This is my first story and it will be quite long by the time it is finished. Sorry folks, but there will be no smut. Hope you enjoy!
Author's Chapter Notes:
After finding Vui in dire straits, Will and Keelia must rush to have her healed.
Chapter 7 - Found
Chapter 7 – Found
I could not believe it. No, not after all that we had done. Reality was clear though as I looked down my flashlight beam to see Vui’s unmoving form on the ground, Keelia standing over her. I felt my body freeze up. There was no doubt in my mind that we had found Vui. I heard her voice just a minute before. The raw desperation in her psychic calls was evidence enough. It was her, and we had finally found her! Though something must have gone wrong along the way. Did Arche do this? It was only when Keelia threw her head back and wailed that I came back to myself.
Any thoughts of what had happened left my mind as I sprinted toward the two pokemon. What took precedence in my mind was getting Vui help. Looking down at her, I saw many various wounds, gashes, and bruises. My eyes locked onto the small trail of blood coming from the corner of her mouth. Oh Arceus, did she have internal bleeding? What the hell happened to her? I knelt down and observed her closely, seeing her chest moving up and down shallowly. Besides the sounds of the forest and Keelia’s whimpering, I heard Vui’s wheezing, labored breathing. That was good, she was breathing! Thank Arceus! She needed medical attention fast!
“Key! I’m really glad that we found your mom! I really am!” I said quickly. “We need to take her back to the pokemon center in town, she is barely breathing!” Keelia did not say anything in reply, but merely stood there sobbing. “Keelia! We need to go! Now!” I shouted. That seemed to break her from her momentary shock. I could only imagine what kind of pandemonium her young mind was going through. I felt a little bad for yelling at her, given her present state, but we needed to move. The little normal-type looked up at me sullenly and nodded.
Wasting no time, I gently scooped the unconscious Vui up into my arms and turned back toward our campsite. I sprinted as fast as I was comfortable with through the mountain forest. In no time at all, we had reached and passed by the tent. There was no time to grab anything, let alone try to break camp. Onward I ran, running out of breath but trying my damn well best to keep pace. We passed through the quiet streets, getting a few concerned looks from the folks that were walking about. It felt an awful lot like that cold, rainy night several weeks ago when I rushed to get Keelia to the Center in Goldenrod.
Eventually, with lungs burning and legs aching, I ran in through the automatic doors of the Blackthorn City pokemon center with Keelia trailing just behind. The pink haired receptionist perked up upon seeing us.
“Welcome to the Blackthorn City pokemon center!” she said with slight hesitation, likely from seeing the condition of the pokemon in my arms. She did not need to ask of our intentions, the unconscious Espeon spoke for herself. I tried to say something though.
“Please—heal—this—Espeon!” I huffed out at the slightly flabbergasted woman. Her Chancey attendant hurriedly grabbed a stretcher from behind the front desk.
“Erm-right away, sir!” the nurse said, her and the Chancey taking Vui off into the back room on the stretcher quickly thereafter.
I found my way over to a bench up against the wall, and gladly sunk down into it. Keelia hopped up onto my lap. I slowly ran my hand from the top of her head to her tail. Under her thick brown fur, her muscles were tense and her breathing was stressed. She had every reason to be worried and shaken, but we had found Vui and she was in good hands. It felt so wrong to be back at square one with Keelia. I hated seeing her like this, it really did tear me up on the inside.
“Vui is going to be just fine Key, trust me,” I spoke softly between my heavy breaths. A tear fell from her eye as she shook her head and sniffled.
“As much as I trust you Will, I know that I won’t feel okay until I see that my mom is alright,” Key mewled from my lap. I sighed.
“I understand, Key. It’s concerning to see you like this, and I won’t be okay until I know that you’re both okay,” I stated calmly. I briefly paused though, recalling all of the things that Keelia had been through. “Even so, I know you’ll be okay Key. You’re an amazing and tough little girl. Heck, you’ve been through some really heavy stuff, stuff that someone your age shouldn’t have to go through. If there was only one Eevee that deserved to evolve this year, it would be you. How about it Key? What do you want to evolve into?” She seemed to be a little happier from my little pep talk, and really I was just trying to get her mind off of present matters.
“So you want to know what I’m going to evolve into?” she asked surreptitiously. I nodded, grinning. “I’d have to say thaaaat-” she stopped, seeing the nurse coming through the door at the back of the room. She spotted us, and then approached us. I felt Key tense up a little again under my hands.
“The Espeon that you brought in will be just fine after a good night’s sleep!” She said in her cheery voice after bowing slightly. “She had some pretty bad internal bleeding, and several of her ribs were cracked. There were several lacerations and bruises on her skin, but everything has been taken care of. She was treated by our IDT device, so she is already healed. She just needs to rest for her body to adjust.” I guess because of the serious nature of Vui’s condition, they opted to use the IDT device, or the Instant Diagnosis and Treatment device. When I took Keelia into the Goldenrod Center weeks ago, they used standard medicinal methods to heal her. At every center though there were two IDT devices, one for the actual pokemon, and one for the ones that were in pokeballs. They would not deny service to anyone at pokemon centers, but they also respect the fact that some people do not want their pokemon friends to be cooped up in pokeballs. Plus, this way there is a fail-safe for emergencies. This was what I was learning about in college before I decided to leave out with Keelia. Goldenrod University was working on a portable version of the IDT device.
The nurse then continued as Keelia leaned into every word she said. “But, I did notice that she is wild, and normally we would be able to keep one like your Eevee here until it woke up.” She explained, gesturing to the canine in my lap. “With this Espeon however, there could be some issues if she was to wake up in a place like this. Sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to leave once I give her back to you, we just can’t take the risk here.” She finished with another bow. Although I was a little frustrated by this policy, I did see why it was necessary. I was just glad that Vui was better. Key shared in my feelings as she relaxed and breathed out a sigh of relief. I pulled her up into another hug, and she whined quietly in mock protest.
“Thank you ma’am, so much. We really, really appreciate you helping her. It is no problem that we have to take her, we have places to be anyway,” I said cheerfully with a laugh in an attempt to bring a bit of levity to the situation. I stood up, hugging Keelia to my chest.
“Here, I’ll go back and get her now if you are ready to go.” The nurse stated as she bowed out of the room again. Moments later, she came out holding Vui. Technology was amazing; her wounds were completely healed. “Again, just put her somewhere comfortable and let her rest, and she should wake up feeling great. I wonder why though you brought in a wild pokemon in such a state.”
“Thank you so much, I brought her in because this little one,” I nodded down at Keelia as I set her down so that I could accommodate Vui. “You see, that Espeon you just healed is her mother, and let’s just say that the two have been separated for a long while. As for her condition, we really aren’t sure what happened.”
“Really? Well, I’m glad that I could help with bringing them back together. She really was in rough shape, and I’m glad you got her to us when you did!” The nurse nodded as she placed Vui into my arms. “Take good care of her and be safe!” the nurse finished brightly.
“Trust me, we’ll make sure of that!” I said resolutely, holding Vui carefully as if any sudden movement would break her and take her away from Keelia again. “Thank you again, and have a good night! Come on Key, let’s get back to the tent.” After waving briefly to the beaming nurse, we stepped out into the cool night air. Air, mind you, that felt so much better to take in slowly now that I was not in a mad dash into the city. So, Keelia and I took it in slowly, enjoying the first real stress-free breaths of air in weeks.
As we walked though, my sense of accomplishment was somewhat overshadowed by a growing concern. What was there to do now that things with Keelia and Vui were in order? I certainly did not want to hold Keelia against her will if she did not want to continue on with me. I still had this strange wanderlust, and I had loved our time journeying together despite the heavy reasons for doing it. If at all possible, I would want to do this with Keelia even after she evolved, but she has her own life to live. Who am I to take that away from her if she did not really want it? I sighed as I weighed all these things in my mind. Deciding to brighten up the mood and break the silence that had fallen between the two of us, I spoke up.
“So Key, you were saying before about what you are going to evolve into?” I asked with a half-smile and a laugh.
“Oh, that? I was just getting to the part where I would tell you that I wasn’t going to tell you anything!” She yipped, giggling and sticking her tongue out at me. “You’re going to have to find out at the ceremony!” I groaned in reply.
“Well, dangit! Ugh…I guess I will just have to wait!” I said dramatically. The little furball giggled more in response to my agony.
“Yes! Yes you will, thank you very much” She replied in a mock haughty tone.
“Speaking of your ceremony, how will you think everyone will feel about having a human there? Would that be breaking some sort of code or something?” I asked, fully realizing that the ceremony was going to be our next stop. Keelia thought for a moment, furrowing her brow.
“Probably, but word of mouth is worth a lot among my people, and the stories of what you have done for me will give you at least some sort of favor. At best, you’ll be welcomed in. At worst, they’ll just be rude or cold. My people don’t really interact with humans very much. If they do, well, you know what happens in most cases.” She stated in a knowing tone that both encouraged and assured me. We had spoken about this briefly before, but not in this much detail. It felt easier now to speak openly about it.
“Thanks Key,” I replied, smiling down at Keelia in the moonlight. We were nearing the city limits, and our tent.
“You aren’t exactly a normal human either Will. You can talk to us, which is really cool!”
“Yep, and no one really seems to know why. Baffled all of the doctors really. Well, all of them save for this one, but his theory was really bizarre.”
“Oh really, what was it?” Keelia turned her head to the side inquisitively.
“Oh it’s not really that important. Hey look! There’s the tent. I don’t know about you, but I really need some sleep now.” I said, yawning as we approached it. Just then, I had a little idea pop into my head. “Say, Keelia, how would you like to sleep with your mother tonight? I know it is not much since she is still pretty out of it, but what do you say?”
“I think that I would really like that,” she said, smiling and pawing at the ground a little bit.
“That’s great, I’ll get my jacket and make you two a little bed out here,” I said excitedly.
“Yeah, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have my mother and I all bundled up together next to you in your tent when she wakes up. I don’t think that would go over very well at all,” she said pensively.
“Right, we’ll all talk in the morning, and hopefully be on our way to your ceremony!” I said with a nod as I set Vui down and unzipped the tent flap. I reached into the tent and grabbed my jacket, the one with the hole on the left arm, then spread it out on the ground next to the tent. “Well, it’s not much, but,” I picked up Vui and gently set her down on the jacket-bed. “If it is what you want to do, I completely understand.”
“Yes, thank you Will,” Key said tiredly before settling herself down in a little ball up against Vui’s belly. She cooed contentedly and nuzzled into her mother’s side. In addition to being very touching, this little scene was very cute too. I was filled with a sense of accomplishment as I looked on at the two. It wasn’t a selfish kind of feeling, but that kind of feeling you get when you help someone dear to you. You are so linked into that person that you feel what they feel to an extent. You are able to bear with them through their highs and lows, and because of that, make the good times better and the bad times not as bad.
“Good night Key,” I said simply before settling myself down to bed.
Something fuzzy and round gently touched the top of my head, awakening me. On a sleepy reflex, I swatted at whatever it was with my paw. Whatever this thing was, it came back with a vengeance, poking me stiffly between the eyes. Not amused with whatever this thing was, I growled lowly. Hearing my mother’s stifled giggle brought me back to the present. Feeling stupid that I had not realized it before, I opened my eyes to see my mother’s lilac forked tail hovering in front of my face.
“Good morning Keelia,” she said softly with another giggle. Overwhelmed at just seeing her awake and well, I leaped up to her neck and buried my face underneath her muzzle. I could not really bring myself to speak. I had been on such an emotional roller coaster over the past few weeks, and the only thing I felt like I could do was this. “Oh, I know,” she cooed, caressing the side of my face with her supple tail. “I’ve missed you too. I-I’m so glad I’ve found you. I could not bear the thought of losing another child. And to think, you were out there alone and hurt.” She shook her head and hugged me to herself tightly. “You’re with me now, and that is all that matters.” For a little while longer, we just sat there and enjoyed each other’s company. After either a minute or an hour, the morning sun on our fur prompted us to each get up and stretch.
After getting up, I bowed low to the ground, feeling that familiar loosening sensation in my legs, back and neck. My mother smiled down at me as she stretched her own nimble form. “So, is my little girl ready to evolve?” she asked cheerfully.
“You bet!” I yipped in reply, fully thrilled for the fast approaching ceremony.
“That’s great, Keelia!” she replied. “And what is my little girl going to evolve into?”
“Well, I have made up my mind now, but I won’t tell you. You’ll just have to see for yourself!” I mocked, sticking my tongue out like I did to Will the night before.
Mom jokingly put on an insulted face. “Oh well, I’ll just read your little mind!” she retorted with a chuckle, a sly grin crossing her face. I gasped.
“You wouldn’t!” I challenged, leaving my mouth agape to perpetuate this playful jibe. We stared each other down for a few seconds until we both broke out into fits of laughter.
It was so good to be with mom again. Normally I would not see the value in these small moments, and I would just let them pass me by. After feeling what it was like to have these moments taken away and being exposed to the reality that I might never have them again, their true value shone through. I guess it is true what they say: You never know how much you appreciate something until you lose it. I unabashedly approached her again for another hug, determined to live this moment to the fullest. Mom gladly complied, and again we paused and just enjoyed the simple fact that we were together again. Mom was right; that was all that mattered now. Something seemed off though, it felt as though we were never separated with the way she was acting. Maybe she meant to forget the whole thing and just move on? No, I had to know what happened, there was more to this than what we had seen.
“So what happened to you…After the…A-Arche man took you?” I got out, the memory of that evil was still difficult to swallow.
“Wait, how much do you know about them?” she said confusedly, her features visibly darkening from the abrupt subject change. Before I could reply, she gathered herself and went on. “It’s not important, they are hardly a threat,” she spat with a sneer. “They are weak and low, they lack the power they once had.” She paused for a moment. “Or so it seems…” she trailed off, her eyes a calm façade for the powerful thinking going on behind them.
“So, why were you so hurt when we found you?” I asked, breaking the brief silence that had fallen between us.
“That is not really important either dear, I’m just so glad that-” she started to say before she was interrupted by a rustling sound coming from the tent. We both turned and looked as the zipper on the tent was slowly pulled open. Mom blinked once quizzically. “Who is this human, Keelia?”
“Oh! Mom! That’s Will! He took care of me after you were taken. He’s been with me this whole time fighting off Arche and helping me find you!” I said very excitedly and very quickly. Mom looked at me for a moment with that same quizzical expression.
“Is that so?” she asked apprehensively as we both watched Will poke his scraggly haired head through the tent flap.
“Well, good morning you two!” he said, yawning. Mom’s expression hardened as she stared at Will. A smile that had crossed his face slowly disappeared as he was looked on by this scrutinizing glare. Luckily for him, she soon turned to me.
“Keelia, I want you to be honest with me,” she started in a very serious tone. “Has this ‘Will’ restrained you in a pokèball?” she inquired, those calm purple sclera projecting the sternness of a concerned mother.
“No, he hasn’t and he never will.” I replied earnestly. “He would never do something like that.” If she wanted complete honesty, I would tell her how much that question irked me, but I suppose that she was just being the protective mother that she always was.
“Nothing? No influence at all?” she pressed sternly. “Keelia, this is serious.”
“I am serious,” I replied exasperatedly, tamping the ground beneath me with a paw. Mom sighed.
“Okay, I believe you Keelia.” She cooed, nuzzling the top of my head. “I’m sorry honey, I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
“Well…now I’m afraid to ask you something, mom,” I mumbled toward the ground once mom had stood back up.
“And what’s that dear?”
“I…well—I want Will to be there when I evolve” I muttered, ears drooping as I anticipated the response.
“Keelia, we have a policy that we have to abide by,” she said flatly, the sternness from earlier back on her features. “Especially now that Arche is back, we can’t take any chances. No humans. I’m sorry hun.”
“But…but he saved me! He helped me! He loves me and cares for me like you and dad do!” I cried out, my fears about this confirmed.
“I’m sorry, but he can’t come Keelia!” she said firmly, tamping her own paw on the ground before I could give a response. I could not believe it. Tears welled in my eyes, yet mom did not seem to be budging the slightest bit.
“I don’t blame you Vui,” came the voice of Will as he cautiously stood up from the tent. “There are some pretty messed up people out there who don’t treat Pokèmon with respect. I sort of expected that you would say this,” he finished, rubbing the back of his neck. I didn’t want to agree with him.
“Again, I’m sorry but it is our-” mom started to say, but then she suddenly stopped. Through my tear-blurred vision, I could see her cock her head to the side. “Wait a minute here…does he...?”
“Understand you?” I finished the question for her. “Yes, he can understand us” I stated, still sad about what mom had said about him coming to the ceremony. As a result, one of the coolest facts about Will just kind of came out in the least enthusiastic tone possible.
“Really? That is certainly something,” she muttered out of the side of her mouth. Turning to regard Will, she said, “You understand me?”
“Loud and clear,” Will said with a small smile.
“Interesting, well that explains a lot,” she said with a nod, though there was a slight confusion in her voice. Will came over and sat on the ground next to us. He held out his hand as if to stroke my head, but he held it there and looked over at mom. Mom gave a slight nod, and he began to pet me.
“So, when are you two going to leave for the ceremony?” he spoke up after a short silence.
“Ah, so you know about that, huh?” mom replied, seating herself up on her haunches. “How long was I out for?”
“Just since last night”
“Okay, so not as bad as I thought. I still want to leave as soon as possible.”
Will sighed. “I know Key here really wanted me to come, but I guess that is out of the question.”
“Unfortunately it is,” she said. “And um…Key?” she said, her eyes narrowing.
“Oh, right right…that. That is uh…heh, a little nickname I gave Keelia,” he chuckled. “It had to do with a piano in my apartment and she was playing it and um…” he trailed off, seeing the blank expression on mom’s face.
“Right then,” mom said with a sideways glance my way. “Well ‘Key’,” she laughed. “Let’s get going soon.”
I sat there in silence, tears still flowing from my eyes. Will’s well trained hand was hitting all of right spots on my head and behind my ears, but I was positively cheerless. I was not going to let this happen so easily, Will was practically a sibling to me. It would not feel right without him there.
“Is-is there anything that we can do to bring Will? Anything at all?” I mewled.
“No Keelia, I’m sorry, the answer is no.” she huffed. Will’s hand stopped petting and he sighed again.
“You wouldn’t be saying that so quickly if you knew what he has done!” I cried out. “He is like the brother I never had, always there to cheer me up and to dry my tears. He’s…he’s the closest friend I have.” I pouted, casting my eyes down to the ground. I knew how mom got whenever I brought up the topic of brothers. I looked up cautiously to see a familiar lingering sadness and frustration in mom’s eyes. “I-I’m sorry about bringing that up mom…I-I didn’t mean to,” I sobbed.
“It’s fine Keelia, it really is,” mom said, devoid of emotion.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?” Will carefully asked.
“This isn’t the time or the place to tell you details, but I lost a son to Arche many years ago,” she replied curtly.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
“It’s fine,” mom practically whispered. “Come on Keelia, we don’t have much time to lose. We have to get going.” She paused, averting her eyes for a moment. “And I suppose Will can tag along for a few days.”
“But moooom, can’t you at least read his memories so that you can see what he has done?” I begged, but even now I knew I was pushing my luck.
“Huh!?” Will interjected quickly.
“Oh alright, but we’re going to have to hustle to make it to the ceremony!” she huffed, her tail flicking behind her.
“Wait a minute! Read my memories?” Will exclaimed. “That seems a little…personal.”
“Got something to hide?” mom laughed.
“No, of course not!” Will retorted nervously.
“Good, now look me in the eyes,” mom said with a chuckle.
“Okay, now wha-” Will was saying as the gem in mom’s head flashed. He stiffened up slightly and his gaze went blank. Mom was now reading his mind. For minutes this went on, she was catching up on weeks of lost time after all. It was quite odd, the two of them just standing there rigid as statues. Even if this did not convince mom to let Will come to the ceremony, I still want her to know what he had done for me. I began to fidget, anxious as to how mom would react. I pawed at the ground some for a few minutes, making little piles of dirt and dried leaves then tamping them out. Finally they finished; Will groaned as he slowly sat down and rubbed his temples. This was a typical reaction having your mind read for long periods of time. For a brief moment however, I noticed something weird going on with mom.
Mom slowly backed away from Will, a very shocked and almost sad look in her eyes. There was something else too, a sort of whispering coming from her. Was she having stress thoughts? Why? I thought what she would see in his memories would at the very least give her some peace of mind; what was she stressed about? When she turned to regard me, it was like she was just noticing that I was there. The whispering stopped as her eyes softened and her expression returned to normal. What was that all about? Will had scarcely noticed it as he was still moaning from his sudden headache.
“That is just…just thank you so much,” she said, turning to Will. “You have saved my daughter’s life and, quite frankly, my own life. Thank you.”
“It’s nothing really, I’m so glad that I found her, but I think anyone would have done what I did.”
“Perhaps, but you still did what you did,” she bowed. “For that, I thank you. I can’t possibly repay you.”
“You’re very welcome Vui, it was a pleasure in and of itself to look after Keelia,” he laughed, reaching his hand over and stroking my back.
“So I have decided to change my mind,” she said with a smile. “Will, you can come to the ceremony if you like.” Both of our jaws dropped, but soon a buzz of excitement grew in me.
“Really? He can come?” I yowled.
“Really! He’s welcome!” she said back with a smile. I leaped at her and embraced her.
“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou,” I jabbered on into mom’s neck while she giggled and nuzzled me back.
“So…What suddenly changed your mind?” Will said from behind me.
“You are different, I can say that much,” mom replied with a chuckle. “You are passionate not only about helping Pokèmon, but about defending what we are. As far as I’m concerned, you are the only human I would ever feel comfortable with coming to the ceremony.” She paused to place a paw on my head and gently stroke it. “And since Keelia here wanted you to come so much, I felt that I had to oblige.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say tha-”
“Don’t be bashful! I saw everything you did! You and Keelia are close; it would be cruel for her best friend to not be able to see one of the most exciting moments of her life because of some dogma.”
“That’s very true, I am excited for it,” he said with a smile aimed at me, but he became more pensive as he continued. “I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m so easy to trust. I understand you know what happened now, but it was the same with Keelia. It wasn’t even a few minutes, and this wild and wounded pokèmon was trusting me.”
“You know, you’re right. There is something else about you that makes me feel like I can trust. Even from the moment I first saw you, there was something that was disarming about you,” mom said, pausing for a moment and squinting her eyes as Will. “The eyes!” she said suddenly. “Your eyes are just like my mate’s! Keelia, aren’t his eyes just like daddy’s?”
I pondered this for a moment as I looked up and really focused on those green eyes. They…did look just like dad’s. I could not believe that I did not connect the dots until now. I mean, maybe I knew it subconsciously, but it was a small detail that I now could not see the same way again. I think that is one reason I felt that we were connected in some way…or maybe not.
No, that could not be the only reason. There was something else about Will that was just different. He was different than Anthony for example in many physically perceivable ways, but the way he felt was odd and strangely familiar. I think mom had sensed the same thing and was still struggling to try and understand exactly what it was. Strangely enough, I don’t think she was letting on about something.
“Yeah, they are,” I said out of the side of my mouth, still looking at his eyes.
“Really, my eyes?” Will asked, confusion written across his features. “Your father is an Umbreon, right. His eyes are red!”
“Well, not exactly,” mom answered. “His father had certain…alterations to his DNA by Team Rocket. It was nothing major, just a cosmetic thing that a wealthy client wanted.” Mom paused and grimaced after saying this. “Feh...the concept of molding something natural to your will sickens me.”
“Really? Changing his eye color? That is a bit petty.” Will commented, crossing his arms.
“Exactly, petty indeed Will,” she spat. “But we mustn’t waste any more time here. We need to be heading to the ceremony, and we can talk more while we walk.”
“Sounds good,” Will replied with a nod before heading back to the tent to break camp. Mom took a minute to observe the surrounding forest and the rising sun.
“You have your bearings?” I asked, taking a look around the breezy mountain forest.
“Yes, but it will be a tough day. We have to summit that ridge before nightfall so that we can get on schedule,” she concluded, gesturing to a far-off looking ridge, easily visible through the minimal spring foliage. The even further-off main pinnacle of Mount Silver was visible beyond it. “You’re up for it?”
“You bet!” I laughed. Mom smiled and laughed softly.
“I never had any doubts.”
“Thank you again for letting me come along Vui, it is an honor,” Will said, slinging his hastily packed backpack over his shoulders.
“You’re welcome, the honor is mine,” Mom replied with a polite smile. “Now, let’s get a move on.”
Mom wasn’t joking, this walk was tough. Pleasant vistas of Johto to the west greeted us as we descended the ridge. A quiet creek hollow at the bottom was a nice place for a quick drink and to prepare for the challenge ahead. I swear, it felt like that uphill pull would never end. But even more compelling than the beautiful views and tough terrain was mom’s story of how she got here. Everything from her abduction to her daring escape of the Arche facility captivated Will and I.
Once we reached the top of the ridge at last, the dazzling sunset to the west was an ample reward for our efforts. As we sat down to rest and begin setting up camp, mom continued on with her story.
“It seems that the word of Arche’s return had spread like wildfire through the countryside of the region, as they were such a widespread concern for all Pokémon. The list of Arche’s atrocities not only against our kind, but against all Pokémon runs long. As with many an ambiguous threat though, the fear of it is often far more destructive in the minds of those who harbor it than the threat itself.” Mom said, pausing to collect her thoughts. “Nearly two decades ago, Arche was experimenting and scheming toward ends that were never really clear to anyone. What we do know now is that they were trying to control minds, they were trying to weaponize the power that Pokémon possess, and they were making strange steps toward splicing the genomes of people and Pokémon. That is what we uncovered when we raided their center of operations many years ago. For those who were not in on the raid, much of the inner workings of Arche were left up to speculation. Word got out that Arche had fallen, but not much else. Arche had focused their experimentations on only our kind then, finally crossing the line and kidnapping our most innocent, one of our Eevee. That was the last straw for us; that is when we struck back.”
“Was this Eevee the son that you lost?” Will asked hesitantly, minding my mother’s emotional sensitivities. Mom solemnly nodded.
“Talis was his name and he…” Mom started, but trailed off with her mouth open as if she meant to say something else. She pursed her lips for a moment, then continued. “He has been dearly missed,” she finished with a slight sigh.
“What happened to him? Didn’t you find him in that final raid?” Will pressed. I gave him a nudge on the shin as if say, ‘enough questions for now.’
“No, and that is the worst part.” She replied in a familiar even tone she frequently used to mask emotion. “No…closure.”
“Again, I apologize. Please continue with what you were saying,” Will consoled.
“Right…” she paused again. “With Arche’s recent resurfacing came new kidnappings. They have broadened their awful appetite for experimentation, abducting not just our kind, but all different types of Pokémon for their vague goals. As you know, Arche favors our kind because of our pure uninhibited ability to channel any given type-energy. For Umbreon, it is dark energy. For Flareon, it is Fire energy and so on and so forth. Also you have heard that they favor our kind because we possess an acute genetic flexibility.”
“Yes, I do recall that. But you say that they are targeting other species now?”
“Exactly, perhaps they reached a turning point in their research and they wanted to branch out to new specimens. Whatever the reason, it has bred panic in the other species of the region.” Mom sighed, “And I experienced those stricken with that panic.”
“So you didn’t discover this when going through the Arche facility?” I asked.
“No, it was far after we had left the facility. We had found our bearings and were headed toward the Veins of Life to try and see if we could rendezvous with any of the family and friends of the ones taken.”
“Um, sorry, but the ‘Veins of Life’?” Will interjected quickly. That’s right, I had never told Will about this.
“Pardon me, the Veins of Life is the site for the evolution ceremony.” Mom quickly informed Will. “It gets its name from…well, I’ll spare you that talk. You’ll hear it in a few days when we reach the ceremony.” She stated. “Anyway, we reached the Veins of Life and there were some happy reunions. It seemed as though everyone was accounted for that had originally gone missing. Everyone short of Keelia, that is.” She turned to regard me. “My first thoughts were that you were captured by the Arche man and perhaps taken to another facility. However, he did make it clear that he only wanted me. You were nowhere around when I broke free in the Arche facility, and my strongest guess is that you were simply left behind. To that end, I was trying to get back toward where we were when I last saw you. I really didn’t care if I missed the ceremony, I just wanted to know that you were safe.
“I set out as fast as I could to get back to where I saw you last, Keelia. In fact, I walked this very route that we are taking right now. Only, when I got to the bottom of the hollow far below us, I caught your scent. I could scarcely believe it, but there was no denying it. It was you Keelia, I had found you. It was late, I was exhausted, but I had the best reason in the world to push on. However, this sudden happy revelation had given me incentive at the cost of awareness and presence of mind. I did not realize that I was being stalked. Even on many of the previous days of travel, I did feel as though our group was being shadowed by something, but it was a nebulous feeling. Even so, I should have paid more attention last night.
“Before I knew it, I was overtaken by two white blurs. They rushed past me almost silently, and it was only after they both stopped directly in front of me that I realized what they were. They were two Absol, and they did not look happy with me. There were a few moments where we just stared at each other silently. Clearly, they were blocking me and at least wanted a word with me. Something about their cold expressions and unreadable dark-type minds however put me on edge and relayed the distinct message that they were upset. Their composure was lost when they began talking to me. They were heartbroken and scared, and they wanted answers; I could not blame them. They told me that they, surprisingly enough, had their son abducted by an Arche agent. They didn’t know this to happen, and nor did I.
“Needless to say, I was shocked. I wanted to offer my condolences, but before I could, they went on saying that they were restless with feelings of disaster and destruction surrounding Arche. As you may know, Absol have the uncanny ability to sense calamity at the source. I could not pause to consider the implications of their observation though, as they began to advance on me. They were desperate and frightened behind their serious tone. They pressed me for information, but I honestly answered that I had no idea where their son may be. The female cracked and broke down crying. The male quickly moved closer to comfort her, whispering breathless encouraging words. For a moment, I stood there frozen, not knowing whether to offer an encouraging word myself, or to try and leave the presence of the heartbroken parents.
“The male suddenly turned his fiery gaze on me. ‘It’s your fault this happened! You’re the ones they want!’ he spat, a growl growing in his throat. ‘It-it should have been you! N-Not our Atlas…’ he choked, fighting tears. Without warning, he was lunging at me, claws cloaked in sinister dark energy as he poised them to strike. I tried to hop back, but I caught a glancing blow from his Night Slash attack. Just from those few little nicks, I felt my energy sapped tremendously. It was dark energy, fueled by thoughts of fury, depression, confusion, and bitterness. This Absol was striking with raw power fresh from the source.
“‘Charon! No!’ the female dark-type shouted.”
“‘Stay back Nyx!’ Charon barked back at her. In a blur, the male was checking me with his shoulder, sending me tumbling unto the ground. I managed to locate him again just as I was springing to my feet. Still dazed from the impact, I saw through blurry vision the edge of his horn glowing. It was too late to dodge as he released a flurry of razor wind attacks in my direction, so I attempted to muster up a protect shield. The first few deflected away from the ethereal green barrier, flying off and loping off the low branches of some of the surrounding trees. I felt my focus faltering though as the dark type continued his barrage. The first razor wind that made it through the dissipating protect hurt the most. I could only keep my head down and brace myself for the rest that came and sliced my legs and sides open. I stood on the spot, cringing in pain. It was at this point, the one named Nyx spoke up.
“‘Stop this violence Charon! What is this solving?’ she yelled. I looked up and saw Charon’s expression softening for a moment as he glanced over to his mate. I relaxed, thinking that I might be getting off the hook. His gaze steeled though as he turned back to me. He growled, and before I could dodge, he was sending a devastatingly powerful Dark Pulse attack my way. With my guard down, the attack ripped right through me, leaving a terrible stinging pain and sapping what little energy I had left. I collapsed, hearing the male say ‘let’s go’ gruffly before walking away.
“‘F-Follow the creek here downstream until you hit a gravel path in the forest. Follow it, and you’ll reach the Arche facility I escaped from,’ I managed to rasp out with my last few moments of consciousness. The last thing I remember seeing before blackness was the two Absol briefly turning back to me, then picking up their pace.
“When I came to, the moon was high in the sky. I managed to get up, despite my heavily injured body. I almost immediately caught your scent, and focused all my willpower to locating you. I kept sending out physic shouts, disturbing the sleep of many pokèmon. I didn’t care. I tasted my own blood in my mouth and I knew that I probably wouldn’t see the morning. I only wanted to see you, Keelia. When I saw you bounding toward me, when I saw you safe, I felt like I could just…rest,” she finished, her voice quivering. I moved close and comforted her. No more words were exchanged for a while. We all just kind of stared at the beautiful sunset over Johto.
“Do we need to be worried?” Will asked eventually, breaking the silence. “You know, about the Absol?”
“I don’t think so,” mom said quietly, her eyes misty. “I sent them to the Arche facility, maybe they will find something there. I know for certain they are headed away from us, so that is good.”
So with mom’s story told, we were all a bit slow to get back to idle conversation, but it eventually came. For about an hour we just kind of talked to try to keep our thoughts off of the heaviness of recent events. Naturally, our conversation kept turning to the evolution ceremony, and I assured myself of my decision of evolution. It was going to be amazing.
“Okay, well I hate to say it, but I think I’m falling asleep,” Will said, yawning. “The sun only just set, but last night was a rough night.” He got up and brushed himself off before walking over to the tent. “Goodnight you two, feel free to join me when you want,” he finished, unzipping the tent and slipping inside with a rustle of fabric. There was a long silence, then mom turned to the tent and spoke.
“Sleep well,” she said with a strange, very distant expression. What was stranger about it is that she said three words, but only the first two with her mouth. The last word she said with her mind in such a whisper that only I could hear it: Hun. She turned to me and yawned as well. “Maybe it’s time we get some sleep ourselves, huh kiddo?”
“S-sure mom,” I said. She flashed me a knowing look before leading us to the tent and to bed. I was left to think about what she meant by what she said, or rather, what she didn’t say.
Chapter End Notes:
Welp, eyes forward for the evolution ceremony, right? But maybe there is something else going on here that we don't quite see yet? We'll see...
When I get around to updating it that is :v
OMG. What year is it again? I think this chapter was 95% complete for like months, but I never worked on it. But it's finally here I guess. I'm feeling more motivated to write as of late, so I suppose my story will see more frequent updates. I know everyone is thrilled. Contain your excitement.
Also, I apologize for the weird indenting and spacing in general. I swear to god it looks just fine on my screen in word document form, and it does this for some reason when I upload it to the site. Well, it does this on every site I upload it to.