Chapter 1 – The Sun Never Shines

"This world, your future, is a world of perpetual darkness. In this world, the sun never rises, morning never comes. The darkness persists… forever." Grovyle

[10:35AM] – May 16th 2011 - Pokémon League Ruins

He didn't know what they were doing here, in the ruins of Indigo Plateau. It was bad enough that his memory was faulty and patchy in places, like a puzzle put together incorrectly, but somehow it was worse that the only place he could recall clearly was here.

The place of his death.

The scholars and League officials were scattered around the great hall, piles of paper, documentations, machinery and sealed Pokéballs dispersed in piles, lying near boxes to be shipped back to their base. The atmosphere was quiet and relaxed as they set to work in relative safety. Guards, former trainers, accompanied by their Pokémon, were posted outside to protect the officials.

The door was open, so when the man walked through nobody looked up immediately. No one glanced upwards to see the air shimmer and rip as he appeared out of nowhere, strolling across the floor, eyes dark, taking in the scenes in a moment. His boots made a faint noise on the floor, echoing throughout the great hall and causing people to look up, blinking at the realisation that there was a strange man in their midst.

If this was what security was like now, with the League in charge, he was gladdened by the news that SECTION usually ran most of the operations.

The quiet chatter ceased to silence, people shying away from him with wide eyes, for every step he walked. His clothes were black, blending in with the night, looking like he had stepped out from the shadows, and had anyone witnessed his appearance they might have thought it true. Even his hair was raven black, and it fell shaggily in front of his eyes, face shielded by a hood that was pulled up. It was ruffled, almost spiking out to the side. His mouth was curled up into a vicious sneer, his hands clenched into fists.

This was such a bad idea. He couldn't even begin to express his distaste at being back here once more, and with League officials crawling over the area it was even worse.

As if matching his bad mood, his dark eyes lightened to a pale brown. It was their natural colour, a pale, auburn brown, warm and friendly. Now however, they were pale in contrast to the rest of his attire, all the warmth had drained out of them, leaving them cold, dead reflections of what they had once been.

Nobody dared look the man in his eyes.

The man was casually dressed, and if it wasn't for an overwhelming presence of some dark force that made everybody turn and shiver, he could have been anybody; black jeans and a dark hooded jacket. A white line ran along the hem, and along the pockets. He bore no logo, or sign, making it almost impossible to determine which side he was on. He was a terrifying figure, even though his name went unknown.

And then his hands started to glow blue.

Okay, so maybe he was overdoing it a bit, but he had been told it was the quickest way to clear a room successfully.

Faintly at first, the blue shimmered, before it seemed to overwhelm the clench fist. It wasn't a bright blue either, but more of a murky navy, almost black. The colour seemed to swirl and change, undecided between a blackish purple and the dark blue. Then the man stopped walking, standing in the middle of the hall among the swirling floor pattern of twisting elements.

His eyes narrowed, and several of the people huddled at the sides of the great room scuttled away. This man was a stranger. Nobody knew who (or what) he was, and they were scared.

"I request an audience with the League!" His voice rang out across the hall. Despite the crumbling wall it echoed and reverberated back towards him.

At the far end of the hall a white bearded man with knobbly knees stood, shaking slightly, peering short-sightedly over his spectacles. He was quaking gently and his voice was high in pitch, compared to the dark man's low voice.

"I…I'm a-af-fraid that that the League is-s not open to visitors s-sir," he stuttered.

The man laughed. "Of course it isn't open to visitors." He gestured to the desolate hall. "The League is gone, yet for some reason, Charles Goodshaw; you still seem to think that you can command those beneath you.

The President of the Pokémon League took a step backwards in shock. "If… if you're from SECTION…" he paused, after mentioning the name of the more military side of the resistance. "Or the Team…"

The dark man took a slow step forwards. "A mix of the two." He shrugged. "Never really liked the latter much though." He drawled, "Or your particular division."

"If you have a problem with me you can take it up with the elites!" Goodshaw seemed to gain some bravery from somewhere.

"The elites are running the show now, are they?" the man mused, "Finally kicked you off your podium. Made one mistake too many…" his tone had grown cold. "Tell me." He began. "Who was it who decided to try and bring the criminal dealings of the various teams to a confrontation?"

The president swallowed. "Mine." He admitted. "It was for the greater good of everyone…"

"Of course." Pale eyes rolled, his clenched fist slowly uncurling by his side. The dark light that had surrounded it now condensed into a sphere of malicious energy. It gathered there, swarming like a plague of dark spirits. "What you thought was best. One mad with an ideal can go a long way to fucking up the world. It's a dangerous position to be in." At some silent signal two shadows appeared by his side. One was a pitch black jackal, who walked on his hind legs. His ears were erect and his chest was studded with a silver metal spike, along with two on the back of his paws. Behind his head two appendages hung, looking like long hair. The creature was pitch black, with the exception of his creamy white chest and silver spikes.

Charles gasped. This creature was recognisable to him, having watched enough conferences over his years. This was a Lucario, one of the many creatures that lived in their world. The thing that was unusual was the black colouration, that wasn't seen, even in the rare oddly coloured jackals.

The smaller creature was already a black-purple with a red tufted fluff of fur on her head. Two red dots and red eyelids framed cold, piercing blue eyes. His dainty feet were also tipped red, as if stained with blood. To all extent the creature represented what the humans in that room, would have once, about a thousand years before called a fox, but now its size had shrunk and a black colour ran around its neck.

A computerised beep rang out. Following it, was a mechanic sounding voice, of which the syllables sounded longer than necessary and rang in your ears for some time afterwards. The voice seemed to be dictating information.

"Warning. Warning. Pokémon detected. Pokémon detected. Species. Lucario. And. Zorua. Species. Zorua. And. Lucario. Warning. High Level. Warning-"

With a lightning like sound the small, box like mechanical object from which the noise was issuing from. There was a flash and a crackle and the one side of the box fell to one side, cleanly cut through. Crouched, just in front of the machine, it's long, whip like tail still gleaming stood what would once have resembled a large rodent. Yellow cheek pouches were sparking on his cheeks with what looked like electricity. Small sharp fang like teeth was bared.

The mouse was orange, and slightly bigger than the small fox. Brown stripes ran along his back and his yellow ears curled at the tips. His paws looked gloved, the fur brown and the tip of his long, snake-like tail was yellow and shaped like a lightning bolt.

"Raichu," the creature huffed, its dark brown eyes blinking. His tail flickered impatiently.

"That's new." The man blinked at the destroyed machine, before turning his attention back to Goodshaw, who had slumped down in what might have been a faint. Either way, the man curled his lip in disgust. "Wake him up," he snapped and from the darkness another creature appeared, its body lithe and blue. Dark blue fins ran along her spine and her tail resembled that of mermaids, despite the four legs. This creature walked on all fours and was about twice the size of the Zorua. A large fin rested on the top of the head with two flipper-like ears. Its eyes were dark blue and pupil less. Almost nonchalantly, the bubble jet creature pursed her lips, letting a jet of water stream from them.

The stream of crystal clear water splashed onto the man and he awoke, spluttering. He blinked and one hand reached up to take of his spectacles. He then froze as he realised what had happened. He tried to scramble backwards to sit up but the orange mouse appeared by his head, the long whip like tail turning silver and growing iron-like as it pressed against the pulsing jugular.

"And look at you now." The man mocked. "The all-powerful League leader, at my mercy. How the positions have changed."

"You're a guardian." He blustered. "You can't kill."

"Says who?" the named aura guardian scoffed. "The League? I've been your lapdog before and I refuse to be your sacrificial lamb again, Goodshaw." He stepped forwards, kneeling down in front of the president. His voice was low. "I wasn't actually expecting anyone to be here." He admitted. "I just ended up here because it's the easiest place to get to from Johto."

"VaPoureon." The bubble jet evolution hissed.

"Shut up Va." The aura guardian snapped. "It's rather convenient though." He directed to the fallen bearded man. "I can get you out of the way now; stop you interfering, while finding out what I need to know."

"I won't tell scum like you anything!" The gleaming iron tail pressed down harder. Charles Goodshaw shuddered, changing his mind. "I'll tell you." he cried. "I'll tell you. Please, please don't kill me."

"In the league," the dark man played with the black aura sphere, letting it run over his left hand like water. "There is a man. His name is Gary Oak. He's the Viridian Gym Leader." He paused, to check Goodshaw knew who he was talking about. A frantic nod was given. "Where can I find him?"

The spectacled man swallowed nervously, his Adam's apple pulsing with each ragged breath. His pupils were dilating rapidly. To say he was scared was an understatement. "Since the gyms closed…" Goodshaw gasped, "He has a lab…north of Pewter…along the path to Mount Moon. If he's not there then he'll be in Cerulean with his girlfriend, or Viridian with the SECTION team there."

"Can't you be more specific?" the man growled, the brown in his eyes spinning to a dark russet.

"His lab. He'll be in his lab!" Goodshw cried, shaking. "Please, please." He begged.

The dark man sighed, stepping back up. He made a motion to the black Lucario. "Deal with him," his voice was cold.

For one second the man found his bravery, protesting valiantly. "I told you what you wanted me to know! You can't…mercy. Mercy."

The man paused, glancing nonchalantly over his shoulder. "Not this time."

Goodshaw's face was still frozen in his last, indignant expression as a blue black lance stabbed him through the chest. He managed to blink only once before turning to dust, bones, flesh and muscle crumbling into nothing. His small round spectacles fell to the ground, a fine layer of ash covering them.

"Carrr Ro RioRo," the black jackal growled. The dark man was staring complacently over the crumble walls, once magnificent in their splendour.

"Not after the chances he gave me."

The Lucario let out a bark, which could have been interpreted as a laugh, or a scold, it was hard to tell.

"Ironic, huh? Ashes to ashes." The man shrugged. "It seemed appropriate. The world doust we rise." He turned to gaze out over the empty hall. "Sun settest and riseth o'er what we leave behind." He gave a thin lipped smile. "We're back in Kanto." He laughed. "About time to."

His Raichu chirped something and he laughed in response. "Time to go." He told his four Pokémon, taking a single step before he seemed to vanish, the air warping and cracking into mirror fragments, or shattered space. Indeed, he had faded out of sight, and left nothing but shadow in his wake. The four creatures moved towards where he had stood and as they neared it, they too, vanished into thin air.

The hall was silent. The senators and scholars had long since fled, looking for help that wasn't to be given. All that was left was a pair of spectacles, a single hairline crack running across the glass.

[11:18AM] – May 16th 2011 - SECTION Base Camp 1 – North West of Viridian City


The red haired man's eyes were wide and his voice had risen in pitch. He swallowed and hastily repeated his question. "What?" He breathed out. "The Hell?" he breathed in. "Happened?" He breathed out again.

Max flinched at the champion's sharp tone. "We just got attacked." He repeated. "Someone knocked out the guards, and killed Goodshaw before vanishing."

The spiky haired man glared at him. "Something more helpful." Instantly, the young researcher launched into an explanation and impatiently, the man held up a hand. "Slowly. Take a breath, and tell me everything at a reasonable pace." He gestured for the kid to start talking.

"Sorry sir." Max bit his lip, glancing down at the small Ralts at his side who cooed encouragingly at him. "We were up at the ruins, just like Goodshaw had ordered, to collect records and anything we might have left up there. Goodshaw was sitting at the far end, overseeing everything and not helping (like usual) and also to stop us wandering into the League room, since he didn't want anybody to go in there." The green haired boy blinked. He seemed to have relaxed now and seemed to be about to go off on a tangent. "They say if anybody else tries to enter they get killed by the ghost Pokémon that haunt the-"

"Max." the red head snapped. "What happened? Today, if you please?"

"Sorry." The boy said mareepishly. "Well Goodshaw was sitting there as if he owned the place, which he technically does, and we were all talking, when it suddenly goes quiet. Someone's just walked in, and it feels like someone just walked over my grave. You know that feeling you get when a ghost drifts through you?" he asked, "Well it feels like that. There was this man, walking in a straight line towards the end of the hall."

His green and white Pokémon let out a chirp.

Max nodded. "Ralts thinks he was psychically blank. Well he doesn't think, he knows that the man… he was like a dark type – it was as if he wasn't there." He shuddered, blinking rapidly.

The elder man soothed him gently, "Go on."

The boy swallowed. "So we hear footsteps and turn around, and there he is, striding into the ruins of the league, looking like he's been to hell and back. Dressed all in black, raven hair, and dull brown eyes that… well they looked dead. Glassy. Dead eyes. Walked to the middle of the room and by that time his fist was glowing black and blue. I… I think it was aura, but the colour was all wrong."

"He asked for an audience with the League and Goodshaw said it wasn't open. The man laughed, as if he had expected it, then he began to mock Goodshaw. Goodshaw asked whether he was from the Team or SECTION and he said he was a mix, but never really liked the Team, or 'his particular division', referring to the League when it was under the President's control.

Max frowned, trying to remember. "Go on." The red-head encouraged. "Don't worry if you don't get it all, but the most you can manage would be brilliant.

"I don't remember everything they said. "Stuff about the elites being in power, and Goodshaw having organised something. Then two Pokémon appear by his side, really high levelled and really powerful."

"Can you remember the Pokémon?" interest coloured his voice.

"I-yes. He had this Lucario. Except it wasn't normal coloured, it wasn't even shiny. It was pitch black, with a cream torso, red eyes and it looked like a demon. Then there was this small fox which I didn't recognise immediately. Not at least until the detector that was installed went off. Didn't know it still worked, but it said it was a Zorua. The detector, we had thought it was broken but it was beeping away merrily. Well it's broken now. It was sliced up by a Raichu's Iron Tail as easily as slicing butter. That thing is thick metal but I swear that Raichu just knocked it apart with one flick of his tail."

"The man looked surprised, and I remember him saying to the Raichu 'that's new' as if he hadn't seen it before. Goodshaw had fallen over in fright, and everybody else had run away, but I stayed hidden behind a curtain with Ralts to protect me." He paused to pat his small Pokémon on the head. "He seemed annoyed when he saw Goodshaw had fallen over, and called for another Pokémon, a Vaporeon to wake him up with a water gun."

"He mocked Goodshaw some more, and Goodshaw said that he was a 'guardian' and couldn't kill. Do…" Max paused, his narrative. "Do you think he was an aura guardian? Like A-y'know?"

The red-head looked troubled.

"Lance?" Max asked, straightening his glasses.

"What?" Lance Wataru glanced down. "Oh, yes. Probably, although what a guardian was doing wandering around Indigo… he might be just a user, but it's still troubling."

"He had a Lucario." Max reminded him.

The champion of Johto and Kanto nodded. "What happened then?" he asked.

"Well the guardian said he refused to be a lapdog, I think. Then he asked him where he could find Gary Oak – scared Goodshaw into telling him with the Raichu's iron tail against his jugular."

Lance sighed. "And he…"

Max nodded. "He told the guardian where to find him, then spun around and gestured to his Lucario. Goodshaw was frantic, begging for mercy, and he just glanced at him and said 'not this time'. Then his… his Lucario summons this purple black staff, like a bone rush but dark blue and stabs Goodshaw. The poor old guy freezes and then…and then turns to ash. The man said how ironic it was."

"Why?" the red-head asked, leaning back, arms crossed.

The green haired boy shrugged. "He said 'ashes to ashes', along with some sort of verse."

Lance leaned forward. "What did he say Max. I need every word. It might be important!"

The teen looked wide eyed at the champion. "From ashes to ashes…" he began slowly. "The earth… world… earth doust we rise. Sun settest and riseth o'er what we leave behind." He blinked, repeating it once again out loud. "That's it, yeah. Then he says to his Pokémon 'let's go' and vanished as if he teleported away. His Pokémon followed and I ran to check on the others."

The champion sighed. "Goodshaw is dead?" he asked.

Max nodded.

"Not sure whether that is good or bad." Lance muttered, before turning around, business-like. "Did you get all that?" he asked the brunette sitting behind him at the computer.

"Yup!" she chirped, happily, "And before you ask, I'm running a search for it now!" she pre-empted his order. "From ash to ashes, the earth doust we rise. Sun settest and riseth o'er what we leave behind." She spun around on her wheelie chair, typing something into a smart looking computer of sorts. Her fingers flew across the keyboard and they had to wait only briefly before he had found a match.

"Alright, get this." She peered at the screen. "This verse was engraved upon a gravestone in Alto Mare. Two actually, although this one is encoded. Just a sec…" Something was flashing up on screen, multiple figures calculating the code. She hit the desk as a confirmation message popped up. "Right, wow."

"What is it?" Lance asked, impatiently.

"Okay, one is from this guy… Aaron something or other. It's really old and apparently the body was moved from somewhere north of Mount Moon. The surname is unknown. There is also a strange symbol on his grave which…" she twiddled a few keys," Wow. This guy is really old. Used to be an aura guardian by the looks of the symbol. Actually…" she frowned, staring at the name. "Yep, definitely an aura guardian. From Rota actually if you're interested, I've met his Lucario before. I knew that symbol looked familiar."

She scrolled down on the screen. "Now, this guy's impressive." She admitted, "But this other…well…this is amazing. The other is on an unnamed grave but from a diary record of this old gondolier it's the grave of a Latios who died to protect the city."

"A Latios?"

"Yep. Male. Obviously. Aged 19 Years whose Soul Dew was destroyed only 3 years ago. Shame." May made a regretful tutting noise with her tongue. Lance stared. "Any other records of that verse?" he asked. May shook her head. "Just those two." She leaned back. "Guess you're off to Alto Mare then? Assuming you want to find out more about this guy, work out whose side he's on?"

"You know me." The red haired man helped Max to his feet. "Anything would be more interesting than waiting for Will or Koga to make a decision on something. Then we've got to run it by Pewter, and Karen and Bruno argue a lot…"

"Want me to try and contact someone to get you there?" May asked, reaching for her laptop.

Lance shook his head. "First we're heading back to the League Ruins."

May leaned back in her chair. In her hair a blue bandana was tied and two locks fell framing her narrow face. Her sapphire eyes were narrowed at her computer screen. "Then tickets?" she asked Lance. He shook his head again. May flexed her gloved fingers. "Dragonite?" she sighed and the once champion of the Johto and Kanto League nodded silently, heading towards the door, leaving the two siblings alone. The brunette spun around to stare after him for a moment, then spun back towards her technology, enjoying the swivel chair that she had been granted in their temporary base. She wore long, smart black trousers that hung off her hip and a blue shirt that matched her bandana.

May Maple was eighteen years old. She wasn't the youngest there. One of the hackers was only fourteen. Unconsciously her fingers were tapping on her arm, too used to having keys beneath them. May had always loved technology, and despite her original wish of being a journalist, she was now quite happy working for the League. Even the high security part of it. SECTION. That was what the people who worked for it called it. Once people had known what it stood for, but nowadays nobody could be bothered to remember. They were all too busy trying to stay alive.

May's fingers were still tapping idly as she spun back to her computer. It was more of a laptop, since most of the advanced computer software had been destroyed. She briefly admired her background that she had managed to find, a rare picture of a red fox, its russet coat shining against the snow and its paws daintily trotting through the icy drifts.

She let her gaze wander to where a cream vulpine was curled by her side. She could see some similarities between her Ninetales and the fox, namely the elongated muzzle and bushy tail, a lithe body and bright eyes. But foxes, that is, old world foxes, didn't have nine tails, they weren't cream nor did they breathe fire.

The world hadn't always been like this. Once everything had been very different. Then, the continents had been in a different shape entirely and the creatures that roamed it were far more vicious and wild. It was told, that the humans were ruthless, destroying the landscape with pollutants and waste.

There was a war; a terrible war, with endless fighting and lots of death. A few, precious records had survived, records to strange countries that no longer existed, or the occasional animal that was neither Pokémon nor plant. There were some expression that had been adapted to fit the new species of life which dominated the planet, while others, remained just the same.

Those who believe in religion, or mythology, would tell you of how Arceus hatched from a giant egg, and created the world, the god of all.

The few theoretical physicists would ramble on for hours about how certain neurotoxins can have adverse effects on organisms, mutating cells and rewriting DNA. They believe that while Arceus may exist, he was merely a catalyst, producing in effect, a cry for help to allow to the world to change. The animals began to adapt, learning new skills, becoming almost magical. Most of the human lost their intelligence, becoming primitive creatures. The animal's growth became effected, growing in sharp, rapid bursts and then nothing, for several years. They gained skills, such as fire manipulation, grass, psychic and water skills. They became Pokémon.

And so the world began anew.

Life was simpler now.

The main change for humans was, as they began to learn again, that their lives were so much shorter. People lived only to the age of fifty, whereas it was believed that people once lived up to eighty. It was common for kids of ten to leave on a journey, before settling down in a job, or education around. It was the incentive to live life on the edge, out on a traditional adventure, or with a loved one.

May Sapphire Maple of Petalburg City in the Hoenn region was twenty-one, although she would be twenty-two come her birthday on September 20th. It had been twelve years since she started her journey, picking up her Torchic and venturing around contests in her home region.

How things had changed.

When she was seventeen, after the awful darkness had begun, her father, gym leader of Petalburg City, had found her a job in the Hoenn League. She had travelled back and forth to Johto, before the presence of war began to set in, and she had decided to stay in the Indigo regions, instead of venturing back to her island home. Hoenn had declared itself neutral and it quickly become a refuge from people of the other regions.

She had stayed in the Indigo regions ever since.

The brunette sighed, turning away from her Ninetales that lay curled at her feet. She wondered in vain if the world was ending again as she stared at the dark sky through the flapping tent flap. She closed her eyes from the ever dark sky and turned away, back to her job. She stared at the words, still printed on her screen and wondered desperately…where…if she had ever heard them before.

[12:05PM] - May 16th 2011 - Viridian City to Pokémon League Road

Lance shivered as a cold breeze blew. He shouldn't be complaining – it was rare that any breeze blew – but he couldn't help wishing that the shivers would stop running up his spine. He pulled his cloak around his tighter. He let a wry grin cross his face, his mind planning a sharp retort next time SECTION complained about his stupid cloak. The former champion stared at the dark, but cloudless sky, wishing, as always that the sun would appear and light up the bleak, desolate world.

The ground was bare and it looked dead to the surrounding landscape. Then again, the whole landscape looked dead. It looked as if time itself had ground to a halt. Lance pulled up his one sleeve of his black, polo neck jumper and eyed the tattoo just below his elbow warily. It began at his wrist, winding its way up. To the average eye, no pattern was visible but to Lance, he had become well accustomed to the swirls and whirls. Instantly his eyes set upon a strange, gear like shape, seemingly at the very centre of the pattern. The words of the person who had once provided the tattoo rang in his ears.

"Your future – laid out for all to see. But what can you ever see?"

Indeed, nothing was truly clearly visible in the swirls and intricate shapes. Once or twice he thought that he could make out shapes of past events, like the league symbol and a roaring Dragonite. The image seemed to shimmer and change all the time, but always revolving around the gear, as if it decided what image to show to him today. Once he had even thought he had seen that awful day when…

He stopped his thoughts, focussing his gaze on the gear and what May had discovered. Or from her guilty expression, she had already found out years ago, but the idea had apparently been dismissed.

The story went, when humans were just beginning to train Pokémon, the creatures had lived in villages. One such village, somewhere in the south of Johto/Kanto border that still existed had a legend about when time had stopped because a tower had collapsed. Dialga had gone mad and an alternative future spanned into darkness and fear. The story went that a Pokémon, coming from the future had teamed up and saved time by placing gears of time, in the collapsing tower. The Time Gears, as they were known, were found in different regions, keeping time running smoothly. Apparently long ago a trio of Mespirit, Azelf and Uxie had guarded them.

This was ridiculous, mused Lance, since everybody knew the three lake guardians resided in Sinnoh. The idea that time had stopped was well grounded, but most where of the opinion that it wasn't how it got here that mattered, but how they got it back, while dealing with the Team at the same time.

He shook himself from his thoughts and pulled his sleeve down, taking another step up the hill towards the ruins of the league. Somewhere to his left, spanned the rubble where Victory Road had once stood. The catacomb was now in ruins, as they had been for years. There were also rumours of savage wild Pokémon that haunted it crumbling tunnels. But then those rumours lived everywhere in this dark world.

Behind him lay the old route from Viridian City to Victory Road. Nobody strayed near that route now. A few years back a collection of Spearow had been released onto the route, experiments from the Team. These half crazed, blood lusting birds had scared away travellers, all of whom began to skirt the route to the north, thus avoiding Victory Road entirely. This had allowed both routes to fall into dereliction, until no path was visible. Now those Spearow had all evolved to Fearow, and anybody who stepped onto that route was doomed to instant and painful death, pierced by their ravage beaks and tearing claws.

Lance was alone on his journey to the ruins of the league. Few people liked to come here. Three years ago it had been the scene of a terrible battle between the League and the Team, both sides suffering terrible losses. It had been evacuated soon afterwards, left to crumble into ruin. Occasionally, such as today, parties were sent up to clear up old files, lest they fall into enemy hands. A lot of the scholars that had studied at Saffron were mad about saving data, and so the party had been allowed up. A few disbelieving politicians had trailed them with trainers along to guard them.

They weren't much use now, Senators, Lance reflected; those pompous foolish people who thought that they held all the cards. Now they hid at home hiding, or strutted around at the temporary League base, bossing people around. The red haired man had never seen what difference they had ever made to the region, other than agree with other people and make the decision final. Even Goodshaw, for all his power, had sat around ordering people what to do, without thinking about the consequences. It had been all, his fault that…

Maybe he shouldn't go there. The man was dead now anyway, both of them, and what was done, was done.

Lance much preferred being part of SECTION, he always had. Once he had been League Champion. He was reputed as the strongest trainer in Kanto and Johto. Only once had he found someone stronger. He had been the one people looked to for advice. He had never had to worry with strutting around, bossing people around or trying to decide whether to host the next tournament here or here. He had been moved to SECTION, the more militant side of the League, the side that had been very, very small until a few years ago. Now the other side was looking small in comparison, the small headquarters residing in Diglett's Cave. He hadn't even set foot in there.

Not that he wanted to, he mused as he hovered on the League Ruins. As always, his eyes took in the cliff on the far side and the broken pillar. He turned away, trying to keep the past memories that threatened to swim up to the surface buried. As always he was reminded of his promise. His oath.

"You kill him ... this is war. And we won't hold anything back."

The champion who hadn't used that title in four years turned to the former Pokémon League. Most of the rooftops had long since crumbled in and a few large gaps resided in the walls. Further back he could see the faint square like shape, buried under rumble which once used to be his chamber and battle room. To the right were the large stadiums, all of which lay in ruin and in front of him loomed the once great, hall.

It had been used rarely, normally for banquets and feasts in the past. Before it was destroyed it had been used for meetings and the odd celebration when a new member of region was instated. Miraculously, the roof stayed standing, elaborate glass designs on the ceiling.

As Lance strode among the ruined hall he turned his head as always to look to where magnificent murals of the legendary Pokémon had once been. The only patterns he could see now was an ash stained Ho Oh, it's red and yellow feathers grey, the coloured tiles all peeled away. If he had not known which Pokémon the bird in the picture was meant to be, he would have said it was a different one entirely. He turned around, looking at the grand archway that still stood. The only other image that had survived, protected by the twirling columns of stone was a Latias, soaring through the skies with what he had always believed to be Mew dancing in the air behind her.

Lance turned back to survey the room. He could see the faded tattered red curtain where Max, May's younger brother must have hid behind. At the far end, near the doorway that led to the chambers and offices something caught his eyes. His pace increased, but then slowed as he realised the bright light was only glass, catching the candle light. Once again he cast a sad glance up at the sky, wishing, as always that the sun would appear.

Not that the sun had been seen for four years.

Instead his Dragonite soared into view, its eyes scanning the country side. The champion's hand reached automatically for the Pokéball, down at his belt but he managed to stop himself. The red and white spheres had stopped working for some unknown reason several years ago. It was a nuisance. They had either broken, trapping Pokémon still inside, or had allowed the final release of the creatures, before sealing up, being unable to recall them back into energy.

It was frustrating at times, when Lance had to be followed by his whole team, but it was kind of reassuring to know that no matter what happened to him, his Dragonite and sometimes his Dragonair was out there, to look out for him as well as to get away safely. He used to have a Garchomp, Hydreigon, Charizard and Aerodactyle, among others, but their frozen red and white spheres were in storage, their contents trapped. He had been working on a way to break them open, without killing their inhabitant, but he was not yet successful.

Owning Pokémon had become a huge hassle and most, lazy people had just released them. Not that Lance would ever do that. He was grateful for the elderly, disabled professor who, along with an assistant, ran a park in Hoenn, looking after people's Pokémon, safe from the war. There were several permanent residents as well, mostly…

Lance once again broke of the thoughts, turning around. Apart from the pair of glasses, there were no clues here. Even the ashes on the floor had scattered with the winds.

He hurried to leave the ruins. Even once he was outside he wandered part of the way down the route before stopping. The air around the old League always seemed slightly haunted to him, as well as omnipresent. It was even worse today, kind of dark and dead. There was a chill in the air, which made him jumpy and a wind was blowing that rattled the bushes, making him wary and cautious. He felt better amongst the trees. Lance was a Viridian born, so the forest was where he felt the most comfortable.

Once there he pulled up his right hand sleeve. One his wrist sat a thick wrist strap, with a dial surrounded by several buttons. The LCD screen was faintly lit. Most of the major power stations had stopped working but SECTION had a rough routine which involved the electric Pokémon powering up the electrical appliances. It was easy and quick and didn't cost anybody anything. At first several people had been electrocuted by the odd electrical discharge that the appliances had given out but the plastic straps had, despite the terrible look to it, prevented that happening.

Now the red haired man pressed a few buttons, selecting the call option. He had marvelled once over how many applications were on here but now he was too accustomed to it, to fully appreciate it.

"Found anything?" May's voice echoed, tinny from the small speaker. Lance had just used the call option to call her and she was now speaking into her own wrist strap. Again, they had a name but nobody could be bothered to remember. A few people just called them Pokétch, like the old, Pokémon Watches. Except these were new and improved…

"Nothing, just a pair of glasses like your brother said. Indigo is empty. Just like always."

"I told them to cancel any trips back up to the ruins. It is now officially off limits along with almost everything else. Now do you want the tickets to Alto Mare? Well, not actual tickets, but you know what I mean. I can get on the phone to the ferry man and see if we can persuade him to take you south."

Lance sighed impatiently, "I told you, I'm flying!"

"Yeah right. From Johto south. Do you even know how many miles that is?" Her voice contained a trace of sarcasm.

"No," he admitted, ruefully, "Do you?"

"No but I know it's an awful lot."

Lance rolled his eyes, "How many times do I need to tell you…"

"You once flew from Kanto to Sinnoh – I know. This is only the fifty second time you told me." May's voice was lightly teasing. Lance sighed impatiently. May's voice chirped up again, "I've contacted Dawn. She's sending a group north to Gary's lab. We'll plan an ambush to catch that man and find out who he is."

"Good," Lance nodded, "Well, I'll be off, I want to catch the last of this wind."

There was a pause before May commented in a quiet voice, "It's rare to have wind. Sometimes it feels like time has just stopped and the world is frozen."

Lance's face creased in sorrow, "That's what we're trying to fix." He tried to reassure her.

Her scornful voice was obvious. "Yeah, but the person who made the most progress is dead!" He could detect the faint sob in her voice. There was a sniffle then she spoke again, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't bring him up. But I think about him every day. Every time I'm stuck I think of what he would have done. Gets me through sometimes…"

Lance swallowed down a lump in his throat. "I regret that day… so much. If I could change it …"

"It's not your fault Lance, you know that. He died bravely and I know he wouldn't want us mourning him like this."

Lance gave a rough smile. "Then I'm off to Alto Mare then. Catch you later."

"Look after yourself!"

"Hey," he retorted, "What do you think I do?" but the call had been cancelled, the green light on the Pokétch fading away. He sighed and stood up, letting out a piercing whistle as he did so. From the sky their came a harsh cry that sounded mournful in the darkness, echoing slightly.

There came a stronger rush of wind and the odd dry leaf and clump of soil blew around him. A leathery sound could be heard and the dark shape could be seen, large, a foot over his height. The tall two metre high beast landed surprisingly gently for a creature of its size. Once its large form had settled the colours came into view. It was a creamy orange with large wide eyes and a small horn on the top of his head. Smallish wings outstretched either side of his body, orange leathery skin with blue veined underneath. The dragon walked on its two large, strong hind legs, its clawed arms handing by its side. The mouth opened in a yawn, revealing a red maw of glistening fangs.

The Dragonite tilted its head at its trainer, its eyes blinking as it let out another cry, sounding similar to the whales of ancient times. Lance nodded and mounted the dragon, kneeling where the wings joined the orange body. His hands gripped a pair of scales just behind the neck and they cut into his gloves as always as Dragonite reared up, wings flapping strongly. With a powerful thrust, the creature took off, flapping strongly to gain height before letting the wind fill the sail like wings.

"To Alto Mare my friend. Head south." The wailing dirge could be heard as the Pokémon obeyed, tilting its course so that the ruins of the Pokémon league lay behind them. Once they would have navigated by the sun or stars but they no longer even bothered to look up at the cloudy, dully grey sky.

This was a world where the sun never shone.

November 2011 - Okay, so this is a new idea that I have. I don't know yet how it will turn out but it will hopefully be okay. The story is set about nine years after the Sinnoh Saga ends and will incorporate mainly the anime, but with a slight venture into game and manga territory, with elements of the Mystery Dungeon games.

The ages at the start of the year the story is set in are as followed... Ash 24 / Misty 24 / May 21 / Dawn 19 / Max 18 / Brock 26 / Lance 26 / Erika 25

April 2013 – I rewrote the beginning scene to make it more approachable as a beginning of the story. I have also fixed my issues with ages and will now consistently stick with these.

Enjoy reading ~ Eclipse