<What?!? No...No no no! That can't happen! He's too strong to fall!>
Lilac whimpered, her telepathic voice directed at the Glaceon, Iyoku, Sevi...All present except for Nazo. <He...It's so unfair...He's died twice already...How could Arceus be so cruel?>
Lilac was fighting the tears coming to her eyes, whilst Sevi had long since given in, slithering off to a corner to weep for the disaster her mate had wrought. She so desperately wanted to go over to the sky blue hedgehog, who had since collapsed onto his side from exhaustion, foam dripping from his mouth as pain rippled through his body in visible waves. She didn't know if he was still with them, however...His eyes were cloudy, and seemed blank, yet she knew very well she was not an “eye reader”. He could be there, in his right mind, or he could be a loony. She just didn't know.
Perhaps Yaiba was not as sensitive to the emotion in Lilac’s voice because he and the others saw death on an almost daily basis. However, that did not make it any less sad. He watched as Iyoku recalled Flash, Kiyo and Shourai to their Poke Balls, putting them in his bag, then he looked at the Glaceon. Was there really nothing she could do about the situation? He could sense there was something different about her, but was unable to place what it was.
Lilac paced, turning to look at Iyoku. <Can't you use that Aura healing ability? That should work!>
She added on, silently, that it had to work. Houndour were known to be loyal to their trainers, and Lilac was no exception. Her body trembled with both fear and rage, the latter due to her anger that nothing could be done. She had never felt so helpless, or a situation so hopeless.
Iyoku frowned, wondering to himself if there was anything he could do. My Aura abilities are drawn on by my own body…
his thoughts ran through his mind, keeping to himself, I could try, but I don’t want to overexert it, or the consequences could be… very bad.
Looking at Nazo though, he knew he had to try. He walked over, and put his hand over the sky blue hedgehog’s head; the space below his palm beginning to glow with the same light blue tones as before. <I’m not sure if it will get rid of the disease, but it will definitely help,>
he said, feeling his own energy slowly beginning to drain.
At first, Nazo wasn't sure what had happened. He was hardly aware of Iyoku approaching, and jumped slightly when he felt energy beginning to travel through his body. Thankfully, his own power source decided to work together with the new energy, helping to further alleviate the pain. It was still evident, but not to the point of agony as it had been mere seconds before. Opening his foaming mouth, he attempted to thank Iyoku, but was utterly crushed when the only sound that emerged was a mix between a gurgle and a squeak. He cursed himself silently - if only he could get a better hold on telepathy, he could tell Iyoku via his mind.
The Glaceon sat down, watching the two. She could tell they were close, and had a bond much like family. She did not want to think of what would happen if Nazo did indeed die. Thoughts flowed through her mind while her dark, crystal blue eyes looked out the cavern entrance as she pondered a way to do something; she would be able to completely heal the disease, but it came with an important and possibly dangerous revelation. One that she wasn’t sure she should be revealing yet, if ever. If it turns out to be the wrong people, all that we’ve worked for will go to waste...Jin has warned about what will happen, however, not even he or Mitsumae could name specific events.
Iyoku was aware the Ice Type was watching them, but he still concentrated on finding where the pain was originating in Nazo’s body, hoping to further prevent it.
By now, however, Nazo was already drifting off into unconsciousness, fighting with every fiber of his being to stay awake. He wasn't worried about dying in his sleep; he was more worried about what he could do when out cold. His own energy was depleting itself rapidly, and the hedgehog felt undeniably weak. This blasted...Virus. It is...Making me weak...
He appreciated Iyoku's efforts, but he didn't want him to waste any more of his energy on him. It was clear to him it was exhausting Iyoku, and he didn't want anything bad to happen to the young hedgehog.
Iyoku frowned, noticing that his energy was also slowly beginning to regenerate now as he went. If I cut down a little bit, I can keep it up, but only at a rate so that my energy replaces itself as fast as it disappears.
He didn’t notice that the Glaceon’s eyes were glowing a faint light blue, and she hoped that if Sevi or Lilac noticed, that they would have the sense to hold their tongues and wait.
Neither had noticed the Glaceon's strange ability, too transfixed on the scene going on in front of them. Nazo shifted, closing his eyes and concentrating despite the fatigue that clawed at his body. They watched as before their eyes, his Aura began to change, dissipating into his body and concentrating on his scar, which had attained a slightly brighter glow. Without the white sheen around his body, his true pelt color could be seen - it was a bit paler than one would have thought, comparable to a clear blue sky in the morning that had not fully attained its deep color. The reason for his Aura disappearing was that Nazo was now concentrating his depleted energy, attempting to aid Iyoku combat the rabies virus. His energy was tremendously powerful, but it used itself up much too quickly. This was why he tired so easily when using his abilities in combat. Before, his body had been wasting it, using some to attack the disease while getting rid of the excess. Now, his immune system was putting all of it into effect.
The Ice Type noticed the Aura around Nazo had dissipated, focusing around the crescent-shaped scar on his forehead. She, cautiously at first, let more of her Aura flow so Iyoku could channel it and help to heal the other hedgehog. Iyoku however, had begun to suspect something; his Aura would not have normally regenerated that fast, and he had a strong suspicion that the Glaceon had something to do with it. Either way though, now was not the time for an interrogation.
The hedgehog arched his back slightly as pain rippled through his body once more, and his own energy abruptly cut out, his scar shedding its glow to reveal what it truly was. Contrary to what a scar normally is, it was not exposed skin. In fact, the fur had grown back white, not the same as his pelt. He was exhausted, and finally let the chains of darkness pull him into the sweet release of unconsciousness. His eyelids slid down over his clouded eyes, and his body went limp as his breathing very nearly ceased. Lilac whimpered, knowing that the chance of him waking up sane was very low.
He had every feeling that continuing to try was futile now, considering he was also exhausted. Iyoku – with a telepathically audible snap – cut off the stream of Aura that he had been using, and quickly sat down. His ears pricked slightly as he heard Lilac’s whimper, and knowing what it was about, he felt inclined to, unfortunately, agree.
Lilac padded over to Iyoku, curling up next to him with an audible huff. <I'm scared, Iyoku. More scared than I have ever been. Even losing my pack was nothing compared to this. I'm worried for him. I'm worried for us. He could kill us so easily...And no matter what he does, he's still going to die. No one will win...>
Her telepathic voice was soft, and completely crushed of any hope that had previously been in it. It hadn't worked. Nazo seemed to be worse off now, what with no visible Aura (she could not sense any inside, of course), and his breathing had become barely noticeable now. He must be exhausted himself.
The grey hedgehog was silent, contemplating what to say. He knew she was right though, and anything else would seem like false comfort, so he remained quiet. However, upon hearing about her having lost her pack, he said, “If you don’t mind, would you be able to tell me what happened to the rest of your group?” He knew that many Pokemon were social creatures that formed several community settlements of sorts, and those groups were often made up of families, close friends and relatives. Houndour were one of the obvious pack-runners, and they had fantastic teamwork in hunting and running down prey.
Lilac lifted her head, before sighing and laying it back down, her purple eyes focused on nothing in particular. <What happened? We got into a fight over territory with a pack of Arcanine and Growlithe. We had an extra type, but they were stronger in strength. We were crushed. The brutes didn't stop there - they chased and killed any of us they caught.>
It was at this point her voice took on a bitter tone. <It was like... They were possessed. By blood or fury, I don't know. The battle shouldn't have ended that way - rival packs don't kill each other. That's not how we work.>
Oftentimes, rival packs would join together to face a bigger threat. Even when not joined, they were patient with each other, only attacking to the point of controlling territory. Those Pokemon had killed in cold blood, and she didn't know why.
Iyoku was silent for several seconds, contemplating what to say, and then he replied, “Well, while I can't say I know what that would be like...But the behaviour of those Arcanine and Growlithe sounds alot like the way Shadow Pokemon in the future act.” He shook his head as he recalled their jagged, sinister silhouettes, “Nothing like that is a pretty sight is all I'll say.” He didn't want to give anyone any nightmares by describing how they acted and what they looked like; they were that gruesome. If there ever were a such thing as evil Pokemon, the Shadow Pokemon were a perfect fit to the label. Although, by the way that Lilac had described the way the Arcanine and Growlithe had attacked, he could tell that they, thankfully, weren't Shadows. At least, not yet.
Lilac was silent for a few moments. <So...They are turning into Shadow Pokemon?>
A shudder ran through her spine, stopping once it had shaken her tail. <Either way, they are probably frozen in time now...My pack lived in the same forest that was frozen over. I found Nazo when I was wandering around. It seems fate has played a vital hand in bringing all of us together. You from the future, me from a dead pack, and a living ghost.>
She cocked her head, as if puzzling something. <Living ghost? That's kind of a contradiction, isn't it? Unless you consider Haunter and the like - but they've always been strange.>
Iyoku sighed, “Maybe true that they’ve been trapped in time, but if they had begun to turn so early, then that means it’s only a matter of time before Shadow Pokemon become more rampant. Eventually, others will turn as well.” He thought for a few seconds about Lilac’s second statement, however, what she said about the Ghost Types caused him to recall how much had changed from this time to the future; for they were just one of the many types that had gone extinct. The only kinds that existed anymore were dual Ghost Types, such as Sableye or Haunter.
Lilac cocked her head to the side. <Turn so early? What do you mean?>
Her eyes trailed over to Sevi, who had coiled up in a mass of depressed scales. Her eye could be seen, and it was fixated on Nazo. The Houndour knew the Seviper was waiting for him to wake up - but Lilac also knew that in her depressed state, Sevi failed to realize just how dangerous that waking may be. How long had the hedgehog been passed out? Lilac couldn't figure it out - this cave blocked out any sense of time passing.
Iyoku was silent for a few seconds, trying to think of a way to explain the concept to the Houndour so that she would understand. “Before a Pokemon turns, before it completely loses its reason, it will act in such a manner as the Arcanine and Growlithe you described. However...” he trailed off for a few seconds and then continued with an uneasy shake of his head, “When the process is complete, they are worse off. It's as if they have no soul, they kill that eagerly...And they enjoy every minute of it.” Not only were the Shadow Pokemon merciless, they were very smart too. Although it hasn't happened yet in this time period, it will only be a matter of weeks before they begin to run in packs, and when they do...
his eyes glazed over, it will not be good in the least.
Lilac casted her eyes downwards. <Oh...It's that bad...>
Her eyes swiveled to her partner when he moved, but tracked back to Iyoku when he made no further movement. <I wonder...If catching them would turn them normal. They are still Pokemon, after all.>
She watched, with a little apprehension, as Sevi slithered her way over to Nazo, nudging him slightly to see if there was a reaction. There was only the slightest ear twitch to signify he had felt anything at all, but Lilac knew Sevi was pushing her luck by nudging him once more. Sevi, she discovered, was too caught up in the swirl of depression to realize she was endangering everyone.
He barely made it back to the present in time to hear Lilac's statement, but then said in reply, “No, unfortunately. They may be Pokemon, but catching them won't work either; the only way I can think of is to reverse the collapse of Time and Space which causes them to turn to begin with. Furthermore, it's not just the regular Pokemon that are affected...”
The Glaceon was sitting silently in a rounded corner of the cave by the entrance and remained silent, however, her ears pricked upon Iyoku's mention of the Shadow Pokemon being unable to be reversed along with the way they acted. That... it could not be happening again, could it...?
She thought to herself. If what he says is true… the proper action must follow immediately.
Lilac shook her head sadly. <But they can be caught, at least. Taken off the road...But what do you mean regular Pokemon aren't the only ones affected? Are you saying...?>
She had the distinct feeling he was referring to legendaries, but couldn't be sure, for in that moment Sevi let out a yelp as something solid struck the side of her head with a thud, sending her flying across and smashing into the solid rock wall. Lilac turned, shocked, to see what it was. Sevi had successfully woken Nazo up, but their worst fears were true - he obviously wasn't quite in his right mind. He had pressed himself back against the rock wall which he was laying in, his eyes clouded yet wide with a mixture of anger and fear. He's confused,
Lilac thought to herself, he probably doesn't remember where we are.
Foam dribbled from his mouth, which was wide open in a menacing snarl. He was returning his hand back to the wall, and Lilac realized that he must have punched the poor Seviper, who was still trying to get up, dazed.
Lilac decided to try something. <Nazo, please! It's us, your friends! Remember?>
He turned his eyes to her as she spoke mentally to him, reaching out with her mind to try and sense his. She could only sense a muddled mix of confusion and pain, both being strong yet at the same time, faint. She could also sense how weak he felt, but worst of all, was the fact there was not a sign of recognition in his mind. He didn't know who they were.
The second he realized that Nazo had gotten to his feet; Iyoku had not taken his eyes off him. He knew now there wasn’t much he could do, however, now that the Aura that had been around him before was non-existent, he wouldn’t have to resort to using a Shadow Claw if need be. It didn’t seem like so, but the grey hedgehog was quite a bit stronger than he looked, and he had the feeling that if he had to, he could knock out Nazo with a well-aimed punch to the scar. Of course, he would only do that if there was no other option.
The Glaceon meanwhile had slunk slowly and silently to the Seviper’s side, helping her back to her upright position. <Remember, sudden movements will give him cause to attack,>
she reminded the others, <Try to avoid much movement unless it is absolutely needed.>
She, meanwhile, kept her eyes on the sky blue hedgehog as Iyoku was doing. Even though she disliked fighting and confrontations, she was more than capable of stopping an attack of Nazo’s should one be unleashed.
Sevi nodded slowly, her head aching from the blow; while Lilac continued her attempts to break through to her partner. <Nazo, listen! Please! This isn't you - it's the virus! You have to fight it!>
For a second, it didn't seem to have any effect - but then the hedgehog growled, holding out his hands as he began to form a meteor. Lilac feared the worst - but, to the utter amazement of all - including Nazo himself - just as soon at the meteor had formed, it disintegrated into dust. He was too weak to use his abilities. <Nazo, calm down...Please...>
The hedgehog stared at her for a moment until Lilac took a cautious - and slow - step forward, then he threw his hands out again, but this time in seemingly self-defense. “Stay away from me!” His voice was pitifully weak, yet loud enough for all in the room to hear. Lilac didn't know what to think - it was as if they were monsters trying to kill him, not the other way around.
Iyoku looked at Lilac, <Even if it is the virus, he still doesn’t remember anything, and he still has his fear of canines; let me try,>
he finished. Turning his eyes back to Nazo, he said, “Like she said, we’re not going to hurt you,” he kept both wary eyes on the sky blue hedgehog however, still being cautious. Even if his powers were out of commission, there was still the risk of a regular attack.
While the Glaceon watched the scene in front of her, her ears pricked, hearing something occurring outside the cave in the forest. Catching a quick scent on the air as a gust of wind blew past, she shook her head, why now?
She thought, irritated. A bad feeling entered her, a sense that they were all in danger. A danger other and much worse than the one that the rabid Nazo posed.