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The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)

Chapter 61: Mewtwo

When Mark woke up the next morning, it took him a moment of looking over the sleeping Pokémon around them to realize Scyther was there, awake, sitting against Charizard’s side.

He crawled out of his sleeping bag, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. “Hey,” he said, smiling, and walked over to Scyther. “You’re still here.”

“The Code is wrong,” Scyther said softly, a slight hint of a grin on his face.

Mark blinked again. “What?”

“The moral code of the Scyther,” the mantis said. “I was all set to try to ignore it for the sake of my happiness, but it never actually crossed my mind that it was just wrong.”

Mark stared at him for a moment. “So you... you found your swarm?”

Scyther nodded. “Nightmare was there, too.”

“Nightmare?” Mark asked, still puzzled. “Wasn’t she... wasn’t she Michael Willows’ Scizor?”

“He released all his Pokémon sometime after that battle,” Scyther said, averting his eyes again. “But she liked him. He was sorry for evolving her.”

“Oh,” Mark said. He felt a pang of guilty discomfort; even his flimsy justification for not forfeiting the battle against Michael was now void, but he supposed there was little he could do about it now. “Is she okay?”

“Yeah,” Scyther said. “She set herself on becoming Leader. She wants to abolish the Code.”

Mark stared at him again. He couldn’t really comprehend quite what all this meant; all he knew of Scyther society were the bits and pieces that Scyther had told him, and he’d never imagined the code of ethics that Scyther had been hung up on since first joining him was something that could simply be changed.

“Shadowdart’s dead,” Scyther went on, distantly.

Mark couldn’t remember who Shadowdart was, but if Scyther thought the name would mean something to him, he figured it had to be one of Scyther’s two friends that they had met in Ruxido that one time. “I’m... sorry,” he said hesitantly.

Scyther looked at him for a moment, like he was considering whether to say something else, then shook his head. “I’ve still got some things to figure out about living without the Code – I doubt you could help with that. But now that it isn’t holding me back anymore, I’ve realized I can choose what I truly want to do with my life, and this is it. The War needs to be stopped, and I want to be part of that. And then I can go back to my swarm.”

Mark nodded. He was still somewhat confused, but now for the first time as far as he could remember, Scyther sounded like he had something to live for, and that was what was most important. “I’m glad,” he said. “That you’re figuring things out, I mean.”

“Me too,” Scyther replied and smiled.

-------

They set off eastwards later in the morning. May’s Floatzel and the freshly-evolved Weavile tagged along outside their Pokéballs under the pretense of needing to practice their Ice moves, although it looked suspiciously like they were more concerned with continuing the competition they’d started the previous night over who could take down more wild Pokémon. May and Alan seemed to be getting along okay, but there still wasn’t much in the way of conversation.

Mark was slipping into that sense of jaded boredom that had become permanently associated with this route in his mind when something seemed to prick at the edge of his mind, something that wasn’t Chaletwo. He looked up warily; May and Alan had stopped as well, even Floatzel, and Weavile asked, “What?” and then...

...and then Mewtwo was standing in front of them, and he looked straight at Mark and said, “Chaletwo, I want to talk to you.”

Mark felt a double dose of dumbstruck, staring at the legendary that had just appeared. “How did you know I was here?” Chaletwo asked sharply for both of them.

“Did you believe it was still a secret?” Mewtwo asked. His telepathic voice sounded eerily similar to Chaletwo’s; it gave the bizarre impression he was talking to himself, which really didn’t help Mark process any of what he was saying. “Raudra and Puragon warned us that trainers had captured Dragoreen and that you were with them. Mew told us you were likely trying to stop the War. I do not agree with your methods, but that isn’t why I’m here.”

Mark was stunned; this possibility really, really should have occurred to them at some point before now, but somehow Raudra and Puragon had never actually registered as agents capable of knowledge and suspicion.

“What’s with everyone knowing about the War all of a sudden?” Chaletwo said irritably. “And if they know, why aren’t they helping us?”

“Raudra and Puragon are livid that you attacked and captured their sister instead of explaining the situation,” Mewtwo replied. “By provoking their hostility, you have made them despise you. They know you will be back for them, and they plan to fight to the last. There is no hope they will cooperate with you.”

A rush of flustered anger arose in the back of Mark’s mind. “Why are they being idiots about this?” Chaletwo said fiercely. “They’re both going to die if they’re not captured! Or if they just made soul gems we could leave them alone, but if they’re...”

“You would have to discuss that with them, though I doubt they would listen,” Mewtwo said. “The two things they care about most are one another and their power balance with their brothers. You have already taken both away from them; I feel they would not seal their brothers’ victory by giving up their bodies for good, least of all when this would help you, even if it means the death of all that lives.”

Part of Mark was appalled by this, but part dully thought that sounded exactly like the kind of petty, spiteful thing they’d do. And yet another part could kind of see where they were coming from, thinking guiltily of the Master Ball he had thrown at Dragoreen without ever attempting to simply explain things and negotiate with them – it had never occurred to him that they could.

“In any case,” Mewtwo went on when Chaletwo didn’t reply, “that isn’t what I came here to discuss. I wanted to talk to you about Mew.”

“What about Mew?”

“I am concerned. She has been growing ever more quiet and aimless.”

“He’s been like that for a while,” Chaletwo said. “My bet is he’s conflicted about the War, even if he tries to pretend he thinks it’s fated.”

“That isn’t all,” Mewtwo went on. “She was distracted but sane when Raudra and Puragon came, but yesterday, she suddenly appeared on my island and was outright delirious. She rambled incoherently about the War and Chalenor and escaping it, and she seemed not to remember who I was. Then she kept saying she needed insurance. And as I tried to ask her what and why, she created a copy of my body and then teleported away.”

Everyone stared at Mewtwo. Alan was the first to say what they were all thinking: “Why would Mew do that?”

“I had hoped that Chaletwo would know, having known about the War and been close to Mew longer than I.” Mewtwo looked back at Mark, waiting.

“Well, there’s only one thing ‘insurance’ is likely to mean. He’s figured out another way to escape from the War, and presumably it involves having a spare body around. Don’t know what he’s thinking; it could be as simple as planning to be resurrected into it from a soul gem.”

“But why Mewtwo’s body?” May said, speaking for the first time. “Do you think it’s just a coincidence it specifically went and got Mewtwo’s body?” She looked searchingly at Mark.

“What are you insinuating?” Chaletwo said, defensively.

“Well, anything,” she said, shrugging. “All I’m saying is it’s odd. If it was just looking for a body, why would it go to Mewtwo’s island instead of copying its own or snatching the nearest wild Pokémon? And not only that; it’s also the same body as Chaletwo’s.”

Mark was silent. His brain was tying itself into knots trying to figure out how all this connected; he knew there was something there and it seemed only barely beyond his reach. “So, what, you think he wants to impersonate one of us or something?” Chaletwo was saying, filling up Mark’s mind with that instead of the thought that was trying to slip away, and he wished the legendary would stop talking. “I don’t think there’s any connection. It was pure chance that I had Mewtwo’s body in the first place; it was just Mewtwo happened to...”

Why Chaletwo had Mewtwo’s body. “Wait,” Mark said as everything finally clicked into place. “Maybe we have it all wrong. You said Mewtwo had gone back in time with Chalenor and that’s why Mewtwo’s body was there after the last War. Right?”

“Right, but you shouldn’t really be talking about Mewtwo’s future when he’s right –”

“And that doesn’t make sense because living creatures belong to a certain time and should bounce back there when the Destroyer has drained the power that’s keeping them there. But Mewtwo’s body isn’t quite a living creature, is it?”

“But you can’t travel back in time –”

“Yes, you can, if the past is where you originally came from,” Mark pressed on. “So that wasn’t Mew having gotten worse since Raudra and Puragon talked to him. That was Mew from a thousand years ago – that’s why he didn’t recognize Mewtwo, he’d never met him before – and when he went back he took Mewtwo’s body with him. Mew and Chalenor must have gone to the future together looking for ‘insurance’. And then, after the War, he used that body to create Chaletwo. It all fits.”

There was a beat of silence as everyone stared at him.

“That’s ridiculous,” Chaletwo said. “We already know that Mew wasn’t there and Chalenor took Mewtwo back because he was interested in seeing the past. The only mystery is why he wasn’t pulled back to his own time...”

“That’s just what Mew told you,” Mark said. “Isn’t it time we faced the fact that Mew may not have told you the whole truth about everything?”

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Chaletwo said heatedly. “Why in the hell would Mew lie about something like that?”

“What about him not recognizing Mewtwo?” May said. “I’m with Mark. It’s all very far-fetched the other way.”

“He’s been unravelling mentally for years! It’s just the stress of the War coming when he’s already been through it once. It doesn’t mean he’s the goddamn Destroyer. What is wrong with you people?”

May raised an eyebrow at Mark; Floatzel looked up, intrigued, as Weavile tried to pull her back into their mock fight. Mewtwo and Alan just seemed puzzled.

“I wasn’t even saying he’s the Destroyer,” Mark said cautiously. “I was saying he went to the future with Chalenor before the last War looking for ‘insurance’. If anything that sounds more like he isn’t the Destroyer.”

“And then you’re saying he went and lied about the whole thing, made up a bunch of crap about how Mewtwo wanted to see Chalenor’s time, and hid the fact he was even there, for no reason whatsoever, simply because you’ve decided everything Mew says is automatically suspect. And you think that’s the more plausible version? Well, forgive me if I’m not convinced.”

There was a beat of silence. “I have to agree that it does not sound like Mew,” Mewtwo then said. “She did not tell the rest of us about the War, but I have never known her to lie; Chaletwo has known about the War since the beginning, and yet you presume she told him an outright fabrication regarding his own origins. Do you suspect her of being the Destroyer?”

“Well, maybe,” Mark said hesitantly. “I just found it pretty odd that he explicitly told Chaletwo not to try to stop the War and tried to keep it from the other legendaries. But now he’s been telling you and Raudra and Puragon and the Beasts, so I guess that doesn’t quite fit, and the insurance thing sounds more like he was trying to escape it.”

“Nothing we know makes sense if Mew is the Destroyer,” Chaletwo said. “I don’t see why you’re still even considering it an option.”

“But still,” Mark went on, “I wasn’t suggesting he was the Destroyer, just that he lied. Maybe he just thinks he made a horrible mistake trying to escape the War for some reason, doesn’t want you to know about it because he doesn’t want you to try, and discouraged you from trying to stop it for the same reason. Isn’t that at least possible? Didn’t you say he was really devastated after the last War?”

“That was just because Chalenor died!”

“Do you know that?” May said. “Because it sounds more like an assumption to me.”

“Guys,” Alan interrupted before Chaletwo could respond. “Aren’t we being a little presumptuous with the theorizing here? Most of this is just wild speculation that doesn’t match up with Chaletwo’s impressions, and Chaletwo’s literally known Mew for a thousand years. I’m not saying Mark couldn’t in theory be right, but you have to see that we really can’t just assume that.”

“Thank you, Alan,” Chaletwo said. “Good to see you’re still sane.”

Mark took a deep breath and then nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, you’re right. We can’t say anything for sure, and it’s not our biggest concern for now, anyway.”

Even though he said that, he was almost completely convinced he was on to something. Part of him noted cautiously that some of the reason for his conviction might be a kind of cynical backlash against the idea of legendaries with perfectly pure motives and nothing to hide, but the fact it seemed to explain several apparent contradictions at the same time, even if it left some puzzling motives behind, couldn’t be just a coincidence. And while he trusted Mewtwo’s opinion somewhat more, he’d never gotten the feeling Chaletwo was at all objective where Mew was concerned.

“So,” Mewtwo said after a pause, slowly, “supposing Chalenor does come for me, what will happen if I do not go with him?”

May looked doubtfully at Mark. He was momentarily confused before it hit him what Mewtwo was getting at: he would now have to knowingly go with Chalenor to his death in order for Chaletwo’s version of events to happen like it supposedly did. He gave Chaletwo an anxious mental prod, now wishing he hadn’t said anything (though would that have made it any better, really?); his previous certainty of his theory felt vastly overconfident now that it had occurred to him that there were serious consequences involved.

A few seconds passed before Chaletwo answered. “I don’t know,” he said reluctantly. “It could unravel the universe for all we know, and I don’t care to find out.”

Mewtwo looked at them in silence for a second and then gave a slow nod. “Then that means I must.”

“I’m sorry,” Mark said, and he was. Of all legendaries, it was Mewtwo who just nodded without a complaint when faced with the prospect of sacrificing his life – perhaps precisely because he hadn’t lived for a thousand years believing he was truly immortal. Though he had only known him a couple of minutes, Mark already felt a deep respect for him, and if any legendary should die in the War, it seemed like it shouldn’t be him.

“I still don’t think that’s going to happen,” May said, breaking the silence. “And if Chalenor never comes to take you back in time and you’re still out and about when this War starts, everything we’ve been doing is for nothing. I think that’s the more important possibility here.”

“I can recall myself into a ball if Chalenor has not come before a given time,” Mewtwo said. “If I become too weak to travel, I will assume he is not coming. You are certain that Pokéballs will stop the onset of madness?”

Chaletwo hesitated. “If they don’t,” he said, “then there’s little we can do.”

Mewtwo looked at Mark for a moment, his violet eyes piercing and inscrutable. “Very well. I still believe you should approach the others diplomatically before picking any fights.”

“Mew forbade us to tell anyone about the War!” Chaletwo replied heatedly. “I don’t know why he’s blabbing it to anyone and everyone now, but explaining things just wasn’t an option –”

“You were already going against her wishes to not try to stop it,” Mewtwo said. “I have tremendous respect for Mew, but sometimes she is wrong. You should have told them anyway.”

Mewtwo waited several seconds for a response, but there wasn’t one.

“Farewell, then,” he said. “If I meet any other legendaries, I will try to persuade them to take measures against the War. Good luck.”

And then he was gone, vanished before their eyes as if he were never there.


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