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:
Silent Brute Conkeldurr
Everything was gone.
What had once been a living being floated around in endless emptiness, thoughtless and unmoving. It could not see, and all was darkness. It could not hear, and all was silence. It could not smell, for it existed nowhere. It could not speak, for no one would respond.
But it could still feel. A gentle, rocking motion disturbed the creature from its eternal sleep. It tried to think, but something inside deterred it. Something inside that was very important. Something inside that had been brought back to life. Something inside that had been waiting ever since the creature's birth to fulfill its function. Something inside that was drawing every shred of energy from the creature's body, depriving it of four senses and the ability to think. Something inside that was starting to move for the very first time.
And with an anguished inhale, the body drew breath once more.
"Ahh..." Zerobi groaned as the world returned to her, somewhat hazier than she had left it. A dull pain in her head made her draw her hand up, getting a few small scratches across her forehead from her sharp claws. She would have to tolerate it for now, because nothing else seemed to be able to soothe her pounding headache.
Before noticing anything else, she saw a Pokémon sitting in front of her. Although his face was turned away from her and his cloak was missing, she immediately recognized him.
"Lucario...?" Zerobi asked groggily, "What happened...?"
"Dunno..." Lucario mumbled in response, not budging an inch or turning around to face her. Zerobi got the strangest feeling that her recovery was the last thing on his mind. She wondered what was wrong and decided to examine their surroundings. They were in a fairly small room with two chairs, both padded and looking a lot more comfy than the glorified sticks in the offices she had been searching through. Lucario had still chosen to sit down on the floor for some reason. Upon the walls hung a few mundane paintings, and the tapestry was soothingly blue.
The events of the day were starting to come back to Zerobi as she continued looking around. She remembered some big brute knocking her out, but nothing else from that point on. However, the cozy atmosphere made her feel like they were in some kind of a guest room, which struck her as odd considering how they had gotten there. The room had no windows and only one door, which to her surprise was not only unlocked but had been left open.
"Hey... Look!" Zerobi said while pointing towards the exit, the discovery bringing clarity to her dazed mind, "It's not locked or anything! Come on, let's go!"
"Yeah..." Lucario muttered solemnly, but continued sitting perfectly still. An awkward silence filled the room as Zerobi stood up, moving into Lucario's field of vision to see what was going on.
She immediately felt her mouth go dry, for Lucario's face was not the face she knew. His flaming red eyes were not eagerly zooming around, but empty and still. His ears that used to stand tall and twitch whenever she poked them now hung to the side, looking like withered leaves stuck to a dead branch. The mouth that she had seen smile, snarl and speak was now unmoving and slightly open, looking more like an unhinged door than anything else.
"You don't look so good..." Zerobi said quietly as she looked Lucario in his lifeless eyes, hoping for some kind of response.
"I don't... Feel so good..." Lucario replied quietly, sensing a familiar and dangerous aura approaching them from just outside the door. He did not make any attempt at hiding or preparing himself for battle. Something inside of him was not responding, as if it had died together with Mew. Why do anything, he wondered, it was not like his intervention would normally change the outcome for the better. If anything it would only make things worse, as with Rukario and the Zubat.
"Someone's coming..." Zerobi warned, feeling herself tense up as she heard a heavy set of footsteps approaching. Still confused as to what was happening and taking the moment into action, she ran to the side of the entryway, ready to ambush whoever was to come through it. Her confidence waned as the footsteps became louder and louder the nearer they came, signifying a very big and strong creature heading their way. Lucario remained immobile like before, and Zerobi wondered if his inaction was due to him being drugged or something. Eventually the footsteps reached the door, and Zerobi prepared herself to attack.
She halted herself as a huge Conkeldurr entered the room, making the paintings that had not been nailed to the wall properly rattle in a miniature quake. The brown, veiny muscles bulging in brute strength made her recall the instant before she had been knocked out cold, realizing just how badly outclassed she was against the powerful fighting-type. As luck would have it, he did not look at her, but his eyes seemed to be fastened on Lucario and nowhere else.
Without any warning, Lucario suddenly stood up.
"D-Don't..." Lucario stammered in surprise before shouting, "Don't you fucking touch her!"
Zerobi looked at Lucario and then at the Conkeldurr, suddenly realizing that the brown giant was carrying something. It was a Pokémon with pink fur, and a long tail that seemed to have some kind of white bandage attached to it. She thought it looked like Mew with a peculiar tinge of realism added to her, like Celebi when she would lower her aura to camouflage herself against other plants. Mew seemed to be unconscious, and the Conkeldurr was cradling her like a baby. The colors drained from Zerobi's face as she realized that the small legendary was not moving.
Lucario's anger soared in an instant. The traitorous Connor had brought Mew, gruff uncaring hands carrying her gracious body like they would a bag of potatoes. Lucario wondered if the Conkeldurr was here to kill the two of them, just so he would be able to dispose of all three bodies in one go. Although Lucario felt just as bad as before and would very much prefer to simply lie down and die, he raised his fists. Not knowing what to do or how to feel, he did what he would always end up doing anyway - Readying himself to fight to the death.
Connor continued staring at Lucario, suddenly moving towards him. He slowed down his footsteps as to stop the quaking, his movement looking both strange and unfamiliar. Lucario realized that the large bodybuilder was not using his arms to walk around as they were busy cradling Mew. He had not just thrown her across his shoulder like he had with Lucario and Zerobi, but was actually carrying her rather carefully. If he was not using his arms, how would he fight? Before Lucario had noticed it, Connor stood directly in front of him, still not making any signs of hostility.
Eyes drifting downwards, Connor looked at Mew, a subtle nod urging Lucario to do the same. Careful about not dropping his guard, Lucario turned his vision towards Mew, still as colorless and vague as when he had seen her earlier. However, unlike back then, this time she was not completely still. There was a very subtle and strained movement of her upper body, like water filling a balloon before pouring out due to pressure. Throwing all caution to the side and putting his hand by her mouth, Lucario felt his pulse skyrocket in anticipation. The small draft across his palm made his own breaths come in faster than ever.
"MEW!" he screamed, Connor remaining unfazed while Zerobi flinched from the sudden outburst. As if a mask had suddenly fallen off, Lucario's ghastly expression went away and was replaced by a face she was more familiar with. She paid little mind to it however, since at the current moment she was far more terrified over what was wrong with Mew.
"She lives!" Lucario yelled happily as he turned towards Zerobi, "I shit you not! She's alive!"
"What!?" Zerobi burst out in confusion, once more wondering what the hell had happened while she was unconscious, "Don't scare me like that! From the look of things, I thought she was dead or something!"
"She was!" Lucario continued as he began to smile, "She really, really was!"
Before he knew it, he had reached out to grab Mew from Connor's arms. Suddenly realizing what he had done and expecting a swift knuckle to the head, he was surprised to see the giant letting go of her without a fuss. The Conkeldurr looked down at the frozen Lucario holding Mew, before nodding to show his acceptance.
"... Mew, can you hear me?" Lucario asked while gently tapping Mew's forehead, marveling over the body in his arms. It had been warm before, but only now did it feel alive. There was a clear pulse moving through her, and if he focused really hard he could even hear her strained breathing over the various noise coming from outside in No Man's Land. After a few moments, Mew stirred, very slowly opening her eyes. She looked extremely confused as her vision turned up towards him.
"L..." Mew wheezed before suddenly starting to choke. She gasped for air, closing her eyes again and letting herself go limp as the breathing resumed after a few moments.
"N-No! Don't talk!" Lucario stammered in fear, worried that he was about to lose her again, "Focus on breathing, nothing else!"
"That's..." Zerobi whispered as she moved closer, still wary of getting too near the Conkeldurr that had been able to defeat her in one blow, "She's using Rest?"
"Wha..." Lucario exclaimed, suddenly aware that both Zerobi and Connor were there. For a moment it had seemed like it was only him and Mew, like the many months they had spent traveling together.
"It's like a self-inflicted coma, disabling needless bodily functions to focus purely on one or two..." Zerobi explained while remembering her failed attempts at using it a few years earlier, "It's said that it can be done by every Pokémon in the world, and that it greatly boosts natural recovery if you use it properly."
"So... We can't wake her, huh...?" Lucario mumbled as he looked around the room, wondering what to do next, "Hmm... I wonder if Zoroark knows about this? If not, better get out of here before he or any his followers find us."
"Great idea, but..." Zerobi whispered with a scared tone while pointing towards the Conkeldurr and swallowing hard, "... What about this guy? Do you know him, or something?"
"Huh?" Lucario exclaimed, looking at Connor with a bewildered demeanor. Connor looked back at him without any expression on his face at all, as if he was looking at an empty pot or something else of very mild interest. Although it had only been a few minutes earlier, Lucario's impending battle with the fighting-type over Mew's corpse now seemed like part of a completely different world. He suddenly recalled being carried to this room by Connor, and the more he thought about it, he remembered it being due to Zoroark's orders.
"Hey... Does Zoroark know that we're here?" Lucario asked. Connor's expression seemed slightly troubled before he nodded.
"Does Zoroark know... Mew's here?" Lucario continued. Connor hesitated for a moment, but then shook his head.
"Oh, and by the way, do you have an explanation as to why you punched me so hard in the head that I was rendered unconscious!?" Zerobi shouted angrily, not at all pleased by the friendly atmosphere between her best friend and worst enemy. Connor sneered at her, but did not respond.
"Fine, whatever," Zerobi muttered, annoyed by the still throbbing pain in her forehead, "If he's not here to stop us, then let's go with your plan and get the hell out of here while we still can. About time, I've had it up to here with this place..."
Zerobi headed towards the door, but this time Connor responded. He held one of his massive outstretched hands directly in front of Zerobi, making her stop and give off a grumpy expression. Both her and Lucario stood frozen in place as the Conkeldurr moved forward, walking past them and to the wall on the opposite side of the door.
Taking a step back, he suddenly threw the bulk of his body against the wall. A loud boom filled the room and made Lucario instinctively try to cover his ears, stopping himself in the last second as he was almost about to drop Mew. She was a small Pokémon, but still about as big as his torso, requiring his full attention as to not let her fall and hurt herself even more.
The wall that Connor had rammed suddenly crumbled, revealing the outside world beyond. The hole was shaped in almost perfectly square, showing that the spot had once housed a window which had hastily been cemented and covered up. Connor walked back to the middle of the room before looking at Lucario and pointing towards the hole. To his own surprise, Lucario had no problem understanding what the massive fighting-type meant.
"An escape route...?" Lucario whispered to himself, looking up at Connor in surprise, "But... Why?"
What happened next caught Lucario even more by surprise. For the first time since he had laid eyes upon Connor, the stoic giant's face finally showed genuine emotion.
"Are you kidding!? We're on the top floor, we can't just jump ou..." Zerobi protested before looking out the hole and realizing they were back on ground level, again wondering what she had missed while unconscious. Connor and Lucario looked at each other, Lucario trying to understand why on earth the seemingly loyal giant had decided to betray Zoroark for their sake.
Suddenly, Connor's mouth opened. Not a sound was made, but his lips formed a word. Two syllables.
"This is not something we've got time for!" Zerobi said, feeling very uneasy around the Conkeldurr and imagining him going berserk at any moment and taking both of them out, "We're still in trouble as long as we're in No Man's Land... You want us to get to safety or not?"
"... Right!" Lucario exclaimed as he came to it, seeing the urgent look on Zerobi's face and feeling the tiny body in his arms. Moving towards the hole in the wall, Lucario lowered his head to whisper in Mew's ear.
"... Relax, Mew... I'll be the one protecting you, for once..." he said, not caring whether she could hear him or not, "I... I swear... This time, I swear I won't screw up!"
Zerobi jumped out, Lucario following closely behind. Night had fallen and the streets were fairly empty, no source of light present apart from the full moon soaring high up in the clouded sky. Zerobi sighed out in relief as they started running, knowing it would be easier for them to not be seen in the darkness. She felt secure as they headed towards the woods, but the sensation waned as she noticed just how slowly Lucario was moving. Looking back, she noticed that being encumbered by Mew was not the only reason for his sluggish pace.
"See... Run...?" Lucario whispered, trying to imitate the Conkeldurr's lips with his own. He felt the aura grow distant behind him and knew he had better things to be thinking about, but could not shake the feeling that there was something important about Connor's last and perhaps only statement.
"She... Won...?" he continued, the outcome still not sounding quite right. There were two syllables, but both were shorter than three letters. Lucario kept trying to mimic him over and over, until finally the right combination struck.
Immediately stopping himself, Lucario turned his face back towards the building they had left. The room they had left was empty, and Connor was no longer anywhere to be seen.
"... Cy... On...?" Lucario said out loud, feeling as if his heart was about to stop before an unfamiliar set of memories suddenly came upon him. He saw a very tiny, almost child-like Lucario looking himself in the mirror, a different Pokémon standing beside him. Holding a piece of lumber above them and flexing his beige muscles, the other Pokémon smiled broadly as suddenly a heavy set of footsteps sounded, the two of them turning around as-
"Keep up!" Zerobi shouted further ahead, already slowing herself down considerably so Lucario could follow. As if struck by lightning, Lucario snapped back to reality and continued running. An odd feeling ran through him, something aching in his chest and on top of both his hands. He had no idea what was happening, but decided to leave his curiosities for later. They were not out of the woods yet.
Zoroark carefully examined the handheld monitor, lightly tapping the side of it to scroll through the readings. His grin grew wider with every number he calculated.
"A pulse..." Zoroark whispered to himself, a great weight lifting off his shoulders. Laughing a little, he realized that he had once more underestimated a legendary. He would have to prepare something far more extraordinary for the next encounter, and preferably something involving less of him sticking his neck out. His nerves were not keen at taking any more punishment than they already had.
While the name Sphygnomanometer alone had been enough to scare off the two Bellsprout that had found the curious bandage and tiny monitor it lying in an old hospital, Zoroark had realized its functions and kept it in case he needed to make sure that someone was not just pretending to be dead. He had attached the bandage to Mew's tail before letting Connor carry her downstairs, not really expecting her to spring back to life so quickly. He would have to apologize profusely before continuing their discussion, this time with less panic and more of the peace and quiet he had initially hoped for. The best part, he thought, was that he was still safe from harm, since she would still not regain her psychic powers for at least a few days.
Relieved as Zoroark was, he could not help but frown as the readings from Mew's pulse stopped coming. The words "OUT OF RANGE" suddenly appeared on the screen. The remote Sphygnomanometer supposedly had a range of over 50 meters, so for it to be out of range was not a possibility as long as she remained in the building.
A nasty thought hit him. On a whim, he ran up to his favorite window and peered outside. Seeing nothing, he ran out into the corridor and looked out a window acing the other way. There, in the darkness of the city, he saw two figures running away into the woods.
"Damn..." Zoroark mumbled, recognizing Lucario and Zerobi thanks to his sharp eyesight and perfect night vision. He wondered how they could possibly have escaped the dauntless Connor, but felt that perhaps it was for the best. With Mew as a guest, he had far more pressing matters to attend to than exacting revenge upon Lucario. Also, he genuinely had no clue on how to handle Zerobi, who aside from being a coldblooded killer could apparently survive a gaping hole in her chest as well as being completely liquefied.
It was not until Zoroark noticed the small pink creature in Lucario's arms that he realized the gravity of the situation.
"Oh, damn!" he burst out, turning around and starting to run down the stairs. He had no idea what the two of them had in mind for Mew, but if she was to get away now the consequences could be catastrophic for both him and No Man's Land. Zoroark picked up the pace and leaped out of an open window, sliding down the rope-like vine that hung from the side.
Running his claws through his hair once more, he confirmed that the useful vials tied up within were still there. Zoroark smiled as he set off towards the forest. Zerobi and Lucario might have been able to escape Connor, but there was not a creature alive that could escape him. It had all been but a minor setback, and he would show them exactly why it is a bad idea to cross the leader of No Man's Land.