EPILOGUE: Three Months Later (Durin Hayline) . . .

Another Eevee—not the original Eevee given to Bambi Hayline for her tenth birthday, (that was now an Umbreon) and not the Eevee scooped up on the forest floor by her brother, Yumin Hayline, or the one recovered by her cousin, Zakana Hayline, or the three taken into care by trainers, Makua Church, Farore Aggagol, or Lyres Goevern—it was not any of those Eevee. This was the seventh child, born of the original Eevee owned by Bambi, ripped from the arms of Rocket member Isaque Finn, with enhanced Viteral technology.

Durin Hayline, father of Zakana and Kirish, had seen them, even from the jail cell. He had seen the Clamp Balls and what they could do. They had stolen all his Pokémon from him and changed them. Some of them hung in bubble-cells scattered around this massive room filled with halogen lights. Milky, silver liquid filled the bubble-cells while the Pokémon rested inside. Their eyes were shut.

At the head of the room, there was a single cell atop a pedestal. This bubble-cell seemed more important than all the others. The Eevee inside opened its eyes. From the dome above, from the sunlight now streaming into this place, everything lit up. The light was blinding.

Durin considered the Eevee, the things he had been told about it. He did not yet know that it was the daughter of the Eevee he had acquired for his niece, Bambi.

The young man standing next to the bubble-cell told him.

“You were able to secure such a wonderful specimen, Durin.” The young man spoke as though they were friends. He stared in Durin’s direction though not directly at him. “I’ve never heard of such a prolific birth. I wanted all of those babies, you know.”

Durin did not know. He did not care. He had been drugged and beaten to the scrawniest excuse of a human and none of his Pokémon could help him now. His bone-white knuckles pressed against the cold, steel, jail floor. The skin stretched and fresh blood leaked out.

“You’re an abomination.” Durin’s voice came as a whisper. He wanted to shout it.

“I’m not all that bad.” The youngling with broad shoulders, and a sharp jawline was on the cusp of manhood, a mere eighteen years old. Durin knew his history. He could see it in his blank eyes. A boy of eighteen destined to live up to his father, and more impressively, his grandfather’s legacies. Though the ideals and dreams of the founder, this boy’s grandfather, had not played out as he had wanted, the boy pushed onward with his plans. In the quiet space of this massive room, Durin had seen and learned things. His name was Aaric. He was the only child of Isis and Isabel Brodeur. Isis, the son of the Pokémon Peace Prize winner, Brock Brodeur had changed the plans of his father just slightly. And now, upon the subsequent generation, Aaric had changed them even more. The vision had fallen a long way from the vision tree. Brock’s genius was legendary. Durin knew of the stories, not just from books, articles, or modern medicine and unbelievable breeding revelations and techniques now accepted as law, but because of Brock’s close childhood and long time friend, Ashtyn Ketchum, whom Durin once had a correspondence with.

Ash, like his dear friend Brock, was now dead. Durin wasn’t sure if this would keep him alive longer or not. He, with his secret research of Legends, was the link between Ash, the greatest Summoner this world has even seen, and the Viterals themselves, sworn to harvest the vitamins from Pokémon for all time.

Would there even be time? Would the Viterals know of their evil before it was all too late?

Durin didn’t know. He didn’t have a voice anymore. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t talk sense into these people. They wanted only one thing, and that was a monopoly on the entire world. The plan, if it worked, was unstoppable. Durin could not fathom a way to end it. Not with these Clamp Balls, not with the new things they were constructing with all the vitamins. How was the growing organization of the Viterals under the spell and direction of a mere child? A boy the same age as his nephew, Yumin, or his son, Zakana! What else would come from such a leadership?

The boy had a sixth sense. Because he was blind, he seemed to be able to pick up on other things. Things that hadn’t been spoken but were formed in the brain. As such, Aaric answered. He held up something small and pomegranate-colored. Durin could barely see it from where he was over 100 yards away.

“Do you see this?”

It looked to be a berry, though not a single one, but two of them hanging from separate branches, like a cherry. The stems were shorter and the berries themselves, smaller.

Durin glared.

“Not a machine, you see,” Aaric said.

“That would be a first for you Viterals,” Durin said. “I’m sure it’s pumped with poisons and things that kill people or Pokémon.”

“On the contrary, it is quite natural. This type of berry is the first of its kind.” He was a specimen. Blindness hadn’t stopped him from developing a rock-hard body, though not a heavy one, but slim and wiry. The athletic suit he wore clung to him like skin itself. “The trials are just about to begin.” Aaric beamed and puffed out his chest. He looked at the Eevee inside the bubble-cell.

The sun gleamed downward. Early morning light soaked the Eevee with its power. Inside the bubble-cell, silver milky liquid thinned and Eevee suddenly became more alert. The corners of its eyes drew up and outward, widened. It grew. The Eevee began to grow as heavenly light poured down on it, oppressively. There was a bright glow and within that glow, Durin could see the changes taking place. Eevee’s bushy beige tail elongated, thinned out and forked into two purple ones to form a small Y at the end of the tip. All of it flourished a purple color. Tufts of hair fell from its cheeks and swayed. Its ears matured, and grew large to form perfect symmetry with the tufts. Where there was once a fluffy ball of brown and beige, now a sleek cat, with perfectly silky smooth fur remained. When it opened its eyes, only white stared back. The eyes watered, looked terrified.

Beside the bubble-cell, another Pokémon appeared.

Musharna. The Drowsing Pokémon.

It hovered in the air, level with the newly evolved Espeon that was once an Eevee. It was no longer the Evolution Pokémon. Now it was the Sun Pokémon.

Musharna flashed open marble-sized eyes. It lolled back and forth as though sitting on a rocking chair, a long pink mist emanating from its forehead. Slowly, its eyes closed and as they did, so did Espeon’s. They seemed to be in sync. Musharna rocking and Espeon rocking too, both powerful Psychic Pokémon in their own ways.

Aaric merely watched with blind eyes.

Durin was mesmerized by the scene. The Musharna had materialized out of thin air. Voraciously, in the wild, they were known to eat dreams and the mist that was now pink, changed colors depending on what kind of dreams were being eaten.

“I love you Audria. I love you Kirish. I love you Zakana.” Durin named his son that was ripped from the world. He loved him too. These were the words Durin said to himself many times a day. The only way to remain sane in a place devoid of time and feeling is to remind oneself of the ones that need you.

What sort of dream was Durin in? Would The Viterals continue to beat him until he died? What else could they take besides his life?

They could take his family’s lives. They could take what was left of it.

He shuddered and tried to stand in his cell but found himself too weak. Everything darkened. Though the sun still shone into that room, and the halogen lights blared on, Durin felt a cataclysmic presence. This Eevee that had been born from Bambi’s Eevee did not want to be where it was.

Aaric turned to face Durin and smiled.

“To see is to know. Can true sight only be achieved through the eyes?”

How could a boy with a father and a grandfather with all the knowledge and know-how for panaceas and remedies be plagued with blindness?

This day’s questions would never end.

It was ironic.

Everyone in the room failed to see the joke. This was something far less funny than a joke.

Where was here?

The Viterals Headquarters. Somewhere in the mountains. City unknown.

The color of the Musharna’s mist morphed into an inky black.

Gradually, the Espeon’s eyes opened. It blinked them several times. Through that bubble-cell, Durin sensed a sadness that could not be quelled. Espeon—she was ripped from her mother, and made to live in a tightly enclosed space, without any of her siblings. In their days together, across from one another in their confinements, Durin knew time had been stolen from them.

Musharna opened its eyes.

Espeon looked up and Durin heard a voice. As though the words were being projected into the room by magic. Was Espeon speaking with its psychic powers? Durin saw no other explanation.

Is the nightmare over? It said.

Another voice came back, curt and unfeeling. It came in the same way, unseen, words plastered onto unsuspecting minds. Aaric’s voice? Or Musharna?

Over?

No, my child.

There was a brief pause.

The nightmare has only just begun.

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Stay tuned for more adventures in Book II of the Hayline series: The Channelers.

If you missed Chapter 25, you can find it here.

Artwork credit here, here and here.

 

Hope you all enjoyed Book I of the Hayline series: The Viterals. Thanks for reading!

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