Starts off clean, but later chapters get naughty. :P And no, this is not a Harry Potter crossover!
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.
Chapter 7: The Observer
Cheri firmed her stance, her lips drawing back over her fangs in a slight snarl as she faced off against her mate. Shawn stood calmly, a slight breeze ruffling his clothing as he held his sword in a two handed grip. The two combatants were about twenty feet apart, the sandy ground between them the only witness to their conflict.
Making the first move, Cheri drew deep on the inferno inside of her, unleashing a long Flamethrower at Shawn. He smiled slightly, unperturbed, and the attack suddenly evaporated before it struck. There was a small whoosh of air, then a loud report, and a wall of flames sprang up from the ground. The crackling blaze sped towards her, and she leaped sideways, sliding slightly as she dodged it with ease.
She yelped as the flame wall twisted in its trajectory, speedily wrapping in from behind and burning against her fireproof fur. The attack didn't do much damage, but the shock of being attacked by her mate was enough to push her into full battle mode.
With a growl, she ran forward, away from the dying flames, and sprayed a Fire Blast at the human. He met this with an explosive burst of his own, his offensive meeting hers and separating it. The residues of her attack passed by him, the two fireballs cancelling each other out in a small explosion.
She used the opportunity to press forward, charging up a Fire Fang. She was met by a burning whip extending from Shawn's sword, flailing her side and tangling in her legs. She was pulled to the ground by the odd, feathery weapon, and used another Flamethrower to beat the attack away.
Jumping up, she leaped towards her foe, using Agility to increase her speed. He stepped back, parrying her Bite with his sword. Her fangs clanged uselessly around the metal, and he spun around, throwing her off with the centrifugal force. She landed, facing him still, and unleashed another Fire Blast.
He threw himself to the side, and suddenly, the ground beneath her feet rumbled. That was all the warning she had, and she scrambled backwards as the earth exploded in front of her. A fountain of flame passed through where she had been standing, the glowing pillar of lava reaching up towards the sun. Shawn was hidden behind the eruption, and she ran sideways to try and keep an eye on him.
The lava fountain pulled out of the ground, leaving a smoking crater. Somehow, it didn't fall. It maintained its shape, writhing like a radiant snake in midair. Shawn had his sword raised above his head, and the blazing column swirled down around him. She let loose another Flamethrower, but it just deflected off the molten tentacle.
Shawn lashed out with it, and she barked as the overwhelming attack crashed against her aura and swept her sideways. Even with her natural resistance to fire, it was draining her strength. She rolled to her feet, shaking a few stray drops of molten metal out of her fur as she prepared for another pass.
Shawn was forced to drop the lava stream as it cooled rapidly, the metallic crust forming on it making it too rigid to flip around. Cheri sallied with a Flamethrower, and Shawn was forced to parry it with his blade, flames springing up along it to cancel the fire attack. She pushed harder, digging down and drawing out the assault as long as she could.
A look of concentration broke into Shawn's cool façade, and suddenly she was bowled over by a rush of flames from the side. She growled as she got back up, starting to feel slightly chilled as her energy stores were cut into. She tensed, drawing into her reserves as she flew towards him with a Take Down. She couldn't go down like this! She had to break through his defences and bring him down! She would show him her strength!
Two days earlier, the little group had woken up well rested in their room at the poké centre. Cheri had curled up around Kirin and Hina at the end of the bed, the large fire type rumbling contentedly as the two Eevees snuggled against her. Shawn had once more performed the lactation spell on Cheri for Hina's benefit before going through his own morning ritual. After feeding the others with the usual mix of poké mon fare, he had returned all but Cheri to their balls, the Arcanine still preferring to journey alongside her mate. He then proceeded downstairs with her to get his own breakfast, and kept half an eye on the TV as he ate.
They were showing a news report live from Veilstone city, and Shawn dropped his fork with a clatter. "You have got to be kidding me," he exclaimed. "I just left there, and now THIS!?"
"What is it?" Cheri asked, as her attention had been more on the bacon on his plate than the TV.
He stabbed a finger at the screen, half annoyed and half amused at the timing.
"An unknown benefactor has funded a massive construction project," the announcer was saying. Shawn snorted, "Wonder who THAT could be…"
"This new space centre will be a cornerstone in the changing face of Veilstone," the newswoman continued. "And the mayor has presented their representative with a commemorative plaque, and a street named in their honour."
The scene switched to a zoomed in view of a street sign, GALACTIC AVE written on it in bold letters. Panning out, the camera showed an older man in a suit handing a plaque to a woman dressed in a white and black bodysuit. Her hair was a vibrant pink, and the endearing smile on her face looked like it was held there by sheer force of will.
"Remember the guys I was telling you about? Well, that's one of them. Commander Jupiter," he said.
Cheri nodded, having been given an overview of what he was trying to accomplish.
So much for having at least a year to prepare, he thought. It seems events are moving faster than anticipated. …Well, they still haven't built the thing, so there's still no rush," he said aloud. "But we're going to have to keep a close eye on them, Team Galactic will be moving a lot more openly now. "
Finishing up, he grabbed his things, Cheri happily snapping down the piece of bacon he had saved for her. The two of them stepped out into the little town, Shawn deciding to take the time to look around a bit before moving on. The ruins outside the town intrigued him, even if they didn't contain any poké mon he was interested in capturing.
Heading in that direction, he passed by the daycare, pausing briefly to watch the poké mon playing inside the grounds. Cheri pressed her nose up to the fence, watching two small Shinx wrestling and chasing each other around. A smiling old man standing nearby waved at Shawn to get his attention, "Interested in having us raise a poké mon for you? Just head on in and talk to my wife."
Shawn smiled back and shook his head, "Nope, just having a look. You guys seem pretty busy right now anyways."
The old man nodded, "Yes, there are quite a few young trainers in this town without the experience to raise poké mon themselves. We help them by getting the poké mon ready to assist them on their own journeys."
Shawn nodded, before touching Cheri lightly on the shoulder to indicate that they should move on. She heeled him happily, fluffy tail waving slightly in the air and her head held high. He gave the man a salute as he passed, eliciting a chuckle and a "Good luck!"
On their way towards the ruins, they passed a small kiosk selling Moomoo milk. Shawn decided to pick up a few bottles, as the nutritious drink would be good for Hina. Curious about how they stored it without refrigeration, he questioned the girl selling it.
"Oh, the Miltank produce heavy doses of natural preservatives, that's part of what makes it so healthy," she said. "You can carry this stuff around for weeks before it goes bad, and its packed with energy."
He bought four bottles. Even with the lightweight plastic packaging, they still created a heavy weight in his bag, making him wish he could use his storage pocket. The girl also handed him a pamphlet, "Here, you should check out Hearthome contests. You could enter your Arcanine."
He took the small booklet, leafing through it as he walked away.
"Contests?" Cheri asked.
"Yes, they have several different categories, but the concept is the same for all of them. You are judged on appearance, communication with your trainer through dance, then ability."
A man gave him a strange look as he passed, and Shawn made a mental note to switch back to English, even with so few people around.
"That sounds really fun!" Cheri said, "Can we try that?"
Shawn glanced at her, she had a hopeful expression on her face. "Really? You really want to do that?"
Her tail drooped slightly, "Well, not if you don't want to…"
Shawn thought for a moment. He didn't have any interest himself, but there was really no reason NOT to do it. It wasn't like he had any urgent location in mind yet. "Well, if it's something you want to do, than we can check it out."
"Oh really? Thanks Master Shawn!" she said, licking his hand as she perked back up.
He smiled at her, wondering why she wanted to enter a contest so badly. It suddenly hit him like a ton of bricks as he recalled her words from when they first met. Strength was extremely important to mated Arcanine pairs, and he had yet to use her in a battle. She was looking for a way to prove herself to him.
"You sure are in a good mood today," he said conversationally.
"Why wouldn't I be? I'm with my mate, and our pups are safe and as happy as they can be."
He smiled, ruffling her headfur, "That they are. And I'm glad I have you to help me take care of them. Although, Kirin is almost fully grown."
"Yes, she is, but she still will miss her mother for awhile. She is only just of mating age, and wasn't yet ready to set out on her own."
"What about Hina? Can you understand anything she says?"
"No, not yet. But according to what Kirin said last night, she did use a real word or two. It won't be long before she's talking normally. At that age, poké mon grow REALLY fast."
He nodded, and they walked on in silence as they reached the edge of the tiny town.
The ruins were a bit smaller than expected, and it didn't take long for Shawn to make his way through them. They reminded him slightly of some of the Mayan temples down in Mexico, with their symmetrical construction and strange carvings. There were plenty of the bizarre Unown poké mon around, going about their own business. They were used to humans being around, and ignored them completely as they set about their mysterious purposes. Shawn left them alone, the only conflicts in his exploration being a couple of quick battles with some hikers. Marty dispatched the rock types that the outdoorsmen favoured with ease, and it was only a couple hours before he was back out in the sun.
As he and Cheri stepped out of the darkened tunnel, Shawn almost ran over another trainer who was standing stock still just outside. The colour had drained out of the teenager's face, leaving him looking pasty and ill.
"Are you okay?" Shawn asked.
"D..d-d-didn't you see it?"
"A g-g-ghost! It came right through here!"
Shawn glanced behind him seeing nothing but an empty tunnel. "No, I didn't see it. But you shouldn't worry about it, ghosts can't hurt you."
The trainer shook his head, before turning and running back in the direction of the town.
"I didn't see anything either," Cheri said
Shawn shrugged, "I'm sure he saw something, but I doubt it's anything to worry about. Anyways, let's get moving."
The pair continued back the way they had come, passing once again through Solaceon on their way towards Hearthome. With a brief stop back at the poké centre to heal Marty completely, they resumed their journey.
Cheri flew towards Shawn, bracing herself for the self damaging tackle, when she suddenly felt her progress halt as an invisible force grabbed her.
"Hey, no fair," she complained. "You said you were only going to use fire…"
"I know, but it's time to stop," he replied. "Your aura is getting too low, I don't want to risk actually hurting you."
She let out a loud harrumph as she was lowered gently to the ground by the invisible hand. "I can keep going! We don't have to stop sparring."
Shawn sighed, sheathing his sword as he moved closer to her. Taking her head in his hands, he said, "Cheri, you shouldn't push yourself. It's alright, I was able to test your abilities just fine."
"No!" She snapped, pulling back. "It's not alright! I need to…I need to show you how strong I can be!"
"You ARE strong, and you are only going to get stronger!" he replied, pulling her into a hug. "You don't have to "prove" anything to me. I love you just as you are. Getting yourself injured in a sparring match isn't going to accomplish anything!"
She snuggled into the hug, confused emotions racing through her. She had to be strong for him! She had to! But" there was clearly no way for her to beat him in a fight. "Do you really mean that?"
"Of course I do! You are indeed strong. You resisted several extremely potent attacks, and then kept pressing me. There is no shame in being tired, or in stopping. I forced you to stop after all, I could never bring myself to hurt you. That's why I was only using fire, I don't want to take that risk."
"Oh, Shawn!" she exclaimed, tackling him to the ground and licking his face. "Oops, I mean, Master."
He chuckled, doing his best to hold off her assault, "It's okay, I'm not too sticky on the whole title thing."
"Maybe not, but it's proper. Besides, you truly are my Master…and my mate." This last was said in a more sultry tone, as her tongue started to press insistently against his lips. He allowed her access to his mouth, and their tongues wrestled playfully as she murred into the intimate gesture. She gazed into his eyes lovingly. He truly did care for her! He had said he loved her!
She growled softly as he pulled back, beginning to press her body against his. "You know, just because I'm not in heat…"
He pushed her back, "I know, I know, and believe me, I…d love to. But this isn't the time. We have more work to do still."
She sighed in disappointment, but allowed him to sit up and brush himself off. Later then, he WAS going to make good on his promise.
She sat back on her haunches as he sat cross legged, facing her. The spot they were in was partway between Solaceon and Hearthome, and a perfect location for a fire based conflict. The many sand pits eliminated the risk of causing a blaze by accident, and it was off the path enough that no one would bother them.
"Okay, now we truly begin your training," he said. "Sparring with you allowed me to analyze how you react to different situations, as well as giving me a better idea of the kind of moves you know. With that, we can start working on ways for you to get even stronger."
Her countenance fell slightly, "I still don't think I did all that well."
"You did just fine. Like I said, you took hits from some powerful attacks, so right away, that tells me that you have quite a bit of stamina. Also, your Fire Blast and Flamethrower attacks generated an impressive amount of heat. We're going to look at making them even stronger."
She laid down on her belly, and he scooted himself forward a bit, scratching her behind the ears as he talked. "See, now this is the important part. Fire is a bit different from the other elements. It doesn't require manipulation of physical matter. It is purely energy based. You need to think of your power not as fire, but as heat." She melted into the treatment as his agile hands massaged her, doing her best to focus on his words as she rumbled in pleasure. "You know, the way you're going with this rubbing and talk of heat, I'm beginning to think you've changed your mind…"
He laughed, giving her scruff a playful shake, "Not that kind of heat you horny girl! Heat energy. One of the three elements of fire."
She sighed, continuing to enjoy the scratching as he resumed. "You see, to make fire, you need three things. Heat, fuel and oxygen. Fire poké mon, and myself in most cases, bypass the fuel step by using the air itself. Fire types store massive amounts of heat energy inside themselves, which is why your internal body temperature is so high. That energy is what you use to attack, and also feeds your aura. That's why when you start to get tired, you feel cold, and it takes time or an energy recharge from a potion or revitalizing machine to restore your spent energy."
Cheri nodded. Some of this she had at least a vague idea about, although she…d never heard it laid out in detail before. It seemed that her mate was knowledgeable as well as powerful.
"When you release a fire attack, you are burning the very oxygen in the air as fuel. Not an easy thing to do. Generally, quite a bit of the energy escapes in this process. Also, it can be affected by changes in the air itself. Do you remember seeing your first attack vanish before it hit me? That's because I moved the air molecules in front of it to protect myself. With nothing to burn, the attack evaporated. The bang you heard was the air rushing back into place. You won't have to worry about other Poké mon being able to do that, but you may see Flying types using things like Gust to block your fire."
He paused briefly, catching his breath from the long explanation before continuing. "So, in order to beef up your attacks a bit, it's really just a matter of control. You already have the raw power inside you. The main thing you need to work on is making sure you aren't letting any stray heat out when you make an attack. Any heat that escapes is heat that could be going into your attack. Really PUSH that energy forward, and you'll even be able to break through a wind attack. Focus is the key, as it is with most things. Once you start to lose focus, your control slips, and energy escapes unused."
Cheri absorbed this information thoughtfully. She had never thought of it that way. Heat, not fire. She had always assumed she had actual fire inside her somewhere. Drawing slightly on her inner power, she examined it closely, really feeling what it was made of. She released the energy as a small ember attack, and was surprised at the power of the glowing coal of energy that appeared in front of them. Shawn jumped with a yelp as the attack caught the hem of his jeans, and she felt a rush of air as he put the fire out quickly.
"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't think it would do that!" She said guiltily.
He rubbed her shoulders, a slight singe mark on his pants, but otherwise no harm done. "It's okay, I got it in time. See what I mean though? That was more powerful than you are used to."
She nodded, happy that he wasn't angry with her. "What about my other types of attack though?"
He sighed, "That…is going to be a bit trickier to explain. I think I'll let the others out too to hear this. It's relevant to their training too."
Shawn unsnapped the other three balls from his belt, releasing Marty, Kirin and Hina.
"Time for some group training," Shawn said.
"Oh, are we going to spar some more finally?" Marty asked.
"Not today," he replied, drawing a disappointed "Awww" from Marty. "But, Cheri was asking to learn about Normal and Dark attacks, so that's why I want all of you to hear this."
Hina had immediately scampered over to Cheri, and was purring as she snuggled against the warm fur of the Arcanine. "Veee? Eeevvveee?" she said, followed by some more of her gibberish.
"She's asking if it's time for more milk already. I doubt she's that hungry yet because she's been in her ball all day. I think she wants a drink anyway though," Kirin said.
Shawn nodded. He wasn't sure how much the younger Eevee was going to understand, but it didn't hurt to have her hear what he was going to say anyways. Digging into his bag, he pulled out one of the collapsible dishes and one of the bottles of Moomoo milk.
"Here," he said, pouring some of the milk out. "Try this."
Hina sniffed it curiously, then began eagerly lapping up the nutritious snack.
Shawn set the bowl down for her, and prepared to continue the lesson. "Okay then…Oh! One last thing before I go on about other attacks. Marty, can you demonstrate the special technique I taught you please?"
Marty nodded, a look of intense concentration coming over his face. A sphere of water began forming in front of him, much faster than before. He had improved with the technique significantly, as the sphere held its shape almost perfectly. He began manipulating it, swirling it around in the air, before stopping its motion and condensing it. He almost managed to hold onto it, but it popped before he could complete the move.
"That is a special move I taught Marty, one that is only to be used in an emergency. I've already told you that our journey could become dangerous, and I want you all to be prepared for that. I'm not particularly concerned about you Cheri, as most of your moves can be deadly already. However, there is one thing I can show you that could give you a'surprising edge, if it came to that. Once more Marty."
Again, the Marshtomp formed the shimmering sphere of water, and began to move it through the air. Suddenly, ice crystals formed on the surface of the sphere, and in a matter of seconds, it froze solid. Marty released the attack in surprise, and the ball of ice dropped to the ground with a heavy thump.
"You see," Shawn continued, "It all hinges on the principle of heat. You can not only produce it, but you can absorb it as well. All I did was remove the heat from the water until it froze. Give it a try. Another one please Marty."
Once more, Marty produced a sphere of water. Cheri stared at it, her canine features furrowing as she attempted to replicate the move. Nothing happened for several long moments. Finally, Marty lost his hold on the attack, and they all were treated to a splash of cool water as it burst. "Sorry," he said apologetically.
"It's okay," Cheri said dejectedly, "I just couldn't do it! I thought I could…feel the heat inside the water, but I couldn't get it out."
"Don't worry about it, that's just something to work on later. It's hardly an easy thing to do, so don't expect to get it on your first try," Shawn said.
"You don't expect US to be able to do that do you?" Kirin asked apprehensively.
"No, that's just for Cheri. But this next part does apply to you."
Kirin nodded, walking over to stand beside her sister, who was happily licking up the last of the milk. She began to groom her sibling, cleaning up the stray flecks of white in her fur.
"Wait, what about that other thing you did? Can you teach me that?" Cheri asked.
"The eruption? Unfortunately, no. That move requires Earth. Lava is made up of melted minerals, so to manipulate it, you need Earth as well as Fire. To my knowledge, there aren't even any existing poké mon moves that use two types. Even though there are poké mon that are OF more than one type."
"Oh, okay then," she said, seeming a bit disappointed.
"Don't worry Cheri, you don't even need a move like that. Your Fire Blast can become almost as powerful, and is a lot faster."
She seemed comforted by this, and Shawn finally got back to his original intended topic.
"Normal energy is a bit different, and a bit harder to explain," he began. "From what I've been able to figure out, it has a close relationship with Psychic and Fighting energy." He stood up, drawing his sword and etching three circles into the coarse sand, connecting them with a line through the centre.
Tapping the top circle, he said, "This is Psychic energy. It is entirely based on the power of the mind, it is known to some as spirit energy."
He pointed to the bottom circle, "This is Fighting energy. It is based on the power of the body, or chi. Normal energy falls somewhere in between. It is a combination of Psychic and Fighting energy. The fighting part is what gives you all the physical attacks, like Take Down, Double Slap, Mega Kick etc. The Psychic part is what gives you all the energy based Normal attacks, like Swift, Hyperbeam and Safeguard."
"This relation is why the three affect each other the way they do. Fighting trumps Normal, Psychic trumps Fighting, and Psychic and Normal are equal. However, Normal is not affected by Ghost, whereas Psychic is weak against Ghost. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot I can teach you about how to use Normal energy, as I can't use it myself. But, understanding how it works should help a bit."
"What about the Dark type?" Cheri asked.
Shawn sighed, running a hand through his hair. "That…is something else. It does fall into this relation as well though." He drew a fourth circle, beside the one representing Normal. "Dark energy is'somewhat akin to Normal. Fighting is strong against it, but it has the advantage over Psychic, as well as Ghost, which is another, more distant relation. Normal is equal to it. The way Dark energy works for poké mon is a bit different than how it works for me though. It doesn't have quite the same…effects."
"I don't enjoy working with Dark energy, because for me, it has an…influence. Dark poké mon are protected against this because of their aura though, which is why I don't have any qualms about training Hina to become an Umbreon. As for other types that use Dark attacks, they don't have an active store of the energy, so it doesn't affect them either. Dark power is generated by negative Psychic residues. Strong negative emotions, feelings, actions. All of them create residues that those who use the Dark type can tap into."
"It is a powerful form of energy, but one I must be careful using. Since I am touching it directly with no safeguards in place, I can be affected by the negative residues. When you channel Dark energy, the main thing to remember is power. The more power you focus into the attack, the stronger it becomes. That may sound like a no brainer, but it's not quite the same thing as other types. Dark energy WANTS to be used, and the more you draw on it, the amount will increase exponentially. The key is to have enough power to RESTRAIN it and keep it under control. Otherwise, it will just dissipate."
Cheri nodded, "I think that makes sense. I've tried to turn my Bite attack into a Crunch before, but have just had it turn into a failed attack. Is that because I drew too much?"
"Yes. If you draw more than your own power can control, it will escape you."
Kirin was looking a bit worried, "Are you SURE that that is completely safe? I don't want Hina to be taking risks with something dangerous."
"For her? Yes, it is completely safe. Like I said, the poké mon's aura protects them completely from the negative effects. I do not have that same protection however, which is why I avoid using it."
She nodded slowly, apparently deciding to trust his judgement. "Okay, if you say so."
He sighed, "Kirin, I would never make any one of you do something I thought would harm you. If I didn't know it to be safe, I wouldn't even consider training her as a Dark type. Trust me."
She appeared reassured by this. She finished her grooming of her squirming sister, who had returned the favour somewhat, but was now getting restless. "Vee?" she said.
Kirin snorted, "Yes, we were talking about you sis."
Looking back at Shawn, Kirin asked, "Now, what about my own training? You've already indicated that you intend to have me evolve, which is what I want anyways."
"Well, I'm not going to get you to evolve unless you think you're ready."
"I've thought about it a bit, and I don't see any reason why not. I don't think I'm going to get another growth spurt, and even if I do, I'm old enough that it can come in my evolved form."
"Wait, what's this about growth spurts?" Shawn asked, curious.
"You didn't know? Eevees don't grow steadily, we grow in fast spurts. If an Eevee evolves too early however, they stop before they reach their full size. I only have maybe one more growth spurt though, I'm pretty much an adult."
"I see, interesting," Shawn replied.
Reaching into his bag, Shawn pulled out the Thunderstone he had purchased. The dark rock was striated with yellow streaks, and to him, felt like it was crackling with energy. He placed it on the ground in front of Kirin, who looked at it for a moment before nudging it with her paw. "So'this is it?"
"This is a Thunderstone. If you use this, you will evolve into a Jolteon," Shawn replied.
"The electric type. That should be…interesting," she said. She didn't really have any type preference in mind for her evolution, so letting Shawn pick what he wanted for her was fine. He appeared to have good judgement, and as long as she could stay with her sister, she was happy. Evolving would make her stronger too.
"Cool! You're gonna evolve!" Marty said.
"I want you to be sure you're ready to do this, there's no going back," Shawn said.
She nodded, "Yes, I'm sure. Once I evolve, you can start training me too right?"
"Yes, I can use electrical attacks, so I'll be able to teach you in that respect."
"So…how exactly do I do this?"
"Cheri, you've done it before, so you can probably explain better than I could."
The fire type nodded. She had corralled Hina, and was keeping her occupied by allowing her to pounce on her paws. "It's easy. Just touch the stone and reach into it like you would reach for your own power. Allow what's inside there to fill you."
"No, you might feel a bit of a stretching sensation, but that's it."
Kirin took a deep breath, then placed her front paws on the stone. She closed her eyes, first feeling inside herself for the comforting store of Normal energy that her mother had trained her in. This would be the last time she would feel that same energy. Switching her focus to the hard rock beneath her paws, she sought out the power within. There it was! This'this energy felt so different! Wild, furious, spirited and…playful? It was certainly powerful, and it felt like it would be…freeing. Without further hesitation, she plunged in, allowing the power to enter her.
The electrical power poured into her gleefully, seeming to make every cell of her body crackle with vitality. She didn't try to control it, it just ran rampant through her, filling her with strength. There was indeed nothing she would describe as pain, although she could feel her body changing, feel the slight ache of growth. Even with her eyes closed, she got the impression of bright light surrounding her.
She opened her eyes as the tempest inside her began to calm, blinking in the absence of the radiance. It was odd, it felt like the world should look different, but appeared the same. Although, she seemed to be slightly larger now, judging by how Hina looked slightly smaller to her. She looked down at herself, seeing the spiky yellow fur that now coated her. She certainly felt different. Her body felt like it was glowing with energy, and she felt almost jittery, like she needed to run to expel the excess. This new power, it was exhilarating. She didn't know how to use it properly yet, but she felt like nothing could stop her. Did all poké mon feel this way when they evolved?
"Well? How do you like your new form?" Shawn asked.
She shifted back and forth experimentally, appreciating the added muscle tone. "I think I like it! If this is what evolution is like…I can't wait for sis to feel this too!"
Shawn smiled at her, "I'm glad. That will definitely have to wait until she grows a bit more though."
"Of course. But I just can't get over how excited I feel! I feel like I could run all the way around the world!"
"Yeah! When I evolved, I felt the same way, like I could hold the entire ocean inside me!" Marty said, his typical grin growing even more.
Kirin returned the grin, then, impulsively, she Tackled the water poké mon, just feeling the need to expend energy.
Marty pushed her off with a laugh, "Hey! We're on the same team! You need to warn me if you want a battle!"
"Alright you two, calm down. It's getting late, so we're done with training. No more battling tonight, even for fun."
"Aww," Marty said. "Not even a quick one?"
Kirin pulled back a bit sheepishly, not really sure what had come over her. She still felt the pulsing energy inside her, but it no longer felt like she would explode if she stood still. "No, Master is right, it's getting late. Besides, I wouldn't be any challenge for you."
"You will be once Trainer Shawn teaches you! Right Master?"
Shawn smiled, "Yes, yes she will. I'll make sure of that. Can't have you getting lazy against Electric types now can I?"
The Marshtomp clapped his hands, seeming delighted by the prospect. "Alright then," Shawn continued. "Marty, can you go fill up the water bottles? I'm going to get the tent set up. This spot is fine to stay the night in."
Taking the water bottles, Marty left to complete his task, as Shawn began preparing their sleeping arrangements.
As the twilight set over the Sinnoh region, Shawn reclined against Cheri's slumbering form. Even though she wouldn't admit it, the Arcanine was exhausted from their battle, and after eating had fallen asleep almost immediately. Shawn had given Hina the rest of the bottle of Moomoo milk instead of performing the lactation spell, allowing Cheri to regain her strength. Now, the other three were at rest in their poké balls, and he was free to have a bit of alone time.
He gazed up at the darkening sky. His little group was growing fast, even with the accelerated timeline, he was confident that they would be ready in time. "Better watch out Cyrus, I'm comin" for ya!" he said to the night. Cheri stirred beneath him at the sound of his voice, but didn't wake.
Suddenly, he felt the oddest sensation of being watched. He didn't move, instead using his peripheral vision to look out into the darkness. Nothing was visible, but the sensation didn't go away. Stealthily, he rolled up to his feet, casually walking a few steps away from the slumbering Arcanine. He rotated slowly, still keeping up the appearance of looking at the sky as he scanned the area. Still nothing, and the sensation stayed at his back somehow.
Deciding to dispense with the appearance of ignorance, Shawn whirled, laying a hand on his sword and making a ball of bright light appear. The area around his campsite lit up, and he caught a brief flash of a wispy form retreating into the darkness. "I saw you. Come out and tell me what you want," Shawn said.
There was a moment of silence, then the wispy form reappeared, the only solid part of it being two red eyes. …It seems my ruse has been discovered. Can you please turn out the light at least?" Came an odd voice inside his head.
Shawn allowed the ball to fade, leaving it just barely glowing enough to see the form.
The delicate outline rippled and solidified, resolving into a Misdreavus. …Much better," it said into his mind.
Shawn examined the poké mon briefly. It wasn't very big, maybe a couple feet tall, but it was levitating, bringing it almost eye level with him. "Mind telling me how long you were watching me? And why? Who are you?"
The voice chuckled, "So many questions. I suppose I owe you that much at least. I am…curious about you. I have been watching you far longer than you think. I know your secret."
"What do you mean, "my secret…?" Shawn said neutrally.
The voice chuckled again, "That you aren't from this world of course."
"And you know this…how?"
"I've been watching you. And learning from your mind. It's okay, you don't have to pretend. You can communicate in mind speech too."
Shawn was a bit shocked. This poké mon" "You can read my mind?" he thought.
"Well, perhaps not precisely. I can hear thoughts you direct at me though, and through empathic essences, I can infer many things. The thoughts of you humans aren't as complex to decipher as you would have yourselves believe."
"Empathic essences? I'm not sure what you mean."
The Misdreavus drifted a bit closer. "When I am in-between the corporeal and ethereal plains, I can…experience Another. I can observe, and things like emotions appear to me as scents."
This was an odd situation for Shawn. It had been some time since he had felt like a student rather than a teacher. "I'm sorry, I don't know what these "plains' are either."
The poké mon gazed at him, "Truly? I would expect one of your knowledge and skills to understand these things better than I. No matter. The corporeal plain is the one we are in now. All things that exist in the physical world lie inside of it completely. Ghost types mostly reside in the ethereal plain. It overlaps the corporeal plain, but those in the ethereal plain cannot touch or interact with the things in the corporeal plain. If one is in-between them however, they can experience the corporeal plain somewhat, although they still cannot affect it. To do that requires merging fully into the physical world."
"I think I understand now," Shawn said. This concept wasn't a new one, it had been hypothesized in the wizarding world for decades. The names of the concept varied, from Phases, to Layers, to apparently Plains. The study of such things fell into its own branch of wizardry, and included things such as dimensional pockets, time-slips, out of ambit crossroads, loop realities and spiritual after-images. Hovering before him was proof that such things did indeed exist, if he had ever doubted.
"So, you have been…observing me, all this time? Do I at least get the courtesy of knowing your name?"
"I suppose it is only fair. I am known as Sasdithareusijazzmin."
Shawn blinked, "I'm sorry…can you repeat that?"
"That's…quite the mouthful. I don't think I can pronounce that one. Are you a male or a female?"
It chuckled again, "I am neither or either. My kind does not reproduce the same way physical beings do. I am whichever you perceive me to be."
Shawn thought for a moment. The voice was pretty androgynous, but it struck him as more feminine than masculine. And then there was that name" "Do you mind If I call you Jasmine?"
It snorted, "I see you have already made your own judgement. That is fine. My kind is not concerned with gender denotations."
"Don't you have to be at least somewhat though? I mean, otherwise how would there continue to be ghosts?"
It'she'sighed. "That is not really something physical beings need to know about, but I suppose you can be trusted with the knowledge. Whenever a poké mon passes on, Ghost types have the opportunity to perform a…ritual. They can take a piece of the energy from the departing spirit, and use it to procreate. In fact, two Gastly consummated their union above the fallen form of the Eevee you tended to. They were quite concerned that you would indeed heal her, preventing them from completing their ritual."
"Wait…you STEAL a piece of their spirit?"
"No, and that belief is why it is usually kept a secret. The piece that we take is harmless, and their spirit still departs to be with Arceus on the plain of light. Unless they are restless, in which case they will walk between the plains for a time until they find their peace."
"Arceus…he is the avatar of the One in this world, isn't he."
"You would know more of that than I. But from what I have been able to learn from you, yes. Darkrai is his nemesis."
Shawn nodded, processing this information. This "plain of light" sounded like what he knew as Timeheart, the place of departed souls, which was accessible to wizards. But, that would imply that beings from created dimensions went there as well? He had always assumed that Timeheart only existed for "real" places. Perhaps "spin-off" dimensions were just as real as other ones. Perhaps in truth, ALL dimensions were indeed spin-offs spawned by the One and the Lone One. What this poké mon was telling him was shaking what he thought he knew down to its very core.
Another thought struck him. If there were avatars here, that meant that this dimension had already made its Choice. But there were no wizards here…only poké mon. So had they rejected or accepted Darkrai's offer? Of course, if poké mon did indeed die, then that meant that they had accepted it to some extent. But this world hadn't become one of darkness, so they hadn't gone over to his side at least. So if the Choice had been made, was Darkrai attempting to force a second Choice?
"What do you know of the Choice?" he thought.
"That is none of my concern. You would need to discuss such matters with one of the legendaries."
Interesting, so Jamine was aware of what he was talking about, but not the details. What of the humans in this world? They had no wizards to speak for them, but they shared close ties with the poké mon. Did that mean that the poké mon of old had acted as arbiters for the humans when the Choice was made? In that case, their fate would be tied in with the poké mon's. But was this current scenario a result of pure human stupidity? Messing with forces they didn't understand? Or was there something more sinister behind it? Perhaps Darkrai was trying to get the humans to make their own Choice.
"So, now that I have knowledge of you, what will you do? Will you come with me?" Shawn asked.
Jasmine looked troubled, "I am indeed curious to observe you further. However, I do not feel I am ready to commit myself to the corporeal plain."
"That is…disappointing. It would be helpful to have your assistance. I am sure you know of my mission."
"Yes…but I wish to continue my wandering. I will do my best to avoid disturbing you again until I am ready."
Shawn didn't know what to say to this, and was silent as Jasmine began to fade from view once more, "I'll be waiting…" he thought.
"When the time comes," he heard faintly. And with that, the Misdreavus was gone.