I was a little late when it came to jumping on the Nintendo DS bandwagon. There never were any games that I was particularly interested in playing, and as a college student, I didn't have that much money to waste on what I considered to be trivial things anyway. Even when Pokemon Pearl and Diamond were released, I hesitated to buy a DS. If I waited long enough, the prices would go down on both the DS and the games, so why bother to rush to buy either of them? A couple years passed and I all but forgot about the newest generation of Pokemon, until I saw a commercial for Pokemon Platinum.
My interest was piqued and, after mental farewells to any food other than ramen for a while, I sucked it up and purchased both a used DS and Pokemon Platinum. I grudgingly tolerated some of the more bizarre Pokemon designs (Budew
, indeed) by reminding myself that even the first generation had its fair share of strange designs (Mr. Mime
and Eggsecute to name a few). Despite my dislike for some of the new Pokemon, it quickly became one of my favorite games in the series, thanks entirely to the main antagonist, Cyrus. Sure, other antagonists had decided it was a good idea to screw up the world, but Aqua and Magma's goals had been done to benefit the Pokemon they happened to like.
Cyrus? He thought that the world was incomplete, and wanted to completely erase existence, only to start over anew as he saw fit. To do this, he not only captured, tortured and experimented on a trio of legendaries, but he also controlled two other legendaries for a short while. Damn
. Being a fan of villains, I was a bit miffed when his plans came crashing down around him, even though I fully expected it to happen. Being the loser that I am, I left the game saved just before I was supposed to go fight Team Galactic to free the lake trio, so I could re-experience Cyrus' monologues, freak outs and other assorted goodies associated with the little creep.
College caught up to me again, and I was forced to abandon all video games in favor of keeping my grades up. By the time summer rolled around, I had found other video games to play other than Platinum, so my DS went largely unused. I did purchase HeartGold, but it wasn't until I heard about the upcoming Pokemon White and Black that I began to take an interest in my DS again. I hoped that the next antagonist would be just as morally depraved as Cyrus was, as it had been proven that there could be a serious villain in a franchise that was supposed to be marketed towards children. To pep myself up for the new Pokemon games, I decided that I'd play through Team Galactic's headquarters one more time.
As I hadn't played Platinum in a while, I watched the opening sequence. The familiar Pokemon theme made me smile, and it wasn't long before I was humming along. My smile faltered when the music and graphics faded away. The DS went silent for a few seconds, and I began to panic. Had my game become corrupted somehow?
Just as I was about to turn the DS off, a distorted screech blasted out of the speakers. A low and continuous rumbling came after the screech, causing the DS to shake in my hands, and I watched as a text box formed on the screen.
“It's been a while.”
I just stared at the words. There was a slight pause, but the text automatically cleared from the screen, followed shortly thereafter by more text.
“You're confused. Understandable. Do you even know who I am?”
The option to reply with “Yes,” or No,” appeared on the screen. I bit my lip as I selected the latter answer. The game, or whoever was within the game, made their response.
“...I see. The ability or desire to remember dark times isn't a strong point in humanity. We'd much rather forget the darkness that nearly swallowed us, as the emotions associated with such a near demise would be difficult to cope with. How odd that a species that champions the so-called 'benefits' of emotions would choose to avoid them as well.”
By now, I was completely dumbfounded. I hadn't heard about anything like this happening in all my time spent lurking on the internet. It reminded me of a few stories I had read, but those were all fictional. This...was something very different. In an attempt to calm myself down, I forced myself to believe that this was a dream.
Those attempts were nearly crushed as text continued to scroll across the screen, and in the back of my mind I now had an idea as to who might be speaking to me.
“Why do you continue to delude yourself? Your emotions may have been what drove you before, but you'll only damn yourself in the end. You'll come to understand this soon. “
The moment that the text box cleared from the scene, I found myself staring at the sprite of my trainer. It took me a little while to realize that she was in her room, which only confused and unnerved me further. I hadn't saved there, and no one else had used my DS. There was no music, either, just the same, low rumbling from before.
The more I studied the scene, I began to notice other things. My trainer's sprite looked much older than her ten year old incarnation, and the general color scheme to the area was darker than it normally was. Taking a deep breath, I walked my trainer downstairs.
Once the scene had shifted to the main room of the house, it became quite clear that something was amiss. My mother wasn't in her usual spot, and the scene seemed to grow darker still. I wanted nothing more than to turn the DS off at this point, but I forced myself to continue. This was only a dream, nothing was going to happen.
I moved my character outside, jumping in surprise when the rumblings were punctuated with the distorted screech I had heard earlier. An exclamation point appeared over my trainer's head, and she moved on her own up towards Route 201, and from there on to Lake Verity. The game transitioned over to the lake, and the screen moved upwards to reveal a single person standing by the lake. My grip on the DS tightened. Cyrus was standing where he had been at the beginning of Pokemon Platinum, his back to my trainer. She slowly walked towards him, halting when a text box appeared.
, the being of emotion. It's fitting that you were born and raised nearby the very lake that houses that creature. You defended what you believed to be the validity of emotions...and yet you were unable to understand that your perceptions of emotions were tainted.”
Cyrus turned and walked past my trainer, with her turning to face him as he moved around her. He stopped a short distance away from her, and moved back towards her. They stared across at one another, and Cyrus continued to speak.
“And what did you gain in the end? Were you more assured that your beliefs were correct, and that mine were false?”
The ability to respond with “Yes,” and No,” appeared again. I took a deep breath as I answered in the affirmative.
The ellipses was Cyrus' only answer, and he turned away from my trainer. An unnerving silence stretched for several moments before another text box appeared.
“It's foolish of you to believe in that arrogance. Strength does not make truths, nor do victories decide what is right. The only truth to be had here is that you won, and I lost.”
He turned back to face my trainer.
“I can see that you're still tainted by the incompleteness that plagues this world. So be it. If you believe that victory defines the truths of this world, I will show you my
The screen flashed as a battle initiated between my trainer and Cyrus, though his battle music didn't begin to play. Instead, I was greeted with harsh and garbled noises that sounded seemingly at random. The rumbling increased in volume as well, causing the DS to shake in my already shaking hands. I didn't know if I still had my Pokemon team with me, and even though Cyrus only had four Pokemon himself, I wasn't sure I could win against him.
My jaw dropped when Cyrus sent out his first Pokemon, Azelf
, against me. Seeing my trainer send out her Bronzong
didn't help to calm my nerves, if anything, I was even more nervous. Nevertheless, this was a battle I couldn't afford to lose.
Given that Azelf had an incredibly high speed compared to my Bronzong, I selected the move Gyro Ball.
“Azelf is glowing...”
I blinked when I spied the text. While that had been the text used for Sky Attack, it had been changed for this generation. That, and I wasn't sure if Azelf could learn that particular move. I shrugged it off and watched as Bronzong used Gyro Ball. It managed to do considerable damage, which gave me a bit of hope.
As if he had picked up on that faint glimmer of hope, Cyrus' sprite moved onto the battlefield.
“Useless. If I could not destroy the human spirit, what makes you believe that you can?”
The screen flashed before I could select another attack, and I watched in horror as my Bronzong's hit points rapidly fell to zero.
“Bronzong has lost the will to fight. Bronzong has died.”
“WHAT?” I yelped, drawing a shuddering breath as the prompt to send out a new Pokemon appeared on screen. I wasn't sure if it mattered which Pokemon I sent out at this point, but I selected my Luxray
anyway, based on the fact that it knew Crunch. Even after I had sent it out, Cyrus still remained upon the battlefield.
“Have you come to know despair? Will you accept that you are the one with the erroneous perceptions of reality?” Despite my fear, I scowled at the text box, watching as other text scrolled across. “Your arrogance has already cost you dearly...but if you're determined to cling to your tattered reality, you leave me with no choice.” He vanished from the battle field as he recalled Azelf and sent out Uxie
in its place.
I bit my lip again as I hesitantly hovered the stylus over Luxray's Crunch attack. If Uxie had an attack similar to Azelf's, I needed to take it out in one hit. If Luxray got a critical hit, it might be possible. I didn't want to lose it as I had lost my Bronzong.
I quickly tapped down onto the screen, wincing as more text appeared.
“Uxie's eyes are twitching...”
“Nonononono,” I mumbled, desperately hoping for a one hit KO at this point. The Crunch attack landed on Uxie, and I dissolved into a string of curses as Uxie was left standing. As before, Cyrus appeared on the battlefield.
“Humanity's accomplishments are worthless. We praise our ingenuity, but knowledge is just as easily lost as it is gained. This applies to Pokemon as well.”
The screen flashed again, and I released a strangled screech. Though I expected Luxray to follow the same fate that the Bronzong had, I was definitely shocked to see that absolutely no damage had been done to him. Cyrus' words instilled me with a sense of dread, and as I hit the fight button, I felt that dread intensify. My Luxray's moveset was blank.
It lingered on the blank moveset for a moment before the game continued on.
“Uxie is watching intently.”
I frowned and looked to Uxie's sprite to see that its eyes were open. The fact that it wasn't attacking probably wasn't good, but I didn't have any choice in the matter. I was beginning to think that I didn't have a choice in anything anymore.
“Luxray used Struggle!” Uxie's health was barely dented by the Luxray's attack, yet the electric type's health dropped to zero. “Luxray understands the futility of its struggles. Luxray has died.”
” I glared helplessly at the screen, only vaguely aware that tears were beginning to well in my eyes. By now, I only had two Pokemon left to me; my Staraptor
and my Empoleon
. Both Pokemon had been with me since the beginning of my journey, and I was far too terrified of losing either one of them. One thing was certain by now, though. I may have adored Cyrus before, but now I wanted him to pay for what he had taken from me. I sent out my Staraptor, putting all of my faith and hope into the fact that it might be able to succeed where the others had not.
“Seeking revenge is a poor way to spend your time.”
All of my anger dissolved as I read Cyrus' words, and fear quickly rushed in to fill the gaps that had been left.
“Regardless of if you succeed or not, the pain will never leave you. Anguish, loathing, despair...you'll suffocate underneath the burden of your emotions, until there is nothing left. Emotions are the true monstrosity, not I.”
“Shut up,” I responded in a terrified hiss. I didn't want to read anything else that Cyrus had to say.
“Silencing me will not change the validity of my statements. You know this. You're beginning to understand, yet you're too stubborn to accept this. Very well. I'll rid you of that harmful emotion.”
My entire body was shaking as Cyrus recalled Uxie and sent out Mesprit. At the moment I didn't care to think about what his final Pokemon may be, all I wanted was to survive this battle with my two last Pokemon. I selected Brave Bird as my attack, my throat constricting as another text box appeared.
“Mesprit hangs her head.”
Though I hoped for a different outcome, my Staraptor wasn't able to defeat Mesprit in one hit. Tears had already began to roll down my cheeks as Cyrus moved onto the battlefield once more.
“Strife exists because emotions do. This is not a debatable point; where there are conflicting emotions, there is strife. Humanity is all too fond of basing all of their truths on emotions alone, and they follow their emotions without question. Were it not for your arrogance, this conflict would have not happened. As much as you like to believe that you're preventing chaos with your actions, you're only encouraging it.”
The screen flashed.
“This is why emotion and spirit must be erased from this world. This is why you must see the truth. This is my
I shuddered and wiped tears from my eyes, a choked sob sounding in the back of my throat as more text scrolled across the screen.
“Staraptor ignores your cries. Staraptor abandons you.”
The battle ended at that point, bringing the screen back to an overworld view. My trainer was collapsed onto her knees, while Cyrus was standing across from her. The rumbling had quieted somewhat...or was it just my crying that was drowning it out?
“Tell me, why would you wish to torment yourself? Your emotions are causing you nothing but pain...and still you cling to them.” Cyrus took a step towards my fallen character. “When diseases plague the human body, we destroy them through our medicines. No one wishes to suffer if the root of the pain can be eliminated, so why defend emotions if they cause equal or more harm? Aren't they too merely a disease that should be wiped from both humans and Pokemon? Wouldn't destroying such a source of pain for so many creatures be considered a mercy
I had had enough at that point. I moved to turn the DS off, only to stop when the distorted screech pierced through the silence yet again. I watched in horror as another battle started between my trainer and Cyrus, the rumbling and screeching reaching a frenzied pitch.
turn away from me. You understand what you must accept, yet you continue to resist. Witness what your stubbornness has wrought!” Giratina
replaced Cyrus' sprite on the battlefield, and having no other available Pokemon, I was forced to send out my Empoleon. As I was about to select the option to fight, the bottom screen went dark, eliminating any chance of me influencing the outcome of the battle. The top screen slowly faded to black as well, though one small bit of color remained; the red that I could only assume were Giratina
's eyes, mouth and the tips to his wings. The dragon's grin widened as it suddenly drew closer to where my Empoleon had been positioned, and I felt all color drain from my face as the tips of its wings repeatedly stabbed downwards. The rumbling had cut out altogether by now, and the only sounds coming from the speakers were sickening cracks and the repeated garbled cry of my Empoleon.
Everything slowly faded into silence, though a text box slowly became visible against the darkness.
“This world is too tainted to salvage. There can be only one solution.” The screens burst with light, forcing me to squint as I struggled to read the remaining text. “Do you remember what I said to you when we parted ways last? 'One day, you will awaken to a world of my creation. A world without spirit.' Regrettably I must retract that. You will never see my perfect world. As you have spurned and rejected my arguments, so too will you be rejected. You're all alone now, left to wallow in the crushing sea of your emotions. Perhaps one day you'll be happy with this decision? Or perhaps you'll simply...fade away. Insanity can only be a refuge for so long. Like any disease, your emotions have weakened you, and now they're slowly killing you.”
I threw my DS as hard as I could, wanting nothing more than to get that hateful thing away from me. It slammed against the wall and fell to the ground, but I ignored it as I curled together as tightly as I could be. I sobbed quietly, feeling my consciousness fading. Right before my senses were drowned out by the darkness, I heard the distorted screech one final time.