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Old April 10th, 2008 (6:45 AM). Edited April 12th, 2008 by silverfrost.
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silverfrost silverfrost is offline
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    For some reason, it only posted the end of this chapter. o.O Corrected it. Sorry 'bout that.

    Chapter 18- Eralynn The Warrior

    Eralynn leapt off of the Great Dragon's back once he had finally landed on the ground. She convinced herself that she did not have any time to be careful, and stumbled as she hit the black rock too quickly.

    Immediately, Aerance trotted over and nuzzled her friend affectionately, and Eralynn returned the favor, giving her a hug and burying her face into the Rapidash's white fur. “Oh, Aerance! I learned a lot, but I still don't understand what's happening to us,” she confessed, and she suddenly felt tears streaming down her face. She wouldn't allow herself to cry for long, though, and soon broke away from her embrace with Aerance.

    “Eralynn, my dear,” the Great Dragon spoke softly, “I know in my heart that you have always felt worthless to your city and its people, but I assure you, you are the most important person on Earth, and you do not need to understand much more than that in order to help right now.”

    The emotional girl felt a wave of appreciation from the dragon's compassionate words, and had to struggle to hold her sobs back. She managed to, however, and after rubbing her eyes, turned to look at the Great Dragon. “So, tell me what to do now,” she said firmly.

    The wise Pokemon smiled, and proceeded to tell her about how to overcome the current threat. As he spoke, Eralynn watched the large group of men coming closer. They were nearly at the bridge now, and Eralynn could now see that they all wore black cloaks which had hoods that covered their eyes. Alongside them marched smaller beings, who were more difficult to spot since they were also black, and blended nicely with the cloaks that the men wore. When she squinted, though, Eralynn was sure that most of the creatures were the vicious Mightyena that often accompanied Team Devastation.

    And, according to the Great Dragon, that's just who this was. The dragon explained to the girl that Team Devastation was also seeking the power of the three guardians, and since their last attempt at capturing Suicune was a failure (“As you witnessed, Eralynn,” the dragon Pokemon had said at this point), they had decided to come straight to the infamous Great Dragon's lair, having heard rumors that this great Pokemon could fully control the three powerful beasts. This time, of course, they brought a small army. They wanted to assure that the legendary Pokemon could not get past them like last time.

    Eralynn shivered as she watched the men steadily approach the river. She quickly reached back and looked at her arrow back to make sure it was full. Then, she yanked the string on her bow, checking to see that it would hold up during battle. The little equipment that she had seemed to be fine, and she put her bow at her side and her arrow sack around her shoulder.

    To the side of her, Eralynn could see Rhylan removing his sword from its sheath. This was the first time she had actually seen him do this, aside from when she was given the premonition by the voice. He then proceeded to remove a shield which was strapped to his back and under his cloak. He now held it in his hands nervously, alongside the gleaming, silver sword that would rid them of enemies.

    Aerance abruptly moved forward so that she was right next to Eralynn. She started bobbing her head up and down and stomping her hooves against the solid obsidian beneath her in an attempt to get Eralynn's attention.

    “What is it?” Eralynn asked her friend.

    In response, Aerance moved her side closer to Eralynn's body and gently nudged her. Getting the hint, Eralynn grinned. “You want me to ride you in battle?” she questioned.

    Aerance smiled with her eyes and knelt slightly, allowing the small girl to climb onto her back. Once Eralynn was on, Aerance stood tall and proud, trying to intimidate their foes.

    As brave as Aerance seemed, however, Eralynn simply could not feel the same. Looking around, she saw the Great Dragon, who was certainly a force to be reckoned with. On the other hand, could he really handle an entire army of Team Devastation members along with their Pokemon? Also, there was Rhylan. He was indeed a good warrior. He always did well with a sword, but there were just too many for him to fight. They could easily just circle around him and slice at him from all angles with their swords. Eralynn could not help but feel that the four of them, even together, were far from enough.

    Both fear and doubt augmented in her mind as she saw the first man, who was apparently leading this army, step onto the bridge that led to where she and her companions stood. The other men followed, but the troop had to shift inwards in order to fit on the narrower bridge. Rather than all of them walking together, only three of them could fit in a row as the walked the length of the bridge. This would buy the four of them some time, but still...

    Just as Eralynn was sure that they were doomed, she saw something coming from the distant. It was off to the side and moving at a great speed. The only thing she could see at that moment were three different colored streaks. Whatever it was was racing across the land quicker than anything Eralynn had seen.

    But then, Eralynn realized something. It was not one thing, but three separate ones, and they all presently weaved in and out of each other's paths quickly and easily. Still unable to see them clearly, Eralynn could only see the colors light blue, red, and yellow, which all formed as a result of the creatures' rapid movements.

    Meanwhile, the front man of the army had made it to the other side of the bridge, and his minions were chasing after him, polluting the fiery mountain and its river with their presence. They were coming closer and closer...

    When the quick Pokemon had arrived at the volcano, they began to slow down. Eralynn could begin to make out what they looked like. She stared in awe at Suicune, who was the first to arrive there. He stood proudly, letting his purple mane blow in the wind as he stared down the oncoming army.

    Right after the Wind had arrived, another large Pokemon did. Also standing on four legs, this one resembled a big, brown-colored lion. Its huge white paws hit the rock ground, and it turned to look back at Eralynn. It appeared to be wearing some sort of mask that was yellow on top, with red and silver on the bottom. Like Suicune, it also had a long, flowing mane, but on this creature, it was white.

    Next to the brown lion Pokemon, a spark flashed in the air, and with barely any warning, another Pokemon appeared. This one looked like a bright-yellow, striped tiger. It had a blue, zig-zagged tail, a purple, curly mane, and a similar mask to that of the lion Pokemon. It appeared lean and strong, and Eralynn could tell that it was tense with energy as it released sporadic sparks from its body.

    Eralynn watched them as they faced the cloaked men. She felt as if they were completely different from one another. Perhaps, if taking them in pairs, they could be opposites. However, Eralynn got the feeling that they held the type of opposite traits that could complement each other.

    “This is Entei, or Fire,” the Great Dragon said, pointing to the brown and white lion Pokemon, “this is Raikou, or Lightning,” he continued, showing Eralynn the sparking yellow tiger, “and this is Suicune, or Wind, as you already know.”

    Suicune turned around to look at Eralynn. “Ah, you've made it all the way here. I was sure that would would, Eralynn,” he said in his deep voice.

    “Yes,” Eralynn said. “It's very good to see you again, Suicune. I was sure we'd never meet again.”

    “It's unfortunate that it had to be under these circumstances,” Suicune answered angrily, turning back around to face the approaching Team Devastation. Then, he shouted so all could hear, “But, we are the guardians, and we are here to rid these men from their power.”

    In response, Raikou crouched down, sticking its shoulders out and bending its hind legs. The electrical energy that flooded its body was dying to be released, as sparks were sent flying here and there. It initially seemed to Eralynn that Raikou barely had control of this, but she was sure that couldn't be true.

    On the other side of Suicune, Entei let out a huge roar. It then shook its mane and puts its large shoulders back, getting ready to charge.

    The cloaked men were now almost completely across the water, and were beginning to slow down in order to leave some space between themselves and their enemies. Eralynn slowly became more and more surprised as she realized just how many there were. Once off the bridge and able to spread out again, the men could line up for quite a ways down the river. Had all of them queued in a circle around the volcano, they probably could have met its width, and perhaps then some.

    Eralynn badly wanted to panic. She told herself she was going to fight, though, and this was her only chance to prove to everyone she could be a warrior. Maybe, if she returned to Derelon City someday, her strict father would allow her to become an official warrior for the city...

    Their enemies, at least in number, were formidable, however, and Eralynn did not know how she, along with the three guardians, the Great Dragon, Aerance, and Rhylan, were going to handle this. They were only a handful, and Team Devastation had a true army to battle with.

    The evil men stood a short distance away from them, now. Looking closely, Eralynn could see a lust for blood in their penetrating stares. She watched their Pokemon too, all of them full of anger and rage. She spotted many Mightyena in the crowd, who stood by their masters' sides and growled at Eralynn and company. There were also many of the dark dog Pokemon, Houndoor and Houndoom, with them. Like the Mightyena, they curled their lips back, revealing sharp teeth as they growled intimidatingly. There were some Pokemon in the air, as well, such as Fearow, Golbat, and Gligar. They floated easily on the warm updrafts, circling around the Team Devastation army beneath them. The Fearow squawked a couple of times as it flew, sending shivers down Eralynn's spine.

    “Now is the time, my guardians,” the Great Dragon said from the side. “I will be right behind you, helping as best I can.”

    The three guardians stood facing Team Devastation still, and when they heard the majestic dragon Pokemon say these words, they moved closer to together, Suicune in the middle, Raikou on the left, and Entei on the right. In fluid, unison motion, the three of them raised their heads towards the sky, holding their snouts perpendicular to the ground. Slowly opening their jaws, they all let out a strange call that sounded like some sort of howling. Eralynn winced when hearing the loud noise as it traveled up through the sky and all around her.

    “Look up,” The Great Dragon whispered.

    Eralynn, Rhylan, and Aerance obeyed, craning their necks to look at the clouds. Although it was dark before, it suddenly grew much darker. The clouds turned from a pale gray splashed with occasional white into a dark, furious, charcoal gray. Then, a huge flash of lightning struck from above. It crashed down and hit Raikou directly on the back.

    Eralynn jumped back, at first thinking this would have killed him instantly, but she watched in surprise as it only seemed to give him more energy. More and more sparks flashed from his body, nearly hitting Suicune, who stood right next to him.

    Immediately after, it began to rain. It sprinkled lightly, and then broke into a heavy, forceful downpour. Eralynn's hair and clothes were soaked within minutes of the rain's arrival, and she put her arms around Aerance's neck, worried for her safety. The Rapidash did not seem all that bothered, however. Rain probably wasn't that big of a problem. Instead, it was direct water attacks that could truly hurt her.

    Suicune turned to look at Entei, and said calmly, “Now, Fire, it is your turn.”

    Eralynn now realized just what the three guardians were doing. They were each using their elemental powers to change something about the battle. They were most likely trying to make it more difficult for Team Devastation to do well in this fight, but then... wouldn't the rain and thunder make it difficult for their own side too? It would probably make it harder for Eralynn, Rhylan, and Aerance, anyway.

    Then again, maybe the two humans and the Rapidash were not the most important warriors in this battle... Maybe the guardians were increasing the amount of thunder and water so as to augment their own powers. Also, this way, the Pokemon of Team Devastation would not gain any power, since they seemed to be mostly dark or flying types, which were types that could not benefit from rain and thunder. Only the three guardians could gain something.

    Entei, ruler of fire and Earth, continued the trend, and Eralynn wondered just what it would do to increase its own power. She assumed that fire would not be a good idea, since the rain was pouring down. Entei apparently realized this, as well, and with a hard slam of its massive paw, it sent a shock wave through the ground. Between Team Devastation and the three guardians, the very earth shifted, specifically causing pillars of obsidian to rise up and crevices of it to form. Everything from short, stumpy-looking boulders to tall, thin, pole-like rocks popped up; wide, shallow dips and deep, narrow trenches formed, leaving the landscape looking completely different than it had before.

    Eralynn now noticed that she could only see through the protruding rocks at certain points, and was only able to spot a couple of men from the opposing army, whereas before, she could see all that stood in its front line. She knew what Entei was thinking, and smiled admiringly at his clever idea.

    With his powers, he had raised a rough, unpredictable terrain, making it nearly impossible for the opposing side to simply run across the volcano's base and attack. Having to watch the ground to make sure they didn't fall or run into a pillar of rock would slow down their ability to make it closer to the three guardians.

    The three elemental Pokemon, on the other hand, were quick and graceful, and they could handle leaping and swerving to avoid the mountain-like terrain with ease. This would not slow them down nearly as much as it would the others.

    “Ahhhhh!” came a frustrated roar from across the other side. Eralynn could not see who had made the sound, but she could tell it was a man's voice. “Charge! Now!” the same man shouted furiously.

    This was it. The battle had begun.

    Eralynn's heart pounded in her chest as she saw what was happening. First, she caught a glimpse of the flying Pokemon, who stopped hovering and turned to fly towards the guardians and herself. Then, she saw many swords raise into the air, and the hands attached to them, as well. They rhythmically moved up and down as the men ran straight for them. Soon, Eralynn could see their faces and their upper bodies as they tried to climb up and over some of the boulders and pillars that had been raised from the ground.

    “Now, it is our time to charge,” Suicune said rather calmly.

    The three guardians sprang forward, nearly too fast for Eralynn to see. Raikou, being the quickest, was the first to reach the unstable terrain, and he began the battle by slamming his large, tiger-like body into the first Mightyena that had managed to cross the artificially made rocky barrier. The black wolf yelped in reaction and stumbled backwards, falling behind a pillar it had worked so hard to climb.

    Entei was already working hard, as well, and reaching a couple of humans from the other side, let out a huge roar that stopped them in their tracks. They looked shocked for a moment, buying the large lion-like Pokemon the time to attack other humans behind them. It quickly let out a blast of fire, charring one of the dark warriors and his Mightyena, but missing the other one it had aimed for.

    Eralynn, already aware of the power that Suicune held, watched it in anticipation. The lean, blue Pokemon leapt towards a couple humans, and after stopping to charge up power, let out a jet of water. The attack collided with its target, throwing them back. (In fact, one of them hit his head against a large boulder behind him, knocking him into unconsciousness.)

    “Okay, Aerance,” Eralynn said after swallowing her fear, “let's go!”

    Aerance pushed her front legs into the air, and whinnied loudly as she only stood on her back legs. The moment she was firmly on all fours again, though, she charged towards the army of Team Devastation with her sharp horn lowered. The fire unicorn watched the ground carefully, though, making sure not to twist her ankle in the crags of rock all around.

    Eralynn set her bow at her side and grabbed an arrow from behind her, but before she could attack, she noticed that the Great Dragon was flying overhead. He was headed straight for one of the Fearow in the distance, and upon reaching it, tried to slam his body into its. The flying Pokemon was just as quick, though, and instead of letting itself get hit, it reached its sharp talons into the air and grabbed the dragon's claws. The two of them wrestled in the air for a moment, Fearow's wings flapping violently as it struggled to stay up, and the Great Dragon trying his best to push the other down to the ground. With the whip of his tail, though, the dragon managed to knock the Fearow away, who had to struggle to gain control since it had been sent tumbling through the sky.

    The Great Dragon watched what he had done momentarily, hovering upright in the air above the warriors of Team Devastation. However, it seemed that the dragon was too low to keep safe, and one of the cloaked men below him managed to grab his tail. The man tried to yank the Great Dragon closer to the ground, and then, started to remove his sword from its sheath.

    “No!” Eralynn screamed in an attempt the warn the legendary Pokemon. This would not do, and she knew it, so she pulled the arrow in her hand against the string of her bow, increasing its tension as she aimed. After letting go of the arrow, it went flying straight for the man that was attacking the Great Dragon. It plunged into the center of the man's back, and before he could realize what had happened, he fell to the ground.

    The Great Dragon, now free from the evil man's clutches, rose higher into the air, learning his lesson. “Thank you, Eralynn,” the dragon said graciously, and then turned back around to continue his fight with the tough Fearow.

    Then, suddenly, Eralynn saw something flash out of the corner of her eye. She turned to the left to see a gleaming silver sword in the hand of a cloaked figure. She reached back for another arrow, but she knew she could not fire it fast enough. The man was right next to her!

    Much quicker than the evil warrior could attack, however, Eralynn felt Aerance shift in her stance beneath her. The unicorn Pokemon twisted her head to the side, and with a great push, thrust her horn forward and into the man's chest. The Rapidash's surprisingly hard weapon pierced through the other warrior's armor, and right away, he dropped the sword he was holding. He let out a scream, and then, became limp.

    Aerance reached one of her forelegs out, and, pushing against the dead warrior's body, released her bloody horn from it. The crimson liquid flowed from the lifeless man as he fell to the ground.

    “Wow, thank you, Aerance,” Eralynn said, shocked and slightly appalled by her friend's ability to fight. She looked up and away from the man the Rapidash had just killed, and saw the three guardians using all sorts of attacks on their enemies. Eralynn could barely keep track of the body slams, the wind attacks, the violent streams of water, the fireballs, and the sparks of lightning. These Pokemon used their attacks quickly and efficiently, and Eralynn hoped that they would indeed protect Derelon City someday...

    Close to Raikou was Rhylan, who helped the electric tiger Pokemon out. And although the Prince could only manage to take down one man at a time with his sword and shield, any little bit would help the guardian. Raikou protected the boy in return, jumping in front of him whenever he was slightly outnumbered. It was a magnificent sight to see, but Eralynn had other things to attend to.

    Up in the sky, the Great Dragon had completed his fight with Fearow, finally throwing the bird Pokemon to the ground. Then, something else happened. The Great Dragon let out a huge roar and extended his claws. Soon, he lowered himself, and started gyrating his body mid-air. It looked as if he had completely lost control of himself as he shook and slammed his tail towards the ground. In between roars, he reached forward, opening his jaws and trying to catch a Team Devastation warrior in his mouth.

    Eralynn grimaced as she saw that he was able to grab a couple of the cloaked men. They screamed in terror, but the dragon Pokemon simply closed his mouth tighter and tighter until their horrible yelling came to an end. Blood soon formed on his lips and teeth as he swallowed the men whole.

    When the other warriors saw what the dragon was capable of, they began to run in the other direction, screaming and flailing their arms wildly in their desperation. Some, in fact, were headed straight for Eralynn...

    This was it. Eralynn and the Great Dragon had cornered many of the men. She knew what she had to do. She pulled a multitude of arrows from behind her and put one of them against the string of her bow.

    When the fleeing men saw what she was doing, they stopped dead in their tracks. They turned to look back to where the Great Dragon was, but jumped as he roared ferociously at them, again showing that they had no choice.

    One man attempted to make a run off to the side, hoping he could get away, but Eralynn released her arrow upon him. It struck him in the ribs, and he fell. Others tried to follow, but the archer was too quick for them. Stringing up her arrows and releasing them one after the other, four additional men dropped to the ground, defeated.

    Not seeing any more of the opposing side's men nearby, Eralynn lightly tapped Aerance's sides with her heels, causing her to bolt off to the side. The magnificent fire Pokemon sprinted through and leapt over boulders and crevices, and the two of them sped by some of the more idle looking battlers, who typically happened to be Pokemon.

    “Perhaps they don't want to fight,” Eralynn thought to herself sadly as she remembered the dying Mightyena's words, and then continued moving. She soon stopped Aerance from running, however, as she saw something dreadful happening. As Aerance slowed her pace, Eralynn was sure of it now: Suicune was surrounded by at least ten men.

    “Why doesn't it stop them? With just one blast of water-” she started telling Aerance worriedly, but was stopped by the answer to her own question. She could now see, stuck in its leg, was a sword. It had been seriously wounded. Eralynn watched in horror as she saw that it could barely stand up, and the men were closing in on it...

    This was the Pokemon that had saved her, Rhylan, Aerance, and the rest of the warriors on the Last Journey from imprisonment in the enemy's lair. If it hadn't have been for Suicune, Eralynn didn't know how she could've escaped. It was so strong, and to suddenly see its vulnerability was truly a great shock.

    “Noooo!” she heard a yell come from behind her, and immediately, Rhylan ran by, sword and shield raised. He sprinted for the men that were attacking Suicune, and, shaking his sword forcefully, reeled back to put an end to it. His sharp weapon already dripping with blood and his shield held cautiously at his midsection, Rhylan viciously stabbed the back of one of the Team Devastation warriors before he could turn around to react. The silver sword first caught on the warriors' side, and with a hard tug, Rhylan pulled it through the rest of the threatening man's body.

    Eralynn gasped, nearly panicking. Rhylan was acting like he was out of his mind, just as the Great Dragon had. He could not take on ten men by himself, though, and so, Eralynn padded her heels against Aerance's sides, and the Rapidash sped towards them, quicker than sound.

    She felt the wind and the rain trying to force her back. She felt the fear pulsing relentlessly through her veins, attempting to stop her, but she could not quit now. A Pokemon and human that she cared for deeply were in quite a bit of trouble, and Eralynn could not think straight any longer.

    With a bow and arrow already in hand, Eralynn sent one flying. It whipped through the wind as it made an arc-shape and headed for one of the Team Devastation warriors. It hit its target, and the cloaked man grabbed his side. He looked down and put a hand at his gut. When he put it out in front of him, Eralynn could see that it was convulsing wildly, and then, his shaking became worse when the man noticed his own blood was draining rapidly from his stomach. Perhaps Eralynn had temporarily saved Rhylan the trouble of fighting two men at once. There were still the others, though. They had to finish them all off somehow.

    Rhylan was throwing and swinging his sword all around his own head uncontrollably. He furiously stabbed and sliced through the Team Devastation warriors, taking out a few more men by himself so that Suicune could get away. He looked almost as if he was a child who was just now learning to sword fight. Fear could take away anyone's hard work and wisdom...

    “Try riding around to the other side of Suicune, Aerance!” Eralynn asked of her friend, trying to make it so that she would have a better chance of hitting the Team Devastation warriors with her bow and arrow.

    Aerance did just that, and Eralynn fell into the rhythm of the Rapidash's hard gallop once more. When they got closer, she now had a good view of them. Her haired whipped back with the wind, which seemed to be working against her, trying to make things harder. She put an arrow up to her bow, pulled it back, and-

    “SMACK!” Something hit Aerance's side extremely hard. With a whinny, the flame unicorn went tumbling down, and Eralynn fell along with her. She had flown off of Aerance towards the side, and she landed against her arm hard.

    Eralynn let out a scream as pain like nothing she'd ever experienced throbbed through her right wrist. She quickly sat up and put her hand around it, trying to stop it from hurting so badly. It felt awful, and even by just touching it with her left hand, Eralynn could tell something was seriously wrong with it. Along with the pain she felt, she also noticed it had suddenly grown much bigger than it was before. It was swollen so badly that Eralynn thought she must have been hallucinating. She felt she could no longer move it, either. Her right limb was now useless, and she'd have to use her left arm to fight.

    Her heart sank in her chest as she realized that she could no longer use her bow and arrow to ward off enemies. How, then, would she battle? She also noticed that Aerance had collapsed from the blow. She was laying down with her side on the ground, her mane and tail fire looking much weaker now...

    “Aerance! Are you all right?” Eralynn shouted at her.

    No answer came from the Rapidash, though, and Eralynn could only hear the rain and the distant sound of roars, fireblasts, thunder, and screeches. However, as Eralynn continued to watch her friend closely for any sign revealing she was alive, she caught sight of movement from someone else... Eralynn now saw what had slammed into Aerance. A very familiar Mightyena approached the wounded girl slowly. It was massive, with its tufts of fur tangled and sticking out at all angles. Its teeth were bared as it crept toward her, snarling and drooling. Its padded feet lightly touched the wet, obsidian ground beneath it, and if she hadn't have been looking, the girl would not have been able to hear the stealthy beast.

    Eralynn felt her anger grow as she remembered this Pokemon very well. It was the very same she had met at the Team Devastation prison. In fact, it was the one she had shown mercy to. She remembered convincing Suicune to let it live, and now, she wondered if she should regret this good deed.

    Then, from what seemed like out of no where, another figure began to approach her, as well. This one was human. The cloaked man stepped silently towards her, hood covering the majority of his face. He stopped next to the Mightyena. “Good,” he said in a deep, quiet voice, giving his Pokemon a soft pat on the head. Then, he reached up, and gradually pulled the hood of his black cloak down and away from his head.

    Instantly, Eralynn recognized the tall person with the thin, young face, the short dark hair, and the deep brown eyes. She had never seen him in person before, but she remembered him quite well. This was the remorseless warrior that had killed Rhylan in the vision Eralynn had been shown.

    The girl felt herself trembling. She struggled to concentrate despite the severe pain emanating from her broken arm. Although it was harder than pushing a three hundred pound boulder, Eralynn forced the thoughts of pain out of her mind so that she could speak.

    “Wh-who are you?” she asked the man that stood before her through her heavy breathing.

    The standing warrior gave an odd smile, then, as if it was something Eralynn should have already known, said, “My name is Selton Scantler.”

    “Scantler...” Eralynn whispered. The name echoed loudly in her mind, drowning out thoughts of anything else. She remembered the story that King Nevarro had told her- the one in which Derelon was attacked by traitors. Could this be? The very grandson of Varlo the Terrible?

    “Yes, I'm sure you've heard of me,” the wicked young man in front of her said. “I lead Team Devastation now, and I have heard that you're the one that messed with my plans to control Suicune.” Then, he looked around at those still battling for a moment. He watched as if one would watch the trees sway from a soft breeze on a sunny day. Then, he looked back at her, hissing, “You've also been preventing my men from winning this battle now, along with the others. I don't appreciate that, my dear.”

    Eralynn cringed at the sound of his malicious, sarcastic voice, but she couldn't think of anything to say and simply stared up at him, feeling weak and helpless. She let the rain splash onto her face and felt the cold air against her wet skin, all the while trying to control the pain and fear that pulsed loudly through her body. In the distance, she could still hear the loud clanging of swords and the roars of a dragon, but none of it seemed to matter much now...

    Eralynn had always wondered what the Team Devastation leader would be like, and now, here she was, face to face with him. She was cornered, with nothing else to do but stare at him fearfully and hold her useless right wrist. Why was he here right now, talking to her, when there was a battle being fought right around him? And, why was he just attacking her, when the three guardians, Great Dragon, and Rhylan were also interfering with Team Devastation's ability to win the battle?

    Eralynn did not know, but she wondered whether or not because of what had happened in the Team Devastation base. She had, after all, assisted in the release of many, many prisoners, and therefore, many Pokemon that could have been used for the evil group to gain power. Still, she had merely assisted and certainly hadn't done it all. Why was the Scantler boy so concerned with her, then?

    Team Devastation's young leader did not allow for Eralynn to continue her thoughts, however, as he began to speak once more. “You're going to pay for your resistance,” Selton continued, and with this, he marched over to Eralynn. His stead was strong and forceful, and Eralynn felt her heart beat faster with every step that he took towards her. When he reached the injured girl, he loomed over her. Eralynn slowly looked up, tightning her shoulders and craning her neck back so that she could see his face.

    The dark figure of Selton Scantler sat against the dark gray clouds above. His face was contorted into an expression of frustration and rage, and he simply stood there for a moment, glaring evilly at Eralynn. Then, slowly, he bent lower, so that he could look directly into her eyes. His gaze burned through her, instantly melting away her feelings of physical pain and leaving only the mental burden of terror. Eralynn watched his brown, hypnotizing eyes, trembling.

    With his hand, he suddenly grasped the shoulder of her cloak and lifted her from the ground. Eralynn felt her body straightening in the air against her will, and, still tight in the shoulders, she reached up to grab the boy's arm with her good one, but then, had to let go, as surges of pain were sent through her body again. The fearful girl let out a groan as her wounded arm began to hurt much more from having to move it, and she grasped it tightly with her left hand. “What do you want from me?” She finally managed to say.

    The enemy's leader stared at her for a long time, and Eralynn felt she was going to die from this alone. Would she ever see her father again? Would she and Rhylan be able to pick on each other? Could she ride Aerance through the peaceful forest, jumping over thin rivers and over huge, fallen tree branches? Would she ever find out why she had gone on this quest in the first place? It seemed unlikely that she would make it out of this alive, but she just had to find a way...

    “What do you want with me?” Eralynn decided to ask again through tears and pain.

    The ruthless young man holding onto Eralynn frowned as he stared at her. “I want you dead,” Selton spat ruthlessly.

    Then, it all happened fast. With his free hand, Selton reached for his sword. Eralynn, not knowing what else she could do, reached backwards and fumbled to grab an arrow as quickly as she could. She twitched her fingers around in her arrow bag, panicking until she she could securely pull one out. She knew that she didn't have the strength to just force the arrow into him at this position, though. She needed to resort to something else. She needed some sort of help...

    But, she wanted to cry. She wanted to be back in the Great Hall, feeling guilty as her father yelled at her. The terrified girl desperately longed for the days when she and Aerance could casually ride through the forests and play tricks. She wanted to fight with Rhylan. She wanted anything, except for what she now knew in her heart had to happen...

    Eralynn eyed Selton's sword and then looked down at his feet. She felt the adrenaline rush through her body as she realized what she needed to do. The risk was great, but there truly was nothing else.

    The clever girl threw her left hand back, as if to throw the arrow right into Selton, but instead, gave him the hardest kick she could imagine, pushing one of his legs out to the side so that it no longer supported his weight. Feigning an arrow attack did the trick, and Selton became momentarily distracted, losing his balance from Eralynn's hard kick. Still holding his sword, he fell forward, screaming and taking Eralynn down with him. Time, then, seemed to stop, suspending the two of them in the air, letting their fall go much more slowly than it should have gone.

    Eralynn momentarily refused to believe what was happening to her. The one that thought she had never mattered to her people, that she would never accomplish anything useful to impress her father, and that she would never make a difference for anyone or anything now forced the arrow forward as she and Selton fell. The force of gravity gave her great help, and the arrow pierced through his cloak, through his armor, and then, into his chest.

    At first, Eralynn felt great warmth in her heart, despite the frigid, rainy air. She finally felt something she hadn't before... she was satisfied with herself. It lasted only for a moment, but it was everything in the entire world to her.

    Eralynn was unable to hold onto the good feelings for much longer as Selton's body landed on hers. Rather than relief, she felt something more horrible than just falling could ever cause. A strong jolt of pain suddenly emerged from her abdomen. Something had torn through it. The wounded girl gasped from the horrifying sensation, knowing perfectly well what it was.

    Selton's sword sat buried in Eralynn's gut. It had punctured through her skin, muscles, and intestines, and now, she was losing most of her blood. It escaped quickly, not wanting give her a moment left on Earth, and with it, she felt her body and mind leaving, heading off to somewhere else...

    “ERALYNN!” She heard a voice scream in the distance. It was a boy... and a boy she knew very well.

    The critically injured girl could barely keep her eyes open as the searing pain flowed through her body. She felt something being pushed off of her, though, and she forced herself to look. She realized, since she now had more room to breathe, that Selton's body was being thrown off of her. Eralynn inhaled deeply, hoping it would help ease the pain, but the moving up and down of her stomach and diaphragm only worsened it, and she gasped from the shock. She couldn't think clearly, and, she found, she could not breathe steadily.

    Then, above her, a face appeared. It was someone she knew. It was someone she loved. Through a blur, she could see his brown hair and brown eyes... and she could see tears streaming down his freckled cheeks. She felt a hand placed on her forehead. It stroked her kindly as she struggled to breathe.

    Rather than trying to clear her mind, Eralynn simply accepted her confusion. She did not know anything, but she did not try to know or remember either. She simply laid there, looking up and struggling with her pain, even when the boy tried to speak.

    “Eralynn, please,” the handsome boy said. “You're going to be okay! Just hang in there,” she now realized he said this through sobs.

    Eralynn opened her eyes and looked into his, still blinking slowly. She coughed, and then said, “No. I have to go now... Tell Aerance that I love her more than anything...”

    “No...” Rhylan whispered.

    (“Yes, that's his name... And the Great Dragon and Orriso and Suicune and Noctowl...” Eralynn had thought, her mind racing nonsensically.)

    “Eralynn,” the Prince said, holding Eralynn's head in his hands, “I'm sorry I've been so cruel to you. I'm sorry I never allowed myself to get close to you... I'm sorry I knew you had such a huge responsibility and didn't tell you! Now, look at what's happened...” He knelt over her, pressing his cheek against hers as he cried. Then, he leaned back and kissed her on the mouth and cheek.

    Eralynn barely had the strength to kiss him back, but she knew that she would have if it wasn't for the inexorable weakness she felt. Still, if there was anything to numb the feeling from her excruciating stomach and wrist wounds, it was a kiss from Rhylan. She forgot for a moment that she was dying, and she forgot everything that had led her here. She let herself feel what, she now realized, she had longed to feel. She let go of everything, and, for a second, she smiled at him.

    The impulsive and brave girl looked up to the sky to the see the dark gray clouds, and allowed herself to feel the rain as it poured onto her face. The gray soon began to fade into white and the feeling of rain into no feeling at all.

    Then, the pain subsided, and she was gone.
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