Star in the Storm, Prologue

Coliseum


It is evening. The sky has deepened into a dark indigo, ascending heavenward into an impenetrable blue strewn with glimmering stars. Below, far below, lies a shadowed valley. Gnarled trees wind forth from the grassy hillside that border the valley, reaching their ancient branches skyward as the wind rips through their leaves.

At the center of the secluded valley lies a coliseum, old and weather-worn, lined with many cracks of age. But tonight it is aglow with a blaze of white and blue lights, lights that seem to burst from its enormous dome to dark sky above, releasing their radiance into the heavens.

Three travelers venture up a broad flight of stairs, light from the coliseum casting shadows onto the ground behind them. Their footsteps echo steadily in the cool night air. One carries a strange object strapped onto a pack, a blue capsule tinted with yellow at the ends. Slowly, the capsule begins to grow, stretching and twisting until a strange-looking creature appears, fully transformed. The other capsules on the other packs begin to transform as well. One, a light blue and green colored pink at its top emerges into a Venusaur. Another capsule, a round yellow and blue, changes into a chubby Squirtle. And the last one of all, a delicate lavender pod with tiny ears sticking out from the sides, enlarges into a young Espeon.

"Just stretching my legs," the Squirtle insists, waving a paw in the air. "That PokéCap wirs pirtty cramped, ya know!"

The Venusaur snorts. "More likely Ripple doesn't want to miss out on the food," it adds.

The Squirtle grins, stifling a giggle. "Right you irre, Spore," it says. The two exchange high-fives.

The first Pokémon to emerge, a beady-eyed creature with a round body and tiny flippers floats suspended in the air. "Are vee th…there?" it asks, its Human speech slower and more halting than the others.

Its trainer nods firmly. "Yes, Chin-Woop," he says. "We're there."

The young Pokémon stares at the Coliseum, framed brilliantly against the darkening sky. Its yellow ears stream out behind it, contrasting sharply with its slippery blue body. Chin-Woop is a hybrid, the first Pokémon to ever be crossbred. Hybrid Pokémon inherit powers from both their parents, and someday, Chin-Woop will posses both the electricity of a Chinchou and the earthshaking abilities of a Wooper. But Chin-Woop is still a child, and has much to learn.

The last Pokémon, the Espeon, says nothing. She leans closer towards her trainer, a young girl of no more than twelve, and together, they walk into the Coliseum.

Tables and tables line the inside of the building, long picnic tables filled with people and Pokémon. The girl's eyes meander up and down the seemingly endless rows. There's one lady with long brown hair, playing a conch-shell flute in front of an enraptured audience as she spins captivating stories for her listeners. The little flute girl from Shamouti is now a professional storyteller.

A man with messy purple hair sits hunched over his laptop, while a woman with the same hair and sharp gray eyes looks ready to slam the cover down on his fingers at any time. These two cousins don't look any different at all, except that Vivian's become an engineer and Shingo's made millions creating one of the best data systems in the world. A loud crunch resounds though the room as the laptop cover goes down.

Another woman with penetrating, ice-blue eyes turns and looks straight in the girl's direction. Her dark, sweeping hair and authoritative presence force the girl to look away. Saffron's past Gym Leader has retired only years ago, to commit the rest of her life to the Psychokinetic, or PK, Masters, an organization dedicated to the training of young Psychics. Sabrina has been offered membership into the Masters' Circle, the Indigo League's newest version of the Elite Four, but has so far politely declined the offer.

Just a little ways on is a dark-haired man with a ballpoint in one hand and a notebook in the other. T.S., formerly known as Tracey Kenji Sketchit, is a Pokémon Watcher no more. Instead, he uses his skills of observation as a private investigator. He sells his sketches on the side; most clients are driven away by the insane scratching of his pen.

And sitting at table at the end of the row is Ash Ketchum, chatting away with his old friend, Misty Waterflower. The girl quickens her pace, hoping that the Mr. Ketchum's loud-mouthed daughter, Roary, isn't close by. Coming to the end of the room, she leans forward to peek through the window. The sky is completely black now, shimmers of stars and moonlit clouds glowing faintly in the engulfing darkness.

A sudden movement in the corner of her eye startles her. There is a creature outside, a creature struggling to get up. Head held high and ears erect, it springs onto the floor of the Coliseum, shaking its head wearily, before staring the girl straight in the eye.

"You, girl," it snaps in rapid Eonic. "What is your name?"

The girl blinks before answering. She is a strange-looking girl, to say the least. Her dark brown eyes, ringed with vibrant jade around the irises, glance carefully at the small creature. The girl also has short unruly hair, a hybrid of hazel and dark green, like her eyes. "Trilody Chimera, ma'am," she answers finally. "My mother is Rowan Chimera, and my father is Professor Koreyu. And you must be Kayley, Kayley Mindstar, the one everyone here has come to see."

Kayley nods her head slowly, sadly. "Tell me, Trilody," she says suddenly. "Do you know what it's like to give up everything for a world you love?"

The girl cannot reply; no matter how hard she strains, her mind is a blank. But Kayley Mindstar does not expect a reply. She stretches wearily and lowers her gaze. "Once, Trilody," she says softly. "Once I was twelve years old, too. All these years I've tried to hold on, tried my hardest to not give up." She raises her head and gazes at the girl almost pleadingly. "Time has not been kind to me, Trilody Chimera. Sooner or later, I will have to let go." Kayley takes a step and stumbles, collapsing into a heap on the cold stone floor.

The room is suddenly quiet, then explodes with noise. The girl can do nothing but stare. She closes her eyes, but she stills sees the same picture over and over again. Kayley's dark, Eevee eyes staring directly into hers. Kayley Mindstar has survived many years, after a freak accident left her in the body of a Pokémon. And Pokémon do not live as long as humans.


Richard "Chris" Koreyu shakes his head in frustration, his usually laughing eyes dark with worry. Professor K., as he is called now, is a genius, a renowned Pokémon expert surpassing even the reputation of the long-retired Professor Oak. He hasn't felt such helplessness as this in a long time.

"I can't believe we didn't notice it before," he sighs, shaking his head over and over again. "Kayley is old, so old for Pokémon. All these years, it's amazing she's still hanging on."

Rowan Chimera nods fervently. "Kayley," she says softly. Then louder, "Kayley?"

A dark eye blinks, settling in on Rowan's face. Rowan bends slowly over the Eevee, taking her paw in her hand.

"He's right," Kayley says softly, so softly her voice seems no more than a fading echo. "I am dying, Rowan. Soon, the world will need a new Keeper."

Rowan squeezes the Eevee's paw gently. "You can't give up, Kayley. No matter what happens."

Kayley shakes her head. Her eyes close, then open just a crack, as if she is too weary to hold her eyelids up. "Before I leave, I have but one favor to ask of you."

"Anything," Rowan replies loyally. "Anything."

Kayley chokes on her next words, and the spasm of coughing that follows rocks the Eevee's body violently. Rowan's breathing comes hard as she clasps Kayley's paw tighter than ever.

"Find…find the next Keeper." Kayley's dark, Eevee eyes slide slowly closed. "Before it's too late."

No one says much after that; no one looks up either. And no one sees the girl standing outside the window, staring in at them all. She sneaks one last glance at the three old friends before turning away, her Espeon at her heels. As the two wander into the night, the girl throws back her head, gazing up at the stars that shine forth from the dark sky. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot forget she has seen. And she will never forget Kayley's eyes; those dark, Eevee staring up into hers.


Reviews, comments, etc. are greatly appreciated! This is my first non-short story ever, and constructive criticism would be very, very useful.

Notes:

Yeah, I brought back a lot of the old characters from the TV show. Some of their roles are believable (Sabrina helps train young Psychics, Ash got to be a Pokémon master), some are a little funny (Melody's a storyteller and Tracey's a detective? Okay, how did that happen?). I believe all of them had the potential for what they are currently doing, and we all know dreams and goals can change over the years.

Eonic, as mentioned, is basically the language, or as I call Pokémon languages, PokéDialect of Eevee and evolved forms. "Whenever you see something that is italicized and in quotes like this," it indicates someone is speaking in a PokéDialect. More about how some humans can understand PokéDialects will be explained in detail later.