Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 24
It had been two days since Latoshi rid himself of Lazarus' spirit. Antoshi stood on the porch of the cabin, gazing up at the starry night sky. By then, all of the injuries he sustained from his fight with Latoshi had healed completely. His red aura slowly flickered on and off, almost like a firefly. Fireball sat on the wooden porch swing, which quietly creaked under his weight. The Typhlosion ate from a small bag of Pokémon snacks. Mitoshi opened the front door to accompany them.
“What's going on out here?” she asked. “You're making my head go 'bzz-bzz-bzz' with your energy.”
Antoshi laughed, turning to her. “Sorry about that. I'm just … I dunno, sending out a signal for Latoshi. Maybe he's trying to find us. I want to let him know we're right here waiting for him.”
Mitoshi smiled warmly, closing the door behind her, standing by him.
“That's so sweet, Antoshi. I think that's a great idea, and I'd love to join you, but, … I don't know how to do that with my, uh, 'aura' was it?”
Antoshi chuckled. “It's simple enough once you get the hang of it. Think about what matters to you and what you care about the most. Feel your emotions for that from the bottom of your heart. Imagine your emotions like a burning fire that's going to ignite and explode, trying to burst out of you. Focus all of your energy into that and then just … let it out.”
She looked at him, baffled, expecting a little more in terms of instructions. “Uh, all right. Guess I'll give it a shot.” She took a deep breath, closing her eyes, focusing herself in the way Antoshi told her. The boy smiled, as he and Fireball watched her grunt and strain, clenching her fists. After a few moments of trying, she slouched over with an exasperated sigh.
“Did anything happen?” she asked.
“No,” Antoshi said, laughing. Mitoshi groaned in defeat. “Just keep working at it. I know you'll figure it out soon.”
“Well, … what if I … came to train with you?” she asked nervously. “I've been thinking about it lately, and … I'd like to be able to do the same kind of things that you and Latoshi can do.”
“Sure thing,” Antoshi replied. Her face lit up with delight. “I think it might be fun to teach someone else what I've learned so far.”
“Ooh, that does sound like fun!”
"I can help, too!" Fireball chimed in, raising a paw. "I can take a punch like nobody's business!"
“It's true,” Antoshi said, smirking. “Fireball's built like a super reinforced brick wall.”
Mitoshi laughed. “Awesome! So, maybe we could start tomorrow?”
“Sure thing!” Antoshi replied.
Mitoshi headed back to the front door. “Well, I guess I better check on those cookies.”
"Cookies?" Fireball mused in excitement, quickly springing up onto his hind feet. "I'm ready, bring on the cookies."
“They're going to be hot,” Mitoshi said, as they headed inside together.
"Mitoshi, I can breathe fire."
Antoshi smiled, turning his attention to the night sky once more.
The next morning, Latoshi gasped for air, jolting awake. He sat up on the bottom platform of a fire escape, propping himself up with one hand. A wild Koffing groaned curiously at him, hovering and slowly spinning around, while exuding grimy, putrid smoke from its round body.
The boy covered his nose. “Wow, I thought I was just dreaming that horrible smell.”
He looked up and grabbed the hand rail behind his head, leaping over backwards, landing on his feet in the alley below. The sable-haired boy had managed to get some semblance of sleep here and there in the past couple of days. He hummed curiously, staring at his open palms as he summoned forth some of his dark aura.
‘Feels like my strength is slowly returning, bit by bit,’ he thought. ‘Whatever Lazarus did or stole from me, it was pretty significant. I'm still nowhere near as strong as I used to be. I can't believe how powerful I felt right up until I got rid of him. I guess that was him just sharing energy to make me think what I wanted to. … Am I going to feel depleted like this forever?’
Latoshi took a deep breath and sighed, sliding his hands into the pockets of his shorts. His green shirt and shorts had become dingy, disheveled, and frayed; as were his shoes and socks. His hair was unkempt and started to fall over his eyes. He set out once more on his aimless quest through Goldenrod City. It was midmorning, the streets were bustling with activity. As he emerged from the alley, a woman holding several rowdy Growlithe and Lillipup on leashes passed by him. He chuckled, heading down the sidewalk.
‘It's been almost a few days since I got rid of Lazarus. I thought at least most of my Ki would've returned already. Still, my memories have been coming back in my dreams. Little images and past events here and there, but only of the things that Lazarus kept from me ever since he took control of me. I finally remember everything that happened during my fight along the beach with Antoshi…’ Just then, his attention was immediately pulled away to a specific point in the distance. His eyes went wide. ‘What is that?’ he thought, abruptly jogging across the street ahead of a few cars. ‘Why do I sense someone's presence over there?’
He made his way into a park with a long, broad brick pathway winding through it. He made his way down said path, passed by some cyclists, and a man calling out commands while jogging with his Primeape. He ignored his surroundings, his eyes intensely focused on his target.
‘Who could this be? Why is their energy so intense? Don't tell me it's going be yet another weird, new person I've never seen before, here to make things even more complicated than they already are.’
Latoshi gasped in shock when he neared close enough to see who it was. Past a large fountain statue, sat the impeccably dressed brother of Serenity: Collin. All the muscles in the boy's body became rigid, freezing up, swallowing nervously. The silence between them was pierced by the sound of water splashing down from the fountain.
‘Damn it. What do I do? This guy … he's the one that made Serenity tremble in fear — and she's way stronger than I am. What if … what if he decides to fight me? Could I take him? Maybe I should leave. I need to get out of here.’
Collin calmly read from a hardcover book resting in his gloved hand, one leg crossed over the other. He smiled to himself, continuously, seemingly oblivious of Latoshi's presence. Despite Collin's placid demeanor, Latoshi's heart was pounding in fear.
‘No,’ Latoshi thought. ‘He already knows I'm here. He had to have sensed me when I was still all the way across the street. Damn it! He was luring me here, wasn't he?’
The boy sighed, straightening his back, staying as composed as possible. He kept his hands in his pockets, walking over to Collin until he was just a few meters away.
“Hello again, Latoshi,” Collin greeted him, without so much as a glance.
The sable-haired boy bit his tongue, glaring at the refined young man wearing his gold waistcoat and white dress shirt, with matching white pleated pants and patent leather shoes. His brown hair was slicked back as before. White formal dress gloves covered his hands. Collin's white gold wristwatch gleamed in the pre-noon sunlight, as did most everything on his person. His ensemble was a stark contrast to Latoshi's unkempt look.
“That's quite the intense look you're giving me,” Collin continued, again without looking at the boy. “If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were … scared of me.”
‘What the hell does this guy want?’ the boy thought, his concealed hands trembling. ‘I'm getting an awful sense of dread just being near him. His energy feels like it's going to swallow me whole at any second.’
“Sorry,” Latoshi replied after a brief pause, “I just forgot to wear my sunglasses today. I have to squint my eyes to see you since you're glowing like the freakin' sun in that goofy outfit.”
The young man raised his eyebrows in surprise, gazing down at his clothing. “You think so? I happen to like this ensemble. You wouldn't be trying to rile me up, would you?” Collin finally looked over at the boy. Latoshi's eyes went wide as they met with his.
‘What's wrong with me?!’ the boy thought, baring his clenched teeth. ‘I'm scared to death of him and he's barely done or said anything! This is so stupid!’
Collin laughed in amusement. “Your muscles are so tense,” he remarked. “Your breathing is becoming ragged. You're fearful of me — don't be. Believe me, I have no intention of harming you; certainly not in the severely weakened state you're in. This is nothing more than a cordial conversation between acquaintances. Come, have a seat.”
“Thanks, but I'll stand,” Latoshi replied, before swallowing the lump in his throat.
“Fair enough.” Collin shut his book and set it aside. He shifted his seating, changing which leg was crossed over the other, while turning his full attention to Latoshi. He curiously tapped his fingers over his mouth, studying the boy. Latoshi swallowed again, beads of sweat starting roll down his forehead. “Like my sister, I've been watching over you and your brother ever since the two of you came to Goldenrod. While Serenity's been more direct in interacting with you both, I've merely observed from afar. Seeing you up close like this just electrifies my spirit.”
“I didn't know I was building my own fan club,” Latoshi replied, wryly.
Collin laughed, resting his arm along the back of the bench. “Yes, there's that cutting wit that you're so good at. Lazarus was incapable of restricting your colorful personality. You are a fascinating prospect, Latoshi. You have so much untapped ability that you can't even fathom. Yet, you're still so … green. You know neither the purest basics of how to fully tap into your Ki, nor what to do with it whenever you do utilize it. You have so much to learn, so much potential growth, and that exhilarates me in ways you cannot understand. You're like raw clay waiting to be molded. If you so desire, I can be the one to teach you.”
Latoshi scoffed. “No, thanks. I've had enough 'teachers' for one lifetime.”
“As I expected,” Collin replied with a grin. “Your spirit is still tarnished with Lazarus' energy. You can't smell it the same way that I do, though. That foul, malodorous stench — it's unmistakable.”
“I haven't showered in a while, so maybe that's it.”
Collin smirked. “I want you to think of the moment when you ejected Lazarus' spirit as … a rebirth of sorts. It's the cusp of a brand new life for you, full of endless possibilities. The path you take from here will shape you for the rest of your life — that 'raw clay' I mentioned before.”
Latoshi shifted his gaze away for a brief moment in confusion. “So, … what, you brought me here to give me some pep talk or something? 'Go get 'em, slugger' and such? I have better things to do, like wander around the city in misery.”
“That's what I like about you, Latoshi. Your brother would never say such things. No, he's far too reserved. You're brash and arrogant; you say exactly what you feel, and to hell with the consequences.”
“You want me to say what I feel? Okay. The more I stand here, the more I feel like this is a waste of my time. I think you're not as strong as Serenity made you out to be. I think you're just some creep in obnoxious clothing who likes to listen to himself talk. Is that good enough for you?”
Collin chuckled, nodding his head. “That's more than good. Just for my own amusement, why don't you take a look behind you? What do you see?”
Latoshi glared cautiously at Collin for a moment, before doing as he asked. “What am I supposed to be looking at?” he mused, turning his attention back to Collin. “There's a giant building that looks like it's made of glass.”
Collin smirked, lifting his head and looking behind the boy. “Look again.”
Latoshi turned once more. His eyes immediately went wide with horror as he watched the giant skyscraper of over one hundred stories crumble to the ground in the distance. People and Pokémon in the park also looked on, screaming, some of them fleeing from the sight.
‘What … the hell?!’ he thought, his jaw hanging, trembling fearfully. ‘Did he just do that? I didn't see or sense anything from him! He was just casually sitting there! No, … he has to be tricking me somehow.’
“Of course, that was just a mote of my power,” Collin remarked, casually.
Latoshi turned to him in shock. “That's not possible. You didn't do anything!”
“Oh, but I did. Like I said, you're incredibly green, Latoshi. What you sense from me is only what you're capable of feeling. I assure you the well goes far, far deeper.”
The boy's horrified expression turned to anger. “But, … why? Why would you do that?! You bastard! There were lives in there!”
Collin chuckled and gazed at the aftermath of the destruction. “Don't get so riled up. You can relax knowing those lives you're so concerned with are safe. She's taken care of everything. Every single person and Pokémon in that building is still perfectly fine. Ah, she always knows when to hover around nearby to clean up after my messes.”
“'She'? Who are you talking about?”
“Who else? Yes, it was quite the spectacle you missed out on. She cleared every single floor before the structure crumbled to the ground. She took count of every living soul in there, protected them by wrapping her Ki around them, then went to the each subsequent floor and repeated the process. I counted, … oh, about two thousand people and a few hundred Pokémon. For the seconds in which all they saw was shrapnel and dust, it must have been the most confusing seconds of their lives. After the building fell, she made sure to give every single one of them a little escape tunnel. Of course, they'll have to wait until the dust settles before they can see anything. I'm sure the news reports will explain it as nothing less than a miracle.”
Latoshi stared at him, blankly. ‘What is this guy even saying? I—I can't even understand anything he just explained. It's impossible for someone to do all of that in less than a minute!’
Just then, Serenity appeared out of nowhere, standing a short distance away from the two. Her hair and clothing was full of dust.
“Bravo, Serenity,” Collin replied, smiling, offering a slow clap, “even though that was such a trivial amount of your ability. You could've come up with so many other clever solutions to that problem. I was just explaining to our young prodigy here everything that you just did.”
‘Serenity?!’ Latoshi thought, looking at her in disbelief. ‘How could she possibly … do … that?’
“Collin, you promised me,” Serenity said, her voice trembling with anger. “You promised that you wouldn't let this happen again.”
“I remember what I promised. I would never let what happened in Slateport happen anymore. This was certainly nothing close to it. I knew you would handle it, as usual. You're always putting others before yourself, after all.”
‘Slateport?’ Latoshi thought, his eyes shifting back and forth as he turned the pages of his mind. He gasped, recalling images of devastation on a television screen. He held his forehead, turning his gaze downward. “Slate … port City?” he mused. “You mean … that city in Hoenn that was destroyed?” He gasped in shock. “You destroyed Slateport City?!”
Collin sat, smiling, with his eyes closed, hands folded in his lap.
“He did,” Serenity replied, sighing. “It was a long time ago, when he lost control of his powers. Since then, he's become far more composed.”
“My baby sister is correct,” Collin said. “I don't partake in such things anymore. Those days are behind me. Now, I enjoy spending my days enjoying the finer things that life has to offer. I simply did this as a visual example for Latoshi. He doubted my power, but … I believe I may have instilled a little faith in him now.”
Latoshi looked back and forth between the two of them in bewilderment. ‘Just what the hell am I dealing with here? These two are on a level I could never have imagined before, and yet, they act so calm and collected about it. They're like deities in human form.’
“Now, then,” Collin said, grabbing his book and getting to his feet, “I believe I shall take my leave. It's going to become quite the chaotic mess for some time around here, and I'd much rather relax in the quiet of my home. May the two of you have a splendid day.” He casually walked away with one hand in his pocket, whistling a tune to himself.
Latoshi sighed heavily, wiping the sweat from his forehead. “Are you … okay?” he asked with some confusion, looking to Serenity.
“I'll be fine,” she replied, walking over to him. “There's something I should've made crystal clear to you and your siblings the first time you encountered Collin. It's best not to test him or rile him. When he gets angry, he … well, … Slateport City happens.” Latoshi was deeply disturbed by the very insinuation. Serenity smiled, placing a hand on his shoulder. “It's all right. I have no reason to believe anything like that will ever happen again. What's more, all those people and Pokémon in that building are perfectly fine. Don't worry about it. Just remember what I told you, okay?”
“Yeah, I—I got it.”
Serenity sighed, looking at her clothes. “I was supposed to have a job interview today. Now, I look like a total mess. I better hurry and get cleaned up, so I don't miss my appointment. I'll talk to you again soon.”
“Yeah—” he started, only to watch Serenity seem to vanish right before his eyes. “… See ya.”
Latoshi quickly stumbled over to the nearest bench and sat down, hunched over, panting softly. He felt sick to his stomach over the sheer power he'd just witnessed, and the implication of even more potentially dire consequences.
‘This is so insane,’ he thought. ‘Here I am struggling to regain whatever tiny scraps of energy I can, while in the presence of people who can level whole cities and rescue thousands of people in the blink of an eye. I'm like a tiny worm in the presence of giants.’
Latoshi spent some time watching police and rescue personnel show up. They coordinate rescue efforts to help every person and Pokémon get out of the massive pile of rubble and twisted shrapnel. The area was cordoned off with police tape, while news crews showed up to report on every second of the efforts. Just as Collin had said, every single one of them was completely unharmed, and easily able to locate inside the many nooks that Serenity made for them.
‘The way Collin explained what Serenity did made it seem so simple. She didn't even look winded when she showed up. What exactly are we dealing with here? And, just how strong is this Collin guy? …’
That night, Antoshi, Fireball, Mitoshi, and Bubbles were all gathered in the living room. Antoshi and Fireball sat on the couch directly facing Mitoshi, while Bubbles sat on the floor next to the girl. They talked and laughed, continuing to share the same jovial mood they had since meeting. Antoshi grabbed a balled napkin from the glass coffee table and playfully tossed it at Mitoshi.
“Hey, don't throw that at me!” she said, laughing.
“Mitoshi's just starting to learn how to use her powers,” Antoshi remarked, cheekily, to Fireball. “We're starting off slow, so she still has to work on her reflexes.” Mitoshi blew a raspberry at him before grinning.
"That sounds so wonderful," Bubbles remarked. "I'm glad the two of you are getting along so well. It's the one thing Miss Mitoshi's been wanting for such a long time."
"Sure is wonderful," Fireball remarked, sitting next to Antoshi. "Finally, I have others to talk to!" The others shared a laugh.
Just then, there was a quiet knock at the door.
“I'll get it,” Mitoshi said, hopping to her feet.
As she opened the door, the pleasant expression on her face quickly turned to shock. She gasped, covering her mouth with a hand, stepping back. The others watched her in concern.
“Co—come in,” she said, softly.
The two Pokémon were astonished to see a certain young man wearing ragged, green clothes and a head full of sable hair emerge.
“… Latoshi?” Antoshi uttered in disbelief as he got to his feet.
Latoshi offered a weak smile to the group, unsure of what to say to them. “Hey,” he replied, before turning his gaze away. A moment of awkward silence followed. Mitoshi shut the door.
“Um, can I get you anything?” Mitoshi asked. “Would you like some water? We, err, we have some chocolate chip cookies in the fridge.”
“Thank you, that'd be nice,” he said. “My stomach's kinda been running on empty for a few days now.”
Mitoshi smiled, before promptly shuffling off into the kitchen. Antoshi approached his brother, who was unable to look him in the eye. Fireball stood off to the side alongside Bubbles, both Pokémon watching curiously.
“You're … really here,” Antoshi remarked. Latoshi nodded gently. “You don't have Lazarus' spirit inside you anymore. I can sense that 'rotten' energy is gone.”
“Yeah,” Latoshi replied. “Turns out, I didn't need him. You were right all along, and I see that now.”
Antoshi smiled, warmly, offering a hand to Latoshi. “It's good to have you here.”
Latoshi smiled as well, chuckling as they shared a handshake. “It does … feel good to be here.”
Mitoshi quietly placed down a plate of cookies and a glass of water on the counter. She watched with the same curiosity and fascination as the others. The two boys, who had waged war against each other for what felt like ages, finally made peace with one another.
“First thing's first, though,” Latoshi said. “I wanted to apolog— no, … what am I saying? I could never apologize enough to you for what I've done to you; to all of you. I ended up causing you so much pain and misery. Antoshi, I-I ruined your life. If it wasn't for me, you'd be on your journey through Johto like you wanted, and … I ruined all of that for you. I can never make that up to you.”
Antoshi had closed his eyes to listen, gathering his thoughts for a moment. When he opened them again, he gave Latoshi a reassuring smile.
“It's okay, Latoshi. As you can probably imagine, this direction my life has headed is … something I've given a lot of thought to lately. When I first decided to experience Johto with Fireball, I wanted it to be something I would learn from; something I would grow from and remember for the rest of my life. I think it's fair to say that's certainly the case now. Latoshi, you and I went through so much together in such a short amount of time. I feel like I've grown much more from all of my experiences so far than I would have from any journey across any region. Honestly, the positives that came from all of this outweighed the negatives.” He placed both hands on Latoshi's shoulders, looking him squarely in the eye. “I don't blame you for any of the terrible things Fireball and I had to endure. It wasn't you, and it wasn't your fault. I've waited for this moment ever since you and I shared a simple ice cream together. I always knew you were a good person, and I've been waiting all this time for the real you to come back.”
Latoshi looked into his identical brothers' eyes with sheer astonishment. Just as tears started to well within them both, Antoshi pulled him in and hugged him tightly. The others were pleasantly surprised, though not nearly as much as Latoshi was. He stared blankly for a moment before putting his arms around Antoshi to reciprocate the hug. Mitoshi sniffled and sobbed, shuffling over to them, joining in on their hug. Antoshi chuckled warmly, putting an arm around her as the girl cried tears of joy. Latoshi was further shocked, that this girl, his sister whom he'd never known, cared so much for him. He followed his brother's lead, wrapping an arm around her as well. Fireball and Bubbles were extremely happy for the trio.
“You know, hugging me was probably not a great idea,” Latoshi muttered. “I haven't had a shower in, like, a really long time.”
Antoshi snorted, both he and Mitoshi breaking out into a laugh. “I was trying not to let it spoil the moment,” the blond boy admitted. The two boys grinned as they all pulled away from each other. Mitoshi continued to sniffle and wipe the tears from her eyes.
“Well, thank you for that,” Latoshi said to the girl, “but, you and I haven't really been introduced.”
“Oh, you're right!” Mitoshi replied, offering a trembling laugh. She inhaled deeply to steady her breathing. “Sorry about that. I'm Mitoshi.”
“Mitoshi?” he mused. “Just when I thought the name theme stopped with Antoshi and I.” The trio laughed together.
“Sorry about all the crying,” she said, her lips quivering as she smiled. “It's just so … so wonderful to see both of you together like this. I've dreamed about the first time I could hug my siblings for so long now. I never thought it would ever come true. Thanks for letting me have that moment with you both.” The boys nodded to her.
"I might as well get in on this, too," Fireball said as he approached. "After all, this guy and I have some history together, too."
Latoshi smirked, shaking Fireball's paw as the Typhlosion offered it to him. “That's true. I hope you and I get to share a chocolate chip ice cream again and talk some more.”
"I think you'll soon find out that I'm always ready for food." The others shared a laugh. After which, Latoshi sighed.
“Well, I know you offered me cookies and all,” Latoshi said, “but, … I should probably get going now.”
“No way!” Mitoshi quickly said, expressing her sorrow. “Don't leave! You can stay here with us for as long as you like.”
“I—I don't know,” Latoshi replied, rubbing the back of his neck. “Won't it be pretty awkward having me around as a … third wheel? 'Black sheep of the family' and all that?”
“Of course not,” Antoshi said, firmly. “We would never think of you that way. You're not a 'third wheel', you're a third sibling.”
Latoshi smiled, warmly. “All right, then. If you put it that way, I'll stay for as long as you guys want me around.” Mitoshi squealed in joy, clapping her hands. “Although, I do feel pretty gross in these old clothes. Would it be okay if I took a shower?”
“Absolutely!” Mitoshi replied. “The bathroom is the door in the hallway down there. There's clean towels in the cabinet.”
“I'll get you a change of clothes to borrow,” Antoshi added, quickly making for his room. The group waited until he came back with a plain white undershirt and matching boxer shorts.
Latoshi took them with a grateful nod. “Thank you both. I really— … I really do appreciate this. It took all the courage I had to face you guys again, but, I'm really glad now that I did.”
“Same here,” Antoshi said.
Latoshi heaved a relieved sigh as he headed for the bathroom, quietly shutting it behind him.
“Oh! There's unused toothbrushes in the drawer!” Mitoshi said.
“Thank you!” Latoshi called out from behind the door.
Antoshi, Mitoshi and Fireball all grinned at each other. Bubbles wiped away her tears with her flippers. The two siblings sat down at the counter, leaving an open seat between them.
Latoshi emerged a short time later, shutting the door behind him. He glanced down at the clothes Antoshi gave him.
“All white,” he remarked, “kind of like a clean start, huh?” Latoshi walked over to join them, sitting on the seat they left for him. He wasted no time eating the cookies left out for him. “Thanks for telling me about the toothbrushes, by the way. It's been so long since I brushed, it looked like a murder scene in the sink. These cookies are great.”
“Thanks!” Mitoshi replied, with a smile. “They're from one of those pre-mixed packages, and I just followed the directions. So, I kinda-sorta made them myself.”
“I really appreciate them anyway. It was probably a good idea for me to have something simple like cookies after having not eaten in like a week.” He stopped to take a drink of water. “You guys have already been super generous to me. I don't know how I can make it up to you.”
“You being here is all we wanted,” Antoshi replied. Mitoshi smiled and nodded.
Latoshi sighed, nudging the plate away. “I'm really stuffed already. Plus, it doesn't feel right just eating in front of you guys. You should have some, too.”
The other two promptly took a cookie from the plate. Antoshi passed his back for Fireball to take.
"Sweet!" Fireball said, eagerly tossing it into his mouth. "This is the best homecoming ever."
The three siblings all shared a chuckle. At the same time, Bubbles emerged from the middle of the three bedrooms.
"This room is all cleaned now," she said, quietly.
“Thank you, Bubbles,” Mitoshi replied, smiling to her before turning to Latoshi. He was momentarily stunned that he was able to hear the Lapras speak. “Well, it looks like your room is set.”
Latoshi snapped out of his daze. “My room?”
“That's right,” Antoshi said, as they all hopped down from their stools. “There's three bedrooms, and three of us. So, you get your own room.”
“And we happened to have a green blanket stored away in the closet,” Mitoshi added. “Your clothes were green, so I figured you'd like it.”
“Wow,” Latoshi remarked in awe.
Antoshi stood next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Get some rest.”
Latoshi smiled thankfully and nodded to him. “That sounds like a great idea.” The sable-haired boy's spirit was placid and relaxed. He felt so much more at ease than he could've ever dreamed.
The three of them gathered together, sharing another brief group hug. The Pokémon looked on in contentment. The trio heaved a collective sigh of relief as they broke away.
“Well, goodnight,” Latoshi said.
“Goodnight,” the others replied.
After Latoshi headed for his room and shut the door quietly, the remaining two siblings smiled to each other.
“This is a dream come true,” Mitoshi said. “I always hoped this day would finally come!”
“Same here,” Antoshi replied. “I'm really happy things turned out this way. It's like a huge weight's finally off my shoulders.”
"I'm really glad you won't have to fight Latoshi anymore," Fireball added, patting his friend on the back. "Going through all of that — it was one terrible nightmare." Antoshi couldn't help but grin in relief.
“Well,” Mitoshi said with a yawn, “I guess we should all get to bed, too.” She headed over to Bubbles, bringing the Lapras' head down to her, giving her Pokémon a kiss on the cheek. “Goodnight, Bubbles. Goodnight, guys.”
“Night, Mitoshi,” Antoshi and Fireball said in unison.
"Goodnight, Miss Mitoshi," Bubbles replied, nodding respectfully to her, before sliding over to her Poké Ball. She pressed her snout against it, resulting in her being pulled into the ball to get some rest. The others headed into their respective rooms and shut the doors behind them.
Four days passed since Latoshi had reunited with his siblings. After sleeping for most of the first couple of days, Latoshi eventually got to sit down and chat with Mitoshi. She caught him up to speed with everything that she had explained to Antoshi. Latoshi found himself left in disbelief, just like his brother, at the revelation that he was adopted. He, however, did not participate in much activity with them, as he continued to feel quite tired, spending most of the time asleep.
Antoshi continued his training with Fireball and Mitoshi. It became something of a balancing act, as Antoshi had to divide his time training between them equally. During the day, in the field outside the cabin, the three of them prepared for Mitoshi's next lesson.
“All right, Mitoshi,” he said, “let's try to get you to fly. Are you ready?” Fireball stood by, watching them curiously.
Mitoshi huffed sharply. “Heck yeah!” she replied.
Antoshi laughed, warmly. “Well, first, why don't you bring out your aura, like you've been working on?”
Mitoshi nodded and took a deep breath, closing her eyes. She exhaled slowly, focusing intensely. Upon breathing in again, her blue aura slowly emerged from her body and burned like a flame. When she opened her eyes, her irises glowed bright blue.
“Very good!” Antoshi continued. “Now, as far as flying goes, it's kind of like learning how to ride a bike. You focus on one action, then you keep that action up until it gets to the point where you can do it without even thinking about it.”
“And what action is that?”
“Using your Ki to keep your body airborne, like you're lifting yourself up with it. There really isn't any way to teach you how to do that, you just figure it out and perfect it from there. The only advice I can give you is to just keep your output of energy as steady as possible.”
“Oh. … Uh, all right, then.” Mitoshi sighed, nervously, rubbing her hands together. “Okay. Here I go. Gonna learn how to fly.” She spread her arms out wide, closing her eyes, straining to use her Ki in the way Antoshi described. After a few minutes of merely making her aura flicker about wildly, she hunched over with a loud exhale. “… I figured this was going to be an 'easier said than done' situation,” she deadpanned.
“It's all right! Don't rush it, you've got all the time in the world to learn.”
“Right. Don't rush — got it.”
Antoshi and Fireball quietly chuckled to each other. Mitoshi continued straining to fly. She stood on her tiptoes, tried flapping her arms, and tried getting a jumping start. All of it was for naught.
The duo sat in the grass for a while and watched her. At some point, he headed inside to get some snacks for him and his friend. The boy sipped from a box of juice while Fireball ate some vegetable chips from a storage bag. With the front door ajar, Bubbles came outside a few times in-between tidying up the house to see if she was making progress.
“This is so tough!” Mitoshi complained. “I was really hoping it wouldn't three hours, but, here we still are.” The girl sighed in exasperation.
“Don't try to force it to happen,” Antoshi replied. “It's the same concept as when you were learning to bring out your aura. You've got to learn how to use your emotions to strengthen the rest of your abilities.”
“Well, … maybe you could fly and I'll … take notes or something.”
Antoshi chuckled, getting to his feet. “All right, fine.” He smiled, relaxing his mind, allowing his aura coming to life in a rather gentle flicker. His body almost immediately began to ascend into the air. Mitoshi watched, awe-struck, as he hovered several meters over their heads. “You see? Once you learn how to do it, it's easy enough.” He held out a hand to her. “Come on. Try to reach for me.”
Mitoshi groaned in defeat. She stood on the tips of her toes again, reaching up as high as she could. She strained and grunted with effort, her aura expanding and flaring around, wildly.
“Come on, Mitoshi! You can do it! Feel it in your heart! Let the energy of your emotions pull you to the clouds!”
She clenched her eyes shut, tears falling from her eyes, putting out an intense amount of effort. Fireball gasped in surprise, slapping a paw over his gaping maw, as the girl's feet suddenly began to leave the ground.
“That's it, Mitoshi! You're flying!”
Her eyes shot open, gasping and grinning in elation. “I'm flying?!” she exclaimed, looking down. “Oh, my gosh! I'm really doing it! I'm really—!” She stopped upon abruptly toppling forward and falling to the ground. “… Ow,” she muttered, with a face full of earth.
Antoshi grinned, nervously. “You okay, Mitoshi?” The girl sat up, shaking the dirt off her face.
“Yeah, I'm fine!” she replied, giving them a thumbs up.
Just then, a loud, horrifying scream came from the house.
“That sounded like Latoshi,” Antoshi said in concern. He promptly landed on the ground and headed for the front door, the other two quickly in tow. As they entered the house, Bubbles was quite scared and concerned as she looked at the group. He made for Latoshi's room, opening it to find Latoshi sitting on the edge of his bed, which was set in the far corner of the room. The mid-sized bedroom was almost identical in appearance to Antoshi's.
The sable-haired boy was panted heavily, his head in his hands, grabbing fistfuls of hair. “No, no, no, …” he continually repeated.
“Latoshi, what is it?” Antoshi asked, worried, kneeling down beside him.
Latoshi slowly turned to his brother. His eyes were wide, filled with tears. “I-I remember … everything.” Antoshi and the others were flabbergasted by the revelation, yet there was uncertainty as to what him finally regaining his long-lost memories meant. The fact that the boy huffed and sobbed meant he recalled something dire. “I remember— … I remember what happened that night. The night of the … explosion.”
"Fern Town?" Fireball quietly mused.
“My home, … my family, … my parents. Antoshi, I … Lazarus, he … he made me …”
“It's okay,” Antoshi said, sitting beside him. “Just take a moment—”
“No, it's not okay!” Latoshi shouted, surprising the blond boy. “I killed my parents!!” The others went completely silent from shock. Mitoshi covered her mouth with one hand. Latoshi grabbed his hair again, shaking his head as he sobbed uncontrollably. “Why did I want to remember? Why did I want my memories back?!”
The others had no words, only turning their gazes downward. Mitoshi and Fireball looked to each other. They felt it appropriate to leave the room for a short while, allowing Antoshi to console him in peace. He waited by his brother's side until Latoshi's crying started to die down.
“I'm so sorry, Latoshi,” he whispered. “All I ever wanted was for you to stop hurting. I'm so sorry this is happening to you.”
“I can't believe this,” Latoshi remarked. “Of course … this would happen. All I ever wanted this whole time was to get my memories back. I should've known that I was going to remember … something horrible. Why else would Lazarus hold my memories from me?” He closed his eyes, sighing shakily. “I remember how everything started now. It was actually … after I had learned I was adopted. I found the adoption papers, which had my birth name on it. That's where I first saw the name 'Latoshi.' It's how I recalled my name when I was in that prison cell. My whole life, my name had been Declan. Yet, here was this piece of paper with this name in front of me that I'd never heard of, and, it was … my name. I was so … scared and so angry when I found out about the adoption. I was angry at my parents. They never told me, and I felt like I deserved to know. I … lashed out at them. I told them I hated them. I said— … I said they weren't my 'real parents!'”
Latoshi choked back further tears, clenching his eyes shut.
“So,” he continued, “one night, Lazarus came to me. He told me that he felt my anger and my despair. He told me I was so much stronger than I realized, that I had a gift I never knew of. He offered me the promise of 'a new life.' He said I would be free of all of this sadness, and that I would gain power beyond my wildest imagination. I couldn't believe I was … talking to this black cloud floating in my room. Yet, everything he was saying was so exciting to me. I wanted to get out of there so badly. I just wanted to run away, get as far away from Fern Town as I could. So, I … I let him in. He became part of my spirit, and I heard his voice in my mind.”
Latoshi paused for a few moments. He gazed down at his cold, trembling hands, wringing them together. The boys looked up as Mitoshi returned to the room, holding a glass of water.
“Here,” she said, softly, handing it to Latoshi.
“Thank you.” Latoshi took a long drink of water, sighing heavily once he was done. He held the glass in his lap, wiping his eyes with his other hand.
“I had Lazarus' spirit living inside me for a few days. I didn't even realize the change in my personality. I became totally arrogant, and I looked down on everyone. I went to school and acted like such a prick to everyone that I got suspended by the time my first class of the day was finished. Lazarus told me I should use the time away from school to develop my powers, and that's what I did. He taught me Ki control, how to manifest my Ki into attacks, how to use it defensively — the basic stuff. Then, came the point where … Lazarus said it was time for me to move on. He told me I needed to leave my old life behind, so that I could go on to bigger and better things. I needed to 'erase' my past. He talked me into it. I was so drunk off of this power he showed me that I listened to every word he said. So, … I walked out into the hallway outside my parents' room. I pointed my hand at it, and … I pulled the trigger…” Latoshi broke down and sobbed once again. Antoshi and Mitoshi looked at each other with equal parts sorrowful and astonished expressions. “I killed them without even thinking about it. I killed them … leaving them thinking I hated them. I never saw them after the blast, they were just … gone. Once I realized what I did, I—”
“You fell to your knees,” Antoshi interrupted. Latoshi looked over at him in surprise.
“Lazarus' voice,” Mitoshi added, “it said, … 'it was what needed to be done.'”
Latoshi's jaw hung, completely bewildered. “How—how did you both know that?”
“Mitoshi and I,” Antoshi replied, “we both saw it play out in our dreams. We saw … the entire thing, starting from that point. I remember it felt so real, like I was actually there. I could feel your emotions inside me.” Mitoshi nodded in agreement.
“You … saw everything that happened,” Latoshi mused, before scoffing in disbelief. “I'm— … I'm sorry you had to see that. I didn't want anyone else to witness that horrible scene.”
“Don't apologize,” Mitoshi spoke gently. She walked over and sat at his other side. “Neither of us understood what happened, but, … now that we do, it only means that we know exactly how you feel right now.”
“Mitoshi and I are more than willing to share this burden with you, Latoshi,” Antoshi added.
Latoshi sniffled and nodded. “Thank you both. You've both been so great to me already. … Still, … I'll never be able to see my parents ever again. …”
As Latoshi cried, lamenting over the loss he finally remembered, his two siblings held his shoulders tightly. They both held their heads down, tears falling from their faces as well, sharing in his agonizing pain.