My first story.Please Review and comment on my mistakes so I can fix 'em!It starts out a bit short and bad on the earlier chapters, but rewrites for them are being done as I write this. So, if you don't get too hooked by them, please read on, and give this a chance.Reviews are very much welcome. But, if It's gonna be a bad one, please explain what went off so I can work on it. If It's just like 'Hey your bad I dun liek you 111eleven', then please refrain from reviewing.Anyways, enjoy.Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.Comments, questions, or anything like that? I can be reached by pressing that 'contact' next to my penname and sending me an email.
Alvise flew at full speed towards Aria with his wings spread and glowing in a sinister way. Before the Altaria could react, the Murkrow flew right past her, leaving a fatal injury. Aria fell to the ground, no longer moving, yet still holding her egg.
"So sorry, Aria," Alvise smiled in a diabolical way. "But there was a change of plans. I ran into Requiem on the way back home, and it turns out the Don doesn't care about you anymore... But you know too much to be left alive. Well, that, and the fact I never really liked you! HA!"
"No..." Nocturne watched the scene, frozen in a mixture of terror and despair. In two days, he had lost his two best friends, both at the hands of the leader that turned on him. That was the last straw... With his mind lost in rage, he lowly spoke. "You... Bastard..." He began to slowly walk forward, spreading his wings at a matching speed. "I... Am going... To KILL YOU!" He took off, flying towards Alvise. The two collided, spiraling upwards into the sky above, slashing at each other with their wings and talons, and crashing their beaks into each other, making black feathers rain down into the forest below.
Leon and the others watched the scene as best as they could, since the trees above combined with the darkness of the night sky obscured the scene. The moonlight helped, but it was not so easy to tell between the two.
"Disturbingly beautiful," Sasha commented, taking one of the feathers in her paw. "It's like black snow."
"Just who is he?" Phoebe asked.
"Some repented Murkrow that begged to help us," Leon answered, swaying left and right to see them fight through the trees and trying to focus on them. "He didn't say a word after Aria said he could, so I can't tell much... It seems he's against the other Murkrow, though."
"Aria..." Tiffany was holding the Altaria. "Aria, how bad are you hurt?"
Aria didn't answer. She simply raised her head and made a weak chirp, looking up at the battle above.
"Don't die, now!" Estelle tried to cheer Aria up. "Who will take care of Eggy if you die?"
Richard silently watched the scene. The vision he, being a Luxray, was gifted with, allowed him to see the fight without a problem. He analyzed every movement the two Murkrow made in the sky before commenting. "The blue- eyed one's gonna win."
"Hoe can you tell?" Sasha asked him, curious of how sure the soldier sounded in his statement.
"He's fighting with rage," Richard answered. "Normally, that's the dumbest mistake you can make in a fight, but, when you're as close and personal to your opponent as they are right now, it gives you an edge."
More feathers rained down on them as Nocturne and Alvise kept fighting up in the skies, lost in the black of the night.
"Give it up!" Alvise squawked in the spiral they formed. "Aria's gonna die, anyway! And you... You're dead to us, traitor! There's nothing left to lose for you!"
"I lost everything," Nocturne answered, slashing at Alvise's chest with his wing. "But I gained something: Vendetta! I'll avenge Aria and Bolero... I'm gonna kill you all!" He smashed his beak into Alvise's eyes, blinding him. While his opponent was open from the pain and unable to see, Nocturne tore at his body with his talons and wings. "Die, you bastard! I'll end your life, just like you ended Aria and Bolero's! Dolce vendetta!" He gave one final, rage- fueled peck into the losing Murkrow's body before spiraling down with him into the ground. Once Alvise was on the ground, Nocturne took up into the sky, made a loop, and crashed down into him.
The wounded Mukrow let out a low squawk and coughed out some blood from the impact.
"Heh... You're dead, Nocturne..." Alvise chuckled. "As dead as your dear friend Bolero. The moment Requiem sees I didn't come back, he'll hunt you down!" He weakly made a cutthroat gesture with his wing. "Well, finish me! Send me off to see your friends before you!"
Nocturne's eyes were glowing in rage. He raised his wing, ready to strike the final blow. However, he stopped just a few inches away from him. "Nah..." He fluttered back and stared at Alvise with disgust. "You're not even worth it... I'll do what you did. The others in the forest will finish you off." At that point Alvise's confidence faded away to be replaced by true terror.
"Goodbye, idiot." Nocturne sneered. His feathers were ruffled and stained with blood from both the attack he suffered against the Murkrow earlier and his previous fight with Alvise. He flew to Aria and held her. It had been a long time since he had last cried. Tiffany let go of Aria and backed away so Nocturne could hold her. "Aria... please don't die..."
"My time's up, Nocturne," she answered, taking him in her wings and pulling him towards her. "Please, take care of my baby..."
"Don't talk like that!"
"Don't give up!" Tiffany told Aria.
"You have to be strong if you want to make it!" Estelle added in a sad tone. "Otherwise, you'll die..."
Richard kept his distance from the scene. He knew that Aria would not make it. The injury she suffered was beyond deadly, and she seemed to have lost the will to live. Leon and Phoebe were next to him, watching in silence.
"Your time's up?" Sasha approached her, tossing aside the feather she had grabbed early. "That's weakling talk! I thought moms were tough!"
"Cling to life, Aria," Nocturne implored her in desperation. "Please..."
"Nocturne..." She closed her eyes, wrapped her wings around him and began to hum in a soft and gentle way. Even though the melody she made carried sadness, it was also soothing and comforting. The Murkrow held still in her wings, hoping that her song hid the sound of his sobs. "Bolero..." Her song came to an end, and her voice grew weaker. "Love, here I come." Finishing her sentence, she let go of both Nocturne and her egg, leaving the world towards the next life.
"No..." The Murkrow sighed when he noticed Aria was no longer moving. "My friends... Both of them..."
"Yet another life lost to Don Krow's greed," Phoebe commented quietly. "I can't wait for the day someone gets to teach him a lesson." Leon nodded in agreement. She continued. "It's scum like him that makes the world the mess it is right now."
"But it doesn't end here," Nocturne said lowly, getting up and looking at one of the unconscious Murkrow from the fight earlier. He went to him and slapped him strongly with his wings, then took him and began to shake him. "Wake up, stupid!"
"E-Eh?!" The Murkrow woke up, shaken and alarmed, staring in panic in every direction as he was violently quaked back and forth by his former leader. "N-Nocturne! P-Please don't kill me! I was just following orders!"
"I won't kill you," Nocturne answered deeply, blue eyes burning with rage, letting the Murkrow go and pushing him into the ground."I want you to go back and tell Requiem and the Don I'm coming for them... Tell Requiem I challenge him! Two days from now! May he rot in hell if he refuses!" He finished, violently flapping his wings. The other Murkrow took flight, frightened and squawking into night sky above and disappeared shortly afterwards, leaving the others behind.
Nocturne looked down and sighed, then looked up at the sky "Vendetta..." He whispered. "Don Krow, Requiem... I'll get my revenge... You," He turned to look at Leon. "You helped Aria when she needed it the most, and I thank you. But now, I have a request for you," He went to Aria and took her egg from her, placing in front of Leon. "I have to raise this egg and care for him as my own child. But first, I have to go and settle a score with one known as Requiem. Until then, could you care for him?"
"I suppose we can do that," Leon answered, turning to look at everyone else. "Right?"
"It's okay, I guess," Tiffany answered. "At least this time you asked before choosing!"
"Ah, we went trough a lot of trouble to find the damn thing," Sasha replied, annoyed. "What's a little more for taking care of it?"
"I'm fine with it," Phoebe stepped closer and took a look at the egg, then at Nocturne. "Just, when would you come to take it back?"
"Fine," Richard said. "Just one warning: I'm not gonna carry it, and if it gets lost again, I ain't gonna care."
"So, now eggy's gonna travel with us?" Estelle looked at Richard, yellow eyes radiant with happiness. "Really? Yay!"
"Thank you," Nocturne replied, turning to Phoebe. "And I should be back in about two days, after either I or Requiem meets fate. Where would you be at that time?"
"Around Selenia, I suppose," The Espeon replied.
"Perfect," Nocturne looked up at the sky, ready to take off. Before he took flight, he directed his stare at Leon. "Please, take care of him. He's all that's left of Aria and Bolero..." With these last words Nocturne flew into the night sky above, his silhouette obscured as he flew towards the moonlight, vanishing in the distance.
"There goes a vengeful friend," Leon commented, staring in the direction Nocturne just flew off to. "I know how he feels."
"There goes a rage- blinded fool," Richard corrected. "But I can't deny, I know how he feels, too."
"Well, we've seen a lot of action for one day," Sasha said, yawning afterwards. She headed off into Richard's cave, her tail swaying slowly in par with every step she took. "Let's just get down for the night. We've got an annoying day of babysitting ahead of us tomorrow."
**what a walk, huh?**
`Shut up,' Richard thought. 'I don't look at her that way.'
**Like you looked at me as just a friend?**
"I have to agree," Phoebe followed Sasha into the cave. "Early to bed, early to catch the... Train, I guess." She chuckled. "Goodnight, everyone."
"Ah, some mess I got into," Richard growled, following the other two. "Now we're gonna have to babysit some chicken."
"Look at the bright side, Kitty!" Estelle told the Luxray, walking along him into his- their den. "It's something different to do!"
"Different's not always better," Richard grumbled, vanishing into the cave.
"Bitter, bitter, Pidgey eater!" Estelle sang, skipping around Richard.
"He's right, though," Leon told Tiffany, stroking her ear. "We did get into a mess, huh?"
"Well, I suppose that's something I'll have to take if you want to be a hero," Tiffany picked the egg up and headed into the cave. "But, Leon? It's a small price to pay for being with you."
"Thanks," Leon answered, following her. "I promise, the moment I stop the Midnight Voices and you find out what you need about your mom, we'll settle with a nice, calm life..."
"And..." Tiffany stopped, brushed her foot on the ground and looked down nervously. "I know we haven't been like this for so long, but..." She held the egg up to Leon. "Ever considered, you know?"
"Sure, I'll hold it!" Leon naively answered, taking the egg from her. "What's so hard about it?"
Tiffany held her paw to her face and shook her head. "Leon... Are you serious?"
"Of course I'm serious! See?" Leon rocked the egg around. "It's easy!"
"I meant us having one. I mean, that's the actual intent of being mates in the end!"
"Wha-." Leon froze, staring at her. He slowly put the egg down, looked at the ground, then back at her. "Oh, well... I don't know. I guess. Maybe... No, not really." He finally answered.
"Oh," The Buneary gave her short reply, followed by a sigh. "Well... Me neither! See? I'm glad we agree!"
"No, don't get me wrong!" Leon said, noticing her reaction. "If we were to have one, I'd be more than happy! I just never thought about it. Must be pretty hard, though."
"Well," Tiffany picked the egg up. "It must be. Look at it this way, though, we could use this little guy as practice! " She headed into the cave, followed by Leon, right before entering, she stopped and looked at him again. "So... If we were to have one..."
"He'd be accepted and loved," Leon replied. "Let's not think about it now. Come on, let's call it a day."
Another meeting had been called in the gigantic hall of the Midnight Voice's home. The shadowy figures of every member were silently placed around the table, their voices echoing as a faint murmur in the fortress' vast, gloomy hallways.
"Good morning, everyone," II said, hovering in the farthest end of the table, presiding their meeting. The dim lighting gave him an eerier appearance. "As you were all informed at the beginning of the week, we are planning special mission to a most dangerous, yet important place. We told you to prepare for this mission in case you were chosen to come."
"And gear up I did!" XI got up and launched a burning kick into the air, then made an arm pump, showing his muscles off to everyone in the hall.
"Excellent," II replied. "It is a shame you were not chosen, fool." The Blaziken immediately fell silent.
"The chosen members," Bernard got up from his seat and began to list. "Are II, III, V, VI, VIII, IX- someone must inform him the moment he returns."
"I'll tell him!" XVIII yelled.
"We are not done," II said. "Keep quiet and wait. Besides, you can not tell him because you will be coming with us."
"Thanks," Bernard looked back at II, then continued. "X, XIII, XVI, and XVIII. We leave tomorrow in the morning, so be prepared."
"Hey!" XIV barked. "I thought I was going too!"
"After your failures over the week?" II answered. "Not only did you fail to capture XV, but you were defeated by a single Luxray."
"Hey! It ain't my fault!" The Houndoom retorted. "First time it happened, I lost because he surprised me! Second time, IX commanded me to retreat!"
"IX commanded you?" II showed little surprise in the canine's answer. "Of course..." He stopped talking, deep in thought.
"And the last time, he knocked me out because I was distracted!"
"Oh, please!" A Vaporeon that was lying lazily by the other end of the table laughed. "How hard is it to catch one tiny Pikachu?! And then some Luxray beat you!" He laughed some more. "Oh, you guys are terrible..."
"Really, XIX?" XIV inquired, annoyed. "Then perhaps we need a master to show us how it's done!"
"Yeah, you sure do!" XIX casually answered.
"Okay," XIV looked at everyone in the hall, then spoke out loud. "Hey! Who'd like to see XIX here have a go at catching XV, since it's so easy?!"
"Now, wait, what?!" The Vaporeon's dark blue eyes shot open in surprise, he quickly looked around in every direction to see every last member present, including II, raise their hands and paws. "Oh, man..."
"It's decided!" XIV grinned smugly. "Next time I go for him, you're coming with me!"
"Wawawawawait!" XIX got up, startled, still looking around the hall. "When I said you sure needed a master I didn't mean me!"
"Tough luck," XIV chuckled at XIX "Look at it this way, though: you'll get to meet those two hotties that are traveling with him!"
"Two hotties, eh?" XIX sounded intrigued. He looked at XIV, cocking his head to the side. "What are they like?"
"Well," The Houndoom answered. "An Espeon girl with some regally good looks and a delicious- looking body!"
"Sounds good so far!" XIX said. XIV's words had really caught his interest. "And who is the other one?"
"Oh, the other one," XIV replied with a covetous grin. "The other one is a Glaceon, an amazingly hot Glaceon! She's got this gorgeous, radiant shape, with that vigorous glow to her eyes... And, for an Ice- type, she's got one hell of a fiery attitude!"
"Hey, sounds like a catch!" XIX got up, excited. "And we're going after XV when, exactly?"
"You know what? I think I'll keep you waiting!" XIV laughed. "You know, keep you interested!"
"I must remind you that your objective is to capture XV," II reprimanded the Houndoom and Vaporeon. "You can indulge your libidinous thoughts on your own time."
"Ah, an expedition to the old wasteland facility!" X said, showing excitement. "A good chance to see what the LEAs have achieved on their own!"
Bernard stared at the Metagross, knowing it wouldn't be returning from that journey. He cleared his throat and continued. "Since all the higher ranks will be absent during a long period of time..."
"What about number I and the Professor?" XII asked. The Aggron's enormous voice echoed louder tan anyone else's.
"They've left on a trip of their own," Bernard replied. "Now, as I was saying: Since all of the higher ranks will be gone for a long period of time, II and myself have decided that XVII will be staying in charge."
"YES!" The Flygon spiraled upwards, made a loop in the air and landed next to XI, pointing at him. "In your face!" He told the Blaziken. "And you told me taking that extra training was a waste of time! Well, who's laughing now, buddy boy?"
"I am," XI answered. "You should have seen yourself just now when you made that little loop in the air. I should have taken a picture!"
"So, ees that all?" VII asked.
"No," II replied, staring at the Ludicolo. "You have a mission of your own: Tomorrow you depart to Amanecer. The details of your mission have been left in your quarters."
"And that is all," Bernard finished. "You may go back to whatever you were doing at this time in the morning."
"Really?" Nero asked, chuckling with his legs crossed and placed over the table and his hands behind his head."So, we can all go back to sleep like any normal Pokémon would be doing at this time of day?"
"Yeah, you do that," Bernard answered. "Don't complain when you fall asleep for forty-eight hours like you did last time and get to stay here."
"And that's something bad?" The Gallade laughed.
Everyone got up from their places and left the room, still chattering between themselves. XIV and XIX kept talking about Phoebe and Sasha, XI and XVII were still arguing about XVII being left in charge, and II, VI and VIII were whispering things between themselves in a secretive way as each group of members headed their own way.
Bernard and Nero took a right from the hall and began walking down the corridor that led to their rooms. As usual, the darkness obscured the place and didn't allow them to see one foot in front of them. Nero, at least, since Bernard could clearly see the path ahead with his other senses. The Gallade was calmly walking, while Bernard was looking down with his arms crossed.
"Now what's up with you?" Nero asked, noticing the way in which the Lucario was walking.
"Something's wrong here," Bernard answered. "It's not like II to plan operations like this."
"What?" The Gallade didn't understand what his friend meant.
"He's taking more than half our staff off into the wasteland facility," Bernard replied.
"Alright, put simply," Bernard chuckled in a mixture of amusement and annoyance. "There's seventeen of us left."
"He's taking ten of us to the facility."
"And number I wouldn't be available because he's keeping the professor company on that mission they both went off to. That leaves six members available."
"I have to admit, that's a low number..."
"Then, VII gets sent of to Amanecer to do Arceus-knows-what. And that leaves..."
"Five," Nero finally understood what Bernard meant. "That leaves only five members available to-"
"-Recover XV, keep the resistance busy, and keep watch here," Bernard finished the sentence. "II knows that as well as I do... He's up to something."
"Meh, you're just being paranoid," Nero replied. "The guys can survive without us for a while! Besides, five's a lucky number!" He said, pointing at the 'V' band on his left arm.
"Well, it wouldn't be five, strictly speaking," Bernard answered, chuckling. "I don't think XIX counts as one at all."
"Yeah, you're right," Nero chuckled as well. "What went wrong with that guy, I don't know, but, man!"
"He's not weak. If he focused on training even a bit, he could be really strong... If he even managed to get off the couch, that is." They both vanished into the darkness of the hallways, laughing at their comments on XIX, not aware that he was listening to them.
"Weak, huh?" The Vaporeon muttered. "I'll show you... You're not gonna be laughing the moment I bring XV back, hogtied and helpless!"
00 XIX... Probably the most innocent part of their plot. Like some more of their members, he wasn't really bad. He was just a trying to find his way was led to the wrong one... 00
Some time later, in Richard's cave...
Leon was squirming in his sleep. Once again, he was dreaming of someone else's life. He was confused as of what was going on as several moments flashed by him.
He was running on all fours down a dirt road in the middle of a forest. The orange color of the leaves told him it as fall or winter. Probably winter, judging from the cold of the ground. A bulky and stuffed bag on his side was shaking and making a sound of metallic clinking.
"Some fortune we made today, huh?" He heard the voice coming from behind him and recognized it as the same one he had heard on his dreams nearly a week ago.
"If we manage to escape, that is!" He, or whoever he was in his dream answered. "So, what shall we do what all this money?"
"I was thinking we could travel to the south!" He heard the answer. "They say Sunrise Mountain is a real sight to behold!"
"You and your dreams of adventure..." Leon was about to say her name, but no sound came out. It was as if her name itself was gone from his dream. There was a flash, and he changed again. He was now sitting by a campfire near a tent, eating an Oran berry.
"These berries sure taste good!" He said. "Want some?"
"No thanks, I don't like those. Besides, I want to keep fit." The same voice answered.
"You sure?" He asked, not taking his eyes off the fire. "They're tasty!... Well, if you're not eating, could you at least come a little closer?"
"Is that... A proposal?" He heard. "Feeling lonely tonight?"
"You got me! So, you coming?"
"Put the fire out," The answer came seductively from behind him. Leon shivered as he felt two really soft paws on his shoulders. "Put it out... I'll even let you do that thing I hardly ever let you do..."
"Really?" Leon got up and kicked some dirt into the fire, putting it out. "You, are amazing..." Once again, the name escaped him. Another flash came. Leon knew what that meant: Another memory. He opened his eyes to find himself in an elegantly decorated parlor. A gold chandelier above him was casting light on the wine- colored walls.
"You finally woke up," A Jolteon in front of him told him.
"Huh?" Leon was feeling dazed and confused. His vision was blurry and he felt a strange sensation... Had he seen that place before? "Where... Where am I? What happened?"
"Lightning Mansion," The Jolteon answered. "You fell on me while I was walking back here from town."
"I... Fell... And what happened to her?"
"Who..." Leon sprang up. "My friend! My friend F-" That was the closest Leon would come to hearing the name he wanted to find out. Another light came, but this time, he was left standing in the darkness he had grown so used to.
"How are your travels?" He heard. This time it was the usual voice from his dreams. "I see you met my friend."
"I did," Leon answered. "Listen, if it's not too much of a pain, could you tell me her name?"
"I can't help you," The voice answered. "If you can't remember, neither of us can."
"But you might soon find out." The answer lifted Leon's spirits.
"I said get up!" The roar woke Leon up. He found himself staring right into Richard's eyes. He squirmed backwards, surprised.
"What's going on!?" Leon asked, dazed from how loud the roar was.
"The train," Sasha told him. "We're leaving, remember?"
"We're finally getting to Selenia!" Tiffany added. "At last, I'll learn about my mom..."
"And I'll get to see mine again, much to her dismay," Phoebe said.
"We all have our reasons to get there," Richard said in a serious, almost strict tone. "But let's not forget the main reason: We're killing Blackfang. At least most of us are going there because of that."
"I don't really have a reason to go there," Said Estelle calmly. "I just want to be with you, Kitty!"
"Well, whatever drives us there..." The Luxray replied. "Let's go."
"Alright, the train leaves in an hour and a half!" Phoebe told everyone. "Let's make some haste!"
Everyone started packing what belongings they had taken out back into their bags, preparing for the journey ahead of them. Each of them had his own reason to get to Selenia: Revenge, answers... They would finally get what they sought.
"So, we'll finally get to Selenia," Leon told Tiffany as they both packed their belongings. "Excited?"
"As excited as I can be!" The Buneary replied, putting some Pecha berries in her bag."I'll finally get to know all about the Wild Flower!"
"Alright," Leon grabbed his bag and picked the egg up. "We're ready to get going!"
Sasha, Richard and Phoebe were still busy with their own belongings. The Luxray was probably the busiest, as he had to pack everything he had scattered around his den.
"So, I'm done," Sasha told Richard. "Need help?"
"Just fetch me the stuff I have on that crate," Richard gestured towards the crate in a corner of the cave.
"We're going back home, huh?" Phoebe approached him. "I can't wait for you to see everyone again!"
"I can't wait to see Birman again," Richard answered, looking at the Espeon. "If he's become as fat as you say he's become, I'm gonna have a lot of fun."
"Okay, here's what you wanted," Sasha said as she placed everything near the Luxray. "Worn-out blue bandana, Selenian guard badge... An Absol doll, and... Hey, who are the guys in this picture?" She asked, looking at a picture she had put along everything else.
"That's a picture of the Selenian army Special Forces," Richard answered.
"Really?" Phoebe took a look at the picture. "No, it's not. I'm not there; neither are Rudol, Roud or Comet."
"It was taken about a week before you joined," The electric feline replied. "I'll tell you both about it on the train."
"Um, Kitty?" Estelle poked at Richard's side with her claws. "Kitty? Kitty!"
"What?" Richard turned to look at her, slightly annoyed.
"This is the wrong time to bring it up, but... Earthquake!"
"Alright, everyone out quick!" Richard told everyone. "Take what you can, 'cuz we're about to have an earthquake and this cave can collapse!!"
"What?" Leon answered, then turned to Tiffany. "Let's get out of here! Got everything?"
"Alright, then. Out!"
They rushed out of the cave into the forest as quick as they could, and Estelle's prediction was correct. Shortly after they exited the Luxray's den, the earth began to violently shake and roar beneath them. Fortunately, the earthquake was over in a few seconds. However, just like Richard said, the cave that he lived in collapsed.
"Ah, great..." Richard growled. "And I was just starting to like that cave."
"Don't worry, Kitty!" Estelle tried to cheer him up. "We can find a new den! We've already done so five times this year!"
"Well, if we can't go back into the cave," Sasha said as she started to walk forward. "We can only move forward!"
"She's right," Leon followed after her, holding the egg in one arm. "Come on, we've got a train to catch!"
=== ALL ABOARD
The day was bright. The forest was incredibly different from how it had been the day before: No darkness or unnerving silence whatsoever, and, best of all: No Murkrow. In fact, the forest was alive with all kinds of sounds. Some Starly flew across the blue sky, chirping, while the Caterpie and Weedle on the Rawst trees were standing on the branches, preparing for evolution. The warmth of the sun was incredibly comforting, and the dark green grass along the side of the road was swaying with the wind. Leon and the others had been walking for quite a while now, and they were about to get to the train. He couldn't believe it: For the first time, things were actually going like they were supposed to.
"...And that's why you always have to carry plenty of Lum berries," Phoebe was telling Sasha, both Eons conversing about traveling as they walked down the road.
"Well, I had never thought of it like that!" The Glaceon answered.
"... That's useless," Richard told Leon in a severe tone, seeing the large sparks the Pikachu made. "You're using electricity as if it were a simple tool. You have to think of it as a part of you; Let your emotions endow it with a life of its own."
"Hmmm... I guess you're right," Leon replied. "I never even considered my own electricity as a living being before."
"You wouldn't have lasted a minute in the war," The Luxray growled. "If all of the Midnight Voices are like you, the world is in no real peril."
"... And that's pretty much it," Tiffany told Estelle. She was carrying the egg now "I gotta say, these last two weeks have been SO thrilling!"
"Sounds like you've had a lot of adventures of late, Tiffy!" The Absol answered.
"A lot of adventures?" Tiffany answered, modestly. "Well... Yeah."
"And we're here," Leon came to a stop in front of the familiar shape of the train that had gotten him and Tiffany out of danger and to her home.
They walked to the platform and prepared to board the train, but there was an usher charging for passage. This came as something new to Leon, as last time, he and Tiffany had practically traveled for free.
"Good morning," The Chimecho standing next to the train car's door greeted. "Will you be traveling with us today?"
"Yes," Leon answered. "There's six of us and an egg, but I'm not sure if that counts."
"No, an egg doesn't count as a passenger at all!" The Chimecho answered. "So, six passengers? Would that be in a regular car, a luxury car or a pri-"
"-We'll be taking the private car," Sasha interrupted. "Here, this should be enough." She dropped a rather heavy pouch of money in front of the Chimecho, who seemed surprised to be seeing all that money.
"W-W-Welcome aboard!" The Chimecho stuttered. "Y-Your car is the very last one. It is te one that offers the most privacy, as no one would be passing by it."
"Thank you," The Glaceon replied, stepping on the train, followed by Leon, Richard, Estelle and Tiffany.
"And a tip," Phoebe told the Chimecho, dropping another pouch in front of him and climbing on the train. "Take care."
"O-Okay..." The wind chime had never seen so much money in his life.
They walked through every car in the train until they arrived at the private car Sasha had paid for. It was far different from the one Leon and Tiffany had traveled in last time: No dim lights by the windows or rows of seats. Instead, the incredibly spacey train car had two sofas near a large window that gave them a clear view of the outside, and two more on the other side, placed one in front of the other; A small bar by a corner and a large, elegant chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. There even was a fireplace!
"Goodness me..." Leon uttered, amazed at the space and luxury of the place.
"Way different from the one I usually travel on," Tiffany commented.
"That's right," Sasha replied, taking a few steps forward, looking up at the chandelier, then turning back to the others. "If we're gonna be traveling, we'd better do so on first class, huh?"
"Lookit all that space!" Estelle paced around the car a few times before lying down on a dark red carpet on the car's floor.
"You know, that's what the sofas are for," Phoebe told the Absol, jumping on one of the sofas, placing her bag next to it and curling up on it.
"Right! Hehe, sorry... First time riding a train and all," Estelle hopped on next to Phoebe, the sudden increase in weight making the Espeon bounce on the sofa, and looked out the window. "We're not moving yet! Come on! Let's get a move on already!"
"Been a while since I last rode this thing," Richard said in a mixture of nostalgia and seriousness, hopping on the couch opposite to the one Phoebe and Estelle were on and placing his bag next to it. "Sure brings back memories..."
**It does, doesn't it? Back when we...**
'Back when we...'
=== 3 YEARS EARLIER
The luxury train car was full with the excited murmur of the Pokémon riding the train: Rich fellows that enjoyed spending their money riding on that fabulous machine. All eyes turned to the door when a Persian wearing a blue bandana walked in.
"Alright, friends," The Persian said out loud so everyone could hear him. "No screaming, no panicking, but... This is a robbery."
Immediately, opposite to what the Persian said, the crowd in the car panicked, screaming frightened and about to lose their money.
"Now, my friend Jack," The Persian continued as a Sableye carrying a gigantic sack approached the seats. "Is going to pass by, and you are going to put the money in that sack.. AND YOU'D BETTER SHUT UP AT ONCE, BECAUSE I HATE IT WHEN OUR VICTIMS DON'T DO AS THEY'RE TOLD!" He hissed loudly, and the crowd immediately fell silent.
Slowly, the Sableye went by the seats, gathering the money, not aware of the figure rising behind the Persian, sparks forming around it. The figure was about to strike the Persian when it was knocked and pinned down by a heavier one.
"Planning something, kiddo?" The Luxio asked the Elekid he had just pinned down. The Elekid let out an annoyed grunt, unable to get the larger feline off him.
"Good one, Richard," The Persian commended the Luxio. "Make sure he stays down."
"Hey, Morrison!" Another Luxio said, looking out the window. "I don't mean to upset you or anything, but the guard's coming."
"Great," The Persian replied. "Thanks for the warning, Lucia... Jack, how's that going?!"
"All done!" The Sableye closed the stuffed sack and headed for the train's door. "Let's go!"
"Alright!" The Persian cheered. "Richard, Lucia, let's go!" He headed for the door, followed by both Luxio. "Alright, ladies and gents! Thanks for the money!" He opened the door and jumped out, followed by the Sableye and the two Luxio. "Some loot we made today..."
**You're never gonna tell them, are you?**
'Not unless I have to,' Richard thought. 'That life cost me too much already.'
"Come on, let's have a seat," Sasha told Leon and Tiffany, then walked to the sofa and hopped on next to Richard, placing her bag next to the Luxray's.
"Yeah," Leon sat next to Estelle, placing both his and Tiffany's bags, and the egg, next to the others.
"Hey, even with four of us in a single sofa, this place is spacey!" Tiffany observed as she sat next to Leon and noticed all the room that was still left.
"So," Leon told her. "We'll be in Selenia by tomorrow... Isn't that great? You'll finally get to learn what you wanted to about your mom!"
"Oh, don't mention it... I'm so excited!"
"So, where are we going once we're done there?" Leon asked. "Are you gonna stay with me, or am I going to keep going alone?"
"I already told you, silly," The Buneary answered, running her paw across the red barrette on her ear. "I'm with you all the way."
"You know? Hearing that makes me feel precious."
"Well," Tiffany replied. "Hearing you say that makes me feel precious too!" She nuzzled Leon lovingly before hugging his arm and leaning her head on his shoulder.
"Oh, I might throw up," Richard commented from the couch in front of theirs.
"You're just jealous," Leon told him. "Jealous because you're bitter and have no one who's close to you like this."
"I don't need that," Richard grunted. "And, just so you now, I could get someone to love me like that if I wanted to."
"He's right," Sasha said. "I bet there's plenty of girls in the world who are dying to get his attention if he was willing to give it."
The conversation was paused as the train started to move. They heard the Chimecho make a loud ring and yell "All aboard!". Steam came out from under the train wheels, and the cars slowly advance, picking up speed as they moved.
Tiffany looked out the window to see the scenery outside start moving, slowly changing from the moving shapes to a rapidly passing blur, no longer visible because of the speed. She poked Leon on the shoulder and they both peeked out the window to have a look. Not long after that, Estelle peeked out next to them, all three lost looking at the outside.
"Now, about that picture..." Sasha told the Luxray. "Can we look at it now?"
"Yeah, I wanted to see that, too," Phoebe hopped off the couch and climbed next to Richard on the other side, leaving the Luxray between the two Eons. "You said this is from a week before I arrived?"
"Yeah," Richard pulled the picture out of his bag and showed it to them. "These," He said. "Are the Selenian Special Forces, Teams 31 to 39... To think 31's the only one that made it out of the war with at least half its members alive."
The Picture had 54 Pokémon in total, formed in rows of six. The one on the very front was the one the Luxray, Glaceon and Espeon focused their attention. It was a bit hard to see because of the picture's sepia coloring, but they still managed to make out the shapes.
"Team 31," Richard said, both to himself and to the two next to him, placing his paw on the ones at the very front row. "A week before you arrived, Phoebe."
"Hey, who's this guy?" Phoebe asked, noticing an Umbreon standing in a firm and imposing stance, looking at a Luxio and Flareon near him with a severe stare. "I don't think I ever met him."
"That's Kenneth," Richard replied. "Well, CAPTAIN Kenneth." He emphasized the word 'captain'. "He was the boss of our team. Not a bad guy, but too much by the book for some of us."
"And?" Sasha asked. "What happened to him?"
"What happened? Well, I'll give you the full list," The Luxray started. "He took two punches to the face."
"And that killed him?"
"Fire Punches from a Magmortar who then grabbed him, slammed him against the floor, and finally torched him to death."
"Ow!" Phoebe and Sasha said at the same time, looking at the picture.
"And then there's me and your brother," Richard told the Glaceon, showing the Luxio and Flareon that were together in the picture. They had their paws over each other's shoulders, smiling. "Great guy... Let's look at the next ones." He moved his paw to the Glameow and Manectric that were next to him and Misha in the picture. "Birman and Alan. Ladies man and cool guy. Always hung out together... It's because of Birman I had to become a soldier in the first place... Sly son of a bitch."
"Hey, what are you looking at?" Leon asked, sitting next to them.
"Yeah, what's that picture of?" Tiffany inquired, sitting next to Leon, looking at the picture.
"Wait... Kitty, is that you?" Estelle pointed at the Luxio in the picture.
"Yeah, that's me," Richard replied.
"Wow, you were so cute!"
"I'd go for 'handsome'," Sasha answered. "Trust me, I got to see him like that in real life."
"Wait, that can't be you!" Leon pointed out. "The Luxio in that picture's smiling!"
"My life wasn't always like this, kid," Richard growled. "There was a time in which I actually enjoyed being alive... A time when there was a reason for me to be."
"See?" Phoebe chuckled. "You got him all sad and bitter again."
"You really need to cheer up," Tiffany told Richard. "There's gotta be something that makes you happy!"
"Hmmm... No," The Luxray replied. "Not a thing."
Their vision was suddenly obscured as the train went into a tunnel. The pitch- black darkness (the chandelier was not lit) prevented everyone except for Richard from seeing a thing. However, the feline found no reason why he should be using his X-ray vision in that place, and decided to stay in the dark like everyone else. A few seconds later he wished he hadn't done that.
Ten minutes passed of quiet and darkness before the train left the tunnel and light entered it again. Everyone was in their seats. For a moment, it was as if nothing had happened.
"Psst..." Estelle whispered at Sasha. "Hey, Lexy..."
"What?" Sasha whispered back.
"If I had known the tunnel was that long, I would have kissed Kitty..."
"Wait a minute," The Luxray said, overhearing them. He stared, puzzled, at the two. "That wasn't you?" He shook his head. "Alright, then... Who was the funny one?"
Time quickly flew by for Leon and everyone as they entertained themselves. Be it by talking, joking, or playing some more Two Paws Down, everyone managed to keep boredom at bay. Leon had to admit, the car was far more enjoyable with all that space.
"Okay," Sasha said from behind the bar. "Anyone want something to drink?"
"No, not really," Phoebe replied, getting up and walking to the bar. She stopped in front of the bar and looked at Sasha. *I know it was you,*
'C'mon!' The Glaceon thought. 'What's wrong with what I did? It was one quick, innocent smooch!'
*Alright, but just in case you want to insist with the 'quick and innocent' stuff, I should warn you: He is incredibly weird about all those things.*
'Let it go! It's not like I'm in love with him or anything.'
*Well, just making sure.*
"Hey, I'd like something... Anything spicy," Richard told Sasha from the sofa.
"Sure, I'll get you something," Sasha replied, pulling some glasses ad bottles from behind the bar.
She was about to start serving when the train slowed down. Slowly, the train began to lose speed, until it came to a complete stop.
"Hey!" Estelle said, looking out the window. "We're not moving again!"
"Oh, what now..." Richard growled. "Damn my stupid luck..."
"Relax," Sasha said, picking some more things under the bar. "It's probably something temporal; they'll have it fixed soon."
"Well, it's dark," Leon commented, noticing night had fallen."May I suggest we sleep while we wait for whatever's going on to be fixed?"
"Yeah, let's sleep for a bit," Tiffany agreed. "Let's just close our eyes an.- WHOA!"
A sudden shake followed by a strong metallic clank outside only left it clear: Something was wrong...