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Lampent's Lament

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A child's laughter echoed through the grassy clearing. It was late afternoon in the Pokepark, with the light just beginning to fade as the sun dropped behind the surrounding ring of trees. Giggling, a young girl played in a corner away from the others, her trusted pokemon beside her as always.

The small white creature looked like a candle, as if it were made of wax, with one pale drop slightly obscuring its right eye. The eye in question was colored a strong yellow, matching its twin. To complete the mimicry, a small purple flame burned at the top of the creature's head, shedding a ghostly light. Puffing slightly with effort, it emitted tiny purple sparks to amuse its companion. The girl laughed and shrieked as she danced between and chased the sparks, strange shadows falling everywhere.

"Emily!" a blond woman called from a short distance away, "Five more minutes!"

"Okay mom!" the child replied.

A man standing next to Emily's mom chuckled then said "It's wonderful to see her run around. She's been so weak lately, she really needs to exercise."

"Yes Hank," his wife replied. "And she seems so happy with that Litwick. We should be jealous!"

"Now, now, Loretta." Hank laughed. "We're her parents!" He clapped his hands. "Okay sweetie!" He called, "Time to go!"

To a chorus of "Aww"s and "We're not tired"s Emily and her Litwick were rounded up and headed home. Litwick hitched a ride on Emily's left hand—gloved so she wouldn't be burned. The girl held her pokemon out in front so it could pretend to guide them home. Pleased with this task, the small candle burned brighter. Emily giggled, then yawned. "Mommy, I'm sleepy…" she mumbled.

"Come here then." Loretta relented, hoisting Emily into her arms. "Litwick can ride too as long as you're careful. Don't catch mommy on fire." She joked.

A chirp from Litwick served as a promise, and Emily curled up in her mother's arms with her friend on her torso, her eyes settling on the small purple flame. The sentient candle looked back at her with its lamp-yellow eyes as the rocking motion of her mother and the soft glow of purple fire lulled her to sleep.
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Litwick's memories reached as far back as two years ago. It had first seen Emily from a windowsill in the old bell tower, in the same city they lived in now. Its colony of brothers and sisters glowed and murmured deeper in, and the Lampents had gone out to find food. Litwick was the only one who saw the human mother and child walk past below and into a hotel next door. As the child passed beneath the windowsill she gave a slight, shuddering cough, Around her something flickered; an aura of light, a glow… A glow? This child lit up, just like itself! And there was something inviting about that light, strong and wonderful.

It made up its mind. Puffing, it managed to move itself, dropping to the next windowsill, creeping along the wall, into the building next door. The small pokemon soon stood on a new windowsill, looking for all the world like a wax candle. Chirping in triumph, by the otherworldly light from its flame it could see the child just below resting in a bed. The girl rolled over in a dream, trying to chase a Mareep, but instead rolling her eye right into the bedpost. Painfully awakened, she sat up holding the injured eye and prepared to cry for her mother when—

She looked to the windowsill and saw Litwick. The curious purple was the only color in a room of darkness, undulating with a sort of rhythm, in-out, in-out.

Emily looked at Litwick.

Litwick looked at Emily.

Her mother found them still like that in the morning.
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As everyone knows, pokemon evolve. It can be from leveling, exposure to a certain item, or by reaching absolute love and trust with its owner. There are a few cases where one evolves early, out of sheer want to please its trainer. It happened to Lance, the Dragon Champion, and a few select others. People say it's the sign of true friendship.

"Wow, Litwick" Emily said, "I'm so impressed you actually did it!" Her pokemon was proudly floating some feet off the ground, enjoying its new form. It now looked more like a lamp then a candle, with the same ghostly fire now encased in a see-through body. A black "lid" with a short point topped its head. The bottom was similar, with two flexible black arms curling and uncurling like ribbons. "Although," Emily said thoughtfully, "I guess I have to call you Lampent now, huh?" Lampent agreed cheerfully.

"I think I like your new form better. It must be nice to have arms now. Remember when I had to hand-feed you PokeCrispies because your couldn't reach over the bowl?" Both child and Pokemon shared a laugh. Emily coughed, then reached up to hug Lampent. "I'm really happy for you," she said, "You deserve it. You help calm me down after the doctors leave. They always want to give me ouchy shots and other scary stuff, but I fall asleep real quick when you sing me a lullaby." She grinned. "You're not scary at all!"

Lampent detached its arms from Emily's shoulders and floated up in the air a little bit. Emily's eyes followed as the phantom lamp began to rock back and forth. Curling and uncurling its long ebony arms, it hummed a soft tune. Emily sat quietly, and sedately watched Lampent's trance-like dance, the pokemon never slowing or stopping until her mother called her for dinner.
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"Professor, it's truly an honor for you to come all the way from Nuvema town to visit us." Loretta addressed the brown-haired woman sitting at the dinner table.

"Oh, no trouble at all." The Pokemon Professor graciously replied. "Thank you for the lovely meal. I understand you have some questions for me."

"Yes but first…" Loretta turned to Emily, who was admiring Lampent hanging off the doorknob. It looked for all the world like a lamp. "Dear, Mommy and Daddy are going to talk with our guest, so why don't you two play upstairs for a while?" Emily agreed, and laughed as Lampent took her hand and pulled her up the stairs.

The guest frowned as they left the room. "You let her be around that thing?" She questioned the adults. Hank blinked in surprise.

"Y-Yes. They found each other when she was only five. They're quite inseparable, they go everywhere together…"

"Mr. Drummond." Came a snap back. "Are you aware of the dangers of ghost-type pokemon?"

"Now what's all this Professor Aragi?" Asked Hank, taken aback. "We asked you here to discuss a cure for Emily, not her pokemon friend!"

"Then I shall explain." Continued Aragi. "Lampents and their pre-evolution are a common sight in cities. However, people hesitate to train them, with good reason. Ghost pokemon are supernatural creatures by nature, and some may even call them malicious. Their attacks and abilities can be harmful to humans. Many ghost pokemon have at least a slight affinity for pyrokineses, at least enough to use the Will-O-Wisp attack. Lampent's family is unique for its strong connection to flames, being the only ghost-fire type to date. But their fires don't burn oxygen—they burn souls."

"In order to survive, they drain actual lifeforce from anything in the area, then burn it, leading to a purple flame. These flames have slight hypnotic properties, keeping the prey still while its vitality is siphoned away. Litwick have their ability on all the time, but they only need to keep one small flame burning, and so can live a while on smaller amounts of energy. But their evolutions need a lot more power."

At this Professor Aragi got up and slammed her hands on the table. "Spending one hour around these pokemon can cut up to two weeks from a persons life! It's no wonder Lampent are considered a bad omen, but I assure you, their powers are very real!"

Loretta gasped. "Are you saying that thing is hurting our Emily?"

Hank looked as shocked as could be. "But..they keep each other so calm." He murmured. "She's been so lonely with her illness...it seemed like fate they met each other."

"Mr. and Mrs. Drummond." Aragi said. "Emily's lifeforce is weak. This may partly be from the Lampent, but may also be what drew it to her. That pokemon is dangerous. If I were you I would keep it away from your girl." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lampent was sad. It cooed softly among the rafters in the attic. They had put it in here suddenly and were not letting it out. The creature shuddered as it remembered the look in the mother human's eyes.

Oh, how Emily had screamed! The father human, Hank, had grabbed Lampent with oven mitts on as Loretta took hold of Emily and held fast. Emily fought her hardest, but only had the strength to give a few weak kicks and scream, lapsing into a coughing fit. She had gotten so weak lately…

The parent humans weren't cruel to Lampent. They left food and what little water it needed, but he way they looked at the pokemon had changed. There was guilt, hesitant suspicion, and…fear? Lampent really wished it understood what was going on. From their conversations held near to attic steps, it had learned that Emily was now very ill. She stayed in bed, coughing whenever she took a breath and sleeping most of the time. Lampent had heard them talking hurriedly about how it "was a good thing we got them away from each other in time". Lampent was very confused.

If Emily was in trouble, it had to get to her! The lamp pokemon floated its way to the door. Wrapping a black tendril around the handle, it pulled backwards. The wooden door opened with a suitable creeaaak, allowing Lampent to make its way down the steps. Emily's room was…to the right! It gave out a cry and hovered down the hallway, its purple light casting shadows on the walls.

The seven-year-old girl lay in bed with the covers up to her chin. Her face was lined with sweat as her body toiled. A washcloth had fallen off her forehead, the soothing water now useless. Unknown to her, across the room the door opened, and a small black shape let itself in.

The glow that had always surrounded the girl was much brighter now. Lampent found itself drawn to it. Quickly floating to Emily's side, it cooed softly. Its trainer was obviously in trouble. If only it could do something to take the pain away... The phantom pokemon stretched out one ebony arm, and gently touched the young girl's face, brushing across her lips...

"GET AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER YOU THIEVING GHOST!" Lampent turned to see Loretta in the doorway. She must have seen the attic door open and gone to investigate. Loretta raise a bucket in her hands threateningly, water splashing around inside. A jolt shot through Lampent—if that water was dumped on it, it could be snuffed out! Loretta slowly advanced, and fear turned to rage within the paranormal pokemon. It wouldn't be taken away again! No one would interfere with it and Emily! NO ONE WOULD INTERFERE!

Before it knew what was happening, it shot a massive column of eerie purple flames at the woman. Loretta dropped the bucket with a bang, water spilling all over the floor. The flames burned wherever they touched, refusing to go out. Shrieking and batting at the fire on her arms, Loretta stumbled back down the hallway, out of sight.

Lampent looked on in shock. It hadn't meant to do that! It was only trying to protect Emily! It wasn't dangerous…was it?

The ghost pokemon filled with fire turned around. On the bed, Emily still shone with the same alluring aura. As the creature watched the light condensed into a small sphere, floating slightly above the girl's body.

Now Lampent remembered. Yes, Lampent knew. Its kind feasted on souls. They led people astray while pretending to guide them, hypnotizing them and slowly stealing away their lives. By being Emily's companion it had helped take her life away. Lampent reached out an arm, grabbing the soul and bringing it closer…

Would it always have to live this way? Betraying the ones it loved most?