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Thread: The Human Species (PG-13)

  1. #351
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    All of my yes oh man. The legendary trio knows not the power of the cap.

    Excellent cliffhanger, I've been waiting for a revival since we met tired Red!

    Check out the forum World Beyblade Organization! It's a huge forum with over 85,000 members dedicated to the hobby of Beyblading! You can sign up here!

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  2. #352
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    Yeah, new chapter!! So is Zorark going crazy, or is she trying to test Zerobi? How is Mew and Celibi doing?-Oh wait, they are beating the **** out of Blue.

    This is one of my three favorite fics, as well as the one that got me to join. I'm basically saying: keep it up. The speed the chapters were posted at was glorious. Keep it up.

    Excellent cliffhanger, I've been waiting for a revival since we met tired Red!
    I have finals, don't do what you did last time someone said this

  3. #353
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    Chapter 84

    Crestfallen Legendary Trio


    Everything was set. Pikablu had finished packing his bags and checked the stolen wristwatch one final time, knowing full well he had plenty of hours left before meeting up with Kabutops and the Gallade. Still, dawn had already broken he was eager to leave before waking up Anne, quietly slipping out of the front entrance to their humble home.

    "Leaving again…?" Anne asked, making the normally stoic Pikachu cringe. He had hoped to make it out of the forest before she realized.

    "Y… Yeah," Pikablu replied quietly without turning around, "Urgent call from Celebi. Getting the gang together for something big."

    "I really wish you wouldn't," Anne whispered from behind, and he did not have to see her face to tell that she was concerned about him. A rather common scenario as of late.

    "Come on… You're still worried?" Pikablu muttered confidently, "I'm practically legendary. What's gonna happen? Who's gonna hurt me?"

    The lack of a response told him that the argument was weighing in his favor, but that she would not be convinced that easily.

    "Don't wait up," Pikablu said with a shrug, "I'll be back before you know it, with a crazy story to tell everone!"

    "Just make sure it has a happy ending," Anne said and moved ahead to give Pikablu a hug. They relished in embrace for a moment before separating, Pikablu disappearing inside the thicket of the forest.

    - - - - - - - -

    The pleasant memory faded as Pikablu found it impossible to fully immerse himself within a better time and place in his life. Instead he was forced to focus as Red finally made his move, and he was both eager and afraid to see what masterful tactic the wise trainer would begin his assault with.

    "Raikou, shake things up," Red said as he cheerfully patted Raikou's head, "Slam, or… Tackle. Whatever you feel like."

    About to point out just how lame that was, the Gallade was interrupted as Raikou violently charged towards them, Kabutops being the main target.

    "Main character's over here, doofus!" the Gallade shouted as he erected a wall of psychic force in front of his friend. Raikou's heavy body only lost slight momentum as he crashed through it, but it gave Pikablu enough time to activate 25% and ram into Raikou's side. Kabutops tried to join into the fray as well, but found himself too hampered by the surrounding snow to close the distance fast enough. Raikou and Pikablu ignored the new arrivals and resumed their previous tussle, trading a few blows before breaking off.

    "HEY, I didn't summon you two just to get beaten!" Pikablu yelled to his companions with an angry huff, "Stick to the plan!"

    "The plan?" Red repeated as he vaguely understood what the yellow Pokémon had said, "I suppose it involves defending that fragile psychic as he prepares a decisive attack?"

    Pikablu's ear involuntarily twitched as he froze up, wondering how on earth Red had figured things out so quickly. Keeping his face stone cold, he stopped himself from swallowing his built up saliva and feigned an expression of confusion, not wanting to let the trainer deduct anything more. It did not help.

    "I saw your ear wiggle. That means my guess hit a little too close for comfort," Red continued smugly before pointing towards the Gallade, "And you. Before creating that barrier I saw your lower abdomen flex, signaling a defensive pose or retreat despite the fact that the attack was directed towards your ally. Your intentions are all too apparent."

    Everything fell quiet as Pikablu muttered a plethora a foul words, Kabutops sighed and the Gallade's eyes flew wide open.

    "Wh-What the hell!?" the Gallade burst out in disbelief, their entire plan of attack ruined before it had even begun.

    "Doesn't matter! Stop trembling and get started, we've got no time to waste!" Pikablu shouted to the wimpy psychic before defiantly facing Red and Raikou, "Alright, you got us, but can you stop us? Kabutops, something weird thing to catch him off guard!"

    Giving off another sigh, Kabutops took a few steps forward. The surrounding blizzard was beginning to dissipate while he lowered his head and crossed his arms, his scythes touching at the base and forming a giant crescent. Pikablu and the Gallade hastily covered their ears, while Kabutops himself was able to use his unusual earlids to achieve the same results. In a rapid motion he lashed out with his scythes while letting them rub against one another, creating a horrible screeching noise. Ready to jump into action, his hopes of surprising the stunned legendary disappeared as he lifted his head and saw that the enormous tiger was unfazed.

    Red was leaning forward, covering Raikou's decently sized ears with the palms of his hands. An impressed smile crossed the old trainer's face as he sat back once more.

    "Pokémon battles can be so loud," Red spoke with a cool voice as he tapped his right ear, "The fact that I always wear earplugs is the only reason I do not require hearing aid nowadays."

    Temporary silence reigned as Pikablu once more growled something evil, Kabutops sighed deeply and the Gallade's mouth fell open.

    "OK, so, like, the time to fail?" the Gallade stammered as he realized just how badly they were being trumped and worked harder on preparing for their decisive attack, "Not now!"

    "… Be quiet and hurry…" Kabutops muttered with disdain, already fed up with his role to protect the Gallade. He began walking towards the massive Raikou in order to pull aggro, all while tapping into the bravery hidden within the deeper reaches of his mind.

    He knew 'bravery' was hardly the right description for it, though. Raikou was huge and fearsome, and anyone with semi-normal instincts would shrink back in an instant. However, Kabutops knew his instincts were far from normal. He came from an era of endless violence, surviving on a day-to-day basis through battle and murder. As he relaxed his inhibitions and flicked the internal switch that commonly instilled morality into his actions, he faced Raikou in a new state of mind.

    Readying his scythes, he rushed towards Raikou at a fairly slow and clumsy pace, his sturdy shell weighing him down and the snowy ground hindering him.

    "Raikou, Thundershock," Red muttered with a tinge of disappointment. As awesome as the ancient Pokémon looked, he was beginning to realize why their species had gone extinct in the first place, their inefficient movement certainly not helping them in fleeing or hunting. Deciding to finish this quickly in order to focus on stopping the Gallade, Raikou shot out a massive line of thunder.

    But as the lightning receded, Kabutops was nowhere to be seen. Red immediately realized what was happening.

    "Raikou! Underneath the snow!" he shouted while pointing down to the ground. A faint scuffling sound could be heard as the bed of snow rustled, Kabutops crawling under it like an agitated insect.

    "Raikou, use Strength to cause tremors!" Red ordered as he crouched down and held onto Raikou for dear life. Feeling his master secure on top, Raikou lifted his upper body before thrusting down with both forepaws, striking the ground with such power that it caused the ground to shake violently. Searching frantically for the overgrown bug with the intention of pouncing over his stunned form, Raikou was instead caught off guard as something came flying through the air towards his right hind leg. Thinking Pikablu had decided to tackle him again, he moved his leg to the side, but felt a sharp sting as something reached out and slashed through it.

    Kabutops withdrew his scythes before crashing down on the ground, not feeling the impact at all thanks to his hard exterior. Looking back at his deed, he saw a gash across one of the legendary's legs, a line of blood trickling down his feet. There was blood stuck on his scythes as well, and he shook it off as he gauged the situation and lamented. His attack had meant to cripple the beast's movement, but due to Raikou's highly developed limbs, even a direct attack wasn't enough to sever anything of relative importance. At worst the legendary would feel a light sting from it.

    Red patted Raikou's head to see if he was OK, before turning towards Kabutops with an unimpressed expression.

    "Oh, please. Not even a Ground-type attack?" Red chided while shaking his head, "You will not topple an Electric-type like that!"

    "Same goes for you!" sounded a voice from behind, and Raikou immediately reacted as Pikablu followed up Kabutops' assault, throwing out a bolt of lightning. Kabutops noted that Raikou was looking away and decided to use his special technique once more. Hopping upwards, he suddenly unleashed a torrent of water behind himself, the pressure propelling his compact body through the air like a thrown rock. Raikou absorbed Pikablu's electricity with ease, and sidestepped as Kabutops flew past him again, this time missing with his scythes completely.

    During all of this, Red was busy figuring out what was happening. He too had found himself distracted by Pikablu, but understood that a short, bulky creature like a Kabutops should not be able to move so quickly. Observing the area, he noted two minor trails of melted snow around them, and began to figure things out.

    "Raikou, Misty-five maneuver!" Red shouted as Raikou continued trying to hit the two smaller Pokémon constantly chipping away at him. Hearing his trainer's commands, he quickly turned towards the Kabutops and lunged.

    "… As you wish…!" Kabutops hissed, waiting until the very last second to fire a beam of water underneath, launching himself upwards. It was one of his a favorite tactics when an enemy would charge at him, as they would find him suddenly gone only to have his body crash down on their heads like a heavy rock. Considering the opponent he was facing, he decided to add a decisive slash from both his arms to the impact, hopefully putting a stop to the legendary once and for all.

    "Raikou, Thundershock!" Red yelled as Raikou stuck his paw into the trail of water left behind. Unleashing a mighty burst of electricity, at the blink of an eye it travelled up the pillar of water which did not have time to dissipate before the attack had reached its source. Bypassing his shell, electricity coursed through Kabutops' insides, mercilessly running through vital organs that had not been harmed in years. Kabutops had no idea what was going on as he continued preparing his counterattack, realizing that his body was no longer listening to him. His mind never registered the sensation of falling down as he simply continued floating in a world of darkness.

    "****!" Pikablu exclaimed as Kabutops fell down on the snow, rendered unconscious before hitting the ground. He did not know how or why, but Red had immediately figured out and countered yet another of their strategies. Looking back at the Gallade, he was relieved to see the psychic locked in deep concentration, showing that their main strategy had yet to fail.

    Returning a Pokéball into his backpack, Red eyed the fallen fossil pensively. He had expected a Pokémon that prided itself on high defense to last at least one attack, mad that he had missed his opportunity to catch such a rare thing. He would have to treat the remaining two more carefully, especially the Pikachu who was definitively overexerting himself and prone to lose consciousness at any given moment. Still, even though he was unsure of exactly what manner of decisive attack the Gallade was planning, he knew it would only make it harder for him to hold back, and so he decided to put a stop to it as quickly as possible.

    "Fine work, Raikou. Execute Sabrina-two maneuver," Red muttered as he reached out and scratched underneath one of Raikou's ears, "Target the Gallade, brace yourself for minor psychic assaults."

    A chill ran through the Gallade, as it always did when he heard his name mentioned. However, this time it was not a chill of pleasure, but one of fear.

    "No!" the Gallade burst out as he noticed the huge legendary rushing towards him, "No, no, no!"

    "Like I'd let that happen!" Pikablu shouted, already pissed from seeing one of his allies fall in battle. He activated 25% and zipped behind Raikou, attempting to strike at his wounded hind leg. But as Raikou was already heading towards the Gallade, the leg was in constant motion and Pikablu found it difficult to target. Re-adjusting his plan, he used the electricity stored up in his body to fire an arrow of thunder at the bloodied leg. However, just like before the electricity simply sunk into Raikou's body, not even causing a minor stir to the open wound.

    "NO NO NO NO NO!" the Gallade continued chanting as he turned around and started running, giving up on preparing for their decisive attack. He made it three steps before feeling something bite into his neck, being violently tugged back and thrown down to the ground.

    "AHH!" the Gallade screamed as Raikou suddenly put his forepaws around him, locking him inside a strange hug. Sparks of electricity escaped the enormous tiger's hold as the Gallade's screaming intensified. Pikablu knew attacking the leg wouldn't do much as this point, instead activating 25% again and smashing into Raikou's side. The massive legendary flinched but did not let go, and Pikablu could hear the Gallade's wails of terror and pain from inside weakening. Realizing how badly things were go if his final teammate was taken out, he began to helplessly tug and pull at Raikou's thick limbs, finding them impossible to pry off.

    "15 seconds… Yes, I believe he should be about done," Red said confidently, stealing a humorous comment that an onlooker had shouted during some old battle. Raikou eased up and leaped back, leaving behind the unmoving husk of the Gallade. Pikablu felt like immediately chasing Raikou and beating the crap out of him, but decided against it and ran up to the fallen Gallade.

    The slender psychic had no visible damage across his body, but was obviously hurt badly. With a panicked expression and staggered movements, he reached up a hand to his face and felt around a bit, giving off a sigh of relief as he realized he had not been disfigured in any way.

    "Thank… God…" the Gallade wheezed, "I… Still… Have… So… Much… More… To… Give…"

    "No kidding! Get up!" Pikablu yelled as he kicked the Gallade in the side, "You're not done with the attack yet!"

    The Gallade flinched slightly, but remained lying down.

    "I'm… Done…" the Gallade muttered as his expression fell, "Sorry… I'm… A… Failure… To… The… End…"

    After that, he turned his head to the side and closed his eyes, apparently losing consciousness. Raising his hand to smack him awake, Pikablu instead let it fall down in defeat as he realized two thirds of the legendary trio had effortlessly been taken out by the troublesome legendary.

    "And so, this is a duel once more," Red spoke with a hint of dismay in his voice, well aware that at this pace the battle would be over before he knew it. He did not even bother capturing the Gallade, assuming him to be unconscious or too weakened to put up a struggle. Pikablu stood up and faced the trainer, his heart pounding so hard it made his chest hurt.

    Without saying a word he let the electricity flow through his body, the powers of 25% letting him leap towards his enemy at an alarming speed. Raikou quickly matched both his technique and speed, meeting him halfway there. Knowing his tiny body was no match for that of the legendary, Pikablu discharged his stored up thunder right in his face, watching carefully as it rained over Raikou. Many of the lightning strikes seemed to have little effect, being immediately drawn into the giant dog's body like it was a lightningrod, a few direct hits causing his mask to rattle but not harming the creature in itself.

    Raikou kept up his charge and smacked into Pikablu, not even bothering to change his pose into a tackle or ram as he continued running. Groaning from the impact, Pikablu was thrown off to the side.

    "Raikou equals your speed, and has you beaten in toughness as well as power of electricity," Red said calmly as Raikou skidded to a halt and turned around. Pikablu slowly got up and brushed some of the snow away from his face, putting on a bitter smile. He knew the time had finally come.

    "You picked a baaaaad day to mess with my crew," he spat before carefully rubbing his strained cheeks in anticipation for what was to come, "This is where things gets interesting. Look up."

    Red took a few seconds to interpret what the Pikachu had said, suddenly realizing that the blizzard had completely stopped. Turning his gaze upwards, he noticed that the sky was now only lightly clouded, but what caught his attention even more was one very tall cloud stretching high above them.

    "That's an Anvil Cloud, if you're wondering," Pikablu continued as he finished his massage of his cheeks, ready to put them to full use, "There's no way I could make something like that. So, I enlisted the help of someone a bit more positive…"

    Once again Red felt out of the loop, giving up on trying to understand the Pikachu's crass mumblings and instead piecing things together. In the middle of it all, he simply happened to be looking around when he saw something at the corner of his eyes.

    "Raikou, behind!" Red shouted as he tugged at Raikou's mane, but Pikablu knew it was too late. The Gallade flinched as Raikou noticed that the flamboyant psychic was neither dead nor dying, but had already finished reshaping the skies to prepare for the attack.

    "Hey, you really thought I was done for, huh?" the Gallade said with a haughty expression before raising his voice and ducking down, "That's what makes me an ACTOR!"

    "Raikou-" Red began giving orders, as a cracking boom from above interrupted the trainer. Pikablu derived pleasure from watching the old master jump in surprise, knowing it was not the kind of noise one would normally hear from a thundercloud. Pikablu had used negative lightning many times in the past, only recently having realized that the rare positive lightning could reach powers ten times beyond that of regular lightning, and felt more than happy to show this to his opponents firsthand.

    In an instant, the sky was filled with an impossibly bright light. Red hastily crouched as the lightning sought the highest target available, striking down directly into Raikou's forehead. The overgrown dog shrieked in pain and fear as a crack could be heard, his crest snapping in two from the relentless force of the skies. Pikablu stared as Raikou's mask fell off his face, before his vision turned into complete whiteness.

    A few moments passed. The lightning had long since receded, but had been of such intense brightness his eyes was taking a long time adjusting back to their normal state.

    "Calm down, boy… It's OK…" Red's voice spoke, overcome with worry. Pikablu felt that things were boding well as he could make out the large figure in front of him. Something like a snivel could be heard, but he dismissed it.

    "I'm here… You're safe…" Red continued as Pikablu began to see him, no longer sitting on top of the legendary but rather standing in front of him, gently caressing his forehead. The details became clearer to Pikachu, but immediately he wished they weren't. What he saw next made his stomach turn.

    What the mask had once covered was a deformed apparition beyond anything Pikablu had ever witnessed before. Above Raikou's eyes, bald cancerous flesh protruded from the otherwise majestic body, uneven lumps forming hills of unnatural shapes. Between his eyes was no flesh at all, his nasal bone visible to everyone while edged with rotten residue of skin. As Pikablu forced himself to stare at the abomination, he noted several small holes all around the forehead, none of which seemed to have healed particularly well. It was a twisted appearance that seemed to be the cause of fire, acid, shunted birth or perhaps all of the above.

    "That was a brilliant move, with devastating consequences…" Red spoke with a sullen voice as he faced Pikablu, "I know not why you have challenged me this day, but for the sake of my Pokémon, I am willing to retire from combat. All I ask in return is that you do not speak of what you have seen this day."

    Pikablu stood speechless as the Gallade shook his head, also having regained his eyesight.

    "Uh… What did we see this day?" the Gallade stammered carefully, surprised that Raikou's regal appearance had hidden such an ugly creature all this time. Red looked back at his Pokémon and sighed.

    "Over-production of growth hormones. Unstoppable brain tumor. Lobotomy only solution…" Red repeated what the doctors had told him so many years ago, the words sounding as unreal coming out of his mouth as it had theirs, "… The list of afflictions for being born from the gene pool of the legendaries are endless. Raikou here does not speak much anymore, and has trouble making decisions for himself…"

    Trying to hide his face in shame, Raikou squirmed pitifully in Red's grasp. Red made an effort to hold on, knowing he needed to explain things fully to protect his Pokémon.

    "Raikou, Suicune, Entei… We were assigned to be their caretakers, to give them a chance at life so ruthlessly bereft by fate," Red continued while thinking of Ethan and Brendan, "But never had I expected my boy to be bested by a wild Pikachu. I do not blame you, it was due to my carelessness as a trainer. Will you allow me to make up for my mistake and return to a Pokécenter in order to treat my loyal friend?"

    Pikablu and the Gallade stared in disbelief, unable to think of anything to say about the abrupt end of the battle.

    "… What's this…?" Pikablu whispered to himself as his mouth dried up, "… Really…? All this time…?"

    He could not understand what he was seeing. In front of him was a fierce beast, an unmatched monster, wiggling and crying like a baby. The books he had read and stories heard about Raikou… So far from the truth…

    "Hey, hey…" Pikablu mumbled angrily, "Was kind of expecting something more, here…"

    He felt his breath come in harder, more ragged than when he had been in the middle of combat. He felt his anticipation diminish, and before his vision saw all his dreams of besting a true legendary go up in smoke.

    "Raikou… The world is in awe of your strength… Words of 'omnipotence' being thrown around…" Pikablu growled while putting on a face of terrifying rage, "Even the likes of Celebi feared getting on your bad side… A walking manifestation of thunder… And all this time… You were a goddamn CRIPPLE!?"

    Raikou flinched as Pikablu raised his voice, Red struggling to interpret what was being said. Pikablu bit down hard, pointing accusingly at the two of them.

    "… Nothing but a sham… You legendaries are unworthy, EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!" he continued with his tirade while slapping a hand to his own chest, "I trained! I studied! I fought! I suffered! All you did was get born into a large body, and people revered you!? What makes a pathetic shithead like you better than me!? You're not, and finally I'll prove it to the world!"

    A snicker began to build up in his chest, quickly escalating into full laughter.

    "Hah… Hahaha! I don't even have to beat you!" Pikablu chuckled menacingly, "I could just knock out your master and leave you here… You'd stumble around like a retard and freeze to death! HELL was the training I went through to kill someone like you, and I could've easily killed when I was a kid! You're like a baby! A harmless infant, needing some old man to keep me from placing a pillow over your face!"

    He thought he heard the Gallade say something, but had many years ago learned how to block out the annoyance. Had he listened to that weak yellow-belly, he would never have tortured the Dragonite into revealing Celebi's location, and would never have found the peace of mind he sought back then. He would not be here right now to save all the Pokémon in the world. Why was he the only one to realize that to get things done, sometimes one would have to get rough?

    "Brace yourself, ****er. I've waited long enough," Pikablu growled as he walked towards Raikou, charging up a powerful thunderbolt, "Are you scared? Trembling? Don't worry, I'll do what your spineless master couldn't and finally put you out of your misery. No cameras, I'll just say you attacked me and I fried your brain so hard it ****ing exploded and made your ugly face retarded!"

    Raikou stared back at him with an expression of horror, his entire body shaking. He was not alone; Pikablu was also shaking. The muscles around his neck would not stop flexing in excitement. In the middle of it all, he felt the presence of his loved ones cheering him on, telling him to finally fulfill his ambitions. His sweet little brother, always looking up to him and dreaming of the legendaries… His dear spouse, sticking with him no matter what and eagerly awaiting his triumphant return… His fans, wanting to see him kick some ass… His allies, depending on him to handle Raikou… Indeed, every single Pokémon in the world was behind him on what he was about to do, as he would be the one responsible for saving them from the deadly virus.

    "I'll be the legendary people thought you were. I'll be a hero who overcame his species!" Pikablu bellowed while clenching his every muscle to the point of straining, "My name will be spoken for generations to come, FOR I AM THE LEGENDARY PIKAB-"

    The name only made it halfway out of his throat before his gut suddenly sucked it back in. A dull ache built up in his neck as he put his arms against it, the rapid pulses running through his body beginning to hurt. Strange sensations had been emanating from his insides for a while, but only now was he recognizing them. The noise all around was drowned out by the pounding of his heart, and it made him feel nausea. He instinctively clutched his chest as a sudden pain shot through it and he felt an immense pressure over him, his lungs refusing his command as he could no longer breathe. Trying to keep his focus, he saw Red and Raikou stare at him, but with each passing moment the surrounding world began to grow hazy.

    "Someone…!" Pikablu groaned as it felt as if someone was standing on top of his chest and crushing him, "Anne… Celebi… B-Bro…!"

    His senses were diminishing and his eyelids were drooping, refusing to open. He felt his balance waver, as if he was standing by the edge of an abyss. Numbness spread all over him as he fell forward and sunk into the snow, the cold grip of death seizing his being. The last thing he felt was a lifting sensation, his soul finally leaving the reins of the body behind as his mind become lost.

    Red clutched Pikablu tightly to his chest, an expression of utter horror plastered across the champion's face. Unable to stop a trauma from long ago from resurfacing, when he had regained his senses he hurriedly examined the Pikachu. The Pokémon was faintly breathing, but had his eyes closed.

    "… A stroke…?" Red whispered the word he himself had long feared as he remembered the Pokémon's earlier display, "Why… Why would you risk your life in a fight like this!?"

    Hoping his shout would bring back some life into Pikablu, he seemed to have lost the ability to react to outside stimuli. Red knew the Pikachu was dying just like his old partner had, but not in the comfort of their home, but out on a snowy wasteland right in the middle of combat. It seemed unreal.

    "You wanted to win… That badly…?" Red asked and felt his previous cheerful mood drop in an instant, remembering how he had urged the Pikachu to keep fighting, "Did I… Make this happen…?"

    Pikablu gasped in response, a weak and struggled attempt to draw in the cold air. A strong wind whisked by as Red clutched onto him harder, not wanting to let go. He shook as he remembered the passing of his own Pikachu all too vividly, not sure if he could face the same thing again. Whose fault was this? Why did the Pikachu attack him? Why did he fight back? Red had promised to guard this area, but for the first time he was beginning to question it. To which end had this creature's life been sacrificed?

    "… I love Pokémon…" Red whispered as he felt his own heart begin to ache, "… For what reason am I now killing them…!?"

    Standing up with a determined expression, he turned towards Raikou. The legendary seemed to have recovered his sanity and stood upright, quietly watching.

    "RAIKOU! Can you move!?" Red shouted as he walked towards his Pokémon, Pikablu held in his arms. Raikou nodded as Red placed Pikablu on top of the legendary's back, keeping him out of the snow as he drew a Pokéball from his backpack. Pressing it against the dying Pikablu, the wounded Pokémon did not put up a struggle as the ball swallowed him up and captured him. Red did not even bother watching the capturing process, already having pulled off his jacket and tied it around Raikou's forehead, covering the legendary's disfigured face. Raikou felt relief wash over him as the damaged segment of his body was covered once more, but could not help but feel a bit troubled in the back of his mind, as if someone had just chewed him out for something.

    "Pokécenter, full speed!" Red yelled as he fastened his seat and rubbed the side of Raikou's head, the dog immediately taking off into the night. All that remained were several craters in the snow from their wild battle, an unconscious Kabutops and a Gallade pretending to be dead.

    The latter remained still for at least a minute before realizing he could have teleported Pikablu to a Pokécenter much faster than even a legendary could run. Scratching his head in embarrassment, he stood up and began to look around the area, wondering if maybe he could still see and catch up with them. The blizzard was beginning to pick up again as he was no longer controlling the clouds overhead, and visibly was predictably poor.

    The Gallade could see a silhouette by the horizon. He felt disappointed as it was obviously not Red, the figure floating in midair. Thinking it was Mew or Celebi having finished their battle with Blue, his spirits picked back up and he ran towards it.

    By the time he recognized what it was, it was already too late.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  4. #354
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Well, Red still loves pokemon, more points to him, shame Pikablu stroked out.

    I wonder which figure this could be, the pokemon hunter?


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  5. #355
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Chapter 85

    Sinister Pokémon Scientist


    Lucario sighed. Out of all the possible scenarios and events he had expected out of this mission, "complete and utter tedium" was placed somewhere very low on the list. Following Zoroark they had found their path leading downwards, moving a level or two underneath the Stadium's bottom floor. There was a sense of familiarity to it, and Lucario thought he could occasionally see Zoroark nod in approval of the base's subterranean structure. He knew she thought of it as a strategic boon, but so far it had been the only thing even remotely strategic about this hideout.

    Again Lucario sighed. There had been no vanguards to defeat, no trap doors to avoid, no hidden walls to burst through, no clever puzzles to solve and no locked doors save the creaky iron bars at the start. Nothing but endless, undecorated corridors lit up by dull fluorescent lamps. Although the wretched smell of gore ensured a stifling atmosphere, Lucario's demeanor had shifted from being nervous to being bored. Looking over at Zoroark he was certain even she had stopped being on edge, and the fact that he was unable to sense anything ahead made it impossible for him to stay worried about what was to come.

    "So… Let's say they're holding the virus in a vial or something," Lucario said, breaking the silence and waving his arms around while painting up a scenario, "Says 'Take one more step and I'll smash it!' What happens?"

    "… We celebrate?" Zoroark replied calmly before looking around to make sure their conversation was not alerting anyone to their presence, their voice reaching quite far in the stretching corridor, "The virus is not yet finished and still lacks sustainability. It's… Well, I suppose the two of us would die, but everyone else would be safe."

    "… That is a HORRIBLE solution!" Lucario snapped back with a terrified expression, taking note of Zoroark's persistent relaxed demeanor and deciding to copy her, "How about this; I'll stand still, snipe them with an Aura Sphere while you dive in and grab the vial?"

    "And not a single step was taken," Zoroark finished his line of thinking, "Great plan, although people have a tendency to not uphold agreements while they are being shot at. Can we refocus on where we are currently at…?"

    "… Preferably not…" Lucario muttered, the allure of the eventless passageway beckoning him once more. So far the stench of blood had been the only thing separating this mission from an on-foot tour of the battle subway, and indeed it was stronger than ever before. The air was thick with it, and Lucario was certain he would have to bathe several times before being able to come into contact with Zerobi again. As bored as he was, he realized she was probably worse off, standing by herself at the entrance and imagining all the harrowing experiences he was supposed to be going through right about now.

    "… Nothing?" Zoroark suddenly asked, looking at Lucario.

    "Not sensing a thing," Lucario responded in assumption of what she meant.

    "What about hearing? Anything at all?" Zoroark continued with a concerned voice. Lucario shook his head and she felt a sense of unease. Something was not right, and in a situation as vital as this that was not a good thing. Going over the plan once more, she wondered if she had missed something important, a tiny detail slipping through her tired mind and costing millions of Pokémon their lives.

    Both their minds burdened with widely different issues, they continued their trek until they finally reached the end of the corridor. Ahead of them was a simple door standing slightly ajar, leading into a dimly lit room. No sound nor aura present, but Zoroark remembered this to be what her spy had declared to be their destination and decided to reinforce her vigilance.

    "Be ready for anything…" Zoroark whispered one last time to Lucario. He nodded, and she quietly pushed the door open while peeking inside.

    The stench of decaying flesh hit the two of them like a windstorm. The room was quite a bit larger than the passage that had led them there, but ten times more unpleasant as Lucario felt like following his stomach's example and turning around.

    Fresh blood was pooled up on the floor and could be seen splashed against the various computers and monitors, dripping down from the desks and chairs strewn about the room. Lying on top of this river of wasted life were both humans and Pokémon, every one of them a sadder sight than the next. The four humans were neatly arranged at the foot of some complex machinery covering one of the walls, eyes closed and with open gashes across their throats. There were only two Pokémon, but their corpses had been dissected and mutilated to the point where they were now unrecognizable hunks of flesh and internal organs. Zoroark recognized the telltale horn of a Gogoat sticking out from the first cadaver before instinctively covering her nose, the smell seeping inside and coaxing her to vomit.

    "K… Keep it together…" Lucario whispered. Zoroark looked at him and quickly straightened herself up.

    "Do not underestimate me - I can handle this," Zoroark assured him while strengthening her resolve and reminding herself that this is not the worst thing she has ever seen.

    "… Wasn't referring to you…" Lucario muttered, once more trying to comprehend the situation presented to him. He couldn't care less about the massacred Pokémon, but staring at the four dead humans sent a chill up his spine. They were all dressed in white lab coats, blood running down their necks like red ties. Slumped over against the wall with their eyes closed or staring at the floor they appeared almost peaceful, utterly contrasting the butchered Pokémon.

    Zoroark exhaled as she forcibly shut down her stirring emotions and relaxed once more. Walking inside she paid no heed to the blood running through her toes as she began examining the crime scene, analyzing the situation.

    "H-Hey, this is pretty bad…" Lucario stammered as he swallowed hard, finding it difficult to remove his eyes from the dead humans, "Did someone get here before us?"

    "Doesn't seem that way. It does not look like there was a fight," Zoroark responded quietly, stopping herself just short of digging a claw into the second Pokémon carcass as she noticed a thin, broken wing buried under a layer of meat, identifying the being as a Vivillon, Butterfree or similar Bug-type.

    Lucario tore his vision away from the grisly scene and took a second glance around the area, realizing why his initial assessment had been wrong. Despite the blood and corpses the room looked strangely well-kept, the chairs standing upright and the computers were still in working order. Moving up to the perished scientists, Zoroark crouched down to examine the wound across their throats. Lucario suddenly held out a hand, noticing it was shaking. Not sure of why he was acting this way, the initial shock finally disappeared as he took a firm grip of reality and forced himself to approach Zoroark and the dead bodies.

    "If there really was no fight, they must have been were restrained and executed…" Zoroark whispered as she grabbed and held up one of the dead humans' arms, "… At any rate, it seems they were killed by a method you should be familiar with."

    "… Me? Killed?" Lucario repeated, not sure if she was trying to make a joke or actually knew about his previous brush with death at the hands of Deoxys.

    "Cut, rather," Zoroark mumbled and checked the corpse's wrists for marks or blemishes, "By human tools."

    Lucario's stomach turned once more as he remembered the same words coming from Zoroark's lips back when they had been trapped inside the cage together. He ran a hand through his chest hair, noticing the scars across his body feeling slim and precise while staring at one of the cut throats, noticing the wound to be similar in appearance.

    At that moment, Lucario thought he could hear someone snicker. Spinning around, he grabbed Zoroark's shoulder to alert her.

    "What?" Zoroark whispered questioningly.

    "I hear someone…" Lucario explained, "Further ahead… I think someone's laughing…"

    Tensing up, Zoroark realized there was yet another door in the room. Busy with taking in everything else she had initially assumed it to be a supply closet. Moving there and opening it, she found it being a regular door leading into another room.

    There she was presented with a sight she recognized all too well. A large, grim surgical table stood in the middle of a sterilized room completely devoid of any traceable details, one she had researched thoroughly ever since first finding the Tape. It felt unreal to be standing where she had seen so many Pokémon be painfully experimented on.

    What was even more unexpected was that just like in the Tape, the surgical table was not unoccupied. A man was sitting on the opposite end of it, his back turned towards them. He was slender and wore a lab coat just like the others, but this one was clean of all traces of blood. The scalpel lying next to him was not however, and the man seemingly noticed their arrival as he gave off yet another sinister snicker.

    "Zoroark, I presume? You are most welcome," he said with a cold, calculating voice before standing up and turning around. Despite wearing glasses, neither Lucario nor Zoroark had any trouble recognizing him as the scientist from Saffron City. Zoroark kept herself cool, but Lucario felt his fists clench up as he vividly remembered the Dragonair and what he had done with her. The twisted Pokémon professor eyed him for a moment before turning back towards Zoroark.

    "You decided to bring someone with you?" the scientist asked quietly as he reached a hand down towards the scalpel, "Is he aware of our cooperation, or shall I handle him before we continue our proceedings?"

    As quickly as Lucario had felt his temper rise, he felt his breath taken away. Staring wide-eyed at Zoroark, her calm demeanor through all this suddenly made sense.

    "T-Traitor!" Lucario shouted as he took as step back, Zoroark's expression turning into surprise.

    "Stop being stupid, he's just trying to trick you!" she said sternly before aggressively pointing towards the human, "And you! You are acting awfully familiar for someone who ended up being stabbed during our last meeting!"

    Lucario calmed himself down as the professor's smile vanished, hesitantly retracting his hand.

    "Ah, yes. Pardon my rash behavior the last time," he replied with a slightly bothered tone to his voice, "I was under the influence of a very powerful mind-enhancer, courtesy of my loyal Alakazam. Needless to say, it was a requirement for properly extracting the necessary genes from…"

    His eyes suddenly turned towards Lucario once more, the Pokémon meeting his gaze with a wry grimace. The professor's smile returned as he snickered quietly to himself.

    "… I understand. You came to see the fruits of your labor?" the human asked before holding out his arms as if ready to embrace someone, "Rest easy! Thanks to the experiments you let us perform upon you, we can make sure that all Pokémon in the world-"

    "Shut up!" Lucario yelled out, clearly not at home to having had any part this insanity, "Zoroark, he's stalling us or something, where's that damn virus!?"

    "We know you have been working on a virus," Zoroark said with an icy cold stare, hoping the human was as understanding of Pokémon language as he appeared to be, "You have 10 seconds. Give it to us, or we start looking."

    The corner of the scientist's mouth twitched as he suddenly gave her a warning glare, as if she had said something very disrespectful. Zoroark refused to be intimidated, and to her surprise the human's fierce expression slowly died off into melancholy.

    "Ah, I suppose it is for the best…" he whispered with a far less enthusiastic voice than before, turning towards a freezer in one of the corners, "To tell you the truth, I am quite excited… Yet still a little sad… But for the sake of the world, I know sacrifices have to be made."

    Zoroark eyed him carefully, confused to see their foe cooperating so willingly. Keeping herself on edge and ready for a trap, she nearly flinched as he hastily drew out a key from his pocket, unlocking the supply closet and reaching in with a hand.

    "Yeah. Trying to kill all Pokémon was really noble of you," Lucario scoffed sarcastically and shook his head.

    At that moment, the human's shoulders stiffened. His hand stopped moving as lowered his head and chortled.

    "Hehehe… I see… You too fell for the lie?" he snickered while a sense of relief washed over him, "I was wondering why you were so rude towards me."

    "Lie?" Zoroark repeated before crossing her arms in disapproval. She did not like where this was going one bit as the scientist gave up on retrieving the virus and faced her fully, his arms extended in a glorious gesture once more.

    "Indeed," he uttered and let escape a breathy sigh, "In order to be given the funding and resources required for the enhancement of Pokérus, I had to convince my superiors and co-workers of false promises, such as this virus being a lethal applicant towards Pokémon… They jumped right on it after the Deoxys fiasco…"

    "Wait… The virus…" Lucario muttered before hesitating, wondering if he was being played for a fool, "It's not going to kill all Pokémon?"

    "Of course not!" the human replied quickly while showing a surprisingly earnest face, "What fool would have anything to gain from the death of Pokémon? Erasing the foundation of the ecosystem would only lead to the world decaying and being destroyed. What I strive for is the opposite - This virus has been created to save the world, not ruin it."

    As he stood there with arms wide open and a face that displayed confidence, both Lucario and Zoroark could not help but suddenly pay note to what he was saying. The whole situation was simply too unusual to ignore. The executed humans and gutted Pokémon in the room before were unaccounted for, and the scientist's chill, almost hopeful demeanor seemed off. Although a complex situation, things were beginning to add up in Zoroark's mind.

    One specific thought lit up, accompanied by a rather painful twitch of her heart. A very bad feeling started to grow in the back of her head as she drew in a shallow breath while staring at the human.

    "Doctor," Zoroark spoke anxiously, "If released, what will the virus do?"

    The scientist smirked and lifted his head once more, as if he had been waiting all his life to say this.

    "Is it not obvious?" he replied optimistically, "It will kill the human species."

    A moment of silence passed as everything seemed to turn colder around them. Zoroark's eyes widened while Lucario felt the words stir something awake in the pit of his stomach.

    "Lies!" Lucario shouted while pointing accusingly at the professor, "You're human, you'll be killing yourself!"

    A bitter expression suddenly flashed past the human's face, as if he had been insulted by his claim.

    "I may be human in body, but I am Pokémon in both mind and soul," the scientist muttered while gently placing a hand to his chest, "Such is what allowed me to see beyond my own needs and do what is best for the world, even at the expense of my own life!"

    "Well, I'm Pokémon in body, but human in mind and soul!" Lucario responded angrily while pounding his own chest once, "And I'm telling you, you're stark raving mad!"

    The scientist dismissed Lucario with an annoyed sigh and shrug, turning towards Zoroark instead.

    "Ah, the barking of your ignorant mutt is quite annoying," he said while reaching a hand towards her in a plea, "Might you put a leash on him so we may discuss the details like mature beings?"

    "Yeah, no. You're done," Lucario growled as he quickly stepped between them and made a gesture towards the freezer, "Zoroark, go grab the virus and put it somewhere very safe. I'll kill him up if he tries anything, and I do mean ANYTHING!"

    Confidently facing the disgusting human, he was surprised to see that he was paying him no mind. He was looking past him, continuing his eye contact with Zoroark.

    "… Will it truly be the end of humanity?" Lucario suddenly heard a whisper coming from behind, "… No struggle, no… Risk of retaliation…?"

    Lucario turned around in horror, seeing Zoroark facing the scientist not with repulse but rather curiosity and the same kind of hopeful expression he had shown not long ago.

    "Overnight, the nation will belong to Pokémon," the professor sang in a dreamy voice, "In less than a week, the rest of the world will follow…"

    "Hey, ignore this guy!" Lucario shouted while putting his hands on Zoroark's shoulder, on the verge of slapping her awake, "The death of all humans is just as bad as the death of all Pokémon, so let's do what we came here to do!"

    Zoroark jumped slightly at his touch, looking up at him with a different expression than before.

    Defiance.

    In a rapid motion she knocked his arms away from her. Lucario suddenly felt very powerless as he simply let his hands drift downwards and hang at his sides. Through it all, he could hear the agitating snicker of the scientist from behind.

    "Hehehe… The Lucario knows not?" the human chided before putting his hands together and gazing at the Dark-type with admiration, "Ah, but you do, Zoroark. I can see it on your face. You have experience that he lacks, knowledge he cannot understand. Just like me, you know what is to come and what has to be done."

    Hoping Zoroark would shake her head in response and violently attack the filthy scum, Lucario felt his mouth go dry as she continued saying and doing nothing. Rather, her face was shining in recognition. Taking a few steps away from the two of them, he tried to comprehend what was happening.

    "Know… What…?" Lucario wheezed weakly, looking back and forth between Zoroark and the scientist. Zoroark suddenly looked like she was about to say something, but stopped herself at the last second.

    "She knows what all educated beings know. The current state of the world… And our inevitable future…" the scientist whispered before raising his voice to a bellow, "… Courtesy of the infallible, unchangeable nature of man!"

    His words were meant for Lucario but resounded in Zoroark's ears as well, her inner thoughts finally giving way to echoes from the past…
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  6. #356
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    Ah, I find myself agreeing with the scientist, even though genocide wouldn't help either situation.

    I like how you threw in some gen 6 pokemon, I wonder the reasoing behind choosing those particular pokemon though. Personally, they aren't my favorite pokemon, and I wouldn't be sad to see the, dead.

    Anyway, really enjoying this chapter and I want to see the next one soon. Keep up the good work.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  7. #357
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ga'Hooleone View Post
    All of my yes oh man. The legendary trio knows not the power of the cap.
    I guess Super Mario 64 isn't a popular video game in the world of Pokemon.

    Hmm, I just realized most of the games start out with the protagonist playing video games. Is it product placement, or perhaps something deeper...!?

    Product placement

    Quote Originally Posted by joey1234 View Post
    The speed the chapters were posted at was glorious. Keep it up.
    Well, as you might be able to tell the story's hitting a climax, so I'm worried that if I post chapters too fast it will be difficult to absorb it all. You guys keeping up with everything that's going on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    I like how you threw in some gen 6 pokemon, I wonder the reasoing behind choosing those particular pokemon though..
    Horns are made out of really firm material, I'd imagine they'd be the most recognizable piece out of a cadaver. Flimsy translucent wings are the complete opposite though, so the fact that they're still recognizable means whoever massacred the Butterfree (?) knew what they were doing.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  8. #358
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    Chapter 86

    Deserted Child Zorua


    The Desert.

    Even on a planet characterized by the abundance of life, this hostile environment shows Earth's relation to the many other dead rocks shooting through outer space. An area abandoned by mother nature, the long dunes of sand and rock marking the world like a bald spot, a scar that refuses to heal. Inside the hottest volcano or outside in the coldest tundra, none can match the desolate wasteland of the desert's rapidly changing climate. Scorching days and frigid nights, it is a region where the strong go to be left alone and the weak go to leave this world.

    But like all geographical locations, it serves as home to many resilient critters and is occasionally crossed by travellers. On a hot day nearly two decades before the arrival of Deoxys and creation of No Man's Land, two such travellers could be seen marching over the unforgiving dunes.

    The first traveller was a colossal Krookodile, the weight of his footsteps sending sand whirling around. Colored red like bad sunburn with black stripes and dragging with him a heavy tail, the bipedal crocodile would seem to be as far away from his natural habitat as possible, but in truth was the only traveller native to the desert.

    The second traveller was a slender Simipour, gracefully stepping through the harsh environment. As a Water-type she was managing fairly well despite the dryness, her long hair having stored vast amounts of water for the difficult trip. Much to her annoyance, the natural moisture of her skin caused sand to get caught between her toes, and she was by far the most eager when it came to leaving the desert as quickly as possible.

    However, even there were only two figures, there was in fact a third traveller in their group. The third traveller sat on top of the Simipour's head and hid inside her crown-like hairdo, shaded from the sun and taking advantage of the cool wetness. She was their child, but looked nothing at all like her parents. Although she had inherited the black and red coloration from her father and her mother's soft skin, she was standing on four legs instead of two and had a body completely covered in thick, bushy fur. Lacking the ability to sweat, she constantly rubbed her body over her mother's moist appendages, close to overheating in the blazing sun.

    "There, there, Zorua…" the Simipour whispered with a slightly boyish voice while reaching up and cuddling her restless baby. She felt bad for her, children her age should be running around in a forest and playing, not lying on the verge of a merciless heatstroke.

    "'Ey, doin' fine wit de water?" the Krookodile asked with a gruff voice, "Dunno when de next oasis'll be comin' up."

    "Zorua's fine, but a bath would feel quite nice right about now…" the Simipour replied while stretching. The Krookodile moved next to her, trying to get a better look at the baby nestled inside her hair.

    "'Ello dere, cutie," he said while trying to make his voice sound as gentle as possible. It was an impossible task, years of rough sand having taken their toll on his vocal folds. Zorua carefully peeked out, stared at the intimidating Pokémon for a fraction of a moment before eliciting a small gasp and hiding deeper inside the hairdressing.

    "Ahh… Kid's scaredy-cat of 'er own dad…" the Krookodile muttered in defeat, scratching the back of his head with one of his thick claws.

    "Oh, don't be so hard on yourself," the Simipour said as she grabbed hold of his free hand and leaned in closer, "She just loves her mommy a lot… And hates the hot sun! Don't you, sweetie?"

    Zorua nodded and nudged with affection against her mother's hair. The Krookodile could feel the coolness of his wife's hands, contrasting the coarse, heated and leathery skin of his own. He knew little about what lay outside the desert, but could clearly tell his daughter was not suited for this kind of place.

    "Ah, lil' Zorah. Tough luck, gettin' stuck wit fur out here," he explained while trying to sneak a peek at his daughter once more, "But don't you worry 'bout nothin', dad's relocatin'! Movin' up in life 'n all that!"

    "Yes, you are," the Simipour agreed before bringing his head down and giving him a small kiss, causing the overgrown crocodile to turn even redder. She remembered how reluctant he had initially been to her suggestion of moving back to her old neighborhood. Born and raised in the desert, he complained that leaving the dryness and heat behind would ruin his rough skin and respected image. She knew he was mostly just afraid of having to be with other people too much, seeing how his fearsome appearance had long served to intimidate and scare them off.

    Meanwhile, Zorua did her best to keep quiet, having promised not to cry during the harsh journey. It had been difficult to leave her friends and the large oasis behind, but at the same time she felt excited as to where they were heading. Her mother had described it as a fantastic place completely unlike what she had ever known, where it was permanently afternoon and not always so warm or cold. Endless reaches of clustered trees, tiny flowers that smelled nice, enough water to drink and swim around in as much as she wanted and most importantly, no sand or sun. The days were mercilessly hot, but she took refuge in dreaming about the future, unable to even imagine what the future held in store. Being nocturnal and finding sleep to be the most effective way to tolerate the warmth of the day, Zorua dozed off not long after.

    She slept far into the night when without warning, she was abruptly thrown out of her little home. Landing on the chilly sand, she peered around in the darkness to find out what was going on.

    "ZORAH!" a gruff, scary voice sounded from somewhere, making her flinch in surprise. It was her father's voice, a large and intimidating creature she was not about to come running to any time soon.

    "Mom! I fell!" Zorua shouted, twisting her head around and seeing nothing but darkness and sand in every direction.

    "RUN, ZORAH!" the fearsome voice boomed again, Zorua noticing that it was coming from behind. Turning her head back, she saw a huge red flash zooming through the sky. It frightened her so much that she jumped back, staring with terror as the redness dissipated into the black night. After that, all that followed was complete silence.

    "Mom!" Zorua continued, blinking rapidly as the sudden brightness had hurt her eyes. She waited a few moments, but there was no response. Looking around again, she finally realized that both her parents had disappeared.

    "Mom! Dad!" Zorua began to shout again, but there was nothing. Wobbling back and forth while trying to comprehend what had just happened, she found herself beginning to shake from the cold. Immediately thinking to nestle up with her mother, her feelings of cold were overtaken by feelings of loneliness.

    "Wh-Where did y-you go…" she sobbed as her eyes began to tear up. Had her parents not noticed it when she fell out? Had they forgotten about her and continued their journey? Zorua had never been alone before and had no idea how to cope with it. She had no idea where she was, where to go or how to find her way back to the oasis. There was nothing but sand in every direction, reaching on for eternity. Not knowing what to do, she lay down on the sands and cried with her eyes closed, waiting for someone to come pick her up.

    A long time passed. She ran out of tears and was beginning to feel thirsty and hungry. Even so, she dared not open her eyes even for a moment, scared of what else might appear from behind the darkness of the dunes. As she laid there she thought of her mother, imagining that she was on currently her way back to come pick her up. Even now she could smell the fragrance of her mother in the air, pretending she was still with her.

    However, as time went by, the smell of her mother was beginning to diminish. This scared the small Zorua more than anything; all her life that scent has been there, and now that it was disappearing she had no idea what to make of the odorless desert that was taking its place. It felt like emptiness. It felt like death.

    It scared her so much that she forced her eyes open and span around, trying one last time to locate her mother. Suddenly, she noticed her mother's fragrance slightly more present in a certain direction, and immediately began to follow it. Running through the sand with her tiny body was no easy task, but she found that she was able to smell more of her mother the further she got and imagined herself getting the closer to her with each step.

    The corner of her eyes was the first area to dry out and begin to ache. Her throat soon followed, due to her earlier crying. The sun was beginning to rear its ugly head by the horizon, which only made her speed up more as she could not imagine surviving a day without the Simipour and her precious, life-giving water. Closing her eyes to endure the strain, she continued rushing ahead through the shapeless landscape before bumping her head into something.

    Rubbing the newly-formed dent on her forehead, she slowly looked up to see a peculiar stack of rocks standing high above her. She had no idea what she had found, but knew one thing for sure; the smell of her mother was stronger than she had ever sensed! It positively clouded the air, filling her nostrils and mind with vigor and hope.

    "Mom…?" Zorua whispered as she walked up to the rocks. They had been laid too solidly to smash down, and she was far too short to jump over them. However, the mortar had been frugally added, so finding a crack to peer through was easy enough. It only took a single glimpse of light blue for both her and her heart to leap up. Finally at the end of this nightmare, Zorua hastily stumbled and shuffled her body around the stack of stones, at long last face to face with her mother again.

    "MOM!" Zorua screamed in pure joy as tears flowed down her face. She positively tackled her mother's hair and nuzzled against every inch of it, sucking up the moisture and motherly love like a sponge. Laughing and crying at the same time, she rolled out of the hairdo to give her mother a kiss.

    It was then she realized something was wrong. Despite her energetic assault, the Simipour was fast asleep. Her mother did rarely open her eyes, but a tackle had always roused her in the past. Zorua tried again, carefully nudging her mother's face.

    "Mom?" Zorua repeated meekly as she nipped lightly at her mother's neck, trying to get a response. When she tugged at it, she noticed her mother had lost an astounding amount of weight, her very thin body dragging itself a full centimeter across the sand as Zorua fell back in shock.

    Speechless and stunned, she was beginning to notice some of the details she had missed before. The stack of rocks had been dull and grey on the outside, but in here there patches of red across the walls and even in the sand. The lingering smell was definitively her mother's, but it was mixed in with something so grotesquely repulsive that it was making her nose sting in protest. The most disturbing detail was that despite her mother's perfectly intact head and hair, the rest of her body was had become completely flat.

    Zorua tilted her head, wondering why her mother was sleeping halfway submerged in the sand. She knew she would have to ask her after she woke up. She did not have long to ponder this new turn of events as something moved in the corner of her eyes. Turning around, she saw a tall shadow looming over her before something heavy and hard fell down on her head, the echoes of whatever was smashing down on her cranium being the last thing registered by her brain as she lost consciousness.

    The dizziness was still present when she woke up, wondering over the strange new world she found herself in. Everything was bright, spinning and looked fuzzy, and there was a throbbing headache overtaking all her other emotions and thoughts.

    As she slowly came to, she realized she was someplace new. The color green made her immediately think of an oasis, and her assumption proved to be accurate as she carefully rubbed her eyes. The oasis was small and unfamiliar but had bushes, trees and water, the strong sun reflecting off the latter and making it even more difficult for her to see. While this sight would have made her jump for joy during her earlier trek, for some reason she still felt depressed. In the back of her mind, she knew something was still missing.

    Gathering her thoughts while looking around, she noticed she was not alone in the area. There was another creature, a dusty-looking Pokémon sitting underneath a crooked palm tree with his arms crossed. Although quite a bit bigger than she was, he was still only about half the height of her father and had a bit of a stubby appearance. Very many large spines covered his back, and his claws were about the size of her entire head. His dry, cracked skin reminded her of a Sandshrew that had lived by the oasis where she grew up, but this one seemed far more mature.

    Still disoriented, she began to approach him as her memories came flooding back. The Sandslash took notice of her approach, but made no attempt to get up.

    "It was stupid of you to follow us," the Sandslash spoke with a steady and defined voice, "But between here and the hot desert sands, I suppose the outcome would have been the same."

    "… Mom…?" Zorua wheezed weakly, still thinking of what had happened. The Sandslash examined her for a moment before closing his eyes.

    "Too late," he said calmly, "They tanned and ate her. Dad too."

    "… Tanned…?" Zorua repeated with confusion, not recognizing the word and thinking her mother had been much too thin to have eaten recently, "No, mom… Mom's by the rocks! I saw her!"

    "What you saw was her face and skin, stripped from her corpse," the Sandslash explained slowly with a hint of bother in his voice, "Quite soft. It will keep them warm during cold nights."

    "Th-they can't do that!" Zorua exclaimed, horrified at the thought of some random stranger using her mother's water-giving hair while she was away, "She's MY mom!"

    The Sandslash sighed as he opened his eyes again. He really hated the naďve ones, always pelting him with questions and ruining his siesta. Many years had passed since he gave up on sharing any manner of empathy, and decided to just get it over with.

    "Do you even understand the concept of death, kid?" he asked while readjusting his position against the palm tree, "Your mother is gone. They pulled off her hide, chopped the rest into pieces and ate them. You will never see her again."

    Zorua continued looking at him with a blank expression. He stared back, not sure of what to make of her reaction. After what seemed like an eternity, the small Pokémon simply turned the other way and began to walk away from him.

    "Oi," the Sandslash called out, "They told me to make sure you don't leave. Sit still."

    "I-I…" Zorua replied with a shaky voice, "… I need to…"

    "SIT STILL!" the Sandslash shouted loudly, hoping it would stop her in her tracks. It seemed to have the opposite effect as instead the small Pokémon took off into a full run.

    "MOM!" Zorua screamed as she ran as fast as her four legs could carry her, tears welling up inside her again as she thought of what the big Sandshrew had said. She knew he had to be lying, and tried to pick up her mother's scent once again to return to the stack of rocks as quickly as possible.

    Before she knew it, she was pressed down into the scorching sands as the Sandslash stepped down on her, squeezing the breath out of her lungs and causing her to flail about like a pinned down insect.

    "I knew you were going to be a troublemaker!" the Sandslash growled angrily and leaned forward, pressing one of his claws to the back of her neck, "Sit still, or I'll chop you up right here and now!"

    Still not understanding what was happening, Zorua continued to struggle. The pressure on her back caused her to gasp for air, involuntarily drawing far too many grains of sand into her mouth in desperation. Tears spilled out of her face as she fought the hellish heat, twisting left and right and hysterically throwing her head in every direction, trying anything to find a way out of the unspeakable nightmare.

    - - - - - - - - -

    The next two days were just as hot and stifling as the ones before. Zorua lay by the edge of the water, gasping faintly with her tongue outstretched. In front of her lay a small plant covered in thorns, which had taken great effort for her to even carry there. It was green, white and slightly red from the blood spilt as she continued peeling off the spikes, trying to make it edible.

    There was no fence around the oasis, but she felt too weak even try to escape. The harsh desert climate had quickly sapped her strength and left her a wheezing husk, the Sandslash being no help at all and seemingly quite content with just watching her die. Overcome by thirst she had dived into the water, and now overcome with hunger she had stolen some of the Sandslash's food. She had expected to be beaten again for it, but for some reason he did not seem to care.

    As another thorn pierced her ill-suited forepaw, her old life seemed so very distant. How quickly the world had turned from a place of relaxation, opulence and love into one where every moment was a miserable struggle for survival. After hearing the Sandslash's many vivid explanations of the current state of her mother, all she knew about death was that it was the absolutely last thing she wanted to have happen to her.

    "… Why me…?" Zorua whispered as she bit down, feeling the disgusting plant prickle the back of her tongue, "Why… Am I here…?"

    The Sandslash scoffed, sitting by his favorite tree like usual.

    "For sure they're not fattening you up," the Sandslash muttered as he chomped down on some cacti, his tough mouth seemingly unhindered by their thorny exterior, "As you can probably tell, food is scarce here in the desert. They're busy digesting their last meal, so they want me to keep you fresh until it's to kill and eat you too."

    Feeling the last piece of cacti slip down her throat, Zorua almost immediately coughed it right back up as her stomach made a nasty turn. The realization hit her as she stared up at the Sandslash with a horrified expression. She was not keeping herself alive; she was only waiting for an inevitable death.

    Terror crept up on her again as she forgot all about her exhaustion. As wretched as her life currently was, she did not want to die. Seeing the unblocked vast plains of the desert just over to her left, she decided to once more make a run for it. Dashing away from captivity and enjoying her freedom for nearly five seconds, she was quickly tackled to the ground by the swift Sandslash, just like she had been a few days before. His weight kept her pinned down as he aggressively pushed her face deep down into the sand.

    "You dumb wench!" he shouted furiously, "Where do you think we are? Nowhere, that's where!"

    Zoura tried to scream and cry, but only received a mouthful of sand and dirt. The Sandslash eased up on his grip as she began to cough up the vast amounts of grime she had nearly ingested.

    "Do you like the sand? Do you like the sun? Even if you were to get past me, that's the only thing you'll find for miles upon miles," the Sandslash said sternly as he pointed ahead of her, "Only the best of the best can survive in the desert. Surely you saw a few pale white bones on the way here? Are you eager to join them?"

    "No!" Zoura shouted as she breathed heavily, still attempting to free herself and keep running, "Mom said there's a place with no sand! No sun! I'll keep walking until I get there!"

    "Bah! A furry little brat like you won't survive a day of walking with those short, mangy legs," the Sandslash growled as he picked her up by her tail, an extreme pain shooting up her spine, "You'll be face down in the sand before sundown."

    Hanging upside down she flailed back and forth, the Sandslash rudely throwing her into the water. Instinct set in as she crashed through the surface, causing her to immediately paddle upwards. However, a sudden stiffness shot through her muscles as the Sandslash's words began to fully sink in. Slowly her efforts to swim up waned.

    There was simply no point to it. Even if she was to cross the barrier of the surface once more, the only thing she would be met by was a world of strife and unavoidable death. If that was to be the case, she wondered if maybe it was better to just die right there and then. Dark thoughts clouded her young mind when suddenly her lungs began to scream out for air. Trying to resist it, she kept telling herself it would only be five more seconds. Five more seconds, and then it would be all over.

    Her mental fortitude shattered as something grabbed on to her tail again. She panicked as something violently drew her upwards, forcing her back to the surface and back into hell.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    A similar scene presented itself a week later. Zorua had once more tried to drown herself as the Sandslash jumped in and pulled her body out. He dropped her on the sandbank as he crouched down and began to roll around in the sand, trying to get as much moisture off his body as possible.

    "Stop doing that, you little brat," he muttered tiredly before walking over to Zorua and kicking her in the gut. A wad of water flew out of her as she entered a coughing fit.

    "What good is your body if you die and start rotting before dinnertime?" he continued talking as he walked up next to her, "You are meat, not fish. Act your part."

    "Not… Meat…" Zorua whispered quietly as she lamented over another failed suicide attempt, "I'm… Zorua…"

    The Sandslash sighed. He felt too tired to keep beating her up, seeing how it was not having much effect with deterring her. Instead, he sat down next to her, eliciting a flinch from the tiny creature.

    "Zorua," he repeated with dismay, "What kind of language is that?"

    "… That's my name!" Zorua snapped back as she stood up, anger overtaking her as she braced herself for another beating.

    "Idiot. You don't get to have a name," the Sandslash growled bitterly while staring at the distant dunes, "I have a name. It's 'Seif'. You do not have a name, because you are a walking piece of food."

    "I'm not food! My mom said I was u… Un…" Zorua yelled as she struggled with remembering the word, "… Unique!"

    Seif looked down at her with a jaded expression. She had no way of knowing just how many Pokémon he had been guarding at this oasis, only to watch them be turned into strips of flesh and eaten. It suddenly occurred to him what she had been referring to, realizing her black and red fur had seemed unfamiliar for a reason.

    "True. Haven't seen one of your species before," he admitted before shaking his head, "But that only means you might taste bad. Then you are not meat, but garbage. If so… Just sit back and wait for your disposal."

    Zorua continued staring up at him with defiance. Her matted down fur gave way to the many sores he had inflicted upon her this past week. Despite her beaten figure, Seif could predict what she was about to say.

    "I'm not garbage!" she roared meekly before starting to run away. However, just as Seif was about to chase after her again, she made a turn for one of the bushes and disappeared inside, hiding herself. He muttered a few bitter words as he himself returned to his favorite tree and fell asleep.

    It was not until the next day that he realized what she had been planning that night. Thinking himself part of yet another hastily improvised attempt at escape, Seif suddenly yelped as he stepped on something sharp while chasing after Zorua. Several thorns were sticking out of the ground, where Zorua had buried and hidden several cacti. The Dark-type smiled to herself as she continued running and evaded the carefully laid out traps, making it a few feet further than usual before the Sandslash popped out of the sand in front, having dug his way underground to avoid the spines.

    His wrath was more severe than usual, but even as he trashed her she could not stop thinking about the few extra meters she had reached away from the oasis. Already she was beginning to plan her next escape. Abandoned by her parents and left alone in a world that wanted nothing more than her death, she finally understood that the only way she was getting out of this would be to rely upon her own wit.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  9. #359
    Join Date
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    Well that's a backstory. I can understand where the Zoroark is coming from, sorta, but now I just want to find out how she escaped.

    Loving this as always and look forward to another chapter.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  10. #360
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Beside the computer screen.
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    What's this? An interruption WITHIN AN INTERRUPTION IN THE STORY? Is I smoking crack?

    Don't worry, we'll get back to Zoroark and her childhood trauma soon enough. For now, check out this timeline I made over the trilogy! If you ever wondered about the characters' ages or the sequence of events, now's the time to find out!

    Dates are marked as B.S. (Before Stadium) and A.S. (After Stadium), the tournament at Pokemon Stadium during Year 0 serving as the marking point. For instance, the current flashback is set in 7 B.S. while the conflict over the virus is set in 11 A.S. 18 years later.

    Oh, and to easily figure out a character's age at a specific point in the story, just add together the B.S. value of when they were born to the A.S. value of the point in question. For example, Zerobi was born in 13 B.S., which should make her 14 years old at the start of Evolution's Gate and 24 years old in 11 A.S.

    If you wish to have a certain unmarked event added, have an event explained in further detail or simply notice an error, send me a message.

    75 B.S. Giovanni is born

    64 B.S. Mew (8th generation) dies in childbirth, Mew (9th generation) is born

    58 B.S. Lugia is born

    50 B.S. Red and Blue are born

    43 B.S. Celebi (5th generation) dies in childbirth, Celebi (6th generation) is born

    38 B.S. Giovanni retires from Team Rocket and the ensuing power struggle causes other criminal branches to form around the world

    37 B.S. Blue and Red defeat the Elite Four

    29 B.S. Brendan is born

    27 B.S. Blue defeats Red in a children's card game and celebrates for 8 months in a row

    22 B.S. Silver is born, Occult Magazine is founded

    20 B.S. Ethan and Pikablu are born

    17 B.S. Snivy is born

    16 B.S. The Gallade and the Eevee Astrid are born, Ethan meets Chica for the first time

    15 B.S. Mew (9th generation) dies in childbirth, Mew (10th generation) is born

    14 B.S. Celebi (6th generation) and Pikablu's brother Pichu are born, Cresselia abandons Mew and disappears

    13 B.S. Celebi (5th generation) dies in childbirth, Zerobi is born

    12 B.S. Mew and Celebi begin their teachings under Giratina, Zerobi is given to a foster family

    11 B.S. Cyon, Rukario and Eve are born

    10 B.S. Pikablu's brother Pichu encounters Celebi and dies as a result, Zapdos is born, Zerobi's foster family disappears, Ethan sets off on his journey to become the Pokemon champion

    9 B.S. Zorua and Moltres are born, Eve's mother dies in a forest fire

    8 B.S. Pikablu begins training to become a legendary, Articuno is born

    7 B.S. Zorua's mother and father are killed

    6 B.S. Brendan defeats the Elite Four

    5 B.S. Ethan enters Kanto for further training, Zerobi begins collecting occult magazines

    4 B.S. Celebi and Mew finish studying with Giratina and head out into the world on their own, Astrid evolves into a Rock-type Eeveelution

    3 B.S. The construction of Pokemon Stadium begins, the three legendary dogs are taken into custody by Red, Brendan and Ethan

    2 B.S. Ethan defeats the Elite Four

    1 B.S. Tefay dies while giving birth to Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit

    0 A.S. The tournament of Pokemon Stadium is held where Ethan wins and abandons his life as a trainer, Red goes into retirement, Zerobi and Eve first become friends, Mewtwo is born

    1 A.S. Occult Magazine: Evolution's Gate begins here. Evolution's Gate is formed, Mew defeats Mewtwo in battle

    2 A.S. Zerobi evolves into a Weavile, Chica gives birth to her first child

    3 A.S. Zerobi goes into hiding and has her subscription to Occult Magazine cancelled, Evolution's Gate is disbanded, Pikablu masters his legendary-killing techniques and the Legendary Trio is formed

    4 A.S. Forever Legendary begins here. Pikablu fights Celebi, Zorua evolves into Zoroark, Zerobi's subscription to Occult Magazine is reinstated

    5 A.S. Red's Pikachu dies peacefully in his sleep, Kabuto and Kabuta are born, Silver becomes the leader of Team Rocket

    6 A.S. Chica has her second child, Eve finishes school and enters into a relationship with Snivy, Mew tries to celebrate Christmas

    7 A.S. Rukario and Cyon become a couple, Mewtwo tries to celebrate Christmas

    8 A.S. Anne and Pikablu have a miscarriage, Mew and Mewtwo both try one last attempt at celebrating Christmas

    9 A.S. Deoxys descends upon the world, Ethan and Cyon die while Lucario is born, Acts 112-119 (subjugation of powerful Pokémon) are instated, Zoroark bands together revolutionaries

    10 A.S. The Humans Species begins here. Lucario is betrayed by Ivy, Red is forced out of retirement and very many other things happen

    11 A.S. No Man's Land is created, Eve is impregnated and tons of other crazy stuff that he who keeps reading will find out about!
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  11. #361
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Beside the computer screen.
    Posts
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    Chapter 87

    Sinful Guard Seif


    Zorua's quest for freedom swiftly became a far more frequent occurrence. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. The Sandslash did not get a moment of rest as Zorua's escape attempts became more elaborate and clever each time. He did not hesitate in taking out his frustrations on her, but even so she would not give up as it only seemed to reinforce her determination.

    Unfortunately, determination could only take her so far and did not let her fully ignore the harsh reality thrust upon her. Without constant pampering and caretaking by her parents, her young body was no match for the unforgiving climate of the desert. Deprived of nutrition and often on the verge of a heat stroke, her movements began to wane ever so slowly until one fateful day when she could no longer run.

    Her once regal fur was falling out in patches, presenting a sinewy body similar to a skeleton in appearance if not for her many colorful marks of past abuses. Unable to muster up the strength to put another plan into motion, she wasted the days away doing nothing but lying by the banks of the water. Soon she could not even walk anymore. Slowly but surely she was beginning to give up, preparing herself for the inevitable end while spending the better parts of the day moving in and out of consciousness underneath the scorching sun.

    "No good. Completely dehydrated," a strange voice sounded from somewhere, "Seif, keep better tab on this one! If she dies in custody, I'm holding you responsible!"

    "Wakey-wakey," a more recognizable voice sounded as Zorua felt herself being lifted by her tail. The immense and quite familiar pain had given her a rather deep loathing for the tail, and had often contemplated cutting it off had she only found something sharp enough. Feeling herself dunked in the water, she was forced back to consciousness and accidentally inhaled a hefty slug of water, coughing and sputtering as she was pulled out of the drink.

    As expected, Seif was the one carrying her, but for the first time ever he was not alone. A few feet away stood a tall and lanky being, looking like nothing she had ever seen before. Eyes still hazy, she wondered if this was just a mirage when the creature suddenly spoke in a peculiar language.

    "Haahh, I knew I should've checked up on you earlier…" the human spoke with a disappointed expression, "Who'd want to eat a bag of bones like that? There's plenty of stuff growing around here, force some down its throat if you have to."

    Although the creature's way of speaking was completely unfamiliar, Zorua was able to distinguish a couple of words. The term "eat" echoed in her head as Seif unceremoniously dropped her down on the sand, but without the strength to make a run for it she went limp and just laid there. For someone able to criticize Seif and not get beaten bloody, she found it odd that the human looked so soft and meek. She saw that he had lengthy limbs and a height advantage, letting her eyes wander upwards to see just how far up his head really was.

    How everything changed with that one glance. Having never seen a human before, Zorua did not pay much notice to the fact that his body was blue. Indeed, the tail hanging behind him was in no way unusual to her naďve mind. But passing by the human's head and directing her vision just a little higher, there was absolutely no denying that she was currently staring into the decaying face of her own mother.

    "M-Mom!" Zorua exclaimed in utter shock. Seif explained how they had ripped her skin off and was using it for their own benefit, but she had never been able to fully visualize it like this. Her mother's normally gentle expression had turned solemn, frozen in a state devoid of emotion. Although the human obscured most of what she could see, something like an impossibly huge scab could be seen on the inside of what was once her mother. Momentarily forgetting about everything else in the world, Zorua felt herself overcome by anguish, rage and desire all at once.

    "AAHHH! MOOOM!" she cried as her broken body exhausted the last of its resources, letting her spring to her feet and charge towards the human. He staggered backwards in surprise as she jumped up, trying to reach her mother to save her from this evil creature, or at the very last feel her soft, beautiful skin one last time.

    She did not make it. Her moment of power quickly faded and weakness set in as she could only make a small hop, ramming into the stomach of the human. He lost his breath as he fell back, Zorua barely even touching the ground before someone punched the back of her head, shoving it down into the sand according to the usual routine.

    "Kneel, kid," Seif muttered as he pressed down on her head. He found it strange that she was not fighting back like usual, instead just lying there and taking it. Somewhat bored by her lack of enthusiasm, he looked up to see the human rise to his full height again.

    "Whew… What a scary little tyke!" the human said with concern as he brushed some dirt away from the Simipour's back, "I, uh, appreciate your eagerness, but I can't put you in my stomach just yet! You need to put things in YOUR stomach first!"

    "Seems you need to be informed on the pecking order," Seif growled as he prickled the back of Zorua's neck with one of her claws, trying to elicit a response, "Human, me, you. The chain ends there, unless you can find a Sunkern out here that you want to torture."

    His speech was in vain as Zorua had already fainted from exhaustion. Sighing as his master chastised him for letting her almost die, he doused her in the water once more and shoved an unpeeled cactus piece down her throat, making her wake up and cry out in pain at the same time. Although treating her this way was in no way uncommon to him, he was able to distinguish a certain glare in her eyes that was not there before. Wondering what it could mean, he ate his share and quietly went to sleep.

    When he woke up, the oasis was empty. He examined the area, not seeing any footprints heading outside, concerned that his sharp hunter's senses had not picked up the small rascal making an escape.

    "Kid, stop playing around," Seif muttered, wondering if Zorua was hiding in one of the bushes. A quick search told him that was not the case, and he felt a tinge of worry as he stuck his head into the water. The underwater floor was grimy, but definitively lacking of any sort of body.

    "Kid… If you don't come out here right now, I'll cut you bad," Seif growled with a slightly more angry tone. He knew he was going to get into a lot of trouble if she had escaped or offed herself right after his master's earlier lecture, the human probably thinking he had done something as revenge.

    Clicking his claws together in rage, he suddenly noticed a set of footprints in the sand he had not seen before. He recognized them as Zorua's and they were on a direct course for the outskirts of the oasis, but what was unusual was that they seemed to suddenly stop a few feet away. Thinking Zorua had somehow retraced her footsteps in order to confuse him, he approached the end of the footsteps.

    It was then that he could hear it. A stifled, nervous breathing coming from somewhere. Looking around, he could not see anyone nearby, yet could tell that the noise was coming from where the footsteps had been made. He had no idea what was going on, but did have an idea on how to find out.

    "I FOUND YOU!" the Sandslash suddenly yelled with all his might, bluffing in order to lure Zorua out of hiding. Expecting the small Dark-type to pop out of the sand somewhere, his mouth fell open as the footsteps he had been tracing suddenly continued on their way, running away from him. Not a fool in any regard, he chased after them as best he could and managed to catch up after a while. Tackling the invisible creature, he felt the familiar fuzzy sensation against his body and pressed it down as hard as he could, a tuft of black fur appearing in his hand. Not long after, Zorua's entire body appeared out of thin air, pinned down beneath him like so many times before.

    "AAAHHHH!" Zorua gave off a panicked cry while struggling to get free, "LET ME GO!"

    "I don't know how you did that, but I don't care," Seif growled menacingly with a minute amount of glee in his voice after his triumphant victory, "I don't care if you can turn invisible. I don't even care if you learn how to teleport. As long as I'm alive, you will never, ever escape from here."

    "I'LL KILL YOU!" Zorua burst out as she fought harder, trying to bite at the claws holding her down. Securing his grip around her, Seif moved in closer to better intimidate and taunt her.

    "Like that'd change anything," he whispered with a sinister scowl, "Think about who's giving the orders around here. If it were up to me, I would have kicked you out of my oasis to die ages ago."

    His words fell on deaf ears, and Zorua made good use of her newfound ability to create illusions in the weeks to come. Seif was finding it very difficult to handle, the small Pokémon getting better at using it with every day. He would be chasing a fake copy of her for several seconds, or get lost on the way back as the desert spun wildly around him and the oasis in constant movement. Before long he took to beating Zorua into complete unconsciousness, at which point the mirages abruptly ceased and he could get some peace of mind before she woke up and tried something new.

    A full year after Zorua's arrival at the oasis, the human came by for another visit. Seif was just returning from another wild chase, carrying a flailing Zorua in his arms. She quickly stopped as she noticed the human, staring intently at the pelt that had once been her lovely mother. The human did not notice, busy looking at the chaotic state of the area. Small craters in the sand, millions of footsteps heading out in every direction and one visibly worn out Sandslash.

    The human sighed to himself as a beeping noise suddenly sounded from his waist. Reaching behind the facial area of the Simipour and sparking a hostile growl from Zorua, he pulled out a cellphone.

    "Yeah, what's up? Nah, the black one almost made it off again," the human spoke as Seif dropped Zorua, feeling a bit ticked off and not really caring if she tried to attack him like before. She began planning on what to do about the unexpected visit when the human suddenly broke into a big smile.

    "Elite Four challenge? Well, yeah… I suppose that's something we gotta celebrate," the human said as he looked over at Seif and his smile immediately began to fade, "But… The menu doesn't look very tasty, though. Y'know, spines and all that. Can't we…?"

    Zorua dropped all her plans as she slowly began to realize what the human and his unseen friend were talking about. She looked at Seif, noticing that the Sandslash had an unusually distressed expression behind his snout. Noticing their reaction, the human hastily scuffled away and lowered his voice.

    "… Huh? Nah, it's no problem. We can get another one next time we go into town," the human continued, oblivious of the two Pokémon's highly adapt skills at hearing, "Besides, this one's getting kind of old, can barely even keep up with that black one we caught. Might as well put him out of his misery before he starts embarrassing himself too much."

    Seif stopped eavesdropping for a moment to shoot Zorua a vicious glare. However, the Dark-type was completely focused on every word coming from the person so casually carrying her mother around like clothing.

    "I suppose… Better to dig in now before he's nothing but skin, sinew and spikes, right?" the human whispered while giving off a nervous laugh, looking over at the two Pokémon. Being met by nothing but hatred and anger, he slowly backed off before turning around and leaving the area. Zorua and Seif stared at him all the way as he became a tiny little dot at the edge of the dunes and finally disappeared.

    Completely shaken up by the whole ordeal, Zorua had no idea what to say or do. For the first time in her life, she was feeling sorry for someone who wasn't herself. Overcome by this new, strange sensation, she looked over at Seif with a confused expression.

    "What… What are you going to do?" Zorua blurted out. Seif looked back at her for a moment, appearing to be deep in thought. With a few unremarkable steps he made his way back to his favorite spot by the tree and sat down.

    "Nothing," he answered callously before crossing his arms and closing his eyes, looking to get some shut-eye like normal.

    "What!?" Zorua exclaimed in shock, "They… They're going to eat you!"

    "So be it, then," Seif responded calmly, "I've let them eat many Pokémon before, why stop them now? I guess this is what one would refer to as 'karma'."

    Zorua felt her breath come in short as something about the Sandslash's cool demeanor rubbed her the wrong way. Something about this whole thing seemed off, but she was not confident that she could define exactly what it is.

    "… You can't…!" she shouted and shook her head, "That's not…!"

    "… What's the matter?" Seif asked as he opened his eyes to look at her, "Aren't you glad I'll be gone? Now you're free to run out into the desert and die like you've always wanted."

    "B-But…" Zorua stuttered. It was true, this past year she had wished for nothing more than for the horrible Sandslash to go away, preferably in a swift and painful manner. Her past self told her to back off, shut up and simply watch it all go down without intervention. However, she could not rid the feeling that something wasn't making sense, and scrounged her face up as she struggled to figure out what it was.

    "Don't tell me…" Seif muttered with a sneer, "… You care about me? You've come to like me?"

    "… No! I hate you! I HATE YOU!" Zorua burst out while feeling a deep loathing rise to the top of her chest, "But… Don't just go die like this! Why would you give your life for that evil human!?"

    The sneer faded from Seif's face as he became completely serious in an instant, staring her down with an intensive gaze.

    "Watch your tongue," he said harshly, "That 'evil human' is the only reason I exist."

    Losing track of her train of thoughts, Zorua braced herself as she was sure to get a beating for accidentally pissing Seif off. But instead he just sat but the tree and looked at her angrily, not making the effort of reprimanding her.

    "I was not born. I was bred," Seif explained after a moment of silence, "My mother and father did not even know each other. They were forced together for the sole purpose of creating me, all so I could help these humans. I am certain one of my brothers or sisters will be here to take over my role once I am gone."

    "… That's… That's what you want?" Zorua asked in disbelief.

    "Why not? The purpose of life is to spread your genes to the next generation," Seif muttered with a shrug, "My family has thrived, even though we are enslaved and eventually eaten. Because others find use for us and our lives, we will continue to exist, no matter what. Your parents saw the opposite end. Their only use was in death… And soon you will follow. No future… No offspring… No hope."

    "But at least I want to live!" Zorua shouted back, not understanding much of what the Sandslash was talking about.

    Her statement proved to be far more effective than she had anticipated. Although he did not show it, Seif felt something stir deep inside of him as if he had been shaken to his core. Staring down at Zorua and her defiant gaze, he wondered if she thought of him as little as he did her. The thought that she would continue roaming the oasis after he was dead made him sour, but also brought about a surge of helplessness.

    "… No one wants to die, kid," Seif growled, his voice showing chiding qualities, "I don't have a choice. I have a master."

    "That's not right!" Zorua continued with her tirade, suddenly realizing that the Sandslash was not cool about his impending death but had simply given up on preventing it, "They're weak, even I could hurt them! You… You're big! Strong! They can't force you to do anything!"

    Zorua hesitated a little as she realized she was shouting at the very same monster that had beaten her senseless so many times and was probably very eager to keep that tradition alive. However, unlike any earlier conversation between them, Seif actually seemed to be paying attention to what she was saying.

    "It's not that simple, you noisy little brat," Seif argued while raising his head, "They've got Pokéballs, the technology to hold us captive. I rebel; I get beaten down and stuffed into a PC somewhere."

    "But… But… Your freedom! Your life!" Zorua said desperately, finally discovering what felt wrong about this whole situation, "Why can a master take that away from you? How can you let that happen!?"

    "Life sucks," Seif responded calmly, "Don't feel bad, everyone eventually realizes that, kid..."

    "… You're wrong!" Zoura yelled in response while shaking her head, "My life… Before all this, my life was great! I was happy, and if I'd never been caught… I'd still be!"

    Memories of her mother and even her father flooded her as she felt overcome by nostalgia and a year of pent up rage. In that instant she felt as if she could run across the entire desert in pursuit of vengeance. Seif looked as if he was about to say something, but was interrupted as Zorua deftly jumped in front of him.

    "No matter what…" Zorua said with a furious expression, "… I refuse to resign myself to suffering!"

    The exertions of that day were starting to pile up on Zorua's back as she collapsed on sand soon after. Awaiting a reply from Seif but getting only silence, she wondered if this is what the rest of her life would be like. Spending it alone and eventually dying a meaningless death.

    "… Another way…" Zorua coughed weakly with a hoarse voice, "If we… If we kill the human… He can't kill us if he's dead… Right?"

    "Kid…" Seif finally responded, a cold, quiet and somewhat worried tone to his voice, "… You're talking crazy. You're going against the way of the world."

    "Then screw the world!" Zorua screamed as her energy spiked once more, suddenly standing up and facing the Sandslash, "What do we have to lose!? If we can just get out of here, there's a chance… There's a chance that life will be good again! I'll do anything…!"

    The next day, the human returned to the oasis. Wearing the same grotesque get-up as before, he spotted his Sandslash resting by the usual palm tree. He put on a big smile as Seif eyed him lazily through tiny slits under heavy eyelids. Contrasting the dusty area and dirty carrier, there was a shiny new spray can containing Max Repel sticking out of a bag by the human's side, showing that his expression belied his intentions.

    A scornful look crossed Seif's face as the human suddenly reached into the sack. However, instead of grabbing the repel he dug down deeper and pulled out a tiny treat. Holding it in front of him, he slowly approached the Sandslash.

    "Whoooo… Whoooo…" the human sang in a calming manner, "… Whooo's a hungry Sandshrew? Who's a hungry little Sandshrew?"

    The human walked closer while Seif sat and watched him with a bored expression.

    "You are!" the human shouted as he suddenly took one last big step towards his Pokémon. Seif did not react at all as the cheerful guy started petting and rubbing his head.

    "Ahh… Not so little anymore, I guess," the human snickered while handing out the small treat, "Remember when I used to do that? Here, by this tree? You were so cute back then!"

    Seif did remember. Back when he was just a Sandshrew he had been taken to this oasis and spent a lot of time playing with his master. At some point he had evolved and been given duties, but it occurred to him that he had forgotten to keep track of the passing days, and wondered just how many years the oasis had stolen from him.

    "Don't worry, Seif ol' pal, you've been good to us," the human said with dismay as he reached into his bag and pulled out a few more treats, "You can have as many of these as you want before we gotta stop feeding you. Don't let that black one steal 'em all, or she'll have to answer to me!"

    The human continued picking things out of the sack when it suddenly rattled. Looking down in surprise, he saw it stop for a moment before starting again, some unseen force pulling at it. Before he had time to react, the bag detached from his wrappings and fell down into the sand, carrying the canister of repel with it.

    "Seif, be careful! Something's here!" the human shouted with a terrified expression as he rose to his full height. Thinking he was under attack by a psychic Pokémon, he looked around but could see no one. Bending over to pick up the repel, it suddenly began to move across the sand all on its own.

    Staring at the unbelievable scene, he was given a clue as the image of the small, black Pokémon he had captured before flashed by his vision for a second. Knowing that mirages could not occur at such a short distance, he swiftly came to the conclusion that the rare creature had some mysterious powers he had not encountered before.

    "The black one!? Seif, what's-" the human exclaimed as Seif got fed up with waiting and tackled him from behind, pushing him down to the ground. The human screamed in protest before Seif calmly shoved his head into the sand with one hand, starting to munch down on one of the treats with his other.

    "Suppertime," Seif mumbled as he thoroughly chewed and swallowed down his meal. Zorua deactivated her illusions and stared as the human flailed and fought like she had so many times before. Around this point in time is where she would begin to pass out and he'd forcibly pull her head up for air. Such was not the case now. The human's movements began to weaken as his head remained in the sand before finally stopping altogether.

    Seif sat quietly next to him and finished up his food. His face was expressionless as he looked down at the human, lying face down in the sand. The Sandslash was not certain that he was dead, but did not care either way. He walked past the stunned Zorua and emptied out the contents of the bag she had taken from him. A can of repel, a few more treats and a large bottle of water fell into the sand. Shaking the bag a little more, a second bottle of water suddenly fell out, about half as large as the previous one.

    "A reserve bottle… He sure wasn't eager to die," Seif muttered while picking up the tiny bottle and holding it out towards Zorua, "Here. I'm bigger, so you can have the smaller one."

    However, she was no longer standing where she had been. Instead she was lying down next to the human, violently tackling him and pulling at his lifeless body. Seif sighed, realizing this was the first time she had been given any kind of punching bag and probably had a lot of aggressions to take out on it.

    "… Come on, stop that…" Seif said with apprehension, "He might not even be dead. Couldn't check his pulse, my hide's too thick."

    Zorua paid his warning no mind as she continued her onslaught. Biting with her teeth, smashing with her head and rolling the human over, showing the world his final expression of frozen anguish. Not really eager to accentuate the grizzly scene, Seif moved to stop her when she suddenly got a hold of what she was looking for. Dragging with all her might, the pelt around the human finally came loose from its last restriction and left his body. Panting heavily as she laid down on the sand, she looked up at Seif with a pleading expression.

    "Mom…" she worded breathily, "I wanna be with mom…"

    Standing still, Seif finally came to the realization that Zorua had only been trying to free her mother. The Simipour looked worse for wear after a full year of being dead, having shriveled up and seemingly lost all of her previous moisturizing qualities. Zorua nuzzled up against the decomposing head, apparently not noticing just how much her mother had changed.

    "Fine. Step back, kid," Seif muttered while keeping his denouncements to himself, bending over to pick up the rotten carcass. Zorua whined as she rolled off the pelt and stared up at him with sorrow and confusion.

    "Get on," Seif muttered, holding the flattened Simipour like a hammock between his arms, "I'll carry you. This skin'll protect you from the cold of the night, and shade you from the heat of the day."

    "But… What about you?" Zorua asked, wondering why he didn't wrap her around himself like the human had.

    "… My spines would rip what's left of her to shreds…" Seif muttered to himself with disdain, "I think I've done enough as is."

    Gathering up a small amount of food and safely placing their bottles of water in the bag, they began their long, arduous journey out of the desert. Not sure on which direction to move in, Seif decided they would follow the setting sun as to not end up walking in circles.

    As the days passed, they were reminded of the harsh reality outside of their little oasis. Heat and dryness was their breakfast – Cold and wind their dinner. Seif continued stalwart, unhindered despite the extra baggage of two Pokémon. A year prior Zorua had been carried across the desert nestled within the hair of her mother, and such was now the case once more. She thought it weird that the same situation could vary so much in nature.

    "Ahh… So hot…" Zorua wheezed. Her bottle of water was already half-empty, and she knew all too well what would happen should it run out before the desert did. Even so, the sands seemed to stretch on for eternity, and she could not help but worry that they were still just somewhere in the middle of it all.

    "Stop whining…" Seif muttered back to her, his voice a bit hoarser than usual, "You're the one who suggested the revolution. Accept the consequences."

    "R… Evolution…?" Zorua repeated the complicated word, not sure of what it meant but understanding it was something she had wanted. Seif felt torn on whether to explain it or not – So far he had not really taught the small dark-type anything of value, assuming it was a waste were she to be nothing but food in the end. Indeed, what purpose would the knowledge of a word serve should they fall prey to the scorching sun and die in the middle of nowhere? In the end he decided to prioritize, preventing a potential catastrophe from occurring should they manage to get out of this mess.

    "Hey, kid… There'll be more humans where we're heading," Seif spoke up, keeping his vision ahead of him. Zorua looked up at him, and in the corner of his eyes he could see a scared expression flare up.

    "… W-Will they try to eat us?" Zorua asked with a shaky voice, "We have to kill them too?"

    A groan emanated from Seif. He had a feeling this is what she would associate humanity with after all she had been through.

    "They won't try to eat us," Seif explained, "But I guess I'd understand if you'd want me to kill them anyway."

    "No!" Zorua suddenly burst out in protest, "Why… Why kill them if they don't want to eat us?"

    They shared a confused look between one another.

    "Don't you hate humans?" Seif asked outright, rattling both Zorua and the Simipour to empathize. Zorua looked down at her dead mother for a moment while trying to muster up whatever bitter emotions she kept stored within. However, all she got out of it was a surge of weakness as she collapsed her head against what was left of her family.

    "I-I… Just don't want to die…" she whispered exasperated, "If they don't hurt me… I won't hate them…"

    "Guess that leaves out me, then…" Seif mumbled to himself, seeing that the countless cuts and bruises covering Zorua had yet to heal. As more time passed, he found his attention more and more drawn to those wounds as well as the carved up corpse in his arms. There was not a whole lot else to look at out in the desert, and before he knew it those two were the only things his eyes would take in.

    Zorua was woken abruptly as she found herself thrown into the air and splayed out across the sand. Receiving a terrifying flashback from the time she had lost her parents, she looked up and felt strangely relieved to see the Sandslash fallen over.

    "Stupid… Sand…" he grumbled quietly as he rose to his feet, "C'mon… Get on…"

    Wiping her face clean, she jumped back onto Seif and her deceased mother. However, as she did the Sandslash suddenly buckled over for a moment as if struggling with her weight. He did not say anything and resumed his walk, but Zorua found this to be very peculiar. The implacable being that had resisted her most powerful attacks, thrown her several feet with no issue and beaten her day after day with no signs of exhaustion was not one to trip and struggle with carrying a child.

    It was the next day that Zorua noticed Seif slowing down his pace. Realizing he had been walking awfully far on his own, she decided to jump off to give him a break. However, as she tried it he suddenly threw his hands out further, catching her in her descent.

    "It's OK! I can walk on my own for a while!" Zorua exclaimed while looking up at the Sandslash. His features had always been ragged and weary, but things rapidly seemed to be taking a turn for the worse. His dusty skin was cracked so bad it looked like the aftermath of an earthquake.

    "… Shut up…" Seif responded dryly, "Your puny little form would sink in a second…"

    Frowning at her nice suggestion being shot down, she laid down as Seif suddenly reached into the bag on his back and pulled out her bottle.

    "Here. Drink," he ordered flatly. Zorua stared at the bottle with horror – There was naught but half a round of water remaining. Her lifeline was steadily diminishing, and the desert showed no signs of reaching its end.

    "I-I'm fine," Zorua lied, thinking she would save the last bit of water until she was closer to her deathbed, making sure she always one last shot at salvation.

    "That wasn't a request," Seif growled, and before Zorua knew it she was being pressed down into the sand, Seif forcibly shoving the bottle down her throat.

    "N-MMPH!" Zorua protested as she saw the last sliver of shimmering life trickle down the bottle's opening and disappearing forever into the darkness of her parched throat.

    "You'll die if you don't keep yourself hydrated, you stupid bastard," Seif continued as he quietly observed the bottle, making sure every last drop had been spent, "You want to die? Right when you're on the edge of freedom?"

    Coughing and sputtering, Zorua immediately regretted trying to be friendly and laid down on her mother while pouting. Silently she prayed that beyond the next dune, the green paradise she had always dreamed of would appear.

    Another day went by. Then another. The sun was stronger than usual, cooking Zorua to the point of almost fainting. Longing immensely for a nice shot of cooling water, she wondered how much worse things could possibly get before her body finally caved in and died. She was unsure whether Seif had any water left, but knew he would never share it with her. Planning to steal it, she could never find the opportunity as she could never catch the brutish Sandslash sleeping. Gradually resigning herself to her fate, she took a shred of comfort in that she was able to reunite with her mother one last time.

    Despite his familiarity with the desert, Seif was not doing much better. His once proud steps had become shorter, but at the same time more labored. Disoriented, his eyes had taken a lot of damage, every grain of sand another stab against the chink in his armor. His vision was beginning to fade, but no matter how blurry things got, the wounds covering Zorua were as clear as the sun.

    Without warning, he suddenly stopped. Right in the middle of nowhere he quit walking, licking his lips once for good measure. Zorua's head perked up, wondering what was going on. Hope sprung up in her chest as she wondered if he could see the end of the desert from his slightly more elevated position.

    "Kid… Bag…" Seif wheezed, his voice stale. Slightly crouching over, he placed Zorua and her mother on the hot sand and detached the bag from his back.

    "A year since we met…" he continued before handing the bag over to Zorua and sitting down, "I got you a present…"

    Her weariness melted away at the strange notion of getting a present at this time and place. Excited to see what it was, she rummaged through the bag and was surprised to find it contained only two items. The first was her bottle of water, now completely depleted with its content rapidly being replaced by sand. The second was Seif's larger bottle, the sight of which made her eyes go wide.

    It was not empty. It was not half empty. It was filled to the brim with sweet, life-bringing water.

    "That water… I saved it for you…" Seif muttered with a face devoid of expression. Thirsty beyond belief, Zorua removed the cap and drank a hefty gulp of water. Feeling rejuvenated, a thought suddenly hit her.

    "Wait…?" Zorua whispered as she slowly looked up from the bottle, "But… Then… What have you been drinking?"

    "Desert's my home… Don't need water…" Seif replied as his head subtly wobbled back and forth, "… Well… Not too much… Anyway…"

    Blinking a few times to try and focus his vision, he noticed just how tired his body felt. With an inaudible grunt he laid down on the ground, resting his head against the warm sand. He looked at Zorua – She was obviously in shock, staring at him with eyes wide open.

    "… Still a long way to go…" Seif explained hazily, "Can't let you ride for free all the way… It's time for you to walk on your own…"

    "… No!" Zorua suddenly burst out as she realized what he meant, quickly rolling the bottle of water towards him, "Here, drink some of-"

    But as soon as she came within arm's reach of the Sandslash, he lashed out and grabbed a hold of her neck. She choked with fear as his sharp claws cut slightly into her skin, immediately drawing blood.

    "Wasting my precious gift… Just like that…?" Seif continued with the same emotionless tone and face as before, "I could easily snip your head off… And take that water for myself… So don't tempt me…"

    A drop of blood crawled down his hand as he let go, Zorua falling back and gasping in terror. Carefully she edged forward and drew back the bottle, all while staring at the fallen Sandslash in disbelief.

    "But… You wanted to live!" Zorua exclaimed in confusion, "Don't you want to meet your family?"

    Seif closed his eyes to think for a moment, in order to properly formulate his motivation. Zorua misinterpreted his action, fearing he had just died like her mother and the human.

    "… A pile of dung like me… Deserves no family…" Seif growled after a moment of silence, "The world… Needs less like me… And more… Like you…"

    A strong wind blew past the two and caused Zorua to wince as sand came into her eyes. Rubbing them to try to get it out, Seif watched her every move with what little vision he had left.

    "… You're just some stupid little girl…" he continued as his dreary eyes examined his sharp claws, "Men like me… Strong, burly men like me should be the ones to stand up for ourselves…"

    The blood dripping down his wrist grabbed his attention as he watched it fall towards the sand, giving it a familiar sheen of red.

    "But… But I didn't do anything!" Seif wailed and weakly clenched his fists together in anguish, "I just sat there… Did what I was told… Saw to the death of so many… So many…"

    Zorua continued staring at him in surprise, completely speechless. She had never seen him like this before, her massive and powerful tormentor lying weak and defeated.

    "Why…? A dumb, mangy, pathetic little girl like you…" he grumbled quietly, "… Why were you so much stronger than I was…?"

    "Seif…" Zorua whispered to herself. Despite having been together for a year, their only interaction had been fighting. She hated him so for having beaten her and wanted him die, but at the same time felt bad seeing him in this pitiful state and wanted him to live. Overwhelmed by these conflicting emotions, she felt her throat turn even more parched than before as she choked up.

    "… What a worthless life…" Seif muttered as he laid on his back and looked up at the sky, "But at least… I'm betting it on a better future. You've got dreams… Hope… Go out into the real world… Make a difference… Make sure a tragedy like this never happens again…"

    "I-I will…" Zorua responded with a low tone and shaky voice while turning her head away. After what he had done, she did not want him to think she was in any way sorrowful of his passing. She would not give him the satisfaction of watching her shed any tears for his sake.

    "Then get going…" Seif mumbled as he turned to his side, looking at the deceased Pokémon he had brought so far into the desert, "… Mommy stays here with me. You're too small to carry her."

    A chill ran through Zorua as she looked at her mother, only slightly more dead in appearance compared to Seif. Indeed, she knew that if she was to make it out alive she would have to abandon her. For much too long she had been without her, and hardly a week after reuniting they would have to go separate ways again. The idea of moving ahead on her own frightened her. No matter what the world outside of the desert was like, she would be forced to face it alone. No mother. No father. No Seif.

    "Damn it… Go already…" Seif groaned as he turned his head towards the heavens again, "I don't want to spend my last moments alive with a crying little girl…"

    "I-I'm not crying! A-And I'm not a l-little girl!" Zorua suddenly burst out as she faced Seif, tears streaming down her chin, "J-Just w-watch! I w-won't waste the w-water on t-tears…"

    Quickly placing the bottle of water inside the bag and picking it up with her mouth, she began steadily marching towards the setting sun. A few steps into her journey she stopped, remembering that she had forgotten to kiss her mother goodbye. No farewell hug, no memento to remember her by. Fearing her confidence would waver, she refused to turn around and continued walking. Before long, all that remained of her was a trace of footsteps and fallen tears.

    Many hours passed. Seif repeatedly adjusted himself, unable to find a comfortable position to die in. In the end he simply crawled a bit further and found a miniature hill of sand to lean up against. He pretended that he was at his oasis like usual, sitting by his favorite tree and dreaming the day away. Dizzy from lack of water, delusions began to haunt him in his final moments, feeling and thinking things he had never experienced before. Yet throughout it all, he felt surprisingly peaceful. Looking at where he had left the dead Simipour, it seemed weird that he would soon be joining her. The way she laid there, unmoving and dried up filled him with the urge to say something.

    "Sorry… I caught you and got you killed…" Seif wheezed almost inaudibly as he gazed at the skinned Water-type, "But… I just gave your daughter another chance at life… We even…?"

    In the hazy turmoil that was his mind, he thought he could see the pelt smiling in return.

    "Yeah… We even…" Seif whispered as he cracked a smile of his own. Lowering his head he fell into a deep sleep, slowly becoming one with the dunes of the desert.

    The continued trek was unquestionably difficult for the young Zorua. The sand burned her paws and her bushy fur was definitively working in conjunction with hyperthermia against her survival. Many times she had envisioned roaming the desert after a successful escape and had sworn to never give up, but already one day into the journey she felt like she could drop at any second. There was plenty of water left, but her tiny body simply could not take any more.

    Finally reaching the top of a particularly steep dune, there was something very colorful by the horizon. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before, but no matter how hard she looked her weary eyes refused to focus. Too tired to try and make sense out of things, she witnessed a couple of shapes heading towards her. In her addled state she was not sure of what was happening, but one of the shapes grabbed a hold of her before she could use any form of illusion to hide her presence. Far too exhausted to resist, she fell unconscious, a voice echoing somewhere around her.

    "… Someone… Desert…" it said, "… Water… Unconscious…"

    The shapes would bring her into a forest where her life began anew.

    But forevermore, the trails of the desert would remain inside her.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  12. #362
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    No idea how to properly respond, so I'll just say that this backstory/flashback is definitely filling us in on how Zoroark sees the world and explains their lack of a tail in the evolution and the patchy fur.

    Waiting to the return of the present, keep it up.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  13. #363
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    Chapter 88

    Condemned Human Race


    Zoroark kept her eyes closed and arms crossed while thinking of the past, subconsciously copying Seif's behavior. She had experienced a great many things outside of the desert, most of it so unlike what the hot sands had shown her that it was seemingly part of an alternate dimension. However, there was a blight that both worlds shared, awoken in one and dormant in the other. Whatever it took, she refused to let anyone else suffer what she had faced.

    Slowly opening her eyes, the scientist gazed at her with confidence as Lucario's face was filled with apprehension. She realized the latter would be difficult to win over, but knew it could not be helped.

    "The others are still fighting up there," Zoroark finally said, rationalizing her actions while reaching out her hand, "Give me the virus, doctor. We should put an end to this before anyone gets hurt."

    "Whoa, hold on there!" Lucario exclaimed as he stepped in front of Zoroark, knocking her arm away, "What're you planning to do with it!? We're gonna destroy it, right!?"

    The two of the stared at each other. Lucario's expression was surprised and confused, but Zoroark's was simply bitter and distressed.

    "Lucario…" Zoroark whispered as she slowly withdrew her hand, never blinking or breaking eye contact, "… I really do not have the time to explain things right now. Just trust me."

    "You will wrap your head around it eventually," the scientist suddenly interrupted as he patted Lucario on the shoulder, "And then you will see that humanity must die!"

    "You shut the hell up!" Lucario yelled as she knocked away the human's arm as well and kept his fists clenched, "Zoroark, are you crazy!? You'll kill humanity! Billions of lives!"

    "I am not planning to destroy all humans!" Zoroark responded quickly, "I shall only use the virus as a deterrent, so that I can stop them from doing as they please and accidentally killing all life on Earth!"

    Lucario mouthed a curse as he looked off to the side for a moment, annoyed to not understand what anyone was talking about. Zoroark kept her face straight, not about to show any weakness when so close to accomplishing something so important.

    "… The only one about to kill all life on Earth is you! Use that virus and you'll be halfway done!" Lucario shouted accusingly while pointing at Zoroark, "I was human… No, I AM human! Why the hell would I destroy the world!?"

    "I wonder… How much of you is really human?" Zoroark answered calmly before closing her eyes, "Fauna and Pokémon entered divergent paths of evolution eons ago… The ancestors of us Pokémon were peaceful and received sustenance from berries, while the ancestors of you humans killed and ate each other, waging endless wars! If you were still completely human, violence would be too deeply engraved in your nature to hinder."

    Smacking his forehead, Lucario heard a snicker from behind and felt like backhanding the scientist for having put him in this difficult situation to begin with.

    "What the hell… Those were primitive beings! Bugs and animals!" Lucario argued angrily, "We've evolved since then, stupid, we don't kill each other anymore!"

    "Wrong. You hide yourselves behind civilization, but I have seen the true face of humanity…!" Zoroark said with a chilly tone when she sensed her memories bubbling to the surface again, "You are just as bloodthirsty as your ancestors were, and you are taking it out on us Pokémon by forcing us to do battle for your amusement! If we were to disappear, you would be fighting and killing each other instead! Everlasting peace is not possible in a world where you exist!"

    She wanted nothing more but to explain her upbringing to elaborate on her actions. However, they had already wasted too much time, and the sooner she could get to the rest of the revolutionaries the sooner she and the virus would be safe.

    "They tanned my mother… They ate my father… Do you know why?" Zoroark summarized the source of her anguish while showing a defiant expression, "Because they could. Humanity has dominance over Pokémon, and they abuse it every day. We might have shared more equal ground in the past, but that position has been steadily slipping. Soon we will be nothing but cattle for them to slaughter, our flesh and bones used as food and tools!"

    Pushing away the memories of the desert, Zoroark noticed something change in Lucario's stance. His confused expression began to clear up and transformed into hostility, taking a step away from her. The suspenseful atmosphere surrounding them was now anything but friendly, reminding her of the two times they had fought in the past. Lucario could feel it too, but in his case it was mixed in with a strong sense of doubt.

    "… I can't believe what I'm hearing!" Lucario shouted in disbelief, "Is this another one of your illusions? Disillusion yourself!"

    "The one living in an illusion is you, the illusion that deep down, humanity is good!" Zoroark replied while raising her voice, hoping she could get through to him before things escalate, "You do not understand that in this world, there are people unlike you. Bad people. If you did, you would never hesitate the chance to wipe them out!"

    "Damn it, not all humans are bad!" Lucario argued while thinking of his hometown, Lyra and many others he had met on his long journey as a Pokémon trainer, "I could name hundreds that are a whole lot better than you!"

    "I know there are exceptions, many of them… But humanity as a whole will eventually destroy everything, even themselves!" Zoroark snapped back while throwing a hand out to her side, setting her long flowing hair into motion, "Nothing can excuse that! Who would not prefer that every human dies instead of the entire world perishing under their foolish rule!?"

    "You underestimate the world if you think humanity can do that!" Lucario continued, unsure of how Zoroark could think that a couple of bipedal apes were somehow a bigger threat to the world than enormous hounds that dribble lava or puke thunder.

    "Am I?" Zoroark responded while making an effort to calm herself down and get her bearings together, "All that machinery you love so much, and the fumes they spew out… The resources you consume without a second thought… Every second with you on the planet cuts our world's lifespan by another hundred years! How about we take humanity out of the equation? The Earth will remain fertile until the sun vaporizes the oceans in a billion years!"

    "Then grab a weapon and go kill everyone!" Lucario yelled while making a cocking motion with his hands, wondering if Zoroark even knew what a gun was, "Sounds really rational when I put it like that, doesn't it!?"

    "Do you think I would even consider this if not for the virus!?" Zoroark shouted back before searching the room for the virus, "Can't you even imagine the idea that humanity might be bad for the world? Are you that egotistical? I suppose you wouldn't be alone in that, and at least you'll never have to meet the people and Pokémon to suffer for your foolishness!"

    Lucario had heard enough. Clenching his fists, he summoned up all his anger as he felt like rushing Zoroark's face into a nearby wall, not entirely unlike what he had done in the forest outside of No Man's Land. Zoroark noticed his intentions and quickly formulated an illusion that would misdirect his blow and allow her to counterattack.

    However, as Lucario continued staring into Zoroark's face he felt his rage wane. Looking at her reminded him of the many things she had told him about herself, her sleeplessness and strife to do what's best for everyone. He hesitated, the frightening idea that he was misjudging her again and making a mistake striking him. Zoroark also felt similar emotions, remembering when they had finally reached an understanding with each other in the cage. Halting her illusion she dropped the idea of fighting back, thinking that maybe she deserved a punch to the face for the unspeakable crime she was about to commit.

    In the end they just stood and stared at each other, but a conclusion had been far from reached.

    "… And we're the monsters, huh?" Lucario spoke after the long period of silence, "Need I remind you of Deoxys? You Pokémon are far more violent and dangerous than-"

    He had barely gotten the full sentence out when another highly annoying snicker sounded from behind. Turning around and seeing the scientist as gleeful as always, he decided it was time to give a stern warning.

    "You seem real happy for a guy one lame excuse away from getting his head ripped off!" Lucario roared as loud as he could, but the scientists only kept on laughing.

    "Ah, it is quite amusing to hear someone who knows nothing have an opinion on matters," the human said while waving his hand to the side, "Deoxys, for instance."

    "I'll have you know, I have more experience with Deoxys than either of you!" Lucario shouted, not really possessing any memories from their climactic battle but recalling everything Mew had explained, "What? You're gonna tell me that psychotic monster was just misunderstood? Confused? That poor widdle Pokémon didn't MEAN to kill all life on earth!"

    "Ah, well, yes, he was quite intent on doing that," the scientist replied very quickly while shrugging, "Of course, that was simply because he was not a Pokémon."

    His sinister little snicker echoed throughout the facility once more, but this time both Lucario and Zoroark were too focused on what he was saying to call him out on it.

    "He was human," the scientist said with a smile, deriving pleasure from having dropped another bombshell on the two gasping Pokémon.

    "I've had it up to here with your lies!" Lucario immediately responded by taking an aggressive step towards him, "Are you really THAT insane that you can't see Deoxys for what he was!?"

    "Still your tongue, mutt," the human warned while standing completely still and refusing to be intimidated, "It is you who cannot see him for what he was. I am the one who created him, after all."

    "Deoxys appeared from outer space," Zoroark chimed in, a million unanswered questions roaring around her head as she tried to figure out if she was being played for a fool, "Astronomers witnessed his descent. The crater is still present. There is no doubt that's where he came from."

    "Indeed, AFTER we launched him there," the scientist clarified as he peeked out from behind Lucario to meet her gaze, "Why did people instantly assume the illogical option while disregarding the logical? The odds of a single extra-terrestrial being zooming through the enormity of space and crash-landing on this tiny rock are far beneath a fraction of a percent. We simply did not send him far enough, and the forces of gravity caused him to come falling back."

    Feeling confident in himself, the scientist began to pace around the room. He had many memories of the place, thinking back to the fine experiments conducted there. Each dissected Pokémon one step closer to a solution, all while fooling his subordinates and superiors of his true intentions.

    "Deoxys was both a success and a failure. We were tasked with creating the strongest Pokémon in the world through genetic engineering for the use of our benefactors," the human explained while occasionally throwing the two Pokémon a satisfied glance, "Past attempts had shown that altering a clone only led to complications, such as the resulting Pokémon being rebellious and difficult to control. We needed a different component, so our creation's mind would not be entirely pristine…"

    Despite Zoroark and Lucario's disgusted faces, the scientist still thought of himself as a bit of an unsung hero. He had dedicated his entire existence to doing something he thought would save the world, even at the cost of his own life. Overcoming his own limitations as a human and playing both sides, all for the good of others.

    "… In truth, even then I was planning on using Deoxys to save the world. Combining the forces of a Pokémon with the destructive senses of a human, I was to instruct him to destroy humanity with their own hatred…" he continued before a crude scorn crossed his face, "… But the wretched creature was a failure! He would kill anything! Humans, Pokémon and even inanimate biological structures! The humanity in him had woken his most primal desires, wanting nothing but death and destruction to all!"

    Suddenly walking up to Lucario, this time it was the Pokémon's turn to flinch in surprise.

    "Not only that, being both human and Pokémon meant we could not trap him, even with what we used against you in Saffron City," the professor said while jabbing a finger into Lucario's chest, "He was powerful beyond our imagination, and we could not risk another Mewtwo. Instead of trying to destroy him and accidentally waking his ire, we sealed him inside a rocket shuttle and sent him far into the reaches of outer space!"

    He threw his hands up into the air in a glorious posture as Zoroark and Lucario stared at him. The former was stunned, and the latter was bored.

    "Hey Zoroark, this guy sure seems nice," Lucario said with irony, "I'm glad you're betraying me for his sake."

    "You still cannot see how the world would have been better off without humans like this?" Zoroark asked while feeling a headache coming on and rubbing her temples, "I believe whatever his employers has in store for him will be punishment enough."

    "I am human, after all. Overcoming one's nature is quite difficult," the professor said in his own defense, "By embracing my own shortcomings, I was able to use it to fuel a solution for the world. Ah, if only I had been born a Pokémon…"

    "A shame," Zoroark lied before reaching out her hand, "I am ready to accept the virus. Which is it?"

    "Cylindrical canister, red markings," the scientist said clearly while pointing towards the cabinet, "One layer of plastic and one of steel, both unsealed easily enough. The virus still needs a few more components that should not be difficult for someone in your position to acquire."

    As Zoroark took her first step towards the cabinet, Lucario knew this was it. Riddled by confusion and conflict, he could only do what felt right at the moment. Convinced that this should not under any circumstances be happening, he dashed ahead of Zoroark and straightened his back.

    "Stop. I absolutely can't let you do it," Lucario said bluntly and clashed his fists together in hostility. As if having expected this, Zoroark did not bat an eye and only stared at him with an expression of disappointment.

    "Lucario… I put so much faith in you, and this is how you repay me?" Zoroark said before pointing her thumb towards the exit, "Pikablu and the others are still up there fighting, we have a responsibility to get back to them as quickly as possible! What if Zerobi falls into danger while we are wasting time here?"

    "… While getting the virus is my responsibility to them…" Lucario muttered while cracking his neck, "… Making sure it doesn't end up in your hands is my responsibility to the human species."

    After that, he entered a battle pose. Lashing out first had proven to be a faulty strategy in the past, especially when fighting a master of illusions. Having an idea of what kind of assault Zoroark would attempt, Lucario made himself ready to counterattack at the sight or sound of any unexpected movement.

    But she did not attack. All she did was make a half-hearted attempt at guarding, all while looking at him with sorrowful eyes.

    "So… This is how it ends?" Zoroark asked, not budging from the spot, "After all we've been through, we hit each other until one of us loses consciousness and the other claims righteousness?"

    "No surprise here," Lucario lied while trying to justify the feeling of betrayal waking up again, "Ivy tries to kill me, Lugia talks stupidity, Celebi flips out over Zerobi and now this… You Pokémon are all out of your minds! Why am I the only sane one!?"

    "It doesn't have to come to this," Zoroark continued with her persuasion, "If you understood the situation better, you would know something has to be done. We can have a friendly discussion like civilized people once we are out of here."

    "Friendly!? Hah!" Lucario spat while throwing an arm out to the side, "Don't make me laugh! Like I'd ever be friends with a mass murderer!"

    "I suppose only Zerobi gets a pass for that?" Zoroark muttered before crossing her arms and sighing, "Never mind… What if we leave the virus here? Will you hear me out then?"

    Lucario considered it for several moments, her suggestion seeming reasonable. The spirit of battle slowly seeped out of him, again being reminded of their friendship and the fact that he really did not wish to fight her. Incredibly, he forced himself to stay alert, not wanting to take any unnecessary risks. Zoroark noticed this and visibly dropped her guard, thinking the fact that she was not using any illusions was proof enough of her desire to parley.

    "This would not be the first of our misunderstandings," Zoroark explained calmly while placing a hand by her chest, "Human or Pokémon, man or woman… Deep down, we are not that different. Let us talk this whole thing over before making any hasty decisions."

    "… Forget it!" Lucario yelled while rapidly opening and closing his fists, doing all he could to fire himself again and not lose sight of the battle at hand, "We're not similar at all! Unlike you, I'm not some lazy weakling who takes the easy way out!"

    Barely noticing his preparations, Zoroark was instead taken aback by his crude statement. Memories of her hazardous childhood in the desert flashed through her mind, and she quickly withdrew her attempts at kindness.

    "The easy way?" Zoroark muttered darkly while baring her fangs, "You know nothing of what I have been through. I have worked myself to the bone… Suffered horrors beyond this world… Given up everything…"

    "And now it was all for nothing, wasn't it!?" Lucario suddenly shouted with a powerful voice. It took her by surprise, causing her fiendish behavior to instantly go away.

    "I… Beg your pardon?" Zoroark exclaimed with confusion.

    "All your work was worthless! Your revolution, your suffering, everything!" Lucario continued while pointing accusingly at the Dark-type he had once respected, "That virus would've handled humanity without you doing a damn thing!"

    Zoroark's face scrounged up as Lucario felt that he had finally hit a nerve. For better or worse, he decided to keep pressing.

    "You could've been lying on a beach and eaten berries all day, the end results would've been the same!" Lucario elaborated while making wild gestures with his hands, "Your efforts were useless! Your life was pointless! Not to mention, you betrayed those that gave their own lives for the revolution, thinking it was for a worthy cause!"

    "… No…" Zoroark whispered in response, her mind going blank as she gained comprehension of what he was saying. What she had struggled and fought for all this time would never come true, in the end all she had done had been to trick whoever she could into following her towards ruin.

    "All because you decided to take the easy way out, even when you had gotten so far on your own!" Lucario continued while occasionally looking at the scientist with disgust and rage, "You had your own idea on how to fix things, to establish relations with humanity and make sure they don't do anything stupid! Now you're giving up your dreams, your ambitions just because THIS DAMN IDIOT gives you the lazy man's alternative TO KILL EVERYONE!?"

    "… No…!" Zoroark repeated a little louder this time. Slowly but surely, she begun to realize that her entire purpose in life had been thrown out the window the instant the true nature of the virus had been revealed to her.

    "Face it! You could've have been the greatest hero, erasing the rift between humanity and Pokémon while establishing a utopia for both species!" Lucario bellowed with all he had, "Now you'll just go down in history as the worst genocidal maniac who ever lived for doing something that would've happened even without you, all because you gave up – You couldn't go the full distance because you were TOO DAMN LAZY!"

    "NO!" Zoroark burst out with indignation, causing even the loudmouthed Lucario to flinch and fall silent. Teeth showing behind a snarl and below a fierce set of eyes made her look more like a monster than ever, and Lucario wondered if he had gone too far and stirred awake something terrible.

    Her mind a vortex of raging thoughts, Zoroark leaned her head back, closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. When her head returned to its original position, she had reverted to her regular demeanor.

    "Doc, you forgot to put me into your calculation," Zoroark said while calmly turning towards the nearby scientist without missing a beat, "We do not need a virus to fix the world. My revolution wil handle it just fine without unnecessary loss of life."

    "Hmpf… What a dull conclusion," the human responded disappointedly, but made no attempts at stealing the virus or running away. Lucario had a slightly shell-shocked appearance as Zoroark approached him, not having seen her in such a ferocious state before. Preparing himself for an attack or at least a slap, she instead lowered her head as a sign of respect.

    "Sorry. I suppose I am a bit prone to sacrifice at this point," Zoroark said humbly as if her earlier outburst had never even occurred, "I let my emotions get the best of me. Had I been given more time to think about it… I wouldn't have used the virus. Can you forgive me?"

    Frozen in surprise and wonder, Lucario's earlier animosity had all but disappeared. His will to fight was gone, and so was his reason to. Although unable to grasp the gravity of what had just happened, a strangely pleasant feeling emanated from his chest. He had actually won the seemingly hopeless argument without resorting to violence.

    "… Fine," Lucario answered quietly, still not able to bring himself to sound happy, "Our main goal is to reach an understanding between Pokémon and humanity, right? This is just… Another step along the way."

    "If there are more humans like you out there, it will be easier than I'd thought," Zoroark replied with a relaxing smile, apparently feeling the same sense of relief he was. He smiled back, not thinking too much about how close he was to smashing her face to bits, certain that she was doing likewise. Any further apologies would have to wait as Zoroark stepped aside, giving Lucario free access to the human sharing the room with them.

    "Alright. How do we destroy the virus?" Lucario asked haughtily while pounding his fists together. He had absolutely no qualms about beating up a psychotic professor or smashing a vial to pieces.

    "No need," the scientist replied bluntly with a sneer, "It is not finished yet."

    "Handle it carefully, it might still be moderately dangerous," Zoroark warned as Lucario turned and stepped over to the cabinet, "We need to analyze it before we can properly dispose of it. I've prepared a team back in No Man's Land for this."

    Picking up the cylindrical canister, Lucario found it strange that such a small thing could potentially eradicate humanity. It was barely half the size of one of his fingers, which of course were fairly large to begin with. Getting a steady grip on it, he nodded towards Zoroark.

    "We should hurry," she mentioned while nodding back, hoping their little quarrel had not cost the lives of the fighters upstairs. Picking up the pace, they headed towards the exit, and the silence made Lucario fall deep in thought.

    He was eager to see Zerobi again, wondering if she had heard any of their earlier screaming. He also felt really good about himself, having stopped Zoroark from making a huge mistake while successfully retrieving the virus. Probably not able to boast about the former for Zoroark's sake, he looked forward to flaunting the latter as much as possible. Zerobi would be proud, for sure. Even the grumpy Pikablu and Kabutops would have to admit he did well. Celebi would congratulate him and grow him as many mints as he wanted, but the reaction he was most expectant of was Mew's. He had put everything she had taught him about human and Pokémon coexistence to use, and had succeeded in making a huge difference in creating the world of her dreams. She was bound to shower him with praise and maybe even make him an honorary legendary to the dismay of Lugia, Mesprit and all the other jerks that had mistreated him earlier. A satisfied sigh escaped his lips as for the first time in his life, he felt that his long and difficult journey had been worthwhile.

    "I believe you both misunderstand," the scientist interrupted his thoughts with a cold voice, "I said… 'It'… Is not finished yet…"

    "You've said enough," Lucario replied automatically while eagerly pulling at Zoroark's arm, "Come on, let's get out of here and celebrate!"

    "I think not," a disembodied voice sounded throughout the locale. Feeling no aura and knowing that no living creature could possibly produce such a formless sound, Lucario turned his head up to see if there was a loudspeaker anywhere he had missed.

    But all he saw was a black shadow descending through the ceiling.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  14. #364
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    Oh damn, **** just got real. I'm going to assume that "it" isn't the virus that they are referring to anymore but whatever this entity is now.

    Damn, this getting too exciting, I really want to know what happens next.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  15. #365
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    Back and better than ever! I missed a few chapters, but I think I'm give my thoughts on the latest one only, starting with MAN was I ready for Zoroark to die. Didn't happen though, (Not yet maybe?). I will admit I kind of wanted Zoroark to die with the genocide decision. I don't care about any tragic back story a character may have, if they wish genocide, I hope they accidently look into a Shedinja's back. Ending there was really suspensful (the word Darkarai is slowly creeping into my mind and I'm trying my best to not assume him). Can't wait 'till next chapter!
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  16. #366
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    Chapter 89

    Diabolical Shadow Darkrai


    Wrapped in a ragged cloth of deep black, long strips of haunting fabric hung down at the sides like snares and bats. Its dingy hair was long and grey, akin to that of a rotten corpse with a single icy cold eye shining through the base of the dried up thatch. Around its neck hung something red and fleshy, a dreary necklace made out of assorted body parts mashed together in a gruesome fashion.

    Whatever this unearthly creature was, it made Lucario feel like he had fallen into a state of destitution, having been sucked into an immeasurable void. If the aura of Celebi filled him with pleasant sensations and the aura of Mewtwo filled him with dread, the aura of this monster made his every cell scream for it to stay away, as if its mere presence was corrupting his body and defiling his mind.

    "Who are you!?" Zoroark roared, and just from the poorly disguised fear in her voice Lucario could tell she was feeling as repulsed as he was. The scientist who had already slipped Lucario's mind suddenly took a step forward, and he noticed the human was the only one not completely beside himself by the horrifying specter now occupying the room.

    "I strongly suggest that you show more respect for your new master," the scientist spoke up with a touch of annoyance, "Or he will show exactly why thirteen generations have referred to him as 'Darkrai'."

    Darkrai made no sound and no movement as he floated still, like a blackened blotch on the inside of one's cornea. When the nihil phantasm finally spoke Lucario wished for silence one more, every syllable sending an involuntary chill through his spine.

    "Zoroark. Long have I indulged in your memories of torment," Darkrai enunciated without a shred of emotion in his voice, his thin mouth barely moving as words escaped it, "You will continue to develop the virus."

    Zoroark quickly recomposed herself, despite the crushing presence making the bile move uneasily in her gut. Assessing the situation and thinking quickly, she only knew very little about the legendary Darkrai, but if her instincts were anything to go by crossing him would be a very bad idea. She noted that he had yet to show any hostilities and figured she had a chance to slip away to safer grounds.

    "Forgive me. I did not realize I was in the presence of a legendary," Zoroark said as courteously as possible while bowing, hoping the ferocious being would not realize her true intentions, "But I should discuss this further with Mew and Celebi first. You may join us, if you so wish."

    A long silence followed, Zoroark unable to interpret if her feint had worked or not. The fact that Darkrai had not protested by immediately killing her was a fairly good sign, and in the corner of her eye she saw the scientist giving his sign of approval. However, there was one aspect to her plan she had forgotten to take into account.

    "… Master? Really? Listen, I don't know what kind of deal you two've got worked out…" Lucario said to the human before pointing directly at Darkrai, "… But seriously, this thing looks trustworthy to you!? He'll murder you the instant he feels like it!"

    The scientist just snickered in response. Darkrai was as silent and unmoved as always.

    "Lucario… Quit asking for it…" Zoroark whispered to Lucario in warning before raising her voice to a normal level again, "Honorable Darkrai, our comrades are locked within dire strife above. We must take our leave with haste to cease this meaningless combat, and with your permission resume this conversation at a later time."

    "A bold request, conjured from flesh that is mine," Darkrai affirmed as his visible eye flashed in clarity, "As you desire."

    Zoroark turned to Lucario, hoping he caught on to her intentions. A bit confused at first, Lucario could clearly tell that Zoroark was as eager to get out of there as he was and decided to follow her lead.

    Together they kept a brisk pace towards the exit, when suddenly Lucario felt the hairs on his back stand on end as something approached. Yelling and falling to the side, he saw Darkrai slowly passing through where he had just been on a course towards Zoroark. She turned and stared haphazardly as he stopped in front of her.

    "No lamentations. Your rebirth is at hand, and your memories of suffering will find their purpose," Darkrai proclaimed with a mighty voice, a regal voice of kings and commanders, "But time ravages. Retention diminishes. As a token of my appreciation and our future reunion, allow me to reinvigorate your past."

    She stood frozen, not sure of how to respond. Through a very controlled and inconspicuous motion, Darkrai's left hand detached from his side and placed itself upon her forehead. It was dry yet smooth to the touch, like flowing sand. A warm sensation ran through her head, a strangely nostalgic wave beginning to fill up her brain, reminding her of the hot desert's sun…

    Lucario got back on his feet just in time to see it happen. Eyes opening wide and mouth flying open, Zoroark's expression contorted into one of absolute terror.

    "AAAAAAHHHHH!" she screamed desperately while at a point beyond the uncaring Darkrai. The scream was so loud it hurt Lucario's sensitive ears, and it tore his balance asunder as he had never seen her react this way. When they had fought, when she was facing death and even when he had betrayed her only minutes earlier, she had acted rationally and been composed almost to a fault.

    "ZOROARK!" Lucario yelled and without thinking, he had tackled her to the ground, separating her from Darkrai's grasp. The instant their contact ceased, so did Zoroark's screaming. Darkrai withdrew his arm and gazed upon Lucario with his eerie eye.

    "Do not interrupt her intimate moment," Darkrai spoke darkly, "Are you desirous for the grave?"

    Reclaiming his senses, Lucario felt his heart beating faster than ever before. There was no denying that Zoroark was in bad shape. Her eyes were so wide it looked painful, her mouth opening and closing slowly in feverish gasps. The air ran out of him as he realized that Darkrai had just successfully broken her mind.

    "No candles. No prayers. But I shall have my sacrifice," the powerful voice echoed as Lucario felt a looming presence approaching from behind, "My arrival will be properly recognized."

    Teeth grinding against one another, Lucario did not even bother to check back as he picked up Zoroark's limp body and ran through the exit. Curious as to how far he would make it before getting attacked from behind, he found himself running further and further without intervention. Passing through the gore-filled laboratory while throwing nary a glance at the human corpses, he managed to escape into the long corridor.

    Running as fast as he could, the air felt very stale as he panted. Zoroark was surprisingly light, so the idea to drop her never crossed his mind. She was held in a way where he could not see her face, but he felt her body heating up to unnatural levels while hearing her teeth chattering in fear. Seeing her helpless like this felt unreal, wondering if she had felt the same after witnessing him defeated and paralyzed in the past.

    The barren corridor lay dismal and dead like a secluded temple. It was to both his relief and dismay when he suddenly saw Zerobi coming to meet him. Her expression lit up when she noticed him, not recognizing the panic across his face from the sizeable distance.

    "Lucario! I heard a screa-" Zerobi started, but was interrupted by two things happening simultaneously. The first was Lucario opening his mouth to warn her and get her to turn around. The second was Darkrai appearing in front of her, floating through Lucario like a ghost and immediately silencing the trembling fighting-type while eliciting another wave of shivers through the broken Zoroark.

    "An encounter a long time in the making," Darkrai promulgated while holding out his long arms, the tatters of his robes waving ominously in the windless environment, "Behold, Zerobi. Do you recognize your benefactor?"

    "Wh… What…" Zerobi stammered in shock. In an instant Lucario had been switched for a twisted phantom, her happiness replaced by a sickening sensation stirring inside. Lucario understood her disorientation and shook himself free from his relentless shaking.

    "Zerobi, don't let him touch you!" he shouted with all his might, "He's danger!"

    "As your mother expired, I bestowed my gift upon you," Darkrai elaborated as something akin to a devilish smile caressed his thin mouth, "A penchant for blood, one that would help you comprehend the truth."

    Although greatly confused by the sudden turn of events, something about what ethereal being said brought her attention to its peak. She hardly even noticed Lucario as she realized Darkrai was speaking about her affliction, and seeing the menacing shade made dread grasp her insides like never before.

    "Your existence is ripe, a full growth that yearns to be harvested," Darkrai kept going,a creaking noise sounding as he crooked his fingers dangerously, "I see potential for more, but I grow impatient and fervent. You refuse your own desires and lie to yourself, a stubborn child demanding my attention."

    "I… I'm not lying to myself!" Zerobi shouted back almost immediately, just barely understanding what the dark revenant was talking about, "I don't want any more blood! I don't want to kill!"

    "Stop arguing and start flee-" Lucario yelled to her which finally made Darkrai react to his presence, putting his arm into motion and slamming Lucario's head up against the wall. Zoroark yelped as she fell down, but Lucario felt himself choke on something and was unable to utter even a single word or even breathe. An inexplicably disgusting sensation ran through his head as he began to struggle, flailing and kicking anything within reach.

    "But you do. You are as you were and have always been," Darkrai continued, paying no mind to the subjugated fighting-type, "In your foolish search for redemption you have attempted good deeds, friendship and love… Only lying to yourself further and further each time to feign progress. If you truly have changed, why does blood frighten you so?"

    His words were compelling and intimidating, unlike anything Zerobi had ever heard before. As if spellbound to its meaning she was lost in a trance, not even realizing Lucario's predicament. He fought hard and charged up an Aura Sphere as Darkrai suddenly realigned his grip, pinning his arms to his side where he would be unable to aim it properly.

    "It… It controls me…!" Zerobi defended herself while beginning to shake, "Turns me into a killer…!"

    "No. You are a killer," Darkrai declared in a manner that left no room for questioning, "The blood only makes you act according to your deepest desires. Never forget this."

    She trembled harder. A waft of a subtle stench reached her nostrils, something like that of an old withering mushroom. A light thump brought her attention to Darkrai's side where she finally saw Lucario stuck against the wall with his body engulfed by a black fog, kicking the steel behind him in a desperate plea for help.

    "L-Let him go!" Zerobi stammered as she bared both claw and fang, fearing that it would prove to be a futile effort. Darkrai displayed no reaction, but lifted his head slightly in a demeaning display.

    "Faulty will is deviating you from your true nature," he vocalized bitterly while pensively eyeing her, "Polluting what could pure. Shattering what could be whole. Shall I rid you of these… Distractions…?"

    Lucario suddenly felt the pressure around his neck increase. Unable to scream, he clenched his teeth together and stared towards Zerobi, hoping she would realize what was happening. However, Zerobi was no longer standing where she had just been. The pressure eased up in an instant as something sped by and pierced Darkrai's arm, making Lucario fall down. He landed on his feet with heavy breathing and turned to face his rescuer, surprised to find that it had not been Zerobi after all.

    "Celebi!" Lucario shouted in surprise. The corridor filled up with the legendary's presence, and he could see that she bore not a single scratch from her supposed battle with Blue. However, her expression was as far away from calm and confident as it could get as she stared down the impalpable Darkrai, feigning anger in an attempt to stop her weakness from showing.

    Zerobi got to her feet, having been pulled away from the danger zone by a vine. She wanted to approach her sister, but did not dare take another step closer to the fearsome Darkrai. Wondering if her sister had heard him speak about her, Celebi turned her head slightly and looked at her from the corner of her eye.

    "For god's sake, run…!" she whispered with desperation before raising her voice to a shout, "Run, and never look back!"

    Realizing their opportunity, Lucario quickly dove down and snatched up Zoroark's shivering body, throwing it over his shoulder before running past Darkrai. The horrid apparition reached out with the other one of his arms, but it was suddenly blocked by an invisible barrier. Exchanging a quick look of confidence with Celebi, Lucario continued running while grabbing on to Zerobi's arm with his free hand.

    "W-Wait! Sis!" Zerobi stuttered in protest as she felt herself dragged away from the scene, her legs moving on their own.

    "My eloquence, wasted. My gift of sensation offered to the numb and naďve," a dark modulation echoed from behind them, "So be it."

    "SIS!" Zerobi yelled loudly as she saw both the shadow and her sister engulfed by darkness. Lucario clenched his teeth, trying not to lose focus as Celebi's ferociously powerful aura flared up behind them. Everything was happening too quickly, and he was losing his grasp on things. All he knew was to keep running, lest he and Zerobi meet the same fate as Zoroark.

    "What was that!?" Zerobi asked intensely, having even less of clue as to what was happening.

    "Darkrai!" Lucario answered with all he knew.

    "Sis can handle him, right!?" Zerobi shouted again with worry apparent in her voice. Never had those words been spoken before – After all, Celebi was one of the strongest Pokémon in the world. Lucario's head was spinning with questions and regret. Did he do the right thing? Should he have stood his ground and fought? Where would they run to? If Celebi was here, where was Mew? Did something happen to her?

    "Right!?" Zerobi repeated as something suddenly struck Lucario in the stomach. Before he had time to react, it struck him again, harder this time. Almost keeling over, he kept himself upright and continued running as the passenger on his shoulder began to fight more vehemently. Blocking the next attack with his free hand, he saw that Zoroark had just tried to knee him in the gut for the third time. A familiar yet strangely twisted voice sounded from behind his back.

    "… Stay… Away…!" Zoroark stammered in fear as she frantically clawed and kicked at him, "Stay away, stay away, stayawaySTAYAWAYSTAYAW-"

    Overcome with pain on top of his disorientation, Lucario threw her down on the floor with a slam. Her distressed voice silenced as her head hit the ground hard, rendering her unconscious again as Zerobi gasped.

    "Everyone, just shut the hell up for a goddamn second!" Lucario bellowed in desperation, "I need to think-"

    His face dropped and his heart sunk before he could finish his sentence. It was as if the entire world was out to fill him with despair, for just as quickly as Celebi's dominating aura had appeared, it had vanished into nothingness.

    "What…? What!?" Zerobi exclaimed with a terrified expression as she looked back and forth between Lucario's sunken features and Zoroark's lifeless body.

    "C-Celebi…!" Lucario stuttered breathlessly, "Her aura…! She's been snuffed out…!"

    Zerobi's mouth fell open as she copied Lucario's devastated expression. Looking back at the darkness of the corridor, she suddenly started to run back to where they had come from. Lucario instantly lashed out and took a firm grip around her arm.

    "No! This way, damn you!" he shouted in anguish while tugging her lithe body towards him. He caught her and violently pushed her in the right direction, causing her to helplessly stumble about.

    "We can't! What if she's…!?" Zerobi rasped fearfully as there mere thought sent Lucario's mind into utter denial.

    "Stop thinking! We have to run!" Lucario roared in an attempt to keep hold of his sanity, "All we can do is run…!"

    He quickly checked Zoroark's pulse, completely forgetting that he had no idea how to do so on a non-human body. A delicate yet very remarkable thumping from around her neck area told him all he needed to know as he carefully picked her up, realizing there was some blood on the ground where her head had been. He regretted his action but quickly shook it from his thoughts. Normally this would set off an alarm in his mind, but considering what was happening, an open head wound or even a blood-crazed Zerobi were neither top priority on his list of concerns.

    They continued running in silence, too stunned to even exchange a word. Lucario could not handle it and successfully placed his mind into a dormant state and kept his thoughts at bay, but Zerobi did the opposite. She felt a dark-minded inner hate festering and growing larger, overtaking her previous fear with an unstoppable desire for vengeance. The idea to escape began to take on another far more violent form. Darkrai had claimed that she was a killer, and now she wanted no more but to show him first-hand that he was correct.

    "… Got a plan…" Zerobi murmured in a damp and barely audible tone, "Split up… You get out of here… Leave Darkrai to me…"

    "He just killed Celebi!" Lucario yelled in aversion, not wanting to see the dusky ghost claim any more of his friends, "You think you've got a chance!?"

    Something about Lucario's voice brought her back to her senses, and she shook her head while reconfiguring her idea.

    "I'm the one he wants!" she shouted directly to Lucario, "He won't harm me! I'll stall him while you run away!"

    "… You don't know what he wants you for! I can't let you face him alone!" Lucario responded hopelessly.

    "Just hurry up and get that virus to safety!" Zerobi continued while pointing at his chest, referring to the actual virus as well as the shell-shocked Zoroark, "This can't all have been for nothing! Warn everyone else!"

    No valid response lined up, Lucario looked down at Zoroark and the virus he kept safely in his arms. He stared and refused to look away as Zerobi disappeared from his side, hearing her slow down. Unable to face what was happening or tolerate what he had committed himself to, all he could do was hope it was worth it as he left Zerobi behind and continued running.

    Constantly keeping his thoughts dormant allowed him to go on, but also kept him on the brink of insanity. Sinister voices whispered from the walls as the previously straight corridor bent and twisted itself before his eyes. If it was due to the effects of asphyxiation or simply his prolonged contact with Darkrai, he felt closer to snapping than ever before.

    The exit showed itself a few minutes later. Zoroark had yet to stir and Lucario had not picked up any screams coming from behind. There was no aura either, leaving him in the dark as to the fate of the two sisters. However, as he warily scanned the area he could feel a group of powerful creatures approaching him from the front. He did not deter – Anything was better than turning around to face Darkrai again. Not thinking clearly at all, he made no attempt to hide himself as he ran out into the Stadium and met the new arrivals face to face.

    It was a group of strong-looking Pokémon that Lucario immediately recognized from the cave. Realizing they were allies lifted a weight from his mind as he ran towards them. They were covered in snow and looked exhausted, presumably having just gotten there. A lanky amphibian who had earlier introduced himself as a Golduck led the group, and judging by his stunned expression he had no trouble differentiating the red sheen of blood dripping down Zoroark's hair.

    "Z-Zoroark! What happened!?" the Golduck stammered in surprise before taking on a fiercer tone, a threatening growl being heard from somewhere among the crowd, "Lucario, unhand our leader!"

    "Here you go! Have the virus, too!" Lucario shouted as he threw both the unconscious Zoroark and the vial at the Golduck, absolutely not in the mood for a needless battle due to some stupid misunderstanding. The Golduck was taken aback by Lucario's hasty decision, fumbling about with the two ridiculously important items as the fighting-type swiftly ran past him and everyone else.

    "Get out of here now, unless you want to die!" Lucario yelled back at the crowd, knowing Darkrai was to come along at any moment. Unless, of course, Zerobi or Celebi had managed to stop him. Or they were both dead, and the foul spirit had been stated with their corpses. The other Pokémon stood and stared as he disappeared from sight, many of them wondering what had just happened before gathering around the fallen Zoroark.

    The blizzard outside had settled down, but the fresh, cold air did little to alleviate Lucario's inner turmoil. He drew it in through exasperated breaths before a familiar figure popped up behind a hill of snow. It was the Gallade, who would normally be invisible against the white background. However, right now the left side of his body was covered in deep red blood.

    "H-Hey! Help!" the Gallade shouted as he noticed Lucario, slowly staggering towards him while clutching his left arm, "Do something about Kabutops! He's gone insane!"

    "Flee! Go away!" Lucario yelled in response, trying desperately to get his mind into order again, "I've had enough of this crap!"

    "Watch out!" the Gallade warned, and as if on cue a skittish clicking preempted a brown figure leaping out of the snow towards Lucario. A sharp slash passed by his throat as Lucario instinctively dodged the attack, stumbling backwards in utter shock. In front of him stood Kabutops, but not in the composed manner he had come to know. He was slouching and twitching, and his wild eyes did not seem to be able to focus on one thing for more than his second. More than that Lucario did not have time to take in, because he had finally just snapped.

    "SCREW YOU!" Lucario screamed at the top of his lungs, overcome by hateful fury, "I don't care, stay here and die if you want!"

    Before the Gallade had time to stop him, he turned his tail and started running again. He wanted to get away, but no matter how far he ran there only seemed to be more trouble. Overwhelmed by everything that was happening he headed for the snowy wastelands, in a direction where he could sense no aura and finally be left alone.

    Horrible thoughts continued wracking his nerves as he ran, clutching his head in an agonized display. Barely even recognizing his actions anymore, he continued doing what he had been told to do. He had been told to run. It was something he was quite adapt at by now. Trudging through the winter's wrath at a high pace reminded him of a time long ago, when he had been on the run from Ivy and the legendary dogs. There had been no Zerobi back then, either. No revolution, no virus, and most importantly, no Darkrai. No matter the cost, Lucario felt an endless sense of relief that he would never have to encounter the latter again. Darkrai had a plethora of important victims to choose from, ranging from scientists and killers to leaders and legendaries. Lucario knew he was not special or notable in any way, just a grunt in the major scheme of things. As long as he kept running, he would avoid what was to come. Free from duty and free from shame, never again to be shackled.

    Lucario's paces suddenly became shorter. He stopped completely as his mind finally returned to pristine condition. Slowly everything that had happened began to dawn on him, and the horror he felt was unspeakable. Shame and regret flowed through him as he kneeled down on the snow, wondering what on earth had possessed him to flee and leave so many others behind. He had felt so proud of himself before Darkrai's arrival, the darkened wraith somehow having ruined his mind and filled him with ceaseless fright. How many of his friends had died? How many could he have saved? Alone in the white wasteland without answers, he clenched his fists in frustration and lowered his head.

    An ominous wind passed by his crouching form. Feeling like he already knew what was going to happen, he had no choice but to lift his head again. There, he saw Darkrai hovering in front of him.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  17. #367
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    You know, a good Close Combat would solve everything, Darkrai isn't a ghost after all.

    Anyway, I am curious if Darkrai actually defeated Lucarios allies or ignored them or sent them to void or a mixture of those three. I guess we will find out in a later chapter, maybe.

    Looking forward to more.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
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  18. #368
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    It's Darkarai. Should've known. I'm kind of angry right now but last time I checked this is your story, not mine. Even though it was Darkarai, I like how you portrayed him and his effects on others. Though I will agree with Azurus here, a well-timed Close Combat would have solved everything. Darkari is extremely frail compared to other legendaries. I understand why this didn't end that quickly though. Because 1) It would be only natural for Darkarai to automatically inflict fear upon those who see him, preventing someone from attacking, since he's basically the one who haunts your nightmares. And 2) Would've been WAY too easy for a final fight (IS this the final fight? I can't be sure, you've made it seem that way two times before). Nice cliffhanger, and I would like to see if Lucario can figure out his advantage here.
    Last edited by JFought; 20th August 2013 at 8:41 AM.
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  19. #369
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    Chapter 90

    Forlorn
    (Epilogue of Episode XIII)


    A fearsome apparition. An eclipse, defiling the purity of the newly fallen snow. Lucario felt despair and confusion as he forced himself to meet Darkrai's searing gaze. The phantom's arm had regrown from his battle with Celebi, although Lucario imagined it could better be referred to as an execution.

    "Why…? Why…!?" Lucario spat as he clenched his fists in an attempt to stop trembling, "Why are you after me!?"

    "I predict you to be the Mind," Darkrai vocalized clearly as he waved with one of his hands, "Although unaware of it, you are eager to return, yearning for fulfillment."

    "I'm just a Lucario! You wanted…" Lucario responded as he felt the pressing need to know something of far more importance, "… Damn it! What have you done with Zerobi and Celebi!?"

    They stared each other down for a moment, Darkrai's single visible eye never flinching.

    "I killed them," he declared without an ounce of remorse or hesitation. Lucario's frown faded as something violently twisted and turned inside of him. Any latent hint of sorrow disappeared as he felt an overwhelming urge to attack someone. Forgetting all about his various skills in fighting, he charged towards Darkrai with a roar, his arms almost pulling him forward with the bottomless intent of smashing the horrible monster into a pulp of cloth and gore.

    Darkrai did not even bother to dodge as Lucario's elbow sunk through his fog-like body, causing the shaded torso to momentarily disperse from wind pressure before reforming. Being carried by the momentum of his tackle missing, Lucario felt his balance slipping and fell down to his knees.

    "A physical strike. How quaint," Darkrai expressed while turning around and looking down at his crouching opponent, "Show me something else."

    Biting down hard, Lucario felt himself shaking in anger as his mitochondria grew restless. Spinning around, he threw an Aura Sphere directly at Darkrai's head, knowing that if physical attacks had no effect he was sure to be broken by something special.

    The blue sphere passed right through Darkrai's forehead without leaving a single mark. This time there was not even any wind pressure, as if neither sphere nor revenant was even there to begin with.

    "Cease your childish wailings," Darkrai insisted with a dangerous tone to his voice, "I demand that you show me something different!"

    That Darkrai was somehow making himself invulnerable was obvious, but Lucario did not care. All he wanted was to rip him apart. Make him suffer for what he had done. He did not even notice the burning sensation spreading throughout his legs as he subconsciously prepared for ExtremeSpeed. Before reaching the end of the first second he had already tried punching, kicking and biting Darkrai at supersonic speed, each blow passing through the transparent phantom and making Lucario feel like he was trying to dent a cloud.

    "Feeble," Darkrai announced while still being attacked, "Is this all you are? Has fate toyed with me once more?"

    Lucario tried slugging him a few more times, each failure expending his determination and stamina. Before long he felt the power seep out of him as he fell on his arms and knees from exhaustion. Already his muscles were overflowing with lactic acid, and he felt sick to his stomach. Suddenly, something dry yet smooth connect with his forehead. Looking up, he noticed Darkrai had placed his hand there. A few seconds ago he would have tried to fight back, but now it all seemed so hopeless. Zerobi and Celebi were gone, and even with all his might he could not even lay a finger on their killer. There was no point in fighting it. He was undone.

    "I sense an altercation. Your once prominent wisdom, removed by surgery," Darkrai claimed as he scanned Lucario's brain for information, "Arceus is not to interfere, yet what I see in you makes it all too obvious. To be denied the Mind as well as the Body, these coincidences are far too frequent to ignore."

    "Stop talking dung, you insane bastard!" Lucario bellowed as he mustered up the last of his hatred, falling back and away from Darkrai's reach, "Body!? Mind!? Did you kill them over that crap!?"

    "From the Soul, the Body was born. From the Body, the Mind was born," Darkrai elucidated before floating forward, "Or so I had assumed. In every way, shape and form you are but a regular Lucario. You are not worthy of conjunction. You are not worthy of my time."

    Lucario did not have long to ponder his statement as Darkrai suddenly lifted his arm, his hand exuding a black glow.

    "Indeed, you were never worthy the air you breathe," Darkrai enounced with destructive power behind every word, "Allow me to alleviate you of your meaningless duty."

    Staring up in horror, Lucario could not understand why everything was so unfair. Fleeing did not work, fighting did not work, how could things possibly have ended differently? He lowered his head and braced himself as a strong force hit him from the front.

    In fact, a force so strong it knocked him even further away from Darkrai, pulling him back as he slid through the slippery snow. He came to a stop and hastily wiped the cold sludge away from his head, realizing two things – That he was alive, and that Mew was hovering by his side.

    One look told Lucario all he needed to know. Just like Celebi she was in pristine condition, unsurprisingly unharmed from her earlier fight, making Lucario wonder if Blue had even bothered to show up. He also noticed that there was something different about her demeanor. Like always she radiated a shine of purity, but her expression was dangerous and her eyes filled with knives. They were clearly pointed at Darkrai and she kept her head at slightly lower angel than usual, hiding her growing scowl from view.

    "Mew, caretaker of the fauna… Be gone. This does not concern you," Darkrai enunciated with a calm, deep voice. This only seemed to agitate Mew more as her tail flicked.

    "My concern has always been to rid the world of scourges like you!" she said with an uncharacteristically angry tone before she glanced to her side, "Lucario, keep hold of your sanity! Has the virus been secured?"

    "… Y-Yeah, but…" Lucario muttered breathlessly as he tried to formulate the unspeakable words, "Zerobi… Celebi… He's killed them both!"

    A tremor passed through Mew as her mouth opened slightly in shock. Immediately regaining confidence, she shut it and firmly shook her head.

    "No. It is faint, but I can sense Celebi's presence," Mew explained calmly, "Darkrai is a liar and a coward. Fear is the mindkiller – Reject it, and he cannot do anything to you."

    The calm lasted only a second as she turned towards Darkrai once more with a glower, and Lucario could tell she was in a very bad mood.

    "Yes, Darkrai. I know your secret!" Mew snarled with fires burning in her eyes, "You use fear to manipulate and destroy your prey, but in truth you are not nearly as powerful as you pretend to be. Today, I shall prove it!"

    "Have I wronged you somehow?" Darkrai inquired, a hint of curiosity slipping through his stoic demeanor, "What is it you wish?"

    "I wish for you to cease your existence! You robbed me of Cresselia…" Mew said before trailing off and shooting Lucario another look, "… But you shall have no more!"

    Lucario returned it, realizing she was angrier than he had ever seen her before. He was not even sure if she was doing this to save him or simply get a chance at destroying Darkrai. In truth, both scenarios suited him just fine, although he was still a bit concerned as to the fates of Zerobi and Celebi and wanted to get done as soon as possible.

    "… Cresselia…" Darkrai repeated. His lack of an expression made it difficult to tell if he was showing confusion or simply taunting them.

    "So, you do remember!" Mew raised her voice with ire, "You will regret what you did to my mother!"

    "The one responsible for your mother's misfortune and death is you," Darkrai pointed out as he closed one of his hands, "Alas, I rarely recall the names of the unworthy. I am certain this Cresselia is no reason for you to foolishly throw away your life."

    A period of silence reigned, the snowstorm beginning anew as both Lucario and Darkrai awaited Mew's answer."Lucario… I must request that you stand your ground," Mew said bluntly while staring down Darkrai, snow falling around her as it was repelled by an invisible barrier, "This blight cannot be allowed to flee, or many more will suffer. Will you join me in battle?"

    "… I can't, Mew," Lucario responded reluctantly, feeling outclassed and knowing there was nothing he could do about it, "All my attacks just pass through him, even the Aura Sphere…"

    "A Ghost-type?" Mew suddenly chimed as her eyes flashed dangerously, "Never mind. This will not take a second."

    Darkrai was a monster shrouded in mystery, his true moves and typing unknown to all. Relieved to hear she at least was not facing a Dark-type, Mew focused. Although adapt with using every element, her psychic attacks were well-honed and far more powerful than anything else in her arsenal. Being so smug and secretive, she figured Darkrai rarely took damage and as a result had low defense. Hoping to end the fight before it even begun, she unleashed a Psyshock to exploit that weakness.

    Lucario flinched as several purple clouds suddenly materialized around Darkrai, loudly slamming into him from all sides. The dark apparition was completely covered in a single second as the condensed fog combusted with such power that Lucario felt like the air had turned acidic for an instant; worried he might die just from being close enough to witness one of Mew's attacks.

    However, she did not have time to note his predicament as the fog dissipated, Darkrai still present within. What truly bothered her was that he seemed completely unscathed.

    "The Mew of six generations ago attempted a similar approach," Darkrai reminisced as he crossed his arms, "It seems haughtiness runs in the family. As with her, I shall be forced to teach you a lesson."

    But Mew was undaunted by Darkrai's threat, having trained all her life for a situation like this. Memorizing endless amounts of moves from every elemental type, it was only a question of finding out which weakness her opponent possessed. But with both Fighting and Psychic tested to no avail, she knew exactly what he was.

    "Dark and Ghost…" Mew whispered to herself, thinking it obvious that such an annoying creature would possess such an annoying typing. While she could no longer back him into a corner by exploiting his weakness, she could still overwhelm him with something he did not fully resist.

    Keeping himself from flinching as Mew lashed out with her tail, Lucario noticed the snow underneath Darkrai melting. In the next instant the hovering specter was engulfed in a pillar of fire spewing from a crack in the earth. Seeing Mew next to a tower of fire felt nostalgic for some reason, and Mew appreciated that Lucario was not as easily spooked as he had been back when he was Ethan. Her inner musings disappeared as the fire faded and Darkrai was still staying in place, unharmed as ever.

    "What on earth…!?" Mew exclaimed in shock as she finally lost her cool. What just happened was physically impossible. No Pokémon typing in existence could be immune to Fighting, Psychic and Fire moves at once.

    "Elementary elemental control," Darkrai expressed as he was clearly fed up with Mew's silly games and began to move towards her, "How naive of you to think one such as I would be harmed by rudimentary variation moves. Now, suffer."

    Seeing him move to the offensive, Mew quickly surrounded herself with her absolutely most powerful barrier. Still coming to terms with the prospect of fighting an intangible opponent, she felt disoriented and surprised but hoped to maybe realize his nature after blocking one of his attacks. Refusing her instincts to turn tail and escape, she forced herself to remain still as Darkrai came closer and reached one of his long arms towards her.

    The filthy appendage easily moved through her barrier, unhindered by the immense Psychic defenses just like a pureblooded Dark-type. Mew blanked out, the impossibilities stacking upon one another until every attempt of resistance felt hopeless. Her barrier fell as she remained frozen in midair, helplessly watching as the first of his fingers grazed against her forehead, sending a shiver of disgust through her body.

    Suddenly, Mew's face became flushed, but it was neither from anger nor embarrassment. Something very hot passed in front of her, sending prickles of pain through her face as both she and Darkrai suddenly reared back. The miniscule pain faded in an instant as she looked in front of her, a cloud of smoke billowing from Darkrai's arm, the very arm she had felt upon herself just seconds earlier. Wondering if maybe her holy light had burned the foul creature upon touch, she realized there was a far more logical explanation as she looked down and saw Lucario with his palm reached towards them, faint flickers of blue fire still glowing around his hand.

    "Hands off, scumbag!" Lucario chimed with his best one-liner, feeling his bravery return. However, Mew's expression was not one of eternal gratitude like he had expected, but rather one of utter shock.

    "L-Lucario!" Mew stammered as the final residue from the Aura Sphere dissipated, "Y-You almost shot me in the head!"

    "N… No way! My aim's perfect!" Lucario lied before swiftly changing the subject and pointing towards Darkrai, "Never mind that, look! He took damage!"

    Darkrai hovered silently, his solo eye beholding them more warily than before. Following Lucario's suggestion, Mew peered beyond the heavy smoke and noticed the rag around Darkrai's hand looking more torn than before, the arm underneath showing irritated cracks in the previously perfect shade of pitch black. Forgetting how close Lucario had come to accidentally killing her, she composed together the information they had gathered thus far and finally came to a conclusion.

    "Of course," Mew whispered as she closed her eyes, "Darkrai is not a Dark and Ghost type, rather a Dark-type that can change into a Ghost-type at will. Not Conversion or Transform, but more like the Multitype spoken of in legends. Trading a weakness to Fighting for an immunity, but no longer fully resisting Psychic attacks… Is my assessment plausible?"

    "… The hell should I know!?" Lucario blurted out, thinking the regular type properties were hard enough to remember without switching them around. Mew smiled, strangely happy to see he had not changed much in these past months when they had been separated, and then she looked towards her enemy.

    "What say you to this, Darkrai?" Mew asked outright, her confidence having found its way back. Darkrai's face was covered by hair and rags, but she could sense something having changed in his demeanor after taking damage from Lucario's attack. It was not hate, fear or denial.

    It was acceptance.

    "Ah, yes. Cresselia," Darkrai proclaimed with recognition, "The nuisance foolish enough to choose the path of destruction on her own accord. Shall you pursue to repeat the same mistake?"

    Surprised by the sudden switch of subject, Mew felt years of suppressed loathing bubble to the surface.

    "Mistake? She was fully aware of what had to be done in order to kill you," Mew explained, wanting to make sure Darkrai would not make light of Cresselia's sacrifice, "And so am I! For the sake of your destruction, I have become a fearless being!"

    A strong wind full of snowflakes blew past them, setting Darkrai's decaying hair into movement. He took no note of this as his eye was fixed upon Mew, snow whirling and falling all around them. It was subtle, but Lucario could tell that for the first time since the terrible revenant's arrival, he had finally been affected by something.

    "Fearlessness does not exist," Darkrai stated with a malignant tone, "Fear invokes a reaction which bypasses the corpus callosum, neither effort nor will can stop it. Everyone was a helpless child at one time, a perfect breeding ground for irrational fears. Perhaps it is something they have forgotten. Perhaps it is something they could not quite understand on their own back then."

    His tattered clothing flapped quietly in the wind as he raised his arms. Even the snowflakes seemed to stray away from him.

    "I am quite versed in the subject of fear. I help them remember, I help them understand," Darkrai explained before lashing out with his right arm, "And you too will soon relinquish your self-appointed title of being fearless!"

    Darkrai's arm stretched an impossible distance, flickering like a disturbed shadow as it flew towards Mew. Overriding her initial reaction of dodging, Mew bravely defied him by remaining completely still, her expression one of contempt as she allowed his hand touch her forehead.

    "Mew! No!" Lucario shouted, not having the time to charge up another Aura Sphere. He watched in horror as much like Zoroark, Mew seemed to almost doze off from Darkrai's influence, about to experience a mind-shattering nightmare.

    Nervous sensations coursed through Mew as she simply let it happen. She wanted to overcome it, so that for the rest of the battle she would have nothing to fear. Instantly she was struck by powerful nostalgia, feeling weak and infantile. Staring down Darkrai as best she could, images flooded her mind and even obscured her vision as memories from her childhood were brought to life. However, these memories were twisted into a morbid state, filling her with the strange feeling of recognition. The time she had teased Celebi and gotten scolded was now an event of her killing her friend in a gruesome manner and being tortured as a result.

    Mew smiled in victory. This is exactly what she had expected would happen. Although being the cause of death for her own mother was hardly a source of joy, there were no genuine traumatic events in her childhood for Darkrai to amplify and exploit. She could sense Darkrai becoming more and more desperate to gain a response from her, the clichés becoming more prominent. Everyone in the world dying in agony. Her friends being skinned alive, their rotting carcasses left to be eaten by maggots. Had she been pampered and protected from the harshness of the world this might have affected her, but her mind had been hardened to withstand worse things. There was nothing there Deoxys had not already shown her. The visions faded as she returned to the real world with a still defiant look, Darkrai's expression predictably unaltered as he withdrew his hand.

    "The Mew of six generations ago did not last seven seconds," Darkrai vocalized, and a hint of disdain crept into his shapeless voice, "Your species should not be capable of complete emotional abandonment."

    "Another one of your many fault assumptions," Mew replied bluntly before looking down to see Lucario, the fighting-type staring up at her with amazement."Lucario, full assault!" she ordered hastily, "Darkrai cannot switch types fast enough to handle us both!"

    Following her cue, she lowered her head and closed her eyes. A massive pressure of psychic force suddenly came down on Darkrai, pushing him closer to the ground. Seeing his opportunity but still hesitating, Lucario ran towards him and ignored the chills running up his spine as he made a ferocious tackle. As if he had been trying to bully a fine mist, he sunk through Darkrai's transparent body and appeared on the other side.

    "Didn't see that coming…" Lucario muttered as he turned around to see Darkrai reaching out with his hand again, launching a counterattack. However, it was interrupted as Mew came down and used her Psywave, the shapeless force affecting Darkrai as a piece of his cloth ripped off and vanished into a puff of smoke. Wanting to keep the momentum, Mew immediately tried it once more only to find that it had no effect this time.

    "Again!" Mew shouted, moving away as Darkrai's hands began to glow, obviously preparing for something very dangerous. Lucario nearly refused due to her gambit not having shown much effect before, but was not one to pass up a chance to beat down Darkrai. Without really planning a strategy, he stepped up to Darkrai and grabbed a hold of his shoulder, surprised to find he could actually feel it this time. The foul specter was nearly liquid to the touch as Lucario spun him around and slugged him in the face as hard as he could. Darkrai remained silent, but dwindled to the ground like a leaf fallen off its stem.

    "Ooh, that felt good," Lucario said with a light shudder as he gently rubbed his knuckles, remembering all the wretched phantom had put him through so far. Darkrai spun around before coming into contact with the soil, rapidly throwing out his large, intimidating hands from both sides in an attempt to put Lucario in a chokehold. A smile steadily forming around Lucario's lips, he swiftly held his arms up around his neck and stopped the attack.

    "Hehehe… Hey, not bad…" Lucario grinned while Darkrai made a nearly inaudible grunt, "But now we're playing my game!"

    He no longer felt afraid of Darkrai, realizing the ghost was just another target for him to beat up. Hands tied up, Lucario head-butted Darkrai, not quite reaching his head and striking his throat instead. Something felt soft and squishy on contact, he wondered if Darkrai like Zoroark was lying about his gender before noticing he had actually hit one of the fleshy organs around Darkrai's neck. It felt a little like punching someone in the kidney, and judging by the looks of the gruesome necklace he was sure it was not too far from the truth.

    "Then, let me introduce you to MY forte!" Darkrai bellowed, snapping Lucario out of his thoughts by grabbing hold of his forehead. Lucario immediately tried to knock the arm away, only to find his fist passing through the transparent appendage like before.

    Before he knew it, the gears in his head came to a halt. It felt as if every fiber of his being was trying to reclaim something that did not exist, his mind turning into an empty void. No matter how hard he tried, he could not remember who or what he was. A strange black shadow seemed to be attached to his head while a smaller pink thing desperately fought it. Not sure of what this meant, he flailed about a bit to try and keep the pink monster from cutting him in two, clamoring loudly as he failed and the shadow disappeared from sight.

    The pink thing shouted some manner of gibberish as it flew closer, staring him right in the face in what he assumed was an attempt at mockery of his defeat. About to smack it away like a pestering bug, his senses were beginning to return.

    "Lucario! Are you alright!?" Mew repeated as Lucario blinked, feeling like someone had just run a vacuum through his head. He had no idea what had just happened, but looked behind Mew to see Darkrai examining him with an expression that was anything but triumphant.

    "I… Wouldn't suggest digging through my past, Darkrai…" Lucario muttered as he smiled to himself, "I hardly remember a damn thing myself."

    "… Man or Pokémon, you never fail to disappoint!" Mew burst out happily, realizing he too was immune to Darkrai's most dangerous attack, "Come, Lucario! Together, let us bring order to the world again!"

    Without warning, Darkrai suddenly threw his arm towards Lucario once more. His hands were glowing unusually as Lucario quickly blocked, feeling mundane yet frightfully heavy claws cut into his skin. At the same time Mew found herself under attack as well, a purple explosion of raw force igniting on her position and rattling her barrier. Exploiting his two staggering opponents, he clasped his hands together and sent out a heavy shockwave into Lucario's stomach.

    "Oof!" Lucario groaned as he was thrown back like a projectile, Mew not reacting fast enough to reconfigure her barrier as he crashed into her, sending both of them sprawled against the ground.

    "Your perception is poor. The world always strives towards chaos," Darkrai pronounced as he brushed a bit of Lucario's blood away from his hands, "All things inevitably break and cannot reform on their own. Achieving order is impossible."

    Lucario slowly rose to his feet as Mew instantly flew up.

    "If only there were words to define the evils you have wrought!" she responded with agitation before forcing herself to calm down, "There will be no escaping this encounter. It all ends here."

    "A far too hasty prediction," Darkrai chided with a display of endless confidence, "I have existed for eons. You have existed for but a moment."

    "A new eon starts with a single moment," Mew retorted and braced herself for more combat, "In this case, it will be an eon without wretched monsters like you!"

    "Naďve fool. In life, suffering is the only truth," Darkrai explained solemnly while lowering his arms, "All else is but an illusion, a temporary absence of pain. Dreams are fleeting, nightmares remain in you forever. Pleasant memories must be summoned, traumas exist perpetually."

    "We don't care!" Lucario shouted, feeling left out and hungry for payback as he activated ExtremeSpeed. Not even Darkrai was able to react quickly enough as Lucario went from standing still to moving at the speed of a charging locomotive in a fraction of a second, lodging an elbow into Darkrai's chest. It barely had time to sink in fully as Lucario withdrew it and unleashed a flurry of punches against his face, smacking him around at the speed of sound as Mew could not help but stare in amazement. After three seconds and somewhere around fifteen successful hits, Lucario felt his attacks begin to pass through Darkrai like before and leaped back, annoyed to not be able to land an impressive finisher.

    "Astounding!" Mew burst out with an impressed tone, "Even I cannot do that!"

    Although eager to return her compliment with a confident smile and cool expression, Lucario was far too busy staring at Darkrai with disbelief. Impressive finisher or not, the dark specter hovered implacable like always, a quickly fading blemish by his cheeks all to show for Lucario's massive assault. A newfound sense of dread crept up his spine as he moved back to Mew.

    "We're, uh… Hurting him, right?" he whispered cautiously.

    "Yes. He is hiding his damage in an attempt to intimidate us, but I can tell that he is slowing down," she replied as the scene once more reminded her of Deoxys, "Please do not hold back, I would prefer to finish this before he manages to heal himself."

    "Hold back? Nothing about him makes me want to stop punching," Lucario snickered cockily as he raised his voice and pointed towards Darkrai, "He's got so many things sticking out, I don't know what to rip off first!"

    His snicker trailed off as something changed in the atmosphere. Even Mew fell quiet, warily watching as Darkrai's unharmed shape seemed to grow more sinister.

    "I provided you both with the merciful option of subjugation through terror," Darkrai spoke in a manner that showed he was not amused, "But I see it is my wrath you wish to experience. You will discover many faces of agony until I find what makes you whimper."

    Slashing into the air, a purple explosion was set off behind Lucario and Mew. The recoil caused them to fly towards Darkrai as he stretched out his arms, a massive dark void forming in front of him. Mew sensed danger and halted herself in midair, Lucario still recovering from the blast and falling into the black space.

    "GAAAHH!" Lucario screamed as he suddenly felt himself being crushed from all sides. Mew gasped and quickly tried to wrest control from Darkrai with Psychic, but found the ability ineffective. Not thinking clearly due to the sound of Lucario's agonized cries, she flew high up into the air and cupped her hands, preparing her mitochondria for the destructive Aura Storm. With an immeasurably powerful attack, she would instantly eradicate Darkrai so he could never do harm again.

    Several thoughts flew through her head at once. She remembered what Lucario had said about Rukario, the ability most likely crippling a far more physically apt specimen forever. She had entered this conflict willing to risk her life, but as she stared down at Darkrai and the compressed Lucario she was beginning to realize there was no reason for her to. Reshaping the attack in the last second, she instead let fly a regular Aura Sphere.

    And another. And another. The blue spheres ran through Darkrai without impact, and for a moment she was worried he had changed into a Ghost-type again. However, a subtle flinch from the previously undamaged Darkrai told her to keep going, continuing to shoot as he became engulfed in an inferno of blue fire.

    Obviously realizing she was not about to stop anytime soon, Darkrai suddenly ceased the black void and drew back. Predicting his course of action, Mew quickly calmed her mitochondria and gathered up a different energy, firing a Shadow Ball. Darkrai seemed more ferocious than ever as he dodged it, only to find another one running through his stomach. She kept up the raid fire and before she realized it, he was no longer able to hide the heavy damage piling up from the relentless assault, a subdued cry of victory sounding under her voice. In one last attempt to come out victorious, Darkrai shifted his type and flew through the last Shadow Ball, heading towards Lucario with the intention of taking him hostage. However, what he met was not a crippled and crushed mess from his previous attack, but a raging beast charging towards him at the same time.

    "That hurt, bastard!" Lucario roared as he thrust his hand forward, throwing an Aura Sphere at Darkrai. Lowering herself to ground level, Mew instantly calculated the trajectory and speed of his attack and sent an Aura Sphere of her own from the other direction. Her projectile was faster, both moving at a speed impossible to dodge. Darkrai fruitlessly tried to move up as both of the spheres ran through him and collided in his body, creating a massive explosion of blue fire, like a newborn sun with azure flames spiraling the impact point.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  20. #370
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    Without a scream and without a sound, Darkrai stopped. Unable to keep himself floating any longer, his corroded form slowly dwindled down on the bed of snow. His body now left an imprint in the magnificent white, showing that he had run out of what once gave him unearthly attributes. Mew lowered herself towards Darkrai as Lucario exhaled and sat down, feeling a sense of victory well up in his chest. Not wanting to ruin the moment, he decided to keep quiet about the fact that he was not feeling well at all, his leg hurting badly from the earlier attack. It was not broken, but for the time being he decided to lay back and let Mew handle the rest. She stopped just outside of arm's reach of Darkrai just to be sure, and this time was ready to dodge should he try to extend it.

    "As I suspected, you are weak. And now, you are outmatched," Mew spoke with disdain, but truthfully had no idea on how to actually finish off something like Darkrai. The beam she used to end Deoxys would take too long to charge up, and such a destructive force might accidentally kill Lucario again in the absolutely least fortunate scenario.

    "You must have known this day was coming," Mew said as she closed in a bit on Darkrai, showing that she was not afraid and had the upper hand, "Tell me how to give you a quick death or I will be forced to experiment until I find it; an unpleasant scenario for everyone involved."

    "Death… A meaningless term for one such as me," Darkrai expressed quietly as he closed his eye, "I will never die. I am infinite. I am everything."

    "So you think. Outside the depths of your insanity, you are nothing," Mew explained, finally seeing the defeated Darkrai for what he really was, "The world existed before you, and it will carry on without you. You abused others in order to sustain your own pitiful existence… You are nothing but a filthy parasite, sucking nourishment from the people of this world!"

    Darkrai opened his single eye and fixed a chilling stare into her.

    "Your beliefs are founded upon ideals of the pampered and spoiled," Darkrai proclaimed without ever blinking, "Your life has been sheltered from the true horrors of the world. You live in an imagination; sustaining false ideals imprinted in your mind. You challenge me based on morals, not of your own free will. Even now, if I were to beg for my life, you could not bear to kill me, because it would seem faulty in your illusion of a perfect world!"

    He raised his upper body from the ground, trying to intimidate her as best he could. However, instead of flying away, Mew moved herself even closer until their faces were almost touching.

    "I do not think of the world as perfect… But that is no reason for me to surrender my ideals," Mew hissed, remembering Deoxys and wondering if she would ever find anything else intimidating after that, "I have already been forced to kill something far more dangerous than you. In the story of my life, you will be but a passing mention."

    For the first time, Darkrai found himself speechless. Mew could see it in his eye that she had taken him off guard, and that he was just barely comprehending what she had said. Feeling proud of herself for having shocked the self-proclaimed master of fear, she rose up higher and decided to put an end to everything. She would have to use all her might, just to be sure of his demise.

    "Move back," Mew warned as Lucario stood up to watch the fireworks. Darkrai's surprised eye followed her and remained motionless as she stopped above him and begun to charge up her attack. Although stunned at first, she could tell that he was slowly changing his demeanor into his calm, former self, finally accepting his own death.

    "I see. It was you," Darkrai expressed, "The Body was not completely wasted, then."

    "The Body…" Mew repeated with some curiosity, "… What do you speak of?"

    "I believe you know more of it than myself," Darkrai answered as he suddenly grabbed onto her forehead, "Allow me to help you remember!"

    He had moved with a burst of speed previously unseen, catching Mew off guard. Even so, she knew she quite literally had nothing to fear as Darkrai took control of her mind again. However, this time she did not feel like a child again. She felt stronger, more determined than ever to kill Darkrai. This strange course of action on his part confused her as the environment slowly changed, suddenly making her realize his intentions. He was bringing her back to a time and place she had hoped to never revisit.

    It was the day she had encountered Deoxys. The sight of mangled bodies making her feel nauseous, the stench of decaying corpses as fresh as it was rotten. It was a perfect replication, and she realized this was Darkrai's last ditch effort to subdue her through terror as he had so many before her. She had to give him credit for indeed having picked out the absolutely worst time in her life, a time that would have successfully broken anyone of lesser stature. It was a spiral of destruction and death, misery and torment with a single figure at the center of it all. She knew all too well who it would be, and prepared herself to once more lay eyes on the nightmarish face of Deoxys.

    But the being at the center of it all was not Deoxys.

    It was her.

    She looked at the image herself, smiling broadly as she carved up the corpse of Ethan. Blood ran like a river as the former Mew continued with glee and the current Mew stared aghast. Her copy dragged out the corpse of Cyon and slammed it into the ground. Mew was trying not to let it get to her, but the scene was too vivid and far too nostalgic. Back then then she had been too out of it to recognize what was happening, but now she was taking in every detail. The feeling of warm blood dripping down her chest like sweat. The funk of hundreds dead filling her nostrils. The gooey sensation as she used her psychic powers to rip and tear, carve and slice, detach and reattach the insides of Cyon and Ethan, all while giggling insanely at her own idea of a masterpiece. Like a clamp fixing itself around her chest, she finally realized why this was affecting her so much. She understood perfectly what Darkrai was trying to show her.

    This is who she was. Behind the façade created by indoctrination since birth rests a creature without morals or ethics, doing as she pleases for her own satisfaction. The very root of humans and Pokémon, the animalistic foundation in everyone were not tolerant beings seeking good for everyone, but selfish creatures only seeking their own well-being.

    "The conclusion of an adult, even more terrifying than what a helpless child could interpret…" Darkrai uttered as he gave her head a gentle caress with his other hand, "Weep. Blood of the mind, essence of emotion."

    Mew tried to resist, but could feel herself losing. What she truly feared is what she had feared ever since that day; that Deoxys was not the one wearing a mask. She is the one wearing a mask. Everyone wears a mask. Were it ever to be ripped off, their true nature would instantly render everyone she knew into unrecognizable monsters. Language, ethics, laws and the very idea of caring about others were all mental constructs that only served to distract them from their true nature as barbarians. They would deny it as she once had, but only until the day they inevitably break down and snap. Even at the apex of her heroism it slipped out of her, and could potentially affect anyone else when put under enough stress. What others referred to as insanity was, in fact, sanity.

    The notion filled her with terror unlike anything before, and Darkrai exploited it to its full worth as he lifted her body high into the air. Through visions and suggestions to the mind, Mew went from still and confident to shaking in fear, weakly twisting back and forth in an obvious attempt to get away. Lucario felt his heart pounding faster as he realized something had gone very wrong. He tried to jump up and save her, but his right leg smarted badly as he bent it gave way under his weight. All he could do was sit and stare up at the graven image of Darkrai, defiling the possibly last bastion of purity in the world.

    "I am impressed that you kept this hidden from me, freely submitting yourself to my mercy. It was an excellent bluff," Darkrai commended in a chiding manner.

    "Mew! MEW!" Lucario shouted with all his might, hoping to somehow reach her, "Let her go, Darkrai!"

    The praise and warning were all but lost to the nearly catatonic Mew's deaf ears. Realizing she had already been rendered completely harmless, Darkrai decided to comply with Lucario's wishes and released his hold of her. Going from sitting to running in a fraction of a second, Lucario threw himself forward to catch Mew's brittle body before it smashed into pieces against the harder ground. She fell into his arms with a thud, and he rolled around in midair as to not accidentally land on her.

    "I've got you!" Lucario said as he hit the soil and looked at her, "It's just an illusion! It's not real! Snap out of it!"

    What he feared most had come true. Just like Zoroark, she was gone. She was not screaming or irregularly opening her mouth, or clawing at him like a madman. She had simply frozen up completely. Withdrawn into a shell, put her own mind into stasis to escape whatever torment Darkrai had inflicted upon her. Lucario trembled as he could not believe he had actually let it happen, thinking she would be fine just like after the first time. What had been different?

    "However, I reluctantly accept that your species has indeed become a potential threat to me," Darkrai stated as he lowered himself closer to the ground, "I wished to reap your kind for many more generations, but now I must eradicate you."

    Sensing danger, Lucario hastily held Mew closer to his chest while turning his torso away."You're not touching Mew - I won't let you!" Lucario yelled in defiance. He and Darkrai stared down one another, Darkrai clearly winning with his intimidating gaze and fearsome visage. Even so, Lucario refused to back down and held Mew tighter, faintly hoping she would wake up and take care of this whole thing like usual.

    "And so, the role for the sacrifice has been switched once more," Darkrai proclaimed, the dark shadow unfazed by the previous battle and speaking with the ominous confidence of an executioner, "Your intentions are clear, but alone you will never harm me. Your struggle is useless."

    Lucario found himself agreeing with the specter for once. Without Mew's wide array of powers he was powerless to do anything, even protect her as she lay still and defenseless in his arms. His bummed leg made running impossible, not that he had been able to outrun Darkrai before. There was no aura in the near vicinity, so he could not expect a last-minute rescue from anyone capable of handling a fiendish legendary. Indeed, he truly did not know what he had to gain from this bravado, but no matter what could not see himself doing anything else.

    "Sacrifice…" Lucario repeated solemnly before baring his teeth and shouting, "… Seems you're getting two, because there's no way I'll just sit back and watch Mew die!"

    "I grow weary of your tired litany," Darkrai responded immediately, "Chivalry is the way of the weak. Losing one's life is simple. Changing it is difficult. You lack the willpower to abandon your pride, and so you choose the easy way out by giving up."

    With a flick of his misty wrist, he wrested Mew away from Lucario and pushed him into the snow like a helpless baby.

    Lucario protested and cursed as he tried to get up, Darkrai clutching Mew between both his hands. However, instead squeezing her frail form into a broken mess, his hands began to glow in a dark sheen which seeped into Mew's body. Her motionless form was suddenly rocked back to life, her tail standing on end as something very painful was invading her system.

    "I have no intention of killing either of you," Darkrai explained as Mew's struggles to get away were renewed with previously unseen ferocity, "But this Mew must be rendered harmless. She will never again utilize her powers."

    Just as Lucario had gotten to his feet again, Mew's struggling stopped once more and Darkrai casually dropped her down on the snow. Overcome with desperation, Lucario lounged and tried punching Darkrai one last time as the evasive phantom simply floated higher up into the sky, staring down at him with an eye more chilling than the coldest winter's night.

    "I will now take my leave, once more proving my endless graciousness by letting two very much alive Pokémon escape despite having defied my will," Darkrai enounced before suddenly closing his eye, "However… The elements may not be as forgiving."

    And so, he was gone. As if having vanished into thin air, carried away by a gust of wind, the eclipse had disappeared in a single moment. It took Lucario a few moments to realize what had happened. He slowly staggered over to Mew, relieved to see her chest moving in breathing motions but still somewhat sad. Zoroark had been physically unharmed as well, but the same could not be said for her mind. How long until Mew would come back to her senses? How long would he have to wait to be able to speak to her again? Hours? Years?

    "L…" something wheezed, breaking up his inner lamentations. Wondering who would be rude enough to disturb him at a moment like this, he was suddenly struck by the feeling that something like this had happened before. Instinctively he peered down, realizing that Mew's huge eyes were no longer staring into space, but staring at him.

    "… Mew? Can you hear me?" Lucario asked breathlessly. She did not respond immediately, putting on a confused expression as her eyes looked around the area, her head not moving.

    "D-Darkrai? Where is…" Mew stammered quietly, Lucario feeling overwhelmed with relief.

    "It's OK, he's gone!" he shouted right in her face, unable to hold back his triumph too see her conscious, "We're safe!"

    Mew winced as his loud voice hurt her ears before noticing she could not stop shaking. A very unpleasant feeling was wracking every inch of her body, and it took her a few moments to identify what it was.

    "So c-cold…!" she gasped as she tried to raise a protective barrier to no avail, "My… My…!"

    Mew's voice sounded of panic and her head moved uneasily, but unlike Zoroark she seemed to have kept her sanity intact. Lucario sighed out in relief and decided to take charge.

    "… Yeah, he said something about sealing your powers," Lucario muttered as he kept her close to his chest and began to walk, "Don't worry about it for now, I'll take you someplace warmer first."

    Her eyes darted around the area once more before a strong shiver wracked her body, calming her down and forcing her to look up at him.

    "P-Please h-h-hurry…" she pleaded, the unfamiliar sensation of extreme cold bothering her greatly. She tried to remember what it was that Darkrai had showed her to make her lose grasp of reality, but could not recall anything but a deep sense of self-loathing.

    A few minutes passed as Lucario found the snowy landscape far from easy to traverse. There were a few recognizable sources of aura in the far off distance, letting him know he was heading in the right direction. Even so, the storm had picked up into a full blizzard again, the strong winds and biting cold sapping his strength which was already running low from the trying day. It felt like so long ago that he had been together with Zerobi and Zoroark, storming the facility while worrying over the virus. Their mission had ended in success, but it already seemed like a shallow victory, a thing of the past. Looking back, Lucario could not reclaim the enthusiasm he had felt only moments before the arrival of Darkrai. He felt empty inside.

    Mew gradually forgot all about the horrible visions she had revisited. The immediate situation demanded full attention to keep her lungs moving with old fashioned physical prowess. She could feel that her powers were completely gone, but at least she was not at risk of choking to death this time. Even so, she wondered what life held in store for her now, weak as an infant with no special powers whatsoever. She had no intention of accepting it – There had to be some way to dispel the curse Darkrai had placed upon her. No matter what, she would find it.

    Several more minutes passed in silence. Still fearing Mew's psyche had been damaged somehow, Lucario really wanted to keep hearing her voice to settle his worries.

    "Feels nostalgic, carrying you around," Lucario said, sorely wishing for his cape back, "Do you remember?"

    "How… Could I… Forget…?" Mew replied slowly with a bothered expression, "So slow… Took months…"

    "Eh, whatever. The legendaries weren't exactly in a rush once we got there," Lucario muttered while shrugging, "I'd say everything ended up for the best."

    Mew stayed quiet, and he noticed she was turning as pale as if deep in illness. In truth, even without talking she was finding it more and more trying to draw in breath, the icy winds invading her body and damaging it from the inside.

    "T-Too… C-Cold…" Mew coughed weakly and closed her eyes in pain, "L-Lungs… H-Hurt…"

    "I guess my presence scared off Mewtwo… But hey, that was hardly my fault," Lucario continued in an attempt to get both their minds off the current situation, "And who knows how he would've reacted to all this? Maybe my presence did a lot more than people imagine?"

    Lucario's words did little to stop her teeth from chattering. She felt her body grow weaker with each second, wishing to escape from the debilitating and quite harmful cold. She wished she could still fly. She wished she could start a fire. She even wished she had been able to do something as simple as walk, anything to flee the painful environment.

    "Lucario… H-Hurry…" Mew stammered desperately, knowing he was her only hope to find a way out of the blizzard, "… I have to live… I have to get back alive…"

    "We're almost there," Lucario lied with an annoyed grunt, "Tons of Fire Pokémon. It'll be a crazy inferno. You'll miss being able to chill out here."

    Her mind searched frantically for a solution as the biting freeze continued attacking her, millions of tiny fangs prickling her skin. Pain increasing and breathing becoming more labored, she came to understand that if they did not find shelter soon, she was going to die. The thought set her into panic, helplessly tugging at Lucario's chest with what little strength remained within her.

    "… Cannot… Face death… Cannot even… Comprehend…" Mew spoke as clearly as she could muster to make Lucario understand the gravity of the situation, "My life is… M-Meant to last eons… I am not r-ready… Not now… N-Not ever…"

    "Damn it, stop talking like an idiot!" Lucario suddenly shouted with rage as his expression turned into a snarl, "Regular Pokémon have to deal with death, not you! You're a legendary and you'll live forever, so count your blessings! Not everyone is that lucky!"

    Lucario huffed angrily as Mew fell silent. The very idea felt preposterous, he had been out in the snow far longer than her while wearing nothing but shorts. Unable to regulate her temperature on her own, he figured her first real meeting with a harsh climate was causing her to overreact. He wondered if maybe he should shed his modesty and wrap her up in what little clothing he had, but realized his pants were already icy cold due to being soaked with melted snow, sweat and, to his endless relief, nothing else. Not that it mattered, a borderline omnipotent being was not dying to a brisk winter's morning.

    Even so, he could not help but notice that her once otherworldly appearance had turned into that of a tattered kitten. No demanding presence or mysterious glow, Darkrai had transformed her from a goddess to peon in a matter of seconds. He had seen her like this before, when Zoroark had temporarily sealed her powers in No Man's Land. Indeed, he had thought she was dead back then, and been proven wrong not long after. Fooled once, he knew better than to doubt her abilities again. Although he was seeing Mew for what she really was, but in his mind he could still see an image of her once graceful appearance.

    Without much else to think about, Mew found her mind drifting towards the great unknown. Death had always seemed so distant, so far ahead in the future that it was nothing worth worrying about. But now, she could feel it creeping up on her. Soon, all could be gone. Forever. Thinking about her life, she wondered what had led her down this diminishing path. Could this all have been avoided? No, she thought, she knew that no matter what she had chosen to do, she would one day be forced to face death. Such is the fate of all living creatures. She could save the world, she could extend her reach beyond the stars or she could remain curled up into a ball forever, it is inevitable that one day she would lose everything before the one obstacle impossible to overcome. It filled her with sadness as she weakly clung on to Lucario, wanting to share her newfound wisdom.

    "No matter who we are… Wh-What we do… Where we go… I-It will always… End the same…" she stammered as her voice almost failed her, "… Alone… In endless emptiness… And h-hopeless… Despair…"

    Lucario looked down at her with confusion, and the idea that she might be leaving him and everything else in the world felt overwhelming. Filled with sadness, it soon turned into anger as she came to realize the futility of life.

    "How are we… Supposed to accept that…!?" she continued with the same stammer but more power behind her words, "Is this the price of living…!? To one day lose everything…!?"

    "SHUT UP!" Lucario yelled again while feigning fury, disguising the pit opening up in his stomach from her words, "I told you to stop talking like you're going to die, you stupid little…"

    He trailed off and swiftly pushed the idea out of his head. He wondered why he was screaming at her so much. Every time he was about to talk, he thought he could see Mew's eyelids flutter a little further down and would immediately raise his voice in order to keep her awake. His fears settled as although she was looking a bit worse for wear, her trembling was finally beginning to slow down.

    "… Not so cold… Anymore…" Mew whispered calmly with a mild sense of euphoria, "Stars… Heating up… Earth…"

    "Too cloudy… Can't see any stars…" Lucario muttered with a bothered tone, but not because of the shaded skies. If what Darkrai had said was true, never again would Mew shine like the stars. Robbed of everything that made her special, her dazzling form would fade and become an invisible feature in the darkness of the night, soon to be forgotten by the world she had struggled so hard to save.

    Mew lay silently in his arms, feeling her limbs grow turgid and her body go numb. She wondered how she looked in this regressed state, especially to those who had so many times seen her touch the sky and perform miracles with ease. Lugia would be disappointed, and she felt a lump form in her throat when she realized this is exactly what he had warned her about for so many years. At least Celebi would support her for as long as necessary, since the two of them were as close as can be. The other legendaries would simply have to cope with it, and she felt regretful that she could no longer be one of them. She drifted away into a delusion as she continued staring up at the sky, seeing only a grey mist.

    "… Artic-uno…? Stop…" Mew spoke dizzily as she thought she could see the mighty bird pass her by high above, "… Too much… Storm… Want to see… Stars… Moon…"

    "They're not going anywhere," Lucario replied quickly, "Focus on survival."

    Although her speech was becoming more disjointed, it seemed his reply had some manner of effect as she slowly switched her vision from the heavens to him.

    "… So I did…" Mew whispered quietly, "… But… Why…?"

    Lucario met her gaze as he subconsciously picked up his pace. Mew remained still and her expression was calm, which somehow seemed more distressing than her earlier behavior.

    "I… Lived in… Celibacy… To survive…" Mew explained and her lower lip trembled without her noticing, "But… But now… I will… Still die… Leaving… Nothing… Behind…"

    She turned her eyes away from him as she looked off to the side.

    "Celebi… Told me… I tried it…" she continued as her voice was beginning to crack up again, "Th-Thought it… Would bring… Calmness… And joy… But all it b-brought… Was shame… And I… F-Fled… From you…"

    "… Fled…?" Lucario repeated, and it only took a second for his long gone concern to revive again, "Wait, you said… You said you didn't avoid me on purpose! It just kind of… Happened?"

    "Forgive… Me… I… Lied…" Mew whispered shamefully before closing her eyes, "So… M-Meaningless… Now… Why… Did… I… Not… Speak…?"

    "No! Nothing is meaningless!" Lucario shouted again as he saw her close her eyes all the way, his heart beginning to beat faster in fear, "I forgive you, but you've got to live! I won't question it, just keep fighting!"

    For a moment he thought she had fainted, but then she peered back at him through tiny slits behind her eyelids. The sight filled him up with strength and determination, not wanting to see her brush with death ever again.

    "Rrrrgh!" Lucario growled as he forced his sprained leg and began marching faster through the snow. The bed was deep so he could not fully run, and after only about ten steps he felt himself exhaust the last of his reserves. However, he refused to slow down or stop, realizing he held Mew's life in his hands. He occasionally looked down at her to see that she was still alive, constantly having to remind himself of what she had once been. There was no longer any brightness emanating from her, but in his mind she was like a brilliant beacon of light radiating the purity of a clear spring. An angel, wings clipped and halo faded. Despite what Darkrai had said, he knew Mew would recover her powers. Wounds heal, it's only natural and nothing special. And even if not, it had never been her status or powers that made him like her. No matter what was to become of her, he would stay by her side.

    "… Last… Chance…" Mew struggled to speak, rocking back and forth from Lucario's violent charge.

    "I only need one!" Lucario replied instantly and knew it was only natural for her to doubt his abilities, considering his track record.

    "… Must… Tell… You…" Mew wheezed with urgency in an attempt to shout down his incessant panting.

    "Chew me out later, I've got to focus!" Lucario responded, knowing he was definitely her last choice for a last chance but also realizing he was the only one who could do it.

    "… Before…" Mew continued trying to get his attention, "… Listen…"

    "Fine!" Lucario exclaimed reluctantly as he braced himself for the worst, "I'm listening, I'm listening! What is it!?"

    He saw Mew's mouth move, but the sound was too low for him to make out between the whistling wind and trampled snow. Thinking he had gotten off easy, there was something about her pale and colorless face that suddenly stole his breath away in surprise.

    Tears. Lucario did not even realize that he had stopped running as he felt petrified, staring with awe.

    A strong wind blew past, Mew feeling the cold sensation overwhelm her senses, but despite it struggled to smile one last time. She was eager to see his reaction, and hear his answer. In the state she was in, they were all she had left.

    "… I…" Mew started, Lucario focusing his ears.

    "… Love…" Mew continued, Lucario's breath getting caught in his throat.

    "… You…" Mew finished. She beheld his face as it remained in perpetual paralysis. Mouth unmoving, eyes never wavering, it felt as if time had stopped. She knew this to not be the case as slowly but surely, she felt her life begin to slip away. Desperately clinging on to it just a little longer to hear his response, her words were too weak.

    "What're you saying…?" Lucario whispered, unable to comprehend what he had just heard, "You… What…?"

    He gazed at Mew in shock as her lips barely moved, as if trying to say something. In a last attempt to reach him, she lifted her two arms towards him, her vision of Lucario obscured by darkness. Too stunned to properly react, Lucario continued staring at her crying, smiling face as her arms and eyelids slowly fell.

    "Mew… D-Don't…" Lucario stammered as he felt himself quiver, "No, you can't…!"

    Hoping, begging for any sort of response from Mew, he was left sitting in silence. She was still, only shaking slightly from Lucario's trembling. Mind fogging up with panic, he began shaking her harder, vehement to see her stir again.

    "Mew…?" Lucario whispered before screaming, "MEW!"

    There was no response. Something sucked the air out of Lucario's lungs as he stared at Mew, her beautiful face lifeless and static. Desperately checking for a pulse, he gripped her brittle wrist so hard it felt like it would break off. Pressing against her chest until her ribcage bent, her lungs refused to reactivate. He had thought her dead before, only now recognizing how wrong he had been. Her body was cold. Her breathing was gone. None of this was a fabrication or an illusion – It was reality. Not a single shred of life remained within the empty husk of the legendary Mew.

    His mind went blank. His body went limp, a bottomless depth opening and swallowing his insides. Alone with her remains he sat on his knees, no one hearing his helpless wails echoing through the rage of a hateful blizzard.
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  21. #371
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    Chapter 91

    Epilogue of Year 11


    Words fail me as I attempt to disclose the status of our mission. In regard to our objectives, the mission was a great success. We penetrated the enemy's defenses, acquired the virus and captured the perpetrator. Although the virus in question was not of the nature we had suspected, it is a highly dangerous artifact that must never be used and should remain top secret to everyone without full clearance. We are currently looking into ways of disposing it, taking as much time as we need in order to prevent accidentally releasing it.

    However, the toll for victory was steep. Our leader Zoroark was brought back in a panicked state, not recognizing who we were or where he was. He had been dealt a powerful attack to his psyche, something previously thought impossible to inflict upon Dark-types. After several hours in solitude he finally came back to his senses and took charge once more, but was notably weakened. I can personally attest to the fact that in this week to follow, he has not slept once. I worry about his health, but at least he seems to have escaped the ordeal unscathed in terms of persisting physical damage.

    The death of Mew was not something any of us had thought possible. Presented with her body, we all just stood and stared, speechless as Celebi cried and cradled her like a sister. Despite repeated efforts from the legendary to bring her friend back to life, a distinct lack of results shows that some things are beyond even their abilities. Rejecting my offer for proper burial, Celebi has taken to isolating herself with the body inside the deepest reaches of this cave system. Unaware of the rites and traditions between legendaries, we are at a loss as to what to do, and will simply have to wait and see what the future brings. I do fret for Celebi's sanity, cooped up with no company but Mew's corpse. It is at times like these that I feel utterly powerless, wishing there was something I could do to ease her burden.

    The legendary trio is no more. Pikablu fell in battle against Red, suffering a stroke from stress and exertion. He was captured by Red who then immediately abandoned his post by the stadium, traveling at maximum speed towards the nearest Pokécenter. Eyewitnesses claim that when Raikou collapsed from exhaustion, Red stole a nearby bicycle and rode the last distance with his own two legs, displaying the strength and determination of a man in the prime of his youth. Pikablu was taken to intensive care, and his condition is currently stabilized. However, the damage upon his body is said to be deeply rooted, and it seems unlikely that he will ever be able to leave the hospital or perhaps even walk again.

    Cold as it seems, I wish I could say the same for Kabutops. The ancient Pokémon was struck by an attack to his psyche similarly to Zoroark, reverting to his primal instincts of aggression and fear. Zoroark described the attack in question as a forcible retrieval of ones worst memories, meaning Kabutops might currently be reliving his violent past in a world long gone. Showing no hesitation, he attempted to cut down the Gallade and anyone else that dared approach. He was eventually subdued and captured by Blue, but despite our best efforts he has yet to show any signs of recovery. Even going as far as to wildly devour a picture of his family, one shudders to think what would happen should they ever reunite.

    Despite having spent more time with him than the other members of the trio, the case of the Gallade eludes me. One would think that the loss of his two friends would dampen his spirits, yet he wanders the caverns as cheerful as always, telling jokes and entertaining anyone open to it. His disposition is most peculiar, but it is nice to see at least one of us who has yet to fall prey to deep depression.

    The one that worries me the most is the Lucario, the one without the signature spikes upon his chest and hands. Although he recovered quickly from the effects of hypothermia, he blames himself for the death of Mew and has taken a troublesome liking to the stash of alcoholic beverages we acquired during our initial scouting of the area. He seems to be convinced that his presence brings misfortune to others, and violently dismisses anyone who approaches. The supply of alcohol was quite generous and there is no worry of him running out any time soon, at least not before the inevitable liver failure. Being a Whimsicott with a less than impressive physical stature, my own personal attempts to reach Lucario have been unsuccessful, and it seems his close friend Zerobi is treated likewise.

    All things considered, Zerobi seems to be the one least bothered by the catastrophe at Pokémon Stadium, something I attribute to the fact that death and mayhem is something she is all too familiar with. More recently she has begun visiting a nearby town in secrecy, most likely assuming us too busy to notice. As much as I worry and wish to investigate, truth is that we do have far more pressing issues at hand, and lack the resources to even try. All I can do is pray that her words of redemption were not complete fabrications.

    We shall be returning to No Man's Land soon, leaving nothing but the original scouting party behind. We have offered means of travel to the Gallade, Celebi and Lucario, but all of them rejected. Although the former is capable of teleportation, the other two seem content on staying until the end of times. Zoroark requests that we leave them to their own devices and treat them with respect, due to their helpful roles in our mission. Although I feel responsible and wish to supply them with some manner of therapy, Zoroark insists that privacy is the best we can give them. Following his enlightened mind is what has led me here thus far, but it is with heavy heart that I write these last words and sorely hope for a better new year.

    - Whimsicott
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  22. #372
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    And so ends year 11. Mew's death was quite a shock, for obvious reasons involving Darkarai and his not-so-great stats and Mew's, well Mewness. Once again the Final battle is NOT the Final battle, and I'm starting to wonder if this story will go on forever. Well, needless to say I am excited for what may happen in year 12, and I predicted that Darkarai will be the true antagonist a while back, AND I WAS RIGHT! (I think. You can never be totally sure of anything, especially in this fic)
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
    2. Arrogance
    3. Writer's Block

  23. #373
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFought View Post
    And so ends year 11. Mew's death was quite a shock, for obvious reasons involving Darkarai and his not-so-great stats and Mew's, well Mewness. Once again the Final battle is NOT the Final battle, and I'm starting to wonder if this story will go on forever. Well, needless to say I am excited for what may happen in year 12, and I predicted that Darkarai will be the true antagonist a while back, AND I WAS RIGHT! (I think. You can never be totally sure of anything, especially in this fic)
    That's for sure! Well, I suppose I could reveal one thing... Year 12 will and has always been the end of the story. Whatever happens, it all ends there and I'm retiring. Be ready for it!
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  24. #374
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    Chapter 92

    Hope: Trust vs. Mistrust


    It had taken some time, but finally Zerobi was getting accustomed to the layout of the caves, lovingly nicknamed "Nomad's Land" by its slowly departing residents. It reminded her of home, and even more of the Cerulean Cave, right down to the awfully strong Pokémon wandering to and fro. At least unlike that place, they were the ones who were afraid of her. The only thing missing was Astrid, and she felt thankful to find that the less meek of the revolutionaries were happy to share what they remembered about him. It felt very nostalgic to hear of his antics, severe bashfulness and untimely attempt at bravery.

    The cool, refreshing air gradually turned stale as she ventured deeper inside the complex. Following the Whimsicott's instructions, finding the fabled "stash" was a cinch. A vertical stretch ending with a small opening leading into a larger room – The similarities with her old execution chambers were uncanny, and she hoped the sight inside would not be nearly as horrifying.

    It wasn't. A stack of rather huge crates filled the far end of the room, one of them pried open to reveal its contents: Bottles of neatly packed beer. Alcohol was something she did not have much experience with. One time Basil managed to sneak some into school, but insisted on drinking the full bottle himself to show everyone how cool he was. Most of his classmates were unimpressed, watching as the Bellsprout tried to root himself into his own desk for several minutes before passing out and being carried off to a Pokécenter. Although she had many sorrows to drown and trauma to forget, she never tried any. Rationalized that she needed to stay sharp and could not risk getting drunk, accidentally stumbling into town while blurting out more than a few things that would send her straight to prison, and not just to sober up.

    Of course, the beer was not the only thing to catch her eye. Sitting next to a crate while using the open lid as a chair was Lucario, although "slumping" might have been a better description than "sitting". His back was turned to her and his head all but vanished behind his shoulders, slouching to the point where only his drooping ears proved he had not been decapitated. She walked up to him, noticing a somewhat full bottle on top of the crate; his makeshift table.

    "Lucario?" Zerobi spoke up, realizing he would not have noticed her arrival due to her lack of an aura. Or his lack of attention. He very slowly turned his head towards her, his eyes bloodshot and his mouth slightly ajar.

    "Ze… Ro… Bi…?" he wheezed, a waft of alcohol hitting Zerobi in the face. Finding it to be nowhere near as revolting as what was included in his preferable diet, she tried to grab the bottle only to find it slipping out of her steely hands. She spun it around in place in order to read the label: Berry Brew Bluster, spicy flavor. A beer accustomed to appeal to the palettes of Pokémon enthusiasts, better remembered as the biggest marketing flop since Pokéballs were redesigned in an Electrode motif, causing trainers to carry them upside down by accident.

    "Why are you drinking this?" Zerobi asked with a sneer, "You hate berries."

    "… Gotta do it…" Lucario grumbled as he snatched up the drink and held it away from her, "… Gotta clear my mind…"

    "CLEAR your mind?" Zerobi repeated with irony in her voice, "What, to help you realize that's not how alcohol works?"

    Lucario stared at her grumpily for a few moments, trying to think of a reply while swimming through a turbulent ocean of booze in his drunken mind.

    "… So it would seem…" he muttered with a secretive tone, "… But such is… Not the case… Thanks to this, I've finally got everything figured out… All of it…"

    "What did you figure out?" Zerobi asked to humor him, watching with concern as he took a deep swag from the bottle and almost emptied it out in one go.

    "Every… Last… Detail…" Lucario grunted while placing the bottle down on the crate, "See… I used to be under a delusion that I wasn't a useless sack of shit… But no matter how hard I try… No matter how hard I train… Everything always ends up the same. It's not my fault, though… It's fate."

    "… You said you don't believe in fate," Zerobi said, surprised to see his normally alert personality take a nosedive.

    "After what's happened, how can I not…?" Lucario muttered as he swished around the last contents of his drink, "Life's like a stupid story… All my actions only exist to lead to one inevitable outcome… Doesn't matter how hard I fight or how much I suffer… I can't change the will of the author, and whatever tale he's got planned out…"

    Zerobi had never really assumed Lucario to be a happy drunk, but this depressing state was worse than she expected. It had only been a week and he already looked as if he had completely given up at life.

    "Come on, this isn't good for you," Zerobi said while trying to pry the bottle out of his hand, "Let's go. Get away from here.""Claws off!" Lucario burst out while knocking her arm away, "You spent 8 years in a cave, and you get on my case after mourning the death of a dear friend for a few days!?"

    "That… Was different…" Zerobi explained while thinking back, wondering if Lucario thought she had spent all that time moping, "I didn't do it for my sake, I just didn't want to hurt anyone else!"

    "Same as me, then," Lucario growled before stopping for a moment, his expression turning into melancholy, "Mew… Mew will be the last casualty. As long as I stay in here, I can't bring death upon anyone else."

    Of course, Zerobi had long since figured out the source of Lucario's depression. She herself had only spent about half a week together with Mew, during which the fabled legendary had either been unconscious or trying to stay away from her as much as possible. Although both Celebi and Lucario spared no breath in singing Mew's praises, Zerobi was not exactly overcome with sorrow regarding her passing.

    "Lucario…" Zerobi whispered in an attempt to empathize, "… It wasn't your fault."

    "… Like hell, it wasn't!" Lucario shouted as he suddenly sat up straight, "I'm the one who led Darkrai out into the snow! I'm the one whose pathetic hide Mew had to come rescue! I'm the… I'm the one…"

    The volume fell lower as he began to slump down again, turning his face away from Zerobi to hide his growing devastation.

    "… I'm the one… Who was supposed to… Protect her…" Lucario whispered with dismay while slapping his forehead, "I couldn't even protect her from low temperature! Instead, she… She died because of me…"

    Appearing to be entering recluse once more, Lucario instead slammed down the bottle with surprising force, nearly shattering it in the process.

    "And for what!? Why was I even there in the first place!?" he yelled with fury and started counting up all the failures in his life, "I sacrificed that small penguin to get away from Suicune, I put you in danger, I screwed up and let Kabuta get her arm ripped off, I sat and watched as the Dragonair's mind shattered, Rukario's probably dead too because of me, Celebi got shot and Zoroark nearly went to the gallows when I wasn't busy beating her up over stuff that didn't matter…"

    Zerobi stared at him with confusion, but he cared not how much of what he had said was new information to her.

    "And now… Even Mew had to give her life to spare mine…" Lucario groaned as he grasped the sides of his head in anguish, "Why…!? What was the point!? My life isn't worth a damn, it's not worth saving! I CAN'T DO ANYTHING!"

    The loud shout echoed throughout the cave. Lucario took a moment to catch his breath, Zerobi remaining stunned from his outburst. Constantly boasting in battle and having been the former champion of the world, she never imagined Lucario would have such a poor self-image. She recognized his line of thinking all too well and only now saw the folly of the concept. Did he really consider himself a bother to those around him? Did he not realize how much he meant to her?

    "But… You can…" Zerobi whispered as she carefully placed a hand on her chest, "… For me."

    Lucario continued drawing in breath while looking away from her, forcing himself to calm down.

    "… No, Zerobi… You've worked hard to get your life back…" he replied quietly, "… Don't ruin it. Stick with me, and I can only promise you misery and death."

    "Two things I've dealt with before, and would-" Zerobi started, but was interrupted as Lucario lashed out with his arm. The blow was clearly not aimed at her, but the surprise was enough to make her step back.

    "I won't let you! Get the hell out of here, or I'll throw you out myself!" Lucario shouted while staring at her. His expression was not of anger or sadness, but something else. Curious as to what would come of it, Zerobi moved closer. In an instant, Lucario thrust his open palm towards her.

    "Aura Sphere!" he exclaimed while finding it a little difficult to keep his outstretched arm stable, "Don't think I wouldn't! I'm drunk 'n dangerous! Leave me alone!"

    Zerobi flinched, Lucario's gesture reopening her most devastating of old wounds. He watched her as she staggered backwards, not feeling a whole lot better about himself as she gave him one last look before turning around and going through the exit. Still, he knew it was for her own good. When the legendary dogs arrive or when Darkrai comes back to "reap", he wanted her to be as far away from him as possible. If he had to get it done by being a blathering idiot, so be it. He withdrew and looked at his open palm for a moment, surprised that it had even worked in scaring her off.

    "Like I'd really do it…" Lucario muttered to himself, thinking she did not know him as well as she imagined. With a discontented sigh, he turned his attention back to his drink.

    "… Like you'd really do it," Zerobi said under her breath as she leaned up against the wall outside and stifled a snicker. Expecting to feel hurt or concerned, she instead found his feigned abrasiveness to be strangely amusing. Trying to appear threatening after she had seen him cry over a plate of rice and curry - He really was a poor actor. Everyone else had said that he was consumed in anger and sadness, but she could tell that was not the real reason he had pushed her away. She had a feeling he was being prideful, wanting to prove that he could get through this without the help of anyone else. Even so, at least now he knew her feelings and that she was willing to stay by his side. Constantly nagging and tugging at him now seemed like a bad idea, and so she decided to give him some time to himself.

    In truth, she had no intention of sitting around and worrying about other people all day. She felt like she could use some time alone as well, having a particular concern of her own to deal with. She had been able to put it off for some time, but with the state Celebi and Lucario was in it seemed unlikely they would help get her mind off her own problems anytime soon. It was not something she had to do, and it was not even a particularly good time to do it. It was an opportunity, nothing more or less. Awaiting the sun's departure, she took a short nap while preparing herself to grab for it once more.

    Can I trust my friends to stay with me?
    Year 1-3: Occult Magazine, Evolution's Gate [img]http://i55.*******.com/kvo8z.png[/img]
    The Eeveelution cult called Evolution's Gate was disbanded after the bizarre deaths of 47 of its members. This is a story where one must question where the line between fantasy and reality is drawn...
    Year 4-7: Forever Legendary [img]http://i52.*******.com/16a5hc2.png[/img]
    A brash Pikachu hunts down Legendary Pokémon in the hopes of becoming one himself.
    Year 10: The Human Species [IMG]http://i44.*******.com/34zypdx.png[/IMG]
    Humanity has gotten fed up with their fragile position in the world of Pokémon. The best of trainers will subdue or dispose of every powerful Pokémon in existence. However, which side of the conflict will you end up on if you are neither human nor Pokémon...?

  25. #375
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Between Nod and Terrafirma
    Posts
    392

    Default

    Just know that I'm still reading, it's just that I haven't much to say.
    Eager to see how this concludes.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

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