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Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 12:11 AM
For your convenience, I'll have a chapter index here, which will link you to the post each chapter is in so you won't have to search through all those pages.


Prologue
- Extra I: Chalenor
Chapter 1: The Pokémon on the Road
- Extra II: Wait a minute... levels?
Chapter 2: The Book
Chapter 3: Vuiii!
- Extra III: The Agreement
Chapter 4: Cleanwater City
Chapter 5: The Lake of Purity
Chapter 6: The Mammal, the Monster and the Mental Change
Chapter 7: Charmeleon's Trainer
- Extra IV: The Full Story
Chapter 8: The Master of the Clones
Chapter 9: Mew's Escape
Chapter 10: The Mew Hunter
Chapter 11: The Lizard and the Mantis
Chapter 12: Let There Be Light
Chapter 13: The Black Desert
Chapter 14: Thief and Victim
Chapter 15: Darkness and Poison
Chapter 16: The Third Badge
Chapter 17: The Shark and the Serpent
Chapter 18: Enemies Forever
Chapter 19: Good or Evil?
Chapter 20: The Warning
The Pokémon Festival - May 21st: Evolution
The Pokémon Festival - May 22nd: The Attack Approval
The Pokémon Festival - May 23rd: The Pokémon Frenzy Tournament
The Pokémon Festival - May 24th: The Threat
The Pokémon Festival - May 25th: Chaletwo's Arrival
Chapter 26: Dead or Alive
Chapter 27: Past, Present and Future
- Extra V: Guilty (http://www.dragonflycave.com/tqftlx5.htm)
Chapter 28: Scyther's Revenge
Chapter 29: Stormblade and Shadowdart
Chapter 30: The Dragons of Ouen
Chapter 31: Spirit
Chapter 32: The Birthday Party
Chapter 33: Thunderyu
Chapter 34: Return to Cleanwater
Chapter 35: Suicune
Chapter 36: The Crater
Chapter 37: Carl
Chapter 38: Volcaryu
Chapter 39: The Workings of the War
Chapter 40: In the Dark
Chapter 41: Return to Scorpio City
Chapter 42: Splitting Up
Chapter 43: To Champion Island
Chapter 44: Polaryu
Chapter 45: The Ouen League HQ
The Ouen League - Chapter 46: Day One
- Extra VI: Letting Go
The Ouen League - Chapter 47: The First Preliminary
The Ouen League - Chapter 48: The Second Preliminary
The Ouen League - Chapter 49: The Rage of a Scyther
The Ouen League - Chapter 50: Friendly Competition
Chapter 51: Fake-Out
Chapter 52: The League Finals
- Extra VII: April Fools
Chapter 53: Away
Chapter 54: Reunion
Chapter 55: Unprepared
Chapter 56: The Ouen Safari
Chapter 57: Three Conversations
Chapter 58: Sins of the Mother
Chapter 59: December
Chapter 60: The Swarm
Chapter 61: Mewtwo
Chapter 62: Diplomacy
Chapter 63: Recovery
Chapter 64: Hide and Seek


PM list (post if you want to be on it or removed from it, but if you like it enough to want to be on the PM list and are posting anyway, I would really appreciate if you included an actual review and not just a "Please put me on the PM list"):

Kaizer; Sike Saner; fishyfool; Ysavvryl; SamuraiDragon1; Razor Shiftry; Estuary; Seiryu; Amras.MG; TheSequelReturns; GastlyMan; moonlightning; gmoyes; Chimpchar; biggggg5; Agent Tectonic; Wartiger97; Sidewinder

Note: From now on, every time I post a new chapter I will actually go through this list and remove anyone from the PM list who hasn't been online for a couple of months during which I have been posting chapters. If they do come online, they'll see a PM about at least one new chapter anyway, which would make them at least check the thread again. Also, if you're interested enough to be on the PM list and not want to get yourself removed from it, it really is common courtesy to leave a review to let me know you're actually reading those chapters I keep PMing you about, m'kay?



NOTE FOR NEW READERS (3/3/2012; edited 2/20/2013)

This fic is not very good. That's not modesty talking; it's the decade of writing and general life experience that I've acquired since I first started it. Today I criticize the hell out of fics that do many of the same things I did in the first thirty or so chapters of this fic (it gets somewhat better after chapter 31 or so). I'm still writing it because I'm stubborn as a mule and still love it as my demented little brainchild, warts and all, but there are warts, not as in "Well, it's not perfect" but as in "No, really, there's a wart right here, and here's an exact diagnosis of why it's definitely a wart."

Lots of people seem to enjoy it anyway, and that's great - I love entertaining people, and I sincerely hope it manages to engage you too if you read it (after all, even if your child has warts, you still love them and want them to do well in life). But this does mean you should keep a couple of things in mind:

1) Do not try to reassure me that there are no warts. Again, this isn't modesty talking and I'm not fishing for praise. If something doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother you, but that doesn't mean it isn't a bad thing generally. I'm thrilled if you like it in spite of its flaws, but it is not flattering to insist that there are no flaws, any more than it would be flattering to tell you you're ten feet tall when you know as a matter of fact that you aren't.

2) Do not imitate me. While this is a reasonably popular fic, please do not ever think along the lines of, "Well, Dragonfree got away with it, so it must be okay" - not in response to a vague hunch that something seems off about an idea you had, not in response to a reviewer telling you it's a bad idea, not in response to another author who is laboring to avoid it. No, giving your characters pseudo-legendaries with a half-baked justification about how a conservation project just happened to be releasing a bunch of them in the exact time and place the characters are is not good writing. Neither is starting your main plot a full third into the story. Neither is making your character's Pokémon wax lyrical about how amazing he is because he cares about Pokémon. Neither is making Nurse Joy entrust rare Pokémon who are young and injured to your protagonist, even if he was the one to bring the Pokémon in. Neither is lengthily describing the appearance of every Pokémon species that appears in the story. And so on. As a general principle, a story getting readers doesn't actually mean it's good, much less that every choice the author made writing it was a good one: "It's in this popular book/fic/movie" is not an argument that something constitutes good storytelling, only that people may be willing to look past it. Do not let this story inspire you to make the same stupid choices I did.

3) I already know. So if those early warts do bother you, there is, generally, no need to point them out - you can if you want to, of course, but odds are I've been aware of all the ridiculousness you're noticing in the first thirty or so chapters for several years by now, so writing up lengthy criticism of it is probably not a very productive use of your time unless you just really enjoy ranting for its own sake. By all means glue those criticism-goggles back on when/if you get past those earlier chapters, however - insightful criticism on stuff that isn't already making me facepalm is incredibly valuable and I welcome it.




-------
RATING

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

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

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.

Daatingu
27th April 2004, 12:18 AM
Very nice. Description was good and length was Ok for a progule. Sounds like a good start to a story. The only thing I would point out is that you used the number 45 instead of forty-five. It may not bother others but after some time, reading numbers becomes an eye sore, it also shows a bit of laziness on the author's part. Besides that, I really enjoyed it. You're doing a good job. Keep it up.

Indigo
27th April 2004, 12:31 AM
Wow. This is very good!

Your desciption here is excellent. I can picture everything you are describing. Even the desciption of the Pokémon is dead-on. Excellent work.

The originality of this fic is also excellent from what I've heard. Very suspenseful and dark. I like it a lot.

I really have nothing constructive to say about this. It really is excellent. You should be proud. Keep up the great work!

mattgcn
27th April 2004, 12:56 AM
whoa!!! description, description...and gore..i'm gonna go read the real one now to see what the heck is going on ^^

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 2:09 AM
beauinmexico: I always write out numbers if they aren't that high or in a character's speech. Probably because in Icelandic, written numbers higher than twenty are to be avoided at all costs due to being something like "níuhundruđníutíuogníu", so I've gotten used to doing it like that. I'll try to keep the lower ones in mind, but don't count on it, I write the numbers pretty automatically.

Indigo and mattgcn: I must warn you... I usually don't describe like that. That is, I have a really strong feeling for whether what I'm writing sounds natural. When the story itself starts, it's written in "Focused third person" as I call it - like in the Harry Potter books, things are described as the main character sees them. Therefore, I feel this alarm every time I'm starting to describe something the main character isn't paying attention to, and ultimately, this results in less description (not very little or anything, just less). Um... most of the things I want to say will be said in an author's note before chapter one, so I guess I won't bother now, I'd just be repeating myself... by the way, mattgcn, don't read the old one. Trust me... if you like description, you aren't going to last long in it, because if there's little description in the new version of chapter one, the old version is bordering on script. Besides, you don't need to read them at all - I'm starting over here, from the beginning.

Insulters
27th April 2004, 2:15 AM
We are 3 people!!!!
1st person:i was walking when i came to a cave and went inside.
2nd person:A pertrifing story and terrible ending.\
3rd person:?????????

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 2:18 AM
We are 3 people!!!!
1st person:i was walking when i came to a cave and went inside.
2nd person:A pertrifing story and terrible ending.\
3rd person:?????????
Umm... what exactly is that supposed to be?

mattgcn
27th April 2004, 2:13 PM
I know what is is, a trip to Banerica!!! XD [/Dragonfree]

Well, I read the old chapter one, it was ok. Trust me, if it has a good plot, but its boring, ill last, trust me!

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 3:37 PM
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 (http://www.vilhjalmur.com/butterfree/chalenor.gif) (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.)

Daatingu
27th April 2004, 4:13 PM
Very Cool Dragonfree. Giving backround information like that really gives the reader something to look forward to in a story. Did you draw Chalenor yourself? It looks great. Dang, I'm starting to look forward to this Fic even more. Keep it up.

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 4:50 PM
I guess I'll just post chapter one...

[Edit: Yeah, I drew that Chalenor... I had artistic inspiration while I wrote the prologue and stopped in the middle to draw whatever came out of my pencil.]



-------
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.

Daatingu
27th April 2004, 5:18 PM
Impressive.

It's good that you delivered the idea of a person who doesn't really want to train pokemon. Description was good, as well as length. The new area was a plus as well. I'm really looking forward to this story. Keep it up...

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 5:26 PM
He, in fact, wants to train Pokémon, but he isn't really interested in the league and that stuff, he mainly thinks Pokémon are interesting and, of course, wants to get an opportunity to see the Legendary Pokémon, especially Lugia and Articuno. ;) He just isn't getting his hopes up. And, as I said, he doesn't care about the league and finds studying up in strategy and stuff to be very boring.

Glad you like it, though, I was very afraid people would be disappointed.

Chapter two is going to be long, just to warn you, and very important.

nestlywez
27th April 2004, 5:57 PM
great story good description i like it alot but the charmander in the rain isn't that a bit familar besides that it was great keep it up.

Dragonfree
27th April 2004, 6:14 PM
*blushes* Familiar, yeah. I wrote that years ago, now after having revised it four times in total, there are very few of those clichés left, but this is one of them due to being essential to the plot.

The Charmander was in the rain for a very different reason, though, so I suppose it's not *that* bad.

mattgcn
27th April 2004, 10:21 PM
also from the early episode. And im plannig to follow this fic as well as Scep's! It seems real cool.


Wait a minute! *looks at Dragonfree's title* *tilts head* *views Italic mod name* *gasps* Have you been a mod for long? Or...am I even stupider than i think!

Hm..that chapter did seem very much different than the one on your site. I like the addition of "Aren't you listening?! I FOUND A FREAKING CHARMANDER!"
XD

Dragonfree
28th April 2004, 2:44 AM
mattgcn: Yeah, an early episode... that's what I meant...

And I've been a moderator for quite some time, I mod Fanfics and Fake Card Discussion.

gyararat: I'm a mod, if you haven't noticed... -_- 1: That was spam. 2: THE ONE ON MY SITE IS NOT THE ONE I'M POSTING HERE.

Obsidian Blade
28th April 2004, 6:44 PM
::reads::

::blinks::

Wow! That was waaaay better than the previous version. You've given Mark a personality straight away, given a little foreshadowing of what is to come with the prologue and... and the result is great! Yarg, if the first chapter (and new prologue :D) is this good... then the introduction of my favourite Pokémon character... :D :D :D I'm a very happy Obsidian now. Great job with the additional description and I'll try to give a more useful review once I've gotten over how different this has gotten!
O.O
~Obsidian :336:

Dragonfree
29th April 2004, 12:02 AM
Whee, Obsidian noticed it! :D

(I hate pointing this revision out to people, so I was hoping you'd just notice)

Anyway, I'm truly happy that you like the changes. Remember, you inspired it all. ;)


Chapter two is coming along pretty well, it's on the eighth page. It has changed a LOT, so be warned...

Expect around twelve or so pages in total for chapter two, then there's Extra II.

Dragonfree
1st May 2004, 2:04 AM
(in the ilcoeth revision, this contains both Extra II and chapter two)



---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?






-------
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 ‘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.

espeon&umbreon king
1st May 2004, 4:01 AM
nice good thing you started over no offense but the last time was really really no that good compared to this one,any ways this is great with the humor.

Spazzikarp
1st May 2004, 6:06 AM
Wow. You took an already good ficcy and made it better. Excellent length and description. I can't wait to read more of the revised version.

Daatingu
1st May 2004, 3:20 PM
Very nice chapter...

I really enjoyed this one. I also liked the fact that his parents tried to stop him from going, instead of the usual "I'll just let my 10-year old go out into the wilderness alone" routine. Length was good and so was description. I could almost picture the legendary's as you rounded them off. Keep it up, I can't wait for the next one...

Dragonfree
1st May 2004, 5:40 PM
nice good thing you started over no offense but the last time was really really no that good compared to this one,any ways this is great with the humor.
There's no need to say "no offense" about that, I've been saying again and again that I'm revising it because it WAS horrible, there's no way you could offend anybody by agreeing with them.

SpazzticScizor: Can't read more of it? Umm... that's all I've written of the revised version... unless you forgot a word somewhere in there...

beauinmexico: Yeah, I've always thought it was stupid when parents would let their kids go out on a Pokémon journey all of a sudden... it's probably because they've been on journeys themselves, but in Mark's case, they haven't and will therefore try to keep him home. And the fact that they wouldn't let him train Pokémon is probably the main reason he wants it so much.


By the way, notice that The Ouen Legends had Mark's attention during the whole of the library part, meaning he never did get Pokémon Training for Dummies... it will matter later on. ;)

Mastercougar
4th May 2004, 12:19 AM
Personaly, I liked the old fic. You really left off on an important part.

Dragonfree
10th May 2004, 5:51 PM
What important part? I moved a lot of things around and there are minor tweaks, but there's nothing that matters that will be changed or left out. Chapter three, anyway... pretty short, but not too short.




-------
RATING

Violence: None

Gore: None

Sexuality: None

Profanity: None

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.

Daatingu
10th May 2004, 6:00 PM
Very cool...

I enjoyed the chapter very much. What happened to Charmander was so sad. My heart reall went out for it. Overall, description was good. Length could have been a bit better, but it was enjoyable all the same. You're doing a great job. I'm hooked on this story. Keep it up, I can't wait for more.

~Beau

PokeManiac
10th May 2004, 6:02 PM
Description was good, length was good, overall good. What Beau said, what happened to Charmander was sad... But this is a great fic! Keep up the good work!

Dragonfree
10th May 2004, 7:07 PM
Thanks for the comments. Charmander's story wasn't really that tragic, though...

By the way I hope everybody noticed what that Pokéball was.



---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.

Obsidian Blade
10th May 2004, 7:26 PM
Hmm, chapter two always seemed like a barrage of all that information at one, but you managed it better this time. Still, I had to work to stop myself skipping ahead through some of the Pokémon descriptions.

Chapter three is much better... in the extreme! I loved the little passages from Eevee's point of view before he actually appeared: it worked fantastically to build up the scene. I'm still a little boggled at how much better this is than it was originally... How do you do that?! :p

I love the new extras too, although I suppose you could argue that something like the Agreement could be explained through the story, I think it worked a lot better this way. Makes for less dialogue or thought or... something of that kind. ^^;

O.O The excitement! It's unnatural! Keep up the good work, Dragonfree!
~Obsidian :123:

nestlywez
14th May 2004, 6:23 AM
great chapters!!! sorry i havent replied lately been busy. i like all of the extras and all of tthe info very original i think. i can't wait until all of these legendarys come into play. keep up the great work!!!

Dragonfree
17th May 2004, 1:20 AM
Obsidian: Chapter two is probably my very worst because all it is about is telling the reader what the Legendary Pokémon are, although it's a lot better now. As for chapter three... I honestly have no idea what I exactly did, I just rewrote it. You should've seen the VERY first version of chapter three... there were two versions of it before the one you read before, and the first version... >_< The UMR (previous) was a great improvement over the second version.

nestlywez: Heh, I'm afraid the Legendaries aren't about to take much part in it until chapter twenty-something... :/ But there's plenty of stuff to keep you occupied until then.

Anyway, chapter four is mainly just information.



-------
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.

Spectreon
17th May 2004, 1:35 AM
This is a quantum leap from the old one, Dragonfree. Descriptions are improved, and the characters have more depth to them.The extras also add extra fun! Keep up the good work.

Daatingu
17th May 2004, 1:46 AM
Very nice...

That was a good chapter. Nothing really important happened. Nice little filler. That was a very creative idea for the legendary clones. I can say that I would have never though of something like that. Description was great (As always). I felt that length could have been a bit better but, the chapter was great all the same. You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

~Beau

BD25
17th May 2004, 6:43 AM
It was good the last time you wrote it but it was a bit umm... bad :S I hope you don't take offence to that. But right now, it has improved GREATLY and the story is coming back to me now. Great job and keep up the work!

Dragonfree
17th May 2004, 5:37 PM
Spectreon: Glad you're reading this version, and thanks for the compliments.

beau: I'm afraid most of my chapters aren't that long, but the most important chapters will usually be longer.

BD25: No, no, no, I don't take offense to honesty. In the very first version... you'd throw up if you saw the first eight chapters or so. Only because nobody bothered being honest with me, I had to find out by myself how horrible it was and rewrite it. Then I've been rewriting it back and forth with short pauses since then... if you compared the oldest version to this, you'd barely believe it was written by the same person...


Chapter five will probably be a great deal more interesting now than it used to be. I'm also thinking about moving a lot of things around...

nestlywez
17th May 2004, 8:17 PM
great chapter very interesting can't wait until the next chapters. you've already got me hooked on this fic i'll be following til the end

Evanarios
22nd May 2004, 2:25 AM
Excellent! Just started reading, had to catch up on some things.... This is very well done.

Description; Not a Problem, your story is filled with it

Length; Excellent, very Large

Flow of Things; This is one of the best things in my opionion, This has an awesome one! It flows right into the story, Very Well done here

Originality; Good As usual, Most Great Writers, and even some who aren't great can usualy pass this one..

Overall; A very well done Fiction, I hope to see some more in the Future.

Good ay!

~Evanarios

Mastercougar
22nd May 2004, 4:36 AM
What I meant was that the last post of the origional was a cliffhanger. But now that I think about it, I guess rewriting it was a good idea. I was just a little suprised,that's all.

Dragonfree
22nd May 2004, 1:53 PM
Meh, suppose you could call it a cliffhanger, but it's not like that was going to be resolved in chapter 37. Although a whole lot of other things were.

Really, I just read parts of the old one again, actually pretty mid-way ones like chapter 20, and I felt embarrassed for even having that junk up on my site. I'm on the edge of taking it down... I went so rushedly through it, apparently, in the last revision, that chapter 20 has at least two or three places where I randomly refer to a Pokémon as "it". And those battles... @_@ I promise you that I'm going to write at least halfway decent battles in this one. Actually... during the last revision, I revised the first chapters decently, then it went on to small rewordings in the middle. Gaah!

The Legendary Pokémon Co-Ordinator
23rd May 2004, 12:22 AM
wow, your revised fanfic is awesome, i have read ur old one. the new one is better IMO.

Heracross
6th June 2004, 4:09 AM
This is very good. Lots of description and detail. I can't wait for the next chapter cuz it sounds like there's still a long way to go, and since I never read the original copies this is all new to me. Nice work.:)

Dragonfree
17th June 2004, 2:25 AM
OK, readers, it's chapter five time! I've been working very hard on it, and it's neither more nor less than thirteen pages in Word! What's more, you can probably expect at least eight to ten pages per chapter from now on, unless there's a special case where I really feel like leaving off at some special point.

I put extra care into the battle scenes, because they both used to be among my weakest points and because I wanted to get a special message along with the wild Pokémon battles: that wild Pokémon are intelligent and not robots, just like trained Pokémon. I believe they came out quite nicely. Some of you might already have seen the first battle in the "Show everybody how much you've improved" thread. Anyway, here we go...





-------
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 crčme 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.

Daatingu
18th June 2004, 9:00 PM
Great stuff Dragonfree. I cant believe more people arent replying. Anyway, I can tell that you really worked hard on this one. It really shows. I enjoyed it. Description was fantastic. Especially that of the pokemon. Very vivid. Very real. Length was a huge step up from some of the previous chapters. Great job. There was only one thing that struck me as sort of strange. Its not even a mistake.


What if I just reach level 16, evolve – and turn into a completely different person?”

It was kind of odd that Charmander refreed to himself as a person. I kind of liked it. These are the kind of small touches that make a Fic great. Great work! Another thing, please excuse my lack of apostropies. As the keyboards down here dont have them.

Evanarios
18th June 2004, 9:04 PM
Good thing Beau posted, or I wouldn't have noticed you posted the next chapter... Anyway,

I love it! The description was excellent, including the length. One of the greatest things of the Fan-Fiction is the Flow, it was Awesome. How you formed everything was great also, Anyway I like the idea also... Keep it up!

Good ay!

~Evanarios

soxs mewtwo
24th June 2004, 2:03 AM
whats those new pokemon imeen u could have just used the ones that are all ready here but i do like the story save for a talking charmander

bird1111
24th June 2004, 2:39 AM
Wow, this is much better then the old one, and I liked the old one a ton at that, so next chatper as soon as possible

Dragonfree
24th June 2004, 10:06 AM
whats those new pokemon imeen u could have just used the ones that are all ready here but i do like the story save for a talking charmander
What's with those new Pokémon in Hoenn and Johto, I mean, they could have just used the ones that were already there. -_-;;;;

There are new Pokémon because this is a new region and so far, every new region has had Pokémon that were unique to it (except Orre, but there are no wild Pokémon in there at all so that doesn't count). I couldn't have used the ones that were already there, because just what would all the other Legendaries suddenly be doing in Ouen? Besides the fact that there isn't any Pokémon already that can kill by looking at things but is the Guardian of Life so it doesn't. The only time-traveling Pokémon is Celebi, which would not serve Chalenor or Chaletwo's purpose at all. I made Suicune clean the lake because otherwise I'd have to make up a Pokémon with the same purification abilities as Suicune.

And THERE IS NO TALKING CHARMANDER! If you had read it a bit more carefully, you'd have noticed that Mark learned Pokémon language at school, as everybody does in this story (it happens just about twenty-five years after the Pokémon animé). It would simply be irritating to write "Char charmander" and then note its meaning after it. The only "talking" Pokémon in this story are Gyarados, who has a very good reason to that will be explained later, and then two that haven't appeared yet and also have very good reasons to speak human.

If you mean that you don't like reading what the Pokémon are saying and having them participate in human conversations, I would advise you to leave, since all in all the Pokémon in this fic talk more than the humans and about much more interesting things.

surskitty
24th June 2004, 9:34 PM
Dragonfree, this is great. I liked the UMR version somewhat, but the main things that kept me reading the earlier chapters were:
1. Because I heard it was good later on
2. Because I had been reading every single Pokemon fanfiction that didn't involve shippings that I could find.

This is soooo much better than the UMR.

Trancel and Mo
25th June 2004, 2:11 AM
I think Gyarados is EVIL.

__________________________
Read Impossible Impostor! Rayquaza in Hiding!

~Dew~
25th June 2004, 2:29 AM
I've been reading the prologue and most from the two first chapters and I must say that I'm impressed(and it takes a lot of efford to make me impressed about Pokémon fanfics)! Your story is very interesting and original, as yourself in person.

I looked at your location and found out that you live on Iceland. Or at least, if you were being serious about your location. I myself live in Sweden, so hello neighbour! ;) And I can't believe your english is that good even though you're one year younger than me. Not that I'm telling you I'm good at english, I sure have lots of gramma errors and stuff.

Anyway, I'm also writing a story, in swedish(duh), and I would love if I could translate it to english since there aren't many people over here that likes PKMN anymore.. Which is very depressing cause I(like you) have a very unusual and darker story and I really want to show my work to anyone. Actually I'm kinda proud of the idea I came up with.

The thing about that people learn the Pokémon language sure is very clever! I was just sick of typing "Bulba, Bulbasaur!" all the time..You've given me tons of inspiration about that! Thank you!

*Looks at clock* My god, it's 02:24 AM over here! Gotta go to sleeeep..very well, I will read more of your wonderful fanfic later on. Cause this is truly a masterpiece in PKMN fanfics. Keep up the good work!

~ Dew

Dragonfree
25th June 2004, 2:52 AM
Trancel and Mo: That was kinda spamish. At least, Gyarados is definitely odd, no question about that, but is he actually evil? What's up with him? Why does he hate Suicune so much? Find out in a future chapter...

~Dew~: Yes, I was being serious about my location, and best greetings, neighbour. Unfortunately I don't know anything interesting to say in Swedish, but meh. I will read your story if you do translate and post it (if I remember). Glad you like the fic, and even happier that I've been of inspiration to you. :)

~Dew~
25th June 2004, 3:45 AM
I saw that you had responded and I just had to reply before I go to bed :P

Well, my story would take me years to translate since I'm that kind of person who adds details in my writing. LOTS of details. And yet again I don't want it to sound plain when I'm translating cause my english langauge isn't that "colorful".
A hint about my idea though is that this is about two different worlds. Our world and the other world. And the rest you can never even imagine..Okay, now I'm starting to sound like I'm bragging..-.-'

Anyway, best wishes to your fanfic in the future! ^^

~ Dew

Elementy
25th June 2004, 3:56 AM
I think your Fan-fic is really good. I love how you made Mark "learn" the Pokemon languge. You decrribed the battle scenes very well too. i aslo liked how you made Mark's parents not wanty him to go on a pokemon journey. (It sounds like my parents... XD ) Your story flowed very well, and is VERY creaitve..
I have been inspired by you to make my Fan Fic even better. Compared to yours, it is horrible.. can't wait for the next chapters.

Can you post the link to your not revised Fan fic? I want to read it..... Thankies

Obsidian Blade
27th June 2004, 7:39 PM
Oh man, I obviously haven't come to the fanfiction side of the forum for too long. If it weren't for the update mentioned in your sig I wouldn't have realised you'd posted the new chapters at all!

Anyway, it's amazing how a rewrite can change a story, this version reads so differently from the old it's stunning. You've obviously put truckloads of effort into making this fic better while still keeping your philosophical/informative tone throughout. I liked the Kyogre edition Pokedex, it was just one of those little things that added to the story as a whole but wasn't that important on its own.

My only complaint was that the battle with, erm, The Girl ( <<; ) didn't seem to run properly in my eyes. Although you told me that Charmander was being beaten prety badly, I didn't really get the impression that he was trying very hard through the wording you chose; it's like he just keeps falling over and getting back up without much effort... doesn't grunt, doesn't shake, doen't complain.

Of course, that was only one scene. I'll be damned if one little fight is gonig to stop me from loving this rewrite! ^_^

Dragonfree
27th June 2004, 8:10 PM
*reads over battle again*

o.O;;; Whoa... I didn't notice that... heh, I keep telling people that Pokémon have feelings, but I still can't keep Charmander as anything more than a plush toy in a battle I was trying to write very carefully. I'll make sure not to do that again... ^^;;;

And this, kids, is what people call "criticism the author would much rather be with than without".

Chapter 6 is slowly progressing, but it will probably be very long, just to warn ya'll.

I'm thinking about doing a small revision of these early chapters of the HMMRCIG after I've gotten hang of this style better.

Mastercougar
28th June 2004, 12:54 AM
Well Chap. 6 will probably need to be long to explain Gyrados' position. And I like long chapters so full steam ahead!

Dragonfree
28th June 2004, 1:03 AM
Gyarados isn't about to be explained anytime soon, I'm afraid the revision will still keep to the theme of explaining things 20 chapters after they happen. ^^;;; For short, there won't be any *that* drastical changes of the order in which things happen; I might move things that happen very closely to each other, but if there are twenty chapters between them, it's staying the way it is.

Isaiah
14th July 2004, 5:45 AM
wow that story keepes getting better and better. To tell u the truth, that story inspired me to write my own story!

Dragonfree
14th August 2004, 3:49 AM
Chapter six, finally. Twelve pages.




-------
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.

Heracross
14th August 2004, 5:37 AM
Hey, it's been a while, but it was worth the wait. This was another good chapter. The battles were described very well and I liked how Mark had to explain about pokémon training to Eevee. Length was excellent, and so was description as always. There's not really much else to say except keep up the good work.

Webmaster Deoxys
16th August 2004, 8:38 AM
I really enjoyed reading your fan-fic up to this point, Dragonfree. The description is authentic, the length is good enough to match an actual chapter of a book, the battle scenes are very intense, and the current plot has me in suspense. I love it! Keep up the good work!

Iveechan
22nd August 2004, 9:23 PM
Heh, I was expecting more description on Gyarados. Since he seems like such an amazing beast. Yeah, I finally got around to reading the rest of this... I'm also in the middle of Emerald Fist. I just want to let people know that yes, I do read other fics, I'm just lazy :D

I like how you make Pokemon and humans equal. Most fics tend to center only on human characters, or if a fic centers on Pokemon, they make humans seem selfish and bad. But with this Agreement, this fic protrays how Pokemon training should be, a partnership. I think my favorite part was where Mark was explaining training to the little innocent Eevee. I also like how the Careful nature is shown in Sandshrew's actions, but I do feel sorry for the little guy. He seems to be getting hurt a lot :*(

Dragonfree
23rd August 2004, 4:19 PM
Heracross: Glad you liked it! ^^ It won't be so long until chapter seven, I believe; it's going a lot faster.

Webmaster Deoxys: Current plot? Really? Considering that the real plot hasn't started yet... *looks at Webmaster Deoxys' sig* o.o I think I've made myself a die-hard fan. o_O;;;

Iveechan: I didn't describe Gyarados too much, since I mainly wanted to get two words through: HUGE and SCARY. Which is pretty much all Mark really notices. The bit where Mark is explaining to Eevee is probably my favorite bit too so far (although I'll definitely be obsessed with you-know-who's monologues when he's back in).


Ahem, anyway, this is an announcement. Just after I type this, I will replace all the current chapters with their ilcoeth revision (I know I'm revision-obsessed). What you've been reading is the How-Much-More-Revised-Can-It-Get?, which is in fact getting very old now since after that there came the YAR (Yet Another Revision), and now the ILCOE (I've-Lost-Count-Of-'Em), or "ilcoeth revision". Finally you get the newest version...

And yeah, then I WILL get on with chapter seven.

IdiotNESS
23rd August 2004, 5:55 PM
Good fic!

You do a good job of creating realistic histories of lengendaries. It kept this interesting. The flow between paragraphs and chapters is difficult to maintain and few writers really master it and I think you're pretty darn close! Still, a gym of legendaries? The only beneficial thing it could do for the story is if it had something to do with your prolouge. Otherwise, it just overbalances the story. Still, you made a big improvement since your first one or so. I just remember reading a really bad version of this a long time ago. This time around, it was magnificent. The way you handle battles makes this much more interesting to read.

I still have one bone to pick, however. the suffix -wise is a painful thing to see in good fics:


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.

the look-wise really ruins the whole effect. Saying there is a striking resemblence to Mewtwo negates the need for look-wise (actually, you should never ever need -wise. The caveman who first started using it should be dragged into a school and read all the painful writings with the -wise suffix). Really, I hope you don't take offense. The fic is really good and I only saw that once in your fic so it's just my heads up.

One other thing concerns the awkwardness of charmanders choice of letting Mark be his trainer:


“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…”

Charmander was smart enough to know what Mark was getting at but with that intelligence, he would understand tht becoming a pokemon of a pokemon trainer is not a thing to be taken lightly. It's like becoming married because once you have a trainer, the choice is permanent. Your only hope of becoming free would be though release (which only comes through police or kind trainers. Cruel ones never release their pokemon). You handled the transition well and It didn't seem too unnatural but it still is a bit weird. Suffice it to say that I don't think that Charmander would make that descision so quickly. There would be hesitations and he would probably want a chance to mull over the choice if possible. It's a mistake I see often in many fics. The pokemon accept the trainer right away and love him/her forever. I don't think it's realistic, still, it's your choice as the author.

That's all I'll say now because I think this review is getting long. Anyway, keep on impressing me, Great fic!

Dragonfree
23rd August 2004, 7:20 PM
Hmmm... true, the "look-wise" is awkward and pointless... *goes to remove it*

However, while you do have a point about the other one, I don't fully agree. Charmander is very young and hatched in captivity (although that hasn't been mentioned in the fic yet). He knows what Pokémon training is, and he knows the Agreement, but he's never gotten to know what an abusive trainer really is. His mental idea of a bad trainer is more like his previous trainer, who just keeps him in a Pokéball and then uses him to trick somebody else. He's never known abuse, nor heard stories about it, and doesn't exactly picture a human kid, much less one who saved him out of the rain, as somebody he should be wary of.

Still, it's true that he'd probably take more time into the decision, since he does know what he is agreeing to. I'll probably change that in the next revision (if I know myself correctly, there will be one, but otherwise I'll just change it sometime later when I'm doing minor rewordings and fixes).

The Gym of Legendaries doesn't have to do with the prologue directly, but it does have to do with a side plot, since the Cleanwater Gym's purpose is not only being a random Gym.

IdiotNESS
27th August 2004, 11:11 PM
I guess you're right, Dragonfree.

When it comes down to it, it really is the author's interpretation anyway. So, I guess I take back that comment. Aaaand, put another in (sorry, I never let myself put in any less than two comments). I would like to see more on the terms of interesting features on characters. It would add to the story if you had some unique feature to help the readers picture your story. This can also give you ideas for a side adventure (becuase your fic is a journey fic right? Most authors put in side adventures to lighten the storyline and not bore the readers with the same plot development. Use it to throw us off your trail and keep us guessing what will happen next). That's about it for the "replacement comment" so I'm done...unless you need examples but I think you're smart enough not to need them. Good job, I really wanna read the next chapter NOW!

*pouts*

Nevermind, good job!

Dragonfree
28th August 2004, 12:59 AM
*big grin, lots of thumb twiddling and plotty glints in eyes*

I swear, you're reading my mind. The journey fic theme is in fact a very small part of it; the last seven chapters (30-36) I wrote before I started rewriting it didn't have a single battle in them at all, for example (and the next one wasn't going to be until chapter 38). Interesting things concerning characters and side adventures make up most of this fic. It takes a bit of time for it to start properly, but when it does...

*more thumb twiddling*

You wait... just wait...



EDIT: Since I'm posting, I can as well give you an update on chapter seven's progress. I'm finishing the fifth page, and I might end it sooner than I meant to because the chapter's main plot hasn't started yet. It might also just be a rather long chapter. Who knows.

Black_Charizard
28th August 2004, 3:55 AM
I love this fic, the suspense is incredible! Like the Suicune thing, you don't explain what the Garados meant by he's a murderer to keep the readers reading. Also, I like how you're making the pokemon world yours in a sense, by making your own pokemon, region, and history. I can't wait for the next chapter!

Daatingu
28th August 2004, 7:05 AM
*Slowly walks in*

Great job Dragonfree. IMO, one of the better chapters you've put out. It all flowed together greatly. Description was good, like always. I can see you put alot of effort into the battles, because it shows. Length was great, no complaints here. The main thing I liked about this chapter was the way you portrayed the legendarys. In most fics, their regarded as all powerful deitys. And here, they're normal, and that's something you dont see very often. Its stuff like that, that makes a fic stand out from all the others. Great job.

Cephonis
28th August 2004, 10:59 PM
very good story Dragonfree! this is very good! its like the manga, a cross between the games and real life! like with charzy evolving and fainting! whens ch 7 gonna be done?

Dragonfree
29th August 2004, 12:06 AM
Like the manga? Well, I've never read Pokémon Special, so I'm afraid I don't know much about it. Any similarities are a coincidence.

Chapter seven will be done when it's done. I'm on the seventh page now, I'll probably end it sooner than I originally intended.

ClowSui
29th August 2004, 2:22 AM
Holy cow...this fic is awesome, really...can't put it in words..lol, I just did....XD.

Dragonfree
29th August 2004, 3:41 AM
Hmm. Looks like this fic is getting kinda popular. How absurd... everything I write has very sub-par popularity...

DarkScyther
29th August 2004, 3:57 AM
Bout damn time I return the favor and start reviewing your fic again isn't it ? ^^;
Took a bit of my day out and caught up and I'm definetely enjoying the repost. You've really improved on most-all of the aspects of your FanFiction. I like the description but I really think the strongest point is your character-study. The character's you choose to convey the strongest are the Pokemon, and I positively love that. As long as you can keep their specific moods, aspirations, and personalities in line I think this'll go far. I'm thinking contender for Winter FanFiction awards.

Time to slash it up!

Dragonfree
29th August 2004, 4:25 AM
:o Ohmigoddinessofdoom! You finished it!

What's more, I've had the honours of getting slashed by His Almightiness DarkScyther the Great. *bows*

*is extremely ego-inflated*

*starts levitating into the air*

espeon&umbreon king
29th August 2004, 7:21 AM
'kay anyways in chap5 you called Suicune a feline but he is a canine(though it's hard to tell)and the description on Raikou made ultra cool(well cooler)but he dosen't have metal(ironic)and I hope your explanation on gyrados is good I mean he's a wussy and was my 3rd fav dragon.your battle description was great but I thought Drill Peck was a 1HIT K.O defeating any pokemon the same or lower than the user?You better continue or mewtwo shall destroy you ;150; (what can I say he wants to know more 'bout chaletwo)

Ryuu
29th August 2004, 11:17 AM
Excellent fic, Dragonfree!

*flashes a thumbs-up*

I had nothing better to do, so I read it...and boy, I'm sure glad I did it! :D

You described everything WONDERFULLY...believe me, the descriptions were awesome.

Mark is a newbie, but he seems to know too much about Pokemon...like for instance he knows that Skarmory and Butterfree are weak to Fire.

The Pokedex, Potions, Pokemon capturing and battles were superb!

Keep up the AWESOME work!

Dragonfree
29th August 2004, 1:48 PM
'kay anyways in chap5 you called Suicune a feline but he is a canine(though it's hard to tell)

I think Suicune looks nothing like a wolf or grayhound and say it's a cheetah. It 'is' a canine? PROVE IT.


and the description on Raikou made ultra cool(well cooler)but he dosen't have metal(ironic)

Raikou's tail and whiskers look somewhat metallic to me, and then I can imagine they are. Prove it isn't metal.


and I hope your explanation on gyrados is good I mean he's a wussy and was my 3rd fav dragon.

It is good, do you seriously need to pick on things that obviously will be explained later? You can pick on the explanation when you get it, provided that you don't like it, but picking on an explanation you've never seen is kind of pointless.


your battle description was great but I thought Drill Peck was a 1HIT K.O defeating any pokemon the same or lower than the user?

No, that's Horn drill. Drill peck is an 80-base Flying attack learned by for example Fearow and Dodrio. Trust me, I know everything about how the gameboy attacks work.


You better continue or mewtwo shall destroy you ;150; (what can I say he wants to know more 'bout chaletwo)

I'll guarantee you at the very least thirty more chapters (which is as far as it was when I started rewriting it) unless I have a car accident. I've been writing this fic and revising it for three or four years, but I've never come close to getting bored of it.




Mark is a newbie, but he seems to know too much about Pokemon...like for instance he knows that Skarmory and Butterfree are weak to Fire.
I always thought Ash knew stupidly little when he started his journey. If I lived in the Pokémon world, there's no way in hell I wouldn't recognize a Pidgey or Spearow at the age of ten and need to point a Pokédex at everything I see. In fact, I strongly believe I recognized much more than 386 animals when I was ten. Mark is extremely interested in the creatures themselves, adding even more to his knowledge of Pokémon species. The type chart is also something I would imagine kids to learn way before ten. At least it didn't take too long for me to learn it by heart when I was ten, maybe there were a few errors but at the very least I knew that Fire was super effective on Bug (and later Steel). Even if Mark didn't know Skarmory and Butterfree's types already, their types are kind of obvious from outwards appearance (if he, for example, looked at a picture of Latias or Latios, it's highly unlikely he'd be able to guess what type it was if he didn't know it already because they're Legendaries). And there's one scene later where he mistakes Vibrava for a Bug/Flying type. He doesn't know everything, but he knows the Pokémon and knows the type chart, maybe not flawlessly, but he pretty much knows them.

Black_Charizard
29th August 2004, 3:54 PM
I'm dying waiting for the next chapter. How is Charmander(now Charmeleon) going to act? Why is Suicune a murderer? And why didn't it murder Mark? Where's Chalenor? Why is his head off and eyes gorged out? Arrg! So many questions...Keep up the good work though! I can wait...*sits and stares at the CPU*

Eternal Rain
29th August 2004, 6:45 PM
When are you going to finish Quest for the Legends in www.thepokemontower.com!?It's a great story soooooooooo please finish it!!!!!!!!

Dragonfree
29th August 2004, 7:15 PM
I'm rewriting it. When I get the time I'll replace the old chapters at The Pokémon Tower with the new ones. Chapter 37 will not be written until I've rewritten the 36 before it.

Dragonfree
31st August 2004, 2:57 AM
Chapter seven. It's eight pages, so it's not as long as chapters five and six, but I felt this was a nice point to leave off at. It cools down the action with a bit of Charmeleonness aaaand... plottyness! Can you spot the IdioitNESS-inspired part? ;) You're not the first one who ends up inspiring a special scene, by the way.



-------
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 déjŕ 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.

ClowSui
31st August 2004, 3:06 AM
Nice chap, Dragonfree (gomen..)! I liked this chap., even though it's non-canon (or is it?). Anyways, yeah. Long story short, I like the chapter. The FR/LG TM thing was cool too.

Dragonfree
31st August 2004, 3:10 AM
I'm not 'free.

Depends on how you define "non-canon" exactly, but if you mean it's like a filler, you're wrong because it's in fact very important (the thing about May).

Black_Charizard
31st August 2004, 3:39 AM
I liked this chapter. I like how you made it seem like Charmeleon was a teenager now and he looked back on his childish ways, making him seem more human. Once again it was cute how Mark had to explain to Eevee what a TM was. I can't wait until the next chapter, when he beats Rick most likely...

espeon&umbreon king
31st August 2004, 4:47 AM
I think Suicune looks nothing like a wolf or grayhound and say it's a cheetah. It 'is' a canine? PROVE IT.Well then suicune looks like a feminime tracking dog(tell me 1 blue dog)

Raikou's tail and whiskers look somewhat metallic to me, and then I can imagine they are. Prove it isn't metal.'Kay Mr.Bossy that's his armor If you look at the 3 dogsyou can see Entei has armor in his face and Suicune on his head+,so it's stell not metal(phh armor made out of metal).

Dragonfree
31st August 2004, 4:25 PM
"Looks" like a feminine tracking dog? Not to me. Give me an official source with a very clear "Suicune is a dog", and it might be worth editing my fic for. I'm afraid your impression of Suicune is not, seeing as this is my fic.

I have no way of understanding the meaning of "so it's stell not metal(phh armor made out of metal)". Either you're saying it's "steel, not metal", which isn't exactly logical seeing as steel is a metal, or you're saying it's "still not metal", which I assume is your meaning. "phh armor made out of metal" is something I just don't get, so care to explain what you mean? Being armor made out of metal is pretty much my point...

And you can't possibly tell me you don't see that Raikou is a tiger... (referring to "the 3 dogs")

Ryuu
31st August 2004, 7:31 PM
Great chapter, Dragonfree!

I loved it, all the descriptions about Charmeleon's mentality and TMs were awesome.

Hmm...something tells me that Eevee's the one who'll scrape a victory for Mark...dunno why I get that feeling. :D

Lol...I noticed that "naughty" part and I loved it! :D

Hope you post the next chapter soon!

Blaziken's Emberz
1st September 2004, 11:49 PM
You...are amazing! I can't even catch up to your work! Even though I've read the uneditied versions on the Tower {Which by the way, I'm retiring from. Boo-hoo -_-;}, this is much better! 10/10. Nothing wrong. Positievely phenomenal!

~ PMD

Dragonfree
2nd September 2004, 8:17 PM
Never guessed you'd have an extra now, did you? This is a kind of a flashback as you'll see, like an extra short chapter that's a bit out of the storyline. Because it's in story format, it has a rating.




-------
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?”

Iveechan
3rd September 2004, 2:33 AM
This is the only fic I read where the process of evolution was described from a Pokemon's pov and the second to describe how technical machines worked (I read one where TM's were something the Pokemon drank o.o). I always thought it was clever how May was Charmander's previous trainer... normally, protagonists have almost no flaws other than trivial things like being shy or naive. You almost never see one do an act of cruelty. I'd like to see how she reacts when Mark breaks the news to her about Charmeleon... and how Charmeleon will feel about her.

Cephonis
3rd September 2004, 3:35 AM
yes, very good extra. but when i first read may, i thought it was may from RS. stupid mistake.

Dragonfree
3rd September 2004, 5:53 PM
Iveechan: Heh, I love doing things like that - imagining what happens to a Pokémon when it evolves and how TMs work. You'll see even more of those in this version than in the old one.

Cephonis: I might add that I started writing this fic before Ruby and Sapphire became anything more than the mysterious "Pokémon Advance", so it's the dubbers who stole the name, not me.

EDIT: Since I was replying anyway, I might as well tell you how chapter eight is going. I'm still on the first page, but it's already deep in the action because I want to get all those boring battles over with to get to the plottyness. I'm about to take a shower and afterwards I usually feel very inspired, so I'll probably write a lot afterwards. We're going out of town tonight, though.

Daatingu
3rd September 2004, 7:05 PM
Nice couple of chapters Dragonfree. You're getting chapters out amazingly fast, and that's like, good. So um, yeah :D Description was pretty good, I could visualize everything fairly well. Length was good too, I never lost intrest. Every syllable of praise I could give you has already been said in the posts of others, so I'll just say great job, and good luck on the next chapter ^^

JT457
4th September 2004, 6:48 AM
I really love this story and would like to see the next chapter badly. I wish I had a longer attention span so I could wait with out going nuts! I really like the way TMs worked. So far my favorite pokemon is Eevee. I wonder what its life was like before Mark found him.I have always wondered that about wild pokemon. I wonder what he will evolve into. I guess I will just have to wait to find.

Heracross
4th September 2004, 9:08 AM
Nice chapter Dragonfree. I cought the bit that could be interpreted as naughty.XD I liked how Nurse Joy explained the psychological aspects of evolution and also how Mark had to explain TMs to Eevee. The extra was pretty cool too, I'm guessing the strange pikachu was some kind of plot device or that we'll hear more about it later. At least I hope we do.:p Keep up the good work.

Ryuu
4th September 2004, 9:47 AM
Liked the extra. ^_^

Now I see why May hated her Cyndaquil...

I also liked Metapod's evolution, it sort of reminded me of Ash's Metapod.

Eternal Rain
4th September 2004, 10:06 PM
This is better than the pokemon tower a little different,but still the best fic I read soo please write more!!!!!^_^

Crimson Crobat
5th September 2004, 12:58 PM
heh... i just love the naughty part... it's cool

metagrossEX
9th September 2004, 12:37 AM
I reread chapter 1 and got confused. Ash saw mew and mewtwo etc. less than 999 years ago-alot less. So how can mew etc. be alive??

Dragonfree
12th September 2004, 2:53 AM
Oooh... smart one. Indeed, the prologue is in fact set 972 years before the animé and therefore Mewtwo's creation. I was starting to think nobody would notice.

Hmm... what is that smell? I think it's plot...

Heracross
12th September 2004, 3:35 AM
Woah, I must've totally missed that. The prologue is almost a thousand years before the amimé? *Goes back to re-read*

Dragonfree
12th September 2004, 4:01 AM
Chapter one is exactly 999 years after the prologue. The fic (meaning chapter 1 and on) is set 27 years after the animé (although I haven't mentioned that yet, I believe).

Heracross
12th September 2004, 6:00 AM
Oh, that explains why missed it. Heh, OK now I feel dumb.:p Well with that new and somewhat confusing piece of information I'm only looking forward to reading the rest even more than before.

Eternal Rain
12th September 2004, 6:10 AM
I just love this fic too bad you're not updating at www.thepokemontower.com
but are you going to finish the type chart???????I am SilverWind Jolteon in every website possible.Yay!

Dragonfree
12th September 2004, 6:13 AM
Stop advertising The Pokémon Tower; it's a great site and all, but you aren't supposed to be posting links to it just when you're talking about it.

And as I've already said, I'm rewriting the whole thing so the UMR, which is at the Tower, is not about to be updated until the rewrite is finished. Stop nagging me about it; my decision is final.

And yes, I'll finish The Type Chart, when I feel like writing it.

45flight
12th September 2004, 10:22 PM
I just read this and I hope you hurry up and finish. This is one of the best fics I ever read. And you describe how everything happens with pokemon. Please hurry and finish the next chapter.

Dragonfree
13th September 2004, 2:19 AM
Please don't rush me; I hate being told to finish quickly. I'm really getting into writing mood, so I'll probably finish chapter eight pretty soon. I've written three pages of it so far, including some plottyness. Mwahahaha.

IdiotNESS
13th September 2004, 4:50 AM
Hahaha! lol!

He's offering a trade of Charmander for Quilava? Teehee! That trainer is sooo stupid, who else would want to? But, you're eeevill!!! I think I know what your'e going to do with that. And, just so you know, go on with it. It's a great way to bring out May's character. I happen to be a supporter of using small happenings to strengthen your story. If anyone plays RPGs, you probably know what I'm saying. An encounter with a little skunk can seem stupid. I mean, anyone can beat that but if you attack...pppssss! Right in the face! It doesn't do much but anyone could smell you and prepare for your coming.

One other thing, though, I think status changes are underdeveloped in many fics. Paralysis could be described with a little bit of sparks playing acorss someone (Pokemon paralysis is caused by electrical currents disrupting the electircal impulses sent by nerves, right? Correct me if I'm wrong). Poison could be described through discoloration of the body. Just a tip.

Great job Dragonfree!

guiltysparkzz
14th September 2004, 12:36 AM
The wierd Pikachu thing

Dragonfree's edit: Don't give away plot hints, darn it! <_<

This is from Dragonfree's gallery, so her sprite and I in no way claim it. Uh, I used your hosting though, Dragonfree. Edit my post if that's bad for bandwidth or something. I knew I recognised that description. Where did he get that *CENSORED* (or is it?) Pika*CENSOR*

EonMaster Zero
14th September 2004, 1:02 AM
Um...the hell?

Anyway, Dragonfree, this is a great fic. This thing just radiates plot...all kinds of plot and description. Although I wish that you hadn't made Mark (that is his name, right?) catch so many Pokemon so quickly. And if he knows so much Pokemon-ish, how come we can only understand what Charmander/meleon is saying?

Dragonfree
14th September 2004, 2:10 AM
IdiotNESS: Remember that the whole thing's been written already, so I've already decided exactly what's going to happen and am not changing that, but a part of it might surprise you. ;)

mattgcn: Don't give things away! <_<

EonMaster Zero: I admit I kinda rushed his Pokémon captures, seeing as in just a few more chapters, he'll get his fifth and sixth team member, and at chapter 36 where the old version was ditched, he still had six. <_< Well, it's probably because I decided his team of six at chapter two or something in the original version, and then I went and made him get them all and never bothered to make him catch anything after that. >.<;;;; Major events such as Pokémon captures are still intact from what they were originally, so they're still like that, although I've never really thought about it before.

But the Pokémonish thing has an explanation. See, I only translate directly when the Pokémon are really saying something. Random battle cries from enemy Pokémon aren't saying anything, at least nothing that matters; at the very most they could be insults or something like that. I don't bother translating it all. As for Eevee, read this quote more carefully:


“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.

Therefore, Mark gets what Eevee is saying from the context and his bodily expressions (which are a big part of the language of Pokémon), not a word for word meaning that can be translated. Sandshrew hasn't been very talkative, but when he's said something, it's always been obvious what he was saying so I didn't feel the need to actually translate it (such as '“Sand,” said the Pokémon, nodding', where the context easily tells you that he's agreeing to what Mark was saying in some way or another). You're going to see real conversations with Eevee and Sandshrew later, and then they will be translated.

EonMaster Zero
14th September 2004, 2:14 AM
...O_O Sor..ry...

I...um, damn, what was I gonna say?


Oh, yeah!

I like the fic nonetheless, but I really wish you hadn't mentioned Chapter Thirty-whatever it was. At this rate, that's like a year away. -_-'

Dragonfree
14th September 2004, 2:24 AM
Well, for one thing, my chapters were about half the length of what they're now, so even though I've added a lot in, it's going to be like chapter 25 or something in the new version. For another thing, it takes a bit of time for this fic to start, but when it does, I start enjoying every word I write and getting chapters out quickly. So it won't be as long as you think.

EonMaster Zero
14th September 2004, 2:34 AM
Aha...that's cool. At least people are reading yours. I guess I'm not so popular around here. Not just my fic, but even my RPGs and other threads that have perfectly valid subjects that are scattered around the forums aren't even replied to. What's wrong with me?

Dragonfree
14th September 2004, 9:43 AM
I've often felt like that too. When Wailord_Fan did a comparison thingy of all the 5-star fics' replies compared to views, mine was the bottom one, with the least number of viewers who also replied. Then there was suddenly an explosion sometime in the middle between chapter six and seven or something like that, and I got my first ever full page of pure reviews. Dunno if the view count also raised so much, but at least I think my ratio got a lot better.

It will probably happen sometime, when your fic's gotten more chapters.

Dragonfree
19th September 2004, 4:25 AM
And it's chapter eight time! It's getting to the plottyness! So get ready, everybody...


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RATING

Violence: Pokémon battles in the more violent end, but not that violent, though.

Gore: None.

Sexuality: None.

Profanity: None that I remember.

Other: Well... involves cloning and hints of Pokémon abuse.
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Chapter 8: The Master of the Clones

“Do you mind if we just have a one-on-one?”

Mark pronounced this question nervously to the junior trainer wearing all the neon green. He was still clearly in a very bad mood, but nodded curtly.

“Go, Arcanine.”

A huge creature burst out of the Pokéball. Its overall shape was rather dog-like, but the gleaming orange fur with jet-black stripes looked more like a tiger. It shook back its cream-colored mane, letting out an ear-splitting roar as it swished a bushy tail. Its huge black claws dug into the floor as it snarled towards Mark.

“Uh… is Arcanine a Legendary?” Mark asked, confused.

“It isn’t, but it was considered one in ancient times,” said the junior trainer simply. “Let’s just get this over with.”

Mark hesitated, but then took out Gyarados’s ball. It was better to be safe than sorry.

“Go!” he yelled. The sea monster formed into the pool, letting out an even louder roar. Even the Arcanine appeared to flinch for a second, but then it started growling again.

“Dragon Rage,” Mark just said.

Gyarados threw his head forward, blasting out dark flames. The Arcanine leapt skillfully out of the way and countered by leaning down low for a second and then leaping at Gyarados at incredible, unavoidable speed. The sea serpent roared in pain, darting forward and grabbing Arcanine’s tail in his mouth. The giant canine froze for a second; then it swung around and fired a great jet of fire from its mouth into Gyarados’s face. He retaliated with another blast of dragon flames, which enveloped the Arcanine. The great dog howled in pain, turned to Gyarados again and attempted to release another cloud of flames, failing. Then with a final yelp, it lost its balance and its whole majestic shape dropped down to the floor, defeated.

“Arcanine, return,” said the trainer, the dog Pokémon dissolving into red energy and being sucked into the Pokéball. “Go on.”

Mark nodded, walking across the arena to the nurse, and after getting his Pokémon healed, through the door to the purple-haired trainer.

“You back?” he asked enthusiastically. “Great! Go, Raikou!”

Mark grinned. “Go, Sandshrew!”

The armadillo Pokémon didn’t curl up upon entering the battle this time. His eyes fixed on Raikou, he awaited the order he knew he would get…

“Earthquake!”

The junior trainer’s eyes widened in surprise as Sandshrew rose to his hind legs. Slamming back into the ground, the small Pokémon made the floor ripple like liquid. The attack was unavoidable; Raikou jumped over one wave but landed just as the next one struck. As the floor rippled under the Legendary’s paws, it shivered and released some electric sparks.

Sandshrew rose up for the second time, preparing to perform the attack again, but the junior trainer quickly countered:

“Raikou, Crunch!”

Immediately, the tiger leapt forward, grabbing Sandshrew in its mouth like the other time and starting to squeeze.

“Scratch!” Mark ordered desperately. The small Pokémon dug its claws into Raikou’s jaw, and the tiger released him with a painful roar. Sandshrew looked rather weak and battered as he stood on his hind legs again, preparing for a final Earthquake. Smashing his paws into the ground, the floor rippled and Raikou, with a weak “Raiii”, lost its balance and collapsed.

“Shrew,” said the armadillo wearily, yet with a tint of pride. He had worked hard enough for now; Mark recalled him.

“Go, Entei!” yelled the trainer, hurling forward the black and red ball. A reddish-brown, bulky, lion-like Pokémon burst out of the Pokéball with a deep, loud roar. A star shape surrounded its face, yellow at the top, white at the bottom and red at the sides. A grayish-white cloak that reminded Mark of a cloud or smoke kept changing its form on the Pokémon’s back. It was Mark’s favorite out of the Legendary Beasts of Johto.

He observed Entei while he thought about which Pokémon to choose. Entei’s eyes looked back at him, painfully robotically. Mark bit his lip; he was growing to despise that Rick person before even seeing him, just for doing that to Legendary Pokémon. Even if they were clones, it was wrong...

“Go, Gyarados!” he said, throwing the ball that held the sea monster. Gyarados formed with his usual opening roar. Entei started roaring back at him. For a few seconds the battle was a roaring contest between the two Pokémon; then Entei’s trainer shouted: “Sunny Day!”

The lion lifted its head towards the dome roof and closed its eyes in deep concentration. The sun appeared to get clearer and hotter.

“Dragon Rage!” Mark commanded. The trainer gasped; Gyarados formed crimson flames deep in his throat and fired them at the lion. Entei leapt to the side, dodging the attack easily.

“Entei, Flamethrower!” roared the junior trainer. The Legendary inhaled deeply and sent a cloud of flames towards the sea monster. Gyarados quickly countered with another Dragon Rage. Mark knew dragon flames were stronger than normal flames, but seeing as Entei was a Fire Pokémon, he wasn’t sure Gyarados would claim victory now.

He watched worriedly. The blasts still just met in the middle where the flames mixed and formed a huge orb of fire. The two Pokémon did their best to keep up the attack, and neither appeared to be stronger than the other.

But Gyarados was much higher-leveled than his opponent, and after a few seconds, Entei had to breathe. This gave Gyarados the chance to engulf the lion in dragon flames. Another deep roar like the one Entei had started the battle with sounded; when the fire cleared, Entei lay on the ground, defeated.

“Return,” said the junior trainer disappointedly. “Go, Suicune!”

Mark held his breath as the Legendary he had seen the night before at the Lake of Purity appeared out of the ball. The slender blue body was the exact same, as was the unique crystal on its head and the white, rippling ribbons. But the expression was not. Even though he had only seen Suicune at a distance, he was positive that the eyes hadn’t been so robotically blank.

Gyarados’s eyes were however very filled with emotion. He stared at the Legendary with a mix of despise and anger.

“Why?” he growled. Suicune, of course, was a brainwashed clone and therefore showed no reactions except assuming a fighting stance. The purple-haired trainer stared at Gyarados, puzzled.

“It… it can talk?” he asked, for the first time getting distracted from the battle. Gyarados paid no attention to this comment; he just closed his eyes hatefully in concentration.

What happened now was amazing. The dark blue of Gyarados’ armor faded into gray. When he had turned completely grayscale, he suddenly opened his eyes with an ear-splitting roar, and two narrow, bright red beams of energy shot from his eyeballs at Suicune. The Legendary staggered backwards, looking to be in serious pain, started to sweat uncontrollably and finally fell unconscious to the floor with a weak “Cune…”

The junior trainer’s jaw dropped.

“What the heck was that?” he breathed in disbelief.

“I… I don’t know,” said Mark, just as stunned. Gyarados turned his back at the Legendary and Mark sensed he wasn’t wishing to talk about reasons for anything.

“Well… looks like you won,” said the trainer, staring at the fallen Beast. A pool of water was forming around the place where Suicune lay.

The trainer took out one of those keys and opened the door as Mark recalled Gyarados.

“Go on.”

Mark nodded and went through the door as the trainer recalled Suicune. The nurse healed Mark’s Pokémon in the Pocket healer.

The next arena looked identical to the other two, but the trainer there was a little boy wearing a very awkward, formal-looking suit. He ran his fingers slowly through his blond hair.

“Hi,” he greeted dryly. “You here for a battle? I’m warning you – it won’t be easy. Two on two.”

The boy took a minimized Pokéball from inside his suit, maximized it and threw it forward.

“Go, Ho-oh!”

What came out of the Pokéball was absolutely huge. It was a gigantic, crimson bird, almost three times as tall as the boy. It stood on big, pitch-black talons and had peculiar, mask-like markings around its eyes. The Pokémon opened its crooked beak and let out a majestic, fierce cry. Then suddenly, it pointed its head upwards, the golden, crown-like crest on its head swaying back, and stretched out its broad, colorful wings, taking off into the air.

Mark considered his options, knowing that he was doing exceptionally well against this Gym just because he knew so much about the Legendaries. Ho-oh was a Fire Pokémon, but capable of using very varied attacks. It would be a risk, but Mark plucked Gyarados’ ball off the Pokéball belt.

“GO!” he shouted. The sea monster emerged into the pool with his usual opening roar.

“Dragon Rage!” Mark ordered quickly, not wanting to risk an Electric attack making contact with Gyarados.

“Sunny Day,” said the boy calmly. Ho-oh closed its eyes and took a fiery glow as the sunlight shining through the dome intensified greatly. Mark shielded his eyes from the light with his hand. Gyarados breathed out a blast of crimson flames at the rainbow-colored bird and Ho-oh screeched in pain.

“And now, Solarbeam!” commanded the boy. Ho-oh obeyed, forming an orb of sunlight in its beak and firing a white-hot beam of light at Gyarados. He roared as the beam struck him, leaving a burn mark on one of the segments of his body. He countered with another Dragon Rage, which turned out to be too much even for the Legendary; Ho-oh let out a weak cry and then landed exhaustedly on the floor.

“Return,” said the trainer disappointedly. “Lugia, do it!”

Mark felt his stomach twitch upon hearing the name of his favorite Pokémon of all; he felt both excited to see it and very pained to know that he’d just see a clone. The red and black Pokéball opened in mid-air, releasing the Pokémon it held.

If Ho-oh was huge, Mark didn’t know what Lugia was. The bright white draconic creature stood on powerful legs, stretching its somewhat hand-like, feathered wings out to a wingspan of what looked like almost six meters. Combined with the long neck, the Pokémon itself was probably over five meters tall. Growing back from the eyes were the two black spikes that Mark had always loved the most about this Legendary.

“Gyarados, Dragon Rage!” Mark ordered quickly. Gyarados wouldn’t last long, especially not after having been hit with that Solarbeam previously, but at least he’d be able to dish out some damage with the most powerful attack in his whole team.

“Lugia, Psychic!”

Lugia started glowing with a bright blue aura as Gyarados charged dragon flames in his mouth. The sea monster unleashed the attack a moment before the Legendary; Lugia got hit hard by the flames, but then fired a blue blast of psychic energy at Gyarados. He roared in pain and collapsed weakly.

“Return,” Mark muttered. He considered his possibilities. Despite what some people thought, Lugia was a Psychic Pokémon rather than a Water or Dragon one, so Charmeleon wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. With it this sunny, the lizard should win.

Mark made his decision and grabbed the Pokéball with his hand.

“Go, Charmeleon!”

Mark’s evolved Pokémon came out. He appeared to flinch slightly at the sight of Lugia’s size, but quickly came back to his senses.

“Flamethrower!” Mark blurted out.

“Hyper Beam!” the trainer said, gritting his teeth.

Lugia started charging a white orb of energy in its mouth.

“No, wait, Charmeleon…”

Lugia threw its head backwards before firing the beam.

“DODGE!!!”

Charmeleon jumped swiftly out of the way, just before a bright white beam smashed into the floor just where he had been. Some of the floor seemed to melt.

“Flamethrower, now!” Mark ordered. Lugia was worn-out after using all of its energy in a Hyper Beam and couldn’t counter when Charmeleon breathed a tongue of flames towards it. With a loud cry of pain, Lugia collapsed.

“NO!” shouted the boy. He recalled Lugia disdainfully.

“Go on, then,” he muttered, opening the door. Mark went through it and healed his Pokémon nervously. The previous match had been a close call.

This arena was also identical to the previous ones. The trainer wore a lab coat and glasses and had long, black hair.

“You’re going down,” he said confidently. “One on one. Go, Mewtwo˛!”

“Mew… what?” Mark questioned. The Pokéball opened to reveal a strange Pokémon.

It was a light purplish blue all over. Its head was somewhat catlike with two horns pointing straight upwards in place of ears, but the overall shape was slightly humanoid. The whole body was so unnaturally thin, though, that Mark wondered if it had ever eaten a single morsel. He could count the ribs under the furred skin, and the long arms and legs had three bony fingers or toes each. Its eyes were small, white and had no pupils. Finally, absolutely contrasting with the weakish appearance of its body, it had a very long, muscular, dark blue tail ending in a round shape.

It suddenly dawned on to Mark what it was. It was Rick’s experimental super-clone, but he had in fact ‘cheated’ – he made a super-clone of a super-clone. Super-clone˛.

“Go, Gyarados,” Mark said nervously, sensing that this would be a difficult battle. The blue sea monster emerged from the Pokéball into the pool. Gyarados let out his battle roar.

“What is my task?” said Mewtwo˛’s voice weakly inside Mark’s head. He couldn’t help feeling horribly sorry for it.

“Fight,” the scientist ordered. He didn’t need to say anything else. Mewtwo˛ started glowing bright blue as the same glow took over Gyarados’ shape.

“Gyarados, Dragon Rage!” Mark commanded desperately, but Gyarados couldn’t do anything that wasn’t Mewtwo˛’s will now. Slowly, he rose up into the air, drawing closer to the ceiling.

“No,” said the weak telepathic voice as Mewtwo˛’s glow started fading and Gyarados got lowered back towards the pool. “I… don’t… want…” Mark saw the clone’s body starting to sweat, like it was making a great effort.

“Fight,” the scientist growled again. It was like Mewtwo˛ was zapped with electricity or something; its body went stiff for a second, but then it started glowing blue again. At that very moment, Gyarados unleashed a blast of crimson fire which enveloped Mewtwo˛. A telepathic scream of pain could be heard; then the clone was left dazed and dropped down, fainted. Mark felt a twinge of guilt.

“Return,” muttered the scientist. “Face Rick, kid,” he then said, reaching into his pocket and taking out the key to the Pokéball door. It opened slowly.

Mark went through the door and got his Pokémon healed, noticing that this arena was about double the size of the previous four. But the Gym Leader was nowhere to be seen.

“Rick went to the basement,” the nurse explained. “You’ll just wait here, won’t you? I need to go now.”

Mark nodded, and the nurse hurried out through a side door.

Mark sat down on a bench. The basement? Where was the basement? What was Rick doing there?

He stood up, walking backwards from the wall and looking if he saw a door somewhere. His foot slipped and he was sent flying into the pool.

Mark’s first thought was that he’d have to change his clothes. The second thought was that this pool was stupidly deep. The third was “What’s that hole in the wall doing there?” The fourth was that he’d better get out of the pool.

He swam to the bank and climbed up. He looked around, and seeing no signs of Rick, he sent Gyarados out into the pool.

The sea monster looked around, seeing no opponent, and turned back to Mark.

“Could you swim down there and see what this hole in the wall is for?” Mark asked. Gyarados just nodded and dived down. Mark saw him disappear through the hole. After a few minutes, during which Mark wondered why he was being so nosy, the monster returned.

“It’s very interesting, actually,” Gyarados stated. “It’s a pretty long tunnel, but it ends where you go a bit up, and it’s got steps up, like you can empty the pool and then walk the whole way. There’s a red room there, I couldn’t go in so I didn’t see much.”

“A red room?” Mark questioned blankly. “Emptying the pool?”

“Yeah, you can probably empty it somehow. Try the light switches over there.” Gyarados jerked his head towards the wall, which had six switches on it in two columns of three.

Mark walked over there, not sure why he was doing this but driven on by curiosity.

The switches weren’t marked. He pressed the first one and the lights went out. He quickly pressed it again, but nothing happened. He tried it again a few times, but then tried the second switch. The boxes the trainers were supposed to stand in got illuminated. Nothing happened when he pressed it again, either. He tried the third one and Gyarados got lit up too. He growled, screwing his eyes shut.

“I don’t like this light, Mark,” he said.

“Sorry, I can’t turn anything off here,” Mark apologized, attempting to press this button again. The fourth switch, to Mark’s great relief, put the lights back to normal. Pressing the fifth one, he wasn’t really expecting anything interesting to happen, but with a great noise, a drain opened at the bottom of the pool and the water level started lowering.

“You’d better recall me before it empties,” Gyarados commented. Mark nodded, holding forward the Pokéball as it dissolved Gyarados into red energy. The pool took a bit of time to empty, but it was way too deep for Mark to get to the bottom.

He hopelessly tried the sixth switch, and small handles appeared out of the wall of the pool, forming a ladder.

Mark shrugged and went down, wondering what Rick would do if he came back. He nervously entered the tunnel and walked through it. It was rather long, but in the end he came to another, short staircase. He climbed up, ending in, as Gyarados had said, a room lit by red lights. A see-through door led to another red room; it was open.

He curiously went in, but then heard voices. He quickly ducked behind a low wall. Through the red glass on top of it, he watched two scientists walk into the room, which he now had the time to examine.

It was full of glass tanks containing a brown liquid. Inside them floated Pokémon embryos, some very Pokémon-like, others just creepy, shapeless forms at the early stages. Each tank had a screen and a keyboard on it. Odd, pyramid-shaped devices of different sizes were lined along the walls. Mark realized he was in Rick’s cloning lab.

One of the scientists walked to a tank containing what looked somewhat like a Caterpie. The other one walked to one that was farther away so Mark didn’t see what was in it.

“Hey, Peter,” the nearer one called, “I think it’s ready.”

The Peter guy came and peered at the Caterpie.

“Yeah, looks pretty good,” he agreed. “I’ve got to tend to mine, though.” He walked back to his tank, and the one with the Caterpie did something on the computer and then the brown liquid started flowing out. The Caterpie was left in the tank and slowly opened an eye.

“Cater…” it squeaked. “Cater… two!” Mark suddenly understood what was going on – they were making more super-clones, ones that Rick didn’t have a license for. He hardly dared to breathe.

The scientist pressed a button and the tank opened with a low hiss. He picked up the Catertwo, smiling.

“What a beauty!” he said proudly. Peter came holding a Pikachu super-clone – it had blue balls on its ears, blue pawpads, long blue claws and a threadlike, jagged tail with a blue triangle at the end. It looked menacingly at Catertwo and hissed, baring its sharp fangs.

“Mine’s pretty good too,” Peter said. The other one examined the Pikatwo.

“Well, nothing beats Rick’s. You know, the one he gave to Taylor,” he commented.

“Ah, well, that doesn’t count,” said Peter. “Rick’s the cloning master.”

“Yeah, but seriously…” said the other one, lowering his voice, “I’ve got to say, Rick’s spoiling the kid. If my little brother came to me and said the Charmander he got as a starter was too weak and he wanted a clone, I’d tell him to shut up and clone one himself. But nooo, of course Rick just gives him the best clone we’ve ever made, and I heard he’s going to give him even more! And then Taylor lost his Charmander and got some level 14 Quilava out of nowhere, just to keep it in the Pokéball all day without training it at all! And I mean, what’s Rick thinking, giving him super-clones? Anybody at all can see them! This is madness, somebody will catch him one day if he keeps this up...”

The scientist stopped abruptly upon seeing a blond-haired, handsome man of around twenty-five enter from a side room, who Mark assumed was Rick.

“Hey, Peter, Jimmy, do you know who was playing around with the switches?” he asked worriedly.

“Well, nobody entered, at least,” said Jimmy. “We’d have noticed.”

“That’s good. Let’s just hope it was some random kid.” Rick smiled faintly, but walked back to the room. In the doorway, he turned around again.

“Oh… Lee says Mewtwo˛ is resisting the Clone Ball again. We’ve got to make a new model of the ball.”

The two scientists nodded.

“Let’s go evolve these beauties, now,” said Peter happily and they walked over to the pyramid-shaped machines near the walls. Mark saw his chance; he quickly glanced at the door he came through, but the entrance room was filling with water again; Mark assumed that Rick was refilling the pool. He looked around the room and eyed a staircase leading further down. Not seeing any other possible exit, he crawled silently towards it.

It led to a long corridor containing nothing but posters on the walls with ideas of new super-clones. Mark took a quick look at each of them, but didn’t have the time to read any properly. At the end of the corridor there was a ladder; Mark climbed up and hit his head on something hard. He discovered it was a trapdoor. Lifting it carefully up and climbing through, he discovered he was in the seemingly empty entrance room to the Gym itself.

He shivered, remembering that his clothes were still wet, and rushed to the hotel, thinking about this experience.

Wondrous Sableye
19th September 2004, 6:31 AM
Well, that was rather…creepy, to say the least…

The description was good, Mewtwo^2 and the Clone Ball seems an interesting plot angle, I'm really wondering where you're taking that…rebellion, perhaps?

And, if Rick's Pokémon are that tough, then I'd hate to see how difficult the next leader's team will be…*shudders*

And plot devices seemed to be at a bare minimum…which, in case that can be misinterpreted, is a good thing…

There is just one thing that is bugging me; Why has Charmander evolved before Mark has even faced Rick? I mean, how could Charmander go from Level 5 to approximately Level 16 in that seemingly short time of about a week?

…Make that two things…You said the prologue takes place 999 years before the animé? How could Mewtwo exist, then, if he wasn't created until about the time of the animé?

…Wait…disregard that second one, I just remember that post at the top of the page…

…Anyway…This fic is excellent, if not occasionally cofusing…Keep up the good work.

Dragonfree
19th September 2004, 3:09 PM
I like to go with more of a "Levels = Experience" instead of "Levels = Age", so by facing tons of Legendaries, I'd expect him to get a whole lot of it. I also like to think of things like evolution happening merely "around" the actual level. It seems a bit early, yes, but hey, it was even earlier in the old version. Never liked the concept of a Pokémon evolving in the middle of a Gym battle out of trust and blah blah blah, and it had to happen before chapter ten (there's a good reason for that). Perhaps I should've made him evolve after Lugia or something, but meh.

Wondrous Sableye
20th September 2004, 11:24 PM
I like to go with more of a "Levels = Experience" instead of "Levels = Age", so by facing tons of Legendaries, I'd expect him to get a whole lot of it. I also like to think of things like evolution happening merely "around" the actual level. It seems a bit early, yes, but hey, it was even earlier in the old version. Never liked the concept of a Pokémon evolving in the middle of a Gym battle out of trust and blah blah blah, and it had to happen before chapter ten (there's a good reason for that). Perhaps I should've made him evolve after Lugia or something, but meh.

Ohhhh…Well, yeah, the whole "evolving out of trust" blah seems too much like the animé, I can see why you'd want to avoid that. But…wait…doesn't the level of a Pokémon play a key role in how much experience you get from beating it? And the legendaries don't really give out a lot of experience, mainly because you're meant to catch them, not beat them. When I was trying to get Moltres and it fainted, I only got about 1000 experience points, which isn't a whole lot from a level 50 legendary. But, oh well, I'll stop picking nits now and leave; it's dinnertime.

Dragonfree
20th September 2004, 11:41 PM
In fact, Legendaries do have very high base experience values. Chansey and Blissey are highest with 255, then Mewtwo, Ho-oh, Lugia and Rayquaza with 220, then Lapras with 219, then Dragonite, Tyranitar, Salamence, Kyogre and Groudon with 218, then Moltres, Entei and Regirock with 217, Zapdos, Raikou and Regice with 216 and Articuno, Suicune, Registeel, Jirachi and Deoxys with 215 (although, interestingly enough, Mew and Celebi only have 64, which is the same as Bulbasaur). Moltres at level 50 should give you 1550 EXP points; that's normal and you shouldn't expect much more for a level 50 Pokémon (Blissey at level 50 will only give you 1821). Keep in mind that it's wild, so don't compare it to trained Pokémon; a wild Pokémon only gives 2/3 the experience that it would give if it were trained.

Wondrous Sableye
20th September 2004, 11:59 PM
In fact, Legendaries do have very high base experience values. Chansey and Blissey are highest with 255, then Mewtwo, Ho-oh, Lugia and Rayquaza with 220, then Lapras with 219, then Dragonite, Tyranitar, Salamence, Kyogre and Groudon with 218, then Moltres, Entei and Regirock with 217, Zapdos, Raikou and Regice with 216 and Articuno, Suicune, Registeel, Jirachi and Deoxys with 215 (although, interestingly enough, Mew and Celebi only have 64, which is the same as Bulbasaur). Moltres at level 50 should give you 1550 EXP points; that's normal and you shouldn't expect much more for a level 50 Pokémon (Blissey at level 50 will only give you 1821). Keep in mind that it's wild, so don't compare it to trained Pokémon; a wild Pokémon only gives 2/3 the experience that it would give if it were trained.

Right. Sorry about that, I was just a bit confused. Will wait for next chapter eagerly!

Dragonfree
22nd September 2004, 2:07 AM
You're never going to believe this, but...

...

I've written chapter nine. Already.

And no, it's not rushed. Teachers are on strike, you see, so I've had all day and yesterday, and I'm in mega-writing-mode-of-doom. It's nine pages... and prepare for a very long, very good and very suspenseful chapter ten.



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RATING

Violence: More Dragonfree-style battles.

Gore: None.

Profanity: One "damn"...

Sexuality: None.

Other: Again, hints of Pokémon abuse. Oh, and although it's not exactly a part of the rating - there is a point where you are going to get extremely wrong ideas about this fic, but they are absolutely wrong, as you'll see by the end of the chapter, so don't leave in the middle, OK?
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Chapter 9: Mew’s Escape

The old woman by the counter looked dully up as Mark walked past, but showed a great deal more interest upon noticing that his clothes were dripping with water.

“Why are you so wet?” she asked suspiciously.

“Fell in a pool,” Mark muttered absent-mindedly without looking at her. She didn’t get anything else out of him before he disappeared up the stairs.

Mark felt like he had an overdose of mysteries for one day as he took his wet clothes off. May rightfully owned Charmeleon. Should he talk to Charmeleon about it, or just forget it and hope she would never find out? And to think that the guy who had originally received Charmander was the brother of Cleanwater City’s Gym leader! And Rick was making more super-clones… he was abusing Mewtwo˛… and Gyarados clearly had some serious issues with Suicune and used some weird mega attack of doom! This was so complicated!

Mark took on his blue jeans and white Pokéball T-shirt, sat down on the bed and sighed.

Why me? I just wanted a Pokémon journey, not a headache like this!

After sitting there and staring into the air for a couple of minutes, he stood up. He was just going to get that badge, and then he could think about the other stuff. Better get the Gym over with.

And punish Rick in a battle for doing this to the Legendary Pokémon.

Mark felt oddly confident now that he felt like he had to do this. He walked determinedly out towards the Gym.

Rick shall pay.

The first junior trainer didn’t seem to be there when Mark came. A note on the door told challengers to go right through, with the key taped to the note. Mark pressed the button and it slid out of the way. The other three junior trainers weren’t there either. He went straight through all of their arenas.

The young, blond-haired man from the lab was there, however. And so was May. He was hatefully handing her a coin-like object.

“Hi,” she said as she walked past Mark on the way out. He quickly whispered: “Wait for me at the Pokémon Center, I seriously need to have a word with you. It’s about your Quilava.”

She looked puzzled, but nodded and walked outside.

“Hello,” Rick said dryly. “Another challenger?”

Mark nodded, turning to the Gym Leader.

“How many Pokémon do you have?” Rick asked.

“Four,” said Mark.

“Four on four it is, then,” said Rick. “I choose…”

He reached down to his Pokéball belt, with six Clone Balls attached to it, took one and maximized it. He grinned.

“…Articuno.” Rick threw the ball powerfully forward. It popped open in mid-air, releasing a second Articuno clone. This one seemed all the more aggressive; it glared at Mark with ruby red eyes, scratching the air with its talons as if to show its power.

“Go, Charmeleon!”

The red lizard emerged from bright red light.

“Flamethrower,” Mark ordered.

“Ice Beam!” Rick countered quickly. Charmeleon’s blast of fire met with an elegant beam of ice crystals from the sky blue bird. Where they met, water started showering down into the pool.

“Come on, Charmeleon,” Mark muttered, clenching his fist. The lizard looked back at him and then suddenly, without warning, stopped breathing flames and leapt out of the way. Articuno’s Ice Beam smashed into the ground as Charmeleon fired another Flamethrower from directly below the bird. The flames enveloped the Legendary and Articuno fell, its wings on fire, into the pool, where the flames went out. Rick recalled the Pokémon, his face expressionless. He replaced the Clone Ball on his belt.

“The battle isn’t over yet,” he said coldly.

Rick paused for a second, but finally took another ball off his Pokéball belt.

“Ho-oh, show him not to mess with Legendaries,” he growled.

Rick sent out a Ho-oh, even larger than the one the junior trainer had. It flapped its multicolored wings and took off.

“Earthquake.” Rick’s voice was icy; he clearly did not like losing the first round.

“Charmeleon, return!” Mark shouted, knowing it was the wisest thing to do. “Gyarados, go!”

Ho-oh slammed into the ground just as Gyarados materialized in the pool, but being in the water, the sea monster was not affected.

“Dragon Rage!” Mark roared. Gyarados released a blast of dragon flames at the giant bird. It screeched, trying to retain its balance. The blue dragon blasted more crimson fire at the Legendary, and it gave up with a final cry, landing gracefully on the floor and spreading out its wings before collapsing.

Rick gritted his teeth, recalling Ho-oh.

“Raikou, show him!” he snarled, tossing the third Clone Ball into the arena. “Bring that thing down with a Thunderbolt!”

The tiger-like Pokémon leapt out of the Pokéball in mid-air, roaring. Electricity crackled in its fur, and before Mark had the sense to do anything, a blast of lightning was fired at Gyarados. He roared in pain and then fell down motionless. Mark seemed to remember reading that Gyarados were extremely vulnerable to electricity as he recalled the sea monster.

Mark nervously took out Sandshrew’s ball.

“Go! Earthquake!” he said quickly as he threw the Pokéball. Sandshrew posed in mid-air and came down hard on the ground, causing the floor to ripple. Earthquake was an amazingly complicated attack; a human who got caught in the waves of the ground would merely feel a small tickle, but for the Legendary Beast of Thunder on the other side of the arena, it was in fact very devastating, disrupting the delicate balance between the positively and negatively charged ions in the Electric Pokémon’s body. Raikou growled, trembling a bit.

“Another Earthquake!” Mark commanded. Sandshrew rose to his hind legs, preparing to perform the attack again.

“Quick attack!” Rick hissed. Raikou leant back and then leapt forward at undetectable speed, striking Sandshrew hard. He lost his balance, and the tiger then attempted to sink its fangs into the little Pokémon’s body, but Sandshrew acted quickly on his own accord, and stung the Legendary’s paw with one of his claws, injecting poison through it into the tiger’s blood. It howled in pain, staggering backwards, and then Sandshrew had the chance to unleash a second Earthquake attack. Raikou weakly let out some small sparks and then fainted.

Rick swore loudly, recalling the tiger.

“Very well… go, Mew!”

Out of the ball came a light pink, furred little creature. The hind legs were much longer than the tiny front paws; its long, threadlike tail ended in an oval shape. Big, stubby ears rested on a catlike head with two big, sapphire blue eyes.

The previous Legendary clones had had absolutely emotionless eyes, like robots made to do what they were told, save for Mewtwo˛. But Mew was different. The eyes seemed somehow faded, half-closed, and above all horribly sad. The Pokémon looked limp.

“Surf,” Rick hissed. Mew’s weary eyes glowed deep blue and the water in the pool started rising in a great wave which crashed upon Sandshrew with terrible force, but flowed neatly past Mark on both sides. Slowly the water drained back into the pool, and Sandshrew was left soaked and shivering.

“Shrew…” he said weakly before losing consciousness.

Mark hesitated. His determination from before was fading, and he only had Eevee left.

Oh, come on, maybe I’m being overprotective, he thought. Jeesh, I’m turning into mom…

“Go, Eevee!” he yelled, throwing the ball. The little brown creature materialized and looked at Mew with his big brown eyes.

“Eevee, Return,” Mark said anxiously. Eevee looked at Mew for a second, but then turned back to Mark.

“Ee… vee,” he said. It took a bit of time for Mark to realize that this was the first clearly understandable thing that Eevee said. He was saying that he didn’t want to attack Mew because it was so sad.

“Oh, Eevee, please, there’s nothing we can do about that!” Mark said desperately. Eevee just shook his head.

“Vee?” he said, stepping a bit forward towards the Legendary.

“Thunderbolt!” Rick spat. Mew didn’t react to it at all, and was instead watching Eevee.

“Darn it, Psychic! Something! Attack, you stupid thing!”

“Mew…” said the Pokémon weakly. Eevee tilted his head curiously and walked farther up to the pink creature. He carefully laid a paw on its shoulder.

“Eevee?” he asked. Slowly, he started glowing with a pink aura – the positive energy that Return was made of. Suddenly, Mew’s eyes opened wide. Then it dropped down, unconscious.

Eevee jumped away with a shriek, clearly very confused about what had happened. He carefully poked the pink Pokémon’s body; it didn’t move.

Rick turned very pale. He slowly took out the Clone Ball, recalled the Mew into it and started muttering to the ball.

“You… there’s a curse on you… I’ve lost every single battle I’ve used you in… this is all one of your devilish little tricks… you’re going to bring me down…”

Suddenly, Rick turned to Mark.

“Catch,” he said, throwing the ball at him. Mark caught it.

“Huh?” he asked, confused, staring at the orb in his hands.

“Take it away! The devil, just take it!”

“What the…”

“Don’t you want it?” Rick asked in a tempting voice. Mark looked open-mouthed at the ball. He was almost going to say no, he couldn’t accept something like this, but then he remembered the sad expression on Mew throughout the battle. He couldn’t leave it here.

“…Yes.”

Rick’s eyes glinted.

“Good boy. Your badge.”

He walked firmly up to Mark and dropped a small silver coin into his hand. Mark examined it. It had an eye engraved in the middle, but it was surrounded by a raindrop, a bolt of lightning, a flame and a leaf. The back of it said “Element Badge”. Mark pinned it to his T-shirt.

“Leave,” Rick said icily. Mark just went through the side door, pocketing Mew’s Clone Ball. The feeling was odd, and not at all what he had imagined it would be to win a badge.

He would have to go to the Pokémon Center and get Mew healed, but of course he couldn’t hand Nurse Joy a Clone Ball. She’d think he had stolen it.

What he was therefore going to do first was a so-called ‘inter-Pokéball transfer’. It could be done at any Pokémon Center using the trading machine. It was basically exactly like trading, except that both of the Pokéballs were owned by the same person and one of them was empty. Afterwards, the Pokéball the Pokémon used to be in would be unusable unless one went and got it recharged for a fee, which was only slightly cheaper than buying a new ball so along with having to waste another Pokéball to put the Pokémon in, it usually didn’t pay off. Therefore, trainers rarely did the transfer unless they had a very special reason to.

But Mark did, and therefore he walked up to the trading machine in the corner of the Pokémon Center. He placed Mew’s Clone Ball under one of the tubes after making sure nobody was watching, and then one of his normal Pokéballs at the other end. He set the machine to inter-Pokéball transfer mode, and the two balls got sucked up into the metallic tubes. The great screen in the middle of it showed Mew’s silhouette traveling across the screen, and Mark did his best to stand in the way so nobody could see it. Finally, both balls dropped down again.

He picked up the Clone Ball, minimized it and put it in his pocket. He didn’t know why he felt the need to keep an unusable brainwashing Pokéball, but he just did. Then he took a deep breath and picked up the other Pokéball, now holding Mew.

He walked over to Nurse Joy, trying to look normal, and gave her the Pokéballs.

“Mostly just exhausted,” he said. The nurse nodded, placing the Pokéballs on a tray and putting it into the full-size equivalent of a Pocket Healer. After a few beeps were heard, she took them out again and handed them to Mark.

“We hope to see you again,” she said, smiling.

Mark nodded. Just then, May noticed him and walked up to him. He remembered what he had said to her before the battle, and cursed silently. He didn’t feel like going into these explanations now, but then again they would be better over with.

“What about my Quilava?” she asked, getting straight to the point.

“Well, it’s a long story,” Mark began, “and I… can’t really tell it around all these people.”

“Well, I’m going fishing for Pokémon at the Lake of Purity. Why don’t you just join me and we’ll discuss that on the way?”

“Sure,” said Mark, shrugging. They walked out of the Pokémon Center and headed towards the road.

-------

“You’re telling me Rick is making more super-clones?”

“Yeah.”

“And that the lying little idiot with my Quilava is his brother?”

Mark nodded. “And the strange Pikachu he had, it was actually a Pikatwo, a Pikachu super-clone.”

“Well, I’ll be damned,” she just said.

Mark was still pondering over whether to tell her about Charmeleon, but decided not to. They were now at the Lake, and May was about to cast out the line.

Suddenly, Mark caught a glimpse of something light blue.

“What was that?”

“What?” May questioned.

“I think I saw… never mind.”

“No, what?” asked May eagerly.

“I think there was a Dratini there,” Mark said, still staring at the same spot.

“Rubbish,” said May, while she was glaringly obviously looking around for it too.

“Over there!”

May threw the rod forward. A small creature dove back under the surface.

“Darn it!” she hissed.

“Hey, I saw it first!” Mark said.

“So what?”

“Then I’m the one who tries to catch it!”

“That’s not in any official rules!”

“Draa?”

A small head poked out of the surface. It was pale blue with cute frills at the sides, two adorable eyes watching the two kids argue with interest, and a white muzzle.

Mark and May both took out Pokéballs. May threw it first, but missed by far and the Pokéball sank into the water. Mark accidentally dropped his because he was hurrying so much, and it rolled into the water, where it started sinking too. The Dratini dove down again. Mark could see his Pokéball come to a halt when it reached the bottom. After a few suspenseful seconds, the Dratini swam forward to examine it, poked a little too far, and was dissolved into red energy that was drawn into the ball.

Mark stared at it for a second, and then prepared to jump in.

“Mark, you are being an absolute idiot,” May said clearly and pronouncedly, grabbing the back of his T-shirt. “Do you think you can just dive in there? You may see the bottom, but this is the second-deepest lake in all of Ouen, for crying out loud.”

It wasn’t exactly because of her that Mark decided to rethink this plan. It was more because he already got his other clothes wet. But at the very least, he calmed down.

“Now, look here,” May started. “I’ve got a magnet, and I’ve got a fishing rod. We can use them to get that Dratini out of the water. But both of them are mine, and it was just luck that Dratini went into your Pokéball and not mine. So…”

“You’re going to take my Dratini?” Mark asked loudly. “How about no?”

“You have no choice,” she said, smirking as she drew a small magnet out of her pocket and attached it to the end of the line. She carefully lowered it down while Mark gritted his teeth.

“Larvii,” came a little voice. Mark gaped.

The owner of the voice was a small, green Pokémon with a triangular-shaped head. It had a small mouth, red eyes with black markings just below them, a red diamond shape on its belly and an odd, bundle-like tail.

“Is everything full of almost-Legendary Pokémon here today?”

May wheeled around, releasing the rod.

“Whoa! That’s a Larvitar!”

“Oh, really?” said Mark sarcastically, grabbing the rod while he had the chance and reeling in the Pokéball quickly. Meanwhile, May threw one of her Pokéballs at the Larvitar. Mark didn’t bother seeing it wobble; he just hurried away so she wouldn’t try to take Dratini too. Judging from May’s cry of “YESSS!!”, she had caught it.

Mark was now starting to think about Mew again. He felt a need to talk to it, but the hotel room was the only safe place to do so.

He ran down the road back to Cleanwater, rushed into the hotel and saw the TV on, not paying much attention to it.

“And finally, today, around two thousand captive-bred Dratini, Larvitar and Bagon were released into the wild all around the world.”

Mark abruptly stopped to listen.

“This is a part of a project to help these highly endangered species survive. In fact, they aren’t as strong as many people think, and that this misunderstanding has sprouted from the fact that they used to be so rare that only the best of trainers would ever be able to capture them, ultimately making the result Pokémon’s full potential released. Less experienced trainers are not likely to manage to evolve them to their final forms and at the very least unable to unleash their full power, according to experts. More on this later.”

“Well, that explains it,” Mark muttered to himself. Suddenly his capture wasn’t as significant, but it still felt as great. The part about only strong trainers being able to make these Pokémon strong made him wonder. Was he one? Was May one? Would he have to face one sometime?

He remembered what he was at the hotel for, went up the stairs to his room, closed the door carefully, sat down on the bed and took Mew’s Pokéball slowly out.

“Go… Mew.” Mark dropped the ball down, the two halves separated and a sphere of red energy from within took shape into the pinkish-white, catlike creature.

Mark sat completely still. After Mew had stared at him for a while, the Pokémon sat down beside him, wrapping its long tail around him in what appeared to be a greeting of some sort.

“What happened?” asked the Legendary quietly without looking at him, calmly like it was merely asking about the time.

“Well, which parts do you know?” Mark replied, shrugging.

“Three years in darkness, always exhausted, like a puppet, only occasionally thinking clearly, but having no choice but to let my consciousness drift away for a momentary ease of pain…”

Mew’s deep, sapphire blue eyes looked into Mark’s.

“Now, I am here, once again blessed with freedom.”

It took a bit of time for this to sink in.

“Wait – you’re not a clone?”

“No,” said Mew simply. “Had I known no life outside of being forced into obedience and fighting mindlessly all day long, I would have accepted it. Like the others. Their minds know nothing else. Those will only fight back who know there is something worth fighting for.”

“What about Mewtwo˛?” Mark asked quietly.

“He is powerful… that allows him to think clearer… they have been strengthening the Clone Ball, but it’s too late once he has felt himself being robbed of his free will and thought… I can sense his sorrow at this very moment…”

Mark was quiet for a long while, but then muttered: “That’s so… sad.”

Mew nodded slowly. “Sad indeed, but there is no way for us to help. I am very fortunate, which brings us back to the original question.”

“Rick gave your Pokéball to me, muttering something about there being a curse on you.” Mark paused, then added: “Why?”

“He does not realize our feelings. I have fought back; I have weakened my attacks as I could and done my best not to give him the pleasure of winning. So far I have succeeded…”

There was a short silence. The Legendary Pokémon sighed deeply. “We shall see what destiny has in store for him.”

“What will you do now?” Mark asked quietly.

“I will go home. I used to reside deep inside Rainbow Woods before he came.”

Mark stood slowly up and opened the balcony door. No words were necessary. Mew just nodded, looked at him with those bright blue eyes, and flew outside.

“Maybe I’ll see you… you-know-where,” Mark called. Mew gave a small nod, then shot up towards the sky.

-------

On the street below, a bearded man wearing a brown hat and a trench coat jerked his head upwards.

“Did you see that?” he whispered to the Pokémon beside him. It nodded slowly.

“And did you see the boy?”

Another nod. The man’s gaze flickered a bit.

“And did you hear what he said?”

He didn’t wait for an answer. A weird smile spread across his face.

ClowSui
22nd September 2004, 2:16 AM
OMGOMGOMGOMG!

Lucky little ***tard! My teachers are never on strike. x_x

Anyways, nice chapters. It's great to see this fic take a big plot movement!

Cephonis
22nd September 2004, 2:27 AM
Holy mother of S***! Teachers on strike? I aint never seen that! Oh wait i have, but that was on Simpsons.

How the **** did Rick catch Mew?And whos the guy who heard? and whats the pokemon hes talkin to?

Dragonfree
22nd September 2004, 2:29 AM
Mwahahaha, teachers on strike! Teachers on strike! I'll torture you for eternity with these words!

Only problem is, they gave loads of homework. x_x



How the **** did Rick catch Mew?And whos the guy who heard? and whats the pokemon hes talkin to?

That's what the next chapter is for. Seriously, it's all in the next chapter. And oh so much more... *grins*

Black_Charizard
22nd September 2004, 2:52 AM
This was an interesting chapter. I was just wondering, why was Mew was in a Clone Ball if it wasn't a Clone? Also, did you want Mark to get an intersting Pokemon or is that Dratini going to have something to do with a future problem? Anyways, good chapter and I can't wait for this cliff-hanger to end.

Dragonfree
22nd September 2004, 2:58 AM
The Clone Balls are called that because Rick mostly puts clones into them (and, in fact, wants people to believe that he only puts clones into them), but they are the ones that control the Pokémon and therefore it would be weird to create a special Pokéball that also does that but is called something else just for Mew. I made a sprite of the Clone Ball, by the way - click here to see (http://www.dragonflycave.com/butterfree/cloneball.png).

Sadly, though, there's nothing deeper behind Dratini at the moment. The Pokémon involved are the same as they were in the original version, and I simply made him catch Pokémon I liked (then it didn't even have the endangered species part). But who knows, I might make something deeper behind Dratini.That's the way I make the plot for this fic, anyway; it's never intended from the start.

Blaziken V2
23rd September 2004, 6:47 PM
I absolutely love it.I am waiting for other chapters,so start working!I'm wondering if Mark will ever see the Legends...hmmmm.I just don't know what to say,Good Luck.

Dragonfree
24th September 2004, 12:05 AM
I can't start working, because I've already started. ;) Don't worry, chapter ten is coming soon, and it's going to be good.

Lupin
24th September 2004, 11:54 AM
Thats cool. Can't wait.

Dragonfree
24th September 2004, 4:51 PM
Eh... I've got to admit, that was a rather spammy reply. :/ Sorry, but rules are rules. *warns*

Since I'm posting... chapter ten is eight pages so far, and just starting. It will probably be the longest thing I'll ever have written when it's finished (more than 13 pages), but I assure you it will keep you occupied no matter how long it is.

Wondrous Sableye
24th September 2004, 9:46 PM
Another positively amazing chapter, Dragonfree. The description of Mew's eyes gave it much more depth as a character… I'm still wondering what the heck that ultra-super-powerful-attack-of-DOOM was…and I'm really interested in why Mew knows about Mewtwo^2 when it's with Rick and Mewtwo^2 is with the scientist…Ah well… will wait for the next chapters patiently…

IdiotNESS
25th September 2004, 8:32 PM
Woohoo! I was right! Charmander...err...Charmeleon was a clone! Though, I'm not sure if you realized this, but you did a good job of emphasizing May's hatred of Porcupine Pokemon :D as well.

I need to ckeck this more often, you posted, what, two or three chapters before I last read it? Wow.

I really liked Chapter 9. It was an interesting battle and the Mew thing was fascinating (but, it...nevermind, I'll cover that later). I always love it when a character acts human. Sometimes writers romanticize their characters and the result is painful. The main character becomes the peaceful protagonist: hated, misunderstood, but always the hero. It is really relieving to read your fic. Your fic is taking a big plot movement too, I like that. So...Don't torture us by withholding your next chapter!

Watch out for the uberness of some attacks. I know that you meant to make Mark find out that Dragon Rage was the answer to defeating Legendaries but it became so often used in the battles that it was no longer interesting to read (well, that's an exaggeration...it was interesting to read, just not your peak). Perhaps, you should have forced Gyrados to use a different attack. I know you already wrote this but if you find youself doing something like this again or going over edits, this is just a tip.

I think I really like Gyrados...He's so cool! I'm interested to see how his personality and past are revealed later in your fic.

Another thing, though, Mark's encounter with Mew cold have been a bit better. It's interesting how you made Mew's state some kind of a pity but when he was released, perhaps you could have given him a display of raw power. Psychic comunication and picturesqe teleports might have been the way to go. Still, it was better than most other fics I've read.

Since this is an ILCOETH version, I expected absolutely no grammer errors but there was, in chapter two, you said:


Mark hesitated, but then took out Gyarados’s ball. It was better to be safe than sorry.

Gyarados' not Gyarados's...Sorry, I'm being picky but I was a bit disappointed. I don't think that'll happen again so I'm not worried, just check on Microsoft Word or something to eliminate errors like that.

I guess I owe you one more critique because you wrote two chapters so...when you had Mark see May right after her vicotry over Rick, you could have given it more emotion. I don't thin MAy would just say "Hi" after a victory over a Legendary trainer without an Uber-attack-of-death. I understand that character development is completely up to the writer but perhaps, you should think about this. Don't treat supporting characters as supporting characters, they should just be like main characters too. Maybe they might not have as much spotlight, but they should be described and fleshed out as well.

Oh, and Wondrous Sableye,


I'm really interested in why Mew knows about Mewtwo^2 when it's with Rick and Mewtwo^2 is with the scientist

Umm, I think it's because Rick was the "head" cloner for all cloning done in his gym. So, since Rick probably was the one who made the clone, Mew would know about it becuase he was with Rick during the process.

That's just a hypothesis so correct me if I'm wrong, Dragonfree.

Awesome work Dragonfree!!! I love your fic so far (TEACHERS ON STRIKE!?!?)! I wish I went to your school ;)! I can't wait for your next chapter!

Dragonfree
25th September 2004, 9:25 PM
*searches for thread to post chapter ten* AHH! WHERE DID IT GO?? Oh, it's on the first page. Ehh... ^^;

So, IdiotNESS...

Charmeleon, a clone? Eh, actually not. Taylor received a *normal* Charmander for a starter Pokémon like any other kid would, and because it was normal, he found it weak so he asked for a super-clone from Rick. Although, when I look back at it, I didn't put that clear enough... sorry about the confusion.

The next Gym has more powerful Pokémon, so Gyarados' usage of Dragon Rage is pretty much over now. Don't worry about that...

I liked picturing Mew as not really wanting to show its power all the time (I refer to Mew as an it, by the way, not because Mew is genderless on the games, but because I can't think of Mew as male or female. Same with Suicune). You want to see a display of Mew's power? Read chapter ten. ;) But there, I mainly just wanted to put Mew there as trying to be like Mark's equal while talking to him.

As for Gyarados's... it's a proper noun, and it's not plural, so I've been wondering whether it is grammatically correct to have an S or not. Isn't there a rule with stuff like James's having an S? Ah, whatever, I'll have no S... (by the way, Microsoft Word's spelling/grammar check wants to replace both "Gyarados'" and "Gyarados's" with just plain "Gyarados" unless I add it to the dictionary, so Word will never tell me that one or the other is correct).

As for May, she really isn't the kind of person to be all happy or hyper or something after beating Rick. As you'll learn later, she's a very ambitious trainer with very well-trained Pokémon, and she really expected as much. Meh, probably could've been a little bit more interesting, but I assure you that I'm not just treating her as a random supporting character with little thought, because of the simple fact that she isn't a supporting character. She gets more involved in the plot later, and is in fact one of the main humans.

You're right about Mew and Mewtwo˛, though; Rick is the man behind the whole cloning and is in charge of everything. He just happens to have given the scientist Mewtwo˛.

-------

But now... it's time for... chaaapter TEN in its whole sixteen-page-long glory! Introducing the best character of this fic... introducing the dark parts of this fic...


-------
RATING

Violence: Pokémon battles, more violent than the ones you've been seeing here so far.

Gore: A bit, but nothing very serious.

Sexuality: None.

Profanity: One "damn", yet again...

Other: Lots of threatening and thought about death. And semi-religious stuff that I hope my readers don't have too much against...
-------




Chapter 10: The Mew Hunter

Mark went down the stairs slowly. He felt incredible. Much to his dismay, he met the one person he wasn’t interested in talking to at the stairway as she came walking from the other corridor. She didn’t say anything to him and they just walked down the stairs, ignoring each other very ironically.

They both returned the keys, acting like the other wasn’t there, and both walked out the same road towards Rainbow Woods, the forest that grew between Cleanwater City and Alumine.

Oh darn, Mark thought. Mew isn’t about to come anywhere near when she’s here...

They just walked for a long while as the tall trees surrounded them in all directions.

“Why are you always following me?” yelled Mark finally in frustration.

“Just because we’re walking along the same road at the same time doesn’t mean I’m following you, you know,” said May, glancing at him.

“But why are you walking just here at the exact same time as I am, refusing to even look at me?” Mark argued.

“You have big issues with me, I see,” said May, raising her eyebrow. “Look, I’m not one to start a conversation. I don’t talk to people who don’t want to talk to me, so I usually just answer when I’m asked. Because you didn’t seem very keen on talking to me, I decided not to annoy you by talking. Do you have problems with that?”

Mark blushed. “Eh… did you catch that Larvitar?”

“Yeah, and I noticed you took off with Dratini.”

Darn it! Mark hissed to himself.

“So, you going to take Dratini back or something?” he asked defensively.

“Nah,” said May. “I’ve got Larvitar. I think I am the better one out, anyway.”

Mark angrily took out Dratini’s ball and pointed his Pokédex at it.

“Dratini – dragon Pokémon. This Pokémon sheds its skin to keep control of the massive amounts of life energy it has. So rare it was said to be a myth.”

He checked the stats. “Male, level 15,” he muttered.

“So is Larvitar,” May replied. “Hey, maybe we could, you know, battle them out.”

She got that battle glint in her eyes again.

“Fair enough,” Mark answered after a moment of thought. “Go!”

He sent out the slender, snake-like dragon on the ground. May threw forward the Pokéball containing the green creature from earlier. It gritted its teeth and waved the long horn on its head like a sword.

“Dratini, Wrap!” Mark called out. The little dragon obeyed, slithering forward to wrap its long body around Larvitar and starting to squeeze as hard as he could.

“Bite!” May ordered quickly, and Larvitar locked its small but powerful jaws around Dratini’s body. The dragon released him with a small cry of pain.

“Twister!” Mark shouted. The dragon started glowing turquoise, stood up on the end of its body and started spinning around, faster and faster. Finally, he released a greenish-blue whirlwind that shot at Larvitar.

“Sandstorm!” May hissed. Larvitar raised a paw into the air, its red eyes glowing intensely golden, and a stream of sand materialized out of nowhere behind it and met the whirlwind. Mark clenched his fist; May’s face was expressionless until she, with a triumphant smile, saw that the whirlwind, now also a wheel of sand, started moving back towards Dratini. One thing sat in Mark’s head: Dragons were weak to their own attacks. The whirlwind engulfed Dratini. The small Pokémon screamed as he was bombarded by the wheel of sand along with the dragon power contained in the whirlwind. He was whipped into the air and came down unconscious.

“Return,” Mark grumbled. He looked hatefully at May as he attached the Pokéball to his belt again. She sighed.

“Look, we don’t need to start some rivalry about this. I beat you, but that’s no big deal. I hate it when people hate me. Let’s just be friends, okay?”

She held forward her hand. Mark hesitated, but then shook it.

“Hey, there’s a café at the forest’s edge, just before we get out of it. If you have money for yourself, we can eat there,” May offered.

“Sure,” Mark replied.

They ventured through the forest, now without the tense atmosphere, and Mark felt a lot better to know that she wasn’t plotting to steal Dratini or anything. They came across a few weak wild Pokémon too, but just took turns beating them instead of trying to catch them, subconsciously trying to avoid another Dratini situation. Finally, they reached the café. It was a pleasantly green, very small-looking wooden house with red decorations, dug a little into the ground so it seemed even smaller. A faded, red sign above the door said “Rainbow café”.

“I’ve got to admit, this looks miniscule,” said Mark, staring at the house.

“Come on, I ate here on the way from Alumine to Cleanwater, it isn’t as small as it looks,” said May, dragging him down the small stairs leading to the door.

She was right. Somehow magically, it was much bigger on the inside than outside. Small, red, round tables were positioned very randomly all around the floor, with anything from one to five matching red chairs around them. People sat here and there, most of them deep in either conversation or thought.

The kids sat down at a table near the door and ordered some toast. After eating, they paid and were about to stand up when Mark noticed that his Pokéball belt had no Pokéballs on it anymore.

“Wha… did you take my Pokéballs?” he asked, scanning the floor for any traces of them.

“Of course not,” said May offended. “I’m not a hypocrite.”

“What happened to them?” asked Mark hysterically, looking under the chairs and everything.

“Mark, Pokéballs don’t fall off by themselves,” said May seriously.

“You mean…”

“Somebody stole them, yes. Not me, but somebody.”

Mark looked frantically around. “Who?”

May put up a thoughtful expression. “Maybe that weird guy in the trench coat. He sat down just behind you, didn’t order anything and then after a while hurried out of the door, turning left.”

“That means… to Alumine,” Mark breathed. He grabbed May’s arm.

“What are we waiting for? Let’s go after him!”

He sprinted towards the city. May just sighed and walked, letting him shake her off.

-------

Trench coat, trench coat…

Mark came to the city’s edge, panting, and looked around. Alumine was medium-sized, but rather dirty and not an extremely pleasant place to live; most of the buildings were just blocks of concrete painted in some disgusting color that was thankfully starting to fall off. One building stood out, and was at the end of the main street Mark was entering; it was the famous Alumine Gym, constructed out of Skarmory feathers and shaped like one end of a vertical eye sticking up from the ground, with the doors as the pupil. It reflected the sunlight off a million steel surfaces, all facing in slightly different directions. Mark had heard that the Gym Leader there used the sunlight to help him win battles thanks to the opponent having a hard time seeing around.

A bearded man, most of his bearded face hidden in shadow beneath a brown hat and indeed wearing a trench coat, entered an extremely ugly, sickeningly yellow, large building just to Mark’s right. It took a second for him to realize that this was the man he was looking for. He was about to follow him when he heard May’s voice.

“Hey,” she said. “Wasn’t that him?”

“Yeah,” Mark replied. “You coming with me?”

She stared blankly at him. “What, you’re just going to knock on his door and say ‘Hey, you stole my Pokémon, can I have them back?’”

“Well, yeah, pretty much,” said Mark simply.

“You’re crazy,” May sighed, shaking her head.

“So what?” Mark snapped. “If you’re not coming, fine.”

He walked firmly towards the yellow building and knocked on the door. The trench coat guy answered it, of course not wearing it anymore. He stared at Mark for a second, then shoved him inside and closed the door.

“You!” the man spoke in a hoarse, quiet voice. His eyes were black and extremely open, and a black full beard covered much of his face.

“Here… I’ve been… you didn’t have… must… get…”

On second thought, he also seemed a little bit crazy.

“WHERE?” he suddenly bellowed, grabbing Mark’s arm firmly. Okay, maybe quite a bit crazy.

“Where is what?” asked Mark, puzzled.

“You-know-where!” he hissed.

More like ‘an absolute madman who should’ve been locked in long ago’.

“What?” Mark questioned, even more confused.

“You know very well what I’m talking about! My life! My dedication! Where is ‘you-know-where’?”

Suddenly, it dawned on to Mark what he was talking about.

“You mean… Mew?”

“What else could I mean?” the guy snarled. “Look, I have spent my entire life searching for Mew! I MUST FIND IT!”

“Uh,” said Mark, backing away, “why didn’t you just give up on it long ago?” Afterwards, he always thought of this had been a very stupid question.

The man took a few deep breaths, looking a lot less mad afterwards.

“I’ll tell you the whole story… doesn’t matter… we have plenty of time…

You can call me the Mew Hunter for convenience. I started my Pokémon journey around your age… I lived in Johto then. I got a Totodile as my first Pokémon… chose it for the jaws, mind you… I’ve always been a lot for sharp things… but by then I was already fascinated by the one Pokémon that possessed the genes of them all.”

He didn’t explain what he meant, but he didn’t need to; Mark knew he was referring to Mew.

“I wanted to find it and claim it as mine… but of course, such a thing required a lot of preparation… I got a Sandshrew and a Sneasel, and managed to dig up a Kabuto fossil and get it resurrected… I evolved Totodile, Sandshrew and Kabuto, and with these four Pokémon, I started an unofficial Gym of Pokémon with sharp claws or fangs, just for the profits. We are in the Gym right now.”

Mark looked around; that sounded sensible. The floor was marked as a Pokémon arena and the ceiling was very high. Two large windows with six panes each were on the wall to the left, and seemed to be the only lighting in the arena.

“I also studied Pokéballs. After earning the money to buy a Master Ball, I used my knowledge to make some modifications to it… I made it so that the Pokémon inside it would be unable to escape a certain distance away from the ball itself. I was going to use it on Mew. And once I had made it, I closed the Gym and headed out to search for the ancestor of all Pokémon…

But I had competition. Rick, from the Cleanwater City Gym, was also heading towards the same goal. He had a Pokéball that would capture anything and put it under total control, weakening its mind to obey everything it was told. A disgusting idea… I knew that it must not be done to Mew… I was going to earn Mew’s trust, just like I had done with my other Pokémon… but he was going to use Mew as a slave. I could not let that happen. I was determined to find Mew first.

And one day, I stumbled upon Mew, sleeping in the shadow of a tree. But Rick was there too. We threw our balls at the same time… from my studies, I knew that if a Pokémon was hit with two balls at once, it would be torn apart and killed unless it collected all of itself into one ball… the impact of the two balls would wake it up, and I was confident that Mew would choose me… who would choose total slavery over a temporary limitation of freedom?

But Mew chose Rick… to this very day the thought has haunted me, why did Mew prefer Rick’s control? I have never found out why…”

The man’s voice had slowly reverted to the mad, desperate one throughout the last few sentences.

“I went through a long period of depression, but finally I decided to reopen my Gym, caught two new Pokémon and forgot about Mew. But today, I saw Mew again… I saw it fly out of a window… and you were addressing it, stating that you two supposedly would meet ‘you-know-where’.”

He paused, and then spat out in a totally different voice: “Now, I’d like you to tell me where that place is.”

Mark didn’t like idea of telling this person anything about where to find Mew. He didn’t sound like he was lying when he talked about “earning Mew’s trust” rather than forcing it to do anything, but he could very well be mad enough to have a somewhat twisted definition of earning somebody’s trust.

“No,” he therefore answered. “I’m not telling you.”

“I’m afraid you mistook that for a question!” the man barked. “Speak, or things will get nasty.”

“No,” said Mark firmly.

The man got a very sickening glint in his eyes.

“Really?” he said slowly, glaring at Mark with the kind of a smile Mark had seen on villains in movies. Mark noticed his hand slowly picking a Pokéball from his belt.

“You know, my friend here is amazingly convincing. Want to meet him?”

Mark’s eyes darted towards the door as he thought of making a run for it.

“Well, you’re meeting him whether you like it or not,” the man hissed, hurling the Pokéball powerfully towards Mark. Something big and green came out of it, dove straight at Mark at amazing speed and knocked him down. He felt his head hit the wall hard. A sharp pain seared through his head as his vision blacked out for a second; when it came back, he was met with a not-so-pleasant sight.

The thing that had hit him was a Pokémon commonly associated with horror films, blood and stereotypical evil. It was somewhat like a light green, bipedal mantis with a reptilian head, but most importantly, two long, wickedly sharp blades attached to its arms. As sickening as it was, Mark found one of them positioned a centimeter or so from his throat.

The Scyther held him firmly down so that he couldn’t have moved even if he hadn’t been stiff from the sheer shock of having his life so suddenly put on the edge of a knife. He felt his heart pumping like crazy, every vein throbbing like it was about to burst. To crown it all, his stomach apparently fancied being empty at the moment. Seeing what was about to happen, the Pokémon turned Mark’s head slightly to the left before he threw up.

“Aw, you don’t like his reasoning?” the man asked in a mocking tone. “Well, too bad. Feel like talking now?”

“No,” Mark choked up, sounding a lot braver than he felt.

“I’ll give you two five minutes to be alone,” said the man, checking his watch. “Talk then or…” He ran his finger quickly over his throat, then turned around towards a side door and slammed it shut.

Mark was left in the arena with the bug Pokémon, not sure whether the five minutes were meant for him to think about it or just to discomfort him even more. A few seconds convinced him that it was the latter.

His horrified gaze ran over to the Pokémon. His stomach twitched just from looking at it again. The beast’s eyes were completely colorless; the socket was shaped like a skewed rectangle, and the whites were pearly and veinless, disrupted only by the jet-black slits that were the pupils. It was staring straight at his face, completely expressionlessly.

Mark wondered what would happen if he just told the guy that Mew was at some random place and got released. He could just go and tell the police and get the Mew Hunter arrested. But while the man was clearly mad, he didn’t seem stupid at all. Hadn’t he thought of that? Mark whirred through the last things the man had said, and realized that he had never actually said Mark would be released if he did tell of Mew’s location. He got a horrible sinking feeling. Was this the end, whatever he did?

He started imagining what it was like to be killed. Was there life after death? What kind of a feeling would it be? Would it happen right away? The good thing was that he knew Scyther took very much care in sharpening their scythes so their cuts were virtually painless… from his point of view, it wouldn’t be that bad a death…

Oh, come on, he thought bitterly to himself. You don’t want to get your damn throat cut by a mad Scyther!

The Scyther isn’t mad, said the perfectionist voice in his head. His trainer is.

Yeah, but it’s the same thing, Pokémon do what their trainers say…

Do they?

You mean… negotiating with a Scyther? You crazy?

Maybe, but it can’t hurt, can it? You have nothing to lose.

Oh man. First sign of insanity: staging an imaginary conversation with oneself.

But then again, there was a point in that. He had nothing to lose.

“Eh…” Mark said hesitatingly, immediately regretting it. But the Scyther decided to answer nevertheless.

“You scared?”

Mark didn’t find any longing to answer that question.

“Death is not to be feared, for it is the only thing that we all have in common.”

Seeing the confused look on Mark’s face, the bug added: “It’s an old Scyther saying. It means: why fear death of all things, when it’s the exact one thing we can be positive will happen to us all sooner or later?”

If that was supposed to be comforting, it was failing miserably.

“You hate that guy, right?” Mark asked weakly.

“What would you know?” Scyther replied.

“But… you wouldn’t actually…”

“Why not?” asked Scyther calmly.

“Well… you wouldn’t feel good, would you?” Mark suggested. Scyther smiled faintly.

“Trying to appeal to my conscience, now are you? But tell me one thing, human: is it your honest belief that Scyther have a conscience?”

“Eh, well, yeah, I liked to think so, at least,” Mark said awkwardly.

“Of course we have a conscience,” Scyther said bitterly. “And all the emotions you can feel to go with it. But if you knew that, you should also be able to realize that being a predator leaves you with a choice of permanently blocking out everything called ‘pity for a victim’, or starving to death.”

“Will you get anything out of killing me?” Mark tried another approach.

“No, but I’m not the only Pokémon here. Take Kabutops. His scythes aren’t as sharp as mine, I’ll admit, he doesn’t think too much about the maintenance…”

Mark quickly changed the subject to the first thing he could think of.

“Eh… you wouldn’t want blood on your nice, clean scythes, would you?” he said out of the blue.

Scyther sighed. “Look, this is getting ridiculous now and I have the feeling that you aren’t about to say a single logical thing from now on, so why bother? Besides, I’m not the one who decides what happens here. You were given five minutes as a chance to think over your situation, and you’ve been wasting them talking to me. While I do appreciate a chat, I feel it’s my duty to inform you that you’re not buying yourself a single minute of additional life.”

Mark decided to follow the Pokémon’s advice; funnily enough, he had managed to forget about the scythe threatening him while they talked, but now he was starting to feel uncomfortable again.

Then suddenly, a wonderful though struck him like lightning. He felt warmth spread around his whole body. He wheeled through it in his head a few times, yes, it appeared to work…

The side door opened and the Mew Hunter came back in.

“So,” he said slowly, walking up to Mark, “are you going to speak out?”

“No,” said Mark, his heart beating like crazy. Despite having found a plan that should work, all of his courage had flown out of the window during the last five minutes and wasn’t about to return.

“You want to die, kid?” the Mew Hunter snarled.

“No,” Mark answered quietly.

“Well, newsflash: there’s no alternative!” growled the Mew Hunter. “Telling me or not?”

“…not.” Mark’s voice was trembling. This was it. Either he was right, or he was wrong and then his life would end right here.

The man went white for a split second. “OK, then,” he said in an odd tone. “It will be quick…”

Mark closed his eyes, but Scyther’s scythe did not move. He smiled; he had been right. The Mew Hunter didn’t want to lose him so easily.

“You were never going to kill me, were you?” Mark asked, feeling oddly secure.

“Well, let me tell you one thing… you are never going out of here, never… until you tell me where Mew is…”

“You stole my Pokémon, right? Can I have them back?” Mark decided that he could think of a way to escape later; it was time for what he originally came for.

The man took out what Mark recognized as his Pokéballs out of his pocket.

“You want them?” he asked. “Win them from me… in a battle.” He smiled slyly.

“Sure,” Mark answered, although he couldn’t figure out why the man would want a battle right now.

“Scyther, come,” said the Mew Hunter. The Pokémon released Mark and stood up as Mark also did so, but Scyther just stood there by Mark’s side.

“Rob,” he said calmly, “I can do a bit of empty threatening for you, but I will not aid you in kidnapping or taking hostages.”

The Mew Hunter went white.

“Get over here! Now!”

“No,” said Scyther, not moving.

“TRAITOR!” Rob bellowed.

“Rob, please,” Scyther said. Was there a hint of sadness in his eyes? “Is Mew really worth wasting your life for?”

The Mew Hunter hesitated, unmistakably looking a bit sad too, but then said: “I’m sorry, Scyther… but Mew is my life. Either you’re with me, or with him.”

“Then I’m with him,” said Scyther, stepping nearer to Mark, “for the Rob I used to know.”

Mark was very confused by this; there was true pain in Scyther’s voice, but who could miss such a man?

“Uh, my Pokémon? So I can battle?” Mark asked hesitatingly.

The Mew Hunter glared nastily at Scyther and then looked back at Mark. “Looks like you have one already. In fact… a match for all the others.”

“What, this is going to be a… five on one?” Mark asked in disbelief. “But…”

“Go, Kabutops!” Rob snarled, sending out a brown, bony Pokémon with a flat, triangular-shaped head, two small eyes and blades on its arms, similar to Scyther’s.

“Kabu?” asked the Pokémon, turning back to its trainer with a confused expression.

“Scyther has betrayed us,” he growled.

“I’m not fighting him, he’s my friend,” Kabutops protested.

“Kabutops, let’s just… get this over with,” said Scyther with a horrible, suicidal kind of expression.

“Skaaa!”

Everybody looked up. A Skarmory had just been sent out of a Pokéball high up near the ceiling. Mark’s heart took a leap as he saw the grid covering the end of the ventilation pipe up there in the corner fall down with a lot of noise, revealing a blue-haired girl’s head. She jumped onto Skarmory’s back and flew down. Mark had never imagined he’d ever be so happy to see her.

“How about no?” she said coldly, recalling the steel vulture. “I’ve got five Pokémon. I take this one,” she removed one Pokéball from her necklace and put it in her pocket, “and now there are four left. With him,” she pointed at Scyther, “this is a fair five-on-five. OK then, go, Butterfree!”

She sent out her giant butterfly. It soared in the air, facing Kabutops. The Mew Hunter seemed in a shock at first, but then just seemed to accept these conditions.

“Kabutops, Slash.”

“Sleep Powder!” May snarled. Butterfree flapped its wings, releasing a cloud of greenish spores as Kabutops leapt upwards, its blades raised. Inhaling the powder, the fossil Pokémon seemed to get drowsy, and as Butterfree flew a bit higher up, Kabutops fell asleep in mid-air and crashed back into the floor.

“Finish it with a Giga drain!” May commanded. The sleeping Kabutops took a deep green glow and small green orbs of energy started ripping lose from its body, the Pokémon twitching violently with each one. The orbs circled Butterfree until all of Kabutops’s glow had faded; then they sank into the butterfly’s body.

“Kabutops, return,” said the Mew Hunter, his voice trembling. “Sneasel, go! Tear its wings to shreds!”

Mark suddenly realized why the Mew Hunter had wanted a battle in the first place – his plan had originally been to injure Mark’s Pokémon enough to make him tell of Mew’s location in exchange for him not hurting them more.

A small, catlike creature with big eyes, a blood red feather-like thing in place of its left ear and two long, sharp claws on each front paw came out of the Pokéball.

“Snee!” it screeched, starting to run across the room. The Sneasel actually ran a short way up the wall before leaping with great agility towards the butterfly Pokémon, stabbing its claws into its wings and dragging it to the ground. As they were about to crash, Sneasel ripped itself loose and managed to jump up on Butterfree’s back. It wasn’t really necessary; Butterfree would’ve been out cold upon crashing either way, its wings in a very bad condition. Butterfree twitched a bit, like a fly that was about to die.

“Return,” said May calmly, ignoring her Pokémon’s state. “Skarmory, go and use a Steel Wing.”

The metallic vulture burst out of the Pokéball and swooped down towards Sneasel’s shape. The agile little cat dodged it and attempted to scratch at Skarmory’s steel feathers, but no avail; it didn’t even leave a scratch.

“Icy Wind!” ordered the Mew Hunter. Some of the muscles in his face twitched.

The Sneasel jumped up, spreading out its arms, and opened its mouth to release a powerful gust of icy wind, hail and snow. Skarmory wasn’t particularly hurt, but clearly slowed down a bit, allowing Sneasel to dart to another place and releasing another blast of cold wind.

“Drill Peck!” May ordered hastily. Skarmory flew up and started spinning, swooping down at the cat. The Sneasel just leapt out of the way with ease, but Skarmory turned and kept gaining speed. Finally, its sharp beak stabbed into Sneasel’s back. The cat let out a horrible screech, but then fell forward, blood gushing out of the wound.

“Come back,” said the Mew Hunter. “Feraligatr, show that bird not to mess with us.”

He sent out a huge, bulky, bipedal blue alligator. It had red spikes on its hunched back and a very powerful-looking yellow lower jaw.

“Fer-al!” it cried, showing all of its long fangs.

“Drill Peck,” May ordered. Skarmory dove down again, spinning.

“Crunch,” said the Mew Hunter evilly. His Feraligatr opened its mouth, and locked its jaws around Skarmory’s body when it came near enough. After a few seconds of war between the steel and the jaws, Skarmory’s body started crumbling together. The vulture screeched, and sensing that this could very easily kill it, May quickly recalled her Pokémon.

“Pikachu, Thunderbolt!” May said determinedly, throwing forward her third Pokéball. A yellow, bipedal rodent with two long, black-tipped ears and red spots on its cheeks came out of the ball. Its cheeks started sparkling with electricity and then it released a bolt of lightning that shot at the blue alligator. It was too slow to dodge, but as most slow Pokémon, it made up for the lack of speed with more endurance. While it did roar in pain and stagger backwards slightly, it didn’t look too weakened afterwards.

“Earthquake,” said the Mew Hunter, clenching his fist. The alligator lifted one foot off the floor and then stomped it powerfully, making the floor ripple in waves like when Sandshrew used the attack. Pikachu attempted to jump up and avoid it, but ended up getting caught anyway. Releasing a flurry of electric sparks, the rodent dropped limply down, unconscious.

“Pikachu, come back,” said May, biting her lip. “Lapras, now my faith is in you!”

She sent out a very big, blue, sea turtle-like Pokémon with a bumpy shell and kind-looking eyes.

“Sing,” May ordered. Lapras started singing a sweet melody, and Feraligatr’s eyes slowly got drowsy.

“Slash!” commanded the Mew Hunter quickly. It was still too late; Feraligatr’s eyelids sank downwards and finally it collapsed, fast asleep.

“Body Slam,” said May calmly. Lapras started paddling forward to finish Feraligatr off, and knowing that leaving it in was pointless, the Mew Hunter took out the Pokéball and recalled the alligator. He then hesitated a bit, first grabbing one Pokéball like out of instinct, but then deciding on another.

“Go, Sandslash.”

Mark wondered why he had made this choice; Sandslash was very weak to Water attacks.

“Surf,” May smirked. Lapras spewed water into the air, which came down on the floor and flooded in a huge wave towards Sandslash, soaking it and leaving it fainted. Easy one.

Rob smiled evilly. “Fangcat, go wild.”

Out of the Pokéball came another Pokémon commonly associated with horror movies; it was a pretty big, slender, cream-colored feline – with two enormous, bloody fangs hanging down from its mouth.

It fixed its hungry eyes on Lapras and then leapt forward with a roar, sinking its fangs deep into the turtle’s neck. Lapras let out a high-pitched wail; all the color drained from May’s face as she recalled her Pokémon.

“Is Fangcat going to be willing to attack you?” Mark whispered to Scyther.

“Her?” Scyther snorted. “She’d attack anything that’s not Rob. She’d be overjoyed about being allowed to kill in this battle if she was able to express any emotion other than bloodlust and hate.”

“But you have to battle her,” Mark said, his eyes wide.

“Of course I have to,” said Scyther simply, walking forward. “Oh, and you don’t need to give me orders; I know what I’m doing.”

“Fangcat, punish him!” the Mew Hunter roared.

“Fffffang!” Fangcat hissed, her eyes fixed on Scyther. He watched her closely too.

Suddenly, Scyther darted upwards. Fangcat leapt amazingly high after him, but he just flew even higher. Fangcat turned around in the air, knowing that Scyther was about to try to attack her from the back as she fell. When he dove down to slash at her, a well-aimed strike resulted in one of her fangs running Scyther’s body through.

He was stiff for a split second, his eyes wide, but then he raised both of his scythes and started slashing like mad. She was cut and bloody all over when they landed on the floor, her fang still entering his upper body at the front and coming out at the back. He was breathing rapidly.

“Fangcat, return!” the Mew Hunter said, white as a sheet of paper, as he held forward a Pokéball. The feline was absorbed into red energy and disappeared. Scyther was left lying alone on the floor. He then started muttering something Mark recognized as the saying he had mentioned to Mark earlier:

“Death is not to be feared… for it is the only thing… that we all… have… in common…”

Scyther closed his eyes. The Mew Hunter took out a Pokéball, wide-eyed, but it just melted into thin air. Mark’s heart was beating; Pokéballs didn’t do that unless…

May walked slowly towards the motionless mantis, observing him for a few seconds. Finally, she bent down and poked his shiny green armor. She quickly pulled her hand back.

“He’s dead,” she clarified after a moment’s pause. It didn’t surprise Mark. The Mew Hunter just stared at the lifeless Pokémon on the floor.

“…no,” he then whispered. “No! NO!”

“Oh yes,” said May mercilessly, stepping away from the body. “That bloody beast of yours killed him, on your own orders.”

The Mew Hunter dropped to his knees and buried his face in his hands. “Scyther…no…”

Mark was amazed at how quickly his whole attitude changed; just a few minutes ago, he had been the madman who seemed to want nothing more than see something killed, but now he looked completely broken down.

Mark hadn’t exactly known Scyther for a very long or pleasant time, but couldn’t help feeling horrible.

For ten seconds or so, everything was silent except from the Mew Hunter’s sobbing. Then, all of a sudden, the big window farther away on the wall was shattered to pieces. Even the Mew Hunter looked up to see what was happening.

In through the window flew a small, pink, catlike creature with big, sad, sapphire blue eyes.

“It is such a shame,” said Mew gravely, not to anybody in particular, levitating three meters or so above Scyther’s body, “when the young die…”

The Legendary Pokémon’s big eyes turned to the Mew Hunter.

“Especially when one knows that when it comes right down to it… it’s one’s own fault.” There was a brief silence.

“Your life was meant to be longer,” said the Legendary Pokémon then sadly to the lifeless body on the floor. The beautiful eyes closed, and Mew was enveloped in a reddish-pink aura. So was Scyther’s body.

The big hole in the middle of his upper body closed. The blood on the floor disappeared. The glow faded, first on Scyther, then on Mew.

Scyther’s eyes opened.

He blinked a few times and then slowly stood up.

“I’m… back...” Scyther whispered, looking around. Mark realized that he had just witnessed a miracle – an example of the incredible power of the Legendary Pokémon…

“I won the battle,” said the Mew Hunter suddenly. “Scyther died.”

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Mark protested. “Fangcat fainted first!”

“But Scyther died,” the Mew Hunter hissed.

“Looks pretty darn alive to me now,” Mark replied. The mantis was seemingly talking to Mew.

“But he was…”

“Hey, OK, let’s assume you won,” May interrupted. “Then we’ll give in and tell you where Mew is: over there. Now give Mark his Pokémon so we can leave.”

The Mew Hunter jerked his head in Mew’s direction, like he was first now realizing that it was Mew and not something else.

“I will change my whereabouts now,” said Mew to him. “I shall travel… and you shall not find me.”

The Mew Hunter grabbed a Pokéball, but Mew’s eyes just glowed a deep purple, its shape started to flicker and then it disappeared in a flash of violet.

“I will find you… I will…” he muttered, staring at the place where Mew used to be. Then he seemed to snap out of his trance, fixed his gaze on Scyther and reached for his Pokéball.

“But… Scyther’s Pokéball melted!” he realized as his hand found only air.

“Yes,” said Scyther slowly. “Mew told me… I’m not yours anymore…”

The Mew Hunter’s eyes widened.

“Rob, we could go back and live our old life. But are you ready to give up on Mew for that?”

“I have to go… I have to find Mew… I’m sorry,” said the Mew Hunter.

“Then… I wish you the best of luck,” said Scyther sorrowfully before taking off and flying out of the window to freedom.

The Mew Hunter stared after him.

“Um… my Pokémon?” Mark asked carefully.

“Sure…” said the Mew Hunter absent-mindedly, handing him his Pokéballs like he had no idea what he was doing. Mark quietly attached them back to his belt and the kids hurried out of the building before the Mew Hunter realized where they were.

-------

“Wow,” May said on the way to the Alumine Pokémon Center. “That was some adventure…”

“Where were you the whole time, by the way?” Mark asked curiously.

“Well, when the guy took you inside and you didn’t come out again, I got a bit suspicious so I walked around the house a bit and found the end of that ventilation pipe. Then I got into it and ended up at your end, and watched and heard everything. I didn’t want to come down sooner because I didn’t think it would be smart to give Scyther a reason to… erm, change the plan…”

“Why didn’t you just call the police?” Mark asked.

“Well…” May bit her lip, “you could say I’m… not much for the way they do things.”

Mark decided not to question her further about that. “I feel a bit sorry for that man, though. He’s totally brainwashed.”

May nodded. “We’re here.”

The familiar, red, dome-shaped roof of the Pokémon Center towered over them. A sign outside it informed them that the Pokémon Center had free rooms for all Pokémon trainers.

“Wait!”

Scyther walked through a crowd of people who automatically split to the sides, giving him a clear path.

“What’s your name?” he asked Mark out of the blue.

“Mark,” he replied, not sure what Scyther wanted.

“Mark, can I come with you?”

“What?” Mark stared at the mantis.

“You wouldn’t understand, it’s complicated, but I have nothing to live for in the wild. Rob’s Mew-obsession has taken over him. It’s either you… or wasting the life that Mew gave me another chance at.”

Mark nodded.

“One condition, though,” said Scyther worriedly. “This may sound strange, but… don’t report him to the police. I’ve known him for three years, and usually he is a wonderful person and friend. Trust me, you’ve only seen the one truly bad side of him. He doesn’t deserve jail.”

Mark nodded again.

“Got a spare Pokéball?” Scyther questioned. Mark took out the last one that had come with his Pokéball belt, and tapped Scyther with it. He was dissolved into red light and sucked into the ball. It immediately pinged; Scyther showed no resistance against it.

It was quite an interesting Pokémon team Mark was going to have now. An abandoned Charmeleon, a baby Eevee who didn’t know what Pokémon training was, a Sandshrew who had just gained his very first bit of confidence, a starved, weird Gyarados, and a depressed Scyther.

May just stared.

Cephonis
25th September 2004, 10:32 PM
wow... that was one hell of a chapter!

It was quite an interesting Pokémon team Mark was going to have now. An abandoned Charmeleon, a baby Eevee who didn’t know what Pokémon training was, a Sandshrew who had just gained his very first bit of confidence, a starved, weird Gyarados, and a depressed Scyther.

May just stared.

*Stares as well*

Iveechan
25th September 2004, 11:33 PM
Gyarados' and Gyarados's are both correct ways of saying... something that belongs to Gyarados.

The description and mood was very well done from Mark's encounter with Scyther to the end of the chapter. It felt a bit rushed, but I dislike nitpicking, so I'll try not to nitpick here. I can see why you enjoy writing about Scyther so much; he seems to be an interesting character with a deep past. I am also interested in Rob and hope to see him again.

BD25
26th September 2004, 12:20 AM
Oh...My...GOD!

From the very first time I read the fic to the new revised versions, I can say that this is one of the best pieces of work I've had the pleasure of reading. I love it to death and the progress you're achieving with this rocks. Good luck Dragonfree and come out with mooooore! ^^;; *wonders what the 6th+ team members will be*

Cephonis
26th September 2004, 12:28 AM
Oh! Oh! *Raises Hand* *Dragonfree calls on Cephonis*

Oh, in the part where you said about Mark's team, what happened to Dratini?

Dragonfree
26th September 2004, 12:41 AM
Mark doesn't know anything about Dratini's personality, so he could hardly put anything there.

Well, that's the excuse. The real reason is that because Dratini didn't become a part of the team until last chapter, I forgot about him. ^_^;;;

Lupin
26th September 2004, 6:26 PM
Great Work Dragonfree. Keep those chapters coming.

ViperSean
27th September 2004, 2:07 AM
Amazing fic! Just one thing I notived: Although your fic normally has a lot of discription, I noticed there wasn't much in the way of a discription of Catertwo.

YOUR TEACHERS WENT ON STRIKE!?!? The closed thing we have to that where i live is a huricane hits and we get a few days of school. :(

Lupin
27th September 2004, 8:04 PM
Amazing fic! Just one thing I notived: Although your fic normally has a lot of discription, I noticed there wasn't much in the way of a discription of Catertwo.

YOUR TEACHERS WENT ON STRIKE!?!? The closed thing we have to that where i live is a huricane hits and we get a few days of school. :(

Closest thing I've had is when someone broke the boiler and we got to go home a week before the Christmas holidays began.

Heracross
27th September 2004, 11:41 PM
Wow, I haven't been here to review in quite some time. Since I just read three chapters in a row, I won't go into detail about things or we'd be here forever, but overall the last few chapters were excellent. The story is certainly picking up the pace a great deal and the plot is becoming very dark and mysterious, which is a good thing. Oh, and I just knew Scyther was going to go with Mark.^_^

IdiotNESS
28th September 2004, 1:07 AM
Woooo!

YayNESS, power from Mew...you delivered!

K,k k, You're right. Sorry, I didn't put much thought into that review. you do put 's on all singular nouns. Soo...sorry. Dang, that was pretty stupid...

>_< Oh, my poor brain! The only advice I can think of right no is character development and the like and I don't think you want that...

*sits down and massages head*

I'll just say good job here because I'm afraid I might do another botched review. Now that I look at it, the advice in it seems pretty useless...

I hope your next chapter is good too. I'll review if I come out of my reviewer's block ;). too much work to break down your story and sift it for uncovered things.

Post soon!!!

Chibi Pika
28th September 2004, 4:23 AM
Awesome, oh and also in reply to the Gyarados thing...possesive would be Gyarados's, plural is just Gyarados and possesive plural is Gyarados'



It was quite an interesting Pokémon team Mark was going to have now. An abandoned Charmeleon, a baby Eevee who didn’t know what Pokémon training was, a Sandshrew who had just gained his very first bit of confidence, a starved, weird Gyarados, and a depressed Scyther.

May just stared.
Whoa, and I thought that the team in my fic was weird (adopted Pidgey, Charmeleon that was a lone survivor of a Entei's forest fire, Zapdos-hybrid Pikachu, and a Dratini clone)

But anyways yeah, I love your description, though it was a bit skimpy in a few places and the part in the restaurant seemed kind of choppy.
And stop saying the title is crappy! It's catchy in it's simplicity and the word draw a reader in. Mine just confuses people

Anyways, your fic's great, a definate five stars. Keep it up!

~Chibi~

(Teachers on strike??! Wow that's even better than the bomb threat at my school.. x.x')

Dragonfree
28th September 2004, 7:19 PM
Lupin: Um... try to write a bit more helpful reviews from now on, OK? Just saying "Great work, keep those chapters coming" is spam.

ViperSean: Catertwo isn't really important enough to be described very much, but I'll fix that next time I revise (which is bound to be sometime).

Heracross: Heh, you know, the original plan for the fic when I first wrote it wasn't to make Scyther join the team, but during Mark's five minutes, I fell in love with Scyther and couldn't just leave him there with the Mew Hunter. You're going to see later how scarily much I like writing him.

IdiotNESS: You want character development, you get it. ;) Chapter ten marked the end of the "introductionary phase" and then the "character development" phase starts. You're going to see a twist with the Pokémon in chapter eleven and... *shuts up*

Chibi Pika: Well, I think the title mainly gives a wrong impression. You know, a "Hey, I'm a newbie trainer! Oh, a Legendary Pokémon! *throws ball* Yay! I'm going to catch all the Legendaries because I'm a Gary-Stu! *becomes Pokémon master using Legendary Pokémon* Whee!" kind of impression. I didn't really like the bit at the café either, but meh, nothing to make yet another revision over.


As for chapter eleven, I've been planning it a lot but I've only written a few paragraphs. I guess chapters nine and ten kinda used up a lot of my writing mood supply.

Magi of all
1st October 2004, 5:00 AM
Absolutely love you fic. never stop writing, please. On of the best stories I read in a long time. Also, I like your take on Pokemon language, evolution and levels

Crimson Crobat
4th October 2004, 12:49 PM
heh... this fic is takin quite a time 2 finish... i'll just wait... at least it's not as long as Rifts in Time...


BTW, I got the patience award but... I DONT NOE HOW 2 PUT IT IN MY SIGGY...*sobs*

Dragonfree
4th October 2004, 2:31 PM
To finish? Of course it will take a lot of time to finish, it could be 70+ chapters. But that doesn't mean each individual chapter is going to take very long. I just have writer's block at the moment but otherwise I'd be getting out chapters left and right.

And you can't put the patience award in your sig, it's too big so it would be breaking the sig rules.

MewSP
6th October 2004, 1:56 AM
*sigh* I hate my first review of a fic. To sum it up, this is good, really, really good 11/10! Now to the details, sort of.

First of all I like how you didn't just use one of the regions to put this fic in. You created a new, really cool region, gave it cities, and probabl;y other cool stuff to come. Some writers would stop there, but no, you created new legendaries and their own myths. Way to go!

Second I feel like the beginning was a bit cliched, but you gave Charmander/Charmeleon a really nice history to make up for it, way to go again! (I really like using 'Really' and 'Way to go') The way you had to make Mark beg to go on a pokemon journey was nice also.

Mark got his pokemon awfully fast, but I don't have a problem with it. As far as the pokemon you picked, I have to give you an A+. Charizard, One of the eveelutions, Dragonite, Sandslash with an earthquake, Gyarados with a Ultre-super-mega Attack of Doom(can't help but to laugh at this name), and a Scyther. Mark is gonna sweep the Quen League!

I like the first gym, and how you made mark feel the pain of seeing pokemon abuse for the first time. Personally, I hope that all the legendarie come and obliterate Rick's gym.

Finally, I was going to say something about character development, but you clarifyed that in a previous post.

Now, odds are that I forgot some really important detail that I wanted to either pick on or complimant you on, but that is why I hate my first review.


Well, that's it. I have a million questions to ask, but I knoe their answers will be revealed soon. This has been really stringy, but that, once again, is why I hate the first review.

Dragonfree
6th October 2004, 2:28 AM
Ah, but is he going to sweep the Ouen league? He hasn't fared exceptionally well in his battles so far, and I've been strongly implying that May is vastly superior to him in terms of Pokémon training. Also, you forgot that Scyther also has an evolution, but don't be so confident that everything is necessarily going to evolve... ;)

Sadly, I have a bit of writer's block (the type where you know what you're going to write, but can't write it properly), but I'm getting over it, and then I'll get on with chapter 11.

Iveechan
6th October 2004, 3:11 AM
Writer's block is veddy evil. Hopefully, yours won't last half a year. Heh, funny how we both have a Rick who readers despise. I don't recall Dratini doing much in the first version, but I stopped reading at... oh, I shouldn't give it away. But part of the reason why I stopped reading the first version of the story was because of the monstrous amount of chapters and I sort of lost interest. But since I'm reading this version from the beginning, I'm more confident that I'll actually stick with it this time.

EDIT: dude, you're at page 8 o_O. Congrats.

Dragonfree
6th October 2004, 4:27 AM
Well, I'm getting into writing mood now. I just wrote a page of chapter eleven, and it's going to be rather short, so expect it soon, probably tomorrow.

On a side note, the revised version is now in total (on the page I'm on, that is) 100 pages in Word. Whee.

Dragonfree
7th October 2004, 12:23 AM
OK, done. The longest chapter so far is followed by the shortest chapter so far... it's about 3 2/3 pages. But it smells of plot.



-------
RATING

Violence: None.

Gore: None.

Sexuality: None.

Profanity: None.

Other: A bit of creepiness, but nothing that matters.
-------



Chapter 11: The Lizard and the Mantis

Mark was starting to feel uncomfortable again when they waited for their Pokémon to be healed. Nurse Joy had informed May that thankfully, Lapras and Skarmory would recover.

This Pokémon Center, like the one in Cleanwater City, had a pink furry carpet and red couches scattered around randomly. As Mark sat motionlessly in one, he drifted into sleep.

The dream was just a very short flash of scythes, eyes with slits for pupils, green reptilian heads, forty centimeter-long blood-covered fangs, death and a bit more blood. Then he snapped back awake, breathing rapidly.

Mark calmed down upon realizing that he was in the Pokémon Center. May was just bringing his Pokémon back.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, attaching them to his belt. “Hey, I think I’m going outside for a bit… I guess I could use some fresh air, and maybe I’ll introduce Scyther properly to my Pokémon.”

She nodded, and Mark stood up, walking outside. The sun was slowly sinking into the horizon in the far west. The air was comfortably cool, although it couldn’t exactly be called fresh.

“Go, Charmeleon, Sandshrew, Eevee, Dratini.”

The four Pokémon materialized on the ground and cried out their names.

“Um… did you know that you were stolen?” Mark asked.

“Yes, we know the whole story,” said Charmeleon. “But we’re back with you now, so does that really matter?”

“Well, you see… I’ve gotten a new Pokémon…”

Mark felt one of his Pokéballs wobble a bit; then the two halves separated. A beam of red shot out of it and took shape into Scyther right next to Mark. As the mantis Pokémon formed, the four smaller ones backed away.

“Mark…” asked Charmeleon hesitatingly, “isn’t that the thief’s Scyther?”

“Yeah,” Mark said. “He joined us.”

Charmeleon stared at him for a second, but then asked: “Erm… what the heck happened to your common sense?”

“What?” Mark asked, confused.

“Well, isn’t it obvious?” Charmeleon snapped. “You’re opening the door wide to a Pokémon that was going to kill you just half an hour ago!”

“He wasn’t going to!” Mark objected. “He even refused to battle for the Mew Hunter!”

“Who says that isn’t a part of the plan too?” said Charmeleon, eying Scyther suspiciously.

“I…”

“I can’t force you to trust me,” said Scyther just, “and really, I can’t blame you for not trusting me. I’m not used to being trusted.”

“Oh, come on,” said Mark annoyed, “just give us your word that you aren’t going to hurt anybody.”

“I don’t make promises,” said the mantis calmly. “Not to you, not to somebody who won’t believe it anyway, and not to anybody else. Breaking a promise is painful, and the only way to avoid the pain is not to make the promise.”

Mark was starting to feel a bit more skeptical about Scyther’s company now, but he didn’t want to admit defeat right away.

“See?” Charmeleon snorted. “At least he has the decency not to go behind his words – by not giving any words to go behind!”

“Let Mark decide,” said Scyther expressionlessly. “He’s heard both sides of the argument, and it’s him who we’re trying to affect. Let him be the judge.”

“Guys,” Mark said decisively towards his Pokémon, “I want all of you to come over here and accept Scyther as one of you.”

The mantis offered his right scythe for a handshake, but Mark’s four much smaller Pokémon just flinched, apart from Charmeleon, who glared at Mark like he couldn’t believe this. Nobody moved, until finally – much to Mark’s surprise – Sandshrew walked nervously forward. He glanced anxiously at the raised scythe, but decided not to come near it so he just nodded and sat down.

“Great. Anybody else?” Mark asked, smiling.

He was even more surprised when Eevee tilted his head and approached the giant bug. He even raised his right front paw to touch the top of Scyther’s blade. He smiled faintly, moving his arm slightly. Eevee jumped, but showed no signs of regret when he took place beside Mark.

Dratini then slithered forward. His black, beady eyes looked curiously up at the bug’s reptilian head, and what could only be a cute little smile appeared on his face. Scyther nodded slowly, and the dragon crawled to Eevee’s side.

Now only Charmeleon was left, and he showed no signs of being about to come over. He just gave Scyther a nasty glare, folded his arms and then turned his back firmly towards the rest of the Pokémon, flicking his tail flame.

“Fine,” said Scyther matter-of-factly. “We’ll have it your way, then…”

And he also crossed his bladed arms and turned his back towards Charmeleon in the exact same manner.

“Oh, come on,” Mark sighed, but the two Pokémon didn’t move.

“Mark!”

May came out of the Pokémon Center and eyed Scyther and Charmeleon curiously before turning to Mark.

“Hey, there’s supposedly a decent, cheap restaurant in town called The Gamesharked Skarmory. I’ve been given directions, and I’m going there now. Are you coming?”

“Yeah, sure,” Mark said, recalling his Pokémon and trying to act like there was nothing wrong. He was thankful that May wasn’t the type of person to ask questions.

-------

After the meal, May told Mark that the Pokémon Center offered cheap accommodation for trainers. Mark noticed that she seemed to be obsessed with everything being cheap, but didn’t mention that. They just walked back to the Pokémon Center and checked in.

Once Mark was alone in his room, he undressed, put on his pajamas and, after a bit of thought, sent out his five Pokémon small enough to fit in the room. He noticed Charmeleon starting to growl at Scyther, but interrupted quickly:

“Hey, now we’re just going to sleep, all right? No arguing, insulting, attacking, or anything of the sort.”

Scyther and Charmeleon nodded, and lay down on the floor with the other Pokémon. Mark made carefully sure that they weren’t going to do anything before closing his eyes.

Scyther suddenly leapt at him, his scythes raised. Mark gasped, only to discover that the mantis was lying peacefully on the floor, fast asleep.

“Stupid dream,” he muttered, turning around.

Fangcat snuck up on Charmeleon and prepared to sink her fangs into his unsuspecting body; he was turned around with his arms folded and didn’t see her…

Mark woke with a start, finding that this was also a dream.

“Darn it,” he mumbled. He dug his face into his fluffy pillow. Suddenly, he had no face and was throwing a black and red Pokéball at Mew…

Knowing in the dream that it was a dream, he broke out of it by forcing his eyes open. He screwed them shut again, staring at the blackness on the back of his eyelids. Two bright yellow eyes opened in the dark and he woke up yet again, his heart stinging uncomfortably.

He waited, and waited. Mew started laughing manically, threatening to kill Eevee. Mewtwo˛ lay dead in a pool of blood on the floor, but the Mew Hunter was trying to resurrect him by muttering old sayings. Mark ordered Scyther to kill May because she was trying to steal Charmeleon.

Mark knew it was all a stupid dream, but let it all happen in his head without waking up. It was somehow relieving to let all of this day’s happenings mix up into something insane.

-------

A young man stared out of the window at the stars. His gray eyes reflected their light.

“Emotions…” he muttered out of the blue. “Strong ones… fighting to keep them inside… interesting…”

He blinked.

-------

Charmeleon lay on the floor, pretending to be asleep. Mark wasn’t mumbling in his sleep anymore; he had most likely fallen into deep sleep.

Mark is being stupid, he thought grimly. Does he have any idea what a Scyther could do in the night? Especially one who can break out of Pokéballs by himself…

And that bug is acting all arrogant, trying to be the wise one, trying to look good… but I see right through him… if Mark doesn’t want to believe me, fine…

I’ll show that overgrown mantis one day… I’ll show him…

With a grin, he closed his eyes. He dreamt not the happenings of this day, but a plan for the future.

Elite Eevee
7th October 2004, 2:29 AM
Dragonfree, I've been reading ths, and all I can say is excellent. You put an abnormal amount of reality and humanity into your characters.. I swear, some of DarkScyther's talent rubbed off on you.

And the way, I loved the resturant's name. And I can't stop thinking about the Charmeleon's devilish plan.

guiltysparkzz
7th October 2004, 2:34 AM
I wonder what he's gonna do. Your right. It reeks of plotty goodness. I can't help but love this fic, but impatient as I am, I'll probably go over to the Pokemon Tower and read your earlier version anyways. :D It's that good!

Draconix-2090
7th October 2004, 2:42 AM
Well Dragonfree i have one thing to say... ... ... ... EXELENT!!! i havent read many fics as well written as yours, and ive read a lot,A LOT of fics. It is enticing and i love it. The Loner scyther classic, the naive evee grand. I love the gyarados hes cool. The charmeleon i think is cool beyond reasoning, (the char line is one of my faves). over all a awsome fic you deserve major props for such a good fic.

*sobs* so...so...so...good*hysterical sobbing and nose blowing*

Dragonfree
7th October 2004, 3:08 AM
Elite Eevee: Heh, thanks. I'm nowhere near as good as DarkScyther, though... he's just brilliant.

mattgcn: You can't, because it's not on the Tower anymore! Mwahahaha! After it won the RCA (whee), I sent it in to be replaced because I felt I'd be getting a lot of readers.

Draconix-2090: Oh, you haven't seen anything of Scyther... anything... *big grin*



By the way, is nobody wondering who that man in the end was?

Draconix-2090
7th October 2004, 3:59 AM
**BIGGER GRIN** Can't Wait not at all... oh yah i just love the scyther, need to keep those deadly waepons sharper than sharp for the cuttins. Guy at end...hmm...i don't know maybe someone just looking in at them, no to easy, maybe a talking poke, Deoxys,no to much, mew... nah can't be. I don't know ill have to wait.

**waits for next chapter at cpu stareing at email** (subscribed)

Dragonfree
7th October 2004, 4:14 AM
Well, it says it's a man, and he's looking *out* through a window at the stars, so that outrules everything you've mentioned so far. -.^

Draconix-2090
7th October 2004, 4:31 AM
ooooooooooh So confused...**scratches head** if anyone says that there is a man, that doesn't necesarily mean that??? does it huh...huh...:-) Well anyway i said it wrong i doubt its someone he knows or has met so i dont know... i need ot stop trying to figure it out im getting a headache.

**bangs head against desk** a really, REALLY bad headache

IdiotNESS
7th October 2004, 5:17 AM
Huh? Draconix? What did you just say? I didn't get any of it but I do think the guy looking out the window is a psychic. I want to know, though, was he looking at the stars or to the stars. That would help us knowNESS.

Does Scyther's personality reflect his treatment by the Mew hunter? Also, wouldn't Scyther still have that loyalty for his old master plus additional loyalty in honor of what their friendship once was? Mark is takin' a big risk there. NEway, you did talk about Scyther battling for Mark so I'll trust you...a little...Never trust writers when they have just posted a chapter thick with plottyNESS :D.

Still, I think Gyrados trumps you all, foolish pokemon that are not Gyrados ;)!

Well, good Job DwagonFwee *IdiotNESS starts feeling random* ! Chapter must be sticky with forshadowing. And dreams, those are always fun. I would like to question teh handling of dreams, however. I don't know many people who go through their dreams sentinent. I, for one, dream while feeling like a passenger witnessing occurences to myself. Like a spirit half out of ether, It's like I'm watching a movie in first person...You get it? There's a sort of helplessness, Mark definitely had control over his mind, though, is he a psychic? Or someone else who has exceptional control over his subconscious thoughts... YOU BETTER GET POSTING, I MUST KNOW!!!

Crimson Crobat
7th October 2004, 8:33 AM
ooooooooooh So confused...**scratches head** if anyone says that there is a man, that doesn't necesarily mean that??? does it huh...huh...:-) Well anyway i said it wrong i doubt its someone he knows or has met so i dont know... i need ot stop trying to figure it out im getting a headache.

Stars...doesn't it remind u of jirachi?

Dragonfree
7th October 2004, 2:42 PM
Huh? Draconix? What did you just say? I didn't get any of it but I do think the guy looking out the window is a psychic. I want to know, though, was he looking at the stars or to the stars. That would help us knowNESS.

Does Scyther's personality reflect his treatment by the Mew hunter? Also, wouldn't Scyther still have that loyalty for his old master plus additional loyalty in honor of what their friendship once was? Mark is takin' a big risk there. NEway, you did talk about Scyther battling for Mark so I'll trust you...a little...Never trust writers when they have just posted a chapter thick with plottyNESS :D.

Still, I think Gyrados trumps you all, foolish pokemon that are not Gyrados ;)!

Well, good Job DwagonFwee *IdiotNESS starts feeling random* ! Chapter must be sticky with forshadowing. And dreams, those are always fun. I would like to question teh handling of dreams, however. I don't know many people who go through their dreams sentinent. I, for one, dream while feeling like a passenger witnessing occurences to myself. Like a spirit half out of ether, It's like I'm watching a movie in first person...You get it? There's a sort of helplessness, Mark definitely had control over his mind, though, is he a psychic? Or someone else who has exceptional control over his subconscious thoughts... YOU BETTER GET POSTING, I MUST KNOW!!!

Well... he dreams like I do, and admittedly I maybe have slightly weird ways of dreaming. I usually dream in third person, for example, and in about 35% I'm aware it's a dream (although sometimes I think a bit illogically in terms of that, like thinking that if my friend did trade me a Zangoose before the dream was over, I would actually have a Zangoose when I woke up). I have also managed to wake myself up through forcing my eyes open during a dream (it's very hard and my eyes feel funny afterwards, but still possible). In this case, Mark is, in third person, watching mix-ups of everything that happened, including himself ordering Scyther to kill May because she was trying to steal Charmeleon, which he would never do if he actually controlled that, but he's watching it like it's a movie he himself can't affect. Because he's been dreaming very similar things just a few minutes ago, he's aware that it's a dream, and while not being able to choose what he does in it, he can wake himself up - or not, and because he knows it's a dream, he's not really afraid of it and can watch it without waking up automatically (when I wake up from dreams, I'm either extremely scared, dead, have woken myself up or was awoken by some kind of an interruption from the outside world).

Lesson: Never ask me about dreams.



Scyther's life with the Mew Hunter is something you'll find out more about later. And Scyther's full past, why he doesn't want to live in the wild, and all that. There actually is more to him than to Gyarados, but the two have one thing in common: They don't feel like talking about that right now.

Draconix-2090
7th October 2004, 4:12 PM
Is it that they don't want to talk about it or is it just you lol. I think that if it is a man it may be from Marks past, can you believe that i just had to look back to see the name ( i can't remember names ) hah. I'm such an idiot. Anywho if it isnt it is some one from way back in the past i don't think it is anyone evil i seriously can't wait for the next chappie.

I dont have a headache... but i do have this huge bump...

Wondrous Sableye
7th October 2004, 6:05 PM
Another good chapter, Dragonfree. What could the dream mean? Heh, only you know that… Heehee! *twitchle-conniption*

Lupin
7th October 2004, 7:41 PM
Scyther's life with the Mew Hunter is something you'll find out more about later. And Scyther's full past, why he doesn't want to live in the wild, and all that. There actually is more to him than to Gyarados, but the two have one thing in common: They don't feel like talking about that right now.

Where was Gyarado's in that chapter?

Another cool chapter Dragonfree, loved that dream part (I love werid stuff like that).

Dragonfree
7th October 2004, 9:16 PM
Gyarados was inside his Pokéball; Mark had no pool to send him out in. There are downsides to having Water Pokémon, you know...

Draconix-2090
8th October 2004, 2:13 AM
your aware that gyrados is a part flying type, and he is a sea_SERPENT so he can be on land but i know he didnt let him out because he was in a cramped room right,... right... RIGHT. Lol yah i await another good chapter anxiously. Very anxiously.

**chews through boxes of pencils in anticipation of next wonderfull chapter**

Dragonfree
8th October 2004, 2:55 AM
I'm still freaked when I look at Gyarados floating in the air in Colosseum. In my fic Gyarados just swims.

And you don't honestly think a Gyarados could just slither around, do you?

Draconix-2090
8th October 2004, 2:58 AM
of course not just like a screwed up bump with his hip like things...yah.

Thats what i think he would do i mean how could he just swim if he destroys towns huh, huh, HUHUHUHUH!!!...*wheeeeeeeeeeeeeez* ooooooh *passes out*

Chibi Pika
8th October 2004, 8:41 PM
I can't really leave a long reply cause I'm currently at school ^^' but that was awesome, I love how the plot's developing and can't wait for the next chapter! Keep it up!

~Chibi~;249;

Blazikens_Brushfire
9th October 2004, 7:17 AM
*Stands with mouth open* This is like... the greatest fic since Breezy's HLBMA!! I finished the whole, whole, WHOLE story in two hours... sigh... good times go by so fast. I'm awaiting more chapters as good as the last ones! *sits with legs crossed*

Mocha
10th October 2004, 9:45 PM
heh. I already typed out a reply under quick reply, but it got lost. I'm a "n00bie" so please don't bite if I do something wrong.

I think your story is great. It's what prompted me to join (I figured since I came here so much, I should join ^.^).

Umm... a couple lil' things could be fixed though.

time: There isn't a good sense of time in the story. For example, I thought Mark only spent one night at the hotel, but it seemed longer. It's easier fixed though, just add description of the sky here and there, or a glance at a clock. maybe something like "I walked out of the poké center and squinted my eyes against the harsh sunlight," or "The day was seemed endless, it was only two in the afternoon." (I know, not the best examples, but they get the point across)

money: Sometimes how much money Mark has is.... a bit fuzzy. I don't have the exact quotes, but what brought this to my attention was when Mark worried about his money buying potions... then he bought a pokédex... then he paid for a hotel room... then the tms.... See what I mean? If you need quotes, just tell me.

rushing events: I don't know if you ment to do this, but at one part in the gym battles it seemed to be really rushed. Not the battles, since Iknow they're low levels and thus are short (hehe, good job, you didn't fall prey to the "describe every single battle as if it were the championship" syndrome), but the going from one battle to the next. Maybe add a few more details inbetween?

catchign pokemon: you did great on that, the only thing I have to say about it is why not let the pokemon you just caugh meet you right after along with your team? (its just a personal preference of mine). I know you did introduce them and stuff, but didn't you send out the Sandshrew into battle without ever having to talk to it?

phew, I really hope I don't have to type all this again.

Now on to the things I really liked/or thought you did well on.

Explaining some of the more tricker things (like the Tms) that nintendo never did.

Eevee ^.^ (Eevees are my fav). that was a really unique idea for him to be so young and have to be explained to. Also the other pokémon characters are great too (you developed most of them quite well).

Hehe, I too agree that Mark should know something about Pokémon since he lives in a world where they matter so much... Ash being so ignorant was simply for the benefit of the viewers and storyline.

OOoo, I also like how you did the pokémon speech. hehe, "pro-pokeballs". NIiice one. The idea of school classes was cool too.

The making of a whole new region with its legends, while incorporating smoothly the already known ones. Nice cross references, such as how so many people come from other regions to visit the largest Skarmory nest. Interestig legends too. (the time thing confused me there too, but you explained it later on).

Having Mark's parents show some concern for him leaving at such a young age.... heh, it's a personal peeve of mine how they go off at such a young age, I highly doubt that would happen if the world waas actually real, it's not that safe out.

ok, I think that's all I have to say. omg i typed alot. hope you don't mind!

and I'm so glad you're continuing htis! too many good fics simply stop... *sigh* im waiting for some to continue again at the pokemon elite forums.

well have a better day then I will, and please explain if I did anything wrong!
~moi, a brand-new "n00bie"

Dragonfree
10th October 2004, 11:18 PM
Heh, I tend to be very bad with the time. In the original, I found out at chapter twenty-one that he had been traveling for... like five days or something. o.o At least I'm improving a bit now, so it's getting more sensible, but everything still seems to happen at some unfathomable time and then I randomly insert evenings and nights. ^_^;;; Now that I think about it... the previous day has been very awkward. He was one night at the hotel, yes, but he spent a lot more than that in Cleanwater City itself.

The money thing, though, has an explanation. I mentioned that the Pokédex handled the payment for the hotel. He brought some cash along from home, because he didn't know that this was a feature of the Pokédex. The Pokédex is like a credit card, paying directly from his bank account. When he was worried about using up his money, he didn't have the Pokédex yet.

Yeah, I'm rather unhappy with the battles in chapter eight too. I was just trying to get to the point as soon as possible, so I compressed the battles together, leaving like one sentence in between them. I will probably revise the chapter later.

Mark was going to introduce Sandshrew to his Pokémon, but just after he sent Sandshrew out, May came and wanted a battle, and then he forgot about it. I quote:


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

I'll try to get better at the time thing. ^^; Thanks for reading!

Lupin
11th October 2004, 2:29 PM
Explaining some of the more tricker things (like the Tms) that nintendo never did.

Can I just ask Dragonfree. Have you always used the current description of the TM's or has it changed. I loved it when I first read it cos I've always wondered what they were like in real life, but then I noticed that theres a similer system used in Fr/Lg (CD's placed on a Pokemon).

Dragonfree
11th October 2004, 3:43 PM
I never described how TMs worked before if I remember correctly, but this description was based on FR/LG with the CD's.

Lupin
11th October 2004, 8:11 PM
I never described how TMs worked before if I remember correctly, but this description was based on FR/LG with the CD's.

I thought so. It's still a good way of explaining.

Dragonfree
12th October 2004, 12:39 AM
I made an Ouen map, so for anybody who'd like to see (remember, it might contain spoilers), click here (http://www.dragonflycave.com/butterfree/test.htm). Hover your mouse over a location to see what it's called (the routes just have numbers, and certain things are just listed as normal routes but aren't very "normal" routes *cough*).

Lupin
13th October 2004, 3:49 PM
I made an Ouen map, so for anybody who'd like to see (remember, it might contain spoilers), click here (http://www.dragonflycave.com/butterfree/test.htm). Hover your mouse over a location to see what it's called (the routes just have numbers, and certain things are just listed as normal routes but aren't very "normal" routes *cough*).

Now that is a good map and I can see what you mean about the Spoilers

Blivsey
19th October 2004, 2:10 AM
Besides your sense of time, this is all very good. I do say that next to Black Angel's The Adventures of Chase and Larvitar, this is the best fic I have read so far. I ive ou a rating of:

;006; ;006; ;006; ;006; ;006; 5 Zards! My comments: Wow. Great fic. when should we get more?

Dragonfree
19th October 2004, 2:43 AM
When I finish chapter twelve. :rolleyes: It's on the sixth page so far, probably will be seven or eight pages.

Dragonfree
19th October 2004, 5:47 AM
OK, it's DONE! ;) Not my best chapter, though, I must admit, seeing as it was kinda hard to picture (you'll see why).



-------
RATING

Violence: Pokémon battles as I write them...

Gore: None.

Sexuality: None.

Profanity: None.

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



Chapter 12: Let There Be Light

Mark woke up the next morning, feeling like he hadn’t slept at all. He didn’t remember much of his dreams, except that they had all included some sort of a tweaked version of something that had happened the day before. Except the ones with the yellow eyes, he wasn’t sure where that came from.

He blinked, staring at the ceiling as he still lay in the bed. What would he do today…

Mark smiled at his own stupidity when he realized the obvious: he hadn’t challenged the official Pokémon Gym of Alumine yet.

He sat up and blinked some more. His Pokémon were still asleep. He got dressed quietly and recalled them without waking them up.

After breakfast, he headed straight towards the magnificent, shiny building. He had heard that the Gym Leader used shine to his advantage, and suddenly started getting a bit nervous. He had been battling the previous Gym Leader yesterday! This was a whole new one, most likely with considerably stronger Pokémon.

He was pretty confident that the Gym Leader had to possess at least one Skarmory. Living in this town, it seemed absolutely absurd for a Gym Leader not to have one, especially seeing as the Gym was constructed out of their feathers.

And Steel types like Skarmory were resistant to… a lot of things, if Mark remembered correctly. Most physical moves, at the very least, and a lot of special ones too. But they were definitely weak to Fire, meaning Charmeleon would be at an advantage.

Eevee, however, would be toast. He could only perform Return and probably Tackle, Tail Whip and stuff like that. Nothing that would ever harm a Steel-type to any extent.

Sandshrew would have a very hard time against a Skarmory, too; his Earthquake would not affect a bird Pokémon, and aside from that he could only scratch and use Poison Sting, which Mark believed was completely ineffective on Steel Pokémon.

Gyarados and Dratini’s dragon flames wouldn’t harm a Skarmory much either; Steel was the only type that resisted Dragon moves. As far as Mark knew, Gyarados didn’t know any Water attacks. Maybe some Normal ones, but definitely not Water ones. Not Dratini either.

And Scyther – well, Mark didn’t know much about his strength exactly…

He whipped out his Kyogre-colored Pokédex and pointed it at the mantis’s Pokéball.

“Scyther – mantis Pokémon. Scyther is a highly dangerous Pokémon due to the sharp scythes it uses for hunting. It has been overhunted ever since the discovery of its Steel-type evolution, Scizor, and their numbers are decreasing rapidly,” said the electronic voice. Mark selected the option to view the Pokémon’s stats.

His jaw dropped.

Level 42? he thought. That’s insane! The rest of my Pokémon are just somewhere around level 20!

But level 42 or not, Scyther in general weren’t very fond of attacks that didn’t involve their scythes in some way or another. However sharp they might be, they would never be able to leave as much as a scratch on a Skarmory’s feathers.

Mark stopped in his tracks. He was lucky he hadn’t just wandered right into the Gym without thinking it through! The battle would essentially be one on however many Pokémon the Gym Leader might have.

This required some preparation. The first thing that popped into his head was Eevee, but of course, he couldn’t evolve him now…

Or am I just being overprotective again?

Mark sighed and took out Eevee’s Pokéball, sending him out. Somehow, he felt like Eevee looked older, but then again, he was probably just imagining it.

“Vee?” he asked, looking at Mark. His voice was now getting clearer and not as squeaky and baby-like. Mark was certainly not imagining that. Was Eevee… growing up?

“Hey, Eevee…” Mark wondered how to begin.

“Yes?” asked the Pokémon.

“Have you… have you ever thought about evolution?” Mark decided just to get to the point.

“Evolution?” Eevee tilted his head a bit, like he wasn’t sure what he meant.

“Yeah, like Charmander evolved and now he’s a Charmeleon.”

“Oh,” Eevee realized, “you mean like growing up?”

“Guess it can be called that,” said Mark, shrugging.

“But doesn’t that just happen when you’re old?” Eevee questioned.

“No,” Mark explained, “evolution can happen in many different ways. It’s often the equivalent of some part of growing up, because a lot of physical maturing takes place at once during the process of evolution, but it doesn’t happen depending on age. Some Pokémon evolve when they have gained a certain amount of battle experience, sometimes evolution is triggered through strong emotions, for some Pokémon going through the compression that happens during a trade causes them to evolve, and some – like you, Eevee – can evolve when exposed to certain materials.”

“Will I become a Flareon, then, like mommy was?” the Pokémon asked curiously.

“Well,” said Mark, not sure how to say it, “you can become one of five Pokémon, or choose to stay as you are.”

“What can I evolve into other than Flareon?” Eevee asked.

“Well, you can become a Vaporeon, Jolteon, Espeon or Umbreon too. Vaporeon is a Water Pokémon that relies on endurance and special attacking power and can dissolve into water… Jolteon focuses on speed and Electric attacks and can fire the spikes on its body at opponents… Flareon is a Fire Pokémon and its strategy is built on physical strength and resistance to elemental attacks… Espeon is adept at using its Psychic powers quickly and effectively… Umbreon centers around toughness and defensive abilities and is a Dark type. And, of course, you can also just be an Eevee.”

“I don’t know,” Eevee answered insecurely. “Will I change, like when Charmander evolved?”

“Change? Of course you will change, into a different Pokémon…”

“No, I mean… inside.”

Mark felt a twinge of pain in his stomach. “Hopefully not… if we wait, then… never mind, you’re not ready,” he just mumbled and recalled Eevee. How could he have forgotten that? If anybody was too young to evolve without changing very much in personality, it was Eevee.

He’d just have to hope the Gym Leader’s team didn’t consist of many Skarmory.

Mark sighed and walked towards the Gym. The bright sunlight reflecting off the million feathers blinded him. When he came to the half-circle shaped door, he opened it and went inside.

It was pitch-black.

“Um… hello?” he called into the darkness.

“Hello,” answered a calm, deep male voice. “A challenger, eh?”

“Yeah,” Mark said nervously.

“Then let the light flow…”

Suddenly, vertical rifts of light appeared high above. They widened gradually and the sunshine found its way inside, revealing what was going on; a pale-skinned, bulky man with steel gray, spiky hair and pitch-black sunglasses wearing some kind of a silvery outfit stood on the opposite side of the room near a horizontal row of switches. When the man had assured himself that Mark had seen him, he turned another switch on. Suddenly, Mark was absolutely blinded as a ring of huge, bright projectors on the walls lit up. He winced, covering his eyes with his arms.

The man laughed. “My name is Christopher and I am the Gym Leader of Alumine. This is my Gym, and in my Gym, you play by my rules. I want light, then I’ll have light.”

Mark nodded.

“Secondly,” Christopher continued, “we will use two Pokémon each in this battle.”

Mark blindly reached for Charmeleon’s ball.

“Go, Steelix!” shouted Christopher.

“Charmeleon!” Mark yelled, throwing the ball into what he presumed was the arena. Peering out of the small rift between his eyelids, he could make out his Fire Pokémon cowering from the light.

“Char…” he growled.

“Steelix, Earthquake!” ordered the Gym Leader. Mark realized what he was doing; he was using attacks that didn’t depend on the user seeing the opponent.

“Jump!” Mark ordered desperately as the massive shape of the iron snake raised its tail. Charmeleon did what was even better; he jumped onto Steelix’s tail and hung on to it while the iron snake sent ripples around the floor.

“Flamethrower!” Mark blurted out quickly.

“Slam!” Christopher countered.

The shape of Steelix’s tail was slammed towards the floor, but Charmeleon jumped off in time and breathed out a long tongue of brightly-colored flames. Steelix roared in pain.

“Iron Tail,” said Christopher, seemingly a bit worried. But when the iron snake’s tail was lifted upwards, it cast a shadow at Charmeleon, and he aimed carefully before sending a blast of flames straight at Steelix’s flat metal head. The massive snake flailed around in pain, roaring, and Charmeleon grabbed the opportunity to attack again with another Flamethrower.

The gigantic shape collapsed with a roar. Mark could make out a flash of red light that dissolved the iron snake.

“Very well…” Christopher grumbled. “Go… Scizor.”

Mark was surprised. Either the Gym Leader didn’t have a Skarmory at all, or he would rather send out a Pokémon that was much weaker to Fire attacks. Mark knew that Scizor, the evolved form of Scyther, had dark red armor, three spikes sticking out of its small head, two thin, transparent wings that it couldn’t fly with, and pincers on its arms. The shadowy shape that Christopher sent out seemed to match that description – except that while Mark couldn’t see it very well due to the light, it was certainly not red. It seemed more greenish.

“Double Team!” Christopher commanded hastily.

“Scizor!” hissed the Pokémon, and suddenly there were three of them standing there. Mark had no idea which was the real one. Neither did Charmeleon.

“Flamethrower the one on the left!” Mark shouted worriedly. The lizard spewed out a blast of fire, which melted the Scizor copy upon contact.

“Double Team two more times!” Christopher said harshly. Each of the two that were left split into three, bringing the total up to six. Then all six split too, and eighteen Scizor surrounded Charmeleon.

“Uh…” Mark wasn’t sure what he could do now. Charmeleon wouldn’t have the energy to melt seventeen copies, especially when they could duplicate themselves again at any point.

“Metal Claw!” Christopher barked. His bug Pokémon all jumped at Charmeleon with their pincers raised as they turned a steel gray color, and grabbed his arms, tail, feet or horn. He roared in pain; Mark knew that only one of them had actually stricken, but it had stricken hard.

“And now, Slash!”

The Scizor all opened their pincers wide before slashing at the lizard. Charmeleon retaliated by melting another copy, but the rest slashed again.

“Return,” Mark said, holding the Pokéball forward. Charmeleon was getting too weak.

He thought about who to send out next. The Scizor copies were still there, so they would be hard to beat whatever he did. But Scizor couldn’t fly, and Earthquake would hit anything that wasn’t flying…

Suddenly, the door to the Gym opened behind Mark and May stepped inside. She was blinded by the light and raised her hand to shield her eyes, noticed Mark and waved with her other hand, smiling. She leant up to the wall to watch the battle, however she was going to see anything properly.

Mark remembered that he was still battling and reached for Sandshrew’s ball, but before he managed to pluck it off his belt, he felt Scyther’s ball start to wobble. The mantis burst out in a flash of red light.

“Scyther, what do you think you’re doing?” Mark yelled angrily. “This counts as sending you out!”

“That’s the point,” Scyther growled. “That pathetic life form you are currently facing is a Scizor.”

“What do you mean?”

“That my pride as a Scyther is at stake.”

Mark remembered the story he had been told when he was little about how Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu had battled Lt. Surge’s Raichu – and won – for the sake of all unevolved Pikachu out there and showing that evolution wasn’t everything. Was this something similar? It could also have something to do with the fact that, at least according to the Pokédex, Scyther had been decreasing in numbers ever since Scizor was discovered.

Mark didn’t get the chance to ask. Scyther’s shadowed shape was already standing firmly on the ground, surrounded by copies of his evolved form. If he was blinded by the light, he wasn’t showing it.

Suddenly, Scyther darted forward towards the first Scizor he saw. His scythe immediately chopped it in half and it dissolved. He did the same with all the others at amazing speed, until finally one turned out to be solid. The scythe didn’t put a scratch in the Scizor’s metallic armor, but it was knocked backwards. Scyther started slashing more intensely with both of his scythes, the Scizor narrowly blocking them with its pincers. Then suddenly, the green mantis leapt over the armored bug and slashed at its back. Mark couldn’t see clearly what happened, but it appeared that Scyther had cut Scizor’s wing off as it fell to the ground with a clatter.

The Scizor let out a cry of pain, collapsing, and Christopher, apparently afraid of what this could result in, raised a hand and said: “I give in.”

He pressed a button; the projectors were turned off, and Mark realized what was so unusual about the Scizor; it was a moss green color and slightly sparkly. Also known as a Shiny.

Mark stared open-mouthed at it. Shiny Pokémon were incredibly rare. They didn’t differ from normal Pokémon in power, but a genetic mutation caused various parts of their bodies to be colored differently from the usual and give off a slight sparkle. Most trainers would die to own one; Mark didn’t like them that much, but just the thought of the recognition would still be enough to make him take a lot of risks.

Christopher grinned; he seemed to enjoy the attention. Mark’s gaze darted towards May, and instantly knew that she was one of the trainers who would die to have a shiny Pokémon; she wasn’t staring at the Scizor in awe, but rather straight into the air, her face red with envy.

Suddenly, Scyther, who had been glaring at the Scizor with a gaze that could kill, started attacking it again, even though the Shiny had already been defeated. He slashed mindlessly, despite knowing that it wasn’t hurting Scizor’s metallic armor, with an expression of uttermost loathing.

“Scyther – Scyther – what do you think you’re doing – you’re breaking the Agreement!” Mark cried out in an attempt to catch the mantis’s attention, but no avail. Christopher just quickly got out a Pokéball and recalled his Pokémon. Mark did the same, stunned; Scyther kept trying to slash even as he got dissolved into red energy.

“Your badge,” said Christopher grudgingly. Mark walked up to him and the Gym Leader dropped a coin similar to the Element Badge into his palm. He muttered some thanks and took the badge, walking to the place where May was standing as she went towards her place on the arena. This coin seemed to be made of steel and had an extremely smooth, shiny surface. Mark turned it around; the back had “Shining Badge” engraved into it.

Just then, Christopher turned the projectors on again to battle May.

“Go, Skarmory!” she commanded, sending out her steel vulture.

“Go, Steelix!” the Gym Leader ordered, apparently having put his massive iron snake into a Pocket Healer while Mark’s mind was focused on something else.

“Swift,” May said, smirking. Mark knew it was a clever move in the situation; it couldn’t possibly miss. Her Skarmory released a flurry of feathers from its body, and indeed all of them shot straight at Steelix as though guided by an invisible force. But the snake’s armor was too thick to be harmed by the attack at all; the feathers bounced right off it, and Steelix didn’t even seem to notice.

“Iron Tail,” said Christopher. His Pokémon swung its tail upwards, knocking the vulture down. May recalled it without words.

“Lapras, do it! Surf!”

She sent out her big, turtle-like Pokémon and it shot a stream of water from its mouth into the air. It formed into a huge wave which crashed towards the Steelix. This it clearly noticed; it roared in pain, flailing around, and finally collapsed onto the floor.

“Return,” said Christopher and drew another Pokéball. “Skarmory, win this!”

Apparently, he did have a Skarmory. He had probably just wanted to save it for later or something. His steel vulture was considerably bigger than May’s, and circled Lapras like an injured prey that was about to die.

“Skarmory, plan E.”

His Skarmory, with a high-pitched cry of “Ska-a-a!”, rocketed up towards the wall on one side. It didn’t stop, but rather smashed into it. As the walls swayed dangerously, the steel feathers started raining down upon the arena. The trainers automatically stepped back to avoid them, but Lapras couldn’t leave the arena and got heavily cut. Skarmory didn’t wait for an order and instantly did it again. The battle got more fast-paced, both trainers yelling out commands at the same time, Skarmory smashing the ceiling again and again, and Lapras firing icy beams. Finally, May ended up as the victor.

Christopher was clearly a lot happier to hand her the same badge he had presented to Mark earlier than him. Mark couldn’t really blame him; after all, he wouldn’t have been too happy either if his Pokémon’s wing had been cut off.

Seeing that May was walking towards the door, Mark just went outside, relieved to be in normal light again.

Scyther’s behaviour while battling Scizor still gave him the creeps.

Lupin
19th October 2004, 1:35 PM
That was a fantastic chapter Dragonfree. Scyther's attitude towards that Scizor was really cool. I would have though it was due to the fact that Scyther tend to get abit angry when they see the colour red, but since that Scizor is a shiny that couldn't be it. I can't wait to learn about Scyther and Gyarado's history's.

Dragonfree
19th October 2004, 5:42 PM
Well, I'd think it has to go a little deeper than just hate for the color red for him to attack a fallen opponent "with an expression of uttermost loathing". In fact, while the pride of his species may be the reason he wanted to battle the Scizor in the first place, I doubt that's the reason he went mad there at the end. Hmmm, what's going on? ;)

Lupin
19th October 2004, 8:04 PM
Well, I'd think it has to go a little deeper than just hate for the color red for him to attack a fallen opponent "with an expression of uttermost loathing". In fact, while the pride of his species may be the reason he wanted to battle the Scizor in the first place, I doubt that's the reason he went mad there at the end. Hmmm, what's going on? ;)

Well if you hadn't have metioned the Pikachu vs Raichu episode, I wouldn't have thought of that either.

Blivsey
19th October 2004, 10:55 PM
Excellent work, great description of the battle and all. Another awesome chapter of an equally awesome fic.

Dragonfree
20th October 2004, 1:21 AM
Lupin: You probably would have, seeing as Scyther did say "my pride as a Scyther is at stake", but meh, it doesn't matter.

Oblivion0807:Thanks! :) I didn't really like the description of the battle, mainly because of the fact that I have never been in a room with walls made of Skarmory feathers and bright projectors lighting it up, so I have a hard time inagining what kind of an experience it is...

Draconix-2090
20th October 2004, 6:37 AM
**A-chem** i am guessing that he did that because he wouldn't listen to mark like the level thing...yah thats what i think. so yah i think yah uhuh. yep.

Dragonfree
20th October 2004, 2:03 PM
Interesting theory, but we see the results of that already in the fact that Scyther battles on his own while Mark is standing there and watching. ;) Namely because Scyther has much more experience than Mark and therefore knows he will battle better on his own. Technically, he has no orders to disobey, because Mark knows it too and doesn't give him any.

Magi of all
20th October 2004, 2:34 PM
Another good chapter that adds to the best fic I have ever read so far

Wondrous Sableye
20th October 2004, 5:57 PM
One of the best chapters in the series, Dragonfree. A Shiny Scizor…Hmm…And why is Scyther so violent against Scizor? It just broke the Agreement!

Dragonfree
20th October 2004, 6:43 PM
He, not it. *scolds Wondrous Sableye* You'd better get used to that.

Everybody seems to like the chapter except me. Well, Mr. Pikachu at TPM did say it went by way too fast, but liked the rest. Admittedly, that's also what I don't like about it; it's all rushed. I like the Scyther part, but not so much the Eevee part...

Well, you're going to get a good chapter 13. :)

Blivsey
20th October 2004, 10:14 PM
I think I might know why Scyther attacked Sizor. Sizor was Green, and it was bright, so Scyther could have mistaken it for another Scyther, which brings up more theories.

Wondrous Sableye
20th October 2004, 10:42 PM
Dang, I hate it when I type the wrong pronoun! XD

Dragonfree
21st October 2004, 11:54 AM
I think I might know why Scyther attacked Sizor. Sizor was Green, and it was bright, so Scyther could have mistaken it for another Scyther, which brings up more theories.
But he did especially mention "That pathetic life form you are currently facing is a Scizor", so that doesn't work either.

Blivsey
22nd October 2004, 12:20 AM
Darn it... Okay, put his onto my rating: I am implementing a new feature to my ratings. It is called "Arcanum" Basically, when I see a very high-quality fic, I arcanum it. an "arcanum" is a series of quick, painful blows, so...

It's Arcanum time! (destroys random stuff)

Magi of all
23rd October 2004, 12:43 AM
Theory on why Scyther attacked Scizor. Scizor is a metaphore for modernization, like guns insted of swords in Japan. Scyther represents the ancient arts of battle, like a samauri. Sort of like The Last Samauri

Draconix-2090
23rd October 2004, 2:07 AM
ah...yes i see honerable sensai one, i am of all knowing now i just have to say one thing...**ding ding ding** i link we have a winner i mean yah i hope so or scyther is just crazy wierd, really crazy wierd, the kind of wierd that i know, like the "ill go crazy beacause that other guy said he liked orange better than me." kinda thing, yah

Dragonfree
24th October 2004, 4:22 PM
You'll see, my friends, you'll see. ;) Actually the reason behind it is unique enough to make me believe that you could never guess, so don't even bother.

Although magi of all was stepping slightly in the right direction.

Draconix-2090
24th October 2004, 4:28 PM
You are talking in riddle my friend only in riddles. Well maybe not riddles but your confusing the heck out of me. Can't, and won't wait for the nexy chappy. I will tie myself to this thread till you get it done,... or untill breakfast is ready, Ilove me some bacon and eggs.

Blivsey
24th October 2004, 7:05 PM
Ooh! Ooh! Scyther wants to prove that evolution isn't everything?

Dragonfree
24th October 2004, 11:42 PM
Well, the point is that if he just wanted to prove that, he wouldn't start opposing the Agreement by starting to blindly attack a fallen opponent, would he?

Wondrous Sableye
25th October 2004, 1:12 AM
Did he know that Scizor when it was a Scyther?

Spazzikarp
25th October 2004, 1:51 AM
lets see, if I remember right from the last version, it was something like trainers were not satisfied with the power of scyther, so they forced them to evolve. And then there was a personal case for Mark's Scyther.....

Dragonfree
25th October 2004, 2:03 AM
In response to Spazzikarp: Well, you're sorta right, and sorta not... there was a personal case which is TOP SECRET (don't tell, old readers), yes, and then the other one, which... well... ah, you'll know.

Just a few statistical facts about Scyther and Scizor for you all:

Scyther is the most powerful unevolved Pokémon in the world, in terms of base stats (unevolved referring NOT to stand-alone Pokémon).

Scyther is the only Pokémon that does *not* get a statistical gain when it evolves (both Scyther and Scizor have a total of 500 base stat points).

The difference between Scyther and Scizor, stat-wise, is that 40 points are taken off Speed and put in Attack and Defense, 20 in each, when Scyther evolves.

Check out Scyther's Crystal Pokédex entry and combine it with this information for a hint (nobody please post it in the thread).


But as Spazzikarp said, the personal part is much more important and interesting.

Dragonfree
28th October 2004, 7:42 PM
Yay. Chapter 13.



-------
RATING

Violence: A bit of battling that isn't even described in details, so you'll be fine.

Gore: None worth mentioning.

Sexuality: None.

Profanity: There's a "damn"...

Other: Includes a bit of death talk.
-------




Chapter 13: The Black Desert

“Hmmm… yeah, it’s definitely shorter…”

May was observing the Ouen Map at the Pokémon Center while Mark was petting Eevee, who was curled up in his arms, half-asleep.

“What is shorter than what?” Mark questioned.

“It’s shorter to go through the Black Desert to Scorpio City than around it,” May replied.

“Black Desert?” asked Mark doubtfully. “I don’t like the sound of that.”

“We’ve got our Pokémon,” May just said.

“But May… if the normal route goes around the desert, there’s got to be a reason for it, right?” Mark asked, not at all convinced.

“What could possibly happen? We’ve got strong Pokémon to fend off any wild ones, we’ve got Water Pokémon who can quench our thirst in the unlikely case of emergency, and it isn’t very far anyway…”

Suddenly she added: “You’ve got a sleeping bag, right? We aren’t going to find a hotel in the desert, you know.”

“Yeah, of course,” Mark answered, immediately afterwards realizing that this had sounded like he was agreeing.

“Come on, we should hurry,” May said and marched outside. Mark had no choice but to follow her, wondering whether she had intentionally tricked him into answering the sleeping bag question.

-------

On they walked, out of the city, into the mountains, higher and higher up. There were a few Pokémon there, but not many, and they were easily taken care of. The sky was clear and the sun shone with blazing intensity, making it rather uncomfortably hot.

“I do not look forward to walking through that desert in this,” Mark moaned. May ignored him.

They walked all day with a few stops, entering the sandy, lifeless wasteland known as the Black Desert around six o’clock.

“The ‘Black Desert’?” Mark asked, looking blankly over the yellowish-brown dunes.

“It’s just a name,” said May, shrugging. “Come on.”

The sun slowly sank into the horizon as they were on their way through the desert. It quickly got ice cold, and finally they decided to stop for the night. Charmeleon got to sleep outside of his Pokéball due to the tail flame, which made them feel safer.

“What’s so black about it?” Mark asked, lying in his sleeping bag and staring into the fire.

“Go to sleep,” May muttered.

He took her advice.

-------

When a lone Murkrow flew over the desert a short while later, he witnessed a most peculiar sight.

It was as if a stream of jet-black ink started seeping out through the dunes, covering the sand. If he had then lowered his flight, as to see what was going on, he might have noticed that the flood was in fact made of thousands and millions of relatively small creatures, black as night.

Their movements were synchronized like those of a school of fish, yet they were so many that to the Murkrow high above, it seemed like a blanket of shadow had spread out over the sand.

Had the Murkrow landed, it would have been his doom.

-------

Something was creeping up on Mark again. It was not Scyther or Fangcat; it was a new threat, shrouded in darkness. He had gotten used to these dreams the previous night, but there was something eerie about this one that sent a chill going down his spine.

All of a sudden, the dream burst into an eruption of flames. It was so burning hot that Mark found himself awake and sitting upright the next second, facing the answer to his question from earlier.

All around, a crowd of pitch-black scorpion-like Pokémon faced him with their segmented tails raised. Each had two yellow, pupil-less, evil-looking eyes on the front of its head. Two pincers snapped at the end of the foremost set of limbs. And it was so crowded that there was no sight of the sand anywhere except just near where the kids were. The Black Desert was indeed black.

For some reason, May was also awake, staring at the scorpions with the same expression of horror that Mark had. Charmeleon was still asleep, blissfully unaware of it all.

“What are they?” May whispered.

Mark didn’t answer; he just reached for the Pokédex clipped to his belt and pointed it at one of the scorpions with a trembling hand.

“Scorplack, scorpion Pokémon,” said the Pokédex in an electronically calm voice. “Native only to the Black Desert, they sleep buried in the sand during the day and come out in hordes in the night to hunt. They are actually blind, but have eye-like spots on their heads to frighten enemies. Scientists debate on whether to classify them as Bug/Poison or Poison/Dark.”

Mark closed his Pokédex, swallowing. While that was to be expected, the Pokédex had confirmed them as poisonous, and a Dark type, even if debatable, was usually only given to Pokémon that were known to occasionally ‘play dirty’ – such as by attacking humans for prey.

Well, obviously they weren’t surrounding them to congratulate them on being the millionth people to cross the desert. Mark just wondered why they hadn’t attacked yet. They were just standing still, staring at them with their fake eyes.

“Charmeleon,” he poked his partner, “we have… er, a bit of a problem.”

The lizard mumbled and grudgingly opened his eyes. Upon seeing the Scorplack, he jumped to his feet and faced them, growling.

“I think he has a point,” May said, standing up and taking four Pokéballs off her necklace. “Butterfree, Skarmory, Pikachu, Larvitar!”

“Sandshrew, Dratini, Scyther, go!” Mark shouted, releasing his Pokémon too.

Then the battle started.

As soon as the Pokémon came out of their Pokéballs, the Scorplack started crawling towards them, trying to sting them. Charmeleon did pretty well frying them before they came too near; Sandshrew had a certain resistance to poison as a Ground-type but Mark ended up recalling him because Earthquake did same as nothing in this sand. Dratini surrounded himself with a Twister, preventing the Scorplack from getting near enough. Scyther was too fast for them, swooping down and cutting their tails off to make them unable to harm the others. Thankfully, Scyther and Charmeleon were too busy to even notice each other.

May’s Pokémon were doing better than Mark’s. Butterfree fluttered above, sending flurries of toxic spores down to put a crowd of them to sleep at a time, while her Skarmory, being absolutely immune to poison of any kind, dove down to drill its beak into the scorpions. Pikachu aimed bolts of lightning at some of the bigger ones, but Larvitar attempted to blow them away with Sandstorm. Meanwhile, the kids, protected by their Pokémon, hurriedly packed their sleeping bags.

But the Scorplack were too many. Pikachu, Dratini, Butterfree and Larvitar got exhausted after a short while and their trainers recalled them. Scyther, Charmeleon and Skarmory fought valiantly, but Mark could see Charmeleon panting between his Flamethrowers.

Then he got stung.

While Charmeleon was catching his breath, one of the Scorplack swung its tail and hit the lizard’s leg. He went stiff, sent a powerful blast of flames at the Scorplack and kept fighting, but clearly sweating and growing weaker by every passing moment.

“Damn you, stupid thing!”

Mark turned around to see May kick a Scorplack away. Her ankle was bleeding and had a slightly purple hue.

“You got stung?” he asked, his eyes wide.

“No, that’s ketchup and food coloring,” she replied icily.

Mark was distracted by Charmeleon letting out a weak “Chaaar…” as he passed out. He recalled him, turning worriedly back to May as the moon and stars became their only light source. Maybe it was just the bluish-white light, but she seemed pale.

“I… I think… Skarmory could maybe carry us to Scorpio City… he knows Fly…” she said weakly.

Mark nodded, recalling Scyther, as Skarmory, who had heard that, landed. Both kids quickly jumped onto the bird’s steely back, and he took off. Mark breathed out a sigh of relief as they ascended, away from the Scorplack.

Then he discovered that May was unconscious.

-------

It wasn’t that long a flight to the borders of Scorpio City. Scorpio Valley was a big valley shaped oddly similar to a scorpion, and the city was located in the tail end. It was pretty small; calling it a city wasn’t really appropriate, but it was still called that because it had a Pokémon Gym.

Skarmory was getting exhausted after flying this way with two human kids on his back, and once they reached the city, he let himself glide down into the street and collapsed. Mark shot a quick look at May; she was very pale and completely limp.

He took one of the Pokéballs on her necklace and recalled the fainted bird, left alone with an unconscious girl on a street in the middle of the night.

“Help!” he shouted into the darkness. “Can somebody help me?”

But nobody answered.

He looked desperately around; a deep purple-painted building stood nearby, with the letters GYM on the front of it. The street lamps lit up an empty main road; all the houses were quiet.

He turned back to May and was jumped when he saw a young man wearing a black cape kneeling down beside her, touching her forehead.

“Scorplack,” the man muttered and checked her pulse.

He looked quickly up at Mark, his shoulder-length silver hair flashing back.

“Where did you come from?” Mark asked, puzzled at his sudden appearance. The man ignored his question and instead introduced himself in a fast but very clear, soft voice:

“My name is Mitch; I am the leader of the official Pokémon Gym of Scorpio City and an expert on poisons. Can you tell me how long has it been since she was stung?”

“Maybe ten, fifteen minutes,” Mark answered. “Why?”

Mitch ignored his question again. “How long did it take for her to pass out?”

“Not long, one or two minutes at the most, why?”

Mitch’s big, shiny, gray eyes observed him for a second; Mark got an uncomfortable feeling like he was being X-rayed.

“Then you should pray for her life.”

Mitch picked up the unconscious girl and ran swiftly towards the purple-colored building.

It took a bit of time for his last words to sink in, but then Mark hurried after him.

-------

He entered the Gym, panting. It split into three corridors; the left one had a sign on the wall saying TO THE BATTLE ARENA. The middle one ended in a door saying DO NOT ENTER. The right one led to another door, which was open. Mark carefully stepped through it.

The room he entered looked like an ordinary living room, with a few dark brown leather couches, a coffee table and a carpet with a navy and gold pattern on the floor. May was lying on the big sofa, but he didn’t see Mitch anywhere.

Speaking of the devil, Mark thought as the young man from earlier stepped through the door behind him, not seeming surprised to see Mark there. Mark was going to apologize for walking inside like that, but Mitch just walked up to May and injected something into her arm.

Then he sat down in another couch and offered Mark a seat beside him. Hesitating, Mark sat down.

“Scorplack’s poison is very interesting,” said Mitch out of the blue, not looking at Mark, but rather straight into the air. “When it gets into your blood stream, it somehow slows down all cells it reaches. The longer it is in the body, the more everything slows down. Then finally, it all stops – unless the person has gotten the antidote in time. The antidote slows down the effect of the poison, so the timing is everything. If the poison kills before the antidote has stopped it, the victim dies. If the antidote stops it too late, the victim will live, but never wake up. Otherwise, the victim will heal completely.”

“Is she going to die?” Mark asked quietly.

“Maybe,” said Mitch slowly, still looking into the air rather than into Mark’s eyes.

“How are the odds?”

“Bad,” said Mitch simply. “If she fainted in one or two minutes, it must have been a strong Scorplack. Ten or twenty percent, I guess.”

“That’s awfully little…” Mark said with a horrible knot in his stomach.

“Odds are meaningless,” said Mitch calmly. “Imagine you’re holding a hundred-faced die. I walk up to you and say, ‘Give me ten thousand Pokédollars, throw the die and if you get hundred, I’ll pay you back a million’. You’d never take the offer. What are the odds you’ll get exactly hundred? It’s very unlikely that you’d be achieving anything except losing ten thousand Pokédollars. And as we all know, it’s just as unlikely that you’ll get ninety-nine, or ninety-eight. In fact, the odds for each side are so small that you’d never bet on one of them. Still, you can somehow throw it, and be positive that as unlikely as it is, you will get one of them. We could repeat it with a die that has a thousand faces, or a million. What are the odds that a mass of carbon can stand up and walk of its own accord? Almost none, yet you see the proof that it happened all around you. Do not think about odds. Odds are an illusion.”

Mark had never thought about it that way. He couldn’t think of an answer, so he said nothing. Neither did Mitch; he just kept staring at nothing.

“Does it hurt to have that poison in your body?” Mark suddenly asked.

“Not really,” Mitch said, still like he was speaking to the air. “It’s not comfortable, but doesn’t exactly hurt.”

“So, it’s a painless thing to die from?”

Mitch smiled faintly. “Those who know that are all dead, I’m afraid.”

“How do you know what having the poison in your body feels like, then?” Mark questioned.

Mitch nodded slowly. “I was just a kid, having just gotten my starter, a Venonat. We went into the desert, I stayed there for a bit too long and ran into one Scorplack that was a bit early, didn’t know it was dangerous and therefore didn’t watch out. I got stung, I caught it, and I fainted while I was walking back to Scorpio City.”

“But you were alone, weren’t you?” asked Mark, puzzled. “Who saved you?”

Mitch took his time answering this question; he peered at the starlit sky out of a window in the ceiling for a while, still with that faint smile on his lips.

“Nobody,” he finally answered. “I should be dead.”

Mark decided not to ask more about this.

“When will we know what will happen to her?”

Mitch stood up. “I left a sample of her blood in the research room. It should be ready now; wait here while I go to see the results. But you might find out before me. If she moves, she’s getting better. If she stops breathing, she’s dead.”

And he left Mark alone with May.

“Oh, please,” he muttered, “not this! Why can’t I have a normal journey without a Gym Leader giving me Mew or a madman threatening to kill me or somebody dying or deranged Pokémon or stupid nightmares?”

“It must be your fate to have difficulties,” said a soft voice inside his head. He jerked his head upwards to find Mew floating there. The pink creature’s eyes were filled with sadness.

“Mew! Just who I needed! Can’t you heal her?”

“No,” answered the Legendary Pokémon. “Scorplack’s affiliation with the element of darkness prevents psychic powers from affecting anything having to do with them.”

“But if she dies, you can just resurrect her, can’t you?” Mark questioned.

“She would merely die again, as the poison remains in her blood,” said Mew.

“Oh. Why are you following me?” Mark mumbled.

“I do not follow one person,” Mew said calmly. “I come when I feel that I should.”

“Really?” asked Mark dully.

“And now I feel I should leave,” said Mew before disappearing in a flash of purple.

There was a reason for that feeling, at least; Mitch entered just a second later.

“Good news,” he said. “She will most likely make it. She got the antidote in time. How do you know her, anyway?”

“Eh, we ended up going through the desert together, goodness knows how… it was her idea,” he quickly added.

“You didn’t get stung at all?” Mitch questioned.

“No, my Pokémon held them back…”

He suddenly realized what he had forgotten. His face went pale.

“Charmeleon! He also got stung! Quick, give him some antidote…”

Mark took out the Pokéball and sent out his unconscious lizard on the floor. Mitch bent down and examined him, then injected some of the antidote into his arm.

“Will he be okay?” Mark asked worriedly.

“Pokémon are stronger than many people give them credit for,” said Mitch with a smile. “One sting from a Scorplack won’t kill any decent Pokémon. Humans, however…”

He trailed off, but then started again.

“Amazing, isn’t it? Pokémon are superior to us, but we’re the ones who ‘own’ them. And there’s a reason for it. Pokémon, while quite matching our intelligence, lack one thing. It is creativity. On their own, Pokémon only use battling techniques passed down generation by generation. Taking two things we know and figuring out that we can make something new out of them, that is our specialty, and that is exactly what they can’t do. This is why they seek our company in the first place. We can teach them things that seem obvious to us, but their brains have never been built to understand. Even Alakazam, with an IQ of 5000, will battle far better with a human’s aid. We need each other…”

For a moment Mitch seemed to be in deep thought. Then he absent-mindedly picked Charmeleon up and placed him on the coffee table.

“Well, now we just have to wait. Want a drink?”

Chibi Pika
28th October 2004, 8:21 PM
Absolutely awesome. It's incredible how well you've made a journey fic with such depth of plot. I didn't notice any grammar errors, though lately I've gotten in a bad habit of not looking for them. I don't have anything to say in the way of constructive criticism. Keep it up!

~Chibi~;249;

Dragonfree
29th October 2004, 12:11 AM
Thanks. I'd like to know about grammar errors, everybody, by the way.

Mastercougar
29th October 2004, 12:55 AM
Sorry I haven't posted in some time. I keep thinking back to the previos one, and the more I do, the more I like the way you've redone it. Along with the superb updates in detail, I've noticed some more subtle ones. Such as Mewtwotwo becoming Mew to the power of two, Mew actually saying something Mark meets it, the endangered species thing, and the many excellent revisions to the Mew Hunter chapter. Your main characters are darn likeable, but in no way Mary Sues. And QFTL has the most depth of any trainer fic I've read.

Draconix-2090
29th October 2004, 2:16 AM
wow i really liked it dragonfree but i think it was way, way too short i like long, really long chappys. It was full of good stuff though i thought. I sure did lie it do, new pokes rock da house yo fo schizzle, i have no idea were that came from 0^^

Dragonfree
29th October 2004, 3:05 AM
There's nothing short about chapter 13... it's seven and a half pages... LONGER than chapter 12, actually... are you sure it doesn't just feel short because there are a lot of things happening?

Psychic
29th October 2004, 3:09 AM
I have been following 'The Quest For the Legends' for quite some time now, and I adore it. I go to your site all the time and can't stop going back to see how your fics are coming. I have to say, I'm in love with this fic and can't wait to find out more about: Gyarados's past and strange attack/color, what Eevee will want to Evolve into, more on May (think you need a less, um is the word 'cliché' name for her), Charmeleon and his 'plan' for Scyther, and Scyther! I love Scyther so we're on the same page, wanna learn his past and um, stuff.
now for the ratings-ratings: you leave so much suspense in the air, leaving the reader hanging at JUST the right moment. THAT is what makes readers want to come back for more, we want to know: WHAT's going to happen to Mark, What's with all his weird good/bad luck, HOW will so-and-so's presence affect so-and-so? + the title just makes you SO DAMN CURIOUS, PERFECT! Chalenor! Chaletwo! (LOVE Legendaries, specially Psychic Types.) You leave a great deal of gaps in the story for the reader to fill in with his/her imagination, an interesting idea that my friend liked to use; confusing the reader. Descriptions! Terrific! Perfect ideas/descriptions for battles/battle locations! The Gyms! the Desert! The new Pokémon! (but you said that Fangcat and one other, dunno which, are both ascociated with horror films! o.O) TERRIFIC character building! Extremely descriptive, except on looks, build characters very well, but you might want to add a bit more on each Characters' thoughts, actions/reactions. Might want to add a few more flashbacks or anything on background.

Other than that, there isn't much else to really comment on. Keep up the terrific work! May you have a very succesful writing career.


~Psychic

Dragonfree
29th October 2004, 3:37 AM
Less cliché name for May: Sorry, I made her name BEFORE Advanced Generation started. It's their fault for stealing the name and therefore I'm not going to be the one to change it.

Title: Well, I hate it at the very least. Half of the fics out there could be called that.

Associated with horror films: The other one wasn't made-up, it was Scyther, and the repetition of the wording was intentional.

Add more on each character's thoughts: The story is written from Mark's perspective. The only thoughts you're ever going to see outside of extras will be Mark's.

Flashbacks/background: I'm not much for writing flashbacks, but next chapter happens to be character background. I can't do everything at once, you know.

More awards at The Pokémon Tower: There are only two awards and I've already won both.

UPDATE THE DARN THING: Uh... since when is it not updated? I've been sending all the chapters in immediately.

Update your site: Of course I will.

Blivsey
30th October 2004, 12:50 AM
It's okay, take your time. the longer you take, the better it usually is. Don't forget that I Arcanumed this, so it's a darn good fic, people!

Lupin
30th October 2004, 3:47 PM
Great Chapter as usual Dragonfree. I think this Scorplack is your best pokemon yet.

Blazikens_Brushfire
30th October 2004, 10:19 PM
Whoot! Upadteyness!! This was a great chapter as usual. The Scorplack Pokemon was a great suspense thingy. The Mitch guy sounded really wise and teacher/mentor like.

Ladyumbra
31st October 2004, 2:08 AM
*rubs eyes* 13 chappies in 1 go plus extras. ok i'll prbably edit in a more intelligent review later but for now all i can say is . hurrah i see goodness. mind you i never saw the first version of this so i cant say how improved it is. will write a better review latter

ScreinNaimme
1st November 2004, 2:37 AM
Wow, I read this entire thing in one sitting and that's definitely a first. Usually I get to about the third chapter and give up, but Dragonfree has done a wonderful job of writing. The only critique that I can give is that the environments could use more desription. I see the Pokemon, I see the characters, I see that attacks and everything else is well done, but I can't seem to picture some of the places that the heroes visit. This lack of description leaves me wanting a little more, but does not detract from the overall polish of the story. Very well done! *Applause*

Iveechan
1st November 2004, 3:14 AM
Not everything has to be described. I have fun imagining the settings myself in stories.

haydenjenz
3rd November 2004, 10:36 PM
OH. MY. FREAKING. GOSH.

That was the best damn fic I've ever read. HURRY! Write! Write! Write! I want more! There's absolutely nothing I can criticize on this! It should be published! I say, again, hurry with your writing!

P.S.: I'm afraid I lied about the critiquing bit up there. I realize now that when I transfered Quest for the Legend into Word that I changed the quotes ("") for the Pokémonish into less/more than symbols (<>).

P.S.S.: By the way, your title doesn't suck at all! It's very strong! I myself have a title of a story I wrote similar to that (Quest for Freedom). It's not a fanfic, though, so I can't post it here.

Spazzikarp
3rd November 2004, 11:46 PM
OOOO! OOOOO! I noticed something no one else did! Atleast I skimmed thru comments and didn't see it.

In Ch 13, during the attack of the Scorplak, Scyther is left into the plot void. Everyone was recalled, except for Scyther and Skarmory. Mark and May flew away on Skarmory, but Scyther had not mention after the sentenced saying how he and Charmelaon were too busy to notice each other.

Just had to point that hole out. Now back to reading the rest.

Dragonfree
4th November 2004, 1:18 AM
Mark nodded, recalling Scyther, as Skarmory, who had heard that, landed

Mwahahaha. :P


Haydenjenz: Err...


P.S.: I'm afraid I lied about the critiquing bit up there. I realize now that when I transfered Quest for the Legend into Word that I changed the quotes ("") for the Pokémonish into less/more than symbols (<>).
Huh? *is puzzled*

SPAWN OF CHARIZARD
4th November 2004, 1:23 AM
Hey great fic and a big fan but when will the next chapter be here?

Dragonfree
4th November 2004, 1:35 AM
-_- When I finish it, OK? Don't rush me, I write when I'm in the right mood to write.

And I'll admit that I haven't started chapter fourteen yet.

SPAWN OF CHARIZARD
4th November 2004, 2:10 AM
I'm sorry I do not mean to rush you, its just that this story is just so awesome that I can't wait for the next chapter.

Spazzikarp
4th November 2004, 8:22 AM
^-^ Goodie! the hole is le patched!

I can't wait for the next chapt either, but I'm in no position to rush someone myself, seeing as how I ain't gotten a chapter out on a couple months. I jsut can't wait to see how it will differ from the original version.

haydenjenz
4th November 2004, 10:42 PM
Sorry for confusing you, Dragonfree. What I meant was that when I copied and pasted Quest for the Legends to Word, I changed the quotes (" ") to more/less than signs (< >) when Pokémon were speaking.

P.S.: What font is the Three Humans... Twenty Pokémon... One Cause written in (just wondering -- I'm a freak; I collect fonts...)?

Dragonfree
4th November 2004, 11:13 PM
haydenjenz: But what about the "I'm afraid I lied about the critiquing bit up there"? What did you mean by that? That font is Abaddon, which can be found at 1001freefonts.com (at least I believe that's the address).

Spazzikarp: It isn't exactly patched, because the hole was never there. I opened my word document to find that place, and there was a "recalling Scyther" there...

haydenjenz
5th November 2004, 12:33 AM
I'm sorry I can't answer your question right! By
I'm afraid I lied about the critiquing bit up there I meant that I lied by saying
There's absolutely nothing I can criticize on this, because I did critique you; although very slightly. Hope I've cleared it up for you a bit.

Dragonfree
5th November 2004, 1:07 AM
But "I changed the quotes (" ") to more/less than signs (< >) when Pokémon were speaking" isn't exactly criticism, is it? If you mean I should write it like that, sorry but no. For one, I convert my fics to HTML and put them on my site, you know. If I put <> instead of quotations, the whole lines would disappear as the browser would mistake them for tags. I'd have to replace each of them with &lt; or &gt; which is annoying and time-consuming to do. Besides that I don't like slapping "the Pokémon aren't actually speaking English, they're really just saying their names over and over" in your face, when I myself, when picturing the fic in my head, hear the Pokémon speak English instead of saying their names. And you don't see all speech being put in <> instead of quotations in translated books, do you, just because they're really speaking another language which is translated? Nope. Besides, it's harder to read text in <> as dialogue than the quotation marks you're used to.

haydenjenz
5th November 2004, 4:14 AM
Alright, alright! ~cowers in a corner and sucks thumb, rocking back and forth~ Don't chew me out over it! I didn't think about the HTML tag thing; I realize now that you're right. Not to be defiant or anything, but in the Animorph series, the morphed creatures speak in <>s. And I wasn't even saying remotely saying that your story sucks. Not at all! Anyways, continue writing (I’m not rushing you, so don’t [verbally] beat the crap out of me anymore), you’re doing awesome! Keep up the splendid work!

Dragonfree
5th November 2004, 4:19 PM
Sorry... this is the way I respond if I disagree with somebody in general, fanfiction criticism or not (I love to go on and on on why I disagree). Just a me thing. Don't take it like I hate you. My point is basically that I see no reason to put the Pokémon speech in <>. There would be a point in it if nobody understood it except Mark, because it would remind the reader that nobody can overhear them, but because everybody understands them, that purpose is defeated too.

haydenjenz
6th November 2004, 12:02 AM
I see. I, like you, also go on and on when I don't agree with someone/thing. Anyways, what do you mean by,
There would be a point in it if nobody understood it except Mark, because it would remind the reader that nobody can overhear them, but because everybody understands them, that purpose is defeated too.? Does that mean that everyone understands Pokémonish? Well, I'm going to post a Harry Potter fanfic now,so look for it in the Non-Pokémon Fanfics section (and critique me in return)!

Dragonfree
6th November 2004, 12:16 AM
Yes, of course everybody understands it. They learn it at school. Mark's not the only person in the world who's been to school, you know. :P

nintyweb
6th November 2004, 6:51 PM
This is really good. Just one question. When exactly did May catch Pikachu/Lapras? That part bugged me cause you didn't mention it in the text (i think). Sorry if you did.
Keep up the good work :)

Heracross
6th November 2004, 7:40 PM
You always seem to slip in more chapters while I'm not looking.:p I just finished reading the last three and they were very good. I liked the name of the restaurant "The Gamesharked Skarmory" that ws funny. The Gym battle was really cool, and it was a bonus to get to see two of them. The scorpion things (can't remember their name) were creepy and strange. Mitch was also a very intriguing character. He seems to wise and mysterious, it makes you want to find out more about him. One thing I noticed is that is seems that they're travelling from gym to gym far too quickly, but that's not very important I guess. So anyway, keep up the good work.:)

Dragonfree
7th November 2004, 11:14 PM
nintyweb: She caught them sometime after she met Mark at the Lake of Purity. We can't know because she wasn't in the story then.

Heracross: The next chapter isn't the Gym battle, though. And the fic won't be over after the Gyms - far from it. ;) As I said, the journey isn't the real plot.

Mastercougar
11th November 2004, 4:43 AM
Just thought I'd mention that I put all the chapters so far (including extras) into a file on microsoft word, and it came out to around 121 pages. Impressive!

Dragonfree
11th November 2004, 5:02 AM
You included the ratings, I assume? Without them, it's 118 pages. Or well, that includes the page and a half of chapter fourteen I've written so far... speaking of which, the current title is "Thief and Victim", although it might change. Speculate at will.

The old version was 211 pages and 100,078 words where I left off (chapter 36).

Mastercougar
12th November 2004, 5:15 AM
Yes, I included the ratings. Theif and victim, eh? in that case, I've got a good hunch what it's about from the old version. I won't reveal what happens, but I'll say that it answers a few questions.

Dragonfree
13th November 2004, 3:44 AM
Yay, the chapter. If you like:

- plot twists
- interesting character backgrounds
- 'good' guys doing something bad
- 'bad' guys doing something good

you're going to love this one. ;)



-------
RATING

Violence: None

Gore: None

Sexuality: None

Profanity: Just a "bloody".

Other: Nothing special.
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Chapter 14: Thief and Victim

Mark woke up feeling very refreshed. He scanned through his memory, but didn’t remember dreaming anything at all. Well, that was relieving. The ‘nightmare phase’ seemed to be over.

“Had a good rest?”

He jerked his head upwards to find Mitch was still sitting in the couch. Mark looked sleepily out of the window; judging from the bright sunshine, he had fallen asleep sometime in the night, despite having had some coke to keep him awake. Charmeleon stood on the coffee table, seemingly healthy, and while May was lying motionless on the sofa, her chest was rising and falling as it should.

“Yeah, pretty good,” Mark said, stretching.

“Any… dreams?” asked Mitch, suddenly looking into Mark’s eyes. The question had to be a coincidence, but the way Mitch looked at Mark gave it some more of a meaning.

“No, not that I remember,” he mumbled, turning away.

“Good…” Mitch said softly, also turning to look out of the window. Nobody said anything for a long time. Then finally, May’s eyes opened.

She blinked a few times and sat up. “What place is this?” she asked confusedly, looking around.

“You are in the Scorpio City Gym,” said Mitch. “The poison in your bloodstream has been neutralized, and your body will handle cleaning it up.”

“Oh.” She paused, observing Mitch for a second. Then she turned to Mark.

“What happened after we flew away on Skarmory?”

“Well,” Mark began, taking a deep breath, “we flew over here, Skarmory crashed out of exhaustion, I recalled him for you and then Mitch, the Gym Leader, appeared out of nowhere and gave you a shot with some antidote.”

“Oh,” May replied. After a few seconds, she turned back to Mitch. “Thanks.”

“It’s my job,” said Mitch and smiled that faint smile again.

“What time is it?” asked May, turning towards the window. Suddenly, she froze, and then pulled Mark’s sleeve.

“Quilava!” she hissed, before suddenly dashing out through the door. Mark shot an apologetic glance at Mitch and then followed her.

-------

Taylor held his Blaziken Pokédex in his right hand, observing the Ouen map on the screen. Absent-mindedly, he sat down on a bench.

He had teleported to Scorpio City the day before and taken on the Gym Leader. His brother, Rick, had lent him the prototype Abratwo to get there. Taylor would have loved to keep it – after all, it had been very impressive – but Rick had always been obsessed with only giving him the best of the best. That was sometimes nice, but often irritating because Taylor wasn’t as much of a perfectionist as his brother. He just wanted something decent, and would rather not wait ages to get something absolutely flawless.

Then again, it didn’t matter now. He had just received the ultimate replacement.

Taylor broke into a grin as he plucked his three Pokéballs off his Pokéball belt and placed them beside him. He picked up one of the two Clone Balls, looking at it. Clones were strong. His first clone, Pikatwo, contained in his other Clone Ball, had never lost a battle.

Taylor sighed, shooting a quick glance at the normal Pokéball. He couldn’t help wondering if he should really have tricked that Quilava out of the girl. He had never even had the need to send it out. Which he was deep down thankful for, because he wasn’t sure Quilava would like him too much. After all, he had broken the Agreement by taking a Pokémon from its trainer without consulting it first – admittedly the girl hadn’t had anything against that either, but he didn’t want to risk getting scorched by Quilava’s Ember.

Ah, well, now he had two clones. Maybe he’d never have to send it out of its ball.

He smiled at the Clone Ball and attached it back to his belt, focusing on the Ouen map again.

-------

“What are you doing?” Mark yelled while trying to catch up with May.

“Rick’s brother!” she hissed. “The guy with my Quilava! Taylor, you said he was called.”

“What about him?” asked Mark confusedly.

“I saw him, of course,” said May like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “He sat down at that bench over there.”

She pointed. At the end of the street they were running along, a boy with long, red hair was sitting on a bench, bent over something in his hands.

“What are you going to do?” Mark asked, puzzled, as May crouched down behind some bushes near the sidewalk.

“I’m going to get Quilava back, of course.”

Mark watched in disbelief as she crawled towards the bench like a predator to its prey. Very slowly, she extended her hand, grabbed one of the Pokéballs beside the boy and then quickly withdrew it. Mark saw her crawling back towards him.

“Whoa,” he said blankly. “You just went and stole it?”

“It’s not stealing if she’s mine,” she said coldly.

“Well, technically,” Mark commented, “you traded her away.”

“But he tricked me into it,” she argued. “And Quilava never agreed.”

“You weren’t exactly thinking about that when you traded, were you?”

May’s eyes flashed. “She’s my Quilava! Professor Elm gave her to me! And I never agreed to trade her for some lousy level five lizard!”

Mark felt like he had just received an Ice Punch, but just glared at her and breathed very fast.

“Well, aren’t we going to battle Mitch?” May said, still in an angry voice. “Don’t know about you, but I’m going to get myself some Antidotes in case my Pokémon get poisoned.”

Mark reluctantly followed her as she started walking firmly towards the Pokémon Market across the street.

-------

Taylor folded his Pokédex back together and clipped it to his belt, looking to his side. He started when he saw only his two Clone Balls there. He picked them up and attached them to his belt as he examined the sidewalk to see if his Pokéball was there. Seeing no traces of it, he looked up. Just a short distance away, he saw a familiar girl and a boy he had never seen before with her.

He didn’t know exactly what had happened, but immediately got a pretty good idea of it. He watched the two enter the Pokémon Market, and an idea formed in his head.

He grabbed his new Pokémon’s Clone Ball and smirked.

-------

Mark and May, after stocking up on things at the market, walked outside to be greeted by a well-known figure: one of the Officer Jennies. She wore a police uniform, had long, teal hair, and folded her arms strictly. Beside her, slightly behind, stood Taylor.

“This boy tells me you stole one of his Pokéballs,” she said accusingly.

May turned beet red. Then suddenly she roared “THAT QUILAVA IS MINE!” as she jumped at Taylor in what was clearly an attempt to at least punch him if not bite him too. Officer Jenny grabbed her jacket and held her back.

“Quite the temper you’ve got,” she said shortly.

May tried to break loose, but Officer Jenny had a firm grip on her. She glared murderously at Taylor.

“Also,” the policewoman added thoughtfully, turning to Taylor, “Quilava? Didn’t you say it was a Charmeleon?”

“Yeah,” said Taylor, slightly nervously. Mark wondered why he hadn’t just said it was a Quilava; this way his story sounded a lot more suspicious.

“Come with me, guys,” said Officer Jenny, walking towards the police station next door and dragging Mark and May with her. Mark felt a strong burst of anger flare up in his heart; what had he done?

“I didn’t do anything!” he shouted.

“Congratulations, you’ve just used the oldest excuse known to mankind,” said the officer sarcastically as they entered.

Inside, it was rather dark. A desk with a lit lamp on it was on the other end of the room, covered in papers. Mark would’ve looked around better, but Officer Jenny pushed him inside. Then she picked up a small device from the desk.

“Your trainer license?”

“Trainer license?” Mark was stunned – of course he should know that a trainer had to get a trainer license. What had he been thinking when he set off? He had been training illegally for a while, and magically gotten away with it. One of the first thoughts that shot into his head was that the Pokémon League’s trainer identification system had to be very flawed, since he hadn’t even been making an effort to hide it.

“I… I don’t have one,” he stammered.

“No license?” Jenny raised her eyebrows. “Your eye, please,” she said to Mark. He stepped up to her and she held the tool she had picked up earlier up to his eye to scan his iris.

“Mmmh,” she said. “Never done anything before, though… so apparently you didn’t get it removed… but that doesn’t change that you’re still training without a license. You’ll get away with a warning this time, but I suggest you go get a license before you get in more trouble – provided, of course, that you did not steal the boy’s Pokémon.”

Officer Jenny turned to May, who was holding forward a trainer card. “Valid,” said Jenny after surveying it for a few seconds. “May I have your eye, please?”

May allowed her eye to be scanned too, although she clearly hated it. A loud beep was heard.

“You, on the other hand…” said Officer Jenny slowly, “you’re on record.”

“Surprise,” May sneered sarcastically. Mark’s heart suddenly realized it had some catching up to do and started pumping like crazy.

“Hmm… ‘assaulting a police officer’… ‘refusing to cooperate with the police’… ‘breaking and entering’…” Officer Jenny read from the device. Mark felt sick.

The policewoman laid the tool back on the desk. “When was that?”

“You,” said May with disgust, “you think a nine-year-old can’t have anything to say that you don’t know. You think that a nine-year-old’s accusations must be based on personal grudges. You think little girls with bad tempers can’t possibly be right. Something is stolen from a girl and she knows who did it, but you think her knowledge sounds too absurd and claim that the real thief will never be found. She goes on her own and takes again what is hers, and all you do is putting it on some bloody record as ‘breaking and entering’.”

She jerked this all out very fast, and Mark didn’t really get the whole thing, but from how it looked, somebody had stolen something from May when she was nine, she knew who it was but the police didn’t believe her and just forgot about it, so she took matters into her own hands, broke in and stole what had been stolen from her again. The question was mainly whether the thing that had been ‘stolen’ from her had been about as ‘stolen’ as Quilava.

“Interesting,” said Officer Jenny simply. “Tell me… did you steal the boy’s Charmeleon?”

“No,” May spat.

“Well, we’ll see about that,” the policewoman said. “Your Pokémon, please.”

May handed her Pokéballs to Officer Jenny.

“You too,” Jenny insisted, turning to Mark. He gave his Pokéballs to her too. She took a Pokédex from her belt and scanned all the Pokéballs, picking out two of them afterwards.

“Okay, this one contains a Quilava and this one contains a Charmeleon. Which of them was stolen?”

“Charmeleon,” Taylor said firmly.

May opened her mouth, but Officer Jenny stopped her before she said anything.

“Of course, to make sure we’re not making a terrible mistake here, we’ll do a check of original trainers and ID numbers on them both.”

Mark suddenly realized what Taylor was up to saying that Charmeleon had been stolen – while a simple ID check on Quilava would prove her as May’s, Charmeleon had originally been given to Taylor and never been registered as traded. Unofficial trades were essentially illegal, partly because that way there was no way to prove the change of trainers, as the trade would never be on official records.

“No!” he blurted out.

“No? Why not? You obviously have something to hide,” said Officer Jenny suspiciously. She pressed a button on the Pokédex.

“Quilava is registered to you, it seems,” said Officer Jenny to May, giving her the Pokéballs back. “But Charmeleon…” Jenny scanned the Pokéball and read off the Pokédex.

“It’s registered to the boy who reported the theft, Taylor.”

Mark looked at May. She was staring expressionlessly at him, and clearly understood who Charmeleon was now.

Officer Jenny put Charmeleon’s Pokéball on the desk.

-------

“You can have it in a minute,” Jenny said to Taylor. “But first, I need to record that…”

Taylor couldn’t help feeling slightly guilty as she said that. If he was getting that Charmeleon, which the boy had thankfully evolved, however he originally got it, he didn’t want to get him into any trouble, because the boy certainly hadn’t done anything to him.

But luckily, he was prepared for that.

Speed her up a little bit, he thought, looking out of the window where his new Pokémon was waiting for orders, Mewtwo˛.

-------

Suddenly, Officer Jenny stopped in her tracks. Her eyes went all funny, reminding Mark somewhat of (he shivered a bit) Rick’s Legendary clones.

“Here,” she said, taking the Pokéball off the table. Mark stared miserably at it as she handed it to Taylor.

“Please,” he pleaded, “you’re making a mistake! That boy, Taylor, he…”

But Jenny ignored him completely. She then almost mechanically shoved Mark and May outside, closing the door. There was nothing more he could do.

They walked silently back towards the Gym. May had taken a funny interest in her fingernails as she held them close to her face and examined them. Mark just felt horrible.

“Taylor has Charmeleon,” he muttered miserably, not exactly expecting an answer.

“No,” said May after a moment of silence. “He has Quilava. I switched the Pokéballs on the desk.” She opened her palm to reveal a minimized Pokéball she appeared to have been clutching since she took it.

“You going to take him back or something?” Mark said in a horribly shaky voice.

“No,” she answered, handing the Pokéball to him while staring in the other direction. “I… threw him away… he’s not mine…”

Mark took the Pokéball, covered in sweat from May’s hand, and attached it back to his own belt. He knew both of them were thinking about the same thing: Officer Jenny’s eyes.

ViperSean
13th November 2004, 4:00 AM
That was... awesome. Quite possibly your best chapter yet. Mitch is starting to freak me out. And i still can't believe Rick gave Taylor Mewtwo˛. One more thing. In the banner in your sig it says three humans--twenty pokemon--one cause, if there were three humans wouldn't the most be 18 in total?

Dragonfree
13th November 2004, 4:12 AM
No, because there are two Pokémon counted in that who belong to no one. ;) Admittedly that number is a bit questionable, but meh. I was thinking of re-designing the banner anyway.

Draconix-2090
13th November 2004, 4:41 AM
it took me fifteen minutes to read dragonfree that means that it is your second longest to read for me, in that case alone it is one of my favorites. I though it reaked of plotty goodness, and it had nice char development in that we know that taylor is not a total and complete evil guy, what was the bad guy doing good thing???

Anywho i loved it realy good.

Dragonfree
13th November 2004, 5:26 AM
Taylor has been put up as a "bad guy" but he still saved Mark and May from getting into more trouble. And he was also having doubts about tricking Quilava off May.

It was a pretty short chapter, though (it's less than half of chapter ten), so it's weird that it would take you so long to read compared to the others.

Psychic
13th November 2004, 9:20 PM
it could've taken you fifteen minutes because you may have had to re-read certain parts (like me), right?
anyways, it is a very nicely done chapter Dragonfree, I enjoyed it greatly.
I know the question I'm about to ask is toatally irrelevent, but how do trainers attach the Pokéballs to their belts? If you already mentioned how, then I'll check, if not...I was just wondering...
keep it up! ^.^

Dragonfree
13th November 2004, 11:11 PM
how do trainers attach the Pokéballs to their belts?

In the same way Ash does, I guess. :P