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Old 06-20-2007, 05:17 PM
Darth Murkrow's Avatar
Darth Murkrow Offline
Elite Trainer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: On Hiatus: Back in November
Posts: 765
Default Re: The Chronicles of the Shards

Chapter 6 took a really long time, too, and it nearly became five pages!

Chapter 6

“Amethyst?” I opened my eyes and blinked, trying to stop seeing triple. I looked up, seeing three Bayleef standing over me. I closed my eyes and shook out my head, looking up. There were only two Bayleef this time.

“Odd?” I asked.

“Ami! Odd thought you were dead!” he cheered, leaping over me and nuzzling me, obviously overjoyed with the fact that I was not dead.

“Odd, sir, please let Amethyst breathe.” Odd shrank away, and I looked up at Articuno, restored to his former self. I gasped and tried to get up to bow, but could barely move. “Amethyst, rest yourself. You had quite a battle, and I am impressed, considering that you are an Eevee. No offense,” he added as an afterthought.

“Not a problem, but… how long was I out?” I asked them.

“Days,” Odd said simply.

“Days,” I repeated, skeptically raising my brow. Odd nodded violently. Articuno nodded at the ground before me, and I looked to see a small blue shard. I reached forward, yelping in pain from my strained muscles, then lay backward again, internally cursing.

“Please, rest! You’ve pushed yourself way too hard! We need to make sure you’re ok!” Aritcuno half-laughed, amused somehow at my determination.

“Yes! Odd was very worried,” Odd assured me, laying down next to me. Articuno sat on the other side of me, careful to avoid the shard.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did. If you had not removed that accursed gem from me, who knows what other wrongs I would have committed. I truly am in your debt,” Articuno told me, bowing his head. I smiled at the Legend.

“It’s not a problem, really,” I assured him.

“I only ask that you take the shard away from me as soon as possible.”

“Oh, of course!” I reached for the gem, holding my breath and dragging it to me, clutching it in both of my forepaws, letting out my breath in a hiss. The shard took on an odd glow and was siphoned out of my hands in a beam of light, drawn into the black gem around my neck.

“Where’d it go? Umbreon?” I asked, not hearing any answer. I sighed, making a mental note to contact her later tonight.

“Come. There is something I must show you,” Articuno said, standing up. Odd scooped me up and placed me on Articuno’s back with his vines, then Articuno bent down to allow the Bayleef up. He flapped carefully around the mountain, the cold air making me shudder. I looked over at the sun and realized, from its position, that it was noon. I looked over as soon as I felt Articuno adjust his position in the air, approaching a bubbling pool of water several miles beneath our former location.

Articuno landed, bending over to let Odd and I off of his back. Both of us, just beside the pond, were blasted with steam.

“The magma running under this mountain heats the mineral water, and it created this spring. I don’t use it personally, but many of the Pokémon that pass through here do. I figured, as a reward for saving me, that I should show you its location so you could bathe in it for a while. It will help heal your injuries,” Articuno told us.

“Thank you!” I gasped, mainly because Odd had just tilted his body and submerged me in the water. I gasped as I came up, Odd leaping in and splashing me. “Odd!” I laughed, splashing him, already feeling much better. The warm water immediately penetrated my skin and relaxed my muscles, and I sighed in contentment.

“Oh? We have a visitor,” Articuno began. I looked up, seeing a small, shivering figure collapse. He glanced at us again. “I am afraid I must leave you. Farewell, and may you have good luck with the rest of your journey,” he told me, bowing his head, then flying off.

“Artic—!” I began, but he was already gone. Why did he need to leave so quickly? I looked back at the figure, who was stumbling this way, and gasped out loud.

His pointed ears were drooping, his small, furry body trembling from his travels. His cheeks, normally crimson in color, were now a pale pink from poor health. His lightning bolt tail lifted up and down with every breath, and he was obviously in need of help. I pulled myself from the spring, wincing when the cold air struck my wet body, and hobbled over to the Pikachu, grateful that I could walk.

“Are you ok?” I asked him, offering my back to the Pikachu to lean on so he could support most of his weight. He winced away from me, and I looked into his face; he held an apprehensive look, and seemed incredibly shy. I smiled at him, and he only seemed more intimidated.

“No, no, I don’t want to trouble you…” he murmured, embarrassed, scratching at an ear with one of his front paws.

“It’s not a problem, really! Believe me, I’ve had a lot of those lately!” I told him with a laugh. The Pikachu mumbled something under his breath. “What?” I asked. The Pikachu jumped and shrank back into the shadows, shaking. I looked over at Odd, who looked ready to drag the Pikachu into the spring, but I gave him a look telling him to stay there. He obeyed and proceeded to pop the bubbles in the water with the tip of his leaf. I rolled my eyes and turned back to the electric rodent before me.

I sat down next to the Pikachu, who looked exceedingly uncomfortable with my presence. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. Embarrassed, I shook my head and tried again.

“…What’s your name?” I asked him. He looked up at me, and I noticed that his coloration was more orange than the yellow of most Pikachus.

“Rae,” he told me quietly.

“I love that name,” I told him, wrapping my tail around his body to try and keep him warm and make him feel comfortable. I still felt him shaking under my tail, but I wasn’t sure whether it was from cold or from fear.

“…Really?” he whispered, looking at me. I nodded at him. I saw a hint of a smile creep onto his face. He looked at the gem around my neck. “Umbreon’s gem… You’re Amethyst. The story… it’s real?”

“I’m afraid so. Come on, I’ll explain. You can stay with us tonight, Rae,” I told him, standing up and smiling at him. He smiled back and allowed me to lead him back to Odd, who proceeded to aggressively welcome the newcomer to our group.

“Amethyst, I know what you want to ask me.” I looked up, seeing Umbreon sit before me. “The shard is safe in here with me. Once all of the gems have regenerated, it will be your job to deliver them safely to Mew. Only Mew will know what to do with them.”

I nodded, suddenly thinking about the world outside of the gem and how much Umbreon was missing. Umbreon sat next to me and stared up into the void, as though trying to will the stars and moon into existence.

“I’ve almost forgotten what the stars look like,” she sighed, and I looked into her eyes. Inside of the red eyes was a hint of sadness that I had never noticed before. She looked down at the ground. “Katana was the first to teach me to see the beauty in darkness.” I gave her a confused look, and she took it upon herself to explain.

“I was in love once, Amethyst,” she began. “It was inevitable. When I saw Katana for the first time, he won me over. The fact he was a Sneasel had nothing to do with it, even though my sisters insisted that it did.” I tried to imagine Umbreon paired with a Sneasel, a dark-colored creature with sharp claws and a red feather on its head. She saw my skeptical glance and smiled at me.

“Katana would come to me every night, and we would sit outside the dark cave I called my home and look up at the stars and the moon. He made it a point to compare me to these celestial bodies, and when, frustrated with my predicament, I asked him what was left for me to live for, embodying darkness against my will. He told me, then, something I could never forget:

“There is some light in all darkness. Even if things look bad, remember that there is always someone who will love you and care about you, no matter what.”

“At that, he left me there to ponder his words. At the time, I never realized that it would be the last time I would ever see him, so I trivialized his words, taking them for granted as a lover’s way to make their partner feel better about themselves. The very next day, I was killed.” Tears began to form in her eyes. She turned her face toward the ground, closing her eyes and letting the tears roll down her face, but never allowing her voice to break for an instant.

“Amethyst, please, hold those you love close to you. Odd and Rae mean more to you than you will ever realize, and you to them. If you were to die, and never see them again, all of you would be crushed, and the reverse would also be true. I have been cursed, having my conscious mind trapped on earth forever to feel guilt over what I will never see or feel again. Please, as you retrieve the shards, don’t ever for an instant think that Odd or Rae doesn’t mean anything they say to you.”

She looked up at me, and I could see the familiar feeling of being pulled out of the gem into my world.

“If you see Katana, tell him Umbra-Chan wishes her best!” she called to me, and I wondered about this for a moment before I was startled awake.

I looked around the cave our trio had taken refuge in, and then squinted into the wide opening, where a hard rain was coming down. Why would it be raining? We were still in Articuno’s mountain territory; it should be snowing! I ignored this for the time being and looked at Odd and Rae, who were both sound asleep. The Bayleef mumbled something in his sleep about flowers, and Rae trembled and kicked at the air with an occasional whimper. I smiled at the two Pokémon, both so… different in the eyes of others. I curled up between them, wrapping my tail around Rae to keep him warm, and I could feel his trembling lessen almost instantly.

“There is some light in all darkness. Even if things look bad, remember that there is always someone who will love you and care about you, no matter what.”

Katana’s words were well intentioned, and I was thankful that Umbreon had told me about him. He cared for her deeply, just as I cared for these two Pokémon, dropped into these circumstances by fault not of their own, their destinies intertwined with mine.

“Good night, guys,” I whispered to them, resting my head on my paws and listening to the sound of the rain, waiting for the rays of sunshine to signal a time to begin our trip again.

Done: 800
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