“No,” Altair almost snapped. I broke away from his grasp and froze. A dozen or so spikes of pure white jutted out from his body. I stared at him for a moment, horrified. As soon as the Pikachu caught sight of my expression, the spikes faded and he hung his head again. “I-I’m sorry. But I wasn’t a hero. I didn’t do it willingly. I was a fool; a stupid, old fool.” His gaze returned to his ‘death scene’ whereupon he lashed out with a jolt of electricity. “It didn’t work!” he cried. “Darkrai still had Deoxys! I’m so stupid! How could I have missed that?!” The distraught Pokemon lashed out again and again until he ended up on the marble floor in a white heap. From his sobbing, I guessed that he was crying, with the exception of tears.
“Zanna, forgive me,” His eyes searched mine pleadingly for a moment as he looked up. “I didn’t want this burden to fall on you. It’s all my fault…”
I shook my head and sat down beside him. “Of course not. You couldn’t have prevented this; one Pokemon just isn’t enough. Not for all of that.”
“Then how will you fare?!” he cried back in anguish. “I don’t want to lose you too!” It was a moment before I realised that I was crying. Only the taste of saltiness alerted me.
“Neither do I…” I mouthed inaudibly. The next thing I knew, Altair had grasped me softly in his arms, almost like I was a child again, and he was comforting me.
“You won’t,” he assured me firmly. “I and the others will see to that.” While the rest of my tears dried up, Altair held me, whispering frantically in my ear. “Light Pokemon have many powers,” he explained. “Healing, which I have given to you, is probably the most useful. In time, you will also be able to teleport short distances, fly, read minds, and even control gravity and time. But that won’t be until much
I pushed myself out of the Pikachu’s arms and stood up, wavering for a moment as I bit my lip. “I can’t do this; it’s too much for me.” I closed my eyes wearily and when I opened them, saw Altair’s face in front of me. He’d stopped just inches away, staring at me intensely. It looked as if he’d just been concentrating.
“Your friends miss you,” he answered my quizzical look. “One in particular.” He frowned slightly. “The Elekid calls for you, in his sleep. He’s worried, I think. You have great friends.” Altair now looked on the verge of tears, before I remembered that he couldn’t cry.
“I have to go, don’t I?” It was a pointless question, for I already knew the answer. I sighed. “I wish I could bring you with me now. I’d hate to leave you alone.” I stared up at Altair who smiled lightly.
“No, I would never want you here. It would mean you were…” He left the sentence unfinished, but I knew what he meant.
“So how do I get back?” I asked, changing the subject.
“I can take you there,” he answered, glancing at me sideways. It was the oddest look, almost as if…I gasped as his paw came up and gently traced my cheek. It felt really soft, like a feather, or even air itself.
So this is a spirit,
I thought, slowly biting my lip again. I knew Altair could see I was fretting.
“Hush,” he told me, drawing me up to him. He embraced me lightly as I put my head on his shoulder.
“I-I wish…” I started to say, but the Light Pokemon held me back again before touching my nose with his own. The strangest feeling spread through me as I guessed his intentions.
“In another time, another place…” he whispered, warm breath intoxicating me. “I could have loved you.” He then bent his head slowly towards mine until his lips rested lightly against my own, pressure building until his face began to fade and his presence was gone.
The last fading light disappeared in front of Altair’s eyes and he held a paw up wistfully. It had been so long since he’d had company, let alone felt something much more. He was drawn to Zanna like honey, and he knew it was because they were joined through their pasts. But it was also forbidden. He was nothing but a spirit now. What was worse, he couldn’t help but feel he might have hurt Zanna by kissing her. Surely she must have been very confused by someone she’d just met. Yet, if she felt the same attraction as he did, he was sure she’d know why. But the contact also had another effect.
Altair had gained access to some of Zanna’s future and what was going on in her mind. The Light Pokemon raised a paw to his mouth in shock. What he’d just seen surely could not be true. “No…” he mouthed. “It can’t be!” He instantly raced across the room and stopped by a pool of water which glowed a luminescent blue. Dipping his paw into it and swirling it slowly, a distorted picture soon came into focus. When Altair peered into the murky depths, he let out a startled cry. The scene had not changed, and it was just as he had feared.
“And I sent her back,” he murmured. I should have kept her with me…
But he would not have done that against her will. The Pikachu hung his head, paws clenched into fists. His ears pricked up slightly as smooth footsteps sounded behind him. Altair didn’t bother to turn, for he knew who it was. “Welcome…Xatu,” he managed to force out. As he replied, a feathery green wing fell onto his shoulder.
“She is just as I’d envisioned. That human…she is very strong.” Xatu’s firm voice made Altair glance up at him.
“Did I do the right thing? If she dies, I couldn’t stand it, Xatu.” The green bird removed his wing and dipped it into the pool for Altair to see. A shimmering image filled the center, rippling gently. The Light Spirit narrowed his eyes as he leaned forward. “But how?” He was just as stunned as he sounded. Xatu merely placed a wing against Altair’s heart and breathed deeply.
“Many things shape our paths. Many are interwoven. You two are joined, now. Who knows what that will bring?” A small smile stretched across Altair’s face as he turned back to the image in the pool. A light figure stood proudly, but a distant figure fell. If one survives, one may die…
Altair sighed and drew a paw across the water, erasing the image almost as abruptly as it had come.
The first thing I did when I regained consciousness was slowly lift a paw to my mouth. A tingling feeling had seen fit to set itself there. I was amazed by how forward Altair had actually been, but I knew the cause of it, for I was drawn to him, too. I was drawn, yes, but Altair was right about one thing. In another time, in another place, I could have loved him as well, but we both knew it was hopeless at this point. While my inner light called for him, I still controlled my mind, and I did not want him.
“Zanna?” Snapping me out of my reverie, Jarre hovered above my body like a second shadow.
I rose up without hesitation and eyed him anxiously. “How long was I out for?”
“A while,” the Torchic responded. “But I’m more amazed at what happened to your wound. It just…disappeared!”
I’d almost forgotten that part. I peered down at my stomach and sifted through my soft fur. It was true, the wound and scar had been totally removed. A small smile touched my lips. “I met another Light Pokemon,” I explained. “He healed me and then gave me the same power, and then…” I trailed off. Best to leave the others from all of the details. But luckily for me, another thought intruded. “The Elekid calls to you, in his sleep…”
Rye! I could heal him now! I grinned and just managed to grab hold of Jarre’s wing before racing off. “Come on! We’ve got to hurry!” I suppose Jarre had guessed my train of thought because he didn’t argue, just tried to keep up with me.
It seemed we’d come further than I thought and I had to slow myself down to a brisk walk as I puffed. However, it wasn’t long before the clearing came into view. It was almost full of daylight now; I was sure the others would be up. Turning to Jarre, I said “You go get the others. I’ll see to Rye.” Jarre took instant leave and left me to wander alone up to the Elekid.
As I reached his side, I could clearly tell he was doing worse than before. The lashings didn’t stop; they were constant now. His face was contorted in agony, his back almost a deep crimson. I was shaky as I knelt down beside him and instinctively placed a paw over his heart. The Elekid stiffened at my touch, yet still lashed out.
I closed my eyes for a brief second. It hurt me to see him like this. He was a fool for attempting what was already a failure. I opened my eyes as I felt my palm grow warm. Light had enveloped it and was sent to Rye with ease. The Elekid’s motions lessened, but still drove on. Underneath my paw, I felt his heart skip a beat, and then my own in response. I blinked once in surprise and then shook my head. “No, I will not!”
I strengthened the magic in my paw, though Rye seemed to be growing worse. “Grrr…” I growled through my teeth as I gritted them. I thought this was supposed to help
Rye, not ail him.
The minutes ticked by and Rye’s heartbeat slowed until it began to grow dim. I could barely feel it anymore, even when I pressed my paw harder to his chest. I blinked furiously as tears began to well in my eyes. A seething anger pulsed through me. “This…was…supposed…to help!” I shouted, baring my fangs as my fur turned white again. Jagged edges of my fur tousled as the wind blew through them. I felt nothing but irritation. Rye’s slow, impending doom had forced me into my light form. I knew that if anyone came near me now, I couldn’t be held responsible for my actions.
Once again, I pressed my paw firmly into his chest, willing myself to feel his heartbeat. The one under me had grown so faint I couldn’t even feel it. Then, in one swift second, it stopped entirely. I gritted my teeth so hard that I felt a fang slip and cut my bottom lip. My eyes narrowed and I willed my paw to release more magic. I refuse to give up!
But Rye’s heartbeat was gone. The poison had gotten to him and I was too late. Why did I refuse to see it?
Vision now blurred by a torrent of tears, I waited a moment before shakily removing my paw. It was a lost battle. Rye was now completely still, void of even the tiniest movement. As a breeze rustled past, my fur returned to its former yellow and I fell to my paws. How…how could it be? I didn’t even…we were friends!
“Life doesn’t just tear away friends!” I shouted towards the sky. I heard a flock of Pidgey respond angrily before flying away.
My body yearned to move from this desolate place, but my mind held me still. I sensed something, if only small. Using little of what telekinesis I knew, I probed outwards with my mind, searching for something. It was faint…a flicker of…red? I turned my gaze to Rye. For a second there, I was sure I’d felt a presence, but a presence of what?
Movements quickening, I positioned myself so that I leaned over Rye, and touched another paw to his chest. Every second I felt the red flicker grow until it consumed the palm of my paw. Whatever it was, it was spreading and fast. Strange as it was, I could feel no heartbeat, either. It was when I was about to shake him that the Elekid retaliated. In an instant, his heart gave a wild thump.
A force wave was unleashed and threw me to the ground. But I cared nothing for myself right now.
Rye was sitting bolt upright glaring at me with two, hollow red eyes.