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Remember me Not

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bosumin, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Bosumin

    Bosumin Uncool

    Hello! I'm new to this site (haven't used a forum in years too). I'm an amateur writer and not altogether too good at some stuff, but it's fun to do it anyway!

    This is a story I want to write, and hopefully be the first I ever finish!
    I'm not too good at tagging.
    Sorry in advance.

    Chapter 1: Trip Trip Trip

    Along a quiet dusty road, the wind gusted, creating tiny dust tornadoes along the ground. From behind a faded green brick wall cracked with age, a Haxorus watched curiously as a pokemon he had never seen before stumbled around the road. It was a tall white quadrupedal with no mouth to speak of. Despite its fumbling there was a nuance and delicacy to its movements as it stepped on thin legs. Around its torso was a brilliant golden ring that extended outwards into two curved semicircles. However ornate they were, it was a clear hindrance to the creature, whose attempts to steady itself by leaning into the wall were dashed when the back ornaments would knock it over.


    Thinking that it would very much reflect badly on him if he just watched, not to mention feeling a great deal of pity, the Haxorus moved a ways away to come round the edge of the wall to assist.


    “Say, are you alright there?” he spoke anxiously, “Do you need help?”


    “There’s- there’s dust in my eyes” the response was telepathic, which made sense to the Haxorus all things considered, it did look like a psychic inclined sort.


    “That’s not good at all, let me help you” he wrapped an arm around the other pokemon as he said this, leading it into a nearby building.



    -----



    The space was vertically extensive, an acoustic haven, population formerly one, now two. The Haxorus gingerly rubbed the white pokemon’s face with a small cloth; though he had claws, it was clearly something he did often.


    “There you go, that should be better” the Haxorus said with a smile, stepping back to get a better look at it, “So how did you end up this far out? Long way from the city you know”.


    The creature blinked and was silent for a moment, “I don’t know really, I just remember the dust”.


    The Haxorus looked concerned, “Does that mean you don’t remember before that” he thought for a moment, “Better question, what’s your name?”


    “Uhm, uh, it’s Arceus” the reply was hesitant.


    “That’s a right nice name” the Haxorus said, watching Arceus carefully, “I’m Mallys, always a pleasure”.


    “Ah” Arceus said, “Thank you Mallys”.


    Mallys smiled again, “It’s nothing, least I could do for a stranger. Anyway, what are you going to do now?”


    “I don’t know” said Arceus, “Where is this?”


    Mallys sighed, “I suppose I was expecting something like this. Did you get drunk recently perhaps?” He grimaced, “On second thought, you probably wouldn’t remember that either”.


    Arceus looked uncertain, “I- I guess not. Do you think you know why I’m here?”


    Mallys shrugged, “I can’t really think of anything, but you don’t look like any pokemon I’ve seen before, so you’re probably a tourist. See, the thing is, I’ve heard of this affliction or something of tourists going into shock when the place they’re visiting isn’t what they expected” he stopped, “That was a bit complicated, sorry it’s just something I thought of”.


    “It makes sense though” Arceus said, “What’s around here that tourists come to see?”


    “If anything, the Grand Harvest Temple in the city, though it must have been a real disappointment if you wandered all the way out here” Mallys replied.


    “I wonder why that happened” Arceus was upset that something like that would be the case, but tried not to show it.


    “Hopefully if anything you’ll remember what happened if you go back, at least that’s what I think. Before you go though, take a moment to rest, it’s better for you”.


    Arceus nodded, “That’s a good idea, thanks Mallys”.



    ----



    Mallys stepped carefully around a brilliant jade statue of a huge bird, polishing it with almost a greater care than he had taken with Arceus’ face earlier. Arceus watched with fascination as Mallys’ claws moved rapidly, covering every inch of the surface with a forceful yet delicate energy that left a sheen on every surface.


    “Is this, a temple too?” Arceus asked as he looked around, unlit candles lined the walls, the cavernous ceilings creating a dull reverb.


    “Once upon a time yes” Mallys spoke idly as he continued to polish, “Nowadays I’m just a historic preservationist, in a manner of speaking” there was a sound of longing in his voice that Arceus noted, though he decided not to ask more.


    “A temple for uh,” Arceus gestured towards the statue, “The bird?”


    Mallys smiled, “Yes, the bird” he stepped back from the statue to look it over, “This is a pokemon known as Ho-Oh” he looked back at Arceus, “You could say I’m a big fan”.


    Arceus could only admire the statue of Ho-Oh some more. It was exquisitely detailed, the curves of the talons were perfect, complemented by angular lines depicting a fearsome avian face. The feathers were separated from lifelike quality only by them being sculpted out of jade, splayed outwards in a triumphant wave.


    “It would be really something to meet a pokemon like that someday” Arceus looked thoughtful, “Have you ever met Ho-Oh?”


    “Not at all” Mallys looked amused, “If I did though, I’m sure I would have some words for them”.


    “How long have you been taking care of this place anyway?”


    “Some thirty-five odd years, and I’d say it’s been something I would do again-” Mallys looked away, “-but I won’t say it”.


    Arceus nodded in return, and for a time, the two of them simply looked at the statue. As fantastic as it was, the fading daylight cast a shadow across the face, giving it a rather somber expression.



    ---



    Mallys looked exasperated as he leaned against the green brick wall, “As far as I’m concerned, leaving in the middle of the night flies in the face of common sense”.


    Arceus looked at him apologetically, “It’s the best thing I can do, unless you have a suggestion”.


    Mallys shrugged, “It’s not my place to tell you otherwise, and I understand why you’re doing it, but be careful would you?”


    “Kind of you for someone you hardly know” Arceus said half jokingly.


    “As I said earlier” Mallys started, “It’s the least I can do. This road is hardly traveled nowadays.” He looked bashful, “-and as much as I would like to think I’m modest, it’s nice to have someone appreciate the work I do to make my little world look nice”.


    “Well, it’s the least I could do for someone who would help me out” Arceus said, turning Mallys words right back at him.


    Mallys couldn’t help but smile, “If you ever need a place to stay...” he left the words hanging in the air.


    Arceus nodded, “Maybe sometime” with that, he walked off into the night as the Haxorus watched. The moon was only a sliver in the sky as Arceus walked, the only sounds the gravel under his hooves and the distant chirping of kricketune. ‘I guess’ he thought to himself ‘-if this Harvest Temple was apparently disappointing enough that I had a mental shutdown, I shouldn’t expect much’. Even as he thought this, he couldn’t help but feel a morbid anticipation for whatever it would be. Unavoidable he supposed.


    The night was long, but at least the wind had died down. All Arceus could do was walk.



    <><><>



    The sun was rising again as tall walls came into view. Arceus stared at the seemingly endless stretch of sun bleached stucco, broken only by a wide arch under which pokemon streamed in both directions. Arceus noted he was approaching from a side road that was essentially ignored, it branched off from a main thoroughfare that shot away elsewhere. Making his way through the throng, he received some glances, more so disapproving than anything else as the half-wheels along his back disrupted the flow of the crowd.


    The street was lined with double story mud brick houses with grass curtains for doors. Smaller pokemon could be seen leaning out of windows, either watching the crowds below or affixing miscellaneous ornaments to strings stretching across the road overhead from building to building. The lines stretched from side to side along the avenue, hanging with formless colorful material that hung so low at points that Arceus could touch it. There was a scent of something sweet baking, for a moment Arceus almost stopped walking just to take it all in. He ignored the audible cursing of the pokemon trying to walk around him as he slowed down before he spotted a spire of some sort rising above the other buildings. Thinking it was the Harvest Temple, he quickened his pace again.


    It looked like it was. The rising spire was actually a gigantic obelisk rising into the sky, situated right in front of a massive structure. It was a dome, ringed with white pillars heavily contrasting the red surroundings. Terraced steps lead up to the entrance, the white stairway covered in pokemon sitting in lively conversation and the occasional merchant sorting wares on ragged carpets. Arceus attracted more attention this time walking up the steps, his white and gold colors playing off the white of the stairs accidently creating an almost regal aura.


    Needless to say, Arceus felt uncomfortably embarrassed.



    ----



    The air in the temple was stiff. Though a breeze blew through the entrance, it seemed to disperse before it left the antechamber. Soft voices floated through the hall as Arceus entered. A lopunny wearing a yellow sash over it’s left shoulder hurried over to him.


    “Many warm welcomes traveller to the Grand Temple of the Fourth Harvest. I am Mae Chee, a humble believer in prosperity for the world, what brings you to this sanctuary?”


    Arceus hid a sheepish look, “I’m sorry Miss Mae Chee, I don’t quite know myself”.


    She smiled at him, “No need for such formalities, it’s unbecoming; and it’s ok that you don’t know, guidance for the unknown is always a reason”.


    Arceus nodded and made a move to go in before Mae Chee stopped him.


    “Full apologies visitor, but I must ask, do the-” she hesitated, “-things attached to your back come off?”


    Arceus looked down for a moment in thought, “I uh, I don’t know, why do you ask?”


    “Oh oh, it’s not a bad thing” Mae Chee was quick to appear apologetic, “It’s simply that this temple’s corridors are somewhat thin and I fear they may cause undue stress in passage”.


    “You don’t need to be sorry” Arceus was quick to respond, “I get it, but I really don’t know” he craned his head to look back at the ring, “If you want you can try”.


    Mae Chee approached somewhat apprehensively. She looked at Arceus several times while reaching and retracting her paws several times. He nodded at her and she finally, tentatively grasped the outer edge and pulled. Arceus swayed slightly, but the rings did not budge. She pulled experimentally a few more times from different angles and both sides before returning to face him.


    “It looks like they’re firmly a part of you” she said, “Oh well, what will be will be”. With that, she lead Arceus into the temple proper. Aside from a few scattered pokemon that Arceus assumed to be tourists like him, the majority of pokemon inside wore similar yellow sashes in various places. The temple’s style he supposed. In one corner, a group of yellow sashes were in what looked like a prayer. Others wielded a sharp looking instrument, carving into boards of wood, the scratching sound dimly echoing throughout.


    Most importantly was at the far end of the room. A large symbol was etched into the wall, an arrangement of straight lines forming an intersected triangle. Underneath it, two pokemon were having a conversation, a floating shield with two swords crossed behind it and a mass of blackness, save for a strand of white along the top. Though he tried not to, Arceus could not help but stare. At a point, the black mass turned and Arceus suddenly felt a pressure as it stared him down with a steely blue eye. Though he averted his gaze, he felt frozen in place as the two approached.


    “Greetings to you” it’s voice was smooth. It ebbed and flowed like a tide, possessing a singular nuance of musical quality that washed over slowly like a blanket. Arceus was enraptured by the voice of the dark as it continued, “We do not usually play host to such exquisite looking pokemon such as yourself, so I fondly hope you can understand my interest”.


    Arceus was lost for a moment before coming back to himself, “Ah, I don’t look that great, I’m just a visitor, no one special” he inwardly grimaced for sounding like a fool in front of the clearly eloquent pokemon, “”I’m Arceus, and I just came to ask a few questions”.


    The dark pokemon seemed intrigued, “An unusual name to be sure, but a fine one regardless” it affixed Arceus with both eyes, “I am Darkrai, the head of this temple, and if it’s questions you have, I can answer them to the best of my ability”.


    “Thank you Darkrai” Arceus said, “It’s, well, not really an important question or anything, so sorry in advance”.


    “Don’t be” was the response.


    Arceus looked at Darkrai for a moment before looking away, “All I was wondering was if I was here some time before”.


    “Here before?” Darkrai said curiously, “As in, if you have visited the temple in the past and you do not remember doing so?”


    “Yes, yeah that’s it”.


    Darkrai was silent for a moment, “No, you have never been here”.


    Arceus looked at him in surprise, “Really? Not at all?”


    Darkrai spoke directly, “There’s no way I would mistake a pokemon of your stature and visage. I have never seen you before. Since that is the case-” Darkrai spoke with concern, “What precipitated the question?”


    Arceus explained the entirety of the past day to Darkrai who listened intently. The entire time, the other pokemon, the shield, simply looked straight at Arceus unwavering, to the extent that it was almost as if it was looking through him. Around them, the activity of the temple continued heedless of the exchange.


    “A strange situation to be sure” Darkrai said matter-of-factly, “If it is any consolation to you, I can offer the resources of this temple to assist you in undoing this affliction.”.


    Arceus was taken aback, “Thank you very much Darkrai, though-” he stopped, “It’s only been a day, I don’t think it will be a long term thing, just an intuition you know?”


    Darkrai simply nodded, “If you decide otherwise, my position will remain unchanged”.


    “You’re very generous” was all Arceus could say.


    “The harvest is such to provide for all. I would do the same for anyone because it’s simply right”.


    Arceus couldn’t disagree.


    ------


    Exiting the temple was like waking up in front of a window in direct sunlight. Taking a moment to get his bearings again, Arceus was surprised to see a flash of yellow scales, a familiar face in the plaza.


    “Mallys?” Arceus said hesitantly. The Haxorus was leaning rather unceremoniously on the base of the obelisk; hearing Arceus he looked at him and waved.


    “You know it’s not hard to find someone like you around here” Mallys said.


    “That makes sense” Arceus replied, looking himself over, “I suppose you just asked about something big and white”.


    “Could’ve worked” Mallys shrugged, “Actually I just asked if anyone had seen a pokemon that looked like a god”.


    Arceus was incredulous, “What- You mean?” he glanced around, “I mean, I don’t think... ah”


    Mallys almost laughed, but caught himself, “Sorry, not sorry, I just asked the questions” he looked behind Arceus at the temple, “-and it looks like the answers agreed with me”.


    Some time later they walked together along the outer wall of the town a quiet path in the shade of a line of trees. That is to say, shade for Arceus at least, Mallys walked close to the wall so the blades around his head wouldn’t snag on a branch or simply cut them off.


    “So no luck?” Mallys asked.


    “Nothing” Arceus shook his head in frustration, “I even got to ask the head of the temple-”.


    “Wait” Mallys cut Arceus off with an exclamation, “You mean you got to meet Darkrai?”


    Caught off guard, Arceus took a moment to reply, “Oh, yea, yes I did”


    “Huh...” Mallys nodded to himself, “You’re lucky then ya know? I’ve heard he’s really smart, usually always doing business with dignitary types and royalty. How did you get to talk to him anyway?”


    “I think he noticed me because I was staring at him”.


    Mallys’ eyes narrowed, “Seriously? I mean, I could pick you out from a crowd a mile away, so I can see it, but that just sounds silly”.


    Arceus sighed, “You’re the one who got the idea that I look like a deity”.


    “Fair point” Mallys trailed a claw along the brick wall for a moment, “But, if he didn’t know, then we’re back to square one”.


    Arceus was thoughtful, “Well if anything, Darkrai said I could use the temple’s resources I don’t remember sooner or later”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus strangely, “I’m sorry, what?”


    “Yea” Arceus started, looking at the trees, “Darkrai said that they offer the temple’s help to anyone in need”.


    “Then uh, why didn’t you take him up on that?”


    Arceus looked at Mallys, “I mean- I think- well, I’d think the temple really has a lot more to do than help out with a minor memory problem-” Arceus was cut off suddenly as Mallys smacked him lightly with a claw.


    “Idiot, what are you putting yourself down for? You literally don’t know why you ended up eating dust in the middle of nowhere” Mallys paused for a moment, “And- and, I never even asked you what you remember before any of this happened; what do you- what did you do before this?”


    Arceus couldn’t focus, “I don’t remember?” he said in a daze.


    Mallys looked at Arceus, jaw agape, “So you don’t remember ANYTHING?” Seeing Arceus nod, he covered his face with his claws, “Ah geez, this is not good at all, what the heck happened to you?”


    “You still think it could be the tourist thing?” Arceus asked, rubbing his head with one hoof.


    “The what?” Mallys looked at him confused for a moment before remembering, “Right, uh, I guess?”


    “I must have had the worst day then”.


    Mallys had to take a moment to compose himself. He leaned against the wall as Arceus slowly sat in the grass, “Sorry for hitting you Arceus, it’s just, you know, you already were acting foolish when you left last night, and now you’re just letting this opportunity pass. What were you thinking?”


    “I was thinking about it for a while” Arceus said, “If it was really just memory lost from some disappointment somewhere, I thought maybe it would just go away after a while”.


    Mallys shook his head, “I might have agreed with you if I didn’t know you don’t remember a thing. Makes me wonder if you were this thoughtless before”.


    “Maybe, maybe not” Arceus groaned, “How do you hit so hard?”


    Mallys flexed a claw, “I really only wanted to give you a little smack” there was something of regret across his face, “Suppose it’s muscle memory or something”.


    Muscle memory of what?
    Arceus thought to himself. Mallys probably didn’t know his own strength from living alone in the small temple for so long. “Yea Mallys, I’ll go back to see what they have”.


    “Go for yourself, not for me” was all Mallys said.


    Arceus knew Mallys was right. He felt uncertain again, he still didn’t know anything about himself, but he didn’t feel extremely concerned by the fact either.


    Is something wrong?



    Do I not care about myself?



    Mallys watched Arceus, who looked deep in thought. “You haven’t slept since yesterday have you?”


    Arceus looked up in surprise, “I- no”.


    Mallys shrugged, “The temple aint going anywhere. If you don’t mind, you could sleep right there if you wanted”.


    Arceus looked at Mallys for a long time, before simply nodding and spreading out on the soft grass.


    Mallys was bemused, “He really doesn’t have anything to lose huh”.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  2. Required

    Required Lot 10 Underground Editor/Head Writer

    Over all I liked a lot of your prose. I'm not super into poke'mon only fics, but I'm willing to try it since I like your writing. I'll stay in touch with this. If you have time check out my fic too!
     
  3. Bosumin

    Bosumin Uncool

    Thanks for the fixes Required! I've never been on top of grammatical stuff, so I might make more mistakes like that, but I'll try!
     
  4. Firaga Metagross

    Firaga Metagross Auferstanden Aus Ruinen

    Hey, welcome to the forums! It's always good to see some new authors cropping up. I'm generally not a big fan of the Legendary Pokemon, but idea of Arceus forgetting their deity status/powers and traveling on earth in search of their past is pretty interesting. I like the drip feed of world building we're getting here. It's pretty clear that a complex-ish society exists here like in any of the PMD games. Also looking forward to the further delving into Pokemon religion here, considering how much it factors into your first chapter.

    Most of my critique so far is just a lack of development for characters, but this can be forgiven considering it's only the first chapter. The amnesia plot definitely has the risk of falling into cliches, but most of my issues depend on what you do with your current start. I'm looking forward to what direction you take this whole thing.
     
  5. Bosumin

    Bosumin Uncool

    Thanks Firaga, fun to be here. As for direction, I'm not too sure myself so I'll have to figure that out.

    Chapter 2: Sidewinder


    There was a ringing sound. A messy clanging shattering the silence of the morning. For a few moments all Arceus did was lay still, feeling the grass against him. Slowly, he rose, blinking in the dim morning light.


    Looking over, he saw Mallys in the same spot as he had been yesterday. He silently watched Arceus with half closed red eyes. There was a sharpness to them that didn’t make sense.


    “Did you” Arceus was startled, “-even sleep?”


    “Yes” the response was unconvincing in it’s singularity.


    Arceus ignored it, “What’s that ringing sound?”


    Mallys looked up into the air, “Sounds like the market bell opening for the morning” he looked at Arceus, “You gonna head in?”


    Arceus rose on his four legs, experimentally stretching each, one at a time, “I suppose so, but-” he stopped for a moment, “Don’t you have to take care of your temple Mallys?”


    Mallys smiled slightly, “It’s not the end of the world if I take a little break. You’re the most interesting thing that’s happened to me in years”.


    Arceus would have smiled back if he was able to.


    ------


    The walk to the temple was much more quiet in the morning. The market was off in a different part of town, the ringing continued as Arceus could hear a distant cacophony. The obelisk looked skewed with the sun rising directly behind it from Arceus’ perspective, and as he approached, he saw a curious ritual of sorts.


    Several acolytes of the temple, identified by the yellow garments they wore were congregated around a large bucket. As he watched, they threw the bucket high into the air, letting water spill out partially over a side of the obelisk, but mostly over them. He could see a heated discussion taking place as they prepared another bucket of water.


    “Conventionally an exercise in futility, but the point is the effort to realize the value of such”. Arceus looked over with a jolt to see Darkrai floating next to him. The shadowy pokemon looked at him with one blue eye, “Sorry”.


    “So uh” Arceus was lost for words, “It’s like a test?”


    “You could say that” Darkrai replied, “Perhaps more cynically, one could say character building” he motioned for Arceus to walk towards the temple with him, “It would be simple for a more aerially inclined pokemon to wash the tower in a single motion. To that end, the goal is not to clean it, but to acknowledge the ease of a united world over a divided one”.


    “That’s... really deep” was all Arceus could say. At this point, a particularly strong throw had hung the bucket off the top of the obelisk and a panic had ensued below as some of the group tried to climb the monument, a task rendered difficult by their own earlier actions.


    Darkrai looked away, “Truthfully, it’s a lofty expectation. But that’s why it continues, an expectation is not always an impossibility”.


    The sentiment flew over Arceus’ head. He nodded anyway.


    ------


    “The totality of your ‘forgetfulness’ is not something I can explain” Darkrai spoke apologetically. Having heard the full extent of Arceus’ unfortunate condition, he had looked through a number of books before returning to him. They stood off to the side of the entry to the temple, watching the group that had finally managed to cover the entirety of the obelisk with water. Pokemon sat or lay in various positions around the plaza, presumably drained from the earlier efforts.


    “Huh...” Arceus felt a sinking feeling.


    “That being said” Darkrai continued, “What your friend said about the, ‘tourist syndrome’ or however it is referred, there is a chance that that could be a possibility”.


    Arceus looked at Darkrai, “What do you think I should do then”.


    “This is just a theory” Darkrai said, “It’s up to you to decide what you must do. But maybe if you continued as you had when you first came to this town, you’ll find this ‘Object of Supreme Disappointment’ so to speak”.


    “So where would I start? Where would I go?”


    Darkrai looked at the ceiling, “Despite this temple being referred to as Grand, it’s hardly so compared to some of the structures in the world. I know many such places, but perhaps you should ask your friend first. I know only the place, not the surroundings; as it is I have hardly left this town in years”.


    Arceus took a moment to absorb the suggestion, “I, well, I guess I have to thank you again, for everything”.


    Darkrai was impassive, “I have to be frank in this regard, your plight is one of a kind to me. It’s very cruel what happened to you, and for some reason, I feel obliged to help as best I can”.


    Arceus found it almost funny, “I guess that makes two now. Pokemon seem to really want to help me out”.


    “I can’t say for sure” Darkrai said, “But there’s something to you, something inexplicable, but almost beautiful”.


    “If you’re calling me beautiful, I guess I can take it” Arceus didn’t really know what to think.


    “If that’s how you interpret as such” Darkrai shrugged, “I’m sure you’ll figure everything out”.


    ------


    Mallys couldn’t help but laugh, “The Object of Supreme Disappointment, oh wow. I mean, it’s serious, really serious, but can you really expect me to react otherwise?”


    Arceus shrugged, “It’s my problem, and I guess if I’m going to figure it out, that’ll just be a part of it”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus seriously, “Yea, you’re right, I guess”.


    “So what do you suggest?”


    “You mean, where would you go?” Mallys thought about it, “There’s a big sanctuary in the village of Aibai. It’s known for that kind of- uh, spiritual cleansing and stuff like that”.


    It wasn’t as if Arceus needed much convincing, “It’s a start. Where is it?”


    Mallys pointed with a claw, “The other way, back past where we started. It’s a few days of travel by foot”.


    Arceus was undeterred, “Not like I have a better way to spend my time”.


    “So you’re leaving now?”


    Arceus nodded, “I’ve done this before right?”


    Mallys made a face, “Right, right”.


    -----


    It was late in the night when Arceus and Mallys reached the small temple again. Arceus watched in the dim light of hastily lit candles as Mallys polished the statue again. It looked like he was tired, his technique lacked much of the finesse he had previously and he seemed to be distracted.


    “Well that’s that, if you’re ready we can go” Mallys seemed content when he spoke.


    “Huh?” Arceus was confused.


    “We’ve done this before” Mallys said lightly, “You can’t really expect to just wander around by yourself can you?” for a moment he seemed to wait for a response, but continued anyway, “You know, you don’t have a say in this, I’m coming with you”.


    “O-ok”


    “Anyway” Mallys went on, “I’m not that tired right now, so let’s go. You want to go right?”


    “Well yea” Arceus regained his composure, “If you want to go, then we’ll go. But if you’re coming, you better help me”.


    “That’s the plan” as Arceus walked away, Mallys looked around the temple one more time. In a single, silent motion the Haxorus wrapped his arms around the statue of Ho-Oh, holding it tightly for a moment. Then he followed Arceus outside.


    <><><><>


    The sun was high in the sky, perfect compliment for a breeze if there was one. Arceus and Mallys were on a rock in the center of a steam, Arceus sitting in the somewhat dignified position that his rings forced upon him, while Mallys lay on his side. Arceus watched the rushing stream, counting floating branches as a few basculin gawked at him from under the water. Mallys busily chowed on a collection of berries he had picked from various trees for the last hour.


    “Strange question” Mallys said in between mouthfuls, “Do you need to eat or anything? Or since you don’t have a mouth do you photosynthesize or whatever it’s called?”


    Arceus looked over at Mallys, “Beats me. I haven’t really thought about it” Arceus looked back at the water, watching the reflection of the light off the water, “It’s probably the photo thing though”.


    “You know-” Mallys threw a berry at Arceus’ head, it missed and landed in the water, “It’s probably those rings” he drew a circle in the air with one claw.


    Arceus didn’t know enough to disagree, so he nodded, “Anyway, how close are we?”


    Mallys looked at a waterfall in the distance, “We’ve been walking for what, 3 days? Actually we’re only a few hours out”.


    “Really?” Arceus sprang up at this, “We gotta go then”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus in surprise, “Alright, let’s go”.


    The definition of go was more than Mallys expected as Arceus took off in a gallop down the path. Mallys made to run after him, but tripped and fell in the water. He realized his tusks were stuck partially in the sediment of the riverbed and sighed to himself. At the very least he thought, he would catch up eventually.


    -----


    The rolling hills seemed infinite, quickly tiring Arceus out. As he crested what seemed like the tallest hill yet, he could finally make out thin tree lines on the large mountain that had been looming ahead for a while. It’s peak stuck out at an odd angle to the left, countless yellowish humps protruding around it. A portion of the mountain was a brilliant green, a massive forest stretching from the base to the top of one of the lower peaks, while curiously the other side was nearly bare. A mess of zigzagging terraces were cut into the side of the mountain, and small figures could be seen moving along them.


    Also at the base of the mountain was a large village, presumably Aibai. Rows of buildings formed from thick wooden logs topped with a silvery metallic cover stretched outwards from a large pool that was ringed by a donut shaped building.


    Mallys trudged up the hill out of breath. Stopping beside Arceus, he took in the scene, “It’s been a long time”.


    “You’ve been here before?” Arceus said, looking at Mallys.


    “It was so long that I might as well not have. It’s changed a lot”.


    “Then let’s see how much it’s changed” Arceus began to walk down the hill, Mallys trailing behind.

    “Where do you get that energy from anyway” Mallys shouted after Arceus who turned back to look at the Haxorus.


    “Good question” was all he said before turning back.


    ----


    Walking down the main street, Arceus could see many pokemon walking around with metallic adornments. There was a constant din as they continually shouted over each other, trying to sell various objects.


    “I do remember this” Mallys spoke quietly to Arceus as they walked, “It’s an old trick, trying to sell you authentic souvenirs” he made a face at one of the vendors who was eyeing them who backed off quickly before turning back to Arceus, “It’s not, not at all, and I don’t know how or why but I have a very good source for that”.


    “I have no money, but I’ll keep it in mind” Arceus was more focused on navigating the crowd than whatever Mallys was going on about. It was a losing battle, the crowd got thicker the closer they got to the pool. While the two of them generally towered over the crowd, Arceus could see other large pokemon having the same troubles further down the street. He looked at Mallys with wide eyes, the response was a nod.


    It was almost a whole hour before they could make their way to the outer ring. Crossing to the opposing side on the foothills of the mountain, they could view the pool from a slightly elevated spot. Arceus was carefully looking it over, his eyes narrow. Mallys was uninterested in the pool, watching Arceus for a reaction.


    “So, disappointing huh?” Mallys said hopefully.


    “It’s um-” Arceus looked for the right words, “It’s a hot spring?”


    “It is” Mallys replied, “Pretty hot from what I remember too”.


    “Then where’s the spiritual cleansing part?” Arceus looked at Mallys, “Where’s the sanctuary? Or was that a personal experience?”


    “No really, that’s what everyone says” Mallys looked indignant, “You know, like mountain air is good for the body and stuff?”


    Arceus said nothing for a moment, looking back at the pool, “This plus having to deal with that crowd was really annoying. But nothing’s happened either”.


    “Not disappointing enough I guess?” Mallys gave Arceus an apologetic look.


    “I guess not” Arceus felt tired, “Maybe this won’t be that easy”.


    “Don’t worry about it” Mallys made a face at Arceus, “It’s like a trip you know?”


    “Some kind of trip if the goal is to have the worst time imaginable”.


    “I heard someone say once that if the result is what you want then the effort was worth it” Mallys paused, “I think”.


    “The result that I want...” Arceus trailed off. He realized with a start that he’d never thought of it in terms of remembering who he was. Rather, he had considered it as simply solving a problem. “I want to remember myself”. It was unconvincing.


    “You don’t sound like you want to” Mallys said, “I think we need to take a moment to put this all in perspective. I kinda need it too” Mallys gestured at Arceus, “Lay it out for both of us, it’s your show after all”.


    “Well, I-” Arceus started.


    “Actually wait” Mallys interjected, “Don’t say well, you say that often, just own it. Be real!”


    Arceus wondered for a moment what it meant to be real, but took the advice to heart, “I don’t know why I am here, and I also don’t know who I was before this happened” Arceus looked at Mallys for reassurance, he waved with a claw to continue, “Since we have nothing to go on and no leads other than your suggestion, we’re looking to find something so disappointing, it will jolt me into remembering things in the same way I forgot them”.


    Mallys made a face, “When you say it like that, it sounds really silly. But, there really isn’t any other way to say it when I think about it” Mallys kicked up dust with one foot as he thought, “It’s not that bad though, even if this trip won’t solve anything, we’ll probably run into someone who knows something eventually, right?”


    Hearing Mallys say that made Arceus feel a bit better, “You’re right” he sighed, “So what do we do now?”


    Mallys looked at the sky, “It’ll be late soon, and as much as I know you’d want to go right away, I’d rather rest here tonight” Mallys grinned, “-and to that end, I won’t tell you anything about where we could go next”.


    Arceus gave Mallys the best rueful look he could manage, “I guess you have me chained to you now. I wasn’t even planning to run off just so you know, I’m tired too”.


    “Now you’re being sensible, let’s go!”


    “Yea, lets” Arceus started walking, then spoke again, “Thanks as usual Mallys, I- I needed that”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus, still smiling, “Don’t mention it. In fact, I should be the one thanking you”.


    “For what?”


    “Oh you know, just-” Mallys kind of waved his claws in the air and didn’t finish.


    Arceus didn’t get it, but went along anyway, “You’re welcome then”.


    --------


    There was a pain in Arceus’ neck. The previous night he had attempted to sleep in a different position, leaning himself against a slope. Mallys assisted in this by digging a recess for his rings to rest in and so it was. This obviously did not agree with his body and now he was paying for it.


    Arceus groaned and shifted back to his normal sitting pose, stretching his neck from side to side in an attempt to alleviate the pain. He looked around blearily, Mallys was nowhere to be seen. Arceus didn’t care, he just wanted to rest more. He was able to doze off for some time flitting in and out of sleep until suddenly he felt something cold on his head.


    He blinked and was still for a moment before he started to look up. As he did this, he heard Mallys pipe up.


    “Wait, wait! Don’t do that yet, let me get it off first” Arceus froze in place as he felt Mallys gently take the thing off his head, “Sorry, I just thought it would be funny” Arceus looked at Mallys who was holding a pair of large round objects.


    “Mallys, what are those?” Arceus was curious as he slowly woke up.


    “Donuts!” Mallys exclaimed, “Cold donuts that is, like chilled. It’s an Aibai specialty”.


    “I don’t uh, have a way to understand it, but how do they taste?”


    Mallys seemed slightly agitated, “You know that’s just the thing. I would have been fine with one, but I got two because I was thinking of you, without remembering that you couldn’t really-” he gestured with the donuts, “-eat one. But anyway, it’s a real energy booster. Sugar for days”.


    Arceus nodded, “I don’t get it, but I can understand the feeling, at least I think so”.


    Mallys took a big bite out of one donut, “Anyway, when I was out earlier I remembered that there was supposed to be some kind of shrine up on the mountain; a few locals say it’s still there too”.


    “Shrines, temples, pools, a lot of, uh, sacred stuff in a way-” Arceus was thoughtful, “Like, I’m thinking now, what if the thing that was really disappointing was a rock or some natural formation”.


    “I get what you mean, but it doesn’t make much of a difference” Mallys said, “We’ll just visit whatever we can get until something sticks”.


    Arceus nodded, “Sounds good. A shrine then? What kind?”


    Mallys shrugged, “They didn’t specify. It’s probably something similar to the spring, good health or something along those lines”.


    “Let’s go then” Arceus nodded at Mallys who nodded in return, “I think you should finish your donuts first”.
     
  6. Bosumin

    Bosumin Uncool

    I bought a new duster recently, never realized how amazing it is to just wipe the dust away.

    Chapter 3: Sweet Sensation

    The sun was midway through it’s path across the sky as they made their way up the zig-zagging path of the mountain. There was little in the way of vegetation save for small weeds dotting the ground, miserable yellowish clumps that more than once tripped Mallys. Whatever had cut the path into the mountain was thorough, the rock walls were smoothed, lacking jagged edges and protrusions.


    It didn’t seem to be a frequently used path. Arceus and Mallys encountered few pokemon on their upward trek, a few sightseers looking off at the rolling plains and the occasional local carrying various objects back down the mountain.


    At a point around halfway to the peak of the second highest spire, they found a pathway leading under a rock arch to an enclosed area. Long sharp rocks jutted upwards forming a cover over a circular area. Light filtering in through the cracks between the rocks lit up patches of grass, greener and fuller than the shrubs on the slopes.


    A few pokemon milled about in relative quiet. Along the walls formed by the rock arrangements, there was an array of items, a broken wagon, a faded pickaxe, a crumpled pile of material that looked like it was used to wrap something. Some of the pokemon looked briefly at Arceus and Mallys as they came into the clearing, but looked away after a moment.


    Mallys nudged Arceus and motioned straight ahead. A large entrance was cut into the mountainside. The top was rounded slightly, both sides of the hole supported by large beams of wood criss-crossed with dead vegetation.


    “Hey hey, what brings a couple of brutes up here?” a voice called out to them.


    Arceus and Mallys turned to see a Lurantis approaching them. The bug like pokemon was covered in dust and mud in several places, it’s pink coloring along its body was faded, and nearly all of it’s left antenna was gone, leaving a little stub. It looked them up and down with obvious disapproval and a small frown.


    “It doesn’t matter how big you are, we’ll still stay here” the Lurantis spoke defiantly.


    “That’s fine, you don’t need to move” Arceus was visibly confused, but he tried to be friendly anyway, “We’re just tourists”.


    The Lurantis looked at him suspiciously, “This high up the mountain? I doubt it”. Around them, the assorted pokemon were watching carefully.


    “No really” Arceus said, “We just wanted to see a shrine that’s supposed to be here”.


    The reaction was immediate. Scattered murmurs and whispering erupted among the pokemon surrounding them. Mallys looked around uncomfortably before looking at Arceus who didn’t seem to notice.


    “So, is there a shrine here?” Arceus asked.


    The Lurantis waved a scythe arm, silencing the other pokemon, “There is, it’s in the tunnels behind you” she looked at the pair as if evaluating them, “The old mines can be pretty dangerous though, I wouldn’t go looking if I were you”.


    Arceus was about to reply when Mallys wrapped an arm around Arceus’ long neck and forcibly walked him towards the entrance to the mountain, “We’ll figure it out, we’re pretty tough anyway” he made a painfully fake smile at the Lurantis who glared back but made no move to stop them.


    ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ


    “Mallys” Arceus let himself be dragged along the tunnel by the agitated Haxorus, his hooves leaving a line in the ground, “What’s wrong?”


    “Being daft is something you’re good at” Mallys replied, “That was obviously a situation”.


    “You mean they were going to attack us?” Arceus could tell the pokemon outside weren’t friendly, but he didn’t think there was hostility.


    “All I can say is that it wouldn’t have been a very good time” Mallys shook his head saying this. He stopped, letting go of Arceus who took a moment to right himself, “Although, that might also be a good thing for us”.


    “How so?”


    “When you asked them about the shrine, it really set them off. This shrine must be something important to them” Mallys looked at Arceus as he said this.


    “So, then it would be important to us?” Arceus said.


    Mallys shook his head, “Not quite. The locals in town who told me about the shrine said it was nothing more than passing gossip at best, so if the group outside considers it something so important when it’s barely a conversation starter to other pokemon-” Mallys paused for effect, “Then to us, who have no context or connection, it would seem like a whole lot of nothing”.


    Arceus considered this for a moment before his eyes lit up, “Like a massive disappointment!”


    Mallys nodded, “Right” he looked ahead into the darkening tunnel. It was illuminated by the glow of clusters of green mushrooms, “Luckily for us, it looks like we have a light source”.


    As the pair set off down the tunnel, Mallys looked back briefly at the receding light of the entrance, spotting the Lurantis and a few others watching from the entrance. He scowled at them and all except the Lurantis disappeared from view. The plant pokemon simply stared back at him until Mallys turned away.


    -----


    The winding caves were a rough experience. The height varied wildly in comparison to the width which somehow remained consistent. Tunnels at points were almost entirely blocked by piles of rubble that reached the ceiling, easily navigable to smaller pokemon, but impassable to the pair, especially Arceus' rings. Mallys made quick work of the blockages, smashing them left and right, something he seemed to have a good deal of fun with.


    They arrived at a split in the road. There was a greater concentration of mushrooms here, they were larger in size and glowed brighter, creating a more noticeable green hue. Stalactites and stalagmites stretched across the floor and ceiling in both directions. Mallys experimentally tapped a stalactite, it broke off and fell into Mallys claw.


    “This must be a naturally formed cave” Mallys said examining the rock, “I guess the mining operation broke into it some time ago”.


    Arceus looked at the rocks in wonder, “Huh” he looked at Mallys, “If this is a natural cave though, does that mean we missed the shrine?”


    Mallys shook his head, “I have a feeling this shrine is hidden, if you know what I mean. Plus, the mine so far hasn’t been anywhere nearly as dangerous as that Lurantis made it sound”.


    “You’re right” Arceus said, looking back at the tunnel they had come from, “Do you think it’s really that dangerous?”


    “All we can do now is figure that out” Mallys looked at the mass of rock formations in both directions, “Can I assume you can defend yourself or at least have tough skin?”


    Arceus was unsettled by Mallys’ words, but nodded, “I- I think I can defend myself, and my rings are pretty tough”.


    “I was just asking” Mallys replied, “I’ll take the lead, so don’t worry about it”. With that said, he headed left, smashing stalagmites and stalactites with with a reckless abandon as Arceus followed.


    Eventually they were stopped. Mallys looked around the wide cavern for a moment, the walls were solid, lined with mushrooms and rock protrusions. “Looks like a problem”.


    Arceus stared at the tunnel in front of them. It sloped at a steep angle, ending in a rippling pool of greenish water. Though mushrooms under the water illuminated it somewhat, though the glow was greatly diminished.


    “Do we have to go the other way now?” Arceus looked at Mallys.


    “It was just out of sight for you, but the other end was caved in” Mallys said looking at the water, “This is the only way forward”.


    Arceus glanced apprehensively at the submerged tunnel, though not needing to breathe, he was already imagining getting lost underwater.


    Mallys threw a few pebbles into the water, “We could go back too, it’s not like seeing this shrine is that important, and plus it’s a kind of disappointment in and of itself”.


    “That’s right, huh” Arceus poked at the water with a hoof. It was cold, “Not finding it after how far down we’ve come” there was a pause, then Arceus seemed to be energized, “But that makes me want to find it even more, cause now I’m anticipating it- doesn’t that make the chance for disappointment even greater?”


    Mallys blinked in surprise, “That’s a good point”.


    “Mallys” Arceus said, “Are you sure that the shrine is somewhere past here?”


    “I’m fairly certain-” the Haxorus started to respond before Arceus interrupted him.


    “Actually that doesn’t matter. If there’s nothing there, then that’ll be disappointing too”.


    “You’re really into this now” Mallys said, “You’re getting me excited”.


    It was true. Arceus felt really good for some reason. In a strange way the thought of disappointment was exciting to him. It was kind of creepy. Maybe this could be the one, he thought.


    “Can you swim Mallys?” Arceus asked.


    “I can manage, I’m more concerned if you can swim”.


    “I can do it” Arceus replied, “Besides, I don’t need air”.


    “Oh, that does work in your favor doesn’t it” Mallys seemed convinced, “Alright, you should go first then, easier for me to backtrack if I start running out of air”.


    “Will you?” Arceus asked.


    “I won’t. Don’t look back at me, just focus on reaching the other end”.


    Arceus couldn’t help but feel a bit worried, “What if the path branches?”


    “Pick the largest tunnel” Mallys said, “Hope for the best”.


    “I can’t just do that” Arceus was indignant, “What if I lead you to a dead end?”


    For a moment, there was a distant look in Mallys’ eyes, “That’s nice of you to think of me, but I’ll be fine, I promise”.


    “How can I be sure of your promise?”


    “If it was really such a great personal risk, don’t you think I just wouldn’t do it?” Mallys was impassive, “It’s not like I’m trying to hurt myself”.


    “If you say so” Arceus still was uncertain, but there was something in Mallys’ tone that convinced him. For a moment he looked at the dark water, feeling both excited and apprehensive in equal measure.


    “Don’t think about it, just go” Mallys spoke from behind him.


    “You sure do tell me not to do a lot of things” Arceus said in mock exasperation.


    “I guess I do” Mallys smiled.


    Arceus dived into the water in a single fluid motion. Mallys waited for a moment, then jumped in after him.


    /////◔ ⌣ ◔////


    There was a particular silence in the water, Arceus thought that it would be nice to simply drift in the water for a while, but reminded himself to keep going. His hooves moved, one after another in a motion that didn’t look like it would do much, but was surprisingly effective in moving through the water.


    The caves looked the same in the green glow of the submerged tunnels. Strangely, there weren’t any aquatic pokemon to be seen, maybe it was the depth?


    Arceus felt relieved, ahead of him was the other end of the water. The caves had been uneventful, there wasn’t even a single branch in the path. Feeling a burst of energy, Arceus pushed forwards breaking the surface. The cave was different from the one they had come from, the mushrooms were much brighter, emitting a lime green color. The air was stagnant, the sound of dripping water echoed from somewhere.


    Arceus pulled himself out of the water. Settling into a good position to dry off, he watched the pool patiently for Mallys. As minute after minute passed, it became harder for Arceus to remain still, he had made a promise not to worry, but could he really be blamed?


    There was a ripple in the water that Arceus noticed immediately. Suddenly the surface exploded upwards in a mass of water, momentarily blinding Arceus. Blinking a few times as the water settled, he looked back at the water, his eyes widening in shock.


    Two protrusions pinkish in color extended upwards. A pink head with two beady eyes stared at him from the water, regarding him with a strange glint of determination.


    “Yo” was all the Lurantis said.


    Arceus panicked. Without acknowledging the other pokemon, he dived back into the water. He looked around underwater in the green glow, seeing nothing. Focusing hard, he peered down the tunnel, but he saw nothing.


    Arceus resurfaced as suddenly as he had entered the water. There was a wild glint in his eyes as he looked at the Lurantis, who was sitting idle on the cave floor, watching him.


    “Did you see my friend underwater?” Arceus spoke quickly, slurring some of the words together.


    “I’ll assume you meant the Haxorus” the Lurantis spoke dryly, “I didn’t see anything, the underwater tunnels are a huge network anyway, so it’s a coincidence that we even ended up in the same place”.


    The Lurantis’ words were for the most part lost on Arceus who was already pacing in a circle.


    “Then, Mallys might be in trouble” Arceus looked at the water, “I have to go help him, I have to-” he stopped. Mallys words rang in his mind. If he went to look for Mallys unnecessarily, then it would mean Arceus didn’t trust him. But if Mallys really was in trouble, then he would lose his friend to empty words. His head swarmed with all sorts of bad thoughts, and Arceus felt ready to jump at the water in an instant.


    But he remembered Mallys’ eyes in that moment. When Mallys promised him, there was a light in his eyes for a single moment that made his red eyes appear deep blue. Even if it was just a trick of the light, the conviction that Mallys had was enough to make Arceus pause.


    I have to trust Mallys, he thought to himself. But how well could he trust someone he had known for less than a week? All the same, how much of a friend could Mallys be in that short a time?


    “It’s ok” Arceus said to himself, “He promised”. Slowly, steadily, he forced himself to stand still, and surprisingly he felt calm.


    The Lurantis was confused, “Who promised what? Are you ok?”


    “I am now” Arceus said, “Mallys will be fine”.


    “Yeah, you probably hit your head underwater” the Lurantis gave Arceus a strange look, “I hope you get better”.


    Arceus ignored the statement, “But, why are you down here?”


    “A couple of tourists getting lost in the mines would bring us more trouble than we already have. Didn’t think you guys would do something like this though”.


    Arceus looked at her, “Is the shrine close by?”


    The Lurantis shrugged, “I only know that it exists, not where it is. Anyway, why do you care so much? From what I’ve heard, it’s barely anything”.


    “Well, it’s hard to explain, but ‘barely anything’ would actually be good for us” Arceus said to the visible suspicion of the Lurantis.


    “I see”.


    “Anyway” Arceus continued, “Since I’m waiting for Mallys, what’s your name”.


    “Mallys huh” the Lurantis made a strange face at the mention of his name, “You can call me Mel, I don’t see a point to telling you my full name” she said.


    “Alright Mel” Arceus replied, “I guess now-” he was cut off by a splash. Mallys emerged from the water, looking none the worse for wear, “Mallys!” Arceus said happily.


    Mallys stuck a claw out from under the water as he floated in place, “Sorry it took so long, I had to go back once, didn’t get a good rhythm the first time” he looked over at the Lurantis, “Oh hey. I suppose it makes sense you would follow us”.


    Mel seemed shocked, “As I explained to your friend here-” she seemed lost for words, “-we are kind of obliged to deal with you”.


    “We?” Mallys asked.


    “All the other pokemon you saw up top” Mel explained, “We’re kind of a community, not that you would understand”.


    “You’re right, I probably wouldn’t” Mallys shrugged, “ You ready to keep going Arceus?”


    “Yep, let’s go Mallys” Arceus looked at Mel, “Are you coming with us Mel?”


    “I’ll be behind you” Mel said, “Just making sure you don’t do anything else stupid”.


    “Mel huh? Thanks for watching out for us” there was a sincerity in Mallys voice, but he and Mel were glaring daggers at each other, something which Arceus seemed completely oblivious to.


    ------


    They entered a large cavern that seemed to stretch forever. Boulders of all sizes were strewn around the floor, and the usual green glow was tinged with red from odd growths scattered around the room. The bulbous masses looked like a different type of mushroom, covered in a layer of fuzz that seemed to move slightly. Arceus poked one with a hoof, it sank slightly inwards, expanding to its original size when he stopped.


    “What are these Mel?” Arceus was curious.


    Mel poked one with one of her scythes “I don’t know- oh” she stepped back as the bulb she had poked exploded. For a moment there was nothing, then a smoky smell began to waft around the area. Arceus looked at the remains of the mushroom in surprise, Mallys frowned slightly.


    Arceus looked around the cave, “Where do we go from here?”


    “I don’t know” Mallys blinked seeming bothered by something, “Let’s look around”.


    Mel leaned against a wall with her eyes closed as Arceus and Mallys searched the huge chamber. As Arceus looked up and down at columns of rock extending from the floor to the ceiling, he was distracted by a noise.


    “Arceus” it was Mallys, who had an unusually serious look on his face, “I- I trust you”.


    “Mallys?” Arceus looked at him in confusion, “Is something wrong-”.


    He was cut off as Mallys began to violently cough, stumbling against a rock with a loud thud, “Sorry” Mallys said before he collapsed in a heap.


    Arceus was frozen, any words he had were lost in the air. As he watched Mallys quietly groaning on the ground, he could barely speak, “What, what- happened?”


    There was no answer.


    Arceus looked around, panicking again, “Mel? Something’s wrong”.


    Again there was no answer and Arceus felt very alone.


    --


    Arceus wandered the chamber in a daze. Every time he heard Mallys cough, he jolted in fright.

    What do I do? What happens now? Over and over he thought this, before stopping suddenly in realization. If Mallys was coughing, maybe if he brought him back to the water, it could help.


    As Arceus ran back to where Mallys lay, he could only barely register Mel right next to him for a moment. Mel gave Arceus a steely glance as she suddenly slid under him. Hooking a scythe arm around the middle section of his rings, she bodily threw Arceus into the air using the momentum of her movement.


    Arceus didn’t comprehend much as he bounced off the side of a rock. Standing up, he looked at Mel who had assumed a strange position. “Mel?” he asked.


    “Immune huh-” Mel’s stare was unwavering, “I can’t read you, but I sure can read your friend” she glanced at Mallys form, “You’re the most tenacious intimidators yet, can’t get us to leave so now you go after what’s most important to us?”


    “Intimidator? I didn’t mean to intimidate-” Arceus was cut off as the Lurantis raked both scythes across the side of his face, sending him off balance. Stumbling around, he was more confused than anything, “We’re not bad, really! You’re confusing us with someone else”.


    “And I have a really good reason to believe you don’t I” Mel replied sarcastically. She seemed dissatisfied, though Arceus had been tossed around a bit, aside from being a bit dirty there wasn’t a mark anywhere on him.


    Arceus didn’t know what to do again, it was becoming a trend. I guess I’m lucky that I’m tough he thought to himself as Mel continued to attack him.


    Mel was unnerved by Arceus. Again and again she struck him from all angles, using every attack she could think of. However many times Arceus was sent flying or knocked over, he didn’t appear injured at all, it seemed like Arceus wasn’t even paying attention anymore.


    “Is that it? Are you trying to mock me?” Mel shouted at him, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll take you down!”


    Arceus was about to reply when there was a loud cough. He turned to see Mallys leaning against a rock, staring at him intensely.


    “Arceus” Mallys’ voice was barely above a whisper, “You have to do something. Fight back, die, I don’t know, just do it” with that, Mallys collapsed unconscious.


    “I have to decide?” Arceus said to himself. For a moment, he looked between Mallys’ inert form and Mel who was angrily staring at him. I thought this would just be like a trip. Maybe I’m just naive. Arceus took a moment to compose himself, “Hey” Mel didn’t move as Arceus addressed her, “I’m going to hit you”.


    Mel looked at him blankly before shaking her head and charging at Arceus again. I don’t know anything about fighting, Arceus thought, But here goes nothing.


    Mel raised her scythes over her head, preparing to slash Arceus across his front. Suddenly he lowered his head and backed up. Mel realized that Arceus was going to headbutt her, but couldn’t stop her momentum in time. As they collided, Mel was sent backwards rolling along the floor in a heap while Arceus almost toppled sideways from the force.


    Regaining his balance, Arceus looked around, spotting the Lurantis lying on the ground a distance away. He walked over, feeling guilty for a moment before resigning himself to what he had to do.


    “Ugh, sorry” Arceus said to Mel. With little fanfare, he lifted his foot and stomped on the Lurantis, knocking the air out of Mel in an instant. Arceus repeated this twice, and Mel was unconscious.


    Arceus was by himself now, the silence of the cave returning.
     
  7. Bosumin

    Bosumin Uncool

    His yolk is easy, his burden is seventeen ninety-nine plus tax


    Chapter 4: Ezdakit

    They sat together on the edge of a cliff in the moonlight. Arceus was fidgeting nervously.


    “Are you angry at me?” Arceus looked at Mallys, “I-I’m sorry”.


    Mallys looked exasperated. He shook his head and pointed a claw at his throat.


    “But...” Arceus was confused, “I brought you to the water right?”


    Mallys rolled his eyes, but smiled nonetheless.


    “Huh” Arceus looked at his hooves for a moment before looking up in surprise, “Are you saying you can’t talk?”


    Mallys nodded slowly, patting Arceus on the back.


    “I suppose I look like a fool” Arceus said, “Today really hasn’t been a good one”.


    “You can say that again”.


    Arceus and Mallys looked behind them in surprise to see Mel, looking a little worn out, but otherwise not injured.


    “Mel! You’re better” Arceus sounded happy saying this.


    “Yea, I’m lucky some pokemon around here know how to heal” Mel said.


    Arceus nodded contentedly.


    “You’re impossible” Mel said shaking her head, “What am I supposed to think? I try to kill both of you, almost did for that matter. But you didn’t kill me, in fact, you brought me all way back up here- and now you’re happy to see me?”


    “I am” Arceus nodded, “Can’t speak for Mallys though, but neither can he”.


    “Yea...” Mel said apologetically, “The mushrooms down there, they release a something that kind of acts like eating glass”.


    “Eating glass?” Arceus looked back at Mallys who didn’t seem to react.


    “Not like I know the specifics” Mel shrugged, “What I do know is that it really messes up the voice”.


    “Does that mean Mallys won’t be able to talk ever?”


    “No, no way” Mel said, “It’s just something that takes time to heal, and uh, I guess I’m right in assuming he’s already had water?”


    Arceus nodded. For a while, no one spoke.


    “Sorry, you know” Mel shifted from side to side as she spoke, “I uh, I misjudged you”.


    “That’s OK! We’re sorry too”.


    Mallys and Mel both looked at Arceus in surprise, “Sorry for what?” Mel said.


    “Well, we weren’t exactly forthcoming with you either”.


    “That doesn’t really matter now” Mel shook her head, “I attacked you guys first”.


    “Well I...” Arceus paused, “We all made mistakes, so I forgive you”.


    Mel was shocked, “Just like that?”


    Arceus nodded, “I’m sure of it. Mallys does too, I think” they looked at Mallys who shrugged, “That’s probably a yes”.


    “It’s rare that a complete stranger would be so kind” Mel said, “I guess I owe you one now”.


    “Not really, I don’t need anything” Arceus replied.


    “Oh, I guess I’ll go now” Mel shuffled awkwardly, “Safe travels stranger”.


    Arceus watched her slowly walk away. She got a good distance away before she froze in place. For a moment Mel was still before suddenly she turned around and sprinted back towards them.


    “Actually” she stopped to catch her breath, “Do you uh, still want to see the shrine?”


    “That’s still an option?” Arceus asked, “Isn’t there a bit of ill will towards us”.


    “Trying to kill you was my idea” Mel said sheepishly, “-everyone else wouldn’t go that far”.


    Arceus considered this for a moment, “Ok! Let’s go” he glanced over to Mallys, “Do you want to come with us?”


    Mallys shook his head and waved them away with a claw.


    “That’s OK” Arceus said, “It makes sense that he would rather just hang around”. Nodding at Mel, they made they way back towards the mine.


    /[--------]\


    Arceus and Mel walked through the winding caves again.


    “So the first time, were you just following us the whole time?” Arceus asked.


    “Yea, all the way” Mel scratched her head with a scythe, “I actually messed up, back when you were asking how I found you, I said I came from a connecting tunnel”.


    “And?”


    “That underwater tunnel was a straight shot, no branches or anything” Mel said as she walked, “If you could see underwater, you’d know that”.


    Arceus blinked, “Now that you mention it, I think I remember that. Guess I forgot”.


    “That’s just how it was then” Mel seemed to want to drop the topic.


    “So what about all the pokemon up top” Arceus tilted his head upwards, “Are you all like a family?”


    “Might as well be” Mel smiled, “We just look out for each other”.


    “I guess you don’t trust outsiders then”.


    Mel’s smile disappeared, “It’s not quite that. First off, no one really makes a point to come this far up the mountain, at least this side. The ones that do, more often than not are usually thugs trying to scare us”.


    “You were saying something about that” Arceus said, “It was that you wouldn’t leave no matter what; that’s what I remember”.


    “It’s exactly as it sounds. The thing is that the town at the base of the mountain, Aibai, it’s looking to expand”.


    “Expand?” Arceus was curious, “What do you mean”.


    “You walked through the town to get up here, at least I think you did”.


    Arceus briefly remembered the crowds, the pushing, the time wasted, “Right, it’s really crowded”.


    “Yeah” Mel nodded, “So the other half of the mountain is basically a park, pokemon go around there all the time. Then you got this half, a barren slice that’s lots of free real estate, get what I mean?”


    Arceus was putting the pieces together, “So the town wants you guys gone so it can build houses?”


    “More or less” Mel shrugged, “-and the only thing in it’s way is us washed up miners, so they’re just trying to remove us by force now”.


    “Oh? You all are miners?”


    Mel waved her scythes at Arceus “Yep! That’s why I’m here, these can cut rocks easily” she looked down, “Well, it was why we were here, the mine ran dry a long time ago”.


    “Then why do you stay?” Arceus was puzzled.


    “It’s a bit complicated” Mel said, “Speaking of complicated, think you can explain why you guys came up here? It’s ok if it’s a long story, we’ll still be walking for a while”.


    Arceus nodded slowly, “That’s a strange story, you might not believe it. But anyway...”.


    Arceus explained in detail the events of the past few days, his forgetfulness, and their search. Mel’s expression increasingly reflected incredulity as the explanation continued, eventually she took to watching the ceiling with her mouth slightly open.


    When Arceus finished, Mel was lost for words, sputtering incoherently for a moment before she began to laugh.


    Arceus simply nodded, “I think I can understand that reaction”.


    “So you’re-” Mel broke off in another fit of laughter, “you guys are looking for something that’s so underwhelming, you’ll remember who you are because of it?”


    “Yes, that’s it”.


    Mel had to catch her breath for a moment, “That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard” she took a deep breath, “-but you’re so earnest”.


    Arceus gave her a pointed look, “It’s the only option I have. Anyway, you seem a lot better than you were earlier”.


    “Really?” Mel said, “I guess, now that I know you’re not that bad, I feel a bit better. Also-” Mel paused for a moment, “There’s just something calming about being around you”.


    “Me?” Arceus’ eyes widened.


    “Yeah, maybe you were a therapist or something before you forgot”.


    “I don’t really see myself as a therapist” Arceus said.


    “Well uh, what about a massage therapist?”


    “Massage?” Arceus looked at his hooves, “How do you think I could do that?”


    “When you stomped on my face, that was pretty forceful” Mel said.


    “Don’t remind me”.



    ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ




    The cavern was the same as they had left it. Arceus examined a large patch of the red mushrooms as Mel messed with something in a corner.


    “Now that I look at them closer, they really do look dangerous!” Arceus exclaimed.


    “I don’t know why those things grow here” Mel looked up at Arceus as she said this. She stared at him for a few moments in confusion before speaking again, “Wait, you don’t have a mouth at all do you?”


    “No, not at all” Arceus said.


    “That’s really weird” Mel said, walking over to him, “So you’re like one of those psychic pokemon or something, like, your voice just comes out of your face somehow”.


    “One way to explain it I guess” Arceus said, “Anyway, the shrine’s around here?”


    “Yea, follow me” Mel walked back to the corner with Arceus in tow, “If you’re looking for disappointment, then this definitely fits the bill”.


    For a moment, Arceus thought he was being tricked. The shrine was a little hole in the wall that Mel had uncovered, it was a simple arrangement of small sticks surrounded by bits and pieces of things.


    “Is this the shrine?” Arceus looked at Mel.


    “Pretty disappointing huh”.


    Arceus looked over the shrine again. There was no order or pattern in the buttons and string lying around, it was simply a collection of objects. “What- what for?” was all he could ask.


    Mel shrugged, “You ever heard of a perfectly safe mine?”


    It took him a second. “Oh” Arceus felt a pit in his stomach, “I’m sorry”.


    “Don’t be” Mel seemed unconcerned, “It’s been years, there’s nothing left but a little bitterness”.


    Arceus looked away, “So when you tried to kill us...” he couldn’t finish.


    “Yeah” Mel said, “I thought you figured out somehow this was here. It really was a spur of the moment decision” Mel slowly covered the small shrine with rocks, “So, was that disappointing enough?”


    “I- I don’t think I could be disappointed by that” Arceus said, “Now I’m just sad”.


    “Huh. Oh well, wanna go back now?”


    “Alright”. Arceus felt his head spinning. He had felt pretty bad for beating Mel up earlier, but now he felt even worse.







    {=} {=}



    Arceus and Mel stood awkwardly on the path, illuminated by the moonlight. There was a stillness in the air, the sun would rise soon.


    “So, I never really asked, but I heard your friend call you Arceus?” Mel idly poked a rock as she spoke.


    “That’s me” Arceus said, “I don’t really know if it means anything”.


    “Hopefully you’ll find that out”.


    Arceus looked at Mel, “Thanks Mel. Didn’t you say at some point that you had a full name?”


    “I did” Mel said, “It’s Meiulula. You’re meeting a lot of pokemon with M’s in their names huh?”


    Arceus thought about it for a moment, “Huh, you’re right”.


    Mel nodded, “Sorry about everything Arceus, really”.


    “I should be the one saying sorry” Arceus said, “We really did just come out of nowhere, so it’s fair that you would be suspicious of us. I guess that’s something we should watch out for in the future”.


    “Hah, yea” Mel seemed distant, “Good luck then, it was nice getting to know you”.


    “I feel the same way” Arceus said.


    Arceus walked away to where Mallys was as Mel stared off into space.



    -----



    “Hey Moomoo, what are you up to?”


    Mel looked at the ancient Nidoking and made a face: “Nothing really Pasa, just couldn’t sleep”.


    Pasa grinned at her, “I’d say that’s fair, since those strangers brought you back up here, all beat up and the like. But-” he crossed his arms: “-you say you got hurt in a cave in, so either I haven’t really known you for years, or maybe I’m being half-informed”.


    Mel huffed indignantly and was about to speak when Pasa started again.


    “You don’t have to tell me. You’re alright now, and that’s all that matters. That does bring up something I’ve wanted to talk to you about for a while”.


    “And what is that?” Mel said.


    Pasa folded his arms, “You need to go”.


    “What?” Mel was taken by surprise.


    “I mean that you need to actually live your life” Pasa was serious as he said this.


    Mel looked at him curiously, “I’m still going to say what. Say it straight old man”.


    “You’re messing with me”.


    “Does it matter, just tell me already”.


    Pasa sighed dramatically, “You need to experience the world, like one of those novels”.


    “See, now I get you” Mel said, “If you were just asking me to live life then it wouldn’t make sense because I’m already doing that”.


    “If you call living bumming around with us old folk, then you’re right” Pasa made a face, “Seriously now, there’s nothing left for you here”.


    “I don’t need anything” Mel retorted, “I’m fine with just being here”.


    “No, you’re not, and I shouldn’t need to tell you that you have your whole life ahead of you” Pasa shook his head: “Don’t you think if you went out of your way to talk to those strangers that it means something?”


    Mel looked away, “That’s only because they were here you know. Just curious, you know”.


    “You just said you know twice. For being better than most at reading pokemon, I wouldn’t think you’d be so open yourself”.


    “Shut up Pasa” Mel looked defeated, “If- if maybe, just maybe, I were to leave, what would you do?”


    “You equate old age to feebleness huh?” Pasa smiled, “I’ll tell you not to worry as many times as you need, we’re all tough here and that’s a fact. Do you think a little business types from Aibai can scare us?”.


    Mel sighed, “I just don’t want to forget about everyone”.


    “You won’t” Pasa said simply.


    “Where do I go?” Mel looked at the dark sky, tinged a deep purple as the first signs of the sun appeared. The air was stiff and a light chill floated around.


    “I don’t know, at least anywhere but here” Pasa scratched the cracked armor on his chest, “Decide for yourself, that’s what adults do”.


    “I guess then I should say bye to everyone” Mel said.


    Pasa raised a claw, “If you go doing that, you’ll never leave. Go now, everyone understands”.


    Mel blinked, rubbing her face with one arm, “You’re just telling me that”.


    “If I hug you will you believe me?”


    Mel looked around the predawn darkness.


    “Come on” Pasa said, “No one’s watching”.



    (。◕‿‿◕。)



    In the early morning, the pokemon traffic in Aibai wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been previously. Arceus and Mallys ducked into an alleyway to rest for a moment and figure out their next move. Piles of empty crates lined the walls of either side, tin cans lying haphazardly in rivulets of water running along tiny canals in the ground.


    Arceus stood with his back to a grated window, out of which came plumes of white steam as Mallys watched him.


    “This is nice” Arceus said as the steam slowly rolled over his tail all the way to his head, “You want to try Mallys?”


    “No thanks” Mallys’ voice was still somewhat raspy. His arms were full of more donuts, four this time, he took a bite, speaking through a full mouth, “Are you sure it’s ok to do that?”


    “I don’t feel anything, so it’s probably good” Arceus stepped out of the steam, “Oh, cold”.


    Mallys idly held a donut up to his face, looking at Arceus through the hole in the center, “You’re uh- how do they say it, spontaneous, no?”


    A bit of condensation had somehow formed on Arceus’ rings, he didn’t seem to notice.


    “I want to try a donut” Arceus said, “Maybe I don’t have a mouth, but you could try pushing it into my face, I might absorb it or something”.


    Mallys tilted his head, “You really want me to do that?”


    Arceus nodded, standing tall in front of Mallys. Hesitating for a moment, Mallys slowly took one of his donuts, pressing it into Arceus’ face.



    ლ(´ڡ`ლ)



    Mel moved gracefully across the rooftops. She tried to scan the crowd, but found she could barely focus on the multitude of shapes and colors.


    “How am I gonna find them in a crowd like this?” Mel said to herself. She settled down on a slanted rooftop, drawing a few curious looks from the crowd below. For a moment she sat still.


    “I can do this. I just have to look for big ugly golden rings” chastising herself, she rose again and bounded to another roof with renewed energy. Her confidence paid off, as she jumped from one roof to another, she saw a flash of gold in the daylight and an unmistakable shape. Smiling to herself, she poked her head over the edge of the roof and immediately stopped.


    For a few seconds she wasn’t sure what was going on. In the alley below, the Haxorus was rubbing a large donut across Arceus’ face. The ground was littered with crumbs, and three more donuts, one of them half eaten lay on an overturned crate.


    “Do you taste it yet?” Mallys asked Arceus.


    “No, keep trying” Arceus said.


    “What are you guys doing?” Mel asked. Mallys turned to look up too quickly and the rest of the donut fell to the ground.


    “Huh? Is that you Mel?” Arceus looked around in confusion, “I can’t see you, I have glaze in my eyes”.


    Mallys looked between Mel and the donut on the ground as Arceus wiped his eyes with a hoof, “You made me drop it” he sighed, “That sucks”.


    “Oh, sorry” Mel was apologetic, “I just had to ask, you can’t really blame me”.


    “Personally I can” Mallys said. Mel rolled her eyes.


    “There we go” Arceus looked up at Mel, a few lingering crumbs still on his face, “What are you doing over here?”


    “I was looking for you guys” Mel said, “What were you doing?”


    “I was trying to eat a donut; Mallys was helping me” Arceus replied.


    “Trying?” Mel pondered this for a moment, “You don’t have a mouth, where’s the ‘try’ part?”


    Arceus shook his head, “Didn’t really work out I guess” he said, “Why were you looking for us?”


    Mel jumped from the roof, landing in front of the two, “I’m gonna follow you” she loudly announced.


    Arceus’ eyes widened in surprise while Mallys merely frowned, “Follow me?” Arceus said, “Why?”


    Mel thought about Pasa: “I want to experience the world” Mel looked at Arceus, “I want to go places like you said you were doing”.


    “That makes a lot of sense” Mallys said dryly, “Hang around with the pokemon you tried to kill”.


    “Don’t be like that Mallys” Arceus said, “Mel is ok, we talked about it yesterday, but you weren’t there”.


    Mallys shrugged, “If you say so”.


    “So will you let me hang out with you?” Mel asked hopefully.


    “Sure” Arceus looked at the donuts, “It’s not like this is some super important quest, we’re just going places”.


    “Yes!” Mel shouted happily, surprising the two, “Uh, why don’t we put the past behind us and try this again, I’m Mel, nice to meet you”.


    Arceus stared at Mel for a moment, “I’m Arceus, nice to meet you”.


    Mallys said nothing, merely looking at Mel.
     

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