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Northern Star

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Sem, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Fic number six~


    -Chapter 1-

    “One double cheeseburger; hold everything but the ketchup, aaand…” the voice of a mature young woman trailed. “large curly fries, and a medium drink,” she finished. The female was of average height, neither short nor tall. Long black hair tied into a pony tail trailed down to the small of her back. Her shapely figure wore a pair of gray jeans and a blue top that was decorated with trails of black flowers. A sleeveless jacket of sorts fell just past her hips. On her feet were flat-soled shoes, the tops of which were blue; her arms wore black arm-warmers.

    Her skin was smooth and pale, free of any visible blemish. She had powerful and handsome facial features; her black bangs fell around her face, allowing anyone to see her stunning sapphire-blue eyes. No makeup was on her face, not even lipstick, and her ears were un-pierced: so was any other part of her body.

    Tara Valens stood at a stall, ordering food for her ever-hungry stomach. They were near Lilycove City, Hoenn, out in front of the main entrance to the Safari Zone. She had no desire to enter the Safari Zone, but vendors always seemed to park outside of the reserve during warm times of year, when the zone was at its busiest.

    It was indeed warm; the sun was out full force, without a cloud in the sky to offer any defense to the creatures that dwelled on the surface of the planet. It was a healthy warm however: an invigorating heat that radiated; something that you welcomed after staying so long inside an air conditioned building. Not even a hint of a breeze was present and life seemed to thrive happily.

    “A drink?” the pimpled face of a generic young man inside the stall repeated. “Not a shake?” For the stand indeed specialize in shakes and they were a very popular item.

    “I have no doubt that I’d drink it all,” she replied, leaning forward and placing her arms on the small metal counter. “But cheeseburgers and shakes never blended well for me,” she winked.

    “R-right,” the young man nodded with a blush; pushing specific buttons on the register and asking for the amount required for the purchase. “It’ll be up in a second,” he informed her as he handed her change.

    “Thank you,” Tara mouthed, having leaned away from the stall, taking the receipt from his hand with two fingers. Taking the medium-sized cup also given to her, she took two steps to the left, allowing the wary person behind her to place their order.

    They were wary due to Tara’s companion.

    “Sure you don’t want anything?” Tara asked for the third time as she pressed her cup against a lever in the soda machine, allowing a few ice cubes to tumble into the thick paper container before quickly being switched to a different lever, out of which flowed a dark and frothy liquid.

    ”Quite sure.”

    Tara slapped a plastic top onto the cup and stabbed through it with a straw, turning on her heel quickly to look at her companion. “I swear you never eat anything,” she remarked to the obviously not-human being.

    Despite that, the creature looked very human-like; standing upright on two legs, two arms clasped politely before it. It had a head, two eyes, and even hair. Her figure was thin and sleek, elegant, and a ‘dress’ of sorts flowed out behind it, also elegant. The creature was most commonly known as a Gardevoir: a Pokémon that was generally loved. However, this one was quite intimidating. Instead of the quite common green coloring on Gardevoir, this one had black instead. If that was not enough, her eyes were the color of blood, and she did not look kindly at anyone around her.

    Valaura, for that was the Gardevoir's name was, blinked slowly and simply. ”I am sure you remember that occasion in Mauville not two weeks ago, I ate with you then.”

    Tara snorted. “Oh, right, I forgot,” she rolled her eyes as she took a sip of her root beer. “That means you don’t need to be fed for at least another three.”

    The psychic narrowed her eyes slightly, not threatening; in fact they had the teeniest, tiniest, faded hint of grim amusement.

    “One ketchup-only double cheese with curlies!” yelled one of the other burger-stand workers. Tara walked back the two steps and took the bag from the hand that reached out of the window of the stand.

    “Thank you,” Tara said just loud enough for whoever it was to hear her.

    Walking quickly through the mass of people, the duo settled into a bench a fair bit away from the food stands where there were few people.

    “Mmm…” Tara exclaimed, closing her eyes as the flavor of the food in her mouth flooded her taste buds. “I needed this.”

    ”Of course you did,” Valaura replied sarcastically as she stood, not quite willing to sit on the dirty bench. ”The slices of pizza you had two hours ago could not possibly have been enough, even when the eggs and pancakes from this morning are taken into account.”

    Tara rolled her eyes, taking another sip of her drink and popping a fry into her mouth. “Quiet, at least I’m not morbidly obese like you,” she grinned as she chewed.

    Valaura stared incredulously for moment, before reluctantly reaching out and silently swiping a curly fry from the human’s hand. She held the food close to her face, examining it with her eyes before deciding whether or not to consume it, noting the grease that seemed to bleed from invisible scars on the once-potato. She also noted the over abundance of salt and inconsistency of its texture, the fry being crispy in some places and utterly soggy in others.

    Her eyes settled into a glare that declared that the thing must be destroyed.

    At once the mediocre fry burst into flames between the Gardevoir’s fingers, and then she tossed it lightly into the air behind them. Turning slightly to point a finger at the falling curly fry, she annihilated it with a weak zap of reddish electricity from her fingertip.

    “Oh dear,” Tara murmured, looking at the ashes that were once her fry as they fluttered to rest in the grass, never to be seen again. “Did you do it then?” she asked Valaura, turning slightly in her seat to face her again. “Is Middle Earth saved?” she chuckled, showing off another fry in her fingers before eating it.

    “Firstly,” Valaura announced quite seriously. “I am nowhere near short enough,” she glared, still stern. ”Secondly, it had to be destroyed in the oils in which it was made,” the psychic said ominously. Her cross expression lightened as Tara giggled.

    “Then let us watch as the world is consumed in darkness and shadow!” Tara’s head shook with her proclamation, hair rippling as her teeth gleamed.

    There was silence for a while. Tara ate, her left leg crossed over her right knee and her right leg straight out towards the sidewalk. Left to her thoughts, her mind began to wander back.

    It had been only a few months since she had returned, bringing with her a strange and violent world that almost caused the death of both hers and Tara’s, as well as Valaura’s. They had both done well in the past months of traveling. Plenty of healing.

    Tara and Valaura were closer than either could dream, well: Valaura had an easier time seeing it actually, since Gardevoir as a species could often glimpse into the future. The funny thing about Tara was that she could too, though she had no control over her precognitive abilities, just like her teleportation. It was almost as if she didn’t even have those abilities.

    Yes, Tara Valens was psychic too. She had a hard time believing it herself. She always found herself reminded of that, especially since the need for it was small outside of her regular surveillance of minds around her. That had grown natural for her, being aware of the feelings in the minds of everyone around. She paid attention only to emotions, though she could also read thoughts if she wished. Emotions ensured her safety, not that there was any danger, now that she was locked away. It was only a precaution.

    Technically only Valaura had to be as vigilant now, though Tara insisted, mostly out of habit, but also because she didn’t want the ability to become weaker from disuse; incase it would be needed. This also applied to her telekinesis.

    Yep, Tara Valens was a pretty remarkable girl. Take away the psychic powers and she was still more mature than she should be at only fifteen. Sharp as a tack, skilled in Pokémon battling, she had it all put together.

    Musing to herself as she ate, she didn't pay any attention to the person walking by. It was a boy, about Tara’s age. His skin was a healthy tanned color, and he grinned sheepishly as he looked curiously at the two females before him. His hair was short in the back and a bit longer in the front; light brown, almost blond in the sun that reflected off of its styled surface. His eyes were green, matching his hunter-green short sleeved shirt that he wore. A pair of light-wash jeans clung not-too-tightly to his legs, and a simple pair of flip-flops protected his feet. He was taller than the girl, but wasn't lankly - he seemed well proportioned.

    He stopped a bit after he had passed them, a Butterfree was following him and fluttered to the young man's shoulder. They leaned into each other, as if engaged in a conversation.

    Tara raised her eyebrow for a moment as she looked him over while Valaura stood alert, though at ease.

    Turning swiftly on his heel, he walked towards them. “Hey,” he said smoothly and lazily, slowly waving a hand before returning the limb to his side, thumb in his pocket.

    Miss Valens smirked, not rudely, at him. “Hello,” she greeted, nodding her head but still sitting, averting usual courtesy.

    “I’m Lucius,” he introduced himself with a nod that mimicked Tara’s and stepped a few paces towards them, outstretching his hand.

    ”Afternoon, Luke,” Tara grinned. “My name’s Tara," she scooted forward in her seat and took his hand, shaking it firmly.

    “Hmm…” Luke mused for a second, a hint of a smile on his face. “Tara… no way for me to shorten that, is there?”

    Tara bit her lip in another grin, amused. “Nope.” She found herself acting a bit strange around him. She did find him attractive, but that usually didn’t stop her from acting normal.

    "You're rather pretty, though," he commented, looking a bit smug now.

    Tara’s grin stayed, though not entirely because of the compliment. She attempted to scan through his surface thoughts, but found a tough barrier in the way. The Butterfree seemed to flutter a bit when she had tried. Tara decided against trying to break through it, and she doubted she could. “Pretty straightforward aren’t we?” she played along.

    “Can’t help it,” Lucius shrugged lightly, casually.

    Tara’s eyes narrowed the slightest bit. "Are you always this polite?" she teased before munching on another fried slice of potato.

    "I try to be," he answered, flashing a smile.

    Tara rolled her eyes again, looking over to Val. “So what else did you want, Luke?” Tara yawned. “Besides compliment me.”

    The young man shrugged again. “Not sure, just saying hello I guess.”

    Tara suddenly had a Pokéball between two fingers, displaying it to him. “We can battle if that’s what you’re getting at.”

    “Nah,” he shook his head, "maybe another time." He turned his head and looked at Valaura, asking, "and who’s this lovely and beautiful Gardevoir?”

    Tara chuckled to herself as she took the last bite of her burger and crumpled up the wrapping.

    Valaura didn't seem as amused as Tara, but neither was she defensive. He shot a glance at Tara, expecting her to be the one to answer him. "My name is Valaura."

    “Oh!" his eyes widened a bit, surprised. "Pleased to meet you,"

    "You have a very nice Butterfree," Tara told him, examining the creature's wings. "It's a he, right?" she asked.

    "Thanks," Luke smiled warmly. "Yep, Zephry's a guy all right." At the sound of his name, Zephry perched atop his trainer's head, shading the boy from the sun. He laughed, looking up at his partner with his green eyes.

    Tara caught herself admiring the boy and turned away discreetly, looking as casual as ever. "What did you want then, Luke?" she asked wryly.

    "What?" he asked innocently. "Can't a guy meet new people?"

    "That depends," Tara bit the inside of her cheek.

    "You heading to Lilycove?" he asked, spinning around on his heel, still looking up at his Butterfree.

    "We're-a headin' that di-rection, yessir," the girl replied before taking a bite of another fry.

    "Mind if I come with?" he asked, standing still now and looking directly at Tara and Val. "I'm on my way there too, and it'd be nice to have someone to chat with along the way."

    Tara turned to look at Valaura, who shrugged using her eyes, not seeming to care if the boy came or not. The young woman laughed silently at the psychic Pokémon: she was getting better with people, honestly.

    "Sure, why not?" Tara shrugged. "Hungry?" she offered him what was left of the fries.

    Shrugging himself, Lucius took a few from the paper pouch. "Thank you," he replied before putting them in his mouth.

    "Let's get going then!" Tara exclaimed, jumping up from her seat and starting to walk towards the large city that was in the distance.

    -------

    The two teens exchanged conversation while they walked, their Pokémon companions being rather silent. Tara learned that Lucius grew up in Hoenn, in Rustboro to be exact. He had gone to the academy there and graduated near the top of his class, which, Tara had to admit, was rather impressive.

    The boy had received a Caterpie as a gift from his father on one of his trips to the Kanto region. He was told the Caterpie would set him apart from many of the other kids who had Wurmples and other Hoenn-native Pokémon. The Caterpie was his first Pokémon and Lucius trained with it as often as he could, and it evolved quickly like most Bug-types did. Zephry was easily one of the hardest Pokémon to beat at the academy by the time Lucius graduated.

    After school was over Lucius had immediately started on his Pokémon journey, which started merely a year ago, he having started later than most trainers due to school. Luke had a whole team of Pokémon now. He explained how good it felt to be catching Pokémon after studying the way he did, and each new thing they learned was like an adrenaline rush to his system. And then there was the ever-present thrill of winning.

    Tara understood completely what he meant, even if she hadn't gone through as much schooling as he did. Her first captures at the start of her journey were the most exciting, even though she also had an advantage with not one, but two trained Pokémon before the start of her journey.

    The girl's mind drifted away at the thought of Muku as the boy went on.

    "Tara?"

    She shook her head, breaking her semi-aware state. "Hm?"

    "You okay?" he asked her, looking at her with his green gaze.

    "Totally," Tara answered with a smile. "You just reminded me of my days starting out is all."

    "And where exactly are you from?" he elbowed her as they walked, causing her to shift over to the side due to loss of balance, laughing as she did. "I do believe it's your turn to share."

    "Well..."

    Tara Valens told her new friend about where she grew up and summarized her journey through Sinnoh. She highlighted certain gym battles and told him about her performance in the Sinnoh League, showing him the ring she had received. Besides that she told stories of some other adventures, choosing not to tell him about Fida and totally ignoring the whole episode in Saffron. Instead she told him how she was enjoying her travels through Hoenn so far.

    "You do sound like a great trainer," Lucius told her. "We actually should have a battle soon."

    Tara grinned, always up for a match. "Sure, I'd love to knock you to the moon." The girl socked his arm.

    "Hmph, we'll have to see what my ribbons have to say to that!" he challenged, shoving her back.

    "Please," Tara waved a finger. "Don't forget; I have eight badges PLUS the six I've gotten here, and a shiny ring-" she paused suddenly. "Ribbons?" she sneered in what was quite the delayed reaction.

    "Yes, ribbons," Luke responded quite seriously. "You know, contest ribbons?"

    Tara bit her lower lip to keep from laughing as she blinked. "You're one of those kinds of trainers? A coordinator?" she shoved him a bit to the side. "I'll wipe the floor with you, priss-boy."

    "Priss-boy?" he scoffed, Zephry looked offended. "Harsh much?"

    "Yeah, priss-boy!" Tara teased further, twirling around her new acquaintance, glancing briefly at Valaura, though the Gardevoir didn't seem quite so interested in their conversation. "What? Are you too much of a sissy for real battling?"

    "Look here, foreign girl," Lucius replied strongly, yet not upset, seeming rather amused with Tara's reaction. "I don't think you've ever been to a contest hall in your life! I'm just as hardcore as you, trust me," he smiled. "You'll wish you had never messed with me when we battle."

    "Wow, that sure of winning aren't we?" she hooked her arm into his and continued walking, wondering briefly why she was doing so.

    "You see, even if I am a prissy-sissy-boy, that's still better than actually being a girl." That was it, he said it.

    Tara heard something deep inside her scream for vengeance, and it sent shivers up her spine since she wasn't quite sure it was even her who had demanded it. It was right either way: such a comment could not be allowed to stand.

    "Listen up good, dipstick," Tara said very sternly, so much so that Valaura was shaken from whatever thoughts she had to focus on the conversation. "I don't like your tone, and you're going to pay. When I win this little battle you're buying me dinner at a nice restaurant."

    "Fine," Luke agreed, very much amused now. "When I win, you're going to buy me dinner at a five-star of my choosing.

    "We'll see" Tara held her tongue between her teeth as she smiled. "Battles never go well for anyone who underestimates me."

    "First time for everything," he chimed. After that they resumed normal conversation as if nothing had happened, moving on to random subjects. One subject being Tara's undying hunger for food - the thought of a restaurant meal having made her stomach growl.
     
    #1 Sem, Jul 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  2. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    -Chapter 2-

    "This city is pretty big!" Tara exclaimed as she and Lucius walked between the many large buildings that made up downtown Lilycove.

    "One of the largest cities in the world, yep," Lucius replied, amused by the girl walking with him.

    "You need to visit Saffron one day; it's even bigger than this," Tara replied, stopping at a corner and looking both ways in order to decide which way to head. Despite the events that had happened in Saffron, Tara was fond of the city itself.

    "We could have our battle by one of the beachside public arenas, it's almost sunset," Luke recommended, gesturing off to the right which would take them straight down to the beach.

    "Hm," Tara pondered, gazing off in the direction of the sun which hung low, just above the horizon. The sky was a colorful and warm mixture of orange and purple. The weather was fine for a battle, being still very much warm. Despite the warmth, cool ocean breezes blew through the streets, setting a happy medium between warm and cool. Closing her eyes, she imagined the sound of waves crashing and the smell of the sea in her nose in the heat of a battle. "Sounds good," she agreed and began setting off in that direction.

    Heading toward the beach the buildings became shorter and shorter before turning into lavish beach houses and the ever present souvenir shops for the tourists. The smell of hot dogs and sizzling burgers made the girl's mouth water as different smells wafted into her nose.

    Luke began to take the lead, seeming to know where they needed to go to reach the arenas. Tara reasoned that he must have traveled to Lilycove at least once before. Soon enough they could hear the sounds of battle in the distance, intensifying as they got closer. They could hear the crowds and the various cheers and boos. They walked between the many battlefields in search of an empty one. Many trainers had been here all day and were ready to depart, as well as the fact that it was dinner time, so it wasn't hard to find an unoccupied field.

    People followed them there, ready to see another match. They encircled themselves around the white lines drawn in the ground that marked the arena as Tara and Lucius went to occupy the trainer boxes. Valaura stood directly behind Tara, drawing looks from the crowd. Zephry, Luke's Butterfree, landed on the ground next to him.

    Their arena sat on the edge of a cliff, with the waves crashing up against it. The top of the cliff was covered in a lush carpet of vibrantly green grass.

    "Two versus two?" Tara asked, pulling out a white ball with a red line around the center.

    "Sounds good to me, you're still buying the dinner, right?" Luke retorted with a cocky grin, pulling out a Pokéball with a green top and red, drop shaped dots arcing over the button and a yellow dot at the top.

    The girl only replied with a smirk before throwing the ball high into the air with an underhanded toss. The Premier Ball split open, expelling a small burst of white energy towards the ground. A meter or so above the grass the energy formed into the bizarre shape of Tara's first choice: her Unown. A strip of blue cloth was tied around the main part of its body.

    Luke had to pause before calling out his Pokémon. "An Unown?" he said with moderate surprise. He'd never seen one before, not in real life. "It'll be interesting to hear the tale of how you got your hands on a rare Pokémon like that."

    "Glad you like it, his name's T!" she informed him, and indeed, her Unown was in the shape of the letter 'T'.

    "I also know that they're not known to be particularly powerful - this battle's mine," he added, casting the Friend Ball away from him with an elegant swing of his arm. The apricorn ball loosed the creature inside of it before flying back to its thrower, who caught it rather expertly with the reach of an arm.

    "If that's the first thing out of your mouth then I know that the school you went to taught you crap-all," Tara replied while observing her opponent. Several 'ooos' rose up from the audience. The young lady was facing against a very spherical creature that seemed so light that it floated on the wind. Blue in color, it had white puffs atop its head and on its arms.

    "Enough talk!" Lucius said while looking directly at Tara. "Ladies first, let's see what attack Unown will use."

    "Hidden Power!" Tara began, most predictably, drawing snickers from those in the crowd that happened to know that, so far, Unown were understood to learn only one attack.

    The symbol Pokémon made a high pitched squeak as it began to glow, surrounded by a purple aura. Several spheres of the same color appeared around T and immediately began to orbit the creature. "Attack!" Tara commanded.

    T rushed forward with more speed than was expected, orbs of psychic power spinning around and around. Suddenly the consort of spheres broke away from T and flew at Jumpluff in an unorganized flurry.

    "Dodge it, Claire! Fight back with Bullet Seed!" With an even greater amount of speed, Claire the Jumpluff twirled up and away from the Hidden Power, as if pushed up by a puff of air. Its movements were smooth and dancer-like, it was obviously used to contest battle. In the same twirl it used to get away from the attack it ended the spin with one arm pointed at T, shooting a barrage of seeds from within the fluff.

    "HP Shield!" Tara announced quickly. The orbs that had missed Claire flew back and surrounded T in what would be a strange polygonal shape if you were to 'connect the dots'. The rapid-fire seeds hit an empty area between three of the psychic orbs, reflecting off of an almost invisible energy that was stretched across the space.

    "Still think it'll be easy?" Tara asked as Claire lofted back towards her trainer.

    "I'll admit, that's a pretty clever way to use Hidden Power, but that's not all it'll take! Swords Dance!" Luke ordered. The Jumpluff began to sway and spin at once, wave its arms in complicated motions that was rather captivating to watch.

    "Quickly, use HP Trap!" Tara yelled. T rushed in yet again, with a startling amount of speed that rivaled Claire's from before, the cloth on the Unown's body looked as if it were shining for a brief second. The polygonal bubble of spheres broke apart and flew at Jumpluff again.

    Due to T's speed, the Grass-type nor her trainer did not expect him to attack before she had completed her dance and tapped into a stronger power. The flurry of balls hit Claire head-on and flew right past her, leaving her in a stunned state.

    Tara grinned. "Reel 'em in!" she snapped her fingers.

    The orbs flew back the way they came as if tugged on by an invisible string. Hitting Claire again they spread out, surrounding her in a ring of psychic circles. Quickly and individually, each orb flew out of its orbit around her and hit her before pinging back into its place, effectively trapping her in the center. After this the orbs rushed in all at once, exploding in a purple burst of energy.

    The crowd was definitely cheering now at this impressive use of Hidden Power. With another snap of her fingers, a new Hidden Power encircled T, ready for action.

    "You all right, Claire?" Luke asked, looking concerned. His Pokémon was flinching a bit in her movements as she reoriented herself, but nodded to confirm she was fine. "Get back your strength with Synthesis!"

    Thinking fast Tara went through possible scenarios in her head, knowing that the battle was currently set for one where Claire healed herself and where T got weaker and weaker. She had to end it as quickly as possible.


    "HP Rush!" she announced. The many spheres around T formed into three separate rings, one spinning as it was before in a perfect orbit, the other two crisscrossing in-front of and behind the symbol-creature.

    Claire's recovery move had only started when she was forced to stop and spin out of the way, releasing a large amount of fluff in a Cotton Spore attack in order to slow T down.

    "HP Block! Then Attack!"

    The rings fell apart and formed a multi-layered disk that faced the spores, safely keeping them away from T who then thrust the disk forward, shattering it into an array of spheres that hit Claire dead-on, sending her to the ground.

    Luke was rather at a loss for words at this point, ordering another shot at Synthesis as his Pokémon got up onto her feet.

    "It's over!" Tara yelled. "HP Rain!"

    The balls flew up high into the air, more appearing around Unown and joining them before falling to the ground, looking like a meteor shower of purple energy, obscuring the ground with miniature explosions. When the lights died out Claire was found to be out for the count.

    "I told you: don't ever underestimate me!" the girl chimed, returning T to his Pokéball for a well deserved rest. Some of the people in the crowd clapped, others waited for the next fight.

    "You're right, I should've listened," he nodded, recalling his fallen Pokémon. "But you had a nice element of surprise there, didn't you? Let's see how well you do this round. Zephry, go!" With another wave of his arm, Luke summoned his Butterfree to the field. Zephry fluttered up into the air, waiting patiently, though obviously eager to avenge Claire.

    "Sefer!" Tara threw regular Pokéball, calling out her Mothim. His wings looked brilliant in the light of the setting sun, being blue instead of the common orange.

    The Bug-type Pokémon faced each other, ready for their trainers' first commands.

    "You first," Tara bowed her head.

    Luke shrugged. "If you insist! Start off with Gust!"

    Beating his wings, Zephry flew back in an upwards direction. Flapping his wings harder he created powerful winds that formed together before him into a small twister, only faintly visible by the small amount of grass and dirt caught up with it. The twister tore up the grass where it traveled, making it more visible.

    Tara whistled softly, feeling a small tugging of her clothes. It was a strong Gust, but she didn't expect less from the Butterfree, who had to be Lucius' strongest partner.

    "Silver Wind!" Tara announced.

    Flying back in that same way Zephry did, Sefer flapped his wings, sending strong currents of air that sparkled with a peculiar dust from his wings. The Silver Wind collided with the tornado, struggling against the whipping winds until cutting through; however, Zephry was well prepared and elegantly swooshed off to the side to avoid the Silver Wind. Tara was well surprised with Zephry's power, it took a bit for Silver Wind to break through the Gust, and that being that Silver Wind was a stronger move in general.

    "Psybeam!" Luke ordered. Sparks of green energy crackled between Zephry's antennae before launching a green beam of psychic energy at the moth-Pokémon.

    "Protect!" said Sefer's trainer. Protect, an attack that all Burmy knew well, was usually fairly powerful in all Mothim and Sefer was no exception. The Psybeam attack collided with a bubble of orange, psychic energy. "Counter back with Toxic!" Sefer flapped his wings, loosing a toxic purple powder from under his scales and sending it on the wind.

    "Guard yourself with Safeguard!"

    Closing his eyes, Zephry was silent as a strange white, almost translucent silver, covered the Bug-type, keeping the venomous dust at bay until the wind carried it safely away where it dissolved.

    Tara blew a stray lock of hair out of her face, hands on hips. "Aerial Ace," she grinned.

    Sefer flew into action, swooping up, then down, poised to hit Zephry with an airborne tackle that was so quick evasion was impossible: the only option was to take the hit.

    "Iron Defense!" Luke smirked, though his brow was furrowed. Iron Defense was a rare move to see on anything not of the Steel or Rock-type orientation, though quite a few defense-oriented Pokémon could pick up the attack as well. Zephry had learned the attack while still a Metapod, who had managed to learn to take Harden to the next level. The exoskeleton of the butterfly could be heard hardening, becoming stiffer with a slight sheen to it.

    Aerial Ace hit, knocking Zephry into a spiral as he tried to steady himself. The attack hit hard, but not nearly as hard as it would have without Iron Defense.

    "Iron Defense again! Let's discourage against anymore of those." Zephry's defense increased ever still, practically doubling again.

    "Air Cutter!" Tara continued her onslaught. "He's wide open to any ranged attacks!"

    With powerful flaps and with the aid of some, unknown elemental power, wind speed increased rapidly, firing off blades of air fast enough to splinter trees and rend skin.

    "Psychic!" Lucius said quickly.

    Butterfree flew back, eyes glowing green as waves of green power emanated from his body. The psychic energy took hold of the winds, stopping them completely and releasing them as light breezes.

    "Zephry's a strong psychic, you're toast," Luke smirked, pointing his finger at Sefer.

    The green power hung in the air like some kind of mist before rushing in at Sefer all at once, surrounding his body.

    "Use your Psychic, Sefer! Escape!" Tara ordered quickly, eyes wide but not showing any of the nervousness she felt.

    Mothim struggled to summon his power against Zephry's, feeling as if he were suffocating, his senses blurred and constricted. Slowly a glow of a candlelight orange was visible under the layer of forest-green. Suddenly, with a burst of power, Sefer broke free with a flare of orange energy before firing it at Butterfree in the form of a wispy-beam, the color of the setting sun itself.

    Zephry took the hit, flailing as he struggled to stay in the air.

    "I'm impressed," Lucius said softly.

    "You better be," Tara breathed heavily, a wry grin on her face. Thinking only briefly, she knew Zephry wouldn't stand against another Aerial Ace, even with a boosted defense. Sefer flew up, going into a dive at his trainer's command.

    "Tailwind!" Lucius ordered.

    With a very sudden gust of wind, Zephry was propelled forward, flying away from Sefer. The moth adjusted his wings according, taking a sharp turn out of his dive in hot pursuit. Zephry managed to stay barely ahead of his chaser, flying and arcing above the heads of their onlookers as if performing an elegant dance.

    "Iron Defense during your flight!"

    As if it were not possible, Zephry's shell toughened even further, still staying a hair's length ahead of Sefer.

    Lucius the coordinator smiled and spoke again. "Sleep Powder!"

    With that command, Zephry stopped completely. Sefer hit not even a second later, disappearing with his foe in a puff of white powder that Zephry had exploded into upon impact. Butterfree shot out of the cloud, hit by the Aerial Ace, along with Sefer, in each other's grasp as they fell to the ground; the cloud above dissipated.

    Running over, Tara called her Pokémon's name. She found him atop Zephry, in a rather adorable manner, fast asleep with a struggling butterfly underneath. After a second Zephry wriggled out and flew to his trainer's side, looking fairly worn out, but the winner nonetheless.

    "I won that match," Luke announced rather loudly, followed by claps.

    Tugging the side of her mouth, Tara returned Sefer and walked over to Lucius. Shaking his hand, she spoke, "Well, it's a tie."

    "Heh," Luke looked down at his feet, a big grin on his face. Catching her blue eyes with his green he offered a proposal. "Admit that I'm no sissy and that I'm a good trainer, and I'll pay for dinner."

    For a moment Tara considered being too proud to accept, but fought it back. She didn't really think that coordinators were any worse than any other trainer class. Plus the boy was buying dinner! She couldn't refuse that, not that she was poor. Tara Valens wasn't poor by any means, and the thought made her chuckle. In the end she decided to do both. "Oh, you're still a sissy, but you are a good trainer. Is that good enough?" her mouth formed into a mischievous curl.

    Pretending to think about it, he closed his eyes and exhaled, appearing as if he were deeply considering whether or not he should accept her words. Flicking his lids open, he flashed another smile. "Yes, that'll do," he chuckled.

    By now the trainers had wandered away, leaving the two mostly alone. Tara took a brief look at the horizon, taking in its brilliance. Valaura had walked over, softly placing a black hand on Tara's shoulder.

    "Congratulations?" she said questionably at the battle's outcome, though in her mind the Gardevoir knew that free food was considered a victory in Tara's world. Glancing over towards Lucius, Val narrowed her eyes for a split second before addressing him. "You battle well, congratulations to you also."

    "Thank you," Luke nodded respectfully. "I was expecting to battle you, actually. Maybe next time."

    Tara and Valaura looked at each other.

    "Oh, Val?" Tara started. "She's not my Pokémon. She's my very good friend and companion: she doesn't battle."

    "Oh, I'm sorry," he bowed his head. "Not a battler, huh? It wouldn't have been fair anyway then."

    Tara snorted.

    Valaura blinked. "You are correct. It would not have been very fair at all."

    Oblivious, Luke nodded in response, prompting Tara to snicker before she changed the subject. "So, dinner," she crossed her arms. "Take me to a nice restaurant."

    "I'm not taking you anywhere dressed like that," he informed her, looking down his nose at her clothes.

    "As if you're dressed any better?"

    "I happen to have very nice clothes, I kind of have to for the contests you know."

    "And so you think I have no nice clothes because I'm not a stuck up coordinator-prissy?" Tara growled, crossing her arms still and leaning forward ferociously, her foot tapping against the ground.

    "Do you have something nice to wear?"

    "I do happen to have something if you must know," Tara's brows raised, and she looked down her nose at him this time.

    "Well then, I happen to know just the place to take you," he bowed. "But first we should drop by the Pokémon Center." Taking out a Great Ball, he tossed it to the ground. After a few moments a very large creature was left, standing very tall and mighty. It was reptilian, with a heavy body covered with brown scales and a long neck. Four very large and very strong leaves that looked like the leaves of a banana palm sprouted from its back. Another green leaf covered the top of its head. The wing-like leaves grew from a green sort of covering that looked like part of the creature's skin itself, leafy in texture and design that also covered it from the front.

    "A Tropius..." Tara marveled, looking up at the creature, examining it. She eventually looked away when she realized Luke knew she had focused her attention on the cluster of yellow fruit on its neck.

    "Yes, her name is Teresa," Luke purred, running a hand along the dinosaur's neck.

    "She's beautiful!" Tara commented her. Teresa turned her head, bending her neck until she was eye level with the human. She seemed to purr as well, nodding a thank you before turning her attention to her trainer.

    Tara turned to him as well before feeling herself being lifted up into the air and onto Teresa's large back. "Whoa!" she exclaimed, steadying herself. Luke got on in front of Tara, telling her to wrap her arms around him. Rolling her eyes, she did so. Turning her head she looked down at her friend still on the ground. "Coming Val?" though the question was silly. Tara knew that the Gardevoir wouldn't be caught dead riding on anything.

    "I will meet you at the Pokémon Center if you do not mind," she answered, quite dignified, standing regally with her hands folded before her.

    With a shrug Tara responded, "Okie-dokie then."

    Luke returned Zephry to his Pokéball and they were off. Tara inhaled sharply, as Teresa beat her powerful wings, somehow lifting herself into the air and flying off. Soaring high above the city, Tara looked down with wide eyes, feeling exhilarated and giddy. People shrank to the size of specks, and the buildings looked as if she could reach down and pick one up in her hand.

    "Your first time?" Luke yelled.

    "Yep, and it's amazing!" she replied.

    Tara fully enjoyed the few minutes it took to reach the center.
     
    #2 Sem, Jul 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  3. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    -Chapter 3-

    "Does this look good?" Tara asked, holding a long evening gown up to her frame. It was of a shimmering silk fabric, sapphire blue in color that matched her eyes. The dress was strapless with ruching down the center and the length of the dress came down to Tara's feet.

    "Do you not have to try it on before you can ask such a thing?" Valaura responded dryly, though vaguely amused that Tara was even doing this. Tara Valens was in a store dress-shopping.

    "Well!" she stammered. "I guess…" she held the gown away from her and looked it over. She noticed Valaura eyeing her with a smug expression. "Don't look at me like that!" she snapped.
    More staring.
    "Fine!" The young woman walked off towards the changing rooms. "I don't even remember the last time I wore a dress," she mumbled.

    The Gardevoir looked around briefly; she was sitting on a white-cushioned seat with her hands folded in her lap. The few employees working at the shop were glancing at her when they could. As soon as Luke had dropped her off Tara got a room and then rushed out to get a dress, and they were now in what had to be one of the priciest shops in town. They were surrounded by dresses with price-tags that would make the ordinary shopper drop dead. One look at Tara and the workers were convinced she hadn't the money for the cheapest handbag in the store.

    After a couple of minutes Tara emerged from the room and walked back to her friend. The dress fit her like a glove, which was lucky because it was the last that the shop had in stock.

    "Ok, now what do you think?" Tara asked, hands on hips.

    "I am hardly an expert on fashion," Val raised a brow. "However, you look quite fine in that dress."

    "Yeah, I think so too…" Tara agreed as she wandered over to a mirror. She had only spent close to an hour browsing the vast selection of gowns that the store had to offer, so she was happy that her first official pick turned out to be a good one. She looked herself over and nodded her head as if agreeing to something. "I'll take this one."

    Miss Valens walked back into the changing room after walking around a bit more in the dress.

    "You will require a pair of shoes," the Psychic-type communicated.

    "Grab a pair for me!" she called back from behind the door.

    Valaura blinked her crimson eyes before hesitantly standing up. Her eyes darted about the shop until finding a small section for shoes. She walked over, picking up a pair of heels on display and looking at them briefly before setting them down. "What is your shoe-size?" After she had been told she continued to search the selection for a suitable pair. Many of the colors didn't go with blue, even Val could see that. After a moment she decided to give Tara a pair of metallic-silver strap-heels. The heel was two inches, with three straps coming in from the sides and coming together just above the toes. A fourth strap came out of that and went along the foot up to the ankle, where it joined a another strap that wrapped around the heel and two that supported it.

    Valaura handed the pair to Tara as she came out, who shrugged and said "Look good to me!"

    "You will not try them on first?”

    Shrugging again, Tara replied, "Even if they don't fit me well I can tolerate 'em for a single evening."

    On her way to check-out Tara picked out a silvery sash to go with the dress and shoes along with a black clutch, and piled everything in front of clerk, who could only gape in shock until composing herself. Tara swiped a bank card through a reader and was out of the store in seconds.

    After a quick duck into another store for some girly supplies Tara turned a corner into an alley.

    The Gardevoir again raised her brow as she followed her friend into the alley, which was dark now that the sun had gone down. "What are you doing?"

    "Teleport us back to the room," Tara asked her.

    Valaura looked at her with a flat expression.

    "… I don't want to risk the chance of him seeing me with these bags!" she hissed. "It's just better if we teleport back, I get more time to get ready," she proceeded to explain matter-of-factly, as if she didn't sound the least bit odd.

    Valaura did not argue, and in the blink of an eye they were gone.

    -------

    Standing before herself in the mirror, Tara examined herself. She looked quite stunning, she didn't even know she had it in her. Instead of a long pony-tail she had her hair up decorative bun, which she actually had done by a salon since she would have never been able to do it herself. Most of her hair was pulled back, replacing her two face-framing bangs with a single large one that went down across her face, partially covering her left eye. A small curl of hair stuck out from over her ear. It all shone brilliantly, thanks to the power of hairspray.

    Thankfully the shoes didn't seem uncomfortable, other than the fact that Tara herself had never worn heels. Her body seemed somehow used to it anyway, and the girl had a good guess as for why, the reason being locked away inside of her. Grinning grimly at herself she took the sash, adding it to her outfit and held the black bag in her hand.

    "I'm not overdressed?" she asked out of the corner of her mouth as she still looked at herself. She even had make-up on, which was another first. Nothing heavy, just foundation, some blush on her cheeks, a powder on top to settle it all in, black mascara, and a very light coat of silver metallic eye-shadow - light so as to not look obnoxiously plastered.

    "If so, there is not much you could do about that now," Valaura replied from somewhere in the room.

    Tara frowned. "He did say nice - this is nice!"

    The Gardevoir rolled her eyes. "For the fourteenth and final time, you look fine," she assured her in a half-annoyed tone. "Why are you trying to impress the boy?"

    Tara stammered. "I-I'm not trying to impress anyone!" she answered back defiantly.

    Valaura seemed unconvinced.

    "Well, yes, I'm trying to impress him, but not in the way you mean it!" the young woman corrected hotly.

    "I was not implying that you were, I simply asked why you are trying to impress him," Val shot back in a holier-than-thou tone.

    About to say something, Tara stopped herself when she glanced at the clock, which informed her that it was five till seven. "He's going to be here soon, c'mon, we're heading downstairs."

    "I was not aware that I was coming," Valaura replied.

    "Val, when someone's offering to pay for food, you take it," was Tara's only response while she took a few more steps about the room. "Shoot, I should've practiced more in these heels."

    Exhaling a sigh, Valaura stood up and took Tara by the arm out of the room. "Come, or you will be late for your date with your… 'priss-boy'.”

    Tara held her tongue again, and allowed herself to be towed for a bit until they reached the elevator. She examined her reflection in one of pictures hanging in the elevator, making sure everything looked as it should and then waited for the lift to descend to the first level. Lilycove was a very large city, so its Pokémon Center was just as impressive, having to function as a hospital as well as a hotel. Tara had been given a room on one of the higher floors.

    With a soft ding heralding their arrival onto the first floor Tara and Valaura glided out of the elevator. The girl's heels made loud claps against the spotless white tiles of the Pokémon Center as they walked across it towards the sliding glass doors.

    "Well, don't you look nice!" Nurse Joy called to her. "Going somewhere?" she smiled sweetly.

    "Out to dinner," Tara beamed. She was really starting to notice now just how hungry she was..

    "Have a good time - you look lovely," Joy commented before turning away.

    "Thank you," Tara nodded her head, careful not to mess up her hair. "Gods, look at me, Val," she muttered. "I'm fussing all over myself."

    Valaura said nothing as they waited for Lucius to arrive, which didn't take all too long, walking out into the lobby right at seven just like he said. He looked quite handsome, wearing a black suit that fit him rather nicely. The jacket was buttoned over a classic white dress shirt with a forest-green tie and a matching pocket square. His sun-kissed light brown hair was combed back, not spiked like it was before and he had a healthy glow about his olive skin.

    "Wow," he grinned as she stood with a hand in his pocket. "There is a woman underneath all that attitude."

    Tara sneered. "You polish up good yourself," she managed to say.

    Smirking, his green eyes shifted over to Valaura who stood, looking just as elegant as Tara did, though Gardevoir as a species seemed to wear elegance like a cloak.

    "Ah, Valaura, will you be joining us?" he bowed politely before taking Tara's handing and leading them out of the center.

    "So it would it seem," she replied and followed directly behind them.

    As soon as they were outside in the cool night air Luke hailed a cab. "Place is on the other side of town, so I doubt you want to walk there," he informed her as he opened the door, allowing Val in first, then Tara before getting in himself.

    The ride was silent, and Tara spent most of it looking out the windows at the city that flowed past them. Lilycove seemed to have quite the night life, with plenty of dressed up couples entering restaurants and clubs.

    After fifteen or so minutes the cab slowed, pulling to a stop at the curb in front of a large restaurant. Lucius got out, holding car's door as he helped the two females out. After paying the driver he walked briskly up to the large wooden doors of the establishment, from which the smells of various types of food were already toying with Tara's senses. Grasping the large brass handle he pulled it open for them, allowing Tara to be completely consumed with a hunger for everything on the menu.

    The interior was rather impressive - large crystal chandeliers hung from the high ceilings that were decorated with moldings and curving arches that began in large pillars spread about the building. The walls and ceiling were a russet brown, the columns being white. Vines were painted on the walls and actual vines were used in some places, wrapping around the columns and situated in large planters around the restaurant.

    "Table for three," Luke informed the Maître de.

    They were led past tables of polished cherry wood lit brilliantly by the chandeliers as well as soft candlelight. After being seated a waitress introduced herself.

    "What would we like to drink tonight?" she asked, removing a pen from behind her ear and holding up a pad of paper.

    Tara eyed Luke and then briefly scanned the menu. "Two razz and sitrus leaf teas sounds good," she told the waitress, speaking for Valaura since most people did not appreciate the shock of a sudden telepathic voice in their head.

    "Make it three," Luke nodded.

    "I'll bring those right out to you," the waitress said with a perky grin before walking off.

    "So, what looks good?" the young man asked as he took up a menu and opened it.

    "Everything," Tara uttered, she was already well into the menu, scanning voraciously through the different dishes.

    "Yeah, this place is pretty good…" Luke trailed off before deciding not to talk until the girl had ordered, knowing that Tara had no interest in speaking to him or anyone else at that particular moment.

    The waitress had come back twice since giving them their drinks - Lucius and Valaura already knew what they wanted but Tara was debating between five or so dishes. After much consideration she chose the fettuccine and chicken breast: the sauce sounded very appealing to her and she had been fancying for a good bowl of pasta for about a week now.

    "We'll bring your food out to you in a bit; salads are on their way," the waitress chimed.

    Tara nodded and took a sip of her tea before leaning back and crossing her legs, smoothing out wrinkles in the gown.

    Luke decided he better get some conversation in before the salad arrived. "So, how long have you been in Hoenn?"

    "Oh, close to a year now it seems," Tara replied as she looked in the direction of the kitchen. "Challenging gyms as I come across them, but not in any sort of rush."

    "Ah," Luke nodded.

    Tara tapped the table with her nail, looking from her tea to the kitchen. "So…" she started, not wanting to bore the boy entirely. It wasn't his fault she was starving, and he was being very nice by paying for the meal. On top of that he was a very nice boy. "What made you decide to be a coordinator?" she asked, resting her chin on her hand and focusing on him.

    "Well," he shifted in his seat and folded his hands on top of the table. "I just like the atmosphere of it. I prefer it to flat-out battling. It's different and requires a different set of skills, more creative thinking, in my opinion anyway," he said with a shrug.

    At this point their salads arrived. Tara told Luke to continue while she shoveled food into her mouth.

    "It was my second year of school when I decided to try it out. It was hard at first. I was all right at normal battling by that point. Not the best, but good. There's a different energy flowing around in a contest, something I picked up on and liked much better. The style and flow of everything - much more intriguing than regular battling." He paused and took a few bites of salad. Tara nodded while he spoke, not really looking up from her plate as she harpooned lettuce with her fork.

    "That, and coordinating attracts only certain types of people, people which I enjoy spending time with for the most part."

    "Ah," Tara nodded again. "That's good."

    Luke smiled at her, though she didn't see it. He took another bite of salad and a sip of his drink before saying, "You should come watch my next contest."

    The young woman looked up at him, raising a quizzical brow. She looked off into the corners of her eyes for a moment before responding. "All right," she shrugged. "Couldn't hurt - watching a bunch of pansies could be fun," she grinned back wryly at him, jabbing her fork in his direction.

    Lucius rolled his eyes as he leaned back, wiping his upper lip with his napkin before folding it back into his lap. "You're more than welcome to come watch as well, Valaura," he told the psychic, who had been sitting rather quietly since their arrival.

    "Thank you," was her only response.

    A few more bits of conversation were exchanged before the food arrive, at which point Tara ceased all discussion. It was delicious to say the least. The pasta had a perfect creaminess to it that went well with the chicken, which had its own creamy sauce drizzled on top.

    Tara didn't take nearly as long to order a dessert, ordering a strawberry cheesecake. Luke himself ordered the same.

    "This is so good," Tara half-moaned before taking another bite of her cake.

    "It is," Lucius nodded with a small grin. "I think I made a good choice in coming here."

    "Yes," she nodded back, looking up at him. "Thank you." Tara could not help herself from noticing the way he looked back at her. His soft smile and the warm glow in his eyes. She looked away, and argued with herself whether or not she should use her telepathy to take a peek inside his head, look to see what he thought of her.

    The check arrived just as she decided to respect his privacy. She hadn't been using her power at all that evening, not wanting the distraction of random thoughts as she enjoyed a good meal. She also told herself that she wouldn't even ask Valaura, who no doubt had kept track of every thought running through the boy's mind.

    With the dinner paid and a nice tip left on the table they left. He stood as she did, being the perfect gentleman as he took her arm and led her out of the restaurant. Cabs hovered by the establishment, so the group was inside a taxi on the way back to the center in only minutes.

    "Thanks again for the dinner," Tara said as they stood in the lobby of the hospital.

    "Yes, thank you," Val echoed formally and politely.

    "It was my pleasure," Luke purred, smiling warmly as he took Tara's hand and gave it a peck.

    "Val, I'm not blushing, am I?" Tara asked her friend as she smiled back as calmly as she could.

    "You are fine," came her answer.

    "When's your contest then?" the young woman asked him as casually as she could manage as she withdrew her hand from his.

    "Tomorrow, actually," he replied. "No need to dress up for that - you can be a man again."

    "I can hit like one you know," Tara shot back, brandishing a fist.

    "Oh, I have no doubt," Lucius replied. "Starts at one, I'll see you in the audience."

    "Alrighty then," she nodded. "See you then." She waved and walked away with Valaura in tow, but she continued to feel his eyes on her until the elevator doors slid shut behind her.

    Tara sighed and leaned against the inside of the lift, raising one of her legs, she massaged her calf.

    "You like him, do you not?" Valaura asked.

    "As a friend yes - I'm not sure what I feel beyond that," Tara muttered as she got out. Sliding the key into the lock, she entered the room and prepared for bed.
     
    #3 Sem, Jul 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  4. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    -Chapter 4-

    The Lilycove Contest Hall was buzzing with excitement as people piled into the stands that surrounded the stage, eager to watch and be dazzled by the assortment of coordinators that gathered backstage.

    Tara and Valaura took their seats, drawing many looks from the other spectators who were no doubt wondering why Valaura wasn't participating herself - her mere physical appearance drew the eye.

    The girl ignored the stares and instead gazed about the room, focusing on the stage itself for a few moments. "That's where they do their priss-battling," she mused, noticing that the stage looked nothing at all like a proper arena. The stage was large enough for it though. Large red curtains were pulled back, and lights surrounded the outside of the stage. The platform itself was made of sand, super-compacted and held in by the wooden boards that ran along the perimeter. A proper wooden stage would have suited everything much better, but it was understandable - it would have to be replaced after every contest otherwise. The roof had parted down the middle and retracted back only minutes before, opening the stage up to the sky.

    At the back of the stage were the judges' seats. The judges themselves were already walking out on the stage and taking their respective seats. Two of the judges, Raoul Contesta and Mr. Sukizo, traveled the world attending the many contests that were held every day. They couldn't be expected to make it to all of the contests, but they did try their best to make it to as many as humanly (and sometimes inhumanly possible.) The third judge was Lilycove's own Nurse Joy, who took her seat while wearing her trademark smile.

    "You have to wonder how someone like Nurse Joy has the time for stuff like this," Tara commented aloud as she leaned forward in her seat, chin resting in her palm.

    The infamous Vivian Meridian also walked onto the stage. She was the one in charge of the contests held in Hoenn, and was expected to attend each and every one.

    Tara sat impatiently as Vivian blabbered on about something that included the words "contest" and "dazzle" and "fabulous" and "Pokémon".

    "Please, just get on with it," she moaned, ignoring the looks of annoyance from those who were seated around her.

    The first coordinator was summoned to the stage after a few more moments of drivel. She was a young girl in a frilly white and pink dress that Tara wouldn't be caught dead in. She could handle what she had worn the night before, but anything that was so in-your-face girly (Not even feminine – girly.) had no place anywhere near her body.

    The girl produced a Pokéball and from it she summoned a monstrous beast of metal and stone. A deafening roar, which sounded like steel scraping against rock, was let loose, eliciting a few screams from the crowd. In moments a large sphere of energy appearing in one of the beast's claws. It grew and grew, forcing the Aggron to lift it higher before hurling it into the sky.

    Tara watched as the Focus Blast glowed and pulsated. In seconds the ball was shattered by a Hyper Beam, sending small sparks of energy raining down upon the stage. The trainer bowed, as did her Aggron. The crowd applauded as the judges gave her positive scores. She walked off stage, allowing the next competitor to take their turn.

    "Well, maybe she wasn't so bad," Tara said. "The Aggron off-sets her frilliness, though I still don't see much point. Things like that don't impress me so much as they make me want to battle."

    The next coordinator walked onto the stage, showing off his Pokémon's skill, and then another coordinator went up after him. This went on for a few minutes until Lucius walked out onto the stage in the same suit he had worn the night before.

    He scanned the crowd briefly before producing a Pokéball from an interior pocket. "Show time, Hollow!" he called before tossing the ball. The ball split open and from it came one of the most bizarre Pokémon in existence. It looked like an insect, or rather, the shell of one. The carapace was slightly transparent and torn in places, but it otherwise perfectly fit the shape of the Ninjask that once inhabited it. A halo-type object hung above its head.

    Tara edged forward a bit in her seat, never having seen a Shedinja in real life before. The animated insect-husk showed no signs of life, unlike Zephry the Butterfree. Side by side they would appear as different as black and white.

    No part of its dried up body moved, in fact it seemed as if the lightest touch would cause the poor creature to crumble to dust. It hovered silently in the air, its dead eyes gave no indication that the Ghost-type Pokémon was even aware of its surroundings. It truly did send chills down Tara's spine, seeing something that seemed to come from a completely different reality; she had seen ghosts before, but none of them were this lifeless. Tara had to grin at the irony.

    Without any command or indication, the Shedinja produced a small purple flame out of thin air, conjuring it from nothing. The flame went down near the ground, hovering mere centimeters off of the ground. Nothing seemed to happen for a moment, until the audience noticed the breeze that was picking up in speed and power. The wind howled, and though some thought it was an Ominous Wind, Tara knew that it was actually Silver Wind.

    The wind flew through the audience, going in towards the stage. The Will-o-Wisp flickered, but Shedinja crafted the wind carefully around the fire, causing it grow by feeding it the air currents. The wind, faintly traceable due to specs of silvery dust in the air, spiraled around the unearthly fire. It grew larger and larger and started to spin as well, becoming a funnel of flames as it soared up into the sky, giving off a sickening sensation of heat and spine tingling cold at the same time. The dual Bug and Ghost-type hadn't budged an inch - a motionless orchestrator whose body was aglow with the purple fire.

    Finally, the halo above the Shedinja's head moved, turning black as shadows began to leap from their respective locations, whether they were the shadows of living beings or inanimate objects - it didn't matter. The shadows rush into the center of the twister, forming into a large sphere that continued to expand as more and more shadows were sucked in. At once the Shadow Ball detonated, sending flames mixed with dark energy all around; a dazzling sight.

    That wasn't all, though. The mixture was suddenly stopped, frozen in the air. The audience was allowed a single moment of awe before the floating energies rushed back in towards their creator. The swirled around the Shedinja, creating a combination of the fire and shadow coupled with the occasional sparkle of silver dust. The spiral continued closing into itself before fading out altogether, leaving an empty stage. Shedinja was nowhere to be seen.

    "His shadow!" an audience member called, pointing at Luke's shadow which seemed to morph. Out of the shadow came Shedinja, rising up out of it and stopping to hover behind its trainer, who was taking a low bow as applause filled the room. The judges each gave Luke their approval, despite the relative unease among them.

    "Huh," Tara muttered with a raised eyebrow, rubbing her hands over her goose-fleshed arms. "That wasn't bad at all… I guess…"

    Luke spotted her in the crowd before stepping off-stage as Vivian spoke. He raised his eyebrows at her as he grinned smugly, clearly communicating, "Impressed? Of course you are."

    Tara shot a death-glare at him as he turned around, trying to see if she could burn holes into the back of his head for real.

    "Killing your boyfriend would be a terrible thing to do," Val's voice said haughtily as it echoed in Tara's mind.

    "Killing you wouldn't be," Tara retorted.

    "I would love to see you try," the Gardevoir replied a bit too smugly herself.

    "Tch," Tara spat before resting her chin in her hand once again.

    The few remaining contestants showed off their own moves and then the first round ended. Within minutes the results were up, showing those who had been eliminated off the bat - about half of the contestants were already gone. Tara wasn't surprised to see Luke's picture among those who had moved onto the next round, the round were they actually battled one another.

    "Finally, something interesting," Tara sighed in relief, though she knew full well that quite a few of the coordinators so far had put on a good show.

    "Now for the first battle we have Lucius Frost versus Thomas Cook!" Vivian announced animatedly into her microphone.

    "Oh, he's up already," Tara muttered with a raised brow. She tried to remember who Thomas was, and what Pokémon was his partner. She remembered the moment she saw him - the teenager that wore a clown suit. His name was left far in the dust of that ridiculous getup. Thomas the clown summoned his Mr. Mime to the field, who appeared out of a shower of lights that looked very much like confetti.

    Luke silently called forth Hollow once more. The Shedinja hovered before the mime, ominous and mysterious.

    "Good luck," Vivian winked before removing herself from in between the combatants. At this the timer showed up on the scoreboard. Five minutes.

    "Hollow, Shadow Claw!" Lucius ordered as soon as the timer started counting down.

    Shedinja rushed forward, with a bit more speed than one would expect. The halo on its head turned an otherworldly color of dark purple, almost black. The halo removed itself from above the Bug-type's head, instead orbiting the creature, looking like a sickle as Shedinja neared Mr. Mime.

    "Protect!" the opposing trainer countered. The humanoid Pokémon threw up the psychic-energy-composed shield just in time, nicely blocking the Shadow Claw.

    "Oh," Vivian winced, as if it was she herself that had just been attacked. "Nice block on Thomas' part - not so good for Lucius."

    Luke's point-gauge lowered to reflect this, though he didn't seem to mind.

    "That's ridiculous, the thing blocked, so what?" Tara growled.

    "Shadow Sneak," he said with some confidence behind his voice. Hollow's body immediately melded in with its own shadow, disappearing from the current plane of reality. As the mime's shield faded the Shedinja appeared out the psychic's shadow; its halo was again covered in that same energy as it slashed at Mr. Mime. It cried out in pain as Thomas' gauge went down as well, putting both him and Luke on equal grounds once again.

    Hollow retreated away from Mr. Mime, showing its back to the audience. A few of the audience members instantly averted their eyes away from the gaping hole in Shedinja's body. It was black and empty, but there was something else about it. Tara found herself staring intently into it, feeling drawn.

    "Don't look too closely, dear," a voice sounded in her head.

    The teen flinched in her seat, drawing some stares. She blinked several times before rubbing her eyes. Valaura looked at her intently before the battle drew both their attentions.

    The arena was alight with an electric glow as lightning bolts flew out of spheres of energy in Mr. Mime's hands. The bolts all homed in on Shedinja, surrounding it and obscuring the Ghost-type from view. Once the attack faded a fair amount of the crowd and Thomas himself was surprised to see that Hollow was un-phased.

    "Need to do your homework!" Luke said triumphantly. "Silver Wisp!"

    The silvery wind again filled the arena, blowing in the mime's direction with enough force to cause it to slide back. Some of the silver particles homed in on Shedinja as well, though they seemed to fuse themselves into its body.

    At once the particles burst into flame, creating long streams of fire in the air that followed the flow of the wind, which meant that it was directed towards Mr. Mime. It swirled around the psychic, causing burns to appear on its body.

    "Ouch, looks like forgetting about Shedinja's Wonder Guard ability cost Thomas a lot of points," Vivian said, directing the audience's attention to the meter once again as it went down a significant amount. "What a magnificent counter on Lucius' part.

    "Shadow Ball, Mr. Mime!" Tom ordered, not ready to lose just yet.

    The human-shape Pokémon cupped its large hands together. The attack formed within the hands and grew to the size of a basketball before Mr. Mime lobbed it at Shedinja.

    "Slice it in two with Protect!" Luke countered right back. A few in the audience, including Tara, wondered if they heard him right.

    Hollow's halo moved to hover in front of its owner. It slashed through the orb of shadow, causing the attack to break into two, each half flying past on either side of Hollow.

    "Shadow Ball him right back," Lucius said with a grin. Both halves of the last attack stopped mid-air, and after a moment were moving in the opposite direction. More shadows flew into the orbs as they flew over the stage, causing each one to be even larger than the original.

    Mr. Mime smacked one away with another Protect of his own, but was unable to stop the second. It cried out in pain as it was knocked to the ground. Shedinja was already across the stage by the time Mr. Mime got to its feet. Hollow was visibly faster and stronger: Tara knew it was due to Silver Wind.

    Before the mime knew what was happening it was knocked up into the air by a Shadow Claw-turned-uppercut. The psychic hit the stage with a grunt and after a few moments it was clear that it wasn't getting back up. The timer stopped at two minutes and twenty-two seconds, leaving Lucius the winner by default.

    The audience broke into applause. There was no roaring and cheering, which was typical of an audience in a proper arena.

    "Good," Tara said with a nod. "If the clown ended up winning this would've been my last contest ever."

    Thomas recalled his Pokémon, visibly downcast though he tried his best to hide it. He walked over to Luke and they shook hands, a sign of good sportsmanship before they both walked off-stage.

    "He's good, can't deny that," Tara muttered, tracing circles on her knee with her finger. She impatiently sat through the rest of the round, wanting to see him battle again.

    -------

    "Aggron, Fire Blast!" the girly-girl shouted.

    "Turn it around into a Will-o-Wisp, Hollow!" Luke rebutted.

    The powerful blast of fire that came from the Aggron's jaws very quickly turned the purple color of Hollow's Will-o-Wisp. The Shedinja was easily able to control the power of the attack, having received boosts from the mystic silver dust from a couple of Silver Winds a couple of minutes prior.

    The clock was down to two minutes, and neither opponent seemed to be in a position of going down. The girl, Charlotte, and Lucius were fairly even in terms of their point-meters. The final had the audience at the edge of their seats.

    The purple fire swirled around its inanimate bender before lashing out at Aggron in the form of long whips.

    "Defend with Rock Tomb!"

    The stage rumbled as the packed in sand around the Steel-type super-condensed into slabs of stone that shot up around the monster, creating an effective shield from the wisps of flame.

    "Wow!" Vivian shouted into her microphone. "Neither of these coordinators are budging," she said while directing everyone's attention to the scoreboard, where both Luke's and Charlotte's stayed the same. Luke had cleverly made use of Charlotte's Fire Blast and was able to use it against her, but she defended from the attack quickly and effectively, rendering Luke's counter useless. "The clock keeps ticking, let's see how this contest ends."

    "Stone Edge!" Charlotte called out with more urgency.

    Her Aggron roared from within its own tomb. One of the slabs cracked and moaned as it flew out of the formation like a large arrowhead, the point aimed straight at the fragile Shedinja.

    "Faint Slash!" Luke ordered with just as much desperation.

    Hollow instantly became a sliver of black shadow, narrowly avoiding the stone. The shadow slithered quickly along the ground towards Aggron. As Shedinja emerged, still partly shadow, the halo on its head lashed out at the metal beast. The Aggron flinched with pain - the Faint Attack/Night Slash combo had a bit more bite to it due the power that Shedinja had acquired from Silver Wind. Despite this, Aggron shrugged off the pain - Steel-type was still strong against Dark-type attacks, add that to the fact that Aggron as a species were defensive powerhouses and you had a rather useless attack-type on your hands.

    Luckily, the point of contests wasn't solely to defeat your opponent with force alone. Hollow had executed a perfect dodge and counter, causing Charlotte's meter to fall.

    "You've been good," Charlotte commented to Luke with a wink. "You're a good battler, but that ribbon is mine. Sandstorm!"

    Luke's eyes widened as his mind raced. Weather attacks like Hail and Sandstorm were the bane of any Shedinja's existence. One hit and it would be over for him. "Protect!" he commanded in an effort to allow him more time to think.

    Millions of grains of sand were kicked up into the air from the stage, becoming a ferocious flurry. Luke winced as individual stray grains bit into his skin, going through any and every plan he could think of.

    Hollow hovered a few meters in front of its trainer, surrounded by a bubble of otherworldly energy.

    "Quick thinking on Lucius' part," Vivian commented, speaking louder into her mic in order to be heard above the sandstorm that wailed and rumbled. "But his Shedinja can't keep up that Protect forever, what will he do?"

    "Protect yourself with another Silver Wind!" he yelled after what seemed like an eternity to him.

    The trainer's command could not be immediately noticed from the perspective of the audience, but after a few moments it was quite clear to any onlooker. Around Shedinja had appeared a bubble of air that continued to expand, directing the dangerous sand away from the creature's sensitive body. This Silver Wind was easily even stronger than the last ones that had been used, since this one had given Hollow a third layer of silver dust reinforcing its body and further augmented the Bug-type's power and speed.

    "Now, fly higher up, out of the storm's reach!" Luke ordered with visible relief. Hollow did as directing, hovering up towards the open sky.

    "Excellent thinking, and quick too!" Vivian shouted into the microphone. "The Silver Wind opened enough space for Shedinja to escape and also made it even stronger!" Again Charlotte's counter fell.

    "Silver Wind's like his favorite attack," the girl muttered, waiting to see what Lucius would do now.

    "Mind Reader!"

    At once Aggron was assaulted by a psychic presence belonging to Hollow and the steel monster struggled both mentally and physically. Hollow breached the creature's mind quickly despite this, the Aggron unable to put up much of a fight against its now powerful enemy.

    Luke smiled, knowing that he had her now. "Solarbeam!"

    Hollow's halo shone brightly for the briefest moment before a massive beam of focused light blasted out from the object's center. The attack happened quickly, and the amount of energy was massive.

    There was no point in trying to dodge, Mind Reader would ensure that the attack would hit anyway. "Stone Edge!" Charlotte yelled, clearly concerned. Her ribbon was on the line, she had to win.

    Aggron slammed his tail against the stage, causing the entire building to shake. A large slab of rock shot up from the ground in front of the Aggron. The rock was thick and massive, but not enough to stop Hollow's attack.

    The Solarbeam scorched the rock and blew right through it, leaving nothing between it and the Iron Armor Pokémon.

    A massive burst of light followed the impact and every single particle of sand that was still airborne stopped dead. Every single grain fell back to the stage like rain. A roar shook the room as Aggron attempted to get up on its feet again. It was stuck in a large dip in the stage, created by the impact of the Solarbeam against the defiant Steel-type.

    And then the timer buzzed. Time had run out.

    Luke took a deep breath with closed eyes before taking a look at the scoreboard.

    "And we have our winner!" Vivian shouted with jubilance. "Congratulations to Mr. Frost and Shedinja!"

    Given its cue the audience erupted into applause.

    "Take that, girly!" Tara yelled as she stood with the rest of the crowd and clapped.

    Charlotte sighed and returned her flailing Aggron.

    Luke waved at crowd as Hollow floated down from above. The teen smiled and nodded at his Pokémon before returning it to its Pokéball as well.

    "And that concludes this contest!" Vivian said with a wave of her arm. "With this ribbon Lucius will be able to move on to the Grand Festival - you don't wanna miss it!"

    -------

    "Not bad, kid," Tara said as she walked out of the contest hall with Luke. Valaura had quickly excused herself as soon as they met up with him, informing them that she would be back at the Pokémon Center.

    "Told you," he replied with a pleased look on his face. He had changed out of his suit and was now in his more casual clothes.

    "You're still a sissy," she countered, elbowing him in the ribs.

    "Yeah, yeah," he chuckled, rubbing his side. "You're just miffed that I proved you wrong. Contests are just as intense."

    "Mm," she replied flatly. "That Shedinja of yours is an interesting Pokémon - gives me the creeps though."

    "Hollow's not that bad," he chuckled again. "He took some getting used to, but he's definitely worth it since he's not your average everyday Pokémon."

    "I'd like to try my hand at battling Hollow some time," the girl said as she gazed at the ocean. The sun had almost reached the horizon, but there were still a few hours of sunlight left.

    "I'd like to battle you again as well, so it's a date then?" he asked, hooking her arm through his as they walked.

    "A date? Please," Tara laughed, turning her face away from Luke. "Who does he think he is?" she thought to herself as she hid her blushing face from him.

    "Tara…" he said her name and stopped walking, tugging her arm and causing her to turn.

    "What?" she asked, not looking him in the eye. She flinched when she felt his hand lift up her chin. The way he looked at her, she didn't like it. Not because it was a bad look - it was a lovely look, but because of how it made her feel. Tara darted her eyes away from his, of to the side. After a short paused she spoke.

    "You don't wanna start something with me, Luke," she told him. "We barely know each other, and there's a lot of stuff that you don't know about."

    "Like what?" he asked gently, not looking away from her.

    "Just… stuff," she said, pushing he hand away from her chin.

    Luke shrugged. "So what? Everyone's got stuff."

    Tara laughed in spite of herself. "Yeah, I'm sure."

    "Whatever that stuff is, I'm sure it won't make me like you less. I like you too much for that to happen."

    Tara snorted and shook her head. "You don't even know me!"

    "I know enough to realize that I'd like to know more! It's not like I'm asking you to marry me or anything," he joked. "What's the harm? I know you like me too."

    "Overconfident little-" Tara stopped herself, knowing that he was right either way. "We're trainers, we travel, how can we?"

    "Well, I'm staying in Lilycove for a few months until the Grand Festival, and it's not like we can't travel together anyway," he replied, shaking his head at her. "Stop making excuses."

    "I'm not making excuses," she defended herself. "I'm just…"

    She would have continued, but Luke didn't allow her to. He simply stepped closer, drawing her in and lowered his face to hers. And they kissed.
     
    #4 Sem, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  5. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Shameless amounts of description in this chapter. I don't blame you if you skim.


    -Chapter 5-

    Tara entered her room in the Pokémon Center and let out a sigh. It wasn't a sad sigh, but neither was it happy. It was possible that it was a combination of both, but Tara really didn't want to think about it. Of course, there was no way she couldn't think about it.

    The girl walked in and only had to see the look on Valaura's face in order to react. "Don't say anything!" she commanded as she walked to the window, briefly glancing out of it before shutting the curtains, blocking out the orange light of the setting sun.

    "I ordered food from a nearby restaurant," Val explained as she sat on a bed. The television was turned on and a news program was on air. News programs were about the only thing Valaura willingly watched on television.

    "How did you manage that?" Tara asked as she removed her sleeveless jacket. As far as Tara was aware, telepathic signals could not be transmitted through a telephone.

    "Well, a worker in a nearby restaurant suddenly stopped what they were doing and began preparing food for us," the Gardevoir explained matter-of-factly, not really hiding the fact that she had invaded the mind of the worker and forced whoever they were to prepare food and deliver it.

    Tara had to smirk. "Thanks."

    As if on cue there was a knock on the door. Tara turned and walked over. Opening it, she was met with the blank stare of a woman under the spell of a telepathic trance. The woman handed over a plastic bag filled with food and then left without a word.

    Tara shrugged and closed the door, knowing Valaura had probably paid for the meal already using Tara's credit card, since she no doubt had the card number memorized.

    Tara set the bag on the table and peered inside, allowing the aroma of the food to fill her nostrils. The Chinese food was just what she needed. (Author's note: Yes, Chinese food. In Pokémon. If you have a problem with it I suggest you find the nearest ditch and throw yourself into it. ♥) The amount of food made it seem as if it were for four or five people instead of two, which was typical for Miss Valens. She sat on her bed surrounded by the food that she knew was hers and dug in. Food was the perfect thing to get her mind off of what had happened earlier that day.

    "Can I put on a movie?" Tara asked between chews.

    "Of course," Val nodded, tossing the remote onto Tara's bed.

    Taking the remote Tara flicked to the movie service that the Center provided. Bigger centers seemed to function more like hotels as far as accommodation was concerned. The room was free, of course, and so was any food from the cafeteria. Any other service typically came with a charge though - the ability to watch movies was among these.

    She picked out a recent blockbuster that she had failed to see in the cinema. The film started instantly, allowing Tara to relax. She lay on her stomach, propping herself up on her elbows while she ate out of a box with a pair chopsticks.

    The movie was a horror film involving the stereotypical group of teenagers, lost in the woods with a bloodthirsty human/Mightyena hybrid on the loose. Tara was really only paying attention to half the movie, only actually watching just in time to laugh at one of the teens getting killed off. By the time the movie was over Tara was picking at the last remains of her food.

    She really didn't want to bring up the subject, but she knew she had to tell Valaura of what the plan was. It wasn't as if she didn't know already anyway. The Gardevoir didn't have to be psychic to know what was going on most of the time.

    "So, Val…" Tara started, absentmindedly putting the empty cartons of food inside one another. "Turns out that we're going to be staying in Lilycove longer than expected."

    "Oh?" came her reply as she stood by the window, holding one of the curtains open as she gazed out of it.

    "Yeah, at least until Luke goes to the Grand Festival. Not sure what will happen after that," she continued, twiddling her thumbs as she got herself into a cross-legged position on the bed.

    "You are choosing to stay in a city for the sake of a boy? Some would say that you were crazy."

    "It's not just because of him!" she answered in defense. "I like this city, I wouldn't mind staying here for a bit. It's not as if I can't afford it anyways. I'll start looking for a place to rent out tomorrow."

    "It is fine with me, I do not mind," Val told her as she left the window. "And I would appreciate the nicer accommodations… though…" Valaura paused, as if hesitant, turning away from the glass. "you do not need to trouble yourself with finding a place."

    Tara's eyes shot to meet the Gardevoir's. "What do you mean?"

    Valaura closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. "Lysis has a home here in the city; she purchased it while we were still in Saffron."

    "Hm," Tara nodded as she looked away once more, not the least bit surprised.

    "It is already paid for and it is fully furnished."

    The girl nodded again robotically. Part of her really just wanted to find another place, though she knew there was no good reason for her not to go to the house Lysis bought. It would save her a bundle of money, and the trouble of finding a house in the first place. The house would simply go unused, a waste.

    "Right…" she sighed. "You can take me there in the morning," she said with a hint of dread.

    -------

    Tara knew better than to expect a haunted mansion. The idea was silly, but even so, she was waiting for an ancient house with a dead lawn and tree to pop out at her as she turned the street corner, accompanied by a clap of thunder. Of course, the people that lived in the neighborhood they were walking through would never allow such a structure to exist within five miles of their homes.

    The young woman that was once Tara's friend had luxurious taste, so it was also no surprise that the home they were looking for resided in one of the most exclusive communities in all of Hoenn. Exclusive in the sense that only the very wealthy could afford it, and Lysis had stolen from enough money bags to gain the status of "very wealthy". Of course, the purchase of the house no doubt put a serious dent in her wallet, but it was well worth it in her eyes.

    The houses they past ranged from average size to massive. All of them were similar in their design, no doubt built by the same company. They were clean and bright, with perfect lawns and gardens.

    Tara nodded to a couple sitting out on their porch under the shade, watching their two children play with what looked to be an expensive remote controlled helicopter. The man nodded back, but only as a courtesy; his wife paid her no mind.

    "Hmph, bunch of stuck-ups," she muttered and continued walking. There weren't many other people out and about, leaving the perfect-looking houses and the perfect-looking neighborhood looking perfectly empty. The teen figured that they were all at the beach, which was where she wanted to be right then. The sun was blazing and it was only morning.

    They turned another corner and found themselves walking along a row of houses that were directly backed up against the beach. The neighborhood was a beach community, but not all the houses were beachfront homes. Tara wasn’t surprised that Lysis’ home was on the beach.

    The strip of homes along the beach were a bit more modern in design, but shared many aspects with the other homes in order to keep with the uniformity of the neighborhood.

    There were more people walking out in the open on that street. All of them were residents of the community, you could tell even if you didn't know that the community's beach was private. Men and women walked around in designer-everything, from trunks and bikinis to sunglasses and hats. They cast glances at Tara as they walked past, raising eyebrows at her non-designer jeans, worn out shoes, and her overall bohemian appearance.

    "Keep walking, people," she sneered to herself. "You and your expensive haircuts." Her desire to live in that place ticked away along with every minute that passed.

    "You'll feel better once you're in the house," Valaura said in an attempt to comfort her.

    They walked for another minute before Valaura stopped before one of the houses. It didn't stand out from the rest, but that didn't retract from the fact that it was an impressive home. It wasn't one of the larger homes meant for families, but rather one of the medium sized homes, though the home was still large enough to serve a family if need be. Tara figured that the home had to have at least four or five bedrooms.

    The driveway was made with granite setts, and the grass was a lush green and perfectly cut. A trio of palm trees huddled in the center of the lawn, adding a much needed patch of shade to the otherwise sunbathed garden. The base of the palms was surrounded by a wreath of red orchids, while an assortment of green ferns and decorative volcanic rocks wrapped around the grass itself, rocks that were no doubt from Mt. Chimney. The garden was immaculate - it was obviously being regularly kept by an expert gardener.

    The ground level of the house itself was covered by gray granite, a lighter tone than the granite used for the driveway. The upper level was mostly glass and polished concrete. The house had a large garage was attached to the side of the home, along with a porch in front that had two chairs and a table. The chairs were of a modern design, with sharp lines and angles while holding the plain style of that type of design. They were polished black wood with red cushions on the seat and backrest. The table was small and very basic - a square block with four legs. The look of the patio and the home itself was very modern. Very Lysis.

    "Well, here we are…" Valaura said as Tara observed the house.

    "Yeah, home sweet home…" the girl muttered. "How do we get in?"

    In response, Valaura outstretched her arm towards one of the stones that decorated the area in front of the porch. The stone was lifted into the air with no effort at all. Tara walked up the driveway and up the path, stopping by the floating rock to observe the soil it had been sitting in. There lay a set of silver keys, gleaming bright in the sunlight. The girl bent down and lifted them out of the soil, shaking out the loose dirt.

    Selecting the largest key, Miss Valens approached the double doors that were made of thick frosted glass. Vine patterns were ornately etched into the doors; the patterns themselves weren't frosted, allowing a clear peek into the inside of the home. The key slid smoothly and effortlessly into the lock. There was a loud chunk-sound, which was the lock sliding out of place as Tara turned the key. The doors opened at the slightest touch, seeming to be as light as the air, though Tara knew both doors must have been impressively heavy. Nonetheless, she was sure to catch them before they hit one of the walls.

    "I would not worry very much about the doors. Reinforced glass - it could stand up against gunfire for hours before shattering," the Gardevoir explained as she entered behind Tara. "Lysis had the house outfitted with reinforcements and other such safety measures soon after its purchase - this home is a fortress."

    Tara half listened, more intent on the keypad mounted on the wall that was beeping madly at her. "What's the alarm code?" she asked.

    "Four, three, eight, nine, three," came her answer.

    Tara quickly punched the number into the pad, causing the immediate silencing of the noise.

    "You will have to set the alarm properly. It is capable of automatically reading bio-signatures when a person enters the building. Once set, it will switch off on its own once it recognizes you."

    "Fancy…" Tara's voice trailed as she looked around, a response not only to the sophisticated alarm system, but the house itself as well. The floors were simple concrete, lightly polished, but carved into them were beautiful vine designs in black that grew all over the house. Many of the vines ended in elegant red orchids. It was like an A-class intricate tattoo of floral patterns, only on the floor. Amazing detail it was, and already Tara was afraid to see the rest of the house.

    "Actually, fancy doesn't quite cover this," Tara added as she continued walking.

    The foyer of the house was a simple hallway with decorative wall canvases. Either wall had one red, one black, and one white, and each canvas had a pattern of circles in varying shades of their respective colors. The walls themselves were a light gray, and along the top of the wall where it met the ceiling were rows of accent lights on either side.

    The hallway was short, and ended with a set of two steps that curved outwards into the next room. Tara walked up the steps in order to behold the main part of the house. The first thing she could see was a spiral staircase directly before her that seemed to be the center of the house. Walls extended from both sides of the house, stopping just before the stairs, creating two doorways on either side. The staircase had glass balustrades, glass that matched that of the front doors. The handrail was a simple metal pole that twisted up along with the stairs. The steps themselves were of the same polished cement, and the vines grew up along them. The most impressive thing about the staircase however, was the water that cascaded down the center column. The quiet sound of the water running was soothing, and definitely something Tara saw as a perk.

    Either hallway to her right and left were much like the one she had just come through. On the floor were matching red rugs that bore a design similar to the wall canvases that were also in those hallways.

    To her left was a large closet, and a study that contained a desk with an expensive computer, a recliner, two lamps, one on the desk, the other on the wall. Bookshelves lined the back wall, filled with everything from classics to current bestsellers. Tara could spy a few books specifically on Pokémon Training among them.

    To her right was a door that led into the garage, and a small hallway that led to two smaller rooms. Tara supposed that one of them would be a bathroom, but the other was a mystery.

    Tara walked to the staircase, noticing a ring around the base in which the water collected and was no doubt pumped back up to the top of the fountain. She chose the right door first, finding herself in a living room that was themed much the same as the rest of the house she'd seen already. There was a single black couch that was in the shape of a square C. It had simple metal pegs as legs and the throw pillows on the couch were all red. Both the wall that the sofa faced and the back wall were entirely of glass, much like the back wall of the penthouse back in Saffron city. The couch surrounded a square coffee table, also black with red roses in a clear glass vase on top. The table sat upon a lush, red shag rug. Mounted on the ceiling and the wall that wasn't glass were sophisticated speakers, aimed down towards the couch - no doubt to provide an amazing surround-sound experience.

    On the wall was a bizarre device that seemed to be able to take discs, and indeed, below it was a long shelf full of films. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the television.

    Tara turned left, noticing that there was only a segment of wall separating the living room from what lay on the other side of the staircase. It seemed a bit weird, as if someone had started to build a wall but didn't finish it, leaving it sitting in the middle of a room. Tara walked around it, finding herself looking at the kitchen and dining room.

    "Now there's a kitchen," the girl said, already feeling the hunger coming on.

    The back wall of the house was entirely glass, and so it extended to the half the kitchen was on. However, the side wall and the wall separating it from the study were normal, and it was against these two walls that the kitchen nestled. The theme in this room was different, with the red and black being changed to blue and black. The counter tops were stainless steel and the cabinets were simple black laminate.

    Most of the appliances had a blue finish to them, and there were blue kitchen mats on the floor. The island in the kitchen contained a smaller second sink and a partly-wood surface for cutting.

    The table was large, and much like the one from the penthouse, able to seat eight. It was simple wood, painted black. Blue placemats were set on the table and the chairs had blue cushions. She also noticed that the blossoms on the cement-vines in the kitchen were blue instead of red, a simple detail that helped to bring everything together.

    Turning around to face the glass wall the girl found herself face to face with the ocean. The wall had glass doors on both the kitchen side and the living room side of the house, and they led to a massive patio that overlooked the sea. The patio was concrete like the rest of the house and also had the floral patterns engraved on its surface. There was a sofa on the patio, under a shade to protect it from the elements. In front of the sofa was a fire pit, ready to be used on a cool summer night. Also on the patio were sun chairs for bathing in the light.

    Tara turned away, walking back to the living room and falling on the couch.

    "Well?" Valaura asked while staring out at the ocean herself.

    "Well what?" Tara replied, covering her forehead with one hand while the other dangled onto the floor. "I mean, I guess we can stay here."

    "There is a room for you upstairs," Gardevoir informed her. "Would you like to go see?"

    "Yeah, sure," she shrugged, pulling herself back out of the couch. "Gotta make myself at home and all that jazz."

    She walked back to the staircase, ascending up into the second floor. The floor had four rooms, one in each corner with two bathrooms on either side of the second story.

    Tara could immediately guess which room belonged to Lysis by the red she saw. She didn't gaze for long into the room before walking into the one she assumed was hers. All the rooms shared a uniform layout. A bed dead-center against the back wall with a window on either side. The mattresses were low to the floor with pull out drawers being the only thing in between. The beds themselves were black, with a black cover and white sheets underneath. The floors in the rooms were all gray carpet. Each room had a large closet along with a black dresser, a black desk, and a bowl chair in the corner with a lamp. The top half of the walls were black, along with the ceiling - the bottom half was white. The only color in the rooms came in the form of the pillows on the bed, curtains, the various items used for decoration, the bowl chair, and a circular shag rug that sat half beneath the bed.

    Tara's room, she assumed, was the one with blue. The other two rooms were green and white.

    It annoyed her that Lysis had a room made for her. Most would consider it a generous and kind gesture, but Tara saw it differently. Seeing a room for her in Lysis' house told her that Lysis would continue to try living her own life through Tara's body, forcing Tara to participate in her life.

    The young woman put her bag on her bed and sighed, looking around. It would be nice to have a room to call her own, and she couldn't admit that the room wasn't nice, but part of her wanted to revolt at the very idea of staying in the house either way: refuse to conform to the plan that Lysis had laid out.

    She opened the closet to find it full of clothes in her size. All of the clothes were designer brands, but weren't off the backs of the mannequins. There was no fashion in the closet, simply an upgrade to Tara's existing style. It even bothered her that Lysis thought she knew exactly what Tara liked, even though Tara was not against wearing anything in the closet, and, in fact, quite liked what she saw, which disgusted her all the more.

    "I would suggest that you go to the beach," Valaura said, interrupting her thoughts.

    "Yeah… I'll do that," Tara murmured, nodding to herself.

    After a few moments she was able to locate swimwear. It was a two piece, black. She located a pair of short-shorts as well. Normally she stayed well away from them, but they were suitable for the beach. They looked like any other pair, but because of the label they carried, they were better than ordinary short-shorts.

    The top of the bikini wrapped around her chest, and two "sleeves" that wrapped around her upper arms before wrapping back to the front of the top. After applying a copious amount of sunscreen she slid her feet into a pair of blue flip flops and donned a pair of sunglasses that lay on her bedside table.

    "Hmph, look at yourself, Tara," she told herself, peering over the rim of her glasses at herself in the mirror. For a moment she thought that it wasn't herself she was seeing. The person in the mirror looked very similar to her, but was slightly taller, a bit older. The smug smile on her face was an expression of confidence and pride, and her eyes stared back, darker blue in color than Tara's own.

    Tara inhaled sharply, blinking and lightly shaking her head before opening her eyes again. It was only her that she saw, a slightly shaken young woman. Her hands had inadvertently curled into fists and her body was tense.

    "Are you all right?" Valaura asked, leaning her head into the room.

    "Yeah," the teen lied, loosening up. "Let's go."
     
    #5 Sem, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  6. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    -Chapter 6-

    The beach was definitely going to become something Tara did daily. Because of its exclusivity it wasn’t very crowded, since it was only residents and their guests who were allowed to use the beach. The water was clearer than most beaches and the sand was smooth and fine.

    Tara lounged on a beach towel, bathing in the sun. Valaura stood by her, holding a black umbrella over her head, throwing her top half into shadow. Because of what she wore Tara blended in well with the rest of the crowd, though some paused to glance at her, knowing that she was a new resident.

    She felt a slight tingle by her side. Tara grasped the vibrating phone in her hand and flipped it open with one hand as she moved it up to her ear. “Where are you?” she asked with a grin teasing her lips.

    “At the entrance,” came Luke’s reply. “The guy won’t let me in, so you have to come get me.”

    “The beach has a bouncer?” she half-laughed. “All right, I’m on my way.” She shut the phone and sat up, stretching her arms and back before rising to her feet. “Off to save Luke before he gets thrown into a dumpster,” she told Valaura. “Back in a sec.”

    Tara slid her phone into her pocket and began walking towards the beach’s main entrance. She didn’t need to deal with a bouncer, since she could access the beach directly from the house, proving that she was a resident of Vista Del Mar, or a guest at least. Even people who didn’t live on the beach were generally fine, since the bouncer would typically know who lived there and who didn’t.

    She soon saw her boyfriend (she was still getting used to thinking of him that way) standing a few paces away from a rather intimidating man. He seemed to be losing his patience with Luke, who stood waiting with his own cell phone in hand.

    “Hey! Hey!” Tara called, running up to them. The man turned around, seeming to guess that she had come for Luke. “He’s my guest, let him through.”

    The man gave Lucius a curt nod and stepped away slightly, allowing the boy to pass through.

    “Geez, Tara,” Luke muttered, instantly hooking arms with her. “What a place for you to decide to live, you failed to tell me that you were loaded.”

    Tara forced a chuckle. “It belongs to someone I know, but she’s not here right now.”

    Luke paused, choosing his words. “’Someone you know’… and you just decided to live in her house? Is she like a friend?” he asked. “Because I wouldn’t let just ‘someone I know’ live in my house.”

    “She’s a friend, yeah,” Tara lied, and she knew that it wasn’t a good one.

    “You have way too many secrets, girl,” Luke said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

    The girl bowed her head, feeling a bit guilty. “It’s just complicated, you know? I don’t wanna overwhelm you off the bat or anything.”

    Luke nodded his head, seeming to understand that it wasn’t as if Tara didn’t want to tell him about the past year or so of her life.

    Tara shifted her thoughts, focusing on the fact that no one seemed to glare at them like they were intruders. Tara was fine, thanks to the new clothes in her room carrying brand names. Luke didn’t look bad either, though Tara knew that he had a sense of style. He wore a pair of green boardshorts that had a scenic design of a mountain range on them. On his torso he wore a plain white buttoned down shirt, though it wasn’t buttoned. It was a light material and swayed easily in the wind. On his feet were a pair of flip-flops, and he too wore a pair of sunglasses, oversized as was the current style.

    “Hello, Valaura,” Luke greeted the Gardevoir, who didn’t seemed to have budged an inch since Tara had left her. She stood still with an umbrella, like a statue overlooking the ocean. There were people looking at her, but that was to be expected.

    ”Good afternoon, Lucius,” came the psychic’s telepathic response.

    There was a flutter of air as Sefer, Tara’s Mothim, came to land on Luke’s shoulder.

    “Hello there,” he greeted Mothim with a grin, reaching up and flicking an antennae.

    The rest of Tara’s Pokémon were wandering about the beach, being trusted enough to stay out of trouble. T, her Unown, was currently eyeing an impressive sandcastle, though the kids that had been making it were now more impressed with T. Unown were rare, and were typically only found in labs and showed off as a novelty by wealthier folk.

    Tara’s Carnivine and Drapion were huddled together not far off, and Amaro, her Onix, hung back close to the house, not liking the attention that his size gave him. Namoraw, her Tentacruel, was in the water, though she couldn’t spot him.

    “Pretty nice beach,” Luke said with a nod.

    “Yeah, I could get used to this,” Tara admitted, inwardly happy that she would have access to the beach for at least the next few months.

    “You take a dip yet?” he asked.

    “Not yet,” she said, looking towards the crashing waves.

    “Well?” he asked, lifting up his shades and putting them aside. “C’mon then!” he urged, kicking off his sandals and throwing his shirt down onto Tara’s towel before running towards the water. Tara looked after him for a moment, watching him run. She caught a glimpse of amusement on Valaura’s face before taking off herself.

    “Oh whatever, Val,” Tara muttered under her breath as she ran to catch up with Luke, who was already sloshing through the foamy water. She caught up to him within a few moments, shoving him down into the knee-deep tide.

    “Hey!” he yelled before hitting the water. He came up in time to have some more water kicked into his face.

    “C’mon, priss-boy,” Tara taunted, standing only a couple of feet away.

    He laughed, shaking out his golden hair and wiping the water off of his face. He lunged at her, but she jumped to the side and splashed him again. She turned and went in deeper, forcing him to follow. Miss Valens was about to go over a wave when she felt him grasp her ankle, pulling her down into the wave as it crashed. Tara was it the water’s mercy for a moment before she was allowed to surface and she was met with Luke taunting her right back.

    Tara’s long hair clung to her back, a sopping wet mess. “Hmph,” she answered, swinging her head around and attacking him with her wet ponytail.

    “Ah, careful!” he teased, taking hold of some of the hair and pulling it.

    “Ow!” Tara yelled as she fell back, only to be caught by Luke.

    She looked up at him, struggling against the sunlight but was able to make out a warm smile on his face. Then the next wave came crashing over them.

    -------

    “Well, that was good,” Luke said as he and Tara walked up the steps to the house. “Whoa…” he murmured as they went inside. “Whoever it is who owns this place, she’s got good taste.”

    “Yeah…” Tara replied, letting her towel hang outside to dry.

    Luke caught the change in her tone and changed the subject. He held up a duffel bag, asking, “Can I use the shower?”

    “Yeah, sure,” Tara replied. “Up the stairs, there two of them up there.” She was about to head for one herself. She followed him up the steps, pointing to the shower she hadn’t claimed.

    “Nice rooms,” he commented, taking a peek into them.

    After he had closed the door she waited for the water to start running. She went into the other shower and looked at it for a moment. It was a very modern shower, with jets going up the walls. There was no shower head, merely holes in the ceiling of the shower. Outside the shower was a panel. Tara activated it with a touch, setting the temperature she wanted for the water and turned on all of the jets. Stepping in was like stepping into a rainstorm, only much more pleasant. Here was yet another thing that Tara would like about living there.

    When Tara got out of the shower she wasn’t surprised to find the other one already vacant, and she could hear Luke and Valaura speaking downstairs. She walked to her room and got dressed quickly, towel drying her hair as best she should before attacking it with the blow-dryer. She went downstairs, throwing her wet clothes into the washing machine.

    After that she found Luke in the living room, lounging on the sofa. Tara looked around, seeing that Valaura was no longer present.

    “Nice shower,” Luke said. He wore the same white shirt as before, only it was buttoned now. He wore some long shorts with it, brown with darker stripes going vertically down.

    “Yeah, definitely,” she agreed, walking over to the shelf of movies. “Wanna watch a film?”

    “Sure,” Luke nodded, inhaling deeply as he settled more comfortably onto the couch. “What do you have?”

    “I don’t even know…” Tara answered as she flicked through the collection. There were quite a few action films, which seemed fairly typical considering who owned the house. The second largest genre in the collection was horror. “What about this?” she asked, holding up a zombie film

    “That’s fine,” he said. Tara nodded and opened the case, removing the disk. She stared at the strange machine she had noticed earlier that was on the wall. The device hummed once she had pressed the power button. To the right of the machine was a small panel about the size of a light switch panel. It was black and glossy like the device next to it, and simply had an up and down arrow. The down arrow flashed blue, and Tara touched it, wondering what it did. At once the room started to become darker, and Tara noticed it was because the glass walls were turning dark, blocking out more and more sunlight the darker they tinted.

    “Nice,” Luke said.

    “Wow, yeah,” Tara agreed. She slid the DVD into the slot on the machine and then took a seat next to Luke, grabbing the remote from the table before sitting down. “Now what?” she wondered.

    The answer was immediate as the glass wall that the sofa faced, which was now almost completely black, lit up. On the wall was the main menu of the film. The entire wall was a screen, and already the speakers around the room were delivering exceptional sound. Tara could feel the hum of a subwoofer that was kept beneath the floor. She could only gawk and wonder how much the house was worth.

    “Tara?” Luke asked, poking her shoulder.

    “Yeah?” she asked, turning to him.

    “Press play,” he say with a snicker.

    “Oh!” Tara replied, aiming the remote at the device on the wall and pressed play.

    She could feel the warm chuckle in his chest as he put an arm around her, causing her to smile as well. The movie started and followed the typical series of events. Tara knew exactly when to expect something funny to happen. Well, funny to her. The film was supposed to be scary. Luke laughed too, but it was more in response to her.

    “You think this is funny?” he asked as a zombie buried its face into a man’s neck, ripping out his jugular and causing blood to fly everywhere.

    “Of course, just look at it!” she said with a grin.

    “You’re sick,” he told her, patting her head.

    “Oh, shoosh,” she said.

    By now Tara was leaning completely against Lucius, her back resting on his chest as he held is arms around her stomach. The young girl had to admit that it was nice to have someone that close, like the world meant nothing anymore. After another minute Luke reached up to her neck with his hand, taking hold of the silver locket that hung around her neck. With the other hand he pried open the heart shaped necklace and studied the pictures within.

    “Who’s that?” he asked, pointing to the picture on the left where a pink creature with a red clown-nose smiled happily.

    Tara squirmed uncomfortably. “His name was Muku, he was my first Pokémon…” she managed to say, memories of her beloved partner danced through her head.

    “Oh…” he replied, guessing at why Muku was no longer with Tara. He wondered if he should close the locket, but decided against it after a long moment of thought. “And her?” he asked, indicating the photo on the right of a platinum-blonde haired little girl with gray eyes and a sad smile.

    Tara eased a bit, but still felt a little tense. “Her name’s Fida, I used to travel with her,” she explained. “Last I heard she was in Kanto.”

    “Ah,” he nodded, closing the locket and returning his arms to their original location. “Sorry,” he said. “Just curious…”

    “It’s ok,” Tara replied. “I should be telling you more…”

    “You don’t have to right now,” he said, sounding genuine.

    A moment passed, and both of them forgot about the bloodbath on screen.

    “It was almost two years ago, I met Fida outside of Violet City in Johto,” she started. “She was all alone, except for her Misdreavus, Elvia. She looked totally starved and scared, like an abandoned puppy. I bought her breakfast and tried to figure out her situation. She was only eight, and she didn’t look like she was on any kind of Pokémon journey. I got the impression that her home life sucked, so I offered to let her come with me. She said yes, and I took her in. Muku and I helped her train - and she’s good. Natural battler, that girl. It was a few months later that we were heading towards Ecruteak when we were in the wrong place at the wrong time…” she stopped.

    “… what-“

    “That’s not true, actually… it’s my fault it all happened,” she said gravely. “I challenged this guy, who was messing with this kid, stealing a Pokémon. Saved the kid, but ended up getting chased down in the woods. Muku…” her voice cut out. “and the last thing I remember was lying against a tree with a gun aimed at my head. But I helped Fida to escape at least… I did my best…”

    “It’s not your fault,” Luke explained, holding her tighter against himself. “You were helping that kid out, doing the right thing. If you could do it again you’d just walk past?”

    “… No? I don’t know…” she groaned. “It’s hard…”

    “Wow, that’s a scary thing to happen…” he said, talking more to himself. “…Do you know how you survived?”

    “Heh,” Tara snorted. “That’s another story completely.”

    “I understand,” Luke nodded, not wanting to push anything. “Oh look, that woman is being dismembered,” he pointed out after moment, nodding to the screen, causing Tara to chuckle.

    -------

    Tara awoke to a dark room, which was normal. The windows in the bedrooms also turned dark at the press of a button in order to block out unwanted light. She rubbed her eyes and moaned, not being a morning person. Sitting up, she turned her head, trying to peer through her mess of hair to see the numbers on the clock.

    10:13

    Slowly, she rolled out of bed, wriggling her toes on the gray carpet before standing up and lurching over to the wall. Pressing the up arrow on the panel, the windows began to lighten.

    Miss Valens had little less than an hour to get ready before Luke came over, so she trudged to the bathroom for a quick shower. She got ready in time and was downstairs in time to hear the doorbell ring.

    “See you, Val!” Tara called to her friend, wherever she was. She walked down the short hallway towards the door, tying up her hair into her usual style. She could see Luke’s silhouette through the frosted glass of the front doors, waiting patiently.

    “Hey!” she said as she opened the door, snatching keys from out of a bowl by the door.

    “Morning, my dear,” he said with a warm smile. He looked great, like always, seeming to be perfectly awake. Mr. Frost was a morning person. “Ready?”

    “Totally,” Tara nodded, locking the door and slipping the keys into a pocket. Luke pecked her on the lips as she turned around before taking her hand and leading her down the driveway.

    It had been about a month now that they had been together, and Luke was always taking Tara somewhere. Time had really flown by, and more and more Luke had to take time to prepare for the Grande Festival. It was because of this that he tried to spend most of his free time with her.

    Today’s date was a simple trip to the mall. Luke had hired a cab to take them, otherwise they would’ve had a long walk ahead of them. Taxis were the typical mode of transportation for anything that was simply too far a walk. Both of them had discovered a car in the house’s garage, a nice one, but neither of them knew how to drive, so that was out of the question.

    Luke, ever the gentleman, held the door open for Tara before sliding in himself. “Thank you,” she said with a slight sneer. She usually gave him some sort of grief for being so proper all of the time.

    The driver started driving without a word, knowing the destination beforehand.

    “Sleep well?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” Tara nodded. “Woke up on the couch in the middle of the night though,” she added. “And I’m sure I fell asleep in bed.”

    “Funny,” he chuckled.

    “Yeah, I think it was that funny tea you brought last night,” Tara said, shaking her head. “You sure you didn’t get it from some leery guy in an alley?”

    “Only the best for you, dear,” he replied, moving a lock of hair out of her face.

    “Please,” Tara said, rolling her eyes and smacking his hand away. “You’ll make our driver vom all over the place.”

    Said driver answered with a low chuckle, not saying anything.

    Tara cracked her neck before settling into her seat, adjusting her seatbelt so that it rested more comfortable across her torso. She leaned her head against the window and inhaled deeply, still feeling a bit drowsy.

    She opened her eyes to her reflection, seeing a smirk on her lips, which was all well and good.

    … Except that she wasn’t smirking.

    Tara jerked away from the window, staring at her shocked expression in the reflection.

    “Whoa!” Luke said, putting a hand on her. “You ok?”

    “Y-yeah,” she answered, shaking her head and looking at her reflection.

    “Did you see a ghost or something,” he asked, half-joking.

    “Something like that,” she said, forcing a laugh. “Seriously, no more freaky herbal teas.”

    -------

    The mall was packed, but that was to be expected on a Saturday. Miss Valens and Mr. Frost sat across from each other at a small table amongst families and groups of friends. Each of them had a smoothie in hand and were drinking them contentedly.

    “We should head to the arena after this,” Tara suggested, jabbing her smoothie with her straw. “See if there are any good battles happening.” Last time they had gone nothing super exciting had happened, which was a real let-down.

    “Or we could have a battle,” Luke offered. “That’s the sure-fire way to have an exciting match.”

    “Sounds good too,” she agreed, taking another sip of her smoothie. They had had a few small battles since their first one, each one ended with a different victor. It had become a game to see who could win the most, only they were currently tied. It was good to be so close to someone that was on par with you battling-wise, Tara thought so at least.

    After a few minutes they had both finished their refreshments and walked out of the food court. Lucius took her hand and they walked side-by-side through the mall, passing shops. Not much had caught either of their attentions, though Tara was sure that if she were to go into the infamous Department Store she would go crazy.

    Of course, she was happy to continue walking with Luke. During the past month she had become almost completely comfortable with him, and realized that she was anxious whenever she wasn’t with him. A younger her would call her pathetic. Before she would always shake her head and sneer at couples, but now that she had someone she knew that she wouldn’t be doing it anymore, even if Luke and her went their separate ways.

    It was obvious that Luke was happy as well, and a lot of the time seemed too good to be true. This did make Tara suspicious at times, but she managed to avoid the temptation of reading his thoughts. Her powers as a whole had taken a back seat in her mind. Valaura chided her often for it, telling her that she would get rusty if she didn’t keep practicing.

    No, if Luke was actually too good to be true, Tara would only blame herself for not being more intrusive and protective. But after a month he seemed exactly the same, and this caused the girl to wonder about her future. She had already decided to go with him to the Grande Festival and watch him perform; there was no doubt about that. It was after that though that made her think. Would they leave Lilycove together? Travel the world?

    If that were to happen she would have to tell him everything, everything that she hadn’t yet told him – which was plenty. Tara wondered if he would still like her after that, and every time she mentally kicked herself for being so insecure. It wasn’t like her, or so she thought. Her outward confidence always concealed it.

    She pushed the thoughts from her mind as they stopped to buy a pair of pretzels. The bridges would be crossed as she came to them, it was better that way. Better to focus on the now, where she was happy.

    “So, grab a train to the stadium?” Luke asked before taking a bite of the hot pastry.

    “Sounds like a plan,” Tara answered. “I’m ready to beat you into the ground,” she added with a hum, grabbing his arm and dragging him along with a look of bliss on her face.

    Tara was too distracted to even notice the two men looking at her from across the mall.
     
    #6 Sem, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  7. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    -Chapter 7-

    “You rush in with Vine Whip!” Tara shouted. Her Carnivine obeyed and moved towards his opponent. It noiselessly glided a good dozen or so inches above the ground, tentacles ready to lash and sting.

    “Dodge and attack with Quick Attack!” Luke countered. His Pokémon, a small red fox with many tails nodded, shooting out of the way like a blur before bulleting back and hitting Carnivine.

    “She’s pretty well trained for being such a recent capture,” Tara remarked, admiring the Vulpix. Their battle had started only minutes prior. They had to wait for the arena to be ready, as the last battlers had made quite the mess.

    It wasn’t an impressive battlefield, built especially with the casual battle in mind. The actual stadium was much more magnificent. These practice arenas were simple ones near the beach, not even inside of a building. They were out in the open with benches and stands placed around them for people to come and watch.

    “Surprised?” he answered. “Invania’s been with me long enough to know a thing or two,” he said with a wink.

    “I guess I’m not surprised,” she said, shrugging. “She’s beautiful too.”

    “So’s her Flamethrower,” he grinned. “Go!”

    With fierce determination in her eyes, a line of fire burst from the fox’s mouth aimed straight at Tara’s Grass-type.

    “Avoid that and use Swords Dance!” Tara said quickly. It was her choice to use Carnivine versus a Fire-type, knowing that he could handle it well enough. And indeed, Carnivine twirled to the side and spun forward as he focused his energy. On the battlefield her Carnivine acted very much like a top, spinning and veering to and fro, except that he was never actually touching the ground. “Attack with Razor Leaf!”

    “Jump back!”

    Carnivine tilted down towards Invania, slashing his leafy arms at her. She jumped back just in time, landing mere inches away from where Carnivine’s attack left gashes in the ground.

    “Fire Spin!” Lucius said with a confident grin. At close range Carnivine had nowhere to run. The stream of flame from Vulpix’s mouth spiraled into a vortex around the carnivorous plant.

    “Tch.” Tara tried to think of what to do, gritting her teeth. The twister would be active for at least a minute, and while it was wide enough that Carnivine wasn’t actually in contact with the fire, he was close enough to be burned by it. “Ingrain!” she ordered, knowing that Ingrain would help Carnivine come out with as much stamina as he had before the attack, more or less.

    “Clever,” Luke said. “But I knew that you’d think of something, my dear.”

    “Not done yet, honey,” Tara replied. “Carnivine, use Grass Knot!”

    “Watch out!” Luke said, keeping a careful watch on the field. To his surprise hundreds of green specks began to appear out of the ground, quickly growing into long blades of grass. There was nowhere for Invania to run either and soon her paws were ensnared in the grass.

    “Bullet Seed!”

    Unable to move, Invania had no choice but endure the barrage of seeds that flew at her from within her Fire Spin attack.

    Now Luke struggled to think of an escape. Invania could burn the grass except the very grass beneath her, which was what needed to be burned, unless the blast was powerful enough to spread underneath her. “Fire Blast at your feet!” he said, slightly worried this wouldn’t work. Fire Blast was only a technique he was just recently getting her to work on.

    Vulpix did as she was told, aiming down to the ground that was very close. The grass below her mouth was instantly incinerated as the attack burst forth, covering most of her body, and she soon found herself free as the attack propelled her into the air - but not before a flaming bomb of sludge could hit her, sending her back into the ground.

    “Hnn,” Tara grinned. “You ok, Carnivine?” she asked. The Fire Spin had faded, revealing that Carnivine didn’t look entirely too worse for wear.

    “This battle’s over, Tara,” Luke said. The fire from her own attack enveloped her, activating her Flash Fire ability. And now that Carnivine is stuck in the ground, he can’t escape fast enough to avoid a powered up Fire Blast.”

    Tara’s world went slower as she saw Invania get up, flames already overflowing out of her mouth. “Power Whip!” she yelled.

    Carnivine quickly extracted a single vine from the ground as it rapidly grew in length and size. He swung at the fox just as she released her attack, knocking her into one of the benches. He was a moment too late though, unable to do anything about the massive burst of fire coming his way.

    The attack had left her Carnivine sufficiently burned, but it seemed that Invania was also out for the count. Another tie.

    “Augh!” Tara yelled, returning her crispy vegetable of a Pokémon. “Another tie!”

    “I’m not surprised anymore,” Luke said, jogging over to where Invania unconsciously lay.

    “I’m sorry!” Tara said as she ran up as well. She put a hand to the fox’s forehead as Luke returned her to her Pokéball.

    “Yeah, sorry about your Carnivine too,” Luke replied. “Good battle though, as always,” he said, gripping her hand as they stood.

    “You know what I’m in the mood for?” Tara asked, looking at the five o’ clock sun.

    “Well, you’re not in the mood for battling,” Luke started, counting with his fingers. “And you’re sleepy or sleeping, which means that you could only be in the mood for food.”

    “You know me too well,” she said with a satisfied smile, flicking his nose.

    “You’re not that hard to read,” he teased, but promptly felt sorry for it as he felt her heel dig into his toes, which weren’t at all protected by the flip-flops he wore. “Ow!”

    “Hnn,” she grinned, taking his hand and dragging him off towards a bus stop.

    -------

    An hour later the duo was walking down the street, each of them holding a sub sandwich. Luke knew of a sandwich shop in the city that made killer subs. Tara had to admit, her sandwich tasted very good.

    “So what’s your plan tomorrow?” she asked between bites.

    “Well, going to be working with Feebas more. I’d like him to evolve before the Grande Festival,” he answered. “You can come and watch if you like.”

    “I think I will,” she nodded. “What about Invania?” Tara asked. “I’m sure they sell Fire Stones in the Department Store. Though, I guess you don’t wanna evolve her too early on before she can master more moves. That’s if she even wants to evolve.”

    “Yeah,” Luke said. “I think she may, but she’d actually have to meet a Ninetales in person before she or I could be sure.”

    Tara nodded again, taking another bite out of her sandwich. She looked ahead, seeing a group of kids turning onto a smaller street. They were dressed in a variety a ways, with bright colors. She stopped once they reached the street, looking down it. It seemed less looked after than the rest of the city, and there were many more kids and young adults dressed the same. She could see flashing lights and the loud beats of dance music.

    “Where are we?” she asked.

    “Down there leads to Club City Central,” he explained. “Nighttime hotspot for all the parties and clubs, stuff like that. But beyond this point we’d be in Club City itself.”

    “Huh,” Tara replied, raising her brow. The term was familiar, but she didn’t really know much about the place.

    “Can be dangerous, but only if you’re on the wrong side of the law. Troublemakers tend to keep other people out of their business. The gangs will only bother people who actually live in Club City, which a decent number of people do. Or they will if you chose to insert yourself into their world.”

    Tara nodded before thinking for a moment. “Wanna go?” she asked.

    “Huh?” he replied, a bit confused. “It’s a bit early to go to any of the clubs.”

    “Screw the clubs, I just wanna have a look around, c’mon,” she said, grabbing him.

    “All right…” he shrugged.

    Graffiti colored many of the walls they passed, which clashed greatly with the rest of the city which had relatively little spray-paint defacing its surfaces. Metal bridges connected buildings on opposite sides of the street, bridges that didn’t seem to be there originally. Banners hung everywhere, advertising clubs and events, as well as different gangs.

    The people were loud, but they seemed to only pay attention to each other, too involved with the conversation to care about anything else. Of course, Luke noticed a few of the people stare at Tara and her clothes that were from nicer stores than his were, even though he dressed nicer.

    “You know, just because I said troublemakers here don’t really bother outsiders, that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of us getting mugged,” he said. “We look like we have money to spare.”

    “Don’t you worry about that,” Tara told him. She was certain of her ability to handle the everyday thug on her own.

    “Um?” Luke started, looking strangely at her. “Well, all right…”

    “You honestly worried?” she asked, stopping looking him in the eye.

    “Well, just paranoid I guess,” he shrugged. “People come here all the time looking like a million bucks, though they usually come in a car or have a lot of company with them.”

    “Well, I see what you mean,” she said. There were important things at stake, more important than the valuables that they had. Luke wouldn’t care if he had to walk home naked after being robbed, as long as he still had his Pokémon with him. Tara never thought of those things anymore, she rarely had to. Between herself and Valaura there were few things to be worried about in the world.

    Of course, Tara knew that was reckless thinking. She shouldn’t depend so much on her powers, or Valaura’s. It was still prudent to be careful.

    “All right,” Tara nodded, looking at him with an expression of understanding. “There’s not much to see here anyway. Let’s go.”

    They hadn’t gone that far in, they could still see the street that had turned off of up ahead. The sun was almost setting, but the street itself was cast in shadow, being at the far end of the city.

    “Where should I met you tomorrow then?” she asked as they walked past the group of people again.

    “No need,” Luke answered, squeezing her hand. “I’ll come get you.”

    “I’d hate to think how much money you’re spending on transportation,” she said, shaking her head. “Your Tropius may get tired, but I’m sure he could fly us around every once in a while at least,” she pointed out, jabbing him in the side.

    Screeching tires could be heard from behind them as they were walking past a side street. Luke turned around in time to the see the car head straight for them.

    “Move!” he yelled, pushing Tara into the side street as the car pulled up, blocking both of them in. The groups of people yelled and got out of the way, disappearing into alleys and buildings.

    “What the?” Tara wondered, looking behind her and seeing that the side street eventually ended in a dead end. Turning back to face the car and the men getting out she dove into her power, activating her telepathy and scouring their minds.

    She was shocked to find silence; the men’s minds were completely blocked off. That or they weren’t human, or even living. Either way, Tara didn’t like the look of this situation.

    ”Val! she yelled as loud as she could with her telepathic voice.

    “Who are you?” Luke demanded, looking at the men in their suits and figuring that they weren’t robbers, or even gang members. If anything they were the mafia.

    “We’ve come for Miss Fox,” one of them explained from behind a pair of sleek sunglasses. “We’ve been asked to deliver her immediately.”

    “She’s not here right now,” Tara told them. “And never will be.”

    “If you do not comply…” he said, pulling out a handgun from inside his blazer. “Then we will have use force.”

    “Who’s Miss Fox?” Luke asked, nervously gazing at the gun while his hand hovered in search of a Pokéball, though he wasn’t sure he had a Pokémon that could handle bullets.

    “No one,” Tara spat, glaring at the men. “You know you can’t have her if you kill me. Only I know where she is.”

    “Miss, we know exactly where she is,” the other said, pulling out a gun as well. “And our boss doesn’t care if we have to put a few bullets into your limbs if that’s what it takes to bring you in.”

    Both men aimed their guns at her legs, and that’s when Tara went into action.

    Her palms face outwards as she held them slightly away from her sides, summoning the psychic energy needed for a shield. She cursed herself for not keeping regular practice, but the shield was up in time to block the bullets, each of them hitting a faintly visible wall of psychic energy.

    Once the wall was up everything came back to her quite easily.

    She raised an arm, telekinetically pushing one of the men back into the car, denting its side.

    At this point two more men came out of the car, seeing that this was much harder a mission than they had assumed.

    “Stay behind me!” she told Luke, still keeping the shield up as she used her other hand to gather loose objects around her. Empty crates and cans hovered in the air before being sent at the men, taking one of them down.

    By this time a red bolt of lightning flashed from above them, striking the third man. Tara looked in time to see Valaura jumping down and landing beside her and Luke. Another Thunderbolt sent the fourth flying back into the car as well, and before anything else could happen the three of them vanished.

    -------

    ”Are you all right?” Valaura asked just after they reappeared back at the beach house.
    “Yeah, we’re fine,” Tara said, holding her head and sitting down.

    “What just happened?” Luke said. He looked thoroughly shocked, but didn’t back away from either Valaura or Tara.

    “What you saw is what happened,” Miss Valens explained, looking right at him. “I’m sorry…”

    “You… you’re a psychic,” he said; it was a statement, not a question.

    “Yeah,” Tara nodded. She knew he would know eventually, but she was hoping that she would be able to simply tell him. Not that he would find out during an attack by armed men. Tara wasn’t like the other psychic trainers, who would telekinetically toss Pokéballs into battle, she didn’t openly display her gift. “I should have told you sooner…”

    “Yeah, you probably should have…” Luke agreed, scratching the back of his head. “Who’s Miss Fox?” he asked after a moment.

    Tara exhaled deeply, looking to Valaura and then him. “It’s a long story.”

    -------

    “So,” Luke said, looking intently at Tara. “Let me get this straight. There is some crazy person trapped inside of you, and this crazy person used to be your childhood best friend until you randomly forgot she existed one day, because her body was dead and she tried to possess you in order to keep living, but was suppressed into your subconscious by Muku.”

    Tara nodded.

    “Then, four years later Muku’s… death… broke Lysis’ restraints in just the nick of time for her to stop the bullet with her crazy psychic powers. Then you both went into a coma for two weeks, then she woke up, starting killing people responsible for her death four years prior and stole money. You were a prisoner in your own body, but Valaura grew a heart and taught you how to use your powers, and then you stood up to Lysis. And then a crazy Haunter/Gengar tried to… pretty much eat you, and Muku’s spirit weakened him, and all three of you destroyed him, and then you trapped Lysis. And she waits inside you to this day for her chance to come out into the real world again?”

    Again she nodded, wondering why the simple summarization of her recent life sounded so...

    “Insane!” Luke exclaimed. “That’s crazy! I now know why you didn’t wanna tell me,” he said, taking her hand. “And I don’t blame you.”

    Tara blinked, fully expecting Lucius to turn around, walk out of the house, and she’d never see him again. “You’re not upset?” she asked.

    “Upset?” he exasperated. “Four men tried to kidnap you. Yes, I’m upset, but not with you.” He embraced her, holding her head to his chest. “I’m just glad everything turned out ok.” He turned his head to the Gardevoir standing a few paces away. “And thank you, Val,” he said. “I know you care about her as much as I do, but thank you anyway.” She stayed silent as Luke shook his head. “You don’t battle… it’s not because you can’t, it’s because you’d win.”

    “Look, Luke,” Tara said, pushing herself away and putting his head between her hands. “I’m glad you’re not mad, so glad,” she said with a quick smile. “But we have other things to worry about, mainly those men and what they want with Lysis,” she continued, looking towards Valaura.

    ”I do not know if they are aware that you reside in this house,” she said. But if they do not, then they will. I could not break into their minds, at least not without more time than I wanted us to spend in that place. They were too well guarded, but I could not sense who or what was guarding them. I can only imagine that they serve a powerful leader, one who is intent on having Lysis.”

    “What happens if they know you’re here?” Luke asked, holding the hands that were still on either side of his head.

    “I think we’ll be ok…” Tara said, looking around as she did so. “Lysis spent I don’t know how much money to make this house a fortress. The glass is shatterproof, the walls are concrete. And if I know Lysis…” she trailed, looking at the walls. “I bet there are weapons hidden everywhere.”

    ”This does not mean that we can stay,” Valaura stated. ”I do not think that they will stop until they have Lysis.”

    “She’s right,” Luke agreed. “You need to leave; we can go first thing in the morning.”

    “We?” Tara asked, looking at him and then Val. “It’d be safer for you if you stayed.”

    “What, and leave you alone?” he said, shaking his head. “You’re my girlfriend, and as lame as that sounds I’m coming with you.”

    “What if I ended it?” Tara snapped, seriously not liking the idea of Lucius getting wrapped up in her world.

    He said nothing, only looked straight in her eyes. He couldn’t totally hide the hurt in them. “If that’s what you want to do, but I’m still coming with.”

    “Idiot,” Tara muttered, getting up and walking to the glass wall, gazing out towards the sea. It was dark now, but still light enough to see the beach.

    ”…He will be safer with us,” Valaura said. ”If he stays then they will find him and question him. And when he does not provide them with the answers they seek his life will end.”

    “There, see?” Luke said. “If you want to protect me from your crazy world, then the best place for me is by your side.”

    Tara put a hand to the glass and shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense,” she said. Then she smiled, in spite of herself. “But ok.”

    He walked up behind her, wrapping his arms around her and resting his chin on her shoulder, rocking her back and forth. “Everything will be fine.”

    She closed her eyes and sighed. “All right,” she nodded. “You’ll need to get your stuff and then come back.”

    ”I can teleport us to where you are currently staying, Lucius,” Valaura told him, staying exactly where she was. ”Tara will be fine in this house on her own or the few minutes that we are gone,” she added after seeing the look of hesitation on his face.

    “Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Tara said, turning around in his arms and facing him. “This place is a fortress like I said. Even if people were to come the moment you left, it would take them a long time after you got back to actually get in,” she told him. She knew very well in the back of her mind that full reliance on the house’s ability to last through a war was also reckless. There were no doubt weapons and devices designed to get into places such as that house.

    “All right, I’ll be back as soon as possible,” he said, letting go of her. “Give me Carnivine, me and Val can drop him and Invania off at the Center.”

    Tara nodded, slipping the object into his open hand. A moment after that Luke and Val were gone. Sighing, Tara collapsed onto the couch. Her mind wandered in dozens of directions at once, wondering how a perfect day could do so wrong so suddenly.

    Why was this happening to her? And why on earth did she think that trouble was long behind her. As long as Lysis existed, one way or another there would always be trouble. And the thing is, Tara was seeing her. In the reflections. She heard her voice that time in the contest hall.

    Did it mean that the bonds were getting weaker? Or was Lysis getting stronger? Or was Tara in too much stress lately to keep a strong hold on her mind and her thoughts?

    She sighed again.

    Valaura would sense if anything was wrong. If she felt the bonds weaken she would reinforce them. Tara knew that she was being completely paranoid. The incident in the mirror could be explained. She was in a strange set of mind being in Lysis’ house for the first time. It didn’t help that she and Lysis looked like they were sisters, almost twins. And it could be that she actually was smirking in the cab without knowing it.

    “Just get some rest, girl,” she told herself, rubbing her eyes.

    A rush of air told her that her friends had returned. She sat up as Luke placed his bags down.

    “Take the extra room upstairs,” Tara said, nodding towards the staircase. “We’ll leave in the morning, head towards Mossdeep or Sotopolis.”

    “All right,” he said with a grimace. He walked over and kissed her forehead before heading up the stairs.

    After a moment Tara looked solemnly at Valaura before standing up herself. She put a hand on the psychic’s shoulder. “You’re not sleeping tonight are you?” Tara asked.

    ”No,” she answered simply. ”I want to teleport you to one of those islands right now.”

    “I know,” Tara nodded. “We’ll be ok though. We’ll be long gone before they know where we are.”

    Valaura didn’t respond at first. ”Sleep well,” she eventually said after a yawn escaped the teen’s mouth.

    “Thanks,” she said, trudging towards the stairs. She contemplated taking a shower before deciding to take one in the morning. She looked towards the extra room, seeing the door closed. What did she do to deserve a guy like him anyway? Guys like that were either supposed to be fictional or pigs in disguise. He wasn’t supposed to exist.

    “Lucky me,” she muttered tiredly as she closed the door to her own room. She knew she was lucky, and she was thankful to have Luke. Tara only wished that her life could actually be as simple as she wished it was.

    After slipping into her pajamas she tapped the down arrow on the little black panel on the wall, causing the windows to go dark. It was still early, barely eight, but Tara knew she needed her rest, and would have gone to bed even if she weren’t as tired as she felt right then. She slid under the covers and fell asleep almost instantly.

    -------

    The music pounded loudly, but his years had gotten used to it long ago. He walked around, trying his best not to run into the bodies that moved to the song. It was more difficult than it sounded since he felt a little dizzy, but that came with being a bit tipsy on alcohol. It was fine though, he wasn’t taking a sip of the new drink in his hand after he found a girl. He had invited his friends to the Trick Room, one of Club City’s more popular clubs, but none of them had showed.

    He looked around, homing in on any girl who wasn’t already dancing with someone. “…Ew,” he muttered, glancing right over one such female sitting in the corner by herself.

    He scanned the crowed, then he saw her. She wasn’t on her own; rather, she was dancing with everyone on all sides. That worked too he figured, deciding that he’d be the brave person that asked for her undivided attention for the night.

    He pushed his way into the throng as a new song started, blasting the room with synthetic beats as the lights flashed. The men he passed gave him a variety of looks. Some were snickers, while others were pity.

    ”Screw them,” he thought as he approached her. She was fine, he had to say, wearing tight jeans with black leather, cuffed stiletto boots. Her top was red, and the bottom angled sharply up at the sides like a triangle, showing off her sides. Two spaghetti straps held it on her torso. The long black hair that was in a ponytail moved as elegantly as she did - even though she was dancing to the music just like everyone else, she made it an art.

    “Hey,” he said, smiling at her and dancing to the music.

    She turned, flashing her midnight blue eyes at him. “Hey,” she replied with a dazzling white smile. Her eyes flicked over his body quickly before she turned away again.

    “Wanna dance?” he asked, gulping a bit. He hadn’t quite met anyone like her – his heart was pounding.

    “We already are,” she answered him, putting her hand to his chin and pinching it.

    He looked around, noticing that a lot of people were “dancing with her”. ”Huh, so I’m just another face to her,” he thought.

    Her eyes met his again as she turned, starting at him and only him, as if no one else existed. “Aren’t we?”

    That was it. “Yeah,” he replied. “We are.” He continued grooving, becoming another satellite of this woman. “So what’s your name?”

    She turned again so gracefully that he would’ve wanted to see her do it at least twice more. A grin was on her face, the kind of grin that you hardly saw on anyone. It was confidence, but something more, something he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

    “Lysis,” she answered.
    -------

    Ok, that's it for that one ♥
     
    #7 Sem, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  8. I like this. Moar now Sem :|

    And ffff that house is awesome. I want to live in it ;o;

    Never mind the beach, the house itself is impressive enough :|

    ...And now I have to read what you just posted.

    -----

    Lysis is back :C

    Wait does your footnote mean that's the end of this fic or what you had written? :|
     

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