A/N: Hi all! This was my entry into the Thousand Road's 2020 writing contest. I'm excited to finally share it! This fic is loosely tied to my main fic, Places We Call Home, but can be enjoyed on its own. It's had some tweaks from the original entry, but nothing major.
Content warnings: Violence, Death
Lost to Retellings
Who dares to trespass on my domain? Turn back now, or else have your bones scattered across-
Oh, goodness me, you're just a child! How did you get out here all by yourself?
Oh. Oh no-no-no, please don't cry, little one. Look, look! I'm nothing scary. Just a zoroark, see? Please don't cry.
Gods, I don't know how to deal with children. Why me?
Look, look, the big scary pokemon is gone. I'm just a little sentret. Just like you, see? Please stop crying.
There, that's better, isn't it? Where are your parents, little one?
…I see... Well... Maybe if we wait here, they'll come back for you. Come on. I'll wait with you. I'll make sure no other scary pokemon come by, okay?
There, there. Would it help pass the time if I told you a story?
Yes, yes! A story! I know many, many stories. All sorts of stories about the land. What story should I tell... Oh, what about the story of Ho-Oh's rebirth. Have you ever heard of that one?
You haven't? Great! Sit back, relax, and listen. It all happened long, long ago, in a time before the mystery dungeons existed...
Ho-Oh's nesting grounds had seen better days. Once, there had been shrines built in her honor, shining, golden, and pristine. But now, with the war between Dialga and Palkia in full swing? Debris littered the uneven ground, plants trampled by the many pokemon that came and went. All around, pokemon raced to and fro, delivering food, oran berries, and other goods to the weaker mon that were scattered about, too tired to rise.
In this chaos, a lone vaporeon made his way towards the central clearing, passing weary, hungry looking pokemon that barely gave him a second look, their eyes clouded with exhaustion.
At the center, a large nest had been constructed, though it currently sat empty. Four piles of leaves and straw sat in front of it, each a resting place for one of Ho-Oh's commanders while they discussed strategy. Of the piles, three were neatly placed, carefully woven together and upkept, while one was barely held together, at risk of being scattered about by the wind. Two were already occupied. In one of the nests sat a flareon, her exquisite fur puffed up against the cold. A jolteon sat in the other, her eyes clouded with grief as she tried to pull the scattered nest back together.
The vaporeon acknowledged both of them by dipping his head respectfully before taking a seat in his nest. He was quiet, speaking not a single word as he waited for his god to arrive. Some of the other mons of Ho-Oh's army glanced their way, as if hoping to catch a glimpse of when their god would arrive, but none were brave enough to approach.
Eventually, a beam of sunlight escaped the overcast sky, breaking through the clouds to shine down on the clearing. And from the opening descended the bird that rode the rainbow.
The three respectfully dipped their heads as Ho-Oh descended, taking her place in the nest in front of them.
"Vapi, Flare, Jolte. Thank you for coming on such short notice," Ho-Oh began immediately, her tone curt. "I'm afraid the news is grave."
"What has happened, great Ho-Oh?" Flare asked, raising her head to look the bird in the eye.
"Starra reports that Palkia is on the move up north, and all of their followers will soon follow, including Sea Guardian Lugia. He and his forces should arrive in our territory by tomorrow, and I fear they far outnumber us."
The grim news drew a silence between the four pokemon. Vapi stole a look to see if other pokemon were listening in. They didn't need to know how bad it was. Not yet. Not until they had time to plan. Though privacy would have been preferred, there were few places private enough for their needs around the camp. In hopes of keeping things quiet, he leaned forward and lowered his voice.
"We hold an important defensive position. Surely, Dialga would come to our aid?"
"I've asked a psychic to contact his court, but I don't know if help will arrive in time. Dialga themself will likely be elsewhere, confronting Palkia."
"So, it will just be us," Vapi confirmed, causing a tense silence to fall over the group.
"I hate this," Jolte blurted out, sparks flying off of her pelt. "This whole war is terrible. Stupid, even! And it's gone on for too long." She paused, glancing to the empty nest beside her. "So many pokemon, dead in the name of a god that doesn't care about them. Why won't the Original One come down and end this pointless battle?"
At first, Ho-Oh's gaze hardened, the air around her shimmering with heat. Jolte and Vapi shrank away from the blistering air, the nests of leaves beginning to scorch. Even Flare flinched, overwhelmed by the show of power. But it quickly dissipated, leaving the god looking exhausted. "I understand your misgivings, Jolte, but we cannot afford weakness like this in such trying times. Besides, this is well beyond the Original One's control now. No single god has the power to stop what has been set into motion. Not with so many others of us having pledged our allegiance, now."
Vapi let out a grunt. "Did any of us really expect the Original One to intervene? They closed their ears to us mortals eons ago, even before this conflict!"
"I miss when we used to talk to Ori, Cori, and Rio," Flare admitted, closing her eyes. "But we've gone far beyond that point now. They chose their path and we chose ours. All we can do now is fight. And win, so that we might live to see another day."
Jolte flicked her ear and lowered her head submissively; she knew that all their words held true. "Forgive me for my outburst, Ho-Oh. I am… still in mourning over the loss of our comrade."
"None of us could have foreseen Leaf's demise," Ho-Oh said, her voice becoming surprisingly gentle, given her previous wave of anger. "I wish I had been there to prevent it. But instead of letting his death tear you apart, channel your anger into fighting. If we fall to Lugia… then Leaf's death, and the death of all the others, will have been in vain."
To that, each of the commanders let out a sound of agreement.
Satisfied, Ho-Oh shifted to sit at attention. "Now, let us focus our attention on plotting our defense. We must protect this territory, no matter what."
They never stood a chance.
Lugia came in the eye of the storm, heralded by a deluge of rain. Ho-Oh's followers stood valiantly in the mud, even as the rain turned to sleet and hail. Thunder crashed overhead and lo! There were Lugia's champions, transformed into great beasts of the sky. Thunder struck the earth, blasting rocks apart. Icy winds cut across the sky, striking down mon where they stood with deadly shards. Fire rained down from above, threatening to burn shelters away into nothing.
Each of Ho-Oh's champions defended their god valiantly, but none of them could hope to stand up to gods.
Loyal Vapi was struck down first, struck by Zapdos' powerful bolt. His skin smoked, and his heart let out one final, stuttering beat before he fell in the mud.
Mournful Jolte cried out in dismay and rushed out to meet her brother's killer. Her bolts drove the young god back, but Articuno, Bringer of Frost, rose to her challenge.
She fell when an icy spear pierced her broken heart.
Valliant Flare stood strong as long as she could, her proud fur soaked and slick as she faced down the gods. A powerful blast of fire scared Articuno off, but left her weak when Moltres took his place.
Brave as always, she rushed forward, wreathing her body in flames, trying to strike down the bird, but her struggle with Articuno left her weakened and exhausted. Her strength failed her as Moltres dodged, her blows by flying high in the sky, wearing her down until she could fight no more. Sharp talons wrapped around Flare, carrying her high above the battle. She could see her compatriots being driven back, some unmoving as they were trampled by the encroaching enemy.
Then Moltres let go. She fell, twisting and screaming as she plummeted, until her life was dashed against the rocks below.
Only when the trio had decimated their enemies did Lugia descend from the clouds for all to see.
Ho-Oh, with its great plumes a-fire, blew away the rain, and blew away the clouds, blew away the titans, and ascended into the air to meet with her counterpart.
And Lugia, that silver-tongued guardian, watched with a cold gaze, looking down on her with little more than pity.
"Lugia!" Ho-Oh called out. "What have you done? For what purpose did you create these gods? Are these three replacments for your first trio? Or is there something more going on here? Why has it come to this?"
"Ho-Oh," Lugia responded, his voice dull and disinterested. "I have only done what I must to win in Palkia's name. I was hoping that you would have put up a fight."
"You… created them solely for this war?" Ho-Oh cried out. "You have broken sacred vows! To create gods for the sole purpose of war… it goes against the design of our creators!"
Lugia scoffed. "Would you not do the same to save your beloved devotees? How sad, for them to throw their lives away for you, and for you to let them die without remorse. If the creators truly cared, they would have stopped me."
Anger flared in Ho-Oh's eyes. To have become so flippant, what had happened to the Lugia she once knew? She reared back and spat out a gout of fire, aiming at Lugia's face. Her counterpart gracefully weaved out of the way and dodged again as Ho-Oh shot out another blast of her sacred flames, getting no more than a few singed feathers in the process.
Far above the warring mortals the two birds battled, wings and beaks and claws beating and tearing at each other, flame and water and tearing winds blasting across the sky. Psychic energy twisted the space around them, bending and refracting light in the places they'd just been as they tried to predict and outmaneuver each other.
But Ho-Oh was tired from fighting alongside her followers, while Lugia had remained well-rested, entering the fight at an opportune time. Lugia's future sight came true, and psychic energy blasted Ho-Oh just where he thought she would be, twisting her wing into a mangled mess. In a panic, she shot one last gout of flames at her counterpart, scorching his chest. He wobbled in the air and began to descend. He would live.
But like a fallen star, Ho-Oh plummeted to the earth, doomed to the same fate as her champions.
A panicked cry went out amongst the battling pokemon. Ho-Oh had fallen!
Her followers retreated in an unorganized mess, lost without her leadership. A triumphant cry went out amongst Lugia's army as they began to surge forward. But as Lugia landed near his fallen counterpart, bringing the pouring rain back with him, the battle cries died away, replaced with confused and concerned murmurs.
Standing triumphantly over his scarlet adversary, Lugia proudly raised his head. But it quickly became obvious that something was wrong. He reached a wing down and carefully nudged Ho-Oh.
Where there had once been a cold, unconcerned gaze, there was now a look of horror. Lugia stared down at the mangled body of his counterpart as the gravity of the situation sank in.
Ho-Oh was dead. She was dead over this war that that they had been pressured into, over conflicting ideals that neither held. He had killed his counterpart over a disagreement that had gotten out of hand. For gods that would not notice her absence until someone told them.
"Oh, why must it have come to this?" Lugia cried out. "For this conflict to reach a point that even the gods battle to the death? This has spiraled too far."
In some sign of respect, he bowed his head.
With his focus elsewhere, it took him a moment to notice the growing heat around him. With his eyes closed, he did not immediately notice the light.
"Lugia!" a pokemon called out behind him. "Lugia! Look! What's happening?"
He opened his eyes, confused. And then he stumbled back in shock.
Despite the pouring rain, Ho-Oh's body had begun to smoke, wisps rising and twisting into the air. The smoke grew heavier and heavier, until all at once she combusted in bright flames, tendrils of fire waving high into the sky. Even the great Lugia had to back up, or risk being taken by the flames.
And then as suddenly as the flames began, they vanished, leaving a pile of ash, and a smaller Ho-Oh where her body had once been, sprawled out. Carefully, she shifted and sat up, disoriented. And then the memory of her last seconds of life struck her.
The new Ho-Oh looked around wildly, beak opened slightly in shock. She was alive. She was still alive, though not quite the same as she once was. Her attention landed on Lugia, and she looked him over, noticing his cuts and burns. Just as he had coldly surveyed her before, she did the same, before opening her wings and taking to the air.
"Leave," she demanded. "My previous self may have humored your presence here, sea guardian, but I will not do so any longer. Not after what you have done. This battle had nothing to do with us, and I see now how foolish it was. Take your champions and leave or I shall strike you all down!"
She made low circles in the sky, her tail a rainbow as she surveyed the damaged battlefield. She circled again, spotting the mangled bodies of her commanders and friends, having been pulled back by the pokemon under their protection. Under her protection.
None know for certain how she did what she did next. Some versions say Ho-Oh wept for her dear friends, and for the destruction she and Lugia had caused. Other stories say that she saw Lugia's champions, and the damage they caused in a new light, and it drove her to anger. Whatever her reasons may have been, she descended to her friends. She looked over brave Vapi, his fur burnt and charred by thunder. She looked over mournful Jolte, her fur soaked red. She looked over valiant Flare, her legs twisted in unnatural angles.
The air around her grew hot, raindrops evaporating before they could ever come near. And just as she had before, the bodies of the three burst into flames, fire licking high into the sky. But this time when the flames dissipated, there was no jolteon, no flareon, nor vaporeon standing. But instead, three entirely new beasts had appeared, standing tall and proud over the ashes of their former selves.
Each of the beasts bowed their heads to the god that had given them new life. Then they turned to each other. and spoke quietly for a moment before departing. Though they had no names yet at the time, we know them now.
Swift Suicune departed, racing across the water, purifying the land wherever he stepped. Courageous Raikou departed, letting out a thunderous roar as she rode the lightning away. Stalwart Entei departed in a plume of fire, with strength knowing no contest. In that moment, when the four pokemon had been reborn, they all made the same conclusion.
No longer were they willing to fight in this war, and they would scatter to spread the news to their followers, and guide them to an untouched part of the world, where they would be safe until the war ended.
To this day, they are credited with being the first of the gods to try and end the war peacefully.
Well, young one, what did you think of that story?
Oh, you thought it was sad? But it had a happy ending! Because of Ho-Oh's decision, the war began to turn around, didn't it?
Well, yes, the war was foolish in the first place, but that's the way the gods were in the old days. A petty squabble could turn into a full-fledged fight between the two of them. And their followers would jump in to defend their gods. That's part of why the gods don't show up anymore, or so the story goes.
Why didn't Ho-Oh protect them in the first place? That is a good question. The answer is... I don't know! You'd have to ask her herself. Good luck with that, though.
It is kind of horrible, yes. So many lives lost. Ho-Oh was only able to bring back a select few… And some of those gods didn't even care about their followers...
Well, some of them did find ways to protect their followers in some way. I do know one story... I don't know that it's a happy one though, and I don't know all the details myself. I've only heard it told once or twice. I suppose I could tell you about it though...
Are you sure you want to hear it? Well, okay, let me tell you what I know about Kyurem, and the beasts that split from their body...
Long, long ago, the One Whose Name Was Lost to Time created beings to preside over different parts of the world. Dialga and Palkia were created to shape time and space. Giratina was created to manage the barrier between this world and others. Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza were created to separate the land, the oceans, and the sky, creating a world in which all types of life could flourish.
Into this new world, Mew was born. And Mew, with the Original One, worked together to create the life of the little ones below. But they needed someone that could watch over the pokemon they created. Something that could foster intelligence. And so, the original dragon was created.
Like many other gods, the original dragon soon created their own helpers, beasts that would help all mons flourish. But this isn't the story of the gifts to monkind. This is the story of what happened to the original dragon.
When Dialga and Palkia began to fight, the original dragon at first refused to take a side. But its followers came back to it time and time again, asking which of the gods was right. More and more gods began to fight under one god or the other, and this distressed the original dragon.
On one side, the original dragon saw the truth that this battle was a hopeless endeavor, that no one would win, and many would die for a cause that had nothing to do with them.
But on the other, they understood the idea that many pokemon cared about what would happen to them, should either side win. That perhaps they could turn the tide.
Conflicted between action and inaction, the dragon found themselves immobilized. So torn were they, that they literally tore their spirit apart.
The air blazed and crackled with energy as the dragon let out a mighty screech. Lightning struck them from above, cleaving the sky apart with a cancophounous boom. Fire rose up from below, wreathing their body in flames. And through this, the followers could only watch in horror.
Two dragons emerged from where the one once stood. One raised their head high and proclaimed that they must seek the truth in all matters. The other scoffed at that and told them that the ideals behind something were far more important. And so, unable to see eye to eye, the newly created Reshiram and Zekrom departed.
Many of the original dragon's followers were equally torn. Each of the dragons were a part of the original one, so who should they follow? Should they leave with the one that flew to the east, or to the west? Would the dragons join the war? And if so, whose side would they take?
As time passed and news of the war reached the followers, those who had already chosen a side followed behind one or the other. Others, disillusioned by the split, scattered to the winds.
But some stayed behind. And those that stayed behind discovered something extraordinary.
When the two dragons had left, a husk was left behind. At first, they had thought that it was nothing more than a corpse. But something, some spark of life, however small it might have been, was still inside.
And one day, after more than a moon of nothing, the remains of the once-proud dragon moved, raising up over their remaining followers, and proclaimed this:
"I, Kyurem, have seen the error of my past. I never should have cared for truth or ideals. In the end, it all leads to the same thing: nothing. Emptiness. There is no point in this world, and all is fruitless in the end. For those of you that are still here, I offer you a choice. If you cannot understand this, you may leave. But for those of you that do, stay. I will reward your loyalty."
Many, fearful of this change in their god, left. But a small group of pokemon stayed behind.
"Kyurem," a vulpix said, bowing their head, "I would follow you to the end of the land and seas. You are my first, and only god."
"I dedicate myself to you," a sandslash said, spryly striking the air.
"We would never leave you," a darumaka agreed.
"All of you... I cannot feel gratitude anymore, but I understand your sentiment. I will take you all into the mountains, where you will be safe from conflict. I will protect you from the cruelties of the world."
The sandslash hesitated. "With all due respect, great Kyurem, many of us are not built for the cold of the mountains. We are built for fields and for deserts and lush forests."
Kyurem eyed the dissenting pokemon quietly. "In that case… I shall gift you new forms. Forms that are able to survive the cold of the mountains."
Kyurem stamped their foot against the ground, and the world around them shook. Ice sprouted from the area where they stood, racing across the ground towards their remaining loyal few. Ice overtook the pokemon, enveloping their bodies. There, they stood still as sculptures for a long time. Then, the ice encasings began to crack, and when it fell away, the pokemon were just as cold and empty as their god. Their hearts had been frozen over. And with it came their new, icy forms.
Ever loyal, the pokemon began to silently make their way up the mountain where they disappeared into the snowdrifts.
Legends say that to this day, their descendants make their home far away from the others, hidden away from the world, their hearts frozen and unable to feel the warmth of love, but protected from the cruelties of the world.
Well, little one, how did that story make you feel?
What's that? The ending was confusing? Let me try to explain my interpretation. Kyurem felt that by taking away their remaining followers' ability to feel, they were protecting them from the pain of the world. Perhaps they were afraid that their remaining followers would leave them, as well, and that by taking their feelings away, they wouldn't be abandoned. I wonder if any of their descendants remain, and if they do, if the stories are-
Be quiet for a moment, little one. Someone is approaching.
Stop right there!
Maneth, is that you?
Oh! Progne! I wasn't expecting to see you out here! You don't usually venture this far out without good reason.
I was out here looking for you. You never came back, so I got worried. What are you doing out here this late? Do you have any idea how long you've been gone? I was worried! Also… who is this?
Ah, perhaps I have been away longer than I realized. This is some young hatchling I found lost in our woods. I was just entertaining them until their parents returned.
What's that? Oh, don't worry about Progne. She's harmless. Yes, a perfectly normal kangaskhan in every way, shape, and form.
Goodness, no! Of course she won't eat you.
Well… I can't say I'm not tempted. Joking! Joking. Of course, I am joking. I don't even eat meat.
You're not helping, Progne. You've spent far too long away from other mon. Practice your social skills, please.
Well, excuse me, Maneth. Who is it that keeps telling me not to go places?
Just ignore her, she'll go away eventually. Now, where were we? Ah, right, just wrapping up the story of Kyurem.
You told the story about Kyurem? Come on, Maneth, you know why you're not supposed to do that! It could get us in trouble!
Relax, Progne, they're just a kid.
Do you know how loose-lipped children are, Maneth? This was a horrible idea. What if they find out?
They haven't shown their face in centuries. Unless you've been lying to me.
Ugh! You are insufferable sometimes, you know that?
What, something wrong, Progne? …Alright, we're done talking. Come on kid, let's talk about something else. Something more interesting. Is there a particular story you want to hear next? Oh, perhaps about the binding of Hoopa? Er... or maybe not, that one is pretty dark. Darker, even than the story of Ho-Oh's beasts. Not for little children's ears, no.
Oh, a question? Alright, what's the question, young one?
You want to know what happened at the end of the war, and why all these pokemon were fighting? Yes, I suppose that's only fair, since every story I told you thus far has been related. Though I can only answer the first question. The answer to the second was lost to time long ago.
Maneth, don't you dare. Maneth, you know why you're not supposed to tell that story. H-Hey! Don't you wave a claw at me like that!
Don't worry about it Progne, I'll give the abridged version.
The abridged? That's- uggggh. Fine. But only because you've already caused this much damage. What's one more story? But I'm going to sit here and listen to the whole thing. And if you say something you're not supposed to say, I'll beat the snot outta you!
No, please don't! I have a mate and kids! ...Kidding. Don't worry, little one, just some humor between us. Progne would never hurt me. But I've been rambling on. Let me think back and recollect the story. The story of the end of the war.
And so there came a time in the war when no one could remember why it had originally started. Not even Dialga and Palkia. And yet, they continued to fight. And pokemon continued to die. But beyond the loss of life in pointless battles and the starvation of many due to the destruction of food sources, there was another disturbing trend.
Anywhere where Dialga and Palkia had met in battle, the land had become twisted, unnatural. Space and time had been so stretched and squashed and distorted by the two gods' displays of power, that the land began to warp. Pockets of space formed that didn't fit in the area surrounding them. Inside, time ran amok, making mon wonder if it still ticked at all inside the distorted pockets. And with all the power trapped inside, the land became unstable, constantly shifting and growing and shrinking, trapping pokemon inside unless they made it to the core of the area.
These battlefields would one day come to be known as mystery dungeons.
Many pokemon were upset by the formation of the spaces. Homes and food sources had been swallowed up by these distortions. And many lost loved ones to the battles, or to the effects of the dungeon, as many who entered became lost and perished inside.
But there was one pokemon that was angrier than any other: the beast that lives in the barrier dimension, Giratina.
You see, each time one of these unnatural pockets formed, it would leak into Giratina's home dimension. Not only did this displease Giratina, it made them fear. For if it could break into and take space from Giratina's distorted world, could it go further? Could it overrun their barrier world and break into others? If so, would less benevolent creatures be able to cross over and hurt us?
And so Giratina crossed into our world, seeking an audience with the One Whose Name Was Lost to Time.
"Giratina," the One said, "what are you doing here? You have your world to tend to and We have Ours. For what purpose have you invaded our domain."
"Great One," Giratina replied, bowing in the One's radiance, "I have come because of a matter that affects my world as much as it does yours. Your creations, Dialga and Palkia, the ones that bend time and space to their will, have become reckless. Their fighting has created wounds in my world. Holes from your world into mine. I beseech you, Original One, you must end this conflict, before it destroys both of our worlds."
"I'm afraid it is not that simple. When this conflict began, I stayed out of it, in hopes that they would settle their differences. But it is far beyond my control now. It escalated so quickly, that I had no chance of stopping it. Too many gods have joined the fight, and I am afraid my power alone will not be enough."
"Surely you can find help," Giratina pleaded. "If you will not do anything, I will intervene myself.
The Original One said nothing, and only coldly looked over Giratina. And yet, they knew that the world was bad. It knew that this conflict would destroy the world they created, should they not intervene.
And so, in a show of humility, the Original One agreed to help. It flew to the center of the land, collecting the gods that were neutral in the conflict along the way. Along came Ho-Oh and Lugia, and their champions, who had all removed themselves from the conflict when Ho-Oh had perished, unwilling to fight any longer but unable to do anything on their own. Along came Rayquaza, who had watched the conflict from their domain with disdain, seeing the pointlessness of it but unwilling to intervene. Along came Mew, who had felt powerless to stop the destruction of their creation now that things had gone too far. And along came several more whose names we have lost.
The Original One led these neutral gods to a place where Dialga and Palkia were said to be locked in battle once again. There, the Original One confronted the two.
But Dialga and Palkia were so embroiled in their battle, that they did not even notice the other gods around them. They did not even notice the small pokemon around them, killing each other in their names.
And so, finally enraged by their actions, and by being ignored, the Original One stamped down their foot. And with a powerful crack, the ground split in two. The land groaned and shook and shuddered as the Original One began to force it apart. Regigigas, who had followed the original one, began to help, stepping down into the hole and pushing the land apart until the two sides could barely see each other.
Giratina the beast snaked through the sky, gathering all of his power, and vanished into his world. Then he returned, crashing into the warring gods with all his might, driving them down into the opened pit. Only then, their fight interrupted by the interloper, did the gods of time and space break apart. The Original One descended, as did the others that had come with them
"This has gone on long enough," the Original One announced, landing gracefully in front of the gods. "Look at the destruction this battle has caused. Many, many mortals have died for your cause. And for what? A petty argument that got out of hand. This has to stop."
"You have upset the world's balance," one god said.
"So many have died. Even among the gods, there have been deaths. This is not what we were created for."
Only then, did Dialga and Palkia notice the destruction around them. Only then, did they begin to realize the damage they'd caused.
But before they could speak further, their emissaries flew forward. Dialga's emissary, Celebi, fluttered to and fro with alarm.
"Lord Dialga!" Celebi cried out. "This place is growing unstable! We must flee, before this place is swallowed up by the distortion"
But Palkia's emissary - the trickster, Hoopa - was much less worried. He cackled. "Another place lost to our destruction, my Liege. Where shall we go next?"
"We won't be able to get away!" Mew cried out. There's too much power here, it's making the distortion spread faster!"
"Oh, that's certainly no problem," Hoopa said, summoning one of his rings. "I can scatter us all across the world, no problem!"
"Like we'd trust you now!" Celebi growled, snatching the ring away. "We should just travel through time. To before all this happened. Or perhaps after. Just any time but now."
"No way, you'll just trap everyone you don't like in the distortion!"
As the bickering continued, the Original One grew angry. Had they really set the universe into motion, only for it to come to this?
"Enough!" they shouted, with enough force to bring everyone into silence. "It appears I have made an error in my judgment, letting you all run rampant for so long, hoping you would solve your differences. I have decided. All of us shall wait for the distortion to take hold and spend the rest of eternity inside together.
"We can't do that! Dialga cried out.
"How would the world keep going without us to oversee the laws of nature?" Palkia added.
The Original One gave them a cold look, looking down upon everyone. "Then prove that you understand my words. Get everyone out of here. Together."
Dialga and Palkia looked to each other. In such a dire situation, they were able to understand each other, and put aside their differences.
"Celebi, to my side!"
"Hoopa, prepare your rings!"
Energy surrounded Dialga and Palkia as they tried to hold the unraveling strands of time and space together for just a while longer. Celebi wove around Dialga, as if trying to pull the strands of time back together. With a mighty cry, Hoopa raised his hands up, stretching a ring far bigger than any he had ever created. Any other time, it would be hard to trust the mischievous pokemon. But at the moment, it was all they had. One by one, each god stepped through the ring, until only Dialga, Palkia, Hoopa, Celebi, and the Original One remained.
"Celebi, step through the portal," the Original One commanded. "Dialga and Palkia, you must go next. I will step last, once everyone is through. Hoopa, be ready at my signal."
The energy around Dialga and Palkia began to dissipate. Celebi fluttered through the ring, followed shortly by the two. The Original One gave one last look at their work, then stepped inside. The ring began to shrink behind him, leaving Hoopa to zip in before it closed entirely.
The Original One called a meeting, after that, bringing the remaining gods together. They all stood at the gorge that had been created, and the mists that rose from it.
"Let this wound on the world be a reminder of what happened today," the Original One said, addressing the crowd of gods. "I have cleaved this land in two, separating a territory from which Dialga and Palkia can rule, until they can put aside their differences for good. It is my hope that a fight like this will never happen again, but I hope this space will help prevent that."
And then they looked down to the scarred land, and the bodies and the gore that dotted it. And they grew bitter.
"That, my creations, is my first decree. Scatter amongst the land, so that we may not have a war like this again. This is my second: we have brought harm to the mortals that depended on us. That trusted us. Too many innocents, slaughtered in the name of a battle that did not concern them. I wish to prevent that from ever happening again. From now on, we must retreat away from our followers. Watch them and guide them from a distance."
Some of the gods cried out in indignation, horrified by this idea. "But they depend on us!" one said. "And we would be nothing without them."
"You are gods," the Original One replied. "You do not need them. They just make you feel better. My decision on the matter is final. I will not come to the aid of those that defy my decree. I hope you understand this."
The dissent died away into quiet murmurs, and then into nothing. There was no use in defying the original one. Slowly, the gods began to drift away, going to find their remaining followers to deliver the news. Most would go on to find their hiding places, as most would follow the decree, for fear of the consequences.
And so, it has remained to this day.
Oh goodness, was that story too long? The wee one has fallen asleep.
I think it's just getting late, Maneth.
Was this… "abridged version" to your liking? I excluded the names of gods that were lost to history here. Is that to your liking, Mew?
I would have preferred you not tell the story at all! But… Eh… good enough, I guess.
So, tell me. Do you think their parents are going to come back?
...I do not. But I did not want to worry them.
Then what will you do? You wouldn't eat a child you just spoke to, right?
What kind of monster do you take me for? Besides, you're the one that created… Oh, right. You're just kidding. No, I think I may take them back to my den though. Take care of them until they're strong enough to go out on their own.
That's kind of a hassle, you know. I'll have to hide my true form all the time.
I know, I know. But look on the bright side, Progne. If you're lucky, perhaps I'll be able to convince them to be your next messenger. I'm not getting any younger, after all.
Don't joke about that, I like having you around. I blessed you with a longer life for a reason, you know. Besides, I find your illusions too useful to let you retire just yet. Makes it easy for you to sneak around without raising suspicion.
Ugh, I hate it when you're right. Come now. We should be getting back.
For not telling the whole story. Things are still kind of raw for me, you know?
For the love of the gods, Progne, it's been thousands of years, hasn't it?
Yeah, but it hurts, knowing that I egged things on, and it all led to the way things are. And... It gets kind of lonely, okay?
...I know it does. It's so lonely for me, I can only imagine what it's been like for you. But one day, maybe things can go back to the way they used to be, right?
...Maybe so. I would like that.
You know, I think I'd like that, too.