The Quest for the Legends, ilcoeth revision

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  1. #1
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Default The Quest for the Legends, ilcoeth revision

    NOTES:

    1: I am aware that this fic has an extremely bad title. Don't remind me. I'm just so weird that I can't change things, so it's still named the same thing as it was when it was an extremely bad trainer fic with no plot. Just look past it.

    2: You may notice that I said trainer fic, and yes, I know nobody likes trainer fics and yada yada yada, but the trainer fic theme is NOT the main plot, and it DOES have twists all over it so you don't have to leave.

    3: It has... LEVELS! *half of potential readers leave* But the way I've implemented them does make sense and stuff. Just wait until Extra II, which will explain it all. I assure you that it's very logical.

    4: "Ilcoeth revision" means that this is the I've-Lost-Count-Of-'Em-th revision. That's actually a lie because I have kept very carefully count of them; it's the seventh, and is absolutely exclusive apart from having been posted at Pokémon Dimension Network (where one person replied, so I kinda gave up on that). Read it before sometime? Perhaps a version called UMR? This is totally different. So yeah...

    5: Each chapter has its own rating, because they vary very much in their content. Also, it's a detailed rating, not just a PG or G or something. Well, you'll see it in a paragraph or two...


    Given that, the fic can finally start.






    -------
    RATING

    Violence: None, but the whole thing is aftermath of violence.

    Gore: A bit. Well... quite a bit.

    Sexuality: None at all.

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing special.
    ------



    Prologue

    The flaming remains of a town burned sadly in the sharp wind. On the singed ground lay bodies.

    Humans, mostly. The plant-less soil was littered with them. Dry blood colored it dark red. Most of them were pretty much in one piece; a few were still weakly breathing although they would certainly never wake up again without medical aid.

    There were also several virtually torn apart corpses. They were not of humans. It was like a supernatural being had swept past with the sole intention of killing those but its mere presence had made everything else drop dead too.

    The mutilated ones were powerful creatures known as Legendary Pokémon. There were twelve or so dead Legendary Pokémon in these former streets in total – although admittedly, only two of them were not in bloody bits with their guts spread around.

    Both had somewhat catlike shapes. One had blood-stained whitish-pink fur; it was rather simple-looking, with stubs for ears, small front paws but large, rabbit-like back legs, and a long, thin tail ending in an oval shape.

    The other one looked a bit similar to the pink one, but a lot larger; it was whitish gray with a deep violet, muscular tail; it narrowed towards the similar oval on the tail end. The ears were smaller in comparison to the head and more pointed than the pink one’s. The overall shape of the body was more human; it had long, bony arms with three ball-like fingers although the legs were more like a kangaroo’s. It had a large, bleeding wound in the middle of its chest.

    The pink one stirred. It was still breathing. The life slowly returned to the little body. A leg twitched. Soon enough, its eyes opened.

    “Mew?”

    The small creature rose up and stared wide-eyed at the destruction.

    The Legendary Pokémon levitated a meter or so into the air as its big, innocent-looking sapphire blue eyes fearfully scanned the area.

    Then it stopped, kicked the air with both legs and darted towards the place it was staring at.

    Terrified, the Legendary looked upon a black, feline-like head. It had likely belonged to a Legendary Pokémon the size of a leopard or so. Two neon green stripes pointed downwards from the top of its head. The same green shade was also on six long spikes which sprouted from the back of its head, three on each side, and on two slash-like markings on either side of the muzzle. The left eye socket was empty; what had been the right eyeball was now merely a torn, bloody mess.

    The pink Legend’s disbelieving eyes stared at the severed head in horror.

    “Chalenor!” sounded a desperate telepathic scream. But nobody was around to hear it.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 19th August 2004 at 07:00 AM.

  2. #2
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Interesting. Although I'd up the gore rating...

    I wonder what will happen to the world. After all, as we learned from the second movie, at least the Birds are in alignment...

  3. #3
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Admittedly, the fic itself is set a while after the prologue and you're going to wait a while before finding out what happened in between or what was going on there. It's just a snap of the real plot to make readers curious.

    Anyway, this fic has little thingies called "Extras" which are anything that's not a part of the story but rather background information, in-depth explanations of things, flashbacks, etc., basically whatever that is not a part of the main storyline, something that a reader can technically skip because the information in them is just fun stuff people might like knowing. Some of it *could* have been implemented into the fic itself, but you know, I used to write this fic with the characters reading posters and stuff with this kind of information, and it just disrupted the storyline while readers didn't even have to know it, so they're better off in Extras. You might have noticed that I mentioned Extra II in the notes; it's Extra I now. It's background information, so no rating.




    ----EXTRA I----

    Chalenor

    Chalenor, despite being dead, plays a rather important part in the story in a special way I won’t spoil. Therefore, he deserves his own little piece of background info. Besides, of course, that he’s veeeery interesting.

    Chalenor’s head has been described, but you can find his full-body picture here (the neck is too long).

    Chalenor was the most powerful Legendary Pokémon before the events leading to the rather depressing beginning of this fic. His power lies in his eyes. They have the power to blow up or kill (depending on whether it is an inanimate object or a living creature) whatever they are pointed at. His own eyelids are the only solid matter that can withstand the power (a strong Pokémon’s defense shield can do it too, though), and therefore he must keep his eyes closed in order not to destroy everything he looks at. The eyelids work as a filter, rather than a block: when they’re down, they stop the destructive power, but let special harmless radiation (which the eyes also emit) through, which is what allows Chalenor to see his surroundings plus through walls, metals or even the Earth’s core itself depending on what he wishes to see (meaning, basically, that from any point of the planet, he can see anything on it). On the other hand, when they’re open, Chalenor is blind because not even the echo of his own sight rays withstands the power of his open eyes.

    Chalenor, however, always keeps his eyes closed, not using them as weapons, due to being the Guardian of Life. Why the Guardian of Life can perform “Death stare”? You’ll see…

    Chalenor is a Dark/Psychic type (yes, despite being the Guardian of Life, he’s a Dark type; another thing you’ll see later), and in order from highest to lowest, his stats go: Special attack, Speed, Attack, Special defense, HP, Defense (oh, there I go with the gameboy stats again). The most interesting thing about him, however, is probably those neon green parts mentioned especially in the prologue.

    They actually aren’t always neon green. Those who know HTML will know how the hex color codes work, right? Well, their color works exactly like that.

    For people who don’t know how the hex color codes work, a quick explanation: There are three base colors, red, green and blue. The value for each color can be up to 255. 0 of all the colors makes black, 255 for all of them makes white (basically, the higher the total value is, the lighter the color is). Red and green mixed make yellow, otherwise everything about the blending works the same as you should have been taught in Art class sometime.

    For Chalenor, red stands for anger, blue stands for sadness, and green stands for being nervous, desperate, uneasy, hyper, etc., basically not being calm. Just like they mix into Chalenor’s mood at a given moment, the color on Chalenor’s green parts (well, green on the picture, even though he does look very content on it) change accordingly. I’ll leave it up to you to try to figure out why they were green when he was dead.

    Chalenor is pronounced CHA-leh-nor.

    Yeah, that’s it for what I can say without spoiling…



    (By the way, I know what you're thinking, a super-powerful Pokémon to be caught by the trainer, since it's a part-trainer fic, but NO, Chalenor is dead and is staying dead. And the last thing he would do would be starting to obey a human, he has much better things to do than battling for some kid. Actually, he never battles at all because he's the Guardian of Life, so... well, that's out of the picture. Don't worry.)

  4. #4
    Ya, ok. FalconriderX's Avatar
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    Wow, great story so far. Though gorey, its very nice. I really like your drawing of Chalenor, too!
    /\\\

  5. #5
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Chapter 1 time, then... OK, don't be surprised that the prologue doesn't appear to have anything to do with it - the fic is kinda slow-starting. The prologue was a sneak peek at the plot, which you won't find out anything about for a LOOONG while. Don't worry, though, I assure you that I'll keep you entertained with plot twists until then.

    By the way, the reason I'm posting them so quickly is that I'm waiting for one reply to each chapter/extra before posting the next. I'm currently doing the ilcoeth revision of chapter five.




    -------
    RATING

    Violence: None.

    Gore: None.

    Sexuality: None.

    Profanity: Nothing real. Just one occurrance of “butt”, if you're going to be really picky.

    Other: Nothing special.
    -------





    Chapter 1: The Pokémon on the Road

    Exactly 999 years later, it was a beautiful morning in the town of Sailance, North-West Ouen.

    The trees’ branches swayed gently in the soft breeze, providing a constant, quiet rustle. The sun was rising, coloring the sky in a glorious, vibrant red. The air was comfortably warm and fresh. The only thing the scenery lacked was birdsong. That was also the only part of it that Mark Greenlet even remotely cared about.

    He was short, thin, dark-haired, and currently on the way to school. A year ago, he would’ve been with his best friend Alex, chatting and feeling good. Now, Alex was probably somewhere with his Totodile having fun, while Mark was home in Sailance, walking alone, quiet and feeling miserable.

    Mark’s parents were over-protective. There was no question about that. Almost all the other kids had been taken to Green town last year to receive a Pokémon from Ash Ketchum. Out of the ones left, Mark was the only one who had been looking forward to it for his whole life, only to have his parents tell him that it was too dangerous. What did they know, anyway – they had never been trainers and had lived in North-West Ouen for their whole lives.

    The problem was that North-West Ouen had no Pokémon in it, for some reason that Pokémon experts had always debated about. The people who lived there were all lawyers or other rich people who wanted a life in peace without Pokémon and little kids asking them for a battle all day. And if there was anything that people who had lived there for more than thirty years did not understand, it was the concept of Pokémon training. Mark’s parents kept pointing out to him the possibility of getting a ‘real’ job. A programmer? How about a professional artist, since you draw so well? They would ask questions like that every time he mentioned that he wanted a Pokémon of his own, and were absolutely incapable of understanding how he felt when all his classmates and friends left.

    Mark walked into the school building. He hated it, especially the prison-like outwards appearance and that dull, lifeless, rock-gray color of it. Mark loved living things; he had since he was little, and likewise hated cold rock because it was so lifeless. The corridors were even duller, even grayer and even more lifeless, which only added to the depressing feeling of the whole building. To top it all, all the students were snappy and irritated, usually because they wanted to train Pokémon, and the teachers were all snappy and irritated too, simply because of what the whole environment was like.

    Mark’s first lesson on Thursdays was Battling Strategies, a branch of Pokémonology. He sighed as he sat down in front of the classroom. What a waste of time for somebody like him who was never going to get to train Pokémon anyway. Besides, whether it was because of his rather negative opinion on the classes or because he would rather spend them drawing on the back of his school papers, he was completely lousy at Pokémonology. For tests, he desperately sank himself into the textbook and sure enough, he managed to learn the bits of the text he found the most interesting pretty well. The problem was that they always asked about the most boring and uninteresting things, such as the level at which one Pokémon approximately evolved into another. This just made him despise Pokémonology even more.

    He preferred Pokémon Communication classes by far – ‘Pokémonish’, as they were usually referred to in everyday speech. He was much better at languages than learning things by heart, besides finding Pokémon’s language very interesting in general. Those few things in Pokémonology that had sunk in over the years mostly had something to do with this remarkable language of syllables, bodily expressions and voice tones anyway.

    One of the very best things in Pokémonish, also, was that in exams, live Pokémon were brought to classes and the kids got one Pokémon each to stage a normal casual chat with. At the end of the class, the Pokémon each gave the teacher a report on how well the students handled the conversation. Mark always got top grades for that; most of the students couldn’t talk nearly as well to Pokémon as he could, and he was rather proud of that. He remembered the test last year where he had discussed Pokémon rights with a Vulpix. He smiled faintly at the thought; it was probably one of the best memories of his life. The two of them had had so much in common, and they had ended up in an exciting discussion about Pokémon rights that went way past the time the exam was supposed to take. The teacher had been forced to recall the Vulpix into his Pokéball in order to get Mark to leave the classroom. Since then, Mark had been daydreaming about one day sneaking out to Green town on his own account and getting a Vulpix for a starter Pokémon; it was now his very favorite basic unevolved Pokémon.

    But the class he probably enjoyed the most was Art. His Pokémon pictures received really positive comments by Miss Taintor, who was a professional Pokémon artist after all. She was the type of person that was always honest and all but afraid of telling somebody basically that their pictures sucked, but she mysteriously managed not to sound mean, however bad she thought the picture was. Mark was weird when it came to criticism; he subconsciously hated being criticized at all by other people, even if he completely agreed. That wasn’t too bad, though; it had caused him to suddenly decide to draw all day during the summer when he turned nine. When Miss Taintor saw his art in fourth grade, she had said, as he still remembered word for word: “Very big improvement, young man – if there were more students with determination like you in this stupid school, I’d be out of a job.” Probably another one of his very best memories – being congratulated by a harsh critic felt a lot better than the constant compliments from his parents and relatives who always pretended that everything he did was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and hearing a teacher call the school stupid just made him feel all nice. After that incident, he had started to appreciate constructive criticism – he still didn’t technically like it, but it definitely helped.

    He was pulled out of his thoughts by the sound of the bell ringing – the class was starting. Mark hated that sound; it hurt his ears. To his opinion, it should just be about as loud as the beep of his digital watch – at least everybody in the classroom heard quite clearly when it rang, and not even his own ears considered the noise too loud.

    At least, he heavily stood up, groaned, and got in line with the only kids in sixth grade who weren’t out training Pokémon. Mrs. Grodski, who taught Pokémonology, was a very grumpy old lady who wore the biggest glasses Mark had ever seen, spoke through her overly large nose and had developed a strong hatred for Mark for some reason he had never understood.

    “Good morning, class,” she said sternly as everybody had taken their places standing behind their chairs.

    “Good morning, Mrs. Grodski,” the class mumbled, apart from Mark, who said his usual “Good morning, Mrs. Grumpy.” He knew it was safe; it drowned completely in the rest of the class’s murmurs.

    “Today,” Mrs. Grodski announced with a frown at how tired all the kids sounded, “we will be studying up on recoil attacks. Sit down and turn to page forty-two, please.”

    Mark sighed and opened his book as Mrs. Grodski watched him carefully, but as soon as she began reading aloud from the textbook, he silently took out his binder and started to draw a Lugia on the back of an English assignment. It was his favorite Pokémon; he drew it all the time. Articuno, his other favorite, was a bit trickier for him to draw, but that didn’t make him like it any less. He loved all Legendary Pokémon. In fact, he was utterly obsessed with them. He had been fascinated by those ultimate beings of the world since he was little.

    “And just what do you think you’re doing, Mr. Greenlet?” Mrs. Grodski’s voice snapped. He looked slowly up from his Lugia, partially covering it with his hand. Mark had a hard time hiding his laughter behind an innocent expression.

    “I believe I’m drawing, Mrs. Grodski, unless I’m very much mistaken,” he said in a sarcastically polite voice. There were some snickers from behind.

    “Quiet!” the teacher screeched. “And stop scribbling on your papers, least of all in my class!”

    Mark grimaced at her as she returned to her desk, and made the textbook stand open on the table, shielding the binder and making him look like he was actually reading.

    -------

    Finally, the day was over. The sky was now slowly getting covered with depressing clouds. Mark went to play soccer with the fifth graders as usual, not really concentrating.

    It was early May. May was something that Mark subconsciously connected to the bad knot in his stomach that formed every year as he watched all the lucky ten-year-olds drive away for Green town at the end of the month to get a Pokémon. The kids he was with now would probably all leave on an adventurous Pokémon journey soon while he would be left at home, standing at some street corner and drawing the city with imaginary Rattata poking out of the dustbins, Taillow singing in the trees and maybe a lone Meowth staring hungrily at them from below.

    The ball came flying towards him and he kicked it away very hard, not bothering to aim anywhere. Stupid Pokémon! Why couldn’t they just get their butts over to North-West Ouen!

    Mark felt all the unfairness of the situation turn to liquid form behind his eyes.

    Oh, no, you don’t, you’re staying in there, he ordered, screwing his eyes shut for a second and opening them again. He felt a strong urge to be alone.

    He ended up leaving the game and going home to sulk.

    It was now gray and gloomy, fitting Mark’s mood perfectly; the clouds were thickening up and it would likely start raining soon. He quickened his pace as he turned down his home street. When he was just about to cross it, he heard something. Something that came from the bushes his back was currently turned to.

    He jumped, twisting around immediately. Dead quiet, he waited for a few seconds. Then it happened again – a branch moved and a twig cracked.

    Very slowly and carefully, his heart beating like a drum in his chest, he stepped up to the bush and pulled the branches apart. To his great disappointment, there was nothing there at all. Such a shame, he had been hoping he had found the first Pokémon of North-West Ouen… maybe a Vulpix. He grinned at the thought, but then shook his head.

    “Come on,” he said to himself, “stop dreaming…”

    He ran across the street. It was starting to rain.

    -------

    After a very normal, quiet dinner with his parents while watching Bravo Trainer, he sat down in the sofa in the living room, and stared outside through the blurry, wet glass in the window facing the street.

    He stopped dead.

    There was definitely something moving out there. Something… reddish?

    The word “Vulpix” instantly crossed his mind, although he knew it was ridiculous to assume that the Pokémon of his dreams had suddenly appeared in front of his house. Mark leapt to the front door, into his boots and pulled the door open. There was indeed a Pokémon there, but it wasn’t a Vulpix.

    It was an orange, cute-looking bipedal lizard; one of those he had used to point at in picture books when he was little, announcing that it was a Fire-type in order to make his parents nod appreciatively and tell him he was really smart remembering it all.

    But this was a real, living Charmander, not a picture in a book, and this fact made the Pokémon seem scary and foreign. It was lying limply on the middle of the road, and the flame that was supposed to be on the tip of its tail was merely a small, bright glow. That was still enough to indicate that it was still alive.

    At first, Mark just stood there like a cow, staring, but then he was knocked to his senses by the sound of a car. He ran out onto the road, picked up the Pokémon and hurried inside with it, already soaked wet by the downpour.

    Mark slammed the door shut and started fanning the Charmander’s tail flame stupidly with his hand in order to revive it, with little success.

    “Mom! I – I found a Charmander on the road!” he panted.

    “Really?” sounded his mother’s voice absent-mindedly from upstairs. “Very nice, but why don’t you just go into your room, dear?”

    “Parents,” Mark hissed at nobody but himself and the unconscious Pokémon in his arms. Then he yelled: “Aren’t you listening? I FOUND A FREAKING CHARMANDER!”

    He heard his mother, clearly thinking this was some kind of a game, sigh and stand up before coming down the stairs with red, tired eyes and a cup of coffee in her hands.

    Crash! She dropped the cup and it fell to the floor, shattering to a thousand pieces and spilling coffee all over.

    “Wha - what is that thing?” she then squeaked, sounding like this was the first time she saw a Pokémon close-up, which is probably was.

    “It’s a Charmander!” Mark snapped. “A Pokémon! And it’s dying!”

    “Oh God!” she uttered out, speechless. “John!”

    “Not now,” Mark’s father mumbled from upstairs, sounding half-asleep. She dug her fingers deep into her curly mess of blond hair, repeating “Oh, what can we do? What can we do?” in a panicky voice.

    Mark rolled his eyes, sighed and started waving his hand again in attempts to get the Charmander’s flame burning properly again. Slowly as the tail tip dried, the flame was restored. Mark breathed in relief; half because the Charmander was saved, half because his hand was getting stiff from all the fanning.

    “Is… is it okay?” his mother asked carefully as Mark shook his entire arm to loosen the hand muscles.

    “Yeah,” he said and smiled. “But I think it needs rest. Er… I guess you should go and get some old cloth so I can put it in my bed, otherwise it’ll burn the house down.”

    His mother went back upstairs and got some old clothes of Mark he didn’t fit into anymore. He took them to his bedroom and placed them in the corner of his bed, laying the Charmander gently on top of them. The tail flame burned peacefully. Mark wondered who originally had the idea of making clothes flame-proof; it had always seemed very pointless to him, but now it sure came in handy.

    He picked up the book about the Johto Legendary Pokémon on his desk and started to read, keeping an eye on the lizard. He was starting to calm down and think reasonably. Of course, this Charmander wasn’t wild. It obviously was trained. Charmander were very rare Pokémon from Kanto, how would one suddenly be in Ouen, let alone the North-West part? Its trainer was probably looking for it. Maybe he’d get a reward for finding it? Or maybe, just maybe… it had been released on purpose?

    Mark grinned, looking forward to next morning.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 19th August 2004 at 03:33 PM.

  6. #6
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Meh, I guess I can post Extra II now; I've finished Ilcoing chapter five. Background information, so no rating...




    ---EXTRA II---

    Wait a minute… levels?

    “The problem was that they always asked about the most boring and uninteresting things, such as the level at which one Pokémon approximately evolved into another.” – Chapter 1

    Level?

    Hey, levels don’t exist! Oh darn, this is going to be another one of those fics with battles that are exactly like in the game… *stops reading*


    If you’re thinking something like that, hey, hey, hey, not so fast. I’ve been criticized so much for having levels in it that I was forced to make a whole extra explaining why I have them in.

    OK, just if you were wondering, this fic does not portray Pokémon as digital creatures of some sort, lines of code, whose powers consist of calculated numbers. Not at all. The Pokémon in it are very much living creatures and can definitely not be explained in a few numbers.

    You all know what an IQ is, right? Human intelligence doesn’t really consist of a number, but it is measured in a number.

    In my fics, Pokémon stats and levels are ‘IQs’; that is, they don’t actually consist of a number, but are scientifically measured in numbers for convenience. Base stats are averages, created to compare the different species of Pokémon in their power. Not absolutely accurately, of course – but they can at least tell you that a Dragonite is much more powerful than a Caterpie. That does not mean, however, that a clever, determined Caterpie can’t defeat a Dragonite with some strategy; basically, I don’t just make the ‘stronger’ Pokémon win.

    The stats all measure different things. Speed measures reflexes and speed, however the Pokémon is fastest; Swellow’s Speed is measured in how fast it can fly, but Doduo’s in how fast it can run. Attack measures a Pokémon’s muscles; basically physical strength. Special attack measures the power of the Pokémon’s elemental attacks (such as how hot the flames the Pokémon can breathe are, how many volts the electric charge it can give off is, etc.). Defense measures how well the Pokémon’s body is built to absorb physical attacks; a Pokémon with high Defense will feel less pain when punched than a Pokémon with low Defense, assuming, of course, that neither has a weakness to the punch. Same with Special defense, except for special attacks. Finally, HP measures how much pain a Pokémon can take before fainting.

    IVs represent the differences between individuals. Effort values stand for how adept the Pokémon is at using a specific aspect of its power.

    Finally, attacks and evolution. You may have noticed the “approximately” in there. Well, I believe the exact timing of learning attacks or evolving is individual-based, but again it’s an average; at least most Mareep will need less training in order to evolve than the average Dratini.

    If the implementation of these things still bothers you, I’m afraid I’m keeping them in whether you like it or not, so just try to accept them, OK?

  7. #7
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    It doesn't bother me. Hey, they even had 'levels' on the show once.

  8. #8
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    I know, it was "The School of Hard Knocks", but people like saying it was just an "error" or a quick "mistake" without much thought (trust me, I've seen it) so I decided not to be lengthening it by actually mentioning that but rather just go straight to the explanation of why it makes sense.




    -------
    RATING

    Violence: It talks about fighting, but it isn't even described.

    Gore: None.

    Sexuality: None...

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing special.
    -------




    Chapter 2: The Legends

    When Mark woke up, the Charmander was still asleep, but this time curled up with the tail flame burning peacefully beside its head. Mark carefully placed his hand onto the Pokémon’s back. It was warm and breathed normally. He gave a faint smile, quickly dressed and then tiptoed into the kitchen, where he was greeted by his parents’ serious faces and folded arms.

    “Mark,” his father sighed, “we need to talk.”

    -------

    “Why not??” Mark shouted across the table, crushing his cornflakes violently. He couldn’t help noticing that despite his parents being very much unlike each other in outwards appearance – his father having black hair and being short just like him, but his mother a tall, thin blonde with big, toadlike eyes – they managed to look remarkably similar when they were both of the same mind.

    “It’s very simple, Mark; it’s dangerous out there,” his father sighed.

    “So what? I’d have a Pokémon for my protection!” Mark said eagerly.

    His mother said quietly: “But what if your Pokémon turns against you?”

    “That… that… just… doesn’t happen!” Mark said lamely. In fact, he had no idea, but he would soon learn it, if only they would stop getting in his way.

    “Are you sure?” his mother asked kindly.

    “Well, no, not really, but…”

    “See, we just want to keep you safe,” she said in a voice Mark recognized as the one she used when she was trying to be convincing. Needless to say, Mark had grown completely oblivious to it over these eleven years.

    “But, oh, mom…”

    “Besides,” his father interrupted, “we’ve yet to check all the reported lost Pokémon.”

    Mark didn’t say anything; he was aware of that, but he was still hoping somebody had released the Charmander on purpose. Meanwhile, his father stood slowly up, not taking his eyes off Mark, went to the computer in the corner (which was mainly used to find recipes online) and typed ‘http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/www.lostandfound.com’ into the address bar. Mark quickly jumped to read over his shoulder as he searched for ‘Charmander’.

    A broad grin spread through Mark’s face as the results appeared: Two lost Charmander, both of them in Kanto.

    His father sighed. “That does not mean you’re about to go on a journey.”

    Mark was going to protest, but was interrupted by a sound:

    “Char?”

    The little lizard carefully stepped into the kitchen and looked curiously around.

    “Oh, it’s awake,” Mark’s father groaned.

    “I’m not an ‘it’!” said the Charmander in an offended voice, at least if Mark’s knowledge of Pokémonish was as accurate as ever. The Pokémon’s voice, though rather high-pitched on human scale, was clearly masculine.

    Mark turned to his father with and said in a scolding tone: “He’s a he, dad. Should I have said ‘Oh, it’s awake’ when I came in here and saw you?”

    Charmander looked confused and asked: “What’s going on?”

    “We’re arguing over whether you will go psycho and kill me,” said Mark and shot a ‘what-weirdoes-those-adults-can-be’ look back at his parents. Charmander raised an eyebrow.

    “Look, hon, that’s not quite the way we put it,” Mark’s mother began in an apologetic tone, but Charmander interrupted loudly:

    “What am I doing here, anyway?”

    “Er,” was all Mark’s father said.

    “I brought you in here when you fell unconscious on the road in the rain yesterday,” said Mark, leaning down to Charmander’s level. “And the reason we’re arguing is that I was… uh… wondering…” Suddenly he felt like abandoning the idea; it was ridiculous to tell a Pokémon that you were going to be its trainer, just because that was what you wanted.

    “If you can be my trainer?” Charmander finished for him, sensing that Mark wasn’t about to continue. Mark nodded; the Pokémon smiled. “Sure, why not, since you saved me and all… I need a new trainer anyway…”

    “What’s your name?” Mark immediately asked, feeling comfortably warm and light.

    “I don’t really have one, just call me Charmander,” he answered cheerfully. Both of them looked hopefully up at Mark’s parents, wearing the broadest grins they could manage.

    “No way,” said his father, folding his arms. Charmander’s expression dropped.

    “Maybe I should just leave, then,” he said, turning around.

    “No, wait… you can stay here! Just as a pet! Or whatever!” Mark’s father called after him, not wanting to send the poor thing out to die in the next downpour. Charmander turned slowly back to them.

    “Do you trust me more here than out there?”

    “It’s just that...” Mark’s father started, but his wife interrupted:

    “You can’t deny that there are dangerous Pokémon out there – and you’re too small to handle them if they do attack.”

    “But they’re usually nowhere near Sailance!” Mark argued.

    “Usually,” his father emphasized.

    Charmander couldn’t think of anything to say – it looked like his and Mark’s silent plan wasn’t working.

    Yet.

    -------

    For a few days, Charmander was Mark’s pet. They had a really fun time – always went to bed very early, but set Mark’s digital watch to beep at two AM or so, and then in the dark bedroom with Charmander’s tail flame as the only light source, they discussed ways to get out on a journey. Just for fun, they started imagining this was the dungeon in the castle of two evil lords who kept them imprisoned, inventing loads of ideas of how to escape, each more absurd than the other.

    “I think we must use our cunningness for this,” Mark whispered, leaning closer to Charmander. “You will set the castle on fire and while they burn, we will run and tell the world of their dictatorship so that peace can reign in Ouen again.”

    They both snickered.

    “Hey, Mark…” said Charmander thoughtfully, “I think I have an idea. No, not that kind of an idea, a real idea…”

    -------

    Mark walked into the kitchen in the morning, his face expressionless.

    “I don’t want breakfast, mom,” he said gloomily. “I just came to say goodbye.”

    “What?”

    “I’m gonna kill myself.”

    Crash. Another cup went to waste. His mother’s expression was so priceless he almost burst out laughing, but he had to keep the depressed-and-tired-of-life face.

    “No, you’re not!” she screeched.

    “It’s just… my friends are all gone,” he went on.

    “But how do we fix that, dear?” she asked in a worried tone.

    “I just wish I could go and meet up with them, on my own journey.” Mark immediately realized that the smile that followed was far too hopeful. And too un-depressed. His mother sighed.

    “You’re not funny, Mark. I mean… do you even have any idea how much that cup cost?”

    “A lot, if I know you correctly,” Mark muttered, well aware that the cup was just a random thing she turned her attention to because she had been very upset. Neither of them said anything for a while, until his mother sighed again.

    “Are you that desperate to go on that journey of yours?”

    “Of course I am!” Mark replied, his expression brightening up. “Mom, Charmander and I have been secretly thinking up plans at night! We’ve been imagining you’re evil dictators keeping us inside a dungeon and planning our escape in the middle of the night!”

    “And,” said Charmander’s threatening voice as the lizard Pokémon entered the room, “we will do that every night from now on and there’s no way for you to stop us.”

    Mark’s mother got a weird expression halfway between a smile and a hopeless look, and then said: “You’re incredible, boys – I think there’s no way to keep you in here for very long before you think of a way to force us to.”

    “YES!” Charmander shouted.

    “WHOOOOO!!!!” Mark yelled, giving his Pokémon a high five. He hugged his mother tightly.

    “Thanks, mom.”

    She just hugged him back, tears in her eyes.

    -------

    Things were being packed into an old red and blue backpack that looked like it could burst at any time. Mark’s father was not happy, but he had ended up giving in to his wife, who was suddenly all for it. Mark and Charmander bounced around the house in a wild celebration-dance. He got a nice sum of money to buy things for. Finally, he set off with Charmander by his side.

    “Bye dad! Bye mom! I promise I won’t get myself killed!” Mark’s mother smiled through the tears as he waved. Then he turned and started running.

    The Gyms in Ouen had been arranged so that the recommended first Gym was in Cleanwater city, a big one which was conveniently not that far from Sailance, then went in a spiral inwards until the last gym was in Acaria city in the heart of the continent. Cleanwater was near the edge of the Pokémon-inhabited part of Ouen, built near a mysterious lake which was famous for being so clear that the bottom was always visible in details, despite being the second-deepest lake in the whole of Ouen. It was therefore called “The Lake of Purity”.

    But Mark was not headed to Cleanwater city yet. He was going to the Sailance Library to get Pokémon Training for Dummies.

    Mark, despite all his interest in Pokémon, was a rookie when it came to Pokémon training. He knew how it worked, of course, and the rules of the Pokémon League, but he didn’t really know much about how to get started, what he’d have to do. His parents didn’t either seeing as they had never been trainers, so they had advised him to go to the library. Technically Mark didn’t know if a book by that name existed, but it had to exist, right?

    The library was a huge, bright white building in the middle of the town. The walls were decorated with carvings of various Pokémon; Mark’s favorite was located over the door and was of a big Articuno flying to the left, its tail swishing behind it and looking amazingly alive. As always when Mark entered the library, he gave a small bow in respect for the magnificent bird. The automatic door slowly slid open before him, and he prepared to walk inside when he remembered that Pokémon weren’t allowed in the library.

    “Sorry, Charmander, you’ll have to wait outside,” he said guiltily. “I won’t be long.”

    “It’s okay, I’ll just wait,” said Charmander, smiling. “It’s not like anybody could steal me without getting roasted or anything.”

    Mark eyed a few people staring at the Pokémon like a miracle, and pride started spreading around his chest. To think of it… he was a trainer.

    He smiled back at his Pokémon friend, and then entered the building.

    The search computers along with a few shelves of paperbacks with huge titles greeted him, along with the familiar smell of books that Mark had always loved. But he walked right to the elevators, as this book would be on the second floor.

    A chubby middle-aged woman wearing what looked disturbingly much like a Sentret fur coat came through the metallic door, eyed Mark like some kind of a big disgusting insect and then walked away with her nose in the air. Mark decided she was a grumpy old snob as he stepped into the lift.

    An endless row of Marks stared back at him from the mirrors on the sides. All of them turned to the buttons at the same time and all of them managed to slip their fingers between buttons two and three, accidentally highlighting both as the elevator started ascending.

    It stopped on the second floor and a tall, thin man with a suitcase stepped in, but Mark suddenly felt a weird longing to go up to the third floor. First floor was novels, second was Pokémon training and third was Pokémon. He usually did go to the third floor, after all; he was always looking for books he hadn’t read before.

    He didn’t want to keep Charmander waiting for too long, but of course he would just go and have a look around and see if there were any new books. It wouldn’t take long.

    He went out on the third floor and looked curiously around. He could go left or right; a voice in his head told him to go right.

    For whatever reason, Mark saw one particular shelf and walked firmly towards it, seeing nothing else. On it there was a book that looked older than most of the others, one that he had certainly never seen before:

    The Ouen Legends

    Mark’s attention was instantly caught. His heart started pounding in his chest. Despite knowing everything there was to know about the Legendary Pokémon of Kanto, Johto and Hoenn, for whatever reason he had never found any decent books about the Legendary Pokémon of his own region. His burning interest for Legendaries, of course, had never fully accepted this. He did have a vague knowledge of their names and what they looked like, but he didn’t know much else

    But now was his chance. He reached forward with his hand and took the book out. On second thought, it was dusty, but not all that old. Like it had just not been moved out of the shelf since… before it was printed? Odd.

    Mark shook his head and slowly, with the book in his hands, walked over to a big, fluffy and comfortable-looking green couch. He flung himself into it, examining the cover image. At the top, it had six differently-colored dragons soaring in the sky. He figured that those must be the so-called Color dragons, named so because their basic structure was all the same except for the colors, elemental powers, and some markings and additional things representing their element.

    Below the dragons, there were eigth winged unicorns. Like the Color dragons, they all looked basically the same apart from their colors, wings, mane, horn and tail.

    But at the very bottom, there was… Mewtwo?

    Yup, he was sure of it. The whitish-purple anthro cat-like shape was unmistakably that of the first super-clone that had ever been created and had gotten such experiments banned. A Kanto Legendary.

    What’s Mewtwo doing on the cover of a book about the Ouen legendaries? Mark thought. He looked better at Mewtwo’s shape. The eyes were closed, but looked creepily open all the same. It’s that highlight, said Mark’s artist eye. The shading gives that effect, the highlight on the eyelid looks distantly like a pupil. But it was still scary, with those closed eyes that seemed to be watching. Had the cover artist drawn it like that on purpose?

    Either way, Mewtwo wasn’t supposed to be there at all. Mark scanned his head for a reason why Mewtwo would be on the cover of a book about the Ouen Legendaries, but found none.

    Mark shrugged and opened the book. He flicked past the title pages, apart from checking the publishing date. It was just a little less than five years old.

    The book started with the Color dragons. The left page had a watercolor illustration of them, with their names written near them.

    There was a small, silver one in the middle of the page with a big, innocent-looking head and tiny wings, apparently called Lidreki. What caught Mark’s attention about it, however, was that where the light reflected off the dragon’s scales, it broke up into the colors of the rainbow.

    The other ones were the real Color dragons themselves. They were all larger than Lidreki, European-style dragons with big, clawed legs, small arms and broad wings spreading out from their shoulders.

    The bottom left one was a deep metallic green color with no special outstanding features. The name beside it read ‘Dragoreen, the Dragon of the Poor’.

    Opposite Dragoreen so that both stared hatefully at each other, there was a golden one, apparently ‘Preciure, the Dragon of Wealth’. An occasional ruby poked out between the shiny scales; silver spikes were lined down its whole back and to the tail end.

    Above them, there was another pair of dragons that seemed to loathe each other. The right one Mark recognized even before he read the description as Raudra, the Fire dragon. Two bony white, sheep-like horns grew from the top of its forehead; fiery red scales covered its whole body except the yellow belly and a thick, golden mane flowed down its whole back.

    The left one however, was apparently ‘Dracobalt, the Water Dragon’; it was dark blue, with a large fish-like fin on its back and two long, swirly, narrow, white horns.

    The third and last pair of rivals was at the very top. Puragon, the left one, was pearly white all over, with four narrow crystalline horns. Venoir, in the top right, was pitch-black. It had dark purple horns similar to Raudra’s and glowing red eyes with slits for pupils, making it look very creepy and terrifying.

    Mark excitedly started reading the information on the right page.


    THE COLOR DRAGONS

    The legend says that an ancient, powerful dragon Pokémon named Vaxil, the Dragon of the Rainbow, laid six eggs and hid them where no living creature could harm them. One she dropped into the crater of a volcano, one she hid at the bottom of a deep lake, one she secured in a dark cave, one she buried in snow, and two she took with her to her own cave, filled with gold and treasures.

    The first egg to hatch was one of the eggs that Vaxil had taken with her. As the other eggs would later, it hatched into a Lidreki. He was greedy and loved nothing more than burying himself in his mother’s gold.

    The second egg to hatch was the one in the volcano. That Lidreki was female, and she loved the lava, fed on it and never felt the need to leave the volcano’s crater.

    The third egg was the one in the dark cave. It was a male, and he fed on poisonous Pokémon that lurked there in the dark, without ever finding out that there was anything outside the cave.

    The fourth egg that hatched was the one in the snow. The young Lidreki was a female, and slowly became oblivious to the cold.

    The fifth egg was the one at the bottom of the lake. A male, he adapted to underwater life, hunted fish and rarely went out of the lake.

    Finally, the sixth egg hatched – the other egg that Vaxil had taken with her. It was a female, and she instantly disagreed with her brother in everything – she wanted to give the gold to those who were in need instead of keeping it all for themselves who had nothing to do with it except collect it. They disliked each other, and as they grew, the male thought the female took too much space. One day, he fought her out of the cave, and she sought her brothers and sisters to help fighting him.

    She went to her sister in the volcano, she went to her brother in the lake. She went to her brother in the cave, she went to her sister in the snow. She lived with all of them for a while, and told them all – because Vaxil had told her – where the other ones were hidden, and asked them to come and help against her oldest brother. They came, more because they wanted to see their mother, but as they traveled, they developed hate for each other in pairs, and upon their arrival in Vaxil’s cave, a big fight broke out. The oldest brother fought the youngest sister, the sister from the volcano fought her brother from the lake, the brother in the cave fought his sister in the snow. Vaxil tried to stop them, but they only started attacking her too and in the end Vaxil threw herself off the cliff to her death. The siblings were horrified, and all blamed each other, but slowly they became enveloped in a white glow and evolved, each to one of the Color dragons. The female from the volcano became Raudra, the male from the lake became Dracobalt, the female from the snow became Puragon, the male from the cave became Venoir, the youngest female became Dragoreen and the oldest male became Preciure.

    Due to their mother’s death, they decided not to keep fighting and all went off to different places, and supposedly they still lurk there, desiring only superiority over the opposite sibling…

    All of them have very special abilities. Raudra, Dracobalt, Puragon and Venoir have immense powers of fire, water, ice and poison respectively, but Dragoreen and Preciure have different powers; Dragoreen’s attacks are independent on the defender’s weaknesses or resistances, and Preciure’s golden scales can repel any attack well and effectively.



    Mark turned past some pages consisting of the few things he already knew, interviews with people who claimed to have seen them and some old paintings of the Color Dragons (as interested as he was in art, he didn’t want to keep Charmander waiting for too long), and finally reached the next chapter.

    He studied the picture. It was a watercolor illustration which showed the unicorns all together, dashing towards the viewer.

    The first one was all white with normal, feathered wings and a swirly horn. It was Waraider.

    The next one was also white, but had a flaming mane and tail similar to Ponyta and Rapidash; the horn and hooves were bright orange and the wings were made of fire. That one was Emphire.

    The third unicorn, Seasar, was beautifully dark blue. Its tail and mane didn’t seem to exist at all; it rather seemed like a river burst out from the top of its head and ran smoothly along its whole back, finally gracefully dropping down like a waterfall and then disappearing into thin air just before reaching the ground. The wings seemed made of vapor that took form into a wing.

    Electhrone was the fourth one. It was whitish-yellow, but its mane and tail were very dark blue. Small sparks flew between the hairs. The horn was a bit crooked; its wings were composed of oddly pointed, sharp feathers.

    The fifth one was called Natruler. It was white like Waraider, but in place of feathers, its wings had long, beautifully green leaves. The horn resembled a branch growing out of its forehead, and the tail and mane looked like bundles of grass and leaves.

    Unicorn number six was Freezaroy. Icily white with a tint of blue, its tail, mane and wings appeared to produce snow that spiraled in a trail after it. The horn resembled an icicle.

    The second-last one was called Mysticrown and was white with lavender tail and mane. The horn and hooves looked like they were made out of some kind of a magenta-colored gemstone. Its eyes were creepily purple, and unless Mark was very much mistaken, it seemed to glow with a very faint violet aura. The wing feathers were tipped with purple too.

    The last one, however, was pitch-black; evil-looking red eyes glinted in the head. The wings seemed made of smoke, wispy and formless. It was Darkhan.

    Mark turned to the information page.


    WARAIDER

    It is said that there were originally eight Waraider, but somehow all but one of them evolved into different elements. Waraider lacks the elemental powers, but is equally powerful overall as the other ones. The last Waraider is the leader of the herd; unlike the Color dragons, all the Waraider and evolutions supposedly keep close together wherever they go. According to the legend, their being together keeps the world balanced, and should they ever be separated, chaos would reign until they reunited.

    There have been interestingly many reported sightings of them, but no photos nor Pokédex data exists to prove any of them.



    After that, there came a bunch of stuff Mark wasn’t as interested in, so he turned past it. After that, there came what he was probably most curious about: what Mewtwo was doing in that book.

    He looked at the illustration first as he had done before. Again, its eyes were closed in that creepily “watching” manner that had been on the cover picture. Mark couldn’t help wondering why it was drawn like that, though. He would’ve believed Mewtwo’s eyes would usually be open.

    The answer was on the right page, where the title – partially – explained it:


    CHALETWO


    “Oh, yeah,” Mark muttered to himself. “Stupid me, I should’ve remembered that one. I’ve heard the name before, I’m sure. But… why does it look like Mewtwo?”

    He started reading the text.


    Chaletwo is the only one of the Ouen Legendaries that is definitely confirmed to exist. He appears every year at the exact same time and place; 4:26:45 PM on the 25th of May, the grass patch outside Green town. His coming always attracts a lot of tourists, and is what made Green town so big in the first place.

    The first time that a human witnessed him, he supposedly said telepathically: “Do not fear. I am Chaletwo and do not intend to harm you nor any other living thing. I only wish to come here once a year and have a quick look around the world before leaving.”

    Nobody knows why he bears such a striking resemblance to Mewtwo, who is in fact a Kanto Legendary (although that is arguable due to the fact that he is man-created), look-wise.



    Too bad, thought Mark disappointedly.


    Due to Chaletwo’s limited availability, Mewtwo has been asked about this by a reporter.

    “Do you think I wouldn’t like to know?” he answered before teleporting grumpily away. “He said he didn’t wish to tell, least of all me. He wouldn’t reveal anything else.”

    People wonder whether Chaletwo might be another Super-clone, backing that up with the name he after all introduced himself with, which ends in the trademark “-two” of a genetically modified Pokémon clone, but experts doubt it.

    “He’s not just a simple second Mew clone,” Pokémon researcher Ash Ketchum explained in an interview once. “I’ve studied both of them carefully through making detailed 3D models from close-up photos. I’m telling you, every last hair on their bodies is the exact same! Technically, Mewtwo’s creators could have made an additional one with almost the exact same genetic code, resulting in a clone that looks the same, but face it, according to all sources we have, Mewtwo destroyed the lab and everything in it, which would have had to include another embryo if one had been there.”

    It appears that there are only two differences between them: Chaletwo’s eyes and his Dark/Psychic type.

    Chaletwo’s eyes are probably the greatest power of this world. If they look upon a living thing, it dies. If they look upon an inanimate object, it blows up. Only his own eyelids can withstand the power, and even through closed eyes, he can see through things. Nobody is quite sure how his eyes work, but there are many theories.

    Chaletwo is said to match the Kanto Legendary Molzapart in power, tying them as the most powerful Pokémon in the world.



    Molzapart. Mark, obviously, could have recited many books’ worth of information about it if he wanted. It was not confirmed to exist, but said to have been created when Mew found the legendary Mist stone, which was rumoured to have the power to evolve any Pokémon at all, whether it can naturally evolve or not. Mew made a decision to attack the stone in order to prevent Pokémon from stumbling across it and evolving into scarily powerful creatures, and called the Legendary Birds of Kanto for assistance. But even their attacks combined could not destroy such a magical object, and instead they found themselves facing the “evolved form” of their attacks: a large, magnificent, golden bird with a burning flame on its head, brightly blue wing feathers, a long, dark blue tail feather, huge bright orange talons, and the psychic powers to severely injure its accidental creators with one blast. Then Molzapart flew away and trained until his power had no match.

    Apart from Chaletwo, apparently.

    Mark looked at his watch, discovering how long he had been reading, closed the book, put it back where he had found it and hurried down to meet up with Charmander again.

  9. #9
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Whee. Chapter three. Plus Extra III, because they're in very close relation to each other.




    -------
    RATING

    Violence: None

    Gore: None

    Sexuality: None

    Profanity: One "hell".

    Other: Nothing really special...
    -------





    Chapter 3: Vuiiii!

    When Mark was out of the library, Charmander was sitting on the stone steps, his head resting against the shiny wall and his eyes closed peacefully; basically, he was looking absolutely adorable, attracting quite a few ‘awww’s from passers-by.

    “Are you asleep?” Mark asked cautiously, poking Charmander’s shoulder. The Pokémon jumped, eyes opening wide.

    “Wha… no, I was just… er, in deep thought,” he replied awkwardly.

    “Right,” said Mark and grinned. “Shouldn’t we move on?”

    Charmander stood up, and they walked out of the town while dark clouds gathered above them.

    -------

    Keep running, keep running…

    Four small paws beat the ground soundlessly.

    He had no idea where he was running, nor did he care.

    It didn’t matter.

    Why would it? He had better things to worry about.

    A bright white lightning flashed with a terrible roar of thunder. He shrieked in fear, turned around and ran even faster in the other direction.

    Small drops of water started falling, prickling down his beautifully light brown fur coat and soaking the soft, creamy-colored ruff around his neck. He shivered, but kept running.

    -------

    It had started to rain. Charmander’s tail flame was spouting thick steam; Mark glanced worriedly at it every now and then as they walked down the road south to Cleanwater.

    “Are you going to be OK?”

    “Yeah, I’ve been through more rain,” said Charmander casually, obviously referring to the one Mark saved him out of.

    “If you think so,” said Mark doubtfully, still keeping an eye on his friend.

    -------

    Should I give up all hope?

    No…

    It… can’t be…


    He was far too exhausted to run, but the knowledge that by every passing second, his greatest fear was more likely to have come true, drove him on.

    His forepaw hit a small rock hidden in the wet grass. He tried to keep his balance, but tumbled over. He got up right away and despite the pain nailing his left front paw, he aced it and kept going at the same pace.

    -------

    “Hey, Charmander, have you ever thought about evolution?”

    “Yeah, why?” Charmander questioned.

    “Do you want to?” Mark rephrased his question.

    “Huh?”

    “Do you want to evolve?”

    “Why are you asking?” Charmander said, puzzled, looking up at Mark.

    “Shouldn’t I ask you?” Mark asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Of course you should,” Charmander said, looking down. “But most trainers wouldn’t, that’s why I was surprised. My old trainer wouldn’t.” He spat the last words in a resentful tone.

    “Yeah, that’s one thing,” Mark said thoughtfully, “did your trainer release you?”

    “No… not really…” said Charmander faintly.

    “What happened?”

    “Well… he battled a girl with a Quilava once. Didn’t use me for it, he never used me at all. But she beat him and he showed her me, lied that I was level 15 like her Quilava was, and asked to trade. She bought it, she didn’t really appear to like her Quilava all that much for whatever reason. They just did an unofficial trade by handing each other the Pokéballs, and then my trainer quietly made himself disappear. Then it appears that when the girl registered me to her Pokédex and found out I was level five, she tossed the ball to the ground in anger and ran after my old trainer, so I popped out of the ball and was left there. Then I just walked off in a random direction, and ended up in that monsoon.”

    “Oh…” was all Mark could say. He paused, then added: “He must’ve been a selfish little brat.”

    “Yup,” said Charmander and sighed.

    -------

    He was beyond exhausted. He was even starting to slow down. He tried to order his legs to speed up again, but they refused and answered simply by collapsing under him. He helplessly crawled a bit on through the tall grass, and to his horror he realized that he was lost either way.

    It was too painful…

    He eyed the road and the cars just a few meters away, and made his hopeless decision.

    -------

    “Hey,” Charmander suddenly exclaimed, “did you hear something?”

    “No,” said Mark.

    “It was just, you know, a small rustle…”

    “Like a Pokémon?” Mark suggested hopefully.

    “Yeah…”

    Mark stopped and looked around the dry grass on both sides of the road. Something moved, just a few inches from the roadside.

    He carefully came a bit nearer, and saw that it was a little brown furball with long, rabbit-like ears. A thick, creamy ruff covered its neck and a bushy tail extended from its backside. It was flailing around a bit, apparently trying to crawl but not really being successful.

    “An Eevee!” Mark shouted so loudly that the Pokémon made a desperate, yet unsuccessful attempt to get up and run away before fainting with fear. He quickly realized the mistake of his over-excitement, and started thinking about his next problem.

    “Why do I have to run across an Eevee just when I don’t have any Pokéballs?” he moaned. “Just my luck…”

    Exactly then, he caught a glimpse of something in the grass, a few meters away from the Eevee. It was a familiar red and white sphere…

    He couldn’t believe it. A Pokéball was lying there, exactly when he needed it.

    He quickly walked over to it, bent down and picked up the ball. It felt cold and metallic; a few grass blades were glued to its wet surface by the water. But it would work just as well. He took aim at the Pokémon.

    “Pokéball, GO!” he yelled, just like he had seen on TV.

    “What do you think you’re doing??”

    Charmander jumped up and punched the ball away in the air so it missed its target.

    “What was that for?” Mark groaned.

    “What was it for?” Charmander snapped, raising up his tiny thumb. “One: He’s unconscious.” Charmander raised his forefinger, continuing: “Two: He’s obviously too young to battle at all, don’t you see how small he is?” He raised the third miniscule finger: “And three: He’s in an absolutely terrible state; he’s obviously been through Place for Demons! before we came here.” He lowered his hand firmly. “Don’t you know the Agreement? If a Pokémon is caught while unable to put up a fair fight for its freedom, it is free to ignore or even attack its trainer until released back into the wild.”

    Mark blushed; of course he knew this. The Agreement between Pokémon and humans clearly stated that Pokémon must only be caught while they were still in proper condition to battle. He had forgotten all about it in the shock of seeing one of the most sought-after Pokémon in the world.

    “Also,” Charmander went on with folded arms, “he’s young enough for me to strongly suspect that he shouldn’t be wandering around on his own. I think he must have lost his mother.”

    Mark now felt terrible about his foolish longing to throw a metal ball at the little thing. It could’ve died; what was he thinking?

    “A male, you say?” Mark questioned.

    “Yeah,” Charmander nodded.

    Mark slowly walked towards the fainted Pokémon, bent down and touched the fur on the head. It was soft, thick and very smooth, but with a few twigs tangled in it. He brushed them off, and the Eevee’s body twitched a bit.

    Carefully, he picked the Pokémon up. Its body was warm; Mark felt weird holding it. He stroked a few times over the fur on the head with some soothing words, and to his delight found that Eevee’s eyes opened a bit.

    “Vuii!” he shrieked and weakly struggled to get away, but Mark held him tightly. Eevee seemed to find the warmth from a living body to be somewhat comforting and in the end just curled himself up in his arms.

    For a few seconds, Mark just stood there like in a trance, but then snapped out of it.

    “We’d better hurry to Cleanwater to get him help,” he said to Charmander before breaking into a run. The lizard followed on his heels.

    A lone Pokéball was left by the roadside.





    ---EXTRA III---

    The Agreement

    The Agreement is basically the “ten commandments” of the Pokémon world. It’s my own idea, by the way, so don’t steal it. It goes like this:


    1. If a Pokémon is not in the state to battle due to age, injuries, or any other reason, it must not be caught. A Pokémon that is caught under these circumstances does not rightfully belong to its trainer, and is by law free. If the Trainer does not release the Pokémon to be permanently free from the Pokéball, the Pokémon may ignore or even lightly attack the Trainer if necessary in order for the Pokémon to gain its rightful freedom.
    2. If a Trainer’s Pokémon possesses an Attack capable of killing its opponent, it is on the Pokémon’s own responsibility to dampen or aim its attacks so that they will not cause fatal injuries to another Trainer’s Pokémon. Likewise, a Trainer may not command his or her own Pokémon to kill another Trainer’s Pokémon in any case. For example, a Scyther may never aim its Slash at its opponent’s neck, and a Flareon must keep its Flamethrower’s temperature at a low enough level not to cause serious burns.
    3. A Trainer’s Pokémon may not in any case attack a human with the intention of killing or seriously injuring him or her. Likewise, a Trainer must never order his or her Pokémon to attack a human with the aforementioned intentions.
    4. Pokémon battles should be a sport, and a sport only; they should not be used to settle personal disputes between Trainers, in order to humiliate another Trainer, or to threaten another Trainer.
    5. If a Pokémon does not wish to battle for whatever reasons, its Trainer must not force the Pokémon to battle.
    6. A Pokémon should never be separated from its Trainer in any case if that is not the Pokémon’s own will.
    7. Pokémon should never be punished for disobedience or failure to win. If physical punishment is attempted, the Pokémon is free to defend itself.
    8. A Trainer must not let his or her Pokémon be without food, drink, or proper health care. If the Trainer does not have access to these primary needs, the Trainer must try to obtain them as soon as possible.
    9. A Pokémon has equal rights, including freedom of speech, to a human.
    10. Neither Trainers nor Pokémon may abuse the rights specified in this Agreement.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 23rd August 2004 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Forgot to add the rating above chapter three

  10. #10
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Chapter four...



    -------
    RATING

    Violence: None.

    Gore: None.

    Sexuality: None.

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing special...
    -------



    Chapter 4: Cleanwater City

    After ten minutes or so, Mark and Charmander arrived at the Cleanwater city Pokémon Center, panting.

    Mark went straight up to the bell on the desk and hammered it with his hand until a red-haired nurse dressed in white, whose name was most likely Joy, came out of a room in the back.

    “No need to be so harsh on the bell,” she said serenely.

    “I… I found this Eevee,” Mark panted, attempting to catch his breath, and gently placed the little Pokémon, unconscious, on the desk. “He was fainted near the road to Sailance…”

    “Sailance?” the nurse, whom Mark just decided to call Joy, questioned. “Isn’t that out of the Pokémon-inhabited area?”

    “Yes, it is, is Eevee going to be fine?” Mark asked very quickly.

    “What was an Eevee doing there?” repeated Nurse ‘Joy’.

    “Should I know that?” Mark said loudly. “I asked: Is he going to be all right?”

    Nurse Joy took out a small tool resembling a red cellphone, pointed it at Eevee and pressed a button. A little beep was heard before she took it and read off it.

    “He’s just exhausted, hungry and cold,” Nurse Joy announced upon looking back at Mark, smiling. “He will be fine, but it could take some time to revive him. Just have a seat, and I’ll alert you when something happens.”

    Mark sighed in relief as Nurse Joy took Eevee into the room at the back, then turned around and as he was now breathing normally again, he took some time to look around.

    The floor was covered in a light pink, fluffy carpet. The room was very large, and at random places all over except in the direct path from the automatic door to the counter, there were big, comfy-looking red sofas. Several trainers sat in them, either chatting or just staring into thin air, waiting for their Pokémon to be healed.

    Mark walked towards the nearest sofa, which was empty, and sat down there, tapping his foot impatiently while observing the room better. The walls were painted white, but covered in posters and advertisements about everything from the Ouen league and challenges for trainers to always carry Potions with them to cheap travel packages. Meanwhile, Charmander stood at the foot of the sofa, watching his tail flame burn.

    The automatic door slid open, catching Mark’s attention. A girl ran inside. She had long, brown hair and wore a pink sweater and a dark blue skirt.

    She hurried to Nurse Joy, quickly handing her three of the Pokéballs attached to her belt, and then walked towards Mark’s sofa and sat down in it, glaring anxiously at the back room where Joy was treating her Pokémon.

    Seeing as Mark had nothing better to do and many things to ask, he decided to talk to the girl.

    “Um, excuse me…” he said, turning carefully in her direction. She jerked her head in his direction, and upon realizing he was waiting for an answer, she replied with a dry “Hello”.

    “Do you live here?” Mark asked. The girl nodded.

    “Can you tell me something about the Pokémon Gym here?”

    The girl shrugged. “Sure. What would you like to know?”

    “What type of Pokémon does the gym leader train?” Mark asked, happy to have managed to get to the point so quickly.

    “Legendary Pokémon,” she answered simply.

    What?!” Mark yelled so loudly that a few people stopped talking to stare at him. He lowered his voice, his face going red. “Erm… how does a Gym leader train Legendary Pokémon?”

    The girl giggled. “You’ve never heard of Rick? He spent ten years of his life finding the Legendary Pokémon of all four regions. He got some hairs, feathers, whatever of them, and cloned the Legendaries for himself and his junior trainers. They don’t train them much at all, though, so they’re really low-leveled.”

    “Cloned? But that’s illegal!” Mark protested.

    “Super-clones are illegal,” the girl corrected. “And only if they could wreck something. His Pokéballs prevent the Pokémon they hold from directly disobeying a command, making them harmless. He made the balls himself. He even got a special license allowing him to keep one super-clone, no higher than level ten, mainly for experimental purposes.”

    “But affecting Pokémon’s free will is breaking the Agreement!” Mark argued. The girl just shrugged.

    “Yeah, maybe, but Rick’s got the police in his pocket. He’s capable of world domination with all those legendary clones, and they know it only too well. As long as he isn’t doing anything they absolutely have to do something about, they won’t. They’d get completely screwed unless they attacked in hundreds.”

    “But he isn’t about to do anything like that, is he?” Mark asked worriedly.

    “Of course not, he’s a respectable man with a little brother,” said the girl.

    “What’s a little brother got to do with anything?” Mark questioned, puzzled.

    “Their parents died in a car crash when Rick was fifteen, leaving him alone with his two-year-old brother,” the girl explained. “Rick has been like a parent for his brother since then. Shows that he’s responsible and knows what he’s doing.”

    “Oh.” Mark paused. “So he has them all?”

    “Well, nobody knows, since he only uses the Kanto and Johto ones, but that’s what they say.”

    “So, are all of the Legendaries at very low levels, then?” he then asked.

    “Yeah, they don’t go higher than level 15,” the girl said. “And the more Pokémon a junior trainer has, the lower are their levels. The strongest ones are possessed by the junior trainers with the fewest Pokémon.”

    “Sounds balanced,” Mark said.

    “But remember that they’re Legendaries after all,” she warned him.

    “OK, thanks,” Mark said, and was about to ask something else when Nurse Joy stepped forward and pointed for both of them to come. Both kids stood up and walked towards the counter.

    “Megan, your Pokémon have been fully healed,” Nurse Joy said with a small bow, handing three Pokéballs to the girl, then turning to Mark, “and your Eevee is going to be in perfect battle condition tomorrow. The hotel is just round the corner, if you plan on staying there.”

    “Battle condition?” Mark questioned. “But isn’t he too young to battle?”

    “Technically, yes,” Nurse Joy sighed. “But he’s been battling, apparently. Got some Rattata bites and scratches. Goodness knows what he’s been through…”

    “Oh, okay,” said Mark. “But I’ll release him afterwards, right? He isn’t caught in a Pokéball…”

    “Well…” said Nurse Joy sadly, “I have to admit that I don’t think that’s a very good idea. He’s been battling, but hasn’t fared all too well. If he came across a Raticate or Sandslash…”

    “You mean I should take him?” asked Mark, shocked.

    “I mean that we should explain the situation to him when he wakes up, and ask him what he wants to do.”

    Mark didn’t answer; he wanted to own an Eevee, of course, but tried not to because he knew then he’d be disappointed if Eevee rather wanted to be released.

    “Is your Charmander fine?” Nurse Joy asked, smiling.

    “Yeah,” said Mark, snapping out of his thoughts. “Anyway, thanks. I’ll come back tomorrow.”

    Next, Mark went to the Pokémart with Charmander. It looked a bit like the Pokémon center beside it; a big, white building with an automatic door and a dome-shaped roof, except that instead of the Pokémon center’s red color, the Pokémart’s roof was blue. Beside the door, a large sign clarified the building’s identity.

    Mark walked inside. To the left, there was a counter with a funnily-dressed punk guy behind it, busy claiming cash for people’s purchases. To the right, metallic shelves with healing items, Pokémon food, and all sorts of Pokémon equipment stood in straight rows all the way to the back of the shop.

    Mark examined the contents of the first shelf. They were healing items; to the far left, cheap Potions and status recovering items were stacked; then they gradually went more expensive as they went farther to the right. Mark grabbed a few of the purple and green spray bottles known as Potions, then walked a few steps on. Most of the things he wasn’t all that interested in; this early on, they wouldn’t be worth their price.

    At the end of the row, he stared longingly at a little white box with a red cross on it; a Pocket healer, one could place a Pokéball into it and press a button, and the Pokémon inside would be refreshed with energy in an instant, besides gaining a boost to its natural recovering abilities while inside, being able to fully heal of all its wounds in a remarkably short time. Of course, this item was reserved for out-of-battle usage.

    Unfortunately, the price tag contained the rather unattractive number of 98,000. Mark quit dreaming, and went on.

    He browsed through the shelves. Stat-boosting items were for more advanced trainers, and he didn’t want to buy TM and HM moves until he had planned his Pokémon a bit better. If Eevee would come with him, he would maybe buy an evolution stone for him; of course, he reminded himself as he walked past them, Eevee might not come with him at all, and might not want to evolve, or would rather evolve into Espeon or Umbreon.

    The Pokédolls he wasn’t too interested in, but near them were the Pokéballs and Pokéball belts, so Mark took one belt with six Pokéballs attached to it. Finally, he bought a bit of canned Pokémon food for Charmander and Eevee, and walked to the counter in order to pay. All this stuff put a huge dent into the money he had brought, but that was what the money was for, after all. He just hoped he had enough left for the hotel.

    Once outside, Mark pressed the little buttons on the Potion bottles one by one, minimizing them to the right size to fit neatly into his backpack. He also put on his Pokéball belt. He checked his watch; it was six o’clock, and the rain had subsided. Finally, he stuffed the cans of Pokémon food into the bag; it was now getting full.

    He eyed the hotel sign behind the shop, picked up his bag with a sigh and walked to the hotel, Charmander following him like a fiery ghost.

  11. #11
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Boo. No readers.



    -------
    RATING

    Violence: Just Pokémon battles, maybe a bit above average on the violence scale.

    Gore: Doubt you'd really call it 'gore', but there's a bit of blood involved.

    Sexuality: None.

    Profanity: One "damn" in there.

    Other: Nothing worth mentioning.
    -------




    Chapter 5: The Lake of Purity

    The hotel was a huge building that appeared to be entirely composed of glass from the outside. To Mark’s pleasant surprise, he found a sign outside it announcing that Pokémon trainers paid half price.

    He walked inside, not sure if Charmander was allowed outside a Pokéball, but just assuming he was. An elderly lady in a blue dress sat by the counter and read the newspaper. Her huge square glasses were on the edge of falling off the tip of her nose.

    “Excuse me,” said Mark. The woman looked up and observed him carefully, eying Charmander.

    “Pokémon trainer?” she asked in a monotone voice.

    “Yeah,” answered Mark.

    “How many nights?” she asked, turning slowly to a computer standing beside her.

    “One to begin with,” Mark said.

    “Your ID number, please?”

    Mark immediately realized that of course, he had forgotten to buy a Pokédex, and what was more, he had never actually read Pokémon Training for Dummies. Feeling stupid, he blushed and said: “Er, I don’t have one yet.”

    “It’s necessary to give your trainer ID before checking in,” said the woman.

    “I’ll go to the Pokémart and buy a Pokédex, then, and come back afterwards,” Mark suggested. The woman nodded and sank back into her newspaper.

    Mark walked outside again, closely followed by Charmander. The clouds were slowly drifting away, predicting a starry night and good weather tomorrow.

    “Well, there’s always something you forget to buy,” Mark sighed. “Charmander, would you like to go into your Pokéball now, or…?”

    “Yeah, maybe, I’m getting tired of walking,” said Charmander, relieved. Mark removed one of the red and white spheres attached to his Pokéball belt, maximized it by pressing the button, and touched Charmander gently with it. He was turned into red energy and drawn into the ball.

    Mark went into the Pokémart, constantly reaching crazily down to check if the Pokéball was still there. He would just have to get used to it, but at the moment it was somehow really discomforting. Reassuring himself that his Pokémon was definitely still inside the Pokéball, Mark walked over to the fourth row of shelves, finding Pokédexes of various shapes, sizes and colors lined there. After a bit of thought, he picked a sapphire blue one with a white back, some red lines and signs for decoration and two flaps to fold in so that it would fit neatly into one’s pocket. After paying almost all of his money left, he exited the shop, unfolded the Pokédex and turned it on.

    “Thank you for choosing Pokédex Advance, Kyogre edition,” said a voice with a British accent as if to test the sound. The screen turned light blue, and then displayed the words “Would you like to start the set-up now?”

    Mark selected ‘Yes’ and pressed A.

    “Please place your right eye in front of the scanner and press A,” the screen now read, with a small picture showing with a red arrow where the scanner was placed – apparently, the Pokédex used the same tool to identify Pokémon as its owner’s iris. Mark held it up to his eye, pressed the button blindly, and as he heard a beep, he removed it, blinked a few times and looked at the screen. It showed the words “MATCHING PATTERN – PLEASE WAIT” for a second, then all sorts of information about him appeared, including his name, home address, date of birth, education, bank account number, and even, to his horror, a school photo which he looked absolutely horrible on.

    “Was I drunk when they took that?” he said to himself with disgust, then looked back at the screen. The information about him had been replaced with a big “Thank you for registering your Pokédex. Your ID number is 0439522166.” Mark pressed A and now it showed the main menu, indicating that he wouldn’t need to do anything else for the set-up.

    Curiously, he selected the option ‘About the Pokédex’. The voice immediately started speaking again.

    “The Pokédex was invented by Professor Samuel Oak of Kanto. Its original purpose was, in Oak’s words, ‘to be an encyclopedia for the trainer to get more information about his or her Pokémon, and to automatically and safely record the data of any undiscovered Pokémon a trainer might see on his or her journey in order to tell fact from fiction when it comes to new Pokémon discoveries’. Since then, all sorts of useful features have been added to the Pokédex’s potential and now it is the only essential tool a Pokémon trainer must have, combining the various devices that have been developed in the different parts of the world for all kinds of Pokémon-related purposes. After Oak retired, the development of the Pokédex was continued by his grandson, Gary Oak, who…”

    Mark decided not to listen to all of it so he pressed B and the voice fell silent. Finally, to register Charmander to his ID number, he held the Pokéball up to the scanner and pressed A.

    “Charmander – lizard Pokémon,” the Pokédex announced. “It is very vulnerable to water; if the flame at the tip of its tail dies, so does this Fire Pokémon.”

    The screen then asked if he would like to view this Pokémon’s stats; he chose ‘No’ and it showed the main menu again, except that now it said ‘1 Pokémon caught’ in the top left corner.

    Mark turned the Pokédex off and walked into the hotel again.

    “Back?” the woman asked, not looking off the newspaper. Mark nodded.

    “So, your ID number?”

    “0437522166,” Mark said after turning his Pokédex on again to check. The woman entered it into the computer.

    “Mark Greenlet?”

    “Yeah,” he answered.

    “You said one night?”

    “Yup,” said Mark cheerfully. The woman handed him a key labeled with the number 387. Assuming that the Pokédex had handled the payment automatically, he walked up some staircases to room 387. It was small, but neat; everything in it was blue except for the walls. Blue bed sheets, blue lamp, blue carpet, blue curtains. He switched the light on.

    Mark flung himself on the bed and sighed, letting his mind flicker across the day’s adventures.

    The Legendary Pokémon, of course, had most of his attention. He had set it as his goal to reach Green town in time to see Chaletwo. If only he could ever know what was up with its similarity to Mewtwo. Mark sighed again.

    Why hadn’t he ever found decent books on the Ouen Legendaries before? And why hadn’t he found that book before?

    His stomach made a loud gurgle to protest this stupid distraction from the bare necessities of life, and Mark rose lazily up.

    “Let’s get ourselves something to eat,” he muttered, knowing that Pokémon could hear the outside world from inside their Pokéballs. He went down to the hotel’s restaurant and Mark ordered a pizza for both him and Charmander to celebrate the first day of their journey after making carefully sure that Pokémon were allowed and that Charmander didn’t mind trying human food.

    “By the way,” Mark asked as they started greedily attacking the pizza, “you never actually answered. Do you want to evolve?”

    “Dunno,” said Charmander as Mark took a sip of his coke. “I’ve heard that Pokémon can go through a huge mental change when they evolve.”

    “Yeah,” said Mark eagerly; this was exactly one of the few things in Pokémonology he found to be very interesting. “It’s because if Pokémon don’t have very defined beliefs and a determined personality, their added power after evolution can result in arrogance, the sudden realization that humans are wimps, and just an overall change in their views on the world. It depends on you, really.”

    “I’m not sure, I don’t want to change mentally… but I want to be strong, and to fly as a Charizard one day.”

    “They say that late evolution helps in these aspects,” Mark commented. “Personality changes are usually biggest in Pokémon that evolve immediately when they can.”

    “Yeah,” said Charmander absent-mindedly, watching a Pidgeotto flying outside the window. “That’s probably best, just evolving when I’m properly ready…”

    He looked at Mark. “I’m a bit nervous, though. What if I just reach level 16, evolve – and turn into a completely different person?” There was worry in his voice.

    “You just need to resist it, you can stop your own evolution without much trouble,” Mark said reassuringly.

    “Yeah,” said Charmander, sounding more comfortable. “You’re probably right.”

    -------

    After they ate, Mark suggested that they would go up to the Lake of Purity and catch some Pokémon. Charmander liked the idea, so they decided on that.

    “Charmander, look around for wild Pokémon too,” Mark said, sending Charmander out of his Pokéball as he walked along the road to the Lake. Tall grass surrounded it in both directions; small bushes poked out of the grass here and there.

    “What’s that?” asked Charmander, pointing. A purple tail, curled up at the end, stuck out between the grass blades to their left.

    “I think it’s a Rattata,” said Mark thoughtfully, “but I don’t really want one, they’re pretty puny…”

    The Rattata seemingly took high offense to this comment, as it immediately leapt out of the grass, baring its fangs.

    Mark had never really liked Rattata, but seeing one in real life, he found it kind of cool-looking. The shiny, bright purple fur of its back blended smoothly into the pure white of its belly, paws and head below the nose. Two long whiskers vibrated on either side of its face, sensing small changes in the air; shimmering red eyes full of determination stared hatefully at his face and then turned to Charmander with a low growl.

    “Rattata!” the Pokémon cried in a high-pitched voice, leaping at Charmander, who quickly swished his tail forward into the purple rat’s face. Smacked sideways with a burn mark on its cheek, the Rattata let out a cry of pain, but nevertheless stood right up again and raced head-first towards Mark’s fire lizard.

    “Dodge!” Mark shouted, suddenly now remembering that he was supposed to be giving his Pokémon orders. Charmander ran to the side, more of instinct than obedience. The Rattata followed angrily, and finally took a well-calculated leap at the lizard’s tail, biting it firmly.

    “Charmander, try scratching it,” Mark suggested, Charmander already raising his claws. With an angry “Mander!”, he slashed the Rattata across the face.

    “Raaat!” screeched the rat Pokémon, stepping a bit backwards as it started to wag its tail rhythmically. Charmander’s eyes followed the curled tail end; left, right, left, right…

    “Don’t be distracted by it, it’s trying to catch you off guard!” Mark called. It was too late, though; the Rattata leapt at Charmander with a triumphant battle cry and tackled him to the ground. Growling, Charmander slammed his tail flame into the Rattata’s face again; he was still too inexperienced to use proper fire attacks, but the fire on his tail tip was always there. The rat Pokémon screamed in pain, but then retreated into the tall grass.

    Mark shrugged. “Well, I didn’t want to catch it, anyway. At least, you did great, Charmander.”

    He said the last words in an attempt to sound cheerful, but he couldn’t help thinking that his own part in this battle wasn’t big.

    -------

    When they arrived at the Lake of Purity, they found that it was crowded by tourists and trainers. Pokémon battles were going on all around; noisy Pokémon cries and their trainers’ shouts filled the air.

    A huge tourist information sign was positioned near the lake itself. Mark walked up to it, recalling Charmander into his Pokéball in fear of somebody tripping over him or something.

    The sign told some useless facts about the Lake of Purity, like its size and how there were no rivers in or out of it – and then, the legend behind its purity, which was the only thing Mark was really interested in on it.

    It was far longer than it had to be; it was basically an extremely dramatic description of how Suicune had saved the city, which was small then, by cleaning the lake and banishing the Gyarados that terrorized it. Since then, Suicune had raced all the way from Johto to purify the lake every night.

    Mark realized that he had an extremely broad grin on his face and quickly told it to look normal. He looked back at the text. Below the legend, there were a few words that seemed especially directed at him:

    WARNING: Legendary Pokémon possess power that no human could dream of and should never be attacked, provoked or even approached. Travelers are advised to leave the Lake before nightfall.

    The warning, of course, wasn’t likely to convince many foolish people like Mark that trying to see Suicune wasn’t worth the risk. Much more effective, however, were the “Missing” reports below, telling the reader of people who had seemingly just vanished into thin air near the Lake of Purity at nighttime, the only trace being a bit of red on the dried grass blades on the bank the next day.

    Mark quickly decided he could just see Suicune sometime later and turned away from the sign. The crowd was thinning, so he had some space now. Mark threw Charmander’s Pokéball to the ground and it popped open, releasing Charmander in a shower of red light before bouncing right back into his hand.

    “Should we go into the tall grass?” Charmander asked, pointing at a patch of grass near the left side of the lake.

    “No, I think we should try in the trees over there,” said Mark, looking towards the right. Charmander shrugged.

    They walked over to the trees and Mark picked up a small rock. Not bothering to aim very carefully, he threw it towards the nearest tree-top. Disappearing into the denseness of leaves and branches, the rock apparently angered one of the inhabitants of the tree; an annoyed chirp of “Pidgeoooott!” was heard as a streak of brown and crème shot upwards and then dived down towards Charmander.

    “Uh oh,” Mark muttered before issuing his command: “Charmander, dodge!”

    The fire lizard attempted to duck, but the bird Pokémon grabbed him with its talons and took off into the sky.

    “Hey!” Mark shouted. “Let go off my Charmander!”

    The Pidgeotto grinned devilishly and flew over the lake, threatening in very clear sign language to drop the petrified Fire Pokémon into the water.

    Mark knew that the pigeon wouldn’t dare breaking the Agreement by murdering a trainer’s Pokémon, but he didn’t like being taunted in this way at all. His hand moved towards Charmander’s ball.

    “Pidgeotto,” he announced loudly, “come back here and face me like a Pokémon!”

    The Pidgeotto made a rude sign at him, at the same time emphasizing its false threat by releasing one claw off Charmander, who winced.

    “You asked for it,” Mark sighed, holding out the Pokéball and recalling Charmander into it before sending him back out with both feet on the ground. The Pidgeotto dived at Charmander again, but the lizard took both Mark and his opponent by surprise when he opened his mouth and released a cloud of silky flames which engulfed the unsuspecting bird Pokémon before it managed to turn. The pigeon’s scream of pain died down quickly as it fell to the ground with a thump, scorched black.

    “Whoa, nice Ember,” Mark congratulated his Pokémon. “Good job, Charmander. Only too bad I didn’t get to catch it.”

    “Sorry,” said Charmander apologetically, sounding somewhat confused at the same time. “I didn’t even know I could do that…”

    “Yeah, seems like you’ve reached level seven,” Mark explained. “Charmander learn Ember around that point.”

    “Hey, look,” said Charmander, pointing. A yellow armadillo Pokémon with shiny scales was watching them curiously from a safe distance.

    “Cool, a Sandshrew,” Mark said, his expression brightening up. “Ground types are always useful, I’m going to try and catch it. Charmander, attack!”

    They ran towards the Sandshrew. It curled up into a tight ball from instinct before the jet of flames Charmander fired from his mouth reached it, and the tough scales mostly repelled the heat. It showed no intentions of uncurling afterwards.

    “I guess I’ll have to resort right to the ball now,” said Mark, rather loudly in order for the Sandshrew to hear him well, and then took out a Pokéball. He paused, waiting for reactions, but when there were none, he hurled the ball at the armadillo Pokémon.

    The sphere hit the yellow, scaly ball, opened around the middle and the Sandshrew was transformed into pure energy before being drawn into the ball in a beam of red light.

    The ball fell to the ground. First it was still, then the button glowed blue as the ball slowly started rocking to the sides. Mark watched it intensely, clenching his fists automatically as to telepathically prevent the ball from opening again. Gradually, the ball slowed down as the blue light on the button was fading…

    The ball suddenly took a sharp twitch, its two halves separating again as Mark disappointedly watched the Sandshrew materialize on the ground. The armadillo Pokémon growled unsurely, realizing that just curling up and waiting was the worse option.

    “Ember!” Mark ordered. Immediately, Charmander leapt forward and blasted a jet of flames from his mouth, which hit the Sandshrew before it managed to curl up again. Screaming, the Pokémon stumbled backwards and fell over.

    “Let’s see how well you break out of Pokéballs after that,” Mark said, taking out a second ball and throwing it. As it hit the Sandshrew, the Pokémon was absorbed into the ball in the form of red energy before the two halves of the Pokéball closed tightly.

    The ball fell to the ground and for the second time, Mark watched the button light up as the ball wobbled harshly in the grass. After a few seconds of fighting between the armadillo and the metallic sphere, the ball claimed victory; the blue light faded away and the Pokéball stilled with a ping, confirming Mark’s first Pokémon capture.

    “Wow,” Mark breathed after a few seconds of silence, walking slowly towards the Pokéball and picking it up. The smooth, cold surface of the metallic sphere was wet, the grass it lay in still being covered in water after the earlier downpour. Mark got a creepy feeling when touching it; he actually felt that there was a Pokémon inside it.

    He slowly took out his Pokédex and pointed the scanner at the Pokéball. Pressing a button, the Pokédex started speaking:

    “Sandshrew – mouse Pokémon. It likes curling up into a ball for protection; its rock-hard scales can repel almost any physical attack. It is also an extremely fast digger.”

    Again, the Pokédex offered Mark the option of viewing the Pokémon’s stats. This time he chose ‘Yes’. The screen immediately showed detailed information about his new partner; it was a young male, level nine; it even announced that he had a careful nature.

    “Sandshrew, go!” he shouted, tossing the ball forward. It burst open as it hit the ground and bounced back into his hand as his newly-captured Ground Pokémon formed from a red beam where the ball had landed.

    “Shrew?” asked the Pokémon, confused, scratching its head. Mark was going to introduce him to Charmander when he felt a finger tap his shoulder.

    “Hey,” said a voice. He jumped, turning around. Sandshrew and Charmander looked around too.

    It was a girl, probably around his age. Her most attention-catching feature was her long, blue hair; at the moment she had it tied in two weird ponytails which somehow stuck forward and outwards from her face. Her face looked rather plain, although she had an annoyed expression Mark sincerely hoped he had no part in. A dark blue sweater was visible beneath a white jacket; white shorts with an old-looking Pokéball belt covered her otherwise bare legs down to the knees.

    “What are you staring at me for?” asked the girl, rather rudely. Mark felt idiotic.

    “Erm… what was it you wanted?”

    “A Pokémon battle,” said the girl like it was the most obvious thing in the world, plucking one of the two balls from her belt. Mark felt rather confident; he had a level nine Pokémon after all.

    “Two on two?” Mark questioned, nodding towards his companions.

    “I’d prefer one on one, actually,” said the girl, smiling the oddest smile Mark had ever seen. On her mouth’s behalf, it was a normal smile, but her eyes had a glint of something between evilness, confidence and the kind of glint he usually got when he thought about Legendary Pokémon.

    “Hey, wait,” said Mark, looking at Charmander and Sandshrew, “this isn’t fair. You’ve seen both of my Pokémon, but I haven’t seen either of yours.”

    “Fine with me,” said the girl, shrugging, as she grabbed her two Pokéballs, maximized them into either hand and threw them both to the ground. Two Pokémon formed in a flash of red light.

    One was a huge butterfly, with a wingspan of around one meter. Its body was dark blue with a tint of purple; two bright red, compound eyes almost covered the top of the head, but the mouth was light blue with two miniscule fangs in it. In the same shade of light blue were two tiny arms and long feet. Broad, silkily whitish-transparent wings fluttered in the breeze; a fine system of dark veins covered their delicate surface.

    The other Pokémon was a giant, metallic vulture; it stood considerably taller than its trainer on two narrow, yet powerful-looking legs. Talons that looked like they could crush bones to dust with little effort dug into the ground. It all shone in various shades of gray except for the bright red, peculiar, sword-like wing feathers. A long, sharp beak extended from its pointed head.

    Mark felt even more confident seeing the girl’s Pokémon. Both her Butterfree and Skarmory were vulnerable to fire attacks, so Charmander should beat whichever Pokémon she chose.

    “Sandshrew, come back,” he said, holding out Sandshrew’s Pokéball and pressing the button. A red beam shot out of it, hitting the armadillo so that he dissolved into red light, and shot back into the ball.

    The girl examined Charmander, and not taking her eyes off him, she took out one of her Pokéballs and returned her Butterfree into it. The two Pokémon left took their places and nodded towards each other.

    “Skarmory, fly up!” commanded the girl loudly, suddenly speaking very fast and basically in a completely different tone of voice.

    “Skaaaa!” screeched the vulture in a high-pitched, raspy voice before it clumsily took off from the ground. As it ascended, it gained better control of its flight and then rather gracefully circled above its trainer’s head, watching Charmander.

    “Man, are you slow?” said the girl impatiently. “Stop staring at Skarmory like that.”

    Mark blushed, envying the girl of being able to focus properly on the battle; he was too fascinated by the Pokémon themselves to concentrate.

    “Uh, Ember!”

    Before Charmander could do anything, the girl grinned devilishly. “I doubt anything less than a Flamethrower is going to hit Skarmory up there, you know.”

    Mark slapped his forehead and took a deep breath. Why couldn’t he just think for once? That girl had probably paid more attention in each Battling Strategies class than he had ever done counting all of them together.

    “Skarmory, peck it and then pull up, quickly!” the girl ordered. The steel bird obeyed instantly, swooping down at the fire lizard. Charmander automatically released a small cloud of flames from his mouth, but the Skarmory dodged the fire skillfully without much trouble and then jabbed its long beak into Charmander’s stomach before shooting upwards again. The lizard tumbled over, almost setting fire to the grass but quickly stomping on it to put it out as he rose up again with difficulty.

    “No, wait, Charmander – try lying low, and then the Skarmory can’t get to you without crashing!” said Mark, getting a strategic idea. The girl smiled triumphantly as Charmander crouched down.

    “I hope you will remember from now on that you should always take into account the possibility of TM moves,” she announced before ordering in the Pokémon battle voice: “Swift!”

    “Ska-a-a!” the steel vulture cried, flying high above Charmander and releasing a flurry of small, sharp metallic feathers from its body. Charmander was bombarded by them, getting cuts all over his back. Moaning, the lizard attempted to stand up, but failed. Mark felt terribly sorry for him, but he found a certain determination that made him want to at least try as hard as he could in his first trainer battle.

    “I can keep this up for however long you like,” said the girl calmly as her Skarmory released another blast of razor-sharp feathers. “You can just as well give up.”

    Mark shook his head, not liking this girl at all.

    The girl sighed, rolling her eyes. “Another Swift, then.”

    Her Skarmory nodded loyally, preparing to shake off more steel feathers. Mark opened his mouth, just to say something, got a sudden idea and blurted out as quickly as he could:

    “Melt them!”

    Charmander used his last strength to lift his head; he spewed a cloud of flames upwards, enveloping the feathers, and for a moment, it seemed like Mark’s plan was working.

    Then, white-hot, but not melted, the feathers all fell through the fire, visibly tearing up Charmander’s flesh like knives. He cringed in pain; Mark looked down, unable to watch what terrible torturing he was putting his friend through.

    “You think a small Charmander’s Ember is hot enough to melt Skarmory feathers?” asked the girl, raising her right eyebrow. “Man, you need to study.”

    No words were necessary; Mark just silently recalled the badly cut Charmander into his Pokéball, accepting defeat.

    “Well – anyway, I’ve got loads of training to do now, I’m planning to challenge the Gym leader tomorrow…” said the girl, recalling her Skarmory – as Mark noted especially – without any compliments at all. She looked at him as if wondering if it would be appropriate to say goodbye, but then just turned swiftly around and hurried towards the city.

    “What level is that Skarmory of yours, anyway?” Mark called after her.

    “Seven,” she shouted back, disappearing behind a hill.

    Mark stared, feeling more than ever that he was completely lousy.

    He sent out Charmander, who was still bleeding, and took one of the Potion bottles from his bag. Carefully, he sprayed it on the lizard’s scratched skin, muttering constantly about how extremely sorry he was. The wounds slowly started to close right before his eyes.

    “This feels good,” Charmander said in relief. “Kinda tickling, but cooling and pain-easing. And pain is an inevitable result of any battling, so don’t worry about it.”

    After a few more seconds, there were barely any traces of the cuts left. Mark looked up to find that he was alone with Charmander.

    The clouds in the west were blood red, but it quickly faded into the purple and finally dark blue of the evening sky.

    I shouldn’t be here, Mark immediately thought, glancing at the missing reports on the tourist information sign and imagining his photo and name on it. Panicking, he looked at the lake.

    The air chilled as a graceful, dark blue shadow rushed out from the forest to the right. The elegant, catlike shape stopped at the bank of the lake, to be illuminated by the moonlight which now flowed out after a cloud passed above.

    The head, which now was to Mark’s horror staring straight at him, belonged to a darkish blue feline. White, diamond-shaped spots covered the slender body. A crown-like crystal shape grew backwards out of its head. Two long, pearly white ribbons floated in mid-air by its sides, rippling gracefully like the ocean’s waves. A long purple cloak which appeared to sprout from the base of its neck moved in similar soft waves.

    “Suicune,” Mark whispered, forgetting all about the missing reports; all that mattered was that he was right now looking at a Legendary with his own eyes. By his side, Charmander also stared, stunned, at the Legendary Pokémon.

    That one moment seemed to last for hours. Then Suicune did what Mark could’ve sworn was a small bow or nod, and then a white paw carefully touched the water’s surface. Instantly, Mark saw the purification spread out with the ripples. As suddenly as it had come, the graceful Pokémon sped back into the woods.

    At that exact moment, a much more terrifying shape rose from the lake.

    A dark blue, scaly monster or dragon, rising high above them, staring at Mark with terrifying, red eyes with the whites visible all around them, and a gaping, fanged mouth…

    The Gyarados’ roar drowned Mark and Charmander’s screams, but as Mark was preparing to turn away, he quite clearly heard English coming from the monster:

    “No! Don’t leave!”

    The Gyarados’ voice sounded desperate, almost terrified.

    “You – you can speak human?” Mark croaked.

    “Yes, but that’s irrelevant. What matters is that you stay here, understand?”

    Mark slowly came a few steps forward, blindly obeying the beast without thinking about the possible consequences.

    “No, don’t come so near.”

    He stopped, confused.

    “Step back!” the Gyarados ordered.

    “Why?” Mark asked, puzzled and terrified at the same time.

    “DON’T TEMPT ME!” the monster hissed.

    Figuring that at least he could barely be worse off that way, Mark took three steps backwards.

    “Tempt you how?”

    “I don’t want to lose you like the others before I even started explaining myself.”

    “What others?” Mark asked, nevertheless having a strong feeling about who they were. The Gyarados didn’t answer; just jerked its head towards the tourist information sign with a pained expression. Mark felt sick.

    “Look, that doesn’t matter now. The only thing that matters is getting me out of this place.”

    “What…”

    “I need to get out of Suicune’s reach!”

    “Suicune’s?”

    “SUICUNE IS A DAMN MURDERER!”

    Mark was convinced that this Gyarados belonged in an insane asylum. “I don’t understand…”

    “It doesn’t matter! What you do is catch me and get me to a Pokémon center. You must not tell anybody where you found me. You must never mention what happened here to anybody. If you just do that, I will serve you with all my might forever. Agreed?”

    “But…”

    “There’s no time for questions!” the Gyarados hissed. “Just do it!”

    Mark backed away.

    “PLEASE!” The giant sea monster lowered its head to the bank with a few odd coughs, then looked up again, its eyes full of water. “Please…”

    Mark stared open-mouthed at this turn of events. They were likely to be crocodile tears, of course, but the desperate tone in the Gyarados’ voice throughout the conversation made them look a lot more real.

    After all, it could barely hurt…

    “O – okay…” Mark said doubtfully, taking out a Pokéball and throwing it as well as he could at the sea serpent’s body. All of its gigantic shape was transformed into bright red energy which was then sucked into the ball as it bounced back to land on the bank. The ball didn’t wobble; the monster wasn’t showing any resistance at all. Instead the button’s blue glow immediately faded away and the ball pinged.

    He carefully walked over to the ball like the Gyarados could suddenly burst out of it, then bent down and had to collect his courage before touching it.

    He turned around, to Charmander.

    “Incredible, isn’t it, how such a large Pokémon can fit into such a small ball?”

    Charmander looked puzzled. “Uh, now that you mention it,” he answered, “yeah, it’s kind of weird. Why are you suddenly asking about that?”

    “It’s just…” Mark paused, trying to think of the right words for how weird he felt knowing he was holding a huge monster in his hands. “Oh, let’s just go down and get him to a Pokémon center. Or her? Wait…”

    He took his Pokédex out of the side pocket of his pack and pointed it at the Pokéball.

    “Gyarados – atrocious Pokémon. Evolving from the weak Magikarp, Gyarados are known to sink ships on occasions. They are among the Pokémon that have dragon-like powers but do not have the genetical structure of a true Dragon Pokémon.”

    The statistics appeared on the screen upon Mark’s command.

    “OK, it’s a he, at least. Level 20… I’ll probably crush the Cleanwater City Gym with him…”

    “Are you sure? The guy uses Legendary Pokémon, remember…”

    Mark shrugged. “Perhaps. But Gyarados is a strong Pokémon, and… holy Miltank!”

    “What?” asked Charmander, seeing that what shocked Mark so much was something the Pokédex said, and he wasn’t tall enough to see the screen.

    “Just look at those stats! They’re much higher than what an average Gyarados is supposed to have. And look at this picture of a typical Gyarados – if you compare the color of the armor to the one I just caught, mine is much darker…”

    “Odd,” said Charmander simply, not that interested. “Shouldn’t we go down to town and get Gyarados healed like he asked?”

    Mark just shrugged, still with his mind on Gyarados’ odd qualities.

  12. #12
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    *grumbles* Readers, where are you?




    -------
    RATING

    Violence: Pokémon battles of the more violent kind.

    Gore: Some blood, yeah. No guts, though.

    Sexuality: None...

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing special I can remember.
    -------





    Chapter 6: The Mammal, the Monster and the Mental Change

    Mark walked silently with his Pokémon towards the city. He was still afraid of what he held in his Pokéball, attached to his own belt.

    This Gyarados was strange. Too strange. The more he thought about it, the more uncomfortable he felt. Yet, Gyarados was more likely to be dangerous to him if he attempted to release him. Mark was stuck in an odd situation – and perhaps a serious one at that, if the sea monster would wreck something. He found it absurd that a few minutes earlier, he had been thinking “It can barely hurt, can it?” Of course it could hurt. It was a Gyarados. What if he went berserk at the Pokémon center or something?

    “Uh, Mark?” Charmander asked carefully.

    “What?” Mark replied, snapping out of his thoughts.

    “We’re here,” the lizard pointed out.

    “Oh,” said Mark stupidly, looking around. They were in front of the Pokémon Center again; it looked somehow safer in the dark with the fluorescent lighting of the roof, made to help trainers find it.

    Stepping inside to be greeted by the warmth, Mark noticed that there were still quite a few trainers sitting in the red sofas, tapping their feet or just staring into the air in a kind of a trance while their Pokémon got healed. Mark imagined how it must be to wait anxiously for the nurse to try to heal a severely injured Pokémon, not knowing if it would live or die… he would never, ever let Charmander get hurt so much again. He would rather give up.

    He walked with Charmander on his heels across the room, and to the desk, where the red-haired nurse was currently standing, waiting for more patients.

    “Good evening. You’re out late,” she said in her trademark soft voice.

    “Hi, I’d like to have my three Pokémon treated overnight,” Mark said.

    “I don’t think that’s necessary…” Charmander began, but Mark just picked him up and put him on the desk, looking him in the eyes.

    “That Potion was just temporary,” he explained. “You’re still worn-out after the battle and the cuts haven’t fully healed; it would be better if you stayed here for the night. You’d have to be inside your Pokéball, anyway, since I doubt the hotel would allow a Pokémon with a flame on its tail to sleep in one of their rooms.”

    Charmander shrugged. “Well, guess it’s best, then. See you tomorrow.”

    Mark nodded, touched his lizard lightly with the Pokéball and he was dissolved into red energy and sucked into the ball. Plucking the two other occupied spheres from his Pokéball belt, he handed them to the nurse.

    “Come back tomorrow for them,” she said, smiling. Mark felt alone as he walked out of the Pokémon Center.

    -------

    He came to the hotel. A few of its windows were still illuminated from the inside, but most were dark. All the Pokémon trainers the hotel was usually full of were either at the Pokémon center, out trying to catch nocturnal Pokémon or they had gone to bed already, hoping to start the next day early.

    Mark entered quietly, going up the stairs to his room. Just like it had been odd when Charmander first went into his Pokéball, it was odd when he was being treated at the Pokémon Center.

    Mark sighed, and couldn’t wait to retrieve his partners next day.

    -------

    “Here are your Pokémon. Eevee is still inside, sleeping. I have a concern about your Gyarados, though…”

    Mark was in the Cleanwater city Pokémon Center after a breakfast at the hotel, getting his Pokémon back. It was rather early in the morning, and currently Mark was the only trainer there.

    “What is it?” Mark asked, worried. Had Gyarados attacked somebody? Wrecked the healing machine?

    “He suffers from severe lack of nutrition,” the nurse explained. “What have you been feeding him, anyway?”

    “Nothing,” said Mark truthfully. “I just got him.”

    “I figured that had to be it,” said Nurse Joy, nodding thoughtfully. “Your other Pokémon aren’t underfed at all, so it seemed sort of odd that you would starve him.”

    “What can I do about it?” asked Mark concernedly. Maybe that was why Gyarados wanted to get out of the lake? Just to eat? No, he had talked about getting out of Suicune’s reach…

    “I fed him very nicely,” said the nurse, smiling. “After eating, he even said – in English, mind you; that’s quite some Pokémon you got! – that I was the second-nicest human in the world, after you.” She giggled.

    “Huh? After me?” Mark was puzzled; he hadn’t thought Gyarados liked him so much just because he brought him to a Pokémon Center.

    “Yes. You must have earned his respect very well; most Gyarados are quite overwhelmed by their power when they evolve and are some of the most arrogant, impolite Pokémon you’ll ever see – he isn’t like that at all.”

    “Well, that’s good,” Mark said, brightening up. To think of it… Gyarados would actually obey and be his strongest Pokémon…

    “Anyway, shouldn’t we wake Eevee?” the nurse suggested, gesturing for him to follow her. They walked into the room at the back; it was all dark blue and seemed cold, very unlike the warm, fluffy pink and red of the waiting room. In a cardboard box with blankets in standing on a table, Mark saw the furred creature he had found the day before, fast asleep and content, with his thick tail wrapped around his body.

    “Eevee,” Nurse Joy said sweetly, “time to wake up.”

    She gently reached down and touched the Pokémon’s fur carefully. Eevee stirred, licked her hand friendly and then opened his gleaming brown eyes. He noticed Mark with an expression of curiosity and, unless Mark was very much mistaken, some level of gratefulness.

    “Remember me?” asked Mark slowly, offering his hand. Eevee carefully reached up with his nose, sniffing his fingers, then stroked his head up to his hand. Mark started scratching him behind his ear; Eevee gave a soft “vee” and then started licking his hand too. Mark looked up at Nurse Joy; she was smiling.

    “He’s really friendly and trusting; he will probably be a good Pokémon for you if he wants that. I haven’t mentioned it; perhaps you should explain the situation now.”

    “OK…” Mark started nervously, withdrawing his hand as to keep Eevee unbiased. “Erm… Eevee, do you have a home?”

    The Pokémon’s ears dropped as he shook his head sadly.

    “Would you like me to… take you with me?”

    Eevee instantly nodded excitedly.

    “And… um… I’m a Pokémon trainer, you see…”

    “Vii?” asked the small Pokémon, tilting his head.

    “Don’t you know what a Pokémon trainer is?”

    Eevee shook his head and looked up at Mark curiously.

    “That’s a person who… er, keeps Pokémon inside little balls, like these.” Mark removed Charmander and Sandshrew’s Pokéballs from his belt and showed them to Eevee, minimized.

    “See, then you can make them inflate, like this…”

    Mark pressed the buttons and the spheres instantly maximized into battle-size. Eevee started, taking a small jump backwards inside the box. Mark laughed.

    “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Come on, the balls won’t bite.”

    Eevee carefully touched the cold, metallic surface of Charmander’s ball with the tip of his nose. He shivered, apparently still finding that thing a bit creepy, but with a small nod he confirmed his acceptance of the Pokéballs.

    “Okay, now, don’t be scared…” Mark carefully dropped the balls into Eevee’s box; they both opened and the two Pokémon formed in red light beside Eevee before the balls bounced right back into Mark’s palms.

    This was something Eevee clearly found a lot harder to accept, which was no more than Mark had expected; his eyes widened from the shock of seeing two Pokémon materialize from thin air right beside him. Eevee pressed himself against the wall of the box, moaning nervously as he covered his eyes with his long ears. Charmander and Sandshrew looked confusedly around; Charmander soon realized what was going on, carefully bent down to Eevee’s level and cautiously lifted one of his ears from his face. A terrified eye half-opened, then shut again as the Pokémon forced its ear back down. Sandshrew curiously poked Eevee’s thick, soft mane; Charmander started to pat Eevee’s back reassuringly.

    “It’s all right,” Mark said quietly, now placing his hand carefully on the scared Pokémon’s head. “Look.” He brushed Eevee’s ears away, and pointed both Pokéballs at the Pokémon they belonged to; Charmander and Sandshrew both dissolved into red light as they shot back into the balls.

    “Now,” Mark began explaining as Eevee started to calm down, “a Pokémon trainer carries Pokémon in balls like these, and when he sees a Pokémon or another trainer, he uses his Pokémon to battle.”

    Eevee looked expectantly up at him, waiting to hear more.

    “He sends out his Pokémon from the balls – only one at a time – and they battle the other Pokémon or trainer’s Pokémon. If his Pokémon are getting too hurt, he will recall them back into the ball. A Pokémon trainer will always heal his Pokémon as soon as possible when they are hurt, and make sure they get plenty of food and never suffer permanent injuries.”

    Mark had never in his life thought about what Pokémon training actually was – yet now, he was telling it to an innocent, young Pokémon that hadn’t had a mother for long enough to learn about these things. It felt odd.

    “Then…” Mark’s voice was trembling for some reason, “… the trainer… well, usually… becomes really close to the Pokémon – a type of friend who takes really good care of them and loves them like his own siblings... and usually, the Pokémon will feel like that too…”

    Eevee’s shiny, big eyes still looked happily up at Mark’s deep green ones; he took a deep breath before asking the final question.

    “So… will you… do you want me to train you? Don’t think about what I want, just what you want. Do you want to be released back into the wild where you can continue your life, or do you want to… come with me and I’ll be your trainer?”

    Hot pulse throbbed in Mark’s neck with every beat of his heart; they sounded unnaturally loud now as the boy and the Pokémon stared deep into each other’s eyes; nothing could be read from either’s expression.

    “Veee!” Eevee finally said happily, nodding and placing his forepaws in Mark’s hands. He picked the Pokémon carefully up, unable to believe he actually had an Eevee now. The fluffy Pokémon emitted some sort of a purr, digging his nose into Mark’s face.

    “Eevee…” Mark started in a muffled voice because of the fur covering his mouth, “if you’re going to be my Pokémon, you need to go into a Pokéball.”

    “Vee?” the Pokémon questioned. Not having very good control of Pokémon’s complicated language due to young age, he managed to get his meaning across, but not word for word.

    “Yes, see, sometimes I can’t carry you with me otherwise. Pokéballs are nice, just like a luxury room with everything you need, you’ll even feel all dreamy and comfortable, and when you’re sent out, you’ll be refreshed, just like you were sleeping.” Mark knew this in fact because that time he had discussed Pokémon rights with a Vulpix in a Pokémonish test, one of the things they had talked about was whether it was right to capture Pokémon in Pokéballs, and Vulpix, who was pro-Pokéballs, had described to him what Pokéballs were like.

    “Vui,” said Eevee skeptically, glancing at the Pokéballs Mark had replaced at his belt. Finally he looked up at Mark, seemingly still a bit scared of the balls. Mark took one of his empty balls and touched Eevee lightly with it; the Pokémon dissolved into red light and was drawn into the ball.

    Mark waited a few seconds; the ball stood quite still in his hand, meaning that at least Eevee wasn’t trying to break out of it.

    He dropped the ball into the box again; a beam of red energy burst out of it and took shape into Eevee. He looked quickly around, realized that he was back in the box and then accepted the Pokéball with a small nod.

    “Great,” said Mark, still not believing what was happening. Him, with an Eevee!

    “Will you come into the Pokéball now, then?” he asked upon realization that Eevee was waiting for him to say something else. The Pokémon thought a bit, but then nodded, smiling. Mark recalled Eevee into the Pokéball, convinced that he was the luckiest person alive.

    “Erm… thanks, Nurse Joy,” Mark muttered, not sure what to say. She just smiled. “It’s Eevee who’s going to come with you, thank him.”

    “Wow,” he just breathed.

    “So, where are you headed now?” asked Nurse Joy kindly.

    “The Gym,” Mark said, still staring at the Pokéball in his hand.

    “Good luck, then. You’ll need it,” were Nurse Joy’s warning words before Mark left the building.

    Absent-mindedly, he walked out of the Pokémon Center, noticing that he was getting used to having his Pokémon inside Pokéballs. The sun was shining now; the stormy clouds from the day before had drifted away overnight and now the sky was clear.

    He wandered around a bit, looking for the Pokémon Gym, but once he found it, he was surprised he hadn’t figured that huge yellow building with the glass dome roof he could always see behind the other houses had to be the Gym.

    The door was odd; it was round and shaped like a Pokéball lying on the side. The button that would normally maximize the ball said “PRESS”. When Mark nervously pushed it with his hand, the two halves of the door separated and moved to the sides with a rumbling noise. Mark carefully stepped inside; he heard the door slide back into place behind him.

    Now there was no turning back. He took a deep breath and walked forward, through a second gateway; the entrance room was just empty for whatever reason.

    He was on a Pokémon battle arena, that was certain, and an overwhelmingly huge one at that. The glass dome was three times as high as the ceiling in a regular house, and the room had all the features a standard battle arena had to have; a large pool on the right side that was obviously intended for Water Pokémon, and the way the floor was marked had a very clear meaning. Just ahead of him was the red-painted box he was supposed to stand in. He nervously took his place; a trainer stood up from a bench at the other end and stepped into the box at his end. Mark found his clothes very odd: a cap that seemed too big for his head, a jacket and shorts, all bright neon green.

    “Hey, you have to battle me first, Rick will only take on the best of the best,” the boy called in an extremely monotone, boring, politician-like voice.

    “I wasn’t going anywhere!” Mark shouted back. The trainer ignored it.

    “Three on three, ready, go, Articuno.”

    The boy hurled forward a black and red Pokéball with as much power as he could; it burst open in mid-air, releasing Mark’s second favorite Pokémon, and bounced back to the trainer.

    A smooth, peaceful-sounding cry of “a-ar” emitted from the magnificent, parrot-like icy blue bird as it circled the middle of its own half of the arena, dragging a darker blue, wavy tail feather after its body. Swooping gracefully down every now and then but pulling up again, the Legendary Pokémon loyally awaited its trainer’s orders. It pained Mark to think that the Pokéball had brainwashed his second favorite Pokémon like that – thankfully just a clone.

    Mark hesitated, but then decided that sending out Charmander would be worth the risk. He blindly reached for the Pokéball and threw it forward. The ball popped open upon impact with the floor and sent out the lizard.

    “Mander!” he growled, assuming a battle stance and glaring at the Articuno, focusing. Mark could figure out what was going through his Pokémon’s head; the last time he had been put up against a Pokémon he was supposed to have an advantage over, he had lost. He wasn’t going to go down a second time.

    “Charmander, be ready to dodge!”

    The lizard nodded, still concentrating on his opponent.

    “Articuno, Powder Snow,” said the junior trainer in his monotone voice.

    The Legendary bird’s eyes closed as it glowed white; the room cooled gradually as every flap of its wings and every wave of the long tail feather started emitting flurries of snow which flew straight at Charmander. Mark shivered as the cold wind blew in his face. Even before he opened his mouth to issue a command, Charmander seemed to read his mind and breathed a tongue of flames at the snow, melting and boiling it instantly and leaving Charmander unharmed.

    The junior trainer swore loudly, still in the monotone voice, and then ordered: “Articuno, Gust.”

    Instantly, the magnificent bird started flapping its wings in Charmander’s direction instead of up and down, and also faster and faster. In a remarkably short time, a strong gust of wind powered up and sent both Mark and Charmander flying into the wall.

    “Sorry,” said the junior trainer, not sounding it. “Peck!”

    The Articuno clone immediately dived down with a cry of “Aaaarti!”, heading straight towards Charmander. Mark had no time to think, but luckily Charmander spat out a blast of flames by instinct just as the bird was about to hit him. For a second Articuno was on fire, and unfortunately that was the exact second when its beak smashed into Charmander’s belly so that he was thrown harshly backwards; but when the flames died, the Legendary bird crashed clumsily on the ground.

    Stretching out both of its wings, Articuno’s icy feathers were clearly dripping with water as it withered in pain; Charmander stood heavily up and despite hating to do this to a Pokémon he loved so much, Mark made a final command:

    “Finish it with another Ember!”

    Articuno was helplessly trying to take off, but failing. Charmander fired another cloud of flames which enveloped the Legendary Pokémon; when it cleared, Articuno lay in a pool of water on the floor, defeated.

    The junior trainer grumpily recalled the half-melted bird.

    “Go, finish off that overgrown salamander.”

    He threw forward another Pokéball, black with glowing red stripes like the previous one. Out of it came spiky-feathered Legendary bird that Mark recognized immediately as Zapdos.

    It opened its long beak as the pitch-black and shocking yellow thunderbird ascended through the air, letting out an electrical cry of “Dooos!”

    “Charmander, quick, uh…”

    Mark didn’t have the time to make an order; Zapdos fiercely flapped its wings without a command and released a bolt of lightning which shot down and hit Charmander. He screamed in pain, then went stiff and fell down to the floor like a stone statue.

    “Charmander! Are you all right?” asked Mark worriedly. Since there was no response, he was forced to recall his Pokémon and wait until he would be able to heal him.

    “Go, Sandshrew!” Mark did this without much thought; Sandshrew seemed like the obvious one since he was a Ground Pokémon and therefore immune to Electric attacks, but immediately after the yellowish brown armadillo materialized on the floor, he realized how foolish a decision it had been; Sandshrew wouldn’t be able to harm Zapdos either unless it came near enough for him to scratch it.

    “Drill peck,” said the junior trainer dully. Immediately, the thunderbird let out another cry towards Sandshrew as it prepared to dive.

    “Sandshrew, Defense curl!” Mark ordered quickly, that being just about the only thing he could do. The armadillo Pokémon locked tightly up in a knot in an amazingly short time; Mark quickly looked up to watch Zapdos again. The spiky bird now started spinning like a drill in mid-air and then dove towards Sandshrew at high speed, jabbing him with its beak. The curled-up Sandshrew rolled like a soccer ball from the impact; Mark automatically blocked the path with his foot. Immediately, the armadillo uncurled, seemingly unharmed, and focused on Zapdos again, although, as Mark couldn’t help noticing, with a complete lack of determination.

    Zapdos swooped down again without an order. Likewise, Sandshrew curled up without Mark having the time to say anything. This time, though, Sandshrew rolled himself powerfully out of the way. Zapdos barely avoided crashing, pulled up and was clearly getting ticked off by now. With yet another electrified “Do-o-os”, the thunderbird started zooming back and forth near the ceiling, gaining speed as it went and soon turning into a blurred streak of yellow and black before it lunged down at Sandshrew again. The armadillo Pokémon didn’t have time to curl up again, and being stabbed with Zapdos’ long, spear-like beak in his vulnerable white underbelly was too much. Letting out a piercing cry, Sandshrew was thrown a bit backwards, but then collapsed, his chest bleeding disturbingly much.

    “Oh God,” Mark muttered, still unable to do anything about it but just recall the Pokémon and hope he would be all right. Now it was facing the next problem.

    Mark automatically grabbed Eevee’s Pokéball, but hesitated. Eevee was so young, and had immediately started to trust him out of childish innocence. How could he let Eevee get as badly injured as Charmander and Sandshrew?

    He couldn’t.

    His hand moved to Gyarados’ ball, plucked it off his Pokéball belt, and threw it at the pool, biting his lip. Sending out a Gyarados against an Electric Pokémon? He had to be going crazy.

    Gyarados took shape out of the red light as Mark’s Pokéball bounced back into his hand. An intimidating roar sounded from the sea monster, visibly unnerving even the Legendary Pokémon.

    “Thunderbolt,” said the junior trainer, smirking. Zapdos prepared to do the same thing as on Charmander, but the most that happened were a few sparks that shot between its wing feathers.

    “Dos!” growled the Legendary with a hint of annoyance, attempting to charge up electricity again. Mark’s mind raced. Zapdos was probably tired after the battle with Sandshrew; did Gyarados perhaps have a chance?

    “Dragon rage!” Mark roared. Gyarados raised his head and, letting out another ear-splitting roar, he fired a jet of crimson red, dark flames from his mouth.

    The blast hit Zapdos powerfully. The bird stayed in the air for a second, stiff; then with a weak “dos…” it fell to the floor. A smile broke out on Mark’s face; Dragon rage was a very, very powerful attack at this stage of his journey, because it always hurt exactly as much, completely independent on the user’s strength or any kind of weaknesses and resistances. That meant that the attack’s outcome depended purely on the victim’s ability to endure pain – a weak, inexperienced Pokémon, such as most of the ones he was facing now, would therefore fall unconscious from being subjected to it once. He was just remembering this now – some of Mrs. Grodski’s classes appeared to have sunk in after all.

    He grinned. He would sweep this Gym’s floors with Legendaries, all on account of Gyarados’ Dragon rage attack.

    “Zapdos, return,” said the junior trainer dully, holding the Pokéball forward and recalling the battered bird. “Go… Moltres…”

    From the junior trainer’s expression and even duller tone in these words, he was also well aware of how powerful Dragon rage was against such low-leveled Pokémon. He threw the Pokéball with less enthusiasm than before; the golden phoenix that was the third and last of the Legendary birds of Kanto burst out of it in a flash of red light.

    “Mooool!” the swan-like bird cried, smoothly ascending into the air and leaving a trail of flames behind from its fiery wings and tail. When it was just slightly below the ceiling, the bird shook its head powerfully, the fire that rested atop its head blazing up and adding to the powerful image of the Legendary. Moltres flapped its flaming wings slowly, focusing on Gyarados with keen eyes, ready to take an order.

    “Another Dragon rage!” Mark called, slightly nervously; what if it wouldn’t work? Gyarados immediately released a blast of crimson fire from his mouth again, but with the grace of only a Legendary, the phoenix dived down, evading the attack with ease.

    “Oh man,” Mark murmured, gritting his teeth. “That thing can dodge.”

    “Glow,” said the junior trainer. Mark scanned through his head, not remembering any attack called that, as he watched Moltres start to glow bright white. Suddenly something clunked into place, and Mark realized that this was the preparation for a Sky attack.

    “Gyarados – Dragon rage!” he commanded desperately, hoping that the sea monster would be quick enough to get the hit in. Unfortunately, just as Gyarados started forming the dragon flames in his throat, Moltres’ glowing swan shape shot towards the huge monster at amazing speed, its beak stabbing Gyarados right where two plates of his deep blue armor met; the exact place where he was vulnerable.

    With a terrible roar, the sea monster screwed his eyes shut, flailing around in pain with the no longer glowing Moltres still stuck with its beak between two enormous plates of armor. Interestingly enough, Gyarados’ size was such that he managed to splash enough water at the phoenix to almost put out its fire. A high-pitched screech was heard from the Legendary bird as it tried to flutter away while Gyarados retained his balance.

    “And now, quickly, another Dragon rage!” Mark blurted out.

    Being wet clearly slowed Moltres down considerably, since as the bird tried to fly out of the way, Gyarados managed to fire yet another blast of crimson flames, hitting this time. Moltres fell unconscious in mid-air and dropped limply to the ground.

    “Wow,” Mark muttered to himself as the junior trainer resentfully recalled his last Pokémon. “That’s got to be the only time in history a battle was won on account of Splash.”

    The junior trainer took a small thing that looked like a car key out of his pocket, pressing a button on it. The Pokéball-shaped door on the other end of the arena slid open with a rumbling noise. The trainer pointed lousily over his shoulder with his thumb and then walked up to the bench again, sitting grumpily down with crossed arms. Mark nervously walked towards the door, but then stopped.

    “Can I go back? I need to heal my Pokémon,” he asked the trainer, feeling a sting of guilt for having almost forgotten how injured Charmander and Sandshrew were.

    “You don’t need to, there’s a nurse just beyond the door,” the junior trainer muttered, still sulking.

    Mark walked through the round doorway; it immediately closed after him. As the junior trainer had said, a blond-haired woman in a white uniform waited just by the entrance, clutching a Pocket Healer in her hands.

    “Good morning,” she said politely with a small bow. “Would you like me to heal your Pokémon?”

    “Er, yeah… thank you,” Mark said, carefully handing her the Pokéballs. She gave a tiny nod, placing one ball at a time into the Pocket Healer and pressing the heal button.

    “Done,” she said, smiling, as she handed the balls back to Mark. He thanked her and then went on to the battle arena, which was identical to the previous one. This time around, however, the trainer wore red clothes with white linings on them, had bushy, purple hair, and was already standing in his square, grinning broadly with a scary glare of enthusiasm.

    “Three on three,” he said in a loud, clear voice with a British accent, holding one of those black and red Pokéballs. “Go, Raikou!”

    The Pokéball released a huge tiger-like Pokémon, yellow in color. Its unnaturally long claws and fangs combined with the fact that its face was all hidden made it look scary; a black triangular plate covered the forehead and nose, four metallic-looking whiskers spread out from the front of its muzzle, and creamy white tufts of fur handled the sides of the head.

    Mark had never been that much of a Raikou fan compared to the other Legendaries, but he found a certain grace in the way the tiger’s muscles tightened under the black-striped skin and the absolute determination in its red eyes, the only visible parts of the face. Unsurely, he grabbed hold of Sandshrew’s ball. Raikou was very well capable of using Crunch and other non-Electric attacks, and Sandshrew didn’t know any Ground attacks.

    But it wasn’t like Charmander or Eevee would do much better, and letting Gyarados get beat at the first Pokémon that was sent out would be suicide. He made his decision.

    “Sandshrew, go!” he shouted, throwing forward the Pokéball. As it bounced off the ground, it released the armadillo Pokémon in a flash of red. Sandshrew didn’t appear to be a fan of Raikou either; his eyes opened very wide at the sight of the tiger and then he curled tightly up into a ball, which appeared to be his ideal solution to whatever problems he was facing.

    “Raikou, Calm mind!” shouted the junior trainer. The tiger closed its eyes and bowed its head in deep concentration, revealing the then started glowing with a faint lavender aura. After a few seconds of waiting, Raikou raised its head again, its eyes open.

    “This won’t do, Sandshrew, Raikou will just use some stat boosters!” Mark said impatiently to the scaly sphere that was supposed to be his Pokémon, poking it with his toe. Sandshrew slowly uncurled, but this was the chance the junior trainer was waiting for; he quickly gave Raikou another order:

    “Crunch, now!”

    The tiger leapt at Sandshrew before he had the sense to curl up again, and with a roar, it locked its jaws around Sandshrew’s body. The armadillo Pokémon’s arms helplessly flailed around in mid-air; he gave a squeak when Raikou started squeezing its jaws together. A few drops of blood fell to the ground.

    “No… Sandshrew, come back,” Mark said limply, holding up the Pokéball so that Sandshrew was absorbed into it. Perhaps Pokémon battling wasn’t the right sport for him…

    “Go, er… Charmander.”

    Mark still didn’t want to send out Eevee, although he wasn’t sure why he was more ready to let Charmander get hurt.

    The little lizard came out of the ball in a red beam of light, and clearly didn’t like Raikou that much either.

    “I’m supposed to battle that?” he whispered in disbelief, flicking his big eyes quickly back at Mark.

    “Sorry, Charmander, we have to,” Mark answered with a pained expression. “Just do your best.”

    Charmander nodded slowly and said in an odd voice: “Yes. I will.”

    Immediately after Charmander finished that sentence, the junior trainer gave Raikou a new command:

    “Raikou, Spark!”

    The thunder tiger started sparkling with electricity and jumped towards the much smaller Fire Pokémon. Charmander leapt to the side with surprising agility and then grabbed hold of Raikou’s jagged, metallic tail. Snarling oddly in a way that wasn’t very much like him, Charmander spat a bit of fire at the tail end. The reactions were immediate; a painful howl came from the Legendary’s mouth at first as its body stiffened, then it started sprinting over the arena in an attempt to shake Charmander off. The lizard held on as well as he could, occasionally breathing flames on the tail end again in order to keep it hot. Mark could see that it was slowly melting.

    Finally, Charmander fell off, bouncing once off the floor before landing on his side, seemingly unconscious. The junior trainer desperately tried to tell Raikou to stop running around in circles, but the Pokémon ignored it, putting higher priority on cooling down its tail than finishing the battle. For a few seconds, Mark was worried about Charmander as he didn’t move, but then the small Pokémon stood up with difficulty, looking dizzy and breathing very hard. He started walking towards Mark.

    “I… have a headache…” he said weakly, then dropped back on four legs, panting uncontrollably as sweat sprouted on his skin.

    Slowly, the little Pokémon started emitting a bright white glow. Mark and the junior trainer both watched, stunned; even Raikou stopped running and turned its head sharply to watch.

    “You weren’t going to evolve until later, remember?” Mark said, remembering what they had discussed at the restaurant the previous day. On second thought, that was a stupid thing to say; obviously Charmander had to remember it, but he was in no state to resist the evolution.

    Charmander’s now pure white shape was steadily growing larger and bulkier. A small horn grew out of the back of the Pokémon’s head. His muzzle lengthened. Then the growth came to a halt. For a second, the shape was just there emitting a bright aura; then the glow faded revealing a crimson red Charmeleon; bigger, more muscular and dragon-like, but otherwise somewhat similar to Charmander.

    A more adult-shaped eye looked at Mark. A weak, deep “Char…” came from the evolved Pokémon, but then his legs collapsed under him and he lay limply on the ground, fainted.

    Shaking, Mark held forward a Pokéball. “R-return,” he stammered, his freshly-evolved friend disappearing into a beam of red energy.

  13. #13
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Little hint--stories with shorter chapters tend to get more readers. That's probably why.

    And a little thing about this chapter--how did one person manage to get so many Legendaries? I know it's possible in the games, but in that world it would be severely looked down on.

  14. #14
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    He didn't get them, he chased them around the world, found hairs, feathers, etc. of them, and cloned them. I'm afraid careful reading of the previous chapter is important if you want to understand this fic...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter four
    The girl giggled. “You’ve never heard of Rick? He spent ten years of his life finding the Legendary Pokémon of all four regions. He got some hairs, feathers, whatever of them, and cloned the Legendaries for himself and his junior trainers. They don’t train them much at all, though, so they’re really low-leveled.”
    Meh, when my chapters are short, people complain about it, and when they're long, people don't read it. Just typical.




    -------
    RATING

    Violence: None.

    Gore: None.

    Sexuality: There's one part which has two possible meanings. One is a wee bit naughty, the other is the original intended, clean meaning. I kept it worded like that because I found it kind of funny. XD

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing.
    -------




    Chapter 7: Charmeleon’s Trainer

    Mark was stunned by Charmander’s evolution itself, but no less the fact that even though they had decided to postpone the evolution to a better time, neither of them had been able to do anything to stop it. It also wouldn’t stop bothering him what Charmander was like just before the evolution; he had looked so sickly, sweating like that, and had a headache. And how he acted when he battled Raikou – it wasn’t normal. Not like him.

    Nevertheless, as he reminded himself, he was still in a battle, and two out of the three Pokémon he could use for the battle had fainted, one of the possibilities left being really young, and the other one extremely vulnerable to the opponent’s attacks. He tried to think, but felt he was absolutely unable to concentrate while still worrying about whether Charmeleon was still the same person as before or not.

    He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then opened them again.

    “I forfeit.”

    “What?” the junior trainer questioned, apparently finding this absolutely unheard of.

    “I give up,” said Mark a bit louder. “I’m going to lose the battle anyway.”

    “You’ll have to battle both of us again,” the junior trainer pointed out.

    “Can I just have a quick one-on-one with the guy before you or something?” Mark called back. The junior trainer, not really disliking the idea, shrugged and picked up a car key thing like the other junior trainer had possessed, pointing it at the door Mark came through so that it opened.

    “Thanks,” he said, before jerking around and running through the door.

    The junior trainer in the first room noticed him and apparently had had cases of people rushing through his arena in the wrong direction before, because without words he picked up a key and opened the front door for Mark. He threw a yell of “thanks” over his shoulder before exiting. He was in such a hurry that he didn’t notice the girl he crashed into in the doorway.

    Both of them fell over, landing harshly on the ground.

    “Ow,” Mark groaned, standing heavily up. So did the girl. He was about to say sorry for running into her, but then recognized her as the blue-haired girl whose Skarmory had given Charmander a beating at the Lake of Purity.

    She was still wearing the same clothes, but three other things were different about her. Firstly, her hair was done differently; now two locks fell down on either side of her face outside the ponytails, which also no longer stuck into the air like that, but rather just a little to the sides. Secondly, she had a necklace. Thirdly, her Pokéballs were missing.

    Mark stared at her waist for a few seconds, seeing no trace of the battered Pokéball belt that used to be there. He saw her right eyebrow rise higher on her forehead, before she realized what he was staring at, or rather what he was not staring at. She gave a faint smile.

    “My Pokéball belt was getting old, and in the mart this morning I saw these Pokéball necklaces and couldn’t resist buying one,” she explained, pointing at what Mark had taken for red orbs on the necklace when they were actually real, minimized Pokéballs. “It’s more convenient against thieves, anyway,” the girl added.

    “New hairdo?” Mark asked. The girl blushed.

    “Look, whatever first impression might be forming in your head, I swear, I don’t usually change random things in my appearance like that. Normally people have a hard time convincing me to change my clothes.” She sighed. “My name’s May, by the way. Yours?”

    “Mark,” he said. Apologetically, he added: “Sorry for bumping into you like that.”

    “Nah, it’s okay, I have plenty of time. How is your Charmander doing, anyway?”

    “He… just evolved,” said Mark faintly.

    “Oh. I see.” May looked at him for a second, then asked in a different tone: “How did you get him, anyway? You from Kanto?”

    “No, Sailance,” Mark answered.

    “Sailance? Sorry, I’m not into Ouen place names – I’m from Johto, you see. Originally came here to get myself a low-leveled Skarmory, my favorite Pokémon.”

    Mark nodded; the next city to the south, Alumine, was famous for having the biggest Skarmory nesting ground in the world just outside it. Then his brain told him there was something wrong with this statement combined with what he already knew.

    “Wait – did you get a Caterpie as your first Pokémon?”

    May sighed deeply. “No,” she said. “Professor Elm gave me a Cyndaquil. I actually picked her just because she was female, and females are so valuable – I seriously have no idea what I was thinking, because I hate Cyndaquil. She didn’t exactly like me that much either. Then, while I was training just north of Cleanwater, I found this guy and battled him. He had a funny-looking Pikachu, and I used Cyndaquil against him. Basically, she was losing, but then suddenly she evolved in the middle of the battle and beat his weird Pikachu. Well, I like Quilava – don’t ask me why I like Quilava but hate Cyndaquil – but as a person, I don’t think she will ever like me. Then, completely unexpectedly, the boy wanted to trade his Charmander for my Quilava, said it was level 15. So I thought, yeah, why not? And I actually gave that stupid little git my Quilava,” she spat the words ‘stupid little git’ very pronouncedly, “for a Charmander I had never seen that then turned out to be level five. And I got so angry (and stupid, mind you) that I actually tossed Charmander’s ball away and went to try and find that boy, who had of course just gone away with my Quilava. That’s actually the reason why I’m still here in Ouen, I’m trying to find that guy and get my Quilava back but I think I’m taking part in the league too since I’m here anyway. But I’m a bit worried about the Charmander, because either he’s there somewhere in his Pokéball, or he got out of it and…” Her eyes darted around as if she was wondering how to word what she was going to say, but finally just finished it with three words: “Well, it rained.”

    She suddenly looked at Mark. “What’s wrong? You’re so pale.”

    “Wha… er, no, it’s nothing,” said Mark quickly. “Sorry.”

    May’s right eyebrow ascended again, indicating that she didn’t really believe him, but she said nothing. There was an awkward silence

    “Well, I sorta need to challenge Rick, so… see you around,” she finally said, turning back to the Gym. Mark’s eyes flicked to the Pokémon center further down the street, and he nodded. “Yeah, I have to go too.”

    May shot a quick look at him. “Well, bye then, Mark.”

    “Bye,” he replied. As May stepped into the gym, Mark broke into a run again, hurrying even more to the Pokémon Center.

    Charmander belonged to May. There was no question about that; she had received him in a trade. But then again, she had thrown him away like a piece of garbage, just because he wasn’t high-leveled enough for her almightiness, and she had agreed to a trade which opposed the Agreement – trades were never supposed to happen without consulting the Pokémon first.

    Although she did seem to regret having thrown Charmander away.

    All the same, thought Mark, calming a bit down, I’m his trainer now. Now that part of the Agreement protects me, not her.

    He slowed down as he reached the automatic door to the Pokémon Center. It opened, and he walked hastily inside.

    “Nurse Joy…” he panted, ringing the bell and experiencing a déjà vu flashback from last night. A few seconds passed, Mark’s heart pounding against his chest; then the nurse came out of the back room.

    “What can I do for you this time?” she asked warmly.

    “It’s… it’s my Charmander… I mean Charmeleon…”

    “What about him?” she questioned.

    “He evolved, and he seems so different, he couldn’t stop it because he was so weak when it happened, I’m worried, oh please…” Mark took a deep breath while Nurse Joy’s face turned grave; he just handed her Charmeleon’s Pokéball.

    “Come with me,” said Nurse Joy, taking the ball and gesturing for him to follow her into the blue back room.

    “Before I start treating him, I’d like to talk to you,” said the nurse, looking deep into his eyes. “No matter how different he might seem after the evolution, he’s still the same Pokémon. Pokémon evolution is like growing up; when you’re a kid you have certain ideas about the world, but when you become a teenager they might change a bit – or a lot. For Pokémon who just evolved, it’s the exact same thing except that it happened all of a sudden rather than gradually as it would in a human’s case. If he had enough respect for you as a Charmander, he will still be ready to battle for you no matter what happens. He could be very different, or he could be pretty much the same – but there will definitely be a change. Your Pokémon is no longer a child, and you need to realize that. Treat him with care, and don’t give him a reason to dislike you. A reason for him to dislike you is not necessarily what would be a reason for you to dislike him; he’s basically a moody teenager whose limits should not be pushed. Do you understand?”

    Mark felt sick, but nodded.

    “Good. This might take some time, so please wait in the waiting room.”

    Mark walked into the fluffy waiting room with a knot in his stomach. He wondered who had the stupid idea of making the waiting room pink and red; these colors were absolutely inappropriate and way too happy. The gloom of the back room would’ve been much better.

    He was also not too fond of this Nurse Joy. Mark didn’t want a moody teenager whose limits should not be pushed; he wanted his friend back. The last thing he’d ever care about would be whether he would still obey.

    He flung himself into one of the sofas and for half an hour or so, he sat there with a blank expression, staring at an ad for Kantonian Airways. A red-haired boy who seemed to fit very well with all the fluffy pinkness decided to try to be funny by waving his hand in front of Mark’s face. He hated himself for smiling at it; it wasn’t funny at all.

    Finally, Nurse Joy came out of the back room, holding Charmeleon’s Pokéball. Mark immediately sprang up, running towards the desk.

    “He seems fine physically,” said the red-headed nurse. “You judge the mental part.”

    With a small bow, she handed Mark the Pokéball. He accepted it and walked out of the Pokémon Center.

    He stopped beside the building, hesitated, but then dropped the Pokéball to the ground. Charmeleon materialized from red energy as Mark caught the ball again.

    For a few seconds, they just looked into each other’s eyes. Mark had never noticed how awkwardly small Charmeleon had been as a Charmander; even now, evolved, he was smaller than an average Charmeleon.

    “Hi,” said Charmeleon finally in a low voice. Mark suddenly felt a lot better.

    “Hi.” Mark paused, leaning against the wall and staring into the air. “Sorry we didn’t get to postpone your evolution as we intended.”

    “It’s okay,” said Charmeleon, leaning up to the wall too and likewise not looking at Mark. “It felt quite amazing, actually.”

    “What was it like?” Mark asked, this being one of the things he had often wondered about although his voice wasn’t up to showing interest of any kind at the moment.

    “Everything just disappeared in a bright white light, first I thought I was dying… then I felt the power that was always hidden somewhere in my body burst out, I felt like… like I was melting. I had a kind of a vision of a Charmeleon walking towards me, pulling me away and taking my place… a twinge of pain at this point for some reason, I think... but immediately afterwards, I felt so much wiser and older. Then the white light faded, I saw you, but I was very weak after the evolution and lost consciousness…”

    He hesitated.

    “You know, it’s weird – when I think back at my Charmanderhood, it feels so… childish.”

    Suddenly he looked straight at Mark, meeting his eyes.

    “It’s strange… why did I just want you to train me back there? Why wasn’t I suspicious of you for a single moment? Not that I am now,” he added quickly, “but… I mean, what if you had been a bad trainer and abused me or something? It was a stupid thing to do, just accepting you as my trainer immediately because you told me you saved my life. Don’t take me wrong, I mean… of course you are trustworthy, but what did I know then? You could’ve been somebody… bad.”

    Mark had no answer to that. Charmeleon didn’t appear to be expecting one, either; it was more like he was thinking out loud.

    “Well, I was lucky. Really lucky.” Charmeleon smiled faintly at Mark and then turned away again.

    “Do you feel like doing some more junior trainer wiping?”

    They grinned at each other; both knew the answer.

    “Come on,” Mark said, holding Charmeleon’s Pokéball forward. The red beam shot out of it, dissolving the Pokémon.

    Mark hesitated for a moment. He had been in a rather hopeless situation earlier, mainly because his Pokémon’s attacks were kind of weak compared to the ones the Legendaries knew. The only one with a halfway decent attack was Gyarados.

    He remembered when he had seen the TMs and HMs at the Pokémart. He thought for a bit. Flamethrower was a TM. Earthquake was a TM. Return was a TM.

    One good TM for each of his Pokémon except Gyarados would probably give him the edge.

    Mark walked decisively towards the market. He went back to the shelf he remembered as containing the Technical and Hidden Machines. Ten years ago, Hidden Machines were really rare items. Now, you could buy them at Pokémon markets for around the same price as a TM – admittedly one-use only versions.

    He browsed through the selection of CD covers. Each of them had a photo of a Pokémon performing the attack it contained, the TM or HM number, and the attack’s name. He found TM35 for Flamethrower, TM26 for Earthquake and TM27 for Return; they were more expensive than the Potions and Pokéballs, but still relatively cheap. He made carefully sure to himself that these attacks would definitely work well; then he went to the counter to pay the punk dude.

    After he got outside again, he let Charmeleon out.

    “Charmeleon,” he said in a formal tone, “are you willing to accept this Flamethrower as your first Technical Machine move?”

    The Pokémon grinned. “I do,” he then said seriously.

    “Good,” said Mark. He opened the CD cover carefully; even though he thought he knew how to use a TM, he checked the instructions with the disc carefully just to make sure. He then took it, and touched Charmeleon’s head gently with it.

    The CD’s vibrant red slowly drained away from it, leaving it dull gray and useless and enveloping the Pokémon with a fiery glow. Charmeleon closed his eyes; the glow slowly sank into his skin.

    It was done.

    “Do you feel any wiser?” Mark questioned, not sure how exactly it was supposed to work.

    “Sure do,” said the Pokémon with a smile.

    “Great. You can go back into your ball, then.”

    Mark held forward the Pokéball; Charmeleon was drained into it as a beam of red light from the button hit him. He took out the second ball.

    “Sandshrew, go!”

    Mark’s Ground Pokémon appeared, curling into a scaly ball before even seeing whether he was in battle or not. Mark laughed.

    “Oh, come on, you aren’t going to get hurt, I’m just going to teach you a TM.”

    Sandshrew uncurled in an instant, looking unsurely up at his trainer. Mark felt a twinge of guilt; Sandshrew didn’t trust him. Of course he didn’t. Mark wouldn’t trust somebody who kept letting him get injured, either.

    “I’m… sorry about it all, you know,” he said in a low voice. “I didn’t mean to get you hurt so much.”

    “Shrew,” the Pokémon said unhappily.

    “Well… would you forgive me if I made sure you never lost a battle again?”

    Sandshrew didn’t answer.

    “At least, I’ve got a TM for you. You know what that is, right?”

    The armadillo Pokémon nodded faintly.

    “Yeah, and it’s Earthquake. That’s a very, very powerful attack. You’re going to do great with it.”

    Sandshrew had apparently heard of this devastating attack sometime among the Sandshrew he grew up with; he just nodded, quite a bit more confidently than he had ever looked before.

    “So…” Mark took out the second CD cover, opened it and picked up the disc, “stand still and concentrate.”

    Sandshrew closed his eyes; Mark touched him with the CD, orangeish brown this time, and like before, the color faded from the disc and instead started circling Sandshrew in the form of energy. It then seeped through his hide. The armadillo shook himself powerfully, then looked back up at Mark with his beady black eyes, perhaps a bit less hopelessly than before.

    “We’ll beat those junior trainers now, right?” Mark said meaningfully.

    “Sand,” said the Pokémon, nodding.

    “Good,” said Mark, smiling, as he recalled the armadillo Pokémon.

    Next off, it was Eevee. Mark took a deep breath.

    “Go.” The small brown furball emerged, looking curiously around and eying Mark intensely.

    “Eevee, you don’t know what a TM is, do you?”

    Eevee shook his head.

    “Well…” Mark found it so awkward to be explaining so many things to Eevee; why did he have to go through all this but not anybody else?

    “See,” he finally began, “Pokémon know moves. You know that, right?”

    The Pokémon nodded.

    “Yeah… and TMs… or Technical Machines… can be used to teach a Pokémon a move that it couldn’t learn otherwise.”

    “Vi?” the small Pokémon questioned.

    “Well, see – I take this disc,” he removed the Return TM from the cover, “and when I touch you with it, your cells will react to it and then a complicated process starts, and basically, after it you’ll be able to focus your power in a – er – new way.”

    Eevee nodded nervously.

    “OK, then…” Mark took the disc and lightly made it touch Eevee’s head. The Pokémon let out a small sound, but didn’t move. His eyes closed; white orbs of energy drained from the disc and started circling Eevee slowly. They went faster and faster, and finally faded into Eevee’s fur. He shivered, opened his eyes and moaned a little.

    “Are you okay?” asked Mark concernedly. Eevee nodded a bit, shook himself vigorously and appeared to feel better afterwards.

    “Now, uh… do you trust me?”

    Eevee nodded.

    “Then focus on it very carefully,” Mark said, not sure how to explain the attack. Eevee screwed his eyes carefully shut, concentrating.

    Slowly, a pinkish aura started emitting from Eevee. He let out a soft squeal of curiosity, probably feeling energy building up in his body.

    “Great!” Mark cheered. “This attack is called Return. You basically do that, and then tackle the opponent. Okay?”

    Eevee nodded nervously, the pink glow fading.

    “Ready to go to the Gym?” Mark asked carefully.

    “Vee,” said Eevee decisively, nodding.

    Mark was still not sure whether it would be right to use Eevee in battle.

  15. #15
    v Gone D/P :o Dragonfree's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Default

    -------
    RATING

    Violence: A rather short Pokémon battle, "Dragonfree style". Basically, probably more violent than your average Pokémon battle, but not really violent, at least not on my scale.

    Gore: None.

    Sexuality: None.

    Profanity: None.

    Other: Nothing special.
    -------



    ---EXTRA IV---

    The Full Story

    May watched intensely as Metapod went stiff and fell to the ground with a clunk. The Pokémon’s eyes closed heavily. The cocoon started rocking to the sides, and suddenly a large tear split through its shell. Blinding white light shone out of it. A crumpled, glowing shape squeezed itself through the rip. The bright light faded. On top of the green, lifeless shed was a small, dark blue creature. Slowly, it spread out the great, silky white wings that were folded around its body. A few flaps dried them; then the Pokémon took gracefully off into the air.

    “Free,” sounded the Butterfree’s cry.

    May was pleased; finally after all this training with a braindead, immobile cocoon, it had evolved into something of worth. Not the most statistically powerful Pokémon out there – Butterfree were very fragile, and it was more the exception than the rule if it survived a single blow – but very adept at strategically disarming its opponent with poisonous powders.

    “Like flying, Butterfree?” she asked fondly. This Pokémon would bring her many a victory. Her freshly caught Skarmory would, too. Unlike Cyndaquil. May had picked her first Pokémon only for being a very valuable female starter. But Cyndaquil was, and had always been, a very unattractive Pokémon to her. A hedgehog/anteater cross was the first thing that came to mind when she saw it for the first time. That long snout, squinted eyes, tiny legs…

    May had therefore, much to her own dismay, never been able to appreciate her starter, despite being female. Of course, Pokémon tended to pick up their trainer’s feelings towards them very quickly, and Cyndaquil had soon grown to despise her too. It was a no-win situation.

    “Hey! You there! Girl!” called a voice. May turned around. It was a boy of around twelve or thirteen, a little older than her, wearing red shorts with a lot of pockets and a black T-shirt. Long, fiery red hair surrounded his face, falling a bit into his big, gray eyes.

    “What?” she asked.

    “Could you battle me?”

    May shrugged. She held up Butterfree’s Pokéball lazily, recalling the butterfly Pokémon. “One on one?”

    “Go!” the boy said, throwing forward an odd, black and red type of Pokéball that May had never seen before. It opened to reveal some kind of a Pikachu.

    Yet, the Pikachu didn’t look right. The yellow, mouse-like body was familiar, just as the long ears – but not the blue, shiny balls that tipped them. Its claws also looked greatly extended from what she would have labeled as a normal Pikachu, and also shiny blue. Its tail was not the lightning-bolt shape it was supposed to be, but rather a jagged, black thread, ending in a blue triangle.

    “Pika,” it hissed in a deep-toned, menacing voice that could at the very most belong to a Pikachu with a very bad case of cold. Suddenly, bright blue waves of electricity started streaming between the balls on its ears.

    May knew her types. Electric attacks would be very effective on both Butterfree and Skarmory. She couldn’t risk that, even if that meant sending her starter out.

    “Cyndaquil, I choose you!” The Pokéball burst open, sending forward a beam of red energy that formed into May’s first Pokémon.

    On Cyndaquil’s shiny black back, flames sprouted out as she resentfully cried out her name. She didn’t like battling for May very much, but she still did. Probably she had some loyalty gene in there.

    The boy smirked. “Shock Charge!”

    May, despite having studied carefully up on Pokémon attacks, had no idea what Shock charge was supposed to be, except that it obviously was an Electric attack.

    The strange Pikachu got down on all fours with another menacing hiss and leapt towards Cyndaquil. She was caught in the middle of the electric current between its ears and froze with a pained scream of “QUIIIIL!” The Pikachu stood back up, grinning so that two vampire-like fangs glinted in its mouth. Cyndaquil’s flames died down in an instant as she fell down on her back, unable to move.

    “Darn it!” May drove her foot into the grass, biting her lip. Shock Charge seemingly paralyzed the target.

    “Slam!”

    The Pikachu nodded, wrapped its odd, thread-like tail around Cyndaquil’s immobile body, and slammed her between two rocks a few times, seemingly enjoying it.

    Suddenly, it let out a cry of pain, releasing Cyndaquil as she started glowing bright white. The boy stared wide-eyed at what was happening, but May wasn’t moved. She had expected it.

    Cyndaquil’s shape changed, her head becoming more distinguished from her body and turning into more of a triangle shape as it grew ears. Her stubby legs lengthened into fully-fledged paws. Her overall outline became more elegant and less chubby, just as her whole shape went larger. Finally, the glow subsided, replaced with an evolved Pokémon.

    “Quilava!” she announced as flames flared up on her head and backside, looking at May with newly-opened eyes. The girl found a certain feeling of trust for this Pokémon.

    “Quilava, Ember!” she commanded, clenching her fist. Quilava spewed a blast of brightly-colored flames at the unsuspecting Pikachu, leaving it scorched on the ground.

    May looked triumphantly at the boy. Without words, he recalled the Pikachu back into its Pokéball. He seemed to be about to leave when he suddenly asked: “Hey, I have a Charmander. Want to trade it for your Quilava?”

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