RouteSaga 26 - RouteCtrl 6: Rising Tension
Pokemon: SkyWarrior, AngelicUmbreon, EnergeticEevee, Lexideth, MysteriousVaporeon, Darklite, Tanslec, Zoker, Mew087123, Cutie_Eevee, RubyPikachu, Coolio
Human: Creamsicle, ChocolateEevee, Seromi
Behind the chat tower, SkyWarrior padded towards a violet-and-gold-furred Lucario in Houndoom form- "heaven-hound form", as she liked to call it- her saddlebags bulging with the new elements of harmony that she and Moon had mined out of the mountainside. Glareon, Icysaur, Hope, and the demented moogle had all taken a liking to the mine shaft that they'd dug, and were burrowing new shafts.
Moon was off testing out her new car- probably driving to the bakery to clean them out of cookies. "Hey, are you Alokita Lexideth?" asked the Houndoom, wagging her cotton-candy tails as the purple Lucario stared at the canine.
"Ooh, yes, that's me," replied Lexideth, shifting uncomfortably as she nervously grinned at the Queen of RPs. Pinned to the front of SkyWarrior's fur was an unofficial Route 50 police badge that unofficially designated her as an unofficial Route 50 police hound, and the sight of the unofficial logo set the Lucario's fur on end.
"Aah, I finally found the right person!" exclaimed SkyWarrior in relief, turning around in a circle until her flank faced Lexi. "Okay, you're the one who's supposed to take these, right? If so, then uhhh, your license is in the first bag."
"Oh yes, yes I am," replied the Lucario at once cheerfully, her eyes lighting up. "Thankies Sky!" She knelt down and opened up one of Sky's saddlebags, withdrawing a stone sphere containing a clump of pearls, giving the impression of a stream of glittering bubbles. Struggling beneath the weight of the saddlebags, Sky grinned weakly up at Lexideth as the awed Lucario held the ball in her paws. "Is this the-?" she breathed, meeting Sky's gaze, her heart pounding in joyful anticipation
"Yes yes, it's the element of... INSANITY," exclaimed the Houndoom through clenched fangs, her legs threatening to buckle beneath her heavy bags. "Ugh, I can't hold these for much longer. Could you take them?"
There was a spark and a pop from the orb in her paw, startling Lexideth and sending her falling onto all fours. The Element began to glow with pure white energy, which flowed into the Lucario's paws and coursed through her veins, tingling joyfully like sparkling cider. Then, her entire body flashed bright, and she transformed into a pegasus pony with a gray body and a lovely golden mane with a popping sound.
The newly transformed pony's eyes spun around in circles, the radiant aura still dissapating from her equine body. Then Lexi shook her head and blinked several times, until her eyes came to a stop- in a cross-eyed position. SkyWarrior was dumbfounded- nothing like this had ever happened.
Lexideth stared cross-eyed at Sky for a moment. Then she eagerly began to beat Derpy Hooves' wings, and rose up into the air. "What the heck just happened?" demanded the Houndoom, staring up at her. "Those rocks are for summoning, not for transforming!"
"I can feel... the mufin majik!" replied Lexideth happily, darting under the saddlebags' straps, neatly swiping them up onto her back as she leapt up into the air with outstretched wings. Loaded with her cargo, the mail pegasus pony came to a stop in midair, then grinned down towards SkyWarrior on the ground below. "Weeeell, you see, I'm really Derpy Hooves in disguise! But I've been trapped in a Lucario's body for a looong time. And now I'm freeeee! So thank youuu, Sky!"
As Lexideth made her deliveries, a Vaporeon with a sleek mechanical tail warily padded down his residential street, the left half of his face obscured beneath a black-and-white metal mask. Aquatic scales to steel plating, blood to lubricant, nerve to wiring, bone and sinew to frame and circuitry, flesh and machine were well-knit together in the body of the Vaporeon.
Beneath the shell of his infamous mask lay the boundary where living flesh was intertwined with synthetic compounds, bolstering the warrior's senses to the fullest of their potential. Scarred from countless battles, the threads of his origins were long lost and forgotten, even to himself. Yet it was the earliest friend in his memories who had given MysteriousVaporeon his name.
MV had been a warrior for as long as he could recall, donning the hat of the Hero of Time in his travels. In order to learn the art of the MineCrafters, he had once taken the form of a human, taking the name of Bluelink- after his flesh and his cap. Rescued from the edge of death eight months ago, wounded and crippled and helpless all at once, the forces of technology had long since restored the Vaporeon's body and fighting spirit.
"Hey MV," called a voice from behind him. Suppressing the aforementioned battle nerve, the water-dweller stopped and glanced back over his shoulder towards his friend, his webbed white neck spines twitching nervously. Waiting eagerly on the sidewalk behind MV was an Umbreon with a pair of feathery-white angelic wings and a golden halo over her head, a long rainbow-colored scarf wrapped around her neck. "Been looking for you all day," said AngelicUmbreon as MV turned around to face her directly, reaching a paw into her satchel. "Didja heard the rumors?"
"Uh what rumors?" Between a series of frightening pony invasions, MV had spent the past week or so hiding in his secret laboratory... one that had nothing to do with Twill's, DP's, or Nick's laboratories. For that matter, how had AU even gotten any rumors? She and her sister EnergeticEevee had spent the week in MV's lab as well.
AngelicUmbreon read the Vaporeon's features perfectly. "Ooh, that means you haven't been by the Shadowy Corner yet," said the Umbreon, the golden rings on her body flashing. The Shadowy Corner- that was the local bar where AU, MV, and their friends all hung out usually. But it'd been locked up while they were all in hiding. AU spread out her feathery wings and shrugged. "They say DevilishEspeon's back."
MV groaned, shaking his head. "Him again?" muttered the cyborg exasperatedly. "How the heck did he even find us? I'd have thought that after he nearly killed you that last time, he'd have laid off..."
Before AU could reply, however, they both distinctly heard the sound of horses galloping against the street- and at once, MV dropped down into a hunting crouch, his eyes narrowed to slits- one eye flesh, one eye mechanical. As he did so, the parts of his tail began to separate and shift, reshaping into a wicked scythe. "Come one step closer and I'll cut you to ribbons!" hissed MysteriousVaporeon, glaring towards the corner where the sounds echoed from.
At once, the approaching clip-clops came to a halt just before it turned the corner. Then the pony- or whoever it was- gave an innocent-but-mischievous giggle and gracefully floated around the corner. Blinking, MV and AU stared at the white-furred Mew with green-tipped Buizel tails and a Shaymin scarf hovering in midair before them. one paw to her mouth to suppress her mirth. "You know, I used to wonder what friendship could be," sang Mew087123 happily. "Then you all shared its magic with me~"
MysteriousVaporeon feared nothing. He had faced the Dark Lord Ganondorf. He had fought the Great Helmaroc in its own nest. He had gone to into that godforsaken Water Temple at the bottom of Lake Hylia. He had scaled the slopes of Death Mountain. He had gone through the Lost Woods and back. He had gone all over Hyrule a hundred times, hunting down various Master Swords and at least twenty Triforces. But ponies... this was where he drew the line [i]ever since that day five years ago--
--------He was a true Vaporeon back then, 100% made of flesh and blood. He wore the hat of the Hero of Time in those days. Sharp enough to puncture fish scales and snatch them out of river-flight, his claws and teeth were sharper than any sword he could make. His tail had not been mechanical, but his spines could hack through his foes' leather armor in seconds. He was wandering down the riverbank towards its source, with EnergeticEevee and AngelicUmbreon at his back. EE had green fur with red highlights, and AU carried a steel sword on her back. Overhead, the sky blazed with the dying sun, and MV could hear the distant echoes of wolves howling into the twilight.
"MV! Wait up!" yowled AngelicUmbreon from behind him. At once, the Vaporeon skidded to a halt at the sound of his friend drawing her sword, his claws tearing up the turf underpaw as he whirled around. MV gasped as he saw a cruel-eyed Espeon with a pair of leathery black wings springing down from the trees towards AU, clutching a sword in one paw. "It's DevilishEspeon! EE, get behind me!" yelled AU as MV darted to stand beside her. Nodding, the wide-eyed Eevee darted behind her sister, where she cowered in terror.
""What the hell are you doing here?" growled MysteriousVaporeon, staring up towards DE's descending form, itching to spring up and claw the mind-twisted cat to ribbons. Great. He was the only non-anthro here, not counting EE.
The Espeon only smirked nastily, drawing his demon wings around his body like a cape as he came to hover in midair before the three. He swiftly slashed at the air several times experimentally, then brought his sword to a halt. "I've been waiting for you, Angelica," he hissed icily. "We have unfinished buisness, you and I." Beside MV, AU cringed, but stood her ground, her sword pointed towards DE's throat.
"Get away from her," growled MV, his haunches bristling, claws digging into the riverbank, his Link hat quivering. Blinking, DE glanced down at MV, eyeing the
"Go away! No one wants you here!"
"Oh look, it's Mr. Big-shot Hero again," hissed DevilishEspeon, flourishing his cloak of wings. He held out his blade towards the Vaporeon's neck, his eyes glinting as if with feral hunger. "I wonder if AU will mind if I filet you?"
"Hey! I mind very much!" yelled AngelicUmbreon, her own sword pointed up towards DevlishEspeon as she glanced to MV, who held his bristling tail muscles ready. "Now!" Both MV and AU sprang up at DE and struck with tail-spines and sword as the Espeon hacked down at them, blades meeting blade with a steel clang. MV raked his claws across DE's pelt as he flew past him, ducking and rolling as he hit the ground. Continuing their perennial duel in midair, AU and DE flew at each other with outstretched swords, hacking and slashing as they shot past each other again and again- angelic wings against demonic wings. Z-targeting onto DE, MV againg sprang up and latched onto DE's back, digging his claws into the demon's flesh and biting at his flesh vigorously before the furious Espeon flung him off. Landing neatly on his feet, the Vaporeon channeled the magic of the Hero of Time into his tail spines, which tapered back slightly towards the tip of his tail to form an edgeblade. With the powerbrimming from his tail-sword, MV sprang up as DE forced AU back to the ground, somersaulting in midair to slash with his tail at the Espeon's back. Hissing, the demon whipped around with a slash, his blade parrying the Vaporeon's tail-
Sword and tail-spine blade shattered on impact, leaving DE with a blade no longer than a pairing knife. MV gasped in pain as he landed on the riverbank, his tail spines reduced to a normal Vaporeon's. Crouched low on all fours, he bared his teeth up at the hovering DevilishEspeon. A few feet away, AU and EE had regrouped, their blades pointed towards DE.
Aghast, DevilishEspeon stared down at the short sword in his paw, his leathery black wings beating furiously in midair. "You broke my sword," he hissed, turning his gaze towards MysteriousVaporeon. MV, EE, and AU all froze, their fur standing on end. "You... broke... my sword-"
"Hey, let's get out of here," suggested AU, glancing to MV and EE on either side of her. "DE looks pissed!" They both nodded, and the three fled down the riverbank. Spreading out his wings, the demon-winged Espeon pursued them, swiftly gliding only a few yards behind MysteriousVaporeon. As the pursuing Espeon swept an arm out towards the running stream alongside their route, the waters of the Zora River began to bubble and froth, erupting with furious waves all along its length like the open sea. MV's eyes widened as tumoltuous waves thrashed up and down in the riverbed, rolling higher and higher with every passing second.
"They say Posideon created the horse from the shape of a wave," hissed DE, his eyes burning with fury as AU, EE, and MV glanced back over their shoulders to their foe. "Behold!" He raised his paw high, and the waves reared up into the air, towering high over the four Pokemon. Eyes widening, AngelicUmbreon, MysteriousVaporeon, and EnergeticEevee slowly came to a halt, staring up at the six-foot waves of the river looming over them.
Lightning split the skies, and the waves transformed into horses- hundreds of horses, all tossing their manes and snorting and rearing up out of the Zora River's depths with vicious whinnies. MV's heart nearly stopped as he understood what DE was doing- but surely- surely he wasn't...
"Run," hissed DevilishEspeon, crossing his arms and smirking down at AU, EE, and MV. MysteriousVaporeon barely had time to spring away from the riverbank as AngelicUmbreon grabbed EE and spread her wings, only milliseconds for a head start. Then a hundred thousand stallions were rushing upon them, smashing the ground with vicious hooves and whinnying their fury to the sky as they raced after MysteriousVaporeon and his friends. Hyrule was blotted out from the hero's vision now, replaced by pure fear and adrenaline, racing for his life as never before.
A bucket of cold water splashed down on MysteriousVaporeon's face, jolting him to consciousness in an instant. Blinking, the warrior instinctively absorbed all the water into his flesh without coughing so much as a drop. He rolled over onto his paws and glanced up to see AU standing in front of him on her hind paws, clutching an empty bucket. It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon in the chat lobby, and the room was filled with the normal slew of homework-dodging chatters.
"Oh good, I didn't think that'd work," she admitted sheepishly, dropping the bucket. A few feet away, ChocolateEevee's and Creamsicle's eyes shot wide with horror at the sight of the bucket, and they quickly buried their gazes in their sleeves. "You okay?"
Thank god the robotic parts of him were waterproof, or they'd all be short-circuiting! "Yeah... I'm okay," said MysteriousVaporeon, breathing hard as if he'd swam the English Channel, his flank to his friend. His scales were again dulled from the traumatic accident- his tail, forelegs, and half his face were once more prosthetic body replacements. No more tail-spine blade, but a tail-scythe had long replaced it since. "Uhh... what happened?"
At the glass-topped table in the far corner, a shiny Buizel and a red-and-green Latios sat on opposite sides of a highly elaborate RPG hologram board littered with numerous holographic warriors and dead bodies- it looked like a bizzare combination of DnD, Stratego, Magic: The Gathering, and WoW. But both Tanslec and Zoker seemed to have forgotten their game for the moment, and both of the players gazed intently towards MysteriousVaporeon and AngelicUmbreon, lurking on the edge of their fellow members' awarenesses.
"Mew tried to prank you, and accidentally triggered a panic attack," explained AngelicUmbreon, shifting her weight to her other side. MV glanced around the lobby, feeling both embarassed and irritated at once. "We dragged you all the way to the chat tower so we could get a good look at you."
A few feet away, Mew087123 laughed nervously, covering her mouth with a white-furred paw. "Sorry about that," blurted out the Mew, spinning her tails like a helicopter's rotors. "I couldn't resist."
Yeah, MV was already well aware that quite a few of the bronies on Route 50 disliked him for pony intolerance. But there was something more important to tend to for the moment (and not a whole lot was more important than killing ponies). Frowning, he examined AngelicUmbreon carefully, noticing the tension in her nerves. Odd. Why was AU's fur bristling like this, hackles raised, ears and wings tilted back, eyes narrowing? "Hey, hey, what's going o-"
The Vaporeon broke off as a red-and-white Shinx playfully tackled him from behind, knocking the cyborg over onto his side with eagerness in her eyes... and a glint of something else. "MV! You're all right!" exclaimed FishPaste happily, hugging the Vaporeon tight as a low growl began to build in AngelicUmbreon's throat. Before MV could protest, she leaned in towards the Vaporeon and kissed him on the cheek, causing him to blush furiously.
In the well-maintained sprite workshop on 6 Magcargo Blvd, a Charizard with well-toned muscles and an Amulet Coin on a cord around her neck held the blade of a scalpel to an un-fired pixel mass resting on her shop's front counter, carefully refining the texture and dyes of her creation. Unwanted pixels fell away from the sculpture as the Charizard carefully fleshed out the shape of the Chao doll's body, adding darker hues for shadowed regions and contrasting shades for sharper edges. Pixel art was a delicate process for this legendary master spriter, who perfectly closed the seams and eliminated the inconsistencies of her works in minute detail. This was no two-cent spriter. This was Coolio Pineapple CharTart, one of the manliest girls in Route 50- if not all of Cyberspace.
At that moment, the front door swung open with a professional jingle. Setting down her scalpel and folding up her magnifying-glass stand, the Charizard glanced to the entrance as RubyPikachu floated into the white-walled workshop, followed by a spiky-eared Pichu with a flower tucked behind one ear. "Hi guys!" greeted the firedrake with a grin as she emerged from behind the counter, her voice deep but cheerful.
Startled by Coolio's deep voice, the Pichu jumped back in surprise, and Ruby shot the Charizard a brief but warning glance. Then both Pichu and Uxiechu quickly relaxed and gave nervous chuckles, glancing around the veteran spriter's shop with admiration. "Hiya, Cools," greeted Cutie_Eevee amiably, smiling up at Coolio. "Ruby and I were just passing by, see, and we thought-"
"Well, um, Cutie thought it'd be a good idea if you got a look at a broken figurine," interrupted RubyPikachu quickly, though her voice was much warmer towards Coolio than before, accompanied with a slight smile. "You ARE one of the better spriters around here, after all."
"Oh, sure, I can look at it," agreed the Charizard, nodding. "Do you have it with you, though?" The Uxiechu merely winked grimly, but gave no verbal reply. Mystified, Coolio watched as Ruby traced open a telekinetic 'storage pocket' in the air with a glowing finger, withdrew a Smash Bros trophy, and then resealed the pocket before floating up towards Coolio with the trophy.
The humorous gleam in Coolio's eyes quickly turned serious as she warily accepted the enigmatic figurine from RubyPikachu, cupping the copper-coin pedastal in her hands. This trophy depicted a giant white-gloved right hand floating in midair above the arena known as Final Destination, the rest of its arm intangible and invisible beyond the wrist. And yet... this couldn't be Master Hand. The pose was all wrong, the hand too small in proportion to the world stage, the fingers too slender...
"I'm not quite sure what's broken about it, not yet," admitted Coolio finally, setting the trophy down on the counter and glancing towards RubyPikachu's and Cutie_Eevee's waiting features. Something streaked past the shop from outside, something that was distinctly gray-bodied with yellow highlights; but it was gone before Coolio could make sense of it. "I have a few theories, but... it'll take some time. But don't worry. I'll do it free of charge!"
--------Contrary to popular belief, the world of cyberspace is heavily influenced by real life. While cyberspace can only affect real life through the transfer of memories, real life constantly affects cyberspace in one way or another, though usually this occurs too slowly for the human eye to see.
As an example, the west regions of Route 50 are primarily composed of rocky cliff terrain, not unlike Eastern California or Arizona. One of these cliffs is the Perch of Mythic, which is of comparatively average elevation, is a key vantage point from which one can see most of Route 50, and overlooks Derpderp Forest. Another of these regions is the treacherous Aurora Peak, the tallest mountain in all Route 50 and the dwelling place of Cojirou's Suicune.
One of the lower and more accessible cliffs, however, is known as "Seromi's cliff", which overlooks most of Route 50's metropolis sector. Originally, the road on which the Chat Tower was constructed led towards these majestic ledges, which were a tourist trap at the time. However, after Seromi performed a suicidal lemming dive off the tallest of the cliffs, the road to the cliff was closed down.
Ironically, the cliff where Seromi died then is where she currently lives, accompanied by the love of her life. Perhaps Seromi's cottage on 'Sero's cliff' was what inspired Sparkleaf to make his home on the Perch of Mythic. Regardless of the urban myths, however, this much is certain:
On a dreary Friday cloaked in heavy gray stormclouds, a young woman with glasses, brown hair, a blue-gray shirt, jeans, and a black arm-cannon rifle sat on the edge of "her" cliff. Beside her floated a Duskull with a watery-blue gaze behind a gray bone mask, a curved teal blade with a blue pommel strapped to his back, his arm tenderly wrapped around Seromi's.
On that same dreary morning, on another cliff near another house, a Leaftales shifted into his feral body and padded towards the edge with sharp orange eyes. The sepia kitsune gasped as he peered beyond the precipiece towards the world below, his tails slapping flat against the ground with utter surprise. Swallowing, Sparkleaf's fur began to bristle with rising anxiety, his pelt crackling with green sparks.
As Seromi, Darklite, and Sparkleaf stared down upon the world of Route 50 beyond each of their cliffs, watching the stormclouds of war slowly brewing, a single crimson light flickered in midair before vanishing, as if to give a doomed world a hollow laugh.
Then universes split open, worlds collided, and war erupted.