Chapter 4: A Race against Time

Haru jumped in shock as he heard Blacksoul's story and exclaimed, "What? If you say is true, then none more than my finest men will do…"

Blacksoul chuckled and replied with a grin, "I can use ALL you can afford… Bring your entire force, for I doubt this fool works alone…"

Haru's eyes widened and replied through gritted teeth, "Everyone? But, that will leave Blackroot Town unguarded!"

Blacksoul replied with laughter and said with a smile, "You always assume that I have one layer of my plans… No… I am sure that my son can spare some royal guards to protect the town in our absence… Besides, the queen owes me a favor for preventing her assassination a year or so back…"

Haru's panic dissolved with Blacksoul's calm and reassuring words, and he then replied with a nod, "Ok then… I will lock up Eternity Hall and prepare my forces for leaving at dawn tomorrow…"

Blacksoul then shook his head and replied as he glared at Haru, "Dusk would be better… We do not know how long before the thief targets his next Blade of Destiny…"

Haru said with a smirk, "OK… Whatever… However, now that I think of it, I can imagine where the Blade Bandit may strike next…"

Blacksoul then shouts in surprise, "Really? Where?"

Haru chuckled and responded as he crossed his arms and grinned, "Rumors tell of the blade of the mythical warrior Cobalion, the protector of Order, being deep in the ruins of the once-feared Shadow Valley in order to keep its evils contained… If THAT blade gets in the wrong hands…"

Blacksoul chuckled and replied as he pulled a sword from a regal sheathe on his back, "I am WAY ahead of you… You see, I have had this blade for many months… In fact, it was Cobalion who called me to this quest… However, he fears for his younger brothers… And considering that this criminal has the blade of Virizion, he could just as easily go for Terrakion in Wellspring Point… You must lead your forces there, as I must meet with the hidden brother…"

Haru exclaimed in wonder, "A fourth? But the legend only speaks of the three!"

Blacksoul replied as he pulled out a water-logged scroll, "Deep within is the secret of the Ocean Blade, Keldeo, who was hidden as a young child as his brothers protected the world from destruction… Also, because he never was subjected to that war, he is whole and ready to fight…"

Just then, a mysterious voice shouted exhuberantly, "Sure am! If some fool threatens my brothers, I will cut them to shreds!"

Haru looked at the pokemon, who seemed to be a strange horse with hair made of crimson kelp, pierced by a sharp ivory horn that resembled a crude blade, and inquired, "Are you Keldeo?"

The pokemon nodded and replied with a grin, "Yes! I have come to stop this bandit that Blacksoul speaks of from claiming the souls of my brothers for his own benefit! Also, I gathered some information… The bandit, a sinister Bisharp, seems to call himself Keiji, and is the leader of this sadistic organization known as the Umbra Cruciferi…"

Blacksoul trembled with rage as he roared, "What? Keiji-san is the bandit?"

Haru inquired towards Blacksoul's rage as he said, "I take it you know him?"

Blacksoul nodded and said with a frown, "Yes… The Cruciferi is a troublesome organization, and runs the underground in the capital… Obviously, he will try to use this power to bring him up top and eventually into dictator rule…"

Haru nodded in understanding as he said, "Then we must employ Arceus-speed…"

Blacksoul facepalmed and then corrected Haru, "Don't you mean Deoxys-speed?"

Haru blushed in embarrassment as he replied, "Yeah… I did mean that… No matter… As long as we get there, it will be fine…"

Keiji paced around in a vast, shadowy hallway until Shuryo, Unmei, and Yoru appeared before him and said in unison, "We have arrived under your command, Keiji-sama!"

Keiji cracked a grin and said in a wicked voice, "Well, explain to me what took you so long… Are you fools becoming incompetent too?"

Shuryo turned pale and replied, "No, sir! We were just…provoked by some skillful pokemon last night… We had to recover before presenting ourselves this night…"

Keiji then turned to Unmei and said as the young thug seemed weak, "Are you OK, Unmei-san?"

Suddenly, a beam of light surrounded Unmei and when it cleared, Unmei had evolved into a very muscular Scrafty and he finally replied with joy, "Never been better, my lord…"

Keiji nodded in understanding and said as he crossed his arms, "As you three may be aware of, I have taken it upon myself to gather the Blades of Destiny… However, when I went to get the blade of Virizion, the pesky veteran bounty hunter known as Blacksoul appeared to stop me… Although I escaped with the blade, I have word he has Cobalion's blade… For all I know, he could be marching elite pokemon to the site of Terrakion's blade as we speak… Therefore, we need to unite as one guild… Gather the rest of the Cruciferi, my children, as the night will bring us bounties great!"