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Lady Vulpix
Dragon Tamer
What happened inside the temple in Templa Taure

<Lagi's POV>

I must admit going on a search that was likely to be fruitless with Pandora by my side wasn't easy. I could feel her frustration building. It was just a matter of time before she'd crack. I just hoped I'd be able to contain her. It finally happened while we were checking what looked like a storage room. I was trying to find something that could provide information among the objects that lay around me, either on the floor or inside the many boxes piled up inside the room, but I couldn't really concentrate on the search, unwillingly letting most of my attention focus on Pandora's emotions. When I finally heard some hard object being knocked over, it was as if some tension were being released. It was no longer time to worry, but to act.
"Agh! This is stupid! This temple's so big, how on earth do they expect us to find anything in here?," Pandora yelled.
"We're many. One of us is bound to find something," I replied with all the calm my heart allowed me. "Besides, some of these items might be clues."
"Well if they are they're very obscure ones... I mean, look at this..." Pandora gestured to a large vase covered in small images of dragons. "That's no clue. A useful weapon, maybe, but not a clue," she grumbled. She wouldn't make things easy for either of us.
"Well, it must be here for a reason. And no, I don't think using it as a weapon is what whoever brought it here had in mind," I tried to sound as casual as possible, though hiding my feelings was something I'd never been good at. "Do you think it was left here before or after the Dark Dragon took over?"
"Do I look like I care one way or the other?," she sighed. I was afraid I might be losing her, but then she began to open up. "Sorry, Lagi. I'm just tired, I hate not knowing where my little family are, and I'm really getting frustrated with this search. I shouldn't take it out on you."
"Don't worry. We'll all be back together before the night is over, that much I'm certain of."
"Assuming we can even find our way out of the temple again... And also assuming the demons don't tear us limb from limb first. I worked with the Dark Cloak, I'm not proud of it, but I've seen what monsters can be summoned with the right magic. I don't think I'm ready to face this sort of thing again."

Pandora walked over to the nearest wall and sat with her back against it. Absent-minded, she began to tap the back of her head against the wall.
"Oh, it's all just been one big mess from start to finish, hasn't it?," she finally said.
"After all you've been through, you should learn to have more faith. You've managed to get over so much..." I reminded her. "This is just one more challenge we'll get through. And we'll make it just like we always have. Don't think I haven't felt that way before. There were moments when I felt we were walking into the face of death, and everyone around me was hopeless. But it's in those times when you need to find someone to hold on to, and find resolution within yourself. I'm happy to say those times have passed and I'm still around, stronger than before."
"It's not the same, Lagi. Innocents have died because of my actions. I can't forgive myself for something like that."
"I don't know exactly what happened, but... I don't think they'd want anything bad for you if they saw you know. I've felt the emotions of the cruelest souls. They were nothing like yours."
"Well they wanted to hurt, didn't they? I never wanted that, I just blindly followed what I thought I had to do. And when it got bad I didn't do a thing to stop it. Doesn't that make me worse? I've hurt others, and I wasn't even being true to myself whilst doing so. I know I'm not making sense. I'm just making things more difficult. I always do that, don't I? I haven't done a single thing to help since I entered Caledor, all I seem to do is worry people and cause even more problems."
"Everyone makes mistakes. Some have worse effects than others, but you were put in tougher situations than most have to face. The fact that you're reflecting about it and trying to improve yourself proves that you're essentially good. And you have done a lot to help. If you ever doubt it, ask Marius. Or Milliardo. Or even Ade."
"All I've done is cause them more worry and hassle than they need. Just think how they'd be if I'd never turned up. Thay'd still be fine. Marius would be getting raised by his real mother and not a screwed up stepmother. Ade would be okay without me as long as he had Soo to keep him in check. And Milliardo... I've been a bitch to him sometimes. He could do so much better than me, find someone less volatile."
"I really don't think any of those things would happen. Besides, they love you, you know."
Pandora smiled weakly.
"Shame I don't agree with them, huh? I'm sorry, we're trying to find Gyarados and all I do is throw a tantrum. I'm a useless partner, if you'd rather leave me here I wouldn't blame you."
"Right now I think I can be of more help here than looking for the Gyarados," I smiled.
"Thanks," she smiled back. "I don't know, Lagi, it just seems to me that I have all of this great stuff happening to me and I still can't quite find it within myself to remotely like myself despite the constant reassurance. It just seems like 'okay, you say that, but you don't really know the whole story, do you? You'd hate me too if you knew everything'."
"Is it ok if I tell you a story? A real life story, I mean."
"Oh, okay. It's not like I'm much good for anything productive at the minute."

And so, I opened up to her, and began to tell her something I had never dared to say.
"It happened when I was a young Dratini and lived in the sea. I spent most of my time playing with all the pokemon I could find, whether they were on land, underwater or in the sky. There was a group of Seels who lived in the shore of a small island; I would often visit them to play and talk about all the things I'd seen in the air or at the bottom of the sea. Nothing changed much until a pack of Lapras arrived.
Then, the Lapras and the Seels became friends and started spending time together. The Seels told the Lapras about the island, and the Lapras spoke about theyr journeys through the ocean. I liked listening to their stories too, so I often stayed around to hear them. That's how, after a couple of weeks, I accidentally found out that one of the Lapras and one of the Seels had fallen in love.
That was a new feeling to me, so I stayed as close to them as I could without bothering them. I wanted to know what love was about, and what made the Seel and the Lapras so special for each other. But the novelty also came to an end, and then came a time when I preferred fantasizing on my own and going back to my old games to being around the couple all the time.
Then, one day, I ended up at the place where the Lapras were gathering. It was the beginning of the summer, but at that moment that fact didn't seem important to me. I got closer to the Lapras to find out what was going on. Most of them looked excited, but the one Lapras I'd previously been following was rather sad, and... undecided, I think would be the word. I asked her what the problem was. She didn't tell me, but she told me to go to the beach and find her lover. She told me to tell him to wait for her at the beach by sunset.
I was heading to the island when a group of flying pokemon found me and invited me to play with them. I really loved flying and playing in the air, so I thought a few minutes wouldn't change anything. I got so immersed in the games that the minutes became hours, and I didn't realize how much time had passed until night fell upon me. When I remembered what I was supposed to do, I headed to the island, but it was too late. By the time I found the Seel, he was so mad at me that I'll never forget his anger. He told me to look for the Lapras, but the whole school had already left, and I was unable to reach them.

I'd never poken about that to anyone. I never visited that island again, and I must admit that I've never forgiven myself for that. I keep imagining what would have happened if I'd done what I was supposed to. Maybe the Lapras would have stayed, and she and the Seel would have formed a family. Or maybe she would have left anyway, but at least they'd have had a chance to say goodbye.
It still hurts when I think about it, but if I let the guilt take over me, I'd never be able to do anything good in my life. I can't change that moment, I can't change what my negligence caused. But I'm still alive, so I can determine my actions from now on. I can do good things for others; whether that makes up for the past or not is not important. What matters is that it can be done."

It was strange. By trying to help my friend, I was starting to feel I was helping myself as well; releasing a heavy load that had been stuck inside me for years. It still hurt, but now I could look at it in perspective and that view seemed to confirm that I ought to take my own advice and stop beating myself about it. And what was best, Pandora was also starting to feel a bit more relieved, if only a little. At least she knew she was not the only one who had ever felt guilty for something. She smiled.
"I know, you make perfect sense," she said, "it's just so much easier in theory than it is in practice. I try and try and I still don't seem to find that point where I can forgive myself for any of it."
"Just let yourself be. It's the least you deserve. Once you've stopped beating yourself down, you'll find all the good you're capable of."
"I'm capable of good?," she sounded as unsure as she felt. "Lagi, can you just leave me for a moment, please? I need time to compose myself."
I didn't like what I was sensing, but I had to give her a chance. It wasn't the time to push her. I'd just have to be very careful.
"Alright. I'll wait outside the room," I told her.

I got out of the storage room and stood against the wall, waiting. I hadn't lied. I wanted Pandora to know she could trust me. But I wouldn't get far enough that I couldn't hear her and feel her; I wouldn't leave her alone at the mercy of her worst emotions. The first noice came only after a couple of seconds. It was a loud smashing sound. I rushed back into the room.
"Sorry if my presence upsets you," I told her, "but I really don't think that will help you at all. Of course, if I got things wrong and actually the boxes were attacking you, I can help you give them what they deserve."
I was conscious of how lame my attempts to lighten up the mood were, but I couldn't come up with anything better at that moment.
"I told you to leave me!," Pandora shouted. She was bleeding and the vase with dragon pictures lay shattered on the floor. "Why? Why do I have to get like this now?"
The Houndour was sobbing. The physical pain she was experiencing was nothing compared to the emotional one. Moreover, it felt like she was using the former as a means to numb the latter.
"I know what you told me, but that's not what you need. And deep inside it's not what you want either. I won't let my negligence hurt a friend again," I emphasized. "You have a lot of energy burning inside you. Maybe more than you can handle right now, but there are other forms of discharge that wouldn't have such... negative effects."
"You're right. I don't want it to be like this. It hurts everyone else too much to know, but..."
"Maybe you need to find a way to channel the energy you have inside."
"Lagi, bear this in mind. I can';t stand myself, if we're being honest. Last time I tried to take my anger out during battle, I nearly killed my opponent. The only one that should hurt thanks to this is me."
"And I say you shouldn't. And you don't have to. Right now I don't know what method would be best for you, but whatever you do, first you need to make an important decision: you need to allow yourself to live; not just stay alive. I know it will be hard for you because you're so used to the opposite, but you need to keep reminding yourself of this until it sinks in. No one will be able to help you if you don't. Then, you'll be able to start putting your feelings in order, and things like that will never happen again. Otherwise, if you keep letting this war rage inside you, you'll never know when or how it will explode."
"It's so much easier to say than do, though. I wish I could stop right now, I wish I could be normal and not hurt everyone else so much. But I think about things, and then I don't think I deserve any better."
"Who is to decide what you deserve? We could argue about it forever. The question is: what do you want?"
"I want to get rid of this, I want to feel like others must feel, without the constant clound hanging over me. I want to be able to take a setbaclk without thinking it's due to my own stupidity. And... and I want to like myself, eventually, although right now I still say I'm the sort of creature I'd like to throttle."
"Then work for that. I'm not saying it will be easy, but since when is that a good reason to back off? especially on something so important."
"Thanks," she gave me a week, half-hearted smile. "I'll try. For everyone else, I'll try and get over this, okay?"
"Well, that's a start. I hope one day you'll agree to do it for yourself as well," I smiled back.


˜˜ Lady VulpiX ˜˜

Owner of the Necessary Unown Trophy

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