Sorry for the LLLOOONNNG wait, guys. But here it is! Chapter 26! ^^
Chapter 26 - Moving Forward
A loud crash sounded and woke me from my fitful sleep. Snapping my eyes open almost immediately, I then began to focus my vision on the surroundings. My room wasn’t well lit, so it was rather hard to see in the dark. It was a good thing I had sensitive eyes. Nothing seemed out of place until I spotted three orbs rolling on the floor. The larger one I’d taken from the temple and the two small ones I’d given to Rye.
“Urgh!” I reached a paw down to my stomach as I thought of the Elekid, flinching back in pain. How much more of this…am I going to have to go through?
Shaking away my negative feelings, I realised he must have been here. No one else would have moved the orbs. A flicker of white soon caught my eyes and I turned my gaze towards my bed, which I’d neglected to sleep in. Tucked underneath my pillow, a small piece of paper rustled as the wind blew through the window. Huh? What’s a piece of paper doing here?
Still half asleep and weary from exhaustion, I crawled over to my bed and reached for the paper. I instantly recoiled as it touched my paw. It was wet; crinkled as well. I frowned, staring thoughtfully before reaching out again, unfolding it.
As a smell rose to my nose, I noticed something. These wet marks and creases…they were made by tears! My eyes widened as I took in the handwriting. I’d never seen anyone write much, but I could definitely tell this was from Rye. The signature at the bottom of the page confirmed this. Rye was crying…
I thought in amazement. He’s never cried before. Maybe…this affects him even more than me.
My stomach lurched again in response to the thought and I meekly turned back to the letter. My eyes scanned the first sentence warily before I decided to continue. In his handwriting, Rye wrote:
“Dear Zanna, forgive me for leaving last night; it was a necessary precaution I had to take. I feel terribly bad about the whole incident and wish it could never have happened. But I know now it’s a fool’s wish – you can’t turn back time. I’ve decided to do the only thing I can, and though I know you won’t like it, I regret to say that I must. I have to leave you and everyone else if you are to be safe. Please don’t worry. I have most things sorted out and I hope to return someday.
But…I know how you must feel right now, as I feel it too. Seeing you hurt like that yesterday – by my own hand – was an utter nightmare. That scene still haunts me. I’ll never forgive myself for that, and I won’t. I also know you said I usually mask my emotions, which is true, but at this present point in time I think my guard is removed. I have done so in order to tell you a few things before I leave. You will find them in this letter. I only hope that they do not provoke you, or otherwise. If so, I sincerely apologise.”
I raised an eyebrow at the warning. What could Rye say that would make me mad at him? Absurd,
I thought to myself. Nothing he could do would provoke me. All the same, I braced myself as I read on.
“Zanna, I want you to know what I was doing in Likera before we met, and why I came to the guild in the first place.”
I had to admit, I was rather intrigued now. His past that I’d neglected to ask about so often would finally be revealed. Or at least part of it. Flexing the crinkled page between my paws, I continued.
“I told you about my job at the missionary, remember? Well, my job was to permanently stop Raze and Scythe, as well as to find out what Deoxys wanted by any means necessary. I have underlined that last part because one: my objective has now changed, and two: to make you understand that my father is very serious about our goals.
So, to pick up where I left off, I had just been commissioned to Likera to search for information. That was also the day I met you. I have to say, you didn’t seem like much then, but I knew there was something different about you. How you seemed kind – even when I was so abrupt with you. It wasn’t until you rescued the two Chikorita from the caverns that I began to suspect something. You were unbelievably strong and powerful – in more ways than one. When you were chosen as the next Light Pokemon, I knew I had been right all along. But I won’t waste time here. There is a more pressing matter at hand.
I wrote before that I tried to find out what Deoxys wanted by any means necessary. Well…I found out, after some time, that he wanted you.”
My whole body instantly froze. Surely it wasn’t such a big surprise? I mean, he did
try to capture me and, as a Light Pokemon, I was now considered his mortal enemy. But still…why was it that a shiver was spreading through me? This letter was more than I’d bargained for. It wasn’t just a goodbye note; it was the whole
story now. Of course there would be parts I didn’t like. I shook myself gently, and for a third time, read onwards.
“Now things took a turn for the worst. Because you were what Deoxys was after, my father had ordered me to track you. I just want to make one thing clear: my father is the sole reason I hate. But because he is the Commander, I have to do what he says. So that ribbon I gave to you as a gift…it had an in-built tracking device.”
Immediately, I tugged the ribbon off and jumped on it. A tracking device??!
How could he?! Then something caught my eye. Wait…had?
“Please, don’t be too hasty to judge me. For a while, I struggled with my feelings. I had to choose between family and friends. But my “family” only consisted of soldiers giving orders, no matter who or what they had to destroy in the process. That was not my way. Before I gave you that ribbon I tore out the tracer and threw it into the pond. I have no doubt that my father is – as I write this – very mad at me. But I don’t care. I’m finally being who I am. You made me see that, Zanna. Thank you.”
I removed one of my paws from the page to dab at my eyes which had become rather moist. Rye had not only risked himself – but his job – to protect me. He was braver than I’d thought. My own tears now mingled with Rye’s on the crinkled page, but I wiped my eyes deftly as I bent down to retrieve the ribbon, tying it back on with renewed strength.
“After that point, I had no doubt that I would stick with you no matter what. It was after that you were captured. It tormented me to no end to see you chained. It took all my will not to rush out recklessly. I discovered then that Deoxys wanted your soul, but I had no idea what for and I still don’t. I did, however, vow to protect you always. A vow, I’m sad to say, that must be broken now because of my…condition.
Protecting you that day was all I could do. Even after I knew the poison had been inflicted upon me, I tried to stay conscious. I knew I couldn’t sleep – I had to stay awake. I was afraid that if I closed my eyes…I would lose you. That’s why I severed our link: so you would survive. I didn’t care for myself anymore. Now, after all my years, you were the only thing I wanted to save.
And so I did. I was glad at that point, even though the poison took its toll on me, I was glad.
Apparently a week had passed before I was awake. I was…scared, Zanna. I thought I would die – and I did, technically. But through some miracle, you brought me back. When I awoke, it was amazing. I never thought I’d feel so happy to be alive. I was clearly wrong. Now I regret that I have to leave, but I don’t ever want to see you hurt like that again. My father will be very mad at me – no doubt I will be severely punished if I return. But you see…I did what I did for you. So I’ll accept what I have to.
Oh, as a side note, Major Kraal and Private Marilai work for the missionary too. That was why they were with me. They serve under me and will not harm anyone unless it is at my command. However, I did hear they tried to attack you. Don’t worry, I’ve had a long chat with them and they seem to somewhat agree that you’re a good Pokemon.
I know you have to go to the Missionary next, but…I still don’t want you to. If only there was another way. I shudder to think what my father would do to you if you showed up there. For your own sake, Zanna, I’m begging you not to go there. Please, listen to me. I couldn’t take it if he hurt you. Everything I’ve worked so hard to protect just…went down the drain. But…do what you must. I just hope what I’ve told you is enough to set you on the right path.
I should go now, and I dislike goodbyes, so I will make it brief. One day, Zanna, I will find you again. Until then, I wish you all the best. I know you can save Talzere – I never gave up hope. You’re the brightest star I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m…proud of you. Take care, and farewell.
P.S. I brought back the orbs for you to examine; I couldn’t crack them. And, well…I was never the best at expressing myself or anything, but I…I……..I…………”
A giant pause of dots filled up the next few lines. I frowned slightly at his odd predicament. Why couldn’t he just say what he wanted and move on? But I knew he wasn’t one for that. I stroked a paw across the letter over three tiny words that made my heart thump wildly within my chest.
“I love you.”
I released the page as it glided gently towards the ground. My paws moved up to my face, the ribbon clutched tightly between them. I held it across my streaming eyes for a moment, face contorted with agony. Why did he leave??!!
It was so unfair, just when everything was getting better! But even as I was tormented by his choice, the ribbon he’d given me offered solace. I clenched it tightly to my fur, not letting it go for an instant. I promise you, Rye. I won’t let you down!
Tears still stained my face as I curled up again, this time in my bed, and slowly hummed myself to sleep.
Rye awoke only a few short hours after he’d fallen asleep. A dull pain still throbbed within his chest, though it had calmed since the night before. The Elekid sat up wearily, shaking his fur out as he did so. The rain made him cold and it didn’t help that a cool breeze now drifted through the trees.
“Urgh…” he groaned as he picked himself up off the ground with haste. I need to get further away.
Bitter memories still stung his mind and he loathed them to no end. But through the haze he set a new goal. The Light Temple would hopefully welcome him. After all, it was his last chance.
Rye pushed the ferns eagerly aside with a paw. A flash of sunlight illuminated the small patch where he stood so he had to raise a paw to keep from being blinded. The sun rays sparkled against the temple walls, the arch of vines seeming to stretch ever so slightly. Few Pokemon had appeared in the surrounding area. Only a flock of Swablu and Rye himself were present within the confines of the clearing. Eager to get his goal over with, he bolted across the bridge, stopping only when he reached the temple doors, raising a paw to them. He was unsure if this would work.
“But I have no other choice,” he muttered to himself. “I must go on.” Rye extended his paw further and was instantly surprised when they swung open of their own accord. The Elekid jumped backwards, startled. Small sparks of electricity flowed out from his ears, but a soothing voice soon calmed him.
I know why you have come. Please, enter.
The calm voice led Rye to believe that this was the Light Pokemon Zanna had met; Altair. The Elekid slowly walked into the room towards the center, eyeing the stone tablets that covered the wall. They seemed to depict mostly epic battles that had raged throughout history, but some also told of Light and Dark Pokemon alike. Rye halted once he reached the core of the room between two ancient stone columns. He waited for almost a minute before Altair spoke, afraid of breaking the silence first.
I know why you have come,
he repeated. And it is a difficult matter indeed, but not impossible.
Hope coursed through the Elekid.
“You mean to say – if you do decide to help me – that it can be done?” There was a slight pause as Altair seemed to think.
I believe so. As Zanna has learned to control her power, so can you, though I would like to talk to you myself. It is possible,
Altair answered the Elekid’s quizzical look. Because you have been touched by an ancient power, I am able to bring you to the Farplane. I would prefer you to stay where you are, but circumstances prevent me from crossing into your world. Now, you may feel slightly nauseous, but not to worry. The feeling is only temporary.
A shocked expression crossed Rye’s face as he felt his head split in two. I’m being dragged!
he realised. The pulling feeling got stronger and though he tried to pull against it, Altair gave a final tug and the Elekid was rendered unconscious.
“A…Altair?” Rye’s eyes fluttered open as a bright light pierced through them. Strong, yet gentle paws reached down to drag him upwards.
“I’m sorry about that. It really is an unpleasant feeling.” Once the Elekid’s eyes adjusted, he found himself staring at a white Pikachu in front of him, one paw rubbing the back of his head apologetically. Rye was amazed. He was slightly taller than Zanna, pure white; except for his grey stripes, a hint of red in his cheeks, and stunning turquoise eyes. And though Rye hated to admit it, he was also rather handsome as well. He felt a twinge of jealousy course through him at the thought.
And Zanna was here…
The Elekid quirked an eyebrow. “It was really alright,” he assured the Pikachu. Altair lowered his paw before looking the Elekid up and down.
“But you resisted,” he pointed out. Rye nodded slightly.
“It was…strange to me, that’s all.” He cringed under the Pikachu’s gaze which was neither appraising nor disapproving, but rather something in between.
“Hmm. I have a question for you,” Altair muttered after a moments pause to think. Rye raised an eyebrow at the Pikachu’s comment.
“What is it?” Altair took a quick step forward to close the distance between them. Resting a paw lightly on Rye’s shoulder, he spoke.
“How is Zanna?”
Rye instantly drew backwards and cringed, tearing away from Altair’s grasp. He took a deep breath steadily, ignoring the icy cold feeling as it passed through his lips. The Pikachu merely stood and observed his reaction. Rye looked up at him and glared. “You knew…” he hissed, baring his fangs.
“And I also knew you would hurt her!” Altair shot back, clenching his paws in front of him. “That’s why I warned her!” Rye still glared at the Light Pokemon, but kept his anger reined in.
“What warning?!” Altair seemed to hesitate. “Spit it out, Pikachu!” Rye growled, the hold on his temper slipping.
Altair looked calmly up at Rye. “I told her it would be better if she stayed here with me.” His gaze wavered and he tore it to the ground. Understanding lit in the Elekid’s eyes. He knew
there was something Zanna had neglected to tell them, and he’d just found it. He was both stunned and hurt.
“You kissed her…” he murmured in a dull tone, barely louder than a whisper. Altair caught the sadness within the Elekid’s voice.
“I-I didn’t mean to! It just…happened! Light Pokemon have a strong connection, see? We’re naturally drawn to each other.”
“Drawn…” Rye repeated again in the same monotone. But something else dawned on him. “She didn’t stay, though.”
“No,” Altair confirmed. “With the contact I was able to see into her soul. I wasn’t even there; not in that moment. In her soul…all I saw was you.” His voice had dropped to a light whisper now. “You’re the one she loves, Rye. But after what you’ve done…it impacts on both of us. I feel her emotions just as she would feel mine. It’s like when you two were linked, only stronger.”
Rye couldn’t bring himself to move. He was still rooted to the spot where he’d retreated from Altair’s grasp. “So you tell me, then,” he asked. “How is she?” Altair shook his head slowly and raised a paw to his heart.
“It’s broken…” he murmured. “She’s hurting very deeply.”
Rye winced. “I want
to return, I really do. I know I hurt her, but…” He trailed off aimlessly as he glanced down at the Light Pokemon. “Help me, Altair.” He had to force the words through his teeth, as they didn’t come easily. The Pikachu stared long and hard into Rye’s eyes for what seemed like a millennia. Finally he broke the contact and nodded.
“As you wish, I will help you. But,” he warned, raising a finger. “If you so much as hurt her again, you’ll have me to answer to. And you won’t like me when I’m mad.” Altair bared his fangs as proof and they glinted like diamonds in the bright light.
Rye flinched inwardly. “I understand.”
The Light Pokemon instantly broke into a grin and teleported behind the Elekid, grabbing hold of his shoulders. “Good. Then I have someone I need you to meet.”
Rye just caught the hint of danger in his tone before he was sucked into space along with the Pikachu.
Continued in next post...