The Elekid forced himself not to look back as he plunged into the dense emerald undergrowth of the Ocacia Rainforest. He could still hear Zanna’s echoing scream through his mind, threatening to tear him open at any minute now. Rye panted, breathing heavily as he rested against a nearby tree trunk. He raised a shaky paw to his chest and let it rest just below where his heart should be. W…why does it hurt so much…?
The Elekid was stunned. Never in his life had he felt such pain as this. The wounds that had been inflicted upon him; physical wounds, could never compare. But more than the staggering anguish he felt, a new feeling had emerged. Removing the paw from his chest, Rye inched it further upwards until he held out a single claw. A small, transparent drop of water landed on it a moment later, proceeding to race downwards before melting into the soft soil below. His eyes widened in fascination.
It had been too long since he’d cried. The last time was when he was eight years old. That was almost eleven and a half years ago! Nothing had made him resort to tears, yet Zanna had done that in a heartbeat. Zanna…
The tears returned again in greater force, blurring his vision. What have I done?
Rye debated with his mind, wanting to return to the obviously hurt Pikachu, yet he knew it was wrong. If he went back, he could risk killing them all. And that was not a risk he would take. The only option now was isolation. The temple they had visited was empty enough, and as good a place as any to begin a new life. If I return there, maybe it will be enough for me to live…but even so, it would only be a half life; mostly unfulfilled. Urgh…
Stumbling to a small niche within the knotted roots, the Elekid lay with one paw over his chest, the other across his stomach. He closed his eyes wearily for a moment, hearing nothing but his own rough breaths. Then an idea came to him. All is not lost…nor does it have to be. I wonder…
He pondered for several moments more before weakly standing. There was something that he had to do before he left.
At least this way, even though I can’t say it, I can still have my last goodbye…
Some time later, when he was sure the others were asleep, Rye wandered back in the direction of his tent. Everything was left untouched; just as he’d remembered it, which surprised him. He hastily bent down to retrieve two purple orbs and then proceeded to grab a quill, ink and paper from the makeshift desk.
Pressing the quill to the paper gently, he wrote. The words seemed to flow out of their own accord, not stopping even once until he was done. Once Rye was certain he’d written down what he’d wanted – after quite a few crossed out lines – he placed the quill back on the desk and folded the piece of paper into a neat square. A couple of tears had crinkled it slightly, but he was sure it wouldn’t matter. The hardest part was just the beginning. He didn’t want to be near Zanna again for any moment of time, but he had to deliver the letter. Taking the two orbs and the letter as he went, Rye slipped out quietly and disappeared as the darkness swallowed him whole.
His heart gave a wild thump as he peered through the window to check if Zanna was asleep. The Pikachu was curled up in a corner of the room, having forsaken her bed, and was tossing rather fitfully. Rye’s stomach lurched at the sight. No doubt he was the cause of the trauma. Closing his eyes briefly and rubbing his temples, the Elekid padded through the doorway into the small room.
The air seemed to thicken automatically; a strong sense of foreboding. Ignoring the calls from his conscious, he quietly placed the two orbs next to a larger one Zanna had on her desk and stared at the letter. It was a few minutes before he could bring himself to move again. Walking over to Zanna’s unused bed, he carefully slipped the letter half under the pillow. At that precise moment the Elekid heard a mutter from the far corner of the room and turned around, anxious.
“Urgh…” Zanna had scrunched up her face in obvious pain and rolled over onto to her other side. “No…I won’t,” she mumbled in a dull whisper. “Rye…” The Elekid caught his breath as he heard his name uttered. The tone he’d heard Zanna use wasn’t one he particularly liked, but he was still intrigued. “Please…” she begged almost silently.
Rye stumbled back against the wall to prevent himself from falling over. This was almost more than he could handle right now. The Pikachu turned again, a frown creasing her mouth ever so slightly. “You know I…do…” she yawned sleepily. “I…I love you…”
The next second Rye had made a loud gasp, knocked over the orbs and bolted. The shock of what Zanna had said hadn’t yet fully reached him, though he knew he had to get away now. He heard mumbles behind him as he fled once more into the forest, not looking back. He didn’t stop until he’d been going for at least ten minutes – that he was sure of.
Finally the Elekid slowed and listened to the beat of his footsteps as they padded along. The rhythm soothed him enough to calm down. Rye edgily fell to the forest floor on his knees, palms crushing the gritty dirt beneath him. A light drizzle of rain began to fall, mingling with the Elekid’s own tears. Within seconds, the rain was almost thundering down through the canopy, flowing like streams along the tree branches.
Rye let himself get soaked, not even bothering to move as he spluttered through the fur and water now dripping around his face. Only when he was drenched and shivering did he crawl to the nearest dry spot under a tree. Curling into a ball, he wrapped himself with his arms to try to stop the shivering. But the cold was relentless.
Rye stayed silent as the night flowed on, getting darker as it went, and still the Elekid did not sleep. His wide eyes stared fitfully through the wind and rain lashing out at him, though he couldn’t care less. Only when dawn was approaching and the rain had died down a bit did his eyelids droop. Giving a last shiver, he slumped against the tree trunk, welcoming the rough bark to ease his pain. Weariness soon got the better of him as his consciousness slipped and he fell into a deep sleep.
Only one thing strayed into his dreams that night, and it was enough to haunt him endlessly.
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