Regret

Death. War. Destruction. The world of the future lies in ruins. I got the chance to go back and stop it from ever happening, only to discover that I was the cause. This is how I destroyed the world.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5808527/1/Regret

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10. The Evolved

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 

"You're never the first to realise how monumental your task is, and never the last. But no matter what it is and who you are, you always think your's is the hardest."

- Jeffery Archer, Ancient Pokemon Mannerisms, PHD; Archaeology and Ancient Pokemon, Msc. (Comment from an interview into excavations at the Ruins of Alph, Johto. November 28th, 3009)

 

The weather when we left the lab was truly a blessing. A torrential storm had opened up from the heavens, and rain continued to beat down from above. It was still warm, though now I felt comfortable in knowing the majority of water running across my body was rain and not sweat.

 

My journey just had to be in the hottest region, didn't it? I swore then and there that after I had completed it, I would run away and hide within Sinnoh somewhere, perhaps in Snowpoint City. I'd live quite happily in an igloo somewhere over there and sleep on a bed of nice, cold snow, day in, day out.

It was a pleasing thought.

Beside me, Adryan groaned at the turn of weather. He grumbled and pulled his coat above his head, mumbling continually about the horrors of rainy weather.

Lightning struck a nearby town and I couldn't help but laugh like a giddy kid. "How can you not like rain?" I asked him, just about refraining myself from spinning in tandem with the rainfall. Maybe I would when alone, but I did have my dignity to think about when in front of anther person.

He grumbled once again. "I grew up around fire types, remember? I like heat, and lots of it. Rain lowers a fire type's body core temperature and can prove fatal to them if they're out in it too long. Because I spent so much time around them, I adjusted to the heat and stayed away from the rain. I don't feel the heat, but I feel the cold like no one's business." He shivered and hugged his arms tightly around himself. "And being wet makes me feel the cold all the more."

I smiled. "Can't say I feel sorry for you. I'm the complete opposite; this rain's a blessing for me."

He snorted and pulled his coat further over his head. "We'll be back to normal weather soon enough anyway, and I'll happily go back to laughing at your inaptitude for heat."

I frowned, though looked away. We were in the beginning of the only pedestrian-friendly route out of Littleroot, which was a considerable distance away from the only other road, which had the occasional car speeding along. The vehicles weren't all that common in this time either, I noted, with a small hint of interest. In a place where wild animals could be tamed to fly you anywhere or carry you across vast distances, vehicles weren't used all that often. In fact, the majority of vehicles were either boats or planes, as even though people always needed to cross the oceans of continents, not everyone had a flier or a pokémon capable of swimming them across seas safely.

The route had a small pond which was beginning to overflow slightly that I let Xander out to have a swim in. I began to think about myself having to cross the vast seas; I knew that part of Hoenn led to Dewford Town, which I knew I had to cross at some point. The only problem was that it was located at least fifty miles out to sea, and the only way to get to it was by boat or pokémon. Doubtless I would have to take a boat there, as Xander wouldn't be able to ferry me across well at all. How much would that cost? I asked Adryan this and he began making calculations on his fingers.

"I can't put an exact figure on it," he told me, frozen in counting on his fingers. "Last time I took the ferry across was when I'd just arrived back in Hoenn a year ago, and that was only because Irenui and Siren were both tired." He frowned, obviously trying to remember the exact figure. "I think it was about a hundred poké. It's not too bad considering it's a ticket that allows you to travel between Petalburg and Slateport, though you've got to use it within a week. If you're in Dewford any longer than that, you'll have to pay for a one-way ticket anew."

I blinked. A hundred poké was still quite a lot of money, and I wasn't completely sure I had anywhere near that on my person at the time. "Can I not just buy two one-way tickets? Surely that'd be cheaper?"

He shook his head. "That's how they make their money out of you. Singles are more expensive than a two-way ticket... though it does depend on how far in advance you book it. I'd say once we reach Rustboro, you should order them there when you want to leave, and book the tickets for about a week ahead. That way, you might be able to get them at half the price."

I nodded. In the pond, Xander croaked and dove under, reappearing a moment later with a baby finneon flopping wildly in his mouth. He croaked around it and bit into it, severing its head completely from its body in one move. He happily began to chew on his food and let the bottom half of his meal float before him, where it left a small trail of blood.

It was the first time I'd seen him eat something other than the tiny little gnats that constantly bothered me on my travels. Truthfully, it shocked me a little, though I quickly found myself adjusting to the idea. I quickly scanned the pond itself and made note of the small clusters of bushes and small depth of the water. It wasn't going to have anything predatory hiding within, and it seemed a perfect place for most pokémon to leave their young to hatch. I squinted and crouched down, focusing on a dark circle shape at the bottom of the pond. It seemed to be an underwater tunnel that no doubt led to a large source of water, which at least answered my unvoiced question of how finneon young were in the pond in the first place.

"You know you can explore underwater, right?" Adryan said as he crouched down beside me. "If you train a water pokémon well enough, they'll be able to help you navigate against the harsh currents of the seas. It's one of the few ways to reach Sootopolis, save for flying in and taking a boat. Most people take the boat, though a few people attempt to take the underwater route in."

I looked at him a moment. "Why would people do that?" Save for showing off, I couldn't think of a logical reason why.

He smiled. "The gym leader there specialises in water pokémon. If you manage to pass through the underwater route, then he'll grant you a battle sooner than the people who come in by boat. Of course-" he shrugged, "-that's providing you survive the journey in. Most people that swim through don't realise how deep they are, and either end up drowning because they didn't realise how long they'd be underwater for, crushed by the pressure of the depths, or they even come up too quickly for air and end up with the bends."

"It sounds like a massive gamble to skip ahead a few days for a battle," I said.

"It's not always for a battle though," he said as he shook his head. "Gym leaders often take on new trainers to train under their command. They have to prove they can handle water to the leader, and the most obvious way is to travel into the town by the underwater routes. If they survive, the leader will take them on and train them."

I nodded along with his words. These leaders sounded like masters of their element; pushed to their limits by the powers of the pokémon they trained. I found myself thinking of my time, remembering the records of powerful mono-type trainers. They would evolve with their pokémon, a symbiosis of sorts, where they would grow with each other, a beneficial relationship where both parties prospered. I wondered, was that still in effect in the current time I was in?

"Is there..." I fumbled over my words. "Are the gym leaders... urm, I don't know... any different to normal trainers?" I blundered, aware of how awkward I sounded. "Have the gym leaders adapted in some way from the relationship with their pokémon?"

Adryan whistled. "I'm surprised you know that," he said as he pressed hands onto his knees. "Most people only figure that out after they've fought a few gym leaders." He lifted an eyebrow at me. "Are you sure you've only just started out as a trainer?"

I nodded. "Positive."

He snorted. "Either you've got a magical ability for making extremely accurate guesses, you're extremely smart, or you've got some sort of freaky cheat sheet to everything."

I bit my lip. Perhaps being from a future eighty years away did count as a cheat sheet... not that I was going to mention that to Adryan though. I was sure he would turn me into the authorities and let the professors dissect my brain if I told him the truth. Instead I just smiled modestly.

He shook his head. "Every gym leader's somewhat evolved from the relationship with their pokémon. It's not exactly an unknown topic, but pokémon and humans are extremely similar. But the full extent of which was only found out a few years ago. Apparently, if a person spends long enough with a type of pokémon, they become more adjusted to them, and can pass on those traits to their children, much like how pokémon develop, breed and evolve. It's also why mostly all gyms run in a family.

"You see-" he stood up and rubbed his legs, "-because they've spent so long with the pokémon, they've developed qualities like them. Not anything like being able to blast water or fire from their mouths, but more subtle, unseen abilities. For example, water specialists are able to see underwater, hold their breath for hours and take in oxygen through their skin, as well as survive the pressure of the depths without harm once they've adjusted well enough to their pokémon. In addition, water types will also respond better to them, and the trainer will be able to assert dominance over them faster than any other 'normal' trainer."

My mind buzzed with inquisition. I glanced at Xander, who continued to eat his meal with happiness and began to wonder. If I spent long enough with just him, did that mean I'd be able to near enough breathe underwater too? I began to daydream of the possibilities of exploring ocean depths, only to be snapped from my reverie by Adryan.

"They also inherit some of the weaknesses too," he said and squatted beside me again. "I mean, the water trainers will become more susceptible to electric shocks. Where they might have only received a static shock before, they'll likely to lose all feeling in that area for a while. By the same token, they'll find that being in sunlight dries them out more than ever, and they're in constant need of a drink."

I considered what he told me, knowing that it made sense. On the one hand, it was remarkable that humans could develop such attributes within their own life spans, on the other; it was a shame the knowledge wasn't more public. Though I supposed that if it were, people would be abusing it constantly, forever training as many pokémon as they could to abuse their power. It also made it a plus point that they also inherited the weaknesses too; it prevented our species from becoming too powerful.

Regardless, my mind raced with hunger for information. "So what about other trainer specialists?" I asked. "Like rock types?"

He held a hand out and laughed. "Please don't make this into twenty questions." He smiled and raked his hand through his hair. "You're best off learning all of this on your own; it will make you appreciate it more."

I looked at him, bemused. "How did you figure it out then?"

He shuffled his feet sheepishly. "I, uh... had some help," he mumbled. "Someone I travelled with was a high-up trainer in one of the gyms, and was showing the starting signs of adapting." He blushed a bright pink and looked away, eager to find distraction in the lake.

However I found a piece of information I could use to annoy him for once. "So you were dating?" I asked, a grin plastering my face as he turned beet red. "Come on, spill! What was she like? Was she fun? Was she hot?" I nudged his side. "Was she good in bed?"

He spluttered and pushed me away, even as I laughed. "Not talking about it," he mumbled, and somehow managed to blush even further.

Instead I laughed more, victoriously. "Hey, you can't go around annoying others and not expect retribution." I grinned again, though noticed his small shudders in a new light. He hugged himself closer as the rain continued to beat down on us, and it was like someone had switched on a light in my mind. "You're adapted to fire types, aren't you?" I asked, my voice coming out a low whisper.

He looked at me in alarm and turned back to the lake, where he began to poke at the soft soil sheepishly. "Smart guy," he said, gaze focused in a distant land. "Yeah, because of my mother, I've adapted more to the fiery nature of pokémon. It's why I can withstand such high temperatures without batting so much as an eyelid. It's also why I feel the cold more than most; fire types have an internal heat source, humans don't. Though-" he looked at me with a sly grin, "-I've noticed you're the opposite."

I blinked in surprise. "Me?" I questioned and pointed to myself.

"Damn straight," he answered with a laugh. "Hey, you've admitted you feel the heat worse than most, and yet you don't feel the cold. I'd say given that, someone in your ancestry was an ice specialist."

I considered the possibility, though came up with no new knowledge. "It's possible," I admitted, "though I'm never going to know. Both my parents are dead, and they died too young for me to ever find out if I had any other family."

"What about family friends?" he asked.

They're not born yet. "They're dead too."

"Oh," he whispered. "Well, I'm sure I'm right anyway," he said with a grin. "You'll find out more later on, maybe from other gym leaders or specialist trainers, but know that the gym leader is always the most adapted in the region. The elite four are too, but they're on another level."

"How so?" I asked.

He grinned and shook his finger side-to-side. "You'll just have to find out for yourself, soldier boy. Just remember though, it doesn't happen instantly, and the barest of changes will happen in your lifetime. It's always the children that inherit better abilities."

I frowned. There went my theories of being able to watch people adapt within a lifetime.

"There may be some small changes within you, though the kids always have better abilities than their parents." He stood and began to swing his arms. "I mean, my mother's pretty adapted to fire types, though she still feels the heat from them, and can't handle it as well as me. By the same token, she doesn't feel the cold as much as me either." He stopped and considered me a moment. "I'd say it was most likely either of your parents that specialised with ice creatures, or maybe even your grandparents."

I stood and crossed my arms, though found myself wary of the amount of information he possessed on the subject. "How do you know so much about it all? It sounds like more you'd piece together just from a small bit of information off of a partner."

He winced and rubbed the back of his head. "Good call. My father's a scientist at Devon Corporation," he said, though the words meant nothing to me. "They're attempting to rival Kanto's Silph Corporation at the moment, and they're trying to advance the best they can in human and pokémon biology. The aim is to provide the best knowledge and understanding of our shared background in order to fully understand what fully divides us, as well as what made them develop their powers, as well as what made us develop independent thought and the ability to build and construct towns and the like."

I chewed my bottom lip. "That sounds like recycled political spiel. How sure are you that aren't just attempting to give humans the power to create fire or electricity?" It could have been what caused the war that led to my time, after all, I began to think. If Hoenn had developed a formula to give humans pokémon abilities, every other nation may have seen it as a threat, and thus attacked them. I focused on him and pushed rain-soaked hair from my face. "Humans always abuse power. What's to say they won't do it here?"

He shrugged. "Not sure to both questions." He let his coat drop down to his shoulders, and instantly the rainwater soaked his dry hair. "I don't bother myself with my dad's work – I try not to think about it. I'm more than happy to simply be a trainer and just embrace that lifestyle. I wouldn't trade any of the pokémon I own for the world – regardless of how mad they are." He clicked his tongue and looked at me in amusement. "You're really world-weary for a teenager, you know that?"

That's because I've seen the world such power abuse leads to.

I couldn't help but shake the visions of my home; where pokémon and human alike suffered from multiple wounds and sores along their bodies, from weaponry, animal savagery and artificial viruses. A land where the survivors fed off the fallen and where humanity was nothing but a faded dream.

Of course, I couldn't say any of that to him. Instead I scowled and recalled Xander into his ball. "I've got plenty enough reason to be," I said and walked away into the rain.

 

My mind was abuzz with delight and inquisition as I thought about Adryan's words. I found myself no longer caring about his slip; I realised quickly after I stormed off that the common viewpoint concerning scientific advances were very similar to his, if not more so. Instead what bothered me was the conversation about the evolved humans.

 

For one thing, what were they called?

More than that, I began to question my lineage. I had never known my family, and it had never bothered me. I didn't even know their names! The closest person to a father I had was Commander Flite, and I knew he was anything but a normal father figure. I knew the normal standard was that they brought up their kids with love and would always seek to entertain them. Instead Flite would near enough break our backs forcing us into shape and then push us even further in shooting in quick-fire, precise bursts.

I had a brotherly relationship with the rest of my guard troop, but only to a degree. When it came down to it, we knew that we were all disposable, and that we would have to eventually leave each other behind in a worst-case scenario. Needless to say, it stopped us bonding us much as we could.

It was honestly the first time I could remember myself actually being upset about my lack of a family. It was an alien feeling that burnt within me, threatening to engulf me entirely with it's cold-burning fire.

Why was it me that had to be born in such a situation? Why did I never have to know the comfort of a mother's hug? Why did my father have to die before I could even begin to form memories with him? Why was I alone?

It all boiled down to one final question; why me?

My vision became blurred by large watery spots not a moment later. I blinked and rubbed my eyes heavily, able to feel the water trickle free from my eyes. It raced along my cheeks with itchy heat, making me scratch at it in annoyance. I stopped and faced the sky, allowing the rain water to mask the tears leaking from my eyes. I couldn't understand then why they so suddenly began, or why it filled me with such grief. You weren't supposed to miss what you never had... so why did I suddenly start?

I gripped the two balls containing the strange creatures native to our land in my hands. They were my only allies in my quest; my only legal weapons in this time. They were the ones that would help me stop my future ever from happening, and they were the weapons I needed to progress further in this world.

The hollow void that I felt filled with anger all of a sudden. Just what exactly was I meant to do to stop my future from occurring? I knew nothing of this time! Every fairytale I'd ever heard growing up involved everything being so clear to the hero. Where the hell was my guide to save the world? Celebi had let Jennifer know all she needed, and in turn completely left me in the dark! The damned green pixie had just uprooted me from my home and dumped me somewhere alien, left only to reflect on everything I knew of my past to save the future! When the hell was it going to show up and show me what to do? Every part of my being became fuelled with anger towards the stupid little time-travelling beast. Throughout it all though, one question burned at my mind:

Why me?

Everything just boiled up and exploded out of me in that one moment in time. Honestly, I don't know how I managed to stay so sane and normal before everything became too much. It was like everything had only just started to make sense, and the gravity of my situation had suddenly dropped on me.

I clutched one poké ball tighter than the other. I needed cheering up; I knew that. I snatched it off my bandolier and called Loki out of his ball.

The sableye hissed at the small amounts of sunlight in the air. He skulked a step forwards, sniffed at the air before he threw his head back and cackled insanely. Instantly I couldn't help but smile at his antics.

"Hey Loki," I said softly, crouched down level with the creature. "How's things with you?"

He looked up at me and cocked his head curiously. I could understand why; before then, I'd never really engaged the creature in conversation. I'd only managed to fall about laughing when he made his first impression and then stopped him from moving anywhere when he was tormenting the fish from Siren's head.

"I need cheering up," I admitted to the creature. He stared at me even more, crystal eyes remaining impossibly focused on me. I wasn't sure if he was truly listening to me, trying to understand my words or just playing dumb, but his presence was reassuring.

A light seemed to appear in his eyes. He cackled once and dove into the undergrowth, and not moments later I heard various squeaks and shrieks of alarm and pain. There were two high-pitched death shrieks not moments later and I could only wonder what manner of creature Loki had killed.

He appeared mere moments later, two dead rattata floating along impossibly behind him. His eyes had a twinge of a deep blue, the same colour which surrounded the dead rodents. He flicked his wrists like he was wearing long sleeves, and the rattata floated beneath his invisible grip.

And suddenly, they began to move. It was an eerie dead rat puppet show, and the 'stars' moved flawlessly, acting out small scenes in perfect unison with Loki's grunts and grumbles.

I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing.

Loki grinned, revealing a set of razor sharp teeth before the dead rattata began to dance. A stitch formed in my side as I continued to laugh, which only served to provoke him into carrying on his dead rat theatre.

Behind me I heard the familiar tones of Adryan's laugh. He crouched down behind me –wary of Loki – and watched the ghost's performance. Our laughs were the only sounds that broke the awkward silence.

Finally he asked, "Feeling better?"

I nodded distantly, my eyes completely focused on my pokémon. "Yeah," I breathed and sat on the muddy floor. It was nothing new to me; most of my life was spent living in trenches or muddy conditions, simply sitting in it wasn't a bother to me – regardless of the curious look I know Adryan gave me. "Everything just sorta got on top of me," I admitted.

"I gathered," he said. In the silence, I could near enough hear him thinking on what next to say. "It must be something big to make you get that pissed over a throwaway comment."

I shrugged. "It just made me realise a few things I've been blissfully ignorant to." It was true after all. "Don't worry about it," I reassured him. "It wasn't anything you said. Well, it was, but it wasn't that exactly... uh, you understand what I mean right?"

He laughed. "I think I can gather." He watched Loki a moment longer, the sableye now making the rattata perform ballet. It was funny, creepy and brilliant all at once. "How bad is it?" he pried.

I smiled wryly. "Maybe someday."

Loki finished his performance as one rattata threw the other into the air. It fell back down and landed in his waiting mouth, which snapped shut down on it instantly. Blood and gore exploded everywhere, and the sounds of crunching bone deafened our applause.

I began to wonder how much control I had over the strange creature. "Hey Loki, stop that for a moment, will you?" He look up, mouth open with blood slowly dripping from his teeth. I smiled and waved my hand. "It's alright, you enjoy your food." He cackled and bit the rat's body clean off; only it's legs remained within the ghost's grip.

I blinked. How far would he listen? More than that, how was he listening to me so much already?

"Adryan," I said, eyes fixed on my pokémon. "Do you think my ancestors were ghost or dark specialists?"

He grunted an indecisive noise. "Possible. He's listening to you well. He could have been a trainer pokémon before, given his psychic abilities. There's a number of reasons for it; he could just be giving you a false sense of security, or even just strangely obedient. Though-" I heard him stand behind me and stretch his legs, "-you haven't battled with him yet have you?"

I shook my head. "No, not yet."

"That could be it then," he said. "Most pokémon change after they've tasted blood in battle. A few types especially."

I snorted. "And let me guess; two of them just happen to be those that are dark or ghostly in nature."

He snapped his fingers. "Bingo."

I rolled my eyes. "Just my luck." I stood and walked towards Loki, close enough to pick up his forgotten rattata. I held it up by its tail, the last few drops of blood still falling from its severed throat. "You gonna eat this?" I asked him, holding it before him.

He looked up and made a throaty growl. A moment later he burped and flopped on the ground, happily rubbing at his stomach.

I deadpanned. "I take it that's a no." I looked around and threw the dead rat a far enough distance away, sure that it would land in the middle of a local predator's territory.

Adryan regarded me with interest. "Why'd you do that?" He folded his arms just as I turned to face him. "You could have just left it."

"If I left it, something would come and find it," I replied, mirroring his stance. "If it did that, it would be able to track our scent. Do you really want a pack of-" my mind blanked at the pokémon native to the area we were in. "Well, anything hunting us down?"

He rubbed the back of his neck. "I guess not. But what are the chances of that happening?"

I could only shake my head at his naivety. "Just how have you managed to survive ten years travelling?"

He smirked. "Luck." He stretched his arms behind his head, managing to pop them both. "I managed to get a travel group pretty early on. I caught a flier within the first month, and by the time I had trained her fully... well... I was travelling on my own again. Between her and Irenui I had a lookout in the air as well as a pokémon that could sense vibrations in the ground."

I pinched the bridge of my nose briefly. "You really need to learn some survival instincts..."

He shrugged and turned his gaze skywards. "No need. I've survived this long. Besides, I've got a dragoness that's always with me, and I've also got a psychic, ghost and dark pokémon all able to be transferred to me at anytime."

I could only sigh. "You shouldn't put all your trust into pokémon you know."

He smiled. "Why not? At the end of the day, they know that I'm the one feeding them and providing them with care. You're still letting your pokémon eat from the wild – which is good, but also kinda hampering on your training."

"Make sure they rely on me for food, and only let them hunt when there's no other option?" I guessed.

He nodded. "Pretty much. You can let them hunt for a treat as well, but as long as they know you're in charge, you've got no problem."

I frowned. "But some pokémon are natural hunters. Surely it's better for them to practice their instincts?"

"I suppose," he conceded. "Or of course, it could help them be able to hunt you down instead." He smiled and clapped me on the shoulder. "Survival instincts buddy."

I bit my lip unable to say much as he threw my words back into my face. Instead I smiled at Loki ad recalled him back into his poké ball, taking Adryan's advice to heart. There was so much I needed to know, and so little time to truly put it into practice. I needed to make these feral beasts obey my every whim and command without question, in addition to making sure they were powerful enough to defeat everything they needed to.

Again I felt the weight descend on my shoulders. I needed to do everything it seemed, all with no time to achieve it.

My face must have betrayed what I was truly feeling, for instantly Adryan said, "Dude, you look serious. All your shit come back for another round?"

I smiled despite feeling anything but happy. "You could say that."

He sighed and pushed a hand through his hair. "Anything I can do to help?" he asked, sounding truly concerned. "Anything you need?"

I groaned and rubbed my eyes. I needed something to take my mind away from it all. I needed something that could help me forget the whole mess I'd gotten myself into. I needed... I needed an escape.

Thankfully, there was always a form of that handy providing you had the money.

"I need a drink. A strong drink."

 
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