Chapter 20: Death Wish
Jarre stood with absolute terror as he watched Zanna lunge again and again. It was monstrous just how much of an animal she was in this form. The Torchic sensed the dramatic change in her aura. It was beginning to lose its calmness, now turning into malice. I can’t take much more of this,
Jarre thought sullenly, closing his eyes as not to see the fight. A small gurgle came from beside him and the Torchic twisted his head round slightly.
The Elekid’s face was in pain, eyes scrunched and teeth gritted. He couldn’t help but feel some
sympathy towards him. Jarre sighed. Well that’s what you get when you try to be a hero.
He turned his head away only to be startled by a high wail a moment later. Heart beating rapidly, Jarre saw that Rye was now bent double trying to clutch at his back which had turned a flaming red. The Torchic tried to gasp, but no sound came out. Another scream pierced the air, and this one was more recognisable.
“Zanna!” Jarre shouted in horror. He turned just in time to see Scythe’s jaws crunch down around her. Zanna’s confused gaze was now contorted in anguish, like Rye’s. But before he could even move a talon, the dark Absol threw Zanna across the room. She landed with a sickening thud and stopped cold. Not a single hair on her fur moved. “No…” Jarre whispered, tears in his eyes. “No! It-can’t be!” But it was true, he could see. Zanna was dying. Her breathing slowed and heaved in uneven bursts, and as her eyes closed, the white colour on her fur receded, leaving him no doubt that if she was not dead she was at least very badly injured.
He turned back to Rye immediately. The Elekid was still in immense agony, even more so now, it seemed. The fur on his back had changed to a darker hue of red, leaving it almost looking black. “Wha-what’s happening?!” The Torchic managed to choke out.
“Arrrghh!” Another scream erupted from Rye’s mouth, filling the room with a chilling essence.
Codan had now looked up, tears no longer on his face. Zanna’s scream had awoken him, and though Balian had tried to stop him, the Dragonite just crushed through towards the Pikachu. Balian now stood motionless by the center of the field, wings crossed. His sharp eyes were narrowed in disdain as he watched Codan attend to Zanna.
Kraal and Marilai were now back in action, both trying to fend off the dark Absol. Jarre snorted. At least Raze was rendered helpless for the time being. Wait, where was Quoll? It took a moment for him to realise that the Pidgey had left her perch.
“Wah!” Jarre jumped at the sound of words behind him. The tiny Pidgey looked up with embarrassment.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did I startle you?” She looked up at him with large brown eyes.
“Uh, it’s okay,” the Torchic stammered back. “What are you doing?” Quoll didn’t reply, instead running a wing lightly across Rye’s back. For a second or so his struggles ceased, only to be doubled later. “Wait!” Jarre shouted. “You’re hurting him!” Quoll met his gaze calmly for the first time since he’d seen her.
“No, I’m not. I’m relieving the pain. This Elekid has been affected with Shadow Energy.”
Jarre clicked his beak in confusion. “Shadow Energy?”
“Uh huh,” Quoll nodded whilst moving her wing back and forth across Rye’s back again. “He was attacked by a Weavile earlier, right?” Jarre inclined his head slowly, unable to do much more other than stare. “Well, I recognised the mark on its left claw. It was one of the Hunters.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Jarre muttered sourly. “They always show up wherever Raze and Scythe are.” Quoll watched Jarre with interest.
“You know about the Hunters? Well, do you know that they’ve been inflicted with Shadow Energy? This special energy is like poison to whoever it’s brought down on. You see that dark Absol?” The small Pidgey watched as Jarre nodded in disgust. Quoll smiled faintly. “Do you want to guess how she became like that?” She paused for dramatic effect as Jarre gasped.
“No way! That…poison,
turns Pokemon dark?!” Quoll lowered her eyes slightly as Jarre stared at her.
“Yes, your friend here has been inflicted with it. If the poison spreads to his heart, he won’t be much of the Pokemon he once was.” Jarre didn’t bother to point out that Rye was definitely not
one of his friends.
“You never know,” he replied sarcastically. “That could be a good thing.” Quoll’s wing faltered in surprise and the Torchic saw Rye flinch again. “I didn’t mean it!” he said hurriedly, flustered by the way Quoll had taken his sarcasm. The Pidgey shook her head slowly in annoyance. Jarre watched her carefully. “So how do we stop this poison from reaching his heart then?” An awkward silence stretched around them. Jarre raised an eyebrow and waited for an answer. Quoll stopped brushing Rye and narrowed her eyes in pain as he winced.
“We…we can’t,” she murmured slowly. “There’s no known cure other than the inflicted Pokemon’s defiance.” The Torchic staggered back, shocked by this news.
“So he will turn dark…unless he’s strong enough not
to?” Jarre waved his wings around frantically. “Bu-but that’s insane! He’ll never make it! Look
at him!” He bent over Rye in terror for once, rather than bitterness. He glanced up just in time to see Quoll shake her head. “What?” he murmured, though he was sure he’d regret asking.
“The body will continue to suffer,” she muttered in a whisper, “but it’s the strength of his spirit
that determines the outcome. As long as he can push away the poison, it should be fine. But now…” The Pidgey looked down at Rye anxiously. “It’s not so good. I saw before how he kept the poison at bay, something must have triggered it.” Jarre’s eyes widened as he turned to see Zanna, limp and helpless, within Codan’s arms.
“Oh no…how long does he have?” the Torchic uttered in despair.
“Well if he keeps going at this rate,” Quoll answered softly, “not very long. I’d wager no more than a few days at most.” Jarre raised a wing to his mouth to stifle a small scream.
“He won’t make it,” he answered Quoll’s quizzical look.
“No, he might, if he can…” But the Pidgey trailed off as Jarre walked away from her. He was too deep in thought to care. If the spirit’s not strong enough
– here he glanced at Rye vaguely – then he will succumb to the poison, resulting in him turning into a dark being…oh great.
Jarre threw his wings up in despair. We have no hope.
He eyed Zanna in terror. “If she…if she…” Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to say ‘dies’. He took a deep breath and tried again. “If Zanna dies,” – he cringed at the word – “then we’re doomed.”
He sank back into thought again. I’ve seen it from day one how that Elekid reacted to her. No wonder he wanted her to stay away…the pain she’s putting him through must have been enough. No,
he shook his head, that wouldn’t be why. He said that because it would keep her safe. At least he realised it sooner than later,
he sniggered. So right now, the only way to save Rye would be by saving Zanna. He peered at the unconscious Pikachu from behind a wing. “A few days…” he murmured. “Rye’s as good as gone…and there’s no definite possibility of even saving Zanna.” The Torchic shuddered and then raised an eyebrow. “Why is it that I always get dragged into these things?”
“Don’t fade…could you at least try
to stay alive?”
I snorted at the concern in Rye’s voice. “What do you care anyway? You didn’t want me to protect you.”
“And that’s enough to make you die?!” His tone rang shrilly through my mind, however hard I tried to block it. “Heh, I’d have thought you were smarter than that.”
I almost shouted back. “Are you calling me stupid?!”
“It would be an improvement.” Rye’s voice murmured through my mind. I frowned inwardly.
“You’re not usually like this…why are you acting so mean?” For once he didn’t reply. “At least I know how to make you shut up,” I laughed.
“I was thinking,” Rye responded calmly. “And…I don’t want to answer you.”
I sighed. “Fine then, but I don’t know if I can hold on for much longer. I feel so…heavy…” In my mind, I saw Rye’s face cringe in pain. “What…?” I asked slowly.
He shook his head. “Every moment part of you gives in…” he trailed off as another wave of pain hit. I widened my eyes in understanding.
“I’m hurting you, aren’t I?” I saw a faint smile appear on Rye’s face.
“I don’t mind, really. At least that way I know you’re still alive.”
I ignored him and shook my head. “If I do this to you now, what will it be like if I…” I imagined dragging a paw across my throat and saw Rye shudder. “I thought so,” I whispered. “If I’m gone…then you go too?”
“I’m poisoned,” he replied flatly. Even if I make it, I could end up dark, like Scythe. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone.” My stomach lurched inwardly.
“You’re poisoned?! How come you never told me before?” I saw Rye shrug and then wince.
“I didn’t think it was necessary. I didn’t want you to worry needlessly.”
I gave a deep sigh. “Well good job telling me now. It certainly wasn’t the best choice you could have made.”
That was all that I heard before our connection broke. I twisted in my head. Where did he go?
I heard a faint scream from deep within my mind and I scrambled to stay awake. “No!” I shouted. “Don’t do this!” Another scream answered me. “Let me help you!” I growled.
Rye’s soft chuckle echoed around me. “I-I’m-” But he didn’t finish.
I felt a ripping from deep within me. “The pain!” I convulsed and winced at the tugging feeling that began to slow. A moment later, I was alone. Completely and utterly alone. He had severed our link.
Jarre watched as the look on Rye’s face changed over and over again. It finally settled on an expression of immense agony. The Torchic looked up at Quoll. She seemed to understand these things way better than he did. “What now? What’s happening?” He noticed the Pidgey hesitate as she glanced at Rye’s face.
“He-he’s cut himself off from the Pikachu,” she said gently. Jarre raised an eyebrow.
“What does that mean?”
Quoll sighed. “It means that he declined her offer of help. He’s killing himself to save Zanna.” The Torchic uttered a silent gasp.
“Z-Zanna was trying to help Rye?”
“Yes,” Quoll nodded. “They had a mental link. When one was unconscious and in pain the other would feel that pain. But they were also stronger together.” She stopped and stared at Rye. “When he knew his pain was stronger, he cut off the link. I don’t think he’d jeopardise Zanna’s life like that. But even though Zanna’s now better off, he…has less time. The chance of Rye now making it out alive is very slim.”
Jarre cursed quietly to himself before turning to Quoll. “I need to do something, can you look after Rye?” The confused Pidgey nodded as Jarre bolted off. Groudon!
he thought hastily, I need you here! Crush Balian, kill Scythe and murder them all!
The small bird didn’t bother to wipe away the tears that now came down his face, just as he didn’t care that he was shaking on his talons.
The beast took a minute to respond. I have driven most of them off, but if I help you, you could be at risk of an attack, however small.
Let them come,
Jarre seethed. Just help us. Now.
He cut off the link and strode back to Quoll who looked slightly scared at the expression on the Torchic’s face. “Groudon’s coming,” he hissed to her. “I’m going to gather everyone so we can leave when he gets here. Keep an eye on Zanna for me.” He glanced down at Rye. “If he manages to wake up, he’ll wish he’d never been born.” He stalked off, leaving a confused Quoll to stare after him.
Jarre took the quickest route to the hospital wing. If they were going to evacuate, they needed everyone; Lani included. When he walked through the door however, he was surprised to find the Houndoom awake and sitting. “Little one,” she murmured, “where is everyone? Balian-”
“Has launched an attack on the PRA,” Jarre finished for her.
Lani lowered her eyes. “I thought so. He was the one that poisoned me…is everyone else alright?”
Jarre closed his eyes and ignored her question. “How come you’re awake? And…sitting?” The confused Houndoom gave a faint smile.
“Temporary poison, it seemed. Even Balian could not kill me. I still worry for him. Funny, isn’t it?”
“Insane,” Jarre muttered under his breath and then turned to her with a frantic look. “If you can walk, I need you to escape. Groudon is coming to crush these monsters and I need everyone out before he does.” Lani didn’t bother to ask anymore; she’d caught on pretty quickly to Jarre’s sinister mood.
The Torchic led Lani out into the hallway and stopped just before they rounded the corner into the main room. He glanced at the Houndoom who looked back questioningly. Jarre sighed. “Balian’s out there. I need you to avoid him and Scythe at all costs. Head towards Codan who has Zanna,” he made a quick motion with his wing when Lani went to speak. “Tell them to get Kraal, Marilai and Quoll. If Codan can, he can carry Rye as well. Once everyone escapes, I’ll follow.”
Lani spoke rapidly after trying hard to remain silent. “You don’t really think he’ll let us escape, do you?”
Jarre snorted as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Of course not. That’s why I’m going to hold Balian off.” Lani stood speechless. It took her a minute to regain her voice.
you!” Jarre lowered his head before turning to look around the corner at all the carnage.
“If it’ll help everyone escape, I’ll gladly give my life. Just make sure that you all get out safely. I don’t want to die for nothing.” He tried to smile, but was only successful in creasing Lani’s brow. The Houndoom walked up to him and prodded the bird gently with her muzzle.
“Thankyou, little one. Stay safe.” She cast him a last glance before bounding out towards Codan.
The large Dragonite cradled Zanna weakly within his paws. Funny how I’ve become so attached in this short time that we’ve known each other.
He stared at her for a moment longer before turning his gaze towards Rye. He’s already risking his life for her. I wonder why it is that everyone’s drawn to her like she needs protecting?
Codan shook his head slowly. “But danger
is also drawn to her…why?”
“Because she has what they want.” Codan whirled around to meet a set of dark brown eyes.
“Lani! You’re awake! How?!” The Houndoom smiled gently and gestured towards Balian.
“It seems our friend isn’t the heartless killer we thought. It was only temporary poison.”
“That’s great!” Codan beamed, embracing Lani. When he stepped back, however, the Houndoom had an eyebrow raised. “What? Oh no! I mean it’s great that you’re alright!” he stammered, colouring in embarrassment.
Lani giggled. “Oh, I knew what you meant. I just like teasing you.” Codan chose to ignore the remark and turned back to Zanna. “Is she okay?” Lani whispered. “What happened around here?”
“We were invaded,” Codan answered, shaking his head. “Deoxys’ forces came in large numbers. It was only through everyone’s help that we survived this long.” He took a moment to pause and then continued. “Jarre awoke Groudon who chased mostly everyone away. Only a few stayed. Balian, over there-” he nodded to the penguin “-and Raze and Scythe here, though Raze is out now. I’ll explain later,” he added, seeing Lani’s confused expression.
“What about Zanna?” she repeated. “And where’s that Elekid…Rye?”
Codan closed his eyes wearily. “Zanna was…captured by Arc, a team-mate of Scythe’s. Rye and I got there just in time to save her. The Elekid brought her here, and as far as I saw, was protecting her, but…” he trailed off.
“What?” Lani pressed gently. “Codan?” The Dragonite glanced up at her.
“The Hunters came. Rye lasted as long as he could, but even he wasn’t strong enough.” He gestured towards the scarred Elekid lying across the room.
Lani gasped in horror. “Is he…”
“No,” Codan replied, “just badly injured. Zanna became…enraged.
She took on Scythe; however, the outcome wasn’t so good. If we don’t get her out of here soon, she could die. And, wait…where’s Jarre?” Codan froze as Lani lowered her head.
“That’s what I need to talk to you about,” she replied gravely. “You see…”
To be continued...