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Forever Catch (a celebratory two-shot)

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
Hello fellows from Serebii whom I have not seen in a while.

It feels good to get to publish something in this nice day of Aug 19, or 20 depending on timezones, evil as they may be. Why this day? Well, on August 19 the world celebrates the International Day of Photography, which is not about photography itself, but about how such an invention was given to the entire world, free of charge, instantly changing the world we live in for the better.

And what better way to celebrate than with a story?

This story is a two-shot. I promise I'll explain everything with the usual Author Notes at the end of the second part, including credits to beta readers and all, which should be coming up Wednesday. Of course, if you can barely contain your emotions until then, feel free to leave a comment!

So now let's enjoy the world premiere of this story which should also be available Soon™ in AO3.Prepare to mash F5!


Forever Catch


Nighttime – 17th Night of investigation – Late Summer

A few Rhyhorn and Wooloo marched alongside a dirt road. In the almost complete darkness their most immediate protection were the line of lawan cypress trees planted by the side of the road, offering some minimum protection and markers for the road, and the three humans walking behind the troop, one of them accompanied by two Pokémon.

The three humans, young in age, were talking about various subjects as they escorted the group of Pokémon towards a town far ahead, the lights of civilization visible some distance to the south. Likely incapable of defending themselves at young age, their own defense was the Manectric and the Shuppet flanking them, observing the surroundings every once in a while.

The teens counted on the help of their Pokémon to reach town before it was far too dark. They entertained themselves talking about various subjects…

“...when Dad said they were going to make the school bigger…!”

“Bigger? But the classroom is huge!”

Their voice was just as well a measure of protection against predators attempting to strike at the group of Pokémon.

“Three. I saw them once! Mother always says they have a penacho orondo.”

Yet no Pokémon would be so foolish to strike tonight. Not only were these wild Pokémon just adopted by some random humans, but the little troop themselves were being watched from the dark. A metallic sheen that would otherwise give the observer up in the middle of the day, became an impassable and invisible mantle of protection in the night.

Hidden in the tall grass, Cobalion trailed the group carefully. He breathed carefully and only moved when absolutely necessary. Above all, he kept an eye on the conversation the teens were having.

Intently waiting, in particular, to hear more of some news the humans had and that one of the girls in the group was being asked about.

“Did your sister say anything more about the machine of la guerre?”

“Nah, just what we read. It could capture anything, last forever, blah blah.”

The boy in the group kicked the dirt. “Really…? That sucks, no one says anything more.”

The girl crossed her arms. “She insists we can make money off the stuff.”

“Well what do I know?”

“Bah. Manectric and I can make all the money the family needs. How about that?” asked the girl to the Pokémon in front of her.

“One Rattata down, one coin up!” was the Manectric’s joyful answer as he focused on herding the group of Pokémon in front of them. Not that the humans would have understood the exact words as Cobalion did; still, even if what they got from their partner was more like an excited “rawr” the core of the message was still clear.

“You should fight at the plaza. The travellers are always watching!”

The group of humans carried on with their conversation and increased their pace, eager to return to civilization before it was way too dark, way too cold.

Cobalion narrowed his eyes and decided to fall behind them and trail off. Unsatisfied in the results of his venture that the subject of la guerre and the new machine had not been discussed further.

The Legendary sprung across the tall grass until he had left the road well behind; after that he calmed down and walked for a few minutes in the general direction of a forest to the east.

After a long while he stopped randomly. Puzzled at the recent developments, he muttered something about the realm of the valley not ready for the war.

He turned to the north, recalling another town in the vicinity, and darted off.


Noon – Day 74 of Investigation – Autumn

It was rare that the three Guardians of the Realm were to coincide in one location; let alone a human settlement such as the one Cobalion sped into through a dirt passageway, accompanied by a few Rock and Water types that made his current entourage.

Soon after the group entered town they noticed the strong winds and the chaos abound, with most people having moved to some nearby squares and parks. Above them the winds raged, the clouds pooled. A vortex of natural rage had descended from the sky several kilometres out earlier in the day and, by fickle pettiness of chance, had wandered about the crops until it had managed to hit one side of the town… right by the main entrance.

Cobalion dismissed his entourage, warning them to focus only on helping local people and Pokémon to move out through the passageways and head away from the river. He did not wait for their answer; he rushed across the emptied streets in the direction of the pernicious winds, for he knew at least one of the other two Guardians would be there.

Howling and screeching the wind tore about town, uprooting power poles and tossing about carriages and smaller constructions.

Cobalion reached a crossing where some people and Pokémon were gathered. They did not show up that much surprise at his presence, which the Legendary took a good sign.

Still, he observed the situation from a distance. Wind this strong was not to be denied and it certainly was not part of the Three Guardians’ element – control over the element of air was always tuned to overcome the fighting energy they employed.

Cobalion reared his head as a log flew right by him. He turned around and signaled the Pokémon behind him to get moving, to move the people there to the south, but the ferocious wind didn’t allow for his call to reach further. He resorted to point a hoof in the general direction of the school, the sturdiest building around, gesture that the lead human and Buizel down the street echoed as indication of acknowledgement.

The sound of cracking wood and falling stone did reach the oryx in his pedestal however, and he turned around to watch as the tornado twisted around, destroying a few more houses in its wake. It would still take it a few minutes to clear the area of the town’s main exit and, if everything went well, down the way of the nearby river.

A moment later, a bright jade light glowed from the area the water towers and the food stores were in. Cobalion hurried and climbed up a fallen power pole and saw in the distance the figures of Virizion atop one of the water towers and Terrakion in the middle of a street with some workers. The verdant Legendary was just done charging up a colossal amount of elemental power in an attempt to strike; Terrakion on the other hand was steadily and measuredly spending his own, coercing the smaller bricks and stones flying around so that at least them would not hit the area where people were evacuating.

With the tornado raging just in front of the town’s main access, Cobalion was glad that the town was not located in the northern mountainside; from some wild Rock-types he knew there was at least one dormant volcano there. He knew as well that Virizion’s attempt to strike would surely be useless, but still he was bound to his place in admiration as he watched the Guardians’ de facto leader from afar.

Virizion assumed a fighting position, even if this was an opponent he could not really hit. He aimed his head at the blocks ahead where the tornado was raging, and with a loud cry he summoned from his forehead the blade of energy that was renowned signature of the Guardians; about three houses in length yet still swift and precise in its turns as Virizion moved his head, thanks to the blade being made from raw energy.

Cobalion looked down to where Terrakion and the workers were; while he could not hear given the distance and the strong winds, he did some people expressing genuine excitement at the display of power and the fact that they would get to watch the Guardians act.

Terrakion did not seem to share the workers’ enthusiasm, instead he seemed to be warning and chastising Virizion on how inadvisable fighting a tornado was for Fighting types. For a response, and still holding the energy blade in place, Virizion breathed in and fired two Grass-type balls of energy at the lower part of the whorl; the projectiles barely got any close before they were sucked in by the tornado, thrown off course and dispelled into feeble strands of coloured energy within the vicious column of air.

The tornado raged further, moving towards the edge of the town. Probably feeling favoured by the situation, Virizion gathered himself quickly and gave his counterparts notice he was about to attack.

Cobalion of course could not hear it but only see it in the Grass-type’s stance. He leapt to the closest rooftop, dug his heels deep to make sure he would not slip on the curved roof slabs. Quickly he turned around just in time to watch Virizion’s dance, the Legendary springing about in place, tilting and craning his head as the energy blade shimmered about.

With a few turns Virizion was done, and with an angered cry he drew an horizontal arc with his head, releasing a blade-shaped current of energy that flew right at the heart of the tornado.


Afternoon – Day 74 of investigation – Autumn

The houses and streets were damaged or, in the worst case, turned to debris wherever people turned. An entire third of the town had suffered various degrees of devastation from the unexpected event.

Over several minutes people gathered around some of the few buildings in the main access area that had managed to remain operational: a few offices and the police checkpoint. Mothers had not much trouble reuniting with their children – the tornado had gone the opposite way of the schools. Everyone was content to have survived and surprised at having witnessed a relatively rare phenomenon – not just the tornado but also the presence of the Guardians.

Counting heads was important, as was fetching the people with the expertise needed to check and repair the main road into the town. As such, and much to the pleasure of the Guardians, their presence quickly fell out of notice.

Virizion was already gone with an entourage of Pokémon to check the crops and the riverbed ahead, and with the winter coming would not be seen again for months. Cobalion had disappeared without anyone noticing not more than half an hour ago, or that much old stationery man Caronás swore, that the Legendary had been nosing around the mayoral house watching as the city officers pulled up every machine and printed record they could to assist in checking for casualties and damages.

As for Terrakion, the Rock-type was busy with his own entourage some streets away, finishing his own part in helping the local humans and Pokémon.

The inhabitants of the town, resourceful as they were, saw the event as quite an adventure. Tornados were not even that frequent a thing; as one of the now former food workers commented to his fellows while dragging a dispensary with spices from the remains, there had been less than ten in his lifetime.

This time, the town happened to be just as unlucky as lucky.

Some of the other people who were listening to the older man nodded and continued their working on the damaged houses, trying to salvage whatever they could before nigh time came. They did not comment on the presence of the three Guardians during the event.

No, that happenstance was for others to discuss, and try to take advantage from.

Far from there and closer to the edge of the town where the tornado had first burst into the settlement, Cobalion paced about. Hidden from the rest of the populace by a wall that had survived the day almost intact, listening to the humans passing by the street every once in a while, the Legendary awaited for Terrakion’s return before they could depart each their own way. He ventured a peek out the street; Terrakion had dismissed his entourage and was now marching up the street presumably to meet with Cobalion, or to leave town alright.

Moving out of the house, Cobalion noticed movement a few edifices ahead. It was a long house painted in white and with a small garden on the front. The edification had two floors and it was in the second floor that Cobalion noticed two humans carrying some boxes up and mounting them on a balcony.

The boxes somehow caught Cobalion’s attention. He promptly hugged a nearby wall and moved about slowly, finding an open garden he could use from his position to reach for another house, from which he could watch those humans.

It took him a few minutes only to navigate a house that was currently unoccupied – save for an Umbreon that didn’t seem to give Cobalion even the time of the day – to reach a slanted rooftop.

From that position, Cobalion could watch through a window into the next house and the humans who were in the balcony to the other end of the floor. They were unpacking a machine from the boxes and, from the looks of it, one of the two humans was reading the instructions to assemble it from a manual.

Taking his chance, the oryx leapt down to the next house and from there gracefully to a platform from where he could watch and hear more closely, still without daring to enter the house. From his new position Cobalion watched as one of the humans was assembling some machinery while the other was washing some metal plaques in a dish using a strange liquid that did not seem to be water, although Cobalion could not recognize the scent from anywhere.

He remained still, listening as the humans discussed the workings and adjustments of the machine in terms the oryx was not familiar with.

The humans spoke of “composing” some sort of event and that they needed their target to be “properly exposed”, wondering in uncertain terms if there was a way to render it “immobile”.

Cobalion had seem these kinds of humans before, though he was still not familiar with the machines they were now operating. He was sure he had seen similar machines in a few places before, aimed at random things the humans seemed to find of interest.

The machine itself seemed to be some sort of adorned box mounted on wooden legs; while the oryx could not distinguish clearly the intricacies of the device, he noticed the humans were quick to cover it with a black veil.

The oryx watched, still as stone, while the two men prepared the machine. Cobalion’s attention was drawn by the unveiling of the machine as the black drapes were cast off, and could now take more notice of the box. A box in which one of the humans introduced the plates they had been carrying.

It was then that one of the humans mentioned that everything was ready for testing. Reading from the manual, he specified to his acquaintance that the machine, a machine of “la guerre”, had to be fixated on the target for the capture to be optimal and that they still needed several minutes of “exposure”.

Cobalion approached behind them and tracked their movement carefully, trying to align himself with the machine as the men were shuffling it about the wooden supports. The oryx’s eyes dilated as the humans moved the machine to track Terrakion’s steps coming from the street ahead.

It lighted upon the Legendary that he would have just found the machine he was looking for. If he understood everything correctly, a machine with which the humans would try to strike.

At the Guardians.

The oryx sprung to action instantly. He jumped down to the garden and from there headed to the passageway heading to the street. As soon as he reached there and saw Terrakion in the distance, he bellowed a warning at his counterpart, who inquired back.

No time for any niceties, Cobalion dashed past his counterpart who, taking notice of the sudden outburst, turned tail and ran off after Cobalion. The oryx could hear some voices and callings far back but neither of the two Legendaries did stop.

Taking the same passageways that Cobalion had first used to get into the town, the two Guardians left the town in a rush, and as soon as they found some calmer ground they parted ways.

The oryx did not stop running and did not turn back. There was time to find out more later, now that he knew what to look for and what the face of the enemy was.

Yet he was unsure still. Something did not match in the careful setup of the machine, with supports and a mounting procedure not much unlike the ones the various “painters” he sometimes saw across the valley would take time to assemble for their work as well.

Cobalion increased his pace. Something had to have changed.

The wind carried a name, Cobalion had heard the calling but could not fully understand what it was. Time and again humans would warn and instruct each other, even in the vicinity of the Guardians, and now they had even attempted to strike.

Was this how they described what was approaching? The future of the humans’ interactions with the Three?

Was this La Guerre?

Thinking of his life and that of his brethren first, Cobalion had chosen to flee. He missed out on the events later during the day, as some other humans assembled a similar apparatus near the mayoral house and aimed it at the townspeople fetching food and supplies for the evening.


Morning – Day 126 of investigation – Early Winter

Autumn had just fallen out of favour with nature and the first, cold-breeze days of winter took its place.

Virizion found himself sheltered in a forested hill a fair distance from the larger forest and lake that had for long made the more “permanent” residence of the three Deer. To his own admission he had taken a liking to the place because it was part of a line of hills separating the crops the humans tended for from the rest of the valley. It was that much easier to look for food and entertainment, and as far as he was concerned he only had to turn his ear in one direction to detect trouble.

The trees, mostly barren from foliage that was now turned to a misshapen carpet of noisy leaves, made a safe scenario to meet other Pokémon in, which was good because after these days Virizion would barely see any company for several weeks.

Accompanying the verdant Legendary were three Sawsbuck does, one of them still in a fading autumn coat. The three were busying themselves foraging and extracting some small leaves and branches to decorate their whitened antlers with; all the while trying to ignore the Sovereign’s vain bursts of energy and the tales of the fights he and his “siblings” used to have.

It was during such a lull in activity that the ears of the four deer suddenly turned to the surroundings; the three Sawsbuck stiffened their neck and listened to their surroundings while Virizion turned to the forestline behind him, tensed. Sure as he was someone was approaching, even he could not ascertain who or what it was. Whoever it was their steps were firm yet their path idle and their wandering adamant, as if fighting the bushes. More curious to Virizion’s perception, the intruder’s presence did not reveal any pressure for confrontation.

Just as Virizion sniffed the air, the branches below ruffled soundly; the four deer tensed, the does’ heart probably skipped a beat; Virizion could not tell, his own hearing was strongly focused on the bushes and his muscles were already tensing in preparation for a fight.

Virizion leered back at the three females; they remained attentive to his movement as they inched closer to the ledge with minute, calculated movements, ready to flee. The male returned his attention to the bushes and raised a hoof, pondering for a moment if a warning stomp was in order.

There was more shuffling of brambles and Virizion could finally ascertain the Fighting-type aura of the Pokémon nearby, a creature that inched closer with calculated steps. Virizion craned his neck carefully and could finally make out a figure with a dirtied, feeble metallic shine, in between the branches.

Virizion stepped ahead and assumed a more haunched posture, hind legs well secured on the ground as he readied to spring at the invader. He let out his aura only slightly as a warning to the incoming Pokémon.

Yet a moment after and without much fanfare the oryx-like figure of Cobalion emerged from the thickets, the Pokémon shifting about measuredly just so he could make it through the foliage without dropping from his stern, upright posture.

The three females now in the presence of two Legendaries packed together even more tightly now and watched without further moving a muscle. The two Legendaries meanwhile stared at each other and snorted a few times in a sort of greeting, without relaxing their postures.

Cobalion tasted the air for a moment and noticed the three Sawsbuck. He eyed them each for a moment and finally stepped forward to stand by his metaphorical sibling. “Colonia del Lake Barcan maybe?” He asked the females.

The females flinched and one of them eyed Virizion for a moment, noticing the fellow Grass-type’s irritated reaction.

“N-northern sunwalk, O Guardian,” ventured one of the females without much reverence.

Cobalion raised an eyebrow and huffed. As if on cue, the three females stepped back and bowed to him. Virizion rolled his eyes though Cobalion could not see the gesture.

Cobalion and Virizion remained still for a moment then turned to face each other; for a while they exchanged some accusing stares, hoof stomps and grunts that only they seemed to be understanding, with the Grass-type slightly shuffling his position to come in between Cobalion and the three females; still all the while Cobalion’s attention remained focused on his fellow Legendary and not in the three visitors, who glanced nervously at the event.

After what seemed to be an uneasy deliberation, Cobalion turned to the three does. “Colonia del Lake Barcan maybe?” he asked in a half threatening, half disdainful tone.

The three does yelped. One of them lowered her head and replied. “N-northern Riderspath, O Guardian.”

Cobalion tilted his head, eyed his counterpart for a moment and then turned to the females again. “You are dismissed,” he announced.

Virizion sprung in front of Cobalion. “Hey wait a minu-” he spat, stopping himself as he heard the heavy shuffling of dirt and leaves behind him. He turned to see the three females had pranced past the duo fast and exited hastily through the thickets to turn downhill.

Muscles tense and cut from the action he wanted to take, the Legendary tracked the three deer’s tail flashes of retreat downhill for a while and only after they were a safe distance away he turned to his counterpart giving him an offended stare.

Cobalion’s lack of response was met with some angry pacing around by Virizion which lasted for a while until Cobalion relaxed his posture. Now that seemed to rub salt in Virizion’s metaphorical wound and the Grass-type let out an angry laugh. Cobalion approached a nearby branch not seeming to mind his brother.

Annoyed, Virizion went to his sibling and paced a full round of heavy steps around him. In the end he looked up at Cobalion.

"Behold! The azure guardian finds cause to wander from his nest!" he announced with an air of haughtiness. “What ails thee?”

Cobalion nudged one of the nearby trees with his horns and offered no answer.

“More landslides? A Vow-breaker?” inquired Virizion, making motion to meander about. “When no less than famine or war draw thee from thy seclusion,” he added next, with a tone that slowly grew in hints of mockery, “am I to expect this visit means the realm is to end?”. He put some dramatic stress on the last word.

Cobalion eyed the other Pokémon. “Word was that you would be around here,” he stated flatly, as he eyed an imaginary figure just off to the left of Virizion’s shoulder. Without breaking the gaze at his imaginary foe, he approached the Legendary of greenery. “Heeded the winds’ directions, that I could watch you embarrass yourself.”

Virizion approached Cobalion’s flank menacingly and the two Pokémon almost butted heads, yet in the end Virizion merely walked past and around Cobalion sliding in some barely audible comments on Cobalion’s impertinence, which of course Cobalion heard perfectly even if he feigned to not care.

Virizion buffed and straightened his posture, eyed his counterpart for a while. In the end, he just kicked the ground behind him and trailed off, eyeing the direction the three females had departed into for a moment.

“I had them right there,” Virizion spat without turning to look at his counterpart. “Thou best have good justification for this; I itch for winter’s opening fight.”

The Steel-type oryx stood his gaze for a moment and remained still. Only before Virizion walked out of the thicket and to the ledge nearby did Cobalion stomp on the ground twice.

“I’m heading into the town by dirt-water creek,” he stated.

Had the oryx barely stopped stating his intentions when his antelope companion turned and barreled around to come to face Cobalion again, releasing a burst of Grass-type energy that shook and tore some of the foliage around them.

“A town!” Virizion screeched. “Their homes and lots, the cages they built for their solitude and ours!”

Cobalion leaned his head to one side and made no motion to reply. Virizion inched closer, body tensed.

“Have some… decorum!” the Grass-type continued as he moved closer to Virizion again. “Erstwhile our kind left them. Only the Shrine stays the site of parlay!”

Cobalion snickered. “Decorum you say.”

Virizion struck a tree with his head. “Watch it.”

Cobalion sighed and walked away from the tree and closer to the ledge, with Virizion following. “I would go seek parlay and conference on a suspect progression.”

Cobalion made further attempt to speak but Virizion raised a hoof and motioned for him to stop. Unamused, the oryx complied and stared at the agitated antelope for a moment.

For his part Virizion shook his head and paced about, getting closer to Cobalion every once in a while, eyeing him carefully and sniffing the air every once in a while not seeming to mind much the cooling breeze; at every little stop his tail and shoulder tuffs flared and his front hooves anxiously tilled the ground.

Virizion spoke indignantly. “Thou would rather not… summon them to the shrine? They are our subjects.”

“Were,” Cobalion pointed out curt. “We forsook them.”

Virizion instantly arced and barreled to Cobalion’s side, ever so slightly but dominantly shoving him and kicking some loose dirt around. Cobalion did not cede his position, instead he held his place firmly and swivelled around his place as if to guide Virizion to move around him, their dance making the dried leaves on the dirt below them crack and shuffle.

“They labour these lands” Virizion cried, pushing against the other Legendary’s flank and breathing out heavily, “and nurture the Pokémon here, that they may be allowed to live here under our watch as their ancestors did!”

This time it was Cobalion who pushed back. “Yet despite the Protector’s Lament we watch over them today,” he stated, digging his heels to the ground.

The two Pokémon frowned and gazed past each other; finally Cobalion let go and stepped besides the form of Virizion, who contented himself with shaking his head and walking around Cobalion to complete a full circle; the green Legendary turned and pranced ahead of the oryx once again, coming to stop at about the same place he had first lashed out at Cobalion from, his eyes now closed.

Cobalion sighed at Virizion’s apparent indifference and let out a grunt as if to complain. Still, not desiring further confrontation, he dejectedly presented his flank at his fellow Legendary, who seemed to track Cobalion’s movement by sound and lowered his head in apparent response.

“Thou dost think them in danger?” the Grass-type asked. “Or us maybe?”

“I am not sure.”

“If disgrace or rebellion besmirches their path, we would find out from the Pokémon around.”

“I presume so.”

“If illness or ravaging comes to them, we will hear them flee or cry for help.”

Cobalion turned his head. “The likes of which have happened before.”

Virizion opened his eyes and turned his head to gaze at Cobalion.

Cobalion shifted about, somewhat seeking to shield himself from the breeze. “Yet if disgrace or illness befell them,” he inquired with a degree of hesitation, “before they can know it, could also we?”

Now Virizion raised an eyebrow and more purportedly examined Cobalion’s posture. He stepped a bit closer.

“So you hold such suspicion of them,” he stated, in a tone that even if he didn’t want to seemed to be accusing.

The oryx’s eyes wandered about he found it hard for a moment to come to terms with what dwelled in his mind. Finally he moved closer to Virizion as well and announced, shaking his head. “I suspect they move to praise a bringer of change, one that will betray them.”

Virizion seemed to perceive Cobalion’s uneasiness; he craned his head and chased the oryx’s line of sight. “Thou palter?” he inquired in a more definitively accusing tone this time. “Be upfront, name thine enemy.”

Cobalion turned around and walked to the corner of the ledge, looking at the grounds below. The breeze brushing the hillside buffeted him and shook his chest fur; the Legendary remained impassive otherwise.

After a moment, Cobalion motioned for Virizion to come closer, which he did, and the two Pokémon remained in silence for a moment as they watched over the realm they were responsible for; the green Legendary’s eyes ever so slightly darting to track the movement of the females that had left downhill, while Cobalion’s eyes finally found their focus and kept it on the lands to the north.

“’La guerre’,” Cobalion hissed. “The war.”

Virizion reared his head somewhat surprised. He seemed to ponder the information before dismissively stomping on the dirt.

“Have heard not their name, have seen none of their forces,” the antelope replied. “The human settlements have been calm.”

“You remember the humans that would create records of us?” asked Cobalion without letting his focus falter.

Virizion straightened his head. “The ones whom we used to see for longer,” he spat.

Cobalion continued. “They have been replaced by new humans, with a new machine. These humans… they seem to seek out war.”

Virizion turned to his companion and gave him a somber look. “Would they truly? What do you know?”

“They talk, and the Pokémon around them listen.” Cobalion shook his head. “They want to follow a man, this La Guerre. A bringer of new tools for their kind, if I understood them proper.”

That said, the two Pokémon moved away from the edge and moved closer to the thickets.

“...Tools?” asked Virizion.

“Tools with which they intend to catch us.”

Cobalion proceeded to explain what he had heard in the conversations of men, and what other Pokémon had relayed to him; then he went on about the artists that had come after them, and compared them to the humans and their machines that he had seen in more recent instances such as some months ago during a tornado.

Virizion paid more attention at the part about the new machines they had tried to use, and Cobalion’s concern that the Guardians would fall captive to humans who had disregarded the ancient rites and with them the protection of the realm. All the while Virizion listened he remained quiet, allowing Cobalion to finish his case. Only at the end he paced around for a moment and his expression betrayed an imperfect mixture of vindictiveness and respite.

“Mounting such an attack on the Three… would they really dare?” Virizion asked.

Cobalion waited and blinked. “I have only one way to know.”

“This more reason to have them summoned to the Shrine!” Virizion bellowed. “It can’t be all of them in arms. We must focus our strike on those who bring up this agitation.”

Cobalion shook his head. He turned and idled near Virizion. “That won’t work. Absent and uninformed we have been, for generations. What would we understand from those who come forth among them?”

Virizion found no immediate answer to that prodding. He watched intently as his counterpart idled about, his mind half made, and as the minutes passed Virizion frowned more as Cobalion made motion to leave through the thicket he had first come from. The antelope hummed: Cobalion’s mind was already made, he knew who to ask and he knew it had to be done.

Still, before Cobalion left Virizion half-heartedly interrupted his departure with a hoof stomp.

“No machine Humans have shown us,” assured Virizion, “can topple you, or bind me, or resist Terrakion. But if there is one, they ought to test it on us, before it strikes their own kind.”

Cobalion contemplated Virizion’s words for a long while. In the end he gave a curt nod.

The two Pokémon sized each other and Virizion huffed before turning away. He spat some parting sounds carrying rather clearly the intended message of he wouldn’t be coming to help his counterpart were Cobalion to find himself in trouble.

Cobalion let out a stern grumble, dismissive but not disrespectful in tone, as if daring Virizion to stay unmoved at the promise of battle; then he pranced past Virizion and leapt off the thicket to go on his way.

To be continued...

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
Hello everyone. Here is part numero 2 and finale of the story. As per suggestions in other archives, it includes more Terrakion screentime.

Author Notes will go at the end. Warning: this might get a bit long.


“Forever Catch (2/2)”

Before Twilight – Day 130 of investigation – Early Winter

The darkness of the night was starting to fade, the dimmest among the stars vanishing from the heavens and giving place to the dimmest rooftops in the towns, below in the earth.

At one of the many human towns across the Guardian Deer’s realm, most people were still asleep.

Morubi’s aching right arm woke him up, as it tends to do every year as a sign that winter is coming. While the pain was only mild and did not restrain him, as a left-handed man he had grown to dislike it a lot. The older man shuffled about in his bed until he decided that enough was enough.

With some difficulty at this time of the night he woke up and peeked past the curtain in his room. Outside, the streets were calm. Inside, the house was still except for its only inhabitant going to the kitchen to heat up some water. Less groggily now that that was done, he returned to his room and picked an overall and a small cap with a copper badge, very worn out after decades of use, and for now the best protection for his thinning hair.

It was in this solitude that, after some yerba mate was served, Morubi fetched his pipe and wandered from window to window watching the exterior of the house, the neighbour’s garage with an Espeon wandering on top, and the back garden he had built a few years ago – the last big adventure in his life, perhaps.

Solitude did not serve him well in the cold, and thus taking advantage that the winter had not yet fully set in, the older man put on some shoes and walked out of the house and into the backyard to enjoy the company of the various bushes and herbs he had grown. He spent a few minutes talking to the smaller plants, as his mother had taught him to do so many years ago and as he himself had taught to his only child, gone to their own adventures.

In between the bushes a few times, he thought he saw an apparition or two. Friends and foes of times long past, and at some point, by the outer wall, a vivid shade of one of the strongest challenges he and his first partner had to overcome. He shuddered in the cold, he judged them phantoms of the mind.

He went by some cobblestone pillars around the yard, each adorned with a crystal that had the mysterious power to respond to light in kind; a cheap but classy security measure.

It was still a bit too cold for the old man’s tastes. He produced his pipe as he wandered about, and prepared to light it up in a small clearing he had covered with slabs from the mountains, back from when he was much younger and fit for exploration.

A realization hit him, in the back of his mind; instinctual, fuzzy, but familiar for his years of experience. No longer alone, he tilted his head and smiled. He knew what “phantom of the mind” also came from the mountains.

Morubi held still for a moment and then walked closer to one of the pillars as he lighted his pipe with a match. Waving a hand, he swung the still lit match right before one of the crystals; the crystal responded to the orange light from the match with an orange light of its own, and in quick succession the other crystals joined in the chorus of light as the orange light from each shone upon the next.

The old man combed what was left of his hair and turned left to the centre of the yard.

There waiting for him was the oryx Guardian, frozen with one hoof in the air as he looked around himself.

The lights dimmed out a little bit, leaving the Pokémon perplexed; Morubi and Cobalion then gave each other a long look, Cobalion’s one apprehensive as he sized the human down, while Morubi’s one betrayed a mix of contentment and embitterment that lasted for long enough before his expression softened and reflected more the coldness of the night.

“It’s been years of not seeing any of you, yet you spring right into my home.” Morubi looked around. “How did you even get past…?”

Cobalion took a step forward, breathing slowly as if to relax after being discovered.

With this gesture Morubi noticed the Legendary’s muddied hooves and seemed to relax.

“Aaaah… Back in my time the serenos would patrol in groups and would not leave such an obvious gap as the creek unattended.”

Cobalion shook his head as if offended and turned to the human; his pupils shrunk at the sight of the older figure, who sounded and looked not much the same as what Cobalion last remembered: duller, more tired, winkler, lacking a sense of commanding and finality.

Furtively, Cobalion’s eyes explored the older man’s features jumping from one to the next, their owner ill-used as he was to how time changed humans features down to the voice.

Still, he bowed to the human in salutation.

Morubi greeted his visitor and turned around, motioning for Cobalion to follow him around the yard; the Legendary let out a bleat of protest yet he followed the human around, slowly.

The two walked around the garden with Cobalion observing for a few minutes as Morubi tended to some flowers before the Legendary finally stomped on the ground a couple of times.

“Darned,” said Morubi straightening himself up. “I take it this is not a leisure visit.”

Cobalion trained his eyes on the human.

«I’m looking for... an artifact that humans have made. I thought you could help.»

He spoke this to the human’s mind, a skill some of his kind had; yet Morubi knew even this skill would not allow the Guardians to speak to just any human.

No, there was a reason Cobalion had come here.

“They said you and your siblings went by a town to help,” stated the human tending to another bush. “And then you ran away.”

Cobalion stepped closer and lowered his head at the human.

«An uncertain threat appeared. We would not bid it welcome in the open.»

Morubi simply nodded and walked around. Cobalion waited for a moment before following him, taking note that several of the plants in this side of the garden were of varieties he had seen around all across the realm.

«I do not intend to burden you with my presence,» stated the oryx, «but I know not of who else to ask.»

Morubi struggled against the cold breeze for a moment. He picked up another match and lighted it up. With some effort, he knelt besides a smaller version of one of the pillars Cobalion had seen earlier. Under the inquisitive eye of the Legendary, Morubi held the lit match in front of the crystal for a moment; the crystal sprung to life with a yellow-green shine which was soon replicated by a few other crystals nearby.

As if knowing of his guest’s curiosity, Morubi looked back at him. “They welcome some company and extra light, sometimes,” he explained as he pointed to the now illuminated hyacinth flowers in the garden.

Cobalion frowned. The knew most of the flowers around and did not mind them much; though among them he could identify a variety of pink camalotes and he lamented for a moment that – despite Terrakion’s efforts – those pesky, hard-to-rid-of plants had found shelter under Human’s roof. He hummed; it was wiser in his eyes to leave the flowers and their accompanying parasites to the humans to handle.

“I should maybe not be doing such in cold nights,” continued Morubi, turning back and walking around the garden, “but until I can hire someone this will entertain me.”

Cobalion tracked the man’s walking for a moment before taking a look at a small plaque besides the flowers. «Elchomia» it read, if he was to trust his inexperience with human languages and the dim lighting in the area. He made mental note to look into that later and bring news to Terrakion, and with that thought he trailed after his former acquaintance.

Cobalion was quick to walk by Morubi’s side and stand in front of him. He gave the human a concerned look.

«Humans speak of war coming. I need you to tell me what you know.»

“War? Last war was when I was a champion. I was probably a child, even.” Morubi shuffled and placed himself right on the Legendary’s face. “What have you been hearing?”

Cobalion lowered his head and paced about. He gave the human a nod.

«I know little except it is here. Humans have brought a machine. They claim praise to the name of la guerre, and they promise to catch Us.»

Cobalion explained as concisely as he could what he had experienced in the last weeks. At first Morubi did not seem to understand any of what Cobalion was talking about, declaring in no certain terms that if there was a war around, the town would be far better guarded.

It was only when Cobalion got to describe the machines he had seen that Morubi gave deeper thought of the matter and, while he did not speak, his semblance indicated to Cobalion that perhaps the human had elucidated the nature of the artifacts humans had created, and the identity of their mysterious benefactor for war.

«You know of this machine?» asked Cobalion, confused.

“I probably do. I can not tell with certainty yet, but if it is what you describe I have seen it about everywhere, yes.”

«I can not identify the kind of warrior who would use this machine.»

Morubi covered his pipe. “You would not; unlike machines of war, this device is something that is for everyone to use.”

Cobalion raised his head, concerned. He had thought the town safe and had taken every precaution. If the machines were here, maybe he could destroy them.

Morubi laughed as he noticed the oryx’s growing concern. “I’d rather you do not trust my mere words, but your own experience,” he said. He then started to walk back to the house.

Cobalion snorted. «I do intend to acquire more experience.»

Morubi made a beckoning gesture. “So it is. Would you rather not just idle about here, then, and instead we go put this ‘weapon’ you speak of to test? Say, an hour or two from now?”

The oryx bellowed, he stood confused and wondered for a moment if his heart had skipped a beat. He watched the former Trainer open the door to one of the rooms and stay next to it for a moment, holding the keys as if waiting for an answer. Cobalion looked down to the ground first and then to the twilight sky, and allowed himself to feel the cold morning breeze. He was not to take long.

His heart raced at the opportunity before him, certainly. This was news like no other that he could trace and bring back to his counterparts, and he could face one of the machines in a more controlled scenario. He was being offered an advantage and yet, knowing the human the Guardians once saw an equal was now weakened by age and the other Guardians themselves, his nearest allies, were still away, he felt the moment of truth recede.

If it was a potential weapon it had to be destroyed. Tested first, he agreed with Virizion on that, but destroyed in the end.

But he was only one, and Morubi had stressed that anyone could use these machines...

Cobalion buffed.

...And if it wasn’t?

The human shook for a moment at the cold air and chimed his keys calling the Legendary to attention, eager to get warmer clothes and something more fitting than a cap to cover his head.

Cobalion slowly turned to his former acquaintance.

«If it would not endanger you...»

A shrug. “At most my coin purse will suffer,” offered Morubi as if for Cobalion the idiom was trivial to understand; the oryx more or less did, or at least appeared to do so, he straightened his head and nodded in acceptance of the deal.

With that, Morubi smiled and walked once again into the house. Before closing the door behind him he only instructed the oryx to wait at his leisure in the yard until the dawn came, with the promise that if Cobalion had not fled by then, they would go test the machine.

And so the oryx did stay his ground, keeping to the area where a few pink ipê saplings were planted, meditating and stretching in case there was a hard fight to come.


Dawn – Day 130 of investigation – Early Winter

The sky painted in eerie layers of blue and orange had finally beaten the darkness of the night. The sun to the east was just coming up, but the air was already warmer.

Cobalion followed Morubi across the streets. The town was still mostly asleep, but the two of them were much awake, the Legendary begrudgingly holding a cup of yerba mate for his acquaintance while the human checked a few newspapers he was carrying around.

Morubi had taken the time to try and explain to a very confused Cobalion the nature of the name that was sung to praise and why it was not about war, and why everyone would want this power. It was, admittedly, information Morubi did not know first-hand; what he knew hw had been taking from the newspapers he was juggling about.

“...and so it would be named after its creator...” Morubi turned the page on the newspaper and ignored the news, focused on the pictures instead. “But the name of a creation by itself is not related to its creator.”

He turned then to the Legendary, giving him an amused stare. “Tell me, for example, have you met any Ciobans?”

Cobalion’s eyes focused on his interlocutor. «Ciobans? What are they?» he had to ask mentally, not the least because he was holding the cup.

The human chuckled. “People named Cioban.”

A long pause in their conversation followed until Cobalion leaned his head.

Morubi shrugged and continued. “What of Stewards?”

Cobalion leered back unamused. «...Stewards, or people named Steward?» He then waited until Morubi confirmed for the latter. «One or two Trainers, if. Foreigners.»

The two approached a corner and turned to see some tall trees a few houses distance ahead of them. Morubi was quick to fold his newspaper and tidy up his clothes a bit while Cobalion paid attention to the tall trees ahead, all of them pruned of their foliage and ready for the winter.

«...I did not think them stewards, however,» pointed out Cobalion after thinking it for a moment.

Morubi carefully grabbed the cup from Cobalion’s muzzle and held it tight. “Aha. It’s not at all an entertaining line of work if you ask me.”

Cobalion opened his mouth to speak, though he stopped with some unease as his mind drew for a moment the recollection of the various wild Pokémon who sometimes joined his entourage. After eyeing the wood fences around and musing for a moment, he mentally spoke aloud to no one in particular. «It ought mayhap be better rewarded.»

“It is a good thing” the human continued, ignoring Cobalion’s comment, “that we don’t have to follow the fates of our ancestors. Barring dire need, we now choose our jobs.”

Cobalion’s hoof clacked on the ground a bit tenser than before. «Hence you leave your ancestors’ work undone? Isn’t that disrespectful?»

The two finally walked past a crossing and saw in front of them a large square populated by some tall trees and a number of bushes, each protected with a fiber fence and adorned with a number of signs. In the now fading darkness the oryx took notice of the variety of bushes, contrasted with the trees all looking alike.

A moment after, Cobalion’s eyes trailed around the place to the side, where for all activity Cobalion could distinguish one human who appeared to be moving some machinery and setting a stand, accompanied by a Ledian dragging a bag

Morubi looked around the plaza. “Ah yes, it seems we are on time,” he commented as he motioned for Cobalion to follow him in.

As they marched in, the human resumed the discussion. “We owe no more to our direct ancestors than to the many other people with jobs who also created this society. Teachers, builders, farmers, soldiers, guardians like you. They each did their share all the same.”

Cobalion snorted, falling behind. «Mindful, lest Virizion hear that.»

The oryx stopped, amused, for he had noticed with pleasure that the slabs and rocks ground that made the streets before them had given way to the grass and dirt he was more used to. A patch of nature orderly packed inside the town. In a burst of contentment he even took to spring about and turn around a few times before collecting his composure.

Feigning nothing had happened, Cobalion reached to the former Trainer. «So you mean to say that this Da guerre has nothing to do with wars?»

For an answer, Morubi shook his head. “His only war is ours: to bear his ideals to fruition. And unlike with soldiers and wars, his ideal was deemed worthy for all mankind to share.” He looked up to the sky for a moment. “Barely one man each generation can reach such high standard...”

Morubi made a gesture for Cobalion to wait and ignored the Legendary’s buff of rebuttal. Still, he marched along.

Deciding to trust the better judgment of the human, Cobalion decided to stop and stay behind.

Ahead of Cobalion, Morubi had set off to meet the other person there, who was mounting what appeared to be a device enveloped in a dark veil on top of a support made of wooden poles. The same that Cobalion had seen a few times.

Cobalion froze at the sight of the device, and made sure to stick as close as a tree as he could. His attention half split between the machinery and Morubi’s instruction, Cobalion remained behind and made sure to track every movement related to the device.

“Milocas, always on time!” greeted the old man to the younger one, batting a newspaper in the air.

The human in question looked surprised. “Sangadra, sir? Wandering about so early?”

The two humans cheered each other while the Ledian furtively continued working on the bag and producing various boxes, plaques and tinctures from inside. Cobalion observed as the bug-type handled each component carefully and arranged them in a very specific order. When the Ledian was done, he flew up and also greeted the human visitor.

As the conversation went, Cobalion took advantage of the angle he was hidden in respective to the two humans and inched closer to the next tree. He remained there and pondered if to call the Ledian to attention; surely he could gather whatever information was needed from the Pokémon himself if he was as proficient in handling the machine as he seemed to be. If anything, the Ledian had to explain how could be handle the tincture bottles with his bag-like appendages.

That was for later however; Cobalion’s interest shifted over to the two humans who were still catching up.

“Are you getting better at producing these… what did you call it, photographies?” continued Morubi.

“I just want to practice some close focus capture,” explained the younger human. At a distance Cobalion frowned; there was that word again. “What brings you here so early?”

“Curiously enough,” answered Morubi raising his tone of voice, “I have a visitor at my garden and I was wondering if he could inspect the machine.”

Milocas and his Ledian shared a look. They seemed nonplussed at a change of plans.

“Hércules and I just got here,” the younger man explained hesitantly. “Even preparing the machine takes-”

Morubi raised a hand. “No need. He would come here, and I’ll supervise.”

«A visitor should be careful!”» announced the Ledian with his arms crossed, though of course only Cobalion and at best the Milocas human understood that message clearly.

Milocas gave a start. He deliberated for a moment with his Ledian partner while Morubi took sips from his mate cup; after a moment, the two turned to Morubi.

“We’d have no problem. Do we wait here or-?”

“No need.” Morubi had once again raised his hand.

Morubi pointed his hand to where Cobalion was hidden – how did the human found him out so well, Cobalion would never find out – and turned to beckon him to join the group.

Curious but still wary of the machine, Cobalion stepped in; he kept about as dignified a posture as he could muster and approached, giving a nod to his temporary host. He turned to the younger human and the Ledian who had stepped back in surprise that the elusive figure was right in front of them.

«Guardian…!» buzzed Hércules, gracefully falling back to the ground in reverence.

“Majestic. Where… how?” inquired Milocas, shuffling about to give the Legendary a better look. “I’ve heard of many people that they see one of the Guardians only at a distance, and then you are gone...”

Cobalion pawed at the ground and turned to Morubi, who put his cup down on the ground and rested an arm on his waist.

“Cobalion seems to have picked up an interest in the news,” spoke Morubi nonchalantly. “Today he wants to see the machine.”

«I only want to ascertain that it poses no danger,» added Cobalion mostly to the benefit of Hércules.

Milocas and his Pokémon turned to each other and exchanged confused glances; they inched together and seemed to discuss things for a moment, which Cobalion eyed with a degree of satisfaction. In the end, the human and Pokémon turned to Morubi.

“Well, if you want to watch you can. But we have to stay back. Hércules still has to fume the plaques.”

Cobalion blinked and turned to Morubi. «...He has to what the what?»


Morning – Day 130 of investigation – Early Winter

Cobalion circled around the pair of Hércules the Ledian and Milocas, intently taking notes of the assembly of the curious machine.

Milocas had warned them that the process to prepare the machine would begin by Hércules subjecting special light-capturing plaques to dangerous vapours. It was only the bug-type’s assurances of his own experience in the process and his Bug-typing allowing him to better filter the vapours that convinced Cobalion to watch the process patiently.

The smaller Pokémon placed a few plaques on a special container which was then filled with tinctures and vapours and processed; batting some silvery particles with his wings and holding a tight sheath of Reflect energy, the Pokémon worked on the container for several mnutes.

In the meantime, Milocas took to assemble the larger box with dark veil that Cobalion had seen in use. The human explained that the box was a mechanism isolated from light that would capture reflected light and deposit it on the processed plaques, in such a way that the light would be imbued on the plaque and persist on it. Cobalion frowned, not understanding much the mechanism; he mostly focused on taking mental notes about the wooden supports and the veiled box, and where to land good hits at them if things came down to it.

A few minutes later the two were ready. Hércules cast a barrier of light on the plaque container as the younger human – the “photographist” if Cobalion understood correctly – carried it to the machine.

“This took a bit long,” commented Morubi, leaving his newspaper aside.

“It takes shorter every time; the Daguerreotype is now ready for use,” announced the younger human, making a gesture of reverence towards the oryx, a gesture that the Ledian accompanying him replicated.

Cobalion stiffened instantly at the mention of the machine’s name, which the Ledian noticed.

«Is this then the machine of la guerre?» mentally asked the Legendary as he inched closer not taking his eyes off the apparatus.

«Uhm, was it not the name Daguerre?» inquired the Ledian, a bit hesitant about correcting a Guardian.

Milocas, looking confused, asked if there was a problem; Morubi was kind to briefly explain about Cobalion’s misunderstanding of the name. To Cobalion’s comfort, the former Trainer left out the parts about the three Guardians potentially preparing for a war and attributed the Legendary’s confusion simply to keeping too far away during their observations to even hear the name correctly.

Cobalion looked away hiding a sense of embarrassment. In the end, it had seemed that Morubi was not wrong about this.

“Now,” Morubi asked, turning to Cobalion, “do you think you understand it better now?”

«I guess...» mumbled the Legendary, letting out a still somewhat concerned growl.

“It is important for us” suggested Morubi quietly, “that we can record our histories and our mistakes and learn from them. With you gone, it is important that people know on what we have missed.”

After pondering it for a moment, Cobalion blurted out a half-apology.

Morubi chuckled, knowing to capitalize on the moment.

“Now he wants to test the machine,” he announced joyfully while turning to Milocas.

Cobalion blinked and turned his head fast. «I the what-?»

Hércules blinked too and buzzed something unintelligible to his Trainer, but other than that made no comment.

Milocas for his part looked highly surprised, but in an instant overcame it and bowed to the Guardian.

“I guess, then, I would be honoured.”

Cobalion just remained in place, wondering what had he just been dragged into.

Not five minutes and with the Sun already showing up in full above the horizon, later Milocas and Hércules had traced a small box with powder on the grass, near the edge of the square.

Morubi and Cobalion were instructed to step in and face the Daguerreomachine‑or‑whatever, remaining still. Cobalion was still visibly startled at the workings of the human artist and his companion Ledian on the mysterious machine, but at least he was following Morubi’s lead and made his way into the imaginary box – if complaining and buffing all the while.

Morubi made some effort to keep himself warm, his yerba mate now over; first he kept his hands in his pockets but when that was not enough, he decided to warm them with his breath for as long as the little experiment would last. He did not pay much attention to Cobalion’s attitude but he commented, hearing the Legendary’s uneasy shuffle, that he oryx would eventually learn how to move around stealthily across towns again if he bothered visiting more often.

«I stand such places only for the loud conversations and the news they carry,» he telepathically spat accompanying in what could be best described as petty neighing.

Morubi warmed his hands using his breath and pulled a face of indignation. “And here I was joyful that late in this age of mine, you had started to like us humans.”

The human did not turn to look at the Pokémon. Cobalion narrowed his eyes at the human for a moment and hesitantly made motion to try and explain himself further; after a sigh however that led nowhere, and he lowered his head to return to the task at hand.

A moment later, the duo of artists seemed to be ready.

“From now on, it will be a few minutes; all the while,” instructed the human with about as commanding an attitude as he could hold before the former champion and the Legendary, “you two need to stay perfectly still.”

The Legendary and the former Trainer obeyed, about as well as they could. Hércules complained that things would be easier on a clamp, but when Cobalion made inquiry about what to clamp, the Bug-type fell shy and inched closer to his Trainer.

Milocas finally removed the veil from the machine; Cobalion’s muscles all tensed up and the Legendary was ready to spring and flee. Still, obeying Morubi’s instructions, he held his ground and defiantly eyed the apparatus.

Of course Morubi couldn’t just let that opening go to waste.

“Just so you know, there will be strong light and maybe an explosion. Some shrapnel. Hopefully it’ll be brief and everything will be fine.”

Cobalion bleated and narrowed his eyes, had to make a noticeable effort to relax as he shuffled around and tilted his neck every once in a while, prompting Morubi to chuckle. Before them, the “photographist” insisted in asking, shyly, that the two customers be as still as possible – even more as he had noticed that some other people had arrived into the square and they were already taking notice that a Guardian was in town, with a few children running back to the houses to pass the news.

“I am mostly teasing you,” explained the former Trainer, patting Cobalion on the flank. “Others build machines for that; Milocas prefers to let Hércules do the assistance.”

In effect, under Milocas’ guidance the Ledian flew up a couple metres high and released an amount of pooled energy, much like that of a Signal Beam, except he held it in place using his bag-hands. The light was even stronger than the light of day and for about three minutes the square shone under the power pooled by the smaller Bug-type.

After that, the Ledian let the light fade and signaled that everything was ready. Milocas covered the machine once again and started working on removing the plaques, inviting Morubi and Cobalion to take a look.

Morubi was quick to follow; Cobalion took a moment to look at the people around, pointing fingers at him, hushing, some of them even tidying up their clothes or calling in their children, before approaching.

With them, more and more people approached, everyone interested in what was going on and everyone realizing that Cobalion seemed to be there for a photographie. Commendations and questions flew from all directions to Milocas, but he sternly insisted that he would, “pretty please”, be allowed to finish his exposition of the plaques and after that he would answer questions.

“Now, look in here,” Milocas said to Morubi and Cobalion, pointing them to one of the plaques he was holding.

Cobalion narrowed his eyes. While his sight was not much like that of a human, he could make the shapes of smaller versions of himself and Morubi somehow inscribed in the metal plaque. The detail was much better than that of the clawings and drawings some Pokémon did, but still in Cobalion’s eyes still not as fine as the portraits the former painters would spend hours to create of him and his counterparts.

Morubi took some more time to explain a few things, but seeing himself surrounded by people Cobalion had had enough for the day, even if they were to worship or salute him.

The oryx convinced at least that the machine posed no immediate danger, he turned his attention to the winds; in about that time there was the sudden sound of a siren in the distance. Everyone turned their focus to the sound and then to the Legendary for a moment and there were hushes and inquiries among the people.

Cobalion turned to Morubi, noticing that more people were arriving and they seemed to worry.

«Something happens outside the town. I would better go see.»

Morubi shrugged. “Do you have any idea what can it be?”

Cobalion raised his head. He decided to not reveal to the human he had felt a specific, subtle tremor that carried a threat. «If I am this late… someone might be worried about me.»

Cobalion turned tail and moved past the people. Some of them called for him, others waved him goodbye, the same way that had happened many times to the three Guardians when they deigned visit a town. He quickly dashed past them and took to the first rooftop he could find to quickly trace his way out of town.

Except this time everyone were wishing him a farewell and even claiming that they hoped he would visit again soon. Everyone so convinced that they would see their Guardian again.

Cobalion leapt down to the streets and rushed outside. Crossing the edge of town, he saw a column of about sixty Pokémon in the distance, marching towards the town, and at the centre of it the large figure of Terrakion.

Cobalion smiled.

He darted towards the assembled column and Terrakion moved to meet him. The two exchanged words and concerns as Cobalion trotted past the column, the Pokémon there confused but otherwise turning to follow after the two Legendaries.

“I should have known you would have gone with this ridiculous idea!” admonished Terrakion, stomping besides Cobalion’s pace. “Tell me at least you found what we were looking for.”

Cobalion shook his head. “I couldn’t. It was never there to begin with.”

Terrakion looked at him for a moment and sighed. “...So the machines are still out there?”

“They are. I can explain better when we next see one.”

Terrakion nodded, then turned to look at the column of wild Pokémon following them.

“Well, you made me come here with an entourage,” the larger Legendary explained, looking indecisive. “I hope you are happy.”

Cobalion eyed Terrakion furtively and increased his pace, challenging Terrakion and the column of Pokémon to keep up. All of them headed off to the horizon, to look for more fights.

There was no reason to worry for now. After all, the humans knew now that the Guardians were interested in keeping in contact with them.

They had their evidence, a record that looked glorious under the light of the day, encased in a small protective glass case that people were examining carefully, to be taken to the mayoral house.


Afternoon – Day 243 after investigation – Spring

Rare was indeed the occasion when the three Deer would meet; worst case like Virizion said, it would take famine or war, whereas other more regular times it would take the appointment of the Trainer who would be the champion guardian of Suocé, and then there were the days like today when they happened to be all three in a good mood when helping.

Each on their own saw today had been worth it.

After about two days of rain, a mining accident threatened to flood a cave with several people and Pokémon in; Cobalion and Terrakion happened upon the cave and assisted in holding off the flood; Virizion showed up to guide the stragglers up back to the surface.

All in all, while there were several wounded no life was lost, and by the time Cobalion made it back to the surface there were already several medics and assistants from the nearest settlement gathering the injured and preparing transports.

A short distance from the road from where the medics were patching people up, the three Deer stood upon a random rock slab, letting the drizzle wash them. Keeping their distance they watched over the process, their assistance already over.

The other side of the road and under some lighter kanelon trees that blocked most of the drizzle, the woman photographist (Cobalion wondered if he ever got the correct term?) was setting up the silvery plates from their dark container to be placed on the machine, which was already aimed at the slab where the Deer stood.

From where she was standing, Virizion thought, she would create a record of their flank. The Three would show off their majesty.

Cobalion listened around and bat his head nervously. He eyed the woman moving in front of the machine, examining some covers and plaques placed around it. Cobalion frowned. “She’s taking more than anticipated. Best it be not a problem with the Daguerreomachine.”

“Does rain hurt the machine?” Terrakion asked interested.

Cobalion raised his head. “I didn’t think to ask,” he admitted.

Virizion gave the woman and the machine a long look. She was just about done with whatever she was fixing and she removed some of the covers protecting the apparatus. Virizion saw her move behind the machine and, content that the procedure seemed to be holding well, he returned his attention to his counterparts.

“To think you were scared of that?” mocked Virizion, giving Cobalion a sly look.

Cobalion rustled up in his place for a moment; he would be quick to swat the smile off Virizion’s visage but he knew well that would ruin the photographie in more ways than one.

“Steady, steady,” commanded Terrakion, looking at the other two unamused; he had taken command for the day.

Cobalion, still a bit irked, and only gave Virizion and Terrakion an annoyed huff as they smiled at his reaction.

Terrakion gave a small step forward to look down the road as the last wounded humans and Pokémon were being taken care of, placed on small carriages that would take them to the nearest town. A few Bug-types there turned to him and gave him and the Three a nod and some effusive thanking for their assistance.

Terrakion and Cobalion nodded back and wished the Pokémon well. Virizion limited himself to warn them to be watchful the rest of the way.

With the medics and their Pokémon preparing to depart, the three Deer remained in their place, each occupied with their own thoughts and minded to remain as still as possible; they wanted, after all, for the human to create the perfect record of their Guardians that she needed of them.

It did mean that the three Deer had to endure the drizzle for the next few minutes, unprotected. Cobalion did not enjoy the moisture collecting on his horns and his chest fur; yet as expected of one of the Three, he still performed his job as temporary statue perfectly.

Down the road, the few other humans were busy with the victims from the mining accident and the presence of the Guardians gradually fell out of notice.

The Deer were not well versed in counting the time; they only kept their ear on the woman to wait until she made any motion to indicate the “capture” was over. Was it five minutes, ten maybe? For even the human it seemed to not matter.

At some point she moved closer to the front of the machine again and equipped again the covers on the front side. Then she moved hurriedly to the back side and, carefully covering herself with a black veil she had produced, started working on the machine’s innards.

There was a sliding sound, similar to the one Cobalion and Virizion had heard when the woman was setting the special plates up. The three Deer looked to the other side of the road and then at each other; it seemed the session was over.

Terrakion’s attention on the photographist’s proceedings however did not falter.

“She looks like she could use help. None of the other humans stayed.”

Cobalion’s mind wandered back to the town for a moment. “The man who tested the machine for me… he had a Pokémon assist him with the machine.”

“What? Terrakion responded, looking somewhat puzzled. “Why not this one? Do you know if these were Trainers?”

Cobalion shook his head. “What they said was that the Ledian had been working with him since the beginning.”

Virizion and Terrakion loosened themselves and paced around, their tasks for the day now completed. They shook the water off their bodies with vigorous movement; Cobalion was more moderated on his motions.

“I still think she needs help,” spat Terrakion. “Although we can’t provide.”

“She will be fine,” Cobalion answered raising his head. “She is not the only one.”

Virizion snorted and went to the road. “Worry about us. We could use help.”

Cobalion and Terrakion stared incredulously at the Grass-type for a moment. Terrakion walked up to him while Cobalion remained behind, observing the movements of the human.

“Yes… We could have some Pokémon designated to be at our service, yes,” Terrakion observed.

“They owe us; I’m sure they’ll throw themselves at our hooves if we are to recruit,” explained Virizion while he pawed at the ground for a moment.

Cobalion rolled his eyes and sighed. “Here we go again...”

A brief session of banter later, the three Deer each sprung and went off on their own way. Each on their own the three Deer imagined a future where they were always a part of the memory of their subjects, and they now carried that ideal with themselves to where they went.

Even if the presence of three was not enough to cover the entirely of the realm, Cobalion was sure they had now less to worry about. As well as they understood, their presence could live forever in the records the humans kept, in a way assuring the humans that the Legendaries who left the world after the Lament, had not truly abandoned them.

And if the humans needed that promise rekindled?

They knew now that they could walk into the tall grass, as the tales of their ancestors had taught, and request of them not only a fight, not only their assistance, but perhaps even the honor of imprinting in durable metal-like paper a record of their image. A proof that the meeting had indeed happened, and that humans were not alone in venturing across the realm.


Afternoon, Month 2412 after investigation.

Cobalion stood atop a rocky spire watching how a young Trainer and his two Pokémon, a Luxray and a Xatu, battled against a large number of foes led by Terrakion.

The oryx stood close watch and focused on the fight.

Still, the world was so large around him and it was changing so fast. For their part in pursuing the ideals that the Legendaries represented, humans would not stop.

Keeping the records was good, but showing and sharing with the rest of the world would be the next ideal to be deemed worthy. Little by little across the generations they would build a new machine, one not of fumes, metals and plaques but one of thought, formalized into rules of math and carried at the speed of light.

A machine that could take a record of the world anywhere and preserve it perennially, to show to children, and the children of their children, anytime.

Who knows what could happen? Perhaps no one thought that a young Trainer would point their machine at a Pokémon and and click, and the machine would spew the image and a general description of the Pokémon in question. Even one like the Guardians, if they gave something to the record.

Surely the vivid images of the Pokémon and the description of their prowess would be great incentive for aspiring Trainers to march even further into the wilderness.

The Luxray and Xatu managed to beat most of the opposition, and in accordance with the challenge that had been posted, Terrakion retreated his forces.

The two Legendaries shared a knowing look, and after a short inquiry from Terrakion, it was decided that Cobalion would be the one to handle the final round.

The many Pokémon around retreated, following Terrakion, until only the Trainer with his two accompanying Pokémonas were left. Cobalion let out a warning call and leapt from atop his spire, landing in front of the Trainer.

The human in question produced then such a machine and pointed it at the Legendary, who knowingly posed and stomped on the ground, to warn the human to keep a watchful eye on the fight that was about to unfold.

This was the war that mattered: against ignorance and apathy. Cobalion knew that humans needed the guidance and, seeing a new opportunity, he gathered his might that he would play his part.


And now for some Credits!

  • This story is published as a gift, “free to the world”, in celebration of International Day of Photography Aug 19. But you already knew that.
  • Proofreading credit goes to @SpitefulMurkrow, @ToddNeuschatz among others.
  • The historical context of the story is basically an adaption of the history of photography ca. 1830. Mentions of “La Guerre” refer to Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, inventor of the Daguerreotype method of “image persistence” for photography after taking on previous work by Nicéphore Niépce [Wikipedia]. This process was ought by the French Government at the time and released patent-free to the world.
  • Yerba mate is yet another cool South-American thing, more properly a nice Argentinian custom. It's like tea only cooler (not temperature-wise).
  • The tornado idea was @Umbramatic . My first plan was a fluvial flood but a tornado gives the 'deer more things to do.
  • The name Morubi for the former Trainer was suggested by @Cavespider @Pokécommunity.
  • The unknown trainer at the end is (c) by @Absent Coder from WAAPT.
  • Far more notes on the historical context can be found in the official release (PokéCommunity) as well as in the AO3 archive release, including links and sources to study the process of daguerreotype and the history of how the process was released to the world.

The wiki article for this story has not yet been created. This one will likely take some time. Similarly, at this time the AO3 version is yet to be updated, since it'll require a reorganization of the author notes.

That makes it everything, I guess. Feel free to post questions and commentary general!


PMD Writer
Like I promised, here’s a review for part 1. I hope you’ll enjoy. ^^

“Did your sister say anything more about the machine of la guerre?”

“Nah, just what we read. It could capture anything, last forever, blah blah.”

Given that this was posted on the International Day of Photography, they’re probably talking about a camera here. Though if I didn’t know any better I’d think they’re talking about the Master Ball… That actually makes me wonder how people in Suocéverse think about the Master Ball.

“One Rattata down, one coin up!” was the Manectric’s joyful answer as he focused on herding the group of Pokémon in front of them. Not that the humans would have understood the exact words as Cobalion did; still, even if what they got from their partner was more like an excited “rawr” the core of the message was still clear.

Heh, this image of a Manectric letting out an excited rawr is amazing. Suocé!Alvise when?

Though since we as the readers can understand the Manectric, what does he mean here exactly?

Cobalion sped into through a dirt passageway, accompanied by a few Rock and Water types that made his current entourage

How often does he have a group of Pokémon following him anyway?

He knew as well that Virizion’s attempt to strike would surely be useless, but still he was bound to his place in admiration as he watched the Guardians’ de facto leader from afar.

So how come Virizion is in charge of this trio anyway? Since in canon Cobalion is always depicted as the leader of the group.

With a few turns Virizion was done, and with an angered cry he drew an horizontal arc with his head, releasing a blade-shaped current of energy that flew right at the heart of the tornado.

I think this gives a decent idea what Virizion’s personality is like. :p

Tornado: *Approaches*

Virizion: Fite me! *uses Sacred Sword*

Tornados were not even that frequent a thing; as one of the now former food workers commented to his fellows while dragging a dispensary with spices from the remains, there had been less than ten in his lifetime.

I dunno old man, ten tornados still seems like quite a lot lol.

It lighted upon the Legendary that he would have just found the machine he was looking for. If he understood everything correctly, a machine with which the humans would try to strike.

At the Guardians.

You know, you could call Cobalion silly for misunderstanding what a camera is, but imma defend him. While you can definitely refer to taking a photo as something as “capturing something”, it’s not that common, yet it’s the only way these people talk about it.

The two Legendaries meanwhile stared at each other and snorted a few times in a sort of greeting, without relaxing their postures.

These two sure are close, huh?

“Colonia del Lake Barcan maybe?” He asked the females.


“Colonia del Lake Barcan maybe?” he asked in a half threatening, half disdainful tone.

*"Wat?" intensifies*

“You are dismissed,” he announced.

Virizion sprung in front of Cobalion. “Hey wait a minu-” he spat, stopping himself as he heard the heavy shuffling of dirt and leaves behind him. He turned to see the three females had pranced past the duo fast and exited hastily through the thickets to turn downhill.

Whelp, I guess Virizion ain’t having any fun tonight.

“Thou best have good justification for this; I itch for winter’s opening fight.”

Wait, does Virizion always talk like this? Thought he was just joking around at first, but sometimes it’s hard to understand what he’s saying.

Virizion spoke indignantly. “Thou would rather not… summon them to the shrine? They are our subjects.”

Yeah, I have a feeling the humans around here have a very different view of this lol.

“No machine Humans have shown us,” assured Virizion, “can topple you, or bind me, or resist Terrakion. But if there is one, they ought to test it on us, before it strikes their own kind.”

Oh, just wait until the next century and the stuff humans will whip up then.

But boy, they’re completely misunderstanding the humans, huh? Hope things won’t escalate too much, since if things stay relatively tame, this will probably end in them feeling a little silly once they find out what cameras are really for. But I guess we’ll see next time ~

Until then!

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
Like I promised, here’s a review for part 1. I hope you’ll enjoy. ^^
Thanks for taking the time to do this. In particular because this was intended to be a short story buuuuut it ended up being long.

Given that this was posted on the International Day of Photography, they’re probably talking about a camera here. Though if I didn’t know any better I’d think they’re talking about the Master Ball… That actually makes me wonder how people in Suocéverse think about the Master Ball.
You're not wrong re: International Day of Photography.
Pokéball mechanics in the Suocéverse are somewhat different from game canon as they need to and I have not decided the status of the Master Ball specifically, but in this continuity the better Pokeballs (Great Ball etc) are less about guaranteeing capture and more about break-out / break-in, in particular in a world where things like Cipher and Team Rocket exist. It also means dangerous Pokémon can be more safely contained, but you still need to weaken them enough to capture in the first place - you can't just go at a fully armed and healthy Mewtwo and toss a Master Ball at it (he's gonna telepathically bounce it to *your* balls).

Heh, this image of a Manectric letting out an excited rawr is amazing. Suocé!Alvise when?

I knoooooow Manectric are so cool they are like Fearow in that I've grown more fond of them the more I put some time for them in my writing. But don't worry I'm already in talks with @Spiteful Murkrow to plan for more Manectrics in my writing (if not exactly an adaptation of Alvise yet).

Though since we as the readers can understand the Manectric, what does he mean here exactly?
Business mon - you beat up one opponent, you get some coins in exchange. Not exactly like Luca but...

How often does he have a group of Pokémon following him anyway?
So how come Virizion is in charge of this trio anyway? Since in canon Cobalion is always depicted as the leader of the group.
The 'Deers are quite a bit weird beasts in this regard. They often ignore and are ignored by most of everybody - but if one of them were to scream "threat to the land!" it's very likely a group of small Pokémon will amass to their side if anything to be able to participate in fights.
This might make a scene later in Part 2 ironic, btw. Bit I'll leave that for when you get there.

As for Virizion being in charge vs Cobalion in Unova, I mean this is a different trio and their personalities are also different. By this time in history Virizion has established himself as the leader but in more present times such as when Playfield or As They Were for example, I intend for Terrakion to take the role of the leader.

I think this gives a decent idea what Virizion’s personality is like. :p

Tornado: *Approaches*

Virizion: Fite me! *uses Sacred Sword*
And he's not the kind to mellow with age... not too much. He gets more contemplative (As They Were), but he's still the kind to lord over with his position and use it to end anything he perceives as a threat as efficiently as he can.

It miiiight have taken him a while to learn that Fighting-type is not exactly super-effective against natural disasters.

You know, you could call Cobalion silly for misunderstanding what a camera is, but imma defend him. While you can definitely refer to taking a photo as something as “capturing something”, it’s not that common, yet it’s the only way these people talk about it.
In creative terms it's a bit of a choice to make the story work, but at least for some time after small portable cameras made the rounds around here, talking about "captures" (noun) of things was common enough in some contexts up until digital cameras rolled around, when most of everything got reduced to "pic" (noun).
Since Cobalion does not get human idioms that much, I decided to make him focus on the idioms he already is privvy to ("capture a Pokémon") and place on that limitation some of the weight that carries the story. Language is such a wonderful thing - hey, it's half the reason this particular story even exists ;)

*"Wat?" intensifies*
...Huh, you caught a repetition that escaped me more than a few rereads it seems. I could have sworn that was fixed but it seems it's not and that causes some extra weirdness in the scene, go figure.
As for the colonia de Lake Barcan, Cobalion is obliquely checking if the Sawsbuck does are local or if they have been following Virizion to get his attention. Once the next story (which should have more focus on Terrakion) comes up, Lake Barcan proper will have more screentime.

Whelp, I guess Virizion ain’t having any fun tonight.
...It's super effective!
This one's gonna sting for a while. Virizion and Cobalion's personalities tend to clash a lot, though this is the first time that it properly shows onscreen. Anyway, today Cobalion takes the first sweet victory.

Wait, does Virizion always talk like this? Thought he was just joking around at first, but sometimes it’s hard to understand what he’s saying.
I'm a bit of a friend of Ye Olde Englishe to emphasize how a character is of a certain age as well as upbringing, which in this case kinda maps to some sort of Late Colonial / Second Conquest Spanish. Here it mostly shows that Virizion holds himself to very high regard (just in case that was somehow not clear before lol) and the fact that he holds this way of speech even in front of Cobalion who is one of his counterparts and otherwise an equal in rank and importance also contrasts with Cobalion's attempts to better understand "Human".

It does get a bit hard on the ears sometimes a few reviews have noted, but I decided to balance it as well as I could by limiting the dialogue and using very specific words of "Ye Olde" that have already entered more public attention ("Thou" for example is something that is highlighted often in things like Final Fantasy X|V and Persona games, and it's every once in a while mocked in TV shows portraying college / university life). In any event, Virizion's speech (but not his attitude) will get better.

Yeah, I have a feeling the humans around here have a very different view of this lol.
Both of you are not too off-the-mark actually. Legally speaking, humans are tenants or rentees to the Sovereign Deer and as such have some obligations to them, but the 'Deer themselves have stayed so far out of their role as "landlords" here that by humans they are seen more like how communities carry out their everyday lives just like that and just every once in a while they happen to throw out a big harvest party as tribute.
Virizion is gonna need quite a corrigendum on that one, and Cobalion really needs to learn that you can't play the part -any part- being absent. I'd guess Terrakion has the better and more "correct" view of the relatinoship but this is not the story to show that alas.

But boy, they’re completely misunderstanding the humans, huh? Hope things won’t escalate too much, since if things stay relatively tame, this will probably end in them feeling a little silly once they find out what cameras are really for. But I guess we’ll see next time ~
Part 2 is about a camera and about how a Cobalion does look silly dealing with it. It also has a Ledian. I think you'll have some fun ;)