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Old 02-03-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
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It had been an eventful day. Gaius's birthday had passed, and it saw the young dragon train harder than he ever had before; the Gible had mastered three different attacks in one day, further distancing himself from his peers in power and skill - something Gaius was very well aware of. Still, Levin had begun noticing subtle signs of change in the dragon's behaviour; while still arrogant and stubborn, the more childish, prankster side of Gaius was dying down, giving rise to a more serious and noble personality that stemmed from its dragonic nature. While still believing himself to be the best there is, he understood that as Levin's strongest companion and majestic dragon, he was akin to nobility and should behave as such. While this strong sense of entitlement would likely never go away, it was a welcome change that forebode the rise of a more mature and dependable partner.

Still, the day was behind them... it was nighttime now, and Levin sighed as he returned to the Treehouse. He was sure to be haunted by the same dreams again, they'd been recurrent for the past two weeks now. Reluctantly, he wished his Pokemon goodnight (though there was the question if Ymir ever slept) and went to bed. He just sat on it for a long while, looking at the wooden floor, not wanting to go to sleep. He had to figure this out, or he'd go insane... Why this, why now? Why Ivan? He was just a distant memory... Still, he had to sleep eventually.

Lying down, Levin closed his eyes slowly. The last thing he saw before falling asleep was a single red orb of light floating in front of him...


Mt. Infernus. He remembered that journey, when Min was abducted and he searched all over the mountain peak for her... It was quieter now. He overlooked most of the archipelago from where he stood; the view over Cortoza was magnificent. But he'd been here enough times to know what happened next.

- Long time no see, Levin.

What? That's not how it goes... He turned around, startled. In front of him was just the man he expected to find - Ivan Sanders, his older brother. Shoulder-long silver hair, wearing a white shirt and a brown leather jacket, dark gray cargo pants and boots. And that smug grin...

- What are you talking about? You've been harassing me for the past two weeks, Ivan.

His reply could have been anything. Warm, surprised, confused... instead, the only words he could say were filled with resentment. Then he wondered why this dream was being different... he never talked to his brother in any of the previous ones.

- Have I, little bro? Or have you been haunting yourself? See... all this while, you've been dreaming about meeting me again. About what I'd say. You've been doing this to yourself, because whether you like it or not... you're still trying to be me. But this time, it ain't just a dream, Lev.

What did he mean by that? Was he messing with him again? What the hell was going on?!

- Explain, Ivan. You know full well I'm not getting any of this, and you're getting a kick out of it.

- Heh, that I am. Let me tell you though... for such a prick, you managed to surround yourself with some pretty awesome friends. Almost makes me jealous!

Behind Ivan, someting happened. A crack appeared out of thin air, a rift of some sort, emitting light... and then it closed.

- I see, you don't get it yet... This is a passage, a door. A door that leads somewhere you can't follow, and from where I wouldn't normally be able to leave. But one of your friends has made it possible; one of your Pokemon wants you to know the truth.

From the ground in front of Levin's feet, a small black shadow appeared, then rose to take a familiar shape. Faust.

- Wait, that red light before I fell asleep... It was you? Then all of this is?...

The Duskull nodded in silence. The line between dream and reality was much too blurred for Levin's understanding, and Ivan picked up on it.

- I'll explain, Lev. But you were always a smart kid, you'll get it halfway through. You're asleep, and this is really a dream. It's when you're dreaming that you're the farthest away from your own reality and closest to others... one in particular is your Duskull's homeworld. You know their species special ability, don't you?

He was beginning to understand, but it'd take a while to accept.

- The... Spirit World.

- Exactly. Faust wanted you to know... he wanted you to understand. And he wanted you to have some closure on this, so you'll stop being haunted by dreams. But for that to happen, I gotta open your eyes a little more, and you're not gonna like it. Same way you always hated it when I proved you wrong when we argued.

Ivan came to his dream from the Spirit World thanks to Faust's connection. But that meant...

- What happened to you? Why did you vanish? Why did you stop writing all of a sudden? Do you know how miserable mom and dad became, how you shattered our home with your silence?!

Ivan smiled; not his usually cocky smirk, but a sad smile. Condescending son of a bitch.

- Lev... that's the thing. You're gonna have to figure it out and accept it yourself. When you're capable of telling yourself what happened, when you've come to terms with reality, you'll be rid of all this; the anxiety, the dreams, the need to beat me...

- What?!

- Oh yes. See, that's the whole problem... you refuse to acknowledge where you're headed! I know what you've been up to, your entire journey. And although I have to admit I'm impressed, I think you're blinded by your own resolve to realize that what you've actually set out to do... isn't to be the best trainer in the world, it's simply to be better than me!

- You self-centered, egomaniacal moron! Why does everything have to be about you all the time? It's my journey, my story! Just because you failed doesn't mean I have to carry the torch for you! I'm my own man, nobody tel...

- Wrong again. Levin, why do you think you were drawn to the Fighting Type?

The question caught him completely off-guard. First off, how did he know? It was only recently that... Unless he truly was...

- I've made a name for myself with my Steel-Types. I was one of the hottest things in Kanto back when the type was still largely unknown, remember? "Iron Ivan", the fans called me. And I know it ate you up, it made you roll your eyes while you told yourself I was overrated. And even then, you could never beat me, not once. Sure, you didn't have your own Pokemon until you found Min, I remember her. But you would borrow just about anybody's Pokemon to try and take me down, and you never could. So when you realized you were poised to make a name for yourself in Fizzy Bubbles, much like I did in Kanto, of course you were drawn to the Fighting Type! It was the feeling that your team, your Pokemon, would never lose to the greatest trainer you'd ever faced, thus validating your beliefs that you were improving far and above what I'd accomplished.

- No... no, that's not true! I had forgotten about you, you were a memory, you were in the past!

- The past is the only thing you haven't tamed yet, Levin. You're two thirds of a great trainer, which means you're just okay. Decent at best. Because you lack something... You lack peace of mind, the true understanding and acceptance of your past, in order to move on.

That was the final drop.

- "Decent at best"?! Even after all these years, after all the adventures I've been through, the Pokemon I've assembled and the battles I've won, in your eyes, I'm still just "decent"?!

- Care to prove me wrong, little brother?

Ivan reached for a Blue Cyberball in his belt and tossed it in the air. From it emerged... a Magneton. But how? If he came from the Spirit World, how could he still have his Pokemon? For that to happen, it had to mean they too had...
He looked at his own belt. 15 Pokeballs were attached to it; he could feel each of his Pokemon's presence with him, except for Ymir's. Was this the extent of Faust's power?

- Is it beginning to make sense, Levin? Why I suddenly stopped writing, why you never heard of my accomplishments at the Indigo League? You know I would've steamrolled through them all, I could've been the Champion. Even you believed it, as much as it made you jealous. And now here I am, along with my Pokemon. It's easy to piece everything together, but I want you to do it. Acknowledge it.

It really was true, then. It had to be... How else would they be talking like this? How else could Faust have found him? But if that's what had happened, at least... at the very least, he could take solace in knowing Ivan hadn't just abandoned them, hadn't just been beaten and given up.

- How... how did it happen, Ivan? How did you... how... did you die?

His brother smiled again; but this time, he was relieved. Proud.

Last edited by MarbleZone; 02-07-2013 at 06:25 PM.
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