So Long, and Thanks For... well... Nothing (chapter eighteen - the eighteenth and final chapter of the story. there's still an epilogue, so sit tight.)
This is, by no means, the end of the story. Arceus, no. I left you in just about the biggest cliffhanger in history – something has to happen to the three victims of Mesprit’s lunacy, right? Well, something did. Rest assured, kids…
Three figures were lying on empty space.
It was almost as if an invisible floor was the only thing stopping the unconscious humans from falling into an endless spiral of white nothingness, the only thing keeping them up. All three were out cold – until one, a young boy with a bizarre brown ponytail of a haircut, brought himself to his knees.
The boy was breathing rapidly as his mind tried to recall what had happened a few minutes ago. He looked down at himself, and shook his head. An orange shirt, two brown stripes slashed across the back. Ripped blue jeans. Brown shoes. Caro could hardly believe this was even possible, much less happen to him. But since he had met Helio, all thoughts of being remotely normal were flung out the hypothetical window.
And Arceus only knows how this insanity replaced it.
He shifted his gaze over the white nothingness. He stood up. Too fast, apparently, as a headache began to pound in his ears. He looked over the two other figures lying around him – a blond-headed girl and a man with slightly creepy steel-blue hairspikes. Caro sat down and put his head in his hands.
He quickly straightened himself out as his ears picked up sound vibrations – music was playing. Somehow, someway, there was music playing.
The music got louder. And louder. Eventually, Kris came to, but quickly regretted it and put her hands over her ears. Her blond hair fell down to around her shoulderblades, and she was wearing a cream shirt. Her white pants were in much the same condition as Caro’s, as were the white sneakers she wore. She went over to inspect Cyrus. Much to her surprise, she walked over to him only to find that his eyes were, in fact, open. He had been lying there silently, unmoving.
The music, thankfully, began to get softer. Caro sighed with relief.
“That was good music, once you got past the volume, wasn’t it?” Kris noted. Caro rolled his eyes.
“Only Kris would comment on how pretty a piece of music was when it’s blasting our eardrums out of our heads.” He chuckled.
Cyrus chose this moment to confirm that he was alive. He got up and, finding no place to lean on, put his hands in the pockets of his jacket and looked around. The tall man’s face was, as usual, completely emotionless.
“Do you have any idea where we are?” Kris mused.
“I do, in fact.” Cyrus said blankly, not turning to look down on Kris but rather continuing to look around. “It seems to me that you two are going home.” Kris was silent, but Caro had to say something.
“Wait- what? We’re going home? Like, you mean, without you?” Caro pointed at Cyrus.
“No. Judging by the fact that I’m still here, I must be coming with you.”
Caro was silent. For once, he looked like he was thinking hard. Or reminiscing. Either one seemed appropriate. The oddly thought-provoking, reflection-inducing music in the background was not helping.
Caro suddenly noticed a bump in Cyrus’ jacket. “Hey. Helio.” He said. Cyrus glanced down at him. “Can I look in your pocket?”
“No… the only things of interest in there are my Pokeballs.”
“Oh, come on! Please?”
Caro frowned and walked over to him. Without warning, he shoved his hand in Cyrus’ left pocket and kept it there, no matter how hard Cyrus attempted to yank it out. Finally, Caro withdrew his hand holding a small piece of metal.
“What’s this?” He said in a cold voice.
Cyrus opened his mouth, but identified the item and closed it again. He did not answer after that. Caro looked at it again, and his eyes widened.
“I’m serious. What is this thing?” He rattled the machine.
Cyrus looked away, and whispered, “A bomb. And don’t shake it.”
Kris jumped. “WHAT?” She shrieked. “A bomb is… like… you use it to blow up things! And create a big old diversion! Right?”
“A bomb.” Caro said coldly. “What you’re saying here is that we went through Never-Turn-Back and then some, whacked around by a Legendary controlled by another Legendary who’s gone mad, met a woman who’s eyes look suspiciously like yours, been trapped by an Embargo, and been at the mercy of a fluffy little being of love, and you had a BOMB in your pocket the whole entire time?”
“That’s the general concept, yes.”
Caro made an unpleasant-sounding noise halfway between an agitated groan and a roar and flung the bomb over his shoulder. “That was completely stupid of you. How do you forget about a bomb in your pocket?” Caro growled, icy tone still present.
“For the first part of the second Incident-“ This was Cyrus’ term for what had happened a few chapters ago- “I had about as much of an idea as you did about what was going on. For the second half, I was hanging by my arms in a Machamp’s grip. I don’t see any bomb-flinging opportunities there. If you do, feel free to sha-“ But he was cut short by a deafening noise.
“FOR THE LOVE OF ARCEUS! DO NOT FLING YOUR EXPLOSIVE HUMAN MACHIENERY ANYWHERE IN NEVER-TURN-BACK, WILL YOU?!?” I appeared in front of them, distorting the whiteness.
(It should be noted by now that yes, I am the narrator of this story. The only part that was actually in real third person narrative was the prologue… from the first chapter on, it was me watching and narrating on a Word document. That’s where all of these side-notes came from.)
“Uh, excuse me for that.” I coughed. “First impressions, you know. Important things to consider.”
I was floating in air, though the huge black wings on my back were not beating. My body was mostly gray and was roughly fifteen feet tall. A black and red stripe went down my stomach and to the spine extension most people call a tail, stretching up my long neck (adorned with extremely cool-looking gold ring-shaped objects that thinned out near the stripe and thickened to the side) and the last black square’s color migrated to my head, which was, arguably, even crazier-looking than the rest of my body combined.
The first thing you noticed were the very large, thick spikes that stuck out on both sides and framed the head, with the effect of downturned ears. A crescent-moon shape was slammed in the middle of my forehead, same gold color as the headspikes. Attached to said headspikes were two long, golden horns, which stuck outwards from my head. Bright red eyes gleamed from behind the mask, set out on a dark gray face. I floated in midair, giant shadow-wings spread wide.
“I am Guardian Giratina.” I nodded my head towards the three people in front of me. Caro and Kris were dumbstruck. Cyrus was looking off into space, as usual.
“And you three are going to…” I returned all six legs to the ground and waved my wing, and a black clipboard with blood-red paper appeared to my right. The clipboard floated over to me as I scanned the paper on it. “Uh-huh… return trip… second time for Cyrus… yes. Okay.” The clipboard disappeared.
“Question,” Caro spoke. “How are you floating? You’re not beating your wings.”
“Well, that’s an easy one!” I smiled. “You’re in Never-Turn-Back! It’s the gray area between the Pokemon worlds – and where I’m in charge… I can do anything in here.”
Caro gasped. “No you can’t!” he said.
“Yes he can,” Cyrus replied, still staring off into space.
“He?” I groaned. “I’m a female, in case you hadn’t noticed. And yes. I can distort anything in this place, and make anything happen.”
“So, that music!” Kris suddenly remembered.
“Yes, I did that too. It’s called Un Monde Sans Danger. That means A World without Danger, I think…” I shrugged.
“I still don’t believe you,” Caro grumbled.
“What? You need more proof? Suit yourself…” I looked around (even though there was nothing that could help me), searching for something that I could use to prove my powers to Caro.
“Okay… let’s try a different musical number, then.” I thought for a few beats, swishing my large and extremely imposing wings in random directions (unfortunately, Cyrus didn't flinch every time I waved one near him). I returned to the big blob of white that was my little ground area, and thought. From the deepest depths of my cruel, cruel mind, I came up with something. “Ah! I have an idea.”
I spread my wings dramatically, and the sound of thunder crashed in the background… however, the ominous chord was quickly replaced with something a bit more light-hearted.
We're no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand…
I was roaring with laughter. “You, dear friends, have been Rickrolled!”
Kris was laughing so hard, she needed to sit down; I quickly provided a large and quite comfortable couch so that she didn’t crack her skull or something. Caro was performing a glorious facepalm with perfect form, and Cyrus was staring at me blankly. (I’d be willing to bet ten thousand Poke that he didn’t get the joke!)
“Can’t you do something a little more impressive than that?” Caro asked. I nodded, and took my thinking position again.
“Hair color? No… violent pink background? Nah, I don’t like pink…” Finally, my eyes fell on Cyrus. My cruel, cruel mind whirred into motion once more. “Perfect.” I chirped. After some brief evil grinning, I spread out my left wing, and Cyrus was raised a few feet into the air. (Yep, his face was still blank.)
“See Cyrus’ jacket? Right now, it’s the length that it is in most of the media. Most, except for the D-P Adventures manga, where it’s less of a jacket and more of...” Cyrus’ jacket promptly got longer, stretching down to his knees- “a lab coat. But I personally prefer the way it is in the anime and games, so…” It returned to its original length. As if this were not bad enough, writing appeared to the right of Cyrus’ head as if it were being written with a black Sharpie marker, right in midair:
“Not amused.” Cyrus certainly fit the description.
“Thank you for being the guinea pig, Cyrus,” I chirped. Returning my wing to its usual position, Cyrus unceremoniously fell to the ground again. The writing disappeared a few seconds later.
“Do you believe me now?” I looked at Caro expectantly. He frowned.
“How?” Caro asked.
“Magic,” I said quickly.
“Now. According to this here,” I waved my wing and the black clipboard appeared again, “you three are headed for Treasure Town. Your reason for departure from the current universe was… oh Mew.” My face fell as I quickly read the paper that had now attached itself to the clipboard. “That must have not ended well.”
As I said this, a blotch of blackness began to bleed across the white to their left as if it were paper that some moron opened his pen and dumped the contents on. “Meh, stinks to be you. Anyway, that portal over there’s yours. Go through, you three, go through…” I waved my wing again, with no odd side affects this time. Caro and Kris ran for it, but Cyrus took his time to inspect the portal before entering.
“Hey!” I shouted after them. “You might feel a little… tingling sensation, but it should go away in a few min-“ I stopped yelling a few seconds in, noticing the portal had closed when the words were halfway out of my mouth.
Thus accomplished, I returned to the ground and started talking to myself; hey, it gets boring sometimes being all alone in here.
“I don’t believe it. She was serious when she said that? But she must have changed her plans… if she did kill those three like she said she would, they would be somewhere else right now…” I shuddered. “I like it so much more here in Never-Turn-Back.”
I turned around and spread both wings out in a menacing manner; there appeared a giant television and a laptop on a desk. My wings turned into long, black, human-shape hands, and I waited for the saga to continue.
The fanfic section would love this.
The screen flickered to life, and I posed my makeshift hands onto the keyboard…
Three Pokemon woke up.
They were in a cavern, a very standard and ordinary one. The only thing that differenciated it from any other boring cavern in any other boring place was that there was a giant, gaping hole that went from the ceiling all the way up to the sky, where the sun was shining brightly.
Kris looked down at herself and smiled widely. Caro did much the same thing. They got up, ran around the room a few times, and began to do a strange (but extremely energetic) dance. Helio - Cyrus? – watched calmly from the shadows. As the two other Pokemon put on their whooping and screaming and general noises of delight, he couldn’t help but notice that faint voices were echoing from the only exit.
“Stop,” he told them, “and listen. Someone’s coming.”
“There’s a monster in there!” This voice was high-pitched and squeaky.
“A monster. Really.” This other one was extremely gravelly, like the speaker had a sore throat.
“Yeah! I-it was shrieking!”
Helio took the opportunity to glare at Kris and Caro, who had stopped dancing like idiots and were completely silent.
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Well, I did.”
There was one set of pawsteps and a lot of whooshing noises. Kris, Caro, and Helio backed away from the door, farther into the room.
“What is it?” the female voice asked.
“This,” the gravelly voice said, “is your monster.” Another whooshing noise, and something made of metal flew into the room. Helio aimed a magnet at it and brought the object closer, where he could identify it. Had he followed a different philosophy, his eyes would have widened in surprise.
This was one of his screws that had evidently come loose.
Helio silently scolded himself for not remembering to do a check-over as the conversation started up again.
“But… it made a noise,” the high-pitched voice whimpered.
“It might have come from a monster of some sort,” the gravelly voice continued, “but it has no life force of its own. I’d bet you 500 Poke that this thing came from a Magneton that entered this place not too long ago.”
Kris and Caro looked around, and their jaws dropped simultaneously.
This chamber was the very one that had sparked (no pun intended) their lifetime-amount adventure.
“Do you really think that came from Helio?” the high-pitched voice asked. Kris and Caro’s eyes darted over to the Magneton, who didn’t look back at them but stayed perfectly still.
“How should I know?” argued the rocky voice. “Besides, it isn’t important anyway. Helio’s gone. Dead, probably. So are the other two. There’s nothing here – we should take a different route.”
It was at this point Helio’s gaze slid over to meet the other two Pokémon’s scared faces.
Just how long had they been gone?
An Arcanine bounded through Treasure Town. Its broad paws pounded on the cobblestone walkway, not pausing for anything and swerving out of the way of other Pokemon. Everyone who saw him didn’t get mad – they were filled with excitement. Arcanines only come when there’s important news!
“No!” He kept shouting. “Do not follow me! I have private business!”
He did not stop until he reached a cliff face. Looking down, the Arcanine shuddered. The huge Sharpedo-shaped cliff and the water below made him nervous – falling in would spell death for him, ignoring completely his weakness to water. The Arcanine whimpered softly and jammed his eyes shut.
This continued for a few minutes until the large, cream-furred Pokemon could pull itself together. Shaking his head firmly, the Arcanine reminded himself of what he was here to do. Looking up, he swept his gaze over the cliff face, and finally found what he was looking for. Padding over to a large hole, he thumped firmly on the trapdoor over it. Immediately, a Raichu opened the door.
“Hey,” he said. “Are you here for anything?”
“Uh… yes. Yes I am.” The Arcanine nodded stiffly. “You are Caro, right?”
“Yeah. How come?”
“I have a message for you.”
“You don’t look like a Pelipper.”
“That’s because it is not ordinary mail.” The Arcanine handed Caro a thick envelope. The Raichu opened it, and his eyes widened. He scrutinized it for quite a while, until he came to an extremely educated and well thought out conclusion.
“This is in Unown runes,” he said rather stupidly.
“If I’m not mistaken, that Magneton who is staying with you can read them,” the Arcanine replied calmly.
“Oh yeah! Hold on a sec…” The Raichu nodded and scampered down the stairs. “Oi, Helio!” he shouted from the stairwell into the ‘house’. “Can you translate this?” The Raichu waved the letter in Unown runes in one paw. A soft whirring noise came from the hole.
“Where did you get that?” A somewhat-mechanical voice echoed from the unseen darkness beyond the Raichu’s fluffy form.
“Come up here,” Caro said, “and I’ll show you.”
Caro returned to the surface, along with a Magneton floating a few feet behind him. “Hello,” he said to the Arcanine in much the same tone as before.
“Hello.” The Arcanine nodded. “There should be a Persian here, too.”
“That would be me.” A cream-colored cat padded up to them from the hole. “What are you here for?” she asked.
“You three were sent to the human world a while ago, were you not?” They all nodded. “After… a quick departure, we were able to recover your bodies. They were, surprisingly enough, completely unharmed. You know what this means, don’t you?” The Arcanine probably thought that they didn't, and was about to give the answer.
“We can return to the human world if we wish,” Helio cut in.
“Uhh... Precisely. So I need you three to make a choice.” The Arcanine nodded. “Do you wish to stay here, or return to the human world and continue the life you began as normally as is possible?”
Aftermath of the Aftermath
(the epilogue - the part after the story ends. it's short. keep in mind this happens a few months after the events of Metal Coat.)
A lone figure stood on one of the numerous beaches around Sunyshore City, leaning against a cliff face. Anyone who noticed the sunset reflecting off of him would probably recoil immediately. Everyone knew who he was, and nobody liked it.
His hair was short, steel-blue, and in thick hairspikes. He was about as tall as an Arcanine (six feet), and leaned against the rocky cliff with his arms crossed. His face betrayed no emotion whatsoever. He was wearing black pants, and a gray jacket that mostly covered his white shirt. The sleeves on this jacket were black, and there were two gray stripes running around the jacket itself.
These stripes crossed over another pattern – it seemed to be the top half of a round-edged rectangle going around the back and sides of the jacket. A stylized image resembling the letter G was positioned on the jacket, near his left arm. A bigger version of it appeared on the jacket’s back. His face was narrow and pale, with protruding cheekbones. His gray, almost lifeless eyes stared ahead, not looking like they were doing anything.
Cyrus was, apparently, lost in thought. He was watching the sun set for no reason other than it was something to do.
It had been roughly two months since he’d left Treasure Town for the last time. Without meaning to, he often found mind wandering off to the Persian and Raichu he had first met a good ten years ago. Such is the effect after having experiences like that, I suppose.
That wasn’t like him – usually people he no longer knew faded out of his mind. The exception to this rule being his sister, and now Kris and Caro.
He was left thinking about this until the sound of talking reached his ears. Immediately, Cyrus became aware of the present universe (which he could live with at this point) again. Those voices sounded familiar.
As the voices got louder and eventually stopped, he glanced upwards.
A couple of teenage children were grinning at him from on top of the cliff. One of them was a boy, brown hair in a short ponytail, the other a girl with longer, blonde hair. They got up and scrambled down a natural ramp a little ways away, going as quickly as they could on the rocky surface without getting seriously hurt.
“Oi! Helio!” Caro shouted as they scrambled down the beach, eventually skidding to a halt in front of him. “We missed you. A lot.”
“And being in Treasure Town was a pain anyway.” Kris frowned. “Everyone kept commenting about where we were and where that old Alakazam in the corner of town went.”
“We told them he transported himself to a different universe to follow under a lunatic Mesprit,” Caro laughed. “They didn’t believe us. So we came here.”
“And how did you do that?” Cyrus asked.
“Somehow the Legendaries knew we didn’t really want to be in Treasure Town anymore and they sent another Arcanine,” Kris replied, shrugging.
“The word ‘somehow’ is not part of the Legendaries’ vocabulary,” said Cyrus flatly.
Mesprit sat alone in the Celestial Screening Room.
She was watching these three make their sappy reunion for lack of anything better to do; Zapdos had gotten so mad at Raikou for beating it at a thunder-striking contest that it had zapped a giant hole in Oort (the formal name for Up There, where she was now). Unfortunately, this giant hole happened to be in the generator that made Up There do all of it’s magical things (i.e., Arceus). This didn’t end well, as a nearby possessed Arcanine was quick to explain. Violently.
Unfortunately, while Mesprit was looking for the bathroom (she was barely ever up here and didn’t really know her way around) she had entered the Celestial Screening Room when Arceus locked all the doors. So she figured she might as well watch something… and these freaks came on. She tried to find something else, she really did, but apparently the rest of the universe was doing very boring things.
However, as she watched the reunion, she began to calm down again.
Because she was so calm, when the three down below all cracked simultaneous wide smiles and started laughing, she did too.
Because endings just always seem to happen that way…
Twenty minutes later, the most absurd traveling group in the history of non-comedy fanfiction were all sitting on the cliff face on which Caro and Kris were perched earlier.
“Well, that was fun...” Kris sighed. “I can’t wait until Giratina snaps.”
It was silent for a few minutes, until Caro took the liberty of shattering the peace. “You, my dear Kristopher, have some serious issues.”
Kris giggled. She and Caro then began to start laughing for a while, simply for the sake of laughing; I mean, think about it. You’ve just gone through the furnaces down below and back, been nearly destroyed by a Legendary with serious issues, and generally go through all the junk these guys had to go through. You really just have to laugh after it’s all finally over.
This holds true for everybody.
The two children fell silent immediately. Caro turned to Cyrus, who was sitting next to him. Caro raised his eyebrow and smiled smugly, looking as if he had won a bet.
“Caught you!” Caro snickered.
Kris turned to look at him, eyes surprised but mouth in a wide smile. “Nice try, Sir Stoic.”
“You really shouldn’t stare at people like that,” Cyrus said in his own special little monotone. “It is considered extremely rude in most cultures.”
And all three of them started laughing all over again.
Well, this is the end. The lights have been cut, the story reaches its conclusion, wallbreakery in the earlier chapters have been hopefully explained, the mandatory Not So Stoic moment has been achieved. With these goals in mind, I have successfully posted Metal Coat to most of its potential (no way am I going to run through it again to fix all of the spelling errors... before I rewrite it.) Thanks to Scales, Gooner, and Valentime for commenting - I appreciate it very much. There is now only one thing left to say...