment to realize that it was only Eralynn, but then, a look of worry came over her face. Eralynn never visited during these hours of the night, so she stood there in silence, staring with her big, almond-shaped eyes and waiting for an explanation from her human friend.

    Sensing the flame horse's fear, Eralynn began to explain. “Listen, Aerance, I’m sorry to wake you in the middle of the night, but... there’s trouble. You see, I had a sort of... vision while I was trying to sleep. It was like a dream, but not exactly one,” she tried to illustrate, but knew she wasn’t making much sense.

    Meanwhile, Aerance just stared at her blankly, not knowing what to think. She merely snorted, urging Eralynn on.

    “I saw Rhylan and the other warriors who are training. They were getting hurt and being captured by some giant, scary creatures, and I thought... I’d try to help them.” The words that flowed from her mouth seemed insane. Hearing herself describe her vision made it seem even crazier than it actually was.

    Aerance blinked confusedly and walked closer to her friend. Sensing how worried and scared she was, she nuzzled against her cheek, attempting to comfort her. Eralynn felt Aerance's soft fur against her own face, and she reached up to pet the Ponyta, responding to her kindness. She finally felt the relief of being with her companion, and it seemed to lift much of the weight off of her shoulders.

    “Do you want to travel with me, Aerance?” the girl asked her closest friend rather suddenly.

    The flame horse nodded her head, however, whinnying happily. She did not want to see Eralynn go on such a journey by herself. It would be far too dangerous, and she would do anything she could to help.

    Eralynn held onto Aerance’s reigns and led her outside of the cave. Then, Aerance kneeled lower to the ground, making it easier for the tired Eralynn to climb on. As the small girl pulled herself up, Aerance snorted in discomfort. Eralynn was still very wet, and being a fire type Pokemon, Aerance wasn’t fond of making contact with water other than to drink it.

    “I’m sorry, I know you hate that I’m wet, Aerance,” Eralynn apologized. “Could you make it out onto the plains? It’ll be easier to ride the distance from there. The forest is too easy to get lost in, especially as you go further South.”

    Aerance nodded, and set off at a trot towards the forest’s edge. With ease, she jumped the width of the river, making Eralynn remember how difficult it was for her. The girl considered holding onto the Ponyta's reigns and sitting upright, but instead put her arms around Aerance’s neck and laid her head down, barely able to keep her back straight and her head up.

    Aerance used the usual path to escape the holds of the woods, blundering over protruding roots and under rough, lowly hanging tree branches. All the features of the forest frighteningly whipped by in the darkness as they went, only glowing from Aerance's bright flames for a moment as she quickly passed them by, and Eralynn could barely keep track of where they had gone. Aerance's speed disoriented the girl's sense of direction, and her leaps and jumps scared her into ducking down and closing her eyes, fearing that Aerance would trip or hit something.

    After Eralynn had her hair caught in several branches and Aerance had nearly set these said branches on fire with her mane, the two of them made it out to the grassy plains. The area seemed so much brighter to Eralynn than it did before in comparison to the darkness of the woods. And now, Aerance’s flames, along with the silver moonlight, would light the way for her.

    Eralynn suddenly felt hope now that she would not be journeying alone. They had been through so much together, and now, she had a feeling they were about to endure so much more. She smiled when she thought of Aerance's reaction to both her strange plan and the fact that it resulted from a bizarre dream. Who else in the entire world could she trust and talk to like this? Certainly no one that she had been aware of.

    Aside from the fact that the flame horse was a good companion, she was also brave and could travel much more quickly than most other types of land Pokemon. Eralynn patted her loyal friend on her shoulder, thinking that perhaps now, it was possible to reach the warriors of the Last Journey in time...

    “Okay, we must travel South, since that’s the way to Norsillon,” Eralynn explained.

    Aerance kicked up her front legs and sped away from Derelon City. She galloped hard against the ground, and all that could be heard in the still night was the rhythmic thudding of her hooves. She stomped against the long grass of the field, sending some flying and flattening other parts as she went.

    Eralynn wanted nothing more than to sleep now, but she forced herself to stay awake as Aerance galloped on and on in the night. She needed to keep her eyes open for anything that might help her in her search. It would be difficult to find the fallen warriors without clues hinting at their whereabouts.

    She shivered, despite riding a fire Pokemon. The wind blowing against her damp clothes made her feel the cool evaporation taking place. And, although the light of the sun gave great warmth, its reflection off of the moon usually made the atmosphere feel much cooler, even if it wasn't. Fortunately, though, Aerance’s fiery mane was helping the girl to dry quicker.

    Aerance and Eralynn had eventually ridden so far south, they could not even recognize the land any longer. Usually, they’d stay close enough to the city to remain safe, and had never traveled this far before. Although these parts were unfamiliar, Aerance kept running steadily and determinedly along the grass.

    On either side of them, to the East and the West, they could see the great forests in the distance. Closely surrounding them were only pastures of grass and short, rolling hills. It was a rather boring route without much scenery, and yet, probably due to its unfamiliarity, it seemed so dangerous.

    They rode for hours through the night, and they didn’t have any intention of stopping soon. They needed to get far, far away, and they let Eralynn's seemingly nonsensical dream take hold of them, pulling and tugging them farther and farther away from what they had always known to be home.

    “Aerance, I think it must be very early in the morning, now,” Eralynn told her friend when she had finally realized how long they’d been running.

    As she said this, she noticed something in the far distance. There was a white light pouring out of the woods and through the treetops. It continued for an infinite distance into the night sky, and Eralynn couldn’t see the end. It appeared to be some sort of spotlight, perhaps used to look far into the mysterious heavens. Whatever it was, Eralynn could not take her eyes off of it. The sight was irresistible and alluring, and made her more curious than ever.

    She tugged lightly on Aerance’s reigns, signaling for her to stop. She stared, wide-eyed, and let her jaw drop in amazement. She could not avert her gaze from the white light.

    “Let’s go see what it is,” she said, hoping that Aerance was as curious as she was.

    Evidently, the flame horse didn’t have a problem with investigating the mysterious aura, since she didn’t hesitate to turn east, towards the forest, and trot onward.

    The grove of trees on the edge looked just as every other area of forest they had passed did. It was very ordinary, except for the stream of light that showed from above the trees. Of course, Eralynn also hoped the inside of the woods was normal, as well. She didn’t want to be running into anything hungry...

    They wandered through the dark woods, using only Aerance’s flames to show the way. Looking hard through all the branches, Eralynn spotted the white light. The trees were quite dense in this part of the forest, however, so she had to move around to see it as she and Aerance walked. Whether or not this was the origin of it, she did not know, but that was the way that Aerance took her.

    The aura seemed to have put a spell on both of them, drawing them closer and closer. It almost seemed involuntary now, as if they were both being controlled completely. It forced them nearer, and they barely even realized it.

    A twig snapped suddenly behind them, interrupting their hypnotic state. Eralynn and Aerance were immediately released from their trance, but it was not soon enough for them to get away...
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