The next morning, Hunter was in the garden with Latias. This time he'd brought his Pokémon along, and now they were playing hide-and-seek. Latias actually seemed to be having fun. She'd smiled a lot throughout the game.
Hunter hid in the branches of a tree. He didn't count it unfair. Latias could fly. Making himself as still as possible, he watched Umbreon run under the branches. It was followed by Latias, who was right on its tail.
Hunter smiled. Latias's mood had gradually improved throughout the day. Now she was laughing and twirling happily through the air as she played with Hunter and his Pokémon.
Latias, having lost Umbreon, came over and began flying around Hunter's tree. The boy leaned out, trusting the Aura in his feet to stick him to the tree. She'll never look up, he thought.
As if Latias could hear his thoughts, she looked up. Hunter smiled and released the pent-up Aura around his feet, causing him to fall from his perch onto Latias's back. The guardian and the boy fell to the ground in one tangled pile, with Hunter on the bottom, grinning. He was laughing as he yelled "Found me!"
Hunter sat up as the others gathered around. "So, what do you guys want to do now?"
There was a sudden silence as each member of Hunter's team became immersed in their own thoughts. Hunter leaned back against the tree, then realized what they could do when his stomach growled.
A few minutes later they were all lying on the grass around a tree, eating lunch. Hunter tore large bites out of a sandwich with almost indecent enthusiasm. Latias lay on the ground next to him, watching the others. Hunter reached out and rubbed her head. "Are you having fun yet?"
Latias smiled and nodded. Hunter smiled back. "Good. You can't go your entire life moping, Latias. People come and go."
Latias raised her head and rubbed her cheek against his. Hunter hugged her. "Try and have fun, okay? Life's too short to be preoccupied with one moment in your life."
They spent the rest of the day playing in the garden. That night, they sat in a clear patch of grass open to the sky. They stared up at the stars, watching them twinkle.
Hunter looked at Latias, who was asleep with her head on his chest. He closed his eyes. I don't want you to be like this the rest of your life, Latias. If there was anything I could do to make you happy, I'd do it, no matter what it takes.
He leaned his head back, his eyes drooping shut as he fell asleep with the others around him.
The next thing that Hunter felt was the sun in his eyes. He opened them, shut them again, then rolled out of the way until his face was pointing towards the ground. He blinked rapidly and then sat up straight. Everyone else was still asleep.
Suddenly, Latias jerked awake. She looked around, as if searching for something. Then she looked up, and her facial expression changed. It went from happy with a touch of sadness to overwhelming joy. She shot off like a rocket, flying into the air.
"Latias!" Hunter yelled as he watched her go.
Latias didn't hear. She was going too fast. Hunter ran over to Charizard and nudged the Dragon Pokémon awake. As Charizard rose and stretched Hunter hopped on its back. "Follow Latias," he said. "Just go straight up."
Charizard took off, flying into the air with Hunter hanging on to its back.
He could see Latias, a tiny speck of red in a sea of blue. She was still flying, shooting through clouds and leaving a trail of white behind her.
Charizard's flapping was getting slower and Hunter noticed it was becoming hard to breathe. How much higher can she go? he wondered.
Latias answered his question by shooting past him with another form, similar in dimension to her except larger, flying side-by-side with her.
Hunter tapped Charizard on the shoulder and the dragon turned, flying back towards the garden.
Hunter looked at the blue form. It had red eyes in contrast to Latias's green ones. But the markings…
As Charizard set down on the ground again, Hunter jumped off. He looked at Umbreon and grabbed its head in his hands. Staring into the shadow fox's eyes, he conveyed a message through thought. Letting go, he pointed the way out of the garden. Umbreon was off like a shot, heading towards Bianca and Lorenzo's home.
Hunter watched it leave, then turned back around to see Latios's eyes staring directly into his.
He stood there, unblinking. Latios hung there, unmoving except for bobbing up and down. It then extended one of its hands. Hunter took it and pumped it twice. He smiled. "Your sister's been very lonely without you," he said.
Latios smiled. He nuzzled the boy, then went back to Latias. They began to twirl happily around in the air.
Bianca and Lorenzo ran in, following Umbreon. Hunter knelt down and scratched Umbreon behind the ears as it ran up to him. "Good job," he told it.
He looked up at them both and pointed. "Am I seeing things?"
Lorenzo looked at the two guardians. "No. That's definitely Latios. Her brother, not their father. But I thought he was dead. How could he have come back?"
Hunter had a very good idea how, but didn't elaborate. He walked over to the edge of the garden upon sensing a presence other than the ones in the garden at present.
Lucario stood in one of the tunnels, leaning against the wall. He looked at Hunter as the boy approached. So? How did it go?
How did you do it?
Arceus heard your thoughts. It reasoned that if you were willing to do anything for a friend in need, then Latias deserved to have her brother back.
Hunter smiled. Be sure to thank it for me. Latias is a lot happier with her brother than just me.
Lucario smiled back. Indeed. And I've seen you practicing. Thank you for doing it.
Hunter nodded. Tell me. Is there any news of Deoxys?
None, Lucario replied, shaking his head. I have no doubt that it's coming for you, but there is no way of knowing its location.
Hunter bit his lip. Taren and the others will be here in a few days. I'll call a few others.
Lucario nodded. Good. Be sure to tell them what they'll be up against.
Hunter nodded back. Once again, tell Arceus that I said thanks.
Will do. Goodbye.
Latios is my favorite of the Alto Mare pair. He'll be in the end battle too, but only for a short bit. R and R!