DISCLAIMER: I don't own any major Asian game companies, or even a kotatsu. Don't know what that is? You're missing out. There is also very little Violet in this chapter. Sorry bout that!

Roy Stryker wheeled over the golden city, high above the clouds. He took a deep breath of the cold air rushing past his face, and grinned. He loved flying more than anything else. Especially on his Staraptor, the fastest, strongest bird in any region.

"Wish you could see this, Staraptor! The view is great!" Roy called ahead, whistling appreciatively. His Staraptor turned its head, regarding him. The scar tissue where the magnificent birds eyes had once been was marred with tight, puckered skin, the result of a murderous Aerodactyl's attack. Roy smiled fondly at his blind partner, knowing it couldn't see him.

"Wait. Circle around, I think I saw something," Roy ordered, his forehead scrunched up. His Staraptor twitched a few feathers on its left wing, changing their course with ease, and then the two were spiraling sharply through the clouds. Roy leaned with the curve, his body reacting naturally to keep him on board. He put a hand in front of his face to shield it from the wind and frowned.

"There. Looks like smoke. That's the Saffron Gym." Roy murmured, more for his Staraptors benefit than anything. What could be going on down there? An intense battle maybe? "A little lower. Lets check it out."

His partner arched its wings, using them to parachute their descent. Slowly they fell, cushioned on the air trapped beneath the powerful muscles in Staraptors wings. As they passed through the lower hanging clouds, Roy got his first good look at the Saffron gym. He bit back a curse just as a shockwave hit them, laced with Psychic energy.

Black shadows flitted in and out of the pillar of smoke, some of them far too tangible. This was no gym battle.

It was an attack.

"Staraptor, climb!" Roy shouted. The bird Pokemon reacted instantly, beating its powerful wings to carry them high out of range. Roy was already selecting poke balls from his belt. He couldn't stand by. Sabrina needed help dealing with this, or Saffron would be destroyed, just like Lavender town.

Unbidden, his thoughts went to the violet eyed rookie who'd beaten him recently. If she was near town…

"I don't have time," Roy swore, but his hands were already reaching for his poketch. Just three clicks and he was ringing her number. It seemed like forever before the dark haired girl answered, and when she did, he cut her off immediately.

"Not now, Vie. Are you in Saffron city? Or anywhere nearby?" He said urgently, speaking loudly above the rush of the wind. It was a moment before she spoke.

"No, we're almost to Vermillion," Violet said hesitantly, thrown off guard by his tone. "Roy, what's"

"Later. Listen, I'll catch up to you guys in Vermillion in a day or two, alright? Until then sit tight," Roy responded grimly. Another small explosion ripped through the wall of the gym, scattering concrete. "I have to go," he cut her off, despite her protests, and hung up the phone.

"Go, Staraptor," He ordered grimly, his eyes burning with intensity. It was time to end what the Ghosts had started. No matter the cost. His Staraptor let out a high keening cry and arrowed down through the sky towards the battle zone.

~o~

For a long moment, Indigo stood in the dark, whispering grass, staring at the cascades of golden hair that covered his Princesses back. The scene was ethereal, complete with an unbroken blanket of stars that shone all the brighter without the moon. Indigo felt the unnerving sensation that if he moved or spoke, the spell would be shattered, and nothing would be the same again.

"Indigo?" Princess Riza questioned softly, without looking. She turned suddenly, her hair flying, and saw him. She broke into a disbelieving smile that warmed his heart enough for him to smile back.

"You came! I'm so glad!" Riza glowed, her voice like music on water. "I just knew you would be smart enough to figure out that riddle, but I didn't think…"

"Forget that," Indigo said, pushing his own experience with the ghosts to the back of his mind. "Why are you out here? Haven't you gone in yet?"

Riza shook her head. "I got…distracted. Here, look." She moved to the side, revealing a small form in the grass.

Indigo's heart almost stopped. Lying in the grass was a purple-black shadow, a breathing nightmare. In other words, a Misdreavus.

"She was fading away near the door. She seemed to be trying to get under the stars, so I moved her here. It seemed to help when I touched her," Riza explained, oblivious to Indigo's reaction. "I…I think she's sick. Look here, at those grey-ish crack marks. It's like she's turning to stone."

Indigo forced himself to look closer, fighting the bile that rose up in his throat. The small Pokemon did look sick. Her normal markings were broken up by what looked like grey rimmed cracks, glowing red in the center like blood. He hadn't thought ghosts could get sick like that.

"How did you know she was a girl?" Indigo asked, sitting back on his heels, away from the powerless killer.

Riza didn't answer at first, and when she did she sounded strange. "I just…guessed I suppose…" She said finally. Indigo frowned at her answer, looking down at the small Pokemon. He wouldn't have been able to even make a guess.

"She says her name is Aneka," Riza added in a small voice. Indigo's eyes snapped up to the girls face at that, remembering what the Mismagius had said.

"That's…ridiculous," He said firmly, hiding his sudden fear behind his words. "You couldn't possibly know that. I think you need to get back and lie down for a bit."

"I'm not leaving," Riza said, shaking her head. "Besides, what would happen to Aneka? We came all this way, we can't turn back!"

"Her name isn't Aneka. If you want to name her go ahead, but don't try and tell me you can understand this monster!" Indigo retorted hotly, remembering his own near death experience. This was no harmless child, this was a killer. Treating it like a pet would be worse than stupid.

"She's not a monster, Indigo, she's a baby! How can you even say that?" Riza retorted hotly, picking up the small Pokemon. "And I just know that's her name, I don't know how! We need to get her medical attention, her and any other sick Pokemon in that…place," she finished, shuddering at the sight of the plain building.

Indigo grimaced. This was going to get him nowhere.

The argument was interrupted by the Misdreavus's sob. Indigo and Riza both looked down at the sound. The baby was awake.

She was also fading away, the tips of her hands disappearing into nothing.

"No! Hold on little one, you can do it!" Riza begged, her eyes horrified. "You can't give up! We'll help you!" She turned to Indigo, her violet eyes agonized. "Help me!"

Indigo looked down at the crying baby, revulsion lancing through him. This baby would grow up into a life sucking monster, the definition of fear. And yet…

Indigo sighed, defeated by the look in her eyes and her desperate plea for help. He grabbed an empty Poke ball, and pressed the button in the center.

The ghost disappeared into the sphere, still crying. After a moment, the sphere was still. Indigo placed the ball firmly into Riza's hands. "She won't fade until we release her. I know a woman back home, a healer. She might be able to help." Before she could speak, he held up a hand. "Don't misunderstand me. We're releasing it as soon as it stops fading. Then it can come back and live with it's own kind" And feed off some other people, he added mentally. Although it didn't look as though any ghost would attack Riza.

Riza's eyes shone with gratitude. She stood smoothly and brushed off her skirt. Her eyes met Indigo's, and she turned towards the building that loomed over them.

"You're probably right, you know," she said, as she walked up to the front door. "I…well, I did overreact. Doctor Camellia saved my life. After this, do you want to go get some food somewhere? I'm starving."

Indigo gave the beautiful girl a half smile. "I'd love to, Princess."

Riza smiled back at him as she turned the knob and opened the door.

Indigo's vision seemed to tilt as Riza screamed, her entire body going rigid like she'd been paralyzed. Before Indigo could react, she was screaming again, over and over, the sound ringing in his ears.

"Riza!" He shouted, making a move towards her. At the sound of her name the blonde girl slammed the door shut forcefully, her movements jerky. She sank to her knees, clutching her head.

Indigo grabbed her shoulders, facing the girl. "What did you see? What is it?" Riza's eyes were unfocused and tear filled. She didn't seem to see him. Indigo clenched his teeth and stood, reaching for the doorknob. She grabbed his arm hard, stopping him. Her hands were cold.

"Don't…they were….Indigo, they were right! Everything-" she broke off with a sob. Indigo reached out an arm and placed it on her shoulder, more worried about her than the lab.

She didn't react to his gesture at all. Riza's pupils dilated, until they were pinpricks of black in a sea of violet. The shadow swirls from before were back, moving slowly under her skin, gaining speed.

Indigo had seen that before. He stumbled back, just before rocks and bits of grass rose into the air, swirling madly around the horrified girl. Her hair rose too, and her eyes glowed black.

"What's wrong with you?" Indigo said, more a question to himself than her. "It's almost like you're a-"

"Monster!" Riza sobbed, her voice strangely double timbered, "No wonder the ghosts were afraid! He's a monster!" The edges of her skirt flared, and Indigo had the terrible feeling that he'd lost her.

"The girl is our Queen, the Princess of Evil, the Voice of Shadows, the Child of Midnight. She is one of us…"

"No!" Indio shouted, suddenly furious. "You are not one of them! You're Riza! Do you hear me?" Roots sprang out of the ground, their cracked ends waving wildly in the air, and Indigo thought he saw shifting movement in the shadows of the trees surrounding the clearing. They had come.

Indigo gritted his teeth when he didn't receive an answer to his question. He threw himself into the fray of levitating objects, towards the girl who was almost a ghost. Bits of grass and stone stung his cheeks and exposed hands. He ignored them, grabbing onto the girls cold shoulders, trying to get her to look at him with her blackened eyes.

"Riza, you are not a ghost. You're the princess! You're my princess. Ever since I met you, I-" he winced as a stone hit his arm, drawing blood. Determined, he forged on. "I'm different! I smile more, and laugh, and it's like I never knew how before! Sure you can be irritating, and you aren't scared of all the creepy stuff, but you're strong and brave, and you can smile through all the hard things like it's nothing! That's who you are, not some cursed lab experiment!"

Riza stared blankly at him, all vestiges of humanity gone. Indigo was looking into a predators eyes, empty and flat. The ghosts around the clearing started to emerge from the shadows, their eyes glistening with muted excitement. The roots flailed around faster, as though on puppet strings.

"I love you, Riza! Can you hear me? I love you!" Indigo shouted desperately, closing his eyes against the storm of debris. A tree root stabbed him in the leg, and stars exploded behind his eyelids. He hit the ground heavily, muffling a groan. His blood pooled until it touched her shoes.

The whirlwind slowed, then stopped, bits of grass and dirt pattering down on Indigo's head. He flinched, then looked up. The black swirls under Riza's skin were still there, but now they were motionless. She was staring into the distance, her eyes blessedly violet.

"Indigo?" Her voice was soft, like she was sleep talking. "What did you just-" Before she could finish her sentence her eyelids fluttered and she swayed. She crumpled, her hair making a veil over her face. Indigo could only lay there, gasping, for what seemed like forever, until finally he was able to prop himself up on one elbow. He felt for a pulse in Riza's neck, and sighed with relief.

He looked down at his leg, and then back at the blonde girl. This was going to be a long trip home.

~o~

"Huh. Weird," Violet said, turning off her phone. Roy was acting stranger than usual. And that was saying something.

"Who was that?" Indigo asked, coming up to her silently. Violet jumped as he appeared from nowhere, laughing at herself.

"Roy. He was acting pretty strange," she commented cheerfully, grinning for his benefit. "It was probably nothing."

"Hn." Indigo said expressively, turning away again. Violet sighed, feeling guilty. He'd been like this ever since Celadon gym, a whole week ago. Moody, distant…and strangely reluctant to share his story. It was unlike him.

"Alright, training time," Violet announced, standing up. She brushed off her jeans, oblivious to the reaction her pronouncement brought out in her companions.

"Aw yeah!" Allison cheered, her eyes gleaming like fire behind her glasses. "My turn, Hikanashi."

"But I wanted to-I mean okay!" Piper cringed as Allison glared at him. She smiled, obviously pleased, reaching for an ultra ball.

"Pass," Indigo said simply, staring moodily into their campfire. Violet gaped at him. Indigo never turned down training. Not ever. After a while, Indigo turned to meet her surprised gaze with his own cool eyes. "Train the fish. Or the blob," he suggested, turning back to the fire.

Violet grimaced, turning away so he couldn't see her face as tears stung her eyes. His diffidence hurt more than she cared to admit. "Fine," she said shortly, picking up her yellow backpack. "Mr. Fin it is then. At least he talks more."

Indigo didn't respond and Violet stomped off towards their groups makeshift battleground. It was the only relatively flat area nearby, surrounded by forest. It had also been the only place Allison's Aerodactyl had been able to land.

"Go, Lace!" Allison ordered, releasing a sinewy periwinkle serpent onto the field, its soulful eyes as deep as the ocean. Allison's Dragonair was pretty, but it was a force to be reckoned with.

"Mr. Fin," Violet said with a grin, tossing her Master ball high into the air. Mr. Fin roared savagely as he entered the field, stretching his scaly form as he prepared for a battle. Violet admired his beautiful scales flashing under the late autumn sun, sighing slightly to herself. She looked up at the sky and the windblown clouds, feeling a breeze play across her face. She took a deep breath, pushing all thoughts of Indigo and Roy aside for the time being. Indigo had promised to tell her more of his story tonight anyways.

She could worry about the world later. Right now, all that existed was the battle. She opened her violet eyes and grinned in pure exultation. The world narrowed, drowning out the trees and even the sky, until all she could see was the battlefield, leaf blown and wild.

She forgot her name, and the battle began.

~o~

Indigo did not open the door.

He could have, and Riza would never have known. And yet, something told him he would not like what he saw. And Riza came first. Until she was safe, everything else could wait. No matter what.

The only problem now was trying to carry her. He looked down at his leg and grimaced. The wound was fairly shallow, and the pain had retreated until it was nothing but a dull ache, but whenever he tried to put weight on it, it felt like it had been set on fire. There was no way he could carry the extra weight, even though she was frighteningly light after her weeks of sickness. Looking back, he could hardly believe it had been so long since he'd met her. It seemed like no time at all had gone by.

He had two options. He could either find some way to carry her…or he could wait until Doctor Camellia came back.

Indigo groaned and struggled to his feet once again. His leg immediately ripped into flames, and he stumbled, catching himself on one hand. No. He had to get them out of here. If the Doctor found them here of all places, there was no telling what could happen. He would have to ignore the pain somehow.

He tried again, this effort bringing stinging tears to his eyes. The Princess was as still as death, not even stirring despite the noise he was making. He took a deep breath to steel himself, and rose for the third time. He stood quickly, to get the worst of it over with, and forced his body to stand still as the pain screamed at the rational part of his brain to stop whatever it was he was doing. He bit his lip, so hard he half expected it to start bleeding.

It took fifteen agonizing seconds for the pain to dim, until it was nothing more than a red hot ember rather than an open fire. Despite this, Indigo's eyes opened with triumph. He was standing.

He took a single step forward and the fire exploded, making his leg crumple instinctively. He hit the ground hard, and heard a cracking noise.

And then all the pain disappeared, replaced with a warm floating sensation, like he was surrounded by salt water.

He looked down and saw a small purple-black shape attached to his leg. The fall had set the injured Misdreavus free. And now it was feeding on his pain, drinking it in like a man who had never had water.

He swallowed his reaction, but a cold sweat broke out over his entire body. The poke ball looked like it wouldn't be able to close. He moved slowly, reaching out one trembling hand to try and push the small Pokemon away. His hand passed right through the insubstantial Pokemon, and it glared at him reproachfully. It looked much healthier than it had before. And from the defiance in it's eyes, it would not be easy to get rid of.

He didn't like it, but…maybe this was his chance? He stood experimentally, and the monster feeding on his blood mewled in protest, but stayed firmly lodged. He shook out his leg, and then stomped hard. Nothing. He couldn't feel anything at all.

He grinned despite himself. Maybe the little monster was good for something. Now he just had to get to Karraket before it started gnawing on his life force.

That was one problem down. But his leg wasn't healed, just numbed. Any extra strain could damage it permanently. So in that case…

"Come on out, Fluffy!" Indigo called out, his voice sounding odd in the silent forest. His Ursaring flashed into existence, and suddenly he didn't feel alone any more. He smiled at the sight of his furry companion, feeling warm inside for just a moment before he remembered the Ghost on his leg.

"Fluffy," Indigo said, wincing at the name, "Can you carry Riza?" The bear Pokemon rumbled in answer, and carefully lifted the unresponsive girl into her thick furred arms. Still she did not wake. Indigo pushed down his fear. Kaya could fix her. She could fix anyone, if the rumors were to be believed.

They made an odd group, walking out of that forest. The sun peeked over the horizon just as they exited the tree cover, lighting the road before them with brilliant red hues. Indigo felt his heart lifting as the last remnants of the night were finally chased away by the sun. The Misdreavus on his leg whimpered at the light and kept it's eyes squinted with pain, but clung stubbornly to its meal. It looked almost normal again.

Kaya lived deep inside the city, almost precisely in the center of the busy town. In many ways, the old woman was the heart of the town, pulsing life into the inhabitants thereof. Some people said she was a witch, others claimed she was a warrior of another time. But not even her harshest critics doubted her power to heal.

The streets were almost empty at the early hour, with the exception of a few shop owners. Indigo kept to the side streets and alleyways of his hometown as much as possible. He hadn't been home in far too long, but something told him he should keep out of sight until Riza was in Kaya's home. It would cause an uproar if the Princess were seen here, especially since news of her illness had yet to be made public.

It had been the center of his world for so long, and yet no one else even knew. Life went on, despite his world nearly ending. It was amazing to think that he hadn't even known her a year ago. Even stranger to think that his friend could one day rule this entire nation. It boggled his mind.

"Indigo! What a surprise to see you here!" A pink haired woman of maybe 30 said from flower filled yard. It looked like she was hanging clothes on a line. Indigo smiled tiredly, and fell onto the cobbled stones, unconscious at last.

~o~

An explosion tore through what was left of the Saffron gym, and the structure finally fell, crashing into the earth with a cloud of dust that hid the destruction from view. Roy looked at the trap he had barely escaped from, breathing heavily. Blood from a shallow cut on his forehead seeped into his eye and he rubbed at it tiredly.

"You fight well, Roy Stryker," Sabrina praised, her voice strained. "I can almost believe you fought our Champion, as you claim."

"I lost," Roy retorted grimly, his eyes on the fallen building. His eyes flickered down to his poke balls, counting the partners who were unable to fight. He gritted his teeth, picking up his final poke ball. He wasn't done yet.

"Prepare yourself," Sabrina warned, her eyes sparking silver. Her Alakazam, miraculously still conscious, joined her, one of its spoons broken in two.

A lone human figure stepped through the cloud of dust, surrounded by flickering shadows and laughter. His blonde hair was dirty, but it still managed to wave in the wind. He looked up, and his eyes were orange and pupil less, dead eyes that stared from a living face.

"You're good," the stranger said with surprise, his voice strangely doubly timbered, like two voices were speaking at once. "I like that. I'll kill you gladly."

"Who are you?" Roy bit out, wincing as his leg throbbed. "What are you? And what could you possibly want?"

The man giggled, the sound completely out of place. "The humans name was Karo, before I ate him. I have no name. My master took it from me when she left. I'm looking for her. Tell me, where is she?"

"Ate him?" Roy breathed in horror, his eyes going wide. He had heard of Karo, the self proclaimed hero who had stopped that rampaging Dragonite a while back. He had heard of him from Violet too, briefly. He had fought her for her Lucario, or something like that.

"Your Master is dead," Sabrina said coldly, raising her hands. Rocks and debris floated in the air, lifted by her psychic powers. "She died a long time ago. I've seen it."

"Liar!" The ghost imprisoning Karo shrieked, and the ghosts surrounding him flew into a frenzy, flashing fangs and claws. Roy looked down at his poke ball, his eyes agonized.

"Staraptor, just a little more!" He ordered finally, calling his partner to the battle zone. The massive bird flashed into existence, its head held up proudly. One wing hung uselessly to the side, injured by the vicious ghosts.

"Sorry, my friend," Roy said under his breath, before looking up with fire in his eyes. "Just a little more!"

"What?" Sabrina gasped, whipping her head over towards him. "No, no! If you do that, you'll-!"

"I'll be fine! Just back me up, and we can protect this town! It is yours, right?" Roy called out, meeting the cold eyes of the stunned gym leader. Her mouth quirked up into a smile. Roy grinned back at her. "In that case, we fight together. Just this once."

"You lose. You die." A voice said from behind him, and Roy turned just in time to see Karo's hand reaching for his throat, cloaked in shadows.

~o~

"We made it!" Violet cheered, punching the air. A sea breeze caressed her skin, making her shiver with happiness. Finally, they were here.

Picturesque cottages were arranged around the bay like artwork, bathed in the light of the playful sun. The waves beat along the shoreline, pounding the white sand. A few stores, and the ever present Pokemon Center lay on higher ground, overlooking the docks, looking solid and modern in this timeless bay. The docks lay on the edges of town, cheerful white sails bobbing on the waves nearby, dwarfed by the massive cruise ship from Johto.

"It is beautiful," Indigo said with surprise, staring at the sea with wide crimson eyes. Violet grinned at him, glad he had spoken like himself for the first time since leaving Celadon.

"Welcome to Vermillion City, the home of the best beaches in Kanto," Violet said proudly, displaying the city as though it was her own. "The gym leader of this town is Lt. Surge, a veteran of the last war. He's known for his overpowering tactics, and his gym traps. He's pretty tough though, so look out."

"You'll be fine," Indigo snorted. "I sincerely doubt you'll have any trouble."

"Thanks," Violet said, wilting slightly when he didn't say 'we'. She perked up. "Lets go play on the beach! I'm planning to train for a few days before facing Surge anyways, so it'll be-"

"No," Indigo cut her off, surprising her. "I need to talk to you, Violet."

"O-Okay," Violet stammered, "Whatever you say." She turned to Allison and Piper. "Why don't you get us rooms? We'll meet you later."

"Sounds like a plan!" Allison said with a grin, "Come on Pippy, lets go!"

"Y-your bag is…" Piper squeaked, trying to pull both his bag and Allisons suitcase. It was almost as big as he was.

"Oh, shush you. Oooh, look! Is that a…come on Piper!" Allison squealed, running ahead. He followed her more slowly, going red with effort.

Violet turned to Indigo, a question in her eyes, but he held up one paw. "This way," he said simply, grabbing her hand. He shut his eyes, activating his Aura vision, and they were off.

He led her expertly, as though he'd lived there all his life, twisting through the buildings and cliff like he belonged. They reached a secluded outcrop of rock overlooking the sea, completely empty of life except for a few Wingull, wheeling in the azure sky. Indigo stopped, staring with an inscrutable expression into the sea.

"Indigo, I-" Violet started, but Indigo whirled, effectively stopping her words with his intense, furious eyes.

"I am not a good person, Vie. I'm not a hero, and I'm not a good friend. I've done terrible things, and I've hurt a lot of people. I hurt you, when all you've done is look out for me," His eyes flickered to the hem of her shirt, where the healing bruise could still be seen. His eyes went dark and he looked away, his teeth gritted.

He started to speak the words she wanted to hear the least. "I think its time we went our separate-"

"Nope," Violet interrupted offhand, the middle of the word popping. Indigo started, looking up at her with surprise.

"Violet, you don't-"

"I said no," Violet said seriously, meeting her partners eyes ruefully. "I don't want you to leave, bad person or no. I can't promise I'll always agree with your choices, especially the ones you made in the past, but I'll always support you, Indigo. You've been looking out for me too, you know. In my eyes, you are a hero. And what's more, you'll always be my friend."

Indigo's mouth opened, then closed. "You are serious?" He asked incredulously, and his eyes were so wide that Violets mouth quirked up in a smile.

"If you try to leave I'll sick Mr. Fin on you," Violet promised solemnly, her eyes sparkling. "And if you don't cheer up, I'll find out if you're ticklish or not."

Indigo looked so absolutely stunned at this that Violet couldn't help but laugh, the sound echoing over the surf below. "You look like a Magikarp with your mouth like that," she informed him, giggling as his eyes narrowed at the insult.

"Magikarps can't throw you into the ocean," Indigo growled, stalking towards her. Violet gulped, backing up on instinct. She tripped over her bag, falling flat on her butt into a pool of water. Indigo stared at her before coughing into his paw to hide his laughter.

"Not funny!" Violet complained, her clothes dripping wet, only making Indigo laugh harder. She rolled her eyes at him, grinning because of his newly regained high spirits. She was glad he was back to normal.

After a while, she realized he was staring at her, a bemused smile on his face. "What?" Violet asked self consciously, checking to see if she'd gotten muddy too or something.

"Just wondering how I ended up with the best trainer in the world," Indigo remarked, shaking his head. "You really are amazing."

"Yes I am," Violet agreed with a smile, wringing out one side of her shirt. "And my best friend is pretty darn cool too. Come on, lets go to the Pokemon Center, I want to hear more of your story. You and your cliffhangers."

"Fine," Indigo agreed, a little too easily. His eyes became just a little bit worried. "But Violet…"

"What is it?" The amethyst eyed girl asked innocently, trying to wring out the other side of her shirt. Indigo shook his head.

"It's nothing."

~o~

"I knew you were a fool, but even I thought you smarter than a brick," an age cracked voice said by way of greeting when he finally opened his eyes again, groaning at the pressure behind his eyes. He felt like he had been hit by a bus.

"Mother, that's rude!" A kinder voice berated. Indigo saw the younger woman's magenta hair from behind. He knew that voice. But where…

"Joy!" He said, sitting up suddenly. "Where is-" Vertigo hit him hard and he doubled over, gasping. He felt a delicate hand on his back, rubbing in small circles.

"You shouldn't sit up so quickly," Kaya's daughter said kindly, "You'll just make yourself sick."

"The Princess is fine," the old woman in the corner said scornfully, "If fine can be used to describe a-"

"Mother!" Joy scolded. She turned back to Indigo. "I'm sorry about her. She's just a cranky old woman. Would you like something to drink? Water maybe?"

"I'm okay," Indigo said, struggling to put his thoughts together. He was in a plain room with exposed wooden rafters, hung with herbs and decorations. He appeared to be lying on a makeshift bed on the floor. "What happened to Riz-er, I mean the Princess?"

Kaya snorted. Joy through her a withering look and turned back to Indigo. "The Princess is sleeping. My mother was able to ease the pain of the…well, the black markings, I suppose, and she, er…"

"I merely helped her into a more natural sleep. I don't know what you've been doing, but she was in shock. It took me most of the morning to raise her body temperature to normal levels!" Kaya grumbled. She stood, her faded pink hair bobbing. "Now get out."

"I'm sorry, Indigo," Joy said apologetically, "Ignore her. You're welcome to stay as long as you'd like. You'll be happy to hear that your Misdreavus is doing much better now that she's out of the light."

"No, she-it's not," Indigo stammered. Kaya gave him a shrewd look before turning to her daughter.

"Joy, this child needs some tea. Mint, preferably. Do you remember what the mint looks like?"

"I think so," Joy replied, looking doubtful. "You want me to make it?"

"Yes. You. Now go and don't come back until you're finished!" Kaya ordered. When her daughter left the room she immediately turned on Indigo.

"Alright, now speak. What were you doing with the princess in the middle of the Whispermist forest? And why is the Princess half dead?"

Indigo started to protest. The old woman couldn't possibly know where they had been after all. But the look in her eyes made his words die on his lips. "I went after her. She was going to try and find…something bad. She was sick when she left, but she fainted when we saw some ghosts," Indigo explained, wincing internally at the lies. It wasn't his decision whether the public found out about the Princesses curse after all.

Kaya regarded him shrewdly. "You are an awful liar. You think I don't recognize what an illness looks like? And I saw how you acted when you heard about that ghost. If it were you, you wouldn't have brought it to me, now would you? And the Princess is no fainter. That girl laughs at fear, and is no stranger to darkness. What were you two doing in that forest?"

Indigo gaped, and struggled to compose his face. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said earnestly, keeping his voice level. Kaya glared at him. Joy chose that moment to walk into the room, a steaming mug in her hands.

"Here you go! I hope you like it," She said with a warm smile. Indigo took the cup gratefully, not looking at the old woman.

"Thanks, I appreciate it," Indigo said honestly, realizing at once how parched he was. He felt like he hadn't had a drink in days. He took a sip of the fragrant liquid.

"Indigo was just telling me about the curse on the Princess," Kaya said innocently. Indigo choked on his tea.

"Mother!" Joy scolded, rushing to Indigo's side. "What a thing to say! Poor Indigo might have died!"

"Please," Kaya scoffed, "Mint tea never killed anyone. Her curse is activated, and I want to know why. Her parents knew the risks of letting her near Pokemon, so why is she dying? More importantly, why isn't she dead by now?" Kaya mused out loud, staring into space. She looked askance at Indigo. "Stop choking, boy. It's hardly that bad."

Indigo was too busy choking to respond. His throat felt like it had been spewing fire, and was closing up in protest. Tears pricked at the corners of his now red eyes.

"That shouldn't be happening," Kaya muttered. "Unless…" She picked p the abandoned tea cup and sniffed it. She held the cup away from her face suddenly, gagging. "JOY! The green leaves! Not black, not purple, green! You may have just poisoned him, you foolish girl!"

"But they all smelled the same!" Joy wailed, "I'll get him some water."

"I'll do it. Where you got your blundering hands I'll never know. Maybe it was that father of yours," Kaya muttered, standing up. She left the room, returning a few moments later. She thrust a glass into Indigo's hands and he drank gratefully. The burning subsided on contact with the cool, mineral flavored water, and all at once he could breath again.

He sat there, gratefully sucking in deep lungfuls of air. Joy wasn't known for her medical skills. She was infamously bad, actually.

Kaya made an irritated sound in the back of her throat and grabbed her gnarled cane from the side of the cot.

"Keep sipping that for half an hour, and then get some rest," The old woman said as she hobbled out of the room. "Get out before Analynns daughter awakes."

~o~

"Not a chance."

"But Indigo!" Violet wailed, "I need to train Mr. Fin, and Avery won't stay in her Poke ball! Just for a few hours?"

Indigo held up a spiked paw. "You want me to baby-sit a psychotic sadistic child who can throw me across the room with her mind for three hours so you can train an already overpowered monster for a gym with a double type disadvantage?"

"Well when you put it like that…" Violet muttered darkly. "Anyways, Mr. Fin isn't overpowered. And he feels left out because I didn't use him last time! I'm sure he'll be okay! And Avery promises to be on her best behavior, right Avery?"

"I will crush your soul," Avery trilled solemnly. Violet beamed at her, and looked back at Indigo expectantly. He glared at the small Pokemon.

"Two hours. And that fish had better be twice as strong when you come back." Indigo said finally, sighing internally. The things he did for Violet.

"Yay! Thank you, Indigo!" Violet squealed like the teenage girl she was. She hugged him unexpectedly. Indigo stiffened in surprise and didn't have a chance to respond before she released him, running off to train with Allison. Indigo looked at the Ralts he had been left with.

"Trainer is weird," Avery said finally, regarding Violets retreating back.

"Trainer is weird," Indigo agreed, "But no more soul crushing comments or I start translating." Avery looked disappointed. "Why don't you want to be in your Poke ball anyways?" Indigo asked, changing the subject. He wondered vaguely why he was even having a conversation with a baby Pokemon.

"Dark-round is too big. Empty. Echo-mother didn't like it either." Avery responded sulkily. "I want candy."

"I don't have any. And if you eat too much you'll get sick," Indigo berated the small Pokemon. He sighed, wishing that he was training too. Without Violet there was nothing to do. He was unused to being bored.

"Bored too. Steal candy?" Avery suggested, reading his mind.

"Absolutely not. Stealing is bad." Indigo said firmly. The Ralts looked rebellious, so Indigo amended his statement. "Stealing isn't good, but I'll get some candy from Violet if you can behave. And not kill, rob, or maim anyone. How about you train? If you practice it will take your mind off things."

Avery thought about this, for so long that Indigo wasn't sure if she had heard him. "Train like Indigo. Become strong. Then what?" She wondered out loud. Before he could think of something to say to that Avery was lifting copper leaves from the ground and firing them into the blue autumn sky, her small body tensed with concentration.

~o~

Indigo waited until darkness fell once more before slipping out onto the black, cobbled streets. He pulled his cloak tighter around himself at the chill in the air, making sure his face was hidden beneath his hood. He hated the secrecy, but he couldn't risk getting caught. He skirted the flickering lights of the streetlamps, lit by Houndour flames, just another shadow in the night.

Riza, beautiful, kind, fearless Riza…it seemed like the entire world was conspiring against her. She was constantly in danger, constantly getting hurt. She wasn't just his friend. She was the best friend he'd ever had, and this past summer had been the best of his life.

He would protect her. It was that simple. And to do that, he had to know what she had seen behind those doors.

He wasn't challenged on his way out of the city, for which he was grateful. He reached the outskirts in no time. The fields of sunflowers that had been so bright and beautiful during the summer were nothing more than dried husks now, massive, brown flowers that loomed over the road. He hesitated, looking at the starlit fields of death, before releasing Sparks onto the road, lighting up the night for a brief moment.

"No telling what's out here tonight," he whispered by way of explanation, unable to break the silence of the night. Sparks shivered and nodded in agreement.

That being done, he stepped out of town, his steps crunching on the dirt of the beaten path. It seemed like hours later that he reached the edge of the Whispermist forest, although it couldn't have been more than thirty minutes. Indigo stared up at the dark expanse of the trees, gulping slightly. The forest was terrifying at night.

"Well, its not like there are any monsters or anything," Indigo said, trying to reassure himself. Instantly his mind supplied him with twenty possible monsters that could be living in the forest. He groaned, hitting his head with his palm.

"Eon, ee!" His Jolteon cried out, firing a spiked bolt of lightning towards a point inches away from his head. Indigo stumbled back in surprise, but Sparks wasn't finished. He fired again, just missing the tip of Indigos nose.

"Hey, what are you-" Indigo complained, dodging another blast. Frustrated, Sparks leapt onto his shoulder with needle spike claws, lunging at something behind his head.

"Mis Mis!" A voice complained, and Indigo turned in time to see Jolteon pass through a Misdreavus. Sparks hit the ground already braced for another attack, leaping for the things throat with white fangs bared.

"Easy Sparks," Indigo said, grabbing for the spiky electric type. Sparks growled viciously, his fur standing up in razor sharp needles that crackled with electricity, glaring hatefully at the ghost. Indigo turned his attention to the lone ghost hovering just out of reach of the forest.

"Mis Mis," The small shadow sang sadly, looking down at the ground. "Misdreavus…"

"Are you…the Misdreavus from before? You followed us?" At his words the Misdreavus faded slightly with embarrassment. Indigo felt the first stirrings of anger. "We don't need you here. Go back until you're better. After that, I'll release you, count on it."

"Mis," The ghost said stubbornly, coming back into view fully. She glared at Indigo, darting through the air until she grabbed his hand with one cold, misty appendage. "Dreavus, mis." She pulled, trying to get him into the forest.

"Hey!" Indigo complained, digging in his heels. The Misdreavus redoubled her efforts, and Indigo skidded forward a few feet. His hand started to go numb from the cold, the tips of his fingers fading until he couldn't feel them anymore. "Sparks, go!" he shouted, and promptly got zapped by a powerful Thunderbolt just as the Misdreavus faded into the air. He groaned from the ground, the sky spinning above him. The large red eyes of the Misdreavus appeared directly above him, glaring crossly. He felt cold blossom across his forehead, and then everything went dark.

He saw trees zooming past, at incredible speeds. Darkness flirted with the forest, making way for hidden paths and clearings. He saw the meadow filled with glowing golden stars wink in and out of view, until he saw a familiar wooden building in the middle of a meadow.

His vision returned to normal. Indigo sat up, dizzy, but not sick. "You know the way?"

"Mis," The Misdreavus said in exasperation. She flitted towards the edge of the trees, impatiently looking back at him.

"No need to be so pushy," Indigo grumbled, gathering Sparks back up in his arms. It looked like he was stuck with this 'Aneka' for now.

After ten minutes, Indigo was glad he had followed the ghost. The forest was impossibly twisted, and filled with a light, cloying mist that clung in his nose and to his skin. He would have been lost in seconds alone.

When the mist finally broke, he found himself staring at the lab of the man who had saved Riza. Old and wooden, the building had the homey smell of warm timber, and a reassuring presence. It looked out of place in the forest tonight.

Aneka, so bold a moment before, shrunk back, hiding behind Indigo. He took a deep breath and walked forward, despite her protests. He set down Sparks at the door, and returned him to his poke ball. There was no need to scare the baby Pokemon with whatever was inside.

Indigo placed his hand on the worn doorknob, taking a deep breath. He wasn't sure, even now, that he wanted to do this. What could be in there, that had scared even Riza? It was unthinkable.

One thing was for sure. Something was happening in Halleden, something big. And Doctor Camellia was at the beginning and end of everything.

Indigo opened the door.

The first thing that hit him was the smell. Hot and metallic air floated into his face, cloying and stale. Indigo squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light. And then…shapes started to form on the tables lining the room, grotesque, mutilated shapes that stained the wood and the floor with dark liquid, and hung in suspended cages from the ceiling, shapes that were slowly taking form into arms, legs, and blank eyes…

Indigo's legs collapsed as he threw up the bile in his throat, gasping for air and finding none. His heart pounded in his ears and in his mind, a hot, rushing pulse that blocked out all his senses. Aneka cried out, patting him with almost hands as she tried to fix whatever wound had caused him to fall, but finding none. Indigo was barely even aware of her as the images burned themselves into his eyes, searing images that he knew he would never be free of again.

Matted fur, a severed ear, ripped open, torn apart.

The door was still standing open, swaying slightly. It had only been seconds, and yet…with an automatic motion, Indigo reached for the doorframe, steadying himself as he shook, gagging anew. He recognized the smell now for what it was, blood and chemicals, and death, all mixed together with the undeniable scent of burning.

An empty eye socket, a grotesquely wide grin, eggshells stained with red…

He couldn't look up. He knew the answers were right in front of his eyes, but he just couldn't. He felt his childlike innocence being stripped away under the face of such cruelty, and he was too broken to care. He thought of Riza's smiling face, and with a sound like a heartbeat, the image of her face was stained with blood as she grinned wildly, uncaring.

Familiar colors and forms, blue and purple and black, Riza's Pokemon, freshly and precisely broken…

She already knew. Only that thought was able to break through his horror as he realized this. She had already seen, which meant she knew her Pokemon were gone, killed by the monster he had thought was a doctor.

Doctor Camellia.

Clapping echoed behind him, slow and mocking. His head came up with a start, cold sweat beading on his face as fear sank into his heart.

"I'm glad you could make it, Indigo," a soft, malicious voice said from behind, the one voice in the world Indigo had never wanted to hear again. "I thought you might come back."

Indigo didn't move, his limbs frozen in place. Aneka tried to push him into motion frantically, her tiny body unable to move him an inch. Footsteps crunched in the grass behind him, and Indigo knew he was coming.

"This lab isn't exactly sophisticated," the voice drawled. "Messy is the word I would use. But certain things had to be done for the sake of science, things that simply could not be avoided. You understand now, don't you? What you just saw is the price for your beloved Princesses life. The one and only reason she still lives."

The voice chilled him to his bones, and Indigo found he still could not move. Aneka shrieked, diving for the space under his body, and Indigo was aware of a presence sitting beside him, facing towards the meadow and the open sky. "Was it worth it?" Doctor Camellia asked curiously, as though he truly wanted to know the answer. "Is her life worth what you just saw?"

The frozen boy didn't answer, and the doctor continued. "I've been working on this project for years, ever since the man who originally pursued it died. I wanted to create the ultimate medicine, the thing that could save anyone, and destroy anyone. I wanted…no, not revenge, the word doesn't encompass it. I wanted justice, to eliminate those who destroyed my family, and to achieve peace through fear. This world is rotten, you must know that. Rotten things are the price for Riza's life. Rotten things support the righteous world you see. Rotten things toppled the last king and threw the land into revolution. Is it worth it?"

Indigo's mind had stopped working long ago, but his voice answered without his consent, soft and shaky. "No."

"No?" The man said, his words laced with surprise. "It's not worth Riza's life?"

"No, that's not what I-" Indigo said, louder now. He bit off his words, staring at his blurring hands angrily. He raised his head and glared at the man through a fringe of blue-black hair. "Nothing could be worth that. Nothing, you monster."

The man was silent, staring thoughtfully into the starry sky. "You're wrong," he said simply, not bothering to turn. "And soon you will know it too. I have a task for you to complete, Indigo."

Anger lanced through him at the doctors words, and Indigo stood, his hands balled into fists. The doctor looked up at him with surprise. "You think I'd do anything for you?" Indigo demanded frostily.

"As a matter of fact…yes," Doctor Camellia said simply, looking back at the meadow. "You will help me with my research. I require new test subjects, and a few rare eggs. Your skill isn't great, but your potential is. I believe you could do this."

Rage ripped through him, and Indigo spluttered for words. "Think again," he snarled, fire ripping through his limbs, finally freeing him of the ice. "I would never!" Imagine, him helping this monster with his 'research'!

"Is it worth it, Indigo?" Doctor Camellia asked again, sharply. He met Indigo's dark eyes with a flat gaze, staring for what seemed like forever. Indigo's brow furrowed until his words sank in, their meaning becoming clear. He hissed softly, his eyes frozen wide with the choice that had been placed on him.

Doctor Camellia stood, brushing off his black pants with a pale hand. "Tell her about your task, and she dies. I suggest you explain this place in a way that doesn't involve me. I can save her. It is within my power to give her to you. The choice, Indigo, is yours. You have only to ask."

~o~

"Make this quick, Vie," Indigo warned, standing by his trainers side. "Drag this out and you'll lose. It's that simple.

"I know," his trainer said, drawing in a deep breath. She opened her eyes and they flashed. "I've got this, Indigo. The past two days haven't been for nothing, you know?"

Indigo sighed, knowing there was nothing more he could say. Two days Violet had trained Mr. Fin and Ditto, preparing themselves for this battle. The power had been out in Vermillion the entire time they'd been in the city, and Violet hadn't heard from Roy. The lack of distractions had created the perfect training environment. He'd never seen Violet so focused on training before.

She'd been even more focused on training since he'd last told her his story. Almost like she was trying to drown herself in work to avoid him.

"Indigo?" she asked softly, for his ears alone. Allison and Piper were on the stands, waiting. "You love her, right? Riza?"

Indigo hid his surprise at the question. "Yes," he said honestly, wondering where the question had come from.

"Thought so," Violet said with a grin, suddenly back to her normal self. "I'll use you first, okay? Together we can do anything in the world."

Indigo blinked before grinning ruefully. "Your wish is my command," he said half mockingly. "Together we could conquer the world."

"Lets hope it doesn't come to that."

"Hikanashi Violet! You made it all the way here, just to challenge me? Hahaha! I like your style, girlie! Head on and strong! But it will take more than guts to defeat me. My electric Pokemon will stun you!" Lt. Surge boomed from the other end of the field, his bad puns only serving to energize Violet further.

"No regrets," Violet whispered under her breath, so low that Indigo barely heard her. She grinned at him, and in that moment Indigo regretted nothing.

"Fight, Indigo!"

~o~

Indigo crept back into town before the sun rose, not bothering with hiding this time around. His thoughts were in a war with themselves, each side fighting with everything they had. He didn't know what right was anymore. He didn't know his own heart, torn apart by its own inner war.

The doctor had left shortly after making his demonic offer, making his way back to the dark castle looming over the horizon. He had said he would be in touch, and had gone without another word. Indigo did not doubt that they would speak of this again.

He didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to do. What could he possibly do?

Leaning heavily against the side of a building, Indigo rested for the first time since leaving the forest. Aneka bumped against his head, trying to cheer him up. He almost wished she would eat his emotions and make all the confusion go away. Almost, but not quite.

"S'okay, Ani," Indigo said, petting the ghosts head with one tired hand. "I'll be okay." It was strange, but he no longer feared the ghost. He welcomed her, in a strange way.

Should he stay true to his morals and let the girl he loved die, or stain his own soul with darkness for her life? Should he…no, could he let what the doctor had done go unnoticed? Could he cover for a monster, a murderer? Was it worth it?

He would have to become a monster himself. He would have to sacrifice who he was for what he lived for. As strange as his acceptance of the ghost, he was no longer confused about his feelings for Riza. He loved her. She was part of his life that he couldn't be without. The thought of losing her was physically painful, now.

What would she think of all this? Before he had even completed the thought, Indigo cringed. She would not hesitate. She would destroy the shadows with her righteous light, and die for it. Doctor Camellia would be banished forever, his evil with it, and she would die a willing martyr, that same smile as always on her face.

Aneka drew back, surprised by the magnitude of his pain as he acknowledged this. The beads on her necklace shimmered with an unwilling fire, but Indigo's anguish only grew. He knew what he had to do.

There was only one choice. Indigo straightened, his eyes haunted with the fire in his soul. He would stay true to himself, and do the right thing. Let the chips fall where they may, so to speak, and do the horrible, impossible, right thing.

He would tell Riza the truth. She deserved that much, at least.

"Heaven help us both," Indigo murmured, stroking Aneka's head one last time. He let his hand fall to his side.

People were starting to walk past him, looking at him with confusion. He stood straight, ignoring them as best he could as he schooled his expression. He walked purposefully towards Kaya's clinic, his dark grey cloak swirling around him with tattered edges. He didn't even know what he must have looked like to them, with his shadowed, haunted eyes, and the iciness of his jaw. Indigo was a different person, hardened and just a little bit frightening.

"Joy," Indigo said quietly from the doorway. The woman with the short pink hair gasped, dropping a cupful of water as he entered the room. The eggs she was burning sizzled angrily. It took a moment for her to recover.

"Indigo, where…" she tried to speak, trailing off. Her eyebrows furrowed. "I thought you were in bed."

"I went for a walk," Indigo replied, not bothering with details. "I need to see Riza. Is she awake?"

"She woke up a little…Indigo, wait!" The woman protested, reaching for his shoulder. "What's going on? The princess won't speak. Please, I need to know what happened."

Indigo took a deep breath, flinching just a little. "Nothing. I can't tell you right now Joy. Please…just let me talk to her? Please?"

After a long moment of holding his dark eyes, something changed inside Joy. She let go of his shoulder numbly. "Thank you," Indigo said simply, turning away without another word.

He pushed away the cloth hanging in front of the makeshift clinic. Six cots lined the room in rows, but only one patient lay in the silent room. Riza was pale and expressionless, staring steadfastly at the wall. The deep black swirls arched over her skin, slightly faded from the night before. She noticed Indigo and gasped, sitting up.

"Indigo! Your leg, I remember…" she trailed off uncertainly as she took in his appearance for the first time. "What happened to you?" She asked instead, her perfect eyes troubled.

Indigo's heart clenched. "Nothing," he lied, putting it off. "My leg is fine. Kaya fixed it up for me. How are you feeling?"

"I'm…" Riza tried, unable to finish. "I…oh Indigo, I feel like…" Her violet eyes went bright with tears that threatened to spill over. Indigo was at her side in a moment, holding her hands with his own.

"Tell me, Princess," he said gently. "You can tell me anything. You know that."

"Your hands…they're so cold," Riza murmured. She took a deep breath, steadying herself. "That place. I saw things, horrible things…it all feels like a nightmare now, but I can't forget their eyes! Those eyes, like nothing I've ever seen before! Indigo, I knew those eyes! My Miko, my Dew, Nyxie, even…even Coco…" She broke of into a sob there, unable to continue. Indigo held her head into his chest as she sobbed, stroking her hair comfortingly as his own heart screamed with remembered horror. He was glad she couldn't see his eyes.

She cried for a long time, without a single word. All Indigo could do was hold her, but he cherished every moment, his choice weighing heavier on his heart with every passing moment. He knew what he had to tell her, and it was killing him.

"Princess," he cut in after a while, not completely sure how to proceed. "Theres something you need to know."

"Indigo…it couldn't really have been him, could it?" Riza whispered into his chest, her voice unsteady. "He s-saved me, and he's helping my little brother. He couldn't have…I mean-" She broke off her words, clearly fighting back more tears. She looked up at Indigo with bright, violet eyes swimming with sorrow and pain, reflecting his own face back at him. She looked so agonized and hurt, as fragile as butterfree wings.

Something in his heart broke.

"It wasn't him," Indigo said, his words spilling out without his permission. "I went back last night and met him there. He cleared it all up. It belonged to a group of teenagers, just a bunch of stupid, sick kids. Doctor Camellia was the one who found that place and brought them in for punishment. Your Pokemon were stolen from his real lab, the one at the castle. He tried to stop them, but he was too late. He was too late," he said without looking at her, his voice breaking on the last word.

Riza looked up at him with wide, surprised eyes. "What about the conversation I overheard? I could have sworn that…"

"He was planning to go there himself, with Mayanna. He was going to bury the remaining…he never meant for you to overhear. Its no wonder you misunderstood, hearing that," Indigo babbled desperately, wincing at the lies. "It was all a mistake. And a tragedy."

"You…Indigo, are you crying?" Riza asked in a hushed voice, reaching out to cup his face. He was crying, he realized, cold tears that came straight from his heart. He held her hand to his face with both of his, unable to stop the painful tears.

"Don't cry, Indigo!" Riza cried out, "I understand! Its not your fault, I understand! The doctor is a hero and I misjudged him. It's not your fault I saw, it's not! And I know you would never lie to me Indigo. Never. Please, don't cry," she begged again, her amethyst eyes full of nothing but worry for him.

But Indigo couldn't stop crying as his heart broke into hundreds of tiny pieces, like brittle ice. It wasn't a choice anymore. He couldn't live without her. Couldn't even imagine it.

He cried out the last of his soul, freezing over like winter.

~o~

"You've decided then?" Doctor Camellia said bemusedly, turning to face him. "That was fast."

Indigo stood in the doorway to the doctors fake lab, the one in the castle. Riza was upstairs, sleeping. His eyes were as hard as flint as he stared at the king of fire, his cloak billowing out behind him.

"I'll do it," he said quietly, pain lancing his words. "I'll do it for her."

"You are willing to sell your soul to the devil? Metaphorically speaking of course," the doctor said with no hesitation, and a rueful grin.

"Yes," Indigo whispered, sealing his fate. He felt the significance of the word closing over him like a cage, and he knew he was trapped of his own free will.

"I thought so," Doctor Camellia said with a slight smile. "We will begin immediately, Indigo. You belong to me now."

Indigo's shoulders hunched, but he didn't refute the mans words. He would become a demon to save his angel. He straightened, his face as carefully composed as stone.

"Whatever you wish," he said, bowing fluidly.

~o~

A/N Haylo there! Miss me? Well I missed you! My Creative Writing teach assigned me a killer assignment that's kept me busy for a long time. Have any of you guys heard of Nanowrimo? I had to do that. For. Class. DDDDX But I'm back in action now, and better than ever, so thank you all for bearing with me! I hope you enjoyed this chapter, despite the meager serving of Violet, and the angst factor. Thank you all for putting up with me, and Merry Christmas to you all!

~K Tori