~ “Like I said, I’ll come when I finish with my own duties.” ~
And I’ll be finishing up my own,
the Cubone said to himself.
He followed Ivan to a bookshelf. The boy was entranced by every book that crossed his way. Mark Antony couldn’t exactly blame him. The only books he must have ever seen were the messily-handwritten ones schools always lend children to learn how to read. To find leather-bound books written in fancy script was mind blowing.
“How many people do you think have read this book?” Ivan asked aloud, one hand fingering a book he had gotten and the other holding up the lit candelabra to read its spine. “Not many, I’m guessing.”
After a few moments, Ivan got over the shock of hundreds of books surrounding him and began to think of where to start looking. He got out of the aisle and walked around, holding up the candelabra to the bookshelves’ nameplates. Both of them were waiting for a category to spark some sort of idea into their minds.
“That thing said something in this town drew them here.” Ivan couldn’t help but keep his voice just above a whisper. “We need to find out what that something is.”
He thought about looking for a “Ghost/Ghoul” category but then bitterly chuckled at the possibility. Why would someone keep books about something they feared? It would only be filled with superstitions and outrageous claims. What they needed were concrete facts and not the opinions of a fearful author.
“Like History,” Ivan muttered, and Mark Antony, seeing the train of thought, nodded in agreement. “History is just written down accounts of something that happened. Regions might glorify accounts, but in the end, it’s still reliable.”
The duo exited the room to find themselves in another one that looked similar enough to send them into a fit of confused blinking. They passed by plates that read “Famous Figures of Hoenn” and “Oceans of Sinnoh,” which made them wonder if whoever ran the library randomly grouped categories in order to save time. When they reached the end of the room Ivan stood there, stumped. This was the first library he had ever set foot in, but it seemed ridiculous that a library didn’t have a “History” section.
Unlike his charge, Mark Antony was not deterred. He turned around and, with a trained memory that had served him well during his military career, began retracing his steps to find the bookshelf he was looking for. By the time Ivan found out his friend had wandered into the darkness, Mark Antony was already in the desired aisle.
It took a while, but Ivan managed to hear the Pokémon’s echoing breaths well enough to follow him.
“Famous Figures in Johto
?” Ivan read the nameplate in confusion. Mark Antony didn’t stop, so the human was forced to follow him. “Why here?”
While Mark Antony stopped to recall something, Ivan froze mid-step. Can Den read?
His forehead creased in thought. Was it possible that he had picked up reading after years of Ivan bring back schoolwork? Honestly, Ivan didn’t know what to think after all that had happened over the past few days.
Ivan brought the candelabra towards where Mark Antony pointed. They were in the “Q” section, but Ivan figured out what his friend wanted to find. He went down the aisle and found the “L” section Mark Antony had been going for but missed due to his poor eyesight and short stature (said soul dismissed his mistake with a roll of his eyes.)
“Lavender, Pekka.” Ivan couldn’t keep the excitement from his voice. “The founder of Lavender Town.”
Setting the candelabra on the floor, Ivan sat down and began to flip through the book with great care. As much as his curiosity nagged at him, he skipped the biography parts of the book and looked for the prominent date of “1571.”
“In 1571, with the help of Sinnohian immigrants,
” Ivan began to read, “Lavender located the northern-eastern area that became Lavender Town. The newly-established settlement quickly faced hardships, however. Close proximity to the coast and the year’s hectic weather resulted in flash flooding and winds that destroyed any houses and buildings in progress.
“The mountain range to the north, impenetrable during this time with the lack of Pokémon domestication, proved to be a great obstacle in their trade routes. Unstable mountain cliffs and unforeseeable weather resulted in food and supply shortages. To begin with, the area was scarce in marketable resources. Fish and shrimp proved to be their main export, and with the help of more prominent settlements like Cerulean, Lavender Town was able to survive until more exports were found, like the large amount Hadekivi Stone beneath the town and within the rocky mountain range now known as Rock Tunnel.
“As more immigrants from Sinnoh came to escape the civil war in their home region and Kanto began to recognize the new settlement, Lavender Town began to prosper. Doctors were now present, and farmers learned from…
Mark Antony looked up as Ivan trailed off.
“Den… I think we found it!” Unaware of his companion’s confusion, Ivan jumped up so suddenly he almost toppled over the candelabra. “Hadekivi Stone!”
Upon noticing Mark Antony’s pointed look for elaboration, Ivan shut the book and looked up as though to thank all the gods for this fortunate discovery. “Hadekivi Stone is used for the tombstones of the royalty. They are not only stones of longevity, but it helps us recognize ourselves as spiritual beings once we die. A stone of healing, hope; I know that’s what these ghosts sense. They can feel the Hadekivi Stone reserves beneath this town.”
Who knew such lore was real?
Mark Antony found it fascinating that so many ingrained beliefs were being shot down right before his eyes.
Ivan sat back down, his enthusiasm now under control. Eyebrows came together. “What now? It’s not like we can destroy the Hadekivi Stone reserves beneath Lavender Town. They’re not going to stop until this town is left deserted for themselves. Since Pokémon live in the mountains of Rock Tunnel, they’re not going to go over there.”
Mark Antony bitterly chuckled. How ironic. They would kill for peace.
Ivan put a hand to his forehead and pushed his bangs back. The green eyes beneath were scared. “There’s no possible way we can make them leave, and it doesn’t seem they will be too keen on sharing this town with humans.”
The candelabra was picked up. Ivan began walking up and down the aisle. The gears of his mind were turning, and he feared that any more fearful ramblings would lock them in place. “If the beliefs behind the stone are real, and I am positive they are, what they needed from the start were tombstones made out of Hadekivi Stone. This mess could have been avoided.”
Ivan shook his head and kept on thinking. It was ludicrous to think that normal Kantonians could afford to make tombstones out of Hadekivi Stone. And didn’t the Raticate said these deceased Pokémon had been abandoned? It was no wonder they were hostile.
“It is too late for that.” He stopped. Or is it?
Ivan resumed his pacing. “Tombstones could still be built. Maybe a graveyard just for them, where they can find peace and be out of the humans‘ way.”
Suddenly, Ivan burst into a sprint. Shadows danced and leaped as the flames on the candelabra shivered with the movement. Mark Antony blinked in surprise when Ivan past him. “Come on, Den, there’s no time to lose! We’ll elaborate more on the way.”
~ “Where are we going?” ~
For once, Mark Antony could not keep up with Ivan’s train of thought.
More to himself, the boy proclaimed, “We’re off towards Rock Tunnel! The town would never approve of uprooting Lavender to mine for Hadekivi Stone for these spirits, but if there are still reserves in the mountains, they might say yes.”
Ivan stopped and shook his head, allowing the Ground-type to catch up. “No. Even if they refuse, I will do it myself.”
Off he went to search for Terrence. Mark Antony felt that the shadows that bounced around the teen were more than just that. Things had been too quiet all night, and he feared that Ivan’s next escapade would stir things up.
Terrence hadn’t been too happy when Ivan hurried him out of the library and forced him to put off his duties for the night, but Mark Antony had made a very good point when he had said, ~ “If you refuse, this town might not be standing here tomorrow.” ~
Ivan had laughed when the Arcanine’s normally proud face paled in horror. Presently, he would have laughed again, but the wind that buffeted him took away his breath. Remembering where he was, Ivan laid low and buried his face into the mane of the sprinting dog. He felt Mark Antony shift in his lap and do the same. They had no idea how fast they were going, but Terrence seemed to leave the world behind. Ivan wasn’t sure if it was urgency stemmed from the threat to Lavender Town or from the duties he obviously felt guilty leaving behind.
Ivan himself said families would last another week with the embers they still had,
Mark Antony reasoned. And maybe getting away from this place for a while will rid Terrence of the remaining remnants of his illness.
Though he couldn’t see anything but yellow bunches of fur, Mark Antony caught the whiff of dry rock. It was amazing that they already left Lavender Town in their dust. Hoping it wouldn’t make him nauseous (it seemed this body didn’t like going this fast,) Mark Antony peeked beneath Ivan’s arms. All he saw were shades of brown passing by. Frowning, he turned to the front. Guess sightseeing wouldn’t occupy his mind.
“You know what I was thinking, Den?” Ivan loudly began over the sound of rushing wind. He bent his head down so the Cubone could hear him. “A cemetery of tombstones might be too much. It will take up too much space to be practical. The ghosts would spill over to where we live, and it might cause problems.”
Amazingly, Mark Antony heard every word. When the sound of wind finally stopped, he realized it was because Terrence had been steadily slowing down. He refrained from showing his surprise. Not even Hawkeye could stop so smoothly.
Mark Antony then caught sight of the Rocky Tunnel. The night’s darkness turned the landmark into an imposing silhouette that blocked out the sliver of moon. The mountains seemed just as sinister as the ones in Purgatory.
“Intimidating, isn’t it?” Ivan felt the need to whisper.
Mark Antony was about to agree when, from the darkness of the mountain range before them, slithered forth the restless spirits of Pokémon. The Cubone tensed. It seemed he had been right about Ivan’s outing stirring them, but he expected the ghouls from town to come and chase them; the last thought on his mind was that the mountains were inhabited as well. Mark Antony cursed his naïve thoughts but could do nothing else as the beasts attacked.
Even with honed skills, his vision was limited and poor. The tangible Persian grazed his side with outstretched claws. Mark Antony fell but quickly got up. He shot Terrence a look, and to his surprise, the Arcanine pounced on the feline without a second thought. The ghoul yowled and rolled to avoid the dog’s giant paw. Ivan backed up a few steps as he watched another semi-tangible creature emerge from behind teetering boulders and rock outcroppings.
“They must be here because they are less spirits to share the place with.” The fourteen-year-old then smirked despite the fact that a Flareon leered and bared transparent fangs. “This means there are Hadekivi Stone reserves here!”
His cry of elation was met by the screeching of the second spirit. The dead fox leapt off the boulder it stood on, its soul seething anger. Ivan’s eyes widened as he finally understood the danger that had crept over them.
The smile fell.
And he began running for his life.
The Flareon landed and followed the retreating figure with empty eyes. Just like the Persian, it was sometimes tangible, but it had no fur, no color. They were just washed out pictures.
Yet they could still feel the overwhelming anger of abandonment and the chocking duty to protect the unexplainable peace these mountains brought.
Ivan chanced a look over his shoulder. His yell was cut short when Flareon tackled his legs and sent him to the ground. Ivan scrambled then scooted back, ignoring the white-hot pain that shot up his injured arm. He stopped, however, when the ghost tried to bite down on his leg. Those terrifying fangs just went right through him.
“Must be the Hadekivi Stone,” Ivan muttered, shocked. “Somehow.”
Ivan jumped to his feet upon hearing Mark Antony’s shout. Flareon growled, outraged, but could do nothing but chase after him until its tangibility returned. Mark Antony ran at it and threw his club in a Boomerang attack.
The bone went right through. Flareon grinned as a tingle went through its body; its paws could feel the ground again. It picked up speed and charged forward.
The club came back and hit the spirit upside the head.
Flareon kissed dirt thanks to its recent tangibility.
~ “Listen!” ~
Mark Antony shouted at the dazed ghost. Catching the bone club, he came over and pointed it threateningly at the fox. ~ “We are trying to help you. The thing you are protecting, we need it. What’s causing that attraction to the mountains is a stone.” ~
the ghost barked. It narrowed its eyes but otherwise stayed still. “What are you planning to do with it? Why do you want to take it away?!”
Nearby, the Persian stopped attacking Terrence to listen.
~ “We’re not sure yet,” ~
Mark Antony admitted, ~ “but we’re–” ~
“We’re going to build a shelter with it!” Ivan came running, his eyes wild with ideas. Putting a hand to his speeding heart, he took a breath and continued, “A tower made out of the Hadekivi Stone. Each of you will have a tombstone to call your own! You’ll be at peace! You’ll be able to move!”
While Mark Antony stood there, mouth unhinged in shock, Flareon slowly stood up and eyed the panting boy warily. “Really? Do you really care about us?”
Ivan nodded, actually taken aback that his words didn’t communicate his sympathy. The Persian walked over to him. “But you’re just a child. What can you do?”
“I am not normal,” the boy responded, standing tall. “I can see you. I can understand you, and my powers are growing every day. I am the only
one that can help. I am the only that cares
And this time, the ghosts heard the sincerity in his words. They exchanged glances then turned back.
“You certainly have the determination,”
the Flareon told him. It tilted its head and seemed to recall something that was once precious. “I knew someone as determined as you.”
The Persian said nothing but also saw something within Ivan that made it remember fonder times. After a heartbeat of silence, the feline looked towards the mountain range. “We’ll show you where you can find this stone; we’ve actually come across it a couple of times.”
Ivan smiled and gave a short bow. “Thank you.”
Flareon nodded back. “No. Thank you.”
Mark Antony began to follow them when a massive tug sent him flying back. Or at least, it pulled him out of the Cubone’s body. As he blinked and got used to the sudden weightlessness that was thrust upon him, Den’s soul soared to its home. Mark Antony watched from above, still stunned into silence, as the Pokémon followed Ivan with merely a second of hesitation.
A powerful presence was felt behind him.
“Nice job, Mark Antony,” Death intoned, a smile evident in his words. “Your first mission went rather well.”
The guardian angel whirled around, the ease of which he did it with almost causing him to fall. “Is it really safe for me to leave him? He’s still with those two spirits!”
Death waved a massive hand to dismiss his assistant’s worries. “It’s alright. I can see now that he’s no longer in danger of losing his life. His soul has settled over these past few hours.”
Mark Antony, reluctantly, shut his mouth. He couldn’t help turning around and tracking Ivan’s movements up the mountain. The boy was on Terrence’s back while Persian and Flareon were up front. The dead sergeant finally breathed out a sigh of relief, then remembered he didn’t need to breathe anymore.
Twiddling his fingers and feeling the clothes upon his body, Mark Antony mused, “It feels abrupt, but yes, I can tell Ivan is in good hands.”
Deftly, he caught the scythe Death sent his way. The feel of the weapon gave him a pleasant chill.
“Yes, he’ll be safe,” the Grim Reaper agreed. “And he’ll go far. I have no doubt that he’ll build that tower he mentioned.”
“Really?” Mark Antony turned around again. He didn’t feel wary about turning his back on Ivan anymore. “Do you really think he’ll be able to do such a thing? In a town as superstitious as Lavender?”
Death nodded, and the face on his stomach grinned knowingly. “I’m sure.”
Mark Antony let his own smile take over his face. A sense of pride welled up inside him. Ivan’s newfound bravery and determination was because of him, in a way.
Then a thought struck him.
“Have you been following us tonight?”
Death’s deep chuckle made the air shake. “Of course; I could tell through my connection with you that Ivan’s soul was settling. It is my job to be there and help you cross back to our plane of existence.”
Mark Antony frowned but admitted that it had been fortunate Death got him out when he did. He had started to get the feeling Ivan suspected “Den” wasn’t acting as he should.
“Is there something you wanted to ask me?” came the Ghost-type’s probing question.
The assistant’s head snapped up. Did his expression really reveal that much about himself?
After a beat of silence, Mark Antony asked, much more hesitant than he expected, “Would… it be alright for me to see my father? I need to know if…”
He trailed off not because he felt ashamed but because Death already understood. Whether it was because of the deity’s connection with him or his marvelous intelligence, Mark Antony didn’t care.
He just smiled in gratitude.
“After such a job well done, I’m sure we can squeeze in some visitation time.”
A/N: And this marks the end of this arc ("First Mission" arc, I guess you can call it)! I am so happy that it's done because now, the real plot action begins. New characters, foreshadowing, I can't wait!
Do you guys see the connection between the end and the Pokemon games? Basically, this is my take on how the Pokemon Tower was created (and why there are Cubone in the Pokemon Tower, also.) Lavender Town is my favorite city, so I'm glad it had its own little tribute in my fan fic.
The Hadekivi Stone properties are based of the Jade's property. As for the name:
"Hade" = the way you pronounce "Jade" in Spanish. (HA-de
"Kivi" = Finnish for "stone". (KEE-vee)
The next chapter officially wraps up Book One. It'll contain plot-set up and foreshadowing. it will also focus on characters we haven't seen in a while: Mew and Celebi. I don't know the chapter will be up, but I'll do my best to get it up within a month. :)