So overdue...I'm sorry. ;____; Forgive my typos and whatnot, I just wanted to get something up. Short...ish chapter!
...........................hauntings of distant memories
Little more than a day had passed in this dream world, this alternate reality, but Rye somehow felt as if a lot more time were passing him by outside. The various encounters he had with his past had made him stronger. His resolution was growing tougher and his will to live had never been so vitally important. He knew now that he was not destined to die here.
The scenery had changed in hue and the sliver of a moon had appeared in the sky of the dream world. Rye took the quiet time to sit by the lake in silence, reflecting upon what had passed. He was sure another illusion would pop up sooner or later, but for now it was his time to ponder what else Darkrai had in store.
It seemed like an age since he’d seen Zanna. Last he had asked they were still heading towards the Missionary. Was she still going, or was she already there? His face paled at the thought. If Zanna was at the Missionary that meant she was in direct contact with his father, which was definitely not a good thing. If he was still experimenting with her, or continuing on with the project, then she was in danger. And he could not protect her. No one else knew. She was alone. No, that was not true. Even if she was in danger, she had Lani, Codan and Jarre to depend on. Those three he knew were good souls; Jarre a little less. She might be in trouble, but he had to hope they could get through it together.
Together was a word he had long since forgotten. Rye had always been by himself, even from such a young age. He knew little of the children he grew up with whilst training as a soldier, as his father had ordered him to be put in an advanced class apart from the others. He had not minded at first, as he loved the idea of being placed ahead of the rest. But this vain feeling soon grew into quiet contempt and loneliness. He had longed for the company of others to play with in his spare time, but it was forbidden. Rye was to train, train, train, until he was exhausted.
It was a saviour when a little Larvitar, Kryal, had taken an interest in the Elekid. Most Pokemon shied away from him because he was “special”, but this one treated him like any other Pokemon. They fought, played and trained together. Through Kryal, Rye got to know his sister, Eon, who was an exceptionally well-built soldier, if somewhat stubborn and brutal. He had admired her strong will to overcome barriers that others could not. And unlike Kryal, Eon might still be…alive.
She had not been seen since the night her brother had been killed and Rye was sure she had fled. Virok didn’t bother to hunt down a weakling and she was soon forgotten. Eon had not tried to contact Rye since that night, probably blaming him in part for her brother’s death. She would have been so traumatised by the thought.
The Elekid ran his paws over his face. To have a family member die. His own mother had passed away shortly after his birth. He was only five years old at the time. Her face used to be so vivid within his mind; kind, loving and caring. But now it was all faded and fuzzy – unclear. He could hardly remember what she looked like, or the brief times they had shared together. He was frightened. He loved his mother so much. To have her memory be taken away from him as if it hadn’t existed… He shook his head brusquely. No. It wouldn’t happen to him. However fuzzy the image got he would hold on to the remnants he had left. It was all he had left of his dear mother. How he missed her so…
“Rye, dear, come help me with this cake. It’s made especially for your father’s birthday!”
“Heh, why should I help you make that for him? Father never listens to me and he always says I must stay away from the other kids. But mother, I want to play with them! Why should I help make something so delicious for a horrible father like that?”
“Riley! You must never say such things about your father. I know he is a little…harsh, at times, but he loves you all the same. He loves you so much he doesn’t want to see you hurt by the others. Don’t worry, he’ll come around. I’ll even have a word with him. Now as for you, help me with the icing. If you do you can even lick the bowl!”
“Really, mum? Really?”
“Of course, dear. Anything for my darling Rye. The world is yours to shape.”
“Mother…” Rye felt the unfamiliar tingling of tears running down his face, mixing with his fur, but this time he did not care. The only thing he wanted was to see his mother again; the one who was snatched away from him all too soon. Her smile warmed his heart and was etched clearly within his mind. Her golden fur, soft and soothing. She had made everything better with just a simple touch and a whisper, as only a mother could. When she had left he had nothing to make it better; nothing to make his life seem worthwhile. If the world was his to shape, then why was she not in it? If it was his world she would never have left, but…
“Father…Why did mother have to leave? You said she had gone to the skies to watch us from the heavens. Is she really up there, father? Can I go see her?”
“Don’t be silly, boy! You can’t visit your mother because you do not belong in the skies. You belong with your feet firmly on the ground and I won’t lose another to the Lord. Not yet. You are the only thing in my life that has meaning. I won’t lose you, too.”
“Mother said I was meant to ‘shape’ the world. That it was mine to shape. But if that was true…then why did she go? I would always want mother in my world.”
“Ahh, son. Sometimes things most dear to us are taken away. It is then that we find a way to better our future, shape our world with what we have left. And yours is only beginning, Rye. One day you shall lead this place and it will be yours to command.”
“But I don’t want to command it, I want mother back!”
“…Rye, listen to me. Your mother, she…is not coming back. You will see her again one day, but it is far from now. Just know that she loved you with all her heart. Do her proud.”
“I…I will. If it is what mother wanted.”
He had said he would make her proud. But what had he done so far that his mother would be proud of? He had nothing to show but a short temper and an ill-mannered mind. Certainly, he was a good lieutenant, but he doubted his mother would approve of spying and she definitely would not approve of what his father was doing. Had his mother passing corrupted him somehow? It was weeks before he would even look at Rye’s face, saying that it was too similar to Ameli’s. Eventually when he had, all he did was stare off into the distance, as if peering straight through him. He was invisible.
The only thing that his mother would possibly approve of was Zanna. He was sure the two would have gotten along like two berries on a branch. But there was no way to know now. He only knew that he had something worth protecting, as his mother had protected him. She had said one day he would know the feeling of giving one’s life for another. Rye thought he was finally beginning to understand. There was a bond that existed in this world which was tougher than steel, tougher even than diamonds that not even the mightiest foes could break. Darkrai could not break it. His shell may have been cast aside, but his heart was stronger than it had ever been. His mother was right. The world was his to shape and he would start by shaping this nightmare into a dream.
His resolve unbreakable, the Elekid rose to his feet immediately. If no ghosts of his past were going to appear before him, he might as well get some training in. No longer would he remain the weak boy he had been. No longer would he let his temper gain control. He would be the son his mother had always wanted and he would make her proud. With determination, the Elekid struck a nearby tree with a paw, his claws grinding deep into its surface. Sap oozed through his fur, but Rye merely turned his paw so his palm was facing the sky, causing the sap to glitter. Even in this world, life could still look beautiful.
It was as he was admiring the sap that the tree before him began to waver. The rough bark of the trunk thinned until it was translucent, and the scenery behind it could be seen. The branches themselves began to disappear, gaining a creamy golden hue. Rye raised an arm as a shield and took a step backwards. The tree before him was changing shape rapidly. He could almost guess who it would be this time.
After a few seconds a yellow figure had appeared before him. It bore bright blue eyes, a warm smile and wisps of golden fur. Rye did not call out to the figure but immediately fell to his knees. His ears picked up a gentle whooshing and then softness encased him. Rye felt warm paws caress his head as he was drawn towards the figure’s grasp. All the while he was too stunned to move. He was not afraid of it, but another kind of fear had settled within him. The fear of losing another.
“Shhhhh now,” the Electabuzz whispered into his ear. “I’m here.” Her voice was like honey. Never had it seemed so soothing to his ears. He missed that voice. Oh, how he wished he could have it stamped in his memory forever! He had all but forgotten the lilting tone it took, especially when talking to him.
“Mother…” Rye’s own voice paled in comparison. It was weak and filled to the brim with longing. He could be considered pathetic, but he did not care. His mother was here. His mother was here. “Mother!” The Elekid threw himself into his mother’s grasp, stifling sobs as he did so. “Mother I missed you!” And it was with that fact Rye suddenly felt his emotions move, sliding into place; the place they should have been in all along. With just one touch his mother had indeed made everything better.
“Riley,” the voice whispered again, soothing his silent sobs. “You’ve grown a lot in the time we’ve been apart.” She held him close as he glanced up at her, eyes wide with fear. “You’ve changed a lot, too,” she remarked. At this, Rye was still in control enough to draw himself free of her grasp and hang his head in shame.
“Not for the better, right?” he replied, disdain drenched in his tone.
“Riley…” His mother drew forward and cupped a hand under his chin, lifting his face to meet hers. “No matter what you have done, you have always made me proud. How could I be another but when my son is off fighting Deoxys?” She said it so calmly. So…kind. Rye was confused.
“But I’ve also betrayed everyone I knew! Kryal is dead!
” – he hissed the word – “Eon is missing, I hurt Zanna terribly, and depending on the actions she takes I might have to harm my own father!” The Elekid’s chest heaved with deep breaths as he looked into his mother’s eyes. “I have not done a single thing to make you proud of me, not in my entire life. I’m sorry I could not be the son you wanted!” He shut his eyes tight, no longer able to glance at her. It hurt too much to know he had betrayed her. It hurt much more to know his own mother might not want him.
The figure remained silent, her hand still cupped under his chin. It was over a minute before Rye opened his eyes. She had not said a word, but had remained rooted. Now, when he looked at her, he could clearly see tears flowing silently down her face. His own heart panged with guilt at the fact he had caused these tears; tears that could mar something so beautiful. He truly felt ashamed.
“I…” He raised a paw in the hope of comforting her, but quickly withdrew it, not knowing how. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” That’s just another soul you’ve harmed, Rye,
he scolded himself.
“Rye.” The voice was firm and forced the Elekid to stare. “You were always in the habit of being na´ve, even as a child. I see you still haven’t grown out of it.” She smiled warmly. “There are events that happen within one’s life that cannot be controlled. There are those we regret, and wish we could have changed with all our heart. There are those, still, that have not happened. Those are the events we can do something about. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to dwell too much on the past. Have you seen, Rye, the effects of someone who dwells on the past? It is not a pleasant sight. Take your father, for example.
“Yes,” she answered Rye’s expression grimly, “he often blamed himself for my death. After a while his soul turned dark and twisted. I watched the entire time, even as he began creating Dark Pokemon, experimenting with their abilities. It was torment to see that happen. That your father thinks only darkness can defeat darkness is a mistake. Nothing good can come of tampering with that power. Only light can banish darkness, and that is why we have Light Pokemon.”
“You said,” Rye questioned, “that nothing good can come of tampering with dark powers. But I…I am now one of them. I am evil.” He had to swallow hard past the lump in his throat to speak. It was not a good feeling to admit to your own mother that you were an abomination; a scourge upon the world. But she merely shook her head.
“There are those that are born of darkness, in which they know nothing of light. You, Rye, were created and knew the light before you were tainted by darkness. This and this alone grants you the ability to use your powers for good. You are able to see both sides clearly and can choose the actions upon which you wish to react. If you wish to be dark, then so be it. If you wish to be the light, that too, is possible.”
“I never wanted to be dark!” Rye protested, clenching his paws. “With all my heart I want to feel the light within and act upon that. I must if I-” he stopped abruptly, glancing up at the figure of his mother.
“You wish to see Zanna again,” she guessed.
“How did you-”
“A mother’s intuition, I suppose,” she grinned warmly. “Yes, that Pikachu has a good soul. You could not have your sights set on someone better, Rye. I’m happy for you.” Rye felt his heart glow at the praise. The one thing in his life he had done right – and his mother was proud. “I only wish…that I could have spent more time with you,” he told her. “It was not right for you to be taken from me.”
“Little in this world is ever right, my dear.” The Electabuzz drew him close again, holding him fiercely. “But there is a time where you must create your own good in the world. I just want you to know that you have always made me proud, Rye. Your mistakes have been learning curves, but I have gained a son who is smart, kind, loyal and handsome,” she beamed, tousling his fur. “I know that whatever happens, and the choices you have to make, you will choose the right ones. Never in my life could I have asked for a better child than you.”
“Mother...” Rye felt the tears slide down his face again, before he widened his eyes in realisation. “Why does…why does it feel like you’re saying goodbye? You can’t leave me! Not again!” The Elekid, in an act of desperation, clutched tightly to his mother’s fur, but she was already beginning to fade.
“I’m sorry, Rye. I have found the resolve I needed to be able to rest peacefully. It is unfortunate, the little time we had together was not enough, and for that I am sorry. But I believe you can be everything you ever wished for. Remember when I told you the world is yours to shape?”
“Yes, mother! Yes, I do!”
The Electabuzz gazed at him with longing. “Then please, for me, shape your future into a world without darkness. Shape it into a world that you can be proud of.” She paused slightly as she began to drift off into the sky, translucency consuming her once more. “And if you truly love that Pikachu, as I know you do, for Arceus’ sake, tell her!”
“MOTHER!” Rye screamed into the air and reached out with a paw. He tried to grasp onto his mother’s but was struck with sorrow when it went straight through, causing him to stumble. “Don’t leave me! Mother!”
The Electabuzz looked at her son serenely, dissipating into the air. “I love you, Rye.”
Those were the last words he heard from her before she vanished.
Virok’s sleeping quarters were not too far ahead now. While I hated to disturb him when he was sleeping, it was absolutely necessary that I speak with him. He might have some idea what was going on in this place, because I sure didn’t. Danger seemed to follow me every step I took. I wanted nothing more than to stop it.
The door to the Commander’s quarters blazed a bright green. That surprised me; it was unlocked. I was certain he would be asleep, but I guess the racket from Maske’s attack had awoken him. I stepped up to the door anxiously and it slid open a split second before I passed through the sensor. My body slammed into a large, yellow leg as it came forward and halted.
“Ooowww…” Dazed, I stood back to peer up at Virok, who had exited the room the same time as I was about to enter. The Electivire’s eyes narrowed as they met mine, but almost at once they returned to a surprised glance.
“Zanna? What are you doing here this time of night? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” He seemed fidgety. Nervous. He made to brush me aside but I hopped into his way, reaching out a paw.
“Sir! There is trouble in the lower quarters – a Dark Pokemon attacked me!” I hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that, but for some reason the Commander was still trying hastily to get past me. This stopped his actions.
“A Dark Pokemon, you say?” An eyebrow rose ever so slightly.
I nodded. “Lani was hurt, but Tali has taken her to the Medical Wing. And I think… I think that it was Darkrai who sent it after me.” It was my main suspicion at this point. I had never actually ruled out the fact that Darkrai could control beings from where he was, even in the Underworld. Altair never said he couldn’t. For all I knew he could still be controlling mass armies of Dark Pokemon.
The arc of Virok’s eyes suddenly grew wider, apparently mocking me. “Darkrai? But, child, he is long dead and resides in the Underworld. How can he possibly send anything after you?”
His words rolled into silence. I was unsure, but it seemed as if Virok was hinting at something. Something… Something… And just like that it hit me. Darkrai may have been controlling Maske, but he hadn’t been the one to send him. Virok’s gaze that looked as if it was boring into my soul…
“You…” I whispered almost inaudibly. “You were the one who sent Maske after me.” Involuntarily, I took a step back. This time with fear.
Virok grinned. “He spoke his name, did he? Yes, he did. I know, for I was watching you the entire time.” The Electivire let off a brusque laugh as I took a further step back. “I had dear Rakai tap into the security systems. Maske was merely sent as a test, I don’t really care whether he dies or not. He’s served his purpose.” The wave of his hand only enraged me more.
[continued in next post]