By Terrarian Pony
WARNING: Content of this story may include violence, gore, romance, same gender romance, Pokémon, and references to several video games. If anyone is offended by any of the content listed above, than please turn back now. You have been warned.
Terrarian Pony presents...
For clarification, these are each of Cherry's siblings names and nicknames, their genders, and what Pokémon they are:
Lucy- Shiny Eevee- female
Greed- Flareon- male
Jason/Mariner- Vaporeon- male
Eleanor- Jolteon- female
Rose/Fate- Espeon- female
Shepard/Dusk- Umbreon- male
Terrance- Leafeon- male
Iris/Frost- Glaceon- female
Cherry- Sylveon- female
All Eight of Cherry's siblings were with her in the training room. Ever since the death of Julie and Markus, she's been training them hard.
Greed:" Why are we even here? Don't you know that we have better stuff to do?"
Dusk:" I promised Charlie that I'd take her to the library today. I had cancel our arrangement for this."
Fate:" My leg is still hurting from yesterday."
Cherry:" Well good! We need pain right now. It's the only thing that keeps us from being weak. You can't accomplish a specific goal unless you work for it."
Greed:" And what goal is that, exactly?"
Cherry got in the Flareon's face.
Cherry:" To protect each other."
Greed:" That's not a goal, that's a priority."
Cherry:" Well than make that your priority!"
Frost:" You can't force anyone to do anything for you."
Cherry:" I am protecting this family! What is left it!"
Cherry walked past and inspect each of her siblings. She stopped at the Leafeon, who was shuffling nervously, as if he wanted to say something, but was too afraid to. Even though Cherry tried to be strict with him, she had always had a soft spot for Terrance, because of his anxiety. Everyone loved Terrance. He was kind, and he got upset whenever a conversation lead to conflict. He couldn't bare to see his brothers and sisters fighting. All eight of his siblings respected him, and comforted him whenever he was upset.
Cherry:" Something to say, Terrance?"
She tried her best not sound too harsh, but despite this, Terrance made a small "Eeep!" sound.
Terrance:" U-um... It's just... um... well you've been pushing us so hard ever since Julie and Markus... passed, a-and we're all really tired."
Cherry inhaled slowly, and exhaled. Gently, but sternly looking into Terrance's eyes, she took a step forward towards him.
Cherry:" I understand your concern. But these training exercises are meant to benefit all of us... so we can not only protect ourselves, but each other as well from harm."
Greed:" So what, you expect us to just blindly follow your orders, just because you say so?"
Cherry's head snapped towards the Flareon with a glare.
Cherry:" Without. Question."
Greed:" Well I don't know about these losers, but I'm not comfortable with that!"
Cherry walked right back over to Greed, and stared directly into his eyes. His stared back with an unimpressed expression.
Cherry:" Do you know what I am trying to do here, Greed?"
Greed:" You want to keep us all safe, I get it! But nobody here elected you to take charge."
Cherry:" I am the oldest! It's by rite that I take care of you all!"
Greed:" Oh. OH! Is that so? Have you ever thought about what WE want for a change?"
Cherry:" What you WANT, and what you NEED, are two separate things! You need to quit thinking only about yourself, Greed."
Greed:" That's not the problem with you, is it? It's the fact that I am speaking for myself. You don't like that I am expressing my free will."
Cherry:" Since when have I ever kept you from having free will?"
Lucy:" GUYS! JUST STOP!"
Lucy had begun to exhibit tears, she was trying, and failing to hold them back. The floodgates have already opened, and her tears were starting to drip into her mane.
Lucy:" Just stop fighting!"
She ran off in the other direction.
Cherry:" L-lucy wait!"
Terrance:" I'm sorry, Cherry. I can't just let her be alone in that state."
Terrance began to follow Lucy.
Cherry:" You too, Terrance?"
Terrance:" If I don't support her, she might hurt herself. You know how she gets during depression."
Greed:" I'm leaving, too."
Cherry:" Oh? And what's your excuse?"
Greed:" How about, I don't want to be here. How's that for an excuse?"
Cherry:" There you go again! It's always about you! Get back here, Greed!"
Mariner:" Yeah... I'm out too."
Mariner:" I like learning how to use water gun, and swish my tail around as much as the next guy... but I'm just not up for it."
Frost:" Yeah, let's go."
Cherry:" B-but... you guys can't leave. Wh- what about training!? How are you going to protect yourselves and your fellow Vees?"
Eleanor put a paw on Cherry's shoulder.
Eleanor:" Cherry... we hadn't had much time to mourn for our adoptive parents. You've been working us nonstop for weeks. Give us all some time."
Cherry:" But we may not HAVE time!"
Cherry broke down to the floor, crying, her ribbon-like feelers covering her eyes, making them wet. Eleanor hugged her tight.
Cherry:" I just want to protect my family!"
Eleanor:" I know, Cherry. I know. C'mon. Let's get some Pokécakes. With lots of sprinkles."
Cherry: *Sniff* "O-okay."
Cory began to wake up to the sight of Izzy, just before she dumped a pail of water on his head. She stopped just short of doing so when she saw his eyes opened. She paused there, with an embarrassed expression.
Cory:" Wouldn't it be faster to use water gun?"
Izzy:" Oh... h-hi Cory? Uh... this was totally Aaron's idea."
Aaron:" He'd never buy that."
Cory:" He's right. I wouldn't."
Izzy grinned sheepishly, and set the pail down beside her foot.
Izzy:" Well... it's good to see you are okay..."
Cory:" Yeah, about that... what the heck just happened."
Aaron:" Well, you evolved into a Sylveon, and kicked Spiritomb to the curb. Then you collapsed and changed back into an Eevee."
Izzy:" He didn't evolve. He took the physical form of the Sylveon named Cherry before she died. The problem, was that you touched the stone when you were already exhausted. Cherry would have even saved your life if it were a fatal blow."
Cory:" There was one other thing... I watched her kill herself."
Izzy:" Right... when you touch a soul stone for the first time, you are able to see their final memory. That final memory is captured by the soul stone when the Pokémon who is bound to it dies."
Cory:" You said there were nine soul stones. So how come we only found one?"
Izzy:" That's what I would like to know. The soul won't even acknowledge me. I'm hoping that, since you're an Eevee, you could get her talking."
Aaron:" Whoa! He just fell over, and you expect him to go back into it?"
Izzy:" Nothing bad will happen. I am 98% sure."
Aaron:" Is anything ever a hundred percent?"
Izzy:" History doesn't happen without a few... experimental mishaps."
Aaron:" That's no excuse!"
Cory:" I'll do it."
Cory:" That soul is probably really lonely right now. We might be able to help."
Aaron:" Just... be careful alright?"
Cory:" Don't worry. You know I got this."
Izzy brought over the Garden Stone, and Cory held it gently, placing the necklace attached to it over his head.
Cory:" So... how does this work?"
Izzy:" How did you get it to work last time?"
Cory:" All I did was touch it."
Aaron:" Maybe you have find a way to connect with her."
Cory:" Um... okay. Uh... Cherry? I know you don't know me... but I know you... sort of... I just want to talk to you. I want to help you find your siblings, but I need your help. Please... let me in."
Suddenly, Cory's vision became white, and when his vision returned, he was somewhere else entirely. Cory appeared in front of a fountain, with statues of a Flareon, a Jolteon, and a Vaporeon back to back to each other, spraying water out of their mouths into the fountain. From in between them, an Eevee emerged, spitting water into the air, standing on the backs of Vaporeon and Flareon, it's tail attached to the Jolteon statue.
Surrounding the fountain was what looked like a hedge garden. Tall walls on all sides, but only one wall was open behind him. He wandered where it would lead. In front of the gap, sat a figure of white and pink, with familiar ribbons.
Cherry:" What do you want?"
Cory:" I... I want to help."
Cherry:" Nobody just wants to help. Nobody cares that we lost everything. Nobody wants to care. So why should I expect any different from you?"
Cory chuckled softly.
Cory:" I guess I'll have to surprise you. Besides, I'm a fellow Eevee aren't I? Eevee always lends a Helping Hand."
Cory:" It's... it's a joke my mom came up with. You know... because we can learn Helping Hand?"
Cherry:" Just because you're an Eevee, doesn't make you a saint. You've gotta do better than that."
Cory:" I promise, I have no ulterior motive. I just like seeing others happy."
Cherry:" No offense, but how am I supposed to trust that?"
Cory:" That's why I joined a Pokémon Exploration Guild. Because I want to help Pokémon who need it. And it looks like you really need my help."
Cherry:" A guild, huh? If you really want to help others, you're on the wrong path."
Cherry:" Guild Pokémon are nothing but scum and profiteers."
Cory:" Hey! That is NOT true! We help Pokémon!"
Cherry:" Guild Pokémon are self-centered tail holes, who extort money from Pokémon that they are supposedly sworn to protect. They save Pokémon and demand their money."
Cory:" We don't demand. Those Pokémon give us money for doing things for them. And even if they don't, we aren't cruel. Sometimes we help Pokémon because it's the right thing to do. Because that's how a guild is supposed to work!"
Cherry:" I've seen Pokémon who have said the same thing, and then they end up being proven wrong."
Cory:" Maybe your time was different. I don't know how long it's been since you died, but there is no need to sully the good names of our guilds."
Cherry:" Whatever you want to believe. I still think that you just want to take my soul stone, and my siblings' soul stones just to utilize them as a source of power."
Cory:" I would never do that! Please, I saw your last memory! You told me to remind you..."
Cherry:" ...remind me of my 'mission'? To remind me that family is the most important thing? Tch. You don't care about any of that. I am nothing to you. And you are nothing to me."
Cory:" Please... give me a chance to show you!"
Cherry:" I'm tired of giving others chances. I know what I have to do now."
Cherry sat up, and began to walk down the bushy corridor.
Cory:" Where are you going?"
But Cherry didn't answer as she turned a left corner. Cory ran after her. When he got to the end of the corridor, he saw her turn right. He continued to follow until she lead him outside of the maze, into a much larger garden, with berry bushes, flower circles, and trees trimmed in the shapes of Eevee in different poses. He followed Cherry through the garden, who lead him to a set of stairs between a set of bushes. Following her down the stairs, they appeared in an small underground room with a pedestal. The pedestal held a stone identical to the Garden Stone. Upon seeing it, Cory finally understood what she was about to to do.
Cory:" S-stop! Don't, please!"
Cherry:" The Garden must be destroyed..."
Cory:" B-but why!? Can't you see I'm just trying to help!?"
Cherry:" I must to protect something that is dangerous in the wrong hands. If I have to destroy my soul in the process... then I will."
Destroy? As in... gone? Completely? Tears began to fall from Cory's eyes.
Cory:" N-NO! I WON'T LET YOU!!!"
Cory ran in between Cherry and the pedistal.
Cory:" You have a responsibility to your siblings! The Pokémon you love, and love you back!"
Cherry must have been surprised at this act, because she back away from him. But despite her hesitation, Cory began to tear up even more.
Cory:" You can't just throw everything away just because you're tired! You don't get to do that! Not a second time! If you went this long without destroying everything you've worked so hard for, than that clearly proves that this means something to you! It also means something to me! It means that I can reunite a family who wanted nothing more than to stay together forever! That's all I want! If it were me, and I lost my family forever, then... then I... I..."
Cory collapsed to the ground, sobbing, his tears dripping into his own mane, making it wet. Cherry said nothing, but looked as if she wanted to do the same thing he was.
Cory:" Please... please don't. You... you can't. All I want is for you and your family to happy again. You can't just let them suffer all alone! What about Terrance? Lucy? Fate and Dusk? What about Greed, and Mariner, and Frost, and Eleanor? You can't let them down! I won't let you! I won't... I won't let you!"
Cherry felt a single tear rolling down her cheek.
Cherry:" I-I'm sorry. I have to do this."
Cory:" W-well then... I'll battle you! If you won't defend your mission, then I will!"
Cherry:" What are you talking about? This IS my mission! There is something I MUST protect!"
Cory:" Is it more important than your family!?"
Cherry didn know how to answer that. What WAS more important? Cory's eyes were now red and puffy. Tears covered his entire lower face, and his ears were pivoted to the sides of his head. Did she really have the right to end it all a second time? But it was her choice, wasn't it? But... her family. Lucy, Iris, Jason, Greed, Rose, Shepard, Eleanor... Terrance. She missed everyone, but Terrance... he was the best of all of them. He made them laugh. He cared for them when they cried. He brought all of them together in their darkest moments. Shouldn't Cherry do the same?
With a final decision in mind, she used one her feelers to shove the Eevee aside, knocking him to the ground. He couldn't do anything to stop her. He laid there, wiping the tears from his eyes, but they just kept coming. He couldn't stop. He tried so hard to get her to see reason. Why wouldn't she trust him?
The Sylveon pressed a paw against the stone, and it glowed bright. Cory covered his eyes. He didn't want to see her soul be destroyed. It wasn't fair! But suddenly, a ribbon grabbed his foot, and he was face to face with a stern-looking Sylveon.
Cherry:" We have to get out of here!"
Cherry:" This area of the Garden is going to be sealed in the next ten seconds, and we'll both be joining it unless we move our butts, now let's go!"
Cory took no time to start moving. But if she was sealing the area off, then that means...
Cory:" You won't be able to go back and destroy the Garden!"
Cherry:" Don't you DARE make me regret this decision!"
Once they reached the top, they were back in the Garden, and the stairway began to fade from existence. Cory wiped away his tears. He did it. He saved Cherry.
Cherry:" There... there's no going back now. That was... my only failsafe."
Cory:" Thank you... but what were you trying to protect anyhow?"
Cherry glared down at him.
Cherry:" If I told you, I wouldn't be protecting it, now would I?"
Cory decidedly realized he should avoid that topic from now on, but he still had other questions.
Cory:" Cherry... about your family. All I want is to help you look for them."
Cherry:" Look, this obviously means a lot to you. I get it. But I still don't trust you. You still have to earn that."
Cory:" I-I'll work for it! I'll do anything! Just please... give me a chance. I would never forgive myself if I let someone down who needed me."
Cherry:" Well... *sigh* I suppose we're stuck together for the time being. So... how do you propose we are going to find the others?"
Cory:" I have friends, who are very resourceful. I mean, c'mon. It's the late twenty first century. We have new technologies these days!"
Cherry's eyes widened with shock.
Cherry:" T-twenty first century!? Are you kidding?"
Cory:" O-oh... um... how long have you been trapped?"
Cherry:" What year is it? Exactly?"
Cory:" U-um... 2019... ish?"
Cherry:" I've been dead... for nearly two hundred years?"
Cory:" Oh. That is a long time."
Cherry:" I... I can't believe it. We've been alone for two centuries."
Cory:" Yes. And your siblings need you... now more than ever."
A tear rolled down Cherry's face. She breathed in, and then out.
Cherry:" Okay. Let's do this."
Izzy:" Cory? Are you alright? You've been crying during most of the synchronization?"
Indeed, Cory had tears staining his coat and his mane.
Cory:" O-oh. It's... it's complicated. All that matters is we got her in with us."
Aaron:" Are you sure it's not a concern? I'm worried."
Cory wiped the rest his tears away.
Cory:" Yeah. I'm alright now. It was just... an emotional moment, is all."
Aaron:" I've always known you to be that way."
Izzy:" Welp, now that we've got the Garden Stone in our possession, I guess I owe you guys a reward."
Cory:" Nah. You're our friend Iz. Having you go with us was rewarding enough."
Izzy:" Daaaaaw! Cory!"
Aaron:" Yeah, Izzy. We just like hanging out with you."
Izzy:" Daw! You guys are the beeest!"
Cherry:" I hate to be a buzzkill, but do you guys really think you can get the other soul stones back?"
Cherry's soul stone glowed as she talked.
Izzy:" I have several Pokémon who tell me things. Rumors, discoveries. And I make absolutely certain they're all trustworthy, so they'll help us as well."
Cherry:" Well, do you even know where to start?"
Izzy:" You wouldn't happen to know where any of the stones are, do you?"
Cory:" What about Jason. Didn't you watch him die?"
Cherry was completely silent.
Cory:" I-I'm sorry. I didn't..."
Cherry:" I know. It's just... it's hard to think about. I remember we were in Inferno Volcano, floor 17."
Izzy:" Inferno Volcano?"
Izzy began checking her maps, and looking for volcanoes in the region, and stumbled upon a really old map.
Izzy:" Oh. That's why it sounded unfamiliar. These days we just refer to it as Blaze Mountain."
Cherry:" Riiight. Of course you do."
Izzy:" It's been inactive for a long time, but there is still a dungeon there, full of lava, and fire Pokémon... did I mention lava..."
Aaron:" I'm a fire type Pokémon. It'll be a piece of cake to get that stone."Cherry:"
It won't be that easy. Dungeons are filled with traps and feral Pokémon. It'll be dangerous."
Cory:" It wouldn't be our first time tackling a dungeon with a five star rating."
Cherry:" I'm sorry, what?"
Cory:" Dungeons are rated on their difficulty, so that guild members know what they're getting into."
Cherry:" That's literally the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Cory:" It's effective."
Cherry:" Yeah, and so is a DANGER! KEEP OUT! sign."
Izzy:" That's not nearly as effective as one would think."
Cherry:" It was sarcasm."
Izzy:" Oh. Hey, maybe I should come, too. I mean, I am a water type."
Cory:" You sure? It'll be really hot."
Izzy:" Yeah, and someone's gotta be there to keep you guys cool."
To get to Blaze Mountain, Cory, Aaron and Izzy had to stop at Scorch Town, a small village in the middle of a fiery wasteland, full of fire, rock and ground type Pokémon. The air was dusty, but the locals don't seem to mind, and the heat wasn't too unbearable yet. In the center of town, was the Phoenix Guild, run mainly by fire and ground types, and healing Pokémon.
There was quite a few shops as well. Most major towns have a shop run by a business company made up entirely of Kecleons, which is also why you would find Kecleon selling usable dungeon items in dungeons as well. It is said that anyone who is caught stealing from a Kecleon would be in a world of hurt. Just east of Scorch Town, was Blaze Mountain, spewing smoke from it's top.
Cory:" Sooo... you said the volcano is inactive... right?"
Izzy:" Yup. Should be at least, but I imagine that it's still SUPER HOT inside. I mean, it's not like it's a volcano or anything."
Cherry:" I think you need to work on your sarcasm."
Aaron:" First, let's check with the Kecleon shop, and see if they have any rawst berries."
Mariner:" Aw, come on Cherry! The water is fine! Don't be a such Geodude about it."
The family was out in a public pool, washing away their worried and their grief of Julie and Markus' death.
Cherry:" Mariner, that didn't even make sense."
Mariner:" Because Geodude is a rock type, and they're afraid of water."
Cherry:" I'm not afraid of water. I just don't want to go in."
Mariner:" Look, even Greed is joining in the fun."
He pointed to the Flareon, who was leaning back in the water, flirting a female Espeon, and a female Emolga.
Greed:" So then he says to the Munchlax, 'that's no berry, that's an Oddish'."
The two girls giggled at him.
Mariner:" Not that his jokes are any good. I could've come up with something waaay better."
Cherry:" Jason, what are we even doing here? There has gotta be someone we could be helping."
Mariner:" Fate already talked with Officer Magnezone. There aren't any jobs available today. Cool down, take the day off. Let off some steam. The diving board is fun. You always wanted to go off one of those, didn't you?"
Cherry looked at the diving board. It was high, and it did look tempting...
Cherry:" We have to stay vigilant. We can't afford to be goofing off."
Mariner:" Your no fun."
Cherry:" Fun is a distraction. I can't..."
Cherry took another glance at the diving board. A little Shinx child jumped off and landed in the water with a splash. When he surfaced, he swam to his mother with excitement. Jason grinned at her.
Mariner:" Come on... you know you want to."
Cherry hesitated, biting her lip anxiously.
Cherry:" F-fine. Just once, though."
Mariner:" That's my sis!"
Cherry walked over to the diving board, and climbed up. The latter was a little wet, and for a moment, Cherry was getting cold feet. What if she slipped? What if fell too soon? What if she landed, and couldn't swim back up? What if she drowned? A bead of sweat ran down her forehead. Maybe she worried too much. She continued to climb, and when she got to the top, she felt dizzy from the height. Her legs were shaking, and she didn't know why. She reached the end of the board, and looked down into the water.
Everyone she knew was looking at her. Even Greed took time away from talking to the two girls to look up at her. Mariner gave her a warm smile, and a thumbs up, or whatever the paws equivalent was. Cherry gulped, let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, and then... she jumped.
It was even hotter in the volcano, and Izzy kept sprinkling water all over herself and Cory. Cory was infinitely more grateful that she came with them. Aaron was feeling right at home, however, prancing in the lava as the walked.
Aaron:" Man, I love it here! I've never tried walking in lava before! It feels so nice, and warm! My coat feels soooo refreshed! I could live here!"
His eyes were sparkling with excitement.
Cory:" I don't mean to rain on your fire, but we aren't as comfy here."
Aaron:" I know. Alright, let's keep moving."
Most of the fire type Pokémon in the dungeon avoided Cory and his team. However, some were more problematic.
Cory:" It's strange."
Cherry:" What, that you haven't evolved yet? Yes, I do find that quite strange."
Cory:" Jerk. No, I mean the fact that most of the Pokémon in here aren't attacking us."
Izzy:" I know! Maybe they've heard of you, and they're running scared!"
Cory:" Yyyeah, no. I don't think that's the reason at all."
Izzy:" Oh well. Maybe they're just more civilized than others? I mean, feral Pokémon aren't always hostile, or if they are, they're usually just protecting their territory."
Cory:" I know, but something is off here."
Cherry:" I do find it strange as well. Feral Pokémon aren't usually docile. Or at least not in my generation."
Aaron:" Maybe we should be thankful. We can just go right through and not have to worry."
Floor 17- Inner Peak
The three had come to a dead end in the mountain. There was an entire moat of lava, but nothing else in sight.
Cherry:" There! Over by that rock in the lava. That's where Elenor shocked him."
Aaron checked everywhere around the large rock. When he was certain there was nothing there, he shook his head.
Cherry:" B-but... that's gotta be it! I saw it happen!"
Cory:" We'll keep checking. Just be patient."
Suddenly, the rocky path covering the moat behind them collapsed into the lava.
Cory:" What the!?"
Izzy:" Waaah! W-we're trapped! How do we get out of here?"
???:" You don't, unless I say so!"
Izzy, Cory and Aaron looked around in confused, until suddenly, a Pokémon rose up out of the lava in front of them. It was a beautiful, silver-coated Ninetails, who stepped regally out of the lava moat. She had a single jewel around her neck. A shining blue, pearl-like object.
Ninetails:" You only made it this far because I commanded that my subjects not attack any intruders on sight, but instead observe them. This is my kingdom. Why have you come here? And don't even think about lying to me!"
Cory:" I am Cory, of Team Everstone, of the Karma City Guild. We've come because we've heard about a soul stone that ended up here a long time ago."
Ninetails:" So you are here to steal Mariner from me!?"