Beginning Flames

The End and The Beginning

Forcing my eyes to open after being dead is a lot harder than you would think. When they opened all the way, Reshiram was peering down at me, holding me in his arms, a worried look on his face. I let out a little groan and he was quickly happy and relieved. Funny thing that happened next was that he was hugging me tightly.

"Oh, by the powers!" he exclaimed happily. "You're alright!"

"Reshiram...?" I weakly asked. I looked around, seeing the Chaotix and Zekrom all having happy, relieved looks on their faces. "You're all looking at me as if I died or something."

"But you did," Zekrom confirmed.

"What...?!" I felt my body ache all over in pain when I tried to sit up. "Ow..."

"We thought you were gone for good, Kid," Vector spoke. "Espio was gonna try committing some kinda seputty or somethin'."

"It's seppuku, and no, I was not," Espio retorted.

"I thought you ninja types always off yourselves if you can't fulfill some kind of duty."

The ninja chameleon was about to say something, but instead sighed and kept quiet.

I looked around, noticing that something - no, someone was missing. "Where's Zephyr?" I asked. "Where'd he go?"

Zekrom's face turned stern. I never thought someone of a carefree nature would get so serious and scary looking. "He's left," he said. "Not only did he betray his family, but he also betrayed himself. I disowned him."

Reshiram helped me to stand as I leaned on him for support. "The traitor got what he deserved," he said. "He won't be a bother anymore."

I happened to glance up at the sky and saw a small figure moving through the sky. I didn't need glasses or some kind of super sight to see who or what it was. I knew that it wouldn't be the last time that our paths would cross.

The spring slowly went by the next four or five weeks, making it closer to being officially one year since I came to Mobius. My injuries had almost completely healed during this time. And I do mean almost. The scratch that's been on my neck would throb whether I touched it or not. It also turned black when it started healing. Hanging around the office as I healed was boring. Then again, the guys didn't want a repeat of what happened just in case Zephyr was to show his face again, so they had me stay behind on a few cases. I couldn't blame them for being so jumpy.

I found that I did die, I finally remembered. I felt like Gray had given me another chance of living my life. I think what Silver said before, just before my training started - that being, to protect others, you have to protect yourself. I felt that he was wrong. This is what I believe to this day: to protect yourself, you have to protect others. As long as you keep everyone around you safe, then there's no reason for you to hide.

At least, that's what I always believed in. The other Immortals think I'm crazy. I take that as a compliment.

Anyway, I was just relaxing on the couch, reading both the Mobius Immortals and Demonology book simultaneously. I suddenly heard a small bell, making my head perk up. "Did you guys hear that bell?" I asked.

"Bell?" Charmy squeaked.

"Are you hearing things again?" Vector questioned. "This isn't gonna be like last time when you thought you heard a cat meowing outside, is it?"

"Hey, I was on some strong pain medication that made me loopy," I countered. "You can't blame me for that." The bell sounded again. "Aha! There it is again! I'm not crazy!"

"You sure you're still not taking those meds?"

"On the contrary, her hearing is perfect."

The guys got into their 'Protect the Kid' defenses - at least that's what the croc called it. The three detectives stood ready, encircling me in fighting stances. They've been doing that ever since Tornadus and Thundurus popped in unexpectedly one day and the two got pummeled. I was laughing my ass off it was so funny! But it wasn't Dumb and Dumber, Zekrom, or even Reshiram who visited from time to time. It was the top god himself.

"Arceus!" I exclaimed a bit, standing up and bowing in respect. What can I say? The dude's like royalty.

Arceus showed a calm smile. "It has been a while since we last met face to face," he said. "I trust you're recovering well?"

"Oh, yes. I'm almost healed." I looked at the Chaotix, who were still in Defense Mode, and gave out a sigh. "At ease." They relaxed enough to let me get a little closer to the Creator. "Sorry about them. They're kinda jumpy."

"It is alright. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm here."

I gave a small nod.

"Well, I thought I would let you know that you are exempt from the final test."

I raised an eyebrow. "Why is that? Is it because of what happened with Zephyr, or-"

"On the contrary, because of Zephyr's sudden behavior, I decided that to be the final test. Although, I didn't expect him to try to murder one of his kin."

"So... how did I do?"

"You have passed. Congratulations."

My jaw just dropped. I... I passed. OH, MY GOD! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!

"As of today, you are now officially Half-Immortal. You will no longer age, forever remaining young, until the day will come when you shall be inducted as a new member of the clan."

I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. I just let him keep talking.

"However, while you were gone..." His calm smile slipped to that of a neutral poker face. "Earth has become overrun with darkness. Demons have started lurking from their shadows, preying upon mortal humans and turning innocent creatures into monsters. And since you are from Earth, you will return there and be rid of them."

That shook me from my surprised state. "You mean... I can go home?" I looked at the Chaotix, a sad feeling filling the room. "Arceus, these three took me in when I had nowhere to go. They even let me work here with them. You're telling me to leave not only my job but my friends, too?"

"That is the Immortal's way. They can't be in one place forever. You have done your time here. It is time to move on. I shall give you 24 hours." He teleported out of the room.

I slowly sat back down on the couch, taking in what Arceus had asked of me.

"You're not gonna leave," Charmy spoke. "Are ya, Chy?"

"I don't know, Charmy," I answered. "I'm in a mix of emotions right now."

"Well, ya can't just up and leave!" Vector exclaimed. "That'd be the worst way to thank us!"

"Vector, you're being a bit irrational," Espio calmly retorted. "This surprised everyone, especially Cheyenne. And I don't think she'd disobey Arceus's judgment."

"I don't want Chy to leave!" Charmy objected, quickly wrapping his little arms around my neck. "If she leaves, then I'm gonna go with her!"

"Charmy," I spoke. "You can't come with me." I gently pulled the little bee off me. "You're to stay here."

"But Chy..." His eyes grew big and sad, tears starting to form. "You're my friend. You can't leave. I won't let you!"

Tears started to fall down my face, but I tried being strong. "Charmy... I know this is something you can't fully understand. There are still some things that need to be explained to me. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I first came here. The detective job, the training - both Immortal and ninja variety... they were all new to me. And now that my Immortal training's done, and after what Arceus told me... I have to move on." I lifted his head a little to make sure he was listening. "Do you know what I'm saying, Charmy?"

The little bee was quiet for a minute before giving a little nod. "I guess..." He wrapped his arms around me once more. "I'm gonna miss you..."

I felt like I was going to break down right then and there. I almost did, but I kept being tough. "I'll miss you too..."

I wanted to spend the rest of the day by myself, so I went out for a little walk to try to clear my head a little. Walking around the forest was a bit refreshing. I kept walking until Zekrom attacked me with a hug from behind and then started spinning around really fast.

"Kaloo Kalay, Oh Fraptus Day!" he exclaimed happily. "We heard the news!"

"Uncle Zekkie!" I yelled. "You're gonna make me hurl!"

He ground to a halt and released me, making me almost fall to the ground in the process. "My brother and I, we heard that Arceus had passed you! Congratulations!"

Reshiram took a few calm steps, helping me steady myself. "Yes," he calmly said, a smile on his face. "Tis a glorious day for all to celebrate."

"Thank you both," I said. "I couldn't believe the news either."

"So what will thou do now?"

"Yeah, what will my precious niece do now?" Zekrom asked.

I took a deep breath. "Well," I started, "Arceus told me about what's been going on back on Earth. It seems that Demons are starting to prey on humans and turning animals into horrible monsters."

"Such a tragedy," Reshiram sighed. "But how does that affect you?"

"That's the thing. He said that I have to go home and try to be rid of those creatures of darkness. But that means I can't stay here."

"Ah, yes. The Immortal's Path."

"The what?"

"When an Immortal feels they have done their job someplace," Zekrom explained, "it means that they must move on to their next stepping stone. It could be a town, a city, a country, a whole other world even. You never know where you're needed."

"You cannot stray from the path, however," Reshiram added. "If you try and stray, the consequences are very serious. Hoopa strayed just a little bit one day, and the next thing that came to him... Well, let's just say he never did anything too bad again, so says Arceus."

My eyes went a little wide, a bit of fear coursing through me. "Okay," I said with a small gulp. "I think I got it."

The two brothers looked at each other a brief moment before turning back to me. "Would it be alright if we showed you something?" Reshiram asked.

"Uh, sure. What is it?" They answered my question by teleporting all three of us to a cemetery. "Why are we in this place?" They merely pointed to a headstone a few feet away. The name was covered by vines, so I removed the plants with a little fire. The name I saw was Gray's. "Gray Mur, husband, father, a man who gave out hope." I turned back to the brothers. "You brought me to your father's grave just so I could read the tombstone."

"Yes," Reshiram spoke. "Our father was a man you could get along with, no matter in what way you're living."

"He was a kind, honest soul," Zekrom added. "There wasn't a day where we weren't thinking of him. Kyurem, on the other..."

"I know that Kyurem's your brother," I said. "Gray even told me himself."

"YOU SPOKE WITH OUR FATHER?!" the brothers exclaimed in unison. "HOW?!"

I explained to them what had happened in my near-death experience, and told them everything that Gray had told me. "That's all that was."

"Could it be possible...?" Reshiram muttered to Zekrom.

"It might be, but..." Zekrom muttered back.

"What?" I asked. "What are two talking about?"

"Nothing," they spoke simultaneously.

I call bull on that.

"How can you prove it?" Zekrom asked. "Unless you have evidence, you can't call anything. Ha!"

I smiled a little.

Zekrom, Reshiram, and I spent most of the day talking about what went on in our lives before becoming Immortal... well, for me, Half-Immortal. I learned a lot of interesting things on that day from both brothers that intrigued, fascinated, shocked, and possibly made me a bit queasy. I'm sure they learned a thing or so from me, as well.

"Brother, I believe it's time to hand my daughter our little going away presents," Reshiram said.

"You guys didn't have to get me anything," I said.

Zekrom lightly chuckled. "So modest," he said. "In that case, I'll give her mine first."

I wonder what gift he got for me.

"TADA!" From behind his back, he pulled out a small, ratty, old, leathery brown backpack. "Do you know what this is?"

"A backpack...?" I answered cautiously.

"Wrong! It's a magic backpack!"

I raised a suspicious eyebrow. "What's magic about it?"

"Observe." He opened the bag, unzipping it, and pulled out the Demonology and Mobius Immortals books. Both books were large and thick. To put them both in a tiny backpack was just impossible. "Impressed? I'm sure you are. This backpack can hold as much stuff as you wanted. It can even hold weapons in it, no matter how large!" He then pulled out the empty sword sheathe.

I blinked a few times to process what I had just seen. It was so amazing, it was almost like one of those sleights of hand magic tricks. "I guess that thing is magic."

"Oh. One more thing." He reached in one last time and pulled out a reddish-pink glasses case.

I instantly grabbed the case and opened it up, a pair of glasses lying inside. "My glasses!" I picked them up. "But how-"

"I may have found where you were living and picked them up. I figured you were needing these like crazy."

"But... don't Immortals have, like, 20/20 vision? I hadn't needed these for months." I put the glasses back and closed the case.

"Ah-ah-ah, not so fast. We, with the help of the mystical Oracle Immortals, have made these glasses even better."

"Your glasses now have the ability to translate ancient manuscripts that have been worn by time," Reshiram added.

"Oh, cool," I said.

"And now, for my gift to you." From behind his back, he pulled out some kind of gold dagger. "This is the Immortal Dagger. It weakens various Demon creatures, depending on their strength. You won't have only one. The rest are in the backpack your dear uncle has bestowed."

"...Why are you guys doing this for me?" Both brothers looked curiously at me. "I mean, you two weren't exactly around when I was growing up. You don't even know what it's like."

"I'm sure it's nothing we can't handle," Zekrom said confidently.

"Uncle Zekkie, this is the 21st century. A lot has changed since your time. You'd be out of your elements." I let out a small sigh. "Trust me when I say that neither of you would blend in with the current society. You're too bold."

"We're Immortals," Reshiram said. "Of course we stand out amongst mere mortals." He placed a gentle hand on my shoulder. "But you'll be fine. I've heard and seen what you can do."

"You mean it?"

A smile appeared on his face. "Of course. I'm not the God of Truth for nothing."

I stared at the ceiling, unable to sleep. I got up off the couch and headed outside to the porch, sitting on the steps. I let out a small sigh as I lowered my head. The smell of cinnamon started filling my nostrils. "Hey Espy," I said.

I saw Espio sit next to me from the corner of my eye. "I can't believe this is how it started," he said. "You and I talking in the dead of night. It just seems like yesterday you were quiet and unsure of everything."

"No kidding," I replied.

"You're not going to forget your ninja training, are you?"

I turned to the ninja chameleon. "What makes you think that? Just because you won't be around doesn't mean I'll stop doing Ninjitsu!"

A smile grew on his face. "That's good to hear." He paused, looking up at the sky. "You'll do great things. I know it. There might be pain and heartbreak in your life, but I know that you're strong enough to pull through those difficulties. If people don't think you're good enough, I know you'll try even harder."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that no matter the challenge, no matter how difficult it is, you'll be able to pull yourself through." He glanced over at me. "And I know you won't be going through those difficulties alone."

I felt my eyes filling with tears. I wish I could stay, even if it's just for a little while... I quickly wiped my eyes before any tears fell.

"It's alright to cry once in a while, but there may be times when you need to be strong."

"Thanks, Espy," I said with a sniffle. "I'll keep that in mind." The light suddenly got stronger and brighter. The two of us looked over and saw that the sun was starting to rise, the night becoming the dawn. "Morning." I took a deep breath and stood up. "I guess I'll get my things." I went back inside and grabbed the ratty backpack from the coffee table. Slinging the backpack onto my shoulders, I went back outside just as Arceus had appeared in the middle of the yard.

"It is time," Arceus spoke. "Are you ready?"

"I am," I said with confidence. I took a few steps forward, but then stopped. I turned back to Espio, who stood there for a moment, and then bowed. Before he could react, I went in and hugged him. He staggered back a bit. "I just wanted to thank you. For everything. Tell Vector and Charmy that I'll always remember them, won't you?"

He was silent a moment before he hugged me back and said, "I will."

I pulled from the hug and faced Arceus once more. "Okay... now I'm ready."

Arceus turned his back to me. He held out his hands, some kind of portal appearing. He turned back to me. "This portal shall lead you back to Earth," he said. "When you have eradicated the Demons from a certain area, this portal shall take you to another place. But be warned. Where you end up is not determined by me, or any other Immortal. You are sent wherever the portal takes you. Do you understand?"

"I do."

"Good. I wish you luck." He teleported away, the portal still there.

I took a deep breath and moved toward the portal. Before entering, I looked back one last time. Espio showed a small, yet sad smile. I smiled back, telling him it was going to be alright. I turned back to the portal and walked inside it. The only way I walked was straight because I instinctively knew that if I walked in any other direction, I would just get lost. I looked back for a brief moment, seeing that the portal had closed behind me. This is it, I thought. No turning back now. Even though it was an ending, it was also a beginning.

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