Sorry for the long absence; I've had a lot of things to do, a massive amount of writer's block recently (The latest Karistaa Usko chapter's presently in Limbo), and a complete overhaul of my mythos, so I decided to do one more in the general Pokemon universe. As the July contest inspired me a bit to write this chapter, it's a contest entry (or, at the very least, Nowhere and Everywhere is since I'm not certain how long this inspiration will hold).As usual: Pikachu, Pokémon, Mother et al. are the property of Nintendo. The characters are mine, as is the plot.
The Road to Hell
The Road to Hell
*)October 21, 2009 - 13:42 KDT(*
Two weeks had passed since Eoin and Mudiwa married, and life in the storm was quickly returning to normal in spite of the unrest of the public wedding and the human marrying into the storm as a shoga. Lori felt no better despite knowing that Eoin was happy here and that he was still going to help her, in part because of how much it reminded her how lonely she actually was so far away from her husband and son. Right now, she was sitting on an elevated hillock near the southern tip of the storm's boundaries, contemplating and writing in her personal journal.
“Lori?” came a voice. She initially thought it was Farai, but recognized the voice as being far too deep. She looked up to see Kobina standing there. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” she lied unconvincingly. She set her journal aside as well as the very tiny pencil she was using to write. Being forced to whittle lead out using a Pikachu's tail was causing her pencils to lose most of their usage life by chunks as opposed to by shavings.
“Omulosi Eoin sent me to make sure you're alright,” started Kobina.
“Omulosi Eoin can suck Mudiwa's shithole for all I care,” she said, hissing.
“Like it or not, Lori, Eoin still cares about your welfare, and not because he's now compelled to,” said Kobina, sitting beside her. “He knows you're suffering.”
“Well, the difference between him and me is that I don't give up on my own species when I've been utterly screwed by it,” she hissed as she shifted her weight. “Eoin's become a massive misanthrope.”
“And you, not to be rude, are very bitter,” countered Kobina. “You're just as frazzled as he was heading into his mateship with Mudiwa.”
“No, I'm not,” she lied again, avoiding eye contact. This was less for cross-species social reasons than an attempt to mask the lie.
Kobina saw through it. “...You have kin, am I not right?”
“Why do you care?” growled Lori.
“Because I go through the same emotions you do every single day,” said Kobina, his voice mellow.
“You can't fathom the thoughts I have,” said Lori firmly.
“I've been without well-on three years, Lori,” said Kobina knowingly.
“So? Why haven't you found someone else yet?” Lori slowly started making eye contact with Kobina.
“Because it'd be disrespectful to her and to her three living kids,” came the reply. “Unlike you, I can't see her again in life.”
“Pssht. So your female died. I'm not putting--”
Kobina sparked, a threat. “Make that suggestion again, Lori, and you'll be joining her. I'm getting tired of your poor-me routine. You're as bad as Eoin before he joined!”
Lori's expression looked distinctly surprised. “Don't you dare compare me to that zoophile...”
Kobina's next few sentences were spoken in a higher pitch and with a faked accent, emulating Lori's speech. “Oh, poor me, Eoin gets to be with someone he loves while I have to rely on memories of my husband to keep me warm at night while I slave away on this meaningless letter. Boo hoo, I wish Eoin didn't abandon me here so far from civilisation just because Pikachu anus is so nice~”
“STOP IT!” screeched Lori. Tears were streaming down her face.
Kobina, to his credit, stopped mocking Lori, but downpitched his voice to mock Eoin next. “Bugger me, humanity exists to screw me over and treat me like trash, while Lori has people who actually love her and remember her name. Boo hoo, I wish Lori didn't marginalise me just because all she gives a damn about is her grade~”
Silence. Lori did not look thrilled. Kobina leveled a hard stare at her. “Eoin bitched about humanity, politics, and his 'family' (and I use the loosest sense of that word) incessantly, Lori. Got so bad the Kabaka was trying to get him into his bed so he would actually feel loved for the first time in his life. Mudiwa beat him to it. Now, you're bitching about your family, or lack thereof, and your coursework potentially failing. Both of you are in the wrong, and, speaking on behalf of the Kabaka here,” Kobina let this sink in, “he's fucking sick and tired of it.”
“Then why in the world did he let Eoin become an omulosi?!” retorted Lori.
“He only let Eoin become an omulosi because he's married Mudiwa, and the two are family to each other,” answered Kobina. “Mudiwa's family's the closest thing Eoin's ever had to a family, if he's not lying. Him being made an omulosi is a contingency should Mudiwa be delivered to Adebowale.”
Lori slumped, emotionally fatigued. She shuddered for a moment, half of her wanting to refuse to listen to Kobina, the other half recognising the omulosi had a point. She didn't look up again for a few moments, her eyes lying on his belly as opposed to his face.
“I can understand how bad it hurts for you to be away from the one you love, Lori. But complaining day in and day out about not having any contact with them is not worth it.”
“But I literally can't contact them. The radio I have can only send to the University, there's no post boxes within a country mile of here...”
“Excuses, Lori,” stated Kobina firmly, interrupting her. “Ever heard of carrier Pidgey?”
“How are they going to know where to go?” came the expected answer.
“That's why you bring down one in transit with a Thunder Wave and attach another message to its leg,” said Kobina flatly. “Messenger Pidgey fly overhead here all the time, traveling from Viridian City to Indigo Plateau.” Lori was about to ask why, then remembered she was talking to a Raichu in a massive, almost-certainly sapient Chu storm within a stone's throw of Viridian; she quickly hypothesized blackouts were relatively common in Viridian due to them, necessitating carrier Pidgey or snail mail from Blue to the League of Johto and Kanto. Messenger Pidgey would be the faster option.
Lori slowly rose to her feet, grabbing her journal. “...Thanks, Kobina.”
“You want to thank me, can the lousy mood,” came the blunt reply.
Ime fetched the map from his front stoop, noting that it had been pressed between two leaves glued together by sap to keep it dry. After separating the leaves, he double-checked the notes left by Nicolau. To his delight, two of the three challenges he wanted added to the Ceremony were still okayed by the Kabaka, but the last one, which Ime felt to be the best challenge for the purpose he was after, had again, after a third reworking, been rejected out-of-hand. Concluding that there was no way Nicolau would approve yet another rework of the challenge that didn't make it useless for his goals, he scratched it off the list in his binder. Three of the remaining five trials were still good, meaning Ime had to make three new ones, for a total of eight. Five of the proposed areas for challenges were declined due to apparent damage to the undergrowth there, allowing them to be circumvented.
Looking over the schema in his binder, his eyes hovered over various challenges that had been used in years past. To prevent a previous Ceremony-taker from helping current ones, Nicolau automatically rejected designs that had been previously used less than three years prior. The sudden marriage of Eoin and Mudiwa had distracted him, though he could understand why it was done; Eoin wouldn't have understood courtship dancing and in any case Nicolau wouldn't have allowed him to participate in such as he had an unfair advantage even over the other omulosi due to being three feet taller and thus far heavier than them.
He picked out three relatively simple trials, which would be simple enough to implement. After picking them, he made very slight modifications to them to increase the likelihood they could stymie a Pikachu. He didn't want the Ceremony to be too easy, and these ones had been easily defeated before. He also took a closer look at the others that had already been approved, and suspected they, too, were too easy to defeat. Taking a quill and bluk berry ink, he made some modifications to these as well, again to make them harder to surmount. It was important that Nicolau approve these; he wanted a long Ceremony as a nice change of pace from the relatively short ones of recent years, and Nicolau probably would agree that the Ceremony had become too easy.
Ime turned around and let the ink on the map dry before he walked over to the Pikachu female in his hut. “Alright, Alemaheyu, shall we begin today's training?”
The 14-year-old Pikachu was nervous; her body language was composed of fidgets, a bit of holding arms close to her chest, and a bit of darting eyes. However, she looked up at Ime and nodded, though not entirely certain. “Yes, Omulosi Ime. I don't understand why we're doing this, though. This training seems to make no sense to me.”
“You'll understand it in due time, Alema,” said Ime. “For now, pay heed to my words.”