Jal’tai emerged from his trance, having constructed and packaged a chain of memories to replace the ones that he had quarantined. The latios allowed himself a couple of minutes’ worth of rest before rising and returning to the table where his subject lay.
Once again, he entered the human’s mind and immediately sought out the chronological telltales that identified the memory that directly preceded the ones that he had locked away, showing him where the new memories were to be placed. Very carefully, Jal’tai implanted the chain, made certain its connections to the preceding memories were secure, and then exited the human’s mind once more.
The procedure was now completed. Anxious anticipation spread through Jal’tai’s nerves as he looked upon Solonn, wondering if the work that had just been done had secured the human as a successor or if it had done quite the opposite.
This was the moment of truth, Jal’tai knew—he needed to see if his interference with Solonn’s mind had robbed the human of the Speech. Focusing his psychic abilities, he stirred Solonn’s consciousness within the confines of liasa andielenne
but did not truly awaken it. The human shifted slightly in his shackles, turning his still-blank eyes toward Jal’tai. Solonn was now in a state in which he would respond to stimuli and commands while being utterly unaware of doing so.
“Solonn,” Jal’tai addressed him. He held up one hand and pointed two claws toward his own eyes. “What am I pointing at?”
Solonn maintained his empty stare at the latios for a brief moment. Then, “Vhekahr’syin sierahs hivhassen
,” he responded inflectionlessly.
, Jal’tai noted, unsurprised. Solonn had spoken his own language almost exclusively in all the time that Jal’tai had known him; he was not one to “show off” his linguistic abilities. However, this situation was one that required Solonn to do just that.
“Solonn, this time you will answer in my language,” Jal’tai instructed, then indicated his eyes once again. He had never heard Solonn speak in lati language and was certain that the former glalie had never done so. Jal’tai reckoned that if Solonn could respond in this language, it would be a good indication that his abilities had survived the psychic procedure. “What am I pointing at?” he repeated.
Like the last time the question was posed, there was a delay in Solonn’s response, but it was a longer one than before, making Jal’tai fear that perhaps the human would not be able to respond as instructed. But then, much to Jal’tai’s immense relief, “Catelisi adiele setali assiria
,” Solonn answered.
“Oh… oh, thank the Goddess!” Jal’tai exclaimed almost breathlessly, so overjoyed with relief that he broke into tears. The procedure was a complete success—Solonn now possessed memories that would allow him to accept his new purpose and had kept the skills that would allow him to serve it.
Jal’tai released Solonn from both the hypnotic state and liasa andielenne
then, allowing the human to lapse fully into unconsciousness. “Rest well, my boy,” Jal’tai said softly. “You’ve certainly earned it.”
Smiling, Jal’tai then turned toward his shrine to Rei’eli and drifted over to it. Once there, he reached down toward the potted autillia
flowers and closed his talons around a pair of them, allowing them to fall apart in his hands. He looked up at the serene face of his goddess as he held the handfuls of petals that he now clutched over the fountain, an almost rapturous gratitude showing through his features.
Jal’tai prayed silently and sincerely. With all my heart, I thank you.
With that, he let the petals fall from his hands, drifting gently down into the water in a symbolic return of the power that he believed that his goddess had lent him.
* * *
“…which came back negative, thankfully… Oh, look, he’s awake!”
Solonn awoke to the sound of the cheerful voice that had just spoken and was greeted with a somewhat blurry view of its owner: standing nearby was a chansey, who was looking at him and smiling. He also awoke to a splitting headache.
“Oh good, good!” said another voice, a much more familiar one. “Could you give the two of us a moment, Miss Teresa?”
“Of course,” the chansey replied amiably, then departed the room, her tail waving behind her as she waddled out of the room.
Groaning softly, Solonn rubbed his eyes to clear them completely, then cast a glance about himself, confused. He found that he was lying in a simple bed in a sterile, white room. He also found that he was not alone; seated at his bedside was an elderly man—Jal’tai in his human guise, Solonn recognized with a slight delay.
“Good morning,” Jal’tai said warmly. “Or, to be more accurate, good late
morning,” he amended with a chuckle. “Feeling all right?”
“Ugh… not really,” Solonn answered groggily. “Gods, my head hurts…”
“Hmm,” Jal’tai responded, sounding concerned. “Well, that’s nothing a little aspirin won’t cure, I’d reckon.”
Solonn cradled his aching head in his hands for a moment, hoping that he would be given some of this “aspirin” as soon as possible. “Where am I?” he then asked.
“You’re in the Haven, Solonn,” Jal’tai told him, “our city’s medical center. I brought you here after I found you unconscious on the floor in your suite. I’ve been so worried about you, my boy,” he said earnestly, concern etched into the deep lines of his aged, presently-human face. “You were out cold for nearly four days.”
With some difficulty amid the pain that wracked his head, Solonn managed to recall his last memory of being in that suite, of that evening when he had been suddenly stricken with a headache that was even worse than the one that he was suffering now and had subsequently passed out. “What in the world happened to me back there?” he asked. “Gods, it scared me half to death…”
“I’m afraid that what you experienced was a side effect of your transfiguration,” Jal’tai said. “That sort of a change can put quite a lot of stress on a body, and sometimes that stress can sneak up on you and hit you all at once—sometimes immediately, sometimes with a bit of a delay, but usually never.”
He sighed. “What you experienced is a rare occurrence indeed; I had truthfully not expected that it would happen. It usually only occurs in the wake of transfigurations performed by less-than-skilled users… I assure you that I am well-practiced in the art, but I fear that age may have deteriorated my skills somewhat. I sincerely apologize for the suffering this has caused you,” he said somberly, lowering his head.
“Mmm,” Solonn said dismissively. “Don’t worry about it. You said you hadn’t expected this to happen.”
Jal’tai gave a small, reserved smile in acknowledgment of the human’s forgiveness. “You’re too kind,” he said gratefully. “Anyhow… as I mentioned, this is a very rare occurrence, and as such, I don’t expect it will happen again. However, just to be safe, I have enlisted the services of someone who possesses abilities that should help to keep you relaxed and well in both body and mind. Her name is Neleng, and I have made an appointment for her to come and visit you tonight. She can also offer a session any and every night after if you so wish.”
“Okay,” Solonn said, grateful for anything that might prevent him from going through this unpleasant experience again.
Jal’tai stood then—or more accurately, his human mirage appeared to stand. “So, then. Do you think you’re up to resuming your education as a human?”
“Yeah… yeah, I think so,” Solonn answered. “Although I think I’d like to get some of that ‘aspirin’ you were talking about first,” he added.
Jal’tai laughed brightly. “Ah, good,” he said, smiling. “Yes, I think we can safely say that all the unpleasantness is behind you now.”
* * *
Not long after awakening, Solonn was released from the Haven. He stepped out into the early afternoon under an overcast sky. A light rain was falling, making pattering noises against the wide, burgundy umbrella that Jal’tai had given him. There was an identical umbrella in the hand of Jal’tai’s human mirage, but whether the latios was actually holding one or simply projecting an image of one and letting the rain fall on him without a care, Solonn couldn’t tell.
A long, sleek, black car waited in the parking lot in front of the hospital; as Jal’tai and Solonn reached it, a uniformed human stepped out of the vehicle and opened a door on either side in the back of the car for the two of them. Solonn took a seat within the car, while Jal’tai went around the back of the car and entered from the opposite side (though in actuality, he was only projecting his human mirage into the vehicle while he hovered above the car outside). The chauffeur closed the doors, then took his seat behind the wheel. Jal’tai’s mirage smiled at Solonn from its place beside him as the vehicle left the parking lot and set off toward the Convergence Inn.
Solonn stared idly out through the window during the ride, watching the urban scenery race past through a veil of autumn rain. As he did so, a most peculiar notion came over his mind: a sense of wondering how he had gotten there, how things had come to be just as they presently were. He was briefly puzzled by it, but then dismissed the momentary confusion as just some temporary malfunction of his mental faculties, some brief and harmless aftereffect of his recent malady that might never happen again. He gave it no further thought, just glad and grateful that the worst of it was over, and serenely allowed the wheels to carry him home.
*proffers basket of Visine* Heh heh heh…
It would appear that I have chosen to completely forsake both the “language consisting of the species’ name” route and
the “language consisting of animalistic cries” route. Fear not, though—for the record, something of one of those established forms of pokémon speech (specifically the latter version) is
kept in my fics.
In these fics, humans generally do not, for whatever reason, perceive pokémon speech as it actually is. What humans hear instead basically amounts to the pokémon cries as heard in the games (or more “lifelike” versions thereof, perhaps). This is why Oth is described as sounding the way it does when it speaks: it’s meant to represent the sort of odd, low, rattling cry claydol have in-game.
Please note that this does not mean that I demand for anyone else to handle pokémon speech the same way I do—I’m not going to give any of you or any other author a hard time about how you or they handle pokémon speech. I respect the personal preferences and choices of individual authors with regards to their own work.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the “glalie language” Solonn used was not Alvayan; it was just a native glalie-language, specifically that of the Virc. Although… it does
have a relation to Alvayan—but that’s a matter for another time. ;)
Next time: A new era will soon begin in the city of Convergence... See you then!
- Sike Saner