For weeks I had planned for this moment: when Mandite would leave. Sure there has been some changes, considering that this time I wouldn't have to be left alone to fend for myself, but now that it was actually time for the young warrior I had grown to like so much to go home, I found myself not knowing what to say.
We were at the very beach as Giratina had planned to meet us, except we got there earlier than he did. That left us standing in the sand with plenty of time to say our goodbyes. Instead of taking that time to do so, we stood awkwardly, wondering what to say, with only the sound of the waves crashing on shore filling silence's empty jar. It has been a while since Mandite was that speechless. He had taken his armor off, and was staring at us with his jade green eyes; that reminded me of the very first time I saw them. He looked so sweet and harmless then, and he still does – except now I knew better. Aurora coughed slightly, shifting the sand around with her toes. Mandite fiddled with the straps on his backpack, when he finally decided to say something.
"So," he said, drawing out the word, "I have a little something for both of you." The young warrior and friend unzipped his backpack. Curious, Aurora leaned forward to have a closer look, as Mandite pulled out a rectangular object bound by a dark piece of leather. Handing to us, I realized it was a book. I stared at the blank cover, my eyes tracing the various wrinkles that wound all around it. Aurora touched my arm, leaning on my shoulder.
"Well, take a look for crying out loud!" Mandite laughed, finding our quiet state of staring at the cover amusing. Aurora reached out and pulled back the cover. Inside, there was a page that was filled with many, tiny paper rectangles with little inscriptions on them. Feeling some tears moisten my eyes, I realized that these little slips of paper were all of the ones that came from all the fortune cookies we had eaten during our journey. It was rather mundane, but meant so much in sentimental terms.
"When did you get the time to make this?" Aurora asked softly, her stunning eyes glossing over with tears. Mandite gave us a grin and a playful wink.
"At the ceremony building, when we ran out of the room to scream our heads off," he explained with a smile, "So while you two were kadoodling, I got Darkrai to raid the buffet table for me as I sat down and started to paste every little fortune, while I sang."
"Sang?" Aurora laughed, "I thought you were screaming!" I chuckled – there really wasn't much of a difference between screaming and Mandite's singing to tell them apart. Mandite exhaled sharply.
"It was a dreadful song," he thought aloud, "It went like, 'Yo ho ho and a bottle of beer' – or was it rum?" Mandite stared up into the sky, tapping the side of his face as he pondered his own little mystery. Meanwhile, I turned my attention back to the book, with all the little fortunes neatly aligned in columns. I read the first one.
Good fortune and fame will shape your life in the future ahead.
I suppose this was the fortune cookie that Mandite had first got when I was healing at Solaceon town. If it was Mandite's, I believe that this fortune had already came true, for he was a lucky child to have such great skills that made him famous. The next one down was crumpled, with the ink slightly blurred in places. Aurora giggled, seeing it.
"That's mine!" she remarked happily. True, I remembered, smiling. Mandite had told me she accidentally ate her first fortune cookie, paper and all. Due to its crumpled state, it was too hard for me too read.
The one below that was familiar to me. I remembered, as I was investigating my first fortune cookie with mild curiosity, Mandite had read this one aloud, his mouth somewhat full, his expression perplexed.
May Jirachi shower you with all your dreams
I smiled, remembering how Mandite took the expression so literally, as if it had been yesterday. But of course I knew it wasn't yesterday – it definitely did not feel like it had been. Instead, it felt so long ago, ages of the many adventures he had shared with Aurora and I. It had been so long ago, but time had passed so fast – too fast.
Aurora and I continued to read some of the fortunes – some of them them threatening, some of them ironic, some coincidental, and some were simply lame. But all of the slips were there – all of the little treats of sweetness in time, resembled with a tiny slip of paper. I had a feeling that most of them were Mandite's, but I saw several familiar ones, and Aurora pointed out hers with delight. Some of them I like very much for the memories they brought back, and some of them had wise comments worthy of the Legendaries.
You and your wife will have a long and happy life together. ;D
Mandite's wide eyed, shocked face came into my mind's view, with him falling off the log he had been sitting on from his reaction. I chuckled, musing over that tiny moment – one of the many moments we had and will cherish.
Rougher roads wear and create smoother stones.
I found myself agreeing to this one. It was true in both literal and metaphoric senses; but I felt that this had applied to my life over these few months. I took a rougher road by allowing Mandite to stay and taking the responsibility of escorting him home. It certainly had been a rough road, physically and mentally. Now, I felt that I have experience, that the uneventful, sharp and jagged stone that resembled me has been smoothed down after all that had happened now.
"That one was mine," Aurora said, pointing to one of the many slips of paper on the page. When she removed her paw, I squinted and read the tiny words printed on it, scrutinizing.
Your lover would be forever faithful to you
And I would. I leaned over and nuzzled Aurora on the cheek affectionately, and she kissed my nose, smiling. I gave Mandite a sideways glance, to see him staring at the ocean, pretending to not notice our passionate expressions. "Kadoodling" made him rather uncomfortable – but he was a kid, after all. They don't know how to appreciate those kinds of things until they get older. I began to wonder, will we see Mandite sometime in the future? Perhaps, when the ominous war Giratina had described to us comes around, we will see him again. But when was that? How many years will have passed from now to then? How old will we be? How will we have changed?
Preparing to leave, Mandite was rummaging around his backpack for his armor and cape, so he was ready to fend off any danger when he got back to his home. Aurora continued to turn the pages, skimming over the pages, sniffling occasionally. However, I peered over the top of the book, watching Mandite with a saddened feeling, as he twisted an arm plate into position. Mandite will change, in some way or another – I will miss his playful, mischievous, capricious, and cunning personality. He was full of contrasting characteristics – feisty and calm, observant and oblivious, hyperactive and solemn, dramatic and uneventful, dignified and mundane – that all came together into one, fantastic package. I will miss how he made every announcement of his hunger momentous, and how he listened carefully to my problems. Not only that, I will miss how he patiently and knowingly gave me feedback. I'll miss how, in tense situations, he would pop an amusing remark that eased the atmosphere. I would miss everything about the little warrior – except his singing. Actually, I would miss that too.
"Watcha lookin' at?" Mandite asked, seeing me watch him, hopping around as he slipped on his metallic, purple shoes, "I know I'm good-looking and you're jealous of that, but indulge yourself with your book, please." I rolled my eyes, amused. Just another thing I would miss about him.
I didn't retort – I simply went back to looking at the book with Aurora, smiling. Cresselia may have said Mandite was lucky to have been found by us, but it was more of us lucky to find him. He wasn't just entertaining to watch and listen to; Mandite was a doctor, and treated us in need. He aided me with my many slices upon my arms from my accidental fall, and the thorn in my foot. He helped Aurora's ankle, and saved her life from slipping away altogether. I am forever in his debt for that.
He defended us from danger selflessly, sometimes from perils too great for us to handle. Bruno could have killed us all, but Mandite had fought for our lives until help came.
Aurora flipped through the book, occasionally finding a tiny message that we found very touching and applying to our relationship in more ways than one. Her muzzle touching beneath my chin, I remembered that there was one thing that made us luckier to have him than all other reasons. When Aurora had left with Zhoke, and I had been furious with the unfortunate twist of events. I would have destroyed many acres of peaceful land, and probably would have been killed if it wasn't for Mandite. His power and familiarity had stopped me in my tracks before more damage was dealt. And once I became sober, he aroused determination and confidence within me so that I would follow him to say good bye to Aurora; that trip eventually lead to the reunion of our original trio. Even more, that event brought Aurora and I together. If I hadn't gone, who knows where I'll be now – perhaps miserable and lonely.
You will be blessed with genuine friendship and compassion.
I already have. I have Mandite, and I have Aurora. Outside of necessities needed for survival, what else could I need? What else could I ask for? Other than hoping that we will see Mandite soon.
Aurora turned to the last page, to find that it was empty. This emptiness interrupted the flow of our thoughts, our memories, and left the happy ending feeling hanging. If I was correct, Mandite would know about such thing, and wouldn't do that. If anything, he would have taken a sheet of paper and written "The End", or "Finale", or at least something. We both looked up our friend staring back with his piercing, yellow gaze, hands behind his back like he was hiding something. I raised an eyebrow.
"Is there something else?" I asked, and Mandite's eyes flashed a bright blue.
"I said I will be at your wedding – um – bonding ceremony, remember?" he remarked, and I nodded, "You may not think I'm not there, since I am leaving, but always remember that I will ALWAYS be with you." The little warrior said in a cheesy tone, holding his right, gloved hand over a spot a little southwest of his center, closing his eyes. Aurora and I laughed, amused by his little scene, but we knew that the young warrior was right, in a way. We will carry the memories of him, no matter where we go, no matter how old we get.
"But can you draw a little picture of me in the sand or something at your bonding ceremony, so it seems like I'm there?" Mandite asked in a teasing voice. Even if it was a joke, I would take it seriously.
"Sure Mandite," Aurora accepted, "but the problem is that we might have trouble drawing you – I have not seen much artistic skill in the two of us." She then looked to me with her rippling, flickering magenta eyes, smiling. I smiled back, a warm feeling creeping into my heart. I loved the way when she looked at me like that.
"Well," Mandite said, calling our attention back to him again, "if you guys think that neither of you can draw me, then I have a solution to that problem." The warrior brought his hands out from behind his back, revealing a rectangular, shiny piece of paper, with a picture on it. Aurora bent down, taking it from its delicate, white, velvet holder, and gasped. I looked too, and the picture turned out to be one of Mandite, seeming to look up at us happily with his jade green eyes, waving his hand so fast it was a dark, blue blur. Around him was a red carpeted room, with several furniture knocked over carelessly.
"Darkrai took that picture for me as we did our hollerin'," he explained, as we looked back down upon the Mandite in the picture, "you can put that in the empty page at the back of the book." So Mandite had left the back page blank on purpose so that he could present this to us separately, and in doing so created a more pleasing effect – he thought well. The back page had a little, plastic slot that was perfectly shaped for the photo, in which Aurora slipped the picture in. It was a neat fit, a touching finish to the book of fortunes.
But, as I brushed the page to rub off a tiny smudge, I felt my paw touch something else. Removing it, I saw that there was a tiny, rectangular slot below the picture.
"Mandite?" I asked. The warrior, who had been staring at the darkening sky, looked to me with mild interest.
"Hmm?" he answered. I was about to open my mouth and ask why there was an empty slot on the back page when I felt a strong wind behind me, spraying up particulates of sand. I squinted, turning around to see what it was, placing an arm around Aurora. Mandite walked up to stand at my side, as we watched a serpentine figure fly towards us with astonishing speed, six smoky streamers billowing from it. It wasn't before long when Giratina swooped over our heads, looped over in a complete circle, his armor plates rattling from the velocity of his flight. The Legendary flew low over the sand, and twirled so that his head arched magnificently over the rest of his body, hovering with the six streamers raised high and broad, the smoky substance whipping in the slight breeze. From beneath the shadows of his golden crown, his red eyes glowed brightly, so that they were nearly white.
It was a regal sight, but Mandite was unimpressed. He crossed his arms.
"What took you so long?" he demanded from the deity. Giratina chuckled, his growls rumbling like an approaching thunderstorm.
"There is no need to rush Death," he answered casually so that even his rumbles seemed easy going, "Besides, I thought you would like some time to say your last good byes." That was really nice of him to do that, I thought. However, Mandite exhaled sharply in amusement.
"I doubt it," he retorted. Giratina laughed, his "huh-huh"'s rolled out from deep within his belly.
"You are too clever, boy," Giratina scolded, musing with another laugh, "I am usually not awake until another hour – I'm nocturnal, you know." From behind his great body, the sun had set low and red on the horizon, spewing gold all over the sea. The three of us stood, the wind blowing our furs and cape, staring across from each other – Aurora was by my side and Mandite facing me in front. Dressed formally in his dignified armor and cape, he looked so much older than the boy I knew. After so many months of traveling together and braving through dangers, it was time to say good bye.
The final good bye.
Giratina considerately remained silent, as we prepared to make our last speeches before we went our separate ways.
"So, I guess this is it," the young warrior said. I gave him a firm nod, and Aurora reached for my paw. I took it gently, comforting her. The two had been good friends – we all had. We stared at each other, speechless, not believing that this was actually happening.
"Well," Mandite sighed, coughing, "let's make this quick. You guys were great friends, huzzah! Now fire away." I laughed, the sound a short bark; as I thought, he would be like his uncle Talons – the two hated long good byes. He watched us with an unwavering gaze, as Aurora let go of my paw, and stood before Mandite. She breathed deeply, summoning strength to resist breaking down.
"Mandite," she began, shakily, "I just -" and she burst into tears, kneeling down so she could wrap her arms around the bewildered friend. Mandite shifted uncomfortably.
"Er..." Mandite patted her arm, "There, there – you're going to be fine. Just save your hugs for Lucario, all right?" His yellow eyes flicked upward to meet mine. I smiled, knowing that he was also getting emotional, but didn't want to show it.
"Thank you, Mandite," Aurora sobbed, "for everything... For the cookies, for your doctoring, your protection, your time, friendship, courage... Everything." Mandite's lids tilted sadly over his eyes as he looked sideways at Aurora.
"It was nothing... Honestly," he said modestly, reminding me very much of Talons, "but don't cry for me, all right? Your fur will be wet and moldy if you do, and that will get really disgusting." Aurora smiled, tears clinging to her eyelashes. As said many times over, Mandite had a way of cheering people up.
"Oh, and don't forget to take this," Mandite pulled a scroll of old parchment paper from his backpack, handing it to her. After Aurora agreed she would come back from the little town with us, he had offered to hold the prophecy for her. Now, it was time for Mandite to give it back. He watched the female lucario stand up, wiping away the excess moisture from her eyes with her free paw, holding the scroll with the other, before he turned to me, his eyes shining bright blue.
"So," Mandite said, "are you going to hug me, too?" I blinked. I would miss Mandite very, very much, but it would feel rather awkward to hug him. But would it feel awkward for him, being a child? I shrugged.
"If you want one," I said. The warrior tapped the side of his mask.
"Psh – men from my world don't hug," he said, flicking his hand dismissively, before adding mischievously, "they kiss."
"WHAT?!" I was so shocked and bewildered that I lost my balance and fell onto the sand. Mandite burst out into laughter, the joyful noise soon followed by Aurora's giggles, and Giratina's roll of thunderous, "huh-huh"'s. I glared at the culprit, now knowing Mandite was only kidding, brushing the sand from my lap. Mandite eyes were glowing bright pink, tickled by his little joke.
"You should have seen your face!" He gasped for breath as he laughed hard, "They went – HA!!!" I began to smile – it was typical for Mandite to pull of something humorous at a tender moment, no matter how demeaning the joke was. Even though I didn't like how he spoiled special moments at that particular moment, I mused over it when I looked back, chuckling. Mandite sighed, his laughter finally dying down.
"I'm only kidding, though," he said, holding out his hand, "C'mon over here, knucklehead – let's shake hands." Gratefully, I stood on my feet, and walked over to my little friend, bending down to shake his gloved hand. We looked into each other's eyes, and for once, he didn't seem to stare right through me.
"It's been great knowin' ya," Mandite said, his eyes turning blue, shaking my paw vigorously. I nodded, smiling back.
"You too," I replied, "Thank you, Mandite – for everything." And I honestly meant it. Knowing that his departure was drawing near, I felt my legs grow weak from the overwhelming emotion that flooded my senses. Mandite, with his keen vision, noticed this, and gave my paw a strong pat.
"Be a man," he encouraged, "now stand straight and tall!" I smiled back at my short friend.
"But if I do," I retorted, "I may never you again." Giratina and Aurora began to laugh – Mandite, however didn't get it.
"What do you – HEY!" he cried, realizing as I broke into laughter, "Don't pick on the shorties, okay?!" I shook my head, still chuckling.
"You deserved it," I said, and Mandite's eyes glowed a soft, pink color.
"I did not," the young warrior snapped, "but I'll have to admit that was pretty good." I nodded, and raised myself to my feet. Giratina started to move again, signaling that it was time. The great deity threw back his head before jerking it forth, a purple ball of energy whizzing from his open jaws. The ball stopped in mid air before Mandite, and slowly flattened itself, light and shadow swirling our from the center. It became larger and larger until it was as wide as Giratina's girth, and the whirlpool on the flat surface had became still. Time for Mandite to go home.
"I have some business to do," Giratina announced with a growl, flying towards the temporary portal, "See you in hell." And with that, he passed through the disk, disappearing into the purple darkness. Mandite stood before the portal, it's dark, violet surface rippling like liquid chrome. That thin veil separated his world from mine, light as air, cool as water. Who had ever known that our worlds were so close, and yet so far away? The young warrior skimmed his hand against the surface, a nostalgic look in his eyes. I could tell he was homesick, but a little reluctant to go. He turned around slightly, his mask gleaming even in the evening light, just enough so that he could see us. Then, with a white gloved, stubby hand, he tilted his mask just so that he peered at us with his jade green eyes, reminding us of that he was still the child we got to know, no matter how old he will get. His mouth curved into a wry smile, and he waved a hand.
"Into the night I go," he announced, bringing back memories of his lullaby, "Meet you guys in the morning." He let his mask slip down his face, adjusting it to his liking, turning to face the portal again. I sighed – there he goes...
Suddenly, he turned around again, his had taking something from his backpack.
"Hey!" he called, "I almost forgot!" He tossed something to me, which I caught, the crinkling of a plastic package startling me. I opened my paws, revealing a broken fortune cookie, a little slip of white paper strung between the two golden pieces. I looked back up at Mandite, feeling Aurora wrap her arms around me, her tears wet against my cheek.
"I saved the last one for you guys," he called, "have fun – and don't get into trouble." He backed into the portal, a thin, translucent violet sheet slowly wrapping him as he melted into the dark. From behind his mask, his eyes were burning bright and blue, as he raised his arm, executing a sharp salute. We waved back.
And, as the portal shrank around him, the young warrior and friend, Mandite, was gone.
It was only five seconds when I already felt empty from his absence. I pulled Aurora into an embrace, laying my cheek on top of her head, wondering. Aurora lifted her head, and pressed her muzzle against it, giving it a small kiss. Teardrops sparkled on her eyelashes, as if the fire and water within her resplendent eyes combined to make diamonds.
"What are we going to do, now?" she asked, her voice soft in my ear. I smiled, unsure of that question myself. For the moment, all is peaceful, and the journey is done.
"I don't know," I admitted, pulling away from her warm body to stand by the shore, looking into the evening sky, still holding the fortune cookie. From behind me, Aurora walked up to stand by my side.
"We should probably eat that cookie, first," she suggested with a small smile. I nodded, pulling apart the plastic package that had kept this last cookie safe. Aurora, who held the book and the prophecy tucked under her arm, peered at the little slip of paper that slide out from the two pieces. She took it from me, daintily extracting it from the two halves of cookie, and opened the leather-covered book to the last page. A smiling Mandite stared up at us, causing a wave of emotions to wash over. Carefully, I watched Aurora slide the fortune into the small slot below the picture. Only when she removed her paw, I finally got to see what the message was.
Until next time
The book was complete, the final page bringing an unexpected amount of tears in my eyes. Blinking them back, I handed one of the halves of the cookie to Aurora, and together we looked over the page, savoring the sweet treat slowly.
But like adventures, they don't last forever. It wasn't long when my tongue brushed the last bit of crumbs from my paw, as I stared up into the sky. There was a remaining, golden glow just above the ocean. The first, pinpricks of stars began to appear.
"There's Dhenalix," Aurora exclaimed, pointing towards a constellation. With my eyes, I connected the spots of light, revealing an absol running free in the wind.
"There he is," I agreed, nodding slowly. I continued to gaze at the starry figure of Dhenalix, as more pokemon joined him, twinkling in the sky. The ocean crashed upon the shore in a slow, calming beat, and Aurora entwined her arm with mine, giving it a squeeze.
"What are you thinking of, Lucario?" she asked. I looked down on her, into her lovely, softening eyes, and smiled.
"I'm just thinking," I replied, bending slightly to kiss the top of her head. Aurora touched her nose against my chin.
"What kind of things?" she asked gently. I didn't feel like talking much, but I knew better than to leave her guessing. I gazed back up into the sky.
"Oh," I said, sighing, "I'm just thinking about what we did with a young boy – like trek over many mountains, raced through a forest primeval, eat cookies, look up at the night sky like this one," I raised an arm and waved it across the yonder.
"I'm just thinking about the little burrow where a leafeon lives with her child, in a haven watched over by a particular absol." I added, looking back at Dhenalix's constellation.
"And I'm also thinking about a beautiful female lucario – a best friend possessing Sinnoh's most breath-taking eyes," I finalized, smiling at my love, "and how lucky I am that I am with her right now." Aurora looked back up at me with a twinkling gaze, a half smile curved on her serene face. I was lucky beyond compare, even though I had suffered many pains along the way, to actually have the love of my life stand beside me. We had been through so much together, Aurora and I. Tonight, I thought about that luck, as we sat down on the shore, listening to the sea serenade to us with its soft, time-enduring chant.
I thought about Dhenalix, the absol who had proved to me that the Disaster pokemon could just be the same as I. He was an optimistic soul, contradicting what has been said about his species – and he was a devoted messenger and father. I wonder how Lily and their child was doing, left to fend for themselves by him. But they are never alone in that safe haven, their burrow lit by gentle morning rays that shone through a shady canopy of young trees. Every day, at twilight, as dusk was on the verge of slipping into night, they could see him, smiling down in the stars.
And I thought about Mandite. I remembered how he had crashed through the trees into the bushes, where I found him. From that day forward, life wasn't the same – we had a kid to escort to a place we have never even dreamed about; a new world. Not only that, we had gone to the most exciting and remote places on the face of Sinnoh, meeting many good pokemon, common and Legendary alike, along the way. With him, we endured the hardships through his humorous quips and comments. He was ordinary kid, and it was beyond great luck that we had crossed paths. Or how he would say it – über luck.
All these memories and thoughts, from the momentous to the obscure, I will remember them. And, of course, I will remember the pokemon and warrior we had shared them with – and I will cherish the very fact that I had sat beside them, conversed with them. They're impressions left upon me will stay with me, just like Aurora and my love for her – from here to eternity.
I want to thank every single one of my readers who have read, and will read this story, no matter how demeaning it is. I really appreciate that you have taken the time out of your life to listen to me, making this story bloom into a reality. It has been a dream for me to actually turn this into a story that other people would read from all over the world - thanks to you guys, I have accomplished such task.
And I want to thank a group of people in particular. SlasherMask, PrimeHunter01, Delta5-1, Lupyne, Opengunner, and of course King Sparky for all the support they have given me through reviews as I wrote this story. I am grateful for such upholding, so thank you guys! ^^
And so here ends my appended result. Thanks again - and keep your eyes peeled for some new stories!