POKEMON - LEGEND OF THE EXILE
Chapter 10: The Wide Shot
From his perch the Silver Summoner sees
The world burning from the Exile's disease
The spirit of dreams gives his ancient call
And all the world flocks to his sacred hall
Kyogre swam through the oceans, his domain. His thoughts were incoherent, confused, and obstructed; his mind clouded by a mysterious haze. Somewhere within his soul, something seemed to cry out to him, a sense of emptiness within him that was filled by the voice which was almost completely obstructed by the mysterious fog within him. And yet, Kyogre was the master of the seas, without a doubt, and no being would ever take that away from him.
He swam under a giant bridge and into the massive bay beyond. The oceans here were already turbulent and choppy, without the great Leviathan's help. Kyogre could feel the vibrations of long lines of cars as they drove over the bridge which spanned the oceans, swaying in the powerful winds. In the distance echoed the far-reaching lights, the churning of power and water and air of a great harbor city with countless ships and humans--
--they who dared defile the sea, who tried to tame the powers of the oceans. The Leviathan's eyes narrowed to slits, and his body slowly began to fill with a powerful rage. Kyogre let out a screeching cry like a torrential rainfall, and began to thrash about in the oceans wildly. With each passing second, the force of his thrashing echoed greater and more strongly, swaying and swirling, the shockwaves of his wrath pulsating through the oceans.
Miles above him, in the seaport of Vermillion City, massive waves began to roll outwards from the center of Vermillion Bay, crashing and churning and rising again as tidal waves gathered and mercilessly slammed against the docks and the shores. One by one, the masses of townspeople caught sight of the rapidly forming storm which was rising upon their very doorstep, and froze in horror. Together, the humans stared at the bay as the skies began to darken with storm clouds, dashing and chopping the oceans with thick showers of rain.
Moments later, a massive tsunami came crashing down upon the city, washing it away- humans. buildings, and all.
A bruised, battered, soaked, and bedraggled Shaymin climbed up and out of a stormy ocean and onto the shore of a small, rocky island. "Ugh..." he groaned. "I hope the others are okay." Rising to his paws, the Virtue took a few deep breaths, shaking the water out of his fur like a dog.
Five feet away, a gasping Jirachi climbed out of the ocean and flopped down beside Shaymin, breathing hard. "Why do we resort to this, Shaymin? Why are we opening the final sanctuary?" uttered the shaman, gazing up towards the stormy sky overhead, laying on his back. "Is this truly worth the cost? Opening the Conclave may cause more death than Giratina already shall cause."
"We must trust in Slick's old companions," replied the other Virtue gravely, slowly getting to his paws, his head bowed low. "Many shall die, yes... but they will die fighting. Is it not their war, far more than ours?" They looked at each other, nodded, and flew off to explore the ancient isle for its long-elusive master.
The storm began to subside as Shaymin and Jirachi arrived at the summit of the largest hill. Giving his fur one last shake, Shaymin breathed upon his red scarf before the two approached the giant winged Pokemon who slept at the center of the plateau. "Lugia!" called Shaymin as he ran towards Lugia, Jirachi hovering in the air above him.
White feathers, broad wings that were monstrous flippers, a back lined with navy-blue spines to match the spikes on his tail; the mighty beast's eyes were marked by azure feathers, his crown tri-tipped and his beak like a fish's mouth. Lugia, master of the Silver Conclave, cracked open one silvery eye, spreading his immense wings.
"And what might you be doing here?" said the ancient beast, rising up onto his feet to reveal his indigo belly, eyes narrowed towards the two Virtues hovering before him. "The Seed of Prosperity and the Star of Wisdom, leaders of the Shaymin and Jirachi tribes... What foolish endeavors have led you to disturb my infinite dreams tonight?"
"Honorable Lugia, master of the Silver Conclave," said Shaymin as he and Jirachi approached the great beast's ominous figure. "We come seeking your aid. You know all things in your dreams; you know of the terrors that plague the world now; you know that the Exile has risen once more. We cannot stop Giratina ourselves; you must open your doors to the world!"
Silvery, icy calm held the great being's features in a contemptuous, proud expression. "You seek to draw me into this conflict, Shaymin?" rumbled Lugia, his mighty voice trembling even proud Jirachi. "Do not defile the sacred stones upon which you tread. The Silver Conclave was not created to house the common rabble from every land."
"Are you not Lugia, the analogue to the Divine Phoenix and master of dreams?" asked Jirachi, lifting his blue gaze towards the Silver Summoner. "You hold the power to stop this war. You can stop the Exile, if you only reached a hand to those who worshipped you."
Lugia was silent for a moment; Shaymin and Jirachi exchanged glances. "Why do you need me at all?" asked the mighty being finally, tilting its head sideways to frown at Shaymin. "You understand, of course, that there is no going back when the gates of the Silver Conclave lie open? That once Giratina understands that there are Pokemon who despise him, he will do everything to destroy me?"
"Think of the glory that you shall embrace," suggested Shaymin, his eyes shining blue even as storms raged overhead. "The war is far from over. The Vulcanite League has tamed Ho-oh; the Titans of Hoenn have been turned loose upon the world. Palkia lies dead, and Dialga may well follow in her footsteps. You are the only one who can stop Giratina."
The Silver Summoner gazed upon them silently for a few moments; then he nodded, clearly pleased. "Very well," he intoned, his voice turning to magical silver, more serene than riverbrooks. "Giratina against Lugia; dreams against darkness. Let all the world be changed forever!" Trembling, Shaymin and Jirachi watched as Lugia lifted his great maw heavenward, his eyes shining with silver light. Nodding, Lugia spread his wings wide, gathering the dormant vestiges of power that ran in his sacred veins. Then, he gave a piercing cry, an explosion of silver soundwaves that erupted forth unto the world.
The shockwave traveled outwards from the island in all directions. It rippled through the oceans and the lands, passing through ruin and rubble, sweeping past corpses and calamities. It was a shining light in the darkness, perhaps the only light in a world where brave men fought to defend their families from the Rhyperior hordes, where Linoones rose against Porygon-Zs. It was a signal and a beacon, a power of legend that was not of Giratina's, for it seemed only the forces of legend would matter in the war. But above all, it was a message to the silver birds that flocked in the heavens and protected their trainers, one of the last institutions left in the world.
The message was a single word: Come.
Clinging to the Herald's back as the wind rushed past her wings, Sparktail glanced back over his shoulder to Rush, Insyte, and Shanala on Ferricia's back, then to Thalia and Lyther on either side of him, his heart racing as Sinnoh rushed past beneath him in a blur of desecrated forests and mountains. Far into the distance, the Raichu could make out a dark haze in the horizon- perhaps it was Giratina's wall of storms. "Sparktail! Get the Orbs!" shouted Altaria as she and Ferricia dove into the southern winds.
Up ahead, Sparktail could see the southernmost cape of the Sinnoh mainland rushing towards them, its tip like an arrowhead pointing off into the endless oceans as pink snow covered the region's slopes. The black wall of storms loomed high above them like a monstrous curtain, perhaps five miles out to sea, stretching infinitely from the ocean's surface into the heavens. Feeling both exhilarated and anxious as he felt the ocean breeze in his pelt, he glanced to Thalia- feeling a prickle of that mysterious desire. Then, shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he turned his gaze forward, clutching the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs, staring off into the wintry sunlight.
"Sparktail! Hurry!" yelped Thalia, leaves and disheveled fur rippling in the wind as she clung to the Herald's back with her vines. Blinking, the Raichu glanced to the Leafeon- then followed her terrified gaze to the dark shadows streaking through the sky after them, descending upon Altaria and Ferricia. "Dusknoirs! Six of them! I'll get them-"
The rushing air whistled shrilly in Sparktail's ears as Ferricia and Altaria descended towards the southern cape of Sinnoh, their passengers clinging for dear life, six Dusknoirs in hot pursuit with outstretched arms. Secured to the Herald's back by his tail, Sparktail clutched the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs in his cupped paws, eyes half-closed as he stared past Altaria's head towards the continent's tip. "Come on- come on," he hissed through clenched teeth, his heart pounding as he held up the spheres to the air. "It's got to work..." He could hear the twang of razor leaves as Thalia and Lyther fired back at the chasing Dusknoirs; he could Insyte shooting dark energy bolts from Ferricia out of the corner of his eye.
There was an ever-so-faint shimmer in the air far ahead of Ferricia and Altaria, somewhere above the ocean between the edge of the land and the churning wall of darkness. One by one, each of the fleeing Pokemon caught sight of the blur- first Ferricia, then Altaria, then Shanala, then Lyther, then Rush, then Thalia, then Sparktail. The wind began to pick up as they approached the ocean, the odd shimmer slowly taking the form of an eight-piece diamond
An exhilarated thrill swept through Sparktail's body from his ears to the tip of his tail. Holding the Lustrous Orb with its opaque glossy surfaces, and the Adamant Orb with its unbreakable crystalline facets, the Raichu suddenly felt a mighty force shining forth from the ancient treasures in his paws. Time seemed to slow as they shot down towards the sea and the shimmering plane, the tumoltuous ocean far below seeming to grow infinitely far. He felt afraid of the powers he had invoked, then, and he glanced worriedly back over his shoulder to Thalia- who gave him the best encouraging smile that she could.
Light poured forth from the Orbs as they approached the shimmering eight-piece diamond, blue from Adamant and pink from Lustrous, the spheres resonating with some unearthly song that he could not name. The wind still felt swift against Sparktail's cheeks and pelt as the entire distorted plane flashed with opaque light, light-blue and pink. Quivering, the Raichu heard himself gasp with the others as streaks of energy shot from the shining crystals and struck the center of the great hovering diamond-shimmer.
Time came to a standstill as the Wide Shot's gate flashed white, and the eight shards of the great shimmer began to open. Beyond the portal, Sparktail and the others could see a rapidly swirling river of pink and blue lights that stretched far into eternity, the wind screaming in their ears as it rushed past them into the energy gate. Then, a mighty gale buffeted them from behind, sweeping them all into the Wide Shot 's churning maw, and the Orbs fell from his paws.
Roaring, the Dusknoirs flew in after them; but the moment they touched the Wide Shot, they vanished.
As he struggled to hold onto Altaria, surrounded by thrashing fluffed wings, Sparktail felt Thalia's vines fly past him snatching the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs from the air, a paw steadying his, her warm reassuring smile. Together, they all gazed into the distance down the Wide Shot as time and space intertwined all around them, carrying Altaria, Ferricia, and their passengers far away from Giratina's cruelty in Sinnoh.
Two days of nonstop flight for Ferricia and Altaria; two days of an infinitely magical journey that defied time and space. And yet neither the Skarmory nor the Herald seemed fatigued to Insyte, as if the Wide Shot ignored all the laws of the universe. Sparktail looked so gaunt beside Thalia, thought the Umbreon with a sneer, like some warrior who was lost in the dark. Then he flinched, because he had forgiven them, and it was wrong for him to taunt his- his... his teammates. Insyte did not yet feel truly prepared to name them as 'friends', despite the fact that he knew they deserved to be thought of as such.
And now, he was speaking of the Umbreon who had communicated with him during his long slumber at the Lost Tower... Lunus, who had introduced himself as the soul of darkness. "Insyte," interrupted Ferricia suddenly, her eyes shining silver as they flew tirelessly down the ancient flight route. Feeling alarm in his very heart, the Umbreon looked to the Skarmory, considering whether his old friend had known Lunus. "You spoke of... the Silver Conclave?"
"I did, indeed," replied Insyte, his voice low. He did not look at the others, for there was an odd light in the air- a light that repulsed him, that sent knives of anxiety into his heart. Was it truly in his desire to meet the Soul of Darkness? What changes would the enigmatic Lunus bring upon him? "Do you mean to say... that you know where this 'Silver Conclave' lies?"
"Wait- how do you know about the Silver Conclave?" asked Thalia curiously as Altaria passed under Ferricia, eyes widening, her leaves and fur rippling in the wind. Blinking, Sparktail glanced to the Leafeon, then to the Skarmory, his ears perked with interest. "I mean... well, what is it, exactly?"
"The Silver Conclave? It was but an old story that my mother told my brother and I as hatchlings," replied Ferricia, the flash of her steel wings in perfect time. "But to pass the time, I may as well tell you now." Her eyes took on a distant gleam as they continued to glide down the Wide Shot together. "Once upon a time, all Skarmories lived on an island built of a magical steel that brimmed with dreams. We lived and prospered under a great master who we knew only as the Silver Summoner.."
Silver Summoner? Sparktail's ears perked up; that was what Mew had called Lugia, the master of the Silver Conclave. Was there more to Ferricia's "We were a mighty force, we Skarmories; and we were known as the Iron Fleet," continued the Skarmory. "For we were born of the same magic steel that gave birth to our home."
"But then one day, a terrible foe descended upon the Conclave. Hoping to save us, the Silver Summoner sent us all away and sank the Conclave into the ocean. But few of us had lived beyond the sheltered confines of the Conclave. We flew together as one fleet; but we had not seen the ferocity of the real world." As the Skarmory spoke, mental images of her story floated through her passengers' minds, thoughts of her ancient, despairing kin. "The ancient Skarmories were caught in a terrible storm, and many of us died. Out of several thousand of us, less than a hundred survived."
Ferricia's voice had grown solemn and melancholy; now her words were calm and clear once more. "And thus the few who survived scattered across the world, seeking shelter wherever we could. For we were scarce, even though we had the strength to survive that terrible storm; we were on the verge of destruction, though we were fierce and indestructible. And so we fled to roost in distant, far-removed nests... or so the story goes." She chuckled gently- a chirp that was not quite metallic. "It's odd that you should ask about such an old hatchling's tale, Thalia."
"But- but Ferricia," blurted out Thalia, her eyes widening as she climbed up onto Sparktail- the Raichu's cheeks flushed dark red as he felt the Leafeon's soft brown paws on his back, and he glanced up curiously towards her, though he had no trouble keeping her weight up. "About the Conclave Mew and the others- they told Sparktail and me about the Conclave! It's a real place, Ferricia. And... and they mentioned the Silver Summoner!"
Ferricia's eyes flashed, and she tilted her head towards the Leafeon, alarmed in a way that none of them- not even Rush- had ever seen before. "It is true that we Skarmories are rare, of course," said the Skarmory slowly. "But the idea that all Skarmories once came from a single island- let alone one made of silver that did not turn foul in the ocean's brine- it's unthinkable, Thalia."
Some time later, at the distant end of the passage of swirling time and space, Sparktail caught sight of a shining light in the shape of the same eight-piece diamond that had marked the beginning of their journey. Feeling elated, the Raichu glanced back over his shoulder to Thalia and Lyther with a grin, then up to Ferricia and her passengers, the wind rushing through their fur. They must nearly be at the Wide Shot's end! Tail rippling in the wind like a flag, Sparktail clung to Altaria's back as light shot from the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs once more and struck the gate.
Joy swept through Sparktail as the gate came to life; as with the entrance gate, the diamond flashed bright and split into its eight shards. Within the four-tipped portal, the quickly approaching Raichu and his allies gazed upon a vortex of flashing rainbow light that slowly materialized into a landscape of land and sea. He couldn't help himself- "Raaaai!" called out Sparktail as they flew into the portal, the winds of time and space spurring them on.
Then, they were flying free and alive, soaring amongst azure skies and silver-white clouds; and every last one of them gasped. In the distance, the Raichu could see the dark haze of war, but he easily pushed the thought aside and gazed upon the rolling oceans and distant shores below them, his orange-brown fur illuminated in the golden sunlight. Sparktail's green eyes eyes swept the dark blue seas and untamed lands with awe, taking in the white foam of crashing waves and the green canopy of the wilderness- of mingled shrubbery and trees.
The wind had been swift and invigorating beyond understanding in the Wide Shot; but here it felt even more profound, less artificial and focused, more real and alive. "Sparktail, we did it!" cried Thalia happily, her eyes lit up, her voice on the edge of laughter as she hugged the Raichu tight with a smile. "We're- we're free! We're out of Sinnoh! Oh, wow- look there... I think that's Hoenn!"
She pointed far into the south with a paw, and the Raichu followed her gaze towards another coast he hadn't noticed a moment ago. He stared blankly at the landmass on the horizon, wondering how Thalia could recognize the continent when he couldn't. Then, he caught sight of a great volcano billowing with smoke amidst a chain of mountains, an ash-covered trail, a cascade of waterfalls- "Mount Chimney, the Lavaridge range, and Meteor Falls," breathed Sparktail. And with a jolt, he realized that they were looking at Hoenn from the north.
And that meant- "And those lands there," said Thalia, her voice quivering with excitement as she pointed towards the lands in the opposite direction, Ferricia coming level with the Herald. "Those must be... Kanto and Johto!" Sparktail's eyes lit up- now he had a good idea of his bearings in the world.
Altaria and Ferricia continued across the ocean for some time before Ferricia suddenly let out a sharp cry and began to thrash her wings rapidly until her gliding came to a stop. "Ferricia? You okay?" yelled Rush sharply as he, Insyte, and Shanala clung to the Skarmory's back. "Do you need to land?"
Exchanging glances with Thalia, Altaria, and Lyther, Sparktail perked his ears up as they drifted towards the hovering Skarmory, his heart racing in fear. "The- the Silver Conclave," gasped Ferricia, her eyes glowing white as if hearing some song that none of them could hear, Shanala clinging to the Skarmory's tail by her teeth. "It's real! It's alive... I can hear the Silver Summoner's call! Thalia... you were right! The Iron Fleet... my people... we are all coming home!"
Articuno and its siblings Zapdos and Moltres flew through the air, their eyes focused upon the magnificent city in the distance which loomed up from the ground, a testament to power and glory. Behind them was Giratina himself, fresh out of hiding, and prepared to bring a crushing defeat to the Battle Frontier. In front of them were hundreds of Salamences, Aerodactyls, Drifblims, and Metangs. They carried Rhyperiors, Abomasnows, Machokes, Aggrons, Bastidoons, Torterras, Infernapes, Magmortars, and the mighty Regigigas. Rotoms, Magnezones, Mismagii, Dusknoirs, and a Metagross followed closely behind. Then between Giratina and the legendary birds were Mewtwo, Tyranitar, and Garchomp. All three of them hovered through the air, propelled by their own mastery over shadows...
Suddenly, there was a silvery shimmering ripple in the air. It seemed to come from the south. The ripple passed through the army from behind it, first through Giratina, then continuing to the front line and beyond. As it passed through Articuno, she suddenly felt a strange sensation. In her head, Articuno heard a great voice which spoke no words and yet was familiar to Articuno. Suddenly, her mind was clear and calm; some unknown pressure upon her was lifted.
She looked at Giratina. Why did Articuno agree to join the Exile's quest of vengeance? A shiver ran down Articuno's spine, as if she were in the heart of a volcano. Giratina was a being of evil, a nexus of hate and malice. And Lugia called to her...
Memories began to flicker in Articuno's mind. Two young men, their Pokemon fighting against Articuno's servants. Candice and the older of the two boys, staring in horror at Articuno's victims. Mewtwo, its body and mind corrupted by shadows forever... Mewtwo with the power of darkness within his heart.
Articuno looked at her two brothers. Of the three legendary birds, she and she alone was a Civil. Articuno's heart began to pound heavily against her white breast, realizing that there was nothing she could do except... flee. She had to escape from Giratina! Quickly, Articuno dropped down and out of formation.
"Gyaooooo!" shrieked Zapdos as he caught sight of Articuno, and released a massive thunderbolt at his sister. Quickly, Articuno did a barrel roll to evade the thunderbolt, never glancing back once towards the army she had once embraced.
"STOP HER!" roared Giratina, whirling around with fire in his eyes. Shadow and stone flew past the majestic winter bird's flan, glanced back in terror to her pursuing brothers, the Exile's rage behind their bodies. Panicking, Articuno tried to fly faster, to fly farther, dashing bursts of fire and lightning sweeping past her.
It was no use. Moltres and Zapdos gave triumphant cries as they caught up with their sister, overtaking her, surrounding her with vicious destruction in their soulless gazes. A final, desperate scream came from Articuno's beak as exploding lightning and a searing wave of flames consumed the once-proud, once magnificent bird, and reducing her to nothingness evermore.
The Silver Summoner's gaze swept the once-luminous slopes of his beloved island, the swirling rain-clouds overhead coming to life as they never had for an eternity. In the ancient underwater caverns, where silver mists carried long-preserved memories, the light of Lugia's power brimmed with in steel, darkened crags adorned with silver and gold. He gazed from atop the highest hill, watching the glint of Skarmory wings swiftly approaching in the distance from every peak and vale- suspending the rainclouds in their vortex, preparing to call down the rains to nourish the tiny, helpless birds who were his...
Feeling all but frozen to the Herald's back, Sparktail stared as Altaria and Ferricia carried them down through the clouds, lower and lower, down towards the rocky island below. The Silver Conclave was much smaller than Sootopolis or even Cinnabar Island, thought the shivering Raichu numbly, its surface a craggy stretch of dark-gray stone, its rocky beaches worn smooth by eons of crashing waves.
For all the churning storm-clouds and chilling winds that made his fur tingle, the wind was unnaturally still- as if time had stopped long ago on the Silver Conclave. A great winged figure with white feathers stood perched upon its uppermost mount, his gaze sweeping the island like a mighty sentinel. Lugia!
Quivering, he and Thalia huddled together for warmth in the cool-yet-impossibly-calm-air as Herald and Skarmory descended towards the island's slopes. Boulders lay scattered across the slopes of the Silver Conclave far below them- a toppled forest of natural stone pillars whose immense fragments lay still like once-proud bones on the uneven stone outcropping. Yet there seemed to be a pattern to the tank-sized rocks, lifeless and cold as they were; almost as if the ancient columns had fallen by design.
And with a gasp, Sparktail finally caught the glint of Skarmory wings all around the island, hovering amidst the silver-gray mist that hung over the Silver Conclave, all eyes upon Lugia's silhouette, descending towards the long-hidden ledges and slopes below, bearing other bedraggled refugees upon their back. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of Skarmories in the sky all around them, and every last one of them were fierce and powerful. After so many eons, the Iron Fleet had gathered at the Silver Conclave at Lugia's summons once again.
END OF VOLUME I