SO IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I'M DOING THIS, ASK ME IN A MESSAGE OR SOMETHING. All I can tell you here is...
THERE WILL BE A FEW CHANGES TO EC.
AND YES, THIS IS ETHEREAL CROSS. CAPS FTW.
I've had to rewrite this using memory twice now, so the beginning will seem -VERY- rushed. I just can't stand doing this bullfeces over and over because Gaia can't remember it for me. WHY?! x.x
The Saga Continues:
For the Children
Party: Cruce (Lv. <Error> wink
[Cruce has escaped being captured from a player of the enemy lines known as Sin, which opposes Defender in the virtual game of Gathering Forces. he has taken on his Chronic form in this game, which has more than likely cause a myriad of errors for his character. He now soars over the clear skies of the snowy fields of Auroranoire, which serves as the outskirts of his destination: the City of Getegauz. Unfortunately for Cruce, the weather is clear, and he is in plain view from a gathering of parties below. The leader of the lowest leveled party is a Rifleman named Isotope. Obviously, this is a selected name. His two allies consist of a Pokémon Trainer and a Time Mage. The Trainer's name is Skyelord, while the Mage's name is Robinblade. Both of these names are selected.]
[Another party near them seems to be undergoing a quest. That being said, they are fire higher leveled than the previous party. Each of them are a type of tamer. The Wrangler, who is the leader of this group, is the most experienced. His name is Zak, which is his name in real life as well. His two comrades are a Beastmaster named Heresy, and a Ranger named Pilate. There are a few other parties in the area simply fighting virtual monsters to level up...]
Cruce: [Flying fast with the assumption that he cannot be seen against the background of the digital white sky.] (Crap, the weather's... good. I can't stick around for very much longer. I think I saw some Trainers in the area and I'd really appreciate not being caught. Again.)
Isotope: [Perhaps out of luck, and wielding a modern scoped weapon, he has Cruce in his sights.] What're they called again? The white things with the big ears? Green... hair?
Skyelord: ...That has to be a Shaymin.
Isotope: You want it?
Skyelord: Well--yeah! But that thing's probably higher leveled than those guys over there...
Robinblade: We can't just weaken it? ...Wouldn't it try to run away anyway? Don't rare ones do that?
Skyelord: 'Can't ever be sure... Uhh... sure, let's go for it.
Isotope: Shooting a Shaymin. [With his modern firearm, the Intervention, cocked and loaded, he fires at Cruce... The gunshot attracts a bit of attention from Zak's party.]
Cruce: ...!! [Almost as he hears the bullet slicing through the air beneath him, it slices through his own body. There is no real physical injury here, but a shock to the nervous system as well as a slight bit of pain to simulate that injury. It does not leave behind a wound, but a temporary virtual mark that vanishes within a few seconds. The shock is great enough to send Cruce plummeting to the ground, temporarily stunned.]
Zak: ...C'mon. [He commands his party to move ahead to the site of Cruce's landing. They do so...]
Skyelord: [Running ahead of his group.] Are the--what are they doing?! Are they trying to steal our....
Isotope: Why would they want to? They don't a Trainer. Unless a Beastmaster needs a Shyman for anything.
Skyelord: Shaymin, Isotope. Shaymin.
Cruce: (Wh-what the hell was that?!) [Panicked, he attempts to take flight again. Upon doing so, a quiet hum accompanies a constricting feeling around his torso. This glowing blue line pulls him down and back into the soft snow.] !!
Zak: [The Wrangler seems to be holding his line. He sprints up to the supposed Pokémon and, with the adrenaline pumping, begins tying Cruce's legs together.]
Cruce: (Wh--!!) [He struggles to break free from Zak's grasp on his hind legs... until he notices a shadowy figure next to him. The Beastmaster called Heresy conjures a small, computer-like hologram and scrolls through a list of items. Upon clicking one, it materializes into his open palm. The object he has chosen appears to be a shot of some sort. It is very similar to a vaccination.]
Heresy: [With his pet, a jet black tiger, at his side, he crouches to Cruce's level, holding him against the snow with a free hand.] This works on Pokémon?
Zak: Feisty little--[He faces Heresy for a moment.] It'll work on nearly every adversary smaller than a player. [He finishes tying Cruce's hind legs together.]
Cruce: [Troubled by what he believes is bound to happen, he considers his options.] (I--What the hell do I do?! I can't just change back! Shapeshifters can't change into Pokémon... and these guys are really high leveled... Wait... can't they see my name?! Where's my status?! Shooooooot, what do I do...?) [Before he can decide, a needle is thrust one inch into his side. He cries out a bit, feeling the virtual sting... He no longer struggles following this. His heartbeat slows and his eyelids begin to feel far heavier with each passing second.] ...Mm... Mmrg... (...Caught... again... Is there... is there a way out...?)
[The lower leveled party arrives before Cruce is completely unconscious.]
Zak: [He stands and motions with an arm as if he was opening a door.] Here you are: your Shaymin.
Skyelord: ...You caught it for us?
Isotope: Thanks a bunch, guys... Wow...
Pilate: You lucked out. I've never seen one of these here... I've never seen one of these.
Zak: It's a very rare Pokémon. It looks like it's in its sky forme. We couldl possibly trace it back to the flower field it came from, but that's a lot of work and I imagine you just want to capture it.
Skyelord: Heh, yeah. Hang on, let me gauge it... [He manipulates a virtual ability that is shared with the Beastmaster. It is called gauge, and it allows a tamer-type class to check the status of a potential pet... Skyelord uses a hologram similar to Heresy's in order to check Cruce.]
Skyelord: ...Something's wrong.
Heresy: [Having replicated the decision to use this ability, he nods.] I agree. There's a problem here.
Zak: What'd you do?
Heresy: Nothing, if I recall correctly. [He types in a few commands.] This thing... is messed up.
Isotope: Messed up? How so? It looks normal...
Heresy: It's anything but normal. It's HP reads as "error". And I'm actually getting player status...
Cruce: [Fighting the urge to sleep, he looks up at Skyelord.] (Urgh--...)
Skyelord: I'm getting this, too.
Zak: We need to take it to Getegauz. We'll get attention, but this could be a critical bug in Gathering Forces. The Alpha should know what's happening...
Cruce: [He is lifted by Zak and held like a kitten. He is still conscious.] (...Can't... can't stay...) ... [Despite his negativity, he manages to remain awake, though only just.]
[Hearing broken voices, Cruce keeps his eyes closed on the entire way to the city walls of Getegauz. The walls of this popular city are enormous, towering nearly a thousand feet into the sky. The city is a futuristic metropolis with skyscrapers beyond the height of the walls. Aircrafts transporting A.I.s and players crowd the midair section of the city skyways. The metropolis is bright with virtual neon lights...]
Zak: [Carrying Cruce, the moment he enters the city, a few realistic-simulating A.I.s turn his way. He greets them with an emotionless face and a raised eyebrow.]
Pilot: [Walks up from behind Zak. He crosses his arms, looking out into the groundstreets of the city.] Alpha Sam should know about this.
Heresy: Ugh, -him-. That guy is... [Shakes his head.] Hmm...
Zak: It's our most convenient option.
Skyelord: If I may ask, who is Sam? I've never seen this Alpha in person, and I'm from Getegauz...
Zak: Sam's the Magic Alpha. He's a Shapeshifter, and the reason I believe he can help us is because he may know what ails this so-called player. After all, he is the only Shapeshifter who can change into virtually anything in Gathering Forces.
Isotope: Sam, hm...?
Pilot: We have to warn you, he's a bit... odd.
Heresy: [Turns to Pilot.] And that would be an understatement.
Skyelord: An intelligent Pokémon... I'd have to guess he would be a little strange.
Zak: He is no ordinary Pokémon. He calls himself a Pokémorph... Let's hurry. Those tranquilizers don't necessarily last very long.
[Cruce, completely unaware of what is going on around him, finally falls into a sort of temporary slumber... This slumber lasts long enough for a mysterious manifestation to take place in both his virtual and realistic mind.]
"(...You... You are the one...)"
"(You are the creature...)"
[The words spoken to him are familiar, but they are not the girl's voice from his dreams. They are different, sounding much more like an elderly lady...]
[The adjoined parties have come to the tallest tower in the exact center of the city. The skyscraper can be called a sky-high palace. It's features boggle the mind; with waterfalls streaming down each side and into an underground reservoir, and with columns of floral pillars acting as each corner of the building. It towers at about 1500 feat with a large structure topping it's apex.]
Zak: [Holding Cruce and leading the five, he stops at the base of the tower. The floral garden surrounding the illustrious building seems to have mages patrolling the premises; mages who are A.I.s and work for the ruler of the region.] Here it is. Sam's domain.
Skyelord: ...This is his home? I've always known about this building, but I've never seen it up this close.
Isotope: Neither have I. It's a first for us three.
Pilot: Zak and Heresy and I have been here. We came here earlier to start our quest. See, they don't just let anyone in. You have to be over level 50 and ranked pretty high to even get inside. Once inside, it's a whole different world, really.
Heresy: And it goes without saying that the "whole different world" might make you a little uncomfortable.
Robinblade: ...We're not even level 15 with any class. We can't get inside.
Zak: Hm... Wait for us out here. I can't tell you what'll happen inside, but... I can tell you to not get your hopes up. An error in the system like this could be pretty dramatic if a tamer-type class used this as a pet.
Skyelord: [He nods.] If it's not for me, at least I got to be a part of helping... [He scratches the back of his head.] I mean I didn't do much...
Zak: Don't worry about it. C'mon guys, let's go in.
[The three enter the arch leading into the lavish building. It's interior is pink and red with roses. The entire inside of the lobby seems to be a garden. Irrigation lines above all sections of this garden also appear to possess bright orbs which provide a natural sunlight to the plants. A clear, glass elevator stands in the very center of the garden. Two formidable guards idle here...]
Zak: Dammit. I forgot...
Pilot: What is it?
Zak: They implemented the new restriction in here when that Disneyland project came out.
Heresy: Hmph. I won't understand why. Alright, Pilot. The only one here higher than 75 is Zak, so let's wait outside with the others. It's too fruity in here for me.
Pilot: Yeah, yeah, alright. See you in a bit. [Facing Zak, he gives a single wave before the two return to the courtyards outside.]
Zak: [He gives both of them a nod before approaching the elevator.] Excuse me, guards... [Both guards are tall mages, bodies covered with neon armor which conceals their faces.]
Elevator Guard: [Notices Zak.] Ah, you have the proper status, player.
Elevator Guard: [Nods.] Yes, he does. But you will have to put that Pokémon away upon ascending.
Zak: [He looks down at Cruce.] That's... why I'm here. I need to see Sam about this Pokémon. A Trainer and my Beastmaster friend gauged as a player, not a monster.
[The two guards turn to one another, perplexed.
Zak: We used a tranquilizer to prevent it from getting away. Upon doing that, we discovered that it has some... bugs. I thought Sam could tell me more.
Elevator Guard: Interesting... [The guard takes a moment to approach Zak. He lowers his head to examine the Shaymin.] Hmmm... Yes, errors are present in this creature... Very well then. You may pass.
Elevator Guard: [Stands to the side. The gaudy glass hatches open as he does so.]
Zak: Thank you. [He enters the elevator...]
[Cruce remains asleep, as do the voices in his head remains audible to his dreams. These voices, however, do not belong to the mysterious lady's.]
"(The grace, can you hear me?)"
"(It's quite the task to contact you... C-can you hear me, Con--...or?)"
[The voice subsides.]
[Zak has reached the highest point of Florabell Tower... He explains the situation to a few of the guards in front of Sam's mounted mansion. At this point, Cruce is beginning to regain consciousness.]
Cruce: Mm...rgh...? [Tries to roll, but is still cradled in Zak's arms. He opens his eyes for a few moments...] ...?
Zak: Hm? [Notices Cruce.] ...
Cruce: ...[Exhaling lightly, he closes his eyes again...]
Mansion Guard: You may pass, player.
Zak: Much obliged. [He enters the mansion doors. Upon entering, he climbs a set of the dual stairwell in the foyer, ultimately leading to Sam's enormous room. Zak adjusts Cruce lightly so that he is laying over his shoulder. With his palm on Cruce's back, he knocks on the lavish, floral double doors.]
???: [The voice is charming and seductive.] Who is it~?
Zak: It's... um...
???: Oh! A player! Here, let me be a doll and get those pesky doors for you, hm?
[A few seconds after it was announced, the doors are open, although no one is behind them upon the event... They have been opened telekinetically. Laying in a suggestive pose on the rosy bed within the even rosier room is a very unique character...]
Sam: [Appearing as quite the feminine Espeon-morph. He is wearing a purple, soft silken robe.] Oh, yes, a player! Please, come in, Cutie.
Zak: [Hesitantly, he steps into the room.] Yes, uh, hello Alpha Sam.
Sam: [He sits up, smiling warmly at Zak.] I predict you have a problem, according to that look on your face, and let's not forget those thoughts of yours... Most importantly, you have a Shaymin... outside of a Pokéball.
Zak: Yes, another party in Auroranoire found it flying to Getegauz. My Beastmaster friend gauged it and it seemed to be a player full of errors. The tranquilizer we gave it is probably wearing off about now.
Sam: 'That so~? Curious! May I see?
Zak: Sure. [He holds out the Shaymin gingerly.]
Sam: [Makes sure to take it in his arms with equal care, hoping not to wake it.] Mm... [He cradles the Shaymin in his arms as Zak had done, although more affectionately.] Such an adorable Pokémon... I do see what you were speaking of, Zak. This one has many more errors than I can count at the moment. Why, with all those troublesome bugs, we can't even decipher its origins!
Zak: Not to be a bother, but do you think you can help us figure this out?
Sam: Oh, why it's no bother at all, Hon! It's not everyday a player gives an Alpha an interesting "quest". I'll get started immediately, but it is... Alpha business. I can't have you witnessing this power... you understand, yes?
Zak: Entirely. I will wait outside if need be.
Sam: Oh, no no. You just wait in the loft. No point in explaining everything to those guards, hmm?
Cruce: Mmmm... [His eyes open slowly yet again.]
Zak: Perfect timing. Alright, I'll wait outside the room.
Sam: Thank you, Hon. I'll let you know when I've come a tad closer to solving this! [He winks at Zak, stroking Cruce's back with the back of his paw. He has moved Cruce to his lap.]
Zak: [He exits the room...]
Sam: [Lowers his head a bit, watching Cruce awaken.] Hmhm...
Cruce: [His eyes remain half closed, his nose up against Sam's chest. He sniffs quietly, taking in the strong scent of roses and pleasant fumes. He almost falls asleep yet again due to the comfort that is Sam petting his back.] ... [He struggles to fight the bliss.] ...Where...?
Sam: [Moves his paw to Cruce's head, petting there as well.] Good morning, Precious.
Cruce: Precious...? [He raises his head, seeing Sam's face.] ...What's going on here...?
Sam: Oh, a Shaymin who speaks without the use of telepathy. Curious! Curious indeed... That's already evidence of just how chalked full of wee little bugs you are, Hon.
Cruce: Bugs?--I'm not full of--oh... errors, right... I-I was in... Where am I now?
Sam: ...Well, finish your prior thought. You were in...?
Cruce: ...I was in V... [Shakes his head a little.] Wait...!
Sam: And that would be where you are now... But... in V? In general? That tells me you're a player, Dear.
Cruce: A player--yeah... I'm a player... And my character has a lot of errors. Sam, is that you?
Sam: [He nods slowly.] Mmhm. It is. For you to recognize me must mean you are a high-leveled player, am I correct? If you would be so kind as to tell me your name...
Cruce: ...[He lowers his head for a few moments.] (What do I do...? If I tell Sam, he can spread the news throughout V... and the Internet. Essentially, the world... Of course, if he keeps it to V, the consequences won't be as severe as they would if I was discovered in real life... But Sam's smart... He's a real person who has become a super A.I.... his body completely virtualized into this world... Wait, isn't Sam the one who can--)
Sam: Read minds, Dear?
Cruce: [He gasps a bit.] S-Sam, I--I...Please don't tell anyone about this! Look, I just--
Sam: [He places a finger against Cruce's lips.] Sh-sh-sh, little Shaymin. Or human, mayhaps. I only punish hackers. Your mentioning of an event like this in real life means that this goes... beyond hacking. It's not hacking. It's...[Faces his window, an expression of unsureness upon his face.]...something not even I can understand, really... What is it, Precious? [He faces Cruce again, petting his hair out of the way of his forehead.]
Cruce: ...Just... please don't tell anybody. I know I'm not supposed to say that to an Alpha, but I--this is really serious.
Sam: I am aware of the urgency. It'll be our secret, hmm?
Cruce: Thanks, it's... Well, to start, it's me... Cruce.
Sam: ...Cruce...? Cruce Maximilius? It's been some time!
Cruce: It has. Though I wasn't expecting us to meet again... like this.
Sam: Absolutely not. Not even I expected it... Cruce... Now I'm genuinely worried. You are such a good player and a wonderful person... What has been going on to cause this?
Cruce: It's complicated... All I can say is that the only other one who can do this kind of thing is my cousin, and--um... He's probably gonna grow up to be a little like you.
Sam: Oh my! I have to meet this cousin of yours! [He giggles to himself before holding Cruce out with both arms and laying back, placing Cruce on his chest and stroking him with both paws.]
Cruce: Umm... [Blushes a little, laying on Sam's chest.] ...
Sam: Mm? Aww, Hon. You know you are like my baby brother... At least, in this state of yours, I can safely say that. You are very cute...
Cruce: Heh, thanks... [His blush deepens a bit, especially evident in his white fur.] It's... natural. I guess.
Sam: So, this "complicated" thing... What would it be?
Cruce: It's a dilemma that no one remembers but my cousin and I. Ever since that dilemma, we've maintained our... "supernatural", you could say, powers that allow us to turn into one of two different things, 'side from humans. I didn't know it would work here... I just wanted to get somewhere faster.
Sam: ...No one remembers...? Well, your tone sounds sincere.
Cruce: Topher, my cousin, and I swore that we would never ever tell anyone about this. It's just too big..
Sam: Ah... [Continues petting Cruce for a moment of silence, simply enjoying his presence...] ...
Cruce: ... [Smiles a little.] ...
Sam: ...Hmhm... I missed you... [He gives Cruce's forehead a kiss before stroking it with his thumb.]
Cruce: [Blushes once more.] Heh, uh... I... missed you too... Man, I can't explain all that's happened since the last time we've seen each other...
Sam: You don't need to, Cruce. I already know you've been through a lot, and I can sympathize... [He lifts Cruce off of himself and places him onto the bed, sitting up.] Well... the errors you have aren't the easiest things to identify. They're quite sophisticated.
Cruce: ...Now that I've had a little time to think about it, I don't know if they're errors. I can do this in real life.
Sam: Fascinating! It must be incredible taking to the skies like that...
Cruce: It is, it's a whole 'nother world... I feel lucky to be able to experience stuff like that, but I feel like I don't deserve it.
Sam: Mm... [He stretches his arms out.] It's a bit early, Cruce. Shouldn't you be in school, or are you out for break already?
Cruce: Nah, not yet. This is the last week. I decided to stay home because I'm... er... a little traumatized... See, this isn't the first time I've revealed myself accidentally...
[Cruce explains the past scenario involving his mother at Sycuan...]
Sam: ...Poor little dear... Everything is alright now, yes?
Cruce: It should be. [He nods.] ...I'm kind of a loose cannon sometimes.
Sam: [He lays on his side, hugging Cruce close to his chest.] Mm, everyone is, sometimes.
Cruce: ! [Blushes again as he is pulled in.] S-seriously, Sam, you and Topher would get along--er... a... lot...
Sam: Oooh... What does that mean, Hon?
Cruce: C'mon, I think you know what it means. [He smirks at Sam.]
Cruce: ...It's been nice talking to you and all... and... uh... I guess cuddling's cool too, nothing wrong with that. But how exactly did I wind up here?
Sam: Oh, shoot. [He sits up.] I almost forgot, a player brought you in. They found you in Auroranoire.
Cruce: ...I remember being shot.
Sam: ...Oh... Well, that's not kind. Can you change back into a human, Hon?
Cruce: Yeah, I think. Here, let me try...
[Cruce flies to the center of the room and focuses on a particular magic outside of V-boundaries...]
[A flash envelops him. After a second, the flash subsides, and he is a human again.]
Sam: [He claps a few times.] Bravo, bravo!
Cruce: [He bows.] Thank you! [Smiles at Sam.]
Sam: Hm, what should I say to Zak...?
Sam: That is the name of the player who brought you to me, suspecting I might know how to resolve this issue.
Cruce: Oh. I guess you could say there was a system error and I entered the game as a Shaymin? Then you turned me back? I don't know, maybe he'll buy it.
Sam: Oh, I suppose so. He will buy it. It's coming from an Alpha~. Hmhm. Sorry to keep you from your gaming, Cruce. Any plans for today?
Cruce: I'm not sure, I've already kinda had the gaming experience for the day... [Scratches the back of his head, in thought about whether or not to continue using V for today.] I might just log out...
Sam: Oh, before you do, may I ask you something, Dear? [He stands, his paws stroking his own sides to fix his robe.]
Cruce: What's up?
Sam: It may sound irrelevant, but are you going to be experimenting with that new Disneyland world in V soon? Gathering Forces is playing a part in it.
Sam: Yes. It will be in the next expansion, which will be coming to V very soon. I've already made preparations here...
Cruce: ...Huh! That's neat... I'm gonna be heading to Disneyland with the family when break starts. Don't worry, I'll be using V at the hotel so we can see each other... I'm probably gonna take a little break from Gathering Forces until then.
Sam: Oooh, how exciting! Indeed indeed, we have to talk some more. You have to tell me all about the real Disneyland when you get the chance. I'll even let you log out here, if you want, Dear.
Cruce: ...Really...? You don't mind? Ain't that like...
Sam: Wrong of an Alpha? Mmmm...maybe... But you're an exception. [He giggles with a paw over his mouth.]
Cruce: ...Ah, Sam... You're a good virtual buddy. Hey, nice seeing you again though!
Sam: You too, Hon. [He walks to Cruce and gives him a firm yet gentle hug.]
Cruce: Totally like Topher... [He hugs Sam in return.]
Sam: [He gives Cruce a kiss on the nose..] Toodeloo~. [He lets Cruce go.]
Cruce: See you again soon, Sammy. [He steps back, typing into a conjured blue hologram in front of him. Within seconds, a bluish light with rings surrounding beams him up to the sky and out of the game...]
Sam: [Watching the ceiling.] I promise you, Cruce... I will not tell a soul of that secret... You'd just better be careful. [He approaches his doors and leaves the room.] Oh, Zaaaak~?
"Now someone really knows who I am..."
"Would it matter if I told the world...?"
"Those voices... they tell me... Another collision could be coming..."
"And if that collision ends with memories lost... will it have mattered to keep a secret in the first place?"
So yeah! I totally continued EC! You'll notice a couple new characters during this intervention, and Sam would be one of them. He's... basically another Kutzu, though he's used in RPs. There's a story behind Sam and Cruce, and since Sam is the ruler of Getegauz, it means that Cruce has been playing Gathering Forces for a looooong time.
So, Sam always saw a sort of resilience in Cruce that he liked. And, being incredibly gay, thought he could potentially hit on Cruce. But Cruce was WAY TOO young back then, so Sam just shrugged that off. It would be wrong. So they just became friends. Cruce pretty much taught Sam not to be... hitting on everyone.
But as you can see that's still an area he struggles in. And yes, Sam was once a human in the real world, but gave up that life to be a virtual overlord. Kind of an interesting story that the two will reveal more of in the coming parts.