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.
===NOTHING GOES UNPUNISHED
The Luxray panted as he dashed through the blue fog, using the better sight he had been gifted with both to watch out for any trees on his path and to locate the one he was after, but keeping his speed at a moderate level to prevent the Glaceon on his back from falling. She had had enough for that day. And Richard was going to make the Houndoom pay for what he had done... But it wasn't getting back for what had been done to her that really mattered. What was really gnawing at the Luxray at the moment was the thought of what had happened earlier and the feeling of guilt. If he hadn't yelled at her, or had at least gone after her, nothing would have happened.
"Listen," He told her as he kept running. He didn't have to say it too loud as the position in which Sasha was lying, grabbing on to him allowed her to hear everything he said, "I know it's the most stupid thing to say right now, but... I'm sorry. If I hadn't been like that at you, What happened to you probably wouldn't have... I know it doesn't make up for it, but still-"
"-I'm sorry," She interrupted, "I'm the one that should have been a little more mature and understand your thoughts matter too... And it was all my fault for leaving. I should have known better than to wander around this place alone. I'm the one that should apologize to you..."
He quickly stopped, leaving skids on the ground from the sudden change in speed and tried to look back at her, impossible from where she was, "No. I'm the idiot who had problems admitting my feelings and trying to understand you. If any-"
"-Shut up," She stopped him, patting the side of his head softly, "I don't need to hear it. Let's just both be sorry, forget about it, and go after that bastard... I want to watch you maul him to death. Lots of blood if you can, but otherwise is fine, too." Her voice was still somewhat raspy and quivering, and she could still, much to her disgust, feel her attacker's seed settling inside her body, along with the pain of the burn he had left on her cheek. She had been soiled and scarred by him, and she wasn't willing to forgive or forget that in the least.
"O...Kay, I guess," Richard replied awkwardly at her words, 'She really hates him... Not hard to see why.' He could understand her rage, but he had never heard her talk like that before. He took a few steps forward in the shadows and noticed the torn remains of her collar and scarf. She had probably lost them after the Houndoom bit her. That meant he was close...
The bushes began to rustle and shake violently before a terrified XIV leapt out, face covered in dirt and sweat with his eyes wide open in terror. Something wasn't right there... He had bruises and cuts all over him with a thin string of crimson flowing down the side of his muzzle. Had Leon gotten there first? Unlikely. Richard knew the Pikachu was too kind to injure someone that badly., and the way in which he was injured didn't show any anger. They were precise blows to parts of his legs that would hinder his movement and some slashes and hits to his face and eyes that would blind, or at least disorient him. This was the job of a hunter. And a very good one, he had to admit.
The sole sight of the canine made Richard feel so enraged small sparks began to emerge from his body, something that Sasha immediately felt, so she had to pat his side in hopes of calming him down so she wouldn't end up getting zapped in the process. But that didn't mean she wanted him to stop, either. If he felt hatred for XIV she easily felt ten times as much.
The Houndoom shook himself aware before turning to see the Luxray and Glaceon standing there. His vision was somewhat blurry and he had to squint to make out their shapes but he was sure it was them.
"It's you!" He barked in surprise, "So you came for me..."
All that is light for you will soon be gone... Your dreams... Your hopes... It is all mine... Your deranged entertainment will have its toll on you... He will make you regret every second of it you enjoyed... And then you will come to me... And you will beg for that suffering... It will be nothing compared to what will become of you...
"You... You can hear it, can't you?!" XIV told them, his voice quaking, "I'm... I'm not crazy! "
"What?" Sasha and Richard asked at the same time before Leon burst out from the bushes, sparks covering his entire body as he landed at XIV's right and got into a fighting stance.
"XIV!" Leon yelled angrily at him, his fur taking a grayish glow and his eyes turning red as the sparks grew bigger, "How could you do that?! I won't let you get away with it!"
"Oh, not you too..." The Houndoom growled, "You're all here for me, aren't you...? Just like he said..."
"What? Leon replied, suddenly finding himself out of his senses from the Houndoom's words, "What do you-" It was then he noticed the dark-type's injuries, and furthermore, he saw Richard standing there carrying Sasha on his back, both of them so enraged they could have easily been the ones behind it, "-Did you do this to him?" He asked them.
"Nah. And I'm guessing you didn't, either."
"Neither of you did..." XIV interrupted, "It was him... That thing! I had to run... But he won't leave me alone!"
"Won't leave you alone?" Leon didn't seem to understand. But before he could make any sense of it, the large feline walked up to him and spoke, "If you've got some berries, I'd appreciate them. Running's tired me, and I can't fight on an empty stomach."
"Wha-well... Here," Leon dug into his bag and pulled out a few Oran berries, which he handed to the Luxray, "Though I don-Wait, what are you doing?!" Before he could react, Richard had pushed all the berries towards the injured canine and had put Sasha down next to Leon. The Glaceon made a slight protest, but didn't elaborate much on it.
"Take care of her," He told the Pikachu before looking back at XIV, who hesitantly ate the berries, "I wouldn't feel right killing scum like you without giving them a chance to defend themselves."
"Well..." XIV spoke, munching the last berry before preparing to fight himself, the air around the already unnerving forest night becoming loaded with tension and hatred. Yet Leon could still tell it: Someone else was watching them. And whoever it was wasn't friendly. "That'll be your biggest mistake yet!"
They lunged at each other, baring their fangs in rage and preparing to kill their opponent the moment they got the smallest chance at it. They collided midair and fell to the dead grass on the ground, rolling and biting at each other, a mixture of sparks and cinder covering the air around them. It wasn't until then that it dawned on Richard, however: He had beaten the Houndoom more than once, but all those times he had had the upper paw as it had been a surprise attack, and though he could draw an estimate of his foe's power seeing the rank he had, the feline had no sure way to tell. But there was no time to regret that now. He was already fighting, after all, and that one strong bite he got past XIV's guard told him he was winning.
Leon and Sasha watched from the nearby trees as the fight proceeded, the Luxray and Houndoom breaking apart and charging at each other again, crashing in a powerful blow that sent XIV sprawling back.
"He deserves ten times that much," Sasha muttered, watching what she knew was her rapist's comeuppance with a certain satisfaction.
However, what seemed to be going in Richard's favor suddenly took a turn to the opposite as XIV seemed to gain more ground on him. Whenever they collided, the Houndoom's victories seemed to start becoming more frequent. As they rolled on the grass again, it was XIV who managed to get his fangs past Richard and strike him. Soon, the Luxray was knocked back, weakened, landing next to Sasha and Leon. He was panting in exhaustion, some bruises noticeable on his side and a trail of his blood on the side of his head quickly disappeared into his mane.
"Damn, I'm weak..." He growled, looking at Sasha with a degree of regret for not being able to avenge her as he promised he would. Perhaps offering XIV the berries had been a terrible mistake on his part. That wasn't the first time underestimating an enemy had ended up badly for him, and he still wondered how he hadn't learned.
"Hey, you tried..." Sasha replied, running her paw on his face to clean some of the blood as Leon took a step forward with a look of anger on his face.
The Pikachu raised his hands, curled into small fists as the sparks and lightning that engulfed him were so bright the foggy darkness seemed to dissolve, he jumped closer to XIV and landed on all fours, getting himself ready for a battle. It was his turn to fight. After all, he had a vengeance to accomplish himself. "XIV! It's freak versus freak now! Come on!"
"Freak?!" The Houndoom scoffed, "You might be one, but don't drag me into this! If it's a fight you want, though, I'll be more than happy to make some charcoal out of you!"
Immediately, the Houndoom shot a Flamethrower at Leon, who leapt to the side just in time to avoid it. The flame kept going deeper into the darkness ahead, lighting it up as it went. Leon quickly retaliated with his own attack, forming the crystalline ring of a Water Pulse which he threw at XIV. Though the move was rather slow, it wasn't Leon's plan to have it hit XIV. It was meant to link to his next step. While the canine moved aside, Leon dashed at him and struck him with Thunderpunch. Sparks ran over XIV's body as he clenched his teeth in pain, but proceeded to bite on Leon's right arm, flinging him up to the air.
The Pikachu felt his bitten, injured arm to notice the warmth of his blood on his left hand. He didn't have time to do anything about it, though, as XIV leapt at him with an overconfident smirk as he dug his fangs into his other arm, making flips in the air while holding him and throwing him back into the ground.
Leon's vision shook, the darkness of the trees above becoming even less visible to him from the impact. He tried to get up but was having a hard time doing it. With both his arms injured by the Houndoom's fangs he felt himself losing strength fast. He regained visibility just in time to see XIV approach him, still grinning in foul satisfaction.
"And that's all you can do?" He scoffed, "Well, I have no idea why they want us to take you out... But all I can say is 'Hey! Mission accomplished'! ... Now for the final hit..." The flames began to form in his muzzle, ready to end his target's life when his face was struck hard. The attack flew up into the canopy of the woods, setting it on fire and putting a vicious end to the foggy darkness.
The dark canine lowered his stare to see who it was that had attacked him, his cheek burning with pain, to notice Sasha standing a few feet away, her tail losing a silvery glow as she stared at him in hatred and a small amount of vaguely-hidden fear.
"Well, well!" XIV chuckled, looking at her in amusement, not believing she had actually attacked him right then, "Look who decided to step in! Came back for more? You've got guts, slut, but I'm not planning to just take it if you hit me! Get ready for the burning of a lifetime!"
Leon lay on the grass, looking at the scene as Sasha tackled the Houndoom and he answered in the same way... "Damn... She can't take him... Gotta get up..." he muttered as he tried to bring himself at least to a sitting stance, but fell back into the grass. It was then he heard that dark voice whisper at him; it wasn't the usual one. This one made him feel himself chill, almost coming from whatever it was that had been gnawing at him.
Can you not get up? But of course... If it had been the one you love he ravished, would you not keep fighting to the end? With you gone, he is likely to, however... Does that bring you rage? Use it... It can help you... Think... Think like the time your friend died... Was that not your fault, too?
The sound kept echoing in Leon's mind, taunting him, abusing his thoughts and throwing remarks of his mistakes at him. Of any wrong he had done... All in a matter of seconds, he felt himself being taken over by anger beyond what he had felt before. Finally, he grew sick of all he was being told yet not told. Feeling a surge of strength, he sprang to hid feet, sparks flying everywhere and being lost with the cinder of the flames above.
"Enough!" He yelled, eyes glowing red with his fur taking a grayish glow. The Pikachu's body seemed to have no traces of any injuries at all as he dashed at XIV, whizzing past Sasha and taking the Houndoom with him, pinning him to a stump. Before the Houndoom even became aware of what was happening, Leon grabbed him by his tail and flung him up to the flames above, leaping to follow his prey. He raised his hands, and a massive amount of high-pressure water appeared as if from nowhere, putting out the fire and striking XIV back to the ground.
"What?" Sasha stared, puzzled, at the downed Houndoom in front of her, not understanding what had just happened so fast. She carefully approached him to get a better look... Not even moving. Apparently, Leon had knocked him out cold. She turned around to go back to where Richard was in order to see if he needed any help. After all, he had been injured trying to help her, and she really didn't want to dirty herself by finishing XIV off. She had barely noticed he wasn't there anymore when she heard the bark of XIV rising behind her. She turned around in fear to see the Houndoom leap at her only to be stopped midair and sent against a tree by the Luxray.
"What can I say?" Richard huffed, "I get up fast."
Leon landed, his coloring returning to normal as the dead grass flailed around the place where he touched the ground. He then took a deep breath to try and relax himself. He didn't know what had happened to him; all that rage he suddenly felt... He was convinced there was something dark in the forest, and the sooner they could get out of there the better. Perhaps venturing there had been a bad idea. He slowly walked towards XIV, stopping in front of him and looking down on his defeated opponent with contempt.
XIV looked up at him with anger, the brown in his eyes burning in an unexplainable frustration. He had a very clear idea of what was going to happen to him then, and he was, perhaps for the first time after seeing this display of strength from Leon, truly afraid of what he could do.
"Come on, already," The canine growled, "If you're going to kill me, make it quick."
"See, we'd gladly do it," Leon replied, being joined by Richard, the larger Luxray sitting to his right staring at XIV in the same disdain, "But... That's not our call." Both electric-types stepped aside so the Glaceon behind them could walk forward, "You see... She's the one you hurt."
Sasha slowly walked up to XIV, the grayish-yellow grass freezing over as she stepped on it. Her appearance had changed to the Houndoom all of a sudden. Even in the lack of light her clear fur seemed to shine but this time it was different; it shone in an indescribably dark way, her eyes devoid of any glow and still managing to speak of the cruel payback she wanted. The term "Wintry Demoness" XIV had made for her had never been more fitting. She stopped in front of him, snarled, and swatted him on the nose as strongly as she could before doing the same in a slapping motion, reddening the Houndoom's face.
"It's not the same when you can't fight back, is it?" she sorely asked.
"Heh... 'bably... But you know what?" XIV laughed lowly, "I regret nothing."
"That's fine by me," Sasha replied as she turned around and began to walk away. Once she was past Leon and Richard she simply spoke: "Kill him."
The loud roar and intense brightness of the large pillar of lightning that rose straight to the dark skies, along with the howl that came afterwards filled the air of the dark woods, only to be followed by a dead silence. Leon looked at where XIV had been before closing his eyes and thinking to himself, 'That's two gone'. He tried to relax again, took a deep breath, and looked back at Sasha and Richard, "Let's just go back. They're probably wondering how we're doing."
=== CAMPING OUT
"Hey!" Leon called as he stepped to the small, lighted clearing followed by Richard and Sasha, "We're back!"
"Leon!" Tiffany ran to where he was and hugged him so tightly the Pikachu felt like he was going to suffocate, "Leon, you're back!"
"Hey, what's the matter?" Leon asked, hugging her back with a slight concern at her tone, "Everything okay?"
"Not really..." Phoebe answered, walking closer to see if anyone was hurt, "This...'Thing' has been bothering us since you left. I have no idea of what it is but it keeps talking to us; saying things that, honestly, do bother me."
"At least you're back, though," Midori added from close to the fire. She was curled up next to the stump that Nocturne and Minuet were asleep on, trying to get some rest herself, "That's one less thing to worry about."
"Kitty!" Estelle leapt at Richard, almost knocking Leon and Tiffany over and landing right in front of him, looking at the feline with an adorable puppy stare, "How's Lexy? Did you teach the bed guy a lesson?"
"Can't say I did," Richard slowly shook his head and answered with the faintest of smiles, "It was the kid over there. He was impressive."
"You did what you could," Sasha patted him on the side before getting off him and walking up to Phoebe.
"I'm just glad you're here..." Tiffany told Leon, resting her head on his shoulder and closing her eyes, "I was so scared when that thing came..."
"Hey, I'm here for you," Leon answered, holding her, "I won't let whatever it is get you." They stayed like that for a while before he let go of her and spoke out, "We've got to get out of here. Moving at night in a place like this is just plain stupid, but first thing tomorrow, we're getting a move on. Alright?"
"Right!" The general answer came before he and Tiffany sat down, leaning against a log near the fire to keep themselves warm.
"How you holding up?" Phoebe asked the Glaceon as the two lay down together in another corner of the clearing, "Are you okay?"
"I've been much better," Sasha seriously answered, looking up at the darkness for a moment before lowering her gaze and looking back at her friend, "I'm just glad it's all over... You know, I've always done this 'take care of myself' thing... but when Richard said he was going after that Houndoom... I don't know. I felt secure, you know? Like, I had someone strong to look after me. It was weird, I don't know..." Phoebe simply huffed a short giggle before Sasha asked her "What?"
"Well," Phoebe answered, "Welcome to love. It sucks most of the time, but you're going to adore it when it doesn't."
"Really?" Sasha asked with a slight smile herself, her tone cheering up a little, "So now it's not 'Just passion?'"
"Nope. Not after what you just said!"
"So," Midori shyly spoke, looking at the Absol, "You're Estelle, right?"
"Yup!" Estelle nodded, "That's my name!"
"So, uh... Sorry, I've never been good at talking," The Leafeon looked down, slightly disappointed at her inability to actually talk to anyone.
"That's okay!" Estelle carelessly answered, smiling, "If you know jokes, we can tell jokes!"
"Well..." Midori looked at Estelle's smile before beginning to laugh a little herself. She tried to collect herself before adding, "I'm sorry, but... You're too happy to be an Absol!"
"Wha-hey!" Estelle frowned a little upon hearing this, "I can be serious too!"
"I know, I know... Sorry..."
Richard was lying on his side on the dead grass, thinking. Though most of his thoughts were just memories that came and went, one or two managed to stay in his mind for a little longer, mainly about what had just happened. Had he really grown to be so overconfident in what he could do that he helped his enemy up just to beat him in a fairer way? The Richard that worked with Morris Fortune wouldn't have done that. But then again, there were many things the Richard that worked with Morris Fortune wouldn't have done. It was then that he heard the voice speak to him:
Your biggest flaw... Your weakness... Your guilt is what haunts you. You feel guilty for so many things you know are your fault... Those lives... Your friend, your mate, your mother... Even your own child... Did you not know that no act of evil goes unpunished? Did you not know that there are prices to pay? I can sense it from here... The fear in your heart... You are the strongest and most stalwart... But that alone makes you the easiest one to hunt...
He simply gritted his teeth and tried to ignore the voice... Perhaps everyone else was listening to it too? He didn't think so. Everyone seemed to be far too relaxed.
"So, how was the fight?" Tiffany asked Leon, leaning against him and closing her eyes, "Kick a lot of bad guy butt?"
Leon sighed and answered, caressing her ear, "Well... Yeah, I guess. But for a moment I felt this...Thing. I felt angry... Angrier than I was before. There's something really bad in this forest. Coming in here was a terrible idea. We didn't know what we were up against, and now... Well, I guess we're stuck here. But at least we've got each other."
"You worry too much," She calmly answered, "I was scared a little myself when that thing came and began stalking us from the shadows but I'm okay now. And you know why?"
"Because we're all together now! We can all look out for each other always! And I'll always have you here, with me!"
You, too, have memories that haunt you... But you are so different from the rest... So many memories of things I only knew of back in ancient times... And then there are those memories that collide with one another... You are a difficult one to read, child... But I will have you, as well... You are not the first "Hero" to have faced me... I can assure you, however... You will be the last... He sleeps forever now, under my nightmare... The mighty Oliver Erin... I will see you again, soon...
Leon seemed somewhat touched by what he had just been told, but continued to stroke Tiffany's ears nonetheless. He had to protect her from whatever it was that was stalking them. Perhaps in protecting her, he could find a way to protect himself.
"Say," He spoke, "Do you ever wonder... What the future's going to be like?"
"The future?" Tiffany seemed somewhat puzzled by the topic Leon had suddenly brought up, but answered nonetheless, "Well... In the future, I see myself next to someone I love... We're happy, we have a family... And we're all really close. No one breaks apart... Though I guess that's because that's what happened to me. I see a calm world. We have a house, somewhere nice and sunny. Maybe it's all just to pretty to be true, but that's the way I see my future. What about you?"
"Uh... Well, I want to be strong in the future. Be someone stout and dependable, you know? I see peace... The north region, free of the Midnight Voices' hold... And all that just because I made it happen! I guess we should all go looking for the futures we want..." He sighed, "Sometimes it seems a little far away, though..."
"What do you mean?"
"Nah. Nothing. Let's just get some sleep... The faster tomorrow comes, the better."
"Okay... Leon?" She asked one more time as they both leant against the log, holding each other close and drifting into sleep.
"Don't be afraid."
"Hey, big guy," Sasha told the Luxray as she lied down next to him, "What's the matter?"
"Stuff happens," Richard replied.
"And again with that, huh?"
"Listen..." He told her as he got up, causing Sasha to slump into the grass, "I was thinking... You mean a lot to me, so..." He used his burnt paw to cut off the fang necklace he was wearing and handed it over to her, "This is the fang of my tribe's very first leader... The pack's oldest boss. I want you to have it."
"Well thanks, I guess..." Sasha stared, puzzled, at the artifact, still not understanding why he wanted her to have it, "So... Am I supposed to feel flattered, or-?"
"It's a tradition where I'm from that when someone you love shares those feelings, you have to give her your most prized possession. To show her how much she means to you. This thing marks me as an authority I was never prepared to be. But it's still the one thing I have to remind of the good things I had in my home. "
Sasha smiled briefly before picking the Necklace up, and, with great effort, putting it around her neck. She looked at him for a moment before digging in her back and pulling out what was left of the collar with the cross her brother had given her.
"I guess this is for you, then... You know, it used to be pretty before that bastard ripped it off. "
"Thanks..." Richard nodded slightly, looking at the medal. He remembered when he and his entire team earned that one: Distinguished services. As if a chunk of metal cut into something pretty made up for everything they had gone through. He remembered tossing it into the bottom of a lake a day after he earned it. He also remembered Misha giving it to her when they went to his home on leave. He quickly dismissed the memories and proceeded to put it away. Not because he didn't like it, but because there was no way that would fit him. "Come on. Get some sleep. I promise I'll keep an eye out." He told her as he lied on his side, giving her enough space to curl against him. Once she did, he placed his paws around her and held her closer against him.
Sasha closed her eyes, feeling something different again... Though she still felt the scar of her late attacker's fluids in her, she had other feelings. It wasn't just being calm at sleeping in his embrace; she felt safe. Safe in the arms of the one she loved.
XIX lay lazily on the couch, looking out the window at the rainy, dark outside with a bored and worried expression on his face.
"What's up with you, slugger?" XVII asked as he stopped next to the couch and looked at him, "Something on your mind?"
"XIV never came back..." the Vaporeon sighed, "What if something happened to him? He never takes too long unless it's an important mission... I doubt 'Tail hunting' is that important..."
"Well, you don't know the guy," The Flygon replied, "He's lust incarnate, in case you hadn't noticed."
"Hey, if he doesn't come back, relax! Weeping about him won't get you nowhere, I can tell you that. Now, come on. Go outside and play in the rain. You know you want to!"
"Alright..." XIX sighed again as he slumped down from the couch and walked slowly out the door.
"He's still a kid!" XVII chuckled before adding, "But he didn't jump out the window this time... Man, something must be bothering him! Maybe he does miss XIV... I'll have to check on him later!"
"Yo, XVII! More pages on that 'to-do' list!" The Blaziken told him as he walked into the room.
"Yeah, it says... Well, we have to go switch some stuff the lab."
"Man, I hate the lab. Such a creepy place! But I guess we don't get much of a say in it, huh? Let's just go... We might get a sneak peek at some of the stuff mad- I mean, X is working on! Come on!"Chapter End Notes:I promise I'll be faster