In your first life, you wake up knowing your name, that you are human, and that you are missing something important. The rest of your memories are a blur of color, with voices speaking to you all at once, leaving you unable to sort through them but you know that there is someone looking for you. Someone important to you is out there, waiting.
You don’t know the forest you’re in, and you don’t know the pokémon looking down at you. And it can talk to you! Probably because you are also a pokémon as well. This is so strange...
What happens next occurs so fast that the next thing you realize, you’ve partnered up with that strange pokémon who you don’t know, who is way too...weird and eccentric are harsh words, but that’s what they are. Why are they like this to you? They barely even know you. You barely even know you. And they’ve given you a house. Just...what? Everything is moving so fast, you can’t keep up.
But you were called here for a reason. Maybe you’ll find out why if you keep moving forward.
So you do. The blurred memories remain blurred, and many fade with time as new memories take their place. You go on rescue missions, take job requests, find messages at the post office for you.
Gengar accuses you of being the cursed human, and you wish you could say that you aren’t, but without your memories, you can’t say either way. Why can’t you have your memories?
But do you want your memories? If you are the cursed human, as Gengar says you are, is the guilt why you chose to forget? The guilt of abandoning a friend?
You run away, because that’s all you can do, apparently. And your eccentric companion comes with you, despite you telling them to stay behind. Stupid, stupid pokémon. This had nothing to do with them, but they still came with you. Why? Why?
The pair of you climb hills and mountains, traveling through forests and caves, crossing valleys and rivers, with the arrest force right behind you. They’re on your tails, not letting you catch your breath. You meet Absol, who is an outcast like you, but you can tell he’s not the one you’re looking for.
You fight the Legendary Birds and fight off the mercenary teams that have followed you to the best of your abilities. But you have only been doing this for a few months. They have been working their whole lives for this. It is only by Ninetales’ intervention that you are saved.
Some questions are answered, some are not, and some generate more questions. Yes, you are human. No, you are not the cursed human. No, Ninetales is not the one who summoned you. Yes, you are the one who will save the world in the end.
The fight against Groudon is fierce, and many lives are almost lost in the final fight before he falls to your paws. But to pay the price, to stop the meteor that appears in the sky, you need to leave. Your mission here is done.
But you’re not ready to leave. You haven’t found the one you’re looking for. So you force your way back. Your companion hugs you to death, grinning that smile that reminds you of the day you met.
Life continues on for a little while. You continue to rescue pokémon, meeting as many of them as you can. Trying to find the one you’re looking for, but none of them fill the hole in your heart and head. It is discovered that the Gardevoir of the stories is the one who summoned you from the timestream, and that you chose to forget your past? Why? What could be so important that you need to forget everything about yourself?
But she doesn’t have the answers, and neither do you, so what can you do but continue forward?
Eventually you reach the coveted Lucario rank, one that only a few teams have ever received. The team name, your name, and the name of your companion are inscribe in stone, and the fates decide it is time for you to move on. Darkness crawls on the edge of your vision.
But as your story comes to a close, you still have the nagging feeling that you’re missing something...
You don’t remember anything at the ‘start’ of your next life. Probably an effect of getting blasted prematurely out of the Passage of Time. But you don’t know about that. Not yet.
Instead, you wake up on a beach with a worried pokémon shaking you. You know your name, and that you are human. It catches you by surprise when you realize you can understand the pokémon in front of you, and they believe you when you say you are human. After a trek through the dungeon, beating away a couple bullies, and retrieving a treasure, you decide that since you have nothing better to do, you’ll join the guild with this pokémon.
They’re very unsure of themselves, stumbling and not quite at ease in their own skin, almost like you. But their heart is true, and together, the pair of you put in the work to rise in the ranks.
There’s still a nagging feeling in the back of your head, but you ignore it for the most part. You make friends with the members of the guild and the residents of Treasure Town. You go an explorations, saving Pokémon and finding treasure of various forms and sizes. You ignore the feeling that something is missing.
Life is good.
Life is too good.
Why is it that the lack of memories causes you grief? If you had your memories, you would have known that Dusknoir was not to be trusted, and that Grovyle was actually a hero. You would have known the truth about why the Time Gears needed to be taken, and that you were trying to save the world before you were attacked. If only you could have remembered those things, even one of them, so much would be different.
But no, without memories, you are deceived into mistaking friend from foe. You trust Dusknoir and hate Groyvle.
You are tricked into a betrayal and dragged into a future of darkness. You are almost executed and barely escape.
You and your partner are running away from things you don’t understand, forced to ally yourselves with a pokémon your partner can’t trust. Something isn’t right. You’re missing a piece of the puzzle.
You learn the truth about who you were almost too late. That you were Grovyle’s partner. You were trying to save the world. Though even with these memories, you know Grovyle isn’t the piece that fits the emptiness you can’t explain.
But most importantly...if you had your memories, you would have known that the cost for changing the future was your existence. Not that you would have changed the end result, but you could have eased the burden on your partner.
But the price has to be paid. You will not let the future fall into the darkness you have seen. You stop almost-Primal Dialga with your own paw and your partner by your side to give you strength. You fade into the light, watching your partner cry their heart out.
Then Dialga grants you a boon, letting you stay. You cry, your partner cries, and the peace you have earned comes.
But it’s not peace. It is just a halfway mark.
Cresselia gives warnings about your existence, Azurill falls ill, and you and your partner are spirited away far away from home. It’s you two against another deity, then a guardian. The truth about Cresselia and Darkrai emerges.
And then you find the truth. That your memory loss is due to the meddling of Darkrai. That everything in this life you know is because of him. Just because he took your memory.
The rage carries you forward, shattering the illusion he tried to weave before it could even take hold of you and carrying you to victory. The minions scattering, Darkrai having been judged and falling short, and this time, this time, it’s over. Truly over.
Even though you have won, your memories still stay blocked, out of reach, out of your grasp. You cannot remember anything prior to waking on the beach.
That’s fine. You continue to explore with your partner, conquering the Zero Isles and beyond the sky.
You wake with a start at the start of your third life, not having remembered falling asleep. Not having remembered falling...falling. Falling! You’re falling!!! NOOOOOO!!!! The ground meets you and you black out in waves of pain and agony. You’re going to die.
...It’s a miracle you survive.
There’s a pokémon standing over you when you wake up again. You introduce yourself, they introduce themselves, and another adventure starts.
...except this time, you remember both of your previous lives. You remember being on rescue and exploration teams, and all the adventures you have gone on. Something about crashing through the trees onto the ground must have shaken something up.
Falling out of the sky was an unpleasant way to start your life, based on the memories of your past two lives. Listening to the ocean or trees was much nicer.
But you keep your past memories to yourself. As you and the pokémon who found you continue to develop Paradise, you don’t see any familiar faces. You are in a land you have never seen before. What point is there in sharing this?
Everything in this life passes in a rush.
You meet many pokémon, all new. Dunsparce and Emolga, Virizion, Timburr and Gurdurr, Victini, Espeon and Umbreon. You dream of Hydreigon and Munna, and fight Kyurem. The pokémon who first found you fades into the background as others are found.
Everything happens so fast.
The Magnagates appear. It’s a shock when you look over your cup of water only for a swirling portal to appear that pulls you in. You pass through the dungeon, and that’s probably the last time it’ll appear. Only they continue to appear, triggered by circular surfaces and objects. This has never happened before, and it’s exciting when a new gate opens.
The glacier that has always on the edge of the horizon grows, continues to grow, until it is hovering over paradise.
You are aware of the patterns, and watch out for things in this new life. Despite the peace, you know you wouldn’t have been called here for no reason. Despite it all, the emptiness in your chest is so strong it hurts. Despite retaining the memories of your past lives, you are still deceived by Munna, and have to deal with the consequences. Hydreigon is shattered and everything goes ice-cold with Bittercold descending upon Paradise.
But unlike before, you have to fight the boss alone.
After a long, painful struggle, it is done.
You spend the night in worry, because when will the price be collected? You can’t spend the night around the fire truly enjoying it, because you know what is coming. It has happened twice before, why shouldn’t it happen this time? As it turns out, Hydreigon who has been revived, is the one who comes to collect.
You return into the sky, seeing the rainbow and all you have helped build fade away, fading into colors that blend together into whiteness...
But then you are able to return, because of the efforts of everyone.
You didn’t want to come back. You shouldn’t have been able to come back.
You go about your days in a half-dream state, not truly there.
Why is that you always have to leave? This is the third time this has happened, and you have been able to cheat fate.
Your vision goes dark, and you wonder...
What if the next time this happens, you’ll have to leave for good?
Your memories comes to you slowly in your fourth life. You go through most of your early years in Serene Village blissfully ignorant, except for the dreams that you chalk up to your imagination. You have your friends, and your (very quirky) best friend, a loving father, and a whole village that cares for you. You sit by the lake, listening to stories of explorers and adventurers of long ago, and heroes who saved the world several times over. You sneak out for dares, study for school (while keeping your best friend from failing), go on adventures, play, dream, and live. You sit under a massive tree that overlooks the village and watch the clouds. You can be a child.
You should be content.
You are not content.
Something is still missing. It only appears when you are alone, by yourself. A strange urge to get up, and walk. Just walk. Keep walking, away from everything you know and search for something. Something you’re missing. Something you can’t name, but know is there.
It isn’t until you set off to Lively Town that things start to slip into place. Traveling with your best friend by your side feels right, and fills you with so much joy.
But then you see a corphish who waves at you in greeting along the road, asking if you have seen a loudred and sunflora in your travels. A whiscash cheerfully chatters about a pond he was the ruler of once. An umbreon and espeon send love letters to each other through the mailing service you somehow started. So many pokémon you meet, first in person, and then in your dreams. You dream of another place and another time, meeting them in another form, talking to them in voices that shouldn’t be familiar, but are.
A brief rush of fear takes hold of you when you first see a gengar, because you don’t want to have to run again. Something in your heart breaks when you see a grovyle and shiny celebi, because they’re alive! Alive! Grief wells up in you faster than you can recognize it at seeing two of the Swords of Justice, Keldeo and Virizion, standing together, but it quickly turns into joy, and then fades.
You gain the ability to travel to other lands for jobs, and the visions continue. Places you see reappear in your sleep, different, but clearly the same places. You see events that must have taken place long ago, as if you were there.
You see a caterpie taken from it’s mother and falling into a pit, an azurill forced to retrieve a priceless treasure from a small cave, a keldeo writing a letter denouncing a friendship in a room of rime. You see pokémon turned away from a palace of ice, a pair of dream pokémon who fought each other, a trio of mercenaries struggling to fight a groudon.
All of your lives blending into a blur.
You remember a wigglytuff-shaped building, a team base near a pelliper-shaped building, and circular symbols spiraling around you as the sky gives way. You remember an absol who was hated and feared, a grovyle standing by a lake of crystals, and a dunsparce who accepted others. You remember a meteor streaking through the sky, spider-web-fine cracks carrying grey energy to pause time, and frisms that caused your footsteps to freeze. You remember a massive sky dragon challenging you, a raging time dragon charging you, and a mass of cold black energy looming over you, all three falling to your paw.
And you remember your body dissolving into light, and how you have cheated death three times. A fourth time will not be allowed, you suspected in your third life, and are certain that this is it. Wherever you came from, you’re going back there after this is done.
It’s with dread that you climb the Tree of Life, knowing that your time here is done, no matter what the outcome. But you would rather have to dissolve in light than burn in the heat of the sun. The choice is not hard, but your body fails under the weight of space and too much damage. It’s no good. You’ve reached your limit. You can’t finish it. You’ve failed.
It’s your friend and partner who ends it. Your brave partner who deals the final blow, who accepts Dark Matter for what it is, for the negativity that exists within every heart. It’s your partner who ends it.
Nuzleaf and the Beheeyem have disappeared after the battle, and you, your partner, and Espurr return to Serene Village. Part of you is scared, that those who you grew up with are still in stone, but your worries are for naught. The village is full of life and you are able to push away what is to come into the back of your mind with a night filled with laughter, crying, and cheers.
Morning comes, with dread and determination mixing together in your stomach, echoing in the empty house. You can’t give up. You’ve always just accepted having to leave, but what if you fight it and try to stay? You don’t want to leave your compatriots, your village, your friends behind, but most of all, you don’t want to leave your best friend behind. You will challenge your fate. You will not let yourself be a pawn of the fate whoever it is scripted for you.
You find your partner sitting under the tree the pair of you spent so much time under. It’s your tree in all but name. You sit under it together, watching the clouds, like you used to when the world was much simpler. You’re not ready to leave this. You’re not ready to leave this world. You’re not ready to leave your partner, your friend.
Voice steady, you explain to your partner how you were called to this world to save it, and now that that is done, it is time for you to go. To return to wherever you came from. A place that you do not know, and could not remember, no matter what. How you want to stay here, with them, and continue to be here with them. How you feel content when you are with them, and it’s nothing like you’ve felt before.
They say your name. There’s a look in their eyes that you’ve never seen there before.
“For accepting me, and going on adventures with me in all our lives.”
(Our lives? What...) The look in their eyes...it’s the same that you see whenever you look in a mirror. Of many lives, the memories of those lives, of tragedy and joy. Your jaw drops. (You...you were with me...)
“In Tiny Town, in Treasure Town, and in Paradise.” They nod once. “When we were a blue-class rescue team, explored the sky, and searched for gates to other worlds. Yeah,” they gaze up at the sky, “but I never remembered until the adventure was over and it was time for us to move on.” Your breath catches. All this time, they were with you. They were the piece you were looking for. The missing memory you could never grasp. But...if they hadn’t remembered until the end... So why now? “Xerneas came to my house this morning. He said he needed to awaken me.” Awaken? “When I touched one of his horns, I remembered all of our lives together. It was shocking to realize this wasn’t the first time we had saved the world.” Your lips twitch upward, but everything else is on edge. But your partner isn’t done. “But I remembered something more. In my first life...in our first lives...I was Mew. And you...you were my human friend.”
And it all comes crashing down, like a dam bursting. It all comes roaring into your mind like a river set free.
This is not your fourth life. This is your fifth. You first arrived in the pokémon world long before the time gears were needed to stabilize time in certain areas, long before the human that would be known as Gengar would foolishly grasp Ninetales’ tail, and long before the settlements that existed today were even thought of.
You were only a human, but you fought alongside a mew, a cowardly, stupid, strong, brave, weak, smart pokémon that couldn’t speak a word you understood aside from it’s name. It smiled a stupidly bright smile compared to the danger you were facing, and listened to you chatter about nothing and everything. Words failed, but your hearts beat to the same drum. You both wanted to protect this beautiful world.
You won, but you also failed. In the future, this future, the darkness would continue to rise, because it had not truly been defeated. You failed. You both had failed, though the mew blamed itself.
So you swore an oath. That every time the world was in danger, for as long as you could, you would both rise to protect it. You decided to lose your memories of your first life so that the mistakes you both made would not be repeated. The judgements and rigid views you both held would change and be washed away.
Every time you were born into the world to save it, it was mew, your partner-friend-companion-best friend, who was beside you to help.
But a price would be paid. A price always needed to be paid.
(It’s not you who has to go...it’s me.)
The lights are spiraling up into the sky, taking the one you love away. Is this why you chose to forget everything? So you wouldn’t have to know what was coming?
It’s not fair, really.
You spent all your lives looking for them, when in reality they were right beside you. You were just so blind you couldn’t see who was in front of you.
You scream your frustration, grief, and pain to the sky, collapsing under the tree you both loved.
It’s just not fair...
(It’s not fair...)