...........................the wingardom missionary
The sunlight met my weary eyes with a burst of golden energy. The path we were on began to fade from view as I was momentarily blinded. Sliding my eyelids half shut I shielded my face with a paw, my head twisted back in the direction of Lani. The Houndoom had followed my steps over the small hill and stood gazing in awe at the scene before her. Tali, who was to Lani’s left, was rather indifferent about the whole thing and seemed to be irritated by the sudden flash of sunlight, uninspired at all. When I regained my vision, I was taken aback at the sight before me.
The Marble City, Wingardom, stood before us. Huge stone walls surrounded the entire city and shielded most buildings from view, albeit a few very tall-looking skyscrapers. A clock tower stood in what seemed to be the centre of the town, laced with silver and gold patterns of past relics; ancient Pokemon. At that moment a peal chime sounded and a song rang out across the town, sending the nearby airborne Pokemon to life.
The song was one I recognised at once, for I’d heard it not too long ago when Jarre was injured in the hospital wing at the PRA. The lullaby of Suicune of the North Wind. The harmonious chords soothed my wrenched spirit and made me forget all my troubles in an instant. It called to me and I wanted nothing more than to answer it.
“Lani!” I called to the Houndoom, an ecstatic smile on my face. “This city is amazing!” For the first time since I could remember, I felt so unbelievably happy and overjoyed. Never in my life had I seen such a city.
I raced on all fours to the large entrance gate where two Gallade were standing, heads cast in my direction. They both wore a steel helmet and chainmail across their bodies; the attire of a guard. Carved into the brow of the helmets was a symbol blazed in gold. The intricate designs formed two rising wings, spiralling towards the heavens. As I took a closer look, the gate was also carved with the same design. It must be the symbol of the town, or the king who resided here.
“Halt. What is your business here?” The Gallade closest to me held its arm out to the side and a green leaf-blade spear materialised into view, blocking my path. It peered down at me with narrowed eyes, but an unreadable expression. What could be seen through the helmet, anyway.
“We have come to seek the Freedom Fighters.” Lani stepped past me and bowed her head to the guards, each in turn. “I am Lani of the Pokemon Rescue Association located in Likera Town.”
A sharp intake of breath from the guard told me it was not unheard of.
“The town that was recently attacked by Deoxys? That is from which you hail?” The Gallade cast anxious glances over all of us, lingering on Tali.
“That is true,” Lani replied gravely. “We are survivors of the attack, and wish to rally the support of your Missionary. Our numbers are now small, but with your help we may replenish them. Will you allow us?”
The two Gallade exchanged glances and a few nods. Whatever was being said was done telepathically, for not a word was said aloud. After a time they had finished conversing. The second Gallade who had not yet spoken turned to me and pointed.
“That one, the Pikachu with the white circle on her tail. Is that the Light Pokemon who is being targeted?”
So it seemed Deoxys was not the only one who had heard of me. Lani was right when she had said news travels fast. I found my voice before Lani could speak on my behalf.
“I am,” I spoke to the Gallade, standing up to my full height. “My name is Zanna, and I wish to gather the aid of the Wingardom Missionary in the fight against Deoxys. That is why we have come.”
The Gallade considered this for a second, with a stern gaze, and then nodded. “You may enter, and you will have a personal escort to the Missionary. Nowhere is safe these days.” He nodded past the hills. “Trouble is never far away.”
At a gesture from his partner, the first Gallade signalled further up the wall to someone who I could not see. A giant creaking ensued as the great oak gate before me began to swing open. I watched with amazement at the sight of the inner city.
There were large houses, small houses, shops, more shops, and Pokemon everywhere! Without even realising I took a step towards the gate, not registering the tentative stares of the Gallade following my movements.
“We’ve organised your escort for you.” The Gallade to my left gestured with a hand, snapping me out of my reverie. “They will be here shortly.”
As if on cue, two distinct figures made their way from the bustling crowd, slowly coming into focus. Peering intently, I wondered who they were. The figures were not big, nor small, but they could still be very powerful. Strong guards as an escort? I was liking this. Then my smile faded in an instant.
“Sir.” A head bowed towards the two Gallade followed by another. “I was told we were to escort- you?!”
The yellow-green face of Kraal the Leafeon stared back in utter surprise. His partner, Marilai, was much the same.
“S-sir,” Marilai uttered, a look of contempt on her face. “We have to escort them?”
The Gallade merely glanced down at the two dogs and nodded. “King’s orders. Is there a problem, private?”
The Glaceon glanced at me before hanging her head in defeat. “No, sir. Come on,” she turned to Kraal, “let’s go.”
Oh great. Not only had my smile gone, but my happy feelings had been sucked away too. I had to put up with these two as an escort? I’d rather be stuck alone with Tali. It was with that thought the three of us followed the two dogs into the town centre, and the bustling crowd.
As we passed through various stalls, owners were crying out fresh goods for sale. A Slowking nearby stepped close to us as we passed. “Plenty of fish, sea-fresh from the piers, young ‘uns!” He smiled and held out a fish in his claws, but one shake of Kraal’s head silenced him.
I grimaced apologetically at the Slowking and hurried along. It was then that a cry reached my ears. My head whirled to face a side-alley where two grown Marowak had cornered a little Ralts. They held the kid trapped against the far wall with a bone-club. My fur bristled as I veered off to hear what was being said.
“Tell us, kid! Tell us what you saw!” The Marowak that had the Ralts pinned pressed harder with its club. “I know you saw somethin’, so quit lyin’ already!”
“I-I told you I couldn’t make it out! It was just a blur!” The poor Ralts struggled to breathe as the bone was pressed harder against its neck. “P-please-”
“Blur or no blur, you tell us now!” The second Marowak spoke with conviction, its face grim. “I dun’ care if it changes the future – I want to know!”
“Hey, you. Stop what you’re doing right now.” Both Marowak turned to face me as I stood tall, seething with anger. The one pinning the Ralts removed its club and redirected it towards me.
“A Pikachu? And what is it you want, eh? This is none o’ your business!”
“I beg to differ!” I had no idea what had come over me, but the second I saw that Ralts in trouble I knew I had to intervene. It seemed too much like my recent dream – my memory – only this time I was in a situation where I could stop it before it got worse. “I’m going to say this once and once nicely. Step away from the Ralts.”
“HAH!” The second Marowak turned to me and barked out a laugh. “We have a little something we need from this ‘ere Ralts. We’re not gonna let her go easy.” He turned to the Ralts with a manic grin spread across his face. “So if you want her before we’re done, you’re gonna hafta fight us!”
As if on cue, both Marowak took a battle stance in front of the Ralts, bearing their bone-clubs high. So it had come to this. A battle. Electricity crackled from my cheeks.
“Stop this at once!” My head snapped round to see Kraal stepping lithely past me, shooting a glare as he did so. “What are you two doing?” The Leafeon looked hard at the two Marowak who immediately lowered their clubs.
“Kraal, sir, we were just… nothin’.” The first Marowak shrugged and stepped to the side.
“And the kid?”
“We was just helpin’ her back. She got lost.” The second Marowak nudged its partner and the two scuttled past. “We need to get goin’ now. Bye!”
What a sorry bunch they are,
I thought as the two raced away into the streets. I started to snicker but the Leafeon had turned and strode right up to me.
“What do you think you’re doing?! You can’t just step into alleys in broad daylight! I know you’re this ‘Chosen One’ and all, but you can’t do whatever you want just because you feel like it! We’re supposed to escort you safely, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“Like it or not,” Marilai snapped, stepping up next to Kraal. “Now hurry and follow us. If you get left behind again we won’t help you.”
“But the Ralts,” I started, casting an anxious glance towards the back of the alley, but it was nowhere to be seen.
“Must have teleported,” Kraal shrugged. “Now let’s go. That’s the last time I’m telling you.” He backed out of the alley and Marilai followed, leaving me alone to stare at the empty spot where the Ralts had been, and wondering what on earth those two Marowak wanted from it.
“Commander, Major Kraal and Private Marilai have the escorts. They have all arrived safely. Shall I send them in?”
Virok sat within his chair, glancing idly up at the communications screen. No word had come from Rye in over a week. What was
that boy up to? Had the tracer been placed on the project? If so, he was not receiving a clear signal and that was trouble. It was good news, however, that the project in question now happened to be on his very doorstep. He shuddered with pleasure at the thought. It was all so convenient. Swinging around, Virok tapped his claws on the arm of the chair, eyeing the messenger that had spoken to him.
“Please, Nadal, see if our guests would like to eat first. There is much to discuss, but they must be famished.”
“I’ll send orders to the cook right away, Commander.” The Persian, Nadal, nodded and turned brusquely on her paws, exiting the room in silence.
Swivelling his chair back to the communication screen, Virok pondered his thoughts. There was much to discuss with the new Light Pokemon, indeed. With her arrival, he may be finally able to complete his plan. He could destroy Deoxys once and for all. But first, a call was to be made. Virok tapped into his telepathic link, searching for a familiar signal.
The silence buzzed and faded, a voice slowly coming into focus. “Sir.”
“She’s here. Be ready when I give the signal.”
“And Rakai… this time things will not go wrong.”
A short silence crackled over the link, and a short sneer.
“Aye. They will not.”
“Right this way, please. Our Commander has decided to welcome you with a gracious banquet.”
After all this time I could not imagine how such food might taste. If I recalled correctly, I had never had much of a good meal whilst in this world, albeit for the ones when training at the PRA. Jarre, Dash and Codan had yet to arrive, but I doubted they would be too far off, and Lani assured me that it was alright to enjoy our time here without worrying about them.
Upon arrival at the Missionary, Kraal and Marilai had forsaken their escort duties – gladly – to rejoin their fellow soldiers. Instead a kindly Persian named Nadal had taken us in and given us a brief tour of the facilities. Not much, but it was enough for the time being. She told us that once we had properly rested from our long trip she would give us a grand tour and then we might grant an audience with the Commander – Virok himself!
I was both nervous and anxious about meeting Rye’s father. I had never thought about it that much before, but the feeling had suddenly hit me. I wanted to know all I could about the Missionary, if they were to fight alongside me. I was happy I could finally get the chance to turn the tides of war my way, but I was also very concerned about the words Rye had imparted to me in his letter. If Virok was indeed creating an army of dark Pokemon he could be considered a dangerous threat. I had not breathed a word of this to any of the others, but it had dawned on me if I wanted to keep them out of harm’s way I had to mention my suspicions. I didn’t know what I’d do if my own foolishness got them hurt.
Nadal led us through winding halls of the white-washed building. It was very large, that was for certain. We met few Pokemon along the way save for a couple of soldiers from the medical unit who were returning with casualties. ‘A forest fire’, Nadal had explained when I asked. It appeared there were many happening of late, as the spring season bloomed on.
At last we entered a large, circular room lined with tables. Food adorned them in bucket loads! Fresh Magikarp, Rattata, berries and more! I had never seen so much food in my life, least of all thought about eating as much. If only Jarre were here to see this,
I thought, and was briefly overcome by sadness at the fact my best friend was not here. But he would arrive soon enough.
“Right this way. There is a small table at the back which has been reserved for you.”
It seemed we were to sit outside this fine evening. We were led out to an alcove which opened up to a spacious balcony. The sight was absolutely magnificent. Luscious green foliage surrounded a small lake bordered with pebbles of all shapes and sizes. Different species of fish swam within. Even though the Missionary was built far underground, the banquet hall was situated closer to the surface.
“There is nothing better than eating a fresh meal outdoors,” Nadal sighed with serenity. “You young’uns eat up now,” she turned to Tali and I. “Need your energy. It was a pleasure meeting you all. If you need absolutely anything, just sing out. I have ears like a Loudred!” With that she padded off silently, disappearing into the shadows at the far end of the alcove.
Lani turned to the two Pokemon and smiled. “And so one journey has ended, let us celebrate this with a lovely feast!” Tali began eating, but I poked at my food sourly. It didn’t escape Lani’s notice. “Zanna,” she lowered her voice, “there is no need to worry. The others will be here soon. I have known Codan for such a long time that if he were in danger, I would feel it.”
I nodded and smiled meekly, shoving a forkful of Razz berries into my mouth. “Thank you, Lani.” Somehow that Houndoom always did know just what to say.
After we had eaten, Lani and Tali had been shown to the sleeping quarters which were much further down. I was kept with Nadal, as she told me the Commander wished to speak with me before I retired for the night. She padded silently in the direction of the Commander’s quarters, which were much more spacious than the rest, of course. He was, at this very moment, located in the command room, where he could oversee every action happening in the town. Nadal said he had been busy for the past few weeks analysing a lot of data about Deoxys and his followers, trying to locate their next moves, but he was a slippery red devil. She also said it had made the Commander rather restless, and I was to try to disturb him as little as possible – to keep to his good side.
We arrived just outside his door a moment later. Like all the other doors within the facility, it had a mechanical lock built into the centre of the silvery-white frame. When the locks were green, they were open. Red meant it was inaccessible. The lock at this moment was now green. Upon reaching the door it slid open with a slight whir. I glimpsed a large chair and lots of mechanical equipment within the room. However, it was the figure within the chair that most unnerved me. I glanced nervously at the Persian. She inclined her head slightly, and I turned to step into the room.
I entered in complete silence, the door sliding shut behind me, only a single thought buzzing through my mind. A single name. Virok Virok Virok.
But I could not see the Commander. His chair was facing a long row of large screens, obviously recording data and monitoring the town. A large yellow and black striped arm appeared over the right side of the arm chair and I froze. That was close enough, I decided. Though I could not see his face, every inch of the aura that emanated from him spelled danger. It warned me to stay away and not come any closer. Being in no position to bargain, it was in my best interest to heed the warning.
After I had been standing for what seemed like a few minutes, a deep voice reached my ears. “Welcome, Light Pokemon.”
The Electivire swung his chair around ever so slowly, a gentle creak spreading throughout the room. Virok’s voice was deep and masculine. It held ice, though I was sure it was from years of operating with dark energy. My gaze swung over his dense figure, taking in the muscular power – large arms, legs, a harsh smile and his eyes… His eyes, unlike the emerald of Rye’s, were a deep crimson; almost black. It was as if emotion itself no longer existed within him, turning his heart as black as ash. I gulped, hoping this would definitely not
be the case.
Unable to find my voice, Virok spoke again. “You have a name, I presume?” he asked, sounding irritated.
“Y-yes, Zanna,” I stammered after clearing my throat. Why are you stammering, you fool?!
It took everything I had to not stare directly at his black eyes. Instead I trained myself to fixate just over his right shoulder. There.
“Zanna. What a…fitting name,” he decided, a slight smile crossing his face. I had no idea what he meant by that, but a bad feeling suddenly rooted itself in the pits of my stomach. “We have much to discuss, you and I,” he continued, “regarding the defences of Talzere. But I wish to start off with something a little more personal. Let us get to know each other. After all, if we are to work together, I think it would be best if we knew at least a little about the other’s history, wouldn’t you say?” Virok smiled wider, and the pit in my stomach fell into an abyss.
I could not tell him I was a human, not from this world. I hadn’t even come up with an alibi about my past yet. Stupid me, not thinking it would be an issue! But here I was and Virok was asking me about my past. Wait, what did it matter? I didn’t have to tell him anything. My past was my past, and it was private. Still, if I wanted him to trust me I had better come up with something and fast. I hope he doesn’t think I’m mentally deficient, standing here like this.
I grimaced and managed a weak nod.
“Excellent! I will start first.” Virok stepped from his chair, took two paces towards me and lowered his gaze, for he towered over me like a giant. “My name is Virok and I sit as Commander at the Wingardom Missionary, and head of the Marble City. Make no mistake; I am not its king, as such, but more of a guider. I guide the city to do what is best.”
I thought icily, my eyelids sliding lower ever so slightly. He was adept at lying, that was for certain.
[continued in next post]