Sequel to Poke Wars: The Incipience
I'd also like to extend a thank you to Zarrelion for betaing this chapter for me.
"Remind me once more why we are here?" Ho-oh murmured irritably, the crimson feathers on his body visibly ruffled. For what seemed like the umpteenth time he fought the urge to glance back at the twinkling lights that marked a human settlement in the distance. Every time he laid eyes on the structures, rage boiled within him; rage that would only subside once those hated structures were no more than scorched earth. The rainbow phoenix sated his rage by fantasizing of carnage and devastation. Suddenly, Uxie spoke.
"Here to recruit. Necessary for future plans," Uxie, the Being of Intelligence, answered in his usual clipped sentences.
Ho-oh gave the sprite a withering look, even though Uxie would never see it.
"Who or what could I possibly recruit in a human settlement?" Ho-oh pondered before relenting to his curiosity.
"Might I inquire as to why you made me send Mewtwo to collect the inhabitants of this area alive?" Ho-oh's golden beak clicked together audibly on the last word.
"Necessary. Part of recruitment plan," the grey sprite replied as if it were the most obvious fact on the planet.
"And is informing me of said plan included anywhere in the plan?"
"Explanation extensive. Short span of time. Time is of essence. Must make deadline," Uxie explained as he floated towards the building before them.
"With someone of your great intellect, I'm positive you can indulge me by explaining and floating at the same time," Ho-oh spat only to be soundly ignored as the sprite stopped before the metal doors.
As if they were no stronger than sheets of aluminum, the sprite telekinetically tore the doors apart. The opening was wide enough to allow him to slip through, but nowhere near large enough to accommodate the genocidal phoenix's wingspan.
"If I didn't know any better I'd say infuriating me has become some kind of sport," Ho-oh silently fumed, coughing loudly to get one particular sprite's attention. Uxie floated a few feet past the doors before realizing something was amiss.
"Ah, sincerest apologies. Lost in thought. Assistance in matter crucial."
"What could possibly make you require my assistance?" Ho-oh inquired, watching as the doors of the facility flapped under Uxie's psychic grasp like flaps of tin foil in the wind.
"Can sense surroundings but need visual confirmation to be sure. Would use own eyes but reflective surfaces pose risk. May see self in own reflection. Wipe own memory. Countless centuries of information lost. Wasteful."
"So he does have a weakness," Ho-oh mused before locking away the tidbit of information for the future.
Ho-oh made his way into the building, his talons clicking against the linoleum tiles with every step as he followed Uxie through the facility. It wasn't long before he began to feel claustrophobic with the narrow hallways and the low ceiling forcing him to stoop his head and tuck in his wings. The Being of Knowledge silently hovered in and out of different exhibits as Ho-oh craned his neck to scan the interior. Somehow, Uxie had found a way to disable the security systems, making their journey through the museum silent and uneventful. Ho-oh reined in his curiosity as to how he had managed that, preferring to simply accept it and be spared the lengthy explanation.
Most of the rooms contained steel pedestals and glass casings holding various relics such as stone tablets and artifacts of debatable worth.
"What exactly are we looking for?" Ho-oh asked.
"Ah. Forgot others not privy to thoughts. Will explain. If memory serves, which it does, three ancient containment devices reside here. Were moved from city once known as Pokémopolis. Currently assuming you lack knowledge regarding human instruments such as a 'spoon' and a 'bell'."
"I know what the latter is, not the former. However, you mentioned there were three artifacts."
"Technically four. Spoon acts as a key to one of the artifacts. Final artifact is three, black conjoined spheres. Center sphere largest and flanked by smaller ones. If found, under no circumstances, make physical contact. Inform me and will handle situation from there. Otherwise…cannot ensure safety," Uxie said in a tone that Ho-oh could've sworn was the slowest he'd ever spoken to him.
"He knows most of my powers by now and wouldn't warn me if he didn't truly believe it would actually bring me serious harm," Ho-oh thought.
"Shall look for spoon and urn counterpart. Leave the task of spheres and bell to you," Uxie said before disappearing into one of the exhibits.
Within a few minutes he found the artifacts he'd been tasked with easily enough and informed Uxie. As they made their way out of the building Mewtwo hovered off the ground a few meters from them, a large cube composed of unconscious humans neatly stacked in rows and columns floating at his side.
As per Uxie's instructions, Mewtwo had entered the nearby town and teleported its inhabitants out of their homes. Once he'd hypnotized and organized them in an orderly fashion, he was to bring their newfound fuel source to the entrance of the museum and await his next order.
Ho-oh could only guess that Uxie had mentally shared their discovery with Mewtwo before turning to him to give the order to retrieve the artifacts. As soon as he finished his command the four artifacts seemingly materialized out of thin air.
"Have Mewtwo destroy bell, then press spheres against humans, and insert spoon into slot of urn," Uxie advised.
Ho-oh did as he was told; knowing not to question Uxie's commands for the time being; now was not the time for pride. The brass bell gave a horrid screech as it imploded into a misshapen ball. It wasn't until Uxie was satisfied with the damage that he gave his consent to drop the broken artifact.
The black spheres shot into the midst of the sleeping populace, turning them several shades of red before absorbing them in an instant, much like how a pokéball would with a Pokémon.
"Uxie, would you care to explain?" Ho-oh asked. His tone of voice implied it was less a request and more of a demand.
"Artifacts actually ancient capturing devices. Spheres contain a large Gengar. Spoon and urn contain equally large Alakazam. Bell contained Jigglypuff to seal them in case both are released. Bell no longer necessary, hence disposal," Uxie replied.
"And the humans?"
"Gengar requires life force of others to fuel itself. Sentient life that makes physical or eye contact with Gengar is absorbed. Added to the fuel source inside. Unsure if way to escape once inside. In the event that Gengar would die, the life of what it has absorbed takes that place. By my estimate, anything attempting to kill the Gengar at this moment would need to kill it over several dozen times. As you could imagine, became hard for humans to control. Counteractive measures established, hence Alakazam. Neither could conquer other, Pokémopolis destroyed in process. Jigglypuff created as last resort."
"And what assurance do we have that these Pokémon will ally themselves with us?"
"Aggressive negotiations may be necessary," Uxie began before going into detail about their next course of actions. Ho-oh's attention was effectively split as he strained to listen to Uxie's instructions and watch the spectacle before them.
Two spots on the ground caved in as darkness oozed from the black spheres like some virulent cancer. Deep purple fur, crimson glowing eyes, and a wide Cheshire grin quickly manifested from the blackness. Cyan crescents banded around its limbs and marked his face and belly.
With the spoon inserted into the slot the orange urn spun in place and black clouds billowed forth from its core. It wasn't long before the clouds took the shape of an Alakazam that easily towered over them. Like the Gengar, black crescent markings decorated the yellow fur of its body.
"It's been a while ya old fart!" Gengar cackled, taking up a fighting stance mere seconds after he materialized.
"I would say it was nice to see you, but I would be lying if I did," Alakazam replied with a withered voice, bringing his spoons up defensively over his chest.
"Why doncha come here so I can rip off that wrinkled head of yours and watch the dust fly out!"
"You may try but you shall fail. Have you learned nothing during your imprisonment? Neither of us can defeat the other, we're doomed to be locked in stalemate" the Psi Pokémon countered.
"Ehem" An unseen voice was heard clearing its throat.
The colossal combatants froze, their eyes slowly turning towards the source of the disruption.
"Oh, pardon me. I hope I'm not interrupting anything," the golden phoenix asked with false innocence.
"Can we…help you?" the Gengar asked, turning to fully face them, his Cheshire smile curving downwards into a displeased grimace.
"Why have you released us?" the Alakazam inquired, cautiously lowering his spoons.
"I'm glad that you've asked. My name is Ho-oh and these are my compatriots, Uxie and Mewtwo. We've released you in hopes that you might join our cause."
"Like I haven't heard this before," Gengar groaned.
Ho-oh continued undaunted, choosing to ignore Gengar's commentary.
"We've summoned you so that you may take part in the extermination of the human race. Uxie tells me that you are essential for this to proceed smoothly. Can I expect that we shall have your cooperation?"
"What's in it for me?" the Gengar inquired, taking a step forward.
Uxie turned, giving Ho-oh the signal in the form of a curt nod.
"Mewtwo, hold him. Make sure he cannot face us," Ho-oh ordered.
Despite hearing the order the giant Gengar couldn't react fast enough and soon found himself tasting soil, his entire body pressed face down in the dirt.
Alakazam made no move to assist his long-time rival, instead he could only marvel at the cerulean aura that outlined all of Gengar's body. In all the times they had clashed, never had he been able to completely overtake Gengar's movements. Uxie floated swiftly towards the pinned giant, tsking as he went.
"Opportunity to continue living seems reasonable. Could easily kill fuel source maintaining you. Pull apart artifact afterwards," Uxie replied.
As if to emphasize his point, the Sprite of Intellect levitated the remains of the bell. Alakazam's eyes widened at the realization of what the misshapen ball once was.
"Jigglypuff! You…why?" the Psi Pokémon's voice wavered frightfully as he stepped back in horror.
"Needed example," Uxie simply stated before turning back to Gengar. "Lack of cooperation ill advised unless desired goal is to be…removed from equation. Would prefer not to subtract you. Will if necessary. Absorbing any of us pointless. Another from team can easily dispatch you. If absorbed, elimination of myself equates to elimination of all intelligence in existence. Eye contact would destroy every memory before absorption. Imagine that both options undesirable to all sentient life. Escape futile, have sentries from ocean floor to ozone layer. No place to hide. Resistance unnecessary. Tasks for you once assimilated into group not difficult. High probability of finding recreational enjoyment in process of doing tasks. What say you?"
Gengar muffled something unintelligible into the earth, to which Uxie spun to face Ho-oh.
The golden phoenix could only stare at the grey sprite with a mixture of awe and anxiety. In spite of having spoken so quickly and monotone, the way he had laid the options out to them would've inspired unadulterated dread. The sprite before him could be terrifying when he wanted to be.
"Intentions clarified. If reasonable and intelligent, will not retaliate now that parameters have been set. Would only demonstrate retard of intellect or inability to reason if course of aggression taken now. May release restraint to hear his response."
Ho-oh nodded to Mewtwo, the azure aura that outlined the gigantic ghost fading away as Mewtwo lowered his arm. The giant Gengar tested the return of his freedom, slowly lifting himself off the ground and coughing up the mouthful of dirt he'd swallowed.
"If while pinned explanation unclear, will be happy to repeat" Uxie offered before the Gengar shook his head.
"I'll join, I'll join, long as I don't have to listen to you talk anymore," the Gengar coughed out the last bits of dirt lodged in his throat.
"Excellent," Uxie replied in an oddly slow and satisfied way that made Ho-oh extremely uncomfortable. The grey sprite proceeded to turn excruciatingly slowly, setting his "sights" on their newest possible teammate. The sluggish shift in movement made the few hairs on ghost's body not standing at attention stick straight up. Admittedly Ho-oh could feel his feathers starting to erect themselves as fear slithered over his body.
A silent conversation passed between the two of them, though Ho-oh felt lucky to be spared what the sprite might be saying to the other psychic. Gengar seemed to share the sentiment as he watched his long-time rival periodically flinch as if Uxie had cracked a mental whip over his head. The dialogue felt unbearably long in the silence in spite of being only a few seconds.
Alakazam's arms hung lifelessly at his sides, his hands threatening to drop his spoons. One of his legs quivered before buckling entirely, bowing his head as he kneeled and placed his spoons on the ground before the Being of Intelligence.
"Everything I have I owe to you, you have my allegiance Uxie," the Alakazam said as he prostrated himself before the sprite.
"Holy shit!" Gengar muttered, having never seen his rival submit to anything so wholly and with such finality.
"Theatrics unnecessary. Joining team appreciated nonetheless. Hope both of you will work on same team without problems," Uxie said.
Gengar gave him a withering glare before nodding; hoping his small act of defiance would not invoke the wrath of the Creator of Intelligence.
"If it is your wish it then it shall be done my lord," Alakazam replied, evoking another quizzical stare from Gengar.
"Title undeserved. Ho-oh head of project. Partner in experiment. I have uploaded location to base of operations. Ask that you take Gengar with you. Will meet with you shortly to impart missions."
"As you wish," Alakazam responded without a moment's hesitation. Gengar could only stare as his rival's spoons were levitated off the floor and into his hands. The Pokémon he had fought centuries ago was now gone, replaced with an obedient servant that was currently offering him his spoon, equating to a hand. His eyes held no malice, as if the years of battle prior to their sealing were forgotten entirely.
"Insubordination dealt with swiftly and mercilessly," Uxie added before shadow giant touched the spoon.
Gengar's gaze flitted back to Alakazam before hesitantly touching the spoon and warping from the space with the Psi Pokémon.
"May now proceed to follow them and give instruction. Presence here no longer necessary," Uxie said.
"Yes, yes, of course. But before we go, might I ask what you told the Alakazam to inspire such reverence for you?" Ho-oh asked.
Uxie sighed with what Ho-oh could only imagine was the first sign of annoyance that the sprite had ever shown him. "Alakazam are creatures of intellect, more so than other psychics. Knowledge valued as much as air. Meeting creator of their lively hood akin to humans meeting their god. Am in uncomfortable position of being revered as much as Arceus."
"Many would kill for that kind of loyalty."
"Unnecessary reverence. Did not bestow knowledge, only gave tools with which to reach current status. Sculptor praised for creating art from block of marble, not manufacturer of chisel and hammer. Illogical to believe otherwise. Saddening to see one of such wisdom and intellect blinded by unnecessary worship. Another example of emotions becoming obstacle in clarity. Preferable to no longer have them. Allows for better work ethic."
"I see. Well then…let us be off," Ho-oh replied before making a motion to give Mewtwo the order.
"Before departure, have request to make of you. Reminded during conversation. Prefer to ask now."
Ho-oh turned to the sprite and giving him an apprehensive stare he knew Uxie would never see. "Yes…"
"Respectfully ask for use of Mewtwo."
Unsure of what to tell the sprite, Ho-oh quickly defaulted to asking him and basing his decision until he knew more. "Might I ask…why?"
"Understand importance of current mission. Capable of multitasking. In reading Mewtwo's mind discovered several things of interest. Analyzed previous battles and utilization of powers. Estimated ten percent use of capabilities."
"Only ten percent?" Ho-oh muttered, recalling everything that they he had done with Mewtwo up to this point. It was hard to fathom that he was only seeing only a fraction of what he was capable of, and even harder to imagine what the full scope of his powers would be at a hundred percent. "If he was so powerful, why didn't he go all out at me when we first met?"
"Unaware of full potential himself. Desired stealth over power. Limited opportunity to test out full extent of power. Potential almost limitless. In right hands could be even stronger," Uxie replied.
"And you believe you are those right hands?" Ho-oh shot back mildly.
"Yes. Capable of faster communication through telepathic speech. Eliminates obstacles that come with verbalization of orders. Being a psychic, know how to best utilize abilities. Several millennia of experience. Vast amounts of knowledge from extensive studies and analysis of all Pokémon, movesets and abilities. Merely wish to see specimen achieve full potential. Not doing so loss of opportunity. Wasteful. No intention of taking ownership of Mewtwo. Merely borrowing. Once satisfied with results of training, full ownership will be returned. Mutually beneficial to all in team. May even multitask. Adapt training to forwarding cause of current project. Reasonable request."
Ho-oh remained silent, longer than he felt was necessary to make a decision when all the reasoning he possessed and all facts presented to him pointed towards one choice. Uxie had been more than helpful to his cause. In fact, the Being of Intelligence could be the very reason that his plan was not doomed to failure. He had years of experience and knowledge about resources that the golden phoenix had never even dreamed about.
Denying his request amounted to blatant possessiveness over Mewtwo. Ho-oh could even admit that this very endeavor showed that he was no better than a medium between Uxie and Mewtwo. Having Uxie tell him what to do with Mewtwo was growing tedious at best.
"I cannot deny that Mewtwo would be better in your hands than mine," Ho-oh said. Still, a nagging voice in the back of his head told him that this might not be a good idea.
"Worry not. Will not abuse privilege. Your orders to Mewtwo still override any commands I give," Uxie replied in an attempt to pacify Ho-oh.
"That's comforting," Ho-oh replied, turning to Mewtwo floating stoically a few feet from them.
"Trading one master for another," Ho-oh mused before informing his puppet of his new and second master.