Alright boys and girls, hold on tight! Wrap up whatever work you've got to get finished today and grab some snacks! It is finally time for the long-awaited...
Initial Partner Ivy
The sun was setting by the horizon, once more leaving a field of grass and flowers with the wind as their only company. Even in a world inhabited by hundreds of different Pokémon, finding a desolate area like this is not rare.
The flowers were lapping up as much sunlight as possible before having to face another long night, creating a peculiar harmony between the gigantic ball of fire and easily flammable plants. The setting sun covered each blade of grass with a burning orange color, making the area appear aflame. Even so, every flower remained still as if finding peace in a fiery death.
Every flower except for one.
A particularly large one sailed across the sea of flowers, pushing aside the grassy matter and riding upon the back of a Pokémon. Her name was Ivy, an Ivysaur who was spending her evening exploring the world in an attempt to get her mind off things.
The thought of exploration had seemed quite a bit more adventurous and romantic than the actual act. So far the greatest thing of interest she had passed by had been a field of flowers, a small body of water followed by another field of flowers as well as a Gloom passing by, reflecting her bored expression. Nothing she couldn't see at home, or anywhere else for that matter.
In a twisted way it was working, since even the most common sight was an exciting one in this flat and uninteresting environment.
Her exploration seemed to have been nothing short of fruitless when suddenly she saw the silhouette of something elongated and motionless standing by the horizon. Pensively she dreamed of it being a tall and dark stranger, too cool for both words and movement.
The closer she got, she noticed that she had not been completely wrong in her assessment. It had been a strangely shaped stone sticking out of the ground like a monument, completely black against the setting sun. The soil underneath it was weak and newly dug, which told her exactly what manner of monument she had come across.
Creating graves such as these was a rather uncommon practice among Pokémon, who would normally just dig a simple hole and fill it up. There was no inscription on the rock, and she became curious as to who lay buried there.
Her question was abruptly answered as a clenched paw suddenly burst out of the ground. She reared back on her hind legs in shock and fell on her back while screaming in terror.
"Z-Zombies!" she shouted, trying to regain her footing as another paw pierced the surface of the grave, the creature it belonged to seemingly digging its way upwards. A great hole formed in the ground as the dirt seeped underground, raining upon whoever had been buried there.
"BLAH!" the zombie exclaimed the moment his mouth struck air, inhaling deeply while ignoring all the dirt surrounding his face. However, it would not let itself be ignored for long as it fell into his lungs and he started coughing loudly. The Ivysaur, who had been scrambling to get away suddenly stopped at the sound of this and turned herself around.
"Zombies… Don't cough…" she whispered to herself, and saw the creature struggling to breathe and to get out of the grave at the same time.
"Oh my, are you OK!?" she shouted, running towards him in an effort to help.
"Argh…" the creature responded with the most gravelly voice she had ever heard, momentarily bringing her mind back to zombies, "Can't see… Hurts…"
"Here, grab on" she said while extending a vine towards him, nudging his side to let him know where it was. Eagerly he brought his paws up to it, but fumbled around with it, trying to get a hold.
"Hey…" he mumbled angrily, "Hold still…"
"I am," Ivy responded, "Wait, let me handle this…"
Twisting her vine around the Pokémon's waistline, she easily lifted him out of the grave, eliciting a surprised gasp from him. He was still covered in both dirt and mud, but Ivy instantly recognized the being kept in her vines as a Lucario.
She lowered him down next to the grave and let go with her vine, but the moment his feet touched the ground he collapsed like a newborn baby, his legs giving no support.
"Argh!" he growled, crashing against the soil he was once buried in. He could hear a voice, and something was bumping his side. His mind was still in scrambles, so he didn't really understand any of what was going on.
"Ah! Sorry!" he heard a voice to the right of him. A fairly normal voice, to contrast everything else that was currently happening. His arms and legs felt a bit more simple than usual, his stomach felt even worse than after washing down chili with spoiled milk and he was somehow lying on a part of himself, although he couldn't determine what. Something sticking out of his butt as well as head.
"… Are you OK?" he heard the voice again, snapping him out of his internal checkup and back into reality. He saw a rather orange sky above him filled with what seemed to be bubbles, and the unmistakable sound of waves could be heard.
"Um… Who are you?" he once again heard the voice say. Turning his head to the right, he was greeted by the face of a monster. A green face with cancerous spots of darker green covering it, containing huge red eyes and a large mouth with fangs sticking out of it. Lucario was frozen for a moment, but did not completely snap until the face before him suddenly forced a cute smile.
"GAH!" he exclaimed while trying to sit up, but even this simple action felt very different from what it would usually feel like.
"What the… What the hell is this…" he growled to himself, not recognizing the sound of his own voice. He looked again at the green face, which was now looking worried.
"AH! What the hell is THAT!?" he shouted, quickly trying to back away but falling to his side.
"Huh?" Ivy asked, never having seen a reaction like this before, "What do you mean?"
"I-It talks!" Lucario stammered with a panicking voice, getting a better look at the Ivysaur from a distance and seeing a large flower on top of it, "… Haha! HAHAHA! A… A giant green potted plant with legs and a face… That gets worried and talks…?"
"Hey! You're being pretty rude to the girl who just helped you!" Ivy snapped back and took a step forward, "What's wrong with you!?"
"STAY AWAY FROM ME, CARNIVORE!" Lucario bellowed and started to scuttle away faster, causing him to trip over his tail and fall backwards.
"Curses!" he growled in frustration while instinctively reaching down to his butt and noticing that things were quite different indeed, "W-What's wrong with my body!?"
"Stop yelling!" Ivy said with a loud voice while approaching the frightened Lucario, "Start making sense!"
"I-I won't let you… Get me…" Lucario stuttered as he tried to crawl away when he suddenly saw a body of water not far away, "… Aha! I found your weakness, triffid!"
Ivy stood in silence as she felt the statement was too stupid to respond to as Lucario moved toward the body of water at an impressively quick pace, considering that he was constantly stumbling over his own body parts.
"Prepare yourself for…" Lucario started and reached a hand into the body of water, but instantly stopped himself when he noticed he no longer had any hands.
"W…" was all the noise Lucario could muster before he stared in disbelief at his own reflection, not moving a single muscle.
An odd creature stared back at him, a hazy vision from the murky waters. He had never seen anything like it before. He thought there was another monster beneath the water's surface, waiting to consume him.
It had the same shape of a human, but was still nothing like it. It had much larger ears, a snout and a fine blue fur covering his entire body. Where he assumed the chest of the creature was, the hair was much longer and in a yellow color. Its arms ended with paws instead of hands, and its legs were more reminiscent of hind legs. It was wearing a pair of pants out of which a fairly short tail stuck out, and from the back of its head hung strange black cylindrical appendages that looked a little like thick dreadlocks.
Staring at the water, Lucario moved his head back in shock, and noticed that the creature did the same. He tried raising his right arm, and the creature did the same with its left one. Observing the creature very carefully, he saw it slowly move both its arms up to its head and pull down its long ears to its sides. Then, the creature appeared to clutch the end of them and squeeze hard.
He could feel it.
And so, the monster consumed him.
Ivy watched as the scene with the strange Pokémon by the water progressed. He had been gripping his ears now for almost a minute without moving, his face frozen in terror.
"Um..." she said as she started walking closer to him, "What's wrong?"
His eyes quickly darted to look at her while the rest of his body was completely still, but after a second he slowly turned to face her.
"Me…" he answered with a weak, frightened voice, "… What am I?"
"… A Lucario, right?" Ivy replied, wondering what he was getting at.
"What… What did you call me?" he asked.
"What I called you!?" Ivy said angrily, "You called me a potted plant!"
Ivy awaited a response and was preparing to follow up, but stopped herself and watched as the shocked Pokémon suddenly looked down at his body and started moving his limbs. His expression was one of strong disbelief.
"I'm a… What? A Lucasmario?" he mumbled before silently staring at himself in the water for a while.
"You… Are you alright? I didn't mean to be so harsh before, I…" Ivy started, but was interrupted as Lucario swallowed his fears and looked directly at the monster.
"A… A 'Lucario'… Right?" he said, not masking the shakiness in his voice completely, "... What's that?"
"That's what you are" Ivy said, starting to get a nasty feeling of what might be going on, "You know... A Pokémon."
"... Pokemon? What's a Pokémon?" Lucario answered, much to her shock.
"Huh? You don't know that!?" she exclaimed with a surprised look on her face, "Pokémon are... Well, us! We both are Pokémon! I mean, what do you think you are?" Lucario looked at her with a strange look for a few seconds.
"Me?" Lucario said as if the answer should be obvious, "A human, of course!"
"A... A human!?" Ivy repeated with shock. Whatever answer she had expected, this was not even remotely close to it. What made things even more strange was that the Lucario seemed to be serious about what he had just said.
"... A human?" she said while looking over him yet again, "... But you look exactly like a Lucario in every way!"
"No way in hell!" Lucario yelled as his voice suddenly lost its meekness and gained a hint of determination, "I clearly remember being human! This body's all wrong! What the hell's going on!?"
"But I've never even heard of anything like that happening before!" Ivy yelled back in the same tone for reasons unknown to herself.
"… Said the goblin with a damn plant sticking out of its back…" Lucario muttered angrily, "… Who yelled 'Zombies' at me, like, five minutes ago…"
They were silent for a while, both of them thinking deeply. The sun had halfway disappeared by the horizon, leaving nothing to expect but further darkness.
"… You are sure that you were originally human, right?" Ivy whispered, by which she was replied with a quiet nod from the Lucario still deep in his own thoughts.
"Definitively… My legs seem clumsy, my ears feel big, and..." Lucario said out loud before turning around and looking behind himself, seeing what he had been lying on earlier, "… Man, I even have a tail!?"
"Hey… Take it easy…" Ivy said when she heard the bitterness in Lucario's last sentence, "Don't worry... I mean, if you really were turned into a Pokemon, who says that you can't turn back into a human?" Lucario's face suddenly lit up, and he raised his head to look directly at her.
"Really?" he asked hopefully, "You know of a way!?"
"No, I don't…" Ivy responded sadly, "But there might be someone who does! Let's wait until tomorrow… You can stay at my place until then…"
"… Really?" Lucario asked again and started feeling better, "But… I can't even walk…"
"I'll carry you!" Ivy said with determination as she let one of her vines out of the plant on her back, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you until things get cleared up!"
"… Wow," Lucario said slowly as he looked at her with admiration, "You're… Really nice."
- I was a fool.
"So, what?" Lucario asked while tugging curiously at the cloth material covering his waist, "You normally go spelunking around graves?"
"No, no!" Ivy burst out before thinking of a way to defend herself, "I just… Went exploring. You know, to have a real journey!"
"Bah, a journey…" Lucario grumbled as he brushed off yet another speck of dirt on his pants, "Everything from the womb to the grave is a journey."
"Huh?" Ivy exclaimed in surprise, making sense out of what she had just heard and swiftly coming up with a counter, "Not really! In your case, it's everything from the grave to the w… Wom…"
Ivy trailed off as she blushed, Lucario looking at her for a while before starting to laugh.
"Ahahaha! Yeah, I guess I started out from a grave!" he chuckled as a few more remnants of the grave fell off his clothing, "That means my life ends if I ever get into a womb! But it's not like that's going to…"
Now it was Lucairo's turn to trail off, as he looked at Ivy's unusually reddened face and finally realized what was going on.
"… Oh," Lucario exclaimed quietly, before turning silent and uncomfortably fidgeting around.
- To trust a monster...
"ACHOO!" the Ivysaur sneezed powerfully, accidentally releasing a cloud of purple dust around her. Lucario looked up from his magazine in surprise before becoming completely covered by the dust, too stunned to even flinch.
"Bless you…" he muttered angrily, "… No wait, that other thing. CURSE YOU!"
"Ah!" Ivy exclaimed in shock, "L-Lucario! Those're…"
"… Purple snot?" Lucario said with a disgusted tone as he tried brushing the purple stuff off of himself, "Well, you've got a GREEN body, so I guess-"
"That's Poison Powder!" Ivy interrupted him with a terrified expression, "Quick! We've got to get you an antidote!"
"P… Poison?" Lucario stammered fearfully as a chill ran through his spine, "WHAT!?"
"Did they work!? How are you feeling?" Ivy continued fearfully but grew calmer with each word, "They should be working right away… Are you feeling sick?"
"Disgusted? Yeah!" Lucario said as several pollen fell into his mouth and nose, "Sick? Uh… Not really."
"But… That's…" Ivy mumbled and thought hard for a moment, "Ah, how lucky… I'm sorry!"
"… As well you should be! Seriously, why do I… I…" Lucario started rambling, but had to stop himself as the pollen from earlier had found a way to tickle his inner workings, "Ah… Ah… ACHOOO!"
A cloud of purple dust once again filled the room, instantly Ivy who took a step back in surprise.
"Ha ha ha!" Lucario couldn't help but laugh as he scratched his nose, "See? Now we're even!"
"I guess!" Ivy laughed with him, "Ew! But yours came directly from your nose!"
"Hey, I only did it because of what you did!" Lucario kept chuckling, the sight of the disgusted Ivysaur trying to get wipe herself clean looking quite amusing.
"Ha… Ha… Ha…" Ivy's laughter suddenly turned weaker, finally ending with a drawn out sigh, "… Haaah…" Succumbing to her own poison powder, she collapsed on the ground.
"Hey… Hey! Ivy!" Lucario shouted as he ran up to the dusty Pokémon, "But… It's YOUR poison! Damn it, this makes no sense, where's that antidote!?"
- … Thinking it was anything like me.
"ALRIGHT!" Lucario roared triumphantly, withdrawing his leg from its upright position as the enemy Mankey flew into a tree, causing a large indent in the bark and a slightly smaller one in its head.
"HELL YEAH!" Lucario kept going while raising his arms in victory, "I'm back into action, baby!"
"L-Lucario! That was amazing!" Ivy stammered in excitement, "… Then maybe if we work together, we can beat them!" In response to this, Lucario struck a battle pose by holding his arms in front of him as the swarm of Mankey rushed towards them.
- Attempting to establish a companionship…
"Here! I saved a seat for you!" Ivy giggled happily, signaling for Lucario to sit down beside her.
"… Seat?" Lucario repeated, looking down at the spot which looked completely identical to the rest of the grassy plains they were standing on, "Hmm… To a plant, maybe?"
"Just sit down!" Ivy said with a beaming smile, "I promise you'll love it!"
Lucario shrugged and sat down on the grass, leaning back on his arms to see the spectacle in front of him. Several prominently green Pokémon had gathered in front of them, many of them looking exactly the same to anything but a taught botanist. Leaves, flowers, bulbs and vines were sticking out of them at seemingly random, confusing Lucario to no end.
"What're those called?" Lucario asked while pointing at the most commonly featured Pokémon among them. They were short and had two large flowers on their heads, with their body sticking out a gathering of leaves that reminded him of a dress.
"Bellossom!" Ivy responded, "They're really cute, aren't they?"
"Hmpf… This is better than TV…" Lucario started as Ivy's face lit up in excitement, "… How?"
"Shh!" she hushed him, "They're starting!"
A loud noise came from somewhere, building up into a steady rhythm. Lucario looked around to see what was creating this sound, but had to stop his search as the many green Pokémon started moving.
The Bellossom were spinning around in beat to the rhythm as the other ones performed acrobatics, moving and bending themselves in ways that no human every could.
The sunlight from the fading day gleamed off their bodies, showing yet another odd symbiosis between the massive cluster of flames and easily burned flowers. Leaves, flowers, bulbs and vines flew in every direction, making it look like there were a thousand golden fairies in jade at play. The rhythm suddenly picked up as the dancing grew more intense, creating fantastic sights on the field of grass.
"… I never was a big fan of ballet…" Lucario muttered, his eyes transfixed on the whole ordeal.
"What about this?" Ivy asked eagerly, not knowing what ballet was.
"… It's kind of nice, I guess," Lucario admitted, as seeing the many flowers spin around had a strangely natural feel to it.
"Seeing you fight so impressively yesterday…" Ivy said quietly, "It reminded me of this."
"… That's not a compliment, you know," Lucario sighed, not wanting his manly fighting to be compared to sissy dancing, "What is this, anyway? Some kind of ritualistic… Ritual?"
"Uh…" Ivy mumbled while trying to think of an answer, "We grass Pokémon like the sun, and these like dancing."
"You sure they're not sacrificing anyone to some vengeful god?" Lucario continued asking, worrying that she had brought him here for a frightening ulterior motive and surprising plot twist.
"Anyway, I knew you'd like it!" Ivy exclaimed as she was no longer able to make sense out of Lucario's words, "Now come on, I wanna show you something else…"
- … With something not human…
"Disgusting…" Lucario grumbled as he reluctantly swallowed the poffin, chewing it as little as possible.
"… Still?" Ivy asked with a sad tone in her voice, "But… I worked so hard on it!"
"It's not your fault, Ivy," Lucario reassured her, "My tastes are that of a human. Heh, I'm lucky to be getting any food, the way I first treated you…"
"The whole 'monster' thing?" Ivy asked while throwing the rest of the poffin ingredients out the window, "It's been a while since then, hasn't it?"
"Yeah," Lucario said before leaning back on the bed of leaves, "I ended my simple job of being human and had to start fighting Pokémon with my bare hands… And learn a bunch of new stuff just to make it through the day…"
"Must be hard…" Ivy sighed with a sad face.
"It is, but…" Lucario said and though to a way to wipe her depressing expression away, "When I'm around you… It doesn't seem that bad."
"You… You really mean that?" Ivy asked, her face lighting up once more.
"You know… Even though I'm human and you're… Something else…" Lucario responded before quickly rising to his feet while beaming with confidence, "This is definitively the start of a beautiful new friendship!"
- … Was a fault on my part.
The treacherous terrain did little to slow Lucario's progress as he jumped from root to root, not wanting to use the branches after one had snapped underneath his weight. The thick tree crowns sucked up all the sunlight, forcing him to focus his eyes extra hard to avoid a fatal misstep. All of this would have made Lucario distraught, if not for the fact that he knew all his pursuers would have to cross the same ordeal.
Even in his great haste, he was able to hear a whistling sound approaching from behind. He twisted his head to the side as a sharp object flew past him, creating a small cut in his left cheek.
"I-Ivy…?" Lucairo stammered as he saw the familiar plant a few steps behind him. As familiar as she was, he did not recognize her current state in the least. Her eyes were transfixed upon him, and they were filled with hate. A memory flash hit him as he recalled the shape odd and green color of the object that flew past him… It had been a leaf.
"Lucario," she said menacingly as her vines retracted, "This ends here!"
"Y-You too!? Why're you-" Lucario started, but was interrupted.
"The whole world will be destroyed if you're left alive!?" Ivy shouted angrily at him with a questioning tone as she was still uncertain, "Why!? Why didn't you tell me!?"
"I don't know anything about this!" Lucario shouted back while thinking of a way to explain the situation, "There's no proof or anything! How the hell can you just believe something insane like that!?"
"You're neither human nor Pokémon, just like Deoxys, and the place where I found you…" Ivy growled, her voice contorting from the soft tone Lucario had come to know so well, "It all makes sense!"
"NO, IT DOESN'T!" Lucario bellowed, "You naďve bastard, it's just crazy talk!"
Ivy cringed at these words, and choked up at the sight of the Lucario that had once been her friend. The wise elder had gotten the entire village to join up in the hunt for him, convincing them that a catastrophe beyond their wildest imaginations would occur if he was left alive. The pain that the roaming monster Deoxys had left in their hearts had been stirred, and were willing to do anything to prevent history from repeating itself, no matter how vague the risk.
Before her was no longer the peculiar and confused Pokémon she had helped, but a threat that may or may not even know about it. His progress had gone from learning how to walk to fighting better than her in a matter of days; if things were to carry on in this manner…
The only way she could go through with this was to completely kill off her emotions, and especially making sure Lucario did not notice her hesitation. Even so, he was her dear friend, and she treasured the time they had spent together. She had so much to say, but could not bear to keep talking. Swallowing her anguish, she decided that he deserved to know.
"So many of us fell prey to Deoxys…" Ivy said in a pained manner as she forced anger to hide her tears, "… I can't take that risk!"
A moment of silence passed between them. Lucario wanted to continue talking and stop fighting, but saw that Ivy wished for the complete opposite. Desperately he was trying to think of something to say, but the vision of his only friend glaring at him with nothing but hate and murder in her eyes told him that her determination would render words ineffective. It was like conversing with a wild animal, and suddenly his initial impression of the Pokémon sprung to life…
"So that's it!?" Lucario yelled, the unfair treatment overtaking him and filling him with rage unlike anything he had ever felt before, "You're just gonna kill me off now!? After all we've been through!? After all we did together!?"
"If you care even a little about that…" Ivy said grouchily while regaining her confidence, "… You'll stand down now, so I can kill you quickly and painlessly. It's for the good of the world! Who knows, you might even just go back to being human!"
Ivy's confidence culminated, as her baseless assumptions reassured her conviction. Lucario had no time to respond as she suddenly twisted herself around, throwing one of the leaves at the stem of her flower directly at him. He instinctively grabbed on to the flat surfaces of the sharp object, bringing it to a halt.
"I-Ivy, you...!" Lucario stammered as he could hardly believe it. Had he not stopped it, the leaf would have been lodged in his chest by now.
"Just... Please..." Ivy said, finding it more difficult to continue being near her past friend and current enemy, "Don't make this harder than it already is!"
"Harder..." Lucario repeated with a cold, breathless voice as he let the leaf between his hands slowly dwindle down to the ground, "You're... You're really trying to kill me...? What about our friendship...?"
"I don't have a choice!" Ivy wailed and took a step forward, "They said you would bring about chaos and-"
"That's a LIE!" Lucario bellowed, placing his left leg in front of him to show he wouldn't back off, "Pure nonsense! Damn it Ivy, what the hell's wrong with you!? Why are you like this!?"
"Wrong with ME!?" Ivy shouted back, the insults adding more weight to her already tried patience, "My... My best friend turns out to be a monster! Think about how I feel for once!"
"… No!" Lucario yelled with fury while pointing at her, "You can talk and pretend to care, but in the end you really are a monster! I should've known better than to trust something like you!"
"And I should've known better than to trust a crazy hybrid like you!" Ivy snapped back, stretching out her vines in a threatening action.
"If you think I'm just going to lie down and die…" Lucario said angrily before holding his arms in front of him in a battle pose, "… Brace yourself! Irrational beast!"
- I will not make the same mistake twice.
"Not so violent now, are you?" Lucario asked quietly, putting down his foot right next to the Ivysaur's unconscious head, "You dumb animal…"
Her face was bloodied and wet from tears, and there seemed to be no trace remaining of the cheerful and soft spoken girl he thought he knew.
"T-There he is!" a loud voice came from behind, "Someone stop him!"
"HERE! CATCH!" Lucario yelled back, spinning around and kicking the defeated Pokémon with all his might, sending her bouncing off a nearby tree and slowly rolling down its truck. By the time the new arrivals had figured out what was going on in the darkness, he was already gone.
He made it out of the thick forest and felt relieved when he noticed no aura behind him, meaning that he had at long last shaken off his followers. He leaned himself against a nearby rock for a quick rest, rubbing against his neck which was still aching from the previous battle. The temperature was turning colder, and he wished he had brought a jacket or some kind of sheet to go with his pants.
A storm was picking up, both inside and outside of his mind. The silent rage he felt over his betrayal working in unison to the chilling wind that was starting to blow past him. He was quietly hoping for a blizzard, as it would give him time to rest and meditate over today's occurrences, and try to figure out exactly what had forced him to abandon his newfound home and beat his only friend to a pulp.
Lucario remained unaware, but a large figure stands on top of a gathering of rocks. Like the snowy peak of a mountain, the white and light blue colors turned it into a beacon in the dark. The figure grew hazier with each passing moment as it started snowing, and the upper part of it decided this was a good time to put on his trademark jacket.
"Heh heh heh…" Brendan snickered menacingly, "Found you."
"The contents of the grave… A normal Lucario?"
"Apparently not that normal. It's slightly deformed, and it was definitively in contact with… You know who…"
"So was the ground they stood on. Get some of that."
"The Lucario's the only living creature within our grasp after the final incident… There might be something of interest."
"Doubtful. What's even more doubtful is that you will find any volunteers to take on a idiotic mission like that."
"… Actually, Brendan jumped right on it."
"What!? The Shimmering Champion? Why!?"
"He was geared up to fight Deoxys, and quite pleased with the prospect of a 'manhunt'."
"Pleased. Satisfied. That is what this entire mission is about, no?"
"… I suppose. Whatever makes the higher ups and Brendan happy."
"Fine. I will leave you to your own devices, but should you come up with nothing I will waste no time draining this project of its every resource."
"As well you should. It's getting late, let's wrap things up and call it a day."