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Awakening, Pt. 2
Nicholas stared at the figures ahead of them. Just as he’d guessed, the humans had respirators on to allow them to breathe the highly pressurized air. But these weren’t just any cultists. Each were joined by a Sharpedo, and the cultists themselves looked much more experienced than the fodder Magma had had at Mt. Chimney. It made sense. The size of the submarine meant only the best of the best had been allowed to come.
He leaned back with a sigh. He couldn’t just walk out there. They’d know instantly that he wasn’t one of them, even with Marin as his disguise. There was only one way forwards.
Nicholas looked at Marin. “Ready?”
Marin’s lips curled back as she snarled. “Ready.”
Nicholas took a deep breath when he focused on Marin’s bond. This was going to be the fourth transformation he’d held today. He’d had time to rest between Mt. Chimney and now, but would it be enough?
Marin hissed as heat lanced through her body. Nicholas also winced as he felt the feedback. This was worse than with Bea. Much worse. Immediately he stopped sending power, gasping when the link broke. He opened his eyes to see Marin leaning heavily against the cavern wall and lowered his gaze. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for stopping?” Nicholas looked back up. Marin was glaring at him, and even though there was pain in her eyes it was drowned out by her frustration. “Why did you?”
“Didn’t it hurt you?” Nicholas asked. “It was hurting me.”
“It was. So what?” Marin forced herself upright and stomped up into his face. “Don’t tell me the Master I decided to follow is afraid of a little pain.”
Nicholas swallowed. She barely ever called him Master. “Marin, this isn’t like getting hurt in battle, or an injury when we fight each other, this is something that I’ve been told can destroy who you are. Erasing your very soul.” He shook his head. “I was warned that if there was any resistance whatsoever I should stop. I ignored that with Bea, and… I think I changed her in the process.”
Marin growled as she whirled away. “Then figure it out. Now.”
Nicholas began to. Why had he felt resistance from Bea, but still pushed through? What made her different from Marin?
He’d known Bea for longer. He’d come to understand and accept the parts of her that he didn’t like. Maybe that was it. No, they weren’t perfectly compatible. But they were close enough, and he was willing to ignore precisely what her mega evolution had caused her to become.
What, then, was his problem with Marin? Nicholas looked at the fuming Sharpedo. She was much newer, so he hadn’t had time to really understand her, but that wasn’t necessarily an issue. If he met a Sharpedo who was exactly like him he had no doubt they’d be compatible from the start. Time only mattered when forming the bond.
In that case, he hadn’t had enough time to understand Marin. Who was she? He thought about everything, from their first encounter with her as a wild pokegirl, her defiance, and continued to think as they passed the Weather Institute. She had always been testing him. But in that building, she had listened to him. She had, for the first time, accepted his command without argument. But that wasn’t anything special. He’d had many wild and feral pokegirls over the years. Eventually, they all listened to him. It was the inevitability of the power he held as a human.
Why, then, was he remembering this moment so clearly?
Marin could be heard growling low in her chest as she watched the milling figures ahead. She wanted to kill them. They were stopping her and her tamer. But he had, infuriatingly, made her wait. She could kill him, and be free. But she didn’t want to. He was the only one who’d ever been able to control her. She wasn’t going to throw that away.
Nicholas blinked as he realized. Marin had always been a predator. She fought to kill. In that moment in the Weather Institute, she was preparing to kill the cultists. Yet she’d turned away at his command. She’d turned away from her basic instinct because of him.
She was a killer at her core. That was why the bond between them was so tenuous. It was… like what he had felt in Mt. Chimney, watching Bea slaughter the Magma cultists. If he released Marin, people would die. Because of him. It wasn’t just a possibility this time, as Bea had made it out to be, or justice, as Elaine had made it, but the only reality that existed. Everything in this cavern would… die.
Marin glanced back when she heard Nicholas chuckle. He raised the hand with his ring on it, staring at it as he spoke. “You’re right, Marin. It’s my fault. I’m not like you, and that’s the problem. You and Bea, you’re meant for each other, truly. I hope you’ll allow me to continue to be the thing that grounds you both.” He raised his eyes from the ring to look at her. “I don’t know if I need to give you permission, but I will anyways. When I activate this, when I transform you, I release you, Marin. I release you from my restraint.”
Marin’s mouth popped open as his words sent a shudder through her body, ending with a tingling in her groin that was impossible to ignore. Then she began to glow.
Nicholas held his power steady. It wasn’t even like Bea this time. He saw the disconnect between him and Marin clearly, but the bond between them took a sharp turn and linked them anyways. Their souls were as far apart from each other as they possibly could be. But each had accepted that, leaning on the other to complete them. And that bond blazed brightly.
“They all talk about being my weapon,” Nicholas murmured, listening as Marin’s roar shook the cavern walls. Ahead of them the cultists sprang into action, falling back as their Sharpedo began preparing for whatever had made the noise. “They talk, and they talk.” Nicholas stretched out his hand, feeling as Marin slid past him. She had changed the most out of all of them, becoming something truly more. “But you, Marin… You, and Ryuko, the two of you don’t talk.” He raised his eyes. Marin continued circling him, her transformed body swimming through the air as easily it had water. “You are.”
The Sharpedo were waiting when they saw something dart around the corner. With battle cries the two fired blasts of water, engulfing the approaching threat for just a moment before Marin burst through. The first Sharpedo only had time to take in the strange thing bearing down on her before her head was flipping through the air. The second managed to scramble backwards, away from the flying Sharpedo as her brain finally realized what she was looking at. “I… Imposs…” she fell to the ground, the cultists behind her going through their own stages of denial as Marin turned to target the remaining pokegirl. “Not even Shelly can…”
The Sharpedo was torn in half when Marin blitzed past her. As Nicholas entered the room he watched one cultist commit suicide by tearing his mask off, taking deep breaths of the air before he grabbed at his throat, eyes rolling back as he collapsed. The other tried to escape but in a flash Marin was on top of him, the serrated spikes that had sprouted from every inch of her skin sinking into the human just from grabbing him. Marin didn’t even bother biting the human, dropping him to the ground to bleed out as she worked on finishing the bite she’d taken out of the first Sharpedo.
Nicholas watched her swing back around to the two Sharpedo. Upon mega evolving Marin had entered her aquatic form and seemed to have taken the technique he’d seen Shelly, Archie’s Sharpedo, use on top of Mt. Chimney to the next level. She was flying, or swimming, through the air. No bubble of water to help her. In addition to this overwhelming display of power Marin’s upper body had shifted slightly from her regular aquatic form. Becoming even more streamlined, and as she turned again he could see her eyes pointing straight forwards, effectively straight up if she had been standing. If that had been all she had received from this mega evolution she would have been terrifying enough. But she also had serrated spikes sprouting from her body, and every fin had grown a hard edge to it, wrapping her body in jagged armor. She was a killing machine.
Nicholas nodded further into the cavern and Marin took off without a word. He followed the trail of blood and corpses deeper and deeper, listening for the screams of Marin’s victims to keep him moving. He’d counted seven humans by the time he saw the cavern opening up in front of him.
Marin was hovering above him when Nicholas emerged into a massive chamber, her snarls rolling around the space. When Nicholas turned to look at what had finally stopped her he saw Archie.
The Aqua leader had one hand clutched to his respirator, the other to the anchor necklace he wore. And Nicholas could see Shelly, his Sharpedo, hovering in the air between him and Marin.
“Archie! Give up. Surrender the orb to me.” Archie turned when he heard the yell, his eyes narrowing when he saw Nicholas. “Every one of your subordinates are dead. You have nowhere left to run.”
“I came to this cavern knowing I would die,” Archie called, his voice muffled by the mask. “We all did. The pressure at this depth is killing us all slowly. But I came here for a reason.” He chuckled. “I remember you, tamer. I see you have good taste.” He released his hold on his necklace, putting his hand into his pocket and withdrawing the red orb. “I was tricked, wasn’t I? She hasn’t woken, even though I brought this orb here. I was supposed to bring the other one. Her power, not Groudon’s.”
Nicholas nodded slightly. “Yes.”
“Shame.” Archie turned to the center of the cavern. There was a large pool of water dominating it and Nicholas thought he could see a shadow in the middle. “I came here to die for her resurrection. I won’t let you stop me.”
“Marin!” Nicholas began running forwards but Marin’s attack was intercepted by Shelly. The two mega Sharpedo clashed, blood spraying through the air as they tore at each other’s bodies. Nicholas kept running, willing himself to go faster as he watched Archie raise the red orb above his head. “Don’t do it, Archie! She’ll awaken as a shadow of herself!”
“That was the plan all along, wasn’t it,” Archie murmured, staring into the depths of the red orb. “To eliminate us as harmlessly as possible. Well I refuse to let her victory be complete.” With a cry he sent the red orb sailing into the water.
Nicholas slid to a halt. As the orb got closer to the center of the lake a low whine began to be heard. When it reached the very center the orb exploded.
Just like the blue orb had, the red inside dissipated. But the power holding it, the primal energy, flowed down into the shadow beneath the surface. And it stirred.
Nicholas ducked when the dueling Sharpedo swam overhead, keeping his eyes on the approaching form. It was Kyogre. Of course it was Kyogre. Archie was laughing, the sound made even more insane by his mask. “Awaken, my Goddess. I am your loyal servant. Your jailer tricked me, and for that…” Archie ripped his mask off. “I offer my life.”
Nicholas whirled in shock as the Aqua leader stepped off the rock and vanished into the water.
“What the…?” he started to say before Kyogre sped up. In an instant she’d reached the sinking human and Nicholas paled when he saw teeth ripping Archie to shreds.
Above him Shelly stiffened as her tamer was killed. With a howl she dove, ignoring Marin completely as she went to attack Kyogre.
Nicholas staggered backwards when he saw the water Shelly was dropping into fall away. A gaping maw could be seen for just a moment before a beam of ice speared the mega Sharpedo through the heart and she went limp, falling into Kyogre’s jaws with a spray of blood. Kyogre’s body was growing. And quickly. At first the figure swimming in that ancient lake had been similar to what he had seen from Groudon. Seven, maybe eight feet. But something had happened. Kyogre’s body now stretched at least three times that size.
Nicholas screamed for Marin and began running. He knew what had happened. Archie had been channeling his power through mega evolution. By feeding himself to Kyogre, he had given her the origin energy she needed to become whole again. And Shelly, filled with that same power, had only accelerated the process.
Marin avoided another beam of ice and followed Nicholas as he sprinted through the underwater cavern. A quake shook the ground when Nicholas heard Kyogre roar behind them and increased his pace. Groudon had escaped her prison easily once she had been awakened. He had no doubt that Kyogre would do the same.
Nicholas released the transformation as they entered the opening the Explorer 1 had been docked at, Marin landing in her humanoid form already at a run. He immediately jumped into her arms, holding tight as she dove into the water and began swimming away. Behind them water exploded into the cavern, knocking the submarine away and sending it spinning to the ocean floor. As Nicholas clung to Marin he listened to Kyogre’s roars echoing through the ocean. She was free.
Marin took him into hiding for a while. He could feel the Sharpedo trembling as he pressed against her, nestled in a smaller opening in the chasm wall. They each listened as Kyogre’s roars slowly began to fade. And eventually, when the legendary could no longer be heard, Marin emerged and struck out for the surface.
They emerged into a night that was as bright as day. Helicopters circled, dozens of pokegirls and humans rode boats that covered the area, and as Nicholas raised his hand he saw a flying figure break off and swoop down to meet him.
“It’s him.” Nicholas squinted into the light as spotlights turned to cover him. “He’s alive.”
“Kyogre is…” Nicholas started before he felt someone grab his hand and pull him bodily from the water. Marin began to protest when she was suddenly surrounded by swimming pokegirls.
“Come, Lorekeeper.” Nicholas was still blind in the light but he heard the pokegirl holding him clearly as she began flying away. “My Master awaits you.”
“She will find you again.” The activity around them stopped as word was passed along that the target they had been searching for had been found. “Time is of the essence, and we cannot wait.”
Bea, Metagross (Alpha) – Level 46
Marin, Sharpedo (Beta) – Level 45
Elaine, Blaziken – Level 44
Morgana, Gardevoir – Level 41
Aria, Altaria – Level 42
Midna, Absol – Level 43
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5
It wasn’t long before Nicholas saw gleaming white cliffs rising from the sea ahead of them. Sootopolis.
As Nicholas’ ride carried him towards the ground he took in the beautifully hewn buildings around the interior of the crater. This had been where Steven was headed. In order to find Rayquaza.
The man himself was waiting when Nicholas dropped to the ground. Nicholas popped open his helmet, turning to take a look at the pokegirl that had carried him here.
Nicholas was shocked to see a Gyarados stepping away from him, her aura still shimmering across her body. A Gyarados had… flown?
She was a dragon. And she wasn’t the first levitating Water-type he’d seen that day. Well, Victoria was getting a new training target once this was all over.
“Nicholas! I assume you succeeded in your mission?” Steven asked.
“No. I failed this time, too.” Nicholas pulled the dive suit off. “I need Marin. I need all of my pokegirls,” he said to the watching Gyarados.
“She will join you, Lorekeeper,” the girl repeated.
Steven placed a hand on Nicholas’ shoulder and steered him towards a nearby set of stairs. “How did you fail?”
“Archie, the Aqua leader, is dead. He fed himself to Kyogre.” Steven went pale. “By doing so he has empowered her with the origin energy she otherwise would currently be lacking. I don’t think her awakening is complete, but she’s more powerful than Groudon.”
“Son of a bitch.” Steven glanced at the sky. Already dark clouds were rolling across the moon. “We need to hurry then.”
Nicholas followed him when Steven let go and began jumping up the stairs. “Where are we going?”
“To meet another piece of the ancient legend,” Steven replied. “Long ago, Sootopolis was said to be the place where Rayquaza calmed the primals. The people here still remember that.”
Nicholas stepped to the top of the path and nodded at the green-haired man he saw standing there. The man bowed in return. “Lorekeeper.”
“Nicholas, please,” Nicholas replied. “Who are you?”
“I am Wallace. Former Champion of Hoenn, and guardian of what you come to find.”
Nicholas nodded. “And what have I come to find?”
Wallace moved aside to reveal a small cave entrance behind him. “Enter, Lorekeeper.”
Steven started to follow but stopped when Wallace held his arm out. “I’ll… just wait here,” he called lamely as Wallace pushed Nicholas into the cave.
Nicholas slowed as he felt the air around him growing heavy. Wallace swept past him. “We have no time to delay, Lorekeeper,” Wallace chided. “Come. You must witness what lies here to understand what you must do.”
Nicholas followed Wallace further into the cave until they entered a large room. Crystals grew from the walls and ceiling and as Wallace raised his hand, Nicholas could see that they were all one of three colors. “What is this place?”
“This… is where the minds of the ancient primals are locked away,” Wallace said quietly. “The Cave of Origin. Champion Stone has told me of Groudon’s awakening. I assume Kyogre has followed. The orbs guarded at Mt. Pyre were the essence of these ancient pokegirls’ bodies. Here, we protect the essence of their minds.”
Nicholas slowly looked around. “The… statues, I saw, before they awakened, they were empty shells?”
Wallace turned to him with an approving smile. “You understand.”
“If their minds are locked away here how are they active?” Nicholas asked.
“Do you always need to think to breathe?” Wallace asked. “Neither do they need to think to move.” Wallace lowered his hand. “They will be drawn here eventually. Drawn by their desire to become whole.”
“I see… red, and blue crystals,” Nicholas said slowly, “and I expected those, but… I also see… emerald green.”
Wallace barely nodded in response. “You do.”
“I thought Rayquaza still lived,” Nicholas whispered. “I was led to believe she is still out there.”
“That was her intention,” Wallace replied gently. “The truth is that Rayquaza sacrificed herself to stop her rampaging sisters. Her mind rests here, forever guarding those of Kyogre and Groudon. None know where her body lies, or if it even exists at all.”
Nicholas slid to the floor. “It can’t be.” He began laughing nervously as the inevitable truth crashed over him. “It… It can’t be. She’s… dead?”
“I am sorry, Lorekeeper.” Wallace turned away. “This is why we have kept this secret from the Draconid clan.”
Nicholas stared listlessly at the cavern in front of him. It couldn’t be. Kyogre and Groudon had awoken. Nothing could stop them but Rayquaza. She was supposed to be stronger than them combined. How could it be that she had needed to sacrifice herself just to seal them?
Wallace remained silent as Nicholas staggered to his feet and approached one of the emerald green crystals. Nicholas slowly rested his hand on the surface, peering into the depths as he cried.
The whispers, the visions, her fangs, her voice. He had always believed that he was following pieces of Rayquaza towards a final truth. He’d thought that one day, he’d be able to face the legendary, to finally receive answers to all his questions. He hadn’t expected this truth. That at the end of it all, it was only him left. That the piece of her inside of him was all he would ever have.
He tumbled in his despair. It didn’t matter anymore. He couldn’t stop Kyogre and Groudon, even in their weakened states. It didn’t matter how much power he held. He was only human.
A sigh could be heard as air blew over the top of Nicholas’ head, his hair fluttering back. “Why do you cry, my child?”
Nicholas shot upright. He was still standing in the cave, his hand on the crystal. But everything had gone dark. He could only sense himself, and the crystal his hand rested on.
The voice came again. “Open your eyes.”
Nicholas blinked. His eyes were open. But after a few seconds he reached within himself and fed his vision with his aura.
A shimmering figure was standing across from him, on the other side of the crystal. And when Nicholas focused on it it smiled.
“Why do you cry, my child?” it asked again, and Nicholas grimaced when he saw who was standing before him. It was Rayquaza. As depleted as Kyogre and Groudon had been, but it was her. The visions he had seen, the power he had experienced, there was no doubt that this specter was the emerald dragon.
“Because you’re dead,” Nicholas replied bitterly. “Your sisters have been awoken and I failed to stop them. I failed you.”
Rayquaza’s eyes softened. “Oh, my child. To even be able to see me as I am now, I know you have not failed me. I granted humanity my power knowing that one day, I would no longer be there to protect them. I see that at least one of you has grown into a wonderful guardian.”
“Wonderful? I failed,” Nicholas spat. “Kyogre and Groudon are currently regaining their strength and causing destruction. I can’t stop them. I can barely slow them. Without you… Without you, everything will be lost.”
“So their seals were finally broken,” Rayquaza murmured. “But for this piece of me to still exist, the final seal must be intact.”
“Sure, but what good is that? Even mindless Kyogre and Groudon will destroy the world.”
“They will not.” Rayquaza smiled. “Humanity will survive, as it always has. Without their minds my sisters will not be able to command their powers fully. I knew that there was always the possibility of the seals breaking one day, so I used the last of my power to lock the most dangerous parts of them here, where I could watch over them. It will be hard, but I know you will lead the survivors into the future.”
Nicholas snorted. “There will be no future. This entire set of events was put in motion by a misguided Lorekeeper who saw you as our only hope. Even if Kyogre and Groudon do not become powerful enough to break the world, she speaks of a rock, falling from space, that will destroy everything. We have no hope without you.”
Rayquaza’s smile faded and she lowered her eyes. “So she has finally found me.”
Nicholas blinked. “What?”
“An ancient foe from another planet,” Rayquaza said. “What this Lorekeeper believes is true. She will destroy everything in her quest to destroy me.”
Nicholas began laughing. “So we’re done. Even if we survive Kyogre and Groudon without you, we’ll still be destroyed by your ancient foe. You sentenced us all to death.”
“I did what I had to to give this planet a fighting chance,” Rayquaza snapped. “I could not suppress my sisters forever. They would have broken free eventually, wiping the planet clean until I could suppress them once again. They nearly did, once, and it was then that I decided to give my life to stop them for good.” She looked away. “Yes. I knew that my foe might one day track down this planet. I was forced to choose between guaranteed, temporary destruction, and potential, complete annihilation. I chose to hope that destruction could be avoided entirely.”
“Well you rolled those dice and lost,” Nicholas replied, “and now I get to die fighting a hopeless battle without you.”
Rayquaza brought her eyes back to him. “There may be a way.”
Nicholas was getting ready to pull his hand away and break the connection but at Rayquaza’s quiet admission he brought his full attention to her. “What? What is it?”
“My body is dead,” Rayquaza explained. “But… if I had a new body…”
Nicholas swallowed. “A… new body.”
“It would have to be strong. Compatible with my power. Willing.” Rayquaza lowered her eyes again. “I would be resurrected, but someone would still die.”
Nicholas felt his fingers tensing against the crystal. He knew what Rayquaza was saying. But without her, nothing would be left. If he’d die either way… “Tell me how.”
Wallace watched as Nicholas laid his hands on the crystal, tears streaming from the man’s face. And then as quickly as they had come Nicholas blinked and his eyes were dried.
“Lorekeeper?” Wallace asked in surprise.
“I need to know where Rayquaza’s body rests,” Nicholas said, and as he turned to Wallace the man sank to one knee. Nicholas’ eyes had turned yellow, and green lines cracked the skin of his face. “You know where it is. She told me you do.”
“It is entombed south of here. At a place we call ‘Sky Pillar’,” Wallace replied immediately. “What do you intend to do?”
Nicholas pushed past him and as he left the cave the crystals that had shone green before were empty. “Die.”
Steven stepped back when he saw Nicholas emerge. “Nicholas? What…” he swallowed when Nicholas glanced at him. “What happened to you?”
“Groudon and Kyogre will be making their way here,” Nicholas explained. “Slow them. By any means necessary. Coordinate with Latios and Latias, send word to my harem. The legendary pokegirl Celebi calls me Master. Along with her is a clone of the legendary pokegirl Mew. They will help in my name.”
“Wait!” Steven reached out as Nicholas strode past him. “What about you?”
Nicholas pulled Aria’s pokeball from his belt. “Goodbye.”
Steven could only stare as Nicholas released Aria. The Altaria obeyed his short commands without hesitation and Nicholas was gone moments later, lost behind the great white cliffs surrounding the city.
Unseen by Nicholas or Aria, a speck broke free from the city and gave chase.
Aria silently followed Nicholas’ directions until a large stone tower appeared on the horizon. As they approached Nicholas felt himself slipping, the presence in his mind growing heavier. Almost. Almost there.
Aria landed on the top of the tower and released Nicholas before slowly backing away from the pile of rubble that dominated the space. Nicholas stepped forwards, tracing the broken segments of Rayquaza’s body until he came to her waist. Out of respect he lowered his hand before he touched the human torso there, using only his eyes to follow the rest. She was beautiful, Rayquaza was, and he smiled after a moment. He’d be giving his life to bring this being back. His only regret was that he wouldn’t get to feel her embrace. Maybe it was her fault that he lusted so heavily after draconic pokegirls, but that didn’t change what he felt now.
“Aria.” Nicholas unhooked his belt and tossed it to the Altaria. “Try not to act too stupid when you meet the rest of the weyr.” He turned away from her. “Goodbye.”
Aria dropped the belt and every pokeball activated, a rush of pokegirls reaching for him. “LORD!” “MASTER!” “NICHOLAS!”
Nicholas closed his eyes and placed his hands on Rayquaza’s stomach. This was the end for him. The end of his story. It had been fun. But everything had to end sometime. And he’d technically known his end was coming for a while now. The prophecy. In this moment, as he gave his life, and his body became the new host for Rayquaza, he would finally become as they were.
Error: Entry Not Found.
In the days that followed Kyogre and Groudon reached Sootopolis. Held back by the combined forces of Nicholas’ pokegirls and the Hoenn Elite Four they turned to circling the city, trying to break through the defenses.
The third day after Nicholas had vanished a green light shone above the city. Witnesses that day all say that what they saw was the emerald dragon, Rayquaza, descending from the heavens. And Kyogre and Groudon fled, the cataclysm they had been forming scattering with them. The world did not die that day. Those who remained dealt with their grief in their own way. An Absol took residence on the stone tower where Rayquaza was rumored to live, and it is said she became the legendary’s closest advisor. The two-time Indigo Champion was said to have retired to his home in Kanto, along with his harem, though nobody ever saw his Ditto again.
A group of six draconic pokegirls began traveling the world, proclaiming themselves as Rayquaza’s weyr. None could defeat them, though even Champions tried. Decades after the incident in Hoenn, a woman named Sabrina sat in a high-tech facility and cradled her firstborn son. She had never married.
Nicholas turned away from the image of Sabrina cradling his son in her arms. “I thought when you die you’re supposed to be judged for what you’d done in your life, not forced to regret what you never had.”
The woman sitting at the ornate desk in front of him smiled. “I’m sorry. I just really like this show.”
“A show, huh?” Nicholas looked around again. He was standing in an empty void, besides the images that streamed around him, and the woman and her desk. “I am dead though, right?”
“Oh, completely,” the woman agreed. “I wanted to grab your soul for a quick chat before letting you go.”
“Peachy.” Nicholas turned back to the woman. Well, the pokegirl. He was almost positive. Her body was human, sure, but she was just off enough to reveal her true nature. Light colored skin, long white hair, human ears, all of that was normal. But her eyes, for instance, had irises that glowed with a greenish turquoise color, and her pupils were not black, but a bright pink. Her hair was styled strangely as well. She had a short bob cut in the front, while in the back her hair was held up somehow to circle the crown of her head before cascading down. And above that crown of hair were at least a dozen pricks of multicolored light, swirling around and around.
The woman was still smiling as Nicholas looked at her and she interrupted his thoughts by speaking. “Such an interesting human. Even now, you are studying your surroundings. Tell me, why does it matter to you now? You’re dead. Soon you will fade, and return to the eternal cycle. The next time you open your eyes you will not remember anything you see in this moment, so why live in it?”
“I don’t have much else to do,” Nicholas replied. “I assume I’m only here at your will, whoever or whatever you are. Might as well make the most of it while I can.”
The woman laughed brightly. “Yes, that is right. That is why I enjoyed watching you so much. You are not afraid of your future. You make the most of every moment, every experience, without care for what may come next. Perhaps I might take offense of your probing eyes, and choose to erase you before you have chance to stand judgement. But you do not care. You understand that you have no influence over your fate and so you do not resist, you embrace it, and take pleasure in what you can.” She picked up a white clipboard from her desk and inspected it. “Tell me. What do you think of this body?”
“If I’d known a pokegirl could be this elegant I’d have searched until I found her,” Nicholas replied before his eyes widened and he slapped his hands over his mouth.
The woman laughed again. “Don’t bother. If I ask, you will answer. Do you wish to partake of this body with more than your eyes, human?”
“I do,” Nicholas said clearly, even though his hands were clasped tightly over his mouth.
“That is good. I will remember that.” She made a note. “Do you prefer your pokegirls to travel nude,” Nicholas’ eyes widened as he realized that until this point, he hadn’t been able to comprehend anything below the woman’s face, but at her words a pair of large, firm breasts emerged from the blank nothing, “or clothed?”
“I… do not have either preference,” Nicholas managed. He dropped his hands. “What are you?”
“I am what you believe I am,” the woman replied. “I can be everything or nothing. That is why I am asking you now what you see me as. For our next meeting I would prefer to have the answers already.”
“But… I’m dead,” Nicholas said. “You said that after you let go of my soul I’ll forget all of this.”
“You will. I will not,” the woman said with a smile. “Come now, answer me. We may have eternity to waste but I am eager to watch your story continue.”
Nicholas felt numb. “My story… continue?”
“I have taken great interest in you, Nicholas Topolski.” The woman leaned forwards, a teasing smile on her lips as her breasts swayed over her desk. “This was the original ending. But I want to see a different one.”
Nicholas mind went blank. He vaguely was aware of the woman standing and walking out from behind her desk, her asking questions, his mouth responding on its own, as the woman’s form became more and more tangible. By the time she had reached him he could see a pure white suit jacket with brilliant golden highlights hanging open over a black bodysuit that left the woman’s hips and thighs on full display. “Now, then,” she murmured, and Nicholas felt himself falling when she gently poked his forehead. “Show me a new ending.”
Bea, Metagross (Alpha) – Level 46
Marin, Sharpedo (Beta) – Level 45
Elaine, Blaziken – Level 44
Morgana, Gardevoir – Level 41
Aria, Altaria – Level 42
Midna, Absol – Level 43
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5
“LORD!” “MASTER!” “NICHOLAS!”
Nicholas closed his eyes and place his hands on Rayquaza’s stomach. This was the end for him. The end of his story. It had been fun. But everything had to end sometime. And he’d technically known his end was coming for a while now. The prophecy. In this moment, as he gave his life, and his body became the new host for Rayquaza, he would finally become as they were.
But for some reason, he hesitated. He had no reason to. He knew this was his fate. But even still, almost as if fate itself was holding him back, he hesitated.
Nicholas’ eyes popped open. His pokegirls had reached him now and he felt their hands on him but they couldn’t make him budge from his position. The new voice, however, had interrupted him.
Zinnia slid from her Salamence and moved slowly towards him. “Don’t do this, Topolski. This should not be your fate.”
Nicholas chuckled to himself and Zinnia came to a halt when she saw how deeply Rayquaza’s essence had fused with the man. “Unlike you, Zinnia, I understand my duty. All you have achieved is to make the world suffer. I will save it.”
Zinnia laughed and lowered her eyes with a bitter smile. “You’re right. You’ve always been right, and I’ve always been wrong. I do not deserve to live.” Nicholas was turning his attention back to Rayquaza’s body when she spoke again. “You do. I have betrayed us all. Let me die.”
Nicholas blinked. Zinnia’s Salamence had turned away, leaving only the young woman to face him now. “What did you say?”
“I was listening. I heard what you said to Champion Stone. I… I had no idea, that Rayquaza was dead, but…” Zinnia raised her eyes to the broken body Nicholas was touching. “Now that I know, it all makes sense. Why I could never hear her voice. Why she… why she did not save my mentor.” Tears filled Zinnia’s eyes. “I am no Lorekeeper, Nicholas. I am a failure.”
Nicholas pondered her words. They were so familiar…
Zinnia blinked when she heard the sibilant hiss come from Nicholas’ mouth. Slowly she reached and placed her hand on his arm. Nicholas felt Rayquaza’s presence shift and Zinnia gasped, her eyes widening as she felt her Mistress for the first time. After a few moments Zinnia stumbled backwards and Nicholas felt a great sadness in his mind.
“Tell her,” Rayquaza whispered to Nicholas, “tell her what must be done.”
“Are you sure?” Nicholas asked. “You said if anything goes wrong, there will not be a second chance.”
“She has a resolve as great as yours. She believes herself to be already dead,” Rayquaza whispered. “Allow me to do this for her, as the only gift I can give such a broken daughter.”
Nicholas swallowed and let go of Rayquaza’s shattered body. “Zinnia. What you heard, I came here to sacrifice myself to resurrect Rayquaza.”
“I would die so she can live.”
“I understand,” Zinnia said again. “Look after Aster for me, would you?” She turned to her Salamence. “I named her after my mentor, because part of me always hoped… Always hoped that when that Bagon came to me the day after she died, it was her.” Aster didn’t move and Zinnia turned back to Nicholas. “What must I do?”
Nicholas felt Rayquaza’s presence ebbing slightly and he beckoned Zinnia closer to the shattered remains. “I was just going to go for it, but if you need to prepare… Your body will become hers. You must accept that. If you try and resist, even slightly, you both will be lost.”
Zinnia looked like she was thinking about something and Nicholas blinked when she bent down. Her shoes came off first, then she carefully removed the twisting emerald dragon from her shin, then he coughed and glanced away when she began stripping her clothes off.
“Ah… as you can see, I didn’t think that was necessary,” Nicholas said nervously.
“If there is the risk that they will give me any hesitation I will remove that risk,” Zinnia replied and Nicholas kept his eyes averted when she placed her hands next to his. “What now?”
Nicholas closed his eyes. “I say goodbye.”
Zinnia’s breath escaped her body as she exhaled for the last time. When she breathed in, it was the essence flowing from Nicholas that filled her.
Nicholas kept his eyes closed. He could feel everything anyways. The dead body under his hands, the live one drawing power through it. He could ‘see’ as Rayquaza’s presence left him, and Zinnia’s was slowly consumed.
He stepped back when the last of Rayquaza’s essence had left him and he opened his eyes. Zinnia’s body was glowing, and spreading across the body her fingers touched were cracks of green. Nicholas raised his hand to his own face, feeling the smooth skin as he watched Rayquaza’s remains crumble to dust.
Then, suddenly, as the rest of the stone that had once been Rayquaza disintegrated. Zinnia’s arms fell.
Nicholas felt fear flash through him for a moment. What had happened? Had something gone wrong? But he had no reason to fear because as Zinnia’s body began to crumple it also began to swell.
Nicholas staggered backwards along with his harem, retreating from the expanding figure in front of them. A few smaller pieces of rubble that hadn’t crumbled rocketed outwards as Zinnia transformed and the shifting flesh removed anything in its path.
Nicholas lowered his arms when felt the presence in front of him. As he watched the light began vanishing, flashing down the length of Rayquaza’s body until it reached her torso. When it did it all vanished in one large explosion, leaving the towering legendary in its place. Nicholas took a half step forwards in awe, gazing up at the emerald dragon, when something made him stop.
Tears fell from Rayquaza’s eyes, glittering in the pale moonlight.
Midna crept closer to the man seated at the edge of the tower. Nicholas raised an arm without looking at her and Midna took it, snuggling against him as she joined him in his vigil. To their right the rising sun cast its brilliant rays over a world no longer in peril.
“The apocalypse has been stopped.”
“You feel it too, then?” Nicholas stared out over the ocean. “Rayquaza has reached Sootopolis.”
Midna ran her fingers over his chest. “I did not expect my new Master to go to such lengths to prove me wrong.” Her fingers clenched together, drawing in his shirt as she pressed herself against him as much as possible. “I swore that, if I was wrong, I would never leave your side.”
“Guess I’ve got a new pokegirl, then,” Nicholas muttered. “I wonder if Steven ever sent word to my harem on the Battle Frontier. Rayquaza returned within an hour.”
“One of them would have tried to contact you, Master,” Kalmiya said from his waist. “I have received no communications. Not even from Steven Stone.”
“He thinks I’m dead. He probably addressed Rayquaza as me, if he tried to talk to her at all,” Nicholas replied. “I think… I’d like to keep it that way, at least for a little while.”
“And when he decides to inform them of your death?”
Nicholas winced. “Send a message to Miyuki and Dahlia, please. Tell them that I’m fine, no matter what they hear.”
Kalmiya giggled. “I will do so.”
“I wonder what they’re doing out there,” Nicholas sighed. Aster had chased Rayquaza as she flew to intercept the approaching primals and he’d seen no sign of her since. “She’ll return here. Right?”
“I’d assume so.” Midna turned when she heard someone approaching. “Alpha.”
Nicholas turned to Bea. “Hey, Bea.”
“Master. Where is Marin?” Bea held up the belt with all seven pokeballs. “Her pokeball is empty.”
“She’s fine.” Nicholas grimaced. “I don’t know exactly where, but she’s fine. She was with me last night, right before I was swept off to Sootopolis.”
Bea nodded. “As long as she’s safe.”
“As long as you’re all safe,” Nicholas replied. “I… stopped thinking, for a little while. I’m so thankful to be able to see you.”
Bea smiled and squatted next to him. “We are too, Master. What would we have done without you?”
“You’d have survived. I know you would,” Nicholas replied. “You’re all so strong.”
Bea chuckled and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, Master. But we prefer to survive with you.”
“I don’t intend on killing myself without reason. You have to admit.” Nicholas turned back to the ocean. It was so beautiful, with the sun’s rays dancing across the waves. “This was a good reason.”
Bea didn’t reply, choosing instead to stand and return to where the others waited. Nicholas cuddled Midna’s head in his lap, taking to stroking the Absol’s hair as they waited for Rayquaza to return.
It was late in the day when Nicholas saw something on the horizon. A minute later he could make out individual forms and frowned. He’d thought the large blob had been because of Rayquaza’s size, but he could make out four forms, even with Rayquaza being the massive one in the middle.
His confusion vanished when the approaching pokegirls came in for a landing. Latios, Latias, Rayquaza, and Aster touched down together, Rayquaza coiling her body as best she could to give the others space.
“Welcome back,” Nicholas said. “Did everything go well?”
“Without their minds my sisters were easy to manipulate,” Rayquaza replied. “I have sent them to slumber again. I will not, however, seal them again. It did not work before, so I hope that a new solution can be found.”
Nicholas looked between the four dragons. Latios and Latias were glancing at each other. “What ideas do you have?”
“Everything in its own time,” Rayquaza said. “For now, I assume you are eager to return.”
“Not… exactly,” Nicholas admitted. “I’m still a bit shaken by what almost was. And…” he looked at Aster, the Salamence’s eyes perpetually locked on Rayquaza, “some of us are still grieving for what was lost.”
Rayquaza bowed her head. “Yes. All of us are.” She kept her head bowed for a few minutes before straightening again. “Because of the choices I once made, many humans have died. And now, one who is very precious to me has been taken. I cannot trust my own choices anymore.” Nicholas’ eyes bugged out when Rayquaza’s body began to shimmer. She shrank, her coils sliding into themselves as the legendary approached Nicholas’ height. “Zinnia had faith in you, Lorekeeper Nicholas. She died believing you would right her wrongs. She is gone now, but her memory lives on, within me.” Nicholas took a step back when Rayquaza’s form, already small, began to warp… and a moment later Zinnia stood nude in front of him. “I believe I should have faith in what she did.”
“MISTRESS!” Rayquaza didn’t even flinch when Aster slammed into her, making it very clear who the human girl in front of him still truly was. Rayquaza glanced down at Zinnia’s body, ignoring as Aster sobbed and pawed at her, and with a light grunt brilliant emerald wings sprouted from her shoulder blades and a sinuous scaled tail sprouted from just above her ass.
“Why did you take her form?” Nicholas asked.
“I cannot trust my own choices anymore,” Rayquaza repeated, “and the truth is, even as powerful as Zinnia truly was, she was not enough to complete my resurrection. What I did today has drained the little true power I had. My true form… before long, I would not be able to sustain it anyways.” She dropped to one knee and Aster quickly mirrored her. “Before this choice is lost to me, I pledge myself to you, Lorekeeper, Nicholas. My Master, and if you will accept me, my tamer, until I can have faith in myself once again.”
Nicholas’ legs gave out when Aster parroted Rayquaza’s words. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am.” Rayquaza reached forwards and helped him get back to his feet. “We shared a mind for a time, do you remember? I saw all that you are. I believe what I saw is worthy of my faith.”
“I am what I am because of you,” Nicholas gasped. “I can’t be your Master.”
“Why not?” Rayquaza smiled. “Celebi calls you Master, and you do not believe yourself to be over her.”
“I… I mean…”
“The time of humans serving pokegirls has long passed,” Rayquaza said, looking behind her. Latios and Latias had dropped to their knees as well. “In the name of Zinnia, and in the name of Rayquaza, I name you, Nicholas Topolski, Lorekeeper of the Draconid clan. We serve the Lorekeeper.”
“We serve the Lorekeeper,” the other three chorused and Rayquaza got to her feet, the others following after a few moments.
“All of you?” Nicholas barely whispered.
Latios glanced away with a sneer. “I serve the Lorekeeper,” she reaffirmed. “But I will not be yours.”
“Neither will I,” Latias said gently. “With your blessing, we will be the guardians we once failed to be. The cults are fractured. With the right hand, they can be rebuilt into something good. Forces to serve Kyogre and Groudon, and to contain them.”
“You’ve decided all of this already,” Nicholas said in disbelief. “In… what. Hours? You’ve formed a plan of this scale?”
The four dragons went silent. It was Aster who broke it by shuffling forwards. “M-M-Mas…ter…” She swallowed. “Master. Please. Mistress Zinnia wanted me to be yours. But… I will only join you if you allow Mistress Zinnia to come too.”
Nicholas slowly turned his full attention to Rayquaza. “You’re not Zinnia.”
“I share her memories,” Rayquaza replied quietly. “No, I am not the human woman named Zinnia. Aster knows this. I know this. You know this.” Rayquaza took a deep breath and matched Nicholas’ eyes. Zinnia’s eyes, but they were Rayquaza’s as well, a blessed Draconid’s eyes, something Zinnia had always prayed for and never received. “By your blessing, Lorekeeper, Rayquaza will die again today. And Zinnia will live forever.”
Nicholas looked around. His harem was all clustered together, hardly daring to make a sound, and he turned back to the waiting dragons with a sigh. “You truly loved her, didn’t you?”
“We both did,” Rayquaza replied quietly. Aster barely nodded, her tail nervously playing with Rayquaza’s.
“You know. If she had been a few seconds slower, or if I hadn’t hesitated, you would still have her,” Nicholas said. “Don’t you hate me for that, Aster? Rayquaza?”
“If it had been you instead of Zinnia, I would be comforting an Altaria, a Dragonite, a Gyarados, a Tyranitar, an Ampharos, and a Dragonair,” Rayquaza replied softly. “Through you I would have most likely been reborn completely, and Zinnia no doubt would have stood at my side. But I still would have lost a child I dearly loved.” Aster bowed her head as Rayquaza chuckled. “I can never hate the one who I have left for not being the one I lost.”
“I… still have my Mistress,” Aster said to the ground. “She is different now, but… she’s still here. I don’t hate you for the choice she made.”
Nicholas stepped forwards. “Well I can hardly deny you after hearing that.”
Rayquaza let out her breath when Nicholas embraced her and after a moment Aster joined in, the three standing together for a while until Nicholas spoke again. “What do I call you?”
“Rayquaza dies again today,” Rayquaza reaffirmed. “I am your pokegirl, Master Nicholas. My name… is Zinnia.”
“I’m Aster, Master Nicholas,” Aster whispered. “I’m glad to be with you.”
“I’ve never met a Salamence with such attractive green scales,” Nicholas teased and Zinnia smiled into his shoulder. “Thank you both. I am lucky to be the tamer of such a beautiful couple.”
Aster’s face began to flush and she fidgeted. “Couple?” she squeaked.
“Your Mistress is a pokegirl now. A ‘Salamence’ just like you,” Nicholas chuckled, releasing Zinnia and watching her begin to rub against Aster’s body.
“Zinnia… I… have always loved you, Aster,” Zinnia whispered into the Salamence’s ear. “Will you be my mate?”
Nicholas was left holding nothing when Aster threw herself backwards and Zinnia gave chase, stalking the panicked Salamence until he saw the look in Aster’s eyes switch from distress to desire.
Nicholas jumped when the two slammed into each other, seeming to be fighting for a few moments before they threw themselves from the tower.
“HEY!” Nicholas raced to the edge and peeked over. The two were falling, locked together, until just before they crashed against the jagged island below their wings flashed out simultaneously. Nicholas watched as the pair rocketed over the ocean, shredded pieces of what had likely once been Aster’s outfit swirling through the air.
“Oh, Lady Rayquaza seems to be having so much fun,” Nicholas heard Latias sigh and he turned to see the two remaining legendaries smiling at him. “I would like to have some fun, sister.”
“So would I, sister.” Nicholas had nowhere to go, trapped at the edge of the tower, as the twins approached him. “Shall we… celebrate the Lorekeeper’s victory?”
“I think that sounds like a wonderful idea,” Latias breathed, one of her arms wrapping around Nicholas’ back to keep him from accidentally falling while the other began feeling his body. “What do you think, Lorekeeper?”
Nicholas chuckled as Latios mirrored Latias’ position. “I’m wondering if this tower has any beds?”
Bea, Metagross (Alpha) – Level 46
Marin, Sharpedo (Beta) – Level 45
Elaine, Blaziken – Level 44
Morgana, Gardevoir – Level 41
Aria, Altaria – Level 42
Midna, Absol – Level 43
Zinnia, ‘Salamence’ – Level 70
Aster, Salamence – Level 62
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5