Chapter 2 ~ Verity Lakefront

Soon after exiting the quaint town, Kiara slowed, looking about her at the looming trees fringing the path. Jade wriggled happily in her dark hood, peeking between strands of purple hair at the drizzle that soaked the diminutive teenager.

"Not nice weather, is it Jade?" she said softly, ears drooping somewhat and her hair sticking to the back of her neck. None of the Starly called, so the usually bustling woodland was eerily silent, aside from the squelching from her faded black trainers. Shivering and pulling her hoodie closely around her frame, Kiara pushed back the branches covering the entrance to a short walkway, dripping limbs arching high above the trainer's head whilst she walked. "It's such a miserable day. But we need to find somewhere to sleep, so I though the lake would be a nice place." She commented, eyes dull, breath misting. Pressing forward she came out into a large clearing and smiled weakly at the beautiful sight. The crystal clear water of the lake splashed as the rain worsened and the flashes of scarlet that were the Magikarp had retreated to the bottom of the lake. Kiara pulled Jade into her arms and cradled her just as murmurs reached her from by the shore.

"...The flowing time... The expanding space... I will make it all mine one day..." a man's steely voice rang out across the clearing, his pale fist clenched. The cold tones sent a shiver down Kiara's spine and she felt that she somehow recognized it. "Cyrus is my name. Remember it... Until then, sleep while you can, legendary Pokémon of the lake bed..."

He then turned, his face dark as he snarled forebodingly, eyes flashing with recognition as he glared at the teen. She shrank away, clutching Jade tightly and looked away.

"Out of my way, now." He snapped, pushing her aside and stalking off. Moments later the steady flap of wings alerted Kiara to his departure and she released a breath she had not known she was holding.

Who was he? I felt like I recognized him from somewhere, but how? I've never seen him before. Well, we need to find somewhere to sleep and worrying about that Cyrus won't help.

She walked towards the tree line, finding her favourite tree, a huge oak with a small hollow at the bottom. Squeezing inside it was easy for the small teen, and she curled up, protected from the heavy rain. Warmth radiated from the minute Pokémon in her arms and soon sent her drifting off to sleep, the rustling of leaves and the steady rain soothing her.

Cyrus was standing, facing a blank computer screen. Behind him was a large table with other seated at it, murmuring nervously. These were his commanders, each chosen for their prowess in battling and ability to get him what he wanted... by any means necessary. Charon was there also, a shrewd scientist and a adequate strategist. But they were corrupted, like the entire world was, by emotions. They were infinitely weaker and more pathetic than him. They hadn't yet learned to let go of their emotions, like he had. Cyrus narrowed his cold eyes, as emotionless as a robot, and sighed almost inaudibly. Mars and Jupiter were arguing, yet again, their petty squabbles more proof that his world would be perfect with just him, with no-one else to spoil it.

"So, Boss, why'd you call us here?" Saturn asked cautiously, his second in command looking warily at the back of his leader. Cyrus smirked slightly as the room went quiet, Mars and Jupiter quieting to stare at him. Finally.

"So glad you could finally ask." He said coldly, glaring at them. They grovelled and begged for his acceptance until he held his hand up. The room fell silent once more. "I called you here because on my trip to Lake Verity, I found someone." They looked confused, eyebrows knitting together. "This person was from a... little project we worked on." He paused, making sure their full attention was focused on him. He smirked once more, allowing himself a little enjoyment from their confusion. Sweeping his arms grandly he looked at all of them in the eye.

"I'm sure you all remember Project: Pokemorph."

Kiara awoke again feeling refreshed, her eyes gleaming in the weak sun piercing the dark clouds. The sound of footsteps by the shining lake made her flinch back, her body pressed against the rough bark as she peered out. Standing by the lake were two strangers, one boy around her age, garbed in a red cap, a blue jacket and red top. wrapped around his neck was a soft white scarf. His black trousers had large pockets and his blue trainers were flecked with mud. The other was a much older man, who was in a thick brown trench coat and a starched white shirt and inky tie. His jumper was sky blue and his trousers were also black, mud crusting around the hem. They were talking in soft voices, and a briefcase was on the floor by their feet.

"Hmm, I could have sworn the lake looked different... Oh well, come on Lucas! Let us be off." The old man mused, walking off briskly.

"Of course! Wait for me Professor!" Lucas yelled after him, rushing off, leaving the case forgotten by the lake. Kiara nibbled her bottom lip, torn about what to do.

If I take it, then they might think I've stolen it... But, if I take it, then the professor might be able to give me some poke balls! I mean, I've always wanted to be a trainer. Well, that's settled then, I'm going. Even if I don't get anything, it's the right thing to do.

"C'mon Jade." Kiara grinned, gently rousing the Ralts. She wandered through the trees to the lake edge and picked up the briefcase, the leather case being much lighter than she anticipated, and the contents rolling around loosely. She winced, hoping that the things inside wouldn't break and ran after the two, Jade clinging to her hair, sitting in the hood.

"Excuse me!" She called after the retreating figures, "Wait up! You left your briefcase!"

She waved the case in the air, skidding in the mud to stop as they turned. "I'm so sorry to disturb you, but you left your briefcase behind at the lake." She wheezed, looking up at them, suddenly wishing she wasn't tiny for her age. Lucas was staring at her ears with a bemused expression and the Professor examined her sceptically for a second, before smiling kindly.

"Thank you kindly child. I was going to entrust a couple of people with their own Pokemon and it would have been a disaster if not for you." He said, nodding to her. "Hmm! I see you have your own Pokemon! Well, I hope you treat each other kindly!" He turned and beckoned to Lucas. "If you need anything, then feel free to visit my lab in Sandgem town. And now, we'll be off!" The professor strode off, leaving Lucas behind holding the briefcase.

"Uh, sorry 'bout that. My name's Lucas, nice to meet you." He smiled slightly before gesturing towards her ears."So... how did you get them? They look very realistic."

Kiara looked down, tears swimming in her eyes. "They... aren't fake. I've been like this for as long as I can remember. I'm part Espeon." she muttered, bracing herself for abuse and shock. But instead, Lucas coughed slightly, making her lift her head up and he smiled at her, his warm grey eyes softening. "That's cool! Truly fascinating." He then started and the smile slid almost comically off his face. "Argh! Wait up Professor! See ya!" He waved frantically and shot off, leaving Kiara to raise an eyebrow and walk sedately after him, grinning at Jade.

Author's note: Okay. I am so sorry about the EXTREMELY late update. I've been so busy lately with school and stuff, and life's been shit lately, so I haven't really been writing. But finally, it is done! I'm probably going to start writing at least a couple of chapters before I upload one, so the updates should be coming more regularly. Right, enough of that, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and please feel free to leave a review and tell me what you thought.

~ SolarEspeon