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Old 01-30-2018, 09:03 PM
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Default Heroes After All

This... This is a fic I've been meaning to write for far too long. In developing it there was a lot of blood and sweat and tears before I finally decided to stop making excuses and, as the meme goes, just do it.

Because from deep within the bottom of my heart this is a story very personally important to me.

(Banner by Sworn Metalhead)



Heroes After All

Prologue

This is one of the greatest love stories our world has ever known.

Now hold up there for a minute! I saw that look in your eyes. You think this is one of those over-lovey-dovey romance stories no one can stand. Open your mind a little! Love is a spectrum, one that kind of thing is a bastardization of an itty-bitty bit of! No, this is a different breed of love story than that. What kind of breed? The breed you'll have to sit and stay for me to tell you what properly!

As I'm doing so, you'll probably be a wise guy and mention you've seen this all before with a bunch of kids and a few adults and their Meowth and Pikachu getting roped into the mess. That'll give you some context at least, but even that tale told only part of one world's version of this story - and plot twist, this is another world's version, and I'm gonna be generous and tell you the whole damn thing. Some things will change, some things will stay the same, many things will go deeper into this whole tale than you've likely seen before, but I'm not telling which you'll get until I get to it.

Though, enough of that. Since the version you've likely seen before told you pretty quick how those kids and their Pikachu got into their world's version of this story, I'll be straight up telling how I got roped into mine's...


Chapter 1: Introductions

Somewhere in Johto, around 2005 After Skybreak (around 1000 years before the present)

Sticks. Rocks. Dirt. All of them battered and bruised the boy's body as he tried to shield himself from the blows.

Eventually he tried to run, but the other children just followed after, yelling "freak" all the while.

They managed to corner him, and their assault with words and objects only intensified. The boy cowered and curled up in a ball, just waiting for it to stop.

But the pain and fear caused a strange power to build in his lungs and throat, enough for a distinct blue-green glow to emanate from his mouth. The power intensified rapidly until it came out as an unnaturally powerful scream, a scream that knocked the other children back and echoed throughout the village.

The other children staggered to their feet.

"H-He really is a monster..."

"Let's get out of here!"

"We'll get you someday, freak!"

They all ran off, leaving the blue-haired, blue-eyed boy dressed in rags panting in exhaustion until he collapsed on his back.

He lay there a while, waiting for one of the village's adults to find him, when he heard a strange noise.

He weakly turned his head and saw a yellow Pokemon with small wings and a drill-like tail staring intently at him.

"H-Hello?" the boy said softly.

The Dunsparce hissed and used its tail to bury itself underground in reply.

The boy sighed and slowly started to get to his feet when he noticed a young woman approaching his location.

The woman was blonde with green eyes and was wearing strange clothing unfamiliar to the boy, a uniform with what seemed to be a two-part coat and a wide-brimmed hat with a spiky end and decorated with a symbol resembling three claw marks arranged in a triangular fashion. Upon further notice she also carried a staff of some sort in her left hand, both hands being gloved.

The boy backed away from her quickly.

"Y-you aren't from the village, miss..."

The woman blinked, then sighed and put a hand to her forehead.

"Kid, look, I'm not here to hurt you. Those other kids who were hurting you? A bunch of jerks. The kind of jerks who you shouldn't let boss you around."

The boy stood and stared at her before tilting his head.

"How do you know about the bullies?"

He yelped as the Dunsparce from earlier slithered up from behind him and up to rest at the woman's feet.

"My Dunsparce told me. Don't worry, she's friendly... If a bit odd."

The Dunsparce nodded in affirmation to both statements.

"She... did?" said the boy.

He looked up at the woman in wonder. "You can talk to Pokemon?"

~Yep. Like this.~

The boy jumped, looked at the woman in bewilderment, then looked around wildly. That was her voice, but her mouth hadn't moved at all, where-

~Kid, it's me. I'm talking to you with my head, it's called telepathy.~

The boy looked up at her again, eyes widening. "You.. You..."

The woman gave a small smile. "Kid, you aren't the only one out there with 'magic powers'."

The boy grinned, and bounced up and down excitedly. "You have powers like I do! And you're big and strong and that means I'm not a freak! Like, I can do the talaplethy thing too!"

He closed his eyes and scrunched his face in. ~Se... wh... mea...~

He stopped, opened his eyes, panted profusely, then looked up at the woman with a nervous chuckle and grin. "I-I'm still working on it, miss..."

The woman raised an eyebrow. "...I can tell."

The Dunsparce gave a "sparce" and a snicker-like hiss before the woman nudged her with her boot.

"But wait, you've got better powers than I do," said the boy, "and you've got that really nice outfit..."

His eyes lit up. "You're a wizard!"

The woman blinked. "I'm a what?"

She blinked and sighed with a hand to her head again as what the boy said more fully clicked. "Kid, no no no, not really, I'm an Aura Guardian. A group of people with powers like us. This outfit - the hat, the coat, the boots the staff the cape - that's our uniform.

She gestured to her "coat".

"...Well on my end, I had to convince them to make the cape an extension of my coat since it suited my fighting style better..."

"You fight evildoers?!" said the boy, jumping up and down in excitement.

"Wha-"

The woman shook her head. "When we need to yes, whenever they threaten the peace of civilians or those on the Auri-"

She threw her hands up in the air and groaned.

"Kid, I'd already been on patrol duty long enough both time and distance-wise before I found you. I can answer all your little questions later. Right now I've got a question for you - where the hell are your parents?"

The boy blinked, then shuffled a bit. "Me and my mom live further in the village. I used to have a dad but..."

He shook his head. "You can still see my mom, though! Follow me!"

He started running off. The woman headed after, her Dunsparce slithering and fluttering after.

------

A different woman with blue hair and blue eyes like the boy's was tending to her house when she heard a knocking at her door.

She opened it to see said boy and the blonde woman standing before her.

"Ma'am?" said the latter, clenching her right fist and crossing it over her chest. "Poly Pteryx of the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians. I'm here about your son's... condition."

The boy's mother gave a small gasp but moved to let Polly and her own son in, giving a small yelp as the Dunsparce slithered in after then rushing over to her son and fondling him.

"Dear, are you OK?! Did something happen?!"

"Yeah Mom, the bullies went after me again, but I scared them off and then this lady and her Dunsparce came to help!"

"Oh, ma'am, I can't thank you enough!"

Polly nodded. "You're welcome. But your son's power is still something to be discussed."

"...Go on?"

"Well, let him have a say first. Kid, how'd you scare those bullies off?"

The boy thought for a second. "Well, they were chasing me and throwing things at me and yelling mean names, but I got scared and something in my chest started moving and I screamed so loud it exploded and it scared them away!"

The boy's mother blinked. Polly nodded.

"That sounds about what my Dunsparce told me probably happened. She can pick up a lot by scent and vibrations."

Her Dunsparce gave a hiss and "Dun!" of gratitude.

Polly turned to the boy's mother. "Your boy has one hell of an Auric Scream."

His mother blinked. "Auric what?"

Polly sighed. "Your son has power over the force known as Aura that flows through every living thing. All Pokemon can tap into it to some extent, but only a rare few humans, like your son..."

She rolled up her sleeve to let a pink, scythelike blade of energy extend from a slit in the middle of her glove around her ulna.

"...And me."

The boy, enraptured, moved a bit closer to the blade. Polly quickly noticed and dissipated it.

"Careful, kid, that thing's sharp. I'm on the quadrant with powers closest to a Psychic-type Pokemon, that thing's basically my equivalent of a Psycho Cut."

The boy shifted again. "Sorry, ma'am..."

He immediately perked up. "Wait, what does that mean I have? Dragon type powers? Steel type powers?"

Polly frowned slightly. "Sorry kid, they sadly aren't quite that varied in us humans. Tell you what, if you want to find out, why don't you try making something with your powers like I did?"

The boy beamed, and cupped his hands, only to notice all three of his mother, Polly, and Polly's Dunsparce moving back noticeably.

"...Why are you all doing that?"

"I-It's so we have a good view, sweetie!" said his mother.

~Nice save,~ said Polly to her telepathically.

D-Don't get in my head like that!

~You're welcome.~

The boy concentrated, grit his teeth as a ball of blue-green energy formed between his hands and grew larger and larger until-

It exploded. The house rattled, the mother flinched and yelped as a pot fell off a table and shattered right next to her. The boy was blown back, knocked to the floor and lay there breathing heavily a while before muttering:

"...I'm OK..."

"Well," said Polly. "There we have it."

She turned to the boy's mother again.

"Your son has the most potential with the brand of Aura closest to that of Fighting types I've ever seen in someone his age; that would've been a damn good approximation of a Focus Blast if he'd managed to fully charge it."

She looked back to the boy and furrowed her brow.

"...The bad news is he also has the least refined powers of anyone on that part of the power spectrum I've ever seen."

The boy's mother blinked. "And that means...?"

"We can train him."

"...What?"

"The Aura Guardians seek to hone the potential of everyone with the power of the Wave to live their lives to the fullest. That includes your son."

"I..."

The boy's mother paused. "I... I'm not sure what to do... After we lost Issac..."

"Mom... I... I want to."

The boy's mother turned to see him getting to his feet.

"If they're gonna accept my powers... Make me stronger... I want them to help me.

His mother stared, then nodded and smiled.

Polly smiled as well. "Good; we'll get you up to the monastery in a few months."

Her brow furrowed again.

"Though... Geez, sorry it slipped my mind until now, but what's your name, kid?"

The boy smiled softly.

"It's Aaron!"

------------

The forest was dim at sunset; the Pidgey and Starly were retreating to their roosts as the Hoothoot and Murkrow were emerging from theirs. Amid it all, however, in a small clearing, one avian Pokemon stayed groundbound and vigilant - A Blaziken with an X-shaped scar on his forehead watching over a small, blue-and-black egg nestled in a shallow burrow.

The Blaziken raised his haunches as he sensed something approaching, but relaxed upon his sharp eyes seeing it was a familiar female Lucario and gave a beaky smile.

"...Hey honey. It's not your turn yet."

"I know, Ginji," said the female Lucario, "I just wanted to check in."

"Well, I think it's doing all right... I don't have Flame Body or Magma Armor or anything, but I'm keeping it warm."

He stood up and looked at her, rubbing the back of his head.

"Though, could you use those Aura powers of yours to check? Mine are only good for ol' punches and kicks and such..."

She nodded, her eyes closing and the feelers on the back of her head raising as she focused on the egg. She suddenly opened her eyes and gasped.

"It's close! Very close! It could hatch any-"

"Hey!" said a third voice, "Sis, you're supposed to be on hunting du-"

The source of the voice, a second, male Lucario, entered the clearing and sneered at Ginji.

"Why are you with him right now?"

She scowled back. "He's my mate. Our egg is about to hatch."

The male Lucario rolled his eyes. "Right. Tell that hybrid thing when it hatches it's no more a real part of our pack than his wingless chicken-eagle of a fa-"

He was cut off mid sentence by said chicken-eagle standing right in front of him, looming over him and giving his own scowl.

"Okay, listen, buddy," said Ginji. "You nepotist canines can literally dogshit on me anytime you want normally, but me and my mate are having an important moment here. So fuck off, unless you want all that Taurosshit about me being a threat to the pack to not be such Taurosshit for you specifically."

The second Lucario backed away, stooped with raised haunches, and gave a defiant snarl before dashing off.

"G-Ginji..." said the female. "He's going to tell the others about this..."

"Eh, they always come up with something, this makes zilch difference," he said. "Let's just focus on-"

Suddenly, they heard a loud cracking. The two rushed over just in time for the egg to fall apart and reveal a small, undeveloped and yipping Riolu pup, its eyes closed.

"They made it!" said the female Lucario. "We did it!"

"Heh, we did! Now let's check on the little fella more closely..."

He scooped up the yipping pup in his foretalons and held him up to inspect his hindquarters.

"It looks like a male. We might find out otherwise later, but for now he's our little boy."

The female Lucario smiled and looked up to Ginji. "Will he have a human name like yours?"

"I'm debating it. Might be a good idea, might not be."

The Riolu pup snuggled up to Ginji's chest as he gave another beaky smile.

"For now, I don't care what the rest of this pack says. This little guy's going places."

***

And there we have it, a story I am very glad to finally get out there. For now updates are gonna be... monthly to bimonthly-ish, alternating with Rude Awakening until that's completed, allowing me to devote to this story completely on the chapterfic front.

...

This feels so hecking good.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2018, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Heroes After All

Anyway here's Chapter 2! It's alas also a bit scrawnier than it could be because I had writers block trying to update Rude Awakening first and decided to get this out of the way, but I hope you enjoy what's there.


Chapter 2: Initiation


The cart rattled and shook, and Aaron braced himself. He took a deep breath, and looked around at the other children, about as nervous and confused as he was. He was about to ask where exactly they were going, but got the feeling from more than just his Aura senses that most of the others didn't know either. What he could tell was that many came from far from his home, and far from theirs as well.


And then the Rapidash pulling the cart finally stopped. The kids quickly but nervously filed out. Aaron was last, and gazed up at where they had arrived.


Before them was a huge stone monastery, built into the mountain. Its spires and columns loomed over Aaron and made him feel small - not that that was a foreign feeling. He cowered slightly as they were led inside, through winding hallways, and finally into a courtyard, where the woman who had recruited him stood. Once all the children had gathered there she paced stoically before them.


"Before you kids all crawl off to your barracks and attempt to get comfy," said Polly, "I've been put in charge of giving you a rundown of what you're here for, so sit your asses tight until I'm done!"


Aaron gulped.


"She said a bad word..." whispered one of the children.


"So," said Polly. "Can any of you brats tell me what Aura is?"


A child raised their hand. "It's a kind of life force, right?"


"Correct," said Polly. "All living beings have it in some form, and in particular in combination with other forces it's what gives Pokemon their powers! Their individual Auras express themselves in tandem with the Pokemon's biology to give them their typings and attacks."


She held up her palm and conjured a pink orb. "But sometimes, certain humans, like me and all of you, can tap into those same forces. The only known ways they crop up correspond loosely to the powers of certain Fighting, Ghost, Psychic, and Dark types. Now can anyone tell me what the terms for these powers in humans are?"


Another child raised their hand. "Aura, Psychokinesis, and the two kinds of Obscura, right?"


"Correct," said Polly. "Aura is just called Aura because among most people it's thought to be the only "real" kind of Auric power. Any actual Aura Guardian or even hedge Auric knows that's bullshit."


She sighed. "Of course, we're here to educate you. But that's not all we're doing."


She brandished her staff. "We're Aura Guardians, who use our powers to defend the weak and innocent! Granted, we can't really go it alone..."


She tapped the staff on the ground. A sphere of light emerged from the crystal at its tip, growing and stretching to congeal as a Metagross. The children gasped, murmuring among each oter as the Metagross looked them over.


"This is Metagross, one of my Pokemon partners. Your powers alone won't be able to get out of every scrape. For the rest, you have your Pokemon. And they're especially helpful early on because... Hmm, well, I'll need someone to demonstrate."


She suddenly pointed to Aaron. "You, kid! Come up here, will you?"


Aaron froze in place. All the other children locked eyes with him. Slowly, surely, he forced his legs upward and forward until he reached the front.


"Now hit me," said Polly.


Aaron blinked. "H-Hit you?"


"Yes, hit me. With your powers, preferably."


Aaron hesitated, then yelled and rushed Polly, hands glowing. Polly immediately sidestepped, knocked Aaron over with the butt of her staff, then pinned him to the ground telekinetically. The Metagross observed the prone Aaron, seemingly impassive as he gave short, shocked gasps of breath.


"And that is why you brats need training! This is why you need partners!" said Polly. "Sure you could make it on your own if you got lucky, but as you are?"


She jammed the butt of her staff onto Aaron's throat.


"You'd be dead the moment you cross any human or Pokemon enough, powers or no."


The children fell into stunned silence. Aaron didn't dare move. The Metagross kept watching.


"Anyway, that is your first lesson," said Polly, removing the staff from Aaron's throat. "Go find Vince and he'll show you to your dormorotories."


She walked off. The children silently shuffled away. Aaron remained where he was a long while before realizing his invisible restraints were gone and sitting up.


It was then he noticed the Metagross was still staring at him.


"Uh... Hi?"


He almost jumped to his feet upon hearing the voice of a reply in his head.


~Hey. Are you OK, kid?~


"Uh, y-yeah, I'm OK... Wait, you can talk? But you're a Pokemon!"


~All Pokemon can talk. Just only some of them in a way most humans can understand.~


"Woah, that's so cool!" said Aaron, eyes sparkling. He paused, then looked in the direction Polly went. "Why was Polly so mean to me? She was nice before..."


~Polly's like that. I've known her since she was a child.~


"Really? You gotta tell me more!"


~Not right now, kid,~ said Metagross, starting to trudge off. ~I have things to do.~


"Wait! But there's so much I wanna know!"


~Due time, rookie, due time.~


And Metagross walked away. Aaron paused, sighed, then scurried off after the others.


---------------


In the forest, the trees swayed, the branches shook. On a clearing the Riolu stood with his father.


"Alright, then!" said Ginji. "Today I'm going to teach you some important things, things the rest of the pack would rather I not."


The Riolu shuffled nervously. "What, Dad?"


Ginji made a dramatic flourish with his claws.


"About humans!"


Riolu blinked. "What are those?"


Ginji shrugged. "On the immediately visible end, not much. Weird two-legged apes that aren't even Pokemon and only rarely even know any attacks of like... Four types. Some more cynical Pokemon say Arceus messed up some perfectly good monkey mons."


Riolu tilted his head. "Then why do I have to learn about them, Dad?"


"Because despite all that, they're special! They create things and ideas it takes ages for most Pokemon to figure out! They're masters of tactical thinking! And most importantly of all we Pokemon made a special promise to them! One of friendship!"


"A... Promise?"


Ginji grabbed a stick and started drawing in the dirt. "Long ago, humans first came to this world, and they and Pokemon were divided. Then one day, in the Sinnoh region, there was a great meeting! One where humans and Pokemon came to terms, and decided to help and not hurt one another."


By now he had drawn a circle in the dirt.


"This agreement was known as The Vow; a promise to work toward humans and Pokemon being stronger together than apart."


He drew a line through the circle, then a smaller circle in the center.


"Wow..." said Riolu.


He then noticed the top half of the bigger circle was somehow red.


"...Dad? How did you get color with a stick?"


Ginji winked. "I learned it from my old Trainer."


"Trainer?"


"That's part of the Vow, son. Human Trainers use their quick wits to coach teams of Pokemon in sporting battles and other activities! It's really fun!"


"Wow!" said Riolu.


He frowned. "Why don't you have a Trainer anymore?"


Ginji looked at him for a minute, then sighed.


"The Vow's not perfect, son. My old Trainer, he... He died trying to protect me from another Pokemon."


"Oh..." said Riolu.


He paused, then cautiously went up and hugged his dad's leg. "I'm sorry, Dad..."


Ginji smiled. "Heh, thanks, son. Now come on, we've got to go do hunting and battle practice with your mom."


"Okay dad!"


And they headed off.


***

Well, that's that for now. I'll hopefully get a meatier update once I finally friggin update Rude Awakening. See you then!
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2018, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Heroes After All

And here's Chapter 3! Sorry it took a few months, haha, I needed to update Rude Awakening first. But anyway, here's a chapter where our protagonists discover they've got a long hill to climb:


Chapter 3: Freaks


As Aaron entered the barracks, he looked around to find the other kids bunched together, being directed by an Aura guardian with scruffy blonde hair and dark skin.


"Alright kids, single file line while I sort you into your dorms, and no funny business! I've got enough bullshit to deal with."


Aaron quickly complied, disappearing within the crowd.


The mass grew smaller and smaller as more and more kids were sorted. Finally it was Aaron's turn. The Aura Guardian - who Aaron assumed was Vince - looked him over oddly before thumbing to a nearby room.


"M8."


Aaron's eyes drifted over to a room labeled M8. Silently wondering why he didn't get one of the higher-up rooms, he quickly headed towards it.


Inside he found a pale. black-haired boy staring off into space and grumbling, a Scyther observing him.


"Hello?" said Aaron.


The boy looked over. "What do YOU want?" he said. The Scyther took notice and chittered, pacing the flat a scythe on his knee. The boy noticed and sighed. "Sorry..."


"It's... All right?" said Aaron. "Are we gonna live together now?"


"Yeah duh. We aren't the only ones though."


"Not the only ones...?"


"Boo!"


Aaron yelped and whipped around. Behind him was a girl with maroon hair and decently dark skin, in particularly ragged clothing. Her teeth seemed unusually sharp, and she was giving him a manic look.


"Ha! Got you good!"


She also had the strangest accent Aaron had ever heard. What could ever-


"In case you're wondering," said the boy. "Callie was raised by Necrozma cultists."


"For Necrozma!" Callie said in response. A small, gray and black salamander-like Pokemon skittered up her body to her shoulder and gave a hissy chuckle.


"Anyway," said the other boy, "I'm Louis. "The Scyther's Rook, the Salandit is Munchkin."


"I'm Aaron!" said Aaron. Nice to meet you all!"


"Just be glad you haven't met the other two residents of this dorm yet," said Louis.


"Other two?"


At that point there was a roar, and a girl with wild hair and broken glasses leaped at Aaron. Aaron yelped and leaped out of the way, and was faced with the girl and a Pawniard that was waving its blades wildly in no particular direction.


"You're in my territory," said the girl.


"Atta! Stabby! He's just the new kid!" said Louis.


Atta looked Aaron over and snarled. "You live."


Stabby moved his blades in an "I'm watching you" motion.


Aaron gulped.


"Anyway!" said Callie to Aaron. "Do you have a Pokemon?"


"Me?" said Aaron. "I don't... Always wanted one but could never make friends with one..."


"Mabye they just don't like your personality," said Louis.


"You're one to talk," said Atta.


"H-Hey!" said Louis. "I have Rook, don't I?"


The Scyther gave a buzzy sigh.


"Okay!" said Callie, pointing. "Your bunk is over there."


Aaron looked over to a ragged old bed, and lay down in it to get some rest, which translated to staring upward as his roommates bickered.


So much for making friends.


--------------


It was mealtime in what Aaron assumed to be a mess hall. Bored-looking Aura Guardians served food of varying quality to the hungry children and Pokemon, who quickly moved to their seats. Aaron moved to sit with his bunkmates and their Pokemon, only to see they were a ways off from the others.


"What's going on?" said Aaron, blinking.


"People don't like sitting next to us," said Louis, Rook chittering in confirmation.


"Except her!" said Callie.


"Her...?" said Aaron, looking over.


A black-haired girl approached the table, looking around nervously, before sitting down with the group. A Gligar followed shortly after.


"Hey guys..."


"Hi!" said Aaron.


The girl blinked. "You're new."


The Gligar snickered.


"I'm Aaron, and yep I'm new!"


"...I'm Eve. Guess I'm not the new kid at the freak table anymore."


"Huh? Why are we freaks?"


"It's a long story, but seems you've already been marked as one by association," said Louis. "Also what happened with you and Polly."


"Huh? I can't be a freak! I was always a freak at home! I came here to not be a freak!"


"Tough luck," said Atta.


"Kids are cruel," said Callie, shrugging as Munchkin snuck bits of food.


Aaron groaned, and the Gligar chuckled at him further."Cut it out, Iuroidea," said Eve to the Gligar. Iuroidea reluctantly stopped.


"Now what do I do?" said Aaron.


"Do what we do. Survive." said Louis.


"Or join Necrozma!" said Callie.


"You don't really need to convert every new person, Callie," said Eve.


Callie tilted her head. "I... Don't?"


"This is the tenth time I've told you this."


Callie just stared. Her eyes glazed over. A whip from Munchkin's tail snapped her back to reality. "Isn't this food great?" she said.


Aaron looked at his plate and then Callie's. His had decent-looking vegetables and potatoes, but hers... What even was that?


~Don't question it,~ said a voice in Aaron's head.


Aaron blinked, then looked over to Eve. She winked.


Right, Aaron thought. Everyone has powers here. I'm at least not alone in that sense. Though...


"Uh..." said Aaron. "Weird question, what powers do you guys have?"


In response, Louis held up a ball of orange Aura. Callie wove wisps of Spectral Obscura through her fingers. Atta snarled and conjured Dark Obscuric claws. Eve sent a telepathic message of ~You already know.~


"Right," said Aaron. My powers are more like Louis', here, watch..."


He started charging a ball of Aura between his palms. He focused on it, containing it.


Then the power suddenly swelled. The sphere swelled. Aaron couldn't contain it any longer.


BAM!


Aaron was knocked to the ground. His food was sent flying. Everyone stared.


Everyone then laughed.


"Well, if you weren't with us in the freak club before you certainly are now," said Louis.


Aaron just lay there panting.


--------------------


That night, Aaron lay in his bed, listening to the others in his bunk. Lewis muttered obscenities in his sleep. Callie muttered incantations to Necrozma. Atta simply snarled. Their Pokemon seemed to be the only ones who slept normally.


Aaron thought to himself. His first day here... Hadn't gone so well. Polly had humiliated him, her Metagross had refused to help, he was immediately lumped with the "freak" kids, and he humiliated himself again trying to bond with them. Was the entire time going to be like this?


No. He couldn't let that happen. He'd find a way to improve things. He just needed to figure out a way how.


~~~~


In the forest, light dappled in the trees as a Riolu approached a Lucario.


"Hey mom," said the Riolu.


"Hello, son," said the Lucario. "Today you're going to learn how to hunt."


Riolu rubbed his paws together awkwardly. "That means I have to... Kill, right?"


"Yes. It is what we must do to survive. However... Your Auric abilities will make it painful to bring harm to another without training. So getting practice in this early is essential."


Riolu nodded and looked around. "So... What do I have to do?"


"There is a Buneary denning further into these bushes. You must kill it and bring it back to me."


Riolu looked over hesitantly to the bushes in question and headed in.


------------


It was quiet except for the rustling leaves. Riolu could sense life with the feelers on the sides of his head, and it drew him further in. Eventually, he reached a burrow nestled in the fallen foliage, and he stood and waited.


Eventually a Buneary poked their head out, sniffing the air with their small, moist nose. They slowly, cautiously crept out and looked around.


That's when Riolu lunged with a Force Palm.


The Buneary gave a yell and tried to dodge, but the Force Palm managed to connect, causing them to fall over. Riolu recoiled from the empathic feedback, but pounced on the Buneary as they screamed, attempting to bite their throat. The Buneary suddenly gave a kick with their powerful legs and flipped the grappling Pokemon over so the Buneary was on top.


Instinctively, Riolu tried to kick the Buneary's side. Suddenly, Riolu's leg erupted into flame as he kicked the Buneary's torso with a sickening crack. The Buneary was sent flying with a pained scream before crashing, and trying to crawl and limp away. Riolu recovered from the empathetic shock and wondering what it was he'd even done before dashing over and giving a Force Palm straight to the Buneary's neck. He recoiled. The Buneary fell limp.


Riolu gasped and panted, clutching his body from the amount of feedback aches he felt. It was a while before he had recovered enough to slowly drag the Buneary out of the bushes.


---------------


Eventually Riolu managed to drag the dead Buneary out to his mother. She smiled.


"Good job! Excellent you got it on your first try."


"Thanks... Now what do I do with it?"


"Shouldn't it be obvious? You eat it."


Riolu stared down at the dead Buneary. Then at his mother. Then at the dead Buneary. Then at his mother. Then at the dead Buneary. Before finally digging in.


It was... Good. Better than the dry scraps he usually got, or even his mother's milk. He had blood all over his face but he was enjoying it.


His father approached. "Oh hey, I see you got one!"


"I did," said Riolu, looking up from his meal.

Seeing them both, he was reminded of something. "Mom, Dad? When I was kicking that Buneary to kill it, my leg caught on fire! But it didn't hurt at all! What does that mean?"


His mother's eyes widened. Ginji gave a beaky bird grin. "Well then! You learned one of my moves!"


"...I... Did?"


"Pokemon can learn moves passed down from their parents," said his mother. "Even if they're of different species."


"Yes! And you got my Blaze Kick!" said Ginji.


"...Huh, wow," said Riolu. "Guess I'll do it again sometime!"


He then resumed digging into the Buneary while his parents conversed.


"Should he use that move around the pack?" said his mother.


"He'll be alright." said Ginji. "If anyone gives him trouble they'll have to deal with me."


"You can't intimidate them forever."


"...I know. But I'll do whatever it takes to protect you both."


Eventually Riolu finished his meal and joined his parents, who headed back to the pack.


--------------


Riolu sat by himself, poking at rocks. It's usually what he had to do when his parents weren't immediately available - all the other Riolu avoided him for some reason. Every time he tried interacting with them they'd just move away or mutter something about their parents not letting them. Or both.


His ears perked up. Was that his mom?


He headed over, clambering over a few rocks and pushing through a few bushes to get there. When he found his mother, however, he saw she was facing another Lucario - an old, scarred individual most of the rest of the pack knew to stay away from.


"You! You've been a burden for as long as this pack's existed! You hunt less, you keep watch less, you train less!"


Hey! That wasn't true. Riolu checked, his mom did all those more than everyone else!


"And now you're cavorting with your birdbrain mate and your freak offspring!"


His dad wasn't a birdbrain. He wasn't a freak.


...Was he?


"Your overgrown pile of feathers you call a mate can't protect you two forever! Someday judgement's gonna come down! Hell, it may very well be from me! Ha!"


That does it.


Riolu's leg erupted into flame. He rushed forward and began kicking the old, scarred Lucario in the legs as he howled in agony. His mother quickly grabbed him and started running away as the old, scarred Lucario yelled after them clutching his leg.


"Freak! Freak! Freak!"


---------------


"And you what?" said Ginji, in a forest clearing with his family a bit later.


"I... I used your move... I just didn't want him to hurt you and mom..."


"That bag of bones? He's too old and lame to do anything but make threats. If I was aware he was harassing your mom I would have busted him in short order, so you should have gotten me."


"Dear," said Riolu's mom, "You really don't have to deal with every member of the pack who-"


"Yes I do!" said Ginji. "I care about you two! You're the only family I have after what happened to my Trainer!"


He paused, panted heavily. "I... I'm sorry, I got ahead of myself..."


"...Dad? Thank you."


"Thank you for everything Ginji."


Ginji paused. Then carefully pulled the other two into a hug.


------------


The old, scarred Lucario was limping back to the rest of the pack.


"Oh, just wait until the alphas hear about this!" he said. "That damn bird will be history!"


It was then he noticed a distinct glow in his Aura senses, but couldn't ascertain its exact location.

"Eh? Who's that?"


His Aura feelers flared as he tried to pinpoint the source.


It was then he realized the source was right on top of him.


Claws and teeth dug in, rending limbs in spurts of blood. Fire burnt into flesh, loosening it from bone.


The old Lucario screamed.


***

Gruesome.

Also! I should note here some of the fic's characters are inspired by those from the We Are All Pokemon Trainers community, and these characters have been loosely based on some of those from said community, with the gracious permission of their owners. While these characters themselves are mine they are still close enough to cameos I ought to credit the ones I based them on. In order of debut:

-Vince, based on Vierr by BittersweetNSour

-Louis and Rook, based on Lucius and Bishop by Herbert40k

-Atta, based on Jetta by Pres_Stalkeyes

-Eve and Irodea, based on Lillith and Sasorina by DarkerShining

Callie and Munchkin are also based on things but not from WAAPT. I presume people will kill me when they figure out who.
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2018, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Heroes After All

Forgot to add this last time but have a Ginji by DeliriousAbsol!


----------------------


Have a bonus chapter! This is a tie-in to the Missing Mod Madness event on the Serebii.net forums. It is, however, designed to be understandable to those outside said forums. It is also 100% canon. Seriously.


Bonus Chapter 1: Missing Polly Madness


Carol was having a good day.


The Psychic Aura Guardian was carrying some books, getting ready to teacjh her students about Pokemon and Aura matchups, and had several things in mind. Grass vs. Poison, Ice vs. Flying, and oh, her favorite, Psychic vs. Fighting... She needed to show her friend Polly!


She looked around. Wait, where was Polly?


She put down her books and got to searching. She looked in empty domrorotories, in the cafeteria, in the library... Nothing. No sign of her.


This was bad. She needed to find someone.


Quickly she located Vince, who had just finished sorting some kids into their dorms. ~Vince?~ she said telepathically, ~Have you seen Polly?~


"Last I heard she was giving these brats their initiation," said Vince. "Why?"


~Well she's not anywhere now. I checked.~


Vince shrugged. "Check more?"


~Vince you terrible wizard I already did,.~


Vince winced at the "terrible wizard" moniker. "Are you ever going to let me live that down?"


~No.~


Vince sighed. "Fine, I'll help you look."


Carol dragged Vince everywhere around the massive monastery, and they checked and double-checked everything. Still nothing.


"This is bad," said Vince.


~Indubitably so.~, said Carol.


"We need backups."


From their staffs they summoned a Honchkrow and Gothitelle.


"Henry!" said Vince. "Scan the area from the air!"


~Lovegood!~ said Carol. ~Scan the area psychically!~


Lovegood the Gothitelle nodded. Henry the Honchkrow gave a shrill cackle. The two Pokemon searched the area around the monastery much as their Trainers did. Still, they returned to said Trainers empty-handed.


"Ah fuck," said Vince.


~Language,~ said Carol.


"Look, that's not the point," said Vince. "Maybe Ryan knows where she went to."


Carol thought to herself a bit. Ryan was the leader of the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians. If anyone knew where Polly was, it would be him.


~Yeah, we should ask him.~


They made their way to Ryan's quarters. Ryan, a dark-skinned man with short, curly hair, sat writing notes on some document while his loyal Swampert slept nearby. Upon the arrival of Vince and Carol, the Swampert yawned and stretched while Ryan looked up and raised an eyebrow.


Dragon Pulse"Let me guess, need something?" said Ryan. "That's about all anyone talks to me for these days."


"Er, yes, actually." said Vince. "You see-"


~Polly's missing,~ said Carol.


"...Polly? She was always a free spirit but I wouldn't expect her to disappear so suddenly," said Ryan. "Something's up."


"That's what we're saying!" said Vince, before Carol nudged him.


"We need to work together. You two and your Pokemon come with me."


The group left the monastery side-by-side, heading into the mountain forests as Lovegood and Ryan scanned the area with their Psychic and Auric senses. Henry needled Ryan's Swampert with taunting jeers, which the Swampert ignored.


Suddenly, the group leaders stopped.


~I sense something big up ahead,~ said Lovegood telepathically.


"So do I." said Ryan. Prepare yoursel-"


the A Dragon Pulse was shot in Ryan's direction. Ryan quickly used Detect to get out of the way, and the group turned toward the source.


A glowing blue and white webbed portal lay before them, and emerging from the portal was a purple, almost insectoid dragon. The dragon gave a literally unearthly screech and charged.


Immediately Lovegood threw up a Protect. Henry dived in for a Night Slash as Vince conjured his own Night Slash blades. Carol hit the dragon's brain with a psychic assault while Ryan's Swampert and Ryan himself both hit it with Brick Breaks.


The dragon was pummeled by the group assault and let out another screech. Through the portal came several smaller purple creatures with spouts on their heads, and all sprayed toxic sludge in the direction of the Aura Guardians.


Vince cut through the incoming sludge with his blades, while Carol and Lovegood deflected it with psychic power. Ryan, his Swampert, and Henry weren't so lucky,being doused in sticky fluid.


"This is going to be a pain to clean off," said Ryan, who quickly fired an Aura Sphere at the flock of small purple creatures. His Swampert roared and tackled the dragon, the two wrestling as Henry divebombed the smaller purple creatures.


Suddenly another portal opened and from it emerged Polly and her Metagross and Dunsparce. Metagross immediately blasted the dragon and its companion creatures with a Psychic while Dunsparce fired Thunderwaves and Polly herself fired small projectile Psyshocks.


The dragon screeched and finally gave in, diving back into the portal from whence it came, the smaller purple creatures following. The portal closed after them.


"You all alright?" said Polly.


"More or less," said Vince. "What happened to you?"


"Got drafted into solving some weird crisis in another world. Stuff about living stories and people called "mods.""


~It's a long story we'll have to explain when we get back,~ said Metagross.


Dunsparce gave a hiss and a nod.


~Other worlds?~ said Carol. ~Do those even exist?~


"They do," said Ryan. "I suspect Polly leaving our world temporarily weakened the boundaries between worlds long enough for those creatures to break through."


~Well at least we scared them off,~ said Lovegood.


"Anyway," said Vince. "Now that that's over can we just go back to the monastery and hear Polly's side of the story?"


"I'm happy to tell it," said Polly.


~Okay! Afterwards we can talk lesson plans!~ said Carol.


"Let's go home," said Ryan. "We could all use a break."


The Aura Guardians and their Pokemon all headed off.


Shortly after they left a purple creature popped its head out of the bushes and proceeded to follow their trail.


***

Carol and Lovegood based on Psyche and Selene by ConflictedPsyches


Ryan and his Swampert based on Tagg and Muddy by rmctagg09
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2018, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Heroes After All

Some old art I haven't shared in this thread yet:

Our protagonists by autobottesla, ordered by Spiteful Murkrow (I imagine Aaron doesn't have the cape yet but everything else is 100% accurate and 200% adorable)

Polly and co. by the same artist except ordered by me

and Polly and her Dunsparce by our very own Dragonfree!

Well! Here's Chapter 4! In which we get to some worldbuilding on the Aaron end and peril on the Riolu end!

Chapter 4: All In The Type


It was time for the first day of training.


Aaron kept staring at the training dummy. It seemed to stare back. He looked around at the other kids and their Pokemon preparing. He was alone. He looked back at the training dummy and his hands glowed with Auric power. He yelled, rushed at the training dummy... and tripped, falling flat on his back.


"...Good grief," he said.


He hesitantly got back up and rushed the dummy again. This attempt was more successful, doing decent damage to the dummy. Smiling, he looked around for his companions. Louis and Rook were slicing up a dummy, Callie and Munchkin were pelting one with Obscura bolts and fire, Atta and Stabby were gnawing and stabbing at one, and Eve... Weird. She was lying on the ground clutching her head, with Iuroidea tending to her. Did she trip too? Maybe-


It was then Aaron noticed a shadow looming overhead. With dread he looked up. There was a blonde boy with spiky hair standing on the head of a massive Onix above him, crossing his arms and giving a not exactly friendly smug smile down.


"You! You're the new freak kid, right?" he said.


"Uh... No?"


"Bah! You think you can fool the mighty Gabriel? I'll show you!" He snapped his fingers. An explosion of Ghostly Obscura happened at Aaron's feet, knocking him back as he yelped. "Ha! Too easy," said Gabriel. "Let's try some more." A strange construct that seemed to resemble a Shadow Ball but spear-shaped appeared by his shoulder and fired down at Aaron, with Aaron yelping and rolling over to avoid it. "You're a fun one. Most people just run away and I have to bother chasing them. Not that that isn't funny either."


His Onix gave a strange whimper.


"Easy, Patricia, we're almost done with this one," said Gabriel. "Lean down a little will you girl?"


Patricia slowly moved her head down to ground level so Gabriel could get off, upon which he picked up Aaron by the scruff of his neck and held up his other hand, crackling with Ghost Obscura explosions, in Aaron's face. "You're just like the rest of them. Worthless. If you think you came here to have a good time, I'm here to teach you otherwise. Not any kid on the Auric Spectrum can be an Aura Guardian, and I'm gonna weed out the ones who can't. Like you."


He dropped Aaron and stormed off, Patricia looking at Aaron oddly for a few moments before following after. Aaron was hyperventilating on the ground until he saw Callie and Munchkin peering down at him.


"You okay?" said Callie. Or at least Aaron thought she said that, her accent was still always odd and unplaceable.


"No."


"Good! The Necrozmaists say adversity builds character!"


She helped him up. "But yeah, Gabriel is mean. He makes Spectral Obscurics look bad!" Munchkin hissed in agreement.


"What's wrong with him anyway?" said Aaron.


"Apparently he was from a rich family and got protected from how people usually treat Obscurics. And his powers are really strong! So he thinks he's better than everyone else!" said Callie. "I'd like to each him the might of Necrozma!"


"Let's just try to avoid him for now..." said Aaron.


"Aww, okay," said Callie. "Come on, Ms. Carol is gonna teach us about type matchups! Maybe Munchkin can show off!"


Munchkin gave an excited hiss, and they all headed off.


----------------


The Aura Guardian trainees and their Pokemon gathered around a young adult woman Aura Guardian with a dark uniform, long wavy red hair, and green eyes. She surveyed the group until all had settled and then spoke up... telepathically.


~Alright kids! Carol here, and I'm going to teach you how to deal with type matchups! Who here has a Pokemon partner?~


Everyone but Aaron gestured to their partner or held them up. Aaron fidgeted nervously before addressing Louis.


"Why does she only talk like that?"



"She's mute," Louis said, whispering. "Can't speak with her mouth. Can't hear that well either. Something about an incident with a Pangoro. Don't know the rest, don't really care."


Aaron nodded before his gaze shifted back to Carol.


~Okay then!~ said Carol. ~Now, as you may know, Pokemon have different attributes called Types. These affect the sorts of Aura Spectrum powers Pokemon can produce - way more of them and with way more power than humans on the Auric Spectrum! This is helped by the fact that Pokemon produce an additional energy called Infinity Energy to power up their Auras, which can only be sensed in trace amounts in humans. Pokemon types are strong and weak against other types, depending on the type and type combination, and to demonstrate that...~


She paused, holding stock-still. There was a roar, and a Salamence descended from the air and approached Polly.


~Good girl,~ said Carol exclusively to the Salamence, scratching the dragon's cheek as she purred. ~Can you give these kids a scare again?~


The Salamence winked and gave a quiet "Sal!"


~Alright,~ said Carol. ~Now I need, hmmm...~ She combed her finger through the audience until she reached a boy and his Cleffa. ~You! Bring me your Pokemon.~


The boy's eyes widened in shock. He looked around. Then, very hesitantly, he passed the squealing Cleffa to Carol. Carol placed the Cleffa down across from the Salamence, ignoring his "Clefs!" of protest. She quickly backed away.


~Becky! Use Outrage!~


Becky the Salamence roared as her entire body glowed green with dragonfire and she charged the Cleffa. The Cleffa covered his eyes and braced himself for impact. The dragon pummeled the Cleffa with claws and bites and headbutts. When the dragonfire died down and the dust cleared... nothing. The Cleffa was totally unscathed. He uncovered its eyes, looked up, gave a "clef!" of surprise at Becky still being there, and ran back to his Trainer, who hugged him.


~As you can see,~ said Carol, ~Type matchups - as well as things like Trainer and Pokemon creativeness and cleverness - are what really makes a battle. Not Pokemon strength.~


The gaggle of Trainees and their Pokemon started a bit before nodding. Carol smiled.

~But!~ said Carol. ~You will learn more in subsequent lessons! For now, you've got a history lesson with Polly! Now shoo, shoo!~


She and Becky, along with a Gothitelle she summoned from her staff, herded the kids toward the mountain.


----------------


Eventually the group of children were directed to Polly, alongside her Dunsparce and Metagross. Polly looked them over, then looked at Carol and her Pokemon. "You're good to go."


~Thanks!~ said Carol, and she, Becky, and her Gothitelle Lovegood exited.


"Alright," said Polly. "Time to teach you new kids some stuff about this place. Kids who have heard it before, don't try to sum it up please."


A few hands lowered.


Polly started leading the kids up the mountain, going on some winding pathways with tall trees and various signs of wild Pokemon. Eventually, the group came across a cliff overlooking something Aaron couldn't make out at first. When he got there, however, he stared in awe.


In the distance stood a mountain unlike anything Aaron had ever seen. It was massive, and shaped like a tree, clouds swirling around it. Aaron could barely make out glittering green crystals decorating the mountain's rocks.


"Say hello to the Tree Of Beginning," said Polly.

"Why is it like that?" asked Aaron.


"Long ago, the people and Pokemon of Kanto and Johto suffered a great famine. They begged the gods for help, and their calls were heeded by a Legendary from another land, who created the Tree to ward off famine and pestilence. Its crystals absorb energy from sunlight, and its roots as a result fertilize Kanto, Johto, and beyond. The ecosystem around here depends on it."


"Wow..." said Aaron. Some of the other kids oohed and aahed as well.


"But don't dare venture inward; there are monsters inside the tree, and you know what they do to any human that visits?"


"...What?"


Polly suddenly got in Aaron's face with a wicked grin. "They eat them!"


Aaron screamed. And screamed, and screamed, and screamed for an unusually long time until Polly said "Kid, relax, relax, they're not going to get you."


"...Okay," said Aaron. The other kids giggled.


~Told you you shouldn't have done that~ said Metagross. ~Even if it was funny.~


Dunsparce snickered.


Polly sighed. "Anyway, the other hazard of the Tree is the Mew that lives there. The Tree can't sustain itself, so the Legendary created a lesser Legendary, a Mew, to keep it in balance. But the Mew is... Mischievous. It's known to cause a ruckus and spirit objects and even Pokemon away to the Tree."


~Legendaries in general aren't to be trusted.~


Dunsparce gave a hissy, irritated "sparce".


~For your information I do not mention that every time Legendaries come up, thank you very much.~


Polly sighed again and gestured with her staff to the region beyond the Tree. "Beyond the tree is the kingdom of Rota. It was founded by refugees from the great war in Kalos about 2000 years ago, or 0 Skybreak. Since then they've grown to thrive, and are a valuable ally to us Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians. Any questions?'


The children were silent. Aaron tried to think of something to say, but couldn't just yet.


"Alright, back to the monastery, so you kids all can have lunch."


She and her Pokemon headed down the mountain, the children and their Pokemon heading after. Aaron followed along quietly for a while, then noticed another kid didn't have a Pokemon partner either. Aaron moved closer to him and noticed he not only had pink hair but pink clothes as well.

"Excuse me-"


The other child turned his head toward Aaron, holding a finger to his lips and winking. Aaron blinked. A Pokemon made a noise in the forest, causing Aaron's attention to turn to it briefly; when he turned back the other child was gone.


----------------------


"How long has it been stalking us?"


"Days, now. Ever since it first killed one of our own, possibly further."


"It seems to have acquired a taste for our kind's flesh..."


"What do we do, Grandfather Alpha?"


"Give me a moment to think..."


Riolu was listening in to all of this from behind a nearby boulder. There was a predator stalking the Lucario pack and he wanted to know more about it. He also wanted to do something about it but he also knew he wasn't strong enough... Maybe if he could-


"I sense an aura!"


"Behind that boulder!"


Oh no. Quickly he tried to get out of there, only to be grabbed by a Lucario and held aloft.


"Okay, whose pup is this?"


"...That would be ours."


Riolu awkwardly gestured to his parents. His mother sighed while Ginji shook his head.


"How much do you know, kid?"


"There's a predator killing pack members... we need to stop it..."


"Let him go," said Grandfather Alpha. "There is no harm in him knowing the truth; we were going to tell the other pups eventually."


The Lucario placed Riolu down, and he shook himself off. Grandfather Alpha sighed. "Now where were we?"


"The predator?" said a Lucario.


"Right. By the time anyone sees or Aura Senses it it's too late, but scorch marks on the remains it leaves behind indicate it's a Fire type. Therefore..."


He pointed toward Ginji. "You're probably our best bet for taking it down."

Ginji pointed to himself. "Me? And I thought you all didn't want me doing anything important."


"Those are the ignorant words of my children and their mates. This pack is family. No matter what."


Rilou's mother beamed.The other Lucario mumbled amongst themselves.


"You shall lead a team to take this predator down for the sake of our pack," said Grandfather Alpha. "I wish you luck."


"Don't worry, that predator's as good as gone."


Riolu looked between his father, mother, and Grandfather Alpha and then the other packmates, the latter of which were still grumbling among themselves, with concern.


----------------


That night, in a small cavern, Riolu was nestled up with his mother while Ginji was keeping watch. Riolu slowly got up and approached his father.


"Dad?"


"Yes, son?"


"Are you gonna be OK?"


"Well, I never know for sure. What exactly do you mean?"


"With this predator. Do you really think you can take it on?"


"Oh, that thing? Sure I can! It's just another Pokemon, and we Pokemon have strengths, weaknesses, all that that can be advantages and disadvantages. If you know how to use those, you're golden." He paused. "At least, that's what my old Trainer always taught me."


"Did you trust your old Trainer?"


"...Yes. While he was alive, more than anyone in the world."


"That's a lot."


"Yes. Yes it is."


"I trust you, Dad."


Ginji gave a bird smile. "Thanks, so-"


A yell echoed. Ginji stood at attention. Riolu's mother bolted upright.


"Riolu! Stay here!" said his mother.


"We'll take care of this!" said Ginji.


They bolted off.


Riolu, naturally, waited a bit before following.


---------------------------


He came across his parents in a battle for their lives. Nearby was a cowering Lucario. Before them was a large reptilian Pokemon, orange scales, large wings, and flaming tail illuminated by the moonlight. The Pokemon breathed jets of flame at Riolu's parents, Ginji zipping out of the way keeping him distracted with Speed Boosts, and his mother lobbing Aura Spheres at his head.


The predator roared and rushed the two. Riolu's mother lept aside while Ginji vaulted and delivered a kick to the predator's face. The predator roared in pain, and deciding his quarry wasn't worth the pursuit anymore, flew off into the night. The young Lucario the couple had saved ran back off into the night.


"Do you know what that is?" said Riolu's mother.


"Shit. It's a Charizard." said Ginji. "Powerful critters. Think they're apex predators of wherever they claim territory of. Suspect he's as much showing the pack who's boss as he is claiming meals."


"Do we tell the Alpha?" said Riolu's mother.


"Certainly." said Ginji.


They ran off into the night as well. Riolu quickly headed back to the cave, where the rest of the pack would be nearby.


This "Charizard..." could his dad really handle it?


***
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2018, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Heroes After All

And here's Chapter 5! Do note this chapter is... kind of dark, and deals with subjects like vomiting, eye mutilation, and suicide, as well as general blood and death.


Chapter 5: Don't Fear The Reaper


Aaron waited for the ball. And waited, and waited. The other kids and their Pokemon seemed intent to keep it away from him, the "freak" kids, and their Pokemon, but he certainly tried to get it. Finally, it sailed his way, and he reached, stretched, grabbed -


And it sailed down the mountain, bouncing down a gentle slope until it was out of sight amid the trees. Aaron started. Then looked at the other kids, who were staring at him. One piped up.


"You go get it!"


Aaron looked to the other "freak" kids and their Pokemon, who shrugged or did the Pokemon equivalent. Aaron groaned and started making his way down.


The bushes and shrubs seemed to claw at his face. He heard wild bird Pokemon squawk and fly away at his approach. Finally he found the ball and reached down for it.


It was then he noticed the ball had landed next to the disfigured corpses of an Aura Guardian and his Sawsbuck. The corpses had suffered various forms of abuse - fire, crushing, acid - and seemed relatively fresh. A Murkrow was in the process of plucking an eye from the Aura Guardian's skull and promptly swallowed it before eyeing Aaron warily.


Aaron stared in horror before vomiting the contents of his lunch earlier that day, forming a puddle next to the bodies, and after regaining his bearings slightly grabbing the ball and racing back to the monastery. As soon as he got back he haphazardly tossed the ball back to the other children - much to their confusion- before going to find Polly. Polly was reading on a bench in the monastery when Aaron found her. "Kid, what's up?" she said. "Why are you out of breath?"


"Dead Aura Guardian... In the woods... His Pokemon too..."


Polly's look grew grave. "Show me."


Aaron took Polly out to the woods, down the slope and through the trees, until they reached the dead bodies. Polly looked at them in shock. "Dale... No..." She looked around. "No sign of Melissa but we'd have to search... Kid? You're going back to the monastery."


Aaron nodded and headed back once again, but the image of Dale and his Sawsbuck's dead bodies were thoroughly burnt into his mind.


---------------


Polly now had two other Aura Guardians gathered with her around the corpses with their Pokemon: Vince, a Dark Obscuric, with his Honchkrow Henry, and Ryan, leader of the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians, with his Swampert. Polly's Metagross was there too, analytically scanning the bodies. Henry tried to peck at Dale's Sawsbuck's remains when Vince gave him a stern look and he backed off with a disappointed coo.


"Did Aaron see any sign of who did this?" said Ryan.


"Not at all," said Polly. "Kid just stumbled upon them playing ball."


"Can you track them, Ryan, Metagross?" said Vince.


"I would," said Ryan, "But someone's been good about covering their tracks."


~It's likely they teleported out somehow,~ said Metagross.


"And Melissa and her Luxray are missing too..." said Polly.


~No sign of them either,~ said Metagross. Ryan's Swampert shifted uneasily.


"Shit," said Vince. "This isn't good. At all. Someone's after us and we don't know who."


"We need to fortify our defenses in case whoever did this strikes again," said Ryan. And we're going to have to investigate this event as much as we can." He turned to Polly and Vince. "We three will head the investigation team. I will ask Nightjar for help as well."


"I'll ask Carol and Hannah then," said Polly.


Vince groaned. "Hannah? Really?"


Polly frowned. "She's perfectly qualified for this," said Polly. "Plus she's our friend."


"You and Carol's friend, maybe," said Vince. "She's too bubbly and picks on me and gets on my nerves."


"Be mature, Vince," said Ryan. "I trust Polly's judgement and so should you."


"Alright, fine," said Vince.


Henry snickered. So did Ryan's Swampert. Even Metagross joined in. Vince gave them all harsh looks.


It was then, however, that Metagross turned to the others. ~There is one thing I sensed I should note.~


"What is it?" said Polly.


~One of the murderers had powers like your own.~


---------


Aaron had spent all day thinking about the bodies and being pestered by the other about the interruption of the ball game and subsequent involvement of Polly and further subsequent security lockdown of the monastery for several hours. He wanted to sleep. He ignored the noises made by his bunkmates as he climbed into bed.


Was he gonna be okay? His mother said Dialga would always protect him, and he believed that with all his heart. But his father had believed the same thing and... and...


He tried to push the memories out of his mind and as always they came back stronger and stronger until exhaustion claimed him.


---------


Aaron woke up in a place that was definitely not his room. He looked around to find himself in a red cavern of sorts, with black veins crisscrossing it. He immediately froze when he saw what was perched at the end of the cavern.


There before him, with massive wings, crooked talons, and sharp beak, was her. The dread Yveltal, death and destruction goddess of Kalos.


~Well,~ she said. ~Isn't this a wonderful first meeting?~


She can talk like Metagross does? thought Aaron. Probably because she's a goddess...


~You are correct,~ said Yveltal.


Aaron gulped. "I-I guess you can hear me no matter what..."


~Also correct!~


"What are you here for?"


~To warn you my dear...~ She leaned in close - uncomfortably close - and gave a beaky grin. ~You know full well your first encounter with death wasn't with the corpses in the woods. And those will be far from your last encounters either.~


"I... I..."


~You have a long road ahead of you, Aaron. Just remember - Death is inescapable. Even if it doesn't find you... You'll just find it.~


She suddenly lunged, talons bared. Aaron screamed and tried to shield himself with his arms.


-----


He woke up in a cold sweat, not bolting upright but panting, feeling paralyzed. Eventually the numbness wore off and he sat up, staring off into space, before collapsing again and waiting for dawn to come.


-----------


The next morning, Aaron was sitting by himself, exhausted, despite the insistence rom the other members of his group to join them.


"Are you sure you don't wanna have breakfast?" said Callie.


"We know you like grits," said Eve.


"I'm... Fine," said Aaron.


"Whatever then," said Louis.


"Let's just go," said Atta.


The four left, their Pokemon looking back and chittering amongst themselves with concern. Aaron just kind of stared after until he heard a telepathic voice in his head.


~You okay kid?~


Aaron jumped before realizing that the voice was not Yveltal's but that of Polly's Metagross next to him. ~Polly wanted me to check up on you after yesterday and, well, I always feel sorry for you humans easily.~


"Er yes, I'm totally, absolutely... Not okay. I had a nightmare last night."


~After seeing what you did I don't blame you. That said you probably should eat. Not eating's hell on the anxiety, I should know after knowing Polly all her life.~ He paused. ~Don't tell her I said that.~


Despite himself Aaron managed a snicker. "I won't!"


~Good. Now come on, let's go eat with your friends. I can definitely convince them to give you food if they say you're late.~


Aaron smiled. "Thanks."


He followed Metagross out.


---------


The small purple creature watched the small biped and large quadruped head off from their hiding place. It couldn't understand the words of the creatures of this dimension, though was starting to pick up a few. What they did know was that the place the two were going had food.


Stealthily, the purple creature floated after them. It floated through a gap in a window and looked around a small room. Suddenly, a noise. The purple creature hid as a biped entered the room, looked around, picked something up, and left. In its wake the creature noticed it had dislodged a small, green and red sphere from a nearby box. They inspected it, then tasted it. It was edible, success. The purple creature nibbled happily on their newfound prize.


-----------


Riolu eyed his dad oddly. Ginji was kicking and clawing at a tree, in training. Finally Riolu spoke up. "Dad?"


Ginji turned to Riolu. "Yes son?"


"That Charizard. Are you sure you and your team can fight it?"


Ginji sighed. "Well, I'm not sure I have the best dynamic with the rest of the team, but yes, I think we can."


"Okay dad. You're going to fight it soon?"


"I was just about to go meet up with the others, yes."


"...Good luck, dad."


Ginji gave a beaky smile. "...Thanks son."


And he left.


---------------


A number of Lucario were now gathered around Ginji.


"What's the plan, birdbrain?" said one.


"We're going to corner the thing in its den," said Ginji, "and I'll be at the center holding it off while we all take it down."


"What if it goes after us?" said another Lucario. "With those fire attacks we're toast! Literally!"


"My job is to make sure that doesn't happen," said Ginji. "Now come on."


The group stalked off into the forest, Ginji keeping his sharp eyes peeled while the Lucario had their Aura feelers flared. Eventually, the group reached what appeared to be a den. They stood stock still and silent while Ginji scanned it.


"Okay," he said, whispering. "We're going to quietly go in there and-"


"Look out!" shouted a Lucario.


Ginji looked over just in time to see the Charizard ram into him from the side rather than from the entrance to the den. The Charizard attempted to bite down on Ginji with a Crunch and managed to injure his shoulder, but not before Ginji could sock him in the jaw with an Aura-infused punch. The Charizard was further annoyed by being pelted with Aura Spheres from the assorted Lucario, before flying upward and launching a Heat Wave, which caused the Lucario to quickly fall back. Ginji wasn't so phased and hurled a rock at the Charizard, hitting him badly and causing him to swoop out of view.


"Yeah, that's right, run away, you overgrown reptil- urk!"


A wicked sharp blade of air left a massive, bleeding gash across Ginji's chest. As he fell over, bleeding out, the Charizard lunged at the Lucario group, as they attempted to dart out of the way. One took advantage of the chaos to hurl another rock at the Charizard's wing with a sickening crack, causing him to roar in pain and trample off for real this time. The Lucario then turned to the badly bleeding Ginji.


"Oh no... What the hell do we do?"


"Do we just... Leave him?"


"Father Alpha would be furious... We bring him back. See if he can be saved..."


They picked up the still-bleeding Ginji and hauled him, dripping with blood the whole way, back to the pack. Riolu and his mother noticed their return and gasped in horror.


"G-Ginji!"


"Dad!"


They rushed over to his side, Ginji looking at them weakly.


"Honey... Son... it'll be alright..."


Tears fell down Lucario's mother's face. "Ginji, no..."


"D-Dad?" said Riolu. "Are you..."


Ginji placed a talon on Riolu's paw. "Son... You're gonna do big things beyond this pack... I just know it.... Do... Me... Proud..."


"D-dad..."


Ginji said no more. He fell limp.


----------------


It had been several days since Ginji's death. As was customary with pack deaths he had been left in a quiet spot in the forest for nature to do the rest, but the impact of his death more than lingered. There was some sympathy, but also vague implications of "good riddance" and "mabye this pack can go back to normal" and it upset Riolu's mother to no end. She couldn't even take care of her child anymore. Riolu would barely look at her anyway.


Various thoughts weighed on her. That she was a stain, failure, burden, pest. They weighed on her constantly and never stopped no matter how hard she tried.


Finally she had enough.


It was night. It was dark. She walked far and out until she reached the tallest cliff on the mountain.


And jumped.


------------


The murmurs grew stronger now. First Ginji died, and now his mate, a true pack member, was found dead soon after. Some reconsidered their positions. Others blamed Ginji for causing this. But none were more affected more than Riolu.


Both his parents... Gone. He was devastated, unsure how to survive. He knew Great-Grandfather Alpha would care for him, but the rest of the pack could not be trusted.


Then he thought of his father's last words. That he'd find hope outside of his pack. Could he really...?


He looked around. Only him in his parents' old den. He got up, exited, made good effort to stay away from the rest of the pack, and set off. To where, he had no idea, but he hoped to the Legendaries it'd be better than what he left behind.


***

...Yeah. I am really worried about how people will view the suicide scene - I based it off my own episodes of suicidal feelings and ideations, but it might still be off. Constructive feedback appreciated.
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