Beyond the Legend
There was no mistaking it. Every historical account described Zekrom as a large dragon with a lithe but muscular build, a huge conical tail, and rugged, obsidian scales. No other Pokémon matched that description, which meant Dragon couldn't be seeing anything but the mythological beast. But according to Unovan mythology, Zekrom couldn't possibly be alive in modern times.
The land that would one day make up the Unova region was once tormented by anarchy and constant warfare. It remained in everlasting chaos until a pair of brothers from a faraway kingdom arrived on the back of a Great Dragon. This mighty beast was a complete being with a perfect balance of qualities and power that exceeded human comprehension. Using its inconceivable abilities, the brothers managed to unite the peoples of the land, which led to the foundation of the Unova region.
For many years, the region flourished under the siblings' prestigious rule. Numerous closely-knit cities and towns were established, and the citizens basked in what they thought would be eternal peace. Unfortunately, there came a day when the two brothers began to argue about what they desired in life—the older brother sought truth, and the younger brother sought ideals. Their fights caused the Great Dragon to split apart into two equal but opposite beings, Reshiram and Zekrom.
Reshiram, a dragon as white and pure as truth, sided with the older brother. In turn, Zekrom, an idealistic black dragon, joined the younger brother. The brothers and their draconic companions clashed, but since both dragons were born from the same being, neither could defeat the other. It was declared that neither truth nor ideals were wholly correct.
The issue was set aside, although the two beasts that had spawned from the Great Dragon were unable to recombine. As they were derived from its opposite halves, they fought unendingly and could not unite in an alliance. The Great Dragon had become two separate forces; fire and thunder, white and black, truth and ideals.
The brothers tried their best to maintain their hold on the region, though Unova slowly began to slip into another era of disorder. By the time their sons succeeded them, a civil war ravaged the land. During this period of strife, the entire region was nearly burned to the ground. Many people and Pokémon were lost, and Reshiram and Zekrom's bodies were destroyed prior to the war's resolution.
Upon the conclusion of the war, the monarchy was overthrown and Unova became a republic, which it still is today. Efforts were made to restore the region to its former glory, which were highly successful. Buildings and homes were reconstructed, trees and vegetation were replanted, and people and Pokémon rapidly repopulated.
The dragons were never seen again, and it is commonly debated whether this was for better or for worse. However, there is a legend that the souls of Reshiram and Zekrom live on in the form of stones, and will reemerge in all their former glory upon the rise of a great hero. Due to the popular belief that the reappearance of the dragons would throw Unova into another age of disarray, the stones were supposedly held in protected locations.
In order for what Dragon perceived to be logically correct, a hero would've had to have transpired and revived Zekrom's petrified soul. But if that were true, he was sure we would've heard about it by now. N, the leader of Team Plasma, had taken an interest in the stones for purposes Dragon was unaware of—supposedly, the research trip he was away on concerned them. There was only one possible explanation: what Dragon saw in front of him was a fully transformed Pokémon hybrid.
If this was indeed the case, then Dragon had made an incredible discovery for Team Plasma. Up until then, the grunts had been partaking in a wild goose chase to uncover the location of the hybrids. They had divided themselves up across the entire Unova region, searching every nook and cranny for any sign of them. Dragon had been assigned the land north of Mistralton City, which was pretty insignificant in his book.
Perhaps that had been the traitor scientist's intention. Why would he want to plant himself in a predictable location and have his creations apprehended alongside him? It was a clever plan, although unfortunately for him, it hadn't spared him from his own capture. And now, if Dragon had his way, the hybrids wouldn't be able to escape, either.
The Zekrom was sailing across the sky effortlessly, its wings spread out like a glider. It didn't look like it had a destination in mind; in fact, it appeared to be flying for the sake of amusement. It was soaring in loops, diving towards the ground only to shoot back up into the air as if it was trying to make a show of itself. Dragon found the behavior to be strange.
Ghetsis had said that most of the people used to make hybrids were teenagers, like Dragon. But if I were in that situation, the last thing I'd want to do is draw attention to myself. That settles it; we're dealing with an unobservant simpleton. In that case, it should be easy to catch.
"It's go time, Archeops," Dragon murmured, withdrawing a Poké Ball. He held it out in front of him, releasing a birdlike creature into the air. Brightly covered feathers covered most of its body, ranging from golden yellow to ocean blue. Its bald head, feet, and tail were a soft red. "Krrwweeee," it screeched happily.
Smiling, Dragon reached to pat its head. Archeops closed its eyes and whistled affectionately. Many people thought it was hypocritical for members of Team Plasma to own Pokémon themselves, though in order to enforce their beliefs upon the Unova region, it was completely necessary. But once they had accomplished their goals, they too would release their Pokémon into the wild. In the meantime, Dragon made sure to treat his Archeops as an equal.
That's what trainers insisted they did—they boasted that the foundation of their relationship with Pokémon was friendship. What lies! What kind of person would drag his friend into battle and force him to hurt others, and get hurt himself? A popular claim stated that Pokémon actually enjoyed fighting and battled for the same reason boxers and wrestlers did—but Dragon knew that wasn't true. Pokémon were naturally nonaggressive creatures that fought only if provoked; for example, it wasn't uncommon for wild Pokémon to partake in skirmishes over territory.
"Okay, Archeops. Do you see that black dragon in the sky?" Dragon asked his Pokémon, still stroking its head. The prehistoric bird nodded and let out a quick caw. "All right, that's good. We need to go after it. Can you help me?"
Archeops purred and swooped onto the ground, spreading its wings. "Thank you," Dragon praised as he climbed onto its back. Once he was on, Archeops cried loudly and took off into the air. Dragon hugged his arms around its neck as it gained elevation and shot towards the Zekrom. With its back turned to Archeops and the grunt, the hulking black Pokémon wasn't aware of their presence. Perfect. Dragon grinned in satisfaction.
Archeops slowed as they began to near the dragon. The feathered creature turned its head to look at its trainer expectantly. "Here's the plan," Dragon whispered to it. "I'm not exactly sure how we're gonna go about capturing it, but first we should probably have it grounded. So, I was thinking you could use DragonBreath and aim for its wings. Can you do that?"
Archeops dipped its head and flew a little closer to the Zekrom. Once it was directly behind it, it gaped and exhaled a ray of pink fire. It swung its head from side to side, the flames dancing along with its movements.
The Zekrom roared in pain and surprise as Archeops's fiery breath scorched its wings. It looked over its shoulder and flinched at the sight of the Pokémon and the boy on its back. The dragon hauled itself around and pulled its body upright, its wings apparently still fit for flight.
"Keep going, Archeops!" Dragon encouraged boldly. Archeops shrieked and let loose another fierce DragonBreath. The Zekrom attempted to dive down and avoid it, but in its new position it wasn't able to move in time. The bright magenta buffeted its wings, and it threw back its head and screamed in agony.
It hurt Dragon a bit to see that the Zekrom was in pain, but he tried to convince himself that the creature before him wasn't a Pokémon at all. It was a genetically altered being; something that wasn't supposed to exist outside of science fiction stories. He told himself that if it wasn't dealt with, in the end more people and Pokémon would get hurt. Ghetsis said that the hybrids were violent and unstable beasts that were prone to attacking anything at anytime, but this hybrid wasn't doing anything to defend itself even though it was attacked first.
The Zekrom helplessly struggled to flap its wings, which were badly charred. It was slowly beginning to lose elevation, just like Dragon had wanted. "How about a Rock Slide to finish the job, Archeops?" he suggested.
"Krrreeeee," Archeops replied. It let out a shriek, and suddenly large boulders rained down upon the Zekrom. The hybrid made a pitiful little noise that resembled a squeak before it was hammered by the heavy rocks.
Dragon watched as the rocks, along with the beast, plummeted towards the earth. "Bull's-eye," he chimed, scratching under Archeops's chin. The birdlike creature purred happily. "Now, let's land and see what we can do."
Archeops descended and landed on the ground close to where the Zekrom had fallen. Dragon hopped off its back and stepped over to the hybrid. Archeops rose into the air again and curiously followed the grunt.
The Zekrom was on its back, and boulders were strewn around its body. A large rock had landed on one of its wings, which had already been injured by Archeops's DragonBreath. Its eyes were closed and its teeth were exposed in a grimace. It seemed to be unconscious.
Dragon turned to Archeops. "Well," he began, "any ideas on how we should haul this seven hundred-something pound dragon back to headquarters?"