I got back into the swing of both my Immortal training and ninja training. Silver and I were able to work out a bi-weekly schedule; I'd work on my Immortal training for a week, then switch it over to ninja training, etcetera, etcetera. Of course, Blaze still hadn't talked to me after the accidental flaming I gave her - even though I said I was sorry like a thousand times. She was, to me, the silent loner who never shows what she feels.
The new year had started around this time, and both training styles had gotten more intense, especially the ninja training. In a practice spar, Espio kept knocking me to the ground as if I was a rag doll or a punching bag. Zephyr had been watching from the porch - he came by every day ever since we found out about each other's 'secret.' And even when I started feeling sore and felt like my limbs were gonna fall off, I wanted to keep going. The ninja chameleon, however, had a different idea.
"How about we take a break?" Espio said.
I shook my head. "No, it's okay," I said. "I can keep going." Who am I kidding? I can barely stand as it is.
"C'mon, Cheyenne, take five," Zephyr called from the porch. "I'll make some hot chocolate for ya."
I let out a sigh. "Alright, alright."
My eyes widened in fear. Oh, crap...! Please don't let it be her!
I turned around and saw Serena jumping at me, squeezing me into a hug. She was at least sane enough to wear warm clothing, like a hot pink sweater and light red skinny jeans that made her knee-high boots pop out more.
"It's sooooo awesome to see you again!" she happily squeaked.
"Who's this?" Espio asked.
"This is Serena, my, uh, doppelganger," I answered in a slightly strained voice. "Zephyr and I met her at the shopping complex." I lightly nudged Serena to get her attention. "Serena, this is my friend and ninja teacher Espio."
When she glanced over, she seemed... disgusted.
"It's nice to make your acquaintance," Espio said.
Her disgust quickly turned back to happiness. "Nice to meet you, too!" she said.
That was weird... Why'd she'd suddenly sneer at him? Talk about Extreme Bipolar Disorder.
"You know, it's a little uncanny to see someone find their doppelganger," the ninja chameleon stated.
"But we did!" Serena sang, finally letting me out of the hug. "And I couldn't be any happier!"
Because if you did, your face would rip in half from smiling too much.
"So whatcha doin' now?"
"Well, we were just about to go inside for some hot cocoa," I said.
"Ooh, can I join?"
"Of course you can," Zephyr said. "A friend of my friend is my friend as well."
"Oh. I didn't know you and Chy-Chy were simply... friends." She sounded a bit... Surprised? Disappointed? Interested? I couldn't quite pinpoint what she was feeling, but it must have been a mixture of anger and non-satisfaction. "Well, I'd like to join you for hot cocoa, but I have something important to do. Bye-bye!" Once more, she happily skipped away, which made me all the more confuzzled of her. Once more, I shook it off, and the three of us went inside. Charmy instantly flew right in front of me.
"Hey Chy, who was that girl that looked like you?" he asked.
"A creepy, stalker fangirl," I answered. "At least that's how I see her."
"One of the best ways to describe your double."
All but Zephyr looked around, trying to find the source of the mystery voice.
"Okay, who the hell said that?" Vector asked.
"Is there a ghost in here?!" Charmy quivered.
"Hmm, mayhaps you should look at the door."
Everyone looked at the door, and I let out a little yelp. A human man had stood in the doorway. He looked a couple of inches taller than Zephyr, had black hair that stuck out everywhere, one of those little chin beard thingies, crimson red eyes, and wore a pitch-black short-sleeved T-shirt, dark gray dress pants, and black dress shoes. He appeared to be very casual.
"Hey, Zekrom," Zephyr said casually.
"Zekrom?" I asked.
"That'd be me," said the man. "Zekrom, God of Ideals, Dragon of Lightning, friend to Zephyr, and uncle to you, Cheyenne." He took my hands in his. "It is a great honor to meet you in person for the first time. You've blossomed into a young woman. You have my looks, too." He sounded like that of a bass cello, but about two octaves higher.
"As you can see, he's a bit of a vain narcissist," Zephyr explained.
"I am not! You're a dirty liar, Zephyr."
Zephyr just rolled his eyes. "After knowing you for only two years, I know you pretty damn well."
"You're just jealous that you can't get my good looks."
"Wow," I spoke. "You really are vain, aren't you."
Zekrom let out a horrified gasp. "My niece; my loving, caring niece..." He looked like he was about to cry, but I knew better than to fall for that façade. "You barely meet me, and you call me something mean!"
I slowly shook my head.
"No?" He straightened up. "Well, at least I tried."
"So... why are you here?"
"Can't an uncle see his niece? I know I missed the holiday season, but I thought I'd give this to you." From practically out of thin air, he pulled out an empty sword sheathe.
"What's with the sword sheathe?" Espio asked.
"You're not planning on giving her a violent weapon, are you?" Vector asked. "She's already scary enough without one."
The only reason I get scary is because you keep spouting nonsense I don't wanna hear!
"I'm giving her the sheathe," Zekrom explained, "because I want her to find her immortal weapon."
"An immortal weapon?" Charmy asked. "What does it do?"
"It's a powerful weapon only to be wielded by Immortals or those the weapons deem worthy." He turned back to me. "The sheathe is yours to hold until the day you find your weapon, which I will then test its power and ability." He handed the sheathe to me. "And by the way, I just noticed some trees that looked like they were blown away."
Oh, geez, not this again... I thought by now the snow would've covered those up.
"Have any of you seen the spirit Shiro?"
"Who?" the Chaotix asked.
"Doesn't shiro mean 'white' in Japanese?" I asked.
"Yes," Zekrom replied, "and Shiro is one of the few spirits that appear on the mortal plane. But the only way for him to appear is if he takes a host body. Usually, it would be that of an Immortal, but if the host were that of a mortal or such, he wouldn't be fully defined."
"What do you mean by 'fully defined?'" Espio asked.
"He would only appear as the pure and powerful energy known as aura. It's unknown what aura has to do with any bit of the living world, but I'm sure the mortal philosophers and scientists have tried figuring it out."
So that white energy was really Shiro? Uh-oh...
Zekrom's eyes suddenly turned worried. "Oh, dear... I'd love to stay awhile, but I must be going. It was very good meeting you, Niece." He teleported out.
"I guess Celebi's got her work cut out for her, huh?" Zephyr muttered to me with a chuckle.
"Yeah, I guess..." I said distractedly as I looked at the sheathe.
Later that evening, I stared at the ceiling, wide awake. I've grown used to Vector's snoring, but that wasn't the cause of my insomnia. I continued staring at the sheathe, the black material feeling good to the touch. I let out a quiet sigh.
An immortal weapon and a spirit called Shiro inhabiting my body... As long as there's no Kuro (black) or Midori (green) or Aoi (blue) or whatever spirits, then nothing could ever go wrong, right?
"Thou mustn't be so sure." I sat straight up, looking for the source of the mysterious voice. This voice sounding exactly like that of a bass cello. "Aren't ye going to move thy lips and tongue? Speak."
"I've had one god introduce himself to me," I said loud enough for the voice to hear. "I don't think I need another."
"Was the first my brother?"
"That depends. Are you Reshiram?"
"Indeed I am."
"Then yes; the first was your brother. Why couldn't you have seen me when he was here?"
Reshiram was silent a moment. "I don't communicate well with mortals."
I rolled my eyes. "Just come out and show yourself. Everyone else is asleep."
He appeared by the couch. Reshiram had long hair tied back in one of those manly ponytails that you'd find in old-timey England. He wore this long-sleeved shirt with a light grayish vest, white dress pants, and white pilgrim's shoes - you know, the ones with the little gold buckles on them. His eyes were as blue as the fieriest sapphire. He had a very dignified look about him, much more so than Zekrom.
"Alright, now why are you here? You've come to get me a weapon too?"
"Actually," he started, "I thought I would come here to tell you of your purpose in this world."
"Purpose?" I raised a curious eyebrow. "What do you mean, Reshiram?"
"Just like Zephyr, you are here for a reason."
"You mean to train on how to use my powers?"
"It's more complex than that. You see, those you call Half-Bloods are very uncommon. You have the strength and agility of a full-fledged Immortal, but you're still vulnerable to near-fatal situations such as dying after a gruesome battle or coming into contact with poisonous plants, animals, or serums. After completing your basic training, you'll develop new abilities that would need time to control and master, as one of your instructors might have said."
"So... what exactly are you getting at?"
"The point is that, after training, there's the slim possibility that you too will become immortal."
I sat up. "Really?"
"That's right. When you're training's complete, you won't age another moment until the day when Arceus allows you a chance to become one of many brave and powerful Immortals of our proud Mobius clan. Of course, Zephyr completed his training a few months before you arrived, so he's in the running for that chance as well."
"Wait, Zephyr finished just before I came here?" How old is Zephyr again?
"20, of course, but he struggled to try to complete his training and abilities that he would have learned afterward decided to make themselves present, making it more difficult for him to push through his limitations."
That's right, he was distracted with his breakup. I wanna get the whole story from him, even if I turn into Creepy Stalker Girl. "Well, it's late, and I gotta sleep. Good night, Reshiram." I laid back down and closed my eyes.
"Very well. The night still be as young as the dawn of a-"
"Cheyenne. Cheyenne. Wake up."
I woke up to a whispered voice and a gentle nudge. I wiped my sleepy eyes, seeing the ninja chameleon. He was looking out the window for some oddball reason. "Espio?" I yawned. "What time is it?"
"And you got me up because...?"
"I thought I heard someone sneaking around outside. Be ready."
I instantly perked up and followed the ninja chameleon to the door. He quietly opened it and went out first, I following behind him. At first glance, it didn't look like there was anyone out there. Then a chill ran down my spine, and it wasn't from the chill of the cold, winter night. Something was off, but what? Was it good? Bad? I couldn't tell. I started smelling the strong scent of peppermint mixed with chili powder, my nose curling by the unsettling smell.
"Do you smell that?" I whispered.
"What?" Espio whispered back.
"Peppermint and chili powder?"
He quickly shook his head after smelling the air a little. "I don't smell anything out here."
I guess my sense of smell became heightened. I could already smell someone barbecuing from a mile away, and now that peculiar combination is right inside my nostrils. Is that the scent of a living being?
After smelling the air again, the smell started fading out. It seems that he or she didn't want to be detected. "The smell's gone."
"So must be the intruder." He glanced at the darkened sky a brief moment before we went back inside. "It's strange for someone to show up and then leave suddenly."
"Totally." Then something hit me. "Hey, Espio, I've got a question."
"What made you train in Ninjitsu? Have you learned it from a sensei, or your parents, or..."
His head lowered, eyes looking at the ground. "To be honest... I never knew my parents."
I blinked in surprise. Is Espio an orphan?
His eyes closed, a melancholic look on his face. "I was found as an orphan baby, left at the front door of a dojo. The sensei who taught Ninjitsu there, Master Fumio took me in and raised me as his own. He even taught me Ninjitsu to defend myself from the kids that would always beat me up for being an orphan. When I grew older, I left the dojo to travel until I stopped in Mobotropolis for a while. That's when Vector somehow found me and asked me to join in this detective agency."
"And after that was when you two found and took in Charmy," I concluded.
"That's right. And then we became the founders of the Chaotix Detective Agency, along with one other."
First, Charmy loses his family to a horde of Eggman robots, and Espio never even knew his parents. What other melancholy has happened in this detective agency alone?
"You know, you're the first one I've told this to." He lifted his head, looking at me. "You... won't tell Vector or Charmy about this, will you? I'm not exactly the trusting type."
"Yeah, I can tell," I said with a small laugh. "But seriously, I won't tell anyone about this. Cross my heart, and hope to die."
A small smile grew on his face. "You're a good person, Cheyenne. I wish there were more like you in the world." He paused, taking a deep breath. "Perhaps we should sleep before the sun rises." Vector's loud snoring resonated throughout the small building. "Then again, sleep might be impossible."
You know, underneath the mysterious persona, there's a nice guy in Espio. I wonder if I can get him to show it a little more one of these days. I mean, he's already a good guy at heart, but there's just something about him that needs to come out. Or, at least, make it present.