White Heart Black Bones [PG-14]
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January 27th, 2012 (2:33 PM). Edited January 27th, 2012 by OpenDoorLeia.
The Will of One
: This chapter might get a little bloody chaps, just a fair warning. Don't want any of you passing out over there.
Ghetsis treaded over the wasteland, shadowed by Team Plasma's dark castle; his figure defined by the gleaming squares of light set on the looming spires. The wind tore at his elegant robe and combed through his slick hair, jarring a few strands astray. His searing eyes were set on us in a steely half-gaze, with such crushing intensity I felt as if I was paralyzed from head to toe, and the feeling grew with each step he took. Perhaps I was imagining it, or maybe the environment was paying a good tribute, but Ghetsis looked exactly like the man who handed defeat unto me all those years ago. There was something in his eyes, something about the way he moved that filled me to the brim with both nostalgia and terror. I had to wonder, did I resemble the girl he defeated in the past, or did I look like someone who had awoken from their despair; someone who had thrown away a treacherous past?
Ghetsis finally stopped his approach, keeping a few yards distance between us. The wind suddenly cut out, smothering its howling moan, drenching the world in a veil of silence. It left only the sounds of my quaking heart and trembling breath audible in the gaze of that monstrous man.
"Well, well, well," Ghetsis's voice cut through the air as clear as a bell over the silent heath. "It seems the little mouse has escaped." His gaze focused on N, warping into a glare.
"I should have known you'd be responsible for this…" Ghetsis sighed at length, "You were always… defective" The tone of his voice and the emphasis on that last word made me cringe. I could hardly believe it; it was like he was referring to N as some sort of vermin. My eyes flicked towards the Plasma King who still stood unmoving beside me. I wanted to gauge N's reaction to those words, though I was hesitant to do so. I almost didn't want to see, but curiosity plagued me. I turned. At first, he seemed just as void and unaffected as ever, but as I continued to stare into that face I noticed a spark of pain flick across N's eyes which radiated the real truth. Those words were cutting deep.
"Hand her over and I may just over look this little blunder of yours," Ghetsis withdrew his hand from under his cloak and held it out as if waiting to be offered something.
"I won't do that," N responded, sounding more resolute than he looked. Ghetsis's expression immediately soured and his hand slowly clenched into a trembling fist.
"You have the nerve to defy me?" Ghetsis growled, "You're just a puppet, a disgustingly useless boy! You fool…"
"Shut up!" I roared, unable to listen to a word more. Ghetsis was silenced, at least for a moment, by the harshness of my voice. Although the fiery glare that seemed etched onto the lines in his face didn't falter for even a second.
N stared at me in bewilderment, "…Touko?"
"It's alright," I said, trying to stare down Ghetsis as best I could without having any painful memories return. I didn't want to look N in the eye again to only see more pain. "No one deserves to be spoken to like that N… I'm not going to let it end here…" I drew a Pokéball from my belt.
"Hah!" Ghetsis scoffed, "You're going to fight me!? That's a laugh!" Ghetsis echoed my actions, drawing a capsule from under his cloak. "Must I remind you about what happened last time we did battle!?" He sneered.
"Oh, I remember alright," I lifted the brim of my hat, revealing determined eyes. "And that's why I won't lose to you!
"Such insolence," Ghetsis huffed, "It seems I must re-teach you a lesson in failure." He called out his Seismitoad as our first opponent. The blue bullfrog-like Pokémon landed to the ground in a crash. A deep croaking rumbled out of its throat as it leered down at me with crimson eyes. I matched its hate-filled gaze while calling out my Lilligant, Ophelia. I knew I would have the advantage here since my Pokémon was a grass type and Seismitoad, being both a water and a ground type, had a huge disadvantage.
N, with Laika in tow, distanced himself from the battlefield. His fretful eyes never left my figure. For some reason he seemed deeply concerned about something, but at the time I paid it no mind. I was more surprised with N's leniency for this battle. He was actually letting me fight Ghetsis without a word of protest, though all the protest imaginable was reflected on his face. Perhaps he thought that I needed redemption, that I needed to reclaim my sense of honor. Or maybe he figured I was too stubborn to back down either way. Never the less, I was grateful for this opportunity. I wasn't planning on losing to this man a second time.
I started the battle off. "Ophelia, use Petal Dance!" A tornado of petals erupted from my Pokémon's body, spinning around her and expanding in radius throughout the battle field. The petals, a soft rose in colour, fluttered by my cheeks gently while they whipped passed Ghetsis with enough force to draw blood and tear cloth. Ophelia hadn't forgotten. Her scars were still fresh and she wanted vengeance. She rushed at his Seismitoad quickly, the flurry of petals condensing around her body as she approached.
"Dodge it!" Ghetsis barked but he reacted too late. Ophelia smashed right into his Seismitoad with terrible force, throwing it backward.
"Right on Ophelia!" I shouted in glee. But the light-heartedness of the moment quickly faded when Seismitoad began to pull itself up. I nearly choked on my own breath. How hadn't it fainted!? That Petal Dance had hit dead-on and it was still standing!? A quiver of fear rushed through my bones.
Ghetsis sneered at me, "Seismitoad, use Hyper Beam!" The lips of his bullfrog Pokémon began to emanate with light. If this attack hit then it spelt bad news for Ophelia and I.
My heart leapt, "Ophelia! Get out of there!" My words hit the air not a second too soon. Ophelia took a dive and the Hyper Beam rushed passed her, cutting across the ground—narrowly missing me—and shattering the earth below. I brought up my arms to shield my eyes from the dust and debris spewing from the point of impact. "Ophelia!" I choked out against the wind, "Are you okay!?"
Through the clearing smoke I caught a glimpse of my Lilligant staggering to her feet. The hyper beam had nicked her, producing a large searing tear in her leaf-like skin. "Are you alright!?" I asked hastily. The smoke would clear any minute and we only had a small opportunity to land another Petal Dance while Seismitoad was recharging.
Ophelia nodded and I called out the next attack, "Petal Dance, one more time!" The burst of petals that erupted from her body shot out at such high velocity that it tore through the dust which the Hyper Beam had created. She sped towards the Seismitoad and tackled into its bulbous figure, smashing it to the ground with a quake. The Petal Dance had made quick work of that amphibious monster, leaving streaks of red across its blue form.
I couldn't suppress an ear-to-ear grin. "Awesome Ophelia! We did it!"
Ghetsis cast a bitter glance towards his fallen Pokémon, returning it to its ball and drawing out the next fighter, "Don't get over confident."
"Eelektross, put an end to this foolish girl!" A black, eel-like Pokémon was called out, gnashing its teeth menacingly, charging the air full of electric current as its body writhed in the air. I clenched my teeth, remembering very well that Ghetsis's Eelektross knew Flamethrower. One hit from that attack and Ophelia would be out. But I didn't call Ophelia back to her ball. Out of the corner of my eye I saw N give me a confused look, but I had hatched a plan to take care of this serpent. It was a risky one but what's a good battle without its risks?
"Ophelia! Use Teeter Dance!" In response Ophelia spread out the leaves on her body and began to sway in a hypnotizing rhythm. Eelektross glared down at Ophelia's dance, and for a brief moment of terror I thought we had failed. But when the eel's head began to loll and it began to stumble to and fro in confusion I knew we'd hit the mark.
"Ophelia! Finish this with Solarbeam!" With her petals already drawn back, Ophelia took in the light from the distant sun, building it up on the large flower resting atop her head which would be the outlet.
"NO!" Ghetsis roared, "Attack her you useless beast!" but it was too distraught to hear a word he said and instead it hurt itself in confusion. Even if it had snapped out of its stupor it was already too late for Ghetsis. The Solarbeam blasted out from the flower on Ophelia's head with such intensity that the ground shattered underneath and burnt black with scorching heat. The attack hit, scorching deep into the Eelektross's skin, knocking it straight into unconsciousness.
Ghetsis glared at me with an unfathomable amount of hate in his eyes as his second Pokémon was knocked out. He scrunched his eyebrows together and seethed through clenched teeth like he was about to explode in rage. But instead of a huge outburst of rancid cursing and furious profanities, he sucked in a deep breath and sighed. His eyebrows unknotted, his jaw lax; he seemed to simmer down almost instantly.
"Impressive." He said simply, "I never would have expected you to have improved so much during your imprisonment."
I was too confused by his sudden mood switch to respond.
"What could it have been, I wonder." He continued to ponder while staring me down, "You certainly weren't training in all this time. Unquenchable spirit perhaps? A desire to overthrow my kingdom? … I should have put you down while I had the chance," Those last words were hushed, almost like he was talking to himself. I was still shocked. I didn't even know how to respond to what he was saying, but Ghetsis wasn't waiting for an answer.
"But none of that will come to matter. I plan to end this foolish game here and now," he drew another Pokéball from his robe. The wind stopped suddenly as if choked, and a hush settled over the earth. "Go, Hydreigon!"
In response to the beast's awakening the overcast sky became dark, and the frigid wind picked back up in a violent gale. Hydreigon rose up above Ghetsis. Three bulbous heads blossomed from its jet-black body, the trinity of them gnashing at the air angrily—eager for battle or the taste of our flesh. My heart fell right to my stomach.
"Use Fire Blast." Ghetsis commanded.
My heart nearly stopped, "Ophelia—!" But my Lilligant was left immobilized by the intense Solarbeam she had released; she was left wide open as she struggled to recuperate.
Ophelia was taken down in one brutal shot. The Fire Blast set aflame her leaf-like skin, spewing a sweet aroma from her burning body. I cried out her name but it was already too late. Ophelia had fainted. Unable to stare at her blackened body any longer, I returned Ophelia to her ball. I needed to call out another fighter. I couldn't afford to leave myself open. I was worried for my Lilligant's safety but I had to make an effort to settle myself down, telling myself over and over I would treat my Pokémon's injuries when the battle was finished.
It will be okay… It will be okay
, I repeated like a mantra in my head. I couldn't afford to lose my sanity now, no matter how difficult it was to hold intact. But as I caught sight of Ghetsis smirking across the battle marred earth, my morale began to break. He was mocking me. I could tell just by that snide look that he relished in my pain and distress. It was a deterrent, but I would not lose grasp of hope now. I still had five Pokémon to lay offence with! Sure, Hydreigon was tough but there's no way he could survive an onslaught of all my remaining Pokémon.
We can do this, we can do this
. The desire to keep going, to protect the people I care about or to avoid the pain of another failure, either one of those was the perfect fuel for my resistance. I would not lose here.
"Let's go, Hyle!" I sent out my Emboar. My lack of any ice type Pokémon meant the only immediate chance I had against Hydreigon was to use a fighting type. My fighting strength outnumbered Ghetsis's but I really didn't want to drag this battle out. I was starting to feel ill and a bit uneasy. So what better to do then launch a fully charged Focus Blast right in the face of that serpent? I just hoped it would be enough to take it down.
"Hyle! Hit it with a Focus Blast!" In response Hyle picked up particles from the surrounding air and condensed them into a ball of energy. He snorted out black smoke from his nostrils and hurled the attack straight towards Hydreigon.
"Use Dragon Pulse!" At first I thought Ghetsis had gone mad. He hoped to push away Focus Blast with an attack!? It seemed completely outlandish to me until I saw that this was no regular Dragon Pulse; this attack had the combined powers of all three of Hydreigon's heads. This was bad. I didn't know what to do at first. Actually I had almost blubbered out a bunch of random attacks for Hyle to follow, just out of the impulse of panic. But I realized that I would just have to hope that Dragon Pulse wouldn't overpower our Focus Blast. Sadly though, it didn't.
The attacks met in a massive blast in mid air; Hyle's Focus Blast immediately broke away, torn down like wet paper, which left the Dragon Pulse to proceed unhindered.
"Hyle!" I cried out my Pokémon's name, panic stricken. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what I should tell it to do. Hope was slipping from my grasp.
My Emboar put its hands out forward and actually blocked the assault. I reeled back, shielding my eyes from the intense power and light of the attack which my Pokémon was just barely staving off. The raw determination Hyle had to hold off the enemy to this extent shocked me to my core. My Pokémon's determination was infectious and sparked a desire for victory deep within me.
Hyle was willing to see this through to the end. I didn't doubt that my Emboar also carried scars from our last battle, but he still wanted to fight. I wasn't going to give up either.
We can do this.
I was about to call out another attack for Hyle to carry out, but before I even had a chance to form the words that would be the catalyst of our victory, Hydreigon turned its attack towards me. It was so sudden, so subtle, that I didn't even know I was being targeted until it was too late. I couldn't respond. I only had enough time to think that… I was going to die. But the feeling of someone throwing me aside changed the path of fate. N had foreseen Hydreigon's intent, and he had rushed out just in time to push me out of the way. He was hit instead.
For a brief moment I saw the desperation in N's ashen eyes; the sadness; the fear. I saw more emotions flash across those eyes than I ever had before. I crashed onto the ground and watched in horror as those beautiful eyes were torn down before me. N was hit with the pulse of energy, his hat flying off in the updraft; the attack tore deep across his body erupting forth a spray of crimson. He flew back, like some sort of rag doll—limp and lifeless like a corpse—and smashed into the earth in a dead stop. A red slash of blood connected to his broken body where he had plowed into the dirt, more followed from the wound forming a pool of red beneath. Ghetsis wore an expression of dumb shock before breaking into a fit of laughter. He was actually laughing, I could hardly believe it. But I couldn't react to that; I couldn't even move. Even my eyelids refused to shut. I just stared at N's body, almost expecting him to get back up and tell me he was okay. But taking another look at the blackened ground, stained heavily with his blood, I realized that wasn't going to happen.
"N!!" I shrieked against the wind: a voice filled with blind horror. I ran to him, stumbling clumsily on the ragged earth until I reached him. Still, he wouldn't move. I skid down to my knees, ripping the fabric of my jeans, and picked him up in my arms. His eyes were left ajar, diluted and unfocused like the eyes of the dead. Streams of blood trailed from his lips and down his neck. But the worst was at his chest, where the attack had hit. The Dragon Pulse had burnt the skin so intensely that the flesh had broken open. It was a searing gash running along his body, ripping his shirt down to bloody tatters. I choked on a wave of vomit, just barely managing to suppress the bile.
"…N" I choked out his name but he didn't respond. A crushing wave of realization fell down on me. He was dead.
"N! You have to wake up! Say something! Plea…" Something crashed to the left of me. Tearing my eyes away from N's carcass for a quick moment, I saw Hyle lying in a motionless heap on the ground. Up till this point he had been holding off Ghetsis's Hydreigon, but my Pokémon had reached his limit. Hyle had been knocked out. A red, whip-like beam of light shot out of my Pokéball, automatically returning my Emboar inside. Ghetsis's laugh filled the air as his Hydreigon loomed over us, snarling its glistening teeth. I reached for my belt, trying to grab hold of a Pokéball but they slipped out of my ensanguined hands.
"It's over, little girl" Ghetsis sneered, and I could see that he was right. Casting one last glance to N's body the realization came to me. This was the end. It was all over here. The person who I wanted to protect, more than anything else in the world, was now a torpid husk in my arms. It was over…
, I tried to tell him but my lips were sealed; my throat—frozen.
"Dragon Pulse, now Hydreigon!" A sudden flash of black appeared in front of me. It was Laika. She was standing in the way of the oncoming attack which had just burst from Hydreigon's maw. If she didn't move then she would be hit instead!
"Laika!" I gasped, "You have to get out of here!" She flashed me a smirk in response.
Suddenly her body began to glow in a brilliant white light. I flinched away from the intensity, looking back a moment later to see that Laika had transformed. The bipedal black fox that stood before me was anything but an illusion. Laika had grown to her next stage of evolution; she'd become a Zoroark. Laika brought up her newly gained arms and deflected Hydreigon's attack. I stared in utter shock as the attack rushed by, whipping my hair about my face as the pressure connected with a bang into the ground beyond.
"Touko…" I felt something grab onto my arm and looked down in shock to see N staring at me with smoldering eyes. "It's not the end yet," He sputtered through blood-stained lips.
A rush of emotion overcame me. A burning desire of hope blazed up from the depths of my heart.
This is not the end.
I reached for my belt and clenched hard onto a Pokéball, determined to not let it slip through bloody fingers, "Luca! Let's Go!" I shouted, calling out my battle scarred Bisharp. Laika sneered deviously and with a puff of black smoke, morphed into an identically marred Bisharp. "Attack!" Both Luca and Laika shot towards Ghetsis's Hydreigon, darting across the ground in a confusing zigzag.
Ghetsis clenched his teeth in frustration, not being able to tell which Pokémon was real and which one was an illusion. He left it at guess work. "Hydreigon! Fire Blast!" He commanded, pointing to the Pokémon steadily approaching from the left. Hydreigon responded by erupting a blast of flame from his mouth towards one of the Bisharps. Just before it hit, Laika melded out of her illusion dodging gracefully out of the way, twirling around the inferno in a graceful pirouette. Ghetsis had aimed at the wrong Pokémon.
"Luca!" I shouted as loud as I was able, "Use Iron Head!"
My Pokémon leapt up into the sky, leaning its head back before smashing its broken helm down onto Hydreigon's main skull. Ghetsis's Pokémon roared in pain as it crumpled down towards the ground: flinching.
"Finnish this with Stone Edge!" Luca landed, smashing the ground on impact, launching up thousands of projectile stones which whipped towards Hydreigon and tore it into submission.
Laika was by my side in an instant, tearing N's bloody body out of my grasp. He seemed to have fallen into unconsciousness. "Laika!?" I gasped in shock, "What are you…"
She interrupted me by placing a clawed hand on my shoulder. She stared at me hard before she set her eyes towards the massive black wall in the distance. I knew what she was hinting at. We needed to get out here. If we didn't make a retreat now it could mean N's death. With so much blood already having left his body, he wouldn't last much longer.
"Okay!" I shouted, scrambling to my feet. "Luca, return!" I called my Pokémon back to its ball, but not before I saw it sneer at Ghetsis, slashing its blade-like arm through the air smugly. It had got its revenge. After my Bisharp had been contained I hopped onto Laika's back, clinging to her scarlet mane. She took off instantly speeding towards the wall, crafting an illusion around us as we faded into the barren land.
Ghetsis watched the horizon with a hard stare. He didn't pursue or more accurately, couldn't pursue. Hydreigon had been his last Pokémon on hand and he had exhausted his strength during the fight. Whether he liked it or not, the white princess had escaped. What he dreaded the most had now been realized.
A flurry of Plasma soldiers crowded around their leader. "Lord Ghetsis, would you like us to lay chase to the escaped prisoner?" They asked him with a salute. Ghetsis cast a bitter glance towards his fallen Hydreigon which stared intently over the distant wall as if waiting for the return of his enemies.
"Bring them back here—alive." Ghetsis barked. The guards nodded about ready to take off when he spoke up again, "And one more thing. The N Harmonia accompanying the escaped prisoner is an imposter. You have orders to kill him." The guards hesitated, sharing a confused look. "An imposter sir?"
"That's right," Ghetsis growled.
The guards took off, following their orders.
…and the puppet king dies
I hid my face deep into Laika's mane as we tore across the landscape. She was a much faster runner then I would have expected, but I figured that was due to her newly evolved state. Once we reached the great, steel wall that bordered Team Plasma's castle, she leaped over it in a frightening bound. Though the wall wasn't as high as it looked from a distance, and seemed to be unguarded, the Zoroark scaled the border with ease and dove into the forests beyond. I tried to control my breathing and steady my quaking heart as images of blood danced in my head. I tried to cling to sanity until Laika could find a place to hide and tend to N's wounds.
We tried to distance ourselves as far away from the castle as we could, but the worsening of N's condition forced us to stop. The three of us found refuge in a small cave spotted in a stout cliff face, surrounded on all sides by naked trees and burly evergreens.
Laika and I nestled ourselves in the throat of the cave, glancing at the entrance nervously, as we set N's gruesome figure down on the cave floor. I scrambled to his side, trying to ignore my beating pulse as I tried to assess his condition. His expression was that of eternal pain. His teeth were grit together hard, his shuddering body was already drenched in sweat along with a coating of blood. His breathing was heavy, uncontrolled, and his face was flushed.
"N…" I whispered out his name. It was so unbearable seeing him look this way; the rawness of his injuries already had my head spinning. He continued to writhe on the cold floor of the cave, unable to hear me or even respond if he was able.
Laika faced me with a hard stare. Somehow, by the look in her eyes, I understood that she was intrusting the wellbeing of her master—no, her friend—in my hands alone. The Zoroark then stood up and headed towards the mouth of the cave.
"A-are you going to g-get help…?" I asked her shakily. She gave a quick nod in response before taking off into the darkening forest. A thick wall of storm clouds was rolling over the skeletal trees; a furious wind tore the stray leaves from the forest's branches and moaned through the lip of the cave.
I knelt down beside N, scanning him nervously, unsure of what I should do. I was panicked. I had never treated injuries before besides simple things like a scrape or a stovetop burn. And what was this! I stared uneasily at the small pool of blood accumulating around N's jittering body, trickling down from his torn skin. He needed professional medical help here. What could I do? My breathing became uneven, uncontrolled; I was losing it. N was going to die and it would be because I was too stupid to do anything. Even if I had beaten Ghetsis, even if we had escaped, if N died because of me I knew I wouldn't be able to handle the guilt. This boy's death would bring the despair back.
I contorted into a ball, hugging myself tight as I sobbed. "Why did this have to happen…?" I blubbered, clenching my brunette locks. "Why did you do this you idiot…?" I asked, as if the dying boy could give me answers. But I didn't need him to respond because the answer came straight to me.
This is not the end.
N did it to save me. He was the only one left in this distorted world who cared for a forsaken wretch like me. N had saved my life and I wasn't going to let his efforts go to waste. Just like when I stood on the edge of Team Plasma's castle, thousands of feet above the ground, a burning resolve sparked inside me.
N was still fighting. He was struggling to keep alive against any odds that decided to stack against him. And what was I doing?! Sitting here in the dirt, feeling sorry for myself, waiting for things to be done for me? No. I wasn't just going to sit idle and watch this boy die.
I'll save him.
I declared in my head.
I'll save him no matter what
. And no negative voice dared to defy me.
I tore off the tattered remnants of N's shirt and fashioned it into a sort of make-shift tourniquet, put in place to halt the bleeding or at least slow it down. I'm no doctor by any means but I knew I had to apply pressure to the wound so N wouldn't lose any more blood, although the streams of sticky crimson that soon coated my arms had me gagging; the metallic taste was even in my mouth somehow. The bandage was sloppy but it was better than nothing so I stuck with it. I could do all I could with my resources, but in the end it was up to N's will to survive. I just hoped he hadn't lost it.
After his bandages were applied I dove into my bag in search of some sort of medical equipment, or even some stray bandages that would serve better than a couple torn shirts. I came up with nothing but I expected as much. Although not medical supplies, there were a few spare clothes packed in with the clutter for both N and I respectively. Did Anthea and Concordia foresee the chance that we would escape the castle together? I gave them the quickest of mental thank-yous before turning right back to N, seizing his hand in my own.
"N!" I said his name with force, hoping to get his attention. His brow wrinkled for a moment before the eyes underneath fluttered open.
"N? Can you hear me?" His face unknotted and his fading eyes found mine.
"Tou…ko" He managed out a small smile, breaking the coating of blood that had crusted over on his lips.
I squeezed his hand tighter, trying to keep my voice steady, "Listen to me alright. You have to hang on, okay?"
His smile, unfaltering despite his pain, birthed a heartache in my chest. "It's…so cold…" His eyelids started to droop.
"Hey!" I shouted, clenching his clammy hand in my own. "You have to stay awake! Listen to me!"
I reached toward my bag with haste, pulling out an extra sweater and draping it over his body. I liked it better that way. It meant he didn't have to be as cold and I wouldn't have to see his grisly wounds. I started to talk to him. Mostly to keep my mind off any traumatic thoughts, but also so N could continually hear my voice. I hoped that having him focus on something would keep him conscious.
"It was a stupid thing you did back there you know," I smiled crookedly. His dull eyes were still on me, his hand still loosely entwined in my own. "Why did you sacrifice yourself like that…? Throwing yourself in front of Hydreigon's attack… taking the hit… I don't get it…" I was finding it hard to look him in the eye.
He coughed, "If I didn't…you would…have been hit," It sounded like he had to force the words from his throat. "I…couldn't…let that happen…to you…"
He took in a shuddering breath. It was clear that even those small words took a huge effort to say. A low rumble of thunder echoed above.
"Touko…my head feels…heavy…" His eyes started to close again.
"N!" I yelled, and when he didn't respond to my voice I resorted in smacking his cheek in order to get him to stay awake. His eyes fluttered open again, but this time strained.
"You have to hold on…" I pressed. The soft patter of rain began outside the mouth of the cave falling on grass and wooden limbs. Another roar of thunder resounded in the heavens. I turned around towards the entrance, hoping for Laika to return but there was no sign of her. I took in a deep breath.
I faced my dying companion to see his face wrought with agony. The pain from his injuries must have started back up again. I squeezed his hand tighter, cursing myself for being so powerless. If only I could do something to relieve his suffering. I noticed the roughness of the cave floor, the uneven edges and the clumps of raw dirt. Just looking at it made me think how uncomfortable it must be to lay there on cold, lifeless stone.
"I know you just wanted to save me N," I began, slowly lifting up his head and placing it on my lap. "But if I had lost you out there… I'm not sure I would have been able to… keep going."
I looked down at his face. His eyes were opened but they seemed unfocused. "Even now you could still…" I stopped, pushing the negative thoughts away, "That's why you have to stay awake… alright?" I tried to smile at him, hoping that he would see me but his eyes seemed so dull, like a mirror tarnished by time; his eyes seemed to grow darker.
"You mean… a lot more to me than anything ever has before…" Even if he wasn't able to hear me, I still continued. "You know," I whispered, grinning foolishly, "You're the only reason why… the sadness hasn't gobbled me up… yet." My eyes were growing heavy and my head began to droop. I was growing tired and all that running, not to mention the battle, at Team Plasma's castle had drained the life from me. I struggled to remain conscious, so I could be there for N if anything were to go wrong, but the pull of sleep was too great and I burned out.
I must have passed out for a length of time, that couldn't have been more than an hour. But I was jolted from my sleep by a deafening crash of thunder. A flash of lightning then followed, illuminating the lip of the cave and the figure standing there. I was on edge immediately, expecting Plasma soldiers or even Ghetsis to meld from the shadows. Instead it was Laika who came forward, utterly soaked in rainwater.
"Laika…" I gasped, "Did you find…?" Before I could finish that thought a small Pokémon waddled up beside her. It was an Audino. Laika gestured over to N who was still resting on my lap, his face tight in pain. He was still awake, thank Arceus. The Audino walked up and stared at him, as if measuring up the damage. The ringlets of fur under its ears twitched occasionally as it brought its head towards N's chest. It almost looked like a doctor using a stethoscope on a patient; I was in awe by it.
"Ah…!" I quickly reached for my jacket which still served as N's blanket. "The wound is under here…" After tearing off my softly stained jacket, I could see that the injuries had become worse. The gash was inflamed, bordering on rot and infection.
"You can heal him?" I asked the Audino breathlessly. I had fought this type of Pokémon in the past, if you could even call it a fight. Audino were healers. They would even go so far as to heal their own enemies before themselves. I had no idea where Laika had found this Audino, but it was just the miracle we needed.
Laika tore off the make-shift bandage I had made out of his clothes, whether or not it had helped in the long run was a mystery to me. The Audino closed its eyes, drawing in a deep breath before placing its hands on N's marred chest. The paws of the Pokémon began to glow a surreal shade of pink over the wound. N suppressed a scream though his clenched teeth while he lashed out in blind agony. Laika and I held his arms down while the Audino set to work. I held my breath as he cried, wordlessly in pain. I tried to block out the noise subconsciously but I had little success. The pink light grew brighter from behind closed eyes and I couldn't help but peek out to see what was happening.
I gaped in awe as the wound on N's chest began to close up under the Audino's paws, leaving the fresh vestiges of a large scar. N fell limp under us, heaving deep breaths through his lungs.
I was dumbfounded, almost on the verge of tears. The Audino sighed and looked up at us happily, a look which said 'everything is going to be okay.'
Laika stared at N for a long time before leaning down and nuzzling him softly with her snout: relieved. The Zoroark then locked eyes with me and … she actually smiled. It was a smile much different from any playful sneer she had given me before; it was a genuine thank you that resonated deeply inside of me. But I was too shaken up to even form a response, my lips felt like they were sealed with glue. Laika seemed to understand that so she collapsed down beside me, keeping her back towards me so I could use her red mane as a pillow.
"Thank you, Laika," I said.
The Audino, having done its job, turned to go.
"Wait!" I cried out, halting it. "You don't have to leave…" It looked back towards me questioningly.
"Please stay…I really…wouldn't want to send you off into that storm…" It flashed a small smile before waddling back over and taking a seat between Laika and I. Once we were all settled, I finally let my body have its rest because I needed it more than ever now.
Author's Note Part Two:
... Didn't think I'd actually kill him, did you? Ohoho, I certainly am not that cruel a person (obvious lie) Hoho~
Also, Audinos save lives. Just remember that the last time you level grind on Black and White. You monsters D: ALL OF YOU! MONSTERS!! ;___;
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