Hi guys, once again I'm apologising for a long delay. I have no idea what happened although I have been away on holiday to Greece for the past week. Again, so sorry for not updating but I hope this is OK for you!

Disclaimer: I own only my OCs and plot.

Chapter Seven

Drew didn't let up the pace not even when the group of them had headed into Veilstone City. It wasn't even five in the morning yet and so the streets were empty but for a few business people hoping to get on the ball as soon as they could. Looking round at the skyscrapers and the tarmacked roads, Drew came to the very sudden realisation that they weren't perhaps dressed for the occasion. Their first stop would have to be sensible clothes so they could blend in as best they could.

"I don't want new clothes," Misty had moaned as she was dragged towards the women's department in the first store they happened upon. Suzume barely listened to the girl's protests, shoving a few clothes in her face to quieten her down.

Drew settled on a rather basic outfit consisting of khaki jeans, a black top and a purple jacket, something rather like he used to wearing back in his days as a co-ordinator. Back in those simple times, he thought. He check up on the other three, who had chosen equally basic clothes, then headed towards the women's section to retrieve Misty and Suzume. He half expected to find Misty having a paddy in the changing room but he was surprised to see the red head stood wearing denim shorts and a yellow turtle neck vest top. Beside her, Suzume adopted a pleated black skirt and white blouse with a pair of heeled brown boots.

"Are we ready?" Drew asked, directing them towards the exit of the store just a little beyond the tills. As he walked past he dug a hand in his pocket and threw a wad of cash at one of the startled cashiers. She didn't complain that the six of them hadn't actually gone through the check out, at least she didn't after she saw how much each of the bills were worth.

"Where to next?" Ash asked. Drew thought about this for a moment, glancing at Suzume for some support. The brunette merely shrugged her shoulders as if to tell Drew that he was in-charge now.

"I have no idea," Drew admitted. "What's the best way to get to Kanto from here?"

"By boat," Kenny replied. "But the ferry to Kanto leaves from Twinleaf Town."

"And that is miles from here," Ash added.

"We'd better get walking then," Drew said. "Kenny, which way?"

"That way," Kenny told them, pointing towards the outskirts of the city. "If we head towards the Niaya Shrine then it's plain sailing from there."

"Sounds good," Drew said.

He let Kenny lead the way since Kenny had been born and raised in Sinnoh, so would know exactly where they were going. Before long they were leaving the cityscape behind and found themselves in the traditional quarter where it had all begun some three years ago. Ash walked a little slower at this point, looking round at his surroundings with his new found respect for the place. His eyes darted around the old street taking in the details he could half remember from last time he had visited.

Something moved down the steps leading down from one of the shrines. Ash came to a halt when he realised which shrine it was. He turned to look at the person gently walking down the stone steps, half expecting an elderly caretaker or something but what he saw made him yelp out loud.

His travelling group were a good few metres in front of him when he jumped backwards, eyes bulging out of his sockets. The others were at his side almost instantly, ready to attack if necessary but when they saw who it was too, they nearly dropped their weapons onto the floor.

"Lux?" Luxray asked, tilting his head to the side in confusion as he looked at the group.

"What's wrong?" Dawn translated for the Pokémon, adopting the same expression as him. She slowly put her hand on Luxray's head, tugging at his mane gently.

"What's wrong with us?" Drew found himself yelling, pointing wildly at her.

"How did you escape?" Yukito asked, still wide eyed.

"Oh," Dawn said like she remembered something. She opened her mouth but then closed it, apparently losing her train of thought. "I can't remember."

"Brilliant," Misty muttered, folding her arms. "We lose Kiboji and gain Dawn."

"Oh, Kiboji's fine," Dawn replied airily. "Ichiro won't harm him just yet."

"Ichiro?" Drew asked.

"Who's that?" Dawn asked the green haired boy. Drew let out a sigh, rubbing his head roughly.

"Come on, Dawn," he said. "We've got a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to do it in."

"OK," she said with a shrug, removing her hand from Luxray's head. She beckoned him to follow her then called for Luxio to join them. The other Pokémon jumped out of the bushes, causing both Kenny and Yukito to let out yelps of surprise. "Where are we going?"

"To safety," Drew told her.

"Here," Suzume said, stepping forwards to take Dawn's hand. Dawn slowly grabbed it and allowed herself to be pulled along by Suzume, but glancing over her shoulder at her two Pokémon to make sure they were following.

"Ray," Luxray said then sprinted off down the street as fast as his legs could carry him. Luxio pattered over to Dawn's other side and walked beside the blunette like usual. Dawn kept glancing down at the blue creature as if trying to catch her attention.

"Lux lux," Luxio said finally, then poked Dawn in the butt with her tail. The blunette let out a squeak as a spark of electricity buzzed through her. She hurried along, keeping her eyes on Luxio for a little while longer. Eventually, she turned to Suzume.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"To safety," Suzume replied.

"Where's Silver?"

This caused Suzume to stumble half way through her step. She wobbled on the spot but managed to regain her balance in time to round on Dawn.

"He's... He's at home," she told the younger blunette. Dawn smiled oddly.

"It's lovely to be in love, isn't it?" she asked, her tone becoming odd. Suzume let out a sigh wondering why on earth Dawn had to have moods like this at the most inconvenient times.

"Suzume, hurry up!" Drew called to them as the group continued onwards without them. Suzume ran a hand through her hair trying to work out an answer but for some reason her thoughts had gone blank. Instead, she tugged at Dawn's hand, trying to get them walking again. But Dawn wasn't ready to walk yet. Her hand slipped from Suzume's and she took a step backwards.

Before Suzume could take a step forwards to grab Dawn again, something metallic shot past her, skirting past her cheek it was so close. Suzume recoiled, grabbing her cheek and wobbling backwards. Dawn merely stood watching Suzume with a blank expression on her face.

"You may want to fight," was all Dawn said.

"GUYS!" Suzume near screamed as something shot into the back of her shin. She fell to her knees, craning to look what had hit her. A dark metal dart was sticking out of her flesh. With a hiss it began to melt, flowing into the wound like a poison. As quick as she could manage, and ignoring the burning sensation in her hand as she grabbed the metal, Suzume ripped the dart from her leg. She screamed at the pain, pulling more than the metal from the wound.

When she looked up again, Suzume saw that her friends had gathered round her, even Kenny was stood ready to fight whoever dared hurt her. Perhaps the only one who didn't seem to understand what was going on was Dawn. The blunette was looking around with a gentle smile on her face as if she was having a picnic with her friends.

"Where are they?" Misty asked Drew.

"More to the point, how did they find us?" Ash asked.

"They've probably been following us since we appeared in Veilstone," Yukito replied. "How many do you think?"

"I have no idea," Drew said slowly. He glanced down at Luxio. The Pokémon was looking round the area, growling lowly as if she was counting just how many warriors were hidden in the trees. Drew was about to marvel how well Luxio had been trained when the Shadow Warriors emerged from their hiding places. They were surrounded.

Drew's hand automatically went to his shoulder where his quiver was usually sat but since the change of clothes, he didn't have either of his weapons on him.

"Great," he muttered. "This is going to be a rough one."

"Get ready," Misty ordered. She unsheathed a small dagger from a holster she seemed to have hidden in her boot. Suzume was the only other one armed with Silver sword. Ash and Yukito stood awkwardly with their hands raised in an attacking stance.

"Well," Yukito said airily. "We can tell Kiboji we tried."

"Yup," Ash agreed.

"It's not over to the last one standing," Misty told them sharply. "Now pay attention."

"Listen to the future queen," Drew mocked, sending Misty a good natured smile which she grinned at.

The Shadow Warriors surged forwards towards the teens. There was only a momentary pause before the two groups clashed, fists and weapons striking whatever they could. Dawn looked around at her friends as they struggled against the armed warriors, her mouth curved into a small o. However, it wasn't until Drew was knocked backwards, over whelmed by his opponent, that something clicked in her head.

She raised her hand.

The warrior attacking Drew disintegrated, leaving the green haired boy dazed on the floor. He glanced up to see Dawn returning to her previous position, a dreamy expression now glossing over her face. Then she sat down on the floor, pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them tightly.

Drew got to his feet, punching the nearest thing to him that wasn't a friend.

"They just keep coming," Misty panted.

"Retreat!" Kenny yelled.

"Where to?" Yukito snapped. "They'll find us wherever we go."

Drew bit his lip hard as he timed a kick into the stomach of a warrior. They needed a plan to get out of this alive but without weapons or back up, it seemed slim that they would beat this.

Drew caught Dawn's eye. She was sat scratching Luxio behind the ears. Luxio, seemingly content with sitting with her master, didn't even look as though she wanted to fight. Had she given up hope too? Dawn looked up from Luxio to stare Drew right in the eyes. She offered him a warm smile.

"I'm hungry," she told him brightly. "And my head hurts."

Drew hurried towards her, pulling her forwards to check to see if she was injured. Injured she was, a large cut running down the back of her head.

"Can we get ice cream?" she asked him, pushing herself away from him. "Can we?"

"Sure," he replied, feeling suddenly very dead inside. She was hurt badly. Maybe that's why Luxio wouldn't leave her side, maybe that's why she had sat down. "We'll get ice cream."

"I'll get mint chip," she told him.

"Yeah, sounds good," Drew said steadily. Her eyes became unfocused on him, glancing over his shoulder instead. She pushed him to the side as a sword swished at his head. Before he could move a muscle, he was splattered with something warm. Blood.

For a second, but only until his senses returned to him, Drew wondered if he was going to die. But when his brain processed what had happened he realised he hadn't been hurt at all.

"Take that side," a gruff voice ordered someone. "I'll get rid of these. Luxray, Luxio, perimeter now."

Luxio's ears twitched at the voice, something about that voice causing her to stand up and take note. She did as she was told, leaving Dawn's side to join Luxray a few meters away. Still dazed, Drew looked round to find that the warriors that had attacked them were now being hacked to pieces by two taller, broader figures. The only one still fighting out of the six of them was, of course, Misty who had seemed to have picked up Silver's sword. Whoever was fighting next to her seemed to quite complacent with her as a partner – but who they were, Drew didn't know.

"Is everyone OK?" he asked his battered and bleeding comrades. Ash, who was laid on his back, merely raised his arm and gave Drew a thumbs up.

"Never better," came Yukito's sarcastic remark. Suzume and Kenny both let out noncommittal grunts to show they were still in the land of the living. Drew didn't push them for a proper answer. He looked at his bleeding knuckles then at Dawn who was she sat close to him. She was staring at the warrior fighting beside Misty with keen interest.

"Can they get ice cream too?" she asked innocently. Drew couldn't help it. He was in hysterics, his sides soon aching from laughing so hard. Dawn looked at him oddly but didn't comment.

Between them, the two new warriors and Misty managed to slaughter each shadow warrior that had attacked the group. Misty, now exhausted, fell to her knees.

"You did well there," the man who had been fighting with her said. She looked into his black eyes ready to give him a thankful smile, but instead she gasped. Those eyes… They were just like Kiboji's eyes. But the hair, it wasn't Kiboji's colour. The light blue reminded her of Isamu's hair colour instead, though more elegant than his style was. The warrior turned to look at the other teens, his long ponytail whipping over his shoulder. "Everyone still alive?"

"Barely," Yukito replied. He slowly sat up, wanting to thank the warrior for his help but upon seeing the man he flopped back to the floor, eyes open wide.

With a slight chuckle the man walked over to Dawn. She got to her feet, staring at him with wide eyes. He perhaps got to a foot away from her when he swooped forwards and embraced her in a hug. She jumped up to meet him, throwing her arms round his neck.

"Dawn," he said. "I'm so glad you're alright."

"I don't know who you are," she said, well aware she was crying. "But I am so happy to see you."

"I know," he replied. He pulled away from her, wiping tears from her eyes with his thumb. "I'm here for you. I'm going to look after you now."

Drew watched the pair, confused who the guy was until Yukito stirred again. The Akari apprentice jumped once again at the sight of the man, then jumped for a third time when he caught sight of the other warrior who was hanging back from the group, arms folded.

Unlike the other warrior he had short white hair, styled into low hanging spikes. His eyes were sapphire blue in colour, large and bright. His lips were twisted into a grimace at the scene.

"Are we dead?" Yukito asked.

"No," the white haired warrior said. "You're very much alive."

"But this is impossible," Yukito spluttered. Suzume seemed to have stirred too, letting out a loud gasp.

"It is," she agreed.

"Yukito, who are they?" Drew ordered.

"Ni-Niaya Mamoru," Yukito stuttered, looking at the white haired warrior. "And…"

Everyone's gaze turned to the blue haired warrior, who was resting his hand on Dawn's shoulder calmly. He smirked at them, raising his eyebrows in amusement.

"I am Kiboji, Reiji and Shinji's father," he said slowly. "I am Akari Arashi, in the flesh."

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RSx