AGNPH Stories

The Human Species by RingsOfSaturn


Story Notes:

It was a quiet night when Deoxys descended from the heavens.
Believed to not be of this world, it went on a rampage, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
Finally defeated by an unknown force, the tragedy of unparalleled magnitude it created remains in the heart of every human.
To make sure that something like this will never happen again, every wild Pokèmon powerful enough to cause such mayhem must be captured, controlled or killed.
Needless to say, this year has been a bad year for Legendaries. This year has also been a bad year for Champion Trainers.
But my year... Has been... THE WORST! 

Trickery (Epilogue of Episode V)

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Seeing anything in the new room was completely impossible, the only source of light coming from far away in the small tunnel that led them there. Lucario had no idea what he was walking into as suddenly the room lit up, Zoroark standing in the middle of it with a burning lantern in his hands.

"Prepared this for your sake," Zoroark said, adjusting a dial on the side of it to make the flame grow larger and the room turn brighter. Even so, the weak lantern was only able to light up their immediate area as the rest of the cavern laid in a shroud of complete darkness, Lucario both worried and curious about what mysteries lay within. He quickly wrote it off as paranoia though, seeing how the rest of the room seemed to contain nothing but walls of dirt and bedrock.

"Just out of curiosity..." Zoroark whispered before setting down the lantern on the ground, "What were you busy doing when Silver caught you?"

"If I remember correctly, I was supposed to go to a large mountain," Lucario explained, thinking that divulgence of his quest for Mew would just lead to him getting a lot of unnecessary questions.

"Well, there are plenty of those around," Zoroark snickered, "Isn't the 'large' part superfluous?"

"Super... Huh?" Lucario replied with a confused tone, "Supposedly it was REALLY large. Like, the largest."

"Hmm... Judging by the location where you encountered Silver..." Zoroark mumbled to himself before snapping out of it, "Alright. Just curious."

"You already said that," Lucario pointed out, "Speaking of curious, how about you tell me why you've brought me here?"

"Let me get straight to the point, then," Zoroark said while sternly staring into Lucario's eyes, "I want you as second in command of this revolution."

A moment of complete silence passed between them. No outside noise, no wind whisking by, only complete nothingness.

"You want..." Lucario repeated with a very surprised expression on his face, "... Huh?"

"I trust my associates filled you in on what are trying to accomplish?" Zoroark asked, sounding overly smug despite Lucario looking more and more dazzled with each passing moment.

"... Everything BUT that, really..." Lucario muttered and thought back to Astrid's babbling, before his increasing confusion made him raise his voice while throwing his arms out, "... But, this doesn't make any sense! We met a day ago, and now you want to put me in CHARGE of your precious operation!?"

"As I said, I've been keeping tabs on you for quite some time," Zoroark said with a slightly creepy delivery to the last three words, "You are the only one suitable."

"Still not making sense..." Lucario replied while trying to figure out an explanation with as little self-deprecation as possible, "How am I the only one? I've met a bunch of Pokémon stronger than me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the smartest guy in the world."

"You might say... I felt intrigued by the celebrated fighter. We seemed to share a passion and a plan..." Zoroark explained with an interested look on his face, "Was all that I heard just sheer sensation... Or can you live up to your brilliant reputation?"

"Reputation? I don't have a bloody reputation!" Lucario shouted and created an echo in the cavern; the small penguin that haunted his mind showed herself once more, "And even if I did, it wouldn't be a good one!"

"Try not to be bashful, hmm? Word of your accomplishments has already reached my eyes and ears," Zoroark responded, suddenly raising his voice, "Besides, I care not for your current state... All I see is potential!"

"I, uh..." Lucario mumbled, trying desperately to think things over but had been too caught off guard by Zoroark's request to get his mind straight, "I don't know..."

"Surprised, no?" Zoroark asked with a sinister smile on his face, "Still nothing compared to what else I have in store for you." Lucario remained speechless as Zoroark took a few slow, almost seductive steps towards him.

"I brought you all the way down here for a reason," he whispered, "Far away from listening ears and seeing eyes..."

"Yeah, this is the part where you rape me or something, right?" Lucario tried making a joke to ease the heavy atmosphere. To his utter horror, Zoroark started scratching his chin while looking him over, as if he was considering the idea.

"Not... Quite," Zoroark responded nonchalantly, "But it IS something that I believe will change your mind about things."

"That WOULD change my mind pretty quickly, I've got to say..." Lucario said with a worried tone.

"In order to create an unbreakable bond between us..." Zoroark said with a previously unheard meekness in his voice as Lucario sharply inhaled, "I... I will reveal my greatest secret to you, and only you."

"Don't tell me, you're..." Lucario started, but stopped his joke as he noticed Zoroark looking down on the ground in a bashful manner.

"In exchange..." Zoroark continued as his voice regained his previous authority, "You should reveal something of a similar nature to me... Such as how you managed not to get caught by a master ball."

"... Eh?" Lucario uttered, bewildered by Zoroark's sudden change in demeanor.

"Not matter how strong or legendary, we Pokémon are forever prey before that accursed contraption..." Zoroark growled before lighting up, "But not you! You have found a way to defeat it!"

"Wait, so THAT's what this is about?" Lucario said and gave off a sigh of relief.

"Establishing trust? Indeed!" Zoroark exclaimed, "It has been a secret to everybody, but since it will help convince you to join me I am willing to share it with you... And only you."

"Wait, I didn't ask for any of this," Lucario responded while waving his hands around, "I haven't even known you for a whole day, so I'm pretty sure that I won't care."

"Oh... But you will," Zoroark said confidently before closing his eyes. Lucario thought about stopping him, but decided to see what the mysterious dark-type had in store. Who was he to reject someone willing to reveal their greatest secret?

A quick shudder passed through Zoroark as he gradually opened his eyes again.

"So?" Zoroark asked, looking expectedly at Lucario.

"... So, what?" Lucario responded with a confused tone in his voice.

"My secret," Zoroark continued, "What do you think?"

"I'm not seeing anything," Lucario replied and shook his head, not even having seen a hair rustle on the opposing Pokémon, "Where is it?"

"You..." Zoroark whispered as his face exploded in a mixture of surprise and disappointment, "You cannot tell...?"

"Tell what?" Lucario asked before groaning loudly and slapping himself in the face, "Man, I knew you were lying! There never was a secret, was there!?"

"... But..." was all Zoroark could muster to say, at a complete loss for words for the first time in his life.

"Trying to get me to spill my guts..." Lucario kept going with a stern huff as he pointed at the bewildered dark-type, "You should've kept your fake 'secret' to yourself until I had told you mine, you moron!"

"I... Suppose I could show you in detail, later on..." Zoroark mumbled as his voice once more gained strength, "But, in that case... I need to make sure that you will join our cause."

"Your cause... Of 'cause..." Lucario mumbled with a smile before shrugging, "You know I still have no idea what I am going to be in charge of, right?"

"Really? You have seen it with your own eyes, I believe," Zoroark said while another quick shudder passed through him, "Liberating unjustly captured Pokémon from their tyrannical trainers... You actually helped us out with it, remember?"

"I... I did?" Lucario thought back, thinking of the Pokeball he picked up from the unconscious trainers, "That was, uh... That was just to get us moving faster. Really."

"Is that so? If I remember correctly, you helped the Legendary Trio retrieve their captured companion," Zoroark pointed out with an impressed yet also somewhat ominous stare, "Even when faced with a powerful enemy such as Rayquaza, you didn't back down!"

"Uh, yeah... I was just along for the ride, on that one," Lucario admitted while scratching his cheek, "I didn't really know what I was going to be doing, or who I was doing it for."

"Along for the ride!?" Zoroark suddenly burst out, barely believing what he was hearing, "Against such overwhelming odds!?"

"Uhh, yeeeah... In hindsight, I guess it was... Uh..." Lucario muttered before wondering why he had agreed to fight Lucas in the first place. Something regarding Zerobi, as far as he could remember.

"Hmpf..." Zoroark huffed annoyed, before his face broke up into a compassionate smile, "Fear not. There is no need for you to tiptoe around the subject for my sake. I know exactly why you did it." Lucario remained silent, amused at the notion that Zoroark would when even he didn't.

"Hunted by humanity for no reason... You must have thought that you were all alone in your plight, facing such powerful enemies all on your own..." Zororark said with a hint of sadness. He looked down at the lantern next to him, staring deeply into its fire as memories came upon him before quickly being brushed away.

"Worry not. You are not alone in your defiance against humanity," Zoroark continued as he quickly looked up from the fire and smiled, "One might say, you were a part of this revolution before even me."

"Defying humanity...?" Lucario repeated slowly, wondering how Zoroark could speak a sentence with such a bad ring to it with a straight face.

"The humans have NO right to capture us Pokémon, and use us as they please," Zoroark kept going while making several unnecessary gestures in the air with his hands, "All we want to do is to reclaim our freedom."

"... And how do you propose we do that?" Lucario asked.

"Their governmental structure is pitiful," Zoroark explained confidently, "A few select strikes, and humanity would fall to the bottom, letting us Pokémon rise to the top." He nodded as a particularly long waft of hair from his head fell in front of his eyes, which he calmly brushed aside.

"We could get them to do anything we want," he continued, "... Which we will not be abusing, of course. We are not as lowbrow as they are. We will have them make laws to promote more justifiable treatment of our kind, and nothing else."

Silence was all that followed after that, Zoroark eagerly awaiting Lucario's response. Meanwhile, Lucario had stopped listening around the time Zoroark had started explaining his plan for overthrowing humanity, the mere notion of which lessened his opinion of the dark-type.
A slight sensation of disgust arose within him when he thought of what Zoroark was requesting, but it was quickly replaced by one of amusement when he imagined how Zoroark would react to him revealing his human origin.

"Doesn't sound too bad, I guess..." Lucario muttered sarcastically, "... But I refuse."

"... What?" Zoroark exclaimed in surprise, "Why?"

"You've obviously got some bug up your ass about humans," Lucario explained as calmly as he could, "But they're really not all that bad, especially when compared to Pokémon."

"... You..." Zoroark growled as his eyes and demeanor darkened, "You have been hunted, hurt, captured and almost killed by humans, and yet still you hold them in such high regard!?"

"I've got my own personal reasons for that," Lucario said, suddenly realizing that telling Zoroark about his heritage might not be such a splendid idea after all.

"You are a Pokémon, yet you side with humanity!?" Zoroark shouted while pointing accusingly at him, "Shall you become a traitor to your own species!?"

"Apparently not..." Lucario mumbled as he felt the conversation turn sour and wished for nothing more than to get out of there, "Look, I owe you one for getting my butt out of jail, but this is just a responsibility I'm not ready to accept."

"Hmpf! Rejecting fame and glory, the chance of a lifetime..." Zoroark grumbled to himself, the conversation straying further and further from his plans, "What, you've got something better going on!?"

"I guess you could say that..." Lucario said while turning around to leave, noticing Zoroark's worsening mood, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my way back to the large mountain."

"Get with reality!" Zoroark yelled angrily, "Where do you think you are?"

"I can find my own way out, thank you," Lucario said with a much too classy voice while waving his hand back and forth.

"Lucario... You were carried miles upon miles when you were captured," Zoroark said while calming himself down, finding a faint flicker of hope for his plans, "You're not even on the same continent anymore!"

"I'm not... W-What!?" Lucario stuttered, stopped in his tracks and turned around, "M-Map! Give me one!"

"Had you been my second in command, getting a bird Pokémon to fly you there in a few days would be easy," Zoroark explained as the smirk from earlier returned, "Another perk to joining our revolution."

"I'm not joining your revolution," Lucario said bluntly, "Can you get me a ride?"

"Hah! How selfish of you..." Zoroark exclaimed while shaking his head, "... Still, seems that we are at an impasse."

"An impasse...?" Lucario repeated slowly, "Yeah, one that could be solved rather easily if you just, you know, gave me a fucking ride."

"Yes. It seems talking is getting us nowhere," Zoroark continued while ignoring him, "Luckily, men like us have a more definite way of settling conflicts."

Zoroark then turned around and walked back to the lantern, where he had been standing before moving forward to reveal his 'big secret'.

"Strength is not all that matters in this world, but it can open up quite a few doors..." Zoroark said with a mighty voice before turning around and facing Lucario directly, "How about it? If you manage to defeat me in combat, I will be more than happy to secure you a flight to your destination."

"... A challenge? A duel?" Lucario asked with a surprised voice, "Can I really beat up my savior with a good heart?"

"To tell you the truth, I was looking forward to this confrontation," Zoroark said while once having to stop himself from putting his hand to his ointment-covered chest, "Experience always surpasses education. We will talk with our fighting prowess!"

"... Uh, well..." was all Lucario could say to Zoroark's strange wording, "If it gets me a ride to my destination..."

"Certainly. Should I win, however..." Zoroark said as his smile bright brighter, "You will stay here, and join my revolution!"

Lucario decided to think it over for a moment before deciding. His previous battles had given anything but a clear winning streak, and losing would have disastrous consequences. Even so, Lucario thought that he could probably figure out a way to worm his way out of the organization if he lost. These actions of a poor loser were neither honorable nor fair, so Lucario felt they fit him perfectly.

Zoroark was also quite humanoid, which combined with the fact that he used physical attacks meant several points in Lucario's favor. He was ridiculously fast, but had mostly relied on letting Connor to the fighting during their previous escape, meaning that he probably lacked the ability to deliver and take strong hits. The only thing he would have to watch out for is whatever wave-like attack Zoroark had used while he was busy pummeling the Machamp, as well whatever else the dark-type had hidden in that busy hair of his...

"On one condition..." Lucario mumbled, trying to gain more favor for the upcoming battle, "No using those stunspores or whatever else you've got hidden in there!"

"Certainly not!" Zoroark responded while feigning a hurt voice, "What manner of scoundrel would use items during a duel between men?"

"... A Pokémon?" Lucario asked sarcastically before realizing that this joke would hopefully go over Zoroark's head.

Things were looking good. So far the odds had been stacked against him in every battle, and more often than not he would still come out standing. This time, the winds of battle seemed to be blowing in his direction.

"Alright, you're on," Lucario said before getting into his usual battle pose, "Let's do it." Much to Lucario's surprise, Zoroark didn't bother to do the same, simply standing around normally with his arms crossed. This display of confidence wavered Lucario's nary a twinge, as Zoroark suddenly started snickering faintly.

"Lucario..." he said slowly as his eyes grew thin and his smile grew wide, "You've lost."

"Maybe..." Lucario muttered defiantly against his intimidation tactics, "You never know until the fight's over."

"Oh really? What do you think would happen if I were to smash this lantern?" Zoroark asked while tapping the lantern with his left foot, making the entire room flicker in the moving source of light, "I can see in the dark, and you cannot sense my aura. I could have my way with you, EVERY way with you, and you'd be powerless to stop me."

"Y-You wouldn't!" Lucario stammered as an indescribably cold shudder passed through his body, "That's just not fair!"

"I know, and so I won't..." Zoroark said with a sigh as he took a step away from the lantern, "Just remember that technically, you've already lost."

"Bah..." Lucario huffed while preparing himself mentally, "The only winner is the one left standing!"

Wanting to prove his point, Lucario dashed toward Zoroark. He had seen the dark-type dodge attacks both quickly and nimbly before, and decided to use fast, irregular strikes. He reached Zoroark and started punching, but might as well have been doing so much earlier as his blows struck nothing but thin air, Zoroark moving around like a flickering shadow.

"I see that your fists are both determined and powerful..." Zoroark said smugly as he had somehow appeared behind the raging Lucario, "Still nothing compared to my ambitions."

"Tch!" Lucario spat, quickly leaping back much to Zoroark's surprise.

"Oh?" he exclaimed with an impressed tone, "Interesting. I was told your fighting style was little more than that of a 'berserker'."

"They must've been referring to my strength," Lucario said while striking a battle pose and waving his fingers back and forth, "You think you're the only one who knows how to parry blows? Come on."

"Hmm..." Zoroark mumbled with a smile on his face, moving back one of his legs to get into a ready position. Zoroark then charged at Lucario as quickly as he could, extending both his arms as to pierce Lucario's chest.

Lucario remained steadfast, using his own hands to push Zoroark's to the side. They went past him as Zoroark kept moving forward, and was stopped by a mighty headbutt to his forehead. He staggered as an uppercut quickly followed, making him stumble backwards.

"That..." Zoroark stammered with a magnified version of the same impressed tone from earlier, "... That was amazing! What a technique!"

"It's called 'martial arts', and the fact that you don't even know what it is makes this all too easy," Lucario said cockily before waving his fingers again, "Come on, keep going. Maybe it was just a lucky shot."

"Still, my forehead..." Zoroark said while carefully rubbing his head, not having been hit by a blunt attack in ages, "I'm surprised you didn't go for my chest. It has been weakened by Entei, your only hope of winning would have been to aim for that."

"I don't need to do that to win," Lucario said confidently, just now realizing his mistake and at least wanting to give a cool reason. He looked at the bushy hair and balm covering Zoroark's chest, wondering if he would even be able to penetrate those thick layers to whatever was underneath. Well, Entei's fire had managed to, but that had been a completely different type of attack compared to anything he had to give.

A completely different type of attack...

Suddenly, an odd thought hit Lucario.

"You know... The strange thing is, someone I fought not too long ago used fire attacks against me, too..." Lucario muttered while crossing his arms, "... Nasty stuff. Burnt my fur right up into cinders."

Recalling the tough battle, he silently wondered if he had been as brave as to face the fearsome Garchomp alone after seeing what happened to Kabuta. He came back to reality as Zoroark had at least been courteous not to attack him while he was reminiscing.

"... I can't help but notice that yours is fully intact, however..." he continued and looked at Zoroark's hairy chest, covered with white salve yet still seemingly unharmed.

"This ointment... Promotes hair growth," Zoroark lied, subconsciously making it more obvious than normal.

"Yeah, right," Lucario huffed while calling him out on it, "If such a lotion existed, bald people wouldn't. But they do, right?"

"... Perceptive," Zoroark said menacingly while eyeing the lantern next to him, "I should warn you, that should you reveal my secret now without my consent... I may need to silence you."

"Secret-this, secret-that..." Lucario muttered in annoyance, never having been one to take threats with a good demeanor, "I've had it! It's time for me to use MY secret ability!"

Lucario saw that he had caught Zoroark off guard, and quickly closed the distance between them. He moved in a zig-zag formation as to confuse him, but Zoroark just stood and looked at him, feeling confident enough to let Lucario show off for a while.

"KINGERIIII!!!" Lucario screamed as he leaped forward and his leg suddenly flew up like a bolt of lightning, landing directly between Zoroark's thighs. The dark-type's body levitated from the impact for half a second, before he immediately retaliated by delivering an elbow blow, making Lucario stumble backwards.

"You..." Zoroark growled with disdain while keeping his arms raised, "Such a cowardly attack..."

"N-No effect...?" Lucario stammered and coughed, once again coming to the conclusion that he was as unfamiliar with Pokémon anatomy as ever. Even so, he started wondering why Zoroark would claim it to be a 'cowardly attack' if he hadn't been aiming for the right spot...

Zoroark did not let him ponder over this for long as he rushed towards Lucario once more, this time jumping with a forward flip right before reaching him as to pass by his head and strike it at the same time. But Lucario ducked the moment he leaped, and then jumped backwards and managed to collide their bodies in midair, hitting Zoroark's already damaged chest with his head.

"Ugh... Another headbutt..." Lucario said grouchily after landing as he reached up and scratched his head, noticing that some of Zoroark's ointment had ended up on it, "Oh, cool. Bonus treatment."

"But... But I am faster than you!" Zoroark cough as he saw the ointment on Lucario's head and stopped himself from clutching his chest, "How did you-"

"Before a true martial artist, speed is meaningless," Lucario interrupted him with a triumphant voice as he thought of a way to sound smart, "By the way, how do you propose to handle a revolution if you can't even handle a single dissident?"

"... Hmpf. Don't get too cocky," Zoroark growled as his eyes received a dangerous glint, "See, when I said that I was faster than you..."

Lucario's brain barely had time to register as Zoroark suddenly ran to the left at a speed comparable to that of a punch, quickly leaving his field of vision. By the time Lucario had turned his head, Zoroark was nowhere to be found.

"... I meant it," a whisper sounded in Lucario right ear, before Zoroark pushed his claws forward while ramming him. The sharp crooks dug deeply into Lucario who fell to his side, yelping in pain as the claws dislodged from his fresh, bleeding wounds. He immediately tried getting up, but was stopped by Zoroark's leg trampling his chest and keeping him pinned down.

"Now..." Zoroark snickered menacingly, "You're all mine!"

"Like... Like hell..." Lucario while trying to get up, but Zoroark's weight upon him proved to be too great.

"Also, I cannot help but wonder why you asked me to not use any of my coatings..." Zoroark said, pretending to yawn, "A few stabs means defeat whether you're poisoned or paralyzed, no?"

"Shit!" Lucario shouted before trying to slide away from his foot, but his side burned in pain at the flexing of his muscles and he once again cried out.

"Face it - You're done," Zoroark said while pointing down at him, "Calm down, and let's get you some food and sleep upstairs. From this day on, you will be leading the great revolution against the oppression of the human species!"

The moment that passed between them seemed like a quiet eternity, the revolutionary's words slowly sinking into Lucario's mind. The silence was then broken as he suddenly burst out laughing.

"Ha... Ha ha ha..." Lucario kept going while facepalming himself, unable to stop himself even as blood poured more violently out of his wounds with each thunderous laughter, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

"Things could be worse, no?" Zoroark chuckled, misinterpreting Lucario's laughter, "There's also the matter of my secret, which I will show you more thoroughly once you get better."

"... Heh... Zoroark..." Lucario said quietly, his voice having gone hoarse from laughter and loss of blood, "You talk about... How you hate humans..."

"Hmm?" Zoroark exclaimed with an amused tone.

"Organizing an army... A revolution like this..." Lucario said with a dissonant smile that reflected how he was feeling, "You're... More human than you know."

"... You would attribute a sign of civilization as a sign of humanity...?" Zoroark muttered slowly, "... Do you truly hold their species in such high regard?"

"How can I not?" Lucario said before stopping himself to cough, "I'm... Human, after all..."

"... Hmm?" Zoroark exclaimed once again, less amused this time.

"Yeah... Your precious second in command... The one you chose, mind you..." Lucario mumbled, feeling a great weight lift from his chest both from the revelation and as Zoroark removed his leg.

"What're you talking about?" Zoroark asked, both worried and annoyed.

"I'm completely honest. You wanted to know why the master ball didn't work?" Lucario mumbled as he carefully sat up, wincing from the pain, "... I'm not a Pokémon. I'm human."

"... Ridiculous," Zoroark muttered after a moment of silence, "Seems I accidentally broke your mind, somehow. Hope it can be fixed..."

"So do I..." Lucario replied and got up on his feet, "Can't wait until I'm not a Pokémon anymore, so I don't have to spend my days bleeding because of assholes like you..."

"You... You are serious, aren't you?" Zoroark stammered, a sad and somewhat fearful expression placing itself on his face.

"Yeah. Sorry 'bout that," Lucario said before clutching the bleeding wound on his side, amazed at just how good he had gotten at taking pain with a straight face, "Nothing I can do about it."

"You fool," Zoroark growled with disappointment rather than rage, "We would have been the greatest team there ever was."

"A human and a human-hater...?" Lucario responded, "... I don't see it..."

"You will regret not picking sides when you had the chance..." Zoroark said menacingly, turning around and walking further to the back of the cave into the unlit area.

"What, you're not gonna keep me here?" Lucario asked both sarcastically and quietly.

"Either you're human, or you're insane," Zoroark explained as his dark fur faded into the complete darkness and he became invisible to the naked eye, "Either way, you are unfit for this organization. Begone."

Lucario truly wanted nothing more to do with the person he considered a savior not long ago, and had a feeling Zoroark thought the same about him. Without saying a word, he slowly backed away to the entrance, his eyes never leaving the spot where Zoroark became one with the darkness.

"You have been an utter disappointment this evening, Lucario..." Zoroark's voice came from somewhere in front of him, "But should you come back to your senses... Don't hesitate to ask for another chance."

"I won't..." Lucario grumbled, "... Come back to my senses, that is. I'm already there..."

The passage back through the comparatively well-lit tunnel seemed much longer than before, as his wounds as well as a strange feeling of guilt weighed him down. The first time he had been so busy listening to Zoroark's story to really notice the time pass, and remembered that the ambitious dark-type had helped him out on more than one occasion.
He had also experienced firsthand how badly Pokémon could be treated by humans Quitely he swore that if he ever returned to his regular form, he would always treat Pokémon with respect... And also become a vegetarian.
The thought of this lightened his burden, and he immediately began thinking of a way to resume his quest to become human again. , but figured that he might as well go all the way with burning his bridges here. Heck, going with what he knew about Zoroark, he'd probably be impressed by it...

"Lucario!" Astrid shouted worriedly as Lucario emerged from the tunnel's entrance, having stood there waiting all the time as to not repeat what happened to the people that went into the back room of his old home, "Y-You're bleeding! What happened!?"

"Just had a bet with Zoroark, that he'd give me a free ride on some bird-Pokémon if I managed to touch him in battle," Lucario lied with a fake smile on his face, "It hurt, but guess what...?"

"You... You won! Amazing!" Astrid burst out in pure joy before it faded all too quickly, "But... You're leaving?"

"Yeah... Sorry, little bud," Lucario muttered as he felt like reaching down to pet the eeveelution, but noticed that both his hands were dripping with blood after trying to cover up his wounds, "... I've got my own things to worry about."

"But... But..." Astrid stammered sadly while seemingly making his eyes turn hazy and grow three sizes, "Aren't we... Friends?"

"... Heh..." Lucario exclaimed with a smile, the Stoneon's childlike and innocent demeanor coming as a nice contrast to Zoroark, "You're alright, Astrid. Be careful who you associate yourself with."

"Oh..." Astrid said weakly, memories of Zerobi flooding his mind once more.

"We'll meet again, probably..." Lucario said quietly as he realized that they might no longer be on friendly terms then, "... When we do, make sure that you've manned up. I'll be counting on you..."

"Y-Yes!" Astrid replied with a hint of newfound confidence, "Follow me! The birds are all over here..."

Shooting through the sky like a low flying comet, at long last Lucario's wish to fly had been granted, but he was too busy clinging on to life to enjoy it. The bird-Pokémon he was riding on had refused for him to bleed all over him during the flight, so he had to exert himself further by creating makeshift bandages out of dirty cloth. He had been working quite fast, worried that Zoroark would appear from the tunnel and bring him to justice.

Even so, the bandages did little in stopping the salty wind that constantly whisked by, caressing his open wound about as much as a vat of acid would. Seeing the ground very far below was a sight he had long dreamed of, but knowing that the only thing separating him from breaking his neck against it was a Pokémon he was currently tricking kept him on the edge of his seat... Literally. The fact that the bird was constantly trying to pass the time by telling stories of how he learned how to fly, and apparently crashed over and over, made Lucario think that maybe he had been safer staying with Zoroark.

The events of the past days weighed heavily on his heart. In the end he was getting a quick ride to his destination and thus was much better off than before encountering Silver and Jirachi, but the events that led him here had taken a great toll on him.

He thought of the Dragonair, who he had forgotten completely in his own quest for freedom. Had Connor maybe placed her in a Pokeball and rescued her, too?

He remembered the Alakazam, who had almost made him crap his pants in fear by just looking at him. Not that something like overwhelming odds had ever stopped his hand before, which the wounds on his side could attest to.

Then came memories of Entei, the last and largest of the legendary beasts that had been hunting him for so long. He was glad that at least one of them seemed to be indifferent to his plight, instead of actively wanting him dead.

A hazy silhouette of Ethan passed through his mind, the legendary trainer beyond all trainers. Lucario truly wished that the day that he would encounter him would never come, and was not exactly looking forward to seeing either Brendan or Red ever again.

Finally, the words of Zoroark echoed in his head, and the sensation of his claws resounded throughout Lucario's nerves. Had he been wrong in not joining him? Had he been wrong in not stopping him? Many questions filled his head mind as his weary mind collapsed under the pressure, leading him to drift off into a deep and well-deserved sleep...

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"Take him to interrogation. Bring me a new suit."

"Y-Yes, sir!"

"GRR! GET BACK HERE, YOU... ARGH... Argh..."

"Ambushing Giovanni... Idiot! Have you no will to live!?"

"T-Tell me... M-Mightyena... Is he alright...?"

"No. That would be his brains covering your legs."

"... Ah... AH! AAAAHHHHH!!!"

"Hey, ease up! I need you to tell me something!"


"Calm the fuck down! This is important!"

"YOU... YOU... GRAH!"

"Quick! Before they come back! How did this happen!?"

"... Shit... It... It hurts... What...?"

"How did Giovanni kill him!? How did he wound you like this!?"

"... Ahh... Ha... Ha..."


"... With his bare hands."


"I saw it... He left his Pokemon behind... I thought... I couldn't lose..."

"That's... That's impossible...!"

"I know now... UGH! And my arm knows in particular... Why he was assigned this position... Why he's the head of this organization..."


"I thought it was out of heritage... That everyone feared him because of that... Hah... The man is... A monster... Both mentally and physically..."

"That Pokemon over there is in pieces! You're telling me... He did this all by himself!?"

"Oh god... Mightyena... I... I'm sorry..."

"Someone's coming... You should've saved your screaming."

"... Please... I don't want to..."


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Chapter End Notes:This is the death of the end notes, sadly. The new website does not allow for line breaks without coding, which would make writing dialog a real bitch. Let us remember the good times these end notes brought us with one final tribute...


Chapter End Notes: Before life, we are all equal in the sense that nothing matters.

But eventually we come to life, gaining unlimited potential.

The potential to do good deeds, as well as the potential to bring terror.

The new child might save the world or destroy it, or make no impact at all.

So in one sense, bringing death to someone unborn is redundant.

While in another, it is the greatest sin one can commit.

In this haze of uncertainty, only one thing is for sure.

That their fate shall forever be unknown, if they are never even born...

Chapter End Notes: Somewhere in a dark, damp cave

Sits old man Mewtwo, dignified and grave

Chapter End Notes: "... Leave you alone? Hehehe... Oh, but Zerobi..."

"I'm you"

Chapter End Notes: Maybe it's just because I'm a sentimental fool, but... Damn it! You were my buddy, end notes! Letting me add that little extra something to round off a chapter... Letting me speak my mind... Letting me try all sorts of new things... Time has left you behind, but in memories you shall remain. Thank you.

Chapter End Notes: ... So, did you figure out Zoroark's secret
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