-Chapter 32: I Don't Want to Say Goodbye-
We made it down Temporal Tower with little effort, mostly because Dialga had granted us safe passage after we left. When we reached the bottom, we started walking on the stone path to the Rainbow Stoneship. But with each and every step, I found my legs harder and harder to move, like I was carrying the sky on my shoulders. Vulcan looked back at me, "What's wrong, Connor? Let's get a move on!"
I nodded, and used all of my strength to move faster. But my body just sunk to the ground, like gravity was tenfolded on top of me. Another tremor shook the path, and we both let out startled shouts. Vulcan looked back, "Temporal Tower must be readjusting. It's fine."
He turned back around, then I saw a small orb of light float past my face. I gasped, catching Vulcan's attention, and saw that they came from the soles of my feet.
My eyes teared up, Alright… Now… It's time… My time with Vulcan… It ends now.
Vulcan eyed the orbs that now floated off of my skin more numerously, "Connor… What's wrong? What's with the lights?"
I sighed, "Vulcan… I'm so sorry… I kept this to myself for a long while… It looks like… I have to say goodbye."
Vulcan's eyes widened, "Goodbye?! Wh-what do you mean?"
"Dusknoir and Grovyle both told me… That if we change the future… Then the pokemon of that future, as well as me…" I choked back a sob, "Will disappear."
Vulcan shook his head, "What?! No, no, no, no, no... You can't just..." Then he pushed past me and started back towards temporal Tower. I turned my head, "Where are you going?"
"To get the Time Gears! I won't let you disappear!"
I shook my head, "No, Vulcan… This has to happen."
He turned to me, "Why?! I don't understand!"
I choked back a sob, "I don't understand, either… Thank you... for everything, Vulcan… My time is up…"
Vulcan shook his head, "W-wait a minute! I only made it this far because you were with me, Connor! Don't you understand? You made me strong! If you go… I-I don't know… What I would…"
I sobbed, tears now streaming down my face, "No, Vulcan! You have to be strong on your own. You have to live! You have to go home. Tell everyone what happened here… So that nothing like this will ever happen again."
Vulcan's tail burned white hot, "No! You can't leave me! Not after everything we've been through! It's not fair! What's the point in saving the world if we don't both live to tell the story?! How am I supposed to go on by myself?!"
I smiled warmly, "Vulcan... I'm glad to have met you. I'm glad that we trained at the guild. I'm glad that we got to go on adventures together..."
Vulcan shouted, tears streaking down his cheeks, "Don't go! Please!"
I sniffed, "I'm sorry, Vulcan… I am so lucky to call you my friend… And I am proud to call you my brother."
He nodded, "I feel the same way! To me, Connor… You're… More important than anything…"
I chuckled heavily, "Yes… I feel the same way…" I met his eyes, "Vulcan… Even after I disappear from here… I won't forget you... Goodbye, my brother…"
Vulcan reached forward, and his hand phased through my own as the orbs began shooting off even more numerously, "How can I say goodbye to the closest thing I've ever had to family?! How?! It's not fair! I don't want to say goodbye, Connor!"
As he said this, my wonder bag phased through me, my stamina band coming off of my head fin, and I smiled, making sure that his last memory of me was one that was of me smiling, "Vulcan… Promise me that you will make it back…"
He nodded, wiping his eyes, "I-I promise…"
He rushed forward, hugging me as my front legs disappeared, turning into the orbs of light, then the rest of my body. The last thing I remember was Vulcan's cries, and my badge falling to the floor with a clink.
I hugged him so tightly, knowing that this was my last moment with him. I fell through his translucent image, "Connor… No…"
I fell to my knees, now letting the rest of my tears out. I looked into the sky, "It's not fair! Gah!" I launched an inferno of fire into the air, reaching even higher than Temporal Tower.
I collapsed onto the ground completely, weeping. I don't know how long I was there, but I didn't want to move. Moving, to me, would mean that I was accepting that he wasn't coming back…
I looked at the badge, band, and bag, "This is all that's left… These items deserve to be put somewhere where they will be seen…" I tied the stamina band around my upper arm, and pinned the badge to it.
I murmured, "I have to make it… I have to get home alive… And tell everyone what happened… I promised Connor…"
I stood up, and looked at the ground where he had been one last time before I began walking, shouldering two bags and two badges, for a fallen teammate.
I tripped over a small stone on the way there, but I picked myself up, willing myself to carry on. I made it back to the Rainbow Stoneship, and I whispered, "Connor…"
It started to rumble and move, and when it took off, I stared at the stone path, crying some more. "Temporal Tower… Is getting further and further away…" I sobbed, "That means… Connor… Is getting further away…"
The stoneship landed in the old ruins, and I made my way across the ravaged Hidden Land. When I reached Lapras, she simply gave me a ride back in silence, dropping me off at the beach near Treasure Town.
Making my way up to the guild, I stepped on the grate, and everyone tackled me with hugs after the gate opened. Wigglytuff and Chatot both came out, and greeted me. Wigglytuff tilted his head, "And… Connor?"
A fresh wave of tears found their way to my eyes, "I'll tell you inside…"
After we all went to the briefing room, I explained everything. How Grovyle, Connor and I were reunited after the fight with Dusknoir, Grovyle's sacrifice to give us a chance to change the world, our journey across the whole Hidden Land, Temporal Tower, our fight against Dialga… And what happened to Connor.
"...And he told me to make sure that everyone knew the story, so that nothing like this will happen again. We saved the world, and peace should be returning."
The guild nodded, and after everyone gave their words of consolation, we went to bed. I left Connor's backpack on his bed.
I got the next couple days off, thank goodness, so I used that time to spread the story even further, to everyone I saw on the road. I walked halfway across immanis and back almost every day. After a little while, not one pokemon hadn't heard the story.
We held a formal funeral for him a few days afterwards, almost all of Treasure Town attending, and many others from around Immanis. We must have made a name for ourselves without even realizing. Wigglytuff handed me the shroud. A deep blue cloth with a Time Gear and the marks on Grovyle's arms underneath it woven into the fabric. At the very bottom, two names were sewn in gold, and two titles:
Connor and Grovyle
Heroes from the future
I wiped the tears from my eyes, and the entire team got to hold it as one. Vincent and Atlas got to hold the head of it, since they'd been with us the longest. I tapped it with a small ember on my finger, and it burst into flames, scattering golden powder that dissolved in the air like magic.
The entire town dispersed after a long while, and I stood there, staring at the stone tablet with Connor's name engraved into it, next to a tablet with Grovyle's name. The team looked bummed out, so I did my best to lift their spirits, "Hey, don't worry. We don't have to forget him. He'd want us to keep capturing outlaws like we always did.
Rose sniffed, and Magnus just scowled. The rest of the team was crying openly, even Atlas and Nocturne.
Things started to slowly go back to normal. Time began stabilizing, and Treasure Town returned to its usual bustle. The team and I began carrying on our missions. We raised another rank, now being diamond, and I held Connor's badge next to mine, "We did it, Connor… We raised another rank."
Over the next few months, the team and I had been helping Team Core in the investigation of some pokemon Mafia Group. They'd talked about it several times, but after Atlas and Vincent both found out that one of the leaders was a Bisharp, they were eager to help.
We didn't make much headway, mostly because law enforcement denied the existence of the group, even when brought evidence, such as proof that two more of their leaders were a Houndoom and Crobat.
We didn't get that, but after a few months of no progress, we decided to get back to doing missions, to keep putting our name out there.
Maybe Five months after Connor disappeared, I was walking down to the beach. I ran into Bidoof, "Howdy, Vulcan! Going out?"
I nodded, "Yup. Going for a walk."
"Sounds nice, yup yup! But dinner will be on soon. You don't want to miss that!"
I smiled, "You got that right. I'll be there."
I walked to the beach, and sat down in the sand as the Krabby gently blew bubbles, making a rainbow web of light reflecting the dying sunlight. I smiled, "Wow… This sight…" As I thought about it, I hadn't come to the beach for fun in a long time…
"I think… The last time I was here… When I saw this last… Was when I met Connor…"
I looked over to the crater in the sand where he had heaved the boulder from the ground, surprised that it was still there. "When I met him… It was almost exactly like this…"
Thinking back to that brought up a lot of memories. How we began, how he'd helped me overcome my fear of hurting others surprisingly quickly… I looked at the stamina band on my arm, with the badge pinned on top.
My name is Connor…
How about we make an exploration team? You and me? We worked really well together beating Koffing and Zubat, so what do you think? Please?
How about… Team Firestorm?
Ha! That Stamina band 'round your neck, and you're still just as hungry as me! I guess we were so focused on rescuing Azurill that we didn't notice! Come on, let's go eat!
You were right, Connor! A cave! Let's explore!
Do what we have to. We have to hit this pokemon with everything we've got!
It's beautiful… All the lights illuminating from the water... How can such a huge lake be at the top of a plateau?
Vulcan… Hear me out. I know that we're both super confused about what just happened, having the sudden identity switch with Dusknoir from good to bad, but we need to focus! As of now, we will die if we get caught. And from the looks of it, Grovyle already has an idea of where he's going.
Hey, Rose, he's cool. Now, tell us what's been happening concerning the Time Gears.
Come on, Connor! We'll do this! We'll make it to Temporal Tower and fix it!
I teared up at those memories, even though they were all happy ones. But they were just memories… And there was nothing I could do to change it…
I began shivering, trembling from a sudden wave of sadness that washed over me. I looked back at the crater again, and tears found their way down my face against my will. I sniffed once and sat down in the sand, lobbing fireballs into the ocean to let out my anger.
I heard footsteps to my right, and Bidoof said, "Vulcan? You've been gone for a long while. I was getting worried! What's wrong…? Why are you crying?"
I shook my head, "Naw, I just got sand in my eyes…"
Even then, the tears just kept coming, and I stood up, "Bidoof…" I gave him a massive hug, needing the reassurance that somebody was there… "Bidoof, Bidoof!" I wept, tears streaking my face.
As the Porygon-Z repaired my home, I watched the hero who saved me from myself, using telepathy to watch from the Bidoof's perspective.
"VULCAN… WHEN YOU LEFT HERE… WHEN YOU BID FAREWELL TO THIS PLACE FROM THE RAINBOW STONESHIP… YOUR SORROW… I FELT ITS INTENSITY EVEN HERE. AND IF THAT IS HOW YOU FEEL, EVEN NOW... AND CONNOR WERE TO SHARE THE SAME FEELINGS… I WILL GRANT YOUR WISH. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU BOTH… THAT IS WHY… I WILL TRUST YOU WITH A GIFT. I LEAVE TO YOU… THE FUTURE!"
I turned to the horizon, watching the sea of time, "THIS IS MY THANKS! PLEASE ACCEPT IT! I roared with all of my might, a sound that split the air and time itself, channeling all of my control over time into one being.
I let go of Bidoof, who looked too flustered to comprehend what had happened, and suddenly, I saw my shadow extend, like a light was behind me. I turned, and a bright sphere appeared on the beach. I shielded my eyes as the light became too bright to look at, but when it dimmed, and the shape became clear, I rubbed my eyes, then turned to Bidoof to make sure I wasn't imagining it.
The light cleared away, a few small orbs fluttering around for a minute before disappearing. Standing on the beach, Connor looked around, confused. Then he saw me. "Vulcan…?" He said it with disbelief, and I was too shocked to move.
After a split moment, I muttered, "C-Connor…" I sprinted forward, a grin on my face, and he ran forward as well, with an equally large grin. He tackled me to the ground, and gave me a massive hug. We both just laid on the sand, not caring about anything else in the world. After a little while, he stood up, and I placed a hand on his shoulder, confirming that he was really there. I lost it then. I burst into tears of joy, not caring about anything else in the world except that my best friend had come back.
This was literally the most heart-wrenching moment in any game I've played or seen. Tell me if it was the same for you guys! I'll tell you, there's a sequel to it, PMD: The Light in the Storm, which follows the post-game storyline to a degree. Go ahead and check it out if you enjoyed this one! As always, go ahead and leave a quick review or PM if you enjoyed, and I will see you in the next story! Much Love!