Meh... not a great chapter today. I wrote this mainly to elaborate on the plight of the Legends... maybe I should just cut to the chase and get back to more Eevee pwning Legends.
“Mirror Lake is over this way,” Celebi directed us, flitting ahead. By this time, the sun was setting to my left, the occasional flicker of orange light shone on my companions. It was obvious that Salty was in poor condition; he had not submerged in water for some time, and it was growing harder for him to move.
“Salty, are you ok?” I asked him. The great Kingler looked over at me, but averted his gaze. “Salty, you don’t look well. You need to rest, or find water.”
“Amethyst is right,” Celebi told him without looking back. “You’re a Kingler. If you don’t stay hydrated, you’re going to faint.”
“Ain’t any water ‘round here,” Salty muttered, “jus’ Mirror Lake. An’ Mirror Lake ain’t fer submergin’.”
“True as that might be, you still need to find water,” Celebi lectured him, then stopped in mid-hover. She flitted a few times to keep herself in the air, then closed her eyes. She clasped her hands together and muttered something under her breath, then immediately perked up and zipped away.
I yelped, turning and leaping after her.
“Don’t come any closer! Trust me!”
Celebi shouted. I could feel Odd’s vines wrap around me and pull me back, and I turned to him. He looked away from me, hanging his head. Why was he so afraid to look at me?
Celebi flitted back then, a small Poliwag held in her arms. The creature’s coloring was a pale, almost green, and its tail hung limply. From what I could see of its stomach, the white belly coloring was tinged with a sickly yellow.
“This little guy’s in bad shape,” Celebi told us. “They can only live in clear water. Suicune’s been dirtying the water. He’s going to die.” She placed the creature on the ground, her hovering suddenly faltering.
“Celebi?” Rae asked gently.
“No, I’ll be ok,” Celebi explained, landing on the ground and clutching her head in her hands.
“Celebi? You really, really don’t look well,” Rae continued.
“I’m the Forest Spirit; I have a connection to every living thing that is born, lives, and dies here. Mew bestowed the power of empathy on me because of this role. More like a curse; whenever one of them falls ill or gets hurt, I feel their pain. It’s been magnified since Suicune turned and I don’t know what to do!” Celebi finally confessed, looking on the verge of tears. Whether she was about to cry because she was feeling the Poliwag struggle for his life or because she was genuinely upset about Suicune I wasn’t sure. I looked from the Poliwag to Celebi, trying to decide which to comfort. Odd stepped up to Poliwag and breathed at him gently, using the same sweet scent he used on me to relax my muscles and heal me when we had first met. The Poliwag could open his eyes more easily now. I tried to think of something to do to help the creature, and I turned to Rae, the fastest of us.
“Rae?” The Pikachu jumped upon hearing his name, then realized I had spoken and relaxed. “Rae, there is a flower with brown petals that might be growing here. It can grow far away from pure water, and it’s really close to the ground. Peel the petals away until you find the bulb, and sever it from the stem. Leave the seeds inside of it, though. I need them to stay in the bulb as long as possible,” I explained. Rae nodded, and then leaped in between a group of three trees, building up his agility, then taking off into the forest with a quick attack. I watched him leave, his golden tail reflecting the last rays of sunlight into my eyes. I sighed, staring off after him, until Odd coughed at me loudly. I remembered what I was supposed to be doing then and looked at the Poliwag.
Odd seemed to be providing life support to him, and he began to look less pale. I was beginning to worry that I had diagnosed his condition incorrectly; I knew the elders of my pack would always use roots, bulbs, and other parts of flowers to heal us when we were sick. The flower and its brown petals were a source of several healing oils that could be chewed and used. I had been subjected to eating one of the seeds when an encounter with a rogue male Nidoran left me with an infection. Despite the fact that chewing on it made me gag, it helped me get better quickly. Perhaps the same would be true for the Poliwag.
I looked over to Celebi, who at this point was trembling; a few tears were rolling down her cheeks. Despite the fact Poliwag was unconscious, I could tell by looking at her exactly how badly the amphibious Pokémon was feeling. I took a step closer to her, feeling my heart sink. This Legend, who took out her pain on others, was only doing it because she could feel the pain of her charges and felt lost. I could understand that now. I nudged Celebi’s hand, and she gripped my mane tightly, still trembling. Although taken slightly aback at first, I relented and allowed her to hold onto me. If yanking my fur was the only way she could keep herself from losing control due to empathy, then I would encourage it.
I heard a rustling in the bushes, and I looked up. Another faint rustle.
“Rae?” I asked carefully, approaching the bushes carefully. Odd let out a growl, and I immediately backtracked. I knew better than to misjudge Odd’s precognition. I instead summoned a protect force field, narrowing my eyes until the threat exposed itself. I could hear Poliwag gasp beside me, and the distraction made me throw down the field.
“Nothing’s going to save him,” Celebi whispered, shuddering violently.
“We can’t give up that easily. Rae, where are you?” I whispered under my breath. What if something happened to him? Was it possible that I didn’t give him clear enough directions to the flowers?
“Amethyst,” I turned to look at Celebi. She had stopped trembling now and only gave the occasional shudder. I looked at Odd, Salty, and the Poliwag, the latter getting worse.
“No! No, Rae! Rae, where are you?”
I cried out, galloping towards the bushes where he had vanished, ignoring the cries of Salty and Celebi. Tears were blinding me at this time; where was he? I knew he was going to come back! Why hadn’t he? What if he were badly hurt?
I stepped into a few inches of deep sludge, much of which stuck fast in my fur. I let out a cry and tried to pull myself free with no avail. I trudged onward as far as I could, the sludge seemingly solidifying with each step. I didn’t seem to be sinking, so I stopped moving to try and conserve my strength. I looked before me, seeing what I assumed to be Mirror Lake.
The water had a glossy, black film on top of it that seemingly bubbled. The plants immediately around the water were brown and brittle. I pulled myself out of the sludge to take a closer look, but I instantly felt my sludge-covered flesh burn upon exposure to the air.
I let out a pained scream, trying to shake the slime off, but the substance clung to me the more I tried to thrash it off. The sludge-coated water before me began to bubble, almost like it was laughing and mocking me. I threw myself to the ground and tried to remove the goop by rolling it off onto the dirt, but no amount of rolling could remove the hot, stinging sensation on my skin. I began to cry; it felt as though I were being reduced to nothing but bone. It was only when I could feel myself stop moving that I knew I had rolled into Mirror Lake.
I screamed and tried to thrash my way out, but I could almost feel Grimer and Muk pulling me into the water. I looked up to see Suicune prance her way elegantly across her creation, this stinking, acidic sludge pit that used to be among the purest water in the world. I growled and tried to thrash myself free, but I could not move. She seemed to smirk down at me, and I squinted at her, trying to see what was sticking out of her mouth. I thought that I could smell blood, and my eyesight was leaving me. I screamed again and loosed a shadow ball, which struck Suicune. Taken aback by my attack, Suicune backed down, briefly flickering back to her old coloring. However, I was not strong enough to free her, and she leaped off as a result. I closed my eyes, lacking the strength to pull myself from the sludge.
a voice spoke in my head.
“Umbra?” I asked, trying to roll onto my feet and stand up. Something prevented me from rolling over, and my legs felt heavy, but I could still move. Was I at the bottom of the sludge?
Please… help… me…
A faint figure slowly came into focus, revealing herself to be Jirachi. I gasped, shuddering. A half-formed cocoon wrapped around some of her body in shredded ribbons, and she flashed between the pure, innocent form to the tainted form. She was trying her best to fight it, I could tell by looking at her. Beads of sweat dripped down her body, and I could see the shard within her body, glowing red through her skin, throbbing with the pulse of a second heart. The beating increased, and Jirachi let out a high-pitched scream and transformed.
The star on top of her head changed from a golden yellow to silver. She closed her two eyes, but the third eye on her stomach opened, exposing a glaring, blood-shot red eye that reminded me of the Mightyena I had battled before. Her entire body keeled over, and aside from the eye on her chest, she was reduced to gray skin and bones, a sight that nauseated me. Her hands held tiny claws, and her wish tags and streamers became tattered red rags. She hissed, her exposed eye narrowing further, her cocoon starting to shred around her. The shard throbbed once, and Jirachi melted into her true form. She started to cry, and she made eye contact with me, tears running down her face in a continuous stream.
I know… my time… is limited. Please… please… before it’s… I need you to…
Jirachi began, but she let out a cry, and I could see her transform. I watched her raise her claws, her one eye glaring at me.
I woke up, gasping, looking up into Celebi’s face.
I responded, not even sure why. Celebi was taken aback, taking a few deep breaths.
“Amethyst? Are you feeling ok?” Celebi asked me.
“Aside from being in a sludge pit, I’m perfectly fine,” I told her, feeling confused. Celebi bit her lower lip, then glanced at me.
“Amethyst, you were never in any sludge pit,” she told me. My tail and ears drooped.
“But—but Rae was looking for the flowers, and he never came back, and the Poliwag was dying, and I was distracted, and I went after him—he never came back! Rae!” I shouted, turning around and starting to run.
“Amethyst, get a hold of yourself! Oddweed, grab her!”
Celebi commanded. I could feel the vines wrapping around my body, and I snarled and whipped around, trying to bite the vines off of my body.
“Let go of me! You’re a Husk! I don’t even know what that means, but Suicune called you one!”
I shouted. Odd’s grip suddenly loosened, and I burst free before Celebi fluttered before me.
“Amethyst, you’re going mad,” Celebi told me.
“I’m not mad! Jirachi was in my head! She was trying to tell me something, but you woke me up! You woke me up before she could finish telling me!” I yelped, swatting at her with my paw. She blocked me with a single hand, gripping it tightly enough that I could not squirm free.
“Jirachi was inside of you. I know that. She knows she isn’t allowed to do that; the shard must be controlling her,” Celebi said, more thinking to herself than telling me. “She’s a psychic type, she can do that. We all can. Part of the shard’s power is inside of you right now, it’s making you mad. Whether you like it or not, you’re transforming into a corrupted Pokémon.” At this point, I had stopped paying attention, and some force beyond my control drove me to bite her. Celebi let out a cry and tried to thrash free of my grip, and I let out a growl and bit down further. I could feel Salty’s claw strike my side, and I was knocked into a tree. Odd grabbed me in his vine, and Celebi flitted up to me.
“Salty, Oddweed, don’t listen to me!”
she shouted, then inhaled and closed her mouth. Her eyes took on an ethereal glow, and she opened her mouth into a thin slit, a haunting, low melody escaping from it that I recognized as perish song. I let out a cry of horror and tried to break free, but Celebi had already finished her song.
“Oddweed, let her down, she’s going to get hurt. One thousand… two thousand… three thousand…” she counted slowly, keeping her eyes locked on me while nursing her wound. My heartbeat began to skip, as though some outside source was trying to control it. I fought against it as best I could, but it was growing increasingly difficult due to my weakening self.
“Eight thousand… nine thousand… ten thou—” Celebi’s eyes rolled up in her head, and she keeled over backward on the ground. My heart stopped momentarily, and I fell to the ground as well.
I woke up what felt like hours later, then realized what had happened.
“Mew help her… Celebi!”
I cried, galloping to her side. I nudged her, but the Legend would not budge. I looked at the wound on her arm, knowing that I had caused it. I began to cry, collapsing on the ground beside her. Celebi had to risk her life to save mine. I knew that she would wake up, but it didn’t change the fact that I had hurt her, corrupted or not.