Resurgence | Medieval Pokemon 1x1

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  1. The land of Atlas is not what it seems...


    Even though Atlas is a colorful landmass full of beauty and life, the reality behind the bright curtain is grim. Atlas is divided into six warring kingdoms and people and Pokemon suffer every day, whether it be from the loss of their beloved, hunger, disease... the list goes on. Why the war continues, no one knows; maybe it is mere greed that drives these people and Pokemon to kill each other.

    Two people-- one from Argent, the Silver Land, and one from Phoenicis, which bears the Golden Forests --must work together to figure out what is the origin of a dark force lurking somewhere unseen. Will they succeed, or will they perish like the rest?

    Kingdoms of Atlas

    Located at the very north of the region. Lakes and small woods are scattered across the country, overlooked by a mountain range that strays into Leonias further south.
    - Temperatures can fall below -20°c / -4°f during the winters. During the winters, the kingdom tends to be plagued by snowstorms.

    - Worship Suicune as a deity; Suicune is believed to bring winter-time, snow, sleet, and hail. It is also the God of elegance and grace. There is a festival held here every winter to praise Suicune for ending fall and bringing the land one step closer to summer.


    - Bordering the southern parts of Aurios. The woods are concentrated into a large forest that stretches all the way to the shoreline. The shore is lined by white cliffs. Shrines can be found there.
    - Temperatures tend to be around 5°c / 41°f, and may increase during the summers to 17°c / 62°f. The weather can vary from clear skies to flood-causing storms.

    - Worship Lugia; Lugia is said to bring the rains to Argent, along with controlling the moon. Since rain is important for crops and a source of water, Lugia is treated with utmost respect. It is also considered a God of the valiant and those with pure souls.


    - The western area of this nation is partly cutting between Argent and Phoenicis. The nation is located on mountainous terrain. A dormant volcano can be found here.
    - Temperatures can range from slightly chilly to temperate; the usual would be around 10°c / 50°f. Clear or cloudy skies are the norm here.
    - Worship Entei; it is believed that Entei brings the summer to Atlas, along with droughts and forest fires. Even though it is considered to be a brutal God, Leonians seem to be fond of the beast. They say Entei is the one who ends things that have continued on for too long and thus restores balance.


    - Located south of Argent; with Leonias being in the east. The forests in this kingdom explode in color during summer all the way to mid-winter. Shrines can be found on top of small hills.
    - Temperatures tend to be warmer in this kingdom, with 16°c / 60°f being the norm. Clear skies tend to be seen, with winters being the rainiest. Summers tend to be rather hot.
    - Worship Ho-Oh as a deity; to them, Ho-Oh is both the end and the beginning-- a God of reincarnation and redemption. Like Leonias, Phoenicis worships their God as one that brings the summertime. It is also known for blessing the golden-hearted and the brave.


    - Located south of Phoenicis. This is where the forests end and the plains begin. Grassy meadows and plateaus would be a regular sight.
    - Winds are to be expected here, causing the temperatures to vary from 20°c / 68°f to 15°c / 59°f. Rainy weather is common.
    - Raikou is worshiped here as the God of thunderstorms and lightning. This deity is said to be fond of those with fierce personalities. Fulmi people believe Raikou brings luck to whoever sees it.


    - Located at the very south of the region. The plains have been replaced by a lush rainforest. A treacherous swamp can be found in the north east of the Kingdom.
    - Hot and humid, this kingdom is the warmest in the region. Temperatures can be seen going above 30°c / 86°f during the summers.
    - Worship Celebi as a God of peace and hope. Due to this, people from Verdante are often calm and peaceful. Verdantians hold festivals every spring to celebrate the return of warmer weather.


    Name: Suzume

    Age: 21

    Gender: Female

    Kingdom: Phoenicis

    Weapons: Katana, lance. Uses one at a time, of course.

    Appearance: Click. Has platinum blond hair that seems almost white and bright brown eyes.

    Personality: Determined and fierce, Suzume can seem a bit intimidating at first. She can be easily frustrated at times and usually cannot control her anger. Beneath her ferocity, she is a person who cares about her loved ones and defends them with all of her strength.


    Seraph ♂ | Flamethrower - Wild Charge - Close Combat - Extremespeed
    Somewhat grumpy, Seraph isn't the one for jokes. He's the one who is in charge of Suzume's band of Pokemon. Serves as a mount for Suzume both in and out of battle. His fur is more ruffled and spiked than other Arcanine, and his right ear is nicked. There is also a scar over his right eye.

    Mauve ♂ | Moonlight - Shadow Ball - Crunch - Hyper Beam
    Mauve is a slight clone of Seraph; it doesn't take much to irritate him. He is, however, less rash and impulsive than Seraph, and definitely thinks much more than him before doing something dangerous. Mauve gets his name from his different colored eyes; instead of being crimson, they are violet.

    Caius ♂ | Dragon Pulse - Air Slash - Dark Pulse - Boomburst
    The comedy relief of Suzume's little army. Caius is a thief-- a kleptomaniac, to be frank. Even though he can be quite annoying sometimes, he serves Suzume as a scout and reports to her as soon as he gets new information. Friendly and loving, he loves attention. Unlike other Noivern, all of his neck is feathered, including the normal place above his chest. His tail is also tufted. Because of his difference in appearance, he is usually mocked and called a "flying half-shaved Mareep".

    Name: Haku

    Age: 22

    Gender: Male

    Kingdom: Argent

    Weapons: Primary weapon is a Naginata, secondary is a Tantou.



    He has dark hair that almost looks 'blueish' in certain light levels and piercing blue eyes. His left eye is a paler blue than the right and has a scar around it.

    Vigilant, serious and dedicated, Haku serves his nation and deity with his whole being. He has little to no patience with people who belittle others and may be far too honest for his own good. He has a tendency to hold grudges and may be somewhat distant with people. Nevertheless, he is intelligent and devoted to those he hold dear.

    Ryou | ♂ | Torrent | Megahorn, Aqua Tail, Superpower, Aerial Ace
    Prideful and fatherly, Ryou has proclaimed himself as the elder of Haku's group. He is usually Haku's choice of mount both on land and in water. In battle, he serves as Haku's second spear; focusing entirely on dealing heavy blows and damage. Ryou's horn is longer than what is normally seen for a Samurott; making him appear much more intimidating.

    Gardi | ♂ | Stance Change | King's Shield, Sacred Sword, Night Slash, Shadow Sneak
    Gardi is the target of much prejudice; often being called "demon" or a variation of thereof. Nevertheless, Gardi stands strong and remains by Haku's side at all times. In battle, he serves as Haku's shield; focusing most on defense and blocking. Gardi is silent and always observant of those around him -- sometimes to the point of uneasiness. It is extremely rare to see him in his blade form.

    Nene | ♀ | Infiltrator | Sludge Bomb, Heat Wave, Screech, Air Slash
    Nene is somewhat of a pacifist and dislikes being involved in conflicts. Regardless of what is generally believed, she is kind-hearted and loyal to Haku and never strays too far away from him. In battles, her role is to launch surprise attacks from above. Nene's wings are long and very wide; contrasting her much smaller body. Should someone say or do something awkward, she would be the first to roll her eyes.

    Minor Characters

    #1 Luminosity, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2015
  2. [​IMG]

    "Deity of moon and rain, I have come to thank you for your everlasting kindness, and for keeping our land fruitful."

    Wingulls and the occasional Pelipper sailed above, their cries drowning into the distance. Waves after waves crashed into the cliffs below as the receding water glittered in the sunlight. Several soft clicks were heard as pearls fell into a bowl; a dark-haired male kneeling down in front of the shrine. An Aegislash was floating behind him, it's single, amethyst-colored eye focused on the altar.

    "We ask you for your blessing, and for our land's continual well-being."


    "...May Lugia watch over us."

    Bowing his head, the young man then raised himself onto his feet, sighing as he turned from the shrine. This morning, the nation of Argent had received news that the people of Phoenicis were planning an attack. Just what purpose did they have to invade their land, and--and, Befoul, their forests and coasts with their God of Ashes? Haku did not see reason for this, nor was he certain that he wanted to. The Phoenicians were now a threat to his nation, his homeland, and that was the only thing that mattered to him. Looking at the Aegislash, Haku motioned for him to follow as he began to head back into the forest. "...Gardi, let's go. We have to prepare ourselves."

    "For Argent!"

    An Arbok raised itself high-up with its fangs dripping with poison -- threatening, menacing -- before a sword sliced through it's body. The serpent slumped down as its pitiful hissing was replaced by shouts and clashing weapons. Banners sporting the colors of Argent were seen high above the battlefield, silver-clad soldiers mixing with the Phoenician army as the two forces assaulted each other. The valley was a bloody battlefield. Pokemon fired attacks in all directions until one by one succumbed to their injuries; the survivors forced to continue the fight as new opponents set their eyes upon them.

    A shadow passed them from above -- a Crobat soaring gracefully before it released an obnoxious Sludge Bomb over a group of Phoenician soldiers. Men and Pokemon cried out in horror as the sludge splashed all over them, a deep bellow soon drowning out their voices. Heavy thuds were heard before a large Samurott bashed right through them, leaving several impaled on its long horn. The sea-lion hurled their bodies to the side as its rider slid down from its back, spear in hands as Gardi followed his movements closely. He looked around, just in time to see a fellow Argentian get burnt into crisp. Haku swore loudly. "Ryou! They need help!"

    Sharp eyes watched him before Ryou let out another bellow, the Water-type soon brutally unleashing Aqua Tail on the offenders as the injured Argentians gained a chance to withdraw.

    Gritting his teeth, Haku shifted his pale eyes towards the rest of the battlefield. They were outnumbered, but he refused--he absolutely refused to lose. Not to them, not after seeing so many people fall -- people he knew. A Phoenician soldier ran towards him, shouting, as a sword slashed towards him. Blocked by his spear, Haku glared and shoved the polearm forward as his opponent stumbled backwards. The naginata was quickly pulled back before it was thrusted forward, the blade sinking deep into the Phoenician's abdomen. With a stifled groan, the soldier sank down before Haku's feet.

    He lose.
    #2 Crescent, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2015
  3. The sounds of armor smashing against one another, metal grinding against metal, and the screeches of Pokemon tearing each other's throats out rang in her ears. To Suzume, it was like a summer sonata. It was something that was not foreign. It was actually common; Atlas had been in war for many years. The feel of Seraph's saddle between her thighs was familiar, along with the texture of her lance's staff. The rush of battle, the yells and commands... it was life.

    Suzume's chocolate-brown gaze quickly swept over the battlefield; at first sight, she could tell that death was a common occurrence. Men and women, along with Pokemon, hit the floor like rocks. Wails of terror and shrieks of anger were becoming more and more high-pitched. Seraph shifted under her, growling lightly, obviously uneasy. She knew that they shouldn't be standing still, but she preferred to take in the battle with her eyes before she was to rush into it. "Alright," she muttered, pressing her heels into Seraph's sides. "Time to see what these Argentians are made of."

    Seraph roared, charging into the fray. The large, black-striped beast was much quicker than it looked. The wind blew past her cheeks and ruffled her pale hair as her Arcanine weaved his way through her comrades. Bearing crimson armor, many of them appeared to be bleeding, even if they did not yet participate in the battle. Before long, the Legendary Pokemon was in the middle of the fray, and the screams rang in her ears even louder than before. Her blood began to rush and her heart began to race. When Suzume felt the adrenaline kick in was when she knew that she was ready to battle.

    She yanked back Seraph's reigns, making him rear back onto his hind legs. "For Phoenicis!" she shouted, raising her lance high into the air. Seraph grunted as he fell back into all fours. The beast roared again as it lurched forward, allowing Suzume to drive the tip of her lance straight into the side of a Argent soldier. Blood gushed out as the man screamed, but all she did was drive the tip deeper. Eventually, he slumped over her lance and slowly slipped off of the blade, landing on the ground with a dull thud. Blood pooled under him, but he made no effort to move.

    Suzume was about to praise Seraph when something crashed into her side. The sheer force of the slam knocked her straight off of his back, sending her tumbling to the floor. The fall didn't do much to her but hurt her elbow, but there were more things to be concerned about. She staggered to her feet, raising her lance to see who was her attacker.

    An Argentian soldier loomed over her, grinning deviously from his saddle. His mount, a ragged-looking Tauros, huffed angrily at her. The blade of his raised sword gleamed in the dim light before it was brought straight down. Suzume was hardly able to block it; the blade smacked against her lance's pole, making it vibrate violently. The second blow landed on her shoulder, and the third on the tip of her lance, which was covered in her previous kill's blood. However, the fourth did not come-- Seraph's jaws clamped tightly around the soldier's torso and ripped him off of his bull-like Pokemon. The man screamed as the Arcanine's teeth sank deeper into his form, penetrating his flesh. Blood leaked out, but before Seraph's jaws could reach bone, the man spun around and sunk his blade into the beast's muzzle. Seraph snarled angrily as he shook his head, spitting the poor soldier out onto the ground. The silver-clad man groaned in pain as he tried to crawl away, but Seraph roasted him alive with a Flamethrower before he could get far.

    Suzume panted, rubbing her shoulder as she watched Seraph. "Good boy," she praised him this time, patting his side as she climbed back onto his back. The Tauros bellowed in panic, racing off once it caught the large canine's angered gaze. She looked around the battlefield once more-- even though the Argentians were outnumbered, she decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to get cocky. Cockiness made one brash, and brashness lost battles much like these.

    I hope we don't lose too many of our men.
    #3 Luminosity, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  4. Blood dripped to the ground as Haku pulled his spear from the man's body. He was surrounded by wailing and the violent clangs of blades clashing against blades. War was truly cruel to him, and the nation of Argent was no stranger to it. Many battles have been fought, and each were just as gruesome.

    A crimson-clad soldier ran into his field of vision, katana gleaming in the setting light. With no time to think, Haku sent a jab towards the soldier; the Phoenician evading it as her sword swept towards him from the left. He reacted too late, stifling a grunt as the blade cut across his cheek. Blood ran down as they circled each other like a pair of Mightyena. With a raised sword, the Phoenician charged, the weapon smacking into the pole of his spear with a clang. The blade ground against the staff, the Phoenician yanking it back for another blow. Heart racing, Haku swiftly arced his spear downwards; the jagged blade swiping across and slicing one of her ankles open. She screamed, falling down as blood spluttered from the wound. Fear was visible in her eyes as she scowled at him, and in turn, his own hardened.

    Lowering the blade of his weapon towards her, his head jerked up-- fire approaching from the right. Haku dove to the side as flames blasted all over the ground, the woman's shrieks piercing his ears. A Typhlosion with bristled fur slammed down on him with such force that all air was knocked out of his lungs. Spear clattering to the ground, his arms were pinned as the Fire-type snarled. Heart banging against his ribs, the heat was searing as a fireball formed between its jaws. It was interrupted when Gardi rammed into its side, the Typhlosion's body curving around the edge of his shield. It hit the ground with a small yelp, twitching, and struggling to get up. Haku was panting as he stood up, unsteadily at first. He looked towards the Aegislash. "Thanks Gardi..." he mumbled, his brows furrowing as he straightened his back.

    Haku wasn't particularly pleased that he had been so close to become a casualty. He could die at any minute out here. Gardi floated into his sight, the Ghost-type's body tilted at an angle as concern radiated from his eye. Haku flashed him a smile. "It's fine...I'm alright." But he wouldn't be any longer if he stood still like this.

    The battle continued as the Phoenicians fought with the Argent soldiers, the sun sinking further and further down in the distance. Spotting Ryou in the midst of the conflict, Haku ran over to him, springing to the side when a Swellow fell from above. Reaching the Pokemon, Ryou's red-eyed gaze watched him as he mounted the Samurott. Haku directed his attention to the skies. Bird Pokemon were clawing at each other without mercy, but Nene was nowhere to be seen.

    His attention was diverted back to the battlefield when he heard a scream-- witnessing an Argentian get roasted alive by an Arcanine. Haku raised his spear, the blade trembling. Death was all around him, but he couldn't...he couldn't afford to fear it. The Samurott grumbled as they remained stationary, the Pokemon shifting his head towards his rider. Haku took a deep breath...and then his eyes narrowed. "Forward, Ryou!" he shouted, pressing his heels into Ryou's sides. The Samurott roared-- body thrown forward as he charged towards the pair. Closer, closer they went; Haku lifting the blade of his spear as he aimed for the female's chest. "For Lugia...for Argent!"
    #4 Crescent, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2015
  5. The crying and wailing was only getting worse and worse. Even though Suzume was used to the sounds of battle, she was getting slightly dizzy. It was a particularly loud fight, with all types of Pokemon tearing into each other's forms. The smell of blood sunk deep into her nostrils, and it was only then that she realized it had a scent not unlike steel. Along with the copperish smell came the pungent one of the man that Seraph had burnt to a crisp not long before. Her nose wrinkled in distaste; the scent almost made her gag in protest, and she dare not look at the corpse. She was feeling sick, too sick. She forced herself to turn away, pressing her heels slightly into Seraph's sides.

    Before the Arcanine could take a step, she heard a shout come from her right. Suzume spun around to see an Argentian soldier barrel toward her on his Samurott, his naginata aimed directly at her chest. She turned toward Seraph, opening her mouth to warn him. Luckily, the large canine already knew what was going on. He quickly dodged the oncoming attacker, growling in protest as the Samurott's horn came a little too close for comfort. Gritting her teeth, she and her mount faced the attackers, standing their ground. The Samurott might be at an advantage, but Seraph was aware of the danger.

    Seraph lowered his head, snarling deeply. He made sure that all of his teeth showed, silently warning that he would attack in an instant if his rider commanded him to do so. Suzume sat straight in her saddle, raising her spear so the blade was pointing upwards. Her gaze flicked over the Argentian male; she could tell that she had to be careful around him. He was definitely more able in the field of strength; of course, this was because he was a man and she was a woman. Suzume furrowed her brows and lowered her spear once more, the tip pointing at the man's chest. Without a word, she shoved her heels into Seraph's sides. The Arcanine howled again as he leapt toward the Samurott, fangs beared. Suzume grunted, shoving her lance forward with a slight wince at the pain in her shoulder. "You are foolish to have engaged me," she mocked. "Now you must be punished!"
    #5 Luminosity, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2015
  6. His dark hair fluttered in the wind as the Arcanine and its rider whipped past him-- the naginata's blade unsoiled as its target avoided it. The Samurott huffed, digging his claws into the ground as he ground to a halt. The Pokemon turned, and Haku set his eyes upon the Phoenician soldier as he was brought around. He could tell that this wasn't her first war. The movements of her Arcanine...they were too experienced. 'Fair enough,' he thought, sitting up in his saddle. 'That will only make it more humiliating for them when they fall.'

    As the Arcanine snarled, the Samurott's nostrils flared. A deep, low rumble emitted from him, canines fully visible as Ryou made no effort on hiding them. He too was fully prepared to engage the other Pokemon, and he wasn't afraid to show it. Haku kept his attention on her at all times, and thus, he was quick to react when the striped beast came bolting for him. Heels pushing into Ryou's sides, the Samurott bellowed; lunging forward with his horn lowered. Keeping his spear steady, adrenaline shoot through his veins as Haku glowered at her. "You and the whole of Phoenicis!" he spat. "You will all be brought down!"

    Time slowed down; Haku thrusting the naginata forward as the blade's tip was tilted towards her side. The Arcanine reached them, and he ducked, pressing himself against Ryou as her lance flew over his chest...and pierced his armor, tearing through his shoulder. A choked cry worked its way up his throat as searing pain exploded all over it. Holding onto his spear for dear life, Haku's face twisted into a grimace. "Damn...!" Alarmed, the Samurott's eyes darted to him as the Pokemon promptly stopped, a trail of dust in the air. Blood welled up in the gap as Haku examined the throbbing wound. Fortunately, it wasn't deep enough to have punctured anything vital, but it certainly wouldn't be as easy to use the naginata now.
    #6 Crescent, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2015
  7. Suzume didn't know what she expected; that the risky move wouldn't result in a wound or that she would land a hit without any repercussions. As Seraph leapt over the enemy rider, she felt her lance strike something tough. She had wounded him, but not gravely-- as soon as her Arcanine touched ground, she whirled around to face her foe. The Samurott had stopped moving, and the Argentian man was looking at his shoulder. At least they were even now, but... her arm hurt more and more, suffering from the blow that she received from the Tauros-rider. The lance almost fell from her hand as she tried to readjust herself, and once she got a good grip on it, she held it tightly. Her brown eyes glowered at the man, a scowl on her face.

    He dare speak to her like that?! It was his country and him that was going down, not her. Suzume opened her mouth and spoke loudly, making her voice carry over to the mounted, dark-haired warrior.

    "You and the rest of Argent are heretics! You are praising a false god," she spat angrily. "The one true god is Ho-Oh! We fight in his name! Once the whole of Atlas realizes that they are kneeling before mere beasts, the war will stop and everyone will live in peace under Ho-Oh's purifying radiance!"

    Her throat was hurting now, but Suzume refused to rub at it. She simply glared at Haku with all of the ferocity she could muster before lowering her lance again. Her shoulder made her hold back a groan-- she was probably doing more bad than good to it. Seraph growled again, staring down the Samurott. "Seraph! Go, now!"

    The Arcanine grunted, shooting toward the Pokemon and his rider. As Seraph got closer and closer, Suzume tried to aim her lance at the Samurott, this time. If she could wound the beast, then the bastard would be done with.
  8. The steel rod was hot in Haku's hand as the naginata remained pointed downwards. The Samurott released a quiet grumble as the reins were pulled; both Pokemon and rider turning towards their opponents. Stabbing pain radiated from his shoulder as he adjusted his grip, the spear now securely in his hold as the Phoenician woman's voice rang in his ears. It took him a moment to react, Haku at first not believing the...utter outrageousness, of what he just heard. His pupils contracted, pulse soaring so rapidly, he might as well have raging fire in his veins.



    The Phoenicians were the heretics here! The Phoenicians, and the rest of the corrupted lands of Atlas!

    The glare on his face darkened to such degree, it was murderous. The knuckles on his hands drained in color as she hurtled towards them-- and he yanked Ryou's reins, the sea-lion roaring as he flew up onto his hindlegs. Haku's mind went blank. He forgot about the battlefield, the war, even the pain in his shoulder. "Your God of Ashes is impure!" he shouted, absolutely livid as he swung the naginata backwards. "The nation of Argent will Never surrender to a deity as nefarious as yours!"

    The Arcanine blurred past them, and Ryou bellowed as he fell back down, the Samurott's head arcing back to avoid the lance that darted across far too close to his neck. The naginata plunged down, scraping against crimson armor...and Haku let out a blood-curling yell, shoving it against her with such force, the blade punched through with a dull crack. It sank deep-- deep, deep into the flesh of Suzume's shoulder.
    #8 Crescent, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2015
  9. Suzume thought that she was going to be able to get another hit on the mounted warrior, but she was more than wrong. The Samurott dodged her lance, making her curse between her teeth. If only she had damaged the beast... then he would have been forced to fight on his feet. All of a sudden, there was a painful pressure at her shoulder once more, and she groaned in complaint . For a second, she thought that he had only grazed her-- but the tip of the enemy's naginata sunk deep into her flesh. Her pained groan turned into a scream as blood welled from beneath her armor and stained Seraph's fur. As the Arcanine sped past them, she clutched her shoulder. Her lance clattered to the floor, sinking into the moist ground.

    "Fuck," she gasped, clutching her wound. Suzume felt the blood well against her hand, soaking it in a red hue. The blond-haired woman felt herself slump over in pain, her eyes squinting. God damn it. He got a good blow on me. Her hand squeezed the opening, trying to get the blood to stop from flowing out. Seraph snarled as he spun around again, his smoldering gaze on the Samurott. "Seraph. We have to get him off of that damned thing," she hissed, reaching over and grabbing her katana from a holster on the Arcanine's saddle. She slipped the black blade out of its sheathe, holding it in her left and less dominant hand. Her right one was of no use; it hung limply at her side. It would heal, but... she couldn't use it at the moment.

    Seraph barked, bounding toward the two. With a kick of her heels, the striped beast leapt in the air, and Suzume quickly swiped her blade at the warrior's chest. If she could knock him off... they would be even. But she wasn't sure if their little plan would work. A little more, and she would become a casualty in this bloody battle. But she shouldn't let herself be. I'm not going to die here.
  10. Mud-caked claws dug into the ground as the Samurott swung around, his red-eyed stare almost immediately meeting with the canine's. Haku observed her, noting how she slumped over with her hand over the shoulder. Good. He had managed to inflict a wound deep enough to have rendered her arm useless. He was one step closer to victory; one step closer to show those Phoenicians that Lugia's presence was definite. As long as Argent fought in their deity's name, their souls and spirits would be unsoiled. The whole of Atlas will come to realize this someday-- realize that their so called gods are but mere illusions. He would fight in Lugia's honor, and nobody--not even a Phoenician, would be able to stop him.

    The pain had returned to torment Haku's arm. Gritting his teeth, he rolled his shoulder before he raised his naginata yet again. The blonde Phoenician was now holding a katana; her beast rushing towards them like a raging Tauros. Grasping his spear tighter, he scowled at their opponents. "Tch... Ryou, let's finish this once and for all." And with that, Ryou roared, lunging forward as the Arcanine leapt upwards. Haku swung his spear towards her as the katana cut through the air towards his chest. It struck him, a loud clang piercing his ears as the blade slammed against armor, and Haku grunted, his tight hold on Ryou's reins being the only thing preventing him from tumbling to the ground. As he was forced backwards, Ryou reared again when the pull from the reins became too much; Haku's legs clamming themselves against the Pokemon as he quickly arced the blade of his naginata downwards in an attempt to hit the Arcanine instead. The extreme movement caused pain to explode all over his shoulder, blood pouring out from the gap as the young male winced heavily, one eye closing. 'It's...over for you!'
  11. There was a loud clang as her katana jerked violently, almost falling out of her hand. Suzume allowed a small grin to crack over her face for a split second; her sword had struck the man in the chest. However, he did not fall out of his saddle. Instead, he remained seated, but the azure beast reared back slightly as he fought to stay on. His naginata arced toward Seraph, but the momentum of the jump did not allow him to dodge. The Arcanine whimpered as the blade cut into his right side. At the Pokemon's complaint, she cursed loudly. Damn, they would have to retreat if he got another hit on them. She flinched as Seraph made a clumsy landing that made her jerk forward in her saddle. "Shit," she gasped between grit teeth, swinging her head around to give him a side-long glare. Suzume knew that she probably didn't look as intimidating as she did before, but she made sure that he would know she wasn't going to go down that easily.

    As Seraph turned to face their foes again, Suzume heard something... different. Both Argent's and Phoenicis's soldiers were screaming louder, as if another army had joined the fight. The smell of fire was more prominent and smoke clouded the air. A scent like she had smelled just moments before, when she faced the Tauros-rider, reached her nose once again. It was much, much stronger-- had someone swooped in with a Charizard and began to roast one of the country's men? Her gaze flicked around the battlefield, searching for the reason why there was so much smoke and fire. At first glance, she realized that the two sides had stopped fighting each other. Did a general order a retreat? she wondered, but the thought was laid to rest as soon as she saw a black form leap onto the back of a Phoenician soldier. The man screamed once before the creature's strong jaws sunk into his neck, snapping his windpipe in an instant. More black hounds sprinted into view, and Suzume's eyes went wide. Their vicious red eyes, their jaws agape and tongue lolling as they scented blood... "Houndoom!" she hissed, pressing her heels into Seraph's sides. Fuck the battle, they had to get out of there!

    Seraph growled as he prepared to sprint away from the enemy, but a Houndoom leapt up and slammed its maw closed on his thigh. The Arcanine howled in pain, shaking off the beast with a little more trouble than he should have. The Houndoom fell to the ground with a whimper, but after a moment's pause, staggered to its feet and stepped toward them again. Its head was low, nose wrinkled, teeth showing. Seraph snarled back, but Suzume simply stared at the other Pokemon. Something was off about it...

    Suzume noticed that it was opening its mouth again, but not to bite. She shoved her heels into Seraph's sides, and the Arcanine bounded out of the way of a Flamethrower. While he could have taken the hit nicely, his rider wouldn't; she would be melted in her armor if he had stayed. She ground her teeth, feeling pain blaze across her shoulder. New blood began to leak out of her wound, and it was bound to become worse than it originally was.

    The Houndoom howled, leaping toward them again. Seraph braced for impact, prepared for the pain that was to slam against his wounded side. But the crazed Pokemon's teeth did not mar his already bleeding wound any more-- instead, a lithe, black form swooped down from the skies and slammed straight into the aggressor, violently knocking it aside. Suzume turned to see Caius, the Noivern beating his wings wildly as it screeched at the immobile Houndoom. The hound whimpered again, getting to its feet and darting into the fray, probably going to look for a weaker target.

    "What in Ho-Oh's name was that?" Suzume glanced at Caius as if he would give her an answer, but his yellow gaze simply looked at her. "Thanks, Caius. That Houndoom would've gotten us."

    Caius simply clicked his tongue in reply, turning and flying deeper into Phoenicis's side of the battlefield. Suzume knew that she-- no, they -- had to retreat. There was no point in fighting such a battle. The blond-haired rider pressed her heels into Seraph's sides again, careful not to irritate his wound any more than it already was. The Arcanine snorted as it turned in the direction that Caius had flown in and sprinted after the Noivern. As she fled, she heard the sound of the warhorns signalling for retreat on both ends. The battle was neither a win or loss, but Suzume couldn't help but wonder if the pack of Houndoom was Argent's. If it was, they were much more despicable than she realized.
  12. Haku groaned through his teeth as he felt resistance against his spear, the blade slicing against the Arcanine's side as a whimper came from it. The Samurott grumbled loudly in protest as he slammed back down onto fours, the sudden change in tilt causing Haku to be thrown back against him. His face smacked right into the Pokemon's back as the spear dropped to the ground with a slight thud. "Curse them all," he hissed as he remained slumped over the Pokemon, blood running down his arm. His whole body was now punishing him for the stunt he had executed. He felt as if he had lost his legs, and his arm...Oh, Lugia. Shifting his pained eyes over to the Arcanine and its rider, he sure noticed the blonde's glare, and he promptly gave her one in return. But at this rate...he would be at a clear disadvantage if the fight continued between them. 'If only I had managed to strike her other arm...'

    Puffs of mist were visible in the cold air as Ryou breathed heavily, nostrils flaring as blood trickled down from where the reins had dug into his snout. The Samurott slowly raised his head, upper lip twitching as it arched back over his canines. Haku's impulsive actions weren't received well by the Pokemon, but there was little Ryou could do about that right now. Screams, far too many screams came from his left, right-- everywhere. Scarlet eyes flew towards the battlefield, nose wrinkling. The sea-lion was quick to detect that something was amiss here, spotting a dark figure streak towards a silver-clad soldier before the man fell down-- blood spluttering into the air. That same dark figure had lifted its head from the man's corpse...and it turned towards them, red eyes glowing eerily. It snarled, galloping towards them, and Ryou huffed, letting out a bellow to warn his rider of the approaching enemy.

    Holding his right shoulder, Haku's head snapped to the side at Ryou's warning, pale eyes widening. The Houndoom leapt into the air towards him, several sharp teeth bared as drool flew from its mouth. His left hand raced towards the small sheath hanging off his hip and yanked out his Tantou. The silver blade danced across the air before it sliced through the canine's jaws and part of its neck, blood gushing out. The Houndoom yelped and crashed into the ground, the Samurott shifting uncomfortably as the Dark-type was already struggling back onto its legs. "What in the world..." Haku stared into its burning red eyes when it rose up to snarl at him. " wrong with that thing?" The horned canine shook its head and growled, spinning around before it bolted towards a group of Phoenicians. He had seen Houndoom before, but this...this was unlike anything he had witnessed in the past.

    Warhorns echoed through the battlefield and Haku spun around in the saddle, just in time to see Phoenicians and Argentians alike retreating. Looking back to the battlefield, there were far more Houndoom running amok, tearing into every poor soul they could get their jaws on. An Argentian soldier screamed their lungs out as they were pulled apart by four hounds, very soon reduced to lumps of bloodied flesh. He narrowed his eyes at the sight, pressing his heels lightly into Ryou's sides. "Ryou...let's head back. We have no reason to stay here." As Ryou grumbled and turned around to follow the Argentian soldiers, Haku's hands clutched at the reins. Those damn Phoenicians. Was this their doing!?

    A screech was heard, attracting his attention towards yet another Houndoom as it dug into the ground with its bloodied claws, tearing up dirt around a hole. Haku furrowed his brows as he peered at it...and saw the beast get hit face-first by an Air Slash, a Crobat weakly crawling out of the hole as the Houndoom howled in pain. His heart almost stopped. "Shit-- Nene!" He slid off Ryou with such haste, he almost fell straight down into the mud. Pushing himself up, he gritted his teeth as he ran towards her. They won't have her-- by Lugia, those beasts will not have her!

    The Houndoom raised its blood-stained head, fangs baring as it set its eyes onto him. It barked, about to leap onto him when Gardi slammed into it from the side, sending the canine yelping as its body tumbled away from them. Reaching the Crobat, Haku quickly swept down and picked her up, holding her close to him as the Aegislash kept watch. "Nene! Please open your eyes..." he pleaded to the limp Pokemon in his arms, pleading that she wasn't dead. The bat twitched, her golden eyes slowly opening to stare up at him. Haku was so relieved, he was close to break into nervous laughter. Cradling the purple Pokemon, he headed back to the Samurott, mounting him carefully. "It will be alright Nene... Try to hold on, I'll help you-- you'll get help."

    Ryou mingled with the rest of the Argent soldiers as he trudged along with them, Gardi silently following them from behind. The air was thick with the smell of burnt flesh as the sky was blackened with smoke. In unison, the beasts behind them released howls that sent shivers through Haku's spine. Closing his eyes, he forced himself to listen to the many marching feet, the sounds of the battlefield growing more and more distant until they were no more.
  13. Phoenicis
    A few weeks later...
    The afternoon sun beat down on the ground, warming up the earth slightly. Even though it was winter, the sun provided some comfort to the people of Phoenicis; it meant that their god was still around, watching them from the heavens above. The people in the city roamed around, doing their own thing-- some were buying foods and yarn, while others were selling objects that they had found on their journey. It was a calm day for the major Phoenician settlement; no fights erupted between merchants, and the children were less loud than usual. The elders were able to rest in peace on that day, where the streets were more quiet. It was peaceful, and that was something that Suzume loved.

    The blond-haired woman breathed in fresh air, walking down the streets of the capital. Suzume allowed a small smile to creep over her face-- she loved the capital of her country. So many things happen in the town square, making every moment exciting for her. Whether it was gossip or mere rumors, the town square almost never remained quiet-- not even in the rain or snow.

    A smaller, darkly colored creature padded beside her, his eyes focused in front of it. Suzume offered a smile to the Umbreon, but he simply gazed at her with his lavender eyes. Mauve was quiet for his kind; he hardly said a word, even to Caius and Seraph. He usually pissed the latter off-- Seraph did not like those who stayed silent when everyone else was talking. She wished she could ask him why, but she didn't know how to speak the Pokemon language. If only she could.

    By the time Suzume and Mauve made it to the town square, her arm was aching slightly. The wounds that she received in that battle were deep and took a while to heal, especially the one that inflicted her shoulder. Fortunately, she was able to wield her lance and sword again. Her arm always protested against such violent movements, but she never let the pain bother her much. She sighed, her eyes flicking around the square. Merchants bellowed prices and women swooned over particularly handsome warriors, but she couldn't find whom she was looking for...

    "Bre!" Mauve piped up, motioning across the town square with his muzzle. Her eyes followed his movement to see two men, slightly older than she was, chatting amongst each other. They were armored and armed much like she was-- their blades swung freely at their hip, and Suzume touched hers to make sure it was there. After a moment's hesitation, she walked toward them. "Takashi, Rinji!" she greeted her comrades cheerfully. The tallest of the three, a brown-haired, dark-eyed male whose hair was tied in a pony tail, turned toward her.

    "Ah, Suzume! Took you a while to get here."

    "Sorry," Suzume said, bowing her head in apology. "Seraph didn't want to get in his stable again."

    The other male shook his head, closing his mint-colored eyes. "Arcanine are meant to be roaming around. Why don't you let him out for the time being?"

    "Rinji, Seraph will probably try to bite your head off if she lets him out," Takashi turned toward Suzume again. His eyes wavered over her shoulder, and his face took a concerned expression. "Is your shoulder alright?"

    Suzume patted it to show that it didn't hurt any longer. "It's fine, now. Why did you call me?"

    "The king of Phoenicis has sent servants to gather volunteers to face the threat," Rinji piped up again. "We wanted to see who was stupid enough to set out to find what caused those Houndoom to go berserk."

    Takashi's dark eyes locked with Rinji's light ones, frowning slightly. "I'm going to volunteer," he told his friend. "I'm not going to sit back and watch feral Pokemon tear Phoenicis apart."

    "Wha-?" Rinji pouted at Takashi. "But... where would you even start? It's not like you're going to find anything in the first place!"

    "Better doing something rather than nothing."

    "B-but... Suzume! Aren't you gonna say something? Suzume..?"

    Suzume did not hear Rinji's words. Instead, she was lost in thought as she wondered if anyone other than Takashi was going to volunteer. Was it even smart to do so? If she lived, she would either be pronounced a hero or a failure, depending on what they found. But if she died, she would be thought of as valiant, someone who died for their country. She felt Mauve's eyes on her again, and surprisingly, they comforted her. It was almost as if he was asking her when should they prepare for departure. She turned to offer the Umbreon a small smile, but his eyes simply gazed at her.

    A voice boomed across the town square, making everyone there fall silent. "Attention!" a man, seated on a large, thick-legged Rapidash, made his way to the center of the area. He was heavily armored and his eyes were cold. Suzume watched him closely; she swore that Takashi said that the king was sending a servant, not a soldier. He must be more serious than she thought... "All of you know of the beasts that constantly attack villages on our outskirts. Every day, they get closer and closer to the capital. Before long, they shall reach the very heart of Phoenicis!" he shouted. "The king shall not allow such a thing. Thus, he has announced that those who wish to help our glorious land offer their aid at this very moment! Though the journey shall be hard and grueling, those who come back will be rewarded and honored. They will be known as heroes and heralds of Ho-Oh! Step forward if you believe you will be of use and truly have the so called 'hearts of gold'!"

    Takashi pushed past her, his face like stone. "I volunteer!" he told the man. Even though he seemed to be sure of himself, Suzume heard a slight tremble to his voice. More people stepped out from the crowd-- most of them young, but some older. Men, women, tall, and short... the volunteers were of all shapes and sizes. All in all, there were about fifteen in total.

    Suzume stood still. Her heart told her that she should volunteer, but her brain told her that she would most likely die. The men would probably come back while the women would possibly die of starvation or cold. Even though her brain was screaming at her to stop, she took a step forward. Mauve followed her, sticking close to her heels. "I volunteer."

    "Suzume!" Rinji whined behind her, and she could tell that he was pouting. Takashi turned to look at her, his eyes wide and full of worry. But Suzume stood strong, clenching her fists. She wouldn't back down, not now. Not when she had sworn her life to Phoenicis. She was a soldier... this was what she should do.

    "Very well," the man spoke again, pulling on his Rapidash's reigns. Its hooves made a slight clacking noise against the ground as he began to guide it away from the town square. "The king expects you lot to leave before sundown. You shall join with Argent's volunteers at our border. Try not to kill one another."

    The man left behind a storm of nervous chatter, people running to the volunteers. Lovers begged some not to leave them, clinging to them as if they would be ripped away any moment. Mothers wept and fathers stayed silent. Takashi spun toward Suzume, grinding his teeth. "What is wrong with you, Suzume? You'll die out there!" he hissed.

    "What makes you sure of that?" she snapped, glowering at him. "I'm just as able as you are, Takashi. Just because I'm a woman doesn't make me weaker."

    Takashi looked at her, his eyes full of anger, worry, and regret. Suzume returned his gaze coldly. After a moment longer, he shook his head and walked away. She watched him leave, frustration welling up in her chest and stomach. It looks like something bit him in the ass.

    "Suzume..." Rinji whimpered. "Do you really have to leave?"

    The woman faced her other friend, offering him a small smile. "I'll be fine, Rinji. I'll make sure to bring you a souvenir, alright?"

    "Just... be careful. This is something you shouldn't be so cocky about. It smells fishy to me, and I'm sure you feel the same way," he told her, his voice soft. His pale eyes refused to look at her directly. "Take care of Takashi, too. He... cares about you, so he'll follow if you get into a sticky situation."

    Suzume nodded slowly. Takashi had been her shadow ever since she joined the Phoenician army and had built her up to become the woman she is now. "I'll watch out for both of us," she promised, resting a hand on his shoulder. After a moment of silence, she removed her hand from its place. "Goodbye, then."

    "This goodbye will only be for a while, right?"

    "Only for a little while. We'll be back before you miss us."

    Rinji shifted his feet, looking down at the ground. "Too late..."

    Suzume's smile faded from her lips. It hurt to leave her friend behind, but it had to be done. There was more to life than just standing around all day and hoping that the Pokemon stopped killing their people. After exchanging a few more words, she left Rinji in the town square and made her way toward the stables where Seraph and Caius were resting. Mauve's side pressed against her leg again, encouraging her to keep going. "Oh, Mauve," she whispered to the Pokemon. "What have I gotten myself into?"

    Yet, the Umbreon said nothing. He simply stared at her, his eyes wide, allowing her to see the slight worry and doubt he had deep within him. And sadly, Suzume felt the same thing under her fierce determination.

  14. Argent

    Flurries of snow whirled elegantly in the air before they softly settled on the ground. At this time of the year, most parts of Argent were completely white. The rivers were frozen and packs of drift ice from Aurios could be seen floating from the shorelines. Bird Pokemon have long since migrated further south, leaving the forests eerily silent as groups of Sawsbuck could be occasionally spotted between the trees. The cold temperatures did not hinder the population, however. Merchants hollered from their stalls as fishermen carrying nets headed down to the beaches to start their day. Children giggled as they ran across the streets, with their mothers weaving textiles as they kept a close watch on them. In the distance, high above the ivory-colored buildings, blue and silver banners of the Argentian Palace could be seen fluttering in the breeze. It was a regular day for the Argentians, just like any other day during the winters. They knew that soon enough, their deity would awaken from his annual slumber-- rising up from the sea beyond and bringing the snow and ice away with his rains and floods. But one man was not there to enjoy it.

    Freezing winds blew over the shore as a black naginata was placed on the ground, the dark-haired soldier kneeling down behind it. That day, there was a candle on the altar; it was surrounded by gleaming coins, dried flowers, and several other possessions. The flame burned weakly, as if the slightest touch would extinguish it. Haku merely stared at it, gazing into the fluttering flame as Gardi soundlessly moved to his side. The people of Argent never forgot about their dead. As wars ended, it wasn't unusual to see men, women or children leave offerings by the shrines, wishing for their deity to guard the souls of their lost ones from harm. Over the centuries, it had simply become a tradition.

    A slight touch was felt on his shoulder, and his head turned towards Gardi. The Aegislash was watching him intently as he slowly levitated up and down, his purple eye unblinking. Sometimes, Haku could swear that the Pokemon was staring right through him. It was likely for this very reason that people have grown to fear him. Ghost types were not commonly seen in Argent. The people were far too cautious, seeing them as threats and as natural manipulators of the spirit. Haku did not doubt that even the slightest, but... it was because of Gardi that he had become a soldier.


    An Ampharos dashed over to them, teetering on a leg when it abruptly ground to a halt before a raised stone step. Struggling to regain its balance, its stubby arms were flailing, the yellow Pokemon letting out a sigh when it finally managed to stand back up. Looking up at Gardi with its big, beady eyes, it gave him a wide smile as it happily greeted him.

    "I figured I would find you here."

    Having watched the two Pokemon, Haku turned towards the voice, his blue eyes meeting with a pair of forest-green ones. The man before him had long, brown hair that hung freely in slight curls, a yari resting against a shoulder. Furrowing his brows, he returned his attention towards the shrine. "Heisuke...I need to be alone for a while."

    A sharp flap was heard behind him as something was opened. "Hmm, aren't you the slightest bit curious about Ryou?"

    'God damn it.' After a moment of hesitation, Haku turned his head to stare at the other male over his shoulder. "...What about Ryou?"

    "Well, it just happened to be that the grumpy beast of yours nearly savaged my dear Sachi," Heisuke replied, his face partly hidden behind a silvery fan. His eyes squinted into slits over the edge. "I'm dead-serious Haku; keep that beast's gnashers away from Sachi."

    Taking the naginata from the ground, Haku stood up, a scowl not far away from forming on his face as he turned to the other. "For the first Heisuke, Ryou is not a beast. If you can't keep your distance from him, then I can't promise that his behavior will improve. He has enough to deal with already." And it was all because of him. When he had discovered the wounds on the Samurott's muzzle, it had taken him quite a while to accept the fact that he was the cause of them.

    Lips pursed, Heisuke closed the fan with a smack before it rested in his hand next to his hip. He stood there, sulking like an armored, over-sized kid. And this was the person who had proclaimed himself as his rival ever since they joined the Argentian army. Leaning the naginata against a shoulder, Haku closed his eyes as his hands were brought up to rub his temples. "...Why are you here?"

    The question seemed to have caused Heisuke to snap out of his episode, the man's gaze having returned to him. "There was a commotion in the town square. Apparently, they have sent someone from the Palace to hold an announcement. I thought you may want to see it for yourself."

    Someone was sent down from the Palace? Haku wasn't quite certain what this was about, but the last time this happened, it was before a war. His hold on the naginata tightened as he took a deep breath. "Lead the way."

    The town square was filled to the brim with crowds, men and women chattering anxiously as they awaited the spokesperson's arrival. Following after Heisuke, Haku struggled through the mass of people as several glares and complaints of 'Watch it!' flew his way. It wasn't until they were half-way through when he almost bumped right into the other's back-- a woman's voice cutting through the air like a hot knife to butter. "Attention!" A hoof was slammed into the ground, a wave of silence spreading over the crowd like a wildfire as the Zebstrika pinned its gaze on them. Its rider, a female soldier dressed in ornate blue armor, was brought towards the front of the area. Haku peered at her. This better not be another war... "As you all may already be aware of, there have been an increased amount of attacks on our villages. These rogue beasts are closing in on the capital by each and every day that passes, and it won't be long until they reach their destination, " she briefed, her mount snorting softly. "Rest be assured, our king shall not allow such a thing to befall on our city. It has been announced that those who wish to aid our land shall step forward at this very moment," she continued, the Zebstrika taking a few steps forward. "The journey will undoubtedly be difficult and challenging, however, should the volunteers succeed and return, they will be rewarded royally-- their names remembered throughout history as heroes and warriors of Lugia," she paused, her gaze sweeping across the crowd. "People of valor and the pure-spirited! Step forward if you truly believe that you have the means to succeed!"

    As murmurs spread around him, there were already a few people stepping forward, but Haku was uncertain. 'Volunteers... huh?' he thought as yet another person called out. He was most definitely not against the idea of defending the nation of Argent, but... something struck him as odd with this. He remembered those Houndoom on the battlefield, their empty, red eyes leering at him as drool fell from their open mouths...

    Someone shoved their elbow into his side, and Haku winced, sending a glare towards Heisuke. "What's the matter? Do I detect cold feet?"

    "If you are that eager to join them, then why aren't you calling out?"

    He wagged a finger in front of his face, prompting Haku to lean away from him. "Ladies first."

    Clenching his jaw, Haku rubbed his side as he faced the female soldier again. There were about fourteen people now, young men and women of all sizes and natures standing before the crowd as pride and anxiety radiated from them. To him, this looked all too much like a one-way mission. But...he was all too aware of those beasts. He had personally seen what they could do if they were allowed to run freely. If nothing would be done to stop them, the whole of Argent-- everything he had known ever since the moment he was born, would surely fall to its demise. A burst of determination billowed up inside of him as he stepped forward. "I volunteer."

    "...And I shall volunteer as well." A smug expression was on the other's face as he slipped up beside Haku.

    The woman looked over the volunteers, the Zebstrika's hooves clicking as it shifted on the spot. "Very well. You are all expected to leave before nightfall. Your meeting point with the Phoenician volunteers shall be at the border. And..." the soldier paused as she peered at them. "It is highly advisable that you do not kill each other." And with that, she pulled the reins, the Zebstrika neighing as it trotted away towards the Palace.

    Haku felt as if he had fallen off a cliff. Phoenicians...! Again! This must be a cruel joke. Groaning inwardly, he ran a hand over his face. Of all people-- of the whole of Atlas, it just had to be Phoenicians. Heisuke had his fan out again, and he felt a poke on his shoulder before the other leaned in all too close to him. "...Try not to get lost in the dark forests, Haku."

    Furrowing his brows, Haku scowled at the brown-haired man as he watched him walk off, cackling lightly to himself as Sachi skipped close to his heels. As people bid farewells to their parents, friends and loved ones, the town square began to empty out as the crowds began to leave. He turned to Gardi, the Aegislash staring at him as uncertainty was visible in the Pokemon's eye. "I guess we should head out then. Let's hope that Ryou is in a better mood," Haku sighed as he headed towards the stables. Because by Lugia, he sure would need it. Phoenicians...what in the world had he managed to agree to?
  15. The trek to the border closest to Argent took longer than Suzume expected. They had left before sundown as commanded, but she couldn't help but feel as if they were running late. The group of Phoenician men and women were accompanied by several different types of Pokemon; a couple of bird Pokemon soared the skies right above them, and Dark-Type Pokemon stalked the forests beside them. Mauve mingled with the small army's Mightyena and Absol, while Caius flitted from tree to tree, gliding between branches. Seraph, of course, was right beside her. His large paws left indentations larger than her head on the ground. For a moment, she wondered what it felt like to be slammed by one of them. Her head would probably be crushed, she thought. Or maybe her neck would snap in two.

    "Suzume," she was ripped from her thoughts when Takashi approached, his dark eyes cold and edgy. Beside him trotted a Luxray; she vaguely remembered Ciel as a hot-blooded, vicious female that they had found on one of their missions in Leonia. Her red and gold eyes were still as intimidating as ever, and even Seraph shuddered slightly in her wake. Suzume could tell he was still upset over her joining their little quest to find the source of the corrupted Pokemon. She met his gaze, a small frown on her face. "We should be close to the border. Do you think that Argent's men are already there?"

    The lightly-armored woman shrugged. "Maybe. Even if they aren't, we have to wait for them. I don't want them to go whining to their king that we left them behind." she said, her voice mixing in slightly with the sounds of grunts and footsteps. Suzume wondered what kind of men Argent sent to help them search. Phoenicis had only been able to snag a dozen or so volunteers, and even then, some had backed out at the last minute. One man said that he couldn't go, that his lover was expecting a child and he would rather be at her side than wander around Atlas. Another explained that his father was gravely ill and that his mother and little sister needed someone to tend the farm. Only one or two would return from their bunch; she was going to make sure that it was Takashi and her, and if not... she would gladly sacrifice herself for her friend's survival.

    Takashi hummed slightly in curiosity, looking ahead of the group. His wakizashi and katana hung on his hip, tapping against his leg as he walked. The sound was somewhat comforting to her, as she had grown so accustomed to it. Suzume fell silent again, and the silence was held for a while.

    'Nice to see you again, Seraph,' Ciel greeted once their masters became quiet. She had to tip her head upwards to look at his face. 'Have you been well?'

    Seraph grunted, giving the Luxray a sidelong glance. 'Somewhat. I'm edgy about meeting these Argent soldiers. I don't trust them.' the Arcanine's lips twisted upwards in the beginning of a snarl. 'I swear, the whole ordeal smells fishy to me.'

    Ciel allowed a laugh to escape her lips. 'Amongst other things,' she joked. 'You still haven't bathed yet, have you? You smell like dozens of Pidove took a shit on you.'

    Suzume heard Seraph grumble again, and she set a hand on his side, where he had been cut. The wound was still pink-- it would heal more as time goes on. As they walked, she thought about the man who had dealt such a wound. Had he died in the battle? If he hadn't, what was he doing now? Takashi rested a hand on her shoulder, and she turned to face him, her expression cold.

    "You're pretty tense," Takashi told her. "Is everything alright?"

    Suzume blushed slightly, embarrassed that he had caught her in the middle of deep thought. "Yeah, I'm fine. I've just been thinking."

    She prayed that he pester her any more, as she would have to explain the humiliating battle between the Argent soldier and her. Her eyes avoided his questioning gaze and focused on the trail instead. It was difficult to see what was ahead of them; both people and Pokemon blocked her view of the forest path. Just as she was about to strain to look, a man in front of the crowd shouted. "Gathering of soldiers ahead of us!"

    "Argent's men," Takashi muttered under his breath. "Hard to believe they're here already. Must be eager to get this over and done with. Can't blame them, really."

    Suzume's heart raced as their group reached Argent's. There was already tension in the air, and it felt as if they would be at each other's throats at an unexpected cough. Seraph let out a low growl, lowering his head slightly. Argent's scent was probably well engraved into his nostrils and mind, she supposed.

    It was somewhat silent as the two groups mixed into one. Even then, the Phoenician soldiers stuck to their side and Argent's men stuck with each other. Suzume sighed, shaking her head. "This isn't going to work," she complained, rubbing her shoulder. "How are we going to cooperate? I feel like we're staring at each other like enemy packs of Mightyena..."

    This time, Takashi said nothing. He remained quiet as one of their men stood tall amongst the others. "We should head south, first," the man told the group. "The north will be too brutal for us this time of year."

    "The north will be brutal for us no matter when we go," another voice called out. "We might as well get it over and done with while the northern Salamence are not breeding."

    A chatter arose, each voice in the crowd proclaiming what they thought. Takashi muttered something his breath, but Suzume wasn't paying attention to what he was saying. Instead, her eyes remained focused ahead, to Argent's side. Her gaze flicked over the crowd, taking in who they were going to be working with. There was a woman with a couple of Staraptor and a Skarmory... a man with a Dragonite... her heart stopped when she saw someone too familiar. His dark hair, his piercing blue eyes... A man with a Samurott stood amongst Argent's soldiers, seemingly in good health. Just my luck... of course he would be part of the people who volunteered to participate in this hellish cause. Her fingers kneaded at the ridge of her nose as she looked at the ground. Lord of Ash and Skies... please don't let him see me...
  16. The trees gradually lost their silvery appearance as the group closed in on the border to Phoenicis. Considering their numbers, they had left the capital surprisingly early. Many different kinds of Pokemon surrounded them; Flying and Dragon types dominated the skies with their shrill cries while Steel types trudged along on ground. As Haku walked among them, the Samurott beside him was unusually quiet as his red eyes were focused ahead of them. If he hadn't known any better, he would have thought that the Water-type was impatient to reach their destination. Stroking his side gently, he received a low grumble in reply as he shifted his gaze towards the skies. He had no difficulties with spotting Nene between the many bodies above, the Crobat soaring in delight as her long wings bent like ribbons with every flap. That day on the battlefield was still imprinted in his memory. Her state had been so terrible, he had feared that she would never fly again. Fortunately, the Poison-type was tougher than she looked, her sheer willpower alone being responsible for her quick recovery. Some injuries were still healing of course, but at least she regained the strength to use her wings.

    Sachi was skipping along with them, her black eyes glittering with curiosity as she peered closely at the Aegislash. When the distance between them became too great, she had almost instantly moved closer to him. 'Gardi, where are we going?' she piped as she looked up at him, the cherry-colored orb on her tail wagging side to side as she walked.

    'Border,' Gardi simply answered, his tone having a peculiar metallic echo near the end. His single, lavender eye had shifted down to glance at her for a few seconds before it turned back to the road.

    The Ampharos tilted her head. 'Border? Which border?' she asked, but the Aegislash didn't seem to be in the mood of responding to any questions. Her oval-formed ears turned backwards. 'Gardi? What's wrong? Have I done anything to upset you?'

    'Young one, haven't you done enough for today?' Ryou's deep, rumbling voice shot in, the Samurott staring at them both from the side. 'If Gardi does not speak, then he shall not speak. Pestering him shall only lead to consequences.'

    Their conversation seemed to have piqued the Crobat's interest, the bat's ears twitching as she lowered herself towards them. Frowning, her golden eyes had clearly disapproval in them. "Ugh, Ryou, you're as charming as ever, I see! The poor lass was only asking a question. Can't you be a little more...Oh, I don't know, Considerate?'

    'Not now, Nene,'' Ryou growled through his tense lips, a canine or two showing between them.

    A Volcarona had approached them, hovering infront of the Ampharos as his large, majestic wings were occasionally beating in the air. 'Sachi!' he scolded. 'You will come with me in an instant! You're causing great distress to Heisuke!'

    Sachi's ears were pressed against her head as her steps grew slower, unwillingly falling back from the small group of Pokemon. 'Sorry Yang,' she mumbled, head lowered as she turned to follow the Volcarona back to Heisuke.

    "Gathering of soldiers ahead of us!"

    With his view blocked with both Pokemon and people, Haku couldn't quite see the person responsible for the shout, but one thing was certain: that voice had belonged to a Phoenician. The men and woman around him shifted on their feet, obviously uncomfortable. In fact, the air around them was dripping of tension and hostility. Shoving the naginata between the two blonde men in front of him, he pushed through them, finally having a clear sight of the road. The Phoenicians had stopped a short distance away from them, staring at them like paralyzed Slowpoke. Ryou had stepped forward to join his side, his scarlet eyes narrowed into a piercing glare as he stared into the opposite group. Haku himself wasn't especially fond of this. Whoever thought that this had been a great idea clearly hadn't been involved in the war.

    "Hmm...They look rather weary, do they not?" Heisuke's voice came from his left, the brown-haired man fanning himself in an absent-minded manner as Yang was perched on top his head, causing him to appear as if he was wearing a giant, flamboyant hat. One of the Phoenicians had stepped forward, very soon starting a disagreement between the two groups as more people had joined in, concerns and advice coming from all directions as they were voiced. Haku closed his eyes with a sigh as he went to rub his temples. 'Useless.... These people wouldn't make their minds up even if their lives depended on it,' he thought as yet another one had joined the dispute. When he had opened them again, his gaze had swept over the Phoenicians, some anxious-looking Absol and Mightyena, and then...they abruptly stopped. Eyes growing wide, time seemed to grind to a halt when he realized who he was staring at. Platinum blonde hair. A growling Arcanine with its head lowered.


    This can't be happening to him. Of all the people in the whole of Atlas, it had to be Her. This was so outrageous, he was for a minute or so utterly convinced that he must be hallucinating. But alas, the woman did not fade away, and Haku was left a bitter man. The expression on his face was anything but happy as he scowled at her. As if on cue, the almost-healed wound on his shoulder began to ache dully, but he refused to massage it away. Not here, not now. 'There is no way that I will travel with her...'

    A sharp poke on his shoulder. "Haku."

    His gaze was absolutely frigid as it slowly shifted to the left. "...What do you want now?"

    "Oh, snappy today, aren't you?" Heisuke remarked, a smirk visible where the silvery fan didn't quite cover his face. "I was thinking..."

    A long pause came, and Haku finally turned to face him when it didn't seem as if the conversation would continue. "What? If you have something to say, then say it," he told him, but the brown-haired man simply hummed in reply, tapping the fan lightly against his chin as if to feign deep contemplation. At that very moment, if the Phoenicians weren't in their sight, Haku would undoubtedly have strangled the man. "Heisuke..." he warned, his tone raising slightly towards the end.

    A chuckle came from the other man as a green stare fell upon him yet again, the dismayed Volcarona on his head closing its eyes as if apologizing. "These Phoenicians clearly have no clue on where we should go. I was thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, we should give them a helping hand? You know, to push us all in the right direction."

    Haku's eye twitched. This guy...did he seriously think that he would walk over to the Phoenicians, have a little nice chat with them, and then be on their way to wherever?! Exasperated, he opened his mouth to argue, but it was soon slammed shut when Heisuke had pushed him forward and away from the safety of the Argentian group. As Heisuke had raised his fan to get their attention, Haku stood beside him with closed eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose. 'May Lugia save me from this madman...'

    "Alright, listen up here!" Heisuke called out to the groups before the fan was lowered yet again to cover part of his face, calmly beating. "As we are clearly in a deep disagreement on where we should direct our attention, perhaps
    we should cease all this needless jabbering and instead..." he paused, as if to produce a dramatic effect. "...we should consider our current location a little more carefully. From here on, Leonias and Aurios are the closest, and thus...our attention should be focused on those countries."

    A loud murmur erupted between the rest of the Argentian men and women, and Haku just stared at him. That...was possibly the most thoughtful thing he had ever heard this lunatic utter. A few people began to concur with him, stating that they should head north towards Aurios. As the two groups chattered with each other, Haku remained quiet as he listened to them. 'Aurios... the land of harsh winters and cold that seeps into your marrow, and Leonias, the land of the heartless god, Entei... Heisuke is right to claim that our options lie between those nations,' Haku thought as the brown-haired man beside him looked over the groups for their reply. Of the two countries, he had personally never been as far north as Aurios. And considering the recent outbreaks of feral Pokemon, who knew what lied hidden in the heart of the frozen land?
  17. Suzume's blood began to boil, rising to her face as she tried to control her temper. Out of every single man in Argent's army, why did it have to be him that volunteered? Even Seraph seemed to be in a sour mood as he growled at the Samurott, his pupils dilated to furious slits. She raised a hand to pat at his side and try to calm him down, but he was already too riled up. The last thing that they needed was for an Arcanine to attack one of their own Pokemon. If they were tensed up now, she wondered how they would be after the Pokemon fought amongst themselves. Ciel snarled beside Seraph, her black fur spiking up slightly. Ho-Oh, please calm Seraph and Ciel down... if they attack, then the whole journey will be full of tension and distrust.

    Suddenly, a black form padded up to Seraph and gave him a warning nip at his ankle. The bite surprised the large, striped beast, but at least it distracted him from his aggression. Suzume couldn't help but smile as Mauve and Seraph bickered among themselves, swishing their tails and flicking their ears. They never got along; Seraph was always the type to leap before thinking and Mauve was the type to think before leaping. Caius, however... she didn't even know what was going on in his head for half of the time.

    Takashi nudged her slightly, motioning toward the center of the two groups with his head. "Someone from the Argentian group stepped forward," he told her. "The idiot's got a Volcarona on his head."

    Suzume peered between the men and women that stood in front of her, but she could not see who was speaking. Grumbling a curse under her breath in frustration, she turned toward Seraph. The Arcanine crouched down in order for her to mount him. After a few moments of struggling to get on his saddle, she found that she could clearly see the two men that had drawn all of the attention toward them. One of the Argentian men, a man with long brown hair, was doing all of the talking-- the other one was simply standing there. Her eyes became sharp as she looked at both of them. Should they trust them? What if they were leading them to the wrong place?

    "Leonias, huh?" she heard Takashi say, and she knew that he was rubbing his chin in thought. "Seems like a good move. Leonias is closer, after all."

    Suzume hummed under her breath, thinking for a moment. Their group appeared to be leaning toward moving towards Leonias; it was closer-- and warmer --than Aurios. Eventually, they would have to trek through the cold lands of the Suicune worshipers... and it was something she wasn't looking forward to.

    After a few more moments of listening to the crowd, Suzume raised her voice. "Very well. We shall head to Leonias, first. After that, we shall move through Argent and head to Aurios," she told the two men, her eyes aggressive slits as her blond hair blew in the wind. Seraph growled again, but she tapped his neck, this time calming him down. "But be warned that if we see Argent's men make an aggressive move against us, we shall retaliate immediately. Phoenicis shall lead the journey, for now. Once we get to Argent, it is your turn."

    And with that, the Phoenician soldiers began to lead the way to Leonias in a somewhat messy unison. Suzume began to follow, but she paused beside Heisuke and Haku, her lips curving downwards into a slight frown. "Didn't expect to see you here," she addressed Haku with a voice much like steel. "I thought that the Houndoom had made a meal of you. Then again, you don't look very appetizing."
  18. As Haku remained standing by Heisuke, his attention was brought back to the Phoenician group when one of their men seemed to be considering the options that had been placed out for them. Before long, the blonde woman had spoken up, and the chattering among the groups ceased as they listened to her. Haku furrowed his brows. She spoke as if she had suddenly decided to be their leader... The group behind him muttered among themselves, appearing have concerns about the plans to trek through Leonias, and he couldn't blame them. That nation was known for its Rock types, but also for its diversity of Fire type Pokemon. With so many of their soldiers having Steel types as their partners, it would be safe to say that the road ahead wouldn't be the smoothest. His eyes shifted towards Gardi, but the Aegislash simply looked back at him. At that moment, he really couldn't tell what was going on inside the Pokemon's head.

    A slight hum came from his side as soon as the blonde soldier had finished. "Leonias, hm? That seems like a fine plan to me," Heisuke responded, the fan beating softly as the Volcarona on his head twitched its fiery wings somewhat. "We shall certainly keep those points in mind...all the way to Argent," he had continued, his emerald-tinted gaze unblinking as it met the woman's.

    Remaining silent, Haku had given him a sidelong stare when the Phoenicians began to leave, heading in the direction of the mountainous nation. With much reluctance, a few of the Argentians began to head after them, and he was about to do the same...when the voice of that woman had stopped him in his tracks. Turning to face her, his eyes were narrowed into slits as he felt his pulse increase. "Surprisingly enough...neither did I," he returned, his tone colder than a Froslass' breath. And hearing what she said next, his hold on the naginata had tightened. How dare she! He glowered at her, and frankly, it took him a lot of restraint not to respond with a sharp comeback. He wouldn't take her bait. The two factions were already tense enough as it is, and if he lost his temper now, it could very well be the last straw for them. They were here to save their nations, not to fight. "I'd imagine that the Houndoom were too busy slaughtering soldiers," Haku replied as raised his head, his dark hair blowing slightly when a wind swept past them. "I'd be careful to make such comments if I were you," he eventually added, shifting his attention towards the Samurott that watched them both intently. "Ryou, let's go." And with that, Haku turned his back on her and went after the group.

    The Samurott released a muted grumble, his scalding eyes lingering on the Arcanine before he too was on his way after the disorganized groups. As Gardi joined them, Haku lifted a hand to stroke Ryou's side as he sent a glare over his shoulder at Suzume. 'Unappetizing...I'll show her unappetizing.'

    "A friend of yours?" Heisuke's voice shot in from somewhere on his left, and Haku gritted his teeth.

    "...Not even if my life would depend on it."
  19. The man was much more tense than she realized. Then again, Suzume was probably as edgy as he was-- they were going to be treading into unfamiliar territory, having to rely on mere strangers for survival. It would be surprisingly easy to fake an accident during their travels through the mountains... one could say that someone from the other side had tripped and fallen over a cliff edge when they had really pushed them over. Her gaze remained on him as she listened to his words-- surprisingly, he stayed calm, only warning her to watch her mouth. She shrugged him off, a 'tsk' coming forth from her lips. Before she could say anything else, the male rejoined the rest of Argent's men, his friend and Pokemon following him. The mounted woman returned his glare when he sent one her way, her blood beginning to boil slightly. They were bound to fight several times during the journey. It couldn't be stopped.

    Takashi approached her, waving his hand toward the group. "We should join them," he advised, offering her a smile. Suzume returned his gesture with a cold look. "Wouldn't want to get pounced upon by bandits."

    "Yeah," she replied blandly as she kicked her heels into Seraph's sides. The Arcanine trotted after the Phoenicians and Argentians, quickly catching up to them.

    They traveled for a little while before the group decided to make camp. They were weary; their trek through small villages and towns had made them tired and weak. Both Pokemon and human dragged their feet, complaining about sores and aches. Even though they were soldiers, there was a limit.

    It was already noon by the time they set up camp. Surprisingly, some of each cluster of Pokemon and people began to mingle with the other, offering water or food from their nations. The sound of a nearby creek filled the air, along with the chirps and calls of wild bird Pokemon. The forest around them provided some protection from the blinding rays of the sun and offered decent visibility of the surrounding area. Suzume sat by herself, checking Caius for any wounds that he had accidentally reopened. Even though he didn't fight much during the last battle, there was a particularly nasty-looking one that kept getting infected; not only that, he kept on picking at it. She looked at the infected cut on his left wing membrane with frustration. "Seriously, Caius, you aren't a hatchling anymore," she groaned as she poured some water on the wound, hoping to get whatever dirt there was inside of it out. "Stop playing with your injuries. Find something more productive to do."

    The Noivern looked at her as his tail idly swayed over the ground. It was almost as if he questioned her statement, but Suzume could never be too sure. She sighed, flicking his nose playfully. "Silly, what am I going to do with you?" she joked. The Pokemon made a loud, high-pitched roar, wrapping his wings around her and pressing his face against her chest. She giggled, petting Caius on the head. "You haven't grown up at all."
  20. As the large group ventured along the forest path, an Argentian man ahead of him began to chat with a female soldier about fishing techniques. It didn't take long until he went on to boast about his most recent catch, the woman praising him as she showered him with compliments. Haku squinted his eyes. This was almost worse than having to listen to Heisuke ramble on for hours about how to properly prepare rice balls. Allowing himself to zone out, their conversation faded into background noise as he gazed at the surrounding trees. The blonde Phoenician's words were still fresh in his mind. Haku doubted that this would be the last he would hear from her. The journey would likely span for several months, and then he couldn't really trust that anyone else would keep their tempers in check. Arguments were inevitable...especially with those who were far too insolent to hold their tongues.

    Villages and towns were scattered across their travels, and Haku had eventually resorted to ride on Ryou when the distance become too great for him. Other soldiers were not as fortunate to have mounts; their lively conversations turned into much duller ones as they forced themselves to continue. They didn't stop until early noon-- the chosen site bustling with life as both factions merged with each other, talking, and even sharing their food. As Haku sat down in a calmer spot with Ryou, he was honestly surprised. He had expected at least one person to start a fight by now.

    Reaching into the bags hanging off the Samurott's saddle, Haku brought out several strips of smoked Barboach before he handed them all to Ryou. The exhausted Pokemon grumbled in gratitude, lowering his head as he tucked into the food he had been given. Gardi floated up beside him, but the Pokemon's attention was not on them or the food. Following the Aegislash's gaze towards the small clusters of people, Haku soon spotted the blonde woman from before, seemingly sitting by herself as a Noivern was by her side. Nene swooped down, stealing a strip as Ryou's head flew up to protest loudly when she made off with it. But Haku was too distracted to notice, his brows furrowed.

    Standing up, his attention returned to the Samurott as he pat his head. "...Will you manage on your own, Ryou? I need to stretch my legs," he explained, and the Samurott merely gave him a low rumble in reply. The Pokemon stared after him as he went to walk away-- Gardi following after him like a shadow. The forest surrounded him as calls of bird Pokemon echoed through the air. Reaching the creek, the sounds of flowing water blocked out everything else as Haku crouched down by the edge. His hands sank into the cold and clear water before he splashed some on his face, a sigh coming from him as he stood up. How the hell will he even manage through this journey? Turning towards the Aegislash, Gardi's eye was watching him as the Pokemon slowly floated up and down in the air. "I don't think that I can handle this all the way to Aurios, Gardi. I can't even look at her," he muttered, concern visible in the Ghost-type's eye. The Aegislash moved closer to him, tilting his body slightly as a frayed arm nudged his shoulder-- the one that had been injured. "Argent's men and the Phoenicians may be fine with each other now, but I can mistake is all it would take. I don't want people like her soil Argent's name any more than it already has." Gardi merely stared at him, but in his own soundless way, Haku knew that the Aegislash understood.

    "--What shall I do? My wife was against this from the start!"

    "Calm down, Gennai. I'm sure the Phoenicians won't do such a thing."

    "I-I have a child. If I end up dead, she'll never know what happened..."

    Haku kept himself hidden as the two lightly-armored Argentian men passed by his spot-- the taller, more burly one attempting to persuade the other not to ditch their group and cause as their voices grew weaker. Shifting his eyes back towards the creek, he was silent. After having unintentionally eavesdropped on their conversation, it was as if something had awakened inside him. Yes...the journey may be hard and mentally challenging, but it wasn't worth it to abandon his fellow Argentians. They depended on him, and in turn, he depended on them. They all had to stay together to safely make it through Leonias to Aurios, and then to the territories beyond. When he was certain that the men were gone, Haku had looked back to Gardi before he turned to leave. "..We should return to camp before anyone starts searching for us."
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