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Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by MoonFoxJ, Apr 9, 2015.

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  1. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    This chapter may be a little lacking in action so I apologize beforehand. It's mainly a 'set-up chapter' so expect some more excitement in the next chapter. As always any and all reviews are appreciated.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 21

    December 30 [Present Day]

    "Uh, Aurora? You do know that we have to move right? That or we can freeze out here."

    Aurora sniffed, wiped her face, and got off of Kyuso's shoulder. They had stayed in their previous position, just sitting in the cold snow, for five minutes now. The uncomfortable Umbreon just wanted to keep moving forward so that he could get home as fast as possible but he really didn't know what to do with this sad Espeon that just cried on him. Did he leave to give her space or did he just stay? Oh wait, he couldn't leave because of two reasons. One, he made that ridiculous promise with her saying that he wouldn't ever leave her. Two, her tail was still wrapped around his and there was no way he was going to ask her to just let go of his tail while she was still upset. But after five minutes he started to feel really uncomfortable, restless, and cold. Thankfully, Aurora had calmed downed by now.

    "*sniff* Sorry Kyuso, I was just really worried about you."

    "Ehehe, well as long as you're alright now. Are you ready to go?"

    "Yeah, let's."

    Kyuso got up off of the snow and started to walk down the road again with Aurora close behind him. Since he was now not thinking anymore about how Aurora would react if he said the wrong thing, he started to think about himself. He'd just promised her something possibly impossible. If...no...when he got home, he would grab Jun and then they would both get away together. It didn't matter where, but as long as they got away, Kyuso didn't care. Where they went or how they would leave, he didn't care, but he knew that as soon as he got home, the two of them would run away. After hearing from Max and Pat, about what they would do last week, he knew that he had to get home no matter what. Wait...Aurora would be coming along with them, so it would be the three of them, not two. He really didn't like that idea, especially after what he did at Crimson Base last week, and also what he did to Crimson Base. He was a coward but now there was no way he was going to get even one more Pokémon screwed because of him. For now, he would just use Aurora, but when their quest was completed, he would have to have a talk with her. But wait, couldn't Aurora, although poorly, still read minds?

    Shit! I forgot that she-

    "Oh wow, check this out Kyuso!"

    Kyuso turned around and saw Aurora holding up...

    "Where'd you get that?"

    He saw that Aurora was holding money in her paw; at least P4000 (Sorry guys but I honestly think it would be a royal pain in the &$ if I had to use the symbol for a Pokèmon Dollar. I couldn't even copy and paste is correctly so forget this!)

    "That's more than P4000 that you've got right there!" Kyuso said after he quickly counted.

    "I know, isn't it great?!" Aurora did a little hop that Kyuso thought was cute.

    Apparently we both haven't owned any money before Kyuso thought excitedly.

    "FYI, that's not true."

    "Stay out of my head!"

    Aurora giggled "Actually, I've had access to my parents' treasury my whole life; obviously since I was a princess. But this is the first time I owned my own money. It feels pretty good actually!"

    Kyuso sighed "Well, at least you're feeling better."

    "I bet all this came from those trainers we beat. They must have dropped it all as they were running away."

    "How are humans that clumsy with their money?"

    Aurora started to play with the bills "Probably because they use paper money. Dollar bills don't have as much weight as gold coins you know."

    "G-gold coins!" Kyuso choked out.

    "Well yeah, I mean I am from royalty you know, so it's only expected that-"

    Kyuso waved his paw to interrupt "Yeah yeah I get it princess."

    Aurora's eye twitched a little before she frowned and gave Kyuso his half of the money. After finding their sacks of berries, which they dropped in their battle, they saw that their bags had a few pockets so they placed their money separate from the food and mentally thanked Faith for being an awesome weaver. Then they started down the road, resuming their journey once again. The two walked side by side in the snow for a while unaffected. But after a long time they both started to get colder, much colder. At first when Kyuso and Aurora heard each other chattering their teeth, they wordlessly agreed to a contest of endurance. It was fun at first; in fact they were making even faster progress in their walk and even started to feel warmer. But as time went on and their bodies started to tire, they started to slow down and grow colder. Whenever this happened, the two would look at each other again and they would smile smartly to each other, both refusing to back down, and they would feel a little warmer again. They continued to walk for almost three hours and they had traveled about fifteen miles during that time. At around the two hour mark, they had lost their competitive spirit and knew that they'd have to rest soon, the last hour was the most painful for them. Unlike humans who wore boots, Pokémon didn't wear any footwear so it hurt whenever either of them stepped over a light patch of snow that hid a rock, or similar underneath it. The cold didn't feel so great for their sore paws either.

    "Man *pant* where are those *pant* Pokémon trainers *pant pant* that we ran into earlier?" Kyuso managed to breathe out.

    Aurora finally spoke up "*pant pant* Kyuso?"

    "*pant* Yeah?"

    "I can't *pant pant* go any further."

    "*pant pant* Me neither but *pant pant* we got to keep *pant pant* moving."

    "No I mean I *pant pant pant* literally *pant* can't-" Aurora said before she fell down.

    Kyuso bent down to help her back up "Hey you alright?"

    "My *pant pant* paws."

    Kyuso inspected her paws. Like his they were bleeding. He didn't care for his own wounds but seeing Aurora hurt made his eyes pop.

    "What happened to your paws?" he quickly asked although he already knew the answer.

    "What happened to your paws?" she shot back even though she knew the answer too.

    "You can't go on" Kyuso turned around and sat on the snow "Get on my back and I'll carry you."

    "You idiot, you're bleeding too you know?"

    "Umbreon have better endurance and defenses than Espeon do. I'll be fine; I just need to find us a place to rest."

    Aurora still sat defiantly on the snow "I'll be fine, just give me a minute to catch my breath."

    "This isn't a contest anymore so hurry up and get on; I'm freezing out here." Kyuso ordered rudely.

    After a few more seconds, Aurora did as Kyuso said and climbed on his back, wincing a little while she did so.

    Kyuso shrugged his body to carry Aurora in a more comfortable position since she was a little bit heavier than Jun "Get comfortable because this might take a while."

    She immediately said back angrily "I didn't need your help you know."

    Kyuso froze right then and there. It was like he had just talked to a mirror. He knew that Aurora came with him because she didn't want to be so dependent and weak. She came with him to get stronger and learn how to take care of herself by herself. They were constantly losing, or at least just barely surviving, each battle they came across because they were not cooperating with each other. This was just like last week when he had lost or at least barely survived every battle he went through, and all because he was being a major douche to the people around him, whether it was friend or foe. Kyuso really didn't like the losing streak he was on now so he decided to change right at that moment. And if he couldn't change completely, then he'd at least start with Aurora.

    He twisted his head back and gave Aurora a light, pure smile, saying "I know", before he started to walk.

    Aurora blushed. What the?! I thought he was going to yell at me, or call me an idiot, or ignore me, or something! And what was that just now? Was that...a smile?


    After another hour of walking, Kyuso spotted a cave up a hill not too far off from the road.

    "*PANT PANT* Awesome, I'm about *PANT PANT* to collapse! *PANT PANT* Aurora! *PANT PANT PANT* Aurora?"

    He twisted around and saw that she was sleeping.

    "*PANT PANT* Fantastic!" he said sarcastically.

    Kyuso bent his head down so that he could slide Aurora off of him. Her head and forelegs went over his head and landed on the snow so that now her stomach rested on top of his head. He now pulled back so that the rest of her body would slide over his head. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on readers' viewpoints), when he got to the 'end', her bottom touched his nose, which he definitely didn't anticipate, and he jumped back in a panic.

    "Jeez!" he cried rubbing his nose.

    Aurora woke up rubbing her butt. Her paws and legs felt sore but better, although her butt felt like it was just kicked by something. "Oww, what the heck Kyuso, why'd you so suddenly-"

    She turned around and saw him embarrassed, covering his nose with his paw. She looked at her butt. She looked at him again. Then herself again. Then him again.

    Aurora got super embarrassed and super pissed off.

    "She started to glow white "You...you...I'm gonna-"

    Kyuso waved his hands back and forth trying to avoid getting fried by her Dazzling Gleam "NononononoIdidn'tdoitonpurposeIswearIwasjust-"

    She would never use a real attack on him. Even if it was over something like this because she knew it was an accident, but that didn't mean that she wouldn't still slap him silly. Her paw was already halfway to his face and he had already closed his eyes to brace for the slap, but her paw stopped before she hit him.

    "Ah! Kyuso you've got a nosebleed!"


    He opened his eyes, touched his nose, and saw the blood. She was right, he had a nosebleed.

    "*Sigh* Perfect."

    "Let me try to patch you up." Aurora said as she used Psychic to pick up some soft, powder snow.

    "Not here" Kyuso pointed to the cave at the top of the hill "Let's get to shelter first."

    Aurora dropped the snow, and nodded, saying that she would go on ahead and check if the cave was clear for them to use. Kyuso meanwhile was trudging slowly up the hill. Aurora had gotten an hour rest after three hours of walking while Kyuso carried her during her rest, so now he was just taking his time up the hill, taking care not to step on anything else. He saw Aurora again a minute later when she told him the cave was clear. She came down and helped him the rest of the way up the hill and into the cave where a soft, snow pile awaited them. She had used Psychic to grab some more snow and made a sort of bed for them when she finished inspecting the cave.

    "Here, just rest for now."

    "Thanks Aurora."


    It was night by the time Kyuso woke Aurora up. They had decided to eat some of the berries and take a rest so that they could continue traveling at night. At first there was a dispute over who should sleep first, since they couldn't both sleep during the middle of the day. Someone needed to stand guard while the other rested. Kyuso said that Aurora should rest first because she 'looked tired". Aurora countered by saying that if he rested first, he could heal faster, and then she could rest and wake up fully energized later at night (when she was usually tired). Kyuso, having no real reason, gave in, and rested first. Now was the time when Aurora had to wake up.

    "Morning Kyuso" Aurora mumbled out with her eyes still closed "*YAWN* or should I say evening?"

    Kyuso was already on his feet, itching to go. He felt well-rested from his rest and there was a half moon in the sky. The moon's rays shined down on him and he felt that he could run a whole marathon but he knew that was just the 'moon juice' talking so he tried to calm himself down and waited for Aurora to get up.

    "Evening Aurora, you ready to go?"

    "Kyusooo." Aurora said weirdly.


    Aurora spoke slowly "Change of plans. I don' wanna get up now. Let's just sleep for now 'kay? 'M tired."

    "What? No! We have to move so come on! This was your idea anyway. We had our break already. We have to move now."

    "But I'm soooo *YAWN* tired right now."

    Using her mind sensing ability Aurora was able to pinpoint where Kyuso was in front of her. She walked lazily over to him with her eyes still closed, grabbed his foreleg, and started pulling at him weakly back into the cave.

    She started to whine now "C'mon pleeease. Let's both just go to sleep 'kay? I made a mistake. 'M too tired to go anywhere. C'mooon."

    Despite the cold, Kyuso started to sweat. Aurora was being just a little bit too cute for him now. She really did look tired and he didn't blame her, her being the "Sun Pokémon" and all. In fact, he just might lie down to go to sleep right next to her. That way he would still be protecting them. They could just waste one day right? No! He had to get these thoughts out of his head or else Aurora would kill him when they woke up! They had just slept the whole day away, so they had to make up for lost progress now! He shrugged her off and went out of the cave.

    "I'm gonna get some water for you okay?" he called back.

    Aurora just mumbled and went back to sleep at the mouth of the cave.

    Kyuso started to move to lower ground to find water. Common sense told him that if he even did find water, it would be on lower ground so he decided to search there, if it wasn't already frozen that is. He took care to avoid tumbling down the hill like a fool, and stuck to the path he took to get up the hill. After searching for five minutes, so that he wouldn't wander too far from the cave, he realized that even if he did find water, he would have no way to carry it. He called himself an idiot, before starting to head back to Aurora until he heard some laughter beyond some trees not to far away from him. There was also a dim light, a campfire, but a weak one. Deciding that he might as well do some reconnaissance, he snuck over to the campfire as quietly as he could.

    When he reached the trees, he saw the Pokémon trainers that he and Aurora fought earlier today!

    They were all laughing at something 'Pink-girl' said who looked a little mad. They must have been mocking her good-naturedly. Even their Pokémon were out of their Poke Balls and laughing. The Sylveon smiled at her trainer in sympathy. There were sticks covered in white goo lying around the fire. He could faintly smell the scent of burnt marshmallows. Kyuso used to love those and always wanted more of them when he was young and living with Mason in his lab. Everyone was in their winter gear having a good time. What interested Kyuso most thought, once his eyes found it, was the small water bottle off to the side. It was half-filled with water. Kyuso's right paw reached out for it reflexively but he caught it with his left and dragged it back before it could reach past the tree truck he hid behind. Not just to avoid getting caught, but also because...

    It would be just like that time again. He smiled to himself. I'll never go back. I'll never go back to that again, not even an inch.

    He backed away from the campsite, and headed back up the path to the cave so that he could wake Aurora and move.


    "Maybe I can just use some snow." He mumbled to himself.

    He was at the bottom of the hill when he heard a scream.



    Kyuso sprinted up the hill as fast as he could. Pumping his legs against the snow faster and faster, refusing to slow down from fatigue.

    "Hang on Aurora, I'm coming!"



    Kyuso suddenly saw two Beartic appear at the top of the hill. They were rolling down it uncontrollably, and more importantly, rolling right at him! For a second he stood still, intending to hold his ground against the approaching Beartic, but that was just the Umbreon in him talking. He cursed himself for being stupid and just barely managed to jump out of the way, avoiding death by flattening. Then, he looked back to the top of the hill and started to make his way up.

    What the hell was that?!

    At the top, he met Aurora who was breathing shakily and carrying both of their bags.

    "Where were you?!" she asked him angrily.

    "I was getting you water! Why did you try to kill me just now with Beartic?!"

    "Those Beartic just came back from their honeymoon! They suddenly came into the cave and grabbed me, and asked me why I was in their home. They called me an intruder, and wouldn't listen to me. I had to fight them both by myself!"

    "Wha-see! This is what happens if you're too lazy to get up on time!"

    "Let's just leave! I never want to sleep in another stinking cave again!" she cried furiously and dropped Kyuso's bag in front of him.

    Kyuso just stared dumbfounded as an angry Aurora walked down the hill back to the road.

    What did do?
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    This chapter came out bigger than I intended it to be. I usually try to shoot for around 2000-3000 words if anyone has noticed and this one is close to 4000 so I'm kinda proud off that. I never really mentioned it before but Homeward is T-Rated for a reason. Some chapters will have more intense language that others and this is one of those chapters. Of course nothing M-Rated, otherwise I would've rated it differently, but if you have ever been offended from previous chapters or are from this one then I apologize, sometimes I like to push boundaries so sue me.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 22

    December 30

    Aurora is still super mad that I just left her to get attacked like that Kyuso thought. Jeez, I know I promised her that I would stay but come on; I was only gone for maybe twenty minutes!

    Kyuso and Aurora went down the hill, making sure to avoid the Beartic, and were now making their way down the road. He had to speed-walk just to keep up with her really. He wasn't sure whether to be either glad or worried about this.

    For one, they were making great progress. In fact, he could already see the tops of a few buildings of the upcoming city, above the trees. On the other hand, he was sure that she'd continue to be angry at him and if she brought that kind of attitude to a fight, they would surely lose again. They needed to start cooperating with each other in a fight or their opponents would always beat them individually. Like it or not, he had officially transitioned himself from being her "ally" to her "partner" just several hours ago. Yay. He still wasn't on board with the whole "partner" thing but that's what he was so he had to do something.

    He decided to use her anger until they got to the city. Then, he would cheer her up. Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Right now she was just moving on an adrenaline rush, but he knew that that wouldn't last long. It took a 'couple' of Beartic to wake her up just a while ago, and before that she said that she was tired anyway. Once they arrived at the city, they could just sleep for tonight he decided.

    "Stop plotting so much, it's suspicious!"

    "*sigh* It's still hard for me to get used to that."

    "Keep up, I want to get out of this freezing snow already."


    Arriving at the city, they were greeted with honking cars, the boom of giant advertisement boards, and an enormous crowd of humans and Pokémon. It was like a sea of chaos that the Umbreon and Espeon feared stepping in the highly possible case that they would lose each other in. For a moment, the two just stood frozen at the edge of the city.

    Finally Kyuso yelled "It must be because it's almost New Year's Eve!"

    "Let's hurry up and get through this city!" Aurora yelled back.

    "No," Kyuso started to head into the city with Aurora following him "we'll stay in this city for tonight! We'll continue tomorrow!"

    Aurora tripped as she stepped onto the sidewalk "I thought you wanted to keep moving!"

    "Look at yourself; you're starting to fall asleep!"

    It was true. Aurora's eyes were clearly starting to droop down, and the flashing lights of the city and vehicles made her vision more unfocused. It was through her fierce willpower that she managed to stay up this late, as it was nearing midnight, but now she was reaching her limit. They had to find a place to sleep for tonight, but where?

    She opened her eyes wider "I can keep going so don't worry about me!"

    Suddenly, a van with both its passenger-side doors open screeched to a stop by the two as they waited for the WALK sign so that they could cross the street. Inside were several humans and Pokémon, some with tattoos, even the Pokémon! They were all obviously very drunk and/or stoned (thankfully their driver looked okay though), and the van reeked of cigarettes. Loud rap music came out from the car which pained the two Eeveelutions' ears greatly.

    An intoxicated, male Combusken leaned out "Hellooo sexy Umbreon!"

    Kyuso and Aurora were now both fully alert; their hair stood on its ends. This was now the second that this happened! It couldn't be a coincidence that this happened only when they entered a city could it? Maybe they should just wear disguises from now on or avoid cities entirely.

    "Whoa sorry miss Umbreon! I meant to talk to your friend here the...the...the pink one!

    Drunk the two thought simultaneously. Definitely drunk.

    "Hey foxy lady, why don't you and your friend come with us! We can party all night and then get busy all day!"

    They saw him reach out to grab Aurora's shoulder, but she easily sidestepped the sluggish advance.

    "Beat it you drunk chicken!" she told the Combusken.

    "Aww come on, don't be like that! You really hurt me just now! I don't want to have to hurt you back so c'mon, I promise you'll have lots of fun!"

    The Combusken reached out to grab her again. At that moment, Kyuso remembered the last words that Knight Gallade told them...

    ["Good luck on your journey you two. Watch each other's back out there."]

    He didn't know how or why he got there so fast, he just reacted, but before he knew it Kyuso was between the Combusken and Aurora. He caught the Combusken's claw and threw it aside, stared the Combusken down, and spoke.

    "She told you no, so leave her alone!"

    The Combusken jumped back in shock.

    "Whoa holy shit, you're a dude?! Sorry brah but I thought you were a chick! Hehehe, chick..."

    Aurora read Kyuso's emotion and saw a sort of red-orange color. He wasn't angry just yet, but his temper was rising. For now, he was just 'upset'.

    Oh my Arceus. Just leave us alone already you loser! Aurora thought.

    A husky, feminine voice came from inside the van.

    "She's a he?! Well give him to me then, I'll play with him!"

    A head popped out from behind the Combusken revealing an equally intoxicated, female Braixen.

    "Oooh he looks yummy!" the Braixen said while giving Kyuso her best drunk, 'come-hither' look.

    Honestly it looked ridiculous, but Kyuso just scowled at her and stood his ground.

    Disgusted yet also caught off guard, Kyuso wasn't sure on how to handle this new 'female threat'. He could handle the male since he was a guy too, but all the T.V. he used to watch back at Mason's lab told him that in situations like this, the stripper would usually counter the heroes' inquiries with sexual advances until they said something to disarm her completely like "We know that you emailed him on Saturday at 8:00am" or "We found the body in the river". Still, he wasn't a cop, or even an actor, so he didn't know what else to do.

    He must have stood scowling like that for at least three, full, embarrassing seconds.

    Damn, I watch way too much T.V. What do I do?

    To his horror, the Braixen was reaching out to touch his face, until he felt something brush his side.

    "Back off you harlot!" Aurora slapped the Braixen's hand aside, saving Kyuso much like how he saved her just moments ago.

    Kyuso didn't want to lose his composed look or reveal to the drunkards that he was in trouble before, so he thought Thanks Aurora, knowing that even though she wasn't skilled enough to read his mind precisely, she could at least feel his emotion of gratitude. Aurora discreetly nudged him as her way of saying "No problem".

    "What did you call me, b****?!" the Braixen glared at Aurora.

    All four of them heard a human woman from inside the van yell out.

    "What the hell are you two doing?!"

    The driver answered "Yo Sally, I think your Combusken and Mike's Braixen are fighting with this Espeon and Umbreon!"

    Damnit, has the WALK sign lit up yet? This is getting out of hand! Kyuso thought.

    The Umbreon looked at the WALK sign to see that it was still off and the HALT sign was still on. The streets were packed with vehicles for as far as he could see, but unfortunately he and Aurora were the only one's waiting at this corner. Everyone else was either across the street, or deliberately went around the corner to avoid being caught in the crosshairs of the fight Kyuso and Aurora were having with the 'van people'.

    They aren't going to take no for an answer he thought.

    "Mike, get up! Your Braixen is b****ing up a storm! Get your ass up Mike! MIKE! *Sigh* It's no use, the stupid stoner! Combusken, Braixen, both of you get back in here now!"

    The Combusken ignored her "Yeah yeah as soon as I'm finished here!"

    "You are finished here!" Kyuso growled.

    "What're you, her boyfriend or something?!"

    Aurora choked quietly and snuck a glance at Kyuso. She tried searching his face for any signs of distress but his face wore the same scowl as it did before and didn't change one bit. But wait! Right there, it was so quick that only she saw it but she definitely saw that his eye had flinched. She had to admit that he was trying as hard as he could to hide his fear in this situation, so she too steeled herself and looked back at the Combusken with more confidence.

    "...No, I'm not! But that doesn't give you the right to force your will over another's like this!

    "If that's the case man then I'm gonna ask you nicely just once! Mind your own f*****g business!"

    They are so intoxicated!

    "Ah don't mind him honey, he's just a big meanie is all!" the Braixen purred "Come here baby and I'll help you feel a lot better!"

    Aurora countered this one "We told you guys to leave us alone!"

    "Shut up b****, I wasn't talking to you!"

    Sally screamed "All of you shut the hell up! Dan, move this freaking car already!"

    The driver spat back "Dumb b**** do you not see all the damn cars in the street?!"

    Kyuso snapped "SCREW THIS! Forget crossing the street, let's go somewhere else...partner!"

    "Right behind you partner!"

    Kyuso turned around and started to go around the corner with Aurora. That was until they heard the crunch of snow behind them. They looked back and saw the Combusken and the Braixen step out of the car. Sally was screaming at the two Pokémon again, telling them to get back in the car. They just ignored her and started to walk toward Kyuso and Aurora. The few people and Pokémon that were walking down this sidewalk went into stores closest to them when they saw this, trying to avoid getting caught in the conflict.

    "If you're not using her, then that girl is mine pal!" the Combusken walked closer.

    Aurora fumed "Fine, you want some tail so badly?! Then take it!"

    She used Psychic to pick up the Braixen and threw her over the Combusken. Both Fire-types fell to the ground while Kyuso and Aurora decided right then to run for it. It took a while for the drunken Pokémon to get off of each other but as soon as they did, they chasedafter Kyuso and Aurora.

    Kyuso looked back "They're after us!"

    "I know, catch up!"

    Kyuso and Aurora ran down the sidewalk. While he had to sprint, she kept a medium running pace so that she didn't leave him behind. The Combusken and Braixen were able to keep up and Kyuso knew that he wouldn't be able to outrun them like this. At the end of the block, the street looked clear so Aurora ran ahead to cross it. But at that moment a bus came out of nowhere from across the street and shined its bright headlights on Aurora!


    "Aurora no!"

    Kyuso stared in disbelief as the bus slammed into his partner.


    No...no...no...how...how could...?!

    The street was clean. Not a single body lied dead in a pool of blood. There was not even a speck of blood. Scared and confused, Kyuso looked back at the bus...and saw Aurora on top of it!

    "What the-When did she-How-" Just how fast is she?

    "Runnn Kyusooo!" Aurora shouted as the bus carried her farther and farther away from him.

    The lone Umbreon looked back and saw that the pursuing Braixen, along with the Combusken, had already crossed half of the distance between him and them.

    Oh shit!

    He changed directions and resumed his sprint, staying on the same block so that he chased after Aurora, but she was moving away from him too fast. She couldn't jump off now, it was too dangerous and she could get seriously hurt. Aurora now already 20 meters ahead of him. Now 25 meters. 30. 35. 40! Kyuso looked ahead and saw no traffic and lots of green lights. They had already reached the end of the block and the bus wasn't slowing down. He crossed the street after making sure once more that there were no vehicles crossing and continued after his partner.

    If that bus keeps going, I'm going to lose her!

    Then a bright light started to form at the top of the bus. What he saw was Aurora preparing to shoot Psybeam to help slow down the Combusken and Braixen. It was a good idea; Kyuso was a Dark-type so Psybeam, being a Psychic-type attack, would have absolutely no effect on him if she missed and ended up shooting him. However...

    That shot must be at least 50 meters, and on top of a moving vehicle too! Sorry Aurora but I really don't think that you'll be able to-


    Kyuso saw the rainbow-colored beam fly through the air and shoot past him. He looked back and saw the Psybeam head straight for the Braixen. The Braixen hurriedly dodged Aurora's attack, but if she hadn't the attack would've landed for sure.

    "Hah, missed me you blind b****!"


    Kyuso looked forward again and focused on running but he could tell by the retreating swears behind him that each shot Aurora fired was slowing the Combusken and Braixen down.

    Awesome accuracy Aurora!

    "Okay that's it! I don't care about this boy anymore, that b**** is mine!"

    Suddenly, Kyuso had an idea.

    "Hey Combusken, suck on this!"

    He stopped, spun around, and shot his Confuse Ray at the Combusken. The Combusken jumped up and just narrowly dodged the attack. All Kyuso seemed to do was make the Combusken angrier, but that's what he was aiming for. He gave a wink to the enraged Pokémon before he spun back around and restarted his sprint with more rigor.

    "You want to have the girl then fine! I'm gonna KILL that asshole!"

    Awesome, we switched opponents! Kyuso thought.

    The Combusken took a deep breath and released Fire Spin from his mouth. Kyuso looked to the side at the windows of stores he ran by. He saw the reflection of the spiral of flame traveling towards him in the store windows, and waited for the right moment. He spun around when the fire was close and used Screech to defend against the flames.

    By now, the Combusken and Braixen had closed the distance between them and Kyuso. He got ready to defend as he saw them attack at the same time. The Combusken jumped at Kyuso with a Double Kick and the Braixen used her own Fire Spin. Kyuso saw the bad combination of attacks and used Screech as hard as he could a second time at the Combusken's side. The Combusken was stopped in midair by the Screech, blown back at different angle, and blocked the Braixen's Fire Spin. He grunted in pain when the flames hit his back and fell to the ground where the Braixen's Fire Spin trapped him. Kyuso opened his maw to fire Confuse Ray at the Combusken once more but had to jump back to avoid the Braixen's Flamethrower.

    Tch, I'll have to take what I can get for now.

    He turned around and started to run away with the shouts of the Combusken, rudely telling the Braixen to end her Fire Spin, behind him.


    By now, Aurora was 80 meters away. The speed of her shots had slowed considerably because she was even farther away than before, but she continued to fire Psybeam attacks from the top of the bus. She took a moment to look at the front of the bus. She had to get off of the bus or she would lose Kyuso in a city. All she saw though were buildings and stores all around her, alleyways, more cars, and people. Also, the patches of snow were too small for her to land in. This bus moved faster than her legs so if she jumped off now then she wouldn't be able keep her footing on the ice-slick street, and she would definitely break a leg or something. Seeing no possible way of jumping off and landing safely, she was about to turn around to start shooting again until she saw it.

    A snowy hill in a park.

    There were human kids with their Pokémon riding on sleds down a hill of snow in the park that the bus was passing now. Aurora only recognized them now that she was in midair: she jumped off the bus as soon as she saw the snowy hill. She knew that the longer she thought about it, the more probable it would become that she wouldn't jump. Also, Kyuso needed her now so she hadn't delayed a second longer.


    She soared over the heads of a few families of humans and Pokémon who looked up to see the flying Espeon crash into the snow on her chest with a puffffff. She kept sliding diagonally down the freezing hill for a few more seconds before coming to a stop. After standing up slowly and shakily, she shook the cold snow off of her chest. She gave a nervous smile to everyone in the park, who were staring at her weirdly, and made her way back up the hill.


    There she is, thank Arceus!

    Kyuso feared for Aurora's life when he saw her leap off the bus and disappear from his sight. Now though, he saw her reappear at the top of a hill. They were both eager to regroup, so he ran faster while she ran ahead slower. When they were side by side again, they both started to look around for an escape route to get away from the mad Combusken and Braixen.

    Kyuso suddenly laughed "Why do you always get hit on by horny guys as soon as we come into a city?!"

    Aurora gave him an angry look "W-what do you mean always?! We've only been to two cities!"

    "Yeah, and in both cities you've been-"

    "Shut up you jerk!"

    "*Chuckle* Sorry, I was just teasing you!"

    "It is SO not the time for that right now! We're about to be raped and/or killed!"

    "Ehehe, sorry, I was just trying to get rid of some tension. But hey, at least they're more furious than horny now!"

    "That isn't much better!"

    "Actually, we can count on their anger to make poor judgments for them in battle. It also helps that they're intoxicated and that they switched their targets; the guy is after me now and the girl is after you!"

    "Then why are we still running?! Let's kick their butts!"

    "We need to split them up first! I don't want to take a chance of them suddenly switching targets again in the middle of a fight!"

    "Hey, I thought you promised that-"

    "It would just be for this one battle!" Kyuso smirked "Like you said; you wouldn't want to be raped and/or killed do you?"

    "....Hmph fine, but we regroup right after this!"

    "Got it!"

    Aurora turned around and used Psybeam again at the Braixen who used Flamethrower to defend herself. Meanwhile, Kyuso ran ahead into an upcoming alleyway.

    "Murder me if you can!" Aurora taunted with a giggle before running after Kyuso.

    "I'm gonna kill her!" the Braixen screamed.

    Sure enough, the Braixen and Combusken ran into the alleyway where Kyuso and Aurora were waiting for them.

    "We've got you two now!" the Braixen smiled.

    "Hey fatty, I bet you can't do this!" Aurora taunted again.

    She activated her 'ninja mode' and ran to pick up speed. Then, she leapt up to the side of one of the buildings in the alley, kicked off of the wall, flew to the other side of the alley, kicked off of the other building's wall, and repeated until she landed in a fire escape, successfully performing the "wall jump" that Kyuso had only seen in videogames until now.

    Well at least now I know how she managed to jump on top of that bus so quick.

    At the same time he realized that he needed to get out more, Aurora gave a little bow at the end of her stunt to further anger the Braixen to chase her before she ran up the fire escape.

    "That little b****! Help me up already!" the Braixen mentioned to the Combusken.

    Having powerful legs himself, the Combusken squatted, cupped his hands, and pushed up with his legs to throw the Braixen up to the fire escape as she ran onto his claws. After she performed the "assist jump", she ran up to chase Aurora and now it was just Kyuso and the Combusken. Now that they were all away from the noisy street, they could talk in a quieter voice and didn't have to yell so much.

    "I guess it's just you and me now huh?" Kyuso mocked.

    "You can cut the crap now asshole. I know that you two were trying to split us up."

    "Impressive, you caught onto that even when you were and are still drunk as a Stunky."

    "Shut up you little prick. Once I'm done with you, I'm gonna bring your bleeding and broken body up there so that you can watch me as take that Espeon like a how a real man should. I'll make sure that that'll be the last thing you ever see!"

    "...Wow, you seriously need to see a psychiatrist."

    Kyuso got into his battle stance that he was comfortable with after years of training and got ready to fight. If the past two weeks of losses told him anything, it was that the world was a bigger place than he thought, so he didn't plan on going easy on his opponent. No, this time he would give the Combusken exactly what was coming to him. Kyuso would not lose this time.

    NO NOT A CLIFFHANGER! Sorry to do that to you guys after a long chapter but the next will include both the 'alley battle' and the 'roof battle'. If you have any complaints or suggestions you can always PM me. I actually went back in my calendar and found out that if I had posted every week as scheduled...I should've posted Homeward Ch. 33 today. :o That does not feel good at all. School starts again this Thursday but I'll try to keep up with posting new chapters and not fall behind. Trust me, eleven chapters behind does not feel great.
  3. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Oh man it feels great to write again! I got swamped with school work from all the AP and COC classes I'm taking this year, so I apologize for not updating for several weeks. I had to drop AP Spanish (I wouldn't have survived in that class). Ch. 24 is halfway done so expect an on-time update this coming Sunday. I thank my old readers for your continued support while I was gone. New readers, welcome to the adventure, and thank you everyone for the reviews. I am back!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 23

    December 30

    Aurora sat down and rested while she waited for the Braixen to arrive on the roof. She might have overdone it with the theatrics just now, but she needed to make sure that the Braixen would follow her up and not stay behind with Kyuso. She jumped up to the roof because not only did she want to lure the Braixen but the roof had more room for her to maneuver around than the narrow alley. Still, her legs were tired from that crazy stunt she pulled off and she was glad that the Braixen was taking a longer time getting up to the roof than she. That is, assuming that the Braixen followed her up at all.

    Her assumption was proven correct when she saw the Fox Pokémon appear in front of her.

    Aurora crouched into her battle stance "Took you long enough." I hope you thought this through Kyuso.

    "Shut up!"

    The Braixen raised her twig to charge up a Fire Spin and Aurora got ready to dodge but the Braixen didn't fire the flames at her. Instead the Fire Spin was shot at the ground where it splashed and rippled out like water. Aurora jumped up to avoid the flames and looked around to see that the Fire Spin had grown in size, trapping both her and her foe in a ring of fire that held maybe half the room than the whole roof did.

    Well there goes my plan.

    "Girl, I'm gonna roast your body as slowly and painfully possible."

    "You mean like how you crawled up here?"

    The Braixen shrieked in rage and shot Flamethrower at Aurora. Being an Espeon, it should've been easy for Aurora to dodge such a straight-forward attack but she was trapped in the large Fire Spin with little room to maneuver so she was barely able to squeeze between the Fire Spin and the Flamethrower. The heat from the Fire Spin and the Flamethrower felt scorching from both sides but she ignored it and shot Psybeam at the Braixen's twig.

    The Psybeam hit and disarmed the Braixen of her weapon, cutting off the flow of fire. As soon as the Flamethrower ended, Aurora jumped back from the Fire Spin and shook herself so that she could get some chilly air to breeze through her fur. She decided to take the offensive and used Psychic to grab the Braixen. She lifted her target into the air so that she could slam her onto the roof until she was defeated; like the Heliolisk she KO'd a few days ago. But her Psychic was swiftly countered when the Braixen rose only five feet.


    "Hah, you think that you're the only one who can use Psychic here?"

    The Braixen used Psychic again to pick up her fallen twig and prepared another Flamethrower. This time Aurora had more room to dodge since she was at the edge of the ring and not in the middle. Being faster, Aurora had already jumped to the opposite edge of the Fire Spin to avoid the Flamethrower and fired Psybeam at the Braixen once more.

    "I've got you now b****!"


    Aurora already fired her Psybeam but the red flame on the Braixen's twig didn't shoot at her. Instead, she saw the red flame die down and a new flame grew at the tip of the twig, a flame that was pink and blue. The new attack divided into several smaller flames. One flame shot forward to block Aurora's Psybeam while the rest scattered around and shot towards Aurora herself.

    Will-O-Wisp was an attack that lacked impact so it didn't do much damage, but it was so hot that it always caused a burn. Aurora learned about this attack as well as a great number of other battle moves from the battle lessons she used to receive in when she was still a princess. Of course her instructors never allowed her to actually fight, not even a practice battle. They did however let her practice her moves by lifting boulders with Psychic, shooting Psybeam at launched, clay Pidgey, etc. Still, they had never allowed her to fight because they thought that she'd never need to. Obviously, they were wrong.

    Aurora closed her eyes to brace for the Will-O-Wisp...but...


    She opened her eyes and saw the Braixen looking furiously at her. Aurora looked at her body, then to the left, and then to the right, confused. She turned around and saw small, pinkish-bluish embers fading away behind her on the snowy roof. She knew that Will-O-Wisp wasn't known for its accuracy, but she guessed that the move itself was not the only reason why the Braixen missed her.

    The Braixen growled "Arceus damn it, hold still already!"

    Aurora smiled "Or maybe you're just too drunk to aim properly."

    The Braixen screamed again and fired Flamethrower at the roof so that a wave of flame came at Aurora. Aurora shot Psybeam at the approaching wave of fire which created an opening in the wave. Seizing the opportunity, she jumped through the hole, used Double Team, and charged at the Braixen. The Braixen panicked and shot multiple Will-O-Wisp at the Espeon copies to defend.


    Many copies were quickly destroyed by the flames until only two remained, that meant that one of them were Aurora. Fortunately for Aurora, she was now very close to the Braixen. Fortunately for the Braixen, she had two flames of her Will-O-Wisp left. One Aurora ran ahead while the second ran right behind her. The Braixen saw that the real Aurora was the one running behind the first one so she shot one of her flames at the Aurora in front. The Aurora at the fore blew up in a puff of dust so the Braixen shot her last Will-O-Wisp flame at the real Aurora, but she missed. Aurora had hidden behind the leftover dust of her copy and leapt up to evade the last attack that she knew would shoot for her. In the air, she charged up Psybeam for a critical hit and shouted with determination.

    "I've got you now!"

    "That's what you think!"

    The Braixen used Fire Spin and waved her twig back and forth in a zigzag pattern to create a fire wall. Aurora shot the Psybeam but it splashed harmlessly on the wall. As she fell, the Braixen threw the fire wall at her and the flames enveloped her, burning every inch of her body.


    Aurora fell on the roof and lay on her side in burning pain, beaten. The Braixen walked up her defeated opponent, grabbed her around the throat, and lifted her off the ground. At that moment the Fire Spin had ended and the two were left in the dark of the roof. The Braixen raised the twig to Aurora's face with a Flamethrower both to finish her off and to see her face with the light from the fire. The pained look on Aurora's face was too appealing for the Braixen to let up so she decided to payback Aurora with a taunt before she finished her off.

    "Too bad your friend isn't here to save you." the Braixen tightened her grip around Aurora's throat "You can't even beat a "too drunk to aim properly" girl like me."

    Aurora grabbed at the Braixen's arm and struggled out "No...I don't...need him...because...she will beat you."

    The Braixen gave a confused look and was about to ask who "she" was before Aurora exploded into a cloud of dust in her hand.

    "A copy?!"

    That was all the Braixen managed to say before a brick suddenly hit her over the head, knocking her out.

    The brick was then discarded as the real Aurora, who stood right behind the Braixen, ended her Psychic. Before she used Double Team, Aurora's Psybeam had pierced a hole through not only the 'Flamethrower wave', but also the edge of the Fire Spin behind the Braixen. Aurora had used Double Team to distract the Braixen and snuck out of the flaming trap of the Braixen's Fire Spin. Then all she had to do was wait until the right moment, and then receive her 'hard' earned victory.

    Aurora was right about to say something cool to end her victory rush but stopped when she heard clapping behind her. Kyuso sat at the edge of the roof with his mouth wide open. There was a look of amazed innocence on his face.

    "Awesome Aurora, you didn't even have to use an attack to finish her!"


    To put it simply, the Combusken did not take Kyuso's insult well. He roared in a rage and leapt at Kyuso with a midair Double Kick. Kyuso saw the attack a second before it happened and slid under the Combusken. He quickly spun around and fired a Confuse Ray at the Combusken, which hit. The Combusken managed to land on his feet but almost tipped over. He tried to turn around to face Kyuso but he was already drunk along with confused from Kyuso's attack so instead he spun a whole 360°.

    Next, Kyuso fired Screech at the Combusken and again landed a clean hit. The force of the Screech was so powerful it swept the Combusken off his feet, flipped him several times, and threw him down the alley until he was out of its range. The Combusken landed in a dizzy heap halfway down the alley with his breath knocked out of him, disoriented, and unsure of what exactly had hit him. He tried to stand back up, but fell over halfway and he only managed to roll from his back onto his chest.

    Kyuso smirked at the sight of the Combusken who seemed like such a serious threat just a few seconds before. He was originally going to go all out on the Combusken but now he wasn't so sure. The Combusken seemed like he was moving so slow to Kyuso, as if he was moving in slow-motion. Even with the type disadvantage, he had already reduced his current enemy into a pile of...well...this. In a word, the Combusken was 'pathetic'. He had seemed so intimidating and dangerous before, but now Kyuso knew that he was just all talk.

    Kyuso walked leisurely down the alley towards the Combusken.

    The Combusken saw multiple Kyuso(s) slowly approaching him and he crawled onto all fours to try and get up. He rose unsteadily to his feet and faced the general direction of the Umbreon to attack with Flamethrower. Before he could even shoot the flames out of his mouth, Kyuso instantly shot Screech which blasted him off his feet, flipped him over several more times, and sent him flying to the other end of the alley. The Combusken landed at the other end of the alley and Kyuso resumed walking calmly towards the Combusken.

    The Combucken suddenly turned to his side and threw up much of the alcohol he had previously consumed. When Kyuso reached the end of the alley, he stood next to the Combusken and waited for him to finish releasing the contents of his stomach. When the Combusken finished, he glared up at Kyuso who simply scoffed at the glare. He tried to rise to his feet and Kyuso let him.

    "You little bastard," the Combusken drew back a claw "I'm gonna kill you!"

    Kyuso saw the Power-Up Punch coming at him, crouched, and raised his paw in defense. He caught and directed the Power-Up Punch past him, and head butted the Combusken in the gut with Feint Attack. The Combusken doubled over in pain so Kyuso slid past him, drew back a charged Assurance, and slammed the Combusken's back so that he flew back to the middle of the alley.

    The Combusken recovered a little faster so Kyuso judged that the confusion had worn off by now. The Combusken got up to his feet, fired Flamethrower, and surprisingly started to run away down the alley. Kyuso simply stepped to the side, avoided the attack, and sprinted after the escaping Combusken. Amazingly for an Umbreon, Kyuso caught up to the Combusken before he could exit the alley, tackled him down to the ground, and mounted him. Since the Combusken lay on his chest, there was little he could do to defend himself as Kyuso rained down attack after attack.

    The Combusken was also a Fighting-type besides a Fire-type so Kyuso's Dark-type attacks shouldn't have had much effect. However, there was no way that his cries of pain told that he took comfort in that fact. The Umbreon struck down many Feint Attack and Assurance attacks at the back of the Combusken's head, shoulders, and neck. Again and again and again he smashed down on his fallen enemy.




    "I'LL KILL YOU!"




    "STOP IT!"


    Blood was now evidently spilling out with each strike. Yet Kyuso did not stop striking down, instead he only struck down harder. To him, the Combusken was almost done for and that meant that victory was close...all he had to do to get it was hit harder. The Combusken had stopped struggling all of a sudden. Kyuso raised his paw but then set it down when he didn't feel any more struggling. He looked down at the still Combusken for a while and then waited. And waited. And still the Combusken did not move...

    "*Pant Pant* Ha!" Kyuso breathed out.

    He looked around the alley as if looking for someone, anyone as a witness to his accomplishment but obviously there was no one. He gave a satisfied chuckle, closed his eyes, and sucked in a cool breath of air to calm down from the battle. And eventually he calmed down.

    And when he did, he opened his eyes...

    ...and he looked down.

    Now that he had calmed down, he looked down at the Combusken in a different view. He was still on top of his beaten foe who laid still and silent below him. Kyuso suddenly had a bad thought so he quickly got off of the Combusken, flipped him over, and put his ear to his chest. There. He heard it. A heartbeat. Proof that the Combusken was still alive.

    Thank Arceus!

    Kyuso rose up and then looked at his fore paws. They were covered in red liquid. Some kind of thick and sticky red liquid that had a strongly unpleasant smell. He wondered how he got himself so dirty in a fight and looked back at the Combusken. He saw the same red liquid all over the Combusken's body. Also, the more he looked, the more blood spilt out of the Combusken's wounds. Yes, he was sure that this was blood now. So if this was blood, the Combusken's blood, and it was all over Kyuso's paws, then that must have meant that...

    Kyuso stiffened up and gasped. He did this. It didn't seem to register to him at first but now he understood. He had caused this. The blood on his paws were not his own and he was responsible for it being there. He had...beaten this Combusken to a bleeding pulp.

    "No...No...I...I can't have...but...I..."

    He jumped back from the Combusken in horror.

    "Omigosh. Omigosh. Omigosh." He was trembling now "OK, calm down Kyuso. Just calm the hell down. This was just self-defense. He started it and you ended it, plain and simple. You just went a little overboard that's all."

    He still shook with fear.

    "...I need to clean this off. Where's water? Where's water?! I need something to-"

    He quickly looked around and found a patch of snow. Stuffing his mouth with snow, Kyuso crunched the snow and waited for the snow to melt in his mouth before he spat it onto his paws and tried his best to clean all the blood off. When he finished, he looked up suddenly and figured that Aurora was still fighting so he ran out of the alley, and yelled for help. After making sure that someone heard him (he saw a trainer with his Mudkip approach), he jumped on top of a Dumpster and climbed up the fire escape after Aurora. He needed to intercept her so that she didn't come down and see the mess he made.

    A.N. Oh by the way, I went back and fixed the previous chapters' dates for anyone who couldn't keep up with the story's timeline without them. Now every chapter has dates to help clarify when exactly what is happening.
  4. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Instead of wasting all of our time with an excuse as to why I was late, how about I cut you all a deal and give you a preview to Ch. 25 at the end of all this? That sounds fair to me. Thanks for not flaming me while I was late!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 24

    December 20 [5 days before Christmas]

    Kyuso teleported into the so-called "Crimson Base" with a shiver. He felt like he was disassembled and then reassembled violently fast, like in one of those LEGO commercials he saw on T.V. After shaking his fur several times, he opened his eyes to make sure that everything was where it should be. He inspected his paws and tail twice before finally being satisfied with the state of his body. Finally, he looked up and saw "Crimson Base".

    What the hell?!

    He stood on a road of cobblestones that stretched far into the distance. At one side of the road there were tall cliffs that rose intimidatingly high. There were also several shacks scattered here and there around the area. There were no trees at all, but there was plenty of sand. The sky above him was super clear, and there wasn't a cloud in sight. Being December, he expected to see plenty of snow, but he saw none at all. Also, not only did the air feel slightly warmer here, it also smelled salty.

    "What are we doing at the beach?" he finally asked.

    Kyuso heard a voice call out next to him "Well for one, dragging this guy to our Crew Room. C'mon man lift him up!"

    He looked to his right and saw Flash standing next to him. He was struggling to lift Lance in between them by himself. Relating to what Flash had said, Lance was pretty heavily built, and very powerful, so Kyuso resumed helping Flash.

    Claire walked up to Kyuso's left side and smiled "Welcome to Crimson Base Kyuso."

    Honestly, Claire seemed a little too cheery for Kyuso who assumed that she was just an airhead, but she had definitely proved him wrong. She was the only reason they had all managed to get here after all. That 'blood show' that Kyuso witnessed was disgusting initially, but he respected Claire now for it.

    I've got to watch out for this deceitful Sylveon he had decided.

    Claire walked in front of the two.

    "We should really get Lance back so that he can rest." She advised.

    Kyuso was still trying to absorb everything that had occurred to him so he just nodded and moved forward.

    Flash suddenly spoke up "Claire, I know you teased him before but this time...Arceus, that was both terrible and awesome."

    "I know, it was awesome wasn't it? I say he should've behaved while we were on a mission."

    "Boy is he going to be pissed when he wakes up."

    "Come on Flash, I thought you loved to see me pull this kind of stuff!"

    "I'm just saying that when he wakes up, he's going to go raging on a certain someone. Not me because I wasn't involved. Not you because he would never do that; he'd probably even forgive you. So that only leaves our new friend here!"

    Kyuso gulped.

    "Relax Kyuso." Claire said "I won't let him go crazy on you like that again. If he does, I can just 'calm him down' again."

    "That's a dangerous look you have" Kyuso said "So you've done this frequently I'm guessing?"

    Flash interrupted "Not this exactly, but this kind of stuff, yeah. Actually, this was her first time attacking Lance, and with that attack too. And it was also her first time using it in 'close-range' combat if you know what I mean."

    What a terrifying move Kyuso thought.

    "Here we are!" Claire declared.

    Flash stopped him "Thanks Kyuso, I've got him from here."

    They had walked up to a wooden shack with open windows and a roof of palm tree leaves. It was decorated with a few seashells that hung on strings. Also, it looked like someone had recently tried (and failed) to make a sand castle in front of the shack. It looked pleasantly small and comfy to Kyuso. Claire and Flash, along with Lance, walked into a warm room with no flooring. The floor of the shack was basically the beach itself and Kyuso hesitated before he entered the shack.

    Claire turned back to him "What's the matter? Is this your first time stepping on sand?"

    Kyuso nodded nervously, but he assured her that he'll come right in. It was just sand after all, not hot lava or spikes! He raised his right forepaw over the new ground he was about to step onto, and then touched the sand. The sand felt wierdly sticky underneath Kyuso's paws. It contrasted completely from the firm solid ground he was used to standing on like grass, dirt, or concrete. He kind of felt like he was going to slowly sink into the ground and become one with the sand.

    Claire gestured to his feet "So how is it?"

    It was hard for him to find the right word, but in the end, he finally settled with...


    "Well you'll get used to it and over time, even enjoy it" she gave him a wink "Everyone loves the beach after all."


    After Lance was set down to rest inside the Crew Room, Claire and Flash led Kyuso to a place they called the "Pyroar Guild".

    "It's just the cliff wall." Kyuso observed.

    Flash called out "Keeper Onyx, can we enter the Guild?"

    Kyuso felt the sand tremble, looked down instantly, and crouched.

    I knew sand was "unreliable"!

    Flash tapped his shoulder "Calm down and look up man."

    He looked up and found the source of the trembling. A huge section of the cliff wall was missing and opened up to reveal a cove. An Onyx head glared down at the three of them but especially Kyuso. His voice boomed out like a cannon.


    Holy huge!

    "Just someone we rescued from a couple of hunters when we were strolling through the forest. Lance freaked out about him though so we've brought him here to discuss what to do with him with Guildmaster Pyroar."


    I didn't do it!

    Claire spoke up "I sorta had to 'stop' him from slashing at our Umbreon friend here."


    I swear to Arceus that I'm not a criminal!

    "You got it, thanks Keeper Onyx!" Flash said.

    The Onyx moved aside, allowing them to enter the so-called "Guild". The whole time, Kyuso refused to look up, but he could feel a menacing glare directed at him from the Onyx so he just continued walking. When they walked further into the cave, he heard the Onyx move back into position to seal up the cove entrance. Only now that he was farther away from the Onyx, Kyuso dared to speak his mind.

    "Who was that?"

    Claire answered "Oh that was Keeper Onyx. He's the sole guardian of the Pyroar Guild entrance. Don't worry, he seems like a big brute but he's got a soft heart. At least that's what I'd like to think, hehe..."

    "Does he have a name?"

    Flash spoke "Of course, but he doesn't talk much and so nobody knows his name. Nobody except Guildmaster Pyroar and Sage Slowking of course."

    "And what's this Pyroar's name?"

    "Nobody knows except Keeper Onyx and Sage Slowking."

    "And let me guess, nobody knows this Slowking's name-"

    "-Except for Keeper Onyx and Guildmaster Pyroar. They were all members of "Team Victory", a Guildmaster Rank Team back in the old days. Hey, maybe you can join our team after this is all over."

    "I kind of caught some of what you were saying, but you do sound ambitious which is good I guess. First though, let's find out whether or not I'm destined to kill all of you."

    "Okay, we're here." Claire interrupted "Kyuso, are you ready?'

    Kyuso looked up from his conversation with Flash and saw the cove branch off into three directions. Each of the entrances were covered with drapes so he couldn't see anything. The left entrance was covered with a blue drape, and he heard some excited chatter behind it. The right entrance had a green drape over it and although it was faint, he could smell something good behind it (clam chowder maybe?). The middle entrance had red drape over it, but it was completely silent and no smell could be detected beyond it. It was also the way that Claire was mentioning to.

    Kyuso ignored his curiosity and swallowed "Let's go."

    They brushed past the red drape.

    "Excuse us Guildmaster Pyroar," Flash approached the end of the room "but we sort of have a situation."

    He was a little surprised to say in the least. Kyuso was expecting something more like...

    As the trio stepped into the throne room of the hero, the two experienced Jolteon and Sylveon led the Umbreon newcomer towards the center, where judgement would be passed upon him. Flaming torches with huge blazes of fire were lined all around the room. Each step towards the flaming hero, known only as Guildmaster Pyroar, brought the Umbreon lower in elevation, and it was too late for him to take note that the room sloped down towards its center, for he already stood at the room's core. He was now forced to crane his neck up to look up into the eyes of the Pyroar; full of ancient wisdom and fresh battle senses. He would be the Umbreon's judge, jury, and executioner.

    ...so this was extremely anti-climatic. Or maybe he just had an overactive imagination.

    "*mumble mumble* Wha...Ahem! Well then don't just stand there, come one in!"

    The room was lit by hundred of little candles that surrounded the circular room in rows of ten. There were a few bean bags chairs in the room close to the center so that they wouldn't tip over any candles, and to create a feeling of 'together-ness'. The Pyroar sat in the back middle-ish in his own bean bag chair with the other bean bag chairs before him. Behind him to his right sat a Slowking at a metalic chair and desk that contrasted completly with the serene feel of the room. The three of them stayed standing though.

    Also, the Pyroar had sunglasses on his head.

    "You were sleeping again ever-vigilant Guildmaster Pyroar." Flash noted sarcastically.

    "At my age, you will too Flash."

    "You're only middle-age! Stop being so tired all the time."

    "Ah whatever, you'll understand. So, what can I help you guys with? And where's Lance?"

    Claire smirked "He was feeling a little crabby so I put him to bed and 'kissed' him goodnight."

    Guildmaster Pyroar whooped with joy "Hah! I told you! Pay up honorable Sage Slowking."

    The Slowking grumbled, as if in defeat, and tossed Guildmaster Pyroar an apple..

    Guildmaster Pyroar caught it between his teeth and laughed "An they ca ya a say."

    A little too confused for words, Kyuso had awkwardly stood there, silent, the whole time behind Flash and Claire. After Guildmaster Pyroar took his first bite of the apple, he finally took notice of Kyuso and covered his maw with his paw as he chewed.

    "An who are you m Unvreon frien?"

    "M-my name is Kyuso?"

    "*swallow* Is it? You don't sound too sure."

    "He's the reason we came to see you Guildmaster Pyroar. Or more specifically, Sage Slowking."

    "Ah is that right?" Guildmaster Pyroar took another bite.

    "Yeah" Kyuso answered with more confidence.

    "Well you three can talk to him I suppose but before you go, I'd like to play a little game with Kyuso."


    "A game?" Flash and Claire asked simultaneously.

    He covered his mouth once more "Yesh, a game, i thash alrigh wi you?"

    "...Sure" Kyuso answed warily.

    The Pyroar swallowed "Okay, then I'll say a word and then you say the first word that comes to your mind, but only one word. Ready?"


    "Woah you've already started! *Grin* You're good, I'll have to try extra hard to beat you."


    "Okay, here we go for realsies. Beach."






    "*Chuckle* Is that why you are a-"


    "Okay, uhh. Me."







    "Evil." !

    "*Smile* I think that's checkmate my friend. *Bite* Showwy, maybe net tie."

    Claire spoke up "Wait Guildmaster Pyroar. How did you know about the Magikarp?"

    "They are sim friens I know. They patol the rivuh in the fowesh tha you, Fash, an Wance scouted today. They eshplained evythin to m lass nigh. *swallow* Now don't you three have something to discuss with Sage Slowking?"

    The three merely nodded and walked closer to the Slowking at the desk table. They saw that he was writing something into a book, but what, they did not find out for he closed it immediately as they approached. He greeted them with a warm smile and spoke.

    "So you three needed something from me?"

    Flash replied "Yes Sage Slowking. When we met him, we wondered whether Kyuso is the one, and we are still not sure. Is Kyuso really the one from your prophecy?"

    "Well I guess I could take a peak. Approach me Kyuso, and let me reveal to you your destiny!"

    Overly dramatic this one "Uh, sure."

    Sage Slowking pushed back his chair and reached out for Kyuso with his hands. Kyuso went around the table, sat, and placed his paws on top of the Slowking's hands. The two Pokémon had only touched for a second and they instantly saw a tiny, pink light zap between them. Kyuso didn't feel a thing, but he noticed that Sage Slowking had pulled back a little. He guessed that it was some sort of Psychic-type effect before Sage Slowking spoke.

    "Okay so I was both wrong and right."

    "What do you mean?"

    "As I told Claire, Flash, and Lance, the one will be a figure of balck and yellow with red eyes. In this case, you are both the one and also not the one."


    "Although, I was right about the appearance, now the destiny of the one has changed. It is very strange; this change of destiny seems like it was made long ago. Very long ago. In fact, it seems like this change in destiny was made almost right after I had viewed the original version. How did I miss this, I do not know."

    "What are you saying? When did you see the original version of the "one's" destiny?"

    "Exactly at the start of New Year's Day, sixteen years ago."


    Flash shook Kyuso's shoulder "Hey man, you okay?"

    Claire patted his back "Kyuso, are you alright?"

    Sage Slowking spoke "Young one, are you well? What is the matter?"

    Guildmaster Pyroar snored.

    Sixteen years. Sixteen years to the date. Right on my birthdate, down to the exact second. That's crazy! This is insane! What does this "Sage" know about me anyway? Nothing that's what. He can't even win a bet against a lazy Pyroar! If he's inaccurate like that, he'll definitely be wrong about me. No! Not me, the ! I am not some bastard destined for destruction. I have never been, and will never become something like that!

    Kyuso shook himself out of his rapid thoughts and came back to his surroundings.

    "What did the original prophecy show?" he quickly asked Sage Slowking.

    Sage Slowking cleared his throat "It revealed that the one would cause the death of millions, both humans and Pokémon alike, and in the process, the death and rebirth of Earth itself. The one would start by leading Crimson Base to its ultimate destruction, along with many of its neighboring Bases."

    "...And...what does the new prohecy say?"

    "It showed the one either causing all of that...or not."

    "...Wh-What do mean "or not"? Don't joke about this!"

    "Well...uhh...do you really, I mean really, wish to know more specifically?"

    "O-Of course! I mean, it is a small possibility, but it's not like I'm actually the one. I mean, there are other Umbreon besides me. Maybe even other Pokémon, black and yellow with red eyes, besides Umbreon."

    "I'm guessing that not all are "intensely powerful" as you though."


    "How is Guildmaster Pyroar still sleeping through this?!" Flash interrupted.

    "Okay okay! The other path showed, and please don't overeact because to me, you seem like the type who can't stand this category of news. But, the other path showed the one, happy, with a life, with a wife and child, surrounded by friends, and comfortable. Although like you said, there is a strong possibility that it's not you! So...good luck."


    Eight seonds passed before Kyuso came back to reality.

    "...So that's it? You tell me that I will either be, I mean the one! The one will either be the destroyer of everything, or end up settling down with family. Is that it? And you tell me good luck?"

    "Yes, that is correct.."

    "*Sigh* So is that it? Is that all you can tell me about the "one"?"

    "Oh there's actually one more thing!"

    "Yeah?" Kyuso asked hopefully.

    Sage Slowking pulled out a copy of a paper from a folder next to him. After he filled it out and signed it, he handed Kyuso the paper.

    "Your bill."

    "My b-You're charging me for this?!" Kyuso was astonished "And 2000P too? That's ridiculous! I'm a Pokémon; I'll never be able to get my own money, much less this much!"

    "Relax Kyuso, it was a joke." Claire said before discreetly glaring at Sage Slowking.

    Sage Slowking merely smiled.

    Suddenly, the drapes to the room flapped open and a Pelipper rushed into the room. She was out of breath and trying her best to say something. Guildmaster Pyroar woke up again at the appearance of the Pelipper and asked what she wanted.

    "*PANT* Urgent *PANT PANT* warning *PANT* incoming *PANT PANT* Rook!"

    "Rook?" Kyuso asked "What "rook" is she talking about? A chess piece "rook"?"

    Sage Slowking answered "No. Rook, the Black Gale. He's a Honchkrow that leads a pack of Murkrow and Honchkrow, and together they all fly over the land, targeting Rescue Bases to carry out all sorts of crimes. They mainly stick to pillaging, and they are very strong and organized. They just recently declared themselves as members of Black Sky and their leader, Rook, has been on our list of wanted criminals for over two months now."

    This is my chance! "Let me help." Kyuso declared.


    "Let me help you defend your Base from these criminals. I've left my own home for only a couple of days now. I've experienced a bit of the brutality of the world since then. When I needed help, all of you came to me, so now let me repay my debt. Let me help you and in return, could you consider allowing me to join a "Team" here at "Crimson Base"? I honestly have nowhere else to go."

    Guildmaster Pyroar gave a challenging smile and answered "If you've got the stuff, then let's see what you're made of Umbreon. Ask me that again after you've proven yourself to us, but just for now, welcome aboard Kyuso!"

  5. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Pretty short chapter this time. I needed a break from writing such long chapters. After all, I'm just a human, but if I could choose any one Pokémon to become, guess which one I'd choose ;). Anyway, this chapter doesn't have much, but I think it's good to have lots of these 'calm' chapters.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 25

    December 30 [Present Day]

    "Awesome Aurora, you didn't even have to use an attack to finish her!"

    Now her first instinct was to smile and thank him for the compliment, but Aurora held back and frowned instead. She had just defeated her opponent, but Kyuso was now here spectating her from a safe distance. Not only that, he had climbed all the way up the fire escape to get here. That could only mean that he already finished his fight a long time ago!

    "Wh-what are you doing just standing there?" was all she could manage out.

    He walked up to her "I just got here to see the end. That brick must've hurt!"

    "Well okay, but what about your guy? Is he down for the count?"


    She caught his hesitation "What's the matter? Did you beat him too badly or-"

    "No, it's just that..." Oh shit, I didn't think this through!

    Aurora noticed that he looked distracted so she peered at him a little and read his emotions. She saw apprehension, fear, guilt, and for some reason, a wave of annoyan-

    "Geez will you please quit it with that kind of stuff?!" Kyuso barked.

    "Then what's the matter with you? Talk to me!"

    "It's just that...down in the alley..." Damn it, just tell her already!

    "What is it? It's okay, you can tell me."

    "...Okay, I'll just be honest with you, but you have to promise not to get too angry at me okay? I couldn't help it at the time."

    "I promise I'll try my very best."

    "Okay. When I was down there, I had just beaten the Combusken when a trainer and his Mudkip were passing by. They saw me take down the Combusken and it looked really bad. I tried to explain but they freaked out and ran for the police station. So then I tried to catch up to them to calm them down, but that looked even worse. Then Mudkip even attacked me with Water Gun. That's why...I may have gotten us in trouble. Or maybe not; it's really dark so maybe he only saw a dark shape, and not an Umbreon!"

    She gave him a criticizing look "...That's it?"

    "This is serious! It's possible I'll be wanted for how bad that looked! It must've looked like I was beating up an innocent Combusken!"

    "Except you didn't. All we did was defend ourselves. I mean it's not like you beat the life out of him."


    "Are you alright? You're still radiating a lot of negative feelings. Your guilt is growing too." she gave him a suspicious look "You didn't lie to me just now did you?"

    "No, it's just that I worry about having to explain all of this to my family when I get home. Arceus knows how much Mason is going to be pissed just from seeing me back home."

    Kyuso saw a quizzical look on Aurora's face and told her that he'd tell her more about his family later. Right now wasn't the time for idle chit chat, they had to move away from here before the trainer really did bring more people to this location. But first, Kyuso decided to calm his uneasiness. He walked over to where the Braxien lay unconscious and-

    "What're you doing?"

    "I'm going to carry her down to the alley."

    He got under the Braxien and easily lifted her up onto his back. She was the same size he was but only around half his weight, so he had no trouble lifting her up. Aurora however, was not amused and grew flustered instantly.

    "Wh-Wh-Why?! She tried to kill me!"

    "Yes, but from a bullet to a rock, a blow to the head can result in death. You just knocked her out with a brick so I'm just taking precautions. Even though she was after us, that's definitely no reason to just leave her like this."

    "Well in that case, I'll just carry her down with Psychic. It'll be easier for me."

    Kyuso felt the Braxien on his back getting lighter "No!"

    Kyuso couldn't let Aurora go down the alley. If she did, then she would see up close what was left of the Combusken for sure. He would then have to explain why he lied to her, and also why it felt so 'good' while he was doing what he did. He could already imagine her running away from him in disgust, and he couldn't take that chance. The last thing he wanted right now was to have to chase her down in this weather and at this time.

    "Why, what's the matter?"

    "Er...even at night, you might be seen with your bright pink fur. I should go since if anyone comes, they're less likely to see me than you with my black fur. We don't want both me and you to be wanted by the police, do we?"


    "It'll be okay. I'll be right back, deal?" Kyuso climbed over the roof's edge before Aurora could answer. I think I sold that pretty well.

    He couldn't climb the ladder like this so he had to jump down onto the fire escape below. He fell through the air for half a second before he landed on the icy-cold metal platform with a grunt. The Braxien on his back slipped off of his back a bit, so he adjusted her to make sure she didn't fall off. He went down the stairs of the fire secape then, but his progress was slowed for obvious reasons. At the bottom of the fire escape, he was stopped by an obvious problem.

    Uh oh. Now how am I supposed to do this exactly?

    The bottom of the fire escape had to at least 5 meters from the ground. Getting down wouldn't have been a problem with just him, but he had to ensure that the Braxien didn't fall off of him in the process. He could fall down to the dumpster but that still only stopped his fall by about 1 meter, and he lost his confidence at this point. But...

    ...maybe I can...

    He stood up on two hind legs and spun around so that the Braxien was now lying on his chest, with her head over his right shoulder, rather than his back. Balancing like this was a bit tricky but he was sure he could make the little stunt that he had in mind work. This position though, was completely embarrassing. He was glad that Aurora wasn't here to see this.

    "Alright, here we go." he muttered to himself.

    Kyuso hugged the Braxien around the waist, and jumped backwards off the fire escape. The sensation of falling through the air made him gasp, but it ended quicky as they landed on his target, the patch of snow he used earlier. He landed in the snow on his back with a puff. The Braxien landed on top of him since that was the position she fell though the air in. Kyuso made to turn over but stopped in his tracks.

    Uh oh.

    In the position he was in now, he was staring straight up at the sky, or more specifically, at Aurora who was staring back down at him.

    Kyuso couldn't look away and felt his face growing hot. She saw the whole thing!

    He quickly turned over so that the Braxien rolled off him, dragged her over next to the Combusken, and climbed back up to the roof as fast as he could.


    December 31


    "Aurora wake up. Time to go."

    "Nnn, okay."

    The sun had just peaked over the horizon now and the park looked beautiful in the morning to Kyuso. The snow, trees, and clouds had a calming effect, much different from the situation last night. When he had came back up to Aurora, she was pouting and was about to say something but he stopped her before she could get a word out. He defused the whole situation in exactly ten seconds which seemed incredible to him at the time.


    ["Hey I'm back. Well it looks like there was no problem in bringing her down since that's the only reason why I went back down. To tell you the truth it was pretty easy since I already tried that when I was saving your life from the Dustox. You remember that silly situation right?"]


    I guess my people skills are getting a little better...I guess.

    Aurora sat up with her eyes still sleepily closed and stuffed her face in some snow a few feet away from where they slept. They decided to sleep at the same park that Aurora jumped in when they were running from their pursuers. She really couldn't complain since Kyuso was the the one in charge of their journey, but once again they had to switch their sleeping holes after only a few minutes of settling into them.

    ["Kyuso, I'm kind of cold. Can we please sleep a little closer?"]

    ["No. And I thought made that point clear a few days ago."]

    ["Come on, please! I'm going to freeze my tail off out here!"]

    ["...*SIGH* Fine, but we're not going to do that. Instead, switch with me again.]

    ["Yes! Thank you!"]

    ["Yeah yeah, hey, get off of me! Let go! Stop glomping me, that's way too cliche!"]

    ["Hehe, sorry."]

    ["Such a drama queen. Just go to sleep."]

    ["Alright. Mmm, toasty warm."]

    Kyuso finished off his second Chesto Berry for breakfast and decided to save the rest. That whole situation was annoying to him at the time, but for some reason, he now looked back at that memory with fondness. He didn't think too hard about it at the time, but now he realised why he complied to her wish so easily.

    Heh, she reminded me of Jun a little last night.

    "Woo, that wakes you up! Good morning Kyuso."

    "You can call it that. Ready to go?"

    "Just give me a minute to eat something" she reached into her bag "Wait, where are we going?"

    "To the mall; we're going to buy some clothes."


    "I probably could've worded that better. Anyway, don't get too ahead of yourself. We're just going to get something simple, just to disguise ourselves so that you stop getting hit on, and I don't get arrested. That is if I'm wanted."


    "How on Earth is that "not flashy"?"

    When the two of them reached a cheap clothing store with sales, they split up towards their own gender sections in the store. With only a little over 2000P each, they couldn't afford to go into the big shopping mall that Aurora was drawn to (he had to drag her away from it). So now, they were in this store trying on clothes. No. Aurora was still trying them on. The goal was to grab something that hid primarily their faces, and not attract attention. Kyuso just grabbed a random blue, hooded poncho that sold for about 1000P. He was now stuck outside the women's changing rooms, judging (and rejecting) the different clothes that Aurora came out with.

    The Espeon tossed her head to the side "Hmph, you're impossible!"

    Aurora had just came out with a white winter jacket with fur lining around the neck. Since it was made for little human kids, she was able to wear the sleaves but Kyuso thought that it was unnecessary, made her look more attractive, and it also sold for about 1500P.

    "I'm telling you to just put this on!" he held up a red, hooded poncho that he found in the women's section "We're not here to have fun remember?"

    "Rrr, fine. But only because that was the last one!"

    Aurora went back into the changing room and Kyuso let out a sigh of exasperation. He sat down and looked at a pink Hello Skitty watch that was on sale for 50% off. The time read 10 a.m., and the sign in front of the store said that the store would close at noon for New Year's. He wasn't worried about the store hours though. No, he just wanted to cover as much ground as possible so that he could get home soon. Although Aurora was obviously making that goal difficult for him now. He still didn't know whether if his family would believe him when he would tell them the 'truth', and he still wasn't sure how to tell them. His first priority was to get home so he would focus on that for now.

    "How's this?" asked an annoyed voice.

    Aurora came out wearing the poncho Kyuso gave her, but now he was very anxious to move so he just glanced over her appearance.

    "Good. Now let's go pay and get out of here."


    Aurora's poncho turned out to cost only half as much as Kyuso's. In the end, she had 1500P, and he held onto 1000P. They had been walking through the city for a good hour after Kyuso asked for directions from a passing Starly. During that time, Aurora was struggling (furiously) to put on her poncho, so Kyuso had to come over and help her after he finished talking with the Starly. They were now wearing the clothes they bought with their hoods down, covering their face.

    "Come on, just tell me where we're going already!" Aurora moaned tiredly from behind Kyuso.

    "I've lost count so for the something-th-time, you'll see when we get there." Kyuso replied in a monotonous tone.

    He suddenly stopped.

    "*Bump* Ouch!" Aurora rubbed her left foreleg "Hey, why'd you stop?"

    "We're here."

    Aurora looked past him and saw something she had only got to see once during one her secret trips to the city. She now only caught a glance of it because of all the people in line were blocking her view. Still, she heard its wheels chugging along, its quiet screech as it slowed down on the tracks, and its horn blasting out the signature *WOO-WOOOO* of every train (in this case, an electric train). Her face lit up so brightly, it made Kyuso's heart beat a little faster just by looking at her.

    Aurora turned to him with an expectant smile "Is that a-Are we really-"

    He couldn't help but give a sheepish grin in return "All aboard."


    Zero had been tracking the Umbreon and Espeon only for a day now but already made excellent progress. Zero calculated that by tonight, they would all converge at the city that Pat claimed to be the cutoff point. It would be a close call but Zero decided that it was the only way the two could be found without risking the possibility of missing them. First thing was first though...

    It was time to catch a train.
  6. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Wow. Four weeks of no updates. Incredibly sorry. Super sorry. I really don't have any exuse for myself except that I suddenly had this 'reading fever' and blasted through five light novel volumes of SAO. I love how SAO II is continuing on with the "Early and Late" volume (the intro and ending songs are great too). Also, I just realized that I need to give as well as recieve so I'll read all your stories too. I'd like to thank Whitewolf03 for the numerous reviews I just counted. Finally, you might notice that this chapter is unusually bigger than the previous ones. That is true. So true that it needs a map (no fooling).

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 26

    December 31

    The two stood in the line to buy a train ticket. Kyuso had no particular preference on how to get home, as long as it was the quickest way. But seeing Aurora so excited to take a train caused him to think selfishly for this instant. When he saw her smile, he felt like his soul became a little bit lighter. Not that he really believed in that sort of thing, but how else could he explain this feeling inside him? He mentally thanked the Starly from before for suggesting the train.

    ["A train? Can we even get there in time before the next train leaves the station?"]

    ["You're in luck; the next train leaves at 11:30 and you can get there within an hour's walk. Right now it's around 10 so you can still make it."]

    [Thanks a bunch man."]

    ["...Uh, is she alright with that?"]

    ["What? Oh come on Aurora; just put your head through the hole!"]

    ["Hehehe, have a good New Year's Umbreon. *flap flap flap*"]

    ["No, it's not like that!"]

    Kyuso sighed "Of course that was unnecessary."

    Aurora turned away from the train "Hm? Did you say something?"

    "Er, no."

    "Oh, okay then. Oh jeez, I cannot wait to ride a train! But wait! Do we have enough to pay for a ticket?"

    At this moment, Kyuso flinched. Honestly, he hadn't thought that far ahead. He was so focused on the finding the fastest route to get home that he completely forgot about the cost of doing so. He, along with Aurora, nervously checked his bag and found the 1000P still there. After doing the same with her bag, they totaled up a sum of...2000P?

    "What the-Didn't you have like 500P more than this?" Kyuso asked Aurora.

    "No, I didn't. Where were you when we paid for our clothes?"

    "Uhh...I guess I was..."

    "Gosh, this is why I should hold onto all of our money. You're so bad with keeping track of stuff."

    He looked down, embarrassed "Sorry."

    "Alright tell me quick, where are we going?"

    "White Wave City."

    Aurora snatched up Kyuso's 1000P and added it to her 1000P. They were getting closer to the front of the line now and she could read on a hanging board that a single train ticket to White Wave City cost 2000P. She sucked in a breath and tried to find some way to resolve this bind that they were in. They didn't have enough money for two tickets, but they had just enough for one. The one who desperately needed to get home was Kyuso but Aurora made him promise her that they would stay together. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now she saw that it was actually slowing him down. She thought about breaking off their promise and giving the 2000P to Kyuso, but before she knew it, they were on-deck in the line. She really wanted to keep traveling alongside Kyuso, but she refused to do anything that would hinder a friend. Sadly, she turned around to give Kyuso the 2000P, until something behind him caught her eye. A human couple.

    She wrapped her tail around his "Quick, brush up next to me!"

    He jolted when from the tail grab "What are you-"

    "Shh, not so loud! Just follow my lead and go along with it!"

    They reached the front of the line where a young man behind a glass wall saw them. He pulled out a Poké Ball and upon opening it, a Chatot was released.

    "Two tickets for White Wave City." Aurora cheerfully asked the station clerk before lying against Kyuso's shoulder (he rested his cheek happily on her head).

    The Chatot spoke in human tongue to the station clerk "Two tickets for White Wave City."

    The station clerk responded predictably "That'll be 4000P."

    Aurora dropped her cheerful face and looked slightly distressed. She took her head off of Kyuso's shoulder, gave an expression of mild confusion to the station clerk, to Kyuso (who mimicked her somewhat), and back to the station clerk again. If she wanted to successfully pull this off, she needed to put the man completely at ease and leave no doubts in his mind that she and Kyuso were lovers.

    Aurora added a tiny bit of fear to the confusion "B-b-but we only have half of that!"

    Kyuso walked closer to the glass and spoke affirmatively "We were told that each ticket only cost 1000P."

    The Chatot relayed the message.

    "I-I'm sorry miss, mister, truly, but I'll have to ask you to step out of line then." the station clerk gulped.

    She added the last ingredient, desperation "Please, there must be something you can do!"

    Kyuso hugged and hid Aurora's head to his chest "Don't worry honey," he glared at the station clerk "I'm sure we'll figure something out..."


    "So explain to me how you came up with that save so spontaneously, please."

    Aurora and Kyuso had boarded the train after the station clerk caved in. Now they sat in the middle of the train's lead car, at the left side; Aurora sat in the window seat, and Kyuso sat in the aisle seat. It was actually very surprising since it seemed like the man was about to call for security. In the end though, he did give in and made an excuse, saying that he could afford to make a discreet exception for a "lovely New Year's couple". And now they were on their way at an excellent pace towards White Wave City.

    Aurora excitedly sat up straight in contrast to Kyuso "I just saw a couple acting all 'lovey-dovey' behind you back at the line and the idea just came to me."

    Kyuso closed his eyes, slouched in his seat, and leaned his head back. It shocked him like an Electric-type attack when Aurora wrapped her tail around his. What was even more outrageous was when she asked him to go along with a plan he had no clue about! Luckily, he saw enough T.V. to get what she was going at so everything worked out in the end. Sunlight was streaming through the window and it covered both of them in a warm, relaxing light, and Kyuso's eyes started to drop.

    He let out a sigh "Jeez Aurora, warn me a bit earlier before you pull something like that with me. *YAWN* It took me all of my energy just to keep up that charade."

    "Oh stop being so overdramatic. Let's just enjoy the ride!"

    It was a struggle just to keep his eyes open now "I'm not joking around. I really da fee kinda *YAWN* tired..."

    "He-Hey! How can you fall asleep right now? It's only noon!"

    The Umbreon had just felt completely drained all of a sudden and he knew that nothing could stop him from falling asleep now. He stopped trying to resist the fall of his eyes, and let them drop. His head drooped low and then his body went limp. To Aurora, his whole posture looked horrible, so she went over to him. She turned his body over to its side so that it rested comfortably, like how an Umbreon's should, and adjusted his head to rest on their seat.

    There, that's better.

    She looked out the train window and watched the snowy trees they passed by. Currently, the train was cutting through a forest of snow so the green and white blurred together to transfixed Aurora in some way. After ten minutes however, she had to look away because the swirling colors stressed her eyes too much. So then she just rested her eyes, and enjoyed the sunlight, letting it splash over her in content.

    "Being the "Sun Pokémon" sure does have its merits." she released a relaxed sigh "I don't see how life can get any better than thi-Eep!"

    Aurora's eyes jolted open and looked down when she felt something on her right hind leg. She froze up when she saw the Umbreon, which she adjusted several minutes ago, sleeping on her leg. He had crawled in his sleep, probably reflexively in search of a pillow, and settled his head on her leg. Aurora considered carefully slipping out from under him and using their bags as a pillow for him (she could sit on the seats on the other side of the table), but she didn't. Rather, she thought about why he decided to sit next to her at all instead of the seat opposite of her, across the table. Actually, he didn't even hesitate to sit next to her when they sat down. It was almost as if he didn't even think twice about what he was doing.

    Maybe he's starting to trust me more she concluded. Which is a good thing.

    If that was the case then she would assure that his trust did not go to waste on her.

    I'll give this to him this time. Arceus only knows what a rough couple of weeks he must've had. Besides, he really does look exhausted.

    She lightly played with his right ear for a bit, and giggled quietly. She saw that he was sleeping with his mouth slightly open. The fur on the top of his head and the back of his neck stuck out a little too, so she tried her best to gently pet the stubborn fur down. The sunlight lit up his relaxed face, which usually appeared tense and alert, and left the Umbreon with an almost innocent look.

    Aurora watched over Kyuso like this for eight hours, before she fell asleep for two.


    Kyuso sat up to stretch his limbs when he awoke "*YAWN* Oh man, I feel amazing!"

    The rejuvenated Umbreon had woken up from his slumber feeling so awesome that he felt that he could take on an army! Right then, the conductor was passing by him so he asked the conductor what time it was. The conductor released a Chatot from his Poké Ball and Kyuso repeated his question to the Chatot. Just like with the station clerk's Chatot, this Chatot mimicked Kyuso so that the conductor could

    The conductor pulled back his sleeve to check his watch "It's a little over ten o'clock. We'll be arriving at White Wave City by eleven." he gave Kyuso a warm smile "Have a happy New Year's Day."

    "Have a happy New Year's Day!" the conductor's Chatot cheerfully copied.

    Kyuso was caught off guard by the sudden kindness and was a little flustered too. Still, he did manage to say his thanks as the two walked away. Having a bit happier mood for once, Kyuso settled back down into his pillow with a slight smile...wait...pillow? He rose back up and turned around cautiously slow. Coming face to face with Aurora was something he already expected, but that still didn't mean he was immune to the shock from doing so. He guessed that her nervous look was what he also wore on his face, and he was suddenly reminded of an event just a couple of days ago.

    Timidly, he responded "Please don't slap me." and stepped back.

    Aurora shook her head and blinked "Ah, no wait!" she pulled his head back on her leg "You can keep sleeping if you'd like!"



    "Uhh, thanks but I think I'll pa-...wait...Did you say "keep" sleeping?"

    "Umm, yeah. But it was okay, and I had no problems with it! You were really tired after all so it was fine."

    Kyuso started to space out as he stopped to think. He did that. He had really done that! What was wrong with him? Here he was with a girl, who he met less than a week before, and he was using her as a lap pillow! And he was the one who had made the rule for no physical contact while the two slept. How hypocritical of him! He broke his own rule that he so strictly forced between them. While they were here, why didn't he invite her to take a nap on him?! They'd might as well just throw everything out the window now since-

    "Kyuso, enough! I already told you that it was fine," Aurora laughed "so calm down!"

    Nodding his head in surrender, he rested his head on her leg and slowed his breathing. He tried to relax and make peace with his inner self, but after ten seconds, he felt her pet his head. He instantly turned to her and tapped her forelegs twice.

    "Let me up. I've got to go wash my face."


    Ten hours. Ten hours of riding on this train and now they were less than an hour away from White wave City. Zero had chosen to sit at the back-left corner of the rear car. Being an S Rank Raider with 127 missions under the belt, Zero had gained plenty of discipline from missions that required stakeouts so patience was not an issue. Even so, it was good to stretch one's muscles before action so Zero took five minutes to do just that. Also, there was still a little less than an hour left before the train arrived at White Wave City so Zero decided to enjoy a little habit. A detailed reflection of the interior of the train was shown in all the windows, due to the bright light in the train and the dark night outside, so Zero turned to the closest one. Taking off the hood of the cloak, Zero stared into the eyes of Frost Glaceon, who stared right back.

    She leaned into the window to see herself. As Aurora mentioned a few times over the years, Frost was apparently "sexy as a celebrity". Frost...no...Zero knew this and made full use of her allure by getting plenty of R&R whenever she could. She had to keep her face and figure perfect so as to be seen as what people called these days, "ice queen". This sort of image was good for intimidation and seduction which were only boosted from Zero being a Glaceon. Her attractive image was a good asset to have, especially on missions, and to strengthen it, she took up on learning the move Captivate.

    From watching other Raiders, she saw that many of them learned Attract for obvious reasons. She would've attempted to learn it too if she hadn't noticed how much attention that particular move was "attracting" in the crime world. So instead, she went with Captivate, a weaker yet still effective move, and now she was even an expert with it. Now she was able to constantly radiate it as an 'aura' at will without being as conspicuous as a lighthouse.

    Unfortunately, this "ice queen" was on a mission on New Year's Eve when she instead preferred to be enjoying it with her best friend, the "dazzling princess". She would probably scold Frost for calling her a "princess".

    "*sigh* I'll just have to get this done quick and then bring Aurora a present."

    She didn't want to be here. She really didn't, but her employers Max and Pat had approached her just yesterday. She didn't want to have any discouragement on her file, especially something like "Missions Rejected: 1", so here she was. Why all of a sudden those two came to her at this time she didn't know. It wasn't her job to know (unless it involved her). Raiders were only to be hired, and then paid. The whole thing seemed a little too vague for her liking. She would rather be hanging out with Aurora right now. But she couldn't just turn down the mission. Yet friends were important too, especially a best/real/only/trusted/first friend.

    "...Argh, I can't focus like this!"

    Frost pulled her hood back on, handing the reins back over to Zero. The Glaceon stepped off her seat and headed up the train for a restroom.


    (A.N.: Alright this may be too hard to grasp for some so instead of describing the train, here's a map. Whenever you're not sure where something is, see this. Try and keep up!)

    | E |

    | 1 | -(A)urora: Inactive in car 1

    | 2 |


    | B |

    _r3 -(K)yuso: Inside (r)estroom 3

    | 3 |

    | 4 | -(Z)ero: Moving to (r)estroom 3

    As soon as he was out of Aurora's sight, Kyuso started to run for the closest restroom (r2), but unfortunately the tag on the door read OCCUPIED. He headed into the next restroom (r3) which read VACANT, locked the door behind him, hopped up to the sink, and turned on the faucet to fill it up with cold water.

    He looked at himself in the mirror as he waited for the sink to fill up. An Umbreon with messy fur, sleep-deprived eyes, and wearing a hooded-blue poncho and the strap of a bag over his neck, was what stared back at Kyuso. He pulled off his hood and focused on his eyes more than anything else. Kyuso had gotten very limited sleep these past couple of weeks, and that was an understatement. During that time he'd wake up from the nightmares that would haunt him for the sins he'd committed only to awake to the real nightmares of Max and Pat. Whether it was in the dream world or the real one, he just couldn't escape from his past. It was an impossibility...at least, until now.

    Just recently, he had taken one of the best rests in his life! It would've been perfect except for one thing...

    The water level was high enough now so he shut off the faucet and dunked his head underwater.


    ...1...2...3...5...7...11...13...17...19...23...29...31...37...41...43...47...53...59...61...67! he reached his limit "Fwaaa!"


    "*PANT PANT Pant pant* Why did it have to *pant* happen with her?"


    "Hmph, guess I'll just try the next one."

    Zero saw that the restroom (r3) was closed so she headed towards the one farther away (r2). When she reached it, the occupant, some lady with a hat and winter coat, had just exited it so she stepped inside and locked the door behind her.

    Now that she was alone, Zero jumped up to the sink and pulled off the hood of her cloak. Frost then reached for the black heart attached to the cloak (near the neck) that acted as the clip holding the cloak together. Upon unclipping the heart, the cloak opened and fell to the ground. The cloak was light blue and rimmed dark blue so that it matched her Glaceon colors nicely. Frost looked at herself again in the mirror above the sink to remove her Translator. It was a black collar with a hidden, built-in device that caught her speech through a tiny microphone, and then "translated" it into human speech. Right now it was set to off so as to save battery power, but she set it to the side after removing it. Deciding that her fanny pack wouldn't get in the way or get wet, she allowed it to stay on. It held her cash, plastic Raider ID card, and a flash grenade, it was black, and was modified to fit around her stomach.

    Frost opened the sink faucet for the cold water and waited for the sink to fill up. Following that, she used the weakest Ice Beam she had on the water so that only the surface froze. Using her paw, she pressed down, crushed the frozen layer, and mixed the broken ice pieces with the water till the liquid chilled. After the water temperature dropped low enough to her liking, she dunked her head in the water, and counted prime numbers.

    She reached 71 before she came up for air "Pahaa!"


    "*PANT PANT Pant pant* Why do get the feeling *pant* that I just won something?"


    "Ah, that felt better" Kyuso whispered to himself.

    He stepped out of the restroom with his poncho and bag slightly wet since he forgot to take them off before he dunked his head in the water. Water was lightly dripping off his fur as well since he failed to completely dry himself. He passed through the (B)ar car, passed by next restroom (r2), and passed through the car (2). He had just reached the door leading to the next car (1) when he heard a door creak open behind him and saw the occupant of the restroom (r2) step out. He couldn't tell who it was since they were wearing a light and dark blue cloak, but their hidden image reminded him to pull back on his own hood, so he did just that.

    He turned around and stepped through the door leading to the lead car (1), ignoring the ominous feeling that he just felt.


    Frost dried herself when she finished cooling herself off, and reequipped all of her gear. Upon stepping out of the restroom, Zero made to return to her seat, but some nagging feeling pulled at her attention from behind so she turned around. All she saw was the car (2), the humans and Pokémon inside, and someone in a blue poncho with their hood on who was heading into the next car (1). Giving the car (2) one more glance over, she lightly pulled the tip of her hood lower so that it covered her eyes, and started to return to her seat before people started to give her funny looks.

    She had to pass through the (B)ar car before she reached her seat and had almost reached the door leading to the next car (3) until she stopped.

    Is that-? Mmm, hot chocolate.

    Zero went back and hopped up onto a stool. There was a woman who had just finished handing a hot chocolate to a young boy whose face was slightly smudged with chocolate. Zero guessed that the cause was from the chocolate chip cookies he held in a platic bag. His mother sat in the stool next to his, and was paying for his beverage. Zero looked at the boy's cup with envy. Just smelling the chocolaty goodness brought back warm memories of her past life; a life of good food, better family, and the comforts of a home. The woman at the bar approached Zero, breaking her out of her trance.

    "May I help you?" she asked Zero with a smile.

    Eager to order, Zero had almost spoken but closed her mouth when she remembered. She reached for the Translator at her neck so that she could be understood, and also to disguise her voice. It would be bad if anyone caught the tone of her voice, and personally, she thought those Chatot were annoying. The first time she saw Chatot translating speech for Pokémon to humans, it had been in the line for the ticket booth where she was a few places behind a couple who were breaking down the man in charge for a cheaper price. It was so cliche that she rolled her eyes at the sight. Well, not sight; she couldn't see over the mass of tall humans. Still, their dialogue had been enough to interpret what was happening.

    Turning on her Translator, Zero whispered, and her device spoke clearly in a monotone, robotic voice.


    "That'll be 500P."

    Zero reached into her fanny pack and pulled out the 500P, and an extra 100P as a tip. When the bartender went to work on Zero's hot chocolate, Zero turned off her Translator to save power. She had purposely chosen to download the robot voice for her Translator so that it gave "zero" emotion and hints about herself. To strengthen her disguise, she had always set the sensitivity on the device to the max so that she could whisper, and not project her voice. On her Raider file, it was still marked as UNKNOWN in the "Pokémon Species" box and she intended to keep it that way. "The less information that was known about her, the less chance she had of being killed" was what Zero had decided. But Frost, her other self, just wanted to get away and relax from all the tension, so she revealed herself to Aurora, trusting that someone as good (and uninvolved) as her would be a true friend.

    "Here you go. Careful, it's hot!" the bartender chirped as she came back with a small, red, ceramic cup, over a similar plate.

    Zero simply nodded her appreciation. Hiding her paws under her cloak, she delicately held the small cup, soaking in its warmth. A smile slowly crept onto her face as she remembered her old, normal life as just Frost, a normal Eevee girl with a kind-hearted, normal old lady as her owner. When the first snowflake of the year fell, they'd share blanket and a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace. At that time, Frost was still an Eevee. Just a young Eevee that was buried under a pile of snow one winter morning. Thankfully, the old lady, Rosalee, was around to save her at that time. Frost couldn't remember all of the details from her time with Rosalee; she was so young when that happened. But what she could remember, she remembered as the happiest times of her life.

    But now, she drank her hot chocolate alone.

    Frost took a sip of the hot chocolate since it had cooled a little "..."



    Zero spun to her side where the boy suddenly stood by. He had tugged on her cloak a little to get her attention and stared at her covered face with an interest, his face still smudged with chocolate. Zero was thoroughly confused. Why had this boy suddenly approached her and pulled at her cloak? They looked at each other like that for a while until the boy reached into his bag, took out a cookie and offered it to her with a big grin on his face.

    "Happy Noo Yeeeah!"


    Shocked, Zero had absolutely no way to respond, and couldn't since her Translator was off. She wondered why. Why? Why did this boyoffer annything to her, a stranger whom he had no clue of? Then it hit her. Why this boy approached a complete stranger with kindness. Why she tried to befriend Aurora when her instincts screamed otherwise. Why Rosalee had saved her when she had, knew, and was, nothing.

    Sadly, that path was something she chose to leave.

    Zero took a quick look at the bartender, and the boy's mother. They were busy cleaning cups, and texting, respectively. She reached out for the cookie and accepted it from the boy...with her paw.

    The boy's eyes widened at her paw "*gasp* Y-you-"

    Quickly, Frost placed the cookie on her plate, put a finger to her mouth, gave a light smile, and raised her head a bit so that the boy could see under her hood.

    He nodded and gave another big grin "Happy Noo Yeeeah!"

    The boy walked back to his stool to finish the rest of his hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. Zero returned to her own drink and took another sip of her own hot chocolate. She held the cup again, enjoying the warmth.

    "...Happy New Year, Rosalee..."


    Aurora quoted Kyuso "Oh what's the matter "honey"? Come sit next to me."

    When Kyuso got back to his seat, he sat across the table from Aurora, reached into his bag for a Leppa Berry to eat, and ignored her. He definitely learned his lesson then, and that was to "never fall asleep in the aisle seat of a public transportation vehicle". So now that he sat across from his partner instead of next to her, she was giving him this fake pout. They both knew why he was doing what he was doing, as well as why she was doing what she was doing.

    "Actually, I feel a bit too 'hot' when I'm sitting so close to you, so I'll just cool off over here, thanks." he retorted before finishing off his Leppa Berry.

    "Alright, but whenever you feel cold, just come and cuddle up with me" she winked at him "I'll warm you right up."

    The two stared at each other after that for a full three seconds. Both of their faces kept their solidity during that time, but they could feel their composures starting to break. At four seconds, their mouths began to twitch in desperate attemps to deny submission. Finally at the five second mark, they simultaneously broke down, and laughed.

    Aurora hugged around her stomach "Ohohomygosh! Wha-*bites tongue*What was that abou-ahahahahaha!"

    Kyuso covered his mouth and sat up defiantly "Ahahaha! D-don't blame me! Be-besides, *clears throat* you were the one that started i-hehehahaha!"

    Once again the two partners shared a laugh together and Aurora couldn't help but to take a peak into Kyuso's mind. She saw pink popping out at her, as if it was alive, and thought it was such a pretty emotion. She smiled at this and was truly happy for Kyuso at this moment. She was truly happy that her friend's happiness was pure and untainted from rage or anxiety. It had been a stressful week and she was glad that they could finally relax in peace.

    "Yeah, but it's nice to see that you're all pink again." she said while searching inside her bag for something to eat.

    Puzzled by her statement, Kyuso looked down at his paws and chest to find any pink he could. Meanwhile, Aurora just giggled at his confusion but gasped suddenly.

    Kyuso's ears perked up "What's up?"

    "It's been almost a week since we met."

    "Yeah, so?"

    "Don't you know what that means?"

    "No. Just tell me already."

    "It's almost our birthday!"


    Kyuso fell back into his seat and looked down in disbelief. With all the chaos that he endured for the past two weeks, he had completely forgotten about his birthday. In less than two hours, he...no...they would both officially turn 17. It impressed him that Aurora could remember something as trivial as this when she had already shared one of his two insane weeks.

    She must've had planned for that day. What right did I have of taking that away from her?

    "Hey, what's wrong?"


    The Umbreon looked back up and saw his partner giving him a worried look. He smiled reassuringly and shook his head. If he was going to apologize then she wasn't supposed to be the one feeling guilty in the process.

    "I'm sorry Aurora. You could've been home with cake, presents, friends & family, and whatever else you wanted. But now you're with me on this stupid train helping me do what I want when you still have nothing...I'm really sorry."

    "...Hey, it's okay. Really it is. I mean, I'm the one who wanted to tag along and I wasn't going to take no for an answer, remember?"

    He looked down in embarrassment "I only accepted because a door got in the way."

    "*giggle* Well anyway, I knew what I was getting into then and I haven't lost sight of that now. I have no regrets as of yet."


    "Well, as for the "no cake" thing," Aurora reached into her bag "how about we go and buy ourselves a birthday cake?"

    Thoroughly confused at her suggestion, Kyuso looked back up and choked when he saw what she held up. His mood instantly changed and he leapt closer

    "I KNEW it! I knew that you had 500P!"

    "Hey come on, don't blame me. My gut told me that I should hide this. Besides, we never would've been able to pay for our tickets with just 500P more, but I still managed to get us on the train!"

    "*SIGH* Fine. But don't waste it and at least buy something useful."

    "I am going to buy something useful" Aurora said as she got out of her seat "I'm going to buy us 'food'. Be right back!"


    Zero finished her hot chocolate and cookie, and started to walk back to her seat. She had just reached the door leading to the next car (3) when she heard the the door behind her open. She walked through her doo, closed it, and turned around to look through the window in the door. She saw some sort of "Red Riding Hood" character walk into the (B)ar car and take a seat. She couldn't see anything but the red poncho because the hood was down, covering the wearer's face. What she did notice though was that the wearer was close to the same height and body size that she was, so she questioned why a Pokémon was wearing such a thing.

    Noticing that she had also questioned herself, she turned around and headed back to her seat.


    Aurora entered the (B)ar car at the same time someone else in a light blue cloak exited at the opposite door. She walked up to the bar and sat on the stool, reading a menu on a whiteboard.


    Feeling that someone was watching her, she turned to the door where the mysterious person left the (B)ar car.

    There's no one there Aurora, just calm down.'

    The woman at the bar came and asked her if she could help Aurora with anything. Aurora then took off her hood and held up a finger to show that she needed a minute. The bartender was a little surprised when she saw that an Espeon was ordering something but she shook it off and gave a nod before walking away. Aurora covered her mouth and laughed quietly.

    I know Kyuso said that we should disguise ourselves but I think a bartender couldn't do any harm.

    Looking back at the menu, she read over a lot of alcoholic drinks before she finally found the food.

    Sandwiches, fruit, fries, pastries...where are the cakes?

    After reading over several more choices, she was about to start heading back until she read the end of the menu.

    ...That could work! "Excuse me, I'm ready now."

    The bartender released a Chatot from a Pokéball so that Aurora could order.

    "Your order?" the Chatot asked.

    "Yes, could I get two of those please? Oh, and could you also..."


    Kyuso was sitting at his seat, looking out his window into the cold, dark night. It had to be about around 22:30 right now so he was starting to grow a little bit anxious from thinking about returning home. Mason did tell him to leave the house furiously, so he couldn't help feel a bit nervous about what he had to say to his family. But what choice did he have when he learned that last week? He would have to deal with Mason (and possibly Luna) when he got home no matter what, and he knew his social skills weren't the best so he would have to-

    "Whatcha thinking so hard about?"

    "Holy shit!"

    Kyuso jumped in his seat and saw Aurora leaning in, right next to his ear. She had this wierd, happy look on her face, which creeped him out just as much as how she whispered so...mischievously.

    "S-so did you...get a cake?" he asked her.

    She leaned back and gave a tired face "No, unfortunately. They don't serve cakes on trains, I should've known. Anyway, what were you thinking so hard about?"

    "N-nothing. Just wondering how I'm going to break the ice to my family when I get home."

    "Hey yeah. You told me that you were going to tell me about them before we boarded the train, but never did because you...uhmm."

    "Uh. Ahem. Right so uhhh..."

    Aurora looked at Kyuso with expectant eyes which made it harder for him to get started on how to explain. He kept his eyes down at the table and started to speak.

    "Okay...so there are five of them, right? And although I consider them all as "family", only one is blood-related. I used to live with a Pokémon Professor known as Mason. You can say he's sort of like the "dad" of the family. He's so obsessed with his study of Pokémon evolution that he tried to 'preserve' the rest of us by making it a rule to restrict fighting. He's also the one who kicked me out for evolving. Ray is the oldest brother, a Kadabra, and an adult too. He's really cool about a lot of things and I used to talk a lot with him. Luna. Heh, now she is a pain, but nothing short of the classic "spiteful, 17-year-old sister", I'm sure. Then it's me, the middle child. And then there's Flick, the youngest of us, and a Vulpix too. I never really bothered to connect with him, but he's a lively one that's for sure. You and he remind me of my younger, blood-brother in a way actually...I mentioned Jun didn't I?...He's-"

    "Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!"

    The sound of the pair of sing-song voices caused Kyuso to stop immmediately as pure dread and fear filled his heart. He instantly turned towards the source, silently praying to Arceus that it wasn't what he thought it was.

    It was.

    "Happy birthday Aurora! Happy birthday to you!"

    He saw some woman and a Chatot approaching their table with two candle-lit cupcakes. By now, the other passengers in their car turned their heads toward their direction. While Aurora had a growing grin on her face, he tried to shrink deeper and deeper into his seat. Now that Aurora's birthday song was over...

    Please don't be me. Please don't be me. Please don't be-

    "Happy birthday to you!"

    Damn it!

    "Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday Kyuso! Happy birthday to you!"

    The whole while he had an embarrassed look on his face that blushed furiously. He was never more thankful in his life at that moment for his black fur covering his blush. His eyes were wide alert though and a few people laughed at this, including Aurora. He was thinking about who he hated more at the moment, the singers or Aurora, until Aurora made the decision for him by desperately trying to hold in her giggling, and failing.

    Aurora. Definitely Aurora.

    The pair of singers left after the woman singer left the two cupcakes for them. Some passengers around them that were closest came up to congratulate the two personally. While Kyuso couldn't stop himself from saying his thanks to these people he silently hated them in his mind.

    "Be nice" Aurora discreetly mentioned to him as she gave someone a smile of thanks.

    "You're not innocent either" he shot back while pounding fists with another.

    After all the craziness died down, Kyuso fell back into his seat and gave raised his eye at the fiendish Espeon who sat opposite of him. She merely gave him a fake-angelic smile in return and sat straight up, triumphant. Seeing her keep up a strong face caused him to laugh under his breath.

    "Keep that up princess and you might actually break me" he challenged.

    Her smiled wavered the tiniest bit "If you say so my king."

    "Hmph...Well anyway, thanks for this" he motioned to the cupcake.

    "What, you didn't like the -"

    "No I didn't! That terrified the life out of me!"

    "Alright alright. Calm down already. It was just a harmless birthday song. Happy Birthday Kyuso."

    "Happy Birthday Aurora...So now we what? Make our wishes and blow out the candles right?"


    He looked down at cupcake now and focused. Focused on that one tiny flame lit on the candle until he felt like he was getting drawn into it. What did he want? He could always wish to not be sneak attacked like this again. At first the idea sounded really tempting to him, but he held back on wasting his wish on a joke. He couldn't think about what he wanted anymore. Instead, he had to focus on what he needed. So what did he need? He needed to get home, that was for certain. But now that he was less than two hours away from home, he felt like that would be a waste too, so he rejected this idea. What did he need? He needed to be able to convince everyone to let him take Jun away. It was for their own good, both his and Jun's so maybe-


    He looked up to see that Aurora had already blown out her candle, and start to eat away at her cupcake.

    She had gotten a bit of frosting on her cheek "Mmm, for only 100P each, these are pretty good!"

    He smiled and pointed out the frosting on her cheek so that she would wipe it off.

    I know what I need.

    He rubbed his eyes since they'd been staring into the flame for a while, then blew out his candle.

    I wish that when the time comes, she'll be able to let me go.


    I wish we could stay together like this for as long as possible!


    I wish this train would move faster already!

    It wasn't the sugar's fault for Zero's impatience...mostly. The main fault lied with her sudden realization that she needed to arrive at White Wave City at least a few minutes before her targets did so that she could get to a higher position to spot them. After all, on New Year's Eve, everyone knew that the streets would be packed with people. In a crowd that big, trying to spot an Umbreon would be like trying to spot a needle in a haystack. She was already cutting it extremely close by letting them get this far.

    Maybe I'll go have a word with the Engineer she decided before leaving her seat.

    She walked up to the front of the train until she reached the (E)ngine car. Turning on her Translator, she knocked on the door so that she could talk the person in charge. When the door opened, a man in a grey jacket met her ad asked if he could help her with something.


    "I'm sorry, but that won't be possible. At least, I don't get to make that decision since I'm just the Assistant Conductor. You'll have to take it up with the Engineer. Hey Sammy, someone's asking if you could speed up train so that we can arrive at the city sooner."


    The man behind the first wore a green cap, who Zero guessed to be the Engineer. The man had a large build and his face was unshaved. He walked up to the Zero with a gruff voice, trying to intimidate her. Obviously, his attempt failed to even make her blink.

    "Who are you to board\my train and then ask me to-"

    Zero cut him off by presenting her Raider ID card.

    "...! *gulp* Uh, I apologize Mr. Zero. We'll make sure to speed up a little bit for you sir."

    The Engineer went back to the controls and spoke into a microphone. His voice was then projected throughout the whole train.


    The Assistant Conductor closed the door after Zero turned to return to her seat.


    Aurora covered her mouth "YAWN* I'm getting kind of tired Kyuso. I think I'll just take a quick nap."

    "What? You can't take a nap right now; we're almost there!"

    "But you took one earlier so what's the differ-..."

    "Hey. Hey! Come on, don't just-ugh!"

    He heard some kind of commotion behind him. It sounded like an argument between a passenger and the Engineer, but he paid it no mind. Aurora was already out cold against the window. Her back was slumped between the corner of her seat and the wall of the car, and her head fell down too. The more he looked, the more her posture seemed unhealthy (and painful) to him. He waited for ten more, awkward seconds before he looked around in case anyone was watching. Thankfully, no one was, they were all too busy with their phones, books, and such.

    This is only payment for the "lap pillow" earlier.

    He stepped off his seat, walked around the table, and sat next to her. Then, he took off his poncho, folded it into a makeshift pillow, pulled her down so that she lay comfortably across the seat, and slid his poncho under her head. Her hood fell off in the motion but he just didn't care that much about disguises at this point. He needed a break! Reaching into his bag, he took out another Leppa Berry to eat, and kept his eyes nervously down.

    How suspicious would this scene look like to someone else, I wonder.



    Zero had been walking back to her seat for only two seconds when she stopped dead.

    No way. No way. No FREAKING way! What is she-And how is he just-No. No. No, he can't be the target. Just no way. This must be a mistake. No, there is no mistake. There be a mistake because that's her. I KNOW it's her! Why is she here?! is she here?! They both fit their targer descriptions, but I can't believe I'd find him so...randomly! And much less her!

    Zero stared up at the face of her target, the Umbreon, who had the sleeping form of an Espeon girl next to him. They could've been any other Umbreon & Espeon pair, except he was obviously "adolescent" as the debrief explained. Her employers also said that his "Espeon partner" didn't know what she had gotten herself into, and that was the only logical reason that made sense to Frost why her friend was even here at this moment.

  7. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Although the Caliber Arc of SAO II was fun, I'm kinda disappointed it ended so soon. There's still Mother's Rosario left, so yay for that! What I'm hoping will come after that are all the Alicization Arcs.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 27

    December 31


    Frost was completely at a loss for words at this very moment. Her brain couldn't immediately process what was happening exactly, so she just stood rooted to that spot in the train, staring at the pair. Whatever calculated thoughts and sharp instincts she kept equipped on missions had now abandoned her completely. Now, Frost could only watch in bewilderment and horror as Aurora, her friend, slept alongside her target, the Umbreon. That was, if this Espeon was actually Aurora. No, she refused to believe that her sweet, kind friend, who was three years younger than she-or was it two years? Technically, Aurora would be three years younger than Frost as she wasn't 17 just yet, but she would be turning 17 in over an hour so could that count as two years? Then again, why do people wish each other "Happy Birthday" when technically it's not even their birthday yet? Like if someone was born at 20:00 and then they woke up at 8:00. Why say "Happy Birthday" to them when it's still half a day before their actual birth? Maybe people just said that at that time to be courteous, or to say it in advance in case they forgot. But if that was the case then couldn't she have just told Aurora "Happy Birthday" when they met on Christmas, when it was still six days before her birthday? No, that would've been awkward. Plus, if people wanted to be kind by wishing "Happy Birthday", that could have been substituted for when they brought a cake or presents for the person. Also, why bring presents or cake? Wasn't it enough of a gift for someone to acknowledge the day of one's-

    "Argh, I'm getting off topic here!"



    Her sudden outburst had snapped her out of her stupor, but now she was dealt with another problem. Her target was alert, and she was the cause of it! For now he was choking on a mouthful of Leppa Berry, so she moved away before he saw her. She moved away before he saw her. She moved away before he saw her! Move! Why wouldn't her legs respond? The Umbreon had swallowed and saw her now, so her face immediately grew hot.

    Even though I can think properly now, my body is still stunned!

    The Umbreon was quizzically looking at her now.

    What do I do? What do I do?!


    "Umm, could I help you...ma'am?" Who is this girl and why is she just staring at me?

    Kyuso was getting a little bit uncomfortable with the way this person was staring at him. It also didn't help that Aurora was lying down right next to him while he was being stared at. So when he heard the loud cry of this girl in front of him, it scared him in a way as if he was caught doing something 'indecent'. At least, he was 70% sure it was a girl by the tone of 'her' voice. The person was almost completely covered in some big blue cloak and it was only now that he realized that it was the same one from the restroom.

    "Ma'am?" he asked again, waiting for a response.

    "Ah-y-yes you can!" the Glaceon (he could see that now) pulled off her cloak "You see I've lost something very precious to me that was given to me as a Christmas gift. It's a small necklace, and the clasp is pretty weak. I think it must've fallen off when I was washing my face in the restroom, but I can't find it! I've asked everyone on the train, but they said that they're all busy with their own things. Could you please help me search for it?!

    It took all his effort not to show panic on his face because while the Glaceon was talking, she was edging closer to him little by little. Whether she was doing this intentionally or not, Kyuso didn't know, but from seeing the distress on her face, he would've guessed that it was the latter.

    "Lo-look, you seem nice and I'm sorry, but I have to watch over..." he hesitated for a split second as he glanced over Aurora "...my sister here (he could've swore he saw the Glaceon's eye twitch). I'm really sorry. Did you try asking any of the people working on the train for help?"

    "I asked everyone but they all gave the same answer."

    "Uhmm..." Where are the conductor when you need them?

    "Please, you're the last one on the train I'm asking. I just can't find my necklace and I really need some help quick! The train may be stopping soon!"

    "...Give me one second okay?"

    The girl's face lit up in relief as if they had already found her necklace "Oh thank you so much!"

    Kyuso turned to Aurora to wake her up but it took a while. Almost a whole ten seconds passes before she barely opened her eyes. Speaking quietly to avoid aggravating her, he explained the situation to Aurora, and she just flicked her tail in consent.

    "I'll be right back alright?"



    Kyuso was currently searching under the toilet while the Glaceon girl was checking the sink. It wasn't a big restroom, but there were plenty of things and appliances that the necklace could've been hidden in, so the process took longer than he thought. But for some reason, he couldn't shake off this nagging feeling that she was looking at him rather than for her necklace.

    My sleep deprivation must be making me anxious . "Are you sure it's in here?"

    "Yes," she answered before hopping off the sink "it has to be because I had it on me when I left for the restroom, but not when I came back to my seat."

    "So couldn't it have fallen off during your walk back to your seat?"

    "Maybe, but let's give this restroom one more look. I just feel like it's in here you know?"

    Kyuso nodded his head but of course he didn't understand. Right now, he was uncomfortable with the idea of Aurora sleeping alone amongst the other passengers. He just wanted to find the damn necklace and get back before something else happened. If the past two weeks told him anything, it was that trouble was always right around the corner when one was away from home. Even so, he had to admit...

    Arceus, this girl looks like a goddess! Should I ask if she's a celebrity or-no, I really shouldn't. Besides, that'd be a rude question to ask someone you just met. Still, she looks more amazing than Aurora...wait...!

    At this thought, his body jerked in surprise and he accidentally bumped his head on the toilet. Being an Umbreon, the pain was already fading so he gave the Glaceon girl a "thumbs up" to show that he was okay, but she looked at him weirdly now. He rubbed his head a little before resuming his search.

    What the heck?! When did I start thinking that about Aurora?! I mean sure she looks attractive but...our relationship...it's platonic, isn't it?


    When Frost heard this Umbreon lie to her face, saying that Aurora was his sister, she almost lost it and attacked him. When she saw him lean close to Aurora and whisper to her in that sensitive way, it metaphorically killed her to stop herself from literally killing him. She decided that whatever it took, she would help Aurora get out of whatever trouble she had gotten herself into. First thing was first though, this lying, cheating, idiotic spy was going down. But before she could let herself go at him, she needed some kind of proof thathe was the "spy" and not just some random Umbreon. Given the situation, it was highly likely that he could be her target, but she wasn't completely certain. If she could pull that off successfully and get him to react, then she would know for certain.


    The Umbreon had smacked his head against the toilet for some reason, but he gave her a "thumbs up" to show that he was fine before he went back to searching for her fake necklace.

    He's distracted! Now is the time to do and see if he's the spy.


    "Are you sure it's here? I mean we've been in here for almost ten minutes and still haven't found it" Kyuso said as he finished checking in a vase of flowers.

    The Glaceon girl was checking under a table behind him "At this point, I don't think it's in here either. Oh Arceus, what am I going to do! My friend worked so hard to save up enough money to buy that necklace for me! Now she's going to hate me for losing it so casually in only a few days too! Then, I'll lose her as a friend and she'll tell everyone else and then-"

    "Hey relax, it's not that of a big deal. I'm sure that a friend who did something like that for you doesn't care about things and just wants you to appreciate the effort she gave to get your gift."

    "...Oh my gosh, you're totally right. She-she wouldn't hate me, would she? No I-I've just been thinking like an idiot and *Sigh*. I'm sorry that I'm telling you about my life troubles. It's just that I love all my friends so much and I *sniff* I'd hate to *sniff* do anything that would make them unhap-unhap-*sob*."

    He didn't want to turn around. He really didn't. But the sound of girls' crying was something that he, even as an Umbreon, could not defend himself from. So he painfully looked back and saw that the girl had stopped searching for her necklace, and instead had fallen to the ground and cried quietly to herself.

    The sight reminded him of Aurora for some reason Oh great, another emotional girl.

    Not having much experience in dealing with situations like this, he approached her, knelt down, and...rubbed her back. Even he admitted that this was a weak atttempt on his part but he didn't know what else to do! He didn't think long before the girl clung to him and cried against his chest. Honestly, her action surprised the hell out of him at first, but he just went with it after a few seconds, thinking that he would deal her "insult to injury" if he pried away from her now. So he just continued to rub her back through her cloak and tried his best to zone out by counting the petals on the flower. After a while, her cries started to slow and he was glad for that since she was getting his chest all wet from her tears.

    "Thanks" she murmured quietly.

    He patted her back once and said "Well, we should really get back to searching for that necklace of yours shouldn't we?"

    But she still didn't let go. Instead she just held onto him and hugged him around his back. Kyuso was getting really flustered at this point and he quickly checked the door to make sure that it was locked. Thankfully, it was. He looked back to this girl hugging him and couldn't help but notice that she may be older than him. For some reason, this made him even more nervous and he started to sweat a bit. At the ten-second mark, he was starting to feel incredibly uncomfortable, so he steeled his resolve and decided to get this girl off of him once and for all.

    "Listen, I'm really sorry that you lost your necklace and you feel this way, but you have to understand that-"

    "By the way, Max and Pat wanted me to tell you they said hello."



    His body just jerked. That's the signal!


    As soon as the Glaceon told him those words, Kyuso had jumped a little in her hold, but she only squeezed him tighter. For exactly one second, he remained still, unable to comprehend her words thoroughly. Then finally, his brain caught up to the situation and he instantly looked down to her face, which sneered back at his. He instantly tried to struggle out of her hold, but she had him in a strong hug and he wasn't going anywhere. Scared, he tried to roll over and pin her from above but she went with the roll and before he knew it,he was below her instead of the other way around.

    "Hello spy, are you ready to go back?" she hissed into his ear.

    "What're you talking about?!"

    His words did nothing to slow her down. She placed her head on the floor, next to his, and then breathed a weak Ice Beam on the floor. The Ice Beam covered the floor with ice which spread to his pinned forelegs and froze them to the floor. The Glaceon removed her grip from him now that she no longer needed to hold him, and then shot another Ice Beam at his hind legs. With all four of his limbs frozen to the floor, Kyuso couldn't move so he tried to buy some time by shooting Confuse Ray at her. She casually dodged by moving her head to the right and just smirked at him. She then shot a weak Ice Beam at his mouth so that he couldn't attack her again, and now was the time when he began to panic.

    This is it. I'm screwed! She going to take me back to those hunters and I'm going into some "Pit" to die like those other Pokémon did. WhatdoIdowhatdoIdoWhatdoI-!

    The Glaceon bent down and stared straight into his eyes now. There was no more mocking in her eyes. Instead, all he could see was a vengeful rage, and an overwhelming desire to 'terminate'.

    "You stay away from that Espeon you got that, bastard?!"


    Her implication of Aurora suddenly gave him an idea. It seemed like the cowards way out to him, but that feeling only lasted for an instant before it was swept aside by a sense of urgency. Why? Because she was looking at him with realization now. She must've guessed his idea from looking at his face because then she backed away from him and quickly began to charge up another Ice Beam, probably to freeze him whole! He had to be faster so he sucked in as much breath he could through his nose, and then used Screech.

    The force of his attack was strong enough not only to break the ice off of his mouth, but also cause the Glaceon to end her charge-up, so that she could dodge his attack. Already, an Ice Beam flew at his mouth again, but he had reacted first, managing to get one word out before his mouth was sealed.



    That was all he could say before she froze his mouth, and then immediately after, his entire body.



    That was-!

    As soon as she heard his cry, Aurora shot up from her sleeping position. She rubbed her eyes to clear away her drowziness, jumped off her seat, and walked down the aisle of passengers.

    "Excuse me, have you seen an Umbreon and Glaceon pass by?"

    "I'm sorry, I was busy."

    "Excuse me, have you seen an Umbreon and Glaceon pass by?"


    "Excuse me, have you seen an Umbreon and Glaceon pass by?"

    "I haven't, sorry."

    She kept asking various Pokémon like this but all of them replied in a similar manner. Opening the door to the next car, she was about to enter the car to ask more Pokémon, but stopped. She had stepped into something wet, looked down, and saw that it water, which was spilling out. She looked to where the water was coming out from and saw that it was leaking out from under the door of the restroom. Aurora put her ear to the door and heard a silent "fsshh" kind of sound. She knew that it was some type of 'beam' or 'wave' attack by the sound alone. The door read that this restroom was OCCUPIED, so she used Psychic to shift the lcok inside the door, unlocked the door, and slammed it open violently.

    "Stop right ther-"

    To say that she was surprised to see her best friend on board the same train as her would be an understatement. Aurora had completely dropped her guard at the sight of Frost, and even wore a smile for Frost. She was already walking towards Frost, about to ask her what she was doing here, when she saw Kyuso and halted. Kyuso was frozen in a ...well...there was really no other word for it...in a cocoon of ice. The sight horrified yet also amazed her on how slick the cocoon was shaped. To her, it reminded her of a bobsled, as if this 'ice cocoon' was made for transport.


    "Erk!...H-hey Aurora."

    "...Frost, what are you doing here? How are you even here? Why is Kyuso frozen? Just what is going o-"

    "Alright, enough already! I'll tell you everything okay, but you're really not going to like it."

    "No, free Kyuso first. Get him out of there now!"

    "You don't understand Aurora so please listen. This Umbreon here is a-"

    "I said no! Free Kyuso right now!"

    "...Fine, but only his head until you hear what I have to say."

    "You're always so secretive, you don't telll me what you do for a living, and then you do this! After all this, if you're really my friend, then free all of him, now."


    Frost walked up to the section of the ice that held Kyuso's head. Through the crystal clear ice, they could see not only his body position, but also the details on his terrified face that held up until he was frozen. To Aurora the whole thing looked like some horrible statue made of glass. She watched Frost place a paw on the ice, and already the ice was starting to melt. Frost then proceeded to drag her paw back on the 'ice cocoon' and the ice melted down starting from Kyuso's head to his tail.

    Kyuso sucked in a breath when his face was freed "Pahaaa! *PANT PANT PANT* Au-Au-Aurora huff huff huff th-th-th-th-thanks. Huff huff C-c-c-cold i-i-in huff huff th-th-there huff huff huff supercoldinthere!"


    Aurora hugged Kyuso when he was completely freed "Kyuso, are you okay? Are you hurt?"

    "N-n-no. N-n-nothurt. J-j-justcold. Huff huff huff...Ithinkshe huff huff wentabitoverkill" Kyuso desperately held onto her tighter for warmth.

    "Aurora, get away from him. He's a spy!" Frost hissed angrily.

    To say that she took her best friend's tip to heart woud be a total lie. Aurora never had many friends in her life but this new feeling she felt after one friend attacked another; she couldn't really describe it but she felt the need to take charge and stop the issue, immediately.

    "A spy?" she turned to Frost "You show up out of nowhere, attack my new friend, and then accuse him of being a spy, while dressed like that? Because of our friendship, I'll give you a chance to explain everything, but just remember that the only one who looks shady right now is you Frost!"

    "...What do you want to know?"

    "What are you?" Aurora started with.

    "I'm a Pokémon that takes down and brings in criminal humans and Pokémon, for payment. Sort of like the Pokémon version of a human who works as a mercenary, but we-"

    "I know what a Raider is Frost, but that's not what I was asking. Although by your answer I can already tell what you value more."

    "I-I am a friend Aurora! We are best friends! And as your friend I have to tell you honestly that he is-"

    "Enough, next question. Why?"

    She saw the composed, alert look on Frost's face finally fall as Frost realized what the topic of their conversation was. Her friend's face fell down in shame and Aurora couldn't help but feel guilty about this. Still, Frost was being honest to her at last, so she would not allow her friend to retreat behind fake smiles and fun suggestions again.

    "...On the day we met...you were...the only one in a long time who accepted me...befriended me for who I was...who I still am" Frost managed to look up into her eyes again "...and I...I wanted more of that...I wanted so much more of that! I wanted to experience more of your acceptance, your kindness, and your awesomely spunky personality! I...I just...I...I just wanted to have a friend after such a long time of being alone..."

    Aurora could see the pained look on Frost's face now. She didn't even have to read her emotions to check if Frost was acting or faking all of this. She could tell by the 'life' that was given behind Frost's words that her friend was truly a real friend, who used all of her strength in every single word that she just spoke.


    Aurora looked at the ground where the drops fell.


    Those tears of hers...


    They're real.


    They're really real.


    She looked down at Kyuso whose breathing had calmed down. He was a little bit saddened by this scene and refused to meet anyone's eye. Curious as to know why he was not curious himself, she took a quick peak into his head and found...guilt?

    "Hey, why are you feeling guilty here?" she asked Kyuso incredulously.

    "Hm?" he looked up from the ground "Oh, I'm sorry. It's just that I'm the one who she was here for, so I can't help but feel that I caused you two to collide like this."

    Frost wiped the tear away from her eyes "*sniff* What're you talking like that for? I'm still going to bring you back to Max and Pat!"

    Aurora jerked "Wait, did you say "Max and Pat"?"

    Frost got into her combat stance "Yeah, they're my employers for this mission, and also the ones from a company that this Umbreon stole classified information from. And now he's going to his true organization to deliver the information, and he's been lying you this whole time to keep you as support! He's been using you Aurora!"

    Nobody said anything for an uncomfortable length of time after this. Kyuso had tensed in Aurora's arms, Aurora pulled Kyuso a bit closer to her, and Frost kept her eyes targeted on Kyuso. A whole half minute passed like this and with every second the tension only increased to the point they could all just barely hear each other breathe. When thirty-one seconds passed, a speaker was heard clearly outside the restroom.


    Aurora looked directly into Frost's eyes and spoke "Listen to me Frost, those two guys that you were hired by? They tried to kill not only Kyuso, but also me, and a whole park-full of people. Men, women, children, families that were made up of humans and Pokémon, who were innocent and just tried to spend a peaceful morning together. But Max and Pat didn't care. You know what they did? They drove their truck right at us and then when we tried to escape through a park, they drove right through. They didn't slow down, didn't try to swerve, didn't care if they killed anyone else but us. So please...just stop...stop this craziness. Don't believe the lies that they told you about Kyuso. I'm asking you as a friend, please help us."


    Frost looked over at Kyuso to see if he was as sincere as Aurora was. She saw all kind of features in his face that a spy could have replicated perfectly. Fear, pleading, etc. Whatever it was, she couldn't care less since even she could have (and did) done them too. What she couldn't understand was how she still saw 'it' in his eyes. She could see that the "light of innocence" still remained in his eyes, unike her own. He looked just like a normal, scared Umbreon boy to her right now.

    It took a while but she finally decided to take a leap of faith "...Okay, but I'm keeping an eye on you"

    She saw Aurora and Kyuso relax in each others arms and although the sight bugged her, it also made her feel guilty since she was the cause for it. Purely as a gesture of friendship to solely Aurora, Frost placed her paw on Kyuso's chest, and summoned all the leftover ice (pieces) off his body until it all grouped to her paw. He thanked her but she merely ignored it and turned on the hot water at the sink. She hopped off the sink so that Kyuso could warm himself up, and also so that she could talk to Aurora.

    "So what's our next move?" she asked Aurora.

    "Ask him. This is his quest after all, or whatever this is. As far as I know, he just needs to get home as fast as possible."

    She turned to Kyuso and asked with a half-serious, half-mocking tone "Well leader, where to?"

    The Umbreon soaked his body a while longer with the warm water before he finally answered her, but when he did, he turned to her with nothing but deadly seriousness. She wondered where that scared weakling, that she had saw just a moment ago, had gone.

  8. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    I apologize for not keeping up with updates. Honestly if I had met every post date...well, I'll keep that knowledge to myself. I hope you all had a good New Year's Day because I've been working on this and two more stories for over a week ever since school ended which includes today, New Year's Day. Those two stories are Backtrack-Aurora and Backtrack-Kyuso, and show what our Espeon's and Umbreon's lives were normally like a month before they met. I've posted this chapter and those two stories simultaneously so please go check them out! I have some doubts about my writing skills because of my long absence so please read, review, and yes, even flame if you want to. I think I deserve it for keeping you all waiting anyway :).

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 28

    December 20 [5 days before Christmas]

    Kyuso, Claire, Flash, Guildmaster Pyroar, and Sage Slowking all trooped out of the cave and back into the warm beach sunlight. Keeper Onyx could feel vibrations from the Pokémon walking inside so he was almost like one of those automatic, sliding doors that you would use at malls or department stores. Except this door could crush you flat if annoyed.

    Guildmaster Pyroar put out the question for anyone to answer "How close are they?"

    The Pelipper answered him "No sign of Black Sky so far Guildmaster, but I think they'll arrive in two hours at the most!"

    Guildmaster Pyroar thanked the Pelipper for her haste and called for a meeting with all the Rescue Teams present. They all met outside the cave they just exited since there was no time for formalities. After every Rescue Team, that were not currently out on a mission, gathered together, the meeting began. Kyuso had never in his life seen so many Pokémon gathered in one place and the thickness of it all excited him. He estimated that there were around thirty Pokémon here, including Lance who had recovered and now glared daggers at Kyuso.

    "Alright everyone," Guildmaster Pyroar started "the situation is simple yet dire, and that situation is Black Sky"

    At once, uneasy chatter stirred up among the Rescue Teams. Guildmaster Pyroar did nothing to stop it and no one wanted to tell him how to lead so they just trusted that he knew he what he was doing. The chatter went on for half a minute. Then a minute. Then two. Then three. Four. Five.

    After everyone had their say, everyone became silent instantly and they all looked at Guildmaster Pyroar with realization.

    He smiled at them all "Are we all done now? Have you made your points? Do you feel more 'in control' of the situation? I hope you do, because if not, we just wasted fifteen of the two hours we have before Black Sky arrives. Oh, and they'll be arriving at two hours max by the way."

    Everyone looked at the ground in guilt.

    "Alright, here's the current situation," Guildmaster Pyroar spoke more roughly "the criminal Rook is on his way with the entire force of Black Sky backing him up. Approximately 70% of all Rescue Teams are present right now, so that means that we'll all have to pull double weight. Reports from previously hit Bases don't reveal much about Black Sky, only that they attack in waves. Each wave lasts for about ten minutes, and are seperated by no more than five minutes so expect a fast-paced, pressured fight. By the third wave, they pull out with whatever loot they acquired by that time, meaning they'll be gone by around fourty-five minutes. We don't know the size of the enemy's forces but expect the worst. Also, remember at all times that they have killed before. I am not telling you to kill or be killed, but rather fight your hardest today just like you do out in the field"

    Nobody spoke a word.

    Guildmaster Pyroar continued "Ah, don't look so grim. Besides, we have ourselves a champion! Come on up Kyuso and take a bow!"

    Kyuso thanked Arceus that he was an Umbreon; his cheeks' black fur hid his blush very well.

    Guildmaster Pyroar chuckled "Nah I'm just messing with you. Relax buddy *slap* loosen up, we're only about to fight for our very lives after all"

    Everyone laughed a little at that. Sometimes, the best thing that held grimness of death at bay was a joke.

    Guildmaster Pyroar continued "Okay which Team would be a good evaluator for you Umbreon? Hmm..."

    A few seconds later, a voice called out "We'll take him"

    The crowd parted away to reveal a Fraxure. The guy had a Arcanine, Sandslash, and Lucario around him, which Kyuso guessed to be part of his Team. The Fraxure took a step forward.

    "We can keep an eye on him as long he doesn't do something stupid" he suggested.

    "Alright then" Guildmaster Pyroar answered "Team Liberator, you have the newcomer. Your primary objective is to defend Crimson Base as everyone else. Your secondary objective will be to take care of Kyuso Umbreon and evaluate his skills during the battle"

    The Fraxure gave Kyuso a cool grin and held out a hand to shake. Everyone's eyes on Kyuso made the poor guy feel embarrassed again. A firm shove on his back from Guildmaster Pyroar got his feet moving though and before he knew it, the two were shaking hands.

    "Hey Kyuso. I'm Drake, the awesome leader of Team Liberator!" the Frazure introduced (he got a slap on the shoulder from the Lucario for that).

    Drake chuckled "This is April Lucario, Ace Sandslash, and the Arcanine, well...he doesn't talk much. We just call him Arcanine and he seems okay with it."

    Kyuso shook hands with and got back pats from the rest of Team Liberator. He looked over at Team Blitz and saw mixed expressions. Claire was giving him a smile, happy that he fit in a Rescue Team already even if it was only temporary. Flash smiled too and even gave him a "thumbs-up". Lance, well...if looks could could kill...


    It had to be around mid afternoon but the sun was already low in the sky. It was expected since it was winter, but this weather didn't make it any easier for anyone to see, and that would be a problem. Except for a certain Umbreon that is.

    The plan was discussed and perfected as best as it could be among the Crimson Base members. Each Rescue Team was designated an area of Crimson base to defend, depending on the size and skill of their Team. Kyuso's battle nerves were going haywire, but a bowl of clam chowder quickly settled him down. He was only a bit nervous now; about letting Crimson Base down that is. He had only known these Pokémon for a few hours but they had accepted him so warmly (except Lance of course) that he couldn't help but feel an 'already-part-of-the-family' feeling. Also, being the only one here (as far as he could tell) with night-vision gave him a sense of responsibility and made him stand a little taller.

    Whatever happened next, he would not let them down!


    "Are they here yet?" Ace complained from lying on the ground.

    There had been no attack in two hours, as the Pelipper warned. In fact, several hours had passed since the two hour mark and the sky had become pitch black. The darkness would never again bother Kyuso, it would even aid him now, but the others didn't fair so well and torches were set up all over Crimson Base when they realized that Black Sky was late.

    "Get up Ace" Drake ordered "We have to stay alert for Black Sky. Or did you forget that they are a gang of ruthless, thieving murderers?"

    "*Sigh* Yes Team Leader" Ace said with attitude "I apologize for my slack, I forgot that we were in 'danger' right now"

    The last thing Kyuso wanted was to make a bad impression. But he had to agree with Ace. Where were they? It was way over the two hour mark. Too much in fact. Was the Pelipper wrong completely with her information? Would Black Sky even attack today? Just what was going on? Even he was getting bored but he refused to leave Drake with any doubts about him, so he remained vigilant.

    Although the same couldn't be said for the rest of Team Liberator. Drake stood by him, and Ace was obviously laying on the sandy ground. April was sitting down, drawing in the sand. Arcanine was curled up, appearantly sleeping. Wait, was he? Kyuso couldn't tell exactly.

    "Look, I know we all have our doubts about this attack by this point but we can't let Guildmaster Pyroar down. We can't let the other Teams down. We can't let Crimson Base down especially! We need to pull ourselves together and refocus. Got it?"

    Ace and April raised their fists half-heartedly and blandly said "Yeah"

    "You guys..." Drake sighed.

    Kyuso gave a sympathetic smile and slapped Drake on his back "Good try Team Leader"

    Drake got really mad and turned on Kyuso "Why you little-!"

    Kyuso knew that he might've overstepped his welcome when he did that but he figured he might as well try to fit in. He was paying for it now, and was scared to see that Drake had even gone as far as to charge up a Dragon Claw!

    Kyuso panicked He's actually going to hit me with a real attack!


    Drake's attack flew right past Kyuso's head and hit something else, or someone else. Kyuso spun around to see a Murkrow fall to the sand fifteen feet away from them. Kyuso got into his defensive stance. Arcanine jumped into action instantly, as if he wasn't sleeping just a moment ago. Ace and April got to their feet. Drake stood by a torch to spot other Murkrow.

    Drake yelled out to the entire Crimson Base "They're here!". He counted eight Murkrow surrounding them.

    Kyuso counted nine. "Get down!" he warned Drake.

    Drake dropped to the sand right as a Murkrow soared over where his head was, with Steel Wing, just a second ago. The Murkrow continued its attack towards Kyuso who stood his ground. Kyuso took the attack head on and caught the Murkrow, barely even feeling the Steel Wing. He brought it down to the ground, pinned the enemy down and hit its head with Feint Attack. He slammed down again with Assurance for a second blow, knocking out the Murkrow.

    "Thanks Kyuso" Drake said.

    "Right back at you Drake"

    Kyuso ran back to join Team Liberator. They stood together in a circle with their backs to each other. The eight remaining Murkrow circled them like Sharpedo in an ocean, waiting for an opening. Activity could be heard all around the Base; Rescue Teams versus Black Sky everywhere.

    "Get ready," Drake's eyes darted back and forth "here we go!"

    As if they could see that he was the weak link, four Murkrow rushed Kyuso all at once. He managed to shoot two with Screech. But the third penetrated his stomach with Drill Peck. He doubled over in pain and gasped at the sudden critical hit. The last Murkrow used its beak to grab him by his left hindleg and pulled him away from the group. The third joined in and grabbed his right hindleg so that he was now lifted up high into the air upside-down, defenseless. While he swung uselessly at them with Feint Attack, the first two recovered and each grabbed a foreleg of his, stopping his attacks. He struggled to break free but all four lifted him up so that he faced the sky in spread eagle position. They activated Drill Peck to get tighter grips on his legs and began to pull him in four directions.


    He pulled his legs into himself as hard as he could but his effort only slowed the Murkrow's process. Slowly but surely, he felt his legs being pulled farther and farther away from his body and fear began to invade his mind. He gritted his teeth and tried to concentrate Assurance into his right paw to at least get one leg free, but that Murkrow just bit down with its Drill Peck on his Assurance, canceling the move. He was starting to feel stretched now.


    Kyuso glanced down at Team Liberator and saw them blocked away from him by the other four Murkrow. Actually, one of the Murkrow was already downed, but they were still keeping Team Liberator busy.

    He could feel his muscles hurting now. They were being pulled to their max and he wasn't sure he could take another second of this pain. He realized that he was being executed now. His death was going to be a messy slop. Umbreon pieces and blood were about to litter the sand!



    Four Aura Sphere attacks each took care of his Murkrow. Relief spread through his legs as the pulling on his legs stopped. He went limp during his fall and was caught in the arms of someone. He looked up and saw April who had a ferocious look on her face.

    "Are you alright?" she asked.

    "Yeah" he answered "Thanks by the way, that was too close"

    He saw the other four Murkrow lying on the ground, knocked out. The four that would've killed him however, kept their distance, obviously hurt. Ace, Drake, and Arcanine joined the two and faced the Murkrow. With the odds now against them, the Murkrow just glared at them, but still stayed close enough.

    Ace spoke the question on everyone's minds "What're they waiting for?"

    Kyuso saw them a second before anyone else "There!"

    Out of the pitch black darkness of the sky, ten more Murkrow appeared and backed the four remaining enemies. All fourteen of them laughed evilly that seemed pretty cliché to Kyuso, but still made him scared and angry.

    "Argh, just how many of them are there?!" he growled.

    A Murkrow in a the crowd laughed some more "You won't live long enough to find out boy!"

    Then the entire "black sky" of Murkrow washed over the five Pokémon, and then everything went dark.


    Kyuso, Drake, Ace, April, and Arcanine all pushed back against the blackness.

    "Hraaa! *Feint Attack*"

    "Rraaa! *Dragon Claw*"

    "Yahoo! *Rollout*"

    "Hiiyaa! *Drain Punch*"

    "Graaa! *Flare Blitz*"

    The five remaining Murkrow all got hit at the same time and flew away in a rage. The five activated Double Team and all of their copies swarmed over Team Liberator blinding them in the blackness. Then, the copies went up in smoke, and Team Liberator saw that all of the Murkrow bodies that were on the beach had disappeared. they had retreated for now.

    Hurt and thieving cowards would run away to protect their own lives, at least that's what Drake told the four of them. In the end, none of Team Liberator had to resort to killing the enemy, but they were exhausted after having to focus on disabling the enemy for that long and survive at the same time. For now, there were no Murkrow coming their way.

    "*Pant Pant Pant* Sixteen" Ace said with his hands on his knees "*Pant Pant* April, how many?"

    "Thir-*Pant Pant*-teen" April answered while down on a knee "How about you *Pant Pant* Team Leader?"

    Drake rolled his eyes at his title "Just nine; I was busy *pant* taking care of all you guys."

    "Only twelve for me *Pant Pant Pant*. Thank you for that *Pant* Drake." Kyuso managed.

    Drake looked over at their last member "Arcanine how about you?"

    Arcanine had his eyes closed and was slowing his breath like some cool guy. He held up two fingers with his right paw, and made a zero with his left.

    "That means we all *Pant Pant* fought off a wave of seventy" Kyuso finished tiredly "*Pant* Yay us. *Pant* Go team..."

    Drake dusted himself off "We need to get back and regroup with everyone. Let's go guys"


    Although Kyuso didn't get a good look at all the Rescue Teams before, he could tell that there were less of them now than before.

    Luckily, most of the Rescue Teams only had nearly fatal wounds (as he later learned), which were healed with herbs, healing moves, and berries. Two unlucky Teams were missing a few members, and the members that were still here looked like they had just went through hell and back. Even Kyuso knew that although those unlucky Pokémon had the body to fight, they had no will left.

    Guildmaster Pyroar addressed them all confidently "To everyone here, whether physically or in spirit, I just want to thank you all so much for your bravery, your sacrifice, and your strength in the face of overwhelming odds. I know that we are all tired and it's so easy and tempting to just give up to the darkness and fall to sleep. But we will never surrender to evil, especially not now because now is the moment where we are truly tested. This is the time where we prove to ourselves that we are heroes! We have the right to honor our fallen, and we will do exactly that, but NOT for vengeance, but as our duty as Rescue Teams. So don't give up hope. Good job so far. Let's go and get this done you guys!"

    The remaining Pokémon gave cheers and clapped their hands at the Guildmaster's adamant will. Amazingly, Kyuso saw the two unlucky Teams pick themselves up, even if they did move slowly and zombie-like. He figured that the next wave would be incoming soon so he made his way to the edge of the group, away from the bright glow of the torches, and rested his aching body on the soft sand. Soft...sand?

    Huh. Without realizing it, I've gotten used to the sand. It actually feels kind of nice now. If I somehow manage by some miracle to get accepted into a Rescue Team here, I'm definitely going to enjoy that beach. Maybe I'll even bring Jun over when I get older. This place seems well and safe enough, when it's not being attacked by an army that is. I can't wait until-



    Kyuso jumped up as soon as he heard Lance's voice. The guy already scared Kyuso so it didn't make things better when he had snuck up on Kyuso while the Umbreon was zoned out like he was just now.

    "Here," Lance tossed him a Leppa Berry "you should eat"

    "Oh, thanks, I guess..."

    The two sat there together silently as Kyuso ate, his chews the only sound. The silence was a little terrifying for him, and he just realized that he just accepted food from a dangerous stranger, but at this point he was so tired he didn't care. Besides, Lance didn't hate him enough to poison him, did he?

    Just as he was about to voice his thoughts, Lance spoke "Drake told me about what you did"

    He stopped chewing.

    "...Thanks. Sorry. Welcome" was all the mysterious Leafeon said before walking away.

    Kyuso gave him an incredulous look with one eye raised. He doubted this was the real behavior of the Lance that he had just met several hours ago. Looking back, he saw Lance making his way through the crowd, sit next to Claire, and get a hug from Claire (Lance blushed so hard at that. So very hard).

    Hehehe. Everyone's got a weakness.

    Kyuso took another bite of his Leppa Berry. Everyone else was at the big campfire. Yes, there was a campfire now. They guessed that they had maybe only a few minutes before the next wave so everyone had a quick bite to eat, and had their wounds treated as best as they could. They all now grouped around the big fire to discuss how to deal with the second wave, and to comfort each other. Again, everyone that is, except Kyuso.

    He looked up to the full moon and sighed The moon is all I need anymore. No wonder Luna always woke up in the middle of the night. I feel...

    He had just finished his Leppa Berry when Guildmaster Pyroar called them all in for a new plan. Rejuvinated by the moon and the energy from his favorite food, he went back to join the others.


    "Here they come!" Guildmaster Pyroar yelled.

    Kyuso looked around him. Half of the remaining Rescue Teams guarded the entrance into the Pyroar Guild, along with Team Liberator, Guildmaster Pyroar, Keeper Onyx, and himself. Guildmaster Pyroar decided it would be better if they forgot about defending Crimson Base, and focused more on defending themselves. After all, it was the Team that completed a mission, not its house.

    The other half of the Rescue Teams, Team Blitz, and Sage Slowking held ground at the top of the cliff that looked over, and walled, the entire beach. A dense forest of trees formed at their backs so they couldn't all fit in one spot and had to spread out alongside the cliff.

    Black Sky couldn't be seen (by now it was no wonder to anyone why Black Sky arrived so late), but the flap of hundreds of wings could be heard. All the Pokémon who were still here knew that at any second, Black Sky would pour out of the darkness like the gooey filth of the sewers they were; endless and disgustingly evil.

    The flapping sounded even closer now

    "Here we go!" Guildmaster Pyroar shouted "All Teams, fire on my mark!"

    Everyone was already in their battle stance, but at the Guildmaster's words, they shifted and readjusted. Kyuso fixed his stance too. He shook himseld loose, and then readjusted: left foreleg at the front, right foreleg behind, and hindlegs slightly spread and bent.

    He felt like he was ready to pounce on Black Sky all by himself.

    The noise was so loud. It was right in front of them!


    A torrent of attacks flew through the air towards the dark cloud, forming a rainbow of energy. All the attacks flew together as one, pierced through the darkness, and hit something solid. Many black shapes fell out of the cloud of darkness, but the cloud itself hardly lost its shape. It just kept on coming.

    As soon as the stream of attacks fell away, the dark cloud came for them.

    Guildmaster Pyroar let loose a mighty, defiant roar "Second wave incoming! Everyone, attack!"
  9. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 29

    December 31

    "Here, put this on."

    Aurora handed Kyuso back his blue poncho then picked up her own. They grabbed their bags of food and money too. The train stopped in White Wave City, and people and Pokémon were already disembarking. Kyuso put on his poncho but immediately jerked.

    "What's the matter?" Frost asked, bored.

    "N-nothing." he said. His face felt hot.

    "Kyuso, you don't have to-oh! *blush*"

    Frost eyes sharpened a bit. "What is it?" she asked.

    Kyuso blinked before saying "We-well, it's just that...Aurora was using my poncho before, so now it feels warm and I can smell her scent on it too."

    Frost's eye twitched and her paw rocketed towards Kyuso's throat.

    He jumped back and yelled "IwashelpingherIswear!"

    Frost stopped. "What did you mean by helping her?"

    Aurora tried to come in between the two to explain. "Frost, it's okay! I was really tired, so I took a nap. He was trying to help make me comfortable as I slept. It felt good and I didn't get any neck cramps that way."

    Kyuso saw the fire in Frost's eyes an instant before it happened. Oh shit.

    "I'll kill youuu!"


    After a more efficient explanation was made, Frost released Kyuso, and grudgingly let him keep his poncho. The trio stepped off the train, with their hoods on, into White Wave City a little before 11:00 p.m. The streets were alive with people and their Pokémon. A few fireworks were going off too, but nothing spectacular. In her excitement, Aurora went ahead and took it all in, her eyes shining from all the lights. Frost remained behind Aurora and in front of Kyuso, obviously blocking him from her. The Umbreon was the last to step off the train, massaging his neck as he did so.

    "Wow," Aurora cried "this is a huge crowd!"

    Kyuso went to her and tried to yell over the noise "I know a way through the city so follow me. We need to stick together so we don't get lost."

    Frost pushed the two apart. "Then lead the way." she warned him.

    Kyuso grumbled and began pushing his way through the crowd; it was like trying to swim in the ocean with shoes on (that is, if he ever wore shoes). The three made slow progress and struggled to stay together, but there were just so many people and Pokémon. They walked very closely to each other in a line with Kyuso at the front, in the middle, and Frost at the rear. Bodies constantly bumped into them from all sides and by the 20th "Excuse me", Kyuso got tired and decided to simply push his way through. He got yelled at a lot for it but he didn't give them any mind. He needed to get home, he was close to home, and he would get home as soon as he could.

    Right then, a big guy fell on him.

    Kyuso shoved the man back "Get off of me!"

    The man turned around and glared at Kyuso. "Don't kick me you stupid Umbreon!"

    I didn't kick you, idiot. "Shut up and sober up, loser!" Kyuso said.

    Even though the human man didn't understand him, he got mad at Kyuso's tone. "Get out of my way!" the man said before throwing a kick.

    Kyuso stepped to the side to avoid the kick, and the man ended up kicking a girl. The girl's boyfriend yelled and punched the man in the face. The man's buddies saw this and they came to back him up. Then the boyfriend's friends joined the fight and chaos ensued. The group of people fighting moved their bodies a lot, including their legs. Punches and kicks flew around, and Kyuso tried desperately to not lose the two girls. They were stuck behind a pair of legs so he reached out his paw. Aurora held onto Frost and she reached out her paw for his. Just when he was about to grab her, a body fell between them and separated them completely.

    Kyuso searched into the mass of bodies. "Aurora! Frost!" he called out.

    Someone's shoe kicked his side and he stumbled.

    He fell over a Minun who got knocked to the side and a Plusle girl was suddenly in front of him with her eyes closed and lips puckered. She was about to kiss him on the lips! He ducked, causing her to miss and trip over his body. She fell over him and he got embarrassed quick from the awkward position. He heard her scream, but thankfully the Minun pulled her off of him. He apologized to the couple but a Quick Attack came at his head instantly. He dodged the Minun's Quick Attack, out of reflex, and countered with a Feint Attack to the gut, also out of reflex. The Minun fell to the ground, moaning, and the Plusle screamed again, going down to help her boyfriend.

    "I am so sorry!" he apologized again.

    "Stay away from us you freak!" the Plusle yelled at him.

    The Plusle came at him and pushed him. He didn't want to hurt anyone else so he took caught her arms and spun her around. The Plusle tripped over herself back in the direction she came from. Kyuso hoped she would stop but of course she didn't. She came at him again, grabbed his right ear, and started slapping him on the head. Even though he had high defenses, he didn't think her slaps could really hurt anyone. He gave a real effort, he truly did, but it was no use and he began laughing at her feeble slaps. She got frustrated at that and even that seemed pretty cute for him, he just couldn't control himself!

    Oh my gosh, what's up with me? I'm not usually this rude but I just can't help it. She's really mad but she's so weak too, like a tiny cupcake!

    The Plusle angrily called some names but he didn't care, this was too funny. He kept laughing like a jerk until her 'reinforcements' arrived. A Volbeat and Illumise, and a Nidoking and Nidoqueen glared down at him.

    His laughed trailed off. "AHAHAHAhahahahaaa...uh oh."

    The Nidoqueen came right at his face and said "Are you the douchebag who's been picking on our friend?"

    "Ah...ah...n-no?" he replied weirdly.

    The Volbeat shot Signal Beam and Kyuso dodged it.

    He realized his mistake too late. Crap!

    Kyuso looked back and saw the attack fly past him and hit a Machoke on the head. It wasn't very effective since Signal Beam was a Bug-type move, but the attack still caused the Machoke to spill his drink over himself. The Machoke slowly turned around and looked right into Kyuso's eyes.

    Astonished, Kyuso looked back and forth between the Machoke and the Plusle's group. "B-b-but! Umbreon can't even learn Signal Beam," he cried "that Volbeat was the one who shot you, not me! Why're you...*sigh* Screw it, I have to find my friends and get home quick so let's get this over with okay? I give up."


    Aurora yelled into the mass of bodies "Kyuso! Kyuso, we're here! Where are you?"

    Frost pulled her friend back. "Come one," she said "we need to go around."

    Aurora struggled against Frost, trying to break out of her friend's grasp. She kept yelling for Kyuso's name into the melee, trying to make her voice heard above all the noise, but no reply came. She felt Frost shaking her shoulders. Frost grabbed her face and turned her head so that her eyes were focused on the Glaceon.

    "Aurora. Aurora, look at me! We need to go around this mess if we want to regroup. This crowd is too thick, so calm down and follow me."

    Aurora finally relaxed and agreed. The two girls stepped away from the raging crowd and walked to the right. They walked into another, calmer crowd and held onto each other to not lose each other. The atmosphere was so festive that it was hard to resist getting excited in all the noise and craziness. So many people and Pokémon were yelling, laughing, dancing, pushing, hugging, and even kissing with each other! Flashes from phones taking pictures were going off everywhere. How would they ever find Kyuso in such a packed and crazy place?

    "Why don't we try going this way?" Frost suggested.

    Aurora saw where Frost was pointing. "Alright, lead the wa-eep!" she cried before she was pulled away.


    Frost grabbed for Aurora but some Pokémon blocked the Glaceon's way. The Pokémon grabbing Aurora's leg separated her away from Frost and pulled her hood up. Aurora was face to face with a Weavile guy who pulled her closer to him. She punched his claw, but he was physically stronger than her.

    "Hey, let go of me you creep!" she yelled.

    The Weavile smiled kindly. "A pretty girl like you shouldn't be alone on New Year's. Would you please become my first girlfriend?*grin* We can get out of here and I'll take you to someplace a lot more fun."

    "Wha-are you crazy? No! Now let me go"

    Aurora hit him again and tried pulling her leg away too, but his grip still held. Just then, a Sneasel girl appeared from out of nowhere. She saw him grabbing Aurora and flipped out.

    "What the hell? Who is this?!" the Sneasel cried.

    "Beat it," the Weavile yelled "you said we were done so I can hit on whoever I want!"

    The Sneasel took a threatening step forward. "It's whomever, not whoever, dumbass!"

    The Weavile angrily stepped forward too, dragging Aurora along with him. "See, this is exactly the reason why I dumped you! You always have to be right, even when we fight!"

    The Sneasel took another step. "Oh, you dumped me? No, I was the one who dumped you. You wish you were the one who did the dumping!"

    The Weavile closed the distance. Aurora was release in the process, completely forgotten. "There you go again, you always have to be the perfect one in a relationship don't you?"

    Aurora still lay on the ground where she was dropped. She would've gotten up to leave, but this was too interesting to watch for her to leave. Several Pokémon around them were even watching the argument between the Weavile and the Sneasel, amused.

    "You know what?" the Sneasel yelled "I am so sick you always finding a way to blame me for everything!'

    The Weavile roared back "Only when you deserve it, honey!"

    It was quiet for a second, but then everyone cheered as the two bickering Pokémon grabbed each other and kissed passionately.

    Aurora remained on the ground while gaping at the scene in front of her, dumbfounded. She had actually witnessed something like this in her life! It was amazing and disturbing at the same time, like a car accident or something. What was she, relationship medicine? The relationship doctor (even though she didn't do anything...)? The repaired couple finally broke apart after a while and panted, their cheeks were flushed and eyes staring lovingly into each other.

    "I love you so much." the Weavile said, out of breath.

    "Let's never break up again." the Sneasel proposed, also panting.

    They roughly kissed each other again and more whoops rose up from the crowd of Pokémon around them.

    Aurora felt someone grabbing her shoulder again, and looked up, frightened. Frost was there so Aurora calmed down and stood back up. Aurora saw Frost looking at the whole scene incredulously. The two chatted as they walked away.

    "What happened to you?" Frost asked.

    "Dragged. Broken couple. Fight. Made-up." Aurora explained poorly. She was really bad with explanations now for some reason. "What about you?" she asked back.

    Frost seemed to nod understandingly. "Blocked. Love-struck guys. Fight. Easy win."

    Aurora frowned. "Again?" she cried "What the heck, Frost?! Why do we always get into these kinds of situations?"

    "I don't know about you, but as for me...I'll explain later. Right now, we've got to find that Umbreon, or we'll be lost in this city."

    "Hey, don't call him that Umbreon." Aurora said "He has a name, and it's-"

    A roar of activity cut her off. Angry shouts could be heard from the mob in front of her. She could hear smacks, swears, and even a small explosion go off from the center of the group of Pokémon.

    "Beat the crap out of him!"

    "Waste the douchebag!"

    "Smash him into the street!"

    "Bastard made us spill our drinks!"

    "Damn Dark-types are all shady troublemakers!"

    Aurora gaped dumbfounded, for the second time. She had a bad feeling that within that boiling soup of Pokémon was Kyuso, busy getting the beating of a lifetime. She wouldn't have believed it were it not for the insane, dangerous, hostile, few days that she had spent in his company.

    No way. No way that he gets into a fight already, right? We were only separated for a couple of minutes. There's just no way that's him.

    Her doubt was shattered when Frost muttered "Let's go save our leader before he dies."

    Aurora nodded and they pushed their way through the crowd.


    Kyuso felt the hits stop raining down on him after half a minute maybe. Honestly, he felt hurt, but not to the point of being incapacitated or something. It helped that his hard Umbreon body held against the stomps and kicks. Also, he could tell from the hits that 90% of the Pokémon that beat him probably had never fought before in their lives. The remaining 10%...well, White Wave City was a peaceful place after all, so he doubted they fought regularly like him. But since White Wave City was 'a peaceful place' as he put it, why did these guys pummel him to the ground? He was just so emotionally exhausted of all the fighting he did in the past few weeks that he just accepted his beating this time. He was a city Pokémon too, however slight, but it was a good thing these were city city Pokémon.

    As the Pokémon walked away, he just stayed on the ground for a while before sitting up. This is the lousiest New Year's Eve I've ever had Kyuso thought As if this year's Christmas wasn't bad enough too.

    "Kyuso!" he heard a familiar voice yell.

    He turned around to see Aurora running up to him. Frost was close behind too. Aurora crouched down to meet him at eye level and he backed away a bit. His cheeks flushed a little from seeing that she was invading his personal space.

    "Kyuso, are you okay? Do you have a bruise? Nothing's broken is it?" Aurora said while holding his head. She yelped whenever she saw another area on his body that bled.

    He waved her off. "I'm fine," he grumbled "I'm just upset a little is all."

    Frost scoffed from above him. "You take a beating like that and the only thing you have to say after it is that you're upset? Are Umbreon basically just punching bags like you? Or maybe it's just you who's weak."

    "Hey, I let them do it to me, alright?" he retorted "I was just sick of fighting all these random Pokémon for once. It's stupid and ridiculous. It's like I did something horrible in a past life or whatever. And as for you, you cheated."

    "Cheated?" Frost repeated.

    Kyuso turned his head to the side, refusing to meet her eye as he said this. It would be hard to admit this, but he was still angry with her nonetheless. "Yeah, you used your sexy body and charm to seduce me and sneak attack me. What kind of fight is it when I'm already terrified in that way, huh?" he barked, while blushing harder as he spoke.

    Aurora stepped back when he said that.

    Frost remained emotionless. "Hmph. Don't whine, you'll never win a fight if you continue pathetically like that. And technically, that wasn't cheating, it was Captivate. I've just gotten so good with it at this point that I can 'wear' it like an aura."

    Aurora and Kyuso both choked at the new information.

    "That explains so much!" she cried.

    "Why do you even have a cheap move like that?!" he yelled.

    "I'm a Raider. Why do you think? Now come on, let's go." She said while smirking and offering her paw to him.

    He brushed Frost's paw out of his face. "Fine, let's go." He snapped.

    Now that they were reunited, the trio resumed walking through the masses of people and Pokémon. They stayed close, closer than they were before, so that they wouldn't lose each other again. Kyuso had to watch Aurora though, in case she accidentally wandered off from seeing something fantastic. She sort of reminded him of Jun and he smiled. If he was returning home under more pleasant circumstances, he believed that Jun and Aurora would become friends so easily. Realizing that he left Flick out of his reminiscence, he felt guilty. But he shoved that feeling down. He was not coming back home for Flick. Not to help Aurora make a new friend. Not to be back in the comforts of his old bed. He was coming back for Jun. Although yes, he had done that, this wasn't just some stranger that he met, this was Jun. He was sure that he would never do that to Jun, no matter the danger. He just had to get home before it was too late. Before Max and Pat caught on to his plan and got there first.

    "How far is your home?" Aurora asked him, breaking him from his thoughts.

    "Once we get out of White Wave City, my house is maybe four or five miles away." he answered.

    "So that'll probably be an hour long walk, right?" Frost asked.

    "We're not walking;" he answered again "we're running."

    No more than half an hour after the words left his mouth, Kyuso Umbreon arrived home.


    "I never told you much about my family, did I?" Kyuso asked Aurora. He lay on the ground, his eyes glued to his house, his energy all gone from his body.

    "...No, you didn't." she said quietly.

    "There are five of them by the way. But only Jun is my flesh-and-blood brother."

    "...I bet he loves you a lot." she said, going along with his present-tense manner of speech.

    "He does, and I love him too...Did you know that when I was fighting to break free from that Ultra Ball, I thought of him to give me strength?"

    "...That was a very good thing, Kyuso." she said.

    He felt numb all over. He couldn't think of anything else. He didn't know what to think about. He felt like a deflated balloon. He wondered if there was something wrong with him, since he wasn't feeling anything right now. He wanted to die.

    "You two would've gotten along so quickly. I'm sure of it."

    "I'm so sorry Kyuso." Aurora muttered. She rubbed his back, trying to comfort him.

    His home was on fire.

    Flames stuck to the walls like glue, eating away at the two-story house. Windows exploded from the heat and glass shards flew out of the house. Crashes were heard as the roof of the house began to come down. Stray embers escaped upward into the endless, night sky. The heat could be felt even from this distance.

    The only thing that made the ugly sight uglier was his family, who were burning the house down.

    Ray had maybe a dozen, floating Molotov cocktails with him, throwing them with Psychic at the walls of the burning house with gusto. Laughing out loud maniacally, Flick shot Fire Blast at the room he used to sleep in, as if he was finally releasing an urge that he had kept hidden within himself for years. Mason stood close and carried a flamethrower with him, spraying out the hot tongue of fire. His own tongue stuck out too as he giggled insanely. Luna just sat and watched from a distance, her eyes colder than the snow at her feet.

    Jun was nowhere to be seen.

    Luna suddenly announced "Welcome home brother." Her back was to him and it sounded monotone, but he picked up just a hint of hidden pleasure in her tone.

    The three, psychotic pyros that were his family turned around and saw him at the edge of the road that led to the house.

    "Kyuso!" Ray suddenly gasped "What're you doing back so soon?"

    He was still in shock, but somehow, he caught the suspicious words in Ray's question. "Soon?" he asked "What do you mean soon?"

    "Ah...well...you see..." Ray stuttered "*Sigh* Oh well, I guess the cat's outta the bag now, huh?"

    Kyuso didn't know what to make of that. "The cat's outta the...What?! What do you mean by that?!" he roared "What the hell is this?! Why're you all burning down the house?! What in Arceus's name is going on?!" He sucked in a few breaths before growling out his next question. "And where is Jun?"

    Flick answered that question for him. "Ahahahaha! That pipsqueak? Oh, I think he's just enjoying the new fireplace we built for him." Flick smirked mockingly and said "He's probably just curling up by the fire, taking a nice nap."

    Kyuso felt like he was hit in the stomach. He couldn't believe it. Jun was...gone. He failed.

    "I think by now you should know that we aren't your so-called 'family', Kyuso." Mason said. "In fact, if you haven't gotten it by now, that's embarrassing. I mean really, you should've started guessing something when Max and Pat, the names of those Pokémon hunters by the way, said that they were going to come back to this specific house." The man chuckled before continuing "I can see from the look on your face that you still don't get it, so I'll tell you. I hired Max and Pat to catch you. We killed Jun. And you belong to us now."

    The three, who he used to call family, stood and grinned smugly. They looked like they had worked together and won on a happy, fun, family-building game show. Except they weren't his family anymore. No, that was wrong. They were never his family to begin with. No father, brother, or sister could ever be called as such when they pulled off something like this and enjoyed it.

    Kyuso felt something hot building in his chest.

    Those...those bastards...killed...him. They killed my brother. They killed Jun. They killed him. Jun, my little brother, is burning in that place we called home, at this very moment.


    The whole time, Aurora felt something 'malicious' rising within Kyuso, and now she felt that malice suddenly snap.

    She lunged forward to grab him just a microsecond too late.


    Kyuso sprinted at the man he used to call a father, teeth bared.

    Rage pumped through his veins like a supreme source of energy.

    His red eyes became a tiny shade darker than what was normal for Umbreon.

    A.N.: Alright, here we go! Next chapter is going to be the fiery-family-fight scene! Honestly, I know I mentioned that I already planned out the general plot for this story (back in Ch. 2 maybe?), but this is one part that I never could decide how it should play out. Instead, I'll make it a vote. Who should fight who in Kyuso, Aurora, & Frost vs. Ray, Luna, & Flick? Leave a review with your matchup suggestion and the matchups with the most common votes will be the winner. If not, then I guess I'll just draw tickets randomly from a box or something like that. See you next chapter!

    *Forgot to mention the cut-off date, sorry. I think a week should be good so the last day to post a vote will be Jan. 20, 2015.
  10. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Alright, we're finally on the next chapter guys! Sorry for the long wait, but I wanted to make them (I wrote Ch. 31 too) come out as best as I could so I went back and edited these two chapters I-don't know-how-many times. Honestly, I didn't know which route you guys wanted Kyuso to take, as in fighting: (a) his traitorous elder brother who strung him along all these years (b) his bitter sister to finally dish out some real pain on her (c) the youngest brother for being friendly towards Jun all these years while secretly wanting to kill him the whole time. You know the votes, so let's read the results shall we?

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 30

    December 31



    Frost had never heard such a monstrous roar before. It sounded like it came from some kind of hurt, desperate, and raging beast. She never would've believed that the roar came from the same puny Umbreon that she had beaten less than an hour ago, if she didn't hear him with her own ears. His roar was loud enough to feel. She actually felt the shake from that roar. The next thing she knew, everyone else was in action, so she decided to move in and fight as well.

    When Frost saw a Kadabra point his spoon at Aurora, the scoop crackling with electricity, her body just reacted. Her Ice Beam had had already hit the Kadabra's spoon before he could attack, but she couldn't' shoot down the Vulpix's fire in time. Thankfully, she saw Aurora defend herself with Dazzling Gleam. Frost was perplexed though; that attack was too slow for Aurora, she could've easily dodged it, so why did she defend instead of dodge?

    Oh, that's why.

    She noticed Aurora protecting that Umbreon. Not the girl, but the guy. Those two were tumbling around in the snow and both struggled to get on the top position. Frost paid them no mind and focused back on the Kadabra who glowered at her. She stared back and analyzed him with her sharp eyes. He smashed his frozen spoon against the ground, shattering the ice. He faced her now and she could see by the way he carried himself that he hadn't had many fights, he was too stiff and open, but she didn't miss that dangerous look in his eyes. Those were the eyes of a killer, unlike hers. Raiders were hired to capture their targets, not kill them. In a way she was at a disadvantage here, but she had faith in her skills and that's all she really needed.

    "Damn you, you stupid b*! I'll teach you not to shove your nose into other people's business!" he growled at her.

    She regarded him coolly and replied "If you think you got the balls to take on a Raider, then show me what you got."

    He choked out "You're a...Raider?" before turning back to the human. The human gasped a moment later, so she guessed that the Kadabra had telepathically informed the man.

    The man's look transformed from surprise to a snarl. "Bulls***!" he claimed "That Glaceon is lying to you, Ray! Just stay focused and don't let her shake you up."

    Frost just shrugged, she did warn him.

    The Kadabra she guessed to be Ray nodded and faced her again. He aimed his spoon directly at her this time and the spoon glowed faintly. A torrent of blue energy erupted out from the scoop of the spoon as a Psychic attack, and it all rushed towards her. She sucked in a small breath and blew an Icy Wind out from her lips. The size of the little gust of cold air paled in comparison to that Psychic wave, but when it hit it stopped the Psychic wave cold (pun intended), and a thick fog spewed out as a result. It wasn't a hail storm, but she had learned a certain secret long ago that it wasn't just the weather that activated her Snow Cloak ability. Frost let her eyes fall closed, relaxed, and melted naturally into the chilly fog, letting her body take care of the rest.

    When the fog was gone, so was Frost.

    "What the hell?" Ray exclaimed. "Where is she?"

    Where was she? Currently, she was right in front of him, but she had buried herself under some snow, and was invisible to him now. The chill of the snow soothed her and reinvigorated her body. She heard a tree branch snap behind Ray, that she expected. She had used a weak, silent Ice Beam to freeze the end of a branch on a tree close by, before the fog lifted. Ray reacted by turning around to the sound, and realization dawned on him too late when he saw the chunk of ice, with the broken branch still in it, fall on the ground.

    Frost shot another small Ice Beam at the back of Ray's neck, freezing just his head. He wobbled around from the extra weight, trying to stay upright. She shot out of the snow, spun, and smacked the block around his head with her tail, shattering the ice into fragments with one go. Dazed, Ray tilted to one side and his feet tried to keep up with his body. His feet tripped on the snow after a few steps, leaving him KO'd on the cold ground.

    "Hmph, I guess I overestimated him." Frost remarked plainly. It wasn't much of a match when one was up against a Raider, or at least a 'good one'.

    She regarded the human and he jumped back from her gaze. She gave a slight smirk and checked on Aurora and the Umbreon boy. Both were still fighting, but she merely glanced at the Umbreon. She saw that Aurora was straining against a stream of fire and it looked like she wasn't going to last much longer. Frost ran at her friend, hoping that she could hold on for a few more seconds.

    "Auro-"she tried to call before fire suddenly consumed her.

    Hellishly-hot flames erupted from the ground and hit all around her, trapping her. She felt like the flames were eating away at her with acid jaws. The intensity of the fire was instantly too much for her and she fell flat on the ground, being burned alive.

    She tucked into a ball, with thoughts of passing out already plaguing her. "NO!" she grunted, desperately trying not to scream.

    Just when the scorching pain was pushing her to her limit, the fire around her gained weight, as if it had all gathered up together around her skin, and exploded. Frost flew into the air and went limp while her gear and cloak fell off, already ripped into burning shreds. She reached the peak and cold air rushed past her as she fell, but the coldness wasn't enough, she still hurt bad, really bad. Someone caught her just before she hit the ground, and she instantly hated them, and refused to be knocked out by a sneak Blast Burn in a time like this.

    The heat emanating from the skin of her 'catcher' could only come from a Fire-type Pokémon.


    "No, don't Kyuso," Aurora called out imploringly "you can't take them all on by yourself!"

    She chased after him to hold him back from diving headfirst into that group of murderers, but somehow, he was faster than her! This shouldn't have been possible but the fact remained that he was gradually putting distance between him and her, no matter how hard and fast she pumped her legs. She could see that he was charging straight towards the human, but before he could pounce on the man, the Umbreon girl tackled him to the side, and they both went rolling. Aurora wanted to go after Kyuso to help him, but stopped when she heard the Vuplix boy cry out.

    "Yay, I finally get to end this pathetic loser!" he cried with a joyful hop.

    The man tried to say something but his voice was lost over the sound of a Fire Blast heating up. The next thing Aurora knew, she was between the Vulpix and Kyuso, facing the Fire Blast with a heavy, wall of snow held up by Psychic in front of her. The Fire Blast hit the wall of snow and the impact made her slide back a bit, but she held her ground. She let the snow drop when the attack ended and got into her defensive stance.

    "Flick, control yourself! We must bring Kyuso back alive, so you cannot kill him!" the man yelled.

    The Vulpix known as Flick spoke while shifting his eyes from Kyuso to her "Yeah whatever. Luna already has him so I guess I'm gonna be playing with this girly girl!"

    Aurora crouched lower, bracing her feet on the snow. "If you want to get at Kyuso, you're going to have to get through me first!" she shouted, both with and without confidence.

    The Kadabra stepped up. "Big talk for a little girl," he mocked "but can you back up those words?"

    The Kadabra held up his spoon. Electricity crackled around it, surrounded the scoop of the spoon, and grew to the size of a soccer ball. He pointed the golden, crackling energy down at Aurora who prepared a Psybeam to defend against the Kadabra's Charge Beam. But Flick walked to the side and charged up a Flamethrower in his mouth, so she switched her attack to Dazzling Gleam.

    What do I do? Aurora thought in distress. I'm not sure if I can protect Kyuso from two attacks at once; my Dazzling Gleam may be overpowered! And where is Frost?

    As if on cue, an Ice Beam flew out of nowhere and froze the Kadabra's spoon solid. The attack froze his hand and the spoon too in a hunk of ice, ending the Charge Beam. Aurora mentally thanked Frost and released Dazzling Gleam at Flick; the scorching light was now narrower since it was focused on just one target.

    Flick's Flamethrower fired and met Aurora's Dazzling Gleam halfway. The two attacks collided and both Pokémon struggled to stay on their feet as they felt the pressure of each other's attacks trying to push each other down, while the pressure only grew with each passing second as they energy between the opposing attacks intensified. Both streams neither progressed nor shrunk and eventually, the whole thing just blew up between the Espeon and Vulpix. The small explosion blew the two off their feet, but they both got back on their feet quickly.

    "Ahahahaha, you're fun!" Flick spoke in glee "I think I want to play with you instead now!"

    Aurora tried to pat out the flames caught on her poncho, but threw it off her after a few failed attempts, giving up on the red garment. The poncho's flames ate away at the material, despite the cold snow that tried to save it. She tossed the bag of food and money to the side as well. She was a bit sad to dump all her gear, but wanted to be as light on her feet as possible. This was a killer she was dealing with, and a child killer at that. She didn't know whether that made him less dangerous or more, but she was definitely sure that she wouldn't be capable of killing him. Even if she had to in the end, something deep down told her that she'd fail, so if she wanted to even survive against this enemy, she'd have to go all out.

    "I can't believe Kyuso had to grow up around you filthy murderers!" she spat.

    "Hey, that's no fair! I took a shower before I blew up this stupid house, you know." Flick pouted.

    "Do you think this is a game or something?" Aurora spoke hoarsely "How can you kill an innocent, young boy and then whine about being dirty? Do you even comprehend the blood on your hands?"

    Flick looked down then gave her a quizzical look and said "But there's no-"

    "Just don't!" Aurora yelled "I've had enough of you! Give up now and turn yourself into the police, there's nowhere for you to go!"

    "Flick just laughed. "You'll have to catch me first girly!" he said.

    Flick jumped up, opened his mouth, and a halo of fire appeared inside. He shot his Fire Spin attack at Aurora and she swiftly dodged the initial hit of the attack, but was still caught in the flames. Flick landed inside the ring of fire with Aurora and the two faced each other off.

    "Let the fun begin!" Flick whooped as he shot Flamethrower again at Aurora.

    Aurora dodged to the side, not too much so that she burned herself on the Fire Spin ring, but not too little either to be hit by the oncoming Flamethrower. A sense of déjà vu washed over her and she instinctively shot Psybeam at Flick, hoping to counter the Vulpix. Flick responded by immediately ending his attack and back flipped with a Tail Whip, deflecting her Psybeam up to into the sky. Aurora's eyes widened; she didn't know Tail Whip could be used so aggressively.

    I guess this going to go as smoothly as the first time.

    She tried strafing to the other side as she fired Psybeam and Dazzling Gleam attacks. Flick copied her with Flamethrower and Fire Blast attacks. Aurora landed every one of her attacks while nimbly rolling, jumping, and sliding under Flick's Flamethrower streams, getting away with only minor burns. He got mad at this and rushed at her, while knocking her attacks away with Tail Whip, got in front of her, and shot Fire Blast. She just barely managed to dive/squeeze between two lengths of the 5-bladed star of fire, getting a few burns along her back as she did so. She rolled forward, spun around, and shot Dazzling Gleam at the Vulpix, but he was ready for her and fired Flamethrower to block.

    The two attacks collided and Aurora found herself stuck in this position once more, but this time, she had to win. She could feel her strength waning after shooting so much within such heat. The heat from the Fire Spin was slowly eating away at her endurance and she knew that she needed to finish this now. So she concentrated and put more effort into her Dazzling Gleam, panting as she did, the gem on her head flashing brighter. She felt the weight on her legs getting lighter and that spurred her on. She focused harder on the shining stream of light, but felt resistance as Flick grew frustrated and desperately pushed back at her. Her feet started to slide backward from the opposing force and she felt the pressure returning, so she braced herself on the snow, and continued her attack. Back and forth the Dazzling Gleam and Flamethrower went.

    At best, she wasn't going to last the next five seconds and didn't know how long Flick would last. She had to make her next push her last and if she did it too soon or too late, she'd mess up and get hit from all that combined energy. Four seconds and she would collapse. She didn't know what else to do except pray, so she was about to make a quick, silent prayer to Arceus that she'd outlast Flick, when she suddenly stopped. No, Arceus was not the one she should be praying to right now. Instead, she thought about the person who comforted her the most, taught her Dazzling Gleam, and always loved her no matter what.

    "Aurora, come here for a second," her mother had told Aurora one day. She had replied with "Okay mommy" and skipped merrily over to her mother, clueless as to what her mother wanted. Her mother told Aurora that she wanted Aurora to always be happy, healthy, and safe, but knew that she would never be able to live like that for her entire life. So her mother had called her over, wanting to teach Aurora her first move. "Am I going to learn a Psychic-type move?" Aurora questioned in a complaining manner, hoping to learn something that would come easily to her as an Espeon so she could go back to reading. Her mother had told her then that a Psychic-type Pokémon's greatest weakness was a Dark-type since they were both super-effective against Psychic-types, and immune from Psychic-types. "But that's cheating!" Aurora whined at the news. Her mother shushed her "Now, now, that's why we're here, Aurora. Mommy's going to teach you one of her own moves. It's also a very pretty move that will protect you against the Dark-type bad guys, and also from all the other bad guys, if you'll let me. Deal?" Aurora agreed eagerly "Deal!" Her mother kissed Aurora on her gem and said "Promise mommy that you'll keep her move forever. If you do, then a piece of mommy will stay with you, and she'll be able to help you at anytime." Aurora smiled at the thought and cried happily "Promise! Can we learn it now?". Her mother laughed at her enthusiasm "Mhmhmhm. Not now, okay baby? Let's go eat something first.""Okay!"

    "Mom," Aurora shouted "I need your help!" She poured all she had into a final push.

    She took a breath and put more power into her attack, feeling sweat running down her face. Three seconds. The Dazzling Gleam fought back against the Flamethrower and this time, it surged forward without pause. Two seconds, but it would be enough. Her attack was less than a foot away from victory when it felt firm resistance and was forced to stop. Flick's eyes were wild and full of fear, and for a second, he looked like he was just an innocent kid, thrown into a grown-up world where he didn't know the first thing on what to do. One second. She had come this far, and she wasn't going to lose now. Aurora showed the poor, corrupted boy no mercy and made the final push.


    A light flashed before her so bright that she had to close her eyes and look away. Scorching wind blew past her and she braced herself lower on the snow to not be blown away. It all died down after a few seconds passed and she shook her head, body, and tail, letting cool air flow through her fur. She looked around and saw Flick's body lying several feet away from the source of the explosion, not moving. Growing scared, she ran over to him and placed her ear over his chest

    Oh no, I didn't mean to! Please be okay please be okay!

    There! It was faint and took a while for her to hear, but she had heard his heartbeat. Relieved, she turned back to check on Kyuso and Frost. Kyuso was still fighting, but Frost was nowhere to be seen; only a smoking crater remained where she last saw Frost. She decided to help Kyuso first, trusting Frost that she could take care of herself for just a little longer. Aurora had only taken a step when her vision suddenly went red and cold, and sharp pain cut across her back.

    The Night Slash was too much for her and she blacked out.


    Kill. Kill! KILL!

    The Umbreon was at least 100 meters away from the human when it began its charge, but the distance was shrinking incredibly fast. An amazed look spread across the man's face and he fell back in surprise. The man blinked and the Umbreon had already crossed halfof the distance between them. The Umbreon heard the man say something about it being impossible for Umbreon to run that fast, at least the Umbreon thought he did. Whatever he said exactly, the Umbreon didn't give a s***. It already decided that the man would die by its hand. They would all die by its hand.

    Kill. Kill! KI-

    Someone tackled the Umbreon's side and they both rolled over each other until they stopped. The Umbreon had ended up on bottom while she sat on its stomach. It was that b**** of a fake sister it resented all these years. Now it just plain hated her. She was looking down at the Umbreon with a cold expression on her face, emotionless.

    "I'll kill you! I'll rip you to shreds!" the Umbreon screamed in rage.

    She didn't say a word and just stared at it.

    The Umbreon launched a Feint Attack for her face with its right paw. It wasn't going to take her crap anymore. The hit connected with her left cheek and she fell back, off the Umbreon. The Umbreon didn't want to waste any more time with this stupid girl and turned back to run at the human. It only took two steps before it smashed into an invisible wall.

    Ripples of purple light spread from the spot it smashed into on the invisible wall and the ripples exposed the pattern of a big, menacing, purple eye, right in front of it. It growled at the eye and launched a Feint Attack for the center of the eye, but the attack bounced off and more ripples spread. The ripples and the eye faded away a few seconds later so the Umbreon tried running at the human again, but the purple eye reappeared in the same spot, the ripples of purple light already spreading once more.

    It grew frustrated and went around the eye to the right, but it crashed into the invisible wall again and another purple eye appeared with more purple ripples that began at the center of the eye before fading away. This eye stopped it from an even shorter distance from the human bastard, and it was getting angrier by the second. The big eyes were mocking it, damn them! The Umbreon tried going more to the right, but the same result occurred. Run into the invisible wall. A pattern of a big purple eye appears. Purple ripples spread from the center of the eye like water on a still lake. The eye and ripples fade after a few seconds. Repeat. This went on until the Umbreon walked a full circle, in a clockwise direction, back to the spot it first crashed into the wall. Ironically, eyes were one of the most sensitive muscles in a living organism, yet these indestructible eyes kept it trapped in the 20-meters-diameter circle. F*** them!

    "You won't be going anywhere soon while my Mean Look is in effect." she said behind it.

    The Umbreon turned around and growled at her.

    "Mean Look won't be going anywhere either until you go down," she continued with that void look on her face "or I do."

    Get the hell out of my way! You think you're the s*** here?! No. While I'm trapped in here with you, the only thing you can do is...the Umbreon thought. "Dieee!"

    It charged at her with the same killer intentions it had in store for the man. Its head glowed like purple fire from the energy that came with Assurance, and it sprinted at its new target, the girl. It leapt at her but she dodged by slipping underneath it and shot its chest with Confuse Ray. The Umbreon landed and spun to face her. It waited for something to happen but nothing did and it guessed that she missed. It was royally ticked off with her for wasting its time and wanted to end this as fast as possible. It rushed at her again.

    "RRAAAAA!" the Umbreon screamed, furious.

    It charged at the Umbreon girl who stood calmly, almost as if she was waiting for it. The Umbreon didn't care how good or how s***ty her poor ass stance looked. She was going to die either way. And the Umbreon was going to kill her.

    "RRAAAAA-" the Umbreon's roar was cut off as it gasped.

    What the hell is this?!

    Its head exploded. Not literally, but it exploded in pain. The shock was so sudden, so painful, nothing like it ever felt before. The pain stabbed at its brain like a knife and it had to close its eyes and hold its head against the pain. The Umbreon fell to the ground and slashed its paws around wildly. Then, the pain was gone, completely gone. Yes, its head did feel a bit itchy but the pain had suddenly disappeared. As soon as the pain was gone, it jumped back up and charged at the foe once again. She still wore that tired look on her face, as if she didn't want to fight, but that only mad the Umbreon madder.

    The Umbreon swore to itself that by the end of the battle, her face would wear some kind of emotion. "Damn youuu!"

    It ran at her and scratched with Assurance, its paw glowing with a venomous purple glow. She ducked underneath it. It threw a second Assurance with its other paw. She jumped back. It saw her land gracefully a few feet back and it grew even angrier. It was getting extremely frustrated and could see that her expression was still tired, but her eyes seemed a little bit sad. Sad about what? About it? Did she pity it as if it was a weakling? Damn her!

    I'm going to wipe that cool look of your face, permanently!

    The Umbreon took a step towards her before its head blew up a second time.

    "Arghhh!" the Umbreon screamed. It closed its eyes, squeezed its head, and fell to the ground once more.

    What was this pain? Where was it coming from? It was coming up out of nowhere and was so intense that it incapacitated it. The pain felt like its head was being drilled into with a long, thin, sharp drill. The pain was pure agony and made it want to curl up and die, just so that the pain would go away. Its head felt like it was about to explode from the furiousness of all the pain and the Umbreon could hear itself wailing in absolute torture. It was just starting to see black at the corner of its vision when the pain ended altogether. Just like that, there was no trace of the pain that was ripping it apart just moments before. The Umbreon sat up tentatively and rubbed its head a little bit. Yes, the pain was definitely gone now, but that didn't mean its worries were gone. It had left it quickly the first time, but this was the second time that this happened to it and it was a little cautious to get up.

    "By the way," the girl said to it" that's how a real Confuse Ray feels like."

    The Umbreon's rage caught fire again. It was hurt and scared, but her insult channeled its hurt and fear into rage; red, hot, bubbling rage. How dare she make of it after what she did? She just murdered someone important to it, and here she was, putting the deed off as if murdering that someone was something insignificant to her. That someone was not insignificant, The Umbreon was insignificant. But by Arceus, if it would do one last thing before this day, this year even, ended, it would make sure that vengeance was served!

    The Umbreon bared its teeth and rocketed towards her, screaming "Shut the f*** up!"

    It slashed at her with Assurance again; the dark, purple energy around its paw was even sharper than before. She coolly slid under it so that she stood behind it. The Umbreon went with the momentum and spun around with another Assurance, this time with its tail. She rolled to the side. The Umbreon's attack came just short of her and it finished its spin without landing a hit. The Umbreon turned around to face her and shot Screech as hard as it could, willing itself in its mind to scream loud enough to make its lungs fly out of its mouth. It was just that angry. She jumped over its head, rolled as she landed on the ground, and spun around to face it.

    The Umbreon's attack ended and it panted partially from the effort to fire a Screech like that, but mostly to calm itself so that it could keep its thoughts clear enough to produce speech. Right now, its thoughts were kill-driven to the max, and it wasn't sure if it would be able to speak words clearly enough with such beastly thoughts. Honestly, the Umbreon wanted to go with its animalistic instincts and start ripping her to shreds, but a much greater desire..., no, a need, required that it be sentient enough to be capable of communicating its feelings.

    "*Huff Huff* You *Huff Huff* you dare to *Huff Huff* Don't *Huff* you ever *Huff Huff* insult me *Huff* ever *Huff* again *Huff Huff*." Kyuso said, then spat at the ground at her feet "You've got no *Huff Huff* right to *Huff* after you *Huff* loved him *Huff Huff Huff* then killed him!"

    Her eyes flickered down, grew sadder, and her lower lip quivered. They all happened simultaneously so lightning quick and so subtly that her cold, emotionless face was back before it could get a clear look at her face, but the afterimage of her was fresh in its mind.

    You aren't really sorry. You don't to be sorry. You think I'm buying your little act after what you did, you stupid s***? Did you forget that were the one who killed that certain someone that you're feeling sorry for? F***ing, lying, acting, b****, I'm not letting you leave here alive!

    The Umbreon roared up into the night sky in a pure, white-hot rage, its body exhausted and demanding oxygen and rest. The Umbreon only stopped roaring when it started feeling light-headed, and then charged straight at the girl. It saw she wasn't moving again, but it didn't care about that. No matter what cocky stance she took, no matter how many of its hits she would dodge, or no matter how many hits she landed on it, in the end it would have her, and then rip her to shreds. It accepted no other alternative. The Umbreon needed to eradicate this evil existence from the face of the earth...and it would need all the help it could get. The Umbreon called upon that certain someone in its mind to help it in this fight, just like that time when it escaped from the Ultra Ball.

    Then, Kyuso remembered who that "someone" was.

    Jun, please, help me with just this one hit. Then you can go back to sleep, I'll take it from there, bro.

    Kyuso was close to her now, but he felt like something was off. Like something was missing from this moment. He felt as if he was going to fail again. He slowed for only a moment, then newfound confidence filled his guts as he put on another burst of speed and yelled out "Jun, lend me your strength!" and made the final leap towards the girl.


    There! He saw it. Her eyes fell to the ground. Her battle stance looked lazy before but now it looked like she had just plain gave up. There was a defeated look in her eyes, full of regret, and he knew before he reached the peak of his jump that this time, she wasn't going anywhere.

    He had her.

    They both crashed to the ground and this time, they didn't even roll. She didn't struggle. He was on top of her now, an ideal position. He had her now. His right paw took on a deadly purple glow once again and this time, his Assurance struck true. He hit her directly on her left eye and her head tilted to her right. Immediately, he saw a tear fall from the eye he struck and thought that her eye was tearing up from the sting of the blow, until he felt her body choke and tremble below him.

    He picked up her face and hissed "You don't have the right to cry over him." before slamming her face back down with Feint Attack.

    Her head fell to the ground, but he didn't let up. He hit her again with Feint Attack, and her head rolled to one side. He switched over to Assurance and smacked her head the other way so that it rolled to the other side. He smacked her head the other way. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. He let his anger fuel through his tiring body. Every time his attacks slowed down, his rage sped him up faster than he was before. This was right and just. It was revenge in its most deserved form. He was doing it. He was really doing it. He was killing her. It wouldn't be enough, nothing ever would, but she was a start, and afar he killed her, it would be one down, three to go. Soon, he would make his first step towards avenging Jun's death. His forelegs started to tire out more, so he brought them together and started hammering down with both at the same time.

    Her face was bruised and the skin above her eyes had split. Blood was pouring down her face now, dripped down, and covered her eyes. Her nose was broken and bled heavily. His paws were covered in her blood and some of it flew out every time he hit her. Her face still looked sad and not once did she cry out during her beating. He only grew angrier at this and hit her harder. He wanted her to feel fear, pure, overwhelming, drowning fear. Be filled with the terror of dying to the point where she would beg to be killed, to be released from the torture. And because he wasn't a merciless bastard like her, or the lot of them, he would grant her wish in the end, and avenge Jun.

    A fleck of light caught his attention.

    In response, he slashed at her with Assurance again, and a nasty claw mark formed on her cheek. "What did I tell you?! You have no right to cry over him!" he bellowed at her face.

    She kept crying; her tears caught the light from the fire of the burning house. Her face now wore an emotion, but not the one he wanted her to wear.

    He couldn't take this crap anymore. He wouldn't. This girl had pushed his last button, so now he was done with her. He didn't care about how her face still showed no fear, like how it was when they started fighting. Maybe it looked depressed since then, but even if it showed a lot more, depression was not what he wanted to see on her face during her final moments. Though he didn't care anymore, his craving to kill was finally going to be sated, and that was what really mattered.

    He never noticed exactly when his Assurance attacks grew sharp but now he thought it was convenient. Charging up Assurance on his right paw, he brought it down pointing straight at her throat, and clutched his right foreleg with his left paw, ready to press down and pierce through her neck; he had changed his mind at the last second, he wasn't going to destroy her, he was going to execute her.

    He didn't know why he said it but said it anyway. "Any last words?"

    She didn't say anything at first. A second passed. Two. Three. Four. Five. Just as he thought that she had nothing to say and decided to press down, he felt movement. It was slow and wobbly, but he saw her lifting her left paw towards...him? No, her paw reached past him. It made slow progress and trembled from the effort, but it reached up up up, higher and higher, until finally, it reached straight up, straight towards the sky. He had to look away to see what she was doing (he remained wary the whole time, in case she was planning something) with her paw, but he saw her open her paw to the sky, as if trying to grab something high up in the air.

    What the hell is she reaching for?

    She tried to extend her reach for a few more seconds and after realizing that this was as far as she could go, smiled the tiniest bit, and muttered "Wait for me, Jun." She was still reaching up for the skies.

    What did she-?!

    He had to have misheard her. There was no way this evil witch would say those words as her last. She must be trying to trick him. How dare she! He gave her a chance to speak her final words and this is how she repaid him? Damn her! And damn all the other sons of b****es too! He would make sure to send each and every one of them to hell personally, starting with this scum. She wasn't worthy to say Jun's name, and he was going to make sure that she would pay the price for it!

    ...So why couldn't he move?

    A scowl on his face, he lifted his right paw up, readying it for a downward stab, and brought it down hard, pushing with his left for extra power.

    His attack still refused to touch her throat.

    He was genuinely confused now. Why wasn't she dead already? He braced himself on the ground, placing his left paw by her right cheek. He stabbed down again.

    It didn't work either.

    Growing frustrated, he sat back up, yanked her head up by her ears with his left paw, and brought his right paw back. This time, his Assurance shot forward successfully, penetrated her throat, and coated his paw in her blood. She tried gasping at the sudden stab, but no breath came from her mouth and she could only choke on her own blood, her eyes wide with fear upon realizing that-

    No, he had just imagined it all, the result was the same. What the hell is this?!

    What was going on? Why couldn't he kill her? She and the rest of those murderers did it with no problem with Jun. He was raised by a group of murderers, so even though he had no idea of what they were, he should've been able to 'do the deed', just like them. Why couldn't he do it like them if he had a more justifiable reason than them?! And if that wasn't enough, they had killed Jun and that alone should've been enough for him to be able to kill all the bastards. He didn't understand, why couldn't he do it? Was he afraid of these cold-blooded killers? No! Did he, really really really deep down, not love Jun as much as he thought he did? NO! Then what the heck was his probl-

    "I told you that you don't get to cry anymore you retarded b****!" he yelled after seeing another tear fall down her face.

    Her after-sob trembles were still there but she managed to choke out "I-I-I'm...n-n-n-not.". She slowly brought her paw down, touched under his eye, and showed him what she held.

    He couldn't move. His body was numb. His brain just went dead and he didn't know what to think. His Assurance died down and he released her ears, letting her head fallback into the snow. His head felt heavy and he found that his forelegs hung down at his sides, useless like dead weights. Her face changed again, this time it was a look of confusion and...fear? Fear of what? Of not being killed? Although he certainly was confused as well on the inside, he could only give a blank stare back, as the world beneath him flipped to its side. He fell onto his right side, looking at the left side of the girl. Was this it? Was this all he had in his pathetic, little shell of a body? Was that all it took to drain all the fight out of him? Apparently, yes, yes it was.

    He heard his tear drop onto the snow when it fell off her paw.

    He also heard heavy crunches in the snow behind him, obviously the boots of a human, but he didn't care anymore. Mason wanted him? Then he could have him. He was just one Umbreon (who just evolved less than two weeks ago no less!). He couldn't fight anymore. He surrendered. Besides, now that he thought about it, even if he wasn't in this poor state, what could one boy do against those that had killed, possibly more than just his brother, before?

    "Well, hello handsome, and how are you feeling this fine evening?" a familiar, gruff voice asked behind him.

    He still didn't give a s***, but his body must've grown to be reflexively afraid of that man's voice because he suddenly found himself turned around, staring face to face into the eyes of Max and Pat.

    "Your friends here gave up without a fight." Pat said.

    Max stepped to the side to let Kyuso see behind him. "Be a good, little boy and come with uncle Max and uncle Pat, m'kay fella?" Max asked 'nicely' before ripping the blue poncho off him. "Where'd you get this, buddy?"

    He felt another pair of hands reach around him and steal his pack away, he let them. "There's some food and money in here" he heard Pat say "Barely worth s***, but I'll keep the cash."

    "Hey, all I've got is this small, crappy jacket."

    "Finder's keeper's, b****."

    He heard the hunters tossing all his stuff, except the money, into the still-burning house.

    Kyuso didn't care.

    His eyes found Aurora, trapped under a net and lying on the snow. She had minor burns on her body and a big cut across her back, and she wore a furious expression on her face. He could see that it was taking everything she had not to struggle against the Pokémon that held her down, which were Pat's Greninja and Flygon. Frost was in a similar position with Max's Charizard holding her down. She didn't have any cuts, but her body was burned worse than Aurora's. Flick and Ray sat on the snow, their wounds being tended to by Mason.

    Pat stepped over Kyuso, helped Luna up, and asked if she could walk. Luna must've nodded because Kyuso saw her limp/wobble to Mason and sit on the snow next to Ray and Flick.

    "Hoooweee! This runt really did a number on her didn't he doc?" Max said.

    Kyuso didn't care.

    Mason merely grunted and said "Mind your own business and get that Umbreon in a net. We've got a tight schedule and if we leave now, we might just make it and my life might just be spared. The boss already wanted this Umbreon last week when you two f***ed up on day one. Or did forget that?"

    "Yeah yeah, we're very sorry daddy," Pat apologized "so as long as we get paid."

    "Just don't expect your usually bonus after the shitty job you pulled."

    "F*** you! Do you know how much of a pain in the ass this little bastard has been for us?!"

    "It was your fault for fouling up, idiots! So don't come complaining to me when you messed up your own job! Trust me, you do not want to f*** with me right now." Mason yelled, patching up Flick's wounds.

    "Whatever, just be sure to pay us back in full for the job at least and we'll square."

    "Of course."

    Aurora growled and lunged for the men, but the Greninja and Flygon had held her down securely. Added with the net, she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, except where Mason wanted to take them. She was feeling enraged. These humans were talking about Kyuso as if he was an object, a something and not someone. She obviously couldn't stand it and had felt the need to defend him and his status as a real, living, breathing Pokémon.

    Kyuso didn't care.
  11. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Now before you rage quit on this story (lmao, how anti-climatic was that fight right?), just know that there's still Ch. 31, and that our Umbreon had 'this' coming to him for a long time now. It was only a matter of time, mwahahaha.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 31

    December 31

    Max dragged Kyuso along the ground by the net he was trapped in. Similarly, Pat pulled Aurora, and Mason pulled Frost. Kyuso and Aurora were thrown into the back of the Pokémon hunters' pickup truck, while Frost was shoved into the middle of the backseat of Mason's van. Max and Pat put their Pokémon back inside their Poké Balls since there was no room on the truck. Mason had plenty of room in his van however. He made sure that Frost was flanked from the left and right sides by Flick and Luna, and that Ray sat in the passenger seat. Mason wasn't going to take any chances with the Raider, especially when he just witnessed what she was capable of.

    All three Pokémon were left in their nets too. The nets were heavier than the ones before (the net that Kyuso was able to bite through). These nets had thicker cords and even had some metal in them, really heavy duty stuff. Not only that, but the hunters had gotten rid of the bungee net that used to cover the truck's bed and replaced it with a wall of metal bars. It may have seemed a little excessive but they were right of at least one thing, there was no way Kyuso would be able to escape this time. However, escape was the last thing in the Umbreon's mind right now. In no time, both vehicles drove onto the road, and left the still-burning house behind.


    Kyuso heard Aurora call out for him "Kyuso..."


    Five minutes had passed since the truck underneath them came to life. He hadn't spoken a single word to her during that time because he was guilt-stricken, but he suspected she already knew this. He just lied on his side the whole time, against one side of the truck, staring at nothing. It was his goal, his responsibility, as an older brother, to take care of his younger brother, and he failed. And he didn't even get to pay for his failure; Jun had paid for his incompetence instead, with his life.

    "Kyuso, it's not your fault."


    He felt like the world was just completely obliterated right before his eyes, yet he couldn't muster up the energy to do anything. His parents had already left him. His foster family turned out to be a fake family, betrayed him, and killed Jun. Jun, who they murdered in cold blood just because he had become an "inconvenience" to them, was now gone from his life. He felt cold, cold and empty.

    "I am so sorry about your brother."


    He felt empty. Who did he have in his life anymore? Nobody. Where should he go? Nowhere. What could he do now? Nothing. Was there even a single reason for him to live? None. When would he stop drowning in this sea of grief? Never. He was so pathetic that he even failed on taking his revenge, not that he'd ever actually manage to pull it off. He was all bark and no bite.

    "Please. Could please just look at me, Kyuso?"




    He felt her touch his back. She was lying on her side, just like him, hugging him from behind. He bared his teeth, shoulders rising in anger. Then again, what right did he have to get angry over anything anymore? His rage died immediately, and he retreated back into himself like before. He had no right to live anymore. No right for anything. If someone wanted to talk to him, he couldn't respond. He didn't have the right to talk. If someone wanted to slap him around, he had no right to interfere. If someone wanted to hug him, he wasn't allowed to do anything, feel anything, or think anything of it.

    I am trash; useless, pointless, and worthless. I'm not even allowed to think...

    He felt her hug warming him up from the cold. He hated himself for noticing the warmth, then remembering that he wasn't allowed to have an opinion any more, went back to his dead-like state.


    What should I do? I have to fix him somehow. I'm his partner, and right now my partner needs me more than ever. I have to save him, but how?! was what Aurora thought before she decided to hug him.

    It was a bit difficult, since they were both still caught in their individual nets, but she shifted closer and hugged his back. She really thought the nets plus the jail-like sheet were overkill. It was tricky work, but when she finally did manage to hug him, she saw the hairs at the back of his neck rise the tiniest bit, and then die down immediately after. She couldn't tell what caused him to relax, but hoped it was for a good reason, like trust or comfort maybe, though she read that it wasn't. She silently apologized to him for intruding upon his mind at this moment, but she just had to know how bad of a condition he was in.

    ...Nothing. He's completely empty of emotions. He isn't thinking of anything either...

    Aurora grew more worried at this. The only other time he felt this dead to her was when she first saw him on that hill, beneath her favored tree. The only difference was that now, she could spot his body. His cold, unmoving, body.

    What can I do to help him? I don't care if he only sees me as a partner, a tool to be used, or even a nuisance. He's hurting himself right now and I can't watch him do that to himself. I won't him do that to himself! To me, he's my friend, and no matter how deep of a hole he might dig, I can't give up on him, and I won't! Still, I need to reach him somehow, but what can I do?

    Then, she remembered.


    "Kyuso." he heard her say.

    It didn't matter what she said. He couldn't answer her now even if he wanted to. There was absolutely no possible way he could ever do anything again. If he was left to rot and starve, then he would starve and die. If someone forced food in his mouth and accidentally choked him, then let him choke and die. If he was kept on life support by being pumped with nutrition tubes, then please release him and let him perish. There was nothing that would ever reach him anym-

    "Kyuso," she said again "didn't you promise me something?"

    What was she talking about? He never promised her a thing. Why was she bringing up something like him making her a promise all of a sudden? Was she trying to wake him up? Well it wouldn't work. If she was trying to trick him into coming back to the real world, then she would be in for a disappointment. He was going to retreat further into himself and there was nothing either of them, or anybody for that matter, could do about it.


    Wait a second. He did. He did do that. He did do something like that, didn't he? At least, he thought there was a chance he may have possibly done something like that at some time and place...maybe. It took him some time to come to (he was really deep within himself after all), but once he did, he remembered something from before. Something from a life that seemed so far gone, he couldn't believe it used to be his. But it was his, he could feel it. He dug through the memories some more, and then he found exactly what she was asking for.

    The "promise". It seemed like it was made so ridiculously hasty back then (which it was), but there it was. He held the words in his mind tentatively at first, reading them over carefully as if they were a fragile glass.

    "Uh yeah. Yeah I'm telling the truth. I promise you that we'll stick together."

    Was that sound what he thought it was? Yes, it was, there was no mistake. It was a laugh, his laugh. It was small and quiet, but he had definitely laughed just now, no doubt about it. Maybe he had just scoffed, but he made a sound at the least. The promise had seemed so pathetically whimsical back then, probably because it was, a little bit at least! But now...now it felt like something more. It felt heavier, like it carried more meaning behind its words. It felt as if the promise itself was his lifeline to the world he was no longer worthy to inhabit. That changed now. He may not have been worthy enough, or the reason may not have seemed like a fantastic one, but now he had one nonetheless.

    That...might just permit me to live my life again. It won't be the answer for my redemption that much is clear, but it'll give me a new purpose. And maybe along the way...I'll find forgiveness. Until then, I can do this for her.

    "So," Aurora spoke after a while "are you going to leave me again?"

    He rolled over onto his other side so that he was facing her. He noticed the small smile on her face. Why was it that she suddenly seemed more beautiful to him? He took a moment to just look at her and take in her appearance. She had really changed a lot from just the past four days. Her coat of fur had lost its shine; in fact, it was messy, matted with blood, and a little burned. Her mouth revealed nothing, but her ears fell low, a sign that she was a bit sad, maybe more on the inside. Those eyes though, they were still filled with that faint light, as if dawn had just begun.

    Aurora repeated her question "Well?"

    He looked into her eyes and spoke quietly, but with newfound confidence in his voice. "No."

    A smile found her lips and he couldn't help but give a small one back in return.



    January 1

    Fireworks could be heard exploding from over White Wave City. The subtle pops told him that the day had finally passed. New Year's Day had finally arrived. He was 17, and so was she.

    For some reason, Aurora's tail flicked anxiously, and she gulped. "Happy New Year, Kyuso."

    She then moved her paws from his body to hold his face, and did something that caught him completely off guard. Something he had never prepared for, trained for, or taught himself to defend against. But really, he could never truly prepare himself for something like that. How on earth could he?

    She kissed him, right on the bottom of the golden ring on his forehead.

    The kiss lasted for a full second, but to him, it passed by so quick that he could hardly tell what happened. When she pulled back, he still wore that blank expression on his face, but her expression looked happy. Why? Maybe she was happy from pulling him out of his stupor. Why was she happy all of sudden? Did something good happen? Then it all hit him like a wall of bricks. His eyes popped and his mouth hung open from a gasp, his mind was still trying to completely register what just happened.

    "And Happy Birthday too." she said before pulling him in for a second kiss.

    Again, she kissed him on the same spot just above his eyes. This time, the kiss lasted for a second as well, and he felt like he was aware of every passing hundredth of it. His senses sharpened. Time stretched. Her lips felt warm on his head. Now it was burning. His rings glowed brighter. It felt like she had sucked energy from the sun, turned it into an energy drink, and poured the stuff onto his skull. He felt the heat from her kiss flow through his body and it made him shiver. Something told him that this would be the one thing on Earth that would be able to pierce through his tough Umbreon defenses, as if they were nothing more than butter. "It will be your new, fourth weakness" that something told him mockingly.

    Is this real?

    He grew suddenly afraid that this was all just a dream, that these past two weeks were just a result of an insane dream he was having from watching too many movies, and that he was back home with his foster family, whom he would then doubt of their loyalties.

    Then Aurora pulled back for a second time, and he was reassured by the look on her face. The smile that she wore, he could never dream up something like that. It was impossible for him to be able to picture such an angelic look in a dream. This was real, and he was here, he was sure of it, and she was his proof. Although all the things that had happened in the past few weeks were terrible and traumatizing beyond words, he was comforted by the thought that she would be there for him from now on. And he would make sure that he would be there for her, whatever it took.

    "Thank you for saving me, Aurora." He knew his smile would never be able to beat hers, but he gave it his best try. "Happy New Year and Happy Birthday."

    At his words, her eyes softened and her smile grew. A feeling deep inside him wanted her to continue what she was doing, it excited him, but another feeling demanded restraint. He wasn't sure whether that sensible feeling was just on the surface, or was deeper, more at his core, than the initial one. Thankfully (or maybe unfortunately?), the sensible one won out, so he was able to control his urge to ask her to kiss him more, and keep her respect in the process. He didn't want to seem like he was using her, at least, not anymore. He behaved like a real jerk to her in the beginning, but without him noticing, she had really grown on him. His smile dropped, replaced by a neutral expression, but guilt gripped him on the inside.

    "It's okay," she suddenly said "if you want, I can-"

    Gently, he cut her off "No, this is enough."

    He pulled down her paws, held her face, and brought her head down. He heard her gasp a little in surprise and grab his paws tight, but she didn't pull away. He told himself that it only was only fair if he did this, but also he really wanted to do this. He closed his eyes, psyching himself up, and carefully placed a kiss on her red gem, which began to glow from the contact. He heard her draw breath, and wondered if she was getting as much excitement from this as he was. He kept his lips on that gem of hers for two seconds before he pulled back. The gem's light began to die down, but a tiny light lingered, not quite dying down yet. He opened his eyes a bit, and feeling tired again, rested his nose on her head, closed his eyes again, and breathed in her scent. His weariness lifted a little from that. Although there was a heavy smell of blood and smoke that tried to mask her, through it all, he could smell just a tiny hint of...

    "Oran Berries" he breathed.

    He felt her shake a little from quietly giggling underneath him. "Speak for yourself, Leppas." she murmured.

    He tried to explain. "I had some back on the train and I-"

    "Sshhhh, it's okay," she cooed "I like it."

    He felt her nestle against his chest, despite the nets around them that tried to keep them apart. He helped her by pulling as much of his net that he could pull, behind him.

    They held each other so that they both remained laying on their sides. One of his forelegs bent under her head for her to use as a pillow, holding the back of her head with the paw. The other went over her side and hugged her back, pulling her closer to him. She used her paw that was underneath to cup his cheek, while the other went over his side and hugged him closer to her. She buried her nose in his chest, while he kept his nose down on her head, both breathing in each other's scent. Her tail wrapped around his twice.

    She had given him his first kiss, two kisses in fact. They were only head kisses, but, other than his family (not including anyone of that fake family he used to have), he had never been kissed by anyone before. Actually, he had never had any romantic experience in his whole life before...personally. Yes, he'd seen plenty of people holding hands, hugging, kissing, and all other kinds of lovey-dovey stuff, but that was it, he'd only seen it. Maybe what they did didn't count as romance, he wasn't sure if it had to be on the lips or something. Still, he was glad to have gotten his first kiss, and given it as well, to the same person.

    "Just so you know, those were my first too you know." Aurora softly spoke.

    He felt her grin on his chest, so he chuckled quietly. "Stay out of my head."

    "Stop thinking so hard then."

    "Stop making me think about stuff."





    "Make me."

    They smiled.


    The smiles were wiped from their faces. The truck underneath them had hit a small bump, but it was enough to bring them out of their happy state. No matter how much they could try to look the other way, the fact remained that whatever lie in store for them in the morning (or whenever the vehicles stopped), it would be bad. Maybe so bad that it would be the last thing they would face before something happened to them. Torture? Death? Arceus forbid...separation? He already promised her that he'd stay by her side and if he broke that one, last promise, he'd truly have nothing left that tied him to this world. The thought scared him; he felt what that emptiness was like (or didn't feel, is more like it), and he never wanted to go back. She felt him hold her tighter so she did too, sensing his fear disappearing little by little.

    It took a while but they both slept together, at peace for the moment.

    A.N.: It's about time! Am I right? Or is it too early for them to have done that do you think? Please leave a review on your thoughts as I worked hard on Ch. 30 and 31, especially Ch. 31 (this was my first time writing something like...well...like Ch. 31). Again, feel free to criticize, either positively of negatively, anything is good. I hope you enjoyed Ch. 30 and 31, and now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go pass out on my couch to rest my back. -o-zzz
  12. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Hey guys, guess what I have for you? You got it, another chapter. Why so fast on the update? Well because of all the reviews of course! Yes, I know, there's only two reviews (-_-U), but I appreciate them nonetheless! So thank you luxrayvisionx for the positive feedback and Whitewolf03 for the continued support. Also, I finished watching Guilty Crown last Sunday and it's...definitely the most sad and beautiful anime that I have ever watched. I even cried for half an hour when I finished it, no joke (don't mock me), and I still have to watch the OVA. But if you ignore all the negative comments online about Guilty Crown (there's so many haters) and give some time to interpret the whole meaning of it all, like I said, it's beautiful. It really is. Anyway, go Inori x Shu forever, enough of the intro, and on to Ch. 32!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 32

    December 20 [5 days before Christmas]

    The battle field was in complete chaos. Pokémon blasted each other out of the sky, pounded others into the ground, and drew seemingly endless amounts of blood. From Kyuso's point of view, he was definitely in the fight of his life, for his life. Countless members of both Black Sky and the Rescue Teams fell. Nobody had time to go down and check on their fallen comrades, else they'd get hit from an attack and quickly join the fallen. Everyone had no choice but to stay on their toes, or wings in the case of Black Sky.

    Kyuso took down an approaching Murkrow with Screech, and had taken a step towards the foe to finish her off but a stray Air Cutter attack came out of nowhere and finished her off. Not wasting any time trying to find out if that was intentional or friendly fire, he performed what must have been the millionth 360° of the night to get familiarized with his new surroundings.

    His brain thought on autopilot Right: two incoming. Behind: ten-ish engaged. Left: Drake. Front: two incoming. Above: five-ish circling. Priority: right and front.

    He turned himself 45° to the right so that he now faced both incoming pairs of enemies. The two at his new left consisted of two Murkrow, and on the right were a Murkrow and Honchkrow. His body moved on its own, as if fighting had become as natural as breathing to him.

    Shoot Confuse Ray at the Honchkrow; don't wait to see if it hit. Scatter the two on the left with Screech; don't wait to see if he hit. Catch the Steel Wing from the Murkrow on the right with Feint Attack; success. Go with the momentum, spin him around, and throw him back at the incoming Honchkrow; success. Bonus, they collided with the Steel Wing and a Double Edge; Murkrow KO'd, Honchkrow stunned.


    Roll backward, now jump; dodged Drill Peck and Sky Attack from the left. Incoming Honchkrow with Assurance, so charge with own Assurance; feint! Slide under his Assurance, bite tail, pull him down, restrain wings; obtained a meat shield. Incoming Air Cutter from one Murkrow; use meat shield to defend. Throw KO'd Honchkrow at the angry, charging Murkrow; he reflexively slows down and catches him. Rush the Murkrow with Feint Attack; success. Last one, where'd she go?


    Up, there she is; charging with Double Team. Trust in Feint Attack to guide attack; feeling the "pull" from the Murkrow on the left. Draw her in, now strike; success. Perform another 360°; reset.


    Had ten minutes passed yet? Kyuso's limbs burned from exhaustion. Fallen bodies of Black Sky members littered the sand along with several Rescue Team members. It seemed like this battle wasn't ending for some reason, despite being said to last only ten minutes. Fallen bodies of both Black Sky and Rescue Teams littered the sand all over the beach. Around his own feet, there lay an assortment of fifteen, maybe twenty defeated Murkrow and Honchkrow. He hadn't killed any of course, but that didn't mean the enemy had pulled any punches. He had to rely on several Rescue Team members at a time, not just Team Liberator (and even Keeper Onyx at one point), to watch his back, and they had trusted him to watch theirs. This was officially the largest fight he had ever been in his entire life, and it took a lot of focus just to stay on his feet. Though that wasn't why his limbs were burning right now.

    "Hll nn, dnn lt guh! (Hold on, don't let go!)" he yelled to a floating Froakie. It was actually more like muffled grunting since he was holding the guy's hand in his mouth.

    A Murkrow had bitten the Froakie's other hand and was trying to steal the guy away into the air. Kyuso could've taken the Froakie back easy if it was just that one Murkrow, but several Murkrow held each other's tails with their beaks to pull, forming a long, black chain. His feet dragged forward on the sand so he furiously pulled back, but made no progress besides stopping the drag. There were six of them.

    "Help!" the Froakie shouted fearfully "Please, help me!"

    Kyuso was getting frustrated. He couldn't see every member of Team Liberator around him, only Ace, who was busy at the moment, and he had no idea where everyone else was. Besides that, the other Rescue Teams around him were too busy dealing with their own problems, so he was on his own to rescue this Froakie. He wouldn't give up though. In the last wave, he was stuck in a very similar situation until April had helped him out. This time, it was up to him to save someone. He was going to do this!

    Just then, a Murkrow appeared from the side and say the display. He must've heard the Forakie's cries of help. Kyuso saw the glint in the Murkrow's eye and his heart filled with dread. The Murkrow rose up, preparing to attack him. He shoved his fear aside for the Froakie and defiance sparked in his guts. He was an Umbreon, the toughest Eeveelution and one of the toughest Pokémon there were! And he was stubborn. There was no way he was going to go down until he saved this Froakie first.

    The Murkow's Shadow Ball begged to differ.

    The hit connected into his side, a clean hit, but Kyuso merely grunted and shrugged it off. His natural Umbreon defenses held strong, despite taking a direct hit. Being a Dark-type Pokémon also helped in the damage department, since they were resistant against Ghost-type attacks. Kyuso pulled harder and could feel the direction of the pull switch direction, going towards his favor.

    The second Shadow Ball connected with his side.

    Kyuso ignored the attack so that it hit his exposed side. Again, he took all of the attack with no guard, but just shrugged it off. He had barely flinched, and at that moment he loved his new Umbreon body; it was made for punishment. Feeling a strong pull in the other direction, he pulled back himself hard, managing to take a few steps as he did so. The Froakie was almost on the ground and although the poor guy still look terrified, he didn't look scared out of his wits. He grunted as he tried to bring the guy lower. If that Murkrow wanted to do something, he was going to need a lot more firepower to stop Kyuso that was for sure.

    A third Shadow Ball crashed into him.

    Realization dawned on Kyuso too late as he felt a cold feeling at the spot where the Shadow Ball hit him. The lucky bastard was trying to get Shadow Ball's effect to activate, and he had succeeded. That cold feeling spread from Kyuso's side to all over his body, and seeped into his skin. Shadow Ball's special effect was that a lucky hit may trigger a decrease in Special Defense, and that was exactly what had happened. Already, he felt his will being tainted by doubt, his fighting spirit diminishing. He tried to shake his head clear of the ghostly poison, but it plagued him like a virus and just wouldn't go away.

    His jaw slackened a little and the Froakie screamed.

    I-I...I can't do it, I'm too weak. I'm sorry, but...if it was anyone else, , then maybe. But this time, it's just me...and I'm just one, weak, useless guy. I'm sorry but I-I can't do it. I'm not strong enough. Please, forgive me.

    The lone Murkrow laughed maliciously and prepared Dark Pulse.

    Kyuso glared at him with hatred, but angry with mostly himself for not being able to do anything about it.

    The Froakie yelled frantically for help, even more desperate than before.

    The six Murkrow growled eagerly, their hunger for Kyuso's downfall almost palpable.

    The Dark Pulse rocketed towards him, and he closed his eyes in despair.


    What happened? Why wasn't he blown off his feet yet? Kyuso's eyes hesitantly opened just a peak, and then shot open as he witnessed who stood before him, protecting him from the attack.

    "Lance!" he shouted in alarm. At the same time, the Froakie's hand left his mouth and Kyuso cursed himself before grabbing the guy's hand again with his mouth. Thankfully, the six Murkrow had been just as, if not more, surprised as he was so the Froakie hadn't gone anywhere as he just hung in the air like a piñata.

    The stream of dark energy splashed against the Leafeon's head, yet he firmly held his ground. Kyuso was puzzled for a second before he took notice of Lance's left ear, head leaf, and right ear; respectively, blades of light extended from them in the colors of white from Aerial Ace, light blue from X-Scissor, and silver from Iron Tail. For a moment, he thought Lance looked like an Aggron with its three horns, since he currently had those three blades of his extending over his head and Kyuso wondered if he'd ever have to go up against Lance again in his life, or maybe an Aggron at the least (the blades extended at a slight angle backwards from straight up, instead of almost straight forwards like an Aggron's horns, but still...).

    Lance swiped away the last of the black-purple stream that poured over him, flourishing his blades in a cool fashion as he did so. "Hmph, sorry Kyuso, but the hero always swoops in at the last second." Lance said smugly.

    "Heh, stp saan cll lns an fcus (Hey, stop saying cool lines and focus)," Kyuso shot back "yu cn shubt ll yu wnt afte ths is ove (you can showboat all you want after this is over)!" Granted, he was relieved that someone came to help them, but because it was Lance...well he wasn't exactly going to whoop with joy was he? Arrogant bastard he thought.

    Lance smirked coolly and said "Well enemy, the choice is yours; fight or flight (A.N. no pun intended). But I'm giving you to the count of three." His expression changed to a deadly look, his eyes sharp. "One..."

    The lone Murkrow gulped and looked to the six Murkrow for help.

    Lance looked at six foes and took a step towards them. "Two..."

    The six Murkrow all scattered, releasing the Froakie (causing Kyuso to let go of the Froakie's hand) in the process who fell to the beach below, relieved. Apparently, none of them wanted to go up against the triple-move user.

    Lance turned back to the lone Murkorw and got into his attack stance, ready to leap. "Three..."

    The Murkrow look scared but angry too, He wasn't going to be intimidated by showboating. Kyuso gave him credit for bravery, but doubted the guy's skills.

    "Hnn!" Lanced grunted as he blasted into the air, performing front flips with acrobatic mastery.

    Lance looked like a gear as he rushed up to meet the Murkrow, ripping through the air with his energy blades. The Murkrow shot another Dark Pulse. Lance was apparently very good at this because in mid-air, while still front-flipping, he transferred the X-Scissor attack from his head leaf to his tail. Hi tail curved below him so that he had more coverage around his body, and he cut through the stream of Dark Pulse like a saw cutting wood. After the Dark Pulse ended, Lance reached up to the Murkrow and transferred the X-Scissor on his tail back to his head leaf. The Murkrow froze up in fear, and Lance slammed down with all three attacks simultaneously. Both fell down to the ground, one conscious, the other not.

    The cool Leafeon relaxed and deactivated his attacks. The blades of light shrunk down until just his regular ears and head lead remained. Kyuso tensed and performed another 360°, checking their surroundings. The area around them was empty for the moment, so he exhaled a breath and sat on the sand. The Froakie got up and thanked Lance a little too excessively. Kyuso was annoyed by this. What was he, chopped liver? But he couldn't lie to himself that he wasn't the least bit grateful, so he gave his thanks too.


    The second wave had hit everyone worse than the first. It was obvious that there were just too many of the bandits, and they weren't sure if they could hold out for a third wave. All of the Crew Rooms had already been ransacked, and the stores looked no better. The rock wall of the Guild entrance was scorched, had a few cuts, and pieces of the rock wall crumbled in places, but Keeper Onyx had guaranteed that no one had managed to get in. The ground above the cliff wall looked maybe the worst of all. A lot of explosions went off up there and the result ranged from burning grass to uprooted trees. And all of that only detailed the integrity of Crimson Base. Kyuso didn't know much about the current status of its Pokémon, because he didn't want to find out, he had seen enough bodies littered on the battlefield.

    What he did make the effort on was getting info on Team Liberator. He wasn't even officially part of a Rescue Team yet, but he couldn't help feel that he had an obligation to find out what happened to his 'teammates' and why they weren't able to cover him as much as they did in the first wave. In the end, he wished he hadn't. Drake was fine; the Team Leader was covered in some pretty frightening injuries, but nothing serious. It all went downhill from there. April's stomach had suffered a major slash that was that close to becoming fatal. She was bleeding out profusely, but had a chance to survive with just a scar if she was attended to immediately, meaning she would miss the third wave. Arcanine's right hind leg was broken from an explosion, and his right foreleg was fractured from the bad landing that followed; he would heal, but he couldn't fight anymore, possibly for the rest of his life. Ace was...MIA. Nobody had any idea what happened to him, and feared for the worst.

    "Everyone gather up!" Guildmaster Pyroar announced. The remaining Pokémon who stood loosely in front of the Guild entrance bunched up before the Pyroar. Arcanine and April were being treated to inside the Guild, along with approximately a dozen others. A few of those were members who could still fight, including Drake, but were stationed within to act as a "last line of defense".

    "I know that we've lost many friends here tonight," Guildmaster Pyroar began "and I apologize to you because half of it is my fault. It makes no sense to blame yourselves for the all that has happened, so don't do that. Don't you ever do that. You all fought with everything you had and nobody can ask more than that of you, none of you are incompetent or useless. The friends we've lost, they aren't to blame either. Don't hate them for leaving the holes in your lives, because that is when we have truly lost, when we resent the ones in our lives that we've grown to love."

    A few Pokémon turned away and tears fell from their eyes. Guildamter Pyroar continued "Instead, I am the one at fault. I gave you all your positions, your orders, and for that I apologize. I pitted you against foes of an intense caliber that some of you weren't yet ready for. I am sorry. But remember that I said the fault is only half mine, and we all know who is to blame for the other half. Just remember that when we face that final wave, it's okay to curse them and to hate them. But do not lose yourself to them! Do not become the monsters that you fight, because if that happens, I ask you: What did our comrades give up their lives for? Do NOT let them have made their sacrifices in vain! Don't you ever do that."

    Everyone looked up at the Guildmaster now. The tears had all stopped, leaving some with red, puffy eyes, but everyone now stood tall and resolute, their eyes now replaced with fresh strength.

    "We have no right to do that to our friends, but we do have the power to avenge them. So when we take on Black Sky for the last time tonight, let's take them on, full power!"

    "YEEEAAAHH!" everyone roared.





    "Let's kick their ass!"


    "Alright, here's what we're going to do..."


    Kyuso knew he shouldn't have, but he had to get out of there. As soon as Guildmaster Pyroar told them all to not blame themselves, Kyuso shook his head, scoffed, and sneaked away from the group. Right now, he was just aimlessly walking through some trees that still stood above the cliff side. He couldn't deal with hearing something like that. Who else was to blame but him for what happened around him during that fight? He let his teammates get hurt, yet here he was, fine. He couldn't save that Froakie either, Lance had to save both of them. All he did was cause more work for Lance. Guilt held a firm grip in his mind and wouldn't let go. But he deserved it didn't he? It couldn't have been the effect of the Shadow Ball from earlier that made him think this way; that had already worn off a long time ago.

    "Arceus, I'm about as useless as a microwave in hell." Kyuso muttered to himself.

    He walked on a bit longer, but knew that he should turn back soon. A few minutes had to have passed and the third wave would begin any minute. Just as he began to turn back, he heard some chatter coming from further in the woods. Suspicious of who could be out here besides him (he saw Black Sky fly off in another direction), he stayed in the shadows and closed in on the source of the sound.

    "We're trying...If it hadn't been...Maybe..."

    Something sounded familiar about the voice so Kyuso drew closer, trying to remember who that could be.

    "Just give us some more time. It hasn't even been a day...We'll find the runt alright? He can't have gotten too far on foot..."

    Kyuso froze in his tracks. There was no mistaking it that voice, it was Pat's. Judging from the way there was a frequest pause every now and then, he was probably talking to someone on a phone. And that must mean that Max was nearby as well. His body started to shake a little bit, and he mentally cursed himself for it. Steeling himself, he crept forward ever so slowly, staying under the shadows as much as he could.

    When he got to a bush, he crouched beneath it and heard Pat talk again "Hey, you just make sure that you have our money when we finish the job, we can take care of the rest...There was a delay, the little bastard trashed our truck...Fine, subject K133, whatever! I don't really give a damn what he's called, just give us some more time and you'll have him before you know it." The beep of a phone told that Pat had finished his call with whoever it was on the other end. He called out for Max, yelling "Max, where'd you go?"

    No way Kyuso thought. There's just no way that could have been...me...that he was talking about, could it? But when you think about it, who else could he be talking about? I did cause them to crash their truck after all. He gritted his teeth from fear, confusion, and anger.Who was he talking to? Maybe it's someone who's waiting for me back at that "Pit", whatever that is. And did he call me "subject K133"? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

    Deciding that he had wasted enough time, Kyuso turned around to get back to Crimson Base. With the amount of time that he wasted here, the third wave must've already begun without him. He had to get back and help however he could. At least, that was the plan, until he turned around and saw Max right in front of him. He froze on the spot, terrified.


    Max smiled at him and called out "Hey Pat, look who came over to play!" The Pokémon hunter took a step towards him.

    Thinking that is had to be now or never, Kyuso jumped into action. He dived for the gap between the human's legs and rolled. His maneuver put him behind Max, and he heard the human curse. Kyuso ran for it, putting distance between him and his slower pursuer.

    He made it ten meters, and thought he would be able to get away, before he heard the pop of a Poké Ball cracking open.

    "Get him, Charizard!" Max yelled after him.

    The sound of two more Poké Balls being released followed, along with Pat ordering "Flygon, Greninja, don't let him escape!"

    Kyuso pushed his sprint to the limit, and within a matter of seconds, he was out of the woods, standing at the wall of the cliff side. Any thoughts of relief were swept away when he heard the flapping of wings behind him however, and saw the battle occurring over Crimson Base.

    The sheer numbers of Black Sky reminded him of static from a television. He could hardly see anyone under the black masses of Murkrow and Honchkrow. He ran over to the left to make his way down the hill that connected the top of the cliff wall to the beach below, since everyone seemed to be fighting on the sand, but a large, black shape dropped down on the ground in front of him, blocking his way. The figure looked different than the average Honchkrow, razor sharp talons, red feathers more like crimson, dark-blue feathers more like black, and the feather crest on his head looked super sleek. The most noticeable feature was the scar that ran down his left eyelid. The eye itself looked fine, but that didn't make the Honchkrow look any less of a badass than he already did.

    The Honchkrow had landed in front of Kyuso down on one knee with his wings spread, staring right into Kyuso's eyes with his own dead ones. The Honchkrow's posture intimidated Kyuso and he couldn't help but take a step back, even though the guy hadn't done anything yet.

    Kyuso felt an icy feeling so he decided to go with it, asking "Are you, Rook?"

    The Honchkrow stood up, tucked his wings in, and coldly replied "It seems like my reputation precedes me."

    The sound of wings flapping came from behind him, and Kyuso looked back to see the Charizard flying straight for him with a grim face, with the Flygon and Greninja close behind.

    "It looks like you're pretty popular yourself" Rook spoke with a bored tone.

    Kyuso made an attempt to step past Rook, but Rook immediately swiped at his throat with Night Slash. The Honchkrow's right wing flashed with the distinctive dark-purple light of a Dark-type move as it cut across the air at lightning speed. Kyuso suspected an attack from the crime boss and parried with Feint Attack, his right paw flashing dark-purple as well. The impact made both of them stumble back a few steps, and they faced each other, on guard.

    "Interesting," Rook commented "nobody has ever managed to survive my first hit."

    Kyuso wasn't so sure whether he could take on this new opponent. What he did just now resulted mostly from adrenaline and instinct, but he could tell that he was running low on both. He felt heat on his back and reflexively dived to one side. The Flamethrower flew past him and Rook shot up into the air, dodging the attack.

    I can't fight all four of them at once! Kyuso thought in a panic. In this situation, even one of them may overpower me!

    He ran under Rook, going down the hill as fast as he could. He rolled under the Flygon's Dragon Claw, and then jumped over the Geninja's Water Shuriken. His efforts would soon be futile, the fact remained that these guys were just naturally faster than him, and that he was tiring out.

    He turned into Crimson Base, racing through Crew Rooms to slow them down, but they just busted their way through the damaged, wooden shacks. Hordes of Murkrow and Honchkrow spotted him and he tried dodging their attacks in a way that they could hit his pursuers, but they blocked the attacks, dodged, or smashed Black Sky bandits out of their way (except Rook of course). Finally, he began to see some friendlies. A little hope fueled him and he put on more speed to get to his teammates.

    But everything went to hell.

    Canisters fell from the sky, knocking out a few Murkrow as they hit their head on the way down. Kyuso looked up. It was hard to make out with so many Murkrow and Honchkrow taking up the sky, but he could make out Max and Pat over the cliff wall, throwing down canisters that they pulled out from the bed of their now-repaired pickup truck. He heard the chaos behind him quiet down so he turned back, only to see the Charizard, Greninja, and Flygon, running in the other direction. Worried about what that could mean, Kyuso looked forward again and saw the first of the canisters pop open on the ground and release some kind of gas.

    It was spewing out the stuff right in the center of the Rescue Teams and his guts told him to scream "Get out of there you guys!"

    Only the Pokémon closest to him heard so the ones closest to the gas, five teammates and two Murkrow, didn't react to his words. The gas washed over them and they suddenly began to convulse, grip their bodies, and fell to the ground. Horrified, Kyuso got as close to them as he could without touching the gas. He saw them struggling to move, making only the occasional jerk and grunting with the effort.

    They're paralyzed!

    More canisters dropped down and he heard laughter coming from Max and Pat. "Heheheh! Like shooting Magikarp in a barrel!" Max whooped.

    "Haha! Y'all better run," Pat taunted "because that gas is gonna be the death of you in twenty-four hours!"

    The Charizard, Flygon, and Greninja had regrouped with Max and Pat, who returned the Pokémon back into their Poké Balls to protect them from the gas.

    Looking around him in shock, Kyuso saw more and more Pokémon, both friendlies and enemies, fall victim to the gas, paralyzed. They didn't die from it, but if what Pat said was true, then death would have them all in about a day. He danced back and forth; conflicted on whether he should retreat or risk holding his breath and pull out as many Pokémon as he could from the airborne poison. The clouds of gas approaching him terrified him, and he cursed himself for choosing the coward's path. While staying just ahead of the clouds, he at least tried to see who had fallen victim to the poison, but the foggy gas made it difficult. He did make out a few figures however.

    Lance, Claire, Guildmaster Pyroar, and Keeper Onyx (but he couldn't spot Flash or Sage Slowking anywhere).

    "NO!" he cried in despair.

    Max must have heard him because he shouted "Look, there he is! Gas him!"

    Kyuso looked up in horror as he saw a canister flying straight for him. He jumped back as the canister landed where he stood just a moment ago, which began to leak gas just like the rest. Another canister fell near him. They were concentrating their efforts at him now.

    He heard Rook declare "Everyone, we're pulling out" and saw the Honchkrow give him a calm, contemplative look before flying off into the night.

    Rescue Teams had also scattered to flee from the gas, leaving Kyuso alone with Max and Pat. Feeling as though he was pushed into a corner, Kyuso looked around one more time. Desperate for something, anything that could help him fix this mess. He tried to think of a way that he could make up for his mistake; he should never have gone off on his own.


    More canisters fell behind him, causing his thought process to shatter. He couldn't think rationally while he felt so trapped. And soon, he would be trapped literally. That idea crushed any logical thinking that he had left, so he did the only thing left that he could think of.

  13. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    There comes a time when a writer is inspired so heavily that he/she writes it down, firmly believing that they will use it in their work. And then there's the opposite: throwing out everything they planned to write about because they just can't stick to the script anymore, which is what I'm doing from now on. Yes people, I know that I said that I've already planned out Homeward before I started writing it, but what can you when the writer's spirit inside you screams for adventure? So from now on, I'm winging it! Also, you'll notice that in this chapter, there's a lot of references to various movies, so I'd like to disclaim them all beforehand. After all, our Umbreon used to be a loner with too much time on his hands...err...paws, so how else can he explain things, right (although equivocally that means that I'm a loner with too much time on my hands :3)? To everyone who supports Homeward, thank you all for getting it up to 50 followers so far, you all rock! And with this chapter, the story totals out to more than 100k words. So yay for double achievements!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 33

    January 1 [Present Day]

    Kyuso awoke early in the morning, but he didn't want to open his eyes right away. He felt that this would be the last time he'd wake up peacefully like this, so he wanted to savor it. There was no sun in the sky, but enough light for him to tell that the sky had changed from pitch black to light blue. He heard chirps of various bird-like Pokémon from somewhere far off. The truck felt cold underneath him, but a certain someone was helping him stay warm.

    He breathed in through his nose, smelling her scent.

    He could tell with his body that they were still holding each other the same way from when they fell asleep. She was still holding his face and hugging his back. The thought of her excited him, he wanted to see her, wanted her serene, sleeping face to be the first thing he saw in the morning, so he opened his eyes.

    He choked trying to hold in his laughter.

    Aurora's mouth was opened in a small "o", and she was drooling because of it. That side of her cheek was wet with her saliva, which pooled underneath her face. Her ears twitched occasionally too: Maybe she was dreaming of something interesting? This was definitely not the sight he was expecting, but it still brightened his spirits.

    A little laugh in the morning goes a long way he thought happily.

    He noticed that his foreleg under her head was feeling numb. She had been using it as a pillow all night after all. Trying to ease his discomfort, he pulled himself back to get out from under Aurora.

    "Nnn" she moaned.

    He froze. Her head stirred a little before settling deeper into his foreleg. At this rate, she was going to wake up, and he didn't want that. What to do? He didn't want to wake her up; he wanted to let her sleep. But his foreleg was feeling pretty numb. He decided to risk it.

    "NNn" she moaned, louder this time.

    What is she-?!

    She shifted her whole body this time, groping him in the process, much to his embarrassment. He pulled his forelegs back and focused on breathing steadily. A few seconds later, she stopped moving, but the result was that she was even closer to him than before! She was practically on top of him, hugging him with her hind legs now as well, as if his whole body was just a big pillow to her. Her face was no longer against his chest but buried in his neck, and he felt her saliva running down it.

    "Nnn...mine..." she murmured, still asleep.

    What the-?!

    She had to have been talking about something else. What she just said, she couldn't have been talking about him. She must've been talking, or in this case sleep talking, about food, or a blanket, or whatever! Whatever it was, he couldn't stay like this, he'd never be able to relax, and she'd probably slap him if she woke up and found them like this. He no longer had a choice; he had to get out of there!




    Two wraps were 'intimate' enough before, but her tail wrapped around his for a third time, further trapping him.



    He was shocked. Not only did she have him stuck like this, but she had given him a nickname as well. He felt his cheeks burning up. Maybe she was just saying "my Kyu" short for "my cue" or "my Q-tip". It was a weak argument, he knew, but he was still trying to deny everything. This was getting him nowhere. The time for being gentle had ended. He had to take more drastic measures.


    He shot out from her grip and rolled away. He backed away from her waking form as quickly and silently as he could; hoping that she'd think the truck just went over another bump. Sitting lax against one side of the truck, he watched Aurora waking tiredly from her slumber.

    "Unn..." the girl moaned, blinking "Whass goin' on?"

    He coughed nervously and spoke "We hit a bump, that's all. Morning, Aurora."

    Aurora stretched and yawned loudly. "Aahhh...Morning, Kyu."


    She rubbed her half-lidded eyes and asked "What's the matter?"

    "N-nothing, it's just..."

    Her head titled to the side, she was waiting.

    "...It's nothing, really."

    "If you say so, Kyu."

    His heart skipped a beat.

    Aurora must've read that because she said "Is that it? The name? Aww, you're blushing."


    "Kyu, Kyu, cutey Kyu. Kyu, Kyu, cutey Kyu." she chirped.

    "S-singing? Come on!"

    "Ahahaha, sorry, but it just came to me."

    "Crazy girl *mumble mumble*. Anyway, turn off your gem, it's still glowing."

    "Huh? Really? Hey, so are your rings."


    Kyuso looked down at his body and tail. She was right, his rings were still glowing. He couldn't see the rings above his eyes so he copied Aurora, lowering his head and ears to the bed of the truck. He saw the truck lighten up with a golden glow below his head and ears, and grew puzzled.

    "Did our gem and rings seriously glow all throughout the night?" Aurora asked, voicing his thoughts.

    Maybe, but that'd be weird he thought Regardless, we should still be able to dim them off.

    Kyuso tried turning off his rings, but they wouldn't dim. He put more effort into it, commanding his body to obey him. Still, they refused to dim. He couldn't explain it very well, but the process should have been rather simple. He could easily will his rings to brighten and dim at any time. Sometimes, they'd even brighten involuntarily (e.g., from fighting, being surprised, etc.). This was different. He couldn't control his rings at all no matter what he tried.

    He turned to her and asked "Any luck?"

    Aurora shook her head but she didn't have to, he could see the gem on her head still glowing.

    What the heck is going on with me? they both thought.


    The sun was high in the sky when the truck stopped. Kyuso heard some chatter between the Pokémon hunters and another human. A chain-link gate rattled as it was pulled aside. The truck moved forward again and gravel crunched underneath its tires. After a while, they stopped again. The truck's doors opened and slammed shut. More chatter came from the back of the truck.

    Kyuso and Aurora both backed away from the source of the chatter, trying to delay the inevitable. He felt his heart pound faster in his chest. The grille that covered the top of the bed of the truck was pulled off. He should've felt free, but only felt more trapped. Human hands reached in and pulled him and Aurora out by their nets. He dangled in the air helplessly like a piñata.

    "You guys weren't kidding when you said you nabbed extras" a stranger said "Is this one the Raider?"

    "No, it's not the Espeon, it's the Glaceon."

    The men moved, carrying Kyuso along with them. He looked around and saw Frost in a similar position. Ray, Luna, and Flick were guarding her.

    "Holy s***..."

    "Damn, is that really a Raider?"

    "Son of a b****, look at her eyes."

    Frost's body was relaxed, anyone could see that. But if Kyuso paid attention to her eyes, he could see that under those cold, emotionless orbs, daggers lay within, as if waiting for the right moment to strike.

    "Get four teams up here; one for subject K133, one for the Espeon, and two for the Raider." someone said.

    A minute later, four groups of one human and two Scizor each emerged from within a building that looked like a fishing shack, although Kyuso doubted that's what it really was. They were all surrounded by the eight Scizor, half of them readied with Bullet Punch, the other half with X-Scissor.

    They've done their homework.

    The man holding Kyuso's net set him down. He was released, as were Aurora and Frost, and the three men quickly backed away, stepped behind the Scizor, and went back to their posts by the gate. Kyuso stretched and stood back up, his muscles felt sore. One of the new humans walked towards him with a strange collar between his hands. Kyuso didn't do anything but the human suddenly flinched when he stood right before him. Also, most of the Scizor began to eye him warily, and a few even took a step forward, as if they were getting ready to leap.

    The new human spoke to him soothingly "Just calm down little guy."

    He looked around. "What did I do?" he asked no one in particular.

    "Kyuso," Aurora worriedly called to him "relax."

    "I am."

    "Look down."

    He did as she told him and saw his legs. They were tensed in a poor imitation of his battle stance, unlike Aurora's and Frost's. He couldn't help it, after all the battles he fought in his life, his body just stood comfortably like this. Honestly, it felt natural and he didn't even notice it anymore. Being an Umbreon must've intimidated them too. He had to work on his appearance more.

    Oops he thought and shrugged. "Sorry, bad habit." he said, and sat down.

    "Dumbass is going to get us killed" Frost sighed.

    The human placed the collar around his neck, which beeped and clicked, locking around his neck. Two more collars went around Aurora's and Frost's necks. They were led by the Scizor to the ice-encrusted fishing shack, and if he looked past it, he could see a frozen lake. Despite the fact that Frost was the one who was a Raider here, half of them kept a close eye on Kyuso.

    Arceus, just five minutes and I've already made some new 'friends' he thought sarcastically.

    They stepped inside and everything looked completely ordinary. There were a few frames on the walls with pictures of various humans and Pokémon wearing fishing gear and carrying fishing poles, they had exaggerated smiles on their faces. There were a few fishing poles behind a counter which held a cash register. A fake Magikarp with a speaker visible through its open mouth and a button on its fin was hung on a wall. A low table with two couches at its left and right rested in the center of the room. The four humans, eight Scizor, Mason, Max, Pat, Ray, Luna, Flick, Aurora, Frost, and Kyuso, all gathered in the center of the shack. He wasn't surprised that the floor was able to support all twenty-one of them without breaking, because this was the evildoers' hideout, right? There was definitely more to this place than met the eye (that's right, he watched Transformers as well).

    Mason walked over to the table, picked up something, and fiddled with it; a T.V. remote, but there was no T.V. to be seen. He pressed a few buttons that Kyuso couldn't see and then the power button.


    The floor around them began to rumble, shaking a bit of dust off the picture frames. The rumbling stopped, the floor around the table and couches dropped in a rectangular shape, and they began to descend. The rectangular floor dropped slowly and steadily. Kyuso realized that they were standing on an elevator of some kind and saw the walls of the metallic elevator shaft. He looked up and saw the sunlight get swallowed up as the opening above them sealed closed from a fake floor. The elevator descended smoothly with a quiet hum.

    Nobody said anything for a few seconds until Mason finally spoke. "Your resistance threw us a little off schedule, Kyuso. But now we have you, and your companions should more than make up for the trouble you've caused us. A Raider, and the Espeon who overpowered Flick; yes, they'll definitely be enough."

    Kyuso gritted his teeth. You're not going to lay a hand on them you bastards he thought.

    The elevator traveled for a few more minutes. Mason ranted on about how much they were going to love the facility. The Scizor never dropped they're guard. Max yawned and Pat shifted on his feet. When they reached the bottom, a section of the elevator shaft in front of them pulled to the side, revealing a white, bright, sterile-looking hallway.

    "Welcome to our laboratory" Mason announced "This is where you will stay, helping us in our plans to make a new world for the betterment of humanity and Pokémon. Gentlemen, I trust you know where the Pit is at this point. I'll see you there in a few minutes after I show our guests to their rooms."

    "Yeah, yeah, don't get all polite with us now, doc" Pat retorted.

    "Well I need to be on my best behavior today for our V.I.P. here, don't I?"

    Max and Pat walked ahead down the hallway until they reached a door at the end, which slid open automatically for them. He couldn't see what lay beyond the door because when he reached the middle of the hallway, it branched off to the left and right, and Kyuso was forced to turn left before the door at the end of the hallway fully opened. However, he did manage to catch a mixture of screams.

    Mason chuckled. "Now, now, that'll come later, and trust me; you'll want to delay it for as long as possible."

    A sweat drop fell down Kyuso's head as he imagined the possibilities for the cause of the tortured screams he heard.

    The group of nineteen walked further a bit further down then turned right. A couple of other humans stood conversing in this hallway. They wore lab coats and carried clipboards. When the two spotted them, their eyes fell on Kyuso and one of them asked "Is that K133?" to which Mason answered "Yes, we've finally got him. Please prepare rooms for him and these two as well".


    Kyuso paced back and forth in his new "room".

    The group had taken a few more turns down more identical looking hallways, meeting more humans and Pokémon who all stared at Kyuso as if he was a rare diamond. They had reached another elevator which took them even lower than they already were, and went down more hallways that all looked the same. Just when he had gotten bored of all the meaningless walking, the group began to split at the branches of one of the hallways. Mason, Ray, Luna, Flick, a human, and two Scizor went with him. A human and two Scizor went with Aurora. And two humans and four Scizor went with Frost. He jumped into action and tried to stick with Aurora's group but his legs were swiped under him from an X-Scissor. Aurora and Frost looked back and called his name him while he clutched at his stinging legs, but their Scizor escorts held the two back.

    He felt a burning sensation around his neck as the collar released a white light. He immediately curved into a ball, pulling at the collar with no prevail. The burning sensation felt all too familiar, and he was shocked at how his collar, an object, was attacking him with a Fairy-type attack. The attack ended after a few seconds, but he still felt shaken.

    "Didn't feel very pleasant, did it? That collar of yours is carrying pure Fairy-type energy" Mason said "Behave unless you want another jolt of that. As for how we obtained that kind of energy...well, let's just say its previous owner no longer needs it."

    Kyuso slammed the locked door to his room with Feint Attack. "Damn it!"

    He panted in frustration, wanting to release his anger on something, anything, but the only things in his room was a metal slab drilled into the wall and the mattress on top of it. There was no blanket. It was no use; he still wouldn't have beaten up his crude bed, even if it was nicer. The only one to blame for his anger was himself. He sat on his crappy mattress.

    Way to go, idiot. Why'd you have to go and agree to that stupid promise in the first place, huh? Not only that, you solidified it last night when she asked you a second time. You could've said no, but you didn't. Like an idiot, you agreed to her promise a second time, that time with conviction. And now you've gone and broken in less than a day.

    "Fool" Kyuso called himself "You damn fool..."


    A half hour passed before the door to his room slid opened. Kyuso got off the bed and saw a man with two Heracross at the open doorway.

    "Let's go" the human simply said.

    Kyuso didn't argue. They walked out of his room and through a corridor. Lots of sliding doors like his lined against the walls like a cells in a prison, and in a way, this was a prison. Except there would be no bail in here, that he was sure of. They'd all end up living the rest of their lives in this hell until they were made into...whatever this thing was around his neck. Kyuso felt like he was 'wearing' someone with his collar around his neck, and he felt disgusted.

    They turned into another hallway that he hadn't seen before. The hallways all looked the same, so how did he know that he'd never been down this one? Simple, the elevator at the end of the hallway was see-through. Kyuso's walking pace grew unsure; he was curious about what he would see while in this new, glass elevator, but cautious of the obviously bad something that these three guys were leading him to.

    They stepped into the glass elevator, and Kyuso gaped at what he saw beyond it.

    A huge, cylindrical environment a quarter-mile in diameter, resembling mountain ranges, complete with the occasional cave here and there, boulders, and small springs and streams of water. And here he was, standing at the edge of the mountain environment, in a glass box, at maybe two hundred meters from the ground! The view was beautiful to look at from so high up, but he didn't take the time to appreciate it. Instead, he paid attention to the dozens of Pokémon bodies that littered the rock and water. The ones that didn't move were dead, but the two that remained alive battled each other, apparently to the death. He just noticed it now, but he saw that every Pokémon in that hellish arena were Bagon.

    Kyuso asked no one in particular "What the hell is going on here?"


    "Termination?" Kyuso wondered in worry "What's that? What's going to happen in one minute?"

    Nobody answered him.

    He looked around and noticed more glass elevators hanging on the wall around the cylindrical arena. Like his, they each held an escort of a human and two Magneton for a single Pokémon that wore a collar just like him. All the glass elevators were aligned in a circle, including his, but the Pokémon that wore collars were all Braviary. He looked back in the hallway and saw another human and two Magneton guarding a Braviary that looked thin and dirty.

    "What the hell is going on here?!" he asked again, this time to the two Heracross flanking him. Though I have a sick feeling that I already have an idea of what this is all about...

    The Heracross on his right slyly answered "We thought we should take a detour for you, our special guest."

    "Khh, you bastar-"


    Kyuso looked back at the fight going on below. The two Bagon were bloodied and bruised, and they looked ready to collapse. Neither one backed down. Kyuso didn't know whether to pray for one of them to kill each other soon, or for them to not kill each other. His wish jumped back and forth between the two options like the two remaining Bagon. He didn't want either one of them to die, but something told him that "Termination" would be worse.

    Bagon A dodged Bagon B's Dragon Rage. She attacked with Dragon Claw. Bagon B blocked with his own Dragon Claw and retaliated with Bite. Bagon A struggled to pry his jaws off her. He shook her around, sinking his teeth in deeper and drawing blood. She flinched, giving him the opportunity to open his jaws and use Bite once more.


    She screamed and shoved him off of her. He stumbled from her sudden escape and drops of her blood fell from his teeth. She blasted him away with Flamethrower so viciously desperate that her flames incinerated her blood drops before they had even hit the ground.


    She ended the fire stream and ran at him.


    He tried to rise, but only got to his knees.


    A Dragon Claw appeared on her paw.


    He realized he was defeated and screamed "Hurry, do it!"


    She lunged for his neck, which he presented openly to her.


    He fell to the ground, neck spilling rivers of blood.

    Kyuso clenched his paws and teeth, and glared at the demons standing next to him. The sick freaks were actually enjoying watching this. They brought him here just to make him watch this? He cursed them in his mind and wished they'd all go to hell. The last Bagon breathed hard, but didn't sit down to rest; she looked too nervous for it.

    "Oooh that was a close one, wasn't it?" the human said "We'll have to wait for the judge's ruling on that one."

    Kyuso looked around at the arena and saw cameras placed all throughout the environment. He closed his eyes and prayed to Arceus for all he was worth. He couldn't accept that all this meaningless death was for naught. The Bagon had to survive, she had to. He hoped that he wouldn't have to find out what "Termination" was down here, and he got his answer a minute later.

    "SUBJECT P371..."

    Kyuso swallowed. This is it.


    The ground below the Bagon in a two feet radius took on a 3-D pattern of a black grid with white lines (even outlining the small rocks around her feet) that reminded Kyuso of the movie Tron. That ground disappeared and she fell through it for a second, before a glass capsule five feet tall rose up from the hole, with her in it. She banged against its walls, and cried muffled pleas of help, but she was alone.

    The collar around her neck released a small mist and she began to panic, choking and pulling at the collar. Small patches of ice grew on her body and she slid down the glass wall to her knees. She looked up at the elevators, taking note of each Braviary that stood inside with a solemn face. Her eyes traveled around as the ice crept across her scales, until she finally spotted Kyuso.

    He didn't know who she was; she was a complete stranger, yet his paw clawed at the elevator's wall when their eyes locked. He tried to give her his most comforting smile, but he knew he was doing a crap job of it. Then, she shocked him by nodding her head, and givinghim a comforting smile, as if he was the one undergoing Termination, before closing her eyes as the ice sealed them shut. The collar continued to release its Ice-type energy for a while longer, lowering the body's temperature even more. Then, the floor of the capsule lifted the frozen Bagon to the top, and continued to rise despite the head already touching the top. A crack formed along the ice, and Kyuso gripped the elevator with both paws. A second later, the frozen body shattered into hundreds of fragments before his eyes.

    The human let out a whoop of excitement "Woo! Now that one was interesting. The Pit, this arena I mean, is specially designed in a way that allows us to recreate any environment of our liking for us to run our 'tests'. But you have to give some credit to the guys up in the Pit Control Room for their ingenuity; no Termination is used twice."

    Kyuso growled and lunged at the human, but two Brick Break attacks knocked the wind out of him and he slammed against the back of the elevator. Everyone in the Pit sensed the disturbance and spotted him in surprise. Obviously, they weren't expecting an Umbreon in here with them right now, but he was too busy reeling from the third and fourth super-effective attacks he had just taken that day.

    The human called them back, saying "That's enough boys; we mustn't break our favorite toy before we even get a chance to play with it."

    The two backed off him, and he kicked the leg of one of the Hearcross, getting a curse out of her. He stood up, and spat at the man's feet, earning a smack to the back of his head from the other Heracross, who he resentfully replied to with "Eat me". The four stepped out the elevator, allowing the other human, two Magneton, and Braviary to enter the elevator, which sealed closed and descended into the hellish arena below.

    Kyuso managed to hear "ALL SUBJECT 628 COMBATANTS, PREPARE FOR BATTLE..." until he rounded a corner, leaving the death and carnage behind.


    Still thinking about the death of the Bagon girl, Kyuso walked down the carved stairs of a straight and narrow cave. He had tried to comfort her in her final moments of life, but it ended up with her comforting him instead. What did that mean? Was that her way of telling him that death was a relief, an escape? If so then how did she do it with such a peaceful look on her face? Was it because she was finally being freed from this hellish prison? Maybe, but Kyuso wasn't going to start wishing for his end any time soon. His desire to live had just recently been reignited, strong, and his promise to Aurora dictated that he had to. For both their sakes, he had to see her again.

    He looked up when the Heracross in front of him stopped walking. They had taken more turns down more identical hallways since they left the Pit behind, and had reached an elevator that he felt was unique. It wasn't clean white, or made of glass; instead, it was pure, deep black contrasting against the entirety of the seemingly clean facially. The dark tunnel they were in now was lightened with torches, yet he felt colder with each step. He had assumed that was because of the grief he still felt for that Bagon, but now that they stopped at a dead end, his dread only peaked.

    Nothing looked out of the ordinary with the cave wall, but Kyuso thought This isn't a dead end a second before the wall literally melted to the floor.

    "Yeah, it creeps the hell out of me too, but not as much as the boss," the human commented "who'll be seeing you now. Go on."

    Kyuso looked at where the cave wall had existed a second ago. In its place existed a dark shadow, looking almost as dark as a black hole, and just as intimidating. He 'felt' the shadows 'pulling' at his mind, poking at his temptations to enter it. Catching onto this feeling, he looked back and saw the human and Heracross blocking his way back, standing patiently and waiting for him to enter the shadow. He looked back at the shadow. Inhaling and exhaling, he steeled his mind and stepped forward into the shadow.

    His head touched the shadow first. That's right, touched. The shadow was surprisingly solid and felt gooey like some kind of slime. Feeling grossed out, he jumped back but the edges of the shadow expanded past him in the shape of a maw, and swallowed him whole. The melted rock reformed into a dead end, and sealed the shadow inside it. The cave wall was just a cave wall once more.

    The human gulped. "Well," he said as the Heracross took a few steps back "that's new."


    Every inch of Kyuso's body was trapped inside the icy, black goo. It clung to him, never letting him go. He felt like he was being swallowed and was travelling through the gullet of a monster. So why did the sensation feel like the most natural thing in the world? Before he could question the issue further, his head emerged from the sticky shadow while the rest of his body followed. The shadow spat him out onto a floor that curved down, so he rolled down the smooth surface. During his roll, he saw a glimpse of a murky pool at the bottom of the strange room he was in. The pool's surface seemed to be quivering and he saw dozens of baby-like hands form from whatever that dark water was. They seemed to be reaching out for him.

    "HOLY SHIT!"

    He stopped his rolling by spreading his legs and began to slide on his stomach instead, tail first. He brought his feet together against the slick floor to slow down his sliding but he was still moving too fast.

    "Damn it! I am not going into that disgusting crap!"

    He clawed on the smooth floor and that seemed to do the trick. His speed began to drop a lot more and although it was too close for comfort, he stopped just a foot away from the pool's edge. As if the pool had sensed that it wasn't going to be 'fed', the baby hands withdrew back under the pool, and the pool stilled. He breathed out a sigh of relief, and wondered if this was what Lando Calrissian felt as he was being dragged into The Pit of Carkoon by the sarlacc in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

    I need to get out more Kyuso thought with a chuckle, happy that he was alive.

    He turned onto his back and took in the details around him. He was in a spherical room, made out of black-purple crystal. The two colors mixed and swirled into each other messily, making the room seem chaotic and ominous. The only light source was gloomy and came from the murky pool, which lay at the bottom of the room, but Kyuso was still an Umbreon so he could see everything perfectly clear despite the darkness.





    Kyuso crawled backwards, away from the pool. It was throbbing and bubbling and freaking him the hell out. He looked back at the way he had come, but the shadow was gone, leaving him trapped in this spherical room. The bubbles made sickening plop and glop sounds as they were absorbed by bigger bubbles. The disgusting scene continued until one, big bubble was left, carrying a toxic looking cloud inside. The big bubble rose from the pool until it separated from the water entirely and began to rise upward. It floated in the center of the room.

    The bubble popped.

    The black cloud was freed and it began to take shape into something grotesque that Kyuso had never seen before. He had absolutely no idea what it was, but the shape-less cloud formed a snake-like body, six tentacles with sharp tips from its back, six spikes from the middle of its body, and four spikes from the tip of its tail. Lastly, a hideous head took shape, and even though the whole figure was entirely black, Kyuso saw its ancient eyes piercing through his own, peeping into the deepest corners of his soul.

    His body betrayed him, and he fell back against the cool crystal of the spherical room, his heart laced heavily with fear.


    The black mass answered his failing question in a delicious, melodious voice. "Hello, Kyuso. Welcome to one of my Dimensional Portals. I am Giratina, and I've been dying to meet you."
  14. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 34

    January 1

    "You're Giratina?"


    "The Destroyer?"


    "The Banished One?"


    "The Lord of the Distortion World?"

    "Yes. Aren't you the dramatic one? Calm down Kyuso, you're too tense. Just relax man."


    "Hahaha, I guess you expected me to be more evil and threatening?"

    "Maybe a little."

    "Don't be so nervous, we're friends so you can take it easy when you're with me."


    "Of course, but where are my manners? You've got to be uncomfortable in that position. Why don't you join me in the pool? It's pretty sweet."

    "Really, it's okay? Umm, thanks...*step step* I mean no! What the hell was that? What did you just do to me?"

    "Chillax, we're just talking."

    "No we're not! I don't know what that was but it wasn't talking. Stay out of my head!"

    "I'm not doing anything, like I said, we're just talking."

    "Then why do I feel so...influenced? It isn't brainwashing, but I feel like I'm being...like I'm being...I don't know how to word it but..."

    "Hmm, how about brain rinsing?"

    "...Yeah thanks, brain rinsing is actually a pretty good-STOP IT!"

    Kyuso fell to his side and clutched his ears. The words that came out of Giratina's mouth, they sounded like music to his ears. Giratina's words had a 'Why not? C'mon, just for a little bit' kind of feel. He didn't know how else to explain it, but maybe the reason he couldn't was because it should've been physically impossible for anyone to sound so...he didn't even have a word for it! It wasn'tinfluential, but it wasn't hypnotic either. One thing was for sure, it was definitely not of this Earth. If Kyuso was still on Earth that is.

    "You alright, Kyuso?"

    "Leave me alone!" Kyuso barked before firing a Screech at Giratina.

    The attack passed through Giratina's smoky body, and melted into the black-purple crystal of the room. Not a scratch was on Giratina's body.

    "I'm not really here, Kyuso." Giratina spoke in a more grave tone "You can't hurt me as I appear to you now."

    Kyuso gulped.

    Giratina continued, now noticeably more formal than before. "...*Sigh* There's that fire in your eyes. It doesn't look like I'll be able to convince you to step into the Dimensional Portal after all. I commend you for refusing me, not many have the will to do so."


    "...Since you don't know how to, why don't I start our conversation? To begin, I'd like to ask you to please dim your rings. You truly can relax now, since I see that I don't have power over your will."

    Kyuso blinked. "I can't turn them off for some reason," he replied "I don't know what's going on with them."

    "Really? Interesting." Giratina said while taking a closer look at Kyuso, looming over him in the process.

    Kyuso flattened against the smooth, cold surface beneath him. The smoky form leaned closer and eyed him as if he was a piece of meat. Despite how terrified he was, Kyuso could not find it in himself to look away from those black voids that served as Giratina's eyes. It was as if Giratina's eyes forced him to stare back with invisible hands. And Giratina wasn't even really here!

    "Oh, I see." Giratina said after a while "So that's what you're up to, eh?"


    "So the old prepper was two steps ahead of me from the very start, hmm?"

    Is Giratina still talking to me? Kyuso thought.

    Giratina chuckled and said "Forgive me, Kyuso, I was just talking to myself. I thought I was being careful, but it seems that an old acquaintance of mine had already caught on to what I was doing, seventeen years ago." Giratina stared at Kyuso expectantly, staying quiet.

    Kyuso frowned. "What the hell are you talking about? What do you mean by-ah..."

    Giratina gave Kyuso a small, knowing smile, and dipped a tail spike into the pool. The pool rippled once and a small bubble floated up to Giratina's face. This bubble was solid black, just like Giratina's current appearance, and Giratina's maw came close to it. A second passed. Two. Then, a voice emanated from the black bubble, one which Kyuso recognized.

    "Y-Yes, how may I assist you, Mr. Graitian?" Kyuso heard the man with the two Heracross speak shakily. He had forgotten about those three. Were they really still standing in that cold cave?

    Giratina spoke into the bubble as if it was an intercom. "I need an Espeon escorted down here in Area 0. I believe that she came with the new shipment that arrived this morning, along with subject K133 and the Glaceon Raider."

    "Will that be all Mr. Graitian?"

    "Yes, thank you, Mr. Smith."

    The bubble popped.

    Kyuso voiced the question he had been holding in. "Mr. Graitian? Mr. Graitian?"

    "That's Graitian with a G-R-A-I-T-I-A-N. Formalities are a must with humans these days." Giratina answered "They'd overreact if they knew their boss was big, bad Giratina. And as for the idea of me being a male, admit it, this world is a corrupted, prejudiced one. Damage to the males' prides would far exceed that of the females' if they had to, quote: "follow a woman", wouldn't you agree? Being viewed as a male helps keep all the ignorant humans obedient."

    "*scoff* I'm not surprised that nobody here put two and two together yet." Kyuso snapped back disrespectfully "When you alter your name similar to that of an ancient emperor's, who was best known for spreading the belief of Arceism, how else will anyone view you except as a saint?"

    Giratina glowered at Kyuso, instantly extinguishing the rebellious spirit that he had just a second ago. "Watch your tongue, boy; or else you may see that the consequences of your actions won't be for you."

    "...How do you even know about her?" Kyuso asked sullenly.

    "People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul." Giratina coyly said "Do you believe that to be true?"

    "Maybe I should start to." he replied smartly.

    "Well, I'll tell you this. I know all there is to know about you, more than you know yourself. That's why I'll tell you a secret, Kyuso." Giratina spoke grimly "You may have only known that girl for a week, but that was not the first time you two have met."


    "Yes, what I say is true. This time, no "brain rinsing" attached. That, I guarantee you."

    "LIAR!" Kyuso cried.

    "You doubt my words, boy?" Giratina growled, sending shivers down his back. "Think! From the past two weeks, what have all the 'mere coincidences' you've encountered, pointed to? Then all of a sudden, you meet someone whose time frames 'just happen' to mirror yours? The improbability of it all, one could even call it fate! What specific day do you think was the one in which you and Aurora first met? Be honest now."

    Kyuso's eyes flared, but too late. Whether or not Giratina was telling the truth, or using 'that special way of talking', that surreal idea was already implanted in his head now. And no matter what explanation he tried to form in his mind, the thought of him having first met Aurora on the day of their birth kept coming back.

    If what Giratina is saying is true, and I can't trust that it is, then that means that Aurora is in this mess just as much as I am. If at least one thing is for sure, it's that from now on, she'll be in as much danger me. Kyuso concluded.

    "Very perceptive," Giratina said "and very true."

    Kyuso clenched his paws. Damn you!


    Aurora was pacing back and forth nervously when a woman and two Bisharp came to take her. Her mind had been working overtime on a lot of things, but nothing specific. One moment she was thinking about plans of escape, which led to thinking about what the people here were planning to do with them, which led to trying think like how a villain thinks, which led to thinking about what causal habits they must have, which led to thinking about what they must've had for breakfast, which led to thinking about breakfast. And now she was thing about breakfast again!


    The two Bisharp flanking her jumped and flashed Night Slash attacks on their arms. Aurora immediately sunk down in surrender, hugging her grumbling tummy.

    "Sorry sorry! I missed breakfast." she squeaked, embarrassed at the way the three were looking at her now.

    Sweat drops feel down the three's heads, and a Bisharp shook his head. "Stupid girl's gonna starve to death before she even gets to the Pit" he sighed.

    The Bisharp relaxed their Night Slash attacks and the four of them resumed walking down the eerie cave they were currently in. Aurora had learned quickly to avoid aggravating her captors so she restrained herself from asking questions. But she still couldn't help but wonder where she was being taken to, especially if she was walking down a cave beneath a secret underground laboratory, after having gone down multiple elevators no less!

    This place just keeps going lower and lower she wondered. Just how deep does it all go?

    Because of the dim lighting from the torches, she couldn't see clearly very far ahead, so it was only until they were thirty feet away from a man and two Heracross, that she saw the dead end.

    "You sent for us?" the woman asked as they approached.

    "Yes," the man said "Mr. Graitian wants to see that one, personally."


    "Just wait for it."

    When the two groups were close enough, Aurora saw the rock wall behind literally melt down, where a deep shadow awaited them.

    That wall wasn't the only thing that melted she thought, completely mind-blown.

    "Well," the woman spoke up "what am I waiting for?"

    "Watch." The man simply answered.

    The woman's bored tone surprised Aurora and she turned back, wondering how the human could sound so nonchalant. She saw the six of them blocking the way back, and the two Bisharp took a step forward. Their intentions were made clear to her.

    "You want me to go in that thing?" she cried, surprising herself. Nobody had told her that she could go in that shadow, but the creepy 'pull' she felt from it gave her plenty of hints.

    The man answered her "Come on, Espeon. We don't have all day. That Umbreon buddy of yours went through with no problem. And you don't want to keep our boss waiting, believe me."

    She jerked. "Kyuso?" she said.

    Without another word, she dove right into the shadow, headfirst. She didn't even notice that the shadow was tangible and had formed into the shape of a maw to swallow her whole.

    When she was gone, the rock wall flowed back into place, and the Bisharp fell back in disbelief.

    The woman gulped and said "I thought the boss just used that thing for theatrics."


    Aurora was reminded of her dream of being swallowed alive by a giant Voltar III. It took her a few seconds to notice the slimy feeling clinging to every part of her body (after all, she had jumped in without thinking), but when she did, she screamed, letting some of the slimy blackness into her mouth. She puckered her lips and spat out as much of the icy-cold stuff as she could. She whimpered rapidly and thrashed around, trying to get free of whatever it was, but it was all around her and she made absolutely zero progress.

    No no no no NO! Someone get me out of here! Kyuso, help me!


    "What's happening to her?!" Kyuso demanded.

    Giratina had poked the pool again, making another bubble float up, except this bubble had sound, along with a clear image of Aurora. Through the bubble, they could only hear what happened just outside of that pitch-black shadow, but now that someone, Aurora in this case, stepped into the shadow, they could hear much clearer, and see.

    Giratina spoke "She's traveling through a Dark Gate, which you could think of as a sort of 'test'. Dark Gates completely envelop the traveler in their confines, plaguing them with negativity. Unless one relaxes their body and mind, and gives in to the darkness, they will remain stuck within a Dark Gate."

    "Aurora, stop moving for Arceus's sake!" Kyuso cried, his eyes never leaving the bubble. "How long does she have?"

    "All travelers have exactly one hundred seconds to pass; after that the Dark Gate will go on to rip them apart. Although, her resisting is only worsening her situation."

    "But how did I pass the test so easily? I didn't feel anything bad, and I flowed through the damn thing fast enough!"

    "I'll explain everything when she-oh, I'm sorry. If she gets here."



    Aurora felt cold. The shadow only clung to her fur, but she was convinced that it was seeping into her bones. Was she imagining it, or was the shadow now wriggling, like hundreds of tiny fingers? The feeling further grossed her out and she fought harder, exciting the shadow to wriggle more. She kept her eyes and mouth closed, terrified of letting the stuff inside her again, but she could feel the shadow trying to worm its way inside her mouth. Weakly at first, then stronger as time passed.

    Kyuso, where are you? Please, I need you right now!

    Both hoping and not hoping that Kyuso would be in here somewhere along with her, she tried to swim through the darkness. She moved her legs in a paddling motion. After a minute passed, she was exhausted, and felt/knew that she had gone nowhere. The darkness had grown more aggravated too. It was pulling at her aggressively now.

    No, this is wrong. This isn't how it was supposed to end. I wanted to live an adventurous life, make new friends, and have fun exploring the world. I thought that Frost would've agreed to come with me, and maybe even Kyuso would've like to. We were supposed to get to know each other more and do so much more together! I didn't want things to end like this...

    The shadow ripped at her body and she wondered if this was how it felt to be digested. Deciding that this was infinitely worse, she fearfully curled into a ball, trying to protect herself as if thugs were kicking her to the ground on the street. It began to get very vicious and she felt the dark claws rip into her body, drawing a bit of blood. Some grabbed for her neck even and she felt the air being squeezed out of her. Others squeezed her body and she felt like her bones were going to break. A tear rolled down her cheek when she realized she would soon cease to exist in this world, and that Kyuso wasn't coming for her this time.

    I'm about to die, and that's okay. The simple fact is that I'm not strong enough; I was pampered, adored, and wasn't meant to last long in this world. I'm so thankful for the life I was given, and for the family and friends that I got to love. But I can't go yet. Before I leave, there's someone important to me who I must let go of first. And I need him to be able to let go of me too when I'm gone.

    "Kyuso" she struggled to say, not caring that the slimy substance invaded her mouth again. "I...forgive...you...I...re-lease...you...from...yo-ur...pro-mi-"

    Close to death, Aurora's last thought was that she wished she could've seen Kyuso, one last time.


    "No no no no." Kyuso muttered as he hugged Aurora's still body to his chest. "Why?"

    "She didn't want you to live with the guilt of failing to keep your promise." Giratina answered. "It was very close too; she only had two seconds left, and her struggling was angering the Dark-"

    "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT THE F*** UP!" Kyuso screamed. His blood was boiling and he desperately wanted to hit something.

    "Her wish will have been in vain if you turn your back on reality, Kyuso. You must accept the fact that she is dead, and there's nothing you can-"



    "No," he growled, remembering something that Ray had once taught him "I refuse to let her go. I promised her that I wouldn't leave her, but that doesn't mean that she can just bail on me!"

    "She did release you from your oath before she died, remember?" Giratina said.

    Kyuso ignored Giratina and gently laid Aurora down on the smooth, inclined crystal floor. He caressed her cheek, thinking Hang on Aurora, before refocusing himself on the task at hand. Digging through his memories, he found the one where Ray had brought him aside one afternoon to teach him CPR. The first step was to check on the victim's status and call 911 for help if he/she didn't respond when he shook them and shouted "Are you okay?"

    The mood to laugh didn't even touch him as he brushed the first step aside, and remembered the second step. He was supposed to lock his paws together, one over the other, on top of the center of the victim's chest, and push down hard thirty times.

    If the victim still hadn't responded, the third step had him pinch the victim's nose, tilt their chin up to open their airway, and breathe air into them through mouth-to-mouth. He was to repeat starting from step two until paramedics arrived or the victim revived.

    Please don't let me be too late! Kyuso prayed.

    He mounted Aurora and brought his paws together to push down.

    "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six..." he huffed out with each push.

    It had gotten very quiet, even Giratina didn't speak, but Kyuso didn't notice. Right now, the world consisted of only him and Aurora in his mind, and he would be damned before he was going to lose a whole half of it!

    "...Twenty-nine. Thirty." he finished.

    Not slowing down for a second, he dismounted her, went by her head, pinched her nose, tilted her head back, sealed her mouth with his, and breathed once. Twice.


    He mounted Aurora and brought his paws together to push down.

    "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six..." he huffed out with each push.

    It had gotten very quiet, even Giratina didn't speak, but Kyuso didn't notice. Right now, the world consisted of only him and Aurora in his mind, and he would be damned before he was going to lose a whole half of it!

    "...Twenty-nine. Thirty." he finished.

    Not slowing down for a second, he dismounted her, went by her head, pinched her nose, tilted her head back, sealed her mouth with his, and breathed once. Twice.


    He mounted Aurora and brought his paws together to push down.

    "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six..." he huffed out with each push.

    It had gotten very quiet, even Giratina didn't speak, but Kyuso didn't notice. Right now, the world consisted of only him and Aurora in his mind, and he would be damned before he was going to lose a whole half of it!

    "...Twenty-nine. Thirty." he finished.

    Not slowing down for a second, he dismounted her, went by her head, pinched her nose, tilted her head back, sealed her mouth with his, and breathed once. Twice.





    Nearly four minutes had passed and Kyuso just finished up his ninth cycle, and was catching his breath before starting the tenth.

    Kyuso's forelegs felt like lead and he breathed heavily. Giratina still hadn't spoken one word, and while that had helped Kyuso work without distraction, he noticed the silence now that he was taking a break, and it was awful. Besides his breathing, the room made no noise, deathly quiet.

    He looked up through his sweaty vision and watched Giratina watching him. Still not one word and he knew why. He knew that Giratina knew that there was still defiance in his eyes. And although that defiance was slowly withering, he knew that Giratina would wait for him until he gave up by himself. Giratina's eyes were cold, analytical, and they revealed nothing.

    Kyuso seethed with anger and a little bit of something else as well. Damn you. Arceus damn you! You won't break me!

    He mounted Aurora and brought his paws together to push down.

    "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six..." he huffed out with each push.

    This time, Kyuso noticed the silence, and it began to eat away at his spirit. The longer the silence dragged on, the more his heart ached with pain. He tried to get the world to consist of only him and Aurora again, but that may have been a mistake. This time, he was more aware of his surroundings, and it was impossible to ignore Aurora's face any longer.

    A bit of the shadow slime still clung to the corners of her mouth, even after he had tried to get it off her and out of her mouth as much as he could. Her face, along with the rest of her body, was covered in cuts and bruises. Blood encrusted her forehead. She was growing cold, despite the heat that radiated from his body from his labors. Her eyes were closed, peaceful.

    She looked like an angel.

    "...Twenty-nine. Thirty." he finished, his eyes growing warmer.

    He dismounted her, went by her head, pinched her nose, tilted her head back, sealed her mouth with his, and breathed once. Twice. Three times. Four times. The fifth no longer had anything to do with CPR.

    He let go of her lips, brought her back to his chest, and hugged her head. His eyes felt hot and the tears fell from his face onto hers. He clenched his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut tight against the tears, against surrender, against his pain, against his grief, against everything. He hugged her closer to him, protectively. Even now, he held her in that way, mentally cursing at anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere, to stay away from them. He didn't want a single person to get near her ever again. He buried his face in her neck fur, crying hard, but silent.

    Giratina spoke "She's gone, Kyuso"

    A.N. Hey guys, sorry for the long wait for an update, but I've been reading some Espeon x Umbreon stories to see how Homeward compared against them. I found that a few of them use a 'levels and stats' system to describe the strength of their characters. While Homeward does get technical at times, I try to limit that and stay more artistic with everything. For example, there was that fiasco with Kyuso's Special Defense in Ch. 32, but I tried to portray the idea of a Pokémon's Special Defense with words, and not numbers. However, I thought you guys might like it if I started to make things a bit more mechanical, so I think I thought of a way to suit all of our tastes, including my own. To start, I would use one of the more common methods of character description I've seen in Pokémon fanfics: the level of a Pokémon. BUT, what I would tweak is making that idea seem more realistic. In Pokémon games, a Pokémon's level can rise, but not fall. While that may be a fun and convenient aspect of the games, I found that it's a little problematic when used in writing fanfics. Consider a Lv. 70 Bulbasaur at 25 years of age. Assuming that some Pokémon species, in this case Bulbasaur, live life-spans similar to that of humans', does that mean that at 80 years old, our "grouchy, old, stay-off-my-lawn-you-rotten-kids" grandpa Bulbasaur is still Lv. 70? I didn't think so either. No doubt the Bulbasaur's (skill) level has decreased significantly from the dulling of his reflexes due to age. So instead, I would be using a level system based on skill in my story; meaning that a Pokémon's level may both rise AND fall, depending on reasons such as frequency of battles, previous experiences, nutrition, rigor of training, and lots more. Also, a Lv. 1 Pokémon could be considered as a newborn, and to be at Lv. 100, they'd have to be in top physical and mental condition for their species (e.g. Master Chief from the popular video game franchise Halo is a "Lv. 100" representative of the human race in the Halouniverse). This way, it's a lot more flexible, believable, and interesting since levels can go both up and down. After all, it'd be boring if a Lv. 100 Kyuso one-shotted everyone he fought, right? What's a story without conflict? Anyway, that's my skill-based level system idea for Homeward, which would be perfect to test out on the next chapter. But again, I won't act on it without your guys' consent, so if I can get at least five thumbs up for my idea, I'll give it a go on Ch. 35. Thank you for reading, and please review, whether it be about this chapter or your opinion on the next! Please give me your thoughts on the skill-based level system, whether it's a "go" or "no-go". I appreciate all feedback and will see you in the next chapter!

    ***EDIT: forgot to mention it before, but I got the information on the Roman Emperor "Gratian" at Wikipedia and "Emperors of Rome" at YouTube (but first I thought of the alias "Graitian" for Giratina by just mixing the letters around, and the similarity between the two names, along with Emperor Gratian's background, were 100% conveniences that I took advantage of c:), and the information on CPR from my own previous knowledge with it, added with a quick brush-up on the Mayo Clinic website (the only part I had forgotten was to tilt the head back before I read the website, so yay, a B+ for me on remembering how to perform CPR! Or am I giving myself too little credit? jk lol)***
  15. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Hey guys, I'm back. Really sorry for not posting anything for three weeks, I had a lot of school stuff to take care of and long story short, for the first two weeks, I was getting an average of two hours of sleep per night. Because of that, my immune system was getting weak and I was getting sick all those days, but I decided to use that sickness to my advantage and used the fresh experience to include in my chapters. Yeah, you heard me, chapters (plural). I wrote up chapters 35, 36, and 37 to make up for missing out on updates for three weeks so please forgive me. Also, I'm thinking some of you guys may have lost sympathy for Aurora and Kyuso after not reading a new chapter for so long so I suggest rereading Ch. 34. Entirely your choice, but still, remember that our main hero just lost the main heroine. Let's take it easy on him and welcome him back gently, okay? He's hurting right now. Anyway, let's get on with the triple chapter reading!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and it's characters.


    Ch. 35

    January 1

    "She's gone, Kyuso."

    The girl was gone. She no longer existed. There was nothing Kyuso could do to change that, yet that didn't mean he could just let her go. She was suffering, but he couldn't help her then, couldn't do anything but watch. That feeling of uselessness killed him then and it killed him now. Holding her head close, he choked on his tears. This was so confusing. They'd only known each other for a week, so how was she having this strong of an effect on him? He didn't believe in quickly-built friendships, thinking those were nothing more than alliances, or lust. He always believed that a relationship required time and experience that couldn't be achieved in single week. He was so stupid.

    Please come back he begged Come back so that I can thank you for proving me wrong.

    Blind while crying, his vision didn't improve much when he opened his watery eyes. He wiped them to see the angel again. Even in death, she was so beautiful, and looked so at peace. Even though she was lifeless, there was some sort of serene glow about her that he couldn't explain. If it wasn't for her cold limp body, he could've sworn that she was merely sleeping. If only it was true. He'd give anything to make it true.

    Please come back. I need to see you again. You were right and I was wrong. We were friends. So just please...I don't want to be alone like this. It hurts...

    "She's gone, Kyuso" Giratina said a second time. "You must let her go. Her body was strong but her mind was weak. She wasn't ready like you. She even admitted that before she died. You know there is nothing you can do so stand up and move on, Kyuso. Your destiny does not end with her, it ends with me."

    Kyuso continued to hug the girl. He stopped crying, but still shook a little. I can't stand this pain. It hurts too much. I feel like my heart is dying. Someone please save me from this agony and release me from my...Yes...Yes...That's it. That's the answer. If I die, I'll be able to see her again, and my brother too. They're waiting for me, I know they are. All I have to do is die, and then I'll be able to-

    Kyuso was so absorbed in his own thoughts that he didn't notice Giratina yelling "YOU FOOLISH BOY" or hear the whoosh of smoke flying straight at him. He did look up when he felt an icy something flow through his body. He looked up and saw that the feeling was caused by Giratina flying through his body. Giratina circled back around and returned to the middle of the spherical room, ancient malice brewing in his merciless, black eyes.

    "Don't you understand yet?" Giratina growled "You no longer have the leisure to mourn the dead. Starting now, you are only a puppet for my use however I see fit! You no longer have the right to do what you want, so stop wasting my time like a pathetic, sniveling, weak little boy!"

    He was a bit shaken, but Kyuso just dejectedly stared back at Giratina with dry, resigned eyes. He felt that familiar void from last night filling him once more.

    "...You're no use to me like this." Giratina said at last "And to think that I thought there was something special about you. Maybe that spark I saw in that forest was just that, a spark...I should have just let you and your brother die when you should have."

    Kyuso's ear twitched. "...What?"

    "Hmm?" Giratina looked back. "...Yes! There it is! It's small and mostly just curiosity, but it's there. That anger of yours, it still runs through your veins. It has not abandoned you. There's still a chance! Now the only question is how to feed the flames."

    Kyuso frowned. "What're you talking about? What did you have anything to do with Jun?"

    "Aha, the anger just grew. Interesting, it seems that when the ones you love get involved, you don't fear or shy away from danger like most do. You attack it, and aggressively so. Yes, just like that! That hate inside you grows bigger by the second."

    "Shut up! I'm not some toy that you can just mess around with!" Kyuso yelled in a half-rage before firing Screech.

    Like before, the attack passed harmlessly through Giratina's smoky form. "Sit. Down. Boy." Giratina commanded gravely.

    Kyuso lost his remaining courage from the overwhelming command and fell down, next to the Espeon. He held the girl's body protectively again, but also for his own comfort this time.

    "And there it goes," Giratina sighed "like an ember dying in the snow. I'll have to feed the anger first in order to get what I need from you." Giratina's body started to coil up.

    Kyuso grew worried. "Wait," he shouted "what were you going to say? What were you planning on telling me before? What did you do to me and my bro-"

    "First prove yourself to me if you want your answers, gnat!" Giratina shouted, and then swung his serpentine body at Kyuso.

    Kyuso knew that he wouldn't feel the hit, but the immense terror he felt before the Lord of the Distortion World caused him to jump into action. He covered the girl's body with his own and braced his back for the impact, which obviously never came. Instead, he felt a rush of freezing air when the pitch-black tail swung all over him, and he reappeared back in the cold, torch-lit cave. The man, woman, two Heracross, and two Bisharp, were still there, and looked just as surprised as he was, and a little spooked too. His eyes shot down and grew big when he saw that the girl was no longer with him. Kyuso spun back, but saw only the rock wall of the cave's dead end. He scratched at the rock.

    "No...No, no, no, no. Aurora?" he said, finally speaking her name.

    "Subject K133, do not move" said the man behind him "You will be escorted back to your room

    "Aurora? Aurora!"

    He heard the man behind him roughly order "Subject K133, sit down and relax at once."


    "K133, sit down and comply immediately, you will not be given another warning!"

    "Give her back! Giver her back, damn you! AURORA!"

    Kyuso's vision flooded with white as he felt the collar burn into his neck, and fell to the floor.


    A couple of tasty slices of garlic bread that he used to eat back "home", once warm but now cold. A salad of assorted vegetables, and Leppa Berries chopped up into little chunks. A golden-brown, mouthwatering Magikarp broiled, lightly salted, and sitting temptingly on its plate with its juices pooling underneath it. A mug of freshly squeezed Oran Berry juice, chilled cold. And even a decorative white lily presented in a glass of water.

    Kyuso didn't touch any of it.

    The Heracross had dragged his tired body back to the upper levels of the laboratory after he was hit with another charge of Fairy-type energy from his collar. The woman and Bisharp stayed behind, so he guessed from the chatter that she was discussing something with "Mr. Graitian" through the Dark Gate. Now, he was in a room that was noticeably nicer than his previous one.

    "Welcome to your own, personal VIP room" the man announced as he opened a door "You'll find it to be much more comfortable than your old living quarters."

    Kyuso pulled his head up from looking at the ground. The room was at least four times more spacious than the previous one, had a queen sized bed at the end with pillows and a blanket, a 32-inch flat screen T.V. to the left, a glass table on the right with the T.V. remote on top, and a few bean bag chairs scattered throughout the room. There were also four cameras, each placed at a corner of the room on the ceiling.

    "Set him down here please." The man asked the Heracross.

    They dropped him unceremoniously into a bean bag chair in the middle of the room. Depressed, Kyuso remained limp as the man walked up to him.

    "Lunch will be served in thirty minutes" he told Kyuso "Stay comfortable until then, and then tomorrow morning, you'll take your first Elimination Match in what we call, the Pit. That would be what you saw earlier with the Bagon." the man said with a wink.

    Kyuso just looked back at the human.

    "Anyway, it's going to be a hell of a show and I can think of quite a few who'd love to see you in action. So don't disappoint, and good luck!"

    Kyuso had still been sitting in that same bean bag chair when a woman with another two Heracross came in to his VIP room and set his tray of food down in front of him. Now, it was twenty minutes after that, and his lunch was getting cold.

    Feeling familiarly cold and empty inside, he stared at the food with half-lidded eyes. Guess I'm back here again.

    He didn't know what to do and didn't want to do anything. What was the point of eating anymore? What was the point of living anymore? He couldn't die by starvation since he was going into some "Elimination Match" tomorrow, but the Elimination Match would help him die faster, so at least there was some good news. Soon. He would have to wait, but very soon, he would be reunited with Aurora and Jun; the one good thing that would come from tomorrow.

    He sat for a while longer, fantasizing about his death, until he realized something. The Bagon girl that he saw earlier, she had lost someone important to her as well. That's how she was able to smile in her last moments; she was happy to be joining them in death. At least, he hoped she did. He thought that to get into heaven, one wasn't allowed to kill others, but that made no sense. Just because wild Pokémon ate each other for survival, did that mean that they went to hell for only doing what was natural? Of course not, that wouldn't have been right at all. "Survival of the fittest" was simply natural. He guessed that if you killed for darker reasons, regretted it, and truly apologized for it, then redemption may be achieved.

    Becoming fascinated with the new-found topic in his head, he played around with different theories and constructed various scenarios in his head, making up his own imaginative guidelines for getting into heaven (or hell). But really, he was just trying to make himself fall asleep. He knew that it was only around early afternoon, but the day's events tired him. Since his eyes were already pretty dry from crying, it didn't take long for him to fall asleep.


    In his dream, he was aware that he was dreaming.

    He was on the roof of a skyscraper, at least five hundred meters up, in the middle of a vast city he didn't know. The stupid collar around his neck wasn't there, making him feel loose and free. To the west, the sun was low in the sky, casting a light orange haze across the sky. Below, he faintly heard cars and people and activity everywhere bustling together. The city noise was pleasant to his ears, like listening to sound of water lapping as you went to bed. Mild winds ruffled his fur, and he snickered at the setting sun. It reminded him of when he and Jun got lost in the forest for mixing up east and west, but now he looked back on the memory with humor.

    "Ahahaha, yeah, that was pretty stupid of me" someone spoke.

    Even though he was in a dream, Kyuso's heart skipped a beat. The sound of that voice behind him was unforgettable, and had brought him lots of happiness once upon a time. Hesitantly, he turned and saw them. Both Jun and Aurora wore a smile and held out a paw for him, openly inviting him for a hug.

    He stood rooted to the spot. A plane roared by several miles overhead.

    "It's okay," Aurora encouraged "we aren't going anywhere."

    That wasn't what troubled him. "...Are you really..." he trailed off, somehow afraid of finishing his question.

    "As long as you're happy, does it matter?" she said.

    It didn't. He crept forward, step by step by step. Honestly, he wanted nothing more than to run into their waiting hug, but the strength in his legs had abandoned him for some reason. Each step he took was wobbly, and it took all he had not to fall over. They didn't seem to care though, and they waited patiently for him as he reached them at his own pace. When he finally did stand before them, they pulled him in for the hug he worked so hard to reach.

    "Hey" he said.

    "Hey" they said back.

    The three pulled away, and he felt somewhat confident in his legs. He took this moment to look at them, really look at them to permanently engrave their image in his head.

    Jun looked the same as he normally did, back when Kyuso had to leave him: regular shade of brown and cream-colored fur of most Eevee, hair flowing back with no tangles in sight, and a face so lively it that infected Kyuso with a smile whenever he saw it, even now. He might've looked like just an ordinary Eevee, but he was so much more than that to Kyuso.

    Aurora looked a lot different from when he last saw her, but for the better: her gem was still strangely glowing like before, even in this dream. Otherwise, she had no more wounds, no more blood, and she was clean too. Her light lilac fur looked as smooth and shiny as it did on the day they met in her room, and her purple eyes really did look like the sunrise with the way they were tinged red. He stared into them for a while, as if he was watching the real thing.

    "Hey" he said again. He didn't know what else to say.

    Jun walked over to his left and hugged his foreleg.

    Aurora came over to his right and slumped against his body. She smelled nice.

    The light of the sunset washed over them, making them seem warm and alive.

    "Thank you, Aurora" he said, remembering something.

    "For what?" she murmured

    "You know why."

    She nodded lightly.

    "Why are you here?" he finally asked.

    "You tell us" Aurora answered softly.

    "...I guess I was lonely," he admitted "and I wanted to see you guys."

    "We miss you too Kyuso, and you can see us now, but you can't give up."

    "But I want to, and if I do then we can all be together again. Wouldn't you both like that?"

    He felt Jun's head shake against his leg. "That's not the big brother I know. You don't quit, no matter how tough things get. That's why you never lose. You're my crazy-strong, big brother."

    "I did lose, Jun. Not just from Luna, but from a lot of other guys too. I'm not that good."

    "Not in my eyes you haven't," Jun said "I still think that you never lose because you're still fighting. You're talking to us right now so that's proof you haven't given up yet, right?"

    "I don't know anymore, little bro. I'm tired. Your "crazy-strong, big brother" isn't invincible, you know?"

    "I think that you don't want to give up either. You're talking to us, so you must be asking for a little help, that's all" Jun said, surprising Kyuso with his intuition. "Also, please forgive Luna. Okay? She's really sorry for what she did, and she misses me a lot too. She's hurting inside, just like you."

    "...I'll try." It was hard for him to tell if they were real, or if he was just...

    "You can't stop now, Kyuso" Aurora said softly "Don't give up." She was still slumped against him with her eyes closed, so he let her rest in peace.

    "Why can't I?" he asked tiredly.

    "Because you just can't"

    "But I want to"

    She shook her head. "No you don't. You just want to follow me and Jun."

    "Well..." he muttered, trying to find anything in his head to argue with "What about..."

    Kyuso thought back to Aurora's last words. It was a dark memory that he didn't want to relive but he did it anyway, for her. He closed his eyes so that he saw nothing but black. An image of Aurora struggling in the darkness formed in his mind.

    "Kyuso, I...forgive...you...I...re-lease...you...from...yo-ur...pro-mi-"

    He pulled out immediately when he was done, breathing shakily. He opened his eyes to the light of the sun and looked down to make sure Jun and Aurora were both still with him. They were, thank Arce-...no. At this point, why bother thanking that god, thank anyone, for anything? No one was listening.

    He shook it off and asked "How about your final words?"

    "What about them?" she asked impassively.

    "You-" he hesitated. Now that he thought about it, his argument seemed pretty weak. "You didn't...finish..."

    She sighed. "Are you really going to hold yourself to that? Just because I didn't finish my sentence?"

    "I have to" he breathed heavily "It's the only excuse I have to follow you." The desperation in his voice was so strong he could hear it himself.

    "Listen, to me, Kyuso. If you keep holding onto that expired promise, I'll never forgive you for dying." Her words were harsh, but her voice kept its gentle tone. "Live, Kyuso."


    This time, it was Jun's turn to speak. "Please brother, live."

    "...I really miss you two" Kyuso answered weakly.

    "You've come so far, so keep going." Aurora said.

    "Where am I going though, Aurora?"


    That's something I may not be able to do.

    They stayed silent for a while.

    "We'll see each other again" she continued. It was like she could read his emotions, even in death. At least, that's how he portrayed 'this Aurora'. "I promise" she added.

    "Promise, are you sure you want to use that word, Aurora? It's such an empty word with nothing behind it except false hope and-"

    Aurora held his cheek and turned his face towards her. She made their eyes connect. "I promise" she simply repeated.

    "...I promise too" he said at last.

    She smiled. That was the first time he saw her smile again ever since she... His heart ached at the memory.

    "It's okay," she whispered, hugging around his neck "we're here for you now."

    "But for how long?" he managed to say after swallowing back down the aching pain in his chest.

    "For as long as you need us."

    He blinked his tears away "Will you two stay with me until I go back?"

    Jun pressed up against his side and hugged his leg tighter. "Okay" Aurora whispered in his ear. She kissed his forehead (their rings and gem glowed bright again but he ignored them) and rested against him once more. Her kiss made him feel warm all over.

    They bathed in the warmth of the fading sun's rays, and watched the ball of fire sink away. As twilight turned to night, his vision grew blurry, turning the city's solid dots of lights into blinking circles. He would soon leave this dreamland behind.

    Jun. Aurora. I promise I'll see you two again.

    He hugged them one last time before he left.


    Kyuso woke up in the same bean bag chair he had fallen asleep in.

    Back in reality he sighed as he looked around the room. He was alone.

    Seeing that his lunch tray was no longer there, he guessed that someone must've taken it back while he was sleeping, so he went to turn on the T.V. There was no signal down here, which meant he didn't get any shows, only a bunch of pre-downloaded movies, but he ignored them and pressed a button to display the time. It was currently 7:59 p.m.

    Okay, better get on with this.

    He went to work on clearing the room as much as he could, starting with the bean bags. He pulled a bean bag to the wall of the room, then another. He was pulling his third when the door suddenly opened, revealing the same woman that came with his lunch earlier, along with her two Heracross.

    "Subject K133, if you are awa-"

    Kyuso was tackled to the ground by the two Heracross, with two Brick Break attacks pointed at his neck.

    "What were you doing?" the woman demanded sternly.

    "I-I-" he stuttered, trying to find a way out of this mess.

    The attacks dug into his neck.

    The stress must've stimulated his thinking process because he heard him say "I was building a pillow fort, alright?! When I used to get scared as a kid, I did that to get to sleep easier!"

    He felt a Heracross get up while the other remained at his neck.

    Please believe it...

    That one that got up must've did sign language or something because a few quiet seconds later, the woman spoke "*snicker* Let the little baby up."

    Kyuso was released and he sat, trying to fake an embarrassing look as best he could. They apparently bought it because the human spoke again. She was holding another delicious smelling tray, which she set down in front of him.

    Dinner he guessed from a quick glance.

    "Subject K133, you are no longer an Eevee, but an Umbreon. Therefore, you've been assigned a new identification code: G197. From now on, you will respond when called upon by that identification code. Understood?"

    Kyuso nodded "yes".

    "Very well. G197, your Elimination Match is due in twelve hours. Prepare yourself until then and an escort will proceed to take you to the Pit in the morning. Understood?"

    He nodded again.

    The woman and Heracross left the room and shut the door.

    Kyuso breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't know why he lied because he would be monitored the entire time he was in here (with those four cameras in his room), but he guessed it was worth the gamble to keep his neck. He turned to the door and thinking that 'those three' would come back after some time, he went to his tray and scarfed down his dinner. He didn't care what it was; he just ate dutifully, knowing that he would need energy for tomorrow. As expected, the woman and Heracross came back after thirty minutes, only to see an empty tray and a fearful Umbreon cowering in his pillow fort (or in this case, a bean bag fort). After a few cruel laughs, they left his room once more and he stepped out of his hiding place.

    Back to work.

    The bean bags were already out of the way, so he went over to the table and pushed it to a wall of the room as well. With the furniture now out of the way, he stood in the middle of the open room. There was decent enough space for him to train and exercise before tomorrow. Maybe he would even teach himself a trick or two.

    He stretched his body for a few minutes, and then threw a Feint Attack into the empty air. It was going to be a long night.

    A.N. Who caught the symbolism I included in this chapter? If not, here's the answer: the symbolism was in his lunch. Hope you guys enjoyed it, and now on to the next chapter!
  16. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    I've got to say that I probably couldn't make this chapter as good as it is without actually suffering through it, or at least 80% of it. I hope you enjoy the results of my pain you sadists. Ahahaha, Just kidding.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and it's characters.


    Ch. 36

    December 21 [4 days before Christmas]

    His eyes drooped.

    Keep walking.

    His legs wobbled.

    Keep walking.

    His stomach grumbled.

    Keep walking.

    The rays of the full moon shined down beautifully on him, just like that time in the forest when he was at death's doorstep before his evolution. A whole day had passed since he last ate the Leppa Berry Lance gave him, and he hadn't even stopped once to rest from that time. The only thing that even came close to a break was an hour ago when he walked into a shallow, snow-cold river to take an icy drink of water. Again, he walked into it, meaning he didn't even stop moving his feet to drink. He didn't deserve a break. Here he was, still comfortably breathing, while the majority of Crimson Base was not. He didn't know what else to do except feel depressed, so this was his version of a punishment for himself. Half a week had passed since he had left the comforts of a warm house, easy food, and a family, and he had already managed to get a whole community killed. Even now, the dreadful guilt weighed heavily on the detached teen's head, so the only thing he allowed to occupy his mind was...

    Keep walking.


    December 22 [3 days before Christmas]

    He blacked out, his legs kept moving by themselves, and he woke up when he walked into a tree.

    Keep walking.


    December 23 [2 days before Christmas]

    He felt sick and threw up, despite his empty stomach. His feet felt cold.

    Keep walking.


    December 24 [1 day before Christmas]

    It was midnight, and the day of Christmas Eve had just begun. Kyuso stepped onto the cold road, and saw an industrious looking city splayed below him. From the high hill, he still couldn't see the end of the city and its sheer size impressed him after walking through the woods for so long. He had long since given up hope on ever getting out of the forest, but here he was. Ironically, after walking through tall fresh trees and icy-cold brooks for so long, it felt relaxing to return to the air-polluted, noise filled, artificially lit atmosphere of civilization.

    Good to be back he thought fondly. He quickly shook his head, stopped himself before he could smile, and refocused Keep walking.

    Kyuso walked down the road to the city's edge below, and naturally entered the chaotic, steel jungle. First, he needed to find some food, and fast. His body was failing him and ever since yesterday, he was starting to hallucinate from malnutrition (once he even mistook a leaf for a Dustox, almost waking up the whole hive in the process). Walking down the cold sidewalk, he smelled a delicious aroma from across the street, and walked toward it immediately. He was almost hit by a car and was angrily honked at as the driver screeched to halt and used some colorful language.

    Embarrassed, he hurriedly made his way across the street and entered the market area. Food stands lined along his left and right and he didn't notice his mouth hanging open slightly like a starving idiot. The variety of smells clouded all around him, intoxicating him. He was starving, yet he didn't know what to choose!

    Deciding to stop at the next stand, he looked up and read its sign. There was only one word but it was rewritten in many different languages.

    "Takoyaki?" he read aloud.

    He looked up and saw a human child walk away from the stand with something in his hands: golden balls in a paper boat, topped with vegetables, meat, and some kind of sauce.


    He hugged his stomach until it stopped making noise, faced the Takoyaki stand, and called back behind him "Hey Mason, I'll try some of-"

    Obviously he was alone and he felt stupid for announcing something like that to no one. One of the cooks heard him and shouted "Eh? Hey, get out of here you Umbreon! Go on, get out of here! There's no free food here for you!"

    Kyuso grumbled, saying "Yeah yeah, I get it already" as he walked away.

    Sadly, he had to leave the food behind. Food was so close, yet so far! There was food aplenty in cities; he just needed some money to buy it. Money. That would be a problem for a Pokémon like him. And he was looking forward to trying some of that Takoyaki too.

    "Damn it, now how am I going to-"

    "Hey! Stop that thief!"


    Kyuso looked up and saw a hooded man in sunglasses running away from a food stand up ahead. On instinct, he ran after the man to lend a helping hand, but saw that he was dropping a few papery things out of his hand.


    He dropped to the ground and joined the group of people at collecting the bills, completely forgetting about the thief. His attention was diverted again when the woman gave another cry of "Someone please stop that man! He took everything!"

    No one paid her any attention, but Kyuso stopped what he was doing and looked up. The hooded man was getting away, but he wasn't gone yet. Crushing the bills between his teeth in frustration, he growled, walked over to the woman, placed the bills at her feet, and took off after the hooded man.

    He mentally swore at himself and thought Nice guys always finish last, don't they?


    Kyuso tracked the hooded man down into an alley a block away from the market area. He was too busy counting the bills and hadn't noticed Kyuso sneaking up on him. Kyuso wasn't going to shout "Hey" before taking the hooded man down, like how he saw on TV shows. He was dealing with a real criminal here! That, and Kyuso also saw a Poké Ball hanging from the man's belt. He really didn't want to waste his energy fighting until he got some food in him first.

    Kyuso stepped forward to slap the Poké Ball off his belt, and that's when luck decided to screw him over by having a driver honk their car from the streets behind him, probably from road rage or something menial. The man saw him now.

    F*** me! Kyuso groaned in his head.

    He stared fiercely back into hooded man's sunglasses and leapt at the Poké Ball. The man fearfully jumped back and a few bills fell from his hand, distracting Kyuso long enough for him to release his Pokémon, a Houndoom.

    F*** me! Kyuso groaned in his head.

    "Houndoom, use Super Fang!" the hooded man commanded.

    The Houndoom growled viciously and lunged at Kyuso with his teeth glowing white with energy.

    Kyuso barely managed to catch the Super Fang with Feint Attack, and attacked with Assurance. His half-assed attack lacked strength and the double damage boost, so it barely made the Houndoom flinch.

    "Pwahaha!" the Houndoom laughed as he came in for a second attempt. "What the hell was that, kid? You are so dead!"

    Kyuso's body felt heavy suddenly after exerting his dwindling strength. He glowered at his foes; cursing the situation he was dealt. If only he had gotten the upper hand before.

    "Damn it" he breathed as he prepared to catch the Super Fang again. He wasn't sure if he could go on, his vision was failing.

    Just then, the flash of headlights washed over the criminals. Red and blue lights strobed and the sound of police sirens wailed in their ears. Kyuso was relieved, the hooded man and Houndoom not so much.

    "Shit, let's get out of here Houndoom!" the hooded man yelled.

    The two ran down the alley in the opposite direction, ignoring a police officer's cries of "Freeze!" She had teal hair and a Manectric accompanying her. Of course they didn't stop, but the patrol car that came out of nowhere to block the other end of the alley made them rethink their chances.

    "Do not resist arrest! Hands up where we can see them and get down on your knees!" an officer gruffly shouted. His Manectric partner also barked out her own orders "Jaws closed, claws on the ground, and sit down, now!"

    The hooded man panicked alongside his Houndoom. They looked back and forth fearfully from seeing police approach from both sides, wasting enough time for the officers to close in and restrain the hooded man with handcuffs, and the Houndoom with Thunder Wave.

    Since the headlights hadn't shown on him when the police arrived, it was only normal that Kyuso wasn't seen due to his naturally pitch-black fur, plus it was after midnight after all. In fact, the teal-haired officer and her Manectric had walked right past him when they went to arrest the thieves. But now that the situation was handled, the teal-haired officer and Manectric turned back to try and spot him. They couldn't see him for a few seconds because the intense lights of their patrol car shined on their faces.

    "Hello? Is there an Umbreon nearby?" the teal-haired officer called out. "We got a call that one had taken off alone in pursuit of a thief" she said. She and her Manectric walked forward, trying to spot him.

    Kyuso took a step in their direction, but stopped. He was suddenly struck with a sense of shamefulness. Did he really do this out of the goodness of his heart, or was he expecting some kind of reward for this? And really, did he deserve any help after getting all those innocent Pokémon killed? The guilt came back in full strength to plague his mind like a curse.

    The teal-haired officer must've spotted his movement because he heard her say "Ah, so you are here. Thank you very much for your assis-"

    Kyuso spun around and ran across the clear street. He melted completely into the shadows of buildings and trees, hiding from the teal-haired officer's and Manectric's sight.

    The teal-haired officer shouted after him "Wait! You're not in any trouble, we just want to..."

    He couldn't hear her anymore after traffic roared across the street.


    It was getting pretty late (he saw through a watch store that it was almost 1:00 a.m.). He didn't want to sleep, but he could feel it creeping up on him. He'd have to find a safe spot to lie down soon, other than the freezing sidewalk he was currently walking on.


    Crap. That's starting to hurt he thought with a grimace. He took a moment to massage his stomach before walking on.

    It would be hard to fall asleep even if he found someplace to do it. With his stomach eating itself like this, he'd probably be hurting all night. Not wanting to risk exerting himself any longer, he crawled underneath the nearest bench, curled into a ball, and tried to find sleep on the wet, freezing ground.


    "Jane, I told you that I'd be coming home late today, didn't I?" John said humorously into his cell phone as he stepped into the empty elevator.

    Of course it was empty. He must've been the only one in the whole office building; it was after 1:00 a.m. after all. But when one worked overtime for their family, the work didn't seem as difficult. John wanted to put some extra work into that project the company was occupied with so that they'd have an easier time after everyone came back from the holidays. Also, he wanted to take his family on that extended vacation, and if anything this at least wouldn't hurt his chances. The suit he wore was getting a bit sweaty though.

    "Your right, I'm sorry, I guess this is technically tomorrow, not today" John told his wife after he pressed the button for the ground floor.

    His wife, Jane, had been waiting for him all this time, and she had already put Hannah to bed a long time ago. Grace should've been in bed as well, but he didn't know about Flint and Bay. Some days, Flint could be working long into the night like he was just now, and if he was, then it was a guarantee that Bay would be up waiting for Flint, like how Jane was waiting for him.

    The elevator doors opened and John spoke into his cell phone after hearing about Jane's day with their large family. "Well I'm in the lobby now so I'll be-have a good night, William-no I was just talking to the security guard. Anyways, I'll be home in twenty minutes. I'll see you soon, honey. I love you, bye."

    John felt some of the work stress lift from his shoulders as he stepped out of the office building, into the icy-cold, refreshing Christmas Eve night. But mostly, it felt great to hear Jane's voice.

    He turned off to the left to get to the company's garage to get to his car, but stopped when he saw the Umbreon curled up beneath the bench. The Umbreon had a small body, and looked young enough to be in his teen years. A loud grumble erupted from the Umbreon and if it was possible, he curled tighter than he already was, making him look even smaller. John couldn't tell if the Umbreon was asleep or not. He stood outside uncomfortably in the snow for a few minutes, not sure of what to do. He looked around. There was no one.

    John walked out of earshot of the Umbreon, reached into his pocket, and pulled out his phone. "Hey Jane," he said after a few seconds "listen, something came up..."


    Mmm, warm Kyuso thought as he snuggled into the blankets.


    He was bathed in a warm ray of sunlight, he felt a comfy couch below him and soft blankets over him, and smelled delicious pancakes cooking nearby. And he wasn't outside underneath a public bench anymore, which was very alarming. All this information he accumulated without his eyes. Wanting to gather more data about his new surrounding, he cautiously opened his eyes by a slit...

    ...and was greeted by a young human girl and a young Eevee girl.

    "He's awake!" they both announced excitedly.


    Kyuso crawled out from under the covers and hopped off the couch. It looked like he was in someone's living room. The usual furniture, a couch, chairs, tables, photos, bookshelves, a T.V., and other stuff filled the room, along with a human man, Flareon man, human woman, and Vaporeon woman. And there were those two girls too of course.

    Wh-what the?! How did I get here? And how do I get out? he thought in a panic as his eyes darted back and forth between all six strangers.

    "Hello!" the girls cried enthusiastically as they jumped onto the couch he was on, climbing over each other for fun.

    "Hannah. Grace. I told you girls to hurry up and eat breakfast, didn't I?" the human woman spoke sternly "Leave our guest alone, you're both going to be late for school!"

    "But mom," the young human girl whined "we're on winter break, remember?"

    "Ah, you're right. What am I saying?" the human woman replied "I forgot that you two were on vacation since you two are actually dressed this morning."

    What's going on here? Kyuso thought bewildered.

    "Sorry about that son," the human man said smiling "our girls are easily excited."

    His eyes were open, alert and alarmed, but Kyuso already felt his unease dropping slightly from the comical scene before him. He felt back with his tail and found something blocking his way. He looked back.

    The front door!

    He looked back to the strangers, getting ready to bolt if needed, but something told him to stay and learn more about what happened, and how he got here.

    "You're welcome to leave at anytime," the Vaporeon woman said kindly "but at least do it after you've had something to eat."

    At the mention of food, Kyuso's stomach ate away at itself and he caved, falling to the floor in agony. His face scrunched up in pain and he curled up, trying to compress his already-empty stomach smaller than it could go.

    He felt someone pat his back and ask "You alright boy?"

    He opened his eyes and saw the Flareon man standing above him with a concerned look on his face.

    "C'mon," the Flareon man said "come to the table and have something to eat. It's alright, you need it."

    Encouraged by his words, Kyuso got to his feet with the Flareon man's help and together they walked slowly to the table. The Vaporeon woman pull out a chair for him and Kyuso sat on the offered seat as she pushed in his chair.

    "So..." Kyuso began.

    "Ah ah ah," the human woman hushed as she approached the table with a tall platter of pancakes "eat first, then you can talk all you want."

    She placed the platter in the middle of the table, enticing the girls in the living room to come eat breakfast. She quickly went back into the kitchen and came back with a bowl of plain oatmeal, along with a cup of assorted pills that Kyuso didn't know what they contained.

    "I want you to eat this for now so that you don't upset your stomach all of a sudden with something heavy. After you're done, take these vitamins to bring you back up on your feet. If you feel better by lunch time, you can eat something more solid, alright?" the human woman pushed, mothering him in the process.

    Kyuso nodded in response.

    She smiled for the first time and for some reason, that made Kyuso feel right at home. She went back to the kitchen to turn off the stove, put the pans away, and all that other post-cooking stuff.

    Kyuso looked around the table again and saw everyone already digging into the breakfast spread. The human man eyed him curiously behind a coffee mug. The Flareon man was eating a pancake, but Kyuso caught him watching him a second before his eyes turned the other way. The Vaporeon woman sat between both the young human girl and the young Eevee girl, focused on putting scrambled eggs, bacon, wheat toast, and pancakes all on their plates.

    "Go on son, I wouldn't have brought you home if I didn't mean to help you" the human man said "You go on and eat."

    Taking a last nervous gulp, Kyuso dutifully began to eat his bland oatmeal. It wasn't very appetizing, but he couldn't care less about the taste. He was thankful enough for being welcomed into these strangers' home and fed their food. Also, as he ate his oatmeal, his mind wandered and he realized that he was satisfied with the bland oatmeal; pancakes, bacon, and the rest of the breakfast foods before him were all food for the privileged, and given his guilt, he felt lucky enough to be deserving of the bland oatmeal.

    But something didn't make sense. Nobody else at this table were eating oatmeal, or taking vitamins for that matter. If he was eating oatmeal and taking vitamins, and these people weren't, did that mean...

    "Did you guys recently buy a new box of oatmeal just because of me?" Kyuso asked quietly, voicing the question building in his mind. He had stopped eating the oatmeal.

    The Flareon's eyes went wide and he said "Well, we figured that we could all finish the oatmeal after you got better, but yes we just bought that box of oatmeal."

    The human man seemed to understand the Flareon man because he said "We also bought the vitamins just for you, but after you get better, we could all do better with some extra nutrition, right gang?"

    "No!" the girls cried happily. They were trading a pancake for a pancake, making their breakfast trade pointless, yet precious at the same time.

    Kyuso stopped eating the oatmeal. Suddenly, it didn't look as appealing as it did before, and he felt even worse than he did if he was eating all the tasty, privileged breakfast foods along with the rest of them (throwing up afterwards due to his weak stomach included). They had gone through the trouble of buying all this just for him. Who were they and why were they doing this for him? Him, a random Umbreon who they didn't even know.

    Before he delved too deep into his thoughts, something else poked at his mind. How had the human man understood the Flareon man?

    "Hey, how did you-" he asked before finally noticing the Translator on the Flareon's neck. It was in the form of a yellow collar.

    Kyuso instinctively looked at the Vaporeon woman eating her scrambled eggs. She was also wearing a Translator in the form of a navy-blue collar. He looked at the Eevee's neck. Her bare neck provided little comfort. Even so, here he was, eating, with his guard down, at a table before two Raiders. His muscles instantly tensed. His eyes became vigilant once more.

    The human man noticed this and laughed. "I'm sorry; I guess introductions are well past due, aren't they?" He sat up from the table and extended his hand, offering it to Kyuso. "I'm John, nice to meet you."

    Kyuso shook John's hand.

    "I'm Jane, but don't mind me for now" the human woman politely called out from the kitchen. "That's my daughter, Hannah, and her older sister, Grace."

    "Hello!" both girls happily greeted again in perfect sync.

    The Vaporeon spoke next. Her Translator sounder so clear and lucid it was no wonder why Kyuso didn't notice it before. He wondered if the melodic, smooth voice that came through her Translator was her actual voice. "I'm Bay, ex-Raider, and wife of this lucky guy right here" she said warmly at which the Flareon man smiled submissively. "And while Grace is my daughter, I love her and Hannah both as if they were my own."

    "Hello young man," the Flareon man spoke smoothly through his own Translator "I think you can already guess who I am, but yes, I am an ex-Raider. My name is Flint; this is my lovely wife here, and my beautiful daughter, Grace, and her younger sister, Hannah. These are my best friends John and Jane."

    Kyuso's eyes glazed over from trying to process all this new outrageous information he was dealt. It was all so much to take in, and he shook his head dizzily. "Ex-Raiders". Were there even such a thing? Now that he thought about it, of course. Of course there were such things, but the image that Raiders upheld, the influence that they had. The sense of invincibility they exhibited, it made them also seem immortal, which in turn made them seem even less capable of things like love.

    Well, I've just been enlightened. It's official, Raiders are capable of love Kyuso thought, amazed. He looked over at the Eevee known as Grace. And apparently more too. He also took note of John, Jane, and Hannah. A more.

    "Now then son," John spoke up "we've told you a little bit about us. How about you tell us something about yourself, your name at the very least?"

    These people. They had given him a place to sleep, food in his stomach, and kindness. Just because he was someone who needed it. He was touched. They were like something out of a T.V. commercial: the happy family. So happy in fact that their two families had joined into one somehow. It was like they were out of a fairy tale or something; they seemed like the perfect family. That's why...

    Kyuso made a small smile appear on his face and spoke with purpose. "My name is Dusk."

    ...he couldn't do anything to ruin it. He had to preserve this perfect family. He had to leave Kyuso behind.

    A.N. One more chapter left. I really hope you guys enjoyed this particular one the most. And now enjoy Ch. 37!
  17. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and it's characters.


    Ch. 37

    January 2 [Present Day]

    Two Heracross flanked Kyuso on both sides. He, the two humans behind him, and the four Heracross, walked down the bleached walls of the laboratory. The few humans they passed saw Kyuso, and asked the same question: "Is it time?" When his two human escorts confirmed that it was, Kyuso saw them all walk briskly in the same direction past his group. Apparently, a lot of people had waited to see his fight.

    He was glad that his training wasn't disturbed last night. No one had come in his room and tackled him to the ground or anything. He guessed that the ones behind the cameras, in charge of keeping an eye on him, knew that he was preparing for this, and had no problem with his training from the night before.

    Soon they arrived at the familiar glass elevator, and Kyuso saw the same cylindrical environment, known as the Pit. For now, it was void, but he knew there would be some dangerous simulation taking place inside it soon enough.

    He looked inside the other glass elevators that were circling the room and leveled with his. There was a Yamask, Avalugg, Gengar, Blaziken, Rhyhorn, and many other variety of Pokémon that threw him off. Wasn't he supposed to fight solely Umbreon?

    The man behind him seemed to have read his mind when he said "Mr. Graitian wanted to give you a real test."

    "Mason told us you know how to fight. You'll be in for the battle of your life this time" the second man chuckled.

    The elevator hummed to life as it descended, and Kyuso merely stared at each one of his opponents. I've got this...

    An orange-tan, sandy terrain started to materialize out of nothing from the floor of the Pit. The sand rose up in dunes as it formed and the plain, mechanical-looking wall of the Pit took on the light blue color of the sky. The materialization of the sky continued up to the ceiling where a harsh sun shone down upon them freely with no clouds in sight. Sand picked up and swirled as the winds, the finishing touches of the desert-type arena, took effect in the Pit.

    The elevator touched the sand and opened for Kyuso to step out. He was immediately reminded of his ordeal at Crimson Base when his feet touched the desert, but he brushed the troubling thoughts aside.

    Drake, April, Ace, Arcanine, Lance, Claire, Guildmaster Pyroar, Keeper Onyx, Flash, Sage Slowking, and everyone else, I'll win this for you guys.

    "Good luck, G197" one of the Heracross mocked as the elevator doors closed and rose into the sky, looking like it was done by magic.



    Kyuso took a step forward and collided with an invisible wall. After experimenting for a second, he learned that he was trapped in some kind of invisible, invincible cube, about four feet in dimensions. Unlike Luna's Mean Look, this box was much more subtle, and didn't flare up with light or anything when he touched it. It was just there. He didn't mind it any longer when the monotone voice continued with its announcement.




    Kyuso suddenly felt self-conscious. How many had seen which elevator he was in before they dropped down here? Did any see him at all? Could they remember which elevator he was in?! One thing was for sure, as soon as he was released, he needed to move, fast!

    I can literally the heaviness of all the other fighters hungry for my blood!


    He gulped.


    He breathed in and out. I've got this...


    Kyuso walked into the desert heat.


    The blistering winds gave some resistance, but the lone Umbreon kept trudging onward on the orange dunes. It was hot and he was getting restless after not seeing anyone for five whole minutes. The Pit wasn't that big, but the swirling winds and sand made progress difficult in this barren environment. Then again, from what he could tell, the Pit created a virtually real combat environment so who knew how long he had to go. A minute? An hour?

    How long will I have to go? he thought Am I going to have to fight anyone at all until I get there?

    He was on guard the whole time in this noise-muffled, sight-reduced, hostile arena, but he was still only able to catch the sound of flapping wings when they were right upon him.

    He barrel rolled to the side and saw a glance of rhombus, lime-green wings trimmed red as they flew by where he stood a second ago. Sand exploded in that spot as the Flygon's Dragon Claw attack missed.

    Kyuso retaliated with Confuse Ray, which the Flygon evaded with Fly. She circled around to finish her Fly attack, and Kyuso watched her intently, waiting for his chance. She charged and once she was right on top of him, he dodged and smacked her throat with Feint Attack. Stunning her, he immediately followed up with a Confuse Ray and an Assurance down on her head.

    Seeing her eyes rolling around in her head from the sudden beat down, he walked away, leaving the confusion status effect to bring her to unconsciousness.

    I've already fought a tougher Flygon than you before he thought with his back turned.


    The blowing sands scratched at his face. Progress through the desert was slow, and he found that he had to walk with his head to the side and one eye closed. He felt dry and warm and tired and slow.

    Am I ever going to get there? he wondered.

    He wandered alone through the desert storm for another minute until the sand underneath his feet blew up. He leapt to the side and tumbled down a dune. It was impossible to make out who this new combatant was with his world constantly flipping right side up to upside down. Rolling to a stop at the bottom, he looked up, only to stare straight into the abyss of humongous jaws. Having no room to dodge or block, he decided to handle this Crunch attack, hero-style, and jumped into the mouth. He quickly slid down the hot, sticky gullet and was fitted securely inside the enemy's stomach with just barely enough room to move.

    He opened his mouth to use Screech to upset the stomach, but remembered that he no longer had that move. He had Screech replaced when he learned that move as of last night.

    No matter, he could still get out with other attacks. He adjusted his body for more room for his paw and punched rapidly against the stomach walls with Feint Attack, nailing the same spot every time. He felt the stomach squeeze him from below, trying to force him back up the way he came. Pushing his limbs outward as hard as he could, he lodged himself stuck in the enemy's throat, making them choke on their own vomit as the substance splattered against Kyuso's legs. He struggled for a while, but relaxed as soon as he felt the violent squeezing stop. He shimmied his way out of the mouth, and turned back to push the Hippowdon onto his side so that the vomit could clear out of his airway.

    When he heard the Hippowdon finally return to consciousness, chocking for air, he smacked the Hippowdon between the eyes with Feint Attack, knocking him out. Grainy sand clung to his vomit-covered legs, but the detached Umbreon ignored it and walked back up the dune he fell from. Continuing towards the heart of the desert, he pushed against the sandy winds, indifferent as he was before.


    He fell to his knees when he had a heart attack.


    His core felt like it was being crushed mercilessly by a steel hand. His determination faltered and he felt like his body was on the verge of a permanent breaking point. Then the pain stopped altogether, and he immediately scanned his surroundings, furious. Realizing his anger spiking, he calmed his breath and looked around carefully. He didn't understand exactly what Giratina was telling him yesterday, but he was smart enough to piece together who had set up this "special" Elimination Match, and he was determined not to give Giratina what Giratina wanted. That's why he wasn't going to kill these innocent prisoners. They were just choosing the best choice in a shitty situation, and he couldn't blame them for that.

    Catching the sight of a Gengar, he sprinted, knowing that he was already caught by his Curse attack; the longer this fight dragged out, the worse it would be for him. Up close, he saw that the Gengar looked even worse than he did from only just using that double-edged move of his. Knowing that time was not on his side, Kyuso ran up to the still-recovering Gengar, head butted the Gengar in the gut with Assurance, grabbed his head, and nailed him with another Assurance right to the face, sending him flying back a few feet. The Gengar was knocked out before he even fell to the sand and just in time too. Kyuso felt another heart attack creeping up, but the feeling went away as Curse was cancelled from the Gengar's K.O.

    "If you're going to kill me then kill me, don't dick around" he said darkly as he walked away. He was disappointed that the Gengar couldn't kill him.


    It looked like he would never get to his destination. Time seemed to drag on as he trudged across the sands, making the finite Pit seem like an infinite desert.

    He walked on, his visibility still reduced due to the sands, until he came upon a wide expanse of desert. The flattish area was the center of the desert he saw while he was still up in the elevator. It was the perfect place for him to fight everyone all at once; the perfect excuse for him to expire. He promised to keep on fighting, but he didn't say how, so there was nothing wrong with taking the "kamikaze" path, was there? Sneaky, he knew, but technically he had never promised to "go on", only that he promised to "see them again". So if he was being sneaky with his words, the least he could do was try the hardest he could through his actions.

    He heard a yell from the distance. Apparently, someone had spotted him and was signaling others to converge to his location.

    He breathed out a sigh, rolled his shoulders and neck, and stretched his legs. I've got this...

    And just like that, he waited until the end result was him surrounded by over twenty Pokémon in a circle roughly fifty meters in diameter. Everybody was quiet. Quiet and nervous now that they were finally face to face with him.

    Finally, a Blaziken spoke up "We're sorry...we don't want to do this, but...we have no choice." She turned her head away in shame.

    Kyuso laughed coldly "No you're not."

    She kept her head down, refusing to meet his eyes. It was pretty much the same for everyone else.

    Hope, anxiety, desperation, he thought amusingly I can't believe that I used to have such petty weaknesses myself just a few hours ago.

    Someone finally screamed out a desperate battle cry and the rest followed suit quickly enough.

    Sand kicked up as everyone charged, flew, or dug towards Kyuso. Their frantic screams chorused and converged on him, but he felt no fear. He stood and waited until the first enemy came up to his face, a Ninjask. The Ninjask zigzagged on approach to keep him guessing, and lunged for his head with Aerial Ace. He crouched down, shot a Feint Attack paw forward at his head to stop him in midair, and threw him into an Avalugg who was closing in from the right.

    At once, he weaved through the mass of bodies threatening to dog pile him. He shot a Confuse Ray into the face of a Noivern, parried a Persian's Slash with Feint Attack, knocked the air out of a Manectric with the attack, and dodged some more. Combat was fast and furious with barely any breathing room and the threat of being overrun was always just one mistake away, but his fights with Black Sky prepped him for massed combat so he had experience with moving around in such a crowded space. It was hard to find the Umbreon as he was constantly moving, and was always surrounded from all sides (including above and below). But what could be seen was the light of his Feint Attack flashing its brilliant purple light whenever he attacked or defended.


    Kyuso grunted in pain as a Zoroark's Night Slash barely nicked his side. Out of reflex, he went on the offensive and retaliated with the new trick he developed last night: a quick head butt to get inside the Zoroark's guard, a fast paw swipe, quickly followed by the other paw's swipe, and a fast, back flip tail uppercut. The four Feint Attack combination landed in quick succession, as speed was the whole point of it, and the Zoroark was blasted up into the air from the uppercut, knocked out before he even touched ground. Realizing the aggressiveness he put into the attacks, Kyuso clutched his head, and breathed in and out.

    Calm down. Remember: discipline. Don't get mad, don't lose control. That's just what the bastard wants.

    It only took a second to shake it off, but when he looked up, he already found himself in an impossible position. A Blaiken's Sky Uppercut, a Marowak's Brick Break, and a Diggersby's Double Kick were all bearing down on him, and that was just what he saw in front of him. He felt the 'gravity' of a lot more coming from behind, the sides, above, and below.

    Shit! Too late!


    A huge gust of sand blew up in their faces as their attacks landed successfully on the lone Umbreon; some were even critical hits since he had his guard down for some reason. The last attack came from below so he was thrown into the air. Everyone looked up and saw him fly in an arc through the air. A trail of something that resembled blood followed him, but it couldn't be blood, there was no way one person could bleed that much. It was. As the combatants saw him fall to the desert sand several feet away from their group, they felt red, putrid-smelling rain fall down on them, and they collectively gasped at the blood on all their hands that weren't theirs.

    A few seconds after, they felt something soft and itchy and black rain down upon them and their eyes grew wide from having the burnt hairs of his fur fall on their bodies. Disgusted with the blood and hair, and with themselves, a few almost threw up, and fewer even did. Brushing their guilt aside, they waited anxiously for the announcement that would declare the poor Umbreon dead, and declare them free to return to their rooms.

    The Pit remained silent.

    Confused, they all looked around, then at each other. What was going on? They had done the deed. The Umbreon was dead. Upon closer inspection, the saw that his body was laying in a pool of blood that was dripping into the sand below, deep cuts and large bruises covered his body. Someone came up to the Umbreon's body and checked his breath, pulse, and heart. There was nothing, no pulse, the Umbreon was dead. So why weren't they being released?

    "Why won't they say something?"

    "Can we go back yet?"

    "What if they lied to us? Are we going to be executed?"

    "Maybe they're getting rid of all of us old winners!"

    "I don't want to die!"

    "Let us go, we had a deal!"

    More remarks like this were yelled, along with wails of despair. Nobody knew what was happening, and the longer time went on, the greater their paranoia grew. One Pokémon had even claimed someone for being a spy within their midst. Naturally, this threw everyone else into an uproar with everyone blaming everyone, and a few even began to push and shove each other. As distrust grew within the group, the group began to break apart and everyone began to spread out, requiring more room to push each other. When the coast was clear, a lone figure made their way to the still body of the Umbreon, and dragged him away behind the desert dunes.


    "You can wake up now" spoke a feminine voice.

    Kyuso's plan was to go along with his "death", and then return to the battle once he actually stood a chance. The group was directly over his body when he awoke. It was a miracle that his body was near-dead when he had his breath, pulse, and heart checked for signs of life. He had just regained consciousness after they had checked him, and felt very lucky for his timing. But right when he was about to move, he felt someone bite his tail, and pull him away.

    He was severely injured after his "mess up". Taking twenty attacks at once would overkill anyone, even Kyuso, so he was thankful for having Screech replaced when it was last night. Still, he waited until whoever this Pokémon was to let their guard down. He could no longer afford any mistakes with his "fragile-as-cracked- glass" body, so he at least wanted to get the drop on whoever this Pokémon was. Well...that wasn't entirely true; he could probably afford a few more mistakes at the least.

    "If you keep wasting my time," the feminine voice said annoyed "I'm going to strangle you again, just like how I did on the train, and then we'll see just how long you can keep up that Endure of yours."

    "...No you won't" Kyuso finally answered in a bored tone as he opened his eyes.

    He sat up, and saw Frost observing him coolly from the mouth of the cave. It didn't surprise him that the Raider caught sight of him using Endure through all that sand and dust. She was a Raider after all, they could see 'that and more'. What caught him off guard was Frost being here, meaning that 'they' must've deliberately put her and him in the same Elimination Match.

    "Where'd you find the cave?" he asked quietly, suppressing his surprise. There was a time when a Kyuso before the current one would've probably stuttered like an idiot before asking questions, but that Kyuso had died alongside Aurora. Now, only this cold shadow of his former self remained.

    "Not important" Frost said while observing him for a while longer. "That was really pushing the boundaries of Endure. Do you have a death wish or something you stupid Umbreon?" she asked with sharp eyes.

    "A little bit of both actually" Kyuso answered distantly.

    "Whatever. As I was saying, you keep gambling with your life like that, and eventually you're going to die. Endure depends on the mental strength of the user to determine how many times they can use it. But it's been scientifically proven that anyone who just learned the move is only capable of using it up to a max of ten times at the most, no matter how good they are. You've only got nine of those left, and I counted twenty of them out there."

    What she said was true. When he felt all the attacks hit him at once, the weight of it all was tremendous. As a "last-resort" type of move, Endure would continue to save the physical body as long as the will to do so was strong enough. And given someone like Kyuso, even though he had only just learned the move last night, he was already an expert with the move. Even so, he felt his will being chipped away little by little every time he used Endure; he was escaping death each time he used it after all...

    "Then every time they kill me, I'll take down two of them" he stated bluntly.

    "It's that simple?" Frost asked.

    "It's that simple" he repeated.

    "You overconfident, suicidal, f***ing stupid Umbreon," Frost continued "you don't get it do you? It was proven that Endure can only be used ten times at first because the ones who volunteered to test it had easy tests conducted on them. They were just trying to learn the mechanics behind the move, but what you're proposing to do is the same as what they did, except in a real combat scenario."

    "So?" he replied dully, throwing everything she said out the window.

    "It's never been done. No one has ever wanted something that much and no one ever will."

    You stupid Glaceon Kyuso mocked Frost in his head. "That's where you're wrong. I don't want to live, I need to live. And that's why before I die, I'll at least beat those guys."

    Frost stared back at those lifeless eyes for a while longer before shaking her head. "...What happened to you?" she finally asked "What happened to that weak boy who accepted beatings when they came to him, and complained all the time?"

    Refusing to answer, Kyuso struggled to his feet with a grimace. He spat out some blood and said "Thanks for the help" before walking to the cave's exit, but was stopped by a paw on his shoulder.

    "Why?" she asked emotionlessly "Why do you need to live, yet you go out to die? It makes no sense."

    He pondered on her question for a while before answering "The pledge between two lives is a powerful thing. You should try it." Then, he walked out from the cave and down to the desert below.

    "And just who did you pledge your life to?" he heard her call after him.

    Kyuso's mind took a journey through time at Frost's last question. His back was to her, but that didn't stop his face from grimacing into something filled with hurt.

    No, no, no he thought not now! Of all the times, why now?

    He held strong as memories of her sped by, almost breaking down the tough walls he built around his callous heart.

    "Hi, I'm Aurora!"

    "Liar. You totally thought your 'knight in shining armor' act would get me to have the hots for you."

    "Of course I do you perv!"

    "Tag you're it!"

    "Alright. Mmm, toasty warm."

    "Kyuso, are you okay? Do you have a bruise? Nothing's broken is it?"

    "I'm so sorry Kyuso."

    "Happy New Year, Kyuso. And Happy Birthday too."

    He stifled his gasp as he pulled out of his attack. Breathing shakily, he rolled his muscles when he noticed that they had locked up on their own.

    How long will I continue to be haunted by the ghosts of her? Must I bear this burden for the rest of my life? To remember, but never together, is that my punishment?


    Frost saw the Umbreon's muscles tense when she asked him her last question. Her main goal was still to get Aurora, if no one else, out of this hellish place. So when the Umbreon half-turned to her and answered, her heart was crushed.

    "She was..." was all he hesitantly told her with his eyes glued to the ground, unsure of what that special person meant to him.

    Frost wanted to scream her lungs out, tear her heart out, and hurt anyone and everyone close to her, including the Umbreon. There was no way she was one-hundred percent sure that he was talking about Aurora, but she could tell he was. She could just tell. She got angry, ice crept up on her bared teeth, and her legs were ready to pounce, until she saw his face.

    He was trying to hide it as best as he could, but for an instant, she saw through the mask on his face, and saw the sadness, the sadness of that weak Umbreon she had referred to. He hadn't overcome anything; he was just pushing his sorrow aside, probably because he had to. He looked so alone, so very hopelessly and miserably alone. Still, he put the mask back on, turned his back on her, put one foot in front of the other, and walked on through the desert, not once looking back.

    And he did it alone.

    A.N. Wow, so now we've got some character development, huh? Kyuso is evolving not only from an Eevee to an Umbreon, but also psychologically as well. He's no longer an innocent teenager any more, but a scarred loner. At least, that's how I tried to portray him. Honestly, I've got to say, the hardest part to write out of all three chapters was Kyuso's last line in this chapter when he says "She was..." I spent a WHOLE DAY, soul-searching, putting myself (who has had zero-romance experience, remember guys) in Kyusos's shoes-err, paws, re-reading all the chapters, collecting up all the data of what our Umbreon and Espeon went through together, just trying to find that one word to describe what Aurora really meant to Kyuso in the end. I ended up with a whole list of words to describe what she had meant to him but...I just couldn't do it. I couldn't pick one. So in the end, well, you know the result. Anyway, if you haveany thoughts, please leave them in the reviews box as I worked incredibly hard to catch up on these three chapters. I'll see you guys next time. Peace!

    *EDIT: A.N. (cont.): Grammar: I went back and fixed Ch. 35, 36, and 37. I don't think there's any errors left, but please mention something if someone catches it and I'll fix it gladly. Rayrudan: Thanks for the extensive and passionate review. But I can't tell, are you flaming me or nor? I don't think you were. But it was still nice to hear that I did a good job with Ch. 34 ^_^. Whitewolf03: Always good to get compliments from you man, thanks for that. Skill based Level System: So apparently I didn't get much support for that idea of mine. I think I got two thumbs up for it but I also got one thumbs down, which makes me a little disappointed. I wouldn't mind too much for the one thumbs down if I had reached the five thumbs up requirement but still, I only reached two. Oh well, maybe I'll include it in my next story. Poll: So for some reason, one of the guests went by an interesting name when they left a review, but they made an interesting point. "Where the HELL is the Hurt/Comfort tag?" I've put up a poll on my profile page that will determine Homeward to either change to a "Hurt/Comfort + Romance" or stay as an "Adventure + Romance" (yes, I finally learned how to use the poll system in this website, or at least I hope so XD). If you'd like to vote, please visit my profile page by clicking MoonFoxJ at the top of the page.Summary: I've rewritten the summary because when I said that I'm not sticking to the script anymore, I meant it. And really I'm just not satisfied with leaving it like that. It feels like I'm still holding onto a part of the old Homeward, and I want to break away from that. Like I said before, all my pre-written ideas just went into the trash so even I have no idea how this will all end but I'll try and make it all work. One thing's for sure though, Homeward is drawing to a close. Ahh come on don't be like that! You should've seen it coming too with how the "past" chapters were gradually getting closer to December 24! I know I rushed it with Ch. 36, but I kind of wanted to get started with a new story I had in mind, so look out for that when Homeward is finished. And that's all I wanted to say. Remember to review and vote you guys, and I'll see you in the next chapter!.
  18. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Okay, I have a lot of stuff to go over so I'll try to go through it as fast as I can since you all probably want to read the chapter already. ^_^

    This sucks! I'm on spring break and it seems like I'm still as busy as ever! But at least I get more time to write up more chapters for you guys. Sometime this week is my 18th birthday, yay! I won't say when exactly, but on a certain day this week, I will be, or have already turned, 18. Rayrudan and I exchanged bunch of interesting ideas and we had a VERY long chat of twenty-four, lengthy pm's. Thanks for that Rayrudan! He also gave an interesting idea that I will most probably use at a later time. I won't reveal it yet though. Tadiwa the Omnidoomer gave me some interesting pairing ideas: Aurora (through some kind of resurrection?) x Kyuso, Frost x Kyuso, and even Luna x Kyuso! Wow, never even thought those last two could be possible. And he even suggested a love triangle! Just wow :) Also, somehow while we were chatting over pm, I came (finally) to the realization that "Kyuso and Aurora" sound suspiciously close to "Kirito and Asuna". I'd just like to say that "Kyuso" is just the ign that I use, so I thought I would be able to relate to my character better and write a better story if I did so. As for "Aurora", there were already Espeon named "Dawn" on the FanFiction website (and yes, I was originally going to go with the name "Dusk" for this story's Umbreon protagonist), but no Espeon named "Aurora" and "Aurora" had a similar meaning to "Dawn", so poof, there you go. Don't know if you SAO fans already caught that, but I didn't for all this time. Forgive me, I'm slow o~o luxrayvisionx, thanks for being a great supporter of the story so far, and thank you for the bold compliment. I doubt it myself, but if someone else says it then I can only take joy in that. Now onto the polls! The votes were 3:0 in favor of "Hurt/Comfort + Romance", so Homeward will be going through a genre change. Wow we reached fifty reviews, and even went over while I was writing up this chapter, you guys rock!

    Finally I'd like to make one last note to my friend, Erie, from Avabel Online, who I'd like to dedicate this chapter to. Erie, if you're reading this, know that whichever "Kyuso" you get to know, whether in here or in Avabel or in some other world, he'll always believe in what he told you, that humans can choose good. Stay awesome.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 38

    January 2

    "Wait." Frost called out.

    Kyuso sighed. He sounded exasperated.

    "I'm coming with you" she said.

    "I don't care" he simply told her.

    "What did you say to me you little brat?" she snapped at him.

    "I said that I don't care what you do" Kyuso said. He turned back to her to look her in the eyes. "If you're going to try and stop me, then you better be ready to kill me. If you're going to help me, don't expect me to do the same. I don't give a damn, but stay out of my way if you know what's good for you."

    "Screw you!" Frost shouted, but she still tailed him. The Umbreon got on her nerves, but the way he spoke to her just now was...different.

    What is this feeling? No one's ever spoken like that to me before. Frost thought He sounded so rough with me, even though I just offered to help him, like he didn't need my help at all. Just now, he seemed kind of...I don't know...cool? ARGH, what the hell am I thinking? This is insane! Pull yourself together, Frost. Don't let this Umbreon get to you. He's just guy.

    "By the way Frost, how old are you?" she heard Kyuso call out.

    "...19," she replied cautiously "why?"

    "Well Frost, if you call me a "little brat", then that either makes you an arrogant 19-year old, or a b****y-90 year old. Your choice."

    "Shut up you stupid Umbreon!"

    Frost's thoughts wandered again. Damn it. I know he's a being a total douche, but...no! Stop it and get a grip on yourself! Who does this guy think he is? I'll show him. And after saying to me, he better not be all talk.

    "Why are you going out there any way?" she asked in frustration.

    "If I don't, all those innocent Pokémon will kill each other" he told her "I can't let that happen."

    "So you're just going to sacrifice yourself for the greater good, is that what you're saying?" she asked scornfully.

    "No, what I'm saying that I'm going to kick their asses."


    Kyuso wasn't surprised to come back to a scene like this.

    From the top of a dune, he looked down to see Pokémon scattered throughout the desert, fighting each other in twos, threes, and bigger numbers. They had stopped shoving each other and were now going all out, using their moves in full strength. He heard cries like "I knew it was too good to be true" and "die you damn spy" and similar come up frequently as well. A Hyper Beam here, a Brick Break there, some blood spilt over there. Everyone was in complete chaos.

    Kyuso clenched his paws. I have to stop this.

    "What's our plan of attack?" he heard Frost ask him.

    Kyuso ignored her and announced "Hey dumbasses, I'm still alive! Learn how to kill someone properly you retards!"

    "What are you doing?!" Frost hissed.

    All the fighting stopped immediately. All eyes turned to him, and many cries of alarm spread through the desert. He saw the disbelief on their faces and someone even shouted "that's impossible".

    "Or you're all just weak!" Kyuso shouted in reply "C'mon, who want to get their ass kicked first?"

    That got the Pokémon moving. They roared in a rage as one and charged at him, running up the dune. Some flew, some dug, but one thing was for certain; they were all gunning for him again. He stretched his neck and legs, waiting for their approach.

    "What the hell are you doing?" Frost yelled "Move!"

    "I told you that I don't care what you do," he said after looking her in the eyes "remember? I got this anyway, I don't need your help."

    She gave him an incredulous look, and for some reason he didn't know, blushed. He saw her angrily shake it off, and run away to the side.

    Yes, leave. That way, it'll be much harder for me he thought secretly. He calmly turned back to the raging mob of Pokémon. Come on you guys, with this many, you kill me.

    They were here.

    The first was a Hawlucha coming in with High Jump Kick. Kyuso easily stepped to the side, allowing the 'too early' Hawlucha to severely bruise their own knee. A Wartortle leapt at his head with Aqua Tail, but Kyuso rolled away. He jumped over a Shiftry's Razor Leaf attack that was fired from the side, vanished in midair to dodge a Staraptor's Quick Attack, and appeared in front of the Shiftry to strike with Feint Attack.

    He landed on his feet unsteadily, but picked himself up after a second.

    The Shiftry was knocked out, but a Golduck was immediately on him with Ice Punch. He leapt back to dodge, slid to avoid a Golem erupting from the sand with Dig, and front flipped at a Girafarig with Assurance. His tail splashed its purple light once as it slammed down on the Girafarig's head, then twice for double the strength, downing the Girafarig.

    His head felt dizzy. He breathed heavily from the effort. But he wasn't allowed to give up. He had to keep going.

    He looked up to see a mass of Pokémon rushing at him. A Vigoroth with Slash, a Drapion with Cross Poison, and a lot more were upon him. Too late to move. It would be hard, but he was fairly sure that he could resist it all with Endure, fairly. Possibly. Maybe. Whatever it was, he had to, and that's why he would. Activating Endure, he locked his legs together for the attacks to rain down upon him...but first, he saw two of the Pokémon being blown away with an Icy Wind.

    The Icy Wind had hit the Vigoroth and Drapion. He followed its trail and saw Frost off to the side. Apparently, she hadn't run away at all, she just needed to put some distance between herself and everyone else first.

    Only two, but it'll be enough! Kyuso thought as he braced for impact.

    A Mightyena's Fire Fang bit and grinded into his left foreleg, burning his blood. A Cacturne's Pin Missle blasted into his face at rapid fire. A Malamar's Constrict choked him around his throat. A Scyther's X-Scissor slashed into his back. An Escavalier's Twineedle stabbed once, and twice into his side. A Froslass's Shadow Ball crashed into his left hind leg, making him fall to his knees.

    Mustn't...use...anger...to win he thought in his desperate attempt to hold onto life. Unfortunately, after a while passed, it was evident that he survived. Holding Endure for a second longer, he sucked in a breath and let out a war cry. "Uurrraaaaaaahhhhh!"

    He viciously bit into the Malamar's tentacles choking his throat, punched the Mightyena thrice with Assurance to free his left foreleg, whirled around to break free from the Scyther and Escavalier, threw the Malamar into the path of the Froslass's second Shadow Ball, jumped up to head butt the Escavalier with Feint Attack, and slammed down on the Escavalier with an Assurance on his tail.

    He quickly crouched and took the Scyther's Aerial Ace with Endure. "Grrrgh!" he groaned, gritting his teeth from the effort. Sweat trailed dangerously close down to his eye. It's getting heavier...but if I can...I have to-!

    He pushed the Scyther's Aerial Ace back, spun around with his tail to trip the Scyther, used the Scyther as a meat shield against the Cacturne's Needle Arm, threw the KO'd body aside, vanished, appeared behind the Cacturne to land a Feint Attack, rushed at the Froslass while dodging Icy Wind, tackled the Froslass to the ground, choked the air out of her with his paws around her throat, and smacked her unconscious with a Feint Attack swipe to the side of her head.

    He stood up on shaky legs. While panting from fatigue, he quickly took in his surroundings.

    Frost must have attracted a decent amount of attention herself because he saw a little less than half the original amount of combatants pursuing her. Her skill was impressive; she downed a Pokémon every time her Ice Beam was fired, while constantly maintaining a good distance from her foes by releasing Icy Wind and slipping away expertly. He also noticed that most of the males were hesitant to attack her, most likely due to her Captivate that she always 'wore around her like an aura'. Her movements were so graceful and swift; it was like she was dancing on the battle field, a deadly and beautiful dance.

    Raiders Kyuso thought tiredly. Now how will these guys finish me off? There can't be too many of them left.

    Sure enough, he saw only a Blaziken, Noivern, and Golem running at him, but...

    Wait, something's off. Aren't there supposed to be more than just them? Like more?

    The three were almost upon him now so he pondered no longer. The Golem dug into the ground with Dig, disappearing for the time being. The Noivern flew up and just circled cautiously, probably waiting for the right time to strike. The Blaziken on the other hand came charging right in with Blaze Kick. Her flaming foot flew dangerously past his head as he ducked and slid under her kick. He spun around with the motion to counterattack with Confuse Ray, but she spun around as well and kicked his Confuse Ray, shredding it to pieces.

    Fast Kyuso thought She may prove to be more difficult than the rest.

    Remembering that the Golem and Noivern could attack at any moment, he started by walking guardedly towards the Blaziken. She mimicked him and when they were both close enough, they started to circle each other.

    "When I said that we don't want to do this," she suddenly spoke "I meant it."

    Wary that she was trying to distract him, he replied slowly "You know what? That's kind of the same with me. I don't want to knock some sense into your thick heads..."

    He abruptly swiped at her with Assurance but she back flipped, dodging his attack.

    "...in fact," he continued as they went back to circling each other "I just wish that one of you would finally finish me already..."

    He hopped left, right, left, right, and then came in for a head butt with Feint Attack, aiming for her under her guard. She brought down a Fire Punch to defend, and they bounced off each other.

    "...but I have to keep trying my best to survive, because of a promise I made to someone. Isn't that just unfair?"

    He slashed at her with Feint Attack, but she blocked with Fire Punch. He spun the other way with an Assurance on his tail, but she back flipped to dodge. He shot Confuse Ray after her, but she jumped back and thrust multiple kicks down at rapid speed. Ember attacks shot out from her feet like fiery bullets and they tore the Confuse Ray apart prompting Kyuso to dodge to the side.

    And that's when he got caught.

    Beams of light erupted from the ground, terrifying Kyuso instantly. He had seen this move used once; back when he used to train behind Mason's back. He immediately activated Endure, and just in time too. The Explosion blew him, and several pounds of sand up into the air.

    For a second his vision failed, and he lost feeling to his body. But he quickly recovered, and pain coursed through his body in unrelenting waves. He tried to focus on a single point, but that was impossible with the way he was being thrown into the air right now. Time seemed to stretch as he neared the peak of his rise, slower and slower. The pain grew heavier and seemed like it would never end. This couldn't be happening, but was he starting to rise faster, or was it just him? He felt weightless too. Then it occurred to him. Maybe this was it, maybe he was finally done. Finally, it was over. Could he rest in peace now?

    The light above him made him think yes.


    It wasn't the fake, virtual sun. No, this light felt...he didn't know how to explain it, but it felt...safe? And good. It felt safe and good. The light grew brighter and brighter, filling up his whole vision with its marvelous light. He felt like he was getting lighter, rising faster, and losing sense of his physical body. Almost there. He was almost there, so close in fact that he felt like he could just fly with freedom, literally.


    Someone was coming down to him from the light. Kyuso wasn't sure if he smiled since he was losing feeling to his body, but he sure felt like he did so. Maybe it was an angel, here to guide him into heaven. He was glad. Soon, he would be together again with Jun and-


    That so called "angel", was Aurora! Or at least the form looked like her. He doubted his own thoughts at this point. But if this was really her...

    What is she-?

    She floated down to him lightly, staying just out of reach. Well, he couldn't even move his body if he wanted, due to the lack of one in the first place. He couldn't say anything either, but even if he could, what would he say? He had no clue.

    It looked like Aurora did however, because she softly said "Not yet", before touching where his heart would be.

    Surprisingly, her touch felt solid, and heavy. Heavy? Wait...did that mean he stopped rising? It did. And not only had he stopped rising, but he was falling too! Falling back to the earth! He saw the heavenly light creeping back up to the sky. He felt cold without it, in that short amount of time, he had already grown used to the marvelous light, and began to fear without it. He felt feeling returning to his body as well.

    No, what are you doing? he panicked.

    She smiled sadly as they continued to grow apart.



    All was dark when Kyuso came back to consciousness, but the hot sun bore down on him with its heat.

    Feeling weightless for an instant fooled him, but the rushing wind that followed made it pretty clear that he wasn't dead. Amazingly, the whole experience had all just occurred in his head and in a very short amount of time as well. Damn it all. He was so close. Death was right there, waiting for him, but he had survived. Damn. It. All.

    A pair of claws grabbed his hind legs, leaving him dangling upside-down. He heard the flap of wings as he was lowered down to the desert below, so he kept his eyes shut and his body limp.

    "Is he gone?" he heard someone say. He recognized her voice as that Blaziken.

    "...I think so" the Noivern said as he set Kyuso respectfully down onto the sand. The depression in the guy's voice was pretty clear. "How's the Golem?"

    "Knocked out, give him some time to come to" the Blaziken said.

    "Yeah, okay. How're the others doing?" the Noivern asked, trying to talk about anything else.

    "That Glaceon is dropping them like flies, but she's tiring out too. It'll be close, but I think they'll be able to stop her."

    Kyuso grew worried at the news, but only for a moment. He was alive, and back on earth. That meant he couldn't come back to being that weak, scared little boy anymore. He had to return to his role as the new Kyuso, the Umbreon with the steel body, and the steel heart.

    "Why haven't we heard an announcement yet?" the Noivern asked after a while.

    "...You don't think he's still-" the Blaziken began to say. She didn't get to finish as Kyuso shot up and reached for the first one he could grab: the Noivern.

    The Blaziken yelled in surprise and leapt back as the Noivern tried to shake Kyuso off of him. Kyuso climbed on top of him, brought his paw together, and slammed down with as much force as he could with Feint Attack, nailing the Noivern perfectly between the eyes. The Noivern's eyes glazed over and Kyuso jumped off as he felt the Noivern tip over.

    It was just him and the Blaziken now.

    "You...how?!" she shouted in disbelief. "How are you not dying? How do you keep surviving everything we toss at you over and over?!"

    Kyuso vaguely answered "Call it my curse".

    The Blaziken fell to her knees. "Please!" she cried while clutching her head "I can't take it anymore! I don't to see any more bloodshed! Just end my life quickly and get it over with! Please, I can't do this anymore!"

    Kyuso scoffed, feeling no pity for her. He walked over to her unguarded body, preparing to deliver the finishing blow. He raised his paw with a Feint Attack at the ready.

    "You never asked me," he said as he aimed for the back of her head "but I was never killing any of you, just defeating you."

    He saw her muscles stiffen. "What?" she said.


    "*Pant Pant* That *Pant Pant* was close." Frost managed to say.

    Kyuso and Frost stood in the middle of the vast desert, alone. There were no more Pokémon to fight. Together, they had defeated all twenty-seven opponents. Yes, there were those few that were unaccounted for, but for now, he could care less. It was clear that victory was theirs, so all he wanted to do now was take a breather. Using Endure that many times successfully exhausted him. He didn't know how many times he died today, but it sure didn't feel great, that was for sure.

    Kyuso proposed the clear question "So what happens now?"

    "Technically," Frost said "it's not over yet."

    "What do you mean?"

    "I'm still here."

    "So basically," Kyuso stated, catching on fast "it's not over until one of us is the last Pokémon standing?"

    "Well when you say it like that-"

    Kyuso needed no other confirmation, and rushed Frost without a second thought. He knew that she was a lot faster, deadlier, and more skilled than he was, so what he needed to do was restrain her, get the higher ground so to speak. He heard her yelp in surprise when he tackled her to the ground, but he already felt her legs using his momentum against him, pushing him forward and up and over her body. He brought his own legs together beneath him then snapped them away them, breaking her grip on him. His body fell on her and he quickly mounted her, and he threw a Feint Attack down, aiming between her eyes to daze her, but she brought her forelegs together and blocked him.

    "What are you doing?!" she snarled.

    Ignoring her question, he grabbed her wrists and they struggled for control for a bit. He finally brought her up then slammed her down, pinning her wrists on the ground above her head. Her lower body bucked up and tried to throw him off of her, but he put an end to her efforts by bringing his head down hard on hers. Her eyes glazed over, but he wasn't going to take any chances with Frost. He quickly used Confuse Ray on her and rolled to the side, dismounting her.

    He saw her already rising to her feet. "What're you doing, you stupid Umbreon?" she demanded, trying her best to shake off the confusion status effect.

    He got up and spun his tail around with Feint Attack. The blow landed cleanly on the side of her head, and he saw her body go limp. Frost's body fell onto the desert and he saw a cloud of sand puff up when her body hit the sand. Taking a breath, he looked at his surroundings. Bodies of Pokémon were scattered all around him, every one of them knocked out. Light winds still remained and blew up some grains of sand, but other than that, all was quiet. He was the winner. So why did something still feel off?

    What's going on? he thought Shouldn't there be an announcement or something? I basically told them "up yours" when I only knocked out my opponents, so what now?

    He waited for a minute longer, trying to be stubborn against the Pit's "kill rule". Another minute passed. Then another minute. He began to get impatient and wondered what he was going to do now. He had already beaten every enemy, but he didn't kill them. Pretty soon, they'd recover, and he wasn't sure if he could beat them all a second time. Maybe he'd even have to fight Frost, since he did just attack her without warning. He didn't care though; it was the option with the best result and he had taken it without regret. If she hated him for it afterwards, he could care less. At least she was alive, and that was all that mattered. Still, he preferred to not be there when she woke up because he definitely wouldn't be getting lucky, like he did before, for a second time.

    What the hell happens now? He thought sullenly.

    Finally, when he was about to start walking away, the monotonous speaker voice blared out in the Pit. The voice echoed since the Pit was still a confined environment, but the desert landscape looked like it stretched on forever, so the effect felt like the voice was coming from his own head.



    Kyuso spun a quick 360° and scanned his surroundings with fierce eyes. He took note of the distance between himself and the dunes. There were a few low hills of sand but nothing he couldn't easily see over. What worried him were the three tall dunes: one 20 meters in front of him, one 30 meters to his right and one 60 meters to his left. Behind him lay nothing but the bodies of the fallen, and the enemy could also come from the sky, or even worse, the sand. If that was the case, then he wouldn't be able to see the enemy until they were right below him. Out of those six, where could this so-called "last enemy" be?


    Kyuso cursed. Was that an accident, or does he know where I am?


    Damn it, I guess he's coming to me.


    Kyuso looked back just in case and saw nothing. He looked to the left, front, right, and repeated. He looked up and saw nothing but the sun and sky.


    He looked back again, but nothing. He looked left again, but nothing. He looked front again, but nothing. Right, nothing. Above, nothing.


    Shit, he's accelerating insanely fast now that he knows where I am. Just how fast can he go?

    Still at a blank as to where he enemy could be coming from, Kyuso stood in his defensive stance. The enemy knew where he was, but he didn't know where they were. The disadvantage forced him to be cautious, and his eyes quickly darted back and forth from the dunes. He ignored behind him and above, because now it was clear that they could only come from the dunes or...


    Below! Kyuso thought. He stilled his body and sensed for any tremors below. It seemed impossible for any Pokémon to move so fast by digging, but he wasn't a Ground-type so he didn't know for sure. All he could do was be as alert as possible for any hints about anything.


    Kyuso abandoned the dune to the left. His eyes flew back and forth from the front dune, right dune, and the sand below. Why wasn't he seeing or sensing anything? Where was he coming from?!

    Shit, I'm running out of ti-


    Holy shi-








    Kyuso fell to the sand as someone tackled him from-


    He felt someone hugging around his stomach, pinning his hind legs to the ground. But he had been sure there was no one! How could he have been tackled from behind? He could've sworn that there were no dunes for the enemy to hide behind when he looked back. The desert was pretty much flat behind him, so how could he have snuck up on him? He would have seen him coming easily! Unless...he was hiding behind the bodies of the fallen Pokémon! Damn it! Well, he'd make sure that the bastard would get what was coming to him.

    As soon as they hit the sand, Kyuso immediately reacted by-

    "Kyaaa! Surprise!"

    Kyuso's muscles went cold. What?! That voice!

    He felt that Pokémon affectionately rubbing his...no, her cheek against his back, while moaning happily and loudly as she did so. She was also tightening her hug on him.

    But...that's impossible! Kyuso wondered in bewilderment as he felt enthusiastic kisses pecking all over his back, neck, and head.

    "Hi Kyu!" the cute voice shrieked cheerfully.

    There was only one person who ever called him "Kyu". He turned around and sat up to look at the girl as he felt the weight lift off from his back.

    "Gah!" he cried. The girl had thrown herself at him in a hug, and he felt her choking his neck. Her face rubbed against his and he heard more moans of happiness from the girl. A forked tail, and a light lilac body; this girl was definitely an Espeon, but he still needed to see for himself. He had to make sure it was her.

    "Hey...can't...breathe" he managed out while trying to pry her off him.

    She released him after a couple of more seconds of brutal hugging, but he took a moment to recover first. He coughed then breathed in and out for a while, refusing to look up from the ground. Why? Was he scared? Maybe, but of what? Of her being a fake again? Of hurting inside again? Probably, but even so...he knew beforehand that he was going to take that risk. He had no choice.

    Carefully, he looked up...

    "Hi" he said, dumbfounded.

    "Hey love," Aurora replied affectionately with a wink "I'm back."

    His eyes widened. His legs went weak and he fell to the ground in shock. Seeing that he couldn't come to her, she came to him and hugged his head. With some effort, he lifted his paws, hugged around her body, and they held each other close, staying quiet. He knew right then from feeling her warmth, that she was real. This was no dream or memory or hallucination. This was reality. They were together again.

    "Kyuso" she said tenderly.

    "Aurora" he whispered, feeling happy once more.

    He didn't even pay attention to the blood dripping down her claws.

    ***EDITED: About half a year ago I got a suggestion to post Homeward on the website Lake Valor, but I never did because honestly I was too scared I wasn't good enough. But then I got the same suggestion for a second time, and since I have a little more confidence, I've decided to go through with it. As of now (now: currently up to Homeward Ch. 38) I'll be posting Homeward and my other stories on Lake Valor as well. Don't worry, FanFiction will still be my primary website to post my stories, I just thought it would be good to get as much feedback as possible, and new readers can only help. If any new readers from Lake Valor is reading this, don't worry, even though I was here on FanFiction first, you guys will get the same material as the guys here on FanFiction. I may update my FanFiction profile and Lake Valor profile separately because updating BOTH with the same stuff seems like too much of a hassle, but if you guys want to learn more about me, go right ahead and check out both of my profiles!***
  19. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    So something...interesting, happened this week. It's actually kind of why I erased everything on my profile. I don't care what your opinion is on this, but I feel like writing about what happened will help...someone, in their recovery process. So with that being said, here's a little miny story before you read Ch. 39. I couldn't care less if you read this or not...
    Once upon a time, in the city of Valencia, California, MoonFoxJ woke up to his usual morning. He went through his morning routine of showering, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, packing up his school things, and heading out the front door with a piece of toast in his mouth. Of course, he only began taking toast to-go like this after watching a lot of anime, but after a while, he learned that it saved a lot of time in doing so by allowing him to multitask (by toasting bread in the toaster and packing his school things simultaneously), carry an easy-to-manage breakfast, and have his hands free to pull his bike out from the garage. Basically, he'd gotten used to carrying out his mornings in this way. On this particular day, he had just exited out of his apartment's residential area, and was riding down the sidewalk, heading for Valencia High School. He was thinking about what to add to the next chapter of Homeward, when he saw the usual morning workers in their orange vests. The two men's backs were to him, but with his mouth full of toast, he couldn't yell out "Bike" so that they would move to one side for him. He normally just rid past people anyway, so he easily passed the first man. He pedaled a little more until he was upon the second man. Unlike the first, the second man walked down the middle of the sidewalk, while carrying a silent weed wacker. The long tool didn't give MoonFoxJ enough space to pass the second man, while still remaining on the sidewalk (as he did with the first man), so he rid his bike onto the grass that lay between the sidewalk and street to pass the man. On the grass, he saw that a tree was in his way, so he simply readjusted his handles so that he'd pass it as well. And that's when things went horribly wrong. On the Wednesday of April 15, 2015, at approximately 6:57 am, MoonFoxJ had miscalculated the trajectory of his bike. Having taken the same route to school every morning, he had grown too confident, too lax, with his bike riding, resulting in a grave error. His right side crashed into the tree, knocking him off his bike, and he fell onto the street with his left. His bike crushed him, he struggled to get up, he looked to his right, he saw the cars approaching, and like an idiot, he reflexively tucked his right arm against his head to defend against a left hook. But this wasn't boxing, so without a doubt, he was going to die. The only thing that occupied his mind was how gigantic the cars looked from the ground's point of view, and he would've kept "bracing for impact", stuck in his fear, if a hand wasn't thrust into his face. Taking it immediately, MoonFoxJ was pulled up by the second worker. He kept saying that he was fine to the man who asked over and over if he was sure he was alright. Giving his thanks, MoonFoxJ recovered his bike and rushed to school, making it into his first period class just in time. His body hurt, and his mind couldn't focus one bit on the class. For an hour, he sat in his desk chair, trying and failing to block out images of his world spinning, metal monsters charging down, and an ending filled with black. Things didn't improve after class when he decided to visit the school's nurse. After he was patched up, he was strongly encouraged to call home. Reluctant at first, he eventually called, was picked up by his mother, and driven home. He arrived home to a fight between his mother and father, was given a short one-hour lecture by his mother (the long ones of five hours were the ones that tested his endurance), angrily swiped tears off his face that he didn't notice till they fell, ate, did his homework, and went to bed. Now treating any form of death more seriously, he returned to his life, and lived not-so-happily ever after.
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.
    Ch. 39
    January 2
    Kyuso pulled back from the hug. He and Aurora exchanged happy smiles. Just seeing her like this gave immediate relief on his fatigued body, and he felt stronger too, no longer feeling like he was one step away from death.
    "Aurora," he repeated, cherishing the name that held life once more "how? How are you here?"
    Aurora put on an innocent look. "Huh? How? Well at first, a group of very nice people and Pokémon brought me to an elevator, and then I heard that mean announcer tell everyone to kill you, and then I ran through this hot desert to find you or the others but I didn't see anyone for a long time and I got pretty thirsty, and then when I finally did find..."
    She was in the elevators with us? But I looked at every one, I could've sworn... Kyuso thought. He laughed it off and said "No, no, no, not all that. No, what I meant was, how are you here right now, alive?" He frowned and said "...I saw you...die..." but quickly recovered by smiling supportively.
    Aurora looked at him adoringly through half-lidded eyes. "Ohhh, silly baby" she cooed "Don't you know that love can overcome anything?" She slid over and nestled her back comfortably against his chest. "And this is how much I love you, Kyuso. I love you so much that not even death can keep me away from you." she said proudly.
    Something about that made Kyuso's smile falter for an instant before it fixed itself. Deciding to just drop the matter entirely, he held her tight and said "I'm glad you're here with me, Aurora."
    "...Kyuso, did you hear me?"
    "I said I love you" she declared warmly.
    His heart beat fast for a moment...but relaxed a second later. Somehow, hearing those words from her made him feel, in a word...certain. They were only five little words, but they had already erased all doubt from his mind. He was never confident enough to say something like that (and he doubted he ever would be), but that was before he met this amazing girl. Here she was, living again, telling him that she loves him. Her declaration stunned him for that moment, and then, he found that he could speak his next words confidently.
    "I love you too Aurora" he told her.
    He didn't see a response from her, but he could tell she was genuinely happy from the way her tail wagged ecstatically back and forth, touching his own in the process. He rested his cheek contentedly on her head and that made her tail calm to a stop.
    "Hahhh" Aurora pleasantly sighed.
    They stayed like that for a while, forgetting entirely about the Elimination Match. Forgetting about the desert heat. Forgetting about everything. For now, it was just the two of them, breathing in each other's scent, completely at peace.
    Finally, Aurora spoke quietly "Hey Kyuso?"
    "Where are the others?"
    "The others?"
    "Yeah, there's got to be more Pokémon than just the ones here, right? So where are they?"
    "I don't know," he murmured in his bliss "over there maybe. I saw a few go over there too. Some were also chasing after Frost."
    "Frost? Oh goody, I want to see her first! Can you tell me where she is?" Aurora said after a slight hesitation. There was also a hint of something in her voice.
    Kyuso caught them both. "...Frost?" he inquired "She's still knocked out like all the others. And why would you see her "first"?"
    "Well I'm going to see to everyone else too after her of course!" Aurora said cutely.
    "Why? What're you going to do?" he asked before standing up "They're all out cold, the only ones still standing are you and me. You can't even talk to them right now."
    "It'll be a problem if we are not the only ones still standing" Aurora told him "When they wake up, they'll be even madder at you, and will want to hurt you again." She winked. "And that's why I'm going to fix the problem for you, my darling."
    "...What do you mean?" Kyuso asked at last.
    "I wouldn't want my precious darling getting his paws dirty" Aurora said as she stood up to pull his face in for a kiss. She kissed his nose, causing his rings and her gem to glow bright like they did before. When she ended the kiss, the glowing dimmed again, and she continued cheerfully with "That's why I already started and cleaned up some of the mess for you."
    Kyuso just now noticed.
    The blood.
    He saw blood, dripping slowly down from her claws, and landing on the sand below. When did that even get there? Then he noticed the smell too, the smell of blood on his face. He wiped his cheeks, where Aurora had pulled him in for a kiss, and his head, where she hugged him from before. He didn't feel a sting when he touched, but he saw the blood on his paws, blood that wasn't his. Remembering that she also tackled him previously, he looked down at his body, and saw two Espeon paw prints of blood, staining his fur.
    Suspicion began to poke at his mind, and Kyuso became a little cautious. He nonchalantly asked "So Aurora, what did you do, you know, after you tried to find me and the others?"
    "Huh? But I already told you" Aurora said innocently. She looked hurt. "Aww! Were you ignoring me when I was already telling you this? That kind of hurts my feelings..." she finished while looking at the ground and poking at it.
    "I'm sorry, I was just thinking about something you said. Can you tell me again what you were doing exactly?"
    "Yay, you were thinking about me!" she expressed happily and jumped for joy. Apparantly, she caught only half of what he said. "Alright, I'll gladly tell you as many times as you need, Kyuso."
    He allowed her to peck him on the nose again. Their rings and gem glowed and dimmed again, making him wonder if they were normal reactions when either an Espeon or Umbreon kissed. He blinked to refocus himself; he had to find out what happened. What exactly did Aurora do before he saw her?
    He simply smiled and nodded, encouraging her to begin.
    "Okay, so like I said before, I was wandering around in the desert alone. It was hot, and I was getting worried that I wouldn't be able to save you in time. I tried to run, but it was too hard to run for very long in this place, so I just kept walking until I heard a big boom. I ran over to the noise as fast as I could, and I was absolutely devastated when I saw you lying on the sand. When I saw your blood and burned hair on everyone, I knew what I had to do. I had to make them all pay for what they did to you. So I did. I knew that I had to play it safe or else everyone would turn on me next, so I lured them. One by one, I lured them away from the group, and when we were alone, I finished them nice and quick. I didn't know why everyone was trying to attack this one Pokémon because there were just so many that I couldn't see over them, but that was you, wasn't it Kyuso?"
    She hugged him and rubbed her face enthusiastically against his chest. "Ohhh you're so strong, Kyu!" she squealed with her eyes shut in excitement "I thought you were dead, but you got back up and fought everyone all by yourself all over again! I love that about you! You're so awesome!"
    Kyuso ignored the compliments. He was scrunching his eyes together, trying to make peace with what she just told him. It wasn't working. "Aurora," he said slowly "what did you mean exactly when you said you "finished" them?"
    Aurora laughed softly "Mhmhm, I killed them of course. Isn't that great? Now they can't hurt you anymore." She opened her eyes to look up at him alluringly, and lovingly spoke.
    "Whatever it takes to keep you safe, I'll always do it, because I love you."
    "Shouldn't they be fighting each other?" one of the Pit's Environment Operator's Assistants asked the man at his left.
    "Give them time. Remember what Mr. Graitian said? His orders were that the Elimination Match stops only when G197 is dead, G197 defeats everyone, or that other alternative." The Pit's Chief Environment Operator replied.
    "Oh yeah, the 'boring' ending you mean, right? Now I remember."
    "*sigh* Well, it was fun to watch while it lasted."
    "Heheh, yeah, but you've got to admit, that Umbreon was off the hook. Man, can he fight or what?"
    "But the only opponent left for him is Z196, and it looks like those two are friends, so I doubt we'll be seeing much action now."
    Kyuso couldn't believe what he just heard. Aurora just told him that she killed those Pokémon. Killed. Meaning that whoever they were, they were already gone, and there was nothing he could do about it. Not only that, she wanted to go out and 'finish the job', she wanted to find the ones remaining who were alive, and kill them too! And she asked about Frost as well. She wanted to start by killing Frost. Her best friend...and she wanted to kill her first!
    "Oh, speaking of Frost, where is she?" Aurora said cheerfully. She broke away from hugging him to look around, apparently searching for Frost. "You never told me where she was..."
    Kyuso stiffened. He had forgotten that she could do that.
    "Are you going to kill her too?" he asked quietly.
    "Yes" she said, still smiling.
    "Well look at her! She's prettier, and stronger, and smarter than me. And she's my friend, which makes her that much closer to you!" Aurora said, maintaining her upbeat attitude "I can't let someone like her stick around. What if she steals you away from me?"
    "...Jealousy...that's your reason?"
    "Oh don't be like that, Kyu" she said sympathetically. She trailed a bloody claw along his foreleg as she talked "I understand you two may have gotten friendlier while I was gone but-"
    "DON'T TOUCH ME!" he exploded, smacking her paw away from him.
    Aurora cried out in surprise, dropping her sunny look for one of shock. "Wh-what's the matter, darling? Why are you upset?"
    Kyuso seethed in anger. He crushed the sand with his paws, squeezing tighter and tighter just to try and control himself. He boiled in anger, in hate, in disgust, not against her, but for what she had done. It literally made him sick, and he spat the bad taste out of his mouth at the sand.
    "You..." he said heavily "are not Aurora."
    Failing to speak at his words, she stuttered before she spoke "What're you saying? Of course I am! I'm your girl, your love, your Aurora, right here!"
    He stared her straight in the eyes "Aurora wouldn't kill others, even if it was to save me, because she knows I would hate that. And she wouldn't want to kill her best friend, especially for something as ridiculous as jealousy. You aren't her. You aren't the Aurora I knew."
    Her mouth trembled. Her voice was laced with distress. "...B-b-but I was just-"
    "Don't" he hissed, barely controlling himself. "There is no "just". You can't say "just" after you've killed someone "just" to lighten the sin you've committed. You can't kill someone and be proud of it as if it's "just" some kind of accomplishment. And you can't kill your best friend "just" because you're jealous" he said, emphasizing every "just".
    Her eyes started to water. "Are you really mad about that, Kyuso? I'm sorry, please don't be mad, because I can change that..." she said worriedly as she reached out for him.
    "No you can't!" he barked, making her flinch back "They're gone, so get that through your head! You can't bring people back once their dead, you can't do anything! Once they die, it's the end! It's irreversible!" he glared at her with his red eyes.
    "It's over."
    When he finished, he panted for breath. Even if this girl was Aurora, even if she was his friend at one time, even if she was now a living example of how wrong his words were just now, he didn't recognize her. She was insane, having spilt blood that wasn't her and taking pleasure in it, completely different from whom he knew before. He should've been happy to see her, happy that he'd get to be with her again, but now that was ruined. Not just ruined, completely destroyed. He wanted to, but couldn't recognize her.
    Right when she looked like she was about to cry, her face dropped. Her face still held sadness, but now there was also something else...something dark...
    "...You're not Kyuso either" she spoke through gritted teeth.
    He scowled. "What?"
    She looked up at him spitefully. "I said you're not Kyuso either. At least, not the old one I know" she said. Her voice was filled with hurt. "I might've changed, but so have you. I did all of this for you, so that you and I could be happy together again, but no! You reject it all, and you reject me! You're not the cute, caring, happy Kyuso that I knew. Now you're just an untrusting, cruel stranger who's incapable of true love!"
    Her eyes turned sharp and cold when he didn't deny her words. "Where are the others?" she repeated. "And Frost?"
    He shook his head. "I can't let you hurt them...Aurora..."
    Aurora scoffed. "Is that a challenge, darling?" she mocked.
    Kyuso stood his ground. "I won't let you hurt them, Aurora" he spoke.
    "Ahahaha! Don't worry Kyuso," Aurora said with a dark smile "I'll kill them all quick so that this will all be over before you know it, like a bad dream. Then, it'll just be you and me, and we can forgive each other after that."
    Suddenly, Aurora blasted to the side at a speed that Kyuso was hardly able to track, much less keep up with. He knew what her target was though: Frost. Aurora ran across the flat expanse of sand, searching for any Glaceon she could find. Kyuso sprinted after her, firing Confuse Ray every so often to try to slow her down. His shots kept missing, and he couldn't go over to Frost's body just yet in case Aurora saw him and beat him to her. Though when they were close to the hill Kyuso saw Frost's body roll down from, he switched directions and ran down it. He was already hearing Aurora close on his tail.
    Just barely reaching Frost first, he spun around and lashed out with an Assurance on his right paw. She ducked under it, as he expected her to, and he tackled her to the ground. As soon as they hit the sand, she wiggled out of his grasp, avoiding his Confuse Ray in the blink of an eye.
    They faced each other.
    Aurora used Double Team. Copies of her surrounded Kyuso and Frost. She and her copies shot Psybeam at Frost. Kyuso used a 'half' Feint Attack, using its 'pull' to locate her. He intercepted the real shot with his body. Her Psybeam attack washed harmlessly over him.
    "Please stop this, Aurora" Kyuso muttered.
    She shook her head and told him caringly "It's alright baby, I know that you just can't see things from my point of view, so I can understand why you're doing this. You can hurt me if you want to, but I promise I won't get a scratch on you."
    "...I don't want to hurt you" he said. I can't hurt you he also thought.
    "Oh boy," she sighed "then it looks like we'll be here for a while."
    "What happens if you do kill everyone?" he asked "Did you think that through? What happens then? When we're the only two left?"
    "When we're all that's left," she said dreamily "we'll be safe for sure. I'm doing this for you Kyuso, and when you don't hate me anymore, I'll still be here; ready to accept you back at any time. I just know that they'll be touched by our love for each other and let us go, and if not, then we can at least be together up to the very end." Her face had a faraway look to it.
    Kyuso kept a straight face, but his mind reeled from the words he just heard come from Aurora's mouth. She's completely lost it. She's fantasizing about this death-filled ending as if it's the most romantic thing in the world. I've got to stop her. I can't let that happen.
    Kyuso took up his defensive stance and got ready. "I can't let that happen" he voiced his thoughts.
    Aurora smiled sweetly. "I'm doing this all for you, Kyuso."
    True to her word, Aurora began by firing Psybeam, a harmless move against Umbreon. Kyuso blocked it easily. She fired a couple more just to see how he moved, and he blocked those successfully as well. Aurora then began circling Frost, jumped up high, and fired five Psybeam attacks while front flipping, making each pink ray travel in various diagonal arcs. Knowing that he was completely resistant to her attack, as he was dark-type, he moved to merely touch each shot to avoid tiring out his 'already-close-to-death' body, knowing that they would be blocked by his touch automatically. But when he was done, Aurora was already next to him. He shot Confuse Ray to stop her, but she slid under that and grabbed Frost's tail with her teeth.
    He instantly grabbed Aurora and they went rolling in the sand. He threw her body up during their rolling and fired Confuse Ray while she was stuck in the air. She front flipped to smack his attack back with her tail, and he had to roll again to evade his own Confuse Ray. She landed and they both got up from the ground with Kyuso still in between her and Frost.
    This isn't good. Endure is hard enough to use, and with her, it'll be useless. I have to pull back with Assurance. Confuse Ray is the only thing I can really rely on for now, but I can't land it. And my favorite move is definitely out of the question, since it can't miss. How can I stop her?
    Aurora abruptly stilled to a sitting position, and her eyes and gem started to glow bright blue.
    Kyuso spun around to see Frost rising fast into the air with a bright blue glow about her. He jumped up to grab her, but Aurora's Psychic was stronger than he remembered. Frost was already too high up for him to reach. He resisted the urge to panic like he used to, and detached himself from his emotions, quickly thinking for a way to counter Aurora's Psychic.
    I need to break Psychic. Psychic requires concentration. I need to break Aurora's concentration he reasoned in a heartbeat. He rushed Aurora.
    Grabbing her by the shoulders, he slammed her down, knocking her head on the soft sand. He saw the glow fade from her eyes, and heard a soft puff sound behind him. Guessing that Frost was unharmed (and waking up) from the light groan he heard behind him, Kyuso focused on restraining Aurora once and for all. She tried to squirm out of his grasp again, but he wouldn't let her get away this time. He fell on top of her and gripped his forelegs together behind her neck, pinning her down.
    Aurora tried to escape, but whined when she realized she couldn't. "Why can't you just see things from my point of view?" she cried miserably.
    His face went bleak. "What you did was wrong Aurora, but I do understand why you're doing this. And it's wrong. That's why I won't let you, or anyone else here, do these bad things anymore. I won't let them kill me, so please don't kill them."
    She shouted "And what if you do die, what then? Do you think I'm strong enough to watch that and not kill myself afterwards? Is that what you want me to do, suicide?!" At her sudden outburst, her eyes broke away from his. "...Just let me do this," she pleaded sadly "I don't want to watch you suffer."
    His face changed to give her a challenging smile. "Umbreon are the toughest of the Eeveelutions and Dark types, and I was already capable of taking plenty of punishment before I became one...so have faith."
    Speechless, Aurora couldn't decide on what to do: did she protect him, or did she believe in him?
    Suddenly, the Pit's environment took on a grid-like pattern as the fake desert landscape collapsed. They felt the rapid lowering in elevation as the environment crumbled to pieces before their eyes. All that was left were thirty various Pokémon, scattered around the plain, white, sterile, and empty arena. The monotone voice blared throughout the Pit again, eventually waking up all the knocked out Pokémon.
    "What's going on?"
    "Is the Elimination Match over?"
    "Did someone kill the Umbreon?"
    "What happened?"
    ""Who cares?!"
    "We're alive!"
    "We're going to live another day!"
    Helping Aurora up to her feet, Kyuso ignored all these cries of joy from the other Pokémon. "Alternative conclusion"? There was no such thing announced before the fight began. There was something suspicious about this break they were given, and he felt it had something to do with-
    He turned around in time to see Frost mercilessly hugging Aurora. He never saw Frost look so happy, but he also caught that dangerous glint in Aurora's eyes.
    "I thought you were gone! I thought I'd never see you again!" Frost cried through happy tears, still hugging her best friend.
    "I missed you too, Frost" Aurora replied in a 'compassionate' voice. Though Kyuso saw her claws drawing ever closer up to Frost's neck...
    Just when he was about to stop her, he felt his collar unexpectedly burning him with pure Fairy-type energy. It took him completely off-guard and he couldn't get Endure up in time. With horror, he saw a similar sight taking effect on everyone else as they all fell down, clutching at their collars in pain. Aurora retracted her claws, but both she and Frost fell to the floor in agony. His collar turned off the soonest though, to refrain from killing him, yet he felt himself losing consciousness fast. The heaviness of every attack that he had to withstand all this time caught up to him at last, and his vision went black before his head hit the ground.
    Kyuso awoke to the feeling, and sight, of his hind legs dragging on hard, cold stone. Lifting his head up, he saw a Heracross supporting his left foreleg, while another did the same with his right. A few torches allowed just enough light for him to see Aurora in front of him in a similar position with two Inkay. He looked around and saw that they were in that cave again, the one that led to the Dark Gate.
    The Dark Gate!
    He remembered Aurora's death upon entering that cursed shadow. He didn't want Aurora to even get near that thing ever again, much less go through it a second time, which came up in his mind as the obvious reason for them being here. The Dark Gate was the only thing down here. Why else would they be brought down here? He struggled against his escorts' grips, and in response they flashed Brick Break attacks on their claws. He ignored them and pulled away harder, earning a swift jab to the stomach. He coughed for air and curled his stomach from the super-effective attack. The other Brick Break flashed dangerously close to his face as a threat against further resistance, and he quickly learned his place.
    He hung his head down from pure exhaustion, trying his hardest to stay awake. It was only his second day in this hellhole...
    Soon enough, they reached the dead end of the cave, which melted away to reveal the black cloud. He noticed that this time, there were no humans here to taunt him, and not even their Heracross or Inkay escorts said anything. All was deadly quiet. Then, as if they were disappointed with something about Aurora and Kyuso, they meanly threw the two unceremoniously into the shadows, which opened wide as if to swallow them whole.
    He reached out and held her paw as the blackness ate them, this time, going in together.
    They were in and out of the Dark Gate before Kyuso could even blink. Like falling through a paper wall, it was much easier and smoother than the first time he entered it. He didn't expect this. He thought he was going to have to help Aurora through it, coaxing her and saying that everything would be okay, that he was right here with her. She hadn't even woken up yet. They were through it so fast that he almost couldn't stop himself from sliding into the sickly pool this time, almost. It was a good thing that Aurora was with him; her extra weight slowed their speed enough so that an oily baby hand only touched him, but couldn't quite get a good grip on him. That one touch made his mind go blank for a second, and he almost willingly stepped into the pool, as if it was his home. Aurora's presence snapped him out of it though, and he jerked back.
    What's up with all of this? he wondered.
    His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the pool bubbling. The pool formed small bubbles that clumped into a huge one, which was released to float into the middle of the room. The bubble popped, releasing its toxic-looking gas, and once again, Giratina's smoky form stood before them.
    "Hello Kyuso" Giratina spoke "Enjoying my gift?"
    "Gift?" Kyuso asked.
    "Yes, gift. But oh dear, she looks like she can use a bit of a perk-up, hmm?"
    Giratina's smoky form flapped its wings once. A loud gasping noise followed and Kyuso looked down to see that Aurora had regained consciousness.
    "Oww, these things really sting, huh Kyuso?" Aurora whined while clutching her neck.
    Kyuso was about to reply, but he shut his mouth when realization hit him.
    No, it couldn't be. That's impossible. There's no way someone could be brought back to life, but Aurora is right here, breathing again. Maybe Giratina is the one responsible. Or maybe Giratina lied from saying that she was dead, and it was some kind of trick. But this is Giratina, Lord of the Distortion World. Who knows how much power Giratina has? There's also the question of why. Why would Giratina bring Aurora back? What is there to gain from that?
    "Oh I didn't do that" Giratina spoke up, apparently reading his mind. "I didn't bring your precious Espeon back to life."
    Kyuso tried to hold back his alarm from showing. "What? But you said that she was really dead. You said that there was nothing I could do."
    "No, I said that she was dead, but I never said that there was nothing you could do. I said "there's nothing you can", and then you interrupted me." Giratina nodded towards him and stated "I'm not a liar Kyuso, I'm a manipulator."
    "Then what are you saying?" Kyuso asked hurriedly.
    "I had absolutely nothing to do with bringing Aurora back to life" Giratina casually said "Sure, I tweaked her here and there and made a few adjustments, but I never did anything like resurrecting her."
    If Giratina hadn't said that he had nothing to do with Aurora being alive, Kyuso would've shouted. He was getting annoyed at how Giratina was playing coy with him, and wished that Giratina would just get to the point. Although, what Giratina just revealed did at least hint why Aurora wasn't acting like her usual self, so he contained himself.
    "Explain!" Kyuso growled.
    Giratina blinked slowly. "You are the one who brought her back, Kyuso."
  20. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    Hey guys, I'm back. So from my last chapter, I got a few replies saying something about that person's event. I already told you guys that I don't care what you think. No offense, but I wrote that to help that person, and now I'd just like to let that event go. blaster824, ask and you shall receive, but this will definitely be the last 'past chapter' because like I said back in Ch. 37: Homeward is drawing to a close. Whitewolf03, read the chapter dude. Giratina admitted that he didn't have anything to do with Aurora's resurrection, Kyuso himself did that. And what do you mean by "former". Did you perhaps mean "new" or "altered"? Because Aurora was never a yandere-type character when the story started (heh, I'm surprised that no one's said that about her yet. Is there not a lot of anime fans here, or did I not make her murderous enough?). Scriffignano, I'm glad you enjoy the story so far. I try my best. I apologize for the confusions you may have gotten from when the story jumps between past and present, but unless if it's a major mistake where you had to spend a good amount of time trying to decipher what I was trying to say, I don't see myself going back to fix it anytime soon. There's just so much to re-read if I'm going to fix the entire story, so if you have a specific mistake that bothers you, please pm me or review and I'll fix it immediately. Thank you for your reviews on my two one-shots on Lake Valor, and for coming all the way from Lake Valor to review Homeward on FanFiction. Guest (not "I think one of his tweakes is she has more killing attitude but what dose giratina mean by that and would that happen" Guest), I usually don't include anonymous reviewers in my author notes, but Guest from chapter 39 on April 18, 2015, at around 2:30 a.m. (according to PST), your review, and I'm actually censoring it right now in case of younger readers:


    It's not a valuable review, nor is it a review at all. It's basically trash. You left this garbage as an anonymous reviewer which shows that you're too afraid to leave anything dynamic with your own identity because you're too afraid of others hurting you, or you were to lazy to login (a five second process). And if it was meant to be, in some twisted way, a compliment, it really wasn't. You didn't even spell "cliffhangers" correctly which shows that you were being hasty and not reviewing, but reacting (and rather unnecessarily too). Thankfully for everyone (yes, even you), I took it down. Don't leave something like that in my reviews box ever again because it's worthless, and bad for any kid who might read it.

    *sigh* Sorry everyone, but I've wanted to get that off my mind for twelve days now. Finally, Chapter 41 is half finished so fingers crossed for it to be up soon. Enjoy Chapter 40 of Homeward, the last 'past chapter' of the story, and the 'tail chapter' to Chapter 1.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon but I do own Homeward and its characters.


    Ch. 40

    December 24 [1 day before Christmas]

    "Your name is...Dusk?" Bay confirmed.

    Dusk nodded his head.

    "Hello Dusk!" Hannah and Grace said with simultaneous smiles.

    That's starting to freak me out Dusk thought humorously.

    "Well Dusk, why don't you finish your breakfast and we can take a look at you after you're done to see if you're alright, deal?" Bay proposed.


    "Be sure to chew and take your time with eating. Don't rush it, and just take it slow for now." Bay added.


    Afterwards, everyone casually went back to their breakfast and didn't pay him much mind for the rest of breakfast. Bay watched the news while finishing her scrambled eggs. John muttered something quiet from behind his coffee mug that sounded like "Oh really?" at the weatherman on T.V. Jane washed a frying pan. Flint chuckled while pretending to struggle against Grace and Hannah who attacked the man with toast, saying "Open up daddy!" After watching the comical scene play out before him for a while, Dusk realized that they wanted him to relax, to feel at home. He resumed eating his oatmeal and tried to zone out while watching T.V. With nothing added for flavor, the oatmeal was bland, and lumpy from having already lost most of its warmth.

    It was the best thing he ate in long time.


    After breakfast, Dusk took his vitamins, and Bay looked over the injuries he sustained from fighting Black Sky. A few days had passed since that time, so most of his cuts had already sealed up, but he still had to lie that he got the bigger wounds from getting clipped by a car. He really hoped the ex-Raider bought it. Afterwards, he suddenly felt at a lost on what to do next. He sat in the couch he woke up in, just thinking. This situation was such a big change from just a few days ago. He had betrayed and doomed all the Pokémon back at Crimson Base; so really, he was scared to do anything that included others. He felt awkward.

    Maybe I should just lea-

    "Alright gang, let's move out!"


    Dusk jumped at John's sudden announcement, and he looked back to see everyone dressed warmly. John wore a heavy, gray overcoat, and boots. Jane carried a similar white coat, a tan scarf, and her purse. Flint and Bay didn't feel the need to grab anything since their bodies were naturally resistant against the cold, but they made sure that Grace wore a small pink sweater, and had Hannah put on gloves, and a red winter jacket. Bay was busy helping Hannah tie up her boots, while Hannah was wrapping on a scarf.

    Dusk tried to make sense of what he was seeing. "W-Wait, what's going on?"

    "It's Christmas Eve," Flint said "so we're all going out for some fun. It's not good to stay indoors on a day like today."

    Dusk blinked in alarm. It's Christmas Eve already? No way, that's so crazy. I didn't even notice the days flying by with all that happened. How much time has passed since...

    He closed his eyes to block out the memory of being kicked out of his own home. It wasn't good to keep dwelling on the past, especially now in front of all these people. He needed to keep his problems to himself so that he didn't bother them on their day of fun. It was only respectful after all.

    He looked up when he felt someone shaking his shoulder.

    "Hey, did you hear me, boy?" Flint was asking him.

    "Huh, what?" Dusk stuttered.

    "I said to put this on, it's cold outside so you should stay warm" Flint said while handing him a red scarf.

    Dusk pulled back. "Oh, no, really, I couldn't-"

    "Come on boy, don't be stupid. It's okay, just take it." Flint insisted.

    He frowned, but Dusk eventually gave his thanks and took the scarf. Flint even offered to wrap it around him, but Dusk declined on that, and did it himself, securing the scarf comfortably around his neck. Flint told him that it looked good on him, and that he could keep it. Dusk mentally thanked them for trying their best to make him feel welcome, but honestly, it wasn't working. He doubted he would ever feel welcome here, or any nice place for that matter.

    I'll just leave now Dusk thought I don't want to end up hurting them later.

    "I'm ready. Wait up, Grace!" Hannah called out, bolting for the open front door.

    "Ahaha, try and catch me!" Grace laughed back to her sister.

    The adults followed, and Dusk stepped out so that John could lock the door. Dusk saw that they were in a dim lit hallway, so it looked like they were in an apartment building. He watched Grace and Hannah as they raced for the elevator at the end of the hall. Bay, Flint, and Jane were already walking and talking casually.

    John locked the door behind him, and said "Let's go" with a jerk of his head.

    Dusk nodded. "Right."

    The seven of them all got on the elevator and Grace hopped up to press the button for the ground floor. The button brightened with a pale white light. The six were busy talking to each other, so Dusk took a look at the topmost button, and then the red number displayed on the screen above the sliding doors.

    Wow, twenty floors, and we're all the way at the top!

    The elevator dropped to the ground floor sooner than he thought, and they all stepped out. Dusk took in the lobby; marble-tile flooring, a counter with some books under it (probably record books or something), a couple of couches, a few fake plants, and a revolving door as the exit. The lobby looked pretty spacious. He looked to the side and saw a closed door with a sign that read "IN CASE OF FIRE, USE STAIRS".

    Dusk scoffed. Imagine living at the top and having to go down twenty flights of stairs. Or better yet, how about having to go up twenty flights of stairs for whatever stupid reason? How exhausting that must be.

    They all walked out the revolving door and into the morning cold. Grace and Hannah were last because they were going round and around in the door, as little kids will do. Dusk stepped onto cold sidewalk and was greeted by a roar of noise from the vehicles, humans, Pokémon, and holiday energy everywhere. Excitement was in the air as everyone sped past each other, trying to grab a taxi, rushing to the nearest shop, loading Christmas themed foods into their stuffed car, and lots of other stuff.

    Dusk looked down sullenly, and brought his scarf up to cover his mouth. I wonder what everyone's doing back at home today he thought.

    "Thank you for your kindness and hospitality" he said suddenly with a bow to the family of six "I appreciated it very much. Have a safe Christmas." He threw back his scarf, and turned his back on them.

    He had only taken two steps when Flint held his shoulder from behind.

    "Whoa, whoa, whoa, you're leaving us just like that?" Flint asked.

    "...I shouldn't stay" Dusk said at last.

    "Why? What's the matter?" Bay asked "Do you have to go somewhere? Are you in trouble? Is someone after you?"

    "Where are you going?" Hannah whined.

    "We wanted to have fun together some more." Grace whined.

    "Dusk, you're leaving us?" Jane asked worriedly.

    "Why are you trying to leave us so soon, Dusk?" John questioned.

    Feeling intimidated, Dusk took a step back, but they stepped with him. He tried to answer all six at the same time, but that was impossible, so he got tongue-tied and failed to make out proper words. They kept asking him lots of questions until he couldn't take it anymore.

    "Wait up, give me some space!" he finally yelled.

    Everyone stopped.

    Dusk breathed out a sigh of relief.

    "Can't we play some more, Dusk?" Hannah asked impatiently. She sounded sad.

    "I'm sorry, I can't" Dusk said while shaking his head "I should really get going, I shouldn't stay any longer."

    "Why are you leaving?" Jane asked. She looked at him curiously and asked "Did we do something that troubled you?"

    "No, it's nothing like tha-"

    "Then why do you got to leave?" Flint asked "What your hurry, boy?"

    "I just...can't stay here...with you guys, I'm sorry. It's not your fault, it's mine. "

    John must've guessed from looking at his tired face when he told him "If you're going to leave us so soon, then why did I even bring you into our home?"

    Confused, Dusk just gave a puzzled stare.

    "I didn't bring you in just to give you food and a place to sleep, Dusk" John continued "I brought you in so that you could stay with us. Nobody should be out alone on the streets on Christmas Eve, especially a kid like you."

    Dusk chuckled. "It's okay; I only look small and weak. I'm sixteen for Arcues's sake. I can take care of myself."

    "We want you to stay with us" Flint added.

    For a moment, Dusk felt something in his chest. It felt good, hopeful even, but he quickly pushed it down. He had to remember what he had done, and therefore, what he was capable of doing. He shook his head to clear his mind and tell them no again, but Jane interrupted him.

    "At least stay with us for Christmas. Wherever you're going, you don't have to go right now, do you?" she asked.



    Dusk was the last to walk into the church. He had decided to stay with the family for the day, at least until Christmas passed. He knew that he shouldn't be here with them, but secretly, he wanted to stay. For some reason, he couldn't find it in himself to say no to them, so decided to stay for now. He could leave later anyway. But now that their first stop today was at a church, he suddenly felt like he made the right choice in deciding to stay with the family. He didn't know why a church was to be their first stop today, but since he was already here, he might as well do something...

    He saw that there weren't many people here. Just an old lady with what looked like to be her granddaughter, a woman with a Mime Jr., and a single man. Dusk saw a priest at the altar who was organizing a couple of things, and the robed man smiled a greeting to their large group of seven.

    "Umm, where's...the confession booth thingy?" Dusk asked quietly. He felt ashamed for asking that, for more than one reason...

    "There are a few at the walls of the nave." Flint informed him, not judging, not saying anything more. For some reason, he had a faraway look on his face.

    Flint took off his Translator, gave it to Dusk, and showed him how to use it. Dusk nodded his thanks and walked right. Entering the nearest confessional, he saw a small, simple room with a leather cushion for kneeling, and a screen. He closed the door, and all went dark. He didn't need his rings' light so he kept them off, but it seemed like he was waiting for a long time in the darkness, waiting for the priest to finally join him on the other side of the screen. With every passing second, the Translator felt heavier in his paws and he was beginning to consider leaving when he heard a door creak from the other side of the screen. Dusk prepared himself as the priest situated himself in the adjoining booth.

    Finally, he heard the priest speak kindly from the other side of the screen "Welcome to the house of-"


    Dropping the yellow collar, Dusk toppled out of the Confessional and headed for the church's exit as fast as he could. He ran down the stairs outside, sprinted for the parking lot, dodged a car, and leapt behind the silver van he had taken with the group of six to get here. Curling into a ball, he cowered underneath the van while struggling to find his breath.

    "No, I can't..." he breathed out raggedly. "I can't do it...I don't deserve to...everyone...they all...because of me..."

    He lay there for a minute longer until he heard his name...oh wait, his fake name, being called. He heard all six of them calling out for "Dusk", but he stayed hidden under the van. He just wanted to be left alone for a little longer.

    After a while, he heard Grace cry out "I found him!" from behind.

    The sound of boots on pavement thudded closer and louder until he felt six pairs of eyes boring into his back. Feeling awkward with the stretching silence, he decided to say the only thing that seemed appropriate.


    "What happened?" Bay asked. "You just ran out, all terrified."

    "What are you doing under the van? Are you alright?" Flint asked. Apparently he had retrieved his Translator.

    Now he just felt terrible. He wasn't supposed to ruin their Christmas Eve, and yet here he was, doing exactly that. How selfish of him.

    Get a hold of yourself dumbass he cursed himself Come on, today isn't about you, it's about them, so just push your problems away for now. You can deal with them later.

    Dusk fixed his breathing, and crawled out from under the van. He shook his body free from dust, and gave them all an apologetic smile.

    "Sorry guys, it was nothing, I swear. I guess I just wasn't ready yet. I won't run away like that again. Promise."

    "I don't think that was nothing. Are you sure you're okay?" Bay asked.

    "I'm sure."

    "We don't have to go back if you don't-"

    "No! I mean, I don't want to be inconvenient. Trust me, I'm alright now."

    "...Alright, but don't push yourself. You can leave at anytime if you start to feel uncomfortable."

    To exhibit confidence, Dusk gave a thumbs-up as his reply. They all headed back into the church, with Dusk at the back again. He was nervous about the people back there giving him weird looks, but nobody did. They just gave him light smiles and returned to whatever they were doing here. He thanked them all in his mind for being so accepting. This time, the seven sat together at an aisle. Dusk wasn't sure on what to do exactly and didn't want to get a wrong answer...er, but this was just simple praying, not a test. He decided to just watch the family and wait for them to finish.

    John, Jane, Grace, and Hannah opened their eyes around the same time. But Flint and Bay took a longer time for some reason. Curious, Dusk scooched closer to them while John and Grace stepped outside to wait, and Jane took Hannah to the church's restrooms. Apparently, Flint and Bay were very deep in their prayers as they didn't react to Dusk leaning down to see their faces.

    They're whispering! he noticed.

    Curiosity won in the end, so he looked around. He saw that the few who remained in the church besides them were busy with their own activities, so he cautiously brought his ears closer to Flint and Bay the tiniest bit. It took a while, but he was just barely able to catch bits and pieces of what they were whispering.

    From Flint, Dusk heard "...but what if...please..."

    He heard Bay whisper "...find out...hide...need to..."

    It was too difficult to make any sense from these random words so Dusk decided to leave them before they opened their eyes and caught him eavesdropping. He felt both guilty, and confused. What the heck were those two praying so seriously about? He stepped out for some fresh air and walked up to John and Grace, which is when they looked at him with alarmed eyes.

    "Is something wrong?" John suddenly asked him.


    John must have guessed Dusk's confusion from seeing his face because he asked "Why are you so tense?" and pointed down at Dusk's legs.

    Dusk looked down and saw his tensed body. Once again, he was standing in a way that loosely resembled his combat stance. He relaxed his tail that he didn't even notice was standing up until now.

    Ugh, I've really got to relax.


    After church, everyone had gotten back into their silver van and drove to a nearby park for some fun. Upon arriving, Dusk had seen an open field with a few trees up from the high hills that circled the park. Several kids and a few adults with their Pokémon were already here, riding down the hills on sleds, building snowmen, and having snowball fights. Everything had looked so white and bright and his chest filled with delight. It may have sounded cheesy, but he hadn't felt this kid-like giddiness for a very long time. He couldn't remember the last time he felt something so pure and white inside him. He had helped the family with taking out and carrying a couple of sleds, and sat with the adults at a bench. The sisters climbed the hills with their little legs, raced their sleds all the way down, and repeated, a lot. He had been enjoying watching them have fun together, until they ran up to him for a request.

    "Can you play with us Dusk?" Hannah energetically asked.

    Dusk's grin vanished for a moment as he looked to the adults. They didn't say anything, but they just stared right back at him, amused.

    Finally, Jane said "Don't look at us. They're asking you, Dusk."

    Flustered, he told the girls "...O-Okay..." and nodded his head.

    They cheered and ran ahead of him to pull the sleds up the hill. Reaching them before they managed to get to the top, Dusk took one sled by himself, while the two sisters pulled the other one together. They reached the top and got onto their sleds; Dusk in one, the girls in the other.

    "Three, two, one, go!" Hannah said, and they pushed off the hill with their legs.

    It was slow at first, but Dusk soon found himself pressing his body lower on the sled for stability as he picked up speed. Wind blew past him, cold air bit at his face, and he heard a stranger yelling ecstatically. He looked back to see who had yelled, saw no one, and realized it was him. He also saw Grace and Hannah gaining on him, and all of a sudden, he didn't want to simply ride anymore, he wanted to win. He had to win.

    Grinning, he pressed his body flat against the sled to lessen the wind resistance. Grace and Hannah copied him. He transferred his weight to the front of the sled to speed up. Grace and Hannah copied him. Nearing the bottom, the two sleds bumped into each other from the sides, and all three flew out of their seats, landing face-first in the chilly snow. They couldn't tell who won.

    Dusk pulled himself out, shook snow off his face, and fixed the scarf around his neck, giggling as he did so. The two girls recovered after him, and ran up to him with huge smiles.

    "That was so fun!" Grace cried.

    "We went so much faster this time!" Hannah shouted.

    "We almost beat you!"

    "We were going to win for sure!"

    Dusk chuckled.

    Grace hopped up and down with glee. Barely containing herself, she asked him "Can we go again, big brother?"

    When Dusk's smiled dropped, so did the sisters'.

    It pained him to see them mimicking his negative reaction, so he quickly smiled again. He reassured them with a "Let's go!" and made the two happy again. They climbed the hill once more.

    The van turned a sharp right turn, but Dusk didn't give any thought to the weight of Flint pressing him against the door. His mind was occupied trying to go over everything that had happened. Dusk looked out his window with a foggy mindset. What Grace had asked him was childish, but he had still agreed to her 'proposition'. Why did he agree to her? Deep down, had he wanted to agree to her? Maybe it was because he was missing a certain someone...

    "Alright, who's hungry?" John shouted from the driver's seat, snapping Dusk out of his thoughts.

    "Me!" Grace and Hannah shouted back in unison from the middle row. They shouted again and again to make their voices heard, and soon the entire van was filled with cute cries of "Me!"

    "Dusk, you hungry?" John called out.

    "A little bit" Dusk replied passively from the back row. Flint translated it back to John.

    "Jane, Bay, Flint, what about you guys?"

    They all said they were, so John searched for any restaurant that was open. After ten minutes of driving, their efforts still remained fruitless (A.N. See what I did there?). Everyone looked out their windows for any place to grab a bite to eat, but they were all met with signs that read "CLOSED".

    "John, the mall!" Jane suddenly said "Christmas Eve shopping, honey, there's bound to be at least a hot dog stand or something open for last-minute shoppers."

    "Got it!"


    It had been a battle, literally, to find an open space in the parking lot. And even though they had never exceeded ten miles per hour, Dusk still had to hold on tight to whatever he could reach, despite his seat belt that trapped him like an iron bar. The van had swerved left, right, and made U-Turns in its attempts to grab an open spot, but someone always ended up taking it before them. Finally, they had spotted an open space, but the car in front of them said otherwise, so John passed it swiftly, and they had all let out a cry of victory when he managed to steal the spot right in front of the opposing car's face...err, bumper.

    Currently, they were taking refuge in a pastry shop.

    Bay asked Dusk if he was feeling well enough to eat anything solid, to which he said he was. He saw rows and rows of cakes, brownies, cookies, and other types of pastries wrapped in stiff, sealed, plastic bags before him in the glass-walled shop. Slightly intimidated with all the choices, he decided to just get a cookie, but John had other ideas when Dusk presented the small treat to him.

    "That's it?" John asked "Aren't you hungry?"

    Already holding the edge of the bag delicately by his teeth (that, and the fact that John was a human and he was a Pokémon), Dusk just rubbed his claws together in an avaricious manner.

    "Don't worry about the money, it's on me. You just pick out whatever you want."

    Dusk nodded hesitantly.

    He carefully put the cookie back on the tray with the others and looked around. Even if John said that, it still didn't mean he should pick something super pricey. To be respectful, he should still get something within a reasonable price range. Dusk browsed the rows and rows of pastries, trying to find a good match between price and preference. He was passing over chocolate brownies dipped in chocolate filled with chocolate chips when something caught his eye.

    A round, flaky pastry with slits on top which showed that it was filled with tiny cubes of Leppa Berry and Leppa Berry jelly.

    Intrigued, he brought it over to John who then asked him what he'd like to drink. There was someone already behind them in line and he didn't want to argue with John anyway, so he quickly looked over the tea section of the menu of drinks that the shop provided. Dusk held up three claws to show that he wanted the third one down, Cinnamon Tea, and brought two claws to a near pinch to show that he wanted the small size. He took his bag like before and walked over to where Jane, Flint, Bay, Hannah, and Grace sat. He sat in a chair at the table with Hannah and Grace, put his food down, and waited for his tea.

    "Eww, what's that?" Grace asked.

    "Why? What's wrong with it?" Dusk said.

    "There's no cream."

    "There's no cream?"

    "There's no cream."

    "What about yours? It doesn't have any cream either."

    "The cream is inside."

    "What? Pfft, no way."

    "Yes way."

    "There's no such thing."

    "Yes there is, see!"

    "...Where? I don't see any cream."

    "It's right there!"


    "Right ther-"



    Dusk grinned smugly as he let the mixture of bread and sweet cream melt on his tongue. Hannah and the others gave amused gasps. Grace however, was not amused.

    "Give it back!" she kept yelling as she tried to pry open his mouth with her little claws. "Give it back!"


    "NOOOO!" Grace wailed and fell back on her couch in defeat, with only white left in her eyes.

    Dusk laughed for the poor, little Eevee and took out his own pastry. He walked over to the prone Grace and wafted the Leppa Berry filled treat in front of her. Grace's nose twitched and her mouth bit into his pastry on its own. A second passed. Suddenly, she snatched the pastry out of his paw, took another bite of the stolen food, and mewled in delight.

    "Can we chwade?" she asked with her mouth full.

    Amused, he answered by taking her cream-filled pastry and began to eat. John just arrived carrying a tray with their drinks by that time and asked what was with all the noise. Bay explained in a way that made it sound like Dusk was saving Grace in a medical emergency, and Grace just humphed while continuing to eat.


    "Why are we at school? We're on vacation!" Hannah whined.

    Dusk was confused too. This seemed like a strange place to visit for a family day out, especially on Christmas Eve, when nobody was on campus. But Bay suddenly wanted to visit the place, John complied, and before they knew it, here they were. Dusk stepped out of the van and followed the six onto the campus. Although the front entrance was locked, they could still get into the campus by the playground, which consisted mostly of an open field enclosed by low fences. Grace and Hannah rushed to the slides, John and Jane followed the two girls, and Bay and Flint walked in a way that looked like they knew where they were going.

    Dusk decided to tail the Pokémon couple when he saw that they were going to the main building of the school. He hadn't even walked more than a few steps when they both stopped.

    Flint spoke "If you want to walk with us boy, you can."

    Dusk stiffened. The ears of a Raider he thought.

    He walked up to Flint and Bay, and the three of them headed for the school's main building together. Upon approach, Dusk wondered why exactly Bay wanted to stop here. None of the doors were unlocked. There was nobody around. What was she even going to do here? He got his answer when they were next to the window of a classroom on the ground floor. The curtains were left drawn open, but the window was a bit high for the Vaporeon, so Bay pulled up a small rock that was nearby, stood on it, and managed to look into the classroom. Dusk watched her face, and observed that she was getting a faraway look in her eyes.

    "How old are they?" Dusk asked.

    It took Bay two seconds to answer. "...Hmm? Oh, Grace and Hannah? They're both eight...I miss them every day they're gone...But it's okay now since it's Winter Break, and now I get to see them all day."

    His heart softened at her motherly words. "You both must love them very much" he praised.

    "Yes, we do," Bay said proudly "thank you, Dusk."

    Dusk bowed his head respectfully, and got onto the rock when Bay stepped down to offer it to him. He peered inside. The classroom was of a decent size, he counted thirty pairs of desks and chairs. There was a whiteboard at the front of the room, math textbooks lined along a bookshelf, and several child-grade drawings on colored construction papers that were hung on a wall. He spotted Grace's name written in large letters and saw a drawing of a plane flying around the Earth among the sun and stars. Hannah's was right next to hers and showed a familiar family of six holding hands in a flower field.

    "Have you ever been to school, Dusk?" Bay asked out of nowhere.

    Dusk was surprised by the sudden question, but eventually answered with "I went to some public school that I can't remember the name of as a kid when my parents were still around. When they left, it was just me and..." he hesitated for a second, trying to decide whether he should mention his brother in their conversation. "Just me" he eventually said, he didn't want to give away too much too soon. "But some nice people took me in, gave me a home, and home schooled me starting from where I left off before my parents left"

    He looked up from his rambling to see Flint and Bay with grim expressions on their faces.

    "That's horrible" Flint said harshly "What kind of parents abandon their child at so young an age?"

    "They should be ashamed of themselves" Bay agreed "And what about this foster family of yours? Why are you here with us and not with them right now?"

    Dusk suddenly felt the need to defend his mother and father. "I-It wasn't their fault! I'm sure they probably had their reasons or something...And as for my foster family, w-well...they...Now that I look at it, it was my fault...I shouldn't have pushed too hard."

    "We're sorry, Dusk" Bay apologized. "We shouldn't have said that, it was rude...Do you have any siblings?"

    "...Just one. He's safe." Dusk answered quietly. That was exactly what he wanted to avoid revealing, but he found that he couldn't afford to not answer when she asked him.

    All was quiet for a while, nobody said a word. Dusk kept his eyes glued to the ground. He was nervous of...what? Something? Nothing? Probably the latter, but his head felt like lead and he couldn't manage to meet the Vaporeon's and Flareon's eyes. He gave away a lot of himself just now, and he felt very hot, despite the frigid air. He caught movement in the corner of his eye.

    Bay and Flint were bowing to him now.

    "Thank you, Dusk" Bay said respectfully.

    Flint added "That was a brave thing you did just now, young man."

    "...We should go back" Dusk said.

    They walked back to the playground together; all the while his heart felt a little lighter.


    They all returned home when they couldn't find a movie theater open. Hannah wanted to watch this one movie Dusk had already watched. The original version had the villainess place a curse on the princess where the princess would "fall into eternal rest" or something like that on a certain birthday of hers, and then of course her "knight in shining armor" came and saved her. The movie that Hannah wanted to watch though was a variation of the original version where the supposed villainess was actually the heroine of the story, and developed a motherly sort of love for the princess; ironically, the princess's "knight" had virtually no significant impact to the story. It was a good movie, and Dusk liked it a lot because what he took away from it was that even evil could learn to regret, change, and even love. It was a ridiculous notion, he knew, but he still believed in it nonetheless.

    Dusk hung up his scarf on the coat rack. "I'm sorry you couldn't watch the movie, Hannah" he tried to sympathize.

    Flint translated Kyuso's words for Hannah.

    "Oh, yeah. Too bad huh? I really wanted to see it too..." Hannah said. She looked disappointed. "Oh well, I guess we'll have to watch it here then" she said while casually pulling out a DVD case containing...

    The movie?! Dusk thought, baffled. He looked at anyone for help.

    "She likes to watch movies at the theater" Jane provided.

    "A-ah-I need a break" Dusk declared a little dramatically "Where's the bathroom?"

    Jane told him where it was and he left the living room to wash his face. Unknown to him, the family exchanged smiles when he left the room. They were happy that he was getting more comfortable around them.


    Dusk splashed his face with some cold water and just stood on the counter, letting the droplets fall into the sink. He looked at the Umbreon in the mirror. Was that smiling goof really him? He couldn't believe it was, but he wasn't entirely displeased with it. He had changed so much in just one day, and he had these people to thank for it. Kyuso was gone, now he was Dusk, and he didn't regret his choice one bit. Shaking the water off his face in the bathtub, he gave one more idiotic grin to the Umbreon in the mirror, and headed back to the living room.


    A door was slightly open. He looked at it strangely. There was no light behind it, yet, he felt a weird sense that he wanted to go in. As if something was calling to him from somewhere in there. But this was ridiculous, it wasn't even his room, much less his apartment! What if he got in trouble? Still, he felt like he wanted to go inside...

    ...What am I doing here?

    The slightly open door tickled at his mind just a little, as if the idea of intruding upon this room itself was shy. He wanted to know why this was so. He looked down the hall. There was no one. He gulped, and slid through the door and into the darkness.

    It was dark, but he could see everything perfectly fine, so he kept his rings off. It looked like a bedroom, but for whom? After some snooping, he learned that this was indeed Flint and Bay's bedroom; there was one full sized bed, but a closet filled with rather small clothes. This was wrong. Why was he even here? He should've left a long time ago, but he was still here. So why wasn't he leaving? There was nothing here anyway.

    "This is stupid" he muttered. Hearing his own voice knocked some sense into him, so he turned to leave before he got caught.


    Again, he felt something pulling him back to the room. The stupidest thing though, was that it was all in his head, and he knew it was. Still, he couldn't help but feel that he missed something, so he turned around. Finally, he saw something intriguing: family photos.

    Curious, he picked up the farthest one and saw John, Flint, Jane, Bay, Hannah, and Grace, having fun at an amusement park.

    He picked up the next one. Here, they were all at the beach, with the waves at their backs and the warm sun above their heads. Next.

    In this one, Grace and Hannah were the only ones in the picture and they looked younger. Their school was behind them. This was probably a picture of their first day at school.

    The next picture showed the adults looking a bit younger, while they held their baby Hannah and baby Grace. There were two pictures left on the bedside table, so he picked up another.

    This one showed just Flint, John, Bay, and Jane. They looked even younger in here, and John and Jane wore climbing gear while they all stood atop an amazing view overlooking a wide forest. This shot was probably taken from a hiking trip or something. Maybe before Grace and Hannah were born.

    Dusk put the picture down and reached for the last pictu-

    "What're you doing?"


    Dusk's paw accidently knocked the last picture to the floor, which landed backside-up. He apologized repeatedly to Bay who stood stunned in the doorway. He reached down to pick up the-

    "Leave it!"

    "I'm sorry!"

    He backed away from the picture as if it was a bomb, and let the upset Vaporeon pick up the picture. She grabbed it quick and held it fast to her chest. She looked distressed, as if it was her diary and she stopped him just in time from reading her big, dirty secret. For an instant, she looked at him, angry. It was the first time she looked so mad and fear seized his body down to his toes. Then, she sucked in and let out a breath, calming herself, but he was still scared for himself. What was she going to do?

    "Dusk," she spoke tiredly "you can't just go into someone's room without their permission. It's very rude and disrespectful. Don't you ever do it again, understand?"

    He nodded immediately. "Y-Yes, I'm sorry mo-Bay!"

    She looked at him tiredly before nodding back as well. "Go on, we're going to have dinner soon."

    Dusk swallowed and walked swiftly out of the room. He felt like crap for making Bay get so mad at him. But there was also something else on his mind...

    I can't believe I almost called her my...


    Dinner was good. All they had were a couple of boxes of pizza, but everyone talked in a very lively and friendly mood. Dusk helped himself to a little of both boxes, taking a slice of pepperoni with green bell peppers, and two slices of Italian sausage with baby portabella mushrooms. How was he so happy? Well for one, it was pizza, duh. And two, Bay seemed a lot happier, happy in fact. She looked like she was back to her old self, and that coupled with the positive atmosphere over dinnertime forced him to be happy too.

    Just when he was about to grab another slice of pizza, Bay said "Oh, hang on. I made dessert" and got out of her seat to walk to the kitchen.

    "No Bay, we can't, it's not Christmas yet. That's for tomorrow's dinner" Jane said.

    "I made something extra earlier today" Bay simply said.

    "How early?"

    "*smirk* Really early."


    "I thought it would be a nice thing to do for Dusk here. Lighten up; it's Christmas Eve for goodness' sake!"

    As soon as Bay opened the oven, Dusk's mouth watered. He knew that smell.

    "Is that..." he failed to ask, afraid to hope for too much.

    "Leppa pie" Bay confirmed for him. Holding the pie's plate in her mouth, she brought the golden wonder to the dinner table and set it down before the family.

    The Leppa pie had cooled so Jane offered to microwave everyone's slices for them. Dusk watched with envy as Grace and Hannah enjoyed the first, warm slices of baked Leppa Berry perfection. He waited patiently for his own slice and sighed happily when it finally came, breathing in the sweet, golden goodness. He took a moment to lean back and really look at where he was, and the people he was with. Everything felt right in the world at this moment. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. He felt so lucky to be here right now and couldn't imagine life getting any better.

    "Where are you going?" Grace asked as Dusk stood up from the table.

    He smiled and said "I just need some fresh air. Don't worry, I'll be back. Don't eat my pie while I'm gone!"

    "Don't worry, I will!" she called teasingly as he stepped to the front door.

    "Leave my pie alone! It didn't do anything to you, it's innocent!" he joked back.


    Dusk stepped through the revolving door, and breathed in the cold, night air. The icy oxygen stung his nose, and cleared his head. He let out a "Woo!" and smiled up at the sky. Somebody up there must've been looking out for him. He really did feel lucky. The city was alive with light, but he could still make out a few stars in the night sky, as well as the moon. It was a half moon. He sat on the ground and soaked in the rays of the moon, letting the silver light bathe over his body.

    "I'm telling you, I heard an Umbreon over here."


    Dusk slinked back and melted into the shadow of a parked car. His instincts had told him to hide, which was weird. That voice sounded familiar, but where had he heard it before? And there was no guarantee that the voice was of a foe, so why was he-

    "You're going crazy, there's nothing out here" criticized Max.

    It was Pat and Max, the Pokémon hunters, cruising down the street in their pickup truck. He was sure of it now. And even though the two men looked bored, Dusk was now wide awake.

    "This is stupid. What does our client know anyway? How does he know that the Umbreon is in this city anyway?" Pat complained.

    "Does it matter? As long as we bring the little runt to him and get our pay, I don't give a f***."

    "Hmph, well if this fails, which I think it will, maybe we can help out in blowing up his house and that pissant Eevee. I need to relieve some stress."

    A jungle of questions raced in his mind while his heart was laced with fear. How did they get here? How did they track him to this place? And what did they want with Jun (who else could they mean while they were hunting him and mentioned an Eevee?!)? This was insane; it was the third time they came close to him this week. How were they doing it, and why did they want him so badly? There were other Umbreon besides him, so why couldn't they just go look for another Umbreon and leave him alone already?! But wait, of course! He had a family to protect him now, so as long as he was with them, everything would be alright. Dusk stealthily snuck over to the entrance of the apartment building and-


    This...felt familiar.

    He looked up at the twentieth floor of the building. What am I doing? he thought What the hell am I doing?

    He was doing it again; running to the aid of others when he got backed into a corner. Pathetic. The first sign of distress, and look at him, letting the heat fall onto others like a coward. Absolutely pathetic. This was exactly what he had done back at Crimson Base and here he was, about to do it again.

    Well screw you Dusk cursed himself. I'm not going to drag others into my own damn problems, just because I'm too weak to face it by myself. It's time for me to grow a backbone and handle this head-on!

    He knew what he had to do.


    From the balcony, Bay, Flint, Grace, Jane, John, and Hannah, all watched Dusk run out into the quiet street, save for a single pickup truck. "Hey idiots, you missed me? Come on, I'm over here! Try and keep up!" they faintly heard him shout. Tires screeched and the sound of two men yelling was heard, even from up in their apartment. They saw the black figure of Dusk sprint down the street, leading the truck away from the apartment building.

    "Mom, why is Dusk leaving?" Hannah spoke up sadly, voicing the question on everyone's mind.

    Jane hugged Hannah tight, and answered "I'm not sure sweetie, but I think he's protecting us."

    "How is he protecting us?"

    Jane felt awful for not being able to answer her own daughter.

    "Will we ever see him again?" Grace asked.

    "I know we will" Flint told her.

    "Be safe, Dusk" John muttered to ever-shrinking Umbreon.

    John and Jane took their little girls back into the warmth of the kitchen and helped them get ready for bed. Flint and Bay on the other hand, stayed outside.

    Flint rubbed his wife's back. "I'm sorry, Bay."

    Bay shook her head. "No, that's not it" she spoke shakily. "I'm just...very proud of him."

    "I'm proud of him too." He kissed her cheek. "Kyuso's a strong boy. He'll be okay."

    Bay coughed to hold in her sadness, and nodded. Today was a treasured day. Although they didn't get to spend Christmas together, they would always have today, and they would never forget it. It was funny; here he was, running away from them to protect them, when they had done the same thing to him for the same reason, years ago. It all happened such a long time ago, so he didn't even recognize them, they had changed so much after all. But they would always recognize him, their son. Having this chance to be with him, even if it was only for today, lightened the pain the two had built up every day that weighted on them like a burden from Arceus, because technically, that's exactly how it was.

    Just now, Bay started to regret stopping Kyuso from picking up that picture.

    A.N. I know I mentioned in Ch. 12 that Kyuso and Jun were taken in by Mason when Kyuso was 13, but to make the story fit, I changed it so that now it didn't explain Kyuso's exact age when they were taken in by Mason. After all, remember how I said that I threw out the ideas of the original story? It's a little tricky to make things work now that I'm going for a new ending. It really isn't a major change, so please bear with it.
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