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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2. Wish Granted

Ambition is a Dead Sea fruit, and the greatest peril to the soul is thatone is likely to get precisely what he is seeking. ~ Edward Dahlberg

-O-O-O-

A week had passed since my seventeenth birthday. Once I had turned seventeen, I was 'promoted' – if you like – to a guard soldier. Everyone was drafted into the defence corps early – it wasn't uncommon for thirteen year olds to be trained in the ways of combating and preventing any threat.

A guard soldier was a position that you could only really achieve after many years of experience, though normally you had to be over eighteen to qualify. Me? I was a 'special case'. Our education – if you could call it that – was always somehow focused into warfare. We learnt about basic maths, history and biology, as well as some English, though most often we were taught about how to shoot a target from forty yards, the various pressure points on an enemy, and the most effective way to neutralise them. And of course, warfare strategy.

Which brings me back to my point; I was top of my class. We'd gotten to the point where there were over a thousand pokémon species known to be stalking the planet; I could name at least half of those by sight alone. For each and every one I could identify, I knew the exact locations on each that would cause instant submission or neutralisation. Such a 'talent' was too good for my superiors to pass up.

Our society rewarded cold blooded murder, and to me, it was an everyday occurrence.

I was on guard duty, yet again, watching the perimeter of our base camp for any stray pokémon. It was rare for one to attack the base, but we couldn't take the risk. I scowled, feeling the effects of the heat weathering away at my body. Hoenn was still a hot climate, even after all the destruction we had caused to it. It didn't help either that I never was any good with heat, the slightest source of heat often made me begin to sweat and wither. Cold, I could deal with. I could happily stand outside in merely a tank top whilst others had to run around in coats to stay warm.

It didn't help that I liked my hair quite long, either. Pausing so I could sweep the obnoxious matt of wet hair from my face, I tucked it to the left, thankful for the reprieve.

I had been stationed to guard a three-mile perimeter of the west entrance. Every so often I would see someone or something wandering along the landscape, as long as it didn't come too close, I would let it carry on. Once it was in my sights, I made the quick identification; friend or foe? Friends would be let to carry on towards our camp; foes didn't make it another step.

Each trip out of camp was scheduled; no person or persons could leave camp without good reason and forewarning. Even then, they were accompanied by a member of the guard corps – even within our own nation, everyone treated everyone as enemies. We'd been reduced to our early territorial instincts, except now we had access to guns and rocket launchers, rather than merely swords and shields.

It might seem strange to anyone else, but since Hoenn had been ripped apart, the remaining resources were subject to a notion of 'first come, first served'. Camps began forming; small colonisations of people eager to get away from the dangerous wilds of pokémon-infested plains. It wasn't unheard of for one camp to raid another, seeking to expand their ranks, or even butchering helpless victims for a month's more food. Everyone outside was a potential enemy, and self-preservation was a common way of life.

Compassion was non-existent now.

Today was meant to be a quiet day – no scheduled visits in or out of camp. So it came to me with surprise when I saw someone attempting to escape our perimeter; he was crawling along the undergrowth, attempting to mask himself with the local flora.

I stared for a moment, reaching for the communicator as I trained the man in my sights.

"Base?" I asked into the receiver, frowning at the slight sound of static. "This is West Guard. We have a civilian making an unscheduled trip from camp. Course of action?"

Static filled my ear for a moment, before the low, gruff tones of a man's voice. "West Guard? This is Commander Flite. How old is the civilian?"

Commander Flite was an old general of approximately forty years. He was a serial womaniser; his service record was his key to success, so to speak. The stories we had been told about him were wondrous; he had supposedly managed to take down a frenzied garchomp with only a weavile claw as a weapon. Probably falsities, but the man was well respected nation-wide. I never fully learnt his full back-story, I only knew that he pushed himself harder than anyone ever did, supposedly to make up for some atrocious crime an ancestor of his had committed.

He never would reveal the full details.

I frowned again, bringing the scope of my rifle to my eye. He carried a withered old book in his left hand, I could see that the cover was frail and in pieces – it made me wonder just how old it was. I was able to find his face easily – rust coloured hair, pale skin, dark blue eyes and a thin build. Shit! I cursed inwardly, identifying him at once. He was Alex Sanders, one of the most promising medics we had within our community.

I swallowed nervously, letting out a hollow sigh. "Approximately fifteen years old, identified as Trainee Medic Alex Sanders," I responded, watching him continue his slow crawl out of camp lines. Just what was he doing? We'd had runaways before, though they'd occasionally been captured and either sold back to us, killed or even betrayed us. And then there were the ones who found Pokémon, and were either eaten by the beasts, or used them to lay waste to our camp.

Why would a medic want to harm people?

Flite's grunt of indecision reverberated in my ears. "Alright West Guard, we're sending someone now to cover your position. Follow and report. Detain if necessary, eliminate if found with pokémon." His voice came out rough and tense, and I found myself understanding why. Alex Sanders was one of Flite's many illegitimate children, though the knowledge was a guarded secret.

The fact that he ordered his child's probable death showed how harsh our culture was.

I nodded emotionlessly. "Roger." Once more focusing after Alex, I made my way down the guard tower, leaping the last few steps to land in the undergrowth. Glancing up, I found my replacement staring after me. I gave him a thumbs up and indicated my objective before I started after the boy, remaining as quiet as I could.

Child of our revered hero or not, if he was endangering us, he wouldn't see the end of the day.

Alex was used to this area – I could tell that much. He navigated through the woods with childish ease, sidestepping pitfalls and local pokémon.

Myself on the other hand, found it a lot harder.

I had the boy constantly focused under the scope of my rifle, though had to multitask with navigating after him without disturbing any pokémon, or giving any indication of my presence. Once or twice I narrowly avoided stepping on the trap leaf of a victreebel, the plants would leave the leaf lying across the floor, and at the first touch of pressure they would swallow you whole, acids dissolving you slowly as you struggled to escape.

A truly horrific way to die.

We slowly made our way into the inside of the forest, where the hairs on the back of my neck all flared on end. Everything about such a location seemed mystical, causing me to frown. I'd never heard any intel on such a place before, so why was it that it existed?

I pressed the communicator in my ear again, whispering as clearly and quietly as I could. "Commander Flite? Have followed the suspect to an unknown location within the Everdeep Woods." I stopped, watching the boy for a moment. He stared at some strange shrine within the centre – it was a poorly constructed totem that gave off a strange green aura. Whatever it was, it was most likely a threat.

"He appears to be waiting for something by some sort of mystical object – possibly pokémon related." I felt my finger slide easily over the trigger of my rifle as I prepared for the worst. "Transmitting location now," I whispered, pressing a small button on my belt. It flashed green once, whirring almost silently with mechanical ease before it silenced. It would take five minutes for a squad to assemble at my location, which gave the boy five minutes to stop his plan.

Or five minutes to live.

The boy stared a moment longer at the shrine before pressing his hands on it and humming gently. My eyes narrowed in suspicion, wondering just what it was he was attempting to do. He continued humming for over a minute, during which I spent the whole time with my rifle pointing squarely at the base of his brain. If he were to do something, I'd stop him before he got the chance.

His humming suddenly stopped, and he stared skyward. I watched after him, barely restraining a hiss as the sky suddenly lit up with a brilliant green light.

Blinking the haze from my eyes, I stared back towards him, finding disbelief running in my veins.

For floating alongside him was a celebi.

Brilliant.

The creatures were natural time travellers, and within pokémon nomenclature were known as legends. All legends had powers unparallel to other pokémon, and were significantly harder to kill.

A celebi had to be disposed of in one shot, one shot that took out both its time travel abilities and its life. Take only the time travel, it would kill you instantly afterwards, and heal within the hour. Its life was only forfeit if it could no longer time travel, otherwise its last instinct was to warp back to a place of healing.

In short, I had one chance to make this.

I pulled the scope to my eye, watching after the creature. Celebi had to be disposed of first, otherwise it would be alerted to my presence. And personally, I didn't feel like dying. I waited for my moment while I listened to their conversation, wondering if I could establish why he snuck out here.

"I managed to escape," said Alex, focusing solely on the pokémon. Rookie mistake. 'Never let down your guard'; it was one of the first rules we were taught in education. "I've got everything ready. Is everything ready on your side?"

The pokémon nodded and chirped enthusiastic sound that I assumed was a positive response.

"Good," the boy responded, his voice beginning to buckle. "If I manage this, can I really stop this future from ever happening? No war will ever happen?"

I dropped my guard as I heard those words. He was searching for a way to stop the war from ever happening? A million questions flooded my brain. How was this possible? Was it possible? Why was he chosen? How would he do it? My childhood dream soared to the front of my brain; a world without our war torn state, an escape from this horrific mess we called home.

My remaining questions were cut off as I heard a gasp erupt from the both of them. I glanced at them, only to see that they were surrounded by the camp's infiltration team. Dubbed 'Kecleon Agents', they were named so after their uniforms. Stolen from the evolutionary adaptations of the pokémon kecleon, their uniforms and armour were all able to camouflage perfectly with the background, save for the same red zigzag present on the pokémon. It seemed the camouflage would only work if the stripe was present.

Conflict ran within me. It was my duty to help them exterminate both creature and human... but they were plotting to stop the world from ever suffering the war. My internal conflict raged within me, giving lead to the resulting chain of events.

The boy screamed.

Gunshots filled the air.

My eyes were unable to tear away from the sight as Alex fell, shredded by a volley of bullets. He wasn't ever getting back up. Celebi however, had erected some manner of blue shield before itself, its eyes glowing the same iridescent colour. The pokémon hovered their hauntingly, its face torn in a mixture of sorrow and regret.

And suddenly, it looked at me.

My stomach dropped to the floor as I felt every thought, every feeling, every emotion suddenly opened up, laid bare to the creature. They were pulled and twisted, relived again and again. I felt myself grow weak at the knees, unable to break the contact.

I briefly wondered if this was what dying felt like.

And then everything vanished in an explosion of green.

 
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