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From Everland to Reborn ~ A fairytale themed run [Last defeated: Ciel]

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5 hours ago, Candy said:

While he spoke, I was ready to stand up and shout hysterically at him for good measure, but Pikachu and Hazel both pushed me back to the chair.

Best quote

5 hours ago, Candy said:

“How noble of her, to allow me to see him. Such honor,” I said, with very obvious irony so that even Hazel could hear it.

Best quote #2

 

I feel like your writing style has changed since last time

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1 hour ago, Corso said:

Best quote

Best quote #2

 

I feel like your writing style has changed since last time

well, last time it was all about feels and Shelly being hecc'n cute, but this time I aimed for a "lighthearted" "funny" chapter (those quotes, plus memes like "I think I should ruin this man’s whole career") with not so much emphasis on the sad parts (Hazel's story about the Earthquakes). because Hazel to me represents what Vanilla could become- someone who passed through years of hardship, and through seeking help and being helped by others, was able to cope with her disability and find meaning in life. well, that's a big COULD become, cause personally I don't see that happening lol

But if that's not what you think is different from my previous writing style... well maybe it just morphed thanks to months of not writing FEtR 🤣

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Maybe it's both, and now it's canon that Vanilla knows memes.

I don't know if it's just me being Unown or the episodes' frequency, but in my head Hazel was like 12. 

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9 hours ago, Corso said:

Maybe it's both, and now it's canon that Vanilla knows memes.

I don't know if it's just me being Unown or the episodes' frequency, but in my head Hazel was like 12. 

She has the vitality of a 12 year old, that’s for sure. What can’t 20-something’s be fun and silly? You literally know one

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Oh you're right Lykos is fun and silly jk jk hug.

It's that Hazel having so much more experience than Vanilla made me think she was older.

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tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gifFrom Everland to Reborn ~ Episode 68tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gif

Behold, probably the longest episode in FEtR history! And guess what, I literally went and read like 80% of Season 3 to write this (cause my memory is shité) so hope the effort was worth it T_T

In order to best enjoy this episode, though, I recommend re-reading Vanini-Aladdin convos from Episode 53 and 56, cause unless you got stellar memory, you'll probs be bamboozled oof.

 

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That day, I didn’t get to talk to Aladdin at all. Archer left on the pretense of having to work another shift, and I had dinner with this odd family. They didn’t speak much but occasionally filled the silence with questions directed to me about Everland, specifically the beautiful parts that tourists go there to visit. I obliged and told them about the tourist spots: Red Riding Hood Forest, Mermaid Moon Lake, and even the Queen’s Castle, which did not allow visitors to go in but allowed them to take pictures from outside. The Castle was known as the first building to be built in Everland, a couple centuries ago when the region was built in the desert by pure magic. Hazel asked me more details about the birth of Everland, but to be honest I couldn’t tell her much more. Everland’s past was enshrouded in secret magical spells which only high-ranking mages that were trusted by the Queen could learn about, due to how crucial it was that those spells did not become broken by malicious mages.

“Have you ever seen the Queen? Is she old or young?” she asked; however, I’d have to disappoint her again.

“I’ve never seen the Queen,” I responded.

“What? How could you not? She’s your ruler, right?”

“Yes, but she never leaves her castle. All politics are taken care of by the mages that surround her, while she likely idly sits on her throne all day.”

It made me angry just thinking about the Queen and how she allowed the misery of the Underworld to continue existing.

“That’s so weird, but I guess it’s just a cultural thing,” she shrugged. “Here, we don’t have rulers like that, but we have local leaders, like Gym Leaders and then there’s Ame and her team who oversees the region’s welfare. I’ve never seen them, either, but I know they’ve been on TV all the time.”

“Yeah, it’s probably a cultural thing,” I said and let the topic rest.

After dinner, Mrs. Gwendolyn prepared a ‘bed’ for me with a bunch of thick comforter sheets. She apologized to me that they didn’t have anything better for me to lie on, but I was a pokemon trainer and I could attest that such bed was still favorable to having to camp out in the forest or an icy mountain.

 

The next morning, I woke up earlier than anyone else. The bed wasn’t comfortable enough for me to sleep until late. I stood up and stretched to relieve a little of my corporal pain.

Then I went down the stairs as quietly as possible. The room Aladdin was sleeping in was closed shut, and I didn’t dare open it in case the wooden door made creaky sounds as I did. Thus, I did the one thing I could do on such occasion, which was to go outside for a walk.

The sun had just started to peek from in between the mountains, so it was still slightly dark outside. As I walked, though, the sunlight became stronger and made the trees and snow look refreshing.

Suddenly, though, a strong wind started blowing out of nowhere and the nice morning was no more.

“Ah, there you are,” I heard Candy’s voice and I knew who to blame for the winds.

She came down from the height of Ametrine City down to where I was in a flash. She was riding her dragon pokemon, though it somehow looked different to how it looked the first time I saw it.

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Mega rayquaza sprite by: piphybuilder88 (edited)

“Thanks, Rayquaza. You can let me off here,” she said and hopped off the dragon’s back.

That prompted it to morph back to the shape I recognize, and with that, the strong winds subsided. The rayquaza cried once and left to the horizon.

“Sorry about the winds,” she apologized. “I mega-evolved Rayquaza so that we could travel around the area faster.”

“No big deal, I was just surprised. And I’m still surprised you found me.”

“Well, you’d been gone for an entire day, so I went looking for you but I couldn’t find you anywhere, so I resorted to aerial search.”

She then hugged me and smiled. “I’m glad you’re ok.”

I omitted telling her that I had voluntarily jumped off a cliff to reach this place, and jumped in to brief her about the situation. I also didn’t tell her about Aladdin’s dive down the cliff, but told her that he was not in good shape, and was rescued by some weirdos and now stayed with them for the time being. 

“Oh no, that’s terrible. Let’s head over there. I’m sure Lily can help anesthetize him.”

“Don’t worry, Candy. They brought in an Audino and she’s taking care of that with Heal Pulse.”

Candy was relieved by this piece of information, but insisted that we headed in the direction of Hazel’s house.

While we walked, I also briefed her about Archer being a frequent visitor at the house. I figured I needed to let her in on that so that she wouldn’t slip up and blow his cover unwittingly.

“You probably know Archer, since you knew of 7th Street,” I said. “He’s Aqua Gang leader.”

“Of course I know him,” Candy said, happily. “I wasn’t involved with him much, though. Aqua Gang and Magma Gang had a strong rivalry, and I couldn’t choose a side or I’d be on bad terms with the other.”

“He goes by Arthur here, and the people don’t know he’s involved in a gang, so maybe don’t talk about him at all. Maybe pretend you don’t even know him?”

“Sure, I got your, his, back,” she said and flexed her arm.

Candy had a tendency to slip up and wasn’t particularly great at keeping secrets, so I worried about her actually having our back.

 

When we arrived at the house, Mrs. Gwendolyn was already up and running around the house. She only stopped briefly when we entered the house because of an unannounced visitor… or maybe because it was a face she unsurprisingly recognized.

“Hi, you’re Candy, aren’t you?” she said and shook Candy’s hand enthusiastically. “You were Hoenn region’s champion once, if I remember correctly. I collect regional pokemon champion cards and I have yours.”

“Oh my Arceus, I’m so embarrassed you have one of those,” Candy blushed. “I didn’t like how I looked in that picture. I tried to look cool but I made myself look crazy instead.”

“Then I think that reflects who you are, Candy,” I chuckled and she nudged me with her elbow.

“I didn’t know you were acquainted with Candy, Vanilla,” Mrs. Gwendolyn marveled.

I was pleased, since this could only gain me points in favor.

“She’s my cousin. I didn’t mention it because the topic never came up,” I said.

“I came to pick Vanilla up since she’d gone missing all of a sudden,” Candy explained. “But since she’s got some business here, I’ll wait in here until she’s done if you don’t mind.”

“Of course, we don’t mind at all,” Mrs. Gwendolyn laughed loudly. “I was just preparing breakfast. We have an extra chair in the backyard you can sit on to join us. My husband uses a wheelchair so we don’t usually keep it in the house for convenience’s sake.”

Candy said that she appreciated the gesture but it wasn’t necessary at all, but Mrs. Gwendolyn being how she is, convinced her to eat in the end. It was funny to see my headstrong cousin being out-headstronged.

Soon, Hazel’s dad came to join us and so did Hazel, coming down from her room. Both were introduced to Candy accordingly, though they also didn’t need much introduction since both also knew of her Champion history.

We ate breakfast in as cheerful a mood as there had ever been at that table since I arrived. Candy talked with all three of them almost non-stop, so I was spared from another Q&A session.

Once we were done eating, Mrs. Gwendolyn asked me to come to the kitchen. She handed me a tray with a bowl of sweet oatmeal, a cloth napkin and a cup which held coffee with milk that practically looked like milk with coffee.

“Carry this to Aladdin’s room. He can eat by himself, but it’ll be awhile until he can move his broken legs.”

She said no more and went to do the laundry. I looked down at the tray, and realized that this was the green light to speak with Aladdin. Once the realization dawned on me, I became nervous. What should I say first? What will he say? However, I wasn’t much of a thinker, so I decided to do what I always did: just do it(™).

I walked across from the kitchen to Aladdin’s room. I sneaked a peek at Candy, and I saw her winking and thumbs-upping. It wasn’t very reassuring.

 

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I opened the door without knocking.

The audino noticed me, but remained sitting. Apparently, she was taking a break from the Heal Pulse therapy.

Aladdin was asleep, so I placed the tray on his bedside table and contemplated whether to wake him up and how to. Part of me wanted to go the Titania way and wake-up slap, but I judged it was ill-timed since the opponent was hurt. I sighed and decided to shake his shoulder a bit.

Aladdin groaned but wouldn’t wake up easily.

“Vanilla… My Polaris…” was what I heard him say without opening his eyes.

“How dare you,” I said, gritting my teeth and pushing back my urge to choke the last breath out of him. Instead, I shook his shoulder even more roughly.

“Wake up, damn it. You’re making me lose my patience and we haven’t even talked.”

Aladdin woke up and jerked when he saw me. He looked like he’d seen his worst nightmare and he wasn’t very off.

“Vanilla… Eterna. Sorry, I didn’t expect to see you just now,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “And to still be alive.”

“Don’t lower your guard quite yet. I have my motives,” I said.

Aladdin was silent, and looked at the tray on the table. He hesitated to speak, but in the end he did.

“If it’s not a lot of trouble to ask, would you help me sit up right? You can call Mrs. Gwendolyn if you don’t want to do it.”

“I can do it,” I said, if only not to have Mrs. Gwendolyn butt in for the upteenth time.

He was surprised that I actually agreed to do it, perhaps because he thought that the mere thought of having physical contact with him was repulsive to me. He wasn’t wrong about that. My hands did wince when I lifted his head up for him, but it seemed as though he was the one who didn’t enjoy it between us two. He then asked for the tray and started eating. Once he was one-third of the way through his oatmeal, he placed the spoon down and looked at me.

“What are your motives, if I may ask?” 

“I need to clear many things. There are many things that have left me confused,” I said.

“I’m assuming you mean about my behavior towards you,” he said. “Did you have a chance to read Wolfie’s diary?”

I didn’t reply, but my face probably spoke in my stead.

“From the looks of it, you didn’t,” he sighed. “I think you should read the last entry, at least, before we talk. Meanwhile I can finish eating.”

“I… I didn’t want to read it, if I could help it,” I confessed.

“I know. I know that you like to avoid thinking about death and anything that reminds you of it. I know it’s your coping mechanism. I’ve seen you,” he said. “However, it’s really important that you read that last entry. After all, it was literally dedicated to you.”

That comment caught me off guard.

“Dedicated… to me?”

Aladdin nodded.

With a heavy heart and heavier legs, I stood up from the bedside bench and went upstairs to grab Wolfie’s diary from my bag. I came back down and closed the door behind me.

 

I flipped the pages until the last entry. It was dated the day of the invasion, which was also the day she died.

“Dear Eterna,” the entry was titled, so Aladdin had not been lying about it being dedicated to me.

 

I find myself writing in this dim room once more, much like I have done almost everyday for the past four years. However, today is different. Never had I penned an entry while the police infiltrated our base and were banging on our door. Today, Eterna’s Defiance has died. All that remains for me to do is to try to protect Eterna at all costs, even if I have to sacrifice my own. I hope that she will get to read this entry, and that is the only light that shines in my heart, which is currently as dim as this room.

 

There are many things I wanted to tell Eterna, but I never had the chance to, until now when Death is smirking next to me. 

 

First, I wanted to tell her that she was the best friend I could have had. I don’t know if I stressed that enough when we played together as kids or broke the law together as teens. I wouldn’t change any aspect of my life, even though I was born a social outcast because of my wolf lineage. We were both social outcasts, and understood each other on a level no one else could better understand another person. Even romantic couples can’t enjoy that luxury most of the time.

 

Second, I wanted to tell her that no matter what the outcome of this incident is, she must live and carry on. Here, I have one thing to confess. It’s something I’m not proud of. About two years ago, when King was still our leader, he told me in secret that he intended to pass on his Defiance group to Eterna. His health was deteriorating, and he had to make plans for when the inevitable happened. I asked him, “why Eterna, and not me?” for even though I knew she was a good fighter, King and I resembled each other more in intelligence. A leader must know strategy, and move his fighters accordingly. Yet, as much as I loved Eterna, I wasn’t sure she was capable of this. He said that he understood my concern, but that only Eterna could bring a new era to the Defiance. An era of unity, for Eterna is the only known person in history who was born with a feature, albinism, which should’ve automatically sent her to the Underworld since birth, and yet stayed in the Overworld as a wealthy noble. She was the living symbol of the unity between the two worlds that should’ve been one from the beginning. When he told me this, I agreed with his decision wholeheartedly, and promised him and myself to be loyal to her leadership until the day I died.

 

Third, 

 

Here, she left an awkward space and the writing style changed; it was more hasty and almost illegible, unlike the earlier neat handwriting.

 

Aladdin has just come into our base from the secret entrance that appeared to be guarded by more policemen earlier when we checked. I wonder what could be the meaning of this.

 

No proper explanation, but proposed plan. Plan: I surrender the base and all Eterna’s comrades, in exchange for escape to alert Eterna. I’ll trust him. Only a matter of time until all of our deaths happen. Aladdin is traitor, but earnest. Realistically our only chance. Gave diary to him. Send regard to family if I die. Hope you the best, Queen Eterna.

 

That was the whole of the entry. 

At the third paragraph, I was already feeling like crying, but I tried to hold the tears back because I was reading in the presence of Aladdin. I’d hate for him to see me cry, and pat himself in the back for succeeding in distressing me.

As soon as I was done reading, I closed the book.

Aladdin heard the sound and looked up.

“Did you finish reading?” he asked.

I was afraid my voice would crack, so I just nodded.

“Vanilla,” he said. “I don’t think you’ve given yourself proper time to mourn your loss. Everything happened so quickly.”

I shook my head sideways.

“Knowing that Wolfie died, and mourning her death are two different things. Only by mourning you can reach acceptance. Until then, you’ll keep floating in the limbo, hoping that this is all just a bad dream you will wake from.”

Aladdin offered me his untouched napkin. I mustn’t take it, I told myself. I mustn’t. I mustn’t.

But I did.

And the moment my fingers touched the cloth, tears started falling as though on cue. I used the napkin to hide my face as I cried, feeling like my innards could come out of my mouth. My breathing became intermittent, and I hoped that I’d stop breathing out right and join Wolfie in death. I opened the diary again and read everything once… twice more, letting each word sink in, imagining the scene in my mind.

It took me about 15 minutes of full-out crying, until my nose was completely clogged and I could only breathe in between coughs, to compose myself. That was the death of my hopeless hope.

 

When I stopped crying, I became embarrassed and chastised myself for not holding back my tears. For being weak and giving into the temptation of that white napkin.

“Do you feel better?” Aladdin asked.

“Not really. Crying doesn’t solve my problems,” I replied.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said. “But solving problems is not its purpose. Its purpose is to free your bottled-up sorrow. Wolfie wanted you to carry on, not to be held back by regret.”

“It seems you read this entry, too,” I said. “It would seem you helped Wolfie escape just so she could prevent me from coming near the base. I remember that moment. She had come and made me give her my Eterna costume. It’s probably why she was shot, and not me.”

I blowed my nose on the napkin.

“However, my question is, what were you thinking, letting her escape? That’s not even the only case of your conflicting behavior. Candy told me that you planned my escape from Everland. Is this true?”

Aladdin was surprised. 

“I guess I was naive in thinking that she could keep a secret from her cousin,” he said. “But she was the only person I could count on for this.”

“God damn it,” I sighed but then checked myself. “No. I won’t believe it. You’re a serial liar.”

“Did you never find it suspicious that your relocation to Reborn should go as smoothly as it did?” Aladdin asked back. “Your mother had your traditional dress prepared, along with money in Reborn’s currency ready for your departure before you even told her of your plans to flee the region. There was not a single police officer guarding the train station despite that being the first place you would most likely head to. None of that caught your attention?”

“My senses weren’t in optimal shape then,” I admitted. “But what, you mean to tell me that you coordinated everything for my escape?”

“You cornered me and demanded explanations. I’m only giving them to you. Whether you believe them or not is your business, not mine,” he said.

“So it was true, then. You helped me escape both the Underworld and the Overworld. Why, Aladdin. Tell me what your intentions are.”

He shut up and didn’t appear inclined to speak. I stood up and started pacing. I was getting irritated by the second.

“You’re driving me insane. Why do you have to do weird shit like that,” I exclaimed while throwing my hands up in the air. “Jasmin and you plotted way ahead to make me loosen my guard. You killed over half my men in my absence, and captured the remaining ones. Your police officers tried to kill me as I fled, and instead killed my right-hand man. Jasmin is out and about Reborn seeking me out to kill me. You also tried to kill me in Ametrine City. Then, all of a sudden, it happens that you’d also helped me out? Explain that to me, because I’m at a loss here.”

“I can’t tell you,” he said at last. “Because I really don’t understand it myself.”

“What do you mean you don’t understand it,” I said and shook him by the shoulders. “It’s your brain, damn it. Use it. Or stop lying, before I slit your throat so you can’t do it any longer.”

The audino jumped on me and made me sit back down to the bench. She sat next to me, holding my arm so that I couldn’t possibly stand up from there again.

“I’m telling you, I don’t know,” Aladdin said with a louder voice. “I only know I didn’t want to see you die.”

I laughed from my nose.

“You came all the way to Reborn to get me back to Everland, alive or dead. Do you think I’d believe that bullshit excuse?”

Aladdin tightened his lips and looked away from me. 

 

Suddenly, an outrageous thought crossed my mind. I remembered that he always took a defensive stand on our fights, never hitting me unless absolutely necessary. Then, there was the clear refusal to live, when he bit my hand back at the cliff. In light of the information that I was getting now, everything flipped upside down.

I slowly shook my head sideways in disbelief.

“You… you didn’t come here to bring me back,” I said in a low voice.

Aladdin glanced at me and back at the wall.

“You came to die at my hands, didn’t you?” I asked.

“I don’t think I’m obliged to answer that question,” he answered.

I tried to stand up from the bench but audino held me down.

“Obliged, or not obliged. Tell the truth,” I shouted, then paused for a minute. “I… need to know the truth.”

Aladdin looked at me in the eye, then lowered her gaze as he half-smiled. He remained silent for a while, but finally cleared his throat and started talking.

“When the police first heard the international news that informed them you were in Reborn, the plan had been to send a troupe of 40 people to capture you,” he said. “However, I argued against it. I said that something like that would be misleading for the Reborn government and they might think Everland is trying to overthrow them. They are scared as it is, with Team Meteor terrorizing them. Jasmin agreed with me, and suggested that she alone was sufficient to capture you. Of course, I know she was after the recognition that a single-handed capture would lead to.”

“Classic Jasmin move,” I commented.

“I insisted to be added to your search party,” he continued. “Because of two reasons. If Jasmin actually found and captured you, I could turncoat and set you free. And the second reason is… as you said.”

Aladdin sighed, and briefly hesitated before continuing.

“I told you before. I don’t have anything else I can offer you. I can’t do anything to regain your trust or love. I can’t bring Wolfie or any of your dead Defiance members back to life.”

Here, he surprised me. Tears started running down his cheeks, but he no longer had the napkin to wipe them with, so he used his sleeves. His voice cracked when he said the next sentence.

“I can only give you my life, if that serves as a little solace... that you could get rid of the traitor in the end.”

He placed his arm over his eyes and cried in silence.

 

There was now no doubt in my mind that Aladdin had Taka’d us all along. That he had helped me escape and survive, all the while also betraying me and the Defiance. Whatever Jasmin was doing in his apartment… it was probably on her accord and not on his. 

If this were a comedy, a fairytale with a happy ending like the ones that abounded in Everland, I would jump off my seat and embrace him right then and now. After all, this was the chapter where all the jumbled-up misunderstandings became untied, and it naturally followed that the hero and heroine would amend their broken relationship.

However, this story… our story… was a tragedy. 

 

“Stop crying,” I said at last. “You don’t have the right to shed a tear in any of this. All was your and Jasmin’s doing.”

“I know,” he said, still with his arm pressed on his eyes. “And I don’t regret it. I did what I had to do. We fought a large group of criminals, and we won. Yet, I don’t understand why I can’t stop the tears.”

“It’s probably because the weight of their lost lives presses on your shoulders,” I said with unexpected calmth. “Whether you were on justice’s side or not, you can’t escape that weight.”

I knew that the best. I sailed the ship straight into an iceberg, and instead of going down with it like an honorable captain, I was the only one to escape unscathed. Even if Wolfie wanted me to, and even if my whole team sacrificed their lives to let that happen, I’ll still have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life.

“I was too naive to know that. I was hungry for any kind of recognition. Anything that would prove that my life was not as worthless as my parents led me to believe,” Aladdin said, and lowered his arm at last. His eyes were bright red and he was still sniffling.

“And yet, you only managed to make yourself worthless to those who cared about you as well,” I sneered.

“Yes, that is right,” he said. “I chose my family and recognition over you. A wretched choice, but a necessary one, and I will live by it... I will only curse that our destinies had to be so cruel as to place us on opposite sides, not the choice itself.”

We looked at each other in silence. In his eyes, I could almost see reflected the happy time we spent together. Happy times that would never return to either of us.

“Curse you,” I said, weakly.

“You’re welcome to kill me anytime,” he said. “I died when I fell down the cliff, anyway. And snapping necks is your specialty, is it not?”

I frowned at the remark.

“I won’t kill you,” I said, and nodded to the audino so she would let go of my arm. “It’s now clear to me that the nightmare I live, you live it too. It’d be unfair to give you the deadly peace you don’t deserve.”

I stood up from the bench and started walking towards the exit.

“Vanilla,” Aladdin said, and I stopped without turning back. “Good bye.”

I said nothing and opened the door. I quickly wiped my eyes with the napkin and left the room behind.

 

VANILLA RATES: REBORN CHARACTERS

Spoiler

Maybe next episode we can resume this lol

 

And that, me frens, is the end to this non-Reborn related stuffs for now. We can finally fite Seal and leave for Reborn City~ But not before Vanilla reunites with Shelly-chan for a minute... look forward to that, maybe? uwu

 

QUICK LINK TO NEXT EPISODE

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Well... I certainly didn't expect all of that. Very nicely written. Buuuuut I am looking forward to getting back to the game aspects of this now. Now it's time for Vanilla to find a Seel, beat it up and get a badge. 😄 

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38 minutes ago, J-Awesome_One said:

Well... I certainly didn't expect all of that. Very nicely written. Buuuuut I am looking forward to getting back to the game aspects of this now. Now it's time for Vanilla to find a Seel, beat it up and get a badge. 😄 

An episode full of edge for my edgy protagonist xD

Its been so long since I recorded a fight. I’ll have to think of a strat again oof

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1 hour ago, Candy said:

I blowed my nose on the napkin.

 

1 hour ago, Candy said:

I quickly wiped my eyes with the napkin and left the room behind.

 

AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Nice episode but don't expect me to read all that old stuff (the only things I don't remember are why Vanilla jumped off the cliff and Aladdin biting her). 

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29 minutes ago, Corso said:

 

 

AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Nice episode but don't expect me to read all that old stuff (the only things I don't remember are why Vanilla jumped off the cliff and Aladdin biting her). 

I’ve been guilty of doing that myself 🤣 Vanilla... go wash your face lol

Vanilla and Aladdin got avalanche’d. Remember that majestic drawing I drew of them hanging 🙈

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That was dramatic, and quite emotional (maybe check the italics in the middle, I think there's a line which isn't a part of the diary). 

And a bit chilling from Vanilla's part. She had to look cool and in control of herself, but still. 

Aladdin's behavior isn't shining either: getting Vanilla to kill him would probably do her more harm than good. 

 

BTW, did you/Vanilla mention at some point why Aladdin joined that Defiance group? It doesn't seem like he joined it solely to destroy it, from the conversations (yes, I read the two links, though not their dependencies). 

 

Also, I'm likely overthinking this, but there's something weird in the large-scale politics at play. It is an egregious breach of sovereignty from Everland to send the police capture Vanilla in Reborn. If the higher-ups in Reborn are aware, why aren't they doing anything about it? Did Ame send word along the lines of "we have these foreign people from somewhere, their role is to capture Vanilla which they see as a terrorist -- y'all are supposed to remain officially and unofficially completely neutral in that matter -- Vanilla's helped us, but we don't want to anger Everland needlessly even with plausible deniability"? 

 

Very good chapter in any case! 

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5 minutes ago, Mindlack said:

That was dramatic, and quite emotional (maybe check the italics in the middle, I think there's a line which isn't a part of the diary). 

And a bit chilling from Vanilla's part. She had to look cool and in control of herself, but still. 

Aladdin's behavior isn't shining either: getting Vanilla to kill him would probably do her more harm than good. 

 

BTW, did you/Vanilla mention at some point why Aladdin joined that Defiance group? It doesn't seem like he joined it solely to destroy it, from the conversations (yes, I read the two links, though not their dependencies). 

 

Also, I'm likely overthinking this, but there's something weird in the large-scale politics at play. It is an egregious breach of sovereignty from Everland to send the police capture Vanilla in Reborn. If the higher-ups in Reborn are aware, why aren't they doing anything about it? Did Ame send word along the lines of "we have these foreign people from somewhere, their role is to capture Vanilla which they see as a terrorist -- y'all are supposed to remain officially and unofficially completely neutral in that matter -- Vanilla's helped us, but we don't want to anger Everland needlessly even with plausible deniability"? 

 

Very good chapter in any case! 

He joined the Defiance group and "dated" Vanilla solely to get information out of her (like the exact location of her base, and the "secret" entrance mentioned in this chapter) and to destroy her team from within and Jasmin from the outside, sorry if that wasn't clear (will prolly make it clear in future editions :tm:). At least, that was in the beginning. Whatever his intentions were, they must've morphed along the way, enough to make him feel that he didn't want Vanilla to die. But he's still conflicted, as you prolly could tell from his "no regrets" "had to do it" but crying.

 

Yes, the reason only Jasmin and Aladdin went undercover to fetch Vanilla, because they knew it would be troublesome if Reborn's higher ups knew of this, as it's something something international relations something. Prolly would startle Reborn's police and might have some stuff happen. Idk if extradition would apply to Reborn's politics, but here I'm assuming not. 

 

Reason why the "40 peepos search party" idea even came about was because Everland's government is arrogant (much much later on, when and if Vanini reaches Everland, it'll be delved into more deeply) and wouldn't care to invade another region just to punish a "traitor to the Queen". Though, obviously, if there was an alternative to frictioning with another region, which would take unnecessary time and resources, they'd prefer that instead (which is why Aladdin's suggestion was heard). Actually, I didn't include it in the narrative because it's not important, but Aladdin actually went to the police station in Jasper Ward to request a search for Vanilla, saying that she'd fled Everland and he'd come there to bring her back (not giving details to the chief), but the police chief refused it since Vanilla was over legal age and was an asset to Reborn, being a honorary member of the police and all 🤣 

 

Anyhow, what matters is that none of Reborn's higher-ups, including Ame, know that Jasmin and Aladdin are in Reborn to capture Vanilla- they entered as mere "league challengers", and no one would question them about looking for a "friend" from their hometown (much like Candy thought that their being in Reborn was great news until Vanilla "umm no"'d her). 

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Posted (edited)

Okay, thank you for clarifying the timeline. I don't know why I thought Aladdin had joined the group in earnest before betraying -- maybe I read too many stories where this was the case and automatically made the assumption.  

Thank you also for clarifying Jasmin and Aladdin's status. But now Vanilla remains a threat to them and Everland, as she can simply expose them and watch as an international incident unravels (that would mean chancing that Reborn doesn't end up on her side, which might be risky). You haven't specified the relative strengths of Everland and Reborn: can Everland successfully invade Reborn?

 

Nice tease for what's next... I wonder exactly how she would come back to Everland...

By train (but then she would need to be hidden, perhaps in somebody's suitcase)?

Or maybe she'll lose a battle in Devon and her punishment will be to be shipped off to face Everland's version of a trial? 

Edited by Mindlack

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7 minutes ago, Mindlack said:

You haven't specified the relative strengths of Everland and Reborn: can Everland successfully invade Reborn?

Everland operates with magic vs Reborn's pokemon, which are roughly equivalent. However, Everland doesn't have the internal terrorism that plagues Reborn (Defiance groups are pretty contained in the Underworld, and more so now that Vanilla's is gone), so if an invasion into Reborn were to happen, Reborn as we know it would prolly be over since it's barely withstanding Team Meteor. That's not the reason Vanilla won't expose them, however. The reason would be more that she doesn't want the whole region knowing that she's been involved in controversial stuff in her homeland.

 

12 minutes ago, Mindlack said:

Or maybe she'll lose a battle in Devon and her punishment will be to be shipped off to face Everland's version of a trial? 

That'd be pretty traumatic, tbf xD I might keep that into consideration for the Devon arc

But yah, if Ame doesn't kill off the protagonist in E19, she'll return to Everland to fulfill her mission... but who will go with her and how... that's something to look forward to eons from now haha

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I now want a war pokemon game (tbh I've always wanted a pokemon x fire emblem crossover but now we even have the backstory).

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4 hours ago, Corso said:

I now want a war pokemon game (tbh I've always wanted a pokemon x fire emblem crossover but now we even have the backstory).

:blobsweat:

but tbh it’d be pretty lit and unique. Usually Pokémon games have “war” within a region but not between regions. 

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8 hours ago, Corso said:

I now want a war pokemon game (tbh I've always wanted a pokemon x fire emblem crossover but now we even have the backstory).

Wish carefully... I'm not sure you realize just how gruesome it would get. In soft mode, you would unleash two armies' worth of Siriii (plural of Reborn Sirius?) on one another.   

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tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gifFrom Everland to Reborn ~ Our Nightmaretumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gif

 

Omg what?!?! An update that isn't a month from the last one?!?! What's this sorcery, right? Well... yes but no. This one isn't continuing from where I left off, but a "spin off" in Aladdin's point of view. I wanted to write it, and I did. It's all about getting me in the Mood. Anyhow, I hope it's enjoyable, even if Vanilla doesn't appear anywhere except she's mentioned a lot. Or is that better? Dunno lol

Once upon a time, in a distant land farther east from Everland, there was a poor young man who went from house to house, street to street, stealing anything he could find in order to keep himself alive. There were many like them in the alleyways, rotting away with the rats. He was miserable; what he deserved was so much more. Something as big as his ambition.

In this town lived one wealthy magician. This magician was different than any other, for no one could ever reveal his tricks, as though they’d been conjured with real magic. The young man thought, this wealthy one-of-a-kind magician must have a lot of valuable things in his house, and thus snuck in to steal from him. However, all he found were old and creepy things; nothing looked like they’d be worth much. He was disappointed, but on his way out, stumbled upon a small lamp? A pot? It was golden, so he thought he hit the jackpot.

And indeed, he did. The lamp was magical and from within came a genie, who promised to fulfill any three wishes he had… I forget which three they were, but that’s because I never paid attention to that part of the story. It would only be relevant to me if I had a magic genie who could grant my wishes, and I already know what I’d wish for.

In any case, it turned out that the mysterious wealthy magician was actually a wizard who fled, together with his wife, the wave of witch hunts* that plagued the northern regions of Galar and Kalos. He had four daughters, out of which the poor man with the lamp married one, forming the branch family of Ababwa that ours belonged to. Henceforth he escaped his past poverty, fulfilling his ultimate dream.

That is the story of Aladdin Ali Ababwa that my caretakers told me since childhood.

 

QSOx7G4.png

It was approaching noon, when I heard the voices of people I had long ago peacefully shared a meal with, saying goodbyes and shutting the door behind them. 

I sighed. In the end, I couldn’t accomplish anything in coming all the way to the Reborn region. In my current state, I couldn’t even stand up to fight Jasmin, and I could not even make up for the act of betrayal I executed. Not even the cliff was kind enough to end this once and for all. Here I was, bedridden and weighing on the hospitality of kind strangers, lying next to an unconscious pokemon that hurt himself because of me.

I laughed silently.

“My parents were right all along,” I said to myself. “Ironically, I proved my own worthlessness by trying to prove to be otherwise.”

But… where did I go wrong? Why did this whole ordeal not end with a huge party to congratulate Jasmin and my achievement? No… there had been a party, but my mind wasn’t in the moment and thus I couldn’t enjoy it. In fact, I was in the newspapers and the TV, and everyone thanked me for my contribution in stopping one of the groups that plotted against their and the Queen’s safety, even though the existence of an Underworld was not revealed. Why couldn’t I wholeheartedly enjoy their praise like Jasmin did? Why couldn’t I smile honestly and feel happy that I could protect these people?

In every fairytale, there is an antagonist that wreaks havoc in society, either killing innocents or making people unhappy. Then a valiant hero appears and fights that antagonist with an unwavering will that doesn’t even yield to the fear of death. In the end, the hero kills the antagonist and all the good people attain their happy ever after.

I did what the hero would do, and yet, it seems God forgot to hand me my happy ever after.

“But I had to do it. I didn’t have a choice to do nothing, after knowing that traitors to our Queen roamed the Overworld,” I told myself.

Yes. The one to blame was Vanilla, for carelessly allowing Jasmin to see the moment she went down the rabbit hole, trapping us all in a down-spiraling hole in the process.

 

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“Aladdin, how do you do?” whispered Jasmin, one day that felt like it was ages ago. “I’ve found something… intriguing.”

Anytime she referred to something as intriguing, I knew she was going to tell me some secret information about someone that would ruin their reputation if everyone knew about it. I didn’t really want to hear it, but faked interest. Jasmin’s eyes narrowed and a wide smile creeped on her lips.

“It’s about your old friend Vanilla. I caught her sneaking out of her house last night,” she said.

“And why were you sneaking out at night, too?”

Jasmin rolled her eyes.

“Is that a serious question? Come on, Aladdin. You know that criminal activity is more frequent at night. How would I catch anybody cold if I only went out during the day?”

“True, I forgot who I was talking to.”

“Okay okay, but you must be itching to know what I found out when I secretly followed her,” she said, narrowing her eyes again.

“What did you find?”

“She went down a rabbit hole, located deep into Red Riding Hood Forest,” she said. “I went down, too, but I wasn’t small enough to go all the way until the end of that pipe thing. But I know what’s down there. I just needed to confirm that Vanilla went there.”

“What’s down there?” I asked, this time with genuine curiosity.

Jasmin waved at me and asked me to come outside the classroom and into the backyard, to a corner we knew no one went to.

LYYjnW5.png

“This is a secret only the closest friends of the Queen and a limited number of police officials know, so you must swear not tell anyone about it,” she said. “If you do, it’s likely our memories will get wiped by the police, to avoid chaos. Will you promise?”

“I promise,” I said, full of anticipation.

“Alright. So, you know this region, Everland? What you know is only half of it, the Overworld,” she said. “There’s an entire city under us, called the Underworld.”

I thought I was understanding wrong. How could there be a huge underground space with people living in it, and nobody except a select few knew about it?

“What? How? Why?” I said, not really knowing what question to formulate.

“It’s not surprising. If you thought about it just a second, you’d realize that it’s unnatural that there is zero homelessness or unemployment in Everland, while those exist in all other regions. The number of people is a perfect balance with the number that Everland’s society needs. That’s impossible to achieve, unless the Queen commands exactly how many children to have and when you have to die, which she obviously isn’t doing, or do something else to deal with the surplus somehow.”

“You’re meaning to tell me that… some people get sent to the Underworld without us knowing?”

“Yep. Some people automatically get sent there upon being born,” she explained. “And their existence gets erased from the memory of everyone.”

“But, wouldn’t the Underworld people run into Overpopulation as well? If we keep sending people there?”

Jasmin laughed.

“That’s never going to happen. Resources such as food is a limiting factor there, and the jobs they get aren’t the safest out there, so many die young. They probably are less populated than us.”

I felt dizzy listening to all this about a world I didn’t know existed, in which a bunch of people were being mistreated just under my feet.

“That’s terrible,” I said.

Jasmin turned stern all of a sudden, and placed her hands over my shoulders.

“No, it’s not terrible,” she said. “It’s a necessary sacrifice. You’ll find winners and losers in any region. What difference does it make that the losers are separated from the winners upon birth? Thanks to that, we have the lowest crime rate in the world. We have exactly the number of people we need to keep all of us happy. There’s virtually no reason to commit crime, other than for curiosity.”

I wasn’t wholly convinced, and Jasmin knew this so she gave it some more push.

“Would you have preferred that people be killed upon being born to control the population? At least they can have lives down there. Yet, it’s a shame. They don’t understand how generous the Queen has been in pardoning their miserable lives, and many have formed anti-police and anti-Status-Quo groups.”

“They’re probably unhappy about their lives,” I commented.

“Listen. I’ll ask you a question. If someone could choose who can be happy and who can’t, in which of those two categories would you want to belong? And what about your family? What about your friends?”

The answer was obvious: “I’d like to be happy. And my friends and family too, if possible.”

“Yet, everyone thinks the same as you do. It’s thanks to our Queen maintaining this Over-Underworld system that you and your friends can belong in the happy category.”

I could understand the argument, but I still felt awful about it. Yet, it was also true that if I had the chance to exchange my position with a person who would starve to death in a few years time, I wouldn’t do it. Wasn’t I a hypocrite for feeling bad but not being inclined to do anything about it?

“I know you’re a kind-hearted guy, Aladdin. That’s why I love you,” she said and kissed me on the cheek. “However, those criminals down there don’t deserve your pity. Many have killed police officers and some even plan to cause a revolution someday. If that happens, we will all be done for. It’s eat or be eaten, Aladdin, and we must be on the eating side. Do you understand?”

Her tone of voice was warm and comforting, but her eyes were as sharp as an eagle’s. As soon as I nodded in agreement, she smiled again.

“Now, I don’t know what Vanilla is doing, going to the Underworld at night,” she said. “But I want to find out, whatever it takes. You will help me do it, and I assure you, you'll profit from this too.”

 

There was a knock on my door, and that brought me back from my dream. I had fallen asleep without noticing.

“Hello, Aladdin. I brought you lunch,” said Mrs. Gwendolyn.

She placed the tray on the table and with habituated manners, lifted my head and upper body up with delicacy and strong support. I remembered that Vanilla had helped me up too, but I was too nervous not to make a weird face or something. I didn’t want to admit it, but some part of me felt relieved that she had left, especially after the fool I made out of myself when I couldn’t contain my tears and cried in the least appropriate time.

“Vanilla left about an hour ago,” she said. “She didn’t say much, and my, she was more ill-humored than she was yesterday. I didn't think that was possible. Hope your meeting earlier wasn't bad for your health. You must detoxify from her negative energy. Hopefully eating will help. Oh and by the way, she gave me this to give it to you.”

She held out the card key to my rented apartment in Ametrine City, and placed it on the table once I saw what it was. In its stead, she picked up the tray and placed the food in front of me.

“Bon appetit,” she said. “Let me know if you need anything.”

Then she walked away and closed the door.

I glanced at the card key, and wondered whether Vanilla had gone there. If she did, I felt both disappointed that she didn’t bring it up, and absolutely terrorized. I didn’t plan to be alive by the time she visited my place. 

“I wonder if she found the letter I left for her,” I sighed. “Maybe there’s a slight chance she didn’t, since she didn’t talk about it.”

Even if I worried about it, it was too late to do anything either way. It wasn’t like I could go back in time and stop my past self from writing it or leaving the key card in Wolfie’s diary.

I closed my eyes again and prayed for Wolfie’s soul like I had done many times since her passing. I knew I had no right to do it. Vanilla would punch me if she knew.

As I prayed, I remembered the last encounter I had with Wolfie, back in the base.

 

I had left Vanilla on the way back from Hemlock’s Defiance team’s base. This was not planned in the instructions that Jasmin had given me. In the original plan, I was supposed to accompany Vanilla until we reached the base, so that I could catch her in the worst case scenario that she was somehow notified of the police’s movements. However, I had to return to the base as soon as possible, and the secret entrance, which we never used unless for emergencies, was the closest way there.

When I reached the entrance, there were three police officers. They were guarding the hidden sliding door, which they had already broken open. Their job was to prevent any of them from escaping from the backdoor, and they were doing it exceptionally well.

I showed them my ID.

“I’m Aladdin Ababwa. Please let me through,” I said.

This was not in the plan either, but they did not raise questions. After all, Jasmin and I had been the coordinators of this whole thing, so there was nothing odd if I modified the plans last minute.

I went inside and ran the length of the unlit tunnel with a flashlight. The rats and cockroaches ran away from the sudden intruder to their territory.

At the end of the tunnel was a sturdy metallic door. This one had no police guarding it, because I knew there was a switch in the base that would cause the whole tunnel to collapse in case intruders came in from this side. I thought it would be unnecessarily dangerous to send people to guard this point, but I was now glad I had made that decision, for I needed the tunnel to exist.

“Roquil, open the door. Roquil, it’s me, Bird Boy.” I shouted, but wasn’t sure they could hear me from within.

I banged the door as strongly as I could.

“Who’s there?” I heard Roquil ask.

“It’s Bird Boy. Please let me in.”

“Is Eterna with you?”

“No, I’m alone.”

“What’s going on here,” asked Wolfie’s voice this time.

“It’s Aladdin. Eterna isn’t with him.”

“Don’t let him in,” Wolfie said, with so much indignation that I could imagine what face she was making. “He’s a traitor. He betrayed us to the Everland Police. I’m quite sure of it.”

“Wol-Moonlight, please, listen to me,” I shouted. “We need to save Eterna. Please open this door.”

“I’ll go destroy the tunnel,” she said, and my heart froze.

“Don’t do it, Moonlight. If you do, you all and Eterna will die or get captured and be executed,” I begged.

“Why should I believe the words of a traitor?” Wolfie asked, almost barking. “You just want us to open the door so that your officers can shoot at us and end this quickly.”

“That’s not it at all,” I said and coughed because I’d been shouting too much.

“You can’t prove it’s not.”

“I can’t... but do you think you stand a chance? All your escape routes have been blocked. It’s a matter of time until the main gate breaks and you’re all apprehended. The police isn’t in a rush, but I am! Eterna is on her way back here, and she’ll die if we don’t prevent it.”

By then, my face was adhered to the cold door, as though being as close as possible to it could open it. I thought I wouldn’t make it. It had taken me months to gain Wolfie’s trust, and this time she had all the reason to distrust me.

However, the door opened and I practically rolled to the ground. I looked up, and saw Wolfie’s back against me.

“Tell me of your plan. I will trust you one last time,” she said. “I have no other choice. It’s as you say; we don’t have a way to counter this surprise attack.”

There were loud thudding sounds coming from the directions of the main gate. Wolfie shook her head.

“If Eterna is headed this way… and there’s a glimmer of hope that I can save her,” she then turned to face me. “I’ll gamble everything I have to do it.”

S024hJ7.png

I had always admired Vanilla when she would talk loudly and clearly, sending commands to a group of men and women and non-human creatures that were much larger than her. She always took the lead when I was around, so I had never seen Wolfie looking as determined and as formidable as she was right that moment. She had been dubbed the “Eterna of the Shadows” by the team, but right at this moment, I felt as though I was talking to the true leader of the Defiance.

My plan was carried out. Wolfie surrendered and opened the main gate for the police. Outside, Jasmin, completely drunk in satisfaction and self-congratulation, waited for us. She saw me holding Wolfie’s hands tied on her back and grinned. The police rushed in to capture the rest of the Defiance members, sometimes shooting and killing the uncooperative ones.

We came outside and upstairs- this Defiance team’s hideout was located underneath the ground of the Underworld. All the time, I kept my hand on Wolfie’s, although I had not tied her hands at all.

When we were all out, I gave the signal. I must credit Eterna’s men’s courage and loyalty. They all started rampaging, causing chaos and more importantly, the distraction we needed for Wolfie to escape in the direction Vanilla was coming from.

Unfortunately, that meant that most of the team got annihilated by the police’s guns.

Jasmin screamed in frustration and then looked at me. I wasn’t confident whether she knew I was behind this plan, but she didn’t smile, that’s for sure.

Once the chaos was toned down and the dead bodies piled up, Jasmin ordered that some officers go around the perimeter looking for Wolfie and Eterna. It had been a while since Wolfie ran away, but I wasn’t sure it was enough time for them to have made it out of the Underworld already. Thus, the first chance I found at sneaking past Jasmin’s alert, I ran in the direction of the exit.

Unfortunately, I was too late.

At first, I thought they had gotten Vanilla, for the person lying on the floor was wearing a black cape. However, upon further inspection, I realized it was Wolfie. She was not breathing and her body was limp with blood stains all over her shirt and fur. Her jaw opened when I tried to prop her up.

Suddenly my arms started to shake uncontrollably. This was the person I had been speaking to but half an hour ago. My eyesight started spasming as the understanding that I had driven this friend to her death, sunk in.

However, I couldn’t just sit there watching as her body slowly lost temperature. At any minute, the police could find me holding her body, and would immediately take her away for me, no doubt. If this was the Overworld, they would hand the body to her family when investigations concluded, but the same was likely not going to be applicable to a person found in the Underworld, especially not one who was involved in the Defiance.

So I did what I had to do. I carried her with me back up the narrow passage. Wolfie usually had trouble passing through here due to her size, but now that she was limp, it was disturbing how she could bend her body to slide easily as I pushed her.

9UixOVX.png

I brought her to her home- a place she hadn’t visited since she 4 years ago when she got recruited to the Defiance. Her parents and many siblings were in shock when I appeared at their porch, carrying Wolfie’s body. While the young adult wolves buried her in the ground, I ran down a brief overview of what had happened. I told them that I would testify in their behalf that they were not involved in any of what Wolfie did in the Underworld. This calmed them, but not enough to stop them from mourning their loss. I didn’t mourn with them. I barely had the face to look at Wolfie’s mother in the eye, and when I left their place behind, I did so hunched.

Since then, I never visited their home again.

 

I opened my eyes. The sunlight was pouring in from the window, the snow on the windowsill amplifying its brightness. It was highlighting the dichotomy between it and my heart.

“It’s now clear to me that the nightmare I live, you live it too,” Vanilla had said.

There was no lie to her words, I thought, as I started eating my cooled food.

 

And weeks later, the nightmare would continue full swing when Articuno and I recovered enough to leave Mrs. Gwendolyn’s home. I returned to the apartment in Ametrine, and found Jasmin inside. She laughed at the sight of me.

"Hello, Aladdin. You know, I found something... intriguing in your apartment."

She then went over to my night table's drawer and waved a ripped envelope in the air.

 

*This might be an important plot point WAY later on, if you might wanna hold onto that in the “appears forgotten but not really” section of your brain for later.

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Oops.

Looks like there's going to be one OC death upcoming. Or maybe Jasmin feels "cruel mercy" instead. 

Jasmin is pretty bad in this episode. To all her drawbacks (especially being opposed to the protagonist, that hardly ever serves a character), you added some portion of sadism, a tendancy to gossip about state secrets to about anyone (Aladdin wasn't a police officer, was he?), a cutthroat vision of the world and a very shady moral compass.

 

Very nice chapter, I like different viewpoints!  

 

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1 hour ago, Mindlack said:

Oops.

Looks like there's going to be one OC death upcoming. Or maybe Jasmin feels "cruel mercy" instead. 

Jasmin is pretty bad in this episode. To all her drawbacks (especially being opposed to the protagonist, that hardly ever serves a character), you added some portion of sadism, a tendancy to gossip about state secrets to about anyone (Aladdin wasn't a police officer, was he?), a cutthroat vision of the world and a very shady moral compass.

 

Very nice chapter, I like different viewpoints!  

 

I’m a pessimist irl so for the character of Aladdin, I took inspiration from people who have good intentions but only as long as the stuff doesn’t inconvenience them (aka will give a couple dollars to charity and will pray for the poor but wouldn’t support increasing taxes to better serve the people in need) and those who  are insecure and crave attention (aka will freak out if someone unfollows their Instagram and will question what was wrong about their content that it prompted that person to leave).
This character is perfect for Jasmin to manipulate. As for Jasmin, she lacks a moral compass all together. All she cares for is to accomplish her goals (to be recognized as a great police chief that surpasses even her dad) and everyone else is a stepping stone for her. I drew inspiration from some of my middle school bullies for her: ambitious, manipulative, gossipy, and vengeful.
However, if you ask me if she’s evil, I don’t really know. This story exists in a world where the social structure is already immoral and the rebels that challenge the Status Quo like Vanilla and co. are considered evil. And I’m some ways Vanilla’s team has fought and killed police officers, so they’re bad even if they can and will justify that they’re only fighting oppression. Now, is the Queen the real evil one? Who knows, that one you’ll have to find out eons from now, if ever lol


Tl;dr I don’t like the types of stories like those in Marvel where the good guys fight and kill the bad guys and solve the problem. In this story I tried to create a “realistic” conflict between two parties that isn’t just a good vs evil dynamic.

Anyhow thanks for reading and analyzing stuff I tried to imply 👍

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tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gifFrom Everland to Reborn ~ Episode 69tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gif

Thank COVID-19 for my paranormal activity on here uwu

 

When I left the side room, I found a lively party at the table. Candy, Pikachu and Hazel were sitting where I’d left them, but Archer had also joined them out of the blue. I saw that he had one of his forearms fully bandaged. 

The party suddenly ceased talking and looked at me when the door shut behind me. I tried to cover my face with my hair and Wolfie’s diary, because I didn’t want Candy or Archer, especially the latter, to see that I had been crying.

“There’s no point,” Archer said to me. “With these paper-thin walls, there was nothing you said in there that we didn’t hear.”

Candy approached me and offered a hand without saying a word.

“Ironically, you blew your cover by yourself,” Archer continued. From the sound of his voice, he was laughing from his nose.

“Arthur, stop it. You’re being mean,” Hazel said, though unexpected from her usually-dull sixth sense.

Candy brought me to the table so that I could sit down. I kept looking down at the table’s surface, paying unnatural attention to the intricate lines of the coarse wood. If I could disappear, I wanted to do so. However, even though I couldn’t disappear, it was almost as if I had, because I could no longer feel anything. Even the feeling of Pikachu jumping on my lap felt like an event happening far, far away.

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“I’ll ask mom to make us some herbal tea,” said Hazel and stood from her spot. Mocha reacted to the chair’s movement and readied himself for her.

“Do you want Lily to use aromatherapy? It might help you relax,” Candy said, but I shook my head. I wasn’t tense; in fact, it was the opposite. I was only exhausted from the earlier talk, and now my muscles could barely hold my posture upright.

“I’m surprised, to be honest,” Archer said. “You’re usually so angry and overbearing, I thought there was nothing and no one that could budge your heart. I guess even the hardest ice can melt if exposed to enough heat.”

I was still silent. Let him talk, I frankly thought. I don’t care.

“Lucky you, for having a cousin that will cheer you up regardless of what you do,” he laughed. “But I won’t sympathize with you at all. You only received what you deserved. It’s only a shame that I couldn’t be the one to turn you in.”

“Archer,” Candy shouted.

I peeked under my thick hair. I’d never seen Candy get angry before, and I would’ve never dreamt that my first time would be under these circumstances. The conversation Aladdin and I had mostly unmasked I had been involved in criminal acts that attempted against the safety of everyone in the Overworld. I believed that if Candy knew of this, she would turn against me, given her disposition to value everyone’s happiness and health above all else.

“You can lick her wounds all you want, Candy, but don’t expect me to do the same,” he said. “You probably think I’m being harsh, and perhaps your privileged self won’t comprehend it, but this world is harsh. There’s no evil people we can all unite forces to rid of, for that would be too easy. There’s only people who can’t coexist in peace, and for better or for worse, Vanilla and I are two such people.”

With that, Archer abruptly stood from his spot and left the house, banging the door with force.

Candy and I remained silent afterward. The only sounds that could be heard of were the steady beats of Hazel’s father’s hammer fixing something on the wall outside, and the incremental high-pitched screech of the teapot in the kitchen.

Eventually, Hazel came out of the kitchen, carrying a tray with four cups on one hand.

“Oh, did Arthur leave? I heard the door slamming, but-” she said and shook her head.

She placed the tray in the center of the table, and took one of the cups for herself as she took a seat.

“I hope Arthur didn’t keep taunting you, Vanilla. He just happened to be in a bad mood today, because a wild pokemon attacked him while he was on patrol,” Hazel explained.

Patrol in your imagination, I thought, but even though I no longer had reason to hide Archer’s secret, I didn’t have enough energy to say any of it.

“Vanilla… I want you to hear a story. I didn’t tell it to you yesterday because I couldn’t find a good time to tell it, but it’s a story that Arthur told me to motivate me when, you know, I was depressed.”

To be honest, I’d rather she just shut her mouth and let the silence sink in this living room for once, but I also didn’t open my mouth to make that a reality.

“It’s the story of Arthur’s final day in Everland,” she continued. “He was a police officer there, in charge of keeping order in the most dangerous areas of the region. He told me that he lost his job over there because he had found out that one of the ‘gangs’- he called them the Defiance- that was causing trouble there was led by a member of the Everland nobility, and she used her political power to get him booted.”

Ah, now Candy will put two and two together and realize that I was not only involved in crime, but in fact was once a leader of the group that was causing such crime. Great.

“But he said this was no ordinary noble. She was a small, frail-looking girl, yet she was leading a terrorist group that was a great threat to the armed police forces in the area. When she spoke, she sounded like a supreme ruler, so Arthur said.”

Hazel blew on her tea and took a couple of sips from her cup.

“He said he couldn’t believe that he felt fear speaking to a girl probably around ten years his junior. But at the same time that he felt fear and disgust, he felt admiration, also.”

I raised my head for the first time since I sat down. I thought I heard wrong, but Hazel’s next line confirmed that my ears weren’t playing tricks on me. 

“Even when he left Everland, he never stopped admiring that girl’s strength. Because, despite her many disadvantages, she found ways to exploit the few advantages she had, whether it was her political power or her swift body movements, to polish her iron fist and reach the top of her group.”

Iron fist was a little bit of an exaggeration, I thought. I only happened to punch Archer once when we were in the Underworld and made him pass out. It was more to do with his weak brain and less to do with the hardness of my fist.

“This story of a girl I didn’t know, who lived in a land I didn’t know, got stuck in the back of my mind as my therapist helped me deal with depression,” Hazel said. “Arthur helped me realize that even though I had disadvantages, much like that girl, I still had four other senses- and one very sharp sixth sense- I could exploit to make up for my lack of eyesight... That the lack of one strengthened the other ones all the more.”

Hazel’s face beamed with a wide smile. It was different from her usual playful smile, the one that she summoned when she bragged about her sixth sense.

“I never thought I would meet that girl,” she said. “Thank you for giving me hope, back then.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, but felt like I couldn’t remain silent, either.

“I didn’t do anything,” I said, looking away. “You have nothing to thank me for.”

“Please do me a favor and don't lose hope. I just don’t want the person who gave me hope losing it,” she said, dropping a fist on the table.

“I never had hope. I only have things I must accomplish, at whatever cost,” I said.

When I thought about returning to Everland and facing the Queen, my face unwittingly contorted into a scowl.

“Even my life is a small price to pay for it,” I added.

“Then, that’s good. Don’t move away from the anger phase, if it’s the only way to keep you away from depression.”

The anger phase. I remembered that she had talked about something like that the day before. Anger, depression... then I wondered if there was something that followed those. I didn’t ask it, because I figured I would get to that third phase eventually, whatever it was.

“Candy,” I called.

“Huh, y-yes?” she answered, stunned that she was addressed all of a sudden.

“My business here is finished,” I said. “We’re leaving.”

I lifted Pikachu off my thighs and placed him on my shoulder before standing up from my seat.

When I was about to pass next to Hazel, I stopped briefly and patted her shoulder. She shuddered at the sudden touch.

“Thank you,” I said.

She placed a hand on mine and squeezed it, before letting it go.

 

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I went back to Hazel’s room to pick up my things, while Candy waited for me outside.

On my way out, Mrs. Gwendolyn and her husband also joined in to wish us safe travels.

“I hope we’ll meet again someday,” Hazel said, smiling.

“Likewise,” I replied aloud because even if I nodded, she wouldn’t know I did.

I picked out a card from my pocket. It was the keycard that Aladdin had left in Wolfie’s diary. I still didn’t know whether Jasmin’s ambush back there was his design or not, but at this point, none of that mattered anymore. In the end, I blamed myself for going there, despite it being enemy territory. What else did I expect to find?

“Mrs. Gwendolyn. This keycard is Aladdin’s,” I said, handing the card to her. “Please return it to him, if you get the chance.”

“Of course,” she said.

She took the card, but still had a stern face on when she looked at me. I was glad she didn’t hear my conversation with Aladdin, unlike Hazel and Archer. If she was still displeased with our first encounter, I didn’t want to know how she would’ve sent me off today, had she heard it.

“Any message you’d like to relay to him?” she asked.

I shook my head. All that had to be said was already said.

“Goodbye, and thanks for your hospitality,” I said and turned around.

A large snake beast was just making its touch down in front of Candy. I shivered a little. I had forgotten what my cousin’s preferred medium of transport was.

“Candy, I think I’ll take the walking route,” I told her. “The circus isn’t that far away.”

“What are you saying, d-dummy,” she said, but for some reason she wasn’t looking me in the eye. “F-feet are used only when no better transport option is available.”

Usually, she would pull my arm on such occasions, to force an activity she enjoyed on me, but she didn’t do it this time. She just stood there, as the winds emanating from Rayquaza made her hair dance in the air.

It wasn’t that I was scared of flying. I just had never done it before, and wasn’t particularly desperate to try it out. However, for this time, I don’t know why I felt like I had to do it despite my disinclination. I started walking towards the large green beast, when I heard Mrs. Gwendolyn’s voice.

“Oh Arthur, you’re just in time to send Candy and Vanilla off.”

I turned around to see Archer standing off to the side of his family. He returned my gaze with a poker face. I started walking away again, snorting slightly. What Hazel told me earlier concerning him… really was hard to believe.

Candy helped me up Rayquaza, and we were off to the skies in no time.

 

While we were flying, and I was hanging onto Rayquaza and Pikachu for dear life, Candy didn’t say a word to me. Now was the perfect time for one of her “embrace your inner fairy*” lines to be delivered, but yet, she chose not to say it. It was yet another hint that something was amiss, and I had an idea of what it was about.

From the sky, I saw Calcenon and what I supposed was Labradorra. I wondered how Shelly was doing. Perhaps, or more like certainly, she’s worried that I haven’t come find her yet. It’s been days since we last saw each other, so that’s quite plausible. I’d actually meant to go find her after I sorted out the issue with Aladdin, but now that I was able to… I don’t know. I didn’t feel confident that I could feign normality when in reality, I felt like my life was slipping away. 

I thought that maybe having a gym battle with Ciel would help wake me up. I figured that what I needed most right now was to use my brain and my body, so I could bring my soul back to myself. Only when I recovered from the current exhaustion that Aladdin caused on me, could I go back to Calcenon. Only then, would I not worry Shelly with problems that were wholly unrelated to her or Reborn.

 

“Time to jump off,” Candy said.

Before I knew it, we were floating just in front of the circus’ Big Top. Either Rayquaza moved faster than light, or my mind was just really slow. I placed my bets on the latter.

We jumped off Rayquaza’s back, and the dragon went flying towards the horizon.

“Candy, wait,” I stopped her before she could head towards the Big Top.

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She turned around with an awkward smile.

“Are you disappointed in me?” I asked. “If you don’t want to know of me any longer, I won’t blame you. You can leave me and go.”

“What? No, really. You have it all wrong.”

“I know I omitted a lot of details when I told you about my rivalry with the Everland police, back when we talked about it in the Water Treatment Center,” I continued. “I’m sure you could now grasp the magnitude of this problem, from what you overheard in Aladdin and I’s conversation and what Hazel said. Now you know that I’m practically top of the police’s list of Most Wanted individuals. And I’m sure you’ve deduced that I’m on that list for a reason. Isn’t that why you’re acting weird around me?”

Candy pushed her fist against her lips. She had the habit of doing that when she was in deep thought… the rare occasions when she was serious about something.

“You’re a merciless mind-reader, aren’t you?” she sighed. “It’s not that I’m disappointed, though. I’m more like, shocked. I don’t know why, either, since it’s not like I didn’t know the police were after you. I think it just didn’t register in my mind what implications that had- I didn’t ask what was the reason they were after you.”

This was one moment I dreaded. When I first joined King’s Defiance group, I didn’t tell her because my life and Wolfie’s depended on me keeping my mouth shut. After I became leader, though, I could’ve told her if I wanted to. But I didn’t.

“I didn’t tell you, because of selfish reasons. I knew that you wouldn’t approve that I was leading a group that not only destroyed shops, sabotaged machines and plotted to overthrow the Queen, but also killed officers and anybody who stood in the path of our liberation. You’ve always valued peace and happiness, for your friends and foes equally.”

Candy closed her eyes and knitted her eyebrows. Perhaps hearing my sins was too cruel a blow for her.

“I don’t know what to do, Vanilla. You’re my dear, lovely cousin. We spent half our lives together. We share so many memories together. I can’t remember a single instance from my childhood without you in it. Please understand... I... never thought I’d ever have to decide between you and my philosophy.”

I knew I had to have this conversation some day, and when she overheard my conversation with Aladdin, I knew the time had to be now. However, how much did I wish that it didn’t have to be now. Not when I was already exhausted from my breakup.

“You should go battle Ciel. That’s your last badge here before you can come back to Opal Ward, right?” she said, changing the topic seemingly abruptly. “I promised Ame that I would pick you up and bring you back, so I’ll wait here until you’re done... I pray you give me a little time to make up my mind about all this.”

She stood to my side so that I could go to the Big Top. I glanced at her, but she was looking down to her toes. I had never seen Candy looking so helpless.

Each of us must carry their own weight,” I told her as I passed by her. “I chose to walk side-by-side with the oppressed people of the Underworld, and to carry each of their lives on my back. It’s a heavy weight resting on my shoulders, but I can still carry it alone.”

 

“Ciel?” I called when I entered the side room to the Big Top Arena. However, Ciel wasn’t in there- instead I found Samson staring at Terra’s computers with an intense expression.

“Woah,” he exclaimed when he saw me standing next to him. “Don’t scare me like that. I thought I saw the ghost of my abuela, resting in peace.”

“Are you suggesting I look like a grandma?”

“No, but you have such a scary expression, like you’re about to hit me with a slipper. Besides, your forehead is all wrinkled like hers. Anyway, what’s new?”

“I came to challenge Ciel to a gym battle. That’s all that remains for me to do in here,” I said. “What about you? Looks like you’re still looking for Terra?”

“Yeah, but no matter how many times we check, she’s nowhere to be found. It’s almost as if she’d erased herself out of existence,” he explained. “But it’s also true I’m not a leet hacker like her, so maybe my computing skills just aren’t cutting it.”

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Just then, the person I was looking for entered the room.

“Greetings, Vanilla. I trust you were able to take care of your friends?” Ciel asked.

‘Friends’ isn’t the word I’d use to describe Titania, but I nodded for simplicity’s sake.

“That’d be more than we could say,” she sighed. “I’m sure Samson told you already, but we haven’t been able to find Terra in the computer files. It’s so annoying. I’d hate to have to go back to being the Agate Ace Doublet- it’s not nearly as attractive-sounding!”

“If you don’t like the sound of that, we could always be the Agate Ace Couple,” Samson said, winking.

“Please, that didn’t work out for you before,” Ciel shrugged. “What makes you think it will now?”

“My rugged good looks and dazzling charm,” he said, with a motion like he was flipping his hair, but his short hair didn’t budge a bit from the excessive amount of hair gel he’d apparently used.

“Right.”

Fortunately I was spared listening to these two flirt with each other, because the Ringmaster also joined our party. She first asked Samson about the status of Terra’s search, to which he had nothing much to report. Then, her attention was directed at me, and asked whether I had brought a battle pass.

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“I’ve come to battle Ciel,” I told her. “I have no Battle Pass, but this is something I have to do, and I’ll do at all costs.”

I raised my fists and bent my knees to prepare my stance.

“Even if I have to add one extra dead body to my list of sins,” I said.

“W-wait, wait, wait,” said the Ringmaster, raising her hands in the air. “Don’t do that. You can’t do that. I’m only trying to maintain order in this circus.”

“Order doesn’t help me. Only a gym battle will. If you stand in my way, I won’t hesitate to shred you to pieces.”

“Vanilla, stop, you aren’t thinking clearly,” Ciel said and tried to approach me but I slapped her arm away. I heard Samson’s rolling chair squeak, which let me know that he had stood up from his seat. I quickly evaded his grasp and tripped him. He dove straight to the floor.

“I know I’m not thinking clearly,” I said. “Today I’m not in the mood to put up with any bullshit. Will you or will you not let me battle her?”

With Samson on the floor and Ciel waving her hand to cool off the pain, there was no room for doubt that I wasn’t talking seriously. The Ringmaster acquiesced to my demand, as she helped Samson stand back up.

“W-well, I guess it’s been a while since we had a battle,” she forcefully laughed. “I’ll go prepare the Arena for you. Come when you’re ready.”

When the Ringmaster exited, Ciel shook my shoulders.

“Vanilla? What’s up with you today? I’d never seen you so violent.”

“You just haven’t seen enough of me,” I said. “I’m not good at controlling my anger.”

I carefully removed her hands from my shoulder and went over to the PC to check my team’s compatibility with Ciel. I still had the Big Top Arena field notes from the time I battled Samson, so I could form a strategy around it.

“So she’ll use flying types,” I mumbled to myself. “I’ll definitely need Wolfie on my team. Setting up stealth rocks might be a good idea, though not sure I’d want to waste a turn. Maybe I’ll let Wolfie sweep Ciel off her feet.”

“Even if you sweep me off my feet, I’ll still hold my balance in the air,” Ciel commented.

I glared at her since she shouldn’t be listening to me while I planned my team. She understood my message and waved her hand.

“I’ll be waiting at the Arena,” she said and left with Samson.

I finished up changing my team and healing whomever needed healing and went to the Arena.

 

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Spoiler

 

 

In the end, choosing to throw the Stealth Rocks in ended up being a good choice, but Elsa blizzarding most of Ciel’s pokemon to oblivion was largely what led me to victory. The cold air that surrounded us each time she used the move was also kind of refreshing to my boiling brain.

 

With this badge I could technically fly freely, but unfortunately I had no pokemon that could learn the move. Not that I needed one, since Candy had volunteered to fly me, as though she were my personal pilot.

Speaking of Candy, I saw her watching my gym battle. We met gazes a couple of times as well. However, she still didn’t seem energetic as she usually was- at no point did she stand up from her seat to yell “Go Vanilla, beat Ciel’s ass!”, at least. I wasn’t surprised, but also I couldn’t deny that it physically hurt to know that the clock was ticking towards our inevitable split-up.

Wolfie, Aladdin and Candy. The three people that were once my world, were no longer on my side.

 

 VANILLA RATES: REBORN CHARACTERS

Spoiler
  • Samson (-1): 4/10 Called me a grandma. I'm offended

 

TEAM RECAP

Spoiler

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*Inner fairy, because fairies fly and also this is a fairytale run, technically.

 

QUICK LINK TO NEXT EPISODE

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5 hours ago, Candy said:

Samson (-1): 4/10 Called me a grandma. I'm offended

Absolutely fabulous. 

 

Otherwise, nice read, quite emotional.

To be honest, I am worried that Candy and Vanilla drift away from one another now, because of what's ahead...

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I actually found this story three days ago and it was written so well, that I instantly got addicted to it.

So... Now I'm here and just wanted to say that you are doing a really good job writing this.

So just... Keep it up, ok?

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16 hours ago, Mindlack said:

Absolutely fabulous. 

 

Otherwise, nice read, quite emotional.

To be honest, I am worried that Candy and Vanilla drift away from one another now, because of what's ahead...

Tbh I was surprised things happened the way they did, so now not even I know what will happen in what's ahead 😅

But that'll be Season 4. Next episode will be the end of Season 3, and I'm not yet sure if I'll dive into the next phase directly or if I'll chill for a whale 🐳

 

3 hours ago, Baumina said:

I actually found this story three days ago and it was written so well, that I instantly got addicted to it.

So... Now I'm here and just wanted to say that you are doing a really good job writing this.

So just... Keep it up, ok?

Awh you flatter me 😳 I'm glad you're enjoying this~

and donut worry, even if I sometimes go like a month between updates, I'll finish writing it eventually 👍

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tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gifFrom Everland to Reborn ~ Episode 70tumblr_lp0mal7AcQ1qg3clto1_250.gif

*Clears throat* it's the closing episode to long af Season 3. Thx for reading until now, and we'll see each other again in Season 4, which is just like Season 3, but called "Season 4" instead ✌️

 

Once we were done with the gym battle, Samson, Ciel, Pikachu and I returned to the back room. The Ringmaster had apparently been terrified shitless by my earlier behavior, so she passed on Ciel’s invitation to rest with us.

“Seems like you were able to cool your head, Vanilla,” Ciel commented while we walked.

“Yeah, you were all savage, tripping me and making me fall on my face like that,” Samson shook his head in disapproval.

“Sorry, but today’s not precisely the day when I can control my temper,” I said. “I've been way too tired since the morning.”

We entered the room, which had Terra’s computer monitors still turned on. Samson sat back down on his squeaky office chair to keep looking for the crazy hacker that supposedly existed behind those screens. Yes, “supposedly”, because I wasn’t all that sure she was still in there, if they’d been searching for her for so long and hadn’t found any signs of her.

“In any case, it was great fighting you out there,” Ciel told me. “It’s been a long while since I last had a gym battle, and even longer since I had such a talented opponent.”

“Although my gym battle was cooler,” Samson added.

“Na-ah, mine was definitely cooler, literally,” she replied. “Didn’t you think all the sparkling snow was performance worthy? It was the perfect climax, that last blizzard.”

“I think a perfect climax would look… different,” Samson turned around just to wink at Ciel.

I rolled my eyes and walked over to the PC to organize my team before heading out. By now, I knew their sexual banter could take way too much time and not go anywhere. When I was done with my business and returned to the two acrobats, they were talking about getting dinner.

“Do you want to join us, Vanilla?” Ciel invited me, but I refused.

“Candy’s waiting for me. We’re returning to Reborn City tonight.”

“That’s nice. Safe travels then,” she said and patted my shoulder. “See you.”

“Show your face every once in a while, alright? Even if it’s your abuela face,” Samson said, this time winking at me.

I glared at him, but he stormed out of the room before I could do anything to him. Ciel laughed and chased after him. 

Once they were out of my sight, I could finally relax my shoulders.

“Now that the farewells are done, we have to face cruel reality once again,” I said to Pikachu. “A reality even more cruel than finding out all about Aladdin. Can you imagine?”

I sighed and sat down on the couch.

“Pikachu… do you mind?”

I lifted him off my shoulders and hugged him. It felt as though I was hugging a doll, from the texture of his cloth. The sensation reminded me of the dolls my parents gave me, to make up for their absence in my childhood. The only difference was that I felt a pair of long arms returning my embrace this time.

“Sorry,” I said, letting go of my friend. “I don’t know why, but I needed that. Let’s go now.”

 

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Outside of the tent, I found Candy testing her luck with the high striker. She wasn’t doing so well with it, but she appeared to be having fun by herself. When she saw me approaching, she smiled a little.

“Nice battle,” she said. “It’s crazy how much you’ve learned about pokemon in such a short time.”

“I wouldn’t call it a short time, but sure. Thanks.”

There was an awkward silence after that, but Candy broke it with the topic I wanted to avoid as much as possible.

“I was thinking… about your involvement with, what, the resistance?”

“Defiance. We don’t just resist, that’s why we call ourselves differently.”

“Okay. The Defiance. And I reached a conclusion,” she said, her expression turning stern in a second. “I don’t condone violence, Vanilla. Everybody has one chance at life, and no one deserves to have that chance taken away by another human, especially for selfish reasons.”

Candy briefly paced with her hand pressed against her mouth, as though she were collecting her thoughts.

“However, I also believe in forgiveness and the ability of a person to start their life anew anytime they desire to do it. Vanilla. If you tell me you’ve changed your mind, that you regret your past transgressions and wish to restart your life, or at least wish to continue it from the time 4 years ago when I last saw you in Everland, I’ll literally forget that you might be a murderer, thief and terrorist.”

“Candy…”

“We can start anew. We’re no longer in Everland, and you’ve become quite a celebrity here in Reborn. People love you for saving their lives,” she said and grabbed both my hands. “And I’m here for you. We can still walk together, like in the old times.”

I noticed that her grasp on my hands was tight but trembling slightly. Hanging onto dear life didn’t require the setting to be hanging from a cliffside.

“I can’t do it. I’m sorry,” I said.

Candy looked as though she had been impaled by my words. Her eyes filled with tears and the grip on my hands weakened.

“You’re my dear cousin and my dear friend,” she said. “I didn’t want us to be ideological enemies.”

“We might or might not be. I’m convinced that you can only hold onto your current ideology because you haven’t broken out of your privileged bubble.”

“Privileged bubble? What do you mean?”

I took my hands back from her grasp.

“You were born a noble in Everland. People never discriminated against you growing up, and if you hung out with my group of outcast friends, that was because you chose to do it, not because you were an outcast yourself. You went to Hoenn, became champion and I imagine everyone respected you in that region, and even after you came here to Reborn. You know everybody, and everyone accepts and loves you as you are,” I said. “You have no idea what it is to suffer, Candy. And the people I bowed to liberate from the Underworld suffer everyday for who they are, much more than I did.”

I tightened my fists. I needed to be strong, even if seeing Candy crying was threatening to break my resolve.

“I will fight… I will kill… as necessary, if that means I can get one step closer to their liberation.”

To me, it felt as though the temperature around me fell 10 degrees. But it may have been that my own temperature rose by 10 degrees instead.

Candy wiped her tears with a handkerchief. When she was done cleaning up her face, she was red around her eyes and nose.

“If I can’t make you change your mind, there’s nothing left for me to do,” she said. “It’s regrettable. But please remember that whatever happens, you’ll be important to me.”

She stretched a hand for me.

“And you, to me,” I replied and shook her hand.

Candy smiled at me kindly, and I returned that smile. It was the metaphorical separation of two people that had grown together but now had to go their separate ways, both parties desperately trying to escape the grasp of regret.

At that moment, I remembered the words of a despicable man.

“I will only curse that our destinies had to be so cruel as to place us on opposite sides, not the choice itself.”

Indeed, I could now relate to those words, exactly as they were uttered.

 

“Candy, I need to pass by Calcenon before we leave for Reborn City,” I told her as we were cruising the skies on Rayquaza’s back.

“Aye captain,” she said and commanded the dragon to make a sharp turn that almost whipped me into thin air.

It was already dark out when we reached Calcenon City. The colorful lava-lamp-like floor was lighting up the place with red and purple, as though they were holding a light show.

“We should actually stay the night here,” Candy said. “It’d be much better to reach Reborn City in the morning, so that you can see what we’ve done with the place.”

I had no reason to refuse that. Besides I was so tired I could pass out any minute, and I personally preferred it if it could happen on a comfortable bed.

We reached the house I knew they were staying in. I took a deep breath and opened the door.

Anna, Noel and Shelly were there, watching TV, but they all turned their faces toward me when they heard the door opening. All their faces were full of awe, but Shelly’s in particular contorted until tears were falling off her eyes.

I said nothing, but opened my arms wide.

As soon as she saw my gesture, Shelly jumped off the sofa and ran into my arms.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” I said. “I’m back.”

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Spoiler

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I'm broke for everything, except commissioning artists to draw what I can't 😅 https://www.etsy.com/shop/Eirlysie

 

That night, Candy and I opted to stay in a hotel nearby, since there was no more space for us in the Belrose family home. We only had dinner with all of them, before we headed out to sleep.

Saphira glared at me as usual, and informed me that they still hadn’t found Laura, even though search parties were sent into Route 4 every day. Charlotte came back from getting a smoke, and reassured the two of us that her sister was stronger than she appeared so we should trust she would be all right. I didn’t know Laura very well, so I couldn’t pass judgment on her.

Cain didn't return to the house early enough to see me, and Hardy told me that Team Meteor still had Aya. He said that they had been showing her off alive, sometimes mistreating her in order to encourage us to give in to their demands.

“I hate feeling this powerless, Vanilla,” he said. “But Saphira has convinced me to work out a plan. We'll try rescue Aya without giving into their demands. If Team Meteor can leave their barrier and go back in somehow, there must be a way for us to do the same. I just have to find that secret spot.”

On the other hand, the twins, especially Anna, asked me how my journey had gone since we last saw each other. 

“I heard you destroyed another PULSE in Ametrine Mountain, and fought this guy Blake who stole your ruby ring,” she said. “Shelly told me about that, but she’s so reserved. She only talked about how amazing you were but wouldn’t say anything about how she did.”

“A-Anna,” Shelly, who was listening to our conversation nearby, blushed. “I omitted that b-because it’s, um, inconsequential.”

I coughed and smirked mischievously.

“Inconsequential? You practically beat up that Blake guy single-handedly, until he was begging for mercy,” I said.

“W-what? That’s not true.”

“Thanks to Shelly defeating Blake in battle, Cal and I could retrieve my ruby ring,” said Heather, joining our conversation with a cup of juice in her hand.

“Oh my Arceus, Shelly! That’s so amazing,” Anna said, with eyes twinkling like stars.

Shelly just blushed and looked at me while everyone else giggled. 

The evening passed by too quickly, as we talked and laughed. This was the peace I was lacking the whole day, and I was glad I could find it before I went to sleep.

 

The next day, I woke up and almost forgot where I was, because it had been so long since I’d slept in a hotel room. Candy was still sleeping in the bed next to mine, with her bedsheets almost sliding off to the floor. The clock marked 8am, but I wasn’t surprised she was deep asleep, for she was never a morning person. I lifted the bedsheets and placed them on her, and went to get ready for a new day myself.

The morning in Calcenon was quite cold, given its height and proximity to the three mountains: Ametrine, Citrine and Celestine. However, the air was pure despite being a city, owing to the nearby forest in Route 3 and 4.

Pikachu and I walked to the Belrose house, and were surprised to find Shelly sitting on the porch. However, she looked even more surprised than us when she spotted us coming her way.

“Good morning, Shelly. Why are you sitting out here alone?”

Just as I said those words, I heard a thud on the window next to me, and was startled to find Heather and Charlotte there. They weren’t looking our way, but I could tell their attention was fully directed to us, starting with the casual glances.

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When my attention returned to Shelly, I saw that she was glaring at the window. She looked back at me, and shook her head but didn’t look me in the eye.

“I, um, well…” she started, but fell silent right away.

“Is something the matter?” I asked.

“I, um, want to clarify, um, something,” she said. “I don’t t-think it’s good for me to, um, ignore it. Not good for me… or for you.”

“Ignore what? Tell me.”

Shelly ran both her hands over her hair and rested them to her sides, where she clenched her skirt.

“I…” she mumbled, looking down to her feet.

Another few seconds of silence later, she suddenly raised her face. She looked simultaneously embarrassed and terrified beyond belief.

“I love you, Vanilla,” she said as though she were sighing. “And it’s n-not just admiration, or how y-you care for me like a, um, sidekick.”

She saw me about to say something, and raised her volume to prevent me from talking.

“I know. I know you d-don’t feel the same way,” she said and squatted on the ground, with her face pressed against her knees. “B-but I had to t-tell you. I couldn’t, um, keep lying to you.”

I stood there, stunned for a moment before it sunk in my mind what I was supposed to do. I kneeled down to her level and placed a hand on her head.

“Thank you for telling me,” I said, and cleared my throat. “But I don’t deserve your feelings. I’m not a good person… but you should already know that. Love isn’t something I deserve.”

One of Shelly’s hands slowly moved and grabbed my hand softly. She raised her face, which was all wet.

“You’re a good person,” she said. 

It was as though my wounded heart was washed by a cool stream of water, those words were. However, even when the stream left me, my heart wasn’t completely cleaned. A feather was still stuck in it, like a knife in a slab of meat.

“I’m sorry,” I said as I stood back up. “I’m no longer able to love.”

I held a hand for her to stand up as well.

“I’m cursed to make the people I hold the dearest unhappy. Congratulate yourself about dodging a bullet,” I said, laughing from my nose.

I wiped Shelly’s tears with my fingers, but it was pretty much an impossible feat. My fingers were like windshield wipers that tried to clear the water off a car on a stormy day. I stopped wiping the tears and instead held her face in my hands.

“Um, Vanilla?”

I wasn’t tall enough, so I had to slightly lower her face and lengthen my neck. I pressed my lips against her forehead. When I saw her face again, she was so stunned that her tears had stopped rolling.

“It’s all I can give you,” I said.

Right then, I saw Candy approaching us in the distance. It was time for another set of farewells.

I walked over to receive Candy. As soon as I left Shelly’s side, the two gossips that had their ears plastered on the window came out of the house and caught Shelly. I couldn’t hear what they talked about, but I heard one sentence from Shelly.

“I’m okay. I’m h-happy that she didn’t, um, downplay my f-feelings… even if they w-weren’t reciprocated.”

 

How could I belittle someone’s sincere feelings? I knew more than anyone, how it feels not to have them taken seriously.

“And I may be many things, but a hypocrite I won’t be,” I said to myself. 

“Huh?” asked Candy, who didn’t catch what I said.

I shook my head sideways.

“Let’s go back to Reborn City, Candy,” I said. “I will finish what I started, both in this region, and in Everland.”

 

VANILLA RATES: REBORN CHARACTERS

Spoiler
  • Heather (+1): 7/10 She seems to have learned to care for her friends. She isn't as obnoxious as she once was.
  • Anna (+1): 7/10 Childlike innocence is nice to see, even if she acts weird sometimes

 

Wow I'm literally sinking every ship on this story ever lol Also please see the title of this epic episode in the first page of this topic uwu

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