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Styx and Stones

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Tatile, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Author's Note: This looked so much better in Word. I was a little bored at about, oh, ten past Saturday the other weekend. After have a read through one of the other fic's in here, my boredom turned to inspiration. I have to say, this first part is quite weird, but I put that down to the fact I was writing when I should have been sleeping. Cookies for anyone who can see where this is going (because I sure don't). Comments are very much appreciated. Without further ado, here it is:


    Just a few wisps of cloud floated across the stars. The moon was high and full, bathing the field with a silver glow. A breeze rippled through the long grasses, making them bounce like waves. Beneath the trailing branches of a willow, he sat, alone.

    "There but for the grace of God," his voice came gargled, red mist forming from his words. "...is it always this cold?"

    The reply was long in coming, but eventually the shadow beside him spoke. "Not always, some pass in warmth, but all lie in cold eventually."

    His shirt was heavy and wet, it pushed down and stifled his breathing; yet still his speech was easy. More copper splashed from his mouth and down his chin. "How long have you been there?"

    "Long enough," the shadow shifted, out of sight, "but not too long."

    Muffled cries floated of the sea of grass. Yellow shafts of light ran over the boughs above, the tree line looked sinister for the first time. In the distance he could just about see them, small movements in the inky blackness, yellow pin pricks of light bobbing with them. They seemed so far away, but the gasps were so much closer.

    "Oh, oh please this can't be happening," What was this? Why were their voices so washed out? The woman earlier had been so much clearer, whispering in his ear. "Lae, don't worry... you'll be alright."

    Somehow it didn't sound right. How can you comfort someone with fear? More lights surrounded him and the moon disappeared. The silver world was almost gone, replaced by fake purples and deeper greys. A hand ran through his crusted hair. Everything was wet and cold still, he was chilled through, and the blanket was sticking to his back.

    "What...? This blanket... who are you?" Talking was difficult for some reason and his breath was sucking in his chest. The stars were moving overhead, becoming sparser and less vibrant.

    "Lae, don't worry, we're going to help you. Everything will be fine," the speaker was young, that was for sure. Their voice was breaking, trying to cover their fear. Whoever Lae was, he sure was a lucky guy to have people worrying over him so.

    The stars were gone now, replaced by a murky purple dust. The shouts faded, all crying out for this mysterious ‘Lae'. Slowly the world fell apart, the stars took with them the sky and moon. The grass melted away, the wind hushed and all was silent. This new place was not cold, nor warm, it just was.

    Without direction or purpose, that day's past events unfolded before him. Clearer than crystal, he saw himself to be ‘Lae', his reason for being in the forbidden forest and Maw, a great, rocky beast rising from the earth to devour him. The ground shook as the monster clawed its way free, felling trees and kicking clouds of dirt into the air. Sheer panic coursed through every inch of his being. Fully forced to relive this terror Lae could feel himself breaking apart.
    #1 Tatile, Dec 27, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  2. Author's Note: It's surprisingly disheartning to not have any replies, such is life though. Here's the second part, perhaps this may get your fingers twitching. Hopefully the next part will be longer, though I confess I don't know much about surgery.


    The local police force had set up its own base not far from the field. In the past many teenagers had gone missing in the woods beyond and now there was something far more sinister afoot. Red and blue lights mingled with sirens and telephones, making the base seem like some perverse rave. One of the search parties had found the missing boy, but that didn't mean good news. Jennifer threw the cold remains of her coffee at the bin beside her, not caring if it went in or not. Her uniform was half covered in grime and her hat had been lost somewhere, she certainly did not look the part of ‘lead investigator'.

    "Where did you find him?" Jennifer froze, fighting to keep her composure. Even though the light was bad and everything was shaded in orange, it was easy to see the horrors the boy had gone through. She was a police officer; she needed to control her emotions and the situation. An ear-splitting shriek erupted next to her. Partially deafened, Jennifer turned to help the woman, only to see the boy's mother lying on the ground.

    Paramedics rushed over, one was holding a bright lamp and another was ripping open a medical kit. Of the four, one was helping Jennifer with the unconscious woman while the rest attended to the boy. Though there was a medical tent nearby, they started a blood transfusion right there, hoping that it might raise his slim chances. The men of the search party moved away, giving the medics all the light and space they needed.

    "Roger," Jennifer shouted over the rising din "get on the phone, let the hospital know they've got a bad one." Beside her, the paramedic was helping the now conscious woman to her feet; she was shaking and deathly pale. "Fiona, take Mrs. Harvey home..."

    "No!" Though plump and greying, Joane was surprisingly fast. She lunged out randomly, sobbing and beating her fists at the air. "I want to stay with boy! My little Lae... you bitch! This is all your fault!" Her fist caught Jennifer on the chin, sending her sprawling into the dirt. "He's only a child... you're a Police Officer, you're supposed to protect people, not let them die like this!"

    With another scream, Joane lunged at Jennifer, pinning her to the frozen dirt. All the fitness regimes in the world wouldn't give Jennifer enough strength to force this distraught woman from her. Still, she was stubborn and resourceful. Rolling on the ground, she tipped the middle-aged mother this way and that, hoping the other's weight would act like a pendulum, slowly swinging out of control. Eventually, this mad attempt paid off. Joane lost balance and fell. Still sobbing, she leapt for another attack, but ended up going wide of her mark and falling again.

    Jennifer's back was badly bruised from the rough ground and every movement sent hot fire through her muscles. Ignoring the pain, she knelt down to help the seemingly less violent Mrs. Harvey. For her troubles she got an elbow to the face, breaking her nose. The sight of crimson snapped one of the dumbstruck onlookers out of their reverie and a young man rushed to Jennifer's aid. He jumped on Joane's back as she tried to stand up, sending her crashing into the dirt.

    "Rubidium!" Jennifer wiped the blood from her face and staggered toward the grappling pair. Even with a man holding her arms back and a very temperamental Growlithe bearing down on her, Joane was still fighting. Fighting and wailing. An ambulance disappeared into the distance. In all the hubbub, neither Jennifer nor Joane had noticed Lae was gone.

    Rubidium lowered his muzzle and snarled, his orange fur bristling along his back. Joane writhed and snarled back. Out of sight, Jennifer pulled something small and black from her belt. She waved for the young man to release Joane. He did so, albeit reluctantly. As quick as she could, Jennifer ran forwards and pressed the black box into Joane's side. There was a crackle of electricity and the older woman fell to the ground with a shriek.

    Fiona and another paramedic hauled Mrs. Harvey onto a stretcher. Now restrained and having been only slightly electrocuted, she seemed a lot calmer. Officer Jennifer slumped to the ground, blood gushing from her nose. Rubidium came to her and rested his head in her lap.

    "Oh Rubi, I never thought I'd have to use this." Slowly, she put the taser back in its pouch. Another ambulance was ready to take Mrs Harvey to the hospital, but it seemed to be delayed for some reason.

    "Officer Jennifer? We'll take you to the hospital." Fiona offered her hand, but Jennifer refused it. Standing was awkward, but still, she managed it. Unhooking a blue and teal ball from her belt, she recalled Rubidium in a flash of red light. Now ready, Jennifer followed the medic to the ambulance.
    #2 Tatile, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  3. Wow. What a crazed woman. You are right, chapter one is the attention-getter.

    Looks good, clean, but you could use some more detail in things. Specifically, what the boy, Lae, looks like. The mind can only imagine so much. But, I digress. I wanna see moar.
  4. To be honest, I haven't a clue what Lae looks like at the moment, I mean beyond the obvious. I'll throw the bucket back into the murky depths of my well and see what comes up (that or I could try drawing again).

    Thanks for the reply Chibi, I don't really like to use violence to grab the reader's attention, but the usual attention-getter isn't appropriate for this story (if you know what I mean). Also, Lae's mother is fully justified in going slightly crazy.
  5. This is really interesting. Don't get discouraged if you don't get any replies.

    I would like to see more of this. ^__^
  6. Author's Note: Xanthier said Interlewds might not be such a good idea, so the first section here is a normal Interlude. Also, as a side note, violet eyes are, I was surprised to find out, naturally possible in humans and her name really is Honey. Hopefully I'll get the title's namesakes back in soon-ish, but first, guess where the city's name came from!

    An Interlude — One week prior...

    "...legend has it that no more than four hundred years ago, a young noblewoman was making the journey from her city home to her summer resort in the countryside. The mountain passes were closed due to landslides, so her caravan was forced to follow a tiny road through the small village of Olmstead. It was late at night when they spied the village on the horizon. The moon was full and high in the sky, casting the surrounding fields in silver light. No one knows why Sophia woke up, but just as her carriage was going through a field of especially long grass, she threw herself out and ran to the woods. Some speculate it was a nightmare that drove her from her bed, though in truth it may have been a vision of her own horrific demise that drove her mad. Startled by their Lady's sudden departure, her escorts were slow to act. This hesitation may have cost Sophia her life, but saved theirs..."

    Professor King laid the papers on his desk. He'd barely gotten past the first page before the writer had, quite excitedly, burst through his office door. His bald scalp was itching as it always did when such enthusiasm was around him. Looking up caused his glasses to slide down his nose slightly. Sighing, he waved at the papers.

    "This is all very well and good Damien, you've managed to tell me a legend I've had recited to me since childhood. Everyone knows about Sophia's Forest and the young Lady's rather untimely demise. What, pray tell, does this have to do with your assignment? Surely you haven't forgotten it will digging through nursery rhymes." He was absolutely exasperated. Half of his first year students seemed to be little more than a collection of bored children dragged off the streets and put into classrooms. The only real bright spark was Damien Harvey, though this latest revelation may prove that the young man was just mad. King pushed his glasses back into place scrutinised his pupil.

    "Yes Professor," surprisingly, Damien did not seem the least bit perturbed by his teacher's ramblings "but I think I may have discovered the truth of the matter: who Sophia was, why she her carriage when she did and perhaps even the nature of the best which haunts the forest to this day!" His eyes sparkled like emeralds, just as they always did when he was enthralled by some new discovery. Professor King stared at him blankly.

    "You are truly mad," The old man surged from his seat and grasped Damien roughly round the shoulders, his silver hair almost golden in the winter sunlight "and that is what will make you a great Historian! You keep this slight bit of lunacy in you always and you will achieve great things. Why, you remind me of myself, hunting through musky libraries, clambering over towers of books — I almost died once — but never giving up! And look where I am today! A professor at a prestigious university, doing whatever research I want, when I want!" King's steel-blue eyes glinted with barely constrained pride and he punched out at the air.

    Getting over his initial shock, Damien nodded dumbly. The professor grinned, pushing his glasses back up his nose. With a playful shove, Damien was shown the door as King got back to his chair. "Now that I know what's gotten into you, I'll continue to read it."

    Once he was sure Damien was gone, King chuckled to himself. "Ah, it was a good thing I didn't burn this on sight."


    "Ah, crap. This is... do you think he'll live through this?" The assistant replaced the empty blood bag and shrugged. The lead surgeon sighed and returned to the patient. Now was not the time to questioning the boy's chances of survival. The wounds were truly horrific, the worst he'd ever seen. The left lung had collapsed, caused by a puncture that went straight through, not too far from the heart. The patient's back had been reduced to ribbons, strips of muscle hanging limply from bone. Already, part of the boy's intestinal tract had been removed. Sighing once again, Dr. Croxall knew this was going to be a very long night.

    Outside the theatre Officer Jennifer stretched, and then immediately regretted it. Her back was on fire and all her muscles were cramping. The swelling in her nose would supposedly go down in two weeks, for now though she had two black eyes and a lump in the middle of her face. Sitting slumped against the wall hadn't helped the situation any either. Resting her head in her hands, she wondered what happened to make life so hard. Soft footsteps approached, but Jennifer was too tired to care anymore.

    "Uh, Officer Jennifer?" A rather flouncy sleeve appeared, bearing a steaming cup of fresh coffee. Jennifer looked up, squinting in the harsh fluorescent light. The young man who had helped her with Mrs. Harvey was smiling down at her. Strangely, she smiled back; though he appeared genuinely happy to see her, there a hint of sadness in his eyes. "Here, you look like you could do with it," The coffee was very strong and very bitter, just the way she liked it. Jennifer forced herself not to get entranced by the man's shining green eyes and instead stared into her cup. The dark liquid steamed up, causing her to blush. The heat made realise how cold she really was. There was a faint rustle as the young man slid down next to her. "I want to apologise on behalf of my mother; she wasn't really coping," He sighed gently, but to Jennifer it sounded like a barely contained sob. "I'm Lae's brother, Damien, though I suppose you already knew that."

    Damien was silent for a long time. He hid his face in his hands and Jennifer knew he was trying not to cry. She was doing her damned best not to as well. Police are there for the people, we are impenetrable. She repeated this mantra to herself and slipped her arm around Damien. Unconsciously he leaned into the embrace. Content, Jennifer ruffled his long black and sipped her coffee. The theatre doors were still tightly shut and the hospital was eerily calm.

    The cellophane wrapper was terribly shiny. It seemed to reflect everything in the shop. Inside was not just a box of chocolates, but also an entire world, trapped behind a thin layer of plastic. A slight crinkle in the plastic distorted Jet's already unusual appearance. Half hidden behind his dirty blond bangs, his violet eye looked significantly larger than its blue sibling. For a long time he watched the little multicoloured world. Just as was about to lose himself to being the perversely proportioned deity of this world, two syrup brown arms wove around his waist. Jet leaned back slightly, almost knocking the girl to over.

    "Hello Honey," the girl laid her head between his shoulders. Slowly, the back of his shirt became damp. "Oh Honey, please don't cry, it's not that bad," Jet had never been very good at lying; his voice started to break and he held the young trainer's hands tightly. "He'll be ok, really."

    Honey spun the taller boy around, before burying her head in his chest. Quietly, she sobbed against him. For some reason, chocolate seemed sour now.
    #6 Tatile, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  7. Author's Note: This isn't ovely great, or long for that matter, but I felt like posting it. Small caps are a blessing and a curse. In reterospect, Professor King should have used more alliteration, but that's something for the future.
    Edit: Screw the small caps.


    "KEEP FIGHTING STYX; SOON THERE WILL BE NOTHING LEFT FOR YOU TO SAVE. THIS CHILD IS MINE BY RIGHT." Like stones grating across each other, Maw's voice rumbled along the forest floor. In the low shrubs at the outskirts of the forest, Styx let out a long keening wail. Caught by a non-existent wind her long purple sleeves fluttered about her. In the pale moonlight she looked every bit the ghost she was. Her centauries old enemy was becoming more vengeful by the day and she feared she could no longer keep him in check.

    After a short while a small shadow flitted across the field. Seemingly entranced, the Shuppet floated before the woman. All around her, the flowers seemed to dance as the wail became a low, sad song. As if responding to the haunting melody, leaves chimed like bells and the distant rustle of grass became softer. A thin shaft of moonlight, picked out only by the dust that shone within it, reached from the heavens and touched upon her companion. Now infused with a silver glow, the Shuppet took on a truly unearthly appearance. Though Styx's expression was hidden behind her mourning veil, it was easy to tell she was pleased.

    "You are now ‘Pleione', born of the night sky and the forest that dwells below," Her soft voice made the purple lace shimmer. "I have a task for you, little nymph, to go against the tyrant and go where he cannot," The Shuppet drifted on a slight breeze but quickly corrected itself. "Go to where the sky above turns to dusted dreams, to the place where it is always day. There is where the humans live. The one you seek has hair of sand, one eye of the day and the other of night. He must not know your intentions or your purpose."

    The last of her words drifting on the night breeze, Styx waved Pleione toward the city. As her newest daughter left, the ancient woman held out her arms and beseeched the stars. Her lament carried far and wide, its sorrow disturbing even those who could not hear it.
    #7 Tatile, Jan 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  8. Author's Note: No one knows what's coming next! Not even me. It's likely to be nothing, to be honest. I just want to work in Ann Summers or a nice office :(


    "Yeah, I finally managed to evolve Tonguie! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be," It was midsummer and Honey was showing off her latest Pokémon. She had been incredibly lucky and now a grey Hitmontop was spinning around Vaux Park's battle area. As always, Honey was absolutely breathtaking. The bright sunlight made her skin shine like fresh maple syrup. Dressed in almost neon pink jeans and a lemon yellow tank top, she looked more like a super model than a trainee Gym Leader. Giggling, she tossed her long ponytail back over her shoulder and jumped down from the wall. Lae barely noticed her landing, but Jet's flinching was quite obvious. "Oh come on boys, why don't we have a battle? I'm sure if you both team up you might have a chance of beating me." She was being playful, but in truth, neither of them had ever bested her in a fight.

    Lae got up and stretched. His body still ached from the parkour he'd been doing earlier, but the idea of teaming up with Jet was incredibly appealing. He grinned at the other boy.

    "What do you say Jet, think we can win?"

    Dizzy shot out of his Pokéball like a lightning bolt, quite appropriate for a Jolteon. Static ran up and down the canine's back, making him glow softly. He growled at the opposing Pokémon and sent sparks shooting across the ground. Just to Lae's right, there was a hiss of escaping gas and Halogen floated up. The Ghastly blew a giant raspberry at the Hitmontop before grinning. Lae nodded and smiled at Jet, he was an avid Ghost type trainer and, despite having never beaten Honey, had two of the strongest Ghost types in the city. Jet smiled back, his eyes sparkling with mischief.

    "You two are going down, I've beaten Dizzy and Halogen so many times before." Honey laughed and Tonguie started spinning furiously. Lae just smirked and sent Dizzy in for the first strike. The Jolteon hurtled forward, becoming little more than a yellow blur. There was a burst of light as he struck his opponent and the Hitmontop crashed to the ground, unable to move. Seizing the opportunity, Halogen swept in and vomited forth a small cloud of deep purple smoke. The cloud swirled into itself, forming a gaseous ball with a glowing centre. Honey didn't seem the least bit worried as the ball headed toward Tonguie.

    Dizzy skirted the edge of the battle field and rounded for another pass. Showers of sparks fell from his jaws as he prepared to clamp down on his immobile opponent. Something cold landed on Lae's cheek, but just as he noticed, the sensation was gone. Shrugging it off, he turned back just in time to see Tonguie kicking against the ground, causing the cement to split. Great fissures opened in the floor and Dizzy was thrown backwards. His speed almost doubled from being thrown, the Jolteon was knocked out the instant he landed. Finally, the sphere of purple smoke struck Tonguie in the side of the head, though any damage caused was negligible.

    There was another cold sensation, this time on Lae's right arm. Looking down he saw a perfect snowflake resting on his skin, it showed no signs of beginning to melt. Only now did he realise that the sky above had turned a dirty grey, but still the sunlight was strong. In the flowerbeds just beyond the battle area daffodils sprouted next to daises. Snowdrifts blew in, burying the short summer flowers. By himself, even though he was still unconscious, Dizzy returned to his ball. Jet and Honey paid no heed to the snow, despite the noticeable temperature drop. Lae shivered. Carefree, the other two continued their battle.

    Halogen swept round for another attack, lilac light shining in a halo about him. Tonguie went on the offensive, balling energy around his right fist. Jet chuckled and turned to Lae. "You know, we should really get some more Pokémon," There was a brilliant flash of violet and Tonguie was thrown backwards by the psychic blast. "Dizzy doesn't do too well against ground attacks." Still amused by his seemingly easy victory Jet sent Halogen in for the final attack. Lae heard himself laugh.

    "Yeah, but I don't like most of the other types." Suddenly, the true horror of what was happening dawned. This fight and the park in summer were nothing but a memory; all of it had taken place over eight months before. The light snowfall became fiercer, the blizzard erasing everything about him, leaving naught but a flat plain of snow. Crying, he held back screams of terror as his friends were swallowed by the white blanket. The last thing he saw was Jet's smile. Then the memory was gone.


    Joane Harvey brushed the stray black strands from her son's forehead. She was beyond crying now. Patiently she sat at his bedside, waiting. For a while it had seemed as if he had been dreaming, what the doctors called REM sleep, but now he was utterly still. Joane hadn't seen Officer Jennifer since Lae was found, which was now four days ago. Secretly, she was glad. At the moment Joane couldn't stand to be given a parenting lecture or fake comfort. All she wanted was for her son to wake up.

    Early yesterday morning, Will, her husband and Lae's father, had been woken by muffled whimpering. When he looked outside, he had found Dizzy unconscious on their front porch. The Jolteon was beaten and badly bruised. It was obvious that the poor thing had been carried to their house, but by whom?

    Joane started as the door was slid open. She had been so deep in thought that even that slight noise was startling.

    "Good morning Mrs Harvey!" Surgeon Croxall was unnaturally cheery, but then it seemed all the hospital staff were. "How are we doing this fine Tuesday morn? I just wanted to check in on the little guy," Seeing the look Joane was giving him, his forehead ever so slightly creased into a frown. Pinching the trousers of his cobalt scrubs, he bent over the bed. His hair was held back in a brightly coloured cap, so as to keep his patients safe. Joane greatly disapproved of this jovial display, in her mind doctors were to be restrained and plain; lime green tartan was neither. Gently, Croxall lifted Lae's right eyelid. His mottled green eyes were dull and glassy, unable to focus. He sighed. "Still out I see. What did he score on the GCS, a 7.3?"

    Joane glared at Croxall. Even though he had saved her son's life, she blamed him for not doing more. To her, it was Croxall's fault that Lae wouldn't wake up, it was his fault that Lae was on a respirator and it was his fault that Lae couldn't walk. That man should not be so happy about having put her son in this bed. She glared at the surgeon.

    "Yes," Her voice was curt and sour; the near malice caused Croxall to take a step back. "I was told Lae would not wake for some time," Joane's face flushed with anger as she remembered what the nurses had told her. Nobody cared about her son; he was just another statistic here. Croxall had moved closer to the door. It didn't matter though, if he was so cowardly as not to stay in the same room as one of patients, Joane didn't want him here. "His injuries were quite severe and he needs his rest."

    "A nurse should be along soon to run some tests on Lae." Croxall left, no longer able to stand Joane's accusing tone and looks. With a small rush of air, the door closed, leaving Joane and her son alone. Apart from the soft beeping of monitors and the gentle hush of the respirator, the room was silent. Despite everything, she started to cry again. No one is ever truly beyond tears it seems.

    Joane spent much of the day by Lae's side. She saw it as her duty as his mother to take the time from work to be with him; the bakery would survive. At around roughly half twelve Honey and Jet dropped in. Honey was as energetic as usual; Joane appreciated this as much as she appreciated the hospital staff being cheery. Did no one feel any pain? Well, perhaps Jet did. Far more restrained than his friend, Jet had forgone his usual light coloured clothing. Instead he wore a charcoal-grey t-shirt, which sported a rather odd violet swirl pattern over the left shoulder. He kept his hands balled up in his sleeves and refused to meet Joane's eye.

    "Morning Mrs Harvey," Honey smiled and totted up to the bed. She often got the time of day wrong when greeting people, perhaps it had something to do with the weather. Honey was far more of a summer child. To spite the cold temperatures, she was wearing electric blue skinny jeans and a deep purple knit jacket. Dark colours certainly were not for her. Her signature scarf, an exceptionally beautiful and exotic piece, was wrapped around her head. The layers of paprika-orange protected her from the cold. Gold shimmered and danced in the patterns as she took the scarf off. "We just wanted to see Lae, thought he might appreciate the company." Honey never was very tactful. Joane had to fight rather hard not to glare at the girl.

    Joane smiled sweetly at the pair. Being Lae's best friends they had every right to visit him, but she was loath to leave her son. Still, perhaps Lae would prefer to spend time with his friends. She felt a pang of sadness. Lae was in a coma, she remembered, he couldn't know who was there and who wasn't. She hoped, though, that maybe she was helping him, by being there.

    "Mrs. Harvey, are you alright?" Jet was looking at her, concern all over his face. She smiled ever the more sweetly at him and nodded. She worried about those eyes of his, old stories always told of how different coloured eyes attracted disaster. It was said that Sophia had different coloured eyes. Violet eyes were certainly not natural. "Oh, right," Jet sounded unconvinced, but dropped the subject. "Maybe you should get some lunch, you look a little hungry."

    He had an affinity for Ghost types as well, that was unnatural, and it had to do with his odd eyes, Joane reasoned. Keeping her thoughts to herself, she leaned in and gave the young man a hug. "Thank you for being so concerned," She gave an equally awkward hug to Honey. "You two look after Lae. I'll be back in a while... I heard the restaurant does good soup."

    Jet sat at the bed's side, in the same seat as Mrs. Harvey had been in. The cushion was still warm, a disturbing sensation at the best of times. Lightly, he picked up Lae's left hand. There was a drip attached here, lifting the pale - almost porcelain - skin. Lae had always been pale, taking after his older brother, but he had never seemed so fragile. The drip attachment made holding his hand slightly difficult, Jet didn't want to hurt his friend, but he managed it. Honey pulled up another chair, setting it beside Jet. After hanging her scarf and jacket over the back, she started to rummage around in her excessively large bag. After a good half minute of searching, she found her prize: a decent sized plush toy Jolteon, complete with a blue collar and a nametag reading ‘Dizzy'. Had this been any other time, Jet would have marvelled at how anything that large could have gotten lost in a bag, but at the moment he was too worried about Lae to notice.

    Honey looked around. There was nowhere she could put the plush Dizzy, not really. The windowsill opposite the foot of the bed was depressingly empty. Briefly, she put the toy there, but instead of bringing cheer liked she'd hoped it only made the sill more forlorn. Feeling annoyed and bit desperate, she placed the little Jolteon at Lae's feet. This Jet noticed.

    "You know, when Lae stays over at mine, that's where Dizzy sleeps when we let him out. He's a good puppy." He sounded so sad, Honey mused. Jet was quiet usually but not so withdrawn. She sat down and put an arm around his shoulders. Though it was a small comfort, it worked well enough. In the stillness of the hospital room they confided in each other, though each felt liked they'd betrayed Lae, as he couldn't be in their conversation or secrets.
    #8 Tatile, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  9. Awww, that's so sad! ;_; Even though not much happened, I think this is a pretty neat chapter. I just have a liking for these sort of moods.

    And a Ghastly named Halogen is win.
  10. *falls out of chair* People are still reading?

    I'm glad the chapter made you sad, that's means I'm doing a good job at getting the story across. I'm hoping the pace will pick up in a bit, but there's only so much you can do with one guy in a coma and the very earth itself being possessed by a malign spirit. Or is it?
  11. Author's Note: FFS, Pokemon battle next, if I can get through the damnable critters faster. Now, I didn't realise this when I named them, but it seems like Honey and Flora were named after stuff I've found in my kitchen. Well, at least Shiva makes an appearance next (yeah, I'm throwing some real world stuff in, but the Pokeworld doesn't seem to have much in the way of non-Pokemythology).


    "Your madness knows no bounds. No, surely it wouldn't otherwise it wouldn't be, would it?"

    Damien stared at his professor, not quite following anything the man was saying. He was in a ‘riddle rut', which made him especially difficult to understand. As usual they were talking in Professor King's office, winter sunlight streaming in through the windows, turning everything a strange array of yellows and oranges. Perhaps Damien really was mad, but this time had good reason for it. His research project had raised many interesting, and sometimes disturbing, questions. With his little brother lying in hospital, put there by source of many of these questions, the answers should help him. Searching for the answers though was suicide. An old friend once said, ‘those sure of themselves do not fear their deaths, they merely try to avoid being the cause'; sadly, Damien felt that there was no other way. His research could not be conducted indoors, where it was safe.

    "Will you help me?" Though Professor King might be an old scholar, his connection and almost obsessive drive for knowledge made him the best person to ask. Perhaps, Damien hoped, with help he might avoid an early grave. King stayed silent for a long while, gazing out of the window at the courtyard below. Abruptly, he stood up and threw the window open so hard the frame cracked against itself. He lent so far out of the window Damien thought he would fall.

    "Professor Cornwall! Professor Patricia Cornwell!" King waved his arms at a woman walking across the courtyard, headed toward the science labs of the University. This time he did almost fall. Damien only just grabbed the old man's waist, preventing his tutor from intimately meeting with the koi in the pond two floors below. Thankfully it appeared that Professor Cornwell had heard the old man's rabid cries and was now making her way to the Secondary Library, opposite the science labs.

    Professor King's office had long resided over the Secondary Library, a smaller and more concise version of the Main Library, much to the displeasure of the librarians. This was not for his want of books (no he always returned them on time) it was for the fact that he posed a great threat to their decorative pond. The pond had been in place almost as long as the University, a good hundred and fifty years, and only recently had it come under inexplicable attack from the latest resident. After having moved into the building just over three years ago, Professor King displayed to all why he had gotten kicked out of his last office. With it being spring at the time, there was reason for spring cleaning. There was not, however in the eyes of the librarians and students, reason for the torn remains of failed exam papers littering the courtyard and pond. His annual rooftop visits did give good reason for the University to get a troupe of litter-clearing Scyther, however.

    Now content, King sank back into his chair. Taking up the twin, a thick set mahogany beast, complete with worn arms and faded green leather cushion, Damien wondered at his teacher. Truly they were as mad as each other. The silence lasted only a minute or so, broken by the door creaking open. Behind the old wooden door came a woman with proud silver hair. Professor Cornwell, the University's own Poké-biologist, never thought of herself as old, only mature, like a fine wine. Dressed in a sharply tailored skirt suit of dark navy, she was almost the complete opposite of Professor King. Her shirt was crisply ironed and spotlessly white, compared to the crumpled and strangely strained grey one King was wearing. Indeed, beside the biologist, he looked practically like a street bum, or an art student, Damien mused.

    "Stephen, I see you are as insane as ever," Cornwell strode into the room, looking both slightly miffed and amused. King stood up to greet her, his faded jeans rising up to reveal colourfully miss-matched socks. "Is there any particular reason you called me up here or did you misplace your tea again?"

    King smiled in such a goofy way it made Damien cringe. "My, my. Ms. Cornwell, how long have you known me?" He twirled his hands theatrically, as if playing with the orange light. Cornwell simply sighed and rested her briefcase by the door. It was the perfect match for her, sleek and spotless black leather with a simple silver buckle, which glowed softly in the light. She did not seem overly impressed with the old man's display. "I'd only call you up to my humble abode if it were important and believe me, it is. Yes, we all know the story of Sophia, but what of the actualities of it?" Cornwell hung her head in her hands at this; obviously she'd heard it all before.

    "Oh dear, bright and intelligent Damien, do not tell me this foolish old man has talked you into this pointless wild goose chase?" Cornwell's voice was a strange mixture of despair and mirth. Dumbfounded at this, Damien shook his head. With as much dignity as a five-year-old, the silver haired women threw her hands in the air and stomped once on the floor. Her navy court shoe looked like it was about to snap off at the heel. "Why are all the men in my life insufferable?" She raged at the peeling ceiling. She stood there for a while, arms raised to beseech the ceiling spirits. King was just humming happily to himself, as if this happened every day, but Damien just felt uncomfortable. After a bit, Cornwell settled down and smoothed out the wrinkles in her suit. She sounded tired when she spoke again, directing herself at neither, but speaking to both. "So, what exactly is it that you to wish to investigate?"

    King winked mischievously and gestured to an untidy pile of papers on his desk. The mess of text and imagery was Damien's research paper, or what was left of it after the Professor had looked through it. With great care, Patricia picked her way through the scattered piles of books to the desk. Gingerly she avoided a cracked and stained tea mug and picked up one the sheets. Skimming over it, she nodded and put the sheet back down. Some old tea leaked onto the papers, making them soggy. Patricia slapped Stephen hard across the face.

    "I will speak with Miss Suthar about this. If you two do anything about this in the meantime, so heaven help you I will see to it personally you end up in hospital!" With that, Professor Cornwell stormed from the room, knocking over a pile of books on the historical significance of agriculture and religion. King rubbed his smarting cheek.

    "I think she likes me."


    The Pokéball was oddly coloured. The purple lacquer which coated the bottom half was so dark barely any light reflected off. The top half looked like it belonged to a different ball completely, being almost a metallic lilac. Jet stared at it. The ball rested snugly between his textbooks and magazines. It hadn't been there the night before, or when he'd left for the hospital, but Pokéballs didn't just appear from nowhere. Perhaps his mum knew something about it. The ball was warm to the touch, which disturbed Jet even more. Quickly he stuffed it in his pocket and bolted out of the room. He could swear someone was watching him.


    "...and that is the situation as it stands, Miss Suthar." Professor Cornwell had retreated to her own office, a spotless miniature laboratory with its own aquarium and coffee machine. She had phoned Miss Flora Suthar, the city's current Gym Leader, as soon as she had gotten in. Aside from the slight hiss on the line, there was silence. Miss Suthar must be taking time to think over all this information, Cornwell figured. It was a lot to take in, that was for sure. Miss Suthar, however, was the best for this. She had far more experience dealing with these sorts of situations than the police force, having had to lead a rescue expedition during her rather brief stay in Sinnoh. In all honesty, though Officer Jennifer was far more competent than her cousins, her fellow officers were most likely to go in all thumbs and no fingers, leading to more danger than Miss Suthar would ever allow.

    "Let me get this straight, you want me to help you and your rather insane co-worker to find my sister's best-friend's would-be killer?" Flora's exotic accent was far less melodious than usual, making her sound tired and worn. She knew that it was Damien's idea and that he would fight to be a part of this, but, for some reason, she seemed to want to leave him as far out of this as possible. Cornwell noticed that the Gym Leader's breathing had grown quieter; she'd moved from the phone to think. Apparently, she needed more time. "This is not an easy task, Professor Cornwell; the forest itself is fraught with dangers, even without the Beast. Not to mention, the only information we have is speculative at best. I will need to talk with my better trainers, to see if we can do anything. Thank you for calling and have a better day."

    With that the phone line went dead. Pouring herself a very strong cup of coffee, Cornwell wondered if she'd done the right thing.
    #11 Tatile, Jan 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  12. Author's Note: While this may not be entirely accurate, I don't have the Pokemon anime on tap. Feel free to ask about anything though.


    Flora Suthar did not like this challenger. This was mostly for the fact that he'd challenged her just the day before, interrupting her whilst she was grocery shopping. At first, the boy hadn't recognised her, for which she had been very pleased. It was only through the efforts of his walking, talking tourist's book that the condiment-surnamed boy had seen her. The only reason she had expected his challenge was because she was duty bound to. Oh how she longed for the days of when her father was Gym Leader, when if a trainer so much as looked at you wrong they'd be scrubbing the floors in penance. Back then was before the formalisation of Gyms though and such things weren't allowed now-a-days. So here she was, standing on her podium, a great statue of Shiva behind her (she had chosen it herself when taking over the Gym, it seemed fitting to go with her nickname ‘Destroyer'), wondering how quickly she could defeat the little annoyance so she could get back to more important matters. Karas, her little non-fighting Shedinja, floated calmly beside her. He was a good Pokémon, well aware of her mood and trying to calm her. The Challenger, as they were known now, was one the other side of the hall discussing battle strategies with his two friends. Her father used to call such people ‘little pricks'. Teamwork was essential in the Suthar family's training, but letting people know what you were planning was quite a weak point.

    Simon fluttered down from the eaves of the Gym and sat on Shiva's raised knee. Simon was a good little bird Pokémon and related the Challenger's battle plan to her. It was quite an obvious one really. Flora was known throughout the region for using Normal-type Pokémon for her battles, so the Challenger was naturally relying on a Fighting-type attack to defeat her. Stupidly, the boy only had one with him. This would be easy, Flora smiled.

    Adjusting her sari shawl so that it sat better on her curvaceous figure, she called down to the Challenger: "Are you quite done yet? We haven't all day." Her voice carried easily through the large Gym and in the spectator rows her students chuckled. Flora was one of the toughest Gym Leaders around, not least for the fact that she constantly updated and switched her team around. In fact, Karas was the only Pokémon that was always at a Gym battle, though he never fought. The young dark haired boy spun around to face her, his face flushed bright red. Instead of yelling at her, as many of the more recent Challengers were wont to do, he sent forth his first Pokémon, the Pikachu that had been sitting on his head. The little yellow mouse was just as confident as its trainer, taking a space near the centre of the battle pitch. Flora was faintly amused by this show of bravado and picked a black and white Pokéball from her shawl. She threw it at the centre of the pitch. At the top of the arc, the ball cracked open and a beam of brilliant white light shot from within. Now, just a few feet opposite the little electric rodent floated a most beautiful and majestic creature. Its wings were shaped almost like clouds and its downy feathers were the colour of day-old snow. Her Togekiss, Kail, had been trained well and he remained absolutely still, staring down his opponent.

    The Challenger was noticeably taken aback, but then he started to reach into his pocket. He was obviously reaching for his Pokédex. Now Flora was really annoyed.

    "If you don't know about your opponent's Pokémon just by looking at them, then you have no right to be in my Gym. Either you put that little gadget away or you leave." Even though she couldn't reject his challenge, she could damn well enforce her own rules. Sheepishly, the boy put the offending red device away. She really should have learned his name, Flora realised.

    With that all settled the battle started. The Pikachu, imaginatively named ‘Pikachu', was surprisingly strong and gave a good fight against Kail. Racing across the arena, the yellow streak delivered a powerful electrically charged tackle into Kail's blindside. This left the bird winded, but he was determined not to let Flora down. Almost like a thank you present, Kail soured toward the roof, before dive-bombing straight at the now tiny seeming yellow ball. The air whistled over his wings just before the attack hit, serving to disorient the Pikachu. Failing to dodge in time, the mouse was launched into the far wall, just above the arena room's door. Before Flora and Kail were satisfied to see that it did not get up.

    One of the boy's friends, a young girl who was trying hard to be a trainer (and failing) ran over to the unconscious Pokémon. Picking it up, she started to give an impassioned speech about how Gym Leaders were supposed to be kind and helpful or some such nonsense. Flora was simply not in the mood and ignored the girl completely.

    "Well now, that was interesting. Let's see what else you have to show for yourself." The boy was furious now, having forgotten how gym battles worked, it seemed. He lobbed his second Pokéball, a simple red and white affair, at the pitch; out flew a very startled brown monkey. This, unsurprisingly, had not been named either and simply answered to ‘Ambipom'. The monkey performed a perfect front-flip twirl toward Kail. In mid-air, it arched its back and spread its twin tails out, intending to strike the Togekiss twice across the face. At the last second Kail ducked out of the way, sending the Ambipom and its arse-hands (as Honey had once called them, having read it on the internet somewhere) sprawling.

    Kail was an exceptional battler that was for sure. In the brief moment where his opponent was recovering, he went in for the attack. A wave of crackling static flowed from his wings, hitting the purple monkey and causing all its muscles to spasm. With his Pokémon now disabled, the Challenger could only watch and shout fruitless orders as the cloud fighter swept low across the ground. The whistling started up again only this time the pitch was different. Just before hitting the monkey, Kail pulled up, his back draft rolling the paralyzed creature onto its back. From just a metre above the floor Kail threw a ball of crackling energy with all his might down at the little monkey. Cruel as it may seem, his method of misdirection was very efficient. Unaware trainers always told their critters to roll to either side to avoid a full-on physical attack, which left them vulnerable to any attack from above.

    The attack was not enough to knock out its victim, not yet anyway. The Ambipom staggered to its feet, badly damaged but still willing to fight. Building up what little energy still remained, the monkey bounced off of its tails, going once more into the air. Put of sheer curiosity, Kail stayed still. Flora let him do this; Kail was a sturdy Pokémon who could hold his own in a fight.

    Ambipom curled fragments of energy around its fist and aimed a powerful punch straight at Kail's head. Overly mischievous as always, he ducked away at the last moment and his opponent face-planted the floor. Now very much enraged at being embarrassed in battle, the Ambipom became a tad reckless. Though it began to move faster, much faster than before, all of its attacks were clumsy and easily dodged. Interestingly it took only a few orders, albeit hasty ones, for the condiment-trainer to get the Ambipom back under control. This was just in time as well as the angry (and now almost pink) monkey nearly took a devastating Aura Sphere in the stomach. As it was the dirt floor was ripped up, sending up great clouds of dust and pebbles.

    The challenger remarked something about how Kail was ‘impressively strong' and how nice it would be to beat it and ‘continue his journey'. This was pleasantly met with the sound of the Ambipom fainting from sheer exhaustion. Flora couldn't help but laugh at this. She'd taken out two of his Pokémon already, without even introducing the rest of her team. Sārű's Pokéball twitched; the young rabbit was getting anxious for battle. She patted the ball at her hip.

    "In time, Sārű, all things come with time," It was then that Flora came to her decision. Tomorrow would be the best day to straighten out all the kinks and to get everyone sorted; perhaps then the day after they could be off. Yes, that would be best. Flora looked over to the stands where her trainers were watching with interest. She motioned for one of them, a young girl with short brown hair and pink highlights, to come over. The girl did so, but with understandable reluctance. Turning back to the Challenger, Flora took a deep breath. "Now then, let us have a brief break. I just need to have a word with dear... Sasha," She really was bad with names today, "here. I trust you have no objections?" Without even waiting for an answer, she focused back on the young girl. Lowering her voice so that no one could hear, Flora started to outlay her instructions. "Sasha go into the hall outside and phone Professor Cornwell at the University. Tell her, and make sure that you remember this well, that ‘tomorrow is fine for a meeting, here at the Gym, first thing' tell her to bring the other two she mentioned in the earlier phone call. She will know what you're talking about, got it?" Sasha nodded quickly; very enthusiastic to be involved even though she didn't quite understand it all. Just as she was about to leave the podium, Flora stopped her again. "Oh Sasha, you wouldn't happen to know that annoying kid's name, would you?"

    She looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. Stammering, she piped out three simple words. "A-ash Ket-tchum... ma'am."

    Satisfied, Flora let her leave. Ah, yes, the little burnt condiment would be going down quite quickly.


    Honey threw her arms around the tall boy's neck and dragged him into an uncomfortable hug. She and Jet were sat on his couch, fretting over the mysterious Pokéball and various other things. Admittedly the day could have gone better. Honey's older sister Flora was in a particularly sadistic mood after having beaten down the latest Challenger with just Kail, her Togekiss and Sārű, her Lopunny. Jet had phoned her about that time, panicking about the magically appearing Pokéball which he couldn't seem to lose. Naturally, this had been the perfect excuse to avoid a harsh training session with her sister or her awful butchering of onion bhajis. Jet was pulled even further down and ended up with his head resting in Honey's lap, but the rest of him sprawled over the couch.

    "Have you tried opening it?" The ball's colours seemed oddly familiar, but Honey couldn't quite place them. Jet gave a half-hearted sigh and waved vaguely at the object, now sitting on the coffee table rather than in the still-locked box it had been in five minutes ago.

    "To be honest, I'm afraid of what's going to come out. I threw into next door's pond and somehow it was waiting for me in the mug cupboard. There's something seriously wrong with that ball and whatever's inside it." He looked up to see what Honey though, put her face was partially obscured by her now very obvious figure. Jet wondered how jealous Lae would be of this situation. From just over the curve of her ‘assets', he could make out a hint of incredibly dangerous curiosity. The glint in her beautiful brown eyes told him that there was nothing he could say to stop her.

    She stood up. Jet was unceremoniously dumped on the floor, hurriedly brushing stray blond hair from his eyes. Looking up he noticed it was far too late. Honey had the Pokéball in her right hand, her arm stretched out to release whatever was inside. In despair he watched as a deep purple shadow leaked out of the ball, dripping like treacle onto the carpet. The treacle pooled and bubbled. A cloud of smoke rose up, forcing Honey back several steps. The pair could only watch on in horror as a shape emerged from the smoke, a ghostly light shining from within.

    #12 Tatile, Jan 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  13. Teapot

    Teapot Virtual Duck Enthusiast
    Staff Member Administrator

    Well, you already know what I think of this - it's shaping up to be quite good so far, and now I've read all of it, the various strands are beginning to come together and make sense. Nice work! ^^
  14. Author's Note: This is all I feel like posting at the moment, hope you don't mind overly much.


    The arm slung across his waist pulled him closer and warm breath tickled his neck. Lae felt warmer than he ever had before. All around the bed were rolling fields of snow. Despite the frozen surroundings he felt not even the slightest chill. Smiling he entwined his fingers with those that were stroking his stomach. The person laughed softly and kissed the back of his neck. He still couldn't place who it was. The closer Lae got to grasping a memory, the further it slipped away. Soon though he began not to about the loss and simply enjoyed the comfy with bed with its strange, but safe, person.

    On the horizon the snow met with a dirty, clouded sky. The clouds were a mess of dark grey and spotless white. Lae rolled onto his back, following the curve of the heavens. A quick glance to his right let him see a tangle of short blond hair, hiding the features of his companion. As he watched the calm drift of the clouds became faster. Slow at first, they quickly picked up speed, tumbling across the sky. The colours became darker, now a mix of black and charcoal. Pangs of fear pierced Lae's heart. He felt his world coming under threat. He was terrified.

    On nothing more than childish instinct Lae threw the covers over his head and huddled closer to his bed mate. Screwing his eyes shut, he wished for the storm to subside, that the encroaching darkness would falter. Some small part of him knew, against all hope, that the creature wouldn't stop coming for him. A fierce wind blew up, howling and clawing at the sheets. The blond embraced Lae, holding him tight. Though his fears were not dampened, he felt a little calmer.

    A deep, throaty rumble shook the bed and fields alike. It took Lae a while to realise this noise was laughter. There was a brief flash of memory then, a horrific vision of a gaping maw made of sod and roots. Tears rolled down his cheeks, soaking into his shared pillow. The blond kissed his forehead and tenderly stroked his back. He couldn't be calm now though, he knew he was going to die.
    #14 Tatile, Jan 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  15. Author's Note: Probably not my favourite chapter, but that's life. Soon though, soon...

    Winter mornings were always cold, but this one especially so. The sky was a mangled grey that threatened rain, bringing with it a faint feel of despair and misery. The past week had been perfect winter weather; there had been no clouds, just crisp and clear sunshine. The pavements today were slick with the early damp, reflecting meagrely the light from street lamps. Damien had started his trudge to Olmstead's Gym a quarter of an hour earlier and now the mist had reduced his hair to a messed, cloying mass of black. His short jacket was equally dishevelled, but there was the saving grace that Jet was just as badly affected by the weather. The younger boy's hoodie was a much darker blue than it should have been and water was dripping into his multi-coloured eyes. He looked every bit as miserable as the morning. Jet did like light clothing, even if it did have problems with local weather. The hoodie's green cyber glinted in the vague grey light, countering his otherwise dull appearance. The pair had met just at the top of Tandoori Lane and was now going done Korma Street. The Gym was at the end of the street, just on the corner with it and the main high street. Damien had long ago given up wondering why some of the streets were named after curry dishes.

    Though it was still quite early the Gym was open and Honey Suthar was standing outside. She was wrapped up in a brightly coloured cloak, covered in paisley and golden thread. She looked like a kidnapped princess, forlornly awaiting rescue. Except, if anyone got to know Honey, they'd know she was far from a damsel in distress. Even through the mist that was picking up to be heavy drizzle, Damien could see she was smiling. Honey was beautiful enough to make his heart skip; she was more lithe and athletic than her older sister Flora but still retained some of her Indian physique. Her bangles jingled as she waved her arms around.

    "Jet, Damien! I'm so glad you could come!" Running up to them, she looked totally out of place in the murky streets. "Professors King and Cornwell are already inside. Flora's getting a bit impatient waiting for you two."

    This came as no surprise to Damien. He had been to school with Flora and in the time he had known her before she became a Gym Leader, she had had a reputation for being short-tempered. Argumentative as well, if he remembered correctly, Flora had once gotten into an argument with a teacher for not setting a hard enough test. It hadn't ‘lived up to her standards'.

    "Is she still as fiery as I remember?" Damien had never feared Flora, unlike many others in their school. Honey merely laughed and led them into the Gym. The smell of food and spices was heavy in the air as they entered the main corridor. The walls were covered in cotton curtains and for the first time, Honey almost blended into the background. She walked to the end of the hall and waited for them in front of a large mural, showing deities Damien didn't recognise. Jet shrugged off his sodden hoodie. Seemingly from nowhere a student trainer of the Gym appeared to take it. The brunette extended her hand to Damien and he gingerly peeled off his jacket. Water had started to pool on the floor. Magically, another student came out with a mop. While the pink-highlighted girl dealt with the wet clothes and yet more students came out of the woodwork to attend to the growing tracks of dirt on the hard wood floor, Jet and Damien slipped behind a drawn curtain. Honey followed after them, returning the curtain to its place and trying it down. The bells at the end of the cord tinkled gently, but it was enough to make Flora's head snap round. She glared at the pair.

    "Well, it certainly took you long enough," There were no chairs to speak of in the meeting room, just a lot of rugs and cushions. Flora Suthar was reclining on a large pile of cushions, set up against a low book shelf that ran along the wall. Dressed in deep blues and purples with a golden snake torque around her neck, she looked a bit like the tyrannical empresses Damien was found of reading about. "Sit down; we've been waiting for you."

    Honey brushed past them, draping her moistened cloak onto the end of the book shelf, and sat down next to Flora. Professors King and Cornwell were sitting just to one side of Flora, opposite the door which Jet and Damien had entered through. Maps and diagrams were laid on the mats between them, detailing the forest and what they expected to encounter. Damien felt a lump form in his throat. If his theories were correct...

    "Ah! Damien it's good to see you. Come, sit down." Professor King was as enthusiastic as ever, practically bouncing in his seat. Karas drifted over from where it had been resting with Flora, to show the two to their seats. Immediately Damien started to rifle through the pile of papers that appeared to be mythology notes. The scholars started to talk on all things, ranging from the purpose of Pokémon in cultural development to the weather.

    Jet plonked himself down near Honey, keeping his hands in his jeans pockets. He looked rather uncomfortable. He wasn't such a great trainer and had no experience with adventuring. Even being best friends with Lae and Honey, he wasn't much like them at all. He sat there brooding, feeling the strange Pokéball in his pocket getting warmer. The meeting carried on well without him and after a while he stopped paying attention. It was only a warm sticky feeling in his jeans that snapped him out his reverie. With a yelp he jumped into the air. Everyone was looking at him. He had just interrupted Professor Cornwell's very important point about the dangerous nature of feral Ghost-types, something Jet was becoming very familiar with very quickly.

    Like some grotesque ball of living lint, the treacle oozed out onto the floor. Jet almost had a heart attack at the thought of the black substance staining the rugs and cushions. Surprisingly, no one seemed the least bit concerned.

    "Flora, this is Pleione," Honey said in a very calm voice, as if there wasn't a hideous misshapen lump forming next to her. "I told you about her last night." She sounded positively cheery now. Jet felt sick. His palms were sweating and he was getting light-headed. Suddenly he was more worried about what else Honey had spoken to her sister about than the Pokémon that had shoe-horned its way into his life.

    "Oh it's fascinating," Now fully present, the Shuppet floated up to Jet's face, to nuzzle his cheek. Unfortunately, some of the left over residue of its exit got stuck to his face, leaving behind metallic-violet gloop traces. The Shuppet ignored Professor Cornwell as she reached out to touch it. "Where did you find this? I've never seen a Shuppet with this sort of colouring."

    Jet tried to talk, but his voice was paralyzed from fear. Pleione, on the other hand, was full of curiosity. Having finished smearing Jet in what Cornwell called ‘ectoplasmic residue', she flitted around the room. Flora was not impressed.

    "Jet, recall that thing before I do it myself." Without actually waiting for a reply, she sent Karas after the dancing ghost. Pleione happily avoided the shell insect and soon the two were having a game of chase. Deciding it best to ignore them, Flora gestured for Professor Cornwell to continue. By now the violet treacle had evaporated, which calmed Jet down a bit.

    "Ah, yes, now where was I?" Cornwell cleared her throat and picked up a random sheet of paper. "Oh right," Apparently it was the right one, but really, all the papers looked the same. "If this is, as we suspect, a Ghost-Grass Type Pokémon who has been in existence for at least four centuries, as the legend of Sophia and Damien's research would indicate, we are likely to be dealing with a quite powerful being. Now I'm not going to go into the full details of Type versus Type combat, as I'm sure you are all aware of this, so let us get straight to the point. It is possible that what we are dealing with is a fabled "Legendary" type Pokémon," Flora groaned inwardly at this. Talk of Legendaries only led to trouble. "Also, there may be another unknown species of Pokémon in the forest, though I doubt that we will encounter this if it does exist. Of course there are other dangers to be had in the Forest and we will be well prepared to deal with this given that we follow Flora Suthar's instructions to the letter."

    Flora nodded regally. She was quite deft at planning such expeditions as this and her experiences in Sinnoh meant she could lead even the most motley of teams. Student trainers had a knack for hiding in this Gym, three of them appearing from behind the curtains and kneeling at the foot of mats-cum-table. One was obviously an old hand, a tough twenty-something woman commonly known as ‘Hot Ice'. She was a speciality Dragon-Type user who had accompanied Flora to Sinnoh. Hot Ice's red hair was pale blue at the tips; it was obviously dyed though the colours went together perfectly. The other two were the young trainers that had attended to the corridor.

    "Hot Ice; tell me, why you have brought these children into our midst?" Flora sounded slightly amused but still a sense of unease spread through the gathered crowd; well, into everyone but Hot Ice, who smiled cheekily at the Gym Leader. The scar running from the top of her left lip to her eye pulled the smile into a half-sneer. She nodded at the young girl next to her, who quickly produced a large rectangular box. She kept her head down, brown and pink strands falling over her eyes, and placed the ornate box onto of one of the maps. The top was detailed with twin serpents entwining a mountain peak.

    "They do nothing but bring gifts, Destroyer." Hot Ice bowed her head and the boy next to her produced another box. This one was much smaller than the last; the lid being was inlaid with mother-of-pearl and silver made it a box fit for royalty. Flora smiled approvingly. With an almost imperceptible wave of her hand, she dismissed the two students.

    "You make excellent choices as ever, Hot Ice."

    From there the meeting went as smoothly as anything could when Hot Ice and Flora get together. There were the expected arguments between the two, not because of Hot Ice being self-important, it must be said. Rather, she was acting as Flora's opposing reason, she being the only person courageous enough to disagree over even the most mundane points.
    #15 Tatile, Feb 1, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  16. Author's Note: Yeah, I'll get to the flesh ripping soon. Oh the wonderful, glorious rending of human lives...

    Officer Jennifer frowned. Flora ‘Destroyer' Suthar was eccentric, but she didn't usually close the Gym for an entire day. There was a hastily scribbled sign on hung on the door. It simply read ‘Closed. Get your kicks elsewhere. Signed, The Management'. Out of habit she adjusted the sign so that it hung straight. Rubidium sat at her feet, sniffing at the air. Not but a few feet away some rather unhappy trainers were trying to rearrange their day. The rain had lifted for the moment, but the clouds were still low and dark. The gutters of the Gym were full to the brim and a small cascade of water just narrowly missed her.

    "Oh! Officer Jennifer, I'm so sorry about that!" Sasha was holding a long stick with some sort of hook attachment at the top. From the fact that she was standing just under the guttering in waterproofs, it was quite obvious what she was doing.

    "Don't worry about it Sasha, you didn't hit me or Rubidium," Jennifer was annoyed, but didn't let it show. Children Sasha's age shouldn't be doing work like clearing blockages; they had no control over poles or anything. Casually, she wondered over to the girl, Rubidium trotting along beside her. "You wouldn't happen to know where Miss Flora Suthar went, would you."

    Despairingly, Sasha just gave her a very blank look, her mouth open just a little. She had obviously gotten confused somewhere in that sentence, somehow.

    "Do you know where Miss Suthar went?" Perhaps it had been all those words; then again, many people got confused when the word ‘happen' came up. This time, Sasha just shook her head, causing small droplets of slightly pink water to fall from her hair. Jennifer sighed; this was going to be difficult. "Well, is there someone else I could ask? Hot Ice or Honey maybe?" Once again Sasha shook her head.

    "They've all gone out. Jet Rincon was with them, and Damien Harvey," The girl tightened her grip on the pole, blushing slightly. "Don't you think they're just so handsome?"

    Trying not to let her aggravation show, Officer Jennifer thanked the girl and left. It was at least half an hour later, back in the station, when she realized what had been said. Thankfully the Police Chief was out at lunch; otherwise she'd have taken another warning for swearing.

    "Fucking fuck!" A junior officer just narrowly avoided being bowled over by a chair. Jennifer was absolutely furious and didn't care you knew. "I don't fucking believe this. That little prick of a kid looked me right in the eyes and told me she didn't have a fucking clue where fucking Suthar and her fucking friends fucking went!"

    Self preservation instincts had kicked in for much of the force. They kept their heads down, pretending that government targets and paperwork were really interesting. Long ago it had come to light that Olmstead City's Officer Jennifer was very unlike her cousins dotted about the world. She swore like a sailor, wore trousers and a zip up fleece instead of a skirt and she hated hats. So it came as no surprise to her co-workers when bits of furniture started flying about the room.

    "Gods fucking damn it to fuck," Another chair skidded across the floor and crashed into the vending machine. "Where the fuck are those fucking maps?" Like a whirlwind, Jennifer ripped papers from her desk and from the filing cabinets. Soon the office was littered with the contents of the cabinets. The junior officer looked on in dismay. He had finished sorting those ten minutes ago.

    Jennifer was elated, however. Triumphantly, she held aloft a crumbled sheet covered in random lines and squiggles. "Someone grab some sandwiches, we're going on a field trip!"


    Though slightly scrunched now, the map was neatly folded and hidden just inside his jacket. Damien patted his chest again. He was so nervous about all of this. Rummaging through his brother's room, which, thankfully, was messy anyway, he was sure he would have been caught by their mother. Now he was worried about Officer Jennifer. The map had been just where Jet said it would: stashed in a false bottom in Lae's desk drawer, on top of a diary. A thick green line marked a route from Vaux Park to the Forest. Hopefully Flora could work with it.

    Coming to the top of Korma Street, he broke into a run, slashing water up to his knees. They were going to meet in the park, which was right on the other side of the Centre, a good mile away. He was late. This was due only to his curiosity. He could jeopardise the entire mission because of his own damn stupidity. Damien tried to reason with himself, that his intentions were noble, but he should never have looked there for clues. Diaries were private for a reason.

    Jumping over the low wall surrounding the Gym, he sped along the high street. After having landed in a rather large puddle, his jeans were now completely soaked through. There was at least one thing that could be said for the rain, it made everything smell so fresh. Even with it being mid afternoon the world felt new.

    Hot Ice was waiting at the park's entrance, a large backpack hanging casually off one shoulder. She looked slightly bedraggled and muddy but still stood proud. As usual, she was dressed in a black mock-military suit; complete with knee high lace-up boots. She was naturally imposing and commanding - something Damien always found attractive in women.

    Hot Ice was only slightly frowning, not seeming and or even annoyed. Her frown was most likely just a feature of her, Damien reasoned. He waved as he got closer. Rather than waving back though, the red-headed woman turned on the spot and strode off. Though he felt a little insulted by this, it was made up for by the view. A self-satisfied smirk played across his lips. That is, until he realised just quite what it was that they were going to be doing.

    "Hot Ice," He tried not to let his nervousness show, this was all his idea after all. Unsurprisingly the woman didn't slow, but briefly she did turn her head. It started to drizzle again. "Do you think we'll spend the night in the forest? I mean..."

    "More than likely." Bluntly, she interrupted him. Though he'd never really interacted with the red head before, Damien wasn't surprised. She seemed a very straight-forward person.

    "Do you think anyone will get hurt?" In truth, ‘hurt' was an understatement of what would happen. He tried not to think any further. Hot Ice, to her credit, seemed to ignore his question.

    The trees above had shed their leaves some weeks ago, but still the pathway had scattered spots of mulch. To Damien, there always seemed to be something wrong with tarmac paths in a park. Then again, Vaux Park was entirely man made. Every natural and haphazard looking border had been carefully planned and planted. Well, that wasn't entirely true. One small part of the part was all natural. In what was now the ‘forested' region there was a shrine and surrounding it were trees that were centuries old. It had been mostly untouched when the park was built around it, two hundred years ago.

    Abruptly Hot Ice left the path. Having been lost in thought Damien almost lost her. Overgrown shrubs sat at the edge of the border, with delicate spring flowers sprouting beneath them. Only the crunching of twigs allowed him to find the ghostly woman. Her pace had been slowed a little by the undergrowth, but still her steps were as forceful as ever. Up ahead he caught sight of a turmeric sash, partially obscured by damp trunks. Getting closer, he saw Flora standing in front of the small shrine. The screen-styled door had been yanked to one side and now hung from a single hinge.

    "Damien do you actively try to annoy me?"

    Were all women in his life going to be this cold, he wondered. Hot Ice ripped the decrepit door off and stashed it inside. With a jolt, Damien realised that Flora was looking right at him, something she'd never done before. It was certainly a frightening experience.

    "Well, I suppose you have the map," Fishing the map out from his inside pocket, he figured that with Hot Ice and Flora, subduing the Beast might not be so hard.
    "Don't worry; the others are already in the tunnel." Casually, the Gym Leader stepped into the shrine and disappeared. Hot Ice simply stared at him.

    "Uh, let's get going then." He smiled at her nervously, but in the encroaching gloom it was hard to tell. With a leap more forceful than he'd have liked, Damien jumped into the tunnel.


    The stone walls were ragged and damp. Already Jet had at least a dozen nicks on his elbows alone. This was a tunnel network that he and Lae had discovered some months ago, back in the summer. Just thinking about Lae made his heart sink. He was very much attached to the other boy, so much so that he felt as if he'd betrayed him. Confining in Honey had felt right at the time and perhaps Lae wouldn't appreciate all Jet had to tell.

    Pleione was floating alongside him, giving off a pale silver glow. If it weren't for her and their torches, it would have been impossible to get around. Far in front, Hot Ice had taken ‘point', as she'd called it, with Flora a few steps behind, leading the strange team. Honey was just a couple feet in front of him, leaving neon marks on the wall every so often. Even though they had a map, and Jet had some experience down here, navigating was difficult and it was easy to lose your way.

    He felt someone tap his shoulder gently. In the gloom he could just make out Professor Cornwell smiling at him. Behind her was Ohm, an Electabuzz she'd trained to be her research assistant. Inwardly Jet sighed; he knew what was coming next. It was all Cornwell had wanted to talk about: Pleione. He'd already told her all he knew. Of how the Pokéball had just appeared out of nowhere and how it couldn't be lost. He had no idea why he'd named the Shuppet Pleione; just that it was the only name he could think of at the time, despite having never heard the word before. Also he really, truly, did not know why the damned handkerchief glowed. He reiterated all of this to Professor Cornwell, using the nicest wording he could think of. She simply smiled sweetly and nodded.

    "Do you think Pleione came from the Forest?" She asked, seemingly ignoring everything Jet had just said. In response he just shook his head and sighed. He simply did not care about where the ghost had come from, or why, he just wanted to be rid of the thing. This time, Cornwell rested her hand on his shoulder. "It's going to be alright, really. Don't worry." Her whispered words were soothing, but he had trouble believing them. No one else seemed to be paying that much attention. Soon they stopped talking; the only sounds were the scraping of feet and elbows.

    It took much of Jet's will not to panic. He wasn't claustrophobic, but he was finding out very quickly how much he missed the open sky. This was not helped by a slow trickling sensation along his back. It was as if ice was being brushed down his spine. He forced himself not to shiver. All the people around him were so strong, why was he worrying over something as mundane as a little chill? Pleione's soft silver glow became slightly harsher, but Jet didn't notice. The feeling of ice shards had changed, now it like someone with unimaginably cold hands was stroking him. Biting his lip, he tried not to cry out. The silver light was getting brighter now and he heard someone call his name. Briefly, he caught a glimpse of purple, before a sharp pain on his cheek snapped him back to reality. Honey had slapped him. Thankfully, she looked more concerned than angry. Flora, despite the tunnel's gloom, was noticeably furious.

    "Jet, just what the fuck do you think you're playing at?" Her voice carried easily through the cave, rebounding off the stone. He tried to respond, but his voice caught in his throat. He felt weak and dizzy; a vague wave of nausea was rising from his gut. Honey caught him before he could fall and quickly motioned to Flora to drop the subject. With a grunt of distaste, the Gym Leader glared at the pair. "When we get out of here, there will be a long talk. Recall that annoying handkerchief of yours before I kill it, got that?"

    Jet rested on the wall, one arm casually slung round his exotic friend's waist. In turn Honey had wrapped her arms around his shoulders to keep him from falling again. The rocks around them felt much closer than before, and Jet truly realised that the weight of the world was held away by nothing more than a sheet of stone. The faint glow from the torches and neon-scribbles gave the tunnel a far eerier air.

    "Are we travelling to a forest or to Hell?" His words were barely audible, but the despair he had affected Honey. Briefly she held him tighter, before pulling him away from the wall and out of his thoughts.

    "Let's get going. We can't stay here forever."

    Once again he started his rhythmic tramp. He was reminded of the stories he'd read when he was younger, the mythology of a lost and ancient civilization, of heroes who willingly risked everything for the ones they loved. The gods in those stories were cruel and manipulative; and he wondered, was someone doing the same to him? Allowing him to stride into the Underworld, only to steal away the person he was to rescue over the slightest glance?

    Honey started to hum, she wasn't terribly good at singing, but at least she knew when to stop. Unbidden, the lyrics sprang to mind.

    Where have all the good men gone
    And where are all the gods?
    Where's the street-wise Hercules
    To fight the rising odds?
    Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
    Late at night I toss and turn and dream
    of what I need
    #16 Tatile, Feb 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  17. Author's Note: This is what happens when you force yourself. Honestly. Well, that and read 'The Rights Of Man', the words get wierd. *shrugs* It'll be over soon methinks.

    A cool breeze wafted through the tunnel, bringing with it the scents of damp soil and vegetation. Hot Ice waved vaguely; she'd found an exit. There was a thin shaft of grey light just a few feet ahead, illuminating a small opening surrounded by stringy roots. A satisfied grin played across her face. Grabbing fistfuls of sod, the red head hauled herself out. The sky was clouded over, the light barely differing between there and the cave. Behind and a top the exit sat a great aged oak, its leaves lying all across the ground, forming a slippery mulch. There was still a light drizzle and everything around was hazy. Despite all the damp, noise still carried easily through the night air. Startled from their slumber, the birds in the canopy above took wing. Soon the forest was filled with the flurry of wing beats and cries. Flora swore as she clambered out.

    "So much for the element of surprise," Her tone was biting and her muttered words echoed back dully. Jet was already helping Professor Cornwell out, with some help from Ohm. When he saw that the Poké-biologist was about to respond, he decided to act quickly to save them both from Flora's ire. Unfortunately, Jet never was one for making good decisions on the fly. He ended up sprawled on his back and covered in mud, the older woman lying onto of him. He could have sworn the Hot Ice stifled a giggle. Flora merely sighed. "Why, oh why Jet, did we bring you?"

    Jet smiled sheepishly and dusted himself off. Patricia tried once again to say something, but this time he waved a hand and shook his head. Amazingly, she took the hint.

    The group meandered around the clearing, trying to get their bearings. Hot Ice was already examining the ground with Damien. The ground was scarred, a criss-crossing network of furrows and small holes. Placed almost at random across the scene were piles of pale sticks. Hot Ice picked at one.

    "Bones," She said, in a matter-of-fact way. No-one was surprised; they had long suspected that the Beast feasted on Pokémon. "A lot of them as well. This thing's been busy." She kicked the pile, scattering the remains. They did not settle however. The ground shook and rumbled, causing the trees to shake and the bones to dance. The old oak groaned loudly. For the first time Hot Ice looked worried. The earth heaved, looking more like the sea than land. As the furrows split and cracked, the rumbling became louder, to the point where it was deafening.

    It started to spit; small droplets of rain fell through the branches and splashed on the mulch. From the crevasses that now scoured the clearing snake-like vines reached to the sky. The vines sliced through the air, just catching Hot Ice on her right arm. Barbed hooks extended, digging into her flesh. Blood flowed freely over the green shoots and soaked into her clothes. She bit back a scream as the vines wound tighter. Yelping, Damien scrambled back. He quickly realised just how useless he was.

    In a moment, Flora and Honey were responding. Flashes of red light illuminated the scene as they released their Pokémon. Delta, a brash Salamence of Flora's, let out an almighty roar and spread his wings. Behind them, there was a muffled cry of an order and then a flash of yellow streaked past. Ohm was running forward, grabbing at the vines. He released a burst of electricity, which fizzled into nothing. The Beast was formed of rock and earth; no matter how much force was applied, no spark would harm It.

    Professor Cornwell cursed. She knew full well that the Beast was more than likely a Ground-based type, which meant all Electrical attacks were useless.
    The violent tremors shook the ground. The air rumbled with mock thunder.

    Suddenly, a mighty pillar of sod and light erupted forth; the Beast was showings Its face. It had teeth of jagged slate, the only mark before the yawning chasm of the creature's maw. Green lightning flickered across the abomination, converging upon two points. The balls of light emanated malicious intelligence and sadistic intent. The rumbling changed. For all the world it sounded like laughter.

    Hot Ice screamed. The horrific sound caused everyone to recoil. The vines had tightened further, snapping the bone in her upper arm. Now her right limb hung only from a few scarps of skin and muscle. Blood gushed out in rivers. Only through her stubborn will did the woman remain standing.

    "You, Pitiful Creature, Seek To Defy My Will?" The words rang not in their ears, but in their minds. The voice was deep, echoing into the very fibre of their being. "This Is My Domain, My Word Is Absolute." With that, the Beast pulled once more on Hot Ice's arm. The last remaining shreds of flesh snapped and ripped, and a blood-mist flew into the air, mingling with the rain. Silently, the red head fell to the ground, her stump bleeding profusely.

    Immediately Flora sent Delta over to the downed woman's aid. The dragon roared again and slammed down in front of Hot Ice. The Beast lashed out, hurling boulders into the air. Beating his wings, Delta conjured a fierce gale, slowing the progress of the rocks.

    The sight of the steel-blue Pokémon snapped Damien to his sense. He was the only one close enough to help. The Beast had separated the group when it had appeared, and now he and Hot Ice were pinned down at the far edge of the clearing. Trying to remember what he had learnt from watching medical dramas, the student tried to shred his shirt. Making it into bandages proved to be harder than it had looked on TV. Goose bumps had appeared all over his bare back, but he ignored them

    There was a blur of pink and grey. Something appeared at their side. As the dust cleared, Damien saw Krieg, Honey's Medicham. In desperation, he turned to the dancer.

    "Please, help me." His pleading tone momentarily distracted Krieg, who took a glancing vine strike to his shoulder. Surreally, the Pokémon was absolutely calm as he tore the poet's-style shirt into thick ribbons. The light fabric was not the best, but it would have to do.

    Though his fingers felt frozen solid, Damien tied the ‘bandages' as tight as he could. In the flickering gloom he couldn't tell if how much the bleeding had stemmed, if at all. Looking around he saw that situation wouldn't get better any time soon. Doubts raced through his mind. Moving Hot Ice could be dangerous, but staying there, with the Beast just metres away, would be worse. Lightning flickered past, missing his head by mere inches. Getting away would be best.

    Throwing all caution to the wind, Damien slid his right arm beneath what remained of Hot Ice's, settling against the underside of her breasts. With his left he cupped her shoulder. He hoped this would give him the best grip and leverage. The state of the ground was so bad that it was difficult to move even a few inches. Still, he had to get the woman out of there. Grunting, he hoisted her up, so that her head lolled against his stomach while he struggled backwards.

    Green light spilled about Damien's ankles. He tripped. The earth was shifting this way and that. Despite all efforts, he fell with Hot Ice landing awkwardly atop him. Hissing in pain, he realised that his ankle was sprained, possibly even broken.

    The rain was much harder now. Falling in sheets, the water quickly turned the mulch and dirt into a quagmire. As Damien floundered in the mud, there was a startling flash of pale blue light. Standing proudly before them was a rather scarred Sceptile, which Damien could only assume was Hot Ice's. As soon as the tree-lizard appeared, it started to sink.

    Delta roared. Despite bleeding from several deep cuts, he seemed to be enjoying this. Now more than ever the clearing felt like a sea. Overhead the rain storm raged.

    "Delta!" Flora all but screamed over the racket. "Use the water to weaken that abomination," turning the Gym Leader saw Hot Ice's Sceptile starting to scale the old oak. She smiled. Having spent so much time training and working together, Hot Ice's Pokémon would easily follow Flora's orders. "Harley, give us a Leaf Blade on that thing!"

    Harley leapt up into the higher branches of the tree. Patiently he waited there, the moment would come. Instinctively Honey kept Krieg on the defensive. As Delta formed larger and larger fountains, the Medicham had to deflect ever more of the flying debris.

    Despite having reduced the stolen limb to nothing more than a heap of meat and gristle, the Beast was still trying to attack Hot Ice. From the crevasse behind them, a vine whipped out and snaked about the woman's waist. Panicking, Damien fumbled with a small rock, its jagged edges scraping his palm. The vine was tough, almost like wood, and it took several hits to even get a response from the appendage. With Delta pounding jets of water at the Beast, the vine eventually let go of Hot Ice's waist.

    Dragging was not the answer, Damien decided. He cradled the unconscious red-head and started to move again. Walking in the sucking, churning mud was like going through quick sand and soon he was stuck again. They were both covered head to toe in filth. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he realised that the wound would be infected. Of course, that didn't matter now. Arcs of green light raced through the mud, heading straight toward them.
    #17 Tatile, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014

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