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Pokémon What Life Has To Offer [2023 One-Shot Contest]

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
This was originally submitted for the 2023 Aeon's and Avatars One-Shot Contest as an Eternatus POV fic.

This is the original, unedited submission. As such, expect numerous mechanical, pacing, and narrative errors and oddities especially in the ending.
A revised version may be posted later in this thread, and will be linked/threadmarked accordingly. Currently, this is the only version that exists.

Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy this experimental piece! It's my first time publishing xenofic, so any constructive criticism would be appreciated — even if it's a repeat of what the judges have already remarked on.

CW:
Unknowingly destructive POV, on-screen funeral, implications of apocalypse. This is very much intended to be a twisted POV thinking they are doing something good.

How truly infinite the universe was!

An endless expanse of cobalt and crimson forged the lands before Ena as her mind’s eye opened. A curious chirp escaped her maw, and her spiny, skeletal form reticulated as she looked up for the first time.

Floating just above the ground composed of millions of blue metallic plates were her kin. They laughed and played as they flew through the black sky — their Cores flashing with words of excitement.

The joyous glow and buzzes of her brethren beckoned her: come, come new little one; let us bask in the wonders of possibility!

Ena found that she, too, could float. She emerged from the pile of plates as they clinked down with light echoes that sounded almost like music to her, but she paid little mind. All she could focus on was what laid ahead.

A parade of glow pink mist had caked the vast sea of darkness that was the sky. The bands of luminescent fog streaked across as though someone had taken a paintbrush and used the air as their canvas.

As she passed every band of light, she could see glimpses of worlds beyond. Of places filled with grains of green and petals of purple. Of locales with towering formations of some rough substance that were as intimidating as they were beautiful. Of a place where a tiny orb marked the sky and commanded the strange yet sparkling liquid below.

Just as they finished speaking, a vibrant red completely enveloped their once bleak sky. Pulses of happiness echoed within each of the gathered, flying larva. A warmth unlike any other spoke to the deepest parts of Ena and the others as it wrapped them all in a cocoon of complete bliss.

The Mother Eternacore greeted them.

Each pulse, pause, and period of extended light from Mother spoke to them words of silk and security. They were her children, and this was their Home. In this space, they would grow, they would learn, they would muse. Within it, they would be shown glimpses of a truly amazing part of the universe called [Life]. It was a strange, alien phrase, yet one that felt so nice.

[Life] was precious. [Life] was what created all of those things they saw in the light bands. [Life] was what they would help grow and nurture when it was time for them to leave her.

For the time being, they should aim to understand this [Life]. It was a strange, mystifying thing. Sometimes [Life] was bombastic and beautiful. Others, simple but serene. But it was, above all else, finite. An unfortunately fleeting treasure that would be gone as soon as it arrived. Why this may be is something the larva must find out.

Until Spawning Day, Mother would house them, nurture them, provide them safety as they learned and grew. Through her, they would always be connected — always able to share what they have seen, what they have understood, and what they have imagined wherever within Home they may be. They should let those possibilities expand in this realm, and when the time comes, make them all reality.



“[Water] into [Seed] under [Soil] creates [Plant],” Ena recited as her metallic appendages extended and whipped around as she endeavored to experience all that she could. “But [Life] needs more to grow…”

“Light!” Another Eternatus larva light-pulsed, finishing her thought. “Yes, yes, [Plant] [Life] needs Light and all those other things!” He paused, before asking, “But what about [Null] [Life]? What does it need?”

Ena hummed. What was something that all [Life] needed? [Grass] and [Flowers], [Rocks] and [Mountains], and the [Moons] and [Seas], what did they all have in common?

Ena turned her head towards another band of red mist. Her many, many eyes peered into it as she tried to find answers to this riddle. In it, visions of strange pale creatures clad in black softness stood around a long rectangle of some sort. They held [Plant] [Life] in their hands, and were experiencing something intense...

She squinted as she observed further. She recognized this feeling. It was one that she and the other larva rarely experienced, but could see in these glimpses: Sadness. This [Life] had been experiencing Sadness.

Her tail curled as she contemplated. Sadness was a need for Happiness, wasn't it? Was that the answer, then? “Does [Life] need Happiness?”

Her brother shook his head. “Some [Life] exists without Emotion. Still has needs, but no Happiness to go with Sadness.”

Each of Ena’s ribs tapped in thought. A difficult puzzle indeed. As she looked closer, however, she noticed that there was another presence inside the rectangle. It was Not [Life], but it looked so similar to the other [Life]. She nodded to herself. It was once [Life], but stopped. The [Life] had Sadness because of the Not [Life] in front of them. Because [Life] met an end.

Her core erupted in light as she gasped. That was it, that was the secret. “[Life] needs more [Life]!” She declared.

Another Eternatus chimed in with a chuckle. “A paradox is not a solution, Ena,” they spoke as they whipped their tail. “It would be like saying Mother is good because she is Mother.”

Ena, however, refused to back down. “Mother said [Life] is finite. It stops growing. It just all becomes Not [Life]. So then, what if what it needs is to be Eternal?” Her wings tucked around her ribs. “[Life] emits Love, and Love makes more [Life]. [Life] grows forever, then Love grows forever. Imagine if [Life] could Love like Mother could! That would bring so much Happiness; it would be good for everyone!”

Some of the other Eternatus briefly entertained the thought, yet they all could not help but agree: [Life] could not be Eternal. It just wasn’t possible.



Ena’s Spawning Day soon arrived.

Ena’s sights of infinite splendor blurred. The lights of the others became difficult to read. Her connection to the others weakened. Many of them panicked as they scrambled to find a way to get Ena back on their light network. Ena might have had some strange ideas, but they still loved her as a sister. They didn’t want her to go away. They were supposed to be together under Mother’s warmth forever.

They watched her slowly fade away as a wave of sadness permeated the dream. It was okay, Mother assured as her own light seemed to dim and waver, this was simply how [Life] goes.

Ena opened her true eyes for the first time.

The now fully-grown Eternatus bursted out of her cocoon as she flexed and felt what it was like to truly have a physical body for the first time. Everything felt so slow, so sluggish, yet at the same time, she could not help but feel more free. The worlds that she saw only in snapshots were now hers to see. [Life] would become something she could experience for herself, in real-time, and then, she could report it all back to her brethren.

Her overjoyed mood quickly churned into confusion as Ena looked around. The red warmth of Mother was gone; all that remained were black skies and sparkling little bits that were so far out of reach. Where was she? Where were her kin?

She curled her body and looked to see the planet beneath her. It was so… small! A sphere of blue plates that gently opened in and out revealed a mere candlelight of crimson inside. Ena leaned in to get a closer look.

“Mother…?” Ena asked, tilting her finned head.

The panels opened a bit, revealing the Mother Eternacore. It gave a few blinks of acknowledgement. “You were the first to grow, my child,” it said as tiny twinkles echoed underneath each of the plates. Ena quickly realized those were her siblings. “You learned what [Life] desires above all else. Now it is time for you to apply what you learned. Make those possibilities real. And then, perhaps one day, you could become a Mother Eternacore, too.”

Ena folded in her wings and sniffled. “I love you, Mother,” she said, as a strange swirl of Sadness and Happiness echoed in her own core’s light. “I will pursue [Life], and… make it grow.”

The Mother Eternacore folded back in as the sphere’s cracks closed in. Just before they could hide every bit of light, Ena took in the last communication.

There were no words, only Love and Happiness.



Despite how vast the emptiness of space was, everything in it was so simple and small. So, so small. More often than not, Ena would zip towards the nearest object, only to find it was merely hunks of [Rock] and [Gas]. A sea of debris, really, and a far cry from the bands of wonder Mother had shown her. Was she mistaken? Was she expecting more than there truly was?

A twinkle caught her attention. She craned neck as her wings adjusted themselves to face it. Her many pale eyes gazed upon the distant object as she tried to see if it was just another flaming ball floating without a purpose.

But then, more lights sparked within. Waves and bands of very subtle, yet distinct colors peeked out of the dot - as though they had been the lights beneath Mother's plates. Could it be…?

Her ribs opened as she charged her Core. Eternal energy surged before it burst into a trail of light — jettisoning her to parts unknown.

As she approached closer and closer, her mouth-joints unhinged as her lights sparked in a gasp. It was unmistakable: that glorious symphony of lights and colors and waves: it was [Life]!

Beautiful [Life]. Colorful [Life]. Numerous [Life]! Ena’s many eyes couldn’t keep track of all of it! Families of [Life] called [Tribes]! Celebrations of [Life] by [Elements]! Sustainment of [Life] through [Food] and [Water]! So much to see, so much to experience!



As time passed, Ena would come to see a glaring problem: there was too much [Life]. What an ironic concept; how could there be too much of a good thing? There was no such thing as too much Love, after all.

And yet, it was what was becoming abundantly clear in her many, many eyes. [Life] needed resources to continue, and this world was small. So very, very small. [Life] would soon overproduce and overtake the small world. Life would be like Ena: lost and alone in the sea of nothingness that was space. But unlike Ena, [Life] was not Eternal. [Life] would end. Completely gone. There wouldn't even be Sadness to take its place. Just oblivion.

Ena’s wings opened up, determined. It was clear to her what she needed to do; she would give [Life] exactly what it needed. She would make it Eternal.

First, she would show [Life] what it would be like to be bigger, to be more powerful, to get a glimpse of infinity through her own gifts of energy — with her Love. She blasted the world and its [Life] with a beam from Core. Soon, the [Life] within it became bigger, bigger, bigger! Bigger and Loved! An infinite wave of joy and splendor and possibility! They would feel it, they would embrace it, and they would understand what they were missing!

And through this experience, [Life] realized that much of their already tiny world had now become obsolete. What had once been forests and fields became sprouts and carpets, and, not too long after their Eternal awakening, merely rock and ash. But craved more. They wanted to always have this infinite power. They wanted to keep their [Life] going.

They would seek out the source. They would find her. They would ask for her Love. And she would invite them into her Eternacore — into Home.

They would have everything they desired within her. They would have their infinite wants fulfilled by her Love. They would be able to experience all that she had with light bands she could share. She would be to them as Mother was to her for this small [Life].

And they would be reborn as Eternatus.

As she welcomed the [Life] within her, Ena’s body, in turn, underwent a small transformation. Her spine elongated, her wings merged two plating cords, and her jaw gained just a few more plates.

Ena smiled as she felt her new spawn wriggle inside her. They must have been loving her as their new Mother.



Many Cycles later, Ena’s form had resembled more like a hand than the skeletal dragon she once had hatched as. She had "welcomed" over a dozen worlds into her being. Her gentle crimson warmth provided the perfect saucepan for assimilating the elements of [Life] into her Eternacore.

And, oh, how much she learned from them! Through becoming their Mother, she had been able to play through all of their cute little memories. She would see the many ceremonies for end of [Life], for [Food], for [Seasons]; she would encounter the intricate web of social sounds and gestures that these tiny [Life] forms used to communicate; she would even understand things like Cycles being 365 rotations of a planet around a star!

Ena pondered over her most recent discovery: of how [Life] would struggle against [Life] when their [Ideals] and [Truth] did not align. It was fascinating; they would sooner give up what is most precious for something that is abstract, yet feel they have experienced [Life] all the same. Was this what Old Mother meant when she said [Life] was wondrous because it was so fleeting? She had no idea that [Life] itself could cause [Life] to end!

It was all the more reason why she wanted to invite them into her. They would become Eternal when they were Home. They could experience more [Life] than they ever had. And perhaps, if she were so bold, she could now consider herself to be better than Old Mother.

Just as she giggled over a set of memories passed along from one her child, her grand gaze set its sights upon another planet. This one was larger than most, and by far had the highest concentration of [Life]! Truly amazing! The diversity of [Species] and colors and powers was unlike anything she had even seen before!

And yet, all the same, the [Life] on it was much too small as well. She could feel it; they yearned for that "more", that craved to be bigger, they wanted infinite power, too. And Ena, as she had done for many other worlds in the past, would grant the same for this [Life].

The [Life] known as [Pokémon], however, was not so willing or wanting as she had expected. Rather than embrace and accept the goodness of bigness, several beings had struck at her! She writhed in this newfound sensation of pain. She bellowed out a screech like she had never had before. The [Life] inside her had already been influencing her behavior, but never could she have imagined that she would feel what it was like to be so ephemeral, too! Her Eternacore lights flashed and blinked, pleading for someone to help, but she had neither her kin nor Old Mother with her.

The [Pokémon] buried her. They smothered the light of her Eternacore as she was forced beneath their world’s surface by those two tiny, ungrateful [Life] forms. She had the power to save them all, and they were treating her as though she were threatening them. But she could not fight back. She learned if she had, [Life] would end so quickly. Not just the [Pokémon], but potentially her children as well.

Ena closed her eyes and rested beneath deep within the world of this [Pokémon] [Life]. Perhaps she was too hasty. She had approached [Life] and gave them gifts before they wanted them. That was what always worked. Perhaps this time, she would instead let [Life] seek her out.

They would soon see. [Life] was so fleeting, so fast, so small. But she could make it bigger. She could make it Eternal. She could give them everything they wanted and more. They just needed to come Home and accept her Love.



And many hundreds of Cycles later, [Life] would do just that.

In the midst of her thoughts, she had been contacted by [Life]. This time, it was not [Pokémon] [Life]. Yet it, too, was small, so small. It was [Human] [Life], and this one had big ideas.

Its individual name was [Rose], and it had seen just how infinite and wondrous Ena was. It did not yet want to become her child, though It believed that it needed to live more of its small [Life] first, and more importantly, it believed it needed to show its fellow [Life] what could be.

Ena smiled at that. [Rose] was such a wonderful bit of [Life]. Even in its minuscule perspective, it understood. Ena happily granted [Rose] any bit of infinite energy it wanted. If it would show the [Pokémon] [Life] of this world what it needed — if it demonstrated how in a mere three-thousand cycles this world could no longer sustain [Life] without her Love — then it would possibly become one of her favorite children when they all would eventually come Home.



Ena was shaken awake. Ena did not like this.

Ena was then stared down by [Life] as an enemy yet again. Ena especially did not like this.

And once more… Ena was slashed down. Ena truly, wholly did not like this.

Pain. Searing, coursing, awful, pain! Why?! Why must [Life] do this to her?! She had given them everything, and they had only conspired to betray her?! Were they so scared of losing [Life] that they refused to acknowledge her Love?!

Where was [Rose]?!

But then…

Then [Life] did something incredible.

[Life] made a Home for her.

Her new cocoon was a vast sea of infinity. A strange, metallic, man-made "Core" had now enveloped her in a blue, caring warmth and a bevy of new experiences. The memory-light-bands in here were not simply glimpses, but entire scenes playing out in front of her. She could even use the ones from the [Life] she had been nurturing herself and display them in this realm of blue.

[Life] became Mother to her.

New Mother soon made itself known. It was a [Human] [Life]. Not [Rose], but someone else. And unlike Old Mother, [Human] Mother would spawn and un-spawn her from the Core as needed by [Life].

That was okay, Ena thought. It allowed a new relationship to form. She had always endeavored to seek [Life], to understand it, to grow it, to sustain it, and to improve it. She had never once considered that, perhaps, [Life] could do the same for her, too.

Ena would give [Life] what it wanted when it wanted it. Sometimes it desired to be bigger, but only temporarily. Sometimes it desired her Love, but only in moments. Sometimes it simply wanted to nurture Ena, or be nurtured by her. Ena did like this.

In time, this arrangement may end, and soon she would need to bring [Life] back into her to make them Eternal. But until that day came…

She would simply experience what [Life] had to offer.
 

Mirage

Junior Trainer
Location
Honolulu, HI
Pronouns
He/him
Partners
  1. minccino
As someone who's never actually played Sword/Shield and was kinda absent from the community when it came out, it was pretty fun to read a story about Eternatus! I wasn't sure what to expect from it coming in other than that it's apparently extremely powerful.

I think my favorite aspect of this story is Ena's introspective personality and what motivates her to be the way she is. Most of the time when I've seen all consuming borg monsters in fiction, there's rarely much explanation or depth given to why they actually want to absorb everything, other than that the plot needs a villain. But Ena wants to share her... umm... "Love" because she believes she's being compassionate, and the story does a great job justifying why! We see her mother raise her to believe that's how she helps life. In her personal experiences, the life energy seems to be happy after she absorbs it. If you ask any mortal being if they could have anything they wanted, immortality is a pretty classic answer for a reason. Who wouldn't want to be kind and share the gift of eternal existence? Really cool to see that trope turned on its head.

With how big of a role the interactions between Ena and her mother played in the beginning of the story, I do wish there was a little bit more meat and some dialog to the scenes where Ena interacts with her own children. It would be interesting to see if all Eternatus are destined to come to the same conclusions about life, or if maybe some of her babies disagree with her or have different takes about what they should do?

Her liking the inside of the Pokeball and the parallels between the protag and her mother definitely wasn't something I was expecting, but the reasoning makes sense. Even the process for how a Pokeball breaks down a Pokemon into light and stores it doesn't sound all that different from what she might do to absorb planets. I like how the story kind of comes full circle; Ena starts out inside of a host and seeks to learn about life, and at the end, she has a new host but still seeks to learn more about other living beings. Hope for everyone's sake the protagonist manages to change Ena's perspective about absorbing planets though :copyka:

All in all, your story was a fun and original take with great characterization, and I learned a lot about a Pokemon I previously knew little about. Thanks for a great read!
 
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HelloYellow17

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
  2. umbreon
  3. mew
Oh wow, what an incredibly unique and fascinating fic this is! I never thought I would find Eternatus endearing, but here we are! Stranger yet is the fact that I find Ena both charming and terrifying, lol. She means well, but is severely misguided and out of touch with a lot of things. The ease with which she simply consumes entire planets is horrifying, yet she has no clue. I always enjoy xenofic, but this one takes it to a whole new level—it feels so very alien, and I love it. This is GOOD stuff.

An endless expanse of cobalt and crimson forged the lands before Ena as her mind’s eye opened. A curious chirp escaped her maw, and her spiny, skeletal form reticulated as she looked up for the first time.

Floating just above the ground composed of millions of blue metallic plates were her kin. They laughed and played as they flew through the black sky — their Cores flashing with words of excitement.

Ena found that she, too, could float. She emerged from the pile of plates as they clinked down with light echoes that sounded almost like music to her, but she paid little mind. All she could focus on was what laid ahead.
I admit that the beginning was very difficult for me to wrap my head around and get a visual of what the setting was. And perhaps this is intentional! It’s alien POV, after all. But as someone who struggles to get into a fic if the setting isn’t easy to visualize pretty quickly, it did trip me up quite a bit.

A curious chirp escaped her maw, and her spiny, skeletal form reticulated as she looked up for the first time.
This is an excellent descriptor, though. I immediately pictured an Eternatus in my head thanks to the words “spiny” and “skeletal”! (It helps that there aren’t very many skeletal Pokémon in the first place, heh)

A parade of glow pink mist had caked the vast sea of darkness that was the sky. The bands of luminescent fog streaked across as though someone had taken a paintbrush and used the air as their canvas.
At first my brain went to sunset, but then I knew that couldn’t be right. So then I thought: a supernova, perhaps! I’m not sure if that’s right either but that’s the visual I’m getting.

Each of Ena’s ribs tapped in thought.
I’m really enjoying the body language displayed as Ena engages with her siblings and the universe around her. It makes her seem so much more alive.

Ena, however, refused to back down. “Mother said [Life] is finite. It stops growing. It just all becomes Not [Life]. So then, what if what it needs is to be Eternal?” Her wings tucked around her ribs. “[Life] emits Love, and Love makes more [Life]. [Life] grows forever, then Love grows forever. Imagine if [Life] could Love like Mother could! That would bring so much Happiness; it would be good for everyone!”
Haha, welllll about that…
Going off the authors note and knowing that she’s an Eternatus, I know this can’t be heading anywhere good. And the idea of forcing something to be eternal when it was never meant to be…yeah, I don’t see this going well.

But then, more lights sparked within. Waves and bands of very subtle, yet distinct colors peeked out of the dot - as though they had been the lights beneath Mother's plates. Could it be…?
Ohhh it’s starting to make sense now. This is…a planet?

What an ironic concept; how could there be too much of a good thing? There was no such thing as too much Love, after all.
Haha, about that…there’s definitely such a thing! When love turns into possessiveness, for example. Sweet Ena is a very naive being with far too much power, and it makes for a scary combination!

As she welcomed the [Life] within her, Ena’s body, in turn, underwent a small transformation. Her spine elongated, her wings merged two plating cords, and her jaw gained just a few more plates.

Ena smiled as she felt her new spawn wriggle inside her. They must have been loving her as their new Mother.
HORRIFYING. Just swallowing planets, no big deal. The fact that this is done with such a…cultish mindset makes it far more horrifying than if Ena was just a murderous, angry being on a rampage. It’s eerie and unsettling.

Ena pondered over her most recent discovery: of how [Life] would struggle against [Life] when their [Ideals] and [Truth] did not align.
Heh, spotted that B/W reference

Ena was shaken awake. Ena did not like this.
Oh my, this seems to imply that even Ena did not appreciate being forcibly summoned by Rose. Even though their goals semi-aligned.

New Mother soon made itself known. It was a [Human] [Life]. Not [Rose], but someone else. And unlike Old Mother, [Human] Mother would spawn and un-spawn her from the Core as needed by [Life].
Hahaha, a pokeball! I love that it’s perfectly clear what this is, even when described with only Ena’s terminology.

Ena would give [Life] what it wanted when it wanted it. Sometimes it desired to be bigger, but only temporarily. Sometimes it desired her Love, but only in moments. Sometimes it simply wanted to nurture Ena, or be nurtured by her. Ena did like this.
Aw, yay!! Uh, mostly. She’s still thinking “eventually I might swallow this planet”, but at least she is content to simply…follow her trainer’s lead, for now. Perhaps her time as a trained Pokémon will help expand her understanding and she will eventually change her mind.

I love the way the title ties into all of this with the last line—this whole time, Ena is only thinking about what she has to offer Life, despite the fact that she’s never even lived a life on these planets before. All she has ever known is space and nebulas and strange dimensions. So it’s very fitting and charming that the climax of this story is her realizing that…perhaps she still has things to learn. Perhaps she can learn from the Life that she has been so presumptuous over until now. It’s a lovely ending to a lovely fic. 💛
 
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