Chapter 24: The evolution day
Mark never remembered what happened after that. The next thing he knew was that he was lying on a bench in the pokémon center, just waking up, with Nurse Joy’s face going in and out of focus, telling him that Scyther was going to be all right. May seemed to have been sleeping on the next bench because her hair all stood on end and she looked very tired, but she was sitting now, listening to Nurse Joy.
“Do you want to visit Scyther now?” she asked Mark finally, after some non-understandable explainations.
“Er, maybe in a few minutes...” Mark said, trying to remember what was happening. Checking his watch, he saw it was half past two AM.
“May? Could you come over here?” he said, everything seeming completely out of order in his brain. She came over.
“What?” she asked.
“The last thing I remember is when Scyther and Charizard’s battle was over...”
“Really? Well, after all, it must have been something like that, you went all strange... you walked down to the arena and I followed you, trying to ask what you were up to but it was like you didn’t hear me... you took the pokéballs off the people who just recalled Scyther and Charizard, shouting... er, something I don’t want to repeat... at them... the basic meaning was “why didn’t you recall them before it went like that?”. Then you went to the pokémon center, I was still following you, and you put the pokéballs on the desk in front of Nurse Joy without saying a word, then went over here and sat down on this bench... I went and explained everything to Nurse Joy, then came and tried to talk to you, but you didn’t answer... then I gave up and sat down on the bench here. In the end, you fell asleep, and I did too. I trust that you remember what happened after you woke up?”
“Yeah...” said Mark. “This was a bit odd... hey, Nurse Joy! Charizard! How is Charizard?”
He just suddenly remembered that Charizard existed too. Nurse Joy, who had been waiting at the counter, came over.
“Well, physically, he’s fine. I mean, of course he’s got some cuts, but it’s nothing serious. But mentally... it’s one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen. He just lies there and won’t move, won’t eat... just come and see for yourself.”
Mark and May followed Nurse Joy into a room where Charizard lay on the floor. He showed no signs of noticing when they walked in.
“You know, Scyther’s going to be all right.”
They walked to Charizard’s front. Even though they were right in front of his eyes, it was clear that he wasn’t looking at them, but through them.
“Are you sure he’s... still alive?” Mark asked, still keeping an eye on Charizard.
“Oh yes, he is. But I’m afraid he may not be for much longer.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s trying to starve himself. Won’t eat. Won’t even look at the food.”
“Did you try feeding him? I mean, can you force his mouth open and just put food in it?”
“We tried. But then he doesn’t swallow it. He’s just... completely limp. Exactly like dead, but he’s still breathing, his heart is beating, his brain is working...”
“Charizard? Can you hear me?”
“He can. But he won’t react to it...”
There was silence which wasn’t broken until the door opened again. It was Scyther who came in, still with some bits of wires connected to him. Finally now, Charizard showed some reactions. His eyes moved to Scyther, and followed Scyther through the room to them.
“Charizard, I’m not angry with you at all,” said Scyther, in his usual, calm, serious tone. Charizard didn’t answer.
“You didn’t kill me, Charizard. You didn’t cause any permanent injuries to me. I’ve forgiven you already. So what’s the problem?”
Charizard still didn’t answer.
“Don’t kill yourself for having almost killed me, Charizard. It’s pointless.”
“Fine,” said Scyther. “If you’re going to starve yourself, I’m going with you, and we can get this clear in the afterlife.” Scyther took one more step towards Charizard and moved his right scythe slowly towards the segment between his upper and lower body.
Charizard still stared at Scyther, but didn’t say anything.
“Charizard, I’m serious,” said Scyther. Very seriously indeed. But Charizard still didn’t move.
“So be it,” said Scyther. His scythe moved very slowly but steadily up to the segment and cut just a tiny bit into it.
“Scyther, don’t do this to yourself,” Charizard finally breathed.
“I’m sorry, Charizard, but if I can’t affect your decision to commit suicide, I don’t see the fairness of you being able to affect mine,” said Scyther calmly. Even at a moment as serious as this one, Mark couldn’t help but noticing how well Scyther handled conversations completely without losing his temper, getting nervous or begging.
“Why do you think I’m trying to commit suicide?” Charizard muttered, still not taking his eyes off Scyther.
“Why? Because you are, Charizard. I’m not an idiot. I know perfectly well what you’re doing; you don’t want to live because you almost killed me and regret what you have done. But I’m okay, and I don’t care that you could have killed me. You’re not a Charmeleon anymore and you know what you did was wrong. Since you’re leaving this world for having almost killed me, the least thing I can do is giving you a better reason and actually be dead with you...”
Charizard didn’t answer.
“Since that is what you want...” Scyther’s scythe started moving into the segment again. He gritted his teeth to ease the pain; it moved very, very slowly and even now it had only reached about half a centimeter into the segment.
“You wouldn’t do it,” said Charizard suddenly.
“Oh, yes, I would!” Scyther hissed, his scythe stopping. “Don’t forget, Charizard, that I’ve been dead before. It’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s a great deal better than living in this cursed world of pain and injustice for ages. The only reason why I didn’t kill myself again long ago is that it would be betraying Mark – who happens to have saved your life.”
That last thing hit the spot. Charizard actually looked at Mark. Only for a bit of a second, but it was still a big improvement. Then Charizard looked Scyther again, and they stared at each other for a while.
“Scyther, do you know what?” Charizard finally said.
Scyther didn’t reply; his expression showed nothing at all.
“Let’s save dying for later.”
Charizard smiled; Scyther smiled too. Mark felt all warm. Nurse Joy smiled, and May looked at the two pokémon and then at Mark.
Scyther and Charizard’s rivalry was officially settled when they shook hands in front of the pokémon center, both smiling just like before. Mark did notice that there was something special about the way they looked at each other, they seemed so close, like real friends. At least this whole thing had a happy ending... it had been so close to a sad one.
Mark and May came to the stadium at 1:30 after some more sleep to watch the evolution day. It was surely a lot more popular than the Pokémon Frenzy Tournament, probably because people had seen or heard of the Pokémon Frenzy Tournament. And were probably just a bit smarter, thought Mark bitterly. As they squeezed themselves to the enterance, they saw that on each side was a desk and there was a woman sitting by each desk.
“Your pokéballs, please,” the one on the left said. “If you’re entering your pokémon, give the balls to the lady on your right. This is done for security reasons as pokémon battles could otherwise burst out among the audience. Your pokéballs, please...”
Mark handed his pokéballs to the woman without trouble, but when May had taken all of hers, someone bumped into her, causing her to drop all her balls. She picked them up again and put them on the desk in a bad mood, then they went to the enterance itself where there was a man with a pile of some buckets, handing one bucket to each person.
“Evolution stones, full set of Fire, Water, Thunder, Leaf, Moon and Sun stones,” May read. She looked at the man. “What are they for? We’re not entering any of our pokémon...”
“Didn’t you go to the more info?” the man asked.
“Uh, no,” she said.
“Well, I guess you’re the only people who didn’t,” said the man. “Go on, there are people after you...”
They went in and found good seats, May still looking puzzled at the bucket. After a while, everything was full and the pokémon came into the arena. At least Mark and May were not alone of having no idea what this was about; the pokémon were looking puzzled at each other, obivously having no clue what was going on. They ended up in a group in the middle of the arena, some looking curiously at the audience, others seemingly asking each other if they knew anything about it. The giant clock showed five seconds to two, and everyone went silent. Four... three... two... one...
With a roar, everyone opened the buckets and started tossing the stones at the pokémon. The pokémon panicked and started running around in circles, trying to avoid the stones. Some got hit by stones that had no effect on them, but the first pokémon that evolved was a Pikachu that tripped over a Weepinbell and got hit by a well-aimed Thunderstone a second after that. It glowed white and evolved into a Raichu, then grabbed a nearby Leaf stone, smirked and threw it at the Weepinbell, evolving it into a Victreebel. As a Fire stone was flying past, the Victreebel used its leaf to smash the Fire stone at a Vulpix.
“That’s totally barbaric!” May hissed.
“It’s not as bad as you think...” Mark said, reading the back of his bucket. “It says these are “special light edition evolution stones, weigh almost nothing”. So at least the pokémon aren’t being knocked out by being hit by those evolution stones...”
“Who cares?” said May in her dangerous voice. “This is still totally barbaric! Thank God I didn’t enter my Pikachu...”
May stopped, looking down. There were now very few pokémon left unevolved; an Eevee was just being evolved into Jolteon while a weary Seel got hit by a Water stone. In fact, when a Growlithe evolved after a long chase by the evolved pokémon, the only unevolved pokémon left appeared to be a Pikachu.
“My Pikachu??!! Mark! That’s my Pikachu down there!”
“What do you mean? You didn’t enter him...”
“Remember when I dropped my pokéballs? That guy who made me drop them dropped his too. I thought I saw all of his balls rolling in the other direction, so I picked up one that may not have been my Pikachu, but his... and he entered the Pikachu he picked up, which was mine...”
They both stared down. The lone Pikachu was still being given chase by some of the evolved pokémon, mainly Raichus. The people appeared to have tossed all their stones already so Pikachu decided to run up and find May. He jumped on a few people’s heads with one Raichu following. The other pokémon were getting tired of this and just stood on the arena, looking around and trying to see their trainers. Pikachu reached Mark and May’s row of seats, eyed May and started running on everyone’s heads. The Raichu climbed up from the row in front, thus facing Pikachu, aimed and tossed the Thunderstone. Pikachu avoided it and instead it hit a man in the eye. The man took the stone and threw it back, and it hit Pikachu in the back just as he reached May. Pikachu stopped, glowed white and evolved.
“Rai,” he said, scratching his ear.
“Oh,” said May blankly. “Now you won’t learn Thunder.”
May was so strange sometimes. If it had been his Pikachu, whether it would learn Thunder or not would’ve been the last thing Mark would think about. Oh well.
“All the pokémon have evolved! Now, all trainers can come and get their pokémon by the enterance!” boomed a voice over the arena.