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 PokÃ¨mon 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!
Author's Chapter Notes:
Burdened Elder Lugia
"Sorry, but you cannot follow," Celebi had told him before going into the passage leading into the main chambers, one he was not allowed to enter, "Your presence would ruin the entire purpose behind a legendary meeting."
Lucario groaned as he turned to his side and subconsciously sniffed in the air, still not used to the odd aroma emanating from the sprouts he was lying on. The plants were bulky and nearly as uncomfortable as the rocky ground might have been, but Celebi had insisted that she would only grow what did not require sunlight so that they could live beyond her visit. Lucario sighed, realizing that the livelihood of a few plants were more important to her than his and her sister's comfort.
"Another round?" Zerobi asked sheepishly from beside him, noticing his restlessness. She was also worn out, but just as bored as he was.
"It's impossible to go on forever, we'll have to wait sooner or later," Lucario muttered and sighed again, still feeling sore all over from their last session, "… And it looks like we've got an awful lot of waiting to do right now."
"Yeah. Sis told me they debate in shifts, hardly ever taking breaks," Zerobi said as she moved around to make herself more comfortable against their bed of greenery, "Supposedly they can stay in there for weeks, or even months… Neither eating nor drinking, using every moment to find the best solution, even at the risk of their own lives!"
"That's a pretty badass description of Democracy…" Lucario said with a smile, hiding his depression over the fact that he hadn't realized they could be stuck doing this for months. His initial thoughts were that he would rather die than spend more than a week like this, but he realized he had little choice. His only option was to leave everything and everyone behind, and that was assuming he could brace through the storm that was apparently enough to keep even the most hardened and determined Pokémon away.
"True enough," Zerobi answered, but with a voice that did not sound like hers nor came from her direction, "At any rate, Lugia wishes to see you in private."
Lucario leaned back to see where the voice had come from. Above him floated a small legendary, one he had already gotten familiar with. She had called herself Mesprit, and was apparently the older sister of Uxie and Azelf. She looked the same as them, but had pink adornments covering her head that reminded him of his own dreadlock-like appendages. For some reason she was rarely part of the meeting itself, instead guarding the passage to make sure no unwanted visitors slipped past.
"Can't you see I'm busy?" Lucario asked while feigning irritation, stretching his arms, neck and legs and muttering disappointedly. Mesprit and Lugia did not matter to him, the only legendary he was keen on seeing was Mew. There was so much he needed to talk to her about, but ever since reading the article about No Man's Land they had not gotten to spend a single moment together. A silence drifted in the air between them as Lucario looked back and was met by Mesprit's judgmental stare.
"I'm resting!" Lucario said in defense of himself while Mesprit's face remained immobile, "… It's an activity!"
"We were sparring," Zerobi explained while sitting up and letting her own strained neck muscles relax, "We're both completely out of shape from not fighting for so long."
"Yeah, Mew would just blast away everyone that challenged us before I had a chance to do anything," Lucario muttered before also sitting up, feeling a twinge of pain in his exerted abdominal muscles, "I said I needed the experience, while she said she didn't want the experience of getting captured. Heh, like I'd lose…"
"Going by your track record, I don't blame her," Zerobi snickered softly before looking at him and sighing, "… You should probably go see Lugia, anyway."
"Well, it's about time he needed my expertise," Lucario mumbled and got to his feet, excited to finally be doing something. However, he was getting a creepy feeling from Mesprit who was still remaining quiet and giving him an insistent stare.
"I think he just wants to introduce himself," Zerobi said, wondering herself what Lugia could possibly want to do with Lucario, "I already met him. He's, uh, probably too big to come do it himself."
"Big-big or compared to Mew and Celebi-big?" Lucario asked, surprised that Zerobi had already met him, "Is he nice?"
"Compared to Rayquaza-big. He's the dad of the three legendary birds, after all," Zerobi responded before starting to mimic her sister's proper way of speaking, "Indeed, he's rather pleasant. You'd do well in putting on your formal stature, dearie."
"Formal? I'm formal by default," Lucario said as he walked past Mesprit and went into the passage, "I'm the only one wearing clothing."
The passage was shaped like a corridor, a very long one running underneath the earth's surface. It kept going and going until Lucario realized he might even have left the boundaries of the island, and had nothing but a bit of crust shielding him from the millions of gallons of water above. He walked very carefully as to not bump into the ceiling, and shuddered at the thought of accidentally cracking something and flooding whatever place the passage led into. The legendaries probably had their ways to handle a situation like that, but it would still make a very bad entry on his part.
When he finally reached the end of the corridor, he was not surprised to see that it led to a much larger room. He could tell that he was on the ground floor this time, as the ceiling rose very high above him. And there, right in the middle of the room, stood the legendary Lugia.
Lucario felt the muscles around his neck tighten. Nothing could have prepared him for the size of this monster. Even compared to Entei or the Tyranitar, the only being that even came close to size was Rayquaza. Unlike Rayquaza, Lugia wasn't just a flying eel but had a full body and stood upright, making Lucario wonder what manner of bones could possibly support that kind of weight.
The legendary reminded him a bit of Zapdos and Moltres, in that he was in the shape of a bird. However, his white feathers stuck together more closely and were much thicker, giving them the appearance of a winter's coat of fur. The end of his wings separated into five digits, each nearly as big as Lucario himself. They almost looked like ginormous fingers sitting on massive hands, and Lucario became unsure that they actually weren't. He had a long, slender neck, and his head looked like it was fused with a colorless beak. Sharp, dark feathers stuck out around his eyes like a severe dose of eyeshade.
Lucario finally composed himself, reminded that even if he was bigger than anyone he had met, at least he wasn't trying to kill him. Lucario looked around, and noticed that the two of them were alone. He wondered if the others were even deeper inside, and he smiled at the thought of maybe taking a little peek after his chat with Lugia was over.
"Lucario," a deep but gentle voice echoed from the gigantic creature. It sounded like he was purposely keeping his volume low as to not frighten Lucario.
"Lugia," Lucario responded with a courteous nod. Like with Zapdos, now that his intimidation had settled down he was starting to get the feeling he was going to like this legendary.
"What is your relationship with Mew?" Lugia immediately asked, taking Lucario off guard. Not even he had an answer to that, and had to think for a while. Remembering Zerobi's advice and seeing how Lugia appeared to be a no-nonsense kind of guy, Lucario decided to stay formal.
"She saved my life and taught me how to use the Aura Sphere," he answered earnestly before wondering if maybe he was sounding too formal, "… She's also my friend, and I owe her. Big time."
Lugia looked down at him, wine-red eyes looming ominously behind the shroud of dark feathers.
"Tonight, you will leave us," Lugia spoke with the same gentle voice as before, betraying the contents of what he was saying, "You will not tell anyone of your departure, and you will never seek out Mew again."
Lucario stood quiet for a few moments, trying to comprehend what he had just heard.
"Um… No?" he said after a while, scratching the back of his head in confusion.
"This is not open for debate," Lugia responded, his gaze never leaving Lucario.
"I agree, and that's why I'm just going to ignore you and stay, anyway," Lucario answered with irritation as the meaning behind what the legendary was asking came clear, "… I traveled for months to get here, and now you want me to leave!?"
"You may stay, but only under one condition," Lugia continued as his voice gained a hint of animosity, "You must make Mew despise you."
"Well, she's put up with pretty much so far, so I doubt I could do anything to make that happen…" Lucario said with an annoyed shrug as his irritation turned into anger, "… Why the hell would I want to, anyway!? What's your problem!?"
"That is not for you to know," Lugia replied, unfazed as he craned his long neck down towards Lucario, "Accept, or I will conjure up a twister so ferocious that you will be launched to the northern reaches of Shinnoh."
"… Do that, and I'll bounce off the mountains and come back to kick you in your stupid fucking face!" Lucario shouted, pointing up at the large legendary.
Suddenly, the cave began shaking, Lugia's gigantic wings flapping as he quickly moved his head back with a snarl forming around his mouth. Lucario wondered what was happening when he heard something heavy land on the ground with a dull thud. Looking more closely, Lucario noticed that Lugia also had a tail, one that was nearly as big as the rest of his body. It had two spikes sticking out from the end of it, and Lucario gulped as he realized they were both as long as his own legs.
"Watch your tongue!" Lugia roared loudly while slapping his tail into the ground once more, "Killing you here and now would be a certain remedy to the problem!"
"What problem!?" Lucario shouted back, torn between confronting the legendary and just getting out of there as quickly as possible, "Tell me what the hell's wrong, maybe I'll even give a shit!"
His fear at trying to fight such a massive monster finally got the better of him as he decided to run away to warn Mesprit or Zerobi that something was wrong. However, as he was about to turn tail, the shaking around him suddenly stopped and the atmosphere seemed to turn cooler. He looked up and saw Lugia calm himself down, stopping the movements of his wings and visibly swallowing down his own rage.
"Has Mew told you about what happened to her mother?" Lugia asked with the deep, gentle voice from earlier.
"H-Huh? Oh, yeah," Lucario stammered as he tried to remember, still a little shaken form what had just happened, "She… Died."
"Yes," Lugia said before craning his neck down again for effect, "Murdered by one such as you."
Now Lucario was really out of things, racking his brain over and over to remember what Mew had said. She hadn't spoken about it since their very first meeting, and he hadn't brought it up out of respect for her feelings. No matter how hard he tried, he could not recall anything about a murder.
"Mew was… Her mother was a dear friend of mine," Lugia explained, forced to correct himself as he slipped back into his old mindset by mistake, "I took an oath to protect her daughter, should one such as you appear."
"One such as me?" Lucario repeated and wondered if Mew had told him about him being Ethan or something, "I… I don't get it. A Lucario?"
"A romantic interest," Lugia responded, and almost immediately everything clicked in Lucario's head. Mew's mother had died giving birth to her, something that happens to all those part of her species. He realized that Lugia's claim of her murderer must be referring to whoever impregnated her, and now sees him as one with the potential to…
"Whoa, slow down there," Lucario said as he stopped his own line of thinking and held his hands in front of him, "Me? With… With Mew? Are you insane!?"
"You referred to her as 'friend' earlier, did you not?" Lugia asked with a concerned tone to his voice, "If one can befriend someone-"
"HAHAHA! OK, if that's what you're worried about, let me calm you down right now," Lucario laughed in relief, amazed that such a ridiculous notion almost got him killed, "That will never, ever happen. She's, like, half my size!"
"So you say, but love has to the potential to-" Lugia tried to interject.
"Not in this case, no," Lucario interrupted while quickly shaking his head, "Nope, nah, nada, absolutely n-"
"SILENCE!" Lugia bellowed with a mighty roar, making Lucario fall back in surprise. Every sign of tenderness was now all but gone from Lugia, his eyes beaming in hostility and his slender neck flexing in anger.
"Even if you are not interested, she will eventually be if you do not separate," Lugia explained with a growly undertone to his already deep voice, "She has the potential to outlive us all, and thus, such thoughts were never meant for her. I will do everything within my power to make sure she never has to experience them."
"… All right, I get it," Lucario muttered as he got to his feet and brushed himself off, "I'll break the news to her gently."
"That is all I ask," Lugia said, feeling relief sweep over him as he once more calmed himself down, "Will you tell her that you hate her, or simply that you will never see her again?"
"Neither," Lucario said as he faced Lugia and braced himself for what was to come, "I'll tell her you're a sick old pervert with some serious control issues."
Lugia had heard enough. With a powerful flap of his wings, the cave began trembling once more as from an earthquake. There was no longer any doubt in his mind - The Lucario before him was precisely the kind of scum that would repeat history if left alone.
"Then accept the consequences of your decision!" Lugia roared with all his might, sealing off the rest of the cavern so no one else would be able to hear him, "Die in agony, lest you let the same fate befall Mew!"
"Go ahead. She's spent the last months with no one but me, she can probably sense my aura from miles away, and will know the instant it goes away," Lucario responded calmly, realizing he had a much better chance at survival by talking to Lugia instead of fighting him, "Plus, she's smarter than you. She'll know you killed me."
He then turned around and started walking, hoping his feigned confidence would let him escape before Lugia examined his statement too carefully. What he really wanted to do was go further inside to see Mew, but had a feeling Lugia wasn't too keen on letting him pass.
Lugia completely ignored what Lucario had said and prepared his mighty Aero Blast to kill him now that his back was turned. He focused all his hatred, knowing that the instant Lucario entered the narrow passage he would be out of his reach. He knew had to do it. For his friend, to fulfill her last request… For Mew, to ease her tortured mind… For himself, to soothe the anger in his heart… For revenge, to justify his own actions…
"Promise me… Do not let her suffer… Like this…" the words of his old friend echoed in his mind. He remembered how she, the true embodiment of life had looked sorrowful in her last moments. He had been the one to preach to her about the meaning of true love, projecting his own love for Ho-Oh and assuring her that it would only bring happiness.
But he had been wrong. The one she was with had used her, abandoned her and left her for dead. He was forced to watch as his best friend fell into depression, grew weaker and finally died in bitter grief without ever even seeing her own daughter. Because of his trust in love, she had been forced to tread the most agonizing path available.
"I promise," another voice sounded in his memories, his own this time. He took it upon himself to raise the daughter of his dear friend. He swore with all his heart that Mew, the heir to his friend's legacy, would never experience the same fate.
But as the time had finally come and he was but a single attack from preventing everything from happening… He could not do it. He could not bring himself to take the life of Mew's friend, even if he was to be her eventual demise. He was not a killer.
"P… Please… I beg of you…" Lugia pleaded as he slumped down to the ground in defeat, "… Leave Mew alone…"
"Bite me," Lucario replied with an angry huff as he disappeared into the passage, leaving the cave and an old man alone with his regrets.
Lucario grumbled angrily as he exited the passage, having gone from terror to rage at his mistreatment during the time it took for him to walk back from Lugia. He saw that Zerobi had fallen asleep while he was away, and felt he needed someone to share a little of his misery.
"Thanks for the whole 'formal' advice thing," Lucario muttered sarcastically, Zerobi twitching awake in response. She yawned and looked at Lucario, his face scrounged up in rage.
"Man, you look pissed…" Zerobi asked groggily while scratching her head, "What happened…?"
Lucario looked back at her and realized he was being a jerk, taking out his anger on her. She obviously had no clue as to what had happened, and he was less than keen at letting her or anyone else know. The subject matter had not exactly been something he wanted to revisit, and all he needed to do about it was to warn Mew that Lugia was too paranoid for his own good.
"… Nothing," Lucario responded with an exhausted huff as he fell down on the bed of sprouts beside her, "I'm going to bed. Do me a favor and kill anyone that touches me, I'd hate to have to get up and do it myself."
Zerobi looked at him for a few moments with confusion before shrugging and also lying down, too tired to delve any further. She fell asleep again much quicker than Lucario, who was kept awake by new thoughts buzzing through his mind. Most prominent were the ones that told him that coming here had been a bad idea.