As Rachel and company kept walking up the side of Mt. Moon, it got somewhat hard to breathe. "Is it the thin air, or are we just tired?" asked Rachel.* * *
"I think we're just tired," said Ken, trying to catch his breath. "We should stop here again," he added, pointing to another cavern.
"Let's sleep outside," suggested Hikaru. "I can tell you about what the stars say."
And so, they camped outside that night, under a starry sky. Ken and Hikaru were outside, watching the stars. "Look at that one," said Hikaru to Ken, pointing north at the Big Dipper. "That one's a giant Ursaring," he explained. "The ancient Romans named it Ursa Major. Now, if you look at those two stars," he said, pointing to the two stars on the far side of the ladle, "they point to a third star on the tail of a constellation that looks like a Teddiursa."
"That star," continued Hikaru, "is called the North Star. At night, sailors use it to tell which way is north."
"What about that one?" asked Ken, pointing to a constellation near the horizon that looked like a W.
"That's Cassiopeia, the Milotic. See how the constellation snakes around like one? There was a story once, of a Milotic that boasted too much of its beauty. She was eventually placed in the sky by order of Kyogre, in a place where she would be upside-down half the time."
"And that one?" Ken pointed to a stream of stars that surrounded the Teddiursa.
"That one's Draco, the Rayquaza."
"Yep," said Hikaru, looking back up.
"One last one," said Ken, pointing directly overhead at one group of stars that looked like a bird, flying overhead. "What's that one?"
"Oh, that one's..." Hikaru's eyes widened. "No way. That can't be..."
"What?" asked Ken. "Is that some other legend that I've missed?"
"You remember Akari? From when we came up the mountain? She told me that if I ever see that constellation, it means trouble is brewing ahead. That's Lugia."
"But isn't that constellation in the night sky all the time? It wouldn't just suddenly appear, would it?"
"It only appears when that central piece, the White Star, appears," noted Hikaru, pointing to the top star. "It's been a hundred years since it last appeared in that exact place."
"Well, whatever trouble it is, we'll just have to face it head-on, no?" said Ken.
"Yep," replied Hikaru.
They slept outside. As Ken and Hikaru were gently snoring, and Suigun's inflatable ring was inflating and deflating, Rachel was turning around in her sleeping bag, unable to sleep. She kept seeing a bright light out of nowhere, even though the moon wasn't even out in the sky.
Finally, after another five minutes of tossing and turning, she got up and sat there, looking at the night sky again. She watched as meteors fell against a backdrop of glowing stars and the moon—hold on a second. There was no moon just a few minutes ago! Where did this one suddenly come from?
She watched as what appeared to be the moon grew in the sky, and started moving a bit. As it grew and grew, she noticed that it started moving faster and faster until it passed almost directly overhead. She looked behind her at the receding ball of light as something suddenly dropped from the air into her hands.
It was a small white glass orb, glowing with some sort of energy. She looked at it – from high, from low, left and right – it was just a ball.
Suddenly, the ball of glowing light disappeared, and a shape like some sort of bird came up. It was no longer glowing, but Rachel could tell that its arms were white.
It flew down to meet Rachel. "You're Lugia, right?" she asked, after she got far away enough from Ken, Hikaru, and Suigun.
"Yes, child," erupted a voice in Rachel's head. The Lugia then turned away for a second, looking for a Berry or something to eat. It found one and started nibbling at it. "Excuse me, Lugia-sama, but why are you here in the first place?" asked Rachel.
"I am here to take your place," said the Lugia simply.
"What do you mean?" asked Rachel.
"You'll find out in due time," replied the Lugia. It flew off onto a mushroom rock, a small ways off in the distance, and started sleeping.
As Rachel watched Lugia sleep, she suddenly rose into the air. "What the...?" she said, as she turned around in midair, trying to figure out where she was. She turned her head, which moved much more than it was supposed to – her neck had gotten longer. Now she was trying to figure out what she was. She tried turning herself upright – and found that she had a blue-and-white tail. She looked left, and right – at her arms, which were now white, flat, and appeared furry.
She tried flapping them, and found that they pushed her up from air resistance. She tried doing a few loop-de-loops in the air, and flew up and away. So this is what it's like to fly...
She flew an entire circle around Japan, looking down at all the cities. She flew above Johto, looking at the valley pass of Blackthorn, the rocky ruins of Alph, the seaside city of Olivine... she found that she could see quite well, even being able to see people sleeping in their rooms. She saw some people look up at her and rub their eyes.
As Rachel flew back to Mt. Moon, she noticed the mushroom rock again. Except that the sleeping Lugia wasn't there anymore – what was there instead was... her.
The next morning, Ken and Hikaru woke up to Suigun trying to say things to them. "Bui-bui bui bui-bui bui buibuibui!" he was saying frantically.
"What happened? Did a Vileplume attack you? Did a Rattata try to come and steal our stuff? What is it?"
"Bui! Bui bui!" Suigun was pointing to Rachel's sleeping bag. He then smacked his forehead. "Boo-whee..." [My god...]
Ken turned to the sleeping bag, and saw that Rachel wasn't in there. "Rachel's missing!"
"Hey guys," said a voice behind them.
"Hey, look, it's Rachel!" said Ken.
"Bui-bui-bui! Bui bui, bui buibui!" said Suigun angrily. He tried to run up to Rachel, but was stopped by her right foot.
"My are we hyperactive today, Suigun," said Rachel. Suigun saw Rachel cast him a piercing glare, and then turn back to Ken and Hikaru.
"So, are we going to climb up?" asked Rachel, who seemed slightly unsure of herself.
"Definitely!" replied Ken. They set off.
* * *
All the while that they kept walking up, Rachel said nothing. Up in the middle of the path, they found a wild Skarmory, eating some berries on a bush that was growing here. Ken stepped up. "I'm catching this one!" he said, excitedly. "Charmander!" he said. "Use Ember on that Skarmory!"
"Char!" The Charmander let out a stream of flaming embers. The Skarmory, however, noticed it out of the corner of its eyes and flew away in panic.
"Don't let it get away, Charmander!" yelled Ken. "Run for... umm..." he noticed then that the Skarmory had flown away off the ledge. It suddenly circled back and flew toward Ken, aiming with its beak.
Ken tried running away, but the Skarmory simply turned in his direction. He ducked just as the bird swooped above him. "Charmander, try using Ember again!"
This time, the embers landed, burning the Skarmory and making it fall in the ground in front of him.
"Alright, Charmander, you've had enough." Ken sent out Denchu next, letting the Charmander simply watch. "Denchu, Thunder Wave, then Thundershock!"
"Pi...ka chuuuuuuuu!" Denchu made the Skarmory twitch in pain as it got shocked and paralyzed. It then fell to the ground in front of them, fainted.
"Great job, Denchu," said Ken as he threw a Pokeball at the Skarmory. It shook once, twice, three times... and stopped.
"Char!" Ken looked once at his Charmander. "What's wrong?"
"Chaaar." Oh, that's what was happening...
Both Ken and Hikaru watched as his Charmander changed into a Charmeleon. He glowed, then a spike grew out of the back of his head, and he grew taller. When the glow faded, his skin was a darker shade of red, and his claws were longer. "Char," said the new Charmeleon. The voice didn't change much – it only deepened a little.
"You know," said Ken. "I should really name you something. You are my starter, after all. It would be wrong to name everyone else but not you." He let out Gamer to decide.
"Poli... wag!" she said, shaking her head. "What's wrong?" asked Ken. "You think he's fine the way he is? How about I name him Blaze or something?"
Gamer promptly slapped Ken on his cheek. "Okay... so that's not a good idea."
"Name him Tokagex," piped up Rachel. "That seems like a better idea."
"Char!" confirmed the Charmeleon happily. Rachel smiled. "Tokagex it is!"
* * *
As they kept climbing up, Suigun's mood got worse and worse. How come he just couldn't tell Ken and Hikaru what was happening?
Finally, they came across a small house. "That's Akari's house," said Hikaru to Ken. "We're at the top of the mountain now."
"You know," said Ken. "Back at the bottom of the mountain, she said she only took two hours to get to the top. How come it's taken us three days?"
"Maybe she has a bird," said Hikaru. "Like you do now." He walked up to the house's door and knocked. An old lady greeted them. "Why, if it isn't Hikaru-kun!" said the lady, surprised. "What brings you up here?"
"My little brother," explained Hikaru, showing her Ken.
"Ah, so the legacy continues. Your brother here," said the old lady, talking to Ken, "was actively challenging the rules of the Pokémon League when he was just thirteen. As Akari-chan tells me, he is the man responsible for quite a few of the rules that are in the Pokémon League today."
"You never told me that!" said Ken to Hikaru. Ken then turned back to the old lady "But how would you know that?" he asked. "Not to be disrespectful, but you live on top of a mountain. I always thought old ladies like kimi-san were secluded old ladies that didn't care much about the world outside."
"Not at all!" said the lady. "I care a lot about the world my little Akari is in, especially when it has to do with Pokémon. You know, Hikaru was responsible for the half-a-trainer's-money limit on payouts. Before that, trainers left and right were being cleaned out."
"Really?" Ken looked at Hikaru like he was an alien. "You did that?"
"Well, not by myself," replied Hikaru sheepishly. "I got support from a lot of trainers and Gym Leaders alike."
"Aw, don't be so modest," said the old lady, slapping Hikaru on the back and sending him crashing to the floor. "It's getting late," she said to Ken, looking at the darkening sky outside. "You'd best stay here for a night."
"Thank you, obasan," said Ken.
* * *
That night, Suigun refused to go near Rachel. "What's wrong?" asked Ken. "I thought you were friends with Rachel."
"Bui bui bui buibui," replied Suigun. Ken couldn't understand him at all, but he knew that something was wrong.
Just then, Rachel piped up again. "I have something to tell you all."
"What is it?" asked Ken.
"It's a prophecy. Kind of a long story, really."
* * *
"46, 47, 48..." Peter was counting his steps. He had heard from some people that every 256 steps he walked, he would meet at least one trainer to fight. Although it was nighttime, he was still eager, and so was his Pokémon. "55, 56, 57, 58, fifty—argh!" A large gust of wind had blown him off the ground, and made him fall face first.
Peter looked up. Something had created that gust of wind. It looked like – a Lugia!
"I must be lucky, then... if that thing flew straight above me, it probably means something!" he said jubilantly, thinking of what he could tell his friends.
He picked up his PokeGear, and snapped a photo of the receding Lugia. "Yes, now I have this to show my friends!" He then smacked his head. "Arrgh, I lost count! Now I need to start over..." he started pacing slowly again, in the direction he was travelling. "One, two, three, four..."
* * *
"Well, now that you've told us that, don't you think we're going to try and avoid it?" asked Ken, after he had heard it. They had gone outside, next to a burning fire.
"And you were the one who told me to face my fears head on..." quipped Hikaru.
"Well, it's reasonable! Not everybody can just barge into a criminal organization's base and say, 'I want this menace to stop, so stop it now!' No, they're just going to laugh at us and throw us right back out."
"Now that my work is done, I must return," said Rachel – or what was originally Rachel, anyway. What they saw there instead was a Lugia. "Farewell, young travellers."
The Lugia flew away without a second thought, leaving Ken and Hikaru wondering where Rachel was.
* * *
It was a moonshiny night out in Pelagos Town – but this town wasn't in any of the four regions, it was just in Japan in general.
And on this moonshiny night, two lovers were out on the beach, walking. "So, how do you like this night, Jane?" asked the man, Carlos.
"It's a lovely night," replied Jane, holding Carlos' hand. Then, out of the corner of Carlos' eye, he saw something fly his way. A huge gust of wind appeared, lifting both of them up a few feet into the air. They crashed into the sand, and Carlos picked up Jane frantically, asking if she was okay.
"I'm fine," said Jane, holding up a thumb. She looked in the direction they were walking in, and saw a white-and-blue bird. She rubbed her eyes, thinking that it might go away. To her surprise, it didn't. Another one of those birds flew down, and met the first just as Carlos walked back up to Jane. "Let's go," said Carlos.
As they left, they didn't see the two Lugia fly away as well.
* * *
"Come inside," said the old lady, looking at Ken and Hikaru watch the stars. "You should get some sleep. Your girl Rachel might not come back for another night. And Akari's not back home either."
As they went inside, Ken was worried. What if Rachel never came back? He went to sleep on that thought, on the guest's bedroom.
* * *
"Hey Ken. Wake up." A hand was prodding Ken's shoulder as he woke up.
"Mmmhh..." Ken's dreams the previous night had wiped away all the stress from worry that had built up that night. "...what time is it?"
"Time to wake up, silly," said the voice, which Ken recognized as Rachel's. "Rachel!" he cried in joy. "You're back!"
"You know something," said the old lady, who had just come into the room. "Not many trainers come up here on the first try. I should give you something before you leave again, for paying us a visit." She left their bedroom for a moment, and came back with a box of candies, handing it to Ken. "For your Pokémon. You should try one too – it's good for your health."
"Thank you very much, obasan," said Hikaru. "We'll be sure to come back again sometime later."
"By the way," said the lady. "If you've forgotten which way is back down, it's to the left if you want to get to Cerulean City."
"Thanks," said Ken, as they took their things and left.
As they left, Spot appeared, and asked the lady where they had headed off to.
* * *
"So, we go left," said Ken, pointing to the left. They looked down, and Ken gulped. They were so high up now that the horizon was curved. He looked down – it was a long, long way to the bottom. Had they really climbed up that far? He looked back, and saw that they weren't even halfway up the mountain. Wow...
Ken overheard Rachel talking to Hikaru. "You wouldn't believe what happened last night," he heard Rachel say. Ken bet he would...
"You should try letting your Skarmory out," said Hikaru. "You know, get it acquainted with you."
"What, Ken has a Skarmory now?" asked Rachel. "Lucky!"
"What? You have a Pidgey," replied Ken. "And a Taillow."
"That Skarmory could fly you down," noted Hikaru. "It doesn't look like you can make it very far down here."
"Alright," said Ken. He brought out a Pokeball, but it was Denchu's Pokeball. "Pika?" he asked Ken.
"No, sorry," said Ken to his Denchu. "I meant to let this guy out," he said, fishing out the Skarmory's Pokeball.
"Kwaaaah!" the Skarmory cried as it was let out. It tried to fly away on its own, but Ken leaped up and grabbed onto its feet. "Where are you going?" he asked.
"Kwaaaah," it replied, as it flapped its wings to try and fly back down. Ken landed on the ground, and so did the Skarmory. "What are you doing?"
"Kwahh," the Skarmory said bluntly.
"You don't like me? Why not?"
"Kwahhh," replied the Skarmory.
"She said, you're a trainer. She hates all trainers," said Rachel, acting as a translator.
"But why? You've never been under one before," protested Ken.
"Kwaahh!" cawed the Skarmory.
"'NO U,'" translated Rachel, making a confused face.
"You know," said Hikaru, bringing out his laptop. "I think this Skarmory will need some more training than usual."
Hikaru typed a few things, opened the transporter, and out came two pieces of thin, wiry rope and a falconer's glove. He handed these to Ken. "What am I supposed to do with these?" asked Ken.
"Put them on," said Hikaru. "More specifically, put the glove on your right hand."
"But this Skarmory isn't anything like a falcon..."
"It still helps," said Hikaru, who flicked his wrist to throw the end of one of the ropes at the Skarmory. It cawed in surprise as a device at the end of the rope wrapped around its right leg. Quickly, Hikaru attached the other end to the falconer's glove.
"You should let out your other Pokémon, too," said Hikaru. "You know, to get the Skarmory used to them."
The Skarmory tried to fly away again, and almost lifted Ken up into the air a second time. But Hikaru held him down. "You're really going to need some grip, hmm..." he noted, as Ken managed to pull the Skarmory back. Ken then reached onto his belt and let out all his Pokémon. "Gamer! Tokagex! You guys're up!"
The Skarmory screeched something again. "Come again?" asked Rachel. "I couldn't hear you."
"'What are you planning to do to me, human?'", relayed Rachel.
"I'm just trying to be friendly," said Ken.
"'If I wanted friendly, I'd go back to the mountain. You know, where I belong.'"
"But I'm your trainer!"
"'Who said I agreed to that?'"
As they kept arguing, the ground started shaking the slightest bit. "Hold up," said Hikaru, tensing up. Rachel, Ken, Hikaru, and even Ken's Skarmory stopped what they were doing. "Something's happening below us."
The ground rumbled one more time, as the sloped ground they were on suddenly gave way. "Rockslide!" shouted Hikaru, as the ground rumbled and they started sliding down.
As they slid, Hikaru tried to reach Ken, while his Skarmory was trying to fly away – but couldn't, because of the wire attaching it to Ken. Tokagex and Gamer, on the other hand, were trying to reach Ken as well, but were slipping and sliding too much to reach him. Ken saw Hikaru, and tried to reach him, but the falling rocks were hitting him and Hikaru too, and they couldn't reach each other. Suddenly, Ken fell onto a ledge and bumped his head on it, blacking out.
* * *
The rocks stopped moving, having piled up onto a ledge. The Skarmory was trying to fly away, but was still trapped by that rope. She flew down to Ken, where that Charmeleon and Poliwag from earlier were standing, looking at his lifeless body. If only she could get herself free...
"What should we do?" asked the Charmeleon.
"I don't know," said the Poliwag. "Hey you!" she called to the Skarmory. "You should come over too, you know. We need to figure out what to do with Ken. He's your trainer as well."
"Pah," scoffed the Skarmory, "What do I want to do with humans?"
"Consider yourself lucky that you're not under a Capture Styler's control," said the Charmeleon. "I hear from Hikaru that those things brainwash you until the Ranger who has it turns it off, and then you don't remember what you were doing for that time. Besides, Ken is my friend, too."
"I wonder what underhanded tricks he did to get you that way..." said the Skarmory, unconvinced.
"Listen," said the Charmeleon. "Ken's a good guy to me. I remember about a month ago when we had just started out. We were barely starters, and I was a puny little Charmander. I couldn't do anything and neither could Ken. But as the days went by, we got to know each other. We battled together. We became stronger. We became friends."
"Sure, he's as stupid as you can probably get," continued the Poliwag. "But that's not his fault. People are just like that. I promise, when you get to know him better, we'll all be good pals."
"Alright, you guys," said the Skarmory. "Let's stop talking and help him first."
* * *
"Hikaru? Ken? Where are you guys?" Rachel found herself in another cavern.
"Bulubulubulubulu," said a voice right next to her. "That was a doozy, alright."
"Suigun!" yelped Rachel. "Where are we?"
"On the inside of Mt. Moon, I'd care to guess."
"Can you get us out? I don't have a pickaxe or anything like that. Here or in my laptop."
"I'll try what I can. Water Gun!"
The stream of water managed to blow away some of the rocks, but more just piled on. "We're going to have to find another way out," declared Rachel, who suddenly noticed that it was strange that there was still light in here, even though they were in a cave. Where was it coming from?
* * *
"Rachel? Ken!" Hikaru was frantic. He had slid further down than anybody, and needed some help. "Fearow!" he yelled, pulling out a Pokeball, and letting out his Fearow. "Can you fly me back up there?"
"Krooooo!" cawed the Fearow, in affirmation. He also knew that they were looking for Ken. Hikaru got on the Fearow's back, and they took off.
As they circled around the face of the mountain, they found Ken's Pokémon, dragging rocks in an attempt to help him. Even the Skarmory was there helping – probably because it was forced to due to that rope, Hikaru thought, with mirthless humour. He landed, and the Skarmory instinctively jumped up to attack him.
"Char! Char man der!" said Tokagex, and the Skarmory turned back. They exchanged a few more words, and the Skarmory stood down, allowing Hikaru to come in and examine Ken. "This doesn't look good..." he said. "We'd better get to the nearest Pokémon Centre, and fast."