Chapter Four: A Changing World
As the days passed, there were more and more reports of nightmares spreading throughout Lunnori. Not just children were becoming victims; many adults were affected as well. Fear was beginning to beset the honest living folk, causing suspicion and doubt to spread. The saddest thing was that they were beginning to lose trust in each other. Although the Brights remained unaffected by the nightmares, their business began to hurt under cold shoulders and extreme wariness.
Since that fateful night, Aislyn remained troubled. Troy hadn’t said much more to her, he’d been kept busy with odd-jobs, but that only made her more uneasy. What was she supposed to do? What was going to happen to her? And how was she supposed to do it? All of these questions swam through her head, often keeping her up all throughout the night. Yet there was always something that whispered, somewhere deep within her heart, that everything that Troy and Cresselia had told her was true, no matter how much she tried to deny it.
Finally, she had the chance to talk to the Gallade. It was another rainy afternoon, when Troy had finished hauling hay to the barn. Aislyn’s mother quickly put a kettle on the stove to make some hot chocolate when he came in, soaked to the bone. Lifting the hay bales was easy work for him, but the cold and the damp was more difficult to tackle. Aislyn came into the kitchen as he finished towel-drying his helmet-like head.
“Good afternoon, Miss Aislyn,” he happily greeted, performing a knightly bow.
“Good afternoon, yourself,” Aislyn replied, wishing that the Knight didn’t act so, well, knightly all the time. She wasn’t royalty. Right now she was just an average girl, and whatever she was destined to become wouldn‘t change that.
An awkward silence followed as Aislyn tried to decide what she wanted to ask him. As she prepared herself, Troy surprised her by speaking first.
“I’m going to leave soon,” he announced, taking a seat at the table. He looked distant as he spoke, looking out the window into the rain. “I have earned what I need, and it is time that I get moving again. But I was wondering if you would come with me.”
“Go with you?” Aislyn’s eyes grew wide. Her heart beat faster as she thought about it. She could finally escape this dull place! She could explore new places and have adventures like Troy had! To feel the sun warm her back! To breath the fresh air of untouched wilderness! How she longed for such experiences, and here Troy was offering it. Yet, there was something that held her back. “What about my family,” she asked as her smile faded.
Troy nodded understandingly. “You will have to leave them behind, but they will always be here. And they will always be in your heart. The love they gave you could never be forgotten, and vice versa. Leaving home is always hard, but I know that within you is the lust for adventure. After you allow the distance to grow, you grow to appreciate more of what you had. In essence, sometimes to find one’s self, one must first lose their self, and the journey is always rewarding.”
“Do you really think so?” Aislyn’s eyes scanned the house, reminiscing the fond memories she shared here.
“I know so,” the Gallade asserted. Their conversation was immediately interrupted by the kettle whistling hyperactively. Troy chuckled, “What a sweet sound! There’s nothing I love more than a cup of hot chocolate!”
“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Aislyn’s mother beamed as she came back into the kitchen. “Who wants a cup?”
Soon Troy and Aislyn were enjoying steaming mugs of the best hot chocolate in all of Lunnori. Topped with whipped cream and sprinkles, Aislyn’s mother added a few spices to add some kick. Before they were through, Aislyn grew a chocolate mustache. As the cups began to empty, however, the mood grew grim once more. Aislyn deeply considered taking Troy’s offer, but she still felt uncertain.
“Where would you take me?” she asked when her mother left the kitchen once more.
“Well,” Troy set his empty cup aside, looking at it as if he wished it would refill itself. “I was wanting to head back to Headquarters, to consult with my elders. They would know what to do next. Admittedly, I am not sure of what your duty is, or how you will fulfill your destiny. All I know is what I have told you.”
“Where is that?” Aislyn looked down at her own cup, swirling the chocolate around that had stuck to the bottom.
“It is in a secluded place far from here, beyond the borders of Almia. Only the sworn Knights can find it and enter, but they would gladly accept you. If fact, you have much untapped capabilities. I believe that you could become a Knight if you so wished.”
“Me? A Knight?” Aislyn eyes grew wide, wondering what that could mean. Would she have superpowers? Could she learn telepathy? Would she be a hero, like in all the stories and folk tales she heard as a child? “Just like you?”
Troy laughed. “More or less. You’re not a Pokémon, miss.”
Aislyn blushed, embarrassed at how childish she had sounded. She was getting too excited about this. She needed to slow down and really think this through. There had to be some catch, or some let-down.
“I don’t expect an answer right now,” said Troy, seeming to have read her thoughts. “I will stay at least a few more days. As many wise men have said: Think before you speak. If I may take my leave?” he stood up and bowed. Aislyn smiled. Troy was a knight through and through.
Elsewhere in the world, more trouble was brewing. No moon shown down on a dark wood, but eerie sounds filled the air. Many of the inhabitants were scared out of their wits, and they found shelter in their nests and burrows. Even the normal nocturnal neighbors dared not venture out tonight. They hid in corners, hoping that what ever haunted the night would not disturb their once peaceful lives.
Despite the emptiness of the wood, there were creatures moving about. These dark shadows were causing the chaos, lifting their snouts into the air and letting loose their hunting howls. The pack of Houndoom pressed on through the bush, stopping for nothing. Even though they had already traveled far, they felt no weariness. The exhilaration of a hunt kept them sharp and eager, and only once their prey was captured would there be rest.
Yet little did they know that they were being warily watched by a tiny green figure. It turned its tear-drop shaped head as the pack went by, worry making a deep frown in its face. “This doesn’t look good,” it muttered to itself. “No good at all. I can only guess where they’re going, but I know who they serve. I suppose there is only one way to know.”
With that last statement, the creature disappeared from the wood, traveling across time and space, which any sensible Celebi could do in its sleep.
~Sorry if this beginning is kinda slow. It'll get better with time.~