The Great Dunsparce Apocalypse
"I've found her!"
Her triumphant cry startled the many little, glowing spheres that lingered in the air. She slithered past a few blue leaves with liquid light collecting on the tips like dewdrops. They dripped off and floated around her curiously, a few bumping against her.
"Oh, leave me alone, not now! I'll play later!" She waved her drill-like tail in the air. "Wait, no! Better idea! Take me to the Lifebringer! Where is she?"
The little lights of the forest swirled in the night sky. The multicolored treetops obscured the moonlight that the splotches of clouds did not. Despite the silence, Dunsparce excitedly beat her wings to hover just barely above the ground for a few paces.
After a few twists and turns through the forest, Dunsparce saw another of her kind sitting atop an oversized throne of branches and leaves, just in front of a great, glowing tree. "Lifebringer!" Dunsparce said.
The Lifebringer stirred groggily. "What is it?" she said. "I am incredibly tired. What time is it? I can't see the sun."
"Midnight, my lady! But—"
"You have not slept at all?" the Lifebringer asked.
"No, because I was hot on her trail! And I found it! The source! Turns out, it was just some potato farmer."
The Lifebringer instantly shot awake, tail rigid in the air. "And you're certain?"
"There's no doubt. She's the source."
"Then… rest, and go," the Lifebringer said.
"I'm not going to allow you to go on zero blinks of sleep. Rest, then find the Deathbringer, and send her to the source. How long will this take?"
"No time at all, Lifebringer!" Dunsparce wiggled her tail happily. "You can expect this to be done by tomorrow night! I'll even find some of the others."
"Then I will give you until the day after," the Lifebringer said.
Dunsparce winced. "M-my lady, do you have that little confidence in me…?"
"It is wise to keep your expectations low so you may be pleasantly surprised by the results."
Dunsparce whined, but then spun around. "Okay," she said. "Then I'll be the most pleasant surprise ever!"
"Never cease, Dunsparce," the Lifebringer said with a small smile.
Bright sunlight from a cloudless sky beat down on the morning dew. The rain from the night made the mud thick and malleable. A great field of green bushes filled this muddy terrain, but near the center of the field was a single mound that had once been an open hole. Something prodded from beneath. At first, it was a yellow cone of some kind, covered in dirt and muck. Then came a body with white and blue stripes along the back, barely-functional, filthy wings, and a big head.
"What a wonderful day!" Totta swung her drill-like tail in the air, flicking off any excess mud. Then, she spun around and slithered along the wet path, occasionally moving toward one of the green bushes in the muddy field. "Oh?" She skillfully spun her tail forward and dug into the dirt, pushing out a potato. "Almost." She shoved it back inside the soil.
She then moved her frontend toward the sky, scanning the field. There was a large machine a few rows over, practically glowing in the morning sun. It had quite a few pairs of wheels and various metallic appendages, all raised and configured to, for the time being, not touch the ground. Near the middle and on top of this great machine was a small cabin for a single person to sit in. Totta slowly slithered to the seat, hovering and hopping to scale the mountain of a machine. "Shiny as ever, girl," Totta said to the truck, which did not reply. She briefly admired the letters embedded into the front of the seat, 'Tater Totter 2000.'
She shoved her tail into a slot near the front of the seat and focused. "Hnnngh…! Ah! There we go." A gentle wave of light pulsed through her body and into the slot. She pulled her tail out, caught it on a lever to her right, and pulled until a small sign next to it flipped from 'OFF' to 'HARVEST' to 'FERTILIZE' and finally stopped at 'WATER.' The machine rumbled to life. The wheels turned horizontally and retracted inside, the entire machine levitating in the air. Then, it hovered forward.
"You go, girl!" Totta said, the machine navigating through some sort of predetermined path, sprinkling water all over the growing spuds. "All set."
Satisfied, she wiggled her wings. "Buh? Where'd my bag go?" She wiggled her left wing, then her right wing. Nothing but mud. "Oh, pebbles." She had forgotten her bag. She wiggled her tail and dug through the ground again, but when she was halfway submerged in the land, someone cried her name, just barely louder than the Tater Totter 2000's water sprinklers.
"Oh, Totta! Where are you?" A Dunsparce flew gingerly over the mud piles, grimacing when she saw the Dunsparce in question wriggling around in the mud. "That's disgusting. You know that, right?"
"Oh, come on! It's in our nature!" Totta said. "Dunsparce are natural digging units, I tell you!" She popped out of the ground, this time sporting some brown wad attached to her right wing. "Got it! So, what're you doing here, Marble?"
"…Please tell me you aren't going into town with that."
"Buh?" Totta wiggled her wing again. "It's just my bag!"
"No. It's your bag covered in nature's afterthought. Come on, can't you at least wash up?"
"Of course! I haven't had my morning bath yet! Want to take one with me?"
"I'll just wait for you, Tots."
Totta slithered through town, tail happily bobbing behind her. The bag, now cleaned of any mud and grime thanks to her bath, was now damp and filled with coins and potatoes. The coins jingled against one another as the bag dragged across the ground, the bottom portion covered in a thin layer of leather to help keep the bag's integrity.
Marble slithered alongside her, grumbling to herself. "At least we aren't taking too long," she said. "What exactly were you trying to get, again?"
"Oh, nothing too much this time. Some extra fixings, oh, I need a new bucket, the old handle broke and the thing's all leaky at this point, no use try'na salvage it. Hah! And I heard there's a great sale on Pecha Berries today thanks to a huge harvest. I gotta take my fill!"
Marble nodded. "Well, sure. You do that. Me? I'm looking for that new silk scarf they have. It looks so pretty, don't you think?"
Totta grimaced. "That doesn't sound like it'll last at all. Silk? All white? A little brush up against the dirt and it's all ruined. So fragile." She sighed, lamenting. "Come! Let's just go!"
Totta passed by a pair of Dunsparce, both giggling to one another while entering a small restaurant made from clay and a fancy sign. She glanced to her right, spotting a Dunsparce struggling with an empty canvas. Paint squirted out of the tip of its tail, somehow. Totta smelled something—just ahead was a chocolate shop, run by a Dunsparce. The confectioner waved a wing at Marble and Totta cheerfully.
"Care for a sample?" she asked.
"Why, sure, I'd love to—"
"No, it's alright! Maybe on our way back!" Marble said. She hissed to Totta, "Come on, you know that's how they rope you in to buy something."
"Well, I've got some spare coins, why not try?" Totta asked, suddenly making a detour.
"Totta, come on," Marble begged.
But the Dunsparce just approached and took a sample, balanced from one wing to the other. With practiced ease, she tossed it from her wing into the air, and then, just to show off to Marble, she flicked it with her tail next. It flew even higher in the air. Then, with it falling, Totta opened her mouth and caught it with practiced ease. It had a bit of bitterness to it at first, but that transitioned into a sweet jelly in the middle. "Mm, now this is delicious! How much for each?"
"Just fifty Poké a piece!"
"Oh, now that's practically a steal! I'll go off'n take—"
A Psychic force pulled Totta backward, toppling right over Marble. At the same time, a horrible white noise overwhelmed her senses. A tingling, cold feeling stung the front of her face. Bits of gravel and dirt slammed against her side, leaving little scratches and bruises against her body.
Marble bit down on Totta's tail and pulled her back more. "RUN!"
"Wh-wha? What?!" Totta wiggled to look at the shop. The chocolate maker had jumped away and into the building, but she also had a few cuts along her face. Where Totta had once stood was a huge, gray scorch mark that carved through the building in a clear line. She followed it to the neighbor to the chocolate shop—an innocent storage facility, run by a Dunsparce and her tiny daughter riding on her back. They both stared in horror at the hole that had been disintegrated into their facility.
Totta followed the path with her eyes in the other direction, looking now to her left. The origin of this line of destruction was from a Dunsparce, her tail raised and pointed right at Totta. Black-red energy swirled around the tip, collecting into a sphere of darkness.
"Oh, t-taters, what's going on?!" Totta said.
"LET'S GO!" Marble jabbed Totta in the side, slithering away as fast as she could. Totta did the same thing, but her speed was nothing compared to the massive darkness forming at the tip of the assailant's tail.
"No no no no—!" Totta panted. She heard the same white noise and loud crashing get progressively louder. She rolled to her right. The beam of darkness grazed her wing; she cried out. At first, there was horrible pain. And then there was nothing. And then a dull throb that took over where that part of her wing had once been. It didn't even bleed; the edges of her wing that weren't broken off had turned stone-like.
Shrieks and yelps filled the air, another building cut in half by that disintegrating blast. It collapsed into itself, earning more shrieks from within. Totta gasped. "Sh-she's destroyin' the whole town!"
The destructive Dunsparce leaped high into the air, enveloped in a black-red aura. It flew forward, several times faster than Totta, not to mention fully airborne, and roared at her. The dark aura became a sphere as large as one of the buildings, closing in fast. Totta had nowhere to run. Marble kept moving forward, but Totta, petrified, just stared at it.
The rocks around Totta rose up from the sheer power of the incoming blast. The wind swirled at its descent. Totta screamed, wagging her tail out of some primal reflex to dig into the ground, but she didn't have nearly enough time to dodge something of this magnitude.
But then, a Dunsparce flew over Totta from behind, glowing with golden energy. She slammed into the incoming ball of destruction, knocking it away. The Dunsparce within shouted in surprise, spinning away and into the artist Dunsparce' building, leaving a Dunsparce-shaped hole in the wall.
"Hey!" The savior Dunsparce said, addressing Totta. "How're you doing?!"
"H-hi!" was all Totta could manage.
"Good! I'm gonna take you with me, that alright?"
A purple bubble appeared around Totta in a deep pop. The glowing Dunsparce jumped into the air. The purple bubble followed after her, Totta struggling inside in a panic.
"Hey, hey, don't worry!" the flying Dunsparce said. "How're you doing? What's your name? Totta, right?"
"I don't know how ta fly!" Totta said, panicked tears collecting at the bottom of the purple bubble.
"Shh, shh, it's okay! Hey, you can call me Dunsparce, alright?" the Dunsparce said. "We gotta get you outta here. That crazy Deathbringer is willing to kill innocents just to get to you."
"Why's that happening in the first place!? I—I just wanna get that sale! Did I break the law?!"
"Maybe! But we'll figure that out later." Dunsparce looked around, drill-tail spinning worriedly. "But right now, we just have to—oh, GOOD!"
A purplish slash appeared in the air ahead of them. The slash widened, like a bag opening, and a yellow drill poked out from this bag of nothingness. The slash in space opened completely, revealing a Dunsparce.
"And HERE'S SPACEKEEPER!" Dunsparce growled, flying protectively in front of Totta after the tear in the void closed.
"Greetings!" the Spacekeeper said, waving a wing at them. "Totta, yes?"
"Er—yes, that's me."
"Would you mind coming toward me for a moment?"
"I'd rather not."
"Ah. A shame."
A tense silence fell between the three Dunsparce.
The Spacekeeper clicked her tail on her back. "Well, would you mind if I approached instead?"
"Uh, no!" Dunsparce snapped. "C'mon, Totta. Let's—" Suddenly, Dunsparce froze in place.
"Let's what? Hello?" Totta asked. The purple bubble that sustained Totta's flight flickered. "D-Dunsparce? Are you okay? Hello?"
But she did not respond. She kept the same expression, yet she was completely still, frozen in time.
"Apologies for being late," said another Dunsparce, flying toward them from the left. "I froze her. We can take care of this. I'm sorry, but it must be done."
"Wait, what?" The bubble faded around Totta. She frantically spun in place. "Uh oh—" The bubble popped, sending Totta rapidly falling for the ground. She flailed helplessly, beating her wings a few times. It made no difference. The ground was several seconds away, but none of the others tried to stop her descent. She was going to slam right into the rocky floor—a splat Dunsparce, one with the potatoes, that's what she'd be!
Totta screamed for help, but just then, a cushion of darkness appeared next to her at a heavy slant. She bumped into it, sliding along the incline that steadily lowered in angle, but then saw a dark portal appear at the end. She wriggled away, "N-no, no no—"
But her momentum was too much.
Dunsparce suddenly unfroze in time when the Spacekeeper and Timekeeper flew toward her. She rammed into the latter, fired a powerful Psychic blast toward the former, and then bolted down to Totta.
That was the last Totta saw before the portal of darkness overtook her. For a few moments, Totta couldn't see anything but the darkness from all sides. The wind left her. Breathless, she couldn't even hear her screams.
And then she stopped, body shaking, under a dim sky. A vertical river bubbled next to her. It had the orientation of a waterfall, yet it flowed like a calm lake. "What… how…" She panted, rolling until she was on her belly. "Where… what happened?"
"Hello. Totta, yes?"
"Eek—!" Totta spun, gasping when she saw a Dunsparce watching her. She was wreathed in ghostly shadows, almost a part of the strange, purple-brown dirt beneath her. "Wh-who are you?"
"I am the Worldkeeper. Please, come with me."
"I'm—I'm sorry? No, I'd rather go home."
"They will be looking for you there. We need to go. I'm taking you to the Lightmaker."
"I—I'm sorry, Ms. World, but I don't know the first thing that's going on right now. P-please, can I wake up? This must be a horrible dream."
"I'm afraid this nightmare has been going for quite some time. We need you to come with us so we can put an end to it."
"Th-they were trying to kill me." Totta slithered after Ms. World, jerking her head to and fro at the strange sights that surrounded her. To the left was a flat piece of land at an exact right angle to the current one she was on, floating in the middle of space. The sky was above and below, and all around them, covered in purple and blue clouds. Totta wasn't sure where the sun was, or if there was one at all, let alone stars.
"Yes. There is a great darkness inside of you. We must purify it. The easiest way is to kill you and lift the curse, but I don't agree with that method. The others may want to hastily rid themselves of a problem, but I'd much rather take a moral approach." Ms. World flicked her tail ahead. A floating rock rose from the depths—or perhaps heights—of the clouds. "Get on. We need to keep moving while I recharge my power. Then, I will take us to the Lightmaker."
"H-how do I know that you won't try to hurt me, too?" Totta asked.
"Well, let me make it easier," Ms. World looked back. "I could have easily warped you into the abyss below. Would you prefer that? No? Then please, follow me. This is for everyone's good, including your own."
Totta shrank, nodding. She hopped onto the platform, which barely budged to her weight, and the Worldkeeper floated in the air.
"How are y'all flying so easily? I wish I could do that."
"We simply have a great amount of power. It isn't something for you to worry about."
"W-well, if you say so." Totta nervously peered over her rocky platform. The fall would have gone on forever, as far as her bad eyes could tell. "Ms. World, what's this darkness in me? What's happening?"
"An apocalypse is happening, and you appear to be the cause, or at least the source, of the curse that has brought it upon us."
"…Could you be a dear and repeat that for me?"
Ms. World turned around, flying backward. "Totta, did you not realize that every single Pokémon in the world is a Dunsparce?"
"Eh? Well, of course. That's how it's always been!"
"No, that simply cannot be true," Ms. World said. "That seems to be the case, even to my memory, but that is not something that makes sense. It simply cannot."
"Well, why not?" Totta asked. "Have you ever seen a someone that wasn't Dunsparce before?"
"No, I…" Ms. World shook her head. "Totta, it's impossible because every single person is a female Dunsparce. Every single person is you."
"Eh? Everyone looks like everyone. Nothing wrong with that, just how the world works."
"Totta," Ms. World shook her head. "How are babies born?"
"Eh? Well that's a bit of a question for your parents, don't you think?"
"…A male. You need a male to have an egg. And there is not a single male Dunsparce in the world, let alone a male anything. Because everything is you. The curse originates from your aura. The great darkness has transformed everyone into you in order to end the world of all life!"
"…End the what how now?"
A thunderous boom cracked through the sky. Ms. World and Totta both looked up to see a similar tear in the fabric of space, followed by three Dunsparce flying through.
"There they are!" the Spacekeeper said. "Wonderful! Totta! Please come here; this will be perfectly painless!"
"I apologize for the Deathbringer's impatience, but this has to be done," the Timekeeper said.
Ms. World hissed. "Invading my home, are you? You'll regret trespassing here!"
Islands in the sky crashed toward the trio on all sides. The Spacekeeper drilled into the air, pulling them all into a portal. They reappeared right next to Totta.
"Got you!" the Deathbringer hissed, tail charged with destructive energy.
"MS. WORLD!" Totta wailed.
The rock beneath Totta abruptly tilted up, blocking the Deathbringer's blast. It shattered in an instant, propelling Totta away from the clash. She flailed again, beating her wings out of reflex, but there was nothing she could do during her freefall.
A purple bubble enveloped Totta again. She stopped screaming when her fall stopped. "Dunsparce!"
"Hey, Tots!" Dunsparce grinned, waving her tail. "Looks like those four are pretty busy with each other. Let's get you out of here before they catch up! I've got this."
With a flick of her tail, they disappeared in a flash of light.
The next thing Totta knew, she was surrounded by familiar sights and sounds once more. The mud under her front, the smell of grass and potatoes in the air. "Oh, praise the great Dunsparce in the sky, I'm home!" Totta said, leaping high in the air.
Dunsparce waved her tail to get Totta's attention. "Listen, we're short on time. Totta, I need you to think really hard about what's going on. Did Ms. World explain anything to you?"
Totta settled down. "W-well, she said that I'm somehow the cause of some kind of apocalypse! But the world seems just fine to me! What's going on? Darkness in my heart?"
"Yeah, we don't really have time to explain that, but the world's in slow but total danger right now. If everyone's a female Dunsparce, nobody can have kids. Come a few decades, and suddenly everybody's dead by age, and there aren't any kids around to replace them. That's bad, right? So we kinda need to undo the curse. Problem is, the curse seems to be coming from you. So what did you do?!"
"I—I—I dunno!" Totta said. "Dunsparce, I'm just a potato farmer! I've got a humble life, I don't really go out on fancy adventures and all that!"
"Okay, come on, has anything strange happened here, to you, or to this place, ever?"
"Hmm…" Totta spun her tail in thought. "Well, I did get a gift from a stranger a while back. Was a bit of an odd little thing, but she seemed so kind! She said it would bring me good luck. I ain't the most superstitious sort, but I just had to give it a try!"
"Where is that Lightmaker…" Dunsparce mumbled, glancing around. "You know what, fine, let's just see if there's anything you have for us. Where is it?"
"Underground! I'll go fetch it. That's really the only interestin' thing I've got to show ya, I figure, so you sit tight!"
Totta dug her tail into the ground, wiggling her body, and slipped into the mud.
A rift in the sky tore open again. Dunsparce readied a Psychic blast toward the rift, but then realized that something seemed a bit different about it. This one was circular, almost like a pebble had shattered the wall of reality in that localized spot. Two Dunsparce flew out of it and she immediately lowered her guard.
"Finally!" Dunsparce hissed. "Took you long enough! Lightbringer! Dundun! Over here!" She waved her tail at them.
The Lightbringer had a perpetual glow to her; it was a bit difficult to look directly at her body. "Why have I been called?"
"'Sup, Lili, I, uh, hi. D'you mind taking a look at Totta's—oh, she's gone." Dunsparce turned to the hole that had sealed itself off when Totta went deep into the mud.
"Totta?" Lili repeated. "Didn't the Lifemaker just send for her death? Why should I care?"
"Because I think that's the wrong way to do this? C'mon, you gotta care about that!"
"This is news to me," Dundun said, hovering a few inches above the mud. "The Lifebringer told me nothing about this, only that she was still investigating."
"Yeah, well, her best bud Deathbringer ended up coming our way to disintegrate her. Oh, and then good ol' Time and Spacekeeper came along to help! You can thank Worldkeeper for saving her poor tail because those two have lost it!"
Dundun growled. "I see." She glanced to her right. "I suppose that explains why they're coming now."
A slice through the dimensions shattered the air above them, red and black energy carving the ground. A cluster of potatoes instantly turned to dust, more spuds on the perimeter drying out and burning.
Dunsparce flew into the air to greet the friendly visitors. "Yo, Deathbringer! You mind NOT?!"
"Hello, Dunsparce!" the Spacekeeper called, waving a wing at her. "Where is Totta?"
"Dunsparce, I don't like this as much as you do," the Timekeeper said, "but we don't have a choice! Every second that passes is a second closer to the end of all life! And more importantly, we don't know if letting this settle will strengthen the curse and make it permanent!"
"I brought the Lightmaker here!" Dunsparce pointed at the glowing Dunsparce.
"Actually, I did," Dundun said.
"Oh, shove it," Dunsparce hissed.
"And what can she possibly do?" the Timekeeper said. "We hardly have time to purify something slowly. The curse is going to solidify any moment!"
"Well, it would have been just fine if you didn't go and jump in willy-nilly trying to kill her!" Dunsparce wiggled her tail accusingly at them. "I swear to me, once I remember what body I used to have, I'm gonna use it to tie you all into pretzels!"
"I'd love to see you try," the Deathbringer hissed. She raised her tail, forming another ball of destruction.
"It doesn't have to be like this. We're doing this for your own good!" the Timekeeper said, glowing bright.
"While less than ideal circumstances, we will have to force our way through." The Spacekeeper's tail tipped itself with purple energy.
"L-Lightmaker! You mind helping out?!" Dunsparce brought her tail up next, forming a Psychic barrier.
"I'm missing my worshippers' morning rituals, but I suppose I don't have a choice." The Lightmaker raised her tail next, the light around her gathering above in a bright sphere while everything else darkened.
Tendrils of light slithered through the ground and around Dundun, spiraling until they mimicked the shape of a tail above her.
They all launched their attacks at once, tendril, Psychic energy, and light shooting forward; opposing them were onslaughts of slashes, destructive energy, and a Dragon blast that seemed to warp time itself around it. Shockwaves carved the farmland around them, vaporizing the clouds in the sky. Mud, potatoes, and the Tater Totter 2000 flew into the air.
"I got it!" Totta shouted, but it was drowned out by the six titans battling. Between the base of Totta's wings was a single, purple orb that swirled with a mysterious energy. It didn't look like this when Totta first found it, but with all the energy flying around, it seemed that a deep darkness swirled around inside, crackling through the purple haze.
Totta squinted at the light, yelping when a purple slash nearly sent her into two dimensions at once. "E-everyone! It's here!" Totta yelled. They didn't hear her. "Ohh, not good, my farm…! I gotta stop them…! But…" She looked at the ominous orb, rolling it in front of her. "What am I supposed to…?" She peered into the orb, gulping. She had a horrible feeling whenever she looked at that darkness. She tore her eyes away.
And then she got an idea. "Oh!" Totta nodded. "That'll do perfect!" Suddenly, she spun around and slammed her tail beneath the orb. Then, she flicked it up, tossing the orb in the air like a chocolate treat. Then, with practiced skill, she twirled, flipped, and slammed the orb straight toward Dunsparce, into her Psychic beam. This propelled it straight into the six-way crossfire.
A portal of darkness cut through the air, revealing Ms. World, covered in cuts and smoldering with ethereal burns and endless anger. "You will all pay DEARLY for ruining my home!" She then saw the three-three clash. "Wait, what's—"
The orb of darkness got caught in the middle of all six beams, shattering in a blinding explosion—not because of the brightness, but because of the darkness that briefly enveloped the beam. For a split-second, all sound stopped. And then another instant later, it all exploded outward, Totta caught in the blast before she had time to react.
Everything went white.
Poke, poke, poke.
The air felt warm. Sun shined on her body.
Poke, poke, poke.
Mud and water ran past her back and along her tail.
"T-Totta. Totta, wake up," Marble whispered.
"Not now, gramma…" Totta rolled over.
"Totta, wake up," Marble hissed.
The pokes became more insistent. "What, what, whaaat?" Totta whined, rolling until she was on her belly again. She saw the blurry figure of a Kirlia standing above her. "Marble? What's going on?"
She was trembling. "Y-you have company," she said, pointing behind her. "You… oh—" she suddenly fell forward. A strange force stopped Marble from falling into the mud, gingerly floating her away.
"M-Marble? Company?" Totta blinked.
Arceus floated just above the farm. "Hello, Totta."
The Dunsparce screeched, flailing her tail in a panic. "A-A-A-Arceus, th-th-the one and only?!" She looked around, expecting to see hordes of worshippers, but instead, all she saw were Dialga, Palkia, and Yveltal standing in a semicircle around her.
Arceus lowered his head in a light bow. "I am here to apologize on behalf of my Embodiments. These three were the ones who conspired to kill you in an attempt to break the Dunsparce Curse." He jerked his head toward them. "Go on. Apologize!"
Dialga grumbled and lowered his head. "I apologize."
Yveltal ruffled her wings, turning away. "It was a mistake. I won't repeat it."
Palkia gave a polite bow. "I have not felt embarrassed in a very long time," he said. "This is a first in this generation."
Arceus nodded. "The strange orb you had in your possession contained a strange, dark entity. It seems to have vanished, but the curse it held somehow spread to the whole world. Not only did everybody become a copy of your body… but we, the very gods, were given the impression that it would be permanent if we did not act quickly. At least, that is our theory. Perhaps this darkness wanted us to fight each other into oblivion…" He growled. "To think we were so easily fooled…"
"I see…" Totta shrank down. "Golly, I'm really sorry that grabbin' that orb did all that. Guess I should be more careful about what strangers sell me."
"Mrm, and we will investigate just who that stranger was," Arceus said.
The three Embodiments bowed further—Palkia with that same neutrality, Dialga with almost fervent shame, and Yveltal with seething reluctance. They all spoke, "Please forgive us."
Totta blinked. "Well, I…" She flicked her tail, digging partway into the ground with her drill. "Hmm… well…" she went on, pulling her tail out. "I don't know if I can just forgive something like this!"
Dialga flinched. "Th-there must be a way for us to make this up to you!"
Yveltal scoffed. "Why would you care? She'll die in a few decades and we can forget this ever happened."
Palkia shrugged. "You know how he is."
Totta suddenly perked up. "I know exactly what you can do."
The four turned their eyes to the tiny Dunsparce with varying degrees of interest, Arceus most of all.
"I'll forgive ya if you help repair my farm," Totta said.
Palkia snapped his claws. "Ah! That's a trivial matter, really. Why, with just a bit of—"
"BLASPHEMY!" Yveltal roared, fanning out her wings, drowning out the protest from Dialga and Palkia.
Arceus raised a hoof. Yveltal glared at Arceus, bringing her wings down into an angry fold by her sides. "What is your reasoning, Dunsparce?"
"It ain't gonna mean much if they just use their divine powers and fix up my farm the easy way," Totta said. "They gotta know what the damage they do means to the average folk. And the only way to do that is if they do it with their hooves, claws, or wings. Then you'll learn!"
"To think I'm getting a lecture from a Dunsparce potato farmer." Yveltal shook and crackled with red energy.
"Enough." Arceus tapped his hoof on an invisible platform beneath him, creating a small, golden shockwave that zapped Yveltal. She hissed, nursing a numbness in her wings that completely dispelled her red energy.
Palkia watched Arceus, studying him. Then, he sighed. "Well, I suppose that's that. We should start now." He turned around, bending over to smooth out the soil first. "Let's flatten the ground to something workable. Dialga, why don't you begin with the left side? I shall begin on the right. Yveltal, perhaps the middle? Arceus, will you be joining?"
"I will not. Unlike you three, I was actively protecting Totta from your nonsense."
"You were?" Totta asked. "Wait a minute. That feeling you give off—and that golden light. Are you… Lightmaker?!"
"No," Arceus said. "He left not too long ago. He mentioned something about wanting to return to an offering of oatmeal-raisin cookies. I was the other Dunsparce."
"Well, you weren't the one with the Psychic bubble," Totta said, looking at Marble, who was still out cold on an invisible platform. Perhaps she was playing dead.
Totta gasped. "Dundun!"
"By my decree, attributing that name to me is a sin," Arceus said immediately.
"A-aha… well…" Totta looked at the three Embodiments going to work with a satisfied grin.
"And, Totta," Arceus said, red-green eyes softening. "I have one small… parting gift for you. I hope it's enough to make up for the trauma."
Arceus floated to the side.
Totta glowed almost as much as the Lightmaker, squealing with delight.
In the middle of the ruined farmland, standing proudly, glimmering under the sun, was the Tater Totter 3000.