I've decided as a final measure to combine the plots of The Bamboo Dragon and Fade to Black, and to eliminate the epilogue. Perhaps at a later date I would be more inclined to explain why I did so. However, for now, I merely bring to you the end of RoseIII.
The Right Hand of the Dragon:
I: The Story of the Roses (1-17)
II: The Antics of the Roses (18-34)
III: Tokyo (35-48)
IV: Ecruteak (49-80)
V: A Little Game of Life (1)
The Left Hand of the Dragon:
VI: 2436 (1-4)
VII: The Cimmerian (5-14)
VIII: The Bamboo Dragon (15+)
Chapter Fifteen: The History of Love
I had become everything that, for my entire life, I had loathed and despised. The people feared me and remembered my crimes at mere mention of my name. And yet most could not believe that I could ever possibly exist. I was what, in my time, had been called a Yami. I was considered myth.
Quickly in wake of the fall of the Bell Tower had science prevailed in dominance over the people. Gene Rhesh had released his hundreds of mutant creatures, known otherwise as Pokémon—Pocket Monsters—upon the unsuspecting world. The people had feared the Pokémon at first. After a century had passed, the humans feared their own native creatures, and the Pokémon had made themselves at home amongst the wildlife. The humans had as early as such begun to train the Pokémon to eradicate the animals; from this era of hunting methods evolved what would become known as Pokémon battles. The humans thought they understood the Pokémon entirely. And yet they had still to understand themselves.
Ever since the day of my fall from power, that terrible day in which Rukuru had devoured my hand, I had turned further and further inward, forever lonely and forlorn. I could no longer bring myself out in public, and no longer held any love in my life. I felt like I had no reason to live, except for reviving my once legendary collection of dolls. This time, however, there was not inspiration to my work. This time it was a calling. It had to be done.
Yet still I went on living, having taken residence at Mount Peal. I had contracted for a vast mansion to be built. At the time I'd thought that sparing no expense to feed my luxury would ensure my mind's ease. But it was my voice and mine alone what echoed in my limitless corridors.
Recently I'd looked into funding the construction of several of the buildings that would stand in what would become the neighbourhood of my childhood. The most notable of these would be the Ecruteak Technical. However, prior to its use as an educational facility, it was known as the only asylum in Johto. No one had ever known that the school had been housing for the mentally deranged a century prior to my time. At least, they'd never spoken of it. I suppose that its inhabitants have to have been quite something horrible for no one to want to remember the place. It had made me wonder what happened to the poor souls.
Because I was funding the entire ordeal, those involved with the finished product granted me permission, albeit an odd request, to have visiting rights with the patients. Delightful company I'd be soon to have. None of them knew who I was. I believe that they would have allowed me regardless of whether or not they'd known who I was.
I sat atop the westernmost steeple of my estate, solemnly observing the midnight sky. The crescent moon hung itself low in the sky, as though a platinum scythe ready to harvest the woodlands below. The crisp breeze billowed my clothing, biting my cheeks gently. After having closed my eyes for a moment in quiet respect of the night around me, I took up my viola, which I'd bought in Olivine from an exotic trader and was made of an oak tree native to the Orange Islands. I sighed deeply, then began to play. The sound of my music had been my only companion for so long. But it was, if anything at all, merely the sound of my forlorn heart.
God, I felt old....
I'd wandered for two centuries now, and I'd not once felt as though I fit. I suppose it's because I really didn't fit, and because I wasn't supposed to. On rare occasions I'd light in a town or village for around a month before moving on. But it was usually a few days before I was jeered and despised. I still was incapable of concealing myself....
Just before the turn of the twentieth century, I had settled down a bit more, and had circled Kanto more than I had jumped around all over everywhere. I'd discovered that the East Coast had been that of outcasts. I soon found my place there. I would wait for Sarina. She would know how to cure me of my disease.
I'd wandered the streets of Lavender for many years after I had decided to settle myself down. Most would describe my nature at the time as haunting from how regularly I paced. I was impatient, I suppose....
The years of erection had passed quickly compared to all before them. Anticipation devoured the time ravenously, leaving little or no remains behind.
In the first few weeks there had been only two patients. One of them was not truly insane. The other was completely mad. The first was considered insane by his family because he was a brilliant philosopher. He saw what others could not. The second had believed he'd been abducted by demons, and now was watched by them. He could have been truthful, sadly enough.... I felt sorry for both of them.
At first there had only been orderlies acting as prison guards. A few months after its beginning, the asylum was given a psychiatrist at the pleas of the friends and family of the patients. I'd desired to talk to him at the time, and had a meeting arranged.
I walked through downtown Ecruteak in noon sunlight, my hair bright gold, my eyes like emeralds. The resplendant silk in which I was clothed shone like rippling, black water. The townspeople had been silent as I passed through. I didn't blame them—I felt as though, regardless of my façade, anyone could see no shadow walked behind me. It walked, instead, in place of me.
I knew my way around the town quite well, despite the lack of familiar places, and quickly made my way up the hill to the Asylum. The building was poorly lit, albeit gorgeously furnished, but I could see my way to the doctor's quarters.
I entered without a sound, having phased through the door, and observed the man as he shaved his face in the mirror. He noticed me nearby and twitched, cutting himself. My eyes flashed a mad gold as I tried to keep myself in check.
"I—you startled me, Sir," the blond began, chuckling nervously as he held his right palm to his jawline. "I didn't hear you enter...."
I continued to fluster at the scent of the wound. "Then I suppose your senses are not as acute as to be expected...." I glared at him, approaching him and offering a gloved handshake. "My name is Itoh, Keiji Itoh. I'm the one who contracted this place to be built."
He took my hand in his with apprehension. He could not shake the chill of my gaze. "I—I have heard much about your expenditures, Sir, but I haven't heard much of anything about you...."
"Before I tell you anything about me, I'd like to know your name, Doctor." A smirk curled the corner of my mouth.
His cobalt blue eyes lost their shine for a moment, as though he felt some sheer dread deep within him. "I—I'm Mortimer Rivelle...."
I leaned closer to him and held my left hand to his cheek, looking into his eyes. He tried to pull away from me, the tall, slender young man that he was, but failed to do so. "Yes, Morty Rivelle.... I am more than familiar with you, Sir...."
He swallowed hard. "N—now that you know who I am, would you tell me about yourself?"
"If you are such a wonderful psychiatrist, why not try to analyze me?" I grinned, my eyes glittering impishly.
This made him feel instantly as though he were about to step out onto a minefield. If he were to say the wrong thing and upset me, he could lose his job. However, this was a test to prove himself to me.
He swallowed hard, then proceeded nervously to his analysis. "You don't like to be shown up, and you yourself like to show off.... Y—your voice speaks volumes about your self-confidence and capability to dominate people."
I chuckled. "You really are an empath, arren' you?" I began quietly.
"What?" he echoed, confused and now increasingly worried.
"You'll make a wonderful doctor here, Rivelle. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your work." Then I began to leave.
"I didn't say that I was finished with my analysis."
I stopped, but did not turn. "Hm?"
Again he swallowed hard, but was determined to get it out. "You're concealing yourself. You're hiding your true nature. .... Your name is not really Itoh, either, is it?"
I turned to him, now slightly offed by his audacity. "You're a brave one to admit your knowledge openly, Rivelle. It's not wise to brag to the Fearow that you're the one who's plucked his tail."
He stepped away from me in fright, seeing the look in my eyes. "Why are you here?" he uttered. "Why did you fund the construction of the asylum?"
"Is it so wrong for a sad and lonely man to desire companionship?"
It struck him then. "You see this place as a zoo, and the patients as the animals on display...!"
I smiled wickedly. "I have more reasons to have given the breath of life to this place than just my amusement...." Approaching him again, I removed rather harshly his hand from his jaw; I paused over his neck, smelling of the small wound for a moment before licking it clean with a pointed tongue. "I should think that I'd watch my step," I warned, letting out a low, throaty growl. The sight of his petrifaction calmed me, and I plucked the barber's knife from his hand gingerly, licking it clean as he stared at me in terror.
"Wh—who are you...? Who are you really?"
"Do you really want to know?" I grinned.
I chuckled, crossing my arms across my chest and closing my eyes in slight annoyance at his lack of backbone. I lazily opened all seven of the eyes in my head, my aureate gaze moving up from the floor to him. I giggled maniacally, my hair turning as black as the clothes I wore. "You won't be able to hide anything from me, Rivelle. I see everything that you do."
"Wh—what are you!?" he wailed, almost silently, as he backed himself up against the wall.
"So the question has turned from who to what?" I mused, licking my freshly-cut fangs. "What are you? You say that I'm the wolf in sheep's clothing, yet you yourself hide the truth of your being."
His eyes went wide in disgust of me. I merely chuckled at him.
"You really dunno who I am...." I closed my eyes again, opening them this time five less than before. "I think you're just in denial of being employed by a creature you both hate and fear."
He stammered, but said nothing, flustering.
"You may be an empath, Rivelle, but you have yet to prove to me that you have the gall to keep my pets in good health." Tossing the knife down at his commode such that the tip stuck itself in the wood, I approached him and took his right hand up in both of mine. "Do ensure my doubting mind that you will do your job well," I sang.
He nodded dumbly, unable to do much else in the wake of such revelations.
I let go of him and flicked my hair back over my shoulders, returning it to its previous golden tones. Then, a blink of my eyes left them their false green. I looked over my shoulder to him as I left him. "Remember, m'dear, that I will know every move you make. Step falsely and you'll end up on the other side of the doors you tend." Then I phased through the door.