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Thread: A Million Thoughts in Red and Gold (one-shot, PG-13)

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    Default A Million Thoughts in Red and Gold (one-shot, PG-13)

    If I could have told my younger self anything before he left home, I would say, “You'll see a cave near Cerulean. Ignore it; forget about it if you can. Do whatever else you want, but don't go near that cave.” -Red

    A/N: This is based loosely off some Fridge Horror from the early Pokemon games, so this is a dark and odd story.


    A Million Thoughts in Red and Gold


    White crystals touch skin and turn to tiny kisses of water. Wind is not sharp today, but it nips as a reminder of life. In this realm near the sky, there is little color aside from that which is brought here: the rich yellow of a Pikachu's fur, the faded red of a coat, the lush green, red, and yellow of a Venusaur, mostly the self and friends. Otherwise, it is the gray and silver of rocks, the brown and black of earth, the white... white, white, white, all around, gently falling now from a white-gray sky, but sometimes bombarding downward, sometimes playing up and around, sometimes sitting on the ground not changing. A good deal of it descends the mountain in the spring, but there is always some.

    You ever want to leave this snow behind? You could find a quiet place in a better climate. You've seen such places. Or does your insistence on staying here indicate an unspoken desire to remain numb to your problems?

    Look down at the device in hand. It is resilient, a sphere that fits in a palm. Some violet and red show underneath the gray bindings. Was it a mistake to do this? But the questions aren't exactly what was expected. It could happen again. The eyes close, sending the world of white into a world of black. Memories and thoughts bubble up within, terror and tragedy threatening to drown out all else once again.

    The bindings muffled the world from my notice. I was given what I wanted unexpectedly. But what did you want? What do you want in this?

    Want?

    A scent like a summer garden strokes through the hair. Looking outward, it is Venusaur, concerned and trying to reassure for a smile. But smiles were lost long ago. Pikachu steals a red and white hat to put upon his head, striking an eager pose when it is there. In the mind, it is known that that should be funny. But there is that dark scar in the mind which dampens any mirth. These two, and the others, they have stayed and tried for so long. Try to smile for him. Even if it's hard. Gratitude for them is still there, but happiness is harder to reach.

    Then, back to the device, the Masterball. There is a loose edge in the rough gray bindings. Take that piece of the tape and pull at it to get another piece off. Having been on for at least a year, it grips on stubbornly. But it is coming off. It will come off.

    There is another device here, one that breaks up the voice of the wind with more substantial voices and songs. The radio is also a tough device, as it is a camping model made to endure conditions in any wilderness. Shaped like a brick and about as attractive, some familiar names and voices are plucked from the air with it. Some new names even become familiar. “Joining us today are two famous faces in the Johto and Kanto regions: one of our regulars, the world-renown Professor Oak, and a new star in our regions, recently recognized as the second duo-region Champion, Gold. Congratulations on your great accomplishment.”

    That piece of tape is gone, curling close to the thumb. But it did not leave an obvious grip point for the next. Search for the next loose edge, but listen to the radio as well. That was a good battle commentary to listen to, when Gold won regional championship in the Pokemon Leagues, twice. He deserves it.

    “Thanks, sir.” He has a voice full of youth, yet he does not take pride strongly.

    He is like you, so you feel a kinship to him.


    No... not like. Close, but not like. It does not mean his accomplishments are any less admirable. When trouble came, he did the right thing. The news had come even here, thanks to the radio.

    “What do you plan to do now that you've accomplished something only one other has?”

    “I want to find him. Red, I mean. I had hoped to find him when I was traveling through Kanto, because he really inspired me. There were times when remembering what he did helped me to be brave.”

    “No one has seen Red in a year, though.”

    “I know. But I think I have some good ideas on where to look.”

    That should cause a stop in everything. It nearly causes the heart to stop. Looking for Red? What should be done about that? To be around someone other than the Pokemon would bring back that horrible pain. Gold would be disappointed if he succeeded. He would have to be driven away.

    Are you so certain he would be disappointed? You have been in the silence of this place for so long, away from all others. Do you remember how they feel about you? Do you want to know what they remember about you? Because I can let you hear what their minds think about when they think on you.


    The radio transmission turns to static before it changes. Then it speaks in Oak's voice alone. With that, the current task is forgotten.

    -+-

    Professor Oak

    It was on their last day of school that I decided on it.

    That was an exciting time. All my life, I wanted to know more about Pokemon. But no resource that I had ever found could satisfy my curiosity. There was never a reliable book about all Pokemon; there were too many with old wives' tales left unproven, factual errors. Many years ago, I had decided to create my own resource, with facts and detailed descriptions, of every Pokemon that was out there. I thought it would be a series of books like an encyclopedia, the ultimate index. But then computers caught my attention and in them I found that a more efficient means of storing, comparing, and organizing all the data that I needed. At the time, I was just waiting on the delivery of the prototype models of my life's work, the Pokedex.

    Even at that point, I was a busy man. I had studied more about Pokemon than anyone else alive had done, in a broad range instead of a narrow band of interest. I can't even say when I crossed the line between being made fun of because of my obsession and being held in awe for the exact same thing. Every day, I'd be getting phone calls or emails from colleagues around the world, asking me some question or searching for my opinion. As much as I wanted to, I knew that I could not do the field research myself.

    At first I considered my aides, but they were often as busy as I was, running other errands and assisting me in research. I considered one of the members of the Pokemon League. After all, they were esteemed experts as well. But they were experts for a very few Pokemon, one type or even a small handful of species. I needed a broader range. I needed someone willing to travel, curious to know, and free of obligations. That was how I decided that I should work with novice Trainers, those just setting out to explore our world and learn about Pokemon.

    And it was as I was talking a walk around town that I decided on who specifically to start with. There were my own grandchildren, Blue and Daisy. However, Daisy didn't have an inclination to travel yet, and Blue... well, my daughter had spoiled him. In a way, I don't blame her. During the Great War, I lost my wife, my two sons and another daughter, and an older grandson. The last had only been eleven when he ended up on a battlefield among the bodies. A horrific time; I'm so grateful the world seems to have moved on from its sick fascination with war.

    I had come by the graveyard near Pallet Town, thinking of visiting the memorial for my family members. And I saw Red there, our neighbor. He and Blue have known each other since they were infants, seemingly friends right from the start. Red was a quiet boy, very studious and kind. That afternoon, he was sitting in front of one of the more recent graves, that of his father.

    Red's father... oh, he was said to be a great man, a great Trainer of Pokemon. Which in those days meant that he had survived many battles. He and his Pokemon team had defended the city of Viridian all on their own when a surprise attack force appeared, hoping to cut off ties between Kanto and Johto. He spent the years after the war in Pallet Town, refusing to fight any more and supporting the peace movement. He had even been against the formation of the Pokemon League at first, calling it an echo of days when children and their Pokemon were conscripted into war by idle politicians in lofty towers. However, he changed his mind, even saying that he would help Red capture his first Pokemon so that he could challenge the League. This was before he died in the winter.

    As one might expect, Red took it hard. He withdrew within himself, not speaking for several months. Even then, he rarely smiled. He didn't seem sure of what to do with himself, other than to visit his father's grave every day after school.

    Looking at him, I had a sudden idea that I should ask Red to work on the Pokedex for me. He needed something to do. More importantly, being with a Pokemon would help him. Their love can do wonders for a person struggling with grief, or other problems. I had some Pokemon that I wasn't doing anything with. In fact, I could think of three that would be of good use to new Trainers. That would be one each for my grandchildren, and one for Red.

    I was sure that it would help him find a new purpose in life.

    People often say that I had a special knack for picking out extraordinary Trainers. There was Red, and later Gold. Then there were others that I was able to say they were skilled before I knew what they had already accomplished, like May. When it comes down to it, it's nothing extraordinary, even shameful. I was able to point out their raw talents because in the Great War, I had learned how to pick out which Trainers would survive.

    It really isn't all that different. Back then, I didn't want to be in the great battles. I was a scholar, I would protest to the recruiters. But that only worked for so long; they kept pressuring people to fight, and die, for the homeland. I often don't understand why it didn't occur to them sooner that this promise of glory only devoured the vast majority of our young people, and the Pokemon. Despite my qualms, I had to do something. So I got myself hired as one of the recruiters; that way, I wouldn't be in as much danger.

    Before long, the most senior of all the recruitment officers, himself a veteran of the wars, decided to take me under his wing. It may have been the way I questioned so many of the new soldiers about their Pokemon, or how much knowledge I had of many Pokemon. He gave me a lot of valuable knowledge and skills, not the least of which was being about to point out Trainers with the best potential.

    Whether it's peace or war, the personal ability of the human partner to fight is irrelevant. The Pokemon partner would be doing much of the fighting. But even its natural and trained capacity did not always mean success or failure. The factor that can make or break a team in a battle of war or a battle of peace is how both sides interact.

    When I meet a new Trainer, I observe how they behave around their Pokemon. What kind of contact they make, how they watch the Pokemon, how they speak to it, how easily and quickly they answer a few questions about their Pokemon. And I observe how their Pokemon behave around them. What kind of posture the Pokemon has, how they respond to their Trainer, how their reactions differ when their name is called by their Trainer or another person. When a Trainer and Pokemon are relaxed around each other, respond to each other positively, and look to each other first when potential danger shows, then you know that that pair or group will perform excellently together. There are other signs, such as how each reacts when a new person or Pokemon is encountered, and how they play together. This is how I spot real talent among a group of hopefuls.

    Red had many Pokemon over his journey, but he treated them all with love and respect. Even when he first returned to my lab shortly after he left, he would already kneel down by his Bulbasaur and talk quietly to it. And the Bulbasaur would watch him attentively, following his every step.

    -+-

    Blue

    I guess back during that summer, I was still frustrated with Red. He was lucky, even if he didn't realize it. Whenever I saw him with his father, I would feel jealous that he had his father around. Sure, Red's father was a cool guy and he would invite me along if they were going to do something fun. But my father died before I could know him. Most every kid I know has only one parent around; a few don't even one. So for Red to have both of his parents, I think everyone was a little jealous at least.

    When his father died, I was sad for a bit too. He was an awesome guy. I also felt secretly glad because now my friend was like me. Not that I'd ever say that openly. It was just some unfairness that had been eliminated.

    But then Red was so upset over it that he hardly said or did anything. And he stayed that way for months. My mom kept telling me that he'd suffered a big loss and needed my support, not my complaints. I didn't get it, though. I thought that he should just get over it so that things could get back to normal. Although these days, sometimes I wish things were like they were then. Maybe if I could do all this again, I wouldn't have been so rude. None of us had any idea of what would happen.

    That day we started off... I was really mad, but I was trying to be nice. After all, we'd been friends for a long time and my mom had reminded me again that I should be patient and supportive. I didn't want to be that way. After all, Gramps had told me that he would give me a Pokemon after the school year was over, and that I might be helping him with his research. He said that I'd get to choose. But he didn't say that Red would have the first choice.

    Gramps had met with Red that morning at the north end of Pallet Town; Red had been looking over Route 1, especially the tall grass where Pokemon lurk. Since we were old enough to walk, we were told not to go into that grass. Pokemon were feisty creatures that wouldn't know to hold back against a human child, as their own children were capable right from the day they were born. But we were at the age that we could get our own Pokemon, and the easiest way to do that was to go into the grass and try to startle or stun a wild Pokemon into not fighting. However, we wouldn't have to do that.

    They came into the lab and Gramps started talking to us. Mostly Red, as he'd already discussed it with me the night before. I wanted to demand that we cut to the chase and get the Pokemon, but I had to be patient and tolerate Gramp's poor idea of a joke. Seriously, we knew that those Pokeballs weren't Pokemon. That should be obvious to anyone.

    He then told Red to choose a Pokemon.

    At that point, my patience was at its limits. I asked him why Red got to choose, and he told me to wait and I'd get one too. That wasn't the important thing, though. I was his grandson, not Red. Why was he letting him go first?

    But as I look back on it, I think I know what he saw in Red that he didn't see in me. I wanted a Pokemon for my own glory. And Red, well, he needed one. Pokemon need people to develop to their best; I've seen it many times now. Red needed something to give direction to his life, and Gramps must have felt that a Pokemon would help him develop to his best.

    And my friend was confused too, at first. After a moment, he accepted getting first choice and went over to the table with the three Pokemon. He spent quite some time considering the matter, which just annoyed me. Though to be honest, if I had first choice, I might have taken time too, trying to figure out which one would be best. I didn't, and so when he said that he would take the Bulbasaur, I immediately picked the one that would win a Fire-Grass-Water game and took the Charmander. I would come to regret that choice a little when I realized that the first couple of Gyms were not good matches for a Fire type.

    I would also realize that just because I won by type did not mean that I would automatically win a battle. That Bulbasaur could take some hard hits and stay standing.

    As time went on... I was really a jerk back in those days, especially to my Pokemon. Having the Pokedex project to work on gave me the excuse to capture as many Pokemon as I could and then cherry pick those that seemed to be strongest. If a Pokemon fainted too many times for my liking, or took too long in taking out another Pokemon, I kicked it off my team. Sometimes I let them go, but more often then not I simply stored them in computer boxes and forgot about them. I didn't view them as other living creatures.

    I wasn't even upset when my first Raticate died. He had gotten badly injured in a fight with a Trainer who was much like me, doing anything to win. When I checked on the Raticate, not even the strongest potion I had would seal up the large wound in its side. The first time a Pokemon of mine had gotten badly hurt, the nurse at the Pokecenter had given me a long lecture on taking care of Pokemon and not letting them get that injured. Not wanting to repeat that, I just gave him another potion, recalled him to his Pokeball, and waited it out. He died the next day, still in his Pokeball.

    While I did take him to Pokemon Tower for burial, I hardly gave the Raticate a thought. I went searching for new Pokemon and was excited to get a rare Cubone in there. Red told me later that the Cubone's mother had died and her angered spirit haunted upper leves of the tower. He thought that my Cubone had been in there searching for his mother. Thinking back on it, he was probably right. At the time, it didn't convince me to take that Pokemon out of the box and get to know him.

    I was so proud at my progress. I was always a step ahead of Red when it came to beating the Gyms. Looking back on my memories, I'm a little sickened at how thoughtless I was. I try to get kids like that now to change, knowing how that mindset feels.

    On the other hand, Red may have made slower progress in the League, but he was leaps and bounds ahead of me when it came to understanding Pokemon and making his name famous. He wasn't even trying to become a household name; he just wanted to do the right thing and kept stepping up when no one else would. Wherever I went, I heard people speaking of him in admiration, even in places he hadn't arrived in yet. It infuriated me and I kept trying to be better than him.

    I even completely ignored the plight of the people of Silph in order to challenge and defeat him. After hearing all the things he was doing against Team Rocket, I thought that if I were where Rocket was, I could encounter Red. Such an idiotic reason, I know, and probably why I'm not remembered as having been there. Red tried to say something to me, most likely that there were more important things going on than just our rivalry to pay attention to. But I drowned out his words and forced him to accept my challenge. The only thing that accomplished was to make it harder on him, I'm sure.

    But aside from that incident... the longer our journey went, the more I saw of Red's smile. His bonds with his Pokemon gave him the confidence and happiness to break out of the shell of his depression. When you watch that speech he gave on the evening he beat me out as Kanto's Champion, you would hardly believe that he had been the withdrawn and silent kid that had left Pallet Town the previous summer.

    When I listened to him that evening, I finally realized just how cruel my thoughtlessness towards my Pokemon was.

    -+-

    Giovanni

    About Red...

    First of all, it had been really easy to take control in those days after the Great War. All of the old established powers had been eliminated, either through rebellion or being drained of resources. Anyone who had a decent talent for money and some charisma could make it big with minimal effort. Law enforcement was weakened due to the loss of those that could enforce it best. Most of all, no one wanted to be accused of wanting war.

    That fear of war was the cornerstone of my empire. Pokemon battles were still acceptable, but under more controlled conditions. If you lost such a battle, it was expected that you would bow out gracefully and not seek revenge. Vengeance was the path to war. That pithy little saying meant that anyone who knew how to train Pokemon well held the most authority. However, few expert Trainers took advantage of that. After all, they did not want to be accused of wanting war.

    I had no qualms in exercising my authority through and over my Pokemon. Smooth words could brush away the idea that I was a war-monger. And really, I wasn't looking for war. I had found such a magnificent way of making my fortunes under that fearful peace and I didn't want to squander the opportunity to build my power base. Once I had the authority of a nation, well, then I could look for war and dominate the passive quivering regions of the world. That was my thinking at the time.

    By the time Team Rocket was entering its peak, we were making much out of the rare Pokemon market. It was lucrative and easy: find a Trainer with a desirable Pokemon, defeat them in battle, then threaten to turn violence on them unless they handed over their Pokemon. Once we had it, the Pokeballs went through registry changes and the Pokemon were improved based off market research. Then we sold them off to wealthy Trainers who had no desire to dirty their hands and feet in searching for the Pokemon they wanted themselves. Some individual Pokemon we managed to steal back and resell for even more profit. I had a strict protocol for what Pokemon my followers used, both to help them do their jobs and to prevent them from rising up against me.

    I definitely did not need the added complication of my followers rebelling. The whole time, I had to keep the other League members from suspecting or questioning me. I had to make all the big decisions in Team Rocket, and head the biggest deals like at the Silph Company. While there were a few who knew I was working both sides, most notably my old colleagues Blaine and Fuji, I had my ways of keeping them silent, mostly the secret that is in Cerulean Cave. If full knowledge of that got far, it could ruin them.

    As for Red himself, I have always been amused that the only one who would dare stand up to me was a child. At the time of the Silph incident, I was already operating openly. The other League members were turning a blind eye to my ambitions, out of sheer ignorance, fear, or shame. Adult Trainers were so caught up in the anti-war sentiment that they didn't dare make any moves that could be deemed aggressive. Teenaged Trainers were too enamored of glory in the League or too crushed by the difficulty of that dream to make a move as ambitious as taking on a criminal organization that stole Pokemon. And then, here was this eleven-year-old boy who was much too serious for his age daring to walk straight into the Silph President's office and request, in an unwavering voice, that I stop the takeover because it was criminal and wrong.

    I admit that I underestimated him then. But even when I took more caution at Viridian Gym, the loyalty of his Pokemon tipped the scales in his favor. It caused something of a flashback in me, recalling the time I fought in the Great War. Most of the time, I favored staying away from the battlefields and finding profit through supporting the active fighters. But that once, I had been caught in a large battle with only my Pokemon to protect me. People didn't give mercy then. If you lost there, chances were your opponent would kill you and your Pokemon to prevent you from being a reoccurring threat. Or, your opponent would kill your Pokemon and humiliate you; that's what happened to me, caught up against a cruel man.

    Laugh if you want, but that remained in my memory for all of my life. It drives me on to keep my Pokemon strong so that I don't have to experience something like that ever again. And when I do lose, even in this age of easily manipulated honor, that man's face and words return to me. I have gotten good at hiding it.

    I was larger and stronger than Red was. I could have knocked him unconscious if I wanted. But, his Pokemon would defend him and attacking a Trainer is a certain way to provoke most Pokemon into a fury. Like the old advice went, always kill the human last, or else you will suffer a much more brutal death at the power of their Pokemon. Between that knowledge and my own memory, once Red defeated me, I had to back down both times.

    I had heard that Red disappeared after a mental breakdown. I can't think of why such a brave and stoic Trainer would have one. Unless it was because he was a child; many of the youngest soldiers back in the Great War had such problems. Or maybe he did find the remains of the war in Cerulean Cave.

    -+-

    Lance

    In Kanto and Johto at least, Red was the first big star that only had Pokemon League credentials to his name. Many of us in the Elite 4, and many of the Gym Leaders, we had been involved with the Great War in one way or another. Most often directly. The few other young people that had risen to leadership or fame were only big in their local area, had been taught by old soldiers, or didn't have that spark with their Pokemon that let them shine. Red had a great love for and trust in his Pokemon, and so they gave their utmost for him. If he had been born a decade earlier, he would have been a force to be reckoned with on the large battlefields.

    Fortunately, he was born right when peace was beginning, and matured when we realized that we needed a new kind of hero that wasn't linked to war.

    He passed through Kanto's League while learning the art of training, and learning about Pokemon. Eventually his beloved team defeated myself and three other masters, as well as his friend's more coldly trained team. We all agreed about his potential, as well as the positive role-model that he could provide for other young people in the land. And so, we suggested that he take on Johto's League, and then see if he could become the Champion on both sides of our joint League. He agreed to that and breezed through that part of the land. Wherever he went, people commented on his modest and kind personality. There was also talk that he was a little distant, which I had noticed. He tended to shy away from conversation and it took some time for him to warm up to a new person. However, this seemed to add a mystique that intrigued people.

    The radio and TV networks kept asking for interviews with Red. He didn't always accept, but what interviews he did grant tended to be listened to and watched by many. When he was traveling, some people sought him out for assistance and he nearly always agreed to help, never asking for a reward. When asked what his secrets were in Pokemon training, he would answer that he was still learning, but that it was important to love your Pokemon and listen to them as best you could. His battle records have gone unmatched in two years and even his enemies respected and admired him... really, he was an example of being a hero when you are an ordinary average person.

    As for why he disappeared... the trouble all started innocently. He came into my office one day and asked for a favor. So rarely did Red ever ask for anything that I quickly agreed to help him with whatever he wanted. As it turned out, he'd been long curious about a certain cave outside of Cerulean. It was blocked off by the League and even though he was Champion twice over at that time, he still wanted to know if it would be all right for him to go and look around inside that cave. To look for unique Pokemon, that was his stated reason.

    It was a simple request and there was no reason that he had to get permission from me or any of the others to go inside. But he was polite like that, and it would have surprised me if he did otherwise. Still, I had to give it a moment's thought. As I told him at the time, I did not know myself what was in that cave. The request for us to block it off had been made by Giovanni, Blaine, and Mr. Fuji. I had asked all three of them at various points why this was, and only Fuji would answer me. He said that during the Great War and the years proceeding it, they had worked as researchers into weapons of war. On one hand, their work produced the TM and HM format of today, as well as more effective healing sprays. On the other hand, it had also produced something so horrific and terrifying that they had to place the weapon behind giant seals in this cave where few people passed by.

    I remember when he said that, I thought immediately of one mysterious battle I had fought during the Great War. I don't recall what exactly happened; much of it seems to be missing from my memory. But I do remember feeling something reach into my body and try to eat away at it from the inside, like worms. As well as some sights and sounds from nightmares, possibly from Hell. When I think of that connection, I wonder if I encountered that weapon, but was lucky enough to live and forget about it.

    Despite that, I didn't think it would be any harm for Red to go take a look. He had been traveling across many terrains for well over a year then, and his Pokemon were powerful and loyal. I thought that whatever was down there was probably inert and they could handle what wild Pokemon were wandering about. Thus, I told him it was okay for him to go. I gave him a warning that some dangerous item might be there and he should be careful with any TM discs or hold accessories that he found down there. I doubted that he would take this weapon and use it against everyone.

    But I really should have thought that the weapon might still be active, and might not be an item at all.

    -+-

    Mother

    That time was a whirlwind of emotions. I was proud that he had gotten chosen for a project as important as the Pokedex, and I was uneasy because I was reminded of seeing off other boys his age as they prepared to go to war with their Pokemon. I was happy when I heard of his progress through the League, with a renewed sense of hope in the world as he demonstrated a peaceful loving way to work with Pokemon. When he didn't call for being busy or exploring the land, I was worried and fearful. When I saw him smile...

    That reminds me of when he became Kanto's Champion and a photographer had come to Pallet Town to get a portrait of him and his Pokemon team. I hadn't realized how many Pokemon Red had worked with until them; it wasn't as ,amy as Blue was claiming to have, but all of Red's Pokemon reacted so warmly to him. His Venusaur nuzzled his ankles while using his vines to keep more active members in check. A Staryu walked awkwardly on land in order to get closer to him, while a Venomoth and Butterfree fluttered around his head. And while they all sought attention from him, they were obedient and did not seem jealous as he organized them all.

    But most of all, Red was smiling the whole time. He laughed like the boy he was and gently rebuked his Primeape from picking a fight with his Tauros. He joked with his Alakazam and looked on all of them with love and pride. That afternoon, he seemed to be glowing with joy. And when I thought of how he had been when he left, still solemn and lost after his father's death, it was magnificent to see such a change in him.

    Yet even at that time, there was some kind of shadow under his brilliance. He smiled easily to a Pokemon, but seemed hesitant of other people still. It was almost like he couldn't trust the people that he met. I mean, he still trusted me, the professor, and others he knew for a long time. But there was this uncertainty, an unspoken question of 'can I still trust you?' I don't know what caused this in him. He was still kind and polite, but he became slow in asking others for help.

    I thought then that I knew Red best, being his mother and having raised him. But I didn't know him as well as I thought, watching him and his Pokemon be immortalized as the strongest team in the region. After the later incident... it was like I didn't know him at all.

    I remember getting the call from the hospital in Cerulean: something terrible had happened to Red. After that, I'm not sure. It was worse than hearing of my husband's death; we had some warning that his death could happen and we had talked about it. This came out of nowhere. From what I do remember, it was a lot of dread and questions. Was he going to die? Would it affect him for life? What had happened? When had I last heard from him? I never felt so helpless as I did those days.

    Not long after I went over to the Oak's home for some support, Blue arrived and offered to take me to Cerulean. The news had already changed him: he wasn't cheeky about it, didn't act with an inflated ego, was worried and upset like any of us. But even if he had been his old spoiled self, I would have gone with him to be with my son sooner. He gave me his Charizard to ride and rode a Fearow himself to lead the way. I only remember that because of the feel of its warm smooth scales contrasting with the cool air whipping around us.

    Next thing I remember was speaking with the doctor outside of the room Red had been put into. They had large straps on the bed, restraining his arms, legs, torso, even one over his forehead. He was screaming, fighting against the restraints but not able to get free. However, there were bruises and bandages all over his body. The doctor said that before they decided to restrain him, he had been lashing out without thought, striking others but hurting himself more than them. They couldn't speak with him. From their observations, he had no idea where he was or what was going on.

    I saw that too when they let me in to see him like that. His fearful eyes never settled on me, didn't see me. When I touched or spoke to him, he flinched. If he wasn't screaming, he was begging for someone to stop hurting him. Red would not calm down until they added a second dose of sedatives. It was torture for me to see him like that, unable to reach him and reassure him. I wanted to know who would torture him like that.

    After a couple of days, which I spent in the hospital near to where Red was, the doctors finally said that he'd experienced a severe mental attack, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the later days of the Great War. They could take steps to lessen the damage and break him out of his delusions. However, recovering from that kind of trauma took years. Some victims from the War had yet to recover, and they might never do so. Red might never recover.

    I couldn't let that happen to my boy. So I stayed close to him, talking to him once he was able to notice. I shared the hospital meals with him, I took him outside to walk and play with his Pokemon, I said that I'd do anything he wanted to do. I would give him anything I could afford, if it would help make him happy, or even just calm.

    However, Red had changed. He had gone quiet again; I hardly heard a word out of him and when he did speak, it was only a few words in a quick whisper. He couldn't be reassured with hugs or words. At meals he ate mechanically, hardly noticing what was on the plate. He still responded to his Pokemon, but with other people, even me, he was wary. And he did strange things, like cautiously examining flowers and using duct tape to wrap over one of his Pokeballs.

    It was only one ball that he treated like that, one which I never saw what Pokemon it held. And he put several layers over it, making sure that no part of the item showed through the gray. When I asked him what Pokemon it held, he shook his head vigorously and kept wrapping it. Then he would never let anyone touch it, to the point of hiding it when he went to sleep so that no one took it. He treated it like something precious, or something dangerous. It was hard to tell which because he never explained.

    After a few months, the doctor let us go back home. Red had signed away his double Championship as soon as it had been suggested. This quest that had taken him two years to accomplish, he dropped the reward for it without a second thought. Although, I'm sure the League wouldn't have let him continue battling and representing them in the state he was in. That would be been too cruel. I thought that maybe once he was back in quiet little Pallet Town, he'd be able to start recovering.

    Sometimes he showed signs of progress. Other times he would regress, shutting himself in his room and hardly eating. I had to break out all the things I had used to baby-proof the house and put them back in place, just to make certain that he couldn't hurt himself. For months, it was like living with a stranger that distrusted me.

    Then one morning, he greeted me, even calling me Mom. He said that he wanted to go out with his Pokemon for a couple of days, back in Viridian Woods. That desire to do something was a vast improvement over days of apathy and hiding. So, I agreed, packed him up food for him and his Pokemon, and told him to be careful out there.

    That was the last I saw of him.

    -+-

    ???

    For a long time, people held war as a glorious thing. Defend the homeland, drive out the invaders, destroy the corrupt. It started when we were young; children of about ten years of age were encouraged to go out into the wild and lure a Pokemon to them, to befriend it. Bonds were best made when the Trainer was young, they said. The child Trainer would feed and care for the Pokemon, and the Pokemon would fight to defend the child. By the time both were mature, they would be willing to do anything for their partner. Including wage war.

    Battles could be life or death matters for all involved, Pokemon and human. The leaders of the land would train their army of Trainers and Pokemon, and then call for large battles in which the side with the most standing at the end of the day won. In a way, death could be a lucky accident. Lifelong injuries could result, or mental problems would build as a successful pair would be sent into battles again and again and again, to continue to kill and survive.

    But that was not as bad as it could be.

    There came the invention of the Pokeball. All of a sudden, getting a Pokemon partner was a great deal easier. So easy, in fact, that people could have a whole team of Pokemon working for them. Training also went faster, getting easier. Because of this, the age of the soldiers sent into war kept decreasing. Sometimes those ten year olds that would have started their bonding process ended up on such battlefields, facing death in the name of their country. Some of them barely knew the lands beyond their hometown. And thousands of Pokemon died.

    This all led up to the Great War. It was five years of the most continual and widespread battles that has ever been experienced in history. People had developed new tactics and strategies with Pokemon; they were put into their most brutally efficient forms during this time. In the first days, it was a simple struggle of one nation accusing another of killing a prominent figure in a political assassination. Each nation called on its allies to go to war, and those nations called on their allies. Power hungry figures saw the motions and joined in; they cared not for what death started it all, but they saw opportunity in the bloody haze and grabbed for it. There was no neutrality, as anyone who claimed that stance was soon trampled on by those eager to win the greatest war of all.

    No one won the Great War. The loss of life was so significant that every nation was on the brink of being bled dry. Hot-headed leaders tried to rally up the remaining spirits, but people were tired of it all. In a disjointed effort, citizens captured their leaders and passed judgment on them, executing them for leading so many to their deaths. As this led to success, more and more nations fell into a state of surrender. But who were they surrendering to? No one. No nation was strong enough to claim leadership over all.

    The new leaders declared that the Great War was over. Everyone struggled to repair the damage and reconstruct their lives. One thing was for certain: no one wanted to trigger another war ever again.

    Never again.

    -+-

    The last piece of tape comes off during a general statement on the Great War. The voice for that is uncertain. Now free of its simple imprisonment, the Masterball is coated in remnants of glue and gray fibers. Not sticky, but enough to cling to skin. Should it be cleaned first? Or more importantly, was the risk worth it? What was there to be gained? Or was the loss greater than any gain?

    You wanted to catch me. You weren't even surprised that I fought back. But the degree to which I fought back, you haven't seen before or since. I don't blame you for what you did after, but why release me now? You know how dangerous I am... why I should be sealed away as I was.

    The tape had blocked off the telepathy, both the words and the feelings. Now, the words ring clear but the feelings are only remembered. It isn't as hostile, but it still has that dangerous power. Maybe it has calmed down and will seek out its own isolation willingly.

    True.

    But there is what it left behind, the damage it wrecked. In the sheer cold, quiet, and height of this place, with only a few Pokemon close by, it was possible to feel not hurt. But not normal. Normalcy was still out of reach. The idea is, let go of the burden of holding this weapon, the cause of the pain, and perhaps the pain would lessen. Selfish, yes. But if even solitude from humankind and the comfort of the dearest Pokemon to the heart couldn't help, then desire was strong to do anything more.

    You've bore the responsibility for a full year, and given me the chance to fully calm down. At this point, I wouldn't call it selfish. But it is me. I'm a weapon, not a healer. If there was something I could do to help you at this point, I would. But there is nothing. Perhaps in the future. But, one may not wish for a situation where my powers would be required. The world is sick of war.


    It was also sick with war. The scars it inflicted remain painful, even to those who were born after it had ended. One may try to do the right thing, but so many are wary and passive now that the few who do step forward have a huge burden to bear. Then people keep asking for more and more help, and one tries to keep helping but there is only so much that one person can do and then something burns and cuts deeply into the soul and I had given so much already and what I saw of people gripped my mind and haunted my every thought and I didn't know who was going to attack me next because they all could have because a person's words don't always match their thoughts and the shades of war turned out to be all around us when we were denying them and it was so much horribleness for me to bear when I had been burnt out to a husk of what I had been because ever since my Dad died. It seems like I hardly have any support from anyone unless they want something from me but he told me to always be helpful and do the right thing because every little bit of goodness helped to make the world a better place but then I saw the other side of that and I know he was one of the best soldiers in the Great War so he had to have killed others too and I just don't want to think of him that way.

    You can't even cry about that now?

    That outburst wasn't supposed to happen. One must be careful with thoughts or they rip right into those scars and make them raw again. But yes, it is hard to express things outwardly. The body freezes up and does nothing.

    Somewhere near the entrance of the mountain interior, there is a crunch of boots on snow. Someone else is here. Gold? It is a preteen boy, seemingly not much younger. Accompanying him is a large blue and yellow Pokemon, of the reptilian sort but not one commonly seen. A Feraligator, maybe? He was supposed to have a Feraligator.

    As he comes up, his thoughts become audible. 'It's so cold up here. Fang seems all right. It was worthwhile to come up here, even if he isn't. But, I thought this was the best possibility out of these lands. Wait, are those footprints... there is another person here. It should be him.'

    Down in the snow, there are some impressions of sneakers, having faded due to falling snow. But they are still there. There might be time to escape. However, he has climbed this whole mountain in his search. And more footprints would mark the going, even if the escape was made into the air.

    No. It is time to stop this. With just one person now; see how its effects are now. Then further thought can be made, of if it is time to leave or if it is time to stay.

    Excitement bubbles through the other's mind as he approaches. 'It is him! I've been waiting for so long. What was I going to say to him?' Gold opens his mouth and begins to speak, but a memory floods the words out.


    (continued next post)
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  2. #2
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    Gold

    I met Red once, but I don't think he'd remember me. I remember that day clearly. It was just after school and I had been playing kickball with some friends when one of the girls came running back to the school yard, shouting that the Kanto Champion was back, preparing to head back to Victory Road in order to claim the position for Johto as well. I had missed him that first time, but I didn't want to then, so I left the game with several other kids and went to meet with him.

    I had first heard about him over the radio, after he had stopped a thief from Team Rocket in Cerulean. That news amazed me, that a kid only a few years older than me could do something adults were having trouble doing. He hadn't said much then, and I guess he never said much at any time, but I wanted to know more. So I kept listening, learning about how he was defeating all the gyms in Kanto, and how he alone stopped Team Rocket from taking over Silph to increase their criminal activities. Then he became Kanto's Pokemon League Champion and started beating Johto's gyms. And I wanted to be just like him; he was a hero to me, larger than life.

    Meeting him in person, he seemed like a regular twelve-year-old, even a little shy of all the attention. He smiled politely and told us that he had to keep going, but he'd stay and talk for a little bit. The others asked silly questions, like what was his favorite Pokemon or his favorite place, or how to catch the best Pokemon. When I got a chance, I asked him what he thought the best way to train Pokemon was, so that they were happy as well as strong.

    He smiled at my question and said that the best way to train them was to treat them like your best friends. Every Pokemon was a little different, unique in that one Pidgey wouldn't be the same as another, so watch for what they like to do, what scares them, what encourages them, what foods they like. Talk to them, brush them, see to it that their needs are met; love them like a friend and they would love you back, putting forth their best efforts in any battle. When treated like that, a team of human and Pokemon could do anything.

    Every word of that stuck with me. And when I got my first Pokemon, almost a year after that meeting, Red's advice formed the basis of how I trained my Pokemon. It worked just as well for me as it did for him.

    -+-

    Red

    My father taught me how to raise Pokemon, even though he died before I was able to get my own. He spoke of it in terms of the war that I didn't recognize until later: in a time of danger there should be mutual respect and love between a team so that you know who has your back, always keep alert in battle to what your opponent may be building up to... things like that. But, he did believe that love was most important to raising Pokemon. He said that he had yet to see a Trainer in this time of peace who embodied that belief. I decided that I wanted to be that Trainer.

    Dad... he seemed like a living legend to me. People you heard about on the news would bow to him; he could look anyone in the eyes and not be seen as disrespectful. While he said he wasn't anyone special, I would see the eyes of others widen at hearing his name. When I told people I was his son, they spoke of him in such glowing terms, so that they would even look at me with some more respect. But I could go up to him at any time and ask him for help, or anything. He would most often give me advice to solve the issue myself, but he did it with confidence that I could. When I started training Pokemon, I spoke to them in the same way my Dad would to me.

    There were dark days too. He never liked going to a movie theater and if we were out camping, there was always a light to see by. Sometimes he would yell and overreact to a small problem, like Blue and I being too loud. At times, he even scared me with his suspicions. But the times when he smiled and was more normal, those were enough that I loved him greatly as my father.

    Losing him made me feel like I had lost my place in the world. But when I got Bulbasaur and started off to work on Professor Oak's project, I found it again. It came as early as walking up Route 1 without my parents for the first time in my life, with only Bulbasaur at my side. He was so eager to explore, running after movements in the tall grass and pausing to watch a little butterfly land on the flower of a weed. Yet he looked up to me to make sure it was okay, and gave small barks to get my attention for something interesting. It made the world seem wonderful again, and I found myself smiling despite months of sadness.

    Things like that make me wonder how people can not see them as individuals worthy of love and affection.

    -+-

    Gold

    My Pokemon and I came up against the remnants of Team Rocket, which Red had broken up two years prior. First it was a guy who didn't even have a uniform; he was outside of the lonely Pokecenter outside of Union Cave, trying to sell Slowpoke tails for an exorbitant amount. I found that distasteful, even when he tried to tell me that Slowpokes hardly felt pain as it was. I know they sell milk from Miltanks and berry juice from Shuckles, but I was always a little uncomfortable eating actual body parts of a Pokemon. But some people apparently find it to be a great delicacy.

    Then I came across the group that had stolen a number of Slowpokes from people and the wild, confining them in a pen at the bottom of a well. I found out later that their sense of pain is dull, but the Pokemon still looked unhappy penned up like that. An old man named Kurt had tried to drive them off; most people in that town were leaving it to him as they trusted his capability. But he had injured himself getting down. I went further into the well's cavern alone, fighting the Rockets that were keeping them. They saw the Slowpokes as nothing but a source of money, not even worth training. So I had to try training one myself after that incident.

    At times, it was frustrating and hard. I lost my trust in adults as so many of them complained about what Team Rocket was doing but weren't doing anything about it. I would wonder why the world was so apathetic; secretly, I was even hateful at times, wondering why we should be handling these problems. But there were others that I admired who also tried, such as Lance. They also said Red was an inspiration, proof that the bad guys weren't unstoppable.

    I've wanted to ask him if he felt that way too. I don't tell other people about those moments of anger and hate... and loneliness. When you're risking yourself and your Pokemon friends in fighting criminals who threaten to take your friends and hurt you if you lose, and the others around are just standing there as if helpless, you wonder if you're not the crazy one, different from others. And then when people praise and thank you, but you find yourself alone on the road, just you and your Pokemon... it is lonely. I want to know if he felt this too, and how he dealt with it.

    -+-

    Red

    It was in Cerulean. The house was a mess: items strewn everywhere, muddy footprints all over the floor, the back door kicked in, a Diglett hiding under the table. At the front of the house, there were two police officers searching around for clues. A third was inside speaking to the distraught homeowners. Although I felt bad for them, I felt like there wasn't much I could do. The police were already handling the case. So I walked carefully around the overgrown garden and went into the backyard, to find the path that I needed to take to my next destination.

    In back of the house, I encountered the thief. He was so cocky, wearing that black uniform emblazoned with a red R proudly. He even boasted to me about his theft, that he had sold the item, a TM, to the owner only to steal it back so he could sell it to someone else. Really, the only reason he was open about it was because he thought I was just some kid with some weak puny team. I had six active Pokemon at that point, three of whom had just won the Cerulean Gym for me. He challenged me with the intent on stealing my things as well, but my Mankey knocked out his team easily.

    At some point during the fight, he'd brought out a knife. He threw it at me in the last few seconds before his Pokemon fainted, cutting deep into my left arm. Mankey was furious and nearly punched the thief in the head; he could have killed the man. But, I called him back. It was dishonorable to attack a Trainer that had lost. That did scare the thief; he threw the stolen TM at me and took off running. I shouted for the police officers, wondering why they had not come check out the commotion in the back yard.

    They called for an emergency doctor to teleport there to examine the cut on my arm, then talked to me about what had happened. I offered them the stolen TM as evidence, thinking they might get fingerprints. However, they didn't take it. Neither did the homeowner, who said that I had won it honorably in battle and so it was mine. He'd just buy another one. Then I got brought back to the hospital to get the wound stitched up. They gave me some instructions and some painkillers, then told me I was free to go back on my journey. And nobody on the path asked me or commented about my injury. They were just interested in Pokemon battles.

    That was when I realized that adults weren't reliable.

    -+-

    Gold


    One of the most memorable captures that happened was when I caught the red Gyarados. People were talking about how a large amount of wild Gyarados had appeared in the Lake of Rage, and that they were making it dangerous to go near the lake. Also, Gyarados are able to come out of the water and travel over land, leading to the possibility that they could attack towns. I was curious about it, plus I wasn't worried. I had my Pokemon with me and I figured it wouldn't be any different than fighting other wild Pokemon.

    It was raining in torrents, getting me soaked in seconds despite my umbrella. Someone had warned me that Rocket members were forcefully taking a toll on passing through the gatehouse, so I walked through the wooded area to get there, adding muddiness to my condition. But it wasn't much of an issue, a part of the excitement.

    Around the upper shores of the lake, there were a few people looking over the lake. As I was getting used to, they were talking about the situation, some worried, some in awe. But none of them were daring to go out there. Several of them spoke of a particular Gyarados, one that was bright red instead of blue. At the time, I didn't think it would be real.

    I had my Slowking take me out across the lake. It was flooded at the time, to where many trees were partly under water. Due to the rain, the surface of the lake was unsettled. But there were splashes and bursts of water around that couldn't be accounted for by just the rain. Slowking gave off a sense of being worried and I wondered what was agitating the fish and Pokemon here so much.

    And then it appeared. Unmistakably red, the Gyarados erupted out of the water several feet in front of us. It thrashed with the waves for a moment, then looked our way. There was no sound but the rain for a moment as I momentarily lost my breath and it just stared at me. Then it gave a colossal roar, almost bigger than itself. I brought out another one of my Pokemon to fight it, hoping they could manage as well in the water.

    At the end of it, Slowking was barely hanging on, with four of my team unconscious. But I had the red Gyarados captured. It had fought like no other Pokemon I had ever faced, in a frenzy of anger and wildness. I even had a cut across my face from the edges of one of its attacks. Once Slowking got me to shore, I recalled him and hurried to get back to town.

    Lance met with me along the way, offering me a healing spray for humans to take care of my cut. He then told me that there was some strange signal driving the Pokemon of this area mad, in an echo of the Great War. Because of his help, I agreed to check it out with him. It turned out to be Team Rocket again. They would do anything for a profit.

    I never really cared for money; my Pokemon, family, and friends were more important. But incidents like that gave me a distaste for those who are all talk and no action.

    -+-

    Red

    Rock Tunnel seemed to absorb all light that came near it. Within a few feet, you were standing in pitch black darkness. Once you turned a corner, there was no light. I had an Abra that could use Flash; she evolved while guiding me through there.

    One time while climbing the ladders that went from level to level, I slipped on a slick rung and fell off the ladder. My ankle got caught and it twisted hard, like a branch that splinters when bent but does not break. My left arm throbbed again as I hit the rock floor, especially around the wound I got from the knife. After crying out in pain, I tried to sit up to examine how bad the damage was by Kadabra's light. I had some scrapes and my ankle was filled with pain, but there was no blood. In the dark silence of that cave, somebody should have heard me, seen the light. I knew there were people there; I'd fought them in Pokemon battles.

    No one came. I was pretty sure no one would come; the police missed a thief right on the victim's property, after all. Overwhelmed by loneliness and pain, I cried. Here I was all the way across the region and no one seemed to care about my condition. I was still following traditions set by child warriors in a time when people were so afraid of reigniting war that they would ignore someone who was being hurt by someone else, so that they weren't continuing the violence.

    After initially being puzzled by my reaction, Kadabra came over and hugged me. Before long my other Pokemon were out too, not sure what was wrong but wanting to help in any way they could. They helped me get back on my feet, with Mankey supporting me so that I didn't have to put weight on my twisted ankle. Kadabra narrowed the light for us and directed us through the tunnels; on seeing some other patches of light, I realized she was finding a way to avoid other Trainers. And the others, including Ivysaur, spooked the wild Pokemon and kept them from troubling me.

    That was when I knew that I could always rely on my Pokemon.

    -+-

    Gold

    During my travels, I kept running into this guy named Silver. He started out hostile and self-centered, going so far as to steal a Pokemon from the professor. I remember being intimidated by him at that first meeting; he gave off such an air of confidence and disdain, and he was taller than me. But my Totodile was assertive, stepping in front of me and slightly opening his jaws to show his teeth off in a threat. Knowing that Red kept his trust in his Pokemon, I kept trust in mine, and we won that battle.

    The interesting thing about Silver was how much he changed. I think it was having Pokemon that did that to him. For a long time, he looked down on anyone he saw as weak. Including me, because I didn't get angry and there are a number of things that frighten me. But my Pokemon always stood up for me when Silver was around. And he started showing concern for his own Pokemon, even if he tried to hide it.

    He never did fight much against Team Rocket. A little bit, when it suited him. But he saw them as weak, worthless as opponents. He did wreck my original plan to infiltrate the radio tower by dressing as a Rocket member. I hated him for a little while for that; it made the trek through there more dangerous.

    But the last time I saw him, over at Mount Moon, it was almost like meeting with a friend I didn't see often. Silver doesn't seem to want to be associated with me. But I realized that he and his Pokemon have chilled out from their original ways. I told the professor not to worry any more about that Chikorita; he's doing all right now.

    We affect Pokemon, but Pokemon affect us too.

    -+-

    Red

    The first time I saw the cave, I had just left Mount Moon and was a little tired of trekking through caves. The tunnels and ladders confused me while the Zubats confused my Pokemon. With the lack of the sun, I wasn't sure how much time I was taking or if I should stop for a night I couldn't see. Then there were rough looking men in black uniforms that challenged me to battles. A couple of them said that they belonged to Team Rocket and that if they won, they would steal my Pokemon from me. Given that one of their Pokemon nearly attacked me in the middle of battle, I knew that they were serious about it. It was a frightening moment.

    My Pokemon came through for me, though all of us were tired when we got out. Ivysaur insisted on following me, although he was walking slow to conserve energy. When I offered to recall him to his Pokeball, he shook his head and walked a little ways ahead of me, to show that he didn't mind. I was glad that he was there with me, but I kept an eye out to avoid any Trainers who might take advantage of us.

    It was in watching the area around us that I saw it: a cave entrance across the river. At first I wasn't interested as I'd just gotten out of a winding cave path and was not looking forward to another. But then I noticed, over the next few days I spent in Cerulean, that there was no easy way to get to that entrance. It mystified me. What could be in that cave?

    When I finally got the badge that allowed the use of Surf as a means of crossing water, and the HM to teach it to my Gyarados, that cave in Cerulean was the first thing on my mind to investigate. But I had more luck in exploring the river that led to the run-down Power Plant. The cave was blocked off by a guard who said that the only ones allowed inside were members of the Pokemon League and the Champion. He didn't even seem to know what was in the cave, just that those were the rules and he was going to uphold them.

    I really should have stayed disinterested.

    -+-

    Gold

    I guess it was when I was working through Kanto's League, that was when I decided that I really wanted to meet Red again. Every day, I wondered if I might find him wandering around his home region. It had been strange to hear that he resigned as Champion. What could have caused him to do that?

    As I talked to people about him, I began to hear worrying stories of how he'd just disappeared. Maybe he had died? I didn't want for that to be true; he wasn't much older than me, even though he had accomplished so much. Then I heard that something had happened to him in Cerulean, in connection to a cave there. I went to go investigate that place, in case that's where he was. But it was empty, not even interesting in what Pokemon were there.

    Then I made it to his hometown, Pallet Town. It was small, much like my own. There, I asked several people that didn't know anything more. But there were a few people that did: Professor Oak, Daisy Oak, and Red's mother.

    From them, I learned that he'd suffered some mysterious trauma in Cerulean Cave. No one was certain what happened to him, as he would never speak of it. After spending a few months at home not recovering from it, he showed a few signs of normalcy, enough that he was allowed to leave home for a camping trip. That's exactly when he disappeared, about a year ago from now.

    Seeing how his mother was devastated over losing her son and her husband really affected me. Shortly after that, I went back into Johto and visited with my mother for a couple of days. It also gave me an idea of what to do with something that I had been putting off.

    -+-

    It's been so long since Mom...

    He is nervous about this battle on this snowy mountaintop. He thinks over memories of his journey, which triggers reflective thoughts. However the emotions run, there is not much to say. It is tradition for Trainers to battle their Pokemon upon meeting each other. Even after a year of solitude, this holds true. When there is no words to find, actions and gestures do just fine.

    In the end, he wins. Maybe it is because Gold is fresh from the Pokemon League, having fought human-trained Pokemon many times. Maybe it is because the memories are distracting.

    A moment of silence hangs with the snowflakes at the end of battle. Then his thoughts return, 'We won? That really happened? It was close; his Pokemon were amazing. They didn't even need spoken commands to follow his lead. And I know he was guiding them, because he was watching everything so closely. What should I say? I don't want to sound egotistical about it.'

    Not that he needs to worry about sounding egotistical. It... we are equals. He followed in my footsteps, but was lucky enough to be the second, as people seemed to have learned after my fall to not be as apathetic. Maybe. If only a few.

    You'll keep being disappointed in humans. But, there are people like you and him around. The world isn't entirely bad.

    Gold then speaks, expressing gratitude for the battle and wondering if we could talk. Talk. I move my lips, but... I don't know. But my Pokemon are unconscious. Bow my head to recognize his win, then head through the falling snow past him. When his thoughts turn to confusion, I turn back to him and gesture him to follow. His Pokemon are hurt too, so maybe I don't have to speak. He nods and follows me.

    Further down the path, we come to a cave entrance partly blocked off with a door made of branches and mud. It is a small area, but big enough for the two of us to sit in comfortably. While there is not much, for I have need of few things, there is a small device that can heal Pokemon in Pokeballs. It's a portable version of what they use in Pokecenters, although it can only handle two at once. It had been expensive to acquire, but I had a good supply of money that I wasn't using for anything else. Once my Pokemon are healed up, I hold out my hand to ask for his Pokemon to heal.

    He thanks me and hands them over. He has been talking, trying to start a conversation. 'Why isn't he talking? Maybe it's whatever caused him to leave. He certainly seems a lot older than he should be. But this could work out. They said that those who see Ho-oh will be happy for their rest of their lives, and that I had what was needed to possibly summon it. But I've been happy enough with my Pokemon, so I thought I would save the feather for an occasion when I might need it. He seems to need it more than me. Maybe Ho-oh will come for the both of us.' He then begins to speak.

    However, his thoughts already told me what he wants to say. That has been happening ever since I encountered Mewtwo. And it causes such an unpleasant racket in my head. Even when I was in tiny little Pallet Town, there were too many people thinking unguarded thoughts. And... there was my mother, her heart in pain because of my condition, which inflicted further pain and guilt on me for doing that to her, and then she would get more upset on seeing me get worse... as much as I love and miss her, I just can't subject either of us to that anymore. I wanted to shut that all out, in any way I could.

    Try to avoid anything more severe than running away from society. It is an awful thing when you can't control it. But as I said, I’m not a healer. I can't make you control it. But Ho-oh is one of the older gods. It might be able to help you.

    This mountain has been a lonely place. Making the words come out, I ask him what the scariest part of this all was. About going out into the world with only a friendly Pokemon you just met. Gold speaks of that first time he realized he was truly on his own, when he realized just how safe home was and just how dangerous the world could be.

    -+-

    Gold

    It actually was that time in Slowpoke Well, now that I think about it. I usually gloss over how it actually felt going through it in favor of how it was after when people thanked me and called me a hero. Because of that, I can be proud of how it went, instead of embarrassed at how afraid I was.

    The first part of the well wasn't that bad. Going straight down from the entrance, there was only a shallow layer of water on the rocky floor and the sunlight held its strength. That's where I met with Kurt, after he'd slipped and hurt himself. Thinking back on it, I'm not sure why he let me go ahead instead of insisting on going back for help. Maybe it was because he knew how reluctant most people were, and the fact that I was there already meant I wasn't 'most people'.

    Further in, the light dimmed down to a few old lanterns. Dark pools of water appeared, but I couldn't tell how deep they were. Fang was out walking with me as usual and he did nudge me away from them. As a Croconaw, maybe he could tell they were dangerous. I could hear some plaintive bleating along with an angry voice speaking cruel words to them. I was getting worried.

    But I didn't really get afraid until I passed by a tall rock and a Raticate knocked me over. After a moment of confusion, I saw its aggressive black eyes and smelled something like blood on it. It nearly bit my hand, but Fang tackled it away from me. Past him, there was a man in a black and gray uniform, his face scarred and his clothes marked by a distinctive red R. He laughed at me and said that I'd better be grateful that the war was over, because otherwise he'd kill my Pokemon and torture me. For now, he'd just steal them, and maybe do something he called fun with me. I don't really know what he wanted, but it still causes a shudder when I recall him.

    The other Rockets there also made threats, or taunted their allies for losing to a boy. There were more of them and they were all older than me. Once that first one saw me, there was no chance of getting away from the danger. They would see it as a sign to pursue and capture me. As I kept winning, I felt more confident in stopping them, but there was a while when I wasn't sure if I was getting out of that well alive.

    I had left home hoping for exciting adventures, even being a hero. But what happened then was not what I thought I was going to find.

    -+-

    Red


    At first, Cerulean Cave seemed like any other cave around. It wasn't dark like Rock Tunnel or Dark Cave, and it wasn't drenched like the Seafoam Caverns and the Whirl Islands. It was just an extension of Mount Moon, exactly as I thought it had been when I first saw it. On the first level, there were the usual cave Pokemon (Zubats and Geodudes) and a few small items, notably an Escape Rope near the entrance. It didn't seem dangerous enough to require a guard, or mysterious enough to start rumors of a lost weapon.

    But once I went down a level, things got strange. I had the feeling that someone was watching me, like that someone was right in front of me and I could not see them. I was able to brush it off at first, but then I noticed that the wild Pokemon there seemed agitated. Not even trying to fight us, the bats flew about in an erratic manner and the rocks would roll for a bit then stop to pretend not to be a Geodude. After a few minutes of this, they all left.

    Along with the wild ones, my Pokemon began to get nervous. My Primeape walked with me most of the way; his nostrils kept flaring as he looked and smelled around. At one point, he took my arm and moved closer, afraid or afraid for me. I should have taken my own advice and listened to what he was trying to tell me, that something bad was there. But this cave had been put off for so long and my curiosity had yet to be sated. We kept going.

    I ran into several patches of rubble down one long tunnel. The rocks in the piles resembled bits of concrete, and similar material was left up the walls and across the floor. At the time, I didn't know why this was so. It must have been walls of concrete that had been put in place to seal the further chambers off. But the one that had destroyed those walls had not left.

    I met it in a large chamber deep in the cave. At first, I thought it was a man of very unhealthy proportions, with an extremely narrow torso, bony hips, thin limbs, and a bald head. Then I saw how flat its nose was, how it had almond-shaped eyes with cat pupils, and how its long tail twitched. This was a Pokemon unlike others I had seen. Possibly the closest thing I can match it to is an Alakazam, given features to match the legendary Mew. I thought that I could catch it and let it go, for the Pokedex records.

    As soon as I thought that, it became hostile. It told me, in no uncertain terms and with no words, that it would not tolerate such thoughtless greed and that I would be punished for daring to trespass into its territory. Primeape stood up for me, and I began running it as any other battle against a wild Pokemon that I wished to capture for data. After spending the first minute seemingly doing nothing, it knocked out Primeape with a snap of its stubby fingers. The rest of my team, all Pokemon that I had trained and traveled with for months, fell similarly fast.

    At the point when I would accept a loss and leave, it went berserk and slammed me into the wall with its power. But physical pain was the least of what it could do. It went right into my head and showed me all the suffering that it had come into contact with.

    Mewtwo had been used in the last year of the Great War, to annihilate entire battlefields by driving all others there insane. It had seen death almost daily in some months. Worse, it had been commanded by someone who got great pleasure in causing others to suffer.

    I already didn't trust adults, but to see just how cruel a person could be...

    -+-

    When he answered my question, I told him about when I met Mewtwo. I had captured him with the Masterball, in desperate hopes that it would stop the horrors he was showing me. But that didn't work. I'm not entirely sure what went on next, but I got out of the cave alone and gave the guard quite a scare before I nearly drowned by missing the river. I don't remember that, but it's what I was told after I calmed down over a week later.

    Gold is shocked to hear about that, remembering some stories he was told of the Great War and realizing what they really meant, and what I saw. He feels bad for me and want to help me more. For a moment, I feel guilty for burdening him with my troubles. But then, he has offered a solution already. He knows about the other troubles I've been through. I don't feel quite as alone now.

    I will still have to block out his thoughts as best I can to get to sleep tonight. We plan to set out for Ecruteak tomorrow.

    -+-

    It has been a long time since I flew on a Pokemon's back. If I needed supplies, I sent a pair of my Pokemon out with money and a list. I don't think I've even flown with this Charizard, which I raised from an egg I got from Blue. But the Charizard has no trouble carrying me in the brisk morning air, following after Gold and his Skarmory. The brown mountains and green forests of Johto pass underneath us, the society I had gotten away from still far off.

    As we touch down near Ecruteak's Pokecenter, we see a few people out on the streets. And I hear them, the murmuring drone of thoughts past the walls and the more distinct thoughts of those outside. Gold stays close to me, so his thought are nearly as loud as my own. Still, I catch drifts from other people's minds: complaints, plans, musings, daydreams, criticisms... they are not spoken, but I know them all the same. It makes it hard to concentrate, especially after so long with only Pokemon whose thoughts I couldn't hear. I focus on following Gold, as that's easier.

    He brings me to the dance hall where the Kimono Girls perform. The building is filled with an older-style of music, and an array of bright colors. All the wood in the structure are warm natural browns, not always the same. Up on the stage, there are vivid red and gold curtains acting as a backdrop, with a matching carpet of an intricate pattern. Not to mention the brilliant orange, green, black, and white of the girls' kimonos, swirling and shifting as they practice their dances. Their thoughts are varied, but all about how they remember their dance moves. Then the music pauses while one comes off the stage and the others notice.

    The girl coming to us is clear in her thoughts. 'Someone must have forgotten the sign on the door, but then it is Gold. He's been gracious with us before, and it seems like he needs our help now so... is that Red? He looks familiar, but he would change during this time.'

    But I also hear thoughts from the others. 'What is it this time?' 'Why'd we get visitors... oops.' 'Hey, it's Gold again! But who's the cute guy with him?' 'Maybe we'll get to do something exciting today.' 'Oh gosh, is that Red? It's been so long since anyone heard from him, but why does he look so grim?'

    And Gold is clearest, being closest to me. 'I should have guessed they'd be practicing at this time. I hope they're not mad with us. But we can't do this without them. She seems stern, but at least she hasn't asked us to leave yet.'

    He and the girl speak to each other, but I hardly hear their words past the clamor of their thoughts. 'So that is Red. Gold is pretty concerned about him. Looking at him, something does seem off about him. I hope it's not anything serious.'

    Not to mention all the color and motion around me. I was fine on the mountain because it was mostly white, and motions of my Pokemon that I was certain of. But as the others come closer, my body tenses as if they are about to attack, even though I don't hear any maliciousness in their thoughts. 'Was he on top of Mount Silver this whole time? It's so cold and dangerous up there; I can hardly imagine spending a day there, much less a whole year. The winter must have been awful.'

    There had been this gang of girls who had styled themselves after the Kimono Girls, but anyone who was around Johto knew that the real Girls stuck to Ecruteak and were immensely difficult opponents. This group was proving to be tough, but they were on the far part of the battlefield. Still, it could be seen that they had captured one of their enemies and were going to kill him. The youngest member was still shocked at the deaths of the Pokemon and one of her peers; she burst into tears when asked to do him in. He took the chance to stab her in the shoulder, forcing one of the others to handle the execution herself.

    I apologize. I thought I'd try something to lessen your senses before you flipped out there. It seems that in your mind, my power is permanently linked to the memories I sent you. But try to get a grip on yourself; no one here means you any harm, not even me.

    I find myself being pulled behind the curtains on the stage by one of the Kimono Girls. It is quieter back here, as the thoughts of the others turn to a hum in my mind and only hers are words. 'What should I do to help him? Maybe being where there is less going on will be enough; that usually helps my brother. But is this the same kind of problem? He certainly didn't have this when he was traveling around, as my brother can hardly leave the house. I wonder if we can do anything, for either of them. There is...' and she offers to get me a calming herbal tea made, if I want it.

    To get her away for a bit, I nod and agree to the suggestion, sitting down on a bench in a smaller room. That's another thing I don't like about hearing other people's thoughts: they can't hide anything from me. They have no idea I know their secrets. And there's absolutely nothing I can do about it, other than keep my mouth shut and try not to hurt them. I can't help it, although I can try to forget about it. Most times, it works as I get so much information about other people that I can't possibly remember it all. But other times, I would see a person and remember about some secret they were trying to keep. A lot of it is just things they're ashamed of or what they feel people would reject them for. The person that would be hurt most is the one keeping the secret.

    Like with your secret, what you ostracized yourself for instead of having others ostracize you.

    Shut up, Mewtwo.

    -+-

    Gold walks with me up Bell Tower, as the Kimono Girls have gone ahead of us. This building is not that old, as I understand it. Decades ago, it was built to replace one that had burned down. But it was built to match the older tower from plans found in original records, confirmed with many pictures. Thus it still manages to look ancient, with the style of construction and the forms of the mosaics inside belonging to ages long past. Were those violent or peaceful times? I don't know, but I hope the violence does not return.

    We get to the top of the tower and the Girls are waiting on us. The blue sky overhead is streaked with thin white clouds and a warm breeze surrounds us. As the others speak, I lower my head and brace myself for what they'll be doing. Calling on Ho-oh requires a prayer in the form of a dance from the Kimono Girls, but also requires a person of a pure heart holding onto both a feather from Ho-oh and a special bell used in many ceremonies. The one actually summoning Ho-oh needs to ring the bell in time with the dance. Although I know what will happen, I still don't know if I can handle it. They're going to a lot of trouble for my sake, and I don't want to ruin it by letting myself get overwhelmed.

    As the bell rings, I realize something. I'm not all that bothered at the moment by all the activity. My nerves stay calm and I don't feel like fleeing. Is it because of the place, or the tea she gave me? Or is it... I know. It's because their thoughts are focused on the summoning, not flitting to and fro as thoughts normally do. If I hinder them, it may be more for not focusing like the rest. I should try.

    Blessed Ho-oh... I don't actually know all that much about you. I hadn't even heard your name until I was traveling through Johto and spoke with people who are very devoted to you. From their words, you seem to be a good guardian who watches of your lands, even if most will never see you. I don't know if you can help me; living with just my Pokemon only put the problem aside, not solve it. But Gold here had the chance to call on you himself months ago, to earn life-long happiness himself. Instead, he chose to wait and give that chance to me. If you could at least come to recognize his selflessness, that would be acceptable. If you can help me, though... I would like to go home.

    Our silent prayers are answered by a heavenly cry. I look up to see a rainbow moving across the sky. Descending in a spiral around Bell Tower, it takes on the solid form of a large bird Pokemon, with bright feathers of red, green, and yellow. Ho-oh comes down close to us, but does not land, favoring a hover just above us. Gold steps closer and, after a comment from one of the Kimono Girls, speaks to the legendary Pokemon about why we're here. He doesn't want to fight Ho-oh, or capture it. Instead, he just wants it to help me out, if possible. He even explains how I was an inspiration to him and a good hero for everyone.

    Hearing that, I feel awkward again. I didn't set out to be a hero; it just happened to me. All I wanted was to travel and learn more about Pokemon, both the ones working close with me and those I was simply meeting for data. It would be nice to slip back into that state of mind where I watched the quiet world around me, apart from myself as that was the way I found to stave away those memories of others. When my mind is most in the moment, I can't dwell on the past or future. But it took a lot of time to get to that state of mind. And so little to break it.

    'Red does deserve better.' Attention has come back to me, now that Gold is finished. 'It's up to Ho-oh now.' The deluge of thoughts and hopes makes it hard for me to think. 'This is so amazing; it's beautiful in person and he should be fine soon.' I make myself walk up to Gold's side, but... 'He's looking dazed again. I hope he keeps calm long enough.' ...I don't know if I can make myself speak. 'Please let this work, please help him Ho-oh.'

    Brilliant flames of red and gold, dancing on the wind and releasing the scent of burnt herbs. They seem to surround me, their crackle and hiss drowning out all other thoughts. But when I look around me, I see no flames beside an aura around Ho-oh. There is a presence close to me, holding on to me, much like when I met Mewtwo.

    It is my mind you feel, not Mewtwo's. Close your eyes now and focus inward. Don't fear my fire, for it only burns what I want. Embrace the fire so that it all you know.

    There is a voice of fear, at having another Pokemon in my mind. But Ho-oh's presence is not malicious; I can tell that much already. As instructed, I close my eyes and shut out the outer world so that it is just me and Ho-oh here. The flames are warm and comforting, those that would stay in a fireplace to warm a house rather than those that would raze... let that thought end there. It doesn't belong to these flames.

    The memories you have from others have been held for a long time. It would be unwise to remove them, as doing so may remove your own as well. But given time, you will create more memories which will cause those others to fade. This kind of patience is hard to keep, but it is the best cure for this. What I will do is weaken your sense of telepathy, to the point where you will have to call on it consciously to hear the thoughts of another. Even so, you must be responsible with such an ability. It can cause a lot of damage to both yourself and the one you hear, as you are aware of.


    I can accept that. The memories are painful to have, but the telepathy is what makes being around others unbearable. With it lessened, I wouldn't mind going to others to learn what an appropriate use would be.

    Good, it is done. As for you, Mewtwo, once you're free, meet with me on top of Mount Silver. We need to speak with you alone.

    Very well. I'll head there.

    With that arranged, Ho-oh leaves my mind. I open my eyes and see it fly back into the sky. It calls back to us once before disappearing into the blue sky, leaving behind a faint rainbow that quickly vanishes due to the time of day. Within my mind, I only hear my own thoughts. Maybe even silence if I wanted.

    The others there want to know if anything happened. They couldn't see or hear anything, it seems. Not wanting to make them feel uncomfortable, I tell them that Ho-oh was able to help me in some ways, but for others, I have to figure out myself. It won't be easy, but I know my Dad and many others have dealt with it before. Thinking about them, I believe that I can make something of my life now.

    But, I have important things to do now. I thank them, and tell them that we can talk later, but for now I have to go. Gold even manages to guess correctly what I'm going to do, so I shake his hand before I leave. I think I could be good friends with him.

    -+-

    The quietest and most desolate Pokecenter I could think of was the one on Mount Silver's base. While the centers outside of Union Cave and Rock Tunnel were often deserted, they were on paths that many Trainers passed through. The Pokemon on Mount Silver were especially strong and tough, so both the League and the government forbade access to all but Trainers recognized as equally strong. The Pokecenter there is a big help to those who lacked other methods of healing, but so few came that it might not even have an attendant nurse.

    But, there is one there when I arrived, sitting on a couch and doing school work. I decline her offer of help, but I do warn her that I'm here to release an unusual Pokemon and that she shouldn't do anything sudden. Although it is impeccably clean due to low usage and staff with a lot of free time, the PC starts up smoothly and gives me access to my Pokemon storage boxes.

    Shortly after I came home from the hospital, I borrowed Professor Oak's computer to let most of my Pokemon go, only keeping the seven I have now. It didn't seem right to leave them there when I was getting out of the battle scene. Even so, looking back at this screen reminds me of others I've had: the Primeape who was with me in Cerulean Cave, the Butterfree and Beedrill that liked to tease each other, the Alakazam who had helped me through Rock Tunnel, the Tauros that was a lucky catch in the Safari Zone and proved to be an unexpected ace... I wonder where they've gotten to. Do they remember me too? Do they miss me? Maybe I ought to try finding them, although I don't know if I'd capture them all again.

    I put the Master Ball in the slot and instruct the computer to release Mewtwo.

    When it appears near me, it looks different. Not in form or anything physical. Mewtwo is wary instead of hostile, its body still but ready to flee, its large blue eyes looking around the building in conjuncture with observing it psychically. After a moment of checking over the nurse, it looks to me.

    We probably won't see each other again. I hope that is so. But if there is something that I could to help you, which your own Pokemon cannot handle, call out my name. I'll find you. I promise that I won't intentionally harm you again.

    Then it leaves, simply vanishing from the spot. I leave through the front door myself, where my Charizard is waiting on me. With the sun sinking in the afternoon sky, he flies me back east, to Pallet Town. I even feel a momentary euphoria about how things are going. I'm sure I don't need to worry about Mewtwo now, and I should be able to deal with people normally again. While there are dark shadows to the world passing beneath my Charizard's wings, there are still good and selfless people out there like Gold. Not only that, but if I inspired him, then surely he has inspired others. The light of peace should grow with each person who decides to choose love and respect.

    When we land back near my home, I feel nervousness creep back into my mind. Is Mom here? Is she going to be mad at me for running off and tricking her like I did? If I can explain things, she might understand. I hope that she does.

    The house looks much the same on the outside. There are some different plants in the garden and the curtains are drawn closed. From the cleanness of the paint and the lack of signs of neglect, someone is living here. I knock on the door, then wave the Charizard to stay close to me. If it is not her, then a traveling Trainer is not an unusual sight and I can always go to Oak's lab to ask where she is.

    Then the door opens, showing that it is my mother. She seems older and smaller than I remember, maybe because I've grown while I was gone. But although her face is not as smooth and her hands are in rougher shape, it is her. She has a smile tinged with sadness at first, something shown to someone she doesn't know. Then she is uncertain, taking a moment to recognize the difference. Then a true smile breaks out with tears of relief as she hugs me to welcome me back home.

    Mom, I'm sorry.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  3. #3
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    That's a very interesting take on the history of Pokemon training, having it spun entirely out of the result of a war. And an interesting explanation of Mewtwo as well, although the evidence in the games indicate it's there by choice. Nevertheless, you've provided exactly what your signiture has been showing for a while now; a more horrifying look at the two regions.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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    Ho-lee crap.

    That was the single greatest thing I have read. You just make everything about the games make perfect sense. Even the little things like how detached the NPCs are and even why you don't have a father.

    Mewtwo being made as a method of war makes complete sense, and I like what you did with the dead Raticate. You did a superb job of explaining why Red never speaks, and you even make Team Rocket as dangerous as they should be.

    This story made me feel emotions I didn't even know I have!

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    @scizorstrike: There is still evidence that Mewtwo is there by choice. Red noted that all of the concrete seals were busted, but that Mewtwo hadn't left the cave entirely. Mewtwo changed its mind.

    @Klizcool: I don't know if it's the greatest thing, but thanks all the same. I like explaining little details in games and making stories like this out of them. this one is a bit of a rare one, since I normally don't go for dark. But then, I had originally wanted it posted for Halloween!
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

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    I love stories that can take small details from pokemon, and can emphasise and expand them into a full-blown adventure. Things like Red not being talking and why he's standing on top of Mt. Silver are finally given a fitting and descriptive explanation and a lot of development into past events and characters are really showcased. I also like how many different perspectives you took, especially from lesser known characters like Giovanni, where most stories when using this kind of structure only use about three or four different perspectives.

    I can't wait to see how the relationship of Ho-oh and Mewtwo transpires; an odd one, but I'm happy that there will finally be some development on my favourite legendary Ho-oh. Keep it up


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    That was incredible Ysavvryl! I was curious and so glad I read this. It really gives depth to the Pokemon world and the story explains the game in a cool way. Reminded me of the manga where Pokemon is darker... as it should be. You didn't over-do the darkness and it appeals to the readers who like a more serious Pokemon. Glad you're still writing amazingly.

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    This was truly amazing. This is one of a select few fanfics that I have no criticism for. I absolutely loved it. Great job!

    Overall, outstanding!

    Rating: 9.5/10

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    Interesting take on Red, much like what you do with your Pokedex one-shots. I agree that giving depth to a story with so many things left unsaid is a very hard feat, and you should be commended for accomplishing that. But a few comments.

    First, the story's style of mixing retelling (the RBY and GSC plots) and storytelling (such as the war) isn't consistent, as there are some sections where the retelling overrides the storytelling, and are therefore aren't too interesting to read. I saw this most in Blue's section, where apart from his Raticate's death (which might as well be canon but eh) just sounded like a progress report of what happened to him in RBY. But there are some parts where you nail the meshing of both, like in the section where Red is talking about the thief in Cerulean or in his travels in Rock Tunnel. There's a nice mix of nostalgia from making the reader recall the classic events and wonder when you inject your own variations of the story that, in their own sick way, make sense.

    Second, also a consequence of the style: there's a bit of a disconnect between the sections in the first post and the sections in the second post. The sections in the first post kind-of remind me of "In a Grove" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, in that the characters sound like they are retelling their versions of stories revolving around a central character and event. The sections in the second post, while also having the same effect, sound more like introspective thoughts that build character, which in a sense overrides what the sections in the first post were trying to do (and in the case of Gold's sections, something that the sections in the first post didn't even bother with). I then question the inclusion of those sections in the first place outside of profiling Red and recounting what happened to him in Cerulean Cave, for you already do so - and in a better way - with Red's and Gold's sections.

    And third, the final scenes (everything from the reveal of Gold's possession of the Rainbow Wing to the end) felt a bit rushed for me, since the inclusion of Ho-Oh felt like it came out of nowhere. This may be a consequence of how the story up to that point felt like it was going in an entirely different direction, what with its focus on the main backstories (the war, Red's father) suggesting that it is in those, and not in an external source (Mewtwo and Ho-Oh), where the problem can be solved. While I get that the whole arc concerning the war serves as context for Mewtwo and as a sort-of glue to the RBY and GSC events that were retold, the link just didn't seem strong enough for me to make the connection that his problem is solved by releasing a Pokemon so affiliated with the war and its terrible memories.

    And just so I could get it out of my chest: that first sentence sounds a bit too cheesy. :P

    These are just things to think over, really, because as what the previous posters have said, this is a very well-written story. Your handling of the backstories is really good, in that while there were a lot, it didn't seem like you were bombarding the reader with them (a problem that seems to prevail in stories like these). Great job!

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