Chapter 32: Divine Snow
Fan fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
A cold, wintry breeze passed over at dawn of a spring morning in the mountains of Viperia. I stretched as I stepped out of our makeshift tent and took a breath of that crisp, yet thin layer of fresh air. I let Amy sleep cozily for now, but the Skorupi I had linked with crawled up my arm as I awoke.
It was going to be a long day for all of us.
I found Gracia outside, standing watch over a cliff that peered over Viperia’s capital. I could only see her from behind, but I knew that she was very worried. She is the leader of this campaign, after all. She was shivering, either from the cold draft in the air or the battle she had anticipated in her mind. Or both. I wanted to pat her head, maybe even stroke her face, to let her know that everything would be okay. Before I could touch her, however, she shook her head violently and pumped her fists.
“Yes, I can do this!” she exclaimed to herself. “Just wait a little longer, Articuno.”
Can Gracia really lead this campaign? From what I gather, she is the weakest of the officers within the Resistance, back when they were serving Lord Nobunaga. She has the least battle experience, being the youngest, and even Amy had to help her by being a pokémon trainer rather than a warrior. What will she do when she finds Lord Fujitaka? And what will she do when she sees Articuno?
Gracia then pulled out a wand that she had kept tucked away on her sash. I have been acquainted with this treasure in past conversations with her. The wand itself has a strange shape, as if the wood it was made from was just a simple stick or twig. It was short, not even twenty centimeters long. At the tip of it was a small, glass orb, maybe three centimeters in diameter. I don’t know what it’s capable of, nor where it came from, but Gracia calls it “Divine Snow.” I imagine this is her weapon of choice.
All warriors carry a special weapon to channel their warrior abilities to their pokémon, much like I do with Ginkgo no Kusari, or how Shuko does with Sangen. But I never got the feeling that Gracia was a warrior.
“Divine Snow,” I heard her say softly. “Grant me the strength to bring him back. Help me in the battles to come, and bring justice to this land.”
Gracia held Divine Snow out in the direction of dawn, the same direction as Viperia’s capital. The glass orb at its tip caught a glimmer of light. And as she held out the wand, the sun rose.
Maybe it was coincidence. Maybe she does this every morning at this time to give her strength. But whatever it was, I have never seen Gracia shine so brightly. I was truly in awe.
After she was done with her unorthodox meditation, Gracia returned Divine Snow to her side and turned to me as stern as ever.
“Let’s go, Shuichi.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Our small platoon of one hundred warriors and pokémon charged into Viperia’s capital. Hanzo’s and Ina’s squads had already gone ahead, as planned. Okuni’s support squad was to follow them; but before they took off, Amy wanted to speak to me first.
Amy was part of Okuni’s squad, providing assistance as a simple trainer with only three pokémon. I held her closely and kissed her cheek.
“Be careful out there, okay?” I said. “This is your first warrior battle, isn’t it?”
“I’ll be fine, Shuichi,” she said and kissed me back. “Luxray, Rhyperior, and Sneasel have gotten a lot of battle experience these past few months. If anything, I’m worried about you.”
“Don’t worry about me so much,” I said. “I’ve endured quite a bit myself, you know.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about!” she snapped. “If you touch Gracia even once, you will be in more pain than you’ll ever experience on the battlefield!”
I was surprised, and a little embarrassed too. All I could do is scratch my head and laugh.
“It’ll be fine,” I said as I held an item ball. “I won’t.”
Amy and I kissed again as she regrouped with Okuni’s squad. She immediately released her three pokémon and went on her way.
Gracia and I were the only ones left, along with Gothorita and Skorupi. My other pokémon were stored safely in their pokéballs. According to the plan, Gracia was there solely to challenge Articuno. If she ran into any other soldiers or pokémon, I was to take care of them in the immediacy. Hanzo’s squad was then responsible for delivering killing blows, because Hanzo doesn’t trust me to decimate my enemies. Maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t trust myself to do that either.
We could have had a larger detail with us, but Gracia insisted that I would be the only one protecting her. I guess she doesn’t trust any of the other warriors or officers to do the same. Either way, if she and Gothorita were to challenge Articuno, having an army surrounding us might be even more dangerous. Now I am getting a little worried about the situation I was placed in.
“Please don’t take things that Amy says to heart,” said Gracia. “She just says that because she’s worried about you.”
Gracia doesn’t have to remind me twice. I knew this about Amy long before I ever set foot on Ransei. Still, I always keep my promises with her now, no matter absurd they can be.
I released Politoed and Roku from their pokéballs and had them get in formation along with their newest friend Skorupi. I purposefully left Dragonair in her pokéball because we would be dealing with a lot more ice type pokémon anyway. I also released Ginkgo no Kusari and held it tightly in my hands.
“No. I promise you, Gracia,” I said. “I won’t let anyone harm you.”
Gracia held back her tears and nodded her head.
“Right. There’s no time to lose.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We entered the borders of Viperia’s capital. The city has been frosted over, thanks to Articuno’s power. Hanzo tells me the climate here is otherwise considerably temperate. Our army had already clashed with Fujitaka’s warriors and the blood of humans and pokémon had already been shed.
Some of the enemy soldiers and pokémon managed to break through our ranks and attacked us head on. My pokémon and I responded quickly to defend Gracia, but we only managed to render their strength from being able to battle longer, and we let the other warriors near to us finish them off with killing blows if they could.
I hate to admit it, but I have become much more accustomed to this sight ever since I came to Ransei. With repeated invasions in Avia and Spectra, Ransei’s war culture has become quite the norm. Still, my pokémon and I were not ready to kill anyone. It wasn’t that we weren’t capable of doing so. We have held our own, thanks to Hanzo’s training. We simply don’t have the heart to finish the job.
“Shuichi, look out!” yelled Gracia.
I turned around. Two warriors charged at us, along with their pokémon: Golbat and Glalie. Politoed and Roku attacked accordingly while I blocked the oncoming warriors’ blades with Ginkgo no Kusari. I spun its chain in my left hand to empower Skorupi with my “chain link,” to share our energy. Skorupi responded with a poison sting to the back of one of the soldiers, while I managed to disarm the other. Politoed hit the Golbat directly with a hydro pump while Roku pounded the Glalie with hardened sludge. Still, these enemies were tough.
“Gothorita, help them out!” Gracia shouted.
Gothorita fired a psybeam attack that knocked out Golbat instantly. Politoed took advantage of this and slapped the Glalie around with his flopping arms. Glalie then responded back by charging up an ice beam.
However, before the pokémon could finish his attack, he was hit by another ray that put him to sleep. Glalie had been hit by hypnosis, but it didn’t come from Gothorita’s direction. Confused as ever, the two soldiers looked around desperately for where the attack had come from.
In an instant, a masked ninja jumped in from above and slashed at the disarmed soldier with a short sword. He then attacked the poisoned soldier with shuriken into his chest. Both warriors had fallen. I was surprised that we had been saved in a short amount of time, but what was more surprising was the ninja’s appearance. He was short and slender, with the body of a teenager or possibly a small young adult, like Gracia. His face had been covered, but it was clear that he was wearing the same colors as the Nixtorm guard, Lord Fujitaka’s army.
But most importantly, he had a peculiar wand attached to his belt. Its wooden shape looked a lot like Gracia’s Divine Snow, and it had the same glass orb at the tip of it. The orb on this one, however, was a deep violet color rather than a bright, clear one.
I wanted to attack, but my instincts told me that this was a ninja who meant us no harm. I turned briefly to Gracia and Gothorita. Both of their eyes were filled with astonishment, left speechless at the sight of this mysterious man.
“I’m sorry to have troubled you, my lady,” said the ninja as he turned and bowed at Gracia. “I shall take you to see Lord Fujitaka personally.”
In a matter of seconds, the ninja was joined by a Munna, a small psychic type pokémon who hovered happily around Gracia. Gracia, however, was still stunned and didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes stared intently at the ninja’s mask.
“Who are you?” I asked in confusion.
The ninja stood at attention and acknowledged me.
“Forgive me for not introducing myself earlier,” he said.
The cries of warriors and pokémon continued to fill the cold air around us in the middle of this battle, but the ninja stopped to remove his mask anyway. The face of a young man had been revealed, which appeared to have calmed Gracia’s nerves a little more.
“I am Tadaoki Hosokawa, Lord Fujitaka’s son,” he said. “And thank you, Lord Shuichi, for protecting my wife.”