• Hey Trainers! Be sure to check out Corsola Beach, our newest section on the forums, in partnership with our friends at Corsola Cove! At the Beach, you can discuss the competitive side of the games, post your favorite Pokemon memes, and connect with other Pokemon creators!
  • Due to the recent changes with Twitter's API, it is no longer possible for Bulbagarden forum users to login via their Twitter account. If you signed up to Bulbagarden via Twitter and do not have another way to login, please contact us here with your Twitter username so that we can get you sorted.

TEEN: The Glaceon and the Shadow


Duke of Internet
May 2, 2010
Reaction score
Chapter One: Boreas

Larissa dragged her little brother's bloody, unconscious body out from under the burning rubble, grateful to find he was still breathing. With a massive crash and a wave of red-hot heat another part of the roof collapsed just next to Larissa, showering her in splinters of wood. She caught Proteus and Neso just standing there, gaping at their sister. “RUN!” she yelled. “Run if you don't want to end up like mum and dad!”

For once in their lives, the two Cyndaquils obeyed Larissa, who sprinted after them holding the unconscious Triton by the scruff of the neck, her side full of little bleeding wounds from the splinters. She ignored the pain as she ignored the far worse pain in her mind of seeing her parents die. She couldn't even think of stopping; it'd mean the end of all four of them.

An inferno raged in the dining room ahead, blocking the rear door and trapping them inside. The heat made the moisture in Larissa's eyes and mouth boil. “There's no way out of here, 'Rissa!” squeaked Neso.

“This way!” she yelled, jumping through a hole in one of the collapsing walls. “We can get out through my bedroom window!”

The heat was terrible; she would certainly not have survived this long if she wasn't a Quilava, but that didn't make her immune to fire and heat. With a sound like a giant's roar, the corridor collapsed behind them. Larissa burst through the smouldering door, finding her bedroom alight too, all her possessions turning to ash. But some luck at last: the window had shattered from the heat. She didn't lose any time and chucked Triton straight through, then roughly picked up and threw Neso too, despite his protests. Something exploded, and at the same moment a deafening shockwave filled her mind and something else hit one of her rear legs and snapped it like a twig. She saw Proteus scream her name, but couldn't hear him, her ears buzzing and her mind flooded with pain. She grabbed her little brother by the scruff of the neck and threw him too, then almost collapsed as everything began to go black.

She bit her tongue hard, drawing blood but preventing herself from blacking out. She climbed up into the windowsill with three legs, the fourth dangling uselessly. There were glass shards, but as she stepped in one she found it was half molten and no longer sharp, although hot enough to burn her. She half leapt, half fell out of the window, and the somewhat cooler air outside slightly soothed her wounds. Neso and Proteus crowded around her in panic.

“What do we do?!” Neso cried.

“I want mummy!” Proteus snivelled.

“Keep running!” Larissa snapped, as one of the town's towers collapsed, shaking the ground. “Don't stop running until we're far away! If I fall behind, keep running and find someone you recognise when you've left Diamarina!”

But at that moment, seven pokémon rushed around the corner, part of the mysterious army destroying the once beautiful town. Larissa let Triton go and faced the seven brutes. “Run,” she hissed. “Take Triton with you and find an adult when you're out of Diamarina.”


“NOW!” She spit a ray of fire at the enemy, but the Swampert effortlessly intercepted it with a blob of mud. Larissa could hear her brothers run behind her. All she had to do was buy them some time.

But disaster struck: with a massive rumble, the house of their neighbours collapsed onto the road behind her. She turned around in shock, but to her immense relief her brothers were fine. The rubble was piled up high in the street, as unclimbable as the steep walls of rock that surrounded the valley.

The Hariyama laughed. “No way to run now, missy.”

“Fine by me,” Larissa spat, “but let my brothers go. They're just children!”

The Hariyama looked uncomfortable and seemed about to say something, but the Weavile behind it pushed it out of the way. “Lubyanka said no witnesses,” she told the others. “If they're old enough to hatch from their eggs, they're old enough to tell the tale.”

Larissa growled fiercely, her back-flame blazing threateningly. “Stay away from my brothers or I'll kill you all!”

“You?” laughed the Weavile. “You're barely more than a kid yourself.”

“I don't care,” Larissa growled, “I'll tear you limb from limb if you dare hurt them.”

“Come on, we'll kill her first, and then the Cyndaquils.”

“You know, I really don't think you want to do that,” said a calm, cheerful, voice with an odd accent. The seven pokémon turned around in surprise.

A somewhat scruffy Glaceon stood behind them, smiling as if pandemonium didn't rule around him and he hadn't just come across seven pokémon planning to murder children. He seemed perfectly at ease.

The Weavile scoffed. “And why wouldn't we?”

Still the same smile on the Glaceon's blue face. “Because if you do, I'll stop you, and I expect most of you won't survive.”

The seven pokémon between them shook with laughter. The Weavile was the first to recover. “Brave words, but you're outnumbered seven to one. Seven to two if you count the waif.”

“So any survivors will have to deal with crippling embarrassment,” said the fox, still pleasantly. “I'm afraid that does tend to happen.”

“Who are you?” said the Weavile, sounding less amused.

“My name is Boreas.”

“Never heard of you,” sneered the Weavile.

“Obviously. If you had, you'd hardly be standing there waiting to get hurt.”

“You're an awfully arrogant one,” said the Weavile snidely. “You don't stand a chance against the seven of us.”

Boreas' pleasant tone was beginning to annoy Larissa. “You know, I met Ramson the dread pirate president once, and that's just what he said to me. Ever heard of him? Well, I suppose you wouldn't have; as I said, I met him once. Anyway, back to business. Surrender and I'll spare you.”

The Weavile yawned. “Kill him.”

Larissa sprang into action, spitting fire at the back of the Weavile. Meanwhile, she could barely see what was going on with the Glaceon. All seven pokémon attacked him and she saw him nimbly dodge a series of attacks, and parry two more by waving his paw and using some kind of pulse. Then he counterattacked: a beam of ice flew, but was way off target and hit the still burning house Larissa had lived in all her life. More attacks began to fly his way, but were interrupted by a loud creaking and rumbling noise as it began to rain stones and burning wood on the enemy. Larissa jumped back and pushed her brothers as far back as she could. The seven attackers screamed as the house's façade fell towards them, crumbling as it did so. They tried to run from the entire building collapsing on top of them, but were too slow and disappeared under a huge heap of smouldering rubble that fell just a little in front of Larissa's feet, trapping her and her brothers between two piles of burning debris.

A frigid wind as if winter had come early stuck up and extinguished the flames on the ruined pile that used to be Larissa's house. The Glaceon calmly walked over it and offered his paw to help her. “All of you alright?”

“Y-yeah,” Larissa stammered against her will, helping her brothers climb up. “Did you know that was going to happen?”

He smiled smugly. Larissa noticed two scars on his face: one crossing his right eyebrow and almost hitting the piercing, cyan eye, and the other on the left edge of his face. “Well, I knew something like it would happen if I snap-froze that piece of wood.”

“That was so cool!” gasped Neso.

“Hold on!” said Larissa angrily as they reached the other side of the rubble. “You mean you didn't actually know my brothers wouldn't be crushed too?”

He gave her a grin she was quite sure he thought was fetching. “I wasn't certain. But that was unlikely, and these things have a way of working out.”

“Working out?!” Larissa snapped. “You could've killed my brothers!”

“Well, the fact is, I didn't. I saved them, and you, in fact. Something for which you might consider some gratitude.”


“My name is Boreas, by the way.”

“I know who you are, you already said that.”

Boreas sighed. “Yes, I was merely wondering whether you have a name too.”


“A pleasure to meet you, Larissa. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lot more lives to save. Go west, to the plateau there. There shouldn't be any more of these creeps in your way.” He ran off east, towards the centre of town, and Larissa noticed the tip of his tail was missing.

“I'm Neso, mister!” Neso called after him, but he was already gone. “Aww... C'mon, 'Rissa, we have to follow him.”

“No we don't,” said Larissa. “We have to get out of town, and the plateau would indeed be the best way.”

“But he's so-”

“Come,” she said in a voice not allowing contradiction. “This way'll be the quickest. Stay close to me.”

Putting the only semi-conscious Triton on her back, Larissa guided her brothers through the streets quickly, making sure to avoid everyone. Her heart was alight with rage and despair. If she was on her own, she'd try to avenge her parents and the rest of the town, though she knew she'd be no match for most of the enemy. But that was out of the question; she couldn't abandon her brothers. As she ran, blackness started to creep up on the outside of her vision, slowly giving her tunnel vision and making her feel very light in the head. She was losing a lot of blood, so she had to force herself to keep going, past burning buildings, ruined heaps of rubble, and the occasional corpse.

A sudden, heavy impact threw her over, and voices shouted things she couldn't understand because of the buzzing in her ears. She felt her consciousness drift away, but forced it to stay with her and dug her claws into whomever was pressing her down. She struggled to turn and spit fire into its face, but with another great thump she fell asleep.

As she woke up, Larissa began to struggle again, but found herself held by four arms far stronger than her. She fought against them as hard as she could anyway. She ignited her back-flame, but the powerful pokémon was holding her far enough away from itself that it didn't get burnt.

“She's not giving up, this one,” rumbled a voice behind her, that she supposed was a Machamp. As her vision cleared up, she saw all three of her brothers ensnared by a Tangela, squealing in terror.

“Don't kill them!” she yelled. “If you dare hurt them, I'll...”

“You'll what?” grunted the deep voice.

“I'll... I'll... Look, they're only children! Please, if there's anything remotely decent in you, don't kill them.”

The Tangela and the Machamp looked at each other unsurely. “Lubyanka said 'no witnesses'...” said Machamp.

“So what?!” Larissa snapped, capitalising on their obvious doubt. “What are you, mindless lackeys? You know how wrong it would be to kill them! What kind of pokémon would murder children?”

Tangela spoke for the first time, in a whispery voice. “I suppose they wouldn't be witnesses if we took them captive.”

The Machamp grunted in agreement. “What about this one?”

“Break her neck.”

“But Larry, she's barely more than a kid too.”

Larry made an annoyed noise. “Fine, we'll make it four prisoners. Better hope she's in a good mood today...”

Larissa doubted this Lubyanka would let them live, if she was the person who had ordered this monstrous attack in the first place, but at least she had bought them all some time.

As she was carried through the remnants of Diamarina, Larissa tried to keep struggling, but it was like trying to lift up the mountains that surrounded the valley themselves, and she was soon very sore and exhausted. They reached town square, where the devastation of the town really became obvious. The square was littered with the bodies of those who had tried to defend them all against the invaders, and all the buildings here had been destroyed. Even the tower was half collapsed and on fire, and Larissa felt even more depressed realising what that meant.

A Swellow was talking to a Luxray in a rapid patter voice in the middle of the square. The two were guarded by two Archeopses. Larissa's captors approached the group, but waited. When the Swellow had finished talking, the Luxray gave a few instructions. The bird launched and flew off to the south like a lightning bolt. The Luxray turned to face Larissa's captors with an expression of cool distaste on her well-shaped face. Larissa felt the Machamp slightly stiffen with fear. “What is this?” she asked.

“Captives, Lubyanka,” said the Machamp a little quivery.

Lubyanka smiled, but her dark eyes only grew colder. “Captives?” she said with mocking elation. “I'm so glad I've got creative geniuses like you to brighten my day with a surprise! However did you think of it? Especially,” she concluded snappily, “since I ordered you to kill everyone. No witnesses.”

“They're only kids...”

Lubyanka again displayed the mocking smile and sarcasm. “Oh, I see, I see, and that naturally means that, like all kids, they're blind amnesiacs; clearly they're no danger if they survive.”

“W-we just thought that if we captured them instead they couldn't tell anyone either...”

“You did, did you? And naturally, you also though of how we're going to drag them all the way back to base. You've already got a supply of food and water ready to feed them for presumably the rest of their lives. You've got ways to ensure they don't end up escaping and telling everyone what they saw. It's good I have people with such foresight and intelligence to interpret my orders for me.”

“But Lubyanka-”

“'But Lubyanka',” she repeated in a low, dumb voice. “Kill. Everyone. In. Town. Is that really too hard for your pea of a brain to understand?”

Larissa couldn't hold in her fury. “You evil bitch!” she yelled. “Almost a thousand pokémon lived in this town, and we'd done nothing to you! You're sitting in the middle of a pile of corpses, you nut! Do you have an- AAAA-AA-A-A-A-A-A-A-AAAA—AAARGH!” she was interrupted by an agonising electric shock that made every muscle in her body cramp and burn. Meanwhile the Machamp who also received the same shock just about tore her in two in his spasms. The shock finally relented, leaving Larissa in pain.

“I don't remember asking you anything,” said Lubyanka pleasantly. “Anyway, if the two of you don't have the guts to kill this lot, I'll just fry their brains myself right now.”

“I'm afraid I can't let you do that,” said a very familiar voice behind Larissa smoothly. She heard sounds of some kind of struggle, and then she was dropped as the Machamp joined whatever was going on. She jumped to her feet to fight, but was floored by another shock instantly. By the time she recovered enough to turn around and see what was going on, the fighting had stopped. The same Glaceon as before stood amid four defeated pokémon, including Machamp and Tangela. Triton, Proteus, and Neso were paralysed by a shock too, however.

“Who are you?” Lubyanka snapped.

“My name is Boreas,” he said, somewhat dramatically, “and I'm here to stop you.”

Lubyanka mainly looked annoyed. “Your accent. You're not from Fontoura, are you?”

Boreas smirked. “Obviously. If I was, maniacs like you wouldn't be around any more.”

She rolled her eyes in exaggerated fashion. “That's enough banter. Say your piece, if you have anything but idle boasts.”

“Sure, let's get right to business. I'm here to give you a chance to surrender, and to warn you you and most of your thugs will die if you don't.” Larissa was beginning to get a little fed up with the Glaceon's overconfidence and his cocky smile.

“And how are you going to do that to us?” Lubyanka sneered. “I've got two hundred pokémon busy conquering this town. Do you really think you can handle my army on your own?”

A small chuckle from Boreas. “Of course not, that would be silly. But I'm not on my own. I'm married, you see.”

“How nice for you. Tell me where your wife is, and I'll send her my condolences.”

Boreas' smile turned into a sly grin. “She's just up on that mountain, as a matter of fact. Did you know there's a river there? It's got a lot of water in it too, at this time of year. Which is good, considering my dear wifey has rather a lot of affinity with water. Well, she's a Vaporeon, I suppose that's to be expected. Anyway-”

“Is this going anywhere?” Lubyanka snapped. “You're just playing for time, aren't you?”

“No, I'm not.”

Lubyanka sighed in annoyance. “Then tell me what you think two can do against two hundred, or shut up.”

“I was just getting to that, maybe you could just listen for a minute, because all I want to do is accept your surrender and stop talking to you. You see, lovely Aqua isn't on that mountain for her health, she's been changing the flow of that river. Easy enough for a Vaporeon, especially in a mountainous place as this. Meanwhile, I've been rescuing your victims and telling them to gather at the plateau in the west of the valley, and taking out the thugs that were in their way.”

Lubyanka's expression slowly changed from boredom and annoyance to fear as Boreas talked. “You're bluffing! Word about your meddling would've reached me.”

Boreas grinned. “Perhaps. Unless the Swellows you use to communicate happened to meet up with, say, a beam of ice or a very localised, but very powerful storm.”

“So that's why so few of them were coming!”

“I'm afraid so. By now, the survivors will be safe on the plateau, while you and your goons are still in town. Meanwhile, the river is only held back from crashing right over the precipice's edge and washing the remnants of this town and everyone in it away by THAT rock!” he dramatically pointed to a rock on the edge of the huge wall of rock that was the mountainside towering over Diamarina. “I can dislodge it with a single ice beam and drown you and your army.”

“A-and yourself and these four!”

“Don't you worry about me, I've got a plan to survive. Better worry about yourself, Lubyanka. You will surrender, and answer all my questions-”

“I won't,” snapped Lubyanka. “I'd be killed by the Shadow anyway if I did!”

“So you're working for someone else. Thanks, that was my first question.”

“I- You- Oh, it doesn't matter anyway!” Lubyanka yelled. “That rock isn't holding back a river, and you couldn't knock it away with an ice beam if you tried! You're just playing for time!”

Boreas chuckled nervously. “Okay, you got me, I made the stuff about the rock up, and I really am just trying to keep you talking until it happens.”

Lubyanka growled and sparks began to dance through her luxurious fur. “Until what happens?”

“I just told you,” he said matter-of-factly, “until Aqua makes the river flood over that edge and turn this valley into quite a lovely lake with you at the bottom.”

“That was just a bluff, you admitted it!”

Now it was Boreas' turn to sigh and roll his eyes. “You really are almost as stupid as you are evil, aren't you? I only made the bit about the rock up; that river really is coming down unless I give Aqua the signal that you've surrendered.”

Larissa pictured a torrent of water falling down almost a kilometre to drown them all and shuddered. Lubyanka looked almost as frightened. “What's the signal?”

“I don't know. We didn't have much time to talk the plan through and we sort of skimmed over that detail.”

“But-” began Lubyanka.

“You're insane!” Larissa yelled. “We're still here, in the name of Ho-Oh's liver! You'll drown us-”

With a terrifying roar like an erupting volcano, the river came over the edge of the precipice, dragging whole rocks with it into the abyss. The mighty waterfall fell as if in slow-motion, inexorably on its way to destroy what remained of the town. “Here it comes,” said Boreas to Lubyanka with a mad grin. “Run for your life!”

“I'll get you for this!” yelled Lubyanka as she fled from the oncoming water.

“Is that a promise?”

Larissa rushed for her brothers to pick them up and flee too.

The Glaceon turned to Larissa. “Stay close to me, you'll be safe.”

“Safe? You're flooding the valley and we're fire-types! None of us can swim!”

Boreas was gathering planks and other wooden rubble. “That's why I'm building a boat. Help me gather this stuff.”

Larissa decided to help him, pulling planks from the collapsed post office. Her brothers were about to help too, but she told them to stick together at the boat instead. A rumble like a thunderclap echoed through the valley as the water hit the ground. “We'll never finish it in time! It's a pile of trash, not a boat!”

“It'll float either way. Get your brothers in!” As Larissa rushed the three Cyndaquils to the 'boat', Boreas ran his paws over the wood, emitting some kind of frigid, creaking pulse of cold from them that froze the pieces of wood together. Larissa threw her brothers into the makeshift boat.

“It's really cold!” squealed Neso. Larissa's reply was drowned out by the roar of the wall of water, mud, and debris coming their way. Jumping into the boat, she felt a painful sting of cold on all four paws.

“Sit down, or you'll tip the boat!” said Boreas, who was still freezing more to it.

“Easy enough for you to say, snowman; I don't want to freeze my bum off!” Yet she knew he was right and gnashed her teeth in pain as she sat down on the frozen wood.

The burnt-out wreck of the tower was thrown over by the great wave, and a split second later the water reached the five in the boat. The impact knocked all the air out of Larissa, and then they were underwater, the horrible, cold stuff all around her. Bits of wood and stone were shot around in the powerful currents and hit Larissa, battering and stabbing her. Then, just as suddenly as the water had come, they broke the surface, being swept away in the great wave. The raft was constantly breaking apart and Boreas trying to freeze it back together as they swept through the eastern parts of town.

With a great crack and a squeal from Triton, the boat sundered and the little Cyndaquil fell in the speedily flowing water. Larissa cursed and jumped right after him. She reached out in the roiling black pain that was the water, and found a struggling, shrew-like form. She pulled it towards her and held him close to her as she was pelted by debris on all sides. She was spinning in the horrid muck, and had no idea what way the surface was, nor any way to fight the chaotic currents and swim back there. She held her breath and curled up around Triton as much as she could, hoping to shield them both.

There was a great tumbling, an impact that nearly broke her back, and then there was air and light. Larissa gasped and found herself washed up on the hillside that once overlooked the town. Triton coughed up water, and they both lay there panting for breath. A few others were washed up too.

“Survived, did you?” said a nasty voice. Lubyanka, her manes drenched, was looking furious. But not at Larissa.

“Told you,” Boreas grinned. To her relief, Larissa saw Neso and Proteus crawling out of the remnants of the boat, towards her. “How many of your thugs can say the same?”

“Enough to get rid of you once and for all!” Lubyanka yelled. “You lot! Get up and kill the bastard!”

Four washed up pokémon managed to stand up. Larissa tried to get up too, to fight with Boreas, but the water and her wounds had finally taken their toll. She simply didn't have the energy. She could only watch as a rapid battle between Boreas and Lubyanka ensued. Electricity and ice beams flashed back and forth. Boreas parried the Luxray's attacks by waving a paw and unleashing some kind of shockwave of air. But the other thugs were beginning to join the battle.

Larissa was very cold, and growing ever colder. Just when she was beginning to get very worried, she noticed the water actually freezing and an ice-cold wind blowing harder and harder. It grew in strength and became a ferocious tornado of snow and ice centred on Boreas, who was as good as invisible. A Rhydon charged at him, but just ran through an empty cloud of snow. Out of nowhere, Boreas jumped onto its back and unleashed a disabling pulse of cold through its body. As he jumped off, he took down a swooping Swellow with an ice beam.

When Lubyanka shot a lightning bolt at Boreas and a Sceptile a solar beam, he didn't dodge them: instead he froze his fur into a brightly reflective mirror coat. When the two attacks hit him, he was knocked back, but they also reflected: the solar beam hitting Lubyanka full on while the lightning took down the Sceptile. But he hadn't seen the Hitmonlee running up from behind him, its long legs ready to strike, and laughed. “Is this really going to be that easy?”

Before Larissa could shout a warning, a blast of water came from behind her and knocked the fighting-type away. “Forgot to watch your back, as usual?” said a pleasant voice. A beautiful Vaporeon was swimming in the wild lake.

“Him?” lied Boreas. “I knew he was coming. I was about to freeze his legs to the floor and make him trip when you interfered, in fact.”

“Sure, sure.” The Vaporeon walked onto the new shore, shaking out her fur.

Larissa had propped herself up by now, shivering in the water. “You're both mad. What if there were still survivors in town? You just killed them if you missed any! And even if you got them all, what if you had misdirected the river and made it flow onto the western plateau instead?”

Boreas rolled his eyes. “You must be the life of parties with such a cheerful nature. Yes, long winter evenings must just fly with you around. Oh, introductions: this is Aqua, my wife. Aqua, this is Larissa, an ungrateful grouch whose life I saved thrice today.”

“You two are responsible for the flood in the first place, that one doesn't count,” Larissa snapped.

“How do you do?” said Aqua with a pearly smile as she shook Larissa's paw. “Don't mind my husband, he gets a little grumpy when someone doesn't think he's the greatest thing that ever happened to them.”

“I don't- Hold on, where'd Lubyanka go?”

The other four pokémon Boreas and Aqua had defeated were still lying on the new lake's shore, but the Luxray herself had vanished.

This is a sequel to my previous story, The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova, but it's not necessary to have read it for this one. Anyway, let me know what you think.
Last edited by a moderator:
YESSSS BOREAS!!! I'll have you know, I logged in just to comment on this story --and it's great to see that you're continuing The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova. That was one of my favorite stories on here for many months. You have a great start going here. I'm not sure of the location (seems to be an original one), but it's good to see a mix of characters and a mysterious villainous figure. Good luck! I'll be checking in!
YEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!! Great to seeanother fanfic from you (and a sequel to The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova) but I have mixed feelings about it at the moment... But then again I had mixed feelings about you're other fanfic- which I still think is the best fanfic ever- when I started reading it too so I think I'll love this one by the time it's done, now HURRY UP WITH THE NEXT CHAPTER!!!!! :)

Also, I intend on writing a fanfic of my own and was wondering if I could use the same universe as or some of the characters from The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova... May I?
Last edited:
YESSSS BOREAS!!! I'll have you know, I logged in just to comment on this story --and it's great to see that you're continuing The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova. That was one of my favorite stories on here for many months. You have a great start going here. I'm not sure of the location (seems to be an original one), but it's good to see a mix of characters and a mysterious villainous figure. Good luck! I'll be checking in!

Fantastic, welcome back. It is indeed an original location called Fournaria. We'll find out a little more about it in the next chapter.

YEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!! Great to seeanother fanfic from you (and a sequel to The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova) but I have mixed feelings about it at the moment... But then again I had mixed feelings about you're other fanfic- which I still think is the best fanfic ever- when I started reading it too so I think I'll love this one by the time it's done, now HURRY UP WITH THE NEXT CHAPTER!!!!! :)

I'm sorry to hear your feelings are mixed; please tell me what the negative things that are making them so mixed are. After all, I can't improve things in future chapters if I don't know what issues there are.

Also, I intend on writing a fanfic of my own and was wondering if I could use the same universe as or some of the characters from The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova... May I?

Well, it depends a little. I would prefer you don't use any of my characters, but setting it in the same universe would probably be fine. Something set after it, where the events of the Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova are backstory, would certainly be okay; while I'd be a little more hesitant towards something set during the story.

Chapter Two: Springtime

Larissa looked out over the lake that had once been her home and felt incredibly miserable and alone. Even worse than the random destruction of everything she had ever known was the knowledge her parents were at the bottom of the lake, their collapsed house now a watery tomb. Neso, Triton, and Proteus were in her arms, bawling loudly. Larissa herself felt like a waterballoon filled with tears, ready to explode at any moment, yet to her surprise she was able to keep them in. She knew she couldn't cry, even if she'd lost everything. She was the only person her brothers had left, so she certainly wouldn't show her agony to them. If she acted like she was fine, they might at least retain some hope. With the greatest effort, she managed to shut the grief away behind a steel door of resolve in her mind.

I will be strong, she promised herself. No-one else will die. Justice will come to the ones who did this. Nothing will stop me.

She repeated it in her mind, over and over, and every time, it felt more true. It was remarkably easy to make herself feel nothing except righteous anger. Anger was much better than grief. Anger would make her strong. She calmly pushed her brothers off, leaving them crying at the shore so she could go talk to Boreas and Aqua. They had been questioning the pokémon they had beaten, who were now locked up in some kind of igloo on the rocky new beach.

“Did they tell you anything?” she asked the Eevees, interrupting a quiet conversation.

“Not much, I'm afraid...” said Boreas glumly. “They- Oh, I'm so sorry, I hadn't realised you were wounded.”

“Huh?” Larissa looked at her own body, and noticed her fur was quite bloody on one side. And of course, her leg was still broken. “Don't worry about it, it's not as bad as it looks.”

“It's bad enough,” said Aqua, examining the leg. “Why didn't you say anything? That's got to be agonising.”

“Yes, it is, but we've got more important things to-”

“Nonsense,” said Aqua, “I should've had a look at you right away. I think most of the splinter wounds can be healed with aqua ring. That leg will need a cast, though.”

“I'll get a stick, love,” said Boreas, going for a small forest on the hillside.

“As for you,” said Aqua, “this is going to be a little odd, but don't be worried; you can breathe it.”

“Breathe wha- blurblurb!” She struggled for a moment, as she was suddenly suspended in a blob of water that remained centred on her despite gravity. But the water was clear, not dark and muddy like the flood, and felt pleasant on her skin and soothed her wounds. Remembering Aqua's words, she took a tiny, tentative breath and discovered she was somehow not drowning. In fact, as she took in a lungful of the water, she felt a comfy warmth spread inside her. The blood was being washed out of her fur, yet the water remaining perfectly clear. When the water suddenly dissolved into the air around a few minutes later, Larissa felt quite wonderful, and most of her wounds had closed, or at least shrunk.

Aqua smiled a charming smile at Larissa's bewilderment. “Feeling better?”

“Y-yeah, much.”

“Good. Now, just sit down and let your leg rest. Boreas will be back in a moment.”

“Then tell me: what have you found out from that lot?” she indicated the igloo.

Aqua's brow furrowed. “Not as much as I'd liked. They all claim to have been recruited
only recently, and that they have never been to their headquarters. They don't know much about their master either. He's apparently quite a mysterious one. Only two of them ever saw him, but one of them described an Ampharos and the other a Houndoom. They don't even know why they attacked you: they just say they were following orders. Ah, here's Boreas.”

“Yes, here I am,” Boreas grinned. “And look what I found washed up:” in addition to a straight stick the size of Larissa's leg, he had a thick piece of rope torn at one end around his neck. “Probably held someone's roof together; now it'll hold your leg together instead. By the way, I saw tracks in the ground over there; not sure, but they look like a Luxray's.”

“I'll check them out,” said Aqua, leaving for the forest.

“They're next to a bunch of birches!” Boreas sat down and laid the stick and rope next to Larissa's leg. “Alright, I'm going to have to set your bones back in place. That's going to sting a little.”

As it happened, it was actually quite a lot more painful than anything Larissa had ever experienced before. But at least it was over soon. As Boreas made the stick into a cast, Larissa gritted her teeth against the pain of every careful touch of the stick and rope and turned her attention to other things. “What are- gah! - you going to do with that lot?” She pointed to the igloo prison again.

Boreas shrugged. “Probably let you and the other survivors take them back to civilisation. If you have any place you can go.”

“Capinha is four days walking from here, about halfway to the capital. We'll be safe, and they can go on trial there.”

“Good. Meanwhile, the wifey and I will track down Lubyanka and her mysterious master. If this 'Shadow' is a single person at all; I'm not convinced there aren't multiple ones. In any case-”

Larissa interrupted. “Hadn't you better come with us to the capital? I'll bet there will be more trouble on the way, considering how firebrand Lubyanka was about not leaving witnesses.”

“If there is, it will be all the better if we find and defeat this 'Shadow' soon.”

“Fat lot of good that'll do us if we're already dead,” said Larissa.

“Well, sure, there is a chance of that,” Boreas sounded annoyed. “But if you're lucky, you shouldn't encounter-”

“Take a look at my town, snowman,” Larissa said coldly. “Do we look lucky to you?”

Boreas sighed. “You're an awfully pessimistic young lady. Have you considered-”

“Have you considered that if you don't protect us, there's a good chance the blood of however many of us survived will be on your hands? In addition to those who didn't get out of town in time and drowned, of course.”

The Glaceon frowned at her. “They would've been killed by the enemy if we hadn't done anything. I tried my very best to get everyone out in time. There, your leg is as immobile as I can get it.”

“I know,” said Larissa, carefully exploring how standing up felt now. “and I'm not blaming either of you for their deaths. But you're the only ones we have that can protect us. Everyone with any fighting skill died fighting off the army in their initial attack. I'm probably one of the strongest survivors, and I have never been in a fight before today. I'm all for catching these creeps, in fact I plan to join you, but first the survivors need to be safe. It's your duty to protect us.”

Boreas laughed. “Duty? Do you really think I care about your 'duty'?”

“I don't care what you care about, mr. rebel-without-a-cause. If you don't escort us and I make it to the capital, I'll make sure the constables don't just go after this murderous army of thugs, but also after you, because you'll be guilty of criminal negligence.”

“I'm quaking with fear. Good luck getting to safety.”

As Boreas turned around, Larissa yelled: “Stop! I'm not having anyone else die just because you can't be bothered to help them! If you don't come with us willingly, I'll citizen's arrest you myself and take you with us as a prisoner.”

Boreas just laughed arrogantly and kept walking.

Larissa spit a few flames as a warning. They passed just between his ears, over his scruffy blue hair. “I mean it.”

Boreas stopped and slowly looked around. “Are you aware,” he asked calmly, but with a threat in his voice, “that I'm a powerful and very skilled adventurer who's taken down countless foes?”

Larissa met his gaze with contempt. “More or less.”

“And are you aware that you are barely even an adult, have never been in a fight, and haven't fully evolved yet?”


“And of course you know that, even with the use of your fire, you could do little more than mildly inconvenience me, while I wouldn't even break a sweat to cool down your brain far below freezing and kill you in an instant.”


“So maybe you'd like to retract those hastily chosen words and that warning shot?”

Larissa still met his eyes unblinkingly. “No. If you take one more step, I will fight you.”

Boreas' face remained stony for a second, then he broke out in laughter. “I like your spirit. You're a very brave one, though you really should learn when to fold 'em. But I'm still going to track down and find Lubyanka and her master. Feel free to attack me, but as you saw, I'm rather good at dodging and parrying, so there's not that much point.”

“Attack you?” Aqua, returning from the trees, interjected. “Why is she going to attack you?”

“Because I refuse to be her personal bodyguard.”

“It's not my life I'm concerned with!” Larissa growled. “If that's all that was at stake, I'd make the journey on my own, or join you to track these bastards down. But I'm also responsible for the lives of my brothers, and those of all other survivors, and unlike you, I do take responsibility.”

Aqua was going to say something, but Boreas got in first: “Are you calling me irresponsible?”

“You're acting irresponsible. If you-”

“Enough!” said Aqua sharply.

“Thanks, love, I-”

Both of you. Larissa is right, you know; we're the best chance those people have, so we should protect them.”

“They'll be fine,” Boreas muttered, “but if we don't follow Lubyanka, we might never track down her master.”

“The tracks were a Persian's, and fairly old too, so we don't have any leads anyway.”

Boreas sighed. “Fine...”

Larissa thanked Aqua quickly and went back to the waterside, limping oddly with her right rear leg supported by the branch. Triton, Proteus, and Neso where quietly looking over the water now, no longer crying. “Come, boys, we're going to Capinha, and Boreas and Aqua will protect us.”

They looked at her with eyes red with tears. “But mummy and daddy,” Triton snivelled.

“They're dead, and staying here won't change anything about it,” Larissa said coldly as she once again imagined the steel door shutting away her grief.

“But our home, and school, and-”

“It's probably all gone. Some pokémon we knew may have survived. We'll get them first. Follow me.”

They walked through rough valleys between tall peaks, going further west and south, following the river's course. Until that morning, the river had fallen down into the valley with a great waterfall only a few kilometres downstream from Diamarina, so its course had barely changed. The weather was warm and sunny, and trees were blossoming everywhere.

It had only been a few hours, and Boreas was already bored guarding the forty survivors of Diamarina. They were from all kinds of different species; all of them very young or very old since the adults had died trying to fight off the attackers. He wished he was tracking them down right now instead of being stuck escorting; though he knew it probably was the right thing to do. It wasn't just boring, but also felt like a funeral progression. So many children who had lost their parents and parents who had lost their children were thoroughly depressing to be around, the air thick with grief despite the lovely flowers everywhere in the valleys. He didn't even have Aqua to talk to, as she was scouting ahead to ensure no ambushes were waiting for them.

Boreas would much, much rather be tracking down and defeating the mysterious Shadow. After all, it was the kind of thing his considerable intellect was best suited to. Ever since he had defeated Team Plasma in his homeland of Unova, six years ago, his skill and wit had only increased, as evidence by the countless foes he had destroyed and lives he had saved.

Perhaps, he thought, instead of wasting my time on narcissism, I could find out as much as I can while I'm stuck escorting anyway.

He sped up a bit to get next to Larissa, walking at the front. Two of her brothers had been sitting on her back for over an hour, and though she was obviously tired she was trying to hide it and kept a brisk pace on three legs through the valleys. “How are you doing?” he began, trying to get some dialogue started between them.

“Well enough.”

“I don't believe you,” he said, kindly. “You're keeping up a strong appearance, but you must've lost someone.”

“My parents,” she said coolly, but with a flash of pain in her eyes, “as well as my best friend and several others. It's to be expected, as only four percent of us survived; I'm lucky Triton, Proteus, and Neso are among them.”

“My parents died when I was just a cub,” Boreas began. “They-”

“I'm sorry for your loss,” Larissa interrupted, “but talking of the dead is no help to us now. Better keep your eyes open for enemies instead and protect the living.”

Boreas grunted in annoyance. The girl's constantly serious and grumpy demeanour was beginning to grate on him. “Fine, let me get straight to the point. Do you have any idea why they attacked? It's vital that I find out.”

Larissa shrugged. “Not a clue.”

“Did your town have anything valuable to outsiders? Is it on any kind of important path? Are there any resources nearby?”

Larissa just shook her head at all of them.

“Did anyone live in your town, anyone at all, that they might have come for? Someone with powerful enemies, perhaps, or someone they would have wanted to capture for some reason? Someone powerful or influential?”

After a moment's thought, Larissa replied: “Well, there was Mewtwo.”

Boreas chuckled. “And here I was thinking you had no sense of humour.”

“I'm not joking.”

“Sure, sure. Who was its neighbour, Arceus?”

“Well, don't believe me, then!” she snarled.

Boreas rolled his eyes. “Do you really expect me to believe Mewtwo was living in your town? Big purple catlike thing with enormous psychic powers?”

Larissa nodded. “That's the one. A single one of them lived in the tower near the town square.”

“There is only one, if it really was Mewtwo, which I doubt. Mewtwo is a unique clone of the legendary pokémon Mew a group of human scientists from Kanto made.”

Larissa looked curious. “I've never heard of that pokémon. Another rare one?”

“You don't seem to know much about legendary pokémon at all. Mew is an ancient-”

“Not Mew, I know what Mew is. I meant Human. What type is it?”

Boreas stared blankly at her, wondering if she was joking after all. But she looked completely serious. “You mean you've never heard of humans before?”

“We didn't cover them in school,” she said defensively, “and I've never been far away from Diamarina before.”

Boreas grinned. “Well, well, the legendary continent where only pokémon live! Aqua will be so happy. So it's called Fournaria, is it? You must tell me all about it- But anyway, humans are a kind of bald ape that walks on two legs and- you mean you really haven't heard of them?”

Larissa rolled her eyes and stared at him with annoyance.

“So your town was built entirely by pokémon?”

Yes, we don't have apes in our service to build us towns, bald or not.”

“They're not- Anyway, that's not important right now. Mewtwo was created by humans in Kanto, but it ran wild, destroyed its creators' lab, and disappeared. I believe it was last spotted in a cave, a few years before I was born. Why would it be living here in a small town far away from Kanto?”

“I don't know. It's been around for about a decade, I believe, so that would fit since you're about that old.”

“I'm eight years old, actually,” said Boreas, feeling a little insulted. “But that does fit its last sighting I suppose... What was it doing in Diamarina?”

Larissa shrugged. “It had a small tower where it lived a fairly quiet life, as far as I know. It was destroyed yesterday, of course. It was already half collapsed before the water came.”

Boreas was trying to work this out in his mind. “And you're quite sure it was a Mewtwo? Maybe you misheard its name? Maybe it was a Meowth or a Mienfoo, or maybe its name was Newton, or-”

“If you don't believe me,” Larissa interjected with annoyance, “ask anyone else. There's plenty of old people around who can tell you more.”

Boreas did so. Every one of the old pokémon in their exodus told him that it was indeed a Mewtwo, was generally a pleasant, but distant person who kept mostly to itself and had never talked about its past. It all seemed very distant from the descriptions of a cruel, all-powerful terror he had heard before. Boreas was mulling it all over when Aqua returned.

“There's difficult terrain up ahead,” she said, “and it's nearly sunset. We should stay here for the night, it'll be much safer.”

The Eevees told the refugees to stop and divided what little food they had brought with them and what they had found on their way so far. Boreas and Aqua sat down themselves, glad to give their weary paws a rest. Boreas began to tell her what he had found out.

“...So I figure they were after Mewtwo. Its psychic powers would be a mighty prize to obtain. They probably kidnapped it in the confusion and will try to force it to work for them.”

“Hm-hm...” Aqua nodded dubiously. “It just seems so far-fetched... Mewtwo living quietly in some random town? Any idea how it got here?”

Boreas shrugged. “It just showed up one day, apparently.”

“Is it possible a trainer caught it and came to live here?”

Boreas smirked. “Oh, you're going to love this: I don't think there are any trainers here. In fact, it seems there are no humans at all in Fontoura.”

Aqua stared at him with open-mouthed amazement. “You don't mean...?”

Boreas nodded. “Seems we came across the legendary undiscovered continent where only pokémon live.”

“Wonderful!” Aqua gave him a quick, spontaneous kiss. Boreas felt overjoyed; she hadn't done that in a while.

“That storm was a stroke of luck. You and I, discovering a new continent.”

Aqua smirked. “I don't think anyone here would agree we discovered it. Hmm, speaking of: where'd the town come from if there are no humans here?”

“Well, why don't you ask- oh, here she is.”

Larissa the Quilava was approaching them, a slight frown over her fierce eyes, as usual. “I know everyone is tired,” she said, “but shouldn't we walk on for a few more hours? It's a matter of life and death for forty pokémon, after all.”

“They're not tired, they're exhausted,” Boreas replied. “And so are you, though you pretend not to be. Most of these pokémon are much older or younger than you, and don't have as much stamina. Old Bellefleur there asked me if we could please stop for the night three hours ago, so I'd say we've pushed everyone enough.”

Larissa sighed. “Maybe. In that case, I'd like to put the rest of the evening to some good use. Can you teach me how to fight?”

Boreas made a face. “Why me? Ask someone else.”

Larissa rolled her eyes. “I would, if anyone with any skill wasn't on the bottom of your new lake.”

“Just wait until we get to Capinha. There'll be someone who can teach you there.”

“If I'm going to let justice come to the ones who did this, I will need to learn to fight, and the sooner the better.”

“You're exhausted,” Aqua pointed out, “and you've got a broken leg. Don't push yourself too hard.”

“I swore I wouldn't let anything stop me. I've got enough energy left to learn, and you two are the only ones that can teach me.”

“Yeah,” Boreas began, “but-”

“If Lubyanka returns, we've only got two pokémon to protect us. I know it probably takes years to get as good as you two, but with even a little experience I may be able to make the difference between life and death.”


“'RISSA!” A Cyndaquil's voice cried out.

“Hold on,” said the Quilava, “I'll be back in a few minutes, ready to train.”

Boreas sighed as she wandered off. “She has a point, I guess, but... Can you do it, please?”

“Me?” said Aqua. “She asked you.”

“Yeah, but... I don't really get along with her very well. She's got two moods: grumpy and sarcastic, and I don't feel like dealing with either.”

“You can hardly blame her, considering what happened this morning.”

“I don't blame her, but that doesn't mean I like her.”

“Well, I'm tired,” Aqua said curtly.

“C'mon... I'll be your best friend.”

Aqua sighed and gave him a look of profound annoyance. “Fine, if you're going to whine about it, I'll do it.”

She stormed off and left Boreas feeling rather horrible. Once upon a time, not too long ago even, she would've responded with a joke, or teased him. Or she would have flirted with him, or maybe got angry and they would've ended up in a shouting match. She certainly wouldn't have responded with chagrined resignation. But then, it was hardly the only thing that had changed between them.

For the first few years of their marriage, Boreas and Aqua had known nothing but love for each other. Well, that wasn't true, Boreas corrected his memories. They had known a lot of anger too, and fought many times. But really, that fury was nothing but the dark side of the same passion that bound them. But they hadn't fought in nearly a year. Boreas was almost starting to miss it. The lack of arguments wasn't the only thing that had changed in their relationship. He saw the decay in Aqua's eyes, heard it in her voice, knew it from the fact that, as he had noticed just minutes ago from the exception, she almost never kissed him spontaneously any more.

Boreas liked to think he was fearless. He certainly didn't fear death, as he was far too good at avoiding it, at beating the odds. But in truth, he was far from fearless. He was utterly terrified of what he saw in Aqua's eyes, of the way she responded to their disagreement with resigned chagrin rather than anger; of the loss of passion and love between them. Sometimes, when they were alone together, a very uncomfortable silence would fall. That was new. They used to be silent in each other's company quite often, but that was just the happy silence of two people comfortable enough with each other that only the presence of the other is enough. Nowadays, any silence usually was uncomfortable and gave them both the urge to say pointless things, to make an excuse to go somewhere else, or even to cough to fill the silence.

But it wasn't all lost yet; there were times when Boreas could even fool himself into thinking the gap between them was minor and temporary, when they seemed as close as they used to be. But the truth was, the gap was getting bigger, the decay ever increasing, and nothing he did seemed to help. He knew there were fewer days ahead of them than behind them, and that those remaining days would be much less happy. What he didn't know was why it was happening. Boreas didn't think he had changed himself; and if he had, he had only become greater, smarter, braver, and more attractive. Yet it didn't seem like Aqua had changed either. Sure, she was less of a flirt than she used to be, but that seemed more of a result of the gap between them than a cause.

Maybe it was just the passage of time, Boreas thought as he watched the Sun set behind a distant mountain, its huge shadow covering the valley. Perhaps those who talked about 'happily ever after' didn't understand what 'ever after' meant, that nothing lasted forever.
Thank Arceus you for another chapter. :) As for what made my feelings so mixed (or at least the bad ones)... 1: It didn't appear to be from Boreas' point of veiw (though that seems to be fixed now,) 2: When he did appear he seemed like a Mary Sue to me (or whatever the male equivilent of a Mary Sue is.) Anyway, regarding this chapie... Good character intro chapter (part two.) 'nuff said.

Now, as mush as I wanted to use Selene (speeking off, will some of the characters from you're other 'fic be returning?) I'll respect you're wishes regarding not using you're characters and I didn't intend to write it in the same time period as The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova, in fact 'twas my intent to write it afterwards, so all good there.
Last edited:
As for what made my feelings so mixed (or at least the bad ones)... 1: It didn't appear to be from Boreas' point of veiw (though that seems to be fixed now,)

There are several reasons why we haven't seen much from his perspective so far, and won't see much more in this chapter either. One of them is that a good way to do a sequel without alienating new readers is to have a new character unfamiliar with the old ones the point of view for the beginning of the story. That way, the new character acts as a surrogate for the new reader as they are introduced to the old characters, and their lack of knowledge about the old characters isn't a problem.

We will see most of the story from Boreas' point of view, though not as much as in The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova. He will have to share the spotlight more in this story. However, let me assure you that he is still the main character. The story is called The Glaceon and the Shadow, not The Quilava and the Shadow.

So why this focus on Larissa (and other new characters) in these early chapters, you might ask. The answer is simply that character focus is a pendulum that swings now this way, and then the other. However, new characters need character focus more than older ones. This is something I hadn't figured out yet when I was writing the Surprising Adventures, and as a result Lucius, Selene, and Capella didn't get the focus they needed early on. This meant they were essentially background characters for a long time until I finially got around to giving them some focus.

2: When he did appear he seemed like a Mary Sue to me (or whatever the male equivilent of a Mary Sue is)

Fair enough; he definitely acts like he believes himself to be perfect. However, as the second chapter probably made clear, he is actually considerably more flawed nowadays than in Surprising Adventures times. Or maybe it didn't make that clear, if my writing is being bad; that's possible too.

Now, as mush as I wanted to use Selene (speeking off, will some of the characters from you're other 'fic be returning?) I'll respect you're wishes regarding not using you're characters and I didn't intend to write it in the same time period as The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova, in fact 'twas my intent to write it afterwards, so all good there.

Thank you, and have fun writing it. Now, for the third chapter:

Chapter Three: Sofia

Larissa dragged herself to a sleeping spot, utterly drained after another evening of Aqua teaching her how to fight. Every muscle and bone in her body ached, but that was alright: she was getting better. Next time she'd see Lubyanka or any of her goons, she'd be ready for them. And better yet: she was always so exhausted after training she could fall asleep right away, with no time for any thoughts.

She walked quietly through the group of refugees to prevent waking anyone, though she doubted many were asleep. The hard, cold ground, the hunger, and their memories took care of that. Their rations were minuscule, amounting only to the little food they had found travelling each day divided over forty-two pokémon. They had travelled for four days, and still hadn't reached Capinha. She could've made it by now on her own, but the so many old and young pokémon forced the group to adopt a slow pace. As is, the journey would amount to six days; one more full day travel, and then they'd arrive in the afternoon of the sixth day. If the rations kept them going.

Finding a spot on the edge of the group, Larissa sat down on the cold grass. She cast a quick glance at her brothers: they seemed to be sleeping peacefully next to Bellefleur. The old Bellossom had been looking after them a lot, which suited Larissa just fine as she found the Cyndaquils very hard to talk to. Whenever they did talk, they always seemed to either talk about childish stuff or about mum and dad; a subject Larissa had no intention of discussing, least of all with her kid brothers. She was quite proud of how she had handled it, herself: not a waking moment had passed since their deaths when she wasn't either helping the other survivors get back or training to get stronger, and she hadn't shed a single tear. Whenever she began to feel the pain, she just forced it back behind the steel door of resolve and repeated her promise: I will be strong. No-one else will die. Justice will come to the ones who did this. Nothing will stop me.

Laying down on her side, she closed her eyes and the dark veil of sleep immediately began to descend on her mind.

“Boreas,” a voice whispered, not far away.

“Hmm?” came the Glaceon's smooth voice. “Yes, what is it? ...Fritz, isn't it?”

Larissa now recognised the voice of a Nidoran a bit younger than her. “Yes, that's me. I think there's someone on the mountainside, watching us.”

Larissa snapped awake instantly. “And why's that?” asked Boreas.

She saw the purple rabbit point to one of the mountains that enclosed the valley as she limped over to them. “I can hear someone in the forest up there every now and then. Someone's watching us, and I think it's getting closer.”

“And you're quite sure it's not the wind, or just someone passing by?”

“My kind doesn't have these ears for no reason. Our hearing is our main defence, and my every instinct tells me the thing I hear is watching us.”

“We have to catch it!” Larissa whispered as she joined the other two.

“Agreed,” Boreas said, “except for the 'we' part. Aqua and I can handle it.”

“I'm going into the forest to catch that thing,” she said fiercely, “so either you coordinate your plans with me, or we bumble around across each other and probably let whoever that is escape in the mess.”

“You're not coming with us, and that's final,” said Boreas.

“Alright,” whispered Boreas when they had reached the forest Fritz indicated, “we'll split up and search. Larissa, you take the right. Aqua, take the middle. I'll take the left. Don't get too close to each other or we'll all end up hunting each other.”

Aqua nodded, but said to Larissa: “If you find the watcher, just get one of us, alright? You've only had a few days of training, so you must be careful.”

“Sure,” Larissa lied as she set off into the forest, away from the others. As if she'd want to share the chance to bring down justice, and incidentally revenge, on one of Lubyanka's thugs. The anger in her slowly became furious, bloodthirsty rage that burnt through her veins like fire with every heartbeat as she sneaked through the forest as quietly as she could with her leg. She envisioned herself coming across vile Lubyanka, incinerating her, ripping her apart with her claws and teeth. Yet she had to control herself enough to keep the flames on her back and head from igniting, to prevent being seen by her enemy.

A sudden rustle of leaves, and Larissa froze. She vaguely heard a few soft footsteps in the distance. It took all her will not to run for the sound. Instead, she sneaked closer and closer, lifting her broken leg up all the time so it wouldn't give her away. A few more rustling branches. A twig snapped. She was getting closer... She saw a dark shape moving on the other side of some bushes and couldn't hold herself back any longer. She broke out in a sprint, her back- and headflames blazing brightly, and pounced ferociously at the shape, tackling it to the ground, her jaws and claws ready to tear into her enemy and fire building up in her lungs to incinerate it.

“WAAA! Don't eat me, you'll get sick!” The thin creature she had tackled shrieked. The light of Larissa's headflame was reflected in two large green eyes with little brown spots in a kind-looking white face framed by long, curly green hair.

Larissa's anger dissipated as she looked in the Kirlia's terrified face, her green eyes wide with fear. “...You're not one of Lubyanka's thugs.”

“N-n-no,” she squeaked, panting rapidly, “I d-don't think I am - B-but I'm willing to negotiate if that's a bad thing!”

“No, it's- um... Well, it's a good thing you're not. So sorry, I thought you were.”

The Kirlia's large eyes now displayed curiosity as well as fear. “Ap-apology accepted.”

Felling rather awkward and guilty, Larissa tried to explain, feeling the Kirlia's wispy body tremble underneath her. “We heard someone sneaking around on this slope, watching us, you see, and- hang on, what are you doing here?”

“Fieldwork!” the Kirlia grinned, her fear seemingly forgotten at once. “Well, I say fieldwork. It's more of a vacation, I suppose, but there are a lot of things of scientific interest around here, which I am focussing on, so in a way it's fieldwork. Anyway, I saw all those pokémon in the valley – I suppose you're one of them – so I got curious and came over here to see what was going on.” Raising an eyebrow, her eyes twinkled with reflected moonlight and curiosity. “What is going on?”

The complete swing in the Kirlia's mood was a little odd, but Larissa was quite happy about it. She felt embarrassed enough about having attacked a random passer-by without having her be traumatised by it too. “We're refugees. Diamarina, our town, was destroyed by an army led by an evil Luxray called Lubyanka, and now we're making for Capinha.”

“Oh, I'm so sorry.”

“There's nothing you could've done.”

“No... But there's something I can do to help you now!” A mischievous smile flashed over her face. “Considering how much your stomach is rumbling, I'd say you don't have enough food to feed everyone!”

Larissa blinked in surprise. “You can hear tha-” Then she blushed deeply, realising she was still lying on top of the Kirlia. “Right, you can feel it. Sorry, I should've stood up right-away.”

“I don't mind,” the Kirlia said, with what sounded to Larissa almost like disappointment, as she stood up and helped the other to her feet. She saw now that the Kirlia wasn't wearing the white dress they usually wore, but a kind of loose-fitting grey jumpsuit that covered her from her shoulders to her feet and seemed to have pockets just about everywhere. But she had more important things to ask about than the Kirlia's clothes.

“You were right; we don't have nearly enough food. If there's any place we can find food that you know of...”

Standing up, the Kirlia tapped her feet with excitement and impatience. “Well, lucky you: I've got quite a bit with me. Well, I say with me, I mean at my tent. C'mon, follow me! This was going to be a three week trip, so even divided over all of you, you'll get a decent meal at least! It'll be a shame to cut short my fieldwork, but I suppose people's lives are at stake, so what are you going to do?” she shrugged comically.

“Thank you,” said Larissa, following the Kirlia, who walked quite rapidly. “Thank you, that's just what we need.”

“You're welcome!” she chirped. “My name's Sofia, by the way.”


“Great to meet you, Larissa! You're quite strong, by the way. I don't think I could've escaped if I was one of these thugs hunting you.”

“Um. Thanks.”

“You're welcome!” she beamed. “So tell me: what's up with them? Who are they? Where did they come from?”

“I don't know.”

“You must have some idea. An army doesn't just sprout up from the ground, you know. Well, unless they were all grass types.” She squinted. “Were they grass types?”

“No,” said Larissa, but then a scary thought dawned on her and she stopped walking. “Hold on!”

“What?” Sofia too stopped and looked back with surprise.

“Speaking of types, makes me think...” she eyed the Kirlia suspiciously, trying to detect deceit in her big green eyes. “You're a psychic type.”

“Yeah, that's me:” Sofia gabbled cheerfully. “Sofia, Kirlia, psychic type.”

“When I first looked into your face, the thought that you could be an enemy was immediately gone. I thought it was because you have such a friendly and innocent face-”

“Oh, thank you!” Sofia smiled.

“-But now that I think of it... You could've used your psychic powers to change my thoughts and make me trust you.”

She chuckled cutely. “I couldn't do that.”

“And this time,” Larissa snapped, “that cute, innocent façade isn't going to work! Tell me the truth: did you change my thoughts?”

Sofia blushed and looked away a bit. “No, I mean I really couldn't... It-it's a bit embarrassing, but... I'm actually not really all that good with psychicness. My powers are actually very weak, only a 3 on the Vaida-scale. I'd have a hard time entering the mind of even a weak-willed person, and you don't strike me as one.”

“But I have only your word for that,” Larissa said, though the embarrassment seemed genuine.

“That's true. But I'll tell you something else, which you don't have to take my word for, because it's pretty well documented and you can ask anyone who knows about psychics. Even if I had used psychic powers against you, you'd have noticed. Entering someone's mind is not a stealthy affair: to get in, you have to overpower their will, which you would certainly have noticed me doing.”

“Hmm... But what if you did just that, but erased my memory of it?”

“Well... Um...” Sofia nervously twirled her hair and tapped her feet as she fumbled for words. “I... Don't think I can prove I didn't do that. But I give you my word I'm speaking the truth, and that I really do want to help. Please, believe me.”

Looking at her, Larissa found it extremely hard to believe she was lying. It probably really was just her innocent looks and behaviour that had convinced her. “Alright,” she said, walking on, “I believe you. I was just being cautious.”

“Great!” Sofia made a little skip of joy. “Now come on, it's not far from here! We're almost the- Oh dear, what's wrong with your leg?”

“Uh,” Larissa said, taken aback by the sudden change in topic, not to mention Sofia's mood. “Broke it in the attack. It's no big deal.”

“Of course it's a big deal!” Sofia sounded appalled. “It must hurt! And here I am, running around and prattling like a headless chicken and dragging you along when I should go slowly for-”

“Stop that,” Larissa snapped, “I don't want your pity, okay? Just lead on, I can keep up.”

“But your leg-”

“Is just a leg. It'll heal, and until then I've got three spare ones to walk on.”

“Right, I suppose it would be less of a problem for someone who walks on all fours. Still- Oh, here we are!”

In a small clearing of flat land on the hillside stood a tiny, blue tent. Sofia crawled into it. “I'd invite you in,” her voice from the little blue dome, “but that'd be a little too cozy; this thing is barely big enough for one pokémon.”

Larissa looked into the tent, but blushed and walked around it to the other side as she found herself facing Sofia's backside instead of her face. “I can see that.”

The Kirlia was busy rolling up her sleeping bag. “So I've been thinking: would it be alright if I went back to Capinha with you and the other refugees?”

“Fine by me. Why?”

“Well, if I give you my food, my vacation is obviously over, so I'll have to go back to Capinha myself anyway. Might as well have some company on the way.”

“Yeah... I should warn you, it's not exactly a fun group trip down there. We've all lost our family, friends, and homes, so it's actually pretty depressing.”

Sofia looked up. “Who did you lose, Larissa?”

Larissa sighed annoyedly. “Parents and friends.”

The large green eyes were full of pity. “Oh, you poor-”

“I told you,” Larissa said icily, “I don't want your pity. If I didn't want it for a stupid leg, what makes you think I'd want it for my parents?”

“I'm sorry,” she said sadly. “It's just-”

“Yes, I know, the world isn't fair and blablabla. No sense to waste emotion on it.”


Larissa gave her a steely-eyed death stare.

“Alright, fine, I'll stop talking about it. Oh!” Sofia suddenly darted back and rummaged around in the tent. A pear came flying out of the opening, and Larissa managed to catch it with her mouth. “Nice catch,” the Kirlia sounded impressed. “Eat that; it'll help against the hunger.”

“Yes, I know how pears work. Anyway, thanks. Anything I can do to help?”

Sofia's head popped back out of the tent with a smile. “No, thanks. Just eat while I pack, that's all. It won't take me long.”

Within record time, Sofia had broken up the tent and put it in a backpack that was probably larger than the tent itself had been and certainly large enough for Sofia herself to fit in. It was stuffed absolutely full, and it seemed impossible that the skinny Kirlia would be able to lift it. Yet she heaved it onto her back and seemed able to walk with it without trouble, looking a little like a letter P from the side. As they walked through the forest towards the area were Aqua would be hunting, Sofia began to talk about all the various species of tree they came by and how they were all interrelated, a topic she clearly found fascinating. Larissa mostly zoned out of the constant stream of babble and occasionally called for Aqua.

At last, the Vaporeon appeared. “Hello... Who's this?”

“I'm Sofia!” she beamed. “I'm a scientist, and I'm here to-”

“Aren't you a little young to be a scientist?” Aqua asked.

“I'm a fast learner,” Sofia said with a mixture of shyness and pride, “and a bit older than I look. Besides, I-”

“What's all this noise?” Boreas came running through the forest. “Who are you?”

“This is Sofia,” Larissa said. “She's the pokémon Fritz heard, but she was just curious. She's volunteered to help us out with food.”

“Hmm,” Boreas said, “that sounds a little too suspiciously well...”

“It's true,” Sofia said.

“Well, I don't rally see what harm you could do, so I suppose we should give you the benefit of the doubt.”

The next day started with a (by their standards) royal breakfast, courtesy of Sofia. Divided over forty-three pokémon, it meant her supplies were immediately gone, but since they would reach Capinha tomorrow, that was alright. As they continued their long march through the valley, the usual graveyard mood hung over them. Except this day, it was broken by an enthusiastic, constantly chattering voice. Sofia did not seem to mind or notice the mood of the refugees, and Larissa heard her chat with one pokémon after another, usually until they started giving clear signs of annoyance, at which point she moved on to talk the next person's ears off.

However, when the Kirlia reached Larissa, she actually found the babble quite pleasant. At least the stream of rapidly changing topics was a distraction from their grim situation, and Sofia was actually quite a fun person to talk to. Certainly more fun than anyone else around, who were all determined to be depressed about the destruction of Diamarina and bring it up, instead of moving on and doing their best to do something useful.

Early in the afternoon Boreas, who had been on the mountainside scouting the area, came rushing into the group, worry etched on his face. “Gather round, everyone, gather round quickly! I've got bad news, and we don't have much time!”

As they stopped to listen, he explained: “There's another group behind us, six kilometres away, maybe seven. They're gaining on us quickly. I can't be certain, but it's a safe bet it's Lubyanka's army.”

Whispers of shock went through the crowd.

“Don't worry, we'll be safe if we can just get to Capinha before they catch us. Does any of you know how much farther we have to go?”

“Almost forty kilometres...” Bellefleur said.

Boreas sighed. “Then we'll have to step up our pace. If we can manage a tempo of five kilometres per hour and walk on through the evening, we'll get there an hour or two before midnight.”

Several of the older pokémon raised their voices in protest. “Are you mad? We can't keep up a pace like that for eight hours!”

“I'm tired already!” said Boris the Meganium.

“And what about the little ones?” Bellefleur said. “They can't keep walking all night any more than we can!”

“I know, I know!” said Boreas. “And I wouldn't ask you to if it wasn't absolutely necessary. The group behind us is walking even faster than that, so they'll catch us for certain if we don't make five km per hour. Stopping to rest for the night obviously isn't possible either. Come, we all had a decent meal this morning, and we'll finally get to rest properly this night: we can do it. I'll set the pace, just keep putting one foot in front of the others and we'll make it.”

The faster tempo was no problem at first, but as the shadows began to lengthen, Boreas had to push the refugees more and more. When Aqua rejoined them, she was able to tell them the army was still catching up on them. Yet the refugees were gradually slowing down, most of them finding the pace impossible to sustain. Even Sofia had grown quieter.

Aqua came up and joined Larissa and Sofia at the front as they were going through a thin part of the valley, where rock walls came nearly to the edge of the rapid river. “How are you doing?”

“Um, fine,” said Larissa, a little surprised.

“Good, good,” she said seriously. “Do you think you could go even faster despite your leg?”

“Sure,” Larissa said, “but most of the others can't even keep this pace.”

“I know, that's why I ask. We're going to split the group in three. The main group can slow down to a more manageable pace, while you to go to Capinha as fast as you can. Leave the rest of us behind you and get there as early as possible. Warn them we're coming and need immediate help, ask the constables and anyone who can fight to meet us.”

“But-” Larissa began.

“What about the third group?” Sofia asked.

“Boreas and I are staying here to slow Lubyanka down any way we can. The natural choke point should help.”

“If you're going to fight,” Larissa protested, “then I want to stay too! I can-”

“No, you can't. You've had a few days of training. You staying will barely add to the power Boreas and I have. You'll be a lot more valuable if you get help.”


“No time for buts! It's vitally important that you get to Capinha as quickly as you can, right now!”

Larissa nodded.

“I'll come too!” said Sofia. “I'm used to hiking long distances, and I found a shortcut into Capinha when I was here a few days ago.”

“Alright,” said Aqua, “now get going, girls. The life of everyone here depends upon you!”

Larissa sped up as fast as she could without running, and she and Sofia immediately began to leave the group, which slowed down, behind.

“Wait,” Sofia said with concern. “Shouldn't you say goodbye to your brothers? You might not see them again!”

“No time,” Larissa said curtly.

Both of them were drenched with sweat by the time they turned around a corner on the mountain path and saw Capinha lying in the valley below them. Larissa's every muscle burnt and trembled uncontrollably and her feet were terribly sore. She was panting and her head ached and spun slightly, but at last they had made it.

“Celebi be praised,” she gasped, “Capinha at last!”

“Yeah...” Sofia said, her voice hoarse and whispery. “Let's get down there, ask for help and... Go to sleep...”

With renewed vigour, the girls descended the steep slope of the mountain into the bustling, noisy town. But slowly, Larissa began to realise the sounds and flickering lights from down below weren't the usual sounds and lights of a busy town makes in the evening. Fires were burning in Capinha, more and more buildings catching alight, and the sounds of the deadly combat that raged in the town resounded clearly through the valley.
Last edited:
Good intro for the newest evil? character Sofia, got me wondering...

Also, regarding those gripes I had about this fic, I forgot to mention the bigest one for me (don't know why I forgot, but that's besides the point): the location. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I have no idea as to what the layout of the reigon looks like or anything (much) regarding lore of said reigion (a map or something would help (though if you're still designing the region then I guess I'll just have to deal with it.))

Anywho, I don't beleive you answered my question regarding older characters returning, so... will older characters return?
Last edited:
Also, regarding those gripes I had about this fic, I forgot to mention the bigest one for me (don't know why I forgot, but that's besides the point): the location. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I have no idea as to what the layout of the reigon looks like or anything (much) regarding lore of said reigion (a map or something would help (though if you're still designing the region then I guess I'll just have to deal with it.))

I know just what you mean, and I wish I could give you a map. Unfortunately, I'm still quite early in the planning of the story, so at this point making a map would tie down my options for the future too much. I will make one as soon as possible. As for lore and such regarding Fournaria, you will find out a lot more of that in a few chapters, once Boreas and Aqua actually start finding out more about it.

Anywho, I don't beleive you answered my question regarding older characters returning, so... will older characters return?

Sorry, must have missed it. The answer is no; Boreas and Aqua are the only returning characters.

Chapter Four: Fight and Flight

“Come, off you go,” Boreas said, “you don't need to hurry any more, but you can't stop before Capinha either. Keep putting one foot in front of the other in your own tempo; help is on the way and we'll hold our pursuers back as long as we can. You'll be safe.”

“But what about you?” asked an old Cherrim, her face hidden by brownish leaves. “You can't just die for us.”

Boreas smiled his most fetching smile. “Oh, don't worry about me, I've beaten smarter and more numerous enemies than this. Besides,” he winked, “I've got a plan already. They'll be quite-”

“Hurry up!” Aqua shouted from far away.

“Right, right, as I said: off you go,” Boreas said, a bit annoyed to be interrupted explaining his plan. He turned around and followed Aqua back to the narrowest part of the valley. The river alone amounted to over half the valley's breadth here, and Aqua was already swimming in the fast-flowing water.

“Sorry to interrupt your showboating-”

“I wasn't showboating!”

“Playing the hero, then, or whatever you want to call it. We don't have time for it; we have to prepare for Lubyanka. I can hide in the river and surprise them as they pass. If you get up on the mountainside and drop boulders-”

Boreas interrupted her. “She'll expect something like that; she'd be a fool not to, after how we defeated her in Diamarina. She'll probably have her army leave the valley and go over the mountains to avoid a chokepoint as obvious as this. It is an awfully handy place for an ambush, after all.”

“Well then,” Aqua said coldly, “let's hear your brilliant plan.”

A sour, icy feeling crawled up Boreas' spine, but he reassured himself Aqua would be impressed. “It's quite simple: we go towards Lubyanka, meet her, and tell her to back away.”

Aqua stared at him.

“We won't be alone, of course; that's why she'll back away. We'll have an army behind us.”

Aqua sighed. “Fine, I'll bite: what army?”

Boreas grinned. “The army we're going to make!”

Aqua raised an eyebrow.

“It's simple enough: you get the water to blobulate up in the rough shape of a pokémon-”


“Whatever you want to call it, I'll freeze it. We'll make two small armies of ice sculptures: one down here and one up on the mountain. Lubyanka and her cronies will be looking straight into the Sun, so it's harder to distinguish from the real thing, and we won't give them the chance to get too close a look.”

“It's a reasonable plan,” Aqua admitted reluctantly. “But won't they get suspicious when our army doesn't move at ll?”

“That's why you'll be among them; so at least one member of the army will be mobile. Also, you can move the ice sculptures a bit. It'll be fine, it'll look just like the real thing from a distance.”

“I'm not going to stay here and play with snowmen, you know.”

“You'll have to, because we don't have the time to think of something else. Let's get to work.”

Though Aqua grumbled, she too saw they had limited time, so they started making an army of ice sculptures at high speed.

“You know this won't stop them for long, right?” She asked, making the river flow up and form a blob shaped like a large quadruped. “At best they'll turn back for a little while, but send scouts ahead for a closer look.”

“Considering Larissa went ahead to get help from Capinha, I'd say delaying Lubyanka for half an hour or so is enough.” Boreas froze the blob as Aqua created the next one. “Mind you, I'm not sure it was a good idea to let that Sofia go with her...”

“I think if she was a spy we'd have noticed sooner. Besides, Larissa has a broken leg; it makes sense to me to send someone with her.”

“I know, I know, I don't think she's a spy... There's just something about her I don't like, that's all.”

Aqua smirked. “You mean you hate it when you're not the smartest person around.”

“Don't be ridiculous, love. Just because she goes rattling off about science all day doesn't make her any smarter than me. And besides, I wouldn't mind if she was, I don't get jealous.”

“Sure you don't.”

“In any case, I hope they get to Capinha in time...”

“Wait! Larissa!” Larissa heard Sofia run after her as she sped down the dark mountainside with renewed vigour, her exhaustion from the journey all forgotten now that she saw another town burning.

“No time to wait!” She leapt over a steep decline, cringing a little as she landed on three feet a few metres below.

“You're going to get yourself killed if you don't stop!”

“Then at least- Woah!” one of Larissa's feet hit something hard and she tripped, barely avoiding her face scraping on the rocks as she skidded to a halt and ended up lying face-down on the ground.

“A-Are you alright?!” Sofia placed her hands on Larissa's shoulders with concern.

“Fine, fine.” But as Larissa got up, she found the Kirlia was in front of her, blocking her way and still holding her gently, but firmly. “I said I'm fine.”

“Yeah, but you won't be if you go rushing into there.”

“That's my business,” Larissa said coldly. “Get out of my way.”

“N-no, I won't,” Sofia quivered a little, but met her eye resolutely. “Capinha is under attack, so if you-”

“That's why we have to help! We have to protect them from these bastards!”

“Capinha has a population of five-thousand. Do you really think two more will make any difference?”

“I don't care,” Larissa growled threateningly. “It's our duty to give any help we can. And if you try to stop me, you're just as much of an enemy!”

“I'm not your enemy, Larissa, I'm trying to help you!”

“And I don't want your help,” Larissa snapped. “I don't want anyone's help. Now get out of my way or I burn your face off!”

“T-take a deep breath and calm down,” Sofia said forcefully, but with a stutter.

“Why should I? I'm starting to see through you! You're some sort of spy after all, aren't you?! You're trying to-”

“Listen to yourself and think!” Sofia raising her voice was so surprising Larissa was snapped right out of her anger. “How could I be a spy? I gave you all my food to keep you going, and then I nearly ran with you for 25 kilometres to save those poor pokémon! If I was trying to stop you because I was a spy, I certainly wouldn't have wasted all that effort.” She paused for a moment, frowning slightly as she thought. “I think I would have poisoned the food. That seems like the way I could've done the most damage. Or I suppose I could've attacked you at any point while your back was turned – Anyway, you're not making any sense, so calm down and think logically about it.”

Larissa had to admit she had a point, yet she kept glowering at the flustered white face as she took a few deep breaths. “Alright, I know you're not a spy, I was just angry. But now I'm calm, so let me join the fight.”

“You'll still get yourself killed.”

“And why do you care? You've known me for a single day. I'm not forcing you to come with me. Just leave and move on with your life.”

Sofia's brown-specked green eyes were full of concern and annoyance. “You should understand; you're the one who's hell-bent on saving the lives of pokémon she doesn't know at all. Is it that hard to believe I'd want to save someone I do know and like?”

“Thank you. But the best way to help me is to let me go down there. It's what I want, Sofia, and I couldn't bear turning back like a coward and letting those pokémon die.”

“But they might die anyway.”

“But maybe I can save someone... I have to go there.”

Sofia nodded slowly. “Alright. Alright, alright, if that's your decision, then I'll let you go. B-but, I'll have to come with you to watch your back,” Sofia fidgeted a little, looking quite fearful.


“Because I don't think you'll watch it yourself. If I let you go th-there alone, you'll die.”

“But you told me yourself: your psychic powers are weak-” A bright blush appeared on Sofia's cheeks, and she looked away uncomfortably, “-and you've never been in a fight before.”

“T-true,” Sofia said uneasily, “but... Hmm, maybe if we apply our minds to the problem logically, we can solve it.” An enthusiastic glint appeared in her eyes and she grinned. “Hehehe, yes, yes, I think I've got an idea.”

“You think you can make the attack stop with logic?”

But the Kirlia wasn't listening; she was rummaging around in her backpack now. “Of course, just wait a little while, I'll need to do a bit of tinkering.”

About fifty pokémon were climbing up the forested hillside in a rapid forced march, Lubyanka at the front. Boreas, a little tired from the preparations of the last hour, chuckled to himself and reflected that he'd been right: she did expect them to ambush at the narrow choke point and tried to avoid it. That suited him fine. He backtracked a little and then got onto the path, walking back towards Lubyanka and her company.

The look on the Luxray's face when he walked around a bend in the path and they suddenly stood face to face was priceless. “You! Again!”

Boreas smirked. “Yes, me again. Oh, please,” he said calmly, “go ahead and stand ready to attack me. I know it must be terrifying for the fifty of you to come across a single one of me.”

Lubyanka rolled her eyes. “Are you just here to brag again?”

“No, I'm here to talk business with you and avoid unnecessary bloodshed.”

Lubyanka grinned madly. “Unnecessary bloodshed? Sounds like my kind of party.”

“Not this time, I'm afraid. You see, the day you destroyed Diamarina and I destroyed your army in turn, I began to lead the survivors to Capinha.”

“I know, we've been behind you all day long and there's nowhere else this valley goes.”

“But what you didn't know is that I sent the swiftest among us ahead to warn the Capinhans we were coming and request help. The entire constabulary of Capinha came to meet us, with a few other strong pokémon who wanted to help, and we met up with them just an hour ago. So you may have fifty pokémon behind you, but I have a hundred.”

“You're bluffing!” However, the grin had rapidly disappeared off Lubyanka's face.

Boreas grinned. “You don't have to trust me, just trust your own eyes.” He waved a paw towards the narrow.

“And I'm supposed to believe you've defected and come to warn us or something?”

“Of course not. I'm here to negotiate with you, I already told you.”

“So in this fiction of yours, why would you be the one to negotiate with me, rather than, say, someone who's actually allowed to negotiate for the police?”

“Because the deal we're going to cut will be strictly off the record, and I'm an off the record kind of guy. The constables are bound by law and all that and aren't allowed to let scum like you go. If anyone boringly official came here, they would have to arrest you, which would mean a fight. Naturally, they'd win, as a hundred pokémon fighting fifty tend to, but not without losing a good few men. Since I'm not a law-abiding citizen of Fournaria – I'm neither of those, as it happens – I, on the other hand, can negotiate with you and get to a peaceful solution.”

A shocked Swellow landed and whispered something in Lubyanka's ear. Boreas continued to grin, though worried it might have come close enough to discern the true nature of their 'army'. Lubyanka looked back at him. “And what is your 'peaceful solution'?”

“You answer me a few simple questions, and then you turn back the way you came. The constables never saw you, and the survivors of Diamarina continue to, well, survive.”

Lubyanka scoffed. “And the coppers agree to all this?”

“Of course they don't. Officially, I'm just a rogue agent – Hmm, I like that term – who's entirely unauthorised to negotiate with anyone, and it's their duty to arrest you and your merry band of murderers – and technically, me too. However, the brigadier is a reasonable man. He knows his men have families that would like to see them come back in one piece, so he's willing to pretend not to have seen you for once to avoid a bloodbath in exchange for some simple information. Well, I had to convince him to be willing of that, anyway.”

“And what happens if I hold you as a hostage instead?”

Boreas shrugged. “I told you, I'm a rogue agent. I don't officially exist, and I'm certainly not here. I'm doing this at my own risk and the brigadier won't lift a finger to save me. However, I wouldn't be able to tell them you agreed to my proposal and they'd attack, killing most of you. So that would get you nowhere fast.”

It was silent for a while, then Lubyanka smirked. “You're bluffing, aren't you? This whole thing is just one big bluff to get me to let you go in peace!”

Larissa once again rushed towards Capinha, but now as much to stay ahead of Sofia as to join the battle. “I really don't think this is a good idea!”

“Relax, it'll be fine!” Sofia said, holding the device with a maniacal pride.

“No, no, it won't, because that thing is a bomb waiting to go off!”

Sofia laughed, shaking the device, a small tank of cooking gas attached to a tube with a nozzle that she had attached a small torch to, far too much for Larissa's liking.

“I'm serious, Sofia! Put that thing down gently and run away if you value your life!”

“Don't worry,” said Sofia, examining her creation fondly. “It's impossible for the fire to spread to the gas tank itself because there's no air in there. I think.”

“You think?!” They had reached the town by now, but and Larissa turned into a small street between some burning houses, trying to listen if she heard any cries for help or sounds of combat.

“Yeah,” Sofia explained casually. “It should all work as planned, but of course there's the possibility I made a mistake attaching the nozzle, or perhaps someone made a mistake putting the canister together, or maybe it got accidentally damaged at some point. If that's the case, air could get in and I suppose 'bomb waiting to go off' would be a reasonable description.”

“Then let go of it, you nutburger! I don't want to see you blown to pieces by your own-”

“'RISSA, DUCK!” Larissa threw herself flat to the ground as Sofia aimed the nozzle right for her and turned on a knob on the cooking gas tank. Larissa shut her eyes tightly so she wouldn't have to see the Kirlia's grisly demise. But instead of an explosion, she heard a loud whooshing sound, a powerful gust of wind, and a searing heat blazed her back. An awful scent hung heavily, and there were screams behind her. She opened her eyes: four pokémon were on fire and running away, while Sofia stood with her green eyes wide open in shock.

“It worked!” she said, her voice squeaky with enthusiasm. “It really worked! It worked, it worked!”

“Yeah...” Larissa slowly got up. “Yeah, I suppose it did- Hang about, how'd you know those pokémon were the enemy?”

“It wor- They were about to attack you,” Sofia explained. “The moment they came around the corner and saw you, they were about to strike.”

“Thank you,” she said, “but that doesn't prove they were creeps. They could've been locals who thought I was an enemy.”

“I considered that,” said Sofia as they began to walk again, cautiously going through dark, stony streets where they occasionally passed a grim sign of the attack. “But the way they were instantly about to attack made it clear to me that they were out to kill anyone they encountered, which probably makes them the enemy. Especially since you don't exactly look like an evil raider-person; you're a young girl with a broken leg. And four of them were going to attack one of you with her back turned.”

Larissa raised her eyebrows. “Young girl? We're about the same age, you know.”

“I'm a little older, actually.”

“Well, either way, you didn't actually think of all that before you aimed that terrifying thing at them; you had less than a second. Your reasoning may be sound, but you're just justifying an impulsive decision in hindsight.”

“No, I'm not, I thought of that before I used the flamethrower.”

“Then that was some very quick thinking,” Larissa said sarcastically.

Sofia blushed and looked away slightly. “Thank you. I mean, I know I'm rather clever, but it's still a very nice thing to say.”

A little taken aback by the innocent reply, Larissa wasn't sure what to say, but the need to say anything was taken away by a family of two Venomoths, flapping their wings as hard as they could with their Venonat offspring on their backs. The insects flew past the alley Larissa and Sofia were in over the street ahead, chased by a Jolteon, a Gliscor, and a Weavile. “Get that thing ready,” Larissa whispered.

“B-but-” Sofia's eyes were even bigger than usual with fear.

As the bugs passed the alley, Larissa jumped out, pulling Sofia along by the arm. She growled fiercely at the attackers, her head- and backflames blazing brightly. She wasted no time talking, but breathed fire at them. And then a massive cloud of incinerating flames erupted from the nozzle Sofia was holding, and the three pokémon disappeared into a sea of blinding radiance in the night.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. The Weavile was out, possibly even dead, but the Jolteon and the Gliscor were rolling on the ground and quickly extinguishing the flames. “Hit them again, Sofe!”

“I can't!” Sofia squeaked, tightly clinging to Larissa's side in fear. “I'm out of gas! We have to- AA-AA-AAA-AA-AA-AA!”

Just as Larissa wanted to attack again, a powerful electric shock knocked her off her feet and made her body feel like needles were being stuck in every millimetre of it. Sofia whimpered in pain next to her. Larissa quickly rolled sideways to get up, but was immediately knocked down by another shock. Fortunately, just as the Jolteon got up to finish them, the Gliscor did the same and shook the earth, and one of the burning buildings came crashing down into the street. Fortunately, the family had already fled.

“Are you alright?” As Larissa helped Sofia, who had been hit by a light tube, up, she noted with concern how frail the Kirlia's body felt.

“Fine, fine, just a little- Look!” She pointed at the rubble: the Jolteon and the Gliscor had also been hit only by light pieces of debris, and were getting up quickly.

“Let's get them,” Larissa hissed, her flames burning brightly with anger.

But Sofia placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “No, run, 'Rissa, we don't stand a chance against them!”


“Please, you're no good to anyone if you just throw your life away!”

Recognising the logic of that, Larissa ran with Sofia, feeling like a complete useless coward. They went criss-cross through the burning city, still pursued.

“I don't think there's much we can do here, 'Rissa,” said Sofia, waving the tube she had been hit by around for reasons best known to herself. “Maybe we should leave and warn the others.”

“No!” Larissa snapped. “I'm no coward and I'm not just going to run away!”

A group of pokémon awaited ahead of them. Larissa was ready to fight, but Sofia dived into a broken house and pulled her along. “Let go! I told you-”

“You're no coward,” Sofia interrupted, pulling a wrench out of one of the many pockets of her jumpsuit, “but there's a difference between bravery and stupidity you don't quite seem to grasp.”

“Empty words, what would you know about it?!” Larissa snapped. She quickly looked around: the house they were in was dark and had been raided, and partially collapsed, but the rest of it seemed sturdy enough. Outside, the pokémon that had been chasing them ran past.

Sofia looked up. There was nothing but sympathy and honesty in her green eyes. “They're not empty words, Larissa; you're no coward. In fact, I think you're very brave. Much braver than I.”

Larissa's anger seeped away, forgotten as she felt dumbfounded, proud, grateful, and embarrassed all at once. “Um, thank you.”

Blushing a little, Sofia pulled more tools out of her pockets and backpack and attached the tube she had been holding for a while to some other items. “But it won't do anyone any good if you just throw your life away. I think we should leave now; we'll just die with the rest of Capinha if we stay.”


“We need to warn the others. They don't know anything about this yet, and they'll walk right into a trap if they keep going - Oh, can you see if the tap still works? And pick up any pieces of debris about this size you come across?”

Larissa sighed morosely, though she still felt slightly aglow from being called brave. “Maybe you're right...” She tested out the tap, finding water ran from it. “It works! What are you making anyway?”

“Mn'm mmnnm nmp fmmn,” said Sofia, now holding the wrench in her mouth as she was nailing the tube to another thing with a small, foldable hammer she apparently carried around too, “hmm (mrkmng M pmnmnm bmm) Mmmnmgmm m-”

“That explains all. Except why you don't put that wrench on the ground.”

Sofia let the wrench fall. “Brilliant idea, I didn't like it's flavour much!”

Larissa raised an eyebrow. “You're welcome. This about the size you're looking for?” she held up a more or less round stone of about ten centimetres.

“Perfect! That'll be an excellent projectile.”


Sofia's face lit up with enthusiasm as she explained. “Oh yeah, I'm building a portable steam cannon! I've got all the heat I need thanks to you, so all I need is water to boil, some jiggery-pokery to help the pressure build up, and this tube becomes a weapon that should get us out of here!”

“And then where do we go?” asked Larissa, more to herself than Sofia.

“Back to warn the others, of course.”

“Yeah, I know that part, but where do we go next? An army on the one side, a conquered town on the other... We'd have to cross the mountains. We can get to the capital that way, I suppose; it's not that far, though the path is hard...”

“I know!” Sofia piped cheerfully, in a complete opposite of Larissa's own mood. “It'll be great; I live there, did I tell you? I suppose grandfather will be surprised to see me back so soon.”

Larissa sighed. “I'll be surprised to see us reach the capital at all..."

Boreas' expression didn't change. “A bluff? No, it isn't. Listen to me, please, because a lot of lives are at stake.”

Lubyanka smirked. “Those pokémon on the mountain and in the valley are just the survivors of that miserable little town pretending to be the coppers, aren't they? You're trying to trick me!”

Boreas sighed, trying to sound as exasperated as he could. “You killed most of the adults, puddingbrains. Do those look like children to you? Ask your Swellow; I'll bet it had a closer look than us.”


“And before you start: yes, we did manage to save a few adults. Unfortunately, the ones who survived are precisely the ones who didn't come out to fight your band of roving maniacs, but fled or hid. Call it cowardly, call it prudent. I suppose prudent might be closer to it in this case, since it did after all allow them to continue breathing. In any case, if you think I could get a bunch of cowards traumatised by all the carnage you caused to turn around and bravely stand looking tough in the unlikely event I can convince you to back off and not ruthlessly slaughter them, you have another thing coming.”


“And maybe,” Boreas pontificated, “you should reflect on what a huge favour I'm doing you here. As you've so kindly pointed out, I'm risking my life here to get a gang of mass-murdering psychos and a group of rule-obsessed bores to not kill each other.”


“Don't you think I've got better things to do than this? I've just discovered a whole continent entirely hidden from the rest of the world, covered in gorgeous mountains. I can only begin to imagine what fun I would be having right now exploring it if I wasn't such a fantastic person who's far too concerned about the misery of others, even others he doesn't like one bit. Furthermore, I'm quite certain-”

“SHUT UP!” Lubyanka yelled. “Shut! Up! Don't you ever just shut your gabbling, arrogant trap?! Are you going to talk until my brain starts leaking out of my ears? Please shut your cakehole and answer me a single question: did you say the entire constabulary of Capinha is here to fight us?”

Boreas smirked. He couldn't resist. “Mmm-hmm-mmh-m-hhmm-nnmmn-hmnh-nm-”

“YES, YOU CAN OPEN YOUR MOUTH TO ANSWER!” It looked like the Luxray's eyes were going to pop out of her sockets any moment now.

“Yes, the entire constabulary is here.”

Something rather scary happened: Lubyanka calmed down and grinned slowly. “I see. In that case, sure, I'll turn back. Go ahead, have fun in Capinha.”

“You forget the second part of the deal,” Boreas had an icy feeling of fear. “Answer me some questions. Why the sudden change of mood? What is going on in Capinha?”

Lubyanka chuckled dangerously. “Now that's a spoiler. It'll be much more fun if you find out for yourself...”

Realising he wasn't going to get a straight answer out of her, Boreas asked: “Then what about your master, this shadow? Tell me who and what he is, and why he uses that ridiculous pseudonym.”

Lubyanka laughed darkly. “You're asking the right person; I'm probably the only one he's shown his true self to. But even so, no-one truly knows him. He has a mind like fire, a will like the radiance of the Sun itself, his secrets are more numerous than the drops in the sea, and-”

Boreas rolled his eyes. “Fewer awful metaphors, more answers, please.”

“Then how is this for an answer? You. Will. See.”

“More of a poor attempt at drama than an answer, don't you think?”

“Three months. That's all I'm saying. By the time the Sun reaches its highest point... Oh, but I shouldn't spoil the glorious new dawn. I hope you survive until then, Glaceon.”

“Now give me a straight answer-”

“Interview is over. You've got two minutes to get away, I'm sending my troops after you then. Do try to survive to our next meeting, will you? I'm going to have your mouth sown shut, you see, and it will be much funnier if you're alive for it.”

“Something to look forward to, then.” Boreas walked away, but then turned back. “One last question: why? Why attack a harmless town? What's the point when there wasn't even anything useful in Diamarina?”

Lubyanka laughed smugly. “Not surprising that you wouldn't be able to figure out the Shadow's plan.”

“But what is it you were after?” asked Boreas. “Some kind of valuable resource, perhaps?”

She laughed again. “You could call it that, yeah. A very valuable and unique resource. But I'm not telling you anything else, and the clock's ticking!”

Don't worry, you've told me all I needed to know. Boreas smirked as he walked away, not breaking out in a run until he was out of sight. He made sure he wasn't followed and rushed back to Aqua on the mountainside. She picked up his concern the moment they saw each other.

“She didn't buy it?”

“No, she did. But we need to catch up to the refugees right now, they're heading for a disaster!”
wow. i didn't read the prequel to this but the fic of the month article gave me a basic idea. it seems like a great story.
Well, that was unexpected..

I've been reading this thread recently, and I'm actually really excited for what comes next. I have very high expectations after The Surprising Adventures..., but so far, this fic doesn't disappoint. Boreas has an ego problem, which'll be interesting to see. I can't wait for the next chapter!

One question--I noticed the allusions to the continent with only Pokémon in the first fiction. Did you plan all along for the sequel to take place in said continent, or was that an afterthought?
Hmmm... Interesting. Still unsure about Sophia (and curious about her "grandfather") but anyway, enough theorising for now. I do like it so far, what with my only remaining major gripe being the lack of a map or lore, but I'm content to wait on that frount. I'm a little sad that Selene won't be returning but I guess I'll just have to live with it. By the way, did you get the idea of a steam cannon from Mythbusters by any chance?
wow. i didn't read the prequel to this but the fic of the month article gave me a basic idea. it seems like a great story.

Thank you, I do hope you give it a read sometime.

One question--I noticed the allusions to the continent with only Pokémon in the first fiction. Did you plan all along for the sequel to take place in said continent, or was that an afterthought?

At the time, I didn't expect to ever do a sequel, but I knew that if I did one, I'd set it in a place without humans. (Because the communication barrier always meant half the characters never even interacted with Boreas) So I basically threw that in to be an amusing bit of foreshadowing if I ever ended up doing a sequel.

Hmmm... Interesting. Still unsure about Sophia (and curious about her "grandfather") but anyway, enough theorising for now. I do like it so far, what with my only remaining major gripe being the lack of a map or lore, but I'm content to wait on that frount. I'm a little sad that Selene won't be returning but I guess I'll just have to live with it. By the way, did you get the idea of a steam cannon from Mythbusters by any chance?

Don't worry, there's some lore coming up this very chapter. The idea of the steam cannon, surprisingly, wasn't from Mythbusters, at least not consciously. It was actually inspired by an air-powered potato cannon a classmate of mine built in secondary school. I changed it to a steam cannon since that made a lot more sense given the resources around (i.e. water and Larissa). I did remember later on that Mythbusters did a steam cannon once, which is why there's "some jiggery-pokery to help the pressure build up" in it, as the Mythbusters discovered that was necessary to give the projectile any actual speed.

Chapter Five: Night and Day

Larissa slowly emerged from a pleasant, happy sleep back to the real world where she was uncomfortable, aching all over, and extremely tired. Yet she knew she couldn't go back to sleep, as much as she wanted to: the hard, rocky ground she lay on, the icy cold, and the way her right front paw was stinging and asleep, its circulation cut off as it was caught between the rock and the thin, warm body lying on top of it. It didn't stop her from trying, though, and she was so tired blissful unconsciousness began to take her again despite the discomfort.

Hold on, her sleep-drunk mind thought, who's lying on my paw?

Larissa opened her eyes, and blushed deeply as she found herself cuddling a sleeping Sofia in the dark. There was a peaceful smile on her face, which was partially hidden by curly hair that had fallen over it. Larissa began to gently remove her paw from under the Kirlia, trying not to wake her. But when she got it back and the sweet relief of blood flowing into the tingling limb came, she found she still couldn't move: both Sofia's arms were around her middle. Well, this is going to be awkward.

Larissa scraped her throat to try and wake Sofia up. She mumbled a little in her sleep and lightly rubbed her curly head against Larissa's shoulder. Larissa realised that now that her arm was free, it was actually surprisingly comfy and nice, and she had half a mind of letting Sofia sleep. She was oddly fond of the Kirlia already, despite having only known each other for two days. She supposed it was to be expected; two pokémon could hardly go through a hell like Capinha together and save each other's lives several times without taking a liking to each other.

Larissa froze. Capinha! Had they warned the others what was happening? She tried to recall yesterday... She had jumped on that Aegislash in fury and despair, spit fire all over it and somehow beaten it... And then they were running from the remnants of the city, up the mountain again. But Sofia had sat down, begging for a brief rest, and Larissa had sat down too, exhausted after everything she'd done all day. And then... Then she had woken up snuggling Sofia in her sleep.

“Wake up, Sofe!” Larissa almost shouted.

“Hmm... I don't want to-” Sofia opened her eyes, found herself face-to-face with Larissa, and blushed so brightly it was surprising it didn't light up in the darkness. “H-Hi. How are you?”

“I'm an idiot, that's what I am!” Larissa jumped to her feet and looked around. The mountainside was very dark , lit only by the stars and the distant lights of Capinha down in the valley. “How could we be so stupid to 'sit down and rest for a moment'?! I should've known we'd fall asleep! Giratina's gallbladder, we probably slept for hours! Oh no, if the others got to Capinha while we were sleeping uselessly...”

“One hour, twenty minutes,” Sofia said calmly, looking at her hand spread out against the starry sky with one eye closed.

“What? How do you know?”

Sofia grinned, her face lighting up with enthusiasm, and Larissa knew she probably shouldn't have asked. “It's fantastically simple, really! You see, when we sat down, I remember seeing Jupiter over that mountaintop there, but now it's moved to there,” she pointed at a bright point of light in the sky that easily outshone all the stars. “That's a twenty degree angle, 'Rissa, and since the Earth rotates 360 degrees in twenty-four hours, twenty degrees mean one hour and twenty minutes. That also means-”

“Brilliant!” Larissa interrupted, and she started walking immediately, her feet aching with each step. “Then we've probably still got time to intercept them!”

“Probably, yeah. It's only midnight: Jupiter is straight in the south, because it's opposite of the pole star,” she pointed at an averagely bright star, “and since it's opposition – that is, the day when the Earth is directly between Jupiter and the Sun – was only a week ago, Jupiter is in the south at midnight.”

“Then let's walk as fast as we can and try to run into the others,” Larissa said, very grateful her stupid mistake hadn't cost any lives.

Sofia sighed. “Sure, I suppose we've got to. My feet are super tired, though...”

“Don't complain,” Larissa joked, “at least all of yours work.”

“Hey, even with a broken leg, you've still got one more foot than me!”

Larissa felt an almost unfamiliar tension pull on the corners of her mouth. Sofia cocked an eyebrow. “Was that a smile?”

Larissa looked away. “No, it wasn't.”

“Yes, it was,” Sofia said teasingly. “You smiled.”

“No, I didn't,” said Larissa, trying hard not to laugh. “You must've seen it wrong in the dark.”

“You diiid. Go ahead, admit it.”

Larissa chuckled. “Fine, alright, I smiled.”

“There we go,” Sofia laughed. “That didn't hurt, did it? You should smile more often, you've got a lovely smile.”

“Thanks. It does feel rather good. I don't think I've smiled since – well, you know.”

“Everyone, stop! We need to talk right now!” It was deep in the night, and Boreas and Aqua had finally caught up to the refugees.

Several of them dropped down on the spot with exhaustion. “At last,” someone moaned.

“So you managed to stop them?” someone asked.

“I delayed them,” Boreas explained. “If we're lucky, they won't continue until morning. But I did find out something... Unfortunate. We can't go to Capinha.”

“What?!” someone said. “But we're nearly there! We walked all night!”

“I'm very sorry, but we can't. Disaster awaits us in Capinha, I'm quite sure of it. We need to go somewhere else; is there any other way out of this valley?”

“Why can't we go to Capinha?”

“Because Lubyanka wants us to. She was very happy when she heard we were going there. I expect it too has been attacked, or is about to be attacked. Please, is there any other place we can go?”

It was silent. Old Bellefleur said: “Well, there's the capital.”

Wolfgang, an old Gogoat, sighed. “Ah, shining Praeclara. My dad took me there when I was just a little Skiddo to see the celebrations for the hundredth-year anniversary of the Unification, y'know. There were-”

“Terrakion's toenails, Wolf, you're that old?”

Wolfgang huffed. “Shut up, Don, I'm barely-”

“That's all fascinating,” Boreas interrupted, “but how do we get there?”

Bellefleur waved a green arm. “There's a path not far from here... We can get there within an hour. But it goes over the plateau, and it's another week to the capital... We don't have enough food for that.”

Boreas was going to say something, but Wolfgang cut in. “Then let's go to Capinha, says I! It takes more than another cowardly attack to scare this old goat! We've got twenty-five tough old survivors here, we can handle anything they throw at us! Remember how we did it in the old days, Fleury? Remember you and me, eh?”

Bellefleur rolled her eyes. “I don't remember much of a 'you and me' ever existing, Wolfgang. But I do recall you talking rubbish back then too. We're not exactly the silver horde of wizened warriors you seem to think we are, and even if we were, we've got a dozen kids to think of as well!”

Wolfgang huffed grumpily. “Hmpf, back in my day kids were tough and could handle themselves in a fight! It was a dangerous world back then, and I never hid behind adults when enemies threatened me!”

“Only because you never met anyone who qualified as an enemy before last week! Unless you're two centuries old, you've lived your entire life in peace, just like the rest of us. And don't start about you hiding behind adults, you vapid old windbag, didn't you always cry and run for your mummy whenever you saw-”

Please,” Boreas interrupted. “We don't have time for this. We can survive a week over the mountains, we'll just have to do our best to forage enough food each day; there are edible plants like alpine sorrel for example. The grass types among us can survive on sunlight alone-”

“It's not exactly a rich diet,” Wolfgang grumbled.

“But it'll keep you alive. We will leave the prisoners behind to save food and-”

“LEAVE THEM BEHIND?!” Wolfgang roared amidst a storm of protest. “After what they did to us you're just going to let them go?!”

“After what they did to poor Lucy!”

“Unless you want people to start starving because we've got seven extra mouths to feed, yes!” Boreas spoke loudly over the other voices.

Slowly the protest quieted down. “I say we cut their throats,” Wolfgang said.

“We'll do no such thing!” Boreas snapped.

“If you've got a way to get them to prison without them eating our food, I'm all for it, but if you don't, we should kill 'em. They tried to do the same to us!”

“No,” Boreas said fiercely. “There will be no killing, not while I'm here!”

“And who put you in charge anyway?!” Wolfgang thundered.

I did! When I saved the lot of you! If you want to execute those pokémon – because that's what it is, an execution – you'll have to get past me!”

“Calm down, Boreas,” said Aqua, taking part in the conversation for the first time. “I hate to say it, but he's got a point. If we let them go, they'll just rejoin Lubyanka and tell her where we went.”

Boreas felt betrayed. “Thank you, Aqua, but I'll take that over executing them any day. It'll be easy enough for Lubyanka to figure out where we went either way.”

“Why are you so hell-bent to save them anyway?” Wolfgang asked.

“Because,” Boreas snapped, “I've done it before. Killed someone, I mean. And I don't mean in combat and self defence and so on. I mean cold-blooded, look-them-in-the-eye murder.”

The others were silent at last, and Boreas continued.

“He was a very evil man named Ghetsis, who threatened the lives of thousands and ruined the lives of millions. He had had his own son killed that very day, and killing him was the only way to free Unova, so I killed him, and it made me a hero to millions. But I've had six years to think about that, and while I don't regret doing it, I will tell you this: Never. Again. So no, you're not executing that lot, no matter what they did. If we capture Lubyanka and her master too, you're still not laying a finger on them, not while I have the strength to defend them!” He abruptly switched to a pleasant smile. “Understood?”

The old Gogoat looked positively dumbfounded after Boreas' monologue.

“Excellent. We'll leave them behind for Lubyanka to find, then.” As he walked away, Aqua was about to follow him, but he made it clear he didn't feel like talking to her by brushing past without looking her in the eye.

Now that the refugees had settled down, it was very hard to get them moving again. Several of them were already sleeping, and everyone was tired out. Yet they had to get up on the mountainside; once they were sufficiently high up they could rest, as it was steep enough that a single pokémon could defend against an army up there. They left the captives where they were: tied to each other and a tree with a rope around their middle, loosely enough to be no more than an inconvenience to them, yet tightly enough to keep them from escaping. It was only a few minutes before people argued for going to Capinha after all.

“But you don't even know if anything really is wrong there!” Wolfgang argued. “Lubyanka didn't tell you anything; why would there be any danger to us in Capinha?”

But before Boreas could answer, another voice did: “Because Capinha has been destroyed.”

Two figures emerged from the darkness ahead: one bipedal and slim, clad in a loose grey jumpsuit, had curly green hair and large eyes with a slightly dreamy look in them; the other a quadruped with cream and blue fur and fierce, steel-grey eyes. Both of them looked utterly exhausted.

“Destroyed?” asked Boreas.

Larissa nodded grimly. “Another attack. We went in to see if we could help at all, but-”

“'Rissa!” one of her little brothers came running towards her. “You're back!”

“Not now,” she said curtly, with an almost icy glance at him. “Anyway, there was nothing we could do. We probably wouldn't have returned ourselves if Sofia wasn't a genius.” She gave the other a surprisingly fond look.

Sofia blushed a deep scarlet. “It was just a b-bit of tinkering, it's hardly genius...”

“But it did save our lives. The steam cannon was brilliant.”

“Well, I couldn't have done it without you. Besides, it's not like I did all the live saving there. Like when that Aegislash trying to eviscerate me, and you just jumped on it and-”

“I'm sure it was very impressive,” Aqua said, “but what about Capinha?”

“A few pokémon might have escaped,” Larissa said grimly, “we saw only a single family of survivors; not sure if they made it. I doubt more than a dozen or so pokémon survived...”

“That's five thousand pokémon they just murdered!” Wolfgang said with disgust. “I'd like to introduce some of that lot to my horns!”

“Maybe later,” Boreas said. “Anyone still opposed to going to the capital instead of Capinha?”

It was silent. “I agree, let's go to the capital!” Sofia said cheerfully. “I live there, you know, so I can show you the way: it's just over there, we go up on the plateau and-”

“Yes, I know,” said Boreas, annoyed at her attempt to show off. “We're just on our way there. Speaking off, let's go; the sooner we get up there, the sooner we can go to sleep.”

It was deep in the night by the time they were finally high enough on the mountainside to be reasonably safe, so they didn't leave until late in the morning. They finished climbing the mountainside as the Sun climbed higher in the sky, the vista behind them becoming more and more impressive as they saw a huge chunk of the valley. They reached a large, hilly plateau, around two kilometres above sea level. The snow-covered summits of the mountains still rose high above them, and some snow from the winter still lay here, though it was reasonably warm now. There were no trees, but the plateau was covered in all sorts of grass. Everyone who didn't know yet was quickly taught how to recognise the species that were edible when boiled, and the group soon spread out a bit as everyone foraged on the way.

There was no sign that they were still being pursued, though Boreas stayed a bit behind the group to make sure. Everyone was even more tired than before because of yesterday's heavy work and the lack of sleep. Aqua found herself wandering along bleary-eyed, almost like a sleepwalker. It was rather annoying, especially considering she knew she could've gone all night without sleeping and still felt fitter only a few years ago. It was to be expected you needed to take sleep a little more seriously when you hit nine, she supposed, but it was still annoying, and an unpleasant reminder she wasn't the youngest any more.

She was returned to the present when she noticed old Bellefleur carrying one of the Cyndaquils she was taking care of in her arms. Aqua walked a little faster to end up next to her. “Hey there,” she said kindly to the Cyndaquil. “Triton, isn't it?”

The little shrew gasped and opened his eyes widely, staring at her with a mix of fear and awe.

“Go on,” Bellefleur encouraged him. “This is Aqua, you don't have to be scared to talk to her.”

Triton nodded quickly.

“Nice to meet you, Triton. I was just wondering why such a big boy isn't walking by himself.”

Triton sighed deeply. “I'm so tired... All this walking makes my feet hurt...”

“Well then, would you like to ride on my back instead?” Aqua said.

“C-can I?”

“Of course you can, dearie,” Bellefleur said with a grateful nod at Aqua.

“No, you can't!” said the Cyndaquil's brother, Neso. “She's a Vaporeon. She can turn into water, and if she does that while you're on her back, you'll drown.”

Aqua chuckled at how common that particular myth was. “I'll make sure not to turn into water, then. Why don't you and Proteus come on my back for a while too? Don't worry,” she said to answer the old Bellossom's concerned look, “I'm young and strong, I can handle them for a while.”

But the moment all three Cyndaquils sat on her back, Aqua found she wasn't quite as young and strong as she liked to think. She walked on, though, glad to take the burden off Bellefleur at least.

“Thank you,” said the Bellossom. “I'm getting a little too old to carry the little ones around, really.”

Aqua smiled. “You shouldn't have to. It's very kind of you to take care of them in the first place.”

“Well, I'm an old friend of the family, and when I heard what happened to-” she threw a meaningful look at the Cyndaquils on Aqua's back, “-well, I knew the children would need someone to look after them. Especially the little ones.”

“It's very magnanimous of you.”

Bellefleur sighed. “I do hope Larissa will be alright, though... I tried to help her too, but she said she doesn't need me to take care of her. Says she is taking care of all of us. I suppose she is, in a way, but I wonder if she isn't pushing herself too hard.”

“Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief,” Aqua said, thinking back to the death of her first boyfriend and how she had dealt with it. Or rather: not dealt with it at all and retreated from everyone she knew. “I do hope hers works for her. Anyway, I wanted to ask you something: yesterday I heard some talk about something called the Unification. It sounded fairly important, so can you tell me what it was?”

Three little voices on Aqua's back piped up. “All the pokémon of Fournaria came together in the Unification and made peace,” they said together. “Didn't you go to school?”

Bellefleur chuckled. “I don't think Aqua's teachers knew about Fournaria, dearies. Anyway, there you have it. The Unification is how peace, freedom, and equality came to Fournaria.”

“Hmm,” Aqua said. “You mean that before the Unification, Fournaria had war and inequity before it?”

“Oh yes, plenty of it.”

Aqua grunted. “Figures. I just asked because I thought wars were only fought by humans, and pokémon just get dragged into them. I guess that's another illusion gone.”

“I often have trouble believing the kind of barbarity pokémon did to one another before the Unification myself,” Bellefleur said.

“I really don't like history much,” Aqua said, “but if we're to solve the riddle of the Shadow, I'd better get to know as much as I can about Fournaria. So, can you tell me more about the Unification?”

“Of course,” Bellefleur said happily. “It's always been a subject that interests me. But please, do stop me if I start rambling on about it too much. It all started about 250 years ago, in what we now call the year 91 Before Unification. Back then, Fournaria was not a very pleasant place. It was divided into two dozen states which were each ruled from different places and by different people, and which frequently warred with each other. Some of the states were relatively benign to their population, others were unapologetic tyrannies, but nowhere were the pokémon truly free. Even in the best of them, greed ruled all and the strong effectively owned the weak.

It all began to change in Praeclara, at the time the capital of one of the stronger and more benign states. A very wise Poliwhirl called Aurelio published a small book in which he argued for some ideas he had that, if both individual pokémon and governments followed them, would create a perfect society.

It was hardly revolutionary, and the ideas were very basic, essentially amounting to no more than all pokémon being equal and free, violence being perverse in all situations, and the importance of logic and scepticism, but it attracted some interest. Honestly, the original book was a bit overrated and not that well thought out, but in the long run that was a good thing.

Others were inspired by Aurelio and worked on his ideas, criticising some and improving others. Aurelio himself, encouraged by his success, wrote further books, longer ones, in which he gave more refined versions of his ideas with more thought put into them. But then, after seven years, he was assassinated. The murderer was never even found, and it's often suspected those in power didn't actually want the murderer to be caught, as Aurelio's ideas had been rather dangerous to them. All we know to this day is that it was an electric type that got him.

But you can't kill an idea. The next half century were probably the darkest years in our history, but Aurelio's ideas slowly spread even to the darkest corners of Fournaria. Many of those in power felt threatened and tried to fight them, but they failed, and eventually leaders influenced by Aurelio came to power in many places, Praeclara first among them. They began implementing his ideas, some successfully, others failed, whether due to bad luck, conspiracy, or the leaders themselves being corrupt and fraudulent.

But the increasing equality and freedom the pokémon of states that implemented Aurelio's ideas properly enjoyed won others over, and eventually even the tyrants were dethroned or stepped down against overwhelming protests. But that's only where the Unification began. Aurelio taught that the different states and their borders were nothing but made-up lines on a map, that all pokémon were one. Yet when cooperation turned to states beginning to merge with each other and a more and more powerful Fournarian government above the state governments grew, many were displeased. Whether out of xenophobia, an irrational love for their own state, or a desire to see the old ways return, many tried to stop the Unification, and in some places the progress made was turned back entirely. Wars broke out again, the final one ending only five years before the Unification.

But progress was inevitable, and finally Fournaria was Unified, the borders and states abolished. Naturally, the change was difficult and it almost broke apart again several times in the first decades, but sanity won out every time, and Fournaria remains one. No-one alive today ever saw the bad old days. Of course, that doesn't stop some pokémon from wanting to go back to them, at least in part. You've got people who want the states to return and things like that. There's some in the government, even. Oh, I'm so sorry, I rambled on far too long.”

“Not at all, it was fascinating,” Aqua said, feeling like her ears were about to drop off her head. “Is it possible some of these people who are trying to return to the old ways are behind the attacks?”

Bellefleur seemed a bit surprised. “I don't think so. I may disagree with their ideas, but many of them are still respectable citizens.”

“Sometime the respectable ones are the most dangerous... But I'm asking because there has to be a motive behind these attacks.”

“But from what I've heard, this Lubyanka is insane and sadistic. Surely she needs no more motive.”

“Sure, she's just bonkers, but what about the pokémon who follow her? Or, more importantly, her master?” But she considered another possibility too: Fournaria might not be as nice a place as Bellefleur believed. After all, self-styled utopias rarely were.
Hmmm... I don't really know what to make of that bit of lore, but at least it's something (then again, at this point in the story I shouldn't know what to make of it.) Anyway, I feel there is something left out there, but I guess I'll find out what (if anything) it is later on. Other than that, I don't really have anything else to say besides get on with the next chapter. :)
Yep, you will learn more soon (though not this chapter yet).

Chapter Six: The Door Opens

Time seemed to pass slowly on the plateaus and passes they travelled over. The group of refugees moved at the pace of an asthmatic Magcargo, as most were exhausted by the journey, the rough terrain, and the somewhat thinner air. Fortunately there were no signs that they were still being pursued, and while food was sparse, the blooming of spring left them enough not to starve. They foraged as many edible plants as they could each day. Sofia had tried to supplement their diet by turning grass into food, but she hadn't managed to make anything except foul-smelling brown-grey gunk out of it yet. On the fifth day, she had finally managed to create something non-rancid enough that she dared try drinking it herself.

She took a mouthful of the brown-green sludge, and her eyes immediately shot open to almost impossible size. Her face was torn with utter disgust. She took a laboured gulp and looked as if she was going to vomit at any moment, but managed to keep it down. “Gah!” she gasped. “That tasted... It tasted... It tasted like...” As she struggled for words, her face became thoughtful and she smacked her lips. “Well, I suppose it tasted exactly like you'd expect a mush of cooked and fermented grass to taste.”

“...Is that good, then?” Larissa asked cautiously.

“No!” Sofia said, her green eyes wide. “It's awful, I think half my tastebuds died from sheer misery just now.”

“No, I meant: is it edible?”

“Hmm, I doubt it. If the cellulose had fermented to sugars, it would've been way sweeter... But the batches I let ferment longer were spoilt and would probably kill anyone stupid enough to eat them... Hmm...”

And so the days passed slowly as they went through spectacular mountain vistas, over thin ridges at the tops of low mountains, along the sides of higher ones, and over the grassy plateau. Ultimately, the greatest threat wasn't hunger, but cold. At day, temperatures were pleasant, but at night they sorely felt how high up they were, and they had to light many fires to prevent frostbite. One night, snow fell and it was almost impossible to sleep. The oldest pokémon took turns sleeping in Sofia's tent and sleeping bag, both of which she had graciously lent to the group, for a night each. Everyone else slept under the open sky, as close to a fire as possible.

For most refugees, the new journey was harder than the journey through the valley. They had used up their last energy and were barely awake as they walked on and on. But to Larissa, the new journey was easier and more pleasant. Part of that was her leg beginning to heal slowly; but more important was Sofia. She spent a lot of time with the Kirlia, often just chatting with her. She seemed to have a unique outlook on just about everything, and her sense of humour made Larissa laugh surprisingly often.

Even so, Larissa's mood began to darken as the days crawled by. Not when she was with Sofia; she usually managed to get her in a good mood. But when she was alone, or with others, she often found herself grumpy, angry, and snappy. She was fed up with the complaints and slowness of the old pokémon, (she easily outpaced most of them with a broken leg, for crying out loud) their whining about Diamarina, and their sadness. Her little brothers annoyed her even more with their squeaky voices, their crying for their parents and their irritating bouts of hyperactivity and noisiness when they weren't being sad. They were even worse when they tried to rope her into one of their stupid, childish games. Fortunately they stopped bothering her when she lost her temper with them on the tenth day. Aqua annoyed her because she refused to teach Larissa to fight any more after a few days, claiming they didn't have enough food or energy to waste. Boreas annoyed her with his arrogance, his obvious boredom at having to escort the refugees, and the fact that he didn't push them to go any faster. Eventually, even Sofia sometimes began to annoy Larissa, though she was fortunately such a delight to be around that that never lasted long.

The slow tempo meant the journey took longer than planned once again. They were barely over halfway to the capital after the projected week. It wasn't until the twelfth day that they finally saw signs they were near their goal. When dusk came, they could actually see lights in the distance, down below in the valley. And beyond the lights, there was a dark, misty endlessness that Larissa supposed was the sea. But despite Praeclara being only a few hours away, no-one wanted to descend the mountainside at night and finish the final leg of the journey, so they camped on the plateau one last time. Larissa, annoyed with the laziness of the others, walked over to the fireplace Sofia was starting a little away from the others, sitting down next to her and lighting it.

“Hi,” Sofia said with slight uneasiness. They were both silent for a while, and then she continued. “'Rissa, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Larissa peered into the fire.

“Well, it's like this: I really like your company, and I enjoy talking to you and all, b-but... Well, have you considered sitting with your little brothers tonight instead?”

Larissa looked up, feeling awkward and disappointed: she had clearly become annoying to Sofia. “Oh. Um. Sure, I... I'll go-”

“Nononono,” Sofia hastily waved her hands about, “I wasn't brushing you off, I really do enjoy talking to you a great deal. I'm suggesting for their benefit, and for yours.”

Larissa frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Just that as much as I like spending time with you, I don't want to take away time you spend with your family.”

Larissa chuckled. “Don't worry, Sofe, you're not taking any time away. I wouldn't spend it with them anyway, whether I'd met you or not.” Even as Larissa said it, she knew the words had come out wrong.

Sofia frowned with concern. “Yes, that's what I thought you'd say...”

“Sorry, I didn't put that right,” Larissa said, a little flustered.

“Actually, I think you put it exactly right.”

“Um, well,” Larissa said defensively, “my brothers are just little kids. It's not exactly like they're stimulating conversation partners. Not like you,” she tried changing the subject. “Tell me, what's the name of that really bright star over there?”

“Wha- nononono, that's no star, that's Venus! No star is even remotely that bright; it's bright enough to see at day, in fact, if you know where to-” The enthusiastic glint in her eyes made place for a frown. “Hey, don't try to change the subject! Anyway, you don't necessarily have to have an in-depth conversation with them; why don't you just have a chat? Or play a game with them? Or ask them how they're doing at least?”

Larissa was starting to get rather annoyed. “Because I don't feel like it right now.”

“Let me ask you this: when was the last time you spent any time with either of them? Was it, by any chance, about three weeks ago?”

Larissa wished Sofia's eyes weren't full of concern rather than accusation; if they were, she could've just got furious, told her to mind her own business, and left. As is, that felt childish, so she suppressed her anger. “So what if it is? We're refugees from a disaster, we've had more important things on our mind.”

“Like you said, they're only kids, 'Rissa. They saw their parents die, and now their b-big sister is all they've got left in the whole world. Have you really been too busy even to give them a hug, or tell them it'll be alright, or to cry with them?”

“I don't know what business it is of yours,” Larissa snapped. “But yes, I've been too busy making sure they, and everybody else, survive! Besides, old Bellefleur takes good care of them.”

“Nonsense,” Sofia said with uncharacteristic harshness. “The only thing you've been too b-busy with is running away from your grief.”

“Are you calling me-”

“I'm not calling you anything, 'Rissa,” Sofia said firmly. “I'm not judging you, I'm only trying to help you.”

“Then help me by minding your own business!”

“No, I won't,” she said calmly. “B-because the longer you keep denying your feelings, the worse it will get, and eventually it will destroy you.”

“You think you're all wise now and have me completely figured out after only two weeks?!” Larissa yelled.

“No!” Sofia almost shouted back, then took a few deep breaths and calmed down instantly. “I could be all wrong about this, but I don't think I am. So we're going to play a little game. I'm going to tell you what I think, and you're not going to interrupt me. And then, when I'm done, you can call me a b-big, stupid idiot if I'm wrong, and I'll mind my own business.”

“If it will shut you up,” Larissa said icily.

“I think you're trying to deal with your loss by shutting it away. You pretend like you don't feel horrible, force yourself to feel nothing. You don't acknowledge your feelings, because you've lost so much. But that only works for a time. Grief doesn't just go away if you lock it inside. Instead, it rots and eats away at your heart, and eventually you become bitter and hateful. That's why you've b-been getting so much angrier the past few days. You don't allow yourself to feel the grief, but it's still there. That's why you don't spend any time with your brothers: because they remind you far too much of your parents and because their emotions are too close to what you feel yourself, deep inside.”

Larissa was quiet. “Maybe,” she growled. “You're right, I did shut my useless grief away by sheer force of will. I didn't shed a single tear for my parents, and I don't plan to. And sure, maybe it's getting harder. But I have to; I can't be paralysed just because my parents died. It happens.”

Sofia's large, green eyes were full of sadness and pity. “But it won't work, Larissa. You can't pretend a loss like that never happened; if you don't feel it, you'll always carry the grief with you, and it will destroy you.”

“I don't care. I have to. Was that all you had to say?”

“No, it's not. Larissa, you can't go on like this. You have to let yourself feel again at some point... And it will be much easier for you if you share those feelings with someone you can trust. Your brothers may be kids, but they went through the same thing you did. Go to them, Larissa, talk to them, please...”

“No,” Larissa said defiantly, angry at the intervention, yet slightly touched by Sofia's concern for her.

“But you...” The Kirlia put a long-fingered white hand to her mouth in an almost comical expression of surprise. “Oh! Oh, I just realised...”


“I realise why you're doing this now... Why you didn't share your grief with anyone in the first place. When Diamarina was wiped out, you were left to care for your brothers. But like you said, they're just kids, and you were all they had left in the world... So how could you share your feelings with them? You were the only thing standing between them and the world, so of course you had to show yourself to be strong to them, let them have someone to put their faith in. Do you feel like sharing in their grief would've made you look weak in front of them?”

“Um... Maybe...”

“And the rest of the survivors... All kids younger than you, or old, weak pokémon! All of them robbed of their families, friends, and homes. Wouldn't the same go for them? Even if you were close enough to any of them to really talk to them, you would have felt like they too would need someone to look up to, someone to give them hope. You consider yourself to be the leader of the refugees, don't you?”

“...Well, sort of, I suppose...”

“And just like your brothers, that would have meant you would have to be strong for them, show them there was still hope. And then there were Boreas and Aqua. I doubt you felt responsible for them, but... They're very tough and impressive, aren't they? To them, this whole situation is nothing more than yet another adventure. They're confident, and brave, and rather arrogant to b-be honest. Sharing your grief with them... If you didn't want to look weak to the refugees, than how could you look weak to them? They're already far too impressive and strong; if you let either of them know how horrible and lonely you really feel, it would make them feel infinitely superior to you.”

“...Maybe.” Larissa shuffled uncomfortably. “What of it?”

Sofia grinned happily. “Well, isn't it obvious what you need? You need an equal, someone you neither need to be responsible for, nor feel inferior to! Someone with whom you can share your grief and let it out, without feeling like you're letting them down or appearing weaker than them. I'd say it's pretty obvious who is left after you cross out both those groups, don't you?”

Larissa looked at Sofia's face and sighed. So innocent and sure of her ability to help Larissa. And on some level, Larissa really wanted to give in, to tell her all about just how horrible she felt... “Yes, perhaps... But that's irrelevant. I'm not going to 'share my feelings' with you and break down crying. I made myself a promise the day it happened, Sofe: I will be strong. No-one else will die. Justice will come to the ones who did this. Nothing will stop me. So yes, obviously I feel sad about my parents dying; who wouldn't? But I'm going to be strong about it.”

Sofia looked her firmly in the eye. “Listen to me, Larissa, because this is very important: you are strong. Acknowledging your feelings, even crying, will change nothing about that. I've seen you work incredibly hard every day, with a broken leg even, I've seen you go into Capinha against hope to try and save someone, and most of all, I know it. Look at all you've done in the past three weeks, of course you're strong.”

“Only because I've refused to feel my parents' death!”

“No! I think you are incredibly strong on the inside, and it has absolutely nothing to do with that. And when you get this over with and get the grief out of your system, you'll be far happier and nicer, and still unbelievably strong.”

Larissa couldn't help but be touched by the certainty with which Sofia said all this, and even to feel pride and wonder if she was right. She sighed deeply, feeling awful inside. “Even if that's true... I couldn't 'share my feelings' with you either, Sofe. It's... It's none of your business. And I say that in the kindest way possible. I... It's my problem. I can't burden you with my emotions, that's not something I can ask.”

There was a gentle hand at her shoulder. “But you're not asking; I'm offering. I'll be more than happy to help you in any way I can. They do say shared pain is half the pain.”

Larissa sighed, wiggling her shoulders to throw Sofia's hand off. “But why? It's not your business, Sofe... Why do you want to burden yourself with me?”

“...Isn't that obvious?”

Larissa sighed.

“I'm your friend, idiot!”

Larissa's heart, truly in pain, was overwhelmed with gratitude and affection. She looked at Sofia, almost dumbfounded. “My friend?”

The Kirlia's large eyes displayed sadness and shame as she turned away. “W-well, I mean... I thought so... I think of you as my friend anyway... I guess I'm just not-”

“Hey,” Larissa said, awkwardly putting her paw on Sofia's arm. “Of course you're my friend, Sofe. I-I just didn't realise it yet. You surprised me, that's all.”

With a movement like lightning, Sofia turned around, threw her arms around Larissa, and hugged her tightly. Larissa blushed and wasn't sure what to do, so she opted for softly patting her friend on the back. “Thank you!” Sofia squeaked.

“Sorry I didn't realise we were friends yet,” Larissa said in a mane of itchy green hairs that her face was involuntarily buried in. The hug was nice, but also awkward and she hoped Sofia would let go soon. “I-I haven't had a friend in...” she felt a little stupid as she realised. “Well, three weeks I suppose. That's a bit anticlimactic.”

Sofia let go, but her large eyes were shining with tears. “You lost your friends too?”

Larissa ignored the question, having enough trouble keeping the solid steel door of resolve closed anyway. “I guess the past three weeks have been so crazy they seem much longer. It's like I've lived two different lives... One of them started only three weeks ago, but seems as least as long as the other one. It's almost like everything before the attack happened to someone else.”

“That might be because you've tried to shut it away. Tell me about it, 'Rissa.”

“I don't think I want to... I'm sorry, Sofe, maybe you're right... But I just couldn't handle talking about it.”

“Please,” Sofia said emphatically. “You've been getting so grumpy and bitter the past few days... I can't even imagine how you feel inside, you have to let it out.”

Larissa turned away. “...I can't. I stopped feeling all that by sheer force of will. It feels like the grief is a bottomless black chasm I'm hanging over, only my resolve to hold on keeping me from falling... If I think about it- if I try to do what you say... I will fall! I will fall into the endless chasm... I can't do it, Sofe...”

There was the soft touch of a hand on her face, which lightly guided her to look back at her friend. “Let go,” she said kindly. “You will not fall far. I'm here for you.”

Something in Sofia's calm, green eyes made Larissa feel much stronger. She took a deep breath and made her decision. “...Alright. Um. How do I begin?”

Sofia shrugged and a tiny smile played around her mouth. “Tell me about your mother.”

“Um,” Larissa said awkwardly. “Well, her name was Thalassa, and she was a Typhlosion. She had a fruit stand a few streets away from our house. Um, anything else you want to know?”

Sofia shrugged again. “I'm not sure; tell me more about her and your father, I guess. B-but, don't just tell me the dry facts, think of actual memories, things that you did, that sort of thing. And don't repress anything you feel.”

“Well, my dad's name was Steven, and he was a Typhlosion too. He used to repair things in people's houses when they broke – the electricity and water and such – but he stopped working to take care of Triton, Proteus, and Neso when they were born. It's, um, it's a little embarrassing, but I was pretty jealous; neither mum nor dad stopped working to take care of me when I was born.”

“Not that surprising you were jealous at that age.”

Larissa tried to relax her mind, to let the steel door of resolve open as she dug up memories. “I guess I was luckier than Clara, at least. She had six annoying little brothers and sisters. She would tell me about them all day. Only subject she talked more about was that idiot Marco – she had a huge crush on him, you see, but he was in love with me. I didn't like him one bit, though, so I told him to bog off regularly. I... Guess he's dead now, just like Clara and her six siblings. Just like mum, and dad, and Wendy, and Iris, and-and-” Larissa choked up, squinting her eyes shut against the stinging tears. “I-I'm sorry, Sofe... I can't keep talking, it's too painful... They all died, and I miss them so much. That's why it's like a different person's life: I'm all that's left... Don't make me go on... Just let me live my new life and let the past be buried...”

A gentle touch to Larissa's paw. “If you really want that. But I don't think you do. I think you know it will only get worse if you try to forget. I tried it when my parents died, and it doesn't work...”

Larissa looked up. “Your parents died too?”

Sofia nodded. “I was a Ralts, barely older than your brothers. Grandfather took care of me ever since.”

“Unbelievable,” Larissa said, more angry than sad now. “Doesn't anyone have parents who live? It seems having children is the most dangerous thing someone can do!”

“Maybe, maybe...” Sofia said. “Can you tell me more? Just something you remember?”

Larissa sighed. “I think so... I-I remember when I was a little Cyndaquil, I had a nightmare and woke up crying... So mum picked me up and hugged m-me and-” She choked up again, quivering with tears.

Two arms gently wrapped themselves around her, and a mass of curly hair tickled one side of her face. But this time, the embrace didn't feel awkward at all, but was just what she needed; warm and affectionate, it gave her strength. “Just keep talking,” a gentle voice whispered in her ear. “If you need to cry, cry. Don't be ashamed of yourself.”

“Th-thank you,” Larissa hugged Sofia back tightly and buried her face in her curls. “S-she sang for me to calm me d-down, but she always had this funny tuft of hair on her head, and I was suddenly in r-reach of it, so I pulled on it,” she snorted with a mix of a sob and a chuckle, “r-really quite hard I think. Bu-but she didn't even seem to mind... She just kept singing and cradling me, un-until I had forgotten my nightmare and fell asleep in her arms... I-I've never felt safer and happier than that day...”

The tears were flowing freely by now, and Larissa knew part of her story had been incomprehensible because of her sobbing. But that didn't matter. The steel doors in her heart were finally open, and the flood of words and tears kept coming. She was finally fully aware of the pain she had felt the past three weeks, and couldn't stop talking about the memories of all those she had lost, of her former life.

But throughout it all, the thin body embracing her was like a rock of warmth and kindness in the endless sea of tears she clung to. The soft voice that whispered comfort in her ear was a constant reminder that despite everything, she wasn't alone. Sofia's hands rubbed her back gently, and the sorrow that poured out of the unlocked door in Larissa's heart seemed to drain away into her friend. The terrible pain was juxtaposed with sheer affection for Sofia, who so patiently cared for her and let her cry.

Larissa had no idea how long it took for her to calm down. All she knew when the tears stopped flowing was that it had felt like an eternity. Her eyes stung, her head throbbed with pain, her throat was dry, and she felt mentally exhausted, but at the same time it felt like a heavy weight had lifted off her chest. She continued to cuddle with Sofia, her every warm touch soothing her further and making her feel happy.

Slowly, she began to feel awkward, though, and let go of Sofia, looking away. “I'm so sorry about that,” she said, her voice hoarse. “You just wanted to give me a chance to air my feelings, and I go ahead and make it an extended special-edition whine-fest.”

Sofia chuckled. “Don't worry, I don't mind. How are you feeling now?”

“Terrible,” Larissa said. “But much better. Thank you. Thank you so much, I-” she looked back at Sofia, finding her hair was drenched on the right side and hanging down flatly. “Oh, your hair.”

“My hair?” Sofia let a hand run through it absent-mindedly, and quickly retracted it. “Oh, yuck.”

“I'm so sorry!” Larissa squeaked. “I shouldn't have cried into your hair- I shouldn't have overdone it so much- Oh, your hair is so nice and now look at-”

“Larissa,” Sofia said emphatically, her big, forest-green eyes catching Larissa's. “It's only hair. I'll be home tomorrow, I'll wash it then.”

“Yeah, but I still shouldn't have-”

“No, you did the right thing. Getting my hair a bit dirty is a small price to pay for making you feel better. And-” she continued, anticipating what Larissa was going to say, “-don't say you were being stupid and silly and overreacted. You really needed a cry like that, and you're very brave for facing your feelings that way.”

Larissa blushed. “Well, then just: thank you. Thank you for being such an amazing friend though we've only known each other for two weeks.”

Larissa woke up feeling surprisingly light-hearted. She opened her eyes and saw Sofia, still asleep, about a metre away. The sight of her friend, beautiful, ethereal, and peaceful as she slept on her side made Larissa feel even better. She really was very lucky to have met her. The pain of her loss was still terrible, of course, but in a different way; it no longer felt suffocating and oppressive, but like something she'd learn to live with. She could actually feel the pain now, without being overwhelmed by it.

After fifteen minutes or so, Larissa became aware she was staring at Sofia, watching her sleep, and realised that was quite a creepy thing to do, so she got up and walked into the main camp. Most pokémon were still asleep, but a few had already woken. She looked around, and quickly spotted who she was looking for. She took a deep breath, realising this was another thing that wasn't going to get any easier if she put it off.

“Hi, Proteus,” she said. “Um. How are you?”

As her little brother looked up to her, it slightly broke her heart to see a trace of fear in his eyes. “...I'm okay, 'Rissa.”

“I just wanted to say... I'm sorry for snapping out at you the other day. And I'm also sorry for ignoring you, and not being there for you when you needed me. I've, um, been having a hard time with mum and dad... Can you forgive me?”

“Okay,” the little Cyndaquil simply said, hugging her. She lifted him up and pulled him in a bigger hug. Two more apologies to go, she supposed.

“Would you like to play a game while we wait for the rest to wake up?” she asked.

But at that moment, there was a shout, and Larissa recognised the voice of Lubyanka: “Attack now! Kill them all!”
Last edited:
*Sniff* You really know how to make a story emotional *blows nose with tissue.* That make almost all suspicion of Sofia go out the window... Almost. Also, DAM YOU CLIFFHANGER!!!
Thank you, that's a very big compliment. :ksmile: Anyway, on to the cliffhanger's resolution:

Chapter Seven: Praeclara

Panic and chaos. The instant Lubyanka shouted the order to kill them all, the tranquil early-morning atmosphere of the refugee camp was gone. A dozen pokémon emerged over the small hillock Larissa had just walked over herself, and the refugees ran and screamed, instantly waking up those who weren't awake yet. They outnumbered the attackers, but were weak and surprised; they wouldn't stand a chance in a fight.

Larissa's first thought as she saw the enemy come over the hillock was of Sofia. She had left the Kirlia only minutes before on the other side, still asleep at the lightly smouldering remains of their fire. She let out a small gasp of horror as she imagined Lubyanka and her thugs reaching her sleeping friend in silence and... She couldn't finish the thought; she sprinted towards the enemy, her only concern to save Sofia.

“'Rissa!” Triton squeaked, and she was frozen for a second by the dilemma. She knew she was responsible for her brothers, that they were only children while Sofia was an adult, that Bellefleur was slower and older than her and that she had neglected her brothers far too much already... But the image of Lubyanka finding a sleeping Sofia entered her mind again, and there was only one thing she could do.

“I'm sorry,” she said, “run for your lives! Don't wait for Bellefleur or anyone; I'll find you later!” It hurt to have to leave them behind, but at least Lubyanka's troops might hesitate to kill children again. Sofia had no such protection. If she's still alive in the first place, a dark little voice in her head said. Larissa ran as fast as her three working legs could carry her, barely noticing herself dodge a heavy rock thrown at her.

As Larissa ran, she noticed something startling: on a nearby, taller hill, a floating black, shadow-like creature was watching over the whole situation with smug satisfaction. She realised with disbelief it was a Darkrai... And had to be the Shadow himself. Legendary pokémon or not, she would have attacked it right there and then, had she not heard a soft, agonised whimper.

Lubyanka stood only a dozen metres away, a mad grin disfiguring her beautiful face. She stood right on top of a whimpering and crying Sofia, who was lying face-down on the smouldering remnants of their fire, pressed down into it by the Luxray's weight on her back. Larissa ignited in rage, both figuratively and literally as her head- and backflames burnt brightly. She charged at Lubyanka, gathering fire around her, and tackled her, knocking her off Sofia. Larissa slashed furiously with claws and fire at the surprised Luxray, her mind ablaze with rage and hate. “You- Will- Never- Touch- Her- Again!!!” she roared, punctuating each word with a strike while Sofia crawled off the glowing charcoals.

A powerful impact combined with a charge of electricity blew her off Lubyanka. But she rolled to dodge the shock the Luxray tried to follow up with. “So!” said Lubyanka, a few cuts in her face and chest and some scorched fur all Larissa had accomplished. “It's the brat again! And this time you've got a little girlfriend. Aww, isn't that sweet? I hope I didn't burn her too badly.”

Larissa breathed a great flame, but Lubyanka effortlessly sidestepped.

Larissa didn't manage to dodge the web of electricity that came at her next, but it gave her only a light, but painful, shock. “What's the matter? Lost your tongue, brat?”

“I've got nothing to say to a mass murderer!” Larissa tried a feint this time, but her enemy saw through it and dodged anyway.

“Shame,” Lubyanka said. “Then I guess I'll have to try another way to get some entertainment...” She hopped one way and Larissa was sure she was going to send a spark there, so she dodged, but that was a mistake: the Luxray turned the way Larissa dodged, and the next thing she knew was an overwhelming pain and her every muscle spasming uncontrollably, nearly tearing her bones apart with their force. Bright lights danced in her eyes, and a low “Ooowwwooomooowwwooomm” noise buzzed in her ears.

She was vaguely aware of Sofia getting to her feet. “I-I-If you do a-a-anything to her, I will-”

The Luxray's dark shape pounced and pinned Sofia to the ground. There was a bright flash, and Sofia screeched in pain. “No...” Larissa croaked, trying her best to move her paralysed body. “Leave her alone, you-”

Lubyanka grinned derangedly. “Aww, you really care for this one, don't you, brat?”

“She can't even fight back!” Larissa yelled, beginning to get control over her voice at least. “Let her go!”

“Or what? You'll ineffectively scratch me again? Here, this is how it's done:” Lubyanka dragged a sharp claw over Sofia's cheek, opening a gash and making her scream again.

Larissa yelled every insult she had ever heard at Lubyanka, and Sofia begged for mercy.

“Tsk, tsk,” Lubyanka chuckled. “Stupid Lubyanka, messing up such a pretty face with a cut like that. Your girlfriend looks all asymmetric now, brat.” She brandished another sharp claw. “Well, only one thing for it: I messed up her right side, now I mess up her left. I wonder if she'll still be pretty if I poke one of those big eyes out?”

“Stop it!” Larissa yelled. “What do you want?! I'll do anything!”

Lubyanka laughed coldly. “This. I want this. What can I say? I'm a girl who values the simple things in life. And now...” She held up her claw with an insane grin. “Say goodbye to your eyes, pretty!”

With a titanic outpouring of will, Larissa somehow managed to move her paralysed body, get up, and jump right at Lubyanka as her claw came down, knocking her away again. Her fangs went straight for the throat, blinded by hate and wanting nothing more than to kill the evil monster. But in the chaos she missed and bit down on an ear instead. That didn't matter: she chomped so hard her teeth felt sore and about to fall out and ripped with all her might. Lubyanka screamed, the salty taste of blood filled Larissa's mouth, and she spit out a furry slab of flesh.

There was a shock even heavier than she had felt before, making her fur and skin smoke, and her next conscious moment she was pinned down by a furious Luxray that was bleeding badly from her left ear. “It was just fun and games so far,” Lubyanka hissed. “But for that, I'm going to show both of you the true meaning of pain!”

"Attack now! Kill them all!" Boreas shot awake in an instant and jumped to his feet. The first thing he noticed was that Aqua was nowhere to be seen, and that twelve unsavoury pokémon were running down the hillock. He began to radiate cold and whip up the winds on the plateau to a great storm while telling the refugees to flee.

He still didn't see Aqua, and he caught a quick glimpse of Larissa running across the hillock behind the enemies. So it was all down to him, then. He walked toward the enemy, making the storm as large and snowy as possible to prevent them going around or through it. “You won't pass me!” he said over the howling winds. “Go back right now if you want to live!”

Boreas was answered only by a bunch of attacks that flew into his storm. He only barely managed to dodge using his snow cloak technique, gathering snow around him so he blended in so well he seemed to his enemies to teleport through the storm. “Aren't you even going to talk to me before I turn you all into frozen corpses?”

“Lubyanka ordered us not to talk to you,” said the Noctowl as it swooped into the blizzard.

“And of course, you are obedient little monkeys and do everything she says.”

Boreas waved a paw, unleashing a pulse of cold that froze and thawed the air, parrying the fire the Magmar breathed at him. The Hitmonchan sprinted through the blizzard, its fists burning, but when it threw a lightning-quick punch it found Boreas disappeared; instead it punched right into a dense, powerful eddy of extreme cold. Boreas pressed himself flat against the ground to dodge a rock that could've brained him, and rolled out of the way of a jet of water.

He had to keep these twelve busy as long as possible to let the refugees escape, even if he was all on his own. And where was Aqua? If he was going to die, he'd rather do it in her company... He looked around again as he jumped over a beam, and then he spotted it: a Darkrai on a nearby hilltop, watching the proceedings smugly. The Shadow!

His moment of distraction cost him dearly: a searing heat blew him over, his flank on fire. As he fell, he rolled on to extinguish the flames, and was scraped by a blast of sharp leaves that cut into his skin. Busy as he was, he had let go of the blizzard and was becoming a lot more visible. The Hitmonchan landed right next to him and gave him a dizzying punch that nearly blacked him out. His vision was unfocussed, but he saw several shapes approach him rapidly...

And then they were distracted by something else. There were startled cries and noises of fighting, and when Boreas came to fully he could see the last enemies get knocked out. Thirty-odd pokémon had appeared while he was busy fighting and had joined the fight, defeating the Shadow's troops quite easily.

A Bisharp stepped towards him. “Is your name Boreas?”

“Uhhh... Yes?”

“I'm brigadier Stewart of the Praeclara constabulary. Your wife arrived in the capital a few hours ago to warn us of your coming.”

“Did she now?” Boreas grumbled. “She might've told me.”

“You were asleep when I got the idea, love.” Boreas noticed Aqua only now. “I didn't want to wake you up.”

“Yeah, well, you should still have told me.”

“If I had, and we'd arrived even a second later, you'd be dead now.”

“Well, never mind that now, we have to catch the Shadow!” He pointed to the hill, but the Darkrai was nowhere to be seen. Boreas cursed, but then realised the fight wasn't over yet: he'd heard Lubyanka but not seen her yet. “This way, maybe we can still catch Lubyanka!”

Boreas ran over the hillock. A little below, Lubyanka was pinning Larissa down, while Sofia lay a little away, apparently paralysed and her hair standing upright, making her look like a big, green feather duster. “It was just fun and games so far,” Lubyanka hissed. “But for that, I'm going to show both of you the true meaning of pain!”

Boreas fired an ice beam at the back of the Luxray's head, knocking her out in an instant by cooling her brain down. He pulled the unconscious cat off Larissa. “Are you alright?”

“I'm fine,” Larissa gasped, “I'm fine, but we have to catch the Shadow too! I saw him, he's a-”

“A Darkrai, yes. He already disappeared... Oh, this is Stewart-”

Brigadier Stewart, please,” the Bisharp interjected.

“Well, brigadier Stewart, go round up the other refugees,we can't have them running away for no reason. I'll see if I can't find the Shadow after all... Oh, and keep a few pokémon guarding Lubyanka and the other prisoners.”

Boreas sprinted up to the hill he'd seen the Darkrai on. But he couldn't see the creature itself anywhere. He heard several footsteps following him.

“Anything?” asked Larissa.

Boreas sighed. “Nothing, I'm afraid... I didn't expect to catch him, but still, it would've been nice for this to be easy.”

“That's a legendary pokémon, though,” Larissa said. “No wonder it can disappear like that...”

“I'm not sure it is a legendary,” Aqua said. “I don't think Darkrais leave footprints.”

“A footprint? Where?!” Boreas said.

“Over here, love. It's very faint, but it looks fairly large.”

“Where? I don't see it.”

“Here, next to the little round spot.”

“Ah, you're right, it does look like a footprint. Very interesting.”

“Could be old, I suppose,” Aqua said. “It's very faint.”

Boreas tried pressing his own foot into the ground at the same spot, but the soil was dry and hard. “Maybe. Though the faintness could just be because of the hard ground. Maybe our friend the Shadow is only pretending to be a Darkrai.”

“What does that mean?” Larissa asked.

“I wonder...”

They spent the next hour catching up to all the refugees and gathering them back together again. Larissa was pleased to see her brothers had come the farthest of everyone, though she couldn't help but feel guilty for not coming with them. After everyone was reunited they waited another hour or so to let everyone rest a little and regain some strength. With their new escort, there was no reason to hurry too much.

Larissa mainly hung about a little by a small brook running nearby, reflecting how lucky they were to have made it without losing anyone else. But after a while she realised Sofia hadn't said a word since they had been rescued from Lubyanka. This by itself was extremely unusual, but now that Larissa looked at her, she noticed Sofia's face was even paler than usual and her eyes looked about to pop out of her head. She was still partially covered in coal dust, and the hot charcoal had burnt through her jumpsuit and blistered the skin underneath in a few spots. “Hey,” Larissa walked to her friend, concerned. “Are you okay, Sofe?”

Sofia looked at her with a start, then suddenly pounced, knocking Larissa off her feet and hugging her tightly. “You saved me!” she squeaked.

Larissa awkwardly patted her on the back, a little sore from being just about tackled. I wonder if Sofia's ever heard of personal space? “Um, well, Aqua really saved both of us, and everyone else too.”

Sofia hugged even tighter. “B-b-but you saved me when I was in the fire! And then when she was going to poke my eyes out! Thank you! Thank you! Th-thank you, I thought I was going to die...”

“Hey,” Larissa said, rubbing her friend's back, “Hey, don't cry, Sofe. It's alright. She hurt you, but you're, um, alright. And you'll be home soon.”

“You actually fought her,” Sofia squeaked. “You fought her to save me! You're so great! You're a hero! You're...” Sofia slowly let go of Larissa. Her eyes were still wet, but she wasn't crying any more. She was blushing brightly, however, and so was Larissa after the compliments. “W-well, thank you. I say, that Lubyanka is not very nice, is she?”

“You caught on fast,” Larissa said.

“Good thing we caught her... Oh, you've got a bit of blood at your mouth, by the way.”

“Well, um, I think I bit just about half her ear off.” Larissa dipped her paw in the water of the brook and rubbed it on her face a bit. “That better?”

“Here, let me.” Sofia wetted her hands in the brook and gently began cleaning the fur around Larissa's mouth, her face close by and looking focussed. Larissa felt a little awkward at first, but then slowly became more comfortable, her eyes drawn towards Sofia's pleasant canopy-green ones.

She felt oddly disappointed the moment ended when Sofia finished and said: “Done! That's much better; can't have you walking into Praeclara looking like a vampire, can we?”

“You should talk,” Larissa teased. “Face as white as that, it's probably only your cute, innocent looks that keep people from warding you off with garlic.”

Sofia chuckled and blushed.

“Oh, and the blushing helps you look less like a vampire too.”

“Shush,” she laughed, “all Kirlias have white faces.”

“Ah, so your whole species are vampires?”

“If I was a vampire, I would have used my tongue to clean your face, not my hands.” As both girls pictured that, they blushed a bright scarlet and looked away from each other. Sofia chuckled nervously. “Hihi, er, n-not what I meant.”

“I know,” said Larissa. An awkward silence descended on them. “Um,” Larissa tried to break the silence. “Anyway, you should ask Aqua to heal those burns and that cut for you, it'll be easy enough for her.”

“Good idea, good idea,” Sofia said, a little too quickly. “I'll go ask her right now!”

The final day of the journey to the capital was easy and pleasant. With their escort, they were safe from attacks and could take it easy. The journey was mostly a gentle downhill slope towards the city and the coast it lay on. Most of the refugees were light-hearted, but Boreas wondered how their welcome in the city would really be like. It would be a good test of how benevolent Fournaria really was, he supposed. He wouldn't be surprised at all if their generosity would dry up quickly when it came to taking care of a bunch of pokémon without anything to their name...

The only disturbance in the journey came after a few hours, when someone noticed the prisoners and the constables escorting them had disappeared. They had been walking in the back, and no-one had noticed what had happened. They tracked back a little and found the corpses of all the prisoners except Lubyanka, and all their guards except one. Most of the dead had had their necks broken, and when the brigadier tallied his men, he found none were missing, other than the ones they had found dead. But the riddle would have to be solved another time. There was no trace of Lubyanka, and they wanted to reach the capital before nightfall. They travelled the rest of the way in a grim silence, their escort mournful to have lost their friends.

It was evening by the time they reached Praeclara, and Boreas had never seen a city like it. It was gigantic, gorgeous, and unique. It sprawled through several deep valleys and tall, coastal hills, some parts of it overlooking the endless ocean from mighty cliffs while others were almost at sea-height, drooping off into rocky beaches. In some ways, it was a lot like the large human cities Boreas had seen. Half a million pokémon lived in more buildings than there were trees in a forest, and there were shops for everything everywhere. Bridges crossed the valleys, letting inhabitants walk from hill to hill, and tunnels did the same for those in the valleys, connecting the different parts of the great metropolis easily.

But even greater than the similarities to human cities were the differences. The building styles and sizes differed enormously, each of them tailored to the inhabitants. Tall towers that were mostly open to the elements, few walls and no windows, housed hundreds of flying pokémon. Low, burrow-like earthy homes in the valleys were inhabited by ground types. There was far more nature than in any city, with parks and ponds everywhere, but even these often housed pokémon. There were tiny doll houses barely more than a metre tall for the smaller species and vast halls for the large ones. The city even continued a bit into the sea, the upper parts of the homes of water types breaching the surface.

Even the doors came in vastly different styles. A bipedal pokémon's front door would look a lot like a human door, while homes for quadrupeds were recognisable by their square doors that opened from the ground up. The towers that housed flying types didn't even have doors at all.

There were no vehicles and most roads were unpaved, but to give enough room to the trees everywhere, they were still broad. It was easily the most messy, yet beautiful city Boreas had ever seen. Yet he overheard a somewhat annoyed Aqua question Larissa about its existence:

“But why do you live in cities? Why build buildings, you're all pokémon! You could live in the wild, in nature.”

“Do you think we're barbarians?” Larissa replied sharply. “Live in holes in the ground, what kind of place do you think Fournaria is?”

“I wasn't saying anything like that; I was born in a burrow myself. But why would pokémon need cities?”

“Oh. Um, sorry, I didn't realise you were a barbarian. You don't seem like one.”

Boreas could barely stop himself erupting in a fit of laughter, and decided to walk out of earshot of his wife for a little while.

Larissa too marvelled at Praeclara as they reached its centre. She had never seen the capital before, and its diversity and beauty were incredible. They were led through busy streets to a large square surrounded by fancy buildings with many columns. There was quite a crowd about, but Larissa's eye was caught by an elegant old Arcanine in the middle of the square. “Hold on... Is that the bleeding Prime Minister?!”

“Looks like her,” said Sofia. Suddenly she made a little jump. “Look over there, it's grandfather!”

Sofia pulled Larissa along as she enthusiastically ran towards an old Weavile in the crowd. He had a stern face and the feathers on his head were grey and elegantly bent back. “Grandfather!” Sofia ran at the old Weavile and hugged him.

“Child, what are you doing back already?” he asked, his voice slightly high-pitched. “And with these pokémon? Hmm?”

Sofia explained rapidly, rattling on while the Prime Minister welcomed them all to the capital and apologised for what happened to them. “Grandfather, I was attacked by Larissa here in the forest – she's my new best friend, she's the greatest! - And then I gave her and the other refugees my food and we went to Capinha and I built a flame thrower and a steam cannon and the steam cannon worked really well but Larissa still had to save me a few times and then we were in danger again so we travelled over the plateau and we almost starved and I tried to make food from grass but it didn't work and this morning we were attacked but Larissa saved me again and also Aqua had come here to get an escort and we captured the baddies but they escaped and-” Sofia took a deep breath.

“What?! You were attacked? And what are these holes in your clothes, child? They look burnt through!”

“That's because they were, grandfather, Lubyanka threw me into the remains of our campfire and stood on me to stop me crawling out and it was really hot and smokey and painful and horrible but then Larissa was really brave and cool and she saved me but then Lubyanka tried to poke out my eyes and again she-”

“Quite, quite,” the old Weavile said darkly. “Thank you, child, I've heard enough... Come with me.”

He strutted over into the square, towards Boreas and Aqua. “I don't think you explained it that well, Sofe...” said Larissa.

“What do you mean?” Sofia piped. “I told him everything that happened, well, most of it, and how amazing it was, and how cool you were.”

“Yeah, but-”

The old Weavile had reached his goal and tapped his walking stick on the ground to attract Boreas' attention, which was currently on the Prime Minister, who was in the middle of talking. “Are you the leader of this group, young man?!”

“Excuse you,” Boreas said, “I'm talking to your Prime Minister.”

“Sir,” said the Arcanine, annoyed to be interrupted, “if you will please-”

“This is more important. Have you been dragging Sofia into danger, hmm?!”

“Grandfather, I-”

“She's your granddaughter?” Boreas asked.

“My great-granddaughter, actually. Now answer my question, sir!”

“Not really,” Boreas said, “she decided to join us herself. Personally, I was against-”

“As the leader of this group, you are responsible; she's just a child!”

“Grandfather, I'm an adult.”

“Only barely, child. Now, as for you, sir, how dare you drag my granddaughter into danger?!”

“I joined them of my own accord, grandfather. And I'm old enough to make my own decisions. They needed my help, and I gave it.”

“It's true, sir-”


Boreas rolled his eyes. “It's true, doctor. Sofia offered her supplies to help us when she heard of our predicament.”

“Not to mention her knowledge as a scientist!” Larissa added.

“A scientist?” The old Weavile's eyes twinkled with a small smile, his anger apparently blown over suddenly. “Now, what have you been telling these pokémon, child?”

Sofia blushed. “I am a scientist, grandfather.”

He lightly tapped her nose in an affectionate gesture. “You are a student, and you shouldn't brag like that.”

Sofia blushed even more. “Grandfather, being a scientist isn't about having a degree... It's about a curious mindset, and a dedication to learning and knowledge and scepticism, and reason and logic, and...”

Sofia's grandfather chuckled. “Naturally. Nevertheless, it's quite misleading to introduce yourself as a scientist, hmm?”

“Ahem,” the Prime Minister said with a glower at Sofia's grandfather. “As I was saying, temporary lodging in the capital will be provided for all of you until more permanent homes can be found. Your temporary homes will likely not be very comfortable, but you'll have a roof above your heads and your needs will be taken care of. Adoptive families will be found for the children.”

“What does that mean, 'Rissa?” squeaked Neso.

“It means,” Larissa whispered, hiding her somewhat conflicted feelings from her brother, “that they'll find a nice family to take care of you.”

“Of all of us? You too?”

Larissa shook her head. “I'm old enough to take care of myself. But I'll still be your sister, and I'll come by a lot.”

As the Prime Minister talked on, Sofia's grandfather began to walk away. “Come along, child.”

“Alright, grandfather. See you soon, 'Rissa.” Sofia followed him, but then she suddenly froze, made a little jump, and turned around with a big grin on her face. “Actually, why don't you come with us, 'Rissa? We've got enough room for you to stay with us for a while!”

“Um,” Larissa said, liking the idea but a little unsure. “Well, shouldn't you ask your grandfather first?”

“Don't worry, grandfather won't mind. Well, if you promise not to burn the house down.” She stuck out her tongue. “What do you say? It'll be like a sleepover!”

“It sounds fun, Sofe, but I can't neglect my brothers.”

“You don't have to! Just because you sleep somewhere else doesn't mean you can't be with them at day. And besides, I know it won't be for that long: I know you'll probably want to go after Lubyanka and the Shadow soon.”

“Yes, you're right,” Larissa nodded. “As soon as possible, really.”

“So why not stay at my place for a few days? You're more than welcome!”

Larissa couldn't help but smile at her friend's enthusiasm. “Sure, it sounds fun.”
Last edited:
Interesting chapter, although I can't help but think that the way you ended the attack was a bit... How can I put this... Mary Sue-ish? Also, I hope this dosen't mean you'll have the story focusing on the capital insted of the... Adventureness, but anyway, (mini) theory time:

Theory about Sofia's loyalty: 100% on Larissa's side (for the moment.)
Theory about the identity of the 'Shadow': Diego.

P.S. Could you please notify me whenever a new chapter comes out?
Last edited:
Interesting chapter, although I can't help but think that the way you ended the attack was a bit... How can I put this... Mary Sue-ish?

I think you mean deus ex machina, which I guess it sort of is. I realise now that I was being too lazy with the way I finished the battle. Anyway, if a deus ex machina wasn't what you meant, then please do explain how you mean it was Mary Sue-ish.

Also, I hope this dosen't mean you'll have the story focusing on the capital insted of the... Adventureness

Don't worry, we're not staying in the capital. Well, we are for chapter 8, but the adventure will continue soon.

P.S. Could you please notify me whenever a new chapter comes out?

@BadAssGardevoir Like this?

Chapter Eight: Discussions and Psychics

“Brigadier,” Boreas interrupted the Bisharp's long speech. “This is all extremely interesting,” he managed to suppress a chuckle as Aqua yawned next to him. “But are you going to tell us anything you've discovered, or just continue spouting this nonsense at us?”

The brigadier took a deep breath and frowned. “If you want to help us with our investigation, I have to brief you on your duties and rights as a volunteer member of the constabulary.”

Boreas smiled smugly. “See, that's where you've got the wrong idea. I don't want to help you with your investigation; I want you to help me with my investigation.”

Our investigation,” Aqua said sharply. “But anyway, Boreas is right, brigadier. We just want to know if you found out anything about the Shadow, and then we'll be on our way.”

The brigadier rolled his eyes. “I'm not giving sensitive information about a dangerous criminal to two civilians, strangers, no less, so they can go play vigilante. If you want to know more, you'll have to become a voluntary constable.”

Boreas made a face. “Well, if that's the only way, I don't think we'll bother. I doubt you've found out much anyway.”

The Bisharp frowned. “If that's your decision, you're free to leave any time you wish; I'm doing this as a favour to you.”

“Some favour.”

“However, I must ask you to remain in the capital until tomorrow at least. I imagine the minister for order will want to talk to you himself when he returns from his vacation.”

“Minister for order? Sound terribly exciting. I think I'll pass on that too.”

“I would advice strongly against it. The minister is responsible for stopping the Shadow and will need your help.”

“Let me explain something to you. I'm not going to waste any words talking to someone with as soul-crushingly bureaucratic and dreary a title as 'minister for order'. In fact, I'm not even going to waste a second of thought on him.”

“For Rayquaza's sake, man!” the brigadier snapped. “Are you really going to obstruct justice because of a childishly petty dislike of authority?”

Boreas nodded. “Yeah, that's pretty much the idea. Bye, brigadier; you probably won't see me again, but don't forget to be grateful when the Shadow stops bothering you.”

“Don't let the door hit you on the way out!” He turned fiercely to Aqua, seeing her remain as Boreas walked out of the office. “And what about you? Any wiser than your idiot husband?”

Aqua grimaced. “No, not really. But if your minister wants to talk to someone, why not Larissa?”

“The little girl?”

“Hardly a little girl. She did a lot of work to get the refugees all here in one piece, and she can tell him at least as much as I could. Anyway, got to run, bye.”

Boreas waited for her outside the office, as did a Marshtomp who was to escort them outside. But Boreas spotted some papers that seemed interesting lying on a desk out of the corner of his eye. “Distract our friend,” he whispered.

Aqua glowered. “I see it too, and it's your turn to be the distraction; I did the distracting when we were sneaking into the mad pokémon collector's lair.”

“But you're much better at it, love. I mean, pokémon's heads turn in your direction fairly naturally.”

Aqua rolled her eyes. “Flattery will get you nowhere; it's not my turn and I'm not going to be the distraction.”

“Fine.” Boreas whipped up a mild gust as he passed the desk, blowing the papers onto the ground. “Whoa, that was quite a draft! Here, let me pick these up.”

“Sir, let me; those are confidential. Please don't look at them.” As Boreas quickly skimmed the papers while gathering them, the Marshtomp got on all fours and gathered pages too.

“But I'm not, I'm just helping you clear this mess up. Certainly not reading them.”

The other hastily pulled the papers out of his paws, but he had seen all he needed to see already.

Boreas and Aqua were led outside, and, once they were left alone, Boreas smirked. “Got it. They barely know anything about the Shadow. But Diamarina isn't the first town that disappeared off the map lately.”


“Really. There's been no word from a few towns for a while. But they're not sure that's because they fell victim to the Shadow; most of them are tiny and isolated. One of them isn't, though: it's called Egodia, and they actually had someone check it. It was deserted. Didn't have time to read more, but they clearly connect it with the Shadow. We should find out where it is, and then do some investigating ourselves.”

“I think there's more we could find out right here, though,” Aqua said. “It'd be silly to rush off to Ego-whatever right away.”

“I was just about to say that myself,” Boreas said sharply. “We need to know more about Fournaria, and we can probably find out more about the Shadow himself. He's got to have left some traces. And someone has to know something about Mewtwo.”

He became aware that Aqua was giving him quite a filthy look and hesitated. “Er, sorry I was a little curt. But hey, are we agreed we'll stay here a while and then go to Egodia if we find no better leads?”


“Wonderful to be doing something useful again, isn't it?” Boreas beamed. “We wasted so much time escorting those dreary refugees; now we can finally get to the exciting business of tracking down the Shadow and defeating him.”

Aqua stared at him icily.

“What's wrong now? Still upset about-”

“Tell me,” she said. “When did helping people become less important to you than playing the hero and having everyone worship you for saving them?”

“What?” Boreas was astonished to hear his wife say things like that. “That's not why I'm glad we're done escorting them at all. I'm just looking at the big picture: saving a few dozen refugees is fine and all, but this Shadow could threaten all Fournaria, and I'd rather save a few million.”

“That's not what it's about though, is it? You're not in this because you empathise with them, or because you worry about the innocents the Shadow is killing; and certainly not because you want to see the world and hate to see it messed up by scum. You're in this to show off, to earn the admiration of a whole continent, to be their hero; because it's far more glamorous than escorting those refugees.”

“Nonsense! You know me better than that, Aqua.”

“Yes, yes I do. I've known you for seven years, and you know what? I used to like you much better.”

Boreas' reply got stuck in his throat.

“Remember who you were when we left Unova to see the world?”

“I-I was exactly the same! Only weaker, less experienced, less smart, and... Well, less fantastic, really.”

Aqua laughed a cold laugh. “No, you were a much better person back then. When we left, all you wanted was to see the world, to get closer to the horizon. And if we happened across something nasty, you were happy to help, of course.”

“That's still what I want!”

Aqua shook her head. “Remember the first place we stumbled on after leaving Unova?”

“Sure, but I don't see what the Tropius incident has to do with it.”

“Let me refresh your memory, then: after we stopped those banana harvesters, I suggested we went back to the forest and let the Tropiuses know the danger had passed. And you suggested we go back to the boat instead and let them find out by themselves, because you didn't want to waste our time on unnecessary praise and have everyone flock about us. I don't think I've ever loved you more. To this day, the Tropiuses probably don't know who stopped those banana harvesters.”

“Yeah, well-”

“But now, you've got some kind of hero complex! You're not travelling to see the world, you're actively seeking out trouble, jumping in, and solving it to earn the praise of those you helped!”

“Even if I am,” Boreas snapped, “what does it matter? I hardly think the pokémon I save mind!”

“Maybe that's because they're not married to you! Your arrogance is incredibly annoying and it will get you killed some day!”

“It's only arrogance if it's misplaced. This is something different, and it's called self-awareness.”

“Don't kid yourself, your ego has gone to your head. Mind you, it always was rather large, but once upon a time it was still grounded in reality. But now your ego is completely misplaced. And you love playing the hero in the most glamorous ways possible. That's why you were so rude to the brigadier: you wanted him to know you were going to solve his problem your way, and to be able to do that stupid little smug grin of yours at him when we beat the Shadow.”

“I don't recall you disagreeing with me.”

Boreas was pleased to see Aqua momentarily flustered. “Y-yeah, well, maybe I didn't, but that's not the point. The point is you didn't want to work with the authorities because it would mean sharing the glory.”

“What do my reasons matter? You agreed with me!”

“No, you assumed I agreed with you. You didn't even ask! And that's another thing, you always assume you speak for me, you- you treat me like a piece of property!”

“What are you talking about? I don't-”

“Yes, you do! And I don't even think you realise you do it! You make decisions for me, often talk to others as if I'm not even there, you take credit for things I do – How often have you said you defeated Lubyanka in Diamarina lately? And you don't let me get a word in edgewise, and the worst part of it is that I've gotten so used to it I automatically go along with it! When we're talking to other people, you're always the one doing the talking and I just automatically keep quiet.”

“Well, then, maybe you should speak up once in a while!”

But Aqua didn't shout back. “You know what, I've said all I wanted to say. I'll see you tomorrow, or maybe some other day if you're more reasonable by then.”

“Well, good riddance!” Boreas spat as they walked off in opposite directions.

As Sofia washed and changed, Larissa was left alone with her grandfather in a large, stately room full of books. There were complex designs and odd schematics around. As the old Weavile sat reading a book in a big, comfy chair, Larissa felt awkwardly out of place. “Um,” she said. “Nice house.”


Larissa started reading the titles of the various books. Most of them seemed pretty boring to her. She really hoped Sofia would be back soon. Perhaps that would be a good subject. “Um, sir- I mean, doctor – Sofia was very generous with her help to us. Um. She did very well and I also think she's very smart,” she said flatly.

The grey Weavile looked up, and Larissa noticed he had the same colour of dark green eyes as his granddaughter. “Hmm, yes, quite. She's a good girl.”

He continued to read. Larissa coughed. She shifted a bit, but found the proper cast on her leg, which had replaced the improvised one, bulky and obstructive. “Um,” she said. “Doctor, do you think this cast is really necessary? My leg was actually starting to heal pretty well without it.”

“Hmm? If the doctor put it on, I'm sure it is.”

“But don't you-”

“I'm sorry, my dear, but I am no medical doctor; I couldn't tell you what would be best for your leg.”

“Oh,” Larissa said. “I see. What kind of doctor are you then?”

He actually looked up from his book now and smiled slightly. “I study psychic powers. The neurological origins of telepathy, telekinesis, and other psychic phenomena. What makes a pokémon a psychic type and why their power varies between individuals.”

“You mean like why Sofia is such a weak psychic?”

He nodded. “She told you about that, then. Yes, my research into the parts of the brain that produce psychic powers do involve curiously weak psychics like her as well as stronger ones. I have made much leeway in understanding how these powers work, although as with all neurological sciences, the fact that we can't properly observe the brain while it is in use is a great barrier to further understanding of its workings. Yet I have discovered many things; even how to manipulate these powers, if only theoretically.”

“What kind of manipulation?”

“All kinds of it,” the old man explained. “Temporarily dampening or empowering someone's psychic powers, even transferring those powers to another psychic.”

“That's possible?” Larissa asked, suddenly very worried the Shadow had captured Mewtwo. “So someone could steal a powerful psychic's powers and take them for himself?”

The old man chuckled. “Nothing quite so sensational. The donor could only be a psychic themselves, as other species miss the psychic lobe that allows psychic powers in the first place. And even then it would be temporary. But that is all theoretical: one would need a large amount of sofylase and invasive surgery to accomplish such matters.”

Larissa raised an eyebrow. “Sofylase?”

He smiled. “An enzyme critical to the workings of the psychic lobe which I discovered myself and named after my newborn great-granddaughter.”

“That's very sweet of you.”

“Since the only source of sofylase is the psychic gland of psychic types and large amounts would be needed to do these manipulations, it's an entirely theoretical matter. So, you see, you don't need to worry about evil pokémon stealing someone else's psychic powers. Dear me, dear me, you have quite the imagination.”

Larissa was put at ease by that, or at least the idea that even if the Shadow managed to steal Mewtwo's psychic powers, it would only be temporary. The old Weavile continued to read his book.

“Tadaa!” Sofia strutted into the room wearing a short white dress. It clung to her skinny form a lot more than the jumpsuit and showed her thin, green legs. “How do I look?”

Larissa looked back up. “Lovely.”

“Thanks!” she blushed and twirled around. “It's quite nice and comfy too, really.”

“Why didn't you wear it before, then?”

Sofia chuckled. “It's not exactly a handy outfit for a long trip through the mountains. Plus, it doesn't have pockets. I like pockets, pockets are good for keeping things in.”

Sofia's grandfather scraped his throat. “Child, why don't you go show our guest where she'll sleep?”

Sofia clapped her hands enthusiastically. “Great idea, great idea, grandfather! Come on, Larissa, this way!”

They left the old Weavile to read in silence, going into the corridor past a kitchen. Like most homes in Praeclara, this one had only a single floor. “By the way,” Larissa asked curiously, “why do you wear clothes in the first place? Do you need them to keep warm?”

“No, not really,” Sofia said. “The jumpsuit does help, but this thing isn't really any warmer.”

“Why then?” Larissa asked.

Sofia chuckled. “Probably because I'd be pretty ashamed to wear nothing around other pokémon.”

Larissa raised an eyebrow. “But why? Most pokémon don't wear anything, but a few species do. Why is that?”

Sofia led her into a large room with big windows looking out over the garden. The room was messy and full of interesting things. There was the soft noise of several things ticking at once. Highly colourful drawings that didn't seem to depict anything in particular hung on the walls. There was a shelf with a bunch of colourful rocks below a high bed with a ladder. On the roof hung what looked like a model of the Solar System, with eight metal arms going out from a ticking yellow Sun in the centre and supporting the planets, several of which repeated the image with smaller arms leading to moons.

“To be honest,” Sofia said, “I don't really know. It's not any kind of necessity, it's just a cultural thing, probably. I'd guess some Kirlia a long time ago made some clothes and put them on, it caught on, and now we all wear them and it would feel extremely embarrassing not to.”

“That's so odd,” Larissa said. “But I suppose it's just a matter of what you're used to...” Yet she couldn't help but be curious what Sofia looked like without her dress now. She didn't want to continue talking about the subject if it was that embarrassing to her, though.

She didn't get the chance to, anyway, as Sofia started talking again. “Oh, I should show you around the room! Up there, that's a model of the Solar System I made when I was still a Ralts! It includes all planets and the most major moons, and clockwork inside the Sun keeps them all in their actual position right now. For example, you can see the Earth almost in b-between Jupiter and the Sun right now, just like we saw it was when we were fleeing from Capinha! Neptune, on the other hand, is on the opposite side of the Sun, so you couldn't see it even with a telescope – Oh, speaking of which, this here is my telescope!” She skipped over to a thick, elaborate tube on a tripod. “The night sky looks incredibly fantastic through it, I'll show you when it gets dark – actually, never mind, it's cloudy, so that won't work, b-but when there's a clear night I'll show you! It's easy enough to see the moons of Jupiter, andandandandand dozens of stars in the Pleiades, and the Orion Nebula, and-”

Larissa, chuckling at her friend's enthusiasm, interrupted gently. “Sofe, take a breath, you're going to pass out soon.”

Sofia stopped and took a few breaths. “Good idea, I was getting a little light headed. Anyway, where was I? I could show you the rings and moons of Saturn too, and...” She suddenly stopped, blushed a bit, and looked rather downhearted. “I mean, if you want, of course. I know I get far too enthusiastic about this stuff and it's boring and annoying and-”

“Not at all,” Larissa said. “I'd love to look at the stars with a telescope.”

Sofia was positively on cloud nine. “B-brilliant! It'll be great, we can also see-”

“But first, maybe you should tell me where I'm going to sleep?”

“In my bed, of course!”

“In... Your bed?”

“And I'm going to put a mattress on the ground and sleep there myself,” Sofia continued obliviously. “You're the guest, after all, and I'm used to sleeping on the ground after vacation anyway, so you can have my bed.”

“Actually, I'd rather sleep on the ground. I've never climbed a ladder in my life, and I don't think it'd go very well. They're not really designed for quadrupeds.”

Sofia looked thoughtful. “Good point... So I guess I'll put two mattresses on the ground, one for each of us. I wonder if we have enough...”

“Yyyyyes... Or you could sleep in your own bed?”

“Brilliant! I'll do that!”

The next day, Boreas asked around at the university for an expert on psychic powers to answer his questions about Mewtwo. When he entered the lab of said expert, he found, to his surprise, the same old Weavile who had interrupted his conversation with the Arcanine yesterday, noting down numbers on a dial linked up to metal hats that several Hypnos were wearing. “Are you doctor William?”

“Yes, what is it, what do you want?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the dial.

“I wanted to talk to you about-”

“No time, no time, I'm quite busy,” he waved a hand behind his back dismissively.

“But it's important, it's-”

“Come back some other time, young man, I'm busy!”

“Alright, when will you have time?”

“Hmm? Oh, some time next week should do, now stop dilly-dallying around my laboratory and kindly leave.”

“A week?! But it's important! The lives of everyone could be at stake, and you're too busy? I'm fighting the Shadow here and-”

“I know you are; you are that scruffy, arrogant firebrand who exposed my granddaughter to danger.”

“Scruffy? Anyway, it-”

Please, come back another time!”

Larissa was led through the stately corridors of the ministry of order, feeling tiny, out of place, and silly. The Prinplup leading her knocked on her door, and a throaty voice told her to enter.

Larissa stepped into the office, trembling a little. “Um. Hello. I'm Larissa.”

The Sceptile behind the desk smiled and gestured for her to come in. “Welcome, Larissa, take a seat. I am minister Tacito.”

Larissa sat down stiffly on the pillow on the ground. “I know you are, sir.”

The Sceptile leaned towards her. “First of all, I want to apologise for what you've been through. As minister for order, it is my duty to keep the order and prevent things like this from happening.”

“Um. Apology accepted.”

“I also want to ask you to tell me exactly what happened to you the day Diamarina was destroyed.”

“...I'd really rather not, sir.”

“I understand,” the minister said empathically, “and I'm sorry, but I really have to know. Start from the beginning. What was the first warning you got?”

Larissa took a deep breath and told Tacito in the most clinical possible terms, treating it like something from a boring history book in an effort not to feel anything. She knew not to suppress her grief, but this was different. She could hardly break down crying in front of the minister.

She told him how they had heard shouts and screams and other noises one morning, how her parents had left to defend the town, and how her father had returned alone and wounded. And then... It was incredibly hard to keep talking without breaking down; Larissa talked in a monotonous robot voice as she forced herself to continue and tell the minister her father had been crushed when part of the roof collapsed. How she and her brothers had fled the house, only to be cornered. How Boreas had saved them, and how they had been recaptured. How Boreas had saved them again, and finally how the town had been flooded.

“Thank you,” said the minister. “I have a few questions, if you don't mind.”

“Ask away, sir,” said Larissa, convinced it couldn't be harder than talking of her parents' deaths was.

“These Eevees who intervened in the attack and rescued you. You said they were from outside Fournaria?”

Larissa nodded. “I think they said they were from a place called Unover. It sounded like a weird place; they keep talking about some kind of apes too.”

“Hmm,” said the minister. “And what do you think of these two strangers? Are they trustworthy?”

“I'm, um, not sure... I mean, they're both brave and good pokémon, and they do want to find the Shadow. But... I get the impression it's more for fun than because they want to protect anyone, at least in Boreas' case, and they don't have much respect for authority or law.”

The Sceptile nodded. “I got that impression. I take it they're going to go off somewhere after the Shadow?”

“I don't know for certain, but I expect so.”

“And you plan to go with them?”

Larissa nodded.

“Then I want to ask you to keep me up to date on their doing whenever you can. I will gladly accept their help, but they do represent a potential threat to Fournaria.”

Larissa frowned. “Don't you think that's a little extreme, sir?”

“Perhaps it is. But those who make up their own laws are a danger to all those who love peace and order. I want to keep an eye on these two, just in case. Can you help me with that?”

Larissa nodded. “I will keep you informed, but that's all.”

“Thank you. That's all I ask.”

Boreas spent the next days following up different leads, but found out little. The Shadow was very good at covering his tracks, and even of Lubyanka he could find no record. The implications of that puzzled and worried him. He tried to find out more about the attacked towns, to find a common thread between them, a reason why those towns might have been chosen; some connection to Mewtwo perhaps. But he knew he would have to visit their remnants to find out any more.

Every day he tried to talk to doctor William about Mewtwo, and every day he found him busy. So after a few days, Boreas decided to visit him at home in the evening. The address was easy enough to find, as Larissa was staying there and therefore the refugees, now sharing a few empty homes in the west of the city, knew it as she'd visited them every day.

Yet he did not expect to run into Larissa and Sofia when he neared the address. The two girls were chatting amiably, but were clearly as surprised to see Boreas as he was to see them. “Boreas!” Larissa said. “Great, I have to talk to you.”

Boreas smiled and nodded and pretended to be interested. “I'm all ears, but would you mind if we find somewhere shaded to sit down? It's getting rather late and all this sunlight is rather too hot for me. Ice type, you know.”

“We can go to my grandfather's house!” Sofia chirped. “It's close by! In fact, why don't you come have dinner with us?”

Boreas smiled. “Sure.”

They led him to a house that looked a lot more like a human house than most others in Praeclara. However, it had only a single floor and was built at a smaller scale than a human house, as the inhabitants were little over half the size of humans. Larissa and Boreas sat down in a wide parlour with both fluffy chairs for bipeds and comfy cushions on the ground for quadrupeds, while Sofia made dinner.

“So,” Boreas said, “how have you been doing?”

“Pretty well,” Larissa said. “Sofia was showing me around the city today. How about you? Where's Aqua?”

Boreas managed to suppress the storm of anger and regret that raged inside him from showing. “Just following some leads.”

“Well, I've been following some leads myself, and learnt some interesting things...” She told him of what she had learnt about Sofia's grandfather's research, and her suspicion the Shadow might have targeted Mewtwo to steal its psychic power.

“That is quite interesting,” Boreas admitted. “We should keep an eye open, even if he doesn't think it's practically possible.”

Larissa nodded. “Anyway, where are we going next? Back to Capinha? Though on the other hand, I hear Egodia has disappeared; it seems like a good place to find out more.”

“We?” Boreas asked, barely surprised. “I'm sorry, but there is no 'we'. But Aqua and I are going to Egodia, yes.”

“And I'm coming with you,” said Larissa, in a tone that made it clear she wasn't going to take no for an answer.

Boreas smiled his friendliest smile. “That's not needed. Your town is safe now. You've done well. You can stay here now.”

“Safe? With the Shadow still on the loose? Even if they are, what about the rest of Fournaria? The Shadow is responsible for at least seven thousand deaths already; who knows how many more will follow?”

“None; we'll stop him before you know it.”

“Yes, we will.”

Boreas sighed. “An adventure is no place for children, and that's that.”

“Then it's a good thing I'm not a child.”

“You're barely an adult either.”

“So? Barely an adult is still an adult, and you're not my father, so it's really none of your business.”

“That doesn't matter; you're still too young.”

Larissa's steely eyes stared at him with an uncomfortably piercing look. “Tell me, how old were you when you were on what you call an adventure for the first time?”

Boreas shifted. “That's- that's irrelevant!”

Larissa's fierce eyes didn't shift. “How old?”

“Two months.”

“Two months?!” Larissa finally blinking in surprise was quite a relief to Boreas, who had grown very uncomfortable under her stare.

“W-well, it was under very different circumstances! My parents had died and my saviours were on this quest, you see- No, I'm explaining it wrong. It was a fairly harmless and safe adventure, at least at first, before we ran afoul of the Seven Sages and the war started-”

“It's a bit hypocritical for you to tell me I can't go, isn't it?”

“Look, this adventure is-”

“And another thing: you keep calling it an adventure. For you it may just be an adventure, but I lost my parents. Fournaria is my home, and it's under threat from this Shadow. So I'm glad you're having fun, but you need someone who actually takes this seriously. Someone who is reliable.”

Boreas' eyebrows shot up. “Reliable? Implying I'm not?”

“So sorry, but no, you're not. You're impulsive, rash, and far too arrogant. And before you start, Aqua is unreliable too because she does whatever she wants, going off on errands she thought up herself without consulting anyone else. Isn't that what she's doing right now?”

“Something of the sort. Anyway, I guess you're not wrong, but I still don't want to take you along.”

“I'm coming along, you might as well make some use of me. You're being quite unreasonable.”

“I agree with Larissa,” said a soft voice. Sofia had re-entered the room. “She's not just old enough to decide for herself, but moreover she's brave, reliable, and really quite a lovely person. I think we'd be mad not to let us come with us.”

Boreas was stunned, while Larissa smiled. “Thanks, Sofe. Wait, we?”

“What?” Boreas said. “What? Are you pulling my leg?”

“Oh no, not at all,” Sofia said, a serious look on her face. “If you had seen her in Capinha or when Lubyanka was being nasty to me, you wouldn't doubt her for a second. Oh, one moment, I need to cut something.”

As she rushed out of the parlour, Boreas and Larissa looked at each other in silence, and then both laughed. “What does she think this is?” Boreas chortled. “A camping trip?”

Larissa chuckled. “Just don't say that to her when she gets back, okay?”

Boreas shrugged. “Well, I'll have to say something to let her know she's not coming with us.”

“Um. Well, why not?”

Boreas rolled his eyes. “Come on. Taking you is one thing, taking princess Whackaloon is quite another.”

Larissa's face hardened into a fierce scowl. Her piercing eyes made Boreas slightly uncomfortable once again, and he began to pity her future children and grandchildren who'd have to endure that glare. “Don't call her that, she's just a bit eccentric.”

“Sorry,” Boreas said. “Anyway, she can't even defend herself if we get in trouble.”

“She may not be able to fight, but she can build some dangerous stuff. Besides, there might not even be any fighting, and she would be a great asset. She's very smart and much more insightful than you might think.”

“Good for her,” Boreas said, with annoyance, “but we've got enough smart people. I'm quite brilliant myself, and Aqua is smart too. No smart people needed.”

“You cocky piece of-” Larissa took a deep breath, but her fierce, steel-grey eyes continued to scowl at Boreas. “Well, maybe you are pretty smart, but you've got to admit, you're mainly streetwise. Meanwhile, Sofia is well educated and a scientist-”

Boreas snorted derisively. “That was just bragging, remember? She's just a student.”

“Doesn't matter; it's still a different type of smarts that could come in very useful. And I bet she knows the lay of the land very well. You know nothing of Fournaria, and I don't know that much of these parts of it either. And anyway, who are you to refuse her? It's her choice, she knows what she's doing and she's willing-”

Boreas chuckled. “Not sure if she knows what's she's doing.”

Larissa's scowl deepened, and Boreas felt almost as if he was the younger of the two. “She's not mad, not even slightly so. I can assure you, Sofia is very insightful and quite wise.” A strange look entered her fierce eyes for a moment.

“Even if I said she could come with us, I hardly think her granddad is going to allow it.”

Larissa smirked. “That's her problem, not yours, is it? So what you're saying is, she can come if she can convince her grandfather?”

“That's not-”

Sofia came back from the kitchen at a brisk pace, took a jump, and landed in the chair between Larissa and Boreas. “Dinner is almost ready, I do hope grandfather will be back soon. Anyway, what about Larissa? Can she come with us?”

Boreas chuckled, figuring he wasn't going to win the debate anyway. “Sure, why not.”

Sofia threw her arms around Boreas' shoulders and hugged him. “Wonderful! You're coming with us, 'Rissa!”

“Please don't do that,” Boreas wiggled his shoulders to loosen Sofia's grip. “Anyway, you'll have to ask your grandfather for permission yourself.”

“Of course I'll- Oh, here he is! Hello, grandfather! I invited Boreas for dinner!”

“Hmm? Who is-” The old Weavile entered and looked at Boreas disapprovingly. “Ah, it's you. I take it you ran out of patience and came here to talk to me?”

“Yes,” Boreas admitted.

“Hmm. By all rights I should throw you out. But if you will promise to stop bothering me, I will answer your questions.”

“That's all I want. What can you tell me about Mewtwo?”

The old Weavile turned to Sofia. “Why don't you and Larissa start dinner, child? I will join you in a few minutes.”

The two girls left, and the doctor sat down in a chair. “I'm afraid I can only tell you what Larissa told me. I had never heard of such a pokémon before. I must say it's quite a fascinating idea, and I do hope you'll tell me more about it if you find out any more.”

“Alright, let me ask something else, then: imagine if someone very evil got their hands on the most powerful psychic in the world, except still a dozen times stronger. What kind of dangers would that pose? What kind of things could that psychic do to others?”

“Hmm,” the doctor said. “Well, if Mewtwo's psychic powers were really that formidable... A 25 on the Vaida scale perhaps, well, it would certainly be a very dangerous pokémon.”

“Yes, I got that far on my own, but what could it actually do? Could it mind-control whole cities?”

The doctor chuckled. “That's quite preposterous. Mind controlling even a single pokémon is very difficult and requires constant focus. Even with supreme psychic power, one's focus is limiting. Maybe this Mewtwo could control three or four pokémon at once, but certainly no more than that.”

“I see. What about combat? How many pokémon could Mewtwo defeat at once? Could it handle a whole army?”

“Again, you are overestimating psychic power quite a lot. A psychic attack involves overloading the victim's nervous system with psychic energy.”

“I know, I've been on the receiving end of one a few times.”

“But what you might not have realised is it costs a fair bit of energy to do so, hmm? Even this Mewtwo couldn't fight an army on its own. It could certainly defeat multiple opponents at once, but there is, once again, a limit.”

“I see...” Boreas said. “I suppose that should be a relief. Is there any other way Mewtwo could threaten all of Fournaria?”

“No more than a single, extremely powerful ice-type could plunge the world into an ice age.”

But despite these reassurances, Boreas couldn't help think he was missing something crucial that made the Shadow controlling Mewtwo far more dangerous.
And it seems your claims of Boreas not being a complete (male) Mary Sue are true, that's a good thing. Also, interesting you decided to make Larissa a spy of sorts, interested to see how that works out (I say interesting/interested a lot, don't I?)

By the way, if you want to notify someone quoting does pretty much the same job as a mention, but if you do mention someone you have to get the user-in-question's user ID and put it in mention tags insted of just going @apenpaap for some strange reason.
Please note: The thread is from 9 years ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
Top Bottom