OOC: Obligatory writer talking about his story here. This is my umpteenth attempt at a series. Hopefully this one lasts longer than the 2nd entry. On another note, this was the first time I wrote a story using these characters that are loosely based on myself in like 2+ years, so it was pretty refreshing to use these characters after all that time. It WAS a bit awkward depicting them in a relationship though, but the rest of the series probably wont be as mushy as the first chapter. Also, I hate starting these things because for some reason the beginning is always extremely wordy.
Heroes’ Log 001 – Back in the Ring
“Get moving,” a female voice demanded.
A young man was being led to an unknown location. All the man could see was darkness, but he felt the woman’s hands pressed into his back. He heard a loud thud and suddenly felt a sharp piercing pain in his chest. The man let out a muffled cry, which was soon drowned out by the sounds of the others around him. He could hear the faint breathing of several living beings, but they weren’t human. Eventually, the man was stopped, and the woman’s hands pressed down on his shoulders, forcing him to his knees.
“Are you ready?” the woman asked.
“Let’s get this over with,” the man replied.
The woman’s smooth hands traveled across her captive’s cheeks. Her dainty fingers soon found the blindfold wrapped around the man’s head. The thin digits quickly slipped underneath the cloth and freed the white handkerchief from the boy’s face. He opened his brilliant green eyes and quickly surveyed his surroundings. The sudden burst of sunlight after seeing nothing but darkness shocked his pupils, causing him to see faint blurs. Lying in front of him was a small white tablet with strange writing on it. Standing around him were several creatures of various sizes – Pokémon. He turned to the woman that had led him here, staring deeply into her hazel eyes. Before he could open his mouth, the girl’s light brown hair bounced as she dove at her hostage. Her strength knocked the boy onto his back, knocking his head into the ground.
“Happy birthday Sean!” the woman yelled, planting a kiss on her boyfriend before rising to her feet.
“Take it easy Stacey,” the boy replied, rubbing the back of his head, “it’s not that important; I have a birthday every year.”
“Don’t act like this isn’t important,” she replied with a stern – yet cute – expression on her face, “this year is the big one!”
“18 years, huh?” Sean answered, staring longingly at the blue sky, “feels like yesterday when I was just a naďve kindergartener, living a normal life.”
“Normal my ass,” Stacey laughed, “the school burst into flames and you almost died in a fiery explosion! You’re just a magnet for trouble.”
“Hey, my trouble didn’t start until after I met you!” her boyfriend replied, playfully hugging his lover.
“Watch the PDA,” she replied, “I’m still a minor! You wouldn’t want to get arrested for inappropriate activities now, would you?”
“Don’t act like you don’t want it,” Sean said, “besides, you’re only three months younger than I am!”
Sean Marshall and Stacey Myers, two love struck teenagers that shared a powerful bond. They first met at the tender age of five; at the Apricot City Elementary School. Both of them had grown-up without knowing their true parents, and this commonality was what drew them together. It didn’t come as a big surprise when the two playmates eventually became a couple. At the age of 14 these two shared a powerful bond of affection that most married couples couldn’t attain. Their love was so strong that it even transcended Death itself…
Three and a half years had passed since the couple’s destiny had been put on hiatus. Now that their world-traveling journey was finally over, the duo was able to return to their hometown: Apricot City. Using money they had obtained from various errands and part-time jobs, they had been able to rent a small house in the outskirts of the city. This small one bedroom house was the result of the couple’s dream – to live a peaceful life together. They were now celebrating Sean’s birthday in that very backyard, surrounded by all of the Pokémon they had managed to befriend. While the group enjoyed some of the birthday cake, a white cake filled with cream cheese, Stacey snuck inside, returning with a small box wrapped in blue paper and decorated with a gold bow.
“Here, a little present from me,” she said, handing the package to Sean.
“You didn’t have to get me anything,” Sean smiled, “having you here with me is present enough.”
“Oh please, we all know you were expecting a gift,” Stacey teased, “besides, this gift found its way to me.”
Sean tore through the wrapping paper and lifted the lid of the cardboard box. Inside the box was a small necklace with a pendant attached to it. The boy’s green eyes lit up as he raised the necklace up to the sunlight. The pendant was shaped like a large teardrop, and was crafted out of a green material that reflected a multi-colored glow in the sunlight.
“Impossible… the Jewel of Life,” Sean whispered, mesmerized by the jewel’s shine, “I thought I lost this during the final battle.”
“One of our friends must have found it and sent it here,” Stacey replied, gazing at the gem, “this is my first time truly seeing it. It matches your beautiful eyes.”
“I went through hell to get this,” Sean smiled, gazing at his reflection in the gem, “but it was worth it…”
More than three years ago, Apricot City was attacked by monsters from another world. The attacks claimed few lives, thanks to a quick response from the powerful Apricot City Police Department. Unfortunately, one of the victims was Stacey Myers, sending Sean on a dangerous quest for revenge. His journey took him to other dimensions, where he met many strange and interesting characters. He eventually encountered Arceus; the Pokémon rumored to have created the world itself. It was during this encounter that one of Sean’s close friends revealed their true colors, betraying the boy. Fortunately for Sean, Arceus intervened and brought the young man to its lair. It was somewhere above the Spear Pillar that Sean received Arceus’ Judgment attack. The Alpha Pokémon deemed the hero’s heart to be pure and granted him a fragment of its mystical Jewel of Life. Using the fragment’s power, Sean was able to revive Stacey, reuniting the couple and giving him the motivation necessary to defeat his former friend once and for all.
“I really missed you,” he said, turning to his girlfriend.
“I missed you too,” she replied, kissing her angel of life.
Sean’s birthday ended on a peaceful note. After night had fallen, the couple recalled their Pokémon and retired to their room for the night. Sean stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. The man staring back at him was four years older than he had been during the biggest disaster in his life, but the young boy’s innocence shown through this older person. Sean ran a hand through his dirty blonde hair before crawling into bed with Stacey. The couple quickly fell asleep; enjoying what was unexpectedly their last night in this gentle home.
A Chance Meeting
That night, while the couple was sound asleep, an old friend found himself in dangerous battle. Kakashi Hokura, a friend of Sean’s since elementary school, was attacked in his family’s ancestral home. Hokura Manor, a Japanese-style mansion built ages ago by the original members of the Hokura clan. The Hokura (Japanese for “Fire Blossom”) were a family of shinobi tasked with extinguishing flames long before Apricot City was built. Kakashi was the last surviving member of the clan of ancient firefighters. The rest of his family was wiped out by Moltres, the legendary bird with a powerful grudge against the clan. But tonight, Kakashi faced a foe even more fearsome than the Legendary Pokémon than had tormented him three years ago.
“Who are you?” he asked, clutching his left arm in pain.
“Dead men have no need for names,” the mysterious figure replied before thrust a dark blade through the man’s chest.
Before the murderer fled the scene of the crime, he took great care to remove evidence of his existence. He then did something that few criminals ever did; the man notified the police. By the time the ACPD had penetrated the mansion’s walls, the stranger had already disappeared. The police were at a complete loss without any evidence. The only thing they were certain of is that Kakashi had been killed by a blade forged from an unknown material.
The incident made the morning news, alerting Sean and Stacey to the passing of their friend. They were skeptical at first; the Kakashi they had known was too smart to be killed without any sign of a struggle. But when the victim’s face, scarred by burns that had been inflicted many years ago, appeared on the TV screen, the couple let out a synchronized sob.
“I can’t believe he was killed,” Sean wept, “we didn’t even have time to get reacquainted.”
“Why would somebody kill him?” Stacey cried, “I don’t think he had anything that would be valuable.”
Sean and Stacey decided that the best course of action would be to visit the grave of Kakashi’s old love. They both wore the blackest outfits they owned as they somberly scanned the graves. At the back of the Apricot City Cemetery was a small tombstone with the name “Rose Sanders” etched into it. Rose was another old classmate who Kakashi had fallen in love with. Apparently she had died not too long after Sean had left the city. Kakashi never shared the specifics, but Rose had helped him defeat Moltres back then.
“It looks like you and Kakashi will be together again,” Sean said, holding Stacey close with one hand while he placed a rose on the burial ground.
“I’m sorry, am I interrupting?” an unknown voice beckoned from behind them.
Sean turned to see an older male wearing a black suit and tie standing behind them. The man was too young to be a grave keeper, but something about him seemed strangely ancient. His face was covered in scars, but his body suggested that he was young than 30.
“We were just paying our respects,” Sean replied, “did you know Rose, sir?”
“Oh, pardon my manners,” the man replied, scratching his shaved head, “my name is Jack Manhattan, I’m in charge of passing messages between various parties.”
“Like a delivery boy?” the boy asked, suddenly uneasy by Jack’s formality.
“A certain kind of delivery boy, yes,” Mr. Manhattan replied, closing the distance between the two, “you see, I specialize in… private matters.”
“Why are you whispering?” Stacey asked, wiping away her tears.
“My clients are very, ahem, ‘special’ individuals,” he continued, “they tend to frown on messages that are overheard by the police, or other unsavory characters.”
“So, you work with the black market?” Sean asked, clenching a fist behind his back.
“That is correct,” Jack replied, pulling a small envelope from his pocket, “this is for you, Mr. Marshall. I didn’t expect to be able to give you this personally, but you isolated yourself surprisingly quickly. It is my policy to personally check each message before delivering it, and I have to issue a warning: you shouldn’t travel alone
The couple watched as the shady individual quickly fled, leaving them to examine the contents of the envelope. Sean peeled back the flap, flinching as he pulled out a small piece of paper. He breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that it was just a regular letter.
“Well, what does it say?” Stacey asked, trying to read the message over her boyfriend’s shoulder.
“Considering how fast that Manhattan guy ran away; it can’t be anything good,” Sean replied, reading the letter aloud, “[i]Dear Sean Marshall, let me start by apologizing for the terrible news. I visited your friend Kakashi with the intention of finding your residence and leaving, I never expected him to resist like he did. You recently regained possession of a valuable artifact; one that my organization wishes to own. Unfortunately for you and your girlfriend, this means you must be killed, and soon. Take care until then; Nobody Important.”
“Did he really sign it, ‘Nobody Important’?” Stacey asked, almost laughing at the ridiculous pen name.
“There’s a reason for that,” Sean said, clenching the letter in his fist, “he doesn’t plan on letting us live long enough to put his name to use.”
“Wow, that’s a serious threat,” the girl replied, gripping Sean’s arm tightly, “what does he mean by ‘organization’? And what do you think they want?”
“My guess is that this man is part of a group of ne’er-do-wells like Team Rocket,” Sean explained, examining the necklace he had received as a present the day before, “the only item I have that could be considered a ‘valuable artifact’ is this necklace. This organization might have found out about the Jewel of Life somehow. How did you say you found it again?”
“It was hand-delivered to our mailbox,” Stacey said, trying to remember more about the delivery, “there wasn’t a return address, but our address was there. I think whoever sent this to us knew about this unimportant guy and sent it discreetly.”
“I’m pretty sure we just met the delivery boy,” the light-haired boy replied, “but I don’t think he’d give us any information about the sender. Still, nothing we can do but go home.”
“And watch our backs,” Stacey added, obviously concerned about the threat.
That single warning letter completely changed the mood of that day. The couple had started the morning feeling depressed about the death of a close friend, now they were worried about their own fates. During the walk back home, Stacey suggested calling the police, reminding Sean that they had several friends on the ACPD. Sean remembered that those friends had all been killed by Achito, a troubled boy who found it necessary to turn on his friends in exchange for power. Even though his friends weren’t around, the police could still offer the couple protection, but a heavy feeling in his gut dissuaded him from contacting the authorities. They were less than 15 minutes away from their house when a powerful siren echoed throughout the sleepy city. The couple looked into the sky and saw a pillar of smoke coming from the direction of their neighborhood.
“Sean, Stacey, thank goodness you two are okay!” Mrs. Logan, one of the neighbors screeched, hugging the pair tightly, “Mr. Logan and I were worried that you w-were dead.”
“O-our house!” Sean cried out, watching the house burn in brilliant white flames.
“Oh no, the Pokémon,” Stacey jumped, fearful for their partners’ lives.
“Don’t worry, I kept them safe,” a voice with a gentle tone said.
A teenage boy handed Sean a duffel bag containing dozens of Pokéballs, some inhabited and some empty. The boy’s style was something that would be impossible somebody to miss. His hair was a dark green color with a large ponytail that hung down to his waist. He wore a black baseball cap a white button-up shirt with a black long-sleeved shirt. His face was soft and his eyes glittered with the same innocence that Sean possessed. Stacey shifted her gaze between the two of them, noting the similarities.
“He’s not your son, is he?” she asked, a peculiar look on her face.
“That’s not even possible,” Sean replied, “thanks for saving our Pokémon. I can’t even imagine what you went through.”
“It was no problem,” the mysterious boy replied, “the fire wasn’t that big when I went in.”
“Wait, you were there when the fire started?” Sean asked, with an apprehensive look on his face.
“Oh dear, it looks like you have the wrong impression,” he replied, “I was there when the fire started, but I wasn’t the one that started it. It was a Darumaka that is responsible, and a mean-looking one at that.”
“Okay then, if you aren’t the arsonist, then who ARE you?” Stacey asked.
“My name is N,” the boy replied, “I’ve taken an interest in Sean’s exploits, so I came to this city to find you.”
“So you’ve been stalking us?” Sean asked, becoming increasingly agitated, “and what kind of name is ‘N’ anyways? Couldn’t your parents give you a more proper name?”
“Unfortunately, the people that raised me… didn’t have my best interests at heart,” N said, staring down at his feet, “but I don’t have time to give you guys my life story; I’m late for an important engagement. I’m sorry for your accident, good luck finding Darumaka.”
“Hey, wait!” Sean yelled, but N had already turned to leave, “something about him seems pretty familiar.”
“He doesn’t seem like he wants to hurt us,” Stacey said, turning back to the burning house and crossing her arms, “what are we supposed to do now?”
“Damn it!” Sean roared, grabbing his head, “there are too many questions, but we don’t have a single answer!”
Meanwhile, in a condemned building in the shady part of the city, a panicking gentleman was having a meeting with his boss. The worried man stepped through two large doors, into a giant room shrouded in darkness. His boss sat on a throne in the darkest part of the room, with one of his most loyal subordinates by his side.
“Did you do as I commanded?” the boss asked.
“Y-yes sir!” the generic grunt replied, “I had Darumaka burn their house to the ground. But, they weren’t home.”
“What?” the boss yelled, pounding his fist into the arm of his chair.
“I’m sorry!” the grunt yelled, “I was sure they were home, but they must have left when I wasn’t looking.”
“Did you at least release the Darumaka?” the boss’ favorite asked.
“Yes, I did,” he replied, “but, I don’t see the point. I mean, we spent all of that time training the damn thing, making it violent and such. Why would we want to release it?”
“By releasing Darumaka, we effectively erase all ties to our organization,” the boss explained, “we trained it to be violent and lash out at the first sign of our prey. With it running loose in the city, they are bound to cross paths. It is also possible that they are chasing the Pokémon, but when they find it…”
“It will prove much stronger than the wild variety,” the other man laughed, “weakening them in preparation for our next attack, because of your little blunder.”
“I’m sorry!” the grunt yelled, dropping to his knees, “please, let me go back out there. I know I can get them this time!”
“You have failed,” the boss explained, motioning to the third gentleman, “and the Darkhul agency does not tolerate failure.”
“Please, just give me a second chance,” the grunt begged.
“I’m sorry,” the boss’ favorite said, pulling out a large blade, “dead men have no need for second chances.”
Before he died, the grunt in charge of burning down the Marshall residence caught a glimpse of the killer. The man wore a black suit that he purposely left unbuttoned, revealing his bare torso. His facial expression was twisted and his hair was kept in short, jet black spikes. He smiled cruelly as he raised his weapon, a large black blade crafted from the finest materials available. The murderer swung his blade, decapitating the pathetic grunt. The bloodthirsty criminal let out a wicked, howling laugh as he kicked the sever head like a soccer ball.
“What will we do now, master?” he asked, turning to face the leader.
“Send the other grunts to patrol the city,” the boss commanded, “they aren’t allowed to rest until the Jewel of Life is found!”