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TEEN: Coltar: The Prophecy

Coltar the Prophecy - Chapter List
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This piece is a longer story and part of a longer series. You don't necessarily have to have read any of my other Coltar work to be able to understand and enjoy this part of the series, as it is the first.

When a peace summit in the neutral town of Marsten is interrupted by a trainer and a rogue charizard, war between the two Coltese regions: Colran and Elktan erupts. James, a fourteen-year-old Colran boy finds himself in occupied Fehahra. With his bloodline mercilessly being hunted by Elktan, James must find a way to live in the new upside-down world. Meanwhile, an ancient prophecy has failed once more, and has decided to reroll its candidates.

Update Schedule: Saturdays or Sundays
Last edited:
Chapter 1: The Tragedy of Marsten Hall
Jul 23, 2022
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  1. She/Her
When a peace summit in the neutral town of Marsten is interrupted by a trainer and a rogue charizard, war between the two Coltese regions: Colran and Elktan erupts. James, a fourteen-year-old Colran boy finds himself in occupied Fehahra. With his bloodline mercilessly being hunted by Elktan, James must find a way to live in the new upside-down world. Meanwhile, an ancient prophecy has failed once more, and has decided to reroll its candidates.

Reviews, comments and reactions are 100% welcomed!

Warning: This story is rated Teen. It contains violence, swears, PTSD, death, blood, injury, war and sensitive social topics including but not limited to abuse, slavery and mentions of ideas which would be accepted in a more medieval setting. These warnings are for every chapter, although they may not be present in every chapter.

In the event that something seems too much, please let me know and I'll happily change or censor it.


(Map made with Inkarnate)​


(Above Colran (Left), Elktan (Centre), Kilgor (Right))​

The Marsten Hall Tragedy


Sunday, February 14th, 1989

Moonlight gleamed through the blue and green panes of the stained-glass window onto a torn-up piece of crinkled paper which lay on the table at the entrance of Marsten Hall. The light divided perfectly along the middle, with the top half being the northern forest green and the bottom the southern navy blue. Eyes of former rulers from Elktan, Colran and Kilgor staring disapprovingly from their old painted portraits, which were peeling away in places. Each with their own golden inscription along the bottom. The most notable being that of Igor Rett, considered to be the first ruler of Kilgor.

The flags of each nation hung down along the wall, unswaying, as the wind blew gently down the corridor, like the nations themselves. Unchanging, determined, and locked into their own cultures.

The purple carpet, matched the colour of the Kilgorese flag, and led up to the crinkled paper, on which a former peace treaty had been written in fine prose. The carpet was coated in new dusty boot prints, and high-heeled shoes led into the ballroom. The footprints flickered under the light of the chandelure, which danced above the room. The music leaked out of the ballroom, flickering between string Colran and woodwind Elkran tunes. The waltz escaped the hall and down to the bottom of the hill as easily as the single state of Kilgor had been divided into Colran and Elktan.

Despite the music filling him with energy, James could feel a burning in his stomach. He had held off eating all day, and he was glad, as he squeezed through the smallest gap in the entranceway towards the main ballroom. He could see the Lords congregating inside, blocking the view of the negotiation table in a sea of green and blue. To his surprise, he couldn’t spot a slither of purple amongst the crowd.

Elite Lord Madison must be there,, he thought, eager to meet his hero. James felt his fingers grind against the fray, and his knees, through his trousers, touch the dirty carpet. He took a deep breath in. His vision blurred a little, and his hands started to sweat as he could hear the footsteps of Lords and Ladies surrounding him. He felt more nauseous with every single sound.

Focus, I need to get in. It is so busy, with all these people there is no way anyone would notice me. I must see Madison. James felt a gown brush against his head. That was his cue. He dived forward to get through the gap in the door. His throat tightened, and his legs froze. His fair skin started to turn pale when he heard a bombardment of words shouted at him as his red hair was flung in front of his red eyes.

“I don’t understand! Talk Colrat you jerk!” James said. His right-hand trembling and his fingers twitching, he could feel the spinarak silk shirt, but not the tooth button. More words passed through his ears, and he took a deep breath as his knees ached. James looked down and saw the carpet with tiny specs of blood on it. His knees tingled.

“Hey, sorry about my colleague.” a man said as he waved his arms in front of him. The man knelt beside James; his blue tie brushed against James’s head. “What are you trying to do? I guess it has something to do with going somewhere you shouldn’t, am I right?”

“Fuck off, you Elktan jerk!” James pushed his hands against the ground and darted forward. However, the man’s hand was bashed against his chest. James looked up at the dark-skinned man standing a foot taller than him. His blue uniform jacket drooped down over the top of his black trousers. His blue buttoned up shirt was tucked in tightly.

“What’s your name? I am Lord Orag, from Elktan. You aren’t in trouble, but you can’t get in here. You aren’t a Lord or a young Lord.” Lord Orag smiled at James. His hand pressed against his sword, with the tips of his fingers stretched out ready to grip the blade.

James screwed up his nose and gritted his teeth. He pushed Lord Orag, however, his push was met by what felt like a wall. “Why do you care? You and Lord Piscar are jerks!”

Civilians and Lords surrounding the entrance stiffened up, and a deafening silence fell. They stared down at James with piercing eyes. Their lips pursed. Sweat rolled down the faces of some, while others closed their fists.

Lord Orag, however, placed a hand on James’s shoulder. “It is just important, and I don’t know what Lord Piscar has to do with any of this. He is very busy. Calm down and be respectful or I will have to drag you away from here.” He tilted his hat back and locked eyes again with James.

“I am not bowing to you, you jerk!” James reached into his pocket, pulling out a poké ball. Its green top glistened in the moonlight. The hook-like clasp which held onto the base swung up with the flick of James’s fingers. James, glancing up from the Eldredge knotted tie of Lord Orag, pulled his arm back and swung it around forward with force.

A voice called out from amongst the crowd. “James? Where are you, James?”

Holding onto his poké ball, James turned his head, trying to pinpoint the noise. Before he could finish the throw, he felt his wrist being grabbed. James’s eyes shot wide open and he saw the guard’s fingers wrapped around his wrist. Quickly, James placed his hand on top of the guard’s fingers, and tried to pull them off.

“James! What the… oh my… cressellia’s moon! My Lord, I am so sorry. I humbly apologise for him. Please, sir, do not report this. I beg you,” a boy said. The base of his green jacket brushed against the dusty footprints on the carpet. He winced as his shin pressed into the carpet. “Sir? I apologise, please, let him go.”

"I can take care of it myself, Pierre!" James snapped.

Lord Orag smiled at the boy, and glanced at James with amusement. “No harm was done. I have nothing to report. If I did, I’d be a bore. I have nothing against a little enthusiasm. I was a kid, too, once. However, sneaking into a building one is not supposed to be in is a bit of a stretch.” He released James’s wrist and pressed his fingers against his ear.

Why does he have a hearing aid? Is that why he didn’t hear Pierre the first time? James thought. And his ear has burn marks all over it. I guess he sucks in battle and got fried. Serves the bastard right.

“Just try to keep him out of trouble from now on. I wouldn’t want a war accidentally started because a Colran kid started a battle with an Elkran Lord, letting a large Pokémon like an onix loose and smash through walls, killing innocent people. I wouldn’t have cared if it was against me on the fields, but some others might take it personally.” Lord Orag opened his hand and reached to Pierre. “Maybe later, if you would like, we can have a battle. I am sure it would be beneficial for you. Always something to learn.”

Pierre opened his left hand, taking a deep exhale. He took Lord Orag’s hand, and with his right hand, he pushed his glasses back onto his nose. “Yes, sir, thank you. Honestly, I wanted to get inside myself as a young Lord. However, I should take James back to his parents. Thank you again, sir.” Pierre pushed his fringe back, and tightened his ponytail.

James felt his feet being dragged along the grass, and away from the hall. “What are you doing? Let me go!” Digging his heels into the ground, he screamed, “I want to fight that jerk!”

“James, stop. You could have been arrested or, worse, executed. Come on, what’s this really about?” Pierre eased his grip, and James’s arm slipped through his grasp. “You are way too angry today.” He glanced at James, who shrugged at him, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Show me,” Pierre said, reaching for James’s shirt. His hands got pushed down, and a soft throbbing echoed through his wrist. “That bastard…” Pierre’s eyes focused on James’s chest. “Hey, I promise when tonight is over, I’ll deal with that bastard myself. Screw getting in trouble. No one messes with my brother’s best friend and gets away with it. Especially not a psycho like him.” Pierre reached up and adjusted his hat. “Come on, Kuti saved you some qwilfish sticks. Also, your other friends Lioa and his brother, what’s his name? Andrew. They should be coming soon with their parents.”

Should have said that sooner, James thought as a smile crept across his face and his stomach rumbled. The waft of smoked qwilfish crossed his nostrils. His feet followed his nostrils down the hill.

James scooted onto the picnic table next to a boy with short black hair. His eyes were dimly grey, just like his brother, Pierre’s. The boy reached over, keeping his eyes fixated on the table. His hair draped over his pale skin. He picked up a qwilfish on a stick and lifted it. He smiled as James took it from him before staring back at the table. A klink whizzed around behind him.

“Hey Kitiku. Hey Rusto. Hey James! Did you get to see them? Huh? Huh? Did you?” a boy with messy cyan hair and dark beige skin asked, nudging him.

“No, I was ‘augh’ ‘y an El’’an ‘er’,” James answered.

“In a language we can understand, twat.” The boy squeezed next to James. His green eyes glimmered in the moonlight.

James swallowed. “No, I was caught by an Elktan Jerk. And you are the twat, Li. Where is Ano? Never mind, it doesn’t matter.” James looked at Kitiku and smiled.

Lioa shoved his hands in his pockets. “Rew is with dad. Mum and dad had another fight, because she doesn’t appreciate the fact he is a soldier and a hero.” He slammed his hand on the table and grabbed some fried miltank. “At least Kitiku and Pierre’s parents remember to bring food.”

“Hey, Kuti, thanks for saving me some qwil-“ A shiver shot down James’s spine, and he felt the bites on his chest stab him in pain. His eyes shot wide open.

A voice stabbed through the air, like the pains in his chest. “That’s where you went, little runt.” The man’s swinging arms were blocked by Pierre using his forearms. His fists clenched, and he rushed forward, slamming them into the man’s chest. The man staggered back, and Pierre touched the first poké ball on his belt.

“Veravoso, let’s deal with this bastard.” Pierre pressed the poké ball’s button, and a sawk poured out in front of him. “Use fire punch!” The sawk bounced back and forwards on the tips of its toes and lunged forwards, striking the man in the chest. A bell rang out over the village, and Pierre turned to face the hall for a brief moment. “If you want me to beat you up, keep going, Hanson.” Pierre pressed the button on his poké ball, returning his sawk. “You and I will talk about this later. I, unlike you, have Lord’s business to attend to.” Pierre raised his fist up to his face, and a brown stone shimmered on his watch.

“As do I, and as does Carla,” Hanson replied. His ginger hair blowing from side to side.

“Lord’s business? I doubt that. You may have been born in Kilgor but even they didn’t want a monster like you.” Pierre glared into Hanson’s eyes. “I’ll be back soon, James.”

James looked down at the floor and shuffled his feet. No, he thought. His shot forward after Pierre, who was walking towards Marsten Hall. “D-don’t go, Pierre…” The words barely hearable escaped his breath. His eyes flicked back up to where Hanson was standing. Another shiver went down his spine as the psychopath was nowhere to be seen. Why did you marry that… Why did you go and die? James looked back at the ground, watching his shoes sink into the grass.

Warm air passed over James’s skin, and a loud sound echoed through the village. James felt his hair blow over his face and a stinging sensation erupted from his head.

“J-! -ey? James?” Lioa called out.

James looked up. “What?” He placed his hand on the back of his head and sat up. He looked at his hand to see specs of blood on it. He reached up and took Lioa’s hand. His bloody and sweaty palm slipped a little in Lioa’s hand.

Back on his feet, James’s stare ignored Lioa in front of him and fixated on Marsten Hall. Specks of orange and red floated through the air, and the smell of burning flesh and roasting pokémon flooded his senses. Pierre? James shot a glance at Kitiku. Kitiku’s eyes were wider than his own, and his body shook. His shoes pressed against each other, where he stood frozen in place.

The roof crumbled, and James’s focus snapped as a charizard shot through the roof, scars coating its wings from tip to toe. Windows shattered as it roared, flying off into the night sky. Mum? That’s your charizard… why is it coming from the building? Why is the building on fire? Mum?

Silhouettes stepped into the smoke, catching James’s eyes. He turned to face them. Their swords were drawn and pointed at one another, with a samurott and aggron alongside them.

The first called out into the night, “Setting fire to the building, really? That is a low from even you.” The voice was elderly, but sounded hostile.

“I don’t attack my own. Simple as that,” the second replied, with a younger, deeper tone.

Immediately, the elderly Lord responded, “That’s a lie, and you know it. This means war. Attacking at a peace convention, at a ball… that’s what you stand for. I will make sure this never happens again.”

As the smoke cleared, the figures had disbanded. James’s stomach started to churn at not knowing who had said what. Only that he could take a guess. He had never seen Lord Piscar, not even on a leaflet. All he knew was war was coming now. Elite Lord Piscar and Elite Lord Madison had initiated it. Piscar is a monster… and now… now… mum... Is it over?[/I]

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Chapter 2: The Scars of Marsten Hall
A few months have passed since the Marsten Hall incident. James and his friends decide to sneak out at night, despite the Elktan imposed curfew. However, even their plans can go horribly wrong. Soon the soldiers are alerted to the mischief afoot, and the teenagers find themselves on the edge of the law.

The Scars of Marsten Hall


Friday, April 28th, 1989

Silence consumed the streets of Fehahra, except for the occasional footsteps that pierced. The half-moon was tucked in a blanket of clouds. A dim light painted the cobblestone street, only broken up by the purple glows emanating from the Lampent floating up and down.

A pitter-patter of footsteps running on tiptoes down an alleyway echoed in the night, which stopped at a small semi-detached house. The stone bricks were chipped, especially around the wooden door frame. The metal Coltese numbers hung off the wooden door by a single nail.

James pressed his hand against the door. He leaned in and rested his ear against the metal lock. He pressed his thumb and index fingers together and flicked the lock.

“Hurry up, James, you twat. The patrol will be coming around again soon.” Lioa leaned against the wall as he peaked towards the street.

Huffing, James reached into his pocket and pulled out a small hairpin. The cobbles under his shoes wobbled as he pushed the pin into the hole in the lock. He pushed the small hairpin up, flicking his wrist a little as he did.

A whirring in the bushes overshadowed the click from the lock opening. The half-moon’s shallow light reflected a shine into the street.

Andrew rushed forward and stared into the bush with his green eyes. His cyan curly hair bounced as he took a green poké ball out of his shorts’ pocket. He pressed the button on the front of the ball. With the index finger on his right hand, he flicked up the latch and a deino shot out. Her back hood coated her body, making it hard to see her in the dark.

“Nutkio, blast it with fire blast!” Andrew pointed at the bush. The deino opened her mouth, baring her teeth. She took in a deep breath and growled. Fireballs spat out towards the bush in a spiral.

A chirping-whizzing sound screamed out of the bush in pain. A klink rotated in the air, wobbling from side to side. The metal gears, which shined, were dimmed in patches.

Lioa glared at the klink, his eyes narrowed. “Rusto, why in the name of darkrai are you here? Where is the scaredy-meowth, Kitiku?”

“H-h-here…” Kitiku said, pressing his nails into the stone bricks of the house across the street. “W-w-we sh-shouldn’t be, um, be out h-here.” His stomach churned, and he shuffled his feet, staring at the ground. “I-I c-came to g-get you. I d-don’t w-want you to be, um, be arrested.”

James got up off his knees and looked at Kitiku. “The Elktan are monsters; these people betrayed us, so they deserve to lose everything. It is the Elktan’s fault that Pierre is dead. Or did you forget that? You know what? Forget it…” James pushed the door to the house, and he stepped inside. His eyes scoured the room. James tiptoed across the wooden floor into the living room.

He turned to see Lioa, Kitiku and Andrew behind him. Rolling his eyes, James tiptoed behind the sofa. His eyes locked onto a glass cabinet pressed against the back wall. Rusto’s reflection caught his attention as it darted from chair to chair, committing to a barrel roll to reach him.

“Kuti, can you please keep your damn klink under control. We aren’t in a spy comic.” James placed his hand on Kitiku’s shoulder. “I promise, once we got something to sell, we’ll go.” He pressed gently down on Kitiku’s shoulder and helped him down into a chair.

James… James, you want them to pay. You want to kill them.

James’s ears twitched. His eyes were drawn to a black string necklace hanging around the end of the stair bannister. The floorboards creaked as his feet dragged him towards it. He reached forward, lifted the string, and stared into the stone. “Hey, Li? Come check this out…”

“That’s cool. It will be worth, like, what? 2 C.K. on the market? Don’t be a twat. Find something actually worth selling,” Lioa said, reaching into his pocket. He flipped the latch on his green poké ball and allowed the gurdurr inside to appear before him. “Ruskuo, break open this case.”

James stuffed the necklace in his hand into his other pocket and pulled out a small can of spray paint made from a mixture of kecleon blood and water. He raised the can to the wall. He pushed down on the can, and the colour spat onto the wall. James moved around, painting the symbol on the Colran flag on the wall.

“That’s’ enough.” A man in a blue jacket stepped out from the shadows. His messy blond hair stopped just above his light blue eyes. His top button on his wonky, untucked white shirt was undone, and his blue tie hung looser than usual. “Come on, boys, thieving? Really?”

“Oh, fuck off...” James muttered under his breath. He reached into his pocket and grabbed the poké ball inside. A clattering sound echoed from the kitchen, sending a shockwave of sound through James’s body. He quickly clasped his ears.

“Sorry,” a slender man said. His brown hair flopped over his blue eyes, and he glanced at the blond-haired man. “Good job, Sutton.”

“Thank you, sir,” Sutton said. He tossed a blue poké ball in his hand.

“Let’s not be rash, kids. We can settle this without fighting, but if it comes to it…” the brown-haired man said.

Lieutenant Tomilson and Sergeant Sutton. Great. James thought as Sutton took a step forward towards the group.

“Ruskuo, pull it!” Lioa scampered back as the glass cabinet crashed, blocking the doorframe. “Take that you twats! Let’s scatter!” Using his elbow, the glass fell through the window, and he jumped through it as fast as he could.

Planting one foot forward, James took his hands from his ears, swaying from side to side. He pulled himself through the window onto the street. “Come on!” He turned back to the room, reaching up to Andrew and pulled him through.

Inside the house, Tomilson glanced at the spray paint on the wall. Not bad, kid. If it weren’t a crime, I’d be impressed. He straightened his tie and approached the fallen cabinet. I guess he forgot about the door. “Sutton, get those three.”

“Three? Yes sir, come, let’s find them.”

Nodding, Tomilson walked towards the chair and stuck his arm down the back. The kid doesn’t know anything about stealth or not getting caught. He felt the tip of a shirt and carefully pulled on it. Damn, he thought, pulling Kitiku up from this hiding spot. You didn’t even prepare for this. The others chose darker clothes. You are shaking, too. A smile crossed his face, and taking Kitiku’s hands, Tomilson said, “You must be cold. Would you like my jacket?”

The muffles from Tomilson’s thick Elkrat accent chilled the air as it entered Kitiku’s ears. Kitiku looked squarely at the floor, shaking his head slightly. I didn’t mean to break the law. I want my mum, he thought. His klink floated behind him.

That must be your klink, huh? Tomilson ran his fingers through Kitiku’s hair. “I guess I best get you down to the office cell block. We can talk more there, but I’d appreciate it if you removed the klink.” He took a deep breath and looked back at Kitiku. “No poké ball on you? That’s okay, I’ll carry it.” Tomilson pulled his right hand back but felt Kitiku’s sweaty grip tighten. Alright then, you are too scared to let go. I’ll have the soldiers take you to my office. It will be quieter there. I just hope Sutton is having success with the three delinquents. He tilted his head slightly, and a soldier walked over.

“Sir?” the soldier asked in Elkrat.

“Take him to my office, give him a drink of water and take the klink with you,” Tomilson said. Looking at Kitiku, he switched back to Colrat, “I’m going to have to find your friends now. They will take good care of you.” Tomilson smiled one more time and stepped through the door frame. He pushed his hand under his jacket, took the second poké ball from his belt, and pressed the button. A red beam shot into the house and sucked the exploud back up. Time to find those miscreants. Placing the exploud poké ball back on his belt, he took the third ball in his hand and pressed the button. The dragapult in front of him curled her tail up. Tomilson mounted on the dragapult’s back and shot up into the sky as the holy building’s bells chimed a melody on repeat once.

Tomilson barrel rolled to the side, and a stream of electricity sparked down from the blanket of clouds above his head. The crackle from the electricity almost drowned out the bells, chiming its sweet melody twice again. He felt his heart pounding rapidly as he descended onto the street but paused to watch the chaos below. One, two… where the hell is the red-haired boy?

“Sir!” Sutton called out, giving a slight nod. His eyes flicked back to his electabuzz. Its yellow fur stood on end. Its black stripes sparked. He ran forward, swinging an electrified left fist. “Vesx, take it out! Ve’ash, deal with the deino!”

Sweat coursed down Lioa’s face. “Salla, watch out! Rew!”

“Er, right… Nutkio, dodge it and use bite!” Andrew stepped back, wobbling.

The staravia’s eyes narrowed on electabuzz’s fist, and she stretched out her talons. She spread her wings out and dived forward. A limber leg paraded towards her beak, cutting off her attack path. Her feathers ruffled, and she barrel-rolled away. Her feathers stood on edge as a current surged through her body. A cry escaped her lungs.

One down, Sutton thought. The hitmonlee bounced into the ground, scraping its limber leg on the cobbles, which wobbled under his weight. Damn, that will restrict his movement. “Again!” Sutton called out.

The deino jumped up with its stubby little legs, baring her tiny sharp teeth. The hitmonlee shifted direction, leaping into the air once more. The scrape on its leg leaked blood. However, he remained focused, slamming the base of his foot into the deino’s jaw, sending her flying and gasping for air.

Landing on the wonky cobbles, the hitmonlee pivoted into a barrage of bullet punches into the chest of the gurdurr. However, the gurdurr grinned at the punches and swung its muscular leg at the hitmonlee’s injury.

“Thanks, Sutton. I will take it from here. Miskix, use dragon tail!” Tomilson jumped off the back of the back of the dragapult as she swung her tail into the air. The force of the swing knocked the gurdurr back, leaving Lioa exposed to attack.

Sutton dashed through the gap, pressing the buttons on his two poké balls to bring his electabuzz and hitmonlee back to his side. Hames, where are you? If I was James, where would I go to hide? Sutton paused in the alleyway. His forehead felt a little wet. With his shirt sleeve, he wiped away the sweat. Damn, Colran heat… Out of the corner of his eye, the street darkened. Sutton stopped at the start of the road. His eyes focused on the street-lampent in the distance. Its flame danced in the darkness, flickering, and suddenly, a popping giggle echoed down the street as the purple light faded into a cloud of fog. The fog pressed against the windows of the houses, plunging the road into utter darkness.

“What the…” Sutton whispered; his hand drifted down to his electabuzz’s poké ball. “Gah!” Sutton felt his back surge in pain, and his legs staggered back. A loud screeching sound pierced through the silent streets. He turned on his heels to face the epicentre of the sound. Well, I guess I found you…

James stepped forward, “Iron tail, Okta!” Okta roared, raising her boulder tail.

Sutton’s gaze motioned to the golden onix, overshadowing the rest of the street. “James, this is a residential area… you could kill someone! Verash, take it down into a ball so it doesn’t kill anyone!” The Hitmonlee sprung up using its spring-like legs. Bending its injured knee, he focused on the onix’s horn on the top of her head.

The onix screeched in pain, and her horn crumbled a little under the pressure of the kick.

“Okta!” James rushed forward in front of her, her tail still wriggling. She swung, slamming the iron-hard tail into the hitmonlee’s body.

The hitmonlee flipped through the air, landing on his non-injured leg. Damn. We can’t risk another high jump kick. Getting hit again may leave him paralysed or worse.

“Switch it up!” Sutton stepped to the side. James is being reckless, placing himself between his onix and my hitmonlee. I need to distract her. Sutton’s hitmonlee sprung forward, closing his fists and focussing on a single point.

“Okta, watch out!” James heard footsteps behind him, swivelling, and he turned to point. His cheek ached, and his vision became black. The uncomfortable smell of his blood crowded his sense of smell. His tongue could taste the unmistakable salty taste of blood.

Well, that was luckily very anti-climatic. Sutton crouched next to James, quickly taking the poké ball from his hand and sucking the onix back inside. Sorry, Hames, I didn’t mean to punch you so hard.

Opening the cell door, Sutton heard the bell chime twice more. It took an hour and a half-ish to round them up and get them here. He entered the cell and sat down beside James.

“’’ere I am? Baddle won?” James asked, squinting at Sutton. His left arm was up, covering his eyes from the light.

Guilt crept through Sutton, like a slimy shellos on a hot day. His cold hand pressed an ice pack against James’s swollen jaw. “You are in a cell. No, you didn’t win. You almost killed some people.… sorry for punching you so hard. I couldn’t think of anything else I could do. Would you like me to take you to your brother?”

“Brodder?” James stared around the room. His vision pulsing in rhythm with the swelling of his pain. “Home?”

Sutton momentarily peered at the floor before looking calmly into James’s eyes. “When your father comes to pick you up.” Gently, he pushed James’s hair back. To you, I am just a monster from Elktan. I won’t let you stay out late or break the law – a foreigner who wants to hurt you. The truth is, it must be hard on you, on all of you. Every day, this war takes a greater toll on you than on me. Sutton eased James onto his back, lifted the bedside blanket, and wrapped it around him. “Now try and get some sleep. We will sort out punishments in the morning.”
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Chapter 3: Hero of Akrat
Following the night time trouble the teens had caused, and gotten caught up in they are given one job and one job only, stay home out of trouble. However, James has other ideas. With a certain illegal Colran festival occurring, with a monetary prize and glory to the name of the victor, James, Lioa, Andrew willingly and Kitiku unwillingly decide to attend. Unfortunately for them, the path to the festival isn't entirely safe. Perhaps they should have just stayed at home.

Hero of Akrat


Saturday, April 29th, 1989

The sun scorched the roofs of the houses running along the roads of Fehahra. Tak Bryson walked on the cobbles—the sun’s reflection on the windows of the stone brick houses. He glanced at the wooden door frames. I pray to darkrai that the sun’s rays do not ignite them. That runt, what in darkai’s name was he doing? Pierre would never have broken the law. As for the Spitz boy, it was probably his idea in the first place. Why do I bother? All he has done since the Elkran got here is cause trouble. Tak pushed open the office door and cautiously approached the receptionist. As his short black hair cooled a little from the sun he stared at her with dim grey eyes.

“Bryson. Here for the two runts which caused all the commotion last night,” Tak said. He pulled on the ring on his left hand, twisting and playing with it, refusing to look at his reflection in the glass.

Tomilson stepped out into the corridor. “Hello, Mr. B’yson, sorry, Bryson. I take it you are here for your two sons? Hames was still asleep around ten minutes ago. Kitiku has been up all night being sick. Sutton is with him now. Come.” He beckoned and buried his hands into his pockets. “Pardon me for saying, but you look very much like your son – Kitiku – not James.”

Tak nodded. “Shame he is such a weak boy.” He looked at the wanted poster on the noticeboard of Hanson Rei. The man’s twisted grin left Tak wanting to crack his knuckles. “Any luck hunting Rei or any Spitz?”

“Not a single one. The reward money is good, but the execution I am not so sure about. I guess that is why they are sending a new captain to Fehahra. After all, that is where Hanson Rei and Carla Spitz lived. I guess you must have known them. This new captain is supposedly one of the best battlers to ever exist in Elktan. Elite Lord Piscar chose him, himself.”

Tak shrugged. Thank you, Tomilson. Now I know I need to be on my guard. This new captain must want to follow Elite Lord Piscar’s orders to the letter and be a real stickler for the laws. If he finds out about me… damn it, if he has sent Captain of the Elkran guard, Lord Jackson… He leaned back against the wall and glanced into the cells. “I don’t have the money to pay the fine, so…”

“We will write it off, don’t worry. These kids, trouble they may be, but malicious? No. I don’t think so.” Sutton smiled, his hand on Kitiku’s back. You don’t cope well with stress, do you, Kitiku? He stood up, his tie hanging undone around his neck. His shirt was untucked, the stench of vomit rising from it. “You should get them home.”

A reluctant sigh escaped Tak’s breath. “I don’t have the time. I am here to bail them, and then I must go to work.” His eyes drifted to James, who looked up at him with a sleepy gaze. “You two, go home. I will deal with you later. You can’t keep doing shit like this, James and Kitiku, you are such a disappointment. When the new captain comes… Come, James, Kitiku.”

James’s eyes dimmed and he stepped outside onto the cobbles. New captain, huh? Another bothersome Elkran to deal with. He will stick more laws on us like the dictating waste of space every single Elkran does. They are evil heretics. They will force their religion on us and their language. Only Madison can save us, but that wicked man, Lord Piscar, will try and kill him too. Piscar has already exterminated every charizard, charmeleon and charmander in Coltar. James looked down at his hands as he walked along the scorching streets. He closed his fists. They want to kill me for what he did for what she did.

The warm Colran heat dragged on, beaming down on them hotter and hotter for every minute they walked. Seeing the milkwoman had walked down the street, left James’s throat feeling scratchy. He noticed Tak holding Kitiku by his shirt collar and knocking on the door.

The door creaked, and a fair-skinned lady with wavy brown hair looked at James and Kitiku. “Oh, cresselia, are you two okay?” She reached over, wrapping her arms around Kitiku. “You two are grounded. What would I do if something happened to you, baby?” She pressed her hand against Kitiku’s head. “Kuti, are you not feeling well sweetie? Go upstairs and get some rest.”

“Nashe, there is going to be a new captain, and it will probably be him. Lord Jackson. Take care of these two until I get home. I will deal with them later.” Tak slammed the door behind him.

Nashe sighed. “I need to go to work too.”, and ushered James and Kitiku inside. “Room now, both of you.” She adjusted her short-sleeved white shirt and barmaid apron. “I have to go. Behave.”

James trailed up the steps and opened the first door on the left at the top of the stairs. His eyes caught a glimpse of Pierre’s shield and blade hanging on the wall. Why did you die? You were like a brother to me. Kuti doesn’t realise how lucky he was to have a brother.

“My head still spins, but… I really want to get back out there. Besides, Sutton is a lousy cheating Elktan jerk. He punched me in the face instead of battling me.” James turned to Kitiku, who was searching his draw. “Kuti, you got to agree with me.”

Kitiku faced James. His gaze, however, locked on the newspaper on his bed. “I-I don’t t-think it’s a g-good idea t-to cause t-trouble. Y-you heard my d-dad.”

“He isn’t my dad. They killed my dad, just like how they executed Pierre with no mercy.” James grabbed hold of the wooden step and pulled himself up onto the top bunk. He laid down on the bed, and pressed his legs against the ceiling. The small room’s roof was low enough for James’s knees to have to be bent when pressing against the ceiling.

Kitiku’s legs trembled as he sat on his bed, taking the newspaper. “I-I know b-but w-what can w-we do?” He closed his eyes and rolled his neck back. “N-no. I-it is ill-illegal. W-we c-can’t go to the f-festival. B-besides you d-don’t know w-where it is.”

A smirk painted across James’s face. Yeah, but you do. You can read it, and I know that that paper is illegal to own because it’s the Colran Guard news. Tak must have read it this morning. It must be nice having a Lord as a dad, and one as a brother, even if he is dead. James sprung off the bed and opened the window latch and yanked it open. “Well, I’m off to the festival. I’ll ask for directions from, I don’t know, Sutton. I’ll tell him you wouldn’t tell me, even though you know where it is because you have an illegal newspaper.”

Kitiku lunged forward and grabbed James’s brown jacket. “W-wait, no. If they f-find out they w-will take my d-dad away and my m-mum. I… I love m-my mum. J-James don’t t-tell.”

James grinned back at him. “Then let’s go to the festival. Where is it?”

“A-Akrat, b-but i-it’s dangerous. T-there are s-slavers there. B-besides, if y-you go on y-your own and, um, you get arrested… n-no one can help.” With a shaking hand, he lifted a small metal container on the window sill and shook it. The cold metal coins fell into his hand, and he looked back to James. “T-Train tickets.”

James nodded, and opened the small wooden draw under the bed. He pulled out a white shirt and changed. He saw Kitiku change into a white polo shirt and light trousers.

Smiling, James clambered out the window, and with a swing, he grabbed the drain pipe. His feet dangled for a moment before landing safely on the ground. “Come on, let’s go. Li and Ano are waiting for us at the bridge.”

Kitiku’s feet touched the ground. Lioa and Andrew? But… I only have enough for a return for each of us.

The 11 o’clock train arrived in Fehahra ten minutes late. The steam puffed ash-grey clouds, as rolycoly powered it forwards. The four coaches were coupled by metal, and were backed up by two over-jammed storage coaches.

The train traversed the town's forests, until a sandy yellow replaced the green pallet. That was when James knew they were there, the Akratian desert. He stepped off the train eagerly and sprinted to the sundial. “It's 1 o’clock. We can still sign in. Come on, Li, let’s go.” With a jump, he skipped over the steps outside the station.

“Festival, here we come!” Lioa punched the air.

“Keep it down, Li, or we will get arrested. Remember, it's illegal.” James tucked his hands into his pockets. A hand gripped James’s arm and thrust him onto his back. A pale, skinny man raised his leg, and James felt a pulsing pain surge from his ribs.

“Well, well, I guess we have some guests. Didn’t your mummy tell you to stay away from this place? I guess not.” The man smirked as a graveler rolled over and leaned against James’s leg.

James looked over to Lioa but could barely see his cyan hair behind the metallic spines of the Lairon. Tauros shit, what do I do? Where is Kuti and Ano? The sunlight dimmed, and a cooling shade coursed over him briefly. James turned his head. Who are you?

“I suggest you get off these kids and leave,” a deep voice said from the end of the alleyway.

“Oh look, a squeaking ratticate. Why don’t you wait your turn?” the woman said.

James heard a crack. His eyes narrowed in on the woman who had been holding Andrew against the wall. His jaw dropped at seeing her broken fingers. He saw her roll her poké ball out in front of her. Relief filled his body. The weight had gone. This man is in a three-on-one. We should help him, but… James grabbed Kitiku’s arm and yanked him until he was behind the wooden door. What in cresselia’s name is that Pokémon?

“Hishrak, protect them!” the mysterious man stepped out of the shadows. His blue hair was tied back in a ponytail. His thin moustache drew focus from his blue eyes. Alakazam against a lairon, tropius and graveler is favourable.

A roaring gurgle left the tropius’s mouth as her green leaf-like wings got thrown back. The graveler rolled into a ball and smashed into the wall behind the tropius. The lairon had rushed forwards but found himself in the wall beside the door.

Lairon got up and roared, spit leaving his mouth and his eyes narrowed in on the alakazam. He pushed his foot back and charged, lowering his head.

“I warned you,” the man said. “Hishrak, use psychic!”

The alakazam rolled his eyes and twitched his ears. His yellow body blending in a little to the sandy brick walls and his moustache curled a little. A thundering boom echoed down the streets and the bricks of the wall surrounded the Lairon which had collided with him. Before the man could call out another order, the alakazam had levitated the graveler and was spinning her around. Quickly, the alakazam released her into the staggering tropius.

“Let’s get out of here!” one of the gang shouted, scrambling down the street and returning their Pokémon as they did.

What? James thought, stepping out from behind the door. “What was that? Who are you?” He grabbed his poké ball.

“I am Clarence, Clarence Rehan Bourbabel, and this is my Alakazam, Hishrak. I hope you are okay and you didn’t get hurt.” Clarence extended his hand and smiled.

James took his hand. “James. That’s Li, the curly one is An, and the tall one is Kuti, but he will probably want you to call him Kitiku because he is funny about who can call him Kuti. You broke her fingers, didn’t you? Wait, are you psychic? Can you, like, read my mind right now? With a power like that, you must be totally unstoppable.”

“Lioa to you, and my brother’s name is Andrew.” Lioa spat.

“Ha, ha, ha, I am not that strong. I am plenty beatable; they were just thugs – when you have many years of experience in battle, thugs are not as overwhelming to deal with. Anyway, nice to meet you.” Clarence let his hand fall back down to his side. He's an observant little guy. He reached up, undid his shirt's top button, and looked down to James. “So, I heard your friend, Lioa, I think, talking about the festival. I am going too. We should go together.”

Kitiku nodded rapidly. He bowed his head and signed, “Thank you.” His legs shook, and his gaze fixed back down. Sweat ran down his back as the sun leered at them. It's too hot, even for us. He saw the sweat dripping down James’s hand. I don’t get it. He is wearing a jacket in this heat. At least Mr. Bourbabel is only wearing a shirt. He heard James’s stomach gurgle. And we haven’t eaten or drank anything since Thursday.

“Come on!” James sprinted down the street and into the back alley. He pounced over the wall. “Hurry up! We are gonna be late!”

Someone is keen. Let’s just hope he has enough energy for the festival tomorrow. I hope the food is good, I am hungry myself. I think you are too, aren’t you, Hishrak? Clarence looked to the alakazam, who rolled his eyes once more.
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Chapter 4: The Festival Begins
Surviving Akrat, the teens arrive in time for the festival. With an unexpected face just around the corner and a tournament about to kick off, they must compete to win a prize and honour. Furthermore, some unexpected news reaches their ears. A new Captain is coming to Fehahra to replace the old one. Is it the fabled and famous Elite Lord Jackson, Captain of the Elkran Guard?

The Festival Begins


Sunday, April 30th, 1989

Throbbing and nausea flooded through James’s body as he opened his eyes. He felt cooler than he last could remember. I feel dreadful… what happened? Flat on his back, he stared up at the white cloth overhanging him.

“Good morning, James. I hope you are feeling okay. I turned my back for a moment, and you and Lioa had decided to try and drink a whole bottle to yourselves.” Clarence said. Poor kid, at least he signed in before he passed out. “I brought you some berry juice.” He crossed his legs and slid down beside James. The wooden bowl’s contents slopped around.

James snatched the bowl and tilted it. I’ve been so thirsty and hungry I don’t remember if I even ate or drank yesterday. “Thanks. Wait, this is Tamato berry!” James spat the juice out. “Hot! Spicy. You don’t get this in Colran unless you are in Akrat… shit, festival. I must sign up!” Scrambling onto his feet, he felt Clarence’s hand on his shoulder.

“You signed up yesterday, but the matches do start soon.” Clarence turned around to see Kitiku asleep. His arms splayed out, and his body curled up. “You should get going. I’ll be along in time. My match isn’t until later.” Clarence waved, and the shelter door flapped closed. He glanced at Kitiku, sleeping.

Mum? Kitiku stirred. His eyes shot wide open. He scooted back against the wall. Oh, it is just him from yesterday. He looked at his hands and signed, “Good morning.” Kitiku pushed his hair back and pulled his knees against his chest, wrapping his arms around them.

Poor boy. Is he lonely? It must be tough being deaf. It must be tough on his friends, too, having to learn sign language just to talk with him. Clarence thought, crossing his legs. “Hello, Kitiku. Good morning to you, too. Would you like a Tamato berry juice?” Clarence signed.

Huh? Kitiku thought. “I can hear you, sir. I just…” he signed. “No, thank you. Do you have any water, sir?”

“Oh, I just assumed. Well, sure, I’ll get you some water to drink. The matches are going to start soon anyway. I’ll get you one at the stands.” Clarence picked up his waterskin from the floor and opened his hand. Kitiku slowly reached forward and took it. The two of them got up and pushed through the white sheet. The sun struck them like a scorching pot, and the sand dust blew around, obscuring their vision. The sound echoed through the speakers tied to the wooden poles which stood tall amongst the shelters. I suppose they are made from loudred voice modulators. It would make the most sense. Clarence thought.

“Participants make your way to your respective battlefields in the centre of the festival. Matchups can be seen on the chalkboard. You may only use the one pokémon you have registered with to battle. Odd rounds are double battles. Even rounds are single battles. The winning pair from each double battle faces off against one another in the single battle round,” the speakers roared.

Clarence knelt in the gritty sand, touching the rusted metal pump. “Since you aren’t participating, will you save us some seats, please?”

Taking the bulging waterskin, Kitiku nodded, looking at the board. James and Andrew are in the first round together. That’s unlucky. I don’t know much about pokémon battles, but they are paired together. Either way, at least one of them is going out, if not both. Lioa is on the opposite side of the same bracket, and Mr. Bourbabel is on the completely other side of the bracket. Kitiku thought, sitting in the stands close to the small wooden board acting as a divider. It’s deafening here. I wish I had stayed at home. At least this area isn’t overcrowded yet. His eyes darted to the battlefield the furthest away from him, where he could see James taking his place.

Dust scattered around his feet as James walked onto the battlefield. The sun’s rays bombarded his brown jacket. The sweat rolled down his cheeks. It is too hot for this jacket. Tossing the jacket aside, James held up his poké ball. If this is standard Colran rules, which it will be because fuck the Elktan bastards, stepping outside of the battler’s box will be an automatic knockout. He heard a loud horn bellow out from the speakers.

“Let’s go, Okta!” James pressed the button on the poké ball and tossed the green ball onto the sandy field. The golden onix screeched, loud enough to make the crowd cover their ears. Opposing soundwaves shot out from the centre of the field. Torracat and greedent.

“Nutkio!” Andrew’s face looked up in horror. The deino was blasted back towards the edge of the battlefield.

The onix slammed its tail into the ground, the cloud of dust acted like a shield. She roared in triumph when a small thud came from where the deino was last seen before the cloud came. Flames flickered in the distance and a high pitched charged through the dust.

James felt calm wash over his body as the torracat scrambled, unable to escape the crushing weight of a rock pinning her tail down. Great, now where is the… “Ano where is it?!” Spit balls hurled towards James, quickly he lay flat on the sandy floor. No way I’m getting knocked out the arena. That must be the greedent using stockpile and spit up. His ears twitched, the sound of Andrew’s deino screaming came from the distance.

“Okta, use iron tail.” James spat the sand out of his mouth. Out of the corner of his eye, James saw his onix raise her tail up and smash it into the ground. Dust and sand sprayed out towards the sound of the screaming. “Finish the torracat off!”

The onix screeched into the dust diving down under the sand, flicking the dust into the gloopy spit flying her way. She twisted through the sand underground, chewing through larger boulders in her wake. The ground around her rumbled, sand slid past her rocky body, and through the dust she came up, bringing her tail above her head, she smashed into the rock pinning the torracat down.

“Torracat is down for the count! Deino is down for the count!” the referee called out.

James’s ears pricked up and he looked across the field as the dust settled. When? James saw greedent’s chipper grin as he dusted his chest down. No way, he took Nutkio out with a body slam… I guess it’s one on one now, but it has taken way more damage… right? Okta has taken like… none.

James’s onix raised her tail once more, slamming it down on the greedeent. Her swing was met with a puffy, curled up tail. Quickly, greedent slammed into the onix with its chest, but was met with a side swipe from her tail. “Ha, take that bastard! Yeah! My round! I win!” James raised his hand up to the sky. And because Ano’s deino fainted, I get through. Worked out. Now, lunchtime! James smiled, stepping into the middle of the arena and bowing his head to his opponent.

“It was a good match.” Clarence walked over to James. “It was a cleaner match than mine. Let’s go get some lunch.” He tucked his hands into his pockets and walked towards the market stands.

“Yeah, Kuti, let’s get food!” James smiled.

Kitiku looked at James, before looking back down at the ground. “I am broke, remember? We are both broke – I could barely afford train tickets and then Andrew and Lioa came so I had to pay for everyone’s tickets and we don’t have a return,” he signed frantically. His hands trembling.

“Ha, ha. Lunch is on me, how about that?” Clarence smiled. “Here, I have some change.”

Taking the coins, James smiled up at him. “Thanks.” The smell of qwilfish on a stick flooded into his nose. Oh, my cressellia, it’s qwilfish on a stick! He sprung into action and ran down the market stalls.

Thud. James staggered back. “Hey watch it! Sutton? What the fuck man? What are you doing here you Elktan jerk!” James placed his hand on his onix’s poké ball. “I’ll call the guards and then crush you in battle!”

Sutton raised his hands to his chest. “What the? Why in the name of giratina are you here? You know what, it doesn’t matter.” He took a deep breath out, and took a seat at a bench. “Firstly, it is what are you doing here, Seargent. Secondly, don’t swear at me. Thirdly, I may have accidentally been captured by some delinquents who had the full intention of enslaving me. However, some ruckus at the train station caused them to abandon me and I broke free. Lastly, it is Elk’an, not “Elktan”. Elktan is what the country is called. Elk’an is something or someone from there. We speak elk’at, while you speak col’at.”

Oh, that fight yesterday when Mr. Bourbabel came in to save us… those guys must have grabbed Sutton too. Wait a minute…

“Wha’ were you ‘oin’ ‘efo’re ‘hen?” James swallowed some of the roasted qwilfish.

Sutton sighed, and looked at James. “As I am sure you have been told by now, a new captain is coming to Fehahra. I was told he was going to pass through Akrat. I intended to meet him there. Rumour has it will be Captain of the Elkran guard.” A shiver crept up his spine. He glanced at the table. That man is something else. His eyes snapped up to the battlefield and opened wide as specks of blood could be seen along the barrier. That’s messy… He stood and raised his arm in front of James’s eyes. Well… that’s why they want to ban this festival. His eyes focused on the body on the floor. Colran rules are stupid. You can just outright kill someone in a festival like this and you’d win. At least in Elktan we have rules against doing such a thing. Yes, in combat killing is sometimes the only option, but we still try to avoid that.

“Hello there. Oh, that’s not good.” Clarence walked over. “I would offer to help finish that food, but my arms are full and my appetite is… well…” He carefully placed Andrew’s deino down on the table.

“This is Se-“

“Seth. I am Seth, I was going to participate, but changed my mind and very, very glad I did,” Sutton interrupted. “Hames here was just telling me about his onix. Gah!”

Liao stomped on his foot. “Sutton, your accent is showing. This twat is Seargent Sutton from the Elktan army.”

Clarence smiled at him. “I think you mean Elkran. You see, unless they are using words from mainstream Coltese, like people’s names – often though, the “r” is taken out, the Elkran people don’t have an “r”. Even me saying Elkran is incorrect, its Elk’an. Anyway, do I have to remove this man?”

Sutton flapped his arms around. “No, no it’s fine.” He sat down at the bench. Oh, I see you hiding there, Sutton smiled. “Hey, Kitiku, would you like something to eat? I take it your dad ripped you both out really badly. Then again… you are here. So, who are…?” Sutton looked to where Clarence was standing. Oh. I guess he is gone. I saw his first match, he chose gyarados, not only that, he was at a huge disadvantage. That Pokémon must have some serious experience and level-strength.
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Chapter 5: A Close Call
The first battle is over and James and Lioa have witnessed triumph in the sand. However, things just get much harder from here. Matched against each other, they must find a way to defeat an opponent who is much stronger than his own. Meanwhile, Kitiku and Sutton spend some time together.

Close Call


Sunday, April 30th, 1989

The midday sun scorched the sand enough to make Sutton retreat into the teens’ sun shelter. He placed a wet towel on Kitiku’s head. You are burning up from the heat, Kitiku. I guess even you, Colran, aren’t used to this heat. I feel like I am dying, though. He pushed his blond hair out of his eyes and lay down.

Tossing his green poké ball up and down, James sat opposite him. “Damn, match getting cancelled. Can’t wait for the next round, though. Li’s picture and my picture are up on the same board.”

“James, two people got killed. I think that’s more important than your match. What if that was you? Your father would kill me, and then you… again.” Sutton opened one eye. “You might be strong for your age, but what even is your onix’s level strength?”

James screwed up his nose and turned away. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“I’m guessing, since, well, you haven’t evolved your onix, she doesn’t have the level-strength to form metal to evolve into steelix.” Sutton closed his eyes again but felt a tugging on his bright red t-shirt. “Hmm? Oh, what’s up, Kitiku?” He looked into Kitiku’s grey eyes.

Kitiku looked at Sutton briefly, then looked back down at his hands. “What do you mean by level-strength? I don’t really… I don’t battle. Battling is scary,” he signed.

Placing his hand on his chin, Sutton took a breath out. How do I explain this in Colrat? He pressed his finger against his lip. “So, you know how you can cook dinner? Experience is knowing what pan to use for what type of food. Level strength is how complicated and good the food you can make is. So for a pokémon battle, I suppose it would be how strong your pokémon can use an attack and how many attacks your pokémon can take as their level-strength, and knowing how to use the attack effectively is experience.” He watched Kitiku nod at him, and a little smile crossed his face. Only way to find out and be sure is to wait for a pokémon’s move to upgrade or to go to a healer for a test. I wonder how that man is doing?

James got up. “Look, Sutton, no offence, but fuck off back to Elktan.”

Sutton leaned back. How could two siblings be so different?

The tarp flopped behind James. He pushed his hands deep into his pockets. Damn Elktan, they ruin everything. He glanced over the corpses covered by tarps. Not me. He stepped onto the battlefield, glancing at Clarence, who was walking away.

I guess it is the teens’ turn. That match was a tough one, but when push came to shove, I managed to push through. Clarence walked up to the referee and stood beside her. A gurdurr and an onix. Alright, that’s not a bad combination on its own. The theivul on the other side should be an easy takedown, but its red and orange fur can blend into the sad. Oh, now, this is not a favourable matchup at all.

The onix dived underground quickly as the shimmering blade sliced through the air. “Okta, use rock throw!”

Aegislash. Its ghost steel typing really limits them to what they can do about it. If he feels threatened, he will just go and switch back to his shield form. Clarence leaned in against the barrier.

The onix rose up from the sandy ground. It began to sink like water in a sink. She slammed her tail down where she came. The aegislash scrambled away as fast as it could, sicking his sword and then its shield into the sand.

“Okta? Wait, did you learn sand tomb? That’s awesome, and it's super effective. The sand is chipping into the steel!” James jumped up and down. His glance darted to Lioa’s gurdurr. His heart raced as the large grey pokémon grabbed the thievul’s tail. His pink muscles flexed along his arms. “Finish it off, Li!”

“Shut up, you twat and focus on your own pokémon!” Lioa sneered as a loud thud emanated from the field. The crowd’s roar consumed the arena.

They are laughing at you, James. Kill them, James.

James paused. Yeah, they are laughing at me. I will kill them… wait? No. He shook his head and pushed his hands into his pockets. Why would I think that? Putting his foot forward, James took in a deep breath. “Okta! Get up! It isn’t over!” He crossed his fingers and stared at her, and she screeched in response. It is like the Elkran jerk said… Sutton… Okta isn’t very good at using sand tomb yet because she doesn’t have the experience. What do I do? He gripped his ears and pulled. “Come on!” What can I do? I got it! “Li!”

“What?” Lioa scowled, throwing his left arm to the side.

“Do you think you can knock them out of their trainer box?” James looked back to his onix. Her tail collided with the blade of the aegislash before pushing off it.

Lioa looked forward and gritted his teeth. “Ruskuo, use slam!” His gurdurr dashed forward, eyeing up the aegislash. The aegislash glared back, swinging its blade and slicing into the rock-hard body of the onix. As her body crumbled, the aegislash pulled his shield up, tucking his shimmering, sword-like body behind it. He let out a little giggle as the gurdurr rushed through him and stumbled and slashed him along his back.

Clarence leaned in closer. Suppose he was a pure steel type; sure, the attack would have hit, although it wouldn’t have done much damage at all. Normal-type moves are horrific against steel types. As it stands, though, aegislash is part ghost type. Normal-type attacks just go right through. This matchup is so bad for the boys. However, it’s a two-on-one. The level strength and experience are very much against them, still. Their only hope is…

“Okta, use dig!” James ordered. Without hesitation, his onix dived head-first into the sand, and it started to spin, sucking the battlefield in.

The aegislash pulled his blade out from behind his shield. His golden blade swung around, left to right. His purple eye flicked from side to side. The ground quaked, and he stabbed his sharp blade into the sand but was met by the overwhelming size of the onix’s tail. The ground cracked, and the blade slipped, crushing the tip. He rocked back and forth, and a small metallic sweat tear dripped down its blade.

“Follow up with iron tail! Slam it into the sand tomb!” James smiled.

That’s it. The round over. Clarence took a sip of water from his water skin. Aegislash is down, but the battle isn’t over yet. In terms of damage received, the onix has taken far more. Also, she is at a considerable disadvantage considering the type of match-up, but it could still go either way. He sighed and looked into the poké ball in his hand.

Lioa smirked and looked over to James. “I guess I am the one going home with the prize. You are so fucked, you twat. Ruskuo, low kick!”

“Fuck! Okta move!” James pressed his palms onto his forehead. Sweat dripped onto them, and his heart pounded. A calming sigh left him, seeing his onix dive underground once more. That’s it, I win.

Clarence smiled, leaning in once again. He had been building up to this, huh? Screeching earlier lowered everyone’s defence. He is at a disadvantage, yes, but James planned ahead, or at least had the sense to take it into consideration.

The ground rumbled, and the gurdurr toppled forward. His knees were swollen, and his feet were bleeding from the force of the attack.

“When it comes down to it, Li, I am faster than you, and so is Okta. Okta is faster than Ruskuo.” James grinned at the sound of the thud. He returned his onix to her poké ball and stepped out of the arena. His eyes locked with Clarence’s. “Oh, hey, mister. I guess it is me and you and two others in the final, huh? Where is Kuti and the Elktan jerk?”

Clarence ran his fingers along his moustache. “Elktan? Oh, you mean the Elktan gentleman, Sutton. He’s with your friend, I think.” Clarence looked at the broken field. “Yes, we are next, but the field is smashed up.” He crossed his legs and slid down next to the barrier. His fingers pressed against the poké ball in his hand. “Don’t expect me to go easy on you because you are a child.”

James snarled at him. “I’m fourteen. I am an adult! I know I’m short, but I’m not as short as a twelve-year-old!”

Right, Clarence thought, grinning at James. “Best show me that on the field then. We are opponents officially now.” He jumped back onto his feet and waved, walking back towards the shelter.

Under the white sheet, Andrew yawned, pressing his head into Sutton’s shoulder. Sutton’s blond hair dropped down, drenched in sweat. He smiled softly at Andrew and placed a hand on Kitiku’s arm. Even for Colran, you are struggling with this heat. I wish I were with my wife and kids right now. He took a deep breath and lifted his arm to check his watch. Quarter to three. It should start to cool down soon. I don’t blame these two for wanting to sleep through the heat. What do I do with them, though? When they get back, they should be punished. They broke the law. He felt a tug on his arm.

“Too hot,” Kitiku signed.

“I know. Here, would you like the rest of my water? I can go to the pump later and get some more.” Sutton held up his waterskin, and Kitiku reached up and took it.

“Thank you, sir,” he signed.

With a smile, Sutton looked at him. “You know, you don’t have to use sign language with me. I won’t laugh at your voice if you are worried about that.”

Kitiku sighed. “I…” he started, pausing and looking down. “W-when I-I was three, I-I…” Kitiku grabbed his arm and squeezed it tightly.

The sheet blew a little in the wind, and Sutton glanced at it. He carefully lifted Andrew and placed him on the ground. The sheet’s rope ran through Sutton’s fingers as he threaded it back through the metal loop. “You can tell me when you are ready. With this new Captain coming to Fehahra, I don’t know where I stand. I should report you all, but, if it is as rumoured to be, Lord Jackson, well… I don’t feel like I could do it in good conscience. Let’s go watch the finals.”
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Chapter 6: The Finalists
And then there were four. The four finalists begin to battle it out, and the crowd goes wild at the sight of the dark-electric Mega Luxray. However, James starts to hear voices telling him to do awful things. When he acts upon them things quickly spiral out of control. James battles, Lioa finds a Kilgorese pin and as the festival comes to a close who will be the victor of the finals?



Sunday, April 30th, 1989

A roar erupted from the jam-packed crowd. Every face itching with anticipation for the final of the festival to begin. The dusty wooden chalkboard displayed the pictures of the four participants who had made the finals. Security was on high alert after some Elkran soldiers had stumbled across the festival. They had been tied up to a pole in the burning heat, with twisted rope. The thought of being caught made Sutton’s stomach churn. He glanced over to the battlefield.

The dust kicked up under James’s shoes and his fingers wrapped around his onix’s poké ball. Across from him stood Clarence, smiling. “Okta, let’s win this!” James pressed the button on her poké ball and she appeared. She still hasn’t fully recovered from the damage from the last battle. Damn healers didn’t do a good job. He glanced to his left to see a four-legged pokémon appear.

“A luxray and an onix? Seems solid, just don’t be a moron and use earthquake. Got it punk?” the woman called out to James. Her curly blonde hair flopped down over her eyes.

The sand rose up from the other side of the battlefield and a loud roar echoed around the arena. A blue dragon-like pokémon floated just above the ground. His fangs hung out of his mouth, and his moustache wiggled in time with his body.

James scowled. “Of course, he would pick something like that, but luxray is super strong compared to gyarados, and that’s a zweilous, right? No it looks like a zweilous but isn’t.”

“For the sake of darkrai, that’s a scovillain.” The woman smiled and held up her bracelet. “Anaska, mega-evolve!”

Before his eyes, James saw the luxray’s black coat sway, his blue fur dimmed to a blend of grey and blue, and his long tail stood on end. The golden star which resided at the end split open and a wave of dark energy streamed out. The luxray rushed forwards towards the gyarados, baring his teeth and snarling. His paws slamming into the ground with thunderous applause, and its claws sharp enough to slash through flesh with ease. Approaching the gyarados of Clarence, James saw it open its jaws. At the last second, the gyarados sprayed water at the luxray with enough force that water splashed against James’s cheek.

The gyarados’s attack was filled with pure power, not something that was seen every day. The experience Clarence and gyarados had racked up over the years they had been together was scary. The lower estimates of his level-strength amongst the crowd was in the upper forties, with some assuming it being as high as in the seventies. Not to mention the sheer terror inducing expression on the gyarados’s face, which had delayed the onix’s response.

“Wake up kid!” the woman shouted.

“Right, Okta attack back!” James said.

The gyarados swam through the air, like he owned it, rotating and swivelling while firing vines from his mouth, puncturing holes in the ground around him.

The luxray rolled on his back and back onto his feet. One of the vines shot towards him, like a grappling hook. Quickly, using his nimble body, he sprung up into the air raising his iron coated tail to meet the vines and slice through them. His head turned to face the gyarados. However, the luxray’s eyes opened wide, and he was slammed in the stomach by the larger beast.

The water expelled around the gyarados’s skin to add extra damage to the attack. He charged once again at the luxray, who hopped back on his back legs to avoid taking another serious injury. However, the gyarados’s ice cold breath huffed over the luxray. It was cold enough to withstand the boiling heat of the Akratian desert.

Behind the gyarados, James’s onix had shot up from the ground. Her horn was lowered forward and aimed at the scovillain. Her eyes narrowed in on the two heads – one controlled his grass typing, and the other his fire typing. She screeched at the top of her giant lungs. The noise spread throughout the arena and coursed into the ears of the luxray, gyarados and scovillain. They all froze for a moment, squinting and glancing down. The onix seized the opportunity, using her long, twisting body to bring her self closer to the scovillain. She wrapped her tail around him and raised the tip of it. With an iron covered tail, she slammed down at the scovillain, but in plenty of time, the scovillain fired seeds at the onix’s tail. The explosions were drowned out by the roar of pain. The onix let out a second roar of pain from a strike to the back from the luxray’s tail as it hurtled towards the ground. James turned to glance at him, the sweat dripped down his face.

“Back it up!” the woman called out.

Springing back onto his feet, the luxray snarled, stepping back from the action for a moment. Likewise, the onix rolled herself back underground.

The gyarados rushes forward once more at the luxray, diving up into the air as high as its body could in a single push of its finned tail before plummeting down towards him. His jaw, coated in ice, snapping away at the luxray. Opening his jaws as wide as he could, the luxray let out an almighty roar, pushing the gyarados back towards the arena wall.

Nervously, James looked around for his onix, who had dived down under the ground. He smiled as he saw the sand shift a little in the distance. She shot up underneath the scovillain, scratching his knee with her horn. The sandy dust from the ground spat up and imbedded itself in the cut. The ground covering the battlefield began to crack around the holes she had made in the ground.

James’s attention turned back to the luxray. Now you have a dark type attached to you your dark type moves are stronger, but I haven’t seen you use one yet. On top of that, you have more weaknesses now. He closed his fist, and his fingers shook. Damn it. Imagine having the ability to make your pokémon a mega and us still losing to a non-mega pokémon what you are stronger against?

The scovillain lunged at the onix, firing seeds as fast as bullets from his twisted mouth. The onix, backed into a corner, raised her tail to defend herself. Swinging its tail, the luxray met each bullet seed with an iron-clad defense, sending them flying into the scovillain making him collapse on the floor. The luxray wobbled on his feet, and turned to face his trainer. His knees were swollen around the joints, and remnants of vines hung out of them.

“You have used most of your strength, now it is my turn.” Clarence opened his left hand, and a mega ring glimmered in the light on his ring finger.

“No fucking way. Damn you!” James squinted, and light shot out from the gyarados. It’s back had a giant cream fin spout from it, and its blue and cream body was changed to blue and black. Another dark type?

The gyarados rushed forwards, coating its body in water and slammed into the luxray. Desperate to escape, the luxray dug his claws into the ground, however, his claws where ripped off the ground and he flew through the air, slamming into the barrier. Without stopping his attack, he rushed the onix, and struck her body. He flipped back to watch his handy work. To his surprise she wobbled, and blood dripped down her mouth, but she was still upright.

James, you need me. You cannot do it without me. You want to win, don’t you James? Lend me your strength, and I will lend you mine.

“Okay!” James felt his skin ache with a stabbing pain, and he saw blood drip down his hand and into the sand. He looked up to see his onix screech louder than before. His vision blurred, and the blood dripped faster. He raised his hands to cover his eyes and wipe them. When he opened them again, the entire ground was green, and beneath the green, he could see the tunnels created by his onix’s dig attacks. Without an order, he could see her digging her way through the ground, and the sand shifting. She shot up underneath the gyarados, but he was faster than her. He turned around and slammed into her with his water coated tail. Her whole nine metre body rolled across the ground and into the protective barrier, loud enough to make it crackle from impact.

Glaring back at the gyarados, she roared once more, her eyes were a piercing red, something James had never seen before. His stomach sank and he stared on at her, unable to find words. The onix slammed her tail into the ground, sending rocks flying up. She pivoted on her rear and hit the rocks into the crowd.


Clarence reached his hand out, his ponytail blowing in the wind. “Power whip! Protect the people!” Immediately, the gyarados pushed the air back with a flick of its large tail fin. Long vines shot out of its body, colliding with the rocks flying through the air. Each rock was split into small pieces, easy enough to be deflected by the barrier.

The onix rushed in towards him, raising her tail up, and swung at his head. She missed the swing, and pivoted on her side, swinging down once more. Her tail froze in place and she screeched under the immense force of the gyarados’s jaw. She wobbled in place and collapsed onto the ground.

It shook and James fell onto the floor, hitting his already bloodied arm in the sand. All he could hear was the crowd erupting in cheer at Clarence’s victory. He clenched his fist. Why? It is so unfair, he clearly cheated with that pokémon.

James, don’t you want to just kill him? You can make the ground cave in under him. Don’t you just want to make him suffer for winning?

“…match. Ja-… James?”

“Sorry… I-I don’t know what happened. She was fine and then…” James looked at his poké ball and returned his onix to it.

Clarence knelt beside James, and reached out his hand. “I guess she got excited.” He pulled James back to his feet. “It happens, you put up a good fight. It was a good match. Oh, you are bleeding, here.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small pink spray can. Untwisting the lid, he pressed on the nozzle. “It is chansey egg, it will make sure there is no infection. Let’s go so they can clean up the arena. I will collect my prize later. Let’s get something to eat before we depart.” Clarence stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets, and walked out of the arena. His gyarados glowed a bright yellow before returning to its normal form. “Come, Faleberot.”

The thirty-minute wait at the tables for food felt more like an hour to James, as he stuffed a roasted qwilfish into his mouth. His fixated-on Clarence’s rings on his hand. “So you have a mega stone?” James pointed. “I wish I could mega evolve Okta. That would be awesome!”

Clarence smiled. “I can mega evolve four of the six pokémon on me.” With his knife, he cut the qwilfish on his plate into smaller pieces.

“Woah, no way the Elktan jerks would mess with you. You’d just smash them up. You hear that Sutton, you jerk? He will kick your arse!” James jumped up onto the table.

Sutton winced. “Elk’an.”

“Piss off with that shit, twat-face, Sutton.” Lioa scowled. Can’t believe James beat me and lost to this guy. Like what? How? What a twat.

The clanking of plates broke the silence that followed Lioa’s shouting. He grabbed his pokémon from his pocket. “Come fight me if you think you are better.” However, Lioa was met with Sutton’s hand. His cyan hair flopped down at Sutton’s rejection. “Let’s just go home. I’m done here.” He got up from the table, and walked off into the dusty market. Dumb James. I worked way harder in our match. He approached a market stall of berries and watched the foot traffic of those around him. Lioa’s fingers twitched. One, two… He slipped a berry into his pocket and continued walking on. The ruins of wooden shacks littered the streets in front of him. Sandstorm dust stuck onto the rooves would occasionally drizzle down.

In the corner of his eye, Lioa caught a glimpse of smoke rising up. Smoking? Akrat is too poor for people to smoke. Geez, tourists. Who would want to visit this shithole? He leaned against the building, and took a bite out of the smooth yellow berry. His tongue felt as if the saliva surrounding it was being soaked up by the berry. Damn it, a dry berry. What is it? He glanced down. Ugh, chillan berry, great, just great.

Lioa pushed his hair back and tossed the half-eaten berry onto the floor. He looked back to where he saw the smokers. They are gone now. Huh? A glimmer of something metallic shone up at him from the ground. He turned back to the street, and walked towards the shining object. He reached down and picked it up, looking at it. It has the Kilgorese flag on it? No, it’s not just that, it has the symbol for the Kilgorese rebellion on it. Weren’t they wiped out like twenty years ago? That’s creepy. He put the pin into his pocket, and walked down the streets towards the train station.

“Li!” James put his hand on his shoulder. “I got some cash. I’m just going to go to the market, I will be back in a minute.”

“Sure,” Lioa said.

James walked down the sandy street into the market where Lioa had just come from. Each stand has its own little canopy.” The smell of cooked food wafted into his nose, and his stomach growled. He approached the roasted qwilfish stand, and glanced at the cooked meat. His mouth watered at the sight of them.


What? James turned to face the sound, snapping out of his trance. Poké balls? No way I’d even be allowed to get one at home without a permit to buy them. Stupid Elktan. Stupid Elkran rules. He reached over and picked one up. “How much?”

“This is Akrat, kid. You don’t ask.” The market stall owner raised a knife up. “You offer, and none of that metal crap.”

“Sorry. I didn’t know. Um… here.” James reached into his pocket and pulled out an oran berry. I was saving this for Okta, but with this money I can buy berries at home.

The market stall owner quickly snatched the berry and shoved the poké ball into James’s hand. “Good doing business with you,” he sniggered.

James shrugged and walked off. Finally, I can get a new pokémon. Yeah, it’s going to be an awesome strong pokémon like a deino or a flying type. I want to fly so I can do what the hell I want. Approaching the station door, James was met by the keen grin of Lioa.

“What took you so long, you twat, I’m taking a window seat in the carriage,” Lioa said.

“Let’s go and get on the train. Clarence is keeping Seargent jerk busy. We should board it now before it gets busy, or Kuti starts to cry again.” James walked over to the desk and with a giant grin on his face said, “Four tickets to Fehahra town please.” The man on the other side of the wooden barrier placed four pieces of paper on the desk, which James quickly snatched up. “Thanks.” He raised his hand up, and jumped onto the open carriage. He walked down the carriage and opened a compartment. He slumped down next to Kitiku and looked to Lioa. “There, Li. Let’s go home. Kuti, your dad will be so proud when he finds out we came second.”

Or he will murder us both for leaving the town for a whole day. This was such a bad idea. We should have stayed home, Kitiku told himself.
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Chapter 7: The Captain
With the festival over, the teens bid farewell to their new friend, Clarence, and opt to take the train home. However, their ride home is interrupted by an unwelcomed guest. When the train becomes damaged and forced to a halt they find themselves in far deeper trouble than they anticipated. Meanwhile, the rumoured new Captain of Fehahra makes their appearance.

The Captain


Sunday, April 30th, 1989

The train chugged along the rickety tracks, and the sandy scenery never ended. However, the flecks of green appearing from time to time were enough to convince the group they were indeed heading home. The window that once soaked in the sunlight reflected the moonlight back out of the carriage. The litwick’s waxy body dripped as the purple flame flickered.

Lioa pressed his face against the window, watching the pokémon flying around. He had sworn a few times he had seen the rare white squawkabilly, but he had been called a liar. His brother had fallen asleep on his shoulder and was drooling down at him. He glanced over to see Kitiku scrunched up and holding onto his knees. He pulled out the little pin he had found earlier and played with it in his fingers. “I wonder what will become of him. Clarence, I mean. I bet the guy could take on the whole Elktan army on his own. That pokémon was totally level-strength fifty or something. That makes him a mega-aggron. I bet he had an Aggron.”

James puffed at Lioa’s comments and leaned into the window. What happened out there? I lost control of Okta. The foliage had become thicker, and the train was slowing down. The beauty of Kithuk was on display, a city next to Marsten and Fehahra. James could see and smell all the different types of flowers through the tiny crack in the train’s carriage in the corridor. Way cooler than Fehahra. I bet there are some awesome pokémon here. I wish I could catch them all and join the army.

“I’m sorry.”

“Li?” James looked over to Lioa.

“I just wanted to make my dad proud, and maybe my mum would want to keep us. It’s tough, you know? I mean, you get it. You don’t have parents. Since they killed my dad… all I’ve wanted to do is join the army and kill them all.” Lioa clenched his fists. “If mum finds someone else, they can just throw me and Rew-Rew onto the streets. That’s the law.” He stared out the window.

Silently, James nodded, looking out the window at the station platform. He watched as some people got on the train. Come on, hurry up. Relief washed over him as the train began moving again. The train rumbling along the wonky tracks continued, and the glittering moonlight on the river broke up the lush scenery.


The train jolted and shook. The windows shattered, spitting glass everywhere. James jumped up, looking at Kitiku and Andrew, who had been shaken to attention. James rushed into the corridor. What the fuck?

The storage carriage had been ripped open, and a thunderous clanging came from behind. Amid the crates lined with Elkran supplies, a figure dressed in a black coat stood. His hat tilted forward to cover his eyes. However, the burn scar on his face was unmistakable. Beside him stood a much taller man with long green hair and a scowled scrunched face.

“N-no. It can’t be you. You died in the fire!” James fell back, scrambling on the floor beside the hole in the carriage. The tracks below flicker in beat with the rickety train’s traversal of the countryside. The man’s twisted grin was uncovered when the moonlight glanced over him.

Hanson Rei, the mass murderer, stood opposite him. His left hand gripped his dagger’s twisted handle. The point was already dripping with the blood of his previous victims. His right hand pressed against the poké ball. “Kill the boy and his friends too, Lornixo.” The latch whipped open, and the ball bounced, returning to his hand. A large gengar emerged, his purple fur stood on end, and his purple skin was wrinkled at the front. His red eyes glowed almost as much as his fanged grin.

The man behind him touched his poké ball and released a machoke onto the shattered storage carriage. He slammed his fists down on the metal coupling. The train shook from the force. He leapt over the gap and approached James.

Quickly, James scooted back further until his back was against the wall. Sweat dripped down his face. To his surprise, Lioa dashed out in front of him and grabbed him. He pulled him back. “Li?”

“Get up and run, you twat!” The two bolted down the shaking carriage. The shattered windows let the thundering air echo down the narrow corridor. The roaring Machamp swung its arms around, smashing up the train. The tracks under the train buckled, and the carriage swung over a ten-foot drop.

Lioa looked forward to the door at the end of the carriage. “Open the damn door, Rew!” He pushed on the door and grabbed Kitiku, who was waiting on the other side with Andrew. Lioa pulled Kitiku behind him into the path of the machoke. “Be useful and be a distraction,” he called out. All your life, you have been a coward. If you were brave or had some talent, you would have been a guard. You had the luxury of trying out for the guard, unlike me. I deserved it way more.

The fist of the machoke collided with the wall, and its leg swept Kitiku’s shin. A loud crack shot through his leg, and he was swept down the broken carriage, smashing his body against the chairs. The train came to a halt, flinging him off the ten-foot drop and onto the grass below.

“Oh wow. You are more ruthless than me, boy. You really should join us.” Hanson walked past the machoke, his gengar in tow. “Bite him.” The gengar’s mouth foamed purple and ripped into James’s arm. Hanson looked at Lioa eagerly and lunged forward, striking him with his knife.

James shouted, thrashing around on the ground. He tried to kick the gengar off, but his legs passed through. “What the? Get off of me!” As his words escaped his mouth, the gengar was blasted back into the carriage's wall.

Clarence stepped out of the door and sprinted forward. “Hish’ak!” White light shot out from behind him.

“Quk, join in,” Sutton called out, and beside the alakazam, a volcarona appeared. Her large autumn-coloured wings surround its cocoon-white body. “Boys, get back. I’ll take on the machoke.” Sutton grabbed Lioa and pushed him behind him. “Where is Kitiku?” He froze in place and saw the boy holding onto his leg on the ground, shivering and screaming, but no sound came out. The volcarona flapped her wings, and the air swirled around her. Sutton raced forward, drawing his knife and slashed down at the man. The knife’s sharpened edge caught the edge of the man’s hand, and blood leaked out.

An eternity passed by in Sutton’s mind before he could move back again. He could feel the sharp pain of electricity shooting through his body. The crackles entered his ears, and he stumbled back. His chest felt numb, and his vision blurred. Where am I? He pressed down against the ground with his hand but couldn’t feel a thing. His ears were ringing through and through.

A rush of wind surged through the train, pushing the machoke backwards and into the gengar. The gengar dodged, hopping from foot to foot, and began glowing bright white and only turning his head to see the machoke being blasted into the wall by a psychic wave.

Clarence felt a rush in his arms and dived forward at Hanson. Hanson slashed upwards with his dagger. However, Clarence pressed his hand against Hanson’s chest, and a soft boom echoed through the carriage. Hanson stumbled back but was swung at once again by Clarence’s left hand. I changed my blade's hand, and I bet you didn’t see that coming. He slashed up, catching the fingers on Rei’s left hand, slicing the index and middle fingers off. Before his foot could touch the ground, he felt a sickening feeling in his stomach, and purple gunk dripped down his shirt. “Hish’ak, blast him with psychic!” Clarence jumped back two steps as the gengar’s long twisted claws lunged at him. “Fuck…” he muttered under his breath. The claws of the gengar had ripped through his shirt. With his knife, he swung up at the gengar’s eye, piercing it and kicked him in the middle of his body.

Hishrak raised his yellow hand and lifted the gengar, flicking him back into the carriage behind them. However, as his eyes scoured the carriage, he couldn’t see the hide or hair of Hanson Rei or the man he was with. Rolling his eyes, he shook the gengar like a sauce bottle.

Clarence pulled himself back onto his feet and placed his hand over the wound on his stomach.

“N-no, not you…” James said, looking at him.

“That’s right, James, I am the Elkran Captain. My braviary is already on the way to get help.” Clarence leapt off the train and landed on a small protective shield produced by Hishrak before jumping again down to the grass. “Kitiku…” He stared down at the boy’s body. He is fortunate; he is in significant pain, but it looks like the bulk of his fall was on his leg and then shoulder. Although, that leg looks really bad. He is slipping in and out of consciousness from pain, and there isn’t much I can do.

Sutton, wobbly, clambered down the overhanging train and came over. “Well, shit. That’s really bad…” he huffed and turned to the boys. “Are you all okay?”

“More importantly, we must prepare details for when the medics arrive.” Clarence took his jacket off and placed it over Kitiku’s upper body. He glanced over at James, whose arm was bleeding and oozing out a purple and black goo. Shit, he is poisoned. One of us needs to put pressure on Kitiku’s wound, and one needs to tie James’s arm to slow the spread – it might already be too late. In the supply carriage, there may be some pecha berries… He looked at Lioa. Lioa might be bleeding, but his cut isn’t intense, and Andrew seems unharmed. Sutton is suffering from the aftereffects of temporary paralysis. He can move, but he is sluggish and might be unable to move if he aggravates his wound. As for me, it will leave a scar, but I’ll live.

Swaying from side to side, Sutton looked at Clarence. His Volcarona flapping behind him, hanging upside-down as if nothing had happened.

“Right,” Clarence said, taking his navy blue tie off. He grabbed James’s arm and wrapped it around just above where the bite was. Shit, he used searing toxic. This is bad. He tied a knot around and sat James down. “Don’t move. Lie on your back.” From the corner of his eye, Clarence saw a purple glob hurling through the sky. It survived the attack?

The gengar lunged at James, no longer in his mega form. His single red eye refused to blink as he chomped down, drooling. It twitched its ears and lunged. Knife out, Clarence body-blocked the gengar—the sharp claws of the best slashed across his stomach again.

Does this thing have no empathy? What is wrong with it? Why is it attacking the kid and not me or Sutton? Clarence rushed forward, panting, and dived into a roll underneath the gengar’s claws and using the back of his knife, he slashed upwards. However, Clarence’s swing was met by the claws of the gengar’s left paw before he was fired at by his right paw by a glob of purple gunk. The glob hurtled towards him, and his heart raced. I have to back it up and draw my sword. Using my knife here is just exposing me. Clarence rolled back and pressed his knee into the ground. His stomach ached from the cuts, and blood trickled down his trousers.

Hish’ak, where are you? Clarence scanned around the area, looking for a glimpse of his alakazam. His feet bounced off the ground, avoiding swing after swing from the gengar. Currently, things aren’t good. Hish’ak is doing what he does best, his own thing. Ba’ook is getting help, and Falebe’ot is still injured from the festival. On the surface, that leaves me with three pokémon, but in reality, if I send another one out and we get attacked again, I will only have two. Damn it all. I will risk it. “Miskiak!” Clarence tossed his poké ball forward, and a houndoom jumped in front of an attack to protect him.

“Iron tail!” James stood, holding his arm. His onix swung her tail down, breaking the ground between the houndoom and the gengar. “Hey! Come get me!” James pointed at the gengar. “I am the one you want, right?”

Kill him, James. Then, hunt down the poison stone wielder and kill him, too.

“I will kill you!” James called out, his heart pounded, and the blood from his arm flowed down his hand. “Okta, kill him!”

Not good, Clarence thought, turning to James. Now I have to take him out, too. I get wanting to win, but killing? No… The air began to vibrate and ripple, strong enough to see them slammed into the gengar, knocking Clarence backwards.

“Am I late?” Tomilson jumped down from his dragapult. He dangled one foot off the side. They are hurt pretty badly. That gengar is out of control, and James is shaking really badly. He is afraid? Tomilson jumped down beside James and saw the lump in his pocket. “Where is the trainer?”

“Gone.” Clarence rolled in the mud; a gunk shot attack rolled over his head.

“Right, sir, do you ha-“

“I do, but I don’t have an opening right now. It wants James.”

It wants Hames? But why? Tomilson reached into James’s pocket and grabbed the poké ball inside, but James swung his fist into Tomilson’s gut. Damn, kid, you punch hard for a squirt. He tossed the poké ball in his hand and threw it with a curve at the gengar. Smack. The poké ball smashed into the gengar’s bloodied eye and sucked it inside. It rocked back and forth on the ground before clicking shut. Relief covered Tomilson’s body, and he looked to James, who was crying beside Kitiku. “What happened?”

“H-h-he will k-kill me. I just can’t. I don’t know!” James screamed and planted his foot into Tomilson’s shin. “I-I am so scared, and Kuti is dying, and I want my Okta to love me, and –“

“And you need to breathe.” A tall man with glasses and a long blue jacket approached. His blue hat was in his hand, and his shirt tucked in. “I cannot move him yet. I need to know what is wrong with him.” The man knelt beside Kitiku, “Can you hear me? I am Lord Ikur, and I am a doctor.” He moved Clarence’s jacket as he heard Kitiku whimper, clearly in pain. He is breathing, but it seems staggered, probably due to his pain. One hundred percent has gone into shock, but judging by the chaos which unfolded with the gengar, I doubt he was taken care of. The soldier is being sick still, and the other boys seem clueless. The Lord lifted Kitiku slightly and rolled him so he was on his back, and then, with his spare hand, he pushed Kitiku’s leg from the knee to straighten it.

Kitiku raised his hands and signed, “Stop.” His face was incredibly pale.

Moving the bone would be bad. I’d need to get him back to the hospital before doing any concrete checks, but his leg is purple and red from the swelling, so it is clearly broken. Lord Ikur ran his hand above Kitiku’s leg. “Okay, well, that’s a serious compound fracture. Very serious.”

“How do you know?” Tomilson asked, glaring at Kitiku. His head tilted slightly.

Pressing his glasses back onto his face with the tip of his index finger, Ikur glared at Tomilson. Tomilson shivered, and Ikur said, “Because his bone is sticking through the skin in not one but two places, and part of the bone is missing, you moron.” He stiffened up. This could get infected. That idiot didn’t cover the bone. At least he covered the boy to keep him warm, though. I might need to have the leg cut off, though. There is a lot of damage here. Ikur reached into his pocket and opened a small case. He cast his fingers over a small syringe and took one of the vials out. He drew a yellow powder-like liquid into the syringe and pressed the needle into Kitiku’s arm. That will do for now. He will sleep. The others will need to be checked over, too. “What about you?” He turned to Clarence. “Who are you, and are you hurt?”

“Just a gash. I am fine, Sutton and James got it far worse. I am Captain Clarence Rehan Bourbabel."

“Bourbabel, huh? Yes, yes, I have read about you.” He reached over, grabbed James by the collar, and pulled him over. “Well, I suggest we get that bandaged once we return to the hospital.” He turned to see the Sawsbuck coach arriving. The spring cut leaves blooming from their antlers. “Okay, so we must get the boy with the broken leg in first. I have no stretcher on me. My machamp will have to carry him.”

Kitiku fidgeted on the floor, wriggling to try and move away from Lord Ikur.

“You Elkran jerk. He got hit by a machoke.” James spat at Ikur. “Hey! Ow, that fucking hurt!” He rubbed the side of his cheek.

Ikur sneered at him. “You will first use my title; if you do that again, I will break your jaw. Got it?” He sighed. Of course, I wouldn’t really break his jaw. That goes against the oath I took. However, hopefully, it will frighten him.

Clarence walked over to Kitiku. “Maybe Hish’ak can carry him?” He pointed to the Alakazam, who was floating a pecha berry. That’s where you went, huh? He took the berry and placed the berry in James’s hand. “Eat. You are poisoned and very lucky you didn’t get a burn, too.”

James scowled, but with shaking hands, he bit into the berry. Too sweet, he thought, as he felt the smooth pink fruit sit on his tongue. “Let’s just go, I want to go home.” James pushed past Lord Ikur and jumped into the coach. Lioa promptly followed him with Andrew in tow.

Wrapping his arm around Sutton, Clarence helped the Seargent limp into the coach before stepping back and guiding Hishrak.
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Chapter 8: Cruel World
Surviving the attack from the gengar, James wakes up in the medical bay in the hospital wing with vivid memories. Dr. Ikur, a Lord from Elktan begins to treat him and Kitiku for their injuries. While being treated James and Lord Ikur talk, revealing a little bit of his own past and what a cruel world it can be.

Cruel World


Monday, May 1st, 1989

The litwick’s flame flickered, and a loud yawn left its mouth. The sunlight crept through the shutters, enough to make it recoil from the light. James let out a little yawn and reached up with his arms. I guess I fell asleep in the coach. His arm felt warm and tingled slightly. I guess I got bandaged up? Geesh, yesterday was such a long day. I-

“I will kill you!”

“Okta, kill him!”

“H-h-he will k-kill me. I j-just can’t.”

James screwed up his face and squeezed his eyes shut. Did I really say all those things? Oh, right, Hanson… he was there. He closed his fist tightly and slumped it against the soft dubwool blanket. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a tall man with glasses and a white coat looking in a cabinet.

“Finally awake, I see. Well, it is gone afternoon. You had enough poison in your body to kill you, you know?” He approached the bed and picked up the clipboard he had left on the end of it. He noticed James’s slightly opened mouth and raised an eyebrow. “Do you not remember me? Well, that’s no surprise. I am Lord Ikur, and I saved your life last night. I got you here anyway. How do you feel?” Lord Ikur pushed his glasses back onto his nose.

James looked up at him. You have a cut on your hand going up towards your shirt? Did he attack you too? He sighed. “I am okay. I didn’t even feel sick from the poison, so if you don’t mind, I am going home.” James pulled back the blanket. “Where the fuck are my clothes?”

Lord Ikur stared at him. You almost died, and that’s what you are worried about? He placed the clipboard down. “They were covered in blood, firstly. Secondly, I had to stitch the bite on your arm up, and thirdly, why is your body covered in gengar bites?” He drew his sword and placed it against James’s neck. “Lastly, why is a Spitz like you here? I am a doctor, so I will give you a chance to explain yourself. Anyone else would have executed you without a second thought.”

James’s whole body started shaking, and his stomach churned. “I-I… I live here…” He looked down to his stitched arm. “He let his gengar bite me all my life, and you are going to kill me for something I had nothing to do with?” James placed his hand against the sword.

Ikur looked at James. He is scared. He was frightened last night, too. He puts on a brave face. What a dilemma. If I keep this secret, I risk my own life, but if what he said wasn’t a lie… He lowered his sword and pushed his glasses back onto his nose. “Very well, I’ll keep your secret. However, you will not cause trouble for us, and if I ever need any information about anything, you will tell me or find out. Understand, boy?”

James nodded, and he stared at his arm. Why? Why are you being nice? He whispered, “What happened to your arm?”

Lord Ikur rolled up his white jacket and his white shirt’s sleeve. Along his arm was a deep cut on the top of his arm. The knife which had cut through his skin had left a sloppy mark. A word had been sliced into him. “Since you are illiterate in your language, I doubt you can read mine. It says traitor, and no, Elite Lord Aaron Piscar did not give this to me. The deceased Elite Lord Ellio Piscar did. Now go back to sleep or get changed, and do whatever you Colran do. You aren’t leaving until a parent or guardian comes to pick you up.” With his closed fist, Ikur gestured with his thumb to a pile of clothes beside the bed. He turned around and walked over to Kitiku, who was shivering.

Kitiku saw the tall man approaching him and stared down at his blanket. The bruise on his shoulder felt like it was about to burst. However, his leg felt swollen and dislodged.

“And how do you feel?” Lord Ikur asked. He doesn’t seem to want to look at me. Is he scared of me? He pushed his glasses back up onto his nose. “Would you like something to eat? Something to drink?” Lord Ikur pulled a chair up beside the bed.

With shaking hands, Kitiku signed, “I want my mum.”

“I don’t speak sign language. You are going to have to talk. And I have a lot of questions I need to get through. Then I need to take your leg off because that break is not going to heal.” Lord Ikur placed his hand on Kitiku’s shoulder.

“N-n-no…” Kitiku grabbed his hair and tugged as hard as he could. Tears ran down his face. “N-no. M-m-mum.”

Lord Ikur sighed and pushed his glasses back onto his nose again. “While we believe medical care should be free if it is only free if you take our recommendations, that’s the law. I am going to be honest. The break is bad. You are missing part of the bone, and even with a replacement in there of wood or even the more expensive metal, without a series of complicated surgeries – which would have to be performed in Ki’ot-Akalt, there is no chance you will walk again. Even with the surgeries, the chances are slim, and it will be harrowing. Far more painful than the pain you are in now.”

Kitiku shook his head rapidly, raising his hands and pushed the Lord. He felt his weak arms be pushed back, and the pain in his shoulder echoed throughout his whole body.

James leapt up. “Wait! I… I don’t have much money, but… will this do anything?” He reached into the pouch on the side of his bed next to where the clothes Lord Ikur had left for him once were. He tipped it upside down, and coins fell into his hand.

What’s this? You barely have enough money for bread… but you are willing to give it all up for your friend? Even still. Lord Ikur glanced at James, pushed his black hair back and softened his voice. “No. Even for a wooden replacement, that’s almost one hundred times what you have in your pocket. And as I know your secret, there is nothing you can offer me which I cannot get for free from you. Sorry, kid, that’s just how the world works.” He turned back to Kitiku, who was crying. It may seem harsh, but secrets like his are dangerous to have. This is a little execution for him, not a real one, but holding him like this to my whim is an important lesson. Is it blackmail? Yes. Is it immoral? It depends on who you ask.

“Anything. I’ll do anything, just please – he is scared! I won’t let you!” James shouted.

“There is one thing, but I don’t need you. I need him.” Lord Ikur pressed the latch on his poké ball, and a luxray appeared beside him. “You see, he is blood type O. Do you know what that is?” He saw James shake his head and Kitiku nod. “Around 350 years ago, a disease came to Coltar and wiped out the majority of blood type O humans on the island. Blood type A was also badly affected. A parasite caused it. Regardless, blood type O is scarce as a result. I know a dozen or so people who have it, myself included. It's rather funny there are two of us in the same room. Either way, people with this blood type can only receive blood from the same blood type.” He adjusted his blue tie. “We aren’t just blood type O. We are both O negative. Therefore, if you become a blood donor for the Elkran army, I will wipe your debt and give you a wooden replacement. I cannot steep to metal – sorry, I can’t push it that far.”

“O-o-okay.” Kitiku grabbed Lord Ikur’s jacket with his hand and squeezed. “I-I-I w-was p-pushed in t-to the m-m-machoke by Lioa. T-then thrown o-o-off.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “S-scared.”

Lord Ikur removed his jacket and wrapped it around Kitiku’s shoulders. “Warm up. My luxray uses its X-ray vision to check your bones. There is no need to be scared. Hmm, if you don’t like to talk to others, it's okay, but you need to talk to me so I can help you. Alright? There are some other tests I need to do on you before I operate. Bryson, age: thirteen, blood type: O Negative, injury received by pokémon assault. The course of action: amputation if wooden replacement is rejected. Status of medical divergence? Paid.”

Kitiku let out a little yawn and flopped back down. He seems nice. I guess I will be able to go home tomorrow. He felt the soft mane of the luxray brush against his hand. He lifted it and felt the warm breath of the luxray course across him. Good pokémon.
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Chapter 9: Breaking Free
Lioa and Andrew witness some pokémon being transported into the office. Frustrated with the fact they have to go to school, and the fact they are on the losing side of the war, the group decides to set them free and cause trouble for the Elkran occupiers. However, Meanwhile, Kitiku and Lord Ikur start to bond and become friends.

Breaking Free


Tuesday, May 2nd, 1989

The rain trickled down the side of the bridge and into the rushing river down below. The wooden rope bridge swayed from side to side. Andrew allowed the rain to hit his face. A ball landed in his hand before being tossed again into the air. So, our lives are about to get real dunked. He pulled his red polo shirt. He shuffled back against the rope before dropping onto his knee as a member of the Elkran guard walked past carrying a transparent box of poké balls.

“Rew-Rew!” Lioa waved, walking towards him. “That town meeting was so full of tauros-shit.” He raised his hand and caught the ball.

Staring up at the sky, Andrew said, “Yeah, we will get dunked by school.”

“Not going to do that shit. Literally keeping us indoors because they want to make us do what their law says.” Lioa spat on the floor. “James, you were so lucky. We had to sit through the most boring town meeting ever, and Captain Twatbel wants us to go to school.”

“Fuck that!” James shouted. “They need to fucking pay. They’ll make us follow their religion or only speak their language or something.” He slammed his foot into the wooden post, holding the bridge up. It wobbled slightly before sinking back into the muddy earth. “So, Ano, what was that about? The poké balls and stuff?”

Andrew shrugged and caught the ball.

“We could totally steal it from them twats. Would be a good way to make them piss back off to Elktan. Someone has to steal them, though, or… or… yeah, that’s better, let all the pokémon loose. That’d be destructive and make them sorry.” Lioa reached into his pocket, pulling out a small wooden pyramid with six rods. “Green, then pink, then red, then purple, then yellow, then blue. Single pull.” He held it out and placed his fingers on one of the rods. Andrew and James each picked a rod, and Lioa said, “Three, two, one, pull.”

“Red,” Andrew said, smirking.

“Ha, blue. You twats!” Lioa jumped up on the spot.

“Sorry, Ano, I got purple.” James raised the rod and handed it back to Lioa. “Get going. Remember, release all the pokémon they brought in, yeah? Also, Li, is it true? You threw Kitiku onto the machoke?”

Lioa looked up at James. “Don’t be a twat. He got himself in the way.”

Andrew looked back at Lioa and sighed. “Alright, I’ll give them a good dunking.” He waited for the soldier to pass over the crossing and then quickly darted on his tip-toes to the edge of the office building. The thick bushes housed joltik, and the occasional starly rustled as he snuck around the back of the building. He placed his hands on the edge of the dumpster around the back and pushed his right foot against the small piece of metal that was protruding from the side. The black metal lid wobbled, but he took a deep breath and pulled himself onto it. Laying flat, he could just about catch a glimpse of the clear case through the window.

Quickly, Andrew jumped up and grabbed hold of one of the window ledges. However, he felt his fingers start to slide. “Ah crap,” he said. He felt a tingling sensation in the back of his neck and adrenaline rushing through his system. He swung himself into the window. A thud rang out, but the window didn’t break as his fingers slipped. “Ow!” he said, rubbing his back and looking back at the window. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the following window was open. He shuffled back on the dumpster and sprinted to the edge. He leapt up and grabbed the window, breaking the first wooden hinge under the sudden weight.

Andrew quickly pulled himself through the window and onto the floor. And Fehahra scoof Captain Takui rolls into the box. He left the room and headed into the narrow corridor. He runs along the corridor towards the enemy goal. Suddenly, he saw two Elkran soldiers walking down the corridor from the other direction. They try to cut him off, but he dives out of the way. He held his breath, waiting for them to pass. His hand wrapped tightly around the poké ball in his pocket. He slides past the defence and into the goal semi-circle. He takes his bat and slams the ball into the net! Andrew tossed his poké ball forwards, and his deino appeared before him. “Use tackle, Nuktio!” She sprinted forward and slammed into the case, shattering it. The noise echoed through the corridor, and the footsteps of Elkran soldiers and guards started to get louder with every passing second.

The poké balls that were inside the case rolled along the floor opening. The Pokémon inside roared and chirped. They fled the room towards the doors and windows. Smashing echoed down the corridor amongst the footsteps. A woosh came from inside the room. Andrew turned around to see a giant fireball heading towards him.

The ball stopped spinning and held its place. Specks of the flames spat out, but they remained floating. It started to beat like a heart and exploded into smoke.

“Andrew -uff, are you -uff okay?” Clarence’s hand was extended, and a little blood was dripping from his mouth. “What -uff are you -uff doing here?” He wiped the blood off his mouth and took a deep breath in. “Don’t tell me you let them out?”

Andrew scowled at him. “I’ll dunk on your arse!”

Leaning against the doorframe, Clarence closed his eyes and crossed his arms. “Come now, Andrew, you don’t want assault added to your criminal record. Do you? I know that James and Kitiku are not real brothers – anyone who has read their files would understand that. It makes me wonder the same about you and Lioa.”

Andrew closed his fists. “You want to hurt us, huh? Was that festival appearance just a show so you could get the dunk on us?”

“Think about it, Andrew.” Clarence’s shirt had tiny specs of blood, as did his lip, but he still smiled at him. “You don’t want to have a criminal record, do you? I wiped the records to give everyone a clean slate once I got here. You could do well. Your father, he died, didn’t he? If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. But, I assume you want more than just to throw your life away.”

Looking out the window, Andrew saw Lioa running away. I guess… “I want to play sports. When I was like five, Dad took me to see a scoof match, and that was it. I was drawn in. I remember him holding me up and me catching the ball. Watching the skaters was amazing. What was with those pokémon anyway? They were pretty strong.”

Clarence beckoned Andrew with his index finger. He held the door open for him and walked down the corridor into an office. The brown-painted wooden door was cracked but opened fine. He tapped the chair opposite his desk and sat down. “Those pokémon are Kilgorese. They were being trained nearby under Master Felix Mainstenhill. You can see why this is serious now, don’t you?”

Sitting on the chair, Andrew rubbed his arm. “Yes, sir. Um… sorry for getting mad at you. I just didn’t want you to dunk me in it. Are you going to rattata on me?” A tear ran down his face.

“No. I won’t. However, I think you really need to sit down and think about what you want from your life. School will help you with that. You are eleven, Andrew. You have your whole life ahead of you. Learning to read and write will open up many opportunities for you.” Clarence offered Andrew a sweet berry.

“Thank you, sir.” Andrew put the berry in his mouth. “I really want to be on the scoof team. The thing is, I’m not an adult, so there is no way… If I was one year older then….”

“Elkran law is different to Colran law, and Elkran law is in action here. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about that being a major block. We will figure out a way around it. Although, I disapprove of the sport. Throwing exploding voltorbs at each other is not a sport but dangerous.” Clarence leaned in. “However, I see it means a lot to you and probably others. Therefore, I won’t ban it for now.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a shirt and a red tie with a cream jumper to suit. After this talk, I’ll change. “Get out of here and go follow that dream, Andrew. Just don’t get yourself arrested.”

Clarence waved as Andrew ran out of the room. He pulled his jacket off and slumped it over the back of his wooden chair. He unbuttoned his bloodied shirt, undid his tie and stuffed them in his bag, replacing it with a clean white one. He pulled a red tie around his neck and did it in a trinity knot before pulling the cream jumper over his head.

Let’s find these missing pokémon before the Kilgorese guard finds out. Clarence looked at his poké balls and then glanced at the list and letter on his desk. Shinx, mawile, riolu, bronzor, polteageist, varoom, varoom, gimmighoul, arcanine, metagross, stantler and a squawkabilly. He picked up the poké ball with his braviary in. He walked out the door and outside. “Come, Barook, we best catch them.”

“We’ll help.” Sutton smiled, holding a poké ball up, and gestured to Tomilson beside him. “We will speed this process up. You don’t have to do it alone, sir!” A scream echoed out down the street. “I got this one!” Sutton sprinted away.

Thanks, Sutton, Clarence thought and began to run down the cobble streets, Tomilson in tow. He glanced up to smoke pouring through the air. “That’s not good.”

Tomilson dashed in front of him and released his dragapult. “Go on.”

Nodding, Clarence ran into the park. The trees surrounding it were covered in starly. The green grass was long, and the bushes were covered in flowers of many different colours. In the corner of his eye, he saw a purple pokémon in the trees, letting out a squawk. I guess that’s why it's called that. He stepped back and took a poké ball out of his pocket. He flicked his wrist and hurled it at the squawkabilly. The ball smashed into the pokémon’s beak, sucking it inside. Well, that was easy… He walked over and picked up the pokémon.


“Barook, use Superpower!” Clarence turned and jumped back as sharp teeth came crashing towards his arm. Mawile, but it's floating? Wait… that’s a bronzor. Mawile and bronzor, it’s not the best match-up. Maybe I should have taken the whole team. No, this is fine.

The braviary slammed into the mawile, ripping her off the ground and flinging her into a fence. He called into the sky as she tumbled back. He shot up into the sky, his feathers scattered around. His wings were pulled back, and he couldn’t move.

Clarence tossed a poké ball at the injured mawile before turning on his heels to see the bronzor’s eyes highlighted pink. It threw the braviary forward and into him. “Ugh, damn, it's strong. Get up, Barook and use superpower.” The Pokémon opened its large wings and called out, snapping its beak shut. He flew up and swivelled. Its eyes locked with the bronzor’s. Its blue, metallic body is unable to rotate in time. The clunk of the metal grated by the sharp, powerful beak rang out.

It let out a squeak. Clarence took a poké ball out of his pocket and tossed it towards the bronzor. However, the ball was stopped dead in the air.

“Mummy!” a child called out, shaking as a large hefty branch swung towards her.

Shit! It is attacking the child! Clarence ran forward, grabbing the child and pulling her against him. He turned his back to the branch. “Ah!” The branch struck against his back and rolled down the side. That hurt… this Pokémon really doesn’t want to give up. He let go of the toddler and faced the bronzor. With an outstretched arm, he muttered, “Drain it.” His eyes glowed pink, and the stone hanging around his neck glowed. The bronzor shrieked and shook. I need to output this power somewhere. With his other hand, Clarence reached up to his braviary. “Use brave bird!” He looked up, and a small psychic field appeared around the braviary. “Ugh, what? Where did it go?” Clarence glanced around. Damn it, it escaped? I had it locked on. That is one strong bronzor.

“Sir!” Sutton called out. He caught his boot on the edge of the pavement and staggered forward. Placing one foot after the other, he waved his arms around frantically.

“Be careful.” Clarence grabbed his arm.

“Yes, sir. I caught a few pokémon. Although, Vesx is worn out now. We should probably ask the locals for information on the others.” Sutton rubbed the back of his head. He grinned at Clarence’s smile.

“Indeed.” Clarence walked to the stone sundial in the middle of the park. “Nearly five already?” He placed his hands in his pockets. “I best get these back. I’ll be back soon.” He walked along the cobbled streets. A few people waved and smiled at him, and he waved back. The talk with Andrew took longer than it should have. I don’t mind talking to him. It had to be done. However, I hope the pokémon didn’t get too far. He pushed open the office door. I should let Ikur know that I got hit by a tree branch. He stepped down the wonky concrete stairs and onto the hospital floor. He saw Lord Ikur talking to someone.

“That’s not quite it. You aren’t stupid. You are very clever. There is an error, which means your body corrected or tried to. By doing so it changed something and means you have difficulties doing some things, and that’s not the end of the world. That’s just you. At least, that’s the Elkran understanding. Of course, there are some things we don’t understand about autism. I wish I could tell you more. I just don’t know. Either way, you will be fine, Kitiku.” Ikur pushed his glasses back onto his face. “I am surprised no one told you before, though.”

“I-I am b-broken?” Kitiku whispered.

“Yes, but that doesn’t define you. Some of the strongest and smartest people in Coltar are just like you. Not all of them, but some. The biggest and most well-known is Lord Jackson himself.” Ikur passed Kitiku his crutches.

Clarence leaned back against the wall—yeah, good old Mylious. The guy never did let anything get in his way. He had it much more brutal than anyone else I know.

“M-my p-parents are p-p-poor. M-my d-d-dad was a soldier, b-but h-he got hurt a-and had t-to s-stop working. M-my b-big b-brother w-was a…” Kitiku squeezed his shirt. “H-he used to p-pay the rent. B-b-but he -ied. He …. -illed and my dad … work to … rent. It’s my fault.”

Lord Ikur pushed his glasses back up his nose. “It wasn’t your fault. Did you murder him?” He saw Kitiku shake his head. “Exactly. Your family being poor isn’t your fault either.” He looked at his luxray, who had decided to lay across Kitiku’s lap. “You might be seen as defective by some out there, but you aren’t broken. You want to help your family out? In addition to giving blood, why don’t you help clean up the hospital for me? Yes, it will be hard on crutches, but you can do it. … if anyone asks, just say I threatened you. I have a reputation to uphold.” He patted Kitiku on the head. “You can start now if you want.”

Ikur, you big softy. You must have figured it out yesterday, too. A smart arse like you would never let it slip through, and the fact you didn’t bring up that James is the so-called older brother, yeah, you know. Clarence smiled. I best let you be. This is far more important than the bruise I have.
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Chapter 10: Secrets and Promises
When the bronzor mysteriously reappears outside the Bryson's house, James and Kitiku try to capture it. Meanwhile, its true strength is revealed as a pokémon belonging to the powerful island of Kilgor. Hurt and tired, it must decide whether or not to trust the boys to keep its secret safe. Sgt. Sutton, Lt. Tomilson and Cpt. Bourbabel are still looking for it, after all.

Secrets and Promises


Wednesday, May 3rd, 1989

Dawn rose through the dewdrops, and the ground was still soaked from the day before. Kitiku sat up in bed. His body felt lighter than the day before. His eyes looked at the small jar with coins on the wooden floorboards. He gave me twenty Colkara. I can get some food for mum and dad. Then they won’t have to worry. He laid back down on the bed.

“Kitiku! Trash… now-or somethin… I need another drink,” his father called up the stairs.

Kitiku sat up and reached over. He took his wooden crutches and tucked them under his arms. He saw James waiting for him at the door. “C-c-coming.” He pulled himself along, wobbling. Pressing on the top of his crutches to keep balance, he approached the wonky wooden stairs.

“Kitiku!” James called out, his arms extended.

Kitiku felt a tingling rush of adrenaline through his body as he plummeted down the stairs. The singular moment of freefall left his stomach in a knot. His broken leg slamming into the wooden angles created a stabbing sensation through his lower leg. “Ugh… Agh!” He froze in place as the large octillery pressed its eye almost against his eye. “Oosho…” Kitiku said.

The octillery’s eight long orange legs wiggled at the tips while remaining stuck to the wall. “Sho-Sho-Sho,” he chuckled before he puckered and suctioned along the wall upstairs.

“Jerk.” James scowled.

“Uselesh runt!” Tak grabbed Kitiku by the back of his shirt and threw him against the wall. “Canch-chou do anything right? Shoulda only had firsht born.” He dropped him and turned back around. Swaying from side to side, he walked out the front door, picking up the axe that hung by the door.

Kitiku could smell the pungent stench of alcohol on his clothes. He glanced down at the floor.

James scowled and placed a hand on Kitiku. “Ignore him. Let’s just go.”

“I f-forgot m-my money…” Kitiku whispered.

With a soft grin, James said, “No worries. I’ll get it for you. I’ll get ten out.”

Kitiku nodded at him and pulled himself forward towards the wooden front door. He leaned forward and took the metal handle, twisting it open, and hobbled back, almost tripping over his crutches. He turned around and pulled himself towards the kitchen. The fridge was on his right, and the bin bag was in front of him. He picked up a sitrus berry on the table and stuck it in his pocket. I’ll eat this on the way to the shops. I want to get Mum and Dad a nice big roasted dubwool. The wooden crutches dug into his armpits as he lifted the bag. He felt his arm strain under the weight. Slowly but surely, he pulled himself towards the front door again.

“Hey, I got it.” James reached forward and took the bag from Kitiku’s hand. He scampered down the steps with it in tow.

Following closely, Kitiku watched James toss the bag into the dumpster opposite the house. “J-J-James…” he pointed forward at a small metallic blue object behind the dumpster. The object floated up.

“Damn, that’s a pokémon. No way. I have no idea what Pokémon it is, though.” James quickly put his hand in his pocket to pull out his poké ball. “Damn, Tomilson used my only poké ball on that… thing.” He looked at the Pokémon. “Well, not much we can do.”

Kitiku stared into its golden yellow eyes. You are scared, aren’t you? He saw bruises and scratches all over its body. “J-James, it l-looks hurt.”

Tilting his head, James said, “Yeah, but we don’t have the money for a healer. Besides, we don’t have a poké ball. It’s not that I don’t want to help it, but… I don’t have anything on me.” He looked away.

“W-w-wait.” Kitiku reached into his pocket and took out the sitrus berry. “Um…. H-here.” He closed his eyes and held out his hand. The small bronzor floated up and sniffed the berry. It chomped down on it, letting out a little smile as it did. “T-there. Um… C-come on, James.” He crutched forwards.

With a smile, James turned around. “Kuti, I think you have a new friend.” He watched as the bronzor turned itself upside-down and hovered just behind Kitiku. “Huh?” James stared into the distance. Some parchment has been pinned to the wall? He walked forward with his eyes fixated on it. “Hey Kuti, what does this say?”

“Um… well… It is a l-l-list of pokémon that went m-m-missing yesterday. S-Sorry, I… er… Okay… let’s s-see. S-some of this is in K-Kilgorese… or the n-names are at least… um… they’ve been translated into Elkrat b-b-but not Colrat… I-I think this is one of t-them. It says i-its l-level s-strength is s-seventy f-four.”

What? James stepped back, staring at Kitiku. “You serious Kuti?” With a pokémon like that, we would kick the Elkrans to the moon. “It still looks pretty hurt. We could go to the pokémon store and buy some stuff there for it. Some berry juice or something?”

Kitiku, crutching away from the notice, looked up and nodded. The bronzor behind him swung its body up and down, mimicking him. The two boys walked down the cobblestone street. The clouds overhead were threatening to pour down buckets of water. “It h-has b-bruises all over it.”

“Yeah, some of those look rather bad. Some powerful pokémon must have hit it pretty hard. I mean, if it does have a level strength of like seventy-four.” James pointed forward. “It isn’t too far ahead. The Happy Gastrodon.” The sign over the shop was wooden and painted sky blue. On the sign was a green gastrodon with a basket in its mouth. The basket was depicted as woven and filled with berries. Could do with some of those myself… I didn’t eat this morning. It was either me or Kuti. He is so underweight. I can steal for myself. I’m good at that. He pushed the shop door open, and a soft chime echoed out.

“Do you have a license to be in here?” Tomilson shouted. A bruise was puffed up on his face.

“Er…” James looked back to Kitiku. “I just wanted to treat Okta.”

Tomilson looked through the window. “How is Kitiku doing?”

“He is okay, just shy. Um… we kinda wanted to get something for Oosho too. Oosho is old and stuff.” James stuffed his hands in his pockets. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a basket float up behind Tomilson. “A-Anyway, um L.T. I was wondering if you managed t-to…er… ha!” He quickly covered his mouth with his hand. That’s a lot of berries to shove into a basket.

“What are you looking at?” Tomilson glared at James and then turned around. “What the? Oi!” He shouted.

James looked at him. “Look… it found us, okay? It is hurt real bad, and Kuti is someone it trusts. You don’t care about us because you are from the south. An Elktan bastard!”

“Elkran.” Tomilson stepped out of the shop doorframe. “Alright, look, It isn’t like that. It is just the law. You need a license to go into the shop because pokémon can be very dangerous.” He looked at James and Kitiku.

Sutton peered around the corner. “That’s the missing bronzor.” He leaned in and noticed the bronzor hanging upside down behind Kitiku. He saw Kitiku immediately look down at the ground. “Oh, hey Kitiku and hey James. Sir. What did I miss? Did you capture it? That’s a large reward sum coming to you two.”

James glared at Tomilson. “What do you mean, reward money? Look, the pokémon is hurt and needs help.” He slammed his hand against the wooden doorframe. He felt a few drops of rain splash against his forehead. “And now it’s raining,” he huffed. James kicked Tomilson in the shin.

“Hey! I could arrest you for that or worse. Come on, Ham-… James. I get it. We get it. You are angry. It isn’t our fault we are here.” Tomilson winced as he spoke. He has a kick right there.

“Yeah, it isn’t your fault you invaded. Screw off. This pokémon really hurt, and you won’t even let us help it! You are the reason he died. You killed Pierre. He was a brother to me!” Thunder clapped as James finished speaking. He pulled his ears back, and his eyes shot wide open. “Kuti?”

Sutton pushed his cap down onto his soaking blond hair and buttoned up his blue jacket. “I’ll go, and I won’t shout at him.” He turned and walked down the street. I’m guessing he went this way. There is no way he would have gotten past me. Sutton broke into a jog, his black boots skidding along the wet cobbles. He looked around as he jogged, hoping to see hide or hair of Kitiku. How did a kid with crutches disappear? Oh… right… b’onzo’. It can’t learn to teleport, but it can use psychic and float them both. Think, Inca’esta, where would you go if you were a timid child who likes to be alone and indoors but were stuck with a potentially outgoing pokémon that likes the outdoors? He stopped just before his face collided with the spear-topped fence. Of course, they’d stop it at eye height. “Gi’atina, give me strength!” Sutton hit his hand against the brick wall.

“Seargent Sutton? Are you okay?” a woman stood in the doorway of the building.

“M’s B’yson. Sorry, I am fine. I was just praying to the god.” Sutton looked down at his hand. Tiny specs of blood were on his wrist from the brick wall. “If… if you were Kitiku, where would you hide? He isn’t in trouble. He just got overwhelmed and disappeared.”

“Kuti? He’d probably be with James. Those two are inseparable a lot of the time. But… I suppose if he were too overwhelmed, he’d be by Cheri Steps.” Nashe Bryson leaned against the door, crossing her arms. “Is my little Kuti okay?”

“Why do you call him that?”

“Kuti? Well, Pierre couldn’t say Kitiku when he was little, so he called him Kuti, and it stuck.” A tear ran down her face. “Anyway, Cheri Steps – sorry, it’s a local term, um… There is a little grove at the edge of the park. It's by the little stream. Can’t miss it.”

“Thank you.” Sutton smiled, turned to the street and walked forward. At the end of the lane were the park's lush green fields. He stepped onto the grass, and his boots sank into the mud. He plodded on through the muddy grass, spotting numerous bug pokémon. He wrapped his fingers around the tip of his poké ball, ready to fight if needed. Each step brought the tree line closer. The extended branch was like a lifeline from the rain. Shouldn’t be under the trees in a storm, he thought. Splat. A leaf gushed water all over his hat and down his face. Okay then…. Sutton carefully clambered down the slope into the small grove at the bottom.

Sutton took a step forward. “Ouch, what the?” He gazed ahead as the psychic shadow field shattered before his eyes. His eyes met the bronzor’s. “Kitiku, it's okay, I’ll protect you. I’ll catch this pokémon and take it back to –“

“N-N-n…” Kitiku started, and his throat tightened as he spoke. Quickly, he raised his hands and signed, “No. Zanha wants to stay here with me.”

“What the fuck is a Zanha?” Sutton looked at Kitiku. “Kuti, please tell me you didn’t name it.”

Kitiku looked back at Sutton but only at his chest. Only my friends can call me that. Kuti is…” Kitiku stopped and shook his head. “Zanha is my friend,” he signed. He wrapped his arms tightly around the bronzor’s body, pressing his chin on top of it. Please don’t take my friend away. He sniffled, looking at Sutton’s face. “You want to take away my friend,” he signed.

“I don’t understand sign language well… but… I think you said something like you want to hurt my friend. I don’t. I think it’s a very dangerous pokémon. Besides, it isn’t yours.” Sutton sat down in the mud and crossed his legs. “It belongs to the Kilgorese Masters. How would you feel if I took your klink away?” He noticed Kitiku flinch at his words and sniffle more. “I-I won’t.” Sutton reached into his pocket and slowly pulled out an oran berry. “Here, would this make you trust me?” He reached his hand over to Kitiku. The rain surrounding his words, and the thunder smashed through the pauses. “It’s okay. You need not to be scared by the thunder.”

With a trembling hand, Kitiku reached out with his left hand and took the berry. His stomach growled, but he looked to the bronzor. He adjusted himself on the rock he was sitting on and held the berry out to the bronzor.

You really like that pokémon, don’t you? I need him to give up. Sutton adjusted himself again. “Okay, Kitiku, you want to catch this pokémon and look after it?” He reached into his inside pocket. “Gah! Why?” Sutton called out as the bronzor had shoved her body against his jacket. “Oh, I guess you are super hungry. N-no worries. I’ll give you something else in a minute, okay? Kitiku here is a poké ball. If you can catch it, I’ll tell the higher-ups it just escaped, but we'll take it back if you don't. Okay?”

Kitiku took the poké ball and stared into the blue top. I’ve never caught a pokémon before. Pierre caught Rusto for me. Every time I tried, I missed. His hand shook, and he raised his arm to throw the ball. “Hahmph,” he gasped, and the ball left his hand and clipped the side of the bronzor but didn’t open. I messed it up; I am so useless.

Sutton leaned over and picked the ball up. “Kitiku, that’s…” He looked up and saw Kitiku staring at his shaking hands. He reminds me of. My first pokémon catch. La’vesta, I threw the ball and missed utterly, knocked a Lord on the head pretty damn hard. The guy had a bruise for weeks. I thought I was dead, but… Sutton lifted the poké ball with his Volcarona in. He helped me catch her even though I trespassed for her. He placed the empty poké ball back in his right hand. “I can get in a lot of trouble, but… I’ll help you.” He smiled at him. “Pull your arm back like you are about to throw a punch.”

Kitiku took the ball into his left hand and pulled his arm back again.

“Press the button as you throw. Make sure you flick your hand with force, yes?” Sutton leaned in and watched the bronzor spin in place.

The ball slammed into the bronzor and opened up. The pokémon shrunk down and was sucked inside. It fell onto the ground and rocked.


“I-I-I d-d-did it. I-I c-c-c-caught Z-zanha. I l-love her.” Kitiku leaned in and squeezed hold of Sutton. “T-t-th….” Kitiku stopped, raised his right hand to his chest, and bowed as best he could. I have another pokémon.

Sutton moved his hands up quickly. “Woah, no need to do that. As long as Tomilson doesn’t find out, I can convince them that the b’onzo’ is simply gone.”

“Find out what?” Tomilson glared, holding James by the collar. “Oh, you caught it; good job.”

“Sir… Kitiku caught it, and well…” Sutton walked up to Tomilson and lowered his voice to a mere whisper. “I don’t think we should report this. He… he has a bond with this pokémon. Look at him. He’s happy.”

Tomilson glanced at Kitiku, who was holding onto bronzor tightly. “Alright, we will cover this up. We could get in deep tauros shit for it… but I doubt anyone from Kilgor would take it out on a kid. Actually… I know a guy. I’ll sort it out, so you won’t have to worry about that. I used to be a troublemaker as a kid. Got involved in the black market, and a few guys owe me a favour. Talking of the black market…” Tomilson pulled a poké ball out of his pocket. “This is the gengar that was caught with your poké ball.”

“I-I don’t want it.” James shook, staring at the poké ball.

Tomilson looked up at the pouring rain. “I know about the bites, James. Someone attacked you with a gengar at some point, and it's okay to be afraid, but I think it will be good for you. There is no such thing as a bad pokémon. Only bad people.”

I guess so… Rei… Shaking, James reached forward, took the poké ball, and stuffed it into his pocket. “I won’t let it out until I feel safe. Got it?”

“Yes, sir!” Tomilson stuck his tongue out at James and saluted. “Anyway, I bet you two are excited about school tomorrow. It should be good for you. You’ll get to make new friends and learn to read and write.“ He marched forward. “You two can stay out if you want, or you can hitch a ride on my dragapult, and I can take you home.”

“Dragapult!” James leapt up. “Oh, actually, um… walk to the pub? K-… Mum is there. We can eat dinner there and go home later.” He walked up to Kitiku and helped him. “Yeah, let’s go get some dinner.”

Later that evening, after the town’s bell struck eight, the torrential rain finally ended. The rain specs on the window in the bedroom were stuck. The candle on the bedside table had a twisted wick buried amongst the melted wax. The flame flickered, allowing the little orange light to fill the room.

James looked at the small leaflet regarding the school that had been dropped off at the door. I can’t believe they are going to trap us in a building. Force us to learn their language and speak it, and then make us learn and believe their religion. He glanced down at the gengar’s poké ball. I don’t know… He placed the poké ball on the table alongside his onix. It's so dumb we have to go to bed now. He laid his head back on his pillow.

“So, um… I-It s-says in the e-e-evening p-paper t-that C-captain B-bourbabel is g-going to t-teach us and so is T-Tomilson is going t-to teach us t-too. S-so is s-some Elkran L-lords, like L-Lord Orag. He is a b-big important L-lord, s-second in charge of i-interrogation,” Kitiku said. “It s-says w-we are short of C-colran t-teachers.”

James rolled onto his side. “Whatever. Look, you and I have been minor adults for at least a year and in two years, we are fully-fledged adults… We shouldn’t go to school.”
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Chapter 11: Satchels full of Beautiflies

School is in session for the first time in James's life - and he is not happy about it. Getting to grips with this new thing in his life is something he isn't ready for. To his suprise he is given far more freedom than he expects, and with that freedom comes a valuable insight as to how the Elktan operate.

Satchels full of Beautiflies


Thursday, May 4th, 1989

The starly chirping outside the window was loud enough to wake James from his dream. His stomach growled, but he flopped his head against the pillow. His red hair covered his eyes, and he let out a frustrated groan.

“H-hey James,” Kitiku said.

“Morning Kuti. I’m up…” James sat up on his bed and slid off the bunk. He bent down and picked up his white polo shirt from the pile of clothes on the floor. “Ha, what are you wearing?”

Kitiku looked down at his white shirt and orange jacket. “M-my uniform. Y-yours is over there.” He pointed to the uniform which was on the table.

“Really? I hate this.” James threw his polo shirt on the floor.

Kitiku smiled. “I-its soft and c-clean a-and is t-too b-big so w-we will g-grow into it.” He tugged down on his blazer as best he could and hopped forward to James. He watched as James pulled the white shirt on over his head and got dressed. “T-they s-said will give us f-free lunches. H-hot meals every d-day we are there.”

James reached over to the bedside table, picked up the poké balls, and dropped onto the floor. He reached under the bed and pulled out some spray paint cans. Quickly, he brushed past Kitiku and walked down the wonky stairs. His eyes caught the gaze of Pierre in his portrait. I’ll do you proud and make them suffer. James slipped around the banister and into the kitchen to grab something to eat.

“I’m sorry, sweetie, we don’t have any food. Not until tomorrow, but they will give you something to eat at the school.” Nashe took a small hairbrush out of her apron. The small black brush’s teeth were wonky, but she pushed it into James’s hair and gently combed through. “It’s time to go. Behave. You’ll do great.”

James shrugged and turned around. He opened the front door. “So, Kuti, are you going to actually walk today?” He saw Kitiku nod back and smirked. “Let’s go. It’s the new building, right? It’s only like two streets down.” He walked off with Kitiku in tow. The cobbles had dried from the overnight rain, and the warm sun beat down on his back. Bright orange, thick blazer? At least they delivered. The smell of the bread wafting from the bakery, and his stomach growled again. James’s feet dragged as he went around the street corner. He could see the building at the end. The stone bricks were clean, and the glass windows glinted in the sunlight. Damn, that’s one big building. I never even realised they were building it. I guess they have machamps down south. “I’m going to just decorate this place,” James smirked and pulled the spray paint cans back out from his pockets. He walked to the brick wall, shook the black can, and pressed down on the nozzle. Whole point of being here this early is to do this. Screw them.

James drew a cartoon-like outline of an Elkran officer on the wall, being punched in the face by a sawk. He changed the spray paint can and coloured it in the outline.

“What are you doing there?” Lieutenant Tomilson’s voice shot a shiver down James’s spine. “It’s very good.” He crossed his arms and stood beside James. “Although, I’d appreciate it if it wasn’t me.”

“You aren’t angry?” James asked as he turned to face Tomilson. “Also, your hair looks weird brushed like that.”

Tomilson pushed his hair down a little and said, “Ha, maybe, and no, I am not angry. I think you are talented, but graffiti is illegal… but if you want to express how you feel, I have an idea. Just see me after school ends. I’ll be around.” He patted James on the shoulder. “Let’s go inside; the opening ceremony is starting soon. You can finish that tomorrow.”

“Ugh, fine.” James lowered his head and plodded inside. The large central hall looked down on the stage. He walked down the stairs and squeezed on the end of one of the rows. There are like 500 people here.


Clarence stepped up onto the stage. The stage lights beamed down on him. “Welcome all to Fehahra’s secondary and high school. The secondary school is on the left, and the high school is on the right. There are several other schools in the town to accommodate the other age groups, so you will undoubtedly see your siblings again.” He adjusted his tie. “Now, as Captain of the town, I assure you I will not spend the entire day here. However, I will spend half the day here until Elite Lord Piscar sends more Lords. You may be wondering how there are so many people here – but that’s simply due to children and young adults from Marsten, Finar and outlying farms coming here too.”

Clarence gestured to a few of the soldiers and civilian assistants who were waiting in the front row. “We had uniforms sent to your homes over the last few days. This building itself was made over the course of a week – with the help of pokémon, anything is possible. On the topic of pokémon, you are allowed your pokémon out inside, providing they are under six feet in size. Larger pokémon are allowed out in the park. With that stated, on the stage, there are satchels. Each satchel contains some quills and octillery ink. In a while, you can come up and take one. There are three different colours: sandy brown, dark brown or black. You’ll then be taken to your home room.”

Clarence paced, smiling at the crowd. “You will have access to the dorms upstairs. You are expected to spend Mondays and Fridays in the dorms. Why? Well, due to northern religions forcing fasting, we want to keep an eye on you all. Your timetables will be provided in your dorms later. You can stay overnight if you wish, or you can go home. The dorms are always available to you if you ever feel you can’t go home for whatever reason.”

James slumped back in his chair and waited to be called. He walked down the steps and went to pick up his satchel. The sandy ones are almost all gone. He looked up to see Kitiku being pushed over by Lioa.

“Give it, you twat!” Lioa punched Kitiku in the arm, taking his poké ball from his pocket. His gurdurr appeared in front of him and roared. “I want that bag.”

“Cut it out, Lioa!” James pushed him back, grabbing his poké ball from his pocket. “I’ll fight you. Okta, hit him!” The onix appeared from her poké ball in white and red light and immediately raised her golden tail, taking a deep breath and screeching.

“And there goes our roof…” Sutton muttered under his breath.

“You will withdraw the onix, or I will arrest you, throw you in jail and fine your parents.” Clarence stepped back onto the stage and looked at James. “I understand you are riled up, and everything is new and stressful, but you two cannot fight inside. And now there is a hole in the roof.”

Pressing the button on his poké ball, James grabbed the last sandy satchel from the floor. “Whatever.” He leapt off the stage and walked over to the corridor.

“Hey, when is your birthday?” the Lord at the door said.

James scrunched his face up and shouted, “Why do you give a fuck?”

“Because it makes sure you get put into the right class. You don’t want to get put into a class with six-year-olds, do you?” The Lord reached into his pocket, pulled out his lighter, and lit the cigarette in his mouth.

“Ugh, fine. February 15th 1975.” James held onto the bag awkwardly.

“Excellent. Let me see… You are in J4. Once you are down there, they will sort you by town into classes, so don’t worry too much.” The Lord smirked.

Arsehole, James thought. I guess Andrew is in J1 or J2 if they do it by age. He turned around to see Kitiku being told his class. James took the left corridor up towards the far corner. He saw the blank white walls around the corridor. So dull.

“Finar in Ja, Fehahra in Jb, Marsten is in Jc, keep moving,” the soldiers said.

James shoved his hands in his pockets and followed the corner to the back and into the room. The white walls were only made duller by the sunlight seeping through the window at the end of the room. He saw each wooden desk slanted, with an ink holder at the top. James walked to the back of the class and slumped down. He watched as the other students came in and sat down.

“Afternoon, all. I am Lord Orag from Elktan. I teach students just like you in the castle in Kirot-Akalt. I’d usually be teaching interrogation techniques, but for you here, I have been asked to teach my second topic – mathematics. This is your homeroom, and we don’t know how good you are at mathematics, so we are going to do a test. However, before we do that, I will give you some keys. These keys are for your locker and your dorm. If you ever feel like you can’t go home or need a class break, you can go there. We aren’t monsters. Once you reach J3, you can leave classes as you see fit. You do not need to ask to go to the bathroom. You do not need to ask to go home if you are sick. We trust you. These keys will also activate the pokémon healing machine in the foyer. You will get more keys for your collection if you join clubs.” Lord Orag walked down the aisles, asking for names as he did and handing out keys and test sheets.

“James Bryson.” James scowled at the sheet on his desk. This is so dumb. He stood up and grabbed his bag.

“Where are you going?” Lord Orag asked.

“You said we can leave classes, you Elktan jerk.” James craned his neck to look at him.

“Elkran. I’m not a jerk, and class is not an exam. Sit. I can see we will have to work on manners to Lords, but that’s a later us job.” He walked to the front of the room. “You have thirty minutes. Usually, we would ask you to put your pokémon and bags in your lockers, but since it is your first day… all in good time.” Lord Orag tipped his hat and sat at the desk at the front. He pulled out a poké ball and pressed the button. A feraligatr appeared and silently stretched its tail. Its red spines folded a little at the tips.

James looked at the paper. Boring. Quickly, he turned it over and glanced at the feraligatr. Never seen one of those before. He grabbed his pen and started to sketch the water type on the back of his exam. Each line of the octillery ink was carefully carved into the page with precision. Damn, sharp teeth. He flicked the ink quill on the ends of the teeth to make it look like they had blood dripping off them. He felt his focus narrow in on each stroke of the pen.

“Five minutes to go,” Lord Orag said.

James shuffled his chair forward, gently blew on the ink, and turned the test paper over. There are only numbers on this page with symbols and a few words… I assume this symbol means add and this one to take away. Fuck it, I don’t care about this.

“Time. Please put our key number on the top.” Lord Orag started to collect the papers around the room.

James groaned, scribbling his number down and slumping back on his desk. Waste of time. Couldn’t read any of that other than the numbers. Bet some people in here couldn’t even do that. The feraligatr stared down at him, and he reached over. His fingers ran against the blue scales. Feels weird. I guess that’s Elktan pokémon for you.

Lioa got up. “Can I go now? Such a damn waste of time.”

“You can go on lunch break, yes.” Lord Orag sat back down at the desk. He placed his hand on his hearing aid. He observed as the class left, rushing to investigate the dorms.

James walked up to his desk and glanced at him. “What happened to you? Why did you get that thing in? What’s that pokémon?”

“Feraligatr is a water type. As for the burns and my hearing aid, I was training to be a pilot. I was training, jumped off the top to get on my salamence, and landed, but sky pirates attacked us. My salamence was blind-sighted, spat fire and collided with a burning tree. I was trapped under burning branches. It burnt my ear and my face. Does that satisfy?”

“Must be a bad pilot to crash into a burning tree.” James scrunched his face up.

“I suppose you are right.” Lord Orag smiled at him.

James felt a shot, stinging pain on the side of his face. “Hey!” He turned around to see Lioa’s fist. Lioa swung at him again, stumbling forward. His leg caught on the side of a desk, but he kept swinging through. James stepped back as the fist clashed with his face. He raised his fist and swung back, punching Lioa in the nose. He swung his other hand forward but was grabbed.

“Enough! What is wrong with you both? Starting a fight? Detention, both of you. After school. Go to the lunch hall, get your lunch and then go to your dorms, and you can stay there until the break is over.” Lord Orag held James and Lioa’s arms up, pulling them onto their tiptoes. “Now scoot.”

James pulled his blazer straight and walked down the corridor. He took a turn past J1c and went up the stairs. He looked down at his key and walked to the door, which matched his key number. He pushed the key in and turned the handle. The room was warm. No window? That sucks. James stepped inside and shut the door behind him. Four desks and four bunk beds. Eight people per room? I guess they really wanted to squish people in here. Then again, I get it if it is like that Lord said. James walked to the end of the room and looked at the beds.

Underneath each bed were two draws. A small picture of him was stuck on one of them. I guess this is mine. He opened the draw. Inside was a white polo shirt and some black shorts. Underneath them was an orange jumper made from dubwool and a white sports shirt with letters scribbled on the back. He lifted that up to find a small wooden lean-to desk and a small digital device with a needle case underneath. Alright then…, I began to stand up and saw the locker and bookshelf indented into the wall. I guess that’s where we keep our books. I hate this. He grabbed the timetables and stared at them. These are for next week.




James hung his bag on the hook beside the bed and jumped onto the bunk. The blue blanket on top of the bed was soft, as was the pillow. He leaned back and rolled onto his side, facing the wall—screw class. If I leave, Tak will go berserk, but I can stay here instead.
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Chapter 12: Dorms and Detention
James is in trouble for fighting with Lioa. However, detention proves to be frustrating for him, and Lioa's mum turns up to make things worse. Lord Orag, a powerful Elkran Lord, and James start to talk and Lord Orag's stance on the whole Elkran-Colran situation is something James didn't expect.

Dorms and Detention


Thursday, May 4th, 1989

A knock on the dorm room door made James jump up from his sleep. He looked up at the clock hanging just above the door. Ugh, six? I’ve been asleep for four or five hours? He dropped down out of the bed and walked towards the door. Another knock on the door rang out. He reached forwards and opened the door.

“Hi. Why aren’t you in detention? Are you not feeling well?” Lord Orag looked at him.

James shrugged. “I just fell asleep. I really don’t… I don’t feel well. I just want to go back to sleep.”

Lord Orag put his foot in the door and stepped through. He pulled a desk chair around and offered James to sit. “Is there something going on at home? I remember you, you know? You and that young Lord.” Lord Orag reached up and opened the small mini fridge in the wall above the desks. He grabbed a glass bottle of pecha berry juice and handed it to James.

“I didn’t even see that…” James took the glass and gulped down the juice. “No, there isn’t anything going on at home. Kuti broke his leg though, and well… seeing T- dad getting mad at him…”

“Your dad broke this Kuti’s leg?” Lord Orag scowled and looked at him.

James took another sip of the juice. This is not bad. This Lord… he isn’t that bad of a person I guess. He pushed his hands against the desk. “N-no, we were attacked by Hanson Rei on a train and Li pushed him off. I c-caught the gengar, but now its mine. I just don’t know anymore. I hate the concept of school. Being stuck here sucks. Your class was alright though, your pokémon was cool, and well… I’m sorry that I said you were a bad pilot.”

“You are right though. I was a bad pilot. It is why I quit.” Lord Orag opened the fridge again and took out a mixed berry salad and placed it next to James. He then opened the small draw underneath the fridge and put a fork on the table. “Come, we can go to the detention room. You won’t be alone, and I can keep an eye on you and make sure you feel okay.” Lord Orag offered James his hand.

You have a burn on your hand? James took Lord Orag’s hand and picked up the salad. He was pulled up onto his feet and stepped outside the door. He locked the door behind him. “Do I need my bag?”

“Not really, I can give you your books and you can take them to your dorm later. I assume you are going to stay here tonight.” Lord Orag walked down the stairs and gestured to the room opposite. “If you do, there are pyjamas in your pillow case.”

James sighed and walked in and sat down at the back.

“Front.” Orag pointed down at a desk.

With a groan James got up and moved to the front desk. He opened the salad he had been given, and started to eat. It’s a good little salad.

“Welcome to the detention club. Each of you has done something stupid to get yourself into here, and you can get yourself out by apologising. Usually, it would be a letter but since most of you are illiterate doing that right now wouldn’t be fair on you. You don’t leave until you do.” Lord Orag leaned back on his chair.

“Excuse me. My son is here. That’s unacceptable. You don’t live here, you have no right to keep him here. You will apologise to him right now or I will slap you,” the tanned woman said. Her green eyes narrowed in on Lord Orag. She raised her hand to slap him.

Quickly, he raised his arm up, and threw her over his shoulder and onto the floor. “Do not threaten a Lord.” He drew his blade and pinned her to the floor.

“Mum!” Lioa rushed forwards. He swung his fist at Lord Orag but before he could set his action into motion he was knocked onto his arse. “I-I am sorry!”

“Get out, and take the rattata with you. Next time, I won’t go so easy.” Lord Orag sat back down on his chair.

“Don’t you dare call my son a rattata.” Mrs Takui slammed her hands on the desk.

“I was talking to the boy,” Lord Orag whispered. A smirk on his face. He placed his hand on his hearing aid. He watched them walk out the room.

James slumped his head against the desk and closed his eyes. “I’m sorry for fighting, I just… I don’t want to be here. Being stuck inside is the worst feeling.” A knock came from the door, and James shot a glance up. As the door opened, he saw Lt. Tomilson.

“Sorry, sir,” he said, beginning to bow before a hand was raised to him to stop. “Can I borrow James? He and I need to talk about some art.” He saw a smile come across Lord Orag’s face as he searched the pile of papers he had on the desk.

Lord Orag lifted up James’s test paper. “Yes, he is very talented. I wish he had done his exam instead though. Apparently, he hasn’t been feeling well. I suspect he hasn’t eaten properly, so don’t work him too hard.”

With a grin on his face, Tomilson nodded and gestured to James.

“Oh, Mr Bryson,” Lord Orag said, picking up a pile of books. “Don’t forget these.”

James picked them up and groaned as he did. Heavy pieces of shit. He trapsed after Tomilson. Upstairs? We going back to my room?

“Since you haven’t been feeling well, I won’t force you to do some drawing, however, I would like to show you something.” He reached into his pocket and unleashed a smeargle. Its floppy ears hung down, and it gripped its tail tightly. The tip of the tail squirted a purple liquid over the fur. “This is a smeargle. Smeargle is the painting pokémon. Like you mine is a little bit of a vandal.”

“I am not a vandal!” James kicked Tomilson in the shin and then growled. He pushed the key into the door and pushed.

“Ow, haha, you remind me so much of me when I was your age. I used to be a troublemaker in school. I understand that you hate being stuck inside.” Tomilson held open the door. “That’s perfectly fine. Oh, hello.” He waved at the other students in the dorm. “Hi Kitiku. I heard from your mum how she has been unable to get hold of any food today. I am sorry. I guess its okay though, because you can eat here.” He put James’s books on the shelf by his bed. “Oh I forgot, I did bring you this. It is a book of… well… drawing techniques and different artists. I know you can’t really read, but its mostly images so that should help.”

James sat down at the desk by Kitiku’s bed. “Yeah tomorrow is our fasting day. So we are going to just have to eat what we can on Saturday. I really want that pokémon. I could paint whatever I want.”

Tomilson pushed his brown hair out of his eyes and said, “Yes, well if you get some good grades I will talk to your dad and maybe he will get you one. You are just like me, you know? Just go down to the hall before eight. There will be food there. Anyway, I’ll leave you all to it.”

The room fell silent. Silent enough for a pin to be heard in the room. James saw a dark-skinned boy lying down on his bed, tossing a ball up and down in his hand. A bulbasaur sat on the end of the bed. The bulb let off a sweet flower scent which filled the room. Cool pokémon, James thought. He looked to the bed opposite his, filled by a taller boy, who was much older than him. His red hair was shorter than his own. Where is your pokémon? James jumped up onto his bed and opened up the book he had been given by Tomilson. Tomilson is great. I want that smeargle though. I wonder where I can get one? I do want to go back to the Bryson’s home. I don’t want to stay here, but with the food issue I’m sure one night will help out. James got up out of bed and picked up his timetable. “Kuti?” He glanced over, but saw Kitiku was fast asleep. Asleep already, huh?

James shrugged and walked over to the fridge. He reached up and took out a durin berry juice. James cracked open the glass bottle and opened the door. He walked through and shut the door behind him. They are using litwicks to light the corridors? Nice. Huh? Wait if that’s the high schooler’s dorms why was that older boy in our dorms? He shrugged and walked down the stairs. “Lord Orag?”

Lord Orag nodded at James. “Going to get something to eat, boy?”

“I guess.” James looked at him. “W-what about you? Not that I care.”

“Stubborn, huh? Yes, I could grab something to eat.” The Lord walked down the corridor. “Are you coming?”

James scampered after him. “I should bring something up to my room to my brother too. He’s asleep right now. Poor Kuti.”

“Your brother is doing very well. I handle a lot of the grades and all the complicated things going on. Since I do so back home it isn’t a big deal. They were going to send me to the capital but after the Rei incident, well, they thought a high-powered Lord would help.” Lord Orag held open the door to the cafeteria. “Your brother got 64% in mathematics, and 87% in Colrat. His initial science score was 15% which wasn’t too bad. His battle proficiency was 5% and his pokémon care knowledge was 10%. He is a remarkably intelligent boy. I look forward to seeing your skills. Tomorrow they will let you choose your preferences.” He approached the counter.

“Qwilfish please!” James called out. A bowl of hot qwilfish soup was poured into the bowl and placed on a small tray in front of him. A metal spoon was placed down beside it.

“I also.” Lord Orag smiled.

James sat down and said, “I guess you aren’t a bad person for a Elktan Lord.”

“Elkran.” Lord Orag sat opposite him.

“Why are you, you know… being nice to us?” James scooped up the soup and slurped it up.

Lord Orag tilted his head slightly. “Not all Elkran guards are good. Not all of us are bad. A lot do not like the Colran people, and a lot of Colran people don’t like the Elkran people.” He swallowed some of the soup. “I’ll grab something for your brother and we will take it up to him in a minute.”

James nodded, and took a large swig from the glass bottle of durin berry juice. Tomorrow will be tough. He scooped up some more soup and swallowed it. “You know when you asked if something was going on at home? It’s not quite at home. Someone I saw as a brother died and I feel so bad. They were my brother.”

Lord Orag paused. “You feel hurt? That’s okay. While you are here you are safe. It’s getting close to nine. You should go get some sleep. Classes start at seven.”
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Chapter 13: Takui Family Hell


Lioa, frustrated with school, stormed off home. His hatred of the Elkran people starts to boil and it only gets worse when he gets home to find his mum has a new boyfriend, the Elkran soldier, Lieutenant Vesit Bukar.

Takui Family Hell


Thursday, May 4th, 1989

Every day, I see his face. I feel their hatred. Lioa slammed the tip of his shoe into a rock. The so-called Elkran saviours are nothing more than monsters. They aren’t good people. He watched as an Elkran soldier pushed a man into the wall in the alleyway and punched him in the face. Twats. Lioa shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Yes, of course. Do not worry, Aaron. Well, it would be rude not to. I don’t want them to feel like that. Yes. It’s sorted out. Oh, yes, I will arrange it. A few. I can find out.” Clarence’s voice came from the building’s window.

Twat. How dare he speak our language. Lioa sneered, scrunching his face up. Ugh, the way that Lord looked at me… It isn’t my fault I’m shorter than him. Besides, 5ft 2 is average for our age. Elkran freaks are so tall. “If you were Elkran, you would be expected to be 5ft 6.” Screw that crap. Lioa pulled his gurdurr’s poké ball out of his pocket and released him.

“Hey! Kid! Put that away or…” a soldier said.

“Or what? I’ll kick your shitty little twatty Elkran arse. That blue fucking jacket won’t hide the blood. Go home and cry.” Lioa stepped back and put his feet apart. “Ruskuo, use low kick!” The large gurdurr placed its girder down and approached the metal fence. It kicked it squarely in the middle, bending it. “That will be you. You twats. Fuck off back to Elktan.” He quickly returned his gurdurr.

“Hey! Arrest that boy!” the soldier called out loud enough to be heard by several soldiers and a Lord walking by.

Lioa erupted into laughter. “Come on then!” He sprinted off down a narrow alleyway. He turned around to see three soldiers chasing him. Twats can’t get me. He jumped up and placed his hands on top of the wall. Lioa kicked his legs against the stone wall hard enough for parts of it to crumble away. He lay flat and dropped down the other side. He pivoted to continue running.

A thumping, numbing pain flared up through Lioa’s cheek and nose. His vision darkened, and he wobbled from side to side. His lip felt wet, so Lioa raised his hand and wiped it. When Lioa pulled his hand away, he saw blood, and he staggered back against the wall.

“Bow to me, you little punk! Why aren’t you bowing?” The Lord picked Lioa up by his shirt and threw him onto the floor. A machoke slammed its fist into his stomach.

Lioa keeled over and threw up on the floor. He held his stomach with his left hand and stood above the ground. He gagged again, feeling the stomach acid rise in his throat. He felt the Lord’s boot slam into his elbow, sweeping him onto the floor.

“You deserve it. Little Colran runt – the sooner you are wiped out by Lord Piscar, the better.” His machoke kicked Lioa in the ribs before stomping off with the Lord. “Get home before curfew. If I see you out here again after the cut-off, I will string you up.”

Lioa sat up and looked down at his shirt, now coated in sick. Elkran twat. All of you are the enemy. He stood up and trailed home. Each step felt like ten. Lioa kept his hand pressed against his bleeding nose.

Eventually, Lioa pushed against the door of his home and walked inside. He walked into the kitchen and opened a cupboard. Damn it, I don’t think anything in our bandage pile will work.

“Lioa, where were you? What were you doing out there? Why are you late?!” Laylai Takui screamed at him. She grabbed him by the arm and shook him.

Oh great. She is in one of her moods. Lioa looked away and let her shake him.

“Answer me!”

“I was just out, okay? I’m fourteen; I don’t need your permission to do everything!” He pushed back against her, and she hit her arm on the sink.

She glared at him. “Is that how you treat me after everything I’ve done for you? Don’t you love me? Don’t you respect everything I’ve ever done?”

It’s not like that… Ever since Dad had that affair, you’ve been on the spinarak web. After he died, you became far worse. Lioa sighed. “Sorry, mum. I don’t know what I was thinking.” He lowered his head.

“Behave when Vesit gets here, or I’ll disown you.” She stormed off.

Staring at the floor, Lioa walked up the broken stairs and into his room. Andrew was already tucked into his bed, looking through his school bag. Brushing his swollen lip and nose, Lioa sat on his bed, threw his shirt and blazer onto the floor, and changed into a shirt and shorts. It hurts. His ears twitched as there was a knock on the door. Who’s that?

Andrew sat up in bed, and a giant grin crossed his face. “Mum’s new boyfriend is here. I hope he is nice. Mum said he is kind and took her to dinner, just like dad used to.”

Sure. She has a new boyfriend now? How long has that been going on for? Doesn’t she love us? Lioa lay on his bed.

“Hi, your mum said you were both in here,” the tall man said. “I am Ves-“ His dark beige skin matched his eyes, which locked onto the bag that had just narrowly avoided his head. “I am Vesit. What was that for, Andrew?”

Andrew sat in bed and whispered, “I didn’t do anything…”

Vesit took his hat off and placed it on the end of the wooden bed. “Oh, I was under the assumption Lioa would have been taller. Sorry. Oh my, what happened to your face.”

“Fuck off.” Lioa slumped his head into his pillow. He winced as the pain ached in his body. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Did someone hit you? Who?” Vesit asked, sitting next to Lioa. “Do I need to scare someone?”

“Yeah, right. Fuck off. I don’t need you.” Lioa pulled the blanket up.

Andrew reached over and tugged Vesit’s jacket. The straight sleeve started to crease. He yawned, and his eyes drooped. He shuffled under the blanket.

The bed sunk as Vesit sat beside Andrew and smiled, looking into his green eyes. Andrew’s deino clambered past him, rubbing her head on his arm as she did. I guess you like me, huh? He saw a photo on the desk from the corner of his eye. Vesit picked up the wooden frame. Hiro, Lioa, Andrew and Laylai Takui, 1982. Lioa was seven, and Andrew was four. Vesit looked back at Lioa. What happened?

“It hurts…” Lioa whispered. “Mum is out, isn’t she? I got kicked in the stomach, and I got attacked by the Lord. Not that you can do anything about it. Just fuck off, you too, Andrew. You like this twat!”

“I like Vesit. He is nice.” Andrew hugged his deino. “I don’t have to hate him just because you do, Lioa. I want to have a future. I am going to do good at school and then join a sports team and play in the league.”

“Now that’s not quite fair. Lioa has his talents, I am sure. You can call me Mr Bukar if you don’t want to call me Vesit, don’t rush. Goodnight.” He closed the door.
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Chapter 14: Past Pain
James wakes up in his dorm and begins a day at school. Lord Orag is on the ball, ready to make sure James tries his best.

Past Pain


Friday, May 5th, 1989

The rustling of the other students getting out of bed made James’s eyes open. His stomach rumbled loud enough for him to hear, and the sweet flowers from the bulbasaur in the room made him even hungrier. Fast day. He sat up and slid down off the bed. Where are my clothes? He knocked past an older blond-haired boy in his late teens and dived into his draw. Did someone fold them up?

“Yeah, yeah. Someone had to tidy the room. Us high-schoolers have to check up on you, juniors.” He walked out of the room without another word.

Shrugging, James grabbed his shirt and trousers from the drawer and got changed. Oh, nice! We have light shoes. I guess they got our sizes from our parents. Mrs Bryson asked for like two or three sizes too big; it comes from being dirt poor, I guess. He grabbed the orange and white shoes and did the laces up. Leaving his shirt untucked, he grabbed his pokémon and left his room. I guess we go to the rooms we were in the other day? He walked down the stairs. The smell of food wafting out of the cafeteria made his stomach growl again.

“H-hey J-James.” Kitiku waved at him. His crutches leaned against the desk.

James continued to walk along the wooden floors and into the room. “Kuti!” He sat on the desk next to Kitiku. “I really want to ditch and go pokémon hunting. Want to come?” His eyes lit up, but he sighed as Kitiku shook his head.

“Hey, that’s my desk,” a girl said, slamming her hands on James’s desk.

With a sneer, James looked into her blue eyes. “Why don’t you come fight me for it then. Bitch.”

“Alright! Settle down. Today, we will be learning how to write basic sentences in Colrat.” An Elkran woman came into the room and slammed her walking stick on the table. “Who are you?”

With a smirk on his face, James replied, “The future top-quality soldier who will kick your arse.” He flicked his hair back and leaned back on his desk.

“Come on, you,” A familiar voice rang out.

James groaned and looked at the door to see Lord Orag waiting for him. “No. I want to stay right here with Kuti.” He reached over and grabbed Kitiku’s arm tightly.

“You scored a zero on your test. You didn’t even take the test.” Lord Orag sighed and looked at James, holding onto Kitiku’s arm. “Write my name is James on the board. You do that, you can stay.”

“Fuck that and fuck you!” James picked up the chalk from the desk and threw it at Lord Orag’s face. He felt teeth sink into the top of his jacket. “Hey! Put me down!” His feet dangled down and couldn’t reach the ground. James closed his fists and swung away at the pokémon. “Put me down now!” His face smacked into the wooden floorboards. James glanced at the teacher and scowled. Is the only free desk right at the front? That’s Bullshit! Why can’t I stay with Kuti?

“Just sit down in the room and settle down. Watch the door.” Lord Orag waved and walked down the corridor. His feraligatr stood outside the door.

An eternity seemed to pass before the class was finished. James traipsed out the door and into the corridor. “Kuti!”

“H-h-hey James.” Kitiku crutched over, his bronzor floating behind him alongside his klink. “I-I am g-going to g-go down t-to the library t-to do my h-homework later. D-do you w-want to c-come?”

“You don’t expect me to do that crap? Come on, Kuti. This is just an attempt of the Elkran to brainwash us.” James scowled. “Why would you ever want to let them do that to you? What is even wrong with you?” James grabbed Kitiku’s bag and threw it on the floor, scattering his books. I can’t believe him. James marched up to the entrance and pushed open the doors. He plodded down the gravel path towards the school entrance. Yeah, I’m done. I’m going to the shop. Huh? Battlefields? James turned from the gate and looked at the battlefield to his right. He stepped off the gravel path and walked towards it.

“James! Wrong field!” Clarence called out, waving at him.

Captain Elkran Jerk? James looked over to him. “Ugh, what?” He walked over to him.

“We are showing our battle knowledge; I know you are very capable, so welcome to the highest class in your grade. I’ve seen you battle, after all.” Clarence put his hands in his pockets and leaned against the corner pole. “I guess you got lost on the way to class. Either way, as I was saying, today we will be seeing how you cope in a match-up. Today, you will focus on staying away from being knocked over. If you last a minute, you are all good. Welcome to battle skill basics.”

Wait, Kuti was going to the library? Was he skipping class? I was an arsehole to him. I should apologise. James grabbed his onix’s poké ball. “Okta, use iron tail!” Bursting out of her ball, she screeched at Clarence, raising her tail and slamming it into the ground before swinging it at the other student. However, to James's surprise, the other student ducked and rolled backwards to avoid the tail’s weighty swing.

James jumped back as two dark orbs shot towards him in rapid succession. They were fast enough for his eyes to struggle to follow. Damn, this Deino is fast, but Okta is just as fast! His onix started smashing her tail into the ground, making it rumble under his feet. He saw the other student shudder and look around, shuffling their feet.

“Come on, Okta!” James jumped on the spot. He felt the spring in his step burn along his shin and staggered back. James wiped his lip down and touched the scratch on his face. Damn, it caught me.

“Time. Good job, you two, you survived an encounter in the wild.” Clarence clapped. “Next! You two.”

James sat down on the floor in the dust. Is that it? He pushed himself up off the ground and to the sidelines. Battle skills basics are so boring. When will we get to go out and catch a pokémon? He slumped back and watched as the battle unfolded on the field.
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Chapter 15: Tale
Captain Bourbabel's strength is put to the test when a Colran Guard attacks the school. Meanwhile, James's understanding of a trainer's strength is altered. Frustrated and lost, he makes a new friend - Raab - a former army private, now a student.



Friday, May 5th, 1989

James walked down the stairs and past the bathrooms. At the end of the corridor, he saw a small door. He pushed it open, and the smell of new and old books flooded the air and into his nose. The shelves stacked with scrolls and books were overwhelming. In between the bookshelves were single desks shielded from the noise of the larger tables at the back. Each desk was carved from oak wood. He passed three rows of shelves. Where is he? He glanced down the fourth row. “Hey Kuti. I am sorry I threw your stuff on the floor. We should get going to class.”

“W-what h-happened?” Kitiku pointed to James’s cut face.

“Oh, it was nothing. Here, I’ll carry your bag.” James picked up Kitiku’s bag and put it over his shoulder. He grinned. “So, since I scored like zero on everything, I’m in group C. What about you?”

Kitiku shuffled up on his crutches and whispered, “I-I didn’t d-do well on p-pokémon c-care. A-at least w-we have C-Captain B-Bourbabel. He is n-nice.” The boys walked down the corridor and towards the steps.

“Hey, kid, let me help you.” An older student picked Kitiku up and carried him up the stairs. “There you go.”

James ran up the stairs to catch up and walked up to Kitiku. He smiled and walked along the corridor. He saw the blank walls and sighed. Still boring here. James opened the classroom door to see Captain Bourbabel leaning on a desk.

“You didn’t go to the med-bay to get those stitched?” Captain Bourbabel pointed to his face.

“No. I’m okay. Lord Ikur might get mad. I went to help Kitiku, that’s all.” He placed Kitiku’s bag by the desk and sat on the desk next to him. James leaned back on his chair. Let’s get this over with.

“Right!” Captain Bourbabel leapt onto his feet and put his hands in his pockets. Let’s get this started. They all look bored, so… let’s make this not boring. “Caring for pokémon can be tricky because each pokémon is different, blah, blah… Okay, with that out of the way, tell me about you and the pokémon on your team.”

James listened in as the others talked about their pokémon in the class. With a grunt, he let them drone on and on. Even when Lioa spoke about his gurdurr, he felt the frustration of being trapped in a room consume him. Yeah, this isn’t going to go down well. He glanced at Kitiku, who was playing with his blazer.

“Your turn,” Captain Bourbabel said, gesturing to Kitiku. However, Kitiku squeezed his jacket tightly and looked down at his desk. He shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut. “Come on, Kitiku, you need to take part. Why don’t you tell everyone about your klink?”

James closed his fists. “He doesn’t want to talk. Can’t you see that you are stressing him out, you jerk?”

Captain Bourbabel stepped forward and knelt next to Kitiku’s desk. “Is everything okay? We can talk about it later.” He got back up, placing a hand on Kitiku’s desk. “Go ahead, James. You want to “

A loud bang echoed through the streets. Immediately, everyone in the room jumped onto their feet and rushed to the door.

Kitiku grabbed his ears as the others screamed. They pushed and shoved against one another.

“Enough!” Captain Bourbabel shouted.

What the hell was that? James held his ears. It was like his voice was in my brain. He turned to face Captain Bourbabel.

“Come on, Elktan twat. Let’s go. This class sucks, you suck. Besides, long live Madison.” Lioa smirked and walked up to Captain Bourbabel. He pushed him, and Captain Bourbabel stepped back.

The door burst open, and Sergeant Sutton walked through. “Sir, a Colran Lord is attacking the people. There is a hole in one of our own, and they aren’t breathing. On top of that, they attacked the labourers coming back from the capital. Three are dead.”

Dad? Kitiku grabbed his jacket once again.

A thud came from the door, followed by a screeching beam and screaming.

Shit, they are here. Okay, let’s see. Captain Bourbabel took out his alakazam’s poké ball and stepped into the corridor. “Enough games, Colran. Surrender now, and I won’t have to stop you by any means necessary.”

“Oh, by any means? What are you? Oh wow, it is really you, the famous former Lord Captain Bourbabel. Got to say, big fan, but I’m totally still stronger than you. Anyway, when Ol’ Madi gets the stones, the path to Haléma will be revealed, and he will totally slay the monster. Oh, like, wow, is that an alakazam? I thought they were supposed to be nearly extinct. I use an electrode. Then, he will crush Piscar and own all of your kind using its secrets.” The Lady stepped forward with a smile on her face.

What is Haléma? James thought, creeping closer to get a glimpse. A bright beam blasted down the corridor towards Captain Bourbabel, and a roar came from the entrance. A glimmer of blue caught James’s eye before a purple energy surged from Captain Bourbabel towards his attacker. He saw the twitching yellow ear from the alakazam. I wish Okta would act without orders. He peered around the corner to get a better look.

“By the way, I don’t know if you know, but anyway, you totally have a Spitz in your midst, and all I want is to congratulate them on their role to play, just like ol’ Madi.” The attacker stepped further down the corridor. Her face shone with energy. “Ol’ Madi will notice me if I kill the great Captain Bourbabel.”

Captain Bourbabel heard his heart pounding in his chest. He placed his hand on his poké ball. No rules stand here. This is a battle of life and death. “Hishrak!”

“Bibi! Two stone users face off against one another. Isn’t this exciting? Oh boy, I wonder if you can use your stone like I can! My name is Valko, Valko Smith; hey, you are cute!” Lady Smith’s eyes changed from a moss green to a bright yellow. Now, Captain, I’ll be fair. I won’t harm the others, just you!” She pointed forward. “Electro ball!”

“Kids cover your damn ears! Psycho screech!” Captain Bourbabel shouted and pointed forward. His alakazam took a deep breath and let out an immense sound wave. The teens in the room covered their ears, and the wooden door shook. The high-pitched screech masked the clunking sound of the hinges breaking under the pressure.

Captain Bourbabel staggered back as her fist struck his stomach, and he fell back onto the floor. Damn… He looked up to see her sparking eyes staring down at him.

“Hee, hee, your psycho screech won’t do anything to my Bibi. Now, time to die.” She raised her knife to drop it down on him. “Kill the alakazam with blazing sparks!” She glanced at the electrode that rolled down the corridor, flames and electricity following it like a dark shadow. She swung down, slicing the neck chain off. She grabbed the psychic stone. “Gah!” She dropped it and stared at the burn on her hand.

Meanwhile, the electrode slammed into the alakazam. However, a thick blue protective coat surrounded him. His eyes glinted, and he lifted the electrode off the ground and tossed him back into the door.

Captain Bourbabel raised his hand and closed his eyes. “Ugh, please.. come on…” he whispered. He opened his eyes once again.

“What are you trying? Aww, you are trying to use the stone. Well, I cut it off. Now, time to die.” Lady Smith swung down with the knife once again. However, the blade wouldn’t budge. She pushed down but felt like she was pushing into a solid rock. “What?”

“Didn’t they tell you? I am psychic!” Captain Bourbabel pushed the air with all his might, and she fell backwards and rolled. “Hishrak, attack again with shadow ball!”

“I didn’t see that coming. You know what the worst part of it all is? I can’t even pick it up.” Blood streamed down her arm, and her eyes sparked again. “Explosion!”

“Protect!” The building shook, and Captain Bourbabel vomited all over the floor. He turned around as the shaking stopped. Captain Bourbabel held his arm and punched the wall. “Damn it all!” he shouted in Elkrat. He turned around to see the students in the classroom staring at him. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have shouted. Come, let’s get back inside. We will continue class.” He ushered them to their seats. The silence fell, and they stared at him. Uncertainty was painted across their face. “That was a Colran Lady, not Lord. She was powerful, but I will protect you.”

“Captain, I was wondering if you could tell us about Haléma,” James asked.

Captain Bourbabel paused, and his quill fell from his hand. He raised his hand but quickly lowered it, pressing it against the desk. Everyone in the room's eyes locked onto him almost expectantly.

“Captain Jerk?” James said.

“Very well, but don’t call me that, James.” Captain Bourbabel reached down to the desk and picked up the chalk. “As you all well know, our island was discovered around 400, or 500 years ago when our ancestors fleeing the abyss became shipwrecked here. Bello, Bourbabel…” Captain Bourbabel pointed to himself. “…Clavouro, Finnis, Ghetz, Herd, Hijah, Ellio… no sorry Illio, Juka, Mainstenhill, Piscar, Qu, Renetki, Rett, Smith, Takui and Tomilson.” He wrote the names on the board. “And as you know, most of these people were prisoners. Some were their captors… anyway, Bello, being of an agricultural past, managed to gather some food and helped them survive. He became their leader. Over the next year or so, some others became shipwrecked here, too, while fleeing the abyss.”

“What’s in the abyss, sir?” a girl asked.

“Monsters, far bigger than any pokémon we have encountered on the island. It’s why we never leave.” Captain Bourbabel looked at the chalk in his hand. “The first pure Coltese child was born to the bloodline of Smith and Rett. Igor Rett was born. Bello stated that Igor Rett would be the first king. He was the first true Coltese person – of course; it was Kishininese, not Coltese… but… anyway... Fifteen of the original seventeen families were happy with this. Two were not.”

With a nod, Captain Bourbabel circled the names on the board. “They believed the kingdom's power should go to one of the original guards from the first ship. They believed that only those born into a marriage between bloodlines of the original seventeen should ever be allowed the throne. As Igor did not come from that specific bloodline, they revolted. At least that is our understanding of what happened.”

“That sounds dumb. Why didn’t Bello give it to his kid?” one of the students asked.

Clarence paused and said, “I don’t know.” He looked back at the board. “Igor was allegedly brilliant and cunning. He is supposedly partially responsible for the poké balls we use today. The rebellious two and their followers plotted to kill Igor Rett, and according to my beliefs, Igor fought off the monster, but at a price. He slaughtered pokémon of the eighteen types to trap their energy inside some stones using a very powerful group of alakazam. He then sought help from our god, giratina, and locked the monster away. In Colran, though, some people believed it was cresselia, and others believed it was darkrai. The beast was sealed in Haléma village in a cave in the mountains using the eighteen stones, and with the alakazam once again, he forged a prophecy.”

Captain Bourbabel stretched his hand and rubbed his moustache. “It was something like this: “Two from the past, present, and future shall approach. Each is the opposite side of the coin to one another. When all eighteen stones are present, the seal will be broken, and each side must sacrifice the other to release the beast within.” He sat up on the desk. “It is supposedly happening every few years. Someone in the prophecy will die, and it will give a few days, and then it will pick new candidates. Naturally, the island has been searched for the lost village of Haléma many, many times. We haven’t found it, and the cave? Lost to time itself. We know of prophecy chambers, though. We have found a few over the years, but they are never easy to get to locations. Many men and women have died getting to them, with and without their pokémon.”

Captain Bourbabel put the chalk down on the desk. “Before he died, Igor Rett created one final seal to prevent the monster from escaping. Each stone would be attracted to a specific aura, and using the power of the alakazam, he cursed everyone on the island to have one of these auras. Over generations, the auras got mixed. Most people have two or more of these auras inside of them, and they impact how one acts. Or at least allegedly. Personally, I don’t believe in this.” He looked at the group of students. “Anyway, you should get back to the dorms. The soldiers and staff will make sure you have a warm meal brought up to you. Curfew tonight until we find the person responsible. Also, for your homework, one parchment page on the first pokémon on your team and how to look after them.”

“But, sir, there is a scoof match tonight!” Lioa shouted.

I want to see my mum… Kitiku sniffled.

“Sorry, Lioa, but while this Guard is out there, I cannot risk you getting hurt.” Captain Bourbabel sat back down at the desk. “Off you go. Kitiku stay. Oh, and James, can you wait outside.” He watched as James picked up Kitiku’s bag. “Hey, Kitiku. You didn’t want to talk in front of everyone. Are you still feeling shy?”

Kitiku nodded and stared at his desk. He raised his hands and signed, “I want to go home and see my mum and dad. I want to go home tonight, but you won’t let me. I just want my mum and dad.” His hands started to shake.

The smile on Captain Bourbabel’s face faded. “I can’t send you home because today is your fasting day, and we are truly worried about you. All of you. I tell you something, though… if you stay tonight, I’ll lend you this.” Captain Bourbabel reached into his bag and pulled out a book with a leather strap. “It’s a book on basic first aid. I’ve been brushing up, but I heard you got a part-time job with Lord Ikur, and I am sure this would help you. Yes?”

Kitiku glanced at the book and nodded. He raised his hands again and signed, “If I can learn to read well enough, he will let me work the pharmacy desk with supervision. I’ve been looking at my options and want to take Biology, Chemistry, Healing Skills, Chemical Substances, Elkrat and Advanced Colrat. That way, I will have two free periods to spend more time on my work study.

Captain Bourbabel smiled at him once more. “Sounds like you know exactly what you are going to do. I am glad for you. Later, we will have a big feast to celebrate your broken fast. You know, if there is anything you need to talk about, you can.”

Kitiku squeezed his arm. “M-my older b-b-brother d-d-died. N-not James… His n-n-n…” He stopped, raised his hands, and signed, “My big brother, Pierre, died. I loved him so much. I want him back. I can’t take it anymore. I want him back!” A tear ran down his face. His fingers started to shake again.

“I know about James. I know what he is. You aren’t in trouble, and neither is your mum and dad. He’s a good kid, like you. I understand what it is like to lose someone you love. I lost my eldest son.” Captain Bourbabel put the book on Kitiku’s desk.

The sound of the book landing on the wooden desk made James screw his nose up. He pushed himself up off the wall. “Take your own bag to your room!” he called out, walking down the wooden corridor. Damn, this place is empty. I guess people have gone to their dorms for the night. His eyes glanced over the burns that had lightly grazed the floor. James tucked his hand deep into his pocket while holding Kitiku’s bag. He walked up the stairs and walked to his room. Screw staying here tonight, though. He pushed open the door and put Kitiku’s bag on his bed. He opened the drawer under the bunk bed and pulled out the sports shirt and shorts. This will do. James changed into the sports gear and pulled the door open again.

“Yeah, good luck with that. You going to try to sneak out, huh? Monsomo, it ain’t gonna happen. These guys ain’t gonna take the piss, right. You wanna get outta this place, you gotta do the old sneak stuff, right.” An older boy shouted down the corridor.

“Raab, you dickhead, why you go shouting that shit?” another boy answered. “I was gonna just go see my girlfriend.”

“What you lookin’ at, right?” The boy called Raab grabbed James by the shirt. “Oh, ho, you are that punk that graffitied the outside, right? Bro, you gotta stop with that shit, man. We get roasted for it. Nah, I’m just kidding, just make sure you keep them pissed, right? No one likes these Elkran shits.” He dropped James on the floor. “But for real, ya didn’t hear shit about us sneaking out.”

James looked at him, and he pushed back with a grin painted across his face. “I want out, too. What’s your name? I’m James.”

“Raab. Raab Finnis. Yeah, those explosions earlier weren’t great, so let’s get the fuck outta here.” He flicked his red hair back and walked down the stairs with James following. “Dumb shit, this whole school stuff. I was in the army I was before this crap.” He walked up to the door and opened it.

James stared at Raab. So, he fought them, huh? I have so much to ask. “What’s your pokémon?”

“None of your business.” Raab pushed past him and around the battlefield. He put a cigarette in his mouth and leaned against the wall. “The moment them Elkran turn around, we get over that wall, right?” He watched, waiting for them to move. “Now.” He ran forward and pulled himself over the wall.

James pushed his red hair out his face and quickly pulled himself over the wall. “So, where you going, Raab?”

Raab stared back at him. “I got to do something important. I have to forsake him.” He walked along the street towards the holy building.
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Chapter 16: Deeper than a Flesh Wound
James and Raab head to the Holy Building. However, an unexpected event causes things to turn disastrous. Captain Bourbabel decides it is time to act, worrying about James's future.

Deeper Than a Flesh Wound


Friday, May 5th, 1989

A tall building reaching up to the stars to praise the gods, but the gods are nothing more than falsehoods depicting an excuse for our actions. Raab pushed his hands against the wooden door. Our gods, their god, it is all the same crap. He walked across the marble floor and past the town’s religious leader. Raab turned around to see James behind him. He pulled his bag around and opened it. He yanked an ice pick out of it and held it against his chest. False hopes and dreams will die. With a quick swing, he raised the pick above his head and swung at the darkrai statue. A stone clunk broke the silence, and the statue chipped. The marble shattered onto the floor.

“Oi!” Sergeant Sutton shouted. “Stop right there!”

“What now?” James looked to Raab.

“Whatcha think? We run, right?” Raab dropped the bag and charged towards Sergeant Sutton.

“Into him?” James ran behind him. His legs turned to jelly, and he staggered backwards. He raised his arms to his ears. “Raab?”

It’s all fuzzy. Raab’s legs swayed from side to side. He looked up at Sergeant Sutton. You. “You want to kill me!” He lunged at him, going for his throat. “Get back! Keep away from me!” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. “I said get back!” He looked to James; the knife in his hand shook with his grip. “Sir, do we kill him? Never mind. He is evil!” He jolted the knife up and sliced across Sergeant Sutton’s cheek.

“Raab?” James stepped back and fell onto his back. “S-Sutton?” What’s wrong with him?

Sergeant Sutton reached for his poké ball, jumped backwards and kicked Raab in the shin. “Vesx!” He backed away once more, circling himself back around until he was nearly standing in front of James.

However, Raab lunged forward once more at Sergeant Sutton. “Die! Just die! It is all your fault. It is all your fault, all I can see…” He slashed at Sergeant Sutton’s stomach. His eyes stared at him like the dagger in his hand. However, the blade shook in his hand as James grabbed hold of it.

“Vesx thunder punch!” Sergeant Sutton pushed Raab back, and he staggered. The electabuzz swung his fist at Raab, but Raab pivoted on his back foot and grabbed James, holding him in front of his chest.

“I’m just like you! You Lords don’t understand! You are all evil! The sooner you all die, the better. The people should rule themselves. Fuck Elktan! Fuck Colran! Damn Kilgor!” Raab stepped backwards again, scowling. His eyes darted from side to side and locked briefly onto the electabuzz.

Sergeant Sutton wiped the blood from the cut and pointed at Raab. His electabuzz rushed Raab but suddenly changed direction, sliding along the floor and into the marble on the floor. It flew just above the floor and hit Raab’s shin. He dropped the knife and grabbed his leg. Quickly, Sergeant Sutton darted forward and grabbed Raab’s wrists. Taking the handcuffs from his belt, he clipped Raab’s hands inside them and took a deep breath.

Unbuttoning his jacket, Sergeant Sutton placed it over Raab’s shoulders and walked over to James. The sound of the Lords’ and soldiers’ footsteps running into the hall made him turn to the door briefly before taking James’s hands. He turned his left hand over and saw the deep indent from the knife carved across.

Shivering, James looked at Sergeant Sutton. “It doesn’t hurt badly.” He pushed against Sergeant Sutton, and blood was wiped along his shirt.

“What were you two thinking?!” Captain Bourbabel’s voice echoed through the room. “We have a known mass murderer on the loose, a potentially very dangerous Colran Lord – Lord Interrogator Markus Spitz is supposedly in the area, and a Colran lady is on the loose with an electrode of a level strength around seventy, and you two decide to go out after curfew without permission or even so much as a note!” He scowled as he glared at them both. “You two are irresponsible. You are old enough to know better, and Hanson Rei attacked you not long ago. What would I have done if you had been hurt or killed?”

James started down at his hand. “Sorry. I just…” He stared at Captain Bourbabel. “You lost. How could you lose? I lost to you… and you lost to her. What does that make me?”

“What were you idiots thinking?” Lord Ikur shouted. He walked over to James and glanced at his injury. “Stupid boy. At least the bleeding is starting to stop. It will scar, but it’s not as bad as I thought.” He got up from the floor and walked to Raab with a quieter voice. “Look at me. It isn’t real. Whatever you are thinking, it isn’t real. You are in Fehahra. You are with a doctor.” He lifted Raab onto his feet. “Get him back to the school and take him to a quiet room, give him some water, something to eat, and keep him in reality. You, what is his name?”

“You? I have a name.” James crossed his arms. “His name is Raab, er… Finnis. Lord Ikur I am really sorry…”

With a sigh, Lord Ikur looked to Captain Bourbabel. “That doesn’t matter right now. Your friend is having a post-traumatic stress attack caused by something or another, and I need to pull up his medical history. In the meantime, please get him somewhere warm, safe and quiet.”

The lampent light flickered outside, and a soft purple light beamed onto the street. Raab stared down at his hands. And back up at Sergeant Sutton, but breathed a deep breath of relief. Sergeant Sutton wrapped an arm around Raab’s shoulder and nodded.

“Come, James.” Captain Bourbabel beckoned, and like a lost shinx, James walked over to him, staring at his hand. “It looks sore. James, I can’t believe how reckless you were, but it's done. Let’s talk about classes. Have you thought about what you want to take?”

A little blood splattered from the cut onto the cobblestones. I thought he said it was stopped. James continued his stare downwards. “I saw you throw up.”

Captain Bourbabel sighed. “Yes, I overdid it. You see, I am psychic, but using my abilities can put a strain on my body. Throwing the Lady off of me without any other actions was jarring.” Captain Bourbabel stopped and looked down at James. “You want to be able to fight, huh?”

“I guess. I sort of want to take battle skills: advanced, physical training, a free period, a free period, another free period, pilot’s basics, art, and a free period. Since I am stuck here doing this crap.” James jabbed Captain Bourbabel in the arm.

“You need to pick something for Core D; you can’t not, and I think it would be good to take one other thing too. Do that, and I won’t throw you in jail for tonight’s little stunt. Make sure one of those is Elkrat. And as you don’t have a flying type, pilot’s basics isn’t happening.” Captain Bourbabel smirked at him. He took off his jumper and handed it to James.

“I don’t know. I don’t want to do any of those. I guess I can do a work-study and star studies, and fine, I’ll take stupid Elkrat too.”

The school building appeared again, and the gate was locked tight. The stone brick walls were cut into the building walls. Something which made Captain Bourbabel feel a sense of déjà vu. He leaned forward and stuck his key into the lock.

“Come on. It is getting very late. The feast will start in an hour or two, and I am sure you are starving. Also, Lieutenant Tomilson was looking for you.” Captain Bourbabel stepped onto the battlefield. “Let’s see what you can do.” He reached his hand out and pulled it back to his left shoulder. Quickly, he flicked the latch on the poké ball and tossed the ball forward. It hit the ground and snapped up back to his hand. Not many civilians have a magnet ring for a callback. In the field, a skorupi appeared, rattling his tail and looking at Captain Bourbabel with its big blue eyes.

“I… I never noticed how dumb you throw.” James smirked. “Okta, let’s go!”

“At least I can throw. You don’t have that option.” Captain Bourbabel rested his hands behind his back, and the skorupi raised its two-pronged tail, rattling the bone stingers on the tips. With a hiss, the skorupi scurried forward, launching himself at the onix, opening his jaw to chomp down on the rocky body of the larger pokémon. As the tiny jaw came crashing down, the onix swung around her tail, hardening it with an iron coating. The jaw locked onto the metal tail, preventing the toxins from entering her body.

“Good job, Okta!” James jumped up and punched the air. “Follow it through!” She whipped her tail forward with the skorupi locked on, flinging him towards the edge of the marked field. However, he rolled over onto his little legs and skidded back, side-stepping into a hiss once more. He is panting. He must be hurt from the landing, James thought. “I guess I am just plain and simply stronger than you!”

“A type advantage does not a victor make.” Captain Bourbabel remained poised. Type advantages have limitations. I have always encouraged my children to learn what their pokémon can and cannot do. Alas, a child, like James, merely sees types at face value. His nose twitched, and his eyes focused on the battle. “Do it, use x-scissor!” The words had barely left Captain Bourbabel’s lips when the skorupi extended the sharp claws on his legs. His onix exposed her joint a moment ago, pushing skorupi away. The sharp claws slashed across the tip of one of the boulders of her body, and she let an almighty screech.

“Okta! Alright, that’s it, counter it with an iron tail!” James stabbed his finger into the air. His onix swung her iron-coated tail at the skorupi on her body. She screeched again, wiggling around, trying to find the skorupi.

However, the skorupi bounced off her and back down onto the field. He rattled his tail once more. His purple body flickered black as he shuddered with anticipation, showing his battle armour under his rickety exoskeleton.

“Okta! Stop!” James called out over her screeching.

Kill him, James. You know you want to. Give us blood and his soul.

James’s eyes began to glow a murky brown. “No!” He dropped to the floor, holding his head. “I won’t. I am not a murderer. I am not. I want to beat him, not kill him.”

“James, are you okay?” Captain Bourbabel ran over. “What’s wrong?” He raised the poké ball, and the skorupi returned to him.

“I am okay… I think I just want to go back to the Bryson’s now. I mean home.”

“I know, James. I won’t tell, but… you need to guard that secret with your life.” Captain Bourbabel sat down and crossed his legs. “You are a good kid, I know that, but if someone like Lord Captain Jackson or Lord Elite Piscar were to find out, you will die.”

“Hey there! I am here. Sorry, I’m late. I’ve only been back in town for an hour. I am just glad you got my chatot mail.” Lieutenant Tomilson walked over. His brown hair was messed up. “Sorry, I was dealing with some personal affairs. Hey James. I’ll take you home.” He picked James up by the arm. “Sorry for being late, Captain.” He raised a hand and waved. The gate closed behind them.

“Alright… so what were those personal thingies?” James puffed, raised his poké ball, and returned his onix to him. He quickly walked closer to Lieutenant Tomilson, allowing the sense of calm to wash over him.

The Lieutenant smiled at him. “Oh, don’t worry. I heard there was an absolute ton of action here today. Sorry, I missed it all. I heard the Captain got his arse handed to him.”

“Yeah, some Lady was beating him up until he used his psychic powers. I think I’m psychic, too.” James looked to the stars as they escaped the blanket of the clouds overhead.

“Oh really?” Lieutenant Tomilson chuckled. “How come?”

“Don’t laugh but… I’ve been hearing voices. They keep telling me to kill people. That’s not normal, is it?” James stopped walking along the cobbles. His fingers were shaking.

“No. Even in our society, where psychics do indeed exist, that is certainly not healthy. Why don’t we see Lord Ikur? On second thoughts, he will probably kill you and me for bothering him on his day off. You know he works very hard.”

“You and him, the Captain, I mean, you are always really nice to me. I don’t get it. You are Elktan.” James slammed his trainers into a stone, and it skipped along the cobbles and into a bucket.

“Elkran - one day, you’ll get it right. Is that surprising?” Lieutenant Tomilson stuck his hands into his pockets.

James nodded. “And you said you got into trouble a lot like me.” He walked again down the path, eyeing the Bryson’s home.

“Yes. I made a friend in Kirot Akalt who was just like me. Cohnen was younger than me, but he and I used to get into all sorts. At least when I wasn’t sick. I used to get sick a lot as a teenager. It didn’t help he and I didn’t get to see each other as much as we’d like – after all, he got recruited to the Guard.” Lieutenant Tomilson knocked on Bryson’s door. “Anyway, behave and sleep well.” He raised his hand and waved, walking away down the street. He brushed his hair out of his face.

If the electric stone user is here, it is true. Kapora and Madison are indeed making their move. Lieutenant Tomilson leaned over the rope bridge and stared into the river’s writhing current below. If it is true about the Captain, then we know something more. Dark, fighting, dragon, fairy, normal, rock, steel and water are all in possession of Lord Piscar – possession isn’t quite right, Antonio – the possessors of the stones are under the influence of Lord Elite Piscar. Oh, and psychic. The electric stone is under the influence of Lord Elite Madison. The rest of the stones, well… they will appear again. I have a hunch about a few of them… Time to investigate some more.

“Incaresta!” Sergeant Sutton called. “I am glad you managed to get the troublemaker home. Let me tell you about the incident up at the holy building earlier.”

“Oh? I take it. Drinks are on me then,” Lieutenant Tomilson replied.
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Chapter 17: Trusting Lord Ikur
Kitiku Bryson has been summoned to see the Lord and Doctor Aaron Ikur. Kitiku expresses his dreams, meanwhile Lord Ikur encourages him. Secrets will be revealed.

Trusting Lord Ikur


Tuesday, May 9th, 1989

The afternoon air blew softly down the streets uninterrupted. The silence was almost deafening. Almost. Kitiku’s crutches tapping away on the ground and the occasional request for ID or a permission slip were the only things to break it. The cobbles made it hard for him to move around, but Kitiku didn’t complain. He smiled as he entered the office building. Lieutenant Tomilson waved at him before coming over.

“Afternoon. Damn, you’ve grown since we last met. You must nearly be 5ft 8 now.” Lieutenant Tomilson raised his hands. “I suppose you are here to see Lord Ikur?”

Kitiku nodded. Days have gone by since the incident, and everyone has gone back to normal. In two days, we will be able to start our regular classes. I can’t wait to be like you, Pierre. He felt Lieutenant Tomilson pick him up and carry him down each step. The white walls of the medical bay filled him with relief.

“Well, at least you are on time.” Lord Ikur pushed his glasses back onto his nose. I have your results back from the test, and I am sure you want to talk about your work-study form.”

“I-I think I-I w-want to be a d-d-doctor. L-like you.” Kitiku took Lord Ikur’s arm.

Since when does he speak? A doctor? A kid like you would get eaten alive. Stand no chance out there, but he still wants to talk to you about it? Does he know something I don’t? Lieutenant Tomilson smiled. “Well, I should leave you to it, and your secret is safe with me and Sutton, of course.” He reached behind him and tapped Sergeant Sutton on the back.

“-gh what?” Sergeant Sutton said. “-gh, gh.” Tiny specs of bread fell out of his mouth and onto the floor. “Sorry, I’ll clean that.”

The hand of Lord Ikur slammed into the wall, blocking his path. “What secret?” His voice was cold enough to freeze the room. His eyes narrowed and piercing, fixated on Sergeant Sutton. Sergeant Sutton smiled back at him awkwardly. “Oh, you didn’t tell me you had a girlfriend.” He looked at Kitiku. Well, I didn’t expect that. That was the last thing I’d have expected. Timid boy, no muscles, unable to walk, doesn’t really do much to stand out… “Well, as long as you don’t do anything illegal, I won’t care too much. I hope she is understanding towards that. Don’t ever let her pressure you into doing anything illegal.” He reached over to Kitiku and placed his hand on his shoulder. “In a few years, you will get married, and that would be good for you. I can see it now. You will have nice flowers everywhere, and lots of pictures. You would need to get a planner, too.”

He really is into all of this, huh? Scary Lord, my arse. Why can I see Lord Ikur planning his wedding? Lieutenant Tomilson smiled at him again.

Lord Ikur put the paperwork down. “So you want to be a doctor? Well, you won’t get much higher than a healer unless you manage to get into the academy at Kirot-Akalt as a student. The exams are complicated. There are the early introductory exams in June, then the late ones in July. That’s when you have to do mathematics and your regional language. Then you have the September exam, which is the early physical exam, and in October, you have to get a Guard’s recommendation letter. If you get those done and pass them, you will have your final acceptance exam in November. If you pass that, your final task is to get a bid in December for the inter-school faction you’ll be in, and you’ll then start in February. Of course, it would be tough for you to get in. This year would be one of your only chances. This year and next year, if you get in this year, then you have a year to settle in before you go into the high school section of the school. With you being unable to read and write Colrat I-“

“I can. I c-can read it. M-my b-brother t-taught me. S-so I c-c-can f-focus on l-learning Elkrat.” Kitiku nodded. “A-and C-c-captain gave m-me this.” He opened his school bag and pulled out the book. “I w-want to d-do this w-work study w-with you.” He grinned when Lord Ikur nodded.

Lord Ikur raised a finger and walked into the backroom. Minutes passed before he re-entered, carrying a thin white coat, white shirt, grey trousers and some white trainers. “Apologies, boy. They might be a little big on you, but these belong to some of the Elkran students who do their work studies here. If you ask your mum or girlfriend, I am sure she can make them fit.” He poked Kitiku in the chest.

The Lord staggered into the wall with a thud and bent down to pick his glasses up. “What the…? Why is there a bronzor here? Sergeant Sutton! Lieutenant Tomilson!”

The litwick the wall flickered its purple flame, and the white wax of its body dripped onto the floor. A twisted smile was painted on its face, and its golden eyes narrowed in on Sergeant Sutton and Lieutenant Tomilson. It flickered its flame once again, and Sergeant Sutton’s spine shuddered, and he wrapped his fingers around the edge of his shirt. He pulled it out and wiggled his fingers. A small sweat drop rolled down his face. The litwick its lips and looked at Lieutenant Tomilson. Lieutenant Tomilson shivered and lowered his head, shielding his eyes from the glowing purple light that had consumed the room.

“… I-I-I caught a b-bronzor and she is f-from Kilgor,” Kitiku said, hugging it. “I love her v-very much.” His arms wrapped around the lower half of her blue, circular body. Her eyes could just about see over the top of them.

Lord Ikur paced on the spot. His footsteps were loud enough to wake anyone who slept. He pushed his glasses back onto his nose, and after an eternity of silence, he said, “You broke the law. I have to report this infraction. I understand you care greatly for this pokémon, but it doesn’t belong to you. I will defeat it in battle to prove it, but… I suppose for now I best hand you this.” He reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out a white-capped poké ball. “This is a lillipup. It is going to be your companion, and it will help you with your anxiety. When you are in your dorm, or at home, or whenever you feel anxious, send it out, and it will help you. Yes? The white poké ball indicates medical. Therefore, no one can force you to put it away except a Lord.”

“Y-yes, sir. I… Can I g-go home s-sir?” Kitiku asked.

Lord Ikur got up and said, “After we battle. Come, we battle in the town square. After all, it is marked out due to the training. You and the Lieutenant versus myself and the Sergeant. Hopefully, he won’t be totally useless.” He walked up the stairs and out the door. His narrow eyes flicked back to Kitiku being carried by Lieutenant Tomilson and Sergeant Sutton behind him.

The ringing of the shop doors had gone silent, and the rush of people was gone. Lord Ikur stepped onto the small ring and tossed his poké ball onto the field. As the clip of the poké ball reconnecting with his magnet ring rang out, the luxray appeared. He stretched his claws out and let a little grumbling growl.

“Let’s keep it nice and simple. One pokémon each. I will try and kill you or at least knock you out.” Lord Ikur took his white coat off and pulled the small metal rectangle out from his shoulder. He shook his fist, hanging it below his grip, and it popped out into a shield with his family coat of arms painted on the top half. The Elkran flag on the bottom. He took his sword out, which hung from his waist, and held it forward.

Alright, let’s not go all out. Lieutenant Tomilson pulled his metal rectangle out and drew his sword and shield. “Sorry, Kitiku, but seeing as you can’t really stand without assistance, a shield won’t be much good for you.” He flicked his wrist forward and tucked his right foot behind his left. The ball bounced on the floor and back up into his hand, while his dragapult floated battle-ready. Let’s go.

“Vesx, let’s go.” Sergeant Sutton raised his hand with the poké ball up to his forehead before tossing the ball forward. Sergeant Sutton pulled his shield out from the metal box on his shoulder and drew his sword. His electabuzz wiggled his tail, and he let out a joyful chatter.

Kitiku shuffled forward and pressed the button on his poké ball. His bronzor spun around excitedly. Its yellow eyes glowed as it made itself dizzy. However, immediately, shards of ice shot towards it.

“Wake up. I will kill you.” Lord Ikur stood; his hands tucked behind his back. His shield lay on the floor in front of him. His eyes locked onto the dragapult whizzing towards him — time to show my strength and to see how strong Kitiku is.

I need to hold back, Lieutenant Tomilson thought. He raised his sword and glanced at Sergeant Sutton. I can’t risk showing who I really am. What’s gotten into me lately? I’m thinking more and more about… He lifted the sword. Sergeant Incaresta Sutton isn’t stupid; he is clumsy, though. Kitiku, on the other hand, is a weakness. It is a two-against-one here. The kid can’t fight. His bronzor can but him? No. Do I hold back? Do I go full force?

Sergeant Sutton stared at Kitiku and then back at Lieutenant Tomilson. Lord Ikur is bombarding Kitiku with ice. I can knock him down onto the floor, but Incaresta would be ready to fight back. He stabbed at Lieutenant Tomilson’s knee, but his sword was deflected by a clean cut upward by his older counterpart. He felt nauseous as the dragapult floated through his body and solidified her tail. She wrapped her tail around his leg and pulled him towards the ground. However, the electabuzz swung his leg at the dragapult.

“Come on, Kitiku. Do something. Your bronzor can’t defend against me forever.” Lord Ikur stepped closer—his sword loosely in his fingers behind his back.

Kitiku’s spine shivered, and the world around him dimmed. It was just him and Lord Ikur. If this was real… what would I do? What can I do? I am hopeless. He shuffled back on his crutches and fell on his back. As Lord Ikur swung his sword down on Kitiku, it was stopped and held in place by the bronzor. However, the electabuzz, covered in mud, punches it squarely. It tumbled back, and the sword continued down towards him.

“Stop the sword!” Lieutenant Tomilson called out. His sword grating against Sergeant Sutton’s sword. His dragapult lunged at Lord Ikur’s sword and struck it with a dragon tail attack. He felt Sergeant Sutton push back against him. Damn it, did I lose concentration? No. This is fine. I can’t win against Lord Ikur, but Sutton? That will do. He opened his mouth and shrieked, letting his pent-up frustration surge through him. “Give up!” He swung his sword back up and kicked Sergeant Sutton in the shin.

“Ugh.” Sergeant Sutton staggered back. “Thunder!”

Quickly, Lieutenant Tomilson raised his shield and blocked the attack. He tossed his sword forward like a throwing knife, clipping Sergeant Sutton’s leg. He fell into the mud. His fingers were shaking as the protective field on the front of his shield broke, and electricity shocked through the metal and into his body, passing through him into the ground. Damn shield… he couldn’t feel his legs, and he fell onto the floor.

Sergeant Sutton panted, and his fingers pressed against the ground. He felt the air leaving his lungs faster than he could take it in. He looked over to Lord Ikur, standing tall with his hands behind his back. Did he even move or break a sweat? He puffed out his mouth and stood up. He looked over to Lieutenant Tomilson.

Lieutenant Tomilson forced a wheeze. He isn’t even tired? The only reason Kitiku isn’t tired is because the bronzor has been deflecting the majority of those attacks. He pushed his hair from his face and scrambled back onto his feet. With Incaresta down and me down, it is up to those two. Was it truly wise to give the boy the bronzor? Of course, I can’t use my full strength. Maybe I should have?

“Alright, time to end this. Wild charge.” Lord Ikur put his hands back behind his back and grinned. His luxray charged at the bronzor covered in electricity. The sparks spat out around his body.

“N-no. Z-zanha! Um… use s-slam!” Kitiku sat on the floor and tried to get up onto his feet. However, he felt powerless as the large luxray struck the bronzor and sent her flying backwards. It quickly attempted to attack back with psychic. Its eyes glowed, and locked gazes with the luxary. The bronzor lifted the luxray into the air and threw him back, but the moment the luxray’s paws touched the ground, he roared, sending sparks of electricity forward. The electricity coursed through the bronzor’s body, and it struggled to move.

“Again.” Lord Ikur’s words had barely finished leaving his mouth, and the luxray had slammed into the bronzor, and it hit the muddy floor and slid along the battlefield.

“Zanha!” Kitiku cried out, crutching over to the bronzor, which lay in the mud. She is hurt badly!

Lord Ikur stepped over with his luxray beside him. As he stopped, the luxray sat and licked the wounds caused by the bronzor. With a grin, Lord Ikur said, “Very good, but you aren’t in control. Your bronzor doesn’t listen to you, but it does protect you, which is something. You must improve your control and your battling skills elsewise the academy will forever be a dream. Sergeant Sutton and Lieutenant Tomilson take the boy home. Also, you are both suspended for three days for lying. Next time, it will be an execution. Do I make myself clear?” Lord Ikur reached into his bag and pulled out a small notepad. In messy handwriting, he scribbled down the sheet: Administration and Requests Office, Academy Segment, Citadel, Kirot-Akalt, Elktan, and handed it over to Kitiku. “Write to them. Ask them for information about joining the academy in Elkrat. Remember, when you write in Elkrat, include the “r” in city names and in people’s names but not in the text. Otherwise, they will burn your letter.”

“You a-aren’t going to t-take her?” Kitiku asked, clutching his bronzor tightly. He puffed a sigh of relief as the Lord shook his head. “Oof,” he gasped as Sergeant Sutton picked him up and put him on his back. These people are kind. Why does the Colran news say awful things about them? My battling skill isn’t strong, not like him or Pierre. He even looks a little like Pierre. Kitiku closed his eyes and drifted to sleep, leaning over Sergeant Sutton’s shoulder.
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Chapter 18: Truths and Secrets New
Jealousy is in the air, as James's frustration at Kitiku getting more pokémon comes to a head. Rushing out after curfew, James hopes to find peace, or at least some way cope with how he feels. Meanwhile, someone has been watching things from the shadows.

Truths and Secrets


Tuesday, May 9th, 1989

A knock on the Bryson’s household door woke James from his sleep. Ugh, my head, he thought. He pulled himself up from his bed and sat up. He stared out the window to see the Elktan flag hanging in the street below, lit up by the crescent moon. The dark room’s shadows crept around the room, and the creaking of footsteps on the stairs thudded louder and louder.

“Hi, sweetie; sorry we didn’t mean to wake you. Are you feeling okay?” Mrs Bryson said, raising her hand and placing it on his shoulder. She smiled at him. “You get back to sleep now.”

James looked at her. His stomach grumbled, and his fingers twitched. “Kuti is home, right? You know what? It is just super unfair. He doesn’t even like pokémon, and he has three.” He grabbed the pillow and threw it over his face. The gods conspire against me.

“Sweetie, it's okay. You’ll get your pokémon when the time is right. Besides, Kuti only has the herdier he was given and his klink.” Mrs Bryson took the pillow from James’s hands and helped pull him down off the bed. “Let’s put you on the downstairs sofa. I know you like to sleep there when you feel sad. Is it too much here? If you want, we can talk to the Captain, and he can find somewhere for you to stay.”

“You want to get rid of me too?” James closed his fists and scowled. “First, my mum decides she loves that jerk more than me, and now you don’t love me either. I wish you had never adopted or taken me in or whatever this shitty arrangement is!”

“Oh, hello. What’s the commotion?” Sergeant Sutton said, placing Kitiku on the lower bunk. “I apologise; your husband said just to carry him, so I did. Hames?”

“My name is James. J. It isn’t that fucking hard, you Elktan scum. All people like you ever do is invade and hurt people. Tomilson is the only person in this stupid world who understands what I say, and even then, he is Elktan! I hate it here!” James pushed past him as Sergeant Sutton went to correct him on calling him Elktan rather than Elkran, snatching the booklet and the key from his pocket and storming down the stairs. “Fuck off, Mr Bryson! And you too, stupid Oosho.” James kicked the octillery and slammed the door behind him—dumb family. I wish I was allowed to look after myself. I could totally get a job and take good care of myself. He walked down the street and slipped into the alleyway. He walked past the school and headed towards the west exit to the town; occasionally, he paused, waiting for soldiers and Lords alike to pass. Screw it, he thought and stepped into the streets, keeping his head down. Up ahead, whistling away, he saw two soldiers talking and smoking. James scurried forward and bumped into them, shoving his hands in their pockets as he did.

James ran as fast as his legs could carry him towards a wooden fence. He jumped up onto the dumpster on the side of the alleyway and vaulted over to the other side. He could hear the footsteps getting louder as his feet struck against the cobbles. A tingling feeling rang out from where his bare feet struck the cobbles. He darted down the main street and into the office building. He could see the door in sight; however, he suspected it would not be a quiet entrance. Someone in the reception would see him. On the side of the building, a window hung open. He passed under it and sprung up, grabbed the ledge and pulled himself inside.

“James, what are you doing up and out after curfew and in your pyjamas.” Captain Bourbabel raised his hands. His eyes drooped a little, and his voice was far more profound than in the day.

“I just can’t take it anymore!” James thumped Captain Bourbabel’s chest. To James’s surprise, Captain Bourbabel let him. James screamed louder, “It is just so pointless. How does Kuti get more pokémon than me? How is he so much better than me? Li gets away with so much, and none of you jerks can say my name right!” He felt Captain Bourbabel’s hand on his shoulder.

“Let’s go to my office; we can talk there, and I can give you something to eat and drink. But James, I do need to go as soon as possible.” Captain Bourbabel took his jacket off and put it on James’s shoulders.

Following Captain Bourbabel up the stairs, James chirped up, “Why?”

“The forest just east of Shmitty town was set on fire by an explosion a few days ago. We need to get supplies through the town to help injured Colran and Elkran soldiers alike. But first, you are cold and upset, and you need to be taken good care of, too.” Captain Bourbabel opened the door and gestured to the chair in his office. “Now, you wait here. I’ll be back in a moment.”

James shuffled in and sat down on the chair. He held onto Captain Bourbabel’s jacket, rubbing the tips of his fingers along it. He looked around the room as the silence consumed him. He felt a shiver and turned around to see Captain Bourbabel’s alakazam just standing there by the door. What’s that hanging behind the door? Goggles? Why would he have goggles?

“Because I have a pilot’s license.” He placed a shirt on the back of the chair with some grey trousers and some soft shoes. “I hope they fit. It’s a little cold tonight for you. It was only 21 degrees, 5 degrees colder than usual. Of course, for me, this is still very hot.” Captain Bourbabel grabbed his chair and pulled it over to James. The sound of the wood grating along the floor made his ears twitch. “One step at a time. Why are you upset?”

“It isn’t fair. Kuti got another new pokémon. What do I have? Okta and that thing.” James tucked his legs up on the chair, and then he changed into the clothes.

“I see. Well, what sort of pokémon would you like to catch?”

“I don’t know. I want to be able to fly and be free. You fly. What is it like?” James looked back at the goggles which hung off the back of the door.

Captain Bourbabel smiled at him. “Do you want to find out? I’m sure I’ll get in trouble, but it is fine. You can help us move supplies, and in return, we can fly. Yes?” He jumped up off his seat and walked over to the door. If I can make the boy smile for a moment, it will be worth it. He has been through so much already. He took the goggles made from miltank leather and extended his hand, holding them to James.

“Alright.” James took the goggles and darted down the stairs. “Hey, um… don’t tell Sutton it was me, okay?” He took the little booklet and the key out of his pocket and offered them up to Captain Bourbabel. “I was angry. I still am.” James pushed open the door and walked straight into a young Lady who drew her sword immediately. “Watch it, bitch!”

“Who are you? Why are you out after curfew.” Her stern gaze fixed on him, and she poked him with her sword.

“Ah, young Lady Ignat, this is James. James, this is young Lady Clementine Ignat. She has come from Quigk to assist along with a lot of other young Lords and Ladies – the young Guard, if you will. James is going to help move supplies.” Captain Bourbabel stepped out the door.

“This is highly irregular!” young Lady Ignat scowled at them both.

“You are highly irregular. Have you ever heard of not getting your Elktan arse in a twist?” James knocked past her. “Let’s fly!”

“You rude, irresponsible… ugh.” Young Lady Ignat spat words out in Elkrat at James and stormed away.

James scowled and looked at Captain Bourbabel, who shook his head and sent out his braviary.

Captain Bourbabel rummaged through his bag and pulled out the flat-packed saddle made from the same leather as his goggles. He placed it on the braviary’s back and tied it on with a buckle. He lifted James and helped him grab hold of the handle on the top of the saddle. I hope James is ready for this. At least the metal boxes are made using light-metal pokémon skin.

“Let’s go. Let’s fly already.” James fidgeted on the saddle as Captain Bourbabel sat down behind him.

“Hold on tight. One hand on the top and one on the bottom, or you will fall off. Squeeze your knees against Barook.” He changed to Elkrat. “Barook, be nice and slow. No fa- aaagh!” Captain Bourbabel gritted hold of the handle tightly. “Barook, slow down!”

“Awesome. Go faster!” James reached up with one hand and pulled the goggles down over his eyes.

“No, no, don’t go fast- aaagh!” Captain Bourbabel gripped the handle and leaned to the side, forcing the braviary to turn in the air. Damn braviary. Ha, I should have known. He is a wild pokémon still at heart.

James looked back at Captain Bourbabel. He must be scared. His eyes are shut tightly. The stars sparkled in the purple sky, and the clouds were nowhere to be seen. He closed his eyes and felt the air rush into his skin. A churning feeling came from his stomach, and he opened his eyes again. The ground rushed towards him.

“And that’s enough. We need to pick these supplies up. Good boy, Barook.” Captain Bourbabel petted his head and ruffled his feathers. “Good landing. Come, James.” The street lampent flickered their flames, and the cobbles were barely visible in the purple light. The crowding of lampent around some metal boxes created an eerie glow, a feeling Captain Bourbabel hadn’t felt since he was much younger. He walked over to the boxes with James in tow and grabbed one. “Heavier than I thought.” He placed his hand on one of his poké balls and sent out a machamp. Its four arms flexed, and its blue body glowed from the flickering flames. “Mind helping me out, old friend?”

“So, who was that girl? You said her name was Clementine. You know, the one who was all uppity.” James walked over to the boxes, picked one up, and loaded it onto the open sawsbuck coach.

Captain Bourbabel grinned at him. “You like her?”

“Eww, no. I was just… wondering…” James stuck his tongue out and screwed up his face.

“James, it’s okay to like someone. Even if she is Elkran, it is only natural. You are what? Fourteen? Fifteen? By your age, I had already started crushing on someone.” Captain Bourbabel placed his box onto the coach and pushed James’s box on further so it didn’t tip off.

“Eww, no. I said no. She might look pretty, but I don’t like her. No. Eww. No. Besides, I bet she sucks in battle.” James stepped over one of the lampent, which was floating just above the ground, and picked up another box. “Anyway, I was meaning to ask. How did you get so strong in battle anyway? I mean, I am still stronger, but I was curious.”

“Well…” Captain Bourbabel paused for a moment, looked at James, and then went back to the purple glowing lampent. The clunking sound of the boxes being moved around by the soldiers and Lords alike washed calmness over him. He reached over and picked up another box. “I trained for a long time. I even fought in the civil wars.”

“Civil wars?” James asked. He placed the last box he could squeeze onto the cart and screwed his face up. “Did they fight over who is the lamest?”

“No. It was about slavery, James: slavery and cruelty. In fact, Lord Piscar wants to ban the slavery of the Elkran people in its entirety. However, it isn’t that simple. For a law like that to go through, he would need the agreement of two-thirds of the Lords. And most of those vote it down. Lord Jackson, the one Lord who everyone would assume to vote for the ban, actually voted the other way. His reasoning is solid. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to ban it; it is just that some Lords don’t. Another civil war would be a disaster. How old are you? Fourteen, right? Kids as young as you were dying in these wars. There is a huge gap in the Elkran population, and well… you understand.” Captain Bourbabel looked at James and saw a deep sadness in his eyes.

“My dad died to the Elktan before I was born. Were there many Colran in the war?” James looked down at his hands, and brushed the dirt and muck off them. He glanced back up at Captain Bourbabel and felt relief soak him. “So, he could have died fighting for the Elktan? Why would he do that?” James sat down a pile of metal boxes. The metal was cold enough to feel through his thin trousers.

“What you have to understand is that James is Aaron Piscar, and his brother Erik Piscar went to war with their dad, Ellio Piscar, to create a better world.” Captain Bourbabel sat down next to James. “We all did terrible things in that war; brothers and sisters fought and killed each other.” Captain Bourbabel nudged James and looked to the sky. “It’s pretty out at night, isn’t it, James? You do look exhausted, though. Perhaps you should walk home. It will give you some time to think. And James? Give me the stuff you stole.”

James jumped off the metal box, put his hands in his pockets, and pulled out the items. How did he… oh right, psychic. Stop reading my mind, jerk. He placed the items on the box and turned back to the streets.

James walked down the cobble street and looked up at the stars. “I don’t have feelings for her. Ew…” James muttered, thinking back to Captain Bourbabel’s comment. “She might be pretty, but she’s the enemy…” his eyes glowed a soft brown as he spoke.

“You should show him who is strongest, James.”

James shook his head. “Shut up…” he muttered as he continued to walk. A shiver crept down his spine, and he turned around, expecting to see someone, but the street was nearly empty, with the exception of the patrol. He sighed and continued his walk back to the Bryson’s household. He knocked on the wooden door and crept back upstairs. The glare Mr Bryson gave him sent a shiver down his spine, but Mrs Bryson hugged him as tightly as she could.

“I am sorry,” he whispered as he sat next to Kitiku’s bed. “I was just angry…” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a figure in the alleyway opposite the house. “Who is that?” The figure faded into the shadows.

“Huh?” Mr Bryson said, glancing out. Something is off. Maybe I’ll get Oosho to keep tabs on the outside. He turned back to his octillery, who had taken up residency on his chair. “Oi!”

The figure glanced back at the window out of sight and slowly disappeared from mind. He pressed the cigarette against his lip but refused to light it. If you have the stone like I think you do, why don’t you use it? I am sorry, kid. I really do care about you. You are a good kid, but at the same time… you are in the way. Don’t get too close to the mission. Maybe after all of this is said and done things can be different.
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Hello! Here for your review league prize.

I'm really intrigued by the premise of this fic, a sort of fantasy epic Pokemon story (maaaaybe with some modern technology? Based on the pokeballs and hearing aids, also the timeframe). It's clear you've put a lot of work into the worldbuilding for this fic: the history, the culture, everything has been paid attention to. It does sometimes feel a little too much like a non-Pokemon/original fic, but I say that as a person who also struggles to make my stuff feel like a Pokemon fic sometimes.

As far as critiques go, I feel like there's a lot of telling? Like a lot of James thinking "I feel angry, I want to meet this Lord" and so on. This isn't to say that you can never tell over show; I think in some cases it's better to tell not show. But the way telling is used here feels a but clunky. My guess is it's because it's in internal thoughts/monologue, when it feels like it should be in narration, maybe? Granted, people's internal narration irl is different from person to person, but it doesn't feel right here, in the sense that it feels less like the character's monologue to themself and more the writer needing to convey character motivation.

Elite Lord Madison must be there. I’d do anything to see him, to meet him. I want to shake his hand and join the guard, he thought. James felt his fingers grind against the fray, and his knees, though his trousers, touch the dirty carpet. He took a deep breath in. His vision blurred a little, and his hands started to sweat as he could hear the footsteps of Lords and Ladies surrounding him. He felt more nauseous with every single sound.

As an example, here's how I would have written something like this (not as a "this is how it should be done", but more "this is my thought process for why I think this isn't working for me personally".

Elite Lord Madison must be there, he thought. James felt his fingers grind against the fray, and his knees, though his trousers, touch the dirty carpet. He took a deep breath in. This would all be worth it. He was going to meet the Lord himself, and the discomfort would be replaced by the warmth of his handshake, the warmth of being welcomed into the guard. The thought of his dream becoming a reality was enough to comfort him... or it almost was. His vision blurred a little, and his hands started to sweat as he could hear the footsteps of Lords and Ladies surrounding him. He felt more nauseous with every single sound. As much as he wanted it to happen, the thought of it actually happening was another ordeal.

My other biggest critique is that the spoiler tags for images/worldbuilding would probably work better in the author's notes, either before or after each chapter. As it stands, they can sort of break the flow of the prose. You could also make an encyclopedia of the world information and I would probably eat that up. I love me some worldbuilding with no plot.

Despite the music’s filling him with energy
"music's" should be "music"
Hello! Here for your review league prize.

I'm really intrigued by the premise of this fic, a sort of fantasy epic Pokemon story (maaaaybe with some modern technology? Based on the pokeballs and hearing aids, also the timeframe). It's clear you've put a lot of work into the worldbuilding for this fic: the history, the culture, everything has been paid attention to. It does sometimes feel a little too much like a non-Pokemon/original fic, but I say that as a person who also struggles to make my stuff feel like a Pokemon fic sometimes.

As far as critiques go, I feel like there's a lot of telling? Like a lot of James thinking "I feel angry, I want to meet this Lord" and so on. This isn't to say that you can never tell over show; I think in some cases it's better to tell not show. But the way telling is used here feels a but clunky. My guess is it's because it's in internal thoughts/monologue, when it feels like it should be in narration, maybe? Granted, people's internal narration irl is different from person to person, but it doesn't feel right here, in the sense that it feels less like the character's monologue to themself and more the writer needing to convey character motivation.

As an example, here's how I would have written something like this (not as a "this is how it should be done", but more "this is my thought process for why I think this isn't working for me personally".

My other biggest critique is that the spoiler tags for images/worldbuilding would probably work better in the author's notes, either before or after each chapter. As it stands, they can sort of break the flow of the prose. You could also make an encyclopedia of the world information and I would probably eat that up. I love me some worldbuilding with no plot.

"music's" should be "music"
Thank you for the review! I appreciate it.
I’ve been constructing this world since 2016, so I’m glad it looks like a lot of work has gone into it.

I definitely get what you mean, it’s hard to know how much focus on Pokémon to have in these chapters, but then again, my chapters are very short, so hopefully some of the later ones have a better balance.

The technology is more or less a tech tree in which they took different paths to the outside world. For Example they don’t have cars, but they have the ability to record someone’s last moments via a device (holo projector) which detects their pulse.

Regarding the thought, that’s so trippy. I based it off my own internal monologue, so that surprises me that others don’t think that way, haha. I’ll see what I can do to make it better flowing, and more like other written thought.

I’ll fix it in my next edit sweep (probably tomorrow or Tuesday).

I would absolutely love to post all the history and world building somewhere, but I don’t know where to post it. Workshop or Blogs?

Again, thank you for your time.
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