Life Goes On

Riolu couldn't imagine a life without Mudkip.

Yet, here he was without them.

It had been a few weeks since Mudkip disappeared. Riolu mentally replayed his final moments with them. Their bittersweet, knowing smile shone as brightly as the orbs of light that enveloped them. Before he knew it, they were gone, and he was all alone in the world once again.

Presently, tears welled up in his tired eyes as he lay curled up on his bed of straw. Mudkip's bed was still there next to his, completely untouched. Rolling over, Riolu wiped away his tears. Crying only made him feel dehydrated and weak. No amount of wishing, hoping, or dreaming could bring his partner back.

Chimecho rang the dinner bell at the other end of the hallway. Slowly rising to his feet, Riolu stretched his arms above his head. He did not have much of an appetite, but he reminded himself that Mudkip wouldn't want him to starve. As he sauntered down the hallway, his fellow guild members rushed past him. He took his seat after everyone else had already begun messily chomping down their food.

Tonight's dinner was an assortment of berries, just like any other night. Riolu took a small bite of an Oran Berry. Its vitalizing effect made him feel a little better. Soon, the other guild members finished eating and left one by one, except for Bidoof, who walked over to Riolu.

"Um, Riolu." he said meekly. "The Guildmaster wanted me to talk to you about something."

Riolu's eyes widened. "What is it?" he asked in the most cheerful tone he could muster, which was not very cheerful.

"Well, you've understandably been feeling awful down lately," Bidoof began. "But the Guildmaster reckons that it ain't healthy for you to be moping around too much, so he'd like you to start picking up jobs again."

"Oh, okay," said Riolu, staring down at his half-finished plate. "I don't want to go alone, though..."

"Uh, I had volunteered to go with you on missions, if you like," Bidoof said awkwardly, shuffling his feet. "I know you probably don't want to hear any of this, but you still have to fulfill your duties to the guild. We won't kick you out, but we need you to work some."

"I understand. We can pick out a job to do tomorrow, then," Riolu replied, much to Bidoof's surprise. Bidoof merely nodded, and then the pair walked silently to their rooms to sleep for the night.

The next morning, Riolu managed to drag himself out of bed. It appeared that the other guild members were still asleep, so he tiptoed past their rooms to the Job Bulletin Board on the upper floor.

There were many job listings on the board that day, ranging from finding lost items to rescuing other Pokemon. Riolu glanced at the Outlaw Notice Board, which had a few wanted posters, but he thought he should avoid that type of job for a while. Deciding that he wanted to embark on a rescue mission, Riolu browsed the board.

One request from a Pokemon called Pachirisu caught his eye. It read: "Please help! Hoppip is lost somewhere in Oran Forest!" Riolu gently removed the request from the board and stared down at it.

"Someone's up early, I see," called a voice.

Startled, Riolu spun around only to see the Guildmaster himself. He couldn't help but give a faint smile at the sight of the beaming Wigglytuff.

"I figured I'd get a head start," Riolu murmured.

"Glad to see you're willing to go on missions again!" said the Guildmaster.

A fluttering of wings announced Chatot's arrival from his post outside. The other members of the guild began to rouse, as well. It was not long before everyone had gathered in the main room to perform the morning cheer.

After chanting the cheer with mild enthusiasm, Riolu showed the job request to Bidoof.

"I wanted to do a rescue mission today, if that's all right with you," he explained, to which Bidoof nodded.

The duo made their way to Treasure Town to pick up supplies. Strolling through the bright and lively town for the first time in weeks, Riolu smiled and waved at the shopkeepers and townsfolk. The Guildmaster was right; it hadn't been healthy for him to hide away in his room for so long. The fresh air and friendly faces made him feel slightly better.

After they had procured their supplies, Riolu and Bidoof headed east to the outskirts of the town.

"I haven't been dungeon crawling in so long. I hope I won't slow you down," said Riolu.

"And you've defeated how many legendaries?" Bidoof asked.

Riolu began to laugh. Realizing it was genuine, his laughter became uncontrollable.

The trek through Oran Forest was not difficult, as it was a lower-level dungeon. There were a handful of hostile Pokemon to fend off while they searched for the lost Hoppip. Although Bidoof generally seemed like a (lovable) doofus, he could hold his own in a fight. A particularly nasty Starly had used a few Flying-Type moves on Riolu, putting a dent in his health. Bidoof countered for his ally with a solid Headbutt, taking the Starly down.

On the fourth floor, they came across the Hoppip. He cowered in the corner until they explained they were there to help. Holding up their badges, Riolu and Bidoof warped themselves and Hoppip out of the dungeon.

Back at the guild, Pachirisu gave Hoppip a tearful hug.

"I'm so glad you're safe!" she cried. "You shouldn't wander off into dungeons like that, you're too little!" Pachirisu turned toward the rescuers. "Thank you so much!"

"We'll help out any time, yup yup!" Bidoof exclaimed while Riolu nodded and smiled.

As usual, their reward was measly after the guild had taken its dues, but they were still happy to have helped someone. That night, Riolu still had difficulty eating his food, but he ate considerably more than he had the night before.

Lying in his bed, Riolu gazed at the bright full moon that shone through his window. How many times had he stayed up late talking to Mudkip, staring up hopefully at the moon? His heart began to ache once more.

I had a good day, he thought. But at the end of the day, I'm still grieving. It's going to take a long time to heal from this. Still... Now I know that I am capable of smiling, laughing, and feeling joy, even after everything.

Riolu tossed and turned, hoping he would awaken to another good day, in which he could smile and laugh genuinely once more. Before he drifted off to sleep, he had one last thought:

Life goes on.