“I am N. I am the king of Team Plasma, the son of Ghetsis, the hero of Zekrom, the one who seeks ideals. I sought to separate the worlds of Pokemon and humans, but that is no longer my wish. I seek the truth and nothing more. I will stand against any who threaten the harmony between us . . ."
URGENT NOTICE: This fan-fiction contains direct references to the end of Pokemon Black Version and Pokemon White Version. Those who do not wish to be spoiled should not read. You have been warned.
Greetings, valued readers, this is GalladeRocks. What I have here is an idea that popped into my head a couple of days ago that I just couldn't get out. It is my hope that you will enjoy it, and so, I present to you to my newest work:
The black sky. The roaring wind.
“Looks like quite a storm’s gathering.”
“That it does, that it does.”
The deep rumble. The blinding flash.
“Hey, look at that kid. Is that…?”
“But where’s the –“
The monstrous shadow. The scent of destruction.
It was the same as always.
Too late. Already, they flee.
“Please, stop, I’m not...”
Wet and hot, the tears come again. Just like always, I am left alone. Forever alone.
An outcast. An exile.
Universally known. Universally feared. Universally despised.
I am truly not fit to bear the name Harmonia.
I am only N.
With a loud crash, the enormous black dragon touched down in the clearing. Its rider leapt down to the soft grass of the forest floor as the humming of the generator in the Pokémon’s tail began to quiet. The boy shielded his eyes with his hand as he peered through the trees. He could just make out the dirt road through the underbrush.
“Sandgem Town isn’t far from here,” he said to the dragon. “While I don’t want to do this, I’m afraid I must place you back in your Poke Ball. Is that alright, friend?”
The dragon made no sound, but it bowed its head to its young trainer. The boy nodded solemnly and held forth the Poke Ball. In a flash of red light, the Pokémon disappeared back inside.
The boy stepped onto the road cautiously, but there was no one approaching from either direction. He straightened his cap and brushed a strand of green hair from his eyes, then started walking down the road. The sun beat down upon him and he couldn’t help but marvel at the balmy Sinnoh weather. There were few places in Unova that were this enjoyable.
Eventually, he spotted the buildings of Sandgem Town ahead and he made his way into town as quietly as he could. Other people roamed the streets, but they paid no attention to him. Some were in pairs, talking and laughing together. Others were like him, walking alone, absorbed in their own thoughts. The boy wasn’t interested in the people, however. A flock of Starly flew overhead, chirping simultaneously to each other. A pair of Bidoof played in the grass of the town park, tackling each other and rolling in the sunlight. A Goldeen splashed upwards from a small pond and the Cherubi on the shore danced giddily in the spray. He could hear all of their voices. He could feel their emotions, their happiness, their joyfulness. But one voice stood apart from the rest.
The boy poked his head into an alleyway and carefully made his way through the trash covering the ground. Eventually, he came to a tattered cardboard box sitting against the wall. Inside, a small gray cat was curled up in a ball. It peered up at him, its large eyes filled with curiosity. “It’s okay, friend,” he said. He gently reached into the box and pulled out the Glameow. “You’ll be okay, I promise.” He was shocked to find out how light the Pokémon was. It was incredibly thin and its ribs were prominent in its chest.
“Meow,” it murmured cautiously. Its tail curled up in agitation.
“Easy, friend,” the boy said. “I won’t hurt you. I’d never hurt you.” The Glameow felt the meaning in his words and eased up. This boy was a friend of Pokémon, it could tell. It knew it was in good hands.
He set down that Glameow in the box once again. “Stay here, I’ll be right back.” Glameow waited as the boy ran off once again. When he returned, he set down a bowl of milk on the ground. “Here, drink this,” he urged.
Glameow approached the bowl cautiously and touched the contents with the tip of its tongue. Then it began greedily lapping up sip after sip of milk until the entire bowl was empty. The boy smiled and poured out more from the bottle. “Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty more.”
Finally, Glameow had had its fill and it rolled onto its side, groaning happily. The boy picked it up in his arms and carried it out of the ally and into the park. He sat down on a bench and placed the Pokémon on the grass in front of him. Glameow sat up and looked around, spotting another pair of Glameow playing under a tree. “Go ahead,” the boy urged. “Go and join them.”
Glameow bounded away to where the other two were and began to frolic and leap about with them. Occasionally, they would stop to smell some flowers, but they would always go back to running around the tree. The boy watched from the bench. He leaned back and pushed down the bill of his cap over his eyes. He drifted off under the shimmering sun, a smile on his face.
When he awoke, he was surprised to find Glameow lying on the bench beside him, its head in his lap. He reached down and began to stroke its head, but stopped as he heard a small sound in front of him. He got a second surprise as he realized that a small girl was sitting cross-legged on the grass in front of him. “Oh, hello.”
“Hi,” the girl said meekly. She was staring at Glameow. “That’s a pretty Pokémon, mister.”
“Yes, he is,” the boy nodded. “Glameow are very pretty by their nature, and this one is no bad example. But all Pokémon have a special kind of beauty all their own.”
The girl giggled. “Just like people!”
The boy opened his mouth to speak, but stopped. Was this true? Surely not, he guessed. He’d heard of many people who couldn’t possibly have beauty within them, like the horrible men of Team Rocket and Team Galactic. He questioned whether his father even had a spark of goodness in him.
Glameow opened one eye. Upon seeing the girl, it lifted its head and stepped down from the bench. “Meow.”
The girl laughed and reached down to pet it. “Ha ha! She’s so cute!”
“He,” the boy corrected. “This Glameow is a male.”
“Oh, okay!” the girl said. “He’s like a prince!” She paused. “Does he have a name?”
“Not that I know of,” the boy said. “He’s a stray Pokémon. I found him alone in an alley.”
The girl scratched Glameow behind its ear. “Then we’ll name him Prince! Do you like that name?”
“Meow!” the Glameow said excitedly.
“Prince it is, then,” the boy declared. He looked hard at Prince, and then at the little girl. He could hear Prince’s voice. It was just like those he’d heard before, the voice of a Pokémon who enjoyed human presence and interaction. Perhaps this was yet another case in which exceptions could be made…
“You know,” he continued. “Prince is going to need a good trainer and caring person to look after him. He’s been sick, and he’s got to have plenty of food and exercise. And love, too.” He looked down at the girl. “Perhaps you could take care of him for awhile.”
The girl gasped in astonishment. “Do you really mean it, mister?”
The boy nodded. “Of course. Do you think you’re up for it?”
“Yes yes yes!” the girl squealed. She picked up Prince and hugged him tightly to her chest. “I’ll love him and feed him and take him for long walks and cuddle with him when he’s cold!”
“That’s very good of you,” the boy said. “I’m glad to know that there are people like you who can truly care for Pokémon like Prince here.”
He stuck out his hand, and the girl shook it. “Thank you so much, mister,” she said. “What’s your name, anyway?”
“You can call me N.”
“N? That’s a letter. It’s not a name.”
“Yes, it is. It’s mine.”
The girl shrugged. “Whatever. Thank you, Mr. N.” She turned to go, still holding onto Prince.
“No, thank you,” N said. “You’ve shown me a spark of light, brighter than any other I’ve seen lately.”
He rose from the bench and strode off through the town. Perhaps he didn’t need to stop at his original destination after all. Maybe...
He shook himself. No, he had to go through with this. He couldn’t let what had just happened make him forget his goal.
He found a girl around his age standing on the corner of a sidewalk with a tall penguin-like Pokémon beside her. She wore a white stocking cap over azure hair and was dressed in a black blouse and pink mini-skirt. “Excuse me,” N asked. “Do you know the way to Professor Rowan’s lab?”
“Professor Rowan?” the girl inquired. She pointed across the street to a large building with a domed glass roof. “That’s it right over there.”
“Thank you,” N said, crossing the road and entering through the automatic doors. Inside, an old-looking man with a bushy white moustache sat at a computer, scrolling through files. N could make out multiple pictures of a pixie-like creature with a pink head on the screen. Eventually, the man turned around to face him.
“Hello, and who might you be?” he asked.
N crossed his arms. “That isn’t important. Am I correct in assuming that you are the famous Professor Rowan, expert on Pokémon evolution?”
“You are,” Rowan said. “To what pleasure do I owe this visit?”
“I’m here to question you on your ethics,” N said. “Is it not true that you sent out trainers on journeys with your machines, the Pokedexes?”
Rowan nodded. “Yes, three apprentices of mine are out on quests with Pokedexes. I believe you may have met one of them outside just now.”
“Is it not true, then, that the goal of owning a Pokedex is to capture Pokémon and record their data?” N continued. Rowan nodded again. “Then this involves forcing hundreds of Pokémon into the captivity of Poke Balls.”
“I suppose so,” Rowan mused. “But Pokémon are not ‘forced’ into captivity, as you put it. They join trainers voluntarily, when they realize that they are trustworthy.”
N scoffed. “Professor, you are a man of science. You would hardly understand the feelings that Pokémon harbor towards humans. They are wild creatures. Have you ever considered that we are not meant to coexist in the same environment?”
“Pokémon and humans have always lived together,” Rowan said. “You are young. Perhaps it’s all in the way you’ve been brought up, but this is not the way things are. We have always been friends with Pokémon. We are symbiotic beings. We live and work together, in harmony.”
N was silenced. He closed his eyes, thinking deeply. He turned to the door once again. “Thank you for your time, Professor. I’d like you to think about what I’ve said.”
“And you do the same,” Rowan said as the boy stepped out of the doors. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a huge dragon Pokémon stood in the street. N scrambled onto its back and it shot into the sky, disappearing in an instant.
The girl from the corner hurried into the lab, her penguin Pokemon right behind her. “Professor Rowan, did you see that?”
“I did, Dawn,” Rowan nodded. “That was Zekrom out there.”
“That means that was him!” Dawn gasped. “That kid who lead Team Plasma in the Unova region!”
Rowan nodded once again. “Yes, it was N. Zekrom is a Pokémon universally feared for its strength, capable of destroying an entire continent with its lightning storms.”
“Then we should do something about it!” Dawn pleaded. “He could do some real damage here in Sinnoh.”
“Empoleon!” her Empoleon growled in agreement.
Rowan shook his head. “No, we must let him be. Aurea has told me all about this one, and she knows he’ll cause no harm to anyone. N will find his own way in the world. Just give him time. Give him time.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “Is this really what we’re doing to Pokemon environments?” He held up his sole Poke Ball and softly whispered to it. “I apologize for my species, dear friend. Had I the power, this land would be yours.”
N paused as he peered up at the towering buildings around him. “Of course, I do have the power. I hold it even now in my hand. But something holds me back.” He sighed and placed Zekrom’s Poke Ball back on his belt. He began walking down the sidewalk, marveling at the architecture. He’d rarely seen any city as large as this one in his time spent in Unova. He’d seen Castelia City on rare occasion, but only the suburbs, which were not enough to leave any lasting impression upon him. Now in Jubilife City, he was having his first real experience in an urban setting.
“This construction of this metropolis had to have caused the destruction of hundreds of Pokemon homes,” he said to himself. “Yet even here in the deepest parts of the city, Pokemon thrive.” As if hearing him, a Shinx strode by him, mewling quietly. He leaned down and scratched it behind the ear, causing it to laugh and skip away merrily. He smiled and continued to look around. A flock of Murkrow perched on a windowsill of a nearby apartment building, crowing raucously at each other. A small group of Drifloon drifted on a gentle breeze and a Munchlax helped itself to the contents of a large dumpster. “These Pokemon are perfectly happy here. Could it be because they enjoy being around humans?”
N struggled inwardly. None of it made sense anymore. All he knew was what he’d been told by Ghetsis, and he wasn’t even sure that was trustworthy after what had happened at the Pokemon League. The champion, Alder, didn’t seem like a bad person. Neither did Cheren nor the other boy, Reshiram’s hero. The one who had been his downfall . . . or had he caused a new beginning? N rubbed his temples. This deep soul-searching was making his head hurt. He needed some time to unwind.
He continued wandering the streets of Jubilife, aimlessly searching for something to occupy his time with. There was a Musical Hall, which had apparently begun expanding from Unova. There had to be something to do in this enormous complex of shopping malls and sports arenas. But still, he could find nothing to satisfy his restlessness.
As he grew close to the edge of the city, N spotted brightly colored banners strung across roadways. There was also an increase in children wandering the streets, laughing and chasing each other. Curious, he continued in the direction of the fanfare until he reached what appeared to be some kind of fairgrounds. There was an enormous striped tent in the center of the pavilion, but N skipped it by without even looking. Circuses appalled him, they always had. It sickened him to see Pokemon reduced to laughing stocks before crowds of ignoramuses who got their enjoyment from others’ misery. What did draw his attention, however, was the towering shape of a Ferris wheel. The stream of memories that flooded back to him was too much to turn away from.
He made his way slowly through the throngs of guests until he reached the line to the Ferris wheel. It was long, and he knew full well that he’d be waiting for an hour or more, but it would be worth it. He was feeling more laid back already.
“Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry!”
N turned around. The voice seemed somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Then, through the crowd, he spotted a blonde head weaving towards the line. He gasped and turned around abruptly.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry!” the girl yelped as she pushed through a group of people. She lost her balance and stumbled into N. “Whoops!” She looked up. “Sorry, sir, I – Hey, don’t I know you?”
“I – I don’t’ think so,” N said hurriedly. “Perhaps you’re thinking of someone –“
The girl snapped her fingers. “That’s it! You’re N, right? I knew I’d met you before!” She straightened her green hat, smiling. “I never forget a face!”
N sighed and lowered his head. “Yes, it’s me. It’s a pleasure to see you again, Bianca.”
“Aw, you remember me!” Bianca beamed. She threw her arms around N, whose face reddened in surprise and embarrassment. “So, how have you been?”
“I’ve been good,” N stuttered as Bianca released her grip on him. “Wandering the world, more or less.”
“That sounds fun,” Bianca said.
N shook his head. “Not as much as you might think. It gets kind of lonely.”
Bianca shrugged. “Well, it’s bound to be. You don’t have any friends to travel with besides the dragon Pokemon.”
“Zekrom?” N said. “Yes, I do have Zekrom, don’t I? I was foolish to forget I still had a friend like it beside me in my travels.”
“So you’re going on the Ferris wheel?” Bianca said suddenly.
N nodded, laughing inwardly at Bianca’s apparent inability to remain on one subject. “Yeah, I was feeling homesick. This makes me think of the time in Nimbasa City when I rode the Ferris wheel with . . . a friend.”
“Sounds like you miss your friend,” Bianca said sympathetically. “I miss my friends too. I haven’t seen them in a couple of months.”
“What are you doing here, anyway?” N inquired. “You’re quite far from Unova yourself.”
Bianca grabbed a Poke Ball off of her belt and a small blue Pokemon with a large fin on its head burst out. “I’m working for Professor Juniper now,” she explained. “She sent me to study Pokemon here in Sinnoh, and when I’m done here, I’m going to the Hoenn region. She gave me this Mudkip to take care of, too.” The Mudkip punctuated the remark with a small squeal.
The two continued talking long into the afternoon. Finally, they found themselves at the front of the line. As the operator showed N to his basket, he turned back to Bianca. “After you.”
Bianca giggled and curtsied. “Thank you, my good sir.” She stepped quickly into the enclosed basket and sat down on the far side. N ducked in after her and chose the seat across from her. Slowly, the wheel rotated and lifted them upward. Soon they were nearing the top, and N was awed by the sight. He could see clear over the tops of many of the skyscrapers. He peered out Bianca’s window and was surprised to spot Sandgem Town on the distant horizon. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Bianca murmured. “Our world is a beautiful place to live in, if you look at it the right way.”
“I can see that from here,” N said. “But what about all of the bad people in the world? No matter where you go, you’ll always find people who will abuse the power of Pokemon for their own nefarious purposes.”
“Like Team Plasma?” Bianca said curtly, with a sharp edge to her voice. N cast his gaze away and she grew remorseful. “Sorry, it just came out. I know you had nothing to do with Team Plasma’s actions.”
N sighed. “That’s exactly the thing. I was their king. They would have done anything I asked. Any member would have laid down his life for me. And yet I allowed them to work away without stop. I was too blind to realize that I was being manipulated, that the entire team was being manipulated. My benevolent ambitions were nothing at all, just the hopeless dreams of a child too dumb to see his mistakes.”
“Don’t talk about yourself like that,” Bianca said. “You’re different than them, than all of them. You care about Pokemon, not like that royal fool Ghetsis. You love Pokemon and they love you back. That’s why Zekrom allowed you to capture and befriend it. Not because of what Ghetsis made you to be. Zekrom picked you because of the pureness of your heart.”
N stared at his shoes, but no words would come to his head. He’d never thought of it like that before. Having somebody like Bianca around to point out his strong points . . . Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing after all. “Bianca,” he said finally. “Tell me. Do you really, truly love your Pokemon?”
“Of course!” she cried. “I’d have them all out in here right now, if it weren’t for the fact that they’d make the basket fall. Emboar, Munny, Muddy, they’re all my best friends in the world! I wouldn’t trade them for anything!”
“That’s good,” N said. “Because of you and your friends, I’ve become convinced that there are humans in the world who truly can live harmoniously with Pokemon.” There was a lurch as the basket returned to the ground. “And I’ll make it my duty to stop those who can’t.”
“So, you are here after all.”
N and Bianca looked up, startled, as they emerged from the Ferris wheel. A man in a brown trench-coat stood before them, glaring at N. “I’d lost the trail, I was beginning to think,” the man said. “But it looks like I was wrong.”
“You . . .” N frowned. “Why are you here?”
“Why indeed?” the man said. “Pursuing you, of course.” He turned to Bianca. “Good afternoon, Miss Bianca.”
“Looker,” Bianca curtsied. “Why are you still after N?”
Looker stared at her as if she’d grown a second head. “He’s a notorious criminal, as you are fully aware. Every significant member of Team Plasma besides him is in custody, Ghetsis notwithstanding.”
“What?” N gasped. “But I thought Ghetsis was arrested at the Pokemon League.” He paused. “No, don’t tell me. The Shadow Triad freed him. Of course, they would never let Cheren and Alder escape without running interference.”
“You seem to know a lot,” Looker said. “Come with me and we’ll be merciful. Ghetsis mislead you, and some leeway may be given you yet.”
N scoffed. “Sure. I have Zekrom, so you’ll never trust me. I have the power to raze cities in my hand, and as long as that’s true, you’ll treat me no different than Ghetsis.” He fingered the Poke Ball on his belt and Looker visibly tensed.
“Don’t do anything you’ll regret,” Looker warned. “You’ll only make it worse on yourself.”
Without warning, there was an explosion of smoke and dirt and the entire area surrounding the Ferris wheel was obscured. Looker whirled around, desperately trying to locate N. There was a sudden hum in the air and a blue glow filtered through the black of the cloud. A second later, Zekrom burst into clear air, with N clutching tightly to its neck. By the time the dust settled, they were already too far away to be clearly seen.
Coughing, Looker turned around to find the source of the explosion. He was astonished to find the hulking figure of an Emboar standing behind Bianca. “Wha . . . Bianca? You did this?”
“I had to,” she said. “You were going to arrest N!”
“He’s a threat to humanity!” Looker argued.
Bianca glared at him. “Perhaps you just need awhile to get to know him. Unlike so many people in the world, he truly cares about Pokemon and their wellbeing. I understand now that that is the reason why Zekrom picked him to be its trainer.”
Looker turned around and began to walk away. “Bianca, I suggest you stay out of International Police matters from now on. I’ll fudge the report this time, but if you pull a stunt like this again, we’ll have to bring you in for assisting a wanted criminal.”
“Bring it on,” Bianca challenged, a dangerous smile playing across her face.
“ ‘Solaceon Town: Free of Worry!’ Perhaps this is the right place for me.”
N rested his head on his arms as he leaned over the wooden fence. He’d come to like this small town of Solaceon that he’d arrived in. In this place, people didn’t ask questions about where strangers were from, though their curiosity was all too obvious. What’s more, this place seemed to be quiet enough that Looker wouldn’t suspect his arrival there. Best of all, the town was very close to nature and all kinds of wild Pokemon could be found.
On the other side of the fence, a Pachirisu chased after a Buneary in a wild game of tag. He laughed at their antics as they rolled over one another and nearly fell into a pond. The keeper of the day care, an elderly woman, sat in a rocking chair on the porch, watching the Pokemon with fondness. It was clear that throughout her many long years she’d grown to love Pokemon as if they were her own children. These were the people that N most enjoyed being around. Solaceon seemed the perfect place to start up his new life.
But on his third day, it all changed.
N lay awake on his bed, staring at the ceiling. His cap hung on the headboard and his long green hair was tangled and messy. He was thinking about the same thing he always contemplated: The immense battle between Zekrom and Reshiram in his castle in Unova, and the hero opposite him. Two legendary heroes: One seeking a strong ideal, and the other seeking the truth. It was ironic, he realized. Along with Zekrom, he’d sought an ideal. Yet now that everything had slipped from his grasp, all he wanted was the truth.
There was a sharp knock at the door and he admitted the innkeeper to enter. “Sir, you’d best leave,” she said quickly. “A man from Team Galactic has appeared in the square and is threatening to destroy the town if we don’t cooperate. I’m suggesting that all guests leave before any lasting harm can come to you.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” he said. “I’ll take my leave.” The innkeeper scurried away to warn the other guests while N quickly gathered his belongings. He slipped his cap onto his head and rushed outside. If this town was to become his new home, he had some business to take care of.
“Bow down before me, pitiful fools! A new reign of terror has come to the Sinnoh region!” A chubby, pink-haired man dressed in black and white stood atop the roof of the town hall. A large quadrupedal Pokemon stood behind him, melting cross-shaped footprints wherever it stood. “I am Charon, and this is the legendary Pokemon of Stark Mountain, Heatran!”
There was a loud murmur of astonishment from the crowd of people gathered at the base of the building. Some of them looked skeptical at the claims of the ranting old man standing above them. “Pah!” a particularly brave soul called out. “You ain’t no Team Galactic-al scoundrel! They all up and vanished months ago! You’re just some poser lookin’ to stir up all us poor farm folks!”
“Imbecile!” Charon snarled. “I control a legendary Pokemon! I could destroy this entire town in fire and brimstone at a moment’s notice! However, I also have plans for the Unown of the ruins, so I will spare you for now. But I first demand your unconditional surrender!”
The townspeople looked back and forth at each other, unsure what to do. Heatran let out a tremendous roar as a manner of accelerating the surrendering process. The people began to hang their heads in submission, much to Charon’s delight.
Then he shrieked in surprise as a Shadow Ball exploded at his feet. Standing in the middle of the road was a green-haired youth with what appeared to be a war-party gathered behind him. There were multiple Bibarel and Staravia, and at their head was a Spiritomb. “Stand down,” the boy demanded.
“Pah!” Charon grunted. “Kids these days! They just have to get in the way no matter what I do!” He pulled four Poke Balls off of his belt and flung them into the air. “Drapion, Rampardos, dispose of this child!”
A pair of large purple scorpions hit the ground first, followed a second later by two dome-headed dinosaurs. “Drap!” the scorpions cried.
“Pardos!” the dinosaurs chorused.
N stood his ground without flinching. “Lend me your aid, friends,” he said to the Pokemon behind him. “Bibarel, use Water Gun!”
“Bibarel!” Four Bibarel rushed forward and unleashed a spray of water at the Rampardos. The two raised their arms upwards to shield themselves, but the torrent still forced them backwards.
“Staravia, attack with Aerial Ace!” N continued. The flock of Staravia dove out of the sky at the Drapion, slamming into them and driving them to the ground.
Charon clenched his teeth and stomped in place. “Don’t just stand there, you buffoons!” he screamed. “Attack! Cross Poison and Head Smash!”
On command, Charon’s Pokemon bounded forward. The Staravia were scattered in all directions as the Drapion slashed upwards. Meanwhile, the Rampardos charged through the spray of Water Gun and tackled the Bibarel full on. N gritted his teeth as his allies rushed back to avoid further damage. “Don’t give up yet, friends! Use Return!”
The wild Pokemon all grouped together, with Spiritomb at the lead and the Bibarel and Staravia right behind it. A white glow surrounded them as they charged forward in a stampede. They overcame the Drapion and Rampardos in an instant, smashing them into the ground and rendering them incapacitated.
Charon pulled at his hair as he called his Pokemon back to their Poke Balls. “Okay, that’s the last straw, you little twerp!” he screamed. “I didn’t want to do this, but you’ve forced my hand! Heatran, go and get him!”
“Tran!” Heatran roared. With outstanding agility, it leapt from the roof and landed in the middle of the road. It glared at N and unleashed a powerful Flamethrower. Spiritomb moved in front of N, putting up a Protect bubble as it did so. The flames licked around the bubble, but didn’t break through.
“Hold on, friends!” N said. “Use Water Gun and Whirlwind!”
The Bibarel and Staravia rushed into action, blasting the intense wave of flame with their own blasts of water and gusts of wind. At first, the attacks were evenly matched, but eventually, the Flamethrower began to give way and Heatran was forced to stand down or be hit by the combined force of the attacks.
“Who is this kid?” one of the townspeople whispered.
His wife shrugged. “He’s from out of town. He got a room at the inn a couple of days ago, but nobody’s ever talked at him.”
“I’ll say,” the day care owner said. “He watches the Pokemon play every day, but he never says a word. He must have a lot on his mind.”
A young boy smiled widely. “Well, I don’t care who he is! He’s fighting awesomely! We could’ve used a hero like him the first time Team Galactic came around.”
Charon scowled as he realized that his grip of fear over the citizens was slipping. “No mercy, Heatran!” he ordered. “Use Magma Storm!”
“Hea . . .” Heatran’s body began to glow crimson and intense heat began to radiate from its body. The ground began to melt away beneath its feet. N braced himself for the impact that he knew was coming. With the sound of a volcano erupting, Heatran released the energy it had stored. “Traaaaan!!!” A hurricane of heat and flame exploded around it and bore down on N and the wild Pokemon.
“Tomb!” Spiritomb moved into the path of the attack once again and lifted its Protect shield. N and the other Pokemon quickly gathered behind it as the attack hit. All around them, the hot wind roared. The Magma Storm completely engulfed the Protect bubble, surrounding them and leaving them no hope for escape.
N closed his eyes and held one of the Bibarel close to him. “This is very bad,” he said. “Spiritomb won’t hold out forever, and when it goes down, we’ll all get roasted alive!” He searched his head for ideas, but only one came to mind. He released the Bibarel, which looked up at him in curiosity.
“There’s only one thing I can do to save all of you,” N said, more to himself than to the Pokemon. “I’ll have to give up any hope of ever staying here in Solaceon Town, but it’s the only way.” He turned to face the blast. “It’s now or never.”
Charon laughed darkly as N and the Pokemon completely disappeared within the whirling Magma Storm. “This is what you’ll get if you stand against me!” he said to the townspeople. “You may be able to resist me for a minute or two, but in the end, you will be overwhelmed! I’m no Cyrus, I’ll admit. I don’t have a deity to fight for me. But there is still no trainer in the world who owns a Pokemon capable of standing against my Heatran!”
Suddenly, the Magma Storm exploded outwards and a tremendous roar shook the very earth. A bolt of pure white energy rocketed straight upwards into the sky and radiated outwards in sparkling shockwaves, followed a moment later by a rumble of thunder deep enough to dislodge multiple chunks of masonry from the roof of Town Hall. Charon stumbled forward and nearly fell, only barely grasping onto the edge of the gutter.
As the explosion of energy faded, the towering figure of Zekrom appeared from the gloom. The wild Pokemon fled in terror and the townspeople gasped.
“Th – that’s the legendary Pokemon!”
“Zekrom! I can’t believe this!”
“Then that means this child is . . .”
Heatran began to back away, but N didn’t give it a second chance. “Fusion Bolt,” he said calmly. Zekrom tail glowed blue and the bolt of energy struck down from the sky once again, crashing directly on top of Heatran and smashing it into the dirt. The force of the impact caused Charon to lose his grip and fall to the grass below. He grunted as the wind was knocked out of his lungs. He tried to sit up, but there was a pain in his chest; a broken rib, he guessed. He craned his head around to see Heatran, unconscious in a crater of its own magma. When he turned back, he found N standing over him.
“Wh-who are you, boy?” he asked.
N spoke loudly so that all of the villagers could hear him. “I am N. I am the king of Team Plasma, the son of Ghetsis, the hero of Zekrom, the one who seeks ideals. I sought to separate the worlds of Pokemon and humans, but that is no longer my wish. I seek the truth and nothing more. I will stand against any who threaten the harmony between us. He who resists shall face the judgment of Zekrom, the Dark Hero.”
“Then it is you,” the day care lady said. “You’re the scourge of the Unova region.”
N looked around, hoping to see a kind face among the crowd. There were none. Not even the boy who had spoken so kindly of him before was happy now.
“I suggest you leave,” the mayor said. “We have no need of your kind in our town. We don’t want trouble from anyone, and who knows what you’ll bring down upon us.”
“I mean you no harm or trouble, I assure you,” N said. “I only want peace in which to contemplate my past . . . and my future, now that I think about it. But I understand your precaution. I shall leave of my own accord.” He turned back to Zekrom and prepared to climb onto its back.
“Stop right there, N. Caught you now, I have.”
N didn’t have to turn around to see who it was. “Agent Looker, it appears that you’ve caught up to me once again.”
“Come quietly,” Looker said, emerging from the crowd. “I’ll make this as easy for you as possible.”
“Why do you insist on pursuing me like this?” N asked, leaping onto Zekrom’s back. “If I truly were the person you believe I am, I would have wiped you off the face of the planet with Zekrom by now. But I don’t want to interfere with anyone’s lives. All I want is to find the truth.”
“I’ll give you the truth,” Looker said. “Come with me. The Seven Sages, Ghetsis notwithstanding, are in custody already.” He paused. “A piece of truth is what you want? I’ll tell you. You’re not actually Ghetsis’s son.”
N nearly fell off of Zekrom. “Wh-what? How could that be?”
Looker shrugged. “I don’t know. But the six sages in our custody, they believe that Ghetsis is not a father to anyone. You are merely a pawn.”
“This . . . could this be true?” N said quietly. He closed his eyes.
“I frankly don’t care about any of this that you’re going on about,” the mayor said to Looker. “All I want is for this scum to get out of our fair town!”
“Don’t worry, sir, I’ll take him off of your hands,” Looker said. “Where he’s going, no one will have to worry about him.”
N looked up then, tears in his eyes. “You – all of you. You don’t understand. You don’t know what I’ve been through.”
Looker stepped towards him. “Calm down, N, before you – “
“No!” N cried in refusal. Zekrom reacted to his spike in emotion and lashed out suddenly, knocking Looker backwards and leaving a deep gash in his arm. The crowd gasped and a few women hurried over and helped the agent to his feet. N’s breath quickened and he gripped tightly to Zekrom’s neck. “Zekrom, fly!”
In a flash, Zekrom lifted into the air, leaving the once-peaceful Solaceon Town far behind. N hugged tightly to Zekrom’s neck and leaned his head against it. He closed his eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep, tears still leaking through his eyelids.
“Well, this is not good,” Looker said as a nurse wrapped a cloth around his wounded arm. “But I can catch him another day.” He looked to the nurse and smiled. “Thank you, miss.”
“Of course, sir.”
Looker paused, sure that he’d forgotten something. He abruptly remembered as he saw Charon hobbling slowly down the road in the other direction. “Old buddy Charon, wait up!” He walked slowly after Charon, who seemed to have a hard time staying mobile. Eventually, he collapsed in the road.
“Okay, okay, you win!” he gasped. “Just arrest me already. And get me a doctor.”
“But of course,” Looker said. “I’m still not sure how you escaped from our custody, though.”
Charon grinned. “Let’s just say that an Abra has no business working as a high-security prison guard.”
Looker scratched his chin. “Abra makes a good guard during the three hours a day that it’s awake, but I get your point.” He dragged Charon to his feet by his collar. “Now, let’s get you back to your nice cozy prison cell. I’m sure that Kincaid has missed having you to talk to.”
“Him?” Charon paled. “No, not Kincaid, anyone but Kincaid! You can’t put me with that prima donna! I’ll never get the hairspray out of my clothes!” Looker chuckled under his breath as he snapped on the handcuffs. “No! No! Nooooooo!!!”
It was the same nightmare, the same memory.
The black sky. The roaring wind.
The dragon landed and its rider leapt to the ground.
The deep rumble. The blinding flash.
The people looked up in shock and horror.
The monstrous shadow. The scent of destruction.
The people flee, screaming, just as always. Just as in Sunyshore, and Pastoria, and the other early towns he had visited.
Just as it had always been. Just as it always would be.
N opened his eyes slowly. Sunlight filtered down through the canopy of the trees and fell across him, warming his body. Nearby, Zekrom sat, keeping a silent vigil. He sat up, trying to remember what had occurred the previous day. This was the Berry Forest, he realized. The memories slowly flowed back. After flying for hours on end, Zekrom had finally tired out and landed in the nearby Sevii Islands. More specifically, in the Berry Forest on Kin Island.
“Good morning, friend,” N said, stretching. “I trust you had a restful night’s sleep?” Zekrom made no sound, but simply stared off into space. “I see. Well, we’d best be moving. I’ll need to stock up on provisions in the nearest village.”
Together, the two set off through the forest. The wild Pokemon gave them a wide berth and there were no humans in sight. Eventually, they reached the edge of the forest. A road led off into the distance, where N was sure he’d find the village of Three Island. “Not far now, friend,” he said, and then stopped as a recurring idea popped into his head. For a while now, the thought had haunted him, but he just couldn’t shake it. He had to release it into the air, no matter how he felt.
“Zekrom, are you happy with me?”
There was no noise. Zekrom merely closed its eyes and bowed its head down to its trainer’s level.
“Thank you, friend, that means a lot to me,” N said. “But it doesn’t change what I’m about to say. We are hated, Zekrom. Well, not you, but me. I am hated for what I did with Team Plasma. You are feared because of your untamed power, but people don’t blame you. They blame me for manipulating you.” He sighed and wiped his eye with the back of his hand. Zekrom remained silent.
“But despite this, your image is tarnished by your staying with me. As long as you remain with me, humans will still see you as the enemy.” N turned back to the dragon. “So I believe that we must part ways.”
Zekrom did not show any sign of reaction. Instead, it rose to its full height, towering above the child before it. “I don’t want to leave, my friend,” N said. “But as long as we are together, we are in exile. When you leave, I will become nothing. People will accept me, then. I won’t be a threat.” He held out his Poke Ball. “I release you, Zekrom. You are a free Pokemon once again.” There was a burst of blue light from the Poke Ball, which surrounded Zekrom for a brief moment before dissipating. “You are no longer bound by me.” N turned and began to walk away across the bridge leading to the other side of the island. He did the best he could to hide the tears rolling down his cheeks. When he glanced backwards, he could see that Zekrom still stood at the edge of the forest. “Didn’t you hear me?” he screamed. “Get out of here! Can’t you see that you’re not wanted anymore?” He pulled back his arm and threw the Poke Ball as hard as he could. It bounced harmlessly off of Zekrom’s shoulder and rolled away through the grass. N spun around and began running away as quickly as he could. When he reached the other side of the bridge, he turned back one final time.
Zekrom was gone.
Satisfied, N continued on his way towards the village. He pulled down his cap so that the bill covered his tear-filled eyes. He didn’t need any curious passers-by disturbing his meditation.
(Continued in the next post)