SHADOW OF THE IMPALER-THE LORD IMPALER REVEALED

SHADOW OF THE IMPALER-THE LORD IMPALER REVEALED

By Red Star

There was nothing Officer Jenny could do.

"WHAT?" Samuel Oak shouted at the policewoman.

She shrugged, "Well, we could charge him with fraud. Did he try to sell the scrolls to you?"

"Well," Oak looked down, "No. In fact, I was going to ask him to loan it to Dr. Eve's old school to examine when I went home."

"But he didn't make any attempt to take money for it?"

"…No. I suppose not."

Jenny turned to us and put up her hands in a sign of helplessness. Mayo thoughtfully rubbed her Espeon while Billie stood right behind me. I could feel something odd in her psychic radiation, a feeling of helpless sympathy…and something deeper?

"Well, isn't it kind of suspicious that he disappeared right when Misty was attacked?" asked Billie.

"I suppose, but this Graves guy hasn't shown up in our files. He doesn't even have a speeding ticket. He has no motive at all!"

Oak walked up to the glass that showed the resting Misty. He looked frustrated and ran a hand over the whiskers on his face.

A doctor walked up to Officer Jenny and said, "Officer, your sister from Veridian City called; something about a Mr. Graves,"

She trotted off while the doctor approached us and looked inside.

Silence reigned for a while.

"It's quite a puzzle," he mused.

"How much blood did she lose?"

The doctor shrugged, "Enough to keep her alive but also unconscious. But you know what the others are saying?"

We turned to him as he took on a small smile.

"The other doctors are saying we should put garlic around her room, because of the marks on her neck."

More silence.

"You know…Garlic? Necks? Vampires?"

The Professor's eyes narrowed as he opened his mouth to say something…

"WE'VE GOT HIM!!!"

Officer Jenny was shouting as she raced down the hallway. She stopped to catch her breath before going on.

"*huff* My sister found*huff* a*huff* biological laboratory outs-*huff* outside Veridian City that was previously owned by what we suspected was a front for Team Rocket," she seemed to have recovered, "A man matching Mr. Graves' description was seen arriving in a limo at the lab a few days ago."

I lifted an eyebrow, "So? What does that mean?"

She turned to me, "The lab's owned by a subsidiary of the Draculesti Group. Apparently, scientists have been coming in and out of there ever since they bought the place."

"So, Mr. Graves works for Draculesti?"

She nodded, and reached for her radio. "I'll have some guys bring a car around to take us there. Whoever this 'Graves' guy is, he's going to…"

I wasn't listening anymore. I was already in Veridian…

The lab was modern, but it also looked abandoned. The guardhouse was empty, and the parking lot lights cast an eerie glow over the lot and the trees bordering the pavement. I floated over to the front entrance. I would have said door, but that had been blown into the hallway, the floor was covered with shattered glass and the metal remnants of the doors themselves were scattered further into the building.

I looked around at the destruction, then continued inside.

It looked like a normal business office within, except for the signs warning people away from entering certain areas. I came to a pair of doors that seemed to lead into the main laboratory.

I looked them over, and was considering what to do when I heard a voice in my head. A voice that I hadn't heard for months.

Greetings, Ash Ketchum.

I whipped around and saw him. Mewtwo. He towered over me, with his eyes glowing a bright blue. His purple tail waved angrily through the air as he glared at the door.

Mewtwo! I suppressed an urge to hug him. He gave a small smirk that said that he was, in his own way, glad to see me too.

I'm sorry about the Russian incident, Ash. Someone…something…kept me from helping you.

I closed my eyes, since Mews' mouths are easily hidden under our nose; we tend to show smiles with our eyes.

That's all right. It turned out okay…

I heard a whir as two large panels on either wall opened up and a red light began rising from the floor. I panicked, and began moving away…

Don't worry, said Mewtwo, It's some kind of scanner. It went over me and nothing happened.

The scanner went over me and the two doors slid open.

We looked at each other before going in.

The lab had been stripped down. Computers built into the wall missed key parts. Large glass tubes that were connected to a machine that was missing it's own parts had the stains of dried liquid on the inside.

Mewtwo shook his head disgustedly. Look at this, he snarled, gesturing to the ruined computers, I can't do anything with them, especially not finding out anything about the man who runs this place.

I looked around, floating toward a computer board. I noticed then that there was a small gold ring sitting there, with two thin wires leading into the console.

What's th…

That was all I could say before I screamed in pain from a bolt of energy that surged into my mind, like someone seizing my brain with a hand made of rusty nails.

Ash! What's wrong? Mewtwo sounded startled…and frightened.

But I couldn't answer. He was far away…

The little girl with raven-black hair smiled happily at me.

What the…?

I looked down and saw I was in my human form.

Below me was the Earth.

I looked up and saw blackness, with small dots of light piercing through.

I'd seen it before; where the sky meets outer space. The girl and I were in the atmosphere.

"Hi! I'm Lydia!"

I gave a nervous smile, looking around, trying to figure out why it felt like I was standing on solid ground in the sky.

"Uh…hi. I'm Ash…what's going on?"

Lydia beamed and trotted toward me, her eyes shimmering, "Papa sent you, didn't he?"

" 'Papa'?"

"Yes, my papa. He's a very important man in the living world."

I looked down at the world, " 'Living'? But then I'm…aww nooo…"

Lydia giggled and shook her head vigorously.

"No, no, silly, you're not dead! I'm here with you in spirit!"

I peered at her, she continued smiling.

"Why?"

Her smile faded a little, and she looked toward the earth, to the northern part.

"What they say about Papa isn't true, ya know. Everybody says he's a monster, that he killed people who didn't do anything to him. Well, they're wrong!"

She looked at me, tears beginning to emerge from her eyes.

"They wouldn't leave him alone! They always tried to steal our country, they always tried to kill Papa!"

A tear ran down her cheek.

"They took Mama. Papa cried more than me or Vlad. Papa always gave stuff to them and they still hated Papa! Why wouldn't they leave us alone?"

What could I do? She was crying her eyes out in front of me.

Then, it stopped. She came closer and rubbed her nose with her arm, trying to get rid of the tears.

"When I died, Papa was very sad. He was lookin' for me everywhere and couldn't find me," she looked at me, expectantly, waiting for some answer, "But they hid me real good. Please help him; all Papa wants is to say goodbye…"

The scene shifted to a valley. It was filled with grass and trees dotted the landscape.

Lydia walked over and stood over a pickle-shaped stone that stuck out of the ground.

"Tell Papa I'm here," she said, pointing at the stone, "He'll be so happy to find me."

The world began to blacken, and she seemed more agitated.

"Ash! If you see Papa, tell him I love him so much and Mama misses him too! Thank you, Ash…Ash, Ash, Ash, ASH! ASH! ASH! WAKE UP!"

I felt three fingers that ended in balls backslap me. My eyes opened to the sight of Mewtwo shaking his right, which had reddened a little.

Wh…what happened?

He looked at me.

To be brief, you were unconscious, and I woke you up, he blew on his fingers, Has anyone told you that you have a hardhead?

Why?

He looked at me again, probably considering whether to slap me again. His eyes blinked in surprise as he pulled from the panel. I looked back to see that a red light was glowing on the console. The panel to which the ring was attached to by the wires zipped into the wall, pulling the ring with it.

"Bravo, Mr. Ketchum."

We whirled around to see a pale man wearing dark clothes and a long black cloak.

Graves, I hissed. My eyes narrowed as he continued.

"Forgive me, but I'm afraid that I have been lying to you and your little friends. Jonathan Graves is not my Christian name."

Didn't know, don't care, I said before launching myself at—and through—him into the opposite wall.

"I hope you haven't tried to actually attack me, for this is merely a hologram. At this moment I am quite a distance away."

I turned around and sheepishly took my place beside Mewtwo again.

Nice work.

Shut up.

"My true name, my young friend, is Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia."

We looked at each other, startled.

"Yes, dear Ash, I am real. And this laboratory belongs to me.

"You see, Ash, after I had risen from the grave, I found myself in an unfriendly world without a country, army, or family. My powers were temporarily limited by my ignorance of them. But one thing ran clear through my mind: vengeance. For my house's honor and myself.

"Over the years, I built a power base in Europe, binding the various tribes to my will. It was child's play to expand that into Africa and Asia, and then to the Americas. Finally, we entered into the business world, where our would-be opponents sowed the seeds of their own destruction."

He smiled at us, as if he was really there to see us.

"In the Year of our Lord Nineteen-hundred and Seventy-six, the entire undead world paid tribute to the 500th anniversary of my rebirth. Among the gifts was an ancient tablet from some vampires who found it in Crete.

"They knew—and I knew—that it was an enchanted stone. Of what magic we could not discern but nevertheless I took their gift and subjected it to several experiments…without success, I'm afraid."

Graves—Dracula—looked a little miffed at saying that, as if he had failed somehow.

"Then, twelve years ago, I went into my vaults to look at my various treasures when, to my astonishment, I found Latin inscribed on the stone, looking as if it had been there all along!"

Dracula smirked and his eyes faintly glowed red.

"I was later to discover that that was the day you were conceived,"

Mewtwo looked down at me as I began sinking downward, red coming to my cheeks.

"A short time later, I awoke one evening to find Baba Yaga sitting in the library, sipping a tea brand that I did not have from a cup that was not mine. She smiled at me with those iron teeth of hers and we talked.

"We spoke of the tablet.

"We spoke of the babe that was taking form in Delia's belly.

"And, we spoke of her visions of possible futures for you.

"You see, Ashura," Dracula began pacing, his arms apparently behind his back judging from the look of his cape, "Some people think that God guides all people through a predetermined fate; others believe we have free will and do as we please in this life and reap what we sow in the next. However, this is not the case:

"Humanity, dear Ashura, chooses it's own future. The Almighty lovingly designs these futures; no sooner do we turn onto one path then we come to another fork in the road, and then we must choose. There is no turning back to choose another path; you must move on and hope there is one that will allow you to fix your errors.

"So, you had your own futures to choose, and they were important ones because your power is great: either Chaos Lane or Order Street. The former would mean the doom of humanity and Pokemon alike. Your friends would die or become enslaved by your mighty brain."

He looked over at us; I broke into a cold sweat and floated backward. How did this guy know where we would be standing?

"From the story of carnage that even horrified me sprang one most tragic; Misty—yes, dearest Misty—realized that you had forsaken the humanity and compassion within you, and so turned to your doppelganger, Ritchie, for comfort. Their love grew, and she became pregnant with his child. You discovered this with your powers, became enraged with jealousy, and killed Ritchie for the crime of taking away something that you wouldn't have because you never wanted humanity again. Then—in a move that I must admit I found appropriate for the occasion—you killed her!"

My eyes grew large, and I dropped down.

N..no!

"It wasn't quick, of course. You made her die in her bed in that ninth month, with her last breath coinciding with her babe's first, she died clutching the sheets that ran red with her blood and her tears when she realized your betrayal. Of course," he mused, putting a sharp-nailed finger to his lips, "She could easily have been weeping over the death of the true Ash, the Ash that destroyed her bike and took her on a magnificent adventure across the continent."

Tears began biting at my eyes.

I…I killed her…

"Of course, upon the finish to her sad tale, my first thought was to destroy you as soon as you emerged from dearest Delia's womb. But Baba Yaga—such a wonderfully strange woman—shook her head, and our partnership began.

"You know the rest."

I was on the ground. The tears were falling freely now.

I…killed her.

Mewtwo was looking back and forth between the hologram and myself, as if trying to make a choice whom to give his attention to. I guess "suffering little friends" won out.

Ash…its all right, she's still alive…

Misty…Misty could have died…she could have been dead by now…

Ash, don't cry. She's not dead, you took a different path and she's alive.

I pulled away from him, floating and glaring at him through tear filled eyes.

DON'T YOU GET IT!! IF IT WASN'T FOR A WITCH AND THAT…VAMPIRE, MISTY COULD BE…

I still couldn't believe it. My paws were shaking as I realized that Dracula was right. Right about everything. Right about me.

I owed him.

The whole world owed him and Baba Yaga it's life and freedom.

And those two would sit in the shadows, quietly watching and laughing at us mortals as we bumbled along in this abused world, never knowing how close we came to Armageddon.

I owed Prince Dracula so much…and I felt dirty just thinking about it.

Dracula seemed to have anticipated my time to let it out, waited, and finally spoke up.

"There are other things I would like to tell you, my young friend, but they must wait for a later time.

"Right now, this building is preparing to self destruct, you have a ten-second head start.

"In the meantime, by now I have arrived in Cerulean City. And I am about to take the lovely Misty Waterflower under my care. Good-bye, for now, Ash Ketchum."

Ten seconds to self destruct…ten…nine…

Ash, we have to get out of here!!

Huh…?

…eight…seven…

He sighed and grabbed me and teleported out of there.

I didn't see the destruction of Dracula's biological laboratory. Mewtwo was leaning over me, in a protective manner. We looked back at the flaming building, and then we looked at each other.

Mewtwo was holding me up in his arms like I was his baby. If he felt ridiculous about it he didn't show it.

Mewtwo…?

Yes?

…Thanks. I…just…

I know, Ash. I'm psychic, remember?

I didn't know if that was humor or not.

I looked up at him into those eyes. The emotion and spark within them looked familiar.

Mewtwo?

Yes, Ash?

…Would you be my brother?

He was silent, and then, he gave a little smile.

Of course.

And he hugged me.

Uh, Mewtwo? Not so tight, please.

ATTENTION!!!

I, Red Star, General Secretary of the People With Lots Of Free Time Party and Supreme Commander of the Extremely Bored Writers Army, present a challenge to all authors on FFN!

The title is "Imperium Dracula".

The time is the Future.

The Master is Vlad Dracula!

The plot…yours!!!

I challenge my fellow authors to write a fanfic featuring their favorite characters from any TV show, anime, movie, comic book, whatever, in a world ruled by Dracula!

Make it short, make it long, I don't care!

The first part of the title should be "Imperium Dracula:", then add your own title to it.

Please e-mail me if you decide to take the challenge so that I can look for your story.

Please write and everyone have a good time!