This is a story for Pokemon X and Y that is somewhat related to an older fic of mine, Pokemon Mage Ruby. I say 'somewhat' because there's differences, sort of like between the various editions of Dungeons and Dragons. Same basic concepts, but the rules are different. With all that happens in this generation of Pokemon games, making this story magic-based made sense.
Content warnings: There is blood and death involved; no gory descriptions but there might be occasional points of squeamishness (I'm very squeamish, though, so it might not be so bad). There's also some religious material and extremist views.
PM list: scizorstrike, Ga'Hooleone
Glitter and shine lovely Kalos,
Show me your dark and bloody heart.
Golden mask hides a face of fear,
Silver words tell a tale of hate.
Live in the moment, the past hurts,
Life is cruel, death is instant
A black flower blooms.
Chapter One: Pop Quiz
How should I begin? In most conversations, people talk only about the big event. But really, if I started with that, you wouldn't really understand how I felt or what I was doing. Or even what was going on, because so much was not what it seemed. To understand all that, events of the years before that time should be told.
I suppose the best place to start is the day I moved into the old house in Vaniville, when I was eleven. That was the first time I had been in Kalos ever, having moved in from across the ocean. While I thought the move alone was a huge change, an even bigger disruption to my life was waiting for its change to spring at me.
It was not the right time of day. The sun was in the wrong place. The air wasn't right. The house wasn't right. Even the bed wasn't right. All in all, it was the feeling over being thrown totally out of place, nothing familiar, everything new... it was jet lag.
“Tweeeeeetwitwitwitwiiiii!” a cheery Pokemon chirp came from the window.
“Nurrggaah,” Calem replied, trying for a moment to cover his ears with the pillow. But the Pokemon kept singing away. Resigning to put off his nap, he slapped the pillow aside and sat up to look around the room. It was unnervingly empty, not even filled with boxes. There was a pink wall filled with orange shelves and drawers, a whole line of storage with nothing inside but some replacement screws. And the bed he was on had floral patterned yellow sheets that had been on when he arrived. Awfully bright and girly; he'd need to change that before anyone outside his family came to see this.
Because this was his room and he was not going to have people think he was secretly girly.
His room. It was something he had yet to convince himself that it was real. His room was half a world away. And this, it wasn't settled in his mind as the replacement. But he had to accept it. They'd already moved out here and there was no going back. Getting it repainted would help it feel more like his. Maybe dark blue and gray. Or white and green, just anything but this arrangement of pink, orange, and yellow.
Something bugged him, like he was being watched. He looked over at the window and for a moment, he thought he saw a black flower sitting on his windowsill. But as soon as he blinked, it was gone. “Calem?” His father's voice boomed and echoed through the empty halls, along with many footsteps.
“I'm up,” he said, getting to his feet. “Not that I want to be,” he added in a mutter.
“Skkkkkzza.” A red blur zoomed through the doorway, followed by a loud clank as a Scizor landed with some boxes.
“Thanks,” he said to his father's Pokemon.
A moment later, his father showed up in the doorway, packing a smaller box. He was a tall lanky man in every way; even his straight black hair fit 'lanky'. “Sorry, I know it's been a rough move,” he said, putting the box on top of the others. “But there's some kids your age gathering in the center of town. Good thing; I wasn't sure how many friends you could make in a tiny town like this. Want to go see what's up and meet your neighbors?”
Calem scratched his head. He wouldn't mind it so much if he hadn't just tried to lay down for a nap. Now he was wearing down from the constant activity and traveling for many hours. “Guess it couldn't hurt.” Unless he was imagining things with that black flower. Then it might be trouble.
“Make sure you put on some fresh clothes and brush your hair,” his mother said as she walked by.
“Okay Mom,” he said, getting out of bed.
“This should be your clothes,” his father said. “Don't worry, we'll handle sorting the boxes. Mary! Where's the holocaster?” He walked out, followed by his Scizor.
Calem stretched as he listened to his parents. “You were the one who packed it, weren't you? It should have filed under electronics. But I'd like to get the kitchen set up first.”
“I was hoping to tune in to the local news.” Meanwhile, Calem opened up the box and grabbed the first change of clothes he could reach: dark jeans, black shirt, blue jacket. His shoes from earlier, kicked against the wall, would be fine.
“It's early afternoon here, so it might not be on unless you get the dedicated news channel for Kalos.”
Right, afternoon when he was used to it being early in the morning. Grumbling about jet lag, he brushed down his hair with his hands, figuring that was good enough under the a baseball cap. Maybe he should have taken a nap like his parents had during the flight (he'd been too engrossed in a video game, Ash Kicksbutt the Tyrogue in the Lost Temple of Doom) “Hope the locals are friendly,” he said to himself.
“Oh, Calem?” His mother caught him at the bottom of the stairs. A Machoke from the moving company was working near her. “Could you pick up a newspaper while you're out? I'm not sure how much it'll be, but this should cover it.” She passed him a few bills of Poke.
It was a bit much for just a newspaper, unless such things were absurdly expensive over here. “Sure thing,” Calem said, accepting it and tucking the money into his jacket pocket.
“Thanks! And be sure to be nice to any cute girls you might meet. You never know.” She winked and headed off to sort things in the kitchen. Calem simply rolled his eyes as he grabbed his bag and left the house.
So, this was Kalos. It was totally the wrong time of day, his mind complained; he didn't have enough sleep to run on. But, a quick chat with his new neighbors shouldn't take long. To be honest, he was glad that there would be other teenagers around. His first impression of Vaniville was of a pretty but old town, filled with heirloom gardens surrounded by stone fences. Classy yet low key. It took money or inheritance to be here, he would guess. Inheritance in his case, although he would rather have his great-grandmother back. On his first impression, he thought the people here would be older, without many kids.
Not far from their new house, there was a town garden filled with all sorts of flowers. Due to it being late summer, the flowerbeds were more green than anything, although there were still many colorful flowers that he wasn't sure what to call. No black ones; he must have been imagining things. A number of teenagers and pre-teens were gathered around those gardens, talking in their various clique clusters. On watching them a few minutes, Calem had second thoughts on introducing himself; something was going on and he wasn't sure if he needed to be invited. Since he'd been asked to buy a paper, he looked around to see where he might find one.
A short girl in pigtails came running down one of the cobblestone streets. “There you all are!” she called. “Things are getting started and you're going to be late if you don't come. Come on, come on!” The groups began heading down the path she had come from. Calem tried to pass through to find a newspaper box, but the girl spotted him and grabbed his arm. “Yeah, you too!”
“I guess, but what's...” he wanted to know what was happening, but the pigtailed girl nodded at his second word and ran back the way she had come. Maybe this didn't need an invitation. He scratched his head, then followed after the others.
“You don't sound like you're from around here,” another girl said, coming up from behind to walk at his side.
“I’m not,” he said, glancing at her and immediately feeling dazzled that she would talk to him without knowing who he was. A little taller than him but probably the same age, she had thick honey blond hair down to her waist and gray eyes like an overcast sky. She wore a red and black sleeveless dress with a white silk scarf, red felt hat, and white sunglasses sitting on the hat; low-key but it managed to look amazing on her. Not wanting to be rude and stare, he glanced aside at the stone gate they were walking through. “You don't sound like the locals either.”
She gave a charming smile to that, one that he'd expect from a movie star. “Not from this area of Kalos. I'm from elsewhere in the region, visiting family this week. But you don't sound like anybody in the region.”
“I moved here recently,” he said, wondering if he should mention that he'd only been in Kalos a couple of hours. “I'm Calem.”
She nodded. “Ah, then welcome Calem. I'm Serena. Good thing you got news of this.”
They were now walking along a tree-lined lane, surrounded with flowering bushes. Since there were no patches of tall grass where Pokemon might be hiding, he guessed they were just walking on a fancy path to another part of town. Maybe Vaniville was a bigger place than it had seemed when he and his parents had arrived from the airport to the south. “Yeah, about that. What is going on?”
“You don't know?” When he nodded, Serena tilted her head. “Hm, well... you'll want to come if you want to train Pokemon and use magic eventually.”
Calem raised his eyebrows at that. “Licensing tests? Huh, we did those in school back in my old region. I already passed them, but I guess it couldn't hurt to take the tests for this region and make sure they're legal.”
“Yeah!” she said, smiling again. “Oh, but there's three parts to it: the written exam, the practical exam, and a short interview.”
“Interview?” Calem thought that was odd.
But he didn't get long to consider it before Serena took his arm. “Hey, I can help you with the practical part. I mean, you can do it alone, but it works better with a small group. It's probably nothing like what you did before. Please?” She gave him a pleading look that was hard to resist.
Not that he was going to try. “Uh, sure thing, thanks,” he said. “What are the exams going to be like?”
“Don't worry about it,” she said, happy to be helping. “If you've already passed them before, this shouldn't be a big deal. Oh, you do know magic, don't you?”
Calem nodded. “Yeah, I've been studying it early. I don't know a lot of spells, but I know some good ones.”
“Great! Let's hurry up and get things done!” She hurried along down the lane.
And once she was away, he saw a black flower in the bushes. Calem paused, but all it took was another blink to lose it. But it had been there, he was sure of it. And, he was sure to get left behind if he didn't hurry up. “W-wait up! Serena!” Calem ran after her.
Past the lane, they came to a more modern-looking area. Tall brick buildings held small stores on floor level and presumably apartments overhead. There were even more kids and teens around here, taking these tests at many cafe tables gathered on either side of a stone staircase heading down. A fountain sat in the plaza below. Past that, there was a beautiful old bridge made of brick and iron standing over a serene river. Earlier he'd been too distracted to notice, but the Kalos landscape, at least what he'd seen so far, was gorgeous.
It wasn't long before he was distracted again from his new surroundings. The adults who were supervising the exams directed the new arrivals to empty tables, then handed them a pencil and test packet. Calem ended up at a table with Serena, the pigtailed girl from earlier, one large boy, and one small boy. Also with the group was one Pokemon, a gray feline with scruffy fur and eerie wide eyes, standing on two legs next to the small boy.
“This is a timed test, with the practical portion following immediately after,” the administrator near them said. “Go down the stairs for that portion. Someone will be along to start your time soon. For now, you can fill out the first page with your personal information. The nearby cafe is also offering free drinks to participants, so someone should be around soon with that.”
“All right!” the pigtailed girl said, grinning and bouncing in her seat. “I wanted one anyhow.”
“Probably because you've been running around calling people,” the larger boy teased her.
“Well we don't want people left out, huh?”
Opening up the packet, Calem found a registration form right on top of a pack of papers stapled together. It was a standard form: name, age, gender, address, basic information like that. It did want to know if he'd tried for a Pokemon training license before. As it didn't have the same amount of digits, he had to make some notes on his foreign license number (as well as double-check his new address). Also, it asked if he had magic training previously. Calem had to check off 'a little, not enough for a license' and 'taught by parents' for that.
He got done with the form as the pigtailed girl put her pencil down and leaned forward. “Hey, who are you two? The three of us are friends; we came in from Lumiose City, I'm Shauna, and this is Trevor, and this is Tierno.”
“I'm Calem,” he said, looking at the three. Maybe he'd met them again, maybe not, but it was good to set in his mind that the smaller orange-haired boy was Trevor and the large brown-haired boy was Tierno. “I just moved into Vaniville; nice to meet you three.”
“I'm Serena, from, around.” She folded her arms neatly at the edge of the circular table. “But isn't Lumiose a bit far to come here to take the exams? You could've just taken them there in Lumiose.”
“We came out here to make it an adventure!” Shauna said, clapping her hands together.
“The Lumiose exams are swamped,” Trevor said, in a quiet tone. The way his shoulders were hunched, he didn't seem entirely comfortable with people he didn't know at the table.
Tierno nodded. “Yeah, every year the building is jam-packed and it's crazy trying to get around. This is a lot less hectic. Plus, we're hoping for some extra consideration because we helped the test administrators come down here.”
Shauna nodded much more enthusiastically. “Yup, cause this year, they're gonna give out Pokemon to the top kids that impress the staff! Sure, there'd be more chances in Lumiose, but we helped them already and we might get a better chance here.”
“That's clever,” Serena said.
“Hey kids, what would you like to drink?” a waitress said as she stopped by their table. In one hand, she carried a tray that had a rotating lid. “There's water, soda, or one of our cafe drinks, one free of charge for all of you.”
“Chocolate chaud, please!” Shauna said immediately.
“I'd like a cola,” Tierno said.
“I'll take a water,” Serena said.
“Me too, the water please,” Trevor said.
“All right,” the waitress said, spinning the lid around and getting exactly the drinks they wanted, a mug for Shauna but clear glasses for the rest. “And you?”
“Err,” Calem said, rubbing his head. He would like something to wake up better with, but if he was going to be taking a test on paper, it might be better to have water.
“Here, I'll give you this,” she said, rotating the tray's lid to give him a mug with a steaming drink. “Looks like you could use it.”
“Thanks,” he said, glancing at the light brown liquid inside before taking a sip to test it. Then he recognized the smell as being coffee, with some milk and sugar from the taste of it. He'd not had coffee before, but once he got used to it, it wasn't bad.
They didn't get any longer to talk once the waitress left them, as one of the test administrators came to their table. “You have one hour to complete as many questions as you can,” he said. “Feel free to skip questions if you need to and make sure that your answers are legible. Ready?”
Calem thought of asking for a couple more minutes to call his parents. He'd been sent out just to say hello to the kids and get a newspaper. Instead, he was over here taking some kind of test he was unprepared for. But before he could decide on speaking up, the other four nodded in agreement and the administrator set a timer on their table. Calem flipped over the registration form page to start the test with the rest of them.
After a quick scan of the pages, he noted that the questions seemed to be all over the place in terms of subject: math, spelling, magic, grammar, history, science. Once he got going, he had to skip several questions about Kalos' history, government, and social structures. Even though they looked simple, he didn't know what answers would be right. The math questions could be explained as being able to budget adequately for a Pokemon's needs, while the magic and science could be related to their care. But the language questions weren't even related to Pokemon, as were several other questions among the others. Why was all this being asked for getting a license to train Pokemon or use magic?
But Calem didn't have long to think over that conundrum as the test was being timed. After the initial five pages, he ran into some reading comprehension questions. Two of them were about Pokemon, but the third?
'To Melchior Roland de Kalos, the twelfth king of the Kalos lineage, two sons were born: Aleksander Zachariah de Kalos, often referred to as AZ, and Leonidas Lysandre de Kalos. The elder son was born with several unusual traits, including incredible intelligence and an atypical case of excessive physical growth, but AZ was still deemed worthy of the divine right of inheriting his father's throne. He was given a strict and rigorous education that often kept him apart from his peers. In contrast, the younger son lacked any distinguishing physical characteristics. He did get a mind of above average intelligence and cunning, as well as a more lax education that brought him into contact with many youths of the nobility. Yet even in mental feats, Leonidas lagged behind the other men of his family and thus grew a hidden seed of jealousy, in particular towards his exceptional brother.'
The questions weren't hard to figure out, but Calem wondered briefly if the bit of Kalos history mattered or if it was just gauging his literacy.
Then there were short answer questions about magic. These weren't hard to answer, at least for himself. Even though his parents weren't the most accomplished of magic users, they never held back on answering Calem's questions about magic or showing him a few tricks that even a novice could use. Plus there were the many books on magic in the family's possession; a number were still too tough for him to understand, but others gave him an head start on magic studies.
Getting to the end of the test booklet with a few minutes to spare, Calem flipped back through to see if there were any skipped ones that he could make a quick attempt to answer. He noticed that both Trevor and Serena were doing the same, while Tierno and Shauna were still working on getting to the end. Trevor was the first to put down his pencil and close the booklet, sitting back for five minutes to unwind. Not long after, Serena stopped as well, with Calem deciding to close his test a minute before the timer went off.
The administrator was by their table not long after. “Time's up,” he said. “You five need to head down to the lower plaza for the practical exam. It will be recorded for review by the acceptance board, so don't bother those with the cameras.”
“Acceptance board?” Calem murmured.
But his puzzlement was blocked out by Shauna's cheering. “Wooo, come on Trevs, Tierno, let's go show 'em what we've got!”
“Yeah!” Tierno said, getting out of his seat with the other two and hurrying down the nearby stairs.
“Hmm, I wonder what they're up to,” Serena said, getting out of her seat in less of a hurry. “They certainly seem excited for it.”
“Yeah,” Calem agreed, getting up as well. It seemed they were the last group to be tested, as the administrator stood there making notes on the test packets. He followed after the man to ask, “Excuse me, but do you know where I can buy a local paper?”
He nodded and pointed to the cafe's main window. “Sure, they hold onto a stack to sell to customers. Hopefully they have some left.”
“Right, thanks.” He went over to get one. Before long, Serena tagged along. “So, what are we doing?”
As they got in line to wait, she shrugged. “I've got nothing planned. I figured we'd just go with a demonstration battle.”
A battle made sense for getting a trainer's license. They'd probably do the same thing that his old school had done: give them some Pokemon to battle and show that they understood what to do. When he got the paper and headed to the stairs, he looked over what the others were doing. There were several groups involved in Pokemon battles down below, mostly pairs but there was one set of doubles between four teens and their Pokemon going on. On the far end, there was one group that seemed to be using a magic demonstration instead.
Then the trio of Shauna, Trevor, and Tierno went up to the next free administrator for their practical test. But they weren't prepared for a battle. Trevor brought out a flute along with a few other items while Tierno explained. The distance and hubbub made him hard to pick out. “So we... a big part of... a bond with... We don't have... but... call on to show... made of!” When the administrator nodded, Tierno then put his hand to his mouth and gave a loud whistle.
Dozens of small black and red Pokemon came to his call, twittering with an excitement that made Calem recognize them as the same as the one that had kept him from napping earlier. “What Pokemon are those?” he asked as Tierno hushed the flock (and much of the surrounding crowd in wonder of it all) with the raising of his hands.
“Fletchlings,” Serena said. “Really common in this area. Huh, you really haven't been in Kalos for long.”
“You got that right,” Calem said. “And, what about that feline that boy... Trevor has?”
“It's an Espurr,” she said. “That one's uncommon to see, though you often see them with... hmm...”
“What about it?”
“Nothing we should worry about, I hope,” she said, right as the group began their performance. “They're of the Psychic type.”
Considering that all those Fletchlings seemed to be wild, what happened next was remarkable. Tierno led the whole group in a song and dance number. The Espurr had the flute levitated while Trevor manipulated it through magic to create a song to go with the Fletchling chorus. That alone was impressive, but then so was Tierno being able to direct the wild Pokemon into something that was almost practiced. Meanwhile, Shauna took center stage among the Fletchlings, being the lead voice, dancer, and special effects artist as she made the air shimmer.
“And they were worried about being crowded out in another city?” Calem asked quietly. “I'm sure they could've stolen the show with that act anywhere.”
Serena shrugged. “Well if they're after the gift Pokemon, it was still a clever decision to come here. They'll certainly be getting those with this.”
There were cheers and clapping when they were done. Calem didn't get a chance to hear what the administrators said to them because another one called out, “Has everyone here gone through the practical test?”
“We haven't!” Serena called, grabbing Calem's hand and raising it with hers. Then she dropped his hand to go over; he had to walk quickly to follow her. “Sorry, but I think everyone got captivated by that.”
“Seems so,” she said, glancing around. Not seeing any others answering her question, she nodded to them. “All right, give me your names and what you would like for the practical demonstration.”
“I'm Calem,” he said, thinking about asking for some explanation of what they were looking for.
“And I'm Serena,” she said, with a bow of her head. “We were thinking of just doing a battle.”
The test administrator checked a tablet she had, then nodded. “Okay then, Calem and Serena... battles for practical demonstration are limited to three minutes and will be stopped in case of major injury. You're to fight with what Pokemon you have; anything you can do goes, just consider that we need to see you at your best capabilities. You two do have Pokemon, right?”
“I don't,” Calem said. At one point, he had been into catching Bug types, battling them for a bit, then letting them go to catch more. It had been a popular things to do with the kids in his neighborhood.
The administrator made a note and asked, “Any type preferences?”
“Bug, Normal, or Water,” he said. “I'm most familiar with those.”
“Okay, I'll let you borrow this Water-typed Froakie.” She handed him an all-white Pokeball. “Let me know when you're ready.”
“Um, I have a large Pokemon, so we need more space,” Serena said quickly. Calem was busy looking at the status screen of the ball to figure out what this Pokemon could do.
“Sure enough,” the woman said, then called for people to clear out of their way.
Taking a few steps away, Calem pressed the release button. What came out was a frog Pokemon, blue-skinned with white markings. Oddly, there was a white fluff that went around her neck and down her back. Her yellow eyes watched him but were difficult to read.
“I'm not entirely sure what's going on,” Calem said quietly. “But looks like we're battling together. Hope you're okay with that.”
The Froakie croaked, probably fine with it. Maybe she'd even fought with others. He then indicated to the administrator that he was ready.
Then there was a loud roar and the pounding of large feet hitting the sidewalk. Everyone's attention went to Serena, now standing alongside her Pokemon: a Rhyperior, standing on its hind feet with its stony skin almost matching the stone pavement. While he felt intimidated, he felt further amazed at this girl. Just who was she to have a strong Pokemon like that? And... how was he and the Froakie supposed to fight that? There was a type advantage, but the difference of strength could easily overcome that.
“Okay... Serena and Calem at ready!” the test administrator said, getting him to brace himself for this. “Three minutes on the clock. And set... battle!”
“Magnitude!” Serena called, tracing a symbol into the air. Then it really was anything goes, and he happened to get an opponent who actually knew what she was doing in a magic battle.
Unfortunately for her, so did he. “Froakie, use Growl,” he ordered, focusing his mind to casting. With a sweep of his arms and a twirl around, he and the Froakie managed to cast their spells before the other two. The sky overhead darkened and quickly turned to rain, making it easier to see the glimmer of the Froakie's spell affecting Serena and her Rhyperior.
At least for others, they would have an easier time seeing. Calem's awareness sharpened dramatically as usual; he focused on what Serena and the Rhyperior were doing. The latter was preparing Magnitude, something that was luck-based on how effective it was. However, the spell Serena was now casting would better the odds of luck-based spells. There wasn't a chance for himself or the Froakie to take out either the Rhyperior or Serena. Thus, their best shot was using the Rhyperior's slowness to outlast them.
He grabbed the Froakie and jumped right at the moment Magnitude struck at its best strength. Since they weren't on the ground for that, its damage was lessened a little. His legs felt wobbly and his knees hurt when he landed. “Sorry,” he said quietly to the startled Pokemon in his hands. “Keep at Growl, we just need to last three minutes. I'll do what I can.”
The Froakie calmed down and nodded, so he put her back down. While she worked at lessening their attack power, Calem cast Wide Guard to catch the next Magnitude. Across the way, Serena's expression was deadly serious, caught off guard. She said something to her Pokemon then cast Magnitude herself, breaking the Wide Guard. Then he saw the Rhyperior hurling rocks at them, and suddenly it was all pain and darkness.
While the pain didn't last, the darkness did. A black flower about as big as his hands put together was floating in the air; it looked like a lily. The flower tilted back, revealing a tiny Pokemon clutching the flower's stem. Meeting his gaze, the Pokemon's flower quivered. “You weren't supposed to see me,” he said timidly.
“Uuhhh,” the Pokemon looked down, white parts of his face turning pink. “Chi-chirp?”
“I know I heard you speak,” Calem said, glancing around at the darkness surrounding them. He didn't even see the pavement. “Where are we?”
“We're not really anywhere but where we were,” the Pokemon said, giving up on pretending normalcy. “You're not normally aware on this level.”
Then there was a pop by Calem's feet and the Froakie appeared. Now she seemed fearful “Kid! Don't die!”
“I'm not dead,” he said, scratching her head. “At least I don't think I am. And now I can understand you too.”
“Don't worry,” the flower Pokemon said. “He's not dead. I... made sure of that.” He shifted his flower, looking ashamed. “I hope that wasn't fated. It was a terrible accident and I acted without thinking.”
“It would have been a great shame if you had died from my fault,” the Froakie said, relieved.
“It wouldn't have been your fault,” Calem told her. “But... you, um, flower Pokemon, thank you for saving...” Then a scream ripped through the air; it reminded him vaguely of an Aerodactyl shrieking in anger when Taunted in battle, yet it sent a feeling of terror into his bones. “Wh-what was that?”
The odd Pokemon gripped his black flower tightly and closed his eyes. “Oh no, not him. You two, go!” He flung one of his small arms out, repelling them with unexpectedly powerful magical force. But Calem had already looked up to the source of the scream, the wings of Death incarnate.
Next thing he knew, his heart was racing and his head was pounding as he sat up on a camping bed. He nearly hit the Froakie doing that; she was snuggled next to him, just waking up too. Before long, a man put his hands on his shoulders. “Whoa, calm down there. You need to rest for a bit more.”
“Wha-what happened?” he asked, still feeling terrified. His mind was trying to grasp the other being that he'd seen, but all he could think of was the letter Y. It was like that.
“You got hit in the head during the test battle,” he said. “You've got a powerful healing spell working on you, so stay there until it's done.”
“Okay,” he said, looking down at the Froakie. “Did you see that black flower too?”
The healer seemed puzzled, but the little frog seemed to agree and croaked. But he couldn't understand her anymore. Calem petted her, then lay back down and waited. Using a magic glass attached to a computer, the healer looked over him, then said, “There's a few of the other kids who wanted to talk with you, if you don't mind. The staff wanted to talk to you too.”
“Uh, sure,” Calem said. “I’m not all that tired right now,” probably due to the coffee, “but I am a bit confused.”
“That's understandable. Hopefully you can get back yourself home.” The healer then left and called for his visitors.
It was Serena and three other kids that had tested with him. “Good to see you awaken again,” Shauna said cheerfully. “That was scary.”
“It's a risk for battling like that,” Calem said. “But I think they assume that none of us will be skilled enough to get in a dangerous position.”
“I'm sorry about that,” Serena said, giving a low bow. “I've been able to get by with just using the support spells to impress people. When you actually matched us, we got a little carried away.”
“Rhhhyyyooo,” her Pokemon said, somehow taking the form of an orb of light near her.
'I nearly died,' Calem thought in a brief anger. However, she hadn't shown any inkling that she might want him dead. Maybe she had tricked him by not fully explaining things, but he didn't think she was malicious by any means. Besides, she looked really upset and he didn't like having a girl upset about him. “I understand,” he said. “I was going by the statement that anything goes.”
“Hey, but you did well enough to impress them,” Tierno said. “You even got picked as one of the five who got the free Pokemon, so this Froakie can go with you.”
“What, really?” he asked, puzzled as Serena handed the white Premier Ball back to him. “I lost.”
“I think it's because you used a pair of spells that are usually tough for novices to handle,” Trevor said. “I was certainly surprised; I've tried Rain Dance myself, but couldn't get a drop out of it.”
“Yeah, you two made it look so easy,” Tierno said. “But since you were out cold, you ended up with the last one. She wouldn't leave your side, so we let you have her.”
“Huh.” He looked at the blue frog beside him. “Never seen a Pokemon like you before. But good to meet you.”
Shauna danced in place a little. “Yay, I can tell you'll be good friends. And since you were one of the top five here, you're sure to get into the Lumiose Magic Academy with all of us!”
Academy? “Wait, what?” Calem asked.
On top of a light post nearby, a Floette with a black lily watched the bewildered looks of the five teens as they realized that Calem had no idea that he'd been testing to join one of the most prestigious schools in Kalos. A school in a city where there'd be lots of people. Sighing, the Floette twirled his flower. “I suppose I should,” he said quietly, then waited for a moment when he could speak with the boy alone.
Lesson 1: Basics of Magic (1)
What is magic? The simplest answer is that it is a force that is intertwined with life itself. Living beings create the energy of magic, called aura. In turn, aura can be manipulated to perform many tasks. It even has a function in creating new life, thus creating a vibrant cycle. Passionate debates between philosophers have long been held over whether aura or life existed first.
How magic works can be illustrated as being similar to that of fire.
Fire requires a fuel source to burn, matter to turn into energy. In a similar fashion, magic requires an energy fuel to manifest itself. The fuel of magic, as stated before, is aura which is, in fact, emotional energy. The intensity of the emotions increases the power of the aura produced. Those sensitive to aura will notice that the energy a person produces changes as their feelings change. A lack of emotions will produce weak aura and weak spells, while excessive emotions produce an aura that is so powerful and chaotic that any spell they use will be uncontrollable.
Fire also requires air to burn, another kind of fuel to strengthen it. Emotions alone will not allow a person to use magic; there must also be intelligence to it. Intelligence forms aura into useable energy. While a creature that has instincts can produce aura, unless it has the intelligence to use it, it will be like a single candle in a dark cavern: noticeable, but barely lighting anything. A person who has not studied magic may be able to use the simplest of spells with some effort, albeit inefficiently. Lessons and practice will allow spells to become more efficient and allow the magic user to use higher level spells. It may seem that knowledge is always a good thing to increase, but there is still danger of excessive knowledge. Some of the most powerful spells in the world are known to drive mortals insane if they attempt to use or even study them, whether the user is human or Pokemon.
The third ingredient needed for a fire is a spark, something to set the fuel and air to ignite together. Similarly, magic requires a spark to actually be used: that spark is willpower. But while a spark is required mostly at the start of a fire, willpower is needed to control and guide a spell; it contributes to the form as well. Willpower also keeps a magic user from using magic unwillingly when their emotions grow strong, so it is important for those who study magic to learn self-control. Without willpower, magic cannot be used at all. Without confidence, a magic user cannot develop. Yet too much restraint from willpower, even too much confidence, can hinder the effectiveness of the spell.
Learning magic is quite often about learning the balance of emotion, intelligence, and willpower.