Over the next couple of days that Saphire stayed at Calea's house, she was spending more time with Theo than their guardian. Calea worked in the workshop section of her basement, and seemingly non-stop as well as sometimes she would find the Vulpix asleep at one of her machines. From what she was told they are what helps her create these latex and rubber items; it was also what Calea's suit was made of. She would boast that her latex was the strongest anyone could ever make and could stay shiny even after an intense battle.
Saphire didn't care too much about Calea's job, as it wasn't necessarily part of her career as a guild member to think about it. She was more concerned about going back to the guild and learning all that she needed to become a full-fledged guild member. Unfortunately, she was told only the next day after Johnny and Chanler dropped her off that all guild training was suspended until further notice. That bit of news put a damper of the Eevee's attitude just a bit as she was really hoping to continue learning. It wasn't all terrible though as she was also informed that she could go to the guild's training grounds whenever she wanted to now.
She would've gone earlier in the week, had it not been that Theo wanted to go out and explore the town, and Calea told Saphire to go with him. It was on the fourth day that Theo decided that he just wanted to train behind Calea's shop in the grassy field that separated Great Usarus and the western mountains. Like the last few days, Calea told Saphire to stay with Theo so the two of them could look out for each other.
"Go out through the staircase behind the bed," Calea told them as she walked up to her bed to where a large piece of cloth was hanging on a wall that bordered it. She pulled back the cloth from the left going right to reveal a small passageway that connected to a set of stairs at a steep incline. There wasn't a light source in the hidden path; probably because it was supposed to be a hidden escape route. "When you go out make sure you close the hatch. It only locks from inside so make sure to lock it when you come back."
“An escape route? Pretty cool I guess.” Saphire thought to herself as Calea explained the passage in front of her. "It makes sense too. The door upstairs locks, and there's also a trap door before you make it there anyway. This makes getting out in a hurry easy."
Theo balled up his right hand into a fist in front of his chest and smiled at Calea. "Alright, Ms. Calea. I'll make sure it's locked when we come back in." The Riolu gave a small nod to the latex-clad Vulpix and looked to Saphire with a gleeful smile. "Come on, Saphire! Let's go train!" Without waiting for her response, the eager Riolu dove into the dark passage and climbed the stairs to their top.
Calea rolled her eyes and chuckled as she looked down to Saphire on her right. "Keep an eye on him, will you? I know you two can take care of yourselves, but I just have a funny feeling that his enthusiasm will get him hurt one day."
A short laugh escaped Saphire's lips after Calea's statement. "I will, Ms. Calea." Bunching up her muscles, Saphire hopped over and past Calea's bed to land inside of the passageway. Up above her, she could just barely make out Theo's body as he fiddled with the hatch that leads outside. The sound of physical exertion came from the Riolu ahead of her and Saphire was curious, so she padded up the stairs. She had to be careful not to slip on the stairs since they were smaller than the ones that were in the spiral staircase.
Once she stood next to Theo, she could just make out the wooden hatch in front of her. It was basic but had the same steel reinforcements that the trap door and front door upstairs. On either side of the hatch were metal loop braces, and the same were two sets of metal loops on the right and left sides. Two poles with handles that stuck out of them sat in the braces which barred the hatch from opening. Apparently, Theo's night vision was terrible as he was trying to push the handles up when there was clearly a large gap between the two pole ends.
“Theo, why don’t you try pushing the handles together?” She asked him.
Apparently, Theo hadn't thought of that as he made a small noise of confusion for a moment. The Riolu looked over to where he heard her voice come from and then back at the bars in front of him. He switched his grip on the handles so that he had his palms facing each other before pushing them together. A metal clang filled the small passage as the pole ends slammed into one another.
Theo appeared quite surprised that they moved so easily but didn't argue about it. "Well, its unlocked now!" He thought aloud happily as he walked forward with his arms out. The hatch lifted up quickly after the bars were out of the way and midday sunlight shone down on their eyes. Saphire's eyes narrowed to slits immediately as the bright light hit her face; Theo had to shield his eyes with his left arm while his right pushed the hatch over to the right. Gravity took the door the rest of the way and hit the ground with a booming slam.
Saphire walked ahead of Theo and stood just in front of the stairs. Surrounding her as she came out was a rather quaint and small garden stretching to the right and left sides of Calea's house as well as another ten feet in front of her. There was a grassy path separating flower beds from each other as well as a ring of smooth stones to line them. Opposite of the basement door was a short wooden fence and gate that was at least half a foot taller than she was.
"Whoa," Theo mumbled as he stepped up next to her, his eyes finally having gotten used to the sun's light. "I didn't know Ms. Calea had a garden." As he said that, Saphire did find it odd that Calea of all Pokémon had a garden. For one she was a fire type, and two is that she almost never even goes outside other than to take Theo and herself out to eat.
"Same here," Saphire responded as she took in the view of the garden. She took a moment to smell the air as well; the scent of full bloom flowers filled it with the smell of spring. "What I'm wondering though is how these plants are still alive." Theo looked at her, a bit confused at her thought. "Well think about it. It's almost winter, and these plants look like they're in summer still."
He took a moment to think about it for the both of them. Theo placed his hand in front of his snout and held it there for a moment before pulling it underneath and scratching the side of his neck. "Maybe," Theo started as he stopped and looked at her, "It's because the basement is so hot that it makes the ground around it warm, so the plants still live."
Saphire thought about what Theo said, and it seemed to make sense. If the walls in her basement were warm still then the ground that was nearby would be warm as well for a while longer. "Makes sense I guess. Though they shouldn't be alive for too much longer." She informed him as she walked forward towards the gate. Theo followed behind her, closing the hatch slowly so that the bars didn't lock them out. "So what is it that you wanted to do?"
The Riolu pulled up his fists and threw the forward and pulled back: Right, right, left, right. Air rushing by Saphire’s ears as he punched the air and smiled at her. “I want to train. I want you to hit me with some ranged attacks so that I can practice one of my moves.” Her ears shot up in surprise at what he was suggesting. Thinking back on the test that she took at the guild Saphire knew that her accuracy was fine, but her range was terrible. Theo apparently picked up on her doubt and continued. “Don’t worry Saphire. I’ll stand close enough that the attack will hit me and not disappear. This will also help you work on your attack power.”
Saphire moved her head from side to side when he said that and smiled. “Alright. Sure we can do that.” The Eevee followed Theo out of the garden and into the field a small distance where he motioned for her to stop and he continued walking another twenty feet before stopping and turning around.
"Okay so what you're going to do is use your best-ranged attack at me, and I'm going to be deflecting it," Theo explained to her. "Give it your best shot."
With that Saphire got her body ready to attack him. Legs were loose but prepared for the recoil of the attack, back straight and head up. Saphire opened her mouth; energy drawing forth and collecting in front of her open muzzle to start forming a sphere of black energy. The Shadow Ball grew in size quickly to that just smaller than her head and aimed right at Theo. He stood with his left arm out in front of himself, left leg under it. His torso was sideways with his left pointed towards her with the right side of his body facing away from her.
A heartbeat later Saphire let her Shadow Ball fly at him, the dark energy sphere shooting quickly at the Riolu. The ball of darkness began to get closer to Theo, and as it did the energy that made it up also started to fade away. It made its way towards him, and just as it got within five feet of him, his left arm began to glow white. He dove forward; his left arm outstretched as if the grab the attack right out of the air but instead flipped his palm down. The sphere hit the back of his paw, and black sparks shot out from where his arm and the attack collided. Then, in the blink of an eye, the Shadow Ball began to ride the glowing arm all the way up to his shoulders. Half a moment later his shoulders had the same glow on them as the ball rode across them and onto his right arm which glowed as well. Theo aimed his right arm out back behind him towards the mountain in the background where the Shadow Ball sped off and blew up after traveling another ten feet.
Saphire stared in astonishment at what Theo had just done with her attack. Her eyes were wide open in awe while her maw hung agape; wordless because of his display of skill. "What did you just do?" She asked quietly, amazement and wonder both evident in her voice as she spoke.
Theo simply shrugged his shoulders as he moved into a relaxed posture. “It doesn’t really have a name yet." He told her as he folded his arms over his stomach. "Johnny taught it to me the last time I was here. In Great Usarus I mean. He said only I can do it because my aura has protective properties. Whatever that means."
She looked at him curiously. "Aura. That's that stuff that Johnny talks about how it's what makes us stay alive, and if it runs out, then we die."
“He told me that too. So did my big brother, Liam.” Theo told her in response; confirming what she had said.
“Maybe I can learn about aura too when Johnny gets back.” Saphire thought to herself as she looked around. As she did, her ears began to pick up a noise almost like chatter from a lot of Pokémon. “Do you hear that?” Saphire asked him.
Theo tilted his head to the side out of confusion. “Hear what? I don’t hear anything.”
As if to answer both of their questions there was a short flash of light, and suddenly Johnny was standing next to Theo. "Hey, kids. We're back."
Theo grinned and looked at the Pikachu beside him. "Hey, Johnny!" With greetings out of the way, Theo hugged Johnny.
“Johnny!” Saphire exclaimed while dashing forward to stand in front of them. “What happened? Where did you go? Why couldn’t I come with?”
Saphire's rapid bombardment of questions didn't nearly overwhelm Johnny at all, but it did make him laugh. He reached out his arm and pet her head while shaking Theo's shoulder a little bit. "I'll tell you both about it over dinner. For now, would you both like to see something cool?"
Theo was immediately all for it, and it showed as excitement filled his face. Saphire was as equally excited but didn't express it as much with her body language. "Sweet. Now hold on. I'm going to teleport us all to the guild where it is." Both of them nodded and stood by his side. Johnny rested a hand on Saphire's and Theo's back before they were all engulfed in a flash of light.
For a split second Saphire lost her balance and her vision temporarily blinded when the flash filled her vision. She couldn't see, and as a result, she almost fell to her right side; Johnny didn't let that happen, however. He slid his hand up to her neck and hooked her closer to his body. A moment later she could see again, and the smell of many different Pokémon began to overwhelm her. Quickly surveying the room told her that she had been teleported to the guild's gathering hall.
They hadn't even been standing in the guild for three seconds before Saphire heard movement right behind her. Out of the corner of her eye Johnny's head suddenly lunged down in front of him; his head going straight into the dirt. Saphire could hear a growl behind her, and she turned her head to see Chanler standing behind where Johnny was with her right arm glowing red. It faded a heartbeat later before speaking. "Johnny I told you to tell them we are back; not to bring them here!"
Her voice traveled very little due to so many other Pokémon talking, but a few others had stopped to look at the commotion she caused. Johnny groaned and pulled his face out of the dirt while rubbing the back of his head with his hand. "Dammit, Chanler! Quit hitting me so hard! You wonder why I have headaches all the time and this is probably why!" He complained as he looked forward; not even bothering to turn and look at her. "They're guild members anyways. They have a right to see this."
Chanler sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Fine. Theo, Saphire, make sure you stay next to us.” She told them as she let her arm fall to her side while walking forward to stand between Johnny and Saphire.
Theo looked over to Saphire, and Saphire to him; both knew they weren’t going to disobey Chanler’s order anytime soon. “So what is it we’re going to see?” Theo asked them out of curiosity.
“You’ll see in a minute.” Is all Johnny told him.
The four of them sat in silence while the rest of the room went about their business. It didn’t take much more time for a voice to call out above the chatter. “Pokémon of the guild hear my voice! We have criminals en escort walking up the steps to our guild! Make a path so that no one may lose their life by a mere mistake!" Michael was the one talking to them, but she couldn't see where he was. Then up to her left, she could see a white figure standing high up on a platform. Michael was standing at the edge of where his office was and looking out over the gathering hall; more specifically the two large open doors at the front of it.
A few moments after he gave the announcement the Pokémon that filled the guild went silent. There was a small cry from the front of the guild, and suddenly more voices were joining in that appeared to be taunting or harassing a group of something that was coming into the guild. Saphire couldn't see what was going on because she was so small began to unsheathe and sheath her claws into the ground in irritation. Theo seemed curious too what was going on but didn’t act on his curiosity this time.
She had enough though, and without warning, she took off forward; weaving between Pokémon to get a better look at who was coming in. Faintly she could hear Chanler call out to her from behind, but she didn't overthink it as she made a leap forward. Saphire immediately stopped dead in her tracks as she hopped over a small child to land in the middle of the uncrowded floor. Standing in front of her was a towering black figure; it was a snake to be more precise. An all-black Seviper was sitting in front of her with the blade of its tail stained a dark red with some splatter on it as well as around its eyes and mouth.
"What do you want, child?" The snake asked her, glaring down at the Eevee with a wide grin. "Did you want to be my next meal?"
“Next meal?” She asked herself before realizing what she meant. "Oh, Arceus. This lady’s mouth is larger than my body!” Saphire stared at her partially in horror and more so in anger. “You’re just lucky you’re caught! I’d wipe the floor with your big mouth!”
Probably not the best idea to antagonize the snake that was five times her size that was able to swallow her whole. Just thinking about being eaten alive sent a chill down her spine. If this criminal ate her then her body would barely show up under all of those powerful coiling muscles.
She laughed at Saphire’s display of courage and looked back at her. “You pipssssqueak? You’d barely be able to put up a sssstruggle before I had you for a ssssnack.”
Saphire growled softly, her legs trembling underneath her body. “Saphire!” Chanler shouted as she came to stand beside her and grab around the Eevee's neck and pull her backward. "Why did you just run off like that?" She asked Saphire, her tone of voice less than pleased.
However, when Saphire tried to answer Chanler's question the snake broke in. "Ssssaphire, eh?” She asked with a wide and eerie smile that showed her long dark red fangs. “Sssso that’ssss the brat’ssss name. I hope you aren’t too attached to her. Sssshe’ll be my food eventually!”
Chanler hissed back at the snake with her own smaller fangs on show. “Get this low life out of my sight!” The Pikachu demanded while looking between the four Lucarios who had their swords aimed at the snake. The Seviper laughed as she slithered forward with the Lucarios all following around her. “Damn Navia.”
“Navia? Was that her name?” Saphire asked to try and clear it up. Chanler would sigh as the rest of the criminals were all escorted into the guild and towards the staircase at the back of the room.
"Yes. Navia, the Reaper of Death. She gives no mercy in a fight and then she eats whoever is unfortunate enough to fall victim to her." Chanler explained to her before rubbing the back of Saphire's head. "It's alright now though. She's going behind bars, and when the prison escorts get here, she'll be going away for life."
Saphire listened to what Chanler had to say but also paying attention to the other criminals being brought in. There was a small variety of Pokémon species in the lineup: Seviper, Duosion, Gothitelle, Pawniard, Arcanine, Sableye, but most intriguing of all of them were the last few Pokémon that came in. There were three at the end of the group that caught her attention as they were of her own species which she never really ever sees in town. First up was a young looking Umbreon who seemed just younger than she was; the second was another young Espeon, and then lastly a Flareon who looked to be the same age as her. Oddly enough though when the Flareon walked past her the two of them locked eyes for a split second and Saphire could swear she saw recognition in the Flareon's eyes.
She didn’t get to ponder in it long before Chanler’s voice shook her back to reality. “Saphire, let’s go home. Liam is waiting for us back at the house for some dinner.” Saphire looked over to Chanler who was smiling, and she smiled back.
"Okay, Ms. Chanler." The Eevee answered while Chanler got back up to her feet.
The two of them began to walk towards the front door of the guild practically arm in arm as Chanler tried to make sure Saphire was alright from her brief encounter with Navia. As they walked through the threshold, it became evident that Johnny and Theo had already left them, and headed home. “Um. Ms. Chanler can I walk home by myself when Johnny comes back to teleport us home?” Saphire asked her as she stopped at the top of the stairs.
A bit confused, Chanler looked at Saphire and stopped beside her. “You want to walk home alone? Are you sure you remember the way?” Chanler asked her.
Saphire nodded and smiled at the Pikachu. “I do remember. I know I can make it back on my own.”
There was a flash of light and Johnny appeared on Chanler’s side, touching her shoulder. “Ready to go you two?” Johnny asked them, looking between his sister and Saphire.
"I am," Chanler told him. "But Saphire wishes to walk home by herself."
Johnny looked at Saphire, his eyes raised up with his eyebrows to show his interest. “Oh does she?” He let go of Chanler’s shoulder and smiled at Saphire. "Well, then how about a little quiz? I know you have an excellent memory so I’m sure you remember how many things you pass by on your way to and from the guild. How many left turns do you take?”
Saphire sat down and thought back along the path Chanler always took her back home from the guild. “Six I believe?”
The Pikachu nodded and pat Chanler’s shoulder. “That works for me. I don’t think I need too much more convincing. Do you?” He looked to Chanler with the same smile.
Chanler shook her head and smiled as well looking between her brother and Saphire. "No, I don't need any more to believe."
“Then by all means, Saphire. Head home on your own.” Johnny chuckled and placed his hand back on Chanler’s shoulder. “Let’s go home, Chanler.” He didn’t waste a moment as the two of them vanished in a flash of light.
Saphire shuddered from the sudden gust of cold wind that hit her face when Johnny and Chanler left. "Well, I guess I should get going now." She thought to herself before beginning her descent down the stairs.
The walk home for Saphire was a rather mellow one. Most Pokémon were now in their homes for the night leaving the streets rather clear of anyone else. She was on the last stretch of road to get home when she saw a Sylveon walking in her direction a couple hundred feet in front of her. Saphire didn’t say anything as they began to cross paths; the Sylveon coming pass within five feet of her. That is if he had actually planned to stay on course and pass her, but he quickly swerved towards her and wrapped his ribbons around her face, neck, and forelegs.
Saphire let out a yelp in surprise, but it was quickly cut off because one of the Sylveon’s ribbons wrapped around her muzzle. Her legs were lifted up into the air above her until she was outstretched and hanging by her forelegs and neck. With her hanging by her neck, the air in her lungs was left to go stale while the Sylveon moved his head close to her. She could feel his hot breath on her left ear, and she twitched it in an attempt to bat him away. Hitting him in the face only earned her a soft chuckle from him and the way he laughed almost felt familiar.
"Oh, my dearest Saphire. Where the years have gone. Those who came after you have already matured, and those who came before have never forgotten you.” Started the Sylveon as he spoke softly in her ear.
“What in the world is he talking about?” Saphire asked herself as he continued to have his mouth next to her ear.
“When you hear the words of your mother you will remember your past dearest sister. Remember that you are a Starlight rising up from your roots.”
Saphire gasped, her eyes flew wide open as something deep within her mind surfaced to the light. She saw everything laid out before her and then the world went black.