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:
Docile Shrub Whimsicott
"Come on!" Lucario shouted, rushing up the staircase at a high pace. Zerobi stumbled closely behind, but had trouble keeping up as she did not have much experience when it came to climbing stairs.
"H-How many more f-floors...?" she panted and immediately stopped as her cloak was caught up on one of the railings. She carefully pulled it free and was glad to not have tripped and broken her neck from the shock.
"Doesn't matter, we're going to the top!" Lucario exclaimed as he continued higher up to where he had previously sensed Mew. Her aura had disappeared a couple of moments earlier, something he thought meant that she had transformed again and was about to go back into hiding. He would have to hurry, or they would miss her completely. As luck would have it, the building they were in was quite empty save for a few lone individuals here and there, and it helped him keep Mew's location fresh in mind.
A minute later, Lucario had made it to the top floor where the staircase ended. Zerobi came up from behind, exhausted and still trying to grasp the concept that they had reached the top of the immensely tall building by running diagonally upwards. The thought mocked her inner senses, and she could understand why there weren't many Pokémon at this height.
"Here, I think," Lucario said with a determined nod before looking around. His confidence waned as he could see that the layout of top floor was anything but simple, twisting corridors and turning passages in every direction. Many doors were scattered about, and Lucario solemnly wished that Mew's aura had not gone away so she would be easier to find.
"You think?" Zerobi repeated with a worried tone, seeing a window a little further away and promising herself not to look out of it. The last thing she needed was to confirm her fears and freak out.
"It's not THAT accurate," Lucario muttered as he examined their surroundings more carefully and counting the amount of doors, "Might've even been the previous floor if we're really out of luck... Damn, this is going to take forever."
"I'll start here and you go there, then," Zerobi said while pointing to her left, feeling impatient and wanting to get out of the sky high construction as quickly as possible, "It's not THAT big. Yell if something happens and if not, we'll switch floors."
"Right," Lucario responded and turned left. There were three doors on each side of the corridor, and it seemed to continue in another direction by the end. Very eager to see Mew, he set off and immediately started checking the rooms behind the doors.
A few minutes into the search, Zerobi was starting to regret her suggestion. Room after room had brought nothing but empty offices, leading her far away from the stairs and into a slithering corridor. Everything looked so much the same that she could have sworn she was going around in circles. The closed off air and symmetrical backdrop made her feel uneasy, wondering how humans could work in such a boring environment. Even the cavern she had spent seven years of her life in seemed more exciting than this.
Sighing deeply after having examined another empty room, she turned a corner and suddenly wished she had not been complaining about the monotonous structure.
Where the corridor turned another corner, the walls and floor were corroded and dented. It was as if something had exploded, a deep indent in the ground where the carpeting had burned up and left nothing but ashy remains behind. Knowing there was no time to waste, she carefully made her way across the burned floor and, to her surprise, saw that the rest of the corridor had been too damaged to continue. Whatever had once been there, it had now been reduced to slag. Sighing deeply at her fruitless search, Zerobi started running back to rejoin Lucario.
"Don't leave me alone..." a whispering moan echoed through the corridor, Zerobi stopping and immediately turning around. Seeing no one, she spun around once more to fully examine her surroundings.
She was all by herself. A shiver ran through her as she looked back and stared at the molten mess behind her. It had been a soft, whimpering voice she had heard many times before, but like always she knew it was just her mind playing tricks on her. Ignoring what she had heard, she kept moving back through the corridor.
Distractedly rounding another corner, she felt herself bump into something. There was no time for her to react as a set of thick knuckles came down upon her head, immediately rendering her unconscious.
Meanwhile on the other side of the building, Lucario grumbled in annoyance. The corridor he had picked seemed to go on forever, and with each empty room he felt like Mew was slipping further away from him. Opening yet another door, he recalled how she had left him on the island of the legendaries without saying anything, almost as if she had been avoiding him on purpose. While at first he had thought Lugia must have filled her head with lies about him to make her run, he had since then come to realize that she was much too smart fall for something that simple. Even if she had, she would have come to talk to him about it, not just go away without saying anything.
Lucario swallowed hard as he came to the most logical conclusion, and a nasty thought hit him. If she really had abandoned him by her own free will, had he made a grave mistake in coming here to find her...?
His mind raced as he opened yet another door and examined the room inside. His thoughts elsewhere, he idly paid notice to the window at the far end, the regular tapestry and familiar smell inside. It was not until he was just about to turn around and search elsewhere that he saw something lying in the middle of the room.
A small, pink creature lay hunched over. Lucario's mind immediately turned to Mew, but this creature's fur was nowhere near as colorful, radiant and outlandish. Appearance-wise it was far more like a stuffed animal of Mew, the colors a little off after years being exposed to the elements. Also, the Mew he knew would never lie down; she was always floating or occasionally sitting. Lucario could at least admire the accuracy of the replica's size, before noticing a trickle of red running down its back.
"Mew...?" Lucario whispered, a cold feeling sweeping over him. He ran up to the puppet and crouched over it, putting his hand over where the red liquid was running down. Immediately, he drew his arm back with a frightened gasp. The red smear over his palm told him two things - The puppet bled, and it was warm beneath its skin.
Bleeding. Wounded. Dead?
"Mew? MEW!" Lucario shouted, grabbing a hold of the tiny legendary and rolling her over. Terror flowing, Lucario choked on his own breath as he saw the face he had come to know so well, still and lifeless. Her eyes were closed and her mouth was halfway open, but those were not the only things that told him something was wrong. There was no aura or purity surrounding her, all that remained was pink ball of hair that looked and felt like someone had just dyed any other Pokémon pink.
Is that what happens when you die?
"Snap out of it!" Lucario continued, wondering why the hell was going on. She was not breathing, had she figured out a way to take in oxygen without using her lungs? Her pulse was gone, was she trying to trick him into going away so she could flee?
Or maybe... Maybe she really was dead?
"You... You can't just..." Lucario said, noticing that his voice was trembling. He could not understand what had happened. Was it too late to do anything about it? She was not breathing, but could he give her CPR with his peculiar snout? Her pulse was gone, but could he give her heart massage without crushing her tiny body? In the end, all he did was and stare at her lifeless body, unable to comprehend what was happening.
It had been a while, but one by one they were slowly returning. A set of vines constricted Lucario's neck, a wounded Rukario lying next to Mew with the tears running down her face still visible in the rain. In every corner of the room were Dragonair, twisting around and shaking uncontrollably. Lucario looked around in terror and despair, a bat-like creature flying past the window outside. Suddenly a high-pitched scream filled his head, the small penguin pleading for his help as he turned his head away and covered his ears-
In an instant, everything vanished. One familiar sensation replaced another as something very painful pierced and spread from Lucario's right side. The pain spiked as something pulled out of him, Lucario gasping and falling over Mew. He hit her with the full weight of is body and worried that he had hurt her, still clinging on to the hope that she was alive. Her body was still warm, but it was not moving. As he tried to get off, he noticed he was just barely able to move, his muscles turning more sluggish by the second. Before he knew it, he could not even lift his head as his arms gave out and he fell onto Mew once more.
A pair of feet suddenly appeared in front of him. Spiky red claws adorned rough grey fur that continued up on a set of legs. As the creature bent over, Lucario felt like he was looking at a twisted version of himself, before the bushy red hair fell down and he knew exactly who it was.
"Z..." Lucario stammered in shock as he felt a fire of hatred ignite in his chest, "Zoro... Ark..."
Zoroark's emerald eyes narrowed as they examined him, the dark-type's stature far less composed than usual. His face looked nervous, not confident. His crouch was sloppy, not steady. His fur was rugged, not sleek.
"Oh, please! What's with the surprised expression?" Zoroark exclaimed with anger, heavy agitation apparent in his voice, "You were expecting a different welcome after what you did the last time!?"
The pain vanishing altogether, Lucario now knew what had happened. He had been stabbed in the side by Zoroark's claws, in the exact spot as the year before. The effect of this attack was less painful but had rendered him completely immobile, and Lucario remembered how the dark-type would coat his claws in liquid that causes paralysis.
"My offer expired a long time ago, I'm afraid," Zoroark huffed while giving a nervous shrug, trying to stay calm but drawing ever closer to the complete opposite, "If you had played your cards and hid your intentions better... Oh, you can't even imagine what I had in store for you..."
A sliver of hope entered Lucario as he thought that maybe Mew had simply been paralyzed as well, but to his sadness he could feel that his heart was still beating. Hers had not been.
"... Mew..." was all Lucario could muster with a croak as he looked up at Zoroark with eyes of sorrow, "... Why...?"
"... How was I supposed to know she couldn't even breathe without psychic abilities?" Zoroark muttered furiously as he turned his back away from Lucario, feeling guilted by the gaze he had been given, "It's absurd! Ridiculous! I've seen Patrat with stronger wills to live!"
He turned back to see that Lucario's body was completely obscuring Mew. Sighing deeply in yet another attempt of settling his nerves, Zoroark walked up to them and pushed Lucario aside with his foot. Lucario helplessly rolled to the side, unable to control himself. His head fell back, his face now completely expressionless. He knew that even if he could speak, he would have nothing to say. Even if he could feel, it did not matter anymore. Mew was dead.
"Years pass without her doing anything, and when I finally decide to fix things myself, she comes out to stop me and gets taken down in one blow..." Zoroark explained as he focused on breathing in and out, at long last starting to feel better about the whole situation, "... Good riddance. What an utter disappointment. And to think I once admired you... Both of you!"
Zoroark pointed accusingly at the two lifeless Pokémon before him, suddenly realizing that neither of them could see him any longer. As Zoroark pondered over what to do next, he heard a set of heavy footsteps outside the door. Had it been any other set of footsteps, he would have hid himself and prepared to incapacitate whoever was to enter once more. However, the owner of these footsteps was of unwavering loyalty, and the only one he felt like he could trust with anything.
The door flew open with a slam, revealing the great Connor standing behind it. Zoroark knew the slam had not been intentional, rather he had been holding back his strength quite a bit as the door had refrained from turning into a pile of splinters. The upper floors were always empty of the regular inhabitants of No Man's Land, so no one but those normally serving him would hear the slam and come to help.
Zoroark smiled. Finally, he felt like he had gained control of the situation again.
"I presume you haven't forgotten about Connor, no?" Zoroark said with a bit more confidence than before as he gently tapped Lucario's open wound with his left foot, sending a shiver through the fighting-type, "He's got experience when it comes to keeping you in captivity, so he will be your host until I have time to ask you what the hell you're doing here. Forgive my hospitality, but as you can see, I'm kind of busy with matters of genuine importance."
Unwillingly frozen in place, Lucario could not help but look at the Conkeldurr that had once been his ally. His large, bulging muscles looked as intimidating as the day they had crushed solid steel, and seemed far more fearsome now that Lucario's skull could be on the receiving end. The strong fighting-type looked at him, and then at Mew. His expression never changed, and he never said a word. Even so, both Zoroark and Lucario could not help but look at him with surprise. Hanging limply from his shoulder like a fine, black coat much too small for the massive Pokémon was none other than Zerobi.
"Zoroark! Zoroark!" a meek voice suddenly peeped as a small pitter-patter filled the room, "Are you hurt!? What happ-"
The noise trailed off as a ball of white fluff came running beside Connor, immediately halting himself at the sight of Mew and Lucario. The Whimsicott recognized both and gasped in shock.
"Wait... Is that..." Zoroark said slowly as he recognized the Weavile that Connor was carrying, immediately remembering the fearsome tales Astrid had told him about her, "She... She's unconscious, right?"
A quiet nod from Connor was his only response, the Whimsicott looking up to see who they were referring to. Also recognizing Zerobi, he fell back in terror, remembering exactly what had been written in the papers regarding the massacre of the Cerulean Cave.
"Good..." Zoroark whispered before swallowing hard, thinking that a rampaging serial killer was the absolutely last thing this crime scene needed, "Listen, those two will probably want me dead when they wake up. Connor, take care of them until I figure out what to do. As for... Mew..."
Zoroark trailed off, curious to see how they would react to him having killed the most popular legendary in the world. Connor had so far followed his every order without ever objecting or even saying a word, surely the death of Mew would not change things? As Zoroark had expected, Connor was not one to hesitate when it comes to orders and bent over to pick up Lucario, who was currently certain he would be popped like a berry between the large Pokémon's fists. As he was thrown onto Connor's shoulder and once saw Mew's lifeless body lying on the floor like a discarded toy, it suddenly did not seem like such a terrible fate.
"Mew..." the Whimsicott whispered sadly, moving up to her as Connor left the room with Zerobi and Lucario hanging from his shoulders. To Zoroark's surprise, tears began to form in the grass-type's eyes. He had not expected such a strong reaction.
"I went too easy on Entei, and almost got killed..." Zoroark mumbled as he turned around, again feeling guilty over what had happened, "Then I go even easier on Mew, and she dies..."
"She... I-I can't believe..." the Whimsicott said shakily as he fell down beside her, "Was there really no other way...? Sir...?"
Zoroark did not answer. Quietly he approached the window at the end of the room and looked out, the Whimsicott sniveling behind him. Everything outside was the same as it had been just a little over an hour ago, before Mew had come to visit. The familiar sight broke down the tensing he had been locked up in. Many conflicting thoughts raced through his mind, remorse over what he had done and fear of what sort of repercussions it might bring, both from the Pokémon of No Man's Land and perhaps even other legendaries. No matter how he looked at the situation, he could not help but imagine a very bleak future.
The Whimsicott's crying did not help in the least.