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Old September 6th, 2012 (3:58 PM).
apenpaap apenpaap is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by destinedjagold View Post
Oh my. You seriously made me lost hope that they'll never ever get out of there.

Yeah, they thought the same, it was very close. I even named the chapter to suggest that... Though it really refers to the end of their journey to the League.

And Lucius x Selene? *gasp*
When did this happen!?
All of Black's PKMN have a pair! xD
Don't worry, it's unlikely anything actually happened; Selene just likes to annoy him. And Toxica joined in. So they're no pair, just friends. In their own way.

Sad that Boreas will leave them after all the chaos, but that's not to worry for now.

Yeah, there's a lot more to do before he's going to leave.

I just hope there's something to eat around the League. =/
Let's find out, shall we?

Part Ten: Five Great Warriors

Chapter Sixty-Four: On the Eve of Battle

Boreas woke up feeling warm, fed, comfortable, and happy for the first time in ages. Slowly opening his eyes, he found he was in a soft bed in a pokécenter, under thick blankets. In his arms lay Aqua, sleeping peacefully and snoring softly. As he snuggled up to her, he recalled how he'd got here. Their slow, laboured descent down the northern side of the Pokémon League valley, how they had finally reached their destination after five months on Victory Road, feeling more dead than alive, how they had been taken to the pokécenter quickly and given the greatest meal they'd ever eaten – though that likely had more to do with their famished stomachs than the true quality of the food. Finally they had been taken to this room, put in their beds, and fallen into a deep, careless sleep. Or at least Boreas had after sneaking out of his own bed and into Aqua's.

That they had reached the League, without losing anyone, felt better even than the soft bed and the sweet girl in his arms. He had led his friends through uncharted paths over the Black Mountains and against all odds they had made it, if only by a hair's breadth. The sight of the mountain had kept them going, but while hope could nourish their minds it couldn't nourish their bodies, and even the most determined mind will eventually find a physical limit its body can't go past. They had come dangerously close to that limit, and even now Boreas' body still felt weak and achy, if less so than the day before.

Boreas didn't have to worry any more that Aqua might starve soon, though when he felt her stomach he noticed her ribs still stuck out far too much. That and the weakness he felt himself made him realise they were in no condition at all to fight, regardless of whether N had reached the League as well.

But had he? Boreas didn't even know that, as they had only had thought for food, warmth, and rest yesterday. Or was it before that? They had all been tired enough to sleep through a whole day, easily. He'd seen trainers and their pokémon work together in the pokécenter, so N probably wasn't Champion yet. Maybe he hadn't made it out of Victory Road? That would be a very bad thing, oddly enough, as it removed the only reasonably easy chance they had at beating Team Plasma.

Aqua suddenly began cuddling him back, and mumbled sleepily in a soft voice that made Boreas' heart beat faster: “Hmm, Boreas... What're you doing to my belly?”

With a blush, Boreas stopped rubbing and petting her stomach, which he had subconsciously continued doing. “Er... Sorry.”

Slowly opening two deep black eyes, Aqua giggled. “You don't have to stop, it felt quite nice. You may rub my belly any time... Though I'd also like to fill it at some point, I'm hungry...”

Boreas winked and resumed the rubbing. “Alright, then. Come to think of it, I'm quite hungry too. Maybe we should try to find some breakfast... Or whatever meal it is at this time of the day.”

Hmm... Later... Right now, I just want to lie here and snuggle you...”

I would be happy to,” said Boreas truthfully. “I don't think I've felt this well in a long time...”

Neither have I...” flirted Aqua as she gently nuzzled his fur. “But maybe after breakfast, we'll have regained enough energy to do things that are even more fun than just snuggling, so we can feel even better?”

I thought you didn't want to get breakfast,” chuckled Boreas, blushing.

Well, I thought I didn't... But now that I have something more to look forward to, maybe I do...”

Well,” giggled Boreas, “I've got an idea: I'll get up real quickly and get us breakfast as fast as I can. I'll come back, dive back into bed with you, and we'll eat it. And then... Well, we'll see what happens next.”

Can't wait to find out.” Aqua winked as Boreas got up quickly. He didn't stand quite stable, but it was no problem. He quickly left the hospital ward, almost skipping. Things had gone so much better than he had ever expected. The journey had been incredibly long and hard, but in the end he had led his friends to the safety of the League. His greatest hope had thus come true, and now he was well-rested, warm, and about to get another meal. Not just that, but he had just snuggled with Aqua without hunger or the fear of death clouding their moods, and was probably about to get lucky too. In short, he was full of glee, and as he skipped through the pokécenter, he wondered why he would ever need to feel concern or unhappiness again.

Attention, challenger N's battle with Shauntal of the Elite Four is about to begin. Head to the holographic hall to watch it live!”

Oh,” said Boreas, “I guess that's why.”

As Boreas recovered over the next few days, he explored the League. It was in a wide valley between the mountains, protected from the storms and blizzards by them, and warmed up more by human ingenuity. The southern half of the valley was the public part of the League, which was essentially a town full of trainers. There was the pokécenter, but also the train station, a market, various training facilities, houses for those who lived there, and more. At the moment, it also served as a refuge for anyone who didn't want their pokémon taken from them, as one of the last free places in Unova. The northern half of the League was inaccessible to anyone other than the Elite Four, the Champion, and their challengers, so Boreas didn't know much about it. It had five towers; a large one in the middle and four smaller ones around it coloured black, purple, dark red, and blue; and there seemed to be other facilities there as well. The tops of the towers would sometimes be lit by the Sun at day, while the rest of the valley had only artificial lights then.

The first few days they were slowly recovering from their trial, glad they had survived and finally reached the League as they regaining their strength. Yet they were also reminded now that the journey was never the true challenge: it still lay ahead of them. N had arrived two weeks before them. Apparently he had managed to find a deep path through the caves, and it had landed him on a different pass. After a journey almost as long as Black's, he had finally arrived at the League, coming from the west. No-one, human or pokémon, was allowed to be present at a Pokémon League battle they weren't part of, but several 3D cameras across the room would record the battle and broadcast it as a spectacular hologram in a great dome called the holographic hall.

The news that trickled in from south painted a grim picture: Unova, other than the League, was now completely in Plasma's hands. It sounded like a grim, grey land where only Team Plasma had pokémon and any dissension was punished severely. Plasma's victory was nearly complete. Zekrom's force of will was strong enough to influence many people, and by now Plasma was popular enough that they probably didn't even need N to become Champion. Boreas wondered if defeating him would make any difference, even if they could do it. N was the official king of Team Plasma, but by now the Seven Sages were as good as kings of Unova. The Gym Leaders all seemed to have disappeared, and Black was unable to get any news of Bianca, Cheren, or White.

N had already beaten three of the Elite Four by the time Boreas was well enough to leave the pokécenter. He went to the holographic hall with Aqua to watch his final battle, against a master of psychic pokémon named Caitlin. The hologram was incredible, as if the battle took place right in the dome. This way people could watch the battles, despite not being allowed into the northern half of the League.

Caitlin's pokémon fought gracefully and elegantly, yet it was clear there was tremendous power in them. Boreas had only once fought a powerful psychic type, and it was a very unpleasant memory, and had allowed Diego to impersonate his brother. He was no stranger to deceit and trickery himself, and so he already knew the power of manipulating an opponent's mind, but to do it directly, simply reaching into it and changing things? That was a terrifyingly powerful gift, one that Boreas wished he wouldn't have to fight soon.

But it seemed likely he would. While at first Caitlin seemed to be gaining the upper hand, that changed when it was Diego's turn to fight. Mysterious, dark powers took down two of Caitlin's pokémon. Boreas didn't know to what extent the Zoroark's powers were illusions and what part of them was real, but he could easily tell Diego was an even more dangerous opponent than ever before. He was also reminded of what he had tried to do to him the day they allied and blushed with shame. The troubles on Victory Road had allowed him to repress the memory for a while, but now he knew he would have to deal with it somehow. He needed to tell Aqua what the Glaceon she loved was really like, but he was too ashamed to do it. He was scared she'd get angry at him, or even dump him. So he tried to focus on the battle instead.

Diego was eventually defeated by a Bronzong, and N replaced him with Zekrom, his sole remaining pokémon. Even though it was merely holographic and the real Zekrom was far away in Caitlin's tower, Boreas still felt a surge of passion for pokémon liberation and wished to be free from Black, but quickly shook it off. The effect was much greater on the long-haired, princess-like Caitlin and her pokémon, though, who were much nearer. They were clearly confused and in doubt. Then Zekrom attacked.

Boreas had never seen anything like it. He had been too distracted by his own enemies and observing Diego when they had met in the Black Mountains to pay attention to the battle between Zekrom and Hydreigon, but now he could just watch it battle. It was awe-inspiring and terrifying. Intense bolts of lighting flashed with fierce blue light that put the Sun to shame. Huge meteors of fire and lightning struck and rocked the entire tower. Boreas felt their power course through his veins, though this was no more than a hologram. Everyone watching it was silent with awe.

Zekrom prese-” Boreas began, before correcting himself: “Kyogre preserve us...”

He hadn't fully realised until now what it meant for a legendary pokémon to be on N's side. Now that he did, he saw the outcome of this battle immediately, and knew tomorrow's battle with Alder was no more than a formality: N would become Champion, there was no doubt about it. And then he and Zekrom would wield an almost invincible power over the hearts and minds of everyone in Unova.

Octa walked to the holographic hall with Toxica. They hadn't been released from the pokécenter yet the day before, so they only had the accounts of Boreas and Aqua to rely on for the strength of N's team. They wanted to watch his final battle with Alder, both to cheer the Champion on, though he couldn't hear them of course, and to observe their eventual opponent if N did win.

Octa?” Toxica asked worriedly. “Do you think Boreas is right? Do you think Alder doesn't stand any chance against Zekrom?”

Octa paused. “'Tis a good question, my darling. One I do not yet know the answer of. However, I do know Alder is a very powerful trainer; 'tis evident from his position as Champion. Recall his prowess in the battles of Dragonspiral Tower and Nacrene City. Zekrom may be a legendary pokémon, but it's still a pokémon. It can be defeated, I am certain of it, and if Alder can't do it, we'll see what we can do. Darkness shan't fall.”

To his delight and slight embarrassment, Toxica hugged him and gave him a kiss. “You're right, it's just-”

Keep your dirty hands off the descendants of Equinox the Great, Vileplume, or darkness shall fall for you sooner than you think,” spoke a voice icily.

Octa turned in shock, letting Toxica go, and saw an angry-looking Serperior whose body was streaked with several bands of purple. “Hey, who do you think you are, you stuck-up git?!” snapped Toxica angrily, to Octa's shame.

Quiet, Vileplume; do not speak to your betters in such manner,” sneered the Serperior.

Octa felt caught between two fires as two of those he loved spoke to each other like that. So he tried to pretend it didn't happen. “Gaius, my dear brother! What a delight to see you again, but what are you doing here?”

Gaius frowned in contempt. “I could ask you the same, brother. Why are you shaming yourself in public with this common hag when you could have been wed to the fair Aurora Invicta of the house of Quintillus?”

Hey, who-” Toxica began.

Brother,” said Octa sternly, “this is the time nor the place to discuss my private life. I know you have been in opposition of my choice-”

In opposition? My dear brother, don't you see opposition to it is the only sensible stance? How could you forsake five centuries of our house's history by choosing this hag over the fair Aurora Invicta? Selfishly deny your descendants the noble ancestry you have? I can barely believe you could do such a thing. And I want you to know that while you somehow got our father to support you, as well as our foolish younger siblings, I shall ever guard the future of our house, as well as yourself, both now and when I inevitably succeed Lord Publius as our leader.”

Hi there, Octa, Toxica,” said Boreas, who had just arrived too. “Who's this big girl's blouse, then?”

Octa winced at the untimely arrival and rude remark of Boreas, feeling very much trapped between Scylla and Charibdis. Fortunately his brother scowled and said: “So this is the kind of company you keep nowadays? Plebeian Vileplumes and scruffy-looking Glaceons who insult your family; how the mighty have fallen. I shall take my leave now; come talk to me without this rabble some time.” He turned and slithered away.

Good riddance,” spat Boreas. “What a windbag.”

Octa felt quite angry hearing his brother talked about like that. “Be quiet and do not insult my brother.”

Your brother?”

Yes,” Octa explained with annoyance, “that was my older brother, Gaius Julius the fourth of the house of Equinox you just insulted.”

He deserved it, bossing you around and insulting Toxica. Is your whole family like that?”

No,” said Toxica, “not all of them. His other siblings are pretty nice. It's just Gaius who has a thorny stick up his-”

Octa interrupted angrily. “I forbid you both to talk of my family like that! For your information, Gaius is noble, wise, cunning, and brave. He simply does not support our union, and got quite angry seeing us osculate in public, making him express himself far less tactful than he would otherwise.”

That's an understatement,” muttered Toxica. “But I still don't like 'im. And he doesn't like me either.”

Indeed, he doesn't. And he shall like you far less after this situation, which is a problem. You see, he is a very influential member of my house; so much, in fact, that he will most likely succeed my father as our leader. Therefore, you have made a grave mistake by earning his scorn, as it will surely spread to others as well.”

Oh...” said Toxica. “I didn't know that.”

I know you didn't,” sighed Octa. “But understand that if you ever wish to become a lady of the house of Equinox, you shall have to learn how things work in it. For if you do not fall into grace with my house, they shan't ever condone our union, in which case I would have to leave the family... I implore you, do not make me do that. 'Tis a prospect that fills me with dread.”

Sorry,” said Toxica sadly, “I know I'll need to impress your family. I really-”

Attention, challenger N's battle with Champion Alder is about to begin. Head to the holographic hall to watch it live!”

Come on,” said Boreas. “We've wasted enough time with this, let's watch the battle to see what'll happen next.”

Silence hung heavily after the Volcarona crash-landed into the floor and didn't get up again, its glow quickly dimming. None spoke as they let the realisation that N had won and was now the Champion sink in. Alder too was flabbergasted. Finally, N spoke:

Today, a new era begins as I, N, become the final Champion of Unova! The final trainers will release their pokémon during my time as Champion as I command it, and then I will at last disband the Pokémon League, and the very concept of the Championship.”

But Alder said: “Please, do anything but that! You can't end the friendships between humans and pokémon, you will destroy many beautiful things if you do! I know you are a good person, but you are also a very deluded one. Look at what Team Plasma has done and continues to do, and compare it with all the good trainers have done! You are fighting the wrong battle, N.”

Don't speak,” said N calmly. “We fought to test our ideals, and mine won. You have no right to speak, as you've been proven wrong.”

I didn't fight to test my ideals, but to protect them! You can't prove an idea simply by fighting for it, you only prove to be more powerful that way. An idea's strength doesn't translate into physical strength! Evil can be more powerful than good.”

N, for the first time Boreas knew him, wavered. “I... Maybe...”

But then Diego spoke. “He's lying, like humans usually do. A good ideal gives strength, while evil only tears it down. That's why Zekrom is so powerful: because it fights for what is right. And that is why you won. And now, the pathetic human is trying to twist your mind with his lies since he couldn't win properly.”

N nodded. “You're right!”

An earthquake struck. The hall shook and panic erupted. “A mountain!” someone screamed from outside. “A new mountain is rising!”

As Boreas rushed outside, he saw it wasn't a mountain, though its size was almost as impressive. Tower after huge tower of obsidian black stone erupted from the ground, rising up rapidly as if by magic to the north of the League. But not just there: dark towers, walls, and fortresses rose to the east and west of the five towers of the League, which now seemed small and insignificant by comparison, enveloping them like a hawk about to devour its prey. The Earth shook, and small avalanches of snow and rock rolled down the slopes of the mountains around the League. Clouds of dust hung around the base of the mighty fortress that had risen from the ground. Flagpoles rose from the tops of the towers, and unfurled to show the banner of Team Plasma. When the castle had stopped rising, and the Earth stopped shaking, bridges opened from several towers, bridges that thrust towards the Champion's tower, touching its highest floor. There was a phenomenal cracking sound, and then tiny figures moved on one of the bridges. Boreas rushed back inside.

The Champion's Room was devastated: three bridges had broken through the walls, making a mess of rubble inside. Alder looked as flabbergasted as everyone else, and even N looked surprised. Diego, however, didn't.

What- what is going on?” Alder worded the question in everyone's minds.

At that moment, the Seven Sages entered the room via the bridge. “Congratulations, N,” spoke Ghetsis. “You've proven our ideals of pokémon liberation by becoming the Champion! But since you are very different from the corrupt former Champions, you require a different chamber than this one. Follow me, my lord, to your throne room, from where you and Zekrom will rule Unova.”

The castle...” N gasped. “I had no idea it could do that...”

It only needed to be underground for as long as Team Plasma was. Now that we're victorious, it shall stand in the place of the outdated League as a testament to the power of our dreams.”

N spoke aloud to nobody in particular: “Black, I know you're watching this. You heard Ghetsis: I'll be in my throne room in Team Plasma's Castle, where I belong. Only you can defeat me now, and that is highly unlikely. But you'll try anyway, that's what you're a hero for. So come to my throne room; I will command Team Plasma you are to be let into the Castle unharmed. And then we will fight like the heroes of old and once and for all determine whether truth or ideals is more powerful.”

With N as the Champion, Zekrom's power somehow seemed increased greatly. Boreas now felt the wish for liberation all the time, as did other pokémon, while humans felt inclined to release their pokémon all over Unova. It needed to be stopped, or soon there would be no trainers left. But they couldn't battle N right away. First they needed to recover from their ordeal on Victory Road, which took them almost two weeks.

They trained a lot during this time, mainly having training fights against each other. To change things up and prepare better they had practice fights against different opponents, except for Boreas against Aqua. This exception was because their training matches always seemed to turn into tongue wrestling matches instead. While they both protested they were training well and didn't mind having a bit of fun during training, Octa snidely pointed out that since neither of them were ghost-types, they wouldn't be using their tongues in combat, and were therefore better off training against someone they wouldn't end up snogging with. Octa found it quite annoying: while he could understand their love for each other was strong, surely there was such a thing as self-control?

Black had asked for permission to enter the Champion's tower and challenge N directly, since it was the only way into the Castle that could be found. This request had been passed on to the Elite Four, who refused it. So he had requested it again, with a whole series of powerful arguments, but again the Elite Four refused, despite the huge fortress now enveloping their League and Plasma ruling Unova.

One day, Black met with Alder, and had the opportunity to ask him why they would refuse when it was.

I don't know,” said the former Champion, who looked down on his luck and shocked at his defeat several days before. “And I can't ask them either, as I'm no longer allowed in the League, being the ex-Champion. The only way I could get there would be by challenging, but I'm not allowed to since I didn't get here through Victory Road.”

So what you're saying is, I'll have to ask them myself when I battle them.”

That's right, I'm afraid...” sighed Alder. “I hope it's just of devotion to their duty as Elite Four; but I just don't know them well enough to be sure...”

What are they like?”

I never got along with them very well... And I was usually away from the League travelling. They're very powerful trainers, quite close to my own skill. It's going to be very hard to defeat them. You battle one of them each day, and then you have the rest of that day to recover and get ready for the next battle. Lose against any of them, and your challenge is over immediately. You fight Grimsley, master of the dark-type, on the first day; then Shauntal who masters the ghost-type; Marshall the fighting-type master; and finally you'll have to battle the leader of the Elite Four, Caitlin the psychic-master. Only then can you challenge N...”

It'll be tough...” said Black.

I know it'll be tough, that's what it's supposed to be! But you're the only hope we have to defeat N... I'll help you train, because if you lose...”

Octa met with Gaius in private soon after N had become the new Champion. It turned out he had come to the League with various other members of the family to observe Octa's battles. Octa was delighted to hear news from home: things were as well as they could be, with no more attacks on their home. This was because the humans of Crimson Breeders had made an arrangement with Plasma: they gave up the breeding and left the pokémon to their own, and in turn Team Plasma would let the pokémon be as well. While it meant their home was safe for as long as Plasma kept its promise, it also felt a bit too much like a surrender for most of the Equinoctes, including Octa. He was happy his family was well, but on a certain level he would have preferred to have heard about their glorious deaths as they defended their ancestral home until the bitter end.

Gaius had also come to dissuade Octa from his relationship with Toxica, and Octa was far less happy about this. While he apologised for some of the words he'd used in anger, he still asked his brother to reconsider his love for Toxica several times. Octa refused, of course, yet he was beginning to wonder if his family wasn't right in discouraging his dalliance with her. Until now, he had believed pursuing a relationship with her and thus breaking his house's rules had been the right thing to do, ever since she and Boreas had convinced him to do so. But in the light of his cowardice on Victory Road, he began to wonder if it wasn't part of a larger failure of character of his. Perhaps he wasn't a proper descendant of Equinox the great, at least, not in mind; he knew of course for certain that he descended from Equinox, biologically speaking. But it was said there's a rotten Leppa in every basket; perhaps he was the one in the house of Equinox?

He could try and excuse his cowardice by trying to convince himself he had been following Boreas on the road the Glaceon had chosen; when he gave up, it was therefore logical to do the same, to assume that if Boreas couldn't find the way, no-one could. But he knew it was a worthless excuse: his friend was just a common Glaceon, brave and intelligent though he was. Octa, on the other hand, was a descendant of the great Equinox: in a time of despair he should've been better than to accept defeat; he should have led them on instead, as his ancestors would have. The only reason he was even alive at all was the courage of Selene, of all people.

Ever since that horrible moment, when his courage and noble blood had failed him when he needed them the most, he had been full of self-doubt. He had always believed the blood of his ancestors that ran through his veins meant he was like them. It was only through Boreas' renewed determination and his never-failing friendship that Octa had continued after that. And now, whenever he talked to Gaius, the shameful, nagging knowledge that he was far less noble than his brother gnawed on him. Perhaps he had just inherited the wrong genes from his ancestors; or perhaps he had the right genes, but simply didn't have the valour of his ancestors. The approaching battles against the Elite Four and N actually frightened him now, since he could easily lose them and fail all of Unova, if he could fail his own blood.

He could of course tell Gaius about it and announce his decision to leave the family, unworthy as he was. But he realised there was a better way: he could try to act like a true descendant of Equinox from now on, try to banish the unworthy cowardice from his veins. But, he realised, it would mean breaking up with Toxica to be truly like an Equinox. Perhaps Aurora Invicta was still willing to consider marriage to him. She would make a far better wife to him than Toxica, after all: she was incredibly beautiful, very noble and graceful, clever, kind, everything. She was the ideal partner to him, he reasoned, so it only made sense. So why was his heart objecting so strongly to it?
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