Beginning Flames

The Final Straw?

With my flight training now complete, I nervously waited for the final test, the last thing I'd have to do to complete my training. I read the Mobius Immortals book to try to get my mind off it. To think that most of them were related to each other, whether by blood or bond, and some had no bonds with any others whatsoever.

"Although most are born, there are two that which have been created by mortal hand," I read. "The God of War Mewtwo was brought to life from the DNA of Mew's fossilized eyebrow. However, Mewtwo went berserk and he blew up the laboratory, killing everyone inside. Why mortal scientists always want to tamper with how the world works, we'll never know. It always goes bad in the end."

I laughed a little. Immortals can have their moments, I thought. I read on. "Genesect was once a native in the prehistoric era, but then mortals tampered with him by adding a large cannon on his back after bringing him back alive through fossil restoration. Even though he has technology from this day and age, he doesn't give a crap about using it properly and decides to scare people with it by pretending to fire at a group of people."

I somewhat guessed that pigheadedness is an unavoidable trait.

"Hey, Chy," Charmy squeaked as he hovered above my book. "You wanna do something fun?"

I looked up at him. "What were you thinking that would be fun?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I don't know. I thought you would think of something."

I smiled. Even a little attention from that little bee would be a bit amusing. I closed the book, setting it on the coffee table. "Well, we could go outside and play a game."

"Oh, crap," I heard Vector mutter.

"What kind of game?" the little bee excitedly asked.

"How about... Hide and Seek?" I replied.


"Oh, Princess!" two familiar voices sang.

Oh, no, they're back...!

In that instant, Tornadus and Thundurus appeared once more, sitting on the opposite couch from me.

"Did you miss us?" they spoke in unison.

"Does it look like I missed you?" I growled. "What're you guys doing here?"

"We came to give you a report," Thundurus explained.

"A report on what?" Espio asked, being suspicious as always.

I was about to answer but Tornadus quickly said, "Sorry, but that's private information shared between me, my brother, and Princess." The two grabbed me by the arms and started dragging me to the door.

"What about our game?" Charmy asked.

"Don't worry," I said. "I'll be right back. Promise." Being led outside, the duo dragged me to part of the forest, thinking it was safe. I pulled from their grip. "Don't just come in unannounced like that. People consider that surprising, rude, and think an intruder's gonna kill them."

"Wolf Boy did that all the time," Tornadus countered.

"Speaking of which, we know what he's been up to," Thundurus said.

Now my interest was piqued. "What'd you find out?" I asked.

"We found that he's been talking with someone in the dead of night."

"Yeah," Tornadus agreed with a nod.

"Who has he been talking to?" I inquired.

The brothers looked at each other. They looked back at me and both shrugged. "No clue," they said in unison.

I mentally face-palmed. Figures. "Well, were there any distinguishing features about this person?"

Thundurus was thoughtful. "He was about this tall," he said, getting on his brother's shoulders, simulating the height. "And he had these eyes that could see right through your soul." He added with a smartass chuckle, "And your clothes."

Ignoring that last statement, I asked, "Anything else?"

Tornadus dumped his brother off him. "Not that we could see," he said. "It was too dark. But he had this really deep voice."

"What were they talking about?"

Once again, the brothers shrugged and said, "No clue."

"We couldn't get close enough without getting found out," Tornadus said.

"But it looked like Wolf Boy was thinking about making a deal," Thundurus added.

"A deal?" I questioned. "What sort of deal?"

"Not sure, but it was very suspicious."

"Like he was making a deal with a devil," Tornadus added.

A deal with a devil... Zephyr is getting into trouble. And if I were to try to follow him, who knows how that stranger would react? If only there was a way I could get him out of this deal.

"Princess looks deep in thought," Tornadus spoke.

"Wonder what she's thinking," Thundurus spoke.

I looked back at the duo. "Thank you, guys," I said. "It's not much, but it helps."

"No problem, Princess," they said in unison, smiles across their faces.

Ya know, they may be dumb, but at least they're helpful... when they want to be. And thank god they don't read minds.

A little later, Charmy and I commenced with our game of Hide and Seek. It didn't take long for me to find him. I must've hidden in a really good place because it took him about an hour to find me, and I was just in a tree. But before he found me, I couldn't help but think about the deal Zephyr hasn't decided upon accepting. That's when I started fearing the worst.

I couldn't sleep that evening either. I had Vector's desk lamp on, continuing to read my book. But even as I skimmed a few paragraphs here and there, I couldn't ease my thoughts one little bit. Zephyr's mysterious motives clouded my mind too much.

There's gotta be a reason why he's doing whatever the hell he's been doing. I'll try and find him tomorrow and see what's up. But how can I do that if he doesn't have a hidden scent for me to follow? Well, that means I'll do a bit of detective work to find him. Then it hit me. Hold on a second. Zephyr told me that the first week of spring is the craziest time for Immortals, and no Immortal wants to sit still. That's all this is. I have about five days left until the week's over, then everything will be back to normal. Man, what was I worried about?

On that note, my horrible thoughts went away and I continued reading without another care.

The five days seemed to pass very slowly, almost like time didn't want to move forward. But when I woke up on the fifth day, Zephyr had appeared on the opposite couch, out cold. I smiled, knowing that he'll be back to his old self in no time. I got up and went to his side, gently shaking him.

"Zephyr," I whispered. "Zephyr."

He woke with a bit of a start, but he was calm as he sat up and stretched. "Morning already?" he yawned.

"Yes, it's morning." Whatever you do, don't ask what he was doing. It'll just get him mad again.

"Damn right you're not gonna ask because I'm still not gonna tell."

"Look, I just wanted to apologize about before. I shouldn't have been so nosy. I was just worried about you."

A smile spread on his face. "Aw, that's alright." He tousled my hair. "I forgive you."

So far, so good.

"Besides, I've done what I've needed to do, so you don't need to worry any further."

"Oh, that's good." Thank god... But why do I get the feeling that he's lying to me? "Uh, Zephyr, out of curiosity, was there anything that you did that you weren't supposed to do? I swear to keep it secret."

He let out a small sigh. "Look, all you need to know is that it's done and over with. Well, it will be tonight."

Tonight? "Oh, I see." This is my big chance to see what dirty little secret he's hiding. "I'll say no more about it."

"Thank you." He laid back down on the couch. "You don't mind me hanging out here, do ya?"

I smiled. "Not at all." You sneaky bastard.

He hung out with the Chaotix and I for the day until around twilight, he announced his exit and left. I pretended to be tired so that I can turn in early. I waited a little while to make sure everyone was asleep. Espio's a light sleeper, so I had to make sure to be extra quiet before I left the building. To make sure no one was gonna find my footprints, I took to the air for about a few minutes until I landed in part of the forest, and continued on foot. I didn't make light because I didn't want to be spotted. If Zephyr thought he was getting away with something, he was dead wrong.

I walked around for what seemed like forever until I finally saw Zephyr standing in the center of an open area all alone.

Alright. Time to catch him in the act. I walked right up to him, his back facing me. "Alright, Zephyr," I said. "What's going on? You've been acting strangely for a whole week, and I wanna know why."


"What have you been doing that you didn't want me to know?"

More silence.

"Why won't you answer me?!"

"I've been thinking about this for a while, Cheyenne," he finally spoke, his head slightly turned to me. But the way he spoke - dark and slowly - made me nervous. "Know what I mean?"

I gulped a little. "Uh, no, I don't know what you mean." Why is he scaring me?

"I've been thinking and come to realize that you're competition. You're nothing but a waste of space. To think, you thought that we're the same, but clearly, we're not. I'm bigger than you, I'm stronger than you, and I'm not afraid to hurt somebody. Trust me. We're far too different."

Why is he saying these things? This isn't like him at all. Lightning flashed and thunder exploded, the rain starting to fall. "Zephyr," I pleaded, "if it's anything that I did - if I wronged you in any way, I'm sorry. We can still be friends, right?"

He laughed in a mocking tone as he turned to fully face me. Not only had his tone turned dark, but his eyes had as well. They went from a warming crimson to an evil blood red. "Friends? Friends? You don't get it, do you? I played you. I played everyone. You're all nothing but a bunch of saps! I still can't believe how easy it was to fool you all!" He continued to mockingly laugh at my expense. I was just confused as to why he would do this. This new behavior of his had gone far enough for my liking.

"Zephyr, please stop it. You're really freaking me out." I took a couple of steps back from him. "This isn't like you at all."

"You think so? Personally, I like this new behavior. I like it a lot."

And now is a good time to run away as fast as your legs can carry you. And with that thought, I took off like a bullet, racing through the trees. I looked behind me to see if he was coming after me. He wasn't there. I looked up at the darkened sky. The rain blocked my way. I looked back ahead. I just happened to find myself in another clearing with a rock wall at the other end. Even if I tried flying away, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea. I was trapped regardless.

"You know what I hate about the game of Cat and Mouse?" I turned and there Zephyr stood. "I hate how it sometimes ends too quickly."

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