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KhG_Horizons (COMPLETED)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Kharmaguess, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Kharmaguess

    Kharmaguess New Member

    This is my first of a series of fanfictions which will be labeled under the prefix KhG. Just doing a little world building before I get into anything big. Anyways, reviews are appreciated, so if you have any suggestions for how I can improve, feel free to let me know! Will update every weekend until finished, so keep checking for updates. Enjoy!


    i.

    Groudon took a seat next to his legendary counterpart. Eyeing the clock that hung by the entrance, he had made it with two minutes to spare. Ambient chatter filled the room as the council awaited Arceus's arrival. His eyes rested on Kyogre who was much of the opposite, and sat in silence with a rather discontent expression on her face. He sat back in his seat mischievously and flicked the back of Kyogre's neck. She whipped around ready to pay back the vexatious move, but stopped as soon as she saw him laughing.

    "Oh it's only you, where in the world were you? The meeting's about to start!"

    "Well I'm here now. Just finishing up some business back at Mt. Chimney."

    Groudon tipped his head up in a relaxed, egocentric manner. He heeded no sign of the glare he received from his counterpart.

    "Hm sure, of course. I would never think of you skipping out on a meeting. Especially like today's."

    Groudon eyed Kyogre curiously.

    "What's that supposed to mean? I usually come to every meeting." Groudon's innocence and perhaps ignorance threw Kyogre off.

    "You seriously don't remember. Wow, it figures seeing how this exam pretty much proves you're one of the most narrow-minded individuals on the council." Kyogre mocked, smirking as she saw Groudon's agape reaction.

    "You're kidding, it's not today is it?"

    Suddenly a hush fell over the council and the two counterparts looked up at the center pillar.

    "Hello everybody. It seems everyone has decided... well almost everybody has decided to come to the meeting today."

    Groudon's eyes met the empty seat on the other side of his; the seat inhabited, or lack thereof, by Rayquaza. It wasn't much of a surprise if what Kyogre had said was true. That made him worry even more.

    "Now as everyone should know by now, I have assigned today's date to be the semi-annual situation survey exam".

    Great it was. The council was filled with a mixture of moans and murmurs. The disturbance did not go over to well with Arceus as he turned back to the council members.

    "You all should've known this was today. I've been saying it for the past three meetings." Arceus' little comment made Groudon even more embarrassed at his inept forgetfulness.

    "Look this is only a small test and you've taken one like it before. This is so I can see if you all have the knowledge of what to do in dire situations. It's only 20 questions so it shouldn't take too long."

    "20 questions is more than none." Groudon grumbled.

    Luckily Arceus hadn't overheard his remark and his demeanor cheered up a little bit.

    "But because we will be taking the exam today, our normal proceedings will be dismissed. Once you are finished you may leave and spend the rest of your week how you please."

    The continent pokemon crossed his arms atop the table in front of him. The legendary council was a group dedicated to protecting the safety and wellbeing of pokemon (and sometimes humans) across the land. It was usually laid back, as threats on a level for the council to worry about were rare, but they do happen. However, Arceus still made the group organize every two weeks to discuss happenings across the regions.

    But this had to be the worst part about being on the legendary council. Taking Arceus's stupid tests. It was like going to grade school. He was a legendary! He was better off 'saving the planet' rather than writing how he would in a hypothetical situation.

    "Groudon come on, you've never passed once. Stop whining. Once you fail, you can leave early."

    The familiar voice reminded him why he also hated taking these tests. He was terrible at them. He winced at her comment before turning back to her. "Well you don't do much better Kyogre."

    "Tsch. Sure, I guess you're right. But I'm not the lowest scorer in the council..."

    "I don't care what Arceus told you! Palkia sure as hell scored lower than me last time."

    Palkia glanced up from his seat across the room but was unable to hear Groudon's conversation clearly. It was true that Kyogre wasn't good either at these sorts of things, but she actually tried to do well as compared to Groudon for a passing grade. He took the lazy route; marking down random answers while drawing out the clock to keep Arceus from being suspicious about him neglecting to give an effort. Obviously in the process, he sacrificed any rumor of him being intelligent... which was probably a big mistake because he had Raikou on his ass after failing with a 40% last time. Not only that, but barely any legendaries had any confidence he would act correctly if a disaster situation were to happen. After all, that's what the test highlighted.

    He grunted under his breath, wishing this meeting was like every other day; discussing world events and being assigned tasks to go fulfill. At least they were entertaining... at times. But as Arceus placed the leaflet of paper down in front of him, it was painfully obvious that he was going to be suffering through another exam.

    "Groudon?" A muggy voice next to him rang in his ears. "Eh oh what?" he answered confused.

    "Are you brain-dead Groudon? I asked if you tried to prepare for today's test like I asked."

    "Me? Prepare? Look this is just a nonsense exam that doesn't mean anything. No one's gonna die if I fail this test."

    Kyogre looked back adversely towards her counterpart. "You're hopeless you know that?"

    He pushed the chastising comment aside. "I can fend for myself you know!"

    Kyogre just huffed and turned her shoulder, beginning the test. If Groudon had no class at all, he would've laughed at her humorous difficulty turning due to her sea type characteristics. Yet he held it in, for a reason that was to himself.

    His eyes fell to the paper in front of him with words in a size too small to see without squinting. The test had already begun so he forced himself to keep his emotions locked up inside of him, unless he wanted to attract the attention of every legend in the hall.

    Unable to concentrate, he glanced up at the crowd around him. All the legendaries, now ink pens either in hand or held by psychic powers, were scribbling away at their papers. An occasional creak of a table or scratch of a changed answer was all that reverberated through the room. Palkia broke the silence with a rather defeated fist slam on his table, getting frustrated over the questions in front of him. Arceus gave him a stern look and everything returned to the way it was.

    The room was about half and half on who could deal with the test and who couldn't. It was obvious he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Him along with Kyogre, who desperately tried her best, couldn't score much better than a 60. They truly were two of the numbskulls in the room. Palkia was the only other close to their level. In fact, he shared very similar views on the test as Groudon: annoying, unnecessary, and gratuitous. But at least he decided to show up, unlike Rayquaza, who never seems to show up on exam day. In the few instances where he has (most likely by command), he still always manages to sneak out before it starts, no matter what Arceus entreats.

    He looked back to Kyogre, who judging by the expression wrought on her face, she wasn't having much luck. The battle between them before the test started probably didn't help things either. The longer he looked at her, the more his heart began to sink.

    Counterparts are supposed to get along. That was no secret. It was designed by Arceus that way, but there had obviously been some holes in his logic between him and Kyogre. To him it was simple. They were meant to be separate; like same sided magnets, pushing away from each other at every word. It wasn't like they were too different, but rather they were too similar to one another. Both of them had aggressive attitudes and deride personalities that worked perfectly... if perfect meant keeping them apart.

    But in Groudon's heart, he wished for them to be together. He would never admit it out loud, but something about her attitude, and ability to counter against anything he put out was appealing to him. He enjoyed the conversations they had... maybe not all of them, but subliminally they left him liking Kyogre as more than a friend. He felt a deeper connection, one that stretched the boundaries of being close friends. The one that made his heart race and glow radiantly. The only issue with his theory, was that he had no clue if she shared the same fondness towards him as he did. The more he questioned it, the more he felt she didn't connect with him the same way. Kyogre was always one to grab life by the horns and do her best at anything she tried. Unfortunately for him, he found a way to always procrastinate until the very last minute. Maybe he wasn't as bad as Rayquaza, but he certainly had his difficulties.

    He cringed. It was a constant thought in his head, and he never found a solution. The conversations between them had only grown more tiresome, with each becoming progressively less appealing, but rather hostile. Perhaps if he told someone, they could offer advice on how to better the situation. But that was another one of his problems. Groudon only wished he could muster up the courage to tell someone about how he really felt towards Kyogre. He considered who would be the best legendary to tell. Someone trustworthy and genuine, unlike Raikou who wouldn't twist his words around comically and make it seem like he was all mushy.

    The three legend cats, Raikou, Suicune, and Entei, were all completely different, but neither seemed like good pokemon to talk to. Raikou as previously mentioned would jump on the opportunity to stir up drama within the legendaries. It was just the role he played, and it irked him to death. Suicune somehow found something in the feline legend and they had been together for a long time now. She wasn't like her irritating counterpart, but wouldn't be much of a help to his predicament either. Then there was Entei who seemed like the dad of the council, and asking him felt more demeaning than anything.

    Then there was Lugia and Ho-oh, who maybe could offer advice. Celebi didn't seem educated on the matter that much; Rayquaza was rarely ever around and he didn't want to bring the third counterpart into the mix, Mew… just no.

    Giritina... Darkrai... Cresellia…

    Suddenly a flash of white shot across the room followed in suit by another as both put their papers down on Arceus's platform. Oh Arceus, those two almost made me scream, Groudon thought to himself, startled by their sudden movement.

    "HA! I beat you this time!" Latios said in triumph as he celebrated noisily.

    "Aw come on you know I let you win the race to the table this time.", "Ah ah ah, I can't hear you. I won fair and square", "Well we'll have to see who got more right than wrong then, won't we?", "Humph, well I assure you, I'll do just as good as you. Just you watch..."

    Groudon shared a glare with Arceus looking at the two eon dragons. Their jumbled banter quickly stopped once they realized they commotion they were making, and quietly continued down the hall before they finally exited the building. The golden door behind them closed with a metal click, before their distant voices raised once more. He looked up towards the clock. Not even 3 minutes past the beginning of the test and they were already finished and gone. Latias... Latios. Somehow, those two managed to make him envious beyond belief. If there were legends on the complete opposite side of the scale from him, it would be them. They scored flying colors with each test they turned in, and managed to complete them in record time too. It was something that was unimaginable before they joined the legend council all those years ago. Even Arceus couldn't believe it when they first took the exam.

    Groudon once again looked back towards his paper. He hadn't written a single thing and his time was ticking. He could only assume they got their natural intelligence through their incredible psychic ability. Out of all of the legendaries, between each other they shared the most amount of psychic talent out of any other legends on the council; perhaps even surpassing Arceus himself. And they were still considered 'young'. Every time the exam came around, it was a contest between them. Who could finish the fastest with the best solutions to the problems. Latias had been the quicker one for quite some time but apparently Latios had found a way to out-play her. He chuckled under his breath. Despite Latios finishing first, he wagered Latias would win the award for most answered correctly.

    But then, in his perception, the image of Latios and Latias flying out the door came back to him. Their fingers entwined. His amused smile turned upside down. Not only were they gifted with raw intelligence for asinine tasks like this, but they were unbreakable lovers. You couldn't separate those two if you built a brick wall between them. They made love seem so easy. Like learning to ride a bike as the human saying goes. To him, it was more like riding a unicycle while pedaling with your hands. If their light hearted whispers to each other during meetings and constant laughing between them wasn't an indication about their feelings, Groudon didn't know what was.

    He resisted the urge to ball up his fist and slam it down as Palkia had done. Ugh what did he do to deserve this. He threw a quick look in Kyogre's direction. Luckily she was too focused on her own test that she didn't notice his gaze. What did he need to do to show her he loved her...

    But his attention returned to the paper.

    ...and what did he need to do in order to pass this damn test.

    30 more minutes came and went, each minute passing by slower than the last. Groudon still stared at his blank paper. All 20 questions were clean and unmarked. Every legendary aside from the continent and sea basin legendaries had finished and taken off, reminding Groudon each time the door swung back shut. Lucky them, Groudon thought to himself… thinking was all he had done the entire test.

    He mentally scoffed himself. What's wrong with me he said stuffing his hands into his face. Just write some random answers like you always do! You're making a fool of yourself.

    Even though Kyogre was fully focused on her test, she could easily sense her counterpart's anguish next to her. The sea basin legend grabbed her completed exam and turned to him.

    "What's wrong with you Groudon? You haven't been yourself all day. It's just a test, finish it and get out of here okay!"

    Groudon was a little taken back by her sudden comment. It was the first sound other than his own thoughts that coursed through his mind in quite awhile. He simply looked up at her and back down to his paper. Since when did she care about him? Internally he groaned, knowing he should just come clean... He was still thinking about her.

    Come on Groudon, stop thinking about something that could've been solved a millennia ago. Just finish the test and you can think about that later.

    The golden doors closed one last time leaving just Groudon and the big man himself all alone in the legends council. Arceus had been glaring at Groudon for the past few minutes and finally stepped down from his high pedestal and confronted him.

    "Groudon. You don't seem to be having much luck with this test."

    Dammit, look what you've done to yourself.

    "Yeah, this one's pretty hard Arceus. I'm sorry."

    Arceus sighed, shaking his head.

    "Groudon, that's the same test you took last time. You got a 40 percent on that so you should at least know some of them. But it seems like you haven't answered one."

    The continent legendary simply looked back towards his paper. Had he seriously been scanning the same test he took last time? Now he looked like an even bigger moron.

    Arceus kept his sympathetic look trained on Groudon. His unwavering stare kept Groudon's eyes focused on a very interesting spot on the floor, not wanting to make eye contact again until he spoke.

    For Arceus, words weren't necessary yet as he picked up the paper from under Groudon's downward gaze. He sighed once more and gilded back to his pillar where he put his exam off on a stack of its own. Looking contemplatively at Groudon, he called for his attention.

    The continent pokemon focused on the qilin. Ugh, here we go.

    "I hope you know in all of your attempts, you've failed to score a passing grade... are you aware too?"

    As much as he hated to admit it, he nodded. What was this, guilt for not trying?

    You did this to yourself. How about you take Kyogre's advice next time and actually prepare.

    He shook the rebellious thought out of his head and looked back up to Arceus.

    "I will try harder next time."

    Arceus wasn't buying it, and neither was he. How could he get better if all he's been doing is getting worse?

    "Groudon. I think I need to give you a little... motivation, so that you are compelled to try next time."

    "Motivation?" Groudon hated to think of what this could be but kept his attention.

    "Yes. This exam is an important part of being a legendary whether you think so or not. Each question is a possible real life situation in which you would need to react. If you can't come up with a right solution here in the council, what makes you think you will make the right one out in the heat of the moment? Do I need to remind you of the time you and Kyogre almost destroyed all of Hoenn?"

    Arceus had a good point. He remembered getting a little hot when Kyogre splashed water in his face. It all tumbled down hill before finally they realized they should stop… but only after a giant storm covered almost all of the region.

    "...Groudon, I want you to be the best legendary you can be, for the sake of pokemon and people around the world. So I will have you come in privately three days from now to re-take this same test."

    "But we don't even have a council meeting that day!"

    "Groudon!" Arceus shouted over his feeble outburst.

    "As I was saying, you will return in 3 days to retake the test. I am requiring you to get a passing grade on it, or your admittance on the council may not be needed any longer."

    Groudon's face took a plunge downwards as his mouth fell open. The falling motion of his jaw matched the feeling he felt in his gut.

    Your admittance on the council may not be needed any longer... he's going to throw me off the council?

    Groudon couldn't believe his ears. He was one of the original members of the council and had been with it since it's initiation. How could he just be thrown off because of a stupid test!

    "Now if you would like to pass the exam and stay on the council, my suggestion is to try. If you only put a small amount of effort into it, that still should be enough for you to pass."

    Arceus turned away and opened the gate to the back room of the council.

    "I really hope you do the smart thing. This council is comprised of legendaries who are willing to try and be the best they can."

    "Rayquaza hasn't even taken one test! This is unfair!" Groudon finally blurted out, yelling through disbelief and anguish.

    "Rayquaza whether you like it or not, has his own way for making up his missed tests. I will see you here in three days time."

    The hinged door creaked to a close and silently, Groudon sat in solitude.

    Mr. motivation can be a ***** sometimes…

    Groudon's proud, slightly arrogant demeanor had been crushed. He sat in a pool of sweat and nervousness. How could Arceus even suggest such a thing... he was just bluffing, yeah he's not really going to kick him off the council.

    But whether Groudon wanted to realize it or not, the fact of the matter was that he never tried. Almost everything he's done on the council has been with Kyogre and she usually ended up performing the task more fully than he did. This test only magnified his torpidness.

    He fell backwards off of his seat and onto the shining marble floor below. He didn't even wallow in the pain of hitting his head, but instead remained dormant where he lay. Kicked off the legends council because of a test. Gone from a test... a simple test. Arceus's decision ran through his mind, circling over and over and over like there was a wheel rolling in his head. Voices of the rest of the council members laughed in his head, upon hearing his failing grades finally got him deranked. It could either be he cared about his seat on the council, or he hit his head really hard.

    Groudon opened his eyes, seeing the world from a reversed perspective. He got distracted for a moment as he looked up at the floor. He noticed how it shined in the light that beamed through the window panes lining the council walls. It's glossy texture and smoothness could rival any floor anywhere on the globe. Arceus does a good job keeping up on it, he smirked, imagining the quilin wearing an apron and cleaning floors. But somehow the image of Arceus faded and Kyogre returned to his mind. It's like no matter what he thought, she always made her way back into his mind. But the thought of her did beg the question: what would Kyogre think when she finds out he's been kicked off the council for not trying hard enough on a test.

    She probably wouldn't be all too surprised.

    "Rrgh shut up" Groudon muttered to himself under his breath. This was not working. He needed serious help if he was going to muster up the courage to pass this 'important' test.

    He was about to get up and drag himself to the golden doors when perhaps by mere coincidence, they instead opened up to greet him. He observed a figure moving into the room before closing the doors behind. Who is that? A robber? Did someone forget something?

    He rose to his feet and looked at the serpentine standing in the doorway, cracking his knuckles as he scoured the room in a direction opposite to where he was. "Rayquaza?"

    It was a quiet remark, but enough to startle the basilisk to no end, as he threw his hands up in surprise. The items he held in his hand levitated in the air for a moment before crashing back down to the ground with a clash. Liquid poured out of a container and the stick like object he carried spiraled down the center of the hall.

    "Oh Arceus. Groudon, what the hell are you doing here?"

    He fixed his yellow eyed glare at Groudon, none to impressed with his surprise appearance.

    "...oh, I guess I was just leaving. What's your business here?"

    Rayquaza was breathing heavily, recuperating from his near scare, but soon his disposition turned into rage as he looked at the mess he made.

    "Ugh dammit! That's going to be fun to clean up. No seriously Groudon, why the hell are you here? You all were supposed to be gone an hour ago!"

    "Finishing up my test." Groudon said sternly now. He wasn't in the cheeriest of moods, and fighting his supposed-to-be counterpart would be nice to vent his frustration… but his tension slowly decreased as he realized, now probably wasn't the best time to get in an argument. Similarly Rayquaza cooled hearing Groudon's explanation, perplexed by what he had heard.

    "You were seriously still taking it? How hard was the damn thing!"

    Had it really been that long since Kyogre left? She's probably wondering what's keeping... Oh stop it! Get a hold of yourself.

    He shook his head once again, clearing the thought from his mind.

    "It doesn't matter, I'm leaving."

    He walked past the mumbling serpent and opened the doors, letting the sun's warm rays revitalize him. The feeling was a much needed one for his spirits as he stepped outside the building. He was close to shutting the door behind him when he noticed the emerald dragon picking up his bucket and mop. Groudon's eyes widened as he realized why exactly he was here. He was here to clean the council building.

    While Groudon put the image of Rayquaza in an apron this time, he couldn't muster up a smirk. This must be what Arceus was referring to on 'his' way of paying off his missed tests. But it made himself feel even worse.

    Rayquaza was actually responsible for something, and yet he still couldn't lift a finger to anything meaningful he put effort into.

    The doors clunked shut, finally for him this time. He prepared to leave the council hall, resting atop the clouds. He felt the summer breeze sweep across his chest as he lifted his head to the afternoon sun. It sure did feel nice for the pitiful experience he was going through now. Kyogre probably had made plans by now to go out with some of the other legendaries on the council. He'd be all alone back at the bank of Mt. Chimney.

    He reflected on everything that just occurred. The test, his unwavering love, Arceus's threat... those eon dragons.

    The realization of what he had just considered hit him. He had two needs right now. He needed someone to tell about Kyogre, but more importantly he needed someone to help him pass the exam in 3 days. Who better than the genius lovebirds themselves? That would be a bit of a problem though. He needed some sort of a connection with them to talk about his... situation.

    At this point, he may have talked to either one of them maybe 5 times, mainly Latios. Latios was always someone easy to bring up in conversation during bro talks with some of the other male legendaries but he never really talked face to face with him before. Latias was a whole different story, as he believed the only time he's even said a word to her is a forced hello greeting. He nervously shuffled his feet on the platform as he imagined the scene of him showing up on their front door saying he loves Kyogre.

    Will you move past that.

    He drowned his sub-conscience for the umpteenth time and re-focused on the more pending problem. He just needed some help on how to pass the exam. There would be nothing awkward about showing up to ask them questions about that.

    It was set. But a grumble erupted from his chest. He was hungry.

    It wasn't too surprising seeing how he had only eaten breakfast this morning before rushing out to patrol Mt. Chimney before the dreaded council meeting.

    "Okay" Groudon spoke to himself defeated. "I'll stay at home for the night and visit them in the morning. By the time I get there it'll be late anyways."

    He entered a depression in the clouds, where gradually the white cotton balls faded to pastel browns and grays of a cave wall. The wormhole. In a few moments, his feet were on dry land, just below the council. Thank Palkia for the convenient way for legendaries such as himself who didn't have the ability to levitate or fly, to get to the council hall. Otherwise it'd be a tough challenge making it up alone.

    Another struggling legendary proving his worth to the council.

    He hung his head and breathed a sigh. It was decided. He would take a trip to quickly ask the eon dragons about their secrets and prepare during the coming days. But Kyogre kept squirming at his mind. No matter how hard he suppressed her, the image never faded, but seemed to grow even more.
     
  2. Kharmaguess

    Kharmaguess New Member

    Here's part 2! Will likely be the longest of the four chapters. Also side note, some of the italics may be messed up. When trying to paste the chapter here, the formatting gets messed up so I've had to go through and try and fix it the best I can. Hoping I got everything, and enjoy the new chapter!

    ii.

    Groudon couldn't help but worry as he watched the tiny island of Alto-Mare grow closer in view. It was easy saying what he was going to do, but physically performing those actions was another story. He hadn't even stepped foot into the humble town, yet and he already was having second thoughts.

    The human disguised Groudon leaned on the railing of the steamboat. At least he didn't have to worry about being caught in his legendary form. Taking a boat beat rising out of the ocean, stepping into the town and scaring the hell out of everybody in the process. He could only imagine how Latias and Latios would greet him then.

    Groudon gritted his teeth.

    Just go up to them and ask them how to pass Arceus's test. Only ask about Kyogre if you think the time is right.

    He recited the mantra to himself in his head; the rules he were to follow once he found the eon dragons. But that didn't even come close to covering all of the possibilities that could happen when he met them. And what if they don't believe me when I say I love Kyogre.

    "Ugh let's get this over with" Groudon mumbled to himself. He knew the burning desire to tell Kyogre he loved her wouldn't go away until he did so. A part of him wondered why he was going to Alto-mare in the first place, and not straight to Kyogre to ask that question. But he simply ignored the thought. He needed to be sure he was right about his feelings.

    "Uh sir, are you feeling ill?" A young woman spoke behind him.

    Groudon spun around quickly, nervously looking side to side.

    "No no no, it's fine. I... I guess I do get a little seasick." Wow smooth Groudon.

    "Oh, well we'll be arriving shortly so just hang on a little bit longer."

    The boat attendee walked off and Groudon caught his breath again. Luckily she didn't butt in any further.

    The nerve of humans. Couldn't even say excuse me first.

    But he knew that this whole situation was getting the best of him. He just needed to relax. He breathed in and out deeply trying to calm his conscience, but it was a temporary heal. It was all going to come rushing back when he spoke to those two, face to face.

    He turned back towards the water and watched as the island continued to grow nearer.

    Once the boat reached land, Groudon was one of the last to exit. His eyes trained around the unfamiliar town in-front of him. Talk about busy. There were people everywhere. He felt a welt build up in his stomach. He hated crowded places. The idea of having no room to stretch his arms out made him uncomfortable and he looked for an open way to pass through the traffic. Unfortunately for him, none was to be found. Just more people.

    "Well it's either claustrophobia, or scaring everyone in town. Take your pick" He told himself. His answer was fairly obvious as he blended in with the crowd. He walked for a little bit noticing the sights and smells. It sure was a lively town. Draperies hung from the walls and colorful shop carts lined the streets. He looked to the center of the street, which wasn't a street at all but a crystal blue canal. Beautiful gondolas floated down the channel with rowers pushing their oars off the back. The scenery sure was a spectacle, but to him it didn't beat the more solitary feeling he got back at Mt. Chimney.

    The crowd had subsided a little bit after leaving the harbor but it still was far too crowded for him.

    Too bad they didn't leave more room for the sidewalks, he thought as he looked to the other side of the river. The canals took up over half of the street.

    It was all Groudon could take and he forced himself through a crowd of people and into a back alleyway. It was off the main street and definitely darker than he would've liked, but it beat the cluster of travelers.

    However, the further he went, they didn't seem to hold up as well. For one, he had never been good with dark places. No matter how hard he tried, an anxious feeling would always build up inside him, not unlike the feeling of being cramped. The continent pokemon preferred to have the sun beating down on him rather than the cold embrace of the dark. However in addition, it turned out that the alley ways were a maze for first timers. Groudon just kept walking forward knowing if he wanted to turn back, he was going to have little luck. To add insult to injury, the cramped feeling didn't go away either. Some paths tended to be narrow, giving him a severe lack of space. It was a whole different type of claustrophobia, but he didn't mind much of either of them.

    He also found the lack of people disturbing. Why didn't anyone use these back paths? Was everyone out and about just for the shopping stands and boat rides? He couldn't comprehend why no regular residents at least didn't roam around back here. If he lived in Alto-mare, he would memorize a way through these alley ways from his house to wherever he needed to go.

    Perhaps everyone just wasn't like him, and enjoyed being in a crowd.

    Groudon had become so lost in thought that his body was set on autopilot, and almost collided ironically with a young girl in the alley.

    "Ouch! Oh sorry miss, I wasn't watching where I was going." Groudon said apologetically.

    The girl who wore a green shirt and white cap smiled back.

    "Oh it's no trouble at all mister."

    Wait a second.

    Groudon couldn't break his gaze with the girl. She waited for a response but got none as he stared befuddled at her. She looked back perplexed by his motionless state and slowly skirted around him. Just as she was clear, her walk turned into a skip as she continued on down the path, looking behind her to see if Groudon was following.

    There was something definitely not right about that... girl. She was strange, like her appearance was misleading to who she actually was... that was the issue. She wasn't who she seemed to be; a stranger girl in the alleys. In fact, he felt like he knew this 'girl' very well.

    It's her isn't it.

    "Latias..." Groudon spoke softly almost in a whisper, but it was enough to make the girl stop in her tracks. She had almost made her way around the bend but quirked her head back to listen to his voice.

    "You're Latias aren't you?"

    She turned around fully and looked closely at him.

    "How do you know who I am..." Her voice quivered with interest. She looked up and down at the disguised legendary before Groudon swore he saw her eyes light up.

    "Hey wait... you're not a normal human either are you?"

    The girl circled around examining Groudon, looking attentively at his appearance. She was trying but couldn't quite make out who he was. He just rolled his eyes.

    "It's me, Groudon."

    "Groudon? You seem like you could be Groudon, but I don't believe you."

    "Don't believe me?" He answered gruffly. It honestly didn't surprise him, but he didn't appreciate her lack of confidence.

    "Well yeah I don't. I can't think of a reason for Groudon to show up the day after the council meeting, unless you'd like to explain."

    "Look if you can show me where your hideout is, I can prove I really am Groudon."

    "You don't need to." Latias responded, and touched her hand to his skull. Groudon could only wonder what she was doing until he felt something in his head tingle. Is she reading my mind?

    "Her eyes opened and she looked at him with sincerity. "Wow it really is you. He-heh sorry. I sensed it was you but I was almost dead sure you were someone else. Why have you come to Alto-mare?"

    Well she can read my mind... great. Seeing as how she didn't blurt out "you love Kyogre?", she must've only 'lightly' invaded my privacy. I'd better watch what I say and think around here.

    Groudon shook his head. Perhaps this wasn't the best plan of action.

    "Hideout... please. I really don't want to be in these alleys anymore." Groudon asked impatiently. He really wasn't liking being in this cramped alleyway standing so close to the disguised fellow legendary.

    "You make it sound like I'm on the run." She giggled charmingly. "But yeah of course. Follow me."

    With a wave of her arm, she darted down the path in which she came. Groudon quickly picked up his pace to keep up with her. Despite her happy skip, she still managed to keep a good speed, and it was tiring Groudon out.

    Are you seriously going to let yourself quit because you're tired from a run? Maybe it's time you worked out at the gym a little more.

    He just grimaced through the aches that started to get more present in his weak human form. He was only joking with himself. He rarely used his human disguise. Despite how much of a privilege it was to be allowed by Arceus the ability to cloak, he insisted on remaining in legendary form. Because of this, his human strength was severely limited compared to the muscle he owned as his normal self.

    He looked back up ahead to Latias who was having way too much fun on this adventurous little jog. Her arms flared out to each side resembling a jet, or maybe like her own wings on her legendary form. Either way, he could tell she spent a lot of time as a human.

    Not surprising. I did collide with her like this anyway.

    The run was a quick one as they turned off the path into an even darker alley way. Groudon admired how well hidden it actually was. There was no way an outsider with no experience in travelling through the city could discover this place (unless it was by complete accident). But something did nag at his head.

    "Well we're here. The secret 'hideout' as you called it." Latias announced joyfully.

    "You picked a pretty good place for it." Groudon admitted. "I would never have found you here... but I'm just curious. I remember hearing you lived in a garden?"

    Latias laughed at the question and spun around towards the wall directly behind her.

    "So you do know a little about me. You're right. This isn't it, but you may see where me and Latios really live if you follow me."

    Where they really live? But there was nowhere else to go.

    Groudon looked along the walls lining the alley. Nothing. Just corroded concrete walls and trash that collected during a rainstorm. Maybe it was above.

    He looked up to the clouds but saw absolutely nothing. Just the tips of the rooves hanging slightly off the walls.

    "Follow you where?" Groudon finally asked curiously as he looked back at Latias. However to his surprise, she had vanished.

    "What? Latias, hey wait! Where did you go?" He did a double take, looking back across the walls, floor, and roof tops, but didn't spot any human figure that resembled the one he was just talking to. Did she switch back to her normal form and fly off as a joke?

    "Groudon you coming?" A voice called to him from out of seemingly nowhere.

    "Latias? Where did you go?" He was starting to get ticked off, feeling like Latias was only tricking him. She probably snuck around him somehow when he wasn't looking.

    He was about to call out her name one more time before the familiar human face popped back into existence through the cold hard concrete wall.

    "Groudon? Why are you still waiting out here? Let's go!"

    Groudon could only stare, as he watched her head disappear once again through the solid wall. His mouth hung agape speechless. So many things were wrong with what he just witnessed, but his eyes weren't deceiving him. Latias had just walked through a solid wall. And this wasn't Darkrai or either of the time and space legendaries. This was Latias that melted through a solid object.

    "Um Latias, when did you learn to phase through solid matter?"

    "Oh don't think so much into it! Just try it yourself!" The voice called back to him.

    What does she think she's talking about? There's no way I can pass through a concrete wall. Is she crazy?

    But then he looked at the wall again... a little closer this time. It almost seemed to move, swirl even, as if it wasn't concrete at all, but instead a gray barrier of an unknown substance. He reached out and touched it expecting to lay his palm flat across its surface but instead the wall wrapped itself around his invading hand.

    He fell back startled by the fact that his hand actually breached the wall, but also by the cool feeling the substance gave off.

    Well I'll be damned.

    He approached the misleading wall once again and this time stuck his entire arm into it. Just like his last attempt, his arm easily broke into the substance and wrapped around it like water. He didn't stop as he carried the rest of his head, torso, and finally legs through the substance and fell to the ground on the other side. Other than being a little chilly, the process was smooth like butter.

    He refocused as Latias giggled at him once again, enjoying his disbelief at the magic wall.

    "See that wasn't so bad."

    "No it wasn't" Groudon grumbled. "What is it though?"

    "It's part of the security for the secret garden." Her tone hushed slightly. "It was set up by Latios' father to keep us safe from intruders."

    Well it sure worked against him. I wonder if he set up the maze like alleyways too, Groudon thought to himself, but then he did a double take. He really didn't know what to think. Nor did he remember why he had come in the first place. Already his thoughts were a mess.

    You idiot! The exam!

    Groudon shot up alert once again as he watched Latias walk out into the sunlight at the end of the tunnel. He got to his feet and ran after her.

    "Wait Latias, I have to tell you..." His thought process derailed as quickly as it came as he stared out into the expansiveness of the garden. This had to be it. Lush green trees lined a small river that trickled past wildflowers on the bank. The air was crisp and cool, and there wasn't the faintest of voices, only the sound of other pokemon and the wind whistling through the treetops. All of the problems he had with Alto-mare had been erased in an instant. It was warm, expansive, and certainly private. Only wild pokemon ran to and fro, frolicking in the sea of grass. When they caught sight of Latias some jumped up and ran towards her greeting her arrival. She returned the greetings as she looked back at the bewildered Groudon.

    "I have a guest this time everyone, I'd like you to meet Groudon, another legendary like me."

    He scoffed at her actually introducing himself to the insignificant wild pokemon. Like they don't know me already.

    Latias was expecting a greeting of his own, but Groudon was still too caught up in the refreshing change of setting the garden provided. The sunlight warmed his body, making him de-stress with relief. He had been in the dark for a little too long.

    "I guess the garden is a little overwhelming on first sight." Latias laughed again. Her charismatic charm she carried with her never failed. Groudon wanted to scold himself for admiring Latias' home to the point where he wished he lived here, but he couldn't help it. It truly was a beautiful paradise. Almost the perfect scenery for romantic getaways. He wondered how Kyogre would like this place…

    He mentally slapped himself. He had finally come back to his senses at least, but why did he need to remember that all over again?

    "Yeah, it's beautiful. I didn't expect this kind of setting from a city mostly made out of stone and concrete."

    "Not many do. For the ones that do see the garden, they usually have the same reaction as you."

    Latias suddenly burst into a white glow of light and levitated a few feet off the ground. Groudon shielded his eyes from the glare but couldn't help but watch. Her human features vanished, replaced by long outstretched wings, a lengthy curved neck, and two tail fins in place of her legs. The eon dragon came into fruition as the glow died down and her red and white coat shimmered in the natural light. It reminded Groudon how much he needed to escape his wretched human form.

    "I guess we're safe to be in our regular forms here?"

    Latias nodded. "Yep. No one knows we're here but us and the pokemon." She responded cheerfully, exercising her pokemon muscles with a few flips in the air.

    He somehow didn't believe that, but he wasn't going to miss the opportunity to escape his frail form. His body emitted the same glow, growing almost three times his size. He heavily outweighed Latias' transformation as his glow stood just below a tree. Some of the wild pokemon darted and dashed to cover, surprised that this man turned out to actually be the legendary Latias had referred to. Groudon's transformation finished as his maroon scales hardened and took the place of his skin. His fierce yellow eyes narrowed when he saw the pokemon around him cower in fear. Latias however held her ground and just flew up to greet him.

    "You know, it took until just now for me to finally accept it's you."

    "Why? I thought you read my mind?" Groudon asked confused... and maybe a little annoyed.

    "I know, and I did… sorry by the way. I just never thought I'd see you here with me in the garden..."

    The eon dragon giggled again, as the continent pokemon silently stared back. She sure was getting a kick out of all this.

    "...soooo, why exactly are you here again?"

    Groudon opened his mouth to speak, but for some reason, words didn't come out. What, was he afraid now to talk to Latias? You talked to her fine a second ago, just tell her what you need.

    "Um, yeah... I have something I need to ask of you. Something, well... maybe not as important as it could be, but important for me." He put it in the most generic way possible, hoping to draw a little curiosity but not too much.

    "Hmm? Really. What did you need" He seemed to peak her interest, which wasn't exactly his goal, but it gave him a little more confidence.

    "You, uh, you know the test that..."

    Groudon was unable to finish the sentence before a familiar blue face emerged from behind the trees. He easily identified him as Latios and stalled in his thought process. The dragon recoiled a little bit at his massive size, but regained his composure as he flew up towards the familiar legendary council member, like a father ready to scold a child.

    "Groudon? What in Arceus's name are you doing here! You better be here for a good reason..."

    "Latios calm down!" Latias called over her counterpart's rising voice. "He came here voluntarily looking for me. He says he has something to ask of me."

    "Huh? Why would you need to ask anything of Latias?" Latios redirected his attention to Groudon who nervously twitched. He was so close to getting the hardest part out of the way. Why did he have to interrupt... although now that he thought about it, he really was going to ask both of them for help, not just Latias.

    "Well, actually I was planning on asking Latios the same thing." Groudon quickly spoke out. Latios was curious but didn't lift the stern look off his face.

    "Oh really? You haven't talked to us ever since we joined the council in the first place. Why is today such a special day?"

    Latias had had enough of her counterpart's brash nature towards their guest.

    "Latios will you stop talking to him like he's our mortal enemy? He's just here to ask a question, and I think we should at least hear him out before interrogating him without a thought."

    Latios opened his mouth ready for a rebuttal but thought better of it and just turned his head. Groudon looked at the two warring lovers. From the little knowledge he had about them, they sure did pick on each other a lot for being such compassionate lovers. It didn't make much sense to him.

    "So before my rude counterpart interrupted, what were you saying about a test? Are you talking about Arceus's exam that we did yesterday?" Latias finished with a rather worried expression.

    Groudon knew she was expecting him to say he failed it; he wished it was that simple, but in reality he was going to have to tell her the whole story. His body had become numb with stage-fright as he received looks from both dragons. He knew Latias was caring at least, but he didn't know if Latios was going to be an easy pokemon to convince to help him. Either way, he hadn't come this far to just give up, and it's not like he could anyway with what he had already spoken.

    "Y-yeah, it's about that."

    Latias nodded solemnly. Groudon could see her eyes scan the ground, trying to think of how to follow up to his answer. Latios just stayed put.

    "So? You fail all the time? Why is it so important for you to come see us about it?" Latios responded, irritated that the garden's company had come because of a simple exam.

    "Well I didn't just fail it..." Groudon said aloud quickly, trying to not let his efforts seem like an everyday problem. "...I didn't finish it. And I'm being punished."

    Latios was ready to offer a rejoinder to his comment before the last part of it captivated him.

    "Punished? What kind of punishment? For you to come and spend the night with us?"

    Groudon could only imagine a punishment that basic.

    He sighed. "No, Arceus threatened me... threatened if I don't take the time to worry about the exams, he'd..." he stopped.

    Both Latios and Latias had physically leaned in to hear what Arceus 'threatened' Groudon with, but got nothing. Groudon just couldn't bring himself to say it. Not to these two. After all, he was supposed to be the more valued member on the council. He had been a member ever since Arceus created the council of legendary pokemon and he never had a problem up until this point... okay maybe a few problems, but Latios and Latias had only been members for a little over a century. Despite their short stint on the council, they had out shined anything he was capable of... including Arceus's exams. The thought pained him even more.

    Both of the eon dragons noticed the distress in his winced eyes, and looked at each other. Latios finally came to terms that Groudon was here for a pretty serious reason. After all, it wasn't every day that you see the beast of the land almost cry. It made them want to know what Arceus could have said to him even more.

    "Groudon, can you tell us what he threatened you with, or do you want us to help you with whatever you need first?" Latias tilted her head, trying to read his emotions.

    Groudon opened his eyes and forced on a fake relaxed demeanor.

    "No, I'm fine, I'm fine... I can tell you."

    Okay, no one says that if they are really fine. But they've probably noticed by now that I'm not in the most jolly of moods.

    Groudon let out another painful sigh, ready to admit the trouble he was in.

    "He said he was going to kick me off the legendary council."

    Both Latios and Latias' stable position in the air faltered as he spoke the words. Latias, who had been worried from the start, tried to cope with what she just heard. Latios too sat astonished at what Arceus planned to do with him.

    "Groudon, I'm so sorry." Latias quietly commented, growing a little teary eyed.

    "I didn't realize that that test was so important." Latios added in, still in disbelief. "No way, that can't be right. Arceus isn't one to just kick you off the council for no reason Groudon. He's probably just saying that to make you try harder on your next exam, that's all."

    Groudon remembered back a few hundred years ago at the last legendary (or legendaries) that were kicked off of the council. The three birds Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno had a major quarrel at their home in the Orange Islands and disrupted the peace around them. It wasn't the first time they had warred between each other, and Arceus had to deal with their trouble for a very long time. It didn't help either that none of them knew the pokemon language the council spoke on a regular basis that was very much needed in order to communicate effectively. After some other legendaries, including himself, broke up the fight, Arceus banished them off of the council for good. They've remained in the Orange Islands ever since.

    The reminder helped Groudon out a lot as he thought to himself how small and insignificant his problem was compared to theirs.

    "Yeah, you're probably right Latios. That actually makes me feel a lot better."

    "That's the reason you came though right? To help out with exams?" Latias chimed in.

    "Heh, yeah I guess so."

    Latias and Latios looked at each other for a second, to make sure they were on the same page, before turning back towards the continent legendary.

    "Well, I never thought I'd be helping you on something so personal... but me and Latias will help you out to prepare for the exam." Latios added a smile on afterwards for reassurance.

    Groudon looked up. Nothing was left of his overbearing form as he grinned back at their acceptance, but it was something he just had to live with for a day or two. However long it took for him to make sure his seat on the council was not in danger. And by Arceus, if the big man himself wanted him to pass, he was going to pass."

    "Yeah! Groudon." Latias assured him. "I'm sure you'll get your first passing score this time!"

    First? Oh yeah I've never passed.

    Suddenly the whole situation made him sick to his stomach again.

    Maybe if you actually tried in the first place, you wouldn't be in this mess. Funny, that seems to be a recurring problem, a specific example happens to be with you and Ky... Dammit!

    Groudon couldn't keep the sea legend from entering his mind. What did it take to focus on just one thing at a time!

    "Uh Groudon, it's fine that you don't have a passing score. I mean we'll get you one... are you okay?"

    Groudon snapped back to his senses and looked back towards the eon dragons. Their faces varied with serious concern from Latias, to an almost forced concern from Latios. despite all he said, he looked like he really wanted to be anywhere but here. Groudon really couldn't blame him. If someone came to his cave asking to be a more powerful legendary, he'd probably tell them to get lost. The thought of him coming to these two, begging for help made him feel like more of a wimp than he wanted to.

    "Yeah, my bad, it's just been rough knowing I could be off the council in a matter of days." Groudon lied, scratching his head. But Latias flew up and took a hold of his hand, dragging his form down towards a nearby fallen log.

    "You're not failing the next exam. It's really simple and I'm surprised you haven't managed to luck your way into a passing grade yet. I mean it is all about possible real-life scenarios."

    "Yeah but each situation is convoluted. There are always multiple ways to look at each problem and I never know which one is right."

    Latias raised her claws to her chin. "Is that where you're having trouble? I guess we could start there."

    She swooped down to the ground and caught a rock, placing it on her nose, pretty impressively. It balanced before wiggling and tumbling off her face and hitting the ground below.

    "Imagine that was a pokemon Groudon, about to fall off a high cliff. What would you have done?"

    Groudon looked down at the pebble bemused. Was this really how she is going to help him pass the test? How about giving me some of the answers to any questions you remember.

    Arceus would be all over your tricks if that's the 'studying' you did.

    He sighed with defeat. He did need to do some actual practice to get ready or it would be a repeat of what he went through yesterday. How did I not realize that was the same test as before? I need to listen to Latias and actually work on this.

    Before Groudon could speak, Latios contested Latias' idea.

    "A demonstration? Why don't we just ask him some of the questions that are on the actual test instead, and give him the answers? Wouldn't that help him pass?"

    Latias looked back at her counterpart with a look of disgust. "Latios, that's cheating! Plus Groudon came asking for help and we're going to make sure he can do it on his own."

    Glad I didn't ask that myself.

    "Well I guess, but is Groudon really going to learn something from this?"

    "Uh yes he is! If he wasn't I wouldn't be doing this. Now come over here."

    "YEOUCH" Latias aggressively pulled Latios over to a nearby tree. Groudon simply watched the squabbling legendaries, realizing an answer to Latias' question wasn't needed anymore.

    "Latias what are you doing now?" Latios inquired with annoyance.

    "So Groudon, Latios is having a nice day sitting under this tree, when suddenly..." She broke off a branch on the tree and slowly floated it down to Latios' head.

    "This branch breaks and it falls towards him. What is your reaction?"

    Groudon starred back in thought. A branch falling at Latios... what is the right thing to do... hmm... or is this a trick question? Groudon recalled from previous tests that Arceus put some questions that didn't have clear answers on it and you're supposed to (quote unquote) think outside the box. Perhaps this was one of those trick questions.

    "Well, the way I see it, Latios is a legendary, so a falling branch should be no problem for him."

    Both eon dragons looked back befuddled.

    "What?" Latios asked, bewildered by the continent legend's mystifying answer.

    Latias' worry came back as she contemplated his answer, and Groudon knew, he probably wasn't getting a 'good job you got it right' response.

    "Well that's one way of thinking, but I wouldn't consider it a right answer. You can't know for sure how heavy the branch is and how badly injured Latios could get. In any case, you shouldn't take a chance."

    "Well there are so many things you can do in that situation! How do you know what's the right one?" Groudon asked tempered. "I can think of a hundred ways to react. Any one of them could work in different situations!"

    "Ok ok ok" Latias hushed. "I may have put the question in a bit of a... hard to understand way. I'll try to make it more clear."

    Once again she lowered the branch to Latios, this time emphasizing that it's making contact with his head. "Latios is only subbing for a pokemon. It's not actually Latios getting hit, but a poor old... rattata. If the branch makes it to him, he'll die."

    "But it's just a Rattata. There's a million of them out there."

    Okay maybe I shouldn't have said that.

    Latias glared, unamused at Groudon's comment. "That attitude itself will get you kicked off the council for sure you know. What would you say on test day?"

    She was right. And Groudon knew it. But what would he say on test day? Would he care enough to even read the entire question? Could he be bothered to?

    "He'll die if you don't do something." Latias reiterated; Latios rolling his eyes as Latias kept motioning the branch towards his head.

    Groudon's eyes followed the branch's movements. What would he say on test day? What would he say on test day?

    "Well the branch is falling towards La-the rattata very quickly so I don't think calling out to it would work... Running towards the branch would be in vain because I wouldn't be able to get there in time... Any attacks I do could hurt the rattata... uh, hope that the wind catches it?"

    The eon dragons looked back at him again. Latias' branch broke in half, one piece bonking Latios on the nose. Latias sighed.

    "Maybe Latios would like to take a shot now."

    Latios looked back.

    "Me? You just said my idea was cheating, and I'd probably get in trouble with Arceus for helping Groudon out."

    "No, not just tell him the answers. Figure out a way to help him understand how to take the test... because I sure am getting nowhere."

    Latias said the last part in a subtle voice so Groudon couldn't hear, but it didn't work.

    Latios looked back at her with an expression that said 'I thought you had this under control', but Latias ignored it.

    "Oh well uh..." Latios sputtered out, caught off guard by the sudden change of the spotlight. He looked back to Groudon and smirked.

    "Actually, I do think I have a plan."

    Let's see how I can screw this one up. Groudon chastised himself.

    The trio of legendaries moved to another location by the trickling river that winded through the garden. Groudon once again took the opportunity to marvel in the sights around the area.

    Meanwhile Latios softly spoke to some of the wild pokemon in the garden, which attracted Latias' attention. The two eon dragons debated a plan for a few moments, while having a small bit of difficulty, most likely on the details. Once they had compromised, they turned back to the continent pokemon.

    "Okay Groudon, we're going to do a more pressing demonstration. Perhaps telling us what you would do with words isn't the best way to go about this. So instead you'll answer by going through the actions yourself. " Latios explained confidently. His tone gave off an image that he was not going to be defeated by Groudon's ignorance.

    "So, you're suggesting I act how I see fit? Well alright then, I'll try it."

    Latios nodded, taking the answer as any sort of hope. He pointed a claw towards a wild oddish nearby.

    "That oddish there is enjoying the nice warm summer day." Latios narrated. Then he motioned for Latias to jump into action. To Groudon's amusement, she jumped out from behind a bush with a rock in her hand. She was floating upright, acting like a pokemon trainer. Latias saw his toothy grin and scrunched her eyes in humiliation.

    "But the simple day turns devastating when it encounters a pokemon trainer." Latios narrated. "She's about to catch the poor defenseless oddish and you're the only one around to stop this atrocity from happening. What do you do?"

    "Why isn't Latias in her human form for this?" Groudon asked perplexed which made the dragons face-fault again.

    "FORGET THE DETAILS AND FOCUS ON THE QUESTION!" Latios demanded. His outburst made Groudon hastily answer spurting out the first thing that came to his mind.

    He aimed and breathed a fire blast at Latias, causing her to wide-eye in terror. Luckily she avoided the oncoming attack by a hair, but the dodge didn't save the river behind her. Steaming hot droplets shot up from the water and sprinkled over the legendaries causing the dragons to flinch in pain. Latios and Latias took cover under a think canopy tree while Groudon stared at what he had done. Once most of the vapor had cleared, the dragons flew back to him. One in particular was furious with his decision.

    "WHAT WAS THAT?" Latios roared.

    "Uhhh attack the trainer!" Groudon replied sheepishly. He knew he probably did the wrong thing again. He swore to himself that his life couldn't be this much of a bumbling screw up all the time, so why was this training session only emphasizing that point?

    His instructors looked back at him.

    "...any means necessary?" Groudon added on.

    Latios was about to launch a fiery inferno of his own but Latias spoke up in defense.

    "Well I mean in a way that's right." Latias spoke.

    Both Latios and Groudon looked back in bemusement.

    "I mean what I would've done was a non-damaging attack, but disabling the trainer was my first idea..."

    Latios looked as if he was about to strangle his counterpart for siding with someone who almost fried her. "Latias, that's not what he meant to do at all! He almost cooked you like a thanksgiving pidgey!" Latios protested.

    Latias sighed with dismay. "I know, but it's on the right track. Another method could've been to prevent contact from the pokemon, but due to Groudon's abilities, his best bet was to act fast in the way he did... I'm just saying, his effort was at least understandable."

    The continent legend sighed in defeat. He realized this entire idea was a waste of time. Nothing had been accomplished from him arriving here until now. He hadn't figured out his lack of motivation, how he was going to pass Arceus' exam, or even what to do about he and Kyogre. The friendly dragons generously had tried to help him, but he himself, didn't try hard enough. He wasn't learning anything. He was just wasting the eon dragons' time.

    "Look, it's fine. I shouldn't have bothered you at all." Groudon quietly spoke. The defeat that emanated in his voice reached Latias' caring soul and crushed her to the core. For a pokemon who could sense the emotions of others so well, she certainly didn't have a hard time figuring out Groudon's pain. Even Latios was regretting going off on the continent legend.

    "I think I'm going to head home."

    He turned towards where he first entered the garden and walked past the scorched earth his fire blast left behind. What a fool he was. Why didn't he use a disabling move like roar, or scary face. Any normal pokemon trainer would huddle in fear if they saw him normally. With that said, even the bravest would be lulled into at least forgetting, for the time being, the pokemon about to be caught.

    He closed his eyes and channeled his human disguise once again. His body morphed into a powerful light before receding back into the now human look a-like's chest. Behind him, he could hear his name, but he didn't want to look back. He was better off going home.

    His hand felt the cool mystifying feeling of the psychic barrier, hiding the garden from the outside town, and stepped out into the darkened alleyway. He had almost forgot how ugly the actual town was compared to the stunning floral garden. He continued to think about the tests; the practice the eon dragons offered, and how he screwed them up all three times. Now that he was walking away, how could he consider himself ready for the re-take? He certainly wasn't right now.

    Maybe the council isn't the right place for someone like me.

    The truthful words shot off in his head, and wouldn't stop ricocheting in his mind. He wanted to deny them, suggesting he did in fact play an important role in the council meetings, but he couldn't think of an example. His rational mind knew whether he wanted to believe himself or not, he provided little to the meetings. Just another body to fill a seat. He's helped on big missions before, but never to the point where he was absolutely needed. Maybe Arceus didn't want him on the council anyways. Maybe he used the test as an excuse to get him off quicker. Maybe he was just going to be forgotten like the amount of worth he gave to the council…

    "Hey Groudon!"

    "Huh?" Groudon's eyes finally made their way up from the ground where he had held them down, ever since looking away from the eon dragons. But once again they were standing in front of him. Rather, it wasn't Latios and Latias, but two humans the legendaries had disguised as. He remembered Latias' teenage girl disguise, but Latios was new to him. He wore a blue coat with combed back hair. His eyes shone a maroon red, just like in his dragon form. Remembering clearly what the two look like in legend form, they did in fact resemble their alternate forms well.

    Latias giggled. "Groudon, where are you going?"

    "Home. I don't need to be wasting any more of your day."

    Latias rolled her eyes. "You can't just leave now. There's still so much left of Alto-mare to see."

    "...And we haven't finished practicing yet." Latios chimed in.

    Groudon was more than confused. Even Latios was in on being friendly to him... to the point that they were offering to keep him around longer to practice for the test. At this point, he didn't know if they were pitying him, or actually genuine about still wanting to help.

    "Look Groudon, I know you must be disappointed we didn't make any progress, but that's called practicing. Have you ever heard the phrase try and try again? It's for situations like this where someone doesn't do something right the first time."

    Latias' soothing voice lulled him into an unconsciously calm state. He had forgotten all about failing Arceus' exam and getting kicked out of the council, but now was thinking about hope, and learning enough to pass.

    "It's late in the day, and there's plenty of time tomorrow to get it right. How about we go out somewhere to eat? There are plenty of good restaurants in Alto-mare. I'll let you pick."

    Latios quickly whispered something back, but was psychically shushed by Latias.

    Groudon was shocked to put it lightly, but grinned back.

    "Okay, as long as Latios somewhat likes it too. I didn't think you wanted me around this much."

    Latios looked up at the mention of his name, surprised Groudon had guessed his thoughts correctly. Latias beamed at the sudden increase in morale out of Groudon.

    "I guess you can say we do want you around. The council will be missing a valuable asset to it's team if you get kicked off."

    Groudon shut up and let the warmth take over.

    "I think i'll let you two choose where we eat."
     
  3. Kharmaguess

    Kharmaguess New Member

    Aaaand part 3. Groudon finally faces himself and confronts his deepest questions. Rivals the last chapter for word count, but delves into the more serious aspects of the story. Same thing applies from the last chapter (italics could be messed up due to the formatting), but otherwise, hopefully you all enjoy the new chapter!

    iii.

    The sun had begun to recede from it's high point in the sky, but it's brightness still cast down upon the small sea city. Groudon, Latias, and Latios all sat in an enclosed restaurant on the edge of the island, looking out into the vastness that was the ocean. The sun's rays made each wave crest sparkle and gleam with a white shiny glare. The colors that started to diffract through the clouds casted numerous hues onto the heavens, forming a natural painting that no one would turn away from. Pelipper and Wingull returned from oversea excursions, silhouetted in-front of the artwork. The view was possibly even more breathtaking than the garden.

    Groudon couldn't stop getting lost in a trance, looking out over the ocean waters. Despite the noisy hustle and bustle of the restaurant, he kept his focus out of his sea-side window. Latios and Latias sat in the booth opposite to his, enjoying the pretty scenery as well. Even though they were very familiar with an Alto-mare sundown, it was still a marvel that they could stare at each night hours on end.

    Groudon pondered to himself the beauty of the ocean. He may be the continent legendary, but he sure had to give water its due credit. The shimmering waves Kyogre called home seemed much more appealing in this setting than how he normally viewed them. Usually the expansiveness and depth of the ocean left him nauseated and intimidated, however now they rolled in grace completing the portrait on display. It made him remember the sea basin legendary distinctly. Just like the water, she was beautiful and elegant, and on occasions such as this one, he was drawn into a trance . The only difference between the two was he wouldn't be smacked for gawking at it.

    It made him wonder if Kyogre did love him back. From what he showed on the outside, he was only into being lazy and finding ways out of his duties. Unfortunately, the truth was he didn't have the courage to tell her how he really felt. It was one of those 'easier said than done' scenarios, where he would find the confidence but couldn't follow through. He vowed never to wimp out again and make a fool of himself like the last few times he 'tried' to tell Kyogre. One abysmal attempt was on the shores of Kanto, where they were tracking a rogue pokemon group on the mainland. The group had been attacking trainers in a nearby village, but in all honesty it wasn't that big of a deal. The only thing he remembered was that he found Kyogre on the beach looking out over the sea, similar to how he was in the present. The same waves rolled, the same sun shined. He had played a few jokes and laughed through it, but inside, he remembered him feeling like that was the perfect time to tell her his feelings.

    Truthfully it was, but due to presentism's sake, he wasn't strong enough to follow through and ended up swerving the conversation off track to a discussion about why bananas are curved. He even got a second chance when Kyogre asked him what was wrong after acting nervous the first time around. He remembered admitting defeat and writing it off as 'nothing'.

    The experience was difficult enough for him to realize he wasn't going to make any headway with her if he wasn't man enough to tell her, even remotely, how he felt. Its been a few centuries, but finally Groudon was feeling the faintest bit of confidence... even if it was muffled in a wad of appetizer bread.

    So Groudon..." Latios said, cutting the silence between them like a knife. If Groudon was willing to admit it, it even startled him, dropping his crescent roll back onto his plate.

    "...me and Latias are willing to help you with anything... but what is it that you really need help with? I know you could handle these situations perfectly if something truly happened, but it seems like you can't deal with them when it's not a pressing matter."

    Groudon took some time to think. He hadn't considered what in particular was holding him back.

    "How about your decision making process?" Latias suggested. She got an unclear expression back from Groudon and elaborated.

    "Look, you are confident with your proposed answers to hypothetical situations, but most of the time there has been a better way of handling things. Maybe if we can get you to think clearly about all of the possibilities, then you can decide which one is the best."

    It wasn't a bad idea in the continent legend's eyes. He didn't seem to struggle when it came to thinking up possibilities, but he didn't have a way of filtering out the wrong ones. They would all jumble up in his head like a bag of marbles and before he knew it, he would say the best of his worst answers.

    By now, he had time to think about Latias' first hypothetical situation with the falling tree branch, and concluded that the best way to handle it was to move the rattata or use a non-harmful type attack to block the falling branch. However it was too late, and Arceus sure wouldn't give him that long to answer each individual question.

    "Yeah I agree." Groudon flatly said. "But how can you help me clear my thoughts? You can't exactly change how I process things... at least I think."

    They are psychics after all, better not give them any ideas.

    "No, no we can't. But you can." Latias said, confusing Groudon.

    "I can? What do you mean by that."

    "I mean, you are in control of your thoughts. Often, when someone's having trouble concentrating or focusing on something, it usually has to do with another pressing issue on one's mind. Either that, or you're just under a lot of stress."

    Groudon's eyes widened. He knew exactly what could be this 'pressing issue' Latias proposed. But before he knew it, he was denying it.

    "Ah hehe, it's probably stress. You know how bad I'm taking Arceus' decision to kick me out of the council..." Groudon forced a subtle laugh, trying to hide his seemingly sudden and quick response to the question... which didn't seem to work as shown by the two eon dragon's unconvinced faces.

    Dammit!

    "Groudon? What's going on."

    The continent legend let out a small sigh. He definitely had screwed up this time, but he wasn't in the mindset to just admit all of his feelings. After all, they were just starting to make progress towards finding out how to help him pass the test. He didn't want to spill everything when it might not be what is dragging him down.

    "I mean, there are things... happening... the test is really the main problem I think."

    Neither eon dragon was buying it. "I don't think that's it Groudon".

    "Why not? Maybe I'm just like this and I'm not cut out to be on the council. Can't you understand that I've really been trying?"

    "Yes, we get it" Latios interjected, not wanting to return down the self-loathing road they had just came from. "But Latias has a point. If there is something of greater concern to you than Arceus’ test, you likely are concentrating more on that. And if it's bigger than something this important to you, it probably is having an effect on your concentration."

    Groudon couldn't deny what he was hearing. The entire test he didn't write a single answer because he was too busy thinking of Kyogre. They had figured out everything... everything except what it was that he was so obsessed over. All he had to do is tell them.

    "I... maybe." Groudon once again was unable to find the words to speak what he meant. It was eating into the eon dragons' patience.

    "Can't you tell us? Or is it that important for you to keep it to yourself? If it is that important, just say so and we'll leave it at that." Latias spoke with sincerity, making Groudon realize he could just back out now and suppress his feelings for another... who knows how many years. But even though this was the way he wanted to go on the outside, his subconscious fought back for him to pursue the truth. After all, no matter how he puts his situation, they'll be accepting of it.

    Why is this such a big deal? You came here wanting to get control of your life, now make the move!

    "I-it's... I can't really... explain it. It's hard to explain."

    "I understand. But I feel like this is the thing holding you back Groudon. You have all the confidence, the knowledge, the skills to excel on the test. You just need to focus on harnessing them, and not worrying so much about what's on your mind. Do you think you can fix it, or can we help?"

    Yes please I need help! Unfortunately those words were only spoken inside his head. On the outside, he just shut himself up. What a petty fool he was. If Kyogre was here to witness him acting like this, there would be no way she would even turn to acknowledge him. And that mental image wasn't funny to him anymore.

    "Groudon?"

    Their voices once again echoed in his head. It was like he was trying to pull a first tooth: where the build up is bigger than the actual event. Unfortunately somehow this situation seemed even more impossible than such a trivial matter like that. However his mind for the first time looked outwards when he vaguely heard a nearby human slip. He crocked his head just for a moment to view a bartender carrying a tray of drinks, slip under his own power and lose control of his platter. The man stumbled and regained his balance, however the plate tipped over and the drinks began to slowly slide down. In an over-zealous effort to save the drinks, he reached forward, attempting to level the tray once again, but mistakenly bumped into a woman standing on the nearby balcony. In one fatal swing, her back hit the railing, and her feet lifted off the ground, sending her side over side off the balcony of the restaurant, facing the beautiful glimmering sea below. The whole scene spelled disaster with a capital D. Rather the entire word was spelled with capital letters, in a large text size, in a comic book font, and Groudon felt like he had enough time to spell it out… D… I… S…

    Before anyone knew it, the woman was no longer falling, but hanging by the grasp of a man's hand. Using all of his human muscle strength he had, he held on to her. Then adding the help of his second arm, he lifted her back up and over the railing and to safety.

    Everyone was taken back by the scene, mostly wondering what had transpired. For a moment, someone was screaming. But everything was fine, and a woman was safe in the arms of another. She had regained her composure before throwing her arms around the savior. In a unified effort, the entire restaurant released a round of applause for the man and his successful avoidance of a major tragedy. Instead of listening with rapture, he returned to his booth with two other mystified guests, who each looked at him with expressions that combined many different feelings. One of the two spoke up first in a bemused amazement.

    "Uh Groudon, do you know what you just did?" Latios commented in a matter-of-fact statement rather than a question. Groudon had a hard time hearing him over the sound of cheers throughout the restaurant.

    "I-i saved that woman... from falling I guess." Did I? It all went so fast… or slow, I can’t tell.

    "Groudon! You saved that woman. You essentially just passed Arceus' test in physical form with flying colors!" Latios excitedly spoke.

    "You didn't hit her with an attack, you didn't let her fall, you didn't hesitate. You did everything right in order to save that person's' life Groudon. That was amazing!" Latias backed up her counterpart's observation.

    Before he could reply back, their waiter returned speaking about a free meal for the man who saved the woman's life. Latios and Latias turned their gaze back to Groudon affirming their position.

    It was all still overwhelming for the continent legendary. He hadn't really thought about his actions. He just did. How did he know that that was his true motive and not just blind luck? After all, he failed on even simpler practice examples in the garden. Plus everything they had said about an ulterior concern was true. That still had to have had an affect on his thinking process.

    "I don't know..."

    The eon dragons looked back puzzled.

    "What do you mean you don't know? That's all you need to know. That you can do the right thing! Now you just need to translate that to Arceus' test."

    "I shouldn't take the test, because I'm not needed on the council."

    "Don't be so dense Groudon, we need you on the council." Latios cajoled smoothly.

    "But I haven't done anything that rewards me to be on the council and I never will. I'm always looking out for myself and no one else. It's better I live my own life."

    "Tell that to the girl you just saved Groudon." Latias spoke up. "If you hadn't used your critical thinking, she'd be dead. You saved her life; you do serve a purpose!"

    "But I'm not worthy of being on the council if I'm still not in control of my own thoughts... with that thing bugging me."

    "So you do admit you have something greater on your mind?" Latias pointed out.

    Groudon cringed inward. He had forgotten he hadn't admitted fully to that yet.

    "Well, yeah I..." Groudon was screaming inside his head. He grabbed his head in frustration. He just made a bigger mistake than denying his feelings towards Kyogre in the first place. Now he'd have to tell those two the truth about why he also came to Alto-mare.

    Wait you idiot, that's what you wanted, so why not take this chance and say it!

    Latios struggled to get the continent legend to look at him. "Groudon, you are fully capable of doing a stupid test. I don't know what this thing is on your mind, but you are losing the battle. Stop letting it control you so much."

    "But it is controlling me!" Groudon meekly spoke. "I can't do well on the exam. I can't explain it, maybe it's easy for you, but it's so hard for me."

    "Groudon..."

    Just tell them, just tell them, just tell them.

    The restaurant around him began a celebratory chant, only adding to the noise. He gripped his head tighter, having his own internal screaming compounded by the voices of Latios, Latias, and the supportive crowd around him. It was all too much.

    All he wanted to do was to release the tension that had built up inside of him for over a millennia, but he simply couldn't. The mental block in his head was obstructing his gate of thinking, and wouldn't let any words come out. He gritted his teeth, trying to bust it open himself. He swore he might burst a vein, but that didn't keep him from stopping.

    What would they think? Would they laugh at me? Would they think I'm crazy? I don't want to answer a whole lot of questions. You're here for Arceus' test, not your failed love life. Admit it, you're here to fix your relationship with the one you truly love!

    He felt his thoughts build up inside of him, twisting and contorting, squeezing inside his mind, making room for new thoughts to be processed. Then they would spin and tumble like marbles, rising random thoughts and situations to the surface, ready to be processed and create even more thoughts.

    It's the truth, just say it. They are here to help, just tell them the truth. Maybe wait for a more private situation to reveal this to them?

    But no matter what he did, he couldn't break out of this grip he had thrust upon himself.

    What am I so afraid of?

    "GROUDON!"

    A familiar blue dragon suddenly shone brightly in front of him, no longer disguised as a human. His presence was overbearing as he stared into discordant eyes. He was about to object before realizing he was no longer in the same restaurant, but instead an... empty reality. Looking from side to side, there was absolutely nothing. No walls, no sky, no cheering crowd, no anything. Just him, and the slightly glowing form of the eon dragon he had gotten to know so well over the past few hours.

    "Groudon look at me. I have never invaded a legendary's mind before, especially without permission, but you need to tell me what is going on, right now."

    Groudon winced again. But could he?

    "Groudon!"

    Latios gave him no time to return to his inner thoughts, and dragged him back out to reality... or whatever this reality could be called.

    "I know you want me to know, so just tell me what is so troubling that you can't express on your own!" Latios' voice was unwavering and demanding.

    Many times Groudon had felt inferior in knowledge to the eon dragon and his counterpart, but today was the first day he's ever felt less powerful to them. And it sucked. But somehow it was what he needed.

    The continent legendary, closed his eyes and breathed, letting the flat air roll in and out of his lungs. This is what he needed. A relief. A remedy. A release from all of the thoughts and concerns he had built up over the past hundreds of years. And he was going to do it for real this time.

    His mind, still a mess, began to clear very slowly, like fog dissipating in the morning sunlight. All of his lingering thoughts and voices began to recede, exiting his consciousness, opening up his once-packed mind. His body de-stressed, removing the pressing tension in each of his muscles, allowing the cadence of breaths to flow in sync with his now calm and relaxed state of being. Lost in the feelings, his body felt like it was not sitting in a hard wooden booth like at the restaurant, but on a white fluffy cloud, where it would catch him from falling and form to his exact liking. His thinking was relaxed, and his serenity returned. Finally opening his eyes, he released thousands of years of frustration and anguish, in the form of three words.

    "I love Kyogre."

    He immediately spotted next to Latios, the red eon dragon with her eyes glowing, staring into himself, just before the blank dimension faded and returned to the normal restaurant they had previously been at. All the noise was gone. The crowd had dispersed and the chanting halted. All was quiet, until Latios spoke up.

    "That's it?"

    Groudon hadn't fully yet recovered from the situation and was still dazed after the intrusion into his consciousness. However he compliantly returned with an embarrassed stare to the side.

    "Yeah that's it."

    It took a few moments for the 'pressing issue' on Groudon's mind to really set in. To the eon dragons, immediately it seemed foolish that something so insignificant was causing so much stress for him. Yet the continent and sea basin legends hadn't quite shared the bond as they had. Usually between the counterparts, it was back and forth arguing or opposing thoughts and feelings. Looking back, neither Latias nor Latios really remembered a point where either of them got along. They wondered how long he's been holding those words inside of him.

    Latias decided to break the tenacious silence. "Hey, you got it out. Don't you feel better?"

    Groudon thought about it, and he did feel somewhat better. Yet he only felt inferior to the world around him. He went through so much strenuous anxiety and apprehension just because of a few words that easily could roll right off the tongue. Now that he had admitted it, he felt like dropping it all together.

    The eon dragons were going to comment about his dull expression before their waiter cut in with a hot steaming platter of food. He directed his attention towards Groudon and offered another round of applause for the man who saved the woman in distress from falling. He asked for the disguised legend's name and Groudon almost mistakenly spoke out his own, before thinking twice and responding with the first name he could come up with. The crowd in the restaurant once again rejoiced in celebration, ignoring his obviously downcast mood, before quieting down again to a normal volume.

    The eon dragons remained silent as they let Groudon cope with finally admitting his true feelings. They figured this would probably be the best time anyways, when everyone's mouths were stuffed. Succumbing to their hunger, they started on their dishes. Latias started to dig into her fish fillet, which had been upgraded with numerous different sauces and spices. Latios on the other hand, had his plain, not caring much about any of the other flavors. It didn't take them long to gulp down their portions very quickly, but Groudon hadn't touched his yet. Eating made the continent pokemon feel sick to his stomach. Everything that had transpired did. He had fret it, he had said it, he even felt better, but he couldn't live with it. Why not? Didn’t he cross the finish line? Wasn’t the battle over?

    "Maybe it's time to get some rest." Latias suggested in a low voice, finished with her meal. She arched her neck to view the fading sky. "It is getting late after all. There is plenty of time tomorrow to worry about all of this."

    "Latias is right." Latios agreed. "I can get you a to-go box for when you're feeling hungry again."

    Groudon shrugged without emotion. Just in deep thought.

    Latios sighed at his lack of response, and went to fetch one himself. Latias sat, staring at the legendary across from her. It was only a day ago she barely even knew him, but time flies quickly. She opened her mind, attempting to locate any emotion within Groudon's consciousness, but came up empty handed. He wasn't sad, or angry, or even happy. He was just... kinda there. Too engrossed in what he had said. His emotions had been so great, that they had almost died out completely.

    Groudon had his human chin in the knuckles of his hands, staring blankly out the window, watching the daylight slowly dim. The waves continued to crash over the rocks, as they would all through the night, like they always did. The ocean never stopped, never paused to take a break. It kept going through the nightlight hours until the sun finally decided to get out of bed... for the start of a new day. The days in which he had so little of until he had to get better. Until he had to get over this whole situation. But for now, he wasn't interested. If Arceus kicked him off the council, so be it. He may not even give Arceus the chance to say that to his face. He didn't know if he was going to go at all. He didn't know if Kyogre was going to wonder about his absence at the re-take. He didn't know if Kyogre would even come to support him.

    He didn't even know if he ever wanted to see Kyogre again.

    Groudon stared at his reflection. He wasn't meant to be with Kyogre. He wasn't going to be a worthy counterpart to someone who gave so much of an effort. There was just too much he lacked. Too much he could never gain. Maybe Kyogre applied to both categories; he wouldn't doubt it.

    He moved for the first time in minutes, and looked up at Latias.

    "Latias..." Groudon asked, catching the dragon slightly off guard.

    "Yes Groudon?" Latias replied hopefully, thinking he was willing to talk again. Confidence beamed in her eyes, but it sure was dim in Groudon's.

    "You caused me to say what I did."

    Latias looked back, suddenly with a guilty look on her face. Groudon needed no answer.

    "I-I'm sorry Groudon, I... really didn't... Me and Latios didn't want to invade your mind like we did, but we just had to. You were having a mental break, and we figured you really just needed to get it out. So, I helped you by swaying your emotions... to make you feel more confident about yourself while in your thoughts... to tell us."

    Her gaze trickled off to her side, realizing how nosy and manipulating she had been. It seemed right in the moment, but she prayed to Arceus she didn't hurt him even more as a result.

    "No... it's not you."

    Groudon went quiet for a moment, with Latias intently waiting for an answer.

    "...and?"

    "It's me" Groudon spoke up again. This time emotion clawing at his voice. "I couldn't say it on my own. You had to help me say it..."

    "SO WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME!"

    Groudon's loud outburst came without warning and Latias sunk into her seat. He turned and bolted out of the restaurant; Latias noticing glistening white drops surrounding his eyes.

    Latios had just returned with containers for the leftovers and quickly tossed them aside calling out to him by name. Realizing there wasn't much use yelling after him, he turned to Latias for an explanation.

    "Latias what happened?"

    "I-I don't really know. I don't think he's taking it as well as we thought he would."

    "Well obviously!" Latios concluded matter-of-factly. Around him, he heard a few mutters of the people left in the restaurant. He knew he was causing a scene, but he also realized he was acting completely out of character... and he just called Groudon, Groudon.

    "Haha, I guess he doesn't like that nickname..." Latios sheepishly prevaricated to the crowd. No one was sure as to what occurred, but Latios used it to his advantage. He grabbed Latias by the arm, and both ran out of the restaurant after the fleeting disguised legend.

    Getting out into the cool dusk air, they were easily able to spot his figure, running in mismatched directions, looking for somewhere, anywhere to go. However he wasn't making it far. Judging by his frequent turn backs, he was getting lost in the crowd, returning home after a busy day.

    "Come on" Latios said quietly."He doesn't know it, but he needs us."

    Groudon took off down a familiar looking alleyway, hoping that he would eventually make it out to a somewhat calm area. The garden maybe? But then he'd have to deal with Latios and Latias again, and he didn't really feel like it. He just wanted to remain alone.

    Over and over and over and over again he reprimanded himself, sometimes in his head, sometimes aloud. He shouted to himself for leaving the restaurant in such a scene. Ignoring the help the eon dragons were trying to provide. Escaping his fears by feebly running from them.

    Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.

    After a few more turns, it didn't take long for him to realize he had gotten himself good and lost. Not exactly what he wanted, but it was quiet. A drastic difference than the noisy town that had reverberated in his ears for far too long. Any more time spent in the restaurant and he may have lost his mind... if he hadn't already.

    He clutched the hair on the sides of his head and yanked.

    What is wrong with me!

    Groudon rested his human body against a wall, sliding down until his rear touched the cool stone ground. He said he felt better. His appearance didn't agree.

    He buried his head in his hands, starting to feel tears beginning to form. Nothing was okay anymore. The weight of the world, just to say three words, had lifted, but now ten times that amount had been put back on. In what form? That's what Groudon was wanting to know. He was strong, he was powerful. He certainly had a place on the council. All of his predisposed thoughts still lingered in his head, as he remembered how far, how fast he had fallen in the last twenty four hours.

    In a fit of rage, he stood up and slammed his fist against the cobble wall across from it. Yet he had forgotten to consider his human form, and pulled back ready to scream in pain. Again he found himself on the ground, but this time he watched a puddle of crimson red begin to form in front of his eyes. Despite his body's protests, he slammed his fist against the ground some more, letting out pent up frustration. Frustration over everything. The test, the council, the restaurant, his actions, his incompetence, himself…

    He stopped.

    He stared ahead defeated, eyes glistening with wetness. The night had taken over, and the moon's light cast shadows all around him... yet he found himself in the center of attention. The spot light was on him. He fell from a kneeling position to laying on his side completely, staring off into the darkness. A strong contrast to where he was now.

    "Kyogre?... Do you love me?" He called out to the darkness. "...Kyogre".

    There was no answer. Nothing. Just the uncertainty the dark brought. He could whisper all he wanted. He wasn't going to get an answer.

    He wasn't going to get an answer.

    Groudon's eyes widened. He wasn't going to get an answer... he was asking the wrong person. All of this time, he asked himself. He blindly spoke to someone that wouldn't be able to give him the answer. His conscious couldn't answer it; his emotions couldn't answer it; his lackadaisical attitude couldn't answer it. Not even Latias and Latios could answer the question. The only one who can answer that question, is who it means the most to. So if he thought he was going to feel better from telling the dragons…

    The continent legend heaved an exasperated sigh and sat up into a sitting position. He closed his eyes, forgetting about everything around him. And once again he was in his thoughts. This time, slightly more clear, and positively alone.

    "I love Kyogre. That's what I said... okay that’s what Latias helped me to say. Big deal. So what if Latias and Latios know now. It doesn't affect me nor Kyogre in any way. The only one I can tell and it will make a difference to, is Kyogre. That's who I'll get an answer from. Not me, not Latios, not Latias. If she loves me, that's what I've wanted all along. If I've crossed the point of no return for our relationship as more than counterparts, then so be it. It's an answer... and it would certainly get me further than where I am now... asking myself if she loves me... isn't that the weakest thing you ever heard?"

    He turned over his knuckles, observing the punctured skin marks. "My name is Groudon. Pokemon cower just at the thought of that name, and you're sitting here crying over something you haven't even attempted to try yet, in fear of what? She'll say no?" Groudon asked himself, contemplating the answer to the question.

    "In fear of what? In fear of what?" He repeated, tapping his chin humorously before chuckling.

    "You're weak Groudon. These knuckles are just like your soul right now. This last day and a half has been tough, but I won't let that take me down a level."

    He looked back at the wall he feebly attempted to punch earlier. "...And I sure as hell wouldn't let a little wall stop me from venting frustration."

    He leaped off the ground, and swung his same arm, strongly at the cobble wall again. This time it crunched and buckled under his weight. It felt great, and this time he felt no pain either. He removed his arm from the indented cobble, now glowing with his legendary form peeking through. The hard red scales took the place of his old tender human flesh. He grinned and looked up towards the moon. It's shine radiated down only to him. The rooftops carried too far over for the rest of the alleyway.

    "Am I an idiot? A buffoon? A weak hearted individual for worrying so much about all of this? Of course I am. But I owe it to myself to change. I'm not afraid of anything, so I won't let anything stop me. I had a plan coming in here; two things. One was to solve my relationship crisis... which was a bonus. More importantly though, I came here to pass that frickin test."

    His avoidance of profanity came off silly to him and his grin widened.

    "The plan stays. I'll find Latios and Latias in the morning and commit to passing. After that... I'll ask Kyogre that silly question and be done with it. So be it whatever answer I get…"

    Groudon hesitated.

    “Or maybe I can commit now.” He grinned, waving up at the sky. Two bodies materialized from thin air surprised to see Groudon had noticed their arrival, but also concerned for his well-being.

    "Hey... Groudon." Latias calmly and carefully spoke out. "I figured you wanted some alone time so we'll leave you be, but I did want to offer the garden to sleep in tonight. I wasn't sure if you were, well, going to leave here tonight or maybe find somewhere else to sleep. But no matter your call, you are welcomed in for the night."

    The eon dragon watched hopefully, and was unsure of what to think when she saw him with a smile on his face. And with a quick read of his emotions, she realized... he was happy?

    "Oh thanks Latias... but I don't think I know how to get back there." Groudon lifted his shoulders in a teasing shrug. Latios and Latias shared quizzical looks between each other, wondering what had happened to the emotion he had shown a few minutes ago. They each flew down a little closer to be by his side on the ground.

    "Uh, Groudon we thought you were going to be a little more... angry about the situation? You seem so... fine with everything. You didn't hit your head or something in these alleyways did you?" The idea was unlikely, but it was the best excuse Latios could muster.

    The continent legendary let out a huff. He apologetically looked up at both the dragons.

    "Yeah I guess I should be sorry. I didn't mean to cause a scene back at the restaurant. I was just... I guess caught up in emotions. Oh Arceus I hate admitting that." He was visibly embarrassed by the confession, but didn't struggle with it.

    "No no no, you're fine Groudon." Latias corrected. "No one's here to put labels on you. Everyone has emotions, even Arceus. The fact you’ve gotten so worked up over you and Kyogre, shows me just how much she means to you."

    "Your feelings for Kyogre are obviously on a deep level, and I can imagine how long you have had it bundled up inside of you. There's a point where you just can't keep it in anymore." Latios added. “I think you’ll find getting it out is the best remedy.”

    Groudon stared off to the side. "Boy you both are absolutely right about that. I've learned a lot about myself in the last twenty four hours." He began to wander off back in the direction he came.

    "I'll take you up on your offer Latias, but I'm going to go for a walk first."

    He threw an arm over his head with a wave. It was the arm that he had transformed to his original form, but it shone lightly, and returned to normal. Latias and Latios smiled as they watched him walk away.

    "If you remember coming in, just follow the river from the port until you come to a bridge. Then the nearest alleyway on the right should lead you straight to the garden."

    "...And if that doesn't work, just remember the garden is in the center of the island."

    "I'm sure he knows that Latios." Latias grinned at his obvious piece of direction. Latios laughed back.

    "You never know." He concluded, before taking back to the sky. The red dragon followed suit, and they swung up into the deep blue sky. Being exposed to the moonlight was a potential issue, but it was reasonable to expect any seafarers or night owls to mistake them for a common bird of prey. Latios was too busy thinking about their encounter to concentrate on that."

    "So do you think he'll be alright Latias? He seemed fine to me, but did you happen to know if he was still suppressing anything?" Latios turned to face his counterpart directly. "Because I don't know his plans, but he's not going to be in any condition to take Arceus' test... and then Arceus may actually kick him off the council."

    Latias didn't respond initially. Instead she mulled it over in her mind, which was misinterpreted by Latios.

    "Okay I know, that's a dumb thought. Arceus is only using that as a motivator and it worked. But I'm just saying..."

    "No it's okay Latios." Latias finally answered. "Its just that... I saw pure happiness in Groudon's eyes. Something that was absent this entire time. I think it took him a second to come to terms with what admitting his feelings did, but I think he realized that any attempt on making a relationship with Kyogre, was better than just waiting and wondering."

    The blue dragon looked back at his counterpart, thinking about her words.

    "He's going to be fine. And it wasn't us who's to thank. He's fixed himself."

    "Nah I think it was all us." Latios smirked.

    "Oh settle down on that throne of yours king." Latias giggled, playfully giving a punch to her counterpart and zipped ahead. "Race you back to the garden!"

    Latios hadn't seen it coming and it took him a second to react, but he too sped off at high speeds to catch up to his lover. Their dark forms cut through the night sky as a single figure watched from below.

    His lips hadn't fallen once.
     
  4. Kharmaguess

    Kharmaguess New Member

    Little late, but here's the last part! Enjoy

    iv


    Groudon lifted his head. It was morning, around nine o'clock. He could tell from the warm rays of dawn, giving way to the more direct mid day sunshine. The humidity associated from the evaporating dew had dissipated, leaving a temperate and warm day to look forward to. It was a normal time for Groudon to be up. Usually he'd be on patrol to keep potential crooks off of Mt. Chimney, and to protect the territory from any cataclysmic disasters. But that was not the case today.

    The dreaded half week council meeting, dedicated strictly for him alone. It was just he and Arceus... and the situation survey exam. How those words only served to put a sour taste in his mouth. However today he was feeling a little better. Certainly he wasn't in a super cheery mood, considering the consequences of a possible failure, but his attitude was wholesome.

    The last two days were mentally testing. Groudon had taken a look inside in a way he never had before... but he was happy about it. He learned so much through his escape that the test perhaps ended up benefiting him in more ways than he could imagine. For sure ways it didn’t intend to in the first place.

    He thought back over the last few days. Groudon had returned to the garden for some rest. He remembered the easiness he felt. No pressing thoughts or concerns. Only confidence and hope.

    The remaining day on Alto-mare had been spent focusing on clearing his mind. The dragons peppered him with questions, hoping to have him see a logical solution. He had done a lot better to say the least, and found it much easier to answer based on how he would react, rather than how he thought he should react. Sorting through irrational options also came much quicker and the weight lifted by the previous day made him feel like he could jump two stories high.

    From how hopelessly lost he was on day one, the turnaround was something great, and the dragons shared his confidence going into the test; that he would pass for the first time.

    But why ruin such a good streak? It really is impressive what you’ve got going on you know.

    Groudon poked fun at himself happily because he truly felt ready. His mind returned to present time as he neared the portal to the sky council building. He approached the cleverly inconspicuous cave, one that could easily be misinterpreted as just a normal ingress into a rockside. However the difference was by just a few meters in, his feet left the ground, in favor of a more cottony cloud like material. As he exited, he was thousands of feet above the earth without as much as a different taste in air. In front of him was the marble council building. The heavenly structure home to the legendary council.

    Groudon's mind cramped seeing it once again. His breath stopped, wishing he could just forget about the whole ordeal and turn around. The next meeting was much more important anyways and he should get some rest until then.

    That's not happening.

    He grunted under his breath and looked past the mutinous thoughts. It may have brought miserable feelings in the past, but today was a different story. This time he felt ready to take the exam. 20 questions suddenly didn't seem like such an overbearing feat. And getting over 11 of them correct felt like a doable task.

    Still, he stalled. Looking at the grand structure one last time. His breath returned, but with a long sigh. Whether he felt confident or not, he couldn't get too conceited. After all, his status on the council was at stake. The fact he had never passed expectations once before in his life, proved succeeding would be easier said than done; even after all of his training. However if he were to pass, that would be… well, the first time in far beyond a hundred tries... give or take.

    That all didn't matter today. No matter how he performed in the past, none of it dictated how well he'd do today. And he intended on making that vision come true.

    He grasped the door handles, pulling them open. His heart skipped a beat once again, but he regained his composure. Letting the door shut behind him, he paced through the entrance hall; the last place to turn back. The ornate pillars lined on each side of him gave him the perfect opportunity to run and hide. But he kept moving forward.

    It was just ahead. Through the walkway laced with draperies, pulled to the sides giving Groudon a clear shot of the walkway, he could see Arceus' pedestal. The centerpiece was where the qilin would administer the test. Its height advantage over the rest of the seating area was an inclination of his power over the council.

    Also over his future presence on it.

    As he entered, he noticed firstly Arceus wasn't actually present. His normally daunting attendance was absent, which seemed strange. It was highly unlikely he just forgot about it, so maybe he was late? Maybe that meant he could go home. Maybe it was a cruel joke…

    "So, you are here."

    Groudon caught himself mid fall and spun around to face the voice behind him, but he knew immediately who it was.

    Arceus approached from the hall where he had just been. The continent legendary had no idea how he was able to pull the trick off, but that wasn't his main focus at this point. Instead he faced Arceus, standing up straight despite how unanticipated his entrance had been.

    "I am." Groudon spoke up. "And I am also ready to pass the exam."

    The qilin halted in the doorway. His features looking no different than before, but rather waiting for the continent legend to speak up more. To say what he truly thought. But when it didn't come after a few moments, he leaned his body on the wall, becoming more relaxed.

    "Well I must say Groudon, you seem confident." Arceus admitted. It wasn't shock, nor reluctance. He lacked emotion, rather just stating it matter-of-factly. "I trust you don't need everything I spoke about last time repeated, yes?"

    Groudon nodded in response. Still holding his firm posture. Perhaps a little too firm, as when Arceus walked by, he nudged the legend on the side.

    "You don't have to be so tense Groudon. It is only a test." He walked to his pedestal and adjusted himself behind it. On it he picked up the lone piece of paper, still blank and free from any marks.

    "I can tell very well you've put a lot of thought into this test over the past few days. I can read it on your face, which I'm excited to see."

    "That is correct..." Groudon replied, unsure of what else to say. He only knew the half of it.

    The qilin approached the legendary again, and placed the paper in front of where he sat. A replica of the situation three days ago. However this time it was just him, alone to take the test. Alone with no one to compare his performance to. The spotlight was on him.

    "I would like you to know something."

    Groudon perked up, interested at what Arceus had to say.

    “Think about how you prepared for this test. Maybe you studied, got a good night’s rest, de-stressed. You’re getting yourself composed for something unexpected. You don’t know exactly what’s on the test, but you have a clue. And that is why preparing becomes valuable. One that prepares, can expect the unknown.”

    The continent legend sat silent, unsure of how to process Arceus’ knowledge. It seemed a little late now to be given advice on how to prepare. After all, he had the test in front of him already. Why was he telling him this now?

    “Consider a random being... Now this person, he takes the test. You can decide for yourself if he passes or fails. No matter the outcome, he has utilized his preparation. It hasn’t gone to waste. You, Groudon, you studied tremendously hard for this exam, and now you’re taking it. Seems simple enough right? Using your new gained skills to perform a task. That is what preparation is all about is it not?”

    “I believe so…”

    “It is so Groudon. This concept is why I give the situation survey exam out semi-annually… to remind us all that preparation can help us through the unknown. That unknown could be how to react to a lost pidgey or a world threatening disaster. What is that unknown to you Groudon?”

    “I-I’m not sure how to respond Arceus.” Groudon replied confused.

    “You don’t need to. I have a good feeling this will be the day. I wish you best of luck.”

    The legendary sat still with Arceus’ words still stuck in his ears. He knew the wise qilin wouldn’t just say all that without reason, and no way it could be advice to help with future test preparation. After all he wouldn’t need it anymore if he failed this one. There was something there, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

    Unknown? What does he mean?

    Arceus retreated, rising up to his pedestal where he would await his completion. If it wasn’t quiet enough before, it was now. All he had to accompany him was what he had learned, and the test in front of him. Arceus’ compliments were nice, but now it was all up to him. The continent legendary breathed in and out one final time, refocusing on the task in front, before scanning his eyes across the top line of text.

    Question one. He read aloud in his mind. It was now or never.

    A stray pokemon is lost in a human marketplace. What is the best way to ensure he safely makes it back to the tall grass?

    His thoughts brimmed as he interpreted the question. As per usual, the possibilities presented began to surface, all poking his mind for his undivided attention. It started to control him; he felt overwhelmed… incapable of choosing the best solution to the problem.

    Stop!

    Now wasn’t the time to start losing it and he knew it. He thought back to his training. Latias helping him to focus his thoughts; Latios helping him to envision what he would do in the heat of the moment… He could do it, he had everything he needed to succeed. Now what was the correct solution?

    He re-read the question in front of him. There was no reason to be hostile, maybe not a reason to attack at all. There was nothing to defend against, so the best option would be to offer assistance in a logical way. Help the pokemon without interfering with anyone else, especially in a crowded human area such as a marketplace. Simply provide directions or offer to guide the pokemon out of the market in disguise… was that right?

    Groudon had no other ideas that seemed to match up in mind, so he wrote the solution down. By the last etch mark of his pen, Groudon smiled. That wasn’t awfully hard, and he felt confident it was correct too. Nothing else he could piece together in his mind seemed any better. He had already made it further than his last attempt so why stop now?

    His eyes narrowed on the next question.

    Question two… A herd of herbivorous pokemon collide with another group of herbivorous pokemon. They quarrel for the same eating grounds. With not enough food for both groups, what is the most effective way to handle the conflict?

    Well that’s easy. Be the mediator and keep tensions from rising of course. A fight between two groups of pokemon can escalate quickly so it would be important to first calm them down. Afterwards, offer a peaceful resolution and have the encroaching group relocate to an area of similar qualities, whilst making sure not to disrupt either group in the process.

    With another couple seconds of marking, he had finished the second question. It had taken him little to no effort to solve it! The excitement was building in him as he focused on the third question. His mind felt metaphorically ‘open’, and his consciousness generated clear concise thoughts… all directed on the test! What was the big deal? This was easy.

    Question three… Two pokemon are engaged in a physical altercation and one is losing badly. The hurt pokemon attempts to flee the attacker, but is repeatedly struck down by the opposing pokemon. With no end in sight, what is the best solution to react to this problem?

    Attempt to dissuade the attacker from continuing to hurt the other pokemon. If the fight continues, do anything possible to keep the fight from continuing, without becoming confrontational in the process.

    Again, another easy question. His confidence soared as he barely had to think about other possibilities. The one he wrote down just seemed like the natural solution he would react with. Nothing difficult there.

    His mind pondered briskly over the fourth question, the fifth question, the sixth question. He was writing down answers quicker than when he scribbled nonsense. The seventh came and went just as quickly. The eighth even quicker. The ninth must have been a joke! Its solution was so obvious.

    Arceus noticed the amount of noise coming from the continent pokemon’s direction and smiled, pleased with how much progress he had made, in such little time.

    The tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth, the thirteenth. They just kept coming but he kept providing answers.

    As he reached the fourteenth, he realized as long as everything was correct up to this point, he would be considered passing… even more so. That was something he had never stood to accomplish before. The thought was perplexing.

    Latias was right. How come I never lucked my way into passing one of these?

    His cheery attitude continued. The the fifteenth, the sixteenth, the seventeenth.

    His pen sketched and scribbled all across the page. Some answers were a few words, others were a few sentences. The detail he put into a few amazed even himself. It all seemed so simple now, just to take a step back and think. He couldn’t even recall what held his concentration before.

    The eighteenth, the nineteenth, the twentieth…

    Before Groudon had even comprehended it, he was searching for the nonexistent twenty first question. He flipped his page over, then reread the last one. It took Arceus' approach to stop him from looking.

    The qilin picked up the filled out exam, and returned to his pedestal without a word. Placing it down, he began to scan it, taking in all of Groudon’s answers. The continent legendary meanwhile sat in content. He exhaled for what felt like the first time since the exam began. His mind raced.

    I did it, it was that simple… no hard time understanding, no difficulty thinking of an answer, no trouble focusing the best solution…

    “No close calls of burning someone alive.”

    Groudon blinked. Was he hearing things? Or was that…

    “Congratulations Groudon! It looks like you nailed that one easy!”

    Latias whipped around him and grabbed both of his hands. She pulled him up and started pulling him around in a circle like a carousel… which was impressive considering her size.

    “Oh it’s you!” The Groudon remarked. Latias let him go and he stumbled to gain back his composure.

    “And me!” Latios called grabbing their attention from across the room. “Just decided not to swing you around like a porcelain doll.” He laughed. Latias shared his happiness and let Groudon recollect himself, who held his head from the spin. After the world stopped, he pointed a claw at the red dragon.

    "Hey! I never said anything out loud. You said you wouldn't try to read my mind anymore."

    Latias shrugged sheepishly. "I guess I accidentally picked up your confidence. It was tough to miss you know."

    "I'll say." Latios added. "I couldn't believe how quick you were."

    “Yeah how was it! You made it look super easy. It only took you ten minutes!”

    Groudon needed a minute to wrap his head around everything. The eon duo's back to back sentencing was a tad overwhelming, but what they were saying was hard for him to believe.

    Ten minutes? Had it only been that long?

    Sure enough, as Groudon gazed towards the clock, it was only ten past the hour. Much quicker than the best time he ever posted. It was true, it did go by fast.

    “Yeah I guess it was easy. It all just made sense.”

    “I don't think you put down that pen once you pulled it up.” Latios admired. “Never thought I'd see such concentration out of you.”

    Groudon grinned, flattered by the support he was receiving.

    “Thanks, no really… I-I don’t know if I could have done this without you. I went from a wreck three days ago, to having no trouble whatsoever. I can hardly believe it myself.”

    “Well believe it Groudon.”

    Another voice behind him sent him spinning around quicker than he did with the eon dragons. Arceus approached the three with a welcoming smile on his face.

    “Latias, Latios, I’m glad you could come to your friend’s aid. I think we all agree it has helped him greatly on how to focus when it comes to decision making.”

    The two dragons nodded in compliance. Groudon sat shocked.

    “Arceus, how did you know I went to them for assistance on my exam?”

    “Well they came to me before the test started and told me about how hard you were trying to succeed. I must admit, it was unique of you to go out of your comfort zone and ask help from those you may have not been well acquainted with.”

    It was Groudon’s turn to nod.

    “Yes Arceus, they were a great help to me. They helped me on much more than just the test too. I have a new outlook on the council and everything around me after our meeting.”

    Now that it was over, reality was settling in. Hundreds of these tests… and he was sure this one was his first passing one. Arceus stepped back down to Groudon’s level and approached him. He had graded his test awfully fast… which could mean one of two things. He failed miserably or he passed with flying colors.

    The qilin’s presence caused sweat to form on his scales, but he kept a confident face as Arceus began to speak.

    “Groudon… the answers you provided me were remarkable. The fact you provided me answers would have been good enough…”

    He didn't know whether to be happy or embarrassed by that comment, all the while he ignored a few chuckles received from behind.

    “...however, your score exceeded expectations! Congratulations.”

    Arceus turned over the paper, revealing a score of 19 on the top. The eon dragons exploded with cheers while Groudon sat shocked. A 19 out of 20 was all but one question right. That was a 95%!

    “But…”

    Arceus' last word caught Groudon mid celebration. Oh no, was there a catch?

    “We’re going to need to discuss your answer to this one here. I think Latios may understand it better than me?”

    Latios stopped to read what the qilin was referring to before blasting off on Groudon.

    “Let the branch fall if it’s Latios because he is a legendary, so a falling branch should be no problem for him! Groudon you sacrificed a perfect score to write that!”

    Latias practically rolled on the floor laughing. Groudon couldn’t help but join her, letting a heartfelt chuckle out. Latios’ anger subsided and he too let out a laugh.

    “Hey at least you did it right? Congratulations. Latias and I are proud of you.”

    Latias zipped to her counterpart’s side in approval. Groudon nodded back.

    “Thank you, really. You helped me out more than I can imagine. I’m sure we’ll talk more at the next council meeting too right?”

    The dragons nodded, making Groudon crack another grin.

    “Now hang on just a minute.”

    Arceus’ voice once again cut through the celebration.

    “You’re not officially done with the test Groudon.”

    I’m not done? Arceus is really killing me with these after-statements.

    “What’s that supposed to mean? Is there more?” The continent legendary questioned, wondering what else Arceus had up his sleeve.

    “Not exactly. There is one final question, but you’re the person who has to ask it.”

    Groudon’s eyes widened as it hit him. Of course… He knew exactly what question he hadn't asked yet!

    “I think you understand what I mean, so I’ll make this quick. With your passing score you don’t have to worry about you staying on the council. That was a guarantee all along. I think you would agree though that this experience has been helpful. Just make sure to remember you've prepared long and hard for this moment, and I have faith it will all be worth it.”

    “Absolutely.” Replied Groudon, satisfied with his security on the council reaffirmed, and confident with the qilin's best wishes. “Thank you, I’ll do my best.”

    Arceus smiled back. “I have no doubts that you will. Good luck.”

    Arceus hovered backwards before disappearing behind his pedestal. Groudon looked towards the golden doors once more. The exam was a piece of cake. He probably shouldn’t expect the same out of asking the one closest to him about a relationship, but as he had learned over his trip, it was worth a try. Likely she’ll say no, or at least I’ll think about it… but maybe she’ll say yes. And it was that string of hope, that led Groudon outside the council building, ready to find his counterpart.

    “Hey ummm, before you go.”

    The continent legendary looked back.

    “Here’s the bill from two nights ago…” Latias uncomfortably handed over the piece of paper. “We sorta stormed out of there without paying, and the restaurant owner was kinda mad.”

    Groudon chuckled. “Are you serious? But I saved a person from dying? Doesn’t that give me a discount at the least?” His grin shined through his sarcasm.

    “Ugh you know what, tell it to Latios who is so stingy he puts the bill on the guest who he offered to serve!” Latias shoved the paper towards her counterpart who intuitively threw up his arms.

    “Hey don’t put that on me! I wasn’t the last one out of the restaurant that night, it was your responsibility!”; “No way! You’re the one that carries around a wallet not me!”; “Oh yeah? I saw you pay for those flowers on the way to the restaurant, how do you explain that!”; “That was a few dollars and nothing else. You know that…”

    Groudon simpered at their quarrel, already turning back towards the sparking water along the coast line. His eyes gazed out towards the horizons that distanced themselves around him. However it was all coming into view now. It was now or never.

    EnD

    That's a wrap! Will Groudon win his counterpart over, or was it too little too late? That answer won't be given here, but in the main fiction soon to come, it'll be hinted there ;) If you're reading this, thanks for reading my first full fanfiction. I'm thoroughly impressed with my abilities throughout this write, but if you have any critiques or suggestions for how I should improve my writing, feel free to leave a review, send a pm, or offer a comment below. Otherwise, keep a lookout for some of my stuff in the future. I plan on continuing to post here, but my main upload center will likely be fanfiction.net. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

    -Kharmaguess //stampede in the room like a buffalo//
     

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