Something was moving in the glass cylinder. What it was wasn't particularly clear; the liquid within was bubbling wildly, obscuring the shape of the darker creature within. All that could be seen through the writhing liquid was the shape, long and thin, and the color, an earthy brown. Long, thin tentacle-like strings whipped about around it, stirred into a frenzy by the bubbles brewing within. The entire thing was lit by several cold blue lights, the light glaring harshly off the bubbles and the shiny brown creature within.
Terra smiled at her creation. The potential it held within its shell; it was beautiful. Terrifying. Unimaginable. Even getting her hands on the original object had been a miracle, a feat she still could hardly believe she'd achieved. She was dealing with no normal creature, after all.
That, actually, was untrue. She was dealing with a completely normal creature, sans a mutated but somewhat mild strain of an old, long-taboo virus. That was one thing she was curious about, and one thing that gave her even more hope than before. A leader that didn't choose to make itself powerful. A leader who didn't need that power. It was perfect.
Her eyes turned down to the scratched but polished silver blade that she had been turning over in her hands. It looked like a useless piece of trash, a discarded metal plate. Its looks were deceiving. She ran her finger along the razor sharp edge, tapping at the more blunt, shorter edge that was cut off at an angle. The core was hollow, as she'd carefully removed all the marrow within. A bone blade, broken off of an old enemy. Nobody had thought of finding the blade. The body had long since rotted away, but the blade... it held DNA. Crucial DNA that let her create a leader for her new army.
The creature moved again, thrashing. It was waking up. She put down the broken scythe tip and turned a knob on the tube's control panel, causing the bubbling to draw to a halt. The tentacle-like strings slowed, revealing themselves to be thin tubes and wires, all hooked up to the hard brown shell of the pokemon suspended within. Its eyes opened; black, from the whites to the irises, with tiny red dots for pupils. Extra spikes grew from its shoulders and arms, twisted unnaturally and bursting through the shell like spears. Unnatural, mistakes. She'd considered trying to manipulate the genetic code to turn him back into a typical Kabutops, but that would have been too risky. Why risk everything just for a more pristine pokemon? His appearance didn't matter anyway, it was his mind. She'd done everything she could to keep his brain the same, to avoid messy mistakes. She wanted the old mind.
The sealed door to the tube hissed to let in air as the liquid lowered, draining into vats below the floor. The Kabutops slowly lowered until its feet touched the ground, looking to her in mild confusion. She opened the door carefully, watching it- him, she supposed- step out calmly and look to her, calculating but not hostile. In fact, he looked... nervous, maybe. He hadn't exactly been born yesterday, having grown unnaturally quickly but still grown up. He, she realized, needed guidance. Where he would have depended on voices, the side effect of a virus, he now depended on her voice.
Oh, this was too good to be true.
"The army you'll be leading is of my own creation, Pharaoh, just like you. They're my personal guardians; my own gods. And they'll stand beside you with undying loyalty." She lead the slightly deformed Kabutops from the lab, opening a door to the main rooms. Pokemon were draped about, two standing guard at the door they'd come through; floating blue spirits, both covered with hard shell plating, as if armored. Both nodded at her, no trace of aggression in their stances.
"Meet Phione and Manaphy. They will join you, and will be accompanied by all who you see in this room and more." She gestured to the wide open room, and the Kabutops calmly looked between each pokemon, drawing himself up. Even "newborn" as he was, all pokemon knew Legendaries when they saw one. And there were many.
"Unfortunately, I haven't gotten all of them yet. Some of the larger ones have proved difficult. That will not be a problem for long. With you leading them under my word, they will rule." She smirked, and absently moved towards a Shaymin that was sleeping on a chair. It was not quite right; where blossoms should have been, two flytrap-like maws sat, and its back fur was spiked into hard needles. Instinctively the flytraps snapped at her fingers. "They're not exactly like the normal legendary, but I'll give up perfect likeness for the power they've gained." All of her new guardians were a little different, but she hardly minded. It was appearance or power, and she chose the latter. She left the Shaymin's side and approached another door, pushing it open before turning back to Pharaoh.
"Come. I have two things to show you." She'd worked long and hard to get the final preparations ready, especially the second of the two. Much research had gone into them, but they would be crucial, she knew. It would all add up to something magnificent. She smiled as the Kabutops passed through the door, following and closing it behind her. A large cage was tucked into one corner of the room, housing a small, brightly feathered bird. The other wall was a huge cell door, the inside obscured by a black plastic sheet. She trotted up to the smaller cage and beckoned Pharaoh to her side.
"This is Ra, your new companion." She reached into the cage and let the bird step on to her arm, stroking its feathers. "She's a young Ho-Oh, newly hatched. She'll grow fast, but for now, your image will not be complete without a bird on your shoulder." She turned, offering the hatchling to the Kabutops. He hesitated only for a moment, then held out a scythe and let the bird hop to his arm, sidling up until she was perched contentedly on his shoulder. She stretched, and four newly feathered wings extended to their full length. Pharaoh seemed content, chittering quietly to it before turning back to Terra. She smiled widely, practically humming with anticipation. Her last gift to the Kabutops was one that had taken intense amounts of work; the corpse had been impossible to retrieve, and all she'd gotten was a single bone, the tip of a horn.
"Your last gift will be introduced to you once I clarify what I want you do to. You understand that I'm creating my own Legendaries, loyal to me; they will not be idle. I wish to replace the wild Legendaries. They are only dangers to me, but with my own Legendaries leading the wild pokemon world, I will have immense powers protecting me." Her voice grew slightly bitter as she continued. "There will be no more sacrificing. No more weakness." She got ahold of herself, wincing. She couldn't lose control, she was so close to perfection! Instead she took a breath, then looked meaningfully to Pharaoh. He gazed at her evenly, nodding. A grin crossed her face and she turned grandly to the massive cell door.
"Perfect. My last gift to you is a champion. A spearhead for your forces. You won't recognize him, but I'm sure you will grow to respect his power. Many have." She pressed a button by the lock on the cell door, and the plastic sheet rolled aside, letting light into the dark cell within. A massive grey creature was asleep within, but its eyes opened when light struck it, orange and glowing. It stood, keeping its huge, draconic head down simply to fit in the cell, and peered out at her with hostility burning in its gaze. Only once its eyes fell on Pharaoh did it freeze.
"Pharaoh, I'd like you to meet Buzzard."
"Oh, it's you." Solstice scowled as he peered down at the smaller wraitheon. Solara glared at the Lugia, lashing her tail. She was currently deep within the Whirl Islands, much to her disappointment, due to the strange occurrences that had been happening recently.
"So, some of your eggs just upped and vanished?" The wraitheon asked skeptically.
"They didn't just 'up and vanish'. Someone took them." Solstice hissed angrily.
"Okay," Solara said a bit doubtfully. "Do you know when?"
"Several days ago. One of my Flock reported to me that its child was missing. Over the course of the next few days, several reported missing children or eggs. We did a full search of the Islands, but we couldn't find anything." Solstice replied.
Solara nodded, "What about the other Legendaries? Have they reported anything that you know about?"
"The Trio under my command reported that they were suffering the same thing amongst their Flocks, yes. And I believe Forrestal and Iridescent were discussing a few missing children as well." Solstice sighed. "I hope they're all well, those younglings."
Solara raised an eyebrowSolstice rarely showed anything that wasn't pissy, as far as she could tell. This was a first. "Right. More questions for you. What about the other Legendaries, like Palkia or Deoxys? They normally just keep an egg that is there heir lying around, don't they? That's what the previous Dialga did, anyways."
"You'd be correct, Wraitheon. Palkia did in fact lose his Egg, and had to spend most of his energy forming a new one. He's resting now, but he's incredibly weak and vulnerable. As for Deoxys, I fear for anyone who tries to steal one of his children. If they have gotten to him, though, I imagine he's tearing apart the region for his child." Solstice replied grimly.
Solara nodded, wincing at the idea. She had seen Deoxys when he was furious, and she had seen Deoxys when he had lost a child. The latter was far scarier than the former. "But you've heard no word from him?" She asked.
Solstice shook his head.
"Arceus. Arceus? What about him? Have they gone after
whatever he has in case he diescan he even die?" Solara blinked, tilting her head.
"Well, he does have an heir, though I'm not allowed to tell you." Solstice said smugly, "It's for Legendaries only. However, if the person is going after all the Legendaries
they could summon Arceus themselves if they wanted." He added; worry creeping back into his voice and replacing his smug demeanor.
"And we don't want them to get their hands on Arceus." Solara finished. Solstice's look confirmed that. "Okay," The wraitheon added. "I should go figure out what in Arceus' name is happening, then. Another question, what about the humans? Do you think it's their work?"
Solstice shook his head doubtfully. "I don't think so. Very few pure hearted humans come these days. There was the Terra child. And then there were a few trainers who eventually grew to become champions. But these days? Nothing."
"What about the human gangs that prowl around doing Ho-Oh knows what?" Solara questioned.
"Again, doubtful. They're far too disorganized for this sort of thing. They'd never have enough cunning to steal my Flock, or any other Legendaries, young without their knowing." Solstice shrugged, shuffling his wings and stopping to preen them.
"Great. So we have a mysterious Arceus knows what kidnapping innocent children and eggs of Legendaries." Solara sighed, shaking her head. "Sounds like a job for a certain unlucky wraitheon."
"And the Legendaries won't give you much support. They'll be too busy protecting their own." Solstice added carefully.
"I'm on this case on my own? That's just fantastic. Really. Great. What about my family? Who is going to protect them while I'm doing this?" Solara snarled angrily.
Solstice bristled, bunching up his wings and peering down at Solara irritably, "Watch your tongue, cat. Your family should stay safe. I doubt it would target you; you're not one of us. You're still a mortal shell, even though you're stronger than most." He snapped, and reared up to his full height, "and besides, Forrestal I am sure will send some of his mortal minions to ensure your family's safety. You will focus on solving this." Solstice finished, tail lashing angrily.
Solara took a few steps back, lowering her head submissively and hating herself for it. "Understood," she growled, "I will try to deal with this as fast as I can. You have my word." She ground out. "Now if I have your leave
?" She hesitated for a brief moment as Solstice turned away, and then gathered up her energy, teleporting back to Ecruteak.
She hoped that Solstice's words were true and that her family would stay safe as the Wraitheon made her way towards the Bell Tower to make her report.
"Ra. Come here."
There was no response from the crested bird, which was settled contentedly on Pharaoh's arm. Its eyes didn't even flick her way. She frowned at it, then smirked and laughed, eyes turning to the motionless Kabutops. He was standing by the wall, staring at the lounging Legendaries around him.
"Would you look at that. She's more loyal to you than she is to me. That's quite the sway you have, Kabutops. Be careful. You are not the leader here. Take care that you don't overstep your boundaries." The insect-like creature gazed at her for one long moment, then nodded emotionlessly, arm swinging up and sending the young Ho-Oh into flight. She flapped all four wings and hovered for a moment, then at Pharaoh's nod, landed on Terra's outstretched arm.
"Good bird. I'm putting a communication device and translator on your leg. It's a simple cuff and will not interfere in your movements," she informed the Ho-Oh gently, pushing feathers back from around the bird's leg and clipping the small ring to her. "It will just transmit sound to these two devices." She dug around in her lab coat's pockets until her hand emerged holding two watch-like devices. One was bulkier than the other, with more packed into it. She strapped that one to her own wrist before holding the remaining device out to Pharaoh.
"This will pick up the sounds Ra is hearing. What she hears, you hear. She's small and swift; she will make a valuable spy." She glanced up, seeing a hard glint in the Kabutops's eye. Protectice already. Speaking carefully, she added, "And as a young Legendary, if she is ever captured, they will balk at the thought of hurting her. It works as a tracking device; I will always know where she is." The pokémon relaxed and she smiled inwardly. This was going well. He extended one scythe and she carefully strapped the communicator on, smirking as Ra took that time to hop back on to Pharaoh's arm. He'd have to watch himself, she already had a feeling he'd be getting a little too independent.
"Now. Try speaking," she commanded. The eyes of the Kabutops clone lit up with understanding and he let out a chittering hiss. The communicator on his arm crackled to life, sending the same sound back at him from Ra's transmitter. Terra held up her own wrist, and the device let out a string of words.
"I see what you are planning," the device droned, the voice emotionless but clear. She smirked triumphantly.
"It's not perfect, but with Ra around, you'll be able to communicate with me. Feel free to ask any questions you have. Do understand, however, that this is not an offer for you to argue with my plans. You are expected to do as asked, as you were created to do." She stared intently into the black eyes of her chosen puppet-leader, waiting until he nodded to break her gaze. Good, he was under her swing still. She'd have to watch him very carefully. From what history had to tell her, he had a way of hijacking leadership and changing plans, if inadvertently. Now that he was being forced to follow her rules, she assumed that any rebellion would come soon and strong. She'd be ready to stop it, with force and a few mind tricks if necessary.
"I suppose you fully understand what you need to do, then?" she asked, tilting her head and watching his eyes. "I have outlined the plan. You will develop and put into action the strategy. Stay low at first..." She smiled smugly, jerking her head back to gesture at the rest of the lab in general. "I've got a few more soldiers preparing to join up. Managed to nab some of the last few Legendaries I need." She couldn't keep the grin off her face, now, and without knowing it she started bouncing on her heels excitedly. "Do you understand what this means, Pharaoh? We won't just be able to replace the Legendaries." She could hardly contain herself; all she'd worked for was coming to fruition.
"Ahhh," her translator sighed, the airy sound mixed with static. "I see. You will not just replace the Legendaries. You will replace their God."