Pokemon Fan Fiction / Pokemon Fan Fiction / Fan Fiction ❯ Dragon Realms ❯ Shadow of Thy Former Self ( Chapter 9 )
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Shadow of Thy Former Self
By nightdragon0 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All at once, the six combatants fired off their various elemental attacks. Hyper Beam from Bahamut, Flamethrower from Lombadra and Bashaamo, Asiyu's and Raguragi's Ice Beams and Juncan's Leaf Blade.
The attacks met in a huge explosion that sent the 3 Legendary Dragons flying into a wall, as well as stirring up a huge amount of dirt.
"Ow...that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do..." Asiyu muttered.
"Grrr...don't worry..." Bahamut pulled himself up. "They couldn't have possibly stood up to that either...huh?!"
When the dust cleared however, their 3 opponents were still standing, Bashaamo and Juncan crouched behind Raguragi, whose large mass was glowing with a purple light.
"Damn, Mirror Coat." Asiyu realized.
"Down already?" Bashaamo taunted. "I was expecting a lot more fight from you."
"You want a fight? I'll give ya one!" Lombadra leapt forward. "Fire Punch!"
"No wait!" Asiyu called.
Bashaamo sidestepped and knocked Lombadra's fist away with a spinning kick. She followed that up by changing legs and sending a Blaze Kick into the Dragon's face. Lombadra wasn't about to be beaten and broke into a furious fistfight with the Fire elemental.
"Something is very strange." Asiyu whispered. "This aura, just doesn't feel right."
<That's what you were saying before.> Hazuki nodded. <But what is it?>
"Feels almost as if..."
"Watch out!" Bahamut tackled the Ice Dragon, dragging her away as a Mud Shot splattered on the spot they'd been standing on. "Forget it! We'll have to figure out our feelings after we take care of these guys!"
Raguragi continued firing off his attacks, forcing Bahamut to start moving again. Using his momentum, the Steel Dragon bounced off a wall and sprang towards the Swampert. Raguragi stood his ground for a surprisingly long time, and just before Bahamut was about to make contact, suddenly disappeared.
"What the?!" Bahamut abruptly halted his charge, causing him to stumble.
All of sudden, Raguragi leapt down from a ledge above, slamming down on Bahamut's back, causing him to scream in pain.
<It looked like he was on Agility, but I don't remember his species being able to do that.> Gwyen remarked. <Asiyu, to your left!>
Juncan's surprise Leaf Blade attack left a couple of long scars along Asiyu left shoulder. The reptile curled into a ball as he pushed against her body, bouncing away. Asiyu returned fire with Ice Beam, missing her spinning opponent by inches. Juncan charged in for a second run, which Asiyu literally met head on.
However, as the two clashed, Asiyu felt something. A shock of energy....one very familiar.
"What...Grix...?! No..." Asiyu stared, wide eyed.
"Huh...this is...?" Juncan looked down at the left side of his chest. On it was the glowing image of a green colored crystal.
Asiyu's Spirit Crystal seemed to have a reaction to it, appearing also at her chest area and glowing with its icy radiance.
Juncan quickly shoved her away and jumped to the side.
"Hey guys, they're powered by Spirit Crystals too!" Juncan told his comrades, who turned towards him, ceasing their assault and allowing Bahamut and Lombadra to gather beside Asiyu.
"What do you mean 'too'?!" Bahamut demanded, clutching his side in pain.
"I suppose you haven't figured out, have you?" Raguragi grinned, holding out his hands. Clasped in each one was a Spirit Crystal, one being a watery blue and the other a muddy brown. "Water and Ground Spirit Crystals, courtesy of the Dragons themselves."
Bashaamo had a similar display through her crystals were sky blue and maroon. The powers of Wind (Flying Element) and Fighting. Then Juncan's single crystal was most likely the one for the Grass Element.
<Those are...the elements of the Legendary Dragons who helped us before!> Firestorm gasped.
<How could I ever forget?> Nightslice agreed. <But they were alive...until at least that attack Zian described. Then that means...>
"Well, dead people don't need their powers, do they?" Raguragi laughed. "Or should I say, dead Dragons. Supposedly immortal, until at least these things were removed from them. I should also say that their destruction was quite favorable to our boss."
<They're...working for that dark creature that attacked Zian and the others.> Jade muttered.
<Sick b**tards!> Kris yelled.
"Now, now, no need to get so rude just when this conversation's turning out beneficial for both our sides." Raguragi calmly waved a finger. "Which leads me to this part. We were aware that 7 Dragons once guarded your world, and they've now been taken care of."
Zian... Firestorm thought.
"And 9 others perished in the war that split our two worlds apart." Raguragi continued. "The Legendary Dragons of Steel, Fire and Ice were amongst the latter 9. Yet, you stand here before us. Care to give us some insight before we tear you limb from limb?"
That seemed to shock the 3 Dragons to a point of utter disbelief and astonishment. So much that none of them were able to speak a single word.
"Cat got your tongue?" Raguragi smirked.
"Hey, remember that these things store memories, sort of like a computer?" Juncan tapped his comrade on the shoulder, indicating his green Spirit Crystal.
"No...it's..." Bahamut staggered.
"Ohhh, so that's it." Raguragi nodded. "That's why you needed those other bunch of creatures to give you a physical form. Because all of you are nothing more than memories, stored within the Spirit Crystals. Fascinating what a human and a Pokemon can do with it."
"That's nothing to be happy about. They're scattered all around this world." Juncan began. "And we not only have to find them all, but..."
Bashaamo stomped on his foot, silencing the Grass type at once.
"That's right, enough talk." Raguragi agreed. "Well Dragons, ready to die...again?"
<Guys, snap out of it!> Kris ordered. <Don't let them mess with your minds!>
Unfortunately, all Bahamut, Lombadra and Asiyu did was back away from their approaching opponents.
Bashaamo was in the process of raising her fist when she abruptly dropped to her knees, screaming in pain.
<NO! I...won't....let you....use me....like this!> A voice cried out.
A huge shimmering form materialized in front of the three villains, shinning with such intensity that it forced the group to shield their eyes.
"Arist!" Lombadra recognized.
The image of the large gray Wyvern before them was indeed the once time Legendary Dragon of the Flying attribute. Only now his body didn't look nearly as good.
His leathery wings were in tattered, ripped up so badly that we would never fly again. His body was scarred and bleeding in multiple places. The flesh around his left knee was torn and hanging loose. There was also a gaping wound in his right side, with several cracked ribs showing, protruding through the outer scales. The right side of his lizard head was badly burnt, with the eye missing.
In fact, he could've easily passed off as the living dead.
<Get out of here! Run!> The horrific image of Arist screamed. <You can't win, not now! Get...stronger....RRAAGGHHH...Zian....tell....we're not all...not all...dead!>
"What's going on?!" Raguragi demanded.
"His wandering soul is communicating with them through his Spirit Crystal." Bashaamo replied, clutching her head in rage. "Got to...get control!"
<I can't...move on to the afterlife.> Arist managed. <Soul...still...trapped....near...body...>
"Let's go! Now!" Asiyu urged.
"Yeah, take cover!" Bahamut ordered, firing his arm mounted blasters, at full power, into the ceiling. His action caused the entire area to start shaking as huge rocks fell from above.
"Arist!" Lombadra cried as Asiyu dragged him away.
<Go...just run...now!> Arist's voice faded away.
"This way!" Bahamut leapt up to the hole in the ceiling and pulled himself through, followed closely by his friends.
"Grrr...another time then!" Raguragi snarled, turning to his comrades. "Let's get out of here before we're buried alive!"
Several minutes later, the 3 Legendary Dragons stood on an adjacent slope, glancing over at the mountain, which they'd caused a good section of, to collapse. It wasn't a very tall mountain, but the damage to the surrounding forest was nevertheless, significant.
<That was some revelation, eh guys?> Jade spoke.
The 3 Dragons remained silent.
<Hey, snap out of it you people!> Nightslice shouted. <It's not the end of the world!>
"That's easy for you to say." Bahamut muttered sorely.
"Don't be. It's just that...I should've known all along." The Steel Dragon shook his head. "We are nothing more than memories. The real me is long dead, long gone."
"Being a shadow of your former self, it's disturbing." Asiyu added in.
"Then, what are we now, really?" Lombadra looked down at his armored, part metallic body. "No more than one of your computer programs?"
<No, you can believe what you want, but I don't think that's true.> Kris spoke up. <I've spent enough time with you guys, or inside you guys, to see that you still think and feel. Just like the rest of us.>
"I..." Bahamut started.
<She's right you know.> Nightslice continued. <I've seen many good people die, and not all of them get a second chance at life. Don't you see? That's just what you have now. Even if you are made up of memories, those are important too. And you're making new memories everyday, isn't that a good enough reason to carry on?>
<Let's put it this way.> Kris said firmly. <We now have 3 main goals: one, to find the other Legendary Dragons and reclaim any lost Spirit Crystals. Two, to destroy the creature that took them out. And three, to figure out a way back to our own world. But I don't think my group by itself will be able to do it. So...I want to ask if you could lend us a claw?>
The 3 Dragons exchanged glances and then nodded.
"Like you, we too want to assist our brethren." Bahamut replied. "And we also want to find our true reason for being here. But I don't think my group can do it alone. So, could you lend us a hand?"
<Yuck, mushiness.> Gwyen sighed.
<Hey, Lombadra, are you crying?> Firestorm asked.
"What?! What the hell gave you that outrageous idea?!" The Fire Dragon demanded.
<We see through your eyes remember? And they're all watered up.>
"No, I just got something it my eye, that's all!"
<Don't need to be embarrassed big guy.> Jade cut in. <Firestorm looked a lot worse than you, back at that time when I accidentally backed that pickup truck over his tail...>
<You ran over Firestorm's tail?> Hazuki gasped. <Wow, that must've hurt.>
<Erm, guys. I just thought of something.> Nightslice commented. <Someone's got to tell Zian about...well...all this.>
At that, the 3 Legendary Dragons vanished in a flash of light, leaving the 3 humans and 3 Pokemon in a heap.
"Thanks for your support." Nightslice muttered sarcastically, pulling himself out of the pile.
"We'd better go back to the village." Kris decided, glancing at her exhausted group. "After we get some rest that is."
"Riot, you don't have to come you know."
"And let you walk all the way?" The Aerodactyl huffed.
"No, I'm worried about you not being fully recovered." Nala replied, leaning close to her partner's ear from her lying position on the flyer's back.
"And I'm also worried about you running off on your own. Besides, those doctors told me that I was fine."
"They recommended you rest for a while more, at least until the others came back."
"Speaking about the others..."
"Yeah, I know." Nala nodded. "I found a really interesting book in the village library containing some scriptures about this ancient beast that might help us. But nobody in the village was able to translate the ancient text, and I want to find somebody who can."
"You sure seemed in a hurry to leave, considering it's about 4am in the morning." Riot commented with a yawn. "Especially with Yusia back in the village."
"She's safe enough there. I told her we'd be back soon."
The two soared above the treetops, keeping high enough to be out of danger of accidentally hitting them. They were headed towards a mountain, in the opposite direction from the path Kris' group had taken, where an old hermit was said to live.
"Yes, it's about the book..."
"You stole it?!"
"No! I made a photocopy of the entire book." Nala tapped a roll of papers strapped to her belt pouch. "Besides, Cadalyn said that she would gladly lend it to us any time."
"I don't think she meant that literally." Riot sighed. "Well, we're here."
The flyer changed her course with the winds, circling around the area.
"Look, I think we can land on that ledge there." Nala pointed. "After that, we should probably wait till sunrise, where we'll be able to see better."
"Roger that." Riot replied, swooping in for a landing. "Still, the others won't be too happy with us, will they?"
"They'll be fine, I'm sure of it..."
"They did what?!" Kris gasped.
The rest of the party had arrived later in the morning only to find Nala and Riot missing. Cadalyn had met them at the village square, where the 3 humans started a discussion.
"I'm really sorry, but they just ran off on their own." Cadalyn bowed.
"She said she was going to be back soon." Yusia agreed, stepping up to the group.
"We're not blaming you, we're just surprised."
"Nala tends to do that a lot." Hazuki added in. "She and Riot can take care of themselves."
"I can't reach her on the com-link either." Jade walked over, tapping the black device strapped to his wrist. "Too much interference."
"There is a thunder storm brewing up." Cadalyn told them.
"Yeah, we can tell from the looks of the sky. Storm and Nightslice only managed to reach Zian thanks to the equipment you have in the village."
"It's not the most technologically advanced, but I'm glad it helps." Cadalyn smiled.
"We'd better get inside before the storm hits." Kris said to everyone. "And we'd better check with the boys and see if Zian managed to find anything."
"And well, that's basically what happened." Firestorm finished.
"...I see." Zian nodded. "Well, that explanation about the Dragon Melding does make perfect sense. I don't think your opponents were lying to you."
There was a hiss of static before Nightslice's voice came over the com-link.
"Seems we're out of clues at the moment." The Scizor said. "We're also stuck here until this storm lets up, which will be when?"
"Tomorrow, according to the weather forecasts." Zian replied, taking a glance at his computer screen.
"And about your friends..."
"No, you don't need to apologize. This just happened, and I know you're doing your best." Zian stared down at his chest, rising and falling with his breathing. "At least, there's hope that some of them are alive, out there somewhere. Erm, anyway come back to the lab once you can. I've been doing some research and I think I've got some leads."
"Which are?" Firestorm asked excitedly.
"I believe that some Spirit Crystals, while being thrown into this alternate world, were also thrown back in time. Hence, I looked up a bunch of articles about ancient artifacts, old myths and legends, strange sightings and such. You guys can check them out and hopefully find out more."
"Hey cool! Is this like one of those computer games where we get a bunch of missions to do? OW!!"
There were sounds of struggling on the other side before Nightslice responded.
"Sorry, Jade's been spoiling him way too much. But I think it sounds like a good plan."
"One thing, Kaiser's Forces apparently entered this world and recruited troops only recently. That's why I think they haven't found all the Spirit Crystals yet."
"Kaiser's Forces?" Kris' voice came over the line. She'd just entered the room as well.
"I know, you guys destroyed Kaiser before. But there's just no other way I could describe that evil force I felt. It has to be him, or at least something close to him."
"The Knight Blazer...my evil alter ego..." Nightslice whispered so softly that it went practically unheard by all.
"What was that?" Kris asked.
"Oh, nothing, just clearing my throat. Ahem."
"Guys, your transmission's breaking up." Zian cut in. "The storm must be hitting pretty badly."
"Yeah, you're right." Nightslice agreed. "We'll see you when we get back them. Over and out."
Zian leaned his head back against the chair as the com-link clicked off. The rain was already beating against the room's closed windows, making rhythmic thuds.
He had just realized how exhausted he was, having worked through much of the night. Besides the computer and keyboard on the table, there was the microphone he'd been speaking through, the electronic pointer he used to 'type' and a couple cups of...what was that? Coffee.
He'd wanted so much to be able to do something, something to make it up to the rest.
At itch on his shoulder immediately reminded him of own disability, when his arm didn't respond to his mind's calling. He knew Epsilon would answer to any request, but Zian was content with rubbing his chin against the affected shoulder.
Utterly pitiful state to be seen in, he'd told himself over and over again. But to think about it, his friends, the ones he'd left behind, could be in worse conditions. Zian hadn't seen the ghostly apparition of Arist, but he still shuddered at the thought.
The Dragon closed his eyes tightly. What he really needed now was some rest.
"On second thought, I really should've stayed at the village!" Riot yelled over the pouring rain.
"Thanks for your vote of confidence." Nala replied sarcastically.
The pair pressed themselves against the rocky wall, carefully making their way up the narrow slope. It certainly wasn't Riot's forte, both walking in the rain and on the path, but she managed it with Nala's help.
"If I'd known it was going to start pouring this much, I could've skipped the rest period!" Nala remarked.
"If I remember, you were the one who fell asleep. And guess who had to wake you up when it started raining?"
"All right, all right. My mistake. I'm sorry, OK?"
The two continued on until Nala spotted an alcove at the side of the mountain. The black haired girl was gesturing towards it when a sudden flash of lightning, accompanied by the crackle of thunder, startled her.
Nala screamed and dropped to her knees, covering her head. After a while, she realized that Riot had her wings wrapped around her body.
"Hey Riot...I'm fine. Thanks." Nala muttered, slightly embarrassed.
"Come on, let's get under cover." Riot urged, pushing her partner into the alcove.
They were still wet, something inevitable in a downpour of this intensity, but at least they were shielded from the worst of the storm.
"Guess I slipped up back there." Nala sighed. "It could've been worse if you weren't there."
"That's what friends are for, right?"
"I know...but Kris probably wouldn't have made that mistake. She could do things a lot better, even when she was my age."
"You shouldn't keep comparing yourself to her, Nala." As Riot spoke, another bolt of lightning flashed outside.
"Yeah...it's just that we went through pretty similar things. Team Rocket ruined our lives and such, you know. But she's just this perfect leader. Most of us barely knew her after the battle with Kaiser, and yet she was able to bring us together during the Chimera Incident. Now..."
"Oh, I see. You're jealous about Kris' and the other's new Dragon Melding abilities."
"Don't need to go beating round the bush. Aside from it being practically written all over your face, I've known you long enough to tell."
"I guess so. I really want to be useful in this situation." Nala turned her head to look out from their hiding place, just as a flash of lightning lit up the area. "Wait! Look there!"
"I'm pointing towards it. When the next flash of lightning comes..."
Soon, Riot saw what her partner had been pointing at. Partially concealed by the rocks ahead was a sturdy wooden hut.
"That has to be where the hermit lives!" Nala said excitedly. "Come on!"
With Riot close behind, Nala dashed up to the hut and knocked on the door.
"Hello? Anybody he-whoa!" The wooden door was not locked and swung open from Nala's touch. "Erm...anybody?"
Nala pulled out a lighter from her pocket and flicked it on, only to find an empty room. An old hammock was strung up in a corner, a desk across from it and a stove next to the door. However, there was also a large amount of dust and spider webs covering everything.
"From the looks of this place, no one's been here for many years." Riot remarked, moving into the hut.
"I have to agree with you." Nala lit a candle on the table and used its light to get a better look around. "Whoever used to live here also seems to have left in a big hurry."
Just then, a slight glitter caught Nala's attention. She reached down and pulled out a candle stand from beneath a pile of rubble. It stood nearly as tall as Nala and was both still shiny and rather heavy.
"This thing's still in perfect condition after all this time?" Riot wondered.
Nala was examining the candle stand when she found a piece of parchment tied to its base.
"Riot, take a look at this!" Nala unrolled the parchment and placed it down on the table.
The writing was indecipherable to both of them, but fortunately there were also sketches. One image was of the hut's position on mountain. Several arrows indicated location of a tunnel on the slope below them.
"That would seem to be the alcove we were taking shelter in just now." Riot nodded.
The final sketch was that of a circle of candle stands and a thunder storm.
"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Nala grinned. "We just might've stumbled onto something interesting here!"
"The boat will be docking in about 20 minutes. They can't go any further because of the storm. We'll have to walk the rest of the way." Abetos said, entering their small private cabin.
"Got it. Thanks partner." Alken nodded.
Abetos then jumped up onto the seat, curling himself into a comfortable position. As comfortable as he could get as least, with all the waves rocking their boat.
It surprised Alken about how ignorant this world's population was. As a human in this Pokemon inhabited world, he was pretty different, and yet was nobody paid any attention to him.
It's a good thing, I guess. Everyone's only concerned about minding their own business. He thought.
Just in case, Alken still wore a brown cloak with a hood that covered his entire body.
"Has our Dragon shown you anything new yet?" Abetos asked, snapping Alken out of his thoughts.
"Skiar? No, not yet." Alken patted the heavy object on his lap.
It was pouch specially designed to fit around a human-shaped Pokemon's thigh, so it suited Alken nicely. Held within the pouch was a machine gun, an MP5, something he'd picked up after knocking out a pair of would-be Sandslash muggers.
The Spirit Crystal he carried had somehow merged with the weapon, altering its design so that it was shaped like a Dragon's head, with the bullets being fired from its 'mouth'. Another thing was that the bullets were changed into special black colored energy bursts.
Skiar seemed to have chosen that weapon to dwell in, for reasons unknown. Not that either could get him to say anyway. The Darkness elemental was always silent, and only communicated with the pair through images and visions he sent into their minds.
Alken and Abetos would then have to figure out the rest from there. They'd done well so far and the path was leading them to a cavern close to the Northern coast of the Sootopolis Island.
"I really wonder what he's looking for." Abetos muttered. "But I have to say, his mind's eye is very well developed."
"You know that he suffers from the same condition as me, right?"
"Wait, he's blind too?"
"In a certain sense. You've told me that any images he sends you are in black and white. It's because his other sense are so strong, possibly with the help of a sixth sense, that he can sort of form pictures without being able to see. He gives me that impression at least."
"Hmm...I always thought those were his memories of the past." Alken replied. "Its like he's searching for something, but what? And why?"
"With him, who knows?" Abetos nodded, before laying his head down.
"You've got that right, partner."
"This is it! Through here!" Nala called.
After several minutes of clawing through the rock and dirt, Nala and Riot found a hidden tunnel at the back of the small cave. Upon squeezing through, they'd emerged into a much larger chamber.
It was almost pitch dark, lit only by the candle they carried. But even in the dim light, Nala realized there was a circle of 9 high candle stands positioned in the middle of the room. There was a burnt out candle in each of the stands, which Nala lit, considerably brightening the cavern.
With the additional light, both could see that there were two openings in the ceiling, where the rainwater was falling into their chamber and flowing out through cracks in the floor.
"This structure doesn't seem natural." Riot growled.
"Look, I think there's a spot here for the candle stand we found!" Nala called.
Indeed, the candle stands looked very similar and Riot made no protests in dragging the stand over, helping Nala to position it.
"Guess we'll learn what the big secret's about once we light this one." Nala indicated the candle stand they'd just put up.
"Better be on guard too. There's no telling what might happen." Riot cautioned.
"Right, I know that. Well, here we go." Nala fitted her candle into its stand and sprinted back to Riot's position, beside the entrance.
For several minutes, nothing happened.
Then, two blinding bolts of lightning sudden flew in through the openings, striking the center of the circle. Both girls cried out in shock, shielding their eyes from the light. After that, it felt as they were being lifted up and spun around with the wind.
All they could do, however, was scream.