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(Epilogue of Episode II)
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After only a few hours of wandering, the snow had completely disappeared from beneath their feet. It had been replaced by grassy plains in the wide open and sandy soil whenever there was a mountain nearby. It was as if they had walked directly into spring, leaving winter behind them.
“This damn climate, it…” Lucario said to himself as he looked around, “It boggles the mind!”
“Ahh, I'm going to miss the refreshing northern cold" Zerobi said with a longing sigh, "It's much too hot everywhere else…"
“Hey, you’re the one who decided on going south!” Lucario pointed out, “We don’t even have a real destination, we can go north if you want to!”
“… Don’t you think we’ve overstayed our welcome when it comes to those parts?” Zerobi replied, looking behind them and noticing that Snowpoint City was no longer within visible range.
“Dunno” Lucario mumbled as his stomach growled, “Sure could’ve gone for a bite somewhere. We could always just, you know, go past it. See what lies further up.”
“That would be a bad idea” Zerobi said, “Mostly because there’s nothing up north.”
“… Nothing?" Lucario asked as he looked up with a bewildered face, "How could there possibly be nothing? Isn't the world round?"
“Alright, correction” Zerobi rectified with another sigh, “There’s water, and lots of it. Feel like starving to death on a raft?”
“Starving to death on the sea, starving to death on land…” Lucario muttered as his stomach growled again, “All the same to me.”
“Just eat a couple of berries, already!” Zerobi suddenly shouted, pointing to the backpack he had been carrying around all this time.
“… I bloody hate those things” Lucario kept muttering and ended with a shudder, “I'd kill to get some real food before I die… And I just might!"
“If you stop eating, there's no doubt about it” Zerobi snapped back while telling herself to be more reasonable, “You just need to find a taste that you like. Have you tried dry berries before?"
“Dry is not a taste, damn it!” Lucario yelled much louder than necessary, “Surely Pokémon can eat rice, curry or something you actually cook!”
“Yeah, I’ve heard of those before” Zerobi continued in her normal voice, “Do they grow on bushes?”
“… Uh…” Lucario whispered, thinking it was a trick question, “Even when compared to everything else in this world, I think that would be a bit farfetched…”
“So is Farfe-“ Zerobi said as a reflex before intentionally stopping herself, “I mean, that means you’re not getting any. Unless you can find it in nature, you're going to come up empty.”
The two of them became quiet for a while, as Lucario ended up in a foul mood and started walking faster. The moment he ended up in front of Zerobi, she noticed that the stingers he had gotten stuck on him during their last battle still remained.
“… And do something about that poison!” Zerobi shouted while pointing at the thorns covering his back, “Man, why do I have to be your caretaker all of a sudden!?”
“Simple - You’re a worrywart” Lucario replied while shrugging, “I’m OK so far. Why would I need any help?”
“Are you sure?” Zerobi asked as her eyes fixed on his backpack again, “We bought an antidote for just this occasion, after all…”
“I’m telling you, I feel fine!” Lucario said with a big, forced smile.
“You're fine now, but you're going to be in big trouble later!” Zerobi pointed out, “At least let me pull the stingers out of your back!”
“… With those?” Lucario asked while looking at her sharp claws, “No thanks. I don’t need more holes in me…”
“I promise I’ll be careful…” Zerobi said quietly while looking down at her body, “Guess what you’ll be if I don’t pull them out? Dead weight… Followed quickly by simply 'dead'.”
“… Hmm…” Lucario muttered as he looked more carefully at the lethal hands of his partner before shuddering, “Still, I think I’d rather take my chances with the poison.”
“It’s not like it’s not risky for me either!” Zerobi yelled angrily, “One slip and there’ll be blood spraying all over the place!”
“… OK, let me rephrase that” Lucario said sternly as his face turned white in horror, “You are NEVER, EVER allowed to do any form of medical work on me.”
“Come on! It’s the only way I’ll ever learn!” Zerobi shouted as she moved closer to him.
“No! Stay away!” Lucario yelled while shooing her away. As he did so, he couldn’t help but feel a bit bad. She was just trying to help him, it’s not like it was her fault she had giant knives for hands.
“Hey, I’m sorry” Lucario said while putting a hand on Zerobi's shoulder, making her twitch.
“About what?” she replied, eyeing his arm carefully to make sure there wasn't any blood on it.
“I mean, it can’t be easy, having claws like that…” he said with a sympathetic voice, looking down at the long and slender blades sticking out of her limbs.
“You kidding?” she responded as she tried to put the whole thing in a positive light, “Do you know how many times they’ve saved me in battle? Sure beats just having normal hands, like you…”
“… You're right!” Lucario blurted out, suddenly feeling a pang of jealousy when he imagined how easy his battles up until now would have been if he claws like that, “But I guess I could just use a couple of swords or something.”
“Sworn’d?” Zerobi asked in a confused tone, “Wait… You have a few allies, after all?”
“Huh? No, I said ‘sword’” Lucario tried to correct her, “You know… A long weapon…”
“Oh. Well, you can’t expect me to know the name of every move, can you?” Zerobi snickered while waving her hand around, “Which kind of Pokémon uses it?”
“Actually, it’s a weapon for humans” Lucario said, still dreaming about how he'd be cutting off limbs left and right if his nails had been a bit sharper.
“A weapon… For humans?” Zerobi asked questioningly, “Why would humans need weapons?”
“… Eh!?” Lucario exclaimed in surprise as a thought suddenly hit him, “That reminds me, why didn’t the police just grab a couple of guns and shoot us if they wanted us both dead?”
“Gun…” Zerobi whispered to herself while crossing her arms, “… Projectiles? I think that Kojofu used one of those, but you dodged it.”
“Wait, wait, wait…” Lucario said slowly and held out his arms in a stopping motion, “You mean to tell me there are no weapons in this world? You know, that humans use?”
“… Why would they need that? They can catch and train Pokémon just fine!” Zerobi explained while desperately trying to understand what her partner was talking about, “Sure, some fight and stuff… But I’ve never heard of a human actually defeating a Pokémon.”
"… Hmm… Yeah, I see your point" Lucario mumbled before scratching his head, "In a world of monsters, I doubt bullets would be good against anything weaker than a bear."
As the wandered, they came across a small waterhole in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. Lucario remembered something about water in nature sometimes being poisonous, to which Zerobi pointed out that he was already poisoned and started drinking. After making sure that she hadn't gone blind after a few moments, Lucario started drinking as well.
“Those two back there really hated you” Lucario said as he wiped some of the water away from the sides of his mouth, “What happened to make them want you dead?”
“I… Really don’t want to talk about it…” Zerobi said, Lucario noticing the emptiness from earlier making itself apparent in her eyes and voice, “What’s done is done.”
“That’s… Surprisingly content” Lucario said, not wanting to make her depressed yet still not willing to drop the subject, “I saw you have a complete breakdown not that long ago.”
“I’ve already spent several years worrying that someone deceived me and feeling sorrowful over past sins” Zerobi sighed deeply, “Living a life like that… I think I’d rather be dead.”
The two of them finished up by the waterhole and decided to keep moving. Zerobi looked at the digital map they had bought, checking the built in compass to make sure that they were on the right track.
"By the way, how did they even find us?" Lucario asked as Zerobi opened up the backpack he was carrying and put the map back, "You said something about 'detectors'…"
"Oh yeah…" Zerobi responded in an attempt to shake away her depression, "They somehow sense the presence of strong Pokémon."
"… What? That's kind of like what I can do with the aura!" Lucario said, recalling his newfound ability to sense creatures near him, "Wait… That means we were the only powerful Pokémon in town?"
"Uh, I guess…" Zerobi said quickly before lowering her pace slightly, "I'm a Dark-type, so psychic types can't sense me. I don't think the detectors can either. Must've been you."
"Well, I AM pretty strong…" Lucario smiled, unintentionally flexing the muscles on his upper body.
"That's what got us into this mess…" Zerobi muttered, "I thought you were weak, so I never expected those things to notice us."
"… Took 'em a while though, didn't it?" Lucario chimed in, remembering how much time he spent in the store persuading Zerobi to buy actual food instead of a bunch of occult magazines.
"They're honestly not that reliable" Zerobi continued explaining, "They malfunction all the time, and take forever to lock on a target."
"Good news for us, then" Lucario laughed before noticing that true to her words, he had been unable to sense her presence with the aura up until, "I mean, me. Just me. Anyway, what are they? Machines?"
"I have no idea" Zerobi answered while shaking her head a little, "Every city got one after that whole thing with Deoxys…"
"… Dexo-sys?" Lucario asked, the word feeling very unfamiliar to him, "Some kind of viral outbreak?"
"… Wait, you don't know about that either!?" Zerobi suddenly shouted in surprise, "I've literally been living in a cave for the past seven years, and even I know about it!"
"Bah, that's nothing!" Lucario replied with an annoyed tone, "You just got surprised over me not knowing anything! What is this, the eighteenth time that's happened?"
"Still, to now know anything about that…" Zerobi mumbled in disbelief before crossing her arms, "I mean, I don't know too many details myself, but supposedly the entire world was coming to an end." Lucario looked at her strangely, getting somewhat tired of having to take in so much new information all the time.
"A creature called 'Deoxys' appeared out of nowhere and ran around, killing everything in its path" Zerobi explained bluntly without batting an eye, "Calling it 'strong' would be the understatement of the century. From what I heard, the combined forces of entire cities could not even touch it."
"… From what you heard?" Lucairo asked, "Sounds like a massive exaggeration to me."
"Well, information about Deoxys was not so strangely limited, seeing how everything within a mile's radius of it died" Zerobi answered as she continued explaining, "The occasional camera was all that 'survived'. At any rate, it was unstoppable. Cities from every continent were reduced to rubble as it wandered the earth, and every challenger was instantly killed. Everyone lived each day in fear of dying… It was pretty much judgment day."
"… Man! I sure am glad I wasn't around here for that!" Lucario blurted out in a worried tone, "Wait… What happened? How'd it stop?"
"Hmm… Uh, I'm not sure" Zerobi said with a shrug, "I think someone killed it. A legendary, probably."
"S-Someone killed it!?" Lucario stammered as he almost tripped after stepping in a small hole in the ground, "Someone killed a creature so powerful that it was bringing about the apocalypse!?"
"It's always like that" Zerobi said slowly as she peeked up in the sky with a dreamy look, "A single hero stands up to the evil monster and defeats it…"
"… Yeah right!" Lucario suddenly exclaimed, "More like the army sends eighty guys with machineguns and blows it to bits! I mean, there aren't any weapons here… But still…"
"There are like fifteen articles about it in every Occult Magazine released after the incident…" Zerobi muttered in annoyance, "… In other words, your answers lie in that bandage."
Lucario looked at her with a confused face. Zerobi then pointed to his right shoulder, where he had tied up the remains of one of the magazines charred by Raikou to cover up a wound created by Suicune. He lightly tapped it a little in hopes that it could still be read, but gave up within seconds.
"Ugh… It's all torn up… Burnt… And drenched in dried up blood!" Lucario mumbled with a disgusted voice.
"Not to mention MY magazine… You dirtbag!" Zerobi growled angrily, "Maybe that'll teach you not to ruin my possessions!"
"… Like that's my fault!" Lucario snapped back, "Still quite absorbing for a magazine… I mean, absorbent!"
They continued talking, bickering and laughing until nightfall, during which Lucario pulled out two sleeping bags from the backpack. They had been searching for a cave to rest in, but the plains they were in the middle of seemed to go on forever, and in the end they had to settle for an open sky and grassy floor.
"Hey, maybe we should have tried these out before buying them?" Lucario mentioned as he sat down next to the fairly bland and unimaginative bed.
"… It's a sleeping bag" Zerobi responded bluntly, "They'd have to actually be trying to screw it up."
"Only one way to find out…" Lucario told himself while carefully opening it up and moving inside of it. He made it all the way in and felt the soft insides caressing his body, making him sigh in relief as he slowly leaned back.