Yes, yes, I know that I should be updating my other stories, stories that were dying to be written, but I swear to you this story is REALLY dying and REALLY wanting to be written. And I have been on a roll on this very story, so you can probably tell I am really, really into this. Yeah.
Anyway, I will be very truthful about this. Compared to my other stories, you will notice some differences in this very story as you read on. And I'll tell you this right now that this story will have a religious feel to it. It may be stronger in some areas, but trust me, it will be throughout this story. Included in here are religious principles and doctrine that you may not believe or agree with me on. I may have a few small warnings here and there, but for the most part, this is your only warning.
Comments and concerns are highly recommended so I can understand my audience a bit more. Trust me, this will help me know what to really write down.
Now, without further ado, I give unto you "Forsaken". I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Pokémon © Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo, and GAME FREAK. Song lyrics are also copyrighted to their respected owners.
Rated for: language, some intense violence with disturbing imagery, attempted suicide, and sexual themes
Chapter One: Solemn Hour
"Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish Sweep o`er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master. Oh, hasten and take control!"
- "Master, the Tempest is Raging", Hymn 105, verse two
"WHAT! A world war?!"
Startled by Ho-oh's sudden outburst, Suicune bowed her head, her once-flowing mane drooped over her arched back. "Y-Yes, sir. Sinnoh was bombed by Orre, and the other regions are getting ready to come defend it. It's more likely than not to be a... world war..." The legendary North Wind grew silent, stricken with sorrow and age before the Guardian's eyes. The ribbon tail refused to undulate about the legs, it instead lay trailing on the ground. Her crest upon her forehead had long ago lost its shine and was now a dull, melancholy green. Her delicate fur was suddenly noticed to be smudged with dust clinging to her in clumps. Black and blue surrounded her dull eyes, indicating her lack of sleep. She was pitiful, unworthy to stand before someone with whom she was once equally revered to.
Ho-oh nodded at his creation before craning his neck to the rust-colored sky. It was still daytime, past noon, but it was cloudy—rain was probable. Though he looked forward to rainstorms, he feared these rains. Pollution had infected the vapor, turning it into acid rain in many cases, thus he became hesitant to fly around and create his famous rainbows. But then again, he had been finding himself unable to fabricate them. Once able to shine with the colors of the rainbow, his feathers were now worn and battered, so the phoenix could now only gleam at a perfect angle if the sun hit him just right. The crown atop of his head was being pulled by gravity so it now hung in sight, and his fiery eyes were burning out. It was unclear whether they were becoming mortal, or if the stress was getting to be a huge burden. He figured it was the latter.
The world had become more sinful to the point the Legendaries didn't dare show their faces. They could feel the evil expanding, and feared it was going to reach them as well. This fear was what caused them to start wilting from their high positions. As pollution became thicker and more prominent, Celebi was struggling to keep plant-life prosperous, resorting to using his life-source to do so. The last time Ho-oh saw him, he was beginning to turn a color of rot. Jirachi, many years back, had eventually broken free of his sleeping spells and began to use stored energy from the Millennium Comet as his powers. However, because he never knew of the real world, of its greedy, power-hungry lusts, it became a gut-wrenching experience for him. His cheerful face transitioned to a blank mask within months of the realization, and then he went into hiding where his wishing powers depleted over time. Darkrai, though he lived off nightmares, was struggling with demons from the people he tried to haunt. It grew difficult for him to find true fear to feed, and he fled to isolate himself away from civilization. Even Giratina had to get away from the world, and would only come out of his dimension if the Legendaries really needed him.
However, even though they all were being afflicted by the ever-increasing evil, Mew was hit the hardest. As the world grew more wicked, she became ill, unable to properly do her duties as Guardian of the Tree of Beginning, and couldn't keep her home, the Amazon, from being further destroyed. Her powers started to weaken, and her optimistic nature slowly diminished. There were days she became unwilling to eat, and already tiny as she is, Mew lost weight. A few times she had mentioned she was developing suicidal thoughts from the stress she was receiving, but thankfully never acted upon it when her friends came to check up on her daily. Even so, when he last saw her months ago, she didn't look herself, more notably in the eyes. Her sapphire eyes used to sparkle day and night from her pure soul, but now she had shown her experience at last, and her innocent spirit had been broken. The poor thing was all that was left of the sweet creature he once knew.
Ho-oh came to the conclusion years ago the world was destroying not just itself, but its guardians as well. Cause and effect proved everything that happened to the inhabitants affected them, and vice versa. Carelessness on their end and rebellion from the past generations brought it into further fruition.
He let out a slow sigh, bowing his head and turning to the quivering beast before him. "I believe this calls for a conference," he confirmed. "Gather the Legendaries you can find, while I search for my share. We will be meeting at Mirage Island to discuss the issue."
Suicune snorted in agreement, snapping her head to the side. "Right away, sir," she barked before she kicked off, disappearing swiftly over the horizon. The Sky Guardian spread out his wings moments later, and took off as well, heading for the clouds to conceal himself from human eyes.
It had been decades since many of the Legendaries last saw each other, and thus the gathering felt more like a memorial than a conference. Old friends worriedly examined each other, taking in the shell of what was once their glorified selves. Life-time rivals only stared pitifully one to another at what remained of their strength and boisterous powers. Siblings huddled together as though trying to hold themselves up higher for a little longer, leaning on each other for support or comfort. No one spoke nor sent telepathic messages across the field, instead they sat deathly silent in their assigned places as they waited for the meeting to begin.
Ho-oh stood at the forest's outer edge, watching the skies and the surrounding land. There were a few still unaccounted for, but they were coming. Even without being told details of its urgency, none of them would dare ditch a gathering important as this. Had it been a casual assembly, he would not have bothered taking the time to usher them into the clearing, and there would be plenty of empty seats sticking out from the crowd.
A small pinpoint of light caught his eye, and the phoenix glanced over to see the three shapes of the Lake Trio taking form. They were holding hands, Mesprit in the middle with her brothers on either side. None of them were elegant in their movements like he usually saw them, their twin tails hanging limply from their bodies and the gems only giving meek glimmers from their depths. Both of them looked upon Ho-oh rather somberly (though Uxie had his head down as though deep in thought or silent prayer), bags visible under their golden optics.
He gave a respectful nod. "Azelf. Mesprit. Uxie," he greeted them individually.
"Ho-oh," they said in unison, voices tired and grim.
"How are the lakes?"
Each took turns looking at one to another, and the eldest, Azelf, replied meekly, "To be honest, we don't know. We haven't left each other's company for quite some time."
"Fifteen years and seven months," Uxie muttered, head still dropped. One of his tails weakly flicked.
The phoenix frowned, but remained silent as he gestured to the clearing with a wing. The Lake Trio each bowed their heads and flew for their seats, still hand-in-hand. The moment they disappeared from view, he felt a familiar presence beside him. Without craning for a glimpse, he quietly responded, "So. You decided to show up after all." A quick pause, and he added, "Was Mew easy to coax into coming?"
"That is not my place to explain," was the solemn answer, the voice rich and strong like how Ho-oh remembered it.
Finally turning his head, the bird acknowledged the beings at his side. He had not seen the feline in years, but nothing was really out of the ordinary in his appearance. Mewtwo still stood proud in place, tail curled behind him in tranquility. His bony arms remained at his sides, hands clenched in loose fists. The color was still visible even in the face, showing he was taking care of himself. Meeting his gaze briefly, Ho-oh wasn't surprised his eyes were hard and vibrant with knowledge as ever, though the stare was calm with decades of peace he had managed to find. Levitating close-by was his counterpart, tiny in contrast to her clone. She refused to look up at either of the two, preferring to keep her eyes on the ground. She had no shame, but her broken spirit caused her to retreat into her mind, forcing her to blank out and barricade herself from the world. By the looks of how attenuated she became and the wavering of her levitation, Mew still wasn't eating; how long ago she last ate, he couldn't tell. From what he knew about her physique and metabolism, she should be unable to hold herself up.
As though he had read his mind, Mewtwo serenely expressed, "When I went to fetch her, she had grown too weak to transport herself. She was lying in the Tree, awaiting death I assume." A faint, rather protesting whimper came from the mentioned Legendary at the comment, though they could see in her pale eyes she wasn't subconsciously present. It was believed among the Legendaries that when Mew withdrew into her mind, she tuned out her surroundings. There was a chance she didn't hear a word.
Giving a slow, rather cross sigh, Ho-oh tilted his head to the trees. "Since you're here, we can get started."
With a slow nod, the bipedal feline crossed into the thick wood, telepathically tugging Mew behind him. The once-grand phoenix deplorably watched the small cat bob in place, taking note of her limp tail skimming the grass as he followed the pair. It was a straight, short path to the clearing, into the dim sunlight and amidst the eyes of the Legends. Many of their gazes were on the frail Mew, saddened and fearful. A few were amazed at how she still managed to make it to the conference in such a state. Others pointed at Mewtwo in the meantime, noticing his own health with hint of suspicion. It was silent except for the quiet sobs of Latias, crimson and pearl down worn almost to uselessness, and golden eyes lacking the light of her carefree soul.
Mewtwo disregarded their stares as he led the tiny Legendary along, pausing at the smooth, even stones that were their proper seats, and propped her down. He continued to mentally hold her in place even after he sat down, but allowed her to slack slightly. She never bothered to take heed if at all, eyes distant and glazed over. Her surrounding peers took a long, worrying look before turning to the larger rock in the middle. It was Ho-oh's self-proclaimed seat, though as time went by he had allowed others to take his place when it came to announcements, attendance, or temporary leadership if he was unable to make it (which was rare in itself). Today, he allowed the counsel be led by Shaymin and instead filled her seat at the other end.
The tiny terrier was already in her place, choosing to take on her Sky Forme, as her Land Forme was too squeaky and quiet. Having once stood tall and proud, Shaymin's petal scarf had wilted into an unhealthy brown, the edges frayed. Her fur was matted and dusty, with her ears drooping past her chin. Ho-oh heard a quiet buzz through the attendees, but chose to ignore them as he nodded to her.
Casting her eyes about mournfully at what remained of the mighty Legendaries, she began in a hard voice: "Brethren and sisters, we have been called together because the unthinkable has happened. It's been rumored, if not yet declared, that we are to be in a world war. This morning, at approximately zero five hundred hours, the beloved region of Sinnoh had been mercilessly bombed by Orre." A few gasped murmurs from those who hadn't heard the terrible news livened in small groups. Others bowed their heads in silent respect. Shaymin continued. "The damage done is monstrous and heart-breaking. It is believed thousands of humans and Pokémon have lost their lives in this attack. Thanks to a scoping of the area by Rayquaza and Giratina, we have assembled the damage reports."
The gathering held their breaths as Shaymin closed her eyes in thought. She gave the account slowly and solemnly. "Judging by radiation percentage collected, the first of Orre's aircrafts flew over the south-western portion of Sinnoh. There were no major cities in that area, but they dropped one of their bombs either intentionally or through some freak accident. Believed to be the largest of the bombs, it landed on Twinleaf Town, destroying the entire community and its surrounding areas as follows: Sandgem Town; Jubilife City; a portion of Canalave City at the south-east section; Lake Verity."
At the mention of the last location, Mesprit hung her head, covering her face with a hand. Her brothers each put a comforting arm around her shaking shoulders. A few others who knew of her home in the lake glanced over at the shivering fairy in empathy. Shaymin stole such a gaze in her direction before resuming. "The next two bombs were dropped around the same time, estimated at about five minutes after the first destruction. One landed into the heart of Eterna City, the other just at the outskirts of Hearthome City. The shock waves expanded to Mount Coronet where it has suffered major rock slides, cutting its elevation to half what it used to be. The Distortion World has some damage done to it, though thankfully Giratina wasn't harmed."
The said Legendary scoffed, the battered, scarlet-spiked wings folding behind him. "Those bastards will pay for what they did," he grumbled, voice echoing hauntingly into the distance, crimson eyes glaring in the hazy sunlight. "It's virtually impossible to make it irreversible."
"And we're awfully sorry for what has happened," the Gratitude Legendary acknowledged, bowing her head slightly.
"Damn right you are," he snorted. "I haven't had anything happen there for centuries, not since Team Galactic dispersed and disappeared off the face of the earth. Serves them right for messing around with me. Bastards had it coming..." Heatran, who happened to be seated closest to Giratina, scooted a little ways toward Palkia, who in turn shot a skeptical but wary look toward the dragon. Others shuddered from the menacing airy tone, not wanting to hear any further details.
Shaymin cleared her throat. "The last bomb detonated between Sunyshore City and the Sinnoh Pokémon League, completely destroying the Victory Road and the two landmarks. The Elite Four, the Champion, and anyone else there at the time were killed when the building crushed them when it fell. It's been noted that this is one of the reasons why Sinnoh is gearing towards war."
"Wha-ah-oh, wait-wait-wait, hold the phone," Deoxys sputtered out, waving his hands around for attention. "You're saying the whole world is going to war just because some important figureheads of Sinnoh, or more precisely the 'Elite Four', were killed as a result of the bombings?"
"You can say that, Deoxys, even though I said it's Sinnoh's reason."
He dryly laughed for a few seconds, shaking his head. "Wow. I mean, just... wow. This is ridiculous." Another laugh, forcing him to barrel forward and slap a palm on his knee. "These—these humans and their political agendas! They would rather go to war over four people rather than a whole nation?"
"Deoxys, thousands of people and Pokémon died because of this!" Cresselia blurted out, feeling ready to go into hysterics. The crescents on her back gave a weak glimmer in the light as she leaned past a startled Darkrai for a better look. "This is why they're going to war! It's a catastrophe!"
"Oh, come on! If we were to be bombed right now and only a few of us died, would the world go into a world war just because of that?"
"Oh, most definitely! We're important! So why not?"
"Black market importance," the alien smugly remarked, more to himself than out loud.
The moon swan took offense, gritting her teeth and shooting back, "Well, what makes you special, then? You haven't done your so-called duties since you came here!"
"Says the broad who hasn't left her island in decades."
"You know, Cresselia, he does have a point," Darkrai mentioned sheepishly, pushing her back for room and to end the increasing argument.
She bucked him away. "You stay out of this!"
"Oy, let the phantom speak," Deoxys came to his defense. "What makes you think you can silence him?"
"This is between you and me! Don't you dare bring Darkrai into this! Now answer my question! Why are you special?!"
"Same reason you are, toots," he cheekily said.
"WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!"
Shaymin immediately piped up, standing straight and preparing herself to launch forward. "Cresselia, Deoxys, please! Can't this wait until after the meeting? We still have important business to discuss!"
"And part of that business is to assign this space freak a different position!"
There was a small chorus of "ooh"s from a few males who took interest in the quarreling. Rayquaza thumped the ground in appeal with his tail, giving off a roar of encouragement. Even though he and Deoxys made up their dislike for each other centuries ago, the two still carried a rivalry that would temporarily flare up over carping ridicules or gestures deemed offensive. One would swear they were itching for a fight whether with each other or not. Cresselia was doing his dirty work for him picking a fight with Deoxys.
The reproached Legendary glared icily at the female, one of his arms morphing into his dual-colored flagellates. "You dare say that again, Cress?" he darkly challenged.
Craning her neck, she replied smoothly, "I'd say more, but I am a lady."
"Don't give me that bullshit of an excuse. What are you, Victorian?"
"And what are you? Final Frontier?"
"You two, enough!" Shaymin shouted, spreading her large ears to levitate. "This nonsense has gone too far!"
"You have a lot of nerve challenging me," Deoxys continued, ignoring the increasing hoots and warnings to continue the transformation into his Attack Mode. His arms finished their formation into whips just as his body structure slimmed, his head beginning to protrude horns.
"'Woman hath fury' mean anything to you?" she spat, eyes glowing a pale pink.
In an effort to try lessening the tension, though more out of an impulse, Darkrai seized one of the swan's thin wings and yanked her to the ground, holding her there with a clawed hand. She gave a shout of surprise, struggling under his grip to break free and lunge for the alien. Her psychic energy she emitted in her anger was repelled by his Dark-type aura, even countering it so she zapped herself. "RELEASE ME, DARKRAI!" she screamed out a demand as her eyes blazed a hot pink. "LET ME RIP THAT ALIEN SCUM TO BITS!"
"Cresselia, what has gotten into you?" he asked her through his astonishment as he pushed her back down. "Why are you letting him get to you like this?"
"DARKRAI, I MEAN IT! LET ME TAKE ON THAT SON OF A BI—" Cresselia's voice abruptly gave way, leaving her to gape dumbly up at her phantom friend, eyes dimming to their normal state. Deoxys stared down at her in confusion over her sudden silence. The crowd's buzz of excitement died down to crane in for a look. Shaymin was flabbergasted, descending back onto her rock and letting her ears drop. No one dared speak out for a few moments in fear it would trigger her anger and cause her to lash out again. It was only when she murmured an "Oh, my" did the first Legendary risk letting out a breath he held. She spoke once more. "Oh, my... I almost... what in the world did I...? I took it too far?"
"False alarm," Lugia sighed in relief, sitting back in place. He shook his head slowly, raising a wing to pinch his brows. "Dear Arceus, what has gotten into me? Cheering on for a fight..."
Darkrai backed away to allow Cresselia to rise, avoiding her gaze by hanging his head and crossing his arms. When she looked at Deoxys, he had already commutated to his normal form, returning to his seat without another word. Frowning, the swan sadly glanced around at her peers, apologetic in her movements. "What got into me?" she whispered, mainly to herself as she took her place next to her counterpart. "I could never harm another being..."
Shooting the terrier a look, Ho-oh waited for the Legendaries to recede from their stirred state before rising. He calmly walked to the middle, pausing at the front of the rock and facing the others. An uncomfortable silence hung in the atmosphere, all eyes on the phoenix before them. Lifting his head to stand as boldly as possible, he fanned a wing in the disturbed female's direction.
"What we have witnessed here, brethren and sisters, is a sign of the world's impact on our part," he announced. "One of our most gentle members has begun to release the beast that threatens to consume us all. The world's demons are upon us, but it's up to the individual to allow them to possess or to continue battling until the end. It's fortunate on Cresselia's part that she is surrounded by friends at this time, but what if no one was around her? What then?
"Legendaries, this is a dangerous time to be cocky. We cannot afford to fight with one another. Your idiotic rivalries have to end now like they should have centuries ago." He noticed Groudon and Kyogre side-glancing at each other from where they stood (or in the whale's case, half-submerged in the lake that rested off a ways). "As of today, no one is allowed to return home without being accompanied, if you haven't been already. Siblings shall share the same resting place. Friends shall be neighbors. Rivals shall be friends. Make up your differences and find other ways to get along. While the whole world may be going to war, we must not be part of that war. As protectors of this world, we must be the example." With a curt nod, Ho-oh briskly walked back to his seat, giving Shaymin back the floor.
She backed up his command by exclaiming, "Hear, hear! All those in favor say 'aye'!"
Taken aback by the phoenix's short speech, none of the Legendaries could find their voice to ratify. They instead raised a hand or showed signs of approval by a simple special attack released into the sky. Even though all was accounted for, Shaymin still asked, "Are there any opposed?" When none came, she nodded and said, "May Arceus have mercy on us all."
There came a cry of "Amen!" from the middle, recognized as Jirachi's energetic tone. A few of his surrounding peers gaped at his random reaction, knowing he hadn't spoken a word in years, though Latias cried out happily and gave him a hug (he was quickly rescued by Latios).
The terrier smiled. "Amen indeed. Since I trust each one of us knows who to pair up with without any arguing, we'll go to our next topic of interest. I have been receiving reports of unusual weather abnormalities across the globe, mainly in the seas. There have been more casualties at sea in the past few decades than the entire century. Kyogre, Lugia, you two are more capable of causing these storms than anyone else. Do you two have any explanation as to why this is occurring?"
"No, ma'am," Kyogre called out after raising his head from the water, a tired Manaphy resting on top. "I haven't left the ocean trenches in years." The Seafaring Legendary shook his head in agreement.
"Yeah, same here, I've really just come out of the water for the meeting," the water dragon admitted, shrugging. "And besides, even if we were responsible for this, it wouldn't be this dangerous, or widespread for that matter."
Shaymin chewed on her bottom lip, scrunching her face in a thoughtful expression. "Strange. I'll agree with you on that, you two aren't the type to go around drowning people or creating these powerful storms just for the heck of it. Well, could this be the same reason we're also having frequent powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in one region after another? Groudon? Entei? Heatran? You three have similar explanations?"
All three nodded and shrugged. Heatran was the one who spoke up about it. "Honestly, Shaymin, I don't think any one of us Legendaries have any control over these natural disasters."
"Besides," Entei piped up, "Suicune here can tell you the time I got sick and couldn't roar properly for the life of me even though a few volcanoes have erupted during that season."
His sister groaned, putting a paw on her snout in embarrassment. "Arceus, Entei, not that story again," she huffed.
Raikou snickered beside her. "Com'mon, sis! You tell it better than I do, and it's funny when you say it, only because you were stuck with him the whole season."
"Don't push it."
"Well, let us first finish the meeting," Shaymin suggested quickly. "And Heatran, you are making a good point there. We all, more or less, deal with our surrounding environments, sometimes even having that elemental power, but I can truthfully say we don't always command that power. Ever since the world breathed life, these things have always happened, with or without us. But everyone's growing concerned about this and are wanting some answers. I'm not saying they're all pointing fingers at us, but since their belief is that we are the ones that can command similar destruction, they may think we have something to do with this. In my opinion, I think the world's tilting slightly more on its axis due to gravitational pull by the sun, but that's debatable." She cast her eyes about in the crowd waiting for any loose comments before continuing on. "All right, Celebi? What's the report about the earth's vegetation? Have any more forests disappeared?"
The addressed Legendary lifted himself into the air, bowing in place. Ho-oh and others took notice of his pale-brown skin, his antennae and the extension of his head wilting. "They are still flourishing and blooming healthily. However, Ilex Forest is scheduled to be uprooted for development."
Gasps and murmurs hummed for a few minutes before the lead speaker said her part. "Since when? I thought Azalea Town was against this?"
Celebi sadly dropped his eyes. "They reportedly signed the contract last Saturday when the last protector died. His son—that city bastard—immediately called the developers and had a meeting that very day to sign the papers. No one has come forward to defend the forest, if any of them care. The bulldozers will start mowing through sometime this month before the foundation can be built." Without another word, he sat down, clenching his fists in silence.
"Thank you, Celebi. Our hearts go out to you and the inhabitants." She bowed her head in a moment of silence before lifting her gaze to her right. "Well," she sighed, "as this is a concern among the majority of us, we would like to hear the progress on Mew. How is she doing?"
Everyone's eyes and heads moved for the direction of the feline in question. Mewtwo shifted under the gazes of the Legendaries, not that they were concentrating on him, but more from the fact he had to answer Shaymin's question. He brought himself to stand up, locking eyes with her. "As you may have noticed, or not," he referred to the audience, "Mew is incapable of independently sitting upright. For those who are unable to tell the difference, allow me to demonstrate."
Unflinchingly, his mind immediately released its telepathic hold on her. From beside him, a small "thump" sounded seconds afterward along with light, horrified gasps when Mew dropped forward to the grass below. "OH, DEAR ARCEUS, SHE'S DEAD!" was the scream of Latias, who left her seat to the aid of her friend. Latios immediately followed, grabbing his sister before she reached the fallen Legendary.
"Leave her be," Mewtwo cautioned, turning his head to meet the frightened wide-eyed stare of the small female. She backed away into her brother, covering her mouth to quiet her sobs as her eyes fell on the motionless body of her friend. Mew laid there with no recognition of her fall, the only sign of life being her slow breathing. His vision returning to an awed Shaymin, he psychically raised his counterpart back to her seat, the scene making it seem like she was a limp doll being placed on a shelf, her head still hung and slacking. "She has been unresponsive for quite some time," he stated, ignoring their terrified stares. "It is as if she has lost her will to live. I found her like this, slowly withering away in the heart of the Tree of Beginning. She has withdrawn enough to not take heed of her surroundings. I doubt Mew knows about us, let alone her location."
"Is she eating?" came the next concern.
"It is apparent she has not had proper nutrients in some time. My estimate is two months."
"It could be longer than that," Ho-oh pointed out. "I last saw her about five months ago. She didn't eat then."
"She wouldn't eat when I checked up on her several months ago," Celebi countered, folding his arms. "Anyone else visit her around that time?"
Latias slowly raised a shaky hand. "I-I, uh... saw her... It was her birthday... she had nothing."
Mewtwo shook his head, growing skeptical. "This is improbable. Even as a Legendary, she should not be alive unless her metabolism is lower than that of a Slakoth's."
"That's not the case, right?" Shaymin asked.
There fell an eerie silence in the clearing as the Legendaries continued to stare unblinkingly at Mew. Each of them recited a prayer in their hearts, growing teary-eyed as the reality of the fallen cat became more prominent. They began to see more clearly the bone structure against the unkempt fur, at how lifeless her tail appeared. None of them wished to see what her eyes truly looked like, wanting to keep the memory of them and the reputation of Mew pure. Latias found her way back to her seat by Latios, grasping his hand tightly and averting her gaze to the grass.
Sighing, the Sky Warrior nodded toward the clone. "Thank you, Mewtwo." After he sat back down, she added, "Are there any other concerns or reports we should know about before we adjourn?"
There was another silent moment before Rayquaza cleared his throat in the back. "Um... do I really have to go back to the ozone layer?" he wondered, fiddling his claws. "I'm not too sure how many of you know this, but there's too much crap up there, and it hasn't been thinning out. As much as I like the view of the earth and space and all that, I can't stand seeing this hunk of tin cross my vision or bump into me every few minutes. I may have been taking out my anger on them and trying to clear my home out, but either they just keep sending more or it's only getting worse."
"Or it could be just you," Deoxys muttered to himself, rolling his eyes. Darkrai instinctively grasped onto Cresselia in the chance she would snap again. She just gave him a concerned look and gently pulled away.
Shaymin wasn't aware of it. "We figured you were the cause of all the satellites burning through the atmosphere, but we can honestly say we had no clue you were very uncomfortable up there. You should've said something earlier."
"Well, gee, I never get around to it," he grumbled. "It's really only once in a blue moon or two that I come down here anyway. Dorkxys is really the only one I ever talk to, I figured he would've told someone by now." The addressed Legendary turned to glare at the use of his insulting nickname, but Rayquaza either ignored it or was unmindful at the moment.
"Well, you're welcome to return to Sky Tower at any time," the terrier said, gesturing in the direction the building was located. "It hasn't been visited or destroyed by a human in centuries. It's still high up enough you won't be spotted, but low enough it's comfortable living. Unless you prefer another place?"
"Sky Tower will be all right. I miss that hunk of junk anyway."
She smiled. "Perfect. Anything else?" She waited for an outburst of any kind before her ears straightened out. "All right, then. The meeting will be adjourned indefinitely. If something comes up, Ho-oh or I will call for another conference. In the meantime, brethren and sisters, let's keep our thoughts and prayers on the future of the world. May Arceus redeem us from our solemn hour. Dismissed."
"No one leaves without a partner!" Ho-oh called out, waving a wing before the first Legendary stood up. "If there's one short, Shaymin and I will take on that role."
Slowly but surely, the guardians rose from their seats and asked a close friend or even the one next to them if they could follow them home. Those who were asked gave the blessed permission, though most secretly wished someone else came up to them instead. Jirachi, as much as he wanted to go with the Lake Trio, was asked by Latias (more like pleaded with anyway) to live with her and Latios. Not one to say no, he surrendered and allowed the female dragon to hug him ecstatically.
After watching the three leave, once the Wish Maker was again rescued, Entei suddenly turned to Suicune before she could rise. "Sis, I don't wanna go with Ho-oh. Can I come with you?"
She groaned, throwing her head back. "Oh, for heaven's sake, Entei." A heaving sigh, and she gave in, "Fine. But I don't want this turning into another care-taker season, okay?"
"Oh, yeah, you have to tell everyone about the time when I was sick!" he blurted out a little too loudly, bouncing in place.
Suicune cringed when a few heads turned in her direction. Deoxys had grown interested. "What happened there?" he smirked, folding his arms.
"Do I really have to?" she growled. "I've been trying to forget it ever happened."
"Okay, okay, it goes like this!" Raikou butted in, grinning brightly much to her chagrin. "So, Entei caught this really bad cough that turned out to be pneumonia or laryngitis, we really don't know, so every time he talked or roared—tried to anyway—he'd croak. But after each croak, he'd squeak and spit fire in whatever direction he was facing. Well, Suicune here loves hanging out in forests, and so she had caught the attention of many people all because of these little brushfires she had to douse out. But there was the one time Entei squeaked while they were at a lake she was purifying."
By this time, a small crowd had gathered around, blocking off any escape Suicune had planned on making. She tried to hide her face in her mane, darkly murmuring to herself for the purpose of drowning out her brother's voice. He obliviously continued his gushing. "As it turns out, while Suicune is purifying water, there's this rather temporary flammable chemical secreted from her paws that is released into the water to help clean it. So when Entei spat fire at the lake, half the surface went up in flames!" He paused while a wave of whooping went through a majority of the spectators, grinning excitedly. "Oh, my Arceus, you wouldn't believe how many burn patients had to be treated that day! Even the Nurse Joy there couldn't believe it when all these fish Pokémon were rushed into the emergency room by a small group of campers who just so happened to be there and saw the whole thing happen! She was all 'OMIGAWD' and, according to reports, actually fainted at the amount of her many patients. They had to call in another Nurse Joy to complete the task!"
The listeners roared at the imagery, a couple buckling over. Azelf, while a smile was on his face, was focused more on the muttering Suicune. "But wait, isn't this more embarrassing for Entei?" he pointed out. "I mean, he caught the lake on fire."
"But Suicune was the one cleaning it! That's the funny part! But what makes it funnier was that because the campers were too stupid to get a good look, the police classified it as arson. To this day, the 'culprits' have yet to be caught!"
Darkrai surprisingly gave Entei a slap on the back, laughing heartily. "You, sir, need to get sick more often. I'd do anything to see that happen. Hey," and he snapped his fingers before pointing, "you think she still gets nightmares?"
"Entei, Raikou, we're going," she barked in interference, glaring at the phantom and a still guffawing Deoxys. "I was supposed to be purifying a lake today upon Celebi's request. We'll be lucky to get there in time to at least clean half of the lake if the human children haven't arrived there yet."
"Hey, I'm tagging along!" the alien called out, reaching out a hand while bending in half to catch his breath. "A-Any chance of a cold today, Entei?"
He shrugged. "Maybe." He was whacked in the head by his sister before she disappeared in a blur. "Do'h, wait, Suicune! We don't know where the lake is!" Entei lifted an apologetic paw in farewell to the others before bumping Raikou's shoulder to urge him on. After the electric tiger nodded at the crowd, he and his brother followed suit, the bushes and tall grass rustling in passing.
Deoxys snapped his fingers in frustration. "Damn! Where's Celebi, I'll be needing that lake's location."
The Time Travel Legendary rolled his eyes from where he levitated, shaking his head. "Whatever, Deoxys. It's really once in a blue moon that Entei gets sick. Besides, the closest to seeing lakes catch on fire is whenever Groudon sneezes. Once you've seen that, you've seen it all."
With a pout, the disappointed extraterrestrial left, shooting off in Rayquaza's direction. Celebi chose to team up with the Lake Trio siblings, who accepted him into their group before they teleported away. Many others left with their own siblings, or went ahead to go with their rivals like Ho-oh had suggested. He and Shaymin remained on Mirage Island until only Mewtwo and Mew were left. The clone had remained in place to watch the others depart, waiting for someone to take Mew with them. Many of the Legendaries clearly wanted to bring her along, but they instead gave her pitying looks, and few shed silent tears. Inwardly, he groaned: he was stuck with her until the next meeting. The two may have gotten along over the years, even going as far as to say they were friends, but Mewtwo didn't want to have anything to do with her at this point in time.
Ho-oh, of course, wasn't going to let it pass. "Mewtwo, you know you're not allowed to be dismissed until you're paired up."
"I am very aware of that," he said, a hint of a snappy tone in his voice.
The phoenix frowned. "You don't have to be with Mew if you aren't comfortable having her be a roommate, you might say."
Mewtwo leered up at him. "I am not a child. Why are you speaking to me as such?"
He spread out his wings as a shrug. "I'm just saying, Mewtwo, one of us can take care of her, but you'll have to leave with the other. This isn't a time to brood over differences. As we speak, the world's teetering on the decision of a world war, with us possibly being dragged into it. We cannot afford to continue fighting with one another if it means being like them."
Shaymin stepped forward, laying a paw on Mew's knee. "I can take her," she volunteered. "I have some herbs that can heal her. She'll be up within a few—"
"Then I will take her with me." The clone sharply stood up before the two, locking eyes with the Sky Guardian before him. "I do not wish to be with either of you. Frankly, I prefer going alone. But if you insist, then I will give in to your demand just this one time. And only this once." His eyes illuminated glaringly to stress his seriousness, though his answer managed to please Ho-oh.
"All right, then," he concluded, straightening up. "I trust she's in good hands?"
Mewtwo glanced down at his languished counterpart. It was a peculiar question, seeing as all these years, Mew was strong enough to be independent and not afraid to be alone. But after watching her fade into the barely conscious being she was now, it was apparent she became incapable of living by herself and still expected to live another night. Judging by her limp, bony features and shallow breathing, she was ready to drop dead at any given moment. The thought of healing herbs being administered to her in this feeble state was fatally sound. With nothing in her stomach for months (unless they weren't consumable, though most herbs were), the shock of medicine filling her up was more likely to kill her than heal.
Wrapping his tail around her to pull her closer, Mewtwo turned his attention back to the phoenix. "She will. I will make sure of it."
Ho-oh bowed his head, making the feline blink. "Thank you, Mewtwo. This is an important task, I hope you realize."
Still taken aback about the formal gesture, his response took a few seconds for Mewtwo to register and then answer. "Somewhat. I am familiar about her role in this world mainly through facts and legend."
Ears spreading out, Shaymin herself bowed in place, kneeling at his feet. "Then do everything in your power to make sure she becomes well again. We're entrusting you with this great task."
Shifting his weight, Mewtwo scooped up Mew with an arm. She peacefully laid inert against his chest, eyes closed. The three looked upon her as if she had passed into the next life, a fact that would have been true had she not taken an irregular, deep breath. To their relief, it wasn't her last.
Ho-oh averted his eyes from the fallen Legendary, casting them to the sky. "We still have time. Let us depart until needed." He paused to let out a quiet sigh as his eyes closed. "Please, Mewtwo, do your very best to bring Mew back. We cannot lose her, not at this present time."
"I promise you it shall be done."
When the great phoenix craned his neck to look back, Mewtwo had already departed where he stood, Mew gone with him. Shaymin backed up, eyes threatening to brim with tears, head bent in a silent prayer. Sighing, he raised his vision back to the heavens.
"May Arceus be with us all."