~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Chapter Two Added 4.20.11)
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04-04-2011, 08:00 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Celestia Region
~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Chapter Two Added 4.20.11)
The Veilstone Myth
A young man, callow and foolish in innocence, came to own a sword. With it, he smote Pokémon, which gave sustenance, with carefree abandon. Those not taken as food, he discarded with no afterthought.
The following year, no Pokémon appeared, larders grew bare. The young man, seeking the missing Pokémon, journeyed afar. Long did he search. And far and wide, too, until one he did find.
Asked he, “Why do you hide?”
To which the Pokémon replied, “If you bear your sword to bring harm on us, with claws and fangs, we will exact a toll. From your hand we will take our toll, for it must be done. Done it must be to guard ourselves and for it, I apologize.”
To the skies, the young man shouted his dismay, “In having found the sword, I have lost so much. Gorged with power, I grew blind to Pokémon being alive. I will never fall savage again. This sword I denounce and forsake. I plead for forgiveness, for I was but a fool.”
So saying, the young man hurled the sword to the ground, snapping it. Seeing this, the Pokémon disappeared to a place beyond seeing…
:- Table of Contents -:
Chapter One: Secrets of the Temple (Part I) (Part II)
Chapter Two: Just Business (Part I) (Part II)
Last edited by Charmander009; 04-21-2011 at 02:00 AM.
04-04-2011, 08:01 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Celestia Region
Re: ~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Feel free to comment! :D)
Darkness as thick as the humid air lurked in the decaying halls of the ruins. Only it and its companion, silence, inhabited the long forgotten temple, but today… They had intruders.
Secrets of the Temple
The flame of a lone torch braved the emptiness, held aloft by a strong arm. The warm yellow light lit the face of a well-weathered man, who warily stared up the maze before him. Behind him, his crew of five awaited his direction anxiously. The several days’ excursion in the dark was clear in their exhausted expressions, and he knew their resolves were faltering. Disappointed time after time, this could be the last chance they would give for hope.
But Orion Demakis knew they were close. This time, he was going to get his hand on treasure… or die trying.
“Looks like a straight shot from here, men,” the hunter declared confidently, switching hands with the torch. “Let’s move on.”
Silently, the team obeyed. They followed their infamous leader down the narrow hall, past the slimy walls caked in green growth. As the torch passed by, cryptic paintings were briefly illuminated. Most of them depicted warriors—people or creature—bearing swords or forms of magical weaponry. They only intrigued one member of the party, the one who didn’t seem to fit in with the rugged treasure hunters. She was a frail young woman, of eighteen or nineteen with raven-black hair and a fascination for ancient cultures. As much as she longed to stop and study the chipping paintings, the others kept pushing her on at a quick pace. She caught only snippets of the crude renderings, including a sneering spearman with an odd mark on his forehead.
Demakis suddenly pulled to a stop, tensing his thickly built body.
“Boss?” one of the other men strayed to ask nervously.
In answer, Demakis kicked his foot forward, and a sloshing sound met their ears. Exchanging brief glances, the men gathered around their leader and peered down in the light of the torch. The chamber they were about to enter was deeply immersed in rancid black water—reeking and utterly opaque. The young woman grimaced at the sickly-sweet odor it leeched into the air, but to her dismay she couldn’t see any way to cross.
“Xavier,” Demakis calmly waved, not appearing to be dissuaded at all. “Hand me your stick.”
The smallest man in the group wordlessly stepped forward, brandishing his carved walking stick forward. Thanklessly, the cane was traded for the torch, and Demakis promptly dipped it into the pool purposely. For a while it glided fruitlessly in the foul water, only causing the frown on Demakis’ face to deepen. Finally, the hunter felt the tip of the stick hit stone.
“There’s a narrow path,” the leader announced after fishing around some more. “But we can travel down it.”
The company’s only female yelped in disgust as Demakis promptly slipped into the pool, where the water reached up to his waist.
“We can’t go in that!” she cried in complaint. “There has to be thousands of bacteria and… and who knows what in there! We could—”
“Aw, doncha worry yah preedee face, Miss Beckah,” the brute known as Jamar boomed from behind her, buck teeth flashing against his dark skin. “We’ll be taken a gud badth aftah dis.”
Despite the glare she shot at him, Jamar kept the smirk on his face as he followed his leader into the murky water. Xavier jumped in as well, but Rachel Becker remained firmly rooted in place.
“I am NOT going in there,” she defiantly declared. She tried her best to put on a brave act, but as Demakis slowly turned about, she wavered.
“You don’t have much choice, do you?” the man fixed her with his cold eyes.
Rachel shuddered, sensing the other three men drawing closer to her from behind. Before they could touch her, she knelt down to the edge of the floor and reluctantly faced the pool. She tried not to think about the millions of micro-organisms floating in the thick water as she forced herself to slide in one foot after the other. Who knew what was in there? The pool had probably been sitting stale for eons, fed by the tropical monsoons of the Oblivia region. For all she knew, dead bodies could have been rotting somewhere at the bottom. The stone beneath her feet felt rather slimy…
I’m going to catch a disease from this, she groaned to herself. I just know it. So unsanitary…
Clint and Nathaniel—the other men in the company—closed in behind her, and together they all waded their way across the chamber. Demakis was at the front, feeling their way with Xavier’s stick, and Rachel was stuck in the middle of all of them, curling her lip with every step. He had been right about how narrow the path was, and it snaked exasperatingly across the chamber. Rachel knew Demakis was being cautious about crossing, but she had to wonder if it’d be faster just to swim across. Even if there was a booby trap somewhere…
She flinched as Demakis abruptly cursed.
“Now what?” Clint complained from behind.
“What does dat mean, boss?” Jamar asked with his thick tongue.
“Not sure. But we should—”
Nathaniel suddenly yelled out, right before a sickening splash.
“Nathaniel? Nathaniel!” Demakis barked, but with no reply. “Dang it, what happened?”
“I—I don’t know,” Rachel heard Clint sputter behind her. “He’s gone. He got sucked under or…”
Rachel stiffened, feeling the water stir around her legs. Slow at first, the current grew in strength until it pulled relentlessly at her body.
“Move, move, move!” ordered Demakis, sensing what was going on long before Clint announced: “Whirlpool!”
The remaining company fought against the suction, trying to make their way to the end of the chamber. A deep rumbling began filling the air, with sloshing and clashing of racing water. Rachel struggled, but she didn’t have half the strength of the men. Her legs strained to keep herself footed until they burned. When she could no longer take another step, Clint suddenly backed her up, pushing her along. She felt him rummage through his equipment before seeing a hopeful flash of light. Flying within her line of sight, she saw purple creature shaped like an asterisk.
“Starmie, counter the whirlpool!” cried Clint.
The Pokémon clicked in affirmation before swirling its many arms, moving through the air into the darkness where Rachel knew the unseen whirlpool raged. They waited and waited, all while continuing to withstand the pull of the water. The whirlpool, however, showed no signs of ceasing. Clint cursed under his breath when his Starmie finally returned, whirling shamefully.
“Can’t you do anything useful?” he reprimanded his Pokémon callously.
“No use,” Demakis shouted over the ruckus. “Take to the air!”
Within seconds, flashes illuminated the air as the team released more Pokémon. Rachel, leaning back against Clint for support, caught glimpses of Demakis’ blue dragon roaring against the sound of the whirlpool. Xavier had a large, long feathered eagle extract him from the water, while Jamar leapt onto the back of a leafy dinosaur.
“Take her,” shouted Clint from behind, before unexpectedly shoving her forward. Rachel screamed as she lost her footing and fell to the unforgiving current. She waited for the brackish water to fold over her head and sentence her to a watery grave—but instead she felt it recede. Opening her eyes, she glanced up and saw Clint’s Starmie whirling overhead, its red jewel glowing as it carried her with telekinesis. She glided over the surface of the draining pool until being unceremoniously dumped on a solid stone floor.
Rachel squeezed her eyes shut as she gasped in air, unwilling to take any more. For the umpteenth time her life had been endangered, and in each instance she barely managed to escape. Let Demakis do what he want, she didn’t care anymore. She wasn’t going to test her luck any further. No more Etzolek ruins, no more treasures, no more death traps. While she didn’t dare move from her sprawled position on the floor, she heard the panting of the others as they landed beside her. Gradually the rumbling stopped, and the air was empty once more.
Swiftly dismounting his Salamence, Demakis raced to the edge of the pool and glanced down. “Nathaniel!” he shouted, searching.
No reply. The darkness beyond their circle of torchlight remained still.
“This is getting worse and worse, boss,” Xavier quietly spoke up, stroking the feathers of his Pidgeot. “Maybe we should go back…”
With his back turned on them, Demakis slowly shook his head. “No. We need that treasure now more than ever. It would be an insult to them if we turned back now.”
“Aye, ah woold’n give up jahst yet,” Jamar agreed, with a spark of joy in his deeply accented voice.
All but Rachel turned to look at Jamar in puzzlement. Bearing a sheepish grin, the dark-skinned hunter turned and pointed down their new path. The walls of the damp chamber closed in around a single, eight-foot slab of stone before them, its surface elaborately carved with blockish spirals. The team’s very target was painted into its center, surrounded by worshippers both human and Pokémon.
The forbidden sword of Etzltomal.
Clint excitedly clasped Jamar’s shoulder, exclaiming his joy.
“This has got to be it!” the Starmie’s Trainer greedily eyed the slab. “We’ve finally made it!”
Demakis, abandoning the pool’s edge, walked to the slab curiously. His wizened eyes scanned the mural thoroughly until a frowned deepened the leathery wrinkles in his skin. The details on the creatures were crude and basic, but the detail on the legendary weapon was thoroughly shown. Having a broad blade and stubby cross guards, the sword seemed primitive, but the hilt had been artistically crafted into the shape of a talon. Demakis traced his hand around the claws longingly, though coming no closer to the slab’s hidden clues. Finally, he tried a more physical approach, pushing and pulling at it, but the stone remained stubbornly in place.
“Rachel,” the hunter suddenly barked.
The young woman winced. She had been lying still on the ground, eyes sealed shut as she hoped that she had been forgotten. Unfortunately, no such luck. Xavier yanked her onto her feet and prodded her toward the stone with the butt end of his torch. Against her will, she was brought to face Demakis.
“What this all about?” he gruffly asked, brawny arms crossed expectantly.
Rachel shot several nervous glances between the rock and Demakis before daring to investigate the relic. She knew they were growing antsy and increasingly impatient with her. They were dangerous, unpredictable men, and at any moment they could turn on her if they didn’t get what they wanted…
She busied herself with interpreting to avoid the rest of those thoughts. Despite the conditions, the mural was fairly well-intact. The style was unlike anything she had ever seen from the ancient Etzolek. The artist had been meticulously precise with his work, even for his primitive age. Obviously he had had great pride in the subject of his work, enough to get it down to every fine detail. Above the scene, she could see faint runes, and half-mindedly she read them aloud:
“The Sword of Storms… A jewel of the Forbidden Forges… The crown of the skies…”
“Where is it?” asked Demakis, keenness underlining his tone.
Rachel faltered, having not realized that she had voiced her translation. Gulping back her fears, she silently continued scanning down the mural, lowering her eyes to the sides of the sword. The block-like letters of an ancient language were carved right into the stone there, unlike the other runes.
He who has the eye far-seeing
Can wield its power of heaven,
But the same sees not that fate awaiting
With claw and fang, blade and flame
The Hunter hunting shall claim reward
Ye thief who enter here, be ye forewarned
“It’s a curse,” the young woman realized, face widening in surprise. “How fascinating! The Etzolek were known for—”
Demakis sharply cleared his throat, sending the message that he really didn’t care for a history lesson.
“Right… Well, the bottom line says, ‘ye thief who enter here’. I suppose that this is a seal to a secret chamber. The sword must be in…”
The raven-haired youth trailed off as Demakis pulled out another of his red-and-white Poké Balls. In a brilliant white flash, the capsule released a hulking giant. Rachel had to take a step back to make room for the rock-hided creature.
“Rhyperior,” Demakis addressed it, “Remove this road-block.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” Rachel exclaimed in absolute horror as the Pokémon lurched forward. Her words didn’t stop the bulky rhino as it shoved its craggy fist into the stone. The force of the blow broke the surface, destroying the ancient handiwork in an instant.
“That was an invaluable archeological find!” she protested, indignant.
Demakis shrugged indifferently, “That has no worth to me.”
“Yeah,” Clint grinned greedily beside his Crobat and Starmie. “The only value we’re interested in is cold, hard, cash.”
“Scoundrels,” Rachel scowled under her breath before turning remorsefully back to the decimated stone slab. What monsters! She couldn’t believe that they would do such a thing. All that enduring history… wiped out in a matter of seconds. With another steady punch, it completely crumpled to the damp floor in an irretrievable heap. Now they were the only ones who would have ever seen its tale—and only she was the one who appreciated its beauty.
Satisfied with his Rhyperior’s work, Demakis gave an approving nod. The company now faced a gaping black hole, and perhaps the end of their long journey.
“This is it, boys,” the lead treasure hunter grunted to his team. “The sword must be just beyond this door. Xavier, hand me the torch.”
The skillful Xavier had kept the torch lit through the trial of the whirlpool, but as he handed it over, he didn’t reclaim his walking stick. Demakis had lost that in the flood, and now the small explorer was left empty handed. Rachel watched him twitch nervously. It seemed that the man had a peculiar quirk about always having his hands on something, but he gave no objection. Xavier watched grimly as his boss stepped over the rubble and into the doorway.
The moment Demakis set his foot down, a sudden gust of wind engulfed the air. Rachel nearly fell backwards, but that was the least of her worries. The gale swiftly snuffed out the flames of the torch, and the crew was overwhelmed by darkness once again.
“Whaht jahst ’appened, mon?” Jamar’s voice called out.
Demakis cursed, but to the others he said, “Nevermind. Anyone have a light?”
Rachel anxiously licked her lips as she listened to the men fumble around in their equipment. The darkness felt suffocating. To think that they were several feet underground in a temple far from civilization didn’t help her any, either. Their journey down here had been a long one, and their chances of making it back in the dark looked grim. Though she had never been scared of darkness—or claustrophobic—she hoped that one of the men had sense enough to bring a lighter.
“No good,” Xavier answered back. “All my things are soaked through.”
“Yeah, same here,” Clint replied the same.
“I cahn’t ev’n find mine, boss.”
“What about your Pokémon?” Demakis asked again, though forcedly as if trying to fight his temper.
“My Electabuzz is knocked out, sir,” exhaled Clint sharply.
“Cahn’t do much, der, mon.”
Rachel saw her chance. Before Xavier could say anything, she interjected, “Give me back my Pokémon. My Kirlia can use Flash.”
The chamber fell silent. Rachel’s nervously bit her lip, wishing she could swallow her words. She doubted that ruthless leader would even consider listening. He had abducted her Pokémon with the threat to harm them if she didn’t comply…
Light momentarily illuminated the space between the hunters, issued by the opening of yet another Poke Ball. Rachel barely caught the form of a lion-like creature just before flash faded, but she clearly spotted the feline’s eerie yellow eyes as they glowed in the darkness.
“Luxray,” a command came from Xavier, and immediately the star at the tip of the Pokémon’s tail sparked with electric light.
“Well,” Demakis smirked, shooting Rachel a side glance. “It seems we don’t need your Kirlia after all, Miss Becker.”
The other men chuckled along with him while Rachel turned away in frustration. Yet again, her chance to escape had been denied. How was she ever going to get away from these uncouth baboons? All they cared about was getting their treasure, and they didn’t care how they did it. Kidnapping a young archeologist, stealing her team, putting her life in danger with little concern… nothing was too low for these men.
Last edited by Charmander009; 04-04-2011 at 08:05 PM.
04-04-2011, 08:07 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Celestia Region
Re: ~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Feel free to comment! :D)
“Move it on, then,” Clint came up behind her and pushed her forward, after the others who were climbing in through the hole in the wall.
Rachel followed, but with enough resistance to let Clint know that she wasn’t a willing prisoner. As she entered the next room, however, she grew solemn. They entered a vast, natural cavern, with the roof arching several hundred feet over their heads. Rachel could hear the faint roaring of running water in the distance, and she wondered if perhaps if an underground river coursed through the stone nearby. Ahead she could see a weak shaft of light sliced its way through the stale air, shining on the only evidence of Etzolek architecture in the ancient cave. Pyramidal in shape, it rose ten feet off the floor in jagged steps.
As they traversed the wide cave, she could make out more of its details. Patterns of blocky spirals decorated its surface, while crude carvings of feathered Rayquaza statues rested, opened-jawed, at each corner. At its peak, something metallic stood firm.
“Finally…” Demakis’ eyes glinted as they fixed themselves at the altar. “After all these years…”
Silently, the crew approached the pyramid. For Rachel, each step brought a terrible sense of dread. She was seeing it—she really was: the legendary Sword of Storms, blade plunged into the stone with the hilt raised high in the air. If the myths were true, if any of this was really real, she hated to think what would happen when Demakis got his hands on it. She watched warily as the veteran approached the base, a look of fascination carved deeply into his weathered face. He raised one boot, and placed it on the first step.
The earth rumbled, but fell silent again.
“That was creepy…” Clint remarked, darting his eyes around the cave like a frightened animal.
“Ya aren’t chick’n’ out now, are ya?” joked Jamar, though his chuckle was forced. Clint scowled back, but didn’t even try a refutation. All the men were on edge now, and Rachel could feel that tension. On the other hand, Demakis wasn’t dissuaded from climbing. The others waited at the base of the pyramid as he continued upwards. When he finally stopped before the sword, Demakis hungrily eyed the talon-like hilt. All its long years of slumbering deep underground was evident in its rust and decay, and yet it to this day it had awaited defiantly. Waiting… for him. A dark smile carved itself into Demakis’ face before he reached out, and wrapped his calloused hands around the handle.
At once, he sharply recoiled, a fresh burn smarting in the palm of his hand. Like a warning, the bronze hilt of the sword dimly glowed red where he had touched it.
Demakis growled in frustration, his face creased in disgust. Again, he tried grabbing at the sword, but earned the same result. Having had control over himself for the longest time, he was now beginning to lose his patience. He had come this far, hadn’t he? Now that he was so close…
“Becker,” he spat down at the young archeologist hotly.
Rachel was jolted by the sudden harshness in his voice. She realized then that as they reached the climax of their adventure, her role was growing precarious. As soon as she had run her usefulness, she would merely be a liability. What these men would do with her then, she didn’t want to imagine. Uneasily she joined Demakis, aware that time was running out for her.
“What’s going on?” demanded Demakis curtly of her.
“What do you—?”
“Whenever I touch it, the hilt grows too hot to hold. What kind of Etzolek trick is this?”
For once, the answer didn’t come immediately to Rachel. She stared at the sword in wonder, mind drawn a blank. Why couldn’t Demakis pull it from the stone? Curiously, she ventured a try—placing a finger on the hilt. She too felt the bronze heat up, but reclaimed her hand before it could burn her. How is this possible? she wondered, staring with an open mouth. Suddenly, a memory surfaced to her mind’s eye: the brief glimpse that she had caught of the paintings on the walls. The spearman with the mark on his forehead… Straining her memory, she tried to remember what it meant.
“An eye…” she mumbled out loud. “Far-seeing…”
“What?” Demakis stared.
Rachel ignored him as everything clicked in her head. Excitedly, she tried voicing all her thoughts out loud, saying, “Of course! The line in the curse said, ‘He who has the eye far-seeing’. It was talking about--!”
“Enlighten me,” the rugged man’s frown deepened as he crossed his beefy arms.
The young archeologist stopped herself, remembering who she was dealing with. Her heart raced as her mind whirled to reach a decision. She knew a part of the riddle, perhaps a key part, and if Demakis knew it… No, she had to protect this legendary artifact.
“Only the chosen can remove this sword,” she finally answered, voice trembling slightly.
“The chosen?” Demakis narrowed his eyes.
“Yes. The Etzolek seemed to have placed a... a curse of sorts. Unless you have the right… qualities… you won’t be able to wield this sword—much less pull it from this stone.”
“You’ve got to be joking me,” the hunter growled dangerously.
The young woman didn’t reply. She stared at the sword, too afraid to look the man in the eye.
Demakis’ face suddenly twisted in wrath that Rachel regretted her boldness. “You lying wretch! Get out of my way!”
Growling fiercely he roughly shoved her aside, causing the young woman to lose her balance and topple backwards down the side of the pyramid. He grabbed at the hilt again, ignoring the pain that bit into his skin as he heaved at the sword with all his strength. His men started up the pyramid as their leader yelled out, but before they could reach him the damage was done. The sword slipped from its place, fell from Demakis’ now-blistered hands, and clattered onto the ground.
Everyone was brought to their knees when the entire cavern trembled violently.
Dazed and confused, Rachel rolled over and lifted her head in time to see a wide crack split the altar in two. Jamar and Xavier were pulling their screaming leader away from it, while Clint tried to pick up the sword. None had much luck in their attempts, until rocks began falling from the ceiling. One landed not too far from where Rachel was lying, crushing the stone beneath it with enough force to leave a crater. Frightfully, she scrambled onto her feet, despite the pounding in her head.
She had a difficult time staying on her feet as the earth continued to rock beneath her feet. It felt like wading through the whirlpool back in the other chamber, but she forced herself to march over to the flailing Demakis. When she reached him—avoiding Jamar and Xavier—she grabbed at the sack hanging from his belt.
“Get away!” Demakis saw what she was attempting, and swung his arm at her. Rachel flinched, but succeeded in yanking the bag away—just before Xavier took a hold of her head and pushed her away. Again she fell to the ground, adding another scrape to her skin.
“It’s no use!” Clint called, shrinking away from the stubborn sword while cradling burns of his own.
“Forget it, mon,” Jamar shouted back, struggling to hold Demakis back. “Let’s jest git out of here.”
“Don’t you dare leave that sword behind!” fumed their leader.
Once obedient down to a tee, Demakis’ men would have done any command without question. But with the entire cavern threatening to collapse on their heads, they had no choice but to ignore Demakis now. Clint, cursing under his breath, left the sword on the steps of the altar and followed after the retreating men—not even pausing as he passed Rachel on the way.
Everything was happening too fast. Rocks fell more and more frequently, growing in size and intensity, and Rachel moved so sluggishly. She lifted her eyes and saw the sword right before her, rusted with age but patiently waiting. Painfully, she crawled across the cave floor while praying that she wouldn’t get smashed by falling debris. Using a Rayquaza statue’s head to hoist herself up, she grabbed the hilt with one hand and pulled it down beside her. Her hand smarted with a fresh burn, but she ignored it as she fished around the bag for a compact Poké Ball.
“T-tiara…” she coughed out, finding the one she was looking for. The ball expanded in her hands, and in a blink of an eye, it opened up. A two-foot, green and white Pokémon resembling a ballerina materialized before her, who gaped around the crumbling chaos in horror. What was her Trainer doing releasing her at a time like this?
“T-teleport,” Rachel uttered a command, taking the sword in hand once more.
With a nod, the Kirlia brought her hands together as if in prayer. The two red crests on her head started glowing, and with a bright flash of blue light, they were gone.
04-21-2011, 01:50 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Celestia Region
Re: ~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Feel free to comment! :D)
“Yesterday afternoon, an area near the ancient Etzltomal ruins caved-in as the result of a small tremor,” the monitors blared the report from behind the window of an old electronics store. The blonde-haired news anchor stared at her unseen audience solemnly, as if her story was the grimmest she’d ever told. She was oblivious to the crowd gathering around the front of that store miles away that watch with curiosity but one of the same concern. The screen quickly changed to overhead footage of the jungle, down at a gaping hole in the ground.
“No apparent damage was said to been done to the nearby Etzolek ruins, and no one was reported injured. The ruins had been closed off for several months because of concerns for safety …”
“Are you sure you want to do this, Lee?”
Not far from the store front, a teenager looked over the crowd with a confident smirk. He didn’t glance down at the creature at his side as he answered, “Of course I am. Just look at all the people here. This’ll be a great business opportunity.”
Peering around the corner they hid behind, the bipedal-fox let out a sigh through her dainty mouth. “There are a lot of people,” she admitted, her voice reaching him through unspoken means. “But… what if Paxton—”
“Forget Paxton, Shadow,” Lee dismissed with a casual wave of the hand. “This’ll be a quick gig anyway. We’ll be in and out in a flash.”
If Shadow’s eyes weren’t permanently squinted, she would have rolled them. She’d heard that too many times to count. Lee, meanwhile, moved his keen gaze to the square the store helped frame. At its center, a pristine fountain happily sprayed forth crystal-clear water. The serpentine statue securing the spout had been carved out of gray marble, mimicking the jagged style of the old natives. The smirk on the youth’s face widened into a smile as an idea came to him. He ran a hand through his spiky black hair before reaching down for his backpack.
“Okay, I think I got it,” he informed his Pokémon as he started fishing in his pack. “This’ll knock their socks off!”
“Just don’t overdo yourself this time, hot-shot.”
“Who, me?” he emerged with several oranges in his hands. “Come on, Shadow, who do you take me for?”
“A shameless performer,” she grumbled, crossing her yellow-furred arms.
“Hey, I’m not that professional yet,” he laughed, teasing the fur on her head with a free hand. “Here it goes—you’d better jet. We don’t want them to get mixed up again, right?”
“Yeah, yeah,” she turned her back, swinging her long tail. Unlike most Abra, Shadow had preferred to actually use her legs to get places. Teleporting and sleeping everywhere and everyday never sounded thrilling to her. Besides, she was much more interested in the world she physically lived in.
“Just… try to be careful, okay?” she added over her shoulder.
“I will be,” Lee nodded back with a more genuine smile. The Abra smiled back, and then disappeared in a flash of light. Turning to face the unsuspecting crowd, Lee took in a deep breath.
“Let’s knock ‘em dead,” he muttered to himself, and then strode out into the streets.
The people hardly paid any attention as he set up his “stage” at the front of the fountain, but Lee knew he was going to change all that. Placing a sizable paint can before him, he straightened up and started his performance. Tossing one orange up after the other, he juggled.
At first, the response was slow. Only a few heads casually turned their heads, momentarily disengaging from the news report. As he added more oranges to his tosses, however, he earned more interest from them. When he had worked his way up from three to seven, a good portion of the people had strayed from the store and watched him with amused smiles. People passing down the street paused as well, including several children who pointed while exclaiming excitedly.
Perfect, Lee thought to himself. Now for the climax!
He performed more tricks and loops, earning an appreciative applause before he pulled out his best show-stopper. Lee jerked his hands abruptly apart and froze… and the oranges paused in midair.
The crowd let out a collective gasp.
Lee smiled despite himself. He had them eating out of his hands, now. Closing his eyes in concentration, he shifted his stance. Glowing in a curious blue light, the oranges followed the motions as if tied by invisible strings. They lined up in the air at a wave of his hand, then snaked through the air like a roller coaster. Lee’s audience watched in captivation as the apparent Psychic made the fruit do whatever he wished. They twisted and twirled, danced and looped.
Before the magic could wear off, Lee brought them to a stop in an arch over his head.
And now, he thought cockily, for the grand finale!
The next trick required all of his concentration, all of his energy. Head bent, eyes closed, he reached out with his mind. He could feel everything around him, from the awe-struck crowd, to the buildings walling the square, to the fountain spewing from behind. Blocking out all the others, Lee narrowed his mind to the water cascading from the statue. At his will, dozens of droplets paused in midflight, collecting until making an entire sheet of water. By then, sweat trickled down the side of Lee’s face from the exertion of controlling the water. That element was always hardest to control, especially coming from a fountain. He needed to concentrate on every little droplet, and it was thinning his mind dangerously. For a Pokémon, it would have been easier, but he was only human. Once he got it flowing, however, the trick would be easier to do.
Finally deciding he had enough, Lee moved his glowing hands forward. The water he collected twisted together, following his lead while taking on a snake-like form. Cheers and gasps rang out as the water looped through the air, opening and closing what seemed like a viper’s mouth. Lee smiled as he opened his eyes to see his audience’s reactions. Today was going to be a great boon to his wallet, he could already tell.
The serpent made of water turned back towards the floating oranges, and opening its shimmering jaws it swallowed them one by one. The spheres slid through its gullet, though two stayed to form bulbous eyes for the water creature. Turning its head towards the crowd, the snake silently hissed at them. Children shrilled in delight as it suddenly surged forward and burst into a fine spray of mist. The oranges left behind quickly looped through the air before flitting back to Lee’s side, disappearing into his bag as the boy bowed majestically.
His audience gave their final and loudest applause. Smiling triumphantly to himself, Lee straightened back up and waited patiently as his catch reeled in. Groups of them came forward, most of them tacky-dressed tourist ready to drop whatever pocket change they had into his humble paint-can. The boy-wonder thanked them graciously, feeling as if he had just done a marathon race. The trick had been difficult for an undertrained youth, but with the turnout he was having, it had been well worth it.
“Psychic, huh?” said a pretty face that caught his eye. A slender blonde with perfectly bronzed skin smiled flirtatiously before dropping a few fat coins into his cache. Lee was obliged to return the smile as he casually leaned against the fountain’s base.
“The real deal, miss,” he answered with a swagger. “Telekinesis, telepathy… diviner—you name it.”
“Can you predict my future, then?” she raised a playful brow.
“Oh, I can see it right now,” Lee lifted his fore-finger to his temple cryptically. “You… me… Lunch at the beach?”
The blonde chuckled, looking him up and down, “Cute. We’ll just have to see if you’re right.”
“I am almost never wrong.”
“The future is a matter of possibilities, never set in stone. After all, it is our choices that make us who we are,” he answered sagely, with mocking solemnity. “For example, I could choose to kiss you right now and we could skip the lunch date altogether.”
That earned him another chuckle, as well as some color to her tanned skin. From the way she dressed and carried herself about, she must have been a local. Lee thought her a nice break from the usual gauche and somewhat obese tourist that plagued the islands lately. Though the tourists were always willing to part freely with their money, none of them were as cute as this girl—or just the right age.
Her eyes flicked behind him for a brief second. Whatever she saw brought a small frown to her face. Before Lee could ask, she whispered, “Looks like you still have some matters to attend to. But, perhaps there is a future for us.”
She winked as she pulled out a slip of paper and dropped it with the collected money. Lee blinked in bafflement as she strode away without another word. What had chased her off? Had he been too forward?
“Well, well, well,” the teen stiffened as a deep voice suddenly spoke from the other side of the fountain. “Looks like we got ourselves another freeloader.”
Lee gritted his teeth as he matched the person up with that voice in his head. Tall, brawny, with a goatee and pony-tail… Paxton. The teen winced as he rotated his head around, confirming his suspicions. The resort’s appointed “regulator” stood with a sneer over his folded arms, looking as if he too just got his catch of the day.
“Freeloader? What?” Lee called back as calmly as he could, arms held out defensively. “Come on, man, why would you call me that?”
“’Cuz I know exactly who you are,” Paxton strode around the fountain towards him, taking his time to crack his thick knuckles. “You’re the infamous Psychic.”
“Infamous… I kind of like the sound of that,” Lee jokingly nodded.
“You know the rule,” Paxton’s own smile faded quickly as he took a turn for the serious. “No street shows without proper authorization.”
“Authorization? What authorization?” the boy forced a chuckle, deciding to play dumb. “What are you talking about, man? It’s a free region, isn’t it?”
“Not on Orchid Resort property, it ain’t.”
“Oh, this is part of the Resort area? I had no idea…”
“You knew well enough,” Paxton grunted, growing tired of the game. Stopping right before Lee’s paint clan, he glanced down at it with a frown. “Look at that—you made quite the profit today, didn’t you?”
Paxton suddenly kicked it over, spilling out its coins and crumbled bills.
“What was that for?” the boy shouted in protest as he stared at the “patroller” accusingly.
“I suggest that you pack up and leave,” Paxton ignored him, placing a boot on the can like a conqueror. “As for this… Well, it’s Resort property now.”
“You can’t do that!” Lee now seethed, losing all pretenses. He had worked hard for that money! No way was he going to give it up like that, not without a fight.
Paxton placed an arm on his raised knee and leaned forward, coming eye-to-eye with Lee. Face set like emotionless stone, he threatened, “Watch me.”
Lee’s eyes flashed as he glared at the man, the outline of his irises lighting up with blue. Fine. If he wanted to play it that way…
In an instance, the paint can slipped from beneath Paxton’s boot. The man lost his balance, but not before the can jerked upwards and hit his face with a resounding twang. Lee took the opportunity to jolt forward and knocked him to the ground. While Paxton yelled out in pain, cradling his face in his hands, Lee scooped up all the money he could and slipped it into his bag.
“Better luck next time, numbskull,” saluted Lee mockingly down to Paxton as he swung his bag onto his back. Before the man could regain his feet, the boy raced from the square with a smug look of victory on his face. With the coins jiggling against his back, he felt home-free.
“Stop right there!”
“Great,” Lee muttered, quickly losing some of his thunder. “Paxton’s lackeys…”
He didn’t have to turn his head to know that they were following him up the alley. They raised enough of a ruckus to alert a slumbering Snorlax. Luckily for him, none of that motley crew moved as swiftly as he did. Lee turned sharp corners through the maze-like streets of Sonata Village in attempts to lose them, often diving in and out of crowds. The men held one advantage over him, however; they knew these streets better than he did—and whenever Lee thought he was in the clear, one would suddenly raise a shout. The boy had to hand it to Paxton. His security staff showed some efficiency.
They were tenacious. Even when they crossed over the boundary of the Resort’s property, Lee felt their pursuit.
“Didn’t I tell you to keep out of trouble?” Shadow’s telepathy reached him long before she suddenly appeared at his side.
“Hey, Shadow,” Lee panted, pumping his legs. “Long time no see.”
“So much for ‘in and out of there in a flash’, huh?” she kept pace with him.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know,” he cut her off, glancing over his shoulder. “Think you can make with the teleporting?”
“Magic words?” the Abra grumbled back.
“Fine, you were right. Now, please?”
In a blink of an eye, the two disappeared. One instant, they were racing through the cobblestone streets; the next, they tore through the thick undergrowth of the jungle. Surprised at the sudden change of scenery, Lee promptly tripped over an unearthed root and dug his face into the moist tropical soil.
“Nice landing,” Shadow teased as she skidded to a halt beside him.
Pulling himself up from the jungle floor, he spat a few rotting leaves from his mouth. “Couldn’t you have given me a little warning?”
“I told you to think fast,” the Abra was smiling slyly.
Muttering under his breath, Lee climbed back onto his feet. After patting himself free of clinging leaves and dirt, he glanced around at the rainforest surrounding them. The green-glowing canopy overhead blocked out most of the sky, while leafy palms crowded the spaces between the moss-girdled trunks. Sing-song calls of unseen birds rang out through the humid air. Lee could see no signs of human life anywhere.
“Er, where are we exactly?” the boy frowned.
“Um… good question…”
“What?” he spun to face his Pokémon partner.
“Hey, it’s not easy to teleport under pressure,” she averted her eyes shamefully. “Plus… something weird happened…”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m… not sure. Just some sort of disturbance…”
The Abra looked genuinely baffled—perhaps even a little frightened. Lee decided not to press her further, and instead heaved a sigh. Eyes wandering around the jungle’s shadows, he asked, “So we’re lost?”
Shadow tilted her head, ears perked at an angle as if listening for something. “No, I don’t think so. I think I can teleport us out of here.”
“Great,” he clapped his hands together. “So let’s…”
Lee trailed off, his thoughts scattering as something brushed up against his consciousness. Unlike a presence—some other being—the feeling intruded his mind and refused to yield. The boy psychic staggered under the unfamiliarity, having never felt such a power before. Everything he had learned about his paranormal gift he had gained through experience, or from Shadow’s advice. Yet nothing compared to this, whatever it was.
Foreign… Ancient… Malicious…
“Lee?” his mind cleared enough to pick up on Shadow’s message.
“I… I think I picked up on that disturbance you were talking about…” he shook his head.
“You okay?” she held her gaze in concern.
“Yeah, yeah. It just… it was strong. Different.”
Both fell silent, listening uncomfortably to the distant birdsong. Lee stared at the forest litter below his feet, rubbing at his throbbing forehead while trying to understand. What was it? What would fire off such an unusual psychic signal?
Shadow finally shuddered, “We should get out of here. It doesn’t feel right…”
At her words, Lee felt a change. The mysterious probe—or psychic vibe juju, Lee couldn’t decide what to call it—recoiled, but pulled Lee along with it. The teen unexpectedly found himself moving away from Shadow, into the deeper undergrowth.
“Lee? Where the heck are you going?”
“I… I don’t know…” he frowned, trying to figure out what was going on. He felt drawn towards the mysterious force, both by an incomprehensible force and by his own curiosity. After ducking through the tangled branches of a dead shrub, he emerged before a massive Kapok tree. Even when tilting his head back, Lee lost sight of its leafy crown. The ancient sentinel must have stood over two-hundred feet tall for several centuries. Its smooth-barked trunk fanned out in ribbon-like buttresses, resembling the sinewy leg of a mythical monster.
“I think there’s something over here,” Lee called out to Shadow as he scanned the floor around the base of the tree.
“Something that we probably shouldn’t mess with…” she wandered next to him, following his gaze warily.
Lee wanted to agree. The memory of the intrusion was still fresh on his mind—sudden and almost violent—but now… it seemed inviting. An unexplainable excitement filled him as he drew closer and closer to the source. What was this new and strange feeling? What caused all of this? The questions kept climbing in number, and he wanted to know all their answers.
Shadow abruptly stopped.
“Lee, this is bad. This place is bad. We need to get out of here now.”
Last edited by Charmander009; 04-21-2011 at 01:53 AM.
04-21-2011, 01:51 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Celestia Region
Re: ~Storm Chaser~ [DreamCraft] (Feel free to comment! :D)
The teenage boy ignored her, head turning left and right as he neared one of the tree’s tall buttresses. It was close…
“Lee!” she sounded close to panicking.
Regardless of her warnings, he grabbed hold of the buttress’s crown and hoisted himself over. As his feet landed with a muffled thump, he finally found what he was looking for. Nestled within the leaf litter, a sword laid patiently waiting for him. Lee gaped with dumb fascination, unable to fathom why such an artifact ended up here in the middle of nowhere. It certainly looked old. The bronze metal was crusted with wear, but Lee could tell that the stubby hilt had been fashioned to resemble a claw—with the distinct blocky designs typical of Etzolek art. Unlike the swords of medieval times, the blade had a shorter reach and a thicker width. The middle slightly bulged before tapering to a dull point. Three stones had been set into the butt end of the handle, but they were blackened over with age.
“A sword…” Lee breathed in unbelief. Slowly, he reached out to touch its blade.
“Don’t touch it!”
The teen jolted at Shadow’s rapid outburst. He turned to see her standing on top of the tree’s root, claws clutching at the wood.
“What’s the matter with you?” he blinked at her blankly.
“Leave it alone,” she warned. “There’s something evil about it…”
Lee glanced between her and the sword, still confused. A dull buzz filled his ears, fogging his logic for an instance. “Evil? Shadow, it’s just a sword. Looks like something from that ancient tribe that lived here long ago… I bet it’s worth a lot of money.”
“And I bet it’s worth a lot of trouble,” the Abra shuddered.
“Seriously, what’s up with you? Since when did you become the superstitious type?”
“I’m not being superstitious, Lee. I’m just using this thing you call a brain. Ever heard of it?”
Lee frowned and shrugged, “Sounds overrated.”
Holding out his hand, the teen threw all caution to the wind. At his bidding, the sword lifted from the ground and levitated in midair.
“Put that down right now!”
“Relax, okay? There’s nothing wrong—”
Before he could finish that comment, the sword unexpectedly rushed into his open palm. He cried out in shock as what felt like electricity coursed through his arm. The surge happened so quickly that it took him several seconds to realize he felt no pain. Instead, he felt energized. His head whirled with crazy thoughts of strength and glory. With this sword, he could do anything. Everything. Not even the sky could contain his ambitions! And no one could…
“LEE!” Shadow’s shout broke through his wild visions.
With a sharp intake of air, Lee returned to himself. Shadow stared at him with a face full of horror. The rainforest around them had quieted unnaturally, but the teen picked up on a faint humming. Soon he found its source: the mysterious sword in his hand.
“What the…?” he breathed, eyes widening at the weapon in his hand.
The sword had undergone a transformation. All the age and wear had been stripped away, leaving it looking fresh and new, as if forged just yesterday. The blade glinted with an onyx sheen, sharp and dangerous at its tip. The copper-toned hilted looked clean and clear, letting Lee see more of the scale-like texture within the patterned talon. The three jewels at the handle’s base were now distinguishable: green as foliage around him, and clear enough to reflect the image of his bewildered face.
“Holy Milktank,” he guffawed, whirling the blade around experimentally. Instead of being unnerved, he grew excited. “This sword is awesome!”
“Careful with that thing!” Shadow scolded him sharply, eyeing the flashing blade distastefully.
“Will you quit nagging me? Look, everything’s under control. Pretty little thing, isn’t it?” he held the sword admiringly up to his eyes.
She stared at him in unbelief.
“Did you even see what happened? That thing changed!”
“Pretty cool, right?” he grinned childishly.
“Ugh! Boys! Okay, look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: something’s not right with that thing. You should leave it right where you found it. And we should get the heck out of here.”
“Do you think it belongs to someone?” he ignored her once again, turning to look around the jungle curiously. “Nobody seems to be around…”
“Will you listen to me for just once?”
“Come on, Shadow, think about it: those archeology goonies would drool over themselves to get their hands on this thing. I bet they’d pay anything for it.”
“I don’t want to think about it! Money’s not the object, here. Either you put that thing back where you found it, or you’ll be walking home,” the female crossed her arms stubbornly.
“Fine!” Lee cradled the blade closely, as if shielding it from her. “Maybe I’ll just walk home!”
“Fine! Go right ahead!”
Without waiting for another reply, the Abra teleported from sight. Left alone in the middle of the jungle, Lee stared at the place she had stood a second before in amazement. The boy felt like he had been slapped awake from a trance. He didn’t think that she would really ditch him like that, stranded in the middle of nowhere. How would he get back to town? He had no idea where he was at!
“Shadow?” he called tentatively.
The psychic laughed weakly, “Okay, Shadow, you made your point. You can quit playing around… Come out from hiding.”
The jungle remained as silent as ever.
Lee let his shoulders droop. She really had gone, and from the looks of things… she wasn’t planning on coming back anytime soon. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so hard on her. Maybe he should have listened better.
Remembering the sword in his hand, Lee held it up to absorb its craftsmanship once again. How it cleaned itself up, he couldn’t even begin to guess at, yet it looked so enchanting now. His reflection looked up at him from the blade’s well-polished surface. Lee couldn’t help but run his hand up the flat part, loving how smooth and cool it felt beneath his palm. What does Shadow know, he thought to himself. He didn’t need her. He didn’t need anyone. Lee was perfectly capable of finding his own way back.
Switching hands with the sword, Lee marched forward into the rainforest with a new feeling of confidence. He could do anything.
Hahahahaha, wow, this story is going to go undone for the contest. I'm okay with it, I guess. Dang school stuff kept me busy, but I tried my hardest. ^^
Last edited by Charmander009; 04-21-2011 at 01:56 AM.
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