Chapter 1: Off The Clock
You'd expect picking a vacation spot would be easier for the goddess of space, Palkia thought.
Unfortunately, it wasn't, for the vacation spots were ones a bit out of her comfort zone in that regard: Alternate universes, ones mostly heavily displaced from the ones she sometimes casually visited.
It didn't help the guide to said multiverse she was reading had various terrible jokes and memes scrawled in it by a certain brother of hers.
She groaned and looked up to gaze around said brother's home dimension, looking among the black and purple haze and the chunks of off-looking earth with off-looking plant life until she spotted Giratina in his Origin forme, idly hovering and levitating a Nintendo 3DS he was playing before him.
Knowing her space-bending powers would probably be affected by the nature of the place, Palkia spread her wings and summoned a jet of water to propel her to a chunk of the off-looking earth near where her brother was idly floating to wave the book at him, scowling.
"Hey! Giratina! You agreed to help here!"
Giratina turned his attention away from the video game to address his sister. "Ooh, right, the vacation! What's it for again?"
Palkia sighed and shook her head. "We're trying to cheer Dialga up!"
"Isn't bro too stuffy and busy for a vaycay most of the time?"
Palkia paused, then looked away. "It... Hasn't been that long since... What happened with Cyrus. I see him more than you do. As much as he tries to hide it he's still really upset over it."
She turned back to him with a still-despondent look."And... Well, we both already owe you, that kid, and Cynthia big time for stopping him... But you know the multiverse better than I do, so I wanted you to help me pick a fun spot. So we could both cheer him up."
Giratina paused, then nodded somberly himself. "Good point... We could all try to find a place to chill after that..."
He then promptly turned back to his game. "Just let me get to a spot where I can save..."
She took a closer look at the game he's playing and scowled. "Hey, wait a minute!"
She snatched the game and system from him. "That's my copy of the latest-"
She paused, stared at the game for a few seconds, then snapped two of her claws together and grinned. "That's it! We give Dialga one hell of a theme vacation!"
Giratina stared at her in confusion. "Why would we want to take him video game shopping?"
Palkia smirked. "A bit deeper than that, dear brother."
She gestured to the eldritch space around them. "Your little... abode ties into all sorts of other worlds! Now, not even we know exactly how many are out there, but likely millions, trillions, quite possibly an infinite number of 'em! And if there are that many, well, some might just very well be kinda familiar..."
She points to the 3DS's screens. "...But that's more your department. Can you find out if there's a universe anything like the thirteenth and newest installment of my favorite strategy game series?"
Giratina blinked and stared a good while before responding. "Um... Lemmie try something."
He soared off further into his realm until he was a speck in the distance, leaving Palkia to stand impatiently and cross her arms to stare after him a while.
Eventually, Giratina returned levitating a small rectangular device in front of him, using the points of the tentacle-like structures on his back to tap it carefully. Palkia eyed the device quizzically.
"Is that… A Sliphpad?"
"Yup! State of the art. Use it for keeping track of all the really out there universes as well as the closer-to-home ones."
Palkia glanced at the book she was holding then at Giratina irritably.
"Why'd you give me the musty guide with all your doodles in it then?"
"Hey, don't diss my modern art."
Palkia flung the book at Giratina's head. He didn't notice as it bounced off of one of his facial plates, but he did notice something on the screen he quickly tapped a tentacle to and levitated toward Palkia for her to look at. "Is this it, sis?"
Palkia grumbled as she took the Sliphpad, expecting Giratina to have found a world closer to Dragonite Quest or Last Legend or, if she was lucky, a previous game in the same series as the one she wanted, only for her own eyes to light up upon seeing she was wrong. "This… This is it! It's pretty much it! I can't believe I'm saying this, Giratina, but you're a genius! Thank you so much!"
She embraced her more serpentine brother, who reciprocated with his three sets of tentacles. After the hug was broken, she bounced up and down excitedly on her large feet, her claws clenched and her long tail thumping the ground in excitement. "This is gonna be great! We're gonna take Dialga on vacation there and all have a blast, and he's gonna be so much happier and we just need to think up some good disguises and get access to -"
She froze in place mid-sentence, then scowled, tapping her foot. "Great. I just realized there's one particular obstacle to getting the resources."
Giratina gave her a puzzled look. "...Um, we're Legendaries? We can just get 'em however?"
Palkia sighed and put a claw to her forehead. "...Problem is that "however" involves one particular other Legendary."
"So... let me get this straight, space babe."
Palkia's eye twitched at that particular moniker from the small, grey-and-pink creature with gold hoops before her and Giratina within a quiet forest grove, but allowed him to continue.
"You want to take your bro on vacation to a fancy swords 'n sorcery universe to cheer him up after that Cyrus guy tried to push the reset button on the universe, and honestly, I don't blame ya!" said Hoopa. "Some asshole trying to do that has gotta rub you guys the wrong way."
He then raised an eyebrow. "That said, why do top-tier deity Legendaries like you guys need into... The Stash?"
Palkia sighed. "Hoopa. Everymon knows you are the ultimate hoarder. Your pocket dimensions are filled to the brim with the sorts of things we need for this fantasyland vacation we can have easy access to anytime, so we're gonna need you to tag along."
"Plus, if I screw with your pocket dimensions enough I can let us get to the wifi and stuff back home!" said Giratina. "Can't forget the essentials."
"...What he said too," said Palkia.
Hoopa tapped one of his mitt-like hands to his chin in thought for a bit before looking to the other two Legendaries and nodding. "...Alright then. You guys are the bosses. Plus, If you wanna cheer your bro up that bad that's a hell of a nice thing to do. I guess I can let you in on The Stash for this little trip of yours."
He then smirked a bit. "...On three conditions."
Palkia scowled. "Figured. What do you want, you greedy little djinn?"
Hoopa's smirk grew wider. "First, all use of the Stash is under my supervision."
"Okay, that's fair enough. Next?"
"Second, I actually want in on this vacation, not just to be some sort of luggage carrier. And if it helps on your end I'll at least try to help cheer your brother up."
"Also fair enough, what's the thi-"
Hoopa made a gesturing motion with one of his hands as his smirk morphed into an outright mischievous grin.
Palkia's scowl likewise grew more intense. "You know full we-"
"Deal's a deal."
"Just roll with the dude, sis," said Giratina.
"...Fine," said Palkia, "but keep an eye on him."
A rift in space opened, which she quickly dashed through.
In a Hoenn Pokemart winding down for the evening, a lone employee stood idly lost in thought as he waited for his manager to bring his paycheck, only to hear a voice in front of him.
He blinked and turned to see a young, pink-haired, red-eyed woman in pink and white clothing - he noted her t-shirt had characters from the TV show Valiant Knight Skarmory on it - giving him a doe-eyed look that to the worker seemed a tad too innocent.
"Hi there! Let me guess, you were working the night shift one night some time ago?'
"And this crazy old man came in and robbed the place?"
"And then he gave you this bottle and made all these oh-so-creepy mutterings about this Hoopa Pokemon whose power would be unsealed for three days if you opened it but when you did nothing happened and it was all like, to use the phrasing of one of my brothers, two spoopy four you?"
"And you've just been oh so dearly hoping you can find some passerby you can feasibly pawn it off to so you don't have to deal with it anymore?"
The woman extended a hand. "Gimmie."
The man quickly pulled out a strange purple-grey-and-gold bottle and plopped it into her palm.
"Thank you sir, have a nice day!"
A rift in space opened next to her, which she darted through just before it closed and vanished.
The man simply stared blankly a good while after.
"...I need a raise."
Palkia quickly emerged back in the grove where her brother and Hoopa were, her more natural form and scowl quickly returning. "Found it."
Giratina blinked. "How'd you find it so fa-"
"The 'pay a guy to act like a creepy hobo and pawn it to some nobody' trick is losing its luster, Giratina."
Giratina fell silent as Palkia grumbled and popped open the bottle. Immediately a sparking haze of black energy emerged and swirled around Hoopa, and he laughed maniacally as he grew and grew until the haze dispersed to reveal a towering, six-armed, monstrous version of himself.
"Yes! My true power! And I know just what i'm going to do with it first!"
He created six portals from his hoops and reached through them with all six arms to pull out countless boxes of donuts of various brands.
"Hey!" Said Palkia. "You're supposed to help us with-"
"Aye, space babe, hold up! Getting my true form back works up an appetite!"
He promptly used all six arms to shovel the donuts into his toothy maw and toss the boxes away, let out a resounding belch, then turned back to the two dragons before him. "Alright, appetite sated, I'm ready. What are we gonna need from The Stash for this little renaissance affair?"
Palkia's expression became more passive as she put a claw to her chin.
In a dimension dominated by an omnipresent blue haze and teal, diamond-like, crystals of various sizes floating through it, Dialga was peaceably reading a book - a long one, he needed it to keep his mind on it for long. He flipped to one page, blinked at something scrawled in the corner, and groaned. "Giratina, must you leave your mortal innuendoes and cultural crude jokes everywhere?"
It was right then he heard a voice from behind him."Bigger question, bro, you ready for us to rock your world?"
Dialga stiffened with an annoyed expression and turned around. "Please tell me you weren't stupid enough to replicate a certain-"
He blinked to find not only Giratina, but Palkia and Unbound Hoopa standing together before him, standing under a banner that said "VACATION TIME!" With a strange teardrop-shaped sigil Dialga didn't recognise below it.
"...Alright, what are you three up to?"
"We're up to cheering you up by going on a multiversal vacation!" Said Palkia.
"Sis got a crazy idea for the theme," said Giratina.
"And it only took just under three days for us to get most of the stuff read-" said Hoopa.
Suddenly a mass of black energy dispersed from him and entered someplace on Palkia's person, reverting him to the form of a small, poltergeist-like creature.
"...Scratch that, exactly three days," said the now-Confined Hoopa.
He made another beckoning gesture to Palkia, who wagged a claw back in a scolding fashion.
"Ah ah. You're gonna need to be small and innocuous-looking for part of this."
"And what exactly are the fine details of "this"?" said Dialga, scanning the other three skeptically.
"Well," said Palkia, "You - and really, all of us - could use a load off after... the Cyrus incident..."
Everyone grew silent. Dialga stiffened a bit but allowed Palkia to continue.
"...But me and the others found a good way to do so!" Said Palkia. "Go on a theme vacation to an out-of-the-way universe and have fun incognito with the locals to let off steam better than Volcanion does!"
"Erm," whispered Hoopa, "Knowing Volcanion personally, if you take what you just said metaphorically it totally works,but more literally not so much since she can get kinda-"
"I know, stick to the script!" Palkia whispered back.
Dialga just stared awkwardly until hesitantly continuing.
"Well," said Palkia, "Giratina and I found a universe just like the thirteenth, newest game in my favorite strategy game series! And Hoopa here's gonna join the ride and let us all have access to local niceties while we're at it!"
*"We'll go incognito, chill with the locals, relax, have a good time," said Giratina. "It'll be perfect!"
"And I've got all we need to keep access to conveniences back home!" said Hoopa. "It's a win-win situation!"
Dialga looked at them all, conflicted, before sighing.
"All of you, I appreciate the effort and" - he paused - "concern. But this sounds rather risky, especially given things have gotten iffy via Palkia getting me too deeply into her interests in a less literal fashion. Remember when you tried to get me to read that Home-whatsit comic, sister? I had to drown my sorrows in Giratina's alcohol over all the convoluted meddling with time in its narrative!"
Palkia frowned and raised a claw. "Okay, that was an exceptional case, yet I get why you're wary. But me and Giratina found a spacetime coordinate in this universe that'll be totally fine."
"How?" said Dialga. "Doesn't that strategy game involve war? We can't barge in on another universe and commit wanton murder on the locals!"
"That sweet spot Palkia mentioned is an era of peace, bro, just long enough for a good cooldown," said Giratina.
"...Era of peace?" said Dialga.
He turned his head away and thought a bit before turning back and nodding.
"...That does, in fact, sound nice."
He frowned again. "But abandoning our posts here might cause complications, especially so soon after a disruption..."
"Well first," said Palkia; "we're not Legendaries from some human fantasy novel that go poof if no one is around to clap their hands and believe, You know we're made of tougher metaphysical stuff than that. We can leave and come right back in a spacetime sense just fine. And just to make sure, Hoopa can help us keep an eye on things back home."
Dialga paused, then lowered his head and closed his eyes a bit before looking up and smiling.
"...Very well. This vacation could be just what we all need."
Palkia pumped her claws. "Yes! Thank you, Dialga, you're going to love this! We're going to love this!"
"Alrighty then!" said Hoopa. "Now the multiversal getaway is a thing, we gotta get the disguises ready!"
Dialga eyed him oddly. "Disguises?"
Hoopa grinned. "Newsflash, Timeasaur! Me and your sis teamed up on the filthy cosplaying and LARPing bit!'
The four Legendaries, all but Hoopa having assumed human forms, were gathered around four of the latter's pocket dimension hoops, all going over a book together with Palkia.
"OK, to start I think I'll demonstrate what we're going for..." said Palkia.
She hopped into the hoop-portal and emerged a few minutes later wearing a distinctly flamboyant dress-like outfit themed around her more natural dragon form, complete with a long staff that had the Lustrous Orb embedded atop it. "Ta-da!"
Dialga raised an eyebrow. "I thought this was a universe stuck in the medieval period, not one of your human magical girl shows."
Palkia huffed and waved her staff at Dialga. "Not so fast. I'm a Valkrye, I've got a balance of healing and offense magic. Granted, latter for self-defense, but still."
Dialga tilted his head. "So this is one of those character class things?"
Palkia smirked. "Exactly."
"Ooh!" said Giratina, balling his fists excitedly, "What do I get to be?"
Palkia grinned. "Found a perfect one for you, Giratina..."
She flipped the book to a new page and presented it to him. "Dark Knight!"
"Ooh!" he said again, his red eyes giving a rather off-looking sparkle, "Is this like that one Gligarman movie?"
He struck a dramatic pose. "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the vil-"
Palkia quickly frowned. "Not quite right either, you've got a lot of both physical and magical power and can still take a hit."
Giratina blinked. "Oh, that's cool too! Lemmie get mine on..."
He ducked into his own portal and emerged in plate armor themed around his own natural form, complemented with a sword adorned with a Griseous Orb on its hilt. "Ready to kick ***!"
<OK, wait, if you guys are all putting on human suits for the locals, how do I get in on that?> said Hoopa.
Palkia raised an eyebrow. "You likely have something in that "stash" of yours... "
Hoopa placed a mitt-like hand to his chin and thought a bit before his eyes widened. <Wait! There's that one armband doohickey, hold on!>
He jumped into his hoop portal and emerged shortly after as a scrawny, bronze-skinned youth, more teenager-ish in looks than his fellows, with pink hair tied back in a ponytail. "Geez, I dunno how you guys are so used to the whole funny looking monkey gig, such weird spindly legs..."
He shuddered, then turned to Palkia. "But I'll live with it for this. Speaking of which, what do I go as for this whole LARPing session?"
Palkia smirked and turned the pages of the book to a page she held up for Hoopa to see. "Trickster."
Hoopa looked and grinned. "That's my style."
He lept through his portal again and emerged wearing clothes themed around his confined form that seemed a paradoxical combination of jestery and roguelike. "Ready to role!"
He turned to Dialga. "Your turn, vacation boy."
Dialga put a hand to his chin and thought, then turned to Palkia. "May I see the book?"
Palkia handed it over, with Dialga immediately flipping through it until he came upon a particular page and grinned.
"Perfect! This "Manakete" class suits me nicely."
Palkia raised an eyebrow. "The dragon one?"
"Yes! It'll let me assume my natural form while still blending in!"
Palkia scowled. "Hey! You may be vacation boy, but no cheating!"
She smiled and flipped to another page in the book. "How about a Taguel? Turns you into a critter other than a dragon, good for variety, huh?"
Dialga looked a bit before nodding. "Acceptable."
"Great! Can I have your Adamant Orb?"
Dialga hesitantly handed it over before Palkia and Hoopa whispered to each other, she dived into his hoop, and emerged with the Adamant Orb emitting a strange glow. "Here you go!"
Dialga warily took the orb back and gasped and shuddered a bit as his human ears grew much longer and floppier in shape and excess blue hair sprouted in several places on his body. "What just-"
"I tweaked it a bit to let it serve as your Beaststone. It'll let you shift between what you are now and your more beastial form. Though for this form you should get that armor you saw in the book on."
Dialga blinked, but hopped into his own hoop anyway, and hopped out in armor that was, like his fellows, themed around his more natural form, but in his case form-fitted around his upper arms, lower legs, waist, and chest with no noticeable weapon. "I... believe I am ready."
"OK!" said Palkia. "I think our usual human monikers will work here."
"Valentina for you, Howard for Giratina, and Quentin for Dialga, right?" said Hoopa.
Palkia smiled. "Yep."
Hoopa smiled back. "Call me Bartimaeus then."
"Fine by me. Everything we need packed in The Stash already?"
Hoopa nodded. "Yep."
Palkia turned to Giratina and grinned.
"Gratina? Rev up that portal."
Giratina grinned back to spread his hands in front of him and summon a large, distorted portal with a bright light emerging from within.
"So we're going?"
"Ayep!" said Hoopa.
"You bet," said Palkia. "But Giratina?"
"No flirting with the locals."
Giratina raised a finger to object before Palkia cut him off.
"Of any gender or species."
Giratina grumbled, and crossed his arms as he followed the others into the portal.
And there's our kickoff! I've technically already got Chapter 2 queued up (I actually wrote a big chunk of both the first and second chapter in a notebook while I was away from anything with Internet access for a couple weeks a few months ago, and just need to transcribe second as I did first here) so expect it soon enough! For now,feel free to tell me what you think so far.
Chapter 2: Welcoming Comittee
Aaaand here's Chapter 2! This is where we start getting into the Fire Emblem bits, though, in a way people can hopefully get the gist of.
I also apologize in advance to any residents of Utah reading this.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 2: Welcoming Committee
The four emerged in a grassy meadow, the portal quickly closing behind them as they gazed around curiously.
"Doesn't look like anything too out of the ordinary..." said Quentin.
"You'll see soon enough," said Palkia, "There should be a big city up ahea-"
"What is that?!" said Hoopa.
He was pointing to a brown shaggy creature, with round ears and sharp claws and teeth, sniffing at them cautiously.
Palkia blinked. "Seems this is a bit further from home than expected - that's an animal, not a Pokemon."
"A-animal?" said Hoopa.
"They are beings touched by forces quite different from us Legendaries," said Dialga; "Like Pokemon, but feral and with only basal intelligence."
"So that thing is a fucked-up Ursaring?" said Hoopa.
"It's just a bear." said Palkia.
"...Just a bear? Not an Ursaring or a Pangoro or a Beartic or a Bewear, just a bear?"
"I... think it's a brown bear?" said Palkia, shrugging sheepishly.
Hoopa crossed his arms. "They need to hire a new guy to name these things."
"Can I keep it, though?" said Giratina.
Everyone looked over to see Giratina was holding the bear and pinning its limbs from behind, the creature roaring and attempting to futilely claw and bite at him.
"Giratina, no, you can't just adopt the local fauna in place like this!" said Dialga, scowling.
"But it's soft and huggable," said Giratina, pouting.
Palkia sighed. "Just keep it untill we get to Ylisse and we'll see what we do there."
She headed off, everyone else following after, the bear still struggling and roaring in protest in Giratina's grip.
The four eventually wandered far enough to reach the outskirts of a lavish city before them.
"There it is! Oh, it looks just like the game, I'm so excited!"
"Fancy place!" said Hoopa. "What's it called?"
'Yilissitoll, capital of Yilisse!"
"...The cities too?"
Palkia shrugged. "Eh, I've heard worse. There's this city near a salt lake in a universe we stopped by one time, you know what they called it?"
"Salt Lake City."
"...I'm suddenly grateful for our universe."
Palkia smiled. "As a mon who helped make it, I appreciate that. That said, let's see this one up close, shall we?"
The bear roared in protest again.
"Hush, Wuzzles," said Giratina, patting the bear softly while maintaining his tight grip. "I'll get you snacks when we get to the city place."
"Giratina, you were supposed to let that thing free when we got to the city!" said Dialga.
"Er, actually," said Palkia, "Letting it loose this close to the city might be a problem."
Hoopa put his hands on his hips. "...I'm not putting that in the Stash."
Dialga glared at Giratina before shaking his head, sighing.
"Please, just... Keep it pinned for now."
"Thanks bro!" said Giratina, indeed hugging the protesting bear tighter.
Everyone then headed into the city proper, marvelling at the elaborate and sturdy buildings, bustling locals of various walks of life, and the busy shops, stalls, and bazaars, ignoring the more than a few odd glances they got back themselves as they whispered among each other.
"It looks so much like some of the cities in our world just a few hundred years ago..." said Dialga.
"Quite the nostalgia trip, huh?" said Hoopa.
"Still different from back home, though," said Giratina. "No Pokemon, humans dressed funny even for the time period, selling funky things at the shops..."
"Speaking of which, we should stick to the plan trying to talk to anyone for now," said Palkia.
"The "is that foreign" plan?" said Giratina.
"Hopefully we won't have to use it too soon..." said Dialga.
"Yeah, better for now we-" said Palkia.
She stopped froze, and grinned. "Scratch that, it's them!"
Everyone else turned to see Palkia staring enraptured at four people nearby - a white-haired young man in a black-and purple coat, a taller, blue-haired young man dressed in blue armor with a white cape hanging behind him, an even taller, somewhat older man with brown hair and much heavier armor, and a teenage girl with long blonde hair in pigtails complimenting a strange, dress-like outfit, all looking over the items in a shop.
"...Them?" said Dialga.
"The Shepherds! Well, the four major ones. They're the main characters of the game!"
"So they're the dudes we wanna hang with?'
"Exactly!" said Palkia.
"Sweet!" said Hoopa.
He frowned. "Now how exactly do we get chummy with 'em?"
Palkia froze and paled. "I don't know; I didn't think we'd get this far."
Dialga groaned. "Can't we just go up and ask them?"
"I don't think that's how it works... here we're the nobodies and they're the big shots!"
"Then how do you suggest we-"
The quartet then heard a scream.
"Bandits! To the south!"
The group of disguised Legendaries then saw a farmer barge through the streets in panic toward the Shepherds as they quickly turned to address him.
"Bandits? In this time?" said the tall, sturdily-armored man.
"Armed burglars, sir!" Whole bunch of them headed straight for our village!"
The blue-haired man scowled. "We'll deal with them right away."
"If they're just a bunch of theives they should be no problem for us," said his white-haied companion.
"Yeah!" said the girl, pumping her fists. "Especially if they're dumb enough to attack this close to home!"
The four of them and the farmer rushed off, leaving the multiversal visitors staring after.
"Well," said Dialga, "They certainly seem to have the problem under control themselves..."
Palkia hesitated, then grinned. "Actually, I have a plan."
"Ooh, what, sis?" said Giratina.
"We help the Shepherds with their little bandit problem."
"So we're gonna impress 'em to get 'em on our side? I like this plan."
"I'm not so keen," said Dialga, "didn't we agree to keep things nonlethal?"
"That's part of the plan," said Palkia, grinning. "You see..."
The four huddled together amidst the crowd. A bit later, several onlookers stopped and stared when they seemed to vanish.
The village was battened down in their houses, a few farmers armed with crude makeshift weapons outside. Even then, they knew they didn't stand a chance against the rapidly-approaching raiders.
It was then a young, pink-haired woman in some bizarre-looking white-and-pink battle dress wielding a staff with a pearl-like orb at the end stepped out into the streets almost too calmly.
"Easy boys," she said, "me and my friends have this covered. Can I just borrow a horse?"
"M-m'am, you're crazy' there's-"
"Sir, I can save your village just fine either way, but it's better with the horse."
"...There's a draft horse in the stables, but she's used for till-"
He didn't get to finish, as the woman had vanished in a warp in space and emerged atop the draft horse in question just out of range of the bandits. The horse reared in panic before Palkia calmed it with a soothing aura from her Lustrous Orb staff and addressed the bewildered men before her with a smirk.
"Now you all hold still so we can make this easy."
The bandits blinked collectively before one stepped forward to face her with a scowl.
"And what makes you think you're some one-woman army?"
Palkia gave a dismissive wave of her hand and chuckled. "Ooh, you're all so cute trying to be little bandit-wandits out to kidnap the crops and burn the women, but you're still being naughty and need to be punished..."
She pulled out and opened out a dark blue book several of the bandits backed away nervously from.
"...But first you all need a bath."
Blue Unown-like runes spiraled upward from the book as a massive wave emerged in front of Palkia and swept the bandits back. As they gasped and spluttered trying to get to their feet afterwards a chill ran down their spines as a bear roared followed by a man shouting:
"Sneak attack, Wuzzles!"
The bandits screamed as a blonde, red-eyed man emerged from nearby shrubs atop a roaring bear, slicing at each of them with his sword...
...Only for the sword strikes to miss each and every one of them by a hair's length, instead opening dimensional portals that punted them screaming through the Distortion World only to fall through a much larger portal that landed them on the ground almost out of sight of the village.
As they got to their feet, they noticed a man with shaggy blue hair and long fleshy ears fiddling with a diamond-like orb.
"Okay, so I need to change to the right form to use my pow-"
Suddenly he was enveloped in a blue, crystalline cocoon, emerging as an enormous, monstrous blue rabbit with markings and armor plating reminiscent of his dragon form.
"...I'm a bunny?!"
He recovered from his shock just in time to see the bandits fling axes and spears at him. He sighed as his eyes glowed, the weapons stopping in midair and rusting and rotting into dust within seconds.
"...Let's just get this over with."
He rushed up to each bandit and dealt them precision headbutts and kicks, sending them flying and screaming yet again into a dazed pile.
"Now we've thoroughly gotten your attention," said a voice, "let's keep it!"
A youth appeared and threw golden hoops atop the pile of bandits, each squeezing in to bind them in place. Once he was done Hoopa gave the dazed, trapped pile of bandits a wave.
"Thank you for attending this show of "How Not to Plunder a Village!" We hope for your sake it was educational."
Dialga reverted to his more humanlike form as Palkia approached on the draft horse's back and Giratina approached on Wuzzles. A few of the trapped bandits started at Wuzzles sniffing them, at which Giratina shushed him.
"Wuzzles, they are not snacks. I will get you your snacks back in town."
"Speaking of which," said Dialga, "Where are those humans Palkia said were so important anyway?"
"They should be here any minute now..." said Palkia.
Indeed, the other quartet and the farmer soon ran up to the scene only to look at it baffled.
"What in the name of the gods...?" said the blue-haired one.
"...It seems we've been beaten to our objective," said the shorter, white-haired man.
"That was already apparent, but how?" said the third, tallest man.
"Aw, phooey!" said the girl. "I hate missing out!"
~Alright, who does the introductions?~ said Hoopa telepathically.
~I'll start.~ said Palkia.
She turned to the other group.
"Oh, hey! Sorry if we messed anything up taking care of these guys!"
"It's fine!" said the farmer. "You saved our village before the Shepereds even could!"
"We're part of said Sheperds by the way," said the blue-haired man."I'm Chrom, my companions here are Robin..."
He gestures to the white-haired young man in the coat.
~He's one of my favorites!~ said Palkia to everyone in her group.
"Fredrick..."continued Chrom, guesturing to his older, taller companion, "and Lissa," guesturing to the blonde teenager.
"You certainly seem skilled from how easily you seem to have dealt with those bandits!" said Robin, looking at the multiversal group in admiration.
He then furrowed his brow. "What land are you even from, though? You certainly seem like an unusual bunch."
"We're from the esoteric faraway land of Cincinatii," said Dialga dryly.
"It's got some great views and locales and good food!" said Palkia
"The sports teams kind of suck, tho-" said Giratina.
Palkia nudged him with a foot before continuing.
"Anyway," said Palkia, "I'm Valentia, this is Quentin, this is Howard, and this is Bartemaeus," she said, gesturing to each of them in turn.
"Pleasure to meet you all," said Chrom, nodding.
He smiled. "And for being so helpful here... If you need a place to stay from so far off why not with us?"
Frederick raised an eyebrow. "...Mlord, this time you cannot be serious."
"Frederick, you've known Chrom far longer than I have," said Robin. "He's always serious about these things."
~Chrom's the nice one,~ said Palkia telepathically. ~He's our ace in the hole for getting in with these guys without too much trouble!~
"But... We have no records of this Cincinatti place anywhere in Yilisse! They look more like travelling circus performers than anything!"
"Hey!" said Hoopa, gesturing to his outfit. "Don't tell me this isn't stylish."
Robin looked over the pile of bandits. "If they were circus performers or enemies they wouldn't have subdued what appear to be remnants of Gangrel's army so quickly or easily..."
~Gangrel's the guy that started the war right before this peacetime. He's a douche.~, said Palkia.
"Yeah!" said Lissa. "And if they're so tough, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
She scrunched her face up. "Or... The other way around. Kinda. Mabye. You get my point!"
"If we could chill with you guys that'd be pretty cool," said Giratina.
"What Howard said!" said Hoopa.
"I suppose despite my own caution I'll agree," said Dialga.
Fredrick looked between them all and sighed. "Alright... But everyone, keep an eye on these.... Cincinnatians."
Robin gave a small bow to Palkia. "It's a pleasure to have you all with us."
Palkia bowed back. "You as well."
Internally, she gave an excited fangirl squeal. We're partying with the Shepherds! This is gonna be great!
And so things seem to be going smoothly for our team so far. Emphasis on so far. We'll see happens when they meet the rest of the Shepherds next chapter- which, sadly, may take a bit longer than this one to come out for a few things I have to take care of on my end. Don't worry, though- I know full well what comes next, so when the time arrives you readers will too.
Welp. Don't say I didn't warn you all. I've had a busy and often rather stressful past few months, but never the less I apologize deeply for getting a chapter this early in the fic out so long after the others.
Nevertheless, here it finally is, and with some silly bonuses to hopefully make up for the wait:
Chapter 3: Meet and Greet
On the outskirts of Yilissitol, the four disguised Legendaries followed the four members of the Shepherds they had met into a decently sized set of barracks.
~So, there are more of them than these four?~ said Dialga.
~A bunch, and we still have to make sure we make a good impression on them too before we're fully clear,~ said Palkia.
~I promise Wuzzles won't eat anyone now he's gotten his snack,~ said Giratina.
The bear in question roared.
Hoopa winced and edged backwards, almost colliding with Lissa. ~I'd still keep a tight leash on that thing.~
Thankfully, Wuzzles was stowed away in a stable before the four of them were led inside; upon reaching the interior they discovered they indeed had an ensemble before them. People of various shapes and sizes, all performing various tasks like polishing weapons and armor and sorting spellbooks, not in immediate rush for war, but constant readiness for trouble.
Palkia was barely able to contain another fangirl squeal until she unleashed it upon her companions telepathically, much to their annoyance.
~Aaaaaaaa! They're all here! Well, most of them - a few don't show up until later, but still, this is so exciting!~
~So do we introduce ourselves or wha-~ Hoopa started to say.
~I've got that,~ said Palkia. ~Kinda.~
She scooched over to Robin and tapped him
on the shoulder.
"Er, your name is Robin, yes?"
Robin turned to her and nodded. "Yes it is!"
"Um, could you introduce us to everybody? There's a lot."
"Hmmm... Alright. But Chrom should probably start that off."
Chrom nodded and turned to the busy Shepherds.
"Everybody! We have some new recruits!"
The others all raised their heads and looked toward Chrom as he gestured to the disguised Legendaries in turn.
"These are Quentin, Valentia, Howard, and Bartimaeus of Cincinnati! They're looking forward to meeting you all!"
The other Shepherds stared and muttered amidst each other quizzically.
~I don't believe they like us...~ said Dialga.
~We oughta fix that,~ said Giratina.
~Easy guys, we haven't made the rounds yet...~ said Palkia.
The four were led over by Chrom over to a woman in a witch-like outfit.
"This here is Miriel, one of our mages..."
Miriel gazed the new arrivals up and down analytically.
"You Cincinnatians will be useful for cultural research at the very least..."
They moved over to what appeared to be a demure blonde woman in priestess gear.
"And this is Libra, another healer..."
Giratina wiggled his eyebrows. "Hey gorgeo-"
"I'm a man," said Libra, immediately cutting Giratina off.
"Oh," said Giratina. ~Right.~
He looked at Libra from another angle. "...Still pretty ho-"
"Gi- Er, Howard, what did I tell you?" said Palkia.
Giratina immediately fell silent. Libra simply raised an eyebrow in response. Awkwardly, Chrom shuffled over to a teenage boy in villager clothes and a pot on his head.
"Er, and this is Donnel!"
Donnel looked at the group nervously. "My folks always warned me about strange people like these..."
Palkia smiled. "Don't worry, Donnel! You've got nothing to fea-"
She noticed a presence approaching her.
Without another word she backhanded the offending blue-haired man in aristocratic clothing, knocking him to the floor.
Chrom frowned. "Virion, what did I tell you?"
Virion groaned. "In my defense... I did not expect her to react so strongly..."
Robin, having been watching the whole affair nervously, finally chipped in. "Er, that's Virion, our main archer. He's... working on his manners."
~I always liked that guy's style,~ said Giratina.
~That's because you're not too far off.~ said Palkia.
~Hopefully my species won't attract much undue attention,~ said Dialga.
He then realized he was being closely scrutinized by a female of what appeared to be the same lapine kind of person he was. ~...And you know what they say about tempting fate.~
"Who are you?" the vaguely rabbit-like woman asked him. "How are you even here?"
"Oh, that's Panne," said Robin. "You'd think she'd be more pleased to see you, her species is... nearly extinct...
"Almost completely extinct, save for me. And I'm not sure to get my hopes up convincing myself this... Quentin is truly another survivor."
"It's a long story; fittingly it also involves temporal shenanigans," said Dialga.
Panne's nose twitched. "I have sharp ears, like yours. I still know the voice of someone who's bending the truth."
"Um..." said Robin. "Alright, alright! We'll do the rest of the introductions later! Let's get you all to your rooms, Chrom, Lissa, Frederick, you take Quentin, Howard and Bartimaeus, respectively, I'll take Valentina, keep an an eye on them..."
Frederick and Lissa grumbled and Chrom looked between everyone with concern as the disguised Legendaries were led off; however, once everyone else was out of eyeshot Giratina opened a pocket dimension, jumped inside, closed it, then created another opening he pulled Hoopa into before closing it again.
<Hey!> said Hoopa after he and Giratina had re-attained their natural forms. <What are you doing?!>
Giratina shook his head. <Face it Hoops, these guys don't like us. Not even the guys we impressed with sis' plan are Pecha-y with us anymore. We gotta show 'em our stuff again.>
Hoopa put his mitt-hands on his hips. <Well why'd you bring just me along for that?>
<First. You're the only one who never pissed anyone off, dude.>
Hoopa blinked and grinned. <...Wait, really? For that long? That's a new record!>
Giratina nodded. <Second. You got a ukulele in your Stash?>
Hoopa nodded back. <Several. Why?>
Giratina smirked. <My plan involves getting musical. Among other things.>
Hoopa grimaced. <Please tell me the whole thing so I know it isn't more Bunnelby-brained than that Panne lady.>
Palkia followed Robin into the deeper parts of the barracks.
It's just a setback, she thought. We'll win them over eventually, just...
Suddenly, not looking where she was going, she tripped and gave a yell as she landed on her back. Feeling something digging into her leg, she looked and saw it had been entangled in rusty chains.
And that was when memories of what had been the root reason for this "vacation" rushed to her mind.
The Red Chain.
It bound them both, digging into their otherwise sturdy bodies with crimson links all over, each crimson link resembling the wheel on Arceus' back, the spines delving into their skin, causing immense agony.
She wanted to reach out to Dialga, help him, but her will was not her own. She, the deity of space, was bound by these puppet string chains to the mortal human man standing before her, as was her brother.
Helpless, she watched as the man started to use their power to create a new universe, one built in his image, to his whims. She tried to roar in agony, but her actions, and Dialga's, were not her own. It was over.
Untill a shadow pooled and someone familiar lunged from it.
<D I R T Y S I B L I N G T O R T U R E R>
Palkia screamed, and desperately tried to shake the chains off.
"Valentia!" said Robin. "Here, I'll get those off!"
He quickly untangled her leg from the chains, Palkia immediately getting to her feet and shuddering.
"Th-Thank you... It's just that..."
Robin frowned. "Were you someone's slave? A prisoner? What happened?"
Palkia paused a long while before replying.
"I... I was enslaved by someone, yes... As was Quentin... Howard saved us..."
Robin rubbed his chin. "No wonder you all have been acting fidgety..."
He gave her a reassuring smile. "Well, please, don't worry. You'll be safe with us. I certainly have been, as have many others."
Palkia paused again, then nodded. "Thank you..."
Robin started heading off to get her to a room. Palkia gazed not with fangirlish glee but more subdued respect after.
He really is a good person to his good troops... Not just that, a friend...
When she attempted to follow, however, the both of them heard raucous cheering from the mess hall.
The Sheperds had gathered here to get ready for dinner.
"Will those new guys be showing up?" said Donnel.
"I certainly hope not, " said Miriel. "They don't seem too astute."
"Perhaps we can get Kellam to-" Virion started to say.
He looked around. "Where is he any-"
He did a double take and sighed. "He's right behind me, I bet."
"Actually," said Libra, "he's atop your shoulders."
Virion immediately noticed a thickly built, sturdily armored man right there and collapsed from the weight.
"Sorry," said Kellam, "Those new guys had me jumpy."
"You're forgiven," said Virion with a groan.
"Say, ain't that two of them over there?" said Donnel.
Everyone looked to see a human Giratina sitting at the head of the table with a ukelele and wearing a sombrero, a human Hoopa and Wuzzles the bear on either side of him.
"Hello, ladies and gents! Howard, Bartimaeus, and Wuzzles here, with a song and one hell of a treat!"
Giratina started playing the ukelele with surprising proficiency.
So one day I felt my job was a bore,
And headed to the messed-up land of Orre,
The populace was in absolute despair,
I had to help or risk being square
"We need food!" they all haplessly cried,
So I was then a total bro and complied
I whipped them all up one hell of a dish,
One sure to more than grant such a wish
They loved them and called them food of the gods
I decided to call them burritos just 'cause.
"Sir, in order to back up your claims you ought to show us these "burritos" yourself," said Miriel.
"Just a minute, lady!" said Hoopa. "Several orders, coming right up!"
He pulled out some ingredients from one of his hoops that Giratina started preparing while continuing the song.
First the tortilla, soft and tender and flat
Your stale crunchy loaves just can't top that
Get some rice, stuff it together nice and tight
Then you pile it with beans and meats just right
Stuff it with corn, stuff it with cheese,
Stuff it with anything you damn well please,
Wrap it all together, and day or night
You'll find that this little bundle's a delight.
Giratina made several burritos and handed them out with Hoopa and Wuzzles' help to the Sheperds, who took large bites out of the ones they received.
"Hmm... This is actually quite appetizing." said Libra.
"Golly, this almost beats my ma's cooking!" said Donnel.
"This is a meal I can notice!" said Kellam.
"This burrito is magnifique!" said Virion.
"Preach it, Kalosian dude! You all rock!" said Giratina.
Virion blinked. "Kalosian?"
He is ignored as Giratina was raised on a platform with lights, strumming his ukelele like an electric guitar with Hoopa and Wuzzles in burrito suits as backup dancers.
Burritos can cure any disease,
And smite evil with the greatest of ease!
Your old medieval delicacies are so yesterday,
Especially if you've got guacamol-ay!
So go ahead and take a seat-o
And enjoy your delicious, nutritious burrito!
The Sheperds cheered as Hoopa and Wuzzles passed them all an extra round of burritos; soon after, Robin, Palkia, Dialga, Chrom, Fredrick, and Lissa rushed in on the scene.
"What in the name of the gods...?" said Fredrick.
"I'm not sure if this is a better or worse mess!" said Lissa.
"Everyone seems happy at least..." said Chrom.
Two people emerged from the crowd holding burritos, a short, crimson-haired woman in similarly red armor, and a taller, green-haired young man in matching green armor.
"These burritos are gonna be great for meals!" said the green-haired man. "I wonder if these Cincinnatians know any other recipes..."
"We do," said Dialga flatly.
"Then you guys are keepers!" said the crimson-haired woman.
Chrom turned to Dialga and Palkia, shrugged, and smiled sheepishly. "Well then. Welcome aboard for real."
Robin smiled reassuringly and extended a hand toward Palkia. "Glad to have you."
Palkia smiled back and shook Robin's hand...
...Only to feel a distinct, disturbing feeling of corruption seep up her arm. She resisted the urge to shudder and broke the handshake with Robin as naturally as she could, double-checking to see- yes, it was that hand.
She shook her head, gave a nervous smile, and looked on at the proceedings.
She'd played this game. Literally. She knew the Sheperds - especially Robin, he was strong - would clean up that particular problem by themselves.
And there you have it! Again, I deeply apologize for the wait, and while making guarantees tends to end badly for me for things like this, I fully intend for Chapter 4 to come out in a more timely fashion! In the meantime, hope everyone reading enjoyed this installment.
Chapter 4: A Matter of Time
Well, here's Chapter 4! This is where we get into a more experimental aspect of this fic - one the chapter title has some meaning to.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 4: A Matter Of Time
It had been about a couple weeks now, and the multiversal visitors were starting to get along with and get to know the multitude of Shepherds, all settling in.
One of the Shepherds, though, was not so settled.
Virion was attempting to move stealthily through the barracks, and failing, considering he quickly literally bumped into a ginger-haired young man in a black cloak and headband, causing the latter to nearly choke on the lollipop he was sucking on.
"Hey! Watch where you're going!"
"Ah! Sorry, Gaius - Do you happen to know where Libra is?"
"I've got no clue where Padre is, I was looking for Bubbles! Why don't you ask The Invisible Man?"
Virion blinked. "Why are you looking for Robin and why did you specify Kellam?"
"I'm right here?" said Kellam, suddenly beside him.
Virion gave a high-pitched yelp as he jumped into Gaius' arms. "How do you do that?"
Kellam shrugged. "It just kind of happens. But Libra's on the loft, praying. You probably shouldn't disturb him too quickly."
Virion would have leapt out of Gaius' arms right there if Gaius didn't drop him first. He picked himself up and dusted himself off before dashing over to the loft and finding Libra sitting there, indeed praying.
Virion stood there a while fidgeting and nervously sweating before Libra finally spoke normally without moving a bit.
"...You can talk to me now, Virion."
Virion wiped his brow, adjusted his ruff, and gulped. "It's about those Cincinnatians."
"What about them? They've been much more well-behaved since they first got here, especially when they help with the cooking."
Virion shook his head. "It's not about how they are now they've been here a while, it's about how they got here at all! You're a priest, a spiritual man... Haven't you noticed anything metaphysically strangeabout them?"
Libra paused before finally standing up and turning around to face Virion. "Yes, actually, I have... Subdued, well-hidden, but it's still detectable by someone of my cloth."
"Aha!" said Virion. "Fantastique, further evidence!"
Libra raised an eyebrow. "Evidence?"
"It all started when Howard referred to me as Kalosian. Now, I could believe that people as bizarre as him and his companions were from some esotetic faraway land, but when he mistook me for being from another, I grew suspicious. So I looked through every geographical book I could, even" - he shuddered - "sneaking into Miriel's personal library! And there was no mention of a Kalos or a Cincinnati anywhere!"
Libra put a hand to his chin. "That is direly suspicious..."
"And what's more, all the strange spells they seem capable of - Valentia's manipulation of water and space, Quentin's seeming bending of time in lapine form, Howard's mix of dimensional and dark magic, and that one time Bartimaeus did a "trick" to turn into a muscular strongman but was stuck that way for three days - they seem out of this world!"
Virion put his own hand to his chin. "And given the existence of a certain Outrealm Gate they may very well be!"
"So," said Libra dryly, "I assume you want my help figuring out what's really up with these 'Cincinnatians.'"
Virion grinned. "Oui! Precisely!"
Libra raised an eyebrow. "Why me though?"
"Because you're one of the few men I find att-"
Virion gave a hacking cough before regaining his composure.
"-Attentive enough to the divine and spiritual for this task, of course! With their strange powers, these 'Cincinnatians' could be spirits or even deities from another world! That's your department, is it not?"
Libra paused, then nodded. "True... If they were beings of great metaphysical power from another world intruding on ours it could cause a stir amidst the gods..."
"Alright then!" said Virion. "Let's figure out what's really going on!"
He headed off. Libra hesitated, then followed.
Dialga was off away from the barracks, trying to get some peace and quiet in a small wooded area with sunlight dappling through the trees onto moss and fallen leaves.
However, the sharp Taguel ears of his current form made the "quiet" part a fair bit harder, being able to hear every crack of a branch and every rustle of a leaf and every breath of all creatures in a very large vicinity.
"Hello, Panne," he said without turning around.
Panne stopped behind him, twitching her nose.
"I suppose you want something?" said Dialga.
"In a sense," Panne said back.
She started circling him.
"Your time with the Sheperds has proven to me you are no threat. But I still doubt you are truly one of my own kind. Who are you, really?"
"A visitor," said Dialga. "From another time, another place."
"I still hear the voice of someone bending the truth. But I've said that enough. Can you hear something for me?"
Dialga shifted slightly. "Tell what?"
Panne looked through the treetops up to the sky. "The old Taguel gods; I wonder if you could hear them. There were those of my kind that could hear them in days long past, but they are gone now. Can you hear them now?"
Dialga turned his ears, and more metaphysical senses, up to the sky. He heard and felt something, but nothing coherent enough for him to make out.
Panne sighed. "They may be gone or leaving now; there's nothing left of my race but me. And... You, possibly, Quentin."
Dialga was silent as Panne looked off in another direction.
"I... Honestly kind of envy the man-spawn and those scaly Manaketes for still having theirs to pray to; they've got one mutual one they particularly revere, especially in Ylisse..."
Dialga perked one of his ears. "Which would that be?"
Panne glanced back at at him and raised an eyebrow. "I do not know why you would be interested, but they call her Naga the Divine Dragon."
"A dragon goddess?" said Dialga. "How curious."
Panne turned her head east as Dialga turned to face her. "She answers the prayers of the Manaketes, at least. And she's said to appear before those worthy of her to the east of here at Mount Prism."
She glanced at Dialga and looked away, shaking her head. "But I don't see any reason for you to take interest in the likes of her..."
She slowly walked off the way she came.
Dialga waited until she could hear her no longer, then turned his ears and divine senses to Mount Prism, expecting to hear nothing more than whispers again.
He was startled to hear and sense something much louder.
"...You don't know how wrong you are, Panne."
He shifted to his lapine form and ran to Mount Prism.
Atop Mount Prism, Dialga perked his ears and sniffed around a forested area with ruins of what appeared to be some sort of shrine scattered around a large waterfall at the center of a peak.
"There's really not much here... Could this truly be the home of a go-"
"A... Visitor?" a booming, yet feminine, voice rang out. "I never get visitors."
The waterfall parted, and a woman, tall with flowing green hair and pointed ears, stepped forth from it. Dialga immediately tilted his currently rabbit-like head at her outfit - the bottom half was a long, billowing skirt accompanied by a similar scarf, but the top was something so scanty the being before him was showing most of her skin.
"Isn't that a little risque by human standards? I mean, it's not as bad as what those slavers stuffed that Nowi girl into, but still, you have to worry about how you present yourself to mortals! And aren't you cold, given how high the altitude is?"
The woman stared in surprise before shaking her head and chuckling. "I'd never thought I'd get critique of my fashion sense from a Taguel of all beings. Especially given they're critically endangered."
She furrowed her brow at Dialga. "Though... Given what I sense emanating off of you, and your strange coloration... You're no true Taguel, are you?"
Dialga sighed. "Very well. It's hard enough keeping it hidden from Panne, and I came to find you because I was seeking a being like my true self..."
At this the Adamant Orb attached to his waist glowed, and the woman stared in shock and awe as his form glowed and stretched into its more natural shape. Dialga stretched his limbs to get readjusted, then turned to face the stunned woman.
"They call me Dialga. You are Naga, correct?"
The woman stared in shock a bit longer before shaking her head and nodding "Yes, I am Naga, the one called the Divine Dragon. But my question back is... What in this world are you?"
Dialga huffed. "That's the clincher; I am not of this world. I am another world's god of time come here for a visit. It has mostly proved relaxing so far. But I was hoping to see what at least one of the local pantheon was like."
Naga smiled, and gave a respectful bow. "It is an honor then, Dialga."
She sighed and shook her head. "But I am no god. I am no creator. I possess not the powers of making or unmaking."
Dialga gave her a quizzical look. "You're not? The Manaketes and the Yilliseans seem to hold you in high enough regard. And you have given the Yilliseans your blessing, have you not?"
"What divinity I have is as a protector and guardian," said Naga. "I can indirectly aid but take no direct action."
She looked out over the landscape. "It has been this way for millennia... I have taken many forms over all that time... I have not always been a woman... I have not always been a dragon, even..."
She sighed. "But memories of those fleeting times... They are not truly mine..."
Dialga gave her a look again. "How so?"
Naga looked at him almost solemnly. "I am not the first Naga... There have been others before me... The role and memories are passed down from one incarnation to the next. It is a burden, but one I must bear to help both human and Manakete."
Dialga shifted uncomfortably. "If it helps, there are those of status like mine back home who must go through similar tribulations..."
"Which gets me back to my first question," said Naga, giving Dialga a stern look. "What are you, other than a dragon god of time from another world?"
Dialga paused, then sighed.
"To put it at its most basic level, I am a Pokemon."
Naga blinked. "A... Pokemon?"
"They are the creatures of my world, coming in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and elemental attributes. They range from mere sapient versions of the 'animals' of your world to beings of divine power like myself. I may be a deity, but I am still a Pokemon all the same, and one classified by others of my world as being elementally affiliated with Dragon and Steel, affiliations I share with countless other lesser Pokemon."
Naga paused, then stepped forward, extending a hand. "May I?"
Dialga raised an eyebrow. "May I what?"
Dialga cringed. "I'm hoping not... in a bad place that's no good. Especially since you'll be out of luck there in this form."
Upon realizing what he was saying Naga cringed herself. "Oh g-goodness, no! I just... Argh, I just wanted to touch your scales to test something, but if that makes you uncomfortable I can-"
Dialga sighed in relief. "If that's it that's totally fine, thank you."
Naga sighed in relief herself as she closed her eyes and extended her hand to stroke Dialga's scales as he stood perfectly still. Eventually, she smiled.
"You're right... Your scales are much like a Manaketete's, but have the texture and hardness of the finest plate armor..."
She stepped back, opened her eyes, and looked up at him.
"What are the other 'Pokemon' of your world like?"
Dialga shifted uncomfortably again. "Well, there's my siblings, and our companion, but they're more like me. Let me try to show you something more mundane, hold on..."
He turned around and shuffled about in a place Naga couldn't see and turned back to her with a strange clamshell-like object in his mouth that he placed down in front of her, then moved over to seat himself next to her as he opened up the device with his mind, causing a panel on the upper half to glow to life as Dialga pressed buttons on the bottom half telekinetically.
"This will take just a second, hold on..."
Naga watched in fascination as the panel showed a icon-laden picture of Dialga and two similar dragons posing for an awkward groupshot, then a blank white space filled with oddly shaped brown boxes. She noticed Dialga move a small, arrow-like icon to a brown box with the words "cute cat pokemon videos" on the bottom and selected it to reveal a large amount of pictures with strange boxed bars across the top and bottom. Dialga selected one with the words "littenandfamily.avi" attached to the bottom.
Immediately the screen was taken up by a vision of a small, red-and-black catlike creature pawing at the front of the panel.
"Oh!" said Naga. "It's adorable! What sort of cat is that creature?"
Dialga turned to her and smiled. "A Litten."
"You'll see what I mean in a bit."
A human girl scooped the Litten up in a hug. Naga blinked in surprise.
"There are humans in your world?"
"Plenty. They live and work together with the Pokemon."
The Litten struggled and mewled in the girl's grip before letting out an annoyed "Lit!" and spitting a flaming furball out into the grass before them, causing the girl to drop it in surprise. Naga gasped and chuckled. "I suppose Litten are affiliated with fire?"
Dialga nodded. "Yep, they're Fire-types."
The Litten's fiery hairball was patted out by a larger creature resembling a cross between a Litten and a bobcat, which the Litten batted at playfully. Naga gasped again. "Is that an adult Litten?"
Dialga shook his head. "Not quite. Pokemon can transform into more powerful Pokemon as part of their life cycle. Litten transforms into Torracat there when the time is right..."
The Litten and Torracat are scooped up by a third, bipedal creature resembling a cross between the previous two and a tiger, who started licking them affectionately.
"...And then into Incineroar."
The vision stopped, and Dialga dissipated it with the same icon he used to open it. Naga looked back up toward him. "Your world seems amazing already! Do all Pokemon transform like that Litten do?"
Dialga chuckled. "It depends; Pokemon of stature like mine typically don't do anything quite like that. We're powerful enough as is."
He thought a bit, then gave a frown.
"Speaking of which... Others and yourself refer to you as a dragon, and yet you have kept this pointy-eared human form this whole time! Is this simply your latest incarnation, or what?"
Naga frowned deeply. "Not quite... You are my first true visitor in a long while, so I suppose I shall show you..."
She pulled a stone out of her dress and rubbed it, chanting. She was enveloped in energy that to Dialga resembled a more floral Mega Evolution cocoon before emerging as a massive, golden dragon that gave a mighty roar and spread its mighty, leaf-like wings to show their full splendor and display their owner's glittering golden scales. It was Dialga's turn to stare in awe.
Naga looked at him, smiling, for a while before her eyes flashed red and she snarled before recovering.
She quickly reverted back to her more humanlike form and groaned again, clutching her head.
"Are you alright?" said Dialga.
"Yes, I am... It's just..."
She gave him a solemn look.
"The dragons of this world, including the Manakete, have a curse placed upon us... Where we eventually succumb to madness that robs us of our sapience as our lives go on..."
She shook her head sadly.
"It's already too late for the wyverns... Even the mighty Starfall clan have been reduced to feral scavengers and thieves... We Manaketes have only survived by assuming human form most of our lives... And part of why I must change vessels every few millennia..."
Dialga listened intently, then shook his head sadly himself.
"I could not imagine if such a curse was placed upon the mortal Dragon-types of my world..."
He hurriedly stowed his laptop away, then turned to leave. "I shouldn't have brought you to do such a thing so risky to yourself... If you need rest after that, I shall take my leave now..."
"Dialga, wait!" said Naga.
Dialga stopped. "What is it?"
Naga hesitated before continuing. "During your trip... Could you come back and visit me from time to time? Teach me more of your world?"
Dialga paused, then glanced back and smiled.
"...I most certainly will."
His Adamant Orb glowed, and he shifted back to his more lapine Taguel form as he bounded off.
Panne tried to remain completely silent as Dialga bounded past her.
This explained so much, and yet she still had so many questions. She had managed to hear Dialga heading off toward Mount Prism and followed, and had discovered he was a bizarre being called a "Pokemon" from another world, and one of enough divine power to be on speaking terms with Naga herself.
Question was, what was such a being doing in their world?
She bounded off to the barracks herself, making sure to approach from a far different direction than Dialga. She could not forgive him for masquerading as her species, but there was too much risk exposing him outright, especially given his companions were likely of the same magnitude of power as he, and she still didn't know of their motivations. Thinking further, she realized that Libra would be a good initial aid for this given his knowledge of the divine...
...And was also of the sort not to recruit particularly numbskulled man-spawn to their cause.
And there you have it! I must warn you all that I'm going to be shifting focus temporarily to another project again (and possibly Yuletide pinchhitting), but still hope to have Chapter 5 of this up sooner than the last time I did so!
Also, if you're wondering about a reference to a noncanon "Starfall clan" in there, that was reference to some fun I had writing about Awakening elsewhere. It may be relevant to this fic, it may not be, we'll see!
Chapter 5: Awkward Relations
Let's keep up the pace! After a Giratina and Hoopa-centric chapter and a Dialga-centric chapter, time to move on to Palkia!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 5: Awkward Relations
Panne burst into Libra's room.
"There you are, manspawn! There's something you need to know about-"
She skidded to a stop in horror upon seeing Virion already there with Libra.
"Panne! You could help us!" said Virion. "We suspect there's something... suspicious going on with the Cincinnatians!"
Panne twitched. "I already know."
Libra raised an eyebrow. "Taguel ears?"
"More like seeing the one posing as one of my own kind turning into a dragon to consort with Naga."
Virion paused. He slowly took a bottle of wine from a nearby shelf, poured some into a cup, and sipped it only to promptly spit it back out in delayed-reaction shock.
"A dragon? Consorting with Naga? How?"
"Quentin, who is apparently truly known as Dialga, claimed to her to be a god from another world," said Panne.
Libra rubbed his chin. "So my worries about them causing a metaphysical disruption may be correct..."
"No, this is preposterous!" said Virion. "This Dialga may very well be a false god!"
"It's a possibility," said Panne. "He showed Naga strange technology I could not fathom."
"Question is, whatever he and the others are, what are they doing here?" said Libra.
"Should we report this to the others to find out?" said Panne.
"If they are hostile, a public outing might incur their wrath," said Libra. "We should investigate on our own for now."
Panne looked at Libra, then at Virion, resisting her urge to grit her teeth at the latter.
"...Alright then. Let's see what's going on with the alleged 'Cincinnatians'."
The three all left the room to go look. Unbeknownst to them, a small imp-like creature was looking out of a hoop-like portal from under the room's bed at them, and hurriedly ducked down and closed it to address a certain large, six-legged dragon.
<They're onto us! Oh crap oh crap oh crap Giratina what are we going to do?>
<Calm down, little fella, we can think of something...> said Giratina.
<What? I doubt swaying them with burritos and a musical number will work this time!>
<Maybe not,> said Giratina, <but straight-up throwing them off might.>
Hoopa paused, then gave a mischievous smirk.
<...Let's discuss. I feel I can provide some valuable suggestions for that kind of game.>
Meanwhile, Palkia was standing by Robin's door as he poured over maps, pressing herself to the wall as she had an internal argument with herself.
He's busy! Do you really want to interrupt him while he's busy?
You Torchiced out every time he wasn't busy!
Why are you so fixated on getting to know him anyway? It's not like you're in love with him or anything.
Well, he's pretty cool in his game and even better in person and he helped me out of a traumatic situation, so yeah, It'd be great if I could be like, friends with someone I admire.
Then go talk to him already!
Well that doesn't mean I'm not nervous!
Stop being nervous! You're a goddess, you can handle this.
I don't wanna overdo it though...
Just... Go in there and act natural!
...You know what? Okay, fine, challenge accepted, me, I'm fucking going in!
Ever so slowly Palkia peeked her head around the door.
"Er, hi, Robin?"
Robin lifted his head up from his maps and gave a small smile. "Hello, Valentia. Do you need something?"
"Uh, not really, I just wanted to talk."
Palkia paused. After what seemed like a million years of hesitation she leaned over Robin's maps.
You idiot! she told herself immediately after. That is not how you leave a good impression on him! He'll think you're hitting on him!
Robin blinked, then turned back to his maps. "Tactical planning. It may be peaceful right now, but we've always got to be prepared."
"Er, right," said Palkia.
She looked over the maps and noticed one she recognised in particular, pointing to it.
"These Valm guys sure seem like a bunch of troublemakers and time-wasters if you ask me!"
Robin raised an eyebrow. "Valm? That continent has its own problems, I don't think they'll bring them to ours."
Palkia opened her mouth to retort.
She snapped her mouth back shut and started looking over the maps again.
"Er, sorry about that. You seem pretty thoughtful. And organized."
"Really?" said Robin? "I feel like this is a mess."
Palkia shook her head. "No, I can tell you've put a lot of thought into it! I mean, you've got every nearby country laid out and what's going on where! That takes dedication."
Robin smiled slightly. "Heh, thanks."
There was a another pause that seemed like a million years for Palkia and about an hour for Robin before the latter finally spoke.
"You seem kind of nervous, Valentina."
Great, he knows I'm on guard! What do I do?!
Just... Tell the partial truth? Without the fine details?
Not as much as telling the whole truth. Just tell him how you feel!
Palkia took a deep breath before replying to Robin.
"...Yes. Yes I am. Because you're this super-great tactician leading this super-great army and I'm just this washup from Cincinnati who admires you and wants to be your friend but feels like she can't."
Robin stared a bit at Palkia, then smiled reassuringly.
"You're one to talk about washups considering how I wound up with the Shepherds."
Palkia blinked, then smiled and nodded. "Oh, right! They told me - lying unconscious in a field?"
"Precisely. I've managed to do fine ever since. You've been doing fine, Valentina. And almost anyone who's with the Shepherds is a friend to me, including you."
Palkia relaxed noticeably. "Thanks, Robin."
"You're welcome, Valentina."
"Besides, I'm not even the real leader. Chrom is."
"Well, glad you're not trying to show off to the new girl at my expense," said a voice.
The two jumped and yelped in surprise to see Chrom standing and smirking behind them.
"How'd you get in here so quietly?!" said Robin.
"You were both pretty distracted," said Chrom. "Anyway, Robin, I was wondering if we could both look over some swords we got from a shop."
"Oh, if that's the case sure thing," said Robin.
He then turned to Palkia. "Though... Is it alright if Valentina comes along?"
Palkia froze in place before stammering out a reply. "M-Me?"
Chrom blinked. "Well, as a valkyrie I'm not sure how much she would know about swords."
"She could afford to learn," said Robin. "If you bought these from a shop so could any bandit with enough pilfered money, or an enemy nation for that matter. Yet if she's from an exotic nation she might not know what she's up against."
Chrom rubbed his chin. "Well, when you put it that way, sure she can take a look. Valentina, I'll show you the ropes."
"M-Me?" said Palkia. "But I-"
She was interrupted by Chrom taking her hand and pulling her from her seat, and immediately after was standing next to Robin and Chrom as they led her down a side hallway.
Fantastic, thought Pakia. I know nothing about how to take care of a sword, at least nothing I can remember. I was getting chill with Robin but now I'm not going to embarrass myself in front of not just any of his other friends but his best freind, what do I do what do I do what do I do
Meanwhile, Chrom leaned in slightly and whispered to Robin.
"Glad you finally found someone."
Robin raised an eyebrow. "Um, no?"
"Damn. She seems nice."
"...Not like that."
"Very well. Let's see if she can learn her swords."
In a particularly dingy room in the barracks, Chrom, Robin, and Palkia were looking over an assemblage of swords on a table. Palkia picked up one katana-shaped one.
"I know this one! It's a Killing Edge, right?"
"Yes, precisely!" said Robin.
Palkia picked up a curved, odd-looking blade and swung it around a bit. "This one looks familiar too..."
"That's a Wyrmslayer," said Chrom. "Particularly effective against any sort of dragon."
Palkia started and quickly put the blade down, rubbing her hands together gingerly. "S-Sounds convenient! Heh, pesky dragons, eating thatched-roof cottages and burning cattle, who needs 'em, right?"
After a long pause she looked over the assemblage of blades as a whole. "So... What are we looking for in particular?"
"Defects, wear and tear, that kind of thing," said Robin.
"Right... and how's this batch doing in that regard?" said Palkia.
Chrom sighed. "Not very well. All of these blades are very dulled and past their prime."
Palkia looked the blades over. "Huh, you're right."
"These things only have so many uses before they break," said Robin, "but it seems we won't even be able to do that with these! Who bought them anyway?"
A voice called from upstairs. "I got them at a discount! I needed to have money left for the really good sweets, Bubbles!"
"Dammit," murmured Robin, "who picked Gaius to go weapon shopping again?"
Chrom cast him an aside glance. "You did."
Robin's eyes widened as he suddenly blushed profusely. "...Oh, right. I did."
Palkia sighed and looked the swords over herself before an idea struck her and she stood up smiling smugly. "I may have just the trick, boys."
Robin looked over to her. "Oh?"
"You know how a lot of my spells can bend space, right?" said Palkia?
"Yeah?" said Chrom.
"Well, I know just the thing!"
Palkia pulled a spellbook out of her bag and put her hand over the swords. Her hand, the book, and the swords all started glowing teal.
"Now shrink them along the Z dimension just right..."
The swords all began to change shape, growing thinner along their lengths as more of their material became stretched out. When they were done, Palkia gestured to them proudly.
"Ta-da! Thinner swords, sharper swords - and they're still durable!"
Chrom took one of the swords and sliced at the leg of a wooden chair with it. The chair was quickly felled by the blow, and Chrom turned to Palkia with a grin. "It worked!"
Robin gazed in awe. "Palkia, you're a genius!"
Palkia blinked. "I am?"
"Yes!" said Robin. "In all my time studying magic I'd never have thought to use it to modify the properties of weapons on such a simple but effective level! It's brilliant, thank you!"
Palkia gave a fangirlish giggle she quickly muffled before giving a nervous wave of her hand. "Eheh, it's nothing, glad you appreciate a good old Cincinnati spell!"
Chrom looked between the two of them and crossed his arms, smiling. "I think after today we could all do something special."
Palkia and Robin looked to him expectantly.
"Oh?" they both said.
At the top of the castle tower, Robin, Chrom, and Palkia stood as the sun set over the vast expanse of Ylisse before them.
"This is your first time up here, isn't it, Valentina?" said Robin.
"Yeah," said Palkia, "It's really nice..."
"And I brought snacks," said Chrom.
He produced several strips of jerky he passed among the three of them, which they all began munching eagerly. Palkia thought to herself as she chewed the jerky and gazed out at the landscape.
Aaaaaaaaa I'm hanging out with Robin, and Chrom too! This is glorious!
What'll you do next?
Um, I dunno, hang out with them, or at least Robin, some more? I'm in the clear here, I don't wanna mess it up.
You gotta be more defined than that.
Hey, going on the fly worked this time, didn't it?
Well, not always. Sometimes you gotta be prepared.
What, and force it? Me and Robin have to do things naturally.
Well we still have to account for-
Palkia swallowed a hunk of jerky. "Will you two be quiet? I'm trying to enjoy this moment."
Robin and Chrom stared at her akwardly. Palkia noticed and gave a nervous chuckle.
"Oh, sorry, that was nothing. Just me talking to myself."
As a side note, I was binging Phineas and Ferb as I wrote this and you can probably tell at certain points if you look. Next chapter is pretty important to the overarching story of this thing, so stay tuned for that.
Chapter 6: Destiny
As promised, this a very special chapter. Enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 6: Destiny
Robin and Palkia were wandering the barracks when Robin stiffened.
"What's wrong?" Palkia said.
"This part of the barracks. I don't recognize it. At all."
Palkia shrugged. "Maybe they just built a new bit. I wouldn't worry too mu-"
Suddenly two trap doors opened beneath them and they fell screaming into darkness.
The two came to in what seemed like a sunny Yillisean field, though one neither of them seemed to recognise.
"Okay," said Palkia. "What wise guy knocked us out and dragged us out here?"
"I don't know, but we should get back," said Robin.
He attempted to get to his feet, only to drag a protesting Palkia up with him. Confused, Robin looked to their hands and his eyes widened with shock.
"Why are we holding hands? And more importantly why are our hands stuck together?!"
Palkia yelped and tried to pry her hand from Robin's, but it was very much stuck fast. "Not good, not good, not good..."
“IT SEEMS YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION," said a distorted voice.
"Definitely not good!" said Palkia.
"THIS SEEMS TO BE A PATH WHERE LOVERS WHO MEET THEIR DESTINED PARTNERS DISCUSS THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.”
"Destined lovers?!" said Robin.
"No, this isn't possible..." said Palkia. "I can't get married to a mor-!"
She caught herself and stayed quiet.
“WHAT COULD BE WAITING UP AHEAD? YOU ARE FREE TO STEP FORTH HAND-IN-HAND, CURIOSITY AND FEAR IN YOUR HEARTS, OR YOU CAN REFRAIN.”
Palkia gulped. "We'll refrain, thank you very mu-"
“NOW, STEP FORTH!”
The voice fell silent. It was then the two noticed heart-shaped arches up ahead.
"I'd suspect one of our enemies is behind this save for the fact none of them would do anything like this," said Robin.
"I swear I would fight whatever that creepy voice is!" said Palkia. "If only I could see what the hell it is."
"Unfortunately," said Robin, "we are literally stuck to each other, so the only way to get to it is heading on together."
"Alright then," said Palkia. "Once we get there I'm beating up whoever's behind this!"
The two headed onward into the heart-shaped arches.
As they went on, Robin craned his neck to squint at something up ahead. "Is that-"
“SUDDENLY, ALL IN ATTENDANCE HEAR AN ANNOUNCEMENT,” said the voice, booming around them.
"Could you turn down the volume?!" said Palkia.
“UP AHEAD, THEY SEE A BRIDE AND GROOM’S JOYOUS COMMEMORATIVE PAINTING OF LOVE. THEY CONFER BETWEEN THEM WHETHER TO LOOK AT IT, OR IGNORE IT.”
"I doubt ignoring is an option" said Palkia. "So unfortunately we're going to have to look."
She and Robin hesitantly crept over, only for both of them to stop dead in horror upon seeing what the painting depicted.
"What." said Robin. "I just... why?!"
"It's me in a wedding dress! And you in a tux! Holding me!" said Palkia.
"What even is this tux thing and why do I get the creepy feeling it's supposed to be romantic?!" said Robin.
"Just the fact that someone would bother to make this is itself really creeping me ou-" Palkia started to say.
She then whipped her head over to Robin in shock. "Why are you in the tux from the photo?!"
Robin looked down at himself, yelped, and then looked in equal shock at Palkia. "I don't know, but why are you in the dress from the photo?!"
Palkia looked down at herself to find she was indeed in a wedding dress. She let out a high-pitched yelp, then stomped her foot in anger.
"That is it! We are getting to the bottom of this!"
She dragged Robin off through the heart-shaped archways.
After a while, the two came up to a building of the sort both recognised from their respective worlds.
"Is that a... church?" said Robin.
"I need answers!" said Palkia.
"THE LONG-AWAITED MOMENT HAS COME," said the distorted voice. "THE BRIDE AND GROOM ARE FINALLY ABOUT TO ENTER.”
"I still don't hear any answers!" said Palkia.
“THE LAST MOMENT OF HESITATION HAS ARRIVED BEFORE YOU ARE TO BE WED.”
"We are not getting married!" said Robin.
“THROUGH YOUR OWN FREE WILL, YOU DECIDE TO VOW ETERNAL LOVE TO EACH OTHER.”
"This is a violation of free will!" said Robin.
“NOW, OPEN THE DOOR TOGETHER!”
"You know what? Fine!" said Palkia.
"You are going down!" said Robin.
The two worked together to kick down the church doors, only to find the church completely empty, altar, seats, and all. Despite this the voice boomed out yet again.
“YOU MUST VOW YOUR UNWAVERING LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH. NOW, VOW YOUR LOVE!”
"I can't get married to him! I feel like a... a... An OC being paired off with a canon character!" said Palkia.
"A... what?" said Robin.
"It's a Cincinnati metaphor you wouldn't understa-"
"No! I won't allow this!" said another voice.
A woman in tight-fitting dark mage gear burst through the doors, rushing over to Robin.
"Tharja?" said Robin, blinking.
"I could not let these foul pranksters pair you off to this Valentina!" said Tharja.
Palkia put her hands on her hips. "Waitaminute, pranksters?"
It was then Giratina and Hoopa emerged from behind the altar, laughing uproariously.
"Dudes, you should have seen the looks on your faces!" said Giratina.
"Oh man, this was so worth all the setup," said Hoopa.
The two stopped, however, to see that Palkia had gotten her hand unstuck and was standing before them with a crazed grin on her face.
"I promised whoever was behind this I'd kick their ass... And I keep my promises..."
Giratina and Hoopa screamed as Palkia chased them out of the church.
Tharja thumbed after them and gave a baffled look at Robin.
Robin just shrugged.
Happy April Fools, everybody! The real Chapter 6 should be up soon!
By the way, yes, I have used this Persona Q sequence in a fic before...
Chapter 7: Error
But hey, folks, it's been a while. Bad stuff happened a while back that killed my motivation to do any writing at all, but I crawled out of it via a combination of Worldbuilding June and RPing. Nevertheless, I'm sorry for the wait.
So let's get on with it already:
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 6: Error
Virion ran down the dim corridors of the barracks. He looked left, he looked right, he looked at his shoulders to make sure Kellam wasn't sitting there again, and he crept toward Howard's room. Surely he'd find something.
He peeked in and immediately regretted it.
Garish gold, gray and red patterns had been scrawled all over the room. The entire room had various clothes and bits of armor strewn all over, as well as other accessories. Virion wondered how he'd ever find anything in this mess.
He shrugged and figured he may as well try.
He started digging, rummaging, hoping to find anything that'd give the Cincinnatians away, when he heard a voice from above.
"Dude. What are you doing?"
Virion looked up to find Giratina standing on the ceiling, looking down at him with a sneer. He gulped and stood up straight, twiddling his fingers nervously. "Well, you see, I was looking for my bow and-"
He blinked. "How did you get up there anyway?"
Giratina scoffed. "Dark knight privileges. Now get out of my room."
Virion let out an audible "meep" sound before sprinting off, heading all the way back to Libra's room, where he found Libra himself pacing back and forth.
"Er, hey, any luck with Bartimaeus?"
"No. When I entered there was nothing there."
Virion sighed. "Great, ether they're on to the fact we're on to them or Panne was off her rock-"
He paused. "Hang on, where is Panne?"
Libra blinked. "I think she was checking into Valentia..."
"...Something could be up," said Virion. "We should check on her."
And the two headed off.
Once again by the waterfalls, Dialga and Naga were swapping stories of each other's worlds.
"And the humans can actually have some pretty good TV shows. Like Sailor Lunatone."
He stiffened, looked around, and waved one of his forelimbs. "Don't tell Palkia I said that."
Naga giggled. "I won't."
Dialga thought for a bit to change the subject before something came to mind. "More serious question?"
"Yes?" said Naga.
"Panne from the Shepherds said her people, the Taguel, were slaughtered by humans. Do you remember that?"
Naga grew somber. "Yes. It was brutal, merciless. I could only observe, but... It is hard to stay cold, to stay pragmatic in times like those."
Dialga hung his head. "I know what you mean. To me extinction by natural causes is only normal, but when a species turns upon another out of pure hate it is not. I remember when the Sceptile of my world turned upon their predecessors..."
Naga shook her head. "It's bad enough protecting the world from threats like Loptyr... And Duma... and Medeus... and Grima..."
Dialga raised an eyebrow. "You've told me about all the others, but not the last one."
Naga blinked. "I haven't? Grima is a foul creature, one born of a dragon corpse infused with the power of the divine by a madman. He lays waste to all and has the power to end the world if he wants to. But he must work through a vessel, and was last sealed away a thousand years ago."
Dialga paused, then looked at Naga worriedly. "Does he have any chance of coming back?"
Naga nodded. "Yes. Almost guaranteed."
"Then I will help stop him. And help bring the Taguel back too if I can."
Panne listened to it all. She choked up, she froze.
Then she ran yet again.
Palika was sitting in the Yilissitol castle courtyard with Robin, both of them enjoying popsicles.
"These frozen treats you made are great, Valentina!" said Robin.
He furrowed his brow. "Didn't recognise the magic you used to make them though."
Palkia winced. "Er, Cincinnati specialty."
Robin chuckled. "What is it like for you back home, anyway?"
"Oh, uh. Lots of responsibilities to make up for the cool stuff, certainly."
She tried to think of anything to change the subject. Only one thing came to mind.
"So, you hear those rumors about that weird girl posing as Hero King Marth?"
Robin blinked. "I've never heard of such rumors."
"Oh, huh," said Palkia, taking a bite of her popsicle. "Well-"
She then realized exactly what Robin just said and spat out her chunk of frozen dessert. "Wait, what do you mean, you've never heard of her?!"
"Why's that so startling? None of us have heard of such a thing."
Palkia paused, racked her brain for a response to the scenario, then gulped.
"I'm going to ask you some very strange questions, and I need you to answer as honestly as possible, OK?"
Robin blinked. "O... kay?"
Palkia gulped again. "First, they told me your exalt got killed... Emmeryn, was it? How did she die?"
Robin grew somber. "An assassin from Gangrel murdered her in her castle one night... Gaius was lucky to not be framed for the deed..."
Palkia grew slightly pale. "G-Great... What happened to Gangrel, by the way?"
Robin scowled. "I chopped the bastard's head off personally."
Palkia grew more pale. "Yipe... Where'd you learn to do something like that? What even was your life before the Shepherds anyway?"
Robin paused, looking shocked, before hastily turning his head and shaking it side to side. "I... It wasn't pleasant... I don't want to talk about it..."
Palkia grew about as white as Robin's hair.
"Oh... Oh geez, that's rough buddy... Listen, I'll leave you alone to get through that while I get more popsicles, see you!"
Robin started. "Valentina, wait, I-"
But she was already gone. Robin blinked.
"What just got into her...?"
Panicked thoughts flooded through her mind. She had to find Dialga Giratina, Hoopa. There had been a grave mistake.
And now this world's end was nigh.
The four Legendary Pokemon in their true forms were gathered together, in a forest clearing, alone, with a barrier keeping out the eyes and ears of others. Dialga stamped one of his front feet angrily on the ground.
"What do you mean you and Giratina found the wrong timeline?! I thought you said this place matched your little video game perfectly aside from the lack of Pokemon!"
Giratina shifted awkwardly. "Well, um, bro, me and sis failed to account for-" he sighed. "Sis, you probably can explain better than I can."
"Okay," said Palkia, "so I prepared a little demonstration."
She wheeled in a whiteboard with crude illustrations and started pointing to each of them with her claws, beginning with a doodle of a forked line.
"OK, so the problem is that the game has two timelines, one where the heroes win and one where everyone dies horribly."
She points to some scrawled people of various shapes and sizes hopping from one timeline to another. "The only reason the timeline where the heroes win exists is because their kids, particularly Chrom's kid Lucina, went back in time to try to fix things. From what I've heard from Robin that has not happened, like, at all. Which is an issue because..."
She points to a doodle of Robin smiling with sparkles above his head. "Robin happens to be the key to the apocalypse."
"Wait, that kid? How?" said Hoopa.
"Well..." said Palkia.
She pointed to a second doodle of Robin surrounded by flames, grinning evilly with three pairs of red eyes having sprouted on his face, and with the head and neck of a demonic dragon with three identical pairs of eyes looming above him.
"Robin happens to be queued up to be the next vessel of a really nasty undead dragon demigod named Grima. Who is really big and evil and powerful and can also cause zombie apocalypses."
Dialga's eyes widened. "Grima?! That was one of Naga's nemeses she told me about! She said his return was imminent!"
"Wait, Naga said Grima was coming back like, soon?" said Giratina. "We're definitely in trouble."
Hoopa gulped, then shook his head and shrugged. "Welp, so much for that vacation, guess we should take the next plane or train or cosmic portal ho-"
"No we're not," said Palkia.
"Then what are we doing?" said Giratina.
"If Lucina and the kids aren't around to fix the incoming mess, who else will do it but us?" said Palkia. "I mean, we care about these people, especially after staying with them. We ought to help, right?"
"I most certainly agree," said Dialga.
"I'm up for it," said Giratina.
"Well when you phrase it that way sure why not?" said Hoopa.
Palkia smiled. "All right then..."
"Let's save this world."
Let's just say I was looking forward to this bit. As I mentioned before, this is where the plot starts thickening!
Chapter 8: Love And War
The gang try to derail a romance subplot, but encounter worse problems.
Well. And I thought the last delay was bad.
It's been over a year. The reason being that my motivation to do fic at all was kicked in the nether regions throughout the latter half of 2017, and come 2018 I had enough writer's block on this particular project to delay it further as I focused on others. For that, I apologize to everybody who was even remotely invested in this fic.
That said, here it finally is. A slower chapter, but one that sets up for bigger things to come.
Chapter 7: Love and War
The mage fired a blast of dark energy at Palkia, aiming for her head. Palkia casually deflected the blast with her staff, then opened a rift in space that sucked the mage in before closing.
~Are you sure the non-lethal method for these guys is gonna work?~ said Hoopa's voice in her head.
~Well it's not like we can wanton murder the locals,~ said Palkia back.
One by one, she spatially warped every that came after her, until there were none left. Soon, her group and the Shepherds were the only living people left in the battlefield.
The Shepherds themselves were rather worse for wear; the local healers were getting together to patch people up. Meanwhile, Palkia looked over to Robin, who was putting away his spelbooks and cleaning off his robes. A green-haired girl in pink approached him.
Palkia paced in her tent. Nearby, Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina were slumped over, exhausted.
"Remind me of why we're on cleanup duty again, sis?" Giratina asked.
"Again, the end is coming, and we need to stop it."
"Shouldn't there be more to it than just... tagging along?" said Dialga.
"Something could crop up at any moment. We need to be prepared."
"We've been doing this for two years!" said Hoopa. "That's piecemeal for us, sure, but it's a decent while for the humans that make up, you know, ninety percent of this group?"
"It's also peacemeal for the thing we're fighting. The dark dragon god that wants to, remember, be reborn through one of the leaders of this ****ing group?"
"Shouldn't we be taking care of that, then?" said Dialga.
Palkia gulped. "I'm trying but..."
"Let's just say things are getting complicated."
A couple weeks earlier, Palkia was looking for a good spot to sit down and eat, when she saw Robin approaching her. She perked up and moved to hand him some of the food she was carrying, only to notice he seemed rather nervous.
"Something wrong?" she asked.
"Can I ask you something?" said Robin.
"Sure, what is it?"
"It's about that Manakete girl we recruited a while back. Tiki."
"Yeah, what about her?"
"I think I... I... I'm in love with her."
Palkia started. Several thoughts flooded her mind at once, but the first and foremost to emerge was:
Robin x Tiki? Who even ships that?
She immediately bit her tongue, going: Palkia you idiot these are real people you don't think things like that even though they are also technically fictional in your world and gah just give him advice already.
"Is that so?" said Palkia, smirking and striking a pose. "Well well, I assume you need advice on wooing the lucky lady?"
"Er, yes, I suppose. You two have a similar... energy, so to speak? I've already asked Gaius and he wasn't entirely sure what to do aside from offering her some candy. Which I did. Turns out she has a licorice allergy. We haven't spoken since."
Palkia filed all those facts, especially the thing about Gaius, away for later before responding.
"Well, uh... It's probably been long enough. Maybe just approach her casually, like in the mess hall, apologize, and work from there?"
"I don't know, though, I'm... I'm still awfully embarrassed and she might still be mad..."
"Knowing her, I doubt it. Just have some faith in yourself, alright? Or don't listen to me because I'm aro ace."
"Er... Never mind. Just do it, buddy. I know you can."
Robin shook his head, then nodded, and headed off.
Immediately various thoughts started swimming through Palkia's head. Tiki is a demigod. The daughter of a previous incarnation of Naga. Robin has the blood of Grima, who they're trying to stop. The two of them together...
Gaius. She had to find Gaius.
She rushed off through a space portal as fast as she could.
Gaius was relaxing by himself, a bowl of candies before him as he slowly popped them into his mouth.
This peaceful scene was interrupted by a rift in space appearing behind him and Palkia emerging, grabbing Gaius, and shaking him like a rag doll.
"Gah! Slow down Spacey!" said Gaius.
Palkia released Gaius from her grip and sat down. "Sorry..."
"This isn't about the licorice, is it?" said Gaius.
"No! I just... Need to know more about how this happened!"
"Kind of a snoop, are you? I dunno, Tiki got curious about Bubbles, Bubbles got curious about Tiki, and the next thing I know he comes asking me for romantic advice! Honestly regarding Tiki I'm kind of jealous of her..."
"Right. Why was she gravitating to him in particular?"
"When I talked to Robin about it after the licoriche incident he said she gravitated to the "strange aura" he had. Weird dragon bullshit I tell you.
"Strange... Aura... Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no."
Palkia had already vanished through another rift in space.
Gaius shrugged and started picking up his candies.
"...And that's why we need to watch this relationship like a Staraptor and intervene if something's up," said Palkia.
"Okay then," said Hoopa. "Why didya wait until now to tell us?"
"I thought things would stay awkward after the licorice incident," said Palkia, "but then my advice worked! He talked to her and they kept talking and now they're kinda sorta dating?"
"Well, that certainly backfired, sister," said Dialga.
"I know..." said Palkia. "What do we do now?"
"Simple!" said Giratina. "We set Tiki up with Wuzzles, give her a love potion from Hoopa's Stash, and presto! Problem solved."
From outside the tent Wuzzles gave a growl of objection.
"Do I even have a love potion?" said Hoopa.
"Okay, that's not going to work." said Palkia.
"I'll ask for Naga's advice on this. She's Tiki's mother, right? Surely she'll object and tell us what to do."
"It's worth a shot," said Palkia.
Dialga nodded, shifted to his monster rabbit form, and headed off.
So did Panne, who was listening nearby.
Despite the distance, Dialga arrived in short order, heading straight to Naga.
"What is it, Dialga?" said Naga.
"It's about your daughter, Tiki," said Dialga, reverting to his draconic form. "She's in love with the potential future vessel of Grima."
"I understand," said Naga, "but there is little I can do."
"Why not?" said Dialga.
"Well, for one, it's not entirely accurate to say she's my daughter, more the daughter of a previous me," said Naga. "My responsibility toward her has long passed."
"Yes, so?" said Dialga.
"Second... She's seen so much to suffer for in her life. I like to let her be happy when she's awake and has the chance."
"Hm," said Dialga "But her mingling with Grima's power... Could it be dangerous?"
"For now Grima's potential lies within Robin and only Robin," said Naga. "It has no chance of passing on to Tiki."
"And what of... Their offspring?"
"That I cannot say. You are working to prevent Robin's manifestation as Grima, yes?"
"But of course."
Naga smiled gently. "Then nothing should come ill of this union."
"If you say so..." said Dialga.
He sighed. "It's been two years. That's nothing to you and me but a while to those humans. We haven't found a cure."
"I have faith in you and your companions, my friend," said Naga.
"...Friend?" said Dialga.
"Of course," said Naga. "We've only known each other for a short while and yet you're the best company I've had in millenia."
"Th... Thank you." said Dialga. "But I must be going."
He shifted to his rabbit form and ran off as fast as he could, Naga waving him goodbye.
"...So we do nothing?" said Palkia.
"Nothing," said Dialga.
"This stinks!" said Hoopa. "We've been doing nothing but watching and waiting since we figured out this place is scheduled for a shitshow! This world is doomed, aint it? We gotta do something to put a stop to that!"
"We can't directly intervene, though!" said Palkia. "If we break out all our fancy tricks at once, the jig is up, and there's no telling if the locals will be with or against us!"
"They're just humans and a few extras though," said Giratina. "We can deal with them eas-"
"That's what we said about Cyrus!" said Palkia.
There was stunned silence from Dialga and Giratina. Hoopa's eyes widened and he slowly started backing up.
"I..." said Palkia. "I'm sorry, I just-"
"Okay, that's enough."
Panne suddenly barged into the tent, followed by Libra and Virion.
"You four!" said Virion. "We've caught you in the act! Now you've got some explaining to d-"
He was promptly interrupted with a scream as Wuzzles pounced on him.
Giratina sighed and pulled Wuzzles off. "Bad boy! I told you, no eating the other Shepherds."
Virion got up and dusted himself off, panting heavily. Libra continued for him.
"Panne informed us of your conspiracies; we three have been suspicious of your activities for a while."
"Just what is going on with you all?" said Panne.
The group paused. Then, Palkia sighed.
"Let me handle this, guys."
She took a deep breath.
"This is gonna be hard to believe but... We're gods. From another world. We came here for a good time, but things got hairy when we found out an evil god from your world's due to be resurrected. We're sorry."
"Hah!" said Virion. "We knew as much, didn't we Libra and Panne?"
"Indeed I did," said Libra. "Your divine presence was apparent from the start."
"And with me discovering Quentin's true nature myself," said Panne, "All that remained was scrutinizing your motives. Which we've been trying to do for two long years."
"I guess two years of me and Howard trying to throw you of didn't work..." said Hoopa.\
"At least the pranks were good," said Giratina.
"So discard that charade of some dark god from our world you're trying to stop and tell us the truth!"
"They are," said Libra.
"Huh?" said Virion.
"You've heard the rumblings about Grima, have you not? If they are on our side in that fight they could be valuable allies."
"...Allies?" said Panne.
"...So you'll help us?" said Dialga.
"I will," said Libra. "Question is if my companions will."
Panne looked between everyone and then snarled at Dialga.
"Impersonating one of my kind is still a sore spot, but if you wish to do more help than harm, I will aid you."
"...Well, I guess if they are I will too," said Virion.
Palkia grinned. "An alliance it is."
"Now what?" said Giratina.
"We come up with a plan," said Libra.
And they set to work, making charts and illustrations and discussing amongst themselves.
Shortly after, Panne was standing outside, listening to the noises around her. A such, she soon heard Dialga approaching.
"...Yes, it's me."
"What do you want?"
"I talked to Naga. Multiple times."
"I want to bring your kind back."
Panne sighed, then turned around to face Dialga.
"Even if you truly are a deity from another world. You have a monumental task ahead of you."
"I know. That's why I want your help."
"...You truly wish to help someone such as me? And my kind?"
The faintest hint of a smile crept onto Panne's lips.
"I will say this. You are not taguel. But you are not manspawn either. And I can see you truly care. I will accept your help."
A small smile crept onto Dialga's lips as well.
Walhart had been defeated.
After a ceremony to honor the lives lost - particularly that of the Feroxian Khan Basilio - a massive party among the Sheperds was held. Drinks, food, games, all were had, and even Wuzzles participated in the fun.
Amidst the hullabaloo Palkia approached Tiki.
"Oh, hello, Palkia!" said Tiki.
"Hey," said Palkia. "How's it going?"
"Good! I love parties! One of the few things that can keep me awake, haha..."
"That's good. How are you and Robin doing?"
"Oh! We're doing well!"
She fidgeted noticeably.
"I... I'm starting to think we're more than friends, though..."
Palkia blinked. Right, that doesn't happen until S Support. Also I need to stop thinking in game terms.
"Really? I can definitely see it."
"Yeah, you're totally into each other. Like, super-into each other."
"I don't know... I'm worried I'm projecting Marth onto him..."
"Then don't. Value him as the person he is. And hey, I'm friends with him. He's a pretty great guy."
"I just worry about what people will think sometimes..."
"Don't. There's going to be people who want to stop your relationship. People who object. People who think it will end in disaster. Those people don't matter if you think you can have a healthy, supportive relationship with him."
"...Alright. Thank you, Palkia."
Tiki looked around.
"He left the party to go do some paperwork... I ought to keep him company.
She got up and left. Palkia sighed.
"Good luck, Tiki. You and Robin both need it. And so will we."
Chapter 9: Chapter 8: Absolute Destiny Apocalypse
It all comes unfurled.
Time for Chapter 8! Do note that this is the point where the fic gets... Noticeably less lighthearted and silly. It won't lose that entirely but... Don't say I didn't warn you.
As for what that entails...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 8: Absolute Destiny Apocalypse
The group sat and waited in a pocket dimension created by Giratina. The dimension swirled purple mist around the occupants, as Palkia pressed her ear to a "wall" and Dialga looked through a hole in the "floor." The thing was also rather crowded.
"Did we really have to bring the bear?" said Virion.
Wuzzles gave a disapproving growl.
"Yes. Yes we did," said Giratina, pouting.
Palkia muttered something to herself. "Okay, I remember this part of the script..."
She turned to Dialga. "You hear anything?"
"I hear soldiers marching down this passageway," said Dialga.
"I do as well," said Panne.
"Good! When they come running down the hallway, we yank them up!"
Soon the soldiers did arrive down below, and the eight reached down to grab them and haul them into the pocket dimension. The dimension closed and expanded, and the group made short work of the soldiers with fists and the butts of weapons - or in Wuzzles' case, paws. Palkia then conjured another portal that dumped their unconscious bodies halfway across the continent.
Virion dusted his hands off. "Now what?"
Palkia put another ear to the dimension walls. "Seems like Chrom and Robin escaped!"
"That's good, obviously," said Libra.
"Right, but that Validar creep that rules Plegia is probably going to ambush them and take the Emblem," said Palkia. "...Or something. Not like I already know this for certain or something. But I figure we let him think he's got it all to himself."
"And?" said Hoopa, raising an eyebrow.
"And then we make a decisive strike!" said Palkia, slamming her fist into her palm.
Surrounded by an armed guard, Validar stared down at the Fire Emblem longingly. It was easy enough to snatch from that annoying prince by manipulating Robin's fell blood. Now with it he could resurrect his dark maste-
He noticed movement. In an instant, he darted out of the way of a torrent of water that blasted a Plegian soldier instead.
Validar looked up to see a strange girl in pink with odd wings hovering overhead.
"Oy, shitty dad! Your slightly less shitty evil plan stops here!"
"...Who the hells is this, Aversa?" said Validar to the woman next to him.
Aversa looked at him, then at Palkia, then back at Validar and shrugged.
"Who am I?" said Palkia. She gave a haughty laugh. "I'm Palkia, here to give a divine whooping on your ass! With the help of some friends, of course."
At this, several space portals opened, and Dialga, Giratina on Wuzzles, Hoopa, Panne, Virion, and Libra emerged from them.
"Bah! You mortal fools think you can stop the might of Grima?"
"Mortal? Mortal?" Palkia gave a hysterical laugh, one that boomed in a way no human's should. Dialga, Giratina, and Hoopa joined her. Validar, for all his determination not to, gulped.
"Let's be real here," said Palkia. "Either you hand over that pretty little Fire Emblem trinket so we can give it back to who it truly belongs to... Or you can deal with our dragon-god forms and we'll clean up the mess later."
"Actually, that Fire Emblem would look mighty good in the Stash..." said Hoopa
Palkia gave him a glare.
Validar, however, registered the mention of "Dragon" and smirked.
"So you're dragons, you say?"
"Yep!" said Palkia.
"Come at us then."
"If you insist."
She, Dialga, Giratina, and Hoopa shifted to their Pokemon forms.
Libra's eyes widened. "Wait, no, do-"
"Aversa, now!" said Validar.
Aversa conjured three dark portals, out of which emerged three fangs wreathed in darkness. They plunged into the bodies of the Creation Trio, creating sickly black vines that wrapped around their bodies as they screamed. Panne, Libra, and Virion rushed to remove the fangs, while Hoopa and Wuzzles confronted Validar and Aversa.
~Hey! T-that's just fighting dirty!~ said Hoopa.
The two rushed Validar and Aversa but it was too late. They had warped to safety. The fangs eventually retreated back into the portals, leaving the three dragons gasping and panting as the others tended to their wounds.
"What was that foul sorcery?!" said Panne.
"Those were Grima's fangs," said Libra. "Grima has Divine Dragon blood, and the fangs of Divine Dragons can pierce the hides of other dragons easily. It's how Falchion works the way it does."
<S-So j-just like... our world...> said Dialga hoarsely.
"Er, what was that?" said Virion.
~Dialga's saying Dragons are strong against Dragons in our world too!~ said Hoopa.
<Dude...> said Giratina. <That was brutal...>
<We... We can't risk going full power against him anymore...> said Palkia.
<But...> said Giratina, <We need to->
<NO!> said Palkia <We can't... We just can't... I don't want to put you two in another... in another Red Chain situation...>
In the meantime, Hoopa was rapidly translating for the others.
"....What's the Red Chain?" said Libra.
~It's... a device,~ said Hoopa. ~A device this asshole named Cyrus tried to use to make Dialga and Palkia wipe out our universe and build some brand new universe in his image. Thankfully Giratina saved them but... It's not a happy memory.~
"Disgusting," said Panne.
<I've never felt so vulnerable... Neither did Dialga... And Validar striking us so fast... So hard... The feelings are coming back...>
<Sister... I would be lying if I didn't feel the same way...> said Dialga. <But we still need to stop them. This world depends on us. We just... Need to rethink our strategy...>
Palkia paused. She shrunk back down to her human form. Dialga, Hoopa, and Giratina returned to their disguises as well. Wuzzles nuzzled Giratina as Palkia looked over to the others.
"We need a new plan."
Robin was alone.
Thoughts raced through his mind. Could he really do this? Chrom had been supportive, and he had the rest of the Shepherds to back them up, but-
Palkia entered Robin's quarters. "Chrom told me to talk to you."
"He... Did?" said Robin.
"Yeah. He mentioned you were having a hard time and I offered to help."
He sat down.
"I'm just so unsure of... Everything?"
"Robin... Can I confess something?"
"I'm honestly a huge fan of yours."
"Yeah! You're stylish, level-headed, knows strategy better than anyone else in this damn army... What's not to like?"
"Thank you... But... Can I overcome this?"
"Of course you can. I know you're scared. I know I'm scared. But... I believe in you. I believe in the Shepherds. We can beat Validar's ugly mug in. And at the end of the day once all this is over we'll laugh and have a good time and chow down on Giratina's burritos."
Robin stared at her, then laughed. "Ah... Thank you Palkia. That helped." He paused. "You know... You've been a good friend too. Thank you for everything."
"Thank you, Robin."
"Not a problem. I... I just hope you're right."
Palkia nodded, then exited Robin's quarters, shaking her head as she left as tears started rolling down her cheeks. "I... I hope I'm right too..."
The Dragon's Table, the altar to Girima, was almost ready.
Nearby, Virion was scouting the area. He scanned the landscape for any signs of what he was looking for. Then, moving in the distance, he saw it.
"Palkia, company, now."
Spatial, temporal, and antimatter distortions moved toward the shapes in the distance. They silently approached a group of soldiers. One by one they struck, pulling the soldiers into the nether. A hand reached to grab the figure at their center.
It only grasped straw.
"What the..." said Giratina.
"Damn it!" said Palkia. "Validar knew we were coming! He left a dummy!"
"If this was a decoy," said Dialga, "then Validar must-"
A sickening crack was heard from the Dragon's Table. Palkia's eyes widened. "No..."
She attempted to warp over, but a force stopped her just outside the massive structure. A voice echoed outward, amplified by the walls. Palkia recognized it clear as day. It was Robin's.
"Chrom... No... I..."
"No... No no no no no no!" said Palkia
"I murdered you... You trusted me... Everyone did..."
"Robin, it's not you, Validar did this-"
"Validar... He was right... How could I ever go back to the others..."
"Robin, please, listen to yourself-"
"...And in light of this... Why should I?"
"All bonds I make in life... From my mother to my mentor to Chrom to the rest of the Shepherds - shatter of my own doing! All prove utterly futile, meaningless! I ''was'' born to be a destroyer, and it shows in what happens when I get close to other beings!"
"No, please, you can't-"
"In light of that... My father was correct! Why bother? Other beings... They're ultimately doomed to worthlessness to me! No - they've been worthless from the start!"
"Robin that's not true you have to-"
:"Bonds with others are doomed to break and tear! I have no use for them! Never have!"
"In fact... Why should I ever need others at all?"
"Stop stop stop!"
"Trying to find happiness with others has only ended in pain! So if I'm to be a god... They'll have other uses to me, sure..."
"Stop this now!"
"Servants, playthings, food..."
"You can't... I won't let you fall..."
"But the rest... Insignificant! I shall exterminate them like the vermin they are in comparison to my perfection!"
The skies darkened. The massive head and body of a dragon with six black wings and six glowing red eyes rose from the Dragon's Table.
"I am Grima! You shall be cleansed of this world, mortals - for it is mine and mine alone!"
A loud, booming, maniacal laugh echoed across the landscape.
Palkia let out a scream of "No!" She watched in utter helplessness as the dragon ascended, then collapsed to her knees and sobbed.
...I warned you. And it's gonna get worse from here.
Chapter 10: Chapter 9: Teenage Wasteland
Zombie apocalypse shenanigans? Zombie apocalypse shenanigans.
Okay! Here's Chapter 9! Do be warned this has what will probably be the goriest scene in the entire fic. Also some characters I was looking forward to introducing!
Chapter 9: Teenage Wasteland
It was dark. The clouds rarely let the sun through. It had been this way for years, as had the Risen shambling across the landscape.
Somewhere in the ruins of Yilissitol, a small group of these Risen advanced toward what looked to be an enticing target. For their efforts, they were slashed clean in half, the insects that made them move fleeing into the dirt. The one that had done the deed sighed and started moving on.
"...Valentina? Is that really you?"
Palkia paused. Then turned around. It was Tiki, staring her down.
"...Tiki." Palkia said hollowly. "It's been a while."
"Yes... But you! You seem to be the only survivor of the Shepherds I could find..."
"I'm sure there are... Others..."
"I need you, Valentia."
"Mommy?" said a voice. "Are the Risen gone?"
A small child peeked out from behind a brick wall. This seemed to stir up some actual emotion in Palkia.
"Is... Is that...?"
Tiki sighed. "I... I've decided to take on Grima myself. With my Divine Dragon power I may be the only one who stands a chance. But while I'm gone... and... just in case... I need someone to watch over Morgan. And as far as I know you're the only one I trust left."
"You... You can't," said Palkia, stammering. "Taing on Grima, it's suicide, I-"
"Valentina, please!" said Tiki. "You're my only hope... You're... her only hope..."
Palkia looked between Tiki and Morgan a few times before sighing and nodding. "I'll... Take care of her."
"Thank you..." said Tiki. She bent down to adress Morgan. "Sweetie? I'm going to see your father so we can stop the evil dragon." She started tearing up. "Miss... Miss Valentia is going to take good care of you and protect you from Risen until I get back, okay?"
"Okay mommy, " said Morgan.
She headed over to Palkia. Tiki looked over at Palkia, tears still in her eyes.
And in an instant, she was gone.
Palkia stared numbly in the direction she went for a good few seconds before noticing the child clutching to her leg and promptly panicking.
"Oh no... This was a mistake, a huge mistake..."
She scooped up Morgan and rushed after Tiki, but stopped when she realized she had no clue where Tiki went.
"Not good... If I knew where she was I could just warp there but..."
She noticed Morgan clinging very tightly to her chest, bit her tongue, and started navigating the city on foot. She searched every nook and cranny, behind every wall and broken building, even blasted a few Risen lurking in the depths. Still no sign of her. Palkia was starting to get irritated before hearing a loud roar not too far in the distance. "Grima... She's going for Grima!"
She looked at Morgan, who by this point was eyeing her oddly. "Brace yourself kid."
She immediately warped within view of but a safe distance away from the massive dragon.
And realized her mistake as she heard a scream. And saw Grima's jaws crunching down on the flesh and bones of a much smaller dragon, pieces either falling away or being swallowed whole.
S E V E R A L Y E A R S L A T E R
Dialga sighed as his time powers vaporized yet more Risen. It seemed he encountered five or seven of them every five feet, and no matter how many even his powers eliminated more kept coming. He turned to Giratina and Hoopa, who were rummaging through a hut. "Anything?"
"No sign of life dude," said Giratina.
~Much less any of the Shepherds. Or... Her.~ said Hoopa.
Dialga sighed again. They'd found plenty of apocalyptic logs and ruins of old homes, but it'd been literal years since they'd seen any surviving Shepherds aside from the three they rescued. And about as many years since they'd seen Palkia.
"Let's... just... go back to the bunker."
"Yes Yarne?" said Panne.
She turned to another Taguel, one with a nervous look and a shock of dirty blonde hair in his otherwise dark brown locks.
"They've taken a while to come back..."
"They'll be all right. Dialga, Giratina, and Hoopa can handle Risen better than most of us."
"I s-sure hope so because-"
Yarne yelped as the door opened and sighed in relief as Dialga, Giratina, and Hoopa entered. Wuzzles perked up from the corner he was sleeping in.
"Told you," said Panne.
"No sign of them," said Dialga. "As usual."
"You know, big scary zombie apocalypse is totally my aesthetic, but this is still getting kind of frustrating," said Gratina.
~Should we ask Virion and Libra if they saw anything?~ said Hoopa.
"You can," said Panne. "Even in the end of the world I'm still not asking Virion for anything."
"Uh, I'll go then," said Yarne.
The other three nodded, and they headed to another room in the bunker. Libra was taking notes in a journal while Virion was fidgeting nervously while also occasionally glancing at Libra and blushing, which stopped when he realized there were other people in the room.
~You guys see anything?~ said Hoopa
"You saw nothi-" Virion started to say.
"We didn't find anyone in our search, no," said Libra.
Libra gave Virion a look. Virion blushed harder.
~Great.~ said Hoopa. ~Now what?~
"My hand has been forced," said Dialga. "I have to find Naga again."
"She's been elusive since Grima reawakened, Not even answering my prayers," said Libra.
"I know. But she's our only shot at finding everyone else."
"Good luck bro," said Giratina.
"We'll hold the line here," said Hoopa.
"Wait, r-really?" said Yarne. "What if they like, ambush us while he's gone?"
"I can take care of it, kid," said Giratina.
~Hey! Don't leave me out!~ said Hoopa.
An insulted bear roar came from Panne's section of the bunker.
"...I guess we'll be fine?" said Yarne. "Mom's here too..."
"And with that I'm going," said Dialga.
And so he exited the bunker, turned into his rabbit form, then zoomed off.
Eventually Dialga reached Naga's lair. No sign of her. Dialga called out.
"Naga. It's been a while. We need to talk."
Silence. Then, slowly, Naga's figure emerged.
"Dialga. Good to see you again. Especially in a time like this."
"Same to you. But I need help." He pawed the ground with a bunny paw. "We're looking for survivors among the Shepherds, but of all the ones we've found none were affiliated. Also... My sister, Palkia. She's missing."
"Your sister? This is concerning..."
"Indeed. She just... Disappeared one day when we were looking for survivors. But the Risen or Grima couldn't have gotten her. Palkia and I are like two sides of the same coin metaphysically; I would have felt it. She's... Distant, but she's there."
Naga frowned, then soon after her face lit up. "In that case... Perhaps I can use you to locate her."
Dialga's face also lit up. "Please do."
Naga reached over and placed a hand on Dialga's head, closing her eyes. All was still. Then she opened her eyes, which glowed briefly, before she spoke. "I found her."
"The Outrealm Gate, a place able to access other worlds much like you and your siblings can. She's in a dimension there. It's been barely functional since Grima's rise but your powers should jumpstart it. Will it, and you will find her. I also sensed a presence tied to both me and Grima, so keep an eye out for that."
"Thank you," said Dialga. He paused. "Why hasn't Grima gone after you? Or you him?"
"Grima and I's powers are directly opposed in a strange way. He cannot destroy me, nor I him. So... He's focused on destroying everything I care about instead."
"...I see. I will protect what you have left, then."
"Thank you. It means so much to me."
"I must find Palkia to bring that to fruition, however. So I have to be off."
"Farewell, Dialga. Good luck."
And they went their separate ways.
At the bunker, a table had been decorated with a map and minifigures. Giratina sat at the head behind a screen while the others sat at the sides.
"Okay," said Giratina. "The dire Arcanine pack seems wary, but not yet hostile. Same with the orcs, who keep them as pets. The orc general is eyeing you oddly."
"We try diplomacy." said Panne. "They are not man-spawn, they are worthy."
~I can offer them goods!~ said Hoopa.
"We can try just slowly backing away..." said Yarne.
Wuzzles simply growled and pawed at his paladin figure.
"We can show them the way of Zekrom," said Libra. "Or-"
"I'm rolling to seduce the orc captain!" said Virion.
"Roll please," said Giratina.
Virion did so. The twenty-sided die landed on a one as everyone groaned. "What?!" Virion said. "These are my lucky dice!"
"The orc general is supremely offended at your terrible attempt at flirting and orders the other orcs and dire Arcanine to attack," said Giratina. "Roll initiative."
Everyone sighed and prepared to roll when there was a noise at the door. Yarne yelped and scooched back, while everyone else stood at attention.
"Is that a Risen?" said Virion.
"Sounds and feels... Off for one." said Libra.
"Regardless, we must proceed with caution," said Panne.
~So, what's our plan?~ said Hoopa. ~Pounce on it when they think we're not there? Wait until it leaves? Offer it cookies?~
"I'll get it," said Giratina. To everyone's surprise he simply got up and opened the door. He was met by a sword to the face. Said sword was held by not a Risen but a girl, with dark blue hair and eyes and a blue outfit. Giratina raised an eyebrow.
"Dudette, if you're a zombie apocalypse survivor you probably have better things to do than interrupt my Dungeons And Druddigon session."
"You... You look familiar." said the girl. "Were you a friend of my father's?"
"...Lucina?" said Yarne from inside.
"...Yarne?" said Lucina back.
"Lucina? Chrom's daughter? That's you?" said Panne.
"Well this is certainly fortuitous," said Libra.
"How'd she find us?" said Virion.
~Hey there Lucina! We could use the help!~ said Hoopa.
Lucina turned to respond to Virion when she heard and saw Hoopa, who was in his Confined form, and stared. "What are you?"
~Er, I'm a dijin from another world is all I'll say.~
"...At least you're not a Risen then."
"So, Lucina, what brings you to our humble... Abode?" said Virion.
"I was looking for Yarne, actually."
"Huh? M-me? Why?"
"I'm organizing a resistance! Of children of the former Shepherds. You were one of only two not accounted for."
"Dudette, you know who would be all over that? My sister Palkia," said Giratina.
"Will she be able to help?" said Lucina.
~Theoretically,~ said Hoopa. ~Her other brother Dialga is looking for her right now.~
He put a hand to his chin.
~I wonder how he's doing...~
Dialga, in dragon form was standing before the Outrealm Gate. Or at least what's left of it. Bits and pieces were strewn everywhere and the gate was barely still standing.
Dialga sighed. His eyes glowed. The Outrealm Gate slowly but surely repaired itself. And he focused his mind on Palkia and entered.
When he did he found a sunny forest far different from the one he left behind. Pools of water were everywhere. But it was silent. Dialga looked around and stepped carefully through the wood.
Then he heard a roar.
He turned his head and was met with flaming breath to the face. When his vision cleared he saw a small Manakete dragon hovering before him, fangs bared. He stared, as this Manakete had traits of both Naga and Grima's dragon forms.
~Who are you? Where is my sister?~
~This is me and aunt Palkia's turf! Leave now!~
~That answers part of my question. Can you show me her? I mean no harm.~
~Are you sure?~
~Aw, OK. You seem fun to mess with. It gets boring around here.~
The dragon landed and shrunk down, revealing her to be a young teenage girl with pointy ears and short, light green hair, with simple peasant clothes. She pocketed a small blue stone and looked up at Dialga.
"Your dragon form is cool. Not as cool as mine but then again what is?"
~Keep telling yourself that kid. Where's Palkia?~
Dialga sighed. ~Take me to my sister please.~
The girl snickered."Sure thing! I just wanted to make you squirm."
The girl snickered again and started leading Dialga off. "So, I guess you're that uncle Dialga aunt Palkia keeps mentioning."
~Yes, I am.~
"I'm Morgan! It's actually pretty great to see you. There's no one else here but me and aunt Palkia. And a few wild guinea pigs in the woods, I guess. They're cute!"
Eventually, Dialga and Morgan reached a rift in space in the middle of the forest. "That's her sulking spot!" said Morgan. "She goes in there a lot."
~Palkia!~ said Dialga. ~Palkia I know you're in there!~
Silence.Then the rift slowly widened and Palkia, in dragon form, stepped out. ~How did you find me?~
~Naga helped. What are you doing here?~
~...I failed. The Shepherds died because of me. I need to be alone with Morgan.~
~No you don't.~
"We're safe in here though!" said Morgan. "Safe from... G-Grima. Grima killed my parents..."
~See? We're better off here,~ said Palkia.
~No you're not,~ said Dialga. ~We still need you. There are still survivors. You can help.~
~No I can't. I'll... I'll just screw up everything again.~
~I'll help you. We can do this. We're going to win this time.~
~Grima is as powerful as we are. We can't.~
~Grima is nothing compared to us. Please sister. We need your help. There's still hope.~
Palkia paused. She thought deeply to herself before replying,
~...Morgan, we're going.~
"Well, you heard her! Looks like we're staying safe in he- huh?"
~Dialga's right. I can't hide from everything forever. We can't.~
~We'll find a way to deal with him. Just stick with me, okay?~
Morgan thought to herself, then shrugged. "Okay then! It was getting pretty boring in here anyway."
Dialga smiled despite himself, and the three headed out.
When the three got back to the bunker, Dialga and Palkia back in their disguises, Dialga opened the door, only to be greeted by Lucina.
"More of you?" said Lucina. She noticed Morgan. "...You found Morgan!"
"Lucina?" said Morgan. "Is that really you?"
"Yo, Palkia!" said Giratina. "You're back!"
Palkia didn't really listen. She just stared at Lucina intently before breaking into a wide grin.
"Oh dear, now this makes things interesting..."
~Something up?~ said Hoopa.
"Lucina, I know exactly who you are," said Palkia, "And you give me hope I haven't had in years!"
"...I do?" said Lucina. "I know you were kind of a friend of my father's but..."
"What's she on to now?" said Virion.
"Shh, I'll get to it," said Palkia." "Lucina, what are you here for?"
"I'm organizing a resistance of the children of the Shepherds," said Lucina. "Morgan was the last one I needed."
"Okay then! Could you take us to your base?"
"This bunker's kind of cramped anyway." said Libra.
"I will!" said Lucina.
"We've probably got a long way..." said Yarne.
"Be strong," said Panne. "We have good company. And Virion, I guess."
"Hey!" said Virion.
~What do you have planned anyway?~ said Dialga privately to Palkia.
~I know exactly what's going on here,~ said Palkia, ~And instead of derailing it I'm helping it along!~
Lucina opened the door to an old cathedral, in surprisingly good shape. Inside were several teenagers and young adults, going about various activities, when they all turned to notice their visitors.
"...Fathers?" said a young girl with pointed ears in the direction of Virion and Libra.
"Father, father, is that you?" said another girl with short hair and a spear.
"...Nah? Noire? You're alive?" said Virion.
"It's... Been so long..." said Libra. "I thought you two died shortly after your mothers..."
The four shared an embrace as a woman in thick armor with blue hair and a young man in yellow with orange hair approached the others.
"Sister! You're back! And you found Yarne and Morgan!"
"Indeed, Kijelle." said Lucina. "Now we can begin plans to-"
"Greetings, travellers!: said the man in yellow. "The mighty Owain Dark beseeches you to look around and take in the sights! Especially his muscular ar-"
"Owain," said Lucina, "What did I tell you about showing off to new survivors? You'll scare them off."
"I cannot help myself! No more than I can help my sword hand twitching - Oh no.There it goes again!"
Lucina rolled her eyes and sighed. "Ignore him. Yarne, Morgan, make yourselves at home."
The two promptly headed in to do so, while Lucina turned to Palkia.
"Now... You said you thought you could help?"
Palkia rubbed her hands together. "Well..."
She thought a bit.
"Let's exchange some ideas. Relying on my own with just a bit of guidance from the others has been too costly; we're all going to have to work together for real on this one."
Chapter 11: Endgame
The end is nigh.
Welp. Here it is. The final chapter other than the epilogue I'm planning. It's quite the finale, I enjoyed putting it together, and I hope you enjoy reading it:
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chapter 10: Endgame
Palkia was in a huddle around a table with both her group and Lucina's group. Even Wuzzles was looking over the maps and charts with curiosity.
"Okay," said Palkia. "Does everyone know the plan so far?"
There were murmurs of agreement among the group.
"Alright. Dialga, Lucina, you two had that thing, right?"
"Yes, we did," said Lucina.
"We should be able to consult with Naga shortly," said Dialga.
"Excellent," said Palkia. "Then let's roll."
Naga was resting, meditating. Then she opened her eyes and saw Lucina and Dialga, the latter in his dragon form, there.
"Dialga! And... Exalt Lucina?"
Lucina stared in awe and then bowed. "Oh Lady Naga, it is a most esteemed honor to be in your presence! Let me recite the holy rites of-"
~You can skip it, me and Naga are on good terms,~ said Dialga.
"Indeed we are," said Naga. "What brings you here?"
"I have a plan," Lucina said. "A plan to stop Grima. But I need your and Dialga's help."
"And what exactly do you need?" said Naga.
"I read you know a ritual. A ritual to alter the course of time."
Naga's eyes widened. "That ritual is extremely dangerous... It could undo all of reality if performed incorrectly..."
"I know. But it could be our only hope."
"A suggestion, if I may?" said Dialga.
"What is it?" said Naga.
"Really, I'm a firm believer that the only way to do time travel is to not do time travel," said Dialga. "But! There's one relatively less messy way to do it."
"And that would be?" said Lucina.
"We create an alternate timeline. We can't save this one... but we can save another, just like it, and start over."
"That's... Crazy enough to work." said Naga.
"If I can save my father and his friends that way... I suppose it will work," said Lucina.
"Excellent. Now hold on..." said Dialga.
He closed his eyes, then telepathically reached out to Palkia.
~Sister? We may begin Stage 2.~
Grima looked out over his desolate domain. Risen dominated the landscape and the skies were gloomy.
It was perfect.
His human body sat back and chuckled. He was content. The world could spiral further into entropy and he'd just lau-
...Wait. What was that noise?
It started soft, but it grew louder, louder, and it soon became apparent that it was some sort of strange... music? Whatever it was it was agony to Grima's ears, and he recoiled and writhed, not noticing his Risen were being drawn towards the noise.
The Risen were drawn to an enormous, elaborate dance floor. Sitting there at the DJ table were Giratina and Wuzzles. Giratina raised a claw to greet the incoming Risen.
"Yo! You all ready to par-tay?"
The Risen gave gurgles and groans reminiscent of cheers.
"Well let's get rocking!"
Wuzzles turned on a disco ball and lights, and the Risen all started dancing to the tune of Mahna Mahna.
Around the world, survivors took notice of the lack of Risen. They ventured out of bunkers, out of ruined homes, in awe of what was happening.
And they were all startled when hoop-like portals appeared near each of them, and a visage of an enormous dijin-like creature appeared in their minds.
~Yo! If you wanna get out of this mess escape is that-a-way!~ said Unbound Hoopa.
The people hesitated.
~Let me put it this way... You either accept the help of this giant monster... or let the other giant monster continue killing you all. Your choice.~
With that the people started filing into the portals.
~That'll do it! Just don't touch anything or I'll throw you right back out!~
The zombie dance party continued. The Risen were raving and grooving and busting moves.
It was then Giratina gave a wink to Wuzzles, and Wuzzles pulled out and pressed a button.
The dance floor caved in, and thousands if not millions of Risen were dropped into a swirling pit of darkness and blades below.
In some other universe, several trucks wheeled up to a popular fast-food restaurant with a bell-shaped logo. Inside the trucks were a large number of boxes labeled "burito meet".
The restaurant employees shrugged and started hauling it in.
Grima recovered as the music faded. He gazed out in horror. The survivors he needed to purge, gone. His forces, decimated. He roared in unbridled rage.
"Who did this?! Who has insulted me?! Show yourselves!"
Grima turned to find Palkia standing before his human form.
"I'm back. And I'm here to kick your ass."
"How do you dare hope to defeat me, worm?"
"Oh, I'm no worm." She stretched and grew until she was in her dragon form. "You killed my best friend in this world. You killed almost all of my friends in this world period. I'm taking you down."
"You dare challenge me, false god?" said Grima. "How hilarious. Do your best."
His dragon head lunged at Palkia. Palkia responded in kind.
The children of the Shepherds were all gathered together. Lucina, Naga, Panne, Virion, Libra, and Dialga were looking over them all.
"Okay... We seem to have everyone," said Lucina.
"...Wait," said Naga. "Where's Morgan?"
"Oh!" said Virion. "She said she had to use the restroo-"
He squinted off into the distance.
The battle between Palkia and Grima raged on. Grima snapped his jaws and fired bursts of dark energy while Palkia fired orbs of water and sliced with spatial rifts.
It was during one of these exchanges, however, that the two heard a noise.
The two turned to see a third dragon, hovering nearby.
"Guess what? I'm not afraid anymore!"
Grima roared and snapped his jaws at Morgan. Morgan quickly darted out of the way, and Palkia moved between them to keep his jaws pried open.
"Morgan?!" said Palkia. "What are you doing here?!"
"I didn't want to go with the others!" said Morgan. "I wanted to help you fight!"
"Grima's dangerous! Leave this to me!"
"And just run away?"
"Fine! I go for the dragon body, you go for the human body!"
With that, Morgan flew down, and confronted Grima's human vessel.
"My my my," he said, looking her over. "Look at how you've grown."
"You... Dad..." said Morgan.
"Enough with your petty sentimentalities," said Grima. "The line of Naga ends here."
He conjured a lightning bolt and threw it at Morgan, who flew out of the way.
"No!" said Morgan. "You're not my dad anymore and you killed my mom! You end here!"
She unleashed a blast of draconic flame that scorched Grima's human body as he yelled in pain. This caused the dragon head to recoil, allowing Palkia to get in a decisive strike.
"You still dare to defy me, false god?"
"First off," said Palkia, "you're no god. You're a parasite, one that ate someone who cared about me and who I cared about back from the inside out."
"The old me was always destined to be subsumed by the true me... Oh, the pathetic little thing fought so hard to avoid it in so many ways.. But I am always the one to emerge victorious in the end. I always find a way."
"From what I see your way always involves subterfuge, manipulation, and cold-blooded murder. A showoff, yeah, but nothing special. You're pathetic."
She gave a draconic grin.
"Second of all... I'm more of a god than you'll ever be. And let me show you exactly how."
With that, her body flashed, and Grima's vision was overwhelmed by light.
Space. Infinite amounts of space. Floating within the space were cosmic pearls of various colors and sizes, but all too massive for any mind to comprehend.
And yet Grima was being forced to comprehend it, this true form of Palkia's, this raw embodiment of space that made him squirm and scream in agony.
His mind had been thoroughly been cracked open. And that was more than enough for a telepathic force to sneak inside.
Palkia was in a void. In her human form she tiptoed around the darkness until she came across a sight that made her heart stop.
There was Robin, chained, helpless. His eyes were closed. Palkia ran over to him.
"R-Robin! I knew it, I knew you were still in here somehow, some way..."
Robin's eyes slowly opened, and opened wide upon seeing Palkia. "V-Valentina?! Is that you? I... Still exist?"
"Yes, you do, Robin! Please, we have to get out of here..."
"N-No, I can't... I deserve oblivion, I ''want'' oblivion... Please go, Valentina, it will spare us both so much pain..."
"Robin, no... Y-you can't give up like this... Grima is not you, he never was you..."
"It's too late... I've let him consume me and all I was utterly... No one would want me to go back even if I could... I'm sorry, Valentia, at least... This way... In... a twisted sense... I'm at... peace..."
Robin's eyes closed again. Palkia clenched her fist. When her fist opened there was a strange orb of gold light inside.
"Here... Robin... Live to the promise Chrom asked of you... Escape..."
She touched the orb of gold light to Robin's forehead, where it sunk in and was absorbed. Tears streamed down her face.
"You most likely won't remember me if you do... But I don't care... I just want you to be happy again..."
There was another flash of light.
Grima recoiled and yelled, while Palkia backed off.
"Ugh... Fool! You cannot stop me with your tricks! Defying me is futile!"
Palkia shrugged. "I don't know, it's a good distraction?"
His dragon head looked around. Then his eyes locked on a pinprick of light in the distance.
A massive portal had been opened, the children of the Shepherds about to file inside. Virion and Libra hugged Nah and Noire, while Panne talked to Yarne.
"M-mom? I'm scared. Really scared." said Yarne.
"Steady yourself," said Panne. "You have a duty to fulfill. Find me. Find your father. And you will be all right."
"Uh, guys?" said Dialga. "You may want to hurry up!"
The children turned to see Grima and the remaining Risen heading their way.
"Everybody now!" said Lucina.
In unison, they all jumped in. Dialga, Naga, Virion, Libra and Panne jumped out of the way as Grima and the Risen charged through the portal as well. The portal closed behind them as the ones left behind got to their feet.
"Are they... Okay?" said Libra.
"They may be scattered... but they will survive," said Naga. "It is in the hands of the people of the new timeline now."
Giratina, Wuzzles, Hoopa, Palkia, and Morgan - the last in her human form - converged around the others.
"They make it?" said Hoopa.
"They did." said Panne.
Suddenly, cracks started appearing in the sky.
"Wha- what's happening?" said Virion.
"This universe... It's dying." said Naga.
"Dying?!" said Palkia. "No, it can't be..."
"It has been coming a while," said Naga. "With Grima's rise most of the old gods have moved on. I was one of the only ones left. And that ritual consumed most of my power even with Dialga's help. You all need to get out of here at once."
"No... Naga, we can't just leave you..." said Dialga.
Naga's hands glowed. "I'm sorry Dialga. I love you."
There was a flash.
Everyone found themselves in the Temporal Dimension, Dialga's home. Of the party, however, Naga was nowhere to be seen.
"No..." said Dialga. "No, no, no!"
He tried to charge away from the others, only for Palkia and Giratina to restrain him.
"Let go! I need to save her! I need to stop this! Why won't... you... let me?!"
He let out an unholy screech as the stripes on his body glowed a deep orange and the gem on his chest burned red.
"Dialga... please... Stop..." said Palkia.
"Bro... Please..." said Giratina.
"Uncle Dialga!" said Morgan.
Upon hearing her voice the glow on his body faded.
"...What... what is it?" said Dialga.
"I know grandma Naga is... gone... But you can't lose hope. We've gotten so far. We made the new timeline and saved Lucina's friends. And... wherever we are I hope you can show me around."
Dialga paused. He turned to Morgan and gave a faint smile.
"...I suppose I will."
And everyone moved to rest.
So yeah. That's that. I'd give thoughts on the whole experience writing this fic but I'll save that for the epilogue.
Chapter 12: Epilogue: New Game +
Endings and new beginnings.
Well. This is it. The end. This fic has come a long way in three years and while I'm glad it's over I'm gonna miss it. But! I'll save further thoughts for after the main attraction - though thank Venia Silente for one of the many, many foreshadow-y cameos:
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Epilogue: New Game +
Hoopa looked over the survivors he had rescued, scrutinizing them carefully, before extending one of his massive hands to one.
"Gimmie. I know you stole it from me."
The man yelped and produced a gold crown, which zoomed telekinetically into Hoopa's hand. Hoopa cackled and turned to Palkia. "They're all good to go!"
"Alright," said Palkia. "We're going to need to educate them on what the Pokemon world is like. Show them a few moves. Maybe teach them that the local wildlife is under divine contract not to murder them on sight and in reality would rather be friends."
"Okay!" Hoopa turned to the crowd. "Alright folks! Lessons with professor Hoopa start now!"
Palkia chuckled and moved on.
Morgan was concentrating on her dragonstone as Panne watched. She grimaced and concentrated until it finally glowed and...
...An Axew stood in Morgan's place.
"Huh? How come I'm so small? I don't even have any wings!"
"It's because of the influence of this world," said Dialga, approaching. "For the most part only humans and Pokemon exist."
"I do not wish to be a manspawn then," said Panne. "Make me one of those Pokemon."
Dialga paused, then turned around and spoke into a portal. A small, pink, bespectacled creature emerged from it, looking around.
"Alright, Dialga," said the Mew. "Who needs a species fixer-upper?"
"There, Bartelby," Dialga said, pointing a hoof toward Panne.
Bartelby waved one of his tiny pink paws and in an instant Panne was a small, blue, pointy rabbit-like creature.
"Hmmm." said Panne. "Small but comfortable. I think I like this."
"You're faring better than I am!" said Morgan, changing back to human soon after.
Dialga chuckled. "Don't worry Morgan. You'll be able to make your new dragon form reach stronger and stronger stages. Same with Panne's new form."
"Really?" said Morgan. "That's so cool!"
"That would be useful, yes," said Panne.
Dialga thought a bit. "Though first... we're going to have to find you two new homes."
He glanced over at Virion and Libra, who were bickering over a platter of biscuits.
"...And them too I suppose."
At a facility on the outskirts of Goldenrod City a man with brown hair and a teal shirt was tending to Nidoran, several Nidoran, and a few Nidorina and Nidorino to boot. It was then a human Dialga approached, holding Panne.
"Excuse me... Doctor Machali?"
The man looked up. "Yes?"
"Hello. Quentin here. I believe I've approached the PEFE before."
"Oh! Yes. Lovely to see you again Quentin. What is it?"
"Well, you specialize in the Nidoran line and..." he held up Panne. "I'd like you to take care of this very special Nido before she gets passed along to a Trainer I have in mind."
"Oh! Oh, certainly. Come here, little girl..."
He took Panne carefully into his arms. Panne squirmed a bit, but eventually settled down. She looked Dialga in the eye. Dialga smiled, carefully petting the Nidoran that were surrounding him, and gave a thumbs up.
Panne smiled back.
In Lumiose City, Libra and Virion were sitting in a Gogoat-pulled trolley, enjoying the view.
"This new world is amazing Libra!" said Virion. "So many sights to see, so many people to meet, so many hair care products..."
"Mhm," said Libra, looking around.
"What's wrong?" said Virion.
"I don't really care about any of that. At least not in and of itself."
Libra smiled. "I care about sharing it with you."
Virion was interrupted by Libra kissing him. Startled, he soon kissed back.
Dialga, Palkia, and Morgan - all in human form - approached a lavish mansion, and knocked at the door. The door opened to reveal a man, woman, and young girl.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hale?" said Dialga.
"Yes, Mr. Quentin, Mrs. Valentina?" said Mr. Hale.
"How are you all doing?" said Palkia.
"Good, good," said Mr. Hale. "Especially after the Unown situation you helped stop."
"Is this the girl you called about?" said Mrs. Hale, looking at Morgan.
"Yep!" said Palkia. "This is Morgan."
"Hi!" said Morgan. "I promise I won't break anything. Within the first day anyway."
Mrs. Hale chuckled. "Molly? Meet your new big sister."
The girl's expression changed from one of curiosity to one of pure joy. She immediately ran up and hugged Morgan.
"Big sis, big sis!" she said.
"Good to have you too," said Morgan.
She then felt something tugging at her leg and looked down to see a Jangmo-O. She picked it up and cuddled it as Dialga and Palkia stared.
"Oh! That little girl followed me everywhere on a recent trip to Alola, so I brought her home," said Mr. Hale. "She seems to like you Morgan!"
The Jangmo-o purred as Morgan pet her. It was then Dialga noticed a familiar mark on the Jangmo-o's head and remembered Naga's words.
"I am not the first Naga... There have been others before me... The role and memories are passed down from one incarnation to the next."
Despite the weight of her words Dialga couldn't help but smile.
He then looked over to Palkia, who was deep in thought. "Something the matter sister?"
"It's just... I'm thinking about Robin," said Palkia. "I gave his last vestige some of my power,in hopes he'd escape.
She looked up into the sky and smiled.
"And... I feel like he has! He's out there somewhere, I know it!"
At a table, six people were conversing, talking and laughing happily, except one, a young man with white hair.
"Something wrong Robin?" asked a girl with teal hair.
"It's nothing wrong," said Robin. "I was thinking of a dream I had. A hopeful dream."
"Like what?" said a man in a hat and coat.
"About someone who helped me... Long ago. Helped me survive long enough to get here."
"That's pretty nice, yeah," said a teal-haired boy.
"Yeah, we're glad you're here, Robin," said a girl in white.
"You've made yourself quite at home," said a girl in red.
"Thank you." said Robin.
He looked up to the sky.
"And thank you... Valentina Palkia."
Holy cow. The process for this fic has been amazing, even with some roadblocks (the year-long delay much) and it's been wonderful sharing it with you all. I know I got more response some places than others but all the response I've actually gotten was incredible, and this is hugely significant in being the first chapterfic I've actually finished. Thank you, all of you, for the feedback and likes and follows and everything, and I'm looking forward to sharing more of Heroes After All and my future projects... Though expect some trivia for this fic down the line.
Chapter 13: Trivia and Bonus
What it says on the tin.
I promised I'd do a trivia episode for Rude Awakening and here it is!
*This fic was originally written for the Quarterly Challenge for crossovers on the Serebii.net forums, which was a thing back in... 2016. Yeah. It was originally supposed to be a oneshot to take care of the challenge quickly but my plans got way, way too big to contain in a oneshot and it got upgraded to short chapterfic instead.
*This fic has some ties to an RP I run with called We Are All Pokemon Trainers if you know where to look. Especially at the ending.
*Wuzzles the bear was an impromptu addition that was not in the original project plan. I regret nothing.
*By contrast, Libra and Virion were intended to be bisexuals the whole time. I regret nothing.
*I had... a hard time trying to make it explicit Robin and Palkia weren't interested in each other on a romantic level because "ew canon character OC romance". (This was lampshaded in the April Fools special.) This didn't stop people from asking anyway. Dialga and Naga I eventually caved to the demand and hinted that possibly maybe there was romantic love going on there.
*Giratina's zombie trap in the climax is based partially on the "soylent majority" scene from Futurama.
*Panne, Virion, and Libra originally weren't supposed to live but I had a rare, authorial moment of mercy.
*I got commissions of all the main characters! Palkia: https://i.imgur.com/OBlTdiB.png (by Zu-Art) Dialga: https://i.imgur.com/fIQVGmx.png (by frilthy) Giratina: https://i.imgur.com/RBROlDb.jpg (by roule) Hoopa: https://i.imgur.com/i1WtDJ1.jpg (by RageTheGemini)
*Yes I am from Cincinnati.
And now... a bonus episode. Think of this as a post-credits scene because I forgot to include it in the epilogue, as well as a teaser of things to come.
In the Distortion World, Wuzzles was idly chewing on a piece of Wishiwashi. Giratina was looking him up, down, left, right, sideways, and upside down.
"What am I going to do with you little buddy?"
Wuzzles looked up and gave a growl.
"You admired the human knights in your world huh... Wanna be like them."
He looked at Wuzzles.Then at the imageboard he was browsing. Then back at Wuzzles.
"I think I have an idea..."