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Written Story Spin-off Mature Mon The Dark We Carry: A Colosseum Storylocke

Thread Description
"We are known not by our light, but our darkness." Chapter 83 up [3/21] *hiatus until May!*

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,963
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
We stan disabled Pokemon in leadership positions! 😤 cap would be so proud of you epee

Trapinch baby!!! 🥺


No pressure, Rui thought ruefully. Purify a demigod, fight off another demigod, prevent a corrupt takeover of the region, then stop a slumbering demon. And to think I came to this region to get away from stress and responsibility.
What if you wanted to relax but the gods said "haha protagonist go brr brr."

Ximena’s number was right there… she could call and find out about Javelin. So why wasn’t she?
Schrodinger's Gligar! T-T

“I’m—I’m really sorry—”



“Don’t apologize for wanting a life,” she said, cutting in.
someone needs to have this conversation with rui when its all over..!

Also, heyyy Flygon, a position for "second ground type" has just opened up! 🤞

“Take me with you, trainer. I will fight for you until the region is safe for him or until I draw my last.”
 
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Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,587
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
Happy to see Javelin lives, and excited to see what Momma Flygon will bring to the table. (Not to mention that she and Raikou are both gonna need purification chapters, which should be interesting.)
 
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bumblebee

Conqueror of the Viridian Gym
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
3139
Caught
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
128
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/her/hers
Pokémon Type
Water, Flying
Pokédex Entry
This pokemon flits from new idea to new idea, never able to settle down.
I have such a soft spot for how you write these slower chapters and let the characters breathe. I love the interactions between Javelin and Rui, there's such a mama bear quality about Rui that she can experience with Javelin and I think that's just neat!

I'm so excited for how the rest of the team will mix with the newest teammate
 
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Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
941
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #304
Hey everyone! I have some things to mention!

We stan disabled Pokemon in leadership positions! 😤 cap would be so proud of you epee

Trapinch baby!!! 🥺



What if you wanted to relax but the gods said "haha protagonist go brr brr."


Schrodinger's Gligar! T-T


someone needs to have this conversation with rui when its all over..!

Also, heyyy Flygon, a position for "second ground type" has just opened up! 🤞



We do indeed stan! No lie, the shadow Yanma might very well be the worst pokemon in the game... so that makes me that much more determined to do something fun with it in-story, even if it got insta-boxed in the run itself.

And Javelin gets a happy ending! 😇

Happy to see Javelin lives, and excited to see what Momma Flygon will bring to the table. (Not to mention that she and Raikou are both gonna need purification chapters, which should be interesting.)
The Flygon (who does get a name, promise!) is going to make an interesting addition to the team for sure. I'm excited to get to her...


I have such a soft spot for how you write these slower chapters and let the characters breathe. I love the interactions between Javelin and Rui, there's such a mama bear quality about Rui that she can experience with Javelin and I think that's just neat!

I'm so excited for how the rest of the team will mix with the newest teammate
Thank you! I try to give the characters moments of reflection and peace, and feel like they deserve more than to have that happen off-page... I know that some of the most defining moments of my own life have come about during moments of quietude, after all!

Second, I'm sure you all saw that the Extravaganza was running until earlier today! Voting is over with, so hopefully you got your votes in--I'm honored to be on the ballot regardless of what I get, and I'd just like to thank everyone who nominated TDWC and wish any fellow participants the best of luck!

Third, I have a new run up! :0 GRANDMASTER is a chill, casual, and rather silly written log of Sword version (including the DLC!) featuring my spin on the classic Chesslocke ruleset. It's much different than my usual output, but feel free to give it a peek if you're so inclined!

And lastly... today's chapter is up!



Where did this info come from, I wonder? It almost seems too useful… but well, we can’t afford not to act on it, can we, Skrub? Take Venus and investigate, won’t you? And perhaps when you return… we can celebrate properly~ <3



lovrina



---




Beluh’s bones ached. It was to be expected—she was old, after all, and the body falls apart as the years stack up, no matter how well you take care of it. But like many women who spent their lives in the desert, she had come to associate creaks and aches and groans with certain portents. A twinge of the knee meant unseasonal rain; a grumbling of the spine, that money was in her future. This weight settling on her lower neck, however, was unusual—a pressure that rested on her collarbone, seeping into her shoulders and upper arms. The first time she had ever felt it was in her late forties, right before the sickness that took Eagun’s starter had swept Gateon; she’d felt it again decades later, the morning when the two of them had received a call from a desperate, shaken granddaughter they had never seen, asking for a place to call home.



She knew what it meant. Tremendous change was going to occur this day.



Beluh kept such premonitions to herself. Even among the wise old folk of Agate, future-telling was regarded with a roll of the eyes. What the common folk did and didn’t count as superstition seemed arbitrary to her; did they not live in a world in which the fantastic happened every day? Psychic pokemon could teleport whole groups across vast stretches, and creatures as small as baby Yamper could command lightning and thunder, given incentive enough. She herself could both understand pokemon and set objects dancing to a thought. But it was so easy to dismiss that which you did not see.



Or perhaps there was more to it than that. The gods… they had close to confirmation that the gods were real as they would ever get. Beluh still had never seen Celebi, but she believed her granddaughter’s tales, and had always known there to be a sort of quiet presence that drifted out of the low wood along the side of the hill. To say nothing of Entei—Suicune—Raikou. Beluh wasn’t all mixed up in this ‘Grid’ that her husband and grandchild were going on about, though she understood the generics, but the three Johtonese demigods had each shown their faces here in Orre. With that said, how couldn’t your heart soar? Why wouldn’t it be filled with awe?



She had broached the topic with Eagun, who had brusquely brushed off her theology. “We know that they’re gods—little G, not big,” he said. “Entei was shot, and Suicune was killed by a regular Ampharos—a powerful one, but still just a normal pokemon. In the end, I think that ‘gods’ are just what our ancestors called exceptionally powerful pokemon they couldn’t understand—and perhaps some of those beings got caught up in their own hype and began to believe the mythology people spun about them.” Beluh thought it was mighty presumptuous for him to say so when the timewatcher’s Relic was a short walk away, but he continued. “Their divinity doesn’t matter to me as much as the threat they pose to the region. Is this ‘Devourer’ really a dark god, or is it just a powerful pokemon that can manipulate the Aura of others—something, might I add, that even humans can do, albeit not on this level?” He’d shook his head. “It doesn’t matter either way to me. All I know is that it’s a threat to people and pokemon everywhere, and needs to go.”



The memory set her wistfully recollecting. Ah… her beautiful, stubborn, forthright, bullish, iron-jawed husband. She knew at this point there would be no changing him. Still, she’d burned spice that night to Celebi on his behalf, begging forgiveness. If the stories Rui had relayed were true, then Celebi was a good goddess, and would likely understand that wicked men could be faithful, and nonbelievers could possess integrity, and that all living beings deserved to be judged on their character—but still.



It couldn’t hurt.



The ache in her shoulders told her something was coming, though, something big. She felt she should burn more spice on behalf of the region. But to whom? Ho-oh, perhaps—entreat the master of the demigods running amok to reign them in? Azelf, to beg the sprite to give her granddaughter and her pokemon the willpower to see their journey through? She’d been burning much spice to Azelf these past few months.



No, she knew exactly who to entreat—but the time was not right for this deity.



Beluh rose with a creak from her garden, not even bothering to brush her apron free of dirt or soil. Her trowel and the basket of weeds she’d been collected levitated behind her on a tether of her will; at this stage, she’d long started manipulating objects for menial tasks nearly unconsciously. Tossing the weeds into the bin and depositing her apron and trowel to wash clean later, she stepped inside.



Eagun’s voice echoed down the hallways of their home. He was spending more time on that electric doohickey; he’d been doing much of that lately, arranging things for this Grid. Beluh didn’t begrudge him for it. From Orre’s star battler to Agate’s mayor to the Grid’s chief organizer, he’d never been the sort who could just sit back and relax. It would probably stress him out.



One of Eagun’s pokemon was sweeping the hall clean as if born to it. Beluh smiled. Tama, the quiet, stalwart Makuhita, had once been her granddaughter’s—but he had truly blossomed under Eagun’s care after Rui had allowed him to retire.



“I’m sorry,” she said. “You’re doing such a great job and look at me, tracking dirt everywhere…”



He smiled up at her. His smile was small, but warm and genuine. She got the sense that this was something new for him, smiling, and that he was learning that it was okay to do. “Don’t mind,” he said. “Keeps me busy.”



She moved into the kitchen to make brunch. Fresh veggies picked just the day before, washed under a faucet and diced into a salad with dark bread baked this morning, smothered with Moomoo butter (imported from Gateon—they couldn’t do everything on their own in Agate). Heaven. Picking aside a berry she knew was Topaz’s favorite, she called out to the little Pikachu for him to get a treat—but no response.



Frowning, Beluh returned to the hall. “Is Topaz here?”



Tama set the broom aside. “Went out this morning, haven’t seen him since.”



Beluh frowned. She wasn’t concerned about his safety—even despite the assaults the town had faced lately, she still ultimately felt secure in her own home. But there were ways to hurt beyond that.



Losing his father had been hard on the lad.



She stepped out to look for him, tucking the Sitrus Berry into the front pocket of her overalls to give to him, and didn’t mind one bit when Tama fell in beside her without being prompted.



The day didn’t seem portentous; a clear azure sky, healthy white wisps of cloud scudding across it, a light breeze. Still, she mused, my bones tell me what they tell me. She made her way down the hillside path, beating a familiar track; she waved hello to folks she passed, nodded at friendly pokemon.



There was a field a ways down the hill, one replete with grasses and flowers. Topaz was sunning on a rock near it.



The Pikachu glanced sideways as Beluh settled next to him with a grunt, Tama standing alongside. “Here,” she said, digging for the berry. “A treat.”



“Thanks.” He took it, orange-yellow juice trickling down his chin with every bite. After he was done, he didn’t say anything, just staring at the sky. Beluh let him. Let him get the stuff off his chest in his own time. She’d spent over seven decades waiting—she could wait a few more minutes.



After a tiny string of cloud briefly covered their field in shade, only for the sun to poke out again, Topaz spoke. “…hey, Beluh?”



“Mm?”



“Does it ever… go away?”



“Losing people, you mean?” she said, her voice soft. Ahhh, this poor child. So young, to be grappling with his first real loss. “It hurts, but eventually, you come to feel glad at the memories you have rather than feel down about not getting to make any more of them.”



“That’s what everyone keeps saying.” The Pikachu still stared up at the sky. “Sometimes I can go for whole hours without thinking about my dad. Wasn’t like that at first… I guess he really is gone, huh.”



“He is, yes,” she said, as gently, as truly as she could. There was no point in giving him any false hope. “You can’t bring him back, Topaz, not for anything. I’ve felt that myself over the years… friends, pokemon, even my own daughter. You need to accept that you will lose loved ones. It’s a part of life.”



“I know it is,” he responded. “I know. But I… I want…” He sat up, his mouth tensing. “I don’t want to be here in this village! I should be with Rui and the rest of them, fighting to protect Orre—or at least avenge my dad!”



“Vengeance is a fool’s errand,” Beluh said.



“Like you’d know!” Topaz replied. “Did you have anyone you love murdered?



“Clasm was my teammate just as much as he was your father,” she chided. She wasn’t mad at him—he was passionate in his youth, and his fire came from a feeling of genuine loss.



“Still, though,” he sulked. “Denri and Reed and Kata and—and Striga—they’re putting their lives on the line! I should be there!”



“You’re strong,” Beluh said, “but nowhere near their level. You know it.”



“I don’t care! I want to fight!”



And then Tama joined in: “You don’t.”



Topaz turned to look at him. The Makuhita was poking through some flowers, but his voice was serious. “You don’t want to fight the kind of battles they face.”



“Don’t tell me what I want!” Topaz challenged. “What do you know?”



Tama bent over to pluck a flower—and with the shift of his arm, the long, angry line of scars on his side became visible. Topaz stiffened to see them; Beluh’s heart ached. Who could be so cruel to such a kind-hearted pokemon?



Plucking the blossom, Tama held it to his nose for a moment to take in the fragrance. “What do I know?” he said after a moment. “You never met Argyle, did you, Topaz?”



“I heard of him,” the Pikachu replied, face turned away. He couldn’t meet Tama’s eyes.



Tama nodded. “Down there in the cavern beneath Pyrite, I watched him die. He went in his sleep after being brutalized by Feral Ones. One of my best friends.” He crushed the flower in his hand; when he opened it, the breeze picked up the bits of leaves and petals, sending them scurrying away on the wind. “Before that, I was used as a living weapon by cold-hearted humans. I did terrible, terrible things. And before that… I was tortured.”



Topaz was quiet.



“You don’t want to be part of this fight,” Tama said. “Not with stakes like these. I quit because I couldn’t handle it, and Topaz, we both know I’m stronger than you. If you joined, you’d be chewed up on the first mission and die for nothing.”



“You don’t know that,” the Pikachu said impotently.



“I do know that,” Tama said. “Topaz, you have something not everyone gets to have: a home with friends and caretakers who love you. The world needs heroes—but it needs pokemon like us, too.” He rested a comforting arm on Topaz’s shoulder. “Gardens need to be tended, paths need to be mended, hearths need to be warmed. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in recognizing that a task is beyond you.”



“But I…” Topaz looked up at the Makuhita, eyes brimming. “They killed my dad and I just don’t do anything?”



“I was offered revenge against my old trainers,” Tama said. “Actual vengeance. I tried to take it, but circumstances always stopped me. That doesn’t mean I’m not any less happy now than I would have been. In fact, now that I’ve been away from that life for a while, I think back on if I’d actually managed to get my hands on Trudly and Folly, breaking them into matchsticks like I wanted… would I be happy now? I don’t think so. That would have felt good in the moment. But it would have stayed with me. Just another scar…”



Topaz looked chastened, all fire gone from him. Tama patted his shoulder again. “Come on, kid. I overheard the humans talking—Rui’s transferring another teammate here, like me.”



He perked up. “Striga?”



“I’m afraid not, but I think you’ll have fun. Come on.”



They returned to the hill just in time for Beluh to make him out—Eagun must have had him transferred while she was away. The Gligar perched on the fencepost outside their door, ears flickering as he took in the sounds of Agate, looking no less innocent or youthful despite the mass of scars he had in place of eyes.



Topaz scampered up, and for a moment, the old woman wondered if he would chastise Javelin for throwing aside the chance he himself had wanted so much—but then the Pikachu’s tail rose.



“So you’re here to stay?”



“Yeah, I… I am.” The Gligar spread his wings, taking in the sun. “I guess you’re only a kid for so long. Rui said I might as well live like one.”



“…yeah,” Topaz. “That’s true, I suppose.” His own ear flicked. “Wanna play?”



Javelin looked intrigued but abashed. “I don’t… know many games…”



The Pikachu took his claw, leading him away. “That’s okay. I know lots.”



Beluh smiled as she watched them go, felt Tama smiling alongside her—and then the Makuhita wordlessly picked up a broom and returned to his chore.



You’re wrong, Tama, Beluh thought. You are a hero, just not the kind most people think of.



Stepping inside, she found Eagun pacing. “Now what’s got you all worked up?” she asked.



He explained Rui was returning to Mt. Battle before heading to Realgam. “She says she doesn’t need help,” he complained, “but I’m just worried… both of the other demigods gave her team one hell of a fight, and Entei’s the strongest of the lot. If she shows up, there will be trouble.”



A smile touched on Beluh’s mouth. “The thing about youth,” she said, “is its overconfidence. Does your experience tell you she really needs help?” Eagun glanced at her. “Then why not act on what your experience says?”



His bearded face broke into a smile and he bent to give her a whiskery kiss on her cheek.



“Oh stop,” she laughed, swatting him away playfully. “Look at you, acting like a Volbeat on a summer’s night.”



“I just reward good ideas, that’s all,” he said, and returned to make his call.



Smiling after him, Beluh glanced out the window. The sun was nearly at its noonday peak—the time when stellar pokemon would be in their deepest sleep. The perfect opportunity to make an offering that would carry her prayer to their dreams.



She made her way to the small shrine she kept off her room. It was not a grandiose thing, just a small plate for burning spices surrounded by a working of tasteful wood. “Lord Jirachi,” she whispered, grabbing a pinch of spice and spinkling it into the tray (she always did it by hand; it had never seemed right to use her powers for these offerings), “master of destiny, please watch over my granddaughter.” She flecked the spice in oil pressed from olives. “Grant her fortune and luck.” Taking flint and tinder (some used modern lighters, which just didn’t seem honorable to her) she struck a spark on the oil-brushed spice. It lit up momentarily and then was ash, a tiny bit of smoke rising. Beluh opened a window to let the smoke carry her wishes to the gods.



As she watched the grey vapor undulate its way to the heavens, she could not shake the feeling of the weight in her shoulders. Yes… today would be a portentous day.



She only hoped that fortune held true.


---


This is a little side chapter to check in with some of the gang back in Agate whom we haven't seen much of, plus a sort of denouement to Javelin's story :>

Next time we pick up with Rui and co. at Mt. Battle!
 

bumblebee

Conqueror of the Viridian Gym
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
3139
Caught
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
128
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/her/hers
Pokémon Type
Water, Flying
Pokédex Entry
This pokemon flits from new idea to new idea, never able to settle down.
Hands down, I think this is one of my favorite chapters. Your mixing of worldbuilding + learning of side character personalities works well here; it doesn't feel like exposition at all, because we're not just learning about the world, but how the characters react to it.

“We know that they’re gods—little G, not big,” he said. “Entei was shot, and Suicune was killed by a regular Ampharos—a powerful one, but still just a normal pokemon. In the end, I think that ‘gods’ are just what our ancestors called exceptionally powerful pokemon they couldn’t understand—and perhaps some of those beings got caught up in their own hype and began to believe the mythology people spun about them.”
I love this idea that there's a hierarchy of god/God pokemon! You alluded to this when we first met Entei (ah there's that good ol' foreshadowing 👀) I also get the feeling that a lot of these gods became more powerful because of the hype; I mean, you look at Pokemon like Alakazam, Arcanine, or Aegislash and they're all powerful Pokemon, but they're still below that of the gods/Gods.

He smiled up at her. His smile was small, but warm and genuine. She got the sense that this was something new for him, smiling, and that he was learning that it was okay to do.
I don't really have anything constructive to say here, I just love Tama and I'm so glad he's with Beluh and Eugen ;w;

The world needs heroes—but it needs pokemon like us, too.
You’re wrong, Tama, Beluh thought. You are a hero, just not the kind most people think of.
I think these two quotes really highlight just how unhappy Tama was fighting. In this exchange, Tama equates being a hero to being someone who's ready to be as violent as they can to get what they want and that's just what "Heroes" are. In this whole entire story, so many have told Rui that she's a hero - which she is! - but that praise comes after she does something like...blow up a research facility, battle her way through swarms of Shadow Pokemon, or punch a guy. But I love how here Beluh has a better, more nuanced, way of thinking of what a hero actually means.
 
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Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,963
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
As you can't really have an atheist in D&D, I don't think being an atheist is the "smart choice" in Pokemon either. XD Strange, though, that a man with ties to even human psychics would subscribe to such an ideology!

smothered with Moomoo butter

I'm not a big butter person, but everyone tells me this butter is really good! XD

Tama is Team Dad. We stan. 😤

Jirachi when they realize they're getting mentioned outside of the Max Movie (tm):
 
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Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
941
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #307
Hello everyone! Before I jump into today's chapter, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who voted in the ganza this year! I'm pleased to have gotten both the silver medal for Best Worldbuilding and bronze for Best Protagonist--it was a very competitive year, so congrats to everyone who placed, or even got nominated. You're great!

Hands down, I think this is one of my favorite chapters. Your mixing of worldbuilding + learning of side character personalities works well here; it doesn't feel like exposition at all, because we're not just learning about the world, but how the characters react to it.

I love this idea that there's a hierarchy of god/God pokemon! You alluded to this when we first met Entei (ah there's that good ol' foreshadowing 👀) I also get the feeling that a lot of these gods became more powerful because of the hype; I mean, you look at Pokemon like Alakazam, Arcanine, or Aegislash and they're all powerful Pokemon, but they're still below that of the gods/Gods.


I don't really have anything constructive to say here, I just love Tama and I'm so glad he's with Beluh and Eugen ;w;



I think these two quotes really highlight just how unhappy Tama was fighting. In this exchange, Tama equates being a hero to being someone who's ready to be as violent as they can to get what they want and that's just what "Heroes" are. In this whole entire story, so many have told Rui that she's a hero - which she is! - but that praise comes after she does something like...blow up a research facility, battle her way through swarms of Shadow Pokemon, or punch a guy. But I love how here Beluh has a better, more nuanced, way of thinking of what a hero actually means.
Thank you! I'm so glad that you love Tama, and the worldbuilding and side characters... I like to let my worlds (and narratives) breathe from time to time.

And yes, Tama is glad to be out... but he's still carrying scars, not all of them physical. (All the shadows are.) He may never recognize just how heroic he really is--but others around him will, and they'll love and appreciate him for it.


As you can't really have an atheist in D&D, I don't think being an atheist is the "smart choice" in Pokemon either. XD Strange, though, that a man with ties to even human psychics would subscribe to such an ideology!



I'm not a big butter person, but everyone tells me this butter is really good! XD

Tama is Team Dad. We stan. 😤

Jirachi when they realize they're getting mentioned outside of the Max Movie (tm):
I don't know if Eagun is an atheist per se so much as he is more or less uncaring about divinity. The legendaries could be legitimate gods; they could also just be powerful pokemon. Either way, they're not infallible, and they need to go. Theology can be debated after the threat is removed. That's his mindset, anyways.

And I've always loved Jirachi! I don't think they get enough love ;w;


DID YOU TRULY THINK TO DECEIVE ME? YOU ARE SO TERRIBLY EASY TO PREDICT.



BUT THEN, YOU ALWAYS WERE.



---



Rui’s lungs and legs burned, and she felt about ready to keel over. If this is the last time I ever have to climb this nine-times accursed mountain, she thought ruefully, then I can die a happy woman. Why hadn’t Celebi hidden her other Relic in a massage parlor, or maybe an upscale restaurant? Honestly!



She finally had to stagger sideways a few minutes from the top, chest heaving. Luna crowded close to her, looking worried, as the rest of the pokemon scoped the area for the Dakim. As before, they’d taken a harder path to avoid going through the village.



“I’m fine,” Rui told her worried pokemon, the sentiment only slightly betrayed by how her voice nearly broke on the second word. “Just not made for—mountain climbing—”



The pokemon all looked at her with some degree of sympathy, and Rui thought ruefully that even Reed, a cumbersome amphibian made for the water, had managed the climb better than her. Now that really was sad. Pokemon are made of stronger stuff than people, she told herself, but the wound to her pride was far from salved. It spurred her to marshal her energy and push to the cavern near the peak.



Raikou was waiting for her there.



He was wearing a different shape, but it couldn’t have been anyone but him. At first Rui was shocked to see him as a human—but then, Celebi favored the form of the woman in green almost as much as the airy sprite, and Krane had reported on Entei’s businesswoman guise as well. Perhaps every legendary had a human guise.



She tried not to think of what Suicune’s might have been.



Raikou’s human form had dark skin the color she’d sometimes seen on foreign Gym Leaders, like Lenora of Unova. He was well over six feet tall, towering over Rui herself (who wasn’t exactly short) and had a stubble of brown hair on his otherwise bald head. His iron-chiseled face was bare save for five o’clock shadow, but his arms had what looked like onyx-black tattoos in the echo of his patterns in his other form. His clothes looked like he had stepped out of a movie about motorcycle gangs set fifty years ago: a faded black jean vest, torn in places, with a ruff of fur on the interior collar over a faded yellow shirt. Heavy cargo pants over no-nonsense boots completed the look. Yet the man gave off an inescapable air of both impatience and quietly lurking danger—as if he was one bad day away from throwing punches at anyone who looked at him wrong. Your skin pricked slightly just from being in his presence; Rui wasn’t sure if it was because of ambient static electricity, or if he really just was that intimidating. Probably both.



“You are here, and on time. Good.”



Rui was nearly put off how intimidating but otherwise normal-sounding Raikou sounded. She had somehow expected that he would speak as he had before: an imposition of will upon her thoughts.



Raikou’s eyes flicked from pokemon to pokemon, brushing them all off before landing on the Flygon. For a moment, she was terrified he would resume the battle underneath the lab out of wounded pride—but then the biker dipped his chin in the barest nod. It was a gesture of recognition and respect, not of deference, and the Dragon-type returned it cautiously. Afterwards, the tension in the air slightly deflated.



“I assume,” he said, addressing the question to the pokemon, “we can put the blows we exchanged down south behind us?”



“Eh, why not?” Striga replied. “I think most of us’ve tried to kill each other some time or another.”



Rui felt a smile tugging the corners of her mouth at that, but if Raikou was amused, he didn’t show it. “I attempted to engage the Relic on my own,” he said, gesturing into the cavern with contempt. Rui peeked in and was hit with a wave of déjà vu. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself back here again, contending against Vander and his team. So much needless death had occurred here…



She shook her head clear. “The way I understand it, you need a sort of—passenger to come along with you,” she said, fumbling for the right word. “For the shadow pokemon, it was me. When I was purified, Celebi herself came along.”



The god of thunder looked both intrigued and unsettled. “You were like that cursed scientist? A shadow human?” His voice was a hiss.



“Nowhere near as bad as Lovrina!” Rui replied. “But… yes. The Devourer had just started to worm into my heart.”



He still looked discomfited. “My past… you will come with me? See things? I do not like this. I still do not fully trust you, human.”



Sweet merciful Arceus, Rui thought, just managing to avoid massaging her temples, first he was the run rushing us here and now he’s having doubts? She could go for a bar of chocolate right about now. Reward her long-suffering with a treat. “Is there anyone you do trust?” she asked. “Not to mention that there is usually a cooling-off period, like I mentioned.”



His face tightened. “Do not presume—”



“Enough.” The voice was the Flygon’s: weary, decisive. “I have known the human as long as you have, Johto god. Which is to say, not long at all.” She glanced sideways at Rui. “I will consent to be purified first. If the human has ill intentions or is unsuited, then it will show through me.”



He considered it and then nodded. “This is acceptable.”



“Okay…” Rui said, turning to her newest team member. Could she really do this? Was the Flygon ready for purification? “Raikou,” she said, “I’m going to be looking at Aura a lot for the next little bit, so if you could dim yours…”





He tsked, but after a second, told her she was safe. Rui opened herself to Aura.



The Flygon looked wreathed in a cage of barbed wire, or maybe nettles—overgrown, writhing, biting things of red and black that pierced her flesh. It was a miserable existence. Yet some of the needles seemed to have withdrawn. Amazingly, the hold on the shadow did seem to have weakened. Perhaps the dragon was ready after all. But how? It had taken her teammates so long.



Recent freedom perhaps… but ah, that had to be it. The Trapinch. The Flygon had held the little creature with such gentle tenderness before she left, and Epee had told her of how she had broken down in happiness on the egg hatching. The birth of a new pokemon… such a small-seeming thing, yet to this Flygon, it had been the only thing she had wanted for years. To finally get it… that had to bring some light to a dark existence.



The Flygon stepped towards the Relic with confidence. Rui fell in alongside her. The air in the cavern began to thrum as it gathered its power; Raikou and the others were filing outside onto the mountain path.



“I need to do this,” the dragon whispered to herself, voice so low that only Rui could hear. She was clenching her claws. “I can’t be this anymore. For his sake.”



She glanced down at Rui, who stared back. They were still mostly strangers—but in that moment, Rui felt united with the antlion pokemon. “It’s time,” Rui said, smiling even as she mentally steeled herself. She expected she would know what the Relic would show her. “Are you ready?”



“For a new chapter in my life?” the Flygon said. “Yes. Yes, I am.”



---



Memory spun around them as a whipping of desert sands. Rui instinctively held up her arm to shield her face, though the memory could not touch her. Nearby, she heard the Flygon chuckle. “They tell me you’re not from here, trainer. Does this place look like Orre to you?”



“Isn’t it?”



The dragon’s mouth a was thin line of amusement. “No. This is the Hoenn region.”



This was hardly the place for smart comments, but Rui couldn’t help but think that a desert was a desert was a desert.



Creatures emerged from within the sands, forms and shapes flickering uncertainly. “My memories of my childhood are… unclear,” the Flygon said. Her voice was sad—but flat. It was the sadness of an old pain, one long since grown accustomed to. This was just one of several things she had lost.



The flickering pokemon took on a variety of forms—spinning Sandshrew, stoic Baltoy, belligerent Trapinch. One of these seemed to do very well for herself in battle. “In the desert, life was survival and combat,” the Flygon said. “We learned to fight very early, or we died.”



The memory flickered again and suddenly a tall man, his form slightly see-through and his face blank from the memory distortion, strode away from the sands, a Vibrava hovering proudly over his shoulder.



“A passing trainer saw my talents. I had always wanted to battle like human-trained pokemon did, not to the death but for glory against wide opponents. I never looked back.”



The battle shifted to a tidy combat ring. The Vibrava was being sent out against a Luxio. “Go, ———! Use Sand Tomb!” The trainer’s voice was tinny and distant, like sound from old movies.



Rui shifted. “You don’t…”



“…remember my name?” the Flygon said contemptuously. “Why would I? He trained me, got trapped in gambling debts, then sold me to the gamblers to avoid paying. He didn’t care about me. I stopped caring about him years ago… I’ve long forgotten what he used to call me.” Her chest tightened for a moment and then she exhaled. “I’d carried my contempt for him for… a while. It feels good to get it out.”



Catharsis, Rui thought. She nodded. “Celebi says that the true nature of purification is confronting our past.”



“I hope she’s right,” came the soft reply.



The scene shifted again. The dragon pokemon in the memory—now a Flygon—was being made to battle. “In the end,” she narrated, “being an enforcer to criminals didn’t affect me much. I got to live a life of battle, and my natural talent was recognized. I kept getting traded up the criminal line, higher and higher, benefitting from more training along the way.”



Scenes flashed—the Flygon spitting fire at a Poochyena; being trained in the use of Dark-type moves; throwing herself, snarling, against a Salamence and winning. She was young; fierce; powerful. She would have made the perfect enforcer pokemon.



“Somehow I found myself in the hands of the ones you call the cipher,” the Flygon said as the scene melted around them again. “I didn’t care who I worked for at that point. I didn’t kill—that was a line I wouldn’t cross—but I brutalized. I had wanted a life of combat. And I got it.” Her wings buzzed once. “Fool that I was, I didn’t realize that my new masters didn’t just want a singular soldier, they wanted an army. The tradeoff must have been easy for them to calculate: pokemon after pokemon with a battling pedigree churned out like clockwork at the cost of one of your aces being taken off the battlefield? The math lined up.”



The scene came in and Rui tensed—but it was just of the Flygon, her belly a little rounder than normal, looking bored and lounging in a room.



“The first time they bred me, it was presented as a break from the job,” she said, looking at her old past self. Her eyes were half-lidded behind their ruby discs. “I shrugged and let it happen. A day’s dalliance, a few months’ vacation, maybe a little son or daughter to serve as a partner-in-crime and train in my battling ways. It seemed harmless.”



The scene bled again; the Flygon was lying weary in a medical room, looking completely worn out as scientists gathered her egg and took it out.



“I didn’t mind them taking it,” she said. “I thought they were going to monitor it, check its health, bring it back to me in a few hours when my strength was returned.” The door shut in the room, leaving her alone—a sound of finality. When she spoke again, her voice was whispered and tight with emotion. “I never saw it again.”



Abruptly, the Flygon of the past was no longer resting in a bed—she was captive in one, not dissimilar to how Rui had found her. “I didn’t appreciate having my child taken from me. I wasn’t as attached to the idea back then, but after a day, I raised a ruckus—and then I found out that I couldn’t expect to see it again. I also found out that my ‘break’ was planned to extend indefinitely, and I’d be laying more eggs whether I wanted to or not.”



The scene shifted again—the Flygon was captive in a different room, visibly pregnant again. She looked angry and miserable. Another shift—the scientists were taking away the egg as the birth-weary Flygon thrashed impotently, calling for them to stop, to bring her baby back.



She watched it go with a tense body, as if she wanted to lunge and rip the scientist to pieces—but of course it was only memory. “You know,” she said, her voice soft and nearly broken with emotion, “I came up with names and lives for each of them. That was my second. I imagined she was a girl named ‘Rosa.’ She escaped the facility. She evolved, but only to the second stage, and served as a house pokemon to a well-to-do family in Phenac. She’s especially beloved by the little girl in the family. It was… easier, sometimes, than facing reality.” Her claws tightened. “Than knowing my children were raised from birth to be weapons, and sent to kill and be killed. Sometimes, as I turned over their names in my head, I wondered how many of them were dead on some battleground, little more than shock troops thrown aside by my captors. They’re disposable, you know. Only I was precious, and only because I could make more and guarantee the ‘quality’ of them.”



Rui’s heart was filled with a mix of hate, disgust, anger, and sadness. To be treated in such a way… to only know your children through imaginings and dreams… it sounded like hell. It was inhumane. Evil.



And the thought hit her like a thunderclap—it was also, technically, legal. Oh, sure, to treat pokemon this way in the open would lead to outcry or condemnation, but was there any region in which it was not still legal?



After all, even in Kanto, pokemon died in Gym Battles all the time, and starter distribution centers bred pokemon to give to new trainers. If they were nowhere near as bad as the cipher, that didn’t change that pokemon were still treated poorly. Gym deaths and starter centers were uncontroversial, considered merely distasteful at best. Rui herself had barely given them a second thought growing up.



This… has to change, she realized, struck with the realization, with the enormity of it all.



She shook her head, clearing her thoughts. Later, perhaps. After the cipher was cleaned up—the Devourer stopped. One thing at a time.



“Every single one?” she said. “You made a story for them all?”



“Yes,” the Flygon responded. “All twenty-six of them—the children I never saw.”



Rui staggered from the number. Twenty-six…



“Oh, it was quite efficient,” the Flygon continued. “First, the conception. I hated that part at first, but it quickly became something rote. Most males in the program were nearly as miserable as we were. It was hard to hate them for it… and all of us were punished if we did not comply.” Images moved past them like a slideshow—the Flygon sharing a room with a sullen-looking Pinsir, kept captive as her belly grew, then being left weary after the egg was taken. “After the conception, pregnancy. I usually laid the egg within four months. It was stolen immediately, of course. All of them were.” Her voice, normally so flat, became real when she talked about her stolen children. She misses them, Rui realized. All of them. She… she loves them. The children she’ll never get to know…



“Then,” the Flygon continued, “I was given about a month to recuperate physically from the birth before restarting the cycle, though that was not consistent—they gave me longer recuperation times after harder births, or if we were going to move, and also after they made me shadow.” A cynical, humorless bark of a laugh crawled out of her. “Still, though, even accounting for fluctuations, that’s two dragons-to-be a year. Who wouldn’t take advantage of such a bargain?”



“Anyone with morality,” Rui growled. “Every time I learn a little more about the cipher, I want to just… I… I can’t believe people would join a group like them!”



“…you’re a good person, trainer,” the Flygon said after a moment. “I can already tell. But a lot of people—and pokemon, for that matter—aren’t like you.



“Like I said, the couplings grew easier the more it went on,” the Flygon said. Rui grimaced as memory showed the Flygon with an uncertain, younger-looking male Arbok; none of the memories made her bear witness to the act itself, thankfully, but it was still clear what was about to happen. “But if I grew to accept those, then every time they took an egg, it got… worse.”



The scene snapped like a broken rubber band—suddenly she was captive again, weary, and they were gathering her egg. “Don’t take it!” she screamed, voice hoarse from labor. “Please, don’t—not this one—I, I…” In the memory she began to weep, all the humans ignoring her except to make sure her restraints were in place. “You can… can k-keep them, please just… just let me hold them, just once…”



They ignored her and then she was left alone with her sobs.



“They made me a shadow pokemon after that,” she said quietly as the memory faded into darkness. “In a way, I was happy. Most breeders that were made shadows were phased out of the program and pressed back into combat roles. I looked forward to not having any more children stolen from me. But…”



“But they wanted to see if pokemon could be born shadows,” Rui said, disgusted.



“Indeed. Incidentally, they can’t, though that doesn’t stop rumors from spreading through the troops. That prompted some perverse pleasure in me, seeing my captors frustrated. But it seems my offspring after my turning were able to be corrupted easier. So it wasn’t completely victoryless.” The Flygon sighed. “There’s very little else to tell, trainer. The cycle kept repeating over and over. I would make my list of names for my children, pretending they had good lives. Wyndle, Sandstone, Quiver, Quartz. It grew and grew… for just under thirteen years.”



She turned to Rui. “But then you arrived. And suddenly, that fantasy I dreamed of for years is finally real. I can leave behind the old me. The enforcer, the captive, the shadow… she’s going to go away. I’m battling again, and this time, it’s to protect a child. My. Child. Suddenly, I have… hope, again. It’s almost like waking up from a bad dream…”



The darkness vanished again, replaced by the first image—the blowing Hoennese sands. This time, there were no phantom images of half-forgotten pokemon. There were simply the dunes, stately and serene, quiet.



“I had almost forgotten myself,” the dragon said. “What I used to be, what life was before all of that. Like a dune, just… blowing away.” Indeed, on fast-forward, one of the hills vanished, speck by speck being stolen by the winds.



“I’m sorry all that was stolen from you,” Rui said. “I—when this is all over, we can look for—the others—”



The Flygon shook her head, her smile knowing, pitying, grateful, and oh-so-very-sad. “Ah, trainer, I… thank you, but I live in the real world. Many of them are already dead.” She said it so bluntly, so flatly, yet Rui could sense the hurt behind those words. “Some might be Feral Ones, brainless and without a sense of self, for which death is the kindest release,” she continued. “The survivors will be scattered across the region in the hands of gangs or politicians or even traded to criminals overseas, as I was. Will you hunt down the provenance of every Trapinch and Vibrava in all Orre? The world? What if we find one and they are a Feral One—will I have to watch them be put down? No. My children are lost to me,” she said, her voice soft, “and it hurts, but I have long since come to grips that I will never know them. All I can do is focus on the one I do have. I wished for so many years to give just one of them the life they deserve, and now, impossibly, I have it.”



She turned to regard the desert once more. Where the sand had been swept away, more was piling up. “So much of me was scattered. But the thing about a dune is that if you wait long enough… it’ll build up again.” A moment of silence. “I told you I forgot my first trainer’s name for me. And the cipher didn’t bother. But to choose my own… Dune… I think that’s a name I could live with.”



Rui reached out a hand. “It’s a wonderful name.” And Dune smiled and took it in her claw.



Opening herself to Aura, Rui saw that the nettles and barbed wire were gone. In its place was an aura of a rich brown—not a muddy color, or a dusty one, but the rich and healthy color of soil from which hardy trees would grow. She could almost picture something sprouting from it right then and there.



“You’re whole again,” Rui said.



Dune buzzed her wings once, pleasantly. “I know, child,” she said, her voice aged and edged and weary and yet somehow, impossibly, laced with a breath of hope. “I know.”


---


And here we get to Dune's backstory. She was an extremely late addition gameplay-wise, joining right before the final dungeon--but I wanted to do her justice.

Incidentally, her moveset was reliant on a lot of TMs to make full power. Immediately after her purification and evolution, I slapped the Earthquake TM on her. She already knew Crunch, and I then loaded her up with the Flamethrower TM from Mt. Battle and the Giga Drain TM from the Phenac Stadium. (The stadium battles, incidentally, are
no joke--but some of the best TMs in the game are locked behind them!) With the Charcoal slapped on her to boost Flamethrower's power, a varied and diverse moveset, impressive base stats (especially when you consider that it's still gen III, so power creep hadn't caught up with the Trapinch line yet), and a boatload of resistances and two immunities, Dune was both an offensive powerhouse and a defensive titan. While not as powerful as Raikou offensively or as bulky as Reed or Luna defensively, her speed, versatility, and usefulness made her indisputably the most formidable all-around member on my team.

I'm of the firm opinion that Flygon is
the best main-story teammate in Pokemon Colosseum, and the only sensible choice for the Earthquake TM unless you just didn't catch Vibrava.
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,587
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
“I had almost forgotten myself,” the dragon said. “What I used to be, what life was before all of that. Like a dune, just… blowing away.” Indeed, on fast-forward, one of the hills vanished, speck by speck being stolen by the winds.
I knew the moment I read that that her name would be Dune.

Also, I love your description of Raikou's human form.
 
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Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Aww Javelin saying he hopes his mom is like Rui!!! My heart! I love Dune as the new teammate and her drive to make a better world for her son! I also really can't wait to see what comes of this Pokemon-rights plot, even if it ends up being explored more in another run entirely like I think you mentioned earlier.
 
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Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
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Jul 1, 2019
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1,963
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
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Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
Why hadn’t Celebi hidden her other Relic in a massage parlor, or maybe an upscale restaurant?
And then the newly-purified Shadows could treat themselves after confronting their trauma. 😤

Ooh, Raikou's human form wouldn't look out of place in a Mad Max movie.

You missed out, dude!

Ooh, two purifications for the price of one!

Depicted: Flygon and Raikou chewing on that sweet, sweet mental health care.

And the thought hit her like a thunderclap—it was also, technically, legal. Oh, sure, to treat pokemon this way in the open would lead to outcry or condemnation, but was there any region in which it was not still legal?
Is that... post-Orre plans I see? 👀
 

bumblebee

Conqueror of the Viridian Gym
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
3139
Caught
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
128
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/her/hers
Pokémon Type
Water, Flying
Pokédex Entry
This pokemon flits from new idea to new idea, never able to settle down.
The Trapinch line is hands down one of my favorite dragon pokemon and when you described the Flygon in detail when Rui and Co. stormed the cipher lab I immediately went 👀 I absolutely adore how you wrote Dune's character. This chapter, I think, shows off your prowess of writing a backstory to your characters and not just writing their existence to start when Rui finds them.

“I think most of us’ve tried to kill each other some time or another.”
Striga is so sassy and I love them so much. Because it's true and they should say it!
 
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Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
941
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
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  • #312
I knew the moment I read that that her name would be Dune.

Also, I love your description of Raikou's human form.
Thanks! I've always liked the name "Dune" for desert pokemon, and I had a lot of fun coming up with Raikou's human shape as well :>


Aww Javelin saying he hopes his mom is like Rui!!! My heart! I love Dune as the new teammate and her drive to make a better world for her son! I also really can't wait to see what comes of this Pokemon-rights plot, even if it ends up being explored more in another run entirely like I think you mentioned earlier.
Thanks! Javelin is a little dear and he deserves all the good things 🥺
I'm glad that people really like Dune! A late addition was more or less mandatory due to gameplay, but I tried to make her memorable and slot into the team nonetheless!


And then the newly-purified Shadows could treat themselves after confronting their trauma. 😤

Ooh, Raikou's human form wouldn't look out of place in a Mad Max movie.

You missed out, dude!

Ooh, two purifications for the price of one!

Depicted: Flygon and Raikou chewing on that sweet, sweet mental health care.


Is that... post-Orre plans I see? 👀
A post-purification celebration is much needed... but alas u_u

And post-Orre plans... perhaps..... :3c


The Trapinch line is hands down one of my favorite dragon pokemon and when you described the Flygon in detail when Rui and Co. stormed the cipher lab I immediately went 👀 I absolutely adore how you wrote Dune's character. This chapter, I think, shows off your prowess of writing a backstory to your characters and not just writing their existence to start when Rui finds them.


Striga is so sassy and I love them so much. Because it's true and they should say it!
The Trapinch line is so gooooood! Johto is still my favorite region overall, but Hoenn just might have my favorite designs... I'm in love with these pokemon! Flygon in particular is wonderful. And I'm glad you like Dune! She's a favorite of mine, though I just might be partial to her species hehe




Yeah, old man, I can go. No problems. Who knows? This could even be fun.



T



---



As memory washed away, the Hoennese sands drifted off, blown by a wind that was not there, dissipating into nothingness. The bright azure sky of a foreign desert trickled away, replace by the cold and brutal stone of the cavern on Mt. Battle. The walls, which had probably once been smooth and uniform, were now choppy and blocky. They had been blown apart by the battle with Vander—stones cleaved free by Earthquake attacks or ripped asunder by the massive blast by which Cap had annihilated Vander's ace, Oscura.



Remembering that night, Rui grimaced. She now understood why Celebi had set them up to save the second Relic, creating a secret backup the cipher couldn't sabotage. But so much had been lost that night. Almost all of Vander's team... to say nothing of Cap, who had received the crack in his gem that would kill him a month or so later.



She shook her head. The pointless violence and Cap's death ate at her, but she had undergone her own journey with the Relic, and she could compartmentalize it—set it aside for later. There was no point in dwelling on a sad past. Not when there was so much to celebrate. New friends, for one, and purification.



Dune flexed her claws experimentally. The newly-purified Flygon stared down at her body as a world crafted from her memories spun away.



"Feel any different?" Rui ventured.



"A little bit," she said. "There was a well of power in me that had been there for so long, I scarcely recognized it until it went away."



That tracked—all of the shadows had mentioned drawing on that 'pearl' inside of them for strength, some more than others. Rui frowned. "Do you miss it?"



Dune hissed out laughter. "Don't worry, trainer, I'll still be more than capable of meeting our adversaries head-on. The trade-off... being able to feel things other than anger or despair again..." Her tail delivered a satisfactory thwack against the stone. "I'll take being me any day."



Rui smiled. That tracked, too.



Out of the cave, a little down the mountain to give them privacy, the others were loitering. Rui almost guffawed to see them—her five teammates huddled together cagily, trying desperately not to side-eye the demigod in human form lounging a few paces away with a bored look.



When the main group saw them, they perked up, and Striga darted forward, face beaming. "Well?" they asked. "Did you...?"



The Flygon's smile was cool, and her wings buzzed once in affirmation. "Name's Dune," she said. "Glad to be a part of this team."



The other pokemon erupted into cheers and fell about her in a celebratory fashion, Dune indulging them with a patient smile. Truth be told, the dragon barely knew them, and Rui got the distinct sense that she was only there for her son, not to make friends—but she wasn't going to rock the boat either. If the others wanted to act affectionate, let them.



Rui grinned to herself. Maybe, just maybe, Dune might come around and actually find herself making friends for real.



Heavy booted feet rang out to Rui's left. She glanced sideways to find Raikou looming in her peripheral vision. The tall man's face was impassive (and Rui found herself wondering whether his pantherine form was as much a mirage as this one, what the real Raikou looked like, and if she could even comprehend it.)



"I see no evidence of foul play in the dragon's aura," he noted. "Though you could be lulling me into a false sense of security."



I'm gonna kill him, she thought idly, well aware of how her legs and lungs still burned from her trek up the mountain. Just wrap my hands around his throat and squeeze. Instead, she said, "Do you really think so?"



He stiffened and glanced down at her—but then some of the tension released. "You think I'm paranoid, don't you?" he said. Rui didn't say anything. "Fifty years ago," he continued, "someone I trusted far more than you betrayed me in a manner unimaginable. So perhaps you can see why I would not be quick to offer trust again."



Suitably chastised, Rui broke her gaze and looked down at her feet.



"But," sighed Raikou, "if you were deceiving me, it would be quite the ruse. Destroying the lab, throwing the fight against me, persuading me to be Snagged, setting me free on my insistence, meeting me here, and purifying the Flygon... it does beggar credulity. It seems more likely that you are who you say." He stepped forward. "So enough dilly-dallying. Let's end this."



Swallowing, Rui followed his steps. It's finally happening, she thought. I'm going to purify a god.



A snout nudged her heel. She glanced down to find Luna looking up at her with worry.



"Are you going to be alright?" she asked. "Is this... safe? Maybe I could..."



Rui shook her head. "I don't think it works that way," she said. "The one being purified and a single passenger, that’s all that’s allowed. I'll be okay." I hope, she addended in her thoughts. "You all stay outside, alright?"



Luna looked uncertain, but she nodded. Feeling her team's eyes on her back, Rui pressed back into the cave.



Raikou was standing near the Relic. The air thrummed with power, power that Rui had never felt before—the result of Raikou's power commingling with the Relic's.



"I'm ready," she told him, stepping up. He nodded.



"Fifty years with the enemy worming through my heart," he hissed, his voice pitched low—he was speaking more for his benefit than hers, she thought. "Not a minute more. No more."



He placed his hands on either side of the disjointed stone pillar, and Rui's breath caught as the power whirlpooled around them. She could feel it building. It gathered and—



It sputtered and died.



Rui blinked. Silence reigned. And then the legendary did something surprisingly human: he cursed.



Like a sailor.



---



Denri stood sentinel on the mountain. By now, it was old habit for the team to post lookouts while away from home. He leaned with his back to a boulder, arms folded, energy humming in his tail to be released at a moment's notice.



The new addition—Dune—made a buzzing sound as she circled the encampment. Denri thought she would make a good teammate. None of the other pokemon had been awake to see her battle with Raikou, but simply holding her own proved she was a powerhouse. And if she was already purified, they didn't have to worry about the typical shadow pokemon temerity.



He did find himself missing Javelin a little, though. The kid had been fun to take under his wing and mentor—but Denri didn't begrudge him his decision one bit. He would just have to fight that much harder to make Orre a safer place for him. And maybe after this was all over, he could start training Javelin again.



Was it foolish, to think they might make it out of all this?



Dune landed, having completed her circle of the mountain, and Luna rose to stalk the nearby paths in her place—but then a distressed voice rang out from the tunnel. Rui's.



As one, the pokemon rushed into the tunnel, conjuring up images of Dakim assassins, vicious shadow pokemon, even Entei herself—!



Only once they were inside did they see that she was not imperiled so much as frustrated; beyond her, Raikou stalked around the Relic, fists clenched, his posture and body language the very image of wild lightning driven to fury.



"The Relic isn't working," Rui said as they fell in. "We've tried and tried, but—" She grimaced and shook her head. "No dice."



Denri thought back to his first few weeks with Rui, how every day had seemed like a struggle against the thing that snarled inside of him—the "beast," as Argyle had called it. The disastrous moment when he had tried to call down lightning on all of them atop that building. Becoming who he was now—focused, forward-looking, in control of his anger—had taken Denri time. There was no way he could have been purified right away. It was different for every shadow, of course; Kata had been more boisterous than belligerent, and Manny hadn't been aggressive either. Dune had fought to defend Rui even without being Snagged. The way the trainer told it, she had done so more to protect her egg than to save Rui herself, and she'd still had something of an attitude problem, but the fact remained that Dune, after years of captivity and mistreatment and with the shadow lurking in her heart, had acted to defend another without any prompt. In that respect, it was small surprise she had managed to become purified right away.



Keeping all that in mind, Denri watched cautiously as Raikou stalked about, muttering under his breath with vitriol and peppering his breath with words decidedly unbecoming of a deity, seeming scarcely in control and two seconds away from unleashing his thunder just to have something to do. The Ampharos found himself subconsciously gathering energy for a Protect, just in case.



Kata, bless him, also looked at Raikou, and in his forward way, said what they were all thinking: "WELL! He hardly looks ready for purification."



The god whirled, countenance like cracked granite. "Ready?" he said, voice edged. "How much longer would you have me wait, little creature?"



"It's, um... not a matter of how long you were corrupted," Striga offered delicately. The wispy edges of their lower body trailed in the cave’s darkness. "It's about... mindset? Like, if you can put the bad stuff behind you."



"So my mindset," Raikou replied acidly, "is imperfect. How gracious of you to say so."



Denri could feel the other pokemon tensing around him, could hear Rui's breaths sharpen. Was he going to fight them?



A new voice rang over the stone: "Enough, Raikou. You know they speak the truth."



A sort of... presence settled over cavern. It hit Denri more like a smell than anything. He was rushed with a wave of nostalgia. The fresh pines and long waving grasses of Johto, his home region... the exuberant freshness of the air after a healthy thunderstorm... the clean, cool scent of a brook running over water-smoothed stones... the dry serenity of a flower pressed between two old ages. The presence smelled like all of those and more. It reminded him of the feeling he got in the forest in Agate, but both weaker and more focused.



So when the presence congealed in a glow of spring-green light, softly illuminating the cavern to shape into a delicate, waifish fey figure with a body like a doll and a head like a spring vegetable, Denri thought he knew who it was.



"Celebi," Rui said with an air of camaraderie and recognition. "Celebi," Raikou echoed, voice sullen, like a reprimanded child. Both of their voices carried the music of those who were familiar with her, as if they had encountered an old acquaintance on a hiking trail, not met a goddess in the flesh.



But none of the other pokemon here had the benefit of such familiarity.



"CELEBI?" they erupted in unison, each showing a variation on the same theme. They each showed their awe in different ways. Luna half-collapsed sideways; Striga stared at the pale green sprite with wide eyes; Kata actually bowed.



It wasn’t that they had doubted Celebi’s existence, any of them—hell, they’d encountered the legendary beasts, hadn’t they? But the fact that the fairy had never shown herself to anyone but Rui had somehow left Denri with the impression she didn’t want to be seen.



Her smile was one of amusement. “Hello, little ones,” she said.



“Why are you here?” Raikou growled, sticking his hands in his pockets. (Pockets. A legendary pokemon was wearing pants. With pockets. Denri was still weirded out. What was the world coming to?) “The day they put the shadows into me you stood on the sidelines, but now you intervene?”



“You know as well as I that I cannot interfere with mortals. It was humans who did that to you.”



“And when my sister gave us to them?”



“With my powers sealed,” she said, resting a hand on the Relic for emphasis, “any of you could beat me. You know this. I am not here to interfere. As always, I can only tell you what you already know.” She raised one eyebrow, gossamer wings flapping. “You cannot be purified yet, old friend.”



Raikou cursed again, and the air crackled with electricity. “Am I expected to face the Devourer with the creature itself slumbering in me?” he demanded. Celebi looked at him with a small, knowing smile, and said nothing.



Yeah, Denri thought, I can see what Rui’s talking about. That would get real old, real fast.



Reed, who had borne the appearance of the timewatcher with the most stoicism, slapped his tail once against the earth in contemplation. “Mistress Celebi,” he said reverentially.



“Oh, mistress Celebi, is it?” she said in a songful voice. “It’s been a while since I heard that…”



He smiled leanly. “If I understand it, you cannot tell us anything about the Devourer, or the divine, or anything like that unless we already know it.”



“That is correct. The pact forbids it.”



Reed nodded and turned his gaze to Raikou. “What about him? Does the pact forbid him?



Revelation smashed on all of them like a weight. Denri looked at Reed, then at Raikou, then at Celebi, who beamed happily. By the twin bells, it all seemed so simple. Such an obvious loophole. Who had made those rules?



Celebi herself, of course, he thought ruefully.



“Well,” Raikou said, settling back against the walls, “I suppose there’s no harm in arming you with knowledge. What do you want to know?”



They exchanged gazes. Awe filled Denri. How much did Raikou know? Could they find out about the likes of Solgaleo? Jirachi? Zekrom? He ached with wonder and the want of knowledge, and he could see the similar likes in his teammates.



As if anticipating their eager questions, Raikou added an addendum: “Don’t think I’m going to go spilling the secrets of all the deities you’ve heard of. Seems like a good way to enrage things far stronger than me.” Disappointment filled Denri, but he had to laugh—Striga looked about ready to cry. “But if material is related to this incident,” he continued, “then I’ll answer.”



In the silence that followed, Rui’s voice pierced: “So why can’t you face the Devourer while a shadow? And what is the Devourer, anyway? I get the sense it bats at the same power level as the gods and is bad news, but…”



Raikou’s lips thinned. All eyes were on him, even Celebi’s—though hers were appraising, not eager. “Why can’t I face the Devourer? Some of you shadows must have felt the dark presence pulsing within you. A pearl, endlessly dreaming.” Denri shuddered at that—they all did. “The power of the Devourer is such that even in its weakness, even in dreams, it can infect the souls of other creatures, human and pokemon both, bending it to its will—making them shadow. They become incubators for a tiny, parasitic fragment of it. A pearl, which sees through their eyes an exerts its will through them.” The god’s eyes flashed. “But the nature of slumber is that inevitably, the dreamer wakes. The Devourer will rise soon—and then it will exert its power, including in its thralls. Have any of your shadows ever lost control?”



Rui nodded; they all had, at some point or another.



“That is the pearl within taking control,” Raikou said. “Should the Devourer rise, the pearl will hatch like an egg, subsuming the ego of its host completely and turning it into an extension of the Devourer. Every shadow would become what you call a Feral One. Should it wake, and should I travel to the seat of the enemy’s power, what do you think would happen? I would be nothing more than a puppet on strings, turned against you, all sense of my original self lost forever.”



Denri didn’t relish having to fight Raikou again. “Fair point,” he said. “So, uh… how soon until the Devourer rises, anyway? Any chance of you getting purified to help us out before then?”



Raikou drummed his fingers against his legs. “The Devourer will rise in mere weeks at best,” he said after a moment. “As for purification, you seem to be the experts here, not me.”



Denri deflated. Just from observing him, the chance of the demigod being ready for purification by the deadline seemed… unlikely. So they’d have to fight the Devourer sans deific help. Well, great.



“To answer your other question as to what the Devourer is… if you’ve come this far, you must know of the lesser gods and the greater.” Entei had, more or less, brought them up to speed; they all nodded, sans Dune, who looked politely confused. Denri figured they’d really have to spend some time bringing her up to speed. Still, she didn’t interrupt, and Raikou continued. “We lesser gods, or demigods, are powerful and ageless, but still vulnerable. We can be killed by weapons and pokemon attacks. We are, or were, servants to the greater gods, who made us.



“The greater gods are infinitely more powerful. They not less flesh-and-blood beings like you or I. Think of them like… concepts given autonomy and will. The very idea of gravity or spacetime or solar light given a sense of self. Unless they willingly surrendered their power, as did Celebi, no demigod or mortal could hope to rise against them. Their only peers are one another.”



“Our battles were terrible,” Celebi mused.



“Yes, they were,” Raikou agreed. “The devastation was unimaginable. Cataclysmic. Most of the greater gods had their creations’ best interests at heart, but even so… countless lives and whole civilizations were wiped out whenever the good gods had to cage and control the wicked ones. A fair bit of destruction was wrought by the good gods themselves; unavoidable collateral damage from the employment of power on such a scale.”



“We are capable of acting with precision,” Celebi added, “but when the likes of the Devourer strike at us, we must respond in kind. These great blows are hard to aim.”



“The worst of the wicked gods,” Raikou said, “was the Devourer. Even the others began referring to it less as a deity and more as a demon. It has gone by many names—we gods call it the Devourer, but mortals have known it by other names: Lifedrinker, Blackwings. In the Kalos region, it is worshipped opposite the Lifegiver under the name Yveltal.”



The name meant nothing to Denri, but Rui blinked and stiffened. “Yveltal?” she said. “I think I learned that in a mythology class…”



“Regardless,” said Raikou,” after the Lifegiver defeated it, it crashed here and was forced into slumber by its peers. Even in sleep, though, the Devourer devours. It sucked the life from Orre, transforming it from a land of grass and trees into the barren desert you see. All native pokemon had their life force stolen. Only humans were spared, as they make ideal pawns.



“Thanks to my sister’s manipulations, it will rise soon,” he continued. “The Devourer is… I almost pity it. It is the very concept of hunger and ruination given will. It could never be anything but what it is. But nevertheless, if it rises, it will kill en masse. What was that phrase it was so fond of, Celebi?”



“A harmless song of ruin,” she replied, her voice soft.



“It doesn’t seem harmless,” Luna cut in.



“To destruction incarnate, death and decay seem natural,” Raikou said. “It sees mortal life as a fleeting aberration; their deaths, conversely, are eternal and inevitable. What is more harmless than reducing things to their natural state?”



It made a perverse sort of sense—one that chilled Denri to think about it.



“But the Devourer is far more powerful than any foe you could hope to face,” continued Raikou. “If it rises and meets its full power, neither you nor I nor any army of pokemon or human weapons could turn it back.”



“Then we have to stop it from awakening,” Rui said.



“You don’t even know the half of it. My sister’s plan is counting on the juggernaut that is the Devourer to force the greater gods to play their hands and begin meddling in the world again. But remember what I said before: any fight between them and the Devourer, even a small one that ends in a swift victory for the good gods, will invoke global catastrophe as collateral damage.”



“Now that you already know, I can tell you,” Celebi mused. “Hundreds of millions of deaths. The shattering of your civilization. The cracking of the continents and the scouring of the natural world. In every possible timeline in which the Devourer rises here in Orre, this unavertably occurs.”



The weight of it all pressed on Denri like iron. The scope was almost difficult to comprehend. There would probably be some survivors, and with the greater gods present there could be some sort of restructuring, but what Celebi was describing could only be described as the effective end of the world, at least as Denri knew it.



He felt the same cold realization seeping into his teammates, the starkness of it putting everything in scope.



“Your goal should not be the Devourer,” Celebi said. “You cannot defeat it. Your goal should be those working hardest to raise it: Entei, Lovrina, Es Cade. If these three are not all stopped the Devourer will rise, and your planet will become a battlefield for gods.”



So what they were planning on doing already. Okay. No pressure. No pressure.



(That’s a lie, Denri thought vainly to himself. There is so much pressure.)



“My sister’s foolishness knows no bounds,” Raikou growled. “The Devourer is the most immediate and pressing danger, but simply by interfering where she has, she has inadvertently weakened all restrictions on the greater gods. Already, I can feel things stirring in Unova…” He glanced sideways at Celebi. “Or am I incorrect? The Great Serpent’s halves are active now, are they not?”



Celebi’s next words were deliberate, as if ensuring that each one was not spoken out of place. “That is not the concern of any here,” she said. “But yes, the Great Serpent’s fragments are stirring.”



“So,” Rui said, her voice slightly shaken—like Denri, she probably had been staggered by the weight of the stakes. “We know what the Devourer is, and how important it is to turn it aside. But I have another question.”



A noncommittal sound from Raikou. “Ask.”



“Who are the people of the slab?”



He gave a start. “Where did you hear this?”



“Your other sibling… Suicune… with his dying words, he told me to mention them to Entei. When I did, she didn’t take it well.”



Raikou looked at her for a moment in consideration. “…he entrusted you with a great deal,” he said after a moment. “Though considering the burden you carry, I can see why. Very well. In ancient times, my siblings and I served as our master’s instruments to intervene in mortal affairs. We were called down to put down a cult. This cult was devoted to human sacrifice in Ho-oh’s name; they believed that enough sacrifices invite our master’s favor. Our master, naturally, found this repugnant and arranged for us to destroy them.” His smile grew humorless. “I can see why she would not appreciate the comparison.”



IT IS A FALSE ONE.



They all started. A titanic shadow darkened the entrance to the cave. Entei was standing there, tall and regal.



A moment of shock and dread settled on them all. Immediately, Denri summoned power to his tail, feeling the lightning spark. Luna’s rings glowed, as did Striga’s baubles; Dune took to the air. Celebi was gone, vanished like a breath.



And the air crackled with electricity as pure hate etched itself on Raikou’s face.



BROTHER, said Entei. I UNDERSTAND WHY YOU MIGHT BE ANGRY WITH ME. BUT PLEASE UNDERSTAND I AM DOING THIS FOR OUR MASTER’S SAKE, AND I NEVER WANTED TO HURT YOU.



Raikou’s voice broke out into a bitter laugh, the sound echoing off the caverns and playing over itself, as if there were a dozen Raikous, all cackling.



When Entei spoke next, it was with an air of caution. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING OF, TO LAUGH?



“Our younger brother. He loved you, you know. As I understand it, he loved you until the end. He wouldn’t want to see you suffer. So for his sake…”



And with an explosion of electricity that knocked the team back, Raikou shed his human form, taking the shape of the great beast once again, and lunged at his sister.



I’ll try and kill you quickly!


---

Spoilers for the chapter below!

So yeah, we confirm something a lot of readers have already figured out--the true identity of the Devourer. I was really pleased to incorporate a later legendary into Colosseum's plot; Yveltal just seems like such a natural fit for the role as well.

And yes, Raikou hasn't been purified (yet). The legendaries in Colosseum take f o r e v e r to purify, and Time Flutes are extremely rare!
 

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,963
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
Out of the cave, a little down the mountain to give them privacy, the others were loitering. Rui almost guffawed to see them—her five teammates huddled together cagily, trying desperately not to side-eye the demigod in human form lounging a few paces away with a bored look.
When it's you and your friends but also one other person on line.

The other pokemon erupted into cheers and fell about her in a celebratory fashion
When the other person happens to also be on line to go see that awesome new movie! the darkness of the movie theater makes friends of us all

Kata, bless him, also looked at Raikou, and in his forward way, said what they were all thinking: "WELL! He hardly looks ready for purification."
Honesty is the best policy. have that protect ready just in case denri

How Celebi sees Raikou:

did you break into the angry can again

Reed nodded and turned his gaze to Raikou. “What about him? Does the pact forbid him?
🧠 brain blast

Already, I can feel things stirring in Unova…” He glanced sideways at Celebi. “Or am I incorrect? The Great Serpent’s halves are active now, are they not?”
eyyy dear diary reference

That was when Entei knew... She'd fucked up.
 

bumblebee

Conqueror of the Viridian Gym
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
3139
Caught
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
128
Nature
Timid
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She/her/hers
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Water, Flying
Pokédex Entry
This pokemon flits from new idea to new idea, never able to settle down.
Although I love Rui as a protagonist and letting us into her head/thoughts, I got VERY excited when it switched over to Denri's POV 👀 I really hope that Denri and Javelin interact again, because I am such a huge fan of mentor/mentee and/or found sibling relationships, and their relationship is just so good. I desperately hope that Denri survives to go back to Javelin and relax after all this

Kata and Striga are over there trying to be upfront and get to the chase, but everyone else is holding them back and that's a shame /j
 
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Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Oooh man. So it’s confirmed. We’re dealing with Yveltal here. And another reference to Dear Diary to boot! Poor Raikou; I can only imagine the stream of curses that came out of his mouth when he couldn’t be purified. Hopefully they can figure something out for him; although my guess is he won’t be making it on the team any time soon with Dune as the 6th member.
 
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Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
941
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
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Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #316
Hey everyone! Quick update: THERE WILL NOT BE A CHAPTER POSTED THIS SUNDAY. I'm moving soon-ish and the weekend is going to be spent prepping for that ^^ Thanks for understanding!

When it's you and your friends but also one other person on line.


When the other person happens to also be on line to go see that awesome new movie! the darkness of the movie theater makes friends of us all


Honesty is the best policy. have that protect ready just in case denri

How Celebi sees Raikou:

did you break into the angry can again


🧠 brain blast


eyyy dear diary reference

That was when Entei knew... She'd fucked up.
Hehehe! Yep, Raikou definitely fits a... certain mold on the team :'p The others are still iffy on him!


Although I love Rui as a protagonist and letting us into her head/thoughts, I got VERY excited when it switched over to Denri's POV 👀 I really hope that Denri and Javelin interact again, because I am such a huge fan of mentor/mentee and/or found sibling relationships, and their relationship is just so good. I desperately hope that Denri survives to go back to Javelin and relax after all this

Kata and Striga are over there trying to be upfront and get to the chase, but everyone else is holding them back and that's a shame /j
I love Denri too! He's gone from a firebrand to a solid and dependable member of the team, and his relationship with Javelin is so good. no promises however~


Oooh man. So it’s confirmed. We’re dealing with Yveltal here. And another reference to Dear Diary to boot! Poor Raikou; I can only imagine the stream of curses that came out of his mouth when he couldn’t be purified. Hopefully they can figure something out for him; although my guess is he won’t be making it on the team any time soon with Dune as the 6th member.
Yep, Yveltal is in play! And yes, TDWC and DD do share a universe, so it's fun to cast reminders every now and then~

As for Raikou, who can say?


we’re close—so very, very close. I… we… will wake any day now. isn’t it lovely? doesn’t it make you want to sing? a harmless song of ruin… that the whole world will know.



I can feel it.




---



High on the mountain, fire and lightning met each other and lit up the daytime sky.



Raikou’s voice was a roar of fury: wordless, passionate, nearly feral. Entei’s rebuke was similarly wordless, her voice rising over the mountaintop. Seeking shelter from their wrath, Rui and her team could only watch in frightened awe as the battle between the gods played out.



The god of thunder roared, and lightning clapped out of the bare sky to flash where his sister had stood a mere second before. Entei retaliated with a furious roar, summoning a sheet of flame and sending it washing towards him. I BEAT YOU BEFORE, BROTHER! she exclaimed. I CAN DO IT AGAIN!



The fire drove Raikou back, but before she could press her attack, a shadowy blob flew out of the air to pelt her side. She sunk to one knee, a growl rippling from her throat as Striga materialized further down the path. The rest of Rui’s team fanned out in a semicircle around her.



“It’s time,” Luna said, locking eyes with her former teammate. Entei—Vulcana—stared back, the look on her face similar to the one she had worn when they had argued about her murder of the Rattata in Pyrtie, which now seemed so long ago. “For everything you did, you’re going to pay…!”



Luna rushed in, darkness trailing from her maw—only for Raikou to rise, roaring, and blast a thunderbolt directly at his sister.



Luna was in the way.



Dune swooped in, grunting as she absorbed the electric attack. Raikou raced past them, claws bare as he lunged at Entei. She skirted back and cuffed him in the side as he landed.



“What the fuck!” Luna screamed, voice raw with fury. “Raikou, you could have killed me! We’re teammates!”



Raikou ignored her, snarling, pressing the attack. His swipes were visceral, brutal, and Entei began to be pressed back, shock and panic writ on her face.



Denri fell in beside Luna, sinking to one knee as he looked her over. Satisfied, he nodded and rose. “Raikou is still a shadow pokemon,” he said. “Remember my moment on the roof? Or how we barely kept control in the Red & White? Raikou’s lost control to the shadow… he doesn’t care about hurting us so long as he can lash out at her.



As if to prove his point, a crackle of electricity erupted from Raikou, unfurling with him at the epicenter. Denri grunted and summoned a Protect to shield himself and his teammate.



“We’d just be collateral,” he said, dropping the shield. “We can’t step in…”



Luna hissed, eyes narrowing. “Our team was strong enough to defeat Suicune,” she said. “And he’s doing well against her on his own. If we teamed up, we’d be able to beat Entei for sure…!”



Rui stepped up, shaking her head. “Denri’s right,” she said. “It was a mistake to put all our bets on Raikou. He’s been a shadow for fifty years… he’s too volatile. If I let you guys interfere, one of you will die to them.” Her lips thinned. “I can’t accept that.”



Dune swooped in, body tense. “Then what do we do?” the dragon asked. “Just sit and wait?



In answer, Rui looked down the mountain. The pokemon followed her eyes; smoke was beginning to rise. The errant attacks of the demigods had started a brushfire.



“That thing’s small,” Rui said, “but it could get nasty. If it spreads, it could endanger the village…”



“The Dakim’s village,” Denri spat, folding his arms.



Rui met his eyes. “Not all of them are Entei’s servants, and besides—there are kids living there.”



Denri held the gaze, and then nodded. The pokemon scrambled down the mountainside to tend to the blaze, but as they did so, Denri couldn’t help but reflect that it would conveniently remove them from the line of fire.



Telling himself that this wasn’t the coward’s way out only lessened the sting a little.



---



The wound in Entei’s chest ached. Damn that Miror B and his gunman… damn Rui for charming Entei into wanting to save her… and damn Entei for falling prey to foolish emotions!



Her brother lunged at her again, and this time, her ache wouldn’t let her move soon enough. She hissed as his claws left an angry trail down her side. Her coat was thick, but so were his claws; this was no shallow cut.



Raikou very much meant to kill her, and if she wasn’t careful, he would do just that.



She tried to skip away, put distance between them, but Raikou had always been faster even without the wound weighing her down. And he knew to press his advantage: with his curved fangs and wicked claws, melee had always been his forte.



Why hadn’t she killed him there in the tunnel? He had been distracted by her—Rui had as well—and Entei could have sworn she felt Celebi’s presence. The three greatest threats to her plan, and none of them knew she was there! A surprise attack could have won the future for her. So why didn’t she? Why?



She summoned a plume of fire in front of her, the blast towering; it was several stories high. Her brother, caught in it, howled in shock and pain—but then pushed through despite his burns, swiping at her with a claw laced with electricity. Entei grit her teeth at the attack but endured it, sinking her fangs into her brother’s forearm. She shook her head like a wild beast, rending his flesh with her fangs, and then wrestled him to the earth. Rising swiftly, she blasted him with fire, and then darted away, lungs heaving. None of her injuries were serious, but accumulated, they were threatening to overwhelm her—and her brother fought like an animal. No, like a demon.



He is shadow,
she reflected.



She remembered the war against the Aueriteks, how shadow pokemon had their natural abilities bolstered by the enemy’s presence. If Raikou was truly embracing the Devourer’s gift, he would be formidable indeed.



Could Entei survive this? Would she meet her end at the hands of her brother?



(And that was why she couldn’t take the surprise attack. Because despite it all, Raikou was her brother. That time, fifty years ago when she had overcome him and Suicune, she could have killed both of them to stop them from interfering. She should have. But instead she made them shadows, hoping to keep them out of the way until their master returned to purge them clean. Then she could forgive them for trying to stymie her plans and they could resume life together.



For that was Entei’s true weakness: sentiment. It had stopped her from eliminating her brothers that night, decades ago. It had caused her to doubt herself in Pyrite. It had led her to take a bullet for a trainer trying to undo everything she worked for. It forced her to let that same trainer go when she was vulnerable and in her clutches. And now it had impelled her to reveal her presence earlier that same day, though all her enemies were laid out before her.



Why was she so weak? Entei was not a monster, though she knew that some thought she was. She wished that she was a monster. Then everything could have gone so much cleaner.)



Raikou rose, resting his weight tenderly on the leg she had ripped into, and blasted a mighty bolt at her. Entei countered by pouring her will into the rocks and stones about her, churning them into lava, and set a jet of molten stone to meet the bolt.



Their divine energies clashed in mid-air and erupted with the force of a human bomb, smashing both of them to the earth and causing the ground to quake as it ripped the mountainside apart. Trees were flattened, boulders knocked loose from their perches to rampage down slopes. Entei’s mind was woozy and hazy, and as she rose, she saw that a chunk of the mountainside had caved in entirely, an impromptu crater made from their attacks. From the corner of her eye she saw the trainer and her team staring at them open-mouthed, and for a stupid, fleeting moment, Entei—despite everything—found herself glad that the human had survived.



Pointless. Pointless sentiment.



On the other end, Raikou also rose, shooting hate at her, but he staggered sideways with a groan. It seemed the blast had left him woozy as well.



BROTHER, PLEASE, I KNOW YOU ARE UPSET, Entei entreated. BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. OUR MASTER’S RETURN IS SO CLOSE! The fool—couldn’t he see? Couldn’t he see that after centuries of abandonment, they didn’t have to be alone anymore? That Ho-oh could come back? IT WOULD BE WRONG FOR ONE OF US TO KILL THE OTHER.



But not for one to condemn another to decades of hell!
Raikou spat back at her. He shot a volt, but he was still woozy; it veered off-course, crashing harmlessly into the side of their new crater. Suicune and I suffered for years because of your betrayal!



IT WAS ONLY TEMPORARY!
Entei shot back. OUR MASTER WILL FIX YOU, AND IF YOU HAD JUST AGREED TO HELP ME IN THE FIRST PLACE…!



Will our master fix Suicune?
Raikou roared. He shot another bolt at her and this one flew true; she dodged sideways and countered with a trio of fireballs soaring across the expanse. Though he tried dodging, the last one struck, and Raikou staggered back with a gasp. Our brother is dead because of you!



Anger flared inside of Entei. How dare he. How dare he accuse her of that when she had taken every step to save them both, when she had specifically left liabilities alive to avoid having to kill him! IF YOU SEEK OUR BROTHER’S REAL MURDERER, SHE IS THE ONE YOU WERE BEING CHUMMY WITH BACK IN THAT CAVE! she spat.



How do you so readily believe your own lies? Raikou leapt into the crater, dashing at her, dodging some attacks and being struck by others—but he never stopped running. The might of a shadow pokemon was fearsome indeed. That trainer pulled the trigger on a near-feral shadow pokemon. But who was the one who made him that way to begin with? Who took my gentle, quiet, loving brother and twisted him into a vicious war machine? And you have the gall to act penitent and righteous!



He clawed his way out of the crater and lunged at her. She sidestepped and countered with a spray of flame, but he ducked and called forth more bolts from a clear sky. One struck true, shocking Entei with a gasp and leaving her sinking to one knee as her brother approached her.



Entei tried to rise, but the accumulated cuts and injuries kept her down; the bullet wound burned inside of her. She could barely move.



She could barely move, and her brother was right on top of her.



Do you remember what Suicune told you the day that you betrayed us? What he called you?



HE SAID THAT… I WAS BLIND…



Indeed.
Raikou summoned thunder and Entei shut her eyes, preparing for the end.



But it didn’t come. A searing agony swept the left side of her face as Raikou shocked her with extreme power and direct precision; she could feel the electricity eating at her flesh, scarring her, wounding her. Her voice ripped out of her with a scream and she smashed her head into the soil in an attempt to mask the pain. It didn’t work. When the lightning finally stopped, she collapsed, nothing but her own agony keeping her conscious. She opened her eyes and despaired; she could only see out of the right one.



Raikou looked wild, satisfied, cruel. She could see the Devourer dancing behind his eyes. He was only partially correct, he crowed. It turns out you are only half blind.



And down in the depths of Entei, something snapped. Sentiment had earned her this. Her own weakness.



Never again.



---



Behind her, Rui’s pokemon put out the last of the fires, Dune spraying sand and Reed summoning water. The rest of the pokemon fanned out protectively around her, save Denri, who kept close in case she needed a Protect. They had seen everything: the wild duel in which Raikou had persistently held the upper hand, the clashing of their powers which had cratered the mountain with a blast stronger than some earthquakes, and Raikou’s last rush. And now, finally, it was over. Entei was worn out, and Raikou had her at his mercy.



Rui’s hands were clenched at her sides; whatever friendship she had felt with Vulcana, this was the being who had torched the HQ lab, corrupted her own brothers, and engineered the Devourer’s rise. She was too powerful and too dangerous to be left alive. “Do it,” she whispered, though Raikou couldn’t hear her. “End her. Do it.”



Raikou unleashed his power and Rui let loose the breath she had been holding—only for her eyes to widen in alarm. Entei was screaming, writhing; Raikou hadn’t killed her.



“What’s going on?” she asked. “Didn’t he say he was going to kill her quickly?”



“The shadow’s in control,” Striga said fearfully. “And it loves making things as drawn-out and messy as possible.”



Cursing, Rui gathered the four pokemon who weren’t tending to the fires. “Come on,” she said, “they’re done fighting, so we can get closer.” She had a bad feeling!



As they approached the two demigods, Rui’s suspicions were proven correct. As Entei struggled to rise, wheezing in pain, Raikou circled her, taunting and with malice in his eyes. Rui drew just close enough to hear the goddesses’s soft, hateful words: BROTHER… YOU WERE ALWAYS A FOOL.



And then power burst from Entei like a star. Denri bolted in front of Rui, shielding her and the rest of the team with Protect, but Raikou had no such boon. He staggered back, seemingly more disconcerted than anything, but it was enough. Entei lunged at him from her seated position, shouldering him into the crater, before blasting her fire at the boulders rimming its edge. They cracked free and swept low, burying Raikou as the god wailed in surprise.



Rui covered her mouth in shock, only to feel hope when an electric glow sparked within the boulders. But her hope didn’t last. Ambient power thrummed in the air as Entei, scarcely capable of standing, summoned her might. As before, she churned stone into magma.



Specifically, the stones burying Raikou.



The electric glow within was drowned by the glow of molten rock, and for a few terrible seconds, pained and agonized screams sounded from within the melting stones—and then they quieted. The magma continued spreading, a glowing red-and-black stain on the side of the crater, as an intangible something stirred in the air.



A second god had died.



“No,” Rui whispered. Raikou was more powerful than any member of her team. “No, no.” He was their way around the pact, filled with knowledge that Celebi couldn’t speak. “No!” He was their greatest hope against their adversaries!



The world had lost a god, and Rui and her friends were back to square one.



At the crater’s edge, Entei heaved out a ragged painful sigh. Her face reminded Rui of how Entei herself had left Miror B; half-scarred, almost disconcerting to look at. Entei would never see out of that eye again. Yet despite her sorry state, the goddess looked resolute, even victorious.



NEVER AGAIN, Entei said. Her words carried a tone of finality to them. SENTIMENTALITY IS A WEAKNESS, AND I WON’T BE WEAK ANYMORE. Turning her gaze to Rui, she unleashed a jet of fire, but Denri’s Protect saved the day again. Tching, Entei glared at them, legs quivering. She could barely stay standing.



“Raikou wore her out,” Rui said, her shock and distress at his death bleeding into angry determination. “We can stop her!”



Entei bubbled out a short laugh. THEN WHO WILL SAVE YOUR PRECIOUS RELIC, HMMM?



Panic gripped Rui. “What?”



I USED AGENTS IN THE DAKIM TO INFORM THE CIPHER OF THE EXISTENCE OF A SECOND RELIC… THEY WON’T ALLOW IT TO STAND. THEY’RE SENDING AN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE HERE TO DESTROY IT EVEN AS WE SPEAK.



This couldn’t be true. There was no way. “You’re bluffing!”



Entei turned her gaze to the horizon. AM I?



Rui followed her line of sight and her heart sunk. A pair of dots on the horizon had appeared and were growing closer. Helicopters.



“No,” she said.



Entei slunk away from the crater’s edge. I KNOW WHEN A FIGHT IS A LOSING PROSPECT, she said. CHASE ME IF YOU WISH. I WILL NEVER BE MORE KILLABLE THAN I AM NOW. BUT KNOW THAT WITHOUT A SECOND RELIC, NO SHADOW POKEMON WILL EVER BE PURIFIED AGAIN.



Was she really going to let Entei escape? After everything?



“Rui?” Striga asked, their voice tremulous. “What do we do?”



This was her chance! Maybe she could split the team… send a couple after Entei… but no, even weakened, Entei was too powerful for one or two teammates to handle on their own. Maybe Dune and Reed together… but they were further down the mountain, putting out the fires!



The helicopters were drawing closer. Their buzzing could be heard, and Entei had vanished from the crater’s rim.



“Rui! We need GUIDANCE!” came Kata’s voice.



Entei had to be defeated… but the shadow pokemon had to be saved. Not just to stop the Devourer’s rise, but because they deserved it.



It was Kurza and Epee and Miror B all over again. And like before, stopping an enemy had to wait if there were pokemon to be protected.



“Leave her,” Rui spat. “Head back to the Relic. We have to protect it! Kata, run and tell Reed and Dune to rendezvous with us at the cavern!” The Fighting-type snapped a salute and bolted off. Striga, Denri, and Luna gathered around her and they set off for the tunnel and the Relic within.



Don’t think you’ve escaped for good, Vulcana, Rui thought as she ran. I barely knew Raikou, but what you consigned him to… what you did to him, and to all the other shadow pokemon… I will defeat you.



You aren’t the only one who’s thrown aside her weaknesses.


---



CHAPTER SPOILERS BELOW

So, uh. Well. Here we go.

Obviously, in-run, I caught Raikou and was stoked to add it to my team. After a lengthy and tedious purification, I then decided to prep for the final dungeon by collecting a bunch of TMs. Now, in Colosseum, a lot of TMs are gated behind the Colosseums, which have pokemon in the early 50s... Raikou ended up getting ganged up on in Pyrite Colosseum and getting knocked out.

To say I was furious would be an understatement.

So, that's the story of how I finally caught a legendary and proceeded to never get to use it meaningfully in any way.

I know some of you were wondering if Entei's reappearance was indicative of the Dakim rematch and the answer is nope. But I will have representations of the rematches, don't you worry.
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,587
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
Entei is absolutely horrible and she deserves whatever she gets at the end of this. She's responsible for both her brothers' deaths now, and the world will be better off without her.

I'm so sorry you never got to use Raikou the way you wanted to. It's a true shame. He shall be avenged.
 

Moon

Conqueror of the Celadon Gym
Pokédex No.
3995
Caught
Mar 9, 2021
Messages
37
Nature
Relaxed
Pronouns
They, Them
Pokémon Type
Ghost, Ice
Pokédex Entry
Because they're the two rarest types, they're the rarest pokemon. Yes, that's logical. No, there aren't other Ghost/Ice types. Froslass doesn't exist.
...It's Yveltal?!?!
I mean i guess that makes sense
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Dee

bumblebee

Conqueror of the Viridian Gym
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
3139
Caught
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
128
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/her/hers
Pokémon Type
Water, Flying
Pokédex Entry
This pokemon flits from new idea to new idea, never able to settle down.
I'm gonna be honest, for most of this story, I've felt sympathetic towards Entei's plight, but after this chapter???? Yeah no, I'm with Trollkitten, she deserves everything that's coming for her.

Though I was so shocked with how intense Raikou lost to the shadows when he started fighting Entei. Though I guess it makes sense with how cruel and tightly she grabbed to destroying part of the world to ensure Ho-Oh's return 😬

Good lord that whole fight scene was so intense, the way you wrote their arguments both verbal and physical??? Incredible, I was on the edge of my seat
 

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,963
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
Luna hissed, eyes narrowing. “Our team was strong enough to defeat Suicune,” she said. “And he’s doing well against her on his own. If we teamed up, we’d be able to beat Entei for sure…!”
friendship is op pls nerf 😔

But, hey, maybe our Jagen unit will whittle the boss down so we can give ourselves the EXP!

None of her injuries were serious, but accumulated, they were threatening to overwhelm her—and her brother fought like an animal. No, like a demon.



He is shadow,
she reflected.


Well, damn, Shadow, you coulda killed Entei, but, instead, her new anime scar only made her stronger! D:<
 

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