Chapter 31: The biology of pokémon

Mark woke with a start very early the next morning, when the sun was casting its very first rays upon the morning dew, despite it not being in sight yet. He looked quickly around, confused, until he realized that it had only been Scyther turning over in his sleep and touching his sleeping bag lightly. He breathed in relief, sat up and went out of the bag, and looked at the sleeping figures all around him. He smiled. Then he looked at Scyther again. Every now and then, a wing, arm or leg would twitch a bit. He was dreaming.
Because of the strange appeal of someone’s movements while they sleep, Mark decided to watch his bug pokémon a bit longer.
Scyther reached out randomly through his sleep, but found nothing but Mark’s empty sleeping bag. He grabbed it carefully with his scythes and hugged it firmly.
“I hate you,” he muttered and hugged the sleeping bag even tighter. “I... hate you...”
Scyther then opened his eyes. They were blank and obviously still not looking at anything but the dreamworld. But this gave Mark the opportunity, for the first time ever, to look properly at Scyther’s eyes, instead of into them and the mind behind them. There was nothing behind them now but the dephts of his soul.
They startled Mark. They looked so... helpless. Sad. And... watery.
Scyther screwed back his eyes again and twitched violently, still muttering “I hate you...” and clutching the sleeping bag, while what was unmistakeably a tear burst out from under his eyelid and ran down his cheek.
Mark almost cried, too. The fact that the pokémon, who lay so helpless on the ground now, had deadly weapons attached to his arms from birth and was feared by humans and pokémon of the past, present and future, was just so sadistically ironic, he couldn’t help being completely overdriven by pity.
Scyther had stopped twitching, so he apparently was now in deep sleep. Mark waited a bit, hearing nothing but the breathing of May, Alan and the pokémon, then carefully retrieved his sleeping bag. Scyther didn’t move. Mark crawled back into the bag and quickly fell asleep, as the drying water in his eyes glued his eyelids together.

When Mark woke a few hours later, he had pretty much forgotten what he had witnessed before. They just wrapped up their sleeping bags in silence and walked on into Ruxido. The sky was clear, Taillows were singing everywhere and reminded Mark of how they were among the few Hoenn pokémon that had managed to spread to other parts of the world. It was a beautiful day. “Mark! Behind you!” he suddenly heard Chaletwo’s voice. He stopped and turned. May and Alan also did. He saw a herd of something like horses, landing on feathery wings on the plains far away, unaware of the three kids who just disappeared behind the trees...
“Waraider...” Mark muttered, and grabbed a pokéball.
“No!” said Chaletwo’s voice. “They’re eight, and all with terrible powers. The only way they’d ever let you come near would be if you came out and let them see you – not catching their attention, just letting them see you – with your beltline clearly visible with no pokéballs. They consider it way below them to attack something as weak as passing human kids with no pokémon for protection.”
“But how will I catch them?” Mark muttered.
“Take out your Master ball and some Ultra balls, and hope for a miracle.”
Chaletwo said nothing more.
Mark sent his pokémon out and immediately warned them to be quiet by putting a finger on his lips. He explained the situation.
“Mark,” said Sandslash, “if you’re going after them, at least let us get some fresh air and excercise. Remember what I talked to you about?”
“You’re right,” said Mark. “And since they’re so far away, almost the whole way back to Green town, I’ll probably go and buy some more Ultra balls there because I’ll probably use them all...”
His pokémon nodded. Mark noticed how Jolteon looked like he was itching a lot. He smiled. It seemed so obvious now. Of course he shouldn’t have kept someone like Jolteon, who obviously hated being locked up, inside a pokéball all day! That seemed ridiculous now. All because he had woken up early on the twenty-fifth with no one to talk to.
He walked a few steps forward, still with Chaletwo’s voice echoing inside his head. Once he was far enough for the legendary pokémon ahead to see him if they bothered to look in his direction, he froze, waiting for their reaction.
One of the unicorns raised its head. The others slowly did also after they noticed the one that was staring over there. For a few seconds they were all staring at him, then one looked away, followed by the others.
“Part one of the plan worked,” came Chaletwo’s voice.
Mark kept walking, losing the feeling for his legs gradually as he went on. He looked back and saw that his pokémon already left into Ruxido, but May and Alan had sat down and started to talk.
He turned back to the Waraider herd. All the unicorns now looked at him again as he walked towards them. For ages, it seemed, he walked on. Suddenly, he discovered that he was very close to them without even noticing.
Sweating, Mark stared at the herd and could feel the presence of great power in the air. Slowly, he reached back, and then with a quick movement, he grabbed some of the Ultra balls in his pocket, clutched them, then threw them all at the herd.
“WAAAAAR!” the white one neighed as the herd scattered. Then the Waraider took off. Mark breathed in relief; if the leader of the herd was going to flee, the other ones would probably too. He threw a few more Ultra balls at the unicorns, who were flying upwards one by one, then when they had all taken off, Mark collected the four or five Ultra balls that the Waraider herd hadn’t destroyed in some way or another, and sighed.
“I’m hopeless at this,” he muttered as he put the Ultra balls back into his pocket. Green town thankfully wasn’t far ahead.

After he bought more Ultra balls, Mark was getting hungry, bought a sandwich and was about to walk out of town when he noticed that the bench he was walking past, which had been empty a few seconds ago, was now occupied by the only person who could appear out of nowhere like that: Mitch.
But that was not what interested Mark. What he did find curious was that Mitch looked at him perfectly calmly, and wasn’t surprised to see him at all. He wondered if he had just not heard of it or something. Or if he believed in ghosts. Or something. At least, he stopped and turned.
“Will you have a seat while you finish your sandwich?” Mitch offered and moved to the right, making room for another person beside him. Mark sat down, and saw that Mitch was looking into the air again. Mark had a strike of deja vu.
He unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. Mitch sighed.
“So,” he said, still staring into the air, “guess we are on the same boat now.”
“Wha’cha mean?” Mark said with his mouth full.
“Why, we are both dead, of course.”
Mark hurriedly swallowed the bite of sandwich, then said:
“I told you, remember,” said Mitch. “Seven years ago, a little kid called Richard Brown started a pokémon journey. He went into the desert, and died there. Instead, some months later, this guy called Mitch appeared in Scorpion city with a bad case of amnesia, first thought he actually was the poor little boy, then remembered his name and that he was thirteen years old. Inside him, there is a little boy called Richard Brown who doesn’t like Mitch at all. But what can he do? He cloaked himself with that Mitch, and now he thrives on the costume.”
“What? You’re seventeen?” Mark blurted out.
“No,” said Mitch and suddenly looked right into Mark’s face. Mark had forgotten about how special his eyes were. “Richard Brown is ten. Mitch is twenty. You see? I changed myself into the man Mitch. But half of me is still the ten-year-old kid who was thought to be dead and no one believed him when he came back, and the kid is scared of Mitch, the man who has seen so many deaths, so much pain, so much sorrow. Too much for a little kid, who was hidden inside Mitch where he did not get to grow and become an adult. Do not make the same mistake I made. Do not hide yourself inside a new person you make up. Even if no one believes you, you should stick with that you are you. It would drive you crazy to be like me. It drove me crazy. I am two people! I am still half a kid! I should not have seen all that I have seen! I should not have heard all that I have heard! Be you. Stay as you. Being locked inside another person because you are afraid of other people is not the right thing to do. Do not do it! Do you hear me? STAY AS YOURSELF UNLESS YOU WANT TO END UP LIKE ME!!!”
He took a deep breath and looked into the air again.
“Sorry, you get what I mean,” he said. “I am not real. I am a dead kid, and I am a made-up character.”
Mark took another bite of the sandwich and thought about what Mitch just said. They sat there for a long while. Then Mitch suddenly looked at Mark again.
“Do you know about the animal world?”
“Yeah,” Mark answered.
“I think humans came from there,” Mitch went on.
“What?” Mark coughed out through the half-chewed sandwich in his mouth. “No way!”
“But, you see, it fits perfectly. Ever wondered why you cannot catch a human in a pokéball? Why you cannot store humans digitally on a computer? Why humans do not have levels, stats, attacks, abilities, hit points, anything?”
Mark didn’t say anything. Now that Mitch mentioned it, it was sort of odd.
“It’s because humans are a whole different thing. A different kingdom of life.”
Mitch paused, then looked at Mark. He was starting to understand why Mitch kept looking up while he talked; there was just something about his eyes that disconnected you from your surroundings and gave what he was saying an additional meaning that made you pretty much unable to look off them. Suddenly, a cold shiver went down Mark’s spine. He just remembered what Mitch’s eyes reminded him of: Chaletwo’s. Like a weaker version that didn’t kill what they were pointed at.
“Are you interested in biology?” Mitch asked, still looking at Mark. It made him feel uneasy, as the eyes went more creepy the longer they looked at him. He looked away and blinked a few times, then looked back at Mitch.
“What, pokémonology?”
“No, biology. Concerning all forms of life.”
“Oh, that.” Mark paused. “Yeah, sorta... I guess.”
“Should I explain what I’m talking about? The biological way?”
“Yeah, give it a try, at least...”
Mitch pointed at the space between them.
“This here is all life. Every life form is located in this space. The more basic ones are on my end, the more advanced ones are on yours. That is, exactly where I am, all inanimate objects would be placed. They are not alive, so they are outside it.”
He pointed at a spot just by his side.
“Here we have viruses. Not really alive, but they multiply so we can put them in.”
He pointed at a black spot on the wood, a little nearer to Mark.
“Bacteria. Very basic, but still have the gift of nature’s most clever invention: life.”
Now his finger went a bit farther on and stopped about one third of the way towards Mark.
“Protists. Still more advanced.”
He went on.
“Fungi, plants, animals. Humans are a part of the animal kingdom. But all the way over here...”
His finger pointed at a place about an inch away from Mark.
He looked into Mark’s eyes again.
“Pokémon are made of 96% pure energy, Mark. Power seeks order, because chaos is a weakness. So pokémon are all orgnized in a big system of levels, attacks, abilities, types, weaknesses, resistances...”
“Wow,” Mark said. “I never knew that. I mean, it all makes sense, but I’ve never thought about it.”
Mitch smiled, looking up. “Humans are the only beings in the animal kingdom that exist here. How? Animals were a big success in the animal world, hence its name. So why would viruses, bacteria, protists and plants survive here but not animals?”
He paused, then continued:
“My theory is that humans originated in the animal world. Then, sometime long ago, a gateway between the two worlds opened, the pokémon world and the animal world, and some humans got through. Maybe some other animals too, but humans were the only ones who could outwit the much more powerful beings in this new world. So they were the only ones who survived. The only way they could survive among pokémon was to get some of them to fight for them, and they managed to. Very clever indeed. But the pokémon’s end of the deal is even more clever when you think about it. They could have wiped out those pesky little humans trying to order them around, but they did not. They rather wanted to battle other pokémon, they figured that humans had the gift of thinking strategically, logically, and do it well and easily – something that was much harder for them.”
Mark was just finishing his sandwich.
“You should get going now, right?” Mitch said. Mark nodded, said good-bye to Mitch and then hurried back to the edge of Ruxido. He was later than he had expected.

Chapter 32

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