“Well,” Ivan finally started, “things have been happening in Lavender Town that are very strange… and dangerous.” He stopped, half hoping Miranda would step in and take over the conversation. She only watched him with those mesmerizing eyes of her, though. “A friend was almost killed. Two people were burned to death.” As his vision grew fuzzy with unshed tears, Ivan really wished Miranda speak.
“Spirits, are they?” Miranda asked. “I’ve felt them skimming the edges of the town for quite a while now. I am sad to see they have decided to perform such horrible acts.”
For the first time since her visitors arrived, her eyes were redirected to somewhere other than Ivan’s face. She seemed to be contemplating something of great interest.
“Y-Yes,” Ivan admitted. He realized when those blue eyes were back on him that he was expected to explain how
he had come to that conclusion. Eyes slightly widening, he found himself grasping for words again. “Sometimes I-I think I see them around Lavender.”
Miranda’s fine eyebrows knitted together. “I would say you see them as more than just shadows.” When she saw Ivan gawk at her, she elaborated, “You are much too jumpy and fearful to see them only from the corner of your eye. You’re here because they are as visible as your own hand now.”
Closing his mouth, Ivan gulped and nodded. In a way, he was relieved that Miranda already knew so much. It meant not only that explanations would be easier to give but that she actually believed him. Mark Antony had a mask of different expressions. He immediately mistrusted anybody who knew too much. On the other hand, like Ivan, he rationalized that by already knowing a lot, Miranda would be easier to sway to their requests.
“I need to be able to prove that these ghosts exist to the rest of the town,” Ivan insisted after a moment of silence. As he clenched his fists in his lap, his voice no longer wavered. “They won’t do anything if there is no proof.”
“We humans are such dense creatures,” Miranda said offhandedly. “Even when the supernatural is grinning at us, threatening us, we turn a blind eye and return to that which we understand. How would having proof make them believe?”
Ivan was taken aback. Why wouldn’t someone with proof believe in something? She glanced at him as he struggled for the right words. Taking this opportunity, the brunette rested her head in her hand and studied the pair.
“Both you and your Pokémon are very strange,” she repeated ethereally. “Both of you have been touched by those of the other plane.” Ivan, out of his stupor, cast the Cubone a curious look. Mark Antony ignored it. “It makes a lonely soul like me smile.”
“Please, Ma’am,” Ivan began to plead, shaking away the chill Miranda’s last words had given him. Her smile had seemed a bit predatory. “I have to show the town something
. More people will get hurt if they ignore this. What can I do to let them know that these ghosts are here?”
“It’s impossible to endow someone with the gift of seeing those that have left us,” the fortune teller spoke. Ivan looked away at the word gift
, not exactly agreeing. He was shocked and alarmed when Miranda gripped his chin and forced him to look into her eyes.
“This is not a curse, Ivan Bronstein,” she all but hissed. Her long fingernails began to dig into his cheeks. Ivan flinched but otherwise could not do a thing. “We have been given a gift, a marvelous gift! Never will the words of our ancestors fade away. Never will we despair over the lost of loved ones.”
“I-I don’t want my parents to become ghosts!” the shaken boy blurted out in horror. A chill ran up and down his spine, and he hugged Mark Antony tighter against his chest.
“We are Arceus’ special children,” Miranda continued, the wild glimmer in her eyes dancing like flames. “We are the ones who are supposed to take charge and-!”
The woman stopped upon feeling Mark Antony’s club against her throat.
~ “Get. Away. From. Him,” ~
the guardian snarled, his hold unwavering and his eyes simmering coals.
Miranda looked down at him, and fear marred her beautiful face for a heartbeat. Ivan was let go a second later.
“Ivan,” she addressed him with the wild look in her eyes dimming; her jaw, however, was rigid with annoyance, “Do not let anybody tell you that you are cursed. It is merely the circumstances you find yourself in that dishearten you so. Use your power to better the world.”
“Did yo-” Ivan cut himself off. It was not his place to ask. While rubbing his throbbing cheeks, he took in Miranda’s words. In his lap, Mark Antony was poised to attack if need be. He didn’t care what this woman had to offer. If she dared lay another finger on Ivan, he would personally bash her skull in.
Unaware of the malicious thoughts going through Mark Antony’s mind, Ivan said, “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to make Lavender a better place. But I don’t know how.”
He went still when Miranda’s eyes landed on him. The look she gave him was one of
pained exasperation. “Why do you help these people who will only end up betraying you?” she asked, almost pleadingly.
Ivan’s breath hitched in his throat. Unwillingly, the thought of being whisked away to Saffron came to mind. He forced an answer out. “Lavender Town is full of caring people. They need my help.”
“Only those atrocious rumors keep me away from their superstitious hands,” Miranda muttered, yet she nodded at Ivan in mild understanding. She stood up and crossed the small shack to kneel in front of a wooden chest. From beneath bundles of moth-eaten clothes she pulled a handful of talismans. Ivan, despite Mark Antony’s warning growl, leaned towards her.
“These will help you catch a spirit,” the fortune teller explained curly. Miranda dangled one of the small, octagonal mirrors from its red-dyed tag; Ivan’s wide eyes were reflected back at him. Mark Antony bristled at the pull he felt coming from it. Similar to that of a body without its soul, he felt himself itching - no,needing
- to leave this creature and pitch himself headlong into the mirror. He ground his fangs and looked away, every muscle in his body tensing. It was all he could do to resist the temptation.
“Use the mirrors to locate a spirit. Once it sees it, the spells on these tags will activate and trap it.” Ivan caught them when they were tossed almost carelessly towards him. Miranda spared him a glare and a tightening of her frown. “Feel free to showcase whatever you catch to the town. Be quick about it; the spells will only last for so long.”
Cradling Mark Antony in one arm, Ivan stood up and gave the woman a small bow. “Thank you for your help.”
Miranda’s scowl deepened before she looked away and crossed her arms. “Be gone from my sight,” she snarled. “You have what you wanted. May the townspeople be as kind as you say.”
Ivan exited without another word.
The pain that had weaved itself into Miranda’s words had been almost too much to bare.
A/N: Distractions and working on my fan fiction poster made me late in proofreading this. :>
I had to cut this short; the ghost/spirit hunt was going to be in this chapter. This "story mini-arc" should end either next chapter or the chapter after that. Then it's one more chapter after that to tie up Book One. :D Hopefully I can get that done before I go back to school.
I'm almost done with the poster! I need to shade and add some effects, and I'm done! It's always when I start shading that it starts to look actually good. xD
What's up for Chapter Ten, the first double-digit chapter? It's a ghost hunt and the reveal of what these spirits are doing and why Ivan's powers are fluctuating so.