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Old 03-15-2009, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Chapter 6 – The Sought-For Matter

Having earned the beauty ribbon in the normal rank, Solonn’s next goal was to obtain a ribbon in the super rank. The next super rank contest was slated for the fourteenth of November. Solonn lamented the long span of time that separated him from the opportunity to gain his next ribbon, but he also recognized its value. He would have even more time to rehearse than he’d had prior to his last contest, time that he was sure he would need in order to sufficiently prepare him to compete to the higher standard now demanded by his higher rank.

Though Solonn would have more time to prepare for the upcoming contest than he’d had for the previous one, he would have less time to train with his coordinator. It was now early September, and a new school year had begun, leaving Morgan with less time to spend at home.

Morgan wasn’t the only one who was being drawn away from home; Eliza was a second-grade teacher at one of the local elementary schools. With both of the Yorkes away during much of the daytime, Solonn now found himself left home alone for several hours on end nearly every day. Even Morgan’s other pokémon were not around to keep him company; most of them preferred to remain in their capture balls at nearly all times. Sei was an exception, but she seemed to prefer to go out into the city (doing gods only knew what; she never spoke of what her excursions entailed) while the humans were away.

Not that Solonn exactly minded the solitude, though. He readily made use of the quiet time afforded by the absence of the others in order to meditate upon his connection to the element of ice, which in turn aided him in conceiving and practicing new ice displays. Solonn quickly grew to treasure these hours alone, time that belonged strictly to himself and his element. The only thing he could think of that would make him enjoy those sessions more was if he were able to operate Morgan’s stereo and thus enrich them with music.

One Tuesday morning, Solonn was preparing to begin another of these sessions, initiating a ritual he had devised that now preceded each period of solitary rehearsal. He was about to enter the meditative state that would allow him to more quickly achieve a very strong and deep connection with his element when he heard a peculiar sound: a sort of scrabbling noise coming from just outside the backyard’s fence. Solonn would normally have dismissed such a sound, but the noise that immediately followed it—distinctly a vocalization of some sort, and one that sounded rather puzzled—made it hard to ignore. Solonn listened closely to the scrabbling noise, noting a change in its quality as its source transferred whatever action it was that was making that sound onto another type of surface.

There’s something on the fence… Solonn knew at once, but could not even begin to guess what that something could be. A second later, however, the mystery solved itself when six clawed, purple fingers appeared atop the fence, closely followed by the rest of their owner’s body.

Solonn was now staring into the huge, crystalline eyes of a sableye who now sat atop the fence. He cocked his head at Solonn, his face holding a quizzical expression.

“Who’re you?” the sableye asked in a perky, slightly rasping voice.

Solonn gave the sableye a bemused look. “I could ask you the same.”

The sableye chuckled weirdly, giving no other response to Solonn’s retort. He then sprang from the fence and onto the trunk of the sitrus tree in the backyard, clinging to the bark with sprawled limbs. He scrabbled up the tree and sat down upon one of its branches, letting his short legs dangle off the side.

Solonn could not even begin to figure out what in the world the little creature was doing, but he quickly decided that he had better things to do than to bother with the sableye. He closed his eyes and commenced his meditation, determined to ignore the presence perched above him. He might have succeeded in this endeavor if it weren’t for the overripe sitrus berry that burst against the top of his head a second later.

Solonn turned a flat, annoyed glare upward. The sableye above him was grinning, showing an incredible number of tiny, pointed teeth. “What do you want, exactly?” Solonn demanded of him.

The sableye stared down at Solonn for several moments with his brow furrowed, feigning deep thought. “I think I want to throw more fruit at you,” he replied finally. With a faint whoosh, the sableye seemed to turn into smoke and shadows, then vanished in a faint attack. There was a split-second’s worth of the sound of rustling amidst the branches before the sableye reappeared on the branch above Solonn, both arms laden with more sitrus berries. He proceeded at once to throw them at Solonn, but they collided in vain with the glalie’s deep blue protect aura.

“You’re no fun,” the sableye pouted. He clambered down the tree trunk and sat down next to Solonn, drumming his fingers on the ground for a brief while. Then he began poking Solonn in the side, prodding at the gaps in the glalie’s armor.

With an exasperated sigh, Solonn turned to face him. “Could you leave me alone, please?”

The sableye left Solonn alone—for about five seconds. Then he emitted a massive groan of boredom. A second later, he climbed back up the tree. He hung upside-down from a branch for a moment and then dropped down right onto the glalie’s head.

Growling deep in his throat, Solonn tried very hard to ignore the sableye, who was now dancing atop his head. There is definitely something wrong with that creature’s mind, he determined with absolute certainty. As far as he was aware, sane, normal people typically did not just enter someone’s personal space and begin pestering them with no reason or explanation.

“Is there any reason why you need to be doing this to me?” Solonn asked, somehow managing to keep most of his impatience out of his tone.

“Hm? No, not really,” the sableye answered airily. He continued to skitter around upon Solonn’s head for a few moments more, then crawled headfirst down the glalie’s forehead and lowered his face between Solonn’s eyes, grinning. “Hi.”

“Go away, please,” Solonn said through gritted teeth.

The sableye shook his head solemnly, continuing to stare right into the glalie’s eyes. Suddenly, he recoiled, pulling his head back as though something had just taken a swipe at it. His faceted eyes flashed; he’d have been blinking in surprise if he had possessed eyelids.

“Hmmm…” the sableye said as he brought his face even closer to Solonn’s.

“What in the name of all gods are you doing now?” Solonn demanded.

“I’m seeing you in a whole new way…” the sableye said in a voice that suggested that he was trying to sound mystical. “Hmmm… very interesting. Very interesting, indeed…”

“Are you quite finished bothering me?” Solonn said, at the very limit of his patience.

The sableye seemed to take a moment to consider the question. “Almost,” he responded. Then he planted a very juicy kiss right on the diamond-shaped patch of bare hide in the middle of Solonn’s forehead. With that, he sprang off of the glalie’s head and onto the lawn, then turned and gave Solonn a Cheshire grin. “Buh-bye!” he said cheerfully, then scampered off across the lawn, scaled the fence, and disappeared over the side.

Supremely baffled by what had just transpired, Solonn breathed a sigh of relief now that the sableye had left the scene. Don’t try to make sense of that, Solonn advised himself, you’ll only end up with a headache for it. Giving the sableye no further thought, Solonn gratefully sent himself into the sweet serenity of his meditation.

* * *

The sableye scampered through the alleyways of Lilycove, anxious to get home as quickly as possible—he had made quite the discovery while pestering that oversized glalie. The sableye’s eyes held an peculiar sort of sight; if he looked hard enough, it showed him things beyond a person’s appearance—including secrets. Among the glalie’s secrets, there was one in particular that was quite remarkable, and the sableye knew that he wasn’t the only one who would take interest in it.

In no time at all, he arrived at a modest brick house, a place that he had called home for only a few days. He hurried up the walkway, pausing before the front door. Summoning his faint attack technique, he felt a momentary tingling of dark-type energy throughout his body before it swept him into a quick transformation. His solid form changed into shadowy wisps of black vapor before disappearing altogether. He then reappeared inside the house, returning to his previous form once more on the other side of the door.

Once indoors, the sableye began screeching excitedly to inform another resident of the house of his arrival. In short order, a male human picked his way swiftly but carefully through an adjacent hallway and into the living room, dodging scattered cardboard boxes that were filled with the things that he still had yet to unpack. The human had apparently just emerged from the shower; his collarbone-length, auburn hair was still sopping wet, and he had only bothered to throw on a pair of boxers before going to greet his pokémon.

“Hey, Xi,” he greeted the sableye. “Back kind of early today, aren’t you? Are you feeling all right?”

<I’m okay, Daron!> Xi cheerfully assured the human, employing the telepathic skills that he had inherited from his gastly father. He chuckled effervescently, his multitude of pointed teeth flashing in another of his enormous grins. <I just found something really neat, and I just couldn’t wait to tell you about it! Oh, you won’t believe it!>

“Is that right?” Daron said with a small laugh as he crossed the living room to the front door and scooped his pokémon up into his arms. He carried Xi over to the sofa and sat down. “So, what’d you find, hmm?”

Xi chuckled again. <You might not believe me if I just told you… I have to show you instead…> Xi told Daron, gesticulating dramatically and using the telepathic equivalent of his “mystical” voice.

Daron sighed. “Ah, that’s never pleasant… but, if you insist…” He lifted Xi up to eye-level. The sableye beamed at him, then pressed his palms against Daron’s temples. Daron braced himself for an experience that he knew would not be any less unpleasant than it had ever been before, forcing himself to stare unwaveringly right into Xi’s crystalline eyes. Those eyes lit up from within, and a sudden, painful jolt lanced into Daron’s head as Xi’s most recent memories rushed into his brain.

Almost as soon as the memory transfer had been initiated, the task was finished. Xi let go of his trainer’s head, and Daron produced a sound halfway between a sigh and a groan as he set the sableye down on the sofa cushion beside him, grateful that the process was such a quick one.

Xi looked up at his human companion with a grin. Daron was returning the sableye’s gaze with a positively awestruck expression, his brown eyes wide and staring.

“You did it…” Daron said. “I don’t believe it… less than a week on the job, and you hit pay dirt!” He let out a short laugh of sheer amazement and pride. “Great work, Xi!”

Xi gave a squeal of delight. <I knew you would like it!> he exclaimed while cheerfully applauding himself for his discovery.

“Oh, I’m not the only one who’ll like it,” Daron said. “I’m gonna go call him right now,” he added. He rose from the sofa and made his way into the kitchen, retrieving the cell phone that he’d left on the counter and immediately placing the call that he’d thought he would never get to make.

“Mr. Saller?” a kindly-sounding, elderly male voice said through the receiver a second later. “What a pleasant surprise to hear from you, my boy! Have you quite settled in to your new home yet?”

“Getting there,” Daron replied. “I’ve still got a bit of unpacking to do, I’ll admit, but I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to this place already. Xi and Cleo love it here,” he added.

“Oh good, good!” the voice on the phone responded. “So, tell me, my boy. What’s the occasion for this conversation, hmm?”

Daron smiled. “You might want to make sure you’re sitting down, sir.” He took a deep breath, then announced, “We’ve found it.”

Not a word issued from the receiver for a long moment. “…You’re quite certain?” the old man finally asked.

“One hundred percent,” Daron said confidently. “Xi’s eyes don’t lie, and he showed me exactly what they showed him.”

“Well, he’ll need to show me, as well. Can’t be certain any other way, after all, and we mustn’t move ahead until we are indeed certain,” the old man said. “You can transfer him here from the pokémon center.”

“Will do, sir,” Daron assured him.

“Good, good…” The old man gave a sigh of happiness. “It’s a wondrous thing, my boy, to see our goals coming to fruition so soon…”

“It sure is,” Daron concurred, nodding.

“Well, then,” the old man then said crisply, “once I have had my consultation with Mr. Xi, we’ll discuss our further course of action. Be on standby, my boy.”

“No problem, sir… And the authorities?”

“A non-issue, as I stated during our first meeting,” the voice on the phone told Daron in an assuring manner. “You need only concern yourself with the task at hand. See to it that everything is carried out without a hitch, and both you and your partners will be handsomely rewarded.”

“You can count on us,” Daron said coolly, and then the old man on the phone terminated the connection.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:22 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Eight days had passed since the appearance of the bothersome sableye. Much to Solonn’s appreciation, the sableye had not returned since, leaving Solonn free to practice his art without any disturbances.

At his summons, twin spires of ice extended toward the heavens, catching the sun’s rays with a brilliant sparkle. They began a sinuous dance while their choreographer watched them with an expression of deep serenity playing over his features.

“That’s very pretty,” said an unexpected, monotone voice from above.

Surprised, Solonn turned toward the source of the voice. Overhead, a venomoth hovered, scattering a small quantity of fine powder into the air with every flap of her wings.

Another unexpected guest, Solonn thought, his expression somewhat wary as he looked upon her. He could only hope that this visitor would not give him the same sort of company that the previous one had. “Er… thank you,” he said a bit awkwardly. He moved out from beneath the venomoth; the powder that was falling from her wings was beginning to irritate his eyes.

“Sorry to interrupt your performance,” the venomoth said, “but I was sent to give you something.”

The venomoth gave no further explanation for her next actions. Her wings suddenly made a dramatic shift from lavender to baby blue, and with a single, powerful flap, they tossed a cloud of pale blue sleep powder on a swift gust of wind at Solonn.

Taken by surprise, Solonn failed to do anything to avoid the attack and inhaled some of its dust before he could stop himself. He tried to retaliate at once, but his ice beam missed its mark, for his eyelids had closed irresistibly before he could aim it. He dropped to the ground, swallowed up in a profoundly deep sleep.

There was a faint rushing sound, and a mass of black vapors formed out of thin air just outside the back door. They solidified into the form of Xi, who clutched a great ball in his hands. His faceted eyes found the sleeping glalie, and he broke into a grin. “You did it, Cleo!” he congratulated, happily scampering across the lawn to join the venomoth.

Cleo’s pale blue eyes traveled downward toward the capture ball that Xi held. “Are you sure that’s the right one?” she asked.

“Uh-huh. I checked them all. This is the one!” the sableye answered with confidence, having scanned each of the capture balls and thereby having found the signature which designated the great ball as belonging to the glalie.

“And are you sure you know how to use that?”

“Uh, yeah,” Xi said a little crossly. With a exaggeratedly demonstrative air, he aimed the capture ball’s lens at the sleeping glalie and recalled him into the device. “See? I told you I could do it,” the sableye said triumphantly. Cleo merely rolled her eyes at him, eliciting a chuckle from her partner.

“Okay! We got what we came for,” Xi then said. “Let’s go!” With the great ball clutched tightly in his hand, he quickly scampered up and over the fence and departed the scene in gleeful haste, with Cleo winging her way close behind him.

* * *

Roughly three hours later, Solonn at last awakened from the sleep that had ambushed him, his eyes opening with something of a delay. Almost immediately, they registered the sight before them as unfamiliar. He found himself in the middle of a somewhat large, high-ceilinged, and presently rather dark room. The place was quite bare; there were no furnishings around him, and only a couple of scattered, human-made objects strewn about suggested that this place actually belonged to anyone. As far as Solonn could tell, he was presently alone.

He didn’t know what this place was or why he had been taken here, but he was quite sure that he didn’t want to stay to find out. He promptly ascended from the ground, the last traces of drowsiness from his induced sleep gone entirely in the face of his urge to get out of wherever he presently was as soon as possible. His gaze swept the room in search of an exit and found one in the form of a door in the wall to his left, near the back of the room. It was plainly too narrow to admit him, but Solonn wasn’t going to let that stop him. He was prepared to smash right through that door.

Without a second’s hesitation, he lowered his massive, horned head, ready to ram the door down and burst through its frame. With a surge of speed, he charged toward the exit—but unexpectedly, violently, he was caught short by some unseen barrier, one that arrested him smartly and sent him reeling harshly back. Partly stunned and taken utterly by surprise by the recoil from his thwarted charge, he wildly overcompensated to regain control of himself. He lost hold of his equilibrium entirely and ended up crashing face-first into the wooden floor, the boards beneath him splitting on his impact.

Solonn hissed and snarled in pain as red and white flashes played across the inner surfaces of his eyes and a shrill whine rang within his ears. He lay face down for a moment, wondering what in the world had just happened. Ignoring the throbbing in his head and the dizziness that came along with it, he lifted himself back up from the floor. He stared hard into the empty air before him as if trying to will the unseen barrier that had caught him there moments ago into visibility, but neither the force that had halted him nor anything that could have been its source would let him see them no matter how hard he tried.

Solonn was baffled by this phenomenon, but he was also determined to figure it out. He knew that his escape from this place, from the ones who had brought him here, and from whatever their intentions for him might be required him to overcome this obstacle. He approached the invisible barrier slowly and carefully, mindful of the recoil that it had given him when he’d charged it at full speed. He soon found it and felt it firmly resisting him as he pushed against it.

Closing his eyes in determination, he began to slowly increase the pressure that he placed on the repulsion field. He gradually entrusted every ounce of his considerable weight to the barrier, exerting it upon the obstacle before him with all his strength. No matter how he pressed against it, however, the barrier would not yield to him. Still, he tried, despite how the pressure of his forehead against the invisible wall aggravated the pain from his recent fall.

Then, all of a sudden, the force that held Solonn at bay ceased resisting him altogether, causing him to pitch forward and fall onto his face for a second time. He exclaimed a muffled oath into the floorboards as the intensity of the pain in his head spiked sharply.

He heard a sound then and recognized it as that of quickly-approaching, human-sounding footsteps moving toward him from behind. He suspected that this signified the arrival of someone who was somehow involved with his abduction and detainment, probably coming to subdue him after hearing the commotion caused by his attempts to escape. Quite certain that he couldn’t get away from whomever was approaching, he prepared himself to fight his captor off. Growling a warning deep in his throat, he rose and turned to face—and to strike—whomever had just arrived.

But Solonn caught himself short of attacking as his eyes fell upon the newly-arrived human, and he let the elemental energy that he had gathered for his intended ice beam dissipate harmlessly. Standing there a couple of yards before him was none other than Morgan, breathing hard and casting furtive glances about herself every few seconds. Solonn noted at once how badly disheveled she looked: her skin was pale and drenched with sweat, her hair was mussed, and her eyes were swollen and bloodshot as if she had just spent an hour or two crying. Her right hand gripped the handle of a hammer that wobbled as her shoulders heaved; it looked ready to drop to the floor at any second.

“Oh, thank God I found you…” Morgan said almost voicelessly. “Now try to move toward me.”

Still quite dumbfounded, Solonn did as Morgan requested. He found as he moved forward that the repulsion field was indeed gone completely, allowing him to go unimpeded to her.

“It’s gone,” he noted aloud as he came to hover before her. “Some kind of invisible barrier was holding me here—you stopped it somehow, didn’t you?” Solonn asked. Morgan nodded. “Do you know what it was, exactly?” he asked.

“It was the mean look technique,” Morgan said hoarsely. “I found a sableye right out there.” She indicated the thick, maroon curtain hanging at the front of the room; Solonn had assumed it to be another wall, but now recognized it as something through which someone could pass by simply pushing it out of the way. “He was using that technique to keep you within a certain distance of him—until I hit him in the head with this.” She raised the hammer, then let it fall to the floor. “He’s out cold now.”

A sableye… Solonn had told Morgan of the creature who had paid him a visit eight days ago, and she had told him the name of his visitor’s species. The image of the sableye flashed within Solonn’s mind… and was closely followed by that of the venomoth who had paid him a visit that very morning and drugged him with sleep powder—another unexpected guest within such a short frame of time. It seemed to Solonn like an awfully unlikely coincidence…

“Did you find anyone else here?” he asked Morgan. “A flying, purple pokémon, perhaps?”

Morgan shook her head. “No. I searched this whole place over. No one else here except that sableye… I didn’t find the rest of you here, either,” she added, her voice quieting considerably on those last nine words.

Solonn’s brow furrowed in sudden, troubled confusion. “The rest of… what? Morgan, what are you talking about?” he asked worriedly.

Morgan’s eyes closed, and she turned away. She opened her mouth to speak, but a strangled gasp was all that could emerge as whatever words she’d had prepared caught in her throat. “I’ll explain soon,” she finally managed in a constrained voice, then turned again to face Solonn. Her eyes were brimming with tears. “Let’s just get you out of here.”

Solonn nodded, then made for the curtain.

“No,” Morgan said, halting him. “That way just leads into another part of the building. We’ll go out that way.” She pointed toward the exit that Solonn had previously spotted. “That’ll take us outside.”

Solonn made his way over to the exit, and Morgan followed. “You’re gonna have to smash the door down,” the human told him as they reached the exit. Having already figured such, Solonn was already backing up for a charge as she spoke. Once he’d put sufficient distance between himself and the door for a full-velocity charge, he lowered his head (resigning himself to the certainty that this would reawaken the pain there), then hurtled forward in a headbutt attack. The door exploded from its hinges as he crashed into it, its frame bursting apart as he emerged violently into the sunlight.

Morgan quickly joined him outside. “Sit down just for a second,” she instructed him at once. “You’re much faster than I am—we can get out of here a lot quicker if you give me a ride.”

Solonn complied at once. As soon as he set himself down upon the grass, he felt Morgan clambering onto his back, using the gaps in his armor as handholds and footholds to climb up onto the top of his head.

Morgan situated herself there upon the glalie, sitting with her legs extended forward and her hands clutching his horns. She began at once to shiver quite severely in such close proximity to the chill of his body; noting this, Solonn took on a more conscious effort to focus his elemental power and keep his coldness to himself.

“Okay,” Morgan said, “okay. I’m going to tell you which way to go… you just concentrate on moving as fast as you can. Now, go! Hurry!”

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:28 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Solonn set off in an instant, achieving his maximum velocity quickly. He worried that the human he was carrying might fall off of him due to his moving as fast as he presently was, but she seemed to hang onto him capably enough. While he’d expected her to have him hurry toward her house, she instead steered him into unknown territory, guiding him through a maze of alleyways barely wide enough to admit him.

Her directions eventually led Solonn out of those alleyways—and then, unbeknownst to him, out of the city itself. He had been rushing along at top speed for minutes now and was tiring. Had he been one of those creatures that moved by the power of their limbs and muscles, he would have been far wearier still. Morgan urged him to keep going, and he figured that she probably had a good reason to have him go so far from the scene that they had fled. Preferring to be safe rather than sorry, he reckoned that he’d do best to trust that notion, and so he continued on, ignoring the rising complaints of his body.

Solonn and Morgan were now swiftly making their way westward along a scenic, grassy route. Delicate-looking metal fences lined the path on either side. Some distance beyond the fence on the right, a large, flat building stood. The fence on the left provided the sole barrier between the road and a treacherous drop off of a sheer cliff toward a sparkling expanse of water. Even though only able to see the scene to the south through his peripheral vision, Solonn found himself in awe of what he could glimpse of the waters and the mountain that they embraced.

At length, this route gave way to a place teeming with trees and vast patches of tall grass. By this point, Solonn simply could not go any further. It’s far enough… he figured, it has to be… Groaning, he allowed himself to sink to the ground, managing with something of an effort to keep from obeying his body’s desire to roll over onto his back so as to avoid casting Morgan off and possibly crushing her.

Morgan climbed off of him somewhat awkwardly. She sat down in the grass in front of him and promptly buried her face in her hands.

For a very long moment, Solonn sat silently, trying to catch his breath and to ignore the fact that he ached everywhere. “What’s happened?” he asked finally, still practically wheezing.

Several seconds passed before Morgan made any sort of response. Her face remained buried in her palms, her fingers knitting themselves fretfully into the hair that framed it.

“They’re gone,” she finally croaked in barely more than a whisper.

“…What’s gone, Morgan?” Solonn asked softly, the edges of his voice frayed by the sense of dread building rapidly within him.

“Not ‘what’, Solonn,” Morgan corrected him, her voice breaking. “Who.” Her shoulders started to shake uncontrollably, and then she gave a wrenching sob. “My other pokémon are gone. Stolen. All of them.”

What?!” Solonn could have sworn that his heart had just stopped at the news he had just received. “Oh good gods… When did you find out?” he demanded.

“A couple of hours ago,” Morgan answered miserably, still hiding her face. Tears were now streaming through her fingers. “I wasn’t feeling so good at school… really, really nauseous… and they excused me early. I came home, and you were gone, and all the others, too… they took the balls they were in and everything,” she sobbed.

The news struck Solonn like a hammer. Oth… Raze… Sei… Aaron… Brett… all those people who had come to be good friends of his were now gone, taken gods only knew where. As he thought about the others, he became brutally aware of just how helpless they had been, contained within their capture balls—small, portable devices, easily carried away.

But not all of them had been in that vulnerable position… ”What about Sei?” Solonn asked. “She was out of the house, wasn’t she?” The possibility of Sei still being free offered a ray of hope for the others—her psychic abilities could certainly aid in locating them, Solonn was sure.

Morgan shook her head. “No, she wasn’t. Before I left, she said she was staying home… some marathon on TV…”

Solonn gave a low, sorrowful hiss. He hadn’t even noticed that Sei had been home the whole morning; he supposed that he must have been too engrossed in his practice to be aware of her. “My gods…” he muttered. He almost feared to imagine what sort of abductors could have successfully subdued such a powerful psychic as an alakazam—he realized that he had been beyond fortunate to have safely escaped from what were certainly very dangerous captors. The others, however, had not been so lucky… A sickening feeling ran through his veins as an unbidden parade of the grim scenarios that might have befallen his friends played within his mind.

“How did you manage to find me?” Solonn then asked.

Morgan took a very deep, shuddering breath, her body trying in vain to calm itself. She finally took her hands from her face, revealing her still-bloodshot eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. “When I found you all gone,” she started, having to pause to catch her breath in between sobs, “I called the police… they came and talked with me for a while…

“After that… I don’t know. I just started wandering—when I’m sad, I’ll just do that, just go for a walk—and then I saw this place with this sign in front…” Her face contorted into what was unmistakably a grimace of disgust. “‘See the Amazing Talking Glalie!’, it said.”

Solonn’s eyes widened dramatically, the light within them blazing with outrage. He hissed again, not a low lamentation this time but rather a vehement, explosive outburst. “That’s what they took me for? Some kind of freak to show off?” he asked. Morgan nodded regretfully. “How… how could they have possibly found out?” he demanded.

“I don’t know!” Morgan blurted. “I sure didn’t tell anyone!”

Solonn winced. “Sorry… I wasn’t trying to accuse you…”

“Oh God…” Morgan’s tears began to fall even harder in a fresh surge. “No, I’m… I’m sure you weren’t…”

Solonn gave a long sigh. “It’s all right…” he muttered. With no small measure of difficulty, he lifted himself from the ground, setting himself back down closer to Morgan. Burying her face in her hands once more, she leaned into him at once, her side against his—he wished at once that she hadn’t. He barely had any strength to keep his element at bay, and the human was shaking enough without his chill right up against her. Ultimately, though, Solonn just didn’t have the heart to try and persuade her to move.

For seconds on end, they just sat there beside one another, neither saying a word. Nothing disturbed the silence save for the faint calls of distant seabirds. Even Morgan’s sobs had grown quiet, though they remained just as violent.

“Did you say that you called for help… for people who could possibly help find the others?” Solonn finally asked in the softest, most soothing tone he could manage at the moment, trying despite his own terrible worry to provide a calming, consoling presence for his distraught friend.

“Mmm-hmm,” Morgan responded weakly.

“They might still set things right,” Solonn said in as much an attempt to reassure himself as to reassure Morgan. “They might still find out who did this… they might still find the others.”

“God, I hope so… Do you know anything about the ones who took you?” Morgan then asked. “Anything that might help the police find them?”

“Not really,” Solonn answered with a sigh. “Some sort of winged pokémon came and threw some kind of strange dust on me, and then I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was where you found me. I have no idea what happened in between—I know that creature couldn’t have worked alone, though. We know that that sableye was involved, but there had to be others. I’m so sorry; I wish I knew more…”

“It’s okay,” Morgan muttered. “It’s not your fault. If anything… it’s probably mine.”

“What? Gods, no, you know better than that!” Solonn responded incredulously at once.

“Solonn, think about it. They probably came for you. Somehow, they found out about you, and then they took you so they could make money showing you off—and all the others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time…” Morgan turned her gaze briefly to the east, then closed her eyes. “I should have let you go when you first asked. Then none of this would be happening.”

Solonn closed his eyes. “Please, Morgan… don’t blame yourself. Please.” He opened his eyes once more and turned them upon her, their light dimmed by sorrow and weariness. “Besides,” he added, “I’m the one who told you not to take me back right away, remember? It was my idea.”

But Solonn’s words seemed useless; the look in Morgan’s eyes told all too clearly that she was not consoled and not convinced. “Doesn’t matter,” she said, almost whispering. She tried once again to steady herself with a deep breath, but to no avail. “I shouldn’t have kept you here. I guess there’s just no safe place for someone like you among humans. Solonn… I’m letting you go now.”

Solonn stared at her, dumbfounded. A part of his mind returned to the last time that Morgan had offered to release him from her custody, that night when he had revealed his talents to her. Though he had come to know her quite well and knew that she was not nor certainly was she ever the sort to treat him as a possession, somehow he was still amazed by the notion that she, the very creature who had taken him from his home, would so willingly relinquish him. Twice, he thought to respond, but neither time did he have any clue what to say.

“Listen.” Morgan rose shakily to her feet, casting another glance eastward, then turned to face Solonn once more. With an obvious effort, she kept her gaze locked firmly into his eyes. “Since… since the others are gone…” she said with difficulty, “…well, I can’t have you teleported home, and there’s an ocean between here and there, so…” She swallowed hard, running a hand fretfully through her hair. “What you’re gonna have to do is just lie low for a while. I’m… I’m kind of scared for you to go back to Lilycove right now; the people who took you are still out there for now, and when they find out you got away… If they find you again, God knows what they’ll do. Just stay away from Lilycove for a week or two, just to be safe, and in the meantime, I’ll try to get a hold of someone who can get you home. I promise. Maybe… maybe the others will be found by then… then Sei or Ominous could take you. But if you find some way to get home on your own… go ahead and take it. Please. Don’t wait for me if you don’t have to.”

Still in disbelief, Solonn remained silent for several moments more before responding. “If you’re sure this is what you really want…” he began with uncertainty. Morgan nodded almost imperceptibly. Solonn sighed in acquiescence. “All right,” he said quietly. “I’ll return to Lilycove after a few days. Until then,” he said with a solemn look straight into her eyes, “I want you to take care of yourself. You’re a good person, Morgan. You really are. I wouldn’t want to see anything happen to you.”

Morgan nodded again. “Okay,” she whispered, wiping the tears from her eyes as well as she could. She wrapped her arms around the glalie as far as they would go and gave him a long embrace, then let go and took several steps back from him. “Guess I’ll see you again soon, but if I don’t…” She shrugged feebly. “Goodbye, Solonn.”

“Goodbye,” Solonn echoed. He rose from the ground, ignoring his body’s protests, and bowed deeply, inclining his great face toward the ground.

“Stay safe,” Morgan said. With that, she turned and set off for the city in the east.

“You, too,” Solonn called after her, allowing himself to sink back into the grass as he watched her go. He worried for Morgan, who had been parted from so many dear friends in the blink of an eye. He feared even more for her other pokémon, whose fates remained unknown. There was no way of telling if things would be set right again for them. He could only hope that they would be.

* * *

Morgan returned to her home, listlessly casting the light jacket she was wearing onto a nearby chair as she passed through the living room. Her mind was somewhat distant after such a long, difficult day. Out of habit, she made her way straight to the back door, to the backyard where she had shared so many hours with the glalie who had become one of her best friends. A sickening pang struck her at once as the door opened upon the empty space near the sitrus tree where he should have been.

“Oh my God… Where is he?!”


A free cookie to anyone who knows from whence I got the title of this chapter. :3

Next time: Solonn is offered a place to lie low for a while, but what might await him there? See you then!

- Sike Saner

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Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:35 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:11 PM
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I was surprised to notice that you've had no comments thus far. I only read the first part of the first chapter but the amount of imagination and description really captured my attention. Congratulations. n _n

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:48 AM
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Tombi: I'm glad you like the description, and I'm honored that you consider this work imaginative. ^^ Thanks for reading, and thanks for replying!

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Old 03-19-2009, 12:59 AM
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Tis' amazing. I read Origin of Storms, and that was amazing (I gave you a 5 star rating, if I remember correctly). Poor Morgan...I feel bad for her.

And...Solonn? *Huggles* I love this Glalie!
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:30 PM
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Grassy_Aggron: I'm glad to hear (or read, rather X3) that you've enjoyed both this and The Origin of Storms, and I'm glad that you like Solonn, too. ^^ He's a challenge to write sometimes, but I still enjoy writing him, and it's nice to know that someone else is enjoying the end result of that work.

Thanks for reading and replying, and thanks for that 5-star rating on The Origin of Storms, too! ^^

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:10 AM
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Chapter 7 – Convergence

Tall, thick grass surrounded Solonn, swaying slowly in a light breeze, save for in the wide, more or less circular patch that had been flattened where Solonn had tried unsuccessfully to sleep during the night before. There, he now sat under the pale pink morning sky, gazing out over the grass into the east. Though it was too far away for him to actually see, he knew that the city that he’d fled stood there beneath the rising sun. He wondered if the ones who had tried to abduct him were prowling Lilycove in search of him at that very moment or if perhaps they were extending their search outside the city limits.

He didn’t know how likely it might be that his enemies would find him there before his allies could return to him. Despite his worries, part of him still managed to hold on to some hope that Morgan might appear through the grass at any moment, calling to him with the news that their friends were safe once more and that she was ready to take him back to Virc-Dho.

These were precisely the sorts of thoughts that had denied Solonn sleep through the previous night. Countless times, his eyes had begun to close, only to immediately fly open once more and dart about in fretful search of anyone, friend or foe, who might have been approaching him.

Solonn could not recall ever having been so on edge in his life, and wondered how he would ever allow himself to sleep during the coming night if he still hadn’t heard from Morgan or from anyone else who could help him. He also wondered how he was going to go about feeding himself at this point. While he had lived with Morgan, she had always provided him with sustenance. Before Solonn had evolved, Morgan had given him that flavored snow to eat, and after his evolution he had been provided a diet of specially-formulated pokémon food designed to meet the nutritional needs of a large carnivore without requiring the predator to do their own hunting.

Now, however, without Morgan to provide for him, he seemed to have no choice but to take on his natural role as an active predator. Solonn was anything but eager to go through with this. His hunger was steadily growing, but through minute after minute, hour after hour, he had ignored its pleas, and he still remained determined to continue doing so for as long as he could.

He began to wonder just how long he could go without food. Morgan had always fed him twice a day. He didn’t how frequently the glalie back in Virc-Dho hunted, for they still generally kept those matters from the snorunt.

Solonn suspected that their reason for not telling snorunt of the hunters that they would grow up to become was so that the unevolved would be able to accept the predatory instincts that came with evolution without any prior misgivings about predation to get in the way. Solonn had possessed precisely those kinds of reservations ever since learning that glalie were carnivores. Still, the instincts that came with his evolved form were nonetheless also present within his mind. He tried not to pay them any heed, but they remained steadfastly in place, waiting for his inevitable surrender to their demands.

He winced slightly at yet another pang of hunger. It had been nearly an entire day since he’d eaten last; Morgan had fed him prior to leaving for school the day before, and he’d not had anything since. Though Solonn had looked toward the day when he would regain his independence ever since coming into Morgan’s custody, the simple fact was that he had fallen into the habits of a human’s pokémon. He had been rendered unused to fending for himself, and was certainly not prepared for anything along the lines of “roughing it”. Though he was quite hesitant to admit to himself that he’d grown accustomed to being tended to, he could not deny that he was left in no position to defy his body’s expectations for much longer.

A brief rustling in the grass alerted Solonn to a newly arrived presence not too far from where he sat. He turned toward it and saw the glow of the newcomer’s body heat, which seemed to flicker as it shone between the swaying blades of grass. Something stirred within the back of his mind, trying to persuade him to see the solution that lay in this discovery.

Take it, it seemed to say. Take it and know relief…

Solonn paid no mind to the notion, closing his eyes and beginning to turn away from the creature nearby. He silently told the faction of his mind that had suggested using the newcomer as a means by which he could alleviate his hunger that whatever the creature was, it was not prey. Still, his instinct continued to relentlessly plead its case, but still, Solonn managed to tune out its suggestions, even as it seemed to emphasize its point by sending another tendril of aching hunger down into his belly.

I’m not doing it, he argued internally, gritting his teeth in desperate determination. Good gods, I’m not starving to death yet!

His physical demands would not stand to be silenced, however, and so they presented yet another unbidden argument through his mind: You had better get used to this—it’s going to be the way you’ll be feeding yourself for the rest of your life. There aren’t going to be any humans around to feed you when you get back to Virc-Dho.

Solonn sighed in resignation as he ceased his internal argument. There was the undeniable truth of the matter: his independent survival required him to embrace his predatory nature. There would be no processed pokémon food outside the human realm. There would only be prey—lives which he would have to end in order to sustain his own. He knew that he would ultimately have to accept it, but he couldn’t imagine himself ever liking it.

It was with an immense reluctance that he turned back toward the heat signature of his would-be prey, rose from the ground, and began to glide in its direction. The creature had drawn closer to him since he’d last allowed himself to look toward it, apparently oblivious to his presence; even moving at minimal speed, Solonn would be upon it swiftly.

As Solonn approached, he called upon his element, summoning ice to hold the prey in place and prevent its escape. The hapless creature began screaming at once in response to Solonn’s actions, its voice shrill and surprisingly loud to be issuing from what had to be a tiny throat and tiny lungs.

Solonn tried in vain to shut out the cries, but his keen hearing allowed him no refuge from them. Struggling to steel himself for the task that lay ahead of him, he pushed his way through the last blades of grass separating him from his prey and looked down upon it directly for the first time.

There, with ice encasing her legs and tail, a female zigzagoon screamed ceaselessly, the terror in her cries magnified greatly upon seeing the huge face of her captor looming before her. Her head thrashed and her spine arched as she fought to free herself, but her struggles were of no use; in truth, she knew this just as well as the creature who had frozen her to the spot did. Closing her eyes, she fearfully awaited her imminent demise.

Solonn could almost literally taste the fear of his prey on the air as he prepared to deliver the killing strike. He knew that he could freeze the flesh and blood of the zigzagoon in an instant, and perhaps that way, just as his mother had told him years ago, his prey would not have time to suffer. He needed only to tap into that power, and the deed would be done…

He hissed as hesitation pulled him sharply back from finishing off the zigzagoon. You should have just done it in when you first noticed it, chided the faction of his mind that still remained in favor of the act that he had so very nearly committed. You shouldn’t have looked at it first…

Solonn’s gaze fell upon the face of the zigzagoon, whose features were contorted almost grotesquely in mortal terror. His throat constricted painfully, and his stomach went sour, extinguishing his appetite. With a hiss of disgust, he instantly vaporized the ice that had held the zigzagoon in place.

After a second’s delay, she dared to open her eyes. She stared up at Solonn with a wild gaze, seemingly paralyzed with fear and confusion.

“Go,” Solonn said abruptly. “Just go.”

The zigzagoon remained rooted to the spot, fixed in place by disbelief. Her jaw worked almost imperceptibly, as if she were trying to speak.

Solonn didn’t wait for her to pull her words together. “Go!” he commanded sonorously, darting at her to emphasize his point. With a squeak of fright, the zigzagoon scrambled away as fast as she could with not a single glance behind her.

Solonn sank wearily to the ground, thoroughly disgusted with himself. Gods’ mercies, you almost killed that poor creature… He shuddered as he thought of what would have happened had his reluctance not gotten the better of him in time.

“Well, that certainly was magnanimous of you,” said a jovial and utterly unexpected voice.

Quite startled in his rather compromised state, Solonn spun around instantly to face the source of the utterance. He found a swellow hovering in midair before him, sweeping the grass below him around with the steady beats of his wings. Solonn wondered how this creature had managed to sneak up on him so thoroughly unnoticed.

The swellow descended to the ground, pushing the tall grass out of his face with his wings once he’d landed. “You know, ordinarily I might hesitate to stop and chat with an ice-type such as yourself, but given what I’ve just witnessed here, I’d dare assume yours to be safe company,” he said. The swellow then bowed. “Do allow me to introduce myself. I am the swellow Jal’tai. And you are…?”

Still slightly bewildered by the pokémon who had just apparently spontaneously appeared in his midst, Solonn responded with a bit of a delay. “Solonn Zgil-Al,” he introduced himself; then, after a short pause, he added, “the—”

“Oh, I know, I know,” Jal’tai interrupted with a chuckle. “You don’t need to tell me what you are, Mr. Zgil-Al. There’s no mistaking a glalie for anything else once you’ve seen one. So, then. I haven’t seen you around these parts before. Have you only recently relocated here?”

“I guess you could say that,” Solonn replied. “I mean, I haven’t exactly moved here permanently…” The swellow cocked his head inquisitively. Solonn hesitated at first to elaborate on what he was doing in the area, but then reckoned that it was safe to tell of such as long as he was careful not to give away too many details of the situation. “I’ve just escaped from human kidnappers in Lilycove,” he told the swellow. “I’m just lying low in this area until I can find some way to get back where I came from, across the sea.”

“Oh my… that must have been harrowing,” Jal’tai remarked, sounding both astounded and pitying. “Thank goodness you escaped, then. Say… if you need a place to stay, I know an excellent candidate.” He took on a rather grand pose, puffing out his feathered chest. “I don’t reside in this area, either; I just like to come here every now and again for a break from all the hustle and bustle back home. I come from a city in the west, and it’s the greatest city in the world, in my opinion. And I’d bet anything you’d agree with me, given the chance to see it with your own eyes! You could stay safe from your pursuers there, and in far more comfortable conditions than you’ll find out here. Plus, I’m certain you’d find a means to cross the sea there—that is, if you’ll want to leave!” the swellow added with a chuckle. “So, what do you say, hmm? Can I tempt you with a stay in my beloved city?”

Solonn eyed him somewhat skeptically. “That’s a very nice offer, but… well, I would really rather not enter another human city if I can avoid it—that is what you’re talking about, isn’t it?”

Jal’tai blinked in surprise, then burst out into crowing laughter. “No, no! It’s not a human city, I assure you. You’d realize that quite swiftly if you saw it for yourself. Oh, you’d be amazed at the things it has to show you…”

Solonn considered the swellow’s offer. Moving farther into the west, and thus farther from Lilycove, would keep him farther from the reach of those who sought him with ill intent. It also occurred to him that the natives probably wouldn’t mind sharing their food with him as well as their shelter; he could already feel the relief of possibly being spared the need to hunt, even if only for a while. Plus, the swellow certainly made this city out to be a nice place, although Solonn did find the level of Jal’tai’s enthusiasm vaguely disturbing.

At the same time, however, he couldn’t help but think of Morgan, who had said she would return to where she’d left him if she came up with a means to take him back to Virc-Dho. He didn’t want to entirely discard faith in her; furthermore, he did, in all honesty, still hope to once again see her and the pokémon whom he’d met and befriended through her, and hopefully in a happier light next time. That, at least, seemed to him like a more proper farewell, and an easier one—the one she and they deserved, in his opinion, for treating him so well.

He hadn’t forgotten what Morgan had said the evening before, though, not one word of it. She had expressly told him that if he found another means for him to return home before she could find one, then he was to take it. Solonn questioned whether or not this truly was what the human wanted; surely she wouldn’t want to lose a chance to see someone who had been one of her pokémon one more time, would she? But in the end, he decided that he had to give her the benefit of the doubt where that was concerned. This was what she’d said she wanted, and he reckoned that he should take her word for it.

“All right,” Solonn said finally.

“Ah, excellent!” Jal’tai said, sounding supremely delighted. “Come, then, follow me!” With a powerful flap of his wings, Jal’tai took to the air, sending the grass below him into a frenzied dance as he set off very swiftly toward the west.

Solonn sighed wearily; the evening before had been quite taxing and his body was still not quite ready to endure being made to hurry anywhere. “Jal’tai? Excuse me, could you slow down a bit?” he called after the swellow as he hastened with difficulty to follow.

“Oh, of course!” the swellow responded, and slowed down significantly. “Terribly sorry about that. I just simply can’t wait to show you my city…”

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:38 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:15 AM
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As Solonn followed Jal’tai, he found the tall grass that had surrounded him thinning, eventually disappearing from his surroundings altogether. Conversely, the trees were becoming more plentiful as he continued westward, increasing in number and density until Solonn found himself led into a true forest—and a bit of inconvenience.

“Jal’tai! Wait!” Solonn shouted. Jal’tai’s speed had decreased even further due to the fact that the surrounding trees left him little room to fly, forcing him to walk. Solonn would have had no problem keeping up with him if it weren’t for the fact that the trees provided an even greater impediment to him than they did to the swellow. Solonn was forced to pick his way between those trees that grew far enough apart to admit his considerable girth.

Jal’tai halted and turned. There was a smile playing about his eyes that suggested that he was holding back an urge to laugh. “I apologize on the trees’ behalf,” he said, the tiniest of chuckles managing to break through.

Solonn gave Jal’tai a dull glare, then resumed making his rather difficult way amidst the trees. “I do hope that this ‘city’ of yours isn’t so—” He broke into a loud snarl as a branch on one of the trees between which he was squeezing swatted him just below his left eye. “—infested with trees…”

“Oh heavens, no. The forest had to be cleared in that area before the city could be built—a necessary evil, I’m afraid, but I daresay that’s it’s come to give more to the area than it’s taken. Anyway, you’ll not have to suffer the vegetation much longer. We’re nearly there.”

This came as a surprise to Solonn; from what he could see, the only thing that they were drawing closer to was another several acres of dense forest. Managing at last to follow closely behind Jal’tai once more after coming across a fair number of trees in his path that had all grown far enough apart to allow him to pass through with ease, Solonn began casting glances about for signs that they were indeed nearing Jal’tai’s city, but still saw nothing but trees surrounding him.

Halt!” two voices suddenly shouted in unison. In nearly the same instant, the owners of those voices, a pair of stantler, jumped out before Solonn and Jal’tai from behind two of the trees, landing gracefully on dainty hooves. They glared at Solonn and Jal’tai for a moment, lowering their golden antlers menacingly—then, abruptly, the stantler both raised their heads and took a step back, wearing alarmed expressions.

“Oh! We… we didn’t realize it was you!” one of the stantler said.

“We’re so sorry… really, we are… very sorry…” the other one babbled.

“Well, that is why it’s wise to always look before you leap, now isn’t it?” Jal’tai said pleasantly.

The two stantler nodded rather neurotically. “Can… can you forgive us?” one of them asked.

Jal’tai gave a chuckle and a dismissive wave of his wing. “Oh, of course, of course,” he said. “No harm done at all. Now, why don’t you fellows let us in and then see about having someone else finish your shifts, all right? It doesn’t do to work too long; it’s absolutely murder on the nerves, as we’ve seen displayed here quite clearly.”

“Yes, yes, of course…” one of the stantler muttered, nodding vigorously once again. His eyes then traveled from Jal’tai to Solonn, and the other stantler’s gaze followed. It was as though they had actually not noticed the large glalie hovering there up to that point.

“Yes, he’s with me. You know I wouldn’t let just any of them in,” Jal’tai said.

Both stantler seemed to have one last moment’s hesitation. Then they both gave a quick nod and stepped aside.

“Thank you kindly,” Jal’tai said warmly, bowing his head as he passed between the two guards. “Right this way,” he said to Solonn, beckoning with his wing. “It’s right through here.”

“Where?” Solonn asked as he moved forward alongside Jal’tai. “I don’t see—”

The glalie was instantly stricken silent by the sight that had spontaneously appeared then. All at once, the endless forest before him was replaced by a view of a thoroughly modern city. There was no canopy of leaves to obstruct the sky above, for the trees’ presence was relegated to neat rows lining the streets and the occasional one growing in someone’s yard. A few of the inhabitants of the city, varying in species, could be seen strolling on the sidewalks or milling about in the lawns or on street corners. Every now and then, a vehicle cruised up or down one of the visible streets at a casual pace.

Still rather mesmerized by the city that had just appeared before him out of thin air, Solonn was a bit startled by the wing that clapped him heartily on the back then. His gaze shifted to the swellow beside him, who was smiling warmly in the fashion of his kind, the look in his eyes positively radiating pride.

“Welcome, my friend,” Jal’tai said with much grandeur, spreading his wings wide, “to Convergence, the city of a better future! Isn’t it magnificent?”

“Well…” Solonn began a bit awkwardly, furrowing his brow in an expression of uncertainty. The city of Convergence had certainly made an entrance that had impressed him, but beyond that… The fact of the matter was that the city might have come closer to being “magnificent” in his eyes if it hadn’t seemed so familiar. Solonn had gazed out the window upon a view of Lilycove on enough occasions to know a human-style city when he saw one. “It’s certainly… er, doing well for itself, and I guess that’s nice, but… Jal’tai, I thought you said this wasn’t a human city…”

The swellow chuckled. “Yes, I most certainly did. And on closer inspection, you might realize that indeed, just as I stated, this is not a human city. Or do you not see the abundance of pokémon about?”

“What of it? Pokémon live in human cities, too,” Solonn pointed out.

“True, true… but there remains a very significant difference between those cities and this one. Why, look over there,” Jal’tai said, gesturing with his wing toward a truck that had stopped at a traffic light some distance before them. Its driver was large and hairy—and an ursaring. The light turned green, and the truck went on the move again, heading their way. Solonn could hear country music issuing from the vehicle’s sound system; the bear was nodding her head and growling faintly along with the song.

“Now, there’s something you won’t see in a mere human city,” Jal’tai said.

The ursaring driver rounded a corner, pulled into a driveway, and exited her vehicle. As she did so, she turned and spotted Jal’tai and Solonn. Her eyes widened, and she waved vigorously. “Hi!” she half-roared cheerfully from across the street.

“Good day to you, madam!” Jal’tai returned, waving back at her. “I might also add that Ms. Olcarion actually owns that lovely house,” he then informed Solonn. “As a matter of fact, all of those homes are owned by pokémon,” he said, indicating the three houses to the right of the ursaring’s home. “Independent pokémon, Solonn. Do you realize the significance of that?”

Without waiting for Solonn to answer, he continued. “In human cities, pokémon are second-class citizens—if even that.” His features gave a brief flash of disgust. “But here, pokémon are afforded the same rights and opportunities as humans. They may own properties like those the humans own. They may learn to operate the vehicles invented by humans if they so wish. Our academy offers them the same education that humans receive and training for those who wish to enter occupations that elsewhere may only be held by humans.

“This is a community with no parallel in the world today, one in which pokémon and humans are truly able to live and work as equals. Do you see now what makes Convergence great?”

Solonn nodded vaguely, still absorbing the information Jal’tai had just imparted upon him. He had not realized that pokémon were such non-entities in human society. True, pokémon were taken from their homes and made to live in human custody, but judging by his experience with Morgan, he had not found himself or any of her other pokémon treated poorly… Solonn realized that if what Jal’tai said was true, then he had been quite fortunate indeed to have been taken in by Morgan and not by one of the apparent, inconsiderate majority of humans.

“Now, then,” Jal’tai said crisply. “I’m feeling rather in the mood for lunch of a sudden… How about you?”

Solonn made to answer Jal’tai, but his stomach beat him to it.

“Ah, right then,” Jal’tai said. “We’ll go to Whitley’s; it’s to die for…”

The swellow led Solonn deeper into Convergence, heading toward the center of town. Along the way, Solonn spotted more of the city’s residents out and about. They were mostly pokémon, some of which were in the possession of and process of using what he figured were devices made by humans, such as the very noisy leaf blower being operated by an electabuzz at the curb in front of one of the houses.

Solonn also spotted a couple of humans as he continued through the city after Jal’tai—literally a “couple”; he saw only two of them and they were together. It seemed that the pokémon outnumbered the humans here. From what he could glean at a glance, though, Solonn thought that the two humans both looked quite happy to be living here. They were neither goggling nor blatantly avoiding looking at the pokémon citizens; it seemed that they found nothing strange about the notion of pokémon living right alongside them, which Solonn found to be a relief in the wake of what Jal’tai had told him.

At last, Solonn and Jal’tai arrived at Whitley’s. The restaurant was a large, country-styled building situated at the end of a fairly sizable parking lot that presently had most of its spaces unoccupied. Above its entrance, a sign bore the image of an elderly, goateed man’s smiling face, along with the words “Whitley’s Family Restaurant” spelled out beside the portrait—twice. It was written once in what Solonn recognized from his time with Morgan to be human writing and once in a curious, unfamiliar script that seemed to be made up of eyes. Each character was formed by one of these large, round “eyes”, with the letters differentiated by bars that radiated from them in varying shapes and at varying angles.

Solonn had found himself able at once to read the other form of writing just as he had been whenever he’d seen human writing before then, so it didn’t surprise him much to find the second script instantly understandable, as well. However, there was more to his comprehension of the eyed letters than mere literacy, and he recognized this immediately. Puzzled, he brought the matter up with Jal’tai.

“That second kind of writing, there on that sign… there’s something about it… I don’t know how to explain it except that it just feels different to read… more natural, somehow.”

“Ah. I suppose you’ve never seen unown-script before.” Jal’tai smiled. “Well, Mr. Zgil-Al, there is reason why it feels natural to read. It is our written language, the script of pokémon. Allow me to explain. The unown are a race of pokémon who are credited as the ones responsible for eradicating many of the communication barriers between the peoples of the world. Many pokémon, myself included, believe that it was they who blessed the differing races of pokémon with the ability to understand both one another’s languages and the spoken languages of humans. But for some reason, their blessing failed to touch humans, leaving them unable to understand pokémon speech.

“The unown tried to solve the problem through the creation of a universal written language, a process so demanding that it apparently forced them to evolve to that specific end. They developed special written characters that they infused with a mystic quality meant to render them instantly comprehensible to both pokémon and humans alike. And it worked, too, at least under some circumstances; with it, pokémon have been able to convey messages to humans that they could otherwise never receive. Sadly, the script failed to catch on—perhaps the cultures that used it were conquered or decimated by humans who trained pokémon to fight for them rather than communicating and living in harmony with them,” the swellow added, bitterness seeping into his tone.

“Anyhow,” he finished, “though the script fell short of a perfect solution, it was successful enough for us to see fit to celebrate and honor the unown and their tremendous efforts toward interspecies understanding by using unown-script as a sort of official ‘language’ of our city. All citizens are required to memorize all of its symbols, humans and pokémon alike.”

Solonn took another look at the sign and its message in unown-script, intrigued and quite impressed. It was an incredible notion to him, that of an entire species literally transforming itself in the name of promoting universal communication. He wondered what it might be like to actually encounter one of them, what things that could be learned from such creatures—especially by one such as himself, who had his own relationship with the concept of universal communication…

His eyes widened. Wait…

“Tell me, Mr. Zgil-Al,” Jal’tai spoke up crisply then, interrupting Solonn’s reverie almost as soon as it had begun, “when you mentioned that unown-script felt ‘different to read’… did you mean as compared to human writing? I have always hoped to meet another who is human-literate just as I am.”

Solonn just barely managed to suppress an urge to let his jaw drop wide open. Stupid! he scolded himself silently. He fumbled internally for a means to repair any possible damage done. “Oh… no, I can’t read that,” he finally said, his words tumbling out a bit more quickly than he’d intended. “I just guessed that it said the same thing that it said below in the unown-script.”

“Hmm…” the swellow responded, sounding perhaps not quite as crestfallen as he felt. “Well, perhaps if you’re interested, I could teach you to read human-script sometime, hmm? In the meantime… I daresay we’ve tarried here outside for quite long enough,” he then said. “Why wait a moment longer when food’s right inside, right? Come on, then!”

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:18 AM
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Solonn followed Jal’tai to a set of doors, which opened automatically for them a couple of seconds after the two had stopped before them. They entered the restaurant, which was warmly lit by a large number of hanging, stained-glass lamps, and were immediately greeted by a hitmonchan in a tuxedo.

“Ah! You grace our presence in person yet again!” the hitmonchan exclaimed. “And this gentleman is your guest?” he asked, at which Jal’tai nodded in response. “Very well, then! Please, let me show you to your usual table!”

The hitmonchan beckoned the two of them toward the back of the restaurant. They passed a table where a female human sat feeding small morsels of meat to a baby makuhita in a high chair that barely accommodated him. Solonn spotted an area in one corner of the restaurant that was enclosed by slightly tinted, soft plastic walls with a zippered door flap, in which an assembly of koffing and grimer laughed around a pile of something slimy and rotten-looking beneath a large exhaust fan. In another corner, two magnemite contently orbited a peculiar, seven-foot-tall, towerlike structure that hummed faintly with electricity. It appeared to be feeding energy into them through wires connected to the magnet-like appendages at their sides.

Jal’tai’s “usual table” was located in a private room in the very back of the restaurant. The room was decorated with paintings of landscapes on every wall and a potted shrub in every corner. A modest chandelier hung above the table in the center of the room, bearing the light of a number of small light bulbs rather than actual, burning candles.

Jal’tai seated himself at the table, or rather perched atop his seat, his talons gripping the back of his chair while his tail feathers draped over it toward the floor. Solonn, being quite large, quite heavy, and generally just not equipped for setting himself down on chairs without breaking them, merely pushed the one at the opposite end of the table aside and sat down in its place, grateful to be out of the air once more after all the traveling that he’d done lately.

“Your orders, then, sirs?” the hitmonchan prompted.

“Oh, it’ll be the Cerulean fish platter for me. Yes, again,” Jal’tai said with another of his chuckles. “And for him… oh, just give him the Specialty of the House to start with. And you know where to send the bill, of course.”

“Yes, sir!” the hitmonchan confirmed enthusiastically, then departed their table and the room.

“Isn’t it refreshing to see pokémon holding occupations other than ‘gladiator’?” Jal’tai said wistfully. He sighed. “Alas, the indignities we suffer at the hands of humans… Which reminds me, Mr. Zgil-Al: what of those humans from whom you escaped? Have you any idea what their motives might have been?”

Solonn was taken a bit by surprise by that question even though he hadn’t exactly expected that the subject of his pursuers wouldn’t come up again; he had just rather strongly hoped that it wouldn’t. Recovering quickly enough, he untruthfully replied, “No idea whatsoever. Frankly, I’m glad I never got the chance to find out.”

“Indeed,” Jal’tai said. “You’ve certainly been spared a most degrading fate.”

You don’t know the half of it… Solonn held Jal’tai’s gaze for a moment more, then let his eyes flit about from one painting on the wall to another in the awkward silence that hung in the air until Jal’tai spoke again.

“You mentioned fleeing from Lilycove… I’ve not heard of an ice-type colony anywhere in that vicinity—believe me, as a flying-type I would make sure to know of such!” Jal’tai said with a laugh. “No offense, of course,” he added quickly but coolly.

“Meh,” Solonn responded unconcernedly.

“Anyhow, you were brought into Lilycove by these humans from someplace else, then, correct?” the swellow asked.

“Well…” Solonn hesitated for a moment, but then supposed that there was no real harm in speaking of Morgan, though he opted against mentioning her by name. “Not by those humans, but yes, I was brought to Lilycove by a human.” He mindfully chose the word “brought” rather than “taken”; he had deduced that Jal’tai had a less than favorable attitude toward humans, especially those who kept pokémon, and so Solonn decided that it was probably prudent to choose his words carefully so as to give the swellow as little provocation to speak ill of Morgan as possible. “I lived with her for several months. She really was a decent person. I won’t lie about it—I do miss her…” He sighed, feeling a strange sensation that he couldn’t quite discern spreading through his nerves in the wake of this admission. “She must be horribly worried about me…”

“Do you think you’ll ever return to her?” Jal’tai asked quietly.

“I don’t know,” Solonn answered truthfully. “I mean, I’d like to, sure. I just don’t know if Lilycove will ever be safe for me again… those people are still out there, and I don’t know if they’ll ever be caught.”

“Let us hope they will be, at any rate,” Jal’tai said soberly. Solonn nodded in agreement.

Their food arrived then, carried in on a wide tray that was balanced deftly upon the large hands of the hitmonchan waiter as he pushed the door to the private room open with his hip. Several smoked fish fillets on a ceramic platter were placed before Jal’tai. Before Solonn, the waiter placed an odd, wooden pedestal on which there sat a rather large steak. The hitmonchan then provided each of them with a saucer of water.

“I’ll be back shortly,” the waiter said merrily. “When I return, you just let me know if you need anything else, okay?” With that, he departed Jal’tai and Solonn’s company.

Solonn eyed the pedestal on which his meal sat, puzzled. “What is this thing?”

“Hmm?” was Jal’tai’s muffled response; he already had a large chunk of fish in his beak. He swallowed it, then said, “Oh yes, that. It’s just something to make it a little easier for those without limbs to enjoy their meal, particularly someone like yourself—I can see where you would experience some difficulty in attempting to pluck meat off a plate as I am doing.”

Solonn’s eyes shifted the tiny distance upward from the pedestal to the steak itself. “So… this is meat, then?”

“Mmm-hmm,” the swellow confirmed through another bite of fish. “I imagine you’re unused to it being cut and processed in such a manner, but I assure you, it is meat.”

Solonn made a small, wordless noise of acknowledgment. So… this thing before him had once been a part of a living creature… He felt a sense of trepidation fluttering about the vicinity of his heart as he continued to stare at the steak.

Once again, his internal advocate for predation chose to speak up. It’s what’s right for you, you know.

Solonn continued to eye the steak uneasily. There was a part of his mind that couldn’t help but try and picture what the former owner of this flesh had once looked like before it was slaughtered…

Come on—it’s not like you killed it, was the internal argument.

That angle fell just short of mollifying Solonn. He cast a quick glance at Jal’tai and found that the swellow was temporarily neglecting his fish fillets to gaze back at him concernedly.

“Are you quite all right?” he asked. “You haven’t touched your Specialty there.”

“Er…” Solonn began, pausing as he swallowed nervously. “…I was just trying to figure out what’s so ‘special’ about it…” he half-muttered, inwardly cursing himself a bit for not coming up with a better response. Still, he found it rather preferable to telling the truth. It shamed him somewhat to admit it to himself, but the fact was that he was disinclined to confess—and perhaps have to justify—his reservations about carnivorousness.

“Well, taste it and you’ll find out!” Jal’tai said, giving the swellow equivalent of a beaming grin.

Solonn shut his eyes briefly as he battled an urge to grimace. It seemed that until he partook of the food that Jal’tai had ordered for him, the swellow would continue to press the issue. He was not enthusiastic about accepting the steak, but he was all too aware of the swellow’s eyes upon him.

At least it hasn’t got eyes, the other faction of his mind told him. At least it can’t look back at you.

Solonn sighed heavily. It seemed that there were two in his company who would not relent until he accepted the meat, a fact made more difficult to abide by due to the fact that one of those persistent voices was actually a part of him.

Gods forgive me, he said silently, then rose from the floor, and looked down upon the steak. With a flash of light in his eyes, it was instantly frozen. Closing his eyes involuntarily, he lowered his opened jaws toward it and took it into his mouth.

The taste of it was not as he had anticipated. He had expected it to have the sharpest, most foul flavor imaginable, but found it instead to be rather bland. Vaguely, he wondered if his brain had done him a merciful favor and had temporarily weakened his sense of taste. As he began to chew the steak, he tried very hard not to think about what it was that he was grinding between his teeth. It’s just ice, he tried to convince himself, that’s all… He wanted to rush it down his throat as quickly as he could, but his gullet seemed possessed of contrary urges. It took nine attempts just to force some of the meat down and three more to swallow the rest.

Solonn opened his eyes again, realizing only then that he’d kept them closed all the while that he’d been consuming the steak. He rapidly and repeatedly flicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, trying to scrape off what remained of its taste.

Jal’tai smiled at him, looking satisfied. “Was it to your liking?” he asked.

Solonn gave a quick nod, wondering if anything in his expression was contradicting the gesture even as it was made. His eyes traveled downward to where the saucer of water lay. He rather liked the thought of some good, fresh ice right about then; perhaps crunching on it for a while might help to loosen and remove any stray bits of the frozen meat that might be caught between his teeth, still haunting him with their flavor. It was convenient that water had been provided for him to freeze, too; it would mean a bit less effort than spontaneously generating ice would require. He was about to freeze it, but then he hesitated as he realized something.

“Er, Jal’tai? If I freeze this water, I won’t be able to get it out of that dish there. And… well, I don’t exactly want to eat the dish…”

Jal’tai gave him a blank, unblinking stare for a moment. Then he slapped his wing against his forehead and burst into laughter. “Oh dear!” he cried in between laughs. “Oh heavens, I don’t know why we didn’t think of that… Is there any particular reason why you must freeze it first?”

Solonn gave Jal’tai a brief, mild glare. Then he lowered his face toward the saucer of water and dipped his tongue into the water in an exaggeratedly delicate manner. A second later, he lifted his face to look back up at Jal’tai, wearing a deadpan expression. The saucer of water was dangling from his tongue, to which it had frozen.

Jal’tai stared at Solonn, his beak agape, as the glalie, glaring dully, set the saucer back down onto the table, unfreezing the water within the saucer and thereby freeing his tongue. The swellow was able to hold in his laughter for—at most—five seconds more before it came exploding out.

“Oh…” Jal’tai said, fighting to catch his breath. “I’m sorry, but…” He was stricken by another fit of chuckles; it took him easily half a minute to calm down again. Suddenly, his eyes widened. “I do believe I’ve just thought of a solution. Freeze that again, would you? Without encasing a part of yourself in it this time,” he added, then cracked up laughing yet again.

Solonn grumbled to himself under his breath, wondering why he had thought it was a good idea to demonstrate this issue in such a way. He complied with Jal’tai’s request quickly, once again solidifying the water in the saucer.

“All right, then, if you’ll just excuse me…” The swellow suddenly sprang from his perch on top the chair, opened his wings, and fluttered to the opposite side of the table. His beak took on a white glow as he positioned himself before the saucer. With a flurry of sudden motion, he took his beak to the ice. Barely more than a second later, he relented, and it was revealed that he had chipped the ice into frozen grit while not even putting a dent in the saucer that held it.

Jal’tai then picked up the saucer in his beak and carefully tipped its contents onto the pedestal where the steak had sat minutes before. “There you go,” he said, then fluttered back to his seat.

Slightly stupefied by Jal’tai’s frenzied feat, Solonn seemed not to notice the ice piled before him for several moments. Once he finally did notice it, he descended upon it quickly. He ground it in his teeth for quite a bit longer than was necessary; it was virtually reduced to a powder by the time he finally swallowed it. “Thanks,” he said to the swellow, then sank back down to the floor, feeling suddenly quite weary.

Jal’tai smiled. “You’re most welcome,” he responded, bowing his head slightly, before finishing off the rest of his fish.

The hitmonchan returned then and immediately set about removing the used plate and pedestal as well as Solonn’s saucer, leaving Jal’tai’s still largely ignored saucer where it sat. “Is there anything else I can get for you gentlemen?” he asked.

“Nothing more for me,” Jal’tai said, shaking his head gently. “What about you, Mr. Zgil-Al? Care for another Specialty?”

There were very few things in the world that Solonn would have cared for less at that moment. “No thanks,” he said—or tried to say, at least. His words were almost completely engulfed in a massive yawn.

“‘No’, did you say?” the hitmonchan asked.

“Hm? Yeah, that’s right,” Solonn confirmed.

“Very well then, sirs. I hope you have enjoyed your day here!” the hitmonchan said cheerfully, then left.

Jal’tai took a moment to stretch his wings, then jumped down from the chair. “So, Mr. Zgil-Al. Would you like for me to give you a nice tour of the city?”

“Ugh… that’d be nice, but…” He unleashed another yawn. “I don’t know… I’m just really tired all of a sudden.” Solonn had found himself quite suddenly stricken by a powerful lethargy. “I feel like I need to get to sleep.”

Jal’tai frowned concernedly at him. “Hmm. Well, in that case, I think we’d better seek out a place where you can rest. I think your recent tribulations must have finally taken their toll on you.”

Solonn nodded listlessly, suspecting that the swellow was right. It seemed that his body had taken all that it could and was demanding a temporary exemption from any possible excitement.

“Come, Mr. Zgil-Al. The Convergence Inn is not terribly far from here at all. I should be able to get a room for you there without any trouble.” The swellow made for the door leading out of the private room and beckoned Solonn to follow.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Solonn barely registered the trip from Whitley’s to the Convergence Inn, barely even aware of any conscious effort on his part to keep his body afloat as he drifted lethargically behind the swellow. He didn’t seem to absorb Jal’tai’s words when the bird told him that they had arrived at their destination until several seconds after those words had been spoken.

Vaguely, Solonn noted that he was following Jal’tai into the hotel. Through a haze that made it difficult for his mind to grasp that the input from his eyes was genuine, he saw the swellow stray from his immediate vicinity and cross the lobby to go and speak with a swampert receptionist.

Jal’tai returned shortly, then gestured with his wing toward an elevator to Solonn’s right. “This way,” he said. “Your room is on the top floor.”

Making a vague noise of acknowledgment, Solonn allowed himself to be guided toward the elevator. Jal’tai pressed a button set in the wall beside one of the elevator’s steel doors, and a few moments later the doors opened. Solonn drifted quite slowly and somewhat unsteadily into the elevator; Jal’tai just managed to dash in after him before the doors closed and the elevator began to rise.

Once the ascent was complete, the two of them emerged onto the uppermost floor. Jal’tai moved ahead of Solonn and began making his way through the corridor, looking for what was to be Solonn’s room.

“Here it is!” he called back to the glalie after only a brief search.

Solonn glided over to join him, so hampered by drowsiness at this point that he very drifted right into the wall before coming to a stop beside the swellow.

“This shall be your room for the night,” Jal’tai said, “right in there.” He gestured toward the very same wall with which Solonn had just nearly collided. There was no door, no apparent means of gaining entry into the “room” that Jal’tai was indicating. The wall was nearly featureless save for the words “Grand Suite” in blue human- and unown-script and a pair of strange devices fitted to the wall next to the words. One of these fixtures was some kind of keypad, while the other resembled nothing so much as a round, blank, gray eye.

Even in his great lethargy, Solonn managed to give the swellow quite a skeptical look.

Jal’tai smiled. “Observe.” Fluttering up into the air before the keypad, he punched a code into it using a single claw on his right foot, then hurriedly flapped aside from it.

“Ready,” said a computerized voice from out of nowhere, and a large, glowing, green square lit up dramatically on the floor in front of the lens and keypad. “Please enter the transport field.”

“Go to that square and sit down,” Jal’tai said.

Solonn did as he was told. “Initializing scan,” said the computerized voice. The lens on the wall awakened, glowing with a brilliant, golden light. It projected a beam of the same color, which touched Solonn, broadened to his width, and swept up and down over him. “Scan complete,” the voice then said, and the beam vanished.

The glowing, green tile on which Solonn was sitting flashed. A peculiar, tingling sensation prickled over the glalie’s skin, followed by a strange, sort of transcendent sensation not unlike that which accompanied entrance into a capture ball. However, he was drawn not into a disembodied netherscape but rather a large, richly furnished suite with paintings on its walls that put those hanging up at Whitley’s to shame and marble figures of various dragon-type pokémon placed here and there. Not that Solonn could truly appreciate his surroundings, however; to his weary eyes, everything around him seemed to want to bleed together into a blur of color and light.

“Hey in there!” Jal’tai shouted, his voice coming in through the wall. “Do you like it?”

Solonn turned toward the wall and made a wordless noise that was as affirmative-sounding as his lack of energy would allow.

“Good, good!” Jal’tai responded merrily. “Now, listen, I doubt you’ll need anything overnight; your suite comes very well equipped, I assure you. But, if you do… Well, have a look at the little table by that green armchair in the den.” He gave the glalie ample time to find it; Solonn, in his present state, needed every second of it.

“I see it,” Solonn finally said, his words slurred.

“Good,” Jal’tai said, speaking more loudly now to ensure that his next instructions would be heard. “Now, you’ll notice the little black box with a large, round speaker on top—you can use that to call me if you need anything. It’s voice-activated. You need only speak into it—say ‘Page’, then my name, followed by ‘Room 44-B’, which is where I’m going to be staying. Call, and I’ll come up here as quickly as I can manage. Got it?”

“Got it,” Solonn confirmed, although he was only minimally aware of what he was saying.

“All right, then. Rest well, Mr. Zgil-Al!” Jal’tai said brightly. His words were followed by a continuing silence that signified that he’d left.

With yet another huge yawn, Solonn lowered himself onto the floor. He rolled onto his back and gratefully let his eyelids meet, sighing as he did so. His fading mind drifted back to information that it had absorbed earlier that day, specifically information regarding the unown. Solonn remembered, in a detached sort of way, something having been piqued within his mind at learning of them, but he had fallen too far toward sleep to truly reach any of those notions now. Already half-dreaming, his brain conjured images of the fantastic, surreal beings that it guessed the unown to be, whimsically bizarre creatures that danced in circles around his consciousness as it dwindled away.


Chapter 7 contains one of my absolute favorite Solonn quotes. See if you can guess what it was.

Next chapter: Solonn makes a discovery of a most unexpected nature and gets to know Jal’tai a little better. See you then!

- Sike Saner

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The Origin of Storms

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Old 05-01-2009, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Well, I've just read the entire thing so far and I would like to say that I sympathize with you entirely.

Why must people ignore such awesome stories as this one?

Before you ask, I've never read The Origin of Storms. But I am still enjoying this, save for two minor details: one, the setting and what Solonn is doing seems to change very dramatically, very fast. Perhaps you could have taken it a bit slower? And secondly, a question that has haunted me since the first chapter: How do you pronounce Solonn? (I've been ignoring the second N as silent and been thinking of him as 'Soul-On' - which, by the way, you can apply directly to the forehead - but I don't know.)

~ World famous singing sensation, Stefan Gordy.

(For the longest time I was telling myself that I would come back to PE2K once I had something artsy and cool to contribute... but that's too much effort. GIRA IS BACK!)

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Old 05-06-2009, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Originally Posted by Giratina View Post
Well, I've just read the entire thing so far and I would like to say that I sympathize with you entirely.

Why must people ignore such awesome stories as this one?
Awesome, really? Aw, shucks. ^^; Thanks. ^^

Well, it does seem to be getting some closet readers here, and it has gotten a few replies here, so it's not being totally ignored here. As for why the view count and reply count aren't higher than they are, I can't say for certain, not even with regards to my case, but I think that in my case, 1.) the length and 2.) the fact that I'm not yet very active on this board might be a couple of the contributing factors.

At any rate, relatively low readership admittingly doesn't bother me--I never was out to get high readership. I'm cool with whatever I get. ^^

Originally Posted by Giratina View Post
Before you ask, I've never read The Origin of Storms. But I am still enjoying this, save for two minor details: one, the setting and what Solonn is doing seems to change very dramatically, very fast. Perhaps you could have taken it a bit slower?
Dramatically and fast indeed. I'm not really sure what I could do to "soften the blows" other than to perhaps add a bunch of filler, and so far all of the ideas for filler that I've come up with just seem really... well, extraneous, like they're literally just there as buffers between major plot advances and don't bring anything else to the table. ^^; That might yet change, though, and if it does I might very well be adding these things--it wouldn't be the first time I've ever added stuff in (much of chapters nine through eleven of this story comes to mind, as do a couple of points in The Origin of Storms, and I'm currently sketching out a scene for Chapter 14 of this story that hadn't been in there previously).

Originally Posted by Giratina View Post
And secondly, a question that has haunted me since the first chapter: How do you pronounce Solonn? (I've been ignoring the second N as silent and been thinking of him as 'Soul-On' - which, by the way, you can apply directly to the forehead - but I don't know.)
You've pretty much got it. ^^ All I see fit to mention is that the emphasis is on the second syllable. Random little bit of trivia: a double consonant at end of a Virc name always signifies that the emphasis is on the last syllable. (However, there are also Virc names without a double consonant at the end, e.g. Sical, that have the emphasis on the last syllable.)

If you or anyone else has any questions regarding pronunciation, I'll be glad to answer those. ^^ And if any of you find the "official" pronunciations not to your liking, feel free to substitute any pronunciations you'd prefer. ^^

Oh, and now I have this image in my mind of someone attempting to apply a several-hundred-pound-glalie to his (it's a random bald man for some reason) forehead. It's pretty priceless. XD So yeah, thanks for causing my brain to conjure up that amusing little image there. ^^

Thanks for reading and replying, and thanks for the kind words! ^^

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The Origin of Storms

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Old 06-14-2009, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Chapter 8 – Preclusion of Choice

The space surrounding Solonn was utterly silent and utterly dark but far from still, anything but empty. Rushing through this lightless, ethereal plane, a stream of pure power surged like a river. It carried the most wonderful feeling along its current, an almost inebriatingly sweet familiarity that embraced the very core of his being, comforting and revitalizing him as it flowed freely all around him.

This was the raw, elemental power of ice, and he reveled in its direct presence and contact. He could not see it, but he recognized it for what it was in the surest and most ingrained way. His mind floated in pure contentment, free from distracting thoughts as he hovered effortlessly there, motionless, feeling the very essence of his mother element rushing over him.

Subtly, imperceptibly at first, the elemental stream began to pick up speed as it flowed. The glalie in the midst of it noticed the acceleration with a delay, initially regarding it with only a mild curiosity, still very deeply engrossed in his unity with the power of ice. True concern for the change in the energy stream’s behavior set in and quickly grew as he found the current continuing to flow faster and faster—soon, it was rushing by so swiftly that he could barely register its caress over his bare hide as it flowed past.

That concern made a shift toward first fear and then panic as Solonn found the elemental stream now moving with such speed that he couldn’t feel it at all anymore. No longer was it merely flowing alongside him—it seemed to be rushing
away from him now, leaving him behind.

No! No, come back! he tried to call out as the last of the flowing energy passed him by, giving him barely the time to note its departure as it hurried to some distant, invisible point far beyond him. But his cry was completely in vain; in this place, it seemed that he had no voice. All at once, he found himself suspended helplessly in empty space, the life-sustaining flow of elemental power having drained out and dried up completely from his surroundings.

The utmost vulnerability in which he was left compelled him to howl in terror despite his voicelessness, his futile screams heard by no one, not even himself. His mind was so besieged by panic that he couldn’t even begin to imagine how this could be happening, how his mother element could abandon him like this. The only notion that seemed able to remain intact within his mind—and with a brutal vividness—was the knowledge that separation from his element meant certain death. A glalie who fell from the arms of ice simply could no longer be. His element had left him behind in nothingness—without it, he knew, he would soon become a part of that nothingness.

His mind was beginning to splinter in earnest as he made his final, seemingly hopeless appeals for salvation, pleading voicelessly to the multitude of gods, calling out to the very heart of the universe, begging for his survival and safe return to the embrace of his element unto anyone, anything, that could possibly hear his desperate prayer. Soon, however, it became all to clear to him that his severance from his element, his life, would not be mended. Oblivion would consume him—it had already begun to do so.

He almost didn’t feel it when something disturbed the emptiness around him, something foreign, indiscernible. Just as soon as he had noticed it, before he could even begin to perceive its true nature clearly, a strange, pacifying wave emanated from whatever it was and engulfed his mind completely.

All will be fine, it seemed to tell him. Do not be concerned.

The suggestion came as gently as could be, but also as irresistibly as was possible. Perhaps it was death; perhaps it was salvation; perhaps it was something entirely beyond reckoning. Whatever it was, its consoling command was obeyed without resistance. The glalie slipped away from all further thought and sensation without a care.

* * *

The most vague notions of awakening crept into Solonn’s mind, just out of grasp of his full consciousness. Unhurriedly, he began to reconnect to his senses, and before fully awakening, with his eyes still closed and his consciousness liable to slip right back into sleep at any moment, he decided and attempted to rise up.

He failed.

Still only minimally awake and emerging very slowly from what had been the deepest sleep that he had ever known, Solonn felt something only marginally resembling concern. He thought he had just commanded himself to rise up from the floor and into the air; perhaps, he considered in a detached way, he had not sent the order to his body after all. So, he tried once more to lift off…

…And failed again.

As his mind unmuddled and awakened even further, Solonn felt a burgeoning panic, one that spiked when the notion finally hit him: I can’t get up!

With a delay, his eyes opened to a view of the ceiling, where a plant hung in a basket directly above him, a number of leafy tendrils spilling over the basket’s rim to dangle toward the floor. The picture his eyes presented seemed strangely dull to him, lacking in definition and color. He began blinking rapidly, trying to clear out whatever was hazing his vision. At the same time, he set about continuing to try and ascend, but his body still didn’t respond; it was as if it didn’t even understand the instructions that he was giving it.

His ears filled with the sound of pounding blood as his heart began racing. Why can’t I get up?! He tried, to very little avail, to calm himself enough to make sense of things. It seemed that while his mind had almost fully awakened, his body was having an unusually difficult time following suit. The thought occurred to him that maybe it would have an easier time responding to an order to execute a simpler, less demanding action. He decided to give up on trying to ascend into the air for the time being and instead just concentrate on getting off of his back and sitting upright and face-forward.

This demand, it seemed, was not too extravagant for his body to carry out in its strangely compromised state. However, as it did so, Solonn found himself stricken by a very unusual sensation; as his face pitched forward, he felt something seeming to cinch together in the vicinity of his abdomen—almost a bending sensation, as if at a waist, which was something that he did not have.

And yet, he did.

He cried out in disbelief at the sight that met his eyes once he had succeeded in sitting up, a brutally unreal picture that told him in the most blunt manner possible how it was that his body had bent in a fashion that should not be possible. There before him, he saw a pair of long, pale-skinned legs ending in five-toed feet. And unless his mind was playing a very cruel trick on him—it had to be, he told himself silently in a repeating loop—those limbs were his.

No… no, this can’t be real… I’m still dreaming; I’ve got to be… Solonn was almost able to believe that conclusion—almost. Swallowing against a hard knot of dread that had built up in his throat, he stared intently at one of the feet and, hoping and expecting in equal measures that the effort would fail, he willed it to move.

It moved right on command.

He screamed, flailing madly as he half-jumped, half-scuttled backwards in horrified surprise. In his futile attempt to escape from his own feet, the back of his head connected very sharply with a corner of the small table near which he had fallen asleep. He exclaimed wordlessly at the pain as it exploded across the inner surface of his skull. There was no doubt about it: the pain was real. Though Solonn wished dearly that it weren’t so, it seemed that reality was determined to literally beat the truth into his head. This was not a dream. This was really happening. Somehow, impossibly, he had become human.

He swooned in a sudden wave of weakness and slumped backwards against the side of the nearby armchair, panting. A growing ache awakened in his chest as his heart continued hammering in sheer, animalistic terror. Disarrayed thoughts and frenzied, tangled emotions raced through his mind. He felt as though he might pass out from the bewildering shock at any moment and would have been all too grateful to do so, but in an almost sadomasochistic way, his brain stayed conscious and forced him to suffer along with it as it continued to torture itself with this bizarre new reality.

Though he desired very strongly not to do anything of the sort, a cruel compulsion forced him to look upon himself, to force-feed the surreal image of what he had become into his brain. Unwilling eyes swept over the form of the tall, lanky body that was now his own.

This was the first time that he had ever seen a human body unclothed. In the same stark, tactless fashion that everything else about the situation had shown itself to him thus far, Solonn was made to recognize that he was, at least, still male, and the way by which he determined this left him mortified both for his own sake and that of an entire species. Good gods, they keep that out?

This body was more than just very strange to him—it was wrong. He should not have this; he should not be this. He should be a glalie, a creature of the element of ice… but that element was no longer there for him. He tried to reach it again, some part of him desperately hoping that in doing so he could somehow return to his true form, but he felt nothing at all of his mother element’s embrace.

He moaned, not at the throbbing, shooting pain that still lingered in his head but rather at the severance from his beloved element. He felt his anguish seem to swell in his chest and then well up behind his eyes until they could hold it in no longer, and thus he cried for the very first time in his life.

Several minutes after the fact, he finally noticed that there was something damp at the site of the impact on the back of his head, and he gave a small, mournful sound at the new, unpleasant sensation; it was just one more thing to further deny him the option of pretending this whole situation away and dismissing it as some dream or hallucination or other lie of the mind. Shaking, he glanced down at his hands as they lay limply at his sides; then, only half-aware of what he was doing, he lifted one of them to the back of his head. He recoiled at the warm stickiness he found there amidst the hair. He then brought that hand before his face, and he felt his throat go dry at what he saw. Though his vision was presently blurred slightly, he could still make out the blood that was smeared across the tips of his fingers—blood that was red and not at all evanescent. Human blood for a human body—which he should not have.

Solonn closed his eyes and tried to retreat into the corners of his consciousness, thoroughly overwhelmed. He could not even remotely fathom how such a thing could have possibly happened to him, nor could he even begin to think of what he should do under these circumstances.

Sighing, he allowed his eyes to open once more, conceding to the fact that he would not be given the mercy of release from his awareness of this situation. He turned his head and let it sink listlessly to his left shoulder, faintly regarding a number of long, black strands of hair that fell across his face. Through them, he saw the little table at his side, on which there sat a small, flat, black box.

A course of action occurred to him as he recalled the little device’s function: he didn’t know what to do about the situation that had befallen him, but perhaps Jal’tai would. Solonn could think of no one else available from whom to seek any possible solutions. He reached up toward the device and pulled it down toward himself. He turned it over in his hands for a moment as he tried to retrieve the memory of how to operate it. Voice-activated, he then remembered. You tell it what to do. With another few seconds’ perusing of his mind, he recalled the instructions that he was to give it.

He looked upon the large speaker that dominated one surface of the strange paging device; seeing no other prominent feature on it, he figured that this was the part of it to which he was to direct his command. He took a deep breath, trying to get a hold of himself long enough to do what he intended to do here in spite of the toll that this turn of events had taken on his mental state, then spoke his intentions to the little black machine.

“Page,” he said almost breathlessly, and he felt his throat constrict as soon as the word had escaped it. Aside from the slight alteration caused by the fact that his nose was a bit congested at the time, his new voice sounded exactly like the one he had possessed as a glalie. It was an oddity that confounded and anguished him. He still sounded like himself—why, he wondered, couldn’t he still be himself in every other way?

There was a small beep, and a tiny, green light turned on beside the speaker. “Please state the name and room number of the one you are paging,” the device said in the same computerized voice that the transport device outside the suite had used.

“Jal’tai,” Solonn answered hoarsely, “room 44-B.” He dearly hoped that he had remembered that number correctly.

“One moment please…” the device said.

Solonn held his breath as he waited for a response. Thankfully, it seemed that his mind had successfully retained the correct number for Jal’tai’s room, for after several seconds: “Yes? Is there something you need?” Jal’tai’s familiar, kindly voice came through the speaker.

“Oh yes,” Solonn responded shakily, his voice charged with urgency, “yes, there is.”

“Oh dear…” Jal’tai clearly had no trouble detecting the distress in Solonn’s voice. There was a brief pause, then, “What’s the matter?”

Solonn strongly doubted that Jal’tai would believe the answer to that question. “Can’t explain,” he replied hurriedly. “Just need you here now. Please hurry.”

Another pause. “Yes… yes, of course. I’ll be right up,” Jal’tai said finally.

“Connection terminated,” said the computerized voice of the device then. The beep sounded again, and the green light turned off.

Solonn set the paging device down on the floor beside him and released a long, weary sigh. All he could do now was wait for Jal’tai to show up—even if he only had seconds to wait, he was not sure that he could endure it. He was fully aware of how nearly every muscle in his body trembled in anxiety, his hands shaking like leaves, with tiny yet powerful twitches tugging and pricking at the skin around his eyes and mouth. Vaguely, he wondered if he might not lose this body just as soon as he’d come by it, for it seemed to be threatening to shake itself to pieces.

As the seconds crept slowly by, he stared forward blankly, barely blinking, at one of the suite’s draconic statues that sat a couple of yards away. It lay on its marble pedestal with its tapered wings outstretched and its taloned forearms crossed in front of it and gazed sightlessly back at Solonn with a look of absolute serenity. Solonn could only futilely wish that he were in a position to return a matching expression to the smiling stone figure.

A voice sounded then, startling Solonn in his compromised state, pulling his attention at once from the statue of the dragon pokémon. “Solonn? Are you all right in there?” It was Jal’tai. “May I come in now?” the swellow asked him through the wall.

“Please do,” Solonn called back shakily.

“Of course, of course… just give me a moment here…” Jal’tai responded.

A tone sounded within the suite shortly thereafter. “Prepare to receive a visitor,” the computerized voice said calmly. Solonn turned toward the wall separating the suite from the hall outside. A second later, a shimmering, pale green field of light appeared within the suite, forming above a tile that matched the one outside, then solidified into the form of Jal’tai, who stood there in front of the wall with a concerned look leveled at Solonn. If he was at all shocked or surprised to behold a human where there should have been a glalie, he did not show it.

Without a word, Jal’tai walked over to where Solonn half-sat, half-lay. He stopped before the former glalie, ruffled his wings and folded them tightly against his back, and gave him a long, unflinching look, his face taking on an expression that was difficult for Solonn to quite interpret.

Already disturbed to no small degree by what had befallen him, Solonn found himself unnerved further by the way the swellow’s steely raptor’s eyes took in his new form—his naked new form…

Solonn inhaled sharply in sudden mortification. This was one detail which he had overlooked—now Jal’tai was getting an unobstructed view of something that Solonn wouldn’t show to anyone under normal circumstances, not even to those of his own kind. Feeling the blood rush to his face in a hot wave of embarrassment, Solonn repositioned himself hastily to cover his shame.

“Relax, relax,” Jal’tai said coolly. “It’s nothing I haven’t seen before. After all—” He paused briefly to take a breath, his gaze shifting to Solonn’s eyes and sharpening further. “—it was I who designed that very body for you.”

That took a very long moment to fully register in Solonn’s brain. For a moment, he forgot to breathe. He gave the swellow a stupefied stare.

Jal’tai nodded. “It’s true, Solonn.”

The human’s stare went flat. For countless seconds on end, he made no response whatsoever, frozen in the moment. Then he inhaled very slowly, very deeply.

“Why?” he asked, his voice constrained so badly that it was distorted almost beyond recognition. “Why… and how… in the fires of a thousand hells… did you turn me into a human?”

Jal’tai closed his eyes and lowered his head. “Yes,” he said soberly, “you are owed an explanation for all this. It’s imperative that you be made to fully understand the situation. I will address your question of ‘how’ first, since that comes with the shorter answer. To begin to answer that question, however, I must start by being more honest with you with regards to the matter of who—and what—I truly am.”

The swellow suddenly took to the air without warning, hovering in place to Solonn’s right and slightly above him. “Don’t be frightened by what I’m about to show you,” Jal’tai said, his words accompanied by the sound of his steadily beating wings, “for it is my true form. I am and shall still be the same person in spirit that I have shown myself to be while in your presence up to this point.”

Solonn could only stare mutely at him, watching as the air around Jal’tai began to ripple and shimmer, blurring the swellow’s form. Soon, Jal’tai completely lost definition, becoming nothing more than a wavering mass of faint light. The light then intensified and began to take shape once more. When it faded away a second later, the swellow was gone. In his place was something very different, something blue and pale gray that, though still feathered, was no longer a bird.

Jal’tai was now a dragon.

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 06:08 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

“There,” Jal’tai said. He sounded no different than he had prior to revealing his true form, and he used a tone that was likely meant to be soothing, though it failed in that endeavor.

Solonn stared agape at him for seconds on end. Wide with astonishment, his eyes then began casting flitting glances back and forth between the hovering form of Jal’tai and the draconic statue nearby.

Jal’tai followed one of the human’s darting glances and then let out a chuckle. “No, no, dear boy,” he said. “That’s the female of my species you see depicted there. That is a latias. We menfolk are latios.”

The latios might as well have said anything there for all Solonn cared; there were very specific things he wanted to hear about from Jal’tai, and the difference between the males and the females of Jal’tai’s species was not one of them.

“What does that have to do with… with this?” Solonn demanded in a pained-sounding hiss, sweeping his gaze quickly over himself before returning his wild, bewildered stare to the dragon.

“Well, my dear boy, the matter of my species is actually quite relevant to what has been done to you, for it was by the transfigure technique, an ancient art which survives in practice today by none outside the lati race, that you were given this new form. A swellow could not have used the transfigure technique; on the chance that you might have known that, I deemed it necessary to reveal my true form lest you fall short of believing me when I told you how it was possible for me to transform you.”

Solonn hadn’t known what swellow were and were not capable of or why it should be any easier to believe that a dragon could possess the power to transform him than to believe that a bird could, nor did he care to know these things. Jal’tai’s explanation as to how the change was made held little meaning for Solonn and fell quite short of a satisfying answer.

Hoping that the other question would yield an answer that he could use, “Why, Jal’tai?” Solonn pressed in a brittle voice, the words more exhaled than spoken.

Lowering his head, Jal’tai drew back slightly from Solonn. “Forgive me, Mr. Zgil-Al,” he said soberly. “I sincerely regret not being more straightforward with you from the start. But there was only one way this could be done feasibly, and unfortunately, it did require me to keep you largely in the dark up to this point.”

The latios clasped his talons and met Solonn’s gaze steadily despite the way the human’s brown, bloodshot eyes pierced into his own. “The first thing you need to know in order to understand the situation is this: I am not merely a proud citizen of this great city. I am also the mayor and director of the Convergence Project, its guide and guardian.”

“Well, good for you,” Solonn croaked acidly. “And what is it about that, exactly, that required you to turn me into this?”

“Patience, my boy,” Jal’tai said evenly, unfazed by Solonn’s venom-laced response, earning a severely indignant look from the former glalie. “You must allow me to explain; it is crucial that you understand the circumstances that have come to include you and understand them completely, and not just for your own sake, either.”

The latios paused for a breath, then released it on a sigh before proceeding. “I love my city, Solonn,” he said wistfully. “I love it more than anything else in this world. The fact remains, however, that I will not be around to guide it forever. Therefore, it will become necessary for someone to one day take my place.

“This is where you come in, Solonn. Now, it may not be obvious to the eye of the beholder, but I am getting on in years… Soon, I will be retiring from my position as mayor of Convergence, and the city will need someone to take my office when I depart. That someone is required to have a very particular and very rare skill in common with me—it is rendered a vital necessity by the very nature of this place. My successor must be able, just as I am, to freely and fluently communicate with pokémon and humans alike. My successor must possess the Speech.”

To that, Solonn reacted immediately and strongly. In a flurry of very awkward motion, he scrambled away from the chair against which he had been reclining and began crawling backwards away from Jal’tai, compelled to put a healthy distance between himself and the latios as swiftly as he could manage. How did he find out?! he wondered fearfully. His mind was now racing much too fast to light on many explanations, but the only one that managed to come through seemed to be the only one that could be plausible to him anyway.

Just as soon as it had appeared in Solonn’s mind, it was confirmed. “Yes, Solonn. I am a psychic,” Jal’tai said, nodding. “But, no, that’s not how I learned of your gift. Not initially, anyway,” he clarified.

Lowering his talons and turning them palms-outward in a curiously human-like gesture, trying to appear as non-threatening as he could, Jal’tai began to glide slowly toward Solonn, his wings remaining rigid and stationary, suggesting that some less mundane force powered his flight. Solonn continued backing away from the advancing latios, but he soon found himself backed into a corner, trapped by a wall to his left, a large, oak dresser to his right, and Jal’tai before him, who had apparently accelerated his approach somewhat as he was now only a foot or so in front of Solonn.

Jal’tai settled himself onto the carpet before Solonn, folding his forearms in front of his chest, and continued. “I saw you, you see,” the latios explained. “The day before last, I saw what happened to you in Lilycove,” he elaborated, with a note of earnest sorrow coloring his voice on that statement. “I was out for a nice flight; as I mentioned before, I do make occasional excursions outside Convergence, just for a change of pace. I decided to alter my usual course a bit that day and chose to go eastward instead of the southward direction I usually take. My course found me flying over Lilycove, and there I caught sight of a most deplorable scene…”

A definite tinge of disgust entered Jal’tai’s words here, a disgust so strong that it held him from continuing for a few seconds. “I saw a sign out in front of an old, rather miserable looking theater, promising a real, live… ‘talking’ pokémon inside…” The word “talking” was ejected from the latios’s beaklike mouth with as much force and clear distaste as if it were something on which he had been gagging.

“I saw a small group of humans rush you into the theater through the back way,” he went on. “I slipped in after them, cloaked by my psychic abilities. I found you sleeping backstage, and I tapped your mind while you slept, just deep enough to learn if what the sign outside that wretched scene claimed was accurate, and thereby I learned that indeed it was.

“Even if it hadn’t been, though, I would have broken you out of there. The way you were being treated there, as a spectacle… it was sickening…” he hissed, his red eyes narrowed in vehemence. “I was about to make a move toward your liberation, too, but just then, a new human presence came onto the scene, one in whom I immediately sensed benevolent intentions regarding you. A quick tap of her mind told me that she was your friend and had come to rescue you from your would-be exploiters.

“You had awakened at this point, but your attempts to escape were foiled by a restraining technique, one cast by a creature whose presence I had not even detected. I went and searched about the vicinity for the caster and thereby found a sableye—a dark-type, able to evade detection by my psychic senses. I dispatched him at once by means of a dragon claw.”

Solonn’s eyes narrowed in sudden suspicion. “Morgan told me that she had taken him out,” he said.

Jal’tai sighed. “I am afraid that both you and Morgan were misled where that is concerned,” he told Solonn. “You see, your human companion happened to walk in onto the scene where the sableye had been hiding just as I was dealing with him—the summoning of the technique I used to take him down required me to shift my focus from my psychic element to my dragon element, thus forcing me to give up my invisibility, and so it was that Morgan saw me there. I should explain that my kind are… valued by humans—” There was another charge of the dragon’s particular brand of revolted emphasis on the word “valued”. “—due to our potent psychic and draconic abilities. Though I sensed virtue in this particular human, I was in no position to say the same about the other humans in her life, and I confess that I was unwilling to take a chance on whether or not her integrity was so strong that she would keep my appearance a secret.

“Hence, I found it necessary to modify her memory of that event. I quickly rendered myself invisible once more. Then I placed a hammer that I found lying nearby into her hand and implanted a memory of her using it to knock out the sableye, and I made her forget having seen me.” He briefly closed his eyes and lowered his head as if in shame. “I regret that action now. I should have given her the benefit of the doubt. I should have recognized just how honorable her nature truly was. I did come to recognize it, after watching her help to liberate you, and following her as she guided you to safety outside the city…”

The latios’s face took on a faint, wistful smile. “She, a human, actually chose to let you part from her company rather than allow you to remain and risk exploitation again… very noble… very rare. Anyhow… following the events of that evening, I knew you could go nowhere but west, and so I waited in the grass for you and then brought you here.”

“You could have told me all of this at the start,” Solonn admonished him. “And none of that explains why you needed to change me like this.”

“Actually,” Jal’tai said, “within what I have just told you lies the precise reason why your transformation was necessary. You were taken to be made into a spectacle by those humans in Lilycove because you were a glalie who could speak their language. For that quality, you were regarded as a freak—a valuable freak, yes, but a freak nonetheless—and you were treated as one.

“Now, you are a human who can speak pokémon languages—you have been speaking glalie language this entire time, as a matter of fact,” Jal’tai added. “My point is that humans sought to exploit and degrade you as a freak when you were a pokémon. They will not, however, do that to you as a fellow human. The unfortunate truth is that generally speaking, humans only hold true respect for their own kind. That is why I transformed you.”

“Without my consent!” Solonn shouted, throwing a feral look at Jal’tai.

“Yes, and I apologize!” Jal’tai responded swiftly, actually sounding quite hurt. “But that was only to spare you the experience of what would have been a very painful and disturbing process. The nature of my method is such that if the subject knows the change is coming, their brains cannot be made to ignore that it is occurring. With that in mind, I had a sleep-inducing drug added to your meal at Whitley’s. Once I was certain you had fallen asleep in here, I entered the suite. Then, using certain of my psychic abilities, I put a sort of… for lack of a better term, a lock upon your brain to separate it from your tactile senses so that you would not awaken while I changed you.”

“You did it that way,” Solonn said accusingly, “because you knew I would say ‘no’.”


Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 06:20 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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