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:
Supportive Flora Celebi
A quiet, metallic click sounded through the great hall. Lucario wondered if his ears and eyes had gone the same route as the rest of his body, everything seemingly frozen and surprisingly silent. Another click was heard as Silver pulled the trigger once more, harder this time. He growled as he pulled the trigger again and again, leaning his head forward to examine what was happening with the revolver. With each click, his ferocious expression began to dampen. Exhaustion finally setting in, he understood that the battle had been too rough on both him and his delicate piece of equipment.
"Why'd you have to slam it against the wall like that...?" Silver muttered before pulling the muzzle back from between Lucario's eyes, "See? You broke it. You will come to regret that as you slowly bleed out on my floor."
Sighing deeply, Silver sat down next to Lucario. The Pokémon before him lay battered and struggling to breathe, not even making the attempt to lash out anymore. Pride swelled in his chest. Ethan had thought himself safe from his grasp by transforming into a Pokémon, but he had seen through his disguise and finally won.
Lucario wished he could give a response, but was currently using all of his strength to keep himself conscious. Looking down on his shoulder and leg, he could not believe how such tiny wounds could cause so much pain. From what he had thought earlier, guns would be useless against Pokémon, their hides too strong to penetrate. Thinking back to what Silver had said, he wondered if revolvers really were that different from guns.
"I no longer know what you are thinking, Ethan," Silver muttered as he crouched over Lucario, taunting him to try and attack, "I have never seen you in such a pitiful state before. Hmpf... I was rather looking forward to hearing your last words. Would you curse me? Would you swear revenge? Would you, I don't know, beat me up and hand me over to the authorities?"
Lucario had no such inhibitions any longer. He wanted to kill him, and would have done so already if he could still fight. He thought about using the Aura Sphere, and Silver's fine suit and torso ending up sharing a big hole. However, Silver sat to his right, and he lacked the power to turn around and shoot it from his left arm. Leading the unbelievably painful aura through what was now an open wound in his right shoulder did not seems like a good idea, lest he wanted to intentionally pass out due to intolerable suffering.
A few more minutes passed before Silver finally stood up.
"... Your death bores me," he grumbled while crossing his arms, "This duel is over. I shall go get this cylinder moving again, and then give a proper end to this rivalry once and for all."
He turned and walked towards a door to the side, Lucario just barely noticing what was happening.
"By all means, feel free to expire in the meantime," Silver said as he walked, a hidden smile crossing his face, "I might have to question the value of this encounter should you end up costing me any more bullets!"
The footsteps disappearing in the distance, Lucario now knew that he was alone. He did not mind it, hoping his rival would take his sweet time so he could recover, play dead and then leap into action once more. However, unlike with any normal wound or screwed up attempt at using the aura, he did not seem to be recovering all too quickly. In fact, the pain was getting stronger by the minute, the cool air already working on infecting his gunshot wounds with all manner of nasty diseases. Alone he lay, quietly realizing that there really was no way of him getting out of this alive.
A long time passed, Lucario going in and out of consciousness and feverish delusion. Somewhere in the distance he heard a gunshot go off, telling him that Silver would be returning quite soon. From feeling like he was going to barf to feeling like he was going to die, the glamorous chandelier above him grew hazy and spun around against the dark ceiling's backdrop. It was then he noticed that something familiar was in the air. For some reason, everything did not seem so bad anymore. He assumed he was feeling the last high before death, the pain faded off as he felt strangely content inside.
Suddenly, a face came into view. Someone was looking down at him. Vision blurry and mind scrambled, Lucario tried to figure out who it was. It was not Silver or Red, the head was too inhuman. It was not Zoroark or Zerobi, the head had no hair. It was not Mew, although the similarities were uncanny. It was the last person he had expected to see at that time.
"Lucario!" Celebi asked with a loud, determined voice and a stern expression Lucario had never seen on her before, "Where is Zerobi?"
"... Zero... Bi...?" Lucario wheezed, realizing he was barely even able to talk anymore, "... With Mew... N-Not here..."
"Not here?" Celebi repeated with her large emerald eyes gleaming upon her shaded yet still hardened face, drifting away from his head for a moment before immediately snapping back in shock, "... You are bleeding! Oh my, are you... Dying!?"
"... Kind... Of..." Lucario muttered and wondered if this was all just a dream. Celebi's expression softened and turned into one of worry as she flew down Lucario's body a bit to examine the wounded leg. Failing to lift his torso and instead deciding to look off to the side, Lucario saw the last person he wanted to see standing by the doorway.
"C-Celebi...!" Lucario stammered as he panicked, but lacked the strength to put any emphasis behind his words, "B-Behind... You..."
"Try not to speak; it is just a human without Pokéballs..." Celebi said confidently after a quick glance, her attention solely focused upon the inexplicable hole in Lucario's leg, "... B-But... What manner of wound is this? What could possibly have-"
A loud bang interrupted her. Faster than an instant, Celebi's barrier was in full force, surrounding every inch of her body while ready to deflect anything.
As the bang trailed off, a nearly soundless squelch whispered through the room. Celebi twitched, the quiet noise frightening her even more than the loud explosion earlier. She could feel that her barrier had been punctuated by something extremely small, so fast she had not even been able to see it. Looking down to see if it had left any trace at all, she noticed a patch of crimson red expanding over her stomach, like a rose opening itself in the sunlight.
"Dange... Rous..." Lucario wheezed, but he already knew it was too late. Celebi remained soaring but completely froze up, not moving and not even breathing. The unfamiliar sensation of pain wracked her body, leaving her confused and disoriented. Her blood dripped down and landed on the bottom of her bubble-like barrier, forming a tiny puddle of red hanging in midair.
"Too little, too late, Celebi... I have no interest in you anymore," Silver said bitter as he suddenly started laughing, "Hahaha! Both of you can go to hell together, Ethan!"
Silver began to circle them as he examined the still legendary from every angle. Lucario's consciousness had nearly faded to nothing, but he was still aware enough to realize that Celebi's life was ebbing away with every passing second. Shaking with unbridled wrath, he felt his facial features tighten in fury. Teeth gritting so hard his jaws were beginning to tire, he squeezed every last ounce of strength from his weary muscles. Thanks to the pleasant feelings Celebi's aura was giving him, he was able to ignore the pain caused by his own aura carelessly moving through his left arm. The mitochondria were just barely under his control, as if they all have developed a will of their own. Millions of tiny organism, rushing through his arm towards certain demise, all willing to give their lives for one single cause: Killing Silver.
"Lead... The... Way...!" Lucario growled as he opened up his palm and pointed it towards the tall, blurry figure to his left, letting Aura Sphere fly out of him with a pained shout. Silver choked on his laughter as the blue ball of fire flew past him, not even a full decimeter away from his right arm. It crashed into the wall and exploded, Silver finally realizing what had happened as the startling sound threw him off his feet.
"When... When did you learn to..." Silver stammered, beads of sweat forming all over his body. Clutching his right arm, he realized the sphere had been just close enough to give him a taste of the blue fire, the crippling pain coursing through him and almost making him drop the revolver. Internally he planned on shooting with only one hand, but something stopped him dead in his tracks. The gaze Lucario was giving was not one he had ever seen before. It was of murderous, feral rage, every trace of the Ethan he knew long gone from his face.
"... Shit!" Silver shouted as he ran for the door. He now knew that the Aura Sphere had not been meant to disarm him or simply incapacitate him, but rather to outright kill him. He swallowed loudly, realizing that it had almost worked. In a million years, he could never have predicted that the goody two-shoes Ethan would ever actually want to kill someone. Wondering what had changed his rival, and even if he actually had been eating dinner with a mindless beast all this time, Silver quickly disappeared beyond the doorway.
Lucario fell limp, now so out of things that he was not even sure if he had missed. All he knew was that it did not matter anymore. His final Aura Sphere had drained every last resemblance of effort left in him as the room began swirling around. He felt his senses weaken as his body started shutting down. Biting down on his lower lip to the point where blood was coming out, he fought with all his might to stay awake, well aware the only thing awaiting him at the end of this naptime was death.
Suddenly, there was a quiet clinging noise on the ground next to him. Looking to the side, he saw a very small metallic item, something that was even smaller than a button and a coin. To his utter surprise, the object suddenly lifted off the ground and actually fell upwards. There, a hazy green figure took hold of it, and reached out towards him as well.
"You can sleep now," Celebi said quietly, a patch of red on her torso visible even to Lucario's blurred eyesight, "I will handle the rest."
"S... Sleep...?" Lucario grunted weakly while involuntarily shivering, "D... Die...!?"
"No. You will be alright," Celebi explained as she placed her hand over where Lucario was biting down, "But if this operation is to be half as painful for you as it was for me... I highly suggest you sleep through it."
Lucario felt his jaws relax at Celebi's gentle touch, his teeth withdrawing from his bloodied lips. With no more immediate stimuli for his brain to register, he felt it finally give in. In the back of his mind he felt a twinge of his earlier mistrust of Celebi, but gave up when he realized there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. He faintly recognized his body soaring out the window before finally fainting.
When he woke up, he was outside. It was night, yet his vision had returned to the point where he could easily see Celebi sitting to the side and watching over him. She smiled as he looked at her, trying to get up as an unfamiliar ache lingered in his shoulder.
"Urgh..." Lucario groaned groggily, "Feels like... My shoulder has a stomachache..."
"Could have been worse," Celebi pointed out with a voice that sounded more relieved than concerned, "Those metallic objects simply passed through you. I was forced to extract mine!"
"That 'metallic object' is called a 'bullet'..." Lucario mumbled as he looked down at his leg, seeing a new scar where there had been a hole not long ago, "... And you should know to keep a barrier up at all times, especially when I'm lying half dead on the floor!"
"... But I did," Celebi replied while slowly shaking her head, "I can stop a punch or a kick with ease, but that... 'Bullet'... It was ten times as fast, a hundred times smaller and a thousand times less predictable!"
Trying to move his leg, Lucario realized something felt a bit off. While he could use it unlike right after getting shot, it was not quite the same as it had been before. It felt similar to when Celebi had patched up his throat, a strange sensation of unfamiliarity that had yet to leave him.
"If these 'bullets' had struck our heads and penetrated our skulls..." Celebi said while closing her eyes and lowering her head, "... Not even I would have been able to do anything. We would most certainly have..."
Celebi said nothing after that, but Lucario could tell that she was even more shaken than he was. He remembered that she had been captured last year, and getting close to dying so soon after was probably not something a legendary like her was used to. He was actually rather amazed that she had managed to remain calm enough to extract a bullet from herself, wondering just how much experience she had with handling pain.
"Lucario..." Celebi asked quietly as she suddenly turned her head up and stared him, "Why did that man call you Ethan?"
"Huh? Ah, I thought Mew had told you," Lucario exclaimed, trying to recall just how much Celebi knew. From what he remembered, telling her that he was human was the reason he was able to find Mew in the first place, so he assumed there was but one detail left to fill her in on.
"That's the human I used to be before turning into a Pokémon," Lucario explained with pride while pointing his thumb at his chest, "That's right! I'm the greatest trainer of all time, Ethan!"
"Wh-What!?" Celebi exclaimed almost immediately, "But... Are... You must be joking!"
Lucario looked at her curiously, Celebi clearly surprised and trying to make sense out of what she had just heard.
"But that time in Ilex Forest, when we..." Celebi asked, before stopping herself and thinking a little longer, "... You... You don't remember, do you...?"
"Nothing about Pokémon like you, I'm afraid," Lucario replied, now his turn to be surprised, "What? Did we meet, or something?"
"Well... Not exactly..." Celebi whispered while wondering if their peculiar encounter would actually qualify as a meeting. The fact that Lucario was once the famous trainer Ethan did not bother her, but the idea that Ethan had lost his memory and become a Pokémon was an entirely different story. During her battle with Pikablu, to prove her selflessness she had told him about a human she helped out, which he claimed was not worth of mention. Apparently he had been right, seeing how not even the human remembered it happening.
"It was a few years ago... Nothing important..." Celebi said with a low sigh, realizing her good deed had gone completely unnoticed and beginning to revalue her past. Lucario had no idea why she suddenly became quiet, trying to think of a way to break the awkward silence and stop Celebi from letting her thoughts drift away any further.
"By the way, thanks for healing me," Lucario said, taking special care not to use the word 'helping' as he felt that he had handled Silver on his own, "Wouldn't have minded you coming a few minutes sooner, but... Why are you here? How did you find me?"
"... Your pants still have my aura in them. I was able to sense them all the way from Viridian Forest..." Celebi explained as suddenly remembered why she had come in the first place. Between finding Lucario dying, Zerobi lost, getting shot and realizing the Ethan she had met was no more, she had somehow forgotten.
"Truth is, I came to speak with my sister," Celebi said while increasing her mental fortitude for what was to come, "... How is she...?"
"Hopefully doing better than we are," Lucario mumbled while wondering if Zerobi had even made it out of No Man's Land successfully, "What? Is something wrong?"
"Probably not..." Celebi whispered with a slightly disgusted expression, akin to if she had just bit down on something sour, "Most likely just Pikablu trying to rile me up over nothing. He is rather good at that..."
"Uh... Yeah..." Lucario muttered, vividly remembering the yellow rat's flurry of curse words back when they thought Celebi had been brainwashed, "Come on, try to pick up Mew's aura and I'll explain what happened to us."
Celebi nodded as the two of them began moving. She could feel that Mew was fairly close, so there was no need for her to hide under a cloak for now. Not only that, but Lucario seemed to have a bit of trouble walking on his currently healing leg, so she figured the added weight of her body would not be appreciated. Floating next to Lucario, she listened to him explaining what had happened and kept quiet, not willing to burden him with what she herself had heard before coming here. She had no arguments over moving at Lucario's slow pace, constantly fretting over what they would find when they finally reached Zerobi.