Epilogue: Begin Again

Vincent wasn't responding well. Sometimes he noticed visitors, but other times he stared blankly ahead. Even when he was able to notice others, his mind seemed to be working slowly.

Perhaps worse, he repulsed people. Others felt uneasy around him. His own parents couldn't recognize him. But they still believed that he had drowned over a year ago. Somehow, that was easier for them to deal with then believing that he had come under the power of the devil. Lokire's curse, it seemed, gave him an aura like the Shadow Pokemon. His two friends were able to ignore it, but other people found it a reason not to trust the boy. They thought he was faking his condition.

The elves worked on him despite that, although one said, "I feel like if I turn my back on him, he is going to attack me or something. One part of my mind says that he is in no condition to do so, but I still do not want to spend more time than I have to around him."

His two friends visited at least once a day. "The League is opening Ever Grande back up to challengers this weekend," Wally said. "Kiri's going to be there, of course." He chuckled. "She said that if she wins, I'm buying her dinner. I asked her why and she said because I'm her boyfriend. I would anyhow, but.."

"You are?" Vincent asked, the first thing he'd said all hour.

"Buying her dinner? Of course I am."

"No. Her boyfriend."

"Oh, that. Yeah, pretty much. I mean, we've only been on one date so far. Although, Amigo seems a little too happy for me. I think he has a thing for one of her Pokemon."

The Gardevoir blushed. "What? Oh, no, I'm just happy for you, that's it. That's all."

Wally chuckled. "If that was it, you wouldn't be talking so much trying to deny it."

He put his hands over his face. "Oh geez, am I being obvious again? It's nothing, at least, nothing to worry about."

"It's okay, Amigo," he said, smiling. But the smile got lost when he looked back at Vincent. His expression was as dead as always. And his eyes, which had turned gray, show no signs of life either.

There was a knock at the door. "Hey, can I come in?" Kiri called.

"Sure thing," Wally said. "It's just us, as usual."

"Who gave you this little bush?" she asked as she rolled up to the hospital bed. "It's a cute little thing, but an odd gift."

Vincent looked over the floral scented bundle of leaves, then shook his head. "I don't know. When did it come in?"

"Boo," the bush said. A small white head with two pink flowers for ears appeared. "I snuck in, of course."

"Huh? What're you?"

She laughed. "I'm Shaymin, silly. You've found a cunning use of my Sweet Scent spell. I've been waiting for a chance to say hi."

Kiri smiled. "I see. Nice to meet you; it's been a good spell."

Shaymin hopped onto Vincent's hospital bed. "Yup. People underestimate the influence of flowers. Also, I'd like to help with you, Vincent. It was a tough decision, breaking a magical bond and losing all your ability at magic."

"I had to," Vincent replied. "Or else I would no longer be."

"True. I think you deserve a fresh start. You can still go far and do great deeds as a Wizard someday. However, you also need help getting rid of this Shadow curse. It unfairly repulses people from you as well as most Guardians. In fact, I could only find one with a large enough heart to forgive you and take you in."

"You found me a new Guardian?"

"Yes, one that will be born from your trapped emotions." Shaymin closed her eyes. "Gentle Guardian, come forth to guide your partner down a new path."

A light blue orb appeared. The center turned pink, which then grew into a small heart-shaped fish. The Luvdisc cooed and swam in the air to peck Vincent on the cheek. "I shall help you, truly, truly," he said.

"A Luvdisc." Vincent touched his new Guardian. Through the blank look on his face, his eyes seemed puzzled.

"I like them," Shaymin said. "They have a secret ability that hardly anyone notices. But I don't mind sharing it with you. Their secret is this: their hearts are so powerful that they can never be turned to Shadows. They may also be able to heal a Shadow curse with just their presence over time, but for that, we shall have to see."

"Huh. We shall see."

"What're you going to name him?" Kiri asked. "Naming a Guardian is important."

"Yes." He looked at the Luvdisc for a minute. "Begin again. Finnegan, begin again. Your name is Finnegan."

"A name with a rhyme!" Finnegan cheered, and snuggled close.

"Then best of luck to you and Finnegan," Shaymin said. "Good journeys to you." She bounded out the window.

Missingno could hardly believe that it had escaped with its life. Between the raging Rayquaza and the bitterly vengeful Lokire, it should have been destroyed after Vincent broke their oath. But no. It was still alive.

"Or am I?" it whispered to the silent lake. "Was I destroyed at Kyogre's Shrine? Have I been insane all along? Have I always been alone? Why did this have to happen to me?"

The stars shone brightly overhead with no moon to compete with them. On an island of rubble, a brilliant red fire burned despite the surroundings of water. Traces of something must remain, or else the fires would have died out after seven hundred years. Missingno remained, but the flames wouldn't touch him.

He reached out to the flames. "Nathan..."