"Mew, that's completely insane! I can't believe you'd want to do something like that!"

Mew flinched backwards from her relative's wrath—she still wasn't quite sure if Mewtwo was her son or her brother or what. "But—I want to do it! I'm curious!"

"You're always curious!" he snarled, blazing purple eyes flashing. "This is dangerous though! I won't let you do it!"

Angry that he was trying to control her freedom yet again, Mew shouted back, "And what are you going to do? Are you going to stop me? I can protect myself!"

She felt tiny next to him because he was so much bigger, so much taller. She envied him over that—she was small and cute and couldn't look intimidating the way he could. A blue glow started to flare in his eyes, and she felt his psychic powers surge—he attacked when he was angry. "No, you can't! You're too trusting, and that trust is going to get you killed one day! The humans are not to be trifled with! They are monsters, and you will not fraternize with them!"

Then, she knew exactly why he didn't want her doing this. "Back to humans again?" she asked a bit scathingly. "Just because you had your traumatic past with them, doesn't mean that they are all bad! Face it, Mewtwo, you're biased opinion isn't going to stop me from understanding them further! They are not bad!"

A blast of psychic energy sent her flying backwards, crashing into a tree. The sheer force of it made her little body gasp for breath as she looked up at her fuming offspring. "You don't tell me about those horrible creatures!" he roared, two Shadow Balls crackling with energy at his fingertips. "You don't know them like I do!"

"And I never will!" she cried, dodging the first Shadow Ball he threw at her. It crashed into the same tree, ripping apart the trunk and sending it crashing to the ground. "I know there are good humans out there! And nothing you do is going to stop me from trying to understand them!"

The other Shadow Ball struck her hard in her chest, and she grunted as she crashed into the base of a tree, the underbrush around it pricking her body. Jumping out of it, she looked for Mewtwo, but he wasn't there—she felt the remnants of psychic power in the area, and had to silently assume that Mewtwo had teleported away in fury.

She sat down on the fallen tree, sighing. The cause of Mewtwo's destruction—a tree dead, several pokemons' homes destroyed by killing the tree, and her own pain. She knew Mewtwo didn't mean it—he was always hot tempered, and she just had to go with it. Mew licked the back of her paw, hugging her own long tail tight to her chest. Now he probably felt bad for hurting things again—his power was always a touchy subject with him. She almost thought he was afraid of it.

After some time, since the sun was going down, Mew curled up, wrapping her tail around herself as she stared up at the sky. She was sorry for making him angry—she didn't want him to be angry. But she really wanted to go off with the humans for a bit. She curled up in a tighter ball, but the night wasn't cold—just silent, empty.

She couldn't hear him, but she felt his psychic powers immediately—a Heal Pulse passed through the area, pink and purple sparkles that lit up the night for just an instant as Mew's injuries from Mewtwo were healed. His intelligent, deep voice echoed out.

"If you must go . . . Then don't go alone." For a split second, heart beating agonizingly sweet, Mew thought he was going to go with her and finally understand that humans were not all bad—but he crushed her hopes with his next statement. "I will not go with you. But . . . find someone to go with you, to protect you. That is all I ask."

And then, he was gone.

Mew sighed to herself at the grave, her pink hair fluttering in the slight breeze.

"I'll miss you, Bisharp," she said to the pokemon beneath the surface. So, she had gotten at least four months of being human before the old Bisharp's time was up. She should have known better and got a younger pokemon to escort her, but she had liked Bisharp a lot. Besides, he had been willing, and she had been eager to go on her way.

"Now what will you do?"

She jumped, turning around to see Mewtwo. "Mewtwo!" she burst happily, floating up in front of his face.

His eyes were drawn, calculated. "Have you had enough fun gallivanting around?"

She shook her head. "No way! There's still so much to see! So much to learn! I had some people teach me how to dance, mostly—dancing is so fun! How come pokemon don't dance like humans?"

She felt the irritation broiling under the surface of his complexion. "It is because we are pokemon," he stated. "We are not meant to dance."

Mew sighed, resting on top of his head. He seemed annoyed, but didn't move her. "Well, I really like it. It's fun, even if we aren't really meant to." After a moment, she leaned over so she looked him in the eyes. She giggled at him. "You're upside down."

"My feet are on the ground," he stated. "You are upside down."

She giggled again, but then sobered a little, flipping right side up to look down at Bisharp's grave. "Well . . . I still want to head out with the humans again. But this time I'll find someone younger that's just as capable."

He put his hands on his hips, sighing. "Fine. Have it your way." And he teleported away again.

After two weeks of searching, Mew still hadn't found a pokemon to protect her that she felt fit her criteria. Late that night, she finally decided that she was going to go to sleep despite how awake she was. Cuddling up on summer ground, Mew closed her eyes in an effort to go to sleep—and felt a familiar presence.

She popped up immediately. "Mewtwo!" she burst in a whisper. Gliding around carelessly, she found him at a small pond, sitting on a jutting rock over the surface of water that reflected the moonlight.

Mew plopped down in his lap, cuddling close. "Hi, Mewtwo," she said.

She felt that strange combination of irritation in him again. "What do you want?" he asked a bit tiredly.

"Nothing," she said, and she wrapped her tail around his waist as she started to go to sleep in his lap.

She felt one of the round digits of his fingers touch the top of her head. "Would you get off of me?"

Mew flipped over, grabbing his finger before he could take it back, giving him a curious look. "Why? Oh! What are you doing here anyway?"

"Protecting you, of course." He pulled gently to get her to let go, but she held on. Hm, funny—she was sure that if he really didn't want her holding on to his finger he'd force her to let go . . .

But she dismissed it as she giggled, "But there's nothing here to hurt me! Besides, I'm strong, I can protect myself."

"So you say," he commented airily, and he looked up at the moon.

Mew snuggled up to his strong stomach, feeling how warm he was. "I do say." She yawned wide, the warmth making her drowsy. "Besides, no one's going to hurt me. I can protect myself. And with you . . . No one will even think . . . to take a—a step to me . . ."

She dozed off almost immediately, and Mewtwo rubbed between her ears gently. "And that is exactly the point," he told her softly even though she was asleep. He couldn't help himself—she was just too darned cute, and she could make even his hard heart melt. He would always protect her.

Lucifer knelt at the man's grave, his own pokeball his paw. Now what? Without his master, he had nothing. He felt the strangeness of tears in his eyes. Why was he crying? The man hadn't been good to him. In truth, this was the day Lucifer had always dreamed about—the day his trainer died so he would finally have freedom from his ways.

But . . . now what? He had his freedom. He had what he wanted. But what was he supposed to do with it? He had power, he had instincts, he could fight and protect himself. That was all his master had ever taught him—fighting techniques, new moves as he sought to raise the strongest Lucario ever.

Lucifer clenched the pokeball tight, then slammed it to the ground. The fragile thing broke, and it sparked red light a moment. Then, he felt the pokeball's hold on him release, and he was once again a wild pokemon.

The Lucario stood, leaving the broken balls remains on the ground. He went inside the old hut, ate, and then left behind that place for good.

But where to go? Lucifer walked over Sinnoh's Route 210, the fog making the way treacherous—with so many stoops and ditches, sudden drops off cliffs, if you didn't know your way you would soon find yourself at the bottom of a valley. But Lucifer knew these twists and turns—he had been raised here his whole life. When he heard the crash of a waterfall nearby, it alerted him to exactly where he was.

He heard the pokemon's faint buzz become louder and louder—here it came! He ducked past the Beedrill's Pursuit. Lucifer growled at the intrusion—it had no reason to attack! A glowing blue bone appeared in his paws, and Lucifer charged with a Bone Rush, but the Beedrill was fast—it turned back with a Twineedle, and Lucifer was forced to block each attack with his Bone Rush to protect himself. The Beedrill attacked again with Poison Jab, making Lucifer fall back, and, waiting for an opening, prepared a Force Palm. When the appropriate time came, he lunged forth, the attack hitting the Beedrill square in the chest, the light green light blasting it away. He lunged out of the way of a Twineedle again, charging with a Close Combat at hand. Striking the Beedrill again, it fluttered out of reach and hid in the fog.

Lucifer closed his eyes, covering them with the black appendages on his head. Struggling to reach out for the aura, Lucifer felt it—weak, far away. He couldn't see through the fog well—he should be able to.

It was his greatest failing as a Lucario, what he had been beaten for as a Riolu and as a Lucario—he couldn't reach out to the aura. Lucifer abandoned the aura again, instead opening his eyes quickly to search for the Beedrill. He could hear it buzzing above him somewhere, and not using the aura was his failing again because a Twineedle crashed down from above him, making him yell in pain. Forcing himself to fight through the pain, Lucifer threw a Bone Rush up at the Beedrill. The attack stopped almost immediately, and the glowing blue bone boomeranged back to him. Lucifer caught it, wielding it threateningly as he waited for the giant bug to attack again.

Instead, he heard a feminine voice echo out, "Wow! You're pretty strong! I think I like you!" Lucifer started when the Beedrill dropped out of the sky, shape shifting instantly into a small Riolu. The little Riolu assessed his aggressive position thoughtfully. "Your stance is nice, you've certainly been trained well, and—you're good! Still not dropping your guard to someone that you're still not sure of as your enemy or not!" The little Riolu waved her hand. "You don't have to be like that with me, I'm not going to hurt you; I just attacked to gauge your strength. You seem pretty strong, but you're oddly not very attuned to your aura . . ." She sighed, sitting on a hip when he still refused to drop his attack stance. "Would you please stop that? I'm not going to hurt you."

Lucifer did another double take at his companion before finally relaxing, letting his Bone Rush disappear. "Who are you?" he asked roughly, distrusting—what kind of pokemon could shape-shift like that? He had figured that Beedrill weren't native to here, but what pokemon could do such a thing? Ditto? Zorua? But they had to see the pokemon that they were going to shift to. What could do it at will? "What do you want?"

The little Riolu giggle, hands coming to cover her smile. "Who am I?" she repeated. "You're so silly!" The pokemon shape shifted again, making Lucifer jolt, and he felt drained at the tiny pink cat that floated in front of him. "Why, I'm Mew! What's your name?"

Stunned, he could only manage, "Lucifer."

"Hi, Lucifer!" The legendary pokemon flipped closer to shake his hand enthusiastically, and he wrest his hand free of her grasp. "And I want to take you with me."

He narrowed his eyes, taking a step back from her. "Take me where?"

Mew just flipped about, gliding backwards on her back—he had to step to keep up with her. "Why, wherever we want to go! See? This was meant to be—you're already following me!"

Lucifer halted immediately at her words. "That doesn't answer the question."

He lost her for a second in the heavy fog, but then she suddenly flipped in front of him until they were almost nose-to-nose. "And why doesn't it? There's no need to have a destination if you keep moving."

Lucifer crossed his arms, still not trusting her. "What do you want with me anyway?"

She blinked at him. "What? I thought that was obvious! You're to keep me safe, of course—kinda like my little guardian to follow me around."

He stared at her in the morning that was quickly becoming afternoon. "You? Safe? You need no one to keep you safe."

He watched her make a face, muttering, "Yeah, well, tell that to Mewtwo . . ."

"To who?" he repeated, not sure he had heard her right.

"Oh, no one," she said quickly. Too quickly. Lucifer felt his suspicions fed all over again. "But yes, you're to keep me safe. Hop to it!" and she disappeared into the fog again.

Lucifer stayed standing where he was. After four seconds, Mew glided back into sight again. "And what are you waiting for?" she asked.

"I'm not going with you," he stated.

Her blue eyes blinked at him a moment. Then, she started laughing, covering her mouth with her hands again. "Oh, you're too cute!" she laughed, wrapping her tail around his wrist. "Let's go." She started to float off with him, but found a resisting arm that she tried to pull along. Lucifer watched her as she blinked back at him. Her tail released his hand. "You mean . . . You really don't want to come with me?"

"Why should I?" he growled. "I have nothing to gain from going with you. I might as well just walk aimlessly by myself."

He felt Mew's eyes assessing him for a moment longer, and she finally said, "Okay, you want something in return? I'll make you the best Lucario that ever walked this planet." Lucifer felt his ear twitch—he couldn't help it. He was curious. The best? "I am the mother of all pokemon after all. I'll teach you everything I know to make you the best Lucario there is. Not to mention I can teach you to use your aura properly."

There it was—what appealed to him most. The aura. His trainer had never taught him how to use it, and it was likely that he didn't even know how to use it. Lucifer swallowed—let his trainer just wait. He would finally learn to use his aura properly, and he wouldn't ever live under his oppression again—whether physically, or mentally, still locked in his mind.

"Fine, I'll do it."

"Good!" Her response was too bright for Lucifer's taste, but he let it go—she was going to teach him what no other pokemon would ever learn. But, he was surprised when she shape shifted into a Pichu, running up to make her place on his shoulder. She raised a tiny paw. "Onward march!"

Lucifer didn't move. "We're not going anywhere until you get off of my shoulder."

She looked at him, then said, "Nuh-uh. You're traveling with me—I make the rules. Now let's go."

She was firm, but . . . He wasn't comfortable with her there, and he had a feeling she was more bark than bite. "Get off," he ordered.

Mew sullenly got down off of his shoulder, and started to move. She sulked, but Lucifer preferred it better than her yapping in his ear the whole journey.

However, his peace was short-lived—she shifted into an Aipom next, saying, "Okay, so you know Bone Rush, Force Palm, and Close Combat. What else?"

Lucifer cracked his knuckles. "Mega Punch."

When she seemed to be waiting for more, he quirked an eyebrow. "You mean, that's all you know?"

"Yes, that's all I know," he growled. "That's four moves."

Mew stopped, shrugging her little Aipom shoulder. "So?"

She was so . . . matter of fact. It made him slow a moment, narrowing his eyes at her. "So, what?"

"So," she said, as if he were acting silly, "you can learn more than four. What's with everyone thinking pokemon can learn only four moves?" She turned, running off deeper into the fog with her curiosity. "I know almost every move! You see," and Lucifer had to start jogging because her voice was fading away, "four is the average number of moves a pokemon knows. But you can learn up to as many moves as you want really. If you're compatible with those moves. Like, I don't know if you could learn Psychic." Lucifer stumbled in a ditch, struggling to keep up—she was moving fast, faster than he was, and faster than his comfortable speed was. He didn't run this fast through these parts—the terrain was treacherous, and he didn't fancy having a broken leg.

"Mew!" he snapped as he ran with her through the blinding fog, "Slow down!"

"No way!" Again he felt himself gritting his teeth in irritation at her. "Run faster! If you can't keep up with me, how can you suppose to keep up with an enemy if someone kidnaps me?"

"I can keep up with you fine!" he growled, ducking low over a fallen log and jumping to avoid another, "But this is crazy—you can't see where you're going!"

"Nonsense!" she shouted back to him. He heard another waterfall approaching soon. "I can see just fine! Can't you?" He prepared another sadistic remark to her, but she spoke again. "Use your Aura! Lesson One: teaching you to feel your aura! You should have no problem keeping up with me in these parts—this is child's play."

Lucifer ground his jaw tight, but followed instructions with heart pounding hard in his chest. Closing his eyes, and blindfolding himself with the black appendages from his head, he tried to feel the aura. It was almost like having his eyes open—he could hardly see a foot in front of him, the fog dampening his sight even with his aura.

"Don't fight it!" Mew cried, and he wondered where she was. "Pull it in! Or reach out, and let it come to you!" Lucifer immediately reached out and sought it out, but it slipped through his fingers like it were greased. It felt silky to his touch, like it would shift out of reach the moment he tried to commune with it, and he tried again. He met with the same results, stumbling again. Lucifer's eyes snapped open immediately as he caught himself, but Mew's voice echoed out again.

"Close your eyes, cheater!" she accused him, and he jumped—how did she know he had opened his eyes? They couldn't even see each other in this thick fog! "Use the aura!" Lucifer clenched his jaw, but tried to follow her instructions again. He wondered how to pull it in—he tried, but nothing happened. Sweat started to trickle down his cheek, and he felt frustration boil in his chest. This was supposed to be easy! To feel one's own aura was easy, and he should be able to feel his own—the littlest of Riolu knew at birth what their own aura felt like! Lucifer grasped again and again, but the energies kept slipping away.

"Don't get frustrated!" he heard Mew coach from somewhere up ahead. "Be gentle! The aura senses your emotion—it will only get harder if you stay so frustrated."

Lucifer swallowed hard, bottled up the emotions as best he could, and strove to reach out again. The silk curtain of aura slinked beneath his touch again, and it instantly rekindled the frustration. But, so focused on trying to make contact with his aura, the aura, ANYONE'S aura, he didn't watch where he was going.

Lucifer gave a shout when his ankle twisted beneath him, giving way as he fell off a cliff. Adrenaline pumped through his system—instead of panicking, he responded levelheaded, opening his eyes and abandoning the aura again as he plummeted down. He felt his feet skid on the surface of the sheer rock surface before he turned his ungraceful decent into a dive. He dove under the surface of the river below, turning his body so sharply to avoid hitting the rocky bottom that his ribs screamed in protest. Lucifer resurfaced with a gasp, swimming downstream—back the way they had come—until he could pull himself onto shore.

A Starly flew into sight before shifting back into Mew's natural form. The disgruntled and furious Lucario coughed a moment before growling at her, "What is wrong with you? I can't do something like that!" He gasped in deep breaths from the hectic run, gesturing angrily towards the river. "I fell off a cliff! I could have drowned!"

Mew floated to the ground. She shook her head. "But you didn't."

"No thanks to you!" Lucifer snarled, standing. "I'm out of here."

He stalked off, leaving the tiny, psychic legendary behind. Fuming at his failure, hating himself more, and sopping wet, Lucifer went his own way.

Until a small, pink cat floated next to him. "So that's it?"

He didn't respond.

"You're giving up already?"

He halted in his tracks.

"You don't strike me as one that gives up easily, Lucifer."

Lucifer felt his teeth grind in his jaws. He expelled a deep and fuming breath from his nose.

Mew continued speaking, looking back to the waterfall they had left behind. "I didn't catch you because I knew you were fine. I knew you could take care of yourself—if you had been injured in any sort of way, I would have caught you and prevented that fall. But now you know why you should never turn your back on the aura like that—you fall, and next time there might not be someone there to save you, or a way to save yourself."

He shot her a black glare. "I never had the aura TO turn my back on it."

Her little ear twitched, and she seemed to take this in. "All right. I concede that point to you. I'll take it slower for your sake—we won't do another exercise like that in the future for some time." She glanced over at him with blue eyes. "Will you still come with me?"

Lucifer scowled at his own weakness, crossing his arms. "Yes," he muttered shortly. "I'll come."

She perked up immediately. "Good! Then turn around—we're going the wrong way."

Lucifer turned and walked in stolid silence next to her, unwilling to speak for the remainder of the day. As they trekked on through the fog, he finally heard her say softly, "Would you like to know why you couldn't touch the aura?"

There it was—with one sly comment she had turned the tables on the conversation—or lack of, thereof—and Lucifer found himself an avid listener.


Mew stopped floating next to him, turning to face him and look him in the eyes to gauge his reaction. "You couldn't touch the aura because you said so."

Surprised and confused, he asked, "What do you mean?"

"You said it yourself." And she quoted him, enunciating the words carefully, " 'I can't do something like that'." He stared at her, blinking almost owlishly. "That is what you said. And because you said that, because you didn't believe in it, you couldn't." She started to float on again, and Lucifer fell in step.

"You can't really believe that . . . ?" he started slowly. But she didn't even have to look at him for him to realize she was very serious.

"Lesson number two:" she said softly. "Never doubt yourself. You are capable of more than you realize."

Lucifer processed her words in silence. He looked down on his palms. Was he really? He couldn't believe it. He wasn't like that—he had never been able to make contact with his aura, and it was seeming that he couldn't even do it under the guidance of the entity of the aura itself, Mew. He didn't dare believe in childish fairy tales of strength hidden within while he was with her—he was left with the stark and painful truth—that he would never be able to use the aura. He was a failure, and he would always be one. Lucifer clenched his fists in self-loathing—his trainer had been right all along.

"I know where we're going to go!"

Lucifer jumped to attention when Mew flipped over back to him, excitement thrumming from every nerve of her body. "We're going to leave Sinnoh and go to Hoenn—we're going to go to Lavaridge town! They've got hot springs, and I want to dip. And we'll be sure to get some good training done too!" She suddenly shape-shifted again, and this time Lucario felt himself balking.

The Moltres's blue eyes didn't quite seem to belong in her face. "Come on!" Mew said brightly. "Hop on!"

Heat shimmered the air even around the pokemon—Lucifer knew he was going to cook if he rode her, and said, "Can't you be a different bird? I'll roast alive if I ride you."

"I know!" she said, and it threw him off guard. "Now get on, we haven't got all day!"

Lucifer frowned, but followed instructions—it seemed that she did everything for a purpose. Mounting on her back, Lucifer felt the sheer heat from the Moltres nearly cripple him, his steel type side of him screaming in protest at enduring the high temperatures. Then, she took off, leaving behind the fog and the jagged ground in one fell swoop showing Lucifer the wonders of flying.