This fan fiction is officially back from hiatus! Hopefully it won’t take me another 4 months to write the next chapter. I will hold myself accountable for that!
Chapter 27: Storming Violight
Fan fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
I woke up to the dreadful sounds I had feared most. The screams of people. The clanging of metal weapons. The crackling of fire. I slowly took a peek out of the window from my room at the inn.
Muneshige and his Emolga were still fast asleep. Muneshige was still out cold, but Emolga trembled, as if experiencing a nightmare, or worse. Ujitaro, Hotaru, and Mizuna were also trembling within their pokéballs. To sense fear, even in the protection and safety of a pokéball; something terrible must be happening.
My eyes opened wide at the sight outside.
Muneshige awoke in a stupor, stretching and yawning.
“What’s going on, Lady Shuko?” he asked. “Why is there so much noise outside?”
With a quick release of Sangen, I extended my arms toward my retainer and held his lips silent with the rings of the shakujo. The day I feared most upon returning to Ransei had come.
“Violight is under attack.”
Muneshige and I prepared ourselves for battle. Muneshige fed Emolga while he readied his armor and his blade. I briskly dressed in heavier robes and released both Ujitaro and Hotaru from their pokéballs.
Regardless of living in Violight for the past three weeks, I was still a stranger to this kingdom. The army of electric type pokémon would be too much for Mizuna to handle, so Ujitaro would suffice. However, the invaders who attacked this city are from an army I would never have expected to come. That’s why I needed Hotaru. Why would they come now?
We dashed through a side door of the inn and into an alley. This was the safest route. While we couldn’t see anything from where we were standing, war was certainly upon us. Screams from earlier were much louder outside, as those who were brutalized or running for their lives echoed their fears around us. The temperature in the air was higher than usual for a Spring morning, as Muneshige and I can see smoke from burning buildings in the distance.
And the smell. That putrid stench from corpses of humans and pokémon alike, spread across the town with a nauseous odor. Burning flesh from the fires emphasized even more of these awful scents. I had the feeling of throwing up, but since I had only enough money for a place to stay, I had nothing to eat last night, so there was nothing to let out.
Muneshige, still dumbfounded as ever, stood confused by the situation.
“Why exactly are we hiding?” he asked. “They’re going to find us eventually. We’ll have to fight the Violight army.”
“That’s not what I’m concerned about,” I told him. “It’s the Greenleaf army.”
Muneshige was shocked. He had the same thought as I did. But then his grimaced face returned to his typical indifference.
“So what Kanetsugu told me was true after all,” he said.
My face burned with anger.
“What did he say? What did he tell you?”
Muneshige sighed before he spoke.
“Lord Jun and his council have been evaluating your actions, Lady Shuko. Kanetsugu serves on that council as our liaison. Lord Jun has been waiting patiently for results from you, but if it ever came time, he would cease your campaign and control it himself. We were all informed of this matter and were also told not to tell you.”
“But why, Muneshige? Why would he make such a ruling without my knowledge? Why haven’t any of you told me until now?”
Muneshige put both of his hands on my shoulders and faced me head-on.
“Because unlike him, you are still a stranger to this land! None of us can trust you! Don’t you get that?”
“But I am a child of Ransei! I grew up here!”
“Have you ever seen it, Lady Shuko? Have you seen your comrades die in front of your very eyes? Have you ever ordered your pokémon to kill? Have you ever tasted the blood on your weapon of those you have slain?”
I fell silent. I left Ransei so many years ago, and I was still a little girl when I did. I can remember so vividly the day I saw big brother kill an officer while I stood idly by, but that was it. I knew very well the effects war had on the citizens of Ransei. But I never knew what kind of effect it had on the soldiers and warlords.
“But why Lord Jun?” I asked softly. “He has a home elsewhere. He has a wife who is caring for his son! And he’s Shuichi’s friend! How could he do this?”
“Lord Shuichi never told you, did he?” said Muneshige. “Or rather, perhaps he never knew.”
As the cries of battle and death continued to echo beyond the alley, I listened carefully to my retainer.
“There has always been another side to Lord Jun. He was forced to leave Ransei when he was younger so that he could train to become a pokémon warrior, not having to worry about the pressures of the war. Over the years, he enjoyed his life to the fullest in those foreign lands, but those who come from Ransei are always beckoned to return.”
“But that doesn’t make sense,” I said. “I don’t know much about Lord Jun, but he sounds like such a good person and a good father. How could Shuichi not know?”
“I’m not sure what Lord Jun has told either of you,” admitted Muneshige, “but he has come to the Greenleaf kingdom very regularly during our time of peace. He may not have experienced war like we have, but he is very familiar with our customs. Certainly more than you will ever understand. He is, after all, the late Lord Motonari’s brother.”
I stood in place frozen, unsure of what to think next. Jun kept that a secret, but why? Did Shuichi know, or was he led to believe something else too? And why would he want to intervene in my campaign? What’s happened to him?
“Lady Shuko, look out!” said Muneshige.
A native Joltik leaped forward toward me, with lightning built up around its tiny body. Its master, a soldier of Violight, discovered us in the alley and charged at us with his sword. Muneshige and I had no time to react.
But then, an arrow hurled quickly into the crossfire, piercing the warrior’s skull. His wrathful countenance remained as he fell to the ground, covered in his own blood. A Carnivine seized the Joltik with its vines and whipped it to death.
The Greenleaf soldier who killed the assassin approached the alley as he readied another arrow for his crossbow. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Magoichi relaxed his weapon and sighed in relief.
“It’s good to see you, my lady. I was worried that you had been killed by now.”
Hotaru jumped in front of me, guarding me from him.
“Why are you here, Magoichi?” I asked angrily. “This was supposed to be my campaign! What’s Lord Jun’s plan?”
Magoichi raised his crossbow in the air with a shrug.
“Take it easy. Lord Jun’s just been a little too impatient, that’s all. It’s going to be just fine, my lady. Your campaign will be in good hands and Violight will be under our control by the end of the day.”
“I’ve heard enough!”
I raised Sangen toward Magoichi’s chest as Hotaru and Ujitaro cornered his Carnivine. Muneshige put his hand on my shoulder to stop me as Emolga confronted my two pokémon.
“Forget it, Lady Shuko,” said Muneshige. “This is how it’s always been done in the past. And this is how it will go from here on out.”
I fell to my knees and dropped my shakujo with my head faced to the ground.
“How? How could you just accept it?”
Magoichi stepped closer to us out of concern.
“How could you accept this tyranny? Can’t you see it? The people of Ransei suffer because of the warlords! People will always live in fear of them, if not of their own ruler, then of the others! I can hear them. I can hear their cries, even after all those years I had spent living as a priestess in Sinnoh!”
Muneshige and Magoichi hovered over me in pity while their pokémon remained vigilant around us.
“Nagamasa was the Hero of Ransei?” I said softly in tears. “He was a fool to let the warlords remain in power in nothing but a ceasefire! How can we free them, Brother? How can we save Ransei if we just keep doing things the way they always have been?”
Muneshige tried to place his hands on me again, but out of instinct, I quickly picked up Sangen, pivoted off of the ground, and swung at his face.
But I had stopped just centimeters away from striking him. Muneshige didn’t even flinch, with the most serious countenance he has ever given me.
“Do you really have what it takes to kill me, Lady Shuko?” he said. “This is exactly why Lord Jun has decided to take control of this campaign. Your heart is wavering. Are you sure this is how you want to unite the kingdoms you so desire?”
No. This is not what I wanted. I thought I knew what was best to liberate Ransei, but now I wasn’t so sure. Still, I wanted to save them. And to do that, I needed to seek more clarity.
I lowered my weapon and called upon Ujitaro and Hotaru to stand before me.
“Where can I find him? Where’s Lord Jun?”
Magoichi scratched his head and summoned back his Carnivine.
“He’s probably making his way to Violight’s castle as we speak,” he said. “How he will get there is beyond even me. He may be very lax as a warlord, but he is very quick on his feet as a ninja.”
“Lord Jun is a ninja?”
“You mean you couldn’t tell? Well, that is the ninja’s nature, after all. I guess ball-lovers can’t point them out as easily as we can.”
I shook my head and prepared my mind for a long road to the castle.
“Show me the way, Muneshige,” I said. “I must speak to Lord Jun myself.”