The Saga Continues:
For the Children
[A couple hours have passed since Cruce's reuniting with Sam, the Alpha of the Mages. He has decided to log out after informing Sam of the recent ordeal regarding Safa and Chronic. Cruce walks from Gathering Forces feeling a bit of regret as well as early guilt. He is well aware of how Topher will react to such a thing. Just as well, he trusts Sam enough to have told him this mesmerizing secret... Cruce is now left to ponder over the voices in his head, including the mysterious lady's, who almost risked the true revelation of Cruce Maximilius to the world...]
[Meanwhile, at St. K., Topher's day is going more smoothly than anticipated. He is becoming even more accepted within the Circle that Cruce introduced him to, even without Cruce present. The problem he sees, however, is that Al is not too active within the Circle, presenting to him a slight challenge...]
-St. K. Campus.-
[It is lunch. Topher, albeit nervously, has just joined the Circle at their table.]
Kevin: Hey, everyone's here!
Bongo: [Sitting across from Kevin.] You're not. [Throws a piece of trash at him.] NOT ANYMORE!
Pat: Cruce isn't here...
Emelina: Sadly, no. But his adorable cousin is. [Sitting next to Topher, she giggles.]
Ivan: [Sitting next to Nic.] Emelina, you're making him nervous. Just look. Everyone, look. Are you all looking?
Nic: ... [Stares at Ivan.]
Topher: N-no! It's okay, hehe. I'm fine. I'm more... um, worried about Cruce. I guess.
Kevin: Didn't you say he was traumatized or something?
Topher: Mhmm, that sums it up. It was an incident at Sycuan...
Pat: What happened?
Topher: Someone went postal! They had a gun to Miss Maximilius' head...
Nic: Wow... Did they show that on TV?
Topher: Oh, nah.
Ivan: Wait... then how do you know that's what happened?
Topher: [His eyes go wide.]
Bongo: Did someone tell you?
Topher: O-oh, yeah. I was told by... one of the officers... who brought Cruce's mom home.
Nic: ...Were you?
Topher: Y-yes. [He nods.]
Ivan: That must've been a day to remember...
Al: [Turns around, sitting at one of the other tables.] Hey, I like that band.
Ivan: A Day to Remember? It's a good group. Did you hear about Cruce's mom, Al?
Al: Yeah, she was in a hostage situation yesterday. [Sitting next to Shaun, he points at him with his thumb.] Shaun and I saw it.
Shaun: That crap was intense.
Al: Oh, hell. I didn't tell you all what I saw that day on my front lawn.
Topher: [Swallows spit.]
Bongo: Did you see two naked girls making out?
Pat & Emelina: BONGO!
Bongo: Jesus, I didn't say it was you two. Although thanks for pointing out that possibility, hahahaha!
Pat: [Hits Bongo on the arm.]
Kevin: She got you...
Bongo: She wanted me to pass it on. [Reaches across the table to hit Kevin.]
Kevin: [Pulls back.] Haha!
Al: ...Er... 'kay... No, as I was saying... It was a... white thing.
Nic: You think it could've been one of those rare creatures? What are they called again...? ...House cats?
Al: Heheh, nah. It was a... Shoeman! That's what they're called.
Ivan: A shoeman? Sounds like a profession.
Al: Or, wait... Shyman...? Topher was there, he probably knows better than I do.
Topher: ...[Gulp.] Shaymin, Al? [Smiles nervously.]
Al: That's what it was...
Emelina: Oooooh, Tophie, what were you doing at Al's...?
Topher: I-I was with Cruce! [Blushes.]
Al: He was... until Cruce made off...
Nic: You saw a Shaymin? That's a Pokémon, Al... I don't think that's possible.
Al: I swear I saw it!
Shaun: And they said a white thing came and supposedly "saved" the day at the scene on the news. He described it kinda like Al did, so... [Shrugs.]
Ivan: A Shaymin in real life? I've only ever seen pictures and videos of them on V.
Al: ...[He turns around, lost in deep thought about the creature he saw.] ... (Why does it bug me so much? Seeing that thing just made me feel like I had something I needed to do... Like I had some sort of role in the past or something... something crazy.)
Topher: [Watching Al...] (Al's still suspicious about it... ) Um, who knows? Maybe we'll see it again... I'd like to.
Al: [He turns his head a little.] Yeah, me too. I wonder if it can talk...
Ivan: They can talk. I think they use telepathy.
Shaun: Tight, bro.
Bongo: [Now paying attention to the conversation.] Oh, the Shaymin guy? I saw something on the news about that.
Pat: Yeah, Bongo...
Nic: Late to the party as usual.
Bongo: Shut up, it wasn't what you guys were talking about! It was an interview with that one officer.
Topher: (Oh, him... What was his name again?)
Ivan: I think I know who you're talking about. One of the chiefs of the Awgo police.
Bongo: Yeah, they were talking to him about the thing and he said he almost had it. He also said there was a strange boy at the scene claiming his mom was in there... and when they got up to the Shaymin, the boy disappeared. There was a reported sight of two Shaymins leaving the area! A white one and a black one.
Al: [Turns around again.] What?
Topher: [Gulps again.] ...T-two Shaymins?
Al: ...Dude... I didn't catch that. I should've... Two of them? And--...Wait, the white one was on my front lawn, and then it was at the golf course...
Topher: [Remains silent, lowering his head...] ...
Ivan: Well, they saw two at the place, which means there's a lot more out there. Maybe?
Pat: Shaymin's rare though. The only Pokémon on the planet can't just be a lot of him. And... don't they need that flower to change their forme?
Ivan: Zazoo, that's right...! The Gracidea! That flower doesn't exist on Earth! It doesn't add up!
Al: So then how did they get here? And why was there a white and black one? And why was one on my lawn...? ...[He turns to Topher.] ...Topher...?
Topher: [Lifts his head.] Hm?!
[One of the campus supervisors blows the whistle for lunch recess. Immediately, everyone disperses from the lunch area and into the parking lot for their own various sports.]
[Only Al and Shaun remain at their table. It is quiet at the Circle table. All eyes and ears are on Topher.]
Nic: ...You said you were there...
Al: You chased after Cruce, Topher. You two disappeared... and it took you a long time to get back. Were you chasing Cruce for that long?
Topher: He's... really fast... I didn't know my cousin could run that fast. I had to stop and take a break. I think he did too... I felt sick afterward, but I kept chasing after him, and I caught up!
Bongo: ...No... No, wait... I remember more from the interview...
[They all listen to Bongo...]
Bongo: Yeah, the officer guy said that two boys--I think one's name was Kyle--said that they saw a boy who looked kinda girly come out of a messed up backyard, or something. A "flying, black" creature went in before that.
[Again, all eyes shift to Topher.]
Topher: [Again, his eyes widen before shutting tightly.] (...I-I told them not to tell anyone...! ...God, news is spread so quickly these days. Too much technology. D-darn it, h-h-how do I--...?) A girly boy? Well... I kn-know I'm pretty girly, but I... I don't know how to turn into things...
Al: ...You know, it's stupid... I don't want to blame Topher for this because it's... it's really stupid. Here we are thinking... whatever we're thinking about this whole thing, and it's putting pressure on him. [Motions to Topher.]
Emelina: Yeah, we can't just assume stuff. So weird things are happening. So? That automatically makes it Topher's fault?
Bongo: I'm not blaming anyone...
Ivan: Let's just wait for more evidence before pointing fingers. I highly doubt any of us are involved in this... We're about as normal as normal can get after all.
[After a few more moments, the Circle leaves to mingle around their bench...]
[Topher sits alone while the others play a game of slamball; a sport the Circle quickly caught onto when their other classmates started it...]
Topher: [He sighs, his head lowered and eyes on the hands in his lap.] ... (That came so close... But... thanks, Al... You saved me... I wish I could call you my hero... but didn't your suspicions start this? ...No... Cruce did... But he was only doing what he felt was best. Hm... We're not so great at keeping secrets, aren't we?)
Emelina: [Now standing in front of Topher.] Tophie?
Topher: Ah! [Looks up in surprise.] Don't hit me! [Blocks his face with his arms.]
Emelina: [Giggles a little.] Whoa whoa, hit you? I'd never hit a cute little femmie! That would be like a boy hitting a girl... Um, in my book, that is.
Topher: Oh... hehe... [He nods nervously.]
Emelina: So, what's wrong? You're sitting here all by your lonesome when you should be playing slamball with your Circle friends, which'd be us! So come on! [She grabs Topher's right wrist gently and pulls him up.]
Topher: Um--! [Stands.] I--uh... I--sorry, Emelina, I... I'm not feeling too great, I... I guess I'm feeling um... empa...thetic.
Emelina: ...[She frowns.] Aww... For Cruce? I guess I can understand. Oh... [Shakes her head, letting go of Topher's wrist.] I can't picture Cruce as sad as you say he is... He's always so in control! He's such a cool guy, and... for him to be all down in the dumps is hard to believe. I've seen him a little upset, but I can't imagine what he's thinking now.
Topher: ...Me neither... I wish I knew. (...I really do... Cruce, what are you doing...? What are you up to?)
[For the remainder of the day, Topher remains isolated until he is picked up by Molly, Cruce's sister. He remains silent for the majority of the short trip home.]
Ladies and gentlemen.
We are witnessing the first signs of what I'm to call "echomemory".
SO LET ME EXPLAIN THIS THING HERE.
Echomemory is the status of post-mass-hysteria produced only by the collisions, or Ethereal Cross, if you will (and should). Think of it this way: People got changed into all sorts of different things during EC Safa and Chronic. But after all that, Cruce and Topher are the only ones who remember 100% of the whole thing. Everyone else seems to have forgotten... But it's still quite in their heads. It's a sort of memory that is produced under cases where the fabric of Reality meets the fabric of Fantasy and there's any sort of disturbance, such as time traveling to a point before the cross, or spacial displacement. It's all kinda hard to grasp, but as each cross passes, echomemory will become further evident!