He hated this forest. If he could, this would be the first place he would wipe off the map of Kalos.
It was pointless to use an umbrella when the rain poured through the patchy forest canopy, and Lysandre cursed whoever had called Laverre’s forest a nature trail. The manmade trail every pokemon trainer took hardly counted. Until you were slogging knee deep through the muddy swamp with the naked branches clawing at your clothes, you never truly understood the bane of the dense woods.
“Sir!” Lysander didn’t even turn his head from the tracker in his hands, watching the needle flipping erratically to the side. One of his admins, his white suit stained hopelessly brown from the mud, struggled forward. “Sir, are we still heading the right way?”
Lysandre’s lips pressed in annoyance, and he flicked the idle contraption. The needle began responding again. Its reception seemed spotty at best, as if the dark wood was trying to keep him from his prize.
Could he have left his underlings to do this for him? Of course, but Lysandre was no man’s fool. If he wanted this done right, he had to do it himself, whether or not his suit was so wet it clung like a second skin. In retrospect, boots would have been a better choice of footwear, but Lysandre was far from caring. He just couldn’t believe how . . . disappointing the world was. He couldn’t believe he’d been pushed to this.
“Sir? Maybe it’s not here. Maybe we should turn back!”
He ignored them. His Murkrow darted overhead in the trees, cawing every few minutes or so. After sloughing through the muck and thunderstorm for several pregnant minutes, the Murkrow flitted back down and landed on his shoulder. He gave a delicate shudder of his wings.
“It is here,” he croaked lowly, his faint Russian accent a near purr. His eyes gleamed beneath the brim of his crest. “Your technology will pick it up shortly.”
“Where?” Lysander asked, his heart straining with pained hope.
The dark bird cocked his head, and his wings rustled nervously again. “Everywhere,” he breathed. “Can you not feel it? It is . . . like living thing, yet not. Like death breathes into the trees. There are no wild pokemon here. Only darkness, and an end that devours all.”
A chill ran up Lysandre’s spin that had nothing to do with the bitter air. He looked behind him to see his men struggling forward with him, their faces overshadowed with fear and doubt. Even through a sheet of relentless rain, it was apparent they felt the presence of death. He shifted uncomfortably when his crow took flight again, but he steeled his wavering heart.
It was here.
Ignoring all else, Lysandre trudged forward with near obsessive purpose. Lightning flashed overhead, and thunder cracked and rolled in the night. This was it. Here, he could finally put this world out of its slow-burning misery. He’d seen enough torment in his lifetime and had tried to combat it the way he was taught. He had tried to bring so much good into the world, and yet it was always outstripped by evil and hardship. Too many suffered. And if he had to look to extreme ends to stop this suffering, he would.
His mind was set, but his heart shook when he looked up at his Murkrow flying lithely through the trees. He was always so beautiful in the night, agile and free, livened and joyous. The darkness suited him in a comely way, bringing out his best and leaving his checkered and lamentable past where it belonged—in the past.
Lysander looked ahead into the darkness, refusing to think where his Murkrow’s future lied.
Soon, he finally found the results he was searching for. The needle sprang to life, picking up on an ancient energy that webbed through the dead trees, their raw limbs cutting into the rainy sky. Lightning flashed and illuminated the skeletal forest briefly, like an ebbing heartbeat. The needle waved erratically—it finally dipped and rested at nothing.
Lifting his head, Lysandre peered into the opaque darkness that their flashlights couldn’t penetrate. It was here. They were so close he could practically taste it. The fruits of his labor would not be wasted. Deep in the heart of Laverre’s ominous forest, Lysandre threw away the tracking mechanism and bore ahead, feeling the weight of oblivion pressing on his shoulders. The foreboding stillness of the forest grew more and more vacant, devoid of life between gnarled wooden trunks. His Murkrow returned to his shoulder, this time firmly planting there as the forsaken wood stirred, like an uncomfortable slither in the dark.
When he saw it, his heart leapt. Lysandre stumbled over the knotted roots burrowed in the mud, and he seized his triumph with a glint of madness in his eyes. The larvae state was unmistakable. The black egg was so bleak it swallowed the area around it, and by shining his flashlight against its hide, Lysandre could see the distinctive diamond markings lining it. Claws clamped tightly shut, refusing to unleash oblivion until prodded from its sleep.
A feral smile lit Lysandre’s face. He reached out his hand, placing it against the surprisingly soft down of the cocoon. He had done it. He had finally found the legendary destruction pokemon.
Thunder cracked and lightning whipped. A man whimpered.
Under Lysandre’s hand, death rolled in its grave.