*Crosses her fingers, hoping that the thread isn't too old (it was on the third page)*
Happy/Merry/Blessed December Holidays, everyone! Influenza, pink eye, and last-minute shopping aside, I offer up my gift to my readers: Chapter 20. *Repeats the number to herself, amazed*
This story actually comes to a whopping total of 94 pages in word, so I had to create a new document.
Consider this the beginning of Chronicles: Book 2.
Not a horribly exciting chapter, I'll admit. Once I was inspired, though, my very ADHD muse went to town. I think fans of Odd will find the twist here... a surprise.
I woke up the next morning, feeling refreshed since the previous day but having a heavy weight on my heart. What I had done to Umbreon was not fair, what I had made Celebi do was not fair, what had happened to the rest of the Eons was not fair, and what Espa had placed on my shoulders was not fair. I considered the last thought for a moment; I had no way of knowing whether Espa had actually seen me in her vision or if she had planted that for Umbra to find.
I stretched out my body, looking at the small stream we slept by. I bent over the water, unsure of if I wanted to take a drink. Celebi told me that Suicune didn’t purify the water anymore… I bent my head further over, tongue extended.
I let out a startled yelp as Odd’s vines lifted me perilously above the water. I had expected Celebi to intervene, not Odd, and his vine whip startled me.
“Odd, put me down,” I instructed him once I had regained a majority of my composure. Odd placed me on the ground gently, brow furrowed worriedly.
“Odd is sorry, Ami. Suicune rules the waters, yes. But she’s impure. The water is impure too,” the Bayleef explained, swaying back and forth, shooting glances every which way.
“How do you know?” I asked him carefully. Odd inclined his head at me for a moment, then used razor leaf on a tree branch above us. I screamed and leaped out of the way, Odd deflecting the blow with a tackle. The branch flew into the water, and we both watched as the leaves on the branch turned brown and crackled. My stomach twisted as I watched the dead stick float away on the impure waters. I looked up at Odd, who nodded furiously. I had this feeling about him that I just couldn’t shake…
“Odd, can I ask you a serious question?” I began. Odd gave me a look, inclining his head to one side, seeming genuinely confused. The facial expression almost made me laugh, if it weren’t for the seriousness of the situation.
“Oh, Ami is welcome. Ami does not need to thank Odd, Odd was just protecting his favorite Eevee Ami!” he piped up, proud in thinking that he had the entire situation figured out.
“Thank you, but that isn’t what I was going to say,” I began. Odd frowned suddenly, and I felt bad for what I was about to do. How could I say this to him without confusing him or hurting his feelings?
“…You… You aren’t an ordinary Bayleef, are you?” I asked him. Odd looked surprised, but I understood what I was asking him. He was always sensing what was going to happen, what I needed, when a Shard was coming… He didn’t have a very clear way of communicating these signals to me, but it somehow worked. These were not powers that any ordinary Bayleef should have. There was something about Odd’s powers that was special.
“What… What does Ami mean?” Odd asked me.
“I mean everything! Everything you knew! You knew when Articuno was going to show up, you knew who I was, you probably knew which of the Celebi were real, you knew when Suicune was coming for me, you knew about the water thing… Oddweed, what are you?” I finally snapped. Odd bowed his head under my outburst, looking about ready to begin crying. He then looked up at me and opened his mouth, as though to say something, but gasped and loosed a flurry of leaves. The attacker was not deterred, and I found my head hovering above the stream’s tainted waters, Suicune’s paw holding me down.
“Move and she dies, Husk!”
Suicune growled in an almost two-toned voice at Odd. Odd backed away, vines receding into his neck. He obviously knew she was talking to him. What was a Husk? Did it have something to do with Odd’s—? I snapped back into reality, then glared up at Suicune.
“Don’t you dare talk to Odd like that!”
I yelled at her, opening my mouth, forming a shadow ball. It was hissing so loudly from the rage I was using to fuel it that I almost didn’t hear her next statement.
“You’re defending a Husk? The Husk is powerless!”
Suicune laughed. I glanced at Odd, watching him bow his head further. I released the shadow ball, knocking Suicune into her own impure water. I galloped beside Odd, glancing up at him.
“Don’t let her stand there and call you that, Odd! Fight her!” I hollered at him.
“Odd can’t fight her, Ami!” he cried out. I could see tears in his eyes now.
“Odd, what is it? What is a Husk? Answer me!” I told him. A pillar of water swooped at us, and I threw up my protect force field just in time to deflect it away. The force still blew me backwards, away from Odd. Suicune stood over him, glaring down at him. Odd cowered away from her, but kept eye contact.
I yelped, scrambling to my feet and galloping toward them. I couldn’t let her hurt Odd, I couldn’t! Suicune loosed a loud roar at me, causing me to stutter in my footsteps. Suicune glared down at Odd, speaking to him in a series of clicks and deep, guttural tones that I could not understand as any one language. Odd glared at her viciously and responded in a similar manner, extending a vine and striking her across the face, growling. I could feel my jaw drop, but made no real effort to render my facial expression less rudely. What in the name of Mew—?
“Stay out of it, Husk. This is not your place. And tell your little Eevee mate over there to stop interfering with things she can’t handle,”
Suicune growled, gripping Odd in her mouth by his back and ramming him against a tree, letting him loose. She took one parting glance at me through corrupted eyes, then started to gallop away.
“Get back here! And I’m not his mate!”
I howled after her, sprinting as quickly as my shorter legs could carry me. I stopped with a jerk, though, when Odd wound a vine around my tail and yanked me back.
“Ami… can’t… hurt her…” Odd told me, trembling as he tried to stand up. I struggled to break free of his grip, watching Suicune bound away. Odd’s vine released me, and I galloped up to him, nuzzling him when he wouldn’t move.
“Odd? Odd, say something!” I whimpered, hoping that he was ok.
“Something?” Odd responded.
“Odd, what were you saying to Suicune? Where did you—What was—What’s a Husk?” I asked him, dreading the answer at the same time I was hoping for one.
“Odd and Suicune were speaking in Otnak,” Odd told me, hanging his head.
“What’s Otnak? It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before,” I prodded him further.
“Otnak is an old language, Ami. Very old. All Pokémon, even Odd, know how to speak it and read it,” he told me.
“Read? It’s written?” I asked, somewhat shocked. As far as I knew, Pokémon had no need to read. I then remembered the prophecy that Espa had scrawled onto the wall. I had inherently understood it without ever seeing Otnak before. I shivered uneasily, then glanced up at Odd.
“But Odd—No one has spoken Otnak in—I don’t know, hundreds of years? How come you were able to use it so fluently? Did you understand it?” I asked him.
“Odd understands it. All Pokémon do,” he nodded, though with growing impatience.
“Why didn’t I?” I asked suddenly, the question rolling out of my mouth before I realized that it had formed in my head. Odd stopped dead in his tracks and turned a shade paler, turning his head away from me. I then came to another realization.
“You made it up. You made up Otnak to try and cover up what you were doing.” Odd turned away and began to slowly move, but I galloped in front of him. “Odd, please. I’m not going to judge you. Tell me the truth. We’re all in on this together, so whatever you know is something I need to know.”
“Not all of Odd’s knowing is to be Ami’s!” Odd blurted, glaring at me. I was taken aback by Odd’s outburst, my hackles instinctively raised before I fought the fur down.
“Odd, no, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is—” What did
I mean? I was prodding into his business, and not even in a very subtle way. I frowned and looked at the ground, digging my paw into the wet soil before me. I didn’t even care that it was tainted at this point; I was too busy wanting answers. I heard Odd sigh, and I looked up.
“Odd did not make up Otnak. Otnak is real, but only Legends speak it. Others read it. Odd will not tell Ami where Odd learned to speak it,” Odd explained. I released my held breath, relieved that he told me at least part of the truth.
“Odd, what is a Husk?” Odd backed away uneasily, then took off at a gallop. Surprised, it took me a moment to catch up with him. “Odd! Please! I know Suicune was talking to you, and I know you know what it means! Please tell me!” Odd stopped, causing me to stop suddenly and lose my footing, landing face-first in the ground.
“A Husk… Husk is an insult for grass-types. Grass-types shed leaves, leaving husks behind. That’s it,” Odd nodded. This was significantly less believable than what he had told me about Otnak.
“Odd, please. Only Legends can speak Otnak, and Suicune called you a Husk, and you know how to speak it…” I tried to peace it together in my head, but I could not come up with anything that didn’t sound like I tried to force a Girafarig’s second head to tell me.
“Amethys’! Odd! Celebi, Rae’n I’ve been lookin’ fer ye!” We both looked up, Salty side-stepping over to greet us.
“Odd and Ami saw Suicune. She was too fast, she got away,” Odd blurted just as I was opening my mouth. I then turned to him, about to say something, and he gave me a silencing glare. I closed my mouth. What on earth was this Bayleef trying to hide from everyone?
“Aye, an’ we’ve been listenin’ fer Ho-oh; he’s been seen ‘round parts. Been wormin’ things outta Pidgeys’n stuff,” Salty told us.
“Group, we need to leave,” I looked up to see Celebi hovering over us, Rae trailing her. I instinctively lunged at Rae, who was initially shocked by the gesture but then worked his arms around my neck in a hug, face nuzzled into my mane.
“Leave? But Suicune and Ho-oh—!” I started. Celebi shook her head.
“We can’t get Ho-oh until we get the Hounds,” Celebi clarified. I knew by Hounds she meant the trio Suicune, Entei, and Raikou.
“But I didn’t need the Mirages to get Lugia,” I replied, referring to Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.
“Not a matter. Lugia is the Guardian of the Sea; his role is to protect the sea and the Sea Mother Kyogre, not to baby-sit the Mirages. Ho-oh is the Resurrecter; he revived the Hounds from the fire that first killed them. He is directly responsible for them, and they for protecting him. If we can purify the Hounds, they will willingly lead us to Ho-oh, and Ho-oh will not have them under his command any longer. We need to do this quickly, though; If any other Pokémon are killed, Ho-oh could revive them into corrupted creatures. The only catch is they would have no Shard to remove,” Celebi explained. I absorbed every single word and nodded in understanding. Rae released me, and Celebi flitted her way ahead of us.
“I know where Suicune is likely to go. It used to be called Mirror Lake; you could look into it and see your soul, supposedly, reflected back at you. It’s a toxic waste now though; she’s… neglected
it these past few hundred years,” Celebi spat, glaring in the general direction of what I assumed to be the lake. I shivered at her tone, bounding after Celebi, Odd following beside me. I stole a glance at him, and he looked away. The Bayleef was leaving me with more questions than answers; I had to get something from someone about the Husk.