As I rounded the corner all my worst fears were confirmed. A police barrier had been set up around the perimeter of the house. His parents – some of my closest friends – were standing in the doorway. Just standing, so shocked not a word could be coaxed from them. The reporters were trying to gather information but no one would speak. A few policemen ushered the stunned parents inside and closed the door, keeping the reporters at bay for the time being.
Two police cars were at the scene and the men were busily telling passers-by to leave. At that moment one of them came up to me, but I told them I was Cody’s best friend and I needed to see his parents right away. I had to talk to them. When I asked what had happened the policeman who had questioned me gave only a solemn look and shook his head, resting a hand lightly on my shoulder and steering me towards the house.
I entered with a dazed look, glancing towards the tear-stained faces of Cody’s parents. So it was true. The kidnappings were continuing with rapid force, only this time it was my best friend who had been taken. Why not me… Why not me…? Anyone but Cody.
I offered my condolences to his parents, but little could help them. What do you say to someone who has lost a child? Either through murder, or even a horrible kidnapping? Nothing. And I knew that nothing I could say would help either of them, just as nothing anyone else could say would help me. Not now.
Oh, Cody… Why?
The scene changed yet again and a hazy fog cleared to reveal a classroom. My school. Cody was at my side and persistently nudging me with an elbow.
“Zaaaannaaa.” His voice echoed throughout my head. “You’re awake, aren’t you? Don’t fall asleep again. Do you know how embarrassing it was the last time you fell asleep? You drooled, Zanna. You drooled.”
“I’m awake!” I snapped at him irritably, batting away his hand. “I’m just tired. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“Stayed up late watching that horror movie? I told you not to. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“For your information, no,” I answered with a yawn. “I was too busy thinking of what kidnapped you.”
There was a hushed silence between us that lasted for a few minutes. Cody, however, was the first to break it.
“I told you I don’t know what took me – who took me. I don’t even know where I went. All I know was that I was in this strange place. It was like animals could talk, or something.”
I raised an eyebrow at his explanation and shook my head. “Did they give you drugs?” I checked for dilated pupils, knowing full well it would irritate the hell out of him.
“They did not give me drugs!” he said under his breath, angrily. “Animals could talk, Zanna. And there was this dark shadow following me. Scared the hell out of me because I didn’t know what it was.” He threw up his hands and rested them on his desk.
“Cody, that makes no sense and you know it.”
“Not everything in the world has to make sense, Zanna,” he said to me, not bothering to look up. “I know what I saw.”
The bell rang for the end of class and we exited in silence. All I knew was that he hadn’t been the same since he’d returned. Others had returned, too. They’d just shown up at home one day to overjoyed parents. Some still hadn’t come back. Not one of these kids knew who, or what, had taken them, and how they got back. It was as if their memory had been wiped clean upon returning.
It was all so strange. So very, very strange. A world full of talking animals?
Ridiculous. I scoffed at the thought.
My eyes snapped open and I eyed the darkened sky, noticing the sun had dropped and the moon had now risen. Obviously I’d been asleep for longer than I thought. And those dreams… My eyes narrowed. They had felt so real, as if I’d been there before. And my name. My name was also used. “Zanna” they called the human female. Why had I dreamt about humans in the first place? Was it because I really was one of them? Were these visions or…could they be memories?
I was almost sure they seemed like memories. It would make sense, that I saw memories of my human life. But of all times, why now? Why only now did they start appearing to me? What did these strange disappearances have to do with me? I had known a boy called Cody, and another called Hawk. My mother’s voice had seemed so familiar. It was lilting, as if it called out to me. What were these visions?! They made no sense! Kidnappings, of all things!
“Animals could talk, Zanna. And there was this dark shadow following me.”
Talking animals and a dark shadow? It couldn’t be. I peered down at my furry paws and held them up to my face. I was known as a Pikachu in this world, yet I was sure I hadn’t originally been one. I was sure I had been a human.
These so called ‘kidnappings’ that had happened in another world, a human world, where people were whisked away and returned with no memory… Where people were sure there had been talking animals… Had it been here? Had it been to Talzere that they were transported to? Was I now one of these humans that had mysteriously disappeared? If so, did that mean…did it also mean that I would return?
What would happen if the others found out? What happened if Rye discovered I had been human? The very thought unnerved me; I didn’t want to think about where that would lead me. If the time came and I had to return, could I? However little time I had spent in this world, I had some sort of a home, at least with Jarre, Lani, Codan and Rye. I could imagine myself happy here. Would I be able to leave it all behind?
It was all so…
“Confusing!” I shouted into the sky abruptly. “What am I?!”
My herd jerked towards the bushes as Lani’s face peered out at me.
“I’ve gathered the supplies and Tali has seemed to return. We need to get mov– Are you alright?” The Houndoom ‘s gaze narrowed as she looked me over. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I’m alright,” I answered over the pounding of my rapid heartbeat. “I’m alright. I was just taking a nap. I think I fell asleep for longer than I thought.”
The Houndoom smiled warmly at me. “It is quite alright, but we must get moving now. The cover of darkness will give us the advantage tonight. If you no longer wish to sleep, that is.”
“Oh no,” I answered slowly, a sickly feeling rising in my stomach. “I think I’ve had enough sleep to last me a lifetime.”
Jarre followed steadily in the wake of Dash and Codan, trying to jump in the large Dragonite’s footsteps; everywhere else seemed to be covered in sickly puddles of sewage water. This is not what I imagined when the words ‘covert operation’ were mentioned
, he thought with a sigh, hopping out of a pile of green gunk that lapped at his talons. But I guess the sooner we reach this Missionary place, the better.
What they would do when they finally reached the Wingardom Missionary was a whole other question. Codan had said they needed to gain the trust of the people at the Missionary to fight alongside Zanna. Where the war was headed, he assumed they needed all the help they could get. The Missionary were already trying to fend off Deoxys and his followers, but it was no news to them that they were failing. Much more of this and they would surely fall. If they bound together as one, maybe they could hold off long enough for them to find a way to defeat this darkness once and for all. At least, that was what Codan had assured him.
Jarre could no longer see the sky in the world outside, but he could tell by his drowsiness that it was getting darker; night had come upon them. And what better time than to go unseen than in the dead of night in a sewer. That was sarcasm on the Torchic’s part.
“It’s not far now,” Codan called out behind him, motioning with a paw for them to hurry. “The sooner we get there, the sooner we can have a nice bed to sleep in!”
Jarre pondered, his beak beginning to water. Oh, Arceus, how I miss good food.
It had been nothing but berries and wild fish as they’d been travelling. True, it was better than nothing at all, but the Torchic missed a good banquet. Perhaps they would have one once they arrived at the Missionary. With this thought in mind Jarre doubled his pace, eagerly hopping in and out of Codan’s footprints.
“What’s this Missionary place like, anyway?” he asked into the gloom, and was surprised when Dash answered.
“It’s a large building that is built underground, far beneath the Marble City. It has many elevators and winding tunnels that lead to it,” he added, “so it’s not hard to get to. The building itself is very large, and the walls are smooth and white. In some of the lower floors there are rocky caverns. Apparently they like to use them as a training ground nowadays, but they used to be where the old Missionary was built before they expanded it.”
“So the Missionary wasn’t always as big as it is now?”
“Of course not,” the Sneasel snorted at Jarre’s words, obviously not impressed. “It was expanded upon Commander Virok’s grandfather’s reign. He saw fit to build a larger Missionary because of all the help the people called for. He said a larger place meant that they could help more people. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.” He fell silent for a time again, and Jarre spoke up.
“Do you know anything about Commander Virok?” He was about to ask Dash if he knew Rye personally, but he held his tongue at the last moment. As far as the Torchic was concerned he knew next to nothing about this Sneasel and whilst he had tortured him in the past for being part of the Missionary, he did not know if he was still part of it – wound up in Virok’s soldiers – or if he was now a rogue.
“I know little of Virok’s family. If you recall,” he said in a steely tone, “I was there under his father’s reign.”
So that confirmed it. Dash no longer worked for the Missionary. Tali had been with him for a time, too. If she was with Dash now did that mean she no longer worked for them either?
“I do, however, know that Virok has a son called Riley. His late wife, Ameli, died shortly a few years after his birth. I also know that commandership is passed down through the family. Riley will be the next to inherit it.”
The Sneasel stopped there, refusing to answer further questions. Jarre was partly satisfied with his answers, though. He had learnt that Rye was next in line to inherit the Missionary, and that his mother had died when he was still a child. In the many years that Jarre had known Rye, he knew he had never mentioned his mother. Not a word. And now he knew why. But he didn’t know why she had died.
Something of a conscience poked through when he thought about this. It was not really his place to ask, was it? But I don’t care about him. I never cared about that Elekid and I never will. Not even if it were for Zanna’s sake.
Though he somewhat doubted if that last part were true. How far would he go for Zanna?
He watched the pool’s surface with distant eyes. Nothing had become clearer than it had been when he was first given that irrepressible vision.
If one survives, the other may fall…
Altair growled, lashing out with a paw and sending water droplets scattering. But he didn’t care. He did not care about anything other than what was going on beyond his reach. Most of all, he cared about what happened to Zanna. He couldn’t do a thing sitting in this god-forsaken place day after day after day… He couldn’t do anything but watch over Darkrai and try to amend for his past mistakes.
It was his fault Deoxys had been created in the first place and he needed to fix it. Because of him, part of his Light Essence had been used to create a monster. Most of it was returned when he had struggled with the darkness inside him, but a little part remained – light traded for dark. Deoxys did not know, but light did indeed reside deep, deep within him, however small. Altair’s light. And he wanted it back.
Was sending that Elekid to Darkrai really a way of self-amendment, or was it just brutality? Did he want to save the Elekid or destroy him? That sneer etched into his face, eyes holding a hint of malice. He was dark – he had darkness in him before he was tainted with the Shadow Poison, Altair was almost sure of that. No, he would not harm the Elekid as long as Zanna felt an attachment to him. He would not hurt her.
A sigh, as light as air itself, escaped the Pikachu’s mouth, and he sat propped up on his elbows again, returning to stare at the still pond. “I miss Trix and Scry. If only I could see them, but…”
The Grovyle and Aipom, Altair’s Light Pokemon partners, had not been sent to his part of the Farplane. The Farplane was split into five segments, each holding different Pokemon according to their death, personality, sins, good deeds and stature. In the very centre, where the five areas met, was where the being Arceus supposedly resided, but that was a long, long time ago. He had not been seen since the Great War. Darkrai resided in the Underworld, an area located below the five segments of the Farplane. That was the area which coincided with the Farplane.
Altair was sent to his area partly as a punishment – to be as close to Darkrai as it would allow him. That way all the memories of his mistakes were constantly forced upon him. Trix and Scry were sent to the more utopian part of the Farplane where Xatu resided. Only sometimes did the Psychic bird break free long enough to visit. The five segments were not often allowed to mix. However, Altair was allowed passage to the Underworld, but at his own risk.
“I can’t stay here forever. Even as an afterlife, I can’t. There has to be a way I can fix all this.”
Even his mutterings did him no good. Ten thousand years deceased had done him no good. He had not yet found a way to escape this prison. Arceus had not answered his pleas for help, and the Light Pokemon was beginning to think their so-called god had forsaken them. For as long as Darkrai remained, so would he. It was impossible. And inescapable. Unless… There could be one way.
The Pikachu raised a paw to his chin thoughtfully. If he remembered correctly, even though it was a long time ago, there was a way in which he could help those in the world of the living. There would be a way in which he could right the wrongs of his past. It was dangerous, of course, but it would all be worth it in the end. Too long had he been sitting around. Too long had he suffered this horrible torment of an afterlife. No more would he be subjected to it.
Unshaken in his resolve, Altair stood and made his way to the far end of the hall, adjacent to the pool. He raised his head to the stone tablet etched to the wall. The depiction of his death. I will change it – No. I will change everything.
“If there is a way, he will know it. And he will free me. Please, watch over me, Lord Arceus.” Altair bowed his head and gazed at the etching one last time with hollow eyes. “It is time I spoke to an old rival.”
Yeah, I'm gonna be lazy this time and leave you to ponder. xD
And as a little note, I often update the first/second post with information, chapter names and *ahem* spoilers. So if you ever want to check it out, feel free.