ALRIGHT, WE'VE REACHED CHAPTER NUMBER 10! I don't count the soundtrack as a chapter, so this is the 10th one! Yippee-ki-yay Mofos. To answer your questions and concerns from last time:
Ultima-owner: They aren't spirits exactly...you might notice this story is called The Guardian of Voyagers...That might come into play soon, though I'm not sure. So far, a grand total of one person has figured out the secret of The Guardians or at least, one of them. I won't tell you who, so people don't spam them. If you think you know, don't wreck it for everybody else. ;) You can PM me though, and I'll tell you whether you're right or wrong.
Japaneserockergirl: The Guardians have no particular connection to Shadow Humans or Pokemon, they have connections to people that are special. Remember what Maeve said about her and Alaska having great destinies and being special and what not? She was right. Hermes is also among that group. People that are that kind of special, have Guardians. They normally have one in particular that watches over them, but any Guardian can visit any one of the special people or Pokemon if they want to. One Guardian (The Warrior) is confined to earth, for reasons you'll find out later. There is a fixed number of Guardians and special people, and the only Guardians that don't have special people they watch over are The Warrior and one who hasn't been introduced yet. The Dancer is somebody's Guardian, but she visited Alaska, because, well, because she felt like it. There are thirty five special people, and thirty seven Guardians. Also, Guardians aren't, and never have been, humans. They can take the form of humans, but they aren't humans. They can take just about any form they want actually. :) Hope that clears things up. Oh, and Maeve has a Guardian, but they aren't important. Maybe you'll meet her Guardian at the end of the story if you're lucky. ;)
By the way, I looked at the lyrics to the song Animals by Neon Trees and got really excited. The lyrics fit in with this story really well. It might be rather literal, but well...Just look up the lyrics, you'll see what I mean. ;) My favorite part? "I won't be denied by you, the animal inside of you."
I woke up and felt tears come to my eyes, the burden of consciousness weighing down on me. I looked around for Hermes, but didn't see him. I felt relief when I saw the bathroom light on. He was still alive. I wouldn't have to see him like I had in my dream for a while at least. I tried not to picture the cold, lifeless body the Traveler had shown me, but it was no use. That image would haunt me forever. I got out of bed and heard Bandit whine as I moved more than a few inches away from him. I smiled and let my hand trail through his scruffy, brown and cream fur.. It was comforting, like a child holding a safety blanket. It helped me recover myself. I noticed a fast food bag on the bedside table next to me and investigated it. I realized I was starving and scarfed down everything in the bag before putting out Pokemon food for Bluebelle, Hestia, Bandit, and Daffodil. Watching my Pokemon greet me before attending to their food, I felt guilty. I hadn't spent much time with any of them in the last week.
"Okay, guys. I don't know you very well, but I'll change that. It's only a matter of time before one of us gets killed and I'd like to know you before that happens." Only Bandit and Hestia seemed to be paying me any attention. Bluebelle and Daffodil continued to eat noisily. I sighed as the bathroom door opened.
"Good morning, Alaska."
I turned my head, cautiously trying to keep my emotions in check. I felt a lump in my throat. "Hi," I said, trying to make my voice emotionless, though it didn't work.
Hermes frowned. "Are you going to tell me what you saw in your dream last night?"
I turned my head away guiltily. Even if I was allowed to tell him, how could I look him in the eyes and tell him he was going to die. Not in two hundred years or whatever, but soon, possibly within days. "I can't," I mumbled.
He sighed. "It's okay if you can't tell me. Let's just go, okay?"
I nodded weakly, feeling a bit sick. I called my Pokemon back and followed Hermes out of the motel, not paying attention to my surroundings, only aware of the pain, guilt, and fear tearing me apart inside.
"Pick a car, any car," Hermes said, startling me out of my silence.
"Er..." I looked around and spotted a red SUV. "How about that?" I asked.
I saw Hermes roll his eyes, but he was smiling. "Do you have any skill at picking cars, Soccer Mom?"
I grinned back, but I could tell it wasn't reaching my eyes. "You're talking to me about picking crappy cars? Who got a Dodge Neon yesterday? Anyway, I wanted a big car so we could let our Pokemon out."
Hermes winked at me. "Ouch, you've stabbed me with your comebacks of doom. Also, that's a great idea. I don't think Zeus has seen the light of day in a week." He quickly busted the locks on the SUV and hot wired it. We both climbed in and slammed the doors shut.
"Wow," I said, "It's nice to be able to leave a place without having to run like hell."
Hermes laughed. The sound made me both happy and immeasurably sad at the same time. I felt like I was floating in the ocean during a storm. I could breathe just enough to stay alive, but the waves kept pushing me under, forcing me to except the truth: Death was quickly approaching. "Ready to let the Pokemon out?" Hermes asked.
"Sure." I pulled out my Pokeballs and pressed the buttons on each of them, allowing Hestia, Bandit, Bluebelle, and Daffodil to appear in a flash of red light. They looked slightly confused. "Alright, Bandit's up here with me, the rest of you, find a seat and buckle up. Everybody wears seat belts while Hermes is driving." Despite what I said, only Daffodil and Hestia found a seat. Bluebelle decided she was more comfortable laying on the floor. Bandit curled up on my lap.
"Go, Zeus, Ares, Demeter, Poseidon, and Hades!" Hermes' Pokemon popped out, already in their places. Hades jumped on Hermes' lap, while Poseidon and Zeus climbed in the last row of seats. Ares managed to wedge himself in the middle row of seats between Hestia and Daffodil. Demeter laid next to Bluebelle.
"Everybody comfortable?" Various roars, barks, and screeches came from all over the car. "I'll take that as a 'yes'. Let's go, Hermes."
The car seemed to jump to life and Hermes took off across the parking lot, accidentally winding up in the wrong lane of traffic before correcting himself. I clutched Bandit to my chest tightly, but Hades seemed to have learned how to brace himself during a hectic car ride. He stuck his head out the window and panted happily. Eventually, I loosened my grip on Bandit and let him run back and forth through the car. Occasionally, a scuffle would break out among the Pokemon and Hermes would yell, "I swear to God, I will turn this car around!" making us all laugh.
For a while, I forgot about my dream and just enjoyed the presence of my Pokemon and my new best friend. It was still confusing to me. Why did I care so much for someone I had only known for a week? Why did I care this much for someone who was constantly putting me in danger? Sure, he was sweet in his own way, but this was more than simple affection. I felt a pull in my heart, like the needle of a compass pointing north, but instead of any one direction, it constantly pointed towards him. Where would my heart point when he died? As the day went on, I moodily stared out at the unchanging scenery of the desert. This part of the country seemed to be little more than a barren plain, broken only by rocky outcroppings. I saw a few Sandshrew and a Cacnea, but other than that, nothing seemed to be alive out there. Sometime around two o'clock, I fell asleep.
I opened my eyes and found myself in the now familiar forest. However, instead of being surrounded by trees, I was now surrounded by twenty foot tall cacti. The ground was still carpeted with grass and everything looked moist, causing the cacti to look ludicrously out of place.
"Where are you, Traveler?" I asked impatiently. "Are you going to make my life more difficult or can I go back to the car now?"
I heard what sounded like a far away giggle. I growled and headed in the direction it had seemed to come from. I walked for a while, but it didn't seem like I had gotten anywhere. The cacti around me looked the same as where I had come from.
"This isn't funny!" I yelled to no one.
I heard laughter again, though it seemed a little closer this time. I started running in the direction it came from. After a few minutes, I stopped, feeling winded. I looked up and saw a mountain rising above the cactus forest. Where the hell had that come from? I didn't have anywhere else to go, so I headed for the mountain. I walked for what felt like hours through the hot, dry, forest, before I actually seemed to make any progress. Eventually, I reached the edge of the giant cacti and found myself in front of the biggest mountain I had ever seen. It seemed to rise out of the middle of nowhere. There were no other mountains in sight. It seemed to rise forever into the deep blue sky. I stood at the base of the mountain and looked around.
"What am I supposed to do now?" I said aloud.
I heard more giggling. This time it sounded as though it was coming from right next to me. I jumped around and found myself face to face with a hole in the side of the mountain. Laughter rang from deep inside it. I shrugged and crawled into it. Immediately, I was in a huge chamber. Glittering crystals of every color covered the walls around me. They seemed to glow in the blackness of the cave. In front of me, was a boy who looked about twelve, wearing blue and white striped shorts and a yellow t-shirt. Upon closer inspection, I noticed his silver hair was putting off as much light as the crystals. I stared at him. "Who are you?"
He giggled quietly. "I'm the Giver."
"Oh, great," I said sarcastically, "You guys are always so much fun."
The Giver winked at me. "Indeed we are. It's nice to meet Traveler's youngling."
He smiled kindly. Something about his eyes and his smile made me feel as though he were much older than how he appeared now. "Youngling. It's the word for those us Guardians watch over. Anyway, it's nice to meet you. I see you've met my youngling, as well."
I felt confused. "Who?"
"My youngling. Hermes. He cares quite deeply for you, though he's known you only a short time."
"Hermes has a Guardian?"
The Giver nodded. "Of course."
"But...you know that..." I didn't know how to tell him that Hermes was going to die.
The strange silver-haired boy looked at me with sad eyes. His eyes seemed to draw me in. They were a deep amber color. When I finally looked away, my mouth fell open in shock. The young boy was now an old man, wearing what looked like a yellow, blue, and white kimono, instead of his shorts and t-shirt. "I know he is going to die." The Giver's voice wobbled. "It's hard for me to watch him, to talk to him, to take car of him, when I know his fate. All humans die eventually, but he is so young, and it will happen so soon...I asked Hermes to bring you to Roswell before you moved on to Dallas so that I could speak with you. This is one of the only places I can speak to you, as I am linked to the stars in the same way that the Traveler is linked to her forests. Roswell is connected to the stars as much as any place on Earth can be. It is the only place where I have enough strength to reach you."
"Why would you want to talk to me?" I felt touched by the Giver. I understood how he felt...to watch death approaching someone you cared about...to have to walk with them, talk to them, hold them, knowing that they were moving ever closer to their end.
"I wanted to talk to you," the Giver responded, "Because I knew that it would comfort you to know that someone was watching out for Hermes. I also needed to warn you that you must talk with the Warrior when you reach Roswell."
"The Warrior? Is he another Guardian?"
The Giver seemed to think before responding. "He is one of us, though he has no youngling. He is still attached to your world. He cannot travel through dreams and he cannot take the form of a human like we can. He will meet you while Hermes goes to hunt. You must speak with him alone. He is dangerous, though he means well, and he wants to help you on your journey. Be careful. The Warrior doesn't want to hurt you, but he has poor self control...If anything happens to you, Hermes is going to be deeply hurt...Just take care of yourself, Wanderer." He began to fade.
"How will I know what The Warrior looks like?" I yelled to him.
The Giver simply smiled and held a finger to his lips.
My eyes opened. I relaxed when I realized I was back in the car. I stretched and looked out the window. The sun had set, but the sky was still a foggy blue, as night hadn't set in yet. Far in the distance, I saw lights.
"Are you awake?" Hermes asked. "You've been asleep a while."
Instead of answering his question, I said, "I met the Giver."
Hermes shrugged. "He told me that he wanted to meet you. Did he tell you about the Warrior?"
"Yeah. He told me to be careful around him."
"Good advice," Hermes said.
I sighed. "Why didn't you tell me you had a Guardian?"
"He told me not to tell you." I face palmed and Hermes smiled. "Annoying, aren't they?"
"Ugh, tell me about it."
"Have you figures out their secret," he asked curiously.
"Their secret. Their true identities. You haven't guessed yet?"
I felt like screaming. Instead, I focused on the lights of the city growing closer with every minute. I silently counted to ten and said, "No, I haven't."
"You're going to be in for a big surprise when you meet the Warrior."
We spent the next five minutes in silence. That's when my mind was invaded.
Okay, I know I promised you guys action, but it's been taking me a long time to write this and this part ended up being longer than I thought it would be. So, let's say this chapter is two parts and this is the first one.