Love and Sacrifice: What's in a name?

----- That same night -----

Shadow looked around, checking to make sure he was still alone. With a small stick for a splint, he bound his broken leg with some of the bandages he carried in his pack, and then bandaged the other leg. He stood up and stretched carefully, then decided to scan the area he was in, to see what it was like. But first, there was something he wanted to do... Un-sheathing his claws, he climbed up the nearest tree, reaching the top, above most of the other trees. For a moment he looked down, taking in the barely distinguishable leaves and branches. Every now and then he saw a flying pokemon flitter across the sky, or a tree rustling with the movement of other nocturnal pokemon.

And then he looked up. To someone who had spent a lot of their life underground, the sky was a wonderful, yet scary thing. When you are used to having something over your head all the time, the idea of there being so much space above you is hard to comprehend. He remembered the first time he had really noticed the night sky, when he was about five or six. The dark forever had felt so familiar and so frightening.

He started to climb down the tree, making his way around branches where pokemon had perched. The flashing of the little computer screen attached to his motorcycle caught his eye and he climbed down faster. Back on the ground, he tapped the screen gently with one finger and a coded message appeared. He typed in a series of passwords in the little keyboard that was attached to the screen by a small chain, and then the message cleared.

Mission 877 - Search for the other hybrids and find out whether they are on our side or not. In total, there are sixteen others. If they prove to be un-trustworthy, kill them immediately. Do not let anyone see you. If someone sees you, you must eliminate them. If it is impossible for you to kill them, self destruct.

We have moved into the next country. This one is too dangerous. We will reveal our location to you as soon as you are out of Havail. Right now, it is too dangerous to send you anything important. Our messages may be intercepted.

So he was to stay hidden till he got out of the country, and try and find the others too? From what he knew, the others were all in different countries. Different continents.

But not the steel type. Not that boy who had been so bold, or rather, so trusting? And those eyes... They reminded him of Donari's eyes. Different color maybe, but both had that innocent, trust-every-one look to them, but with that slight hint of paranoia...and guilt. As if even though they trusted you, they knew that they really shouldn't.

He shook his head, clearing those thoughts from his mind. He had work to do... He had to leave this country and find the others. Right now, that steel one was his best bet, except Shadow did not like the idea of traveling in the day time. He would be seen to easily. A figure clad in black is hard to see at night, but in the day? One would stick out like a persian with a group of umbreons. It would be best for him to do his traveling now. The dead body of Lt. Jakata had probably been found, and they would send out their growlithe squads to track him and the other down. But he would have to risk going back to pick up the trail of the other hybrid, and he would have to do it now. No time to rest or even dress the rest of his wounds properly.

He re-loaded his gun and got back on his motorcycle. This time, he was not leaving it behind, for he would need speed if they tried to chase him. He revved up the engine and rode silently, going around it in a wide circle, trying to find the boy's trail.

It did not take him long to pick up his scent, which led him to a road. /How do I follow his trail if he got in a car?/ He frowned, then returned to his motorcycle, bringing up a map of the area. /I am here...And the to the east, the road leads to a pretty heavily populated area, yet to the west, there is a large stretch of empty land before you hit civilization... That has to be the way he went./

Shadow got back on the bike and followed the road, hiding in the trees that lined its sides. He guessed he was not too far behind the hybrid for the scent of car exhaust still lingered in the air, and few traveled by car around here. He rode on for several miles, grateful that he did not have to walk, until something about the area he was in started to bother him. He looked around, concentrating on what he could hear. No pokemon... No rustling of rattatas or howls of houndooms.

Shadow dismounted cautiously, looking around. If no wild pokemon lived around here, then people must have scared them away. But how on earth had they managed to settle down so near his old base without anyone knowing? His eyes flicking around, he took out his gun. There was no telling whether they would attack him or not, but the former option was the more likely. The wind blew slightly, and he caught the scent of humans in the air. His finger resting lightly on the trigger of the gun, he turned around slowly, trying to pick out any movement. No matter how hard humans tried to hide, Shadow could usually find them.

A quiet click caught Shadow's attention, and he dropped to the ground immediately, narrowly avoiding a bullet wound. Looking around from where he lay, he picked out a camouflaged form and the glint of metal. Focusing in on the person, he aimed and fired, shooting him or her in the wrist.

He rolled over right after firing, stopping when he hit a tree. Quickly, trying to ignore the pain in his legs, he got up and stood behind the trunk, eyes hunting for the shooter. He poked his head from behind the tree, then drew it back, avoiding another bullet. Obviously a human that was attacking, so where was the hybrid?

The wind blew again, and Shadow closed his eyes, concentrating on the scents he picked up. Whoever the other hybrid was traveling with had set up camp nearby. He could smell many humans, and some pokemon. And a slight trace of that hybrid, which meant he had to be near for Shadow to be able to pick him out so clearly.

Opening his eyes again, Shadow regretted leaving his motorcycle. He had only a few shots left, and there was no way he could take down the entire group of humans and pokemon considering the state he was in. Even if he resorted to dark attacks, they would be able to restrain him eventually.

So he stepped out from behind the tree, put his gun away, and raised both his arms, signifying surrender. He could hear hushed talking, and then movement.

The other hybrid stepped out, a gentle smile on his face. "Put your arms down. You don't have to surrender to us."

Shadow eyed him warily, but lowered his arms anyway. He took a good look at the steel hybrid, and decided that he was safe for now. He started to walk toward the younger hybrid, but his adrenaline rush was gone, and he was starting to really feel the pain in his body. Knowing that he was already pushing his body too far, he allowed himself to pass out right there and then.

---------- The next morning, Blade's camp ----------

Blade looked at the slightly older boy lying on the blankets. How had he gotten all the way to where their camp was in that condition? He had badly fractured his left leg, and there was a crack in the bone of his right leg. He had many bruises all over, and the soles of his feet were in a horrible state. He should not have been able to even walk!

The dark hybrid's eyes started to open, and he looked around, slightly disorientated. Sitting up immediately, he looked around the tent, taking in everything. Finally resting his eyes on Blade, he tensed slightly. "Where am I?" He asked.

Blade had to admit that the other boy's voice chilled him. It was like a whisper. A dead, emotionless whisper. What could have happened to someone to make him like that? In the short time he had known the furred hybrid, he had not seen him display any real emotions. Even when they met at the Kaitan base, the only hit of surprise CXIII had shown was blinking once. That was it. Not even a flicker of surprise flashed across his green eyes. "You're at our base," Blade replied, his mercury eyes wide and curious, trying to figure out the dark hybrid.

CXIII nodded, the past events coming back to him. He stared at the steel hybrid for a little while, noting that he was right about his being too trusting. He started to stand when Blade gently placed a hand on his uninjured arm to stop him.

"You shouldn't be walking around," Blade said, his concern showing on his face.

"Don't touch me," the other hybrid said, jerking his arm out of Blade's grip. His voice was controlled, but Blade could sense something almost akin to fear hidden behind. "And I'm fine." He stood up and looked down at the cast on his left leg. Snorting softly, he noticed the various bandages and such all over him. And his right arm... He would not be able to do much with his arm for a few days, but he wanted the cast on his leg off, and he wanted it off *now*. It interfered with his movements and he hated casts. While more effective than the treatment he gave broken bones, they added extra weight that he did not want to carry around.

"You're not going to take the cast off, are you?"

No answer.

"What's your name?"

He turned to look at the boy, locking eyes for a moment. "I have no name," he replied, which to him, was true. He had no name... Names meant nothing. Project H/C Type #15: CXIII - Shadow Seikou. That meant nothing to him, merely something people referred to him by for their own convenience. "But if you must call me something, it's Shadow." And he left the tent, going in search of something to cut the cast off with.

"Shadow..." Blade repeated to himself. "Interesting name."


Shadow squinted in the sunlight, pausing for a while to let his eyes adjust. As he walked through the camp, he wondered how all of them had made it here. They were a big group. He had to admit, though, that their camp was near perfect. Easy to put up, just as easy to take down in a hurry.

He found his way back to his motorcycle, but apparently had nothing sharp enough to cut the cast off. That had to change the next time he stocked up. Sharp knives came in handy.


That boy again. Shadow turned around, his ears alert, waiting for him to speak.

"I can cut the cast off for you."

His eyes wandered down to Blade's sixth 'digits'. If they could kill that efficiently, then they could easily cut his cast off. Shadow nodded and sat down on the grass, his leg extended.

Blade hesitated briefly, having expected to return to the tent, but then, might as well get it done now. He sat down by the leg, and carefully, he slit the cast, holding his blades steady so as not to slip and cut through the skin. The blades went cleanly through the plaster, and Shadow noticed the cool expression on the younger hybrid's face. Did he kill with that same attitude?

"Thank you," Shadow said, examining his leg.

"What are you going to do with it?"

Shadow looked at him and blinked, then ignored him and went back to his inspection. He did not mean to be rude to the steel hybrid, but he did not know him well enough yet.

Blade sighed and got up. "I know you're going to be leaving soon, and I won't try to stop you. You probably have a mission somewhere else." Blade was dying to talk to someone else in the same position he was in. He wanted to discuss the war and he wanted to make an alliance, but he sensed that this hybrid was too independent for that.

"I'm staying," Shadow said. "But I'll leave tomorrow night."

"That's good. I'd prefer you to rest that leg for at least two weeks though, but I guess duty calls. If you're hungry, I can always get someone to bring someth-"

The dark hybrid cut him off. "I'll come myself. I can find my way."

Blade nodded and left, casting one last glance back at Shadow before stepping onto the camp grounds.

As soon as the other boy was gone, Shadow started to examine his leg. The broken bone had gone out of place, so he would have to re-set that. A quick search through his pack found some cloth bandages, and it was not too hard to find a stick sturdy enough for a splint.. Grasping his leg firmly in his hands, he pushed the bone hard till it popped back into place with a loud crack. Holding the splint in place, he tied the bandage around it. Satisfied, he got up and tested his left leg, smiling ever so slightly, then walking off in the direction the other boy had gone.


Love and Sacrifice: Brief Meetings.

------- Arasia -------

Xeth combed his fiery mane of hair hastily, not really caring that he could just barely pull the comb all the way through the just below shoulder length strands of hair. Frowning, he looked around, trying to remember where he had put his hair-tie, before realizing that he had it on his wrist. With a roll of his eyes, he quickly confined his unruly hair into a ponytail, allowing the shorter strands of hair that had escaped the hair-tie to fall messily over his eyes.

"Perfect," he said, carefully pulling one strand of hair aside before placing his sunglasses over his fire eyes. Grinning, he adjusted the collar of his outfit, which all happened to consist of one colour: Black.

Picking up his bag, Xeth walked to the door, pausing by a window briefly. Arasia was so different from Corse to him. Especially the area he was in. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was in an area where the Kaitan Alliance was very prominent? Most likely. Laughing at himself for bringing up such a silly question, the fire hybrid left the small inn he had been staying at and walked into town.

He did not care that people stared at him. Actually, he did, but it did not bother him all that much. With his tail-flame extinguished, the actual tail tucked down the leg of his pants, and his red eyes hidden, people took him for one of the many tourists that had been in Arasia while the Alliance had taken over. Those tourists had never been able to return home, and had been forced to continue their lives on a strange continent.

He was not paying much attention to where he was going, and eventually noticed that he had passed into enemy territory. Not that the Alliance did not 'own' all of Arasia, but there were certain areas that one just did not walk into unless he or she was a Kaitan soldier, someone selling something, or an idiot. Xeth felt he fell into the third category. Swallowing nervously, he started to turn, hoping no one would noticed him, when he spied some young soldiers picking on a vulpix. To confront the soldiers would be incredibly stupid, and he could risk revealing his true nature. But he refused to leave the vulpix with those soldiers.

Taking a deep breath, Xeth put on the best confused expression he could come up with and walked over to the soldiers. "Excuse me," he said, looking around. "I'm a bit lost. Do you know how to get to the nearest inn?" he asked in a common Arasian dialect, careful to add in a hint of the normal accent but to mangle it with his Corsen accent.

The soldier holding the vulpix by one of its tails looked at Xeth, obviously pissed that Xeth had wandered into their area. "That way." He pointed in the direction Xeth had come from.

"That way? Okay. So I just wander on down there and I'll find one?" Xeth, looked in the direction, one hand scratching the back of his neck.

"Yes," the soldier said impatiently.

"Say, mind selling that vulpix?" Xeth stooped a little to be on level with the vulpix's eyes. /Don't worry little guy... You'll be safe soon./

The soldier's eyes lit up, and he looked at the other two soldiers with him. Xeth had a feeling they had stolen the vulpix off some young trainer. "Five hundred. It is a good vulpix." The soldier now held it by the skin at its neck, and he patted it roughly on the head.

/Five hundred? Fuck. I'm already low on money... But that *is* rather low for a vulpix... I can't bargain./ Xeth grinned, even though he wanted nothing more than to punch those soldiers. "I'll take it!" He dug into his pockets and pulled out the money, handing it over to the soldiers and then taking the frightened fox pokemon into his arms. "Thank you!" He waved at the soldiers and then walked off.

Glad to be out of that situation, Xeth looked at the vulpix, wondering what to do with it. He could not keep it; he had no use for a young vulpix. Ruffling the red, curly fur on its head, he calmed it down as he walked through a crowded market, searching for someone to sell the pokemon too. He had a mission nearby that night, so he did not have enough time to do a thorough search.

Finally, he found a found a stall in the market that sold pokemon, and he sold the vulpix to the dealer for a profit. The dealer would take good care of the fire fox, and Xeth now had more money.

As Xeth wandered around, getting to know the culture of the area a bit better, he wondered about those soldiers he had seen. They were a dying breed, the arrogant, destructive soldiers. Now he was faced with a new breed of enemies, men, women and pokemon all willing to die for their leader, a woman that could charm her way out of hell and into heaven.


Indenki did not have much trouble passing for a human. So long as he kept his voltage down, he was safe. He had no tail or fur to worry about, only the unusual ability to be able to easily conduct and control electricity. His deep blue eyes watched his surroundings with a cold indifference few could match. It was not that he did not care about people, for he did. What other reason could there be for him to be risking his life in the war? But he could not afford to show emotions. They had to be hidden, tucked away deep within him.

His current mission was simple. He had enrolled in an expensive boarding school in Arasia, his homeland, and would be posing as a student there for some time. There was a military base not too far from the school, and he had some stealing to do. He did his best not to attract attention while he schooled, and most people kept their distance from him.

Most people.


He inwardly groaned, but simply turned around and glared at the young girl. Her black hair hung about shoulder length, and her brown eyes ignored the cold look he gave her.

"Are you going to the school party tonight?" She asked him, smiling brightly. He always wondered how she could seem so cheerful around him, how she could simply ignore his cold cover and see right through him.

"No," he answered, turning around and walking back to his dorm, hoping she would take the hint.

"Why?" She asked, catching up with him. "Can't dance?"

He glared at her once more, then quickened his pace.

"I was just joking!" She called after him, catching up again. "What, you have something else to do tonight?"

"Yes," he replied.

"And what's that? Studying?" She sarcastically suggested, rolling her eyes.

They had reached the door to the boys' dorms, and he entered without answering, leaving her outside alone, not to her surprise though. Donari knew what kind of person Indenki was. She had grown up with one of them.

/So much like my 'brother'/ She thought to herself. /Indenki, why do you hide like that?/ She sighed, brushing away some loose strands of hair. /Well, Donari Tavis is not letting you off that easily... I'm going to follow you tonight. I don't mind missing the party...all that much.../ She smiled to herself, then ran back to her own dorms. The spiky haired boy intrigued her. Maybe she just missed Sei and considered him a replacement, but then again, she wanted more excitement in her life. It was stupid of her, she knew, but she could not help it. After growing up in a base where every moment was tinged with danger, living in a boarding school made her restless.

----------- That Night -----------

Indenki short-circuited the electricity in the base before entering. It took him little time to find the micro-chips he needed to steal, and the files. But as he exited, he heard someone behind him, and he whipped around, gun in hand.

"What are you doing here Indenki?"

"Donari..." He aimed the gun at her. "You're in over your head," he said, about to fire when a bullet whizzed out from nowhere and caught him in the shoulder, knocking him down and causing him to drop the gun. He was about to reach for it when another bullet sent the gun sliding several feet away. Creating an electrical force-field around himself, Indenki got up, looking at his attacker.

He was a boy about Indenki's age, and had fiery red hair. His eyes were the same vibrant colour, and there was a tail with a flame at the end behind him. The redhead looked at the girl, aiming the gun at her now. "I'm sorry, but you must understand that I can't let you li-"

"You're like Sei! You're a hybrid aren't you?" She asked, her eyes wide with amazement. Forget the gun, there were two hybrids standing in front of her! Alive and well and carrying out their missions!

He nearly dropped his gun in shock, and Indenki, who had retrieved his gun, lowered it.

"My parents raised the dark hybrid, Shadow Seikou. I haven't seen him for a long time, but I know he's alive." She looked from the red-head, to Indenki. "You're a fire hybrid, and you're electric..." She stated, then smiled. "So the other experiments worked!"

"Look, I don't know who you are, but I'm guessing that it's safe not to kill you." The red-head put his gun away. "For now anyway." Shrugging, he suddenly grinned. "I'm Xeth. I may run, and I may hide, but I never lie. What's your name?"

"I'm Donari Tavis," she answered, smiling back at the slightly older teen.

"Donari *Tavis*?" Indenki repeated, frowning slightly. So she had been going under a false alias all this time? How come he had not found any information on her then? "You're a descendant of the Professors Nerina and Ferina."

She nodded. "I'm here for my safety. My parents don't want my life to be endangered by being around them." /Rather ironic that I'm probably getting into more trouble this way.../

The fire hybrid raised an eyebrow, now curious. "Well, you'll be useful then. I'll be keeping an eye on you." He looked at his watch and then sighed. "I hate to shoot and run," he glanced at Indenki's shoulder guiltily, "but I really must leave now." He winked at the two of them, an impish look on his face. "I'll see ya tomorrow though!" He waved and then slipped into the night.

Indenki sent a cold look in the hybrid's direction, and then lead Donari out, but as they neared the school again, he turned to her, glaring. "Don't follow me again," he ordered.

"You can't stop me."

For one moment, the little emotion that showed in his eyes vanished, reminding her so much of her brother that a strong wave of nostalgia and fear washed over her. "I'll kill you if I have to." His voice was flat, almost mechanical, and Donari knew he meant it. "Relative of Nerina and Ferina Tavis or not, I'll kill you." And he walked off.

"I guess that means you'll be killing me soon, ne?" She shrugged, watching as he disappeared into his dorm, and then she looked at her watch. "I should be heading back to my room." Smiling, she turned and jogged back.