Sorry for the wait. The really, really, really long wait. But enough babble, read the chapter!
Battle of Treasure City
Foggy Woods seemed like eons ago. In all actuality, it had only been a couple of days - a week at most. But time and memory are so subjective that none of that makes any difference. So many events happened between then and now. Sure, there were happy times. But there were so many more sad times. And frightening times. And times where I just wanted to go away and give up. Game over; I lose. Better luck next time. The whole misadventure made me wonder if there really wasn't some omnipotent being out there. If there was, he obviously had no care for me. Either way, I was on my own.
It's times like this - times where the only thing you rely on is about to be completely and utterly obliterated and there's nothing you can do about it - where your senses dull, time seems to slow, and you're left thinking this melodramatic babble.
I should have let her come. April was still in the building. Dear Arceus, why did I leave her? That building was about to be destroyed in a blazing energy blast. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I turned away. I couldn't watch. My fault...always my fault... A strange metallic noise sounded in the distance, but I paid no attention to it. As much as I tried to ignore everything, I was still listening for that explosion. I didn’t care for whatever that was. Raw energy coursed through my body for the third time in only a few days and it felt like I could bend the universe to my whim. It’s a shame that I could only make slightly bigger lightning bolts with it, though.
It's amazing how many thoughts you can squeeze into a few seconds.
The distant explosion that I was waiting for never came. Instead, a considerably less distant explosion burst in the middle of the forest path before me. The white light seared my eyes and I shut them quickly. I opened them again a few moments later, but all I could see was the same, frightening white. Am I dead? Did I die?
No, I hadn't died. My vision started to recover as I blinked several times. Through the remaining white dots that clouded my vision, I saw Regigigas down on one of his massive knees. He held himself up with a single arm and was eerily still. I turned to look at his target. Atop the still-intact Council Hall's roof stood a small, glowing figure that wasn't there before, though from this distance I couldn't make out who the savior was. The four-legged creature began hopping atop the city structures and was apparently heading this way.
A female voice cried out and pulled my attention back to the battle. Mesprit threw her arms out defensively as she was shoved a few feet backwards. It seemed that Regirock had broken his magenta prison. Unfortunately, my pent-up power had drained back to wherever it came from after seeing that April wasn't in immediate danger anymore. Because of that, I was absolutely no help whatsoever. As if I ever was.
Mesprit, however, was determined to make a difference. She formed green spheres in her palms as energy leaked out of her small fingertips to fuel the attack. With a sudden palm thrust outward, the quartet of Energy Balls blasted Regirock in the face. While a huge cloud of dust had emerged where they hit, the golem seemed unfazed by the seemingly powerful attack.
"W-what!? No way!" Mesprit was extremely worried now; her eyes were wide with shock. She grimaced for a moment, then set her gaze with a fiery determination. "No," she uttered in defiance. She put her palms together as her hands glowed with a bright light. As she pulled them apart, an orb of brown energy formed between her fingers. "I will not let another town be destroyed!" The sphere glowed brilliantly and grew rapidly. "Not now!" Her face grimaced with pain from the expenditure of the large amount of energy. The sphere was now larger than she was and lit up the forest more than the present noonday sun. The energy was blowing dust everywhere and roared like thunder. It hurt my sensitive ears, but I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't care. "Not ever!" She released the Focus Blast with a shove forward. It struck Regirock dead-on, and I was blasted into a nearby tree. I crumpled to the ground - hurt, but awake. I painfully lifted my head to see Mesprit bite the dust, utterly exhausted.
Regirock had different ideas. He had fallen onto a single knee, much like his master had done, but he was still conscious.
"No..." Mesprit moaned softly before blacking out.
Regigigas and Regirock both stood back up. Sheriff Lucario, who had been standing among the trees as I had, was scared stiff. It looked like he was muttering something, but I was too far away to hear it. His eyebrows turned down in determination, shook off the fear, and ran onto the path. He dragged Mesprit to the sidelines before staring down his opponents.
Lucario threw his arms out as if he were holding a staff. And then suddenly he was, as a translucent, blue, bone-like stick appeared in his grip. He charged Regirock and struck his head with the staff's right end. Keeping up the momentum, Lucario expertly beat Regirock down with a volley of furious blows. The rock golem held his ground well and slammed the ground with his fist when the Sheriff had let up the attack for a few moments. A crack snaked its way across the battlefield and fractured the ground below Lucario's feet. Yellow energy proceeded flowed through the cracks and exploded beneath him. Lucario cried in pain and collapsed.
Behind the rock golem, Regigigas charged up his orange beam again. My veins turned icy as I realized he was probably going to attack the hall again. No! Oh, please let that guy- My ramblings of thought were cut short by a prideful, male voice.
"Tsk, tsk. General R sure isn't gonna be happy about this." The four-legged creature from before stood atop the gate leading into town. As the beam from the behemoth was fired, the cream and blue colored pony deflected it with a glowing horn that sprouted from his head. Regigigas fell to his knees again as the burst hit his body. "Leaving Idealis was a bad idea."
Unwilling to lose, the master golem picked himself up and launched a huge, white sphere from his palm. The heroic horse deflected it just like he did with the beams. Regigigas bounced it back with a quick flick of his wrist. He was somehow much more agile than he was a few moments ago. The quadruped smirked and sent the sphere back again, his red mane flowing with his movements. The fight quickly escalated into an impressive game of dead man’s volley. Neither side was giving an inch, but the horse frowned when Regirock readied an attack. His eye pattern glowed white and small orange sphere formed before them. Mesprit and Lucario were still out cold, and what was I supposed to do? Luckily, I didn’t have to do anything because a blur of green rushed by Regirock. In the same instance, the orange ball dissipated as the golem fell abruptly. Standing over him was a large, green and cream, deer-like Pokemon. He raised his head proudly, as if it was only natural that’d he won so easily.
"Keldeo! How are you doing up there?" the green Pokemon asked. He had a male voice, regardless of the fact that he looked quite feminine.
"Just fine! This guy-" Keldeo paused to deflect the ball again. "Virizion! Can you - ngh - distract him? I can’t - agh - keep this up forever!"
"But of course!" Virizion smiled playfully at the behemoth. Regigigas was so busy concentrating on the his game of volleyball that he didn't notice Virizion running up to him. Or even if he did, he didn't react. The green deer’s horns which extended out of the sides of his face glowed white as he neared his target. With a graceful, passing slash, Regigigas was brought down to a single knee again. Unable to reflect the blast, the golem took the full force of his own power for a third and final time. Regigigas, king of the Regis, fell flat on his front.
I gave a sigh of relief as Keldeo jumped to ground. Virizion decided to formally greet Keldeo now that the danger was temporarily nullified. The two four-legged creatures bowed their necks to each other. Virizion lifted his head first.
"Nice battling back there. Not everyday that we get to fight another legend. And we got to take on the King of the Golems. A full blown Praetor! It was... magnificent!" Virizion spoke with flamboyance and vigor.
"It was pretty cool. Oh, hey, what’s news on Cobalion and Terrakion?" Keldeo sounded much younger than Virizion and spoke casually.
"They had a much easier time of things, actually. What with them facing only Registeel or Regice and all. In fact, Regice had already been defeated by the time we showed up!"
"Yes, that Azelf is strong. Took it down himself. Not sure how." Virizion shook his head slightly. They glanced at the two golems lying motionless at the ground, then back to the city. Together, the slowly walked toward the Council Hall. "Another victory to add to the pile. I just hope it was the right thing to do."
"Hey! Of course it was!" Keldeo hopped in front of Virizion and stared at him fiercely. "These enemy Pokemon were sent by Zekrom to capture, even destroy, this huge, awesome city! We stopped them. So we must be the good guys!"
Verizion smiled at him, but even from around the tree I was standing near I could tell his mind was leagues away. "Keldeo, someday..." he began. After a brief sigh, he continued. "Someday, you’ll learn the world is never quite so... evenly divided. There's no real good guys and bad guys. We’re all just Pokemon fighting for a reason. We may fight for truth, but who's to say that we shouldn't be fighting for ideals? Or maybe we should have just stayed out of it entirely."
"But, but..." Keldeo’s gaze dropped. His brow was furrowed and his mouth was a frown. "I mean, this feels right to me. So we're okay, right?"
"Heh, I dunno kid. But if it feels right to you, then I guess it’s okay. Now come on, into the city. These two will be out for a good long while, so I wouldn’t worry about them." Virizion nodded towards the city and the two quadrupeds continued on their way.
My gaze wandered from the heroes and saw Mesprit leaning against a tree on the other side of the beaten path where Lucario left her. Her eyes were closed, but she didn’t look too bad. I stretched a bit, since I was fairly sore from being thrown into a tree, and walked over to Mesprit.
"Hey, Mesprit, you okay?" I asked, nudging her shoulder. Her eyes fluttered beneath their lids and she opened them after a short while.
"Shane? Yeah, I think so. Where did - Oh." She looked at Regirock, then to Regigigas. "What happened to them?"
"Two Pokemon - Keldeo and Virizion, I think they were called - helped out. They beat him. Virizion took out Regirock in one blow and then helped Keldeo beat the bigger one. Lucario tried to beat Regirock after you fell, but he didn't do much," I explained and finished with a gesture towards the unconscious Sheriff in the middle of the path.
"Oh! I hope he's okay. We'll have to send someone out here." Her demeanor changed to one of frustration. "I still can’t believe I couldn’t even scratch the thing! How could I be so weak!?" She still had the energy to express herself thoroughly, it seemed.
"Hey, you didn’t seem weak to me! Your last attack sent me flying and I wasn’t even your target!"
"Yeah. Oh, and sorry about that. Still didn’t do a thing to that hunk of rock though." She pounded her small fist against the ground in frustration.
"Don’t feel bad. I didn’t do anything either!"
"That doesn't make me feel better."
"Sorry." I scratched an area under my right cheek pouch awkwardly.
"At least they're down now. Well..." Mesprit paused, grunted, and managed to levitate herself into the air. "Grr, let’s go. We should meet up with my brothers." I noticed she was having a tough time of just floating around, but she was determined to hold herself up.
"Are you sure you’re fine?"
"Yes!" Mesprit said defensively. "I’m just tired. They didn’t even attack me."
I frowned but decided that I couldn’t help her anymore than I’ve already tried. I walked slowly to make sure I didn’t leave her behind (I was sore anyways). We were just outside the gates of the city, so we didn’t have very far to go.
There was a large commotion in front of the Council Hall when we arrived. Standing before them were Azelf and Uxie who attempting to calm the crowd down. Virizion and Keldeo stood behind them. There were also three figures I didn't recognize. One was a blue and gray, goat-like Pokemon with pointed, yellow horns. He looked aged and wise. The one next to him was shorter and looked like a bull with brown horns pointing down with the angle of his face. He smirked confidently. The last stranger was floating behind him. The small, pink, cat-like Pokemon was apparently bored and had decided to keep itself busy by creating small, magenta-colored bubbles on its fingers and then playfully popping them.
The crowd was mostly upset because Regigigas had knocked over that tall building earlier. Not only did this destroy many Pokemon's homes, but it also injured many citizens. No one was killed, thankfully. Azelf assured that the town was going to fine and that General R had agreed to cover the costs to have the tower and houses rebuilt. After much urging, the mob dispersed and the citizens mostly went on with their lives.
I followed Mesprit over to the elders and the other Pokemon I didn't know. Uxie looked tired but healthy. "Are you okay, Mesprit?" Uxie asked as he floated over to help her.
"I'm fine. Just tired. I put all my energy into fighting those golems. Didn't work though. They beat me." She whispered the last bit, ashamed of her defeat.
"So I heard. Good thing we joined Verum, huh?" Azelf said smugly and nudged Uxie with his elbow.
Uxie made an exasperated sigh. "Yes, yes. Honestly, you are such a child."
"You're one to talk, Mr. I-scare-innocent-citizens-to-get-payback-for-taunting-me." Azelf teased in rebuttal.
Uxie paled. "You know about that?"
"Yes, I know about that. Impressive rendition of the Renegade though."
"Who told you I used Giratina's illusion?"
Azelf chuckled. "You just did! For someone who knows everything, you sure are gullible."
"Would you two stop it!" Mesprit floated between them and pushed them apart. "Not with The Swords of Justice watching!"
"Oh yeah, they're still here," Azelf muttered and turned to face the Swords. Mesprit rolled her eyes and took her place next to him.
Uxie shrugged and addressed their saviors. "Thank you for your assistance on such short notice. It was remarkable that you got here so fast."
The blue goat spoke first. "You are welcome. We are always happy to help. As for how we responded so quickly..." He gave a small nod towards the pink cat floating behind them. "Colonel Mew was able to help with that. Her teleportation powers are proving to be quite useful."
The cat inattentively waved the formal compliment away with her paw. "Just doing my job, General." She went back to haphazardly manipulating a small bubble with psychic powers. It raced around her body and she smiled as it passed by her vision. Squinting, she aimed for the energy sphere and popped it with a quick swipe of her claws.
"Yes, well, we are all grateful nonetheless." Cobalion paused as if he remembered something. "Oh, yes, didn't you have something Keldeo needed to know?"
Mew went blank for a moment. Then she must of realized what she had forgotten and all her bubbles popped simultaneously. "Oh yeah! That’s what I came back for, duh." She cleared her throat. In her most professional voice, she announced, "Lieutenant Colonel Keldeo, General of the Army Reshiram has decided to recognize your rapidly growing skill and talent. Your actions here today benefit all of Verum, no, all of Telmani. It is for this reason that he has decided to promote you. Congratulations, Colonel Keldeo!"
As the rest of the Swords of Justice cheered, I suddenly realized that I was still standing here listening to their entire conversation. It was a little rude and out of line, but all this talk of Verum and Colonels and things had aroused my curiosity. I silently excused myself and ran into the Council Hall to do what I should have done originally: find April.
The copper-furred Emolga was still sitting where I left her, drumming her fingers against the table. April raised her head when she noticed me.
"Oh, you’re back. I was-" April was cut off when I suddenly hugged her very tightly. "Ugh! This is nice and all, but I'm still bruised and in pain here!"
I released her and muttered, "Sorry."
"Did something happen out there? Did I miss a good fight?"
I recounted the exciting tale that took place mere minutes ago, conveniently leaving out the bit about how my entire reality seemed to break apart when the Hall (more specifically, April) was threatened.
"They knocked out Mesprit? Wow. And if it wasn't for Keldeo... I might not be here. See! This is why I should have gone with you!" April pounded her small fist on the table. "I always miss out on everything!"
"As if going in your condition would have been any better. The backlash from Mesprit's last attack would have knocked you out."
"Nu-uh! You survived it, so why wouldn't I?" She crossed her arms and stared angrily at me. Despite myself, I found the pose quite cute. Dang it, not this again.
I sighed. "Look, you were injured and I didn't want anything to happen to you. I don't entirely know how this power burst works yet, and I was afraid that-"
"That, what? That you couldn't protect me? I can protect myself! I'm not some defenseless artifact that needs saving all the time. I was actually born a Pokemon, unlike you." April jumped off her chair with a huff. She walked outside and I hurried after her. She continued talking, knowing I would follow her. "And you know, that's still something I'm having a hard time believing. I know I said I believed you earlier, but I was only saying that to..." She looked conflicted, as if she didn't know whether to continue or not.
Matching her pace, I calmly replied, "To not offend me? Why? I don't think I'd be offended. I mean, if I were anyone else, I wouldn't believe me either."
"Because I like you, okay? You already know that. But honestly, a human waking up as a Pokemon? It sounds a little crazy." She rounded a sharp corner and hurried down another street.
"It's happened before. Uxie and Lucario said it's happened twice. And where are we going anyways?"
"Yeah, but that was over a hundred years ago. We have statues dedicated to those heroes! They're really nice, actually. But I'm sorry to say, you don't fit the bill."
"What do you mean? I can be impressive. As impressive as an foot-tall squirrel can be anyways."
"So, basically, not at all." From her calmer expression, I could tell that her temper was beginning to diffuse. Despite the fact that she ignored my question about our destination, I now knew where we were going.
As I followed April through the front doors of the Treasure Hotel, I asked, "What's with all anger, anyways? What did I do?"
She was about to answer when Gothitelle interrupted her. "Excuse me, Miss?"
April blinked. "Yes?"
"You only paid for a single night, so you will have to pay again for another night. The room doesn't expire for another few hours, but I thought you should know." The receptionist gave a curt nod and a generic smile.
"Ugh." April pulled out her small purse from under her wing and searched through the coins. "Shoot. I don't have enough money, Sparky."
"What are we supposed to do now?"
"Normally, I'd suggest that we go do a salvage job. But we're too tired to do that. Maybe we could ask Uxie?" She put her purse back under her wing.
"It's worth a shot, I guess. We did find that thing for him, so maybe he'll help us out." I shrugged.
After making the trek all the way back to the Council Hall, the sky was starting to darken. Keldeo and his buddies were gone, presumably to fight for justice elsewhere. Pawniard were now stationed at the Hall doors, but they simply nodded as we approached the building. The three pixies were making casual conversation as we walked in. Uxie noticed us immediately.
"Oh, Shane and April. I'm glad you showed up again."
"You are?" I asked.
"Well, I'm always glad to see you, but yes. I need to thank you more appropriately for retrieving my item for me. And since we're friends, I'll give you each a favor."
"I didn't think Legendary Pokemon could hand out wishes like a genie," April said with a small giggle.
Azelf frowned. "We don't. Uxie is being nice."
Uxie scratched his chin. "They aren't wishes. Just if you ever need anything, then let me know. We may be small, but we can do a lot."
"'We'? What's this 'we' you speak of? They didn't help me." Azelf crossed his arms leaned back in his chair.
Mesprit sighed. "I can help you, if you want."
"Thank you, Mesprit, for not being a jerk." Uxie directed that last bit at Azelf, who threw his arms out as if to say 'What? I didn't do anything'. The golden-haired sprite, annoyed with his brother, looked back at us. "So. What did you two come in here for?"
"Actually, we were planning on asking for some help anyways."
"Alright, tell me what you need, Shane."
"Well, the fire that burned down Salvage Springs also ruined most of our, er, April's money and the stuff she had in the storage too. So now we can't afford the hotel room we were staying at anymore. We were kinda hoping that you had somewhere for us to stay while we get back on our feet."
"Oh my. You know, I actually have a spare room out back if you want. You'd be sharing the house with me, though."
"Well, if you're sure that we won’t be a bother, then that'd be fine."
"It's no trouble, really. So I suppose that's settled." Uxie paused for a moment. "April, do have a favor you'd like to ask of me?"
The Emolga, who had been silent for most of this time, responded, "Well, I kinda do. But I don't know if Sparky here will be okay with."
"Just say it. I don't think I'll mind," I said reassuringly.
"Well, okay. See, for the past few days, Sparky and I have been arguing on and off. I think it's because we don't quite... get each other, you know? There's something we're both hiding from each other, but neither of us want to say it out loud. Since you three are the embodiment for spirit, I figure you could help. Do you think you could help us understand each other better?"
I swallowed. "I didn't realize there was a problem... Why didn’t you say anything?"
“I didn’t want to say it out loud. But I gave you plenty of hints. That’s what all the fights were about. See what I mean? We’re never on the same page.”
Uxie thought for a moment. "Well, from experience, I found that the best way to get through this is with talking. But that's boring and will end up with a lot of awkward sentences and half-truths. So I take it that you don't want a simply therapy session, do you?"
April shook her head. I wonder where this is going. It doesn't sound very good... I thought.
"In that case, I have an idea." He looked at his sister. "Hey, Mesprit! Care to come over here? I need you for something." Once Mesprit floated her way across the room, Uxie addressed April again. "So what I'm planning on doing is taking both of your spirits and let them, um, mingle, I guess you could say. It'll only be for a few moments, but it will get across most of your defining memories and ideals."
That sounds horrifying! My thoughts must of made it onto my face because Uxie gave a chuckle. "It's really not that bad. It will feel like a dream, albeit it a vivid one. It won’t hurt a bit either. Besides, we know what we're doing. This our element. The chances of any negative side-effects are very slim."
"Why does that not comfort me?" I muttered.
April grabbed paw and whispered, "I think we should do it."
"Why? Is it really that important?" As I finished my question, I looked at April directly in the eyes. That was a mistake. There was no point refusing anything after seeing the sadness mixed with hope swirling in her gray-brown eyes. After a sigh of resignation, I turned to Uxie. "Alright, alright, I'll do it."
He laughed. "Okay then. Here, sit down. We'll have to put you to sleep first."
We both took our seats and I felt cold with the kind of irrational fear you get when waiting for your doctor appointment. Doctor appointment? Oh, whatever.
Mesprit floated in front of us and clear her throat. "If I could get you two to look me directly in the eye, that'd be great.” We obliged and suddenly her iris's turned florescent blue. I tried to maintain eye contact, but it was becoming harder and harder to keep my eyelids open. The last thought I had before succumbing to the sleep was, I should have asked if they’ve done this before. At first, it was completely black.
Then the dreams started.
Again, sorry for the wait. It was hard to get it past the halfway point, but thanks to some random line of motivation, I managed to keep going.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of TTL! Ch 13, To Understand Another is on it’s way!