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By Youko Kurama
Long after the Ohsi had secured their Dominion over the Elders' former slave races and the fledgling nations of Man, so drunk on power and so convinced of their inherited divinity over them had the Ohsi become that the torture of the "vermin" had become commonplace.
So common and frequent were these horrific acts of barbarism that one Ohsi, Kambrik Vrew, devised a concerto using the screams of tortured "vermin" as the instruments.
So shocked, angry and desperate were their Ohsi's subject peoples that The Revolt of the Vermin that brought an end to the Dominion was a direct result.
By Youko Kurama
The Cloud King's empire collapses under the rule of the grandson of the original Cloud King.
What's this? I'm actually writing more of this? Well, it is National Novel Writing Month, and that means forcing myself to not edit my own writing. It's also a first draft, so there are sure to be mistakes here and there, but either way, I hope you enjoy.
'This world is divided by light and darkness. Those who side with the light, and those who choose to walk the path of darkness. It is a world where humans can obtain special powers through hard work and training. Some are born with their power. People can use their powers for whatever they want. For justice or for chaos. Most people don't even know their powers exist, so they live normal lives, unaware of their potential.'
"Zero! Stop daydreaming and focus!" Zero heard the loud voice of his father and opened his eyes, remembering he was still in the middle of the day's training session. He had to beat his father in a sparring match using the short sword he normally used during training against his old man's personal greataxe. The brown haired boy got into a fighting stance and prepared himself for whatever his old man had in store for him.
The man took a few slow steps forward in an attempt to fake Zero out before charging right at him. He raised the axe in his hands and swung at Zero. Since the swing was slow, Zero easily evaded the initial swing by jumping back. When the axe slammed into the ground, Zero's dad tightened his grip on his weapon, focusing his power on the earth. A pillar of earth erupted from the ground in front of where the axe was stuck, flying straight at Zero.
'Looks like he's changing up his strategy,' Zero thought. He ducked to avoid the pillar coming at him, but the action left him vulnerable for a potential follow up attack. The ground below Zero began to glow a bit shortly before a second pillar of earth came out of the ground and hit Zero in the chest, sending him flying into the air.
'Are you serious? A second attack? He's not playing around today,' Zero thought, moving his free hand towards his chest while he fell. In the time Zero was falling back down to the ground, his dad had pulled his axe out of the ground and waited for Zero to get close to the ground in order to hit him when he couldn't defend himself well. He swung the axe once Zero got close enough to the ground, but Zero used his own short sword to attempt blocking the attack. While he had managed to avoid any fatal injuries, he was pushed away by the sheer force of the swing and crashed to the ground. His body slid against the ground, dirt and dead grass getting on his arm and the side of his t-shirt.
"What's going on, Jared? Why are you so eager to cleave me in half today?" Zero questioned while he slowly got back on his feet. He raised his sword again in preparation for whatever his dad had in store for him next.
"Training should be as close to real combat as possible. You know this, Zero. If you want to awaken your power, I have to push you to your limits. Now, stop talking and fight, otherwise you'll be skipping out on dinner tonight," Jared replied while he readied himself.
"Tyrant," Zero mumbled. He let out a low sigh and took a look around Jared, biting his lip after his short analysis of the area. Jared had been standing in an area of the backyard where there was no grass at all, which would allow him to use his power with no grass numbing the force of his earth based abilities. Zero nodded to himself and made a run for Jared, dragging his sword across the dead grass. Jared took a defensive stance in response to this. When Zero saw this, a small smile crept up on his face. Instead of going for a head on attack, Zero leaped into the air in an attempt to get behind his dad.
'Didn't see this coming, did you?' Zero thought when he landed behind Jared, throwing the sword aside and tackling the man from behind. Jared had not expected Zero's move, but tried to move against the boy. Zero had the edge in the situation and managed to push Jared onto the dead grass. When Zero pushed Jared, he stumbled a few steps forward. Jared looked behind him to find Zero making run for his sword.
"Don't abandon your weapon, you fool!" Jared shouted, turning around and weaving his fingers around a bit. Several rock spires came rising from the ground around Zero's sword in order to keep him away from the weapon. When Zero tried to get close to the rock spires, rocky spikes came jutting out of the spires. Zero wasn't able to avoid being cut by a few of the spikes. Zero quickly jumped back a few paces while he wiped a bit of blood off a cut on his cheek. With his target defenseless, Jared took a chance to strike. He ran at Zero and swung at him. Zero prepared to avoid this attack, but instead of continuing his swing, Jared faked the boy out and followed up by kicking him in the chest when he got within range.
Zero hit the ground hard, but he had no time to catch his breath as Jared jumped into the air and tried to impale him with his axe. Zero rolled out of the way of the attack, narrowly avoiding the axe as it slammed into the ground. While Jared worked on pulling his axe out of the ground, Zero got back on his feet again and made a beeline for the rock spires keeping his weapon trapped. As he ran, Jared pulled his axe out of the ground and turned towards Zero again. Jared ran after Zero while he lifted his axe in preparation for another attack.
Even though he had managed to grab his weapon, Jared was a step ahead of him. When Zero had attempted to get out of the circle of broken rock spires, Jared was standing over him, ready to swing his axe at him. When Jared swung the axe down on Zero, he tried to block with his sword.
"You're not strong enough to hold back my attack forever, Zero. After all, you've already lost," Jared pointed out. Zero didn't respond, mostly because he was putting everything he had into holding back Jared's attack. Jared was already prepared to put an end to the fight with his rock spire circle, but he was forced to move away and avoid a kitchen knife that was flying right at his head.
"That's quite enough, dear. You're trying to invoke his awakening, not kill him," a woman's voice calmly pointed out. Walking towards the scene from the house was a short, brown haired woman wearing an apron over her light blue sundress. Zero let out a long sigh of relief when he finally got the chance to relax.
"You're a lifesaver, mom," Zero said. The woman gave Zero a small smile before she returned her attention to Jared.
"You're being far too rough with him, Jared. He isn't another one of your trainees from back in the old days. Plus, instead of nearly trying to kill our son, you could be inside, helping with dinner. You know we have a guest coming over tonight, but here you are." Zero's mom continued while Jared made his way over to her.
"Christa, you need to understand that I'm-"
"I'm sorry, you're what?" Christa questioned. Several knives created from water materialized in her hands as she glared at her husband. Jared quickly glanced over to Zero for a moment, then back to his wife.
"I'll go get cleaned up and help get dinner started. That's what I wanted you to understand," Jared quickly replied once he thought up something. The axe in his hands disappeared and the man started running towards the house in a panic. Once Jared was gone, the knives in Christa's hands vanished and she returned her attention to Zero, who was also a bit frightened from his mother's sudden change of tone. She simply smiled and helped him stand back up.
"Why don't you put that sword away and go inside? It'll be time for dinner soon," Christa asked with a smile.
"Y-yes, ma'am!" Zero replied right away as he turned towards the back of the yard towards an old wooden shed. Before he could take more than a few steps, Christa put a hand on his shoulder and turned him around. With the same calm smile on her face he was used to seeing, Christa put a hand on Zero's head.
"Don't take what your father says so hard. Even if he's rough with you during training, he does love you. We both love you," Christa said, but Zero shrugged and turned away from her.
"Yeah, I know. Why do you say that every day? It's kind of annoying," Zero replied before he started walking towards the shed. Christa reached out for him as he walked away while she looked down at the ground.
"Because we don't want you to go back to how you used to be," Christa whispered to herself.
Once Zero had put away the sword, he went inside and returned to his room to get a bit of rest. He spent a few minutes pretending to swing around a sword as a bit of self practice before he let out a low sigh and lowered his hand.
"It's been five years since I started my training. I wonder when I'll finally get powers like mom and Jared," Zero questioned himself while he lied down on the bed, looking up at the ceiling.
'Maybe if I had a weapon of my own and powers like them, I could do something. Go to school like normal kids or maybe do some good for the world like some kind of superhero...' Zero thought to himself. He shook his head while he sat up.
"Instead, I'm stuck here in a nowhere town where everyone knows everyone. Nothing ever happens around this place. I could be using my skills for something productive," Zero said to himself while he stood up. He threw on a t-shirt he had laying on the floor and decided to confront his parents about it. On his way down the stairs, he could hear his parents talking with someone. Zero stopped when he heard the voices and slowly snuck down the steps, peeking into the living room to find Christa and Jared sitting on one of the couches in the living room with an unfamiliar man in a gray t-shirt sitting in a chair across from them, taking a sip from a teacup.
"And that's generally where things stand right now. It's been a mess over there since the first incident two years ago. The police say it's due to unknown causes, but that's a load of crap. Check these out," the man said, opening up a folder and tossing a number of pictures onto the coffee table between the three adults. Jared picked up one of the images, but all he could see was a blurry black figure with golden eyes surrounded by red.
"Bruce, what the hell are these? Is this some kind of joke?" Jared questioned while he threw the picture back onto the table.
"These are pictures taken by someone who claims to have seen monsters in Star City, the same place where the first incident took place. In his story, he's also claiming that these same monsters are responsible for a number of disappearances over the past year," Bruce replied.
Jared sighed and shook his head. "And why are you coming to us with your little monster story? We're out of the business now, Bruce. We already have enough to worry about between Zero's training and the assassins he's sending after us," Jared said.
"Come on, Titan. You and Scarlet Blade here are professionals. A little monster problem is nothing for a duo like you. I'm giving you two a prime opportunity here to get back in the business. You can even get your son in on-"
"Out of the question," Christa said.
"Are you serious? A little field experience could do the boy some good. He won't improve just from physical training and sparring matches he can't win," Bruce asked.
"As I said, out of the question. Zero will not leave our protection until we feel he is ready. Now, I suggest you drop this little suggestion or else," Christa replied while the air around her began to get colder. Bruce leaned back in his chair as he watched a smile slowly make it's way onto Christa's face.
"How about I just give you two some time to think things over?" Bruce asked while he slowly started gathering up the pictures and his folder.
"There's nothing to think about, Bruce. We're not going to-"
"That's just what you're thinking right now, Earth Titan. Sit down over some tea and talk it over. I'll be back just in time for dinner," Bruce said before Jared could finish talking. The man stood up and started making his way towards the front door. Hearing the approaching footsteps, Zero hurried back up the stairs to hide from Bruce. The man stopped in front of the door, turning back towards Jared and Christa.
"You two should seriously consider this offer. I came here to you as a friend. This is a well paying mission just to deal with some monsters, and I'd hate to see you pass it up. After all, this whole thing may be more than it looks like on paper. Keep that in mind when you're making your decision," Bruce said, his tone suddenly becoming serious. Once he said his piece, he opened up the door and walked outside. Jared and Christa were left alone to consider Bruce's offer and the information he had given them.
"What do you think, Christa? If what Bruce said is right, this job should be simple enough for the two of us to take on," Jared said, but Christa shook her head.
"I think we should focus more on Zero's training. After all, it was because we were busy with that mercenary work that he ended up..." Christa answered, stopping herself before she finished her sentence.
"You may be right. Even though that power has shown no signs of surfacing, we can't leave Zero here by himself," Jared said.
"Then it's agreed. When Bruce comes back later for dinner, we'll decline his offer. After all, it's important that we monitor Zero's condition, especially considering that mad scientist is out there somewhere," Christa said while she stood up and grabbed Bruce's leftover cup from off the table. She glanced over to the door for a moment, considering what Bruce had said before he left. After a moment, she shook her head and started walking into the kitchen.
While Jared and Christa were in the middle of their conversation, Zero returned to his room and sat down on his bed while he thought about what he heard.
'Monsters in Star City, huh? I know there used to be talk on the news about strange things going on around there, but those reports suddenly stopped a few months ago? That Bruce guy said it was an easy job. Maybe it's something even I could do, but...' Zero thought to himself, clenching his fists when he remembered what Christa had said.
'Zero will not leave our protection until we feel he is ready,' Zero remembered hearing his mother say to Bruce. He slowly stood up and walked towards the door while he clenched his fists.
"How long will that be, though? Until they're old and grey? I might not have any powers yet, but I know I have what it takes to fight off a few monsters by myself," Zero said while he put on his shoes and walked out of his room. As he made his way down the stairs, he could hear Christa barking orders to Jared, who was in the middle of cleaning up the backyard. Without bothering to check up on when dinner would be done, Zero walked out the front door and began walking away from the house.
Zero and his family lived in a small, two story house surrounded by trees. They lived away from any neighbors to avoid noise complaints during Zero's training sessions. Black curtains covered the windows to make it seem like nobody was home. At the same time, however, Zero felt like it was another way his parents tried to seclude him from anyone his age living in the small town. As he walked away, a figure in a gray cloak watched him, then turned towards the house. The thick black chains wrapped around his arms rattled a bit when he moved.
"The target has been found," the man said quietly to himself.
'It must be nice...to live however you want,' Zero thought to himself, sitting on a swing while he watched a couple of kids running around, playing tag. After he left the house, he made his way to the local elementary school's playground in order to get away from home for a bit. The kids were too busy with their game to really notice Zero. He let out a sigh, looking towards the slowly setting sun.
"Why am I stuck in this town? Why do they watch me and keep me contained like I'm some prisoner or something? " Zero wondered, looking back down at the kids. As he watched them running and laughing without a care in the world, an image of a young, black haired girl flashed through his mind. Zero slowly closed his eyes, turning away from the kids.
"One day, I won't just be an outsider. I'll explore the world and help people. I'll be more like normal people. Maybe I'll even awaken my power," Zero said to himself, smiling a bit. He slowly opened his eyes when he heard a faint growling coming from close by. A part of him was glad that nobody else was around to hear his stomach growl.
"Looks like it's about that time. Dinner should be done by now. Mom will kill me if I'm not there soon," Zero added, standing up and walking away from the swingset. As he started walking away, a single thought came to his mind.
'Who was that girl? Why did she seem so familiar?' Zero thought to himself. He shook his head when no details about the girl and who she might've been came to mind.
"I must just be tired. Jared hasn't been holding back in training the past few days. I think the old man is getting paranoid or something with all that talk about assassins. Even if I asked about it, they probably wouldn't tell me anything," Zero said, stopping when he realized he was already on the path back to his house. While he knew the school wasn't too far away, he had not expected to get back so quickly. Zero looked towards the house and let out a sigh.
As Zero made his way back to his house, he would take occasional glances towards the trees in case his dad was planning on surprising him and scolding him for going out before dinnertime. Luckily for him, he managed to reach the front door of the house without incident. He took one final glance around before he opened up the door.
"I'm back," Zero tried to say, but when he opened up the door, his nose was hit by a strong, metallic scent. Zero took a few careful steps back as the door slowly opened up. None of the lights in the house were on, but thanks to the light of the sunset, Zero was able to spot something near the bottom of the stairs. From where Zero was standing, he could see a familiar piece of light blue cloth with several dark red splotches on it. Zero slowly stepped into the house when he saw the cloth, trying to endure the strong smell that would assault his nose when he stepped inside.
'This looks a lot like the dress mom was wearing. Did she get into a fight with Jared or something?' Zero wondered, quickly shaking his head and dismissing the thought from his mind.
'No, that's impossible. Jared may be a bit of a meathead and a dirty fighter, but he wouldn't lay a hand on mom. If anything, she'd be the one hurting him,' he added, walking towards the living room. Using the sunlight to guide him, Zero walked along the wall towards the nearest light switch in order to brighten up the room. When he saw the state of the living room, a part of him wanted to just turn off the lights and pretend the whole thing was a dream. The room was in shambles. The two large couches had been thrown around, both of them full of holes. The coffee table that was once in the middle of the room was broken into pieces while pieces of the broken table were lodged into the wall along with several knives that were likely from the kitchen. The TV had been thrown in a random direction, and like the couches, was filled with holes. Other than the knives, there were large cuts and streaks of blood on the walls.
"What the hell...?" Zero finally said after getting a good look at the scene. His eyes followed the trail of chaos towards the hall leading to the dining room and kitchen. Zero took a deep breath, ignoring the strong smell all around him and started walking towards the kitchen. On his way, he tried to listen for any noises or sounds of fighting, but he heard nothing except his own footsteps as he walked across the wooden floor.
'What is going on here? Where's mom and Jared?' Zero wondered, stopping in front of a closet door in the hall on the way to the kitchen. When he opened up the door, he found a series of swords, hand axes and knives shoved inside. Zero quickly grabbed a sword and closed the closet door, turning back towards the kitchen. He continued moving down the hall, keeping the sword close to him just in case. Like the living room, the lights in the kitchen weren't on, but the smell of blood was much stronger compared to the living room. The overwhelming smell made Zero stop walking. He slowly inched forward towards the dark kitchen, unaware that his arms were shaking as he moved.
Stepping into the dark kitchen, Zero slowly reached for the closest switch on the wall to turn the kitchen lights on. Like the living rooms, there were clear signs of a struggle. In the dining room, the table had been broken in half while broken pieces of glass bowls littered the floor. Food had been left laying on the floor. More holes and bloodstains littered the walls and the three chairs that were once at the table were nothing but broken piles of wood. When Zero looked towards the kitchen, he noticed a single, large pool of blood in front of the oven along with a drag mark leading to the backyard.
Seeing no other options, Zero followed the trail of blood to the backyard, but the moment he stepped outside and looked towards where the trail of blood ended, his eyes widened. Two pale figures were hung up from the tree by their necks with black chains. Their bodies were covered in deep cuts and their clothes stained with blood. At the base of the tree was a greataxe and a rapier. Standing at the base of the tree was a single man with short grey hair and a grey cloak covered in blood. Thick black chains were wrapped around his arms and made a faint rattling noise whenever he moved. The man slowly turned towards Zero, meeting his gaze with deep purple eyes.
"You're too late."
So before we get into it, let me just say that this is still just a first draft. Any feedback or opinions on how it is or what I can improve on would be greatly appreciated. I know there are some people who think that prologues shouldn't be a thing in writing, but since this does sort of bring up the central problem, I made a prologue and have no reason to just make this Chapter 1 since my plans for that chapter take place at least a year after this prologue's events. I will also note that, yes, this is an original work by me. It's actually a complete overhaul of the very first writing project I ever started...so yeah. Please enjoy.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
'This world is a rotten place. Mankind does nothing but kill and destroy each other and everything around them. Such a world needs to be changed. With the power gifted to me, I will create a new world to replace this terrible one.'
"The time has come for everything to begin," a man said to himself as he walked through the quiet nighttime streets towards the park in the center of the city. He was wearing a long black coat and a hood to keep his identity hidden from the occasional person who walked by him on his way to his destination.
"There aren't too many people out tonight. That's good. It'll make this easier," the man mumbled while he walked into the park. When he didn't spot anyone as he made his way towards the center of the park, the man smiled a bit. At the same time, he was beginning to hesitate. He stopped walking and looked towards the old wooden clock tower that sat in the center of the park, tightening the grip on the thick black book in his hands as he considered whether or not he was doing the right thing. As his doubts began to rise, a voice began to ring through his mind.
'Why do you hesitate, Issac? You have trained your body and mind for months to prepare yourself for this ritual. Do you not wish to bring judgement to the humans? Is it no longer your desire to take vengeance for the woman you cared so deeply about? By giving up on this mission now, you are accepting her murder caused no harm to your own soul,' the voice explained. Issac bit his lip while he looked down at the ground. After a moment of silence, he raised his head again.
"N-no, you're right. It's too late to go back now. Using the magic of this book is the only way," Issac finally replied before he continued to walk.
'We must hurry. The moon is nearly in position,' the voice pointed out. Issac gave a simple nod and picked up the pace a bit in order to make his way over to the center of the park. Sitting in the center of Star City's park was a large, wooden clock tower. Hanging above the clock tower was the full moon. All the conditions had been met for Issac's plans.
"There's no turning back. Awaken, Circle of the Red Moon!" Issac said to himself before he called out the spell he had memorized. Responding to the spell, a large red circle appeared on the ground in front of Issac. A second, smaller circle appeared inside the first one, followed by a series of strange symbols in between the two circles. In the middle of the circle, a crescent moon shape appeared and began to let off a faint red glow.
Issac stepped into the circle and looked up towards the top of the clock tower. With a deep breath, he opened up the book in his hands and flipped to a page he had bookmarked.
"Shadow of darkness, hear my call! I offer my light to bring the crimson blight to this world. Within this crimson circle, I ask of thee to spawn forth the cursed souls of the moon of red. Spread their malice throughout this land, using this clock tower as your host," Issac began to read. As he recited the spell, the words on the book's pages began to glow. The circle also began to react as the symbols between the two circles began to release a black mist around Issac's feet. Issac began to feel strange once the black mist began to swirl around him. Slowly, the mist began to rise up his leg, covering his feet in darkness.
"W-what is this? What's going on?!" Issac questioned as the mist slowly engulfed his legs. At the same time, he began to feel a sharp pain in his stomach, causing him to drop the book to the ground and clutch his stomach. Issac soon fell to his hands and knees, coughing up blood. The mist took the chance to further engulf the man's body, covering his hands and knees.
'You must give yourself completely to the darkness for the ritual to complete. Fail to do this and it shall consume you. The power has already begun to slowly eat away at your body,' the voice in Issac's head said. Issac bit his lip while he tried to endure the slowly growing pain he felt as the mist ran up his arms and thighs. He couldn't feel his arms and legs by this point.
"This pain...is it like what she felt when she was murdered?" Issac asked. He glanced up at the moon, the only remaining light among the slowly consuming darkness around him. He wanted to reach up towards the moon and feel it's light on his hand, but such a thing was impossible in his current state. Shortly before the dark mist took his entire body, Issac closed his eyes.
"I want to deliver judgement to the selfish masses. I want to change this world. Light, darkness, it doesn't matter anymore. If I can bring back the woman I love, I don't care what happens to me. Twist my body with darkness if that's what it takes. Take my light away and lead me to a path I'll likely regret. Just...allow me to see her again. Mary...seeing her again is all I ask," Issac said. For a brief moment, the black mist stopped it's assault of it's target's body. Instead of trying to consume him, the black mist slowly seeped into Issac's skin until none of it remained, leaving the man alone in the activated magic circle.
Once the black mist was gone, Issac opened his eyes again. He picked up the book from off the ground and slowly stood back up. His hood had slipped off his head, revealing his smooth black hair. Once he had gotten back on his feet, he stumbled a bit, but stood inside the magic circle. He was unaware of what the mist had done to him, but he felt a surge of power he didn't have before. He was unaware of it at the time, but his blue eyes had become red. He had no time to guess what the mist did to him due to the voice in his head speaking to him once again.
'The time has come, Issac. With the power of darkness, finish the ritual,' the voice ordered. With a simple nod, Issac flipped back to his bookmarked page, cleared his throat, and continued the ritual.
"My soul is one with darkness. I no longer fear the darkness. Grant me the immortal army! Come forth, Red Moon Demons! Return to this world under the light of the crimson moon, and follow the order of your new master! Let this clock tower be the host of your power and be free once more!" Issac read off the page. The outer circle responded to the spell by shooting a bright red light high up into the sky. While the light was keeping Issac hidden, a ball of darkness formed in Issac's free hand. A smile crept up on his face as he aimed his hand towards the clock tower and launched the ball. It pierced through the wall of light and made contact with the clock tower, coating the entire wooden structure in an aura of darkness for a moment. Once the curse was set, the light from the magic circle died down and the entire circle dissapeared.
Issac let out a sigh of relief, but at the same time, he could hear several voices behind him. When he turned around, several men and women were gathered in front of him. Some of them were clearly trying to go to sleep judging by their clothes while others had likely either been passing by or went to investigate the light shooting up at the sky.
"Who is that guy? He's creepy looking," a woman asked
"Does he realize what time it is?" another man questioned.
"Isn't that guy suppose to be the new teacher at the high school?" a younger girl pointed out. Each of the people had their own thoughts and questions as to why Issac was at the clock tower and what he was doing at such a late hour. Issac bit his lip as he considered his options.
'Do not worry yourself about this filth. The spell should be activating any moment now,' the voice said to Issac. A few moments after Issac had been reassured, the bell of the clock tower began to ring, signaling it was now midnight. The bell was extremely loud and echoed through the entire city. With each toll of the bell, the air all around the city began to grow heavier. By the sixth toll, the streetlights all around the city began to flicker on and off before abruptly turning off completely. On the eighth toll, a light fog began to slowly roll in from nowhere. As the bell tolled, the moon had slowly began to change. When the twelfth and final toll of the clock tower's bell rang through the city, the moon and sky had changed completely into a dark red. The eerie red light shone down on the entirety of Star City, lighting up the city a bit.
"What the hell?! What happened to the moon?!" a man shouted.
"Forget the moon! My phone isn't working!" a woman added.
"What's with this fog? What's going on here?!" another man questioned while Issac simply stood and watched the group, looking down at the ground. In the corner of his eye, he could see a hole of darkness slowly opening up in the ground near the clock tower. Several more of the same holes began to open up all around the park which made the small group of people even more scared. One by one, inky black hands rose out of the holes. They grabbed onto the edge of their individual holes, as if they were attempting to pull themselves out.
From each of the holes came a humanoid figure, around the height of human adults. Their bodies were an inky black with horns coming out of their heads. With their five clawed fingers, the creatures pulled themselves out of the holes and looked around with glowing golden eyes.
"Monsters!" one of the men in the group shouted. The rest of the group had their own moment to scream and shout before they split up in multiple directions. Unfortunately for them, once the monsters had gotten their bearings, they gave chase right away. The group stood no chance at all as the monsters began their ruthless assault. While some were lucky to only have their necks sliced open, others were nowhere near as fortunate as the creatures pounced on them and tore them to shreds with their claws.
'Watch and behold, Issac. These demons are your minions. Take in the fear of these humans. Let their torment make you strong as your soldiers deliver the judgement that will change the world,' the voice said to Issac. Instead of watching the bloodshed, Issac turned away.
"All of your sacrifices are for the greater good. Accept your death and let the woman I love return to this world," Issac said while he closed his eyes in an attempt to ignore the screams and cries for help.
"Do you honestly think it is that simple? These powerless humans will not be enough for what you seek," the voice pointed out.
"What do you mean? I did what you said and summoned the demons. I accepted darkness into my body. What more do I need to do?!" Issac questioned.
"Patience, human. There is much we must do. For now, let us depart from this place. The demons shall take care of the witnesses. You will need to replenish your energy," the voice replied. Issac slowly began to move his free hand towards his head as the voice spoke. He moved his hand away when he let out a yawn. Issac shook his head a bit while he started walking away from the clock tower. He didn't bother to look back at the chaos being caused by the newly released demons as he walked away.
'All of this will be worth it in the end,' Issac convinced himself.
*Chapter 10: Broken Hearts*
Shaymin awoke with a start mere minutes later, to Kevin yelling at her. "Shaymin! Shaymin, get up! Wake up!" "Mew Christ; I'm up!" Shaymin moaned. She wearily turned to look at where Tyler had been earlier, but he still hadn't returned. "What's... What's going on? A-And - yawn - where's Tyler?" "That's just it," Kevin answered, with an urgent tone. "Sakura found him in the bathroom, unconscious!" The instant Kevin finished his sentence, Shaymin leapt from the bed. She ran for the door, but, as Kevin was already there, she didn't get far. "Sorry, but I already called 911," Kevin explained. "The paramedics will be here any second, and you need to hide." "Absolutely not! Let me out!" Shaymin insisted. "If they see you, we're gonna have more problems that we don't need," Kevin argued. "Now, hide!" Kevin's voice was quite official-sounding, but Shaymin was completely undeterred. If anything, Shaymin only got more stubborn. Arceus Himself literally couldn't keep her away from her love, and she certainly wouldn't be impeded by a mere human. "I'll ask nicely, then. Kevin, please, let me out of here; I need to see Tyler." Unfortunately, neither demands nor politeness would sway Kevin. "Sorry, Shay. Don't worry, though; he's in good hands. Ellie's got him." That was all Shaymin needed to hear. Honestly, if Kevin had begun the conversation by informing her that her beloved Tyler was being looked after by the very person they - and Kevin, especially, being a police officer - should've been keeping him away from, she would've done exactly what she was about to do right then. "Alright, then; if she's looking after him, I guess there's only one thing to do." Before Kevin could even ask what that thing was, he was hit point-blank by a sphere of neon green energy, which threw him backwards with such force, the bedroom door splintered when he fell into it. With her only show of remorse being a "you-did-this-to-yourself" shake of her head, Shaymin stepped over Kevin's sprawled out body and ran to the bathroom. It occurred to her that any paramedic in their right mind would ask why there was a broken door, but, at the moment, it didn't matter to her.
The bathroom door was open, for good and obvious reasons, so Shaymin didn't have to break it like she did to the bedroom door. She was no less inclined when she entered the bathroom, however, to attack than she was earlier. Sure enough, Eleanor and Prudence were knelt beside Tyler's body. Shaymin took a moment, not even paying mind to the girls' questions of what the loud bang they heard earlier was from, to steel herself for what she was about to see. Or what she thought she was about to see. She didn't know it, but what was happening was rather close to a role reversal. Where, before, Tyler was standing over her, she would soon be, for lack of a better term, standing over him. The difference, however, was quite obvious. Shaymin had almost no idea what was wrong, or how to help. Nonetheless, she was determined to be by his side, and what she had to do was obvious. Eleanor began asking her again what she was doing, but Shaymin interrupted her with a dark, sinister snarl. "Get. Out. Of. Here."
Shaymin knew, or, at least, part of her did, that the odds of her, as small as she was, intimidating Eleanor were slim. Prudence, however, knew well enough to leave the room. She knew that, as soon as the thought occurred to Shaymin that, as a Legendary, she wielded immense power, Eleanor would almost definitely get killed. Unsurprisingly, the response Shaymin received for her threat was a scoff, followed by "not a chance, mate!". As furious as she was, and for good reason, Shaymin couldn't help but laugh as she took a few steps toward Eleanor, then fixed her with an angry glare. "Wanna bet?" Shaymin wanted nothing more at that moment than to assault the abusive girl in front of her. Unfortunately, she didn't get the chance; just as she was preparing to pounce, she heard sirens wailing in the distance. Before she scurried off to find a hiding place, though, she gave Eleanor a dire warning. "If he doesn't make it through this, you're next." As she left, she kept her head held high. It wasn't obvious to anyone but herself that she was choking up, tears spilling down her face. "Please!" she whispered pleadingly. "Don't take him from me! You granted my wish and brought me back so I could be with him. He means the world to me, and You know that. I'm begging You; don't take him away!" To escape detection, she hid in the backyard, blending in incredibly well with a flowerbed. There she stayed as the paramedics carried the love and light of her life away.
Despite begging and pleading, Shaymin couldn't join the others. She suffered an agonising wait while they went to the hospital. Each minute seemed an hour as she worriedly padded around the house. "This isn't fair!" she finally decided, in a childish whine she wouldn't have dared to speak in, were she not certain she was the only one who could hear it. Despite her age, she still was a child at heart. And she wished, besides the obvious desire of Tyler's safe return, that she was young enough to justify curling up in his lap and sobbing hysterically. As had been commonplace lately, the obvious reality slipped her mind; age be damned, she was small enough to still manage a good cuddle and cry without causing Tyler any discomfort. "He doesn't deserve this!" she continued, referring, of course, to Tyler. "I should be there with him; not that bitch!" Even calling Eleanor a bitch didn't seem to sum up the hatred Shaymin held towards her, but she didn't feel comfortable uttering the 4-letter word that better described it; she swallowed, then shook her head, as if trying to dislodge the word from her thoughts. "I-If he..." Shaymin whimpered tearfully. "I-I-If he d-doesn't make it,... I-I'll..." What she would do, she didn't get to say; so preoccupied was she, she didn't notice Kevin entering the living room, until he actually spoke to her. In fact, she was visibly shocked when he did. "Shaymin,... I'm sorry, but I have some bad news."
The tone Kevin spoke in was sad and serious; Shaymin knew in an instant he wasn't kidding. However, she could only formulate a single question. "Where's Tyler?" Kevin let out a heavy sigh, then sat down on a nearby couch and beckoned Shaymin to join him, which she refused to do. Knowing he couldn't keep the truth from her, he didn't bother. "Look, Shay... I'm sorry; there was nothing the doctors could do." All Shaymin needed to hear was "I'm sorry." She knew full well that very rarely is that followed by good news. She took a few steps back and shook her head. "You're lying." "I wish I was," Kevin replied. "The doctors said an aneurysm burst in his chest. He was gone before he got to the hospital." To say that Shaymin cried was an understatement; Kevin hadn't heard such heart-wrenching wailing in his life. He reached out to pet her, but she jerked away. Then, both to Shaymin's delight and fury at once, Eleanor walked in. "Oi! Shay, are you al- BLOODY HELL!!!!!!" In an instant, Shaymin was upon her. Shaymin's teeth and claws weren't incredibly sharp, but her assault still left some wounds. Kevin was quick to respond, and, all at once, Shaymin yelped as she fell to the floor with a soft thud, and began twitching violently. Kevin had hit her with a stun gun. Eleanor, battered and cut up, leaned against the wall, shaking in fear. "Thanks for that, mate."
The next week, leading up to Tyler's funeral, was horrific for Shaymin. Sleep was fitful and came with much effort, when it came at all. She had night terrors constantly, causing Kevin and Prudence to drown out her wailing with a radio. Obviously, they also got precious little sleep. Shaymin refused all offers of food, and barely even took her medicine. Losing Tyler destroyed her. When she wasn't crying and screaming, she spent the week in a stupor. Her body was repaired, but she may as well have been in Kalos, as little as she seemed to notice anything. It took until the day of the funeral for her to engage in an active conversation. "I'm going with you." "Absolutely not," Kevin said firmly. "Are you out of your mind?!" "I have been, since he died," Shaymin answered, unwavering. "And I'm going, if I have to crawl on my hindpaws!" "And what will you do when everyone sees a wild Shaymin?!" Kevin demanded. "You'll be inside a Poké Ball before you know what hit you!" Shaymin scoffed at that. "Only if I let them catch me! More to the point, Kevin, you can't tell me what to do!" Their argument continued for some time before Kevin finally gave in, reasoning that, if Shaymin wanted to get caught, it was up to her.
Despite being so vehement about attending Tyler's funeral, Shaymin kept herself scarce throughout the service. The amount of willpower it took her not to violently murder Eleanor was ridiculous. Instead, she occupied herself by looking around at the people who had gathered to mourn. She recognised Whitney straight away, and gave a slight smile, which was returned with a look of solemn understanding. Whitney didn't bring attention to Shaymin's presence; it didn't even surprise her very much. Having been Tyler's girlfriend in the past, she knew Shaymin's heartbreak almost as much as her own. Shaymin silently cursed the rarity of her own species; she wanted to sit in Whitney's lap. Instead, she could only return the pink-haired girl's gaze with a pleading look, and mouth the words "don't tell anyone," to which Whitney responded with an equally silent "don't worry; I won't," before gesturing as though she was pushing down on the air with one hand. Shaymin understood this as a signal to stay down to avoid detection. She did so, crawling beneath Kevin's chair and curled up, resembling an innocuous, flowering bush. This was a brilliant disguise, as the funeral was held outdoors. She kept quiet and still for a good portion of the funeral, but even she couldn't hold her peace indefinitely. The instant the casket was buried, she took off at a full sprint towards the gravestone.
Kevin wasn't quick enough to subdue her, and Eleanor didn't care one way or the other. Shaymin's presence didn't go unnoticed. Several people threw Poké Balls at her. She made no attempt to dodge, so she got pelted as she ran. An astonishing thing happened, though. The Poké Balls that hit her didn't open; they recognised her as already having a trainer. So it was as she ran to her beloved's resting place. Finally, she stopped running, only to collapse and cry, like she did several times before from her illness. This time, though, pure emotion was behind her tears. "This isn't fair! After all he did,... he... We were... supposed to be together! A-And now..." It was as if Shaymin only fully realised the situation when she spoke of it. "HE'S GONE!!!!!!" she wailed, bringing over half of the crowd to tears. She was so distraught, she failed to notice that she had undergone an amazing transformation! She was considerably taller, and resembled a reindeer, rather than a hedgehog. She kept her white fur, save for her paws and what used to be her quills. Those were green, and her quills looked more like medium-length hair. Her ears had grown immensely, resembling a cross between a Latias' wings and a fleur-de-lis. The pink flowers that adorned her had changed into what appeared to be a crimson scarf made of flower petals.
"I was supposed to watch over him,... a-and keep him safe. B-B-But I... I guess I couldn't do it. Not even for the person who meant more to me than anyone and anything else in the world!" Shaymin didn't look back at the crowd as she cried. She couldn't bear to turn her back on Tyler. His death darkened her entire outlook on life. She didn't have the willpower to do anything but sob hysterically and repeat several confessions of her love. Tyler's tragic passing rocked everyone who knew him as a kind, compassionate soul. However, in the aftermath, life eventually returned to normal for Kevin and Eleanor. Shaymin wasn't the same afterwards.
*Epilogue: Where Are They Now?*
Tyler's body was exhumed only a few days after the funeral, and brought to the hospital for an autopsy. His cause of death was something that could hardly have been predicted. Hypertension, brought on by his tumultuous relationship with Eleanor, led to an asymptomatic aortic aneurysm. Because Tyler was too busy, he didn't bother to get checked, and the aneurysm worsened, leading up to an aortic dissection, closely followed by aortic rupture. The autopsy was also able to confirm that Eleanor had abused him; several marks hadn't fully healed, and there was quite a bit of evidence of sexual abuse, as well. As a result, Eleanor was incarcerated for domestic violence. She was also stripped of a diamond-shaped pin(a Plain Badge, given to trainers who triumph over Whitney, the Goldenrod City Gym Leader.), as well as a Poké Ball containing a Cinccino. Both of those items belonged to Tyler, and the badge was set in his grave once he was laid back to rest. Tyler's gravestone read as follows:
"Dr. Tyler Miller
Loved by many, but died of a broken heart."
Carved below that was "I'll never forget you, Ty.", next to which was a heart. Shaymin had used her Magical Leaf attack for carving. As for Eleanor, she was soon released on bail.
Shaymin spiralled into a deep depression she never returned from. She spent the rest of her life guarding Tyler's grave. Her life was a very short one, however. She was still sick, and, because she didn't take her medicine, she passed away after a violent episode of vomiting. As her soul departed, the earth itself sprang to life, yielding a breathtaking abundance of flowers. Even Arceus wept openly at Shaymin's unfailing devotion.
Whitney was given Tyler's Cinccino to take care of, and she did a fantastic job of doing so. Tragically, her life was also cut short; she fell from the second story balcony of her house and broke her neck. She was pregnant, and doctors were able to save her baby. Whitney's boyfriend was unjustly imprisoned for her death.
Kevin, shaken up from the knowledge that Eleanor contributed to Tyler's death, dedicated his life to betterment. He eventually became a police chief, and was able to reopen the case Whitney's boyfriend was imprisoned for, and get him released. Afterwards, Kevin and his lovely daughter lived together happily with their son, Arthur.
Team Espus remained the Orre League champions for several years, before losing in a match against Michael and Wes, the previous champions. Team Espus won the titles back in the next event.
The story of Tyler and Shaymin was told again and again, through the ages. Their tragic, yet heartwarming tale served as a message, and as proof that love knows no boundaries.
Well, that's it! Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. And thanks, Neptune and Wolfie, for allowing me to include you. This has been a journey for me; in fact, as far as I can remember, it's only the 4th multi-chapter story I've finished. The end may come as a shock, but I wanted this to end badly. I wanted to show that the good guys don't always win. So, as much as you may hate me for killing 3 pivotal characters, please understand that I had planned it like that for some time. Also, I was hoping someone would get this reference before I had to explain it, but I've kept you amazing people in the dark way too long. The Eleanor Miller in this story is a humanised version of the character of the same name from The Chipettes. I don't hate her; in fact, she's one of my favourite characters from the entire AATC franchise. She was responsible for some of my favourite moments in The Squeakquel, Chipwrecked, and The Road Chip. I wrote her as a bitch and a nymphomaniac because that's how the real Kevin thought she should be.
Aortic rupture was chosen for Tyler's cause of death because it's practically asymptomatic until it's too late to do something about it. Shaymin died of primary amebic meningoencephalitis, obviously. And, of course, Whitney took a nasty spill. Side note, I'm not too fond of redheads usually, but there are exceptions, and Whitney is adorable! And, of course, I had to at least try and add continuity from the "official" canon. Well, I suppose the important question is do you like it? If so, would you like to see more? Backstory, alternate universe, etc.