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Scyther's Story - Part II: Friendship

V

The young Descith was a year old. He had now learned many things about the world. He could communicate with the other Scyther in the Pokémon language. He knew the difference between a Scyther and a Descith. And his scythes had begun to grow – they were still made of the same soft yellow stuff as his joints and would be until he evolved, but it was a start.

But he was still young, and this was the first time that he experienced an acceptance ritual at an old enough age to realize what was going on and what was being said.

The process had not been described to him. His parents had only told him that he would be seeing the acceptance ritual and that the same had been done to him when he was accepted into the swarm. He was both excited and curious, with little to even hint to him what he would be seeing.

The Leader walked up to the rock and all the Scyther and Descith fell silent.

“A new member of our swarm was hatched this morning,” the Leader said. He was illuminated by the pale moonlight so that he looked more intimidating than he was during the day. A short distance behind him loomed the forest of Ruxido, every tree seeming like a sturdy soldier in his personal army.

It was no wonder that times like these made the Scyther’s hearts fill with fearful respect and obedience towards their Leader.

While the Leader said his traditional speech of acceptance, the Descith that was its subject shrieked innocently, receiving disapproving glares from the swarm. The one-year-old didn’t yet fully understand the Code or why the newborn must be so quiet, but he imitated the adult Scyther anyway.

His expression betraying disgust for a fraction of a second, the Leader raised his left arm. “By the blood of the Leader, the Father and the Fresh Prey,” he finished as blood from two Scyther and a Rattata showered over the small Descith on the rock. He let out a piercing cry of fear, attempting to crawl away from the blood to more disapproving looks from the swarm.

He did not yet understand this either, neither the young one’s fearful reaction nor the adults’ disapproval, but what could he do but ignore it?

The ritual was finished awkwardly by forcing the newborn’s face into the puddle of blood, and then it was over.

The year-old Descith watching it would never know that this was what would later be one of his best friends.

His other best friend he would meet the next day.

VI

It was a rainy morning.

The Descith knew all about rain. He knew that it was the blood of the clouds. The clouds were a species of Pokémon that lived all of its life high up in the sky. Ordinarily they were white and shifted their shapes into various different ones depending on what they were thinking, but sometimes they died, and then they turned gray. And after they had turned gray, their blood rained down onto the ground to provide necessary water to the Pokémon down below in the endless circle of life.

Sometimes the clouds had great wars and so many of them died that the entire sky turned gray. And every morning, the clouds attacked the sun so that the sky turned red with the sun’s blood, but the sun climbed further up than the clouds ever went so that in the middle of the day they couldn’t reach her anymore. And when she descended in the evening, the clouds attacked her again, but then she buried deep underground where they could not reach her either.

One day the clouds would wear the sun down, she would be unable to climb or dig away from them in time, and they would shed all of her blood and kill her like any other Fire Pokémon.

And then there would be no more sunlight, and the moon would stay still in the sky at all times because he would no longer have to chase the sun always. Some of the older Scyther told of how once the moon had caught up with the sun and nearly extinguished her fire, but she had gotten away narrowly and the eternal race had continued.

And the sun had once had children with the moon, the stars. And the stars came out in the night because they wanted to distract the moon so that he wouldn’t catch the sun.

He knew this because that was what his parents had told him, and what their parents had told them, and what their parents had told them, and so on. And the Leader confirmed it.

It had to be true.

Of course, it wasn’t. Scyther’s wings weren’t built for high flight, and no Scyther had ever flown high enough to prove the worth of even the easiest to verify of these stories, namely the one about the clouds being Pokémon that became gray when they died. They would have realized that the clouds were just vapor.

But they could not fly that high, and as such they never felt any need to question those stories. What did it matter to them, anyway, whether they were true or not? As long as the sun rose in the morning and the clouds did rain, who cared whether all the specific details were true?

The funny thing was that they did not especially need those stories. Humans were curious creatures who could never be satisfied with a “We don’t know.” They needed something to believe, truth or not. But the Scyther were not that way, nor were any other Pokémon. They were perfectly content with knowing something could be relied on to happen, and didn’t need to know why it was.

It simply happened to be so that certain individuals had more of this tendency than others did.

The humans called it ‘creativity’. The Scyther called it ‘unnecessary wondering about trivial things’.

The only reason those stories began to be passed on was that some Scyther long ago, instead of speaking of these stories as the made-up speculation they were, decided to pretend they were fact in order to avoid being shunned.

And thus, the evolution of the species slowly ground to a halt, because they had grown intelligent enough to cheat natural selection for their own views, which mostly involved being the same as they had always been or pretending to be the same.

The older Descith that he was talking to was one of those who did unnecessary wondering about trivial things. His exoskeleton was a particularly light green, which had immediately caught the younger one’s attention. Having nothing else to do, they had engaged in conversation under a large tree that shielded them somewhat from the pouring rain, and currently the older one was managing to thoroughly confuse his conversational partner with his alien views.

“Why do you think it rains?” he had begun this topic, staring out at the falling raindrops.

“I know,” the younger Descith had said. “The clouds are Pokémon high up in the sky who turn gray when they die and then their blood…”

“I don’t think rain is the blood of the clouds,” the other had interrupted. “I don’t think they’re Pokémon at all. How do you know they are?”

The younger had looked at him in puzzlement. “All the Scyther say so, so it must be true.”

“But how do they know?” the older had countered. “Scyther can’t fly up there. Once I saw a flock of Pidgey flying, and they flew through a cloud. Like it wasn’t even solid.”

“The others are older and know it better than you,” the younger Descith had stubbornly said. The other had sighed and stopped talking about it. Now they were sitting in silence and watching the rainfall.

“You know how to evolve faster?” asked the older suddenly.

“How?”

“Mock duels.”

The younger Descith looked at the older. “You can’t do mock duels until you’ve already evolved and your scythes have hardened.”

“You can,” insisted the other one. “You just have to be careful not to break them. It won’t really be a problem for you, since they’re still so small. I’ll have to watch out, though.” He looked at his own scythes, about half the area that they would finally have, but still yellow and vulnerable.

“You want a mock duel with me?” the younger asked, puzzled. The older nodded.

“I’ve never done it before,” the younger Descith said hesitantly. “I don’t know how to…”

“You don’t need to know it,” the older interrupted with a smile. “It’s all there already.”

And with that, he stood up, motioning for the younger one to do the same, which he did.

It was all very sudden when he leapt menacingly at the other. He instinctively ducked and slashed away with his premature scythe.

“See?” the older one said. “It’s not too hard.”

“It isn’t,” the younger agreed, astonished. He suddenly leapt at the other Descith with his blades aloft, to have them blocked by the green edge of the older one’s left scythe. The older laughed and kicked him off.

“Can I make a name for you?” he asked.

The younger Descith looked at him in disbelief. To make a name for someone meant respect – something not too common for a one-year-old Descith to have.

“You can,” he replied in excitement. This would be his first real name. His parents only referred to him as Son.

“I call you…” The older Descith paused. “Razor.”

And the younger Descith grinned from ear to ear. “Can I make a name for you as well?”

“Of course,” the older replied, his eyes twinkling with glee.

“I call you…”

The newly-named Razor looked out at the rain and then at the other Descith.

“Stormblade,” he finished with conviction. “That is your name.”

Stormblade laughed. “Thank you.”

And then he leapt at Razor with raised scythes.

VII

Another year passed.

Stormblade and Razor continued to be friends. They dueled at every opportunity, excited to trigger each other’s evolution. Both of their scythes grew, Stormblade’s to full size and Razor’s to what Stormblade’s had been when they had first met.

And one day they met a tiny year-old Descith with a particularly dark armor.

This was the subject of some amused staring, as dark armor generally indicated that its owner was a female.

“What are you looking at?” asked the young Descith defensively, raising his scythes up in front of him. He had large, paranoid eyes, but a strangely powerful voice for his size.

“You,” Razor replied honestly.

“What is so interesting about me?” the little one asked coldly.

“Your armor is darker than average, isn’t it?” Stormblade answered.

“And so?” the little Descith asked stubbornly.

Stormblade laughed. “Should we settle this in a duel?”

Whatever reaction he expected, it was not what really happened, namely that the tiny little Descith growled and leapt straight at Stormblade with his barely-existent scythes ready to slash.

Stormblade recoiled in surprise, but quickly raised his own blades against the attack, throwing the much smaller Pokémon a few meters away in one swing. The newcomer took a few tumbles in the grass, but rose immediately back up and attacked Stormblade fiercely again.

Stormblade fought back with all his might, and indeed his size and age gave him the advantage. In the end, the small Descith lay in the grass, defeated, under Stormblade’s entire weight.

“Damn, you’re good,” Stormblade panted. “Can I give you a name?”

It was difficult to see which was more astonished, the beaten Descith or Razor.

“Y-yes, I suppose…” the Descith stammered, assuming this had to be some kind of trick, perhaps to give him an offensive name – uncommon, but not unknown – but not in any situation to say no.

“Shadowdart shall be your name,” Stormblade said with satisfaction, rising up and nodding. “This is Razor, and I am Stormblade.”

The only situation in which Pokémon ever introduced themselves and each other by name was when the one being spoken to was being invited into a tight-knit group of mutual respect, and the hesitant Shadowdart was well aware of this.

It would be difficult to make it into a joke from there on.

Shadowdart nodded and stood up. “Thank you.”

He looked between his two new apparent friends, and still did not understand it any more than Razor did.

“You have potential, kid…” Stormblade said faintly before his eyes rolled backwards into his head. Shadowdart stared wide-eyed at him, wondering if he had killed him or something, but then Stormblade’s body was taken over by a bright white glow.

“He’s evolving!” Razor gasped, and indeed he was. Stormblade’s pure white shape began to grow. His height doubled in just a few moments, more spikes appeared on his head, his upper body appeared to split in the middle and the halves to bulge apart, his leg joints morphing into round segments…

When the glow faded away, Stormblade was a full-grown Scyther with shiny, metallic scythes.

He grinned.

“You two are next.”


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