(03-05-2012 05:44 AM)Tigirl Wrote: Wow, this is cool. Grrgh, but I will go insane waiting!! I wish I had a larger vocabulary to tell you how much this improved my life.
Thank you. There is no need to go insane waiting, as I'm already quite a bit further with this story than it is posted here; I started posting it on it board quite late and am trying to catch the story up to where it presently is (chapter 56), while catching some comments along the way. So I post a new chapter whenever a comment has been posted, but no sooner than a day after the last or later than a week after the last (so if someone comments within a day, I post the chapter once a day has passed, and if no-one commented after a week, I post the chapter anyway).
Chapter Thirty-Two: Venenum in Aura Bibitur
Boreas suddenly awoke in the dark room. For some reason, the word "Zinzolin" was stuck in his head like a particularly annoying song. He was pretty sure he'd heard it before somewhere, but couldn't quite remember where, so he tried to go back to sleep. Though it was 4 in the night and he had just awoken from deep sleep, he felt as awake as a caffeine addict at noon. And the word "Zinzolin" kept racing around his brain, trying desperately to find a bell to ring.
Boreas realised how nice it was of Nurse Hate to allow them to keep their room for now, despite Black's disappearance. So far they had had no luck in finding him or Team Plasma, and neither had the police or Clay. Boreas felt very lonely without Black. Because the human couldn't talk to him he often felt like a background object and Boreas often barely realised he was around, but now that he was gone he really felt how attached he had become to his trainer. He noticed the same feeling in all his companions; even Lucius seemed depressed and sad.
Hey, Zinzolin Enterprises, Inc. is a company that does business in Driftveil... They have a large cold storage facility in the docks...
Now he knew what "Zinzolin" was. The name must have stuck in his mind because it sounded so silly. At least now it would stop bothering him, he thought, but the word kept hanging around in his head like the extremely drunk patron whose desire to drink even more is in conflict with the bartender's desire to close the bar before morning and get some sleep. Boreas tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but like the bartender that simply wasn't an option for him. Both the name and the drunkard were far too annoying for that.
Besides, he found he was terribly worried about Black. He could easily guess why Team Plasma had kidnapped him, and Boreas felt at least partially responsible for it. If they hadn't defeated two of the Sages through his trickery, Team Plasma wouldn't have considered Black a threat and wouldn't have bothered him. Of course Boreas knew they would all be dead if it hadn't been for his trickery, but he couldn't help but feel a bit guilty. Black had been gone for four days, anything could've happened to him. Boreas felt his heart burn with raging fury at the thought that he might even be dead. If he was, Boreas swore, he wouldn't stop until every last member of Team Plasma had discovered just how cold
revenge could be.
"Derek, the piñata's got a gun..." Selene mumbled in her sleep, "...Stop licking the Marmite jar out and do the dishes, or it will shoot us both..."
He forced himself to breathe slowly and calm down. He wondered if Black had felt the same way when Team Plasma had kidnapped his pokémon in Castelia. Boreas guessed he did, as Black really cared a lot for each of them. They never really talked of course, given Black's spectacular talent for misunderstanding, but an occasional petting and the general good care he took of them showed a lot. Besides, how many trainers let their pokémon walk outside their pokéballs all the time? Black might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he had a very kind heart and was brave. The human was quite a lot kinder and braver than Boreas himself, the Glaceon realised with shame.
Suddenly and without warning, a seemingly random memory echoed in Boreas' mind. N had just told them he was Team Plasma's king, and Boreas and Black were shouting accusations at him. Suddenly he stopped them and said to the two grunts: "Go now, report to sage Zinzolin, and I'll cover your retreat."
"I've got it!!!" Boreas roared.
"It wasn't me!" yelped Toxica, "I don't know who did it, but not me!"
"It's a wedding, not a funeral!" Selene croaked.
"What the crap?!" barked Lucius.
"Wah!" yelped Capella.
"Silence, you fool!" Octa shouted, "You'll kill us all! Oh dear, I seem to have been dreaming. What's going on here?"
Before they could get enough of their senses together to start shouting at him and ask why he woke them up in the middle of the night, Boreas scrambled to his feet and blurted out: "Guys, guys, guys, I've got it! I've just had an epiphany!"
Lucius responded: "Don't be so loud you wake us up with it, pup, just clean up your mess quietly and let us sleep."
"An epiphany," Octa explained tiredly, "is an illuminating realisation or discovery, you illiterate barbarian."
"Ooh, I like those," remarked Selene.
"Now, what is it, my dear fellow?" Octa asked, "I do hope 'tis very good, or I shall be forced to become quite cross with you."
"I know where Black is!" Boreas said, turning on the light. It blazed in his eyes as if he was directly looking into the Sun, but he ignored it, "I know where he is! Team Plasma took him to Zinzolin Enterprises, Inc.! It's the name of one of their Sages, N mentioned that, I'll bet the company is just a cover operation for Team Plasma!"
"Hmm," Octa said, "Quite, yes, I do remember N saying that, now that you mention it. It might just be a coincidence, but we should investigate regardless. Jolly good, my dear fellow, at least we have a clue now."
"Right," Boreas said as they reached the cold storage, "here's my plan: we run inside, fight our way past any guards, and rescue Black. Let's go!"
"What happens if it's not actually a cover operation for Team Plasma?" Octa asked.
"Then we go outside again and try to find a new clue, let's go!"
"What happens if we encounter resistance?" Octa asked.
"We defeat it."
"What happens if we encounter quite a lot of undefeatably powerful resistance and/or traps?"
Boreas swallowed a lump of fear in his throat. "Then we go out in a blaze of glory. Freeze of glory in my case."
"Good luck," said Lucius, sitting down. "Let me know how it went if I ever see you again."
"What?" seethed Boreas, "aren't you going to help us rescue Black?"
"No, I think I'd rather live another day, pup."
"Coward!" Lucius' behaviour just sickened Boreas, "don't you remember what Black did for us in Castelia? He saved your life!"
"Yeah, he did, so I'm not gonna throw it away."
"Traitor," sneered Boreas, "Black is counting on us."
"Your plan is crap," said Lucius, "we go in and get ourselves killed is more like. Who made you the boss anyway?"
"Gentlemen!" Octa interrupted, "calm down, please. My dear fellow, you have to concede that he has a point, it really isn't much of a plan. If you would just calm down, we could think of something better."
"Okay, okay," Boreas conceded, "what about this then: we sneak in carefully, try our best not to be seen and try to find Black, if he's here at all. If we see any sentry we fight-"
"Try to stay hidden and out of sight?" Octa suggested.
"Okay, that. Everyone agree?"
Everyone, even Lucius, did agree with that plan. But when they tried to get in, they found the large cargo doors locked. And so were the smaller doors for personnel.
"Well," said Capella, "that is
a shame. Does anyone have another idea?"
"We could try to pick a lock," suggested Boreas.
"None of us have opposable thumbs, lock picks, nor the skill required," Octa responded.
"We could climb down the chimney," suggested Boreas.
"It's cold storage," sighed Octa, "a chimney would be as useful as an open window in a space station."
"We could break the door down."
"Yes, you truly are a master of stealth and subtlety. Besides, 'tis a storage facility, we can safely assume the doors are powerful enough to withstand any damage we could do to them."
"We could wait for the first worker to arrive and follow them inside."
"That would mean we'd attempt to rescue him at day, while the facility is operative. That significantly lowers our chances. Though it does give me an idea: while the facility is operative, we could sneak inside, hide ourselves, and wait for night to fall."
"Only that'd mean we'd have to wait another day to save him."
"It would, but it seems we don't have much of a choice, my dear fellow."
"Why don't we just use the door?" Selene asked.
"Because it's locked."
"No, it isn't, I unlocked it."
"Wh-" Boreas gasped, "how? What? When? Where? Who? Huh?"
"You really do have a way with words, my dear fellow," said Octa, "but allow me to rephrase that, if I may: did you really unlock it? And how?"
"I picked the lock," said Selene, "like Boreas suggested."
They were all left speechless as Selene flew to the closest personnel door and opened it. The first to recover was Lucius, who laughed jovially. "You crazy bird, you are
good for something!"
"You know it!" Selene croaked happily as she landed on his shoulder.
As they entered the cold storage a blast of cold air enveloped them to Boreas' joy and the others' dislike. Inside, the cold storage was a hall that would've given most cathedrals an inferiority complex. There were loads of huge containers that probably contained food. They were stacked in massive towers of containers and left paths between them. Chills ran down Boreas' spine as he realised Black's corpse could be hidden in one of those containers.
Distant footsteps echoed through the huge hall and a flashlight's light could be seen far away. Without saying a word, they all agreed to be very, very quiet. It was immediately obvious that looking for Black would be like looking for a needle in a haystack in a mountain of needles if they had to check every container in cold storage. So they decided to try and find evidence that it was Team Plasma's hideout first.
They sneaked through the dark warehouse as quietly as possible while trying to avoid the guards. It was fortunate that the containers were so large, as it meant they could easily hide when a guard approached.
They crossed the great hall cautiously and slowly without seeing anything interesting. But when they were on the other side of the entrance, they saw there was a large cargo door guarded by two workers. They were wearing thick blue clothes that protected them from the cold and seemed to be half-asleep.
"There," whispered Boreas, "why would those guys be guarding this door in the middle of the night unless it was to prevent a certain someone from escaping?"
"Y-you may be r-right," Capella, shivering with cold, agreed, "w-we'll have t-t-to dispatch them quickly and quietly."
Boreas summoned a powerful gust of frosty air, blowing the two sleepy guards out of balance so they fell over and hit their heads on the door, knocking them out.
They entered the large cargo doors, which led to another cold storage hall. This one was smaller than the other one, but still quite large. They sneaked through it until they saw a lone container guarded by two Team Plasma members in their normal uniforms.
"W-w-w-we should've worn the warm clothing..." one of them muttered.
"S-s-shut up," the other one snapped, "we're Team Plasma! We'll show it by wearing our uniforms."
"B-but the other guys are all wearing warm clothes..."
"Yes, so just think how proud Sage Zinzolin will be that we wore our normal uniforms while guarding the prisoner!"
"I think he'll chew us out for being so stupid instead..."
Since they weren't close enough to any hard surface and too awake to knock them out as easily as the other guards, they would have to be battled.
As he took the key to the container from one of the knocked-out guards, Boreas paused for a moment, thinking how bad the security was compared to Bronius' hideout in Castelia. But that was not important, as Boreas opened the container and saw the unconscious, bound form of Black and immediately pounced him with joy. His skin was icy cold, but Black slowly awoke as his bonds were undone.
"I... is that you? Octa? 'Reas? You... came to... rescue... me?" Black mumbled as he hugged them all slowly.
Boreas was so happy to see Black again, but furious to see the wounds the bounds around his wrists and ankles had caused and how badly hypothermic he was. Black tried to stand up and immediately collapsed.
"We'll have to carry him," said Capella, "let's hurry up, I think he'll be fine if we can get him to the pokécenter."
To get the 80 kilo human to the pokécenter when none of them was even half that weight would be quite a chore, but if the six of them worked together they could do it. They began dragging him out of the container. But when they opened the container's door, thirty-two pairs of eyes looked back. They put Black down carefully and formed a protective half-circle around him.
"Leaving so soon, boy?" a French-accented old man with long, greying brown hair and a goatee asked, "I was 'oping you might stick around a bit longer." He was wearing long, purple clothes and seemed to be a sage of Team Plasma.
"Zinzolin..." Black muttered, "...Bastard... let us go."
"You know I can't do that. You 'ave become a thorn in Team Plasma's collective eye and we consider you too dangerous to be allowed to go free."
"You 'ave very loyal pokémon. Smart too, to find you 'ere, but not smart enough to realise we 'ave more security measures than meets the eye. It's good, because we can use pokémon like them at the Castle. Grab them!"
As soon as he gave the order, the fifteen Plasma grunts darted forth, and a few of them were immediately struck down by counter-attacks. Zinzolin ordered them to stop, and they did so. He threw six ultra balls, unleashing a Drapion, an Amoonguss, a Garbodor, a Seviper, a Crobat, and a Muk.
"I am a merciful man," said Zinzolin, "and will let all seven of you live if you don't resist. You will go to the castle and get to help work on our majestique future. But if you resist, I'll let my pokémon kill you all, including your master."
"We'll never betray Black!" Capella stated firmly. Four determined nods showed the others' agreement.
"Good luck with that." Lucius suddenly ran at the half-circle of grunts, firing a Dark Pulse at two of them. They fell the ground, screaming and clutching their heads.
"Merde!" cursed Zinzolin, "You and you, after 'im!"
"Dirty coward!" Boreas shouted after him. Though he felt a lot like routing himself, he couldn't leave Black behind.
"Lucius might have scarpered," Toxica said, "but the rest of us are loyal and will defend Black with our lives!"
"If you want to stand in my way," said Zinzolin, "you and your master alike will die. It's a pity, really, but we can't allow evil to prosper. Attaque!"
As the six powerful poison types attacked, the grunts all ran back to leave room for their leader's dangerous pokémon. They began guarding the exits to the cold storage, though, so that wasn't much of an advantage. A large X-shaped bullet raced at Boreas, and he only managed to dodge it by pressing himself to the ground immediately. As it turned in the air, it slowed down for a moment, so Boreas saw it was the Crobat, the razor-sharp edges of its wings covered in an unpleasant-looking liquid. He tried Ice Beaming it, but it was incredibly agile and easily dodged, immediately swooping at him again with wings in a slashing position.
Boreas raised a front paw in a reflex to hold his enemy off, then, in the quarter of a second he had left, first realised that was a stupid idea, and then thought of a way he might use it to his advantage anyway. He unleashed a mighty flare of cold from his palm in that single moment, liquidising a small pocket of air in an instant. The heat of the surrounding air meant the liquid air boiled away immediately with a poof, forming a small shock wave that hit the Crobat and made it lose its speed and aim. It hit the ground clumsily. Boreas immediately followed up with an Ice Beam to its back, but then a sharp pincer grabbed his own back and lifted him up.
It was the Drapion, and the pincers' points felt like sharp knives trying to dig through his skin and flesh. He tried Ice Beaming its face, but the only reaction was that it looked angrier.
"That's not very nice!" Selene landed on Drapion's head and dug her beak into its right eye. It screamed and let go of Boreas, but before he could thank Selene she had been knocked away by the Drapion's tail. His enemy was enraged and missing an eye now, so it followed her.
Boreas pursued the Drapion, but then did a double-take as his eyes drifted over the spot where Black had been and saw he had disappeared. The Seviper was slithering to one of the guarded exits, coiled around a struggling Black. He ran after them immediately, Ice Beaming the Seviper. It turned to face him with a hiss, then bit Black with its large poison teeth. Black stopped struggling immediately and went limp.
"No!" Boreas roared, "I'll kill you for that!"
The snake uncoiled itself from Black. "Relaxxx, It'sss jussst a paralytic, not a poissson," the gigantic snake hissed, "givesss me time to deal with you. It'sss not often prey offersss itssself ssso willingly."
Boreas Ice Beamed his opponent's face and rolled aside to dodge the creature's Poison Tail. He jumped over its lengthy body as it formed a circle around it and Ice Beamed its neck. It turned around rapidly and tried to bite him, but he jumped out of the way quickly.
But then disaster struck: as he tried to dodge a simultaneous attack by both of the Seviper's ends at once, it turned out it was just a feint as he was slammed down by a crushing impact of the snake's middle. He rolled away from the snake's attempt to bite him while he was helpless, but he was just too slow and the left poison tooth scraped him. He felt numbness spread through his body almost immediately. It was strong, but not powerful enough to fully paralyse him, as he'd received only a small scrape. He found that with some difficulty he could still move, but when he tried to create an Ice Beam, it just failed.
He tried easier ice attacks, but he just couldn't do it. It was as if he was an Eevee again, and he did the only thing he could: run for his life. But he ran slowly and clumsily, and was tripped by Seviper's thick tail. He heard the snake's hissing laughter as he tried to stumble back to his feet panicky. Seviper's thick body wrapped around him. Just a single coil was enough to press all four of his paws to his body in a deadlock.
He looked into the eyes of his captor, and to his horror it licked its lips with a forked tongue. He struggled for his life to get up and out of the Seviper's coil.
"No, don't!" he yelped as the Seviper opened its mouth and struck. Suddenly he struggled downwards instead of upwards, and through sheer surprise managed to sink lower into the coil. The Seviper's huge jaws snapped just above his head, where his neck had been a moment earlier.
The Seviper shifted its coils so that he was once again completely wrapped and lifted him up above its head. It opened its massive jaws once again, and this time put his entire rear half into its mouth, his midriff on the smaller teeth of the lower jaw. Boreas knew he had less than a second before he would be bitten in half and struggled desperately to jump out of his enemy's mouth, but his rear legs didn't have any grip on the wet tongue. Instead he used his front legs to push himself back off the teeth. When the mouth snapped closed a moment later, the roof of the mouth hitting his back felt like a bookshelf falling on top of him, but at least he wasn't bitten in half, as the sharp teeth had closed just in front of his nose. The mouth opened and the tongue pushed him back on the row of teeth and pinned him down like an executor forcing his victim's head onto the chopping block. Boreas bit the tongue and as it jerked away in reflex and took Boreas, who was still lying on top of it, with it, away from the teeth.
As the mouth snapped close again, the mouth's roof hit Boreas once again painfully hard. Suddenly a thunderous noise roared through the mouth and the tongue he was lying on moved around. It was a moment before he realised Seviper was speaking, and though its mouth being closed and Boreas lying on top of its tongue didn't exactly improve its articulation, Boreas could make out the words "If that's the way you want it."
To his horror the tongue he was lying on suddenly angled itself, and he began sliding down into the throat on its slippery, saliva-coated surface. "No!" he yelled, grabbing desperately for anything he could hold. He tried to grab one of the molars, but it was just outside his reach. He felt his hind legs enter a vertical tunnel as he slipped further down. "Please!" he begged his enemy as his upper body reached the rear of the tongue, "anything but that!"
The fleshy muscles of the Seviper's oesophagus pressed on him on all sides as he lost sight of the mouth and slid down. They were crushingly powerful, yet did not quite go to the point were they broke his bones. He could feel the dark moist tunnel opening under him and closing above him. He tried desperately to do something to save himself from the horrible fate that awaited him at the end of the tunnel; he clawed and bit at the walls but found them too powerful and too smooth to be penetrated, he tried to make cold and freeze Seviper's throat from the inside, but the poison still inhibited his powers. He tried to jam his paws into opposite sides of the oesophagus, in the desperate hope he could get himself temporarily stuck in the throat, though he was sure the muscles were powerful enough to just break his bones if he obstructed them and force him down further. The disgusting smell of vomit was getting stronger.
He felt his feet enter a liquid and submerge, giving him a curiously tingly sensation. His feet soon touched the bottom of the small, liquid-filled fleshy room and he tried to brace himself against the muscles that forced the rest of him in. But his knees and back were absolutely no match for the oesophagus' muscles and just bent. His lower half was forced in, completely filling the fleshy bag. But more of him kept entering and the room expanded to fit him. Finally his head entered the rancid-smelling stomach, and the oesophagus closed itself behind him despite his best efforts to keep it open.
Though it was as dark as a cave inside the Seviper's, Boreas could feel he was in a curled up, almost foetal position, all his body under the horrible tingling liquid's surface and only his head above it. He could barely move because of the walls pressing on him from all sides. It was very warm and the walls pulsated with the loud, thumping noise of the Seviper's heartbeat. He could barely move at all, fleshy walls pushing on him from all sides.
Though his knowledge of anatomy was sketchy at best, Boreas realised hanging by his tail from the Ferris wheel was paradise compared to what awaited him if he didn't think of something very clever really quickly.