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Old February 11th, 2012 (3:26 PM).
apenpaap apenpaap is offline
    Join Date: Oct 2011
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    Posts: 79
    Originally Posted by destinedjagold View Post
    I remember when this chapter was still the latest one available on fanfic. It took me one and a half day to calm myself down. You really got me hooked in your FanFic!

    That was only a week or three ago, I think. It's not much longer now before we'll have caught up and I can just post my chapters here as I write them. Also, it makes me very glad that I've got you hooked on the story.

    I don't think Black 'barely' defeated Skyla. So, he was lying, right?
    Sometimes, lies are needed to help someone, huh?
    It depends on what you'd call a lie, I guess. The battle was pretty tricky, so it's not a complete lie. But he was indeed mainly trying to cheer Bianca up.

    Is it? o.o
    I feel as if it's still too early for that.
    Well... Toxica could be wrong, of course.

    Even...the sages and their POKéMON?
    Unless any of them are deaf, yeah.

    Wait, the battle started, but Boreas' isn't fully healed yet, right?
    I don't like that fact...
    Indeed, he wasn't.

    The more I'm hating that fox now...
    And soon, both Boreas and you will have even more reasons to hate him.

    They had to ask the obvious... xD
    From the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "
    One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you alright? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favour of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working." I dunno what relevance that has to Toxica and Aqua, neither of whom is a human.

    I...can't imagine how, with a severe broken leg and a few broken ribs...
    Probably because you didn't add any detail about the distance between Boreas and Diego?
    They were pretty close together. And the broken leg is a hind leg, and he probably threw on the opposite side of his broken ribs. And the Aqua Ring at least numbed the pain.

    YAY! A Flareon! A random Flareon to the rescue!
    I love Flareons. <3
    So do I. They're great.

    If Aqua's going to die, I'm going to kill someone that looks like Diego around here... >=(
    Boreas would probably be there first.

    Wh-what...!? o.o
    You'll see next chapter. Well, actually you already know, as you've read it already.

    I love art, strangely, and to imagine a lovely and spetacular structure destroyed is a bit heart-breaking, even if it's just fictional. =/
    I know how it feels. It's the same reason why, though I love The Lord of the Rings and love its ending, I always get a bit sad in the movie when the Barad-Dûr and the Black Gate collapse. Not really sad enough to beat the general "HELL YES!" feeling of those scenes, but still.

    The message Ghetsis aired is annoying. >=( the heck are they going to win against them if they have Zekrom? =(
    Good question. In fact, even without Zekrom, there's still the fact that Plasma has been preparing for this war for more than twenty years and is highly organised, while the trainers didn't even know Plasma existed two years ago and have very little organisation, basically just being random people.

    Chapter Fifty-One: Dead or Alive?
    Boreas' primary fear had been taken away after Nurse Ebola took him and Aqua to the pokécenter and confirmed she would probably survive and recover, though she was unconscious for now. With most of Boreas' fear gone, that left curiosity as his main emotion. The fact that his many painful bruises were rapidly healed by the pokécenter's advanced healing machinery, or that his broken bones were set and promised to be fully healed in five days, or that his concussion was cured all paled in comparison to the anticipation he felt to visiting hour. When it finally came Boreas was of course happy to see his friends, but he had mainly been looking forward to the mysterious Flareon's visit. Boreas couldn't believe his brother would still be alive, but even if the Flareon was probably lying, there was no denying that he was on Boreas' side, as he had saved both his and Aqua's life.
    The Flareon cheerfully entered the ward with Boreas' friends. Boreas had to admit, the similarity to Zeph was uncanny. Of course, he looked different at first glance, as he was now a Flareon and eight times older than last time he'd seen his brother, yet the face looked so similar... “Hey, good to see you, brother! How are you and that foxy Vaporeon of yours coming along?”
    We're fine,” Boreas responded. “Thanks to you. Whoever you are, I can't thank you enough for saving us. But I'd like to know who my saviour really is. You can't really be Zeph. I mean... You died.”
    The Flareon beamed. “Reports of my death have been exaggerated! Though only slightly.”
    Boreas arched an eyebrow sceptically. “If you really are Zeph, tell me something only he would know.”
    Zeph grinned. “You've changed. When we were cubs, you'd have been so happy at my return you would have embraced me by now.”
    Not good enough: most people grow less impulsive and emotional as they grow up. If you think you can fool me with cold reading tricks like a medium, you've got it wrong.”
    I hadn't started yet!” the Flareon's voice sounded familiar to Boreas, that was certain. Like someone he knew, yet different. “I was just remarking that you'd changed! If you want me to talk about when we were cubs, here it goes: I am the third-born brother of four; you are my elder by twenty-five minutes. Eurus is older than both of us; Notus younger. Our parents, who were named Spark and Flora, named us after the four directions of the wind. You were the first thing I ever saw; as you were examining my egg in curiosity when I managed to make an opening in the scale.”
    I've told all that to Octa; he could easily have mentioned it to others in the time since then, which could be how you know it.”
    The first time our parents let us go outside the burrow, the world outside fascinated you. You wanted to see all of it immediately, but Mum had to disappoint you by telling you you couldn't. And the night after that, I was woken up by Dad being angry at you for trying to sneak out to see more of the world. When you returned to our part of the burrow, you were crying and I comforted you.”
    Boreas was quite astonished. “Okay, that is harder to explain... You certainly know a lot about my early life. But I'm not convinced; tell me more.”
    The Flareon sighed. “About a week before the last time we saw each other, our parents allowed us to go into the forest alone. But instead of trying to find food, we just played. But our noise attracted an Ekans who nearly ate me; but you attacked it and saved me. But then it turned on you instead... And I ran away at first, because I was really scared, but I attacked it too and we both managed to escape. Realising how much trouble we'd be in if Mum and Dad ever knew, we promised never to tell anyone.”
    Boreas was speechless. “I... Never told anyone... One final test: tell me the final things our family said to us before they died.”
    Eurus warned us about the monster, and swore he'd really seen it. Notus asked if he could come with us, and I said no. Dad told us to be careful and to be home soon. Mum...” a tear rolled over the Flareon's cheek. “Mum told us to run for our lives...”
    Boreas embraced the Flareon from his bed, feeling his soft fur and fluffy collar brush against him. “It is you! Zeph, I missed you! How... How did you survive?”
    Boreas thought Zeph smelt weird. But then, he had never smelt a Flareon's odour before. It did remind him of a familiar scent, but it was very smoky and stung his nostrils, making it hard to recognise his brother's odour. After hugging back, Zeph quickly escaped from the hug. “Sorry,” he said awkwardly. “I just don't like to be touched... It's nothing personal, just a sort of general thing... The old woman who saved me had rather old-fashioned ideas of disciplining and used to hit me when I was bad... Since then, someone touching me just sort of makes me feel uncomfortable.”
    Oh...” said Boreas. “That's awful.”
    Well, aside from that she was quite kind. No need to pity me, I'd just rather you don't hug me too often.”
    Okay, I won't,” Boreas smiled. “Now tell me: how can you still be alive? I saw you collapse, your throat cut! Or did I see that wrong?”
    You're right, my throat was cut, and I collapsed as I was suddenly in horrible pain and didn't get any more air. I thought I was going to die. A cut throat is no fun, Boreas. I tried to breathe though the blood loss rapidly made me lose consciousness anyway, but my blood flowed into my throat and into my lungs, making me drown in it. So I soon lost consciousness.
    So imagine my surprise when I woke up; my throat in bad pain, but I was still alive. An old lady named Helen and her Audino had found me, probably mere moments after you found your own rescue. My heart had already stopped beating, but the Audino was so skilled he could not only partially heal my throat right there, but also reanimate me. They took me back to their home before the Zangeese returned. You can imagine how terrified I was, a tiny little Eevee cub, suddenly in a human's home, having lost his entire family. At least, that's what I thought; I didn't know you were still alive.”
    Octa, who had been quietly listening to the exchange until then, spoke up: “Boreas was highly favoured by fortune as well: Black and I happened to be close by when we heard sounds of near running and fighting. Unfortunately we were too late to stop the Zangeese from cutting your throat, but I did manage to rescue Boreas from their claws. I am surprised this Helen still managed to rescue you even with an Audino, though. Black and I had to run for our lives as soon as we rescued Boreas from the Zangeese, hearing them return, or we would have buried you. Did they have to fight the Zangeese off or did they manage to rescue you before they returned?”
    Zeph looked puzzled. “You know, I never asked them. The memories of that night were too painful to ask them anyway.”
    Boreas had a thought. “What about Mum and Dad and Eurus and Notus? Are they...?”
    Zeph shook his head sadly. “Aesclepius – that's the Audino – told me they had checked the burrow out, but it was empty. The Zangeese must've eaten them...”
    Boreas sighed sadly. “Well, at least you survived as well, that's more than I'd ever thought... But how did you find me?”
    Well, at first I thought you had been eaten, like the others. So I stayed with Helen and Aesclepius, realising I had nowhere else to go. I stayed there for half a year, growing up slowly. But then, one day, while a terrible storm was raging over Unova, I was watching television with Helen when I saw coverage of a battle in Nimbasa. The people from the news had filmed a battle between a mysterious pokémon master and a trainer named Black. They showed his pokémon... And I saw a Glaceon who looked awfully familiar! I thought I had to be mistaken; yet I recognised your face and your eyes clearly, even if you had evolved by then. Then your trainer mentioned your name and that he had rescued you from Zangeese attacking your family on Route 1... And I knew my brother was still alive, evolved to a Glaceon!”
    Of course!” Boreas gasped, “I remember that battle! So that's how you found me? But how come you're a Flareon and not a Jolteon like you always wanted?”
    Zeph suddenly looked very sad.
    Oh. I-I'm sorry, I didn't know-”
    It's alright, Boreas; I'll tell you. When I saw you on television, I wanted nothing more than to find you again. So I travelled to Nimbasa. I got lost several times on the way, but eventually I found it. But by then, you weren't there any more! So I tried to find out about you, and learnt about the Gym challenge and that people who took it usually travelled to Driftveil next. But you had left there as well already. So I travelled to Mistralton. But on my way there I had to go through Chargestone Cave. One day in there, in a room where someone had scratched the words “CAPELLA OF THE HOUSE OF DRACO” into a big stone-”
    Boreas and all his other visitors gasped as they recognised that. “Capella?” said Boreas. “She was our friend, and she died in that cave...”
    I'm sorry to hear that. You're not the only ones who have lost something in that cave. A trainer found me in that room... I had had dealings with trainers before, of course; many of them would love to catch an Eevee. But this time, I couldn't run away, as I was in a corner in a cave...” A tear ran down Zeph's cheek. “I tried to fight, but the trainer's Venusaur was just too strong... It had nearly beaten me, and I knew once I'd been captured I would never be able to continue my quest to find you... But I saw a glowing stone stick out of the wall next to me... But it was a Fire Stone, not a Thunder Stone... I realised if I wanted to find you, I had to give up my dream of being a Jolteon and become a slow, ugly Flareon... Forever...” his voice trailed off.
    Oh, Zeph...” Boreas said compassionately as he tried to embrace his brother again, holding himself back when he remembered he didn't like to be touched. “That was very brave and noble of you. But look on the bright side: I'm sure you'll eventually like being a Flareon. I mean, Flareons may not be all that fast, but you're incredibly strong! And you've got cool fire powers and a fluffy collar, and-”
    Please,” Zeph interrupted. “Spare me the attempt to convince me this is a good thing; it's not. But I found you again, brother, so it was worth it. Now, tell me: what have you been up to?” he arched an eyebrow and grinned. “Particularly with that cutie I saved from the Zoroark, eh?”
    Boreas blushed. Fortunately, his friends had already left, seeing that Boreas was only interested in Zeph at the moment, and gone to Toxica, who was in a different room as she'd gotten a severe concussion when heavy rubble fell onto her while she was fighting Aqua. “Well, it's kind of a long story.”
    Hey, I don't mind. I'd love to know what you've been up to.”
    Okay. Well, after you collapsed I...”

    Wow,” said Zeph when Boreas had finished. “What an adventure you've been through!”
    Heh, that was only a short summary,” grinned Boreas.
    Still, you've been through a lot. I mean, you've fought against villains, travelled to all kinds of places, got yourself a saucy girlfriend... Count me in.”
    In? In on what?”
    On the team of course, idiot. I want to join your adventure!”
    Boreas shrugged, then grinned at the thought of his brother joining the team. “Sure, if you want to join I'd be glad to have you in the team. But it's a lot less fun to go through all those things than to hear about them.”
    Zeph laughed. “Hey, don't worry. I'm quite tough, you know. It's pretty much the only good thing of being a Flareon. I mean, I am stronger even than that Zoroark! Next time, I'll get him for being such a bastard to my brother!”
    Be careful,” said Boreas. “You may be stronger than him, but you got him by surprise yesterday, after Aqua and I had already weakened him. He's not just strong; or I could've beaten him myself. He's also quite cunning and smart.”
    But not as smart as you. So, what's the worry? I'm stronger than him, you're smarter than him. Together he can't do a thing against us.”
    Alright,” Boreas laughed. “I won't worry about it. Anyway, just talk to Octa and he'll get Black to catch you if you want to be part of the team.”

    Aqua opened her eyes the tiny bit she could manage and saw something odd: tiles. She didn't remember ever waking up to see such a regular pattern, and it filled her with apprehension. She knew there was one species on Earth which really loved these kinds of regular patterns... She tried to look around, but her head was held in the same direction by some sort of clamp. Tubes and wires were tucked into her nose and mouth, and something covered the top of her head. Terrified by all this, she tried to struggle out of the things holding her, but she was terribly weak... She couldn't even feel anything below her shoulders, and what was above it felt like it was made of yoghurt. Her breath became fast and ragged as she felt panic descend upon her, trying to escape.
    Then the horrible visage of a human appeared just before her, saying something that she was too panicked to understand. Its big, flat, bald face's hideous pink skin reminded Aqua of pigs, while its cold, merciless eyes stared into hers. Its tiny, deformed ears were almost hidden in a mass of the only fur it had, which was a sickly yellow colour. As it spoke to her, its ugly red lips revealed small, stubby teeth underneath. The human was immense, about twice as large as her, and very close. She tried to scream in terror and scald the human's horrific face, but she was so weak only a whining squeal came out of her.
    Get away from me!” she whispered in terror. “Don't do this to me! Please... Let me go...”
    The horrible human extended its spidery, long-fingered hand to her, and to make matters worse it was holding a sharp stabbing weapon. Aqua tried to back away, but it was impossible and the human found her neck. She felt a brief, piercing pain and then darkness enveloped her.

    Aqua opened her eyes and saw something odd: tiles. She didn't remember ever waking up to see such a regular pattern, except in a half-remembered nightmare, and it filled her with apprehension. She knew there was one species on Earth which really loved these kinds of regular patterns... She tried to look around, but her head was held in the same direction by some sort of clamp. Tubes and wires were tucked into her nose and something covered the top of her head. Terrified by all this, she tried to struggle out of them, but she was quite weak and her rear legs didn't seem to respond at all, while her front legs were held in the same position by clamps.
    But then she heard a voice that partially calmed her down just by its sound, a voice she considered incredibly sexy, though it wasn't really all that deep or masculine or rhythmic. “Don't be scared, Aqua,” he said.
    Aqua felt reassured by the fact that Boreas was with her, but the situation was still very threatening. “Wh-where am I?” she whispered, as she was too weak to speak normally. “What's going on? What happened?”
    You're in a pokécenter, because you have been severely wounded by Diego. But don't worry, you're going to be alright.”
    Aqua tried to get up and whimpered in terror. “I-inside a human building? I c-can't get up! Help me, my love, get me out of here! What did they do to me?! I can't feel anything below my shoulders!”
    Boreas touched her head with his paws and stroked her finned ears, slightly calming her down. “Calm down, dearest, or they'll have to sedate you again. Listen to me, I know you don't like the humans, but they saved your life.”
    Aqua tried to look at Boreas, but she couldn't move her head as it was held in place. “Wh-why did they do this to me?! Please, untie me! I-I can't move!”
    It's for your own good. Diego broke your back in several places. You're paralysed now because all nerves go through the spine. That's why you can't feel anything below your shoulders. But fortunately, the humans' incredible medicine can cure it, both the bone and your damaged nerves. But that will take them a long time, and meanwhile the regenerating nerves are very easy to damage. Even by just moving, you could damage them now. That's why they made it impossible for you to move.”
    Aqua's breath was ragged with fear, not just at the thought of being so incredibly vulnerable to the humans who captured her, but also that her back was broken. That was a permanent injury. Yet, if Boreas said she would recover, she had to believe him. “I'm scared, Boreas... Stay with me and don't let the humans near me, please...”
    As his paws continued stroking her head, his handsome face appeared in her view. His piercingly intelligent, cyan eyes reassured her and she couldn't help but admire the way his long, messy blue hair fell over his face as he looked down to her. “Don't worry, my love. I'll be in here with you constantly for the next few days while my own bruises, broken bones, and concussions heal. After that, I'll visit you as much as I can. But humans will have to come near you sometimes. When the nurse realised how much humans frighten you, she instructed the pokémon that work here to completely take over the care for you, but they can't operate on you. That'll have to be done by humans.”
    Aqua whimpered in fear at the thought of a human cutting in her with a knife. “N-n-no! I-I don't want that! Anything but that! I-I'd rather die!”
    The look on Boreas' face broke her heart. “Don't say that, my love. Please. What would I do without you? If you don't want to do this for yourself, at least do it for me.”
    Aqua swallowed a lump of fear. “O-okay. If it's really necessary...”
    It is. Without these operations, your back will never heal.”
    Aqua drew a deep breath to banish the horrid thoughts of humans cutting in her. “Okay... I'll let the humans operate on me, if you promise to keep an eye on them the whole time.”
    I don't think I'm allowed to be there when you're operated, love. Besides, I can assure you they can be trusted, and even if they couldn't, I wouldn't know the difference between cutting that heals and cutting that doesn't.”
    Aqua shivered at the thought of humans cutting in her, much though Boreas reassured her. “I... I understand... I'm scared, Boreas... I know the humans are only trying to help me, but... Well, imagine if you were going to be operated by Zangeese.”
    I understand your fear, my love,” said Boreas lovingly as he stroked her ears. “But trust me, it's going to be alright. I swear it to you. In two months, your pretty blue back will be all better again, and you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want.”
    And whoever I want,” Aqua winked. But then she realised what he had said. “Wait, two months?!
    Boreas blushed in a very cute and attractive manner at her flirting. “Yes, I know it's a long time. Nurse Ebola says you'll be able to move your rear legs again in a few weeks, and you can go out in two months or so. It's very hard to cure a broken back.”
    Two whole months... I don't know if I can handle being with these humans for so long...”
    Please, be strong, my love. Do it for me. It would crush me if you died or became disabled forever.”
    Aqua looked deep into Boreas' attractive cyan eyes and found some strength. “Alright. I'll be as strong as I can for you.”

    Boreas startled as a large, feathery black thing fell into the hospital room through the open window. The the messy heap of feathers stirred and flew up onto his bed. “Oh, hi Selene. You startled me.”
    Hi, Selene,” said Aqua, still stuck in the same position in her bed. “How are you?”
    You should be careful with that window,” said Selene, “it might hurt someone. Uncle Istvan always used to say they were watching him, and look what happened to him...”
    Oh, what happened to him?” Boreas asked.
    Selene nodded. “Indeed.”
    A silence fell. “So, Selene,” said Aqua. “Boreas said you recently evolved to a Honchkrow. How does that feel?”
    Selne looked stupefied. “I did?”
    Yeah,” said Boreas. “Remember? During the big battle in Dragonspiral Tower?”
    Selene looked down at herself and nearly fell off the bed with surprise. “Waark!” she screeched. “I'm a Honchkrow! Who did that to me?!”
    Don't you like it?” asked Boreas, thinking of his poor brother, who was now forever stuck as a Flareon against his will.
    I think I do, actually. I wonder if Team Plasma will win the war now that so many trainers are releasing their pokémon,” she said, suddenly changing conversations with the speed of an Electrode rolling down Mt. Twist.
    Releasing their pokémon?” Boreas asked with concern.
    Selene nodded. “It is all over the news. Lucius says they're all spineless heaps of Nidoran droppings that had better stay out of his way if they know what's good for them.”
    How many trainers released their pokémon?”
    Lots. And more every day. And others just disappear forever, often with signs of a vicious struggle... Then more trainers realise Team Plasma is serious, they get terrified and release their pokémon as well... It's one of them fiscal circles...”
    Boreas saw the grim look on her face. “You're very worried about this, aren't you?”
    Selene didn't answer, instead she stared at his face while she squinted and half-turned her head. “You know... If I was colour-blind, you'd look just like Einstein like this...”
    Do I?” Asked Boreas.
    Yeah. If you grew a moustache, the similarity would be uncanny if you squinted really, really badly and ignored the ears...” She looked at her wing as if she wore a watch there. “Oh, look at my wing, I've got to go!” she flew out of the window.

    Boreas walked through the pokécenter's corridors. The leg was coming along very nicely, he had to admit. He could barely feel it any more. He tried to focus on that thought and not on Aqua getting operated. It was not much of a surprise that he wasn't allowed to be in the operation room, and Aqua had kept herself surprisingly well. Boreas' admiration for her bravery only made him feel even more scared for her well-being. The thought that something could go wrong with the operation and she could die was too terrible to think of.
    My dear fellow,” Octa greeted him. “I deduce from your evidently preoccupied and worried state, as well as the fact that you are walking aimlessly through these corridors that your dearly beloved is presently undergoing an operation.”
    Boreas nodded stiffly. “Yeah. If everything goes right, it should help her nerves to begin their regeneration...”
    Octa smiled. “Isn't science wonderful? A mere twenty years ago, a broken back could never be healed. Well, the bone could, obviously, but the nerves inside would be gone forever and paralysis would be permanent. Even a decade ago, Aqua would never have made more than a partial recovery. Yet now, she will be fully cured, and within only two months as well! I hope this incident will open her eyes to the virtues of Homo sapiens.”
    I merely hope she will open her eyes at all...” Boreas muttered.
    Octa put a hand on his shoulder. “I apologise, my dear fellow, I do get a bit carried away sometimes. Evidently her survival would be your primary concern.”
    Boreas smiled. “Don't worry. You're not the one who should apologise; Diego is. What kind of horrible person would do that anyway? Why does he hate me so much to try and kill Aqua and me?”
    Octa shrugged. “Well, I guess it might be because you are a rather polarising type of person. People have a tendency to either love you or hate you.”
    They do?”
    Octa nodded. “Indeed. There is very little possibility in between those two with you. Evidently Diego hates you. While I, for example, I...” his voice trailed off.
    You?” asked Boreas.
    Well, I don't.”
    Boreas smiled. “Thanks, that really means a lot to me.”
    And that's from the heart. I really do... not hate you,” he scraped his throat. “The reason I came here was because I received a message from my family. In light of recent events, they want me to return home temporarily.”
    Boreas turned around with a start. “They want you to return home? And what recent events?”
    Indeed they do, though temporarily. The recent events I would assume they mean are Team Plasma declaring war and trainers and pokémon all over Unova mysteriously disappearing.”
    But... What about your ancestors who all did great things?! I didn't think your family would want to keep you safe when you have a chance to really change the world for the better.”
    You misunderstand, my dear fellow. If my hypothesis is correct, they are not doing this to keep me safe; but presumably their reasoning is twofold: first of all pokémon breeders are likely to be attacked once more, and therefore I would be useful in my home's defence whilst still performing deeds worthy of the name Equinox; and secondly, while they would never want to stifle me, my death would currently be a severe loss for our house, as I have not produced offspring yet. Therefore my suspicion is that they discovered a mate for me. Considering there is little we can do otherwise until the Light Stone's location is discovered, I wish for you, my best friend, to accompany me, both to fight by my side and as my best man.”
    Boreas was a little overwhelmed. “But... You love Toxica. You don't even know who your family chose as your mate! You can't let them go through with this!”
    It is customary to thank for the honour,” said Octa, sourly. “And I intend to go through with this. Whether or not I am attracted to Toxica is irrelevant: I am of the house of Equinox. 'Tis my duty to my ancestors and descendants to take the mate my family chooses for me.”
    No, it isn't!” Boreas snapped. “Suicune's muke, Octa, we've been over this two weeks ago! I thought I'd made some progress then, but here you are, proving it just bounced off your skull! Don't you realise Toxica would make an excellent addition to your house? Did you forget my entire argument about why you should change the rules?!”
    My dear fellow, please. These are hard, dangerous times, and the last thing my family needs now is to be split up over an issue like this. If these were easier times, then I would perchance attack the rules and endeavour to set a new precedent. But what my house needs now is to stand together as one.”
    So that's it. Simply because Team Plasma declared war, you're going to throw your happiness and Toxica's away? You're a coward.”
    WHAT?!” bellowed Octa.
    Yes, a coward. You let your fear overwhelm you and force you into not doing what's right! You consider yourself a highly logical person, but where's the logic in this?”
    Octa sighed. “I have heard your arguments. But my decision stands. I take the train back this afternoon. I have already told Black. Do you wish to accompany me?”
    I promised Aqua I would stay with her, and I intend to.”
    I understand. But it is a true shame; I would have loved to have you present. That does present me with the problem of whom to take with me if not you. Black couldn't understand a word that would be said, and Selene... well, she couldn't either, and I am not too fond of Lucius...”

    Toxica looked at the great mansion of Octa's family ahead. It had been very nice of Octa to invite her to come visit his family together with him. He had been very nice to her in general since the night when he had admitted his feelings to her and Boreas had talked to him. She still couldn't forgive him for everything, but it did make her feel a lot better. Though she had noticed, all through the trip,that Octa seemed preoccupied, even worried. She decided to ask him about it.
    Octa, is something wrong? You seem worried.”
    Oh no, nothing is wrong. I am merely looking forward to seeing my family once again.”
    Look, you can share it with me, whatever it is. I won't mind.”
    I suspect you will,” muttered Octa.
    Toxica would ask him what he meant, but they had already reached his family's home. Toxica remembered the instructions Octa had given her and greeted his every relative with the same deference and honour. Finally, after they had greeted every on of his relatives, Octa's father, Lord Publius Cornelius – a stately, noble Serperior with a purple, plume-like leaf on the top of his head and with large, curly collar-like extensions on the side of his neck– happily beamed at his son.
    Octa, my son,” he spoke in a rich voice that reminded Toxica a lot of Octa's. “You have truly grown up well. Look at you, you're truly worthy of the name Equinox.”
    Octa bowed gratefully. “Thank you, Father. 'Tis all thanks to your education and training that I am who I am today.”
    Lord Publius continued: “Not only have you grown up very well, you have also gone through your evolutionary metamorphosis and become a Servine. I believe you shall soon go through another metamorphosis and become a Serperior I can be even prouder of. Yet, my dear son, in light of your incredible progress as a person, I believe it is only the more clear that you are still lacking something: an equally admirable companion.”
    Octa didn't say anything. Toxica realised now why they were here, and she felt horrible about it. She felt furious towards Octa for inviting her to let her witness the moment when she would lose him forever. But she also saw an uncomfortable tension in Octa's handsome face, and realised this was her last chance. If she spoke up right now and told his family about their feelings for each other...
    B...” she said, as she saw Galaxia's powerful stare aimed at her. She felt incredibly self-conscious, and wanted nothing more than to stop talking, in fact leave right away. But she realised that would ruin her chances of being with Octa forever. She took a deep breath and tried to ignore Galaxia's relentless stare.
    Bu...” her voice trailed off after a single extra letter when a gorgeous blue Servine entered the room. Her entire form had an almost angelic beauty, her gleaming scales and leaves were coloured a pure, almost translucent sapphire. Her lithe body moved with a finesse that made Octa look like a primitive brute by comparison, and her deep emerald eyes seemed to shine with starlight.
    My son,” beamed Lord Publius, “it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Aurora Invicta of the house of Quintillus. Aurora, I present my son Octavianus.”
    The gorgeous Aurora made a courteous, elegant bow to Octa. “It is truly a pleasure to meet you, son of the house of Equinox,” she said in a voice that would lead nightingales never to sing again in jealousy and develop severe drinking problems.
    Toxica realised she had been staring blindly at the new arrival for a while now, fixated on her beauty and elegance. She woke herself up from her reverie. If that was the effect Aurora had on her, a female, Octa would be captivated without any hope. A single look at his mesmerised face as he greeted her confirmed that thought. Her heart sank into a black well of despair as she realised she was absolutely chanceless against such beauty, such elegance, and such finesse. Her eyes caught great-aunt Galaxia doing something she hadn't seen her do before: she smiled.
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