Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > Hero of Unova

Chapter 6

by shoyou100 0 reviews

Disclaimer: Yay, playing Pokemon on DS! Nooo, they don't belong to me DDDD:

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2012-06-13 - Updated: 2012-06-13 - 11001 words

—Seven Hours Earlier, Cheren and Bianca—

She exploded.

"Bianca!" Cheren yelled.

His glasses were covered in a layer of dust, forcing him to scrabble around the cave walls to get his bearings.


Bianca nearly fell over, clutching her sides, as she burst out in another fresh round of laughter. She laughed so hard that she teared up.

"This isn't funny at all!" Cheren continued groping around in the dark until he found the cave exit, which was where Bianca had been standing the whole time, watching him in all his blinded glory.

"It's not my fault you used Gigalith to smash those boulders." She teased him. "Don't you know Rock-type Pokémon always make a mess? I think a bit of their bodies chip off whenever they do things like that.

"Well now I know." He said testily.

Bianca was still chuckling when she went over to dust him off. Then she slipped his glasses straight off his nose and began cleaning them with the hem of her shirt.

"I'm sure Candice wouldn't mind a little dust on her clothes. I'll definitely wash it off later!"

"Thanks." Cheren said quietly when she handed them back to him. "So…shall we go?"

Bianca nodded. "There's no time to lose."

—Outskirts of Celestic Town—

"Hey, Cheren," Bianca pointed at the figure ahead of them. "Is that grandma expecting us?"

"Where?" Cheren demanded, squinting to look into the distance. Even with glasses, he still had trouble seeing far.

"Standing at the town entrance you dummy, where else!" Bianca did not hesitate to take the opportunity to call her lover a name. His reactions to them were always so cute.

"What-!" He began, but by then they'd already come within hearing distance of the grandma so Bianca cut him off.

"Aha! I guess Cynthia was correct. You are coming in from Mt. Coronet. I never would've imagined foreigners experiencing some of Sinnoh's toughest terrain straight from the get-go! I hear you had to parachute in, am I right?" Right away, the grandma set herself apart from other old ladies. Her zeal for excitement appeared to have been unaffected by time.

"Yes, you're right, madam." Cheren replied, suddenly very polite. He figured this must be the elder associated with Cynthia.

But, this time Bianca was the one who saw even further into the old woman's identity. She had only met Cynthia once before and that had been from a distance. It was the time Cynthia had challenged Hilda to a Pokémon battle due to the strength she saw in her eyes. The Pokemon champion herself had had intense, grey ones.

And this grandma was looking at them in the same way.

"Are you…" Bianca hesitated for a moment. Then she gathered enough courage to ask. "Are you related to Cynthia in any way? I mean, you kind of have her eyes…"

Cheren took this moment to look a little closer and realized Bianca was right. What an observant little lover she is, he mused.

"Of course! Didn't Cynthia tell you?" the grandma gave a big laugh. "I'm her grandmother and Celestic Town is where she was born."

"I think I know where Cynthia gets her energy from now." Cheren attempted to say discreetly to Bianca, which was ultimately picked up by the old woman and earned him another laugh from her.

"I like both of you already. Call me Carolina." The woman pointed at herself with her thumb and smiled with a gleam of her teeth and one eye winked. It was such a cheesy pose that Bianca had to bring both hands up to stifle a laugh and Cheren coughed into his jacket sleeve.

"Come with me, young ones. You must tell me your names, ages, how many badges you've collected, everything! And…" Her eyes grew serious all of a sudden. "Who this new terror traipsing about Sinnoh is."

At this, the mood became tense and all three people were quiet for a moment, each silently reflecting on the situation.

Finally, Cheren spoke. "Okay, Carolina. We'll tell you everything. Starting from page one."

"Alright then." Carolina grinned at the two of them. "We'll go to my house. It's easier to talk in private there."

—Carolina's House—

The woman was indeed the town's elder, for she owned the largest house in town. Her home was furnished traditionally. Along with sliding rice paper doors, there was even a small alcove in one corner of the house, where a scroll with ancient calligraphy was hanging.

Carolina noticed their interest in the alcove and said, "This town is a historical site. All houses here own an alcove and a scroll just like that, though I believe ours is supposed to be the oldest out of all of them."

"How old is the shrine outside?" Bianca asked.

"It's been there for as long as anyone can remember," Carolina replied. Her eyes looked faraway for a moment, as if she was seeing something from many years ago. "It must've been built by the first few settlers of this town, which was more than five centuries ago."

Bianca made an impressed sound.

"There is also a ruin here, a cave of sorts, where the carvings of ancient Pokémon are depicted." Carolina's eyes refocused and she looked at the two of them. "I can bring you there to take a look if you'd like, after you've told me your story that is."

"Of course," said Cheren matter-of-factly. "We wouldn't want to deprive you of a good tale. Everything that's happened to us so far feels like one."

"Then I'm sure parachuting into Snowpoint City was the least of your worries." Carolina winked at them. "From the few sources I have here and there, I hear that he left Snowpoint City only yesterday. Many people have disappeared since then." She became serious.

"There is only one Pokémon with the power to banish so many people so quickly. And that is Giratina."

Both Cheren and Bianca nodded. The name wasn't anything new, but it seemed this woman knew more about the Pokémon than they did.

"We came from a region called Unova." Cheren began, deciding to start their story from there.

"Oh yes, I've heard many stories about that place from Cynthia. She also told me of the legend you have there as well. It's very similar to the legend of Palkia and Dialga, which I'll tell you more about once we go to the ruins."

"Yes…" Cheren hesitated for a moment. He wondered how she would react if he told her that both Pokémon from their legend were currently somewhere in Sinnoh. "And our friend happens to be partners with the one called Zekrom."

"Oh!" A spark appeared in Caroline's eyes. "So she's one of the two heroes in your legend! Sit here, young ones." She gestured towards a small table with legs close to the ground and four cushions placed all around. "Your story will probably take a while. Isn't it better if we all sat down?"

When they did, with Bianca sitting adjacent to Cheren, they noticed Carolina didn't sit down with them.

She smiled at the two of them and said. "I made some tea and it's still sitting on the stove in the kitchen. Nothing should go to waste!" Then she left the room.

Alone for the moment, a somewhat awkward silence unexpectedly fell between the two lovers.

Cheren wondered what Bianca was thinking. Perhaps her mind was wandering back to their time in the temple when he…had…

The silence became heavier.

Unable to bear it for a second longer, he reached his hand over and caught Bianca's under the table. She squeaked and turned incredibly red, only she wasn't alone in this reaction. He didn't need a mirror to see how crimson his cheeks were right now, but that was because he wanted to do something else than just hold her hand.

Slipping off his glasses and placing them on the table, he tugged on Bianca's hand to bring her closer to him.

Shocked, Bianca made eye contact with him, only to see that he'd taken off his glasses.

"Cheater." She muttered, though she knew he could see her face clearly.

"I don't want them getting in the way."

Then he pressed his lips none-too-gently against hers. But that was his style and Bianca loved it. Bringing his other hand up to her cheek, he held her in place. His heart was beating so fast and he wanted so much to hide it, but what would that achieve?

They separated, both breathing slightly harder than before.

"Cheren…" Bianca's eyes were darker than usual and he knew she wanted more.

Just like him.

"Bianca, feel this." He brought her hand up to his chest, placing it over his hammering heart. "If we do any more, I don't know...I don't think my heart can take it. It can't be scientifically possible to have a heart beat this fast just from kissing, can it?" Then he gave a small laugh at how silly his question sounded even to his own ears.

"Maybe it is." Bianca brought his hand to touch her chest as well and he was happy to feel her heart beating just as fast.

And then both of them realized he was touching something other than her chest.

Cheren whipped his hand back like he'd been burned.

"Bianca! I-I'm so-sorry!" Cheren's face instantly flushed to match the color of the shrine's roof outside.

God! Would he be sent to hell early for touching Bianca like that?

"Cheren. Cheren! It's okay. You didn't mean to do it. I'm the one who put your hand there remember?" Bianca's cheeks also reddened when she said those words, but what she said next enflamed them even more.

"But…I wouldn't mind if you did it again."

"Do what again, young ones?" Carolina slid the paper doors aside with her foot, a tray of tea in her hands.

The expressions on both Cheren's and Bianca's faces at her timely entrance would still be remembered for days to come.

—Half an Hour Later, After the Incident—

"I see…" Carolina mused. "So his name is Ghetsis and he's a wanted criminal in your region? It seems this man already has a bad reputation to begin with. And you're on your way to Lake Valor to find Azelf? I see…"

She took a moment to think.

"Well…I better show you the ruins now. You've entertained me with your very intriguing tale and I suppose I should pay you back. And, I'm not surprised Volkner somehow managed to get caught up in all this. That boy has always shown a potential for looking for bigger fights than most people can handle. And this may just be one of the bigger fights all of Sinnoh may have to face."

The room went quiet for a while. Bianca kept her eyes trained on Carolina for the duration of the silence. The older woman suddenly looked tired and her eyes finally matched her true age.

"Carolina…?" Bianca called her.

The older woman shook her head, as if breaking out of a trance. "Oh. Sorry, I was just thinking…" She looked between them, her eyes unreadable.

To Cheren, however, it looked almost like sympathy.

"The path ahead will be a hard one for all of you." She warned. "I know those in Snowpoint have already told you this, but…you need to be careful. It doesn't help that I know too much about Giratina's darkness and violence. The Pokémon itself isn't naturally malevolent, but now that a hateful man somehow gained some sort of alliance with it… Well… As you can see, no good came out of that."

She took a breath, then exhaled softly. "I'll tell you more once we get to the ruins."

—Celestic Ruins—

"These engravings…" Carolina ghosted her fingers over one of them. "They form a triangle of lights with a single large one in the center. On the map, can you see this same pattern in the lakes of Sinnoh?"

"Yes…" Cheren pointed at the light in the center of the triangle. "Does that one represent Giratina?"

"Perhaps." She answered vaguely. Clarifying herself, she said, "It could be Giratina, or Dialga, or Palkia. Any one of them actually."

"What are Palkia and Dialga exactly?" Cheren mused. "If Giratina represents darkness, then shouldn't those two represent the light?"

"No, it's not quite as simple as that. All three have darknesses of their own. No Legendary Pokémon is without its own pride and righteous anger, though Giratina happens to have a little more than the other two. You could look at it this way. The three points of the triangle don't have to represent only the three guardians of the lakes. They can be Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina as well."

"So they balance each other out, despite their differences." Cheren concluded.

Nodding, Carolina continued, "Palkia is a render of space. Dialga is a manipulator of time. And Giratina…well, he's the guardian of an entire dimension, separate from ours. I believe you know of it already."

"The Distortion World." Bianca chimed in. Based off her expression when she said it, Cheren could see that it was difficult for his lover to even say the name.

"Yes, it isn't a place fit for humans, or other Pokémon for that matter." Carolina's voice was grave. "If what you say is true, then the price to be paid for opening a gate to Giratina's world… Can you already see what she may have to give up?"

Cheren and Bianca both nodded. After all, when one made a sacrifice… it was always something or someone close to them.

"No…" Everyone turned to look at Bianca. She'd come to a horrifying realization. "What if...? She'd have to sacrifice someone too, wouldn't she? I mean, for Ghetsis it was his own son!"

"Calm down, Bianca." Cheren said, trying to soothe her. "No matter what happens, Hilda will pull through. Besides," he added. "Nothing says she has to sacrifice a person."

The meaning of those words fell upon them.

"So if Ghetsis sacrificed his son, then... he really did care for his son…" Bianca murmured, lost in thought. And then her expression grew dark. "Enough to know he was the perfect sacrifice for the stupid portal!" She shook lightly with anger at the memory of Ghetsis' emotionless face looking down at her before she was almost killed by Giratina's attack.

Even if the man truly loved his son, whatever part of him that did was already dead. The one walking around Sinnoh no longer had any such emotions left. No more love.

Just a deep hatred.

"And that is why it's important that you stop him. Time isn't what's running out. It's people's lives."

Carolina's words were frightening ones indeed, but her next ones really put the reality before their eyes.

"People can only live for so long in the Distortion World. Luckily, time there runs slower than in our world so the rush to save lives doesn't start till much later. And it seems that Ghetsis is currently taking his time in collecting badges."

"How many has he collected so far?" Bianca asked.

"Three: Eterna, Orebough, and Snowpoint." The relief at telling them this news was clear in Carolina's eyes. "He still hasn't stopped by Canalave yet. He probably plans on spreading terror throughout Sinnoh over a number of days and chipping away at our defenses bit by bit so that, eventually, none of us will be able to fight back. But he really underestimates us. We're more determined than he thinks."

She grinned at her own words and no one questioned them.

Then, turning to look directly at both of them, she said, "And as for your friend and Volkner. Hilda has proven herself worthy of Zekrom's partnership. If that doesn't say something about her, what will? And Volkner isn't called Sinnoh's top gym leader for nothing. Perhaps you're only thinking of them separately. But together, they will be able to pull through many obstacles now and in the future. I know the two of you can do the same. After all, you were so intimate in my living room earlier." She winked at them.

Both trainers were utterly aghast.

Carolina laughed at their expressions and turned to leave for the cave exit. "Let's start heading back. One of the reasons you needed to see me was for a town map, yes?"

Cheren couldn't bring himself to follow her, mortified as he was.

When Carolina saw how neither of them were moving, she gave another hearty laugh. "Don't worry! I was just teasing both of you!"

"Yeah…we know…" He grumbled.

Determined to deter their next wave of embarrassment, Bianca reached back and grabbed his hand, tugging him along. "Come on, Cheren. Let's hurry up or else Carolina will beat us back to her house!"

Oh, who was he kidding?

He tightened his grip on her hand ever so slightly. She was his lover. Was there anything else to it? The revelation filled his heart and his words came out as a whisper when he said them.

"I'll take care of you, Bianca. If you'll let me."

"Did you say something, Cheren?" Bianca looked back at him and her eyes caught the light streaming in from the entrance. They suddenly seemed to him like lanterns, overflowing with happiness and energy, and the image was burned into his mind's eye.

"No," he replied. "I was just wondering what will happen if we really do lose to Cynthia's grandmother."

"Then let's go faster, Cheren, so we never have to find out!" Bianca picked up speed.

"You'll never beat me, young ones!" Carolina cackled as she suddenly broke out into a run that no woman her age should still be able to maintain.

"She's fast!" Bianca shrieked.

"She's Cynthia's grandmother." Cheren said matter-of-factly. Then a gleam shone in his eye. "But this is a worthy challenge."

With little to no warning, Cheren blasted off after the old woman at full speed, Bianca now dangling helplessly behind him.

"Cheren, you dummy, slow down!"

—East of Celestic Town, Outskirts—

"It's so foggy," Bianca whisked her hand back and forth in front of her in an attempt to disperse the mists. "Is the rest of Sinnoh like this too?"

"No, only in a few areas." Peace entered Carolina's eyes momentarily as she gazed out over the mountains of her home. "Celestic Town is well guarded by mountains and fog. Ghetsis will most likely leave this place alone. You have the map I gave you?" She turned serious again as she looked at Cheren.

Dutifully, he patted one of the pockets on his backpack.

Carolina nodded, "Good. And the clothing?"

Bianca shook her head in confirmation.

As if it came as an afterthought, which it probably did, the old woman decided to mention, "Oh yes, I packed something extra in there in case you should need it. I'm sure at least one of you has something similar."

Bianca blinked. "And that is...?"

The smile Carolina gave her seemed almost... mischievous. "It's a surprise." She winked at Cheren then as if they were sharing a secret.

Cheren's cheeks quickly grew warm. Unfortunately, the statement wasn't far off from the truth. He understood all too well what she had given them. As a matter of fact, Candice's grandparents had packed them the same thing. Placed discreetly in a corner of his bag was an unmarked jar filled with pink pills. When Bianca wasn't paying attention, he went through her bag and found an identical one.

Whether it was to his advantage or not, since he was almost seventeen, he had had to take a mandatory class instructing him on the usage of these pills. The experience hadn't been the most pleasant one, but at least for moments like this he wasn't just staring dumbly at what basically counted as birth control.

"Thanks." Cheren managed to croak, his throat suddenly very dry. If Bianca only knew...

"You're welcome. You'll definitely be thanking me more later on." Carolina chuckled in good humor. "Oh yes, and one last thing."

She gestured to the mists. "A powerful Flying-type Pokémon can easily blow the fog away. Here we call it Defog. It isn't hard to get your Pokémon to do. Just a few flaps should be enough!"

Then she turned away, her back facing them, so they couldn't see her face. When she spoke again, her voice was gentler.

"If my granddaughter were here, she'd set off with the two of you without a moment's thought. What wouldn't she give to see a Pokémon like Giratina in person? But she's up at the Pokémon League right now, preparing the tower's defenses."

At this, Bianca instinctively felt a pang of sympathy for the older woman. Just when was the last time Carolina saw her granddaughter?

The sympathy only lasted so long, however. Carolina's words led Bianca to bring a more crucial question to light. "Just how long do we have, Carolina? How long does it take for the Distortion World to start affecting the people trapped there?"

She didn't say anything at first, but when she did her voice was low. "The people… I would say about a month... before their bodies begin to deteriorate. And, once that happens, their spirits will be exposed to the world's distortional atmosphere. At that point, it wouldn't be long before..."

She trailed off and was silent for a moment, her unspoken words lingering in the air between them. Then she turned and slowly began to walk away.

Cheren and Bianca simply watched her go. At the same time, her words sank in. So they had a month's time to stop Ghetsis before most of the people in the Distortion World ceased to exist.

Then, suddenly caught in a swell of gratefulness for all the old woman had done to help them, Bianca called out after her, "Carolina! Thank you! Thank you for everything!"

In the distance, Carolina put one hand up in the air to show that she heard her.

They continued to stand there, watching Carolina's retreating back, until neither of them could see her anymore.

"We better get going, Bianca." Cheren tugged her gently toward the mists. "After all…one month. That's all we have."

"Yeah…" She let her lover lead the way.

As the mists enveloped them, there was the cry of a great bird and then the mists were blown away with a single powerful gust of wind.

"Unfezant, return."

Then silence reclaimed the area once more.

—Café Cabin—

With one month left to save Sinnoh and several hundred people's lives on the line...

"Bianca, why are we here?" Cheren demanded, his glasses flashing angrily. "We can't afford to make stops like-"

"Yes we can!" Bianca replied stubbornly.

In one arm she cradled a small Psyduck, perhaps only a few months old. The other hand held a small bottle of Moomoo Milk, which had cost them five hundred Pokémon dollars.

Five hundred!

"We may have only one month to get everything done, but it takes less than a day to save a Psyduck!" Bianca said before occupying herself again with making baby noises to the Pokémon.

"I'm glad your girlfriend decided to save that baby Pokemon." Said the maid at the cash register, who had happily rung them up for the bottle of Moomoo milk. "It's been at our front door since yesterday and refused to budge. But, I guess it finally ran out of energy."

"It's a she." Bianca said after doing a quick check.

"You sure?" Cheren was about to lift up the Psyduck's tail, but Bianca lightly slapped his hand away.

"You're not allowed to touch her, you heartless man!" She scolded him while coddling and feeding the Pokémon.

Psyduck looked much better now, her previous sickly green now a healthy sunny yellow. She quacked with some energy, her closed eyes creased in happiness.

"Oh, Cheren, I think she's thanking me!"

Cheren could practically see the sparkles surrounding Bianca on all sides. She had always been good with children. So…when the time came for it…

His cheeks were suddenly warm again and he put a hand over his face to hide his blush from all the faces watching in the café. He actually made eye contact with the maid at the register and she winked at him. Other people were also smiling and making faces at him. Could they read minds?

"Why don't you make yourself useful, Cheren, and give Hilda a call?"

It was both a tease and an order in one. The things women were capable of...

Cheren marched grumpily out of the café, slipping his transceiver out from his bag as he did so. He might as well try calling. Canalave City was going to be one of the cities on their friend's route and who knew what might ensue if Hilda and Ghetsis were to meet face to face.

She'd probably try to kill him herself, Cheren decided with some exasperation. After all, if the man's name was considered despicable, it would be several times worse for Hilda to see his face.

Once he was outside, he dialed Hilda's number and waited for the phone to pick up. After six rings, the call immediately switched over to voicemail and Cheren considered canceling it and trying again. However, he remembered that Hilda checked her voice mails, unlike Bianca, who simply deleted them on sight.

He waited until the beep. Then he left his message.

"Hilda, keep an eye out for Ghetsis near Canalave City. He still has to fight the city's gym leader, but he may be gone by the time you get there. Bianca and I are fine. We just passed through Celestic Town and got the map. Now we're headed for Veilstone. However…"

Cheren sighed and massaged his temple.

"We've stopped at this café because Bianca found a sick Psyduck. I'm sure you've met a few of those in the White Forest. She's tending to…her right now so we may take a little longer than anticipated. I hope you're doing well, Hilda. And…Volkner, you too, if you're the one listening to this. If not, then, Hilda, tell him Bianca and I said hello."

He flipped off the transceiver.

Slipping it back into his bag, Cheren took the time to look around the cafe's tropical environment. Who knew Sinnoh also had so much tall grass, though there was considerably less of it compared to Unova. Either way, Cheren had always disliked how tall grass always seemed to enjoy snagging on to all parts of his clothing. And it seemed Sinnoh's grass was no exception.

Now if he had a machete…

As Cheren dreamed of his revenge on everything to do with tall grass, he took his time coming back inside the café. Hopefully, Bianca was almost done taking care of the Psyduck.

"Cheren, look! Look! I think she likes me." Her happy voice was the first thing he heard as he re-entered the cafe. He watched as Bianca walked in circles with the Psyduck following dutifully behind her.

"She thinks you're her mother." Cheren pointed out. "She probably strayed from her flock."

"She's so cute!" Bianca squealed. Then a thoughtful look appeared on her face. "But I can't carry more than six Pokémon at a time so…"

"Solaceon Town is nearby." The maid suggested helpfully, though she missed the livid look Cheren shot her. "You can deposit your Pokémon in the center there."

No sooner had the words left her mouth did Bianca turn to give Cheren the look-that-he-could-never-turn-down.

He tried, but lasted no more than five seconds. "Okay, okay!" He said after much effort. "We'll go!"

"Thank you!" She ran forward, popped a small kiss on the corner of his lips, and left the café with Psyduck zipping after her feet. Cheren touched the area where she kissed him. It was a promise of more to come.

"You got a special girl there, partner." One of the café's customers told him. He had a beard and was wearing a stiff, brown hat that Cheren knew was a trademark of those living in the western half of the Pokémon world.

"You've got a special hat there, sir." He replied.

The man gave a big-bellied laugh. Literally. Cheren watched as his stomach shook from the force of his laughter. Across from him, a young, blonde girl wearing the same hat giggled as well.

"You're funny, mister." She said as she pointed at him in good humor. "Solaceon's known for having a few ranchers and cowgirls like us roaming around. But seeing as you ain't never met one of us before, I can tell that you ain't from these parts."

"You're right." Cheren straightened his glasses. "My friend and I come from a faraway region called Unova. You've probably never heard of it. On our continent, we have cowgirls and ranchers just like you. But, like you said, I've never met any of them."

"Well, now you have!" exclaimed the big, bearded man. "And you better catch up with your girl or she might get lost! There's a lot of tall grasses between here and Solaceon and going straight will only take her down a mud slide."

Cheren quickly thanked both of them and, before he left, tipped the maid. If he didn't do it now, Bianca would be running all the way back into the café to do it herself.

He started sprinting before the cafe door closed behind him and caught his lover seconds before she slid and ruined her clothes.

"Wrong way, Bianca." He whispered to her in a low voice. He kept his arms wrapped tight around her waist to make sure she couldn't move away.

"Th…thanks, Cheren." She stammered.

Cheren, picturing the bright flush of her cheeks, smiled.

"You know…" He said, after a few minutes of simply standing like that at the edge of a small drop. "If we stay here any longer, your Psyduck might just get hungry again."

"You're right!" Bianca gasped. She put two hands up to her mouth in mock horror. "We shouldn't touch each other ever again so Psyduck can eat!"

Cheren pulled her even closer, then pressed her up against him to kiss her softly on the neck before letting go. "Not a chance." He breathed.

His own actions caused himself to blush and, when Bianca turned around, he ended up granting her such a full view of his vulnerable expression that it only made his cheeks burn more.

Bianca took his hand. "Take me to Solaceon Town, Cheren, so we can return to our journey and finish it quickly. Maybe... after that... we can return to our regular lives again. Just the two of us and…well, maybe two more people."

She probably meant Volkner.

"Who knows?" Cheren mused. "I see it happening too."

It didn't take long for them to make their way into town and, after depositing Musharna, which ended up being an interesting experience, the duo set off once more for Veilstone City and, from there, Lake Valor.

Little did they know, however, that they would meet someone in Veilstone who would play an important part in their mission, as well as in the future of their most important friend. Nothing would be known about her at first, for the duo's meeting with her would be sudden and unexpected, but all three would eventually become the best of friends.

And who else could this person be but none other than…

—Veilstone City Game Corner, One Hour Later—


A girl with dark hair, tinged a curious blue, turned to see who had called her name, but wilted when she saw that it was just another stranger who was simply passing by.

Since the media had interviewed her regarding her role in the removal of Team Galactic two years ago, the number of people who knew her name and face had increased significantly. Most of the time, that wasn't always a good thing. And then she had gone ahead and defeated Cynthia less than two weeks after uprooting Team Galactic.

Now, even with her scarf wrapped as meticulously as possible around her neck and face, people could still recognize her for who she was.

Politely, Dawn waved back at the overly joyful girl, who proudly exclaimed to her mother that she managed to say hello to the infamous Pokémon Champion. Once the girl and her mother was out of sight and mind, Dawn muttered to herself, "Lucas, where are you?"

Two days. She had waited in front of the game corner for two days.

And still no sign of her friend.

"Stupid Lucas…" She was even resorting to calling him names now. "I almost got mugged waiting for you last night."

It was true. Just the other night, she very nearly lost all her Pokémon and, possibly, her life. It was all due to a number of reasons.

One of which was the fact that the Veilstone Game Corner, true to its name, was a money-eater. There were rumors of people losing their life's savings at the slot machines, though that was a story commonly heard at every game corner in the Pokémon world. Therefore, some shady characters often loitered around the game corner's vicinity, having used up most of their money in gambling addictions. And, recently, it became an increasingly common occurrence for them to look for opportunities to get more no matter what the method.

Dawn figured this out last night when she picked a bad and particularly late time to wait for Lucas in front of the game corner. However, in the same night, the miracle that a person could be saved from certain death at the last minute was also made clear to her in a way she would never forget.

—Twelve Hours Ago, Veilstone Game Corner—

Tonight was especially chilly.

Dawn's scarf was already drawn tightly around her neck, but it hardly made a difference against the cold.

Glancing up, she noticed how the old building that used to house Team Galactic's Headquarters looked more menacing than usual in the flashing lights of the game corner. Perhaps she should've gone to a different place to wait for Lucas.

If only she had listened to herself...

Suddenly, the game corner lights shut off with a loud click! And the entire area was drowned in darkness.

Startled, Dawn walked as fast as she could to one of the streetlights, trying not to look too panicky. Bad things always happened to people who started to look too panicky. Her stomach, however, started roiling and Dawn knew that it was too late.

She was being watched.

As if on cue, three figures stepped into the light of the streetlamp and surrounded her on all sides. They were bald-headed, stout men with forgettable features. She didn't notice the fourth one until he spoke.

"Well, well…what do we…have here?" His voice grated like a knife on a rocky surface. In the darkness was the silhouette of a slim man.

One of the stout men replied, in a smooth and controlled tone, "A girl. We have a girl here."

It surprised her. She had expected him to sound like a gorilla.

This could only mean two things. One, that these men were smarter than they let on, and two, that her chances of escape were suddenly much smaller than before, but perhaps it was possible for them to underestimate her so long as they didn't know her identi-

"She isn't…a mere girl, boys." Her hopes were dashed as the wheezing man laughed harshly. "This is the little girl…who saved Sinnoh. Don't you…read the news? Defeated our Pokémon champion too…So be careful, boys…don't let those fingers touch her Poke balls."

"We'll cut them off before she does." The stout man to her right leered and Dawn nearly forgot to breathe.

This kind of violence... she wasn't used to this kind of violence. The reality sank in quickly. Maybe, just maybe she'd gotten herself into something bigger than she could handle.

Dawn took a gulp of air. She needed her brain to work.

Alright, so there was a good ten feet between the three goons and her. Running in the wheezing man's direction wasn't a good idea.

So that just left... charging the three goons head-on!


She barreled as hard as she could into the man directly in front of her, catching all of them by surprise.

And then she was home free! She wanted to give a loud cheer! Things might work out for her after all. Or so she thought.


She heard his wheeze before she fell.

Something wrapped around her feet and tripped her, making her fall face first toward the ground, though she caught herself with both hands in time. She heard the sharp call of a Purugly and winced. The Pokemon had its tail wrapped tightly around both her ankles. No... if only she had noticed it in time...

Either way, she had been in trouble.

"Got you…Dawn."

She felt disgusted hearing him gasp her name like that, as if he was getting some kind of sick amusement from it.

In pure defiance of her fate, Dawn began kicking and thrashing against the Purugly's tight grip on her ankles. She grit her teeth as she hissed. "Get... Off... Me!"

The man simply cackled. "You know… what we want."

"Money?" She ground out.

"And something…else." He pointed one finger to the Poke balls at her waist. "We want… those Pokémon."

Dawn found out it was possible for her insides to grow even colder. She should've seen this coming.

"Go ahead. And try!" She lashed out and sank her nails into the flesh of the Purugly's tail. The cat yowled and loosened its grip. She kicked free.

Just when she was about to get up and run as fast as she could in the opposite direction a hand caught her by the hair and wrenched her head back.

It hurt so much tears welled up compulsively at the corners of her eyes. And then she did what everyone thought girls did best. She screamed with all her might into the night sky. Someone had to hear her. Someone, anyone, please-!

"Shut up." Something cold was pressed to her throat, cutting her scream off successfully. "No one's coming to help you. No one's brave enough to risk their neck for a little girl like-"

"No one will come to save you either."

Suddenly, she heard a different voice. And then there was a low grunt as the hand holding Dawn's hair was gone.

Frozen, Dawn could only listen as shouts and groans filled the air. She heard several resounding cracks as either a leg or arm made contact with someone's else's body. The beatings seemed endless and the noises didn't stop until all feeling had returned to her limbs.

Scrabbling to her feet, Dawn whipped around, reaching for a Poke ball, only to see…

Four unconscious men tied to a streetlight. The fat Purugly also had its own place on the pole, strapped to it by the tail and hanging over the wheezing man's face.

"What…what's going on?" She whispered, almost unable to believe what she was seeing. "Who..."

She saw movement from the corner of her eye, causing her to turn and shout, "Wait! Come back!" The figure raced from sight.

She saw a flash of white in the darkness.

"Dawn, Dawn! You alright?"

A petite pink-haired girl sprinted to her side. Her eyes, which were the same shade of pink as her hair, were wide and concerned.

"Maylene…" Dawn could only stare blankly at her friend, who had begun surveying the bound men and Pokemon, now looking rather pitiful in the dusty gaze of the streetlight.

"I'm pretty sure you didn't do this." Maylene commented. "I haven't taught you how to tie a good knot yet."

"He got away."

"Huh?" Maylene came up close to Dawn's face. "What do you mean?"

"The guy who did this," Dawn didn't know why, but her lips were lifting up into a smile. "He got away before I could get a good look at him, but now I know we're keeping an eye out for someone with white hair."

"An old man did all this!" Maylene exclaimed.

"I don't think so." Dawn stepped away from Maylene to survey the subdued men as well. "No old man can move like that. I'm sure of it. Maylene!"

"What, what?" The young gym leader looked her way in surprise at her raised voice.

"You have to teach me some more moves so I can be like that." Dawn pointed at the men, who were now being unbound by several Black Belts that trained over at the Dojo.

Maylene rolled her eyes.

"Of course."

Minutes ago, Maylene had been prepared to go out alone and look for Dawn, after her father, who liked to gamble at the game corner, told her that Dawn still hadn't left yet. Upon hearing the screams, the young girl ended up rousing several Black Belts sleeping in the gym in order to help her with a possible gang fight.

Looking at her friend now, she seemed more than a little shaken.

"These gambling addicts have been going much too far lately." Maylene mused. "Things have been getting weirder ever since sightings of that large dragon Pokémon have been reported." She clenched her fists. Change was coming to Veilstone and none of it was any good.

"People have gone missing."

"Missing…" Dawn's expression fell. "Lucas…" She began to stare off into the distance, falling deep in thought.

"Dawn? You alright?" Maylene waved a hand in front of her face. "Come on, let's go back to the Dojo. My guys will help clean up this mess. You look like you're gonna throw up."

Dawn allowed her friend to drag her back to the gym, where she planned to stay for the next few days. That was just in case Lucas didn't show up on time. And at this point he was already one day late.

Had she done the wrong thing by letting him go to Snowpoint? The empty feeling stayed in her chest, even after she was back in her comfortable sleeping bag. If Lucas didn't show up tomorrow, then she would fly for Snowpoint and that would be the end of that.

Tomorrow, she would see. Tomorrow, she would definitely see.

—Veilstone Game Corner, Current Time—

So why was she here standing in front of this place once again? Didn't people learn from their mistakes? Or perhaps...

A man wearing a white cap walked past and her eyes inadvertently followed his figure.

Perhaps she was looking for the white-haired man, hoping that he might appear before her again.

White hair... There weren't many people on the planet, let alone Sinnoh, who had hair of that color and could beat and tie up four healthy men to a pole and escape from the scene in less than two minutes. It had to be a young man, with hair color that didn't match his age. Now how many people walked around looking like that in broad daylight?

Suddenly, her thoughts were cut off the moment she realized her eye was trained on clothing she should've seen from miles off. That black shirt! Those incredibly worn blue jeans! How did she not recognize them right from the get-go?

"LUCAS!" Dawn raced for the boy, who come to an abrupt stop at her rapid approach. Her arms outstretched, her eyes still on those blue jeans, she was almost there!

"Lucas!" She yelled again, only with less enthusiasm because she was about do something that required almost all her attention. Her hand began to form a first. "You…JERK!"

But by the time she looked up it was already too late. Her punch had been quick and hard and point-blank.

No, the face she saw wasn't Lucas's. It was a boy who had glasses, a shocked expression, and ear-length hair. And she had just punched him right on the nose.

—A Second Later, Cheren—

How many men in this world could tell other people they'd been slapped by a girl? A good few, perhaps.

Now how many ever mentioned being punched by one?

And then had a nosebleed?

Cheren yelled so loud that more than several people looked over to see who had gotten into a fight, only to see a girl holding a fist in the air and a young man holding his nose, which was bleeding through his fingers. Growing disinterested at the sight, the people who looked went back to walking to wherever they were originally headed.

"Whad's your problem!" Cheren demanded, nasally, of the girl who had called out someone's name and then come running over just to punch him in the nose. "Whad do you dink...!" He trailed off when he saw the girl made no more moves to physically hurt him in any way.

She could only stare at him with her mouth slightly agape, as if unable to believe he wasn't this…this Lucas person. But now that he looked at her more closely, her clothes did somewhat resemble the ones he wore, except she also wore a scarf and white beanie. He supposed her actions made a little more sense now.

Cheren gratefully took the handkerchief Bianca wordlessly handed to him. The baby Psyduck following at her feet quacked sadly at the scene before her.

"I'm…I'm sorry. I thought you were someone else…I… Your clothes, they look exactly like the ones my friend wears."

Cheren didn't need glasses to see the apology in her eyes. However, her words caused him to remember something Candice's grandmother had said to him back in Snowpoint.

The boy whose clothes you are wearing was also taken away.

"You said his name was Lucas?" Cheren had to make sure. This girl had been waiting for someone who wore clothes similar to his. "Has your friend gone to Snowpoint recently?"

By the time the girl replied to his question, he had gotten most of the blood off his nose. Bianca probably wouldn't want this handkerchief back.

"Yes…" Her voice was quiet, but she didn't sound very surprised. Instead, she simply deflated somewhat. "He's been to Snowpoint. And here you are wearing his clothes and no Lucas in sight. That outfit is his favorite, you know? If he lent it to you, then he should be traveling with you guys since he was supposed to meet me here yesterday. But he isn't here so…"

"I'm sorry," was all Cheren could bring himself to say, though he wasn't sure why he was apologizing. Was it because he had donned these clothes in ignorance of what happened when a girl like her, who actually knew their owner, saw him walking around in them? Yes, that was probably why he was telling her he was sorry.

"Apology accepted." The girl replied, as if she had followed his line of thought. "And I'm sorry, too, for... you know... Anyway, it's nice to meet the two of you. Erm…"

"Cheren." He replied.

"Bianca." She gave a small wave, apparently having forgiven the girl rather quickly for smashing her lover's nose in.

"Mine's Dawn and you need to tell me how you ended up with Lucas' clothes on your back."

When he nodded, Dawn's eyes seemed to light up with the anticipation of hearing a good story or two. "By the way, do either of you have a place to stay? You don't look like you live here."

"We don't and we're working on it." Bianca said with a somewhat embarrassed smile. "But we're kind of lost."

Cheren muttered something that sounded like: "Yeah…"

"That's good."

"What?" Bianca stared at the girl's response to their plight. Cheren looked over at her too.

"The gym leader here. Marlene. You can stay with me at her place. You're definitely welcome there and I'm sure she won't have any problems with me bringing a few friends over."

Cheren shared a glance with Bianca, who nodded. They were in agreement then.

The trip to Lake Acuity and back was probably going to take up the rest of the day so a place to stay in Veilstone didn't sound too bad. Otherwise, they would have to find refuge in Pastoria, where another chance like this might not happen again.

"Thank you we'd like that, but we'll have to head for Acuity Lake first."

"To re-awaken Azelf?"

Cheren was taken aback by her knowledge of the Lake Guardian. "You know about Azelf?"

Dawn winked. "Of course, I was the one who woke them up the last time." Then she looked to the side, as if embarrassed at telling them this rather astonishing fact. Maybe it was because both Cheren and Bianca were staring at her as if she'd grown two heads.

"Why?" Bianca asked her. "What did you need their help for?"

"Dialga..." the expression on Dawn's face was suddenly unreadable. "And Team Galactic… I'm surprised you don't know this. It was all over the news how Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic, was trying to create the perfect world using Dialga. He wanted to make 'a world without spirit', or so he said."

Cheren was about to tell her that they actually came from a different region, but Dawn spoke up again before he could.

"He also told me he was going to come back and finish what he started…These disappearances... They could be because of him! This might be Cyrus' revenge!"

"Dawn." Cheren interrupted her before she strayed further from the truth. "The one behind Giratina's awakening isn't Cyrus."

The girl was quiet for a moment. Then she asked, "Giratina…? I've only ever heard it once or twice in my travels… And you say Cyrus isn't the one behind it... Then who is?"

"His name is Ghetsis." Cheren was reluctant to say the man's name out loud. From the corner of his eye, he saw Bianca wince.

Then she began to explain, "He managed to lure Giratina by using his own son to open a portal into the Pokémon's world. I think he no longer has a shred of compassion left in his soul… if there was even any there to begin with."

"He sounds much too similar to Cyrus." Dawn mused. "They could be working together for all you know."

"No, it's unlikely." Cheren dismissed the idea. "He was alone when we encountered him in Snowpoint. And I doubt Ghetsis is the type to want to share power with anyone. I can probably assume the same with this Cyrus."

A shadow crossed Dawn's face. "Then if that's the case, even after Ghetsis is defeated, Sinnoh may still be in danger from another man just like him."

There was a moment of silence between the three of them as they all realized just how disconcerting Dawn's words were.

Then she sighed and crossed her arms. "I suppose there isn't any point in coming up with theories right now. We'll have to deal with the problems as they come. So..." She uncrossed her arms and pointed in the direction of Lake Acuity. "Lead the way!"

"Wait, you're coming with us?" Bianca looked uncertainly at Cheren, then back again. "You don't have to, you know?"

"But I can be useful since I know my way around. You'll need me a lot more than you think."

It seemed there was no arguing with her so Cheren simply nodded.

"Finally!" Bianca cheered. "We have directions!"

He groaned.

Then, without further ado, the quartet set off for Lake Acuity with Dawn leading the way and Psyduck stumbling along at the rear.

"By the way, where's your hometown?" Dawn asked conversationally. "Mine's Twinleaf."

Cheren looked back at Bianca to see if she was going to answer her. When she didn't, he said, "We're from a different region actually. Our hometown is called Nuvema. And it took us seven hours to fly to Sinnoh."

Since Dawn's back was to them, Cheren didn't see her eyebrows rise in surprise, but he easily heard it in her voice. "Wow…" She looked back. "Did you use Pokémon or a plane?"

"I would imagine only Legendaries can afford to fly from region to region." Cheren noted.

"Right... forgot about that." Dawn turned back around. "Anyway, where did you land the plane? We don't have any cities with runways in Sinnoh. Everyone mainly travels by using Pokémon to fly from city to city, or by boat."

"We parachuted."

When Dawn whipped around to stare at them in amazement, Bianca giggled.

"Don't worry, we weren't crazy." Cheren said rather seriously. "I had to question my own sanity several times."

"But it isn't so bad once you jump." Bianca added.

Despite Bianca's honest gaze, Dawn didn't look quite so convinced.

After she got them started once more on their way, she muttered to herself, "Maybe... but it all depends on where you land."

—Route 214—

"This route has a lot of fences doesn't it?" Bianca commented.

Dawn laughed. "I've wondered about those too. I think someone wanted to go for a maze effect."

"It does seem to be that way." When Dawn looked to the side, she saw Cheren actually analyzing them from afar. "And there seem to be a few Psychics hanging around. They've always had a preference for mystery... and mazes."

Pointing to the mountains, Dawn told them, "There are a few cliffs to our right. We won't have to walk around these fences if we go that way, though the area has some tall grass-"

"No." Cheren interjected. "I think we should go with the fences."

Behind him, Bianca simply crossed her hands and shook her head silently.

"I see..." Dawn looked sympathetically at Cheren for a second before she said, "The fences then."

It was a while before the three of them ran into trouble and their journey for the day was put on hold, but, when they did, Dawn was the first to see the figures among the trees.

"Hey…" Slowing down to a gradual walk, she pointed at a spot in the dense forest. "I saw something over there."

"A Pokémon?" asked Bianca. Psyduck began to struggle in her arms and Bianca had to pick her up after the Pokemon kept straying away towards the mountainside, almost as if… "Psyduck, what's wrong?"

Psyduck refused to stop squirming to get out of her grasp so Bianca eventually had to put her down. Upon touching the ground, Psyduck unexpectedly unleashed a weak stream of water from its mouth. It was strong enough, however, to penetrate the wall of trees.

Suddenly there was movement between the tree trunks and Cheren saw what Dawn had spied earlier.

"Come out where we can see you!" He demanded. That white blur, those masks, there were only three people in the world that could move like that. And how could he ever forget? They had been the ones to help Ghetsis escape from arrest in the first place.

"Shadow triad…" Bianca whispered. Then, in her mind, two and two came together and she hissed, "They've been sent by Ghetsis!"

Cheren wasted no time.

"Run!" He grabbed Bianca's hand and took off for Lake Acuity. She barely had time to bend down and scoop Psyduck up into her arms. If they could cross the lake before the triad overtook them…

"Dawn!" He heard Bianca call out.

When he looked over his shoulder, he saw that Dawn had reacted late to his cry and one of the triad had tripped her before she could start running away.

When Bianca turned her head back towards him, her eyes suddenly widened in fear. "Cheren, look out!"

He whipped his head back only to force both of them to stop abruptly before the remaining two Shadow triad members who had appeared in front of them faster than humanly possible.

"No…" He breathed. He felt Bianca tighten her grip on his hand. "What do you want? Did your master send you to stop us?"

As expected of them, they made no reply. Instead, they took their time, stepping slowly, gradually decreasing the distance between them and their prey. Then, without warning, the triad members shot forward and grabbed each trainer by the collar.

Cheren had no time to react before a single fist sank deep into his stomach and his vision began to darken.

He was out before he hit the floor.


She never made it.

In the little time she had before he tripped her, she understood that that was the cost for her hesitation. But what she couldn't understand right now was why the person who saved her the other night was trying to hurt her now.

She landed so that she only received a few scrapes, but she knew it wasn't over yet. A pair of black-clothed feet appeared in her line of vision and she knew something was coming right… now!

Dawn rolled out of the way just in time to dodge the punch that had been aimed for her head. He'd probably been trying to knock her out with that one. She rolled again but this time she rolled to her feet and stood up cautiously, circling so that the trees weren't at her back. Instead, her back was to the fences.

"So you're working for Ghetsis, huh?" She glared into the whited-out eyes of the man's mask. It was almost like talking to a statue. So still. So cold. Was this the man who saved her life? Or was it one of the other two?

A small wind blew and a few strands of the man's long, white hair fell across his face. He made no move to remove them, however. He was either too focused on her to do it or he just didn't care.

Dawn wanted to laugh at herself. What was she doing thinking about his hair at a time like this?

"They are unconscious now, brother. What shall we do with them?" Someone else spoke and Dawn's ears perked up. That voice…it…didn't belong to the one from last night.

They stepped into her field of vision now. Two, nearly identical, white-haired men appeared on either side of their sibling, each carrying a body over their shoulders.

The one she couldn't tear her eyes from had the longest hair, lithely flowing past his collar bone and stopping just short of his waist. When was the last time she'd seen a man with such long hair?

Then she snapped herself out of it and took several steps back. These men were still dangerous ... and fast. Even with a head start, Cheren and Bianca had still captured and thrown over their shoulders like flower sacks. There was no outrunning them.

"What are you going to do with them?" It was a time-old question, but Dawn tried to ask it with authority. "Are you going to kill them like your master wants you to?" Instead, her voice just sounded frightened to her ears.

She nearly flinched when the white-haired man before her took a step forward, but clenched her fists to help her hold it in. Had she hit a nerve?

"Take them back to Veilstone. I'll take care of this one." His decision surprised her. It was almost like... he was making this personal. But the next thing that registered in her mind made her want to cry out in frustration.

This was his voice. This was the one.

His two brothers immediately did as they were told and they left the scene, leaving Dawn to face him alone.

A plan, she needed a plan. No going down without a fight, especially not with this man.

He'd seen her at her weakest moment and if he thought that was all she was, then he was dead wrong.

She was not weak.


At the sound of her name, her eyes snapped up to meet the lens of his mask.

"That's your name isn't it?" His lip suddenly lifted into a smile that made Dawn's stomach drop like she'd been flung several hundred feet down a cliff.

The bad kind of cliff.

This was the man who saved her life? She was filled with disappointment all of a sudden. Really, what had she been expecting?

And why was she being intimidated like this? Where was the girl who had once spoken with all three Lake Guardians of Sinnoh, gazed into Dialga's fearsome eyes, then, shortly afterwards, stared down the region's Pokemon Champion? Where was she and who was this shaking girl standing in her shoes right now?

Dawn grit her teeth. Savior of Sinnoh or not, she wasn't about to be pushed down by this man.

"You will let us through," She forced herself to straighten her back. "Whether it's today or tomorrow, or the days after that, no matter what it takes, we will defeat all of you and you won't be bothering us again until we've stopped your master's plans." Dawn paused to take a breath. The tension in the air was like a rubber band about to snap. "I don't care if you're the one who saved my life. If you work for a man like Ghetsis..." The man who took Lucas away.

"I won't forgive you."

And then it was a long time before anyone spoke, but, when someone did, their voice penetrated the silence easily.

"You think I saved you because I cared about what might happen to you?" His words cut into her like little glass shards, even though his voice was calm… cruelly calm. "You will never understand a man like me, Dawn. It's better not to get involved in matters like this, even if you are a Pokemon champion."

The way he spoke to her made Dawn feel like a fourteen year-old again. It made her feel like the Dawn who just started out in Twinleaf with her Piplup and still knew nothing of Pokemon battles. It made her feel very, very angry.

"I'm glad you didn't care!" She hissed. "Now I won't feel bad when I beat you at your own game."

"You think you can defeat me?" The man smirked.

"Like I said, if not today, then tomorrow." She kept her voice from faltering, but her stomach was once more blanketed in ice. Yes, she wasn't going to be able to beat him this time, but she would have her chance in the future... if he chose to let her live.

His foot made as if to step forward.

Now! She grabbed for a Poke ball and the man raced forward like that was his cue, his fist aiming low for her stomach.

What she did next, however, wasn't to stop his blow, but something he did not see coming at all.

She whipped the Poke ball straight into his forehead!

His fist caught her in the gut and she saw stars, but before she blacked out she had the privilege of hearing a resounding thunk as her ball made impact.

She wanted to shout out her triumph with a 'That's right!', but all that came out of her mouth was a very inelegant groan. Then she fell forward and could remember nothing from that point on.

He caught her before she landed and lowered her slowly to the ground, crouching.

For a long time, he stayed like that, simply gazing down at her. His forehead continued to throb somewhat, a reminder of the interesting things this girl was capable of.

Saving her... He had simply been in the right place at the right time. There was no more meaning to it other than that, but to this girl perhaps it meant a little more... His fingers strayed toward her hairline.

Then he caught himself. What was he doing?

Shaking off the moment, he bent down until he could whisper in her ear, "I'll be waiting for you... for you to challenge me. And then you will learn to hate me, for I will ensure that Ghetsis fulfills his dream no matter what."

He picked her up and threw her over one shoulder. Then, almost unconsciously, he wondered at how slender she was. She felt so light against his body.

Again, he shook off those disturbing thoughts and was about to leave, but then he remembered the empty Poke ball she had thrown.

Upon throwing it, the ball had enlarged. But, since it hadn't been used to catch a Pokemon, it shrank back to its original size.

Crouching down again, with the girl still dangling over his shoulder, he picked up the Poke ball.

For the second time in his life, the first being due to Ghetsis' downfall, he felt a small shiver of uncertainty travel up his body. All these movements and... the way both his body and thoughts gravitated toward her almost unnerved him.

It felt almost... natural.

He stood up. Then, in one motion, he threw the Poke ball as hard as he could into the forest lining.

No, this girl wasn't meant to be. None of this was meant to be. He had better things to worry about.

Silently, the leader of the Shadow triad turned and began walking back to Veilstone with his burden. Before he left Route 214, the forests were quiet and the Pokemon hidden away. The winds did not blow, as if even they were waiting with bated breath for the last triad member to leave the vicinity.

Once he was gone, the place came back to life and everything was as if nothing had ever disturbed its peace.

And thus did the day end.

Chapter End


Keep your heads up for Chapter 7, coming soon.
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