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:
Roaming Legendary Dog
"999.999…" Lucario continued, realizing that the scenery was not the only reason he was bored. Whereas Zerobi had been chatty and outgoing, his current companion might as well have been dead for all she ever did. The only time she would say something was to answer him if he had a question, and even then only if they were unable to sense another aura within a mile's radius. With weight comparable to that of an empty matchbox, he wondered if his back was genuinely carrying her or if she was simply floating near it, and he occasionally had to check to make sure she had not just soared away and left him behind.
A far too familiar sensation once more told him otherwise, and it was then he knew he could take no more.
"That's it!" Lucario suddenly shouted, reaching to the back of his cloak and pulling at Mew. She held on to his back and wondered what was happening as Lucario dragged out her long tail and held it in front of him.
"Unintentionally or not, that was your tail's millionth slap against my back," Lucario muttered before starting to growl menacingly, "As a reward… I'm biting it off."
Mew gasped and hastily pulled her tail away from him, letting it easily slip out of his grasp and lay to rest against his shoulder.
"Heheh… Relax, I'm kidding," Lucario chuckled, glad to finally get a reaction out of her, "Man, you're uptight."
He could hear Mew respond, but suddenly felt her starting to crawl around underneath the cloak, moving down his back.
"That reminds me… Your body is of a different structure than most Lucario," Mew said gently, her voice muffled by the cloak around her, "I have been meaning to determine what your weaknesses and resistances are."
"H-Hey…" Lucario stammered as he felt something soft graze past his own tail.
"Your tail will be a perfect target for my experiments," Mew continued with the same serene tone as before, "Which element would you like me to start with?"
Lucario gulped, wondering if she was kidding or not.
"Fire it is, then," Mew said calmly as a very hot sensation began spreading over Lucario's back. This was all it took for him to finally snap and grab onto the cloak, tossing it and Mew to the side while smacking at his back to put out the flames. But as he quickly noticed, the hotness had already disappeared, and the cloak stopped itself before hitting the ground and floated in midair.
"OK, now THAT's not funny!" Lucario yelled angrily at Mew, a light giggle coming from underneath the hovering cloth. Ignoring Mew's current likeness to a cheap ghost costume, Lucario suddenly realized that their cover had been blown and looked around just to make sure no one was there to witness his clothing's odd behavior. A sigh slipped through his lips as he remembered that so far nothing had slipped past Mew's notice, and since she seemed to think it was safe enough to mess around, it probably was.
He was just about to stop searching the area when he noticed something further ahead. Squinting his eyes, he noticed something that looked a little like an oddly colored plant or rock. Suddenly, he saw it moving slightly.
"Quick!" Lucario hissed to Mew, "Hide!"
"Hide from wh…" Mew started, but stopped herself as she peered through the cloak and saw what Lucario had been referring to.
Waiting for Mew to slip onto his back once more, Lucario's eyes were transfixed upon the being that lay ahead. There was something very unusual about it, something he could feel but not quite put his finger on. Little by little, Mew's presence grew fainter as the mystery creature took a more prominent role in his mind. Unlike every type of Pokémon encountered so far, this one Lucario could recognize despite never having run into it before. Instantly forgetting his obligations to the small legendary, he started moving forward as the shape in front grew more and more familiar the closer he got.
"What… The…" Lucario stammered, completely beside himself at what he was seeing, "No way… NO way…"
The creature was lying down on the ground, not sleeping but resting with eyes occasionally fluttering open. It had a reddish fur, becoming whiter the lower down on the body it crept. Its snout and large ears reminded Lucario a lot of his own, and in his opinion the only thing telling their faces apart was a set of whiskers sticking out by the base of the creature's nose. All in all, it was like a less spectacular version of one of the legendary dogs, but Lucario could not stop himself from trembling in amazement at what he was witnessing.
The creature suddenly yawned, making Lucario jump in surprise, his heart beating quickly.
"A… A dog?" he stammered, barely even believing what he was saying, "… In the wild!?"
"Oh my," Mew said with a surprised tone as she came up from behind, "How rare."
"Rare? RARE!?" Lucario shouted before turning towards Mew with eyes wide open, "More like, impossible! To think that there is still a place in this world for genuine animals…!"
"If not in this world, then where?" Mew replied with a smile, amused at how Lucario was giving a dog far more attention than he had ever given her, the most sought-after Pokémon of all time.
"It… Yeah, it must have escaped from a zoo, or something…" Lucario whispered as he swallowed hard before slowly nudging towards it, "Come on, there's got to be a town up ahead. Give me a hand in bringing it back there."
"… What? No!" Mew exclaimed as she flew in front of Lucario, "Leave it alone! If it is in the wild, then we must preserve its freedom!"
"No, we must preserve its life," Lucario said as he carefully pushed her away, remembering what Zerobi had told him when he had asked where all the animals were, "Dogs are much too weak to compete with Pokémon in the wild… What, you didn't know that?"
"Normally that would be the case, but this one seems to have managed just fine!" Mew said as she scanned the dog's body for any abnormal vital signs, "I believe it has found its own way of life… We have no right to take that away!"
"… Gonna have to veto that, Mew," Lucario muttered before immediately halting himself, the dog looking warily in his direction, "Animals are on the brink of extinction, and we need to gather as many as possible so we can conserve-"
A sudden loud bang next to his ear threw Lucario off his feet. As he fell to the ground, he could see the dog getting to its feet in shock, ready to run at a moment's notice. After he hit the ground, he looked up and saw Mew put her hands together, another loud bang sounding.
"Hey, what the hell!?" Lucario shouted before seeing the dog's terrified face and lowering his voice, "You're scaring it away, you idiot!"
"I will not let you entrap an innocent creature, Lucario," Mew explained while giving Lucario a sideway glance of disappointment, "I… I had thought you were better than this."
"Sorry, but I just don't feel like exterminating an entire species today," Lucario growled back menacingly before calming himself down, seeing that he was frightening the dog even more, "… Come on, I promise it'll be happier this way! We'll bring it to a zoo and it'll live like a king, food and drinks every day!"
"It is a free spirit, not some kind of trophy to be put out on display!" Mew shouted, doing the opposite of Lucario and making an effort of raising her voice while throwing an angry glance towards the dog. At the sound and sight of this, the dog finally realized that its luck had run out as it turned around and fled.
"No!" Lucario yelled, harshly pushing Mew to the side once more as he took off after it. The dog was fast, but if there was something Lucario had experience in, it was running. Unless it was planning on going for three days straight without ever slowing down, he knew he would be able to catch up with it in the long run. He had been able to outrun a dog four times its size, after all.
Lucario's plans were put on hold as the ground suddenly disappeared beneath his feet. Touching nothing but air, his legs flailed around for a moment before he looked down and noticed he was hovering in midair. Wondering if he had finally mastered flight, he felt something take a strong hold of his body, preventing him from moving an inch. It seemed somewhat familiar, and a dark atmosphere emanating from behind told him all he needed to know.
"No… Fair…" Lucario gasped as he began to struggle, seeing the dog getting further and further away from them, "Let me go, Mew!"
"So this is how you truly feel, is it!?" Mew screamed in rage as she held up Lucario with her psychic powers, "I suppose you believe that I would be safer if captured and under the control of humanity as well!?"
"That's… That's different! You're competent enough to survive on your own!" Lucario continued as he fought even harder, wondering why he could not break free like he had when put in the same position by the Gallade, "Dogs aren't intelligent, it'll run into a wasteland somewhere and die from dehydration!"
"Removing its freedom for such an unlikely circumstance…" Mew whispered bitterly, seemingly unaffected by Lucario's valiant effort of breaking free, "… You humans truly are complacent to a fault."
"We have to be, I know your kind doesn't give a shit about animals!" Lucario burst out while clenching his fists, getting more and more outraged at how she was treating him, "That's why they're nearly extinct in the first place!"
"My kind? The kind you humans also capture on sight?" Mew shouted back sarcastically while feigning a mean-spirited snicker, "Are you in fact protecting us, too? Then maybe I should just let one of the legendary dogs take good care of you!"
"… Well, there's really no point in arguing any more, is there!?" Lucario growled in defeat, the dog already having disappeared from his view, "Let me go, already!"
A few seconds passed before the invisible grip around Lucario eased up, making him fall to the ground. It had not been as crushing as the attack the Gallade had put him through, but the lasting effects from the argument lingered as he turned around to face Mew.
"I hope you're glad," Lucario muttered irately, a deep sensation of betrayal coursing through him, "You just killed an innocent little puppy…"
"Rather, I rescued it from a fate worse than death at your hands…" Mew responded with an equally disappointed tone. It was clear to both of them that they had misjudged each other, and neither of them knew what to say.
Silently, they continued their journey. They could not sense any other creatures nearby, and so Mew decided to hover a few feet away from Lucario instead of hanging on to his back. The real reason, however, was that neither of them was too keen on acknowledging the other for the remainder of the trip.
Mew wondered which would be worse; Breaking her promise and abandoning Lucario, or being forced to spend several more months with him. He had turned out to be far less noble than she had thought, would it be a sin for her to act the same? Lucario was not thinking similar thoughts, but rather comprehending the fact that Mew had actually defeated his best fighting efforts without even trying. That she was powerful was no news to him, but the idea that he might one day have to oppose that power was. Clutching his fists fiercely, he thought that staying near her might not be such a good idea, after all.
Evil plans clouded their minds as day began to break, and they sat down to rest. Many hours had passed since their conflict, and neither of them had yet to say a thing to one another. The entirety of the situation had begun to sink for both, as Lucario realized that at this point he was just being stubborn. Looking at Mew while scratching the back of his head, he finally spoke.
"… Hey," he said quietly, "… I'm sorry about earlier."
"Regarding the dog?" Mew asked, too surprised at hearing Lucario apologizing to stop herself from demanding a rhetorical affirmation.
"Yeah," Lucario muttered with a somewhat reluctant nod, "I mean, I still think I'm right, but we both only wanted what we thought was best for that dog. Can't really hate you for that."
Mew looked at him, seeing genuine sincerity in his eyes. Suddenly, she was overcome by guilt as she remembered what she had done and lowered her head shamefully.
"… I am sorry, too," she whispered before raising her head to face him, "Forgive me for threatening you, and… Restraining you."
"That was kind of a low blow," Lucario snickered as he threw his arms up, "We had a heated argument, and you're the one who turned abusive. What the hell?"
"… You must understand…" Mew said as she tried to explain herself, "My entire life has been an escape from the clutches of humanity, and-"
"You saw yourself as the dog, and always wished that there was someone like you on the other side?" Lucario interrupted her, thinking that he was finishing her sentence.
"… What?" Mew exclaimed while trying to make sense out of his strange wording.
"You know, a group of people that would let you roam free?" Lucario clarified as he saw Mew's bewildered expression. Suddenly, it turned into a grin as she started to giggle.
"Hmm…" she said earnestly, "That would have been nice."
Smiling in relief, Mew was glad to see the heavy atmosphere between them lifting. However, she could tell that there was still something troubling Lucario, seeing him biting his lower lip while looking away from her and staring solemnly at a leaf passing by in the wind. She wondered what could be wrong, but assumed that she was somehow responsible.
"I was not serious when I said I would allow you to be captured," Mew explained with regret, realizing just how vicious she could get during her very rare fits of rage, "Is that what worries you?"
"Nah, just…" Lucario muttered as his eyes left the leaf and turned his head away from her, "… I used to be Ethan, you know? A great Pokémon trainer… That means I've captured my fair share of Pokémon, probably way more."
"… Yes," Mew agreed. While the Ethan she had met had not been carrying any Pokéballs, his skill at handling Pokémon told her that he definitively had very much experience in the matter. She often thought about how under different circumstances, they might have ended up as the worst of enemies.
"… Deep down… You hate me for it, don't you?" Lucario whispered bitterly as if reading her mind, "I took away their freedom… I must've caused misery for hundreds upon hundreds of innocent Pokémon."
"That is not true! Many Pokémon take joy in befriending a trainer!" Mew shouted while shaking her head, "We… Simply prefer that it be our choice!"
"But… How would I know which ones actually wanted to be with me!?" Lucario shouted back as he turned himself around again, displaying an expression of complete and utter despair, "It's not like they could tell me!"
"That…" Mew stammered at the sight of Lucario's unexpectedly tormented features, not knowing what to say to calm him down, "… That is all in the past."
"No, it isn't!" Lucario scoffed to himself as he put his right hand to the ground and clutched it hard, digging up a patch of soil in the palm of his hand, "It's going on right now, with me on the other side of things. Now that I see what it's like… Goddamn it, what the hell was I thinking!?"
The loathing Lucario had felt for the trainers that had hunted him all this time was culminating, and he was ready to do anything to keep from turning his hatred towards himself. Suddenly, he gritted his teeth and punched the ground over and over again in frustration, looking for something to ease the waves of guilt and anger that washed over him. Normally he would never have done so at the risk of looking like a fool, but his inner turmoil was growing to the point where he was no longer aware of his surroundings. Having finally admitted the implications behind his heritage as Ethan, it was dragging him back into the personality crisis he had faced after the initial revelation, making him realize that he was still far from over it.
Mew was staring in complete surprise, not shocked at what Lucario was doing but rather why he was doing it. Never before had she imagined that a trainer could lament over the Pokémon he had wrongfully captured. It did not make sense to her, for if both sides disliked it, why was it happening? What was the cause? Unhappiness ran through her as she once more slipped back to the conclusion she would always come to when dealing with issues between Pokémon and humans.
"It is not your fault," Mew whispered as she floated down towards Lucario and put her tail on his shoulder. An exasperated gasp escaped him as he slowed down his vicious onslaught, wondering where the soft, familiar sensation was coming from. Looking to his side, he saw Mew giving him a sympathetic look. For a moment everything stood still, conflicting emotions tugging at each other with Lucario in the middle, sitting confused and wondering what was going on.
"… Not… My fault…?" Lucario repeated. It was a term that had once seemed so distant, and now it was staring him right in the face with great blue eyes.
"No…" Mew continued with a pensive expression as she lowered herself and sat down next to him, "… It is… The way of the world."
They remained still for a while, Lucario calming down as Mew gathered her thoughts once more. Sitting down and examining his damaged knuckles, Lucario wondered how he had flown into such a rage just by telling someone what he had been thinking of for so long. Sharing his shame had made it more difficult to ignore, and he decided to keep the rest of his past failures to himself for his own sanity.
"In my dreams…" Mew finally spoke as she looked up into the sky, "… There is a world where there is no difference between humans and Pokémon. A world in which we are all considered to be of the same species, and can co-exist without worry of segregation."
"… That…" Lucario said carefully, having a little trouble finding his casual voice, "… Sounds nice."
"However… The current relationship between Pokémon and humans is deeply flawed," Mew admitted before turning her face expectantly towards Lucario, "Do you think there is hope for us to one day truly understand each other?"
"… Sure," Lucario replied as he looked back and scratched his chin, "We're a good example, aren't we?"
"Yes," Mew answered with a nod before letting her eyes dart off to the side, "… I simply wish there was a way that does not involve the apocalypse… Or switching bodies…"
"What do you mean? My transformation into a Lucario isn't the reason I care," Lucario explained, his confidence slowly returning as he recalled how much his outlook on things had developed over the past year, "In fact, at first I really hated Pokémon… You know, before meeting you."
"Strange," Mew responded with a curious expression, "I had little affection towards humanity before I met you."
Their eyes met for a moment, and their minds seemingly locked on to one another. Instantly the atmosphere turned awkward, and both of them scrambled in their seats to quickly look somewhere else.
"A-At any rate, you're, uh, the legendary Mew!" Lucario exclaimed with a shaky voice, feeling embarrassed and hastily working on bringing back his composure, "I mean, if anyone can make it happen, it's you!"
"Y-Yes. Of course…" Mew said, fairly perplexed but also swiftly collecting herself, "… As of now, I fear that I have no concrete plans on how to do it."
"… Any ideas, at least?" Lucario asked, noticing involuntary movement from his legs and ordering himself to stop fidgeting.
"Mending the current rift between the species would have to be the first step…" Mew explained as she thought to herself and prioritized their ongoing objective, "The larger it grows, the more difficult my task will become."
"Our task," Lucario corrected her as he pointed to himself, confidence at long last fully returned, "I'm with you on this. Can't solve an argument by only representing one side of the species, eh?"
"But… Why?" Mew asked. She knew he had a vast amount of problems of his own to handle, and could still not imagine why he was so insistent on helping her out.
"Let me get one thing straight - I'm pretty bad at giving myself up for the greater good…" Lucario clarified while trying to think of a good way to explain himself, "… But if… If we can really get humanity and Pokémon to co-exist… Maybe then there'll be a place in this world for a human Pokémon like me."
Much to Mew's surprise, Lucario suddenly starting laughing. She felt it was a nice contrast to his earlier fit of rage and sorrow, but still wondered what it could be about.
"Hahaha!" Lucario continued while patting Mew on the back, "Here you are, trying to save the world while I'm only thinking of myself. I should probably hide my selfish intentions better, huh?"
"N-No," Mew responded quickly, her voice involuntarily breaking up from the blunt force striking her, "I… I feel the same. The simple wish of not having to live alone in seclusion is what gave birth to this line of thinking."
"Well… Either way, that's not going to happen," Lucario said as he calmed down and pulled his hand back, having forgotten how physically weak her body was and worrying that he might have accidentally hurt her.
"What do you mean?" Mew asked, once more curious as to his intentions. Normally she was very good at analyzing people's thoughts and predicting their actions, but Lucario was different.
"This is OUR task, remember?" Lucario reminded her while pointing to himself again, "If we fail and you have to go back into hiding, the same goes for me. So… You won't be alone, at least."
They looked at each other, a heavy atmosphere beginning to surround them like before. This time, it was not as awkward as it had been, but more affectionate and friendly. For the first time since they had met, Mew could see the connection between Lucario and the Ethan she had admired, reinvigorating her resolve to protect him… And Lucario finally felt like he could trust the small legendary, at long last seeing her as a genuine friend.
"Uuooh! I'm all fired up!" Lucario yelled as he suddenly stood up with his hands in the air, "Now we've got a goal, let's get training! I'm expecting you to be standing up with only half of your powers this time!"
"Oh, no…" Mew whispered with a depressed tone, "But I was just barely able to do it with sixty percent the last time..."
"Enjoy it while you can," Lucario snickered as he bent over to scratch her head, "By the end of my training regime, you'll be using ZERO percent and doing squats like a real champ!"
"That is not physically possible for me!" Mew protested as she flew up and hovered in front of him, "And you should really be focusing on your own training! Knocking oneself into submission is hardly a legitimate use of aura!"
"Whatever," Lucario shrugged, gulping slightly at the notion of continuing his difficult and often painful teachings, "Even if I can't master that aura thing, I can just make my kicks more powerful by doing squats!"
"And even if I never utilize squats, I can still win every battle through the use of aura!" Mew snapped back, her tail twitching in annoyance.
"Squats!" Lucario yelled.
"Aura!" Mew yelled back.
"SQUATZ!" Lucario yelled, louder this time.
"AURA!" Mew yelled back, also louder.
The two of them kept going until they were too exhausted to train, and went to sleep instead. The following night they continued their journey and were finally able to talk to each other more casually, their friendship stronger and their destination finally clear.
A few miles away, there was a dog. Lying down and resting after a tiresome day of walking piled upon a restless night, it remained oblivious to the fact that it had nearly torn two Pokémon apart while also bringing them closer together than ever before.