Insurgence | Medieval Pokemon 1x1

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  1. The castle was a beautiful one.

    Not many could say they had seen something like it; it was perched upon a hill, overlooking the broad expanse of vibrant-colored land that spread out beneath it. The exterior was a glimmering white so bright that one may even say it was made of smooth ivory stones or scales. Watchtowers rose up around it, stretching towards the skies, their roofs appearing as if it was piercing the sea of azure above them. The interior of the castle was made of the same material as the outside-- curved entrances to rooms added a graceful twist to the stronghold and a variety of plants rested in pots in several corners. One might say that the fort was a bit too pale-colored, if it weren't for the banners that lined the walls.

    Russet banners hung from the ceilings and walls, gracefully tumbling down towards the floor. In the middle of some of the silk banners was a golden silhouette of a crested bird Pokemon with its wings spread and talons outstretched. The marble flooring reflected the bright hues of the standards. It was a splash of color, although delicate, that brought the castle to life.

    The mess hall, however, was ten times as decorated as the rest of the stronghold. The large room was lined with tables as always, but five large ensigns hung from the ceiling; one was colored white, with a lithe-looking light blue Pokemon sprinting across the field; another's field was silver with a winged, ivory-colored bird Pokemon curling inwards with its wings outstretched; one banner was colored gold, with a red, rearing maned Pokemon silhouette whose mouth was gaping and fangs were exposed; another was like the other banners lining the castle, crimson with the golden shadow of a bird Pokemon.

    Many people and their smaller, well-behaved Pokemon were in the mess hall, where the campaign was being held. A great variety of food lined the table-- most of which was based of Phoenician foods. Different types of raw fish, especially sushi and many types of seaweed, rested on several tables. Roasted Octillery and Tentacruel were cut up into pieces of different sizes, their poisons properly removed before they were served. Qwilfish were also presented on shiny, decorated platters. Rice made up a majority of the meals laid out before the volunteers. There were potatoes, radishes, yams, and other foodstuffs that looked absolutely scrumptious, especially to the Argentians and Phoencians. Along with the more oriental food, there was also meals that delighted the others; seared Stunfisk and roasted Slowpoketail, roasted Bouffalant, Miltank and Tauros tails and feet, roasted Grumpig, and more.

    Many Pokemon had died just to feed them for one night.

    To her, the mess hall and the entirety of the palace was nothing but a lavish bird cage. Akane found herself suffocating, unused to the expensive decor and marbled floors. She stayed to herself, in the corner of the room, stuffing her face with a caramel-coated yam. Beside her stood her faithful companion, his ebony nose twitching slightly as one of his large golden ears flicked idly. She turned to her Delphox, raising the yam up to his snout. "Here," she said, offering Kyubi the yam. He took it into one of his nimble paws, wincing lightly at the stickiness. "Humans usually eat it with a fork. I don't think your paws could handle it."

    Beside her, her Luxray huffed loudly, swishing her tail as she laid her delicate head on her paws. Akane couldn't help but chuckle. "Now, Rin," she began as Kyubi took a bite out of the sweet potato. "You know what mother always said. Have patience. This meeting will be over within moments if we don't think about how boring it is."
  2. The banner of Leonias was difficult to turn a blind eye to; it's golden silk flowed and rippled from the gentle summer breeze of an open window, causing the bloodred silhouette of a maned and gaping beast to appear as if it repeatedly sprung out towards an unsuspecting victim, caught in an eternal dance of burying its claws into its prey and jumping back to start anew. Underneath the banner sat a young man with long chestnut hair. He tied back for this occasion, not intent of having the longer strands fall into the varying dishes that were laid before them this very day.

    "Oi...Ari, how do you feel about this campaign?"

    Fork clinking against his plate, Arihiko shifted his eyes upwards to look at the older man. Seated opposite to him, the bearded Leonian was hunched forward, his elbows resting on the mahogany table with half of his face hidden behind folded hands. His brows were scrunched together in a frown, as if he was contemplating the fate of Atlas itself. If he hadn't known any better, he would have thought that the man was nervous. The corner of his mouth pulled into a crooked smile. "Have the nerves finally gotten to you?"

    "Heh, it will take a few more years 'til I turn into a nervous wreck," the black-haired man chuckled wearily, straightening his back when he sat up. Clearing his throat, he gave the mess hall around them a glance over before returning his attention to the younger Leonian. "'s those Phoenicians. Why invite us here?" He stared off towards the Phoenician side of the hall, not quite managing to ease the suspicion on his face. "Why now, into their very own palace?"

    "I don't have such worries, Inigo," Arihiko nonchalantly said while stabbing a piece of seasoned Bouffalant steak with his fork. "They invited us here simply because they need our combined help. If it was an elaborate plot to rid us all in one go, then it is a foolish one." He stuck the steak into his mouth, fats and juices spreading over his tongue and mixing with the sweet Pecha sauce. He took his time to chew the matured meat before he washed it down with sake. He had to admit; their food was really something else.

    "Perhaps so. I should just relax and enjoy this banquet while I can, shouldn't I?" Another chuckle came from Inigo, this time a far more light-hearted one. "Was it good, Solace?"

    Arihiko watched the Leonian stroke his smiling Flygon before his eyes drifted off towards the Phoenician side of the room. Underneath the many billowing, russet banners sat a large number of crimson-clad men and women, chatting amiably with one another and seemingly sharing jokes to lighten the mood. The adventurous ones already began to inch closer to the other tables, exchanging greetings and curiously eyeing the foreign foods before they modestly offered their own. He really doubted that this meeting was all just a trap. It surprised him that nobody had tried to slice another's throat, but on the other hand, it was all evident in the way these people carried themselves. With their relaxed postures and cheerful conversations, it failed to give him the impression that they were out to get them. Leonias has, after all, not been involved in a single battle with Phoenicis for several months now.

    Loud laughter erupted from the Argentians' table, and quite a few seemed to have managed to get themselves tipsy, earning a barrage of disapproving scowls from the Aurosians. One of the men dangled a piece of sushi over his Carnivine, the Grass-type opening it's gaping mouth to catch it when he finally let go. It proceeded to open and close its mouth in a chewing manner, the food visible in its mouth as it got moved around, coated in thick, slimy digestive juices. His stomach turned at the sight and Arihiko forced himself to look back at his plate. He was sure that he had just lost his appetite.

    A pointy nudge on his shoulder alerted him that Amon had joined his side, and he offered an uneasy smile to the Steel-type. The Pokemon always had a knack for sensing how he felt about things, even in the moments when he was most desperate to hide it. It had been annoying in the beginning--unpleasant even, but now, Arihiko felt some kind of kinship towards him, and he supposed that the Lucario felt the same way. In a way, they could communicate and understand their meanings without the use of mere words. He pushed the plate towards him. "Go on; I know that you've been eyeing it for the past few minutes."

    Taking the remaining slab of steak into his paws, there was only a look of utter joy on Amon's face when he chomped down, sauce squirting everywhere before he licked his chops clean and eagerly took another bite out of it. Sitting sideways in the chair and watching his companion eat without a single care in the world, Arihiko could only hope that the announcement would begin soon. The less time he spent idling by and doing nothing, the better.
  3. It certainly was a bit too rowdy. The Argentians were being too loud, probably full of drink. Akane sent an annoyed glance over at them, frowning as Kyubi licked the remnants of the yam from his paws. Hopefully, the meeting would be done soon, and they could all get some rest before setting out the following morning.

    "May all be silent, for your highness, the High Emperor Iwasaki of Phoenicis, is in your presence!" a booming voice sounded over the expanse of the mess hall. Akane looked up in alarm to see a heavily clad soldier guiding a graceful figure across the front of the room. The figure, a man in his prime and with long, flowing black hair, wore the reddest of clothing that she had ever seen. Trimmed with gold, the man's ornaments glimmered faintly in the half-light as he took his seat upon his expensive throne.

    Even though Emperor Iwasaki held a rather hefty title, he seemed like a decent human being instead of some scummy and prestigious man. Akane watched him carefully as he opened his mouth to speak. "Greetings," he began. "I welcome you all to the halls of Palace Iwasaki. For once, we are united as one being, eating and conversing as if we were just a single nation."

    "In fact, all of us in here are just one country," Iwasaki continued, his crystalline blue gaze flicking over those who gathered. "You are not only serving your nation. You are serving all nations of Atlas. This plague that has ravaged our villages and towns has taken too many lives."

    Akane listened to what Iwasaki said, crossing her arms across her chest and holding her head high. She was familiar with Iwasaki's manner of speaking, and so she was not surprised to see him address all of them as equals. He was a good leader, after all.

    Iwasaki allowed his words to carry across the room, clasping his hands together on his lap. "I have always admired volunteers. They are humble and wish to serve the greater cause, in which all of you will do. I regret to say that some of you will die... but death is a natural process, and those who give up their lives for such a cause will be smiled upon by all of the gods of Atlas."

    "I will assign no leader for this expedition," the emperor continued. "I believe that this is a decision that all of you should make by yourselves. Until that time comes, I trust you to all be diplomatic and kind to one another, as if they were your own brothers from your own nations."

    The man smiled once more. "For now, however, I suppose that you are enjoying your meal. I will not interrupt you any further-- I simply hope that you enjoy the rest of your night."

    Akane raised a brow as the voices bustled around the mess hall again. That was quite the speech... she thought it was somewhat satisfactory when it came to entertaining a bunch of lowly soldiers. A scoff escaped her as she walked over to one of the tables, Kyubi ghosting behind her. Rin followed, swishing her tail as a grumpy growl left her jowls. Maybe the feast would help her of her boredom.
  4. "May all be silent, for your highness, the High Emperor Iwasaki of Phoenicis, is in your presence!"

    Silence spread across his table like a wildfire, interrupted only by the slightest of murmurs when a man in rich and lavish crimson clothing stepped out before them, guided by what he presumed to be his heavily-armored bodyguard. Arihiko found himself raising a brow at the amount of ornaments that garnished the High Emperor's body. They certainly weren't cheap with their royals in this country, and that much was clear. Having licked the remaining sauce off his paws, Amon seemed mesmerized when the royal had sat down on the ornate throne, looking out towards the many nations gathered before him.

    Arihiko studied the Emperor when he began to address them, welcoming them to the palace with his flowery words. Royals were always a funny folk, prancing around in their silken clothes and expecting those lesser than them to follow suit and obey their orders without an argument. Furrowing his brows, the young Leonian listened as Iwasaki continued, speaking of the nations as equals and as if they were all united underneath the same name. Those were not the words he had expected to hear from a royal, but they did nevertheless cause him to regard the man a bit higher. He seemed sincere, a person with their focus held on peace rather than reputation and personal luxury.

    The Emperor paused then, his presence hanging over the room like a heavy blanket when his audience waited for him to continue. The rest of the speech consisted of him informing them of the many dangers and sacrifices they will face on their journey, where the dead will always be remembered, and Iwasaki concluded by mentioning that he will not grant them a group leader. Arihiko couldn't quite prevent himself growing surprised with this, and the mess hall erupted in chatter once the Emperor had ended the announcement and wished them to enjoy the evening. No leader? He couldn't imagine how that could possibly end well, and it just seemed that the nations were fated to jump at each other's throats. Digging the heel of his palm into his eye and rubbing it, Arihiko hadn't realized how tired he suddenly became.

    "Tired out from your plotting?"

    Arihiko lowered his hand to look back at Inigo, the other man grinning at him as if he had figured out the juiciest of secrets. "...Come again?"

    "You looked at him like a blood-starved Mightyena through the whole speech," Inigo continued, leaning forward and folding his arms across the table. "I'm frankly surprised that you didn't pounce on him or anything like that."

    Arihiko scoffed incredulously. "I was focusing on his speech."

    "Sure, sure..." the other Leonian waved away his excuse light-heartedly, and Arihiko could only roll his eyes before he got up from his chair to survey the other tables. He supposed that he should take a closer look on these people if he was to spend a whole journey with them.

    Amon followed behind closely when he passed by a group of Aurosians and Fulmians debating over their gods, stopping by a table that seemed to be favored by the Argentians. It wasn't difficult to know why either; the whole surface was lined with seafood. Crossing his arms, Arihiko looked to the side when an attractive red-haired woman walked up beside him. She seemed young for a soldier, but then again, he knew better than to judge others by their age. "I don't believe we have met. Which nation do you hail from?" As he waited for her response, his steel blue eyes were quick to land on her Delphox. He didn't want Amon anywhere near that thing, knowing all too well how badly it could end for the canine.
  5. The seafood looked absolutely scrumptious-- she didn't know why she hadn't stopped by the table before. Akane glanced over it with greedy eyes, licking her lips as she internally debated about what she should get. She wasn't surprised to see that most of the food was raw and lightly salted; while the Phoenicians and Argentians thought that raw seafood was a delicacy, she had never liked the taste. Thankfully, there was a section with cooked seafood, and that was where she headed.

    Kyubi scoffed, eyeing his owner with distaste as he watched his owner pick up a seared Octillery tentacle. It was the first sound that he made all night, and so, Akane looked up in surprise. "What?" she chuckled. "If you don't like this stuff, you can go to the other tables and pick what you like."

    Before her Delphox could reply, she was approached by a rather handsome-looking man. Akane quirked a brow at his question, giving him a look-over. His long hair rivaled Emperor Iwasaki's, and his eyes were such an intense steel blue it even shocked her. He had a thin build, and she noted that he didn't seem like the type of soldier to carry around a hefty blade in battle. "Pleased to meet you," she said in her sultry voice, giving him a sidelong glance as she nibbled on the tip of the tentacle. "I'm from Phoenicis, as you can probably tell already. My name is Akane, and this is Kyubi and Rin."

    She motioned to the Delphox and the Luxray beside her. Kyubi offered the duo one of his foxy smiles, his rounded ears perking up as he looked at Amon. 'It's not often I see a Lucario around here,' the canine Pokemon commented.

    Rin simply stayed quiet, her red and gold eyes watching Amon with a blank expression.
    #5 Luminosity, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2016
  6. Arihiko never thought that it would be so difficult to keep his attention on her face. He noted the way her hair cascaded down her back like liquid fire and how it shimmered in the faint light up to her dark, almond eyes that seemed to beckon him to move closer. And all of this was caused by her voice. He realized that he had a problem the longer he stood there. Apart from hearing her name, he almost didn't catch the rest of what she said to him. Did she always talk like that? Like smooth honey oozing down on his... He was close to regret his decision to engage her in a conversation and he mentally chastised himself for not having introduced himself right off the bat. This was not going the way he had planned it to.

    "I'm Arihiko...from Leonias," he began, feeling how dry his mouth was. He wasn't too pleased on how inept he sounded when he spoke to her, but it was the best he could produce at this point. "And this is Amon, one of my companions," Arihiko gave a slight nod with his head in the direction of the Lucario, his eyes glancing down for a moment at the seared tentacle she was nibbling on. He made an effort this time to silence his mind, not too keen on having any more inappropriate thoughts than he already had. "I take it that you're a fan of seafood?"

    Having cocked his head, Amon stared at Arihiko. Humans were strange... The Lucario looked up in alarm when one of the woman's Pokemon spoke to him--the Delphox. His black nose twitched when he took a moment to sniff the other canine's scent, though he soon relaxed when he decided that the fiery Pokemon meant him no harm. He bowed his head, rumbling a greeting. 'My kind is not native to this area,' he stated when he raised his head. 'We hail from a land of mountains in the North.' He eyed the silent Luxray. He didn't get any bad vibes from her, but he thought nevertheless that he should keep a distance.
  7. It appeared as if the male was distracted. It wasn't like she was unused to men being in the Leonian's state; they always gawked at any curvy figure that passed by them. Then again, it was quite strange for women fighting in the army, especially a person that was as light-footed as she was. Akane eyed the man, offering him a smirk. Perhaps it would be best if she had a secure grip on this man... Arihiko. It was quite the strange name for someone hailing from Leonias.

    "You can say that I like a well-cooked Remoraid or two," Akane stated, licking her fingers after she had finished her meal. She had not turned to face Arihiko completely, and yet, her crimson eyes remained on him. "It is strange... usually I expect people that look like you to come from Argent or Phoenicis. And your figure is almost thinner than mine. I'd like to see you lift a sword, that is, if you can," she cackled, turning towards the table again as her gaze searched for another piece of food.

    'I see,' Kyubi said in response to Amon. 'We'll probably pass by such a place, isn't that right? If we are supposed to search for the origin this plague, then we might as well traverse the entirety of Atlas. We can always stop by and see those mountains.'

    Rin flicked an ear again. 'Don't be ridiculous,' she grumbled. 'There's no time for sight-seeing.'

    #7 Luminosity, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2016
  8. Arihiko brought up a hand to hold his chin when Akane spoke to him, but only because the simple act gave him something else to focus on. Maybe she wouldn't think that he was a blundering mess if he presented himself as a composed and serious man, a person with his mind set on the right priorities. In spite of his efforts, his eyes were still glued on her fingers when she licked them, following the motions of her tongue and imagining what else she could give that kind of attention to. Pulling himself out of those thoughts, he mentally scowled at himself. Damn it, keep a hold of yourself!

    "I see, I wouldn't have expected it any other way," Arihiko responded to her, straining to control himself at this stage. But it was what she said next that really caught his attention and got the gears working again. He bristled on the spot. "...Come again?" he gritted his teeth, though underneath this anger, he was on his guard. This was not a woman he should be careless around. He was such a fool! He moved to rest a hand on his hip, close to the sheathed sword he carried. "For your information, I happen to be an adept swordsman, and I would watch my tongue if I were you." Annoyed, he clicked his tongue and straightened his back to its full length. Making his masculinity the target of ridicule...he supposed that he shouldn't have expected anything less from a Phoenician.

    Bringing his attention back to Kyubi, Amon stayed silent when he listened. 'It wouldn't surprise me if we did,' he replied matter-of-factly. 'The plague has infected these lands like a beast hungering for sustenance. I doubt that even the North is safe from its grip.'

    The Luxray finally spoke then, and Amon shifted his ruby gaze to give her a sidelong glance. 'Have you been to the North? The lands are very cold and harsh, but if you happen to come across a shelter, then it can be quite pleasant.'

    A long ear swiftly turned when he heard Arihiko's alarmingly sharp response, and the Lucario tore his eyes away from the two Pokemon to stare cautiously at the pair by the table, intently watching their facial expressions.
  9. It appeared as if she had struck a nerve. Akane couldn't help but grin widely at the man, pleased that she had gotten him so hot and bothered. From what she could tell, Arihiko was a proud man with a temperamental attitude-- and a soft spot for pretty faces. She chuckled lightly, raising a hand in her defense. "Settle down," the red-haired woman stated, her voice as smooth as ever. Yet, surprisingly, it held a cutting edge to it, almost as if she were indirectly warning him. Even her gaze had grown firm. "I would watch your tone of voice. If you think you frighten me, you are incorrect. Besides, what kind of man tries to intimidate a lady such as I?"

    She bit her lip at him, taking a Krabby leg and cracking it open. Akane wasted no time in trying to suck the meat out of the limb, watching him closely. "I think I know what kind of man you are. A man who hasn't had a lady keep him company for a night, yet. Isn't that right?" she licked her lips. "With that attitude, I doubt you'll get any woman to spread her legs for you."

    Kyubi nodded his head at the Lucario, frowning slightly. Even though he was excited, he had to remind himself that they were on a dangerous mission. Rin, however, looked unimpressed. 'I haven't been up north, no,' she shook her head. 'But I do not know why you two wish to go there so eagerly. The cold has claimed many lives, or so I've heard.'

    The Luxray turned towards his leader, narrowing her eyes lightly. If that man pulled out his blade... 'I suggest you warn your master to back off.'
  10. The Phoenician sure looked pleased with herself when she laughed at him. Arihiko furrowed his brows to scowl at her; she had some nerve to order him to 'settle down,' and he shifted his jaw when she told him that she didn't fear him. He hesitated at the question that followed. The kind of man he was had little to with this compared to the kind of woman she was. "It was clearly your ill-natured remarks that led us here in the first place," he scoffed, waving away her attempt to make him re-consider his actions. She seemed like the kind of person who back-talked her elders, used to have her own little way with people, and it wouldn't surprise him if he was correct on this. "I'd advice you to be more mindful before choosing to speak with that mouth of yours."

    Arihiko knew that he had gained the upper hand in this argument and he was intrigued to hear what she had to counter this. The Leonian watched her bite her lip--prompting him to twitch his already furrowed brows as if to frown more--before she took a Krabby leg and cracked it open to reveal the tender and white meat within. He shifted his cold eyes back up to her when she continued, but nothing could ever have prepared him for the blow that hit him next.

    "I..." taken off-guard, he suddenly had nothing to retaliate with when his gaze once again lowered to see Akane lick her lips. He began to have the sneaking suspicion that she did that on purpose and it only made his blood boil on how damn effective it was. "My private life is none of your business," he glared daggers at her, gaining momentum. "And even if it was, I wouldn't be desperate enough to indulge such details with someone as obnoxious and crude as you are," Arihiko stated, his voice venomous when his fingers dug into his hip. It was incredibly tempting to cut her down from where she stood and silence her for Good.

    It was clear to Amon that this argument had gone too far, and he watched with wary eyes when each person fired increasingly insulting blows. The canine had a nagging sensation that Arihiko wasn't far away from doing something regrettable. Shooting Rin a quick glance, the Lucario wasted no time in stepping up to the Leonian and firmly pressing his paw against the back of the man's hand--preventing him from making any moves with that sword. He gave Arihiko a grave look when he stared at him right into the eyes, standing his ground and hoping that he wouldn't continue this.
  11. People were beginning to look at them, and that was when Akane decided that that was where her jests ended. The woman swallowed the meat, glancing over at Kyubi, who was staring at her with a frustrated expression. The fox Pokemon was the one who always kept his companion under control. "Listen," she murmured, her voice soft as she attempted to soothe the man. "It was just all good fun. I agree that I've let my tongue run loose a little. Lighten up-- I heard that Leonians were always lovers of..." she glanced up and down his figure, her smirk returning. "Fun and games, hm?"

    Akane giggled, tossing the bare Krabby bone to the side. Little did Arihiko know, she was in reality sizing him up. Testing the waters, if one would wish to call it. "I hope we can all put this little squabble behind us. We could become friends, could we not?" she tipped her head, her eyes watching him as she had ever since the beginning of their talk. "Or perhaps... something else?"

    She poked her tongue out, her features both innocent and mischievous at the same time. That was what Akane was known for; she was known to start arguments and work her way around words, often making her seem like the victim instead of the other way around.
  12. Arihiko gave Amon a long look before his attention strayed off to the crowd around them. He turned his head, just to see how many of these people were staring at him, and he grew increasingly self-conscious with the unwanted attention he now had to deal with. This was embarrassing. Not only had he allowed himself to lose his temper in a public place, but he had also forgotten that he wasn't alone with her. Lowering his arm to hang freely at his side, he proceeded to stare down any fool that dared to look him in the eye, and the young man was pleased to see that some of them averted their eyes from him. Good.

    Akane spoke then, her voice never failing to send waves of tiny shivers down his back when she admitted that she had gone too far. Frowning at her, the Leonian swallowed when he noticed her studying him, or rather, his body. Shooting a quick glance at their 'audience,' he cleared his throat. "I...Yes, we Leonians do enjoy those things," he briefly met her crimson gaze before shifting his own away. Damn was like she knew how to look at him.

    He stubbornly kept his eyes averted from her when he heard her giggle--the very sound music to his ears--and he only turned his head back to her when she asked if they could put their argument behind. Well, she definitely got his attention now, and he couldn't say that he understood her. Why would she provoke him only to eventually ask for his forgiveness? Arihiko did nevertheless catch the suggestive tone behind her words, and he sighed, deciding that perhaps, it might just be for the best to do so. "I suppose that we could. It would be unforthcoming of us to quarrel when we should instead join forces in preparation of our journey," he said, finally facing her properly. "And I apologize for raising my voice."

    He grew flustered when she stuck her tongue out at him playfully, and Arihiko supposed that he might have been wrong about Akane. Sure, she could be infuriating when she wanted to, but the fact still remained that she didn't strike him as a bad person. He glanced at Amon, noting the utterly perplexed expression the canine sported on his face, and he offered him the tiniest of smiles, just to re-assure the Steel-type. "I should probably be on my way. My companions will need a good sleep if they are to tag along with me tomorrow," he stated truthfully. "I wish you a good night, and," he paused, this time offering her a brief but small smile. "I hope to see you again, Akane."

    With Amon lingering behind, the Lucario glanced back at Kyubi and Rin before he turned to follow his master. Despite their eventful exchange, Arihiko decided that he didn't harbor any ill feelings towards Akane. But if she planned to insult him, then she'd better pray to her deity for mercy.
  13. The Next Morning...
    It was quite the warm morning, at least, that's what she believed. She had woken up at dawn, preparing her companions for travel. All three of them were healthy; Subaki was fit for flight, Rin's pawpads weren't cut up or extremely worn out, and Kyubi appeared well-rested. Akane had taken a significant amount of time to prepare her Pidgeot. Subaki was probably one of, if not the most, important of her companions, as he was the one who provided her with a means of transportation and a means of fighting. The large bird Pokemon appeared to know this, and so, he stuck out his chest when she was finished putting on his harness.

    As she waited for the rest of the volunteers to arrive, Akane wondered about whether or not she should ride on Subaki's back for their first stretch. She was well rested, as well, and her feet did not ache. It was better if she allowed him momentary freedom, at least, for the time being.

    Akane rested her back against one of the castle wall, crossing her arms across her chest as she sighed heftily. She didn't know which way they were supposed to be going. Some say it was better to get to Aurios as quick as they could, while others say that Fulmion was one of their prime suspects. She didn't know what they were to do, and she noted that there was already tension building up between the group. The woman rubbed her chin, wondering what exactly they could do about their situation. Perhaps it would be best if they found out who was to be their leader, soon.

    Akane felt someone push against her side, and she looked up to see Subaki gazing at her with his wide chocolate eyes. She chuckled, patting his head. "It's alright, Subaki," she murmured to him, smiling. "We'll be leaving soon, and then you can fly all you'd like."

  14. Not a single ounce of sleep was gained that night. Talos, in all his anxious glory, had spent the larger part of the night hours pacing back and forth outside the Leonian's window, causing small tremors to shake the floor every time he passed. Eventually, the first rays of the morning sun had shone across the sky, and Arihiko's already stretched patience finally snapped when he had slammed the window shut after reprimanding the beast. Of course, he couldn't fall asleep after that, and thus, the young man was grumpy and irritable when he finally forced himself up for the day.

    "Talos, could you...stay...Still, for a moment!?"

    Struggling to put on his harness, Arihiko strained to reach the Rock-type's shoulders, only managing to fasten the straps when the Tyranitar heeded his words and hunched down to assist him. A low, grumbling sound vibrated from the depths of the beasts's throat, and his pointy tail laid on the ground when he watched the bad-tempered man finish with the unnecessarily complicated task. It had almost sounded as if Talos apologized for causing such trouble, and the Leonian huffed disdainfully. "I'd have assumed that you had learned to remain stationary from your days as a Pupitar."

    Having finished with her grain, Hime watched their dispute in silent fascination while Amon remained beside her, his eyes closed and with his arms crossed over his fur-covered chest. He snorted when the sound of crashing was heard, and regarding the way Arihiko shouted, Talos must have managed to knock over one of the room's vases.


    It was late in the morning when Arihiko finally managed to join up with the rest of the volunteers. With his sheathed sword strapped to his belt, he wore his quiver on his back and carried his bow in a case strapped across his chest. After a moment of surveying the group assembled by the castle's entrance, the Leonian was more worn out than he was yesterday evening when he approached a small gathering by the blindingly white wall.

    "...And then he said, 'that's not my wife, that's my Miltank!'"

    Laughter erupted from the group surrounding the older Leonian, their voices echoing across the castle courtyard in an ever increasing crescendo. "Did he really say that, Inigo?" one of the men spoke up, still chortling when he wiped a tear away.

    "Of course," the arctic-eyed man waved off his kinsman's doubt, a grin sneaking up on his stubbled features when he re-crossed his arms. "Would I ever lie to you, Vin?"

    Furrowing his brows when he arrived to the scene, Arihiko was quick to re-consider his decision to approach the man. How corny, but considering that the joke had come from Inigo, he supposed that he had grown to expect it. The bearded man spotted him and left the group to walk over to him, and the young man closed his eyes to massage his forehead. For the love of Entei, what had he done to deserve this?

    "Well, you sure look like you've had a good night's sleep!" Inigo chuckled, barely missing a beat when Arihiko had opened his eyes to scowl at him.

    "...I'm not in the mood, Inigo," Arihiko warned, his head throbbing from a slight migraine. He glanced over to the other volunteers, spotting Akane further away from them. "Are there any news on who will be our group leader?"

    "Not yet, no," Inigo looked at the rest, his cheerful expression dying down a little. "They've been arguing ever since they first arrived. Fulmion this, Aurios that..."

    Arihiko winced. If the group intended to head to Aurios, then it must mean that they would pass through Argent. "...Have they thought about a shortcut through Leonias?"

    "Leonias? Hm..." the older Leonian seemed to ponder about it when he rubbed his chin. "I don't see why not. I'll see what they have to say to that."

    Remaining where he stood, Arihiko crossed his arms when he watched Inigo approach the volunteers. Hime nudged his elbow with her beak, and he pat and rubbed her head when Inigo had caught the attention of the volunteers and loudly asked them if the path through Leonias wasn't the most superior and efficient option of the three.
  15. Were the volunteers really beginning to argue, already? Akane couldn't help but sigh, running a hand through her russet hair. She spotted one of the Fulmi soldiers, proudly declaring that he thought that they should travel south and avoid the cold weather for the time being. A Leonian scowled, declaring otherwise. She didn't know why that idiot Iwasaki simply didn't assign a leader. Maybe he thought that them having a leader they chose would yield better results? Phoenicis' emperor grandly underestimated the rivalry that flowed between the five nations of Atlas.

    Her gaze flicked over to the man that stepped forward, mentioning that they should take a shortcut through Leonias. Even though that was the best choice of action, Akane couldn't help but think his manner of planning was influenced by where he came from. The Leonians would surely be the most confident in the group if they traveled through the mountains first, and honestly, she wasn't sure that it was such a good idea.

    "Perhaps," Akane stated, straightening up and strutting towards the men. Her half-lidded eyes scanned the unfamiliar faces as she set her hands on her hips, her lips pursing slightly. Subaki followed closely, along with Kyubi and Rin. "It strikes me as suspicious that the Leonians wish to go back home so soon after they left it. You rock-jumpers think that you can outsmart us on your own terrain, eh?"

    The woman smirked, pleased with how talk of early and traitorous thoughts quickly silenced most of the volunteers. Their eyes already rested on one another, their eyebrows furrowing with concern. "I think that it's more important that we decide who's going to lead our bunch before chittering about where to go first," Akane commented dryly, her cocky gaze landing on Arihiko as she shifted her weight to one foot. "Then they can tell us where to go. So come on now, you all got to speak up and say who you think should be leader-- that strange dark magic thing that's ruining lives isn't going to wait for us to defeat it."
  16. "Oh," an ecstatic grin spread across his face when Inigo heard Akane. "Rock-jumpers, huh? I don't think I've ever been called that before," he continued, rubbing his chin as if he was plotting the greatest comeback of all times. It was apparent to him that the Leonian was having way too much fun with this, and Arihiko hoped for the stars that the man wouldn't say anything stupid.

    "You got a pretty face, that I can tell," he complimented, his arctic blue eyes following her curves and scanning her figure up and down, and back up again. "So pretty face, what else have you got that's better than our plan?"

    That was an open challenge, and Arihiko clicked his tongue in annoyance when murmurs broke out among the once silenced volunteers. They would never reach a swift conclusion if this continued and he wasn't keen on standing in a courtyard until noon. Arihiko stepped forward, with Amon coming up to join his side. "Well Akane, if you don't have anything else to share but fear-mongering speculations about our nation, then it will be Inigo and I who will lead this group," he promptly declared, and he glowered when he was met with a few of the soldiers asking him if they were even capable of leading them. He locked eyes with a Fulmi man, doubt etched all over his expression. Go on...say it. I dare you.

    The young Leonian nearly toppled over when Inigo gave him a hard pat to the back. "That's the spirit!" he heartily said, and he raised a gloved, clenched fist in the air. "With us two working together, you'll all see that there is nothing that could go wrong!"

    Forcing himself up, Arihiko looked at Inigo in a way that spoke only of pure murder when he pushed his quiver back to its position. He faced Akane again, shifting his shoulders back when he frowned at the rest of them. "I can assure you that we are more than capable of handling this task, and I don't exactly see anyone else stepping up for this position," he sneered, prompting quite a few of the soldiers to vocally protest about the decision. He ignored them, not budging from the spot he stood on, and Amon glanced at him expressionlessly. "I say that we head through Leonias, and continue along the mountain range to Aurios. Once there, we can argue about where next we can go," the man concluded, turning his head back to Akane and keeping his steel-blue gaze on her.

    In the midst of the chaos that now sprung out among the volunteers, Inigo laughed. "Hold your horses, Ari. I think it's best to let them decide rather than forcing it down their throats."

    Frowning at him, Arihiko studied him, though he chose to remain silent this time.

    Inigo turned towards the volunteers, once more raising his hand in the air. "Those in favor of travelling through Leonias, raise your arm," the bearded Leonian surveyed the mass before him, seeing roughly less than half the group holding up their hands. He lowered his arm, then raised the other. "...And those in favor of travelling through Fulmion?" Anywhere they looked, it seemed that the majority of votes leaned towards Fulmion.
  17. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. That bearded man and the skinny swordsman leading the whole group? Two Leonians? Akane's cocky expression faded, showing discontent with their announcement. She didn't like this one bit, and she was pretty sure that not many people liked it, either. Then again, how exactly was she supposed to go and protest? It appeared like Arihiko and his friend were already set on their decision. The woman sighed, glancing at Rin. Even the Luxray was baring her elongated fangs at the two, her tail lashing lightly.

    At least they were nice enough to ask everyone about what they thought about their plan. The majority thought that they should travel through Fulmion instead of Leonias. So they were to traverse the grasslands instead of trying to beat the winter up north... "Heh," Akane grinned, though it was a crooked and bitter one. Her brow arched over at the two. "Two Leonians leading a group of soldiers. It sounds like the beginning of a rather bad joke, does it not?"

    Some soldiers laughed behind her, and Akane chuckled in turn. "If you two think that you're all high and mighty at the moment, I'd like to warn you that if something bad happens, it's on both of your heads. So don't get too ahead of yourselves," the woman tossed a glance over at Inigo. "And if you get a bit too cocky and grabby, I swear, I'll take care of you myself."

    Her crimson gaze rested on Arihiko, her features serious. "So. We're going to Fulmion, right, Glorious Leader?" she asked, her tongue rolling her words smoothly and her voice dripping with venom.
  18. Arihiko narrowed his eyes when he heard Akane ridicule them, and her little 'joke' had been enough to prompt surrounding soldiers to join in on laughing at them. He clicked his tongue. Not This again... Resting both hands on his hips, he glared a storm at the red-haired Phoenician. "Be glad that we at least have someone to lead us," he responded, his voice laced with contempt. "I didn't see you offering any help in selecting a leader."

    The Leonian was hit by jeers from the Phoenicians this time, and even Amon turned to frown at him, his sapphire fur bristling. It was clear by the amount of dirty looks he received that the majority of the group didn't think highly of him. Tch. So be it then.

    Inigo chuckled when Akane had threatened him, and he raised his palm at her. "No need to get your feathers all ruffled; I know my place in this world, and we are both aware of the risks we face by doing this," he simply said, and the man showed little to no interest in arguing with her when he shifted his arctic gaze to Arihiko and the disturbance he was brewing up.

    Hesitating for a moment, Inigo cleared his throat and leaned close to the young man--close enough for only him to hear when he lowered his voice to a near whisper. "...Ari," he began. "Why don't you go and..." he paused, throwing a glance over his shoulder towards the displeased crowd. "...take it easy for a while? The group won't vanish if you rest for a few hours."

    Inigo had his arms crossed now, and Arihiko stared him down. He was the first to avert his eyes, and his sigh escaped him as a hiss when he glanced towards Akane. So infuriating. The young man did however know that Inigo meant no harm with that; he was aware that he was lashing out too much at these people, but he couldn't really help that they were being so damn annoying. Giving himself a moment to compose himself, the Leonian rubbed at his face before he lowered his arm and looked at Akane wearily. "...Yes. We are heading to Fulmion."

    Inigo clapped his hands together. "Then it's decided. Pack your things folks; we have a long and perilous journey ahead of us."

    Watching Inigo walk off to fetch Solace, Arihiko's cold gaze lingered on Akane for a few seconds before he too, turned and headed towards Talos and Hime by the entrance. The Tyranitar grumbled quietly when he turned his head, observing from the corner of his eye when Arihiko grabbed his harness and mounted him. People were beginning to leave--following after Inigo, and the Leonian could only close his eyes when his mount proceeded to leave the courtyard. Maybe he did need to rest.
  19. No matter the woman's complaints, Arihiko and the man were determined to lead. Akane scowled, crossing her arms as soon as they turned their back on her. She really couldn't believe this... Nor understand it! If their group wanted a leader who could be sympthasized with, then they should have chosen two from different nations. Two Leonians working together to lead a bunch of ragtag soldiers such as them... she honestly felt like she was dreaming.

    She scoffed as the group began to depart, glancing over at her companions. Rin had already begun to move, her footsteps long and smooth as she strided after the gathering. Subaki squawked, puffing out his feathers before Akane rested a comforting hand on his head. "I guess it'll be fine," she told him, looking into his dark eyes. "If they do anything stupid, we can just assign a new leader."

    She allowed Subaki to take flight, and the Pidgeot beat its wings, soaring to the sky. He ascended above the clouds, but once he reached his peak, he simply circled above the group as if he were searching for prey. Akane glanced at Kyubi, whom had grown worried as well, and motioned for him to follow. "Come on now, they'll leave without us if we don't hurry," she told him as she began to walk after the group.

    It didn't take long for her to reach a large Tyranitar with its owner curled upon its saddle. Akane looked up at Arihiko, not really caring if he rested well or not. "You've got serious guts to proclaim yourself leader," she commented dryly, her expression harsh. "I hope you've got a brain in that cute little head of yours."
  20. The young Leonian was silent, hunched over much like the green beast that carried him. Talos marched among the group with steady thuds, his thick tail swinging softly to the side when his head arched upwards to gaze at the many bird Pokemon that flew and circled above. With his head resting on the back of his hand, Arihiko stared off into the distant sky behind the bricked roofs and spires. He couldn't say that he was proud of his earlier outburst, and he could already hear his mother's sharp voice, chastising him for his bad self-control and telling him to keep a stiff upper lip next time he loses his temper at someone. Fortunately, the volunteers who had disagreed with him left him alone, and many kept themselves at a distance when they passed through the streets of the Phoenician capital.

    Having kept the path clear for their group, Arihiko heard several bystanders of varying ages cheer them on and offer encouragement when they passed through the large wooden gates and out into the wilderness. So this was it. This was the beginning of their journey, the start of many grueling hours and bickering that was yet to come. The man didn't look forward to it even for a minute, though he knew that it was only inevitable. They were all in on this for the sake of their nations and the future of Atlas. The plague had to be stopped, and he hoped that the rest their trek wouldn't be as awful as this morning ended up to be.

    "You've got serious guts to proclaim yourself leader."

    Akane's sunny voice broke through the silence, and Arihiko's steel-blue gaze wavered from the sky until it found itself on the red-haired woman below him. He gave her a crooked smile, though, it nearly ended up being an outright sneer. "Don't you worry, Akane," he sarcastically began. "Regardless of what occurred in the courtyard, you'll find that I'm more than capable of leading this group."
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