The rest of the day passed by in a dull blur. I was half aware of Lani and Codan talking – or arguing – about going to the Missionary. Following Rye’s advice, I’d tried to talk them out of it, but I soon found that it was impossible. How then, was I supposed to keep them away from an army of Dark Pokemon? My brain just couldn’t seem to function properly. Even Jarre couldn’t get my attention and that
was worrying. Rye did nothing but listen to our unending arguments, face expressionless. Kraal and Marilai were never around; they seemed to have their own agenda. Good
, I thought with a hint of triumph. I don’t like those dogs anyway
“I don’t see why the Missionary is important,” Jarre said for the millionth time, causing Codan and Lani to launch into another argument. I sighed and covered my ears. Peace was what I needed right now.
How are you feeling?
Huh? My head snapped up automatically as the familiar tingle of telepathy buzzed through my mind. Like a nightmare
, I replied grudgingly. They just won’t stop and it’s giving me a constant headache. Where else can we go if not the Missionary?
I glanced over to see Rye purse his lips.
There is one other place, but it will involve getting to the Missionary first.
I sighed. No luck then. Will you be all right if we do go to the Missionary?
His voice was hesitant. But I don’t think it would be best for you. I’d like to keep you as far away from there as possible.
Just as I was about to ask what he meant, a twinge of pain stabbed at my mind and I had to pull away. Groaning slightly, I met Rye’s gaze. His eyes wavered as he recovered from the pain, wincing. What was that?
Then I saw it. Almost so faint I could barely be sure it was even there, Rye’s black stripes glowed dully and red glazed his eyes. Oh no…
The pit of my stomach lurched. He must have had a strong feeling about something.
I could tell his darkness was certainly getting worse. If anyone spotted it, Rye would be a danger to us then. I swayed my head lightly from side-to-side in frustration, watching the Elekid’s stripes return to normal.
Before long, the argument was in full force again. This time I sat by idly. No use interfering if I can’t win
, was my only thought.
It was getting dark when Codan was in enough peace to think clearly. The large Dragonite rubbed his temples soothingly. We must get to the Missionary…why doesn’t Zanna understand this?
The small Pikachu was beginning to get on his nerves lately, no matter how fond of her he was. But that wasn’t the only problem. The Elekid had seemed unusually quiet too, even for him. Something is definitely up
Small beads of sweat were appearing on his forehead as he paced before his tent slowly. He knew it was forbidden and wrong to spy on another creature, but this Elekid had him concerned for everyone’s safety, though he hardly knew why. Without even another moment to cause doubts, he strode silently across the camp towards the Elekid’s tent.
The slight window Quoll had carved into the fern tents were just enough for him to peer through. Nothing but a dull candle lit the small enclosure, casting eerie shadows across the walls. Rye had his back to him, holding something shiny within his palm. Codan had to duck as the Elekid turned slightly. Just inching up to the window again, the Dragonite managed to spot a small orb the size of a berry. Another one was resting on a nearby wooden table. They were both purple in colour and swirling majestically. The Dragonite narrowed his eyes as they held his gaze. I know those orbs…they’re remembrance orbs!
These specific orbs he’d heard of held important moments in history, or just one’s own memories, but were quite troublesome to access as they had all sorts of mind traps to prevent evildoers from seeing their contents. What is he doing with remembrance orbs?
This interesting event was enough to make Codan peer closer into the window. He watched as the Elekid gently lifted the orb, muttering to himself hastily. Every so often he raised a paw to his head as if trying to communicate with it, but to little success. After a few minutes Rye sighed and lowered the orb, his impatience obvious now.
It was a surprise though when the small Pokemon dropped the orb and fell to the ground, kneeling. Codan noted his teeth were gritted, face strained as he clenched his paws into fists. A dull glow appeared about the Elekid’s stripes emanating a dark aura. Codan instantly recoiled as if he’d been shocked. His intake of breath was just a sharp hiss as he peered through the window again. Rye – seeming to somewhat recover – stood up once more, swaying. Then he stiffened. Codan instantly took a step back, though too late. The Elekid had spotted him.
His expression set off the Dragonite’s fear instincts. Rye’s face was scowling – or sneering – eyes narrowed sharply. They were glazed with red and his stripes began to let off a furious black glow which just seemed to be spreading further across his body. Before Codan could do so much as turn and run, the Elekid had appeared at the window. He swiftly punched through the ferns, sharp claws grasping the Dragonite’s neck. A strangled roar was the only sound that he could force out.
“You’ve been spying on me.” Rye’s voice was flat and deadly. A single note laced with malice. Codan struggled in vain, surprised at how such a small creature could be strong enough to hold him still.
“What…are you?” he managed to wheeze out. The Elekid sneered as he drew up to Codan’s face, pressing against his snout almost eagerly.
“I am…” He cautiously manoeuvred his head to the dragon’s ear, ignoring his wild eyes, full of fear. “I am alive!”
With a sharp hiss, Rye thrust Codan away from his tent with no more than a flick of a claw. The Dragonite cried out in pain as he smashed into a tree, splitting it in two from the force of the impact. He could hear worried murmurs nearby, getting closer. Lani soon stepped into the small clearing, shock instantly crossing her face.
“Get away!” he hissed with pain. “Rye is…he’s out of control!”
The Houndoom stood staggered as first Jarre then Quoll joined her, both incredibly confused. Before Jarre could speak, a low growl warned them to stay put. The four frozen Pokemon eyed the shadows anxiously as a dimly lit figure stepped out. The sound of his footsteps created a scratching effect that raised the hairs on their backs instantly.
Rye pursed his lips before letting a sly grin cross his face. “It seems I have more company. How…amusing.” But the Elekid paused as the others entered.
Kraal and Marilai bolted out towards Codan staring at Rye with fierce expressions, almost protective. Zanna was the last to the scene. The Pikachu took one look at Codan and rushed to his side. “What’s wrong?” Her question was followed by the Dragonite’s pointed gaze. As she followed it her mouth gaped, gasping silently. “Rye…” she murmured. “I’m too late.”
The Elekid merely smiled at her dismay. “Oh no,” he crooned gently. “I’m just getting started.” He then let off a low guttural snarl towards the Pikachu in warning. Zanna flinched but walked protectively in front of Codan.
“I won’t let you hurt him.” Her voice was shaky and uncertain; Rye could see that. “Please don’t do this. You yourself said it was wrong.”
Codan’s gaze instantly flickered to Zanna. “What do you know about this?”
The Pikachu cringed. “I…I didn’t mean…I’m sorry!” Tears welled within her eyes.
Codan shook his head in disbelief. “You…kept this from me?”
Zanna shook her head but was interrupted as Rye flew at her, clenching her paws in his vice-like grip. The Elekid stood only an inch from the frozen Pikachu, as black as the night was growing. His warm breath surrounded her as a slight growl escaped his mouth.
“You always were…” – he seemed to search for words – “Breathtakingly annoying.” A smile lit his face as he laughed, though it was cut short. Rye felt a sharp jab knock the wind from his chest as he flew backwards. He hit the ground with a hard thud, but soon regained balance, propping himself into a violent battle stance.
Zanna heard the light growl he issued as he pulled his teeth into a snarl. The Pikachu was now fully white, glaring at the Elekid with reigned loathing. “Stay away from us. I don’t want to hurt you Rye, but you leave me little choice.” Forgive me
, she sent through his mind. For a moment the Elekid’s face softened, then he grinned again.
“Always the polite one,” he mocked. “I made a good choice.”
Though Codan knew little of what they were saying, he was still very worried. Zanna…
he almost flinched at the thought of her being hurt again. He could only watch as the two Pokemon – complete opposites – took their battle stances. This was a fight no one would win.
What happened to you?
My voice was anxious and scared as I sent the words through Rye’s mind. The Elekid hissed and repelled me with a force that sent my mind reeling.
Nothing happened! This is who I am!
Despite the cold, and Rye’s newfound malevolence, I didn’t shiver. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t seen this one coming. So my voice was now level as I spoke to him. I don’t believe that. This isn’t you.
The Elekid forced another wave of pain through my head, thrusting me away and causing me to wince.
You don’t know anything. How can you? I only keep you around because I enjoy your pain.
A cold smile lit his face and though I knew his words weren’t true, tears still brimmed my eyes.
I pleaded. The Rye I know is kind and gentle
. My ears drooped again slightly. Please…
The sheer force sent me staggering and I had to cover my ears in pain. I was barely aware of the Elekid rushing towards me fiercely. Before I could dodge, a paw was slammed into the side of my head. A sharp stab of pain coursed through me and I felt warm blood trickle down my cheek. I landed in the snow, using my paws to hold myself up weakly. I stared pleadingly at Rye, but he only glared back.
The Elekid was now tensed and ready for more action. I could almost sense that he craved it; craved the bloodshed. Ignoring Codan, who had withdrawn to Lani and the others, he strode towards me with triumph. An icy smirk rested on his face as he lowered it to my level. “You’re pathetic,” he spat. “And I never once liked you. But now…” he glanced approvingly at his new body, “I almost share some gratitude. Too bad I’m a cold fish, eh?” Another paw slammed into my face and made my knees buckle, but I still didn’t move. I wasn’t about to hurt him, no matter how hard he chose to hit me. “Fight back!” he hissed angrily, stomping on my tail.
“ARRGH!” A scream of agony erupted as I felt the bones crack. “Rye…” I mumbled.
The Elekid ignored me and glared. “Why won’t you fight me??!!”
Black haze had begun to obscure my vision, but Rye’s hollow red eyes pierced the darkness so brightly. Eyes of evil…eyes of death. “I…I won’t hurt you.” I managed to force out.
“WHAT?!” he spat at me savagely. The Elekid still glared, but I could tell something was different. He seemed less agitated now. Somehow more in control.
I pushed through the snow slowly and reached out to touch his arm. Rye stiffened as I made contact, but didn’t withdraw as I’d thought he would. I peered up into his eyes, hoping against all odds I’d break through.
“I….can’t…” Rye’s face grew pained and he raised a paw to his head in agony. The glowing stripes that covered his body seemed to dull, a yellowy tinge retuning to his black fur. “Urgh…” The Elekid cringed away from me again before swiftly turning back, a punch aimed for my head.
For a third time, his knuckles sent a wave of agony through me and I fully collapsed, unable to endure more pain. My vision buzzed with bright lights as I saw my fur regaining its yellow colour again. All I had strength to do was move my eyes as they kept hold of Rye, perhaps the only things now keeping him sane. I noticed he gingerly took a step towards Codan, eyeing him wildly.
“I. Will. Not. Be. Broken!”
With a look of bloodlust on his face, Rye used his Agility and Cross Chop attack to end the fight. I knew that I only had a spilt second. My body then acted of its own accord, a shimmering white light enveloping me, instantly warping my body in front of Codan so that I was the only thing between him and Rye. My mouth opened itself – I realised how little control I now had over what I was doing. Waving a paw out in front of my body, facing the palm towards Rye, I let it glow.
An iridescent spiral flowed out from my body around me, seeming to slow things down. “Stop.” I commanded firmly. And everything did stop. I now glared at Rye with hatred, yet it was reigned in. I watched him struggle effortlessly against my magic; he was as still as a statue now. The spiral of white light continued to pulse around me as everything else froze. My Time Control had caused the world to fall into a standstill. Only I could move freely, though through my magic, I had also allowed Rye to speak.
“Damn it, Pikachu!” he growled. “Release me!” I watched calmly as his frenzy reached a dizzying height, his eyes wild and unrestrained.
“No.” The brisk shake of my head only made him angrier. I sighed, allowing the light to fade from my body, turning normal again, though time still didn’t move. “Rye…who are you?” My question made the Elekid pause for a moment. I caught his panting breath that had picked up pace now slow ever so slightly. “Who are you?” I repeated in a whisper, pleading with him. I closed my eyes momentarily as the tears which I’d so carefully held back now gushed forward.
Through my silent sobbing I noticed that Rye’s struggles had ceased. Though I was embarrassed by how fragile I was now, I opened my eyes just a sliver. It was enough to see the darkness which was now ebbing away from his body. My control on the spell slipped as I was overcome with grief, sending movement back into Rye. The Elekid fell to the ground and kneeled. A soft buzzing, familiar and warm, flowed through my mind again and this time it didn’t send a wave of pain to crush me.
My eyes snapped open as I heard the use of what must undoubtedly be his full name, something which I’d never heard him use before. Rye held himself before me, clutching his right arm in pain. A frown creased his face as he looked me over, seeing my tattered tail and bruised face.
“Zanna, I’m…so sorry. I can’t repay you. Ever.” The Elekid looked away, unable to take in what he’d done to me. His deep sigh caused me to shiver now, more aware of the pain flowing through my body. “Why didn’t you fight back?”
His words caught me off guard. I peered up at his hollow face, searching for answers and frowned slightly – but only slightly – as it hurt too much to do otherwise. “I told you I wasn’t going to hurt you.” I shook my head again as the Elekid peered at me in frustration. “I can’t hurt someone I love.”
Rye was instantly shocked by my directness, though he seemed of the same mind. “And I…look what I did to you, Zanna.” He gestured at my face and tail. “This is partly why I didn’t want to get involved. And you know I’m…evil
,” – he winced at the word – “Why won’t you leave?” Rye’s expression grew surprised as I let my airy laugh fill the clearing.
“Are you blind? Why would
I leave? All I want is here.”
A stone cold look crossed Rye’s face. “No, I won’t let you do this. You can’t say that. As long as I’m tainted, I can’t be around you.”
“What? What are you saying?” I frowned. Surely he couldn’t mean that he’d leave. Would he? “Rye,” I almost whispered, grasping at some last, frail light of hope I knew wasn’t there. Struggling to walk, I came close enough to reach out a paw. I held it in midair, longing for Rye to take it and tell me everything was going to be all right. I grew edgier the more seconds passed by and he still didn’t move. Finally he sighed and turned away from me.
Rye swiftly bolted towards the forest, not even glancing back. It was then that I broke. My heart, once seemingly whole, snapped into a million pieces. “RYE!” I called after him, lowering my paw and forcing out a wave of electricity. The sparks fizzed out a few metres away from me, but the Elekid was already gone. Just like my heart. “No!” I screamed at the sky, electricity flowing out from me in mass. It was only when I was reduced to a sobbing heap in the snow and the light touch of a wing fell on my shoulder that I realised time was moving again.
Curling into a tight ball, I ignored the confusion around me. The only thing I wanted was gone, taken away by darkness. I didn’t bother to stem my flow of tears; what did it matter? Reaching out with my mind, I probed the area in search of a spark, but none could be found. Dread instantly consumed me and I let the pain follow it; let it envelop me until I was dragged under. But something held me back. I lashed out at it, wanting nothing more than to lie in the snow forever.
Is this what you want?
A calm voice asked me. It was a sympathetic voice that I barely knew, but was like a missing part of myself.
I whispered back. Then I mulled my thoughts over. Help me, Altair
. The Light Pokemon thought in total silence.
I want to,
he confessed. But I don’t think I can. And now isn’t a good time. Just be happy, Zanna. And whatever you might think, that is possible
I didn’t bother to reply, instead forcing him away. The only sound I heard now was a dim, blurring noise, barely audible. I closed my eyes in pain. Maybe morning would bring better news. Then I half snorted. No chance with my luck…
Continued in next post...