Jirachi flew towards the tunnel she came from, flinching when she heard Celebi’s yelp of pain. When the walls of the tunnel surrounded her, she shook off the guilt blooming in her chest and instead intensified her aura so it was powerful enough to destroy the obstructing stalagmites in her path. Dust sprinkled her face, making her determined eyes water, but she plowed through. Her second plan of the day was tumbling in her head. If she could get out of Purgatory and back to Earth, Arceus would not be hard to lo… She stopped the thought. She had no idea where their father was, only that his presence was accompanied with that of Deoxys’. Could she afford to wait until he came back to Heaven?
A growing light behind her answered her question.
“Don’t think you’ve best me!” Mew’s ringing voice hollered in rage.
Jirachi did not let her eyes stray until she felt intense heat on her back. Whipping her head around, she saw Mew flying towards her, his palms harboring an unstable Shadow Ball. Like his anger, the maroon tendrils were out of control and whipping the air. When their eyes met, the sphere grew brighter, tighter, and it was thrust into Jirachi’s stomach. Mew held the Shadow Ball against her abdomen, watching with an anger-contorted face the way her third eye fluttered madly behind its eye lid. Jirachi grasped her brother’s wrists with twitching fingers and let her long-winding tassels touch the tunnel’s walls. The ceiling started to gain thin, splintering cracks, and the stalagmites not destroyed by her began to collapse into piles of rubble.
“Release me, or rubble will soon rain down!” she gritted through her teeth. The growing Giga Impact made dust shower them both.
“You wouldn’t dare,” Mew outright laughed at her, the tension in his face gone and replaced by his sly smile.
“You’ll never do anything like that,” came Celebi’s voice. The time traveler popped out from behind Mew with a scornful chuckle, although the grin on her face after she grew silent was less enthusiastic than her brother’s.
“Neither will you!” their sister retorted, her voice beginning to break as she strained to endure the slowly burning Shadow Ball while maintaining her Giga Impact under control.
Celebi’s face darkened, and she punched Jirachi in the abdomen with her own glowing fist. The volatile Shadow Ball flashed white before propelling Jirachi backwards in an explosion that made the roof above their heads collapse in chunks of stone. She crashed through the tunnel’s entrance, through the stone needles she had carefully squeezed through before, and rolled down the mountain side with her torn tassels wrapped around her body. Stopped by one of the mountain’s upturned slabs, Jirachi wiggled her hands out of the tassel-cocoon she was in and pulled herself up using the rock’s edge. A sharp pain split her body in half, but she did not dare look down at her scorched stomach.
Celebi and Mew materialized above her. Ruby cuts and dust peppered their bodies, but the U-Turn had allowed them to escape relatively unscathed. Jirachi hunkered down, hiding her small form in the shadows, and turned towards where she thought her half-sealed portal laid in the sky. With no time and space to bend in Purgatory, she could not Teleport away from this mess. A frantic flight was her only option.
It’s not the only one,
a thought broke in. I could fight just enough to slow them down and escape.
Her heart clenched in indecision. Mew and Celebi were a part of her, and she was a part of them. To fight them would be like fighting herself.
“The shadows do not suit you, Jirachi.”
The wish granter gasped and looked up to see Celebi’s mocking, azure eyes. She tensed, waiting for Mew’s arrival, but when it didn’t come, she questioningly searched the skies.
“I wanted a word with you, in private,” her sister hissed, jovial eyes now slits, “which is why I sent Mew to the other side of the mountain to look for you.” Celebi descended until she was standing on the raised slab of stone Jirachi was hiding beneath. “Understand this, Jirachi: I am not like you. What separates you and I is that I see Mew’s plan in all its glory, and I will do what it takes to help him see it through.”
“You are not ready to do such a thing,” Jirachi fiercely whispered back, discreetly wounding one of her tassels around her injured third eye. Celebi, too consumed by her anger, did not notice.
“Why do you say that?” she barked.
“I can see the indecision in your eyes, the slight hesitancy in your actions. I do not know what has come over Mew, but you are not him…” Her true eye began to painfully open beneath her tassel. Jirachi hid her wincing by plastering a mocking smirk that rivaled Mew’s. “You are just like me, Celebi, and Mew will realize it. Maybe Ho-Oh will take your place.”
“How dare you!” Celebi screeched. She lunged at Jirachi like a wild Persian. Jirachi jumped into the air and waved her tassel aside to let loose her Flash Cannon. The Grass-type had a second to squeak in surprise before she was slammed against the rock slab by the silver crescent of power. Jirachi dodged one of the many stones that took flight in the explosion and ignored how the pile of rubble below her shifted and groaned. Instead of guilt swelling up inside her, it was fear. Mew and Celebi had proven by now that they did not share her morals.
The word kill
echoed back into her mind, and it wasn’t until now that it made her blood run cold.
Jirachi’s wish tags fluttered in warning. Feeling the spike of power behind her, the Steel-type sharply leaned to the right and dodged the Water Pulse the incoming Mew launched at her. Without even taking aim, she pointed her pale fingers and snapped a Thunderbolt into existence. Crackling and hissing like a firecracker, the bolt of topaz disappeared then materialized above Mew’s head. The cat-like Legendary managed to twist his body out of the attack’s path, but his tail got zapped and allowed the electricity to race up his spine. Though he grounded his teeth and his right eye threatened to twitch, Mew continued to chase Jirachi; the burnt tip of his tail left a trail of smoke in his wake.
Jirachi wrinkled her nose at the increasing smell of scorched fur; Mew was catching up. From the corner of her eye, she saw Celebi flying to their brother’s side. With the aura that surrounded her now emerald tongues of flames that fluctuated with her anger, the forest guardian was a chilling sight. When Jirachi looked ahead, a glimmer of silver was visible against the red backdrop of the sky.
The pure elation and utter relief was like wind beneath her wings.
Until she felt the wind caressing her face and whipping her tassels and wish tags about. Jirachi softly gasped as a crisp, bright green leaf danced around her head. In the blink of an eye, the wind had picked up to trap her in a twister made up of the most beautiful forest leaves she had ever set eyes on. Once she turned and saw the time traveler’s eyes alight with revenge, however, Jirachi was reminded of the Leaf Storm’s approaching wrath.
She had to get out.
Up and up she decided to go. The dew on the spinning foliage glistened like sharpened knives the closer and close they got. With the twister beginning to close in on itself, it began to get dark. A deep roaring filled her ears and made her breath rattle in her chest. Just when it seemed that Jirachi would reach Purgatory’s hellish sky after all, the Leaf Storm spun faster and began to fall apart like a house of cards. The tip of the cyclone was now a tumbling mass of leaves that smashed her through a collapsing wall.
The Hoenn Legendary took a deep breath and briefly relished the shadows’ absence, only to be overwhelmed by the swarm of leaves that struck her body. Pain flared up whenever a leaf touched her skin and refused to let go. Like parasites, she felt them drain her of energy and leaving behind the most awful burning sensation. By the time Mew came up to her, Jirachi was clothed in the acidic leaves from head to foot. Celebi had her eyes shut and was quivering with the effort to maintain the powerful attack (although Jirachi guessed it was her anger that made her shudder like the leaves she was controlling).
Now only able to hover just feet off the ground, Jirachi reared her fist back for a Thunderpunch. Mew was much faster, though, and hit her squarely on the stomach with his own Sucker Punch. She spun in the air then stopped herself long enough to hit her brother with an Iron Head. The metallic cling that rang when she hit his head and made him fly back in a daze set her teeth on edge. Above them, Celebi slumped in exhaustion, causing her aura to recede into a thin veil of light around her body. Immediately, the leaves on Jirachi’s body shriveled up and fell in a shower of dead copper leaves. The space dweller hissed as the inflamed welts they left behind throbbed, but she was now able to reach the portal.
“A weakened portal,” Mew remarked as he snaked after her. His tail came slamming down on her in a powerful Pound attack, only for his target to spin away at the last second. The New Species Pokémon snorted at her small feat. “That was a good idea; you’re going to need it.”
Jirachi waved a hand over the shimmering platinum vines and watched as they unwound themselves to reveal a washed-out image of Earth. The blurry trees and faded mountains in the background were like a breath of fresh air. She began to fly through, then was shoved forward from behind. Both her and Celebi tumbled over the long stalks of grass. Just as her sister twisted her arms behind her back, Jirachi felt the presence of space and time all around her. The infinite and powerful feeling flowed through her veins at her telepathic command, rekindling her ability to Teleport.
But another power, one she knew as well as her own, blocked hers right in its tracks. Celebi swallowed her with her aura as Jirachi lay face down on the earth. The Steel-type began using Cosmic Power, and her growing aura pushed out Celebi’s green. The fairy of time was flung back, and Jirachi propelled herself into the air.
She smashed face first into the ground when Mew landed an Ice Punch on her exposed back. For the first time throughout the whole battle, her scream of pain was loud and shrill. That single punch sent a shockwave of agony towards every bone in her body, followed by an icy sensation that bit into nerves. It reminded her how exhausted she was, how the slashes that adorned her body bled and throbbed. If any other Pokémon had injured her so, the cuts would be superficial, the pain laughable! Jirachi, ruler of the Regis, manipulator of space, could not be taken down so easily.
Yet that was the difference between normal Pokémon and them, the Legendaries, the gods. Pokémon would attack, but it was only their elemental powers or their bodies that would inflict the pain. Mew, Celebi, and the rest of her ilk, on the other hand, infused their attacks with their aura, even when it didn’t seem like it. They knew where to concentrate it, where it would hurt the most.
Jirachi cringed. The Mega Punch felt like it had snapped her spine in half. The cold had now transformed into sheets of ice that spread and cascaded down her arms, reawakening her infected injuries so they could burn anew. She lay still on the ground, trying to concentrate and gather enough power to Teleport. She doubted that she could pinpoint Arceus’ location in her state. In her mind, she saw her power sputter like a flame, threatening to die out and leave her alone. Anywhere that allowed her to hide and recuperate would be good enough.
“I can’t allow you to get away, not while you still have the idea of telling Father of what you saw,” came Mew’s eloquent, calm voice.
, Brother?” she cried, struggling to get up. When had she gotten so weak? Now that she was still and no longer flying and fighting for her life, the adrenaline in her had waned until she could only feel pain and her tired limbs. “Do you truly think that the solution is to kill me?”
Jirachi turned her head to try and see the furry Legend but only managed to glimpse his tail among the skyscraping grass; it was slowly curling and uncurling, a sign that Mew was deeply contemplating something. Celebi was seen in the shadows of a tree, mentally restraining herself from doing anything until Mew reached whatever decision he was juggling.
“You’re not going to quit, are you?” When the Wish Pokémon realized it was an actual question and not one of his usual trailing statements, Jirachi firmly shook her head.
“I promised you, Celebi, and our great father that I would stop this ridiculous scheme.”
Mew landed on the forest ground without a sound. When Jirachi could no longer hold her head up, he knelt and lifted it so that their eyes met. She expected everything and anything except for his soft, melancholy pools of blue. Did he truly care for her? Was he pitying his confused sister? Or was it all just another façade he had perfected over the centuries? She never found out because his next words dashed all thought.
“My dear sister, you are a slave of Father’s morals and philosophies. I love you, but you will always be loyal to him and his ideas, not to this Earth and its inhabitants.” He lowered her head and backed up until he jumped and hovered in the air, all the while keeping eye contact. “Your loyalty burns strong within you, so it’s only fitting that you burn along with it.”
He waved a hand, and the grass directly below him started to smoke and burn. The greenery around the fire lit up and began to spread their tongues of fury before the first ringlets of smoke could reach for the sky. Among the hungry trails of garnet, Jirachi could make out slivers of Mew’s rose-colored aura. The smoke and flames thickened as they advanced and made the air hazy and hot, blocking her view entirely. In the blink of an eye, the Heat Wave was upon her.
Mercilessly, the inferno washed over her body, heedless of her yells and screams. It melted the ice that half incased her, but the small relief of cool water evaporated away soon after. Crackles and dull roars filled her ears and muted her cries, dropping her into a silent world that only allowed her to smell her burning skin and feel the intense heat that crept up every inch of her body. She couldn’t move without feeling as though her muscles were going to stretch and melt away. A careless breath would lead into an endless fit of coughing, which would then leave her gasping for air.
In her desperation, she managed to convert her remnants of power into one small orb of light that enveloped her. The sphere’s lilac walls blocked the wave of heat and masked her pain with a veil of numbness. Blissfully shutting her eyes, Jirachi was Teleported from within the hell on earth.
Throughout his space travels, Deoxys had seen beautiful, icy comets and extraordinary galaxies that spanned for light years, but when Arceus showed him Birth Island, he blinked and automatically determined it rivaled many of space’s wonders. Quirking a smile, he left the floating Arceus and descended onto the small island. When the tree’s emerald canopies came within his reach, he caressed their huge, broad leaves then their tall, lanky trunks. The palm trees, unaware of this strange creature, kept on swaying on the light, salty breeze that came from the east, the rising sun bathing them in the growing rays of orange. Deoxys touched the ground and looked down in surprise.
Arceus’ red eyes softened and immediately thought back to his Legendary children; it was on this island that he had seen their first smiles, their first bouts of curiosity. Already, as the alien ran through the light-beige sand with his tentacles, he thought of Deoxys as one of his own.
“You’ll learn that Earth has many things to offer,” the great deity told him as he came down beside him. Arceus nudged him so that Deoxys focused his attention on what laid a couple of hundred feet away. Red and green tentacles obediently went to his sides, and his eyes began to analyze the cave that was nestled between numerous palm trees. He floated towards it, following Arceus and the hoof prints that trailed behind him. After a while, Deoxys, too, began to walk, if only to watch his own footprints appear in the glistening sand.
“This place, Birth Island, is a very special place to me,” Arceus spoke, his voice as smooth as the deep-blue ocean that surrounded the untouched haven. “It is here where I created my Legendary children. These sands were Groudon’s means of getting used to the earth. The ocean around us was the home of Manaphy’s first waves.”
Wistfully, the Alpha Pokémon looked around him then at his newest charge. Deoxys had been watching the fistfuls of grass that dotted the area shudder in the breeze until Arceus had stopped speaking. He now looked up, understanding deep within him that Birth Island was more important than its peaceful surroundings let on.
They now left the warm sunlight to be wrapped in the cave’s comforting chill. Unlike the mountain’s cave, this one, Deoxys pleasantly found, was not dank and cramped; the tunnel was spacious enough for both him and Arceus to go through without bumping into the stalactites above. Though his visibility decreased the deeper (and lower, for he felt a change of altitude) they went, cracks in the rocks above them allowed in shafts of light to light their way. The DNA Pokémon felt the rays and compared them to suns that were just the right distance away.
“This is going to be your home for now, and your permanent one if the Council comes to the consensus that you are allowed to stay,” the god said, the echo in his voice magnified by the cave. The authority that was always in it sprang up to be heard. “No one will disturb you, for only myself and my Legendary children can find this place, and they do not come here. They did, when they were young, but all but the youngest have put Birth Island into the deep recesses of their minds.”
A spacious chamber of stone, as large as Arceus’ own, opened up before them. Deoxys’ eyes widened when he saw crystals of all sizes embedded into the walls of his new home. Their pulsating, turquoise light provided the room with a slightly ominous atmosphere that reminded him of his asteroid home and the many stars he would see from all directions. He flew to the center of the chamber and looked up to where a constant trickle of water seeped in to form the pond he hovered above. The water shimmered with the light that the cave crystals gave off, yet the tranquility was somewhat broken by a low sound. Deoxys could hear the constant pounding of the ocean’s waves on the north wall of the cave. His heart leaped in excitement at the realization. No longer would he live in constant silence.