POKEMON - LEGEND OF THE EXILE
Chapter 16: The Raging Sea
Leviathan born of the depths of the oceans eternal
Bright waters surge forth to quench rage infernal
The waves seethe as they soothe, mysterious and true
Hate not the power of the sea, for it does love you
The waters around the old shipwreck swirled as Sparktail and Thalia climbed off the Relicanth's back and onto the discolored deck. Run aground long ago, the ship was as silent as the cemetery on Mt. Pyre. Scattered along the salt-crusted deck and in the surrounding foaming waves were kelp and other floating debris--some natural, some as old as the desolate vessel, some from darker, more recent times.
"Would Kyogre really be hiding here?" whispered Thalia as Altaria landed, glancing up and down the abandoned ship worriedly. A cold breeze slowly filled Sparktail's fur, and a glance to the sky revealed dark clouds swirling high overhead. The three Pokemon looked at each other for a long while, then cautiously approached the cabin. Sun-bleached planks and steel rails creaked under their paws, but held sturdy.
Inside, the ship's well-furnished but long emptied hallways were a sharp contrast to the faded deck outside. Red velvet carpeting, mahogany wall-panels, and polished brass decorated the corridor; only grimy porthole windows betrayed the ship's fate. They could all hear the steady pitter-patter of raindrops on the deck from outside.
Staring down at his paws as they padded down the hallway, Sparktail wondered silently what it might've been like to travel on this ship, twenty years ago. There were old shoeprints left on the carpet from voyages long past, and the ship began to feel a little lonely.
The Raichu heard the slosh of waves with each step. Surrounded by water, this was the environment where he and Thalia would demonstrate their full potential. Yet, why did he still feel uneasy? Why did he feel as if some dangerous presence was watching his every move?
Descending a set of stairs, they found themselves on a lower, dimmer deck. Light-panels overhead flickered along the corridor, and Sparktail could hear the falling rainstorm outside, growing heavy and ominous above, though muted as though they were underwater.
As they turned the corner, the three heard a roar from deeper within the ship that shook the entire corridor. "Hey, you all right?" asked Thalia, glancing to the Raichu, who blinked and nodded. Why was his heart racing?
"Well, there's no sense in waiting here," said Altaria, though she too was uneasy. "Let's go." She flapped her wings, rose up, and flew down the dark corridor. Thalia and Sparktail exchanged glances, and followed Altaria as the boat continued to shudder
After several more turns and another flight of stairs, they reached the cargo hold. Sparktail gasped. The steel walls glittered brilliantly with hundreds of transluscent blue crystals, reminiscent of the Cave of Origin.
Light filtered in through obscured porthole windows to the sea. At the far end of the room was an open crate with a shimmering blue sphere whose insides seemed to swirl like the waters outside. Altaria let out a sigh of relief. "Good, Kyogre's not here after all! Let's just get the orb and-"
Suddenly, a blue force field appeared in the entrance of the storage hold, sealing off their exit route. "No!" cried Altaria, flying at the force field. Sparktail and Thalia looked at each other worriedly as the Herald crashes into the barrier with all her might, collapsing to the floor.
Then, the entire hold began to shake, and there was an loud explosion as geysers of pressurized water suddenly burst up from the center of the floor, spraying seawater and shattered wood everywhere, knocking them all to the ground, leaving a massive crater in the floor with cold, foaming seawater that sloshed in and out of the hold.
Gasping and drenched, Sparktail stared down into the pit towards a massive whale-like beast with sleek magenta skin, glowing with ancient red runes, ribbon-like tails billowing behind him, the entire ship vibrating with every beat of his great fins. "Kyoooo!" roared Kyogre, as its head broke the surface of the water. At once, a Tentacruel, a Sealeo, and a Sharpedo emerged from the water all around the Leviathan.
Sparktail glanced nervously to Thalia as the hostile Pokemon advanced upon them, his eyes flicking to the icy-blue slender crystal shards which decorated the rooms's walls like the sharpened teeth of some hungry beast. He ducked as the Tentacruel suddenly flew at him, flailng its tentacles as if to grab for him. The Raichu quickly rolled aside, the jellyfish smashing its tendrils against the crates violently where he had stood moments ago.
The Sealeo leapt up at Altaria, who barely evaded an ice beam to send an air slash across her assailant's face. Stumbling to his paws, Sparktail shot a thunderbolt at the Tentacruel, who whirled around and brought its tentacles slashing down to split apart his lightning, and then ensnared the lightning mouse by the tail. Grasping the edge of a metal crate, he let out a cry as the painful, stinging coils yanked him back off his paws. The massive jellyfish which held him let out a gurgle of laughter as it began to reel in Sparktail like a fisherman's net, tightening its tentacles around his neck.
Suddenly, a leaf blade swung out and hacked at the tentacles which bound Sparktail, cutting him free. The lightning mouse collapsed to floor in a heap as Thalia leapt up with a war cry, firing a salvo of razor leaves at the tentacruel. Quickly, the jellyfish darted away from the bladed projectiles and fired a sludge bomb at Thalia, who barely avoided the attack as she landed.
Then, Kyogre's screeching roar filled the room, and a massive hydro pump shot over Sparktail's head, blasting the wall and shattering several of the crystals. Alarmed, the lightning mouse spun around as the foaming waters swept him off his feet, washing him tumbling head over tail into the ocean pit.
Thalia dodged and leapt and ducked as the Tentacruel fired sludge bomb after sludge bomb at her. She tucked her head in and rolled forward to evade a cross poison slash from the Tentacruel. Thalia eyed the two red jelly sacs on Tentacruel's head. Two vines shot out from her back, one from each shoulder, each one wrapped around the hilt of a leaf blade. She leapt and slashed at the jelly sacs.
The Tentacruel threw up its tentacles to protect its head, and Thalia's swords hacked off the tentacles instead. She gritted her teeth, and stabbed downwards at the Tentacruel. "Yah!" This time, both swords punctured the red jelly sacs on the jellyfish's head, killing it instantly.
As Sparktail plunged down from the boat , the massive, fearsome sillhouette of Kyogre rushed upon him and smashed into the Raichu, sending him whirling through the water painfully in a senseless chaos of foam and bubbles. He kicked back with his hind legs from Kyogre as the massive Leviathan opened its maw and shot an chilling ice beam at him, barely missing the tips of his ears as he struggled up through the water towards the small ship's hull above, and his fur fluffed out in the sheer and penetrating cold.
Desperately clinging to the side of a great stone formation beneath the ship's hull, streaks of electricity shot from Sparktail's cheeks at Kyogre, who gave a furious rumble and shot a jet of pressurized water at Sparktail, crashing into the Raichu with the force of a brick and sending him hurtling back into a cluster of razor-sharp coral plants. His back now covered with numerous painful cuts, the sharp sting of pain only worsened by the cold seawater, the electric mouse let out an agonized cry in the form of a stream of bubbles.
As Kyogre came rushing upon him, a final surge of adrenaline shot through Sparktail, and he desperately swam up and away from the terrible Leviathan, fleeing up through the waters from the deity's fearsome screech below him. His paws kicked furiously to propel him upwards as the weight of the ocean pressed down him, the light of the ship above growing rapidly as the furious lord of the sea pursued him with terrible roars. "Die, die, die!" hissed the insane beast in a stream of bubbles as it thrashed after him.
As his head finally broke past the surface of the churning waves, the Raichu gasped for breath as he flailed, the icy seawater streaming from his eyes and his soaked facial fur as he tossed and turned in the turmoiling waves. Blinking and panting as he glanced down towards the rapidly approaching red runes of Kyogre's body which pulsated blood-red, deep beneath the churning frigid waters.
As he flailed toward the edge of the water, a frantic Thalia reached out with her vines to pull the sodden Raichu up onto the floor. "Oh, god, oh god, oh god," spluttered the Raichu between desperate breaths as he collapsed. As he wiped the water from his eyes, the Leafeon slowly came into focus. His heart was still pounding madly. "Thalia..."
"Shh, I've got you," said the Leafeon as she supported the Raichu, Altaria peering over her shoulder to look. Thalia's paws fumbled over him, wringing out his fur. "Oh jeez... you all right now?"
"I... I'm okay," stammered Sparktail as Thalia helped him to his paws. "I mean, I'm not... but, you know... nothing broken." The floor was slippery and wet under him, the water's surface rippling with turbulence as the angered Kyogre drew near. ".. thanks. "
Still breathing hard, the Raichu wearily stumbled to the open crate where the chained Blue Orb lay, heart still pounding with his mad flight to the surface. The waves in the pool were growing choppier with every passing second, rising and crashing against the cargo chamber's walls, splattering Sparktail as the leviathan's shadow ascended once more.
"Say," said Sparktail, glancing back to the Leafeon. "Can you- uh... give me a lift?" Nodding, the Leafeon hurried over to her friend and crouched low. Taking a deep breath, the Raichu climbed onto her back, pulling himself up onto the crate. He gulped. Thalia's fur was so warm. "Thanks..."
He froze as Kyogre's roar shook the hold. The ancient violet water-dweller was swiftly approaching the surface; the ship began to groan, listing ever-so-slightly to one side under the leviathan's assault. Steel crates shifted, threatening to slide across the room and crush Sparktail and Thalia.
Gritting his teeth, Sparktail raised his tail like a sword, and began to hack away at the Blue Orb's chain. The chain held on the first blow; then scratched, chipped, frayed. "Raaai!" yelled Sparktail as his tail struck the red shackles one last time, shattering the chain in a flash of electric force.
With a roar of light, every last one of the chain's links shattered in rapid succession, hurling Sparktail back. Eyes widening, Thalia quickly shot out two vines to catch the Raichu before he could fall back into the watery pit. Down below, Kyogre roared, his shadow halting as the Blue Orb rose up high into the air, flashing with tumoltuous azure light.
Collapsing against the crate, Sparktail clung to Thalia as Altaria joined them. The Raichu smiled weakly as Thalia held him close, but his heart sank. Thalia seemed to be doing all the work. And this should've been Rush's.mission...
Overhead, the Blue Orb suddenly released a strong pulse of energy, rippling through Sparktail's nerves like a tidal wave. Sparktail's eyes flew wide open as the ship righted itself, the thrashing of wild Pokemon subsiding. The Raichu's fur bristled. The air, the walls, the entire sea was brimming with energy. How did he not notice before?
Alarmed, Sparktail and Thalia exchanged glances, then slowly approached the edge of the pit. They all gasped as the mighty Leviathan broke past the surface of the rippling waters below, emerging with a tremendous spray that drenched Sparktail in brine.
They only caught a glimpse of Kyogre before he dove beneath the surface again, but his appearance had changed. The Leviathan eyes flashed gold, and the dolphin-smooth skin turned from vivid magenta to a deep rich blue. Yet his core still churned with contained fury.
"Freed from earthly chains, the all-giving sea resumes its violent cycle,," whispered Kyogre, deep and mysterious, echoing around the steel walls. At once, Thalia looked to Sparktail, as if hoping he might have an answer, but the Raichu was confused too. Yet, Altaria looked the most astonished.
Abruptly, the Leviathan emerged from the water again, his eyes fixating on Sparktail, sending a shiver down the Raichu's spine, his chest constricting. " The unordained strike from the deep, piercing the hearts of mortals,," hissed the superancient Pokemon in the dim, watery light. "Your heart wavers and turns like the tide..."
"Great Kyogre," said Altaria, moving forward. "We come on behalf of the Silver Summoner, Lugia, who would protect this world from the Exile's wrath. We have come for the Blue Orb."
The moment Kyogre looked away from Sparktail, the Raichu felt as if he could breathe again. "You would fight the darkness that unbound us, that scarred the isles that birthed us," said the Leviathan, his voice rippling beneath their paws. "You would restore the broken cycle of life and death."
Life and death? Frustrated, Sparktail stared at the shadow in the water that was Kyogre. Why did the ancient Pokemon of legend always seem so detached from the world? Why did Kyogre's words have to be so distant, so arcane?
The entire ship rocked. Yelping, Thalia grabbed onto Sparktail for support, nearly pulling him off his paws. But amost immediately, the floor settled, and the Blue Orb floated to Sparktail. "Take the Blue Orb, Aether of the eternal ocean," hissed Kyogre, his voice reverberating through the hull. "Embrace my crystal, and fight with the with the raging sea's fury!"
Delighted, Thalia looked up at Sparktail, but the Raichu was shocked. Kyogre was giving the Orb to him? Was he really worthy to accept it? "T-thank you," he muttered, his cheeks crackling. His ears twitched as he gazed into the sapphire orb's dark, vivid blue center,
Shadows shifted on the wall as Altaria cleared her throat. "Indeed, these isles have been greatly scarred," said the Herald grimly. "Kyogre, how did you and Groudon become afflicted with such madness? Why is Hoenn coming apart at the seams once again?"
They heard the faint swish of water as the Leviathan circled the ship. "We were not born of flesh and blood, but of earth and sea itself," whispered Kyogre. "Giratina's lieutenants targeted the Red and Blue Orbs, crystallized from the Aether that birthed us. Without the Orbs to stabilize us, once again, we awoke. Once again, our power ravaged the world."
"Of course," said Altaria grimly. "The Red Dragon claims by strength, yet lacks proof. Without a true Champion, neither we nor they could command the wild. And on the day when Sootopolis fell, Giratina seized the Delta Orb at Mt. Pyre..."
Sparktail and Thalia froze. The Delta Orb... the orb that Slick died trying to protect. "Groudon and I are spirits of chaos, much like the Exile," whispered Kyogre darkly. "What should the world expect of us, but chaos? But Rayquaza is a spirit of order. His corruption has crippled the very Aether of Hoenn, the very will of the wild. If you, seek to stop Giratina, you must free Rayquaza, too!"
Horror flashed in the Herald's eyes. "You want to save that dragon?" she shrieked, startling Sparktail and Thalia with her utter venom. "He murdered his own loyal servants. He took Cumulus from me with his own claws. How can I call him lord, again? No... Rayquaza... h-h-has to die!"
It took a moment of coaxing before the Herald shared the story she'd revealed to Shanala on that night, the story of her life as the messanger of the gods, of Rayquaza's madness, and of Cumulus' sacrifice.
"Altaria... I'm so sorry," murmured Thalia as the Herald burst into tears while Sparktail patted the Altaria on the back helplessly. "And you carried us all this way, with that in you heart? We... we never even knew..."
"You know it was not Rayquaza's intent, but the Exile's," chided the Leviathan. They could all feel his prescence throughout the room, even if they could not see him. "What would Cumulus want? Even now, you know the Divine Wind longs for freedom again."
Stunned, the Herald stared at Kyogre's shadow, as if surprised to hear such words from him. "Though my flesh yearns to wage war against the Behemoth further, our ancient feud must be set aside," said Kyogre as he swam off into the deep. "Yes... Groudon and I shall aid you in this endeavor, but if and only if we can truly turn back the tide!"