Before anyone gets it in their head to mention it, I KNOW IT'S BEEN FOREVER, DAMN IT. I know I took just ages to update this chapter and I know you're all mad that you've had to wait. But I've had other crap on my plate. Live with it.
The fact of the matter is, I need a break from Anomaly. Yes, I know I've had one. Too bad.
As many of you recall, I moved last October. Well, that may have been a mistake in and of itself. First off, my computer died. It took a couple of months to repair it. I gained internet access on my mother's computer, only to never actually be able to get online. I can't find work and my family is living on two small paychecks a month because my stepdad's ex-wife suddenly decided she needs more money from him to pay for kids that might not even be his. It's depressing to me that I live here at all, because I always swore I would NEVER live with my biological mother, but somehow I ended up here anyway and it was NOT MY DECISION. And now my computer is trying to die again. And that's just the start of it. So if you REALLY want to get on me for updates, be my guest. Buwaro can laugh as I haul into you.
The fact of the matter is, right now I need to be working on something that makes me laugh. I'm not giving up on Anomaly, not at all. It's just going to continue to be a long time between updates. And in the meantime, I've re-written the first two chapters of an older story of mine. I just got those up today, in fact. Because when things get this bad, I need to write humor. Call it a defense. I need to make myself laugh.
I'm sorry if any of you are disappointed or angry with me, but please consider. I left behind the home I had known for twenty years- as long as I could remember- and tried to settle in somewhere colder, harsher, and where there's very nearly not enough work to live on. I still haven't found a job, and I've been searching desperately. Writing something this serious will only drag me down more.
But, as you all know, I don't give up, either. Eve is a piece of my heart. I will not let her story end this way.
And, on the plus side, I finally have something I've always wanted; a little black kitty cat that sits on my bed with me while I'm reading or typing, that purrs and plays games INSIDE the house, and that I can hug basically any time I want without being yelled at about my non-existent allergies. She's tiny for her age and oh-so-cute when she's playing, except when she decides that my hand is more entertaining than the ribbon. And even then she's cute. In a very vicious way. So I do have some things to cheer me up, and I'm plugging along like I always do.
Which reminds me, if anyone in or around the area of Salem, Oregon area wants a kitten, they need to email me. We have three of them that we need to find homes for. They're only about a month old now, but they are very cute and we're going to start looking for families for them in another month. If you live farther away than that, like in the Washington area, then that's fine too as long as you can get here to pick the kitten up. And maybe I'll even let you look at all the Mewtwo stuff people have sent me.
So, yeah. I've hit a rough patch and need to shift my interests for a while. I'm sorry if this displeases any of you, but just try to remember- this is not the end. Not of me, not of Anomaly, and not of Eve. I will be seeing you all later, even if it takes a few more months to get myself back to normal, and in the meantime I'll be working on my Yu Yu Hakusho story to keep my spirits up. Wait for me!
So let's go!
There had to be a reason for this headache.
Mewtwo's tail lashed as he made his way through the trees. The humiliation of being caught sleeping still burned. What was wrong with him lately, that he could have slipped so horrendously? He was more careful than that! How could he have fallen asleep in the middle of the day? And then to wake up nose-to-nose with her...
Just what did she think she had been doing?
Mewtwo stopped, his tail lashing again, but he ignored the sting as it struck something in favor of pressing one hand to his temple. Again, he had the distinct feeling that he had dreamt during his impromptu rest, and again he could not remember what the dream had been about, except for perhaps the slightest snatch of a voice... what had it been saying...
Why did he smell smoke?
The clone turned, staring off into the trees, before lashing out with his mind. He found the tell-tale signatures of humans long before he should have, and could psychically 'taste' their emotions with more ease than was normal. And what emotions... panic... fear... confusion... amethyst eyes flew open. The Viridian base?! He gritted his teeth, leaping up into the trees and coming to land in mid-air before advancing towards the buildings... if there was anything left of them. Sticking to the shadows of the canopy, he flew as close as he dared before nightfall, trying to glean information. The minds of the humans were muddled in panic, the threads of their thoughts hard to separate, but finally he thought he could piece together a picture. Destruction reigned at the forefront of that picture, the main causes as far as the humans could tell being an Absol- he groaned inwardly at the thought- and an unidentified psychic. Mewtwo's fur rippled, one word summing up the entire course of his thoughts as he turned away from the maelstrom of thoughts and feelings.
He stormed back towards the cavern, the shadows playing down over him as twilight fell. He could not sense Mew's presence as he neared the cave, but found Anti waiting anxiously up on the surface. Evetwo and her new friend were nowhere in sight, but he could feel them underground. "Where is Mew?"
"He went to take care of something." The phantom looked anxious. "He should be back soon, I hope..."
Mewtwo scowled to himself. Gone. Of course Mew would be gone the one time he genuinely wished to speak to him. The kitten's comings and goings seemed almost designed to annoy him at times. Scowling, he headed down into the caves. The human child, Ellie, was contentedly scratching away at a pad of paper in the corner and Evetwo... Mewtwo blinked, stepping back to peer further into the room. Where on earth was Evetwo? He finally spotted her curled up in her quilt, sleeping soundly. He eyed her critically. He could go back and attack right now, but he would need to know that she could flee if he did. Team Rocket had already lost almost all organization it had once had, and the humans were farther out in the forest than they had been before. Things would only grow worse when he finished off the base. He needed to know she could run.
"Evetwo." It only took a moment to rouse the sleeping female from her slumber. Ellie looked up curiously as she raised her head, a small noise like a whimper coming from her throat. Mewtwo forced himself to be patient as the smaller psychic looked around the room, seeking the source of his voice. He waited until her eyes fell on him before speaking again. "I need to speak to you. This way."
He let her get to her feet before heading for his own chamber, confident that she would follow. He stepped into the darkened space, lighting the fire with a flare of psychic energy, and turned towards the door just as Evetwo trudged in behind him. He allowed her a moment to rub at her eyes, observing the way her hunched shoulders made her look smaller. She blinked up at him sleepily, visibly stifling a yawn, and he felt his apprehensions growing. She did not look strong enough to be on her own... "What did you want me for, big brother?"
Mewtwo's shoulders stiffened at the questionable titling. Surely she was only half awake still, and did not know what she had called him. Yes, that must have been it. There was no need to worry about her picking up on Mew's silly notions; Evetwo undoubtedly liked him no more than he cared for her. More likely she was not quite aware of her surroundings yet. Perhaps she had even been dreaming when he roused her. She would be herself again once she fully came awake, then, and so he would ignore the slip. "How soon can you be ready to leave this place?"
That seemed to wake her up some. The little female looked up at him with widening eyes, her brow creasing in confusion. "We're leaving? Already?"
He nodded, explaining things so she would not argue. "I came to this area because I knew it to be home to a prominent Team Rocket base. The base was attacked some time in the last day or so-" her expression became startled, so he clarified quickly, "not by me, but Team Rocket is starting to spread farther and farther into the forest because of it. There is a good risk that they may come too close to us in the process." Mewtwo waited a moment, letting it all sink in, before he continued. "It is no longer safe for you here. You need to take the child and run as far and as fast as you can."
Evetwo looked apprehensive. "And what are you going to do?"
"I am going to lure them away from you."
The smaller psychic's eyes widened; now she was awake. "How are you going to do that?"
Mewtwo turned away from her, looking towards the fire instead. "It is my intention to attack what remains of the Viridian base. Once the buildings are demolished, I will take off in a different direction from the one you have set off in. I will then teleport sporadically, with any luck drawing attention near other bases until I feel it is safe to rejoin you."
"So you're going to attack them." The tone of her psychic voice sounded to him like barely more than a whisper. How did she do that? "How will you find me when you're done?"
"I will have the benefit of knowing where to look." If she listened to him, that was. "I will lead you to the other side of Viridian City. From there, you and the child must travel north until you reach an underground cave. The area will be sufficiently rocky enough for you to hide until I come back." He could practically feel her wanting to argue as he turned back towards her, telekinetically fetching his cloak from its resting place. Sure enough, the female even had her mouth partway open as she began to 'voice' a protest that was quickly cut off by shock- shock as he placed the fabric over her shoulders and began to tuck it around her neck by hand. The action was tailored to throw her off her mental balance, and it seemed to work well. "This will help you camouflage your body, at the very least. We were not designed with hiding in mind."
Evetwo's eyes were on his hands at her neck as she spoke again. "I want to help you."
"That is not possible." He moved slowly, taking his time to make sure the cloak was secure. The longer he took, the more thrown off she would be. The female shifted slightly under his hands, visibly uncomfortable.
"But I can fight."
He stared down at her, stepping back once the cloak was secure. Her expression was a little harder, but he could still see the fear and confusion in her eyes. "You can fight," he complied, choosing to appease her a little instead of completely throwing her statement down and inciting her to argue further. "But not against these odds. You are not yet skilled enough to enter a fight such as this." He forced himself to meet her eyes levelly. "And if you follow me, who will guard the child?"
That silenced her completely. Mewtwo watched as the female struggled with her own indecision. If he knew her well- and she was simple enough to know- then she would choose to remain with the child. Her protective nature would be her downfall one day, but for now it was a handy tool he could use to convince her to go where he needed. He examined the way the cloak fell to the floor, draping over her almost completely. The effect made her look smaller than she was, although he suspected that part of that was because her shoulders were still slightly hunched. Still, he reminded himself, she was only small in comparison to him. To anyone else, she could still seem imposing.
Finally, she looked away from him. "I'll go..."
Mewtwo felt a cool satisfaction welling up inside of him. True, he could not guarantee that she would stay put... could almost guarantee that he would have to search for her... but the fact that she would at least follow his plans for a time was a victory. "Gather your things," he ordered quietly, careful not to show any signs of smugness. Evetwo nodded quickly, skirting past him and out of the room. He watched her go, waiting until she had ducked back into her own room, before glancing back at the space that he had occupied for these few days time. The area meant nothing to him. He snuffed the fire as quickly as he had lit it and exited the room silently.
From the other room he could hear shuffling sounds, the tell-tale zipping sound of Evetwo's bag, and the human girl's inquisitive questioning. "But why does your brother want us to leave now?"
"Because it's not safe anymore." The sounds of rustling stopped as though Evetwo had paused, and then he heard a soft thumping sound. "I told you, the people who made us weren't good people. If they find us now..." The female's voice trailed off, and he knew without knowing that she was thinking of what she had already been forced to endure. He turned away from the door, heading up the steps and into the clearing above. He knew she would not keep him waiting for long.
Eve's heart was racing as she followed Mewtwo through the woods. They had to have been walking for nearly two hours now, Ellie trudging along behind her with the quilt wrapped over her shoulders to fight the evening chill. The sky was just beginning to become hazy with the oncoming sunset, and already a cool breeze had picked up. She shivered lightly, moving instinctively to tuck Mewtwo's cloak tighter around her. The brown fabric was heavy, sturdy and thick. Being careful to be sure that her brother's back was turned, she snuggled into the 'collar' slightly. It was warm... smelled kind of earthy... kind of nice, actually... she closed her eyes, sniffing a little more deeply, trying to identify the scent, before her eyes popped back open in realization. Ah, jeez... and she had to wear this thing?
"This is the place."
Eve's head snapped up almost guiltily as Mewtwo turned. His eyes caught hers, but he didn't make any comment as to the way she was huddled up in the cloak. He merely studied her for a moment before his eyes flicked towards Ellie behind her and then back up to her face. "This is where I will be leaving you behind." He nodded towards the forest behind him. "You must continue in this direction to reach the rocks. If you feel you are lost, you should be able to see the proper direction from higher up in the trees..." his eyes met hers, his expression serious. "But do so only if you feel you absolutely must. Understood?"
"Yeah..." she nodded slightly, shifting uncomfortably under his gaze. Why was he looking at her like that? He was looking her in the eye a lot more than when they'd met. It made her nervous... "I understand."
"Then I will leave you here. Keep an eye on the child."
She nodded slowly, feeling Ellie take hold of her hand. "Be careful..." Mewtwo turned and hovered a moment before sweeping into the air, his gaze only breaking from hers once he disappeared into the trees. Eve shivered. Lately he was acting just plain weird. It worried her...
Ellie tugged at her hand lightly. Glancing down, the clone could see that the human was scared. She frowned slightly, giving the human's fingers a squeeze. Ellie looked up at her. "He'll come back to get us, right?"
"Of course he will," Eve said with a lot more confidence than she actually felt. Mewtwo would be back, he just had to. She kept walking, gently pulling Ellie along as she buried her nose in the brown fabric again. Suddenly the scent on the cloak meant more than just that her 'brother' had worn it. If the cloth was important enough to him that he kept it and used it, then that smell also meant that he would definitely be back for it. And them. After all, Mewtwo was the strong one, right? He'd hit Team Rocket hard in the Sevii and come back. He'd probably join them long before sunrise...
Eve felt a sudden pain in her chest. Sunrise. Something welled up, almost overwhelming her, something that she couldn't reach to identify it. A memory. There was a memory attached to this anxiety, some sort of root to this fear that he wouldn't return, but for some reason she just couldn't pull it out. What had happened to her back then to make her feel this way now? Or... she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to think her way through the pain. She could almost, almost touch the memory. Had something happened... to Kyle? Was that the reason the boy had failed his sister? The sunrise, it had something to do with the sunrise. What had happened in the sunrise?!
"Eve?" Oops. Now she was probably scaring the kid. Eve opened her eyes, looking down into Ellie's face. The girl seemed even more frightened than before, that was for sure. "Are... are you okay?"
The clone nodded numbly. Damn, this was not the time to get lost in her memories. She glanced skywards, trying to see if they were on the right path. They seemed to be... "Everything's going to be fine, Ellie. I promise." She walked a little quicker, her pack weighing heavy on her shoulders- or was that just her nerves?- only to slow again when the human voiced a protest. Of course the girl couldn't keep up, Eve chided herself, her legs were considerably shorter. They picked their way through the woods at a slower pace, every moment of silence grating on Eve's nerves. Finally she could take it no more. She had to do something to break the calm. "Hey, Ellie, what other stories are in that book?"
The child looked up at her doubtfully before being rather rudely reminded to keep her eyes on the ground. Evetwo waited while she steadied herself again, their joined hands the only thing that kept the girl from sprawling onto her face. "There are lots of stories," Ellie answered as they started to walk again. "There's stuff on the higher legends, and stories about the regional ones, although those are short, and a few stories that are more about the places the Pokémon lived than the Pokémon themselves..."
Eve tried to settle on something that sounded at least mildly interesting. "Are there stories about Arceus?" Yeah, Arceus was supposed to be some sort of god, right? Sounded like something that would keep the human entertained...
Ellie looked up at her doubtfully, clearly not buying Eve's feigned interest. "I thought you thought Arceus sounded silly."
"I'm hoping it'll make some sense now," the psychic said as solemnly as she could.
The little brown-haired girl wasn't convinced, but she nodded anyway, and Eve realized she must have been just as distressed by the silence as she was. The human waited until she'd climbed over a small fallen tree to start talking. "Arceus is a lot like God from the Bible, although some people don't like it if you talk about it that way. According to all the most ancient legends, Arceus actually is God, just in a different form. But a lot of those myths are so old that nobody knows them any more." Another log had to be traversed with great care, the girl's small hands reaching and feeling carefully, and Eve realized with a start that Ellie couldn't see nearly as well as she could in the growing darkness. Damn... that was going to make this harder... "Honestly, I just don't think some people liked the idea of the Almighty being a Pokémon. You hear loads more about Palkia and Dialga in the books than you do about Arceus."
Eve suddenly recalled the way some of the scientists at the lab had looked down on her as though she was less than them for not being human. "That makes sense," she mumbled as she waited for Ellie to adjust her own smaller bag. The twilight was starting to give way now, the first stars visible through the trees. Evetwo fought a shiver that made the fur along her spine ridge sharply. It couldn't have been that cold yet. She pulled the cloak around her tighter.
Ellie looked at her with a serious expression. "Eve, you're young, so you might not know this yet, but a lot of people just don't think Pokémon are as smart as humans. That's why so many of them would be offended if a Pokémon was God. They all want God to be like a human."
Eve stared at her blankly. "And what do you think?"
"I think God is God," the girl answered seriously. "He's not a Pokémon or a person. Or maybe He's both, depending on His mood."
The clone raised an eyebrow doubtfully. "You think someone can be both?"
Brown curls bobbed as Ellie tilted her head. "Well, I'm sure God could if He wanted to. And I've met Pokémon who seemed like people, and people who reminded me of Pokémon. Like you." Eve looked down, into the child's wide, innocent eyes. "Sometimes I can't tell if you're a Pokémon at all, or maybe a person hiding inside a Pokémon." Eve's throat tightened as Ellie rambled on. "I think subjective is what they call it, but I'm not sure. It wasn't a very common word. But we're getting off topic. You wanted to talk about Arceus."
"Of course..." Eve kicked a rock out of her way, focusing on their direction and the ground in front of her. Her insides felt numb now. "So, what's Arceus look like? It's kind of hard for me to picture a god off the top of my head..."
"No one really knows." Eve heard a soft thump as Ellie kicked what was probably the exact same rock that she had. "The closest the legends ever really come to an actual description is that Arceus has a thousand arms. I think that's supposed to be speaking poetically, myself. But he's also said to look down on everything, so I bet he's really big."
The psychic nodded slowly, trying to bite back the urge to comment. She failed miserably. "And how big is really big?"
Ellie rolled her eyes. "As big as he wants to be," the human retorted. "He could probably be big enough that he could step on you, if he wanted."
"It'd be kind of hard to hide if you were that big," Eve noted as she ducked under a low branch. There was a sigh from behind her.
"Arceus doesn't live on Earth, silly. He lives in the Hall of Origins."
"Of course. Where's that?"
:Not on Earth," Ellie replied with a scowl. "It's probably in some nice, neat little dimension where-" The child cut off suddenly, yelping slightly. Eve turned just as she fell, her face contorting slightly in pain. "Oww..."
Eve rushed back, kneeling next to the girl as best as she could. "What happened? Are you okay?"
Ellie nodded slowly, pulling one of her feet in towards her. "I caught on a root. I'm sorry..." The human reached over, resting a hand on Eve's shoulder, and Eve let her lean on it to try and stand. A whimper escaped Ellie's throat as she stood shakily. "Ow..."
Eve swallowed as the child took a few shaky steps. This wasn't going to do. This wasn't going to do at all. "Come here." Ellie looked up at her in confusion before stepping back towards her, stumbling on the way. Eve caught her, scooping her up in the process. Ellie tried to protest, but the psychic cut her off. "It's fine. You're lightweight."
The top of the brown head bobbed as Ellie nodded. Eve grunted inwardly, wishing the girl really was that light, before she started walking again. Honestly, it was still faster going now than it had been having to wait for Ellie. She felt the human rest her head on her shoulder. "I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it," Eve insisted, looking around. Ah, cake. "Hang on tight, okay? I have to go up and check our progress." There was a nod against her neck as Ellie slipped her hands around Eve's shoulders. The clone waited until she was situated before drifting upwards. It only took her a moment to find their course and drop back down to the ground. Ellie's fingers were clenching her fur rather painfully, and she found herself deeply wishing she wasn't alone. Even if her brothers weren't here, it would be nice to have someone other than a frightened child to talk to... closing her eyes, she remembered fighting alongside Scyther and Fervo and Flame. None of them would be afraid right now over something as silly as being by themselves. Hell, Scyther had survived worse than she had and he still kept moving. She could do that, too, if she tried. She could keep moving. She started walking again. "We're going to be okay, Ellie. I promise."
Now if only she could convince herself that the shadows weren't moving, too, maybe she could believe it herself...