• Welcome to Thousand Roads! You're welcome to view discussions or read our stories without registering, but you'll need an account to join in our events, interact with other members, or post one of your own fics. Why not become a member of our community? We'd love to have you!

    Join now!

Realm of the Nightmare King


Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
  7. salandit
...And the portal reached up and swallowed everyone. And for one brief moment, the sensation of falling, an endless void-

Alone. Not alone the way he likes to be, under a cloudless night sky with Neo and Novo pressed against his side and only the stars for company. Darkness surrounds him on all sides, the floor beneath him like cold metal. There’s an empty void by his side where he expects to find Neo and Novo. A voice is calling, no, yelling for them now. With a start, he realizes it's his own voice. Echoing emptily into the nothingness.

A grating screech sounds in the distance. Chills creep down Wes’s spine and he flinches back, recognition bringing fear. A Skarmory’s cry. For a moment, he’s frozen in confusion. Then a terrible noise sends his body into overdrive.

Soul rending, agonized yowls, the yowls that could only be from an Umbreon and Espeon. He erupted forwards, running blindly through dark, across cold steel and empty halls. The walls drew in around him, suffocating, pressing down, but he didn’t stop, pulled on by the cries of his pokemon, his brothers.

And then there was silence.

He burst from the darkness into a dry, empty room. A dead end. Wherever he’d emerged from vanished, but he had no thoughts of leaving, eyes only for the sight before him. Neo and Novo, sprawled across the ground. Bodies limp, fur the wrong color-

[Neo & Novo]
Sand stung their fur as the brothers trudged along through the desert. Wind tugged and pulled at them, as if trying to hold them back. Still no sign of Wes. Where... where...

Neo turned to Novo, only to jerk back with a start. Novo! His brother was gone. No that couldn’t be right, he’d just been here-

Wait! Wes! Even though he was barely visible in the dusky twilight, Neo would recognize his trainer's hair anywhere. Wes would know where to find Novo!

Chirping excitedly, Neo scampered forward towards Wes’s figure, who had his back to him and seemed to be kneeling down. He sent a psychic ping to Wes as he approached. Wes didn’t move or acknowledge him, which was odd... Pushing aside the wariness, Neo slowed down next to the kneeling Wes and started to rub against him-

Neo jerked back. Blind horror flooded his mind as he saw the dark, broken shape cradled in Wes’s arms. Novo. And then, suddenly, Wes’s body slumped to the side and Neo caught a glimpse of his trainer's face. And his glassy, empty eyes.

Neo opened his jaws in a soundless wail.

Neo! Novo called out for the... he’d lost count. The sand swirled around him, stinging his eyes, his fur, obscuring everything. Neo had been beside him and then he wasn’t. How could he have lost his brother? How could he have failed his trainer and his brother?

Novo pushed the thought aside and pressed on, calling out over and over, until his voice was raw and raspy and the sand filled his mouth.


Novo’s ears shot straight up. Neo! But that cry had sounded as if he were in pain. He sprang forwards, pain and annoyance forgotten. He crested a dune, and spotted three shapes at the base of the next dune. Two he recognized immediately - Neo and Wes. Neo stood protectively in front of Wes, back arched, gem glowing, facing their attacker.

Novo’s rings glowed as fury filled him. He lunged down the dune, determined to aid his trainer-

At the bottom of the dune, yards from them, he lurched to a halt. Confusion rippled through him. He looked down, only to see his legs sinking into the sand. Letting out an alarmed yelp, he jerked frantically to free himself, but only succeeded in sinking even further. He looked up, and saw a shadowy, enraged creature attacking Wes and Novo, some pokemon he didn’t recognize, it didn’t matter because it was hurting Neo, hurting Wes, attacking them-

Novo thrashed and struggled uselessly, too far away to use anything to fight back, trapped. Helpless, only able to watch as the distant silhouette of his trainer and his brother collapsed and didn’t rise again.

[ @IFBench ]
Coleane ran, ran and ran and ran. Her leaf-wings, injured and weakened, lay uselessly against her sides. Behind her she can hear the taunts and calls of those hum- No! No! They can’t be humans, humans aren’t bad! There are no bad humans, there are no bad humans! But they had chased her and tried to tie her up and trap her. Take her away where she didn’t want to go and oh by Rayquaza’s wings, Gen! Where was Gen!?! All she could do was run and run...

Ahead, she spotted a thick veil of brush. Wait... she knew this path! Her secret base! She’d be safe there, she was sure of it! Hope gave her speed, and she galloped forward, bursting through the leaves and-

“Tropius!” The sharp familiar voice cut straight to her heart and brought her screeching to a stop.

“Mama?” her voice came out trembling, confused.

Blinking, Coleane looked around. Behind her lay the door to her bedroom, and before her stood her mother, looking very very angry. No... No this wasn’t right! The island, Gen-

“Tropius! I told you not to run in the house like that. Do you want me to ground you again?” Mama stamped her hoof and a slight chill filled the room.

“No! No this isn’t right!” Panic filled Coleane. Had she dreamed everything? No, no it couldn’t be! She’d gone to the human world and she’d made friends and she was supposed to be a hero like the humans! No! “I was in the human world-”

“Enough!” she thundered, rearing up and slamming her hooves into the earth. “You will go to your room and not speak of such nonsense again. Now.”
Gen found himself walking along a sunny street in Johto, Coleane trotting happily beside him. He smiles, clutching his bag of warm chocolate chip cookies tightly to his chest. His human chest. After all this time he was finally home, in his own body, with his friends. “Hey Coleane, are you excited to meet Saltriv and Burhalla?”

“Yeppers, I sure am!”

‘“You’re going to love them! They’re really awesome-”

He noticed he was falling behind Coleane and walked a little faster. “Saltriv is really excited to meet another grass-type.”

They pushed through a gathering crowd of people. For a brief moment, Gen lost sight of Coleane. “Coleane!” he called, peering around people, struggling to push through - why did everyone seem so big?

“Excuse me? Excuse me please!”

A few people glanced down at him (down?) and murmured amongst themselves before turning away. The conversations around him suddenly grew louder. People pointing, shouting, calling frantically. What was going on? Where was Coleane?!

A loud roar shook the air. No... that roar, it couldn’t be, that makes no sense—

“Help, please!” Gen pressing his back against the wall of the building, trying to block out the screams of fear from all the panicking people. A legendary’s roar in the distance shakes the sky. Where did his family go? Where is Coleane and Burhalla and Saltriv and-

A frantic young woman stops to address him. “Hey are you okay?”

“I can’t find my family!” he cries again. “We got separated. I need to find Coleane-”

She frowns and tilts her head. “I’m sorry little guy, I don’t know what you want.”

Little guy? Wait- With a start, Gen realizes she’s kneeling to stare at him, and the words that came out of his mouth sounded like nothing more than grunts and squeaks to her.

“I’m so sorry, be careful!” she stands up and rushes away, leaving Gen alone. All alone, surrounded by humans, in a body not his own, unable to speak or ask for help.

[ @Shiny Phantump ]


Loud knocking on the door of their motel. It should have been impossible. The images from the news still floated through his mind, pictures of him, pictures of Hazel plastered everywhere. Just him was bad enough but Hazel too...


The doorframe split as the door was kicked in. Aether goons piled in, alongside several alolan authorities. Hazel tensed, but Gladion held out his hand placatingly, and placed himself in front of her, staring them down.

“Young Master Mohn.” One of the aether employees stepped forward and spoke, their gaze dripping with false sympathy. “Please return the stolen technology to our Foundation so that it may be cared for properly. We would hate for this incident to have to go... public.”

Gladion’s didn’t miss the subtext in the threat.

“Just turn over the product peacefully and we can come to an understanding, without pressing charges.” He paused and smiled in that way Aether employees were so good at. The one so many reporters fell for, and when they didn’t, they always left with a conveniently thick envelope.

Behind him, he felt Hazel bristle, ready for a fight, even though she hated to have to do it like this.

“Well, Mohn?”
Hazel growls, a hollow noise. One of the goons reaches for something, a tranquilizer maybe.

And in a moment its over. Next thing Gladion knows he’s running, Hazel at his side, and bodies behind him. So many bodies, and Hazel’s feathers and body are splashed red-

Behind him, a taunting voice calls out.

“You’ll never escape, Mohn!”

[ @Sinderella ]

Odette, broken and battered on the floor, clinging to consciousness. Odile stood over her, in her full form, wings spread and body hunched protectively over Odette, eyes blazing with hatred. Shadowy phantoms of her brothers and sisters surrounded her, leering, closing in, ready to attack.

Enora pressed close to Odette, who clutched tightly to her in turn.

“Run,” a cold voice hissed. “Run little Sylveon, and perhaps I will permit you to live.”

Enora hissed, fur raised and eyes narrowed. “Never!”

A dark chuckle rippled through the empty air. “Silly Sylveon. You are playing games with gods. You are nothing.”

Something - a tail or a tendril or arm whipped from the darkness, striking Enora with a sickening CRACK! She crashed limply to the ground beside Odette, breaths coming in wheezes.

Odette cried out hoarsely, though it died on her lips. “Enora..” the world around her swayed. She heard Enora calling her name, she thought, and she could sense Odile’s rage. She could feel herself fading, a heaviness cloaking her mind.

Is this... is this really it?

[ @Seren ]

Kimiko shivered as she crept through the forest. The evening was cool, but the chill in the air still felt unnatural. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. “Olivia... can you sense anything?” she whispered. The sky was dark... so dark. Where were the stars-

Olivia gave a soft mewl. No.

Kimiko wrapped her arms around herself as she kept walking, doing her best not to jump at every shadow-

And then a tree in front of her moved. Scraggly arms jerked from its sides and a single red eye blazed near its crown. Olivia cried out, only to be silenced by the earth and roots themselves wrapping around her, binding her. Then the red eye loomed over Kimiko and darkness swallowed her.

Kimiko awoke to a scream that melted into a burning, searing pain coursing through her entire body. Then she realized she was screaming, her body jerking futilely, her legs and arms pinned to her sides. At some point, either moments or minutes later, the pain subsided, leaving her trembling. No no no gods no-

In a haze of pain, she realized Olivia was just yards away, but she’d been bound, restrained by ghostly shackles that rendered her weak. Helpless.

Then a voice spoke, cold and cruel, a voice she recognized, even if she couldn’t see them. “Talk, talk and the pain can stop.”


Come now. Why bother searching for her any longer?

Lucy tried to ignore the voice as she pressed forward through the forest. Even if the voice felt like it came from her own head, from her own thoughts.

Do you think finding her can make up for all you did?

Lucy paused, sweeping her icy gaze over the forest. The dark trees seemed to be taller than before, and a cloudy veil hung over the sky, blocking out the light. And then someone screamed. An agonized wail of primal pain. Lucy’s eyes widened and she was about to take off when -

S̵h̶e̷’̶s̸ ̷i̶n̴ ̸p̶a̷i̷n̴ ̵b̶e̸c̶a̸u̴s̷e̶ ̷o̴f̷ ̷y̸o̴u̶.̶ ̴T̴h̵e̴ ̶w̷o̸r̴l̸d̵ ̶s̶u̸f̴f̸e̸r̶s̷ ̵b̸e̸c̵a̸u̴s̵e̸ ̷o̴f̵ ̷y̴o̶u̵.̴ ̷S̸h̷e̷ ̷s̵u̸f̵f̸e̶r̴s̵,̶ ̵a̸n̴d̷ ̵a̷l̵l̸ ̸t̵h̸e̷ ̴g̸o̷o̶d̴ ̴i̴n̶ ̷t̸h̴e̵ ̸w̴o̵r̷l̸d̴ ̴c̵a̷n̴n̵o̷t̵ ̷c̴h̸a̴n̶g̴e̸ ̵w̸h̸a̶t̵ ̴y̸o̸u̸ ̴d̵i̵d̵.̴

Y̴̮͇͛͑́o̴͖͉̎͌̂̓̐̒̏̕u̸̟̫̔̊́’̷̦͓͍͙́̽̽̓͛ͅŗ̵̦̬̬͈̀̍͛͑͘͝ͅẹ̵̭̱͚̰͖̪̊͛͒̈̒́ ̵͙̲̜̞̙̌̓̆ ̵̡̢̨̜̘̜͙̩̋̂͝â̷̲̼͈̦̹̞̫͓ ̴̨̡͇̱̲̿̍͜ḿ̶͚̑̈́̽͝ö̸͇͕̜̤̠͇̬́̈́̅͌͜ṋ̸̡̛̦̲̟͖̳́̓͜͝ ̸͔̼͇̌͑̈́͌̒ͅs̵̱̩͉̝̥̱̱͙̽̉̾͂͐̂t̶̫̹͙̯̿̓̂̃̀́̕̕ ̵͕̩̜͍̟͛̑̚e̶̢̛͚̙̱̟̣̗̰̒̉̍͒̄͝͝r̶̢̡̟̲̀̓͂̋͠

“I’m a monster.”

[ @unrepentantAuthor ]

The world around Laura faded into existence. She blinked wearily, confused. The bed felt wrong... With a start she sat up, icy dread settling over her, smothering her. She dug her fingers into the blanket - no, her blanket. The one from her bedroom, at home, in Galar, in her parents house.


Strange memories, alien ones. Wrong ones., seemed to drift through her thoughts. Losing her sponsorship, getting goaded into returning home, her pokemon leaving because of course, how could they keep any of them here? And no closer to finding Salem.
This made no sense
She’d let everyone down.
This was wrong. There was an island-
She was a failure. Just like everyone had said.

“Salem, I’m sorry.”

Fury. Shame. Rage. Confusion.

Before him lay Laura's broken, mangled body. He was her protector. Her guide, her guardian.

How had he failed?

<You fool, how did you let this happen?> he hissed. Tail lashing, he probed the area for signs of her attacker, and came up empty. Anger clawed at his chest, buzzed in his head.

A roar spilled from his jaws and he took off into the night.
“Oh yes, that Inteleon is ah... special case.” The smile she gives is the one Sleet hates.

“Poor thing, such a tough life.”

They think Sleet can’t hear them. She sticks up a finger to remind them she can. It only makes them look at her like that more, with those eyes, that tilt of the head, the disgusting sympathy she never asked for.

It didn't matter. It never did. No matter how many trainers came, it always ended the same - 'I found another water type' or 'I don't really need a specialist, do you have anything else?'

And that was fine. She didn't need anyone.

[ @Chibi Pika ]

Move, please move-

Panicked thoughts raced through Jade’s mind as she begged her body to obey her, but to no avail. All she can do is stare through eyes that don’t feel like her own, helpless. Weak. Paralyzed, the nasty looking Raichu looming behind her...

Heart hammering in her chest, fear clawing at her. And she can watch. Watch as they take Nine, hooking him up to dreadful machines. A new mind control they said. 100% effective.

Nine meets her eyes for a moment, and beneath his raw anger, she can see. See that he’s afraid, and she knows he’s thinking about him, about that night. Their screams still echo in Jade's mind, the fire- And she knows there’s nothing she can do to help. Pathetic. History is repeating itself, only this time there’s no blade to stop it.

She can see that look in his eyes, begging her to find a way to end him rather than suffer the same fate. And she can't do anything.

[ @Dragonfree ]

May wanders down the empty street, one hand buried in Spirit’s fur as she glanced absent-mindedly at the shops. She was supposed to be looking for something for breakfast, but she almost didn’t want to. For a moment she could pretend she was just a regular trainer, out with her partner, trying to get stronger, maybe win a le-

Her grip tightened and she walked a little faster. She passed someone on the opposite side of the street, and from the corner of her eye she saw him staring. She glared back before walking faster. What was his problem? A couple walked past her, and she could make out panicked whispers and saw one of them pointing at her.

Her heart began to race. The quiet streets seemed more crowded now. A little boy dragged away by a nervous mother as he stared at her. Angry mutters from a group of friends and scornful glares from shop owners, pulling the blinds shut.

Spirit growled at them, ready for a fight, and she frantically tried to quiet her. They didn’t need more attention -

Suddenly they were in a crowd, being jostled and shoved, whispers and filling the air. Murderer liar killer

Hands grabbed at Spirit, pulling at her, trying to drag her away.

Bad trainer, failure. She killed him.

“That’s her, I’m sure of it.”

May’s blood turned to ice. Across the street, a few yards away, someone was talking to a cop. Her body moved without her even realizing it, turning and dashing away, running and running, Spirit hot on her heels, her lungs tight and chest throbbing.

And then she rounded a corner. A flash of blond hair, bloodshot eyes. Pale skin and a face just like from the news... And a gaunt purple form behind him. No, no no- Spirit leaps in front of her, snarling. “Run!”

And for a moment, some panicked part of May wants to.

A blast from the so-called Mewtwo. Too fast to dodge. Spirit shrieks, May’s heart skips a beat. Then she looks down and sees red. But not blood, shards of a stone. Entei’s gem. And Spirit, eyes wide and horrified as she gazed upon it. All May can do is stare at the haunted, empty eyes of Mewtwo-like figure.

[ @Panoramic_Vacuum ]

“GGRAAAHhh!” Aggron’s vision darkened. He clawed at consciousness, trying to cling on. He couldn’t give in, not now. He was Steven’s last mon, his last defense. One more hit and he could defeat their opponen-

Aggron’s eyes jerked open. He was lying on the floor of the arena, his opponent standing over him. He started to rise, ready to fight, when it settled on him what had happened. He’d lost. They’d lost- No, Steven had lost. All because he’d been too weak.

Shamefully, Aggron turned to look at Steven.

The former champion’s face was a steel mask. Cold and unfeeling. Then he turned and walked away, leaving Aggron alone on an empty battlefield. A few moments later, the lights turned off, drenching the room in darkness, leaving Aggron utterly alone.

Days blurred together to weeks. Every day the same for Steven. Come in to work, stare at a screen all day, file papers, stare at a screen... he lost himself in the monotony. And he liked it. It deadened the pain. He didn’t have to think about-

No. Not now. There was work to be done. Work... Maybe the stacks of papers can block out the memory, the memory of the destroyed husk of a city and the lifeless husks of-

Steven jammed a file into a cabinet with shaking hands. Work.

“Mr. Stone?” a light knock on his office door, and one of the office assistants poked her head in. “Your press conference starts in 5 minutes.”

He blinked. “Press conference?” he said, holding back the stammer in his voice. What press conference?

“Yes, to address the region after...” her voice trembled. “Kyogre and Groudon...”

Destroyed everything?

The roar of a crowd, a door before him leading to the stage. He was twisting the rings on his finger, shaking inside.When had he even got here- the door opened and he found himself before a crowd, hundreds of thousand of people, reporters flashing cameras, video records, all pointed at him, everyone staring at him-

Instinctively, he reached for Metagross, always steady at his side, before he remembered. Six gravestones, nonononono- In a daze, all he could do was stare at the ocean of people before him, expecting and demanding answers. Wanting to know why their champion had failed them. Wanting answers he could never give.

And in that moment, he felt more alone than ever, adrift in a sea with no one to pull him out.

[ @ShiniGojira ]

“Evie!” June cried out, heart racing as they stumbled through the empty woods. “Evie, where are you?” His breath came in short gasps and his tail flame flickered erratically. Behind him he could still hear that awful, horrible buzzing, droning endlessly. And growing closer.

“Evi-!” His foot collided with a root, and he yelped and tumbled down a sharp hill and crashed into something soft at the bottom. “Urgh-” he blinked, his muzzled buried into something soft. Shaking his head, he pushed himself upright and saw-

His eyes lit up. “Evie!” She seemed to be lying down, and he reached out, shaking her -”Wake up-”

His claw came back bloody. His tail flame dimmed sharply and his breath caught. Her body lay deathly still. “No no no-”

A pool of sticky blood spread from the body, and over his feet.


A shrill scream pierced the air.

Evie jerked back. “Wh-” a charred body lay before her. How... where-

And then she felt ill. She recognized the body. Her sister’s charred body.

But that was impossible-!

“You monster!”

Evie dragged her eyes away from the body to see one of the forest pokemon gazing at her, eyes full of fear.

“I didn’t do this I swear-” her thoughts wirled, her memories muddy, and a tiny voice in her head demanded ‘but what if you did?’

[ @Negrek ]

All around Nate, ghostly haggard shapes loomed, their bodies malformed, more darkness than alive. An ursaring, charging, slashing, tearing at him, Mightyena’s body, broken and lifeles-

With a gasp, Nate jerked upright, chest tight and bedsheets tossed aside. Fuck. Just a nightmare then? A wet nose pressed itself against his hand, and he managed a smile at Mightyena, muttering some reassurance. He was too old for nightmares.

Still stuck on this damn island though. He glanced out the window. Early enough for breakfast, at least. He found himself at the cafe - wait, when had he walked here...- He grabbed a box to go, mostly picking up foods Mightyena liked. People would be here soon, and the last thing he felt like seeing was people. Perhaps the lakeside would be quie-

Seated on the soft sand by the lake’s edge, he doled out some food for Mightyena, who immediately began scarfing it down. Well, at least she was pleased. A strange feeling stirred in his gut for a moment, but he shrugged it off. Might as well enjoy the peace while he could.

His attention began to wander. Mightyena trotted towards the water's edge and began sniffing around. And then there was a yelp and a splash and his head jerked up and his heart stopped. Ripples spread across the empty lake. Mightyena was gone.

Something dark broke the surface, several yards out. Panicked howls and yelps. Cursing, Nate found himself moving without thinking, surging through the water. Deeper, deeper. Deeper. Mightyena went under again, and he went in after her.

Water closed over his head. He could see wispy, dark hands grabbing at her, dragging her down. Insidious red eyes. More hands appeared, wrapping around him, pulling him... pulling....

[ @MintyMimix ]


She was back again, this time in her own body, yet watching herself. Scarlet lightning, a storm overhead, and that witch. “No no, not again-”
She sees Azure, watches him torn apart, and almost against her own will, her body moves. She turns, shaking with fear and runs-
“Azure!” her body is foreign now, a Weavile-? Yet the memory is the same. Her brother, captive before the witch, shadows growing all around, tearing at him. While she watches. While she does nothing. Just like the coward she is—

She runs.
“Azure!” Shaking now, Violet’s eyes jerk open. The scene is familiar. Too familiar. Azure, captive before the witch. Scarlet lightning. A storm overhead, and the witch. Has she seen this before? The thought is quickly replaced by fear as the witch cackles maliciously. Fear claws at Violet.

Run, a voice in her head cries. Run, coward.
Hazel blinks, jarred from her train of thought as she taps away at her phone. She looks up and- for a moment, there’s a sickening sense of something like deja vu, but more wrongness. She’s supposed to be on an island with a human and there’s a kidnapping-

The thoughts fall away as she recalls where she is. Icy tundra, a smattering of trees, and four walls on either side, a concrete cage. And on one wall, a clear glass, a sickening reminder of a world beyond, shut off to her.

Beyond the glass, she sees shapes. People, pointing and gawking. Her stomach churns. She’s seen the sign outside -
World’s First Texting Weavile! Come and see the world’s smartest pokemon!

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she recalls something - a memory...? No. A fantasy. One where she has a father who loves her, and a lab she called home, and trainer... a person. Who loved her and who she loved. A world warmer than this cold one, where she’s more than an attraction to be gawked at. More than an experiment. One where she wasn’t alone.

She scampers back to the stick thin trees and whatever privacy they offer. This is all she has though. This is her life.

[ @Torchic W. Pip ]
Victoria sees Wallace, from a distance. Striding down the streets of Sootopolis, Winona on his arm, and smiling. Seeing him happy... she slithers through the crowd toward him and calls out. He doesn’t seem to hear at first, but it doesn’t matter. He looks healthy, eating, and joyful. She calls again, and finally he turns around.

When he sees her, he frowns a little. Winona pats him on the arm and whispers something gently to him, and he nods. Then he approaches, but this time stiffly. Formally. He looks like he about to have an interview, not greet her as a friend.

What’s going on?


Victoria.” His voice is his own, but its not compassionate and friendly, at least not to her. “I understand why you have to go away and see your family. I’m happy for you. But... I don’t need your help anymore, understand? Please go home now.”

And then he leaves. He just leaves he walks away, back to Winona, away from her, and doesn’t look back.

Her heart races and she feels her body shaking. She wants to cry out but her mouth is stiff. She’d failed him she’d let him down he didn’t need her anymore and she was a terrible caretaker.

Yet she wanted to chase him down, talk to him but... maybe he was better off without her. Better off alone. But that couldn’t be right, could it?


“I tell you, the gods have brought their wrath upon Sootoplis for one reason!” Megalos voice booms across the crowd huddled in the amphitheater, peering out from under their umbrellas, faces etched with fear. The drizzle of rain grows harder. A crack of thunder highlights his words and murmurs break out amongst the crowd.

Megalos holds up a hand and they fall silent, all listening.

From his spot far at the back of the stage, Wallace is shaking, his heart trembling and vision swimming so much he can’t think straight. Sootopolis is in danger its my fault I’m an awful person-

Megalos continues, crowd hanging on his everyone word because of course they would, he’s perfect-

“It is because of the sins of your so-called champion! Wallace Papadakis!” Lightning crashed, and it began to pour. The sea is rising, and a great and terrible roar sounds, heard even from miles away.

“I tell the truth, for Wallace is guilty of terrible things, and the gods are punishing him! He-”

Megalos voice, telling all of Wallace’s worst secrets, is drowned out by Wallace’s thoughts, spiraling, spiraling, spiraling...

Failure. Failure. Failure.
Last edited:
Day ?? - Gen - True Loneliness


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
A Bad Dream said:
Gen found himself walking along a sunny street in Johto, Coleane trotting happily beside him. He smiles, clutching his bag of warm chocolate chip cookies tightly to his chest. His human chest. After all this time he was finally home, in his own body, with his friends. “Hey Coleane, are you excited to meet Saltriv and Burhalla?”

“Yeppers, I sure am!”

‘“You’re going to love them! They’re really awesome-”

He noticed he was falling behind Coleane and walked a little faster. “Saltriv is really excited to meet another grass-type.”

They pushed through a gathering crowd of people. For a brief moment, Gen lost sight of Coleane. “Coleane!” he called, peering around people, struggling to push through - why did everyone seem so big?

“Excuse me? Excuse me please!”

A few people glanced down at him (down?) and murmured amongst themselves before turning away. The conversations around him suddenly grew louder. People pointing, shouting, calling frantically. What was going on? Where was Coleane?!

A loud roar shook the air. No... that roar, it couldn’t be, that makes no sense—

“Help, please!” Gen pressing his back against the wall of the building, trying to block out the screams of fear from all the panicking people. A legendary’s roar in the distance shakes the sky. Where did his family go? Where is Coleane and Burhalla and Saltriv and-

A frantic young woman stops to address him. “Hey are you okay?”

“I can’t find my family!” he cries again. “We got separated. I need to find Coleane-”

She frowns and tilts her head. “I’m sorry little guy, I don’t know what you want.”

Little guy? Wait- With a start, Gen realizes she’s kneeling to stare at him, and the words that came out of his mouth sounded like nothing more than grunts and squeaks to her.

“I’m so sorry, be careful!” she stands up and rushes away, leaving Gen alone. All alone, surrounded by humans, in a body not his own, unable to speak or ask for help.

"W-wait! Please!" Gen tried to say, but all that came out was squeaking. No, no, no! He was just human! And now...

He tried to run along with the crowd, but all he could do was waddle, and he was so slow. They were all rushing past him, and he was soon left all alone. All alone all alone all alone.

His breathing sped up, and he tried to clutch onto his reunion cape, but it was gone. All that was there was his neck scruff.

He was alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone alone.

Then he heard a horrible, horrible crashing sound. He looked behind him, and let out a horrified gasp at what he saw.

Groudon and Kyogre again were fighting in the distance, and getting closer and closer to Goldenrod City. He could already hear buildings crumbling just from the shockwaves of their attacks.

"O-Osha..." was all that came out of Gen's mouth, as he saw Kyogre send a gigantic wave at the city, one that dwarfed even the Radio Tower.

Nothing would survive that.

He hoped Coleane would be ok.

He tried to waddle away, as he heard the sound of rushing water get closer and closer and closer—

The water reached him.

He was swept away, feeling himself being battered by debris from destroyed buildings...




When Gen came to, he was in a forest, all alone. It was completely silent, and he could barely see in front of him. This place was...

No, no no no no! Not here! Not here again!

He felt himself being taken forward, as much as he wished not to. His feet were moving against his will.

This place was so, so much more terrifying when he was only half a meter tall...

He tried to scream, and thrash, fight back against whatever force was moving him forwards.

But nothing happened. He could only watch in horror as something came into view...something he never wanted to see again.

A human corpse lay in front of him, half decayed. One of its arms had rotted off, and its head was smashed open, maggots crawling through what remained of the brain.

Gen screamed, as loud as his tiny otter lungs would let him. He screamed, and screamed, until he could scream no more.

He collapsed onto the ground, whimpering, crying his eyes out. Why here? Why this place? Why was he back here? Why back in Gengar's Haunt?

A Bad Memory said:
"Now, class, follow me," the teacher said, tone flat, looking tired. Little ten year old human Gen was barely paying attention, so excited to explore the beautiful caves of northeastern Johto with his class.

As the teacher went through the caves, Gen found himself looking at a pretty crystal formation on the cave ceiling. It looked almost like candy! But probably only rock and ground types would like it.

Wait, where did everyone go?

Oh no, he spent too much time looking at the crytals, and now everyone was gone!

No matter, he simply had to just catch back up!

He ran through the cave, until he arrived at a fork in the road. Left or right?

Well, right is right, so right it is!

He dashed down the right cave, and eventually it opened up into a dark forest. This probably wasn't the right way...but this was so cool! It was like he was on his own little adventure!

He wandered through the forest, before an awful stench hit his nose. Ewww, what was that?

Hey...what's that in the distance? It looked like someone...slumped over? Maybe they needed help!

He ran towards the figure...

He tried to waddle away, but he couldn't stand up. He couldn't move. He was frozen, petrified with pure fear. All alone, with nothing but a dead body for company.

All, all alone...



He couldn't let it end like this. He couldn't, he couldn't, he couldn't.

He fought back against whatever force was keeping him from moving. Centimeter by centimeter, he started to stand back up.

He waddled away from the corpse as fast as his little otter legs would take him.

Eventually, he reached a town, he didn't know what one, nor did he care right now. He needed comfort, of any kind.

He spotted someone, and waddled up to them. "Help...please..." he tried to say.

"Awww, you're so adorable!" the human said. Oh, right...he couldn't be understood by humans...

Though, maybe...was there some other way he could communicate?

Maybe...he did know morse code, so...it was a long shot if they'd understand it, but...

He slapped his tail against the ground, in small slaps and big slaps, forming the dots and dashes of morse code.

The human's eyes widened. "Is...is that Morse?"

Gen nodded, and slapped out, "I need help. Please. I saw a dead body in Gengar's Haunt, and—"

He was quickly scooped up in a hug. "Oh, Gen...I'm sorry, I'm so sorry...it's going to be ok. I'm here."

Gen looked up, and saw his mother's face looking down at him.

...maybe things really would be ok. Even if he couldn't speak...there were other ways he could communciate. And...there were people he would reunite with.

No matter what.

He would never be alone forever.


As Gen awoke on a floating island, even though he was alone...he felt alright.
Last edited:
Odette, Odile, and Enora - Even Demons Have Fears


Angy Tumbleweed
In Guzma's Closet
  1. custom/sylveon-shiny
  2. gothitelle
  3. froslass
  4. chandelure
  5. mimikyu
CW: Strong language, talk of death, talk of murder, talk of sexual assault, violence, blood, brief thoughts of suicide, LENGTH

The weight of unconsciousness took over faster than Odette could fight it off.

When her eyes blinked open again, all was warm.

Soft yet incessant chatter filled the extravagant ballroom that stretched out before her. The dim light from the oversized chandelier waltzed over the dancefloor, effectively illuminating all who were present. Everyone was dressed in various hues of red and gold, sipping on gold encrusted wine flutes and eating off of gold rimmed plates.

She turned her head toward the mirror hung on the wall of the corner she stood in, and was shocked at how unsurprised she was to see herself so done up. Florent wouldn’t dare have his beloved daughter step out into public looking any less like a princess. Or a doll. Her hair was done up flawlessly; not a single strand out of place. Her maroon dress, as extravagantly designed as the ballroom itself, hugged her in all of the perfect places, and made her look far taller and far more grand than she actually was. The crown that adorned her head was what tied it all together.

It felt heavy against her forehead. Too heavy.

“There you are, my Fallen Angel!”

Florent’s voice didn’t really startle her anymore. The longer she was there, the more used to it she became. He’d made it very clear he had no intention of hurting her, and as much as she hated to admit it, she felt the safest around him given the past events.

Still, Odette couldn’t shake the feeling of unease that weighed on her stomach whenever she was in his presence. Knowing this man—this horrifying man–-was in fact her father, and that she was the apple of his eye, made her feel some type of way she wasn’t sure how to pinpoint yet.

She turned away from the mirror she was staring into, immediately meeting that aged yet oddly handsome face. He was dressed as regal as she was, down to the gaudy coat and the foreboding crown on his head. Fit for a genocidal king of his caliber. Anybody who ruled the literal criminal underground like he did was deserving of some sort of weird headpiece that made his psychopathy obvious.

The smile Florent wore only widened when he caught the front view of her, and he clasped his hands together in glee.

“Well, don’t you look like the most perfect young lady,” he gasped excitedly.

A forced smirk tugged at the corners of her lips, but for some reason, she found she couldn’t fully form it. She wasn’t up to her schmoozing right now. She just felt…tired. Like she’d had too much to drink. Which was odd, because she could have sworn she’d been trying to steer clear of the bar for most of the night…

“Thank you, father,” she replied. That was the only invite Florent needed to saunter over and loop his arm into the crook of hers.

“Come. You shouldn’t be off to the side like this. Everyone needs to have a chance to behold you.”

He gently led her away from her corner, and up to the large dais at the back end of the ballroom. None of the other title holders were present, so all 7 thrones sat empty for the time being. For the moment, it was just the two of them standing there.

As Florent admired the party before him, he lightly squeezed Odette’s arm. “Isn’t it lovely, my Harbinger? We’re all here to celebrate you. How does it feel?”


“It’s…wonderful,” she managed.

Florent chuckled and briefly clasped his hand over hers, before letting her go. “Nothing but the best for my gorgeous heiress,” he beamed. As he looked her over for the second time, he suddenly frowned. Without a word, he approached her once more and began to adjust the crown on her head, before also adjusting her glasses on her face.

“There,” he said, admiring his handiwork. “Pretty as a Primarina.”

Once more, she could not bring herself to smile. What was up with her tonight? If she kept this up, there was no doubt he would–

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?”


Blinking, mouth agape, and at a loss for an excuse, all she could immediately do was shrug. “I’m…I’m not sure.”

Florent quickly held the back of his hand to her forehead, before lowering it to her cheek. “Are you feeling ill again? Do you need to go lay down?”


“No, that’s not it. I feel fine.”

“Is there something else wrong? Something with the party, perhaps?”

That could have been it. Being forced to attend the tenth party that week would have put a damper on anybody’s mood.

As she braced herself to answer as such, she turned her head to take in the party guests once more. Maybe she could pick something specific out of the crowd, and get him off her ass for a few minutes while she pulled herself together.

But, she was suddenly overcome with a sense of utter melancholy. It gripped her heart and refused to let go, leaving her with a burning sensation in her nose; as if she were going to cry.

“I want to go home.”

She didn’t know why she said that. Why did she feel the need to say that? That wasn’t part of the plan.

“Sweetheart, you are home,” Florent murmured, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“No. I’m not.” She was talking without thinking now. “This isn’t where I should be.”

“And what makes you say that?”

“I don’t…” She felt like she had cotton in her mouth. Why the hell was this happening? “I don’t belong here.”

Florent was quiet. The lack of immediate response only solidified the regret she felt over spilling her feelings like that. This was bad. Really bad. And it was only exacerbated by the fact that that feeling of pure sorrow was only getting worse.

“Need I remind you of something?” Florent eventually spoke again, causing her to jump.

His finger curled under her chin, putting pressure onto her cheek and forcing her to face him. Despite the inviting smile on his face, his red eyes remained as sinister as ever.

“Your last name might be Cinq-Mars, but you are a Lambourne at your core.”

Odette’s face remained unchanging, even as a tear slipped down her cheek.

Why was she crying now?

Something far more sympathetic crossed Florent’s features as he reached for the handkerchief in his breast pocket. “Oh, goodness,” he cooed softly as he dabbed the damned thing off. “None of that, my Harbinger. None of that. Perfection doesn’t deserve tears.”

He sighed solemnly before bowing his head. His hands snaked up to her shoulders, and gently positioned her to look back over the crowd standing before her.

“I understand it’s hard to hear, raised as you were,” he continued. “But I need you to listen to me. And really hear me this time.”

Odette had found that her body was now numb. She did nothing, even as her father lowered his head to whisper in her ear.

“You are the vessel of Venira. Your birth woke the Pokemon of Wrath from her slumber. These people, these thousands of people, are here to worship you. You, my daughter.”

Her jaw had gone numb from just how hard she was clenching it.

“They see you. They praise you. They fear you.”

Her eyes fell shut as the shame draped over her like a plastic bag. Absolutely suffocating. The tears dripped just slow enough for Florent to be able to wipe them off without much issue, and he went on with his pretty words. Or, what she supposed were meant to be pretty.

“You were born, in all of your perfection, to be feared. And that is not a bad thing. The bad thing is that you try so hard to lean away from it. And your tendencies,” he said.

“I’ll say.”

The hair on Odette’s arms stood on end as her entire body jolted upright. She didn’t want to turn around to see who was acknowledging her now, but she felt like she had no choice.

Dorien sat sideways on his throne, legs crossed nonchalantly as he swirled a glass of wine in his hand. He didn’t say anything at first, taking their initial moment of eye contact to take a sip. He only moved to stand once he swallowed.

“God knows you wanted to kill me on multiple occasions. There was no hiding it,” he said.

She swallowed hard, trying to keep her voice from wavering. “You were an insufferable prick, and you were doing it on purpose.”

Dorien was now in front of her. She didn’t remember him being so tall, and yet, he towered over her like a Duraladon. “Maybe so, but should that have stopped you? I can only imagine the absolute rage you felt, and you bit it back like nothing I’d ever seen before.”

“And it worked in my favor,” she hissed.

“But what does that do for you except veil what it is you truly are? Envy is my being, and I didn’t hesitate to burn you to make that clear,” Dorien chided.

A shot of rage fired up through her spine. She wanted to bash his head in. She wondered why he was speaking to her like this with Florent present, and why Florent wasn’t beating him over the head for her for such a transgression.

She supposed it didn’t matter, because she had so much she wanted to say to him.

“Because you’re a fucking monster.”

Stifling a laugh, Dorien rolled his eyes. “And you let the wrath affect you so deeply that you mowed my guards down like nothing. What does that make you?”

“That’s not the same thing and you know it. You—“

“And all you wanted to do was put a bullet right between my eyes as soon as you were done, right? You even want to do that at this very moment, don’t you–”

“Shut the fuck up before I—“ she spat.

“—you’re getting so upset now, and you still fail to acknowledge that part of you? The part that—“ He somehow managed to speak louder than her with each passing word.

“—you’re talking out of your ass because you’re a fucking psycho stalker—“

“—makes you entirely inhuman—“

“I am, in fact, a human. I’m—“

“—a monster, like the rest of us?”

Her breath hitched, and she cried out before she could catch herself.


Her voice shook the ballroom, causing the tableware to chime together in a haphazard song, and the chandelier overhead to rock. All talking ceased, but Odette could not bear to look back out at the crowd. Not at the rate she was crying.

Why was she crying?

It hurts. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

In all of her years, Enora had never felt pain like she felt in that moment. Getting struck to the ground by formless entities, leaving Odette to lie there helplessly, while Odile suffered the brunt end of it all.

How could it have come to this? Where did she go wrong?

Most other Pokemon looked at her like she was a sight to behold. It was her weird coat, and she’d always known that. The shininess of her blue hue; the blue that was supposed to be pink. The blue that was so rare among her kind, and even other Pokemon.

Though, she never understood what was so special about a different coat color. Rare or not, it made no difference in her abilities. Sure, she certainly felt a tad more prim and put together than others, but any other Sylveon could best her if they tried.

Or so she thought.

Her eyes blinked open, and she was in a lab. A cold, dark, dreary lab. Her fur involuntarily stood on end at the familiar sight of it.

It took her a moment to really take in her surroundings. It must have been nighttime, because the lights had been dimmed, and not a soul was around. It was just her, stuck in this glass bubble in the middle of a room full of machines she’d stared at every day. But, she was no closer to figuring out what they did.

All she really knew was that some of them hurt. The ache in her back said that much. She could count herself lucky that she didn’t remember what they had done to her that day; it’d make it far easier to sleep. Still, she couldn’t stop the dread from coiling around her stomach, while embers of anger singed through the outer corners of her psyche.

She knew what they were doing to her was wrong. What did her hue do to make her different from other Eevees? What had she done to deserve such treatment?

She’d been good. She’d been fine in the wild. Everything was fine.

She could tell herself that, but there was always that part of her that just knew she was different from other Eevees…

As she lay down in defeat, set on closing her eyes, screams began to bounce off the drab metal walls of the lab. They started as distant, barely there cries, before strengthening into horrible, blood curdling noises. They were unlike any sounds Enora had ever heard before, and she recognized them immediately.

Solene. Isaur. Ange. Loic. Odile. Odette.

Her team. In danger. Being hurt, as she sat there, thinking about dozing off.

She was known as the calm one of the group, and yet her shallow breaths began to build and build until she sat on the precipice of hyperventilation. She pushed herself to her feet and began to claw at the thick glass, trying to do anything to get to them. Stop whatever atrocities they were facing. She had to; that was her job.

She wanted to protect her team like they protected her.

And she couldn’t.

Because she really was nothing.

Odile was at a loss for words. Odile was overwhelmed.

Most of all, Odile was scared.

She watched as her 6 brothers and sisters swirled around her. She could feel their phantom hands and tendrils poking at her sides, her wings, her head. Half of her wanted to cower, to kneel down and protect Odette and Enora’s limp forms, but the other half just wanted to tear them all to shreds. It was unfortunate that they were all moving too fast for her to see.

“̷̗̈́̊ͅF̶̹̾͋͛a̶̡̅̍c̸̫̮͓̋͗͝ë̴̳͔̊ ̸̻͙̙̏m̴̪̫̜͐e̸̢̘͒̋͊ͅ ̶̡͎̤͊̐̚l̸̞̙̳̀͝i̵̙̞̓̿k̷̞͔͊̆e̷̪͋ ̴͍͆r̴͕̔̊ḙ̶̝̘̎à̴͍͍̑̅l̸̟̂̀̅ ̸̨̡͙̇f̷̡̺̼͑ū̵̲͇̓̀c̶͎̮͔̀͂̚k̶̢͚̈́̽ḯ̶̤n̸̨̟̬͂̍̓g̷͕͉̊ ̵̩̤̝͌P̴̻̣̏͘o̵͉͝k̶͈̿ē̴̘͜m̶̡̃̋ö̶̱͖̹́n̵̡̮̆ ̴͔͍̆̈́̓y̶͙̒o̶̺͙̗̓ů̴͍̋ ̶͓̹̓̓̚f̴̮̏͝u̵̖͎̺̐c̶͖͛k̵̛̥̫̚ì̶̺̩̪n̷͚͉̐ͅg̸̠̫̲͊͑̚ ̷̣̲̼̎p̷̜̭̄͌̕a̵̤̐̐̍ṇ̴̆͘s̴̺̮̱̀͆̈i̸̢̻̔̓̔e̸̱͍͆͜͝s̶͇̑̈́̈́!̵͉͋̑͌”̶̢̊͗ ̵̪̰͎́̔̃she roared.

“̸E̴v̶e̸r̶ ̷t̷h̵e̷ ̴e̶x̶p̸l̸e̸t̵i̴v̵e̵ ̵u̶s̴e̵r̷,̸ ̸V̶e̶n̸i̶r̴a̶.̶”̸

That fucking botfly of a Gluttony ‘mon came into view. Looking as grotesque and insubordinate as ever. His green body reminded her of vomit, and she wished she could puke all over him at will. She actually felt like she just might.

“̵̗̻́̿͝G̸̨̉̇õ̵̫̫̔ ̴̘̈́̂͌f̴͎̔͛̾ụ̶̍̓̚c̵̉ͅk̶̥̼͒̌ ̸̧̌y̷͚̾ơ̵͙͖̺͒u̷̮͝r̷͍̒s̷̩̘͈̈̃̿e̴̜̝͗l̸̼͓̀f̶͇̚,̷̩̞̣͗ ̷͔̜̗͛̓G̵̞̈́u̷̺͇̪͆͗͠ḷ̸̻̗̀ä̷̖́̇̒t̸̙̝̹̕ẗ̵̞̰̘͝í̷͖̆v̸̙̫͊͆ê̸̝̓.̸̢̖̅ ̶̞͘W̵̮̊́͘e̵̞̍ ̸͇͒́a̶͙̲̾́ḽ̵̢̅̔l̵̰̪̈́ ̵͔͖͐k̴̡̩͐̑́n̷̮̻̣̊͛́o̵̮̟̍w̸̙͐̒ ̶̦̳̞̋̾y̶̧̮͍͋̍͆o̷̰̦͐͐͜û̸̩’̷̢̫́r̴̻̂̕e̴͎͂ ̵̪̈͋̊ṱ̷̦̟̃́ő̶̡͎͜o̶͕̙͉̓͘ ̷͉̯̆̅m̶̧̖͈̀̀u̷̟̝͊̓͝č̶̗̮̬͛̋h̶͖̃͝ ̵̧̮͙͊̋o̴͍͙̍f̸͙̙͖̾͠ ̶̨̦̂̉̓a̸̺͙͙̔ ̸͕̝͕̆w̴̟̜̦͌̈́̿ẽ̸͙͔̃̈́à̷͓̲͉́͘k̵̠̔̃ ̸̧̯́̔̓d̸̛̗̅i̵̲̾͐p̶̱̩̌s̴̯̹̋͊h̵̗̪̭̚ḭ̸̩͉͂͊̾t̷̥̫͛̓ ̷̫̞͓͂͝t̷̙̳͊̀o̵̖̣͐ ̸͓̈̈͊f̴̦̄͋̊ȃ̸̢͖̾c̶̛̭̆ę̷̳̬̽̓͂ ̶̧͔̄͗̿ḿ̸̦̒͜e̸̺̞͋ ̴̬̯̞͂o̴͕̣̓̈́͘ͅn̵̰̐̆ ̵̡̫́̄̅y̶̠̌̀͒ȍ̶̫̱͇͠ù̷̱̙̟̃r̵̨͗̅̉ ̸̹̩̀̏̾ơ̶̮̟͍͋̏ẃ̷̬͔̪͋̓n̷̼̍͊̓,̶͇́͂͝”̷̹́̑ she jeered, lowering herself to a crouch, dead set on pouncing if the opportunity presented itself.

“̶C̴o̸r̵r̵e̵c̵t̸.̶ ̵H̸e̸a̵v̷e̶n̵s̵ ̷k̴n̸o̵w̵ ̵I̶’̷m̷ ̶n̸o̷ ̷m̵a̵t̵c̴h̸ ̶f̶o̸r̷ ̸y̵o̵u̶ ̶a̴l̴o̷n̵e̸,̵”̷ Gulattive relented. ̵“̵B̴u̶t̴ ̵t̶h̸e̴ ̸l̷o̷t̷ ̶o̸f̸ ̸u̶s̴ ̴h̴a̷v̵e̴ ̸p̷r̷o̵v̴e̴n̷ ̵t̸h̶a̵t̸ ̷w̸e̶ ̷c̴a̸n̷ ̷h̶o̴l̶d̴ ̸o̴u̶r̸s̵e̸l̴v̵e̸s̷ ̵a̶g̶a̸i̵n̵s̴t̵ ̶y̷o̴u̷.̸ ̸I̷t̵’̴s̸ ̸q̸u̵i̸t̸e̴ ̷a̶ ̷t̸h̷r̴i̷l̷l̸i̸n̴g̸ ̸t̸h̷o̷u̸g̷h̷t̷.̵”̴

Odile released a guttural growl, low enough to shake the ground beneath her. “̶̲͔̒͌̏͜W̴̰̖̓͗h̸̺͛̇a̵̬̬̿̕͜͝t̸͓̠͗͘͜,̷͈͍̃̃͠ ̸̭̊̐w̴̗̝͘ḙ̶̦͚̉͂r̶̞͈̰̍è̸̡̾̄ ̴̡̙͙̓̾y̸̻̗̮̎o̵̜̮̫̎͂u̷̡̼̘̚͘ ̶͈̃̚s̵̨̘̱̈́̋ô̵̢ ̶̼̥̔̑͝f̶̘́ű̷̡̈́͆͜c̶̬͂͛k̴͓̠̉͝ỉ̴̢͜n̵̝̯̗̔͐͊g̴̭͂̕͘ ̶̰̖̒͑ͅs̵̭̺͙͝à̵̂͜l̴̛͖̼̈́̄t̴̪̬̕͘̚ÿ̸̫̹́ ̵̡̾͋͝a̴̛̝͓̾̆b̵̖͖̥́̀͒ô̴͕̭̘̂u̵̥̓̒t̵̢̤͂͐̈͜ ̷͓̟̬̈́͑b̵͇͌̄̓ê̶̬̂i̷͈̱͉͗n̶̜̳̮̓̇͘g̵̨̿͛͝ ̴̧̣̐̂ș̸̨́e̶̫̩͍̅c̶̺̈͜ờ̶̢̙ͅn̶̞̩͖͌d̸̹͖̄̀ ̸̗̪̍b̷͔͕͎̄͛̋e̵̫̖̼̋͝s̶̼̝͓͊͆t̴̨͔̀͠͝ ̶̭̋t̸͓͖̦̚ọ̸̉͌̀ ̴͈͍̹̈́͘m̵̳͙̭̍́͊e̶̮̬̦͛̑ ̴͇̼̿̎͐t̵̤̖̓͘h̷̙͈̔͋a̵̻̽͋̅t̴̜̦̘̓ ̵͎͉̆͠y̷̼͉̍̈́o̵̥̼͌̂ư̵͙̔ ̶̹̰̍̃j̵̮́û̵͈̯͍s̷̰͈͔̓̊t̵̘̪̭̂̕ ̵̟͂̀̒h̷̨͓͌̈ͅa̵̜̚ḓ̸̢̏̈́̅ ̵͙̏̍́ṯ̴̙̭̐̈ő̵̝ ̴̯̗̃c̵̣̪̲̈́͗̕ã̵̘̿t̶̻̀̔̀c̴̪̩̳̈́ḫ̷̥̈̏̿ ̵̥̼̦̈́m̷̛͕͑͠e̸̪͐ ̴̥̆ơ̶͖̲̻̍̽f̴̹͚̬̄̎͘f̵̞̍̿͝ ̴̤͕̈́̅͒g̴͍̰͒̚ǔ̴̢̺ȁ̷̧r̴̤̦̗̋d̷̙̖̐̿?̷̭̭̤̊ ̴͕͋F̸̢̓͑͆o̸̬͖͆̄̚r̷̞͑̎ ̴͕́͝o̶̺͗̿ņ̴̦͓̐c̶̼͔̑̿ḛ̴̲͗͝,̴͔͗ ̴̛͉͖͘s̶̨̘͍͗̑̅ȯ̵̰̣m̴̖̔͝e̴̡̨͛̔͝b̴͉̙̒͠o̷̰̞̔̏d̸̖̞̀ͅẏ̴͍̣̖ ̸͍̝̇ẉ̷̹̀͋̽à̴̗͉̒̏s̸͖̆̌̓ ̸̖̂̕b̵͉̪̩̃̆e̶̡̞͙͆t̸̥̠̅̊t̷̺̓͛̕e̴̛͇̞̮r̶̺̚ ̵͇̐t̵̬̔̽̍h̷̹͇͒a̶̫̐ṇ̸̼͆̎̚ ̶̮̋t̶̥͈͛͒͘h̶̺̙͐̓e̷͕̮̾̾ ̵̼̦̀g̴̥̤̭̽r̸͓̐̋̕e̷̤̥̿̀a̴̱͆͝t̵̮̃͐ ̴̜̅̚Ǵ̶̟̼́͝ü̷̱̰͌͗l̶̟̍a̴̞̭͛̈ẗ̷̨̖̋͛t̶͔̥͐̏i̶͎̮͖͋̈v̶̝̱͋ḝ̴͍̊̕?̵͚̲̆̑̕ ̵̨̻̊̉C̵͔̪̐͛͆ͅo̵̗̳̘̓̂ủ̴͔̫̥l̵̘͛̐̕ď̷̡͕͇n̷͍̞̖͆̾̀’̸̩͎͛ṫ̵̙̼̟̓͒ ̷͉͔̤̀͛h̶̢͖̭͛̄a̴͈̿̒n̶̪̩͝ḑ̴̓l̶̲̪̿̑̚ȩ̶̻̃͂͘ ̷̳͊̇̈́t̶̜̎̕ḣ̴͚͕̠͛̓é̴͙̰̑ ̵̯͓̞̈́s̵͙̄͗̒i̷̛͖l̴̥̬̉̿͝v̵̤̌́͂ë̴̮ṟ̵͗̔̍?̴̩͆͑̋ ̶̟͒͑Y̴̭͙͕͋ọ̴͚͐ṳ̵̬̅̿͝ͅ ̶̛̭͙͋f̸̲̙̒̿̂ư̸̘̞c̷̯̮͝͠k̵̯̑̓i̶̬̰̿ͅn̵͚̙͒g̴̼̮̐ ̵̟͇͌̀͌w̵͔͈͌̈e̴͎͒͐a̴̛̪ḱ̸̤͈̻̍ ̷̠͎͐̐͑ä̶͇̑ṡ̸̢̖̐͛s̷͓̟̯̍̈́͝.̵̬̰̓͆̕”̷͙͆́̄

Gulattive’s beady eyes remained trained on her, though nothing about his expression wavered. “̸Y̵o̸u̵r̷ ̴e̷x̷p̷l̷e̵t̵i̴v̴e̶s̶ ̸d̴o̸n̶’̶t̶ ̶m̵a̴k̶e̴ ̶y̴o̸u̴ ̵a̶n̴y̷ ̵m̷o̶r̶e̶ ̶h̷o̶r̷r̷i̷f̶i̷c̸ ̶t̶o̷ ̸m̶e̷.̶ ̴I̸’̶v̷e̸ ̴s̵e̴e̴n̶ ̷y̸o̸u̵ ̶a̴t̸ ̵y̷o̸u̴r̷ ̵w̸e̷a̶k̷e̷s̶t̶,̷ ̴a̵n̸d̵ ̵I̷ ̷c̸a̵n̷ ̴r̴e̴d̷u̴c̷e̷ ̷y̴o̴u̴ ̸t̵o̵ ̵i̸t̸ ̴a̶g̸a̵i̴n̴.̴”̴

“̸̬͕̈́̅̾Y̶̪̑̈́ǫ̷̗̾̕u̶͙̚ ̵̙̥̔̉͐ạ̴̽̿ͅn̴̯͎̊̑͘d̵̜͙̈́ ̶̠̩̈́͌w̶̖̮̔h̶͇̣̆̐ă̶̲̔t̶̳̰̹͌̋ ̸̫͆̂͝ą̴̩̊͆r̸͓͛m̸̖̀ŷ̷͉͔̈͠?̷̙̓ ̷͈̈́W̷͔͛̿͘h̷̘̑͝ė̵̬͌r̶̎͜e̷̫͛̉͠’̸̢̻͑̐ș̷̖̼̂̄ ̶̘͒y̵̪͊͊͘o̶̼̻̾̍u̶̞͊̊r̴͍̅ ̶̨̼͋̇p̴̥̦͕͌o̸̫̦̔s̵̹͝š̵̛͎e̶̙̠̎̿̓,̸̻̩̋̌͛ ̸̼̝͋̈́b̶̯͋̚͠i̸̭̾̔̈́t̷͇̠̝̔͝ċ̸̡̟͈ĥ̶̝̹̜̓?̷̖̦͆”̴̥͉̰͝͠

The words were barely out of her mouth when she was smacked upside the head with something. It wasn’t a hard smack, but it was enough to send her reeling a little bit. She whipped her head around to bite whoever had done it, only to find the slim form of Lexuria hanging over her.

“Nothing more than petty words right now, are you?” she said in her obnoxiously airy voice.

On Odile’s other side, Hubrias came to form. The fingers on her six hands shook mockingly as Odile caught sight of herself in that cracked, bloody mirror the idiot was always carrying.

Scrunched up. Cowering. Seeming smaller than she actually was.

I look…so fucking weak.

“I quite enjoy seeing you like this, I must say,
Hubrias tittered, as singsong as ever.

Inviderus was quick to approach, making his usual spot right next to Gulattive. Tristace wasn’t far behind, walking at the same glacial pace he normally did.

What really sent her anger through the sky was seeing Avareed, floating down from basically nowhere and coming to a seat right next to Tristace. He stared at her with his same flat look; the one he tended to give anybody wasting his time for whatever reason.

“̴̭͊͐O̶̬͍̲͗h̶̼͋,̵̢̰̉̂̊ ̸̼͙̑͗p̵̛̭̳̝ë̶̳́̋r̷̯̩͛̀͜ḟ̴̖͖̽e̸͈͝c̷̹̪̒ţ̷̱͉̆̓,̷͕͑̃͠”̶̤̑́͂ ̸̸̙́̾̅̓ Odile spat. “̵̳̅͑O̶̼͔͔͛͌n̷̟̱͌̃̕ ̷͉͂̉m̷͙̝͊͗y̵̙̘̐ ̵̞͍͖̓͌s̸̮͐̓i̵̢͇̘͒͊̑ḋ̸̼́e̶̥̅̍,̴̧̀ ̶̡̳͍̈́̔͌r̶̼̆i̶̯̤̱̇͛̃g̴̖̣͍̔h̴̨̘̻͆t̴̢̺͛?̴̭̳̐ ̶͙̞̰̈S̶̳̙̅h̸̬͎͉̓̂̊o̵̥̖̓u̶̙̾͜l̵̞̖͛̓d̸̘͖̼̓͝ ̵̳̈̏h̷͎͔̙͆a̵̙̰͑v̸̯̥̳́̓͑ê̶̡͘ ̸͔͘f̶̜͓̫̒ȗ̵̚͜c̵̖̀k̷͉͚̔͜i̸̹̿̽̈n̴̯̄̚͠g̸͖̬͠ ̴̨͈̓̑͗ķ̴̭̈n̷͉̝̙̈́̆o̸͉̒̽w̸̠̥̏͑n̵̰̩͂ ̷̟̍̃y̸͕̤͒o̴̲͋̀u̶̡͎͓̾’̸̲̏̽̎ŕ̷̦̻̖ḛ̴͉̓ ̷̢̛̞̚t̶̢̛͔͝o̵̘̜͒́̍o̴̝̬͙͐ ̸̗̟̼̈́̓f̵̼͂̔e̵̝̯͗̓̓e̸̳̽̍ḃ̷͇̠̏͘l̷͚̑ȅ̶͇̣ ̵͈̙͑̂ͅm̷͗͒̈ͅȉ̸̩̺̦n̶̯͖̏͝ḏ̵̦͒̂͘͜é̷̫́̿d̸̦̬̩̅ ̸̩̒͊̃t̶͚̗̗͆o̸̜͑͜͝ ̵̬̙̠̒ǩ̴͔ė̵̢̝͙ĕ̷̛̝̠̂p̷̨̀ ̶̜̼̳̂ḁ̷̬͎̈́͆ ̶̡͈̈́͂̆p̵̤̠̲̂͝r̶̪̳͋̕͝ö̷͎̮̦́̕m̷̨̈i̴̦̯͛̎̋s̴̩̘̬͒̊͌e̵̗̓̾͝.̸̢̛̄̇”̴̰͙͔̈́

“It’s just business, Venira,” Avareed said in a drawn out breath.

“̵̳̪͙̀͊A̷̜͍͕̅n̶̹͗̿̆d̵̝̂̀͛ ̸̨̹͂̉s̶̏̎̓ͅt̷̙͛͌ù̵̮̈́̚p̷̗̱̖͒̀̌ỉ̴̫̑̏ḓ̵̨̋ ̶̮̃a̷̼̬͐̀͝s̸̢͚͇͑͘s̸̼̀̈́ ̴͎̟̱̅͐͘m̸͕̃̐͠ẹ̷̱̈́̾̍,̷̥̙͇̋ ̸̫̪̞̈̆I̷̥̚ ̵̭̄b̸̛̝̌͝e̶̩̖̜̒͠ĺ̴̪i̶̧̐e̶̡͗v̷̮̱̦͊e̶͔̞͊̌d̸͖͙͔͝ ̵̹̊y̶̡͔͋ó̶̹̮̉ụ̸͓̀̈ ̸̪̻͐w̵̖͊̾͐é̷̆́͜r̴̢͊̑̀e̵̤̝͌̐̀ ̵̼̫̔b̷̬̙͊̈ê̵͕͚̹͂̚t̵̩͎̩͂̚t̶̮̿̓͗e̴͕͉̫͗r̴̻̥̗͋̑ ̸̘͎̽ͅt̷͍̮̝̆̾h̸̤̓̏à̴͇̠͍͊ṅ̷̯̣̐̕ ̷̤̝̃b̴̫̆̚͝ų̴̤̯̐ś̸̱̝͙͂i̵̞̜͎̋̚n̵̈́ͅȅ̶̙͌̄s̷̡͑̅̊s̴͚̩̏̉.̸̺̬́”̵͔͚̑̊

It was indeed a family reunion to say the least. One that Odile could have gone another eon or two without. Subconsciously, her back began to arch, like that would somehow deter them from flying at her in one go.

Do not…do this to me again.


They wanted her to beg. Of course they wanted her to beg; they relished in seeing the one of top crumple to the bottom in a fit of hysterics. But, she didn’t give it to them before, and she wouldn’t give it to them now. If she went down, it would be kicking and screaming, but not begging.

She didn’t beg.

Her breaths clawed and teared their way out of her throat, but she still felt like she was being smothered under Dorien’s gaze. Even as Florent approached her again to dab her tears away, shushing her softly, she felt no closer to efficiently catching her breath.

“My darling, there’s nothing for you to be so distraught over. It is simply who you are, and here, there’s nothing to hide.”

Florent grasped her shoulders again and moved her a few steps away from Dorien, probably to allow her to calm down without him looming over her like another devil set on stealing her soul. Truth be told, it didn’t do much. And Florent’s light pats on her back were more taunting than comforting, so that was no help either.

All she wanted to do was throw up at that point. Throw up, and maybe pass out. Unconsciousness would feel much better than whatever hell she was caught in.

“These realizations will come with time. I promise you that. But, I mean it when I say it. You are home. There is no better home for you than this, Odette,” he said.

Once more, she was made to behold the sight of the ballroom, now far more blurry through her fogged glasses and watery eyes. It seemed her outburst wasn’t enough to deter the party from happening, because everyone was back to chatting among themselves.

“Just think about it. All of this would belong to you. My heiress, with the world in front of her.”

“But…my maman. My friends…” she choked out between jagged breaths.

“Shhh, sh, sh, sh, hush now, my Fallen Angel,” Florent hushed as he leaned down to run his fingers under her tearful eyes. “I know it’s difficult, but you can forget them with time. And they, you. They’ll return to their normal, pathetic lives without a problem. You know fully well they will never fully understand you the way we do. The way I do.”

She began to mindlessly shake her head. “A…and…Clovis. Guzma?”

Florent sighed sympathetically and plucked the glasses off her face in order to wipe them off on his coat. “It’s so easy to fall in love with a god, yet it’s impossible to understand one. They will move on quickly, you’ll see.”

After gently placing the lenses back over her nose, Florent lightly grasped her cheeks and turned her head toward the party before her. It didn’t take very long for her to see what he wanted her to see.

The two of them. Her two white-headed loves. Holding hands, like the life partners they were probably meant to be, surrounded by women and men alike. Laughing like there was no care in the world to be had. Like she wasn’t standing a mere 20 feet away, overwrought with these revelations.

They looked so goddamn happy without her.

What the actual fuck were they doing there?

“First loves are fleeting, especially when there’s two. I understand,” Florent muttered with a shake of his head. “But you don’t need them, my darling. Not when you have a congregation before you that loves you as the feared being you should be.”

He chuckled at his own words, as if he’d said some sort of offhanded dad joke. “Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but it is true. Gods are as loved as they are feared, are they not?”

A few more lighthearted chuckles followed before a sound sigh cut them off. He lovingly caressed Odette’s cheeks before pulling her in to plant a firm, fatherly kiss on her forehead, minding the crown.

“Needless to say, my Harbinger,” he said into her hair. He pulled back and gazed at her once more, eyes burning with that baleful passion. “You belong here. This is the place where you acknowledge who you are, and give in to it. Where you don’t have to hold back, and where you can enact your vengeance against the world that has wronged you. You can relish in the fear that is thrown at you, instead of cowering from it.”

Those fake pretty words. They sent waves of nausea through her body. Her eyelids fluttered, and her knees shook beneath the skirt of her gown. Her fists trembled at her sides, and she could only find the smallest bit of solace when she closed her eyes and concentrated on not falling over.

It was there that she had a moment with her thoughts. Though, she wouldn’t say it was very comforting.

Because she found herself agreeing with her father. Agreeing with almost everything that had come out of his mouth.

How was it possible that anybody would truly understand the weight she held? Only 7 people at any given moment could be a vessel for a Blood Legendary, and 5 of those 7 lived up here, on Elysium. 6, if Armel counted prior to him leaving. How could anybody outside those 6 ever truly grasp the gravity of the situation? What she dealt with mentally; physically?

Did a day ever pass that her friends, her family, her lovers, didn’t question if she’d lose her shit again? If she wouldn’t fly off the handle and truly cause an Armageddon?

Would they all just move on without her if she decided to never come back?

Would it be that easy?

Would it be that easy to just…let them all go on normally?

Tears burned the corners of her eyes, and she suddenly found her voice.

“Leave them alone!” she shrieked. The glass ball shook, but not a single crack formed. She’d have to try again.

“Leave them alone!” she said again, more anguished than the last. “They didn’t do anything! Do it to me instead! Don’t hurt them!”

But, it didn’t let up. The screams only intensified.

She was making it worse for them.

“Please…stop…” she begged, her voice broken down to a few choking breaths. She stumbled back, her rump hitting the other end of her prison, before she sunk to the floor and buried her head in her paws.

Just a shiny in a cage. Nothing more.


What are you doing?

That voice. Her conscience. Where the hell had it been this whole time?

Are you tired?

She wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Of course she was tired. Truthfully, she wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again.

“I can’t do it,” she said in a pathetic sob. “I can’t help them.”

According to whom?

She sniffled and ran a paw over her wet eyes. “Everything. Everything here. They’re in danger. They need help, and I can’t get to them. And even if I did, what could I do?"

I’ve told you from the get-go that I am not one to succumb to your fishes for sympathy.

“I’m not asking for sympathy, Canary!” Enora screamed in frustration, punching her paw against the glass. “I’m telling you there is not a goddamn fucking thing on this planet that I can do to help them! I’m as useless as they come, and there’s no denying that! They’re going to die, and it’s all my fault!"

Enora was left alone with her own cries for a while, and she half expected for Canary to not say another word. She wouldn't be surprised, honestly. She’d said such horrid words just then. But there were no others to adequately convey just how harrowed she was.

In the end, it was all pointless.

Gulattive waited an obnoxiously long amount of time before acknowledging the gathering. “Y̷o̴u̴ ̶w̷e̶r̸e̴ ̴s̴a̷y̶i̵n̸g̵ ̷a̵b̷o̵u̸t̴ ̵m̷y̴ ̷a̶r̵m̵y̶?̵”̶

“̵͙̪͍̌̃͆T̸͔͙̲̒̄ḫ̸̩͙͗ë̸̥̺́͆͌y̵͇̿̏’̸͙̈r̴̼̀̏̚͜e̶̻̤̳͆̒ ̶̗͍̜̍̚̚a̸̢͙̱̔l̴̠͈͒͒ḻ̸̖͛ ̷̛̯͌u̷̻͈͛̉͛g̴͍͋l̷̥͙͒͆͜ẏ̵̛̲̯̑ ̶̱̪̒̒͝a̶̧̹̼͒̚̕s̴̞̜̓ ̷̢̜̗̾̕s̵͍̞͙̅́̌h̶̩͉̠́i̷̛̮͈̱̚t̵̜̤̫̄͆̚.̶̢̗̱̅͊”̸̢̱̅̓

“̸P̵e̵t̶t̴y̸ ̷w̷o̴r̴d̸s̵ ̵t̵h̴a̵t̸ ̸d̷o̸ ̶n̶o̷t̴h̷i̴n̷g̶ ̸f̶o̴r̸ ̴y̸o̸u̷r̸ ̷c̴a̵s̴e̶,̴”̴ ̴ Gulattive chided. A thought suddenly occurred to him, and his eyes narrowed at the sight of the two forms just behind Odile’s.

“̴I̶ ̸t̶h̸i̸n̶k̶ ̵w̵e̴’̸l̸l̵ ̴t̶a̸k̶e̴ ̴c̵a̸r̶e̵ ̸o̶f̶ ̶y̷o̷u̶r̴ ̸v̵e̸s̶s̶e̵l̷ ̵a̴n̵d̷ ̶h̷e̵r̶ ̵p̵r̶e̶c̵i̵o̶u̸s̵ ̴S̶y̴l̷v̷e̵o̴n̵ ̸w̷h̴i̸l̵e̵ ̸w̴e̵’̶r̷e̷ ̸h̷e̴r̵e̶.̴ ̶I̴t̵ ̸s̵h̵o̶u̴l̸d̵ ̸b̸e̵ ̴e̷a̵s̷y̶”̶

The thorns across Odile’s back stood upright.


“̴̳͔̃͌Ŷ̸̛̦̌o̶̩͎͍͗̑ų̴̗͉̍ ̷̛̯̝̫̿l̸̦̜̮̔̚a̷͙̤̐̓ͅÿ̷̝́̀ ̵̡̩̳̃ą̴̟̻̎ǹ̷̨̥͇̂y̶͍͍̦̐ ̴̛̜͝͝o̵̼͛̏ͅn̶͔̉ĕ̸̞̞̈ ̴̯̀͆o̷͇͐ḟ̸̗̦ ̵̻̜͆̽͠y̷̗̐o̸͔͌̆ǔ̵̮̘̱r̸̢̝͓̈́̌͒ ̶̳̒s̷̘̰̺͐t̷̮̒͊͑u̴̩͆̿b̶̮̟̑͝͝b̴̝̃͘ỳ̸̛̭̼͝ ̴̮̾̋͜f̷̫͖̲̾̅ȗ̸͔̲̣c̶̤̽̀ḳ̴͑͜ȋ̶̯n̶̳̔͛̈́ġ̶̬̚͜ ̷̦͇̘̉n̶͍͔̄ư̵̡̮̘̑ḅ̴̒s̷̢̢̟͒͊ ̴̥̠̯̏̓̅o̵͉̯͔̓̽n̷̪͘ ̵͉͈̻̽̒̔ḧ̶͓́͘e̴̪̱̞̅̿r̴̤̜̯̀͊̀,̸̥̊͒͐ ̵͉̲̎̌́I̸͉͉͂̍͝’̷͉͔͛͠l̸͎̥͐͝ͅĺ̴̙̞͍̀̔ ̴̳̈́t̴͕̅͊̒e̸̖͂a̸̖̝͘͠r̸̝̓͒ ̶͓̋̔̀ÿ̵̪̬̓̈o̷̠̎ū̷̩̝r̶̝̂̏ ̴̹͗h̶̺̻̄e̵̬̾ǎ̵̺̭̦̕d̷͊͒̽ͅ ̴͓̾̕͝o̴̪͐̈̈́f̶̬̯̻̓̓͝f̸̗͓͋ ̴̩̙͊y̵̡̆̌͝o̷̳̝͈͐̎̂u̶̞̹̩͌͌̂r̷̨͗ ̷̂̌͜b̷̼͖͘o̶̹͇̐̇d̷̰̅̽y̷͗͜͝ ̸̖͋̋̀a̷̦̓n̴̺̲͆ḓ̶̖̦̓́ ̴̻͒̈́s̵̙̺͗ͅẖ̵̜̊̚͝ó̶̮v̷̗̝̀̋̚ë̴̢̟̱̂̿ ̷̦̎̋i̶̧̔͗͜t̵̗̩̕ ̷̖̐ủ̷͕̞̿̓p̸̲͇͙̈́̄̚ ̵͖̏́͠y̶̞͈̔̉͘o̸̞͛ͅú̷̧̱̱͒̎r̵̖̦̓̓̄ ̸̳̮͖̾o̵͙͐́͋ẅ̵̗́̒n̸̠̳̐̃ ̴̛̰̈́a̸̢̽͊́s̸̨̗͌̽̚s̸̛͈̬̩̿.̸̗͗́͝”̷̞͕̾͜ ̴͇͆̌͝

“̸A̸r̶e̶ ̴y̷o̷u̷ ̶s̷u̸r̶e̶ ̸a̵b̶o̴u̸t̴ ̷t̵h̸a̶t̶?̸ ̷W̵h̷a̷t̵ ̴a̶r̷e̷ ̸y̷o̴u̶ ̶g̵o̵i̸n̷g̶ ̵t̴o̶ ̵d̵o̶ ̶w̴h̴i̸l̴e̵ ̵s̸h̶e̶’̷s̴ ̶d̵o̵w̴n̷ ̴a̴n̶d̵ ̸o̵u̸t̴ ̷l̴i̷k̴e̵ ̶s̴h̴e̴ ̴i̵s̵?̸”̴

Her words were firing off like poison-coated bullets. “̵̪̹̈́A̵͉̐͝n̶͍͗̅͠y̸̙̞̙̍́t̷̠̬̊̂͌h̶̪̙̥͌͐i̷͚̐ṉ̷̪͔̈g̴͖̘͑͘,̵̟̔͆͑ ̶̧̏͗̚i̶̳͕͍̎́͝f̸̫̣͋̆̀ ̸̪̫̅̒́i̴̛ͅt̷̤̝̬̑̊͌ ̶͍̱͕̿m̷̙̣̥͗̒e̶̗͑ă̴̘̱̑n̷͇̠̎͗̚s̷͔͆͘͝ ̴̳͈̙̌ỵ̴̩͉̈̚o̴̹̿͝ú̵̯̋̇ ̶̬̐͝͠s̵̢̟̆t̷̢̪͑͂̆͜ą̶͉̋y̵̨̑ ̴̧̛̝̦̅̿t̸̺̙̓h̶̔ͅe̶͔̎ ̵̼͇͝f̴͈̒ụ̴̪̟̾͌c̷͚̈̅͌k̷̪̓̿ ̵̳̗̥̿à̵͍̪w̵̧̮̪̔a̷̢͕̖͛̿̚y̴̨̱͘̚ ̷̩͋̌͗ḟ̴͇r̷̲̤͋̈́o̵̼̺͊m̶̡̘̊ ̴͔̐̅̊h̵̼͖̹̐e̶̡̬̋̿͗r̸̨͈͕̆̀͝.̵̫͛̀͝ ̴̛͚͋I̴̢̞͓͝ ̷̛͍͘͝k̷̯̀́͝ͅn̴̟̘͝õ̶̤̣̂w̷͈̝̿ ̷͉͕̔y̷͙̲̋̏ȍ̵͚͙͂u̶͎͙͙̇͒ ̸͙̣̌c̴͉̭̄ä̷̠̹̿͜͠n̸͉̟̽’̴̬͍͙͒̈́t̸͙̔ ̷̩̓̋h̶̺͚̃̋̐a̴͈͗n̵̞̋d̶̞̣͎̊̆ḽ̸͗e̵̝͖̎̕͜ ̶̭͎̀̀t̵̞̽͂̊h̴̯͍̤͗̕ȩ̸̖͇̇͘ ̸̜͚̾f̴͈͋̈́͋a̶͂͊̓ͅc̶̛̠̈́̚t̶̥̽̏́ ̸͈̺̈́t̸̖̤̣̽̚h̵͚̺̼͂̒̕a̷̺͠t̷̡̛̜̙̀̊ ̵̫̗̅̇̈́Ï̷̗̀̚ ̵͇̳̔f̶̜̟͓͗̓o̷̮̼͐̿u̵̗͈̅͑ǹ̴̟̟̔͜d̴͇͐ ̷̗̜̀͆̚à̸̜̓ ̶͈̖͕͊̀͗v̴̬̺̲̋͛͘ě̷̝s̶̡̝͖̽̐s̸̲̹͝e̶̛̮͗̐l̵̠̰̽͛͗ ̶̧̟̞́͑t̵̟͐̿o̷̬̍ ̵͖̭̜̂b̷̻̮̓̐̍r̵͈̾ẻ̷̮ą̶̘͉̃̊̊k̵̢̬̣̆́̚ ̴̢̭̈́m̵͖̃̋ë̴͇́͑ ̷̧̐̊ö̵̺̞͚͒u̵̳̖̝̾̎͗t̴̘̳͌,̸̪̠̃̓ ̶̦͎̄̈́b̴͈̰̽ṵ̴̍͂t̵̳̥͒͜ ̷̺̈͝y̶̡̤̰̓̅̃o̸̬̯̊ͅu̷̧͒̃ ̶͍͎̏́l̸̩̬͒͒e̴͎̗͋a̸̮̋v̴̧̳͌e̵̢̼̒̀̽ ̵̻̞̹̈͝h̶̹̮̯̉̆ẽ̷̘̟̪̀͝r̸̬͇̎̕ͅ ̷̛̘̻̈́͝ͅt̴͓̠̃̉̋h̶͙̟̄̀̄ẹ̸̢̤͑̚͝ ̷͔̍h̷̡̟̋̏͠ę̴̻͔̒̾͑l̵̳̙̻̀l̸̜̓̒ ̷̦̯͗̅̎ͅo̵͚͓̣̒ũ̴̢̞͓͘t̶̨̧̪͛̆ ̵̡̲̞̃̃ó̷͜ͅḟ̴̤ ̸̛͈͖ô̴̡̖͕͆́u̶̺̖̐r̶̰̗̐ ̷͈̈́̋̔b̴̡͕͉̅ḙ̶̾e̴̥̜̍͘f̸̨̮͇̓.̶͚̿́ ̵̻͉̾͛͝S̶̱̈́h̸̗̫̘̓e̵̯̅́̔ ̸͉̮̘̓̌d̶̹͋̊ĩ̴̬̥͜ḍ̶̛̂̌ͅͅṋ̷̎̅̀’̸̨̌̽̌t̸̙̂̐͂ ̴̖͖̭̾̓̎a̴̬͑́s̵̟̽͗k̸̥̪̿̅͊ ̶̟̕f̸̨͙͋o̵̪͚̘̓r̸̺͕̓̍̐ ̵̩̭͂̀͝t̵̮̙͈̀̕ḩ̵͉̙͒i̵̪̰̗͋̐͊s̴͍͆̇̐.̶̛͖̎̕”̴̰̌

“̵A̵n̷d̸ ̷y̵e̵t̸ ̸y̵o̵u̴ ̶h̶a̷d̶ ̵n̵o̸ ̶i̵s̵s̶u̶e̷ ̸g̴o̷i̷n̴g̴ ̵t̵o̵ ̷h̷e̴r̴,̷ ̸d̸i̸d̵ ̷y̵o̴u̷?̷”̷

“̴̣̳͋̃͜͝T̷̬̭͓̂́͊ô̶͕͕̽͝ ̵̯̙̍g̸̐ͅe̷̱̜̒̏t̸̲̂̊ ̶̡̥̆̑͑ǎ̶͎͕̼̓̄w̵̨̟͖̆̌a̷̩͓̐̓ỳ̷̭ ̸̭̒f̵̘̼͙̑r̸̝̜͋o̵̠̩̾̈́̎m̴͓͌͘ ̶̗̇y̵͓͘͝͝o̸̩̦̙̓ư̸̼̹̲͌͊ ̴̹̂a̶̘̺͝l̷͓̤͊̀l̷̛͈̀̔!̴̠̪̰̀̿͒”̶̩̘̇̽

“̷A̴n̷d̴ ̴n̸o̷w̵ ̵l̶o̴o̷k̴.̴ ̵A̴l̴l̴ ̷y̶o̷u̴’̶v̷e̴ ̶d̶o̶n̶e̵ ̵i̸s̶ ̷p̷a̶i̷n̸t̴ ̶a̶ ̴t̴a̴r̴g̷e̸t̶ ̷o̸n̵ ̸h̵e̸r̴ ̵b̷a̴c̸k̵.̴”̸ Gulattive spoke in a sarcastic whine; one that made Odile want to pull out his fucking vocal cords. Not that she already didn’t want to do that, but the feeling had intensified.

“̷̹̻̆T̷̡̙͆̇͘r̷͔͚̰̍͐ÿ̸̧̜̟̂̉ ̸̯͛̅m̴͍̠̕ę̷̹̜̄.̷͈̤̂̌ ̴̲̌̎ͅY̴͖̘͂̚ỏ̷̠u̷͍̼̦̓ ̶͕͎̚w̸̢̞̎͝o̶̜̼͇͆̃͘n̵̳̈͂̕ͅ’̸̙̫͉͆͌t̵̟̭̰̐̀ ̷͎̾͐l̸͔͑͐ẻ̶̹͖̃a̷̼̽v̵̲̥͑͜e̸͇̼͋͂͘ ̸̧̭͖̍̈́̿h̶̨̥̽ě̷̗r̴̡̋ẽ̸̢̼̙͒̕ ̶̩̳̆͘a̷͉̼̒́́l̸̙̜̐ï̴̡̮̠̉̄v̵͔̳̠͗͂͗ẽ̶̫͖́͝;̴͙̜̂ ̷̠͙̀͜t̴̝̗̳́h̸̨͇͕̆́á̴̠̖̐̏t̸͓̔’̷̖̠̃͜s̸̤͂̋ ̵͇̻̱̈͛a̴̐͆͑ͅ ̶̙̞̕͝ͅp̶͚͛̓̈r̴̫̜̂͝ö̶̘m̸̘̓͐̚i̸̹̍s̸̉̒͜ę̴̣̮̚.̸̮̉”̵͍̗̚

“̶T̵h̴a̸t̷ ̵c̷o̷u̴l̷d̷ ̵b̵e̵ ̷s̸a̸i̷d̶ ̵f̵o̷r̷ ̶h̸e̸r̴.̵ ̴T̷h̵e̸n̸ ̸y̸o̶u̴’̶l̴l̷ ̸h̷a̸v̷e̸ ̵t̴o̸ ̷l̷i̵v̷e̷ ̷w̵i̸t̶h̶ ̴y̴o̴u̶r̸s̴e̸l̸f̵,̵ ̸k̷n̸o̴w̶i̸n̶g̷ ̶y̸o̶u̴ ̶g̸o̴t̷ ̶t̷h̸i̴s̸ ̷b̸e̶l̴o̴v̸e̴d̸ ̶s̶m̴a̴l̸l̷ ̴v̵e̸s̶s̶e̷l̴ ̴o̶f̴ ̴y̸o̶u̸r̸s̶ ̵k̶i̸l̷l̴e̴d̸.̶”̶ ̶

“̵̟̳̋͑͘Å̶̳͙ņ̵͖̏̈͝d̸̢̮̓̏̎ ̷̜̙̆w̷̤͖̩̄̈́h̸͓̼̒̅͋ả̴̯̩́̿t̸̛̺͍̖̅̏ ̴̢͙̠̈́̈̽i̷̢͇̿s̵̖̤͋ ̷̨̩͙̑̉̓y̷̫̌o̷͚͝͝ù̴̧̖̗̕r̷͇̳͙͒͊̈́ ̸̝͊v̴͙̳̲͆͆͝e̷̦͑̅͆s̷͕̙͖͠s̵̖͇͐̊e̷͕͖͙͂͌l̷̻̗̂͆͌ ̵̝͇̂́̈́g̴̛͚̳̜̈́͂o̶̰̔̐̑i̵̞̞͌͒ņ̸͓̆͝͝g̴̮͆ ̶̘̖̯̊̍̅t̸̙͈̿̕o̴̬͇̯͋͛ ̷̜͉̼͗ś̶͈͠ȁ̷͚̼̈́y̵̜̾ ̸̠̇̾͘t̶̥̾͛̽ọ̴̻̑̔̏ ̷̮͝t̴͕̿͗h̴̘̲̯͋̒ȃ̵͇̬͖ṯ̶̗͓̈́͒͝?̴͇̍̈̔”̶̰̝̄͑͌ ̶̦̇̓
Odile retorted. ̷̘͇͘“̶̛̗͎͔Y̷̪̣͋̑͘ǫ̶̺̣̏̂͗ų̸͙̋̏ṟ̷̐̆͜ ̶̱̰͉͛b̶̢͍̓l̵̫͔̈́̅͑ỏ̷̰̹̿̎ǒ̶̻̱ḑ̵̙͑̄͊ ̸̪̄͌̈́s̶̨̢̎ṵ̵̝̜͊p̶̨̧̼͒p̶̱̜͐ļ̸̧̭̋̑y̵̛͓̾ ̵̝̃̈i̷̗̫͓͝s̷͕͎͐ ̶̮̿̈́͘o̸͔̦̽̓͋u̵̼̤͆t̶͖̠͒̂ ̷̢͕̈̏ţ̴̠̯͛̄h̷̪͎̠̅̌̇ë̴͓́ ̸̱̏̃ẁ̴̹̳̳̀͠i̷̢̇n̵̝̱̈́d̸̢̿̽ọ̵͐̉w̵͖̋̉͘ ̷̲̬̠̀̋i̵͉͒̚f̷͔̐ ̶̩̆̍͛y̸̰͍̯͗͐̕ö̸̞̘́̅ụ̶̏̐͜͝ͅ ̷̗̰̂͠͝k̷̞̘͝i̵̼̹͛̚l̵̖̥̊l̴̛͉̻̒ ̴̲͉͎̄̆̐h̷̲͖̾ę̶̼̠̐̿̋r̶̥̫̪̓,̵͉̙̍̚ ̵̧̂b̶͚̈́̕ė̸̗̼͍̆͋c̶̗̆́a̷̅͜u̷̜̝̽š̶͈̩e̸̲̖̹͂ ̸̘̬̈́̀̓h̸͔̠̄͠ͅȩ̸͇͆̄͠ͅ’̸̪̺̰̓͘l̶̜̻̿͝͝l̷̡͉̽̇ ̶̰̭̈́t̸̮̪̾͝͝h̶͇̔͛̚r̵̛̯̈͂ǫ̸̧̣̌w̸̗̽͘ ̶̝̾̐͋y̶̼͎͎̆̄͝o̴̞͌̊̄ü̷̟͗ ̸͙͎̄̈̕t̴̨͒͝o̷̜̓̔ ̷̼̫̠͋ţ̶̜̍̋̈́h̸͈̅͆̋e̴̞̯͚̿͠ ̸̛͈̔̓c̷̜͇̼͝ù̴̲͌r̶͋̃̏͜b̷̛̤͐́.̶̠̘̅̑͝ͅ ̶͙̻̫͗͝B̴̹͗͌ȩ̸̓t̸̰̠̰̔̀͠ ̸̳̘́͌y̶̹̼͊͠o̸͓̓ṷ̶̽̌̚ ̷̢̱̋̑d̵͈͍̄i̵͖̱͗͆͘d̴͍̎́ṅ̴̙̱̠’̷͖̻͙͝t̶̠̣̀ ̵̒ͅt̴͉͊h̸̢̡̀̐̂i̶̧͚̠͒̑̈́ṇ̵̨͋̇́k̷͖̖̄̕ͅ ̷̬̤̝̉̎̓a̸̘͚̜̍̂́b̴̡̨̋͛́ó̶͍u̵͙̞̮̇̉͝ț̸͂͜ ̸̰͒̄t̷̳̥̟͌͑͛ẖ̷͔͂a̸̪̲͝ẗ̸̜́̕,̷̗̣͙̈́̔ ̶̳̈͠d̸̘̾̀̈́î̵͇̬d̸̻̬͊̎ ̸͚̻͂̊ͅy̵̥̾o̶̺̣͔̐̀̅ṳ̶̢̕?̶̧̙̻̓̀”̶̱́̿̚

That struck a nerve, and it was glaringly obvious by the way Gulattive’s eyes lit up with a newfound offended fervor.

“̵I̶’̷v̸e̶ ̸h̴e̷a̷r̵d̵ ̴e̶n̷o̴u̶g̶h̴,̷”̴ ̵he said rapidly.“̴T̷r̶i̶s̵t̷a̸c̶e̶.̴”̶

Then, the world froze. Odile froze. Frost took hold of the surrounding area, before creeping up her legs, over her wings, and crawling dangerously close to covering her mouth. But, it didn’t. Hearing her yell at them was probably the most thrilling part of this for them. Even if she wasn’t begging, they liked it when she mouthed off. Because they knew it’d be difficult for her to do much more.

This frost was strong enough to where she couldn’t move any part of her body it had touched. Which meant she couldn’t turn to see if Odette and Enora were okay. Cold like this would kill them, she needed to–

Whispers. They filled her ear. They drilled down into her brain and took her entire train of thought in an iron grip.

You got out once, and you will never get out again. You will spend eternity alone. You will never taste a drop of blood on your tongue ever again. You will never again feel the sensation of your full powered form.

You will never see your vessel again. She’ll be gone.

Odile wanted to cry out. Buzz her tongue so she couldn’t hear this bullshit anymore. But, even without the frost over her face, she still couldn’t move it. Maybe that was why it didn’t travel so far. The intrusive thoughts made it so she couldn’t will herself to move, or do anything to combat them. All she could do was sit there and take them.

And take them she did, because they were true.

This was it for her. This was it for Odette. This was it for Enora.

She felt...so...


As she began to settle into the thought, and coming to terms with it, a distant memory wriggled its way to the forefront of her mind.

Clovis. Standing with her in that church. Hugging her so tight, she thought he would snap her spine. And yet, she welcomed it wholeheartedly.

You have so much good in your heart, he’d said. So much good.

It was followed by another. Noel. Just before he left. Talking while she held back sobs.

You’re my best friend, Dee. Nothing in the fucking world is ever gonna change that; not even you being possessed by the devil. Now you’re the cooler friend.

Then there was Bernard. Visiting her with what little time he was allowed. Hugging her knowing damn well it’d be the last time he did so for a while.

You are always going to be my granddaughter, and I am always going to do whatever it takes to protect you.

Another one. Vienna, sitting with her on the back patio of their new home in Alola. It was the first time Odette had seen her wearing a tank top in years.

No matter what, you’re still my world, always and forever. I never stopped thinking about you, not once, for the past two years.

Thoughts of her friends from Kalos, and her friends from the League, and their kind words of reassurance flooded her. Images of her team, who never once left her side through it all. And Guzma, sitting there on that couch, while they were coming down from whatever fucking strain of weed Hau had pumped into their systems the night before.

I know I shouldn’t say this while I’m high off my goddamn ass but I really fucking like you. Demonic possession is cool as shit, yo. I just...you're so cool. I'm cool. We could be cool together for a really long time, ya know?

She wasn’t sure when she’d pulled the crown off her head, but she was fiddling with it in her hands when she finally snapped out of her thoughts. She stared at it, as if it would somehow ground her.

“Now that I’m thinking about it,” she said dazedly, “all of the wrong I’ve been dealt was somehow your fault.”

She didn’t dare look in Florent’s direction. Her eyes were locked on the speckles of light dancing off the rubies embedded into the sides of the crown.

“My assault, my burn, you bringing me up here. All somehow leads back to you or Team Enigma.” She turned the headpiece in her palms slowly. “So really, if I’m looking to exact revenge on anybody, it should be you.”

“That is an understandable line of thought,” Florent replied thoughtfully. “However, have I not already atoned for those wrongdoings?”

“I live with his filth on me. I live with this burn. I'm constantly in danger of falling ill. It's every day. How do you atone for that pain I’ve been saddled with?”

When he didn’t answer, she lifted her head to eye the crowd again. Clovis and Guzma were gone. She began to turn the crown a little faster in her hands.

“It’s amazing. At this point, I should be a jaded psychopath just like you. I should want to watch this fucking world burn alongside you. I should want to start an Armageddon, for all intents and purposes. I’d dare say anybody else who’s been brutally raped, stalked, burned, kidnapped, and drained of their blood on more than one occasion would have the right to if they had the opportunity, yeah?”

For a brief second, her hands closed around the crown, and only then did she realize it was starting to not feel like a crown anymore.

“But going through all of that fuckery, and still coming out the other side with a mostly functioning head on my shoulders just tells me everything you just said is bullshit. I am an angry person. I am a violent person. That’s all true. That comes with the territory of being possessed by Wrath, and yet? Nothing I ever did was unjustified. It was all to combat something you threw at me.”

For the first time that night, she smiled. A real, full-fledged smile. “And even more so? I don’t think there’s another group of people on this goddamn planet that loves and understands me more than the ones I’ve kept close. They might not know what it’s like to harbor a demon, but they’ll damn well try to. And they’ll damn well help me make sure others understand too.”

When she tried to fiddle with the crown once more, she found that it had entirely morphed into a new shape. She didn’t need to look down at it to know what it was, for it settled into her palm easily, and her finger wrapped around the trigger without her having to put much thought into it.

“I’m not a monster. Nor do I need a huge group of people to live in fear of me. I’m not scary, and neither is Odile. That’s not what I want,” Odette said.

Now it was her turn for her eyes to shine with that threatening light. The lasting tears on her face did nothing to hide the fact that she was out for blood now.

Blood that deserved to run.

“I just need to do what I can to eliminate the actual monsters causing me problems. Starting with something I should have done three years ago.”

In a swift motion, she turned and took aim at Dorien. She fired a single bullet, and it hit him right between the eyes.

But, there was no gore. He simply melted away, into a barrage of black and white feathers.

As did the ballroom. Everything. It all faded away into feathers.

They swirled around Odette, through her hair, and around the skirt of her dress. As they began to settle, it became clear that she wasn’t anywhere anymore. All that surrounded her was an inky blackness. As disquieting as it was, it was far more peaceful than the full ballroom. An upgrade in every sense of the word.

This was a dream, after all. Nothing about this was real.

Some of the feathers began to float upward, and she watched as a lot of them began to dissolve. As more and more of them fizzled out of existence, they were quickly replaced by rain. What started as a drizzle quickly became a deluge, and Odette was soon drenched. She might have felt refreshed in some sense, if what was trickling down her body didn’t feel so heavy.

It was thick. It was sticky. It was warm. There was a distinct and disturbing rusty scent in the air.

Upon raising her free hand to her face, she saw that she soaked in blood. And it was still coming.

“This is a splendid sight,” Florent’s voice echoed from behind her. “Blood stains look remarkable on you.”

She was strangely relaxed as she turned to him. Normally, she should have been coughing and sputtering and gasping over the thick drops that rolled down her face and over her lips, but she felt no such panic. She could still breathe.

Again, this was a dream. A bad one, but a dream no less.

Florent was just as drenched as she was, and it somehow made him look far more unnerving than he was to start. He made no moves toward her, even as she pointed the gun at him.

“That’s a sweet thing for a father to say to his daughter,” she sneered. “Really, I’m touched.”

Florent stared down the barrel of the gun for a while before finally frowning. Clicking his teeth in disappointment, he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Honestly, Odette. Is this a civil way to have a conversation with your dear father?”

“In the middle of a blood downpour? Totally,” she said. She cocked the gun for good measure.

“Sweetheart, I love you to the moons and back, I really do. But this behavior is out of line. You’re going to regret this immensely.”

Odette narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, you’re just trying to get inside my head.”

“I’m afraid we’re long past that. I’m here right now, aren’t I?”

The response caught her off guard, and she regretted how much that showed on her face. Nonetheless, she hastily shook it off. “Touche. Either way, you’re the one at the business end of my Glock, so I still end up with the last laugh, don’t I?”

His frown deepened. He looked a little more annoyed than angry. Like he was simply dealing with a raging toddler. “I’m imploring you to think about this rationally, my darling.”

“I think between the two of us, I’m the most rational person here.”

Florent huffed loudly. “This is all fine. I’m aware of your tendencies to act out of anger, and I would just like to make it clear that you’re still my little girl, and when you come to your senses, I will welcome you with open arms. That's never closed to you.”

“Pass, but thanks for the offer.”

She pulled the trigger.

The bullet soared through the air, and just before it made contact, it stopped. Right at the tip of Florent’s nose. He gazed at it, looking bored, before he yawned and cut his gaze back to her.

“Like I said,” he said dully, waving the bullet aside. “You’re going to regret this immensely.”

Her brain stalled on how the mechanics of her own dream failed her. But, that wouldn’t stop her from starting the tongue lashing she’d had on standby for the 8 months she spent with him.

“And you’re going to regret conceiving me,” she snapped. “Tenfold.”

Florent smiled brightly. Sweetly. “Never, darling. Never.”

Thunder clapped overhead, and she woke up.

Enora, listen to me.

Her ears perked.

I’m unsure where you’re garnering this nonsense from, but heed my words here: you are far from weak, and you are far from nothing. You have been the difference between life and death for your team many a time, and will continue to be so. Do you understand me?

Enora sniffled. “How? I can’t do anything from in here.”

So remove yourself. You put yourself in there, and you can get yourself out.

“It’s no use. The glass is too strong.”

But the glass is no match for
both of us, is it?

Once more, Enora’s fur bristled.

“Are you…are you sure?”

Of course. Proper ladies help other proper ladies. I’ve taught you this, haven’t I?

Raising her head, Enora began to wipe her tears away with her ribbons, and she forced herself to stand.

I need to somehow show you that you are a force to be reckoned with. I cannot stand to see you so shattered.

She sniffled, blinking through a few more tears before locking her determined gaze on the scratch marks she’d left in the glass just moments ago.

“A force to be reckoned with who is reduced to nothing at the slightest inconvenience?”

You’re fishing for pity again, Enora. That is not you, and you know it. What atrocities have you survived? And yet, you still stand tall, with such grace and beauty.

“I thought tears weren't becoming of a lady.”

You are always allowed to cry, Enora. What matters is how you handle yourself when you’re done.

Another sniffle. Canary was right, and upon that realization, she could breathe again. The angry heat burning in her mind expanded into something far more…inviting.

Her willpower was taking hold.

She was enough. She had Canary, her strength, and her team to prove it.

She could save that team, and she would do it like a refined lady.

“What do I need to do?” she asked.

A cut. As long as it bleeds.

Enora thought for a moment, before raising her paw. With a hard nip to the back of it, she drew a bead of bright red.


What happened next was instantaneous.

Canary exploded from her back, in her entire shadowy form. The force of her arrival sent the top half of the glass cage flying, and whipped up a whirlwind around the lab. Machines and equipment were sent flying in all directions. Soon, the entire room lay in ruin.

Enora loved the sight of it. For once, she relished in the carnage Canary caused.

Now, my Enora. See to your partners, and know that you are enough to protect them as they need it.

Enora leapt out of what was left of her cage, and woke up.

The ice around her shattered, and she gasped through a freeing breath.

“Now, Venira! Attack!”

Her sputtering halted at the sound of Avareed’s voice. Standing over a fallen Tristace, and holding off Hubrias and Inviderus, he looked upon her urgently.


She didn’t have time to relish in the lie he’d told, because she lurched up and sent her jagged wing into Lexuria’s body, before swinging her left to catch Gulattive in a hard smack. As the two stumbled, she managed to grasp them in her claws and knock them together, before kicking them backwards.

“̴̟͉͆̈́̑G̵̒͝ͅë̷̜t̵͚̮͙̂̄̚ ̵̼͖̖̄f̶̞̫͓̂̚̕ǔ̴͕c̵͔̪͓̽͠k̷͙̩̋̓́i̴͍̍ṇ̷̹̗̌͐̚g̷̥̺̾ ̶̳͍́̒̍s̶̥̐͂̄ͅĥ̸̤͚͌͌i̸̬̻̘̇͛t̶͎͖̮̾̉ ̶̮̗͆͝ǫ̶̠̋n̴̛͕͋͗ͅ,̷̧̲̬̆”̶͓̓ ̴͍́̔̌she screeched, before sending a round of her wrathful flame at them, causing them to scatter dazedly.

Odile quickly turned back to Odette and Enora to find that their bodies were unharmed. She wanted to keep it that way, so she rushed over to block them from whatever was going to come next. Avareed retreated from his scuffle with Tristace, Hubrias, and Inviderus to stand at her side, crouched low and ready to fight.

“So about me being feeble minded,” he said flatly.

“̸̨̛̘̠̑͌H̸̺̦͘ō̷̞͍̺̋w̶̼̏͊ ̴̰̦̪̄t̵̼̭͖̐̿h̸̡͠ě̶̜͊ ̵̪̻͒f̷͕̈ȗ̴̡͍̜c̶̯̝̅͌ḱ̶̇̀͜ ̴͙̃͝w̵̨͇̼͛́ḁ̶̔̋̕s̴͇̠̪̋̔̋ ̶̢̀͋͝Ỉ̷̘̗ ̶̢̝̒s̴̨͍̲̀u̵̼͛͊p̶̢̳͂̃͒p̵͕̘͆ô̵̪̔s̴͎̻̺̊͐͐é̶̬̹̯d̴̗͔̯̎͑ ̵̳̰̭̾̄t̴̹̅̽͊ͅo̷̢̗̣̔ ̷͉̥̔̏k̸̗̙̕n̷̢̏o̷̭͝͠ẁ̵̡̝̳̈́͆ ̶̳̩̈́͑͗͜y̵̨̞̍͜õ̷͈̳͈ú̷̧̋͠ ̴̱͗w̶͎̝͓̓e̴̤̽ͅŗ̴̦͑̑e̵͕̭̳̐̔ ̴̖̦̼̑͝͝a̶̠͚̒͝c̶͕̰̊̍t̸̪̟͒̈́į̷͙̤̑͊́n̴̺̘̆͘ͅg̶̝̀?̶̧̭̂̅̆”̴̛͖̘͚̽́ ̴̬̺̿͊͐

“The same way you should have known I’ve been on your side this entire time.”

Odile chuffed defiantly. “̷̬̙̙̒S̶̢̪͍̋ủ̸͓͖͌̈́c̷̤͗̈k̷̘͚̋̉͘ ̷̯̟͂̔m̴͔̿̈́y̸̬̻̌̋ ̶͔̘̪̋͑d̷̮̤̐i̵̠̳̳͌ć̶̹͎̖́k̷̯̀,̷̗̆͜͠ ̴̫̮̌͘͝ͅA̸̘͂͠v̶̧̅a̴̰̰̓͛ṛ̵̤̟̕é̸̙̲e̸̳̪̅͠d̴͚̊̈,̷̈́͝ͅ ̶̻̤̼͑̚ỳ̴̠̜͚o̶͇̫̤̅͑̒u̴̦͔̟̾ ̴̩̱̐̆͝ú̵̼̞s̷͇͍̉ë̵̡͂l̴̩̙̙̓͝e̵̩͆̔̕s̸͉̙̃ͅs̶͈͑ ̸͓̭̃͋ṗ̵̞̂͊ị̵̋̉̈́͜ȅ̸̞̎͝c̵̨̫̝͌́͌e̴̱̎ ̸̨̮͒ó̸͔̪̚͝f̸̨̫̹̏̈ ̵͙̳̊g̴̖͙͓̏ă̷̝͠r̴̦͛̍͒ͅb̴̼̙͊ā̵̅͜ġ̴̤̺͠ͅe̷̳̎̓̍ͅ.̸̙͂”̴̩͓̍̑͠ͅ

“Good to see you too, Venira. You haven’t changed a bit.”

She’d never say it, but she was beyond thankful to know that at least somebody in this fucked family had some sense against Gulattive’s shit.

She wasn’t alone in this. She’d struggle to take them all down on her own, but with Avareed’s help, it would be a cakewalk.

She could protect Odette. And Enora. And everyone else. And she wouldn’t be reduced to that ball bound shrub that she’d been for so long.

She knew that.

As the latter 5 righted themselves to attack, she began to shake her head to herself.

“̷͙̺͗̐̊W̴̦̥͂ĥ̵̞̗y̷̦̆̀ ̶̻͇̯̄̓ṱ̶̛͉̌̎h̸̙̠̥͛̉ẻ̴̬̅̚ ̵̗͉̟͐f̴̼̭̩͌̉ư̵̢̨̆͋c̴̭͔̆k̵̡̹͍̄̽̾ ̸̗̺̉d̷͉̱̅͒͜͠ḯ̴̹̗ď̶͍̖ ̶̡͖̽Í̷̟̟͈ ̶̛̤̈́͜l̵̜͊̿͋e̴̘̲̖͛t̶̙̍ ̴̻̦̺͐̇̾t̴̳̙̃̌h̴̫̟̊̊ͅè̶̢̝̞m̴͉͌̎ ̵͉̽͗g̸̤͇̍e̶̡͆̃̆t̵̩̺͒̂ ̸̧̩̈́͘͝ṱ̷̃̈́o̴̝̒ ̶̖̆́̿m̶̛͎̜̳͗̉e̷͌̚͜ ̴͍̪́́̽l̴̼̫͂i̴͚͊͛̉ḱ̴͍̍̃ḛ̷̛ ̷̬̈́t̶̞͈̬͆̔͘ẖ̵̲͒̽â̵͕t̵̙̫̋́?̶͕̄͌”̴̗̯̯̍̏

She watched Avareed stiffen from the corner of her eye, and he sent her a quizzical look.

“You don’t know?” he asked.

“̵̹̝͐̚I̸͕̓̓f̸̺͒ ̵̭͇̞̎͑Ĩ̸̛̦̽ ̴͇͖̮̂̑d̵̖̣͋͒̈i̴͉̭͎͗d̶͈̘̈́̚ ̷̝̻̔Ĭ̷̡͕̙̀̽ ̴̲̚ẉ̸̞̫̕͠ǫ̴̳͇́ȕ̴̮l̴͖̮͉̂̍͘ḑ̴̤̤̽͒̓n̸͍͙̒̅’̸͙͙͇̀̊͠ẗ̶́ͅ ̴̢̮̞͊b̶̡̠̈́ë̸̻̳̲́͘ ̷̨̹͙̔à̸̪͚͖́̊ṣ̵̉̚k̶̨̛͈͈͒i̴̘̇ǹ̸̫g̵̝̬̖̉̚ ̴̢̢̯̽y̶̫͂o̷̦͋̑̾ṵ̶̙̏͑̔ ̵̹̀ȃ̶͙̌ṡ̵̨͓͕ ̶͙̪̑ͅẘ̶̦̘̠e̸͎̞͗̑́’̴̝̯̱͆̚r̷͕̜̙͝e̸̡͂ ̵͚͛͜ͅa̵͈̘̭̍̃b̸̡͖͑͋ô̴̱ù̷͈̲̬̆͊ṱ̶̈́̒̿ ̴̣̽̈́̋t̶̲̠̔͆ō̸̤̦̮ ̴̱͉̂̏f̴̲̖̲̔̄͐i̸̝̜̒͂g̸̛̭͐̉h̶̤͗͝t̶͓̿̀ ̸͍̼̾͜f̵͕̀o̴̖̅ṙ̵̝͉̈ ̷̯̪̿̒̓ỏ̸̯͋́u̴̟̗͐̈̋ṛ̷̭͌̊ ̶̱̿f̴̻̝̔̐ṳ̶́̄c̴͙̹̀͆k̸̮̎i̶̲͇̪͐̾́ǹ̶͚͍̍̉g̸̖̣̜͐ ̸̧̭̯̆͆̿l̸̬̽i̴͙͉͔͋͘v̴͕̹͆ȇ̶̮̗̘͛s̵̡̥̳͝.̸͙͙̄̐͝”̴̢̫̅͊

Avareed squared his shoulders, and the candles that adorned his head lit up. He was set to fight to the end.

“This is a dream. I suppose you see and hear what you want to.”

She whipped her head around to him, dumbfounded.

With a blink, everything around her disappeared. All that remained were the bodies of her friends, who were coming to.
Last edited:
Steven and Aggron - The Heart of a Stone


Hoenn around
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
The earth shook beneath Aggron’s feet as he loosed another volley of boulders at his opponent. The retaliatory earthquake sent him stumbling and threw off his aim. He steadied himself with his tail, dropping low to the ground on one arm, panting with the effort.

Across the battlefield stood another Aggron, scuff marks on its armor from where he’d landed a hit; but not enough to stagger it. The other Aggron let out a defiant roar, leveling its horns on him. They were longer, bigger, indicating this Aggron was older and stronger than him. Aggron paled for a moment, but remembered who he was, what he was capable of, who he was fighting for.

Aggron hazarded a glance over his shoulder at the trainer behind him. Steven stood in the trainer’s box, but the lights of the arena were blinding, and Aggron couldn’t make out the expression on his trainer’s face from where he stood. No matter, though. He knew his purpose, his place.

He was a champion. Tested in the fires of battle, he proved himself strong and capable. He proved the naysayers wrong. His joke of a former trainer, the rest of his clutch, he had made it. He’d proved them all wrong.

The hard packed dirt beneath his claws was as comforting as a well-traveled cave. The Champion’s chamber at Ever Grande is a familiar place to Aggron. He’d fought here countless times over the years. This was his home, this was where he belonged. This was what he would protect.

Aggron never saw the blow coming. In an instant, the other Aggron was upon him, the crown of its helm planted beneath his jaw. There was the feeling of an impact, and the lights went out.


Steven had only been back at his temporary office for a handful of days, and already he was feeling miles better than he had in the hospital. The medical care in Kanto was nothing to scoff at, but being confined to a hospital bed meant there was nothing to distract him from his thoughts, his memories, spotty and fragmented as they were.

Here in the small office they’d supplied him at the Indigo Plateau, there were plenty of distractions. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Damage reports and casualty numbers were somehow easier to stomach in black and white print. He hadn’t seen any of the devastation first-hand, what with being extracted from the rubble of the Cave of Origin barely clinging to consciousness. But the news reports, the aerial footage that scrolled endlessly on the hospital tv, the images of what was left of his home region were haunting enough for three lifetimes.

Relocating survivors, property loss totals climbing, the sheer loss of life—

Phoebe had been reduced to a shell of her former bubbly self. Tormented night and day by the spirits left in the wake of Kyogre and Groudon’s rampage. The only time he’d seen signs of life in her quarters was when Sidney would leave and return with her meals. Sidney himself was withdrawn, skinnier than Steven had ever seen him, with dark circles beneath his eyes. Steven was convinced Sidney didn’t eat anything himself, pouring all his being into taking care of Phoebe.

They were all that were left. Drake and Glacia were aboard Drake’s boat when it sank to the bottom of the raging sea. The three of them were all that were left to pick up the pieces. Try to understand what went wrong. Try to comprehend how it had happened under their watch. Try to process how they’d failed—

Steven realized he’d been squeezing the piece of paper in his hand into an unrecognizable mess when there was a knock on his door.

“Excuse me, Mr. Stone?” It was one of the Plateau’s administrative assistants. “Your press conference starts in five minutes.”

And suddenly, Steven wished he was back in that hospital bed with all of his heart.


Aggron groaned as he awoke. Stars danced in his vision as he blinked muzzily. Where was he? What was he doing? Laying on the arena floor apparently. He grunted as he gathered his limbs beneath himself, prying himself up from the ground. Slowly, it came back to him. He was battling, he was supposed to be winning. What was he doing, then?

With a surge, he clambered to his feet, only to be greeted with the leering face of the other Aggron staring down at him.

It laughed, deep and gravelly. “You lost, little runt. I knew you’d never be the best of our quarry. Just like Garrett always knew.”

Aggron snarled defiantly, but any sharp comeback died on his tongue as the room spun. Suddenly, he was standing on the other side of the battlefield, facing the champion’s box. Shocked, Aggron whirled around to see the trainer behind him. No longer was it the familiar silver hair and pressed suit. Instead, a shock of brown hair greeted him, and piercing green eyes full of judgment.

“I should have given up on you back at that cave,” said Garrett. “I was planning on it, but then some goody-two-shoes said ‘oh no you can’t do that, look how much he loves you!’” His tone was sickenly mocking.

“You can’t teach size, and no amount of try-hard love is gonna make up for that. What a load of shit. Should have gone with my gut and tossed you back in that hole. Could have saved myself the trouble.”

Cowed, Aggron’s head snapped back and forth, first from Garrett, then to the Aggron standing over him, then to the shadowy trainer standing in the champion’s box. Garret was still speaking, his words stinging more than any blow could. How had he gotten here? He wasn’t Garrett’s pokemon? He was Steven’s and he was—

“Pathetic. All this time I spent, wasted—”

Aggron wheeled back around, a whine building in his throat. It wasn’t time wasted, he got to spend time outside his cave, he got to learn and grow and see new things. He got stronger, he—

Then, Garret’s words began to morph, like they were spoken by someone else. Aggron blinked, and suddenly Garret was gone. In his place stood Aggron’s rightful trainer, but the eyes he looked at Aggron with were the same. Piercing, judgmental, angry.

“—wasted. I could have had any pokemon I wanted,” said Steven, “any pokemon at all. And I wasted that choice on you.”

The strangled howl that Aggron let out was an ugly sound. He hadn’t— He couldn’t

Steven sighed heavily, bringing out a pokeball from his belt. Aggron’s tail curled under his legs, trying to make himself as small as possible. Shameful. He was shameful. But he would do better next time. He would. He could. He had to—

The pokeball in Steven’s hand beeped twice, then sat open in his palm. Empty. No longer Aggron’s ball; Aggron no longer his pokemon. He dropped it to the floor like a discarded plaything. Aggron watched it rock back and forth with wide, terrified eyes.

“Maybe someone else will want you,” said Steven. And with that he turned on his heel and left. The massive doors of the champion’s arena slammed shut behind him.

The sound of cruel laughter reverberated across the chamber, piercing Aggron’s armor with ease.

“Hahaha!” Garrett crowed from the champion’s pedestal. “Looks like I chose right.” He patted the other Aggron’s arm with pride. “Now get out, loser. You have no place here.”

The clunk of a relay being thrown echoed through the space, and suddenly Aggron was pitched into darkness.

Gone. It was all gone. Slowly, he shrunk to the ground, curling his tail over his nose. He grasped his helm with both claws and held on for dear life. Not this. Not again. Not Steven. He was back in that hole in Granite Cave. Alone. Unloved. He wanted to sink into the earth. He wanted to disappear.


Steven was already sweating by the time he’d limped up to the podium. The assistant hovered just out of view at the side of the stage, holding his crutches with eyes full of pity. He’d looked at her in his office like a Deerling in headlights, and he was sure he was faring no better in front of the press.

He pressed his hands flat against the podium to try to ground himself. Several fingers on his left hand refused to obey; curled, quivering and weak. The nerve damage would be permanent, the doctors had said.

Not the only thing that would be gone permanently… He shook his head, wondering why the thought occurred to him.

The buzz in the room intensified with his racing heart, and then fell silent. It was deafening. They were waiting on him. Nothing but the sound of shutters rolling could be heard, and slowly he raised his eyes to the teleprompter and began to read.

“The events of three weeks ago marked a catastrophe in our region’s history, surpassed by no other. Citizens of Hoenn, I stand before you on this somber day on another region’s soil. The soil of our home washed away in a clash of legends, foretold only by ancient murals and ancient scriptures. I—”

Suddenly, Steven froze as an icy sensation washed over him. The sensation of a memory. A warning. He had known this would happen. He had known. Had he known? But how? Why hadn’t he done something? His right hand curled so tight around the podium’s edge his nails sunk into the wood.

A name flashed through his mind. Kimiko. His wide-eyed gaze flicked over to the assistant at the edge of the stage. Why did that name come to him? Was that her name?

Someone coughed in the dead air left by his sudden halt in his speech, and his attention whipped back to the room in front of him. The teleprompter was frantically rewinding once they realized he’d missed his queues.

“I-I’m sorry,” he stuttered, prying his hand loose from the podium and adjusting his too-tight collar with shaking fingers. “This is…”

He trailed off again, eyes wandering above the heads of the assembled media. The lights aimed at the stage were bright, and he flinched. After-images danced in his vision and he tried to blink them away. Suddenly he felt too hot, the room was suffocating, pressing down on him like a ton of rocks—

He gasped as another memory slammed into his consciousness. The tiny undersized image of six makeshift graves at the summit of Mt. Moon. He’d got the message on his phone when he was still in the hospital, a favor from the Pewter Gym Leader he’d befriended long before all this. There was no going back to Mt. Pyre for a proper burial, and he had no interest in laying his pokemon to rest in the tower in Lavender Town. And they were gone

The room spun around him, and he staggered forward into the podium. He’d known and he sent them all to their deaths. Pain shot up his leg as he tried to regain his balance. A reminder that he was still here, he was here and his partners weren’t— They died because of him.

“Please—” Steven choked out, raising a hand to shield his face from the cameras, “I can’t—”

A clamor rose in the assembled media, the shuffling of chairs and the suffocating press of bodies trying to get close to the stage. Microphones shoved forward, shutters clicked, the lights burned shamefully on the broken champion who lost his pokemon, his league, and his region.

Dully, Steven was aware of the assistant rushing to his side, trying to hold him upright and usher him away from the stage.

“Too soon…”

“He’s not ready…”

“...Never ready”

“What a tragedy…”

The murmurs swept over him, washing him under, he was drowning, falling.

Skarmory. Claydol. Armaldo. Cradily. Aggron. Metagross. They were all gone. Without them, he was nothing. Nothing. Living on was more painful than any injury he’d sustained. Without the distractions to save him, he reeled as the sorrow buried him like a rockslide.

He wished the earth had claimed him, too.


Aggron had no way of knowing how long he had laid there, curled up in a ball. The arena was empty. Garrett had left a long time ago, Steven even longer than that. There was no light, there was no sound; it was stiller than the depths of any cave.

At this point, he’d stopped feeling sorry for himself. His breath no longer shuddered in and out, the pathetic snuffling finally petering to a stop. There wasn’t anything he could do. He was never good enough no matter what he did, or how hard he tried. He was born insufficient, weak, inferior. This was his existence. A sequence doomed to repeat over and over again. He was numb to it by now.

But somewhere beneath the numbness burned something else. Something lit like a spark in the darkness. A fire burning inside his soul. He was mad. Angry. Furious. Why was he trapped in this cycle? It was unfair. He shouldn’t be forced to live this over and over and over again. He had to do something about it. He could. He should.

It was one battle he lost. One battle! He deserved another chance! Steven always gave him another chance. Garrett, well, forget him, he was a nasty, nasty human. But Steven—

Aggron lifted his head and stared through the darkness at the closed arena doors. The doors Steven had stormed out of without looking back. As he stared, the fire in his belly burned brighter, and he picked himself up off the arena floor, never taking his eyes off those doors.

There was a clatter at his feet as his tail brushed against something on the ground. Aggron looked down at the open pokeball— his pokeball— and the fire grew into an inferno. He’d caught himself once before, he could do it again. He could convince Steven to take him back, he was sure of it.

Aggron shook himself off, his armor rattling bright and loud in the empty space. He slapped the broken pokeball across the room with his tail and marched toward the doors. Lowering his head, he coiled back on his hind legs. Cycle be damned, he was going to show them he was worth it. He was going to show them all.

And then he lunged with all his might.


Steven’s legs had given out, so the assistant had settled for helping him to sit against the base of the podium, half-hidden from the swarming press. League security had rushed out to keep the crowd under control.

“Back up!”

“Give him space!”

“No one is allowed on the stage!”

His chest heaved in and out with every breath, stars dancing at the edge of his vision. His good hand clamped around a fistful of his cravat and refused to let go. The poor assistant hovered at his side in a panic, fanning him with a stack of papers pulled from her bag. She’d tried to hand him a bottle of water, but his injured hand refused to cooperate, and she was far too flustered to try to tip it to the lips of a regional champion herself.

“Please, Mr. Stone. Let’s get you back to your office,” she practically begged, sending nervous glances over her shoulder for someone, anyone, to come and help.

But her words fell on deaf ears. Steven was lost in his misery, staring off into the blank space of the stage’s backdrop. The Indigo League logo staring back at him, its reds and blues swirling together like the lake of lava, the monstrous tidal wave, the elements that buried Hoenn beneath a merciless onslaught. And what had he done? He’d run, deep into a cave he was forbidden to enter, with a half-cocked idea and an underprepared team. And who had paid the ultimate price of his folly? Everyone but him.

When the earth had rumbled beneath his feet in that cave, he had been prepared to give everything to stop Kyogre and Groudon. Wallace had been the same, risking his life to scale the Sky Tower despite the laws forbidding it. They’d both survived that day, but neither returned as the same person who had left.

The earth seemed to shake again where Steven sat, and he mirthlessly thought that maybe this time it would finish the job it started. But then he realized he wasn’t in Sootopolis, and he wasn’t in the Cave of Origin. Blinking himself back to the present, Steven found the assistant’s harrowed gaze locked onto the far doors of the assembly hall. A bone-rattling roar sounded from outside the hall, and Steven turned to follow the assistant’s stare just as the double doors exploded inward with the force of a freight train.

Blown clear from their hinges, the doors launched into the unsuspecting crowd of reporters. Steven scrambled to his feet, eyes wide with disbelieving horror. But as the doors carved through the crowd, there was no destruction left in their wake. Anything they struck vanished in a cloud of smoke, dark tendrils curling up toward the ceiling.

But that wasn’t the most remarkable thing.

Standing in the ruined doorway was Aggron, shoulders heaving and eyes wild. His massive head swung from side to side, scanning the room, looking for something. Someone.

Steven gaped, speechless. Everything else faded into background noise. The assistant was gone. The reporters, gone. The stage, gone. The only things left were him and his partner. Alive. Standing right there in front of him.

“Aggron?” he asked, choking on the lump in his throat. Warmth prickled in the corners of his eyes, the return of tears long since spent. He couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t real. He was talking to an empty room, to a hallucination, to a ghost.

At his words, his partner’s frantic gaze snapped to him, and time ceased to exist.

The pain in Aggron’s eyes, the fear, it was there for an instant, and Steven’s heart clenched in his chest. Almost in slow motion, Steven reached out one shaking hand toward his partner. If he could just touch his steel armor, feel the rough hide beneath his fingers, he’d know this was real, that this was all just a bad dream.

Aggron let out a surprised grunt as he took in Steven’s outstretched hand. He froze for a second, fighting against the immediate and overwhelming desire to run straight for it. To nuzzle into that touch, to be wanted and loved. His hesitation was short-lived. He could tell right away, from the shock in his trainer’s eyes, this wasn’t that imposter who’d turned his back on him in the cold arena. This was the human he chose. The human he loved. But why did he look so haggard, so broken? What had happened? Where were they? Why hadn’t Aggron been there to protect him?

Aggron made it two steps toward the stage when the earth shook again, hard. There was a cracking, splintering sound, and both he and Steven immediately looked skyward.

For a moment, the room stilled and silence reigned. And then the ceiling caved in around them, burying them in an avalanche of rock and stone.



That was the first thing that swept over Steven when he awoke. Immediate and overwhelming pain.

He gasped, choking on the air thick with dust. Each cough wracked his frame and he fought against the urge to black out again. So much pain.

And darkness. Everything was dark. And close. He could feel his own breath against his face. There was something pressing down on him, heavy, crushing—

His legs. He tried to move his legs and he couldn’t. His left arm, too. Trapped beneath something massive. Slabs of rock, the very earth itself—

The press conference— it was starting in five minutes!

Panic shot through the pain and he tried again to sit up, only to crack his head against something solid. Another warm rivulet joined the sticky feeling already matting one of his cheeks. Groudon— Kyogre— The Cave of Origin; he was in the cave and it collapsed—

He gasped again, more pain lancing up his spine as his chest heaved and heaved, straining to find life-giving oxygen. The ground trembled and trickles of dust rained down from the rock mere inches above his head. He held his breath, waiting for the rest of the rock to give way, but it held. By some small miracle, his vital organs found this one tiny pocket among the rubble. It was a blessing, and also a curse.

He was alive, but only just. How long had he been here? How many times had he woken up and passed out again? How much longer did he have?

Wasn’t he supposed to be somewhere else—an island or something?

His right hand clawed through the dirt, finding purchase at his hip. He could only feel three of his pokeball slots, and they were empty. More panic arced through him, calming only from the vivid memory of throwing all six as the boulders came tumbling down. Pokeballs were brittle. Pokemon made of steel and rock were much less so.

Maybe they’d made it. Maybe they survived. He grimaced as he shifted trying to reach the other three slots to make damn sure. His hip screamed in protest.

He let out a groan as his head fell back against the ground. It hurt to move. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to think. Pain was no longer just a sensation; it was a flavor to taste, a sound to hear, a surface to cocoon himself in.

The hope that his team made it would have to be enough, because he had a feeling he was never going to know for sure. He swallowed, then coughed again. His throat was dry and cracked. He wasn’t going to make it. As long as everyone else could, though…



Something very, very heavy was pressing down on Aggron from all sides. He grunted and tried to move, only to find the tons of rock as unyielding as a steel plate. Well, unyielding to most, and he wasn’t most.

A deep growl built in Aggron’s throat as he strained against the boulders pinning him in. It built and built until it ripped free in a gutteral bellow. He shoved with all his might, overturning a slab the size of a dump truck from his back.

It crashed back to the earth with a resounding boom, shaking the rest of the rubble around him and throwing up a cloud of dust. He glanced around the gloom, wondering how he ended up here in this crumbled-in cave.

Wasn’t he somewhere with Steven—?

Yeah, they were. Or at least, they had been. But this wasn’t right. First he’d been in the champion’s arena, then some office or something, and now, a cave? A strange cave. The stone that surrounded him was familiar in composition, more like the stone from back home. So he wasn’t somewhere else, but also he was, and he wasn’t where he started. It was all so strange—

An unearthly cry echoed over the broken rock, coming from all directions at once, and Aggron’s snout went skyward on high alert. Something was out there, something else survived the collapse. Was it a foe? It certainly didn’t sound like any friend Aggron knew.

But wait, if they were fighting it, where was his trainer?

Where was Steven—?

Aggron whirled around, sniffing the air. Nothing stood out but dust and hot air, maybe a whiff of the sea. He sniffed again, more frantic. Steven had been there with him, he was sure of it. So where did he go—?

The tang of something metallic caught Aggron’s attention. Not steel, not iron… Copper. What smelled like copper? And was coming from beneath the rubble…

The harsh rattle of a cough came from the pile, and Aggron screeched in shock. He threw himself at the pile and began digging like his life depended on it. Boulders were tossed aside like they weighed nothing, dirt and debris flying as he tore into the mound, trying to unearth what he knew was buried at the bottom.


Steven squinted as more dust fell onto his face, sticking to the blood, making his eyes burn. He upturned his palm against the slab, trying to block the dust from falling. What a futile effort, if the pile really was settling. It wouldn’t stop the weight from crushing him completely.

Something shifted with a grinding sound, and Steven closed his eyes, waiting for the horrible end. But it never came. Instead, a gentle puff of air caressed his cheek, and his eyes shot open in surprise.

He breathed as deep as the pain would allow, and yes! Of all the incredible luck! It was fresh air! And perhaps the tiniest sliver of light. He reached up with his hand, trying to pry at the spot where his lifeline trickled in. The grinding sound continued, punctuated by low thumps and clunks.

Was it a rescue? Or maybe the pile was settling away from him? Either way, for the first time since he woke up, trapped at the bottom of the earth, a spark of hope ignited in his heart.


The pile was growing smaller, and Aggron’s frenzy had calmed somewhat. The memory of what Steven had taught him about cave rescues burned bright in his mind. He had to be careful, lest he disturb the rubble enough that it collapsed and harmed whoever was trapped beneath.

Gently, he picked up boulder after boulder, setting it aside so that it wouldn’t upset the precarious balance of the rest of the pile. He had to be getting close, he had to. Aggron kept working, breathing hard, grunting from effort, prying away slab after slab until—

Suddenly, the rock above Steven’s head shifted, and he flinched away, expecting it to come crashing down the last few inches, but it never did. Squinting up through the dust and dirt, he was face to face with his rescuer, clad in silver armor.

“Aggron—” his voice was hoarse, either from disuse or overuse, he couldn’t recall, “you’ve saved me again.” He reached one hand up and rested it against Aggron’s snout, willing all his gratitude into that one action. But Aggron heard him, or simply saw the tears cut two streaks through the bloody grime on his face, and understood.

Aggron leaned into Steven’s touch, uncaring for the bloody smear left on his armor. He didn’t care because Steven was here and alive and he’d found him and he didn’t leave him alone in that arena after all. He closed his eyes and keened a high pitched sound that sang over the broken rocks of the cave.

As his cry faded away into echoes, Aggron felt the hand slip away from his face, and his eyes snapped open in panic. Steven’s eyes were closed, but he was breathing. Alive, but still in danger. He had to get him out of here, get them both out of here, to wherever it was they had come from—

A moment of lucidity cut through Aggron’s mind. He knew where they had come from was a safe place, a place of healing. Shaymin, magical berries, a place for them to recover and regroup. He had to get Steven there and away from this nightmare.

Gingerly, Aggron pried back the rock that held Steven trapped. What lay underneath was a grisly sight. Aggron fidgeted, unsure of what he could do. He was all armor and claws, and humans were so frail, so powerless on their own. Yet they held power even they couldn’t comprehend. The power to give purpose to others, the power to give hope where there was none.

As gently as he could, Aggron scooped Steven into his arms and cradled his unconscious form against his chest. When he rose, the rubble all around him also began to shift. From the piles, five more forms rose, overturning rocks or tossing them aside with psychic powers.

“You guys—” Aggron looked at the faces of his teammates in shock. When had they gotten here? Had they been here the whole time? None of this was right. None of this made sense. But Steven felt real, he had weight in Aggron’s arms, he breathed and smiled and bled. It felt real, yet— “I don’t understand.”

“You’ve known this was all a dream,” said Metagross, eyes glowing with psychic hue.

“Even before Steven,” Claydol said, all of its eyes rolling down at the trainer cradled in Aggron’s arms.

“We’re not here, really,” said Armaldo with a shrug.

“None of this is really here,” said Cradily, waving at the cave with her tendrils.

“But you are. And Steven is.” said Skarmory, his yellow gaze burning bright. “You’re both real.”

“You can’t stay here within the dream,” said Metagross. Its eyes swept to its left where a red and black portal materialized. “You should return to reality. And never forget.”

“Forget?” asked Aggron. “Forget what?”

“That you are not alone,” chimed Claydol.

“You are not alone,” said Armaldo, fins twitching.

“You are not alone,” Cradily chirped.

“You are not alone,” Skarmory said with a sharp nod.

“You are not alone,” said Metagross. “And neither is he.”

Aggron looked down again at Steven, the voices of the others ringing in his ears. “You are not alone,” he rumbled, half to himself, half to the bundle in his arms.

Metagross nodded, shuffling to the side of the portal. “You should go,” it repeated.

Aggron picked his way over, careful not to jostle Steven too much. He nodded at each teammate as he passed them, and in turn they nodded back. Stopping in front of the portal, he regarded Metagross with a guarded stare.

“Don’t worry,” Metagross said. “Steven will be fine when you return. Anything that happened in the dream world will not pass over into the real world.”

Regarding his oldest friend, most powerful teammate, most trusted partner and self-appointed rival, Aggron gave a snort of recognition and nodded. He had one foot through the portal when he paused and turned back.

“It’s funny,” he said, looking down at the tiny, frail human nestled in his arms. His human. “He thinks I saved him. Yet he’s saved me more than he will ever know.”

Metagross laughed, jaw cracking into a jack-o-lantern smile. “He might. Humans have a funny way of knowing things without realizing it. Now go. Keep fighting and never stop.”

A grin scrawled its way across Aggron’s face. “You know me too well,” he said, turning back toward the portal. “Whatever it takes, I’ll do it for him.”

As he stepped through, he felt Steven’s hand tighten around his arm, and he knew the same was true for him, too.
Last edited:
Seb, Zack & Jack - In The Court Of The Nightmare King


Novice Ornithologist
  1. rowlet
Seb stood in the middle of an empty black void. Nothing at all but just him. He looked around. Where did Zack and Jack go?

He felt a bit warmer than before. Like he was wearing a thick jacket with a hoodie trailing behind him. He also felt lighter. Did he take his jacket off?

He noticed something that looked dark-blue on his shoulder. He looked closely and noticed that it was… feathers? He even noticed that the rest of his body was covered in dark-blue feathers, with his hands being big enough to look like wings. He also noticed a beak in front of him. He poked it. It definitely felt like it belonged to him.

Something was covering the upper part of his vision. He didn’t remember wearing anything on his head. He touched his head and felt a big hat on it. It was definitely weird.

Wait… Seb was familiar enough with bird Pokémon to know what he was now.

“I’m a Murkrow? Cool.”

He smirked at this new development. Perhaps the new dimension Clink took them to had some sort of ripple effect on him and the others. It was one of his wishes to become a Pokémon, and he was happy.

Now that he looked down, he noticed he wasn’t wearing any clothes. He would’ve blushed, but his feathers covered him well enough.

He noticed a spotlight shining upon a podium of sorts. Curious, he approached it. Was he going to give a speech or sing a song in front of an audience? Well, he heard many things about Murkrow and their vocal chords, so maybe he would make great use of them.

Suddenly, the sound of a gavel smashing onto a table was heard in front of him.

Court is now in session!

The world around Seb came to light, and he became shocked. In front of him, a large seat, with a judge whose face was obscured in shadow sitting on it, and several audience seats on his sides with bird Pokémon sitting on them were visible. There were also podiums below the audience.

“The prosecution is prepared, Your Honor.”

Seb turned to his left, seeing a Dartrix. His posture denoted an air of confidence.

“Your Honor, the defense is ready to present!”

On his right, a familiar humanoid Farfetch’d stood. “Jack?”

“Please present your case,” the judge said in a gruff baritone.

“With pleasure,” said the Dartrix, opening one eye. Now that Seb got a better look of his expression, the prosecutor looked rather smug with a wink like that. “The defendant, Sebastian Padilla, is accused of having kidnapped a certain Pidgey. The parents of the victim affirm that their son was taken from them in cold blood.”

“What!?” Seb exclaimed, his tail feathers rustling with his shock and disbelief. “I’d never—”

“Quiet now, defendant,” the Dartrix said, tapping his leafy bangs with a feather. “You must know your place in this trial.” He looked towards Jack with his eyes seemingly closed, but with a clear smirk. “Now, I trust that you have no bias in favor of your client?”

“None at all,” Jack responded with a shake of his head. “I only speak with the truth.”

“We shall see what ‘truth’ you will give to this court. Your client’s fate depends on you, after all. If you cannot prove his innocence, his Trainer license shall be revoked!”

Seb’s crest dropped over his eyes. He was in utter disbelief and speechlessness. How did he end up in a courtroom? What did he do to deserve such harsh judgements, especially from a prosecutor who sounded so biased? “I can’t be a bad person… I wouldn’t kidnap anyone… I’m not a bad Trainer…”

“Hmph. Already at the beginning, and our defendant is showing weakness? Pathetic.” The Dartrix shrugged and shook his head.

“Please, have more respect towards him,” Jack said with a look of pity.

“Now then, present your testimony,” the judge exclaimed.

Whatever words Seb may have said became a jumbled mess. He was too nervous to speak clearly. Never in his life had he felt more anxious. And to think that he was being judged like this. He wasn’t a bad person, was he? How could he tell the truth?

Zack felt a warm wind on his face. He opened his eyes, greeted by the sight of a burning forest. The smoke that accumulated covered the sky above. No sign of Pokémon, though. We’re they evacuated?

All he was able to do was look around in sadness as he walked. So many trees turned to ashes… There were probably fellow birds living there with their nests. All that effort laid to waste…

He stopped in his tracks after spotting a small yellow feather on the ground. An egg laid beside it. Zack picked up the feather and examined it closely. It had a triangular shape that reminded him of a certain Pokémon.

The faint image of a Hawlucha’s head came to the Pidgeot’s vision.


He closed his eyes and hung his head low, mourning in silence. The greatest father he could have asked for… Gone. And now he would live on to honor his name.

“You were a great family,” a voice from behind said.

Zack turned around and saw a Zoroark with a short wavy mane, thinner hands, a long pointy tail and a slender figure among the flames. He was able to recognize her. Those bittersweet memories…

“They were some of the best parents I’ve seen,” she said, stepping out into the clearing. “And yet, they believed in those cruel humans you love so much. They paid for it.”

“Hey, Sis.”

The Pidgeot didn’t smile. He only gave a look of pity towards his adoptive sister.

“I see you’ve changed,” the Zoroark said. She raised her head and looked at what was once a Pidgey with a small smile. “Physically, at least. Maybe you’ve seen enough for you to realize some things.”

“I’m glad to see you, too,” Zack said. “Well, I mean, it’d feel better if we weren’t in some sorta hell right now.”

“What have you been up to all this time?”

“Y’know…” Zack passed a hand through his crest. “Fightin’, training, bein’ a real hero… Made some friends. Uh, mind if I go back and finish some stuff? I kinda need to save the world right now.”

“From what, exactly?” The Zoroark looked at him with suspicion.

“Some bastard King who wants to kill friendship between humans and us.” Zack smiled nervously.

“I see. You’re still with those awful humans. Why do you ignore their cruelty? Do you even enjoy it? Why stop the one thing that will bring happiness to all of us Pokémon?”

“‘Cause it’s the right thing to do.” Zack sighed, looking at his sister with a determined glare. “And because I’ve come to appreciate my Trainer as a friend. I hope you can understand this someday, Sis.”

The Zoroark attempted a quick swipe of her claw at the Pidgeot’s face, but was intercepted by him grabbing it in his wing. “Don’t do something you’ll regret later! I want you to know that what we’re doing is for the greater good! We can—!”

“Love you, too, Sis.” Zack’s voice started to become strained. He closed his eyes, letting a few tears flow down his beak. “Wish you find a better life…”

After a few seconds, both Pokémon started to engage in an intense fight. Fury Swipes, Sand Attacks, Double Teams, U-Turns, Punishments and Flights… Several attacks were executed at each other.

There was no time for laments now. Zack had a fight to finish.

Jack was speechless at the sight that welcomed him. He was back in Kalos? Back home? But they weren’t done with the Golden King—he couldn’t go back.

No, maybe this really was Darkrai’s realm. Seb told him that the Legend was capable of subjecting anyone to nightmares, even involuntarily. He had to be careful. Either the forest he was in was real and Darkrai had a good taste in scenery or he was asleep right now.

He started moving forward, wary of his surroundings. He had his leek grasped firmly in his right wing. Anywhere that wasn’t a town, city or daycare area was bound to have wild Pokémon attack from any corner.

After a minute of walking, Jack was caught off-guard by an Aegislash. The sword was stabbed onto the ground, left to rust and erode. Its eye was closed, and its arms fluttered with the wind. The Farfetch’d came a bit closer and kneeled, silently mourning the life extinguished in front of him. A great warrior laid to rest for all eternity…


The Farfetch’d jumped in shock after he was addressed. He saw the Aegislash’s eye was now open, looking directly at him.

“My student…” said the living sword.

“Master?” Jack asked, confused.

“Yes. How much time has passed since you left…”

“What happened? How did I get here?”

“That matters not at the moment. You are here now.”

“Yeah, I’m happy to see you again.” Jack held a wing over his head. He frowned. “I never got to say goodbye.”

“Have you come to answer for what you did?” the Aegislash asked. He sounded suspiciously aggressive.

“Huh?” Jack looked skeptical.

“You left me to rot. What kind of student abandons their master like this? Did you not care for my well-being? I was wrong to trust you as my student.”

The Farfetch’d irked a brow at what looked like his master. Was he really saying all those things?

“You have fallen behind in your training, Jack. Look at the disappointment you have become. You should have been there for me.”

Jack held his leek with his two hands. He raised it in front of his face. He glared with determination.

“Jack, what are you doing now?” the Aegislash asked, tone remaining accusatory. “Do you intend to worsen your master’s body?”

In one swift motion, Jack the Aegislash in half. He turned his back to it.

“Stop putting words into my master’s mouth, Darkrai,” the Farfetch’d muttered, voice strained in anger. “You’re disrespecting him talking like that while using his appearance.”

One moment later, Jack woke and stood up. He noticed the red landscape and floating islands around him.

“Yeah, I knew Darkrai’s tastes in decor were edgier,” he muttered.

He turned around after hearing some murmurs nearby. The Mega-Pidgeot that was his beefcake of a friend was stirring.

“Zack!” Jack exclaimed in relief with a smile. “I’m glad we’re still here together.”

Zack sat up, passing his wings throughout his body and flattening his plumage. “Ugh… A dream?” He looked around and saw so much red. “Woah. This looks like some kid spilled ketchup all over the kitchen.”

“We’re in Darkrai’s realm,” Jack said, coming closer.

“Jack-o, my pal!” Zack pulled his friend towards his chest in a tight hug. “What happened?”

“Nightmares happened.”

“So that explains why the world was on fire, right?”

“It was an out-of-character master Aegislash telling me I was pathetic for me.”

“Dude, seriously? I thought Dad was dead and that Sis was gonna kill me! There was also an egg!”

“I don’t think it’s fair to compare nightmares like this. But why an egg?”

“Maybe I wanna be a big bro? I mean, some extra family would be nice.”

“Aren’t Seb and I enough?”

“Well, not by blood, but you guys are still my bros.”

They looked at each other in realization, gasped and exclaimed in unison with worry.


They checked on their Trainer, who was still asleep. His brows were scrunched and trembling. His face showed the exact opposite of peacefulness—distress.

“He’s probably having the worst time out of all of us here,” Jack said. He looked around and saw some of the others waking and standing up. “The others seem to have bested their nightmares.”

“Even the bishy dude?” Zack asked in disbelief, seeing Wallace hugging Victoria. “Man, that guy looked like he was gonna cry a friggin’ river.”

“I’m just glad he and Gen are fine now. They’re stronger than I thought.”

“Still, geez.” The Mega-Pidgeot looked back at his Trainer with a grimace. “Seb’s not good at handlin’ bad stuff, ‘specially if it’s personal.”

“Right.” The Farfetch’d nodded in agreement. “I remember our argument from a few nights ago affected him. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. He never talked about himself on a personal level.”

“What do we do, then!?”

“Could there be a way for us to enter his nightmare?”

“How would that work?” Zack looked at his friend in confusion.

“Maybe if we sleep close to him?” Jack scratched his beak in thought. “I mean, I’ve seen him and a few kids feel better whenever they held plushies close to them. Maybe if Seb feels us, we can find our way in.”

“Uh, I seriously doubt it’s gonna work.” Zack blushed and looked away for a moment. “It sounds super crazy—like some weird fairytale crap. Can’t he just listen to us?”

“That might work just as well, I hope. But I think we should still go for what I suggested.”

“Oh well, it’s worth a shot. Nothin’ to lose, I guess.”

Both birds nestled close to their Trainer, with Jack tucked under one arm and Zack slipping himself under Seb’s back.

“Hey, he’s right,” Zack said with a smile. “I make for an epic bed.”

“Brace yourself,” Jack muttered.

They closed their eyes, letting sleep take them over.

I didn’t do it… I’d never kidnap anyone… I’m not a bad person… I just wanted a friend…

Seb repeated his words in different ways, but it didn’t matter. He was unable to say anything of use to the court of birds he was trapped in. They were all judging him with spite. They refused to see him as a vulnerable boy. He was an adult, but not mentally, at least according to him. Maybe things would have been better if he was more mature.

“Hmph. The defendant still refuses to confess,” said the Dartrix, both of his eyes open. He was smirking with all the confidence in the world, his tone of voice smug as ever. “He has succumbed to fear, and so he admits defeat. What does Your Honor have to say about this?”

“Well, seeing as it is pointless to continue with a hesitant defendant, this court finds Sebastian Padilla guilty for the kidnapping of Zack,” said the judge, reaffirming the verdict with a tap on the table with their gavel. The sound echoed throughout the room.

Tears were falling from Seb’s eyes constantly. He didn’t know for how long, but it absolutely hurt. He never allowed himself to feel any negativity at all, especially during the vacation on that island. Only happiness was allowed, but he was incapable of staying positive as he was right now. If only this never happened… If only he could erase what happened in this courtroom… He wouldn’t be a bad person at all if nothing bad happened.


Everything was silent for a moment. All eyes were locked onto the courtroom’s doors having been kicked open by a Mega-Pidgeot pointing a feather forward.

Seb turned around slowly. He took longer to react due to the weight of his grief, but he gasped and smiled in delight. His eyes shone with the tears he had, but there was hope in his face. “Zack!? No way!”

Perfect timin’, eh, buddy?

“What is this now?” the judge asked loudly. “The court has given a verdict and must be adjourned! There is no point in—”

“That’s why I’m objecting, Your Honor!” Zack exclaimed defiantly. “I’ve come to tell you the truth!”

“What ridiculousness!” the Dartrix shouted, glaring and slamming his wings onto the table. “You are cheating! We asked for Sebastian Padilla’s testimony—no one else’s! This reeks of accomplice!”


Everyone turned to the source of the exclamation. The Farfetch’d, who smirked with confidence.

“Are you sure there were no accomplices, mister prosecutor?” Jack asked.

The Dartrix flinched. “There is a possibility! We only need to confirm it through the defendant’s testimony!”

“Very well,” the judge said. “This case is open once more.”

The audience was murmuring amongst themselves. Many of the were surprised by the turn of events.

The judge pounded the table thrice with their gavel, sounds that silenced the flock around. “Order! Order!” They cleared their throat before addressing the Mega-Pidgeot. “Now, what is this truth you wish to tell this court?”

“Right.” Zack stepped forward and took his place behind the podium, with Seb standing in awe behind him. “I remember what happened all those months back. Seb caught me, yeah, but it wasn’t a kidnapping. He promised he’d make me strong, and I took the chance, mostly ‘cause I wanted to be a hero. Then he got Jack-o into the team. Humans are pretty good at this Trainer stuff—they make good friends with us Pokémon, find buddies for us and give us the best food. Seriously, I trust Seb just as much as he trusts me.”

“Are you certain about what you are saying?” The Dartrix kept glaring. It was clear he lost his composure. “You are the accomplice here!”

“Dude, please. It was just me and Seb back in the day.” Zack flicked his bang nonchalantly.

“I concur,” Jack exclaimed. “The defendant…” He shook his head for a moment. “Seb and Zack have shown enough evidence to support that they are on good terms with each other. They have begun to work together in battle, for example.”

“Not to mention how fabulous I am right now?” Zack flexed his wings, showing off his bright orange and blue feathers.

“Oh, of course. As you can see, Zack Mega-Evolved before coming here, and so far, he had managed to remain rational.” Jack pointed forward with determination. “Only those who share a powerful bond with their Trainer can achieve this. Any of you familiar with how many attempted to Mega-Evolve a Lucario without forging a strong bond first?”

“Oh, yes!” the judge exclaimed. “They even go so far as to attack their Trainers! Are you certain that this is enough evidence to prove the defendant innocent?”

“Yes, Your Honor.” Jack crossed his arms, looking satisfied. “Seb is enthusiastic when it comes to Flying-type Pokémon, especially birds.”

“But you said you had no bias in favor of the defendant!” the Dartrix shouted in desperation.

“Correct.” Jack simply nodded. “I was merely being impartial. I said no more than necessary.”

“Y-Y-Y-Yeah!” Seb exclaimed, stepping forward and now standing in front of Zack. Determination filled his expression.

“Woah, who’s this Murkrow?” Zack asked, taken aback. “He’s pretty big!”

“I’ve been there for my birds! Zack has a big heart for someone so scrappy, and Jack looks like he knows what he’s doing! I know them so well! They’ve even been there for me more than once, even before all of that chaos at that island! I’m trying my best to be the Trainer they need! And now that Zack told me his story, I now have more of a reason to help him! If he wants to save families, I’ll help him!”

“I see,” the judge muttered with a brief nod.

The audience exchanged murmurs.

“It’s clear they’re best friends.”

“I never thought the defense was connected to them!”

“They’re so cute together!”

“Wish I had friends like those.”

After another resounding pound of the gavel, the courtroom was silent.

“Defendant, are you certain that this is the truth?” the judge asked.

“Y-Yes, Your Honor!” Seb nodded quickly, becoming nervous almost instantly.

“Really? You do not look so certain.”

“U-Uh…” Seb placed a hand onto his hat crest, averting his gaze. “Yeah, I’ve never been good at these things. Sorry.”

“What is it that troubles you?”

“I… I, uh…”

Seb felt a heavy, but gentle, grip on his shoulder. He looked behind him, seeing Zack giving him a reassuring look. He turned to see Jack smiling at him and giving a thumbs-up.

“Don’t be afraid of the truth,” the Farfetch’d said.

Seb nodded, looking back at the judge. “I just don’t like being judged like this. Mom has called me out on lying about my grades back in high school—I did that because I hate school, I wanted to run away, fly free, not having to live with the weight of what I did, forgetting—”

“Hey!” Zack exclaimed, tapping his Trainer’s shoulder. “Stop bein’ so hard on yourself. You can’t live like that.”

“It’s okay to feel bad, though,” Jack said. “But you don’t have to sink into despair. You just gotta let it out.”

“Okay,” Seb muttered. He took a deep breath and blew out. He was calm now. “But really, I’m ashamed of what I did back then. I feel like a horrible son. But I’ll try to make a change. I promise.”

“Well now.” The judge lifted their face, taking off their wig. The shadows parted to reveal the face of Darkrai. “I am glad to see you admit your faults. You have committed misdeeds, but you have attempted to avoid them. You have learned. Many of us would be glad for your growth. And now, the final verdict. This court finds Sebastian Padilla…” They raised their gavel, and everyone in the court was filled with anticipation. After one last pound, the verdict was confirmed. “Not guilty.”

“Damn you,” the Dartrix muttered before collapsing to the ground.

The crowd chirped and cheered, feathers of different colors raining down.

“And now, this court is officially adjourned.”

Seb felt heavy all of a sudden. He fell back, onto the floor, tired and sleepy. The pressure and anxiety he felt must’ve taken a toll on his stamina. But he found comfort in this rest. He was glad that the trial passed.
Last edited:
Day ?? - Coleane - Flightless


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
A Bad Dream said:
Coleane ran, ran and ran and ran. Her leaf-wings, injured and weakened, lay uselessly against her sides. Behind her she can hear the taunts and calls of those hum- No! No! They can’t be humans, humans aren’t bad! There are no bad humans, there are no bad humans! But they had chased her and tried to tie her up and trap her. Take her away where she didn’t want to go and oh by Rayquaza’s wings, Gen! Where was Gen!?! All she could do was run and run...

Ahead, she spotted a thick veil of brush. Wait... she knew this path! Her secret base! She’d be safe there, she was sure of it! Hope gave her speed, and she galloped forward, bursting through the leaves and-

“Tropius!” The sharp familiar voice cut straight to her heart and brought her screeching to a stop.

“Mama?” her voice came out trembling, confused.

Blinking, Coleane looked around. Behind her lay the door to her bedroom, and before her stood her mother, looking very very angry. No... No this wasn’t right! The island, Gen-

“Tropius! I told you not to run in the house like that. Do you want me to ground you again?” Mama stamped her hoof and a slight chill filled the room.

“No! No this isn’t right!” Panic filled Coleane. Had she dreamed everything? No, no it couldn’t be! She’d gone to the human world and she’d made friends and she was supposed to be a hero like the humans! No! “I was in the human world-”

“Enough!” she thundered, rearing up and slamming her hooves into the earth. “You will go to your room and not speak of such nonsense again. Now.”


I said ENOUGH!" Mama shouted. "I won't be using your name for the next month if you keep this up!"

Tropius whimpered, tattered wings drooping along her sides. Would she ever fly again?

She could hear the not-humans getting closer and closer. What would they do to her if they found her?

She footsteps coming closer and closer, and she saw—

Wait, those weren't the bad humans! Those were her human friends!

"Coleane, we're here to rescue—" Sad Snom began, before mama's tail wrapped around their neck. They struggled to try to get free, their face starting to turn blue from the lack of air.

"Tropius," Mama said, an icy tinge to her voice. "What have I told you. Time and time again. About telling your name to strangers."

"But they're not strangers! They're my friends—"

"SILENCE!" Mama yelled, squeezing her tail tighter around Sad Snom's neck. Their movements were starting to grow sluggish...like they were dying...but humans can't die!

"Humans only bring change, and ruin tradition! No child of mine should mingle with them!" Mama shouted, and with a sickening crack, squeezed Sad Snom's neck as tight as she could.

They stopped moving—

"SNOM!" Tropius called out to her friend. By Rayquaza's wings, their neck was bent at a horrible angle!

And then Mama wrapped her tail around Delino's neck, and squeezed—

"Mama, please stop!" Tropius pleaded. "You're hurting them! You're hurting them really badly!"

Mama's eyes narrowed. "They deserve it for ruining tradition. But return to your room, and I'll stop."

"Coleane...please...don't..." Delino said, hands trying to pry away mama's tail.

Tropius hesitated, then trotted towards her room. She heard Delino being released, and gasping for breath. She turned around, and saw Delino, MonDegreen, Tapestry, and Ta Writeer struggling against mama,

"Don't let her control you!" Delino shouted, before yelping as a hoof smacked against his arm.


Gilded Gaggle of Goofs said:
chadchaddington: if i were coleane id just fight the opposing trainer myself. what are they gonna do?

She couldn't just give up here!

Coleane ran towards Aurorus, and sent a Gust at her. "Leave my friends alone!" she shouted.

"Did...did you just attack me?" Aurorus asked, looking shocked.

Coleane didn't bother to respond, instead saying to her friends, "Quick, climb on!"

As her human friends piled on her back, Coleane picked up Sad Snom with a vine, and placed them behind her neck.

Then, she bolted.

"TROPIUS! COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!" Aurorus shouted, but even without her wings working, Coleane was too fast for her.

Even without her wings, she could take flight in her own way.

She was a hero, just like a human.


Coleane woke up on a floating island, next to a little Oshawott in a reunion cape.

Despite everything, depsite the terrifying surroundings...she felt at peace.
Gladion & Hazel: Secret Lab A

Shiny Phantump

Through Dream, I Travel
  1. sylveon
  2. absol-mega
  3. silvally-psychic
  4. custom/ninetales-phantump
  5. cosmog
  6. custom/gallade-phantump
[[Content Warnings: Transphobia, referenced past and possible-future suicidal thoughts, and violence towards a human who indisputably deserves it.]]

Gladion and Hazel awoke in a room that was discomfortingly familiar. It was a cell meant for containing creatures that did not belong to the world beyond it's walls. A dying halogen tube light sputtered above, impossible to change back when the cell had regular occupants, and not worth changing once it no longer did. It wasn't as if there was supposed to be anyone left who belonged here, at least not outside the archives.

Hazel quivered like a leaf in the corner. Of everyone, everyone who was still there, she was the only one who knew how bad this place was. Gladion knew it was awful, thought he knew how wrong it was, but she could tell that he didn't. He had a look in his eyes, one that was thinking of what to do next. That is how she could tell he didn't know. This was not a place where you do things. It was a place where things are done to you. He didn't understand that.

He brushed his hand down her neck. As if to offer reassurance, as if such a thing could exist here.

"Hazel? Hazel, can you hear me? This cell. It's from after the helmets, right? It probably won't have ghost protections. There's a control panel over there, if you just slip out we could-"


Gladion stopped stroking her, confused. "What?"

"There's no point. They'll just fix it. Then we'll be back where we started, but worse."

"We have to try somet-"

Hazel growled. "There's. No. Point!"

Gladion stared at her with sad, sorry eyes that still did not understand. Then he sat down, leaning against her. She curled around him. It gave her a primal comfort, soothing a part of her brain that also did not understand- or perhaps which didn't care- that the situation was hopeless.

"When you're ready, then. We've got time. Lots of time."

If nothing else, she was glad not to be alone, able to eke out what comfort she could from his presence. Even if it would be better for him not to be there.


Eventually, a sliver of light pierced the darkness of the room. A tall, imposing figure entered.

Lusamine looked down at him with condescension in her eyes. "Is that you? Our lost little Vi?"

Gladion crossed his arms, avoiding eye contact. "You seem to have mistaken me for someone else."

She laughed. "I wasn't really asking. I know who you are, dear. I'm glad our family can be together again. Yes, you've caused an awful lot of trouble, but family sticks together. Don't you want to see Lillie again? I'm sure she'll be happy to see you. Once we've gotten you presentable, of course. It'll be a challenge, with all the damage you've done, but we'll make it work because we love you."

"You think I’ll let you do what you want with me? Fuck off. I'm not a minor, and you couldn't control me even when I was."

While her eyes welled up with false concern, Lusamine's lip dropped into a scowl. "Oh, dear, we don't want you out there, where you could be arrested for all the crimes you've committed against me. Nor would we want your Null to be separated from you, and it'll be staying here. As long as you're here to control it, we won't even have to archive it."

Hazel winced. Gladion's eyes widened at the threat inside the promise.

"You- You would-"

"Of course I would let you keep her," Lusamine said. Smiling for real this time, now that she was winning. "I know you'd do anything for your partner, I wouldn't separate you two."

A silence hung over the room for moment. Lusamine's eyes bored into him, waiting for a response.

Something in Gladion broke. "Of course..."

"Good. It's nice to have you back." She turned to leave. "We'll have to get you out of those rags to start. You're Lillian's size, of course."

The door squeaked shut. Gladion buried his face in Hazel's side, tearing up.

Hazel felt cold dread settle in her her. Even in this place, he had been holding up. But then he'd broken over the course of a few sentences. She knew it was coming, that he was going to realize eventually, but it felt wrong for it to happen like this. So quickly... and so completely.

Even if she hadn't realized it at the time, his bit of hope was contagious. His despair was too, leaving her more lost than she'd ever been before. It felt as if the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. Outside the sinking feeling that it had to do with her, she didn't even understand why.

"What... happened?"

Wracked as he was by tears, Gladion couldn't speak. He fell back on his thoughts.

"I'm sorry, Hazel. I can't do this. It'll kill me. It almost has before. But if I don't, she'll- she'll-"

He didn't finish the sentence, not in words, but she caught a glimpse of thoughts- Of loss, of cold, of ice, and the concept of forever.

She had no response. She understood, though, what he meant. He had always been beyond control before. Cells nor keycards nor even the ocean itself could contain him, he was a person who made choices, not a person choices were made about.

But now they had a new tool of control.

It felt wrong that she was the tool used to break him. That she could be used to hurt him was wrong, was something fundamentally wrong with the universe. An anger welled up in her. She had to do something, had to make the world work properly again.

When you're ready, then... That was what he had asked of her. He had placed in her his trust that she would do the right thing when the time came.

As Lusamine reentered the room, white fabric in hand, Hazel made a decision. No matter what they did afterwards, even if they would give her a new helmet or freeze her or euthanize her, she had one shot. One last chance to act of her own free will, before her choices might never belong to her again...

Lusamine staggered back as Hazel pounced directly through the glass. The edges of her soul burned in phantom blades at the end of her talons, casting Lusamine's face in a ghastly light as she screamed.

Hazel had no doubt, no regret. If this made her a monster, then she was a beautiful, loved monster who had made her own choice.

Her talons would rend through not only her target, but reality itself, cutting away pieces of a world they'd left behind to reveal one worth living in.
Last edited:
The Icy Chill of the Void (Kimiko, Olivia, Lucy)


  1. sableye
Come now. Why bother searching for her any longer?

Lucy tried to ignore the voice as she pressed forward through the forest. Even if the voice felt like it came from her own head, from her own thoughts.

Do you think finding her can make up for all you did?

Lucy paused, sweeping her icy gaze over the forest. The dark trees seemed to be taller than before, and a cloudy veil hung over the sky, blocking out the light. And then someone screamed. An agonized wail of primal pain. Lucy’s eyes widened and she was about to take off when -

S̵h̶e̷’̶s̸ ̷i̶n̴ ̸p̶a̷i̷n̴ ̵b̶e̸c̶a̸u̴s̷e̶ ̷o̴f̷ ̷y̸o̴u̶.̶ ̴T̴h̵e̴ ̶w̷o̸r̴l̸d̵ ̶s̶u̸f̴f̸e̸r̶s̷ ̵b̸e̸c̵a̸u̴s̵e̸ ̷o̴f̵ ̷y̴o̶u̵.̴ ̷S̸h̷e̷ ̷s̵u̸f̵f̸e̶r̴s̵,̶ ̵a̸n̴d̷ ̵a̷l̵l̸ ̸t̵h̸e̷ ̴g̸o̷o̶d̴ ̴i̴n̶ ̷t̸h̴e̵ ̸w̴o̵r̷l̸d̴ ̴c̵a̷n̴n̵o̷t̵ ̷c̴h̸a̴n̶g̴e̸ ̵w̸h̸a̶t̵ ̴y̸o̸u̸ ̴d̵i̵d̵.̴

Y̴̮͇͛͑́o̴͖͉̎͌̂̓̐̒̏̕u̸̟̫̔̊́’̷̦͓͍͙́̽̽̓͛ͅŗ̵̦̬̬͈̀̍͛͑͘͝ͅẹ̵̭̱͚̰͖̪̊͛͒̈̒́ ̵͙̲̜̞̙̌̓̆ ̵̡̢̨̜̘̜͙̩̋̂͝â̷̲̼͈̦̹̞̫͓ ̴̨̡͇̱̲̿̍͜ḿ̶͚̑̈́̽͝ö̸͇͕̜̤̠͇̬́̈́̅͌͜ṋ̸̡̛̦̲̟͖̳́̓͜͝ ̸͔̼͇̌͑̈́͌̒ͅs̵̱̩͉̝̥̱̱͙̽̉̾͂͐̂t̶̫̹͙̯̿̓̂̃̀́̕̕ ̵͕̩̜͍̟͛̑̚e̶̢̛͚̙̱̟̣̗̰̒̉̍͒̄͝͝r̶̢̡̟̲̀̓͂̋͠

“I’m a monster.”

She hated to admit it, but this second voice inside her head was right. Even as a snorunt, she had never been one to shy away from harming others to achieve her goals, or those of her master and his employers. She had never known anything else. But was that not the very definition of a monster?

There was another scream, and Lucy Gray found she was no longer in a forest. She was back in the detention cell, staring wide-eyed at her master, stunned into silence at what he'd ordered her to do. Sure, he was cruel. Sure, she'd helped him to torture their captives before. So did the rest of the team. It was part of the job - their job. And they enjoyed it, having power over others, bowing to no one. There was no denying that. Lucy was no exception. He'd taught her a great deal since she'd come into the world.

But he had never ordered her to kill anyone before.

And she couldn't. Sure, the humans she'd helped capture didn't live to see another sunrise. But she could live with that. It was a necessary sacrifice, and in the end, each and every one of them would cease to exist anyway. Some just had to go before the rest.

But she wasn't the one actually doing the deed. She'd stared at the wide-eyed swampert and the injured-but-defiant espeon in their cages, both weak, both pleading with her to take them, not the other one nor their human, as though they already knew one of them was lost... As though they didn't question whether or not Lucy would actually kill them.

And then the girl, chained up on the wall, completely dazed out of her wits from all the shocks she'd endured. It hadn't worked. She hadn't broken. Or maybe she had, but after a point none of her answers had made any sense. Their employers weren't any more pleased than her master. They'd hoped a different type of punishment might help recover her sanity.

Her master's voice echoed throughout the stone room, laced with unnatural shock and venom to it that Lucy had never heard directed towards her - he'd never needed to; she'd never before hesitated to follow an order. "What are you waiting for? Freeze them!"

There was yet another scream, and for a moment, Lucy was confused - what, were they trying to torture the human further to make her obey, now?

S̵h̶e̷’̶s̸ ̷i̶n̴ ̸p̶a̷i̷n̴ ̵b̶e̸c̶a̸u̴s̷e̶ ̷o̴f̷ ̷y̸o̴u̶.̶

Lucy closed her eyes and shook her head, trying to physically remove the voice that was so loud in her mind. Her own voice. No. No, this didn't make sense. They hadn't shocked the girl during this part of the interrogation... that was the whole point, to try something new... to...

Lucy opened her eyes again, her confusion only getting worse. The human girl was still shouting, but the sound did not match. She was... she was crying, begging Lucy to attack her instead, to let her team go. The wail of agony couldn't have come from her, not in this moment. It was too distant to be in the same room, too primal to be this coherent... but it was most certainly her voice... Something wasn't right here.

The scream echoed once again and suddenly Lucy was back in the forest, no longer lost in her memory. That's right. She'd let that strange, distorted, stupid voice distract her. No, the voice was wrong. That voice hadn't been hers. It just...

Lucy finally took off in the direction of the girl's screams. She knew this forest. Every path, every hidden grotto, every secret cave entrance, every hideout the cult had. She knew exactly where to go.

And yet... despite the whoosh of the wind and the blurs that were the trees as she weaved between and around them, she didn't seem to be gaining any ground, the entrance to the hideaway remaining a fixed point ahead of her, far, far in the distance.

T̶h̴i̵s̴ ̴i̷s̶ ̵f̴u̷t̵i̸l̶e̸.̴ ̷I̷t̵ ̸d̸o̶e̴s̵ ̸n̶o̴t̶ ̶m̸a̶t̶t̵e̶r̸.̷ ̶R̵e̸s̵c̷u̷i̸n̸g̴ ̵o̴n̴e̶ ̷h̶u̷m̶a̷n̵ ̴w̴i̸l̷l̷ ̵n̵o̵t̸ ̷r̸e̸c̴o̶v̷e̶r̵ ̷a̸l̴l̴ ̶t̷h̴e̸ ̸o̵t̶h̷e̴r̵s̸ ̶y̷o̶u̶ ̴h̷a̴v̷e̵ ̷a̸l̵r̶e̴a̶d̵y̶ ̷s̴a̸c̶r̵i̷f̸i̵c̷e̴d̵.̸

And just like that, Lucy came to a screeching halt. She looked around quickly, despite knowing she wouldn't locate any source. This was infuriating.

But her voice had a point. She'd already helped capture so many humans, she'd lost count. Saving one human life wouldn't undo that. Nor would it ultimately prevent the cult from achieving it's goals. She'd been working with them her entire life - long enough to know that by now. She'd only turned against them to save her own skin. Not because they could actually be stopped. She had no counter argument.

So... what was the point?

Kimiko shivered as she crept through the forest. The evening was cool, but the chill in the air still felt unnatural. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. “Olivia... can you sense anything?” she whispered. The sky was dark... so dark. Where were the stars-

Olivia gave a soft mewl. No.

Kimiko wrapped her arms around herself as she kept walking, doing her best not to jump at every shadow-

And then a tree in front of her moved. Scraggly arms jerked from its sides and a single red eye blazed near its crown. Olivia cried out, only to be silenced by the earth and roots themselves wrapping around her, binding her. Then the red eye loomed over Kimiko and darkness swallowed her.

Kimiko awoke to a scream that melted into a burning, searing pain coursing through her entire body. Then she realized she was screaming, her body jerking futilely, her legs and arms pinned to her sides. At some point, either moments or minutes later, the pain subsided, leaving her trembling. No no no gods no-

In a haze of pain, she realized Olivia was just yards away, but she’d been bound, restrained by ghostly shackles that rendered her weak. Helpless.

Then a voice spoke, cold and cruel, a voice she recognized, even if she couldn’t see them. “Talk, talk and the pain can stop.”

That voice... his voice.

No other sound could have cut through the static haze that clouded her mind. Her memories were so foggy, so jumbled... It was increasingly difficult to determine what was a memory and what was just her imagination.

She had thought for a moment she'd been wandering around the Whispering Forest, because gods forbid she lived a day in her life without being in there somehow. And everything had somehow gotten so dark, so quickly, despite the already unnatural darkness of that cursed place... There was some kind of... deformed dusclops/trevenant thing... And ever-loyal Olivia leaping to her defense, only to be restrained by the gods-damned forest itself as the hulking ghost finally laid claim to its long-lost prize...

But then Costas spoke and immediately she remembered where she was. Back in the prison again. ...Again? Still?

At some point she'd been released from her chains, but she barely had the energy to move anyway. Still, she had to stay focused... stay conscious. There had to be something around her to focus on... Beyond the cell bars, the forest expanded beyond her sight, taunting her. Even here, it lingered. She'd never really be rid of it.

Inside the cell, Kimiko was vaguely aware of a familiar stony ground beneath her, but only because she could see Olivia sprawled out upon it, shackled with some kind of ghostly chains. And although she knew it was there, she couldn't feel the coldness of the stone at all, even though she, too, lay almost flat against it - the only sensation she felt was an electrical charge all around her. In the air, coursing through her veins... the very thought of it caused her to scream. How, how did she get back here? Or... had she never really left? She couldn't tell. Time only meant electricity here.

"Come now, how much longer do you insist this drag on? Even I'm getting tired of it."

No, he wasn't. 'Talk and the pain can stop.' Even in her beyond groggy state, did he really expect her to believe that? He'd never tire of it. She curled in on herself without really thinking about it. Not that it would protect her from the lightning, but she couldn't really do much else. Answering would only invite another shock. So would biting her tongue, but it was less energy wasted.

"You must tell me where to find Darkrai!"

For a split second, the haze was gone. Everything made sense. Darkrai... they had to find... wait, no, that's not right. The cult was looking for...

"Xerneas?" Her voice was raspy; she was mildly surprised she could still speak at all with how much she'd been screaming. Even so, talking was painful.

"We've only just begun, and already you're incoherent?" The disappointment was thick in his tone. "Yes, that is what I said. Where is Xerneas?"

It didn't matter what answer she gave. She could tell him exactly what he wanted to know and he'd still punish her.

What did she do now, then?

The voice was right. She could live a thousand lifetimes in any number of incarnations and never atone for what she'd done. Hell, there would be no one, no humans left to even care. And surviving pokemon would flourish, with no filth left to contaminate their planet.

But what about the ones who had lost their human? Would they, too, still see her as a monster? Surely she was overreacting here... Would she be accepted by her fellow ghosts?

It occurred to her that, with humans gone, that meant hers, too. Lucy had never known life in the wild. How would she survive? Before she deserted them, her master had been the only world she'd known. He and the cult would be gone. There would be no one left to run to. And after she'd left him, she joined with the girl. She, too, would be gone. She who, despite the agony Lucy had put her through, still took her in and aided her, shielded her from her former master's retribution.

Something unusual stirred within as Lucy simply floated there in deep concentration. Something warm. So warm that it almost physically hurt. A spark of some sort? A fire?

No, she could not let that happen. She could not let the girl be lost. It... it was the right thing to do, wasn't it? It didn't really matter if the end result was the same... right?

Why was atonement so damned difficult?

S̸h̶e̸ ̵d̵o̷e̸s̴n̴'̷t̵ ̴t̵r̵u̶s̶t̵ ̴y̴o̵u̴.̶ ̸S̸h̵e̴ ̴o̷n̴l̵y̶ ̶k̴e̵e̶p̷s̶ ̴y̵o̷u̴ ̷c̷l̴o̴s̷e̷ ̴t̸o̵ ̷m̶o̷n̴i̶t̶o̴r̶ ̵y̴o̴u̷.̶ ̷S̶h̷e̴ ̴h̸a̶t̷e̵s̷ ̴y̷o̷u̵.̶ ̶S̷h̶e̴'̴s̷ ̸t̷e̵r̸r̷i̸f̷i̵e̸d̶ ̵o̶f̸ ̵y̷o̸u̶.̴ ̶A̷f̷r̸a̷i̸d̸ ̶o̴f̷ ̸w̶h̸a̴t̸ ̷y̴o̸u̸ ̶c̸a̶n̷ ̸d̸o̶ ̴t̸o̵ ̵h̷e̷r̸.̷ ̸W̶h̵a̶t̷ ̶y̴o̷u̴ ̷w̸i̶l̶l̷ ̷d̸o̶ ̴t̴o̴ ̴h̷e̴r̸.̵

Lucy was somewhat surprised to find herself upset by that. No, not upset... annoyed. Irritated. Angry. No, that wasn't... she couldn't, she wouldn't... she'd been trying hard, so hard, since escaping her master to try to atone. To help. To try to stop Yveltal's revival, the event she'd fought her entire life prior to achieve. And this one human, this girl who she helped to torment, offered to take her in, shield her from the wrath of her former master and his employers. And in return, Lucy had done all she could to protect the girl from those same threats. They'd fought back together against the cult, against her former associates! She'd come so far...

A̸n̷d̶ ̸f̸o̵r̷ ̸w̸h̶a̷t̸?̸ ̸T̴h̴e̵ ̷c̶u̷l̸t̷ ̴i̶s̴ ̸a̷b̶o̷u̷t̴ ̸t̴o̶ ̴c̶o̷m̵p̶l̵e̵t̵e̸ ̵t̵h̷e̴i̴r̶ ̷g̶o̷a̶l̸ ̵a̷n̴y̷w̸a̶y̷.̸ ̵W̸i̵l̴l̶ ̵s̶a̴v̸i̶n̴g̶ ̷t̵h̶i̷s̴ ̴o̶n̵e̴ ̶l̷i̸f̶e̵ ̸m̵a̷k̵e̵ ̸t̷h̸a̴t̸ ̸m̵u̸c̴h̷ ̴o̵f̶ ̷a̶ ̴d̴i̵f̵f̶e̶r̴e̷n̴c̴e̸ ̶i̸n̸ ̶d̵e̶l̸a̶y̴i̴n̷g̷ ̵t̸h̷e̴ ̵i̷n̷e̴v̷i̵t̵a̵b̶l̸e̷?̸

Of course it would. Every little bit helped. Saving this human meant they could potentially help save more, together. It certainly wouldn't erase what she'd already done, but maybe that wasn't the point. Maybe she didn't really need to atone at all. Maybe all she needed to do was... better.

Saving her human was just the right thing to do. And maybe that was the true first step in her journey to redemption. She'd already made her choice when she helped the human and her pokemon escape captivity, and the human had made her choice to accept Lucy as she was, despite what she was. There was no going back. Lucy didn't want to go back. She was... she was happy with her new human.

Because, despite everything, Lucy had stumbled upon something she never realized she needed, because she never truly had one; a friend.

P̸a̶t̵h̸e̷t̷i̵c̴.̷ ̷S̷a̷v̵i̴n̴g̵ ̴o̵n̴e̸ ̸h̸u̷m̶a̶n̵'̸s̸ ̸l̸i̸f̷e̵ ̵w̶i̶l̴l̸ ̸n̴o̸t̵ ̷s̴t̴o̶p̷ ̸t̷h̶e̵ ̸e̷n̷d̵ ̸o̸f̸ ̴h̸u̴m̵a̸n̷i̷t̸y̶.̶ ̸I̷t̷ ̸w̶i̵l̶l̴ ̸n̴o̸t̶ ̵s̵p̸a̶r̷e̷ ̸h̵e̷r̷ ̶f̶r̸o̸m̴ ̸d̸y̴i̵n̴g̶ ̶w̵h̶e̵n̴ ̵t̴h̸e̴ ̸e̸n̷d̸ ̶c̷o̵m̶e̶s̶.̸ ̸I̴t̷ ̶w̶i̵l̸l̶ ̴n̵o̸t̸ ̷l̸e̶s̷s̷e̷n̸ ̸t̶h̴e̷ ̶i̷m̶p̵a̷c̴t̶ ̴o̴f̷ ̴t̶h̷e̷ ̷s̶a̵c̴r̶i̶f̴i̸c̶e̵s̸ ̵y̵o̴u̷'̷v̸e̶ ̴a̷l̵r̵e̸a̵d̶y̵ ̵m̴a̵d̶e̶.̵

"Enough!" Lucy Gray bellowed into the dark forest night air as the temperature around her plummeted, a stark contrast to the fiery rage that now fueled her. "I will hear no more of this! I have never tolerated such insolence, and I will not start now, much less from myself! My choice has been made! It does not matter that whether or not I succeed, only that I continue to try!"

S̴o̷ ̴y̸o̷u̷ ̵w̵i̸l̸l̸ ̸s̵p̶e̸n̸d̶ ̴t̸h̵e̵ ̸r̴e̴m̷a̷i̵n̷d̸e̶r̸ ̶o̴f̴ ̷y̴o̵u̵r̸ ̴e̸x̵i̷s̴t̵e̸n̴c̵e̴ ̸s̵l̴a̷v̷i̸n̵g̵ ̶a̶w̶a̸y̷ ̷t̵o̸ ̵a̷t̶o̷n̵e̶ ̵f̷o̸r̴ ̶a̶ ̴t̶h̸o̶u̴s̶a̶n̴d̶ ̵i̴r̸r̸e̷v̵e̵r̴s̵i̷b̷l̷e̶ ̶a̸c̵t̵s̶,̸ ̴t̵o̷g̷e̵t̸h̸e̷r̵ ̷w̴i̵t̴h̵ ̸a̶ ̶h̴u̵m̴a̶n̸ ̸w̴h̴o̸ ̵f̵e̴a̴r̶s̸ ̷y̴o̶u̷.̵ ̵W̷h̵y̸?̷ ̴

Her eyes glowing bright blue with resolve, Lucy simply shrugged at the void. What was it Kimiko had once told her? "Gotta start somewhere."

And with a fury that even Odile could be proud of, she let loose a massive blizzard into the darkness.

The result was almost immediate. The howling of the cold wind drowned out the forest's sounds, sights, everything, until the scenery itself shattered like glass. And as the broken pieces fell away, they revealed a massive black-and-red void, and Lucy found herself no longer alone, in more ways than one.

Despite her best efforts, Olivia was about to lose her world.

Her sixth sense insisted something was wrong, but Olivia couldn't force the answer to come to her. Not when her human was being tortured right in front of her. Not while she was powerless to protect her.

The spectral chains that bound her dampened what little energy she had. She tried a psybeam; it had barely made contact before fizzling out. She tried to calm her mind; she'd never mastered the technique, and the present situation made it damn near impossible not to panic. The light of her dazzling gleam couldn't compare to a birthday candle. She couldn't even form a shadow ball, the chains seeming to feed of the very energy she channeled.

All she could do was lay there, watching her human being turned into a lightning rod. It was his way of torturing her, too.

"Stop it!" she tried to cry out. "Leave her alone... She doesn't... know anything..."

The cloaked human didn't even turn his head. She wasn't a threat to him.

Her trainer lay on the ground, her life force weak, the only motion in her body the spasms from the aftermath of the shocks. She was still conscious, if only just, but she was fading fast. If she passed out, she might never -

Wait. Olivia could still sense her! Maybe, just maybe... she could use that to their advantage.

She wasn't done fighting yet.

A strange throbbing pulse invaded Kimiko's mind. She wanted to scream, but... no, wait... this wasn't a shock. This was... different. Weak. Familiar. Only for a moment, and then it was gone. Then back again. Flickering like a candle in a breeze. A red glint caught her eye and she forced her head to move again, where she saw Olivia's jewel glowing and fading as she struggled to communicate. To... to keep her trainer grounded. A beacon she could focus on.

Right. She needed to stay awake. She needed to stay calm, keep her emotions under control. Easy. This... she'd gotten out of this once before. She could do it again. She didn't know how, but she could.

...Wait, what? She'd... she'd escaped before? Somehow, she knew it was true, and yet... here she was.

Kimiko took a deep breath, only resulting in a burning in her lungs that caused another outburst, which quickly devolved into a coughing fit. She wrapped her arms around herself and curled into a ball, not bothering or not able to stop the water streaking down her cheeks.

"You're so damaged you can't even scream anymore."

His tone was not anger, but disappointment, lacking the cruel playfulness she remembered. He was close. Too close. Kimiko couldn't bring herself to care. He didn't need to be close to hurt her, anyway.

Which he was quick to prove, almost as though he'd read her mind. The jolt was a quick one, but the suddenness of it left her reeling. The nasty burns that had formed on her arms and legs stung. She'd be lucky if she got away with only scars.

"It seems I may have gone overboard playing with my favorite toy. That's a shame. I particularly enjoyed draining your defiance." He was right next to her now. Kneeling. Her head began to move on its own... no, wait. His hand was under her chin, forcing her to look up into his face. She couldn't feel it, but she knew.

"Spii!" A flash of multicolored light accompanied the weak trill, as brief as the sound had been. Don't touch her!

"Still some fight left in you, though, is there?"

The attack couldn't have hurt him, but he sounded surprised regardless. Underneath that, the sadistic tone had also returned to Costas' voice, and it set off the Red Alert alarms in Kimiko's mind. Somehow, she forced herself onto her knees, just in time to see Costas snap, and the thunderbolt that flew from his hand normally reserved for her instead put Olivia down.

"Leave her alone!" Kimiko choked out. Why didn't she see this coming? He'd been willing to kill her last time. Why had it not occurred to her that he'd likely attack her partner this time, too?

Her outburst did what she needed it to, however; his somewhat surprised attention was back on her, sickening twisted grin and all. "Is that all it takes to re-energize you? Hah. If I'd have known that, I'd have been attacking your partners from the start!"

Suddenly, Kimiko found her voice. "Go feed yourself to a dusknoir, you colossal waste of flesh and air." She got another shock as reward for her creativity.

Another weak throb in her brain. Olivia was still there, though Kimiko couldn't tell how much longer that would hold true. She forced herself to her knees again. She couldn't give in, not here, not when Olivia needed her... but she was barely able to see her espeon with her wet, blurry eyes. Her mistake was even trying.

"Now now, don't get distracted." Another snap, and the psychic signal in her mind vanished as Olivia was hit again.

"Fucking stop!" Kimiko shouted, crawling towards her partner. She planted herself as best she could in between Costas and Olivia. The espeon looked up at her with wide, pleading eyes as she stroked her back. "It's okay. We'll be okay. I won't let him hurt you anymore."

The sparks dancing around her body were the only signs she'd been shocked again. She knew it was coming, but it didn't matter. If he was going to get to Olivia, he'd have to get through her first. He could shock her until her brain fried, but she wasn't moving from this spot.

Except something was different. She wasn't screaming. She couldn't even feel the sparks. There they were, bright and quite obviously doing their best to harm her. It wasn't like she'd finally become numb to the pain, either; a flex of her fingers proved she still had full control of her body. So then, what...?

She started to turn back around, only to stop as she spotted the forest outside the cell bars. Why was that there? She... she hadn't been captured in the forest... no, she'd been lost in a blizzard prior to her captivity. And in the span of a single blink, the forest was gone, replaced by a chilling white snowscape.

But that, too, was wrong. She had been cold, but... her cell hadn't been exposed to the snow like that. She'd been inside, in some sort of basement dungeon. And again, the scenery shifted to match her thoughts. What was going on here? Was she more out of it than she herself realized?

She finished turning towards Costas, his hand outstretched towards her, electricity still arcing between them. It was blinding, but not painful. It didn't even tickle. Without another word, he lowered his hand and the light ceased.

"....How did you do that?" Kimiko asked, her voice low.

Costas simply tilted his head. His expression mirrored her own bewilderment.

"Your hand," Kimiko clarified. Something was wrong... no, something was right. Her head, while more confused, felt less hazy than it had in ages. She could think. "Where's your rotom?"

"I'm the one asking the questions, darling."

Why did that make her feel stronger? The tears kept coming, but slower now. "No. What... what's going on? Why can you shoot lightning from your hand?"

"You can't?" Of course, she wasn't going to get a straight answer out of him and his stupid, gaudy glasses. Bright gold, very shiny, almost like... what was that other gold thing? A ring? It was something important, some... other thing she needed to find.


Kimiko let out a small gasp as Olivia padded up beside her, looking quite healthy, chains gone. The espeon spared her trainer a lick on the cheek, then turned back to Costas and let out an threatening growl, her forehead jewel shining so bright that Kimiko could see the corners of the room.

Something she needed to find... Darkrai. Costas had said it earlier. She hadn't been imagining that. "This is wrong," she decided with a sniffle. "People don't control lightning. Scenery doesn't just change in the literal blink of an eye. Tell me what the fuck is happening!"

Costas simply laughed. Quiet at first, but the sound got louder the longer it continued, until finally, he... exploded. A bright, showy flash of sparks erupted from the spot where he'd once been.

And in his place, an enormous hoopa, shining a radiant gold.

Olivia's reaction was almost instant. Her jewel glowed light pink, her own bright light engulfing the entire cell and blotting out even Orzo's massive form. Kimiko tried to shield her eyes with one arm, the other around Olivia; she wasn't going to lose her partner, even if they couldn't see each other. But the light was too strong, and the next thing she knew was the sensation of falling...

Kimiko awoke with little more than a small flinch, as was common with her nightmares. The fact that she'd gotten that good at hiding her sudden awakenings from Alex definitely said something, but she wasn't sure what. Regardless, it served the same function here; keeping others from knowing she'd just had A Time. What wasn't common was waking up with her cheeks wet, and that only seemed to be getting worse. That was going to be quite a bit harder to hide.

She moved to sit up and immediately felt a drop in temperature as Lucy floated into view, looking... she wasn't really sure what to call it. She'd never seen that expression on the face of her froslass before. She almost looked... unsettled. Which could possibly make sense, given their surroundings; Kimiko only spared a second to take in their bizarre location before turning to Olivia. She, too, was stirring, and trembling slightly. Kimiko held out a hand and received a lick in response, so it was safe to run her hand through the espeon's fur. Olivia meanwhile stood up and shook herself out before sitting back down and leaning into her human's body. Lucy hovered unusually close as the three of them tried to settle down.

A slower, more proper inspection of their location revealed the rest of the Trousselin crew, plus Clink, a hoopa, and the flygon chef, all in various states of unconsciousness. Some looked out cold, while others appeared to be wide awake. But every face she could see from her position was harried in some form. That was a small relief, rendering her worries somewhat moot, if everyone else just had a similar experience. Considering Darkrai was known as the Nightmare Lord, this wasn't even in the 'unusual' category for this vacation.

Which meant, what, was that nightmare some sort of... of trial, some prerequisite to even meet Darkrai? Hadn't every single one of them been through enough fucking torment in the last week? Gods, she hoped this all was worth it...

She found she couldn't stop her sobs from shaking her body. So, satisfied that everyone - both her team and her new friends - was present and not currently in any real danger, Kimiko spun around and put her back to the rest of them before burying her face in Olivia's fur. Better to try to get it all out now than let anyone else see her feeling so exposed.
Last edited:
Clink's Nightmare - Unlocking Hope


Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
  7. salandit
(CW: Violence, bloody imagery, death)

Clink shook themself and blinked as they looked around. Odd. They were back in their own realm, their home. Surrounded by their keys, the familiar comfort of the soft pink sky and vibrant grass. Had the portal failed-? The thought seemed to dissolve as they took a moment to just... breathe. Here was safe. Here was hom-

A piercing pain tore through Clink’s spirit and they shrieked, jerking in midair. Their whole body seized for a moment before the sensation passed, leaving Clink panting and shaking. Jerking frantically through the air they checked the keyholes all around them. “No, no no-”

One of them, a floating blue one with a silhouette that looked like an avian face with two ears, suddenly cracked. Then, before Clink’s eyes, it shattered into hundreds of pieces before dissolving into nothing. A matching golden key nearby turned gray and brittle, before slowly turning to dust and blowing away into the still air.

Hollowness consumed Clink. If the keyhole shattered it only meant one thing. He was.... “Latios no!”

A horrible shriek split the air. One of the keyholes, a red one, split and something red tumbled out. Too red. Clink cried out and raced to Latias’ side. Red so much red it barely even resembled them anymore, their limbs twisted and body mangled, empty gouges where her eyes had been, pitiful wheezing breaths wracking her chest.

“Clink. Clink... why,” her words were agonized squeaks, a shadow of her true self. “You... you were supposed to be a protector. Clink...” her voice cracked again. “Clink I can’t see. Where’s... my brother? I can’t feel him. I can't feel him Clink why can’t I feel him!? Where is he?” she cried out, anger punctuating her frail, frantic words. “Where is he!” her head jerked up and she stared straight at him, unseeing. Clink stared back, paralyzed by her horrible gaze.

And then, with a final strangled noise, she fell limp.

The world around Clink seemed to pulse. They drifted back, shaking their tiny head. And then they looked up.

Fire. All around, blazing, burning, oppressive heat and horrible orange flames. Smoke turned the sky to a deathly gray and the ground below Clink was suddenly barren and dry. Latias was gone, only ashes and bones. And all around, Clink saw more and more bodies, all the mythical pokemon, all the ones they were meant to watch over, all their friends- Jirachi, burned horribly. Manaphy, gasping their final breath. Meloette, broken, Keldeo, horn gone, legs twisted- Clink whimpered and shook their head.

Above, a shadowy horned spectre danced through smoke, eyes like burning coals. A blur of motion, then it was right in front of him, eyes blazing, a ghostly hand wrapped around Clink.

Clink screamed and jerked away but its grip tightened.

“̴̳̇̔̊̀̌T̷̛̩̪̳̾ͅh̸͕̣͕͐̈̈́̀̉̀á̷̡͓̮̲̯̯̔͛̋͆̎n̴̛̹̪͋̌̾͆̈́͑̈̚k̵̛̙̞̦͈̺̟̮̖̟̑̈́̋̒̄̉̎̾ ̸̡͔̦̲̙̮̮̈́̆̈́̇͒̆̀̈́͜y̶̡̼̣̤̙̞̾̃̀͐͆͛̂́̉ö̸͙͈̦̣̻̫́̂̑̀ͅu̶̫͒́́̈́̑̚̕,̷̨̬͕̹̣͉͖͉̜͑͑͠”̴̛͓͕̺̼̞̻̦͆̽̀͆ the spectre’s voice filled Clink’s mind. Its other hand wrapped around one of the keys on Clink’s ring.

“No!” Clink’s cry rang out, like grating metal. “Stop please stop!” he begged, voice cracking.

The spectre laughed mockingly, then yanked the key off of Clink. “̷W̸a̵n̶t̶ ̸t̶o̴ ̵k̵n̸o̶w̴ ̴t̵h̸e̵ ̵f̵u̵n̸n̶y̶ ̸p̶a̴r̷t̴?̵ ̴Y̵o̵u̷ ̸w̸e̶r̵e̶ ̶t̶h̷e̸ ̶k̶e̶y̴ ̷t̴o̸ ̶e̷v̸e̸r̵y̷t̴h̸i̴n̵g̶.̶ ̴T̵h̶i̴s̸ ̶i̶s̵ ̷a̵l̸l̶ ̷p̵o̴s̶s̸i̷b̸l̸e̷ ̴t̵h̸a̶n̴k̷s̴ ̶t̷o̵ ̶y̷o̴u̸.̴ ̷S̷i̵l̸l̶y̴ ̸g̸u̸l̸l̶i̷b̷l̷e̶ ̸C̸l̵i̸n̶k̸.̸”̷ It yanked away another key. “̴W̵i̵t̴h̵o̸u̴t̷ ̴y̷o̸u̷r̵ ̷h̶e̷l̸p̸,̵ ̴n̴o̶n̸e̸ ̶o̸f̵ ̶t̵h̸i̴s̸ ̵c̷o̶u̵l̶d̵ ̴h̷a̷v̷e̵ ̶w̸o̵r̸k̷e̴d̸.̷”̴ It tore off another key, then another. Clink whimpered and cried out as they were cast aside, leaving empty, phantom sensations where they had been. “̸S̴i̴l̴l̸y̶ ̸C̴l̶i̷n̷k̶,̷ ̶c̷h̴a̸s̴i̴n̶g̵ ̸f̵r̴i̷e̴n̶d̶s̴h̷i̵p̴ ̸l̶i̶k̴e̸ ̵a̷ ̵f̶o̵o̵l̵,̴ ̸a̸n̶d̸ ̸s̶o̸ ̷e̷a̷s̵i̸l̵y̵ ̵f̶a̶l̴l̴i̷n̸g̴ ̶f̸o̶r̵ ̶e̷v̴e̶r̴y̵ ̵s̸t̷u̵p̸i̵d̸ ̴l̵i̷t̶t̵l̵e̷ ̸n̸u̵d̵g̴e̸ ̴I̴ ̴g̴a̴v̷e̴ ̷y̶o̷u̷.̶”̸ It tore off the last key, a flower shaped one. It held up the Shaymin-key in triumph, a malicious grin splitting its face.

“̷S̶i̸l̸l̴y̵,̵ ̵s̶t̴u̶p̶i̵d̸ ̴C̵l̸i̶n̷k̷.̷ ̵P̴o̷w̷e̷r̴l̴e̸s̴s̸.̵”̵ It started to fade, then paused. It spoke again, words hauntingly polite, almost sincere. Clink’s body felt like it was crawling. “Where are my manners? Thank you.” And then it was gone.

All around the fire raged on, yet soundlessly now. Almost like one of the silent movies he’d watch with-. The once vibrant keyholes floating all around winked out of existence, shattering or fading as the realms collapsed.

And as Clink stared helplessly, all the keys, the hundreds of keys they’d collected over the years, keepsakes and memories and experiences they’d held on to, began to melt. Brass, bronze and steel blurred together into meaningless, oozing slag, drenching the barren land.

Clink curled their now empty keyring around themself and collapsed to the ground, utterly still. And they wept. No tears came, but somewhere inside, they wept until nothing remained but a great emptiness.

What felt like a great deal of time passed. The fires burned themselves out, but the sky remained gray. Vast stretches of cooled metal were all that remained, as far as Clink could see, broken up only by white bones and dead grass. Their entire life's work and legacy gone. And it was their fault. They drifted listlessly across the realm, on...

and on...

and on....

And then the tiniest twinkle caught their eye. A glint. Apathetically, they meandered slowly over to a small patch of earth that had somehow gone unburned. A tiny patch of green and the tiniest of pink flowers. Nestled there lay one key, an old brass one.

Puzzled, Clink picked it up. Odd. They didn’t remember this one...

A few feet away was a small, keyhole, flickering, barely alive.

Slowly, lethargically, Clink pressed the key into the hole and turned.

It expanded a few inches, until it was like a small tv, and Clink drifted forward into it.

It was a memory. A memory from so many years ago, Clink had almost forgotten. Except... this seemed different, somehow.

A man, standing before the burned husk of a building, eyes moist with tears. His blonde hair was ashen and soot stained his face. His clothes were mussed and his shoulders were hunched, eyes on the ground.

It was just after they’d first met Xavian. They didn’t remember how, but somehow the library Xavian had helped fund and build had burned down. They watched as Xavian wandered forward and knelt down. He brushed aside the crumbling remains of a bookshelf and withdrew a survivor of the flames, an old book. He dusted it off, then nodded to himself, a ghost of a smile returning to his face.

Then, as Clink watched, they saw themself from the past drift over to Xavian, keys drooping, their face full of distress. “I am sorry Xavian. It’s... it's all gone.”

Xavian turned to them, smiling, even through the pain in their eyes. “Clink, my dear friend... This is not the end.”

“But the library... our library is gone. Everything we had is gone.”

“No, it's not. Yes, we lost books, we lost a building. I lost something very dear to me today.” He gestured to the building. “But this library isn’t everything. It’s not me. I’m not just a collector of books, the same way you’re not just a gatekeeper or just a Klefki.”

He chuckled grandly, the way he did so often when he had an idea or was inspired. “Why, this is just a chance to build an even better library! A new one, together. With a friend.”

Clink turned to face Xavian in surprise. The memory played, almost on fast forward. Months of construction, expanding the land, building new areas for trainers and people of all kinds. And finally, it was open, and Xavian was leading Past Clink through the library, hand over their eyes, all the way back to a far, quiet corner of the library, to a small panel set into the wall with a keyhole.

Xavian took his hands away and handed Clink a small brass key. Clink set it into the lock, opening it. And inside was a tiny, perfectly Klefki sized cubby with cushions and rings to hang keys on and all their favorite books. “This, my friend, is for you.”

Clink turned to Xavian, stunned. “For me? But why?”

Xavian chuckled goodnaturedly. “Why? Clink, I don't need a reason why other than you’re my friend.”

The memory flickered, then faded away. Once more Clink found themselves in their realm. Nothing had changed and yet.... Clink gripped the single brass key tightly. Something began to burn, deep inside them.

High above, they spotted a familiar shape, the horned spectre, a poisonous black spot in the sky.

A great, terrible noise filled the air, like a metallic battle cry. Clink realized with a start it was their own voice. The spectre turned, locking its malignant red gaze on Clink. Clink glared back, unafriad.

It sneered. “̴S̴i̶l̶l̶y̴,̵ ̸C̴l̷i̸n̶k̸,̷ ̷c̵o̷m̴e̶ ̵b̷a̴c̵k̴ ̶t̴o̵ ̸t̵r̶y̴ ̶a̶n̷d̸ ̴f̷i̵g̵h̸t̴ ̷m̴e̸ ̶a̵g̵a̸i̵-̶”̵

Searing pink light blasted through the spectre, shattering it. It reformed after a moment, eyes wide with shock and sputtering. “How dare-!”

Another beam of light tore a chunk off its head. The chunk reformed, slower.

“I’ve had enough!” Clink roared. They fired another orb of fairy energy, ripping off one of the creature's horns.

It hissed in fury and tried to fire off a shadowy beam, but Clink dodged easily.

“̵Y̸o̵u̶ ̴k̴n̴o̷w̵ ̷t̴h̷i̴s̵ ̴i̶s̸ ̸a̵l̴l̶ ̴y̷o̵u̵r̴ ̸f̷a̴u̶l̷t̵!̷”̶ ̷I̷t̵ ̵s̸c̶r̸e̶e̵c̷h̷e̶d̴.̶ ̶“̴A̸l̵l̵ ̶o̴f̵ ̷t̷h̶i̸s̵ ̴i̵s̴ ̶y̸o̴u̴--̶”̸

Not its not!” Clink roared. “You did this! You plotted and used and manipulated. You kidnapped innocent trainers! You hurt them, you attacked the mythical pokemon, you did everything.”

Clink hurled blast after blast at the thing, tearing it apart. Each time it tried to reform, it came back smaller and smaller until it was barely the size of a candle flame. Clink tightened their grip on the single brass key. “I’m done blaming myself for your evil! This. Isn’t. My. Fault!”

The memories flowed through Clink, lending them strength they didn’t know they possessed. More than a Klefki. More than a gatekeeper. Get up. Try again. Rebuild.

“I don’t need a reason. You’re my friend.”

With a furious cry Clink let loose a stream of pure light, burning through all that remained of Orzo’s spectre.

The light tore across the blackened sky and crashed into it. A shining web of cracks spread across the sky. And then it shattered. As the nightmare faded, Clink faced ahead, finally free.
Violet & Hazel: Courage & Compassion


Otherworldly Dessert
  1. lurantis
  2. custom/noivern-astrea
(CW: Violence, light gore, needles, death)​

The Noble House of Gael was, as it always stood, a grim light in a pale winter’s day. The ashen walls that spoke of valor to those outside only trapped those inside. At least, this was the case for the young girl of six years within its walls. From her perspective the walls were pitch black and muttering danger and fear. She had, after all, crawled underneath her bed.

“Violet, where art thou?” An angered woman cried out as the room’s door slammed open. Violet nestled herself deeper underneath the wooden framing of her bed. “Thou art fully aware that the birthright ceremony is today. Thou shalt present thyself in thine proper dress, right this second!” The woman demanded as she stomped her foot in front of the bed.

So Violet did what she did best: she ran. The brief surprise on her mother’s face was always gratifying, but it only ever delayed the inevitable. The family’s Gallade had been on standby in front of the door, and he promptly grabbed the fleeing child before she could escape.

Violet’s mother shook her head as she sighed. “Why doth thou always try to run away from everything? This is for thine brother. At least be there for him.”

Years later her brother Azure, now five years old, laid on top of the fluffy cloud that descended upon the earth to give its blessing to all good children. That is to say, he had been relaxing on top of his favorite Pokémon, Wooloo. Azure had been warned many times that he wasn’t allowed to go out in the fields like this unless there was a knight or their Pokémon present. But her sister was there. Violet assured him that she was more than qualified enough to be his knight's stand-in.

In reality, Violet simply needed an excuse to run away from home again.

They would flee back to the estate filled with scratch marks all over their arms after the local Sneasel thought their Wooloo would make a tasty sneak once the humans were out of the way. When asked about what happened, she ran from that conversation as well.

Violet was sixteen when the Darkest Day arrived. The day when the skies became blood, when the lightning shredded entire cities, when the quakes threatened to rip apart the land they had long lived on. Violet promised Azure that running from their home was for their own good, that it wasn’t safe, and that they could live a better life away from it; the scarlet storm was the divine sign that it ought to be so.

The cave they settled in was but a brief respite from the hell that was outside. It was only there, in that familiar location, that Violet suddenly became aware of where she was — of who she was in the present day. She became aware that it was a repeat of a memory: the scarlet lightning, a storm overhead, and that witch waltzing in. “No no, not again-” she gasped as she realized what was about to happen.

With the wave of that note-shaped hand, she saw Azure be torn apart in front of her eyes once more. Almost against her own will, her body moved. She turned, shaking with fear and ran as far as he could—

An enormous white stick of a foot stopped her in her tracks as it barely missed her. Her terrified gaze looked up and saw that witch, in full view, towering over her. The witch looked strangely similar to Meloetta, but that sinister purple and malicious smile reminded her that they were nothing alike. Violet turned and tried to run once more, only to find that thousands of copies of that witch had surrounded her. There was nowhere to run.

She gasped as she woke up in the present day once more. Those alien yet familiar white walls and strange patterns on the machines… It was a Pokémon Center. She looked out the window and looked upon the towering buildings filled with all kinds of lights and screens. She couldn’t remember when she got there, but she must have been in Jubilife City with Hazel trying to find the professor. But… where was Hazel?

Violet let out a light gasp as one of the monitors in the room flashed on with a buzz. On it was an image of Azure’s face, just one day prior to the Darkest Day. “I promise I’ll be with you always, Violet!” the recording of Azure said with a smile that outshone the sun itself. Violet winced as her breath hitched. Her fingers curled as she took a tentative step back, before fleeing out of the building as fast as her legs could take her.

The city was devoid of people, but not of sound. As she ran, every monitor, billboard, television, and screen was filled with that same scene. Azure’s smile, her promise to not leave him, playing over, and over, and over… Until finally, all at once, they flashed to the Darkest Day. Showing Violet fleeing from the witch. Showing her eventual black out.

She let out a hysterical yelp as she ran into an alleyway in a panic. Away from any monitors. Away from seeing her own shame. By cruel fate, she spotted Hazel, laying face-first on the ground in pain. “Hazel!” She called out, trying to reach out, only to look further up and see that witch once more. Her leg was glowing and positioned just above the Weavile’s neck.

Violet froze in place at the sight. In that moment of hesitation, the corrupted Meloetta stomped on Hazel’s neck with a loud crack. Then, Hazel too shattered into pieces as she distorted away into nothingness.

“Yet another one a coward could have saved,” the witch taunted with a voice laced with pure venom.

Violet, falling to her knees, clutched her head as she bellowed out a scream that pierced the heavens.

When she woke up once more, she was shaking in a wooden seat next to assorted tables. With a gasp she looked down and saw blue fur covering her body and long, thick claws sitting where her hands were.

“A-are you okay?!” a voice bleated out next to her — one that sounded exactly like her brother’s. Her head jolted in the direction of the voice; her unfocused, distressed gaze registered what was in front of her. A Wooloo. If she were a Weavile, then, that meant…

“Azure…? Is that you?” She whispered as she took a careful blink.

“Huh? Of course it is Vi! I just finished making lunches for everybody in the guild. I think you should have some extra berry soup; those missions must’ve got you really tensed up, huh?” Wooloo replied as he nudged the bowl on the table in front of her with his snout.

“Y-Yes, t-thank you,” Violet stammered out as she turned to the food she was served. Violet thought to herself that this must have been the life her counterpart had been living. It was… nice. Her brother was there and alive. She was apparently some sort of mercenary. She was also a Pokémon, which was strange, yet not unwelcomed. As if she were simply trying on a new pair of footwear that fit perfectly, but hadn't been worn enough to be fully comfortable.

She stared at Wooloo, then at herself once more. A voice snaked into her mind. Would it not be easier to just live out this memory for as long as she could? Maybe even for the rest of her life. Just run away from everything. Things were much better this way, after all. She could just live this dream life forever and ever.

Violet was about ready to agree with the voice, when suddenly an intense headache punctured through her skull as though it were a hammer smashing a watmel berry over and over. More thoughts — this time, in her own voice. No, not quite: it was her “voice”, but not “her” voice. Why art thou trying to take mine body?! Don’t you have your own life?! Stay out of mine! Each remark assaulted her senses as she felt her entire being pummeled with each point. She struggled just enough to flee from the guild hall as she fought against wave after wave of the migraine. She almost felt like her skin was peeling right off of her head.

Violet ran, and ran, and ran, until she collapsed onto the ground. However, she never felt the thud. Her aura was ejected out of the Weavile body — leaving behind a small, blue flame floating in place. The Weaviolet, now freed of the apparition, stood up and dusted herself off. She turned to Violet with anger in her gaze as she spat in her direction. Weaviolet placed her claw on the spirit flame, telling her that she was worthless as she was — nothing but a spineless coward that didn’t deserve the life she had abandoned.

When the flame blinked, Violet found herself back in the realm of memory: at the cave once more, as a human, just before the witch arrived. Run, a voice in her head cried. Run, coward.

The witch stepped in once more. Violet saw Azure, saw the twisted aura again, saw herself stand up as she felt her body try to force herself to run

With all of her might, she resisted every part of her body screaming at her to turn away, and instead grabbed onto Azure’s arm. As though pulling the sun itself, she tugged at the arm until Azure gave and fell towards his sister. She threw him behind her; the witch wouldn't get to him for as long as she stood. Shivers had crawled all over her legs and back as she stood her ground in front of the witch’s face. Her teary eyes trembled as she yelled out, “Azure… Hazel… I love you!” She knew full well she would die, but she would die trying to save him. No more running away.

An intense pain unlike anything she had ever felt before overwhelmed her as every fiber of her being was pulled, tugged, ripped apart and scattered into the wind as though it were confetti. She felt everywhere and anywhere at once, she felt pain in places she never knew even existed, yet she felt satisfied that she did what she could. And she would gladly do it again for Hazel, too. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t even in existence anymore. She would find a way.

Then, her eyes truly opened.

Hazel blinked, jarred from her train of thought as she took a long blink. She looked up and— for a moment, felt a sickening sense of something like déjà vu, but with more wrongness. She was supposed to be on an island with a human, and there was a kidnapping—

The thoughts fell away as she recalled where she was. Icy tundra, a smattering of trees, and four walls on either side, a concrete cage. And on one wall, clear glass — a sickening reminder of a world beyond, shut off to her. Beyond the glass, she saw shapes. People, pointing and gawking. Her stomach churned. She had seen the sign outside long ago: “World’s First Typing Weavile! Come and see the world’s smartest Pokémon!”

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she recalled something - a memory...? No. A fantasy. One where she had a father who loved her, and a lab she called home, and a trainer... a person. Who loved her and who she loved. A world warmer than this cold one, where she’s more than an attraction to be gawked at. More than an experiment. One where she wasn’t alone.

She scampered back to the stick thin trees and whatever privacy they offered. This was all she had though. This was her life. When her stomach rumbled empty, Hazel let out a defeated sigh as she sauntered back out in the open once more. If she wanted food, she had to do her little trick for the audience. Out in the cold, open area surrounded by thick glass that only served to remind her just how loveless the world truly was. Even if she were out there, none of those sightseers would’ve cared. Not unless she performed for them.

Hazel dragged herself towards one of the blinding white walls that smelled of cheap plaster. She wasn’t sure why she knew it was cheap, but the fakeness of it all was clear by its repugnance. It was on this cold canvas that the Weavile-sized keyboard was mounted on. Seated directly above the keyboard was an enormous electronic sign that read out every character for observers to see her “trick” in action. With a spiritless lift of her claw, she carefully tapped each key.


She could hear the muffled “ooos” and “ahhs” as various figures pointed and pulled out devices of their own to record her feat. Hazel turned around and eyed her audience with bitter boredom. Not a single one of them held a true curiosity or compassion. They were entertained in the moment, and then would leave when she stopped. Her eyes stopped at a pair of figures: one adult, clad in a white coat, and another a teenager with curly black hair. They looked just like—

No one. She never met any kind humans before. That was just a fantasy she so desperately clung onto to not try to starve herself out of the situation. At that thought, her stomach rumbled once more as she groaned. She continued the show.

“I AM WEAVILE”. As if that weren’t completely obvious.

“YOU ARE WARM HUMAN”. In body temperature, perhaps. But their hearts were far colder than the ice her brethren could summon.

“THANK YOU FOR COMING”. Her expression changed to disgust as a bowl of gruel popped out from a nearby chute. “Thank you,” she had to type, as though she had to be grateful for the way humans treated her. Hazel glared at the facsimile of food as though it were one of her “caretakers”. Humans were disgusting, vile creatures with morals more chilling than an Avalugg in winter. To think she once dreamed about the day she could meet and talk to them — a naive fantasy borne from misconception that they were ever equals.

She recalled as a little Sneaslet taking a book from her father — no — that wasn’t it. Humans made books, not Sneasel. Right, her father was teaching her how to hunt when stumbled upon the book somewhere in the dirt. It had opened her to a whole new world of knowledge. She easily picked up that there were full patterns in the pages. She deduced humans had invented systems similar to their scratch mark communication, but it was far more involved.

She tried applying the same principles to the scratch markings on the trees, but that only angered and confused the others in her clan. The more she tried to introduce a new system or idea, the more they pushed her away. Maybe she just needed to learn more about it first. She could grab more books from the lab

—from the dump that the human’s had made to toss out any of their old trinkets. Her clan visited on occasion to scavenge for food, but long abandoned it when they found whatever was left to be sickening. There was a dictionary within the pile of garbage, then a picture book, and they just kept coming. She’d almost imagine a human figure trying to teach her, but that too was mere fantasy.

Of course, the more time she spent on deciphering tomes, the less practice she had as a hunter. The Sneasel around her looked at her with disdain and disgust. Human stench clung to her fur. The books made her fragile and inattentive. No one wanted to form hunt squads with her; a predator would find and devour them in an instant with her around.

She was reluctantly handed the baby portions for the Sneaslets when she couldn’t catch anything on her own, but they would never allow her to eat alongside the rest of the clan. Something about this memory hit chillingly close to home. Eventually, the clan tore up with the pile of books she amassed as they became sick of her weakness. If she refused to do her part and hunt with the others, she would be abandoned.

Even without the threat, Hazel had already felt so, so alone. But she clung onto every bit of hope she could. Maybe if she didn’t fit with her kind, she could fit with mankind. Humans made all those wonderful scrolls and books, and their knowledge was so diverse and deep! She’d just need to find one human she could talk to using that written language, and then she wouldn’t be alone again! She’d be with people who love her for what she is!

How foolish of a thought that was. When sought out the humans, she found a white building — a lab, as she learned later on — where her pointing and “reading” of words got their attention. She was able to finally make contact. They even gave her food and put her in front of all kinds of different materials to learn from. It was where she belonged, she thought.

Then reality crashed in. People in suits began walking in and out, and a scent became ever more present: the stench of human filth. The first humans were merely blank shells to her nose — inoffensive, beneath notice — but everyone else that entered was putrid. The medical equipment that poked and prodded at her relentlessly as they tested every bit of her. Needles became injectors. Warm rooms became cold cages. They forced a Razor Claw onto her and evolve just to see just how fancy her mannerisms could get.

Then the humans grew tired of it, as they typically do. They started using bigger, newer words she couldn’t understand on purpose. Her demonstrations went from writing entire passages to typing simple sentences. She could barely register when the days had passed.

In her haze, she had woken up one day to discover she was being transported to a high-profile zoo. She was practically tossed into the exhibit of plastic rocks and hollow trees. So cold. So foul. So alone. A glass window separated her from the rest of the people. No Sneasel or Weavile to speak with, either. Only human gawkers that reeked of that slime.

She tried to communicate as she had during her first contact, but using the keyboard rather than through scratches. Each time she did, the suits would take her away to a cold, dim laboratory to poke and prod with all kinds of tools to measure her brain. She eventually learned she had to play dumb to stop it from happening. When her progress halted, the interventions slowed, yet was still regularly locked her in box and tested on at the end of each week.

She dreamt for years about one day meeting a kind person during those tests. Someone who was just curious enough to want to know what she was thinking rather than how she was thinking it. She then fantasized about what it would be like to be in that position — to be the one who could try to learn more about the world with the vast resources and body of knowledge humanity commanded. She would be the kind one. The one who could find ways to bridge the gap between humans and pokemon. Learning whatever she wanted and sharing that knowledge with the world over.

But she was a mere Pokémon, and nothing more. Her window of sharing was a tiny glass pane next to gawkers who all had their own judgments to make — their own curiosity merely ending at, "I wonder if it would try to eat my Pokémon’s eggs?!”, and “I can’t believe that a wild beast could be so smart!" She heard it so many times that it stopped being offensive.

Hazel gazed at the keyboard-laden wall, exhausted and wondering if she try calling for help again, but she shook her head. It would be a futile endeavor. Early on, she tried writing "HELP" and other similar words in hopes of getting some kind soul’s attention. Many phrases had been blacklisted since, and now the keyboard shocked her whenever she tried to enter them. Eventually, the suits grew tired of her craftiness and forced into a schedule of phrases to write over and over, such as “HELLO WORLD”, “GOOD NIGHT EVERYONE”, and “CHECK OUT THE GIFT SHOP”. It was boring. It was humiliating. It was lonely.

At first, she refused to follow the schedule and just kept doing whatever staved off boredom at the time. Then they started tying her meals to it. If she wrote what they wanted, she’d get food. She hated just how much more it made her feel so alone. Not even the people were feeding her anymore… just a machine. Not that they would allow her to starve herself, either, of course; she was too attractive of a commodity for that. They would give her the bare minimum to look healthy enough without any input on the keyboard/feeding machine, but if she wanted anything satisfying she'd have to play her role. As a Pokémon. That was the way of the world, after all: humans smart, Pokémon dumb animals. It was just nature.

Her eyes turned to that curly, black-haired girl in the window again. Recognition registered in the back of her head. Maybe a repeat visitor? She had an adult with her. His scent was so... Gentle. Familiar. When the man looked away and tried tugging the girl to leave with him, Hazel couldn't help herself try to approach and look closer. There was some vain hope that maybe, just maybe, she might not be so alone.

She tried calling out, but she wouldn't be understood. She was just a lonely animal. They kept walking away. There was no hope. She was condemned to be alone from start to finish. That was all there was to it.

Their figures were still in sight. If only she could just reach through the glass and talk to them…

But she was alone. Just an animal. Just—

She clenched her claw.
No she wasn't.
She wasn't just an animal.
She wasn't alone.
If there were people like that who could show even the slightest bit of kindness, even the slightest bit of curiosity. Then she wasn't truly alone.
Forget acting dumb or smart or anything like that. She wanted to be loved.

She slammed her claw into the glass pane to everyone's surprise. She bleated out vague calls as she waved and pointed to the pair.

The two looked back. The girl tugged at his sleeve and pointed. A muffled ask of words. She was able to piece together “Look!” and “Please?” even through the thick window. There was hope. Hazel beckoned them closer. Maybe, just maybe—

They were curious. Genuine curiosity. Even if there were two people in the entire world who wanted to see her as more than just a fleeting sideshow, then maybe she wasn’t alone. She leapt to the keyboard and tried typing “GIRL?” and pointing at the girl. It would be simple enough to trick the caretakers into thinking it was part of the show, she hoped. The girl looked on in wonder and nodded her head. The father was shaking his head. Her heart leapt with the girl, but sunk with the man. Why did it hurt so much to see the professor— that man’s face in such a dismissive expression?

Hazel realized she was being a bit too convincing in her act, and her chance was slipping. She tried again. “ARE YOU HAPPY?” She asked. No shock from the machine, thankfully, since it didn’t hit any of the bad keywords. It even sounded convincingly like it was part of the advertisement.

The girl nodded her head even more, excited, trying to tug at the distracted parent looking down at the phone before he sighed and looked on.

The Weavile would prove she wasn’t alone. She noticed the man was doing a bunch of taps on his device. Almost like she does with her keyboard. Maybe she could relate on that point. She pointed at the man and asked, “KEYBOARD?” then points at the device in his hand.

The man looked surprised, and slowly nodded his head, raising a skeptical brow.

Hazel pointed at the two as she typed, “NAME?”

The young one spoke up with vigor, and a strange accent that pierced through the clear wall, “Violet!” she said.

The warm voice from the man also spoke up. “Douglas.”

Hazel spelled it out on the keyboard, trying to figure out the strange silent letters but managing to get it right. "DOUGLAS. VIOLET."

The man looked around as he realized there was no stage runner around. The Weavile herself was doing that.

The two approached closer. The girl made a heart symbol with hands, while the man asked, "Are you okay?"

Hazel's eyes widened in surprise. Someone... cared. Genuinely cared. "I AM NOT"

The man's eyes shifted around before settling down on his handheld device. He seemed to make a few more taps before beckoning Hazel closer. He showed a message on it that read:
We will get you out soon. Just hang on tight, okay?

Hazel let out a gasp as tears formed in her long dry, aching eyes.

She wasn’t alone.
She wasn’t just an animal.
She was loved by someone.

She could connect with humanity. Even just a small bit like this meant that they could be equals.
All that was needed was... a tiny spark of compassionate curiosity.

Hazel sharply inhaled as she woke up with a start. The void-filled landscape of scarlet nothingness filled her vision as she registered the floating islands around her. It was like a place straight out of a… nightmare

The Weavile stood up as she clenched onto her head. She was in Darkrai’s realm, she realized. Everything she just experienced was all just a twisted nightmare, thank goodness. Yet, for some reason, that statement didn’t feel entirely true. It felt right to say her time in the exhibit was all staged within the nightmare, but everything before that felt chillingly familiar. It didn’t make sense. She was born and raised in her father’s laboratory. She was probably just found as an egg and taken in from the goodness of his heart… right?

But then there was that legend she had read about on the island. Mewtwo: humanity’s attempt at cloning Pokémon. If her father had research on the other Hazel’s artificial species, then could have also…?

Everything felt so cold again.

Pale arms wrapped around her shivering, shaking body as everything felt so warm, comforting, and close again. She looked at her trainer as their teary eyes matched one another. That’s right: she was never alone. Not anymore.

The embrace that followed felt warmer than anything Hazel had ever felt before.
Last edited:
Wes, Neo, and Novo: Of Angst and Anguish


Gym Leader
  1. suicune
  2. umbreon
  3. mew
The wind howled, billowing gusts of sand in every direction. Neo flattened his ears and pressed against Wes’ side, staring blankly at his brother’s lifeless form.

Not real. Not real. Not real.

It was the only reasonable explanation. Yes, that was it. This was…a game. It was pretend. Ha! Of course! Novo was bad at this. Neo would show him how it was done.

Neo flicked his ears and trilled playfully, though admittedly the sound was a bit shakier than he’d have liked. Not because he was scared, or anything, though, because this wasn’t real. Wasn’t real, wasn’t real—

He nudged at Novo’s head with a chirp. Very funny! You can’t fool me!

Novo did not move.

Neo lashed his tail, his terse amusement rapidly shifting to anger. He barked. Not funny anymore. Get up! Why was his voice so shrill?

“Neo.” Wes was quiet. Too quiet. Neo met his trainer’s eyes and immediately wished he hadn’t. Those eyes were hauntingly empty. Dark.

Another gust of wind painfully pelted him, the grains of sand like glass shards.

Not real. Not real. Not real.

Neo snapped back to his brother with a snarl. He paced around to Wes’ other side to where Novo’s tail was, then bit down on it, much like he used to when they were kits and Novo refused to play. Except this time, he was biting much harder than he ever would have dared before.


“Stop. Stop it.” Wes’ voice broke. “He’s gone, Neo, he’s—dammit—” he bowed his head low, and his tone shifted into a furious snarl. “He’s dead, Neo!”

Something about the change in his voice made Neo’s fur stand on end. He took a step back, and as he did so, the wind picked up, howling ferociously and whipping curtains of sand all around them. Neo could still make out the hunched form of his trainer, but only barely—

And then Wes’ form began to shift.

Fear prickled under Neo’s pelt as he watched dark, shadowy tendrils flicker and overtake what was supposed to be his trainer. He caught the sound of a growl over the wailing winds, but it no longer sounded like Wes. It didn’t even sound human.

The dark, shapeless figure turned to Neo, baring vicious fangs and glaring with hateful, predatory eyes. Neo yelped and stumbled backwards. This was not Wes, it couldn’t be—but if it wasn’t, then where was he? And Novo—his brother’s body was no longer anywhere to be seen, and Neo wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or horrified. Where was Novo? Where was his family? Why was he alone?

The shadowy figure lunged, and Neo barely managed to leap out of the way with a panicked yip. He got a closer look at those gleaming eyes—amber, the color of Wes’ eyes, but no, this wasn’t him, it wasn’t—

“What good are you if you can’t even pull your weight?”
The creature sneered as it spoke in a cold, distorted imitation of Wes’ voice. But it was slightly fuzzy somehow, as if speaking through a crackling radio. “This is your fault. Novo is dead because of you!”

Neo shrank into himself and backed away, quivering. No, no, this wasn’t…he didn’t mean to…was Novo really…? No, no, no, nononono—

“You’re pathetic. Useless. Weak!”

The words stung far more than the sandstorm ever could have. Neo let out an involuntary whimper. Useless? Did he really mean that? Wes had never spoken to him like this, not ever, how could he—?

The not-Wes towered over him, shadows flaring and rippling around its silhouette, like a terrifying, malicious ghost—


Something clicked in Neo’s brain. Ghost. Ghost. Bad and evil. Hurting people. Stealing them, attacking them—

He looked up into the monster’s eyes once more. Not real. Somewhere out there was a nasty and mean ghost, but it was not this one. And wherever that one was, Neo needed to be there. To protect Novo. To protect Wes.

Because Wes…would never speak to him this way.

Neo lashed his tail and bared his fangs in a wicked grin, the jewel on his forehead sparkling with psychic energy. You are not my family! And you are BAD at playing pretend!

With a yowl, he fired a Psybeam straight at the creature’s head, right between those awful golden eyes.

The sandstorm stopped.

Neo blinked, and suddenly he was in a strange, bright void, with bright blue skies overhead and a glossy surface beneath his paws. It rippled like water with each step he took, yet was perfectly dry and…soft, somehow. Neo blinked down and saw his own shocked reflection staring back at him. He was standing on…a mirror?

He looked up and around, swiveling his ears in all directions for any sign of sound. The reflective surface stretched on as far as he could see (which was super far, because he was an awesome Espeon, obviously) and despite straining his ears, everything was completely silent.

Oddly, though, the silence was comforting rather than spooky. It was a welcome relief from the loud wind and the screams of that bad pretend-Wes. He purred in amusement. Haha, how could he have fallen for that, even for a second! Kind of embarrassing, really. At least nobody had been around to see it. Neo padded onward, lost in thought, scanning the area for a way out or another sign of life—


He felt it rather than heard it; a voice, calling out his name from somewhere far away. He glanced around and jumped when he heard it again. Was that…Novo?


The voice was clearer now. Novo sounded...scared. But where was he? Neo paced about restlessly, calling out for his brother.

Neo! Neo! Please!

Neo whined in agitation and clawed at the ground. Novo was upset, he was in trouble, but he was nowhere in sight—

His paw sunk through the floor and he jumped with a very undignified yelp. He bristled and snarled at the ground for daring to make a fool out of him—

Novo. In place of Neo’s reflection, Novo was there, on the floor—in the floor? His wounded pride forgotten, Neo barked and scrabbled at the ground.

But Novo could not seem to hear or see him. Instead, he yowled and wailed, looking this way and that while he panted in distress. Neo clawed more fiercely at the mirror, and the strangely soft surface began to give way.

Novo! I am coming!

Novo thrashed. And snarled. And thrashed some more…but it was no use. He was stuck, stuck, and the anguished wail that escaped him barely sounded like his own as he watched Wes and Neo collapse.

The horrible, shadowy figure hovered over their lifeless forms, and even through the blinding sandstorm, Novo saw it pull back its lips in a grotesque grin. It opened its mouth, as if to swallow them whole—

Fwwwwooom! Dark energy bundled up from within before firing out of Novo’s flaring rings with brutal force. Most of the wave hit the sands around him and vanished, but a few small slivers of the Dark Pulse attack managed to cut through sheets of flying sand and made contact with their target.

The creature barely flinched, but it was enough to make it pause. It turned its head to Novo, eyes narrowed, then sneered at the sight of him sinking into the dune.

“Pitiful little creature who could not even protect his loved ones. You are not worth my time.”

Novo shrieked in fury and writhed uselessly in the sand. Had to get out, had to protect them, had to rip this cursed creature to shreds for daring to touch them—

Novo! Neo’s voice was so distant he almost didn’t catch it. Novo couldn’t see Neo clearly from where he was trapped, but that cry had definitely been his brother’s. He howled as loudly as he could.

Neo! I am coming!

He couldn’t let him fight that creature on his own, alone and scared and injured, he had to help him, save him, protect him—

The winds picked up, obscuring Wes, Neo and their foe altogether.

No. No! He wailed and sank ever deeper. He couldn’t fail them, not here, not like this, what was he good for if he couldn’t keep them safe? What kind of brother would he be to either of them, to let them suffer?

Novo! The voice was clearer now. Stop!

Stop? Stop? This only infuriated him more. Did Neo not believe in him, either? No matter how strong his brother was, he wasn’t capable of handling everything on his own all the time! Novo flailed some more, sinking deeper and getting angrier by the minute—

STOP! The yowl was almost directly in his ear. Novo flinched and hissed, looking around for the source, for his stupid, stubborn, idiot brother who needed to just shut up and let him help—

Still! No moving! I will help you!

Novo barked angrily. He didn’t need help, they did, he just needed to get out of this hole.

LET ME HELP! An invisible paw from…from somewhere cuffed him over the back of his head. Stupid!

Novo took a moment to ponder exactly how he would remind Neo of his type advantage once he was free. But then he heard his brother again, this time sounding sad and upset.

Can’t help unless you let me.

…Oh. Oh.

Novo fell still, slowly lowering his raised hackles. Neo didn’t have to do everything alone…so why did he expect that of himself?

Why had he tried to fight Orzo alone?

Everything snapped into place with perfect clarity, and Novo finally understood.

He relaxed and closed his eyes, ducking his head against the wind, and suddenly all fell silent. When he opened his eyes again, the desert was gone, replaced with blue skies and a bright, open void, with Neo standing in front of him.

His brother jumped up and down, yapping excitedly. You did it! And I did too! You were dead but not really and Wes turned into a ghost that was bad at pretending and I think I made him go away and then you made yours go away too!

Novo blinked, not understanding a word that was just said, then decided it didn’t matter and he nuzzled into Neo with an affectionate purr. Good job.

Neo purred so loudly in Novo’s ears it made his brain buzz. Good job good job good job! We are safe! He paused, blinked, and then his words began to slow. Maybe we…can find…Wes? He trailed off into a yawn, and Novo suddenly realized just how tired he was feeling, too.

Yes…he mirrored Neo’s yawn, then attempted to fight it off with a full-body shake. He didn’t know where this abrupt sleepiness was coming from, but they couldn’t succumb to it, not yet. Not until they found Wes…

He brushed past Neo and glanced around the wide, expansive landscape, pricking his ears up and forward as he strained for any sound or sign of where to go. Neo joined him at his side, and the two padded onwards for a while.

Novo felt himself getting sleepier with every step. But…he couldn’t stop. Not yet…

Neo chirped sluggishly and angled himself to the left, stumbling a little despite the smooth ground. Think…I hear him…somewhere...

Novo took his word for it and followed sluggishly. After several steps, he thought he could hear Wes’ voice, too…or was he just imagining it? He too tired…to think straight…

Neo wobbled, then his legs gave out beneath him. He rolled onto his side, eyes half-lidded and foggy. Sleepy…

Novo didn’t even have the presence of mind to react in time. He tripped over one of Neo’s outstretched legs and found himself flopping onto the ground beside him. His limbs were now too heavy to move, his eyes didn’t want to stay open, but he had to keep going, had to…find…Wes…

His eyes fell closed. He heard Neo sigh. Then, like a soft blanket, sleep descended and overtook both of them.​

Content Warnings for the next section: Blood, injury, death, and heavy suicidal ideation.

Everything was too silent. Too cold. Too still.

The air was squeezed from Wes’ lungs and left nothing but ice in its wake, in his chest, in his veins. How…how…how could this happen—

He collapsed to his knees, hovering his shaking hands over their shredded, bloodstained forms.

Why weren’t they with me, they’re always with me—

Neo was breathing, but only barely. Novo let out a high, keening whine that cut short as he gulped for air.

Why wasn’t I here, what was I doing, why the hell was I not here—

Quivering fingers fumbled for the bag slung around his shoulders, but found nothing. No bag. No supplies. Why, why, why—

Stop. Breathe. Focus on who you can save.

No, no, shut up, shut the hell up, he was going to save them both, dammit, both of them, both of them—


Wes’ hands seemed to work of their own accord, sweeping off his jacket and tearing it into strips with a precision that utterly betrayed his crumbling psyche. He pressed the cloth to a profusely bleeding gash at Neo’s neck, then to another on Novo’s belly, desperately bandaging and applying pressure to any wound he could see—

Somewhere in the back of his mind, a quiet, detached, eerily calm voice observed the way the teal fabric faded to black almost instantly on contact, the way bandage after bandage soaked through within seconds, and whispered that this was useless.

Wes was gasping for air now, too, choking back sobs, his heart racing so fast he felt sick. They couldn’t die, they wouldn’t die, he could not let them die, this wasn’t supposed to happen, this couldn’t be happening—

Something bumped his hand, accompanied with a frail, shivering whine. Novo looked up at him, eyes frighteningly dull, his rings dim.

“S’fine—it’s fine, you’re fine, Neo’s fine, you’ll be okay, don’t worry, I promise, I—”

Novo moved his unsteady head and nudged him again. He gave a hoarse, crackling mew, then nuzzled into Wes’ hand, his sides heaving with each labored breath. There was a look in his eyes, softer and more tender than words. A look of peace. Of acceptance.

Above the blood and the ragged gasps and the atrocious wounds, that look was most horrifying of all. Wes choked out a sound that was somewhere between a gasp and a sob.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t, don’t you dare, don’t look at me like that, don’t fucking give me that—”

A weak purr rumbled from Novo’s chest, garbled by the blood in his throat and nose. He blinked slowly and gave a single wag of his tail, which rose barely an inch before flopping back to the floor with a pitiful thump. He mewed again, this time in nothing more than a hoarse whisper.

It’s okay.

The message was as clear as if he had spoken human words. He gazed into Wes’ eyes with that same expression, that horrible calmness and acceptance, and even as Novo’s eyes grew duller with each breath, they were brimming with warmth and love—love, love, so much love—

Wes broke.

He pulled Novo into his chest and sobbed, grief racking his body with icy, venomous claws from the inside out, tearing at him with such ferocity he was sure he would simply burst. Even as Novo’s ragged purrs filled his ears, Wes couldn’t ignore how cold he felt in his arms, or the way his rings flickered like a dying candle, or the fact that Neo had stopped breathing and gone eerily still a few minutes ago, the fact that they were leaving him, leaving, and there would be nothing left—

Novo stretched out a paw that barely brushed his trainer’s chin.

We…do not…regret.

Wes sobbed harder and held him closer. How, how could they be so at peace with this, when this was his fault, his fault, his fault, this was all his fault, why did it have to be them and not him, why—


Novo let his head rest against Wes’ shoulder. He even seemed to be smiling.


With a soft shudder and a sigh mingled with a final purr, he closed his eyes and went still.

Time stopped. All Wes knew was the dark and empty room, the cold room, and for the first time in his life, his Pokémon—his brothers, his family—couldn’t keep him warm no matter how tightly he held them both. He couldn’t hear anything over the blood roaring in his ears, save for a distant wailing and sobbing that he only dimly recognized as his own. Eventually, even those stopped, because despite how much he wanted to, his voice was not made to scream forever.

When he came back to himself, he was lying on the floor, both Pokémon bundled to his chest, their bodies cold and stiff. There was no telling how long he’d been like this, curled up tight and clutching Neo and Novo’s fur like a lifeline, but the difficulty he had in unclenching his icy fingers from their matted pelts indicated it had been a long time. Hours, at least. Maybe even days.

Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered anymore.

At length, Wes managed to push himself upright, unfurling his arms from around the lifeless pair. They were so unnaturally still, so ripped up and torn and bloodied. He couldn’t bear to look at them. He couldn’t bear to look away. He feared they would disappear if he averted his eyes for one second, and then they would be gone. Forever.

They’re already gone.

He curled his hands into fists. Grief welled up again, hollowing him from the inside out, but he didn’t seem capable of shedding any more tears. Now he felt as cold and empty as a discarded Ninjask shell. As cold and empty as Neo and Novo’s bodies now were.


Wes tried to remember. He racked his brain for answers. Why wasn’t he here, why did this happen, why wasn’t he the one who was dead…he wished he was the one who was dead. He was envious of the two brothers, who were now beyond pain and feeling. If anyone deserved to live, it was these two. Not him. Definitely not him.

He slumped forward on his hands and knees, digging his nails into the floor. He could…he could do just that. Die. Just curl up and wait for death. He wouldn’t have to be alone for much longer, and…if an afterlife did exist, then maybe, just maybe, they’d be there. Waiting for him. They’d be back beside him like they should be. Like they were always supposed to be.

A tiny flickering feeling nagged at the back of his mind. He thought of those waiting for his return, of Duking, Sherles, Marci, Secc, Silva. And…maybe even Rui.

…No. Rui was gone. And everyone else…they would be just fine without him. They would be able to move on, eventually. Wes was never supposed to be a permanent part of their lives, anyway. Not for any of them, not for anyone…save for Neo and Novo.

Wes closed his eyes. With them gone, what was the gods-damned point.

What about the rest of your team?

The tiny voice gave him pause. He opened his eyes again, stared at his hands, at his fingers that were now rubbed raw and bloody from digging at the floor. The rest of his team…they…they’d be fine, too. Eventually. Someone from the crew would take them in and look after them, surely. They would be safe.

They could all live a happy life without him. But Wes couldn’t live a happy life. Not anymore. Not without his family. His road ended here, in this lonely room, with Neo and Novo.

Slowly, painfully, his sore muscles shrieking at every movement, Wes turned back to the lifeless bodies. There was a time, once, when he thought he’d be consumed by rage and vengeance if anything had happened to them. But not now. He couldn’t even be sure who was responsible—he vaguely remembered the call of a…Skarmory? Why…why did that ring a bell? Why couldn’t he remember? Where…and why…and how…

It was all too foggy. A vague inkling told Wes that, somehow, Neo and Novo must have been trying to protect him. From what, or who…he didn’t know. Nor did he care. He could try to find them, hunt them down…but revenge wouldn’t bring them back. Revenge was pointless. Everything was pointless. Pointless and painful and tiring.

And Wes was so, so tired.

I’m…ready. Ready to be done.

He dragged himself back to his Pokémon, back beside them, back to the only place he had ever belonged in all his life. All he had to do was close his eyes and let time do the rest…

We do not regret.

The words—or rather, the nonverbal sentiment—came back into Wes’ mind with full force. Novo’s farewell, given on both his and Neo’s behalf. Wes froze, staring down at the Umbreon’s face, seeing the tiniest hint of a smile still visible on his muzzle.

Perhaps it was exhaustion. Or maybe grief had sapped his sanity. But Wes could have sworn he could feel them both in the room somehow, as if they were sitting and watching him with narrowed eyes from some hidden corner.

Don’t waste it.

Pain began seeping back in through the numb, listless haze in Wes’ head, and he flinched at the sensation. No. No, no, no, he didn’t want this. He didn’t want it.

He wanted the hollow nothingness. He wanted to be free of this agonizing grief. He didn’t want to keep going, couldn’t keep going, because that just meant more exhaustion, more effort, more loneliness, more pain—so much pain, the kind that would never fully heal because it meant living without Neo and Novo, it meant being alone—

We love you. We always will.

…Ah. The tears were back.

Wes felt them trickle down his cheeks and watched them land on Neo’s shoulder, then sink into his lavender fur. He rested a hand on the Espeon’s head.

“I. I don’t—” he choked. “I don’t want to. I can’t. I can’t.”

But you will.
The tiny voice in his head was back. And even though he didn’t want to acknowledge it, even though it would take weeks and months and years for him to ever admit it…he knew it was right.

He managed a weak, shaky laugh and wiped his eyes. “S-screw you guys. Won’t let me take the easy way out even now, huh?” He gently rubbed Neo’s ear and laughed again, this time with a broken sob. “Assholes. B-both of you.”

His face fell, and he lowered his head to bury it in Neo’s fur. “I-I’m gonna t-try, okay?” He could barely speak through his hiccups and tears. “Will do my best. P-promise. But I reserve the right to quit at any d-damn time, got it? Don’t wanna hear it if I do.”

He sat up slowly, stroking both of their rumpled pelts. At the very least, he could return them to their balls, keep them with him until he could give them the burial they deserved. And after that…he would take it one step at a time. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other.

He stood, wiping his eyes and nose on his tattered sleeve. He stared at them a moment longer; were it not for the dried blood, it would have looked like they were sleeping, curled up beside each other. Peaceful. No sign of pain.

With a click that felt and sounded more like a gunshot in the quiet space, Wes recalled them, and they vanished in a beam of light. Gone.

Yet somehow, despite the fact that he could only hear his own hitched breaths in the silence, he didn’t feel alone.

He clutched Novo’s Pokéball tightly and squeezed his eyes shut, more tears spilling down his cheeks. He breathed in a sharp and shaky breath, then exhaled and opened his eyes again.

“You guys better have good stuff planned for me,” he croaked, “or I’ll revolt. I’ll…burn every piece of bacon I ever s-see.”

He managed a tiny, pained smile and shook his head. Gods, that sounded so stupid. Hard to be witty with an iron fist of grief clenched around your heart. But he tried. And…he would keep trying. At least for now.

He stumbled through the door and into a dark, foggy mist, reminding himself to breathe through the pain, and holding steadfast to a single word.


Chef Flygon - The Cake is Ready


Flygon connoisseur
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
  7. salandit
CW: for implications of emotional abuse, bullying and for self-hatred


Flygon stumbled and looked around. Before him lay a vast expanse of desert, a cloudless blue sky above and barely a wind stirring the air. Home? But then... he looked down, then all around. No sign of his hat or apron or any of his things. A tiny knot formed in his stomach. Swallowing it down, he started to walk.

It felt like home, sort of. He thought maybe the distant rock formation seemed similar, or certain dunes a bit familiar and yet... something was off too.

The earth under his feet rumbled and he paused. It shook again, and his body tensed up, his breathing accelerating. His eyes raced across the ground searching for any signs of something burrowing -



Chills crawled down his spine. It almost felt like... footsteps? His head shot up just in time to see a great silhouette in the distance, growing steadily larger. Four ridged wings, a bulky body, sharp covers over the eyes.

Flygon felt himself instinctively shrink back. The Mega Flygon finally came into full view at the crest of a dune, threw back its head, and roared.

The sound invaded Flygon’s mind, distorting his thoughts, burning deeper and deeper into his mind, dredging up memories he worked hard to bury until he couldn’t hold them back -

Nothing. Blinking, Flygon looked all around. Had he fallen down? The ground was so close... No... was he a trapinch again?

“Come on you stupid bug! I thought you wanted to be stronger!”

Trapinch-Flygon cringed at the voice as he recognized it. Adrian. His old trainer, many many years ago. apparently what humans referred to as ‘a young man’. He shook himself and stood back up again, facing the Sandile. He’d show Adrian he could be strong. With a great cry, he rammed it, knocking it out. Adrian smiled, and Trapinch-Flygon found himself smiling too.


He did want to be stronger. That was why he’d joined Adrian. Whatever it took. Flygon pushed himself every training session, every battle. Adrian pressed him endlessly. Always a scathing remark, always a reminder of his weakness, always pushing pushing pushing pushing

Trapinch-Flygon handled it all. He wouldn’t be weak. ‘Suck it up,’ his den-mother had said once. And she was right.

“Get over it, get back up,” Adrian demanded.

And he did. It was all he’d ever wanted, before he’d even met Adrian. Stronger. Stronger. Push the pain down. Suck it up. Stronger. Pain is weakness, never give in. Get up. Get up.

Ignore the pain.

And he did. Every time. And he grew. Evolved faster than some of his teammates. First a Vibrava, then a Flygon. But still he wasn’t the strongest. A hole inside him, that evolving didn’t fill.


More battles. More gyms. Training and training, learning the best techniques, honing them hour after hour until his lungs burned and his body begged for rest.

Mega Evolution. He remembered the grueling flights across Kalos. The caves they explored, night after night, day after day. And then one day, a mention of something, the lead they needed. But they weren’t the only ones. Racing to the area. Rushing through cavern after cavern, through tight tunnels and tiny spaces.

And then finally, up above. All that he needed to do was reach the top of a ledge, and it would be his. But he wasn’t the only one. A girl. Climbing determinedly up the rock face. So he started up too, first flying, then half climbing, half flying. The wall at his back is too narrow to allow him to fly the whole way.

Except now she was in his way.

Flygon shoved past her. He saw her grip on the wall wobble. And he heard her shrill scream as her hand slipped and she fell, landing yards below with a sickening crack!

He saw her below, her leg twisted, and heard her crying out in pain.

And he heard Adrian's voice, always in the back of his mind. "Come on! Stop being pathetic! You wanted to be strong, suck it up!"

He turned away and half flew, half scrambled the rest of the way up.

The mega stone was his. Finally. Nothing could stand against him and Adrian now.

And nothing did, mostly. They mastered it swiftly, and almost every battle he felt it. Power. Confidence. Nothing could stop them.

Nothing could hurt him.

Soon his teammates grew to fear him.

As they should.

They knew he was the strongest, he worked the hardest, and he was the cornerstone. When they faltered in training he snarled and roared until they got up. On the days when they wanted a break, he shouted until they understood. This wasn’t a team for the weak. If they couldn’t handle it, they could leave.

He won, won so many battles he forgot the losses. Even Elite 4 Pokemon crumbled beneath him eventually. And if they didn’t, he fought and fought until they did. Stronger.

He barely felt the ever present void in his chest now.

Mega Evolution was all he needed. He had everything he needed.

He did, he did, he did. It had to be enough, please enough


“Jeez I just wanna take 5 minutes! I’ll keep training but I gotta catch my breath!” Tyrogue snapped. He glared defiantly at Flygon - no, he was a Mega Flygon now. “Go bother someone else!”

A snarl built in Mega-Flygon’s throat. Adrian’s new Tyrogue was strong but he wasn’t using it right. He wanted to take breaks. Rest. That wasn’t how you got to be stronger, that was weakness.

“Get up!” he growled, pacing around him, wings flicking irritably.

Tyrogue glared at him. “Buzz off. I’ll get up when I want.”

WHAP! Flygon's tail flicked out like a whip, without him even thinking about it. He felt it connect against Tyrogue’s soft face and it tumbled to the side, grunting in surprise. He saw the red welt form where it'd been struck, and all of a sudden he felt ill, sicker than he could ever remember being.

He'd yelled and roared and made threats and jabbed and goaded but he never once struck one of his teammates outside of battle. Not like this. He shrunk in on himself, hot shame and guilt pressing in on all sides. His mega evolution faded and he shrank to his usual size.

What was he becoming?​

Sand pressed in on all sides. He was back in the desert, a trapinch again. Face buried in the sand, trying to block out everything. Hiding. He knew who the other Mega Flygon was. He couldn’t see him, couldn’t look at him. Couldn't face himself.

A pathetic mantra played on loop through his thoughts. Go away go away go away.

He dug himself deeper into his pit.

"You can't hide from who you truly are." A sneering voice. His voice. "This is who you're meant to be. No one can stop us like this. Stop being weak and get up!"

The Mega Flygon, loomed above him, tall now, too tall too big. Too strong.

Letting out a crackling wail, he cowered before the mega Flygon, before himself, burying himself deeper and deeper into his pit.

With flap of his powerful wings, Mega Flygon unearthed him. "Stop hiding! Get up you pathetic bug!" The Mega opened its jaws, white dragon fire streaming forth.

It enveloped Flygon in searing brightness, white all around as he screamed in pain-

And then he found himself in a kitchen, a pristine white kitchen, flanked by the cheerful face of... He felt himself wilt. Mariano. His best friend, and his mentor, the one who'd taught him to cook. A great pit yawned in his stomach, even as his body played through the memory on its own.

"I don't get why I should bother with this stupid cooking." He tossed the spatula to the ground. "It won't help me get stronger. It's useless."

I'm useless

Mariano frowned softly, and bent down, picking the spatula up. He set it on the counter.

"Why do you think it won't help?"

Flygon scowled at him. "What am I gonna do, cook my opponents into defeat?" The hot feeling in his chest burned stronger. "It's not helping," he hissed. He snatched the spatula off the counter and slammed it on the ground. "I don't need this."

Mariano simply nodded, understanding in his gaze. Genuine understanding. Not pity, but like he cared. Truly cared. Flygon hated it.

"You came here on your own, right? No one asked you to?"

Flygon clenched his jaw, tail flicking erratically. He forced himself to nod. It was true. The Center was meant to be a refuge for pokemon who wanted help. Who wanted to change. Except he wasn't like the other mon here. He wasn't good enough-

"Do you remember why you said you wanted to come here?" His voice was gentle but firm. Free of judgement. Flygon wanted to scream at him. Grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he snapped, told him he was awful and he couldn't be helped and he was worthless-

"Do you?"

Rolling his eyes, Flygon nodded. "I said I wanted to stop being such a horrible jerk." he spat the words out as cuttingly as he could. "But clearly I can't. I don't feel any better, I'm not getting any better and I never will."

Mariano just nodded. Not accepting, but just acknowledging. He turned to the bowl of cake batter he’d been preparing and began to pour it into a pan.

Flygon glared at him. Was he just going to bake? In his head, he raged. Say something! Tell me I’m right gods please just tell me the truth tell me I’m horrible tell me I can’t change tell me I’m bad-

“Are you going to put your cake in the oven?” Mariano stood in front of the open oven, his own cake already inside.

Flygon gave him a dirty glare, but grabbed his pan and jammed it inside the oven, then slammed the door shut.

Mariano stood back and folded his hands behind his back. “Is this a cake?”

He clenched his claw, then shrugged as he stared through the window of the oven. “What does it matter?” Mariano gave no reply, but from the corner of his eye, Flygon could see him watching expectantly. “No, I guess not,” Flygon said finally.

“Right. It’s not ready yet. It needs to cook, and the chemical reactions need to happen to turn it from a batter into something solid. Then it can be cooled and frosted.”

Flygon’s gaze remained locked on the oven.

Mariano continued. “You came here because you wanted help. As you said ‘I want to be less of an asshole. I’m a bad pokemon.’ Someone who is truly bad doesn’t try to get help, and they certainly do not admit to their issues. If you were a monster or beyond hope... you would continue in your ways, until it was too late. You would reject help.” He turned to face Flygon.

Eyes burning and throat tight, Flygon refused to meet his gaze.

“But you’re here instead. You must give yourself time to become a cake. Do you know what is required to change?”

Flygon shrugged forcefully. “Being good?” Bitterness filled his mouth.

“The only thing required to change is the willingness to admit your fault, and the strength to accept help.”

Flygon stamped their foot. “Strength? This isn’t strength, it’s weakness! I should have gotten over this by now! I should be stronger than this but I’m just a pathetic bug no matter what I try!” Burning, burning in their chest a pit in their stomach that never went away.

Still, Mariano’s tone remained level. Not angry. “Then tell me which was harder for you. Letting your anger control you, lashing out, using your strength to hurt others? Or coming here?”

“I...” Flygon stopped, blinked and turned to face Mariano. His thoughts tumbled into a jumbled pile and he scrambled to reorganize them. Harder? He opened his mouth, then closed it. Part of him wanted to say that it had been harder before, harder to fight and train and...fight again, harder and harder.

But it hadn’t been. That had been easy. So easy. Easy to give in every day, to ignore his conscience, ignore everything inside that told him not to listen. To push the emptiness inside him down and hide it away. Lose himself in every battle, every hard fought win. Coming here had felt worse, worse than every loss, every humiliation, even worse than every barbed comment Adrian threw at him. It had felt awful, like a fight every single day. This had been harder.

Mariano picked up the spatula from the floor. “You haven’t left yet. Even though you could. Every day you’re growing stronger, but it's hard to see that from inside the oven. But one day you will. You’ll realize that you’ve come far and you’re not the same dragon you once were.”


Flygon blinked, sand shifting all around him. He was a trapinch still, head buried in the sand. The ground around him kept moving erratically and he realized he was shaking, tears streaming from his eyes and dampening the sand.

Somewhere in the distance, he heard the Mega Flygon roaring still, he could feel himself tearing up the earth, snarling barbed insults.

Every day you’re growing stronger.

Flygon-Trapinch swallowed, the tightness in his chest easing. He shook himself, digging himself out of his pit. Shaking the sand off, he looked up. Mega Flygon still raged through the dunes, blasting streams of dragonfire, turning chunks of desert to glass.

You’re not the same dragon you once were.

The earth began to shine - no, he was glowing, the brightness reflecting. His body changed, he felt himself grow lean again, felt the wings on his back and his spindly legs, lifting him from the ground. The glow faded, and hence again found himself a Vibrava.

Mega Flygon’s head swung around, gaze locking onto him. “There you are, little bug. Going to fight me? You’ll never be strong enough to stop me. No matter how much you evolve, weakling. Stop fighting it.” It flared its wings in a show of strength. “Accept it. You are me.”

Flygon-Vibrava buzzed his wings, shooting up into the air until he was level with the Mega’s eyes. “No.”

It reared back, baring its fangs.

“I used to be you. But that's not who I am anymore.” A glow began to form around him.

The only thing required to change is the willingness to admit your fault and the strength to accept help.

The light intensified, consuming his form, morphing him until he was larger, a lithe body and strong wings and claws and teeth. “I’m stronger.” Yet the light didn’t stop.

And then, in his mind's eye, Flygon saw it. Mariano’s last gift to him. A Flygonite, with a note attached. “The cake is finally done.”

Light seared everything, blinding Flygon for a moment, before finally dissipating. He was larger now. Still in his regular form, but now he was as tall as the Mega.

A weight lifted off his chest for the first time in years. He felt... peace. A peace he’d never felt with Adrian. He stepped forward and pressed his snout into the other Mega. It pulled back, shock in its eyes. He glared back at it, this time without fear. “I’m done being you. I was done being you years ago.”

“We had everything,” Mega hissed. Now it's voice sounded more like pleading than anything worth listening to. “We were finally strong! We were happy, no one could touch us!” Even as it spoke, it seemed to be shrinking...

“No. We were hiding. Afraid.” As Flygon spoke, he gazed into the Mega’s eyes. And for a moment, he saw not the Mega Flygon, but himself. A scared Trapinch, hurt. Attacked by his own denmates. And he saw Adrian, standing behind him, telling him he didn’t need to be weak anymore, that he could be stronger than all of them and no one could hurt him that way anymore. He saw the anger in Adrian, the same clenched fists, fear in his hunched shoulders, even as he shouted and raged.

“Stop! Y-you can’t deny it!” The trapinch begged. “This is what you are. This is what you have to be!”

Flygon smiled ruefully and shook his head. “No. No it isn’t. I can be better.” And he gazed once more into his own eyes, and felt a sensation, a familiar hand on his back; a figure at his side. Mariano.

He slowly bent down until he was eye level with the Trapinch. With himself. The tension melted from his body completely when he spoke. And then, ever so gently, he scooped up the angry Trapinch, and held himself close, whispering words he’d been so afraid to speak for so long.

“I forgive you.”

Tears spilled from his eyes, and he felt them mirrored on his face, dripping down his neck, soaking the sand. Light swirling around the two, merging them, blending them. Flygon’s silhouette grew. Broad wings from his back, a strong body, and powerful armor of Mega evolution. Finally, the void in his chest faded.

And as the light faded, a great gust of wind blew from behind, sending sand swirling all around. It settled, and the hazy nightmare desert faded with it, into gentle oblivion.
Last edited:
May and Spirit - Reckoning


  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
  5. vulpix
Murderer. Killer.

How did they know? It was Robin, had to be Robin. Why'd she ever told her anything? Why?

May fought her way through the encroaching crowd as nausea crawled up her throat, Spirit tight at her side, evading the clutching hands. And then him. Rick, standing there, with... Mewtwo^2?

Run, said Spirit, snarling. And she almost did.

When the attack came, her muscles wouldn't move, but it didn't matter. A deafening sound of something breaking, the clatter of red shards scattering across the now-empty street.

"Entei!" Spirit gasped, eyes wide. "I..."

Mewtwo^2 raised its bony arm, hand twitching, and May was lifted into the air, an invisible hand wrapped tightly around her chest. She struggled in the Pokémon's psychic grip, limbs flailing feebly with what little power she had, wasting her breath as the force squeezed her tighter, stopped her from drawing in another.

"Spirit," May choked out, and she didn't have the breath left for anything else.


Entei. He was gone. Spirit couldn't feel his presence anymore, not in the broken shards, not in the remains of the necklace, not anywhere. She'd failed to protect him, failed on her one quest to keep him safe.

She fumbled to call forth a Shadow Ball, but nothing happened, the power she'd had for as long as she could remember slipping out of her grasp like water down a drain. Her paws, bracing against the ground, were darker, yellow. She couldn't feel the weight of the chain around her neck anymore. She was weak. Normal. And then what was she for?

"Spirit," came a groan from behind her.

She snapped out of a cold shock, staring at May as she struggled in the air. She'd failed her too, she'd gotten distracted, she'd failed--

Mewtwo^2 swung its arm, and May was thrown across the ground, tumbling over on the road, leaving streaks of blood on the pavement. Spirit ran toward her with a desperate keen, but her legs were sluggish, powerless, like lead, the ground clutching at her paws.

May was struggling to push herself upright, arms shaking, her face smudged with dirt and blood. Spirit pushed toward her, inching forward with agonizing slowness, but before she could reach her, her trainer was lifted back into the air and tossed the other way to land in an awkward heap. Then again.

May rolled along the ground, arms bracing over her head, and finally came to a stop, curled on the pavement, not moving.

"May," Spirit tried to whisper, in a language she couldn't speak anymore, but it only came out as a barking whine. She struggled to turn, instinctively reaching for the spirit form and finding nothing there. She was useless like this, couldn't help, couldn't do anything, couldn't even move--

Suddenly the man was there, in front of her, his face out of focus. May's prone form was behind her. Breathing? Not breathing? She didn't know. Spirit's fire was going out, too, an icy cold spreading through her chest.

"She killed him," Rick said, his voice distorted. Spirit had never met him, didn't know what he looked or sounded like, but she knew it was him. She took a trembling step back, growling, trying to project strength she didn't have. To protect the only thing she had left.

"She deserves to die," said the strange voice. Spirit snarled at him, taking another step back. She wrapped her tails around May's body, tried to feel whether she was breathing. It was hard to feel anything, though the fur.

"Why are you protecting her?" the voice growled. The blurry figure stepped closer, radiating malice. The distortion rippled and flickered, somehow blinding, difficult to look at; Spirit wasn't quite sure it was human anymore, the voice somehow simultaneously a man and a psychic and her own and May's. Her heart thundered in her chest. "She only sees Pokémon for their power."

Spirit opened her mouth and couldn't speak. Words turned to ash in her throat. She had no power anymore, no special abilities, no use. Everything was cold, so cold, and her fire wasn't there.

"She is a murderer. She wanted him dead and she killed him. She should suffer."

Spirit's tails curled desperately around her trainer's body, trying to find warmth, life, love.


All May could think of as the invisible force threw her like a plaything was Tyranitar, in the arena, helpless as she yelled at him.

A blinding impact on her side, pain flaring up when she inhaled. A knock on the back of her skull that had her head spinning and her mouth filling with blood as she bit her tongue. Her arms and knees scraping along the ground, skin peeling, friction burns filling with dirt. She tried to rise, the first time, with a shuddering, painful cough, and it only grabbed her again, threw her the other way.

The third time, she just curled up with her head in her arms and waited for it to be over.

She killed him. She deserves to die.

Spirit's tails were in her face suddenly, quivering, and ice shot through her veins. May wanted to tell her to just run, get out of there, but her body wouldn't listen.

Why are you protecting her? She only sees Pokémon for their power.

May's breaths were shallow, tasted of blood.

She is a murderer. She wanted him dead and she killed him. She should suffer.

A horrid jolt in her stomach. She hadn't told Robin that. How did--

"Spirit," she managed to cough out, clutching vaguely for her tails. The Ninetales turned - a different color, with Entei gone, normal Ninetales colors, but still her, still Spirit, still looking at her with pleading, desperate eyes that didn't want it all to be true even though it was, had been true the whole time. "Just go."

Spirit stared at her. May's hand clenched around her fur, shuddering. She didn't want her to go. But she should, had to.

The Ninetales turned, but didn't move.

"She's my trainer," she growled, in Pokémon speech, trembling barks. "I'm not leaving her."

"Look at what she's done, who she is," the voice said. She wasn't sure it sounded like Rick's voice anymore. "Do you think she cares about you, when you're not special or powerful?"

Spirit glanced back at her. At her shaking fingers weakly tangled in her fur.

"I know she does."

"She killed him. She wanted him dead."

"I know," Spirit growled. "She is still my trainer."

"She is a murderer."

"We have been together since we were young," Spirit snarled. "I know her. She has made mistakes, but I know who she is and I love her. I always will."

May couldn't see much, but she did see the fire billowing from Spirit's mouth, enveloping Rick, or whoever it was, if he was even still there. There was no sound, no remains as the flames subsided, only the dark, empty pavement.

Spirit lay down beside her, nudging her hand urgently with her nose. "Are you all right?"


May draped her hand over Spirit and pulled her close, before her body was wracked with uncontrollable sobs. Her hands flexed helplessly at the air before clutching her fur and pulling her in tighter, burying her face in her neck.

Spirit laid her chin on top of her trainer's head, gently, tails wrapping around her.

Finally, after a long, long time, May was still, sniffling. She stroked Spirit's fur, breathing softly into her neck.

"I love you too, Spirit," she said quietly.

Spirit closed her eyes, pressing against her companion. "I know."
[NONCANON] Delino - Losing Streak


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
Delino watched as his Meowstic fainted, the Delphox's final blow too much for her. He sighed, and recalled her into her pokeball. What number loss in a row was this now? 10? 15? 25? He'd lost count.

"Now, Jeramy, why don't you finally accept our help?" a voice called out from behind him. Delino turned around, and saw his parents behind him, flanked by their ultra-competitive teams.

"Rock-Ice is a terrible type combination. How about I trade them away for something a bit better?" Father said, ripping Freezer's pokeball off Delino's belt. "A Greninja would suit you much better. Come on, I'll help you find one with Protean."

"But Freezer is mine!" Delino protested, reaching for the Aurorus' pokeball. "I revived him myself! He's part of my team! He was my third Pokemon!"

"Oh, Jeramy, you sweet summer child...you won't last a day in the League with an attachment to your first team members," Father said, looking at Delino with pity. "You still have your Scatterbug, after all this time."

"She's a Vivillon now, and her name is Flowerbed!" Delino said, standing protectively in front of the bug-type.

"Jeramy...I know you care about your Pokemon a lot, but it's best not to get this attached to them. They're temporary, especially when you start battling at high levels," Mother said, her Klefki floating behind her. "Look, we'll even pay the funds to help take care of whatever you're gonna get. We could even import a Dragapult from Galar for you. Or we could take you on a trip through the mountains and get you a Garchomp."

"But I want my team! My team! Not one chosen for me!" Delino said, gripping onto his belt.

"Jeramy...you know you'll never get out there with that attitude. We're both worried about you, you know," Mother said, stepping closer. "Now, will you stop being so stubborn, and let us help?"

Delino looked back and forth between his parents and their teams, and his belt, which now only had three pokeballs on it. Sticks, Flowerbed, and Patch. The memories he had with them...were they just holding him back?

...even if they were, there was no way he was giving up on his team. Even if it meant he'd never win a match again.

He reached out, and snatched away Freezer's pokeball from his father. He then threw it, releasing the Aurorus, before climbing onto his back as he let the rest of the team out atop the icy dino.

"Come on, let's get out of here!" Delino shouted, and they were off.

"Wait! Please! We're trying to help!" he heard his parents calling. Their teams were speedy, and they'd catch up before long.

But he wouldn't give in to their demands. No matter what. No matter how many losses he faced. He wouldn't trade his team members for shiny new ones.

He was sticking with them, till the end of his career as a trainer.
Jade & Nine - Just a weapon

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
somewhere in spacetime
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
  3. palkia
  4. custom/lucario-shiny
  5. custom/incineroar-starr
Struggling, always struggling, as far back as he remembered.

Out of power. No way to fight back.

Cold metal against his head, feathers crushed. A surge of energy through his being. Thoughts racing at first, then growing hazy, distorted. What was he doing here? He could hear someone calling a word that might have been a name. Fear clawed at the back of his brain, and he didn't know why, but he did know that he wasn't supposed to be afraid. He wasn't allowed to be.

A smothering haze of nothingness had settled into his thoughts, and fighting it was too exhausting. He'd been fighting for so long. He was tired. He just wanted to end it all.

And in that void, there was clarity at last.

That's right.

He was a weapon. He'd always been a weapon.

He'd always known this, and he'd fought it, and had never gotten anywhere. Always just delaying the inevitable. Finding a purpose? A naive fantasy. How many months wasted, searching for something when the answer was right in front of him all along? Trying to leave that life behind only made the urge grow stronger. He was born to fight, and fight, and burn himself out until there was nothing left. His very biology demanded it. Power so great the flesh couldn't contain it, begging to be let loose, setting his nerves ablaze if he tried to hold it in.

What was the point? He couldn't fight it.

The orders came, cruel and unfeeling. Obeying was easy, painless. So much simpler this way. Free from the shackles of attachment, loss, regret, despair--

"You don't want this," his human said.

Nine stared through her, impassive. "It doesn't matter what I want."

My limbs trembled, body wracked with pain. Everything maddeningly slow and unresponsive. I couldn't even remember how we'd gotten here. All I knew was that they'd taken him. They'd taken Nine, and I'd watched it happen, and I couldn't do anything to stop them.

Just like last time. Couldn't stop them when it was Razors, and now Razors was dead.

As if responding to my thoughts, Nine jerked his head in my direction, eyes wide and staring. "*I couldn't stop it. You couldn't stop it. What makes you think you can stop anything?*"

My breath hitched, chest tightening until it felt like I was drowning. He couldn't stop them with all his power. How was I supposed to do anything? Why had I ever thought that I could make a difference?

This didn't make sense. He shouldn't have been able to talk. This wasn't...

I swallowed hard, fighting to keep my voice steady. "This isn't you. You've always fought them. You've--"

The bolt struck without warning, blinding pain tearing through my insides. Muscles seized up and I fell forward on my face.

"*I've always failed. I've always hurt.*"

The words stung almost as much as the lightning. I grit my teeth, forced every ounce of will into just moving an arm, trying to lift myself from the floor.

I had to leave. I had to get out of here. But I couldn't leave him. I wouldn't.

Nine was right in front of me now. If I tilted my head up, I could look right into those eyes that were anything but blank, all pain and loss and regret.

"*You should go.*"

I opened my mouth to speak, found my voice dead. Swallowed, barely managing to utter the words, "I'm not leaving you."

A flicker of sparks as the only warning. I screwed my eyes shut, clenched my teeth hard as the white-hot pain shattered my nerves. Couldn't scream, wouldn't scream.

"*You should go,*" he said again, more forcefully.

No. I wouldn't.

I forced myself up, supporting my weight on my elbows. The pain lowered me again. Nothing to do but endure it, and keep going. Inch by inch. Nine took a step back, shaking his head, sparks coming more erratic now. Confusion and disbelief flickered through his eyes right before he struck again. The pain felt distant now. Like a memory, or a nightm...

He was right in front of me now, and I let myself fall forward, arms wrapped around that tiny, trembling body, all sharp feathers and jagged fur. Felt the warmth and the racing heartbeat as he drew energy to strike me down but came up with nothing left. And in the end, all he could do was collapse against me, muttering incoherently, sobs wracking his frame.

"You're not a weapon," I said quietly.

My hands were numb. A dull static was the only input. But still, I held tight.

Paws clutched my shirt. "*Why?*"

I blinked.

"*Why did you help me? On the plane. You had no reason to. I tried to kill everyone. Why save me?*"

Oh. Back then. It felt like a lifetime ago, but...

"I don't know. I just felt... trapped. And I thought maybe you felt trapped too." And it didn't feel right to say that he deserved to stay trapped just because of something... desperate.

I took a deep breath, felt the ache in my chest slowly ebbing away. "I thought that maybe, if I couldn't help myself, at least I could help you."

Nine shook his head. "*That's stupid. I could have killed you.*"

I exhaled slowly. "Yeah, I guess it was."

I wasn't someone who could change things. I was someone who'd try anyway. I still didn't know if that meant anything. But it was all I had.
Wes: Hatred


Cosmic Guardian
The Circle
  1. luxio
CW gore, death, self-hatred

This can't be happening.

That was the only thought going through Wes' mind as he took in the sight before him.

Nico and Merian were dead. It was obvious from the moment he'd seen them. Nobody, not even the two of them, could survive being decapitated, or having intestines hanging out of the body.

Wes stared until he finally spoke, so faint it was hardly more than a whisper. "I'm sorry."

He turned and looked around at all of the nothingness surrounding him and the two corpses. The silence was fitting, yes, but that did not make it any less disturbing.

If this was Orre, he'd have been more than happy to finally be able to take out all of his rage on all of the human filth living within the region, just so he could feel some semblance of justice for everything that had happened, everything that had been done, not only to his Pokémon, but to all of the Shadow Pokémon who were suffering.

But this wasn't Orre.

Regardless, the need for vengeance filled him to his very core. Someone was responsible for this, and he was going to make sure they suffered.

Faint, disembodied whispers filled the dead air, swirling around Wes, taunting him.

Something coalesced in front of him, darkness molding itself into the approximate shape of a human being.

It was not distinguishable as anyone in particular, though. Pure darkness in the guise of a person.

Wes took a step back, and the darkness-being snapped its head up. He got the feeling it was staring at him, through him, despite there being no eyes for it to see with.

Then it spoke. Wes recognized that voice in which it spoke, it was that of the other--

"You'll get them--your family--killed."

He knew those words well. It was from that incident at the cove.

"Shut up." He snarled at the darkness.

"You won't have anyone to blame but yourself."

He lunged, and knocked the darkness to the ground.

Wes struck the being again and again. There was nothing more to do except to destroy this... whatever it was.

"Why won't you fucking die?!" Wes screamed as he continued his merciless assault.

The darkness-being shifted, and it turned into an exact copy of Wes.

It did not blink, did not breathe, and when it spoke in his own voice, its mouth did not move.

"You can't kill me. You don't have the strength to."

Wes stopped, and stared down at the copy of himself.

You don't have the strength...

He gritted his teeth and released the copy from his grip.

"You're right. I don't. But that's not the worst thing anyone's ever said to me."

Wes stood and watched as his copy did the same. Dull, lifeless eyes staring through him.

"You fear losing your companions. It is an inevitability, yet you refuse to believe it is so."

"They're all I have. They're the only ones that have ever given a shit about me. But..." He glanced at the broken bodies. "Even if, or when, I do lose them, I'm not just going to give up. I still have a fucking job to do, and I'm not stopping until it's done."

"Then you will have no allies, none to trust. You will be alone."

He scoffed. "Yeah, so? I'll still have all of the Shadow Pokémon that I rescue. And look, I know they're not obligated or anything to trust me. I mean, logically, most of them would have no reason to." Wes shrugged. "I'm just trying to do something good, and maybe that's all that really matters."

"You claim to have pure intentions, yet you murder all who stand in your way. You hold no respect for your fellow humans."

"Well, look, when you've been through the shit that I have, you learn not to trust people. Everyone's a sack of shit."

The copy was silent for several minutes. When it finally spoke again, its voice dripped with venom.

"You despise all others because you despise yourself. You fear yourself, and you do not trust yourself to protect your own Pokémon. You know that you will fail them eventually. Yet you deny all of these truths, and you put up a facade of malice and rage towards all, just for the sake of pushing everyone away from you, for fear that you will hurt them, because you know you will. It has happened before, and you know it will happen again."

Wes trembled. No, no, none of that was right, he wasn't afraid of himself, what kind of bullshit was that--

"And all of this hatred and fear stemmed from when you lost that little Zigzagoon, all those years ago."

Wes recoiled as though he'd been struck. No. No. How did this… this thing know about…?

"No. You're wrong. Snagem made me into this! I didn't make that choice!"

"That is because there was no choice. You had nowhere else to go. Deep down, you are still that scared child who once foolishly believed in Snagem's false claims of safety and companionship. You resent that child."

"Shut the fuck up!" Wes marched forward and grabbed his copy by the lapels. "You fucking listen to me. I am not that child anymore. Snagem may have ruined me, but I'm going to fucking get better. You understand that? I can, and I will, come back stronger because of the shit that I've gone through. You don't fucking know me, and you can't try to tell me shit." He shoved his copy away. "...You're right about me not trusting other people. But hey, if even one person can prove to me that they're doing good for the world, then… maybe I'll do good for them, too."

Wes glanced at those corpses, then back to his copy. "Bottom line is, I know who I am, but maybe I'll surprise myself. You are not me."

He began walking, only stopping briefly once he was next to the copy. "And about that Zigzagoon… heh, maybe I'll find him some day."

And he kept walking.
[NONCANON] Tapestry - Flatline


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
Pokemon death, Vets
"Come on, we almost have them stable— No!"

Tapestry watched as the latest arrival to the shelter, a tiny little Eiscue whose trainer had been overzealous in using its head for sculpting practice, breathed their last breath on the veterinarian's table.

The vet sighed, and turned towards Tapestry. "I'm sorry, Mr. Envoncra, but they—"

"Didn't make it. I saw," Tapestry said, looking down. Dammit, this was the fourth arrival this week that they couldn't save. That Ferrothorn, the Aron, the Sableye, and now this Eiscue.

For a moment, he didn't see just an Eiscue on the table. He saw more Pokemon than he could count, all of whom he could remember. All their stories...stories cut short because his shelter couldn't save them.

That Fennekin, so bright and full of life, so happy with their trainer, only to be brought to the shelter by their sobbing trainer, repeating how much they're sorry, that they didn't mean to push their Fennekin so hard...

(He'd gone around the exterior of the shelter afterwards, putting up posters stating that the number one cause of death for trained Pokemon was pushing them too hard.)

(He didn't know if it helped.)

And then, just as quickly, they were gone. And then the shelter was gone, and he was in an arena. He could see Pokemon all around, all ones he recognized, all ones he couldn't save.

"Why didn't you save us?" they asked, approaching him. "Why didn't you save us?"

"I'm sorry," Tapestry said, looking down. "I'm sorry."

"Why didn't you save us?" they repeated, coming closer. "Why didn't you save us?"

Tapestry could feel a chill down his spine as they grew near. What could he do?

"I...I tried my best. We all did," Tapestry said, looking down. "There was nothing we could do."

"Why couldn't you save us?" they started asking instead, nearly there. "Why couldn't you save us?"

"I wish we could. I wish from the bottom of my heart that we could save you all. But..." Tapestry shook his head. "Sometimes the world is just cruel. But we're doing our best to make it less cruel."

He was trying his best.

As the Pokemon reached him, he felt a faint hug...

And then he woke up.

He was trying his best, and that was enough.
June and Evie: Parallels Between Two


Multiversal Extraordinaire
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
  1. froslass
  2. custom/zorua-gojira
For the sake of not slowing down the next phase, I'll only be posting Evie's portion for now (cause I'm a slow af writer). I might edit in June's later but I don't know, I'll see what I can do.

This will contain spoilers for Just a Normal Day although it's mostly just Evie's stuff right now (Ah, hopefully it's still good even if I have to exclude some stuff).

Brief mentions of blood, Pokémon deaths, human deaths, bones breaking and mind control.

Procced with caution and enjoy.

Her strengths, Her weakness, Her fears.


A soothing breeze swept through the field of flowers, the warm rays of the sun beaming down as cheerful laughter filled the air. The village's children, along with her sister, frolicked in the flowers as a couple of Bug-types and Grass-types tended to the field, enjoying the long awaited peace they'd deserved.

Evie stood in a bed of daisies, a gentle smile gracing her muzzle as the sounds of happiness reached her. She took in a breath, the aroma loosening the tension in her muscles.

Her ears twitched at the sounds of wing beats closing down on her. She glanced to her side, a Pidgeot, Fearow and Swellow hovered over her and she smirked.

"Oh hey, you finally made it, eh? What took ya?" she said, watching as they took their place beside her.

The Pidgeot scoffed. "Maybe it could've gone faster if you didn't run off before the ceremony."

To her left, the Fearow spoke, "Forgive his bitterness. He's a… little irked at you leaving him."

"I'm not pissed at her for leaving, Rower," the Pidgeot said. "I'm more annoyed by the fact that she left me to deal with the announcements. You were the one that was supposed to be giving the speech." He groaned. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to make an improv last minute?"

"Not as hard as one think?" Evie chuckled, waving her paw with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, sorry. I'll try to do one when the ceremony's over, Perry."

"You better," Perry grumbled.

Evie stifled a laugh, calming herself with a deep breath before glancing back at the field with a quiet smile. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" she asked, not waiting for an answer as she continued. "The flowers, the scenery, the kids. This place's never felt so…"

"... serene," the Swellow said, a sad smile on her face. "This forest had never quite been the same since that Fire-type arrived… I never thought it was possible to see something like this again."

"Agreed… Sil," Rower murmured. "Seeing the looks on their faces, the joy radiating from them. It really made our efforts all worth it, didn't it?"

Evie noticed Perry backing away with his head down and she sighed, glancing at the two birds reminiscing their pasts, she said, "Hey, you know what. Why don't you three stay here and relax while I check on the celebration. I trust you three can handle a couple of kids, right?"

She had already left before they could respond. Clearly, letting the three birds settle down after years of stress and worry was the least she could do.

However, just as she took another step forward, she sensed an Aura, a hostile one.

The sound of swishing air reached her ears as something fast came barrelling towards the field. She turned, her paws digging into the dirt as she saw the object collide with the ground, kicking up smoke and dust as it exploded.

"Zeal!" Her voice came out raw and fearful, and she ran, charging straight into the smoke cloud before any of the birds could react. Her eyes darted to every corner of the area, her ears twitching and swivelling for any signs of the foreign Aura.

"Zeal! Zeal! Where are you?" She heard the winds blowing at the smoke cloud and she leapt, jumping and dashing in search for her sister. "Zeal! Ze–"

Something attacked her.

She dodged.

It fled.

The smoke, something was hiding in it. Something was after her, they targeted Zeal, they were going to pay! They were going to–

Her back leg hit something soft and furry, she turned, the sight before her threatened to suck the life out of her.



The little Eevee peeked her head out of the tree, a branch full of berries in her mouth. She climbed down the tree, breaking her fall on a nearby leaf pile.

Should be enough for the weekend. She hummed, making her way back into a cave, a temporary home she called it. It was a place much like the one she'd used to live with her sister's mother and she thought it'd be great for Zeal to learn what it was like to live in such a place.

"Zeal. I'm back!" she said, barely loud enough for her voice to echo.

Nobody came.

It was a little strange, she thought. But she tried to reassure herself, saying that Zeal must've just fell asleep, the little baby's been doing that quite recently, Zeal wasn't as energetic as she'd had been a couple days ago but nothing warranted her worries… okay, maybe it did worry her a little bit, but she's been making sure Zeal was eating well and proper, that was all a baby needs, right?

Anyway, the little Eevee made her way through some tunnels, having memorised the shortest routes to her base and exit as well as several alternate routes of escape. She found herself at her home, a brief flash of movement catching her attention.

"Zeal!" she cried out, dropping the berry branch. The little Zorua had collapsed, her face scrunching up in pain. "Zeal! Are you okay?" She ran up to the Zorua, quickly checking for any wounds on her. But nothing. There was nothing that suggested something had hurt her.

The little Eevee's face screwed up in worry and fear, Zeal's Aura was in a weird shape, confirming that there was something wrong with her but what?

"E… vie… hel… help…" Zeal's voice came out hoarse before it developed into a coughing fit.

"Zeal!" Crap. What do I do? What do I do? Will a berry–no, she can barely speak, a berry won't do much. Fuck, what could she do?

She grimaced as a new thought came to her. She had no choice, she had to do this, she had to save Zeal. She had to–

Thunder boomed and lightning crackled, the feeling of her wet fur clinging to her did nothing to quell the despair she was feeling.


"No!" she shouted, tears streaming down her face. She thought she had made it. She thought her sister was safe with the mons she found. But…

But she had been too late…

Too late to save anyone…

Always too weak...

Always too slow...

The voices of the Pokémon around her faded to nothing as she slumped onto the ground, the world around her blackened.

"Too late…" a voice whispered.

"You failed…" another muttered.

"How could you…" and another sneered.

"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" she choked out, trying to drown the voices out with her own, but nothing was working, they were growing louder.

"Why?" she heard herself say. "Why wasn't I fast enough? Why couldn't I save her?"

Why was she so weak?

Why was she always weak?

Why couldn't she have saved her?

More whispers came, their voices blurring and she felt the world spin and spin, she wanted to vomit.


She looked up, her teary eyes blinking at the figure. "M-mom?"

No, this wasn't her mother, this was Zeal's.

She never had one.

She tried to stand up but the Zoroark stopped her with nothing but a cold glare. "Why didn't you save her?"

The little Eevee froze, head hung low, fearful of her mother's reaction.

"You promised you'll always protect her! You promised to never leave her! You promis–"

Nonononono… Please stop… She didn't… she didn't want to listen anymore... Please… stop…



Evie stumbled onto the ground, her eyes hardened with hatred for herself. No! She slammed the ground with all her might. Nonono!

This couldn't be happening! This wasn't happening! Zeal wasn't–

She wasn't–

"... Evie, stop! Stop!" someone screamed.

J-June? She turned to face him, regarding the fearful look on his face with a confused stare.

What was he doing here? What was going on? Why was she doing back here? Wasn't this the place where–

A door slammed open, a small creature was bouncing towards her, a look of shock and fear on its face. "F-father!"

Father? She was confused. What was going on? Who was that Pokémon? Why was she in a house? Why was June here? Where was–

Why did the floor feel so rough? She glanced down, horror filling her veins. She stepped back and off the Garchomp. She hadn't just kill that Pokémon, did she? No, why would she? She was in control, she should've been in control.

"Litno…" Her voice was barely louder than a whisper.

The Goomy faced her, there was a look on his face that Evie never knew he could pull off. "Y-you!" The malice directed at her made her heart ache. "How dare you! I should've known things were too good to be true! You just wanted to kill my father! You used me to… to..."

"I–" Evie tried to speak but Litno cut her off with a snarl.

"I hate you–"

"I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" The Delphox scrambled onto his feet, flailing his stick at the vixen as he regarded her with a manic look. "This can't be happening! Nonononono… I did everything right! The visions, my plans–No! Go away! Leave me alone–"

"Go away!" June growled, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.

The sheer animosity in his voice shook her and her ears flopped against her skulls as she recognised the room they were in. This was...


She didn't want to hear this, she didn't want to experience this, not again. Not again.

Not again.

The world around her changed and this time she noticed it.

The pink walls and bed vanished along with the dim orange lighting of the room, replaced by sand and empty wastelands.

She heard screams. Her head snapped towards the scream or at least she tried. She couldn't move, a dark aura took over her. It clouded her vision, covering it in a shade of dark and crimson.

Sounds of screaming and bones breaking chilled her to the bone, her paws met flesh and something warm splattered on her.

Silver hair flashed into her sight and she felt her body move and–

No. No! Stop! Why was this happening? Why couldn't she control herself?


She heard a girl shout.

She heard June shout.

She heard herself shout.

Almost like a switch being flipped, her vision brightened, the dark aura fading away like nothing happened.

Nothing happened...

And as if the world was taunting her for such trivial hopes. She glanced at the corpse beneath her, a torn-up blue jacket was tossed to the side and a broken knife near two dead Pokémon, an Espeon and an Unbreon.

She stumbled back, disbelief spreading over her blood-soaked face. "No..." She looked towards the young girl near them, flinching at the hateful and fearful glare thrown at her.

Evie turned to June, wishing for him to speak, to joke like this wasn't happening, to throw a witty remark but–

Nothing came.

Her legs collapsed, every last bit of strength leaving her as she hit the floor. The blood seeped into the sand along with her tears.

Too strong.

Never good enough.

Can't control.

Losing control.

Too weak.

Too powerful.

The voices surrounded her, chanting with increasing volume. They blurred together and her world spun.



Reality around her shattered.


The little Eevee awoke with a gasp, the cool winds of the night sending chills down her spine. The grass brushed against her legs as she got onto her feet.

She wasn't in the cave anymore.

Where was she? What wa–

"D-daddy?" The clouds above parted ways and the rays of the full moon shone down, the ground below her hadn't felt as solid as it did and she felt woozy. She blinked, rubbing her eyes.

He was there! He was still there! Lab coat, pink shirt, trousers. He was alive…

He was alive!

"Daddy!" She pounced, landing onto his chest and eliciting a surprise cry out of the man. "Y-you're alive! I-I–" She couldn't speak, she tried, she choked. She broke down.

Her daddy regarded her with a confused yet somber look, unsure of what to do to comfort the crying Eevee. He placed a hand on her head, attempting to reassure her with a quiet stroke.

As he laid on the grass with his hands still on her, he glanced down at her. "What's wrong?" His voice came out soft and soothing, the warmth in it threatening to spill even more tears.

The little Eevee sniffed, her throat raw and hurting, "You-you're okay. Da-daddy, I-I thought you-you–"

"It's okay. Just let it all out," he said. "I'm not going anywhere, Evie."


That's a lie.

Her daddy nodded with a wide smile. "Really."

The little Eevee tightened her grip, bringing up her paw and looking at him with wide teary eyes. "Promise?"

He wrapped his pinky around her paw, his smile widening upon seeing the joyful gleam in her eyes. "Promise." He chuckled as the little Eevee hugged him tighter, it was almost like she didn't want to let him go. "Now, come on, let's get you cleaned up and tucked in bed."

"Okay," she mumbled, snuggling deeper into his arms as he stood and made his way back into their home.

She didn't want to leave. She didn't want to think. She didn't want him to go. Never let him go.


Don't let him go, please.


She found herself in her little bed, just beside her daddy's. She glanced up at him, her body shuffling under the blanket as an intrusive thought crawled onto her, a small grimace worming through her fatigue. "Hey… daddy… D-do you think I'm weak?"

The man blinked, looking at the little Eevee. He chuckled, shaking his head. "Evie. You're the strongest person I know. Your potential, your willingness to help and learn," he sighed, petting her head with a grin. "You're gonna be so much better than what I'll ever be. I'm sure of it."

Tears threatened to spill once more and the little Eevee didn't want to leave, she didn't want to wake up.

"I… I–"

This isn't real.

This isn't real.

Doesn't matter.

Don't let go. Don't go. Don't leave me.

Don't leave m–


Reality around her shattered.


Evie snarled, teeth baring with tears flowing down her cheeks. The world around her shook, shattering like someone took a sledgehammer through some glass.

Trees sprouted out of the ground, grass and dirt came as the sky above shimmered with glowing stars. A familiar figure rose behind a set of trees, a Pokémon Evie couldn't believe she was seeing.

"You." Her eyes burned with hatred, staring down at the figure opposite her. "You! How are you alive?"

The figure, a Delphox, merely smirked, hands grasping onto and waving its stick at her. Fire sparked to life in front of it before as quickly as it'd appeared, it shot at her, speeding at her in a stream of flames.

A green energy field appeared over Evie, protecting her just as the attack struck dead-on, spreading apart harmlessly against the Protect.

The Delphox cackled. "No more, you'll never rid me of my rule. My power controls everything! And this time, you won't be in control."

Evie growled, the green energy field around her fading away. "You're not real."

It shook its head with a chuckle, pointing its weapon at her. "Does this seem fake to you?"

Pink clouded her vision and her body lurched forward, shaking against an invisible weight as she fell to her knees.

"N-no… h-how…" She huffed, straining herself to stay up. Why was he so strong? Why was she so weak? "... h-how is this… possible?"

The Delphox however, didn't seem to have heard her as he smirked, rubbing his claws together. "Haha! Yes… Yes! The visions are changing! You'll fail! You'll lose! You'll lose! You lose!"

His chants rang against her ears, striking her with the force of a baseball bat. Her body shuddered, sweat dripped down her forehead and she flinched. The pressure around her was tightening, strengthening. No… No… this wasn't happening.

She couldn't lose to him, not again, not ever. She didn't want anyone to save her, she wasn't going to let them down, she wasn't going to let Zeal down.

Her bones cracked.

No… No… "No! I had enough! You're not real! None of this was! St-st–"


Reality around her shattered, the scenery breaking away as the dark void took over again.

The Delphox's body rippled, straightened and elongated before vanishing into a thin cloud of smoke.

The pressure disappeared and Evie fell onto the ground, wheezing and heaving deep breaths. "N-no… more."

Everything was fine, she was fine, she was going to be–

"D-daddy? Wh-where are you?"

Her heart skipped a beat and her ears flopped against her skull, staring at the newcomer with a horrified gaze. No… nononononono…

Not her, anything but her.

She didn't want to remember. She didn't want to remember.

Don't make her.

Please don't make her remember.

She didn't want to relive it.

Her daddy coughed up blood, a pained expression on his face as he fel–

"No!" She tackled the little Eevee, pinning her down with a paw on her chest. "You won't make me relive it! Not again! Never again! I don't want to!"

The little Eevee screamed, "M-monster!"

Monster… Evie froze, all the rage draining out of her as she stared at the crying Eevee. "N-no. Not again. I almost…"

Lost control.

The little Eevee shivered, running away and curling into a ball when Evie stumbled away, horrified at what she'd almost done.

"... too weak… couldn't save them…" the little Eevee muttered, tearing away at Evie's will as those words repeated over and over.

"Too powerful… too strong… couldn't control… almost killed… almost lost them… had hurt them…" Hearing those words shocked Evie to the core and she couldn't bear the weight of it, falling. She fell, legs failing to respond. "Almost failed… June… lost trust… almost ruined… so many times… so many times…"


The door locked behind the Charmander as he shuffled over to her with a claw scratching at his cheek, a nervous tic.

He was afraid.

So was she.

Evie glanced at the bed they were on, avoiding his gaze, his reaction, his fear.

He was the first to strike, breaking apart the iceberg that'd formed over them. "Ev-Evie…"

She should be talking too, shouldn't she? That's what she was here for, to talk, to apologize.

She opened her mouth an–

"I'm sorry!"

Wait what? What did he mean that he was sorry? She was the one that… no, this wasn't what she'd expected. Why was he sorry? Why was he blaming himself for her faults? Why was–

"St-stop it. Why are you apologizing?" Evie said, pawing at her leg. "I'm-I'm the one that should be apologizing, I was the one that almo–"

"No, it's not. You were controlled, you didn't want to do it and… I-I still blamed you for it, I had blamed you fo-for–"

"It was my fault. I should've been stronger, I shouldn't have given in, I shouldn't have lost control–"

"It's not your fault!" June shouted before immediately shrinking away. "S-sorry. I… just… it's just that… none of this would've happened if I had just listened to you… if I didn't–"

"Don't you dare say it." She felt the fur on her face becoming wet. "You tried to help, you didn't know what would've happened."

"But I should have! I'm your trainer! I should've accounted for everything! I should have… But all I've ever done was be useless. None of you need me, you never did. I'm just useless, I'm–"

"Only human."


"You heard me. You made a mistake, that's fine, normal even," she said. "What's not fine is blaming yourself. You didn't know that would happen, you didn't even know that could happen… so stop it, stop blaming yourself when it's my fault."

June went silent, claws clenched and shaking. "No, Evie. It's... it's not your fault. It took me a long time to realise that and... I think it's time for you to also understand that." He chewed on his words, glancing nervously at the vixen. "It... it doesn't matter if you're a normal Pokémon or a human, Evie. Everyone deserves a second chance and I'm willing to extend that branch, so... what do you say? Friends once more?"

Evie stared at the claw for a moment, she wanted to say more but she knew he was too stubborn to let her take the blame and she too was a stubborn mon, they'd be going around this for ages if she allowed it.

And like everything in life, sometimes it was better to start anew than to continue the cycle. She took his claw with her own, shaking it with a small smile.

"Friends once more."


That's it. That was it.

She glanced at the crying Eevee, a sharp pang going through her heart. She took in a breath, shaking her head.

No more. No more running, it was time.

Evie moved.

The little Eevee squeaked.

She embraced the little Eevee. "You and I will pull through this together, it doesn't matter if I'm not strong enough and it doesn't matter if I can't control myself. The future is in our paws and we can't let our worries taint it."

The little Eevee mumbled an agreement, glancing at her with those big amber eyes. Her body shone a bright white and she shut her eyes, she felt her body move in ways she thought wasn't possible but strangely enough, it didn't feel bad instead it felt...

"Relieving," Evie sighed, stretching her limbs as she glanced at her surroundings. "Now that's an out-of-body experience I never thought was possible." Her ears twitched as she examined the Aura circling the area.

Left. Right. Up and there! A weak point.

She smirked. Don't worry, June. The cavalry's here.

With a newfound vigor in her stride, she shattered the boundaries of her reality and left the nightmare behind.
Last edited:
Laura – Worthless


A cat that writes stories.
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
  7. mewtwo
  8. zeraora
She felt the absence – the cold void where Salem should be – first of all. Laura stirred. She spread her fingers – and how they trembled now – she felt the thin sheets, her own hair across her face, the sick air in her lungs, sick, she was sick, sick of being Laura Weir, sick of misery, sick from misery. Salem was gone, and she'd done nothing.

Oh, how she shivered and pouted; poor, lonesome Laura. Stranded in her comfortable room, in her house with living parents who wanted the best for her, ungrateful Laura, why can't she be happy, why does she have to be so fucking miserable? She knelt on her mattress, and looked at her shaking hands, at her skin, blemished and pale and neglected. Worthless bitch.

"That's not fair," she protested, voicelessly. Something stuck in her throat killed the sound, reduced her words to a pained whisper.

Don't you dare complain. This empty life was the consequence of her worthlessness. A stray thought flickered through her feverish brain – start over, drop out, find a pokémon, leave, leave, get the fuck out – but she'd already missed her chance. Her last chance. She'd made too many mistakes and they'd compounded each other over and over until she was nothing but failure, permanently, permanently unsalvageable. She would never, ever get better from this. She didn't deserve to.

Her heart plummeted from her chest, bludgeoning her ribcage on its way down, down into the dark, the figurative darkness where she would live from now on, if she could bear to live at all. Her lungs were full of it, full of thick, black ink, and with every breath she spent cursing herself, the ink filled her up, feeding on her, spewing from her throat and staining her body. The darkness spread from her, and ate the walls of her room, devoured the house around her, drank in the whole world until there was nothing in it but a worthless, stupid bitch who couldn't fucking do anything right.

Stupid girl.

That wasn't her own thought, was it? Laura wiped ink from her eyes, grit her teeth, looked about in the blackness. Fuck you, she thought, though she shivered and clutched at her arms and could hardly breathe with all the darkness choking her.

You disgrace yourself, girl.

"F-fuck... you," she spat, and more ink spewed from her mouth, splattering the void beneath her. Not with black, but with red.

Will you not stand up? Are you so pathetic that you cannot fight?

She would always fight. She'd promised, hadn't she? She'd promised that... to Malachai. To her dragon. Even if she knew she'd lose, even if it was hopeless, even if she was past her limit. She had to fight. She had to – and she ripped a low, ragged scream from her lungs, and with it came more blood-red ink, defying the void with its violent brightness. She lifted a trembling hand to her mouth and felt around inside it, searching for the cause, the source, the wound.

Show me what pride remains in you, my master. Give me a reason to serve you. Fight, damn you.

Laura reached down, searching for the thing that was hurting her, until her fingertips pricked themselves on sharp edges and cruel points. She closed her eyes, strangled her own sobs, and clutched at the shards inside her. Pulled. Dragged them raw across her insides.

Fight back, Laura!

She howled as it came out of her – a black-soaked mass of carbon crystals and cedar slivers. Hateful fragments of every graphite pencil she'd ever chewed in a moment of stress. Every sickening feeling she'd ever sought relief from, every dread-inducing message that had made her crave distraction, every loathsome spiral in her skull that urged her to prove her own misery to herself. Filling her up. Choking her. Killing her.

She squeezed the cursed thing until it burst in her fist, and she coughed out the last of the ink, and at last the pain was clean.

That will suffice, girl.

"Oh yeah?" asked the girl, pulling herself to her feet, daring the darkness to keep existing around her. "'Cause I'm not done."

No words reached her in reply, but she felt a response nonetheless; the unaccountable certainty of a draconic smile on her noivern's face.
Malachai – Powerless


A cat that writes stories.
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
  7. mewtwo
  8. zeraora
The broken body of a human girl lay before Malachai, steeped in blood, reaching out for his protection. Protection that never even reached her. Laura lay dead... but what manner of villain had killed her, that should escape his senses, or his memory? If they could be found, he would find them. He could not grieve before he had carried out his vendetta.

Should you not be mortified, Malachai? Will you not spill your roar of agony?

The noivern narrowed his eyes, and examined the corpse of his master. The wounds were nonspecific, the movement of her body somehow... jarring. There was no scent of predator, no taste of poison, no evidence of a weapon. He found no tracks, heard no heartbeat, sensed no mind but his own. Nor could he recall a motive, were Laura's killer a murderer.

This is a strange way to mourn your master, thou noble dragon.

Malachai scanned the area, and recognised it as a moorland territory over which he had once been sovereign. Common heather stretched across gentle hills, giving way to dull greens and browns, a land uncultivated by humans. Patches of grain crops in the distance lay at the foothills of a grey range of mountains, from which trickled a thin, silver river. The light of the evening sun fell dim through the cloud cover. He knew it well, this lost home of his. A place to which he had not returned in half a lifetime, and would never have taken his master. Why was he here...?

You might have known this for what it was the moment you laid eyes on the girl's blood, you fool.

<A nightmare, then?>
thought Malachai, a growl rising inside him. <The king of bad dreams would test me so? Is this his domain, or his purgatory for petitioners at his gates?>

He spat syllables in his old, draconic tongue as he sent his Galarish words to nowhere and nobody.

<How dare you.>

He unfurled his wings, and looked up, poised for flight. He closed his eyes. Could he will his dream to change? He would soon find out.

<Return her to me.>

It was not a request, but a command.

You would give orders to a god, thou Icarus among noivern?

<Return her to me.>

Malachai took wing at full strength, bludgeoning the earth below him with the force of displaced air. He flew through the dream, forgetting the false corpse of his human below him, and demanded that when he open his eyes, he would see the girl alive. Conviction such as his would not be denied. He would persevere until he had her back.

Gravity released Malachai, and he hung in empty dream-space.

<Hear me, Laura!>

He opened his eyes, and saw her. Just a speck, lost in endless darkness, the only pale thing in a night with neither borders, nor stars. He dived towards her, and yet he hung in the empty space, motionless, with no true air to pass through. He could see her, just clearly enough to see that she was in anguish, vomiting blackness into her nightmare. He beat his wings, yet he could not reach her. She would suffocate without ever seeing him.

<Hear me! Listen for my thoughts!>

The darkness only grew, swallowing Laura before Malachai's eyes.

So this was his punishment. For rejecting his own nightmare of the realm he'd left behind, he would suffer this nightmare, fully lucid. A cruel irony. But he could choose to close his eyes, to defy it, to refuse to comply.

Malachai closed his eyes, and let the darkness take him, willingly, without fear.

...worthless, stupid bitch...

He could hear her.

<Stupid girl,> he sent, reflexively. A fond recrimination. One that meant do not kneel to this. You know better than to despair.

A moment passed where he couldn't be sure she'd heard him.

But then...

...she looked up.

<You disgrace yourself, girl,> he sent. Take heart. Have pride.

She swore aloud, so faint he could hardly hear her, but there, there was the defiance he sought! That he loved!

<Will you not stand up?>
he sent to her, willing her to stand, to survive, to win. <Are you so pathetic that you cannot fight? Show me what pride remains in you, my master. Give me a reason to serve you. Fight, damn you.>

She howled at the darkness, and he roared a reply, hoping she might somehow hear that too.

<Fight back, Laura!>

Something changed. Malachai opened his eyes, and saw colour in the black, an angry red, a hopeful red.

<That will suffice, girl.>

I'm not done,
came the reply.


Neither was he.
Last edited:
Top Bottom