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Devout (A Dark Nostalgia Short Novel)
Rating: PG-13 for language, violence, and dark/pseudo-religious themes
Basis: Pokémon Universe (including preexisting/original settings and characters, alternate realities/timescales, and divergent back-stories)
Author’s Notes: This fanfic was originally posted as part of my Odds-and-Ends thread several months ago. In the time since, I’ve decided to discontinue that project due to my lack of inspiration poetry-wise and redo this story as something all its own.
The gods of man… Icons, deities, and symbols all astray from a long-since forgotten truth… All cry blasphemy when that truth is spoken once again…
~Otulp, the Judge-Sovereign of Dark Nostalgia
Canersia stood alone on the upper rim of Sendoff Spring, his husky manlike form casting an ominous shadow across the pool below. Silently he watched, amber eyes glaring, as the landscape changed with the waning twilight.
The darkening woods surrounding the plateau were eerily quiet. Barely enough wind blew to rustle the leaves, much less to shift his heavy sheepskin cloak. No creatures, neither man nor beast, living or undead, wandered within a kilometer of this place. It seemed as though Death Himself had reaped the land of its very essence. Yet then, Canersia was not far from that stature. A pity some mortals didn’t show him more respect.
Slowly he turned his gaze downward into the basin. Nearing its heart, a pair of Bibarel swam idly through the pond. For a time, the beavers took no notice of his presence. But suddenly, one stopped and stared him straight in the eye.
“Hey!” she barked, “Who the hell do y’all think you are?”
In response, the monk raised his right hand, aiming the pointed claws on his fingertips directly at his onlooker. Their tips began to glow with a bluish hue, which then mixed with crimson and emerald sparks. Finally the auras transmuted into a globular mass in front of his palm.
“What do you reckon he’s doing?” her boyfriend asked passively.
As the sphere grew, Canersia opened the upper set of eyes atop his brow, focusing them on the twosome below. Black energy waves pulsed away from his body, intensifying the glow of his creation. Once it reached a meter in width, the beast clenched his palm to send the Plasma Bomb flying at his targets. Split seconds later, the Bibarel vaporized into nothingness.
“You never cease to amaze me, Canersia,” a man’s voice spoke to the beast.
An amorphous shadow appeared on the ground off to his right. Ignoring his ally, Canersia sneered upon seeing that the intact spirits of his victims still lingered. Placing his fingertips together, he huffed a banishing sigh and they vanished forever.
“However, Giratina is not just any ordinary Pokémon. The Renegade was the first outside of Chastity’s Domain to rise against Arceus. He wanted nothing to do with us in the Beginning Time, so why would he now?” the specter continued. After a moment, the monk’s eyes leered at the demon and he started to growl.
“So sure of yourself? Even a beast bound to the World of Beyi Quofyi may not be able to subjugate this monstrosity...”
Snorting, Canersia opened up a dimensional tear in the immediate time-space. Then he cocked his head back and cried to the heavens with his arms held out wide. A burst of light focused into a marble-sized point, releasing radiant beams of energy into the wormhole in front of Canersia as it condensed. Lastly, the monk closed his hands and the anomalies disappeared altogether.
The shadow creature prepared to leave Canersia to himself, when the monk gestured for him to stay with a simple glance. After fifteen minutes had passed, the earth heaved upwards and rocks tumbled into Sendoff Spring’s watery basin. During the quake, both Canersia and his partner could just vaguely hear the ungodly wails of the accursed monster residing in the ruins below.
“Perhaps I was mistaken…”
Canersia nodded, knowing well that this shallow display of his prowess had been uncalled for. But force always justified itself no matter the end result.
Exhaustedly the monk forced open another wormhole several feet behind him. His partner wasted no time entering the portal. Shutting his eyes, Canersia sighed to bid this universe farewell and backed slowly into the rift. Once inside, he sealed the tear in the dimensions seamlessly so that the others would not discover that he had been there.
“Two entities whom never should have met,” spoke the voice of a man throughout the semi-darkened plane of Nostalgia, “Cross paths in the Space-Time Rift, their strife tears at the very boundaries of Leyi Quofyi, damaging the physical realm beyond even Golbania’s power to mitigate.”
The coal-black silhouette of a wolf’s disembodied head slowly manifested itself, hovering more than eight feet above the lavender tiles checkering the ground. His brow was adorned with a golden crest that lay atop a listless pair of bloodshot amber eyes. Around the beast’s neck, he possessed a solid gold collar interlaced and bordered with silver. Likewise, his pointed ears both had several iron earrings the seemed to emanate an omnipotent aura in conjunction with his other jewelry.
“Brothers born unto Arceus, that b*stard child of Watcher Humility. Neither aware of their heritage, and never to know of my claims on their souls… That is, until now.”
“What is it you wish of me, My Liege?” another man asked behind him.
From a dark mass, a specter emerged off to the entity’s right side. Overall the phantom had a stout humanoid form with scrawny arms and no visible legs. Long black wisps flowed from the demon’s shoulders like streamers in the wind, as did a similar ash-white mane trail from his head. With a glint of lustful pleasure in his eye, Darkrai gazed over his jagged red upon the regal creature next to him.
Suddenly Otulp revealed one of his paws from underneath his transparent mane, a massive foot with devilish red claws. Just above it, Darkrai saw that he wore a silver anklet studded with several gold bumps. When the charm glistened, the ghost recoiled in utter terror as though he’s instantly relived his most horrific memories.
“Yi cu-seth lyi qual…” the beast reprimanded, glancing slightly towards him. As I speak, your voice is treason…
Withdrawing the appendage, Otulp stared longingly at the blackened skies overhead. Shirking his fear, Darkrai followed his master’s lead and did the same.
“Unbridled their chaos has reached a terrifying level. Inevitably, I fear that it may even consume this hallowed realm. And then…”
“Your Majesty? I don’t under…”
Flicking his ear, the wolf interrupted, “You have failed me before, Darkrai. Defecting from Canersia’s cause and seeking power all your own. Those who betray my will, betray Foremother’s as well. I am not of a mind to forgive that, you know?”
Gasping for a second, Darkrai watched as the beast twisted his neck down and bared his crimson fangs. Otulp’s exhales smelled of rotting flesh and the raspy whispers of past victims seemed to escape with each breath. No doubt the souls within his maw suffered excruciating pain beyond all fathoming, but was he about to be next…?
“I understand, My Lord,” Darkrai squealed.
“Canersia awaits, and the Renegade with him. Seek the Traitor at the misty pool, and I shall reaccept your loyalty,” Otulp continued.
Darkrai bowed and then listened at his master’s final declaration, “Never forget… Should My Memories die, so too shall all others…”
Once he’d gone, the beast sighed, “Woe unto them…for they have gone the way of Cain…”
The forests beneath Fogbound Lake were unusually quiet as Canersia trekked down their mist-strewn paths alone. As always, the monk welcomed the solitude. It was, after all, the way he had lived since being exiled from his pack centuries ago.
Slowly he approached the woodland’s heart. Numerous ponds surrounded the skewed statue of Lord Groudon situated right before the entry caves leading into the massive plateau, each filled by the deluges from the overflowing source above. The creature looked at the edifice only briefly, disgusted the God of Earth would be disgraced by his likeness in this area… But then, his wasn’t the only visage misrepresented.
Standing in front of a nearby pool, the six-foot-tall humanoid glared vacantly at the distorted image of himself with his four glowing eyes. Unlike the others in his tribe, The Ascetic had a less than perfected physique, not generally weak yet hardly muscular. His face had become fused with a copper mask that covered his real eyes and forehead, while on the reverse side he bared the ominous tattoo of a lupine pawmark with an amber-iris eyeball on its pad. He wore a heavy sheepskin cloak that otherwise enrobed his tan hide including the blackened ring around his neck and the triplet scars down his back given to him by his birth father. As final symbols of his religiousness, the beast wore silver bracelets around his wrists and his ankles.
“Are you ready?” his partner Darkrai beckoned.
Sighing, the beast clenched his fist and summoned a large golden rod with a violet orb at its end to carry. Closing his upper eyes, the wolf-man glared back at his comrade as if wanting to suddenly kill him for disturbing the tranquility.
“What’s wrong? If we do not start our mission soon, then…” the phantom hesitated. Canersia sneered, causing the sphere atop his scepter to glow brightly. Lashing it back over his shoulder, a stream of purple energy dropped from it as though it were a rope.
“You wouldn’t dare!”
Darkrai formed a black orb in his right hand. Canersia instantly snapped his whip and struck down his ally as cruelly as he could. Even with the Scepter of Death’s element-neutralizing powers, he knew Chastise still didn’t have the same potency on pure Dark Pokémon that it would on other species.
“Stupid questions from an ignorant mind. Am I correct, Canersia?” a terrifying voice echoed from all around them. The monk nodded as gallons of water drenched his cloak.
In the wake of the sudden downpour, the shadow of a massive serpent appeared. Its enormous form looked much like a thick tube that gradually thinned into a cone, with three spikes protruding from the sides of its abdomen. The demon also had six tendrils coming from what looked to be an exterior ribcage, and a triangular head that seemed to split in half as monster rose from the depths.
The creature slammed into the ground off to Canersia’s right with quaking force. Then Giratina let out a terrifying howl, intense pain surging as his transformation began.
“Damn you, both! How dare you question my logic?” Darkrai scowled, recovering from Canersia’s strike.
“Logic is exactly what you lack,” Giratina spoke as he finally adjusted to his earthly form.
Stomping forward, the half-upright behemoth eyed Darkrai with a spiteful grin. He spread his phantasmal wings wide and reached their blood-red tips towards him, readying to attack. Canersia howled just then to draw their attention.
“Nostalgia’s King has informed me well of the situation, but that does not excuse his arrogance!” the monster beseeched, “Do not forget; it was he who betrayed you and the Judge-Sovereign previously, not I.”
The wolf-man glared at them both, Giratina with his upper eyes and Darkrai with his lower ones. What Giratina said was true…and it happened in this reality’s timeline no less. Several years ago when they last faced Dialga at Temporal Tower, Darkrai abandoned Canersia mid-fight, leaving him for dead while the specter tried to decimate the structure itself. And for all the effort, the results were all fruitless to Lord Otulp.
Closing his eyes, Canersia huffed. Giratina nodded, as did Darkrai.
“We shall reconvene atop, then,” the behemoth spoke and then faded into the mist. Darkrai sifted into the earth and darted away as a shadow.
Canersia created an opening in the Time-Space Continuum. Wormholes were always an efficient means of travel, far more so than lumbering about the labyrinthine caverns here anyways. He gave a pleasured sigh, though, at the thought that he was the only of the three whom could precisely control their outlets. Also were this mission to be successful, they’d all have the full powers of the multiverse at their disposal.
The monk staggered awkwardly into the event horizon, his arms relaxed at his sides as he crossed it so he wouldn’t risk injury upon exit. He instantly emerged in a cavernous trail leading out of Steam Cave.
Despite general appearances, the area seemed quite serene. Jagged peaks gave way to a pristine view of the moonless sky. At the far end of the valley, a rocky lakeshore became visible with a luminous green upsurge rising near the water’s heart. Various dots of pink, purple, and blue flashed around the plume, giving it an even more ethereal appeal thanks to the Volbeat and Illumise whom lived here. To him, though, this sight was insignificant; geysers were geysers, nothing more and nothing less!
While Canersia began his approach, the ground suddenly heaved. Two sets of five elongated claws emerged from the earth near the outlet, followed immediately by the pair of large red mitts they belonged to. Grabbing the land, they virtually tore a fissure towards the intruding monk. However, as the ground split beneath his feet, Canersia made his body levitate safely over it.
“Infidel!” an angry voice roared, a pair of golden reptilian eyes peering from the crack, “You shan’t prevail!”
Irritated by his attacker’s conceit, Canersia summoned several orbs of hellfire to his sides. In a triad of rings, the ebony flames swirled around him until he neared his subterranean assailant. Then they launched toward the monster, hitting him in rapid succession. The beast gave out a horrifying cry, which was followed immediately by a thunderous rumbling.
Boulders rained upon Canersia and crushed him wholly save for his left forepaw that protruded from the pile’s lakefront face. For a moment, it twitched but then stopped and rested flat on the ground.
“Pity. I had no intention of killing you,” spoke a child-like voice nearby, “However, you left me no choice.”
Within a shimmer of light, the outline of a twin-tailed pixie appeared in front of the pile. The creature was no larger than a foot, with light-blue skin as well as a golden hemispherical crown and face. Embedded in his crest and fanned tail-tips were a matching set of ruby-like jewels that glistened as Uxie gazed down at Canersia’s palm with his twitching eyelids.
“But… Who were you?” Uxie questioned, shaking his head.
Suddenly something struck the imp from behind, forcing him to the ground. The whip snapped at his back again and Uxie’s entire body went numb.
‘How the hell did you escape that rockslide? It should’ve killed you for certain!’ the fairy screamed telekinetically, trying to breach Canersia’s mind. However, he realized how futile his attempt was; the monk’s mind seemed flooded by so many traumatic memories and built-up aggression that no other Psychic Pokémon could possibly infiltrate it.
Canersia approached the entity sluggishly, a little fazed by the assault he’d just narrowly evaded. The illusion he’d created for Uxie to witness while he counterattacked from the enemy’s blind spot finally vanished once he loomed over the helpless pixie. To believe such a frail thing was supposedly one of the three who kept Lord Otulp from entering this part of Leyi Quofyi unfazed.
The monk’s eyes locked onto the jewel in the imp’s brow. He recognized it immediately as a Nostalgia Crystal. Such jewels were rare and neutralized all feelings of lust, savagery, and anguish respectively depending on the type of shard; however, this one seemed different. Its source of power appeared to be Uxie himself!
Telekinetically raising his victim to about shoulder height, Canersia held out his right hand off to his side. As if from nowhere, a golden dagger materialized in his palm that he grasped onto firmly. The weapon had a straight blade with twin-edges and looked fairly medieval.
‘No! Stop! I…’ Uxie quivered as his murderer jabbed the knife deep into his forehead.
In unison, the victim’s eyes opened wide to reveal gold irises with a malevolent gleam to them. Unfazed, he twisted the blade and released the jewel from the Pokémon’s crest. Then he threw the weapon away, summoned the stone into his mitt, and let the imp fall to the ground lifelessly.
Giratina wailed behind the blockage, blasting away the rocks blocking the passage with purple fireballs. As the rubble fell around him and the dying pixie, Canersia deflected the debris with a psychic barrier. The behemoth ambled towards the two while Darkrai scooted ahead of him as a black wisp.
“Damnation! You finished him already?” Darkrai asked as arose from the earth, perplexed with uncertainty and rage.
“Strange. I would not think one of Arceus’s children to be so easy to kill,” Giratina commented. Canersia closed his eyes and bowed his head slightly. Even he knew that something had to be wrong with this situation, but what?
“Shall I dispose of the remains?” the behemoth commented, lurching over to Uxie’s body. The wolf-man nodded and turned for the lakeside. Immediately, the dragon snapped the imp up with his maw and swallowed the prey whole.
“Is this wise?” Darkrai asked as he followed Canersia, “His siblings are sure to notice his death, if not Palkia and Dialga as well!”
“I highly doubt that,” Giratina replied, “The first are not multidimensional beings as we are, and the latter cannot differentiate between the infinite realities as we can.”
He was only half right, of course. Canersia knew that the Mesprit and Azelf in this reality would notice their sibling’s death immediately; Palkia and Dialga, on the other hand, weren’t so quick to realize it, not likely until their mission was completed and Lord Otulp had been freed from the bonds keeping him from entering this reality. Yet still one entity remained whom could easily offset those factors, hence the urgency to destroy this gem before he had a chance to interfere…
Upon reaching the shoreline, Canersia threw the Nostalgia Crystal forward. As it plunked into the water, his allies growled fiercely at him.
“What the hell are you doing?” both then howled. A few seconds later, the jewel burst due to Canersia using Psychic on it. However, the explosion seemed to cause a massive upsurge from below, resulting in the creation of a huge watery column.
“Treachery!” Darkrai yelled.
Canersia summoned the dagger he’d cast aside moments ago to his palm again. As the gusher died down, the beast sensed a presence hidden within it. Instantly he opened his maw and shot a Hyper Beam at the plume’s top. An unseen force repulsed it at him, and forced the monk back several feet.
“Uxie?” Darkrai then asked.
“No! It’s Golbania!” Giratina roared, feeling bloodlust fill through his entire body.
The pale-green shadows of two serpents coiling around one another in perfect form lingered in the thick mist that briefly enveloped the bayside. At thirty-one feet long, any one of the quadruplets who made up the monster known as Golbania would have been a handful in his own right. Trying to handle two of them at once, though, was going to be pure suicide and all three of them knew it.
When the snakes halted their exalted motions, one head rested on top of the other and the second gazed inquisitively at Canersia’s party upside-down. They were almost completely identical, both having grayish-white faces with rusted bands around their heads’ bases and clouded silver eyes that accentuated their undead state of being. The only things setting them apart from each other were their respective markings; the upper one had a long V-shape extending from his mouth to his brow, while the lower one had an equilateral cross between his eyes.
“Yi quay-os…” the upper head spoke. As always…
“Sul-tok!” the lower finished. The traitors!
“Such gall from ones who would know, Sly, Chaste!” Darkrai chuckled.
Giratina spread his wings and shot fireballs at the serpents. Likewise, Canersia shot a second Hyper Beam. The moment the attacks connected, though, the snakes vaporized themselves into an all-consuming fog.
“Their ultimate defense?” Darkrai asked.
“No, but this can be just as dangerous,” Giratina bellowed, “I’ll draw them into my realm. The two of you leave!”
Canersia held his hand out to signal a momentary ceasefire and stop Giratina from charging into a full-blown trap. The monk sent out a weak pulse of psychic energy to detect exactly what Sly and Chaste were planning to do. As the pulse echoed back, he made the instant realization that they were about to wail. Immediately Canersia put up a defensive barrier around him and his allies with Light Screen.
“Vyi-tek mo!” Sly barked.
Then the serpent wrapped his large coils around Darkrai’s body and pulled the specter away from the group. Immediately, Chaste’s head reformed itself in the fogbank and let out an anguished cry that reverberated throughout area as well as the minds of the remaining group members. Canersia wasn’t as fazed but Giratina roared out in horrible pain due to Lamentation’s phantasmal basis. As soon as his brother’s attack ended, Sly threw a nearly asphyxiated Darkrai back at Canersia, who just managed to dodge the living projectile.
Hurting, Giratina finally gasped, “Get us…out of here…Canersia… We are…no match…for them!” Canersia concurred and forcibly used Teleport on the three of them to escape. Once they were gone, Sly and Chaste glanced at each other inquisitively.
‘They hunt the stones that keep Ah-kyi Os Beyi Quofyi under wraps…?’ Sly whispered to his brother telepathically.
‘Indeed, this is not good for anyone… They mean simply to cast ruination upon this realm as vengeance for Watcher Chastity…’ Chaste responded solemnly. Two additional snakes appeared from the pool as well, one bearing a pentagram on his nose and the other with an X-shaped marking under his chin.
‘They shall not escape justice this time… Serenity, with the star on his maw, commented.
‘Destroying two realities already and claiming it is to preserve the domain of Beyi Quofyi doesn’t justify killing the innocent, even if he sees them as opponents… Conviction, with the X mark, agreed. The foursome then faded into nothingness…
<End Chapter One>