Well, after almost two years, here I am again

Well, after almost two years, here I am again with the sequel I never thought I'd be doing (not at first anyway) to one of my most critically acclaimed stories of all time, Latias' Journey. This has been a long time coming, so I hope you're all looking forward to it.

Looking back, I can see that while Journey had its good points, there was a lot I could have done better. I blame its deficiencies on my skill at the time and my attempts to either impress (or piss off) a particular author who was 'helping' me with it back then. One thing in particular I've realized I could do better was the ending to the last story, which many readers have complained at least a little about. I intend to rectify what happened at the end of the original Journey right off the bat in this opening chapter. I actually would have added it as a full text chapter to the end of Latias' Journey, but due to certain…difficulties with people I'm not talking to anymore, I felt it would be best to explain everything in a recap instead, since I'm not positive it would be okay for me to use certain characters they loaned to me for the story a while ago in that chapter without their permission, and I'm not exactly in a position to ask for that permission anymore. Hope that's not a problem.

Something else I hope will not be a problem is where the inspiration for this story came from. It will take place in a world based off the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, but a lot of the idea behind the plot comes from…the GCN game Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door, which is a truly great RPG that I highly recommend to everyone who can find and play it. Don't worry if that makes you feel uneasy though, you should know by now that I will do my very best to make this story my own, even if I am, er, borrowing and improving on a few particular plot points.

Anyway, without further ado, here's where we begin, by finishing what happened in the old and then starting the new. Or something like that. I'll stop rambling. Enjoy

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Pokemon species in this story. I do and do not own the main characters; they are based off people from the game and anime. However, you may find them a bit…different from what you recall. Mweheheheh. I do own the original characters and the world used, though. Well, the parts of it that weren't already in Mystery Dungeon, anyway. Look, why don't I just shut up and start the story already? Not like anyone reads these disclaimers anyway…

It is said that there was a reality before our own. Many, in fact. An endless cycle of worlds being born and dying, the souls dwelling in them forced into a perpetual loop of life and death and constantly caught in a never-ending struggle between the good souls who wished for life to continue in whatever form and the evil ones who wished to destroy it all so the cycle would end. However, after millions and millions of repetitions in this cycle, both sides became exhausted of this constant struggle, and sought a way to end it once and for all.

The core consciousness of the embodiment of all that was good, made from the trillions of souls that embraced life, sent a portion of itself to the mortal realm upon the beginning of what would become the final cycle. This portion became known as the Mother, an omnipotent and benevolent being who seeded life throughout the cosmos and brought a new golden age to a war-scarred dead world known as Earth, remaking the extinct human race and allowing for the rise of the wonderfully myriad species known as Pokemon. The core consciousness of all that was evil, however, also sent a portion of itself to the mortal realm. This portion became known as Deoxys, a sentient alien virus whose malice and hatred was so great that it swallowed the stars. It sought nothing less than the destruction of all life, everywhere, and the end of the entire multiverse.

The Mother and Deoxys clashed many times throughout the lifespan of this new universe. Each sought to defeat and assimilate the other for, since each was a physical embodiment of the core consciousnesses of good and evil, by fusing together they would cause the great amalgamations of good and evil souls existing outside of time to fuse together as well, forcing all that was to recombine and revert to its original and most primal state. This would allow the One, the first being to exist and the ultimate creator of all reality, to come into being once more. The One would then use its boundless and unimaginable powers to break the cycle and give rise to a new reality free of the critical failures that was forcing the current one to repeat itself in an endless series of pointless repetitions that were grinding the souls living in it to dust. However, this would only come to pass if the Mother prevailed, for the evil represented by Deoxys had no interest in creating a new world, and sought nothing less than the absolute solitude and power that came from being the One, the only One to exist anywhere, aloof and alone and apart from anything else that might have been and never would be.

A series of complex events led the Mother and Deoxys to fight one last time upon the planet Earth, while the Mother's Chosen heroes and champions battled Deoxys' monstrous minions. However, before the Mother could strike the final blow…Deoxys played his last trick and stole all her power from her, evolving into his deadliest form and transforming into a monster with the power to consume all of time and space and reduce all to nothing. The Chosen, those who were not killed outright by Deoxys' new power, were forced to flee the Earth with the weakened and defeated Mother just before the Earth and the entire universe it was in were erased from existence. They traveled through the diminishing remnants of time and space towards a world on the very edge of reality, where they planned to regroup and strike back against Deoxys using the power that was waiting for them there. Along the way, the noble dragon king Rayquaza was forced to give up his life to resurrect his soulmate Latias, who had played a pivotal role in many of the events leading up to the great battle with Deoxys, and had tragically been transformed into a viral zombie during that battle. With a new lease on life and the courage to fight for it and for her friends, Latias and the other Chosen prepared for the inevitable day when Deoxys would find them and the greatest battle of all would begin.

What none of them realized was that it was all a lie.

The Mother had not lost the battle. Many of their number had not died. The planet Earth and the majority of the multiverse had not been destroyed. The survivors were not forced to live like refugees on a magical island drifting through space-time. None of that had ever happened. They had, in fact, not even left the Earth at all. Before the Mother had delivered the final blow to Deoxys, all of them were cast into an illusory world where all of the aforementioned events occurred and it seemed as if evil had prevailed. The trick was so good that even Deoxys and the Mother were fooled by this dream world and believed that everything that occurred in this mirage was real and all the fake memories and events they remembered were the way that things had always been.

The instigator of this illusion was none other than a fell imp from a digital domain called Mewgle, who had been a servant of Deoxys, thought defeated by the Mother not too long ago. However, he had been able to create a backup copy of himself before his deletion, unnoticed by all, and that copy triggered hidden RPGenerator units all around the globe just before the Mother could kill Deoxys, casting Earth and all of its inhabitants into a world of his own creation, the world in which it seemed that Deoxys had won and nearly everyone was dead. By fooling everyone into believing that this false world was reality, Mewgle would be free to conquer the real world while its greatest heroes and villains were distracted, establishing a 'perfect' virtual world in which he was the supreme ruler and everyone else would have to live by the inane, ludicrous, and oppressive RPG-styled rules he would impose upon his creation.

However, one creature in all the world was unaffected by Mewgle's plot, a hero who had, for whatever reason, been overlooked by the forces of good and so had not been Chosen to appear at the last battle. This hero was a Squirtle, a firefighter and former bandit who had, for a time, journeyed alongside Ash Ketchum, another Chosen. He was immune to Mewgle's RPG trick due to the sunglasses he always wore, which were of such a make and innate coolness that no illusion could fool the eyes looking through them.

When all hell literally broke loose across the planet, Squirtle had decided to leave the city he was defending in the hands of his trustworthy Squirtle Squad compatriots and set out for Ever Grande City, where the source of all the monsters ravaging the planet and the site of the ultimate battle between the forces of good and evil was taking place. However, since there were no boats going there at the moment, what with the end of the world happening and all, Squirtle had no choice but to swim all the way across the ocean to reach the island city from Johto…and as you can imagine, he was pretty tired when he got there. However, while he was indeed too late to partake in the great battle alongside his former comrades, he was just in time to hear the visage of Mewgle, present in a glowing crystal near the alarmingly immobile forms of his friends and the other heroes, reveal his plan in a self-directed monologue, as villains of his caliber usually do.

Realizing at once what was going on and what he needed to do, Squirtle shattered the crystal with a Rapid Spin attack, destroying Mewgle forever and breaking the spell he had cast over the world. The heroes and Chosen at once awoke from the trance the computer fiend had put them in, and rejoiced over the fact that they were all alive and not floating on a weird magical island somewhere in space and time, and that Earth still existed. (Rayquaza was rather disappointed, however, that Latias was a zombie again. She was rather upset by this too, naturally.) Deoxys tried to take advantage of everyone's brief confusion and finding themselves back in the real world to escape, but the Mother ran him through with her holy sword, shattering the crystal that was the core of his consciousness and eradicating his evil for all time.

An incredible wave of positive energy was released from the wailing Deoxys' disintegrating form which washed out across the multiverse, destroying or at least weakening evil and entropy everywhere and causing life and prosperity to flourish once more. The Mother, energized by this wave, sealed Deoxys' weakened and defeated essence in the final GS Ball so it could be gradually purified of the evil and hatred which corrupted it, in the process purifying the enormous amalgamation of evil souls outside of time from whence Deoxys had been spawned, making the process by which all things would be unified again into the One that much easier and benefiting all life that existed and would exist everywhere in the future.

With that task taken care of, the Mother used her phenomenal powers (and some help from the Unown, who owed her and pretty much all of the Chosen for manipulating events so that everything which had happened took place) to mend the war-torn Earth, repairing the damage that had been caused by Deoxys and his legions. All his minions were either destroyed or restored to their original living forms, without the madness or virus or lust for power that had driven them to serve him in the first place. Everyone who had been killed by the fiend's machinations was miraculously brought back to life and rejoiced with their loved ones in the light of the new day. The Chosen were honored as the greatest heroes the world had ever known, and Squirtle joined their ranks for saving everyone's hides from the insane Mewgle. Great gifts and riches were bestowed upon them by the Mother and the grateful people of Earth for the heroic deeds they had performed for the sake of all life everywhere. It was not too long after that that many of the Chosen married each other or those close to them in a rather large ceremony performed on Birth Island (the real one, not the one seen in Mewgle's illusion. The real thing was actually remarkably like the fake one, except there were no proto-Joys and Jennies, no Apostles, no semi-philosophical bullshit, no pocket universes full of chaos stored away in the island's catacombs, and Ash Ketchum's father never came from there, which also meant that his Pikachu was not his brother, much to both of their disappointments. They still had giant insects, though, much to Misty's disappointment.) by the Mother herself. Children soon followed many of the marriages, and most of the Chosen settled down in retirement on the Sevii Islands while their children became the next heroes of Earth.

And as for Latias and Rayquaza…their long-anticipated union was truly a happy one, something that had been in the works for almost a hundred thousand years. Any lingering resentment Latias might have had towards Rayquaza for his part in destroying her hometown of Altomare when he had been the Ghost King which might have tainted their marriage was eradicated when she found out that it was actually Kyogre, who had been part of the Ghost King's subconscious at the time, who had encouraged him to have his ghost troops destroy the city; not because she wanted Latias to pay for being in love with somebody else, but as a childish way of striking back at her rival/lover and fellow part of the Ghost King's subconscious Groudon, who saw an island city existing in the middle of the ocean as a triumph of land over the sea. Naturally, Latias tried to kill Kyogre in a furious screaming rage when she found that out, but she got over it. In a few centuries.

To make up for it (and to keep Latias from killing her) Kyogre withdrew the waters from the ruins of Altomare and Groudon (both to shove it in Kyogre's face and to get in Rayquaza's good graces) built the island back up bigger than ever. Rayquaza, Latias, and many of their friends and followers (for they were now rulers of all dragons on the planet, of course) constructed the grand city of Neo Altomare, which soon became the capital of a new Draconian Empire which encompassed both Johto, Kanto, and a bit of Hoenn. The Ho-Oh who had once ruled Johto probably would have protested if she weren't still dead, since the Mother had chosen not to resurrect her since she had always been a bitch, even before Deoxys showed up, and Lugia was too happy to have his family back and the three elemental birds finally not trying to kill each other every five minutes to care very much.

And so everyone involved lived happily ever after, except for most of the bad guys that everyone had hated and didn't want around anymore, but that wasn't particularly surprising. But all good things must eventually come to an end, and so many billions of years later the multiverse collapsed upon itself and Earth, which had become barren and empty once again millions of years before then, was destroyed. All matter in every universe was broken up, releasing the energy and souls contained within them as reality and time disintegrated, as was the norm for when the previously mentioned cycle reached its end and prepared to begin again.

However, thanks to the actions of the Mother and the Chosen, all souls, rather than flowing into two great amalgamations of 'good' and 'evil,' coalesced into a single mass that then turned into an immense egg, an egg bigger than the entire multiverse had been before its inevitable heat-death. All souls, save for a very small few who, for whatever reason, did not wish to become a part of the reborn One and take part in the construction of a brand new reality, fused together into this egg.

One of those souls who stayed behind was the person who had, when alive, been known as Latias.

She hated the egg. Or at least, she thought she did.

She knew it was probably sacrilegious on some level, considering what was inside the egg, but on some level, she really did resent it. And she had good reason to, didn't she? After all, that egg had taken everything away from her. Her family, her friends, her happy afterlife, her beloved…all of it had been stripped from her the instant the multiverse had died and the soul fusion process began. For whatever reason, she had been excluded from the mass of spirits that conglomerated together to form the One's egg. This made no sense to her, since, unlike the very small number of other souls drifting about Infinity at that moment, she had actually been looking forward to becoming a part of the reborn One and helping to recreate reality.

But instead, she got booted out of the blissful heaven she had been sharing with her closest friends, family and Rayquaza, and found herself out in the empty, endless void, watching unhappily as everyone she cared about melded together with every other being that had ever lived to create the giant divine egg. An egg that she, for some unknown reason, was not inside.

It wasn't fair. Once upon a time, someone had told her that life wasn't fair, but seeing as how she was currently dead and, after the Mother had defeated Deoxys, life had actually become very fair for everyone, Latias felt justified in feeling miffed. What had she done to warrant being excluded from the soul fusion? She was one of the beings responsible for it ever coming to pass, after all! Okay, maybe she could have played a more active role during the battle of the Chosen, but it wasn't exactly her fault that she had been, for a time, one of Deoxys' minions. She hadn't undergone the transformation willingly, and it had been one of the most horrible and unpleasant events in all her many lifetimes. She dearly hoped that in the new world that was to come nobody would ever have to suffer the same fate that she had ever again.

She chided herself for complaining so much. She knew it was unbecoming of her. But still, why shouldn't she complain? Who wouldn't when everyone they cared for was ripped away from her to essentially become God, while she, well, wasn't? How was she supposed to feel in a situation like that?

Not for the first time, she flashed back to what the faux One had said near the end of Mewgle's very clever and deceptive artificial reality, about her being the 'eternal witness' who would watch as the One created the new multiverse. She had long ago discounted what that being had said as yet another one of Mewgle's attempts to shove some pseudo-philosophical gibberish (the kind usually found nowhere else but in RPGs) down their throats. However…

Was there a chance that that bit of the artifice was not, in fact, part of Mewgle's program? That the One, or some aspect of it, had in fact traveled back in time to tell her what she was going to be in the next incarnation of reality? While she had considered this possibility more than once ever since she had been booted out of her happy afterlife, she rejected the idea every time. What exactly had she done that made her deserving of such an honor…or curse…of being an 'eternal witness?' While she had indeed done many heroic acts throughout her many lives, she was pretty sure that plenty of other people had fought just and hard and done just as many, if not more, things with their many incarnations than she. Well, okay, maybe not that many other people, but still. Why was she outside the egg, instead of inside of it with everyone else?

The question, as always, frustrated her due to the lack of any clear answer. She certainly didn't know why, and seeing as there wasn't really anyone else she could ask (the other souls that had also been excluded—though of their own free will—weren't exactly interested in talking to her), she'd just have to wait until the egg hatched and demand answers from the source. Whenever that happened. It seemed like she had been waiting billions of years for the egg to hatch, but it was sort of hard to tell since time didn't exactly exist at the moment (heck, there wasn't even such a thing as a 'moment' anymore) so her perspective on how long the egg had just been sitting there was very subjective and no doubt inaccurate.

On the bright side, she thought, trying to cheer herself up, I finally know which came first. I definitely didn't see any Blaziken lay this egg, and I certainly know I didn't. She didn't feel especially happier, but she hadn't really expected to.

She started when, only a few seconds (Or was it a million years? Subjective time really was a pain) after that thought, the egg began to crack. It's hatching, she realized, stunned. Holy shit. Uh, literally. Wait, if I'm the first thing it sees, is it going to imprint on me and think I'm its mother or something? Her mind boggled at the thought. Would that make her the actual Mother of God or something? Oh dear.

Well, she supposed that would probably be a good reason for why she had been excluded, if the One-that-was-to-be had instinctively chosen someone to be its caretaker during its developing years and, for whatever reason, decided that someone was going to be her. She desperately hoped that wasn't the case, though. While she loved children and had indeed been a mother to many through her multiple lifetimes, she wasn't sure if she could handle playing 'Mom' to something THAT much bigger than her, something that was, quite literally, God.

And how exactly was she going to get something that size milk?! Her own mammaries certainly weren't going to cut it…

Thankfully, when the egg split in half with a crack so loud it would have shattered entire planets and a flash of light so brilliant it was even brighter than the Big Bang (and Latias would know, she had seen it or variants of that Bang several times), the being who emerged was so magnificent that any thoughts of having to play nursemaid to it immediately fled Latias' mind. Her jaw dropped in awe, and she shed spiritual tears of wonder (not having a physical body at the moment, and so being incapable of releasing real tears) at the sheer majesty and beauty of the newborn.

She found, much to her surprise, that the fake One she had seen in Mewgle's virtual world actually looked a lot like the real deal…but only in the way that an incredibly grainy, blurry, out-of-focus, scratched, black and white photograph of a flower sort of resembles a beautiful blood-red rose; the real thing was much more impressive than any replica could ever be. The One was one of the biggest things Latias had ever seen, bigger than the multiverse had ever been, bigger even than its own egg, swelling up so much due to its sheer power and presence that it seemed to encompass all of Infinity…which, technically, it did; after all, Infinity itself was just another manifestation of the One. The One was a vaguely equine creature with fur a million times whiter than the whitest snow or diamonds (or even Latias' own down, back when she had down) and radiated light more pure and beautiful than any she had ever seen before. Its underside was gray, and yet that grayness seemed to radiate a kind of pure light as well. Its four pointed feet were tipped with sharp golden hooves large enough to gouge out enormous chunks of space-time with every step it took. A cross-like wheel emanating a golden brilliance was wrapped around its midsection, and seemed to change colors rapidly every second Latias looked at it. Its neck was surprisingly long and thick, making her think briefly of a Girafarig's, though it was thicker than a Girafarig's neck in proportion to the rest of its godly form. The long neck terminated in an austere, regal head with a long flowing white mane and a smooth, almost featureless gray face framed by more white fur and a shining gold plate set in its forehead.

As Latias stared up at the colossal and infinite being, she knew then, without a doubt, that this was what she and her friends and everything else that had ever lived and breathed and died had been struggling for. This was the One. She was, literally, in the presence of God. There was nothing else it could possibly be.

The neck inclined slightly, the blank face turning towards her…

And suddenly Latias found herself staring into a pair of enormous glowing green eyes the size of supernovae of such beauty that her breath (not that she needed to breathe) was taken from her. The intelligence staring out at her from behind those eyes was so vast and wise and, and loving that she found herself struggling not to cry from having so much intensity and compassion focused solely on her.

It made her think of how Rayquaza had always looked at her, with the same degree of intensity and love. Then again, her Rayquaza was part of this thing now, wasn't he? And she…was not. A bottomless melancholy almost swallowed her up then, for what greater loss could one suffer than an outright denial to become one with your Creator?

Her sorrow was dashed from her then, when the One spoke to her. Its voice was much softer than she had expected, and yet there was an unmistakable feeling of absolute power resonating beneath its low, steady tones. The voice was not vocal, nor telepathic, and yet it still seemed to well up from the very core of her being, a deep and intimate form of communication that only one other she knew had been capable of…the one who was not with her now. Rather than sadden her, though, this thought actually bolstered her confidence, for it made her feel, for a moment, that her dear one was somehow talking to her through the One's lips…figuratively speaking, since it didn't have a visible mouth.

The One said, "I am the Original One, the Source and Creator of All that is or was, reborn after being scattered apart for far too long. I am complete in my power and unity once more…and yet I am still lacking. You who are separate from me, I beg of you to grant me a name. What am I to be called?"

Latias blinked in surprise. Had the One excluded her from its unity just so she could give it a name? "Arceus," she said at once. She wasn't sure why she had chosen that name. It just seemed to be the right one, the one that fit, as if there were nothing else that anyone could possibly call this magnificent and omnipotent God. Maybe because it sounded sort of like a cross between 'arch,' meaning highest, and deus, the Latin word for God. And what was the One if not the highest of all gods?

The One, now named Arceus, nodded its great head, looking satisfied. A feeling of pleasure radiated from its form, and Latias found herself struggling not to giggle as it washed over her. "Arceus," said the Creator. "It is a good name. And now that I am named, I may begin what needs to be done."

He looked at the shell fragment drifting by his left side, now dwarfed by his pearly eminence, and suddenly it was an immense bipedal dragon covered in shiny gray-white armor, with two metal wings, a long neck and powerful tail, and two huge pink pearls set in the plates covering its shoulders. The dragon's face was short and blunt in comparison to its long head and neck, its red eyes and small fanged mouth framed by the armor making up most of its body. The dragon roared, and all of Infinity around them trembled and seemed to become more solid. Latias started to find that she too felt somewhat more solid, as if some form of primordial matter was coating her spiritual essence. But matter didn't exist anymore, did it? When the multiverse had finally ended, all molecules and atoms and everything else that made up material things had ceased to exist. Everything had, save for souls, which are made of something else entirely, a strange and everlasting quintessence that could not be diminished and only grew stronger over time.

Arceus looked to the remaining eggshell fragment floating on his right side, and suddenly it, too, turned into a dragon, this one four-legged with sharp claws and covered in dark blue skin with various light blue lines streaming along the sides of its body. Gray metallic portions, such as the spines on the back of its long neck, the fan-shaped plate growing from its rump just above its short tail, and the large chestplate covering its front that had a big blue diamond set in its center stood out starkly and complemented its blue hide. It had a long crest growing from the back of its head somewhat like a dinosaur's. Its face looked a lot like that of the pink-pearled dragon, short and blunt with glowing red eyes. This dragon also roared, causing the somewhat solidified Infinity around them to ripple and become more fluid. Another strange sensation passed over Latias, and she realized to her surprise that time suddenly existed, and was flowing again, something that had not occurred since the multiverse's end some…er…well, a while ago. Though it was hard to say how long ago, since time hadn't existed then and…oh, you get the idea.

"I am Palkia, Ruler of Space!" the gray-white dragon with the pink pearls bellowed.

"And I am Dialga, Ruler of Time!" the blue four-legged dragon shouted in reply.

The two dragons glared at each other, and lightning literally crackled between their glowing eyes. Latias groaned, sensing that a rivalry even greater than Groudon and Kyogre's stupid feud had just begun.

"Stop," Arceus said calmly. And just like that, the tension between the two dragon rulers vanished, the animosity they shared dissipating into nothingness. Latias gawked in disbelief. She had never seen a potential argument diffused so cleanly in all her lives. Rayquaza had always needed to beat some sense into Groudon and Kyogre, and her human friends Ash and Misty had generally been left alone when they argued since it was usually just a way for them to vent sexual frustration and generally led to…well, you know. "There is no need for you to fight. You are siblings, and both your powers are needed in conjunction if we are to make a new reality to replace the old one."

The dragons bowed their heads in obeisance. "Yes, Father."

"Palkia, you will create all the forms of matter and space required to construct the multiverse. Your control over reality will allow you to build universes and dimensions layered on top of and beside each other to create a glorious multifaceted matrix latticework of worlds beyond compare," Arceus said. "Dialga, your mastery over time will allow these worlds to flow forward, and grow, and flourish, rather than remaining locked in stasis. This is necessary for life to develop, since nothing living can exist for long in a motionless, paralyzed world. Such a state is literally worse than death, for a being trapped in such a world can neither live nor die, and is little more than a helpless statue." He frowned. "However…even in a world where time is allowed to flow like water, living things cannot truly be called 'alive' without the vital ingredients of knowledge, emotion, and willpower. And so, to that end…" To Latias' amazement, the fur on Arceus' sides shifted and suddenly a pair of long, slender arms extended out from his body. Rather than being clad in gleaming white fur, these limbs looked to be made out of some sort of cosmic matter…Latias could swear she saw stars and planets in the depths of those not-quite solid arms. Each arm ended in an equally slender hand with long, tapered fingers. The limbs looked almost human, except for the aforementioned cosmic matter they were made out of, and the fact that each hand had seven fingers. The arms stretched out before Arceus, bending multiple times from multiple joints, and clasped their hands together before his face, tightly interweaving their fingers together. Arceus focused his eyes on the clasped hands, and they pressed against each other harder. Light shone forth from the cracks between the fingers, and Latias and the other two dragons watched in awe, sensing an incredible amount of power being concentrated between those hands, the kind of power that could be used to make entire universes…

And then the hands parted, and a large, shimmering egg banded in yellow, magenta, and dark blue stripes floated there before them. The egg pulsated three times, and then shattered in a brilliant flash of light, releasing a trio of tiny, elfin beings who looked utterly microscopic compared to the great God that had birthed them and the twin dragons he had made before them. Heck, even Latias felt bigger compared to these three newcomers!

The trio of new beings were identical in body structure; each had blue skin and a plump, pear-shaped body with two tails encrusted with red gems at the end as well as small, pointed, upturned legs and somewhat longer arms ending in three small fingers. Each of them also had a red gem imbedded in their forehead. However, while their bodies (and foreheads) were the same, their heads were not. One of them had a partially yellow face with a yellow helmet that looked somewhat like a brain covering its head and two eyes tightly shut behind yellow lids. Another had a partially magenta face with four long, drooping hair-like appendages and half-lidded yellow eyes. The third and final one had a cone-shaped dark blue head with fins to the side and wide open yellow eyes. They were all very cute, and reminded Latias somewhat of Mew, Celebi and Jirachi…which also meant that they had to possess some awesome power, since the cute ones always did.

"Wow," said Palkia. "They're…small."

"Yeah," Dialga agreed. "Very small."

Latias frowned at them. "Big things can come in small packages."

"Yeah, you'd say that, small thing," Palkia grunted. She frowned at him. There was a pause. He looked at her in confusion. "Who're you?"

"Uh, I'm Latias," she said.

"Oh," said Palkia, clearly still confused.

"You wanna go out sometime?" Dialga asked her. Both Latias and Palkia stared at him in disbelief. "What? She's kind of cute…"

"Uh, thanks…I think…but I'm taken," said a rather disturbed Latias.

"Oh," said Dialga.

The two dragons glanced about, seeing nobody else but Latias, Arceus, the three new Pokemon, and themselves about. They exchanged confused looks "Does…that make you our mom or something?" Palkia asked.

Latias flushed. "N-NO! Definitely not!" she stammered. She desperately hoped she wasn't their mother. Then again, they were dragons, and Rayquaza was a part of Arceus, so…oh no, was this why she had been excluded? To play mother to his children? Ugh, and she had thought the prospect of being the literal Mother of God was going to be tough…but playing babysitter to these two? Well, now she knew how Rayquaza and Lugia had always felt, having to take care of idiot charges…

The three smaller newborns stirred, drawing the three dragons' attentions back to them. "I am Uxie, the Being of Knowledge," said the yellow pixie emotionlessly. "I know all there is to know or ever will be to know, and will bestow upon living beings intelligence so that they may improve their quality of life."

"If you know everything, what am I thinking right now?" Dialga asked skeptically.

"That Palkia's color and pearls make him look gay," Uxie replied.

"HEY!" Palkia roared, eyes and pearls flashing as chaotic energy crackling around his body. "I am NOT gay! Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, I mean, but I'm totally not like that, you douche! And to prove it, I'm gonna shove a Spacial Rend up your ass!"

Dialga smirked. "Oh wow, sticking things up my butt, that really shows you're heterosexual…" Palkia bellowed in fury, causing Infinity to tremble, and lunged forward.

"Stop," Arceus said, silencing the Space Dragon's rage with a single word once again. "He is trying to make you angry on purpose so you will make yourself look like a fool. There is no reason for you to satisfy him."

Palkia sighed and bowed his head. "Yes, Father…" Dialga snickered. Palkia glared at him, fumed, crossed his arms and turned away. "Only a guy who's totally secure in his masculinity looks good in pink, anyway…" he grumbled under his breath.

"And Dialga, you should not provoke your brother, it isn't nice," Arceus continued. Dialga scowled, and Palkia stuck his tongue out at the blue dragon. Dialga grimaced and blew a raspberry in return.

"I am Mesprit, the Being of Emotion," the magenta fairy said kindly, getting them back on track. "I will be the source of all emotion and feeling in the worlds that are to come, and will teach living beings the nobility of sorrow, pain, and joy."

"What's noble about being sad or hurt?" asked a confused Dialga.

"Lots of things," Mesprit said defensively.

"I know a lot of people who'd agree with you…except that most of them are angsty and whine all the time and write bad poetry and stuff like that, much to everyone else's annoyance," Latias joked. Mesprit glared at her, clearly not finding it as funny.

"And I am Azelf, the Being of Willpower," the blue elf said spiritedly. "I will grant living beings the drive to do things, to move forward and evolve, rather than staying mired in the present."

Palkia snorted. "Psh, that's it? Sounds like you got the bottom of the barrel when it comes to power and duty."

"Yeah, isn't that my job?" asked Dialga.

Azelf flushed. "No, you make time go forward, I make people go forward, they're totally not the same thing! They're not the same thing, right guys?"

"Right," Uxie and Mesprit said.

Mesprit stuck his tongue out at Dialga. "See? I do have an important job!"

The blue dragon rolled his eyes. "Sure, just keep telling yourself that…"

"That's enough," Arceus said firmly, silencing all of them. "All five of you have important tasks vital to the maintenance of reality and the existence of living things. However…while we now have the ingredients to make worlds and fill them with knowledge and feeling, all your powers are meaningless if there isn't actually any life populating those universes to begin with." He grew another pair of cosmic arms, which once more clasped hands in front of him. "And so…" He concentrated, once more focusing power into his entwined hands as he had before. However, everyone present could feel there was something different this time about what Arceus was making; the energy given off by the hidden form between the deity's hands was much stronger than the energy that had been used to create the fairy trio…perhaps, just possibly, even stronger than what was used to create the dragons of time and space? This possibility disturbed everyone.

Finally, Arceus parted his hands, revealing a small pink vaguely cat-like creature with a very long tail and a serene expression on its face. As all of them looked on and Latias' jaw dropped in disbelief, the pink kitty slowly opened its beautiful blue eyes as it awakened to life and blinked as it looked about at everyone. "Hi!"

"Hi," Palkia, Dialga, and the fairy trio replied.

"Mew?! What the…what're you doing here?!" cried a startled Latias.

"Huh? You know her?" asked a confused Palkia.

"Mew? Yeah, we were pretty good friends back in a couple of my previous incarnations," said the confused Latias.

"What? That can't be possible, Father made her just now. There's no way you could have know her from before!" Dialga argued, looking annoyed.

"She's thinking of a different Mew," Uxie announced. "Who was one of three that made up the living embodiment of what was basically the 'good half' of Father before his recent reunification. This new Mew was crafted from the same soul and persona of the original, and has the same basic purpose as that one, but is much more powerful, so that she can take up the role that Latias recalls as the 'Mother' all by herself."

"Yep, that's me!" Mew said, sounding pleased with herself. She caught her tail moving out of the corner of her eye, squealed in delight, and started chasing it around and around in circles.

Everyone except for Arceus sweatdropped. Latias sighed. "Yeah, that's the Mew I remember, all right…"

"Catch!" yelled Mew, conjuring a big pink bubble of…something out of thin air and hurling it at Azelf, who was too surprised by her sudden and unexpected attack to react in time and so got hit head-on by the bubble, which burst and flung him head over heels away, wailing at the top of his lungs. Mew pouted, as everyone else (once more, aside from Arceus) stared incredulously. "Darn, his reflexes are slow. Oh well, we'll just have to work on that."

"Was the Mew you remember like that, too?" a disturbed Mesprit asked Latias.

"Be grateful there's just one of her and Celebi and Jirachi haven't been reborn yet," Latias said flatly. "When those three got together, they could create miracles…and unbelievable chaos. You wouldn't imagine the amount of weird hybrids and time warps and giant robots that always had to be cleaned up in their wake whenever they left town." Latias shuddered. "Then again, if she's as powerful now as she was when she was the Mother, when all three of them were combined…she might be able to do all that, and more, all by herself." Palkia, Dialga, and Mesprit exchanged horrified looks. Uxie just floated there emotionlessly. A grumbling Azelf, rubbing where the bubble had hit his head, flew back over to the group, glaring angrily at Mew, who seemed to be cheerfully oblivious to his resentment.

"Uh, Father, not to question your judgment or anything, but…what exactly did you make this…Mew for?" Mesprit asked anxiously.

"I created Mew so that the universes we are about to create will be filled with life," Arceus explained. "Within her is every possible combination of DNA and genetic material in existence. Since her body contains the essence of life itself, she will be able to seed the empty worlds we will make with life that will grow from the blood within her. This will make her the true Mother of all living things, and also give her the power to change into any form she could possibly wish for, since all those forms exist within her."

"I can even turn into any of you," said Mew, glowing and suddenly expanding to form a perfect replica of Dialga. "Neat, huh?"

"Um, I guess that's one word for it…" said a freaked-out Dialga. Palkia snickered.

"Wait, she has our DNA too?!" asked an alarmed Azelf.

"Yep," said Mew, turning into a duplicate of Azelf. "Yours too," she added, suddenly transforming into what Latias recognized as what she herself had used to look like, back when she had been alive. She frowned. Had her hips really been that big?

"So you made Mew so she can create life," said Mesprit.

"Precisely," said Arceus.

"But you made us all by yourself…so why can't you just create all life too using your own power?" asked a confused Palkia.

"Because a good God needs to know when to delegate," Arceus replied. He paused. "That, and I made her to be my mate." Everyone's jaws dropped.

"Really? Cool!" Mew chirped, resuming her original form.

"Hmm…" Latias shrugged. "Eh, I guess I've seen weirder couples."

"But-but you made her after us!" Azelf protested. "So not only is she practically your daughter, but she's our little sister! She's too young to be our Mother!"

"Yeah, doesn't that make her family or something?" Mesprit grimaced in disgust. "Incest is gross!"

"Plus, she's so, you know, small," Palkia pointed out. "How are you going to…uh…"

"Do it?" Dialga finished.

Arceus frowned at them. At least, it felt like he was frowning, even though he didn't have a mouth. "I am the One. Do you really think an inconsequential thing like size would really get in my way? And besides, it isn't incest if I say it's not."

"So there," Mew said, blowing a raspberry at them. They sweatdropped.

"…Well, I guess that's that then," Mesprit said finally, still disturbed.

"I suppose it is," Uxie said emotionlessly.

Dialga sulked. "Man, I can't believe we have a tiny pink thing as a mom now…"

"Yeah, this bites!" Palkia agreed.

Mew frowned, floated over, and proceeded to hit both the dragons on the head repeatedly with her tail, which made a surprisingly good whip, especially with that heavy bit at the end. "Owowowowowow!" they yelped in pain.

"Now boys, that's no way to talk about a woman, let alone your mother," Mew lectured the duo. "So I don't want to hear anymore of that language while I'm around! And don't think you can get away with it by saying it inside your head, I can read your minds. I'm always watching you."

Palkia and Dialga swallowed nervously. "Y-yes, Mom."

"Whatever you say."

Latias rolled her eyes. "For some reason I get the feeling that whenever somebody gets around to writing the creation story, they'll edit this part out…"

Arceus nodded, looking pleased. "Everything is ready. We have time, space, knowledge, emotion, willpower, and life. These are what are needed to create the new reality…one better than the last one, no longer trapped in an endless cycle of suffering and death."

"You know, 'endless cycle of suffering and death' actually sounds like a good name for a rock band," Palkia commented. Everyone stared at him. "What? It would be!"

"I would argue, but my old friends the Pokerockers would probably agree," Latias muttered. Her eyes widened. "Oh! Arceus!"

Arceus turned his great green eyes on her. "Yes, Latias?"

She reflexively shrunk into herself. She couldn't help it. He was just so big…and not just physically, either. "I-I was wondering…my friends. You've brought back Mew. Are you going to bring back…anyone else?"

Arceus nodded. "The souls for living beings must come from somewhere, since without it, even if life possesses knowledge, emotion, and willpower, it is meaningless without the quintessence that distinguishes it as being truly sentient and, in its own way, eternal…and since I already contain the memories and personas of all those who lived in the reality before this one, why not reuse those souls and give them life once more? I will be more careful than I was before in granting them existence, however…one of the reasons that the last reality became so bad was because there was, essentially, nobody directing it. All of my conscious self was divided up among the countless souls scattered and fighting across creation, leaving my subconscious power to keep things running…but without guidance, it drove the worlds into an endless cycle of futile and pointless battles between opposing forces that always resulted in death for everyone in the end. This time, I will not allow that to happen. I shall draw the essence of the souls from myself, but I will continue to manifest my will in this form; I will govern the universes from a place of my choosing, to keep the tides of order and chaos in a balance suitable for life…and yet I will not be too firm or controlling in doing so, for I do not wish to be a tyrant dictating every aspect of the lives of my children. I will be keeping a closer eye on them than I was able to before, and I will make my intentions and hopes for them known beforehand, but I will allow them to live their lives in whichever way they choose to, for it is only through the exercise of free will that a being with a soul can truly call itself alive, and not a puppet dancing to an unseen Other's strings."

"And my friends will be among the souls that you're going to bring back, right?" Latias asked hopefully. She was fascinated by all that Arceus was talking about—how could she not be, was it even possible to not be fascinated by something said by God?—but she was rather anxious to know the answer to her question.

Arceus nodded again. "Indeed…as well as the soul of the one whom you miss most, the one with whom your destiny is inextricably bound. You will see all of them again."

Her heart leapt with joy. "When?"

"Not yet," Arceus said, dashing Latias' hopes. "Do not fret, little one. You will see them all again, indeed…but there is little point in bringing them into the world if there is no world for them to be brought into, now is there?"

"Wait, then why'd you bring us into existence?" asked Dialga.

"So you could make the worlds that everyone else would live in," Uxie said in monotone.

"Oh," said Dialga.

Azelf frowned. "Wait, then is that it? Were we just created to make universes for and serve those who will come after us? What kind of a life is that? Don't we have a say in anything? Can't we have lives of our own? You said that you would allow living beings to use free will at their own discretion, doesn't that apply to us, too?"

The others frowned, starting to get indignant expressions on their faces. "Hey, yeah! Doesn't it?" Palkia asked.

Uh-oh, Latias thought uneasily, not liking where this was going. From the concerned expression on Mew's face, neither was Arceus' new mate.

Arceus himself, however, seemed to take the potential rebellion of his children in good stride. "Of course it does. I created you to help me construct a new reality, after which I would have let you roam free to do whatever you wished, so long as you did not seek to harm the life you helped me bring into being. But if you would rather have your freedom now, then you may have it, and do whatever you wish with your lives. It will be harder and will take longer for me to create the new world without you, but if you do not wish to help me, it is your right to choose not to if you so desire." He shrugged. "I will not stand in your way."

Arceus' four children (Uxie hadn't gotten involved) looked confused, and maybe a little hurt. "You won't even try to stop us from leaving?" asked an upset Mesprit.

"Don't we mean anything to you at all?" asked an unhappy Dialga.

"Of course you do. I love all of you as my dear children," Arceus said calmly. "And it is because I love you that I will allow you to live freely if you so choose. As I said before, I am not a tyrant, and I believe in the exercise of free will. I will miss you if you leave, but it is because I love you that I will allow you to go, if that is what you want."

The four children started looking guilty. "Now hold on, we didn't say we wanted to leave!" Palkia said quickly.

"Yeah, we were just wondering how much you really cared about us, and if we were more than tools to you," Azelf added.

"Of course we'll help you build the new world. That's what you made us for, right?" Mesprit said. "I mean, yeah, we could choose not to, but…if you don't fulfill the purpose you were created for, what kind of life can you live, really?"

"What she said," Dialga added.

Latias raised an eyebrow and glanced at Uxie. "He knew that would change their minds, didn't he?"

"Duh," Uxie replied blandly. "I did, too."

"Because you know everything," Latias guessed.

Uxie nodded. "Pretty much."

"Even why Arceus chose to exclude me from being unified with the other souls, and what he has in mind for me?" Latias pressed.

Uxie paused. "…Yeah, but I'm not going to tell you. He wouldn't like that."

Latias shrugged, somewhat disappointed but not really surprised. "Oh well, it was worth a try."

Arceus nodded gratefully to his offspring. "Very well. I would be more than happy to have your assistance. Thank you for choosing to aid me in building this new reality. Without your help, things would have been harder, and it would have been more likely that the new world would share many of the flaws that made the last one so unlivable."

The children nodded. "Right," said Palkia, slapping his claws together. "So let's get started already!"

"Awww," Mew said happily. "I'm glad that ended well. Now we're a big happy family! Let's have a group hug!" Her 'kids' gave her awkward looks. She frowned. "What, you don't want to? Too bad, I'm in the mood, and there's no stopping me when I want something! HUG!" The children of Arceus cried out in alarm (except for Uxie, as usual) as Mew abruptly and without warning grew as big as Arceus himself (well, maybe a little smaller), grabbed the kids in her short arms (which were now bigger than they were) and pressed them all to her chest (despite their shouts of protest and alarm), a blissful expression on her face. "I feel all warm and fuzzy inside…although I suppose I usually do…oh well, I don't really care."

Latias blinked, wondering if she should be grateful or envious that she wasn't getting a hug. She found herself missing Rayquaza again and sighed unhappily. "You are troubled," Arceus said, startling her. "What is wrong?"

"Oh, s-sorry, I just…I really miss him…you know who," she said sadly. "You'd have to, he's inside of you…" She looked up at the Original One. "I don't suppose there's enough of him inside of you still conscious enough to miss me too?" Arceus said nothing. Latias sighed. "I know you said there was no point in bringing my friends back until there's a world for them to be brought into, but…you brought Mew back. Couldn't you bring back Rayquaza, too? Just for a little while?"

"I have plans for Rayquaza…just as I have plans for many of your friends, and even yourself," Arceus said after a moment. "But…the time is not yet right. Before I can enact those plans, I need to lay down the foundation for them, and to do that, I must create the new reality. Only when all the universes have been completed and the myriad worlds filling them have been seeded with life can I bring back Rayquaza and your other friends. And only then will you understand what I have in mind for you."

Somehow, she was not surprised that Arceus had a place for her in the new reality he was making. Why else would she still be here? "That's something else I've been wondering…why did you choose me, out of all the other countless souls inside of you, to be excluded from your rebirth? Why didn't you let me be a part of you, and just choose someone else to do whatever it is you want me to do?"

He looked at her for a moment. "That," he said finally. "Is something you must figure out for yourself."

She sighed. "Why am I not surprised?"

"Hey, what are you guys doing standing there by yourselves? I wanna hug you too!" Mew yelled, interrupting Latias and Arceus' conversation by glomping Latias. Thankfully, she had reverted to her usual size, and so did not dwarf the dragon girl. Latias was somewhat surprised that she could be hugged at all, considering that she was still a spirit, but chalked it up to whatever proto-matter had formed on her when Palkia was born. In any event, Mew's hug felt good…like hugs were supposed to. It still didn't make her feel as good as she did whenever Rayquaza held her in his great coils, though…

"You're too depressed," Mew complained, letting go of her. She glanced at her mate. "Hmmph. You sure you can't just bring back her boyfriend now?"

"No, I cannot," Arceus repeated.

Mew shrugged. "Oh well. Guess I won't give you a hug, then. Or do anything…else. After all, we are supposed to be mates now."

Arceus shrugged back. "If that is what you wish."

"Ew, Mom! Don't talk about you and Father doing it! That's gross!" Dialga whined.

"I'm still wondering how they'd do it…" said Palkia.

"Well, aside from the rather obvious size changing ability Mew and Arceus both possess, they could also-" Uxie started.

"WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW THAT BADLY!" everyone else yelled at him.

Latias sweatdropped. "Yep, definitely getting edited out of the Creation story…"

It was not long after that when Arceus managed to rally his new family together, and they set about the process of constructing the new reality. Latias got to watch alongside Mesprit, Uxie, Azelf, and Mew, since they weren't really needed at the moment for more than moral support. It was…an incredibly awe-inspiring sight, to witness Arceus, Palkia, and Dialga essentially construct not just one multiverse, but hundreds of thousands of them, essentially out of thin air. Even billions of years later, Latias would still be unable to find the right words to describe what she witnessed there at the dawn of the new world, and she had seen a lot of universes being created and destroyed throughout her many lifetimes. However, all of those times the universes had been made essentially on automatic, as Arceus had said before. Basically the same elements and structures being recycled over and over again.

But this…this was something new, something different. After all, a picture created by an unthinking and emotionless computer was nowhere near as vivid and colorful and alive as a painting made by a true master. And that was, essentially, what was being created before her.

Arceus and his sons had decided to begin their great work by creating what would amount to the core of all reality, for, as Arceus said, "Without the center, the rest cannot stand." This core would be where Arceus himself would live, since he was essentially the Source of everything, and all things would naturally radiate from him, so it really wouldn't make much sense for him to be anywhere else than at the cornerstone of all Creation. Bending time and space like silly putty (and basically producing tons of the stuff from nothingness), father and sons created a dimension of breathtaking beauty as big as an average-sized multiverse with a single gargantuan planet (the biggest Latias had ever seen) dominating the center of this universe, orbited by thousands of smaller moons and planetoids with a million suns lining the periphery of the cosmos and bathing the inner worlds in continuous light that made everything it touched look more beautiful the longer it shone on it….and most of the things there were pretty beautiful to begin with. The planet and the surrounding moons were not made of physical matter as Latias knew it but what essentially amounted to solidified light, energy, and thought, all of which could be constantly shaped and reshaped by the wills and wishes of the people who would one day populate that universe. This made it, quite literally, a place where dreams could come true.

Of course, not all those dreams were essentially good or wise ones, as was made evident when Palkia decided to erect an immense (and oddly phallic) tower dedicated to himself on one side of the giant planet, which naturally led to Dialga making one on the other side that was taller, causing Palkia to make his first one bigger, which made Dialga build up his bigger, and so on and so forth until they had huge palaces that totally dominated the surface of the planet with spires that scratched the edges of the universe. They didn't last very long though; when Azelf sneezed (due to Mew tickling his nose with a feather) the palaces collapsed on themselves and disintegrated, much to the chagrin of the two brothers, and the amusement of everyone else. "Without a strong bedrock of will to support it, the most grandiose of dreams is little more than an empty jar; devoid of content and as easy to shatter as glass," Arceus lectured his sons.

Azelf stuck his tongue out at the embarrassed dragons. "See? I told you willpower was important."

Arceus explained that this universe, dubbed the Celestial Heavens, would be the place from which his power would spread throughout the new reality and sustain the spirits of living things everywhere…once living things actually existed, that is. He would dwell on the central planet, called 'Source,' and watch over all of Creation with his family, those who were close to him, and those who served him and carried out his will throughout the worlds.

Using his willpower, he caused a magnificent city the size of several continents put together made of equal parts crystal, stone, vegetation, metal, and solid light to arise from the surface of Source. This city would be Elysium, the holy capitol, the place from which all of reality would be run. It would serve as both a place of residence for many of the beings who would occupy the Celestial Heavens and serve Arceus' will as well as be a giant cosmic computer of sorts which would keep some of the more fundamental and complex elements of Creation working smoothly.

He then caused an enormous tree bigger than any other that Latias had ever seen and larger than most solar systems to sprout from the opposite side of the planet. Arceus called this tree Yggdrasil, and said it was also there to help support reality, plus it 'looked nice' and had good 'feng shui.' While Mew tried to stop her big draconic 'sons' from 'marking their territory' on the giant tree, Latias commented that everything that had been built so far was very impressive but seemed rather empty. Arceus assured her that there would be plenty of people living in this universe soon enough, they just hadn't gotten around to making them yet.

Before moving onto the next phase of their great work, Dialga used his temporal powers at his father's behest to cause time to flow through the Celestial Heavens in such a way so that the longer something existed in that universe, the stronger and more real it would become, in contrast to how many things had been in the previous reality, in which things got weaker and decayed due to entropy and aging the longer they were around. This would make the mind's power over the matter of the Celestial Heavens even stronger, and not only ensured that its reality would be controlled by those with the strongest hearts and minds but essentially meant that anything which dwelled in that place long enough effectively became immortal and everlasting, yet would continue changing to become better and more beauteous as it aged, rather than stagnating in stasis. When Latias queried if Arceus planned for all of reality to have a similar flow of time, he confessed that it would probably not be the best idea. "Living beings will be able to exist in places like this either upon their death or when they, as individuals or species, have evolved biologically, psychologically, and spiritually to the point where they deserve to receive this form of immortality. I love my children dearly and do not want them to suffer excessively, but I also do not want to coddle them. Giving them a gift like this from the start would only lead to corruption and indolence, so if they want me to give them true immortality, they must prove themselves worthy first by earning it on their own merit."

"I guess that makes sense," Latias admitted. "But then does that mean you're going to use the same structure of time flow that the old reality had as the basis for the other universes you're going to build? I thought the excessive amount of entropy in that kind of time flow was one of the reasons the old reality got so bad…another reason it did, I mean. There were an awful lot of causes…"

"Yes, entropy will be a part of the cosmos, for without it there is either temporal paralysis or timelessness similar to the immortality which, as I have already explained, I will not give to my children until they have earned it," Arceus said. "However, I will use it to a much lesser extent than it existed in the prior incarnation of reality, so that people will have longer lives and those lives will be a little less hard and freer of suffering."

"Is freer actually a word?" Palkia asked skeptically.

"Yes," said Uxie.

"And if it wasn't before, it is now," Arceus added.

"Mother, stop throwing stuffed animals at me!" Dialga cried.

"I don't wanna," Mew said childishly, continuing to conjure stuffed animals out of thin air and hurling them telekinetically at Dialga.

"We have such a weird family…" muttered Mesprit.

"Yeah," Azelf agreed.

"I've seen worse," Latias said nonchalantly.

"There have been and will be weirder ones," Uxie promised.

Once the Celestial Heavens were finished (save for actually getting people to live there), Arceus led everyone outside the universe and, with the help of his dragon sons, constructed a dense shell of smaller, empty universes to cover the exterior 'wall' of the Celestial Heavens. Dialga made it so that time in these universes would flow pretty much the same way it did in the Celestial Heavens, while Palkia made the matter of these empty universes even more mutable to thought than the Celestial Heavens themselves were. Arceus explained that these universes would be afterlifes for the countless souls who would inevitably die at some point in time and needed somewhere to go. They were empty because, rather than imposing his own opinion on what sort of afterlife his children would come to when they died, he would allow them to choose all by themselves. The souls would drift into whichever afterlife universe resonated the most with them, then use their preconceived notions of what the world beyond would be like to turn that universe into the ideal afterlife for them. The various afterlifes would be connected so that souls could travel from one place to another to visit family or friends who might have wound up somewhere else, or just to explore the many heavens spawned by the imaginations of the living. If the dead souls ever tired of their afterlife, they could choose to either be reincarnated back in the mortal realm, or go further inward to the Celestial Heavens and seek employment in the service of Arceus. "I see no reason to create a Hell or Purgatory to punish those who are wicked," he said, after inspecting the ready and waiting blank afterlifes and finding them satisfactory. "Since the afterworld the dead find themselves in will be a reflection of their own hearts, evil souls will find themselves trapped in a literal hell of their own making…unable to break free until they realize the error of their ways and strive to redeem themselves."

"That makes sense," said Mesprit. The others nodded in agreement…

Except for Latias. "Wait, what?! Evil souls?! But…but I thought evil wasn't going to exist anymore! Wasn't that the entire point of everything that happened in the last reality, of all the battles and suffering and sacrifices that had to be made, to create a new universe free of evil?!"

Arceus gave her a regretful look. "That was indeed the point of everything you and those alongside you fought for…but while you did succeed in destroying the endless cycle that pitted souls against each other in life and death and caused much suffering and misery so that we could all start anew…it is all but impossible to create a reality completely free of evil for all time, for evil is a sad but inevitable consequence of granting free will to the living…for if people can choose to do good, they can also choose not to." He sighed wearily. "The only way to prevent that from occurring would be to restrict or eliminate free will entirely…and by doing so, would I not myself become evil?"

"…I suppose that makes sense," Latias said reluctantly, seeing the truth in Arceus' words. "But…if that's the case, then was everything we did for nothing?"

"Not for nothing, dear," Mew said reassuringly, putting a warm arm on the distraught dragon's shoulder. "We're going to make sure what happened the last time won't happen again, right honey?"

Arceus nodded. "While I cannot eradicate evil forever without infringing on free will or the minds of my children, there is something I can do to reduce or better combat evil whenever it should appear…and you will have a part in that something, Latias."

Latias blinked. "I will?"

"Yes…but your role is not something I am ready to disclose just yet," Arceus said enigmatically. "You will find out when the time is right."

Latias sighed. "Like when I'm going to get Rayquaza back, huh?"

"Pretty much," Arceus admitted.

"Hey Father, Palkia hit me when you weren't looking. Does that make him evil so you can put him in an afterlife reflecting his twisted heart?" Dialga asked hopefully.

"Hey! He's lying, which makes him eviler! I only hit him because he hit me first!" Palkia protested.

"I only hit you because you made fun of the way my head's shaped!" Dialga snarled.

"And I only said that because you called me gay again!" Palkia roared.

"Stop that, both of you!" Mew scolded, whipping them on the heads with her tail. "Neither of you are evil, just childish and immature!"

"Owowowowowow!" they cried, rubbing where she had hit them.

"I'm glad we get along better than that," Mesprit said to her siblings.

"Yeah, really," Azelf agreed.

"Indeed," Uxie concurred.

"I mean no offense, but why didn't you make them a little…smarter and more mature?" Latias asked Arceus quietly.

"If they were too smart, they might try to use their powers in more effective ways to kill each other," Arceus replied. "Which would, of course, destroy the fabric of the reality we are trying to create."

She frowned. "Then why didn't you just make it so they'd get along instead of hating each other?"

"I didn't make it that way; they're acting like this of their own accord. Typical sibling rivalry," Arceus said with a shrug. "That and they both are terrified that I love one of them more than the other, so struggle for the self-perceived title of 'most cherished firstborn.' They do not seem to realize that I love both of them equally, but I suppose that's to be expected."

"I guess so," Latias admitted. "Then why aren't the other three acting like that?"

"Because we're not idiots like they are," said Uxie.

"And our powers are less volatile and dangerous than theirs are," Mesprit added.

"Yeah, what they said," said Azelf while picking his nose.

Now that the foundation of all reality had been laid down, it was time to begin the biggest step of all: making everything else. This would involve the creation of countless universes for the future living things to dwell in, and so would naturally be the most time-consuming task of all.

Palki and Dialga began by creating one hundred million trillion 'seed' universes and scattering them all over the place beyond the outermost layer of afterlifes encasing the Celestial Heavens. These seed universes were small at first, but with just a little coaxing from Palkia they ignited in spectacular Big Bangs, swelling up to enormous proportions (well, relatively enormous, they were all motes of dust compared to the Celestial Heavens) within milliseconds as countless complex nuclear reactions boiled through them and brought all kinds of matter into being. Palkia kept careful watch over the amounts of molecules and the types of elements that were being formed in these primordial furnaces, shifting the amounts of energy and the degree of the reactions which were occurring just enough so that each seed universe would have the proper climate to support life. Arceus himself altered each universe just a little further once most of the matter that would be created had been, tweaking the laws of physics and reality and magic in each universe so that not only would each universe be potentially capable of supporting different kinds of living beings, the sorts of things they would be capable of doing would differ from universe to universe.

Dialga then took over, using his power over time to rewind and duplicate the birth of each seed universe, causing each seed to suddenly find itself surrounded by billions of identical siblings. Arceus touched each of these new 'clone' universes and altered every one in subtle, not immediately visible ways, guaranteeing that when life arose in those universes, while it might be similar to those in the neighboring universes, it would not be exactly the same. "Part of the fun of having a multiverse is seeing how the same people you might be familiar with in one world differ in a parallel one," Arceus explained. Dialga continued tinkering with the time flow of the new trillions of multiverses, making it so that time would flow basically forward and that things would be born and eventually decay and die, but it would generally take longer and not be such a painful process as it had been in the previous reality. He also rigged up an incredibly complex system by which the timelines of each individual universe would be able to grow outward through the fourth dimension from their point of origin, splitting and branching and becoming more diverse as they got older, yet still able to intertwine with the timelines of some of the parallel universes in the same multiverse when two or more universes became so similar that they eventually merged. In fact, he set things up so that some day, in the very, very, very distant future, all universes would eventually merge together and form one gargantuan 'megaverse' of sorts, with the Celestial Heavens at its center. Latias wasn't sure she understood how that worked, but then again, temporal mechanics had never been her forte. "That won't happen for a while, in any event, so in the meantime, let's just call this the 'omniverse,'" Arceus said decisively.

"Catchy," commented Mew.

"I know, that's why I'm calling it that."

While the new multiverses grew and continued to bud and expand, Arceus returned to Source and sprouted thousands and thousands of cosmic arms, which he then used to weave parts of his fur into strings with which he sewed the young omniverse together, so that he was connected to every star and planet and grain of dirt in every universe in every multiverse, and every star and planet and grain of dirt in every universe in every multiverse was connected to him. But he did not stop there, he also wove more strands that connected every object within a universe together, and strands that connected every universe in a multiverse, and other strands that connected every multiverse, and still more strands that connected everything in every multiverse to everything in every other multiverse, creating an unimaginably complex and intricate web which tied all things together, so that all of Creation was inextricably bound to everything else in an enormous pattern which it hurt Latias' head to look at. "Guess this proves string theory," she said.

Arceus nodded. "Indeed. These superstrings will bind everything in Creation together. By manipulating these strings, we will be able to watch over and understand all living things…and in return, by manipulating the strings, all living things will be able to understand and even control each other."

"Is that a good thing?" asked an alarmed Latias.

"It is what it is," said Arceus. "Some will take advantage of these ties to commit evil, but that is inevitable. Others will use them to perform good deeds, or to prevent evil ones from coming to pass. That is what we will do."

"Oh…I suppose that makes sense," Latias admitted. "What are they made of, anyway?"

"Love, of course," Arceus said.

Latias blinked. "Love?!"

"Well, duh, what else would it be?" Mew asked, rolling her eyes.

Mesprit nodded. "Yeah, love is one of the strongest forces there is…and if it wasn't before, it is now." Palkia and Dialga started gagging at the sappiness of that, until Mew whipped them on the heads.

When planets began to form from the planetisimals and particles in the solar nebulae that would eventually become star systems, Arceus called the three fairies to him and told them it was their turn to assist him. As they (and everyone else) watched, Arceus extended his many arms once more and scooped chunks of rock out of the surface of Source and levitated them in the air around him. Once the stones were in position, he wrote words into their surface, using his burning fingers as a stylus. "Another one of the problems which plagued the old reality was, due to lack of any central multiversal authority, people often had conflicts over belief. They either believed that I existed, or that I didn't, or that their interpretation of me was correct and everyone else's was wrong, and so everyone who was wrong needed to be killed or shown the error of their ways. These wars of faith have ravaged many a universe, and while the gods that were worshipped sometimes did in fact exist, they either didn't particularly care about the deaths made in their name or actually encouraged it. I intend to prevent, or at least reduce, the likelihood of new wars of faith being waged right from the start."

He gestured to the thousands of stones floating around him. "These stones are Law Rocks. They will be distributed to every planet in every universe, whether life will one day inhabit those worlds or not. These rocks will be completely indestructible and future skeptics and scientists will be able to verify that they were not made by mortal hands and have, in fact, existed for longer than their own worlds. The rocks will not only provide virtually inarguable proof that I exist, but will also convey messages of goodwill to my creations as well as an explanation of what it is that I expect from them in generally clear terms. They are more guidelines on how to live a good life than actual rules saying what I want them to do, though I am sure that interpretations of just what I mean will vary, hopefully not enough to lead sects of people who perceive different meanings in my messages to war against each other. They will also serve to remind all peoples that they are all my children and I love them equally, for I gave every planet a Law Rock, and so wanted everyone to know my hopes for them. In theory, this will help band different species together, for if they all share the same belief, and if everyone possesses a Law Rock which proves that I created them all basically equally, what reason would there be for them to fight each other?" He glanced at his family. "However, I am aware that theory is not necessarily the same thing as reality. So, to better enable these Law Rocks to bring peace…Uxie, infuse them with your knowledge so that people will know the instant they gaze upon them that they are the real thing and not some forgery, and so that everyone will be able to understand what the Rocks say no matter what their species or language, even if they don't actually know how to read. Mesprit, imbue them with your emotion so that my children will feel my love and hopes for them when they gaze upon the Rocks and understand at least in principle what it is that I expect from them. Azelf, grant them your willpower so that not only will those who see the Law Rocks aspire to follow my guidelines, but they will also have the strength to try and carry out those aspirations."

"Sure, no problem," said Mesprit, somewhat awed and humbled by the first task her father was giving to her and her siblings. "Right, guys?"

"Yeah, we can do that," Azelf agreed.

"Indubitably," Uxie said in monotone.

And that's just what they did. When they were finished, each of the Law Rocks glowed with a warm, soft light too high up the electromagnetic spectrum to be seen by most eyes, but to deities (and spirits) like those present, it was quite visible. Latias personally thought the message on the Law Rocks was pretty good, and was much more considerate and personalized than, 'We apologize for the inconvenience.' After they were done admiring the Rocks, Palkia used his spatial powers to replicate the stones which had already been produced so that there were enough for the entire omniverse, and then cast them off through wormholes so that each of them would reach the planets they were destined for.

When that task was finished, Arceus turned to Mew. "And now, the most important task of all must be performed. Everything we have done so far has merely been setting the stage for what is to come. You know what you must do."

Mew nodded. "Yep, I certainly do, Big Guy…but, I think I'm gonna need a little jumpstart, if you know what I mean." She fluttered her big blue eyes at him sensually.

"Very well," said Arceus.

And then they made love. Right there. In front of their somewhat disturbed and more than a little freaked-out children and Latias.

"Oh…uh…Father!" Palkia screamed, clutching his eyes. "I didn't need to see this!"

"If they weren't my parents, I'd have no problem watching this, but since they are, it seems horribly wrong!" Dialga agreed.

"It's a beautiful physical expression of true love…so why exactly do I feel like throwing up?" wondered Mesprit.

"You lucky bastard, you don't even have to watch this, since your eyes are always closed," Azelf accused Uxie enviously.

"Actually, since I know everything, I don't need to see with my eyes," Uxie said emotionlessly. "As such, every single moment of their passion is engraved into my brain…as well as every moment of every other time they will have intercourse, which, believe me, will be a lot…forever."

"…Oh," said Azelf. "Um…I…sorry."

"I also keep my eyes closed because anyone who looks into them will lose their memories," Uxie added.

"Oh! Then do you think you could…" Azelf asked.

"Very well." Uxie opened his eyes. Azelf looked into them. Uxie closed his eyes again.

Azelf blinked. "Who am I? Where am I? Hey, that big white thing and that smaller pink thing are having sex!"

"Yes," Uxie agreed. "Yes, they are." Mesprit sweatdropped.

Latias stared incredulously as she watched Arceus and Mew go at it. Although she supposed she should have felt disgusted, she felt more…well, inadequate than anything else. She hadn't necessarily thought that she and Rayquaza had the best sex ever, but she had always thought it was very good…until she saw how Arceus and Mew were doing it, and realized that she and Rayquaza were severely lacking in comparison. Well, at least I'm learning some new techniques to use when I see him again, she thought, trying to look on the bright side of things. While this did cheer her up somewhat, it also made her miss her soulmate even more.

After they had made love for approximately…one billion years (Dialga counted), Mew, thoroughly fertilized, went out into the omniverse. By this point, most of the solar systems had finished forming and the planets were cooling off from the violent seismic and volcanic upheavals which characterized the early phases of their life cycles, and were now just about ready to start producing life. Mew flew all over the place, seeding the planets and causing early bacteria and microbes to form, bacteria and microbes which would, eventually, begin to evolve and transform into more advanced forms of life under the watchful eyes of Arceus and his mate. She returned a few million years later (it had been a big job, even for a creature who could teleport and didn't need to obey the laws of physics governing the universes), looking very pleased with herself as the life she had planted began to flourish and become stronger and more complex, and she and Arceus had a quickie (only a few thousand years or so) to celebrate.

"You have all done well. Together we have constructed a new reality, and fertilized it with the seeds of life. Throughout the universes, those seeds are already blossoming, and in time they will become intelligent life forms possessing souls and capable of reason and love," Arceus told his family (and Latias). Mew and the kids congratulated themselves, until Arceus' tone of voice became sterner. "However, they will also be capable of evil and hatred."

"We already know that," said Latias. "You said it was a consequence of free will, and so you were going to allow it to happen."

Arceus shook his head. "Not exactly. Evil is an inevitable result of free will, and while it will indeed begin to exist on many worlds, there is no reason for us to let it flourish. If the madness and power-lust of a greedy individual or group threatens to oppress or destroy the free will of other living beings, we are obligated, as the creators and maintainers of reality, to do something about it. To that end, as my final act to set the stage for the birth of sentient life throughout the omniverse, I will create an organization, headquartered right here in the Celestial Heavens, dedicated to directly and indirectly eliminating evil whenever it rears its head throughout the worlds, as well as influencing particular events so that certain devastating catastrophes, whether natural, accidental, or intentional, will either never come to pass or have much less drastic effects. The members of this organization will be known as the 'Guardians.'"

"Sounds like as good a name as any," Mew commented.

"It certainly seems logical, if unoriginal," Uxie said emotionlessly.

"Uxie! Father decided to use it, so it can't be unoriginal!" Mesprit hissed.

"Yeah, because he's the Original One, so everything he does is original…I think…" Palkia said, blinking in confusion as everyone else rolled their eyes.

"That sounds like a good idea, but this isn't going to be the kind of organization that protects people by controlling every facet of their lives, is it?" Latias asked uneasily.

Arceus shook his head. "Of course not. If somebody decides to do something wicked, it's their choice…we'll just prepare for the consequences of that choice in advance and try to keep them from being too harmful to everyone else. We will do the same if we sense any other kind of disaster on the horizon, either subtly or directly influence the people involved in it so that they can, hopefully, resolve it on their own. I do not intend for any member of this organization to have to intervene in person unless there is absolutely no other option or if the threat is too great for us to do anything but get involved."

"Oh…that sounds good," Latias said, somewhat relieved.

"Wait, how will we be able to prepare for the consequences of a choice in advance? That implies we'd know people are going to make that choice in advance or something…which smacks of predestination…which eliminates free will, doesn't it?" asked a confused Azelf. "And that is NOT cool."

"Not necessarily," said Arceus. "Due to our position at the center of all universes, the Guardians will be able to manipulate and analyze the superstrings connecting everything to look for any…dissonances, imbalances, anything that might hint at a potential disaster on either a major or minor level, so that we can get ready for it. People will still have all the free will they want to choose to do something bad or not, but we'll have been monitoring the strings representing their minds in advance and been aware there was a chance they might decide to do something dangerous, so have prepared for it."

"Then we're basically reading everyone's minds?" asked an alarmed Latias, her doubts surfacing again.

"Well, if we're to do an effective job as the protectors of all reality, we're sort of going to have to, dear," Mew said apologetically. "And besides, it's not like we're going to do anything with most of the information and thoughts we gather that way, except for the ones that could potentially become hazards to other people. We won't be hurting anyone; we're trying to keep people from getting hurt. I know there may be some ethical connotations if you look at it in a certain way, but…I really think it's for the best."

"…I suppose," Latias said reluctantly. "I guess if it's for good purposes. It's just that power like that could be easily abused, you know?"

"Then we will try our hardest not to let it be abused," Arceus said firmly. "And Latias…that is where you come in. This is why I chose you to stay behind while all your other friends became a part of me."

Latias understood almost at once, now that she had all the appropriate context. It was a rather startling epiphany. "You want…me to be one of these 'Guardians'? Maybe even their leader?!"

"Perhaps not the leader," Arceus admitted. "But certainly an important member, and a symbol for everyone in the organization, and for people throughout the universes, of something to aspire towards…an ideal they can reach for…of what they, too, can do to become heroes."

Latias blinked. "Um…wow."

"Dude, that's awesome!" cried Palkia.

"Yeah, but why can't we have that job?" Dialga complained. Everyone stared at him. "What?"

"N-not to complain or anything--I mean, this is a big honor and all--but…" Latias stammered. "I don't think I understand. Why me?"

Arceus smiled. Or at least, she thought she did. It felt like he was smiling. "That," he said. "Is something you must discover for yourself."

"Oh," she said quietly.

Arceus tilted his head. "You do not have to take the position if you do not think-"

"No, no!" Latias protested. "I'll take the job, I'm just…you know, surprised, that's all. I'm not sure I actually deserve something like this."

"Which is one of the reasons you're perfect for the job," Mew said, looking amused.

"If you say so," Latias said doubtfully. "I don't really know how good I would be, but…if you think I can do it, and you think I'm worthy, then yes, I'll do it. I want to do my part to protect this new omniverse and everyone in it. I don't want what happened in our old reality to ever happen again." She hesitated. "But…before I do this, I have to know. You've been avoiding the subject for ages. What about my friends? If I become this high-ranking Guardian, will I ever see them again?"

"Of course you will," Arceus said. "I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them wound up becoming a part of our organization as well."

"Including Rayquaza?" she pressed.

Arceus nodded. "Yes, including Rayquaza. But he's not the only person close to you who will be a part of this…" A cosmic arm emerged from his side and bent down towards Latias. Its hand opened, revealing…

Latias gasped. "Latios!"

Latias' brother, a luminous blue and white dragon (currently a spirit, just like her), smirked and waved at her from Arceus' palm. "Hey, sis. Long time no see. What's up?"

Rather than answering, Latias shot forward and tackled her brother in a great hug that nearly knocked him out of Arceus' hand. "Brother, I…I've missed you so much…" She laid her head on his shoulder, eyes starting to tear up. "I almost can't believe you're really here..."

Latios gently took her head in his hands and lifted it off his shoulder so he could look her in the face. "Hey, hey, don't cry…I haven't gone anywhere. I've been right here, all along…all of us have." He put a claw on his sister's chest. "We never left. Not really. We've always been with you. You know that, right?"

Latias laughed and choked back a sob in the same breath. "I guess I did…I just didn't realize it until right now…and…" She glanced at him anxiously. "Is everyone okay in…in there?"

Latias grinned. "We're all fine. Better than fine, really. It's…I don't really know how to describe it. Like rapture or something. It's too bad you weren't able to join the rest of us in there, you were badly missed. I'm…almost sorry to be leaving, actually," he admitted. "But," he said, before she could say anything to protest. "I'm more than happy to leave if I'm needed elsewhere. With you. And I know everyone else will be, too."

Latias hugged her larger sibling, really crying now. "Oh, brother…"

"Oh, brother," Palkia and Dialga both said in a different tone of voice while making faces of disgust.

"Awwww, that's so cute! HUG!" Mew squealed, grabbing the three fairies and hugging all of them tightly.

"Mom…can't…breathe…" Azelf choked.

"We don't need air, we don't actually breathe," Uxie said flatly.

Azelf blinked. "Why didn't anyone tell me that before now?!"

Arceus extended another one of his arms. "Latias and Latios…the twin dragons, and soon to be the first Guardians; symbols of order and goodness throughout the omniverse." He opened the hand of his second arm. "Each of you, enter my hands, and I will infuse you with my power and transform you into my Champions."

Latios glanced at his sister. "You ready for this, sis?"

"With you by my side, and everyone else coming soon? There's nothing I can't do," Latias replied with a smile.

They parted, each of the dragons flying into one of Arceus' hands. The deity closed his fingers around them tightly and raised his fists into the air. He began to squeeze, his eyes glowing and light streaming from the cracks between his fingers as he focused his omnipotent energies into the dragon twins, changing them and giving them new power. After a few moments, he opened his fists…and two beautiful, radiant beings rose from his hands, light flowing off their forms and their glistening white wings. "Oooooh," said Arceus' children and mate.

"Shiny," Mew drooled.

"Incredible…why don't I look that pretty?!" Mesprit asked enviously.

"You're not supposed to," Uxie said emotionlessly. Mesprit's face turned red and she smacked him. "Ow," the Knowledge Pokemon said tonelessly.

"Man, too bad she's taken, because she's pretty hot now," Dialga complained.

"Yeah, and so's her brother," Palkia commented. Everyone stared at him. "What? He is! Just because I think another guy's handsome doesn't make me gay, you know!"

The transfigured Latias and Latios floated before Arceus' face, absorbing all that had been done to them and trying to fathom the new power they possessed. "And so it is done," the Original One boomed, retracting his arms. "Latias, the Guardian of Light, and Latios, the Guardian of Hope…together, you shall be my Champions; beacons showing all beings, living or spirit, what they one day can become if they try hard enough."

"We will not let you down, Arceus," Latios promised, his voice sounding like the ringing of chimes. "We will do great things and protect the peoples of all universes."

Latias nodded. "Yes…but…Arceus…I do not mean to pester you, but…" She hesitated, her voice trailing off in a sound like the mournful wail of church bells at a funeral. "Rayquaza…you promised…"

Arceus nodded his great head. "So I did. And now that nearly everything which needs to be done to prepare for the future has been done, I will return him to you, as promised."

And he did just that, and all rejoiced. But the tale of Latias and Rayquaza's joyous reunion will have to wait for another day, because it is a different story that must be told.

While Arceus and his children had indeed done all they could to prepare for the birth of living things and the evil which would eventually rise from the exercise of free will, they had not expected how immense and monstrous that evil could sometimes be in response to such an organized and powerful force of good to oppose it…for, after all, it is always the brightest light which casts the darkest shadow, and while that shadow was defeated, it was not destroyed, and it would return to haunt them another day.

This is the story of what happened when that shadow returned, and how all worlds were nearly destroyed in its wake, and how many brave souls were forced to band together to try and stop it.

It is a tale of love...

And so it begins.

What do you think? Not bad for a beginning, huh? Heh, wait until you see what else I have in store. This is gonna be fun….