Chapter 51: Continuum
Moving down the hall with the only sound being his footsteps, Roxas focused his eyes on a door just a few feet away. Why haven't they woken up yet? The raven-haired teen wondered what on earth was keeping Ash and May. Its morning and we have work to get done, the boy let out some air. He stopped in front of the door and slowly turned the knob. He opened it and got slightly emotional inside when he saw the predictable scene.
Pikachu and Victini were sleeping by where Ash and May's feet rested and the trainers were pressed close together. The two seemed to be at peace in their sleep and Roxas started to wonder about the sight. Ash had his arms placed over May and his hands connected by her waist. May had her back against him, which rested perfectly against Ash's chest. The way the two lovers were pressed together symbolized how inseparable the dynamic duo was.
Roxas sighed and as he stared his mind created a scenario very much like the one he was facing.
A little boy no more than 5 years old ran to his parents' bed while holding onto a Teddiursa doll and lifted himself up to his parents' bed.
"Mommy, daddy I can't sleep," the boy shook them to get their attention.
"Wha…" a man who had raven hair like the boy slowly opened his eyes. "What's wrong bud?" the male sat up.
"Sweetie, the sun is not even up yet. How could you be awake?" the mother yawned as she sat up as well, her eyes resembled the child's.
"I had a bad dream," the boy looked frightened as he hugged his teddy bear.
"A bad dream huh?" the boy's father chuckled and playfully messed up the boy's hair.
"What was the dream about honey?" the mother held her child's hand.
"A Haunta went into my room and made everything come to life. My toys started to move and had scary faces. Even Mr. Olaf looked mean," the boy tackled his parents and wrapped his arms around them both.
"It's ok Roxas, you know that we're here to look after you," Ash hugged the little guy.
"We'll always be here for you sweetheart," May kissed his head and embraced him as well.
"And we'll always help you overcome your fears, ok bud?" Ash looked deep into Roxas's eyes with May and the boy just looked at them with an innocent grin.
"That's the spirit pal. Pikachu, Blaziken, all our Pokémon, and especially us, will be there for you no matter what," Ash assured the boy of his well-being.
"And that's a promise sweetie," May caressed his cheek.
The two parents then started to tickle the little boy till the point where he laughed hard enough to make the whole house wake up. Then Ash and May quickly pulled the boy in and settled him between them as they gradually returned to sleep with the promise that they would always protect him.
Roxas lowered his head as he mumbled, "You said you'd always be there for me…but you're not. Not anymore."
Are you going to wake them up or not? Someone came up behind Roxas.
The sapphire-eyed boy turned around to see Lucario. When he met the jackal Pokémon's eyes he just gave a faint smile. "I should, but I guess the moment is too nostalgic," he chuckled in response.
I see, Lucario nodded as he looked at Ash and May in their deep slumber. I haven't seen that scene since I was a Riolu.
"It really has been a long time," Roxas agreed as he returned his eyes to the couple.
Suddenly, May began to stretch and move around. The girl let out a groan as Roxas quickly, but silently shut the door. "They'll rush to get ready when they see the clock," Roxas smirked at Lucario, who chuckled in response to the remark.
May rubbed her eyes as she sat on the edge of the bed while Ash, Pikachu, and Victini remained asleep. "What time is it?" May checked the clock and her eyes grew immediately, just as Roxas had predicted.
"Ash, Ash, Ash! We have to get ready, it's time!" May frantically shook him.
"Just let me finish this battle and we can," Ash smiled as he slept with satisfaction.
"There's no time for that!" May tried her best to get him up, but \she only managed to awaken Victini and Pikachu.
"Pi?" Pikachu looked around with confusion.
"Ti v?" Victini rubbed his eyes as he tried to understand what was going on.
"Guys help me, Ash won't wake up and we need to get ready for our mission!" May updated them.
"Pika," Pikachu quickly became alarmed, realizing that it was late and mobilized to help him.
"Vi," Victini slowly hovered over, still trying to combat his urge to continue sleeping.
"Ash, come on, even I'm not this much of a heavy sleeper," May shook him again and then sighed.
"Tini vi," Victini poked his face, but Ash just scratched wherever Victini poked him and continued sleeping.
"Pikachu pi pika," Pikachu also tried to shake him; however, at this point it seemed pointless. Then an idea struck Pikachu, "Pika!" the mouse cheered and began to emit sparks from its cheeks. "Piiiikaaaa…" Pikachu charged up electricity in preparation for awaking Ash.
"Pikachu no!" May instantly realized his plan and picked him up.
"Chuuuuuuuuuu!" Pikachu let it out and shocked May. The girl's eyes grew as she squealed and her hair turned into a mess.
"Thanks…Pikachu," May trembled in her fried pajamas. With that she let out a sigh and dropped to the ground.
"Pika pi," Pikachu began to sweat and chuckle nervously, apologizing to May for the incident. The scene had also awakened Victini up and the Fire-type looked at May with concern. Unfortunately, not even that had been enough to wake up Ash.
Normally May would be upset, but now wasn't the time or place. "It's alright Pikachu…let's try not to shock anyone this time though," the brunette flashed him a quick glare, which made the mouse lower his head in shame.
"Ok I've got in idea and if this doesn't work I don't know what will, it's practical and loud," May spoke to no one really as Victini and Pikachu just listened.
Alright Ash Ketchum, you'll cling onto the ceiling after this, May thought mischievously as she leaned towards his ear. The sapphire-eyed girl took a deep breath and then with all the energy in her voice yelled, "ASH KETCHUM IT IS MORNING, WAKE UP!"
The yell, which was almost like a screech, almost burst Ash's ears and the boy opened his eyes with a startled expression. "What, what's going on?!" he moved around frantically, which then caused him to fall off the bed and hit his head.
"Oops, that wasn't supposed to happen," May looked down with Pikachu and Victini.
"Ouch, what's the deal May?" Ash rubbed his head as he glared at her for waking him up like that.
"Hey don't give me that look," May crossed her arms and gave him a sassy response. "You wouldn't wake up, so you gave me no choice. Plus, Pikachu was about to shock you and I got electrified instead trying to stop him."
Ash looked at Pikachu with a raised eyebrow as the mouse pretended to stare at the ceiling while whistling. "Thanks May, I'm sorry I got mad," Ash stood up and kissed his girlfriend on the forehead as an apology.
"You're welcome," May's expression became warm again.
The raven-haired trainer then took a glimpse at the clock and realized they had to get ready. "We're late; Roxas is probably waiting for us!" Ash exclaimed.
"That's why I was trying to wake you up," May sighed.
"Might as well go brush my teeth now," Ash turned around, but before he could even take a step a wind passed by and the next thing he heard was the sound of the bathroom door being slammed.
"Sorry Ash, I'm probably going to take longer, especially since Pikachu shocked me. You'll go first next time, promise!" May shouted from the bathroom.
Ash groaned and simply replied with, "Ok."
He sat on the edge of the bed for a moment as he tried to think of what to do while May readied herself. As he started to think Victini and Pikachu got near him with smiles on their faces. Ash grinned at them and remembered of last night, "Last night I had a great time with May guys. We stayed up on that tower just staring at the stars and talking about all sorts of stuff. It's the probably the most beautiful date we've ever gone out on."
"Victini!" Victini cheered.
"Pikachu!" Pikachu cheered with the Fire-type.
"Yeah it was really something else, but I just can't wait for everything else we'll go through in the future. Many more days like last night are just around the corner," Ash made a fist as he thought of May.
"Pi!" Pikachu agreed; however, even though he and Victini would love to hear more about May and him they had to get ready and the mouse suggested going to eat breakfast.
"Oh sorry, guess I got carried away," Ash smiled sheepishly and with that he got up. "Let's go get some grub you two," the auburn-eyed teen said and received nods from both Pokémon. With that said the two dashed out of the room.
"C'mon Slowpoke, we need to hurry up," May ran up the stairs that led to the roof of the building.
"Don't act like I'm the only one who woke up late," Ash smiled slyly at her, causing May to look back and laugh a bit.
"Pi pi pika," Pikachu ran up the metal stairs with Ash while Victini moved up easily by flying, provoking jealousy from Ash, May, and Pikachu because of its flight capabilities.
Luckily, it wasn't long before they exited the building and found themselves at the top. The wind was blowing strong enough to make their hair dance and in front of them was the entire gang. Roxas, Hilbert, Hilda, Cheren, Wes, Burgh, Iris, Cilan, and Axew were there waiting for them along with a noisy helicopter that was preparing to take off.
"We were just about to leave without you," Hilbert joked as he flashed them a smirk.
"There was some oversleeping involved," Ash laughed nervously as he walked over to the group.
"And lots of showering," May added as she giggled too.
"Well at least you're here now," Hilda laughed and soon so did the rest of the group.
"Roxas was just about to have a cow," Cheren joked, causing everyone to chuckle.
"Ha ha," Roxas laughed sarcastically as he got on the helicopter. In return Cheren gave him a grin, making Roxas chuckle.
"I assume this is goodbye for a while though, isn't it?" Wes walked over to Ash and May.
"Looks that way," Ash crossed his arms as he smiled confidently at Wes.
"Speaking of goodbyes, we have to move fast," Roxas notified the couple, whom looked at him and gave nods.
"You guys take care alright?" Cilan, who had been silent, walked over to them with a kind expression.
"We will," Ash and May replied simultaneously with a positive tone.
"Promise us that you are going to be careful, Cilan and I won't be around to help with medicine or food," Iris spoke with a motherly voice.
The couple laughed together and May answered with a gentle tone, "We promise Iris, we'll be careful no matter what."
"Axew ew ax," Axew also begged Pikachu and Victini to be careful out there.
"Tini vi," Victini patted the Pokémon on the back and assured it that it would be fine.
"Pikachu pi," Pikachu nodded at Axew and gave it a thumbs up.
"We'll be reunited soon guys, but for now let's stay strong," Ash mimicked Pikachu and gave Iris and Cilan a thumbs up.
"So long, Ash, May, Pikachu, and Victini. It was a great honor to finally meet Castelia City's heroes," Cheren smiled proudly at the two foreign trainers.
"Likewise Cheren," May winked playfully at him.
"It was awesome to have finally met you to Cheren, keep being the Gym Leader we saw out there yesterday," Ash shook the Aspertia resident's hand.
"One other thing…I'm sorry we couldn't have a gym battle Ash. Once this is all over, it's the first thing we'll do," Cheren smiled confidently.
Ash nodded, "Count on it."
"As always, it's nice to see you both in one piece and I pray that we meet again soon my friends," Burgh bowed to them and flashed a bright smile.
"I hope the same Burgh. Keep being a protector of this city, it really needs you right now," May shook the Gym Leader's hands.
"We're always happy to see you Burgh and hopefully next time we meet in a better situation, I would still like to have another match with you," Ash also went to shake the man's hand.
Burgh chuckled, "We'll make it a double battle; Ash and May vs. Burgh and Cheren," and the man turned to Cheren, who nodded in approval.
"Sounds good to us!" May cheered and Ash's eyes fire up at the sound of that.
"And I bid all of the greatest fortune to both of you as well. Continue to be the virtuous teenagers I've come to know and never sway away from hope whenever things become dire. I was amazed yesterday as much as I was amazed when I first met you four," Wes smiled confidently at the group.
"We won't let you down Wes," May assured the man.
"We will never give up the fight," Ash made a fist.
"That's what I like to hear," Wes chuckled.
As they prepared to board the chopper, Ash noticed something odd in the whole picture. "Hey wait a sec, where's Cobalion?" the boy questioned.
"Cobalion wanted to get a head start on Ghetsis and Omega, it's running through Unova as we speak," Hilbert informed Ash.
"Then in that case let's get moving too," May got on the plane with Victini and Pikachu resting on her shoulders.
"Take care everyone; we'll see you real soon!" Ash waved at them.
"We'll be counting the time till we meet up again!" May winked at the group they were leaving behind as the loud noises of the chopper indicated that they were going to take off.
Ash, May, Pikachu, and Victini focused their eyes most on Iris, Cilan, and Axew, whom they had bonded most with and had come to love them. Parting ways is never easy, but they rest assured that they would be reunited soon.
Roxas closed the helicopter as they left Castelia City's atmosphere. The chopper flew rapidly into the clouds, disappearing from sight. Inside, Hilda and Hilbert sat patiently next to the formidable trainer while Ash and May wondered of what to expect at the Relic Castle.
"We should arrive at the desert in less than 10 minutes," Roxas informed them.
"What's the plan exactly?" Hilda inquired.
"It's simple and straightforward. We're going to blast through rock and sand all the way to the bottom where the Light Stone is being held according to records and observations.
"Sounds easy enough compared to everything else we've had to do," Hilbert commented.
"Don't let the simplicity of the plan fool you. The Plasma and Rocket Grunts there are not light work and there will be more than a little sweating and explosions," the raven-haired trainer warned.
"Oh," Ash said, having believed the same as Hilbert in his mind.
"We can't afford to lose this one, especially after what happened with Genesect," Roxas answered sternly.
All of a sudden, an alarm went off and the gang quickly stood up from their seats. "What's going on?" May became alerted as she looked around with concern alongside Pikachu and Victini.
"I knew we would have this problem," Roxas's face became a serious one.
"What do you mean?" Ash got slightly annoyed by Roxas's failure to tell them what's happening.
"Hang on to anything, we're about to enter a sandstorm," Roxas answered and grabbed the handles on the ceiling of the chopper.
The others quickly moved to grab onto something as well. Victini seemed the most frightened as it held onto a handle and had itself stuck on May. The fact that the Fire-type shut its eyes and refused to open them also signaled a sense of fear within it.
"Don't you think this is dangerous?" May said to the boy with fear in her voice.
"This helicopter was designed to travel through hailstorms, sandstorms, thunderstorms, snow, even in hurricanes and tornadoes," Roxas held on as the chopper instantly tilted to the left and everyone slid to the left, but they managed to avoid getting hurt.
"Where on earth did you get one of those?!" Hilbert gritted his teeth as the helicopter began to tilt to the right.
"I have acquaintances in high places," Roxas chuckled by himself as everyone else was too afraid of flying into the metallic walls because of all the tilting. The boy immediately became stern and braced himself, "Get ready, this makes roller coasters look like a kiddy ride."
"Oh great," Hilda spoke with a sassy tone.
Abruptly, the helicopter began tremble as if it had been hit by something heavy. Metal cried as the sandstorms bashed against the chopper. The entire gang began to feel the chopper move in 360 degrees, making them bounce back and forth. Ash nearly hit his head against the metal wall before he recovered his grip.
The alarm grew louder as the sandstorm's bashing grew more intense and the helicopter tilted left and right and shifted in all directions. At moments it felt like they crash down towards the ground with no hope for survival.
If I die today May won't be happy, Ash thought as he began to sweat from the intensity and grinded his teeth.
I knew I should have told Hilda I loved her last night, Hilbert sighed in his head.
If Roxas says that we're going to die in the next 30 seconds I'm going for Hilbert's lips, Hilda struggled to keep herself grounded as her legs were about get lifted by the physics of the crazy ride.
I can't die now; I haven't even been engaged yet! May shouted in her as she held onto the metal handles.
Pikachu and Victini also held on tight, but they were more afraid for the lives of their friends rather than themselves since Victini and Pikachu could easily find a way to cheat death.
"Why did it even occur to you to make the visit todaaaay?!" Hilda screamed at Roxas as she began to feel her hands get sweaty.
"The Relic Castle is guarded by sandstorms year-round, so if we had made the trip yesterday or tomorrow it wouldn't have made a difference!" Roxas responded loudly, hoping Hilda heard him through the alarm sounds. "Plus, time is blood when you're at war," Roxas said in a lower tone, hoping not to send deep chills into the other teenagers.
Screams and gasps were the noises of the helicopter for the next 5 minutes and everyone could feel their hearts beat to the point of death. Then all of a sudden, just as the teens prepared for another heavy blow the motion of the helicopter became steady. The bashing sounds from outside came to a halt and the chopper was moving as it should.
Everyone except Roxas blinked twice while holding on in case this was a false alarm. "Now that wasn't so bad was it?" Roxas let go and sighed.
"Speak for yourself," May let out go and dropped on the floor with her arms trembling from so much stress.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Ash let out a sigh as his face turned green and he held his stomach.
Hilbert sat on the floor breathing heavily while Hilda had dropped next to him and breathed heavily as well. While Pikachu and Victini rested back to back with sighs coming out of them. Guess it was, Roxas thought to himself and let out a chuckle, but then smiled with relief that everything had come out alright.
"Well now time for the next step," Roxas caught their attention as he opened the chopper's door. The gang instantly recovered and walked near the door to see what was up.
Much to their amazement there was a sandstorm encircling the entire area like a wall. "That's what we just survived?" Hilda had never seen such a thick and vicious sandstorm like the one that raged around them. The power of the sandstorm seemed so intense that it resembled a hurricane.
"That's right that is what guards the Relic Castle down below," Roxas looked down and everyone's eyes followed to a deep pit with a unique and ancient structure at the bottom center.
"Do you know there's always a sandstorm guarding this place?" May asked as her eyes examined the interesting castle.
"Not entirely sure, but according to myth a spell was placed on the castle by the ancients who lived here. The spell was to create a sandstorm that would guard the castle and the treasures inside it once the ancients were no longer an existing civilization. I can hardly blame them, when you have treasures like the Light and Dark Stone, all sorts of power must be conjured up to protect them," Roxas concluded as he thought about the energy of the stones.
"Are we going to land down there?" Ash questioned.
"We're not going to land," Roxas replied.
"Then how are we going to get down?" Hilbert raised an eyebrow.
"With these," Roxas walked over to a container and opened it. The boy then threw two parachutes for them and one for himself. Ash and Hilbert quickly received the ones he threw.
"You ever been skydiving before?" Roxas raised an eyebrow.
"No," the group said simultaneously as they shook their heads.
"Then this is your shot," Roxas placed on the straps and gear that came with the parachute.
"What?" May's eyes grew with terror than by instinct grabbed onto Ash's hand and squeezed it.
"Hey don't get scared May, everything is going to be fine," Ash instantly felt the girl's fear and spoke to her with a calm attitude. "Plus, it sounds like fun, especially since we've never done it before," Ash sounded like a child.
"I guess, but this isn't the scenario I imagined doing skydiving in," May pressed herself close to him as Ash continued to assure her.
"Hilbert, I'm pretty frightened too," Hilda pressed herself up against Hilbert with a fearful stare.
"Don't worry Hilda, we'll get through this together like we always have," Hilbert winked at her, easing the girl's heart. One point for Hilbert, the boy smiled as he saw a small blush come across Hilda's face.
"Alright, so this is what you're going to do," Roxas interrupted their discussions since he felt there was no time for that. "You're going to position yourself like a star," Roxas entered a pose where his arms and legs were spread out to resemble a star.
"Since you're all new to this just stick to that pose and try not to pull of Mission Impossible if you're tempted," Roxas joked, but kept his stern tone. Then he took a wristband with some digits on it. He displayed it and said, "This is a timer and once it reaches 30 seconds you must release you're parachute because by that point we'll be in the proximity of landing. It will take one minute to land and the timers on the wristbands will indicate the time, it will also beep once we're down to 30. Do you guys understand the instructions I have given you?"
The teenagers nodded obediently and Roxas nodded back. "By the way, you're going to have to do this two-in-two since we only have 3 parachutes," Roxas pointed out.
"Alright Ash, you and me," May winked at him as she buried her fears. As long as Ash was with her, she could feel secure.
The feeling was mutual for Hilda as she quickly chose to pair up with Hilbert and the two boys happily accepted to skydive with their respective loved ones. The two pairs helped each other strap together and fit perfectly, although the material itself felt a bit uncomfortable.
"All set and ready to go," May stated confidently as she felt Ash's hands on her waist.
All of a sudden, a thought struck Ash. "Wait a minute, what about Victini and Pikachu? There are no parachutes for them." the raven-haired trainer stated.
Roxas laughed and answered, "They are way ahead of us." The sapphire-eyed male then pointed behind the pairs and they became surprised to see the two Pokémon there, flying in midair.
Blue energy enveloped Victini and Pikachu's bodies as they flew near the helicopter door playfully. Victini's psychic powers allowed both two fly and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. "Pika!" Pikachu did a somersault in midair.
"Victini vi!" Victini clapped its hands and flew in circles cheerfully.
"Well whaddaya know," Ash laughed and then so did the others, all of them admiring the Pokémon's cleverness.
"Alright, we have to hurry guys, 1, 2, and 3!" Roxas commanded and without warning ran past them and threw himself out of the chopper.
"Roxas!" May yelled out of fear, but the male could not hear her and just continued falling gracefully.
"Here we go then," Ash stated and the pair drew near the edge and looked at each other.
They gave shook their heads together and shouted, "Go!" With that said and done they began to travel down in a star position while Pikachu and Victini were in hot pursuit, easily catching up and continuing to play.
May yelled frantically as she tried to keep her eyes closed. Her hair danced crazily as the air pushed upward. "Ash, I love you!"
"And I love you!" Ash shouted as they held on close together, but his eyes were glued to the top of the castle.
"Hilbert you better be holding on good, I'm too young to die!" Hilda shouted as her eyes grew wider with the closer they got to the ground.
"I'm not letting you go Hilda!" Hilbert reassured her, but Hilda took the statement in a more romantic way than Hilbert intended.
Their fears and screams blew out of their minds for the first 30 seconds of the fall, but then the wristbands beeped and almost at the same time everyone released their parachute. Roxas led the way as quietly as he had led the drop and continued to gracefully travel down to the castle, which got bigger and bigger the closer they got.
As May and Hilda recovered from their fears and sighed out of relief, Roxas reached for a Pokéball. Lucario you know the plan! Roxas said as he threw his Pokéball.
"What's Roxas doing?" Ash wondered.
"Looks like he's calling out a Pokémon," May quietly watched as they slowly descended.
In a flash Lucario burst out of the Pokéball and with a stern look released an Aura Sphere that shot at the roof of the castle. When the sphere hit, an explosion occurred, it burst the roof and left a hole big enough for a human to drop in.
Done, Lucario answered back as it began to descend towards the hole.
"Is Lucario going inside through that hole it made?" Hilbert inquired.
"I don't know, but isn't this the past where something bad happens. I mean I couldn't like it if someone destroyed my home, especially a nice one," Hilda seemed puzzled and anxious.
"Couldn't we just have taken the front door?" May placed her finger on her chin.
"I feel like that would've been too easy May," Ash responded as he saw Lucario shoot through the air like a bullet.
Pikachu and Victini also watched from a distance, but they sensed something fishier than Lucario's sudden attack.
"Direct your selves to the hole Lucario just made with the handles. We'll make our entrance through there!" Roxas instructed and demonstrated with the handles on his parachute.
"Right," Ash agreed and along with Hilbert began to redirect the parachute towards the hole on the roof, which was now clearly visibly without the dust from the explosion.
Thanks to his physical capabilities, Lucario landed inside the castle without a parachute and without breaking a bone. However, what he found quickly alarmed him and his eyes grew with shock.
Roxas, I've just made a disturbing discovery, Lucario briefed his trainer as his jaw was left hanging.
What is it? Roxas became concerned as they still descended down.
You'll have a look for yourself when you touch ground, Lucario answered.
Roxas remained silent and soon enough they made it through the hole, but what they saw alarmed them to the point that chills traveled through their spines.
"Oh my," May gasped.
Hilda squealed and placed a hand over her mouth while Hilbert and Ash's jaws dropped. Roxas frowned at the horrific scene and looked down at the sand. "What in the world?" Roxas saw the trail of red sand and scanned the corpses of Neo Plasma and Rocket Grunts lying around.
"Their clothes are covered in blood," Ash stood frozen.
"And their faces…" May couldn't help but stare at the paralyzed expression the corpses had on. Their jaws were hanging and their eyes were pitch black, even the white in them was gone.
"It's like if they got spooked before you know," Hilbert gulped as he walked over and gazed into the pure blackness of the bodies' eyes.
"I can barely look at this," Hilda caught a glimpse and then turned her head away.
Victini felt its spirit leave its body as it hid behind Pikachu, who stood as frozen as Ash.
Lucario, what happened here? Roxas examined the bodies, but noticed that the grunts hadn't even used their Pokéballs.
I'm not sure, but I can't sense any life within this castle, Lucario tried to focus with his eyes closed.
"Was this supposed to happen?" Ash questioned sternly.
"No," Roxas looked at the bloody hands of one of the grunts as he responded. "However, even if it looks like someone beat us here, we still have to be careful and move forward," Roxas informed them and began to walk down the bloody and sandy corridors of the castle with Lucario.
"Ok," Ash nodded with a serious expression. The boy grabbed May's hand and they walked hand in hand with Victini and Pikachu following.
"If he says so," Hilbert told Hilda, who seemed too scared to move.
Seeing that everyone else was leaving, Hilda sighed and got close to Hilbert as they walked together. "Don't worry Hilda, I've got your back," Hilbert playfully patted her back, making the girl smile sheepishly.
After a little walking they quickly stopped in front of a large whole that led to the bottom. Everyone stopped in front and Roxas spoke, "Looks like whoever made this attack also planned on blasting themselves down."
Let's continue down, Lucario spoke and dived down. Roxas soon followed along with the rest of the gang.
"Ufff," May let out as she landed on the lower floor.
"That fall was a bit more risky than I thought," Ash told her.
"Good thing we did this kind of stuff with Auro, Rosa, and Nate huh?" May placed her hands on her hips, smiling gratefully.
Hilbert and Hilda jumped down as well, feeling the same way as Ash and May. Pikachu and Victini merely hovered down. Not surprisingly, more corpses were found on this level. They had the same frightened faces as the ones from above and the only difference from the two floors was this one had more blood on the sand.
"This is really creepy Ash, what have we gotten ourselves into this time?" May squeezed her boyfriend's hand.
"I don't know, but I agree. The deeper we get involved in this, the scarier it gets. I could deal with maniacs trying to rule the world, but actual violence involved in something I'm new to," Ash commented.
"Do you mind taking me somewhere nice once we get out of here? Forgetting this place is the first thing I want to do once we get this done," May sighed.
"I promise we'll do something fun May," Ash winked at her, hoping to make his girlfriend forget about the situation for at least a few seconds.
As they continued dropping through the various holes of the abandoned castle they felt a growing disturbance. However, the calm faded when suddenly, Pikachu, Victini, Lucario and Roxas sensed something.
A wind began to howl through the corridors and blew against May and Hilda's hair. "Where'd that wind come from?" May wrapped herself around Ash's arms.
"Could've been from the hole Lucario made right?" Hilda laughed nervously as she stuck close to Hilbert.
The Pokémon and Roxas put their guards up as they heard a groan echo and the sound of malevolent whispers. "Oh no, this is the last thing we needed," Hilda whined as her legs trembled.
"Please stay quiet, something is going on, but we can't get to the bottom of it if we freak out," Roxas instructed them and assured the gang that everything would be fine.
Watches, follows, haunts, dark, no soul, the echoes whispered to the ears of the group, but no matter how many times they looked around the only thing they saw were corpses.
"Stop," Roxas halted as they stood at the edge of some stairs with torches illuminating the path.
I sense something down there, Lucario warned as he turned to Pikachu and Victini, who nodded in agreement.
Can't be Cofagrigus or Yamask, the power is exponentially higher, Roxas answered back.
"Hey do you think this could have been Team Plasma?" Ash interrupted, having gotten impatient with just standing there as Roxas and Lucario stared at the stairs.
That's what I was going to ask, Lucario smirked at Ash.
"I have serious doubts. Team Plasma is nowhere near the skills or numbers to combat a combined force like Team Neo Plasma and Team Rocket. Besides, N and Team Plasma's moral codes do not allow such horrific actions, this is something else I'm afraid," Roxas began to sweat at the thought of a hidden enemy behind the scenes.
"More bad guys?" May was just about to call it quits for today.
"Let's move and get this over with before Hilda has a heart attack," Hilbert chuckled and was sweating a bit as Hilda was as stiff as a statue.
"Very well," Roxas stated as the others became concerned.
The walk downstairs was all the more alarming as the whispers got louder and there were writings on the wall in red color. No mercy, killer, Ash read in his mind as he passed by the writings and soon realized that the whispers stalking them was also reading it.
Go Away, Turn BACK, NO RETURN, Roxas read the chilling messages and many more disturbing words were on the walls until they reached an intersection.
"Which way?" Ash looked around.
"This part of the castle is a maze, so we're going to take some risks," Roxas said with a regretful voice.
Abruptly, the fires on the torches went out and left them in the dark. "Eeep!" Hilda hugged Hilbert at that moment, but it didn't remain dark for too long.
XSCAPE, GET OUT, BYE-BYE! the chilling whispers became demonic cries that got followed by a sinister laugh. All of a sudden a purple ball of energy illuminated the right corridor and fired towards the gang.
With no time to react as the sphere shot faster than a bullet, Lucario stepped in and countered with a Dragon Pulse. The impact caused an explosion just a few feet away from Lucario's face and caused a wind to blow against the teens' faces.
This way, I can sense it, it's strong, Lucario took off and everyone followed behind it. As they ran through the corridors, making lefts and right, Shadow Balls fired from various directions, but Lucario's amazing speed allowed it to handle the situation. On top of that Victini and Pikachu were doing an effective job at giving a hand.
"LEAVE NOOOOOW!" a phantom that resembled a Gengar appeared from out of the wall and fired a Shadow Ball.
"Pikachuuuu!" Pikachu easily countered with an Electro Ball as it jumped between the group and the ghoul.
"DIIIIIEEEE!" a goblin-shaped ghost burst from the ground shrieking. It immediately fired a Shadow Ball and dissolved, but Victini quickly flew in.
"Victini!" Victini bravely fired a Flamethrower and destroyed the attack, leaving a cloud of smoke.
The gang continued pushing through with all the courage they could muster, even Hilda swallowed her fears and focused on trying to escape rather than think about their ghoulish opponents.
"This day just keeps getting crazier!" Ash shouted as held on tight to May.
"Remind me to tell my parents the next time I see them, ghosts are real!" May ran just as fast as Ash.
Lucario could this be a dark curse placed on the castle to protect intruders? Roxas inquired his friend.
I'm uncertain, but we're about to find out. Whatever is attacking is leading us to the chamber of the Light Stone, Lucario informed as it countered another Shadow Ball.
Why would it lead us to where the stone is being kept if it is supposed to guard it? Roxas became suspicious.
Perhaps we are facing another enemy after all, rather than just some curse, Lucario spoke with a grave tone.
Roxas provided light with an Aura Sphere he mustered and not much later they spotted a door frame leading to a dark room. "Hey over there!" Hilbert pointed out the door frame to Ash, May, and Hilda.
In a second, any ghosts that had prepared to attack disappeared at the sound of Hilbert's comment and everyone became further confused. "Did they just randomly vanish?" Hilda blinked twice to make sure she wasn't hallucinating.
"May be Hilbert should've spoken the first moment we were attacked," Ash chuckled and then let out a sigh of relief.
"You really think they got scared away?" May asked.
No, we're here, Lucario cut their conversation and made them refocus on the room just ahead. C'mon, you'll have your answers questioned if we stay silent and continue, the Fighting-type Pokémon walked cautiously to the entrance.
I sense nothing, Roxas became frustrated.
Then we'll go in and see with the eyes, Lucario entered with a very cautious crowd behind him.
"I really hope this is the end of it," May sighed and lowered her head.
"I hope so too May, I hope so too," Ash caressed her hand as she held it.
The moment they entered the room, fire spawned from the torches and illuminated the entire room. "Oh terrific, torches turning on by them, that's something, you see every day," Hilda chuckled nervously.
"The Light Stone's podium," Roxas set his eyes across the hall and unsurprisingly, there was on it.
You have been fools for coming here, now you will die by my own hands, a very threatening and demonic voice warned as ghouls burst out of the ground. They all laughed evilly and gathered together at the center, creating a sphere of darkness.
From within the sphere, a blue eye and a red outline glowed as wind began to build up around the room.
"Not good," Ash sighed and turned his hat around while May glared at the dark sphere, preparing to reach for a Pokéball.
Hilda and Hilbert also frowned as they reached for Pokéballs. Roxas, Victini, Pikachu, and Lucario also braced themselves for the impending challenge.
They were very specific on your treatment, slow and painful, the demonic voice chuckled as the black sphere grew in size.
That was Chapter 51, hope you guys liked it. I gotta say it was strange to write this chapter, especially because it seemed so lighthearted at first, but the inclusion of the villain for this chapter and the next forced me to change some things. There was also some action involved, but most of it was suspenseful or focused on Ash, May, and Roxas. For those of you worried about the amount of characters, I'll just say that whoever Ash and May are about to face is not an OC and not as significant as you think, but you will be seeing this character more in the future. Let me know what you guys thought. This chapter was a hybrid of action, Ash and May moments, and Roxas moments. Once again, hope you guys enjoyed it and thanks for all your support. I'll see you in Chapter 52!