Pokemon is copyright of Nintendo and such. Other characters are my own. Story contains explicit sexual content. If you are under 18, not for you. :) Bit of bondage, some tentacles and vines, nothing too heavy, but if it's not your cup of tea, don't read.
Breath of the Sea
“...and if you would have simply taken the time to ask about it instead of waltzing in like you always do-!”
“Waltz in?! Waltz in?! You make me sound like an intruder in my own home!”
The lightweight curtain of dried kelp tickled Aurora’s back as she slipped quietly from her room, parched strands crackling at her touch, ancient brine rubbing against her skin. They probably wouldn’t hear her over their own voices, yet still she walked cautiously, mindful to keep her tail-fin raised enough not to send any loose stones skittering across the floor.
“That’s how you act half the time! I barely even get to see you when you’re here, if you’re here, and not halfway across the island with some floozy...”
“Oh, now THIS is rich. Like you’ve never spent some time with other friends before, who, I might add, have told me-”
“Oh shut up! Don’t try to pretend you aren’t avoiding me. What am I supposed to think, when you’ve been seeing that azumarill on the sly ever since the summer? You never communicate, never tell me anything, so are you going to try denying it now?”
A low growl cut in between the arguing voices, their rising volume echoing off the walls of the den. “Never communicate? You’ve never once so much as asked me where I’m going. You act like you don’t care what I do with my time, don’t stoop so low as to concern yourself with the things I want to do from time to time! For your information, Thellis is a good friend, nothing more. She actually listens to what I say without screaming at me, which is more than I can say for some. Though, I don’t see why you’d even care, considering how often you give me what I’m entitled to as your mate!”
An answering snarl preceded the bitter response. “What you’re ‘entitled’ to right now, buster, is my tail fin across your face! You expect me to raise my tail for you, when all you do is come in late and demand your supper? Food, I might add, that you never help gather anymore?” There was a mocking, mirthless laugh. “I’d rather put out for an octillery!”
An eerie silence followed this last barb, like the ominous harbinger doldrums that marked a coming storm. Cringing inwardly, already anticipating what was coming, Aurora crept along the passage through the main cavern of her family’s den, sticking close to the cool stone of the wall, praying to whatever power that chose to have mercy that her parents wouldn’t notice her sneaking away.
“Huh, ironic.” Her father’s voice, the warm bass now harsh and stressed, like a bubble pushed to its bursting point. “I was just thinking that tentacruels would probably be better in bed. Funny, you seemed to like it well enough back when I gave you your daughter. Mmm, how much did you beg me for more then? Amazed I even managed to get myself off with how much you were pestering and nattering at me. Of course, that was before you pushed me to last in line to get into our bed with you, now, wasn’t it?
“Ha! You’d probably enjoy that, you pervert! Unless the other male had more to offer a female than a few half-hearted shoves and barely even enough size to feel it!” Her mother, her tone shrill, almost screeching. “And what’s this about my daughter? She’s every bit yours as well as mine!”
She could see their silhouettes, inky shadows dancing wraith-like across the far wall, defined in the soft light of the tiny glowfish kept in a central pool in the den’s floor. The wavering outlines looked angry and tumultuous, edges jumping wildly and spreading out across the bumpy surface of the wall. Both of the older pokémon remained blessedly out of view, just around a small split in the cave that separated her parents’ room from hers. Hearing their anger was bad enough. She didn’t want to be forced to see their faces twisted in rage too.
“Is she? Really? No way for me to know, that’s for damn certain! If she were mine, she wouldn’t be... that way.”
“Hardly! She’s yours, bucko, every last scale, and have you ever stopped to think, that maybe, just maybe, she’s ‘that way’, because of what she sees in you?!”
She didn’t hear the shouted response. Gasping as if she’d been submerged far too long, Aurora slipped out of the den onto the beach, feeling like constricting bands had just popped free from her chest, allowing her to draw air unobstructed once more. The raised voices faded as she slunk across the sand, her tail-fin dragging a trail through the pearly grains. The gleaming expanse of sand still radiated the day’s stored heat up through her trudging paws, late afternoon sun glancing off the fine granules and making them appear to almost glow. It scrunched lightly under her tread, a sound that, in better moods, sent a tiny thrill of delight through her.
Even without having seen them face-to-face, she could picture the scene. Her father... Arms gesturing with sharp cutting motions as he jabbed his points into the air, the floatzel’s lips curled back to show intimidating fangs in a contemptuous sneer... Her mother... Fins rigid and ears flattened back, muscular tail thrashing and beating the ground to express her great ire, vivid azure scales fluctuating through uncountable shades from the restless motion... Both were sights she had seen far too often for her liking, these recent seasons.
‘What a stupid thing to start an argument over. A few unripened berries! It’s like they’re both looking for any excuse to scream at the other. Why? What does it accomplish? Surely they don’t really enjoy saying such cruel things to each other. Do they?’ At least she hadn’t been the subject of choice to start the fight this time. Though, inevitably, the topic had arisen. They would probably go on about that for a good while, no matter if she was there to hear it. She’d long since decided that it was better not to be present.
Miserably, she plopped down in the moist sand near the sloshing water, an audible squelch! punctuating her action as her belly sunk into the mushy ground. A wave rose to greet her, tickling the toes of her forepaws with speckled foam. She gazed across the ocean, her emotions a tangled knot of melancholy, not the least bit soothed by the relaxing sensation of wet sand embracing her belly. A fair bit of chop today, but nothing special. Those scudding clouds -- puffy white balls of fluff, tinged with just the barest hint of grey at the edges -- didn’t hold a gale in their bellies. Normal for this time of year, clearing the way for the slate skies and towering breakers of the winter storms.
She floated her paw on the surface of the surging water, playing idly with the foam as it crested and waned. It was a game of boredom she’d picked up when deep in thought, trying to make the barest contact with the rippling liquid, not quite piercing the surface tension. ‘Each one’s just a little different from the last. I can never tell if there are some that are exactly the same as earlier waves, or if each one has some tiny quirk that no other wave ever has. They’re kinda like us, in a way. Everyone’s kinda unique.’
Aurora examined her paw as she guessed poorly, an errant wave lapping at the tops of her toes. The blue-scaled skin of her forelimb stretched as she flexed it, an azure wrapping around toned muscle, claw-less toes thick and rubbery for traction in the water. ‘So why does my uniqueness have to be so... strange? Why do I have to be so different that I’m not ‘normal’? Why should it even matter? I can’t help the way I feel. I just... do! What’s so hard to understand about that?’
Her game wasn’t helping her jangled emotions. Neither was the sand, gently massaging her as its cool depths tried to suck her down, make her part of the beach itself. ‘At least if they’re arguing about me, they won’t hit each other.’ Those fights were worse than the others, where they traded shouted words for blows. It hadn’t ever risen to a point where they had truly harmed each other, but if this kept up...
Only one way to help soothe her now. Rising to her paws, the mucky sand sluiced from her sides and belly, dripping away in globs as she trotted into the embrace of the waves. A good swim to wash away her sorrows, that would help.
How many seasons had it been now? Four? Five? Shells and pebbles scrunched into the sand under her paws as she splashed deeper, her belly swept clean of muck by an ambitious wave that even managed to sprinkle her tail. She wasn’t sure how much more of this bickering she... any of them... could take. Maybe it was time to start looking for a den of her own. Of course, that would bring up the whole argument, the same old story, all over again.
With a heavy sigh, she sprang gracefully into the ocean’s arms, her sensation of weight dropping away as her feet left contact with the bottom, her careless splash sending spray in all directions. It took hardly any effort to stay afloat, the bottom only a tail’s length from her toes here, breakers rocking her gently as they immediately started pushing her back towards shore. For a moment, she allowed herself to simply bob in the churning surf, legs pedalling slowly to keep her somewhat in place. How many heartbeats was it?
...thump, thump, thump, splash...
So, six heartbeats between waves. Perfect time to go exploring the tidal pools further up the coast then. She wouldn’t have to worry about the bigger swells tossing her against the jagged rocks.
When ten heartbeats lie between each ocean swell,
a playful pokémon knows that all will be well.
When the heartbeats betwixt waves eight do be,
a hungry pokémon may head out to deep sea.
When only six heartbeats mark the sea’s moors,
a curious pokémon may still explore the rocky shores.
When just four heartbeats divide the waves then,
a swift pokémon hurries back to their den.
When no more than two heartbeats soften each blow,
a wise pokémon knows to fear well the sea’s flow.
It was amazing how well that silly rhyme her mother had taught her, back when she was still learning to swim, worked. Back before all these... problems... had started. She’d never forgotten those verses, even when she’d learned the more accurate method of telling the tide times by the moon itself. The waves were almost like the sea’s own heartbeat, thumping steadily along in time with her own, except deeper, more powerful. An inexorable force, pushing the world’s lifeblood along endless channels and streams, never ceasing its shifting beat.
Rolling upright again in the chop, she gave her rudder a quick pump, sending her skimming through the shallows with a hearty splash. Swiftly, she set into a rhythm, tail churning the water and propelling her along the shore, keeping her head topside for the time being. Cool wind streamed into her nose as she swam, filling it with the comforting scent of brine. A handful of wingull turned circles overhead, crisscrossing over her wake and shrieking insistently, as if they hoped she would leave a trail of juicy morsels for them to swoop upon. ‘Sorry, my friends,’ she thought with a smile, glancing up at them. ‘No free meals for you today.’
It felt good to work her muscles like this, tension draining away into the constant push and pull as she arrowed through the waves, adjusting occasionally against the incoming tide to keep herself at swimming depth. The crystal clean water scoured the hurtful words from her skin, an invisible layer of filth which dropped away from her glittering scales, like the muddy sand that had long since been scrubbed off by the brine. ‘No matter what we do, the sea is always there. It’s like a friend that stays by your side. The sea never questions you, never tries to make you conform to its will. It simply is. It listens, it protects, it embraces, it washes you clean. It holds its dangers, true, but more from those that live in it than from the sea itself.’
It was almost unfathomable -- the thought of leaving her home of these past three years. To drop away from familiar waters, comfortable fishing grounds, all her favourite places to explore? Her friends too. Of course, there was nothing that said she had to move far. It wasn’t as if she never wanted to see her parents again, though, there were days... She blinked away some moisture welling in her eyes. ‘Stupid stray wave.’ Even she wasn’t convinced.
No more thinking about this for now. She’d just... keep her eyes open. If she found a good spot for a... new home... A fat droplet of liquid rolled down her cheek. ‘Arceus, I can’t even think about that word without it happening again. Get a grip on yourself girl!’ The wingull had wheeled away in the air, abandoning her for more promising prospects. Fine, she was happier alone right now anyway.
Soon enough, she rounded the long sweep of the shore’s promontory, bringing the rocky crags of the tidal pools looming into view. ‘Hmm, what surprises do you hold for me today I wonder?’ There was always something new in the pools, some treasure that had floated or scuttled or been forcefully deposited in a temporary haven... or prison, depending on what the occupant happened to be.
A heavy dousing of spray plumed over a jagged abutment of stone as she clambered up over the water, making it seem for a moment like she hadn’t yet crossed to land, were it not for the pebbled rock under her paws. Blinking spray from her eyes, she pulled herself up to the next ledge, straining a bit with her forepaws to manage the feat. Mottled rock, slick and a bit slimy under her pads, surrounded her on every side, a natural basalt monolith, thrusting skyward from the beach.
A few tiny shrikes darted around the first pool, their bodies nearly see-through, minute bones highlighted in the sunlight still glancing down through the waters. She watched them for a moment, pondering if she should attempt to catch one and let it go for the fun of it, before deciding to move on. Eagerly, she trotted from pool to pool, inspecting and investigating, each one like a minuscule ocean in its own right varying in size from ones she could barely fit her head into, to ones she could have dove into herself.
One held what seemed to be a whole clan of purple sea stars, each one creeping ever so slowly along their rocks, waiting patiently for the meal that the next tide would wash in. Snails with their spiral shells slid unhurriedly, threading their way through a veritable menagerie of other mollusks that clung to the rocks. Tiny crabs skittered haphazardly along the rough hewn stone, darting towards her, before retreating warily as they perceived the obstacle her form presented. She much enjoyed watching their erratic antics, especially the larger ones, which may have even been young krabby, who employed such a show of posturing that she couldn’t help but giggle. At that stage, it was hard to tell a krabby from an ordinary crab. They had yet to grow their tough red carapace and intimidating claws.
Aurora quickly lost track of how many different types of fish she saw. The vast majority were shrikes of course, shooting around in clusters like a cloud of disturbed sand, but there were also dwarf arrownas, red corphins, natterjacks, persim twisters... even a good sized razor mackeral, which had somehow gotten itself stranded in a pool just large enough to accommodate it. She didn’t get too close to that one. It started thrashing as soon as it became aware of her, snapping teeth and whipping its sharp edged fins, and she wasn’t in any mood for a fight. Too easy to come away with bloody slashes across her muzzle from tangling with one of those.
Eventually, she found herself at the top of the pillar, leaving the sea-life behind and gazing out across the expansive blue depths, looking to that mysterious point where sea and sky joined paws, the horizon beginning to take on the faintest amber hue as the sun dipped a bit lower. A stiff sea breeze whipped across her scales, making her crestfins quiver in the sudden chill. ‘Getting colder everyday. If I’m going to... find something... it will have to be protected enough from the gales.’
Her thick tail twitched, curling around her forelimbs as she stared away over the waves, steeling herself against the urge to let the streams brimming behind her eyes loose. ‘I wonder what’s out there, where the sun goes down. Does the sea just keep going forever? Are there more forests and beaches and islands and tide pools? Are there more types of pokémon? Probably humans too. Dad says they live in almost any given direction now. Wonder what it would be like to-”
An indistinct call from below broke into her reverie. She glanced over the side of her perch, where the shore stretched on away from her home. A golduck and a shuckle waved a greeting at her, the golduck raising paws to beak to shout again. “Hey! Up there! You want to come down and play with us?” She didn’t recognize either of them, though that wasn’t surprising. She didn’t know a lot of the ‘mon that lived down this way. She wasn’t in any mood for company either.
The golduck gestured at her, smiling invitingly. She gave him a negative shake of her head. “No thanks. I’m busy.”
“Busy? You’re just sitting there! Come on, it’ll be fun! I’m Duka, by the way.” He placed a webbed paw on his chest, tapping as if to make sure she knew exactly who he was talking about. Aurora stifled the urge to flatten her fins against her neck. “I’ve never seen you around here before. Do you live nearby?”
Great, he was persistent as well as irrepressibly bubbly. Just what she didn’t need right now. Oh, and he was just going to climb up to pursue his introduction further? ‘Arceus, spare me...’ She didn’t care if she was being anti-social. Annoyed, she turned tail and slipped back down the rocks, ignoring his call of disappointment when she disappeared from the pinnacle. ‘Maybe some other time, Duka. Right now, the sea’s solitude is what I need.’
With a loud splash, she dove back into the surging tide, careful to keep well away from the hidden rocks that lurked around this part of the shore. A few powerful strokes of her tail, and the tide pools were behind her, leaving Aurora to drift ponderously in the surf. ‘...Three...Four...Fi-... Okay, almost five heartbeats. Of course, exploring the shore is out now that Duka and company are there. The reefs? No, bad idea. By the time I get there, I’m just asking to get tossed up onto something pointy.’ No sense in going back home yet either. Her parents had likely screamed themselves hoarse by now, but that would leave the sullen cloud of silent resentment fogging the air of the den. Better to wait a while longer.
‘Deep sea it is then.’
Turning her back on the shore, she struck out, finning gracefully through the oncoming waves for a moment, gathering her momentum, before flipping herself bottom side up and propelling into a steep dive. The moment her nose submerged, she felt the familiar shift in her air passages, tiny flaps sealing her nostrils against the brine, lungs tightening with a soft whoosh, loud in her ears, her diaphragm trading places with her gills to supply her with breathable air.
Reflexively, she held her breath for a moment -- a habit she’d never quite managed to break -- before letting the oxygen rich air go in a small stream of bubbles on her third tail-pump. Immediately, she was conscious of the change, her next inhalation thick with the taste of brine, a muted gurgling replacing the usual repeated puffs of surface breathing. Her second eyelids -- clear as a summer sky -- remained squeezed tightly shut, completely removing the need to blink. Eventually, she would need to surface again, her landwalker’s lung capacity chafing at the comparative dribs and drabs of air they got from the water. Easily enough to keep her going for hours, but not enough to truly become one of the fish.
Aurora’s pace slowed to a more leisurely dive as she angled downward, the sunlight streaming through the waves changing from sharply defined shafts, to dappled specks and glimmers, at last to a muted glow as the limitless blue embraced her. A school of passing yellowfin provided a quick snack, two of the darting, tasty fish filling her belly for a good bout of exploring. Not as succulent as a plump spinnaret perhaps, but she’d have to search much further afield to find those.
Irksomely, the darkening water had the opposite from usual effect on her mood, her thoughts once again wandering melancholy currents as she cleaned the last yellowfin scales from her teeth. Why had she run from Duka and his friend? Was it just because she wanted peace and quiet? Freedom to wallow in her glum mood, not forced to smile and make courtesy to fit in with the golduck’s outgoing niceties? Or was there a deeper, more insidious reason? Some instinct, rooted so deep inside her, it never saw the light of day. Her... ‘uniqueness’.
‘See? I eat normal fish, I swim normally, I talk and think and breathe and... and... How am I anything BUT normal?!’ She growled in frustration to the water, half expecting it to growl right back at her. Typically, it simply listened, either uncaring, or far too ancient and wise to be disturbed by such a paltry threat.
‘No, it wasn’t that at all.’ It wasn’t that she didn’t like males, not exactly. Silus was a real sweetie, even if it was a chore to get the bashful wartortle to say much at all. And Raedin! Oh, he was a blast, most of the time, even if he did tease her mercilessly. He was like that with everyone though. The dragonair had a sharp wit, and wielded it far too willingly sometimes. They were her friends. Always had been, likely always would be. But... to do... that... with them? To let one of them climb on her back and stick his... ‘Ugh... no, just... no.’
A pair of finneon glided by, studiously ignoring her. That was no trouble, she was content without any kind of acknowledgement. Greatly vexed now, she pumped her tail a little harder, bubbles streaming in her wake as she lanced down towards the twisted maze of rock shelves and coral, still no more than indistinct hulks on the sloping bottom.
She’d just never felt truly... connected, with a male. It was impossible to define it. Somewhere in the innermost depths of their very being, there was an irreconcilable difference between the sexes, a profound divergence in the way they viewed the world and pieced things together. At least, that was how it had always felt to her. Friends were fine, but mates? That required something deeper, a whole-hearted understanding of the other. If she couldn’t relate intimately to a male, how could she let one get so close, so personal, knowing all her secrets, fears, desires? Actually touching inside her, sharing their bodies? She’d just never felt that special spark, that deep... awareness... of the other, with a male.
She certainly hadn’t felt it with... him. A shudder racked Aurora’s form, so hard, it threw her off course a bit. Every time she pictured that rude, single-minded jerk of a marshtomp her parents had introduced her to, she felt the need to scrub her scales. Honestly, how could he think it was romantic to just slip his rubbery arm around her waist and start groping? Right in front of her parents too! And had they done anything about it? No!
“That’s normal dear, I suggest you get used to it. He’s just trying to be friendly, and you can hardly blame him for wanting to get close to a pretty female like yourself. We were really hoping you two would get along... a lot better than you did.”
Her mother, pleading justification with her after she’d sent the perv packing. That had been the first time they’d truly argued, come to think of it. Normal? Great Lugia’s wings, if that creep was normal, then she was perfectly fine with being weird! He was a shining... or, perhaps a better word was slimy... example of what she didn’t want in a mate. He was like a noxious stain on her view of the entire sex, exemplifying that undefinable masculine quality she couldn’t make herself accept.
There had been other suitors after that, until she finally blew up at her parents, sick and tired of having to show the hopeful males to the door herself. Even the most courteous ones had still possessed that look in their eye, that same glint she’d first seen in that marshtomp. What was she, a slab of meat to be ogled for her body and traded off? Raedin and Silus didn’t look at her like that of course, but it was entirely in their capacity. She’d seen them pointing at pretty females and whispering before, having ‘guy time’, something she could never be a part of or ever hope to relate to. If her closest friends didn’t get her, she certainly wasn’t going to roll over for some random horny male who happened to pass through!
The only one she’d ever felt anything for -- beyond the easygoing affection of comrades in mischief -- was long since gone. ‘Pura... how are you doing, I wonder? Is he treating you like you deserve?’ If her gorgeous luxray friend was going through the same thing her parents were... No, that was a nightmare she didn’t want to think about. Pura deserved so much better.
Picturing Pura in her mind brought a wan smile to her muzzle, the imaginary feline lips looking on the verge of laughter as always, that left ear irrepressibly drooping with comical floppiness, her entrancing eyes sparkling with intelligence and mischief. She’d shared all her deepest secrets with Pura, and was certain that the electric cat had done the same with her. Well, all secrets, save one. The most important secret of all. Aurora had nearly worn her paws ragged from pacing her room, agonizing over how to tell her friend how she felt. How to tell her that she...
Then, just when she thought she’d finally worked up the nerve, Pura had dropped the news on her, aquiver with excitement and unrestrained joy as she unknowingly beat Aurora’s hopes into dust. A suave, dashing arcanine with elegant tastes had swept her off her feet, leaving Pura in such an emotional tizzy, she barely knew which way was up.
Aurora still regretted not baring her soul to her friend. The happy couple had bounded off into the sunset together, leaving Aurora to her memories. She doubted she’d ever see Pura again. Arcanines were notorious nomads. Maybe they had found their way past the horizon, where Aurora herself so longed to go? In any case, unreasonable twinges of jealousy aside, she wished the two nothing but happiness.
‘And if I ever hear the barest hint that that dog has hurt her, I’ll...’
What, exactly? It was an empty thought, she knew. A dark fantasy that didn’t do anyone any good. She pulled in a deep breath, finning onward, coasting over the twisting labyrinth of coral. It was quite amazing what she could see even from here. The light was dim, heavily muted by both the fathoms of sloshing liquid and the lowering sun above the surface. Still, she could easily make out towering fans of delicate construction, jutting, rough textured spars and antlers, spirals and loops and cones and misshapen lumps, colours ranging from the most eye-wrenching oranges to the richest purples.
Some of the corals waved gently, appearing more like plants than the rocky-shelled creatures that built upon the backs of their ancestors. Many looked like smooth stone at first glance, until you looked closer and took in the twisting designs etched haphazardly along their curved backs. There was a pattern to it, of sorts. The delicate looking ones seemed to like the high shelves, extending their fronds upwards as if to seek the sun. The sturdier, rock-like ones formed the foundation, supporting their brethren upon brawny backs. In truth, they were much more like one being than many, all somehow conscious of one another, growing together and covering each-other’s backs, forming a strange sort of family.
Fish and pokémon alike darted and cruised among the corridors of the living maze. A seaking hunted silently, snapping up a glitterthroat that was a little too slow. Numerous clampearl eyed her with suspicion, snapping their protective shells nearly closed as she floated close, then opening slowly when it became apparent she wasn’t going to disturb them. Anemone fluttered their stinging arms, urchins sat stoically, making themselves look unappetizing, and crustaceans scuttled cautiously in every direction. There was even an octillery, striding along in that odd, bouncing gait, tentacles feeling the way across the uneven surface. She was a bit glad when it disappeared under an arch of rock. Octillery had always made her a bit nervous for some reason.
‘I wonder if this is what it’s like to be a flying type, soaring over all the ground-walkers, careless, free, able to see everything going on at once.’ Flying, she assumed, couldn’t feel all that different from swimming. The water lifted her effortlessly, buoying her weight and allowing her to glide and swoop and frolic as well as any pidgeot. She could soar above the vista of rioting colours with the greatest of ease. Her tail and stabilizing fins were her wings, the currents were the wind, and the sea-floor was the ground. The thought brought a grin to her face. ‘It’s better even. There’s no chance of me getting tired and crashing to THIS ground. Look at me! I’m the incredible vaporeot!’
“Why can’t you keep your head out of the sky and your fins in the water, Aurora? I don’t understand you. You’re young, pretty, smart, available, and yet you refuse to face reality! I don’t know how you’ve gotten this... idea... into your head, but things just don’t work that way. Females don’t become mates with other females.”
Her father’s voice, shattering her musings and souring the vision of ‘flying’ over the scene below.
“Really dear, be reasonable. You may not think so now, but someday, you’re going to want an egg of your own. How do you suppose you’re going to get one if you don’t mate with a male? Are you willing to just throw that away forever? Are you going to deny yourself any chance of offspring just because of some silly... dislike?”
Her mother this time, chiding, cajoling. Attempting to ‘talk sense’ into her ‘headstrong’ daughter.
“Oh Aurora, you would not BELIEVE how sweet he is! He kept complimenting me on how beautiful my fur was, on how fast I could run, on the sharpness of my claws... He even dropped this line about my eyes, something about making him, ‘want to bound across their golden lushness forever’. Arceus, have you ever heard something so charmingly drippy? Just being around him makes me feel all warm and tingly inside, like the two of us just... resonate or something. We really connect.”
Pura, eagerly spilling the sundry details about her recently acquired heart-throb. Aurora had barely been able to keep a smile on her face during that conversation, and she’d been grateful that neither of her parents had been home to hear her crying in her room.
“C’mon baby. Why don’t you and me take a little stroll down the beach together, just the two of us? We can watch the sunset, talk about our feelings a bit. Maybe err... get to know each-other a little better, ya follow? Just let big Dellis take care of you.”
‘Shut up!’ she screamed mentally at the clamouring voices, scaring back them into whatever dark corner of her mind they had slithered from. Eww... now she wanted to scrub her scales again. That last one had been him. Even remembering his gravelly voice made her skin crawl.
With a flip of her tail, she dove for the safety of the coral labyrinth, fleeing the soundless voices in her head. The weight of the surrounding water felt heavier now, squeezing like a massive aquatic embrace, seeming to push her along at an incredible speed. She shot through the murk, tail beating frantically, barely even paying attention to where she was going, her frothing wake stirring a cloud of sand as she zipped inches above the bottom. Fish of every hue darted away in terror, warned well in advance of her approach by the surge of liquid pushed out in front of her, even a lone carvanha making haste to get out of her path, giving her a glare for disturbing the prey.
‘Shut up, shut up, shut UP! Just leave me alone!’
She lost track of how many corners she shot around, how many archways she squeezed under. Her ears rang with her own breaths, her muscles straining for even greater speed, only her instinctive reflexes standing between her and a nasty collision with sharp, unyielding coral. She had no idea where she was escaping to, only that she was escaping from... something.
At last, she began to slow her mad dash, tail beating gradually to a halt, left foreleg sore where she’d barked it against a rough slab of coral. She allowed herself to drift down, landing lightly on the sandy bottom, gulping in great gillfuls of water, her throat burbling as they filtered air for her to breathe. Her heart pounded noisily against her chest, the only other sound in the eerie silence.
‘Okay, that was childish, I admit it. But, it felt kinda good.’ The yammering voices were long gone, faded back into memory. Curious about where she’d landed herself, she examined her surroundings. She stood in a small clearing of sorts, a pool-like depression in the coral. Corridors branched off in all directions, leading who-knew-where, including the one from which she’d just exited. Just barely in sight, a lone corsola bobbed slowly over one of the edifices of rock and coral, the brightly coloured pokémon swimming steadily away from her. She was effectively in complete solitude. On every side, mountains of coral and rock towered and loomed, casting imposing shadows over her, like ancient monuments to the high and mighty. ‘That part looks a little funny. The coral doesn’t normally grow like that as far as I-’
A yawning blackness caught her eye. She blinked in surprise, her head snapping back to focus on what she’d nearly overlooked. An opening tucked under a shelf of coral, quite large, actually, but set so far back that she’d almost missed it entirely. A cave, leading away under the reef itself. ‘Huh, don’t see a lot of those. Wonder where it goes to?’ If anywhere at all. More likely, it was just someone’s home that she’d be poking her nose into. Though, it looked deeper than the cranny’s that bottom dwellers typically inhabited. She found herself drawn towards it, inexorably, like a fish on a line.
The sand shifted beneath her paws as she bunched her haunches, powerful swimming muscles launching her into the odd gait required to walk along the bottom. Half bounce, half stroke, all sensation of weight and effort dissipating in the liquid embrace as she floated toward the beckoning cave, springing up as soon as she touched down. Her third landing sent up a larger than expected puff of murky sand, making her sputter and pause briefly to clear her gills of the stuff.
The yawning entrance was even bigger than it had first appeared, reinforcing the opinion that it was no simple home for a grouper or moray, or even more threatening creatures like octillery or huntail. Aurora’s curiosity was now decidedly piqued. ‘Never been in this spot before, I’d remember this. It’s gotta be pretty deep, but does it stay wide enough for me to fit?’
Just as she was about to continue closing the distance to the novelty, something glimmered in the corner of her vision. She turned towards the burst of colour, searching the sand until she found its source. A rounded disc of stone poked up through the sand, smooth and weathered by the elements to a sheen visible even in this low light. Its surface was a rich, somewhat rusty red, streaked with alarming blue that glittered with the same inner luminescence that had first caught her eye.
‘Oh, that’s so pretty. That would look great in my pool!’ Eagerly, she pawed at the prize, which dislodged from its resting place with surprising ease, revealing its entire form. The streaks of blue seemed to bloom in patches, some faceted sharply and possessing even greater sparkle than the others. ‘Yup, you’re coming home with me, gorgeous. I wonder how you’ll look top-side?’ A small pool of sea water in her room contained many similar treasures, collected over the years during her explorations, each piece with its own tale to tell of adventure and happy times. The pool was a soothing centerpiece, a tiny haven of beautiful things and a calming scent of the ocean to lull her to sleep. This would be a perfect addition.
Clumsily, she gripped the glittering rock in her forepaws, briefly envying once again the more dexterous appendages of her father’s species. Of course, if she were a floatzel, she’d lose her vaporeon’s gills and powerful swimming tail. In that light, her paws were a fair trade-off.
‘Don’t want to bring it in there with me though. Too easy to drop it and lose it in the dark.’ No sense just leaving it here either, and she was hardly going to bring it all the way back home and come back another day! The cave was right in front of her, and she had plenty of time left to explore. ‘Guess I’ll just hide it by the entrance, grab it when I come out.’ Yes, that should work out nicely.
Her progress across the remaining distance and then up the slope of rough sided corals was awkward at best, with her forepaws hindered by her find. She nearly dropped it twice, and narrowly avoided a gouge from a wicked spike of coral protruding from a small cleft. At last though, sucking in heavy rushes of water, she made it to her goal, the somewhat intimidating cave mouth looming before her.
‘Great Kyogre, there could be anything in there!’ Even had she stood on her tail-fin and stretched her forepaws, quite ignoring how impossible a feat that was, she wouldn’t have been able to touch the top lip of the entrance, or even come close. An oppressive darkness stretched hollowly beyond the faint glimmers of ambient light, her eyes unable to pierce even the faintest hint of what lay inside. ‘Hmm, a bit creepy actually. If I’m going in there, I’ll need to take it slow. I’m not going to be able to see the paws in front of my face!’
She glanced down at the odd stone again, wondering if it might offer some sort of illumination. Unfortunately, thrusting it into the awaiting maw of darkness produced no light. It could only reflect, it seemed, not produce. Shrugging, she tucked her prize into a small hollow beneath a ruffled shelf of stone, keeping it safe for her return. ‘Maybe it won’t even go back beyond this first grotto. Perhaps I should check to see if anyone else is in there first?’
Licking her lips, she concentrated on a small muscle movement, vibrating a tiny flap in her throat that produced a low, sonorous hum. One of the many notes her underwater voice could produce, and one that essentially asked, “Anybody home?”
Suddenly feeling a little nervous, she waited anxiously for what felt like a thousand heartbeats. No answer. Well enough; she hadn’t truly expected one. Had she been wanting someone to answer? Give her a reason not to venture into that pall of night? No, that was just silly. She wasn’t afraid of the dark, especially not when it could hold who-knew-what treasures!
‘Okay girl, you’re the great adventurer, now get to adventuring!’ The mental jab was enough to break her state of frozen anticipation. Steeling herself, eyes wide, she bounce-floated cautiously across the lintel of the gaping tunnel. Utter darkness swallowed her almost immediately, and her heart skipped a beat when her paws hit the solid assurance of rock. She’d landed earlier than she thought. It sloped upward still then.
‘Arceus, who turned out the lights?’ A quick glance over her shoulder was enough to reassure her that no, she hadn’t gone blind. However, even this short distance inside was all it took to rob her of her sight completely. She suppressed a shiver, unable to summon enough bravado to convince herself she wasn’t at least a bit unnerved. ‘I really need to make friends with a lanturn.’
Carefully, straining to see even the faintest glint of... well... anything, Aurora edged onward, feeling the sloping rock under her gradually start to level out into a plateau of sorts, the surface still rippled and pebbled under her tread. She moved slowly, fearing a faster pace would end up with her crashing face first into something hard and unyielding. She was perfectly content with her nose unbruised, thank you very much!
Several silent, shrouded moments passed. The only indication of her movement formed from her wary steps and the scrape of rock against her pads, and the soft pressure of water on her face and chest, parting with a slight reluctance to allow her passage. The light behind her slowly receded into a small, winking eye, watching her leave with what almost seemed like sorrow... or perhaps a quiet dread. She sucked in a sharp breath as her left shoulder rammed something solid, rough edged. A quick examination of paws to stone gave her the impression of a lip of rocky wall, almost like... a second tunnel, set back in the depths of the entrance cavern? Yes, that must be it. She couldn’t feel the top of it, but it was far narrower, only wide enough for two of her to walk side-by-side perhaps.
‘So, goodbye dark, creepy cave, hello darker and creepier cave?’ How deep would this take her? Would she just keep walking forever? Maybe it would start slanting down, take her further and further into the world’s belly, until she hit that place of fire and terror that Darkrai the deceiver was said to rule? Or maybe it would simply continue on through the waters, and spit her out far beyond the horizon in a different place? ‘Or maybe I’ll just smack face first into a wall.’
Burying her apprehension, she forged ahead, picking her way with care to try and give herself warning of approaching turns or obstacles. Thankfully, this passage seemed to be relatively straight and even. One small turn to the left near the start, and another to the right almost immediately following, that she was quite certain set her in the original direction she had started, but otherwise it was straight as if it had been blasted out of the rock by a mighty fountain of water.
‘What would happen if this takes me somewhere, some distant place with good fishing grounds and an ideal den? What if I never came back? Just vanish... Poof! No more Aurora. What would they think happened? Would they look for me? Would they miss me? Would they know I was gone?’
No, she decided, that was unfair. As far as she knew, her parents still loved her. At least, she thought... hoped... they did. Even if they never said it anymore, even if they seemed to have forgotten how to love each other. They were just trying to do what they thought was best for their, ‘poor, confused daughter.’ That thought brought a sneer to her muzzle. Confused? Perhaps in some things, but not in the way they thought. No, ‘confused’ was the last thing she was about her sexual preferences.
Two glowing eyes winked open out of the darkness.
Aurora nearly jumped out of her skin, scrambling back with a resonant wail of fright, her lungs tightening as she instinctively built up pressure for a scathing jet of water to fling at her foe. Before she could fire, the gleaming eyes suddenly... broke apart, scattering to the far walls, making her mouth drop open in surprise...
‘Oh, I am such an idiot.’
Nothing but a pair of glowfish, swimming in tandem for a brief moment, appearing out of the dark like shimmering stars. She floated, perfectly still, watching and waiting for her pounding heartbeat to slow from its doubled rhythm. One of the pair shot past her, its pale aura of radiance seeming almost blinding close-up as it made for freedom. The other seemed to have found something of interest, bumping against the wall and picking up tiny chips of rock in its mouth, its wide gill slits pulsing calmly, curved dorsal fin undulating to keep it in place. Aurora whistled at it hopefully, edging a paw closer to try and encourage it back the way it came. “Come on little guy, you can show me the way onward.”
Sadly, it froze in fear the moment her pulse of sound washed over it, turning almost imperceptibly towards her looming presence. Clearly seeing nothing but a predator, it immediately turned tail, dodging past her and following its fellow towards the exit.
‘Bah, fine then. Be that way.’
Sighing in disappointment, Aurora opted to continue her journey. Though, if this kept going for much longer, she may have to decide to turn back and tackle it another day. Preferably with some source of light, if she could manage it. Maybe bring something to eat too...
After what felt like ages, she became aware that the atmosphere was... well, not brightening, perhaps, but not quite such an oppressive pall of darkness. Several more strides brought her the ghostly impression of walking through a confined space, a definable presence of solid rock on every side, not simply impenetrable blackness.
‘Okay, so what have we here? A glowfish party?’
No, it was... steady, not flickering with movement. It was definitely a light though, that she could see now. Every step, the surrounding water and tunnel walls seemed just the barest fragment lighter, taking their true form once again. It reminded her a bit of the first hints of dawn -- that magical space between night and day, where one fought valiantly to hold off the other for just a bit longer, stars growing dim as the sun breathed its more powerful light into the air, until eventually the sky started to shift from its midnight hues to the golden glow of morning.
A faint motion caught her eye, a ripple in the water, shimmering in the glow just as her scales now were. It beckoned to her, urging onwards, pulling her... upwards? Almost like...
Her head broke the surface of the liquid, her reflexive gasp seeming impossibly loud, as if it ricocheted right off the unforgiving walls and slapped her in the face. Rivulets of salt water streamed down her scales, her dark eyes adjusting to once more being able to see the paw in front of her face. She still stood on the floor of the tunnel, which she now realized had been sloping upwards so gradually, that she hadn’t even been able to sense the incline during her blind journey. The waterline lapped gently at her chest, her lower half still submerged in liquid, soft plunks drifting to her ears as droplets coursed from her cheeks and neck.
Curiously, she examined her new surroundings, snorting to clear her nose of sea brine and expelling the last vestiges of water from her gills, allowing her lungs to take over. Almost immediately, the pungent scent of must and mildew slammed into her nostrils, making her nose wrinkle. The soft greenish light illuminated the cavern with an eerie hue, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere. No, that wasn’t quite it. It was more like... the walls, ceiling, floor... the cavern itself was glowing!
Gingerly, she took a step forward into this new domain, eyeing the glowing surfaces with a mixture of wonder and mild insecurity -- a sensation of entering a world completely foreign to her. It was a decent sized grotto, about double the size of her family’s den, with another gaping mouth of blackness on the far side of the chamber, silhouetted in the ghostly radiance.
The floor crunched slightly under her paw, the feeling of something soft cushioning the expected cold of rock. Intrigued, she bent her head down for a closer look, her breathing sounding far too loud to her ear. A short cropped fuzz of sorts carpeted the ground, tiny hair like protrusions not even as long as her father’s fur. ‘Huh, this is new. Maybe I can take some of this with me.’ Experimentally she scraped at the fuzz with a paw, rubbing a bare patch on the rock that immediately went dim. A verdant dust coated her pad, but the moment it had been uprooted, its light had apparently died away. ‘Pity. Silus would’ve found this stuff fascinating too.’
In any case, the strange sea flora would serve as a guiding light for her foray into this... wherever it was. She couldn’t help a small flare of disappointment that the tunnel hadn’t lead to something a little more... well... interesting than glowing green rocks. There was that second passage though...
Curiosity brimming anew, she traversed the scrunchy floor, noting with a giggle how each step left a slightly darker place in the carpet of fuzz, her paw-print defined quite clearly. ‘Maybe I’ll take the two of them down here one day. They’d probably get a kick out of it regardless. Raedin will probably come up with some wild story about-’ Wait now, what was that?
Set just a short ways back from the tumbled rocks surrounding the square of blackness, something glinted a green tinged gold. Not unlike the rock she’d stashed outside, but more the hue of the morning sun than that of deep, calm waters. Coming closer to this new curiosity, its form grew more distinct in the dim glow filtering through the opening, the faint glimmer defining itself into a perfectly straight edge, paralleled by another... no, it wasn’t just two lines of light, it was something perfectly rectangular, smooth and clean, and... unnatural.
‘It’s... metal?’ This was something rare. Metal she had seen before of course, the veins of it winking dully from striated underwater cliffs, occasional chips hidden like a treasure inside a cracked stone, but this... This could only come from one source. Gulping nervously, suddenly feeling a bit short of breath, she stretched out a paw to touch the surface, almost flinching away at its cool, lifeless feel. Her touch brushed away a layer of grime, thick as the barnacles that crusted upon rocky shorelines. ‘Why would something human made be down here?’
Her heart began to beat faster once again, her sense of intrigue running wild with a thousand thoughts at once. The surface this thing was attached to, it wasn’t stone either, it was wood. Ancient wood, pitted and cracked, rotting away and bearing that unmistakable soggy scent. More grime tumbled away from the plate of thinly beaten metal, allowing that brilliant golden gleam to shine with greater brilliance, and allowing her to see firm scratches etched deep into the surface of the plate.
The lines were bold, straight, intentional clearly. Two of them met two more, angled towards each other at the bottoms, seeming to form some sort of... what? Beside that, at uniform distance, another peculiar rune, two long lines meeting at the top, the opposite way of the previous symbol, and a third shorter line crossing the two halfway up.
‘It must mean something to the humans. Perhaps it’s like warning markings? Or maybe it’s for some strange magic?’
Shaking her head in bemusement, Aurora turned away from the mystery, intent on finding out more about this... thing... the humans had deposited here, for whatever reason. She stepped boldly through the yawning portal, cool stone swapping for creaking wood under her tread. This floor listed sharply upward, making it a bit of a struggle to keep her footing. What other wonders would this place contain? Perhaps some she might carry back to show her friends?
A hint of white caught her eye, standing starkly removed from the shadowed interior of the wooden cavern. ‘More metal?’ She started to turn towards it, peering intently to see through the gloom. A jumbled pile of white sticks, appearing dry and desiccated, leaning haphazardly against the wall. Metal glinted around one of the sticks, pinioned inexplicably to the wall, looking as if it had been dragged up out of the pile. And what was that smooth white stone on top of-?
No, not a stone. A skull.
Aurora’s piercing shriek shocked her nearly as much as the grisly sight. She scrambled away, eyes wide and unable to look away from the horror -- cracked, pearly bone defining unfamiliar head shape, grinning teeth that looked ready to chatter and snap, hollow, staring eyes...
“What mortal dares to disturb the sanctity of my refuge?!” a powerful voice boomed from the darkness around her, rolling with such command and wrath, that Aurora’s second yell of shock came out as more of a squeak. She stared fixedly at the skeleton, uncomprehending, a violent tremor rattling through her scales.
“What right have you to intrude upon the same ground made sacred by my footsteps?! By whose permission do you seek entry into my hidden refuge? You, who come with eyes that glint of avarice and mind swelled pregnant with hubris... dare you to defy these charges most severe?!”
The overwhelming voice seemed to come from all around her, a thousand resonant waves of sound that crashed and swelled, swirling violently as a whirlpool to hold her rooted to the spot. The skeleton had yet to budge, but she wasn’t willing to gamble that it would stay put for much longer. Those hollow eyes... ‘Come on body, MOVE!’
“Answer these charges, mortal!” the voice thundered, strains composed of the very darkness itself, reaching to bind her. With a cry, she at last broke free of the spell, nearly tripping over her tail in her haste as she dashed for the exit, casting a fearful glance over her shoulder to check for pursuit. ‘You’re not getting your bony fingers on ME!’
A hulking shape detached itself from the inky darkness, looming towards her, a heavy tread shaking the wooden floor underfoot. Half-seen serpentine shapes twisted and writhed about it, a dark, flowing cloud hovering over its brawny mass, the formless beast staggering in pursuit of her...
Aurora wailed in terror, an icy rush pouring over her skin as she shot through the glowing opening into the outer cavern, skidding as she lost traction on the bizarre fuzz. Her heart leaped into her throat as she lost her balance, tumbling head over heels across the bruising stone, glowing flashes filling her vision. ‘Ouch! No, no. Can’t lie around here. Gotta get up, move. That... thing... will be coming.’
Groaning, she regained her feet, a sore spot on her ribs marking the fall as she looked fearfully back to the gaping gash of blackness in the wall, mentally bracing herself for some twisted horror to lurch free...
Her breath caught abruptly, the sharp noise echoing like a thunderclap in the sudden, utter silence. It just seemed to... appear. One moment, an empty doorway, the next... Yet, what shocked her even more than the seeming materialization, was the spectacle of the creature itself. It was no slavering atrocity of the deep that stalked her, but...
‘Oh, great lords of wind and wave... What... Who... So beautiful.’
The massive form towered in front of the darkened opening, itself as motionless as a boulder. Its crimson gaze regarded her regally, shadowed beneath a sweeping, elegant crest that seemed almost crystalline, gem-like. Easily twice her size, the creature’s stance was wide on four elegant paws, the daintiness of its limbs belying the rippling strength evidenced by corded muscle and barrel chest. Its fur was the colour of a summer sky, giving way to purest white snow on its chest and belly, diamond shaped splashes of white scattered along its sides like precious jewels..
‘No... impossible. It just CAN’T be. That kind of strength is just...’
Fervently, her mind attempted to refute what her wide eyes were telling her, trying to rationalize the overwhelming sense of raw power and unchallengeable strength that battered her spirit like a winter storm. For a long moment, she could do nothing more than meet that imposing ruby gaze, unable even to flinch back from the cold fire of disapproval, feeling as if she were frozen solid. Her glance kept trying to break free and wander, to feast further upon that vision of loveliness. Luxurious purple fur cascaded from behind the pokémon’s crest in a flowing wave, draping its shoulders and back in a cloak of lavender. Two dexterous appendages swirled, tentacle-like around the mane, seeming to be blown to and fro by an ethereal wind.
‘But what is she? A pokémon. She has to be, with an aura like THAT, but...’ Offhandedly, she realized that she had no confirmation that this apparition was female, yet the assumption just felt right somehow. No male creature could possibly achieve such a pure magnificence of form. She felt caught in a spell, unable to so much as breathe without this radiant goddess’s benevolence.
Abruptly, the brittle silence was shattered into a thousand fragments as the imposing figure took a single step forward, the soft scrunch of the fuzz under her weight seeming loud as thunder. Her gaze appeared to bore into the back of Aurora’s skull, as if her every secret were laid out plain for the other pokémon to see.
“You would flee, mortal?” intoned the formidable being, her voice carrying a clear, crisp chime, rolling and bouncing off the cavern walls, each word spoken with utter surety, as if the being knew every possible meaning behind it. “What insolence is this? You tread with audacity into this secret abode, bumble about and disturb my repose. Then, you do not answer my inquiry of your intrusion, instead hastening to retreat as would a thief in the night!” Even heavy with judgement, the lilt of the voice was unmistakably feminine -- delicate, and bewitching. “Pray, what say you to deny these charges? What defence of your actions have you to offer, that would justify your disturbance of the one called Breath of the Sea?!”
Even now, with the towering form looming closer, step by weighty step, the overawing sensation of that mighty presence seeping over and engulfing her, Aurora could do nothing but stand agape. ‘Her? Here? No, that’s impossible, but... it really is...’ A tiny spark of memory had lit in the recesses of Aurora’s mind, a once heard tale of the legendary pokémon, that spoke of her stunning beauty. A foggy description, floating slowly to the surface, that confirmed the identity all-too-real being pacing slowly towards her. ‘As if anyone else would be stupid enough to claim that name anyhow.’
“Suicune,” she managed to choke out at last, still rooted to the spot. Her voice sounded impossibly small, a tiny squeak that she wasn’t even sure the incredible apparition heard. Such terrible glory, such boundless wonder this goddess inspired.
But, beauty or no, she now faced the goddess’s wrath for her intrusion.
“Indeed,” growled the regal female, halting her advance mercifully short of the place where Aurora stood trembling. “But I would hope you do not consider invocation of my name to be sufficient vindication for your transgression.”
The red-hot stare swept over her, examining and probing. It made her suddenly self conscious of every flaw, every imperfection in her body. She wanted to squirm, hide herself, sink into the floor like she would into the comforting waves. Beside such a vision, how could she even compare? She felt like a stumbling pup, newly hatched with bits of her own egg shell still sticking to her body, as she clumsily gained control over her unruly limbs.
Trembling, she somehow summoned the will to stand, licking her parched lips. “I-I’m really sorry,” her tongue felt tangled with bewilderment. How exactly did one address a legend in the flesh? With respect, certainly. “G-great goddess of the sea. I didn’t know that this place was...” she trailed off, gulping as her words seemed to shrivel away under that intense gaze. “I-I didn’t mean to,” she finished lamely, hoping that might be enough to bank the fiery anger at least a little.
“Apologies after the fact are all well and good, but crimes, however small, cannot go unpunished.” Suicune barked as she began to pace with long, even strides, never once taking her eyes from Aurora, as if she expected her to try to run again. “You claim to have come upon this place by chance? That you did not set out with designs of theft, or supplication of me?”
“N-no. I mean, yes! By chance, great goddess. I just... stumbled across the cave. I-I... was curious where it went. I’d never seen it before.”
The crimson gaze seared her, appearing to search for the tiniest hint of untruth. Aurora had no doubt that she would spot one instantly. “So you claim, mortal, so you claim. It is in my experience that those under interrogation will often gamble upon lies to save themselves from grief.” Suicune paused, expression severe.
Aurora hastily began to stutter a protest, but Suicune continued on as if she hadn’t spoken, her curious tendril appendages coiling and fluttering slowly as she spoke. They reminded Aurora a bit of Pura’s tail when the lioness was restless. “However, you bear no sign of the lie in your countenance. If indeed, it is by mere happenstance that you have entered my hidden chambers, perhaps I may consider acting with some leniency.” Her pacing stilled, somehow having closed the gap between them without Aurora noticing, now looming over her with no effort, filling her vision. If Suicune leaned down, their noses would touch. A mild scent of sea brine and clean waters wafted over her, as if borne on a summer’s caressing breeze. “What say you? Do you possess any proof of your innocence?”
Aurora’s jaw worked soundlessly for a moment, Suicune’s shadow feeling like a physical weight on her skin, her presence resonating with unseen power. “I... no, I don’t. I’m sorry, goddess, I-I have no proof, but please... it really was an accident. I...” Was it her imagination? Or had that been a flicker of amusement in Suicune’s expression? The fleeting glimmer was gone almost before it appeared, the goddess’s emotions hidden behind a flawless mask of cool command and utter control.
“No proof? Such a pity, that. You do see the quandary this presents, do you not?” One of the tendrils twitched in what seemed to be a vaguely inquisitive gesture. It took Aurora a moment to realize the question was not rhetorical.
“Please forgive me, goddess,” Aurora said. The need to tilt her head back to meet Suicune’s eyes was unnerving, scrambling her thoughts. Just how much trouble was she in? “I’m afraid I... I’m not sure what you mean.”
“Is that so? A touch vexing, but I shall elucidate the matter.” There it was again! Was it a twinkle of merriment in her eyes? Or merely a trick of this cavern’s subdued light. “We who touch the realms of spirit desire that our hidden sanctums be not disturbed by any other. We have not time for every whimsical supplication. Nor does my patience hold for those who seek to steal. Attempting it is... unwise, though what remains of your life will surely be... very interesting.” Her eyes flashed, narrowing slightly at this. “You make claim that you blundered into my chambers by pure happenstance, yet you have no proof to hold you blameless. Nor, however, do I have attestation of your guilt. So.” A shiver ran down Aurora’s spine as one of the curling tendrils tapped her lightly on the nose. “We must pursue another method of divining the facts. Trial by ordeal it shall be now.”
Aurora gulped, reflexively taking a step back. “Trial by... ordeal?”
“Indeed. Let me see, what would be appropriate?” Suicune regarded her for a moment, her expression calculating, before nodding decisively. “Yes, that will do nicely. So. We shall allow your wits and abilities against mine to be the test. I shall allow you the advantage of a head start. Should you manage to elude me, I shall assume your innocence, and pursue you no longer. If not...” Her expression darkened ominously, though once again, Aurora found herself nearly catching a twitch in Suicune’s features, a slight upwards pull at the corners of her muzzle. “If you do not manage to conceal yourself from my seeking, I shall be forced to ensure knowledge of my sanctum does not pass your lips.”
It felt like she had struck Aurora with a chilling blast of winter. No... she couldn’t possibly mean what it sounded like, could she? ‘Would she really just...’ Aurora stared, eyes widening, constricting bands of fear wrapping around her chest. ‘What did I even DO?! Oh Arceus, I can’t fight her! No, this has to be a joke. She wouldn’t really do that.’
Suicune’s features twitched again, the emotion behind the expression disguised as she casually examined an elegant paw, at last releasing Aurora from that steady gaze. Was it perhaps a hidden amusement, belying her grim words? Or... a more twisted amusement at them? “I would advise you not to tarry, mortal. My generosity with your head start does not extend for you to loaf in my chambers.”
With a yelp, Aurora managed to break free from her paralysis, scrambling backwards so quickly she almost tripped over her own tail. ‘No, she’s serious. Great Mew, she really means to kill me if I don’t get away! I won’t have a chance if she catches me! How did I get myself into this? No, don’t think about that now. Come on girl, MOVE!’ Her breath came in ragged gasps as she turned tail and dashed for the water, uncaring how graceless her retreat must look. She hit the water with a heavy splash, air whooshing from her lungs as her belly smacked painfully against the surface. She nearly choked on her first breath, drawing in water through her mouth before her body had a chance to adjust to using gills again.
‘Is she coming already? No, not yet.’ Her tail thrashed frantically as she got her breathing under control, sending her shooting down into the darkened tunnel like a frightened arrowna. Thoughts spun wildly in her head, groping for answers. ‘How fast is she? She doesn’t have a tail like mine. Can she even swim? Of course she can, stupid, she’s SUICUNE! She’s not called Mistress of the Waves for nothing. Go!’
The moment she careened over the small dip in the tunnel that marked the entrance into the cavern’s reflecting pool, Aurora was struck blind. She let out a bubbling gasp, flailing her paws in front of her in a desperate attempt to keep from smacking into a wall in the darkness. Her ill advised dash gave her no opportunity to alter her momentum, and she caromed painfully off the ceiling and floor before she managed to regain control. ‘Think girl, think! Can’t go that fast down here, but neither can she. Okay... it only slopes downward at this point.’
Gulping in a great gillful of water and wincing at her newly collected bruises, she set off once again, tail pumping at a more measured pace this time, angling her body downward to keep her paws brushing along the tunnel floor. Would she be able to sense Suicune’s pursuit? A passing ripple as the large form slipped into the water? No, probably not. She was already too far away for that, and Suicune was certainly clever enough to mask her submersion. Her muscles strained, chafing at the necessity of being held back to pick her way along, the gravity of her situation pressing down on her like a boulder. She desperately wanted to thrash her tail for all she was worth, fly down this tunnel and out to the safety of open waters, but she managed to restrain the urge. ‘Knocking myself out on a tunnel wall isn’t going to help!’
Of course, the open waters weren’t exactly ‘safety’ either. Not now. Where would she go anyhow? Back home? No, Suicune might have an idea where she lived. The legendary would expect that, and who was to say that making it home would count as ‘eluding’ her? Hide somewhere? But, where? In the reefs? No, too close. She would be tracked by the trail of disturbed fish. Head for the deeps? ‘Not a chance. Worse things down there than her! Well, at least, scarier things.’ She didn’t bother to suppress a shiver.
She was able to swim faster upon her egress than she had on her cautious exploration of the tunnel, her memory serving her well. She could feel bubbles streaming from her maw as she finned silently along through the murk, guided only by the light rasp of stone across her toes. Her mind whirled with possibilities, only a half-thought given to the instinctive motions of swimming. Where could she go now? With a powerful adversary of unknown abilities on her tail? One who surely knew the waters as well as she did too.
‘Further up the shore maybe? Hide in the woods? Yes, that might work, but I have no chance if she follows me onto land. She’ll be much faster than I am up there.’ A scrape against her right shoulder, solid wall... the turn in the passage! She was almost out!
Her muzzle curved upwards in a small smile as she whirled around the bend, an idea slowly forming. ‘The kelp beds... yes, that would work. Not too far, and only open water in between. I can disappear in there!’ It should be possible to see Suicune coming too. The larger pokémon would surely not be able to slip between the densely growing stalks without advertising her presence.
The gleam of light from the outside waters appeared out of the inky black, seeming to race towards her like a guiding star. Throwing caution to the winds, Aurora arched her back and powered into a more strenuous rhythm, her wide tail-fin beating heavily at the water. She gasped a stream of bubbles --partly in relief, partly in reflex-- as she shot out of the yawning cave mouth into glorious, welcoming light, clear waters... and familiar territory, once again.
‘Oh! My rock... No, have to leave it.’ A welling pang of regret was quickly stifled with the greater urge of self-preservation. Her high-speed exit from the cave had sent her soaring out over the sandy depression surrounding the hidden passageway, and after a brief moment to gather her bearings, she set off like a shot, angling out over the reefs.
Once again, she felt the curious sensation of ‘flying’ over the rough edged spines and towers, though this time the speed of her aerial counterparts was the desired quality, rather than grace. A frothing wake of effervescent bubbles scattered in her wake, marking her passage for the narrowest fraction of time before dispersing into the ocean’s sheltering hands. Her ears filled with the rush of churning water, the pulse of the ocean and her own thudding heart, the distant, mournful song of a wailord. Colours blurred and bled together below, both from the dashes and gyrations of the markings owners, and from her relative speed. No time to pause and enjoy the scenery in this mad flight. She cast a fearful glance over her shoulder, feeling the greater resistance as her aerodynamic form turned away from its trajectory. Her own wake fuzzed the backwards view somewhat, but still no imposing form had exited the increasingly small cave mouth.
‘I can do this! A bit more, and she won’t be able to see which way I went. Maybe she’s not even going to chase me at all...’ She wasn’t going to gamble her life on that assumption though. Putting the receding chambers of the goddess out of her mind and view, she stroked onward, anxious to have more distance between her tail and her pursuer’s fangs.
How much time passed, she wasn’t certain. Every stroke, every arch of her spine and whip-lash flick of her tail, every gurgling breath... They were her only marker, her focus. So, her abilities were to be the test of her innocence, were they? Fine. She’d show the sea goddess how fast she could swim, how well she knew these waters!
The coral shelves ended abruptly, a final tumble of rocks and bone-white dead spars marking their border, giving way to the open sand and scattered boulders and growths of the true bottom. Were she to turn abruptly seaward and follow that sloping expanse of bleakness, it would lead her all the way to the abyss, where a murk as deep as that in the caves ruled all, and the chill leeched her blood’s warmth out through her scales.
She’d been to the edge before, peered down over the startling drop that lay many, many lengths out, like a doorway into the home of Darkrai himself. The mere mental image of that icy beyond made her shiver, and she instinctively attempted to squeeze more speed out of her already burning muscles. The deeps... They were like an invisible, looming presence, out of sight, but not out of mind. As if at any moment, some tentacled monstrosity would lunge out of them to ravage the world.
Already, the kelp beds towered before her in her rapid exodus, a stretching wall of dark green that crested the horizon of bleached sand. Eagerly, she finned towards the waving fronds, mentally congratulating herself on making such short work of the expanse between reef and forest. ‘Ha! Like to see her find me in there!’ Well, no, she wouldn’t, but if this didn’t work, likely nothing would.
A nourishing current, warm and steady, like a pulsing vein of lifeblood, caressed her as she drew near to the verdant sentinels. She could taste the slightly bitter savour of living kelp upon its passage, fresh from watering the stalks with its warmth and vitality. Not wishing to lose speed fighting an opposing force, even one weak as this, she flipped herself up out of the balmy stream, a bit reluctantly, as the shock of cooler waters shuddered down her scales. Once again, she cast a nervous glance upon her wake, scanning the distant horizon for any speeding forms cresting out of the depths. Nothing. Was she safe?
‘Time to pretend I’m a buizel.’ She was a bit surprised she hadn’t seen any of the pre-evolved members of her father’s species yet, snacking on the urchins and shellfish that congregated in the roots of the kelp. Then again, it would be past sundown now, as the shadowy gloom wrapping her surroundings attested, only a pale silver haze of moonlight giving form to the forest. All the other amphibious pokémon would be in their dens by now, leaving the waters to the fish.
Except for her... and at least one other.
Without preamble, she slipped lithely through a narrow opening between two stalks, soft blades of kelp trailing along her sides and legs. The lazily bobbing shoots seemed to suck her in, parting out of the way easily with sweeping bows, then springing upright again to hide her passing. Healthy green shoots, darkened to an earthy bronze at their tips, rose up suddenly out of the night-darkened water, waving like grasping paws.
Aurora gulped heavily, forcing down a surge of nerves once more. The kelp beds were... a lot more ominous in the dark. So silent, lifeless, each slimy tendril slipping along her scales feeling much more pronounced when her sight was hindered. The bottom was invisible, lost in a swirling mist of green, as mysterious as the deeps. Rising bubbles of the plant-life's gaseous excretions fizzed in her nostrils, almost making her want to sneeze. Slowing with her more relaxed flight, the wild thudding of her heart began to fade from her ears, leaving nothing but the ocean’s ever-present voice.
‘How far in? Surely by now, I’m in the clear. Even if she somehow manages to track me here, I can slip in deeper.’ She hadn’t entered from her usual place. No chance she could find her way to the grove where her father had taught her how to capture urchins. Her eyes widened in a sudden moment of panic, as she realized that heading deeper into the stalks could leave her hopelessly lost. ‘Wait, no, that’s silly. I just need to surface and find the shore.’
Confidence bolstered, she spun around, kicking softly to maintain her position. No massive shadows emerged from the bobbing leaves to claim her, no vengeful voice shook the waters. Aurora peered through the gloom, offhandedly urging her eyes to see more clearly. ‘Yup, if I ever go night fishing, I’m definitely introducing myself to a lanturn.’ Not that it would help her now. A light bobbing around beside her would only advertise her presence. As far as she could see, undulating boughs of vegetation rippled noiselessly. It was less dense here though, this close to the boundaries of the forest. Maybe just a little further...
Spinning around in a fluid motion, Aurora pumped her tail-fin, aiming to vanish like a ghost among the fronds. Her forepaw hitched up, snagged in a slimy grip, arresting her advance. Unconcerned, she tugged firmly, expecting to unravel the band of greenery with little effort. Still, it refused to release, and if anything, the slippery tendril snugged more tightly around her ankle. Frowning in irritation, Aurora rotated around on the hindrance, intent on swiping it off with her free paw.
A second snag, another slick, cool strand locking around her forepaw, halfway through her turn. Aurora reflexively gasped, venting the last of the air in her lungs in a burst of bubbles, immediately feeling the drag of the water’s weight as her buoyancy escaped to the surface. The kelp blades pinioning her sagged momentarily, before their own floatation sacs evened out the balance, dragging upwards on her bonds. Her forelimbs were forced to stretch out above her head, dangling her from the twin stalks like some bizarre kelp fruit.
Puzzled and now increasingly annoyed, Aurora kicked savagely, thrusting herself surface-ward in a mighty surge. ‘Entei burn you, let me go! I don’t have time for this!’ The restraining curls of kelp tightened as she thrashed her tail, somehow reaffirming their hold even as she sought to break it. The fronds bent, stretched, bowed their many heads... She could feel the vigour in the strands, dank plant blood pumping through their corded flesh... They strained, perhaps beginning to fray in their thinning fibres... Then abruptly snapped back into place as her energy wore out.
Heaving in gillfuls of water, Aurora attempted to calm herself and examine her new predicament. Her forelimbs burned with the effort as she sank down against the grip of the fronds, held aloft by their strength. Now what? On top of everything else, this?! Was the whole world out to get her? Had she inadvertently angered-
‘Uh-oh...’ Yes, she had. ‘Arceus... what did I do to deserve this?’ Could this day possibly get worse? ‘She can’t possibly be doing this, can she? No, what am I saying? Of course she can’t, Suicune is a water goddess. How could she have control over these?’ Perplexed and desperate to suppress the flush of alarm that was beginning to rise in her chest, Aurora tugged experimentally at one of her shackles, gauging its robustness. Her strength was subdued by the water’s resistance, making the motion sluggish and anaemic. The length was springy and lush, a strong young shoot, coiled in a messy tangle around her forepaw. How had she managed to get herself so snarled? Especially on both paws?
It certainly wasn’t going to yield to brute strength in any case. Mind racing, she formulated another plan of attack. Her tail thrashed, a quick pump that sent her soaring top-side once again, drawing her up above her bonds. Twisting in mid leap, she yanked hard with one paw, stretching the kelp taut, arching her neck towards it as she slowly began to surrender to the water’s pull. Slimy vegetation slipped into her open maw, treating her to the powerful flavour of brine and lingering bitterness of the plant itself as she snapped her jaw shut, clamping down on the greenery. Her small, needle fangs sunk into a hearty bite of plant-flesh, rubbery and thick... and resilient. She’d bitten down on one of the bulbous heads!
Cursing her luck, she vainly snapped again at the main stalk as it drifted past, the punctured gas bulb releasing a torrent of bubbles from her fang marks, the stream rising into the silvered waters above. Grimly, she steeled herself for another attempt, coiling her tail before she’d even come to rest. Her haunches tensed, a back paw flicking... Into an oily grip that slithered maliciously around her leg, seeming to have a life of its own. Aurora barely stifled the urge to scream in frustration, tugging frantically at this third molester.
Useless. Her back paw was bound as firmly as the other two now. No matter how much she thrashed, every motion only seemed to strengthen the slimy cords, imprisoning her with wicked surety. Cold blade-tips tickled her scales as she subsided, heaving, stuck fast as a starfish on a rock. ‘Are they all out to get me now? One goddess isn’t bad enough? Even the sea itself is turning against me?’ Ironically, even strung up as she currently was, she was forced to acknowledge the wry humour of her predicament. ‘Yup, worst day ever, no question.’
Her latest torment held her aloft a bit, taking some of the strain of hanging from her forelimbs, but still all three manacles lay mockingly out of reach of her maw. She snapped impotently at the one on her forelimb, pulling with all her strength, hoping for even a taste of kelp... Yet her persistence continued to be denied.
A mellow glow winked into being out of the gloom, a gentle crystalline blue, like a reflection in a pool of rain-water. Aurora instantly ceased her panicked efforts, her limbs growing slack with boneless fright. What was this? A spirit of the deep? Some mournful soul, severed from body and seeking someone to share its woe? No... that was just her imagination acting up. Maybe it was a passing lanturn, hunting for their dinner. Should she call out? Then again, what if it wasn’t a passing lanturn? It was far too bright for a glowfish, but lanturn’s lures weren’t usually that colour...
The flare of radiance brightened, fluttering closer. She could make out the forms of the stalks now, glimmers of the spectral light wavering along their stipes and blades. Something else moved among the swaying fronds, a hulking mass shoving aside the bobbing plants and shouldering between. Something large, powerful... and heading right for her.
‘It CAN’T be her... I refuse to believe it!’ On the heels of that thought, another voice seemed to answer from the depths of her mind. ‘If it isn’t her, then what exactly is it?’ As if the shadowy form had heard the stray thought, the light halted briefly, swung around as if seeking something elusive. Aurora held herself deathly still fervently hoping that whoever held the shining sphere of radiance wouldn’t swim another length closer. The light petered out barely in front of her, alighting on the stretching tips of the stalks holding her captive, leaving her in darkness. Silently, she screamed at her thudding heart to not betray her, held her breath so even the soft gurgle of water passing into her gills would not give her presence away.
Abruptly as if swallowed whole by some denizen of the deep, the light died out, purple spots dancing in her eyes as darkness consumed all once again. What did that mean? Had the thing gone away? Perhaps in search of some other prey?
A frond wavered in her peripheral vision. A soft ripple touched her back, tickling her scales. A voice like the sound of waves on the beach hummed in her ear. “Boo.”
To her credit, Aurora didn’t scream this time. Instinctively, she recoiled from the whispered mockery, thrashing with all her might against her living restraints. “Stay back! Don’t touch me!” she shouted, her underwater voice composed of shrill whistles and clicks of alarm, hindered a bit by her lack of ability to speak with body language. Almost as an afterthought, she flailed about with her tail, hoping to hit something, at least prove she wasn’t entirely helpless.
A mellifluous chuckle swirled about her, circling with the owner of the voice to come around in front. Again, the illumination sparked and flared into being, less intense this time, muted. Suicune’s regal form glided serenely in front of her, crystalline crest proving to be the source of the glow, luminescent with some inner radiance. The goddess reclined easily onto her haunches, a hair’s-breadth out of reach of Aurora’s struggles, a speculative expression on her muzzle. Aurora continued to jerk and writhe for a moment, cursing her unyielding bonds, before subsiding with a defeated grunt.
Suicune’s tendrils twitched in what seemed a querying gesture. “Are we quite finished?” The goddess’s underwater voice was even more lovely than her regular one, flowing, silken, rich. A delicate murmur beneath the waves.
A surge of stubbornness flared up, fuelled by all the accumulated grief and frustration of the day. Aurora glared back at the goddess, petulant and sullen, instincts of self-preservation hardening into raw defiance. So, this was to be it, was it? This was how she met her end? At the will of one of the great deities of the sea? Fine, so be it. She would not be a snivelling wretch about it! Respect for the one before her be damned too, if that was the way of things. Why should she grovel before someone who was going to kill her? Her free leg kicked uselessly, an expression of her own futility. If only she’d been able to say goodbye...
‘Mom... Dad... I’m sorry.’ One other thought followed on that one’s heels, as the vengeful deity studied her coolly, the very image of judgement. ‘So beautiful...’
Suicune appeared to take her glowering silence as an affirmative, rising to her paws and half-circling her with an odd pacing motion. It took Aurora a moment to realize what about it was so strange. The goddess did not so much seem to swim, as she walked upon the water itself, freely and unhindered as if strolling along the shore.
“I am reminded much of a certain land species, known as ariados. Have you heard of it?” Aurora kept her mouth clamped shut, and after a pause, the goddess continued. “They spin great nets to capture their prey. Delicate constructions, made beautiful gossamer threads thin as a strand of fur, yet resilient as the bonds that hold you now.” A tendril twitched, flicking past Aurora’s nose, a twinkle of amusement flashing in those crimson pools. “I am certain you see the comparison.” What was that supposed to mean? Wasn’t it enough that she had so miserably failed? Did the legendary really have to mock her plight? Obstinately, she remained silent, not wanting to give Suicune the satisfaction of drawing a rise from her.
“Oh, but I see this little fly was clever enough to elude part of the net,” Suicune’s grin stretched, her gaze landing on Aurora’s free paw. Something in her voice made Aurora’s blood grow chill. ‘No... she can’t mean-’
Impossibly, a nearby blade of kelp... uncoiled. Aurora yelped as it lashed out and wrapped about her hind leg, neatly knotting itself as surely as the other three. This time, there could be no doubt. Eyes round with a mixture of amazement and consternation, she at last broke her vow of silence, even as she was spread-eagled like a sacrifice to the Mistress of the Sea. “You... it was you! How? You’re a water type!”
“Indeed.” Another strand bent down in a bow, wiggled impishly at her in what was clearly an unnatural motion. Suicune’s eyes positively sparkled with an almost child-like glee. “And what of the water that nourishes these plants? It flows within their veins, feeds their growth. One has merely to touch its center to know its power. Once this secret has been distilled, they are flexible enough to do one’s bidding in rather... unusual ways. A useful trick, no?”
For a long moment, their eyes remained locked, tension sizzling between. At last, Aurora slumped against her bonds, dropping her gaze. She didn’t care anymore. All of it... nothing mattered. Strangely, she wasn’t afraid anymore. Merely an odd sort of... numbness. “Fine. Go ahead, do it. You win. Just please make it quick?”
Suicune released a questioning murmur. “Oh, indeed you concede the loss, child, but what is it you propose I make haste to do?”
Frustration and rage fought for supremacy, turning Aurora’s voice into a choked sob. “Stop making fun of me! Eat me or whatever and be done with it, but just get it over with!” She squeezed her eyes shut, bracing for a fatal blow. A dribble of water that didn’t stem from the ocean around her leaked out past her eyelids, a final plea to the waters.
Something danced across her chin, tickling gently and tilting her head up, almost like a playful tongue. Aurora kept her eyes closed, gritting her teeth. She sucked in deep on the brine, rolling its flavour around her palate. Any second now...
“Tell me, daughter of the waves. Why would I, the warden of all that swim, wish to snuff out one so full of life as you?” Aurora gasped reflexively, her eyes popping open a crack. Amusement still coloured the edges of Suicune’s words, but the undertones were firm, mighty as the high-tide swells. “Indeed,” she continued, her tendril flicking away from Aurora’s chin, “to stain my fangs with your blood would be a sin most grievous. I would never abase myself in such a manner.”
“What? But... you said... All that back in your cave...”
A delicate, bubbling giggle accented the reply, a mischievous glint hiding in her ruby gaze. “Did I? Consider the words I spoke, child of the tides. I do not believe I made mention of making a meal of you.”
“You... you said you would be...” Aurora struggled to recall the exact wording, frowning in concentration. “Forced to ensure that I wouldn’t speak of your chambers.”
“Truly spoken.” Suicune’s underwater voice danced through the space between them, tingling in Aurora’s ears. The body language and gestures that accented her speech were as graceful as the sounds and form, subtle shifting of her tendrils and flowing mane, a tilt of her forepaw, an inclination of her majestic head. “Yet the interpretation you arrived at is not the one I purposed.” Her muzzle curved upwards, the glow in her crest brightening a fraction. “Although I do admit to some intent of allowing your assumption. It provided a most amusing distraction.”
“You tricked me, you mean,” Aurora sputtered, glare returning in full force as she clued in to the deity’s meaning. “You made me think that you were going to kill me? You pretended that for a joke?! A... a GAME?!”
One of the twisting tendrils fell across Aurora’s lips, shushing further outrage. “So it would appear. Games of pretend are, after all, much more involving when one truly believes in what they are pretending to be. In this case, I was the hunter, you were the prey.” Another soft chuckle, though her voice had lowered further, becoming a more gentle, soothing purr. “Such a sight you were too, a glorious chase you made! Truly, you are ocean born, to be so fleet beneath the waves.”
“All the good it did me,” Aurora muttered sullenly.
Suicune’s expression was now almost as radiant as the light of her crest. “Do not sell yourself short, maiden of the deep. Indeed, I required the ocean’s voice to track your movements, and I am sure you will not argue that my... method... of capturing you is one that had you over matched.” The kelp bracelets wriggled on her limbs, as if she needed the reminder.
“Why?” Aurora asked softly, meeting the steady gaze. “Why did you put me through this?”
“You wish to learn my reasons?” Funny, Aurora had never imagined a goddess could be so... playful, yet now that impish lilt it seemed to shade Suicune’s every word. “Simple enough I suppose. The tasks of divinity grow wearisome, dull, strenuous. One does not often happen across opportunity to take ease and allow the world’s troubles to take care of themselves for awhile. Even when those of Our kind meet altogether -- a rare occurrence I assure you -- We know one-another so well that there is little room for surprises.”
Suicune’s grin grew wry as she took up her pacing once more, studying her captive. “Even the progenitor’s tricks become predictable, when one has known her for millennia. But you, on the other paw...” A tendril brushed along her outstretched forelimb, flicking across her chest as Suicune swept by, trailing a shivering line on her scales. “Always full of surprises. Gratifyingly unique, each one of you. Like each new wave upon the shore.”
Concern crept into the other pokémon’s eyes, dampening her tone as she came to a halt inches from the trapped vaporeon. “It seems however, that I must beg your forgiveness. Perhaps my judgement in your resilience was... over estimated. I pray my japery did not bring you undue distress, Aurora.”
Aurora gaped at her, anger beginning to fade in place of a thousand questions. “H-how do you know my name?”
Suicune's paw touched lightly to her lips, her pad cool and soft as a spring wind. “Hush, quiet yourself, and listen close to the song.” Aurora felt her features betray her puzzlement, her pricking ears catching no out of the ordinary song from the waters around.
“The sea, child. Even now, it whispers your name. You have poured much of yourself into these waters, sorrows and joys alike, and they have listened well. The sea knows you as intimately as a lover, and I know it closer still. Is it any marvel I should be enlightened of your secrets?”
Aurora let out a bubbling huff of annoyance. “So you know everything then? Can you read my mind too?”
“Not quite. Though over time, the mysteries of mortal expression become a trifle to divine. In any regard, from what I know of such matters, delving a mind without permission of its owner is considered bad manners among those with the ability.” Suicune smirked. “But that did not answer your question, did it? Yes, I know of your troubles, and of the love you hold for the female form.”
Aurora couldn’t prevent a bitter snort. “Let me guess. You know exactly what I'm going through, right?”
“Not at all.” Suicune chuckled as Aurora’s mouth snapped shut on a rote response. “I do not have parents in the manner that you do, so how could I know your plight? After all, who am I, but the one called Keeper of the Skyfire.”
Heat rushed to Aurora's cheeks. Of course, now she was making fun of her again. “Are you going to try talking me into mating with a male too now? Tell me what’s best for me? What’s proper?”
Suicune's tone darkened, the regal 'mon leaning forward until their noses almost touched. “Tell me, daughter of the waves. Do you hate your form so much?”
Aurora flinched back. “What?! No, I-”
“Do you find my body too hideous to gaze upon? My presence too repulsive to bear?”
“No! Of course not! It's just not-”
“Silence!” the mighty female thundered, making Aurora cringe again. “I will not suffer the misguided untruths of others to stain your lips! Particularly when you know them to be false!” She glared at the trembling vaporeon for a moment, the heated gaze searing her words in Aurora's mind. After a long moment, she continued, softer. “Do not be ashamed to be what you are, radiant Aurora. I would advise you merely to not revile the opposite sex as a whole just yet.” Her eyes sparkled. “They too have their charms and endearing qualities, surely as we of the fairer sex do. But as for you, do not fear to admire the feminine form, to enjoy and learn well what you have been born with. I wish you to allow your spirit to shine like your namesake, sweet Aurora. Do not fear that you are unsightly or strange.”
With some effort, Aurora managed to close her maw, fumbling to form a coherent sentence. “You’re not going to shout at me and tell me why I’m wrong? That it’s not normal?” There was an answer in those crimson pools, somewhere deep below the surface. She needed to find a way to learn it.
“No.” The raging tempest was gone from the legendary’s voice once again. “You may lack in experience, but I do not question the desires you hold. I find no offence that one under my charge should seek a lover to know her as close as it is possible to be.” One of her eyes twitched for a fleeting instant. Aurora could scarcely believe what she’d seen. Had Suicune really just... winked? “Indeed, I too find myself to marvel at the work of art that is the female body.”
“You’re joking again, right? Trying to make me feel better?” She was floundering, she knew it. She hardly dared to believe that the words were true. Too easy for it to be another letdown.
“Hardly. The time for jests is passed, I believe. Why in fact should I jest about such a fine specimen as yourself, lovely Aurora?” Pacing again, Suicune began to circle her, the edge of her rich mane flowing past Aurora’s muzzle, tickling lightly against her nose. She tried to turn her head to follow, but only caught a vanishing glimpse of fluttering tendril and a swirl of bubbles.
“Me? You think I’m beautiful?” The words felt like they stuck to her throat. If it wasn’t true... she wasn’t sure she could hold back the tears of frustration.
“You are.” The whisper was barely audible, a hair’s-breadth from her ear. “Radiantly so. Stunning. A maiden of exotic allure.”
A shiver ran down Aurora’s spine at the sensation of Suicune’s lips so close to her ear, the overwhelming presence seeming to engulf her. “I didn’t think gods cared about those things.”
“Oh, we have many cares.” The presence drew back, leaving her feeling strangely longing for it to return. A light chuckle drew her gaze as Suicune circled into view again, striking, lithe, stately. “Such as for little flies who buzz into our webs, or bumble into our portal grounds. Indeed, we feel all that you mortals feel when in the world of matter. Even the Breath of the Sea must clothe herself in flesh to touch the world of flesh.”
Another circle, a tendril trailing along Aurora’s shoulders, thoughtfully. “In fact, that does remind me, I have yet to set your punishment, should you think to disclose the location of my chamber to others.”
“What?” Aurora cried. “I thought that was all a game!”
“Hmm, indeed, it was in part.” In front again, she paused, that playful gleam dancing in her eyes again. Aurora was starting to feel a bit dizzy from all the circling. “Yet nothing I said was a lie. I do not wish you or other mortals to enter that place, for it is where I cross from this world to that of spirit. The boundaries between the worlds are loosened, thinner than they are in most places. It is not a safe place for mortals to enter. Already, I have ensorcelled your lips, that a punishment will befall you, should you attempt to speak of my chambers. I merely have yet to decide what that punishment shall be.” One of her tendrils tapped her lips, pensively.
“Why do you have to do that?” Aurora protested. “I won’t say anything! There’s no need for any punishment. Please?”
Suicune waved a dismissive paw. “Hush, child. It must be so. Do not fear, it shall not be painful.”
“Right,” Aurora muttered, only partially under her breath. “Not painful for you is probably a lot different from not painful for me.”
The goddess’s muzzle twitched up at the corners, her eyes dancing. “Is that so? Perhaps you are right. We should test this, to discover our differences in tolerance. I do believe I have the perfect solution. Tell me, do you find this painful?”
A tendril uncoiled, flashing towards her. Aurora flinched instinctively, expecting it to whip across her face, but let out a bubbling yelp of surprise as it instead danced across her ribs, wiggling mischievously and tickling her scales.
“It seems not. How about this then?”
The second tendril joined the first, jabbing lightly at Aurora’s opposite side, flicking across her skin in shivering lines. Aurora bit off an exclamation, jerking back from the feathery contact, both tendrils playfully seeking out sensitive areas of her exposed belly. “H-hey! Stop that!” She struggled for breath and words among giggles, writhing away from the flicking touches. Mercifully, they drew back, leaving her panting. “It doesn’t hurt, but-”
“Ah, good, good. So far we are not so different,” the goddess cut her off, teasingly. “Still, we must be sure.”
Aurora opened her mouth to fire back a caustic reply, yet before she could get the words out, the the pace redoubled with gleeful antagonism. The coiling tendrils tickled mercilessly up and down Aurora’s body, dipping under her forelimbs, across her belly, even managing to find that sensitive spot on her back, right at the base of her tail! Shrieking with uncontrollable giggles, Aurora squirmed and thrashed, desperate to escape the tormenting appendages, but unable to do more than stir the waters. A third wriggling touch joined in, then a fourth, a fifth! Kelp blades formed slimy fingers to trace across her scales, drawing out her forced laughter and wild gyrations.
“S-stop, stop, please!” Her words had to be forced out around her own torrent of mirth. “No more!”
Abruptly, the assault ceased, tendrils and plant limbs dropping away, leaving Aurora twitching reflexively from their touch, still shaking with remnant chuckles. Hurriedly, she tried to compose herself, draw herself up and save some scrap of dignity. By the amused look on Suicune’s face, the best she was managing was dishevelled. Wonderful. “Glad I was such an entertainment for you,” she said sarcastically, getting her breath back.
“So you are. A fitting punishment, don’t you think?” A tendril played across her belly, perilously close to diving back into the fiendish tickling, smug satisfaction written on the deity’s features. “Should you try to speak of what you found today, that sensation will return three-fold. I believe that will be adequate to keep your muzzle closed on the matter.” The trailing tip of the silken appendage drew down the inside of her thigh, making Aurora draw a sharp breath. Had that been on purpose? Suicune’s expression made it impossible to tell.
“I already said I wouldn’t,” Aurora grumbled, summoning her bravado. “There wasn’t any need for that. It’s not fair.”
Suicune merely gave her an enigmatic smile. “I believe I already mentioned that I do not always play fair. Would you have preferred the spell to invoke pain? No, I think not.”
“Of course not! But I bet you wouldn’t have even felt that! It’s... not painful, but... I don’t know. It’s humiliating!”
“Then it does its job well.” Her beautiful features remained infuriatingly mysterious, and she rose to her paws again, resuming her restless strides. In fact, Aurora realized, never once was the goddess truly at rest. Some part of her was always moving, whether her paws, her tendrils, or her mane. Constant flowing motion, a reflection of the waves themselves. “I do indeed know well the sensation you experienced, however. As I said, my body is fully one of flesh.”
As she spoke, her circle turned much tighter around Aurora this time. The tendril that had remained resting lightly on her haunch followed the goddess’s motion, swirling over Aurora’s belly and between her legs in a sinuous movement, undulating against her skin. She twitched, again feeling the same flare of heat flashing to her face with the intimate contact... and to other areas.
“When clothed in flesh, we who live in both realms can feel all the things that are of flesh.” Strands of luxurious amethyst fur dragged along her back, twining in her spinal ridges with teasing touches. “Pain, yes, we do feel pain too. Weariness. Anger. Boredom. Sadness. Frustration. Grief...” Her touch wandered across Aurora’s tail, a curious tendril tracing the delicate scales that armoured her swimming appendage. Aurora shivered instinctively.
“That is not all of course,” Suicune’s voice dropped to a husky whisper, the light in her crest banking, seeming to bring them closer still in the encroaching dimness. “The guardians of this world are not restricted to naught but the wearisome emotions and sensations.” The gleam in her gaze had shifted again, turning from playful to... Aurora was not quite sure. A different sort of playfulness, dancing in those ruby pools as she swept about her captive, once more like they were hunter and prey. “For we also experience the other, more... gratifying sentiments. Passion.” Something cool and slick wriggled along her waist, coiling across her inner thigh. Not a tendril this time. More kelp fronds? But instead of tickling, they were suggestive, hinting at a much more intimate touch. “Tenderness.” She was suddenly extremely conscious of her vulnerability, her maidenhood presented so perfectly to the legendary’s view and touch. “Intimacy.” Her leg trembled in response.
“Pleasure... certainly we experience pleasure as well.” Suicune’s breath warmed her neck, a fang grazing her nape suddenly, the contact sparking down her spine. “Desire...” The word drew out in a breathy croon. A second slimy stem lapped at her skin, twisting lithely around her waist and down, crossing her rump to delve between her legs, once more brushing ever so close to her exposed mound.
“Lust...” Aurora couldn’t stifle a gasp this time. A long, rough tongue drew a seductive line up her throat, sliding across each individual scale as if to taste it separately from the others. “Love... yes, even love, that most powerful emotion of all. Stronger even than hate.” Her soft lips brushed Aurora’s ear as she spoke, her words barely a fluttering hum. Tiny bubbles popped across each syllable, fizzing with heat from the goddess’s mouth.
“Perhaps I shall show you more of these sensations, hmm? A... reparation, of sorts, for subjugating you to my little game. What say you to this?” The trailing blades of kelp wiggled enticingly, flushing Aurora’s loins with heat. She gulped, her mouth feeling dry, wanting them to dance that little bit higher... yet not wanting this moment to end.
“I don’t know...” her reply was small, hushed with her own yearning. She tried to turn, meet the goddess’s eye, but her shackles gripped her tight.
“Why do you not?”
The straight forward question made her stutter, especially as one of Suicune’s tendrils began exploring her tail again, inching closer to her rump, one scale at a time. “I...”
“Of course, perhaps you do not wish to share this with one who is not a mate. A most noble sentiment.” A flash of pink at the corner of her vision, Suicune’s tongue gliding across her cheek. Aurora’s lips parted instinctively, but the darting kiss was already gone. “Indeed, I cannot promise to be your mate, for that is not the way of Our kind. So. Yet know this: I do love you, daughter of the waves. As one who takes such joy in the ocean that is my charge. As one with a heart that beats in time with the waves. As a kindred spirit. As you are, beloved Aurora.”
Her heart beat rapidly against her chest, the moment seeming to stretch on forever. How many heartbeats? She had no idea. “I don’t know if I can.”
“All the better then, that I should show you how, for your future mate. No?” A delicate touch teased across her petals, deliberate and coy. The tendril hovered, a droplet out of reach, all but kissing her folds, beckoning for her to arch into its caress. Suicune’s voice bore a hint of a chuckle again, still remaining as a warm presence at her back. “I am certain you shall manage the trick of it quickly enough. What say you? Will you allow me to show you my love?” The presence seemed to gesture, a vague impression, as if preparing for an embrace. Her final reserves of doubt and self consciousness broke down in a rush. Aurora allowed herself to surrender to that welcome embrace, dared to give in to her body’s rising desire.
“Yes... oh, yes.”
“Then I am truly honoured, stunning Aurora.” The husky words hummed in her ear, reverberating in the beat of her heart. Aurora felt unsteady, as if she would fall were she not bound by the shackles of greenery. She thought she could feel herself drifting, sinking into that wide-open presence, radiant as the sun on her back. A solid body, brimming with strength, enveloped her, Suicune’s forepaws slipping around her chest, her muzzle brushing over Aurora’s shoulder. Their bodies touched, warm, wet fur pressing against cool scales. There was a rushing, mighty tempo beating against Aurora’s back, slower than her own, but with far more force and vitality to each beat.
‘I wonder if her heartbeat is in time with the waves...’
“Hush, child of the tides.” Her lips pressed against the smaller pokémon’s, soft and firm at once. Aurora didn’t try to resist, relaxing into the brace of her bonds and the legendary’s grip. Her lips parted, and Suicune’s larger tongue danced between them to twine with hers, nimble and lithe, subduing hers with ease. There was little trading of flavours --the taste of the ocean surrounded them both-- yet it didn’t take away from the gesture in the least. Aurora savoured the contact like a most precious treasure, her first true kiss... Well, there had been that time she’d talked Pura into trying it, for practice, but that had barely counted. Neither of them had taken it seriously, Aurora for fear of discovery of her true feelings, Pura for lack of reason to try. This was far different. A shared delight in the other’s touch, that, judging by the soft rumble Suicune purred into the contact, the goddess enjoyed equally as well.
After an endless moment, their tongues parted, leaving Aurora breathing hard. The waters around her swirled, the paws at her chest drawing away as Suicune swept around, the light wavering erratically with her movement. Feathery touches flickered down her sides, making her shiver as the legendary stood before her, a pleased expression stretching across her muzzle. “So. Where now to start, hmm? Here perhaps?” A tendril swirled on Aurora’s stabilizing fins, dragging down across her cheek. “Not quite. Maybe here...” A separate touch fluttered under her forelimbs, twining with the other to explore the scales of her chest. Aurora could do nothing but tremble and watch, awaiting the goddess’s next move.
“That isn’t it either I think. Let us try... here.” A gasp bubbled from Aurora’s lips as an oily frond of kelp twined about her tail, fondling her muscular flukes, before slowly writhing its way upward. Each scale closer it squirmed seemed to take an age, yet only several breaths passed before it halted near her tail’s base, agonizingly close to her warming girlhood. “We are getting closer to the right place, I believe,” Suicune crooned, than now familiar impish twitch in her features. “Do you have any advice on what I should try next?”
Another blade squirmed across her exposed belly, drawing a moan from Aurora’s lips in spite of herself. Arceus, she had barely even been touched and already she was more aroused than she could ever recall being! The new appendage undulated against her skin, shocks of cool sensation that worked steadily lower, matching the one on her tail to surround her nethers with serpents of kelp. A pang of need shot up her spine, her eyes widening as she gazed fixedly at the one who had chosen to share this pleasure with her. Perhaps this wasn’t how she’d pictured it, but there was no question of how well the goddess knew her, of how closely connected they could be... no, they were.
“I would like to be able to... please you as well,” she managed, her breaths coming quick and fast as the wrappings of plant-life coiled and writhed against her, raising her sensitivity with intimate fondling touches. A wayward tendril darted suddenly across her entrance, making her aroused lips quiver in anticipation.
“It is my pleasure merely to see to yours,” the goddess murmured, drifting closer without any seeming effort. A single crimson pool flashed dark for an instant, another sly wink. “But I shall certainly allow you to express your appreciation of femininity. It shall be good practice for you, in any case.” With that, she twisted about in an acrobatic display of supple movement, her white underbelly flashing before Aurora’s eyes, tendrils teasing down her haunches.
She gulped in a deep breath as her lover came to rest, straddling her muzzle, larger form curled underneath the immobile vaporeon, her unveiled womanhood inches from Aurora’s eyes. She wasn’t the only one aroused it seemed. Suicune’s white-furred mound blushed faintly at the edges of her slit, the lips parted and engorged with the heat of her passion. Larger than Aurora’s own, and more padded, pronounced in the short fuzz surrounding the feminine treasure.
“Did the scenery improve noticeably when my visage was removed?” came Suicune’s amused chuckle from below. “If this is the case, perhaps I should introduce myself back end first, as it seems to make a stronger impression.”
Aurora blushed, tearing her eyes away from the exotic sight to meet the other pokémon’s gaze, peering at her from an odd inverted perspective between her splayed legs. “No! It’s not that, I... I just...” she trailed off, unable to complete the sole thought that was bouncing around in her head. ‘Can I really tell a goddess that she’s sexy?’ Maybe she wouldn’t mind, but she would likely turn it into a joke at Aurora’s expense. Though, judging by her wry, knowing expression, it was already too late.
Suicune gave a tinkling laugh. “Do not distress yourself, daughter of the waves. I find my own view to be quite pleasing as well.” A tendril flickered, sliding from minute scales to the smooth skin of Aurora’s own arousal, tracing her entrance with that feather-soft brush. Aurora sighed softly, her hips twitching with desire.
“Please, feel free to stare, explore. Satisfy your desires,” Suicune murmured. As if acting on her own suggestion, the strands of kelp began to squirm once more, sliding sinuously between Aurora’s lower lips, probing the entrance to her most secret place. Breathing hard and emboldened by the legendary’s words, Aurora leaned forward, closing her eyes as she planted a delicate kiss on the larger female’s mound.
‘Yes, this is what I want.’
She moaned into Suicune’s folds as a slimy frond wiggled its way past her sealed lips, cool wetness sliding against her inner walls for the first time. It probed and twisted, working itself in at a leisurely pace, examining the dips and folds of her passage. It felt... strange, to have something thin, cold and slick moving about inside her private regions, but each motion set off a tiny crackle of pleasure in her loins, fizzing up her spine like a rolling fog.
Anxious not to merely take without giving back, she hesitantly deepened her forbidden kiss, plunging her tongue into the spongy passage before her. Warmth greeted her as her tongue lashed against the hidden walls of the goddess, invisible ridges decorating the silken flesh. There was the faintest tang, quite separate from the surrounding brine, perhaps the barest hint of fresh-water fish, a lovely zest that danced across Aurora’s palate. Encouraged, she swirled her appendage, lapping at the goddess’s folds with growing enthusiasm. She was rewarded with a twitch in the graceful form, and an approving hum from below.
“You do not hesitate to delve to the heart of things, do you child?” In answer, Aurora fastened her muzzle to her lover’s blushing petals, greedily pushing her tongue in as deep as it would go. She exclaimed wordlessly as the kelp tendril within her surged deeper, squirming wildly like a trapped seviper. Pools of sensation she’d never been aware of lit up like glowfish in her loins, sparks of delight flashing behind her eyes as the vine wiggled erratically, plunging into her untouched depths. There was very little width, yet the curious feeling continued to climb, an icy line in her belly, seeking her hidden womb.
Aurora felt her walls writhe along with the vine, oleaginous fluids seeping forth to coat the intruder. Her spine arched, a moan shuddering from her throat as a second tendril fondled that tiny nub of flesh above her slit, erect and prominent in her arousal. The sensation was a lightning strike to her nerves, jangling her awareness, speeding her feverish panting. ‘Great Lugia, she knows all the tricks, doesn’t she?’
“One gets to be practiced, over a few thousand years,” Suicune said with an airy chuckle, as if having heard the thought. Still, her voice shook a bit, indication enough of the success of Aurora’s own efforts. Tipped off to the trick, Aurora adjusted her own efforts, widening her licks and swirling around the goddess’s entrance, seeking the other female’s hidden pleasure button.
Just as she found her prize, the second tendril pushed inside her, writhing against her clit as it delved her pulsing depths, making her buck reflexively against her bonds. Gooey liquids seeped out around the undulating blades of kelp, thicker than the sea-water, coating the already slimy vines to ease their passage. Aurora couldn’t help but arch and shudder around the penetration, the first intruder content to rest at the very entrance to her womb, squirming delightfully, while its partner wiggled up to join in, gradually stretching her walls. Aurora stifled her squeal in Suicune’s own moist treasure, once again locating that tiny nub of hardened flesh, and descending upon it without hesitation.
Her rough tongue caressed Suicune’s exposed clit, flicking firmly as the kelp blade lashed her own, drawing a stifled gasp from the goddess and a spurt of cloudy fluid into the water. Grinning victoriously, Aurora pressed her advantage, lapping fervently at the other female’s erogenous zone, attempting to match the delight racing up her own spine. Each serpentine movement of the vines inside made her shudder, the gyrating appendages teasing her inner walls, exploring her precious sanctum with tender care. Aurora couldn’t hope to match that exotic thrill with only her tongue as a tool, but she applied her efforts eagerly, matching the larger, more experienced female with enthusiasm if not with skill.
“It appears I was correct about how swiftly you would catch on,” Suicune said, the shake in her voice betraying her pleasure. A surge of contentment welled up in Aurora’s chest, all the day’s ills vanishing in the wonder and bliss of this moment. Her haunches twitched and bucked uncontrollably, pulling against her bonds as the vines twisted around themselves, pulling out slightly and plunging back in, thrusting deep into the vaporeon’s formerly virgin tunnel.
Aurora frantically attempted to focus, to play upon her partner’s responses to her tonguework, to reciprocate the crashing ecstasy in her loins. ‘It’s... so different. I can’t tell... What she’s doing.’ The goddess’s tangy nectar gushed across her tongue, a continuous bounty her lashing muscle couldn’t keep up with. Both females’ spines arched in unison, the scents of their erotic act flowing out into the surrounding waters, soft moans and cries of delight floating surface-ward as their forms moved in passionate throes.
Slippery lengths caressed and traced shivering paths along her skin, toying with her arousal, flushes of hot excitement coursing through her veins. Something cool and firm squished against her quivering folds, seeking to join the swirling vines inside her. ‘Oh Arceus, more? What is it? Can it fit?’ Her haunches shuddered, her scales seeming to rattle with the force of the bliss as her question was answered, the curious intruder squeezing past her heated petals, squelching inside and stretching her sopping entrance wide around its girth. Her eyes shot open wide, a long coo of pleasure vibrating into her lover’s folds as she realized what this new, bulbous invader was.
‘One of the floatation sacs... Oh lords of wind and wave...’
She spasmed, racked by shuddering breakers of pure bliss as the spongy mass twisted and jiggled, stuffing the quivering, swollen lips of her mound tight with its thick flesh. Her loins felt flushed with heat, her depths clenching and wonderfully filled by the squirming lengths, tickling strange delights and erotic places deep inside her. Reflexively, she shoved her tongue inside her lover’s folds, dousing her muzzle with the fountaining nectar, conscious of the goddess’s own shakes and twitches.
‘She’s close too! I can do this, I can make her go first! I-’
A wicked tendril tickled Aurora’s clit, drawing shuddering moans from the writhing water type as the tension in her loins crested to higher peaks. Her vision fuzzed, the task before her seeming less important as her senses zeroed in on the rising delight, her hips hunching madly to somehow impale herself further on the probing fronds, to cram the bloated wad of greenery stoppering up her passage in deeper.
‘Can’t... hold on...’
“Yes, that’s it... Just let it come, ocean-born. Allow the tide to carry you away.”
As if the words were a secret command, the final wave of bliss curled its foaming head and crashed down upon her with unstoppable force, sweeping her up and bearing her out to sea. She let out a long cry into the goddess’s seeping folds, her body twitching and shaking with the mighty release, hindered by her bonds. Her passage rippled and clenched rhythmically, squeezing the squelching fronds inside her with powerful muscles, drenching them with a stream of her slimy juices.
Bubbles rose rapidly to the surface from their combined churning, joining the foggy pool of feminine nectar escaping into the waters, Suicune’s luscious emissions almost as copious as Aurora’s own climactic deluge. Her folds rippled wildly as she rode out the breaking wave of pleasure, surfing blissfully upon its towering curl, all her senses awash. Aurora knew from her own fumbling efforts how much of the stuff would seep out when she climaxed. It was... nice, doing this in the water, where it could simply wash away instead of getting all over her scales.
Finally, her pulsing walls began to slow, the bubbles of bliss popping in her mind leaving her in a warm haze, a gratified smile stretching across her muzzle. She could still feel the vines resting inside her, kissing the entrance to her womb. They twitched unexpectedly, making her shudder in response, her folds feeling somehow even more sensitive, buzzing with light and warmth from the mighty climax.
“Thank you... goddess,” she mumbled, the words rising in pitch as the tendrils pulled out of her gripping depths with a squelch, sending a shiver up her spine. Her eyes fixed on Suicune’s still leaking snatch, the creamy lips puffy and tinged pink with excitement. “Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do though.” With a gleeful grin, she leaned forward, engulfing Suicune’s pert arousal, flicking her tongue firmly against the legendary’s clit.
“Do not fret, ch-” hearing the larger pokémon’s words cut off with a sharp intake of breath was almost more rewarding than her glorious climax had been. Eager to repeat the achievement, she focused her efforts, suckling firmly on Suicune’s erect nub, delighting in the spastic buck of the mighty haunches and prolonged groan rising from below.
‘Ha! This is for the tickling now. And for scaring me! You’re going to remember this if I have anything to say about it!’ Grinning uncontrollably around her prize, Aurora pressed her advantage, wedging her muzzle into the other female’s sopping folds, spurred on by the jolts and exclamations of delight, the exotic tang growing stronger as her lover’s own peak began to bear down on her. Beneath the haze of afterglow, hiding behind the malicious delight of getting the better of the goddess for once, there was a tiny spark of wonder too, a child-like marvel about the inevitable event she was about to cause. ‘I’m really going to do it. I’m going to make her cum. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to do it to someone else, now I’ll know. Just a little more...”
Abruptly, Suicune’s hips jerked back, pulling away from Aurora’s swirling tongue with a trail of cloudy fluids, the vaporeon straining to follow her prize. Aurora’s bonds halted her reach, her tongue wagging comically as Suicune drifted back, the deity’s body trembling on the verge of release. The Mistress of the Waves bobbed for a moment, shuddering, before turning herself upright again to face her captive, who met her half-lidded crimson gaze with dismay. “H-hey, I wasn’t finished yet! Why didn’t you let me?”
Suicune chuckled softly, her chest rising and falling in rapid breaths, tendrils coiling in spasmodic twists. “I... have more to show you yet, sweet Aurora. Do not fret, I was indeed pleased by your efforts... as I am certain you could tell. I merely find that denying myself the great release for a time makes it so much the stronger when it comes.” Her melodious voice shook a bit, but firmed as she regained her composure, far more smoothly than Aurora herself had, her tendrils relaxing to their usual graceful twirl. “This is a trick you might try yourself sometime, should you feel so inclined. It takes some... self-control, but I assure you it is quite rewarding.”
“Oh,” Aurora said softly, trying to hide her disappointment. At the same time, a sparkle of curiosity coursed through her. What else did the goddess have in store? “Um, does that mean you’re going to untie me now?” She tugged pointedly at her bonds, the ache in her stretched limbs beginning to make itself known from her prolonged dangling.
“Loose your bonds? Yes... I believe we shall... re-adjust,” Suicune murmured, a twinkle in her eyes. Before Aurora could question or protest, the kelp shackles whisked away from her paws, a flurry of thrashing greenery. She drifted loose, sighing softly as her trapped limbs were permitted to move freely once more. What did she mean, re-adjust?
Quicker than an eye-blink, one of the lashing fronds snapped around her tail, coiling tight and halting her slow descent. A second whirled around her forepaws, drawing them together with a deft tug, making her yelp in surprise as she was suspended once more, now belly down and stretched out like a striking gorebyss. She looked up at the goddess with her best appealing pout, becoming more than a little frustrated with the lack of freedom. “Can’t we do this without the net?”
“Oh, most certainly,” Suicune’s voice bubbled with merriment, her crest pulsing. “But having you restrained makes this so much simpler, you will find. Especially with how much you will squirm and wiggle. I would rather not have my little fly floating away like a frightened drifloon.” She circled around her prostate captive, inspecting her handiwork. “Yes, I believe that will do. Do not be alarmed, lovely Aurora. You will find this to be quite... unique.” Once again seeming to move without effort, the radiant goddess drifted lower, pressing her lips to Aurora’s in a tender exchange of affection. A hint of sweetened savour played across Aurora’s tastebuds as their tongues wrestled, an unfamiliar jelly-like nectar that hadn’t been there before.
‘Is that... me? Is that what I taste like?’ She hadn’t even felt the goddess’s tongue, in the overwhelming assault of the squirming vines, but it seemed the ancient female also delighted in sampling from her lover’s feminine bounties.
Warm protrusions rubbed insistently against Aurora’s sides and belly, spongy tentacles that didn’t bear the cool slime of the kelp or the feathery tickle of Suicune’s tendrils. This was a firm massage, working her taut muscles into a puddle of relaxation, making her moan into the kiss. Something about it was strangely familiar, bringing back fleeting images of... training with her father? Why did it make her think of the cold shock of his water attacks? This was no fountain of icy liquid, plastering her to the beach. This was a heated caress, soothing and gratifying, sliding sensuously across her scales.
Suicune broke away, their tongues parting reluctantly as lovers, but the rolling massage continued, working down her body, not showing any sign of halting at her more intimate regions. She tried to look over her shoulder, catch a glimpse of the phantom paws, but could see nothing but swirling murk. A shudder racked her body as the kneading touch slowed, working across her sex with gentle squeezes, enticing her arousal once again.
“Relax yourself, child of the waves,” Suicune murmured, inches from her ear. “Simply release yourself to the feeling, allow it to carry you. Permit the sea to become your paramour. Drift upon the sensation, as you would upon the waves. Drift.”
“Drift...” Aurora repeated lazily, lulled by the comforting sensation of warm content rising through her entire being. The touch at her intimate regions continued at a gentle pace, more of a slow tease to her arousal than a true penetration. The other paw began to work along her rump, circling in under her tail, probing her pucker with delicate strokes.
“Yes, drift. Float upon the pleasure, surrender to its flow. Allow it to fill you.”
“Fill me...” Aurora parroted, her eyes drooping half closed. Yes, this was indeed nice, something she could get used to. Relaxing and arousing at the same time. She still didn’t see why-
Simultaneously, the two roaming bulges of incorporeal substance prodded firmly, squeezing past the relaxing resistance to explore the mysterious depths of the languid vaporeon. Aurora’s eyes shot open wide, a thrill rippling up her spine as both her entrances stretched open to accommodate the squishy intruders. She gaped up at the goddess, jaw working wordlessly, too overwhelmed to speak. Should she cry out? Protest? No... there was that smug look again, that knowing gleam. Suicune knew exactly what she was doing. This was all part of her plan. Determined not to show how it affected her --or at least, as little as possible-- she set her jaw, relaxing her tightening muscles once more, permitting the unusual penetration.
‘But... back there?! It’s... so big... too big! Isn’t it?’
Her slick vulva parted easily, the writhing appendage sinking in comfortably in a single plunge, clenching reflexively upon the invader. She couldn’t stop a bubbling groan as she felt the other attempting to do the same in her unused tail-hole, the curious sensation of something moving the wrong way working itself steadily past the tight ring of muscle. Suddenly, it seemed to... compress, squelching past the obstruction in a quick, fluid spurt, conforming itself to her insides with dexterous suppleness, a shudder rattling up her spine.
‘It’s... water? It IS!
Aurora squirmed in her bonds as the pair of pulsing, sloshing, liquid tentacles stroked her inner walls, pressing against the thin barrier between her passages as if to join with one-another, shooting bolts of ecstasy up her spine. A heavy sense of... fullness... settled over her, slowly growing as more of the slippery length wriggled and squeezed itself in, spreading her sensitive walls around the squishy, yet firm girth of her lover’s bizarre creation.
“The sea knows well how to please her lovers,” Suicune murmured in return, her words breathy with strain. Aurora’s eyes wandered along the goddess’s lithe form, jerking in her bonds as the jelly-like invaders writhed, conforming to every minute detail of her secret depths, rubbing delightfully against one-another through the thin wall between her passages. An erotic sight met her eyes, a similar pair of all but invisible tentacles slithering between the deity’s legs, feminine honey streaming out around their driving thrusts.
Aurora struggled to find words, but was powerless against the sensual assault on her erogenous regions, lengths of pure water ploughing further into her than anything before, stretching her twin passages further than she imagined possible. Her breaths heaved, a stream of moans falling from her lips, her spine arching into the powerful thrusts, shivering jolts of ecstasy crawling up through her loins. ‘It’s too much... I can’t... Oh please, don’t let her stop!’
Suicune began to thrash, mirroring Aurora’s own frantic bucking, a pure expression of bliss on the legendary’s face, her knowing eyes squeezed tight as she braced herself for the final rush. “The... great release, child... Is it not beautiful?” she gasped, her tendrils flailing wildly. Aurora cooed wordlessly in reply, her belly bulging with squirming liquid, the spongy appendages moving with a life of their own.
All in a rush, the towering fountain of bliss overflowed, spilling out in a liquid pool of gold through her entire being. Her folds shuddered, milking wildly upon the squelching mass, squeezing it into strange shapes with her powerful inner muscles. The pair began to pulse rhythmically, thin jets of warmth breaking off, shooting even deeper inside, pouring past the final barrier of her womb, splashing heavily into her bowels. Over her own cry, another rang out, a crystal chime that pierced the night darkened waters, a sound that bore the spirit of the sea itself, rolling and trembling. Suicune’s loins shook, her haunches bucking a veritable cascade of cloudy fluids gushing across the watery body of her lover -- the very sea that held both of them aloft.
Aurora gulped in ragged breaths as she rode out the final spasms, the rich, fulfilling sensation of liquid heat in her womb shooting a curious thrill of joy through her. Was that what it was like when... a male did it? That glorious well of light and life in her womb...
Tiredly, she shook her head, moaning long and loud as the squirming lengths pulled away, leaving her folds sadly vacant. That was a question for later. She could feel her lewdly stretched openings gaping, cool, perfectly ordinary water lapping at her over-stimulated insides as her gooey nectar drooled slowly into the surrounding water.
Suicune’s shudders had also slowed, tapering off with a contented sigh, her own tentacles collapsing into wherever they had come from. A glow of pride lit up within Aurora, her lips curving in a smug smirk of her own as the goddess drifted back, recovering. It was more than just satisfaction of eliciting such a strong reaction from the enigmatic female though, even if she hadn’t been allowed to finish her. There was also a distinct, warm fulfillment, a bubbling joy at giving the other such great pleasure, delight in sharing her body with another who understood.
“I may not have had a few thousand years practice, but I guess I’ve had enough,” she said with a giggle. “You barely held yourself back the first time, didn’t you?”
“Indeed, you seem to have obtained the advantage of me,” Suicune murmured softly, rotating herself around to meet Aurora face-to-face again. A pleased, relaxed expression stretched across her muzzle, her tendrils spinning slowly. Once again seeming to move without effort, the radiant goddess drifted lower, pressing her lips to Aurora’s in a tender exchange of affection. A lingering hint of exotic tang lingered, mingled with the goddess’s own faint savour.
Suicune broke away after a blissful moment of wrestling, their tongues parting reluctantly as lovers, leaving Aurora breathing hard. Meeting the deity’s beautiful eyes, a sudden flash of mischief lanced through her, a hint of smugness creeping into her voice. “Next time maybe we should trade places, see if you still last longer when I have the vines.”
The goddess’s chuckle tinkled in her ears, sparkles dancing in her crimson orbs. “Perhaps, clever Aurora, perhaps. Or mayhap next time we should try with solid ground beneath our paws. In my lair perhaps? What think you of this?”
Aurora nodded slowly, considering. “Back in your- EEP!” Before the words left her mouth, a thousand phantom tendrils descended upon her, wriggling and tantalizing her scales with feather-light touches. Shrieking giggles boiled from her lungs, her body thrashing against her restraints, vainly attempting to escape the assault of invisible tickles. Distantly, through the undesired mirth, she saw Suicune put a paw to her lips, shaking with merriment at the vaporeon’s predicament.
A long moment of wriggling and squealing later, the ghostly torment finally petered out, leaving Aurora panting limply in her restraints, glaring reproachfully at the goddess. “That wasn’t nice!”
“Oops. How forgetful of me,” Suicune said, an unrepentant twitch in her grin. “Perhaps a useful reminder though, hmm?”
Aurora groaned in consternation, heat flushing her cheeks. A reminder alright. No slips of the tongue for her. “I get it, I get it.”
A soft tendril fondled her cheek, the kelp blades around her paws at last loosening and drifting away, freeing her stretched limbs. “I know you do, beautiful Aurora,” the goddess whispered. Aurora let out a soft sigh, working the stiffness from her limbs as she pedaled the water, keeping herself level. She met Suicune’s eyes with a gulp, unsure what to say. This was the hard part. What now?
“Will I... I mean, will we meet again, goddess?”
The tendril traced her muzzle, drawing a tender line down her throat, raising her chin a bit as a shiver ran down her spine. “I truly know not, daughter of the waves. The future is no domain of mine. I must see to tasks in the present, so that the future may come to be aright. You too must see to your own tasks, to live, to thrive, to love, to shine.”
“But, don’t you live here? In err,” she corrected herself hastily, choosing her words with care. “In these waters? Near my home?”
Suicune’s melodious chuckle rang in Aurora’s ears. “The one known as the North Wind has no true home, beloved Aurora. My duties range in every part of this world, and in that of spirit. I am fond of my chambers here, but they are not my home.”
“Oh...” Aurora dropped her gaze, feeling a mixture of disappointment and loss, already certain that the answer meant she would never see the deity again. As infuriating as she was, as enigmatic and teasing, she was also so wise, so tender, so... knowing. She herself had called them kindred spirits, lovers of the sea. Was there no possible way she could...
“I could go with you!” she blurted impulsively, hope flaring anew. “Swim at your side and help! We could-”
A large paw pressed firmly over her muzzle, cutting off her words. “No, child of the tides, I am afraid not. The North Wind must blow freely, heal the waters of the world, guard the denizens within. She can have no companion in this, for who can tie themselves to the wind? What mortal flesh could follow in her tread? No, I fear we must part ways, shining Aurora, perhaps until we meet again in the Heart of the Sea.”
The words tore at Aurora’s heart, an ache far more profound than the mild soreness in her body. Moisture welled behind her second eyelids, leaking out in glistening drops, a tremble in her voice. “I have no where else to go.”
Suicune’s gaze bored into her, piercing into her soul. “This is not true, my sweet Aurora. Your home may be a place of strife for now, but these things pass. Soon you shall find a den of your own, and perhaps your parents shall yet resolve their differences. Perhaps they shall not, but sorrowful as this is, you shall endure. You are loved. Do not forget this.”
“I... I know. But, I don’t know if I can ever find someone...” she trailed off, unable to finish. ‘Like you,’ she wanted to say, but knew that was a true impossibility. None could replace this radiant goddess in truth. Though, perhaps, if she were to meet another like Pura...
“You shall find your mate, someday, child. I am not she, but you shall find her. Or him, perhaps. Do not forget my words. There may yet come a time when a male shall know your heart, radiant Aurora.” The goddess pressed her nose to Aurora’s, a cool touch that seemed to spark with energy. “Nor shall our bond be forever sundered, for I know I shall remember you always, even should our paths not cross in this world again.”
She pulled away, floating apart from the trembling vaporeon, a hint of sadness speckling her features. “It is time for the North Wind to blow, daughter of the shores,” she whispered. Wordlessly, Aurora nodded, unable to speak for fear of loosing a shuddering sob. Deep down, she knew it was true, she couldn’t possibly follow the legendary, but still it sent a stab of pain into her chest to see Suicune turning to leave.
Suicune halted in mid turn, turning to look back over her flowing mane with a smile. “Yes, sweet Aurora?”
“Did... Did you mean what you said? About love being stronger than hate?” It still confused her. How could it be true? Her parents’ love certainly hadn’t been. Had their love never been real? Was the goddess mistaken?
“I did, and I also know this to be true,” she replied. “Tell me, daughter of the waves, would you die for one you hate?”
The question caught Aurora off guard. She couldn’t even think of someone she hated, not truly. Not even... him. “I... don’t... know. I doubt it.”
“What of someone you love?”
Aurora stared, trying to answer the riddling statements. What was she-
‘Oh... Oh Arceus, it’s true.’
Suicune’s smile radiated like the glow in her crest. “Your visage tells me you have the answer, wise Aurora. Indeed, hate may drive one to kill another, but only love may drive one to die in another’s place. Tell me, which do you consider the stronger?” She turned away again, her gorgeous face looking out to the darkened waters.
“Thank you, goddess...”
“The pleasure is mine, pure-hearted Aurora.” A tendril twitched, twirling as if in salute as the deity’s haunches tensed. “I bid you farewell.”
A blur of motion, a swirl of bubbles, a flash of blue and cream, leaving her floating alone among the swaying stalks. Aurora gazed longingly after the graceful form, bounding effortlessly through the waters, vibrant mane cascading behind her, crest aglow. A brilliant shooting star, vanishing into the dark.
“Farewell, Breath of the Sea,” she whispered, entranced. The scene felt surreal, other-worldly, a fancy of a dream. Yet the soft ache in her muscles and contented glow of satisfaction in her loins told the truth. It had all been real, and the goddess was gone.
Slowly, Aurora turned herself surface-ward, flukes pumping gently. Kelp blades brushed across her scales, a tingling reflection of the mischievous squirming manipulations the goddess had employed. A smile played across Aurora’s muzzle. She’d never be able to look at the kelp beds the same way again.
She broke topside with a loud gasp, fresh air rushing into her lungs in place of the filtered brine. The moon shone bright and full, silvering a path across the lapping waves, beckoning her towards the dark line of the shore. It was truly late now. Her parents would be wondering where she was. Likely worried.
‘What am I going to tell them? I can’t say anything about what happened.’
No, certainly not. She couldn’t help but grin at the thought of their faces as she collapsed in front of them, writhing under a horde of phantom tickles.
‘I’ll think of something. Fishing. Or exploring the reefs. Both are true.’
She began to stroke towards shore, finning tiredly as if she’d swum to the bottom of the deeps and back. She had a lot to consider now, her morose outlook brightened by her incredible encounter.
Things would work out.