Interlude 1 Part 5: The journey starts
A great void was the only thing he could see. What was left of his sensation of safety was gone when his uncle, the last piece of his real family, died a few days ago. Now he stood alone, in front of a table inside of the “El Rio del Conocimiento”, one of the main libraries in Hinolia and the only place he called home. Between his claws, he was holding a wagon toy, his treasure.
No one could describe the desperation when the masked Silvally or ‘Silvally enmascarado’, a connotation used for the Type: Nulls in the province, went to wake up his uncle and he didn’t in all the time he tried. He ran, pleading for help to anyone. He tried to convince himself that it was all a bad dream, but everything was so real to just ignore it. In that moment he fell into depression, adding a bigger barrier than the ones he already had in his mind.
Now he was waiting for someone to pick him up. And that someone was Alex’s sister, Almira. She didn’t take long to arrive. He saw her with a weird face. For a moment he thought she wasn’t her, because she didn’t remember her as a Zoroark, even if she was wearing almost the same clothes, but her voice was all that he needed.
“Hola, Lucas” She greeted in a caring tone. “¿Cómo estamos?”
He only nodded to say he was “right”. Almira approached to him and saw what he was holding. She sighed and placed a paw on his shoulder, looking to his light blue eyes. She wasn’t sure how to help him. Unlike other Silvallies of his same age, he was still playing with toys like a child.
To add more complexity, he had better relationships with adults and kids than the others of his age; he had trouble expressing what he was thinking or feeling in words; and thanks for some bullies far away from Hinolia, the common tongue was considered by him as the language of the bad guys; which means that most of the people who didn’t talk hinolish were evil Pokémon, no matter where they were born, what they were, or how they behave.
And that was something Almira was really worried, if to all of that it was added his loss. She was studying medicine, not psychology, but there were some hints that helped her to identify which was his mental condition, and as far as she could hypothesize, he born with it and there was little anyone could do. As for his point of view of the people, it was developed by external factors; so there was something that could be treated, but she didn’t know to what extent.
In that moment she was missing her brother, Zack and Amanda, who were the only ones Lucas befriended with most and acted more natural. Without them close, she was clueless how to help him. But also she was relieved that Alex wasn’t there. The death of Lucas’s uncle would’ve affected him deeply, since he was special for him, even more that he wasn’t with him in his final moments. She shook her head and noticed that the assistant, named as the new librarian, approached to them.
The dialogue was entirely in hinolish, in which he expressed his condolences, although he couldn’t finish them. It wasn’t really a surprise for her; all of them were quite emotional in the funeral. After exchanging a few words, she took Lucas and brought him to a small house near the ‘La sagrada familia’s cathedral’, Hinolia’s most iconic building.
Once they got in, she saw an elder Silvally, Farius, who heard the news; and a Sylveon she deduced she was from to the Savitaran guild, judging for the right shoulder armor with the symbol on it and the bracers, although she saw her a few occasions in the library the times she studied there; all of them wearing clothes as the tradition of the hinolians demanded. Almira told Lucas to wait in the next room while she talked with the adults.
“How is he?” Farius asked when the door was close.
“Same as everybody else; *sigh* we still don’t want to admit it” Almira answered.
He placed a paw in her shoulder. “I’m so sorry”
She tried her best not to cry again and did the same thing. “Thanks”
“In any case, I thank you for the favor” The elder Silvally said.
“You don’t mind if I stay here?”
“Of course not, take a seat”
“So they’ve noticed the disturbance, too?” The sylveon asked.
“I’m afraid so; the druids would never abandon their ancient forest, unless they felt something that could affect us”
“The oracle in the Telsoc cliffs told similar things from his visions” Farius added.
“And all point where the Shadow foxes actually are” The Sylveon concluded.
“What do you mean?” Almira asked.
“There is an unknown threat that started to amass strength inside the continent where your brother is; and if it’s not stopped in time, Savitaran could be in trouble” The elder Silvally summarized.
“The witch Jaina already sensed a similar thing three years ago, but she found nothing over time when we contacted her not long ago” Farius added. “Which means, whatever is happening there now, it’s recently”
“And the people there know about this?” Almira asked.
“From what I can understand, this only affects Savitaran; depending of the events that may occur, they could be out of that which would be recommendable or intervene; an scenario we want to avoid at any cost”
“The guild master and the respective branch leaders are concerned about this; but based on the information the Shadow foxes provided, this is a very delicate situation and they would not send any teams there for the friction they could generate” The Sylveon explained. “For not saying the Claytren kingdom, too”
“But if this is important as you say, they’ll need Pokémon they can rely on if they’re not going to involve those guilds” Almira argued.
“In that we agree; aside of Zack’s group and any more people they could include in their teams, they’ll need to conform their coalition with an actual Savitaran team”
“And how they’ll expect that to happen if they cannot send any regular team?” Farius asked.
“Why do you think we’ll send a regular team?”
“Are you telling me…?”
“Yes, we’ll send a rookie team they’ll have to train as their backup”
“A team of four is not accepted as such in Tabira as a start or a team of three with evolved Pokémon”
“Then they’ll have to solve this problem; if they’re clever, they can turn that obstacle into an advantage; and before you ask, I also go there to provide some advice to them as well as to bring some supplies and a bit of extra help; don’t worry, they won’t use them in the tabiran tasks, I’m aware of that part with their ‘demonstrations’”
“I guess you have all considered, Ivanna”
“You can never be sure, there’s always something we tend to forget”
“Changing the topic, what will happen to Lucas?” Almira asked.
“That is something I want to discuss right now with Ivanna” The elder Silvally said and looked to her.
“I think you have a proposal to make” She deduced.
“More likely a last wish; his uncle wanted him to go with Alex and Zack and stay with them”
“Forgive me if I sound rude, but are you sure he’ll have to go to them? As far as I know, Lucas has basic skills in what refers of… almost everything; also that his condition won’t help him to socialize”
“Have you seen him when they’re around?”
“Give him the chance, I can assure you that he trust Alex enough to help him without thinking; besides that his helmet is almost ready to break”
“Yeah, the feathers of the neck and the head are white”
“More reason for him to be with them; as you already know, the hinolian Silvallies need to make a strong bond with someone to unleash our true potential; also that the Pokémon in question have to break the helmet, not the Silvally”
“Alex and Amanda were the first Pokémon he trusted, and then Zack came; you’ll be surprised what he did when they were around and it’s also his responsibility” Almira pointed.
“Hmm, I still have my doubts about this, even more with all that pressure we’ll be putting into them; but I’m going to put a vote of faith in you” Ivanna said.
“Thanks; Almira, tell Lucas he’ll go in a journey to meet a friend”
“Very good, I have other details to discuss here; are the belongings of Lucas in your house?”
“Take him to your home; he needs to rest and a bit of company in the days ahead”
Nodding in silence, Almira checked Lucas, who was looking through a window, distracted by the sunset and told him that it was time to go. When he asked about what the adults were talking, she only told him that he would go to a distant land to see someone he knows. The first part frightened him, but the second one put him curious. He asked again, but she only mentioned that he would meet a friend there. After that, he stopped asking and continued the rest of the way in silence.
In the following days, Ivanna had to improve her hinolish speech to talk better with Lucas, given that it was the only language someone could use to communicate with him, without counting the symbolic language, which frankly had inconveniences to use it. Also that she went to the guild city to determine which team should go to that part of the world. In her mind, aside of the formalities she had to present, she didn’t trust very much the tabirans, no matter how Alex and Zack tried to mask some details. Ignoring momentarily those thoughts, her focus resumed on the small Savitaran coalition and some of the information provided by the Shadow foxes about that territory.
Meanwhile, Lucas was reading some books to pass the time and his toy to play for a while; but the nerves and fears started to build in his mind. Not only he was going where he didn’t know anyone and they were speaking the bad language, he was going outside of Savitaran, too far away from his safe place.
For Almira, maybe Alex, Zack, Jack and by some extension, Nya would understand his behavior, but the others would not share the same feeling, as they would see him as a weird Pokémon. She prayed that her brother makes some kind of miracle to help him or at least, controls his issues, since Lucas would have to interact with strange people and he would be his translator.
A week later, with a cloudy day, Lucas had a bag and his favorite scarf, a deep green one, ready for the journey, shaking a little with Almira, Sebak and Farius waiting for Ivanna near the entrance bridge. The only thing he wasn’t wearing was a vest normally used by his species, since it wasn’t common to see Pokémon wearing clothes outside of his homeland; although it was packed in case he wanted to use it.
The masked Silvally went to the tomb of his uncle the day before and stood there at least two hours. Even if the promise of meeting a friend would hold him on the way, leaving everything he knew was becoming something very sensitive. He didn’t want to go; in fact, the opposite idea was better, in which the others would come to Hinolia; but the decision has been made.
After some minutes, Ivanna arrived from air with a Tropius, a Dragonite and an Aerodactyl. When Farius greeted her and asked why those Pokémon were there, she answered that because of the time, they would help in carrying Lucas through the sky and reach Port Kameron before nightfall. Lucas actually liked the idea when Almira translated the conversation. If there was something he always dreamed of was to fly in the occasions where he went to the mountains and felt the wind in his face.
While they were preparing Lucas to the transport, the elder Silvally approached to Ivanna. After greeting her, he gave her a box with strange designs on it and locked. Curios, she asked what it contained.
“That’s something you must not know yet” He said. “Deliver it to Alex; he’ll know what to do”
Ivanna raised an eyebrow, but nodded. Hinolia tended to keep some of their traditions inside of their territory. In addition, he gave her a letter. She didn’t have to ask of whom it belonged and what she had to do. When everything was ready, the elder Silvally, Almira and Sebak said goodbye to Lucas, who was trying hard not to cry, because if he did, he would never leave. Farius waved a paw in silence to farewell, since his language knowledge was poor and preferred to use the non-verbal communication. After packing the last things, Ivanna hopped up to the Tropius.
“We’ll see again in a few months” She said.
“When you meet them, send a word back that you arrived” Farius suggested.
“No problem; ¿listo Lucas?”
“L-listo” He answered, a bit more calmed now he heard her talking in hinolish.
“Okay boys, time to fly”
With strong wing beats, the fliers lifted Lucas slowly. He felt how his claws and rear paws lost the contact with the ground and the straps were holding him in the air; and minutes later, he was traveling through the sky. He looked back and saw how his homeland was getting smaller. In that moment, he felt sadness, solitude and fear as the memories were reappearing in his mind. He was actually leaving for the second time in his life after swearing to himself that he would not Hinolia ever. Maybe his uncle wanted a better life for him than the enclosure he was used to.
“¿Todo bien Lucas?” Ivanna asked, checking him.
“Aprecia la vista por mientras” ‘It’ll take a while for you to see the world from above again’.
The fliers made a few stops along the way to Port Kameron. Even if Lucas wasn’t that heavy, carrying him in such a distance was resulting very tiresome. Ivanna tried to distract him in those stops, telling him about a bit of her discoveries in an archeological site near a dried lake. Sometimes she found herself complicated in translating some words and changed them with some analogies. At least, Lucas was able to talk back, being interested in some parts. ‘At least you have some brain; more useful than the other things’ she thought.
As she estimated, they arrived to the port city near the nightfall. Lucas never saw the sea and he was impressed with the sight from the sky. After landing and wandering in the stone streets, they entered to some kind of inn. Inside, there were actually teams from the guild. Lucas backed off a little and asked Ivanna what was that place. She explained to him that when the pirates increased their activities, the city had trouble in keeping its own criminals at bay, so the authorities asked the guild for help. It was also the first time Lucas heard about pirates.
Ivanna headed to an Alakazam with glasses, who was writing something and waited for him to finish. Once he was done, he saw her and smiled for a bit.
“Being reassigned?” He asked.
“Only if being sent to another part of the world counts” She answered.
“I don’t think it would be because of the heck of it or a new discovery, right?”
“You suspect good, where is the team?”
“I’ll bring them right to you”
The Alakazam headed to a corridor while Ivanna and Lucas were waiting in the meeting room. Some teams went out to accomplish their respective tasks. After a few minutes, four Pokémon appeared from it, approaching to them. Ivanna stood up and met them.
“Miss Ivanna?” A shiny Goomy asked.
“I am; I greet all of you, team Crusaders” Ivanna said. “I assume you’re Valerian, the team leader”
“And the rest are Karla, Jeff and Anna; am I right?”
All of them nodded.
“Good; as you all may know, the team assigned to complete your training is far away from us, which is why we’re traveling there”
“Pardon me, but is not easier to bring them back home?” Karla asked.
“In normal circumstances, yes; but they’re hooked by the local guilds in that place and they have a job to do for us”
“And what is the task?” Anna asked.
“You’ll know when we get there; you have your gear ready?”
“Everything we need, miss” Jeff answered in a funny tone.
“Good, because we’ll departure tomorrow in the morning”
“Um, who’s the big guy over there?” Anna asked.
They all looked to Lucas, who was getting nervous at the staring.
“He’ll come with us; his name is Lucas, a hinolian citizen; a friend of him is where we’re going” Ivanna explained.
“He’s afraid of us” Karla noticed. “And not because of who we are; every time we talk, it’s like a threat to him”
“Your perception is sharp, young one; what you’re saying is right, Lucas is afraid of the common tongue thanks to an incident with some people years ago; the only way to interact with him is to talk in hinolish at all times; if not, then you’ll have to use symbolic language”
“That would be a problem for all of us” Valerian commented. “We know next to nothing about it”
“We’ll have enough time in the travel; also, I’ve brought some assistance for us while we’re far away”
“What assistance?” Jeff asked.
In that moment, two Magnamites appeared from the two bags she was carrying. They inspected the team and Lucas. It felt a little strange their deep staring from their single eye and no blinks.
“The description from the archives matches the real ones” One of the Magnemites said, with a metallic sound and no emotions.
The other one only made sounds of approval and clanks its body with the two magnets.
“Are they…?” Anna was unable to ask.
“Yes, Anna; these are part of the Magnimite cluster that fell in Savitaran from the stars a long time ago”
“You mean from a meteor? The rocks that fall from up there?” Valerian asked pointing up.
“Exactly; both of them will join you and the other team; they have some surprises if things go south when we get there”
“So we’re good?” Jeff asked.
“No; you’ll have another problem you have to deal with when we arrive”
“Let me guess; the tabiran guilds” Karla said since she read the updated information about that place.
“More likely their admission system; from what I learned, your four members team is not allowed to act as such freely; you’ll have to divide your team to be accepted to enter”
“Shouldn’t be better if we just skip it?” Jeff asked. “It’s not like we want to join them, we’re going there because of the other team”
“From the information received and after a quick analyze, you can improve your skills and capabilities with the tasks they ask you to do” The talking Magnimite explained. “You can also recruit the double of your members to increase your range of options and to learn about the territory we’ll be”
“Those are the advantages and disadvantages you’re facing now; you’ll have to think it on the way to have an idea”
“I don’t think we have much of a choice” Valerian admitted. “But we can still conserve the name crusaders in all the new teams we’ll have to divide; we just have to be creative”
“Let’s just not overthink it much for now” Karla suggested. “We don’t know if they allow that two or three teams with the same last name”
“It’s our identity we’re talking about” Jeff pointed a bit upset. “They cannot ask us to break it”
“Calm down, Jeff” Valerian said to him. “For now, we’ll think in some alternatives”
“Before Jeff starts to destroy everything, I suggest you to go to bed now” Ivanna told them. “Also that one of you has to take responsibility with Lucas in the meantime; I cannot watch him all the time”
“Count me out” Karla said, turned around and headed to their room.
“I pass; sorry, but I don’t think I can handle it” Jeff said and did the same thing.
Valerian and Anna looked to each other. Ivanna was watching them in silence to see how they should solve their dilemma.
“I’ll take the responsibility of…” Valerian started.
“No, I’ll do it” Anna intervened.
“Your priority is the whole team; I’ll take the responsibility”
“Are you sure?”
“I have three siblings; something that I learned from them I can use with him… yeah, it may be really difficult; I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ll try anyway”
“Miss Ivanna, do you agree?”
“It’s not my place to say what you can or can’t do; you’re old enough to take your own decisions and conscious of how they will affect your team” She pointed.
“Hmm; well, doing it all by yourself could be a challenge, but with a bit of help…”
“I’ll be fine” Anna assured him.
“But you’re also my responsibility, so I’ll help you anyway”
“Heh, fine; just not try to turn back, because I won’t let you and if you do, better get ready for some nasty rocks getting stuck in your head”
“Well, I guess we’re settled”
“I’ll entrust you to take care of Lucas in our travel through the sea” Ivanna said.
“So… how should I approach to him?” Anna asked.
Following Ivanna’s instructions, she approached to Lucas with a relaxed face. The Magnamite that spoke with sounds, named Clanker, got closer and made funny sounds to get a bit of his attention. ‘He is really big’ she though a little nervous, but also curious that his helmet was broken in the front and the extremes. She could actually see his beak.
When he looked to her, he got nervous as well as her. ‘Okay, no talking for now; just point things, make gestures… damn, I don’t know if this will work’ she though. Looking around, she saw a small pile of papers and a few pencils and got an idea. She took them, wrote, and drew something in some of them. When she finished she showed them to Lucas.
The first one was her name and an arrow pointing to her. She made the gesture that that was her name. The second was a very basic drawing of her and him, shaking his claws and her paw, meaning: ‘Nice to meet you’. Even if Lucas was wary about her, because she talked in the common tongue, he was slowly letting it pass with her way of communication. She brought a few papers to him and pointed to him that he should do the same thing. Still a bit nervous, he tried.
The rest of the ‘talking’ was with drawings, names and a few more things that didn’t involve to say a single word in the common tongue. Then she drew that they should go to bed, because it was getting late and they had to awake very early. Lucas looked to Ivanna, who was watching them and nodded; and followed Anna.
“Anna really did it” Valerian said surprise.
“I’ll be sure after enough time has passed” Anna commented. “Besides, I was near in case something would go wrong; that’s why Lucas was more passive; it wouldn’t be the same once he’s surrounded by people he doesn’t know”
“You told him about us?”
“As a precaution, yes; since you’ll be the only people he will have to interact with”
“Hmm, I hope he gets used to us”
“*Sigh* me too” ‘If not, the boys will have to sort this out, one way or another’.
As the night passed, no one was able to sleep well. All of them knew that in a few hours, their homelands, their families, their experiences, their guild would be soon separated from kilometers and kilometers of salad water. Their return to home wouldn’t be available like they were used to. Once they were started, there was no going back.
There were a few yawns in the morning, but not a single word. The sun hadn’t appeared yet as they were heading to the docks in complete silence. The ship they would take was a merchant class with its destiny to the city of Xin Tou, but with some escalates along the way in the nearest inhabitant islands. It already made a few downloads and loads with some of their products, being one of the few ships that could travel there and be well prepared to repel pirate attacks on the way and to withstand storms.
Even if that was true, Ivanna warned them that it was possible they would encounter at least one ship carrying them, so they should be ready to fight back and assist the crew. After they boarded it and loaded their stuff, they headed to the starboard side and waited for the departure. They looked at the city and beyond in their minds. They were leaving all the life they were used to, everything to join their people in the other side of the ocean. ‘I wonder if they felt the same thing when they embarked in their journey, knowing that it would take a long time for them to get back’ Ivanna thought.
In the next minutes, everyone was immersed in their thoughts. They were conscious of where they’re going and what they would do. Did they have any doubts? Any desires of saying no and stay back? Perhaps, but no one said a word between themselves. There was nothing to talk about it. They all said goodbye, promising that they would return, but how long would take to fulfil that promise?
“Set sail!” The captain ordered.
Before they knew it, Port Kameron was at some distance from them and getting smaller. They all were starting to feel a little nostalgic. Then Anna patted Lucas and pointed to the mainland. They saw the sun rising.
“El sol” Lucas said amazed.
The rest looked in their direction as well. Indeed it was amazing, the first sunrise coming from their land. It felt so majestic that it gave some light to their hearts.
“It’s the first time I actually see this” Valerian admitted a little happy.
“When your team begins to operate on its own, you’ll encounter some marvels that the description of them gets short; the more you travel, more you’ll discover” Ivanna said.
“And our world is too big to see them all” Jeff said.
“I don’t really care of the number; I hope the ones we see will involve some crazy stories” Anna said determined.
“If we reach those places first” Karla pointed.
“For now you’ll have free time to do whatever you want, but in two more hours you’ll begin to learn some things so they’ll not catch you off guard” Ivanna ordered. “In case of Valerian and Anna, in one hour”
They didn’t question it. They knew what they had to learn. As the days passed, the nostalgic feelings were replaced bit by bit for expectations and theories about the guide team. Ivanna kept their name from all of them. She knew what would happen if they were heading to meet the Shadow foxes, the ones that were already a part of their lives.
PLW - NPC - James
And now you know, Ivanna was actually part of the Savitaran guild and has some issues with what they've learned.
Let's see if you can figure what mental condition Lucas has.
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Story and Characters belongs to me