OOC: Last month, RX suggested that I write something spooky. Something in the spirit of Halloween, FOR Halloween. Well, I started and forgot, but here is the finished project. What better for Halloween than a ghost story? _____________________________________________ BIC: Ah, the Fool's Maze Woods. Such a fitting locale for our tale. The Woods were a widely-known area of the Solest region, if not mostly for the irony associated with them. The forest itself was a huge labyrinth of thick trees, large twisting roots, and numerous dead ends, with an incredibly dense canopy to boot. At any time of the day, on any given day of the year, there was absolutely no sunlight in the forest, causing travelers to rely on flashlights, torches, or Pokemon to find their way through. Ironically, despite the insane amount of paths to tread, the way out was ridiculously simple. The only way to get lost in the forest was if you had absolutely no sense of direction, and were therefore "a fool." On this particlar night, Halloween no less, a large campfire burned brightly in the maze. Several people, along with a few of their Pokemon, were huddled around it, keeping warm from the harsh, cold wind. "Tell us some ghost stories!" a young girl holding a sleek Purrloin exclaimed. "Haha, alrighty, then!" a large older man chuckled, stroking his short gray beard. "Here's one that'll frighten' ya nice and scary, and it's a true story, too! Have ya ever heard the man who went and made a deal with the devil?" "Nope!" the young girl and two other small children replied in unison. "Well, here it goes. Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was a man who lived here in Solest. He was the Champion, strongest Trainer in the whole region! Now, the Champion is supposed to be a symbol of courage, justice, and hope; a role model for kids like yourselves. But he was different. He was obsessed with getting more and more power. Some say he even wanted to take over the entire world. "One day, he discovered a book that told him about an ancient Pokemon called Mortix. Mortix isn't any sort of Pokemon you want to even think about. There are very few Pokemon in the world that are truly evil, but Mortix, he's the definition of the word. Back when Mortix used to be in power, all other Pokemon were slaves to his will, even people! None dared to stand up to him, lest they die a terrible, gruesome death. When people and Pokemon die, they either go to Heaven or Hell, as you know; but, when Mortix kills ya, he doesn't exactly kill ya. He sends you to a realm that's far beyond what we can imagine. The absolute worst place that could ever possibly exist. "But anyway, this man found out about Mortix, and sought a way to contact him. He succeeded, and he unknowingly released Mortix upon the world once more. Luckily, Arceus was able to stop him before he had a chance to do anything. The man was punished for his sin, although, his punishment isn't exactly known to anyone 'cept Arceus and himself." "Spooky!" the little girl exclaimed. "D'awww, I was hoping for something a little scarier!" a young boy pouted. "If I told it any scarier, Id've given you nightmares!" the man chuckled, ruffling the boy's hair. "Then I'll tell it. You seemed to have left out some of the key parts." a male voice replied. Moving towards the fire, he came out from behind a tree, his own appearance a perfect fit for the current setting. He had incredibly messy black hair that fell to just above his shoulders, dark circles underneath his midnight blue eyes, and very pale skin. He wore a long black trenchcoat, with a multitude of buckles running the length, the large collar popped up. His boots were as dark as the night sky, with straps and metal rings criss-crossing them. "Eh? Who're you, fella?" "Who I am is of no consequence. I'm just passing through." "Passing through the Fool's Maze? Just some random whim, I'm guessin'?" "If you could even call it that. However, the children want a story, and I happen to have one. Would you mind if I sat down and gave them a fright?" The Pokemon closest to the old man, an old-looking Arcanine, gently nudged the man's leg, as if to say "What's the harm?" The man nodded, and the younger man took a seat on a log. "Listen closely, kids. I'm just going to be going into greater detail of the story you just heard, so bear with me if some of it sounds familiar. "Yes, the man of the story was in fact the Champion, but our tale begins before that, back to when he was just a regular Trainer. This young man was actually from a place called Sinnoh, a region not too distant from us. Back when he lived in Sinnoh, he never once dreamed of becoming Champion." "Why not?!" the boy asked, startled. "Well, he just wanted people to know that he was able to be one, but he didn't think he could handle the large amount of responsibility that came with being the Champion. May I continue?" the young man replied, a small hint of impatience in his voice. The boy nodded. "One day, he was competing in the Sinnoh Pokemon League, as I said earlier, proving that he had what it takes to be able to challenge the Elite Four. This particular tournament was two-on-two, and he was partnered with one of his life-long friends. They won, and went to Veilstone City to celebrate with some of their other friends. "While there, he ran into a man named Cyrus, the head of an evil organization known as Team Galactic. The young man thwarted their plans, and Cyrus vowed the absolute destruction of the man. Fearing the full strength of Team Galactic, the young man and his friend fled to Celestic Town, where they managed to stop a bombing planned by Team Galactic. Once more having stood in Team Galactic's way, Cyrus ordered a region-wide manhunt for him. The two crossed Mt. Coronet into Eterna City, where they managed to spread the rumor that he had fled to the Kanto region. "Well, luckily for them, Cyrus took the bait, and stopped his frantic search. A little while later, the two heard that the abandoned Team Galactic building in Eterna was haunted, so they went to investigate. Once inside, they split up, and the young man followed a Ghost Pokemon into the ventilation. Crawling after it, he heard people talking in a room below him. Looking through a small grate, he saw his friend captured by none other than Team Galactic! Had they, too, been investigating the rumors of the haunting? Busting through the grate, intent on rescuing his friend, he came across none other than Cyrus himself. "A few Team Galactic grunts managed to hold him down, and his friend revealed that she had been working with Team Galactic from the beginning. Originally, they had wanted a powerful Trainer - him - to do something for them, but after the few times he spoiled their plans, Cyrus began to think differently. His friend having been a Team Galactic member, the rumor of them fleeing to Kanto was all part of the plan. Cyrus knocked the man out and sent him here to the Solest region, making sure he'd be unable to stop them again." "How awful! Being betrayed by a friend like that! I'd absolutely hate it if that happened to me!" the young girl exclaimed, glancing timidly at the Purrloin in her lap. "When he came to, the young man realized what had happened and vowed eternal revenge against Cyrus. He started fresh here in Solest, and captured and trained Pokemon that he felt would help him in his quest. Some of them even evolved from his fierce hatred! The young man quickly rose to the top in Solest, easily besting the Elite Four and claiming the title of Champion. Using his new power, he amassed several followers and went to Sinnoh with the intent of killing Cyrus. He told his followers that they would be doing the world a great deed -which, was half of the truth, yes- but doing a great evil for doing so. "Storming the Team Galactic Headquarters in Veilstone, he and Cyrus met to battle, each determined to finally get rid of the other. His former friend confronted him, saying that he should forgive her for what she did. And he, no longer even human in his madness, had his Pokemon kill her." "I thought Pokemon weren't able to kill! I thought that no matter what, Pokemon respected human life!" the boy yelled. "Normally, that's true. But remember what I said earlier: his hatred caused some of his Pokemon to evolve. With that kind of emotional connection, quite possibly even a small mental one, Pokemon will do whatever they're told." came the cold reply. "But!...but! I thought that even brainwashed Pokemon couldn't even kill people!" "That's the thing, though. By evolving in such a corrupt manner, doing it in order to please their Trainer, it was all of their own free will. Pokemon that evolve by such utter contempt have a twisted sense of morality. Whatever makes both them and their Trainer happy is good, whatever displeases the both is evil. "Back to the story at hand. He killed his former friend, and battled Cyrus in a magnificent contest of willpower. Our young man came out on top and killed his enemy. As he was about to head back to Solest, he noticed a letter sticking out of his friend's jacket. According to it, she had been forced by Cyrus to work for him, or else he'd torture and probably kill her family and friends. She had planned for the two of them to overthrow Cyrus and be rid of the nightmare. Realizing he had made a terrible mistake, he sought a way to bring her back to life. He remembered a story his father had told him long ago about having a wish granted if one was able to bring the three Calamity Pokemon of Solest to the Forsaken Temple. "When he got back to Solest, he created an organization known as the Nighthawk Corporation. This taskforce was created to do exactly what he wanted: the capture of all three Calamities. Being the Champion, he was easily able to give the Corporation massive amounts of funding. Eventually, after several months -almost a year- his goal was met. When he got to the Forsaken Temple, where the Calamities were supposed to have been gathered by his men, he was met with an empty building; they had escaped. Furious, he turned to the first thing he could think of: Mortix. It was said that Mortix would perform one thing to he who summoned him, as a token of gratitude. In a dark ritual, Mortix was brought to our realm, and mercilessly killed the man, thinking him as nothing more than a tool used to bring him back. "However, the forces of Fate were kind, and gave the man a chance to correct his wrong in the form of the Pokemon Darkrai. Darkrai was a creation of Mortix who longed to overthrow the dark being. However, Darkrai had escaped to the Sinnoh region after helping Arceus seal Mortix away. Darkrai followed the young man back to Solest, knowing what was going to happen. He revived him, and promised to help him stop Mortix. Darkrai and the young man become one: two souls within one body. However, Darkrai soon took complete control of the young man, and slaughtered many innocent people in order to boost his power so he could hopefully fight evenly against Mortix. The two did battle, and the man was able to overcome Darkrai's grasp and use their combined strength to defeat Mortix. Arceus, who had been watching everything, cleansed the young man of Darkrai, but at the cost of the man's life." "So that's the full story, eh?" the older man asked. "That's it. Well, it's not the one-hundred percent complete story, but if I were to tell the entire thing, it'd take a lot longer." the younger man replied, smiling. "That was creepy!" the kids said in a sing-song tune. "But you enjoyed it, right?" "Absolutely!" "What's yer name, fella?" "Still on about that?" the young man sighed. "My name is Seishuku. Seishuku Senka." "Mr. Senka, sir, if you remember, Grandpa said that the man was punished for his sin. Surely him dying wasn't the punishment?" the young boy asked. "I'd say that's absolutely right. There is speculation on his fate, but only that." "What do you think about it?" Seishuku paused for a few moments before speaking. "I'd say that Arceus wanted him to pay for both killing and summoning Mortix. I'd bet that Arceus reincarnated the man so people would not be angry directly towards him anymore, just who he used to be. Arceus would make him immortal and force him to do acts of charity at every turn, an eternal repayment for nearly causing the world to be delved in chaos. Arceus would make sure he'd keep the world in order." "Really? But that sounds so strange...." "Who are we to question the gods and their decisions? Maybe he's found peace in helping out others. Or maybe he doesn't want to do the task Arceus has given him. Perhaps he's become like Mortix: angry and full of spite. He may even want to try and overthrow Arceus."