Re: Behind the Eyes of Cipher [PG-13] ~Chapter 7 Up!~
It was several days after the raid. Diminuitive, of course, but a raid nonetheless; the village looked more lonely and miserable than broken and abandoned. As if a piece were missing from the eternal puzzle. Caiden gazed blankly at the slightly beaten-up walls of the buildings, mostly retirement homes, and found himself cycling through his memory every time. I don't remember this... I didn't do this... they did. In truth, he knew he was lying to himself. But for how long could he keep up the barrier of lies that protected him from the truth about himself?
Caiden clearly heard every grunt that Blaziken emitted. The Pokemon walked slowly and steadily beside him, not bothering to remind itself of the damage that had already been done. Does it know... what they did? Caiden swallowed down a lump of anxiety. What we did? When the Blaziken growled and stopped, so did he; but it was a false alarm. The Pokemon merely glanced back at Caiden and snorted. But not with contempt, as Caiden has noticed earlier on, back in the forest. It had since established some kind of connection with him. Trust?
New questions, new thoughts filled his tortured mind. But Caiden could only focus on the girl. Where she lived, he had no idea. But that was up to Blaziken. The Pokemon seemed to know where they were headed. It was eerie how the two were more allied than before, although neither Caiden nor Blaziken showed no evident signs of respect or friendship.
A creaky door opened in the dead of night. Blaziken halted and stood calmly, awaiting the approaching figure. It moved swiftly and was mostly veiled by the forest's darkness, but Caiden could easily make out the same emerald eyes that viewed him with such contempt and derision. Frowning suspiciously, the girl appeared before Caiden and Blaziken, stopping several yards away to keep her distance.
"What are you doing here?" she inquired caustically.
Caiden was silent, lowering his head toward the ground, until Blaziken gave him a sharp pinch and a nudge. Snapping his head up, he scowled at the Pokemon with narrowed eyes, and shifted his line of vision to the girl. She looked just as fearsome as ever, which made it even more impossible to say what he felt he needed to say.
"I... we... I-I..." he stuttered quietly.
The girl's voice softened slightly, though her expression remained unchanged. "I saw you coming here from my window. Why... did you come back?" She looked at Blaziken, studying the Pokemon. "It doesn't look like it wants to fight. And it didn't... before, you know."
"I-I know," Caiden replied unsteadily. Blaziken growled, pushing him on to continue. "I came here... for... ugh..." He sighed heavily, letting his chest fall. "For many reasons." At this, the girl blinked and tilted her head.
"What do you mean? You're a pretty straightforward person, as far as I can tell."
"You must know by now that Cipher is an organization with unimaginable forces," Caiden blurted, spitting out the first thing on his mind. "I... wouldn't meddle with them."
The girl glared at him viciously. "Don't tell me that," she snapped, louder than she had intended to. "You have no idea what real power is. Real power comes -- "
"No," Caiden interfered. He clenched his fists and his eyes locked with hers. "Real power is Cipher." He paused, his heart pounding forcefully in his ribs. "And it... it's too much... for one person."
At this, Blaziken growled loudly and crossed its arms. When the girl looked at it, it nodded its head low with glinting eyes, staring at Caiden quizzically. Caiden continued, not bothering to look up.
"I... don't know exactly who you are," he started, "but I can tell you that wherever you have been, whatever pain you have experienced, I have experienced more."
"How would you kn -- "
"I simply... have," he growled. The girl furrowed her eyebrows skeptically. "Too much for me to bear. It's all too much..."
She held her doubt. "Yes, I'm sure that stealing innocent Pokemon for your own power must be very hard."
"You don't understand." Caiden looked up at her, and at this both Blaziken and the girl were taken aback. "You have no idea..." Tears flooded Caiden's bloodshot eyes, some flowing down his grimy face, turning a muddy brown. The look in his eyes resembled the same expression of those countless shadow Pokemon he had spent months torturing and training. Though he stood strong, his face was wrecked with emotional pain.
The girl's eyes lost their fierce glare and turned to shining green stones of wonder.
"Well... wow," she breathed.
Caiden exhaled slowly and shook his head to the side, causing tiny drops of saltwater to fly from his face onto the ground. There, they left a shimmering sparkle of relieved sorrow.
"I... suppose I am... not proud of my past," Caiden whispered miserably. "What I have done... the pain I have caused... I regret it all." When the girl said nothing, he continued slowly. Painfully. "I can tell you now that what I want most is to forget about everything... to just start over. I can't... I know I can't do that. But..." his voice trailed off, leaving the girl stunned from the inside out.
Blaziken shifted its weight, growling and humming with satisfaction. A Pokemon's sense of truth and sincereity, in both humans and other Pokemon is far greater than any human nature. It had stood in the shadows of Caiden's life in Cipher, waiting for this moment to finally come.
Finally, the girl swallowed lightly and replied, "So you do have a soul."
She nodded slowly to herself, bobbing her head up and down. "Then... you, I guess... well, come with me."
Blaziken sat silently in the cave, apprehensive of Aurora's return. Aurora, as it and Caiden had recently discovered, was the name of the girl who had led them here, to a hidden cave-like hollow around the border of the village. It was, surprisingly, the perfect place to hide something. The hollow was away from most of the houses in the village, it was constantly warm enough during cold times and cool enough during hot times, and the ground beneath them was soft and comfortable. Consequently, Caiden had fallen asleep long ago. Blaziken could understand his weariness, as the boy's edgy, tireless mind kept him staying up night and day. He was sure to be extremely sleep deprived.
The Pokemon, unlike Caiden, could easily care for itself. Although Blaziken had recently had to tame more uncontrolled, wild urges to fight and kill, the Pokemon was fiercely in control of itself, despite its status. It always wondered what the humans wanted to establish with it, making it some kind of fighting machine. Not all the Shadows were like Blaziken, however. Its control was totally abnormal. And, of course, Blaziken had detected the humans' reliance on others, namely Caiden. The boy was independent enough, but he constantly needed someone by him to unleash the energy of his power and control unto. Without it, he was nothing; at least, for now. Blaziken hoped that this might change, that the boy might grow, become truly strong.
The shadow Pokemon was used to being neglected, however, especially by Caiden. So it was a direct surprise when the boy seemed to want to pay more attention to the Pokemon; Caiden would make eye contact and hold his gaze, and his already dull hazel eyes now had a strange tint to them, as if behind them his brain was constantly wondering and questioning. Blaziken more often found the boy relying on him, as he'd perceived before. It was because he rejected the desire to control the Pokemon, but he still felt a sort of kinship to it.
In the still of the night, Blaziken could not hear a single whisper of even distant Pokemon. It was perpetually quiet; the most vital aspect of nature absent from existence. This unsettled the Pokemon. It opened its eyes, releasing itself from deep thought, and looked around the murky hollow. Caiden was nearer than the opposite side, but yet far away from Blaziken. Of course, this was to be expected. Lowering its immense, burning head, Blaziken stood silently, hardly needing any muscle power at all. Floating across the hollow, Blaziken looked up through the hole. Light streamed in. The sun was about to rise, signifying morning, and a full day of no rest for the Pokemon.
Just as Blaziken was about to escape the hollow in search, Caiden stirred and groaned. The sunlight gradually decanted through the hole and into the boy's eyes. Ears slightly pricked, Blaziken strode silently back to his side before he opened his eyes and sat up sharply. He made another groaning noise and stared up at the Pokemon, half in wonder and half in remorse. That feature was merely a petal of the flower that symbolized Caiden's tangled emotions. It was simply too much to decipher for most, but the Pokemon could easily spot the twinkle of fierce lament in his eyes and in his face.
Caiden stood, and Blaziken backed away inadvertantly. He opened his mouth to speak, but he was interrupted. A cracking noise, and a cascade of dust and dirt from the edge of the hole. Someone had kicked it.
Blaziken clicked its beak and its arms flamed. Unexpectedly, Caiden scrambled ahead of the Pokemon before it could make a move.
"Hey..." Aurora's voice; presently there was a low growl from her side. It was a human, presumably older. "I, uh... you need to come up."
Caiden's inflamed eyes widened in shock. That voice... the man? Blaziken had already leaped, with little effort, to the surface. Caiden did the same, struggling a little but managing to heave himself onto the edge of the hole, where the path was narrow and densely lined with bushes. He stood and looked up at Aurora, her sunlit face turned away from him in uncertainty. Next to her, a sight that made his insides ram and crash against each other. Eagun, the old man who had so screechingly implored him, on his dirt-covered hands and knees.
There was a muddle of growling voices between Eagun and Aurora. The old man kept glancing at Caiden, with furious eyes glaring from his worn, tired face. Though he couldn't back down, Caiden felt the familiar rush of fault and uneasiness as he stood in the presence of the flaming mayor. And Eagun's anger seemed to grow exponentially. Aurora raised her voice and turned her head away.
As his veins pulsed visibly and his eyes flared with infuriation, the old man charged Caiden unexpectedly.
"YOU... FILTHY... BASTARD!"
Roaring between pants and breaths, the old man continued to throw his body headfirst into Caiden's stomach, pushing the boy over with a low yelp. Blaziken saw the scene before it happened. The Pokemon swiftly moved out of the way, in front of a stunned Aurora, and watched Eagun attempt to beat Caiden into a pulp. The man pounded at the ground, aiming for Caiden's face but missing each time. Though Caiden was caught by surprise, he was too experienced to lose a fight like this. Petrified, he could do nothing but escape the quick punches and kicks that were persistently thrown at him.
All the while, Aurora yelled warningly at her father from the side. In the short period of time that the attack occurred, the girl and Blaziken glanced at each other, and hesitantly stepped in. Blaziken peeled Eagun off of Caiden with one arm, trying desperately not to burn the old man; hesitantly, Aurora lowered a hand for Caiden. He refused it and stood up on his own, his body quaking with fear, surprise, and remorse.
Aurora marched to her father's side and restrained him from moving. Eagun's aged teeth ground together, and they were easily visible. Caiden seemed to shrink back, taking quick, sharp breaths, and he turned his face away at the sound of the old man's voice.
"Don't stop me. Let me kill him! You know what he did! YOU KNOW WHO HE IS!"
Then, Aurora's velvety tone. "Father, he -- stop, control yourself. I... I think he's changed. Well, I... I think he's never been who you think he is."
"Nonsense," Eagun spit, struggling more fiercely against Blaziken. The Pokemon instead let go, not willing to risk its safety for the old man.
"I know these brutes... they're just a bunch of terrible, dissipated fiends." Blaziken's arms burned brightly, giving off a blue-white aura of intense heat. Eagun was soon settled down. When he glared at Caiden, his wrinkled face drenched in sweat. Aurora stood in between them and put her hands on her father's chest.
"Father," she said softly. "You said we need hope, didn't you?"
Eagun nodded tentatively.
"Then..." Aurora sighed. "Why not hope that we can trust him? After all, he may be able to help us. He..." Her voice trailed off, knowing perfectly well what her father would say.
"Aurora, he won't help us. He's one of them, he -- "
"I said he was different." The sound of Aurora's sharp voice silenced Eagun, and he became still, inhaling and exhaling deeply. Wiping himself free of dirt and dust, he approached Caiden, whose head was bowed in apprehension.
Caiden tried not to feel surprised when he looked into Eagun's pained eyes. "I... I don't..."
"Do not talk to me," the old man croaked. His voice was slow at first, but anger fueled more quickly spoken words. His head trembled, his mouth closed every so often. "I don't want to hear your apologies. I already know what you have to say. I only hope that you are capable of listening, and listening well -- though I know scum like you cannot be forgiven, you are lucky I've spared your life. In fact, you owe your very life to my daughter, who has twice now protected you from me. You'd best give her the respect she deserves. And as for me... I simply want nothing of you. I do not want to be in your presence. Is that clear?"
Is that understood? The voice of Neccer, the voice of Lord Kishiro, the voice of his instructors. The voice of the past.
Caiden shuddered inadvertantly, clenching his hands into fists. "Yes... I under -- "
Without warning, Blaziken snarled and whipped its body around, setting the nearest bushes on fire in an upset. Shortly after, heavy boots with about the thickness of Caiden's were heard striking the ground nearby. Pokemon panted and yowled and whined with impatience.
"They're coming," Caiden stated blankly. "They must be... for me." Aurora and Blaziken turned to look him in the eye. He returned it. "I... I will take care of this."
Snorting, Blaziken followed Caiden as he approached the impending noises of soldiers and shadow Pokemon. They walked feverishly, Aurora close behind. When the girl began to follow, Eagun wanted to object, but could say nothing.
Blaziken leaped in front of Caiden to strike down a shadow Linoone. Its beak was flaming once again as it stood quietly above the creature, awaiting Caiden's command. The boy heard Aurora and Eagun behind him. They took in the same sharp, pained breath. Caiden stepped forward towards the other Shadows, gradually approaching the two.
Another unexpected attack. Two shadow Arcanine hurdled from the thick bushes beside them, one catching Blaziken off-guard and pouncing on its chest. The other slammed Caiden down in the same manner, using but one paw. The Shadow's face loomed in front of him as Caiden opened his eyes. He glared up at the Arcanine with an incredible fury; the Pokemon consequently bared its teeth and let its saliva dribble from its mouth onto his face. A pair of boots was heard; the Arcanine released Caiden, only to be replaced by another distinguishable, rough face. The commander, Baron James, who'd been assigned to one of the zones on that fateful day.
"Ah, Commander Hester... you certainly have some explaining to do."
Last edited by Silvyre; 04-25-2009 at 12:49 AM.