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:
Helpless (Epilogue of Episode X)
Zerobi and Celebi stared at each other, both their worst fears becoming realized in the same instant. Even so, neither of them could bring themselves to grasp the gravity of the situation. Many times Zerobi had tried to envision the day when her lies would be unraveled, each time coming to the same inevitable conclusion. She knew there was no way she could ever justify her actions, and that the life she had tried so hard to reclaim was finally coming to an end.
"So... It is true..." Celebi whispered slowly, cursing herself for ever having doubted Pikablu and her own fears. She felt like such a fool, having thought there had been a misunderstanding, unable to comprehend that one of her own flesh and blood could be so evil. She stared down at the ground, and Zerobi followed her gaze with longing.
"Sis..." Zerobi whispered, getting to her feet. Instantly, Celebi snapped her head up and flew back.
"... No!" Celebi snarled angrily, stems fluttering wildly on her head in a display of rage she rarely showed, "You are not my sister! No sister of mine could ever do such things!"
A twinge of guilt struck Celebi, her instincts kicking in as she saw how much Zerobi was hurting. It was overshadowed by the unimaginable pain that the past year had been but an illusion, a lie brought about by her own selfish wish for a sibling. She had worked so hard to be nice to someone who would did not think twice about gutting everyone she knew and loved. Putting a hand to her chest, she felt like her heart was being cut through with sharp razors.
"... All my life... I searched for you... Dreamed of you..." Celebi whispered slowly as to get control of her shallow breathing, "... I was prepared to forgive anything... But this...? How can I...?"
"Hey, now!" Lucario interjected as he suddenly stood up, reminding the two sisters that they were not alone, "What's going on!? I thought it was a joke, or something!"
"You..." Celebi said accusingly as she turned her head towards Lucario, suddenly remembering who had brought Zerobi to her in the first place, "Did you know about this?"
"Know about what?" Lucario replied hastily. The aura of happiness normally exuding from Celebi was all but gone, crushed by the heavy atmosphere. He looked at Zerobi, a panicked expression across her face warning him from making further inquisitions.
"All that death... All that blood..." Celebi croaked breathlessly, bracing herself for his answer as she was not certain she could take being betrayed by both him and her sister all in one night. Lucario stared at her with confusion, suddenly recalling the time Zerobi had nearly killed him and that they had hidden the reason behind it.
"Oh..." Lucario muttered, "Well, yeah. Look, we were going to tell you, but it didn't seem like the right time back then. But it's OK! She said she was sorry, and I already forgave her."
"SORRY!?" Celebi suddenly burst out, her great emerald eyes flaring dangerously as she flew up to his face, "You think... 'Sorry' is enough to compensate for what she's done!?"
Lucario recoiled back as Celebi felt her insides boil in frustration, remembering the vivid details that Pikablu had told her about the bloodbath beyond the walls of the Cerulean Cave. She had refused to believe every single one of them at first, but the longer Zerobi's silence and otherwise unwarranted shock went on, the more she began to accept the truth.
"She's a remorseless murderer! She's killed nearly fifty Pokémon! She..." Celebi shouted as she gasped, finally believing the horrific deeds her sister had done, "... She killed children! Tortured them! Cut them into pieces!"
"It... It was long ago..." Zerobi whispered in what even she knew was a feeble attempt to defend herself. Looking down, she already knew there was no hope for things to go back to what they were. Never again would she experience the way life was meant to be.
"Have the people whose lives you stole recovered!?" Celebi clamored with disgust, the words out of Zerobi's mouth suddenly revolting and appalling in her ears, "And... Long ago!? You slit Lucario's throat just a few months back! He would have died if not for me!"
"Uh..." Lucario stammered, raising a finger yet being unable to disagree. He wanted to support Zerobi who seemed to be on the verge of crying, but had no idea what to say or do. They were all quiet for a few moments, Zerobi staring into the ground and wishing she could just run away and disappear forever.
"Long ago, I accidentally became responsible for the death of someone, and had to pay dearly for it..." Celebi said, staring intently at Zerobi while feeling like she could explode from all the loathing gradually building up, "... But you... Here you are... Laughing and smiling, eating and sleeping while safe from harm under my care..."
Conflict raged within Celebi, the small legendary torn on what to do. The only thing clear was that she never wanted to see her wicked sister again, already feeling herself become completely engulfed in hatred. Letting Zerobi run seemed like the obvious choice, but as murderous and dangerous as her sister was, she thought she might come to regret it. Picturing the terrified faces of the children as they were kidnapped and murdered for Zerobi's own selfish wishes, she could not bear the thought of such an evil monster escaping unpunished.
"What have I done...? What possessed me when I put all my trust in you...?" Celebi whispered, putting her face in her hands as unimaginable grief washed over her, "The way you would lie awake at night, watching me... You were just waiting for the right time to betray me, and... A-And..."
Zerobi grit her teeth and looked up as Celebi suddenly stopped talking. The green sprout's mouth was open, but no words were leaving them. Her breathing came in harder, and she seemed like she was experiencing horrors from beyond this world. Slow as a glacier, Celebi's head began turning towards her. Her expression was not one of care, but one of complete and utter despair.
"Y-You... You were thinking of killing me, too...?" Celebi asked with a shaky voice, tears visible in the corner of her eyes. She looked at Zerobi with pleading eyes, requesting a sliver of mercy from the being she had once referred to as family. However, Zerobi already knew everything was over and could not comply, quietly turning her head away in shame.
In that instant, Celebi felt her mind crack, her last defenses finally breaking down as she started crying. Her only sister, the one person she had decided to trust fully was an unrepentant killer. All the years she had spent searching, all the effort she had put in, it had all been for nothing.
"H-Hey..." Lucario exclaimed as he reached a hand towards Celebi, but he was completely ignored as her furious eyes fastened upon Zerobi.
"Who... What are you!?" Celebi yelled, tears streaming down her face, "Why did you pretend to be my sister!?"
"... What're you talking about...?" Zerobi muttered as a twitch of annoyance run through her features, "Of course I'm your sister..."
"No!" Celebi insisted while shaking her head in protest, "A monster like you cannot possibly be my sister!"
"I SAID, OF COURSE I'M YOUR SISTER!" Zerobi suddenly burst out with all her might, standing up and throwing her hands to the side, "THAT'S WHY MY ENTIRE LIFE'S FUCKED UP IN THE FIRST PLACE!"
Celebi choked in surprise, instantly becoming quiet as Lucario inhaled sharply. Zerobi looked at the two of them, the pent up frustration of having been judged for so long coming out all at once.
"You think... You think I WANTED any of this...!?" Zerobi snarled, clutching her hands so hard she was certain her claws would break at any moment, "I was just a normal kid growing up and having fun when suddenly all this abnormal bullshit kicked in and completely ruined my life!"
She thought back to her days at school, how much fun she would have hanging out with Eve and reading occult magazines. Just a few years later, and she remembered working hard every day to drag people into the back of the cavern to kill them, all while keeping up a painful charade of being normal to everyone else.
"I... I couldn't control it. How could I? I didn't even know what the hell it was since no one was there to explain..." Zerobi stuttered as she stared feverishly at her claws, before turning her vision up and placing it firmly on Celebi, "... Where the hell were YOU!? Without any warning or support I had to deal with an unexplainable disease on my own, and you BLAME me for failing!?"
Once more she was there. Overpowered by a feral Kadabra, deep inside a cave where no one would ever find or help her. Refusing to submit and attempting one last gambit to save herself from rape and death. The unbelievable sensation as her hated claws pierced the hated flesh of the hated Pokémon, every moment like a million lifetimes of pleasure.
But then, she was another place. Reading the same magazines over and over, deep inside a cave where no one would ever find or help her. Refusing to submit and secluded from the world to save herself from prison and execution. The endless wait as her hated claws demanded to once more pierce the innocent flesh of her beloved friends, every moment like a million lifetimes of regret.
"And... And... Remorseless!?" Zerobi growled as she pointed at Celebi, who seemed to be completely paralyzed in shock at this point, "I was brutalized to death TWICE and spent the last seven years isolated from society, hiding myself and selflessly helping random people and Pokémon in the hopes of one day being able to cope with a mistake that wasn't even my fault to begin with! It... IT WAS YOUR FAULT!"
Zerobi knew she was not in control of herself. She knew she would never be. A sample of a random Garchomp's blood was all it took for her to instantly murder the only person who had cared for her in seven years. It was only a matter of time before she would finish the job, and end the lives of everyone she knew. A defeated sigh escaped her lips as she closed her eyes, knowing what had to be done.
"You told me yourself... You greedily sucked up all our mother's powers and left me with nothing remaining..." Zerobi muttered bitterly while giving off a shrug, "You lived your life among the legendries with untold supernatural abilities, while I was tossed to the common folk and forced to deal with this curse..."
Zerobi took a step towards Celebi, the small legendary now shaking in fear of what was to come.
"... And finally you look me up, and what did I get for staying alive all this time?" Zerobi spat as she looked Celebi deep in the eye, "... A piece of shit sister who can't even accept me for what I am... What she made me..."
Celebi could not respond, her mind panicking. In her large emerald eyes, Zerobi could see the reflection of herself. She looked vicious and angry, spewing out hate at someone who had once cared for her so much. She felt like her heart was about to stop when she realized that she had blamed Celebi, when it was she who had committed atrocities and lied about it. It was her fault. It was always her fault.
"... I..." Zerobi exclaimed as she came down from her adrenaline boost, mouth agape as she stared at her terrified sister. Her insides aching in sadness, she immediately took a step back and turned away.
"... D-Didn't want it to end..." she whispered breathlessly as she felt a lump form in her throat, "... Not like this..."
She wanted to say goodbye, but could not bring herself to it. It was not the real her they had come to accept and befriend, but rather a role she had played. A regular Weavile girl with a background marred by bad grades and unfulfilled romances instead of megalomania and gruesome murders. To say farewell would have no meaning, because this was their first and last meeting.
Without another word, she ran out of the cave. Lucario gasped as he stood up, throwing a glance at Celebi while trying to decide on what to do. The small legendary sat still and stared at where Zerobi had disappeared, her anguished expression remaining unchanged. Without really thinking, he also began to run, moving out of the cave.
The mist was heavy in the air, giving a white sheen to the deep, dark night. Lucario could barely see anything, and not being able to sense Zerobi's aura he began to panic.
"Wait, don't go!" Lucario shouted, but stopped himself when he saw a figure standing right in front of him. Turning around, Zerobi faced him with a nasty glare.
"What?" she asked bluntly, already past the breaking point of how much abuse she could withstand. She hoped that by intimidating Lucario, she would at long last be left alone.
"If you're thinking about killing yourself again-" Lucario said as he put his hand on her shoulder. She quickly shrugged it off with her arm, and he protected his throat in reflex.
"Shut up!" Zerobi hissed as she took a step back, the violent expression fading from her face, "I'm going home."
"... What?" Lucario asked, carefully lowering his hands.
"I'm going home to my cave where I can lie around and read magazines all day," Zerobi said with a bitter sigh before looking up at the sky, "... I knew there was nothing for me out here. I knew no one would ever accept me, or what I've done."
"Oh, would you two stop overreacting already!?" Lucario shouted while slapping his forehead, "You barely even nicked my throat! I forgave you, what else could possibly matter!?"
"... You... Stupid..." Zerobi growled menacingly as the realization hit her, "You thought we were talking about that!?"
"Of course! What else could you have been talking about!?" Lucario yelled, only now realizing that things might be worse than he thought.
"You infuriating fool!" Zerobi screamed in disbelief, beside herself with pent up aggression, "How can someone as naïve as you even exist!?"
Staring at Lucario's confused expression, she wondered just how deep in denial he was. It's not every day your friend turns out to be a serial killer. Forcing herself to calm down, she knew he would come to understand the truth eventually, from Celebi or just about anyone else she's known. She was already past the point of no return, why put in the effort of lying?
"The real me..." Zerobi whispered as she involuntarily shivered and crossed her arms, placing her claws on her shoulders, "... Worse than you could ever imagine..."
A pang of regret hit her as she turned her sight away from Lucario's eyes, knowing what she was about to say would separate them forever. She pushed away all her wishes, hopes and dreams for what could have been between them and took a deep breath in preparation for what was to come.
"Seven... No, eight years ago... With these claws, I wrought hell upon earth!" Zerobi said loudly as she held her claws in front of her. Lucario stared down at them, the memory of his own blood adorning them suddenly clearer than ever.
"... And I loved it! I lured children into my cave where I slowly cut them to pieces!" Zerobi shouted, a ruthless expression across her face, "Fifty? Easily more than fifty! They begged for their pathetic little lives while I relished in pleasure, bathing in their blood and torturing them to death!"
Suddenly, Lucario's facial features tightened, and as did his left fist. He began to grit his teeth as Zerobi smiled sinisterly, feeling strangely relieved at finally admitting her crimes while not caring about the consequences.
"You should've trusted me a little longer; I would've shown you firsthand what I'm talking about!" Zerobi continued as she began walking towards him with clawed fingers clacking together in a menacing display, "All this time, I've thought about killing you in your sleep so I could rummage around in a pool of your blood! All this time, I've wanted to hear you cry in pain as I dismember and eviscerate you! All this time, I-"
Shaking with rage and disgust, Lucario let his left fist fly out, punching Zerobi right across the face. He barely even noticed his knuckles cutting open on one of her fangs, the dark-type flying back from the force of the attack. Zerobi fell hard on the ground, dazed but all too aware of what had happened. As much as her head hurt, it felt more like the blow had been directed to her heart, threatening to shatter into a thousand pieces. Her mind sunk into depths she didn't even know existed, and only then did she realize that everything she had come to enjoy in life was truly over.
"... You want to kill me?" Zerobi spat as she turned her head down, "It won't help. Go ahead, fucking kill me."
"C... Come on, snap out of it already..." Lucario said shakily, breathing hard to try and get himself under control, "... You're going hysterical, lying your head off..."
"Lying...!?" Zerobi repeated as her irritation returned in full force, leaning forward on her trembling elbows, "It's the only truth I've ever told, you goddamn idiot! I'm a heartless killer; everything else has been a lie!"
"Don't flatter yourself," Lucario replied quickly, making an effort to keep his voice calmer than he himself was, "I haven't seen you kill a damn thing since I met you. On the contrary, you bitch and moan at the idea of harming anyone!"
Zerobi looked at him with anger and betrayal, suddenly realizing that their roles had been reversed somehow. Lucario was the one who punched her, he should not be the one acting calm and defending her. As the adrenaline and fury seeped out of her, all that remained was a mixture of sorrow and regret. Looking up at Lucario's solemn face, she wished for nothing more but to go back to the way things were.
"... You lied when you said that you've wanted me dead all this time..." Lucario explained as he examined his left fist, a small trickle of blood running down his wrist, "Because if that were true, I would not be standing here now."
"... You're... You're wrong, damn it..." Zerobi said, her voice starting to crack up against her will, "I've... I've thought about it..."
"Thinking about it and doing it are two very different things..." Lucario muttered while looking at Zerobi with a sadden expression, "Hell, if I acted on everything that entered my head... You probably wouldn't be here, either."
"No... Lucario, you don't... You don't understand..." Zerobi stammered, unable to comprehend why he was acting this way. Even her best friend Eve had shown no hesitation in letting her die, and so she had always expected to be beaten or even killed should the truth of what she had done come out. Instead, Lucario was just standing there, calmly talking to her. The seemingly impossible situation got to her more than anything else, her eyes tearing up and her breathing becoming labored.
"Y-You're putting your faith in p-pure evil..." Zerobi stuttered, feeling her insides twist and turn at the thought of what she had done, "I k-killed ch-children... The cute, the friendly, the innocent, it didn't matter... I killed them all..."
"Well... Eight years ago," Lucario said with a shrug, "Why should I give a shit if you're not planning on doing it again? You've spent every day since then being good... What more could anyone ask for?"
Lying on the ground and shaking, Zerobi stared at him with utter confusion and despair. For a moment, her eyes fluttered across the blood dripping from Lucario's fist, an action that did not pass his notice. Sighing to himself, he knew there was only one way he could be certain that he was doing the right thing.
"But... Yeah, you're right," Lucario muttered while scratching the side of his head, "If we're going to do this, it'd all be for nothing if you decide to kill me in my sleep a year or two down the road."
Turning around, he presented his back to Zerobi, crossing his arms in determination.
"Might as well kill me now, if that's your plan," he said before exhaling, "Go ahead."
Zerobi looked up, then slowly stood up. Reminding herself of just how badly everything had gone down, she realized that everything really was over, no matter how things seemed. Eventually Lucario would come to his senses and abandon her. Celebi's state of shock would not last forever, and she foresaw the day when the legendary would be forced to pass down judgment for her own sanity's sake. Now, she was finally given the opportunity she had dreamed of for so long, and would never get it again. It was penultimate dream she had longed for, but it was better than nothing but an empty existence of shame and regret. Reading herself, she lounged forward.
In the very last second Lucario turned around, but it was already too late. Zerobi dove into him, her lethal claws plunging forward in a hook-like motion, the feel of Lucario's warm flesh grazing their edges. The point of no return had already been crossed, but she knew this would seal the passage back forever. She kept telling herself that this is what she had always longed for, dreamed of as she fully abandoned all restrains and gave in to her greatest desire.
"Why... Why are you like this...!?" Zerobi sobbed as she shoved her face into Lucario's chest and started crying, "I... I don't... Deserve this..."
Lucario stood frozen, unable to react in shock. For a moment he had thought he was going to die, but such was not the case as he could feel the sharp claws hanging idly by his side, lightly gripping at him. Looking down, he saw Zerobi's head nestled within his bushy chest hair, hiding her face in shame as she could not stop the tears from coming. Lucario sighed out in relief, and then put his right arm around her.
"Hey, hey... You don't get to break us up on your own," he said quietly, his throat suddenly feeling dried up and sore, "That's my decision too, and I've got reasons to be with you."
Zerobi tried to stifle her weeping, but to no avail. She was letting it all out, and Lucario knew the time was right for him to lighten his own load.
"... The first Pokémon I ever met..." Lucario muttered while thinking back to his days with Ivy, "She looked after me, even took care of me. I was disoriented and uninformed, but she supported me as best she could. I... Really felt like I could trust her."
Zerobi looked up at him, her normally proud expression devastated with reddened eyes and sorrow. She seemed to be listening closely as Lucario felt his face heat up for some reason, clearing his throat.
"But when push came to shove... All that was for nothing, and she tried to kill me..." Lucario explained bitterly as he shook his head, "Everything we had experienced in the past... It didn't matter, because in the end she had not come to rely on me as much as I had come to rely on her. I was just a nuisance for her to get rid of."
He looked up at the sky, still obscured by a thick fog. It reminded him of the snowstorm that had raged the day he first met Zerobi. She had been so mysterious back then, swooping in to break him out of an icy death at the hands of Suicune and Brendan, only wanting to find out what was happening before accidentally becoming a target herself. Her motivation and goal in life had never been quite clear to Lucario, at least not until now. Leaning against him in tears and helplessness, he felt he finally knew all there was to know about her, and was glad that he had not made the wrong choice.
"When... After we woke up from nearly getting killed by those legendary dogs and you were still there, I felt so relieved..." Lucario whispered before stopping himself for a moment, "... I mean, no, I was hurt and it sucked... But just the thought that I'd finally found someone who would stay, even after something like that..."
"Moron..." Zerobi croaked, having stopped crying but still visibly shaking, "That was... My home... Where else... Would I go...?"
"... Well, since then you and I have been in more life-or-death situations than I could count up, and you've come through each time," Lucario said as he pat her on the head a few times in quick succession, "You are the only one I can trust. Eight years ago? Probably not. Now? Definitively."
A long period of silence followed, neither of them knowing what to say. As much as Lucario wanted to be with Zerobi, he had a feeling things would never be the same after this, especially not considering Celebi's reaction. Zerobi did not mind the silence, getting a chance to snuggle up against Lucario's chest which now seemed warmer and more inventing than ever before. She could not believe that she had almost made this moment not happen, her sordid past tempting and corrupting her even to this day. At that time, she reinforced her promise that no matter how bad things went, she would never, ever give in and indulge in the sweet pleasures of blood again.
"Why...?" a soft voice sounded, breaking the two of them out of the moment as Zerobi backed off from Lucario. Looking towards the cave's entrance, they saw Celebi floating in midair. She was breathing unsteadily, and there were marks of red underneath her eyes, clashing poorly against the natural green and brilliant emerald.
"Why did you have to endure all this on your own...?" Celebi asked with a pleading voice as she looked at Zerobi, "Why could I not have been given even a fraction of your curse, to help alleviate your suffering...?"
Lucario and Zerobi stared at her, and she felt the urge to cry creeping back into her. Forcing it down, she shook her head and moved forward slightly.
"I-I never knew what you had to go through..." Celebi stammered before bowing her head in shame, "... Sis."
"N-Never told you..." Zerobi replied shakily as she nodded, "... Sis."
The three of them looked at each for a moment, unsure on what to do. A strong wind set the mist into motion, the three figures within finally converging and becoming one.