Chapter 16: Silver’s Apotheosis

The sounds of a yell of struggle rang through Star’s ears. Kai, Lucien, and herself had all agreed to go to the gym located on the west side of the Campus in the Training Wing. As they approached the giant gymnasium, they heard it again. A scream. But it wasn’t coming from within the gym, it was from outside. Lucien and Kai, confused, followed Star outside. In the courtyard, they all saw Silver without his coat on. His torso only bore a tank-top. He was holding a rope that was tied to something behind him. A boulder about his height and a half, wrapped with the rope Silver was holding on to. Silver was sweating, steam looked like it was coming off of his body. His aura was flaring and his veins could be seen bulging through his skin. He roared as he dragged the rocky behemoth a few more inches forward.

“How long have you been doing this?” Kai asked, concerned. She noticed the skid marks made by the boulder that stretched from its current position to the opposite side of the field.

Silver relaxed his body, letting go of the rope and walking over to a bench. He sat down and poured water onto his head, causing his hair to droop even further than it had thanks to the sweat. “3 hours.” Silver pointed to the far end of the courtyard. “I started over there. I’m ending on the opposite side.”

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Lucien looked at Silver’s body before looking at his face. His features were nearly covered by his hair. “Is this healthy?”

“I’ve been doing it for years and I haven’t complained yet.” Silver walked back over to the boulder. He grabbed the bottom of it and hoisted it above his head. His veins made their appearance once again as he groaned and struggled to lift a leg and step forward.

“Hey! Star! Lucien! Kai!” a voice called out. Star turned around to see Everleigh and Shields approaching.

“Oh. Hey, guys.” Star gave Everleigh a hug.

Shields looked on. “Is that Silver?” he asked, hearing Silver roar and watching him take another step forward. Shields winced as he did, his question had been answered.

“Sure, physical wellness is important, but shouldn’t he be training his team?” Kai asked concernedly.

As Silver dropped the boulder in front of him, his muscles relaxed once again. He pointed over his shoulder, as he was panting too hard to speak coherently. The group looked over to where he wanted and saw an Incineroar battling with Eclipse and Checkmate. Silver had calmed down enough to speak again. 

“Incineroar trains the Pokémon that are considered ‘glass cannons’ while Shingetsu helps to train the slower and weaker teammates. It’s a conjoint effort. If anything, Hunter, you should be the one explaining.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’ve been shown to have a single Pokémon since the start of the year and yet, you’ve been on a steady incline in terms of ranking. During the initiation battles, you were ranked 11th, and by the time of Mizukashi’s rampage, you were ranked 8th. Now, you’re ranked 7th, above Rouge, who was the direct counter to your Fairy-Type Gardevoir.”

“I’m right here!” Kai pointed out. She was ignored.

“So, unless you’ve got some other Pokémon up your sleeve, I refuse to believe you got past Kusanagi, Kobayashi, Rouge, and Alarie.”

“Wanna take this to the battlefield?” Shields asked. At this point, he was face-to-face with Silver. The onlooking students mentally noted that they were the same height.

Silver tilted his head. “I accept.” He snapped his fingers and Shingetsu, Checkmate, and Eclipse were all at his side almost instantly. Chanceux, Incineroar and Tyranitar followed quickly after. Silver’s fully assembled team was truly a sight to behold. 

“Oh yeah, since when did you have an Incineroar?” Everleigh asked.

“It was our mother’s,” Star said. “Just like my Raichu and Riku’s Sandslash.”

“Ah,” Everleigh uttered. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Star assured, patting Everleigh on the head. She turned to their brothers. “Silver. Shields. Relax.”

“Hunter wants to fight. I’m just accepting his request.”

“Yeah, no,” Star said. “Stop toying with him.”

“Oh, well.” Silver called his team back to their Poké Balls. “I’m going to relax,” he relayed. “I’ll be in my dorm.” He walked back into the Academy.

Star grinned nervously. She turned to Shields, who wore a blank face, almost rivalling Silver’s. “Sorry about him.”

Shields shrugged. “Whatever.”

Silver got halfway down the hall when he was confronted by three random kids. They were all around his age, but they were massive. Silver estimated the biggest to be around 6 feet tall, 4 inches taller than him. He couldn’t tell through the baggy clothes but based on the width of his shoulders, it looked like he was also pretty buff. Silver looked to either side at his two goons. Both of them were taller than him, and Silver deduced that he was not going to be left alone anytime soon. He looked back and who he assumed was the leader of this clique. 

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“Yeah. You can.” The big guy grabbed Silver by the arm and pushed him against the wall. Silver did not retaliate. All he did was raise an eyebrow.

“Okay. What do you want?”

“I need an explanation!” the big one said.

“Do you expect to get one pinning me against the wall like this?” Silver asked, completely calm.

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“We’ll be the ones asking questions here, punk!” one of the hooligans said.

“Whatever, but I do have one more question.”

“What what’d that be?” the final one asked.

“Realistically, who would win in a fight? You three… or me?” Silver’s voice was dripping with spite. He was having fun.

“Obviously, us. What kind of a question is that?”

“I guess it’s my own fault for assuming you just may have been smarter than you seemed. ‘Obviously’, if I’m asking such a question, something is up. I’m around 5-foot-9 and relatively skinny compared to you. If I have the confidence to ask a question as bizarre as that in my situation, you are the ones who should be unnerved.”

The biggest one scowled. “Why should I be afraid of a half-ass, good-for-nothing Trainer like you?! You don’t even deserve the title of Jack. What have you done that’s so special?!”

“I don’t deserve the Jack position?” Silver enquired, ignoring the brute’s question.

“No, you don’t. Ask anyone, you only became the Jack because your brother is a part of the school board.”

“Ah…” Silver drawled. “Well, let me ask you a question. Do you?”

“What?”

“Do you deserve the position? There are plenty of able Trainers walking these halls every single day, but none of them are in Class S. None of them are strong enough to call themselves one of the strongest. I am. I get to have that label by my name. I defeated four Champions. That’s four more than you. I’ve won hundreds of tournaments by now. That’s probably hundreds more than you. I’ve been a trainer for about as long as you have and I’m standing at the top while you can’t even see the shadow I cast. But, if you truly want to see why I have my position, we can settle this little squabble on the battlefield.”

The brute seethed. Silver tipped his head to the right, allowing his snow-white hair to sway and reveal his right eye. His bright crimson iris peeking through the shadow with nothing but anger behind it sowed fear into the ruffian’s goons. One turned around and began running while the other was frozen.

The big one stood his ground. “You wanna fight?! Let’s fight!” He took out a Poké Ball as if it were a threat to Silver. Only to be expected, Silver did not flinch.

“Alright. Let’s go-”

“Hey!” a voice called.

“Saved by the bell,” Silver teased. He turned his head and met his new guest’s eyes.

“What’s going on here?” Shields asked.

“I got a little caught up in something,” Silver remarked.

“Well, hurry it up. I’m taking you to the PokéStar Cafe.” And with that, he walked back outside. Silver turned to face the grunt.

“Oh, well,” Silver said consolingly. It was clear he was playing with his assailant. “I guess we’ll have to settle this another time.” He held his hand up to the brute’s chest and merely extended his arm all the way, pushing him into the other wall with little to no effort. “Ah, I guess I can overpower you. Hm.” He followed his classmate.

“That boy…” muttered the bully. “He’s a monster…”

Silver met up with Shields again, who was all ready to go. Silver, albeit reluctantly, was ready to join him.

“So, what’s with this?”

“Your sister basically forced me to reconcile,” Shields said. “So, I invited you to my favourite cafe.”

“Hm…” Silver mused. “Okay, then. Let’s go.” He started walking away. Shields was the one reluctant now. Silver was being way too… allowing. It unnerved him slightly. Nevertheless, Shields followed Silver, who seemed to already be heading in the right direction.

After an eventless walk to the cafe, Silver opened the door for Shields and they both walked in. Silver offered to order for both of them.

“No, I’ll order. You go find a seat for us,” Shields ordered.

“Alright.” Silver didn’t fight. He turned and walked further into the building. He found a four-person booth at the back and decided to take a seat. It seemed that all the booths had chessboards. Silver recognised that this place was less like a cafe and more like a restaurant. An insignificant detail, yet Silver noticed it. 

I guess even now I can’t shut down my brain,” thought Silver as crossed his arms and let his head rest on the window. A few minutes later, Shields came up to the table and set down their drinks.

“Silver,” Shields called. Silver woke up, not even realising that he was asleep.

“Oh, hey,” Silver replied.

“I got you a black coffee.”

“Oh, thanks.”

Shields put his own drink down. “I’m going to go use the restroom. I’ll be back.”

“Alright.” Silver took up his coffee and took a sip while he watched Shields disappear.

Instinctually, almost involuntarily, Silver heard footsteps approaching. He was in a public place and there were plenty of empty booths around. But the thing that annoyed Silver was that there were multiple booths that held more than one person… and there was one set of footsteps coming toward him. Silver tried shutting off his mind, but it began racing again when the footsteps stopped at his table. Who is it? They seem to be approaching his table specifically. Why? Silver looked up to see a tall man in a black overcoat standing and looking at Silver. Silver narrowed his eyes.

“May I help you?” he asked.

The man smiled. His wavy black hair flowed down to his shoulders and his blue eyes shone in the sea. Silver realised that the man was not skinny at all. In fact, his stature made it look like he was pretty muscular, based on his wide shoulders and thick arms. Everything else, however, was blocked by the coat.

“Are you Silver Katsuro?”

“And if I am? What do you want?” Silver asked, getting more and more annoyed as time went on. He was also wondering what was taking Shields so long.

“My name is O—”

“A lot can be told about a person using just their name. Your surname alone can connect you to criminals, or celebrities. Your given name can tell where you were born or grew up. So, I’d think twice before telling me your name,” Silver explained.

The man furrowed his brow. “You told me your name.”

“Well, you told me my name. I confirmed that it was my name. I did that because if you knew my name, you should know who I am. I’m famous… apparently.”

“Ah, yes. The ‘Prince of Kalos’. You are famous. Say, don’t you go to the Pokémon Academy?”

“I’m not going to answer that question.”

“Oh, well, why not?”

“Because there is no sense telling you a fact you already know, Mr O.”

“Oh, please. Call me Omega. Omega Shirokage.”

Shirokage? LIke Kurayami Shirokage? And that forename… it’s from the same Region as the Headmaster. Could they be related? Nevertheless… that name sounds familiar.

“Tell me, have you heard of Team Null?” Omega asked.

Silver took a sip of his drink. “Yeah, I have.”

“I’ve heard you’ve met some of the Admins.”

“Why are you bringing this up?”

“The King and Queen are supposed to be the protectors of the kingdom. If even one falls, the entirety of the kingdom starts wondering whether or not they’re safe.”

“What are you getting at?” Silver questions as he moves his hand to his hip nonchalantly. He unhitches a Poké Ball and holds it between his fingers while keeping it hidden.

“I’m just wondering… if the Jester were to disappear, would the citizens care? Or would the King and Queen just simply replace him?”

Silver’s aura began rising as he prepared himself for an ambush attack. As he began to move, Shields came out of the restroom.

“…huh?”

Silver sighed and put the Poké Ball back on his belt as his presence died down. “Let’s go, Shields.”

Shields watched as Silver got his stuff and stood up. “Alright…”

“It’s a shame about your mother,” Omega said, stopping Silver in his tracks. He turned his head to look over his shoulder. Omega took out a Poké Ball of his own and flaunted it before releasing the Pokémon inside. The Royal Sword Pokémon; Aegislash. Silver noticed, however, that this was an alternate colouring of the species. Where the silver blade would normally be was red and the usually purple single eye was golden to match the shield and wings. “I want to see if fighting until the end runs in the family.”

Silver aura started to rise once again and this time it was much more potent. The plant decor around the three wilted as fast as Silver turned to look at Omega. His sclerae began to darken, allowing only his now slit and blood-red irises to be visible in the sea of inky black. The veins around his eyes protruded through his skin. Shields noticed Silver’s eyes darting around sporadically, almost ferally, and his face was contorted with anger. This was the same presence as that of Silver during the Red’s rampage. Silver had gone berserk.

“Silver…” Shields murmured, grabbing his classmate’s arm. 

Silver quickly fixated his eyes on the Fairy-Type Trainer to his side, sowing fear into his mind Shields let go against his better judgement and accidentally let Silver walk toward the Royal Sword Pokémon and its Trainer.

“Silver, stop!” Shields shouted as a red blur whipped past him. Silver fell to his knees and eventually onto his front. He was knocked out cold.

“Jeez, didn’t think I’d have to do that. I was told you were the rational one.” Dante walked up to the two. He eyed Omega. His Pokémon, Infernape, stood above Silver’s unconscious body, defending it from Omega. “C’mon, Shields. Grab him and let’s go.”

And that he did. Hoisting Silver above his shoulder, Shields walked out of the cafe, passing the various bewildered, frightened, and relatively unamused patrons of the shop. Dante smiled at the old man as he returned his Pokémon.

Omega Shirokage, watching the trio leave, grinned. “Two down… three to go.” And off he went on his own, Aegislash close behind. He left a stack of 100 PokéDollars on the table as he made his way out.

Silver awakens on a couch in the Common Room. His contorted face was back to normal by the time he hit the ground. He was back to his normal self, much to Shields’ relief. Silver groaned strainingly as he struggled to sit upright.

“Where is everyone?” Silver asked.

“In their dorms. It’s midnight,” Shields said, watching Silver stand up against his own body’s will. Dante, who was sitting and reading a magazine, simply stood up, walked over to Silver, and forced him to sit back down. Silver grunted and even Shields told Dante that he was being too rough.

“It’s his own fault for going into a fight he knew he was gonna lose.”

“It was also none of your business. Where did you even come from? I assume you were the one who knocked me out.”

“I was. I was out walking when I sensed a sudden spike in aura. I went to investigate and lo and behold, I ran into you walking into a death trap.”

“It was an Aegislash,” Silver said. “I’m sure I can handle a Ghost-Type.”

“You weren’t attacking the Pokémon. You were going for Omega,” Dante replied.

“How do you even know him?”

“I should be asking you that question. You seemed like you had a grudge.”

“As I said, that is none of your business.”

“It starts to become my business when I see a dumbass try to get himself killed.”

He stood to look Dante in the eye. His mouth contorted into a grin, almost as if Silver was stifling a laugh. “I don’t need you. I barely even know you! We met a week ago!” Silver was hysterical at this point.

“You could’ve met me ten minutes ago and I would’ve still saved you. What you need to do is screw your head back on and think with your brain instead of your heart. What could you have done in that situation? Oh, I know, get yourself killed.” Dante said back, getting back to the topic at hand.

SIlver paused, hesitated even, to answer Dante’s question. What was he going to do? What could he do? Dante was right; Silver wasn’t attacking Aegislash at all. In fact, the Pokémon was the least of Silver’s concerns. His mother was mentioned and any reason he had disappeared.

“This doesn’t change the fact that you had no business stepping in. This is a personal matter,” Silver finally replied.

“No business, huh? I had no business saving your life. I had no business making sure your sister didn’t lose another member of her family either then, right? Making sure that I wouldn’t have to be the one to tell her that her moron of a brother went ahead and got himself killed to accomplish a whole lot of nothing. But I had no business, right? Those were the words that just left your mouth right?”

“It wasn’t proven-”

“Shut the hell up. There was nothing to prove. You’re not seeing the main point. You aren’t recognizing that your actions have consequences. That you have an impact on people whether you like it or not. You aren’t the only person in the universe.” Dante’s voice was slowly elevating in volume, his hands clenching at the sheer stupidity being displayed to him.

Silver’s gaze was sharp. He was annoyed, no, angry that the words Dante spoke were right. He had been blinded to his own desire for revenge that in doing so, he may deprive his family of yet another member.

“Yeah. Maybe I am a dumbass. I’m an idiot who let my emotions get the better of me.” Silver sighed, but only slightly. “I’m going to bed.” And with that, he left for his dorm.

“Don’t you think that was too much?” Shields asked.

“I don’t think it was enough. He needs to learn some common sense. And something tells me he isn’t going to get any better.” Dante responded offhandedly before leaving.

Shields sat where Silver once did. He leaned back and looked at the ceiling. He grabbed his necklace without looking and whispered to himself.

“Do you even know the pain… of losing someone?”

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