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Old 03-22-2015, 05:16 PM   #29
MarbleZone
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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It was almost lunch time and Levin was still in his room. He hadn’t even changed yet; he sat on the edge of the bed, lost in thought after a particularly touching dream.

I thought I got over them.

He’d dreamed of his parents. It had been three years since he last saw them after he left home to pursue his dream. Both had been adamantly against his decision, having already lost Ivan during his own journey, but Levin refused to listen – the longer he and Min stayed in that broken home, the more oppressed he felt.

He resented his mother and father alike for the way they reacted to Ivan’s death. Sadness, mourning, he understood all of that – to this day, he couldn’t put into words what his elder’s brother’s passing had meant to him. But in their sorrow, they failed to remember they still had a son who needed them; they weren’t the pillars of strength he needed the most as a child – if anything, it was a still-infant Levin who tried his best to snap his parents out of their profound depression. And when they finally realized they’d been neglecting their only remaining child, it was much too late. By then, Levin had already packed his things and was on his way out, and no amount of begging or crying would change his mind.

They should’ve been there for me. I needed them when Ivan died, and they gave in to their own anguish instead. Had it been the other way around, had it been me in that cave-in at Victory Road, I wonder how they’d have reacted – it’s no secret they cared for Ivan the most.

So why is was that he’d dream about them, the mother and father he’d long left behind, three years later? It was as clear a dream as he’d ever had, not the usual deep-slumber nonsense he could hardly ever remember the following morning. This was different, coherent… nostalgic.

It had portrayed mostly his youth; an amalgam of memories from his early years spent in Saffron City, where he’d been born and lived all of his infancy. But his complexion wasn’t that of a regular Kanto native – his blonde hair and hazel eyes were a typical northern trait, because that’s where his mother’s family hailed from. His mother was a renowned Berry Farmer from the coldest land in the Pokemon world, the Heiml Region. Located far to the north of Kanto, it was a land of hardy, stubborn men and women, and his mother fit the mold to perfection. She was able to maintain berry fields during terrible hailstorms like it was nothing, and often credited her mentor, Mr. Vaughn Roth, with teaching her everything she knew about agriculture.
She met his would-be father in her hometown, while the latter was carrying out a POLT assignment in Heiml to gather intel on a gemstone traffic baron. As a result, Ivan was born in Heiml shortly before the end of the mission; the family took residence in Heiml for a few years before being forced to move back to his father’s homeland of Saffron City, Kanto, where Levin would be born, on the day of Volcarona’s arrival in the morning sky.

His father had been mostly absent during his childhood, constantly being assigned to missions abroad. Most of his time was spent with Ivan and their mother, hearing stories about Heiml and its people. Ivan told him everything he knew about the incredible northern Trainers and how he planned to return to Heiml after winning the Kanto League. Levin once thought of heading there himself, but after realizing how far behind Ivan he was, eventually dropped the thought. This dream reawakened that lingering idea.

Not until I’ve beaten Tess, Arnold, Stacey and Stark. But once I do…

His mother had actually met some of Heiml’s Elite Four, who were close friends with her teacher Vaughn. She often talked about the Champion, Gottfried, an imposing man with no sense of humor but a heart of gold hidden between layers of stoicism and strictness. She also talked about Elite Four’s Drago, an equally sullen man of few words who only Vaughn had managed to befriend; of Drago, Ivan described a Trainer who had only ever been defeated once, by Gottfried himself – to the point where he became known as “God’s Gatekeeper”, through whom nobody passed except with Gottfried’s permission. It made no sense to Levin back then; if nobody could defeat the Elite Four, why would the Champion agree to face them anyway? Overtime he realized that skill goes hand-in-hand with respect, and that the best Trainers aren’t necessarily the ones that win all the time, but those that everyone admires. Gottfried must have understood that a long time ago.

It’s almost inconceivable that monsters like those exist. Pros who cannot be defeated…

The dream stirred a number of feelings inside the young man’s soul. Seeing his parents again, reliving all the happy moments he’d spent with his family, forced him to remember the dark times that followed, and the disdain he felt for his parents since then. But the storytelling sessions of his infant years also reminded him of the fascination he felt every time he heard about the legends of Heiml’s League – Gottfried’s Royal Six, Drago ‘s “War Axe” Jaeger, Bernhardt’s fire mastery, Brunhilde’s warriors and Harold’s heavenly companions.

He finally mustered the will to get up and head outside. Fresh air would do him some good. He was grateful for some of the memories he’d just unearthed, but some others should have remained buried. He didn’t want to miss home or the parents who’d neglected him; above all, he didn’t want to miss Ivan again, now that he’d finally come to terms with everything that happened.

As soon as he stepped outside into the morning sunlight, he noticed something was amiss, snapping him back to reality. Contrary to every morning since he left the Friend Safari, there was no chirping and no familiar red speckle in the sky, basking in the Sun’s warmth. Solair was missing.

-----

Blessed sunlight shone through the leaves, but the forest itself was still mostly cold and unwelcoming. This was darkness’s realm, and he was a lone servant of the light. But he had something to prove – both to Levin and, above all, to himself.

Solair the Fletchling had left Marble Garden at the break of dawn. He couldn’t sleep for several days now, haunted by memories of his battle against Vesper’s Mega Beedrill and the ultimate humiliation he’d endured at their hands. Wings pierced and will shattered, the bird had been left scarred and traumatized since – and although his wings had been fixed by the Pokemon Center’s miraculous healing contraptions, not even that kind of technology had managed to erase the pain he felt each time he relived those moments.

Since meeting Levin, he’d been embarrassed twice – first against Bud in the Friend Safari, and then against Vesper. He’d accumulated victories over all kinds of foes during their training in Kanjohto, but with such pitiful displays at such critical moments… what did Levin really think of him? He’d sworn fealty to the man, holding him in almost as high regard as he did the Sun itself… but he’d brought Levin nothing but shame and loss when he needed him the most.

The Fletchling braved the dangerous woods surrounding the Secret Base with a very clear goal in mind – face his fears and conquer them, so that he’d never let Levin down again. So that next time he faced Vesper’s Mega Pokemon, the outcome would be different.
He scoured his surroundings as he went, flying for hours across the forest, until he finally found what he’d been looking for. Dangling from a nearby branch, a huge hollowed nest tilted in the morning breeze. A Beedrill hive.

Solair had to find a place to land and catch his breath – not that he was tired, but the idea of coming face-to-face with another one of those wasps made him tremble in fear. Memories of the two cold needles piercing his flesh and pinning him to the ground kept surfacing, like he was going through it over and over again. But that’s what he came here to overcome, the weakness he had to conquer, or he’d never be of any use to Levin again.
Just as he was struggling to take flight again, a familiar buzzing sound came from within the nest. A yellow and black-striped body emerged from the hive, and Solair found two angry red eyes staring straight at him… Beedrill in this forest were highly territorial and aggressive, and when it raised its two needles and dashed toward him, the Fletchling was certain this one was no exception.

But no matter how hard he tried, his body wouldn’t move. Paralyzed by fear, he passively stood by and let Beedrill’s left needle slash the outside of his wing, causing him to lose his footing and fall from his perch, crashing into several branches on the way down until his body met the floor. But the pain was welcome – it surpassed fear, and in turn transformed into thirst for revenge. Solair glared up at the attacker, briefly forgetting the reason for his earlier panic; it was an enemy of his cause, and had to go!
Fighting spirit renewed, flames engulfed his body and Solair rose like a phoenix into the air once again. His blistering speed caught the Beedrill off-guard, allowing Solair to strike with a powerful Flame Chargeto the wasp’s chest!

Solair watched while the Beedrill’s body was engulfed in fire and it fell from the sky, much like it’d happened to him seconds earlier. But before the Fletchling could capitalize, louder buzzing was heard coming from the hive, before two more Beedrill emerged to join the fight
The pair rushed at the bird, but his increased speed allowed him to nimbly dodge their charge and rise even higher, almost past the trees themselves. As he did, he pondered on his situation. He’d come into this forest expecting to surpass his recent fear of Beedrill, but couldn’t bring himself to react when faced with a real one. And yet, all it took was mild damage to fuel his resolve… and now he was battling a whole swarm without a hint of fear. He’d been constructing the image of a savage killer in his mind all this time, wondering if he’d ever be able to face another one of these wasps again… but now he understood. The Beedrill that almost crippled him permanently was different, and much stronger, but even then not the one he should seek revenge on. It was Vesper.

The Career Killer was single-handedly responsible for shattering Levin’s confidence and piercing Solair’s wings; Mega Beedrill was a pawn in his hands. The one to suffer should be Vesper – and all the time he spent twisting the image of a regular opponent into a terrifying creature, he should have been focusing on getting stronger to destroy the man that had caused so much harm! And these Beedrill before him now… would be no more than stepping stones toward that purpose!

All three Beedrill homed in on Solair once again, tackling him at the same time, needles glowing in the morning sunlight that pierced through the leaves. But the Fletchling’s determination was unwavering – he refused to be beaten here, or to lose to the same Pokemon twice. Never again would a Beedrill defeat him! Cloaked in fire once more, he dove down like a flaming meteor to meet the Beedrill, and easily powered through them, setting each one ablaze in his wake.
He turned around in midair, preparing to strike again… but suddenly the flames were replaced by a powerful glow! Solair remained oblivious to the ongoing phenomenon, picking up speed once more and rising to meet his weakened foes. As the light shone brighter, his body grew in size as well, and it kept climbing faster and faster. When the glimmer subsided, the red arrow flying across the air at break-neck speed was no longer a small Fletchling, but an elegant leaving behind a trail of embers!

Bright-colored flames once again erupted around Solair at the last second, and when the phoenix-fire clashed with the three Beedrill, it exploded in a spectacle of light. The unconscious bodies of the three wasps tumbled to the ground, and it was only when his enemies were vanquished that Solair realized the miraculous transformation that had occurred. He smiled, looking down upon the three Beedrill as they scurried back inside their hive. Today he’d been the ray of light in the darkness that Levin deserved to see more often – but thanks to this new form, his light would be able to shine on the man he swore to serve much more brightly.
The battle had served its purpose – he’d conquered his fears, refocused his drive to beat the true enemy, and attained a new level of power for Levin to command. No doubt Vesper would also be stronger the next time they fought, so it’d be Solair’s obligation to aim even higher from now on; there was still one more step towards enlightenment, and under the Sun’s watchful gaze, he was sure he’d attain it soon.

From the shadows, a black lion watched in silence with a faint smile. Ryker the Luxray, who lived away from the rest of the team, patrolled the forest grounds often – and despite his insistence otherwise, he grew to care about the Pokemon who ventured inside in their quest to become stronger for Levin’s sake. This time, his aid hadn’t been necessary, so he quietly returned to the darkness of the woods.
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