Aura sighed, leaning against the cyan-coloured crystal set into the cave wall. The reflection of a scowling Lucario glared up at her through the gem. The way it looked at her was freaky, almost intimidating.
Is this really what I look like? Aura wondered. Prehaps that was why all the young Pokemon she passed in Crystal City ran away from her when they saw her face. Or prehaps her aura was so menacing even they could feel it emanating from her.
Aura shook her head and kept walking. It had been five years, but there wasn't a day that went past without her thinking about that terrible day in Lakewood Village. She'd woken up, frozen to the bone, everyone in the village either dead or dying. The monster was gone, but the only other survivor of the attack had been Illuno. And he'd just ran away, to scared to save his own skin than to help his best friend.
Aura resisted the urge to punch the crystal next to her along the path. No, she thought, I promised myself I'd forget about him. Never think about him again. She sighed, once again. It was impossible not to think about him, even after all these years. It was if he was haunting her like some sort of persistent poultergiest.
The path abruptly diverged, opening out onto a ledge overlooking the entire city. To the left of the ledge was a hole in the cave wall, decorated outside by crystals-just your typical Crystal City house. Aura walked over to the edge of the overhang.
The underground city spread out before her, crystals of every colour imaginable shining like stars in the sky. In the centre of the city, a circle ringed by markets and shops stood around a huge crystal almost as big as the central pine back at the village. Beyond the city, Stalagmite Lake streched as far as Aura could see, coloured a bright neon cyan from the glowing crystals.
Most of the houses in the city were holes in the cave walls or floor, but close to the centre the houses were made entirely out of crystals.
Crystal City had been orginally excavated shortly after the discovery of Mystery Cavern, which was hardly a mystery now. A team of Excadrill, Drilbur, Diglett and Dugtrio had built it deep in the heart of the seemingly impenetrable cavern, as a last-resort apocolypse bunker. An anceint and revered Alakazam had predicted an apocolypse around twenty years ago, but it had seemed a false alarm, as the apolcolypse date came and went and nothing out of the ordinary happened. Disappionted with thier wasted efforts, the Pokemon who built it decided to put it to some use, and began setting up a small community in the underground bunker. Gradually Pokemon from accross the world came and visited the wonders of the city, and decided to live there as well, until Crystal City became the bustling, crowded community it was now.
Aura stood there, gazing out at the glowing city, until a familiar voice called, "Hey! Hey, Aura!"
Aura didn't even need to turn around to know who it was. "Yeah?"
"I've got something to tell you."
At this, Aura turned around and faced Digro the Drilbur head-on. "What?"
Digro started blushing for some reason. Digro was a nice Pokemon-he had welcomed her into his house when she'd first arrived in the city, completely lost, three months ago. Before that she'd been traveling alone in the wilderness, moving from one place to another, but never staying anywhere. She'd been attacked by vicous Pokemon daily, but after five years of living in the wilds, Aura got used to it. It was a change, living in Crystal City and her being able to live an easy life with Digro, not having to worry about the next time her life would be on the line. But the city did not feel like home. Aura doubted if she'd ever find a place like home again. She had, however, told Digro her problems. Digro was a good listener, and an even better friend. He always seemed to be looking out for her. "I just got news of this in town. They'll be holding a tournament tormorrow in the centre of town. All the Pokemon in Crystal City and the surrounding area with any fighting experience are welcome, and you're really strong, so I thought..." he passed her a piece of paper inscribed with footprint runes-an entry form.
Aura immediately brightened. "Thanks, Digro!"
Digro smiled. "My pleasure."
"Are you going to enter too?"
"Me?" Digro looked startled. "Oh, no no. I'm no good at fighting! Only digging. I've got no fighting experience whatsoever!"
Aura gave him a long look. She knew he was lying. Once, when they'd been cornered by one of Crystal City's gangs, he'd dug through the ground so fast they hadn't even known what had hit them, before they were knocked clean out of the air by Digro's Drill Run. It was true that Aura was stronger, but Digro had fight in him too. "Are you sure?"
Digro sighed. "If you insist," he said after a long time. "But I only just... nevermind."
It looked like he wanted to say more, but Aura let it go. Until tomorrow, she thought.
Little did she know that tomorrow, her life was going to change forever.
Illuno hopped from tree to tree faster than a Linoone, jumping with the grace of a Grovyle. The full moon shone down through Celestia Valley, turning the tree trunks paler than milk and casting silver illumination that made the entire valley look as if it had been draped with a thin layer of Ariados silk.
Illuno's eyes noticed every detail as he leaped effortlessly on his way back "home".
It was "home" in quotation marks because although it was technically his home, Illuno had never felt as relaxed, carefree and comfortable than as he had in Lakewood Village.
He stopped for a brief rest, balancing perfectly on the topmost branch of a tall oak. He glanced up at the sky-black as a Murkrow's feather and scattered with millions upon millions of stars that gave the valley its name. It was no wonder this place was known, by humans and Pokemon alike, as potentailly the best stargazing site in the world.
Of course, the moon was up there too, shining like a silver bauble amongst glittering Christmas lights. Illuno couldn't explain it, but he had a certain liking for full moons-he always felt safer on nights of a full moon. He guessed it just came with being a Zoroark, however this was the same attachment to the moon that had once led the humans to believe that Zoroark were actually werewolves. Humans could be so stupid sometimes.
Gazing up at the moon, Illuno's thoughts wandered, until a sudden overpowering guilt erupted in his chest as he remembered his final evening in Lakewood Village. He sighed exasperatedly-he could never seem to get the memory out of his head. It just kept coming back to him-the fact that he hadn't been strong enough to help Aura fight that monster, and her parents had died-and even worse, when Aura's own life was at stake, he'd just ran away like the pathetic Pokemon he was. And left her to die.
"Aura..." he heard himself murmur. "I... I-I'm so pathetic!!" Tears flooded Illuno's eyes before he could stop them. "I'm such a weak Pokemon, I wasn't even able to risk my life for you!" He smashed his fist into the side of the trunk, making a dent the size of a small frisbee. "I diddn't even get the chance to tell you I loved you! How messed up is that?" he howled, glaring at the moon.
Illuno was broken out from his mournful howls by a soft voice emanating from the foot of the tree. "Illuno? Is that you?"
At those four words, Illuno forced himself to calm down. He glanced at the forest floor, and sure enough, Gemray was looking up at him, her concerened face illuminated by the warm yellow light emanating from her tail. Her face broke into a grin at the sight of Illuno, though.
"Thank Arceus! I was so worried-it's not like you to be late coming home!" Gemray exclaimed.
Despite himself, Illuno managed to smile. Gemray was one of those Pokemon with the amazing power to pick up people when they were down, no matter how bad they felt. Jumping gracefully down to the forest floor, Illuno landed next to Gemray, who was beaming-literally. "Sorry about that," he said.
Gemray had made it apparent that she had a crush on Illuno ever since they'd become friends, on that fateful day when Illuno had staggered in-a starved, practically half-dead Zorua who was frightened out of his mind, still in shock from his betrayal and the attack on the village. Gemray had only been a newly-evolved Flaaffy, but she'd warmed up to him instantly. Illuno, however, had mixed feelings. Gemray was so nice, it was impossible not to like her. But Illuno never stopped thinking about Aura. Even though it seemed impossible that she was still alive, Illuno always got a gut feeling like she was still out there...somewhere.
Illuno pushed all this to the back of his mind as Gemray started striding off through the dark woods, her light showing the way. "Come on then, Illuno! Don't you wanna go home?"
Illuno's smile widened. "Let's go!" he agreed, as both Zoroark and Ampharos headed back through the forest to the place they called home.
Both Pokemon staggered over the crest of the hill, and before them stood the Celestia River, glinting with the light of a million stars, and on the river's far bank, home. A rickety wooden bridge spanned the seventy or so metres of river, leading up to an abandoned and dilapadated power plant, long ago abandoned by humans. Although not much to see by the eye, the residual electricity and low radioactive levels made the Celestia Power Plant the perfect shelter for Electric-Types of all kinds.
After Gemray and Illuno had made it accross the bridge without falling into the river, they halted outside the entrance to the power plant.
Suddenly, with a yellow-blue flash and a scattering of sparks, Spiko the Manectric materealised in front of the two friends. He regarded them out of deep cobalt eyes. "Password," he grunted.
Illuno risked the urge to roll his eyes. Spiko being Spiko, as always. He'd always been a strict follower of rules, and thought that a watchman should always be posted outside the riuns, even though it was extremely unlikely any rogue Pokemon or humans would turn up-the Power Plant wasn't really what Celestia Valley was best known for. Spiko had many other ridiculous beliefs, the most ridiculous probably being that the Power Plant should be inhabited by strictly Electric-Types only.
In fact, the only reason why Illuno was still in Celestia Valley was because of Gemray-after varoius negotaitions and Spiko getting ultimately owned in a Pokemon battle, Illuno was finnally allowed to stay. But since then, an ongoing rivaly had erupted between the Zoroark and the Manectric, and it was extremely hard not to see them fighting.
"Pfft... come on, Spiko! This whole password crap is riduculous! Bloody Arceus, you know we aren't rogue Pokemon! So why do you need us to tell you the bloody password??" Illuno seethed.
Gemray shot him a warning look, but Illuno kept going. "Oh, I know. It's because I'm not an Electric-Type, isn't it?" He advanced towards the towering Manectric. "Well, I've got something for you, mister. You shouldn't judge Pokemon by thier Types! Now let us through!" he demanded.
Spiko stiffened and narrowed his eyes in his usual stoic manner. "I need," he said in a voice of supressed calm, "the password, if you'd be so kind."
Illuno opened his mouth for another retort but Gemray spoke before he could. "Charge Beam," she said, "the password is Charge Beam."
"Very well. You may enter." Spiko glared at Illuno. "But someday, you shall learn the importance of rules and abide by them. Next time you speak to me in that manner, you won't get off so luckily." And with that, Spiko shot off into the night, leaving only a couple of sparks and four pawprints to show he had been there in the first place.
Illuno growled. "That guy!"
Gemray sighed slowly. "I understand why your so angry at him, Illuno. He's always been picking on you... But now your picking fights with him out of nowhere. Trust me, he gets on my nerves too. But sometimes, you just need to contain it."
Illuno sighed. "But... he's just standing there thinking he's all high and mighty, what am I supposed to do?"
"Just don't let him get to you. He's not worth your time." Gemray smiled. "Besides, I'm leaving tomorrow..."
Illuno gazed at her. "Where to?"
"Crystal City, you know, that underground city in Mystery Cavern. It's not far, and thier hosting a tournament there for all the Pokemon around this area," Gemray explained. "I was wondering if you'd like to come."
Illuno felt so much happier, he almost forgot about the incident with Spiko. "Of course!"
Gemray beamed-literally, again, and took Illuno's paw in her paw as the many stars of Celestia Valley shone down from a million light years away.
Sorry for not updating! DX Anyway, I made up for it by making a super-long chapter... I just hope it wasn't too long... OwO
Anyway, I really hoped you enjoyed it, and I'll try and do the second chapter soon. >:D
-Legendary Lucario ^w^