Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > Loyalty

Chapter 09: Ruins

by Mikari 0 reviews

Chapter 09: Ruins

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Ash,Misty - Published: 2012-05-08 - Updated: 2012-05-09 - 2166 words - Complete


Chapter 09: Ruins

Footsteps echoed through the metal corridors of the underwater structure. Comet was fast, but Misty had no intentions of letting him escape. She reached the end of the hallways that gave way to another large chamber and there was a bright flash of red light.

Gyarados, Comet's first pokemon obtained as a Magikarp from his father to keep as a pet when he was very young, the power house. Scyther, captured and trained continuously, the master of speed. Zangoose, a pokemon that almost perished to protect his master on a day when a valuable lesson was learned, he lived thanks to Ash's assistance in Comet's mission, the fierce protector. Absol, a pokemon obtained as an egg, skilled and smart, the cunning trickster. Krookodile, intimidating, aggressive, yet ultimately tame and friendly, though only outside of battle, a pokemon obtained during a special mission in a distant land, the devourer. Zebstrika, speedy, wild, feisty, a pokemon caught by Pixel in that same Unova mission, later given to Comet to join his team, energetic, stubborn and impatient, the hyper racer.

"What is this?" Misty stopped cold, facing the six pokemon. Was it a challenge?

"It has already begun," Comet reminded. "It's not a hunt as much as a race though, your call." He kept a cool attitude the whole time, as if he was used to this, even amused by it.

"A race it is," Ash voiced and the red beams once again returned to call the six titans back into their dwellings.

"In that case... I'll be off to the next location. There is nothing here... only ruins..." Comet left, disappearing down another narrow corridor in pitch darkness.

This time Misty let him go, turning to look at Ash with questioning eyes. "What was that about? He looked ready for a war for a second and then he left. What is this hunt? This race? What has begun?" She was angry, frustrated, excluded from things that Ash apparently understood which she felt concerned her very much.

"His mission and, being his partner I would guess Pixel's mission, have already begun," Ash revealed. "Their Rocket mission," he smiled in a mix of annoyance and amusement if such a paradox was even possible to be contained in a single expression. "This is something we do for each other. Comet, Pixel, Laiki, Jessie, James and some others who are my friends in Team Rocket all have a great loyalty to my father, but also to me. That can only be possible as long as those loyalties don't interfere."

"How can they not?" Misty inquired with impatience.

"Because we respect what we need to do." Ash concluded, his face flickering serious for a second before once more appearing relaxed. "A hunt is when we are all after the same prize, they'll interfere with me even if I don't seek a confrontation. A race is when we go our separate ways and don't need to fight unless the prize is in sight. This is a race, we're looking for clues and we were just given another. I don't know what those ruins Comet mentioned are about, but it was a free hint worth exploring."

"I see," Misty frowned. "Then he was warning you that you stand as enemies for the time being, even if you're also friends?"

"Yes," Ash nodded as he headed towards another metal hallway next to the one Comet had gone through. "It's more like being rivals, kind of like how it was with Gary, except the competition and the truce are more clearly defined."

"And he enjoys the competition," Misty huffed. "He's my relative; my parents were his relatives too. Uncle Luke is his father. My sisters always looked to him for protection and support; they can never stop caring about the kind uncle that reassured them after our parents' deaths. Honestly, neither can I. To think he's a Rocket, to think he's loyal to Giovanni?" She trembled in tension as if not knowing how to interpret her own emotions. Her teeth and fists were clenched as she stood unsure.

"Loyalty means tolerating a disagreement; I learned that the hard way, but I'm glad I did. Mom always said that if you live life thinking it's all or nothing, then you'll most certainly get nothing," Ash recalled.

Misty sigh, unsure, upset, yet intrigued. "You've grown up..." she concluded, not certain if that was a good thing or not.

"I had to," Ash grinned, showing that same face that Misty remembered, older, but the same. "Look on the bright side; we're a little closer to solving the mystery, because sometimes competition is exactly what's needed to move forward."

He wasn't so different after all, she noted. "You still love competition."

"It brings improvement with each challenge," Ash approached the dark tunnel where there were stairs. "Let's have a look at those ruins..." He didn't know why there would be ruins below the facility, but surely they must have something to do with the reason for which the laboratory was built there in the first place.

xoxox xox xoxox

The metal walls evolved into stone walls the further down the stairs they went. There was a low hum in the atmosphere giving the dark place an eerie feel. It sounded off as crashing waves, but that couldn't be it given how deep underwater and far from the shore they were. There was a heavy pressure in the atmosphere, as if the ocean was pushing against the old structure threatening to crush it and it probably was.

The stone walls of the chamber the stairs led to were carved with pictures of human figures in various poses as if performing some kind of ritual and representations of many different water pokemon from all over the world. It was surreal, it was enchanting, it was powerful... Among it all Ash felt something, it was frightening, sorrowful, angry. His aura abilities felt awake and aware, as if his instinct was warning him that there was something sinister there, something terrible, something tragic.

The floor of the stone temple that looked very old and worn, inexplicably built so long ago and sunk into the ocean to be rediscovered hundreds of years later, had many circles like ripples in water carved into it. The circles varied in size and distance from each other holding water in their canals as it dripped in small drops from the ceiling and walls. It was a wonder the structure was still standing and full of breathable air.

Misty stepped into the center of the chamber where the smallest circle was and she heard a voice. She couldn't understand what it was saying, but it was pained, ghostly, detached, otherworldly. "Do you hear that?" She turned around from her visual explorations, spinning inside the circle where she stood to face Ash.

"Yes," Ash confirmed his face focused and... pained? "I can feel it, I can hear it, but why can you? Unless it's calling out to you..." No, this wasn't directed at him, it was directed at her, he could only hear it because of his abilities. "You shouldn't be here," he cautioned as he closed the distance between them. "This feels terribly sinister." His head was spinning, his stomach hurt, the concentration of negativity was making him sick.

"Pika..." Pikachu went from his shoulders to his arms in fear. This was terrible, even for one so brave.

Ash took another step forward. A barrier of glowing see-through blue emerged from the circle on the floor. "Misty!" He reached out to her but was harshly thrown back.

"Ash!" She saw him get thrown against the wall. She saw Pikachu attack the barrier with electricity to no avail. She saw the scene becoming twisted and blurry, then she disappeared. Misty was no longer there.

Ash bolted to his feet. "Misty!" He dashed to the center of the circle were there was nothing now. The presence of dark intent, or sorrow, of vengeance, of... evil? Was still there, albeit it was faint, hiding, guarded. "Misty!"

"Chu!" Pikachu let out another bolt of lightning at the spot where she once stood as if that would bring her back. "Pikapipi!"

Ash raised a hand in a gesture to stop and Pikachu ceased his efforts instead hurrying to climb back on his shoulder. Ash sat down on the circle where Misty had stood when she disappeared and closed his eyes in concentration. Pikachu hopped off his trainer and stood next to him, guarding him.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Ash? Ash!" Misty called out at the top of her lungs, but her voice remained unheard. She looked at her ghostly semi-transparent hands. She was still in the ruins as far as she could see; Ash and Pikachu were also still there. Yet at the same time she was somewhere entirely different.

"Misty..." she turned to find the source of the voice. This voice was not the one that called her there. It was very different, sorrowful, but gentle, resigned yet melodious, merciful, concerned, motherly. "Misty..." The woman of long blond hair and ocean blue eyes stepped towards the redhead, wrapping her arms around her.

"Mother!" Misty exclaimed as she recognized the other ghostly presence. "Mother, is it really you? What is this place? How did we end up here? How do we go back? What's happening?"

"Shh..." Coral gently soothed. "My little Misty, I'm so sorry..." Her face was filled with sadness, as if a terrible fate had befallen her youngest child.

"Mother, please," Misty tried to calm herself to allow Coral the chance to explain. "Tell me everything. About father, about you, about Team Rocket, about this place," she listened.

Coral closed her eyes and nodded expression solemn. She opened her eye again, bright orbs of endless azure. "For you to understand, you must know the story of your ancestry. Long ago, before people could even dream of what a pokeball would be, long before the skyscrapers and the roads were built, there was a village in the coast. It was a peaceful place, the home of the Azure Tribe, your ancestors from long ago. The tribe was home to people who might have been called shamans by some. They communicated with the water pokemon with a special regard for them as they believed that water was the source of all life."

"There was also another tribe, a tribe of alchemists who abused the power of their concoctions and called forth black magic. The terrible sorcerers sought to enslave the water pokemon and conquer the Azure Tribe. However, a legendary water pokemon became enraged and attacked the land with massive tidal waves. Many tragically perished and those few who survived no longer knew a distinction between the Azure Tribe and their enemies. They worked together to rebuild their land, missing the help they used to get from the water pokemon that no longer heeded their call."

"Eventually, the people faced so much hardship that they became divided, accusing one another of evil alchemy and sorcery, as what had brought forth the calamity from the sea. A terrible battle broke loose among them and from its ashes there rose the new Azure Tribe. They blamed the ocean and its inhabitants, seeking vengeance and to forcibly tame the pokemon that lived there. Many pokemon perished in their efforts until finally the Azure Tribe was destroyed."

"The land now known as Kanto used to stretch far south in a large peninsula. That land was swallowed up by the sea and this temple along with it. This place holds the sorrow of humans, of friends who became enemies when loyalty was broken in the face of a disaster. This is the place that represents the broken trust of those who held on to what seemed convenient and beneficial at each moment and chased after revenge. It is not the pokemon or the ocean that seeks vengeance. The legendary that was angered was appeased with the demise of the sunken peninsula that was swallowed up by the sea, leaving only the peaks of its tallest mountains to be seen above the waves, now known as the Sevii Islands and Orange Islands."

"The true Azure Tribe will not forgive the one who brought corruption to their peaceful life seeking power and ruined their alliance with the sea. You are the chosen one to carry this burden. You are the most suitable vessel out of all the descendants of the Azure Tribe leader," Coral's eyes were filled with tears. "The ghosts of the past have chosen you to avenge them, to erase the seed of the sorcerer whose alchemy started it all. You are the new shaman the new vessel of sorrow and I wish it wasn't so."

"I don't understand..." Misty voiced in a barely audible whisper.

To be Continued

Next Chapter: The ancient past is linked to a more recent past and many questions receive answers... though that may not make things any easier to come to terms with.
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