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Old February 8th, 2012 (2:29 PM).
apenpaap apenpaap is offline
    Join Date: Oct 2011
    Gender: Male
    Posts: 79
    ^Thanks. I'm a bit surprised you liked this chapter, considering I remember you disliking chapter 29 a bit for being quite smoochy.

    Chapter Forty-Eight: The White Mountains
    A magnificent vista surrounded Boreas as he followed Black over the thin mountain trail. They were high up on one of the White Mountains, though nowhere near the top. Aqua had been right that he would be amazed by the size of mountains, as he had admitted to her the day they'd first seen the range on the horizon and he had realised just how immensely far away the mountains still were. Now he was looking the opposite way: he was on the mountain's grassy slope, looking out over the plains of Route 7, which were occasionally interspersed by small towns and villages. Unova looked very calm and peaceful from up here; neither Boreas nor Unova realised both the calmth and peace the region was enjoying would come to an end only a few days later.
    This high up on the mountain there were no more trees; only grass. Yet the snow was still higher up, covering the tall white summit which towered above them like only a mountain can. The Sun burnt very warmly and was very irritating at this height, but it was surprisingly cold whenever there was a shadow, like from a big rock or a cloud moving in front of the blazing Sun. At first Boreas had had to breathe rapidly with the thinner air up here, though now he only noticed it because he got tired sooner than normal when he had to exert himself.
    Pokémon were rare up here: the ice-types that lived here most of the year had moved up the mountain, along with the snow, when the snow melted a few weeks before. Pokémon from the mountain's lower slopes didn't have much to seek on the bare alpine tundra and stayed mainly in the forests. The only pokémon here were cattle belonging to the farmers from mountain villages.
    Their path followed the curve of the mountain into the range, so they soon exchanged the magnificent view of Route 7's plains for an even more magnificent view of the valleys between the mountains, deep below, where a beautiful lake gleamed in the Sun and vast forests covered the land. It was clear now that the mountain they were on was, with its 3500 metres of height, quite small compared to the other peaks of the White Mountains. The other mountains around the valleys easily dwarfed it, reaching up to more than five kilometres into the air, and Mount Twist, the highest mountain in Unova south of the Black Mountains in the north, dwarfed even them. From their current vantage, they looked onto some clouds that hung surprisingly low over the mountains' slopes from above. Other clouds hung higher, covering some of the peaks. But none of the clouds reaches as high as Mt. Twist's tall peak, which cast shadows even on other peaks with a height of nearly seven kilometres. Since Icirrus was on the other side of Mt. Twist, they'd have to get around it. Black had asked for directions to Icirrus in both of the villages they had come through, and in both villages they had pointed him of a path going low over Mt. Twist's slopes that he should follow. So that was indeed the path they had followed so far.

    It's two more hours to go to the village of Willowind,” Black panted, encouraging himself and his pokémon as they laboured up the steep, rocky slope. “We can sleep there for the night.”
    After going along the side of three different mountains in five days, their path had started sloping upwards, to the rocky zone at 3 kilometres above the ground, just below the edge of eternal snow, where even grass didn't grow. Even now, in the middle of May, it was just above freezing here, but the Sun's light was horridly powerful and stung even on a furred skin. Black and Octa were lucky Black had bought a bottle of very powerful sunblock, or they'd probably be burnt as red as a lobster by now. The only plants here were occasional tiny flowers growing between the rocks and lichen that grew on them.
    Climbing the steep path was exhausting even on four legs. Black was panting very loudly in the thin air. “Oh, look!” He panted happily from ahead, “We've finally reached a horizontal bit- woah!”
    Boreas saw what had startled Black so much as he caught up to the human: As they reached the top of this low mountain, there was indeed a long horizontal bit. Over the thin, elongated ridge that formed the mountain's summit, that is. Instead of going over the side of the mountain, as it had before, the path ran over a ridge of about a metre wide, a very steep slope downwards on both sides. It was utterly terrifying to see depths of hundreds of metres on both sides. On the slopes themselves, the depth on one side of the path had never bothered Boreas, as the other side of the path always sloped up, giving you a safe, sturdy mountain on that side. But with a depth on both sides, it became clear just how high they were, and how flat they'd be if they fell.
    W-well,” Black stammered. “I... guess it must be safe if the path goes over it?” he said unsurely.
    But the safety of the path was not really what bothered Boreas, or the others. The problem was that it looked terrifying, and walking over the ridge for about an hour seemed very scary. Boreas looked at his companions to see who would take the first steps on the thin ridge. But all of them were too scared. While Selene probably wasn't afraid, she had lots of trouble flying in this thin air.
    Octa sighed and stepped forward. “You are right, old chap. This path would not be here if the locals did not use it at least occasionally; logically it must be reasonably safe.” He started walking ahead.
    Hmpf, him and his 'logic'...” Toxica mumbled as she followed him. “But I can do anything he can!”
    Octa's example gave Boreas, Black, and Lucius the courage to follow as well. While it was very scary at first, the feeling quickly subsided to a mere queasiness once he was on the ridge. The vast vistas on both sides were slightly terrifying, but he tried to keep his mind off it. Lucius passed him and put Selene on his shoulder. “Your turn to carry the chicken, pup. It's your fault she started following us around in the first place.”
    Jerk,” Boreas muttered as he greeted Selene, who was now perched on his shoulder.
    Don't worry, Boreas,” said Selene, “I'll just fly and save you the trouble of carrying me.”
    While Boreas would prefer not to have to carry her on the rough mountain ridge, he knew she couldn't fly, and he wouldn't want to risk her life. “No, you can't. Remember when you tried yesterday and crashed?”
    Yesterday?” Selene asked with a squinted face. “I thought that was tomorrow.”
    No, it- huh?” Boreas asked in surprise. “Tomorrow?”
    It's the day after today,” Selene helped.
    Yyyes... So I've heard,” said Boreas, scrutinising Selene to see if she was serious or just exaggerating her oddness.
    Anyway,” she told, “I think I've figured out why I can't fly any more.”
    It's because of the thin-”
    Mountain gnomes must have tied their invisible tangerines to my feet, and they're weighing me down now.”
    air, in which- what?!”
    Obviously a tangerine grown in mountains will have greater mass than one grown on flat land, which makes it even harder to fly,” Selene rattled on.
    Boreas stared at her in bafflement, then grinned. “You're pulling my leg, aren't you?”
    Selene looked down at his legs. “I'm sitting on your shoulder, Boreas. I can't even reach your legs, let alone pull them.”
    What I mean is: you're joking. Don't bother playing dumb, Selene, I know you're not quite as crazy as you like to pretend you are, and you overdid it just now.”
    Selene stared into his eyes with a long, blank stare, then said: “Boreas? Oh, I didn't see you there. Don't worry about the tangerines, they're not infectious.” She suddenly jumped on his back and hugged him.
    Selene, quit it!” Boreas berated her, “get back on my shoulder and stop doing this, or you can walk for yourself.”
    Selene hopped back to his shoulder. “Sorry. Did I ever tell you about my uncle Istvan?”
    Boreas was starting to worry about Selene. It might all be an act, but then again, she did crash pretty hard when she tried to fly the day before, and the air was rather thin at this height, and the Sun shone very hard; and all these things could mean she really was only barely bouncing off the sides of sanity. “No, you haven't. You have never told me about your family, or really anything that happened before I met you.”
    Well,” she explained, “the first thing I should say is that he was not really my uncle Istvan; he's everyone's uncle Istvan! He's as much my uncle Istvan as your uncle Istvan! Or, if I dare say it – and I think I dare – Cedric Juniper's uncle Istvan!”
    Either or both ways, uncle Istvan's day were made when the Dead People's Olympics Committee promoted him to be captain of the gravy train. So he would boat it around all day, delivering gravy to people's houses and writing rude messages to strangers. But one day, there came this Tranquill on board who would spit him in his ears when he fell asleep. It was not easy, being a secret agent. Fortunately he could always call his friends and hang up on them, which was a good thing. Let me ask a different question in the same way: it's just simple logic, isn't it?”
    Boreas stared at her after her mad rant, unsure whether she had really lost it this time or was just pretending. Either way, he decided he should get her checked out at Icirrus' pokécenter, and keep an eye on her at all times before that. He passed Lucius to go talk to Octa to tell him about Selene's bizarre behaviour, even by her standards.
    My dear fellow,” Octa greeted him. “'Tis quite a view we have from here, is it not?”
    Boreas shivered a bit as he was reminded of the great depths on both sides. “I really wish you hadn't said that... Anyway: Selene is acting weird.”
    Octa raised both eyebrows. “You don't say? My dear fellow, I do thank you for this information. I suppose the next ray of enlightenment you wish to extend upon my humble ears shall be to inform me the Sun is quite a warm place?”
    Weirder than usual, I mean,” Boreas snapped. “I think we should have her checked out at the Icirrus pokécenter. How long d'you think before we get there?”
    Octa extended his hands before his face and took some measurements. “The angle between Mount Twist's peak and my hypothesis of its base is, by my estimate, around sixty degrees. This is equal to one radian, ergo we are approximately six kilometres, its height, away. Since Icirrus is on Mount Twist's other side, we would be two hours away at most if we could travel in a straight line, but these being the mountains, I honestly can't say. It could be several days.”
    Boreas looked around at the magnificent view, walking a bit behind Octa with Selene still sitting on his shoulder. His mind wandered back to the delightful time he had spent with Aqua. Day after day had been absolute bliss with her. He sighed loudly as he suddenly missed her a lot.
    You look none too happy, my dear fellow,” said Octa.
    Boreas sighed. “I miss Aqua... A lot.”
    Do you?” Octa asked. “I suppose that is quite understandable, my dear fellow.”
    She asked me to stay with her... And I would've done anything to do so and stay with her forever... But I couldn't, not with this business with Team Plasma going on... These past three weeks have been the happiest of my life, Octa.”
    Were they?”
    Yeah... I love her. I told her that, and she said she loved me too! She loves me, Octa, can you believe that?!”
    Well, better start believing it, because it's true! The most beautiful girl in the world loves me!”
    Or at least Aqua does.”
    She's mine and- what? You don't think she's the most beautiful girl in the world?”
    No. With so many different species of creatures in the world, I would highly doubt there is such a thing as the single most beautiful girl in the world, as each species are considerably more attracted to their own kind than to others.”
    Fine, the most beautiful Eevee in the world.”
    I don't think so. The chances of you coincidentally meeting the most beautiful Eevee in the world are very slim. Don't get me wrong, she looks fine, quite good really. Just not better than every single other Eevee on the planet, I'm sure. She is probably in the top half, quite possibly even the top quarter, but I am fairly certain she is nowhere near the most beautiful Eevee in the world.”
    You're a real romantic, you know that?” Boreas asked with annoyance. “To me she's the most beautiful girl in the world.”
    Fine. To you. But you know she's not, really. After all, much though the case could be argued, you're not mad. You just fancy her more than she's objectively attractive.”
    Boreas frowned. “Octa, shut up.”
    That's a good thing! That's what love is, isn't it? Two people who are a little bit deluded in each other's favour.”
    Say, have you been this annoying a lot, lately? Is that why Toxica is so bitter with you now?”
    Octa suddenly looked terribly down. “No, it isn't,” he said morosely. “The reason she acts that way is because my mother told her about my obligations to my family... To be more precise, those with relevance to breeding...”
    Boreas forgot his annoyance with his friend. “Oh. And then Toxica realised you could've told her that a year ago and spared her a lot of trouble?”
    Octa nodded. “Indeed. She... is quite angry with me for withholding said information from her.”
    Well, to be honest I would be as well. I told you you should have told her. Why didn't you?”
    I do not want to talk about it.”

    Boreas couldn't sleep, though he was exhausted from all the climbing in thin air. It was a good thing they had reached the mountain village, so they could get a room in a small hotel; because it was freezing almost twenty degrees outside. It wouldn't have been a problem to Boreas, of course, but it certainly would have been to the others. He had looked forward to sleep so much the last bit of the exhausting journey, yet he couldn't get to sleep now, as his thoughts were filled with Aqua. Her smile, her eyes, everything she'd said to him... Particularly when she had told him she loved him. He so hoped he'd see her again soon.
    Octa,” he heard Toxica whisper, “Octa!”
    Octa snored loudly.
    I know you're awake, so quit pretendin' to be asleep!”
    Fine, I am indeed awake. Be quiet, or you'll wake everyone up,” Octa said with annoyance.
    Then I'll whisper quietly. I want to know what you were gonna say when we were suddenly surrounded by ghosts in the Celestial Tower, and I want to know it now. I've waited long enough for you to return to the subject by yourself. Now you're going to tell me why you never told me about your family's stupid rule.”
    I'd really rather not,” Octa whispered.
    I don't care, I want you to tell me,” said Toxica, resolutely.
    Please. I can assure you telling you this shall only make it harder. I do not want to tell you, because it would make you feel worse.”
    I'll be the judge of that. Tell me.”
    Octa sighed. “Fine. The reason I never told you is because you would inevitably have asked me about whether or not I feel attracted to you, as well. And I couldn't have lied to you or hidden the truth after such a direct question... Toxica, I am in love with you as well.”
    Quite, yes. But, don't you see? I cannot allow myself to act on those feelings; you are neither of noble blood nor a Serperior. I cannot allow myself to fraternise with you. Now do you see why I never have told you? I could not bring myself to break your heart, nor to lie to you about my feelings. Can you forgive me?”
    Boreas heard a sniff and other sounds of crying. “No. I-I wish I'd never met you now,” Toxica cried.
    I apologise,” said Octa as Boreas heard him get up and walk out of the room.
    Boreas had no idea Octa was in love with Toxica as well. Now that he thought of it, Octa being in love with Toxica but trying to suppress his feelings for her because he didn't want to break his family's tradition explained so much about his behaviour... He sighed and stood up, remembering the final conversation he'd had with Capella, mere hours before her death.
    I'm going to do everything in my power to convince him to jump at love and not let family tradition stand in the way of his happiness. I'm sure you'll do the same.”
    Yes, I will, Boreas thought determinedly as he stood up. Capella might be gone, but I'm not and I'll get him to change his mind!
    You-you heard us?” Toxica sniffed as she saw him go after Octa.
    Boreas nodded apologetically as he left the room and followed Octa, who had gone outside. Boreas found his friend sitting on a lichen-covered rock outside, staring at the amazingly clear night sky. “Octa, I've got to talk to you.”
    I am not in the mood for it, my dear fellow. Besides, 'tis quite rude to overhear the conversations of others, and even more so to meddle in their business. That is why you're here, isn't it?”
    I couldn't help not falling asleep, and I am going to meddle in your business because I'm your friend, and because I promised Capella.”
    Do not interfere,” said Octa, threateningly. “I warn you: if you continue this line of conversation you stand a good chance of permanently damaging our friendship.”
    I'll take that chance, then! I'm not letting you throw your chance at happiness away. I promised Capella the final time I spoke to her. Really spoke to her, I mean, not a quick word in battle. We promised we would protect you from your family's stupid rules when you fell in love, and since Capella is dead I'll have to carry that promise out on my own.”
    Do not bother me. You shan't change my mind, so this is useless.”
    I don't agree! Let me tell you about my relationship with Aqua. It was... The most amazing time I've ever had. Nothing and no-one has ever stirred such powerful emotions in me as she has. Both the good and the bad ones. But mainly the good ones. Kissing her is like-”
    Do not bother me with this. I have read more than enough books involving the subject, so I daresay I know more than enough about the matter and the emotions involved.”
    No, you don't! Reading about love and actually experiencing it are completely different! And that's because there are no words sufficient to describe the joy of spending time with your loved one, the tantalising spark you feel when she touches you, her amazing kiss...”
    Yet I shall experience all those feelings, simply not with Toxica.”
    No, you shan't! You'll never really love whoever your family picks, but you love Toxica! You can't just choose whom you love!”
    Octa squinted at him with a look of disgust. “You arrogant little Glaceon. What do you think makes you know better than the entire house of Equinox?! We have done it this way for thirty-five generations, and we have a glorious legacy to account for it! On the other hand, you know nothing of your family! Only the last two generations, whom you've known personally!”
    So what?! A legacy is useless! Nothing more than a story you tell to make you feel superior! Because like it or not, almost every single member of the house of Equinox is dead! Their deeds are all in the past and were not your deeds! It doesn't matter whom you descend from, what matters is your own life!”
    Be quiet!” Octa hissed furiously. “A lower-class pokémon like yourself would never understand the great gift of a noble birth!”
    See, there you go! “Lower-class pokémon,” your ancestry is nothing more than an excuse to feel superior to others! What do your ancestors' deeds matter to your life?! They are not living your life! Look at all the billions of pokémon like myself who have ancestors of mixed species, probably none of noble blood! And yet we can live admirably and happily!”
    I'm not going to continue trading insults with you!” Octa stood up and tried to walk away. But Boreas quickly grabbed his tail.
    I haven't finished talking to you.”
    Octa slowly turned around and stared in Boreas' eyes. Suddenly Boreas felt as if he was being stabbed with sharp daggers under the force of Octa's furious stare. “Let. Me. Go. Now!”
    Boreas felt his paw almost instinctively move to release Octa's tail, but he stopped himself and looked back into Octa's eyes, his eyes watering almost immediately. “No. We need to talk.”
    Octa furiously grabbed Boreas' paw and bent the fingers pack to release his tail, so Boreas grabbed his arms. Octa pushed him away and tried to escape, but Boreas kept holding him firmly. Octa hissed threateningly and tried to push Boreas over, so Boreas tried to do the same to him, pushing each other over, they both fell onto the ground, Boreas managing to land on top, pinning Octa down. Octa wrestled against Boreas, but he didn't let him go, so he punched him in the paw. Boreas ignited in fury as his paw flared with pain. He tried to hold himself back, but after Octa's stupid insistence not to listen to him his temper was already strained.
    He punched and clawed at Octa, who fought back as he tried to get out from under Boreas, hitting him on the eye. His eye was in severe pain and he could barely see with it any more, so he punched Octa's face to make him pay for that. Octa punched his stomach, making him howl in pain. Octa used the opportunity to escape from Boreas' grab, throw him to the cold, rocky ground, and pin him down.
    Boreas looked up to the furious Servine who was about to hit him again, and he suddenly felt his own anger at this whole situation disappear, and he grinned up at Octa, whose anger seemed to have subsided for the moment as well. “Ouch, that was quite the punch. You're not bad.”
    Octa chuckled at this and lowered his fist. “Thanks, my dear fellow. You're not bad yourself, my lips feel very painful and swollen after that punch you gave them.”
    Boreas laughed and patted Octa's shoulder. “I had little choice. Who knew you'd be so strong you could beat an ice-type like me?”
    Oh, don't flatter me, my dear fellow, neither of us used our elemental powers, so typing does not really matter here.”
    Boreas laughed. He realised how weird this was: a minute ago they had been furious at each other, and fighting had seemed to somehow have cleared the tension rather than make it worse. His eye really hurt, though. “How does my eye look?”
    Octa cringed. “Swollen, bloody and painful. I apologise for that.”
    Don't bother, I guess it was my own fault.”
    They were silent for a while, Octa still lying on top of Boreas. “Um,” Octa spoke. “I believe I shall consider your earlier words. But you see, I have no choice, I can't just pick the mate I want.”
    Why? What is your family going to do about it?”
    They'd get quite angry, but it is not so much my family as my descendants I am worried about... I don't want them to be born without pure blood. My family would never accept them either.”
    Look, just because you're in a relationship with a girl doesn't automatically mean you're going to have children with her. I mean, I love Aqua deeply, but neither of us has any intention of becoming a parent. Certainly not yet. If you want my advice: get over yourself,” he echoed.
    What?” Octa frowned.
    You're rejecting Toxica based solely on the belief that you're better than her. But you believe you're better for reasons entirely outside of either of your control: your ancestors. Isn't how a person lives far more important than how their ancestors did? Didn't you yourself tell me the first time we talked about this subject, when I was just a little Eevee-cub, that if someone isn't well-bred it simply means they'll have to achieve greatness for themselves? Look at Toxica over the past year, and tell me she hasn't acted at least as great as your ancestors would've done.”
    My dear fellow, this is not up to me! If it was my decision, then yes, maybe I would agree that there should be an exception to the rules in this case, for Toxica might indeed make a valuable addition to our house. But it's the decision of my family.”
    Octa, they have no right to decide that for you. It's your life, not theirs. Besides, you agree that tradition, or rule, or whatever it is needs changing, don't you? Well, it will never change if you keep propagating it. Then your family will continue acting like your great-aunt.”
    But, my dear fellow, traditions and rules are important.”
    No. Don't let yourself be bogged down by traditions and rules. If you do something simply because your ancestors did that as well, then the same mistakes get made every generation! And rules are only good as long as they help justice. The moment a rule is useless or causes injustice, it should be discarded.”
    But I can't simply change the rules, my dear fellow! Not on my own.”
    I'm sure change always begins with one person. One person who realises things could be better, and proceeds to make them better. Be that person, Octa. Your family might be angry at first, but eventually I'm sure they'll change their rules. Let me ask you something important: how much do you love Toxica?”
    Octa smiled. “Ah, quoting my own rhetoric against me, I see. Very clever, my dear fellow. You have given me a lot to think about,” Octa said as he gave Boreas a hug.
    Right,” said Boreas. “That's good. Uh, Octa, would you mind getting off me and letting me get up?”
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