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Thread: Forsaken

  1. #176
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    Chapter 1

    The opening hooked me easily, you did a good job, I don't quite understand the cryptic words at the beginning but they were enigmatic which only made the beginning interesting. The dialogue flowed very well and the characterization of the legendaries as moral beings really did the job because, for one, you gave each of them a distinct personality in some form. Deoxy's sticks out as being the most prominent due to the wise-guy personality he seems to have. Then we have the very broken Mew and somewhat stoic Mewtwo, you managed to really make me feel sympathetic for Mew. She, in mostly all media or stories, is portrayed as pretty mischievous and happy-go-lucky all of the time, the fact she's in a near-death state and contemplating suicide of all things is simply a magnificent break from the usual. Writing wasn't under-descriptive nor too flowery in the slightest, didn't catch any spelling errors either. The grand plot at hand was not cliche at all, the fact that the world is in danger being in a war and it's slowly dying which has forced the guardians of the Earth into a state of emergency really is a creative idea, visually they all are changed by the calamities and chaos in some shape, form, or fashion.

    The meeting scene was very captivating as well as the mini-tell about how some of the legendaries were changed overtime. Pacing was perfectly fine for me, I know some will see the length of stories and go nuts at them but I'm almost never bothered by the length of a chapter as long as it's entertaining and quality material, your chapter one was just that. As a grand whole you really hit the ground running by already conveying how things in the world are slowly dying due to the uncaring and selfish nature of humans and their lust for war and fighting. The ending scene with Mewtwo begrudgingly siding with Mew seemed kinda, weird. I liked it, but for someone who supposedly considers her a friend he sure was quite cold toward her, even if he is an isolated person it did seem very scornful. A nice ending to an overall great beginning. I didn't care for the comedic Suicune/Entei scene, then again I'm not a very comedy-ensued person in-general.

    Rivals shall be the friends.
    This would flow better without the "the."
    Last edited by Doryuzu; 13th April 2013 at 6:48 PM.

  2. #177
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    This was the very first fan fic that I read on Serebii, back before I joined. I just... was in awe. The only other time I've seen something so amazing was either in published books or a fan fic that's on another forum. I absolutely love almost everything about this story. Now, on to the reviewing part...


    Chapter one

    “WHAT! A world war?!”

    Startled by the sudden outburst, Suicune bowed her head, her once-flowing mane drooped over her arched back. “Y-Yes, sir. Sinnoh was bombed by Orre, and the other regions are getting ready to come defend it. It's more likely than not to be a... world war...” The legendary North Wind grew silent, stricken with sorrow and age before the Guardian's eyes. The ribbon tail refused to undulate about the legs, it instead lay trailing on the ground. Her crest upon her forehead had long ago lost its shine and was now a dull, melancholy green. Her delicate fur was suddenly noticed to be smudged with dust clinging to her in clumps. Black and blue surrounded her dull eyes, indicating her lack of sleep. She was pitiful, unworthy to stand before someone whom she was once equally revered to.
    An excellent start. Makes me think "Oh no, bad stuff's going to happen and everyone will DIE". I love the description of Suicune. Actually, it makes me think "Pollution"...

    The world had become more sinful to the point the Legendaries didn't dare show their faces. They could feel the evil expanding, and feared it was going to reach them as well. This fear was what caused them to start wilting from their high positions. As pollution became thicker and more prominent, Celebi was struggling to keep plant-life prosperous, resorting to using his life-source to do so. The last time Ho-oh saw him, he was beginning to turn a color of rot. The eyes were still bright, but it wouldn't be long before they would dim. Jirachi, many years back, had eventually broken free of his sleeping spells and began to use stored energy from the Millennium Comet as his powers. However, because he never knew of the real world, it became a gut-wrenching experience for him. His cheerful face transitioned to a blank mask within months of the realization, and then his wishing powers depleted over time. Darkrai, though he lived off nightmares, was being possessed with demons from the people he tried to haunt. It grew difficult for him to find true fear to feed, and he fled to isolate himself away from civilization. Even Giratina had to get away from the world, and would only come out of his dimension if the Legendaries really needed him.
    Just goes to show that stuff can go wrong, even in the Pokemon world. It also shows really how bad things are getting. If even the all-powerful legendaries are struggling to do their jobs, then humanity is certainly taking a turn for the worst.

    It had been decades since many of the Legendaries saw each other, and thus the gathering felt more like a memorial than a conference. Old friends worriedly examined each other, taking in the shell of what was once their glorified selves. Life-time rivals only stared pitifully one to another at what remained of their strength and boisterous powers. Siblings huddled together as though trying to hold themselves up higher for a little longer, leaning on each other for support or comfort. No one spoke nor sent telepathic messages across the field, instead they sat deathly silent in their assigned places as they waited for the meeting to begin. Ho-oh stood at the forest's edge, watching the skies and the surrounding land. There were a few still unaccounted for, but they were coming, Suicune made sure of it. Besides, none of them would dare ditch a gathering important as this. Had it been more of a casual assembly, he wouldn't have bothered taking the time to usher them into the clearing, and there'd be plenty of empty seats sticking out from the crowd.
    Wonder what the legends discussed back in the days before all the pollution and stuff. I like how this chapter is a bit focused on Ho-oh. That rainbow bird has always been a favorite legendary of mine. I wonder what previous meeting were like...

    The tiny terrier was already in her place, choosing to take the form of her Sky Forme, as her Land Forme was too squeaky and quiet. Having once stood tall and proud, Shaymin's petal scarf had wilted into an unhealthy brown, the edges frayed. Her fur was matted and dusty, with her ears drooping past her chin. Casting her eyes about mournfully at what remained of the mighty Legendaries, she began in a hard voice: “Brethren and sisters. We have been called together because the unthinkable has happened. It's been rumored, if not yet declared, that we are to be in a world war. This morning, at approximately 0500 hours, the beloved region of Sinnoh had been mercilessly bombed by Orre.” A few gasped murmurs from those who hadn't heard the terrible news livened in small groups. Others bowed their heads in silent respect. Shaymin continued. “The damage done is monstrous and heart-breaking. It is believed thousands of humans and Pokémon have lost their lives in this attack. Thanks to a scoping of the area by Rayquaza and Giratina, we have assembled the damage reports.”
    Terrier? Aren't terriers dogs? How in the name of Arceus is Shaymin a dog? That aside, I like the description of Shaymin. She isn't exactly tall, though. Maybe change that to "Having once stood strong and proud" or to "Having once stood confidently and proudly".

    The reproached Legendary glared icily at the female, one of his arms morphing into his dual-colored flagellates. “You dare say that again, Cress?” he darkly challenged.
    XD I used to think of Cresselia as "Cress" for short. I just caught that.

    There came a cry of “Amen!” from the middle, recognized as Jirachi's energetic tone. A few of his surrounding peers gaped at his random reaction, knowing he hadn't spoken a word in years, though Latias cried out happily and gave him a hug (he was quickly rescued by Latios).
    Hooray for Jirachi! XD Latias. I love Latias. Latios, go pry your sister off of Jirachi XD.

    By this time, a small crowd had gathered around, blocking off any escape Suicune had planned on making. She tried to hide her face in her mane, darkly murmuring to herself for the purpose of drowning out her brother's voice. He obliviously continued his gushing. “As it turns out, while Suicune is purifying water, there's this rather temporary flammable chemical secreted from her paws that is released into the water to help clean it. So when Entei spat fire at the lake, half the surface went up in flames!” He paused while a wave of whooping went through a majority of the spectators, grinning excitedly. “Oh, my Arceus, you wouldn't believe how many burn patients had to be treated that day! Even Nurse Joy couldn't believe it when all these fish Pokémon were rushed into the emergency room by a small group of campers who just so happened to be there and saw the whole thing happen! She was all 'OMIGAWD' and, according to reports, actually fainted at the amount of her many patients. They had to call in another Nurse Joy to complete the task!”
    Hooray for comedy relief! Guess that legendary Pokemon can embarrass their sisters too! XD

    Those were the parts in chapter one that really stood out to me. This fic has a perfect mixture of comedy relief and serious stuff. Deoxys pretty much provides all of the funny stuff, but Entei and Raikou also play a part in the LOL department. Overall, very good story and great characters. If I had to give this a starred rating, then 5/5 stars. No, 6/5 stars. Oh, and add me to the PM list, please.
    Last edited by Feeshy; 28th August 2013 at 6:56 AM.
    DIE, PIKACHU. DIE.
    (Yes, I do hate Pikachu...)
    My White 2 Friend Code: 2194 5852 2842

  3. #178
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    This is an instering story were the first sentence caputes me in a new world of wonder and awesomeness.
    Last edited by p96822; 24th December 2013 at 7:33 AM.

  4. #179
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    There are many readers who have been patient with me and put up with this long absence, and there are many readers who will like to scourge me. So if you are here reading this, I am so, so sorry. I don't expect to be forgiven for taking so long with this chapter, but writing it turned out to be a difficult task. What was originally all one huge chapter I have decided to split into three parts, because I realized it would not get finished otherwise.

    Luckily for all of us, the second part shouldn't take long. I can 100% guarantee that much.

    In the meantime, I really do not like the second half of this chapter, because it was one of the many banes of the past three years. But at least it's finished, and I'm just going to let it go as it is.

    I hope you enjoy. And welcome to the climax.

    *~*~*~*
    Chapter Twenty: Requiem I

    “Father in Heav'n, we do believe
    The promise thou hast made;
    Thy word with meekness we receive,
    Just as thy Saints have said”
    -- “Father in Heaven, We Do Believe”, Hymn 180, verse one

    *~*~*

    It was apparent they had outrun the cells, but the small group refused to cease their running. Giratina remained in the back for their sake, occasionally whipping his tail about violently in the off-chance anything was about to attack. Up front, Shaymin had gone into her Sky Forme, mainly to be less of a burden as she couldn't run far on stubby legs, but also as preparedness for any ambushes. Darkrai and Cresselia had been sticking close since the run, their hands tightly intertwined.

    Within a short time, they came upon a fork in the tunnel. Growling, the dragon glanced behind him. “Dammit...”

    Shaymin shuffled between the two entrances. “Oh, which way?” she muttered, growing a little frustrated herself.

    “We have to separate,” the phantom said hurriedly, gesturing to the tunnel on his right. “Giratina and I will go down that way.”

    “Way ahead of you,” he grunted, ducking inside.

    The lunar swan held tight when her counterpart moved to follow him. “Darkrai, no! I won't leave you!”

    He turned to her. “I'm sorry, Cress, but we don't have a choice.”

    “Yes, we do! I don't mind being with Shaymin, or even Giratina... but I want to be with you!” With a sob, she threw herself at him, burying her face into his neck.

    Her sudden motion made him freeze in place for a moment, feeling a barrage of emotions rushing through him. Given the situation they were in, the peril was growing by the second. He didn't know what to make of it, whether the current event brought out lost emotions in her, or if it was on a spur of the moment. He caught the terrier's eye to see how surprised she was at the sight, however, a closer look showed a softening of the gaze and the hint of tears forming deep in them. Glancing down at the swan, he took notice of how much she changed, physically and mentally.

    He remembered the earlier years back when she glowed with health, where her down and wings would shimmer in the moonlight. Her attitude was different then as well. She had understood her duty, and held it with high regard, first if not second to caring about everyone. Toward him, however, she had developed a sassy attitude, possibly a trigger for the long rivalry. They had always argued over the dumbest things, and yet deep down she tried hard to get to know him, to learn about his motives, his likes and dislikes. Because of that, over time the arguments became scarce, and her attitude softened with him.

    He wondered a lot about the sincerity of it. She was such a happy creature compared to his pessimism, it was apparent they were opposites. Despite that, she had given her all to finally get him to open his heart. Her determination to bring out his true self was one of the reasons he had fallen in love with her. Who knows if she had seen it from the start, he was good at keeping his emotions under control, so it took him longer to act. When he did, it turned out to be the turning point of his—their lives. Taking her previous examples to heart, he had given her a century of happiness they hoped wouldn't end. Entrusting her to bear his son was the best decision he had ever done.

    Lost in the wave of memories, he almost didn't hear Giratina's impatient bark behind him. “Darkrai, move your ass, or I'm leaving you.”

    On impulse, thus disregarding the fact there were witnesses, Darkrai cupped Cresselia's face, and pressed a passionate kiss to her mouth. She let out a muffled gasp, but held tight and returned it quickly and tearfully. Whether from the kiss or the awed stares, they both felt the awkward tingle run along their spines just to dismiss it, wanting this moment to be theirs to repair the bond between them. Unfortunately, that one random act wasn't enough to satisfy them both. While it did release some tension that had built up over the years and took away the doubts they had for one another, it was hardly enough to fully mend the relationship.

    Reluctantly, the phantom broke the embrace, heart jumping at how profusely she was blushing. Her eyes sparkled when they opened, inwardly pleading for him to stay. Frowning, he shook his head. “I'm sorry, sugarplum,” he murmured, running a finger down her cheek. “I'll make it up to you... I promise.”

    Though she felt happy he called her by her pet name, Cresselia was visibly trying hard to stop crying. “But Darkrai... this place is dangerous. We may not survive—”

    “You don't know that,” he cut her off. When she flinched from the rough tone, he took a breath to calm himself down. “Have faith, dear. I never stopped believing, so why have you? Adam wouldn't have wanted that. He hoped to never see his mother cry, because of how beautiful she is when she smiles.”

    She choked back a gasp. “...what? When... when did he...?”

    Darkrai suddenly snapped his fingers. “Damn, I wasn't supposed to say that! He made me promise not to tell you, and I went out of my way to break it!”

    “No, Darkrai, don't get angry over it!” The swan grasped his hands and held them close. “He's no longer here to say it. H-Had you told me sooner—honey, look at me—you had every right to pass it on. I would have known it was from him either way. He took after his father for a reason.”

    Quickly getting over the shock, a smile appeared on his lips, and he hugged her. “Thank you,” he breathed out, allowing himself to cry. “Thank you for being his mother.”

    In her heart, she could feel a burden lift itself from them, and replacing it was a familiar warmth she had nearly forgotten. She slowly parted from him, shooting him a tearful smile of thanks as she left with a speechless Shaymin. Darkrai painfully watched her go, but he sensed deep in his core all was well. He couldn't put a finger on it why he felt that way, or what made him tell her. He was sure it was his guilty conscious bursting at long last, though he could have sworn he had felt what may have been his long-lost posterity at their side, prompting him to say it instead.

    He jumped when there was a tap on his shoulder, and he spun around to meet a neutral Giratina in the eye. “As sad as that parting is, I regret to inform you we're running for our lives. If what you believe is true, you two can be lovey-dovey later. For now, haul ass.”

    He took one last glance down the passageway Cresselia entered and sighed, wiping at his eyes. “Did you see anyone with us?” he muttered.

    The dragon's wings ruffled a little in annoyance. “Honestly, I thought I saw a kid that resembled you, but I was busy clearing my eyes—which doesn't mean anything, mind you—and he wasn't there when I looked back. Why?”

    With a chuckle, the phantom just shook his head, and headed into the tunnel. “I'll tell you later.”

    “No-no-no, you tell me now so you can get it off your chest,” he urged. “Who is this Adam? What do you mean Cresselia was a mother?”

    He hardly glanced over his shoulder. “It never crossed your mind we had a child?”

    “Tch, no. Nobody told us this—not that they tell us anything, anyway.” Giratina ducked his head to avoid cracking it against the sudden low ceiling. “All we knew was you two had gotten together. Honestly, I didn't believe it for a while, but thinking back on it now, you two were happy, weren't you?”

    Darkrai nodded, feeling his gut twist up. “We were... we loved each other very much.”

    “...care to say what caused you two to separate?”

    “We didn't separate, we remained friends.”

    “Bullshit, you two separated. Why was that?”

    The ghoul began to slow down only for the dragon to prod him along. Hanging his head, he muttered, “Our son passed away.”

    Giratina barely heard it, and took a moment to process the information. “Do you want to talk about it?”

    “...not really.”

    “What, is it personal?”

    “Very.”

    Letting out a huff, he half-nodded in agreement. “All right, then, I'll shut up about it. But still, that was stupid of you to separate because of a child's death.”

    “I told you, Giratina, we didn't separate,” Darkrai snapped, quickening his pace and turning the corner, hurrying for the exit straight ahead.

    The dragon immediately slipped to his side to block his path, just scarcely catching the glazed look in the phantom's eye before he turned away. “So you say. What, you two never tried for another kid?”

    “Why would we? Adam's death broke our hearts, we didn't have any pieces left to replace him with.”

    “It's not replacing, you dimwit, don't you know anything about kids?”

    “Do you?

    Giratina caught himself from flinching at the cold glare he was being given, though he noticed it wasn't out of annoyance but of melancholy. He let out a long sigh before giving his answer. “No, I don't—just hear me out,” he added when Darkrai started to protest. “I may not have produced offspring in my life, but I've seen other couples with their kids. Most of the children ended up dying, leaving their family and friends behind. It's indeed very heartbreaking. Some never recover from it, but others know when to move on. About half of those parents who did would go on to have more kids, and only a small handful of them did it out of replacement.”

    The specter folded his arms. “What are you trying to say, exactly?”

    He rolled his eyes. “Okay, look, parents naturally love their children, and they do have that desire for more. It's implanted in their genes to have kids, you know? Well, I mean, I think sex is more desirable over kids, but the point is, they repopulate. Anyway, I'm getting off-topic. You're an idiot for separating from Cresselia.”

    “We didn't separate!” he shouted. “She came up to me and asked that we would just remain friends! She's been through it as hard as I have been, stop making assumptions like that!”

    “Well, ever since you 'remained friends', you haven't been happy,” Giratina countered with a sneer. “You and her were one of the happiest pairs I'd ever seen, though I didn't know why. Had you two just sat down and talked it over some more, you would have had more kids, and we wouldn't be here arguing over it.”

    “Then why are you bringing it up?!”

    “So you won't have this guilty conscious of yours if you die!” the renegade snarled. “Trust me, this is going to haunt you even worse in the afterlife than right now... and I don't want to watch you die anyway. We all can see there's something bothering you, you've never been the same. You love her, Darkrai, why did you postpone it?”

    The phantom's brows twitched from scowling too long, and from the bubbling emotions. Turning away, he hurriedly exited the tunnel and rounded the corner. Shaking his head, the dragon followed, keeping his eye on the Legendary who soon stopped in the middle of the field. He paused a few feet behind him, shivering at the heavy aura he was giving off, and waited, not daring to prod him about it. Even with the crimson hue that bathed the area, the faint scent of rain helped add an atmosphere of hurt around the two. It made Giratina shift from uneasiness.

    The silence ended when Darkrai finally murmured, “Adam was the turning point of our lives. We actually didn't plan him, not for that night, anyway. But when Cress told me the news, I was surprised, yet that shock was gone the moment I held the egg. In my hands was life she and I created... all from one simple night. Parental pride got the best of us very quickly, we were excited to welcome him to the world.

    “When he hatched, we cried. I never knew newly hatched Pokémon were so beautiful, so pure. And considering what species he turned out to be, it was a wonder, maybe a miracle. I was never that pure.” He swallowed down a sob before quietly chuckling, keeping his head hung. “Adam proved to be quite a handful, so much that Cress and I rarely ever got alone-time. And by the time we did, we were always exhausted. Sometimes at night, if the day was really long, she would jokingly tell me it was all my fault, but she counted her blessings. Our son would eventually settle down after several years, and she and I discussed about having another child.”

    A shaky breath expelled out sorrowfully, causing something inside of Giratina to twist. “Cresselia suggested for me to take him on a father-son trip, to show him the world outside of our island. And so I did. We were supposed to be gone for a few days... but it would be several before I dared to show my face to my worried mate. Right after I told her the horrible news, I fled, hiding myself far outside of Sinnoh. I... I lost all track of time. I couldn't remember where I was or why I chose it to begin with. And yet, I knew why my heart kept breaking to smaller and smaller pieces. I may have been close to death when Cresselia finally found me years later—and forgave me. But she wished for us to be friends... she felt it was for the best. It was then I realized that sometime during those long months of grief, I had closed off my heart to her, which would explain why it hurt so much. She had been trying to contact me, and I couldn't answer. I remember wanting to hold her, to tell her we could still be together...”

    Darkrai covered his face with a hand, vainly holding back the tears. It would be a few moments before he spoke again in a cracked voice. “I-I screwed it up... everything was my damn fault. I should have just let us be seen or transported elsewhere. What was I thinking? The humans weren't doing anything, they were just walking by! Adam would have liked to see them, but I feared their greed! How was I supposed to know a tree would crumble at that exact moment, with him under it?! I realize now it was a stupid mistake to travel through that dangerous forest, but I was convinced it was a shortcut, a freaking shortcut! The forest wasn't that big, we would have made it through in five minutes or less!”

    Giratina started to fight with himself about whether to calm the phantom down or continue to let him vent his feelings. Though the confession should have made it better, it became an awkward scene, he didn't know what to do except stand there and stare. Eventually, the hidden sobs racked his core deep enough to bring a few stray tears, which he turned away in attempt to hide them.

    They were like that for a few minutes, letting out the feelings they had so desperately tried to hold in. It wasn't how Darkrai wanted it, but he was grateful he had someone to lean on. Even when he was shivering from the tears, the phantom found strength to go up and pat his shoulder awkwardly, shooting him a small smile of thanks. The renegade, as astonished and embarrassed as he was to get caught, only nodded and with a wing returned the gesture.

    He had to clear his throat before he would speak. “Sorry I made you go through that,” he muttered, darting his eyes over briefly. “I didn't know...”

    “You meant well, Giratina,” he assured him quietly, hesitantly wiping at an eye. “I wish it hadn't been told to you, but I didn't have a choice... did I?”

    “Not exactly.” The dragon let out a small huff. “Remind me to keep my mouth shut next time around.”

    A sudden reverberating explosion prevented the specter from responding, startling the two to swerve around for the source. They were confused for a few seconds as to where it had come from until Giratina saw movement from above. With lightning-fast reflexes, he shoved Darkrai away with his tail and blocked an attack from Palkia by snatching his arm tightly with his wings. The claws were inches from his face, he could feel a power surging through the limb to power them up.

    The Spatial Legendary chortled in amusement. “You are one quick son-of-a-bitch.”

    Tossing him aside, the renegade regained his composure. “What the hell do you think you're doing?” he snapped back.

    Tilting his head, a smirk twitched from the corner of his mouth. “I ambushed you, what did you expect? It was I, however, who did not expect the fabric of space to be as loud as it was, but what can you do.”

    The phantom's brows furrowed in confusion as he shuddered. “Palkia, are you okay? What happened the last couple of days?”

    He scoffed, not bothering to break eye-contact from Giratina. “Have you two already forgotten? Dialga and I have waited for you all to show up.”

    Almost on cue, appearing from his own fabric rip came Dialga, a dark expression on his face as he towered over Darkrai. When his gaze shot between the two surprised Legendaries, he chuckled huskily. “Well, well, the cowards came back. Wanted a do-over to abandon us properly, I presume?”

    The similar haunting words of Regice came back to their attention, and they stared in disbelief at the two guardians. “You too? You two think we left you behind?” The ghostly dragon shook his head. “We never would have dared to ditch you guys, but we didn't really have a choice.”

    “Ah ha, so you do confess!” Palkia exclaimed, his eyes lighting up. “This is easier than we thought, we were hoping to beat it out of you.”

    Darkrai peered them in the eye, noticing something was off in the gazes and aura. Upon passing a glance at his companion, he knew they were both sensing the same thing. “You can't fool us, we know who you really are. It doesn't take a genius to know Dialga and Palkia wouldn't say such things about us.”

    “You haven't been around them for as long as I have,” his companion muttered to the side, though he quickly added, “but they aren't as harsh about it.”

    The two deities laughed darkly through their teeth. “Then identify us,” the Spatial Legendary remarked, “and we will let them go.”

    A bead of sweat developed on his temple, but the phantom held his head up high. “You are followers of Legion, who else would you be?”

    Turning to look at one another, the guardians smirked wickedly, and glinted back at them. “I suppose that was... obvious,” Dialga drawled. “No matter how hard we have tried, we could never get their personalities down. We contemplated on possessing the others, but Legion was very specific.”

    “Quit stalling, demon!” Giratina barked out, gritting his teeth. “We called you out, now let them go!”

    His stare hardened. “You really need to learn to keep your mouth shut.”

    “Now, now, he has a point,” Palkia said, waving a hand. “They did identify who we are.”

    “Then there is no reason why you should be stalling!” the dragon snarled, the spikes on his wings pointing at the giants.

    The grin on his face sharpened, and his eyes glowed menacingly. “However, they did not identify us by name.

    Darkrai's eyes blazed in response, his hands clenching tightly. “You tricked us!”

    He cackled, the winged plates on his back fanning out. “On the contrary, you tricked yourself. I merely asked a simple request, and you blew it. Thus, we keep the bodies.”

    Giratina's wings spanned out as well, kicking up a small wind. “Then we'll fight you for them!”

    The duo crowed some more. The phantom turned to his companion with a look of horror on his face. “You can't be serious,” he gasped out.

    He side-glanced at him. “It's not like we have a choice, do we?” he muttered bitterly.

    “Yes, we do! We don't have to fight them!”

    “We must, Darkrai.”

    “They're our friends!

    “Not at the moment, they aren't.”

    Darkrai started becoming hysterical at the thought, shaking his head swiftly the entire time. “Y... Y-You can't be serious! It doesn't matter who took them over, they're still our friends, Giratina!”

    “Enough of this nonsense, we have a duty to uphold!” Dialga snapped out of his laughter, the jewel on his chest glowing brightly. “We shall kill you and be on our way! There are two spirits here who are just dying to take over your bodies for themselves!”

    “I thought we went over this,” Palkia grunted to his rival, scowling. “You said I can get another body if it is bigger than this one.”

    “Yes, yes, I know the agreement,” he sighed loudly in the middle of his statement. “You got lucky.”

    “I just realized something,” came the addition at the end, much to the Time Guardian's annoyance. “The body you have is bigger than Giratina's.”

    So?

    “That means I get to have his body, and you can keep the one you have! The other two don't care who they get.”

    “Will you shut the hell up, I am trying to concentrate here!” Dialga barked, ramming his side. He looked over at his targets just to find they had disappeared. “Hey, what the...?”

    Palkia cracked his knuckles. “No problem, I got this. Oh, you may have to throw up a shield—just in case,” he added.

    When Dialga braced himself, he let out a bellow, and gathered power in the space surrounding him, his body quaking under the pressure. The pearls on his shoulders powered up, and when they reached their limit, he roared again and clapped once. A visible ripple extended out in a conical fashion, ripping apart anything it touched. Two shadows near the exit suddenly writhed, and anguished cries were heard echoing on the waves. Forced from the ground back to physical forms were Giratina and Darkrai, rolling in violent agony on the grass. The sight caused the attacker to laugh maniacally, though his counterpart rose a brow.

    “Did you even do it right?” he questioned off to the side.

    Palkia choked for a second, swerving to glare at him. “That was a warning, you smart-ass!” he growled, then repeated louder, “That was a warning shot! I recommend you surrender, or you shall perish!”

    Giratina's growl came out more of a gurgle when he slowly lifted himself up. Darkrai hurriedly shook his head, reaching out to stop him, albeit weakly. “D-Don't do it, Giratina. They're trying t... to get us riled up to attack.”

    The dragon glanced down at him, a stern frown on his face. “We can't out-run them, what with the powers of time and space on their side,” he pointed out. “There's no other way.”

    “They want us to hurt them!” the phantom gasped out, shakily getting to his feet. “We hurt them... we hurt our friends!”

    His wings drooped a little as his expression softened. “I know.”

    “I ask you one more time: surrender or perish!” Palkia barked, his hands clenching tightly. “We were ordered to kill if any of you refused to cooperate! Do not get it in your heads we will be more lenient than Legion!”

    “Calm down,” his rival snorted, rolling his eyes, “the more you get riled up, the less you keep control of—”

    Yes, yes, I KNOW!” he snapped out, glaring at his companion. “But these two are pissing me off!”

    “They have not done anything yet.”

    As the two went back into an argument, Darkrai watched as a small smirk molded itself on Giratina's mouth. “What are you thinking?” he whispered, leaning in.

    With a quiet chuckle, he bent down, raising his wings up to act as a canopy. “It seems our demons have anger issues,” he snickered through his teeth.

    “More like he's impatient,” the ghoul gave his insight, though a brow rose. “What are you suggesting? Stalling some more?”

    His head bobbed from side-to-side. “Somewhat. We can do a little keep-away and make him break.”

    “Giratina, he has ability to distort space. He can make it where we run around in loops and never get anywhere.”

    “But you felt what happened. The real Palkia would've focused on one small area where we were instead of everything.” His eyes sparked. “He has no idea what to do with the powers.”

    “We know that, but what is the plan?”

    “We make a rip in the fabric of space and shove him in there.”

    Darkrai crossed his arms defiantly. “I am not trapping a friend in between dimensions. And besides, who knows what he would do to it.”

    “What if it's antimatter?”

    The specter gaped for what may have been a full minute. He searched Giratina's face for any sign he was just spitting out ideas or making jokes. “...you don't mean...?”

    “None of them will be able to get out without my consent. We'll keep them in there until after everything is over and done with.”

    “I-Is that even possible?!” he wheezed out, realizing he hadn't been breathing the whole time. “And can you even open one up?!”

    “The Distortion World was pretty much an antimatter dimension,” the dragon scoffed. “Not that you would remember or even know, you never visited.”

    Before Darkrai could find the words to speak again, there was a roar beside them. Whipping a wing away, the two stared up at a poised Palkia with wild eyes and bared teeth about to smash his fists into them. Quickly, they jumped backward so the ground would take the impact, feeling the violent vibes of the attack even in levitation.

    “NO MORE TALK, NO MORE STALLING! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE NO MATTER WHAT!”

    Though it was obvious he wasn't thrilled with the Spatial Legendary's sudden actions, Dialga went ahead to follow behind, the diamond on his chest-plate glowing brightly. Giratina was too focused on dodging Palkia's fist-swinging to notice. Darkrai's eyes widened, knowing time was about to be affected.

    “Dialga, snap out of it, please!” he begged, unsure what to do in this situation. “We're sorry we left you behind, we didn't mean to! But you asked us to go on, you and Palkia both! You all did!”

    The scarlet eyes seemed to have widened in remembrance for a split-second, but the possessed look remained dominant. “You waited too long to rescue your friends. No matter what you do now, the rescue attempt will have been all in vain.” A horrifying grin flashed on his face. “You should know how death works. Your friends were already dead when we possessed them.”

    “YOU LIE!” Giratina shrieked out, startling the phantom. He looked over to find him headbutting the smaller Legendary in the chest, knocking him into the rocky walls. He noticed the same smile on Palkia, and he couldn't help wondering if these two demons were giving the same exact message.

    “What he said,” he muttered, feeling a wave of anger rise up inside him. His fists shook at his side.

    Dialga cruelly laughed, though the echoes weren't his. “Do not worry, your body will be in... good hands. Wish I could say the same about your spirit.” Letting out a roar, he charged forward.

    Darkrai sharply slipped into a nearby shadow to transport himself several feet behind the beast. Phasing back to his solid form, he watched him glance around in puzzlement before his eye glinted upon spotting him. He noticed the fins spreading out on his back when he turned around.

    “I do not wish to fight you, Dialga,” he announced boldly, knowing Giratina wouldn't be happy with him.

    A wicked smirk flashed on the dragon's face. “Let us see.”

    The specter braced himself, feeling a rise of power emitting from Dialga's body. The gem burned to a white light, a ring of indigo light illuminating above his head. The two other Legendaries, claws interlocked as they tried to shove the other off, briefly looked over when they felt an unknown weight in the atmosphere. Giratina would have slammed Palkia into the wall had he not eyed Darkrai's erect stance, looking as though he was before a firing squad. He bellowed at him to move out of the way, though time was being stretched closer and closer to a halt the more the deity's attack powered up, slowing down his speech the moment he enunciated his first word.

    As he was the only one unaffected by slow motion, Dialga let loose the beam when he roared, time bursting around him. He had failed to see a gradual radiant film falling about his target's form. It glowed a brilliant blue by the time the attack reached him, activating a reverberating beat as it bounced back to hit himself instead. However, instead of pain from the impact, it felt as though an area in his brain blocked itself off, causing the beam to dissipate into nothingness, leaving everything unscathed.

    “What the hell happened?!” he growled in shock, an eye twitching.

    Giratina finally caught up with his voice, quickly locking up his jaw to stop a droning gibberish he wasn't consciously aware sounding out. Face scrunched up, he grumbled, “The hell was I saying?” His attacker had a brow raised, confused about what was going on, but let it pass.

    Darkrai's aura faded the moment he slumped and gasped for breath. “There... I disabled your most powerful move. I-It should last... a while.”

    It took a moment for it to register. Once it clicked in, Dialga snarled. “I am going to enjoy stomping your body into the ground!” He lunged for the phantom who managed to side-step. Gritting his teeth, he swung his tail into the phantom's ribs, knocking him across the field.

    “DARKRAI, NO!”

    Shoving Palkia away, Giratina swiftly flew for the bigger Legendary, headbutting him aside. He barely found his balance when the spatial deity transitioned before him and kicked him down. With quick reflexes, his wings snatched the leg and flipped him over, taking care to harshly smack Dialga with his tail when he came up from behind. A maddening thought came to his mind, briefly forgetting the nature of the deceivers, only seeing them as they were physically.

    “You bastards have no idea how long I've waited for a battle with us three all at once,” he venomously whispered, feeling a laugh bubble in his throat.

    A fanged smirk appeared on Palkia's face as he picked himself up. “We figured you have,” he chuckled. “Three equally-powered legends fighting to the death.”

    “Think of the chaos it would create,” Dialga added as he stood up. “We were forbidden to ever meet, and yet here we are.”

    The specter scoffed, shaking the dirt off him. “Funny how it's like no one ever cares we're in the same area. We just go back to where we came from after it was all over.”

    “It is a little bizarre, but it would have been a little too obvious.” The pink dragon's wings spread out even further, a menacing light glinting off them. “Now that we are far from the others, we can fight to our hearts' contentments.”

    “I am afraid I am at a disadvantage, though,” the Temporal Legendary mentioned, his face darkening. “It was dick move to disable my signature attack.”

    His rival nodded. “Such a shame. This could have become a more interesting fight.”

    Giratina leered over at him to make eye-contact. “I personally would've preferred a hand-to-hand combat. The humans had a name for it.”

    Mano y mano?”

    “The proper term is actually 'mano a mano',” Dialga corrected.

    “Such a peculiar phrase. Humans were rather interesting, if stupid.” The two snickered. “They believed anything you told them without another thought.”

    “Such close-minded creatures, and so prone to anger if you ever so much as told them they were wrong.”

    “Had the unfortunate tragedy not happened, they would have killed themselves off.”

    “How much you want to bet that was some 'tender mercy' so they would not have to subject themselves to such humiliation?”

    “Even if it was, there would at least be a few humans still left.”

    “Interesting point.”

    “Giratina, why the long face? I thought you despised the human race.”

    “That is true, you always spoke ill of them.”

    He never once looked away from Palkia when the two were bouncing off each other. No registered emotion had gone through him until they directly asked him to join. There was something off about this behavior. They were standing in the middle of a battlefield, and yet talked as though they were good friends—in which the thought triggered memories.

    They never once liked each other. On Ho-oh's orders, they had no other choice but to learn to get along. Those two months in their dimensional home were very long and painful. Every day, he had fought the urge to beat them into submission when they got on his nerves over and over again. They had so many verbal arguments, it was a wonder they didn't knock off the balance of space and time. It was like a godsend when Ho-oh fetched for them for that meeting, he was in need of fresh air. Then the world died, and his hopes of being alone in his dimension were dashed. He was forever stuck with these two, the two deities he detested from the beginning.

    And yet... as time went on in the group, as much as he liked his privacy, he had found himself beginning to enjoy the company of everyone. Dialga and Palkia still did piss him off, but it wasn't as bad as it had used to be. They never talked a whole lot on their own time, still he had become more tolerant. The two, who had such a huge rivalry since the beginning, managed to put aside their differences in their conversations—for the most part. They never looked like they were at each others' throats anymore, it was a surprising change. Before Giratina knew it, he couldn't feel the hate anymore from both them and himself.

    He had seen these two as acquaintances, only to realize they had a stronger bond than that. If anything, they were friends. But his memories of his life before his exile never left him, always giving a little prick to remind him of who they really were: a unique trio created specifically to keep the world in balance. Without one or the other, everything would fall apart.

    They were like brothers.

    The two weren't far off saying he despised the humans, but he had never exactly wished death on the entire race. After all, he was in charge of being the caretaker of the dead, and damning the blackened souls. It was his curse, a curse he further defiled by consuming flesh from time to time. While it made him a little more feared, it only added to his sentence in Hell. That wasn't his job to lure them in for food. An unsung legend of the dead fearing the Reaper; no wonder they kept going to Darkrai.

    “Is there something wrong, Giratina?” Palkia's voice reached his subconscious, returning him to the present. Something inside him jumped at the sight of his cool stare. “Have your ghosts returned? Funny, I thought you lost that position months ago.”

    “Yeah, that is pretty funny,” Dialga blurted out, earning him a glare.

    As truthful as it was, he looked away, wishing he could see the throng of terrified spirits that used to greet him. It was apparent the Tree was devoid of them, he would have already noticed a few here and there for a brief moment when they first stepped foot on the grounds. He instead settled, much to his relief, on Darkrai across the way, who was struggling to walk on his rarely-used legs, looking too nauseous to levitate. Giratina didn't know where he could have landed, though judging by the amount of blood pouring down his face, he sustained a serious injury. The phantom paused to catch his breath, giving them a few moments to gaze at one another.

    A wave of fear fell upon him at that moment. Why was he so worried? Could it be they were so close to death? They were in such a fragile state breaking in, it was as though they were challenging death itself, he explicitly said so himself they could die. Were they immortal, they would be charging at each other carelessly, knowing they couldn't destroy their bodies so easily. Time had finally caught up to them here, reminding them of the danger they were in. He hadn't terribly injured himself anywhere, yet there was Darkrai, broken and ready to drop dead at any second. But his eyes gave it away that he wasn't afraid, despite having a mate waiting for him.

    ...no, Darkrai is afraid, overshadowed by determination for her—for their son. And for the future.

    Giratina caught himself looking back to Palkia before he could return to his stoic nature. The demonic eyes flashed as a toothy grin spread on his face. “How interesting. Even Death has feelings.” He tilted his head a little. “Such a pity. You would have easily been one of our strongest had you just succumbed yourself to us.”

    He scowled as hard as he could. “That was millennia ago, a heart can change over time. Not that you would know anything about hearts, considering you don't have one of your own.”

    Hatred fell across the deity's eyes. “Not to worry. I will possess yours soon enough.” A glowing arm rose up into the air high as it could go, and he swung it down, releasing energy doing so.

    Giratina reacted instantly. With a smirk, his forehead blinked a light blue before he disappeared into thin air as a shadow. The two deities and Darkrai gaped at the spot he was at, watching the blade tear through the space at Dialga. He moved to dodge it only to be caught by a blunt blow behind, shoving him forward. The spectral dragon immediately stepped back when the large Legendary took the attack head-on and crashed into a surprised Palkia. The collision caused the rend to backfire on itself when it hit the source of its power. A cracked pearl on his shoulder shattered as the surrounding space ripped apart and became distorted into itself, bringing about a strong pull toward the center.

    What it opened up into shocked them, half-expecting there to be empty space. Instead, filling up that space were numerous amounts of floating, shapely eyeballs moving about in spirals in an orderly fashion. Their hypnotic, indecipherable chant steadily came to a halt as they individually paused what they were doing to look upon them.

    Darkrai and Giratina gaped at the dimension, finding it nearly an incredible sight. Dialga and Palkia, once they found their bearings, were confounded. “What... what the hell is this?” the space deity breathed out.

    Numerous eyes blinked at once, sending them into convulsions. “This is unreal,” his opposite growled. “I have never seen this place before.”

    One of the nearby eyeballs dared to advance closer, its extensions squirming in excitement. It squeaked an untranslatable string of language, hints of tears shimmering in its depths. The others began to surround them like curious children, each chanting repeatedly in growing happiness. The large Legendaries started to swipe at them, bellowing at them to leave.

    The phantom, who had fallen to his knees from lack of strength, found it hard to speak up. “A... Amazing... the Unown are still...”

    “Persistent little bastards, I'll give them that,” the dragon muttered with a nod. “But... now that I think about it, it does make sense. Had they gone extinct, we wouldn't be here.”

    “Do you think they know?”

    After a pause to allow the deities' roars and the continuous chants to sink in, Giratina tilted his head down at Darkrai. “Eh... yes, and no.”

    “STOP SWARMING, DAMN IT!” Dialga hollered. He quickly formed a silver ball of light in his mouth to fire it at the Unown, which they quickly dodged without interruption.

    Palkia swerved over at the two with piercing eyes. “What the hell did you summon?! Is this some kind of a joke?!”

    The renegade gave a slight shrug, hiding a smirk. “They seem to like you two.”

    Letting loose a primeval call, his body violently shook as the ground and some crystals uprooted themselves. Swiping his arms before him, it shot forward as a shockwave directly at the specters. They attempted to leap out of the way until several of the Unown suddenly jumped in front and swiftly rotated in a tight circle in a glowing light. When the attack hit, they pushed it back with equal force, throwing Palkia and Dialga into the crowd. Because of their numbers, they caught them and held them into place, preventing a struggle. Several squeaked out in a demanding tone, and pushed them into their dimensional home.

    “Impossible!” the Spatial Legendary growled, attempting to whip his head around. “What are these devils?! Where are they taking us?!”

    “They're taking you home,” Darkrai responded, smiling gratefully up at the spinning creatures. “You are their masters, after all.”

    “Are these imbeciles blind?!” Dialga snarled, unable to even move an inch in his confined space. “Do they not know who we are?!”

    “Chances are they do, and they're bringing back the real Dialga and Palkia inside their own home,” Giratina said, knowing he was bluffing, but hoped it was the truth. “I don't know how long you can survive there if at all. But since your bodies are made specifically for phasing through dimensions, you should be fine.” He bent down at the phantom's level to hiss, “Wave to them,” and straightened back up to flap his wing in farewell.

    Darkrai blinked, yet went along with it.

    Stop mocking us!” Palkia shrieked, an eye twitching at the surreal world he was in. “We are demons, hand-picked by Legion himself to handle this task! We shall never lose to these freaks of nature!” He strained himself to claw at them, but it was at that moment the Unown released their hold on them, so he ended up spinning around and flipping upside-down. “Damn, how do you work this dimension?!”

    The Time Guardian slowly began rotating from the zero gravity, his limbs flailing about as he struggled to find his balance. “Shit, this is not good. Legion is going to exile us for sure.”

    Giratina finally burst out laughing at the sight, startling his companion. “You are the most pathetic demons we've seen! What are you two, novices?”

    “Shut up! When we get back there, I am going to—bwah!” Palkia's threat was cut short when a stray Unown smacked him in the face with a squeak before floating off. It made the spectral dragon laugh harder. “That is it, I have had it!”

    Good answer,” came a sudden retaliation from the side before the spatial dragon started to go into spasms as he screamed and clutched his head.

    Dialga glanced over in annoyance. “What has gotten into you?”

    “N-No! I shall never surrender to a mortal!”

    Darkrai snapped his head up with a gasp. “Can it be?”

    Catching his breath, Giratina grinned. “About time you showed up.”

    Why did you allow the Unown to release them?” He and the phantom glanced over their shoulders, taking in the outline of the real Dialga boldly standing there. “They're struggling too much, it's gonna be hard to take ourselves back. But no matter, we'll push ourselves back into this world.” And with a blur, he disappeared before their very eyes. It was seconds later the larger imposter started to thrash about as well, gritting his teeth and hissing out swears.

    The Unown continued to circle them as they writhed and screamed out curses, watching carefully and squeaking strings of chants. The spectral dragon then noticed each of the Symbol Pokémon were developing a crimson glow. Using his wing, he tapped his companion on the shoulder before stepping back. Wordlessly and without taking his eyes off the sight, Darkrai got to his feet and hobbled backward.

    Palkia seemed to have noticed their movement, and he bared his teeth at them. “Stop gawking, this... is nothing!” When one of the strange Pokémon floated by, his eyes widened in horror at the color it emitted. “What the...?”

    Coming to an abrupt halt, the Unown let out a hum, the light growing in luminosity. Dialga let out an animalistic roar, shooting out a random Aura Sphere in desperation just for the Pokémon to dodge with ease. Then in unison, red beams shot out from their eyeballs, enshrouding the two in a bubble to immobilize. Volts of electricity immediately began electrocuting them, and having been caught off-guard, they were susceptible to the pain. Their screams were like nothing they had heard as though they were penetrating space and time. The two Legendaries vainly covered their ears and recoiled, biting back cries of their own.

    The electricity and voices then trailed off, leaving behind their paralyzed bodies. The sphere then faded along with the sinister crimson glows, and the Unown resumed circling around the two deities. When it was apparent they weren't going to move, they tightened the circle, and slowly transported them beyond the exit. The two specters waited for them to place them on the ground before they approached. Darkrai shivered at their blank, wide-eyed stares, feeling there was something off about them.

    Giratina took notice, frowning. “I think that was a little too much...”

    The phantom sighed. “Doesn't make sense... what just happened, exactly?” He glanced over. “Are they...?”

    “They better not be,” the dragon muttered, lowering a wing to nudge Dialga's side, flinching at the static. “I hope the Unown knew what they were doing, or a certain dimension is getting ripped apart.”

    One of the Pokémon then squeaked and spun around, sounding and appearing rather happy. They looked up with puzzled expressions. “We... can't exactly understand you,” the ghoul pointed out, shaking his head.

    It made a gesture as though it was smacking itself with an extension, then began spinning around above the motionless bodies. After blinking up at it, they turned their attentions to Dialga and Palkia, brows furrowed in worry. They flinched a little when the two closed their eyes, but nothing more came afterward. Gingerly, Darkrai stepped closer, reaching out to lift an eyelid.
    Winner of Best Pokémon/Pokémon Fic of 2013 in the Shipping Oscars
    Current Chapter: Chapter Ten - 3/17/14 / Current: Requiem I - 11/17/14 - Chapter 21 progress: 66%
    I survived Pupa.

  5. #180
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    “...boo.”

    He jerked his arm back with a small gasp just to let out an exasperated breath when Palkia's eyes drifted open. “Don't do that,” he groaned, covering his face, though he smiled behind his hand. From above, the Unown squealed in joy and danced.

    Giratina remained steadfast where he stood, barely fighting back a smirk. “Welcome back... I assume.”

    “Of course, bonehead,” he mumbled, letting out a low, agonized sigh. “Sure gave us a hell of a beating back there.”

    “Had to get it out of you.” He folded his wings behind him. “How was it?”

    “Wasn't so hard. They had their guard down too long.”

    “You can say that again,” Dialga huffed, gazing up at the celebrating Pokémon. “I felt that.” They looked down, and appeared to have bowed in apology. He slowly blinked, unable to move his head. “Don't worry about it. We're just glad you are all still around.” One of them squeaked, sounding like it was concerned. “We'll be fine. Don't mind us.”

    “Don't speak on my behalf,” Palkia snorted, yet he smiled up at the Unown. “Thank you all. Tell your other buddies we're grateful you came around...” He paused to think on it. “...accidentally.” The eyeballs let out happy chirps, wiggling their bodies around.

    Darkrai raised a hand for a brief, aching moment. “Thank you all. It wasn't what we expected either, but you were a big help for us.”

    The renegade nodded his head respectfully. “Not that we probably couldn't have rescued them ourselves... but thank you.”

    The Pokémon nodded, bounced around a few times in joy, and then shot for the dimension portal to join the others. With chirps and clicks, their appendages squirmed as though they were waving until it closed up, separating their worlds.

    The abruptness of it all caused reality to sink, and brought them to feel empty with them gone. Hanging his head solemnly, Darkrai carefully placed his hand on Palkia's forehead. “It's over...”

    “Not exactly.” Dialga's face scrunched in pain or concentration, they couldn't tell. A leg twitched, but it wasn't enough to satisfy him. “We may be okay for the time being... but it doesn't mean the others aren't.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “This Legion fellow... he really messed up some of us. I think he...” A cough interrupted him. “Sorry... this Legion guy's no push-over. Some of us, like Palkia and I, gave in too easily, and we were chased out of our bodies.”

    “Wasn't our fault for the most part. But there were others who...” The spatial dragon frowned, attempting to lift his head with little success. “Wow, the Unown sure did a good number to these bodies. Damn it, I lost a pearl...”

    “What were you saying about the others?” Giratina pressured, wings flapping in irritation. “Get to the point.”

    Palkia shot him a look, then sighed. “He's hellbent on killing us if he wants,” he murmured. “He dealt a lot of damage to them before they gave up. They put up a good fight, too.”

    “Who did?”

    The two dragons closed their mouths, their eyes reflecting a sorrow they hadn't before seen in them. Darkrai folded his arms tightly, shivering at the heavy atmosphere that suddenly fell around them. Even the renegade shrunk back a little. “Are you saying they're...?”

    “Not dead, don't worry.” Dialga brought himself to smile for a second. “But... some of the demons are aggressive. If they don't kill their host body, they'll kill everyone else.”

    Giratina noticed the phantom hanging his head, shoulders shaking. “Have... have you seen them?” he whispered. “Are they fighting like we have?”

    Palkia's plated wings twitched in the folding motion. “...yes... as we speak.”

    They fell silent, almost expecting to hear faint explosions or screams from somewhere in the Tree. Taking a few more battered breaths, Darkrai spoke up once more. “What about Cress? Have you seen her?”

    “She wasn't one of the captured—”

    “I know, but have you seen her?” He flinched at how demanding his voice sounded and lowered it on the next sentence. “Is she caught in one of these deadly fiascos?”

    A quiet moment went by before Palkia opened his mouth to answer, only to instead get interrupted by a wet squelch. They turned their heads to find a white blood cell picking itself off the ground into the shape of an Omastar, another dropping beside it. “Damn, they found us!” the ghostly dragon shouted. He quickly gathered a ball of light into his mouth and expelled it toward them. They exploded on impact, just for their remains to regroup.

    The two deities began struggling to pick themselves up while Darkrai and Giratina braced themselves for attack. The phantom caught sight of a third blob pulling itself back together, and he fired a Dark Pulse so it would blow apart. He dodged one of the projectiles, then blasted it again.

    “If only we have healing abilities, we would get you two up and running in no time,” he lamented, imaging Cresselia and Mesprit at their sides. However, his mind leaned more toward his counterpart, a desire growing in his heart for her. “Oh, Cress...”

    “Darkrai, don't you start day-dreaming on us!” Dialga called to him, which snapped him out of it. Swerving his head around, he let out a blast of heated breath, steadily tucking his legs underneath to sit on his knees. He flinched when he felt gelatinous material splash itself on his side, and upon turning for a look, he watched in horror as it came alive and immediately began to grow. He thrashed about best he could, trying to shake it off him, or even roll onto it.

    Palkia reached out to swipe it only for it to latch onto him as well. “Shouldn't have done that!” he cursed himself, flailing his arm.

    Giratina spun around with wide eyes and a gasp. He raised his wings to point the claws downward and tore at the mass, attempting to pull it off. The rubbery material stretched with ease, and sprouted tendrils to wrap around and consume the appendages. He struggled to yank himself away, fear present on his face. Darkrai glanced anxiously back-and-forth between the cell before him and the one capturing his friends, unsure what to do.

    Dialga felt a prickling feeling in his mind like a switch turned itself on. “Oh, what great timing for the Disable to wear off!” he announced sarcastically. “Like I have enough time to use Roar of Time!”

    His counterpart was about to make a comment when some of the blob snapped and clung itself to his lower face, silencing him.

    “Darkrai, run for it!” the spectral dragon growled through his teeth as the blob ingested him further. “Go to Cresselia!”

    He felt like his heart was bursting at the demand. “No, I can't leave you here!”

    “It's too late for us! Go to her while there's still time!”

    Darkrai recalled back her tear-streaked face as she begged him to stay with her. He wondered if she knew what was going to happen, if the end results were all the same. As though reversed, she was pessimistic and afraid of the separation, claiming they weren't going to survive... he was optimistic about the outcome. It was why he agreed to separate, as painful as it was, believing it was for their own good.

    “Have faith, dear. I never stopped believing, so why have you?”

    “D-Darkrai! The hell are you doing?! Run!”

    The phantom slowly turned his head to the renegade and deities. “Something's not right here.”

    “Oh yeah, of course it's not right!” Dialga exclaimed, still struggling from the cell's hold. He felt himself sink in deeper, bringing a gurgled choke from him. “These things are killing us!” Palkia swiftly nodded.

    “That's just it. I don't think they would originally attack us.”

    “So?!”

    “Besides,” he continued, almost to himself, “I think someone else wants to do the honors of killing us.”

    Giratina pulled as hard as he could just to lose his footing and stumble. He landed on his knees, and the cell greedily engulfed his lower body. “We don't care about that, we just want one of us to escape and find the others, or even the Heart! That's what we're here for!”

    Darkrai looked them in the eye, a grave expression etched on his face. They watched in shock as he took a step back. “You insane?!” Dialga screamed, snapping his head to the side when the blob grabbed onto his crest to snap it off. “You suicidal?!”

    He shook his head, albeit sadly. “I feel there is more to this than meets the eye.”

    “Darkrai, you'll meet the same fate as Heatran!” Giratina exclaimed to the surprise of his rivals. “What about Cresselia, and your promise to her!”

    “I never back out on promises... and how have you not noticed that we never once saw Heatran's spirit since he was 'eaten'?” He stepped back again, ignoring a shiver running along his spine.

    The dragon paused in his struggles for a moment to think on it, eyes slowly widening in realization. “Then... he's still alive! Somewhere, he's alive!”

    “Heatran got caught by one of these things?!” Dialga gasped.

    “What if they're only collecting us?” Another step riled up the blob. “Whoever is in charge is bringing us all together, possibly for the last time. We give in, the faster we can escape with the others... or die together. Either way, Giratina, that is the key: win or lose, we'll be together again in the end.” With a nod, he closed his eyes and took one last step backward, directly into the cell's hold.

    The trio watched helplessly as he was swallowed up without a struggle into the gelatinous mass, his smaller frame quickly sinking into the depths. They managed to catch a lone tear trickling down his face before it completely engulfed him with a sickening slurp, and cleanly melted through the floor. Palkia's muffled sobbing brought their attention to his predicament, finding he was now hopelessly up to his neck in cell matter. Dialga looked down at himself with a similar expression before turning to Giratina. The renegade winced in pain when the cell yanked his wings down to get at the protrusions of his head plate, looking away to stare at his comrades, feeling a prick in his heart that told him this was it. There was nothing they could do to stop it, or even slow it down.

    They were failures.

    As the two were the most trapped, they gave him a nod, a silent farewell—or was it in agreement? He couldn't read their thoughts to know if they believed Darkrai, but as they succumbed to the blobs and were gulped down without hesitation, he decided to stop fighting, going against his pride. It was pointless. They had left their guards down for too long. It was possible, he reviewed in his head, that if Palkia and Dialga didn't kill them victoriously, the cells would've caught up to them. And in their weak state, it would've been nigh impossible to escape.

    Giratina scowled up at the never-ending ceiling, expecting to find Legion or another demon there gloating down at him. “Mark my words, Legion, if this turns out to have been a trick, I'm dragging you down to Hell myself, spirit or not. For bringing us nothing but pain and suffering, you will eternally pay for it, you son of a bitch.”

    When the cell enveloped his head, plunging him to a world of suffocating darkness, he could swear he heard a mocking cackle echoing through the vacant room. Without so much as a ripple, the blobs disappeared deep underground, their purposes fulfilled.

    *~*~*

    “We now repent of all our sin
    And come with broken heart,
    And to thy covenant enter in
    And choose the better part”

    *~*~*

    They weren't certain how long it had been since the separation. For the whole time they were silent, Shaymin had been bothered by what had happened. She knew of the rift between her friend and Darkrai, but not the reason for it—not that she didn't respect her privacy either. If Cresselia didn't want to talk about it, she understood that. Now that she heard they had a son, it was harder for her to keep the questions at bay.

    “Go ahead, you can ask me,” the swan solemnly replied at last out of the blue. “It was no secret Darkrai and I separated.”

    It must have been obvious what was on her mind. She hesitantly took a deep breath to keep herself steady. “But why you did was never mentioned,” the terrier slowly said in a matter-of-fact tone.

    A frown formed on her beak. “It's because only Ho-oh saw Adam. Months after our son's passing, Darkrai would later tell me he mentioned it to him when he wanted something off of his chest. But I could feel in my heart it helped very little. He still blames himself after all these years...”

    Their movements dropped to a gait as the burdened thought fell on them. Shaymin shuffled closer to her friend to be of comfort. “Have you forgiven him?”

    Cresselia sighed. “I made a stupid mistake asking that we could just be friends, a hard transition from when we were life-mates and had a child together. We never thought to break off that special connection we had developed.” A quiet scoff found its way out of her throat. “I guess we figured we would get back together after the pain left.”

    “And I take it the pain never did.”

    “Right. Darkrai suffers from it the most, since he says Adam haunts him. You'd figure that because he can see spirits, I would believe him, but I don't. I know our son has moved on, it was what helped me go to Darkrai in the first place to forgive him.” She hung her head to stare down at her hands as she flexed them.

    “Why did you come for me?”

    The quiet tone brought her to glance up at him, a lump in her throat. It had taken all her strength and courage to go up to him the first time in years, she had been afraid he became feral, judging by looks alone. His solitude made things more worse than they had been, it was painfully obvious he wasn't taking care of himself. He was avoiding her gaze out of shame, a secret desire to be as far away from her as possible... and yet there was that part that wanted to stay—possibly. It was hard to tell under that feeling of dread hovering over him, threatening to tear his soul apart with one wrong move.

    Cresselia was treading on rough waters here.

    “Darkrai... I still love you,” she gingerly started out, doing her best to keep her voice calm. “But this is going to take us a while longer to mend. Let us just... take baby steps. I don't care if we continue to live together, your choice, we'll just have to... um... well...”

    “Not be romantically involved?”

    It hurt to look into his dull grayed eyes, and into his pitiful, lonely self. She found herself lamenting for the days he actively searched for happiness, even if it was just to not make her worry. Forcing herself to sigh, she nodded. “Something like that. A platonic relationship, you can say... like friends.”

    His shoulders tensed, a sign she hit a sensitive spot. She started to regret talking to him, knowing what his response was going to be. “We already are. You're my best friend, Cress.”

    She slowly nodded again. “I-I know. And as your best friend, I don't want to see you hurt anymore. When you are ready, we can try again, and it'll be better.”

    A chill ran up her spine when he grasped her paw, his fingers smoothing over the back of it. Swallowing down the tears, she stated boldly, “Darkrai, I'm sorry, but I can't watch you waste away like this. Our relationship has to step back for a while. We may end up going as far back as enemies, but we need to take a break. Let us rest, please.”

    Cresselia hurriedly moved back to widen the space between them, facing away from him. It was eerily silent in the forest as it faded to a dreary gray, almost like it was holding its breath. She berated herself for wanting to get it over with quickly so she could forget it all, and possibly leave him alone. Just because she accepted it willingly didn't mean he was ready to. She naturally was forgiving, it was Darkrai himself who had difficulties with such things, being the exact opposite of who she was...

    His presence shifting in place nearly caused her to flee. A faint movement caught her eye, bringing her to stare at his out-stretched hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance. The name's Darkrai.”

    With a heavy, quivering heart, she hesitantly reached out to greet him in a handshake. She forced herself to meet his stern gaze and smile. “I'm Cresselia... keeper of dreams.”

    He nodded, his expression unchanging. “Sounds pleasant, the very opposite of my own occupation. But I don't go seeking out fights over such things. I hope we can get along, despite our differences.”

    “Same here.”

    She was aware he purposefully held the gaze and her hand longer than needed, but chose to ignore it.


    Cresselia quickly blinked away the tears and took a breath, remembering what she was talking about. “You know... if he wasn't so stubborn about it all, we would have already had more children, as hard as it would be to think we were replacing him. That's a harsh word, 'replace'... On the nights I think on that possibility, I convince myself that the children aren't replacements because we prepared to welcome them. If we planned when to have children, then surely there is no need for replacements. Get what I'm saying?”

    Shaymin nodded a little, looking to the front. “You're a family. No matter who lives and who dies, you all have a connection that spans throughout many generations. To believe you have a future child up there must be such a happy feeling. But to know that right next to that child, there is another one, and another, and another... there's something special about it. You can lose one in this life, but it's not forever, not as long as that connection still exists.”

    Cresselia let out a small giggle, turning to her. “Where did you hear that?”

    “Various places.” The Gratitude Legendary barely glanced at her. “I had a family once, though we weren't really blood-related—no, we weren't orphans, we were all fully mature. It was just us, a small but happy group, where secrets were non-existent, no one was selfish, we all pitched in to take care of the injured and sick—typical family stuff. Though like with every family, we needed a head-of-household, and since I was the oldest, I looked out for them.” She paused, deciding to kick a pebble along. “I considered finding a mate at one point.”

    “Were there any males in your group?”

    “There were... but we all saw ourselves as siblings, so it was rather awkward. Nevertheless, quite a few of them were mates. We had some babies running around, though it's not like they bred like crazy.” She shot a smirk.

    Cresselia's smile was brief before she returned her attention to the front. “So, what made you decide not to get a mate?”

    “I never said I decided not to, I just couldn't find one who was right for me. I shouldn't be so picky, since there weren't a lot of us to begin with, but...” Shaymin let out a harsh sigh, struggling to find her words. “Well... I couldn't see myself being a mate. I've tried to make relationships work, really. They were just all rather platonic, we never could get past those feelings, even with the newcomers. So when Arceus granted me such an important position, I never found the time to search. Eventually, it slipped my mind.”

    A slight beat passed between them. “...what happened to your family?”

    “They continued to grow in size, of course. I visited from time to time, even though someone else was the head-of-household whom I chose myself, so I really wasn't needed. I stopped visiting when the last of my best friends passed away, and the third generation hardly recognized me. It hurt... but at the same time, I was happy they could thrive like they did. God only knows if they had found a new place or not.” She chuckled, beaming up at the swan.

    She couldn't bring herself to return the gesture.

    They walked in further silence, beginning to notice the gradual change in scenery. As they hadn't been paying attention to where they were going, it felt like a godsend to know they were heading for some greenery amidst all the angry crimson. The tunnel opened up to another field, much like the others they had seen, though this particular one had a larger lake. They could smell a hint of rain, and looking up at the space above them, they could see natural light, albeit in a gloomy hue. They couldn't make out any contours of clouds or of a blue sky from the height. Taking a glance around, the crystals were scarce, only a few glowing dots could be seen across the waters.

    Shaymin shuffled her feet in the grass for a moment. “Have to admit, the Tree is beautiful on the inside.”

    “Yes... it's a shame it's powered up with dark energy.” Cresselia shivered at what she said, pulling her eyes away to look straight ahead. “We can't stay here, you know.”

    The terrier nodded as they approached the water. They noted from the dark, blended hues in the middle it was deep. Looking down on both ways of the shore, she sighed through her nose. “Your choice, Cress—take the long way around, or fly across?” She glanced at the distance between the swan and the ground. “Er... levitate... float, I mean.”

    “Might as well go across,” she responded, smiling at her word correction. “It's not like we're going swimming. It'll just take a few seconds to cross.”

    Shaymin quietly laughed, spreading out her ears and hopping to catch the air current. “That's true.”

    Facing the front, the two took off at a fast pace, skimming above the water's surface to leave a trail of tiny waves. As they got within reach of the shore, a pink tentacle popped out and tightly wrapped itself around one of Shaymin's back ankles. She barely let out a yelp before she was pulled under with a loud splash. With a gasp, Cresselia sharply turned to dive, psychically repelling the water from her eyes. Below were a small herd of Cradily, one of which had the tiny Legendary in its grasp, quickly pulling her down.

    Taking hold of the terrier's paws, her wings glowed a brilliant pink, and they flapped to let loose a single curved psychic energy to slice through the tentacle. The Pokémon let out a screech as she shot through the surface, landing a safe distance in the grass. Shaymin coughed up water she accidentally gulped down, rolling over onto her back for air.

    “Well,” she wheezed, “y... you want to take that back?”

    The swan let out a mix of a scoff and chuckle. “Attacked by a Cradily doesn't count.” She frowned at the thought, glancing back as though it would emerge to chase after them. “Though is it just me... or do you find it strange a Pokémon would attack one of us?”

    “'S not like they could recognize us from far away,” Shaymin muttered.

    “Then how'd it know something was going to pass on by?” she questioned further. “That Cradily was pretty far down, the fact it could reach up here is strange on its own. But...” A thought pricked her mind, and her eyes widened, sensing something was wrong in the air. Swerving her head at her companion's direction, the jewel on her head gleaming, she declared, “We have to get out of here.”

    The terrier stared, but refrained from speaking, instead giving her a nod of understanding. The two hurriedly got up and started to run off when a rosy glow in the water caught their eye. Breaking through the surface were two orbs of pink light, which they gasped at as the pair swiftly shot across in their direction. They weren't fast enough to avoid them by the time they made contact with their chests, enveloping them in its light and freezing them in place. Cresselia watched with horror as the orb sunk into her body, and before she knew it, she blacked out—though only for a moment. She came to very quickly, albeit in a dizzying manner, vaguely noticing the world suddenly seemed a little bigger. She collapsed onto the grass, feeling like she shrunk.

    Blinking rapidly, she looked up, and her eyes widened upon seeing herself laying across from her, face contorted into that of sickness. “Oh no...” a moan came from her mouth. “That... that just happened, right?”

    Rolling over on her back, Cresselia—her body, she corrected—stared up at the hazy light above them. “I don't feel good,” she said, then gasped and felt her throat. “What the...!” She craned her neck to look down, and just about squawked. “I have no legs!” Her eyes flashed a light blue in panic instead of their usual magenta color. When their gazes met, the swan felt an icy wave spread out from her now-furry chest. “Cresselia, you have no legs!”

    She recognized Shaymin in her body, but became frightened as well. “I don't have legs?!”

    “You do, but I don't!”

    “Wait, who lost their legs again?!” Rolling over onto the belly of the hedgehog body she accompanied, she studied her newfound limbs. “Oh, you lost your legs. But... Shaymin, you're really tiny.”

    “You just now noticed?!”

    “Hey, don't get all snappy with me! This is new to me!”

    There was then a maniacal giggle in the lake's direction, quieting the two females to look over. Standing there on the water's surface was Manaphy, barreling over in laughter and smirking. When he looked up, Cresselia squinted to find his gaze was sinister, with low brows and narrow pupils. “You two are hilarious!” he snickered through his breaths. “This is such a fun body! I can screw around with other bodies as much as I want! Sadly, though, I cannot control those I am not in possession of, but watching is much more fun!”

    She was stunned to hear such a tone from him, a voice that lacked the natural air of innocence. There had to be no other way for the sea prince to sound like that unless another being had control of him. And after seeing what happened with Mew, Regice and Regigigas, it was the only other conclusion.

    As she couldn't find the words to speak out, Shaymin did it for her. “What have you done to Manaphy?!” she yelled, trying to sound commanding. Cresselia felt she succeeded, as her own voice didn't have a high pitch to it (but it still bothered her that she sounded weird).

    He didn't look too surprised he was found out. “He was the weakest, and thus the first to give in. I was able to push him out of the way with ease and take over from there!” He then cackled. “I had so much time to get used to this body, that I fucked around with the others while they waited for their turn! It was the most hilarious thing ever!”

    Flinching from the harsh curse that escaped the sea prince's lips, Cresselia shouted out, “Give him back to us!”

    “With that tone of voice?! Yeah, sure thing, pipsqueak! I will give him back—not!” He fell onto his back from another laughing fit.

    Shaymin struggled to lift up off the ground, pressing the pink paws below her with a groan. “Cress, how do you fly?!” she hissed. “You're not like my body!”

    “I-I don't know,” she whispered, recoiling in shame. “I never thought about it before...”

    “I am getting bored of talking!” Manaphy then spat, sitting up. “I was ordered by Lord Legion himself to finish the job that fool Jediah couldn't do. It is my easiest job, yet.” He then tilted his head with an evil smirk. “This body is very convenient, is it not?” The antennae then rose as the bulb glowed, which would not have normally fazed the females were it for not the crazed look in his eyes. The lake dangerously rippled and swirled in the middle to rise as a water spout, bringing the two females to immediate scurry back and shoot each other anxious looks.

    “What do we do?” Cresselia squeaked out a whisper. “We can't run like this!”

    Shaymin did a double-take when the wings weakly moved, thinking for a split-second she found a way to fly. “It's only for a little bit. We'll return to our bodies before we know it.”

    Glancing between her and the water, the swan-turned-terrier took a breath and nodded. Shakily, she forced herself to stand on the four legs, only to wobble about as she frantically tried to steady herself. “J-Just until we get back to normal!” she yelped in confirmation.

    Whether on purpose or a legitimate miss, water harshly splashed between them, startling them into small screams. At that moment, a multicolored beam shot out from Cresselia's beak and hit the nearby cliffside, leaving behind a small crater. The sudden attack left them stunned, mainly Shaymin who still sat there with an open mouth.

    Manaphy let out a cackle, clutching his midsection. “You two are pathetic!” he gasped. “None of you would last an hour like that!”

    Glowing pink from embarrassment, the terrier slapped the beak shut. “I didn't mean it!” she whimpered. “I mean, I-I don't know how I—”

    “Who cares, Shaymin, let's just hurry out of here!” Lifting the right leg first, Cresselia took a quick step forward, keeping her gaze down to keep from accidentally tripping herself.

    “Go ahead, run!” was the taunt from behind. “You are helpless without your man by your side!”

    She shivered when Darkrai's face flashed in her mind, dropping to the ground in a kneel. He's lying, she hissed to herself. I know I'm strong, I have proof.

    “You are all talk, and no action, it is all you are good for! You think you are independent, but face it, you are nothing without Darkrai!”

    “Leave him out of this!” she cried out, quickly getting to her feet. “You don't know anything about us!”

    “You are nothing but a shadow of your former self, and Darkrai is that shadow!”

    “Not true!” Cresselia stumbled again from another blast of water, rolling onto her back.

    Manaphy cackled. “You gave up everything that made you a legend to become nothing more than a common mate! You gave up your freedom to raise a son only to have him die and ruin your life!”

    She gritted her teeth, unable to tell if the tears she was developing were of anger or fright. “No! It's not true!

    Shaymin managed to make her way over to scoop her up, and turned to flee. From behind, the sea prince roared some more. “This is too easy!”

    Peeking past the swan, Cresselia gasped as a rope of water shot in their direction and engulfed them. They struggled to push themselves through as it harshly pulled them back into the depths of the spout. Scarcely could they scream without their mouths full of liquid, rapidly swirling downward while the laughs of Manaphy faded. She had slipped from her companion's grasp some time during one of the rotations, flailing her paws in a vain attempt to swim her way out. Her vision was too blurred from the water and speed to make out anything past the blues and whites.

    If she could cry, she would. Her memories flashed by too fast for her to pick up on, quickly growing more distraught at her sense of failure. While she could never shake off that feeling their mission was inevitably doomed, she never felt like giving up. For the sake of her friends and Darkrai, she didn't want to die, not at that moment.

    If only she could tap into Shaymin's power and escape with her...
    Winner of Best Pokémon/Pokémon Fic of 2013 in the Shipping Oscars
    Current Chapter: Chapter Ten - 3/17/14 / Current: Requiem I - 11/17/14 - Chapter 21 progress: 66%
    I survived Pupa.

  6. #181
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    It was faint, but she was aware of a blunt force against her side, knocking her out of the vortex. A rush of air caught under her ears, snapping her at an angle to careen elsewhere. Still in shock, she caught sight of green amidst the blue, the swirling colors beginning to sharply refocus into recognizable shapes. Cresselia, unfortunately, was yet able to steady herself, but quickly curled in on herself prior to landing. The grass was welcoming, though the impact still knocked the breath out of her as she rolled onto her side. Eyes swirling in their sockets, she peered over at the lake in time to see herself—Shaymin—launch out of the water spout accompanied by another.

    “What the hell just happened?!” she heard Manaphy yell in a near squawk.

    She followed her through the air to where she landed by the water's edge, watching a plated Pokémon flip back into the lake mid-jump. It was hard to follow, though the glint she had caught gave her a clue to an identity, and all it did was confuse her. “A Kabu... tops?” she muttered.

    “Who told you you could move from down there?!” the Seafaring Legendary screamed down into the water. “I wasn't done with them, yet!”

    Feet away, Shaymin roughly coughed the water up, pushing herself up with her hands. The wings flickered as she slowly craned her neck over, a tiny smile on her beak. Cresselia hacked the liquid from her lungs when reality hit her, struggling for breaths and her composure. There came more yelling from the lake, but it felt like her senses were suddenly shooting out, and she didn't care about what the imposter had to say.

    Much to the females' relief, Manaphy's hold on the water spout faltered, and it heavily splashed down, spraying in all directions. The sea prince was trembling in anger, as evident by the ripples rolling beneath him. “How are you two still alive?!

    Shooting a brief scowl over at him, Shaymin crawled over to her body. “You okay, Cress?” she muttered, shivering slightly.

    Groggily blinking, she rolled her gaze over, feeling numb. “A... Kabutops...”

    “Eh? Um... in the lake, right?”

    A slow, single nod. “Why'd it... save us?”

    “Stop ignoring me!” A blast of water hit the swam in the back, bringing a choked gasp from Shaymin. “I will drown you on the shore if I have to!”

    An abrupt snort escaped from her, much to Cresselia's surprise. She watched her body sit up and twist to look at Manaphy, head tilted and an amused glint in her eye. “Is that all you got?”

    The young Legendary shrank back a bit in confusion. “What are you saying? Are you defying me?”

    Shaymin let out a laugh. “What's there to defy? All you're good at doing is scare tactics and water shows. You know nothing of Manaphy's powers.”

    A dark flush fell over the prince's face. “I do, too! I can command all of the inhabitants of the water!”

    “You're a disgrace. I thought Jediah was bad, but you're laughable.”

    Shakily, Cresselia stood up and nudged her. “That's enough... let's get going.”

    “Just you watch!” Manaphy snapped, teeth bared and pupils shrunken. The bulb of his antennae started to glow the more he shook. “I will command everyone to rise up out of the water, and kill you!

    Almost on cue, some of the inhabitants bobbed to the surface, with Cradily tentacles popping out alongside them. They were all prehistoric Water Pokémon, ranging from Kabuto to Omastar to Anorith, and all were facing the prince, though a couple of Omanyte and a single Kabutops glanced over. As frightening as the scene may have looked, Cresselia found herself calm when she met their eyes.

    With a smirk on her beak, Shaymin lifted herself up. “Go ahead, I dare you. Give it a shot.”

    If the Seafaring Legendary ever had hair, it would bristle. “You dare to dare me?” he snarled. Then a toothy smile spread, which made the two flinch. “You are a fool, but very well!” He raised a hand to point in their direction, striking a threatening pose. “Lunch is served!”

    The Water Pokémon only stared, not moving an inch. The young Omanyte, Kabuto, and Anorith lost interest and instead swam around and made bubbles. It helped lighten up the tense atmosphere to watch them put on a show.

    The demon gave a double-take, and flailed his arm about. “Did you not hear me? I told you to go get them! Stop playing around and go eat them or something!”

    They didn't budge, though the one Armaldo scratched at its muzzle and turned away for the opposite shore. Cresselia and Shaymin stole glimpses at each other, unable to hide delighted smiles.

    Stomping on the water's surface, Manaphy shouted, “What is wrong with you stupid creatures?! I am the Prince of the Sea! You are supposed to obey me!”

    “A true Prince of the Sea would never dare order his subjects to wrongfully attack others,” the Gratitude Legendary boldly stated, puffing out the swan's chest. “He also would have enough confidence to not have to give orders twice.”

    “Shut up, bitch! Who are you to tell me how to work this body?!”

    Fur standing up on end, Cresselia stepped forward to glare at him. “I have to say, I find it ironic how an imposter can act so much more immaturely than the real one.”

    He swerved angrily in her direction. “What did you say?!”

    “Though considering Manaphy has never been immature for his age, I can't say it was much of an accomplishment,” she added, shrugging.

    “Okay, Cress, I don't think that's helping,” Shaymin whispered, brows furrowing.

    “No, keep calling him out,” she muttered back, keeping her eyes on the infuriated demon. “Make him lose his focus.”

    With a slight shrug, she cleared her throat. “I think it's especially ironic how not even the babies are listening to him,” she drawled out loudly, watching a bubble float within reach.

    “Stop making fun of me!” Manaphy fumed. “Babies are stupid anyway, they do not count!”

    “So, technically, you're calling yourself stupid.”

    “I am older than you will ever be!”

    Cresselia put a paw to her mouth for a small laugh. “Oh ho ho! You know what they say: males mature slower than females.”

    When she laughed again, the demon shot a blast of water at her, catching her in the mouth and causing her to choke. He cackled in response. “That was a mouthful coming from you!”

    After a sputter, the ears drooped as she looked up. “You're right, Shaymin, that didn't work.”

    “Well, we distracted him enough that they're gone.” She nodded to the water where only the young ones continued to swim.

    Manaphy noticed as well. “What the hell, come back here!” Growling, he charged over to the children where he grabbed an Anorith and chucked it at the females.

    Both they and the child let out a shriek, though Shaymin reached up to catch it before it could land on her. “Why would you throw a baby?!”

    “Because I do not give a damn!”

    Putting it down, she grit her teeth and moved forward, but paused when the tentacles wrapped around him. He snarled and struggled, managing to slip out from the bottom before he was caught again, being held upside-down. “Release me, beasts! It is them you need to get!”

    Red lights blinked to life in a circle below the water, and the adults rose up to glare at him, including the Cradily. Manaphy's eyes widened as he writhed some more, shaking his head violently. “No! No, it cannot end like this!”

    With a gasp, Shaymin covered her beak. “They wouldn't...”

    Cresselia felt something snap inside her when the Kabutops reached up with its scythe arms and squeezed his antennae with the blunt ends. The demon's face contorted to that of horror and pain as it steadily pulled it down, his mouth dropping to let out a mangled cry. The orbs at the end began to pale from the constriction, the rest of the length darkening from blood pooling to the skin's surface. There then came a popping noise, and the screaming started to gurgle.

    “Cress, what're you doing?”

    She ignored her to run out into the lake. “Stop, don't hurt him!”

    Her vision suddenly blacked out for a moment, and when she came to, she found it hard to stand. Groaning, she collapsed to the grass with a hung head. “Why am I so heavy?” she mumbled, gasping for breath. Her paws touched the blades and dirt, and she peered down at herself. “Huh?”

    “Cress, you okay?”

    Slowly, she looked up to find Shaymin with a worried expression on her furry face, legs and belly soaked. She rapidly blinked in shock, shooting a hand up to feel her face, and then turned to the lake. The Kabutops was still pulling on Manaphy, though they noticed the bulbs had a hint of pink to them.

    “What are they doing?” she let out a squeak, her paws clenching. “That's going to kill him, isn't it?”

    “I wonder if they'll knock him out,” the terrier mused, flinching when the male tried to flail some more, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. “But... there has to be a way to bring Manaphy back.”

    “Never!” came a hiss from the demon. His eyes looked unfocused, like he was staring at something in front of his face. “I will never give in! Mutilate this body all you want, it will only serve to hurt you!

    The females glanced at each other in puzzlement, wincing as the tentacle squeezed him tighter to where his eyes became bloodshot. “Something's not right,” Shaymin muttered, shaking her head. “Demon or not, Manaphy's going to die.”

    Cresselia shivered. “Should we stop them?”

    “You will never succeed in killing the Tree, Legion knows you are here!”

    They gasped when he let out a strangled laugh, both of them stepping out into the lake. “What are you talking about?” the Sky Warrior barked, ears straightening out. “How'd you know of this?”

    Manaphy's eyes whipped in their direction, a wide smirk on his face. When he opened his mouth, droplets of dark blood sprayed. “Why else have we slowed you all down? You are all going to die, together!” And he laughed with the rest of his breath, inching closer to unconscious.

    The swan shot forward for the Kabutops. “Let him go, he needs to talk!”

    The bipedal shellfish barely glanced at her, a shine in its eye, though the intimidation didn't faze her as her vision flashed pink. The Pokémon were repelled from Manaphy, the Cradily releasing its hold on him for his body to drop. She reached out her hands to catch him by his middle, swerving around to carry him to the shore where she tossed him onto the grass.

    “Tell us, demon!” she shouted, lifting him by the shoulders. “What is your master's plan in all of this?!”

    But he had already passed out, a taunting smirk on his face. Cresselia scowled, shakily lowering back him to the ground, keeping her hands on him. From behind, she could hear the Pokémon approach, bringing her to whirl around and throw up a shield. They paused at the shoreline, stares still hardened, but not threatening. Shaymin glanced between them and hurried to Manaphy's side.

    “Is he breathing?” she inquired, trying to shake off a disturbance.

    Huffing a little, the swan's hands glowed as she laid them on his midsection. “What the hell just happened?” she murmured to herself, brows knitted in concentration.

    Shaking her head, the Gratitude Legendary replied, “Something tells me we were set up.”

    Cresselia met her gaze for a second. “Once I get Manaphy back to normal, we need to go warn the others.”

    Beneath her hands, the young prince deeply inhaled, his body jerking like he was being shocked. Still keeping a hold on him, Cresselia and Shaymin watched him steadily wake up, hearing the Pokémon murmur in anticipation. The gem on his chest gave a healthy sheen as his eyelids twitched, a small cough escaping his lips. When his irises glinted up at them, his pupils their normal shape, solace washed over them momentarily.

    “I... I did it... yes?” he hoarsely breathed out.

    Shaymin laid her paw on Manaphy's hand, trying to hold back tears. “How are you feeling?” she whispered.

    He turned his head to face her, his eyes shimmering and a glow returning to his cheeks. “Where are the others?”

    She only smiled. “Let's not worry about them right now. We need to focus on you.”

    The sea prince frowned, moving to sit up before the swan stopped him. “I'm fine... but...” He trailed off, looking lost in thought.

    It saddened Cresselia to see him in a somber state. Something had to be troubling him, like he knew something they didn't. “If you need to say something,” she said matter-of-factly, a tone that he twitched from, “let us know.”

    His gaze dropped when an Omanyte nuzzled up to him, tentacles gently grazing him. He reached down to stroke the shell, a gesture that brought the child to coo. The other younglings made their way to him, including Lileep that emerged specifically to greet him. Manaphy looked at and patted each one, a smile easing onto his face.

    “I'm glad everyone's okay,” he sighed, lifting his eyes toward the adults.

    The females turned to them, noticing they were keeping their distance, but were nodding respectfully at them. The small group of Cradily appeared less threatening up-close than they were earlier, which sparked a question in Shaymin's mind. “By the way, why did the Cradily drag me down earlier?”

    Manaphy blinked. “Oh, really? Well...” He pondered, staring at the group. The swan grew sick when her eyes rested on the severed tentacles of one, which no doubt he noticed. “...I'd say to get your attention, or to protect you from the fake me.”

    “Please tell me they'll grow back,” she whispered, apologetically bowing her head.

    He smiled up at her. “Don't worry, they will.”

    Cresselia breathed a sigh of relief, though she let out a gasp when the one Cradily reached over to stroke her head. Shaymin and Manaphy giggled when a couple of the young Lileep prodded her in imitation, though she wasn't thrilled with it. “I-I'm glad,” she stammered out, tensing while trying not to rudely push them away.

    “Can you stand, Manaphy?” the Sky Warrior asked.

    Using his hands to push off the ground, he wavered in place, holding his arms up for balance. In trying to take a step, he nearly fell on one of the children before Cresselia caught him. “I'll carry you for now,” she suggested. “Wait until we're out of the Tree.”

    He nodded, and she aided him onto her back. Once he was secured, the Legendaries turned to the Pokémon before them, feeling grateful towards them and bowed their heads as such. Then they watched in awe as the adults formally knelt in place, the children doing the same after they had looked back.

    Tears stung Shaymin's eyes at the sight, nearly ducking her head in shame. “I don't understand,” she muttered. “We're not even immortal anymore...”

    Manaphy smiled. “I don't think we need to be. We left behind a legacy strong enough that even those who don't see us regularly, if at all, know when they're before someone important.” He then sniffled, and wiped at his eyes. “They don't have to revere us, but they do.”

    The swan nodded, her gaze on the children where a few were peering up at them with large eyes. “Sounds about right,” she murmured, then turned to cross the field.

    The terrier hurried to her side, noticing a gloomy expression present on her face, but chose to stay silent. They hurried through without stopping, looking around for an exit before spotting one not far off in a cliffside. The moment they entered the small cave, Shaymin jumped in front and glanced over her shoulder.

    “We'll need to come up with a plan,” she sternly stated.

    Manaphy tilted his head, frowning a bit. “A plan?”

    “You don't remember what happened, do you?”

    Tilting his head back, he rubbed his chin. “Kind of. It was dark for a while until I came back for my body. Whoever it was pretending to be me really didn't want me back in.”

    Hanging her head, Cresselia sighed. “So you didn't command the Pokémon to harm your body, I take it?”

    “Well... no, but they knew not to kill me.”

    Turning to him, the females slowed. “What do you mean?”

    He shrugged a little. “I guess they could see me there. I was there when Shaymin got dragged underwater, and though it was scary, the Pokémon could sense something was wrong. How long was I gone for?”

    “About five to six days,” Shaymin answered.

    His eyes widened. “Wow, that long? What happened during that time?”

    “Many things.” Her voice lowered, crossing the swan's vision. “But none of that matters. We came to rescue everyone who was captured, destroy the Tree, and pray we're not too late.” A shadow falling across her face, she continued down the tunnel.

    An orange blob pounced out of a crack onto the terrier, swallowing her whole.

    Cresselia and Manaphy screamed as it disappeared into the ground, the Lunar Legendary backing away in a hurry. “Shaymin!” she called out, heart catching in her throat.

    Spinning around, she jumped back with another shriek when another popped out from the wall, taking on the form of a Lileep. “What is that?!” the young Legendary shouted, grabbing onto her neck.

    Wings glowing, she swung a blade to slice it in half, realizing too late the cramped space they were in. The gelatinous masses climbed on the walls, jumping on them when she moved to flee down the tunnel. Over half of her was sucked in before she could react, feeling Manaphy slipping from her when it latched to her neck.

    “God, please, no!” she cried out, struggling to shake it off. “We have a chance! Don't take this from us!”

    With the last of her breath as it pulled her in, knowing no one would be there to relay the message, Cresselia stretched a hand out and gasped:

    “Darkrai, Adam... forgive me!”

    *~*~*

    Neither Mewtwo nor Mew knew how long they were in the vein as it carried them up. With exception of a few groans each time the clone repositioned himself, they were mostly quiet the entire ascent. He noted with slight envy she had maintained a steady balance on a sphere while his body had numbed to the vessels, though he kept closing his eyes to fight off nausea. She did not appear to be getting as ill as he, her gaze had scarcely faltered from looking up.

    Biting her lip, his counterpart took in a shaky deep breath. “We're getting close,” she murmured, her paws curling tightly on her thighs.

    His heart suddenly palpitated from the awareness, bringing him to sway in place. “That cannot be good,” he grunted.

    Mew anxiously turned to him. “What, what is it?”

    “How do I explain...” He waited for the pain to dull before he spoke up. “The closer we get to Legion, it is as if my heart struggles to beat.”

    Her brows furled. “What does that mean?”

    He groaned attempting to sit up straighter. “It is like some form of connection. I have had it for a while, now.”

    With a fallen face, she leaned forward to where Mewtwo made a movement to catch her, which only brought her frown. “How come you didn't tell me this?” she quietly asked.

    Then abruptly, a pair of gelatinous scythes shot through the vein wall and wrapped around Mew, pulling her back before she could utter a scream. Quickly, the clone shot himself forward where it appeared, tackling the Kabutops cell and grabbing hold of the feline as they tumbled. The scuffle caused his left arm to get suctioned in as she struggled to pull herself out, her entire upper half engulfed into the mass save for her face and arms. Gritting his teeth, a blue film falling across his vision, Mewtwo ripped his broken limb out of the sling as power rushed to his hand as a blade, and sliced up the cell's side. It fell apart in an instant, allowing the two to pull themselves free and hurry away from the writhing remains.

    After rounding two different tunnels, they ducked into a small opening as the adrenaline started to flush out of their systems. The clone felt the static of psychic energy leaving his arm, wincing from the agony that quickly replaced it. Sucking in sharp breaths, he gazed down at his mate, who stared wide-eyed at it.

    “Mewtwo,” she breathed, visibly fighting back tears, “why did you do that? Your arm...”

    “Do not worry about it,” he waived it off, smoothing her fur down with his good hand. “Let us just focus on getting to the Heart.”

    She shook her head, gingerly touching the limb where it was the least swollen. “I won't let you go like this,” she muttered. “I'd heal you myself if I could... we need a new sling.”

    “There is no time, Myriam.”

    Shaking her head again, Mew wriggled free of his hold to fly down the tunnel where they came from. Pushing himself out of the hole, the clone hurried to catch her, snatching her by the tail. She yelped and spun herself around to back up into a wall, eyes wide in confusion. “What's with you?!” she gasped.

    “Myriam, I appreciate it, I really do,” he started, hesitantly touching his right shoulder, “but we need to get going.”

    “Mewtwo, stop hurting yourself for my sake!” she cried out, the echo bringing her to lower her voice. “I can take care of myself, now. You need to look out for yourself, and save your energy.”

    “Did you think I was going to let you get eaten by the cell?”

    She slightly averted her eyes. “Well, no, I'm glad you saved me, but—”

    He pressed his finger to her lips, then grabbed her paw to pull her back to the other end of the path. Mew swallowed down any sobs that were bubbling in her chest, staring down at their entwined hands.

    “Damn it...”

    She gazed up at her mate to find creases of anxiety in his face, which also brought her to frown. His figure was tense judging from how stiff his fingers were in her hold, though it was more noticeable whenever he slowed. Mewtwo made attempts to breathe so he could calm himself, feeling as though each inhale constricted his heart. It was not as difficult like it was earlier, but it still took some strength to keep himself upright.

    When he leaned up against the wall to look down the tunnel, Mew lightly touched his arm. “Mewtwo... you were saying about your connection?” she quietly asked, trying to hide her worry.

    He glanced down at her, facial expression unchanged as he let out a rough exhale. She pursed her lips for a second, her tail falling limp to brush along his own appendage, which twitched but curled at the tip. Fighting back a growing lump in her throat, she whispered out, attempting to sound confident, “...will it lead us to Legion?”

    They kept the stare for a few moments before the tiny feline dropped her eyes, her stance wavering. The clone turned back to face the tunnel, but his gaze fell to his arm instead, feeling the stiffness in his joints and the throb racing along the limb. He should have been sickened by how bent out-of-shape it was, and from the angry swells running down it—for sure it was getting worse just by hanging loose at his side. As much as his mate was going to worry herself ill over him, he felt nothing toward his well-being. It could have been severed at the shoulder, and he probably would not have an inkling of a care.

    “I-I don't want anyone to die, especially not you!”

    He shivered, not wanting to remember the previous night. Taking her paw into his, he ran a thumb along her wrist and turned to her. “Come. If we find a small forest chamber on the way, I will let you treat my arm.”

    Nodding, she squeezed his hand as they hurried down a nearby tunnel.

    *~*~*

    A/N: Apologies for the length. I didn't think well, more like forgot it'd turn out this big on Serebii.
    Winner of Best Pokémon/Pokémon Fic of 2013 in the Shipping Oscars
    Current Chapter: Chapter Ten - 3/17/14 / Current: Requiem I - 11/17/14 - Chapter 21 progress: 66%
    I survived Pupa.

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