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Thread: The Life and Death of Providenceshipping

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    Post The Life and Death of Providenceshipping

    Title: The Life and Death of Providenceshipping

    Author: Vilya

    Rating: G

    Genre: Action/Adventure

    Summary: When reality itself is imperiled, its Creator must intervene and reveal itself to the world, and to a few beings whose lives will be changed.

    Ship: Ash's Buizel x Arceus x Todd Snap x Brock's Croagunk x a Pokéball

    Fanfiction.net link


    Hello everyone! How good of you to join me on this mad adventure.

    Here’s the deal. My friend and I were discussing the infinite amount of ships in the fandom and how a lot of them are pretty imaginative, to say the least. She told me I should make up my own, which I did. Like a bad cook, I mixed up things that just don’t go together: a human here, a Pokémon there, why not put in an object? My friend then challenged me to write a fanfiction using the mess I had just created. This gave me quite a headache at first: how could I write anything edible with such a recipe? But, instead of resorting to pure silliness, I managed to come up with this not very romantically-oriented but more canon-driven piece.

    Now, my dream is to one day see my ship in one of those endless shipping lists.

    Note that I have neither played Diamond & Pearl nor seen the episodes past 527, so we’ll see if I did my homework right. Though some things I blatantly made up. And you might recognize lines or scenes that I shamelessly took from the anime.

    So! Here it is, my flesh and blood, my monster, Providenceshipping. Enjoy!

    ---

    The Life and Death of Providenceshipping

    Today, we find our heroes taking a break on the road to Solaceon Town and Dawn’s next Pokémon contest. Little do they know that their next adventure lies just on the horizon.

    A joyful "Pika!" was heard from the top of an apple tree as Pikachu found the sought rubious fruit. Grabbing two with its small arms, the yellow rodent jumped down and made its way to its master.

    "Pikapi!" it called up, tugging at said Pikapi’s ankle.

    "For me? Thanks Pik!" Ash took one of the apples with his hand free of firewood. "We should have enough wood now; let’s head back."

    "Cha!" agreed Pikachu while ever so cutely eating its apple.

    The pair soon reached the camp, where Brock and Dawn, along with all the Pokémon, were preparing for lunch. Pokéchow cans were carried around, dishes were set and Brock was fixing a batch of his famous stew. As Ash bent down to put the gathered branches under the waiting cauldron, he suddenly saw a flicker of light in the bush ahead as the sun was briefly reflected upon an unseen object. He was hit with a feeling of danger as he saw how exposed he and his friends were. In his mind’s eye, he could see a gun being fired and his friends screaming as they were shot.

    "Look out everyone! Look for cover!" he yelled, pushing Dawn to the ground, knocking a few Pokémon over and finally jumping on Brock. The cauldron fell along with them and spilt its content in the dirt. Everyone remained still for a moment. Ash let go of the breath he was holding as Brock, angered by his culinary efforts gone to waste, shoved him aside.

    "What’s your problem?!" he all but shouted.

    "Pikapi pikachu!"

    "Bui bui!"

    "Buneary!"

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    "Have you lost it?! Look what you did to my hair!" cried Dawn in dismay.

    Ash, though feeling embarrassed that he seemed to have been wrong, couldn’t help but mumble, "Looks the same to me..."

    "You are SUCH a BOY! Piplup, come on."

    "Pip piplup," chirped the blue penguin as it followed its infuriated master into the woods for another hair straightening via BubbleBeam.

    "What was that all about?" demanded Brock sternly as he saved what little soup was left unspoiled.

    "Well I thought someone there was going to shoot us," Ash explained, feeling ridiculous as he said it.

    "Really, where?" asked an unimpressed Brock, his arms crossed.

    "There," Ash pointed at the bush. It remained a dull green. Yet there was no doubt in his mind that something was there, even if it wasn’t a gun. Brock sent him a look. "Fine I’ll prove it! Buizel, Water Gun at one o’clock!"

    The jet of water did indeed hit something, and that something shot up and screamed in protest.

    "Quit it! Stop! Stop!" it cried in a familiar voice.

    "Buizel, stop," instructed Ash who stared in disbelief at the dripping wet boy and his camera. Again?

    "Talk about déja vu..." uttered Brock.

    "Hey Todd!" Ash, Brock and Pikachu ran up to meet him as the Pokémon photographer made sure that his camera was still in working order.

    "Hey guys, great to see you!"

    Todd joined them for a spot of stew and, after Dawn and Piplup came back and introductions were made, they shared a few stories on their respective travels. Todd then showed everyone some of his latest captures.

    "I bet you’re not in Sinnoh for a few shots of Bidoof and Burmy, though," Ash put forward. "Last time, you were after Articuno. What about now?"

    "You’re right. I’m looking for Arceus."

    "Arceus?" voiced Ash as he took out his Pokédex.

    "Arceus, the Alpha Pokémon," stated the mechanical voice. "It is told in mythology that this Pokémon was born before the universe even existed." The image of a white and grey quadruped encompassed by a golden spiked wheel showed on the screen.

    "Arceus? That’s impossible," Dawn said simply.

    "Come on Dawn, we’ve seen enough God Pokémon to know it’s possible," retorted Ash goodnaturedly. "You go for it, Todd!"

    "Ash, we’re talking about the creator of the universe. I don’t think it even lives in our world. Plus, it’s been sleeping since the beginning of time."

    "She’s right; you won’t find it walking about," added Brock.

    "Oh but I haven’t come unprepared," said Todd as he searched in his backpack. His hand came out holding a purple piece of earthenware sporting a number of holes. "The Azure Flute," he announced. "I play this at the Spear Pillar on Mt. Coronet, and the rest is history."

    "Wow, where did you get it?" Ash enquired in awe.

    "The old man who had it was happy to at last find someone who didn’t want it to catch Arceus."

    "You think it’ll work?" asked Brock. Dawn seemed sceptical as well.

    "Every source was consistent. It all adds up."

    "I’d sure like to see that Arceus!" said Ash, his face alight with excitement.

    "You can come along if you want," laughed Todd.

    "Alright!" exclaimed Ash as he punched the air in victory.

    "Pipikachu!" cheered Pikachu at his side as Brock and Dawn shared a smile and shrugged.

    "Did you hear that, James?"

    "I sure did, Jessie."

    "Da twoips are goin’ for da mothar of mothars."

    Team Rocket, hidden behind their fake carton bush an earshot away from the unsuspecting children, crouched lower to plot more effectively.

    "Arceus would certainly be quite an addition to the boss’s collection," pointed James.

    "Da boss could have so many uses for da blessed thing, I can’t even start to imagine," added Meowth.

    "And all we have to do is let the twerps do the dirty work," said Jessie viciously.

    "And we pinch da beast right unda their noses! Ha!" cackled Meowth.

    "Ooh and you know what that means!" said James excitedly.

    "Promotion, vacation, boss’s commendation!" they chanted.

    "Wobbuffet!" added the blue blob.

    When Ash and friends set sail for Mt. Coronet and the Spear Pillar after everyone had eaten, they were oblivious to Team Rocket closely following them, as always. Though he was retracing his steps and going farther away from his third Sinnoh gym badge, Ash was filled with excitement at the prospect of meeting the Pokémon deity.

    Said Pokémon was waiting in between worlds, where time and space don’t exist, where nothingness is everything. As master over all matter, it was feeling every part of its universe, every fibre of its creation. It knew everything: past, present and future were one, as time was a dimension that didn’t exist in this no-place. It also knew it would have to act. It had never interfered in its world before and had only watched, for there was no use: good and bad, life and death were matters of the living, of its dearest creations. But it would have to act. It would have to enter its universe. It knew it because it knew everything about its universe, including its interference. It had no choice for it had happened, was happening and would happen no matter what. But more than that, it knew it had to interfere for the sake of its universe. The very existence of its creation relied on a small fibre of life and matter, on a being, a human being. This person’s actions had decisive repercussions on the entire universe and the Pokémon had to see them done. It had to make sure the fibre existed until it had fulfilled its purpose. Thus, the Pokémon had to save its existence when it had been threatened before the actions had taken place, for things to continue to be.

    Ash closed his eyes and held the breath he believed would be his last as he braced himself for the fatal blow. This was it. Any second now... Yet the second stretched to what seemed like forever. He remembered Dawn’s idea of a shortcut through the maze they had recently lost themselves in thanks to Team Rocket, his and Brock’s reticence, a "No need to worry" and their fate was sealed. He remembered their resorting to Pokémon moves to get across faster through the walls, the gang of Golem and Graveler rolling by and splitting them up, and the angry Onix giving him chase. And now... now he was cornered, incapacitated and Pokémon-less. After severe blows to his legs and back, running for his life was out of the question. He could only lie there on his stomach and wait blindly for Onix to take aim one last time.

    Yet, instead of tasting death, Ash suddenly had a mouthful of dirt and grass. Bewildered, he spat out as he took in his surroundings. Death looked suspiciously like the place where he and his friends had set up camp the night before. And why was he still hurting? Maybe if he slept it out...

    "Pikapi!"

    "Ash!"

    "Oh my god, Ash! Are you alright?"

    "He’s hurt! Do something, Brock!"

    "Ash? Ash! Can you hear me? Say something!"

    "Hi," he uttered to the grass, and he heard sighs of relief from above him.

    "You had us worried there, buddy."

    "Brock, help him! He’s bleeding to death!"

    "Come on, Dawn, it’s not that bad. He’s been through worse, believe me. Ash, this might hurt a bit."

    Indeed it did. His back screamed in protest as they sat him up. Maybe he did too, because everyone he saw looked worriedly at him. Dawn, Brock, Todd and Pikachu were there, and he could see Sudowoodo, Happiny, Aipom, Croagunk and Buizel poking their heads into his field of vision. So they were all teleported along with him. Teleported... or maybe gone back in time? But they had no Pokémon with Teleport and definitely no Celebi on hand, and he had been alone with that Onix anyway.

    He voiced his confusion as Brock was working his magic spraying and dressing his wounds. "What happened?"

    "No idea," said Todd in all honesty. "We were running around the maze looking for you after you disappeared with that mad Onix on your tail, and suddenly we were here."

    "Some sort of teleport if you ask me," said Brock as he examined his handiwork: it would do but they’d need to get Ash to a hospital as soon as they could.

    "What about you?" Dawn asked Ash, hugging her Piplup closely.

    "Same thing. Well, not exactly the same, I..." and he saw it. The white coat, the golden wheel and spikes, the glowing green eyes fixed on him... It stood at the edge of the forest not far away, as if it had been there the whole time but had patiently waited and watched. It was considerably smaller than had been Palkia or Dialga, but it was as awe-inspiring, perhaps even more so.

    "Pika?" Everyone turned to look what had made Ash gape, and they were just as dumbstruck by the majesty and sheer power emanating from the God Pokémon.

    "Arceus..." breathed Todd. The beauty and elegance of it dazed him enough to make him forget all about his camera.

    "Bui..." Buizel had never sensed such power and was moved to tears. Even Croagunk felt an admiration as he had never felt before.

    "Arceus... Was it you who brought us here?" asked Ash once he recovered the use of speech.

    Yes, it was.

    "Why?"

    Because he had been about to die.

    "So...you saved my life?"

    Yes.

    "Ash, leave it the time to answer," whispered Dawn.

    "It is answering. It said it had teleported us because I had been about to die."

    "How do you know?"

    How DID he know? Then, he suddenly knew the answer, like he had known the previous others.

    "Through Aura."

    "Aura?" repeated Dawn and Todd in unison.

    "Well," Brock started to explain, "Ash can sort of...how to say it...Ash is sensitive to people and things’ auras, so he can sense stuff like feelings or thoughts."

    "And you never said?!" Dawn exclaimed, astounded. Todd’s eyebrows rose in amazement.

    "Well I can’t exactly do all that," laughed Ash bashfully, scratching the back of his head. "I know I could, I’ve just never given it a shot."

    "Anything else you haven’t told us?" asked Dawn, her curiosity definitely piqued.

    "Well, he’s the King of the Sea, and the Chosen One, and..." Brock started to count on his fingers but he was cut short.

    "Stop, stop! No need to go into all that!" Ash hurriedly interrupted, waving his hands around. He laughed nervously and resumed the scratching of his head, feeling the spot light all too much. He then remembered Arceus. It merely stood as it did before, watching the scene. Ash felt a wave of tenderness emanating from it, as a motherly embrace. They were its creation, everything was. Living things were its pride and joy, so to speak. It had watched over the world for ever and would forever still. It had watched over them... over him, even saved his life today. Why? The answer bloomed instantly in his mind without him even needing to voice the question. Arceus was obviously the one using Aura, and Ash was simply the most responsive of the group, of all humans for that matter.

    He had an important part to play.

    What part?

    His actions were to be vital to the existence of the universe.

    That sounded awfully close to saving the world... yet again.

    This was on a way bigger scale than before.

    That was comforting. The Chosen One... again.

    But he wasn’t to feel the burden of such role.

    "Ash?"

    His actions would be vital to the existence of the universe. How could he not be weighted by the responsibility? Everything would depend on his actions. How would he know what actions were to be right?

    "Ash!"

    He would play the part rightly, no matter what.

    "ASH!"

    Dawn’s screech resounded in his ear. "Ow, what?"

    "What’s going on?" she demanded to know, feeling left out.

    "Oh... we were talking," Ash answered bitterly.

    "What about?" asked Brock, concerned by his tone.

    "About my saving the universe." Ash took his face in his hands for a moment, sighing. He hoped it wouldn’t be too soon.

    It would be in what seemed like a long time to him, in a number of years.

    "In a few years," he voiced for the others. "The existence of the whole universe will depend on me."

    "Oh." Brock and Todd looked down soberly and Dawn flashed him an attempt at an encouraging smile. "Pikapi," Pikachu said quietly as it went and clung to its master’s chest.

    "Chim..."

    "Staravia..."

    "Tur..."

    Ash looked up to the God Pokémon and felt the wave of tenderness again. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad this time since... "It said that I shouldn’t feel the pressure because I will do the right thing no matter what."

    "There you go," said Dawn cheerfully. "No need to worry!"

    This brought a smile to Ash’s lips. "You know, the last time you said that, I almost died."

    "That wasn’t my fault!" she replied defensively.

    "Was too!"

    "Was not!"

    "Um Ash?" Todd interrupted hesitantly. "Can you ask Arceus how come it isn’t sleeping like the legends say?"

    "It can hear you and it said that it’s sleeping and awake." Everyone shot Ash a confused look, which he returned with equal confusion. After a pause, he was able to add, "It was sleeping until someone entered its lair and, since time doesn’t exist where it lives, he is both."

    "Who woke it up? Could it be... us?" Todd glanced at his backpack, where the Azure Flute lay.

    "Hey, what do you know, it was!"

    "I guess your flute does work after all," shrugged Brock with a smile.

    Todd blushed furiously and became frantic. "Oh no! We’re the ones who woke it up! That’s a bad thing, isn’t it? No one likes to be woken up! And it’s all my fault! I’m sorry, Arceus!"

    "Take a chill pill, Todd," urged a laughing Ash. "It was meant to happen."

    Todd remained ill at ease. "Still." He bowed before the Pokémon deity. "I’m very, very sorry for waking you up, Arceus."

    Ash felt the tenderness once again, this time directed at Todd. "I think it likes you," he teased.

    "Uh, you think?" uttered Todd as he blushed an even deeper shade of crimson.

    As they all laughed, Ash noticed Arceus backing away in the forest.

    "It’s leaving," he announced.

    "So soon?" asked Dawn sadly.

    "It did what it had to do."

    "Right, well, farewell Arceus, and thank you," said Brock as he bowed low.

    "Yes, thank you so much!" added Dawn. Todd nodded shyly.

    “Pika pika!” peeped Pikachu, followed by a chorus of goodbyes from the other Pokémon.

    Ash remained silent: he was certain that Arceus could feel his gratitude. After one last look, it turned back and disappeared into the forest. It returned to its world between worlds in a flash of light. Everything had been done as it should have been, not that there was any alternative. The only other time it would enter its world, it would be summoned for its awakening, which would occur with the same beings it had met this time. In its vast universe, it would encounter the very same small fibres of life on both occasions. It once again marvelled at the perfect imperfection of its creation.

    The group looked longingly where Arceus had left. "Hey cheer up guys, you know we’ll see Arceus again," pointed out Brock encouragingly. "That’s a certainty, if there ever was one."

    "Yeah. I wish we didn’t have to wake it up though. The Pillar, the Flute, it was all only to take a picture...picture that I didn’t think to take today," lamented Todd as he passed a hand over his face.

    "You’ll get your chance," reassured Brock. "It probably knows that’s what you want. It might even strike a pose for you."

    "I can’t wait to meet it again," said Dawn excitedly. "Let’s go now!"

    "Aren’t you forgetting something?" Brock nodded toward where Ash sat on the ground and took out his guidebook. "We’re where we camped last night, so there we are on the map. The closest city is Hearthome so we’ll need to retrace our steps for a while, but, with a good pace, we’ll manage to get there before dinner. So," he closed the book resolutely, "recall the Pokémon, you two carry the backpacks and I’ll carry Ash. Let’s roll."

    "I’m dead tired," whined Jessie.

    "I’m dead hungry," whined James.

    "I’m...dead," uttered Meowth as it fell to the ground, its eyes in swirls. Its partners in crime took this opportunity to take a break from their walking, or rather the dragging of their feet.

    "However did the twerps manage to get out of this maze so fast?" James complained.

    "Mime mime mime," Mime Jr. repeated from its perch on James’ shoulder.

    "Ugh worry about us!" shouted Jessie. "How are WE going to get out, after YOU lost the map?!"

    "That rock n’ rolling gang of rock Pokémon knocked it right off my hands," lamented James.

    "I’ll knock you around!" threatened Jessie.

    "We’re knocked out enough as it is," Meowth voiced weakly.

    The still standing Team Rocket members fell from exhaustion over their feline accomplice.

    "Team Rocket’s burning out again," they all muttered in defeat.

    Wobbuffet emerged from its Pokéball, sitting on top of the human and Pokémon pile as a cherry on a sundae. "Woooooooobbuffet!"

    "Nurse Joy, you truly are a sight for sore eyes! Won’t you please heal my sore heart now?"

    Croagunk snuck up behind its master, Poison Jab at the ready.

    "Time for your sedative, Brock," called Ash as he pulled on the breeder’s ear from his vantage point on his back. After a quick detour by the hospital, where the doctor couldn’t do much except congratulate Brock on his excellent healing skills, they made for the Pokémon Centre for a meal and a room. Ash would be black and blue for a while still and he was instructed not to walk if it could be helped, so Brock responsibly honoured the doctor’s wish by offering his back as Ash’s means of transport, a proposition that, at this very second, he was regretting. "Ow, ow, not the ear!"

    Croagunk drew back, feeling somewhat deprived of its purpose in life. Knowing when it wasn’t needed, it exited the Centre. The sun was setting, and joining it in its downfall was a pallet of reddish hues.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    The frog Pokémon took its time to take in the beauty of the celestial spectacle taking place before it.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    Walking at its own pace, Croagunk followed the trail around the Pokémon Centre, pondering life and death, joy and pain, love and war. Suddenly, it came across an abandoned Pokéball. Croagunk considered it.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    The ball’s hinges were loose and the machinery inside was broken beyond repair. The button was missing and the exterior surface was scratched in several places.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    The ball had obviously seen better days, but that wasn’t what struck Croagunk.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    Croakgunk reached out for the Pokéball, held it closely and resumed its walk, not feeling as lonesome and misunderstood as before, only coming back to the Centre when it felt that the time was right, when night had fallen and the moon was smirking at the world from its pedestal.

    "Why can’t those twerps work to our schedule?!"

    James yawned and shrugged at Jessie’s annoyed comment. "Perhaps they are busy sleeping, like normal people do at night."

    "Mime mime mime mime mime," agreed Mime Jr. in the same tired voice.

    "Quit yappin’, this is the poifect time to locate them twoips," said Meowth, looking up from its binoculars.

    They were circling the Spear Pillar in the Meowth balloon, in the pearly moonlight.

    "If those twoips camped out in the area, they musta done a fire; dat means we’ll see da smoke," Meowth laughed at its own ingenuity.

    "Yes, but what if they didn’t," James stifled another yawn, as did Mime Jr.

    "Then that means we’re ahead of them, and we have more time to cook up another genius plan!" said Jessie triumphantly and proceeded to laugh maliciously.

    "Wobbuffet," the blue blob butted in, saluting them.

    "Hey what’s dat?"

    Everyone turned to Meowth, who was looking through its binoculars at something that clearly didn’t need any to be seen. They paled in terror as the gigantic white and purple Pokémon deity turned to face them from where it stood imposingly on the Spear Pillar.

    "...Palkia..." squeaked James through his whimpers.

    Palkia roared deafeningly as pink energy began to gather between its palms.

    "I’ll say dat’s our ticket to blast off..." uttered Meowth shakily.

    "...And lift off is imminent," finished Jessie dreadingly.

    "Mime mime mime..."

    "Wobba..."

    Palkia’s Aura Sphere took little time to hit the balloon, sending them flying into the jet-black horizon.

    "Looks like Team Rocket’s blasting off again!" they shrieked in unison. A "Wobba" was faintly heard before they disappeared in a twinkle.

    "Buizel, Aqua Jet, let’s go!"

    Nothing.

    "Buizel! Aqua Jet!"

    Nothing.

    "Buizel, come on!"

    Buizel vacated the improvised training field, leaving Aipom in mid-Focus Punch and both of their trainers staring. It made its way to a corner of the camp and sat with its back to them.

    "Buizel, come back, what’s wrong? Ow!"

    "Pikapi!"

    "Ash, sit down this instant! Let’s leave it alone."

    The four of them watched the Sea Weasel Pokémon’s sulking form as Brock joined them, stirring a salad, with Todd behind him.

    "I don’t remember you losing any matches with it recently, Ash," stated the breeder.

    "Neither do I," agreed Ash. "It does look bummed out like that time when it lost to Lucian. But I thought that was all over."

    "Pika," uttered the electric mouse sadly, its ears low.

    "Epa." Aipom approached Buizel and attempted to spark a conversation. Buizel promptly ignored it. It needed to think. Meeting the God of Gods had shaken it up. Taking great pride in its strength, it could not help but feel a rivalry toward other powerful Pokémon, often looking for a fight so it could prove itself. But Arceus... it had been like the power incarnate, and witnessing it did put things in perspective. What was its strength compared to the God’s? It couldn’t consider itself powerful, not anymore, and it felt somewhat stripped of its identity. What was it to do now?

    "There are two ways to go about this."

    "Just follow your heart."

    Ash and his friends were now discussing their itinerary over a small snack.

    "On second thought, bad idea. Brock’s heart will lead us straight back to Hearthome’s Pokémon Centre," laughed Dawn.

    "And consequently its Police Station," Todd felt the need to add.

    "Pi pika!"

    Ash glanced worriedly at his dispirited Buizel once more, wishing Lucario or Arceus had left him with a few pointers on mind reading. Still, he strongly felt that, in the end, things would work out on their own.

    "Your beauty lures me like a moth to a lamppost. You are a beacon of grace, melting away the shadows in my heart."

    "Croa croa croa..."

    "Allow me to enlighten you." Ash pulled at his permanently lovesick friend’s ear under the astounded gaze of the young woman before them. The group had followed the road to its end: there were no trails climbing up de mountain and reaching the Spear Pillar. There, they had found a small cottage and had knocked, hoping a local would be able to point them the right way.

    "Hi! My name is Dawn."

    "I’m Ash and this is Brock."

    "Ow, ow, not the ear!"

    "Pika pikachu."

    "And I’m Todd."

    "Pleasure to meet you all," the young woman smiled. "My name is Anne-Marie."

    "Anne-Marie! Such an unusual name, for such an unusually beautiful girl!"

    "Croa croa croa..."

    "With such unusual bad luck." Ash’s ear pulling had the desired effect once more. Dawn and Todd laughed embarrassedly.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    Feeling a pang of jealousy, Croagunk held its broken Pokéball closer to its chest.

    The group was invited in and served tea. They were soon joined by Anne-Marie and, to Brock’s utter despair, her fiancé Antoine. Todd explained what had brought them to the foot of Mt. Coronet. Their hosts had indeed heard of the myth of the Azure Flute but had never thought it existed for real.

    "Why is there no trail leading up the mountain?" asked Brock.

    "Mt. Coronet is a dangerous place," explained Antoine. "Few dare climb it because it is home to a most powerful God Pokémon, Palkia. It makes its nest at the Spear Pillar."

    "Ah man..." Ash whined dejectedly.

    "But all of this changed but a few days ago," Anne-Marie continued. "A young trainer from Twinleaf Town caught Palkia, and the mountain is now safe."

    "Alright!" Ash punched the air in joy.

    "But how can we find our way up there with no road to follow?" Brock voiced his concern.

    "Not to worry," Anne-Marie assured him. "Antoine and I were some of the few who dared to climb despite Palkia, and we know this part of the mountain like the back of our hands. We can lead you there."

    The group animatedly expressed their gratitude.

    "That’s quite alright," laughed Antoine. "You can stay for the night and we will leave tomorrow morning. We should have enough spare mountain climbing gear for the lot of you."

    "Pikapi..." said Pikachu sadly, and Dawn caught on.

    "Yeah about that..." started Dawn. "We have a small problem."

    Small problem indeed. Ash sank lower in his chair and crossed his arms in frustration. "I can’t walk." Great. They were so close to their goal, yet he’d have to sit this one out, literally.

    "It’ll be taken care of," Anne-Marie smiled.

    "Are you holding tight?" she asked him over her shoulder the next morning.

    Ash tightened his grip around her waist. "Yeah!" he said to her back.

    "Then let’s go!" she instructed to their mount and the Fearow sprang up. The group on foot, Dawn, Brock, Todd and Pikachu, lead by Antoine, also commenced their ascent. Going considerably faster, Ash and Anne-Marie would sometimes circle around the other party, soar higher, or land ahead and wait for their friends to catch up. In such an occurrence as the latter, their short break was cut even shorter by a cry in the distance. Alarmed, they rushed on Fearow to the sound’s provenance, only to find the Meowth balloon with its all too familiar occupants. A mechanical arm held a struggling Todd by his backpack above the ground.

    "Team Rocket! You let go of Todd right now!" shouted Dawn from below.

    "Listen, is that a twerp voice I hear?"

    "It shrieks to me loud and clear."

    "On the wind!"

    "Past the stars!"

    "In your ear!"

    "Bringing chaos at a breakneck pace!"

    "Todd! Jump before it’s too late!"

    "Excuse me, twerp! How dare you waltz in and interrupt our motto?!" Jessie hissed, her eyes shooting daggers at Ash.

    "Don’t you know a classic when you see one?!" James shouted indignantly.

    "Mime mime mime mime mime?!"

    "Todd! Let go of your bag and jump before you get too high!" shouted Brock.

    "Yes, please do. We’d like our Azure Flute twerp-less, if you don’t mind," Jessie smirked. "Shake it off, Meowth."

    Meowth fiddled with a few switches and buttons, and the mechanical arm thrust Todd downwards where Antoine caught him easily. Meowth took the backpack from the metal hand. "And Arceus is in da bag!"

    "Wobba wobba!"

    A small pop was heard as Fearow’s beak punctured the skin of the balloon, sending it flying up high as it deflated.

    "Why did you have to tell them our plan," James whined, holding for dear life to the side of the basket.

    "You and your big Meowth!" barked Jessie, holding for dear life to James.

    "At least Arceus is still in da bag," blared Meowth, holding for dear life to Jessie... and the backpack.

    "Team Rocket’s blasting off again!" they shouted happily, knowing they had won for once.

    "They still have Todd’s bag!" voiced Dawn.

    "Bummer..." made Ash under his breath. Team Rocket always dropped what they had stolen when blasting off; why had this golden rule suddenly been ignored?

    "My camera is in there! And the Flute! They’re going to kidnap Arceus!" said an anguished Todd.

    "Don’t worry Todd, we’ll stop them before they get the chance!" Ash shouted down at him. Anne-Marie nodded and added, "They went for the top. Meet us there as soon as you can." And they zoomed off.

    "Get your elbow out of my eye!"

    "Get your eye out of my elbow!"

    "My, isn’t this our lucky day," commented James as he peeked from under the deflated Meowth head that covered them. Jessie and Meowth detangled themselves and joined him.

    "We’re here," marvelled Meowth. Surely enough, they had landed on the Spear Pillar.

    "Let’s get going before the twerps let themselves in," instructed Jessie.

    Meowth rummaged through the stolen backpack and came out holding the purple flute triumphantly. They made their way to the platform at the centre of the broken columns.

    "Um, how do you suppose this works?" asked James.

    "Accordin’ to da twoips, we blow into this babe and it’s hello Arceus," answered Meowth, patting the Azure Flute.

    "Give it to me," Jessie pushed in, snatching the instrument from Meowth’s paws. "You two can’t do a thing on your own." She blew into one of the protruding holes but no sound came out. She tried another one to no avail.

    "Maybe we should have waited for the twerps to do it," James thought out loud.

    "No way!" snapped Jessie. "For once we’re ahead of them. We’ll be out of here before they can crash our party. If I can just get this thing to WORK!" She finally blew into the right hole and a sound unlike anything they had ever heard graced their ears. A silence ensued as if the world had stopped to listen.

    "Wow..." finally breathed James, teary eyed. A speechless Meowth motioned for Jessie to continue. A melody beyond this world came out of its own as she blew in the small flute, but the heavenly sound was soon drowned out by the scratching of stones as a staircase leading up high to seemingly nothing formed. Team Rocket watched wide-eyed as the final stone resounded into place.

    "After you, Jess," James gulped.

    "Ladies foist," made Meowth in a small voice.

    "Honestly, you two are ridiculous," shot Jessie as she shoved the Azure Flute to James’ chest and began climbing. When her foot reached the last step, she discerned the slightly white and otherwise invisible floor of the Hall of Origin. She purposefully strode in until she was blinded by a bright flash of light that, as it faded, revealed a white, grey and gold shape at the far end of the Hall. Jessie produced a net bazooka out of thin air and aimed. She laughed viciously when she saw it was sleeping and fired.

    "It should be right ahead!" called Anne-Marie over her shoulder. They rounded another peak and came across Spear Pillar’s stone ruins dotted by a huge staircase, and, most importantly, Team Rocket’s retreating balloon. Below it was attached a net containing none other than Arceus, asleep and defenceless.

    "Team Rocket!" bellowed Ash once they had reached their level.

    "Listen, is that a twerp voice I hear?"

    "It shrieks to me loud and clear."

    "On the wind!"

    "Past the stars!"

    "Let Arceus go!"

    "WHAT is WRONG with you?!" roared James.

    "Damn it kid! Ya blew our only two chances ta say da motto in da whole episode!" yelled Meowth, beside itself.

    "Let’s make him pay already," snarled Jessie. "Seviper!" She flung her Pokéball to the ground and out came the Fang Snake Pokémon. "Seviper!" it hissed menacingly.

    "You too, Carnivine!" James cast his Pokéball and CRUNCH found his head lovingly ensnared by the Pokémon’s jaws. "Carnivine, what is eating you?!" he despaired as he struggled to free himself from the embrace. Finally succeeding, he threw Carnivine next to its snake battle partner. "Use Bullet Seed!"

    A goofy "Carnivine!" was heard and a flock of yellow glowing seeds shot up at Ash and Anne-Marie. Fearow dodged the attack easily as Ash reached his belt for reinforcements.

    "Buizel, I choose you!" The Sea Weasel Pokémon materialized from the Pokéball with its arms crossed, clearly not in the mood. "Buizel, come on, I need your help to free Arceus," its trainer tried to reason. At this, the Pokémon took in its surroundings. As its eyes fell on the netted God, a new determination sparked within it. "Bui bui!" it sounded angrily while making a taunting paw gesture at its adversaries.

    "Well, well, aren’t we spirited," mocked Jessie. "Seviper, Poison Tail!"

    "Buizel, use Aqua Jet!" called Ash.

    Buizel quickly shot forward in a water armour but missed both its opponents. It instead got propelled to Arceus’s net, where it promptly gnawed at the ropes. The net soon opened and the God Pokémon fell to the ground without waking up, and Buizel landed beside it.

    "Now look what you did!" shrieked Jessie.

    "Carnivine, Bite attack!" instructed James.

    "Dodge it, Buizel!" shouted Ash.

    Buizel jumped on Carnivine’s head as it lunged forward, and leapt back to its original side of the field. It then fired a powerful Water Gun that transported both Seviper and Carnivine up to the Meowth balloon’s basket, where they landed with a thud on their trainers. Buizel sprang in the air and started spinning its twin tails at very high speed, creating a massive whirlwind.

    "What’s going on?" voiced Ash, enthralled.

    "That’s Razor Wind," said Anne-Marie.

    "Bui!" roared Buizel as it released the twister towards Team Rocket. The balloon was caught in it and started to spin like a top as blades of wind hit on every angle.

    "We lost again," cried James.

    "If only I could lose you two instead," lamented Jessie.

    "Either way I’m goin’ to lose my lunch!" said a very green Meowth.

    "Wooooobba," said a very blue blob.

    "We’re blasting off again!" was heard as they were launched towards the heavens and vanished in a twinkle.

    "Smokin'" made Ash in awe.

    The winds cleared up to reveal the Azure Flute. It fell and landed smoothly beside Todd’s backpack. The rule was back in effect.

    "Ash!"

    "Hey Ash!"

    "Pikapi!"

    "Anne-Marie!"

    Dawn, Brock, Todd, Pikachu and Antoine ran up to them as Fearow landed. Anne-Marie dismounted to meet her fiancé’s fierce hug as the rest gathered around the bird Pokémon to prompt Ash on telling them what happened. They then all went on to congratulate and praise Buizel, who crossed its arms proudly and smiled for the first time in days. Todd recovered his stolen possessions, and everyone gathered around the still sleeping form of Arceus, with Anne-Marie and Antoine standing slightly back in awe.

    "What should we do?" Dawn wondered.

    "We need to wake it up," said Todd. "It said we were the ones who did it."

    "How?" voiced Brock.

    Todd eyed the Azure Flute resting in his hand.

    "Croa croa croa..."

    Croagunk stepped forward and, before anyone could stop it, softly stroke the God Pokémon’s white mane.

    "Croagunk! What are you..." Brock reprimanded but stopped short when Arceus’s green eyes slowly opened. Everyone looked dumbfounded at Croagunk, who stared back at them, unfazed.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    Arceus stood, its eyes resting on the beings before it. Yes, them again. Truly amazing creations. Knowing exactly what they had just done, it sent them its thanks, which only one of them understood.

    "It’s saying thank you," translated Ash, and the group smiled up to it.

    Buizel approached carefully at first, then stood tall and held the Pokémon deity’s gaze unblinkingly. At length, Arceus bowed its head in recognition. "Bui bui!" Buizel, positively blazing, saluted the God.

    Arceus looked at each one of them, and Ash felt it was about to leave already. "No, don’t go," he urged. He wanted answers. Their last conversation had left him worried, deathly worried about what was to come.

    "Oh no..." Todd said dejectedly.

    "Will we ever see you again?" asked Dawn hopefully.

    They wouldn’t.

    Panic gripped Ash’s heart. "But what about..." What about when the time came? When he would have to save the world? Was he to be left alone, unguided?

    Yes.

    He would have to face this alone.

    Yes.

    Why...how could Arceus entrust the fate of the entire universe to him?

    It was to be. And he would succeed, there was no doubt about it.

    Ash was scared. Scared like a child left to the monsters from under his bed with only his parents’ word that they were not real.

    But the shadows of the night suddenly turned into familiar shapes, and the child could distinguish faces: his mother Delia, Professor Oak, Pikachu, Gary, Misty, Brock, Tracey, May, Max, Dawn... Ritchie, Todd, Cassey, Sakura, Nando, everyone... Everyone was there to remind him of what was at stake. It wasn’t a burden, no... the world would be in danger and he would have the chance to do something about it.

    Ignoring his friends’ worried look, Ash slipped off Fearow’s back and walked painfully but resolutely up to Arceus.

    "You can count on me," he said firmly.

    "Croa croa croa croa croa croa..."

    Croagunk was standing between Arceus’ front hooves, holding out a worn-out Pokéball above its head as if offering it to the Pokémon deity. Arceus considered it, then a gold light surrounded the Pokéball as it hovered beside its new owner. The gift had been accepted.

    A bright light suddenly embraced the God Pokémon.

    "Todd, the picture!" shouted Brock.

    Todd snapped out of his daze and took out his camera with the speed that years of capturing wild Pokémon at the perfect second had taught him. The picture was taken as the light died out, leaving emptiness in Arceus’ place. The stone staircase had also disappeared.

    "Did you get it?" Brock asked Todd at length, finally breaking the silence that had settled with Arceus’s absence.

    "I think so." Todd screened the picture. It was completely white, save for the pale equine outline of the deity. The Pokémon photographer grinned. He couldn’t have taken a better picture if he had tried. The splendour, the dazzling strength, the divinity... it all showed. The perfect shot.

    "Cheese!"

    The group posed and the camera on the tripod flashed.

    After Anne-Marie and Antoine thanked them for the amazing adventure they had been allowed to partake, Ash and his friends returned to the main road, where Todd announced he would be heading back home, but not before a souvenir photo.

    "Goodbye guys! Thanks again!" Todd waved as he left. What a complete success it had been. He had the picture. Though he couldn’t help but feel a tug to his heart whenever he thought he’d never see Arceus’s breathtaking beauty again, he had something to remind him of it and he would never forget.

    "See ya, Todd! Take care!" Ash and Dawn shouted back, while Brock was... Where was Brock?

    "Oh Nurse Joy, my knees are weak and my heart beats fast whenever I see your lovely face. Won’t you please look me over? GAH!"

    Croagunk’s Poison Jab made contact and Brock fell to the ground, taken by spasms.

    "Now I really need it," he uttered as Croagunk dragged him out of the Centre by his feet.

    "Croa-oa-oa-oa-oa..."

    All was right with the world.

    "How can all be right with the world?! Look at us!" raged Jessie.

    Team Rocket were hanging on a branch over a precipice.

    "After years of defeat, you’d think she’d have caught on," grieved James.

    "Yeah, maybe we should hang it up," sounded Meowth sadly.

    "Don’t talk like that or I’ll hang one on you!" retorted Jessie. "We’ll succeed one day, just you watch!"

    James and Meowth shared a sigh. The wind blew, making the branch’s occupants sway dangerously.

    "We’re losing grip again," they all lamented.

    Arceus resumed its vigil out of time and space. By its side, the Pokéball took the place it had always and would always have. Both remained as such for eternity, as it should be. And all was right with the world.

    "No!"

    "Come on, Ash! Pretty please?"

    "No way!"

    Ash, Dawn, Brock and Pikachu had reverted back to their initial course and were walking down a dirt road in a verdant forest. A familiar sight indeed.

    "Dawn, asking Ash to read your opponents’ mind to tell you their strategy borders on the dishonest."

    "I wouldn’t even know how to do it anyway!"

    "But if you tried really really hard...?"

    "No!"

    "Okay, okay. Only Kenny."

    "NO!"

    Yes, all was right with the world.

    After meeting Arceus and learning about the crucial part he is to play in the fate of the universe, Ash is ready to take destiny head on. But first, he’ll face the Veilstone City gym for the Cobble Badge, which he is certain to obtain with a newly motivated and ardent Buizel on his team.

    Next stop, it’s Solaceon Town and Dawn’s next contest. Stay tuned.


    TO BE CONTINUED... NOT
    Last edited by Vilya; 19th July 2008 at 3:15 PM.

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