Chapter 28: Dead or alive

Mark woke up in a forest. An ache all over his body announced that he was back to life. He stood up, feeling all dizzy. Then he looked around and started walking in a random direction.
He heard something, and saw it was a Beedrill battling a Pupitar. He didn’t see anything special about it until he remembered that Pupitars aren’t likely to be found in a forest. When he moved a little, he caught a glimpse of blue hair.
She looked around, and he hurried to her.
“Who are you?” she said blankly.
“Don’t you remember me? Mark?” he said, having completely forgotten that he’d been dead for days. She looked at him for a moment, then said, “Look, I don’t know who you are or what you want, but you’re certainly not the brightest person around, if you’re pretending to be someone whose death occupied six to eight pages in all newspapers in Ouen!”
“It did?” Mark asked. “Wow, I’m famous!”
“Now, would you stop this rubbish?”
“Really, I am Mark! Just ask me something only I would know!”
She rolled her eyes, then asked, “What is my last name?”
“What the – but – you never told me your last name!” Mark said furiously.
She raised her eyebrows. “No, I most certainly never did,” she said. “So, you are Mark, but who was it who died?”
“That was me too, but let me explain...”
“Mark – have you been out in the sun for too long?”
“No, I...”
“Then why do you suddenly think you’re a ghost? You look solid to me...”
“I’m not a ghost!” Mark shouted. “I’m trying to...”
“Then why are you saying you’re dead?”
May looked at him for a few seconds, then said, “You’re becoming a bit like me, Mark.”
“What do you mean, a bit like you?”
“The Mark I met at the Lake of Purity would not have told me to shut up. And I’m the only person who could possibly have had any influence on you...”
“You haven’t been influencing me!”
“Are you saying you’re not Mark, then?”
“Then you are getting a bit like me.”
“I... oh, whatever. I should explain first...”
However, May was about the worst listener imaginable. She kept interrupting, usually asking about something Mark was just coming to, and when he had struggled through the whole story, she said, “I’m not sure I believe you, Mark.”
“You’re becoming a lot like me,” May simply said.
“Show me Molzapart or Chaletwo to prove it,” she said.
“I can’t!”
“Oh, so you just can’t?” May said sarcastically. “Maybe because you were making all of this up...”
“I’m not...”
But he didn’t get any further, because a voice speaking inside their heads interrupted.
Mark is not lying. I am right here inside one of his pokéballs.
Chaletwo, Mark thought at once.
He must not send us out, ever. If a human saw it, everything would be ruined.
“Chaletwo?” May said, her eyes wide.
Yes. Believe him, help him, and don’t tell anyone... except Ash Ketchum.
“Wow...” May said after this managed to sink into her. “Wow.”
“Where are we, by the way? And for how long have I been dead?” Mark asked.
“We’re in Ruxido, the forest between Green town and Stormy town. If we’re to speak to Ash Ketchum, we need to go back to Green town. And you died a week ago. Wow, this is weird...”
They walked back, all the way to Green town, pretty much with nothing interesting happening. Then they knocked nervously on the door of Ash Ketchum’s house. Mark noticed some people who stared at him, then shook their heads and kept going.
Alan came to the door, his gaze ran from May to Mark, and stopped there. Then his mouth fell open, he raised his hand slowly, pointing at Mark, and said, “You are dead.”
“I’ll explain inside,” Mark said, and Alan stepped aside.
“But... I saw it... Chaletwo killed you... before my very eyes... I’ll eat Pamela if it wasn’t you...”
“I’m no more dead than you,” Mark said.
“No more than me...? Do you mean... a – are you coming to get me? I – I think you’re taking me for someone else, I’m sure I don’t have cancer or anything, I’d surely have noticed if I’d been murdered... and I’m much to young to by dying for natural reasons now... and I like my life, I’d not go and commit suicide, least of all without being aware of it myself...”
Mark was trying hard not to laugh. “You’re not dead either.”
“But you are,” Alan said and pointed at him again. “You are.”
“Let’s sit down and assume both of us are alive, and I’ll explain it to you. Then I need to talk to your father.”
Again, Mark explained everything. Alan was still staring at him, keeping his hand on the table like he was afraid otherwise Mark could suddenly walk through it. When Mark finished, Alan opened his mouth.
“And... er... are you having problems believing me?” Mark asked.
“Wh... no, not at all. I should’ve known.”
“What do you mean?”
“Chaletwo. Chaletwo wouldn’t kill people just like that, I knew it.”
“Yeah, maybe, but where is your father?”
“Upstairs, I think,” Alan answered.
“No,” came a voice from behind them. It was Ash, of course.
“Brought more friends home, have you, Al...” Ash noticed Mark. “Ahh, I see,” he then said. Alan looked just as puzzled as them.
“Chaletwo killed you, right?” Ash said.
“Ummm... yeah...” Mark said, not sure why Ash seemed like he’d been expecting him for a long time.
“You don’t need to explain anything. Molzapart told me what would happen, years ago when I first met Molzapart, and it is time I tell you.”
He sat down at the table.
“Molzapart told me that one day, I would meet a dead person. Molzapart told me everything about the War of the Legends, and that they weren’t going to send anyone to me until it was their last chance.
Well, for short, Molzapart told me that once I met that person, I should help them. Go with them – because everyone should know that legendary pokémon seem to come within my eyesight quite often – and help them find the legendary pokémon and catch them. If I were facing death, I would tell Alan, who has the same blood flowing through his veins, because he will work just as well, or if it was even after his time, one of his children...”
“That’s me!” Alan exclaimed. “That’s me, I can go just as well as you! Please, can I? I’ve always dreamed of going on a real adventure, not just a boring pokémon journey... can I go, even though you’re not dead?”
“Well, I personally have nothing against it, but – I have to admit that I’m quite surprised, Alan, that you are asking to get to go and save the world. You’re the last person I’d have expected to want that, save maybe Charlie.”
“We’re not going to tell anyone, are we?” Alan said. “It’s secret – no one will know and I’m not going to be famous or anything...” He looked at Mark. “Or will I?”
“I doubt it, if you don’t want to,” Mark answered.
“Besides, this is worth being famous for, it’s...”
“You talk like it’s a bad thing,” Ash said.
“Dad, you have so absolutely NOTHING to say about that! You were never stared at in school, just because your father was your father! You had some private life when you were a kid! Everyone didn’t know who you were! Everyone didn’t always expect you to be good at everything, just because you were the son of your father! Most everyone didn’t keep from coming near you, just because your father was famous! And now I have the chance to go on a completely secret journey that actually has an important purpose, with no one but two kids who are keeping it completely secret too and our pokémon, and it will even give me a reason to be famous, I am going to enjoy being in a simple group of three humans and some pokémon for the first time in my life!!!!”
Ash didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and no sound was heard except for Alan’s rapid breathing. Then Ash finally said, “I understand. I’d never have liked being a famous person’s child, and of course I’d want to go if that was my opportunity to deserve my fame and at the same time getting to be left alone. Well, shouldn’t you kids get a move on, then? We have no time to lose.”
“Yeah, of course...” said Alan. “Wait...” he ran upstairs and came down with an official pokémon league cap that looked so ancient it would belong in a museum.
“Can’t go on an adventure without Dad’s old cap, can I?” He laughed and put it on. “Now I’m ready.”
Mark noticed the five pokéballs at his belt, and assumed that Diamond, Alan’s Rapidash, must still be outside. Meanwhile, Ash was packing down things in a backpack, and was surprisingly quick getting everything needed there. Alan disappeared to somewhere and came back with a saddle and a bridle.
“If you don’t mind,” he said. “You can try Diamond out too if you want. She’s great.”
“Your backpack’s ready, Alan,” said Ash, handing the backpack to Alan.

When they got outside, Alan went straight to the left, Mark and May following. When they reached the border of the city, he called out, “Diamond!”
There was a sound of hooves, and a Rapidash sped out from the wilderness and stopped in front of Alan.
“Good girl,” he said, putting the saddle and bridle on her. Then he got on her back, and said “Agility!” Diamond nodded with a wild look of happiness on her face, and galopped forward fast as lightning while Alan went crazy and yelled “WHOOOOOOO!!!!” When they returned, Alan got off and asked, “Anyone else wanna try?”
Mark mumbled “No, thanks,” but May accepted right away and went on a wild ride on Diamond too.
“How will we manage to catch all these legendary pokémon...” Mark muttered. “How can we possibly manage to...”
“Well, as Dad always says: To find legendary pokémon, all you need to do is being incredibly lucky like I seem to be, and not looking for them,” Alan answered. “According to Molzapart, I will be incredibly lucky too, so you can just concentrate on the pokémon league, and we will find them in the end. What’s more of a problem, I’d say, is how you’re going to catch them, it’s not like you have fifteen Master balls ready at hand...”
“I have one,” said Mark. “And we can always buy Ultra balls.”
“True, but if the weaker legendary pokémon are getting stronger, Ultra balls may not be enough to catch them.”
“Do you have a better idea?”
Alan didn’t say anything.

Chapter 29

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