Beginning Flames

Serena's True Colors

I was pretty happy that I was flying, and so was Silver. Unfortunately, even though I was flying, I still had to learn how to control my wings - how to summon them per se, and their ability to pop out when unwanted. This happened for about 17 days. The summoning was kind of interesting; instead of trying to rip through your shirt or to rip your shirt completely off like in some books where the wings tend to destroy your favorite clothing, they seem to phase through it like a hologram or an illusion.

"After completing your flight training," Silver stated, "there's one last test that you'll have to pass."

"Test?" I questioned. "Silver, I graduated high school last spring. I was done with tests when I passed my finals."

"It won't be that kind of test, trust me. The final challenge will test you on your knowledge, strength, and ability to use the Elements within you. In other words, you'll have to use everything you've got to pass."

"Oh. Great. So, when is it?"

"You can't know when the test will commence," Blaze spoke. "You'll have to keep on your toes, and wait until it does happen."

Oh my, she speaks! I guess Silver did talk to her. "You're talking to me now? I thought you weren't gonna speak to me ever again."

"I had someone talk to me about that." She didn't glance at Silver, but up at the sky. I had an idea of who she might have been referring to.

"But, Blaze, I didn't..." Silver started.

"Chill, Silver, it's cool," I said. "I mean, as long bygones are bygones, right Blaze?"

She nodded, and I could've sworn that she showed a small smile.

So Zekrom beat Silver to the punch. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

"C'mon now, Sheila! Start flapping those wings!" Marine called from the sidelines. "I wanna see the action!"

I laughed a little. "Guess we better get started," I said.


I decided to take a little detour back to the detective agency, humming a song as I went along my merry way. I sat down next to a babbling brook, the snow around me starting to melt a little. A lovely wildflower or two bloomed in place. I guess there was a perk or two in having radiating body heat: you never get cold all that quickly, and you make a flower grow in the late winter. Well, truth be told, the snow was starting to melt in places, a sign that spring was approaching once more. Ah, spring. Where the weather's not too hot or cold; all you need is a light jacket and you're set.

As I sat next to the brook, I heard footsteps approach, the smell of cinnamon, honey, and bubblegum filling my nose. Oh, the guys are here. I one day learned that each individual had his or her own, as I'd like to call, hidden scent. It was weird at first, but then I was able to memorize who smelled like what. Charmy's scent was the most obvious; he smelled of honey. Espio smelled of cinnamon, I never quite expected that. Vector, of course, was bubblegum; he liked chewing the stuff.

"Hey guys," I called as the Chaotix came through the bushes.

"How'd you know it was us?" Charmy asked.

I smiled as I shrugged. "Just a lucky guess."

"So whatcha doin' out here for?" Vector asked. "Aren't ya supposed to be at training right now?"

"I actually finished and decided to hang out here for a little bit. Why are you guys out here?"

"Zephyr was wondering if you and him could talk," Espio explained.

I raised an eyebrow. "Talk about what?"

"He didn't say. But it seemed important."

"Maybe he's gonna finally step-up and claim you as his girlfriend," the croc snickered.

I stood up, brushing the dirt from my pants. "I wonder what he could want," I wondered. "I guess I'll go talk to him. Where's he at?"

"Right here." I looked up and there was Zephyr, hiding in the tree with leaves starting to bud on the bare branches.

Even though I can smell everyone else, I could never smell Zephyr. Is that an Immortal thing or something, when I can't smell their hidden scent? Probably keeping it in or something.

The timberwolf jumped down from the trees, landing between the Chaotix and I. He glanced back at the guys. "I'll take it from here," he said. "You can leave now."

"Right, gotcha," Vector said with a wink, making Zephyr and I both uncomfortable and annoyed. The guys left us alone, and I made sure; their scents were fading away.

"Alright, Zephyr, what is it you need to talk to me about?" I queried.

"It's important," he said with a serious tone. "I heard from Raikou, Suicune, and Entei. They were feeling dark disturbances in their areas, as were the Regis, Ho-Oh, and Lugia."

"Hold on. 'Dark disturbances?' What do you mean?"

He looked around, making sure no one was listening. "Demons."

"Demons?"

He nodded. "And I don't mean like little imps or grotesque monsters or any of that fantastical crap. I mean real Demons. They've been escaping again. Do you know of a place called Tartarus?"

"Yeah, it's the place where the Grecian Titans and their father Cronus were banished to by Zeus for their misdeeds."

"Yes, but what the legends never told you is that after the Titans were banished, the Demons had already claimed Tartarus first as their home. The Demon king demanded that they go somewhere else, but Cronus did not want to stand down. It ended up with the two of them going against each other in a fight to the death. They were both pretty aggressive fighters. But then the Demon king lost his focus for one second and ended up slain by Cronus. The Titan then crowned himself as the Demons' king, and he ruled ever since. The Demons were afraid of challenging the new king, so most obeyed without question. After several hundred years, they got used to their king and his children, practically worshipping him as they did with their old king."

"But what do Demons have to do with what's happening now?"

"Well, one day, Cronus got bored, so he decided to send some soldiers out to scare mortals whenever he felt like it. But it wasn't enough. The mortals got smart, putting up spell tags and performing purification ceremonies to keep them at bay whenever they could. That pissed him off, so he thought of ways to try to get around those spells. He tried dark magic of his own, but that ended up backfiring. Then, the idea struck him. He thought of using-"

"Chy-Chy!" A tackling hug from behind caught me off guard, nearly making me fall forward. Serena was holding tight and didn't seem to be letting go. "I've barely seen you this winter! It's been sooooo long!"

Oh dear god get her off! Get! Her! OFF! Her happiness is way too unnatural!

"Hey Serena," Zephyr smiled, laughing a little. "Nice to see you again."

"Oh! It's... you," she said slowly. "How've you been?" I saw her face, which was trying not to form a sneer.

She's doing it again. Something's really wrong with her.

Zephyr suddenly whipped his head behind him.

"Zephyr, what is it?" I asked. "Do you hear something?"

He turned back to me. "Hey, I'll talk to you later, okay?" He walked through the bushes, leaving me alone with my doppelganger.

"Now that he's gone," Serena said, "we can totally do a lot of best friend stuff!" She squeaked in delight, making my ears ring a bit.

Oh, I wish she would just drop dead. The sun shone through the clouds as I happened to look at the ground. I saw my shadow, just barely at five o'clock. Serena's shadow, however... was nonexistent. There was no shadow. What the hell?!

"Serena," I cautiously spoke. "Why don't you have a shadow?"

No answer.

"Serena, why don't you have a shadow?" I repeated.

A small, dark chuckle rose from her throat. "So... you've finally figured it out," she darkly said.

Figured what out? It's not like she's a... A terrible thought hit me. Oh, no!

"That's right." She grabbed me by the arms and threw me into the nearest tree. I was stunned for a brief moment, then I tried getting up. But then she stomped down on my back, pinning me to the ground. "I've been waiting for this for a long time. Let's see what kind of power you've got, Half-Blood."

My eyes widened fearfully. She... she knows...!

She then picked me up by the back of my shirt and shot me with some kind of blast, sending me flying through the bushes. I backed away fearfully as she stepped toward me.

"Se-Serena," I shivered. "Wh-What are you doing? I never d-d-did anything to you."

"I know," she said casually, a dark smile on her face. Her eyes were now blood red, instead of the emerald green they once were. She pulled out a scythe, decorated pink on the handle, the blade as black as death. She traced her finger on the scythe's blade. "It's such a shame. I was starting to like you a little. But, orders are orders, after all."

"Orders? What orders?"

"Why, orders to... 'detain' you, of course. But Master didn't say how to 'detain' you, so I'm doing it my way." She glanced down at me. "You do know what I mean by 'detain', don't you?"

I didn't respond. I knew the answer already.

"But what surprised me was that neither you or that damn Half-Blood cousin of yours didn't realize what I was when we first met on that fateful day in the mall." A pair of large pink and blackish-purple bat-like wings grew from her back, a curved spike on each wing.

"But you were acting so happy, like a frickin' Mary Sue. It was really getting on my nerves."

"I know." Her dark smile sent shivers down my spine. "It was my job to find your dislikes and try to use them against you, which was pretty easy." She took a few steps toward me. "It's so sad that it has to end this way. But then again, there was no way for you to... Oh, I can't say it."

"Just say what you're gonna say and get it over with."

"Well... Alright. You were never gonna finish your training, anyway. Knowing you, you would never use your power against others. You're weak."

Weak...?

"You're weaker than weak."

She better shut up...!

"You never had the guts to use your powers, regardless if you knew about them or not."

I felt something stir within me as if all the anger and pain that I held in for a long time started to manifest into something great. The worst part? I think I liked it.

"And now, to end your misery." She raised her scythe above her head. "Goodbye, Cheyenne."

"I think not."

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