A BW Plasma Wins AU
When the young king stepped out onto the balcony of the Plasma castle, he did so on shaky legs. There had been such resistance that to greet the Unova region as its ruler was a risk, and even with the Triad guarding him, he was apprehensive.
But upon emerging from the halls, he was met with cheers and cries of appreciation, of overwhelming love. They had come to their senses after all, N realized, and as he approached the microphone to give his first speech as the true leader, he couldn't help but tear up.
Behind him, the Seven Sages watched in admiration. Fanned out in a row as they were, they formed a wall of support mirroring the very castle itself.
"Our king!" Rood murmured, as though he was viewing a miracle.
"M'lord," Zinzolin softly asked Ghetsis, next to him, "you must be the happiest of all."
Ghetsis only stared at N's back, the long hair draped over those ceremonial robes. A hovering camera zoomed in on N's face, showing off those striking good looks that had been key in capturing Unova's heart. Even unable to see the view directly, Ghetsis could picture exactly what the boy looked like as he spoke, every nuance in his gesturing and every expression on his face. All of it was as he had been trained, plus the emotions the boy was lousy with. The speech had been written by the two of them, so Ghetsis knew it to the word, and was pleased that N wasn't deviating from it too much.
"I suppose I am," he replied to the younger Sage.
In truth, Ghetsis was livid. Though everything had gone according to plan, there shouldn't be any need for a figurehead in the first place. He was the truly flawless one. He was perfection itself, and it only showed the utter ingratitude of the Unova region that it hadn't bowed to him immediately.
The banquet hall was large, but the table was set only for two. The right hand of the king was where Ghetsis would sit for the time being, a bitter darkness in the phrasing considering the state of his own right arm. Though that was perhaps the one part of the evening that didn't direct his ire towards N.
The young king entered, gesturing for his sage to sit. He looked beatific, serene, like a figure from a holy text. Or he did until he started grinning and giggling. "That was amazing! I've finally liberated the Unova region! All those smiling faces; it was fantastic! I had calculated there would be a threat but there wasn't. I'm so happy! This is what we've worked for all our lives!"
As usual, the boy talked a mile a minute, getting progressively faster as he went on. No, N, Ghetsis thought, this wasn't what /we/ have worked for.
"Hm?" Ghetsis had a tendency to ignore N's hyperactive rambling. "We should all be so proud. Your ultimate goal has been reached, and at such a tender age."
N cocked his head. "My goal? No, this is our goal, all of Team Plasma together."
Ghetsis could only smile. "My lord, your highness, they are one and the same."
"Of course. I never thought it would be so much fun to have reached this height."
Where the hell was that wine? Ghetsis nodded ever so slightly, a signal to the Triad member standing across from him. He was never without them, even if they couldn't be seen, and at that time one was behind him and the third behind N.
It would be so easy, Ghetsis had long entertained, to simply have N disposed of in the normal way. The Triad would do so in an instant at the faintest word. But that would only martyr the false king in the eyes of the people. Something like that couldn't happen quickly.
The glass set before N bore soft marks within it that could easily be mistaken for water spots, but even those would raise suspicion in N's exacting mind. "Tell me," Ghetsis asked as the wine was poured, pulling his attention away, "what will your first act as ruler be?"
"Well..." N took a draught from his glass and that was all Ghetsis needed to know.
Ghetsis was quick to arrange a tour of N's new land, making sure that he would make plenty of stops in the snowy regions and in Castellia. Every day, the news was full of sickening praise of the young king, the false king, the figurehead, the pawn, the fool, always smiling, always waving, always beloved, always praised.
That was what Ghetsis deserved. Not that empty-headed freak.
And the boy had the gall to look so very much like him. He was nearly identical to Ghetsis at that age, how dare he!
That false idol had stolen his throne, his crown, his subjects, his name, and even his face. But the biggest part was over. He wouldn't have to suffer that injustice for much longer.
N was having trouble staying awake. His head nodded up and down during his daily meeting with the Sages, and at one point he even snored, which ejected a snicker from Zinzolin. All the others, Ghetsis included, glared at the junior sage for the interruption.
"I'm sorry," N sighed. "I don't know what's come over me. Ever since that trip around Unova, I've felt so...off."
Ghetsis frowned sympathetically. "Being around so many people, being in such a cold area...you did take your medicine every day, your handmaidens tell me."
"Of course. Thank you for looking out for me. But yes, it appears my immune system isn't where it should be. Dealing with more people will strengthen it."
It nearly wrote itself, Ghetsis thought. The tragedy of the false king was on its final act.
People had begun to remark on N's paleness during his public appearances. Though his condition hadn't changed since his return to the castle, he had begun to look washed out. The letters he received were full of home remedies to a multitude of possible issues. Some even sent their new monarch makeup.
His handmaidens would present him with preselected letters each day to reply to, and he took special delight in showing some of them to Ghetsis. "All of it comes together, you see, like a brilliant spiral finally meeting. These diverse lives, all across Unova, they've found a common peace."
"And that one?"
In N's hand was a crayon drawing with adult writing along the side. A child had dictated a message and drew an accompanying picture, and it was clear that N treasured it. "'I miss playing with Poochy,'" N read aloud and tapped a black smudge that was likely meant to be a Poochyena, "'but I know she's happier now, and that makes me happy. You have a nice smile. That makes me happy too.'" He folded it along the envelope creases and let his hands fall to his lap, smiling in a way that would no doubt thrill the letter's writer. "Sage Ghetsis, you were always the one to travel around, spreading our word. It was by your dedication that I was able to liberate Unova, and I can never thank you enough."
"You will." At least the insufferable brat no longer called him 'father', even if it was out of instruction to be more kingly.
N leaned back in his chair, a hand carved rocking chair that had been presented by some artist, and set the letter aside on the table next to him. "Care to join me in some coffee?"
In the shadows, one of the Triad shook his head.
"Oh no, that's all right. You're the one that has so much work to do. The people depend on you, my king." Ghetsis took the elegant silver pot and poured N a cup regardless. "Here, drink it all. You need all the energy you can get," he cooed in a tone that made him internally retch.
"I live to serve."
N laughed. "So do I. We all have to serve Unova now that it's in our hands. We will shape the future of not only this land but all the world." He drank deeply, despite the heat of the liquid. "You're missing out. This is wonderful."
"Oh, it is indeed wonderful."
The castle was in a panic. King N had collapsed during an interview, with all Unova watching, and he had been brought back to rest. A doctor, specially called in by Ghetsis, examined N and declared to the Sages that he had found nothing. His handmaidens attended at his bedside, only reluctantly leaving him for anything.
"Their loyalty to him is second only to the Triad's loyalty to you," Giallo mentioned as he watched the two women walk away. "They're going to be invaluable advisors to him in the future."
"Perhaps," Ghetsis mused, mentally adding /such as it is/ as he entered the royal chambers.
It was a far cry from the small playground N had previously been confined to. Though it was the same room, it had been outfitted to suit a king, making it completely unrecognizable from before. Even with N's height, the hugeness of the bed and his visible illness made him seem almost tiny. "Sage Ghetsis," he beckoned with an unfamiliar rasp. "Please, be seated."
At the king's right hand again. "Of course, my lord."
"None of this computes," N sighed. "The medicine I've been taking ought to treat the symptoms I've been manifesting. I researched their makeups myself. Unless..."
Ghetsis straightened in his chair. He could smother the freak right there and nobody would be the wiser. Simply say that N had faded so suddenly, right before him, how tragic, how sad, what a tremendous loss but he would be there to guide them through those difficult times.
"...Unless this is due to my lack of contact with the world. I proposed that idea to the doctor but he hadn't seemed to consider it too deeply. I would like a test done on my immune system before I get much worse."
Good, the boy was still too stupid to figure it out. "My lord. We must prepare for the worst, as you know. You have no blood heir. If it comes to that..."
"You, of course."
It came so suddenly that Ghetsis wasn't certain he had heard it properly. "Me, my lord?"
"You're the only one who could. You led Team Plasma as my regent. You could lead Unova if it came to it." He smiled gently. "I hope you never have to, though."
The utter softness of the smile, on that face that looked so much like his own, sent a jolt of pure fury down Ghetsis's spine. Blood heirs only went so far. "Of course, my lord." He was being offered the world on a platter and it was still enough to inspire utter contempt.
Over the month since he had been brought back to the castle, N had worsened considerably. His doctors, multiple by then, had insisted he remain hydrated, but he could barely drink anything offered. His handmaidens remained at a near constant vigil, feeding him, bathing him, dressing him, and leaving only when he demanded that they rest.
During that time was when he would accept visitors, and he had requested to speak with the Sages one at a time. It was nearing evening when Ghetsis was called in, the last one. He returned to the elegant chair by N's right hand. "Your highness."
N's eyes were glassy and dull as he turned towards the sage. "Let's be blunt," he whispered. "You know why you're here. Um...please don't let Unova be sad for very long. I know they'll miss me, but that grief could--"
The Sage waited a moment, thinking idly of how short a wait it would be to finally achieve his ambition. "...My lord?"
"Uh? Yeah..." N had nodded off for a moment. "They could turn to unrest. You must be sure to win them as I did. It shouldn't be hard, father."
In the dim room, Ghetsis made no effort to hide his disgust at the title.
"Please find my pokémon. Tell them everything that's happened."
"I promise." Ghetsis had no intention of following through.
"And...please get me a drink. I'm so thirsty..."
The weakness in the boy's voice was absolute music to Ghetsis. He complied with near joy, filling the bedside cup from a nearly dry pitcher. This hadn't been tampered with. At least, not until Ghetsis accepted a small vial from the closest Triad and let the contents drip in. This would be the finishing blow. His pride wouldn't accept it coming from anything less. "Drink up, my lord."
Though Ghetsis had to lower the cup to N's level, he didn't mind. N gratefully downed as much as he could, and nearly immediately a woozy look crossed his face. "Ugh...it may be closer than I thought."
Those glassy eyes took a moment to widen, so very slightly. "Father...?"
It wouldn't be long now. Ghetsis leaned over to brush stringy hair away from N's forehead and kissed the exposed area, the very image of parental care over an ailing child. When he spoke, his voice was an encapsulation of that loving ideal if not for his words. "I hate you, N. I despise you. And now that you've finished your last dose, Unova is mine."
Though he still had life left in him, a light went out in N's eyes. It had been frustratingly easy to break him, so simple and straightforward, but now the world would finally have its rightful ruler.