The Quest for the Legends (ILCOEp)
Chapter 2: The Book
When Mark woke up, the Charmander was still asleep, but this time curled up with the tail flame burning peacefully beside its head. Mark carefully placed his hand onto the Pokémon’s back; it was warm and seemed to be breathing normally. He gave a faint smile, dressed quickly and then tiptoed into the kitchen, where he was greeted by his parents’ serious faces and folded arms.
“Mark,” his father sighed, “we need to talk.”
“Why not??” Mark shouted across the table, crushing his cornflakes violently. He couldn’t help noticing that despite his parents being very much unlike each other in outwards appearance – his father having black hair and being short just like him, but his mother a tall, thin blonde with big, toadlike eyes – they managed to look remarkably similar when they were both of the same mind.
“It’s very simple, Mark; it’s dangerous out there,” his father sighed.
“So what? I’d have a Pokémon for my protection!” Mark said eagerly.
His mother replied quietly: “But what if your Pokémon turns against you?”
“That… that… just… doesn’t happen!” Mark said lamely. In fact, he had no idea, but he would soon learn it, if only they would stop getting in his way.
“Are you sure?” his mother asked kindly.
“Well, no, not really, but…”
“See, we just want to keep you safe,” she said in a voice Mark recognized as the one she used when she was trying to be convincing. Needless to say, Mark had become completely immune to it over those eleven years.
“But, oh, Mom…”
“Besides,” his father interrupted, “we’ve yet to check all the reported lost Pokémon.”
Mark didn’t say anything; he was aware of that, but he was still hoping somebody had released the Charmander on purpose. His father stood slowly up, not taking his eyes off Mark and went to the computer in the corner (which was mainly used to find recipes online). Mark quickly jumped to read over his shoulder as he searched the official lost and found Pokémon database for ‘Charmander’.
A broad grin spread through Mark’s face as the results appeared: two lost Charmander, both of them in Kanto.
His father sighed. “That does not mean you’re about to go on a journey.”
Mark was going to protest, but was interrupted by a sound:
The little lizard carefully stepped into the kitchen and looked curiously around.
“Oh, it’s awake,” Mark’s father groaned.
“I’m not an ‘it’,” said the Charmander, offended, at least if Mark’s knowledge of Pokémonish was as accurate as ever. The Pokémon’s voice, though rather high-pitched on human scale, was masculine.
Mark turned to his father with and said in a scolding tone, “He’s a he, dad. Should I have said ‘Oh, it’s awake’ when I came in here and saw you?”
“What’s going on?” asked Charmander, puzzled.
“We’re arguing over whether you will go psycho and kill me,” said Mark and shot a ‘what-weirdoes-those-adults-can-be’ look back at his parents. Charmander raised an eyebrow.
“Look, hon, that’s not quite the way we put it,” Mark’s mother began, but Charmander interrupted loudly:
“What am I doing here, anyway?”
“Er,” was all Mark’s father said.
“I brought you in here when you fell unconscious on the road in the rain yesterday,” said Mark, leaning down to Charmander’s level so the lizard wouldn’t have to look so far up. “And the reason we’re arguing is that I was… uh… wondering…” Suddenly he felt like abandoning the idea; it seemed so ridiculous when he was starting to say it aloud.
“If you can be my trainer?” Charmander finished for him, sensing that Mark wasn’t about to continue. Mark nodded nervously; the Pokémon just smiled. “Sure, why not, since you saved me and all… I need a new trainer anyway…”
“What’s your name?” Mark immediately asked, feeling comfortably warm and light.
“I don’t really have one, just call me Charmander,” he answered cheerfully. Both of them looked hopefully up at Mark’s parents, wearing the broadest grins they could manage.
“No way,” said his father, folding his arms. Charmander’s expression dropped.
“Maybe I should just leave, then,” he said emptily, turning around.
“No, wait… you can stay here and all… just as a pet or something!” Mark’s father called after him, not wanting to send the poor thing out to die in the next downpour. Charmander turned slowly back to them.
“Do you trust me more here than out there?”
“It’s just that...” Mark’s father started, but his wife interrupted:
“You can’t deny that there are dangerous Pokémon out there – and you’re too small to handle them if they do attack.”
“But they’re usually nowhere near Sailance!” Mark argued.
“Usually,” his father emphasized.
Charmander couldn’t think of anything to say – it looked like his and Mark’s silent plan wasn’t working.
For a few days, Charmander was a pet. Mark and him always went to bed very early, but set Mark’s digital watch to beep at two AM or so, and then in the dark bedroom with Charmander’s tail flame as the only light source, they discussed ways to get out on a journey. Just for fun, they started imagining this was the dungeon in the castle of two evil lords who kept them imprisoned, inventing loads of ideas of how to escape, each more absurd than the other.
“I think we must use our cunningness for this,” Mark whispered, leaning closer to Charmander. “You will set the castle on fire and while they burn, we will run and tell the world of their dictatorship so that peace can reign in Ouen again.”
They both snickered.
“Hey, Mark…” said Charmander thoughtfully, “I think I have an idea. A real idea…”
Mark walked into the kitchen in the morning, his face expressionless.
“I don’t want breakfast, Mom,” he said. “I’m not hungry.”
“I just don’t think there’s any point being alive anymore.”
Crash. A second cup went to waste. His mother’s expression was so priceless he almost burst out laughing, but he resisted it; he had to keep up the depressed face.
“Mark! Don’t say that!” she squeaked.
“It’s just… my friends are all gone,” he went on.
“But how do we fix that, dear?” she asked in a worried tone.
“I just wish I could go and meet up with them, on my own journey.” Mark immediately realized that the smile that followed was far too hopeful. And too un-depressed. His mother sighed.
“You’re not funny, Mark. I mean… do you even have any idea how much that cup cost?”
“A lot, if I know you correctly,” Mark muttered, well aware that the cup was just a random thing she turned her attention to because she had been very upset. Neither of them said anything for a while, until his mother sighed again.
“Are you that desperate to go on that journey of yours?”
“Of course I am!” Mark replied, his expression brightening up. “Mom, Charmander and I have been secretly thinking up plans at night! We’ve been imagining you’re evil dictators keeping us inside a dungeon and planning our escape in the middle of the night!”
“And,” said Charmander’s threatening voice as the lizard Pokémon entered the room, “we will do that every night from now on and there’s no way for you to stop us.”
Mark’s mother put up a weird expression halfway between a smile and a hopeless look, and then said: “You’re incredible, boys – I think there’s no way to keep you in here for very long before you think of a way to force us to let you out.”
“YES!” Charmander shouted.
“WHOOOOO!!!!” Mark yelled, giving his Pokémon a high five. He hugged his mother tightly.
She just hugged him back, tears in her eyes.
Things were being packed into an old red and blue backpack that looked like it could burst at any time. Mark’s father was not happy, but he had ended up giving in to his wife, who was suddenly all for it like she had never thought otherwise. Mark and Charmander bounced around the house in a wild celebration-dance. They gave him a tidy sum of money to buy things for. Finally, he set off with Charmander by his side.
“Bye, Dad! Bye, Mom! I promise I won’t get myself killed!” Mark’s mother smiled through the tears as he waved. Then he turned and started running.
The gyms in Ouen had been arranged so that the recommended first gym was in Cleanwater City, a big one which was conveniently not that far from Sailance, then went in a spiral inwards until the last gym in Acaria City in the heart of the continent. Cleanwater was near the edge of the Pokémon-inhabited part of Ouen, built near a mysterious lake which was famous for being so clear that the bottom was always visible in detail, despite being the second-deepest lake in the whole of Ouen. It was therefore called “The Lake of Purity”.
But Mark was not headed to Cleanwater City yet. He was going to the Sailance Library to get a book about Pokémon training.
Mark, despite all his interest in Pokémon, was a rookie when it came to the trainer career itself. He knew how it worked, of course, and the rules of the Pokémon League, but frankly he was rather clueless about the rest. His parents knew no more, seeing as they had never been trainers, so they had advised him to go to the library. There had to be some kind of a book explaining all that stuff. He had just never looked for one since he never thought he’d need it.
The library was a huge, bright white building in the middle of the town. The walls were decorated with carvings of various Pokémon; Mark’s favorite was located over the door and was a big Articuno flying to the left, its tail feather swishing behind it and looking amazingly alive. As always when Mark entered the library, he bowed his head slightly as he looked at the magnificent bird. The automatic door slowly slid open before him, and he prepared to walk inside when he remembered that Pokémon weren’t allowed in the library.
“Sorry, Charmander, you’ll have to wait outside,” he said guiltily. “I won’t be long.”
“No problem,” said Charmander, smiling. “It’s not like anybody will kidnap me or anything.”
Mark eyed a few people staring at the Pokémon like a miracle, and pride started spreading around his chest. To think of it… he was a trainer.
He smiled back at his Pokémon friend and then entered the building.
The search computers along with a few shelves of paperbacks with huge titles greeted him, along with the familiar smell of books that Mark had always loved. But he ignored them and walked right to the elevators, as this book would be on the second floor, which was devoted to Pokémon training. As he entered the lift, an endless row of Marks stared back at him from the mirrors on the sides. All of them turned to the buttons at the same time, and all of them managed to slip their fingers between buttons two and three, accidentally highlighting both as the elevator started ascending.
It stopped on the second floor and a tall, thin young man with a suitcase stepped in, holding a book. Curious as to why such a man would be reading something on Pokémon training, Mark took a peek at the title. It was something stupid about Pokémon battles being a bad influence on kids; however, Mark completely forgot to get out of the lift until he discovered that the door had closed and they were starting to go up again. The elevator came to a halt and the door opened. Mark looked uncomfortably up at the man, who looked out of the book and seemed to wonder why Mark hadn’t exited yet. He hated to be stared at by strangers; that feeling pushed him out through the door to enter the floor about Pokémon in general.
This was the floor he usually stopped at when he went to the library. Every so often, he would return his books and take out new ones, most of which were always about legendary Pokémon. The shelf containing those books was located… right in front of him.
He had automatically walked straight up to that shelf when he’d exited the elevator. And as he had so often seen that shelf, he immediately noticed a new book that made his heart pound faster. On the black spine, golden, curly letters formed the title:
The Ouen Legends
It was an interesting fact that while all the legendary Pokémon of Kanto, Johto and Hoenn were well known and their existence definite, most of the Ouen ones appeared to be very shy. Many scientists didn’t even believe they were real. All photos were too blurry to tell if the creatures on them were anything more than normal Pokémon. No Pokédex data recorded. A ton of reported sightings with no evidence to support them. Hence, Mark could well imagine why it would be hard to write a book about them; at least it had to be, considering that he had never seen one before.
That fact only made his need to read this book even more overwhelming. He felt drawn to it like a fly to a lightbulb. Barely even realizing what he was doing, he extended his hand and grabbed the book with a firm grip, slowly drawing it out of the shelf. What surprised him was that the book was dusty, like it had been there for years.
Mark shook his head and, with the book in his hands, walked over to a big, fluffy and comfortable-looking green couch. He flung himself into it, examining the cover illustration. At the top were six dragons in different colors, the so-called Color Dragons. Below them, eight unicorns. At the very bottom… Mewtwo?
Yup, he was sure of it. The whitish-purple anthro cat-like shape was unmistakably that of the first super-clone that had ever been created and had gotten such experiments banned. A Kanto legendary.
What’s Mewtwo doing on the cover of a book about the Ouen legendaries? Mark thought. He looked better at Mewtwo’s shape. The eyes were closed, but looked creepily open all the same. It’s that highlight, said Mark’s artist eye. The shading gives that effect; the highlight on the eyelid looks distantly like a pupil. But it was still scary to look at closed eyes that seemed to be watching. Had the cover artist drawn it like that on purpose?
Either way, Mewtwo wasn’t supposed to be there at all. Mark scanned his head for a reason why Mewtwo would be on the cover of a book about the Ouen legendaries, but found none.
He shrugged and opened the book. He flicked past the title pages, leaned backwards and sank himself into the book.
It started with the Color Dragons. The left page had a watercolor illustration of them, with their names written near them.
Lidreki was small and cute with silver scales. What caught Mark’s attention about it, however, was that somehow, the scales broke the light into the colors of the rainbow where the light shone directly at them. Lidreki technically wasn’t one of the real Color Dragons; it evolved into them. That made it no less of a legendary, though, as it was just as shrouded in mystery as its adult forms. The Color Dragons themselves were all larger than Lidreki; they were dragons with big, clawed legs, small arms and broad wings spreading out from their shoulders.
Dragoreen, the Dragon of the Poor, was a metallic green, feminine-looking dragon and didn’t have any outstanding features over the others. She glared hatefully at Preciure, the Dragon of Wealth, opposite her on the page; he was a golden male with silver spikes lined down his back. He returned the gaze, full of loathing.
The crimson dragon above Preciure was a female: Raudra, the Dragon of Fire. She shook her golden mane, facing her back at her brother Dracobalt, the Dragon of Water. He was deep blue in color, with a fin down his entire back, and shot a sideways glance at Raudra, clearly not too keen on her either.
The last two were Puragon, the White Dragon, and Venoir, the Black Dragon. Puragon was a pearly white female with four narrow crystalline horns, looking serenely at the viewer. Venoir, on the other hand, was pitch-black in color, a male, and had dark purple, bull-like horns. His eyes were creepily red, staring hungrily at his sister across the page.
Mark smiled, his gaze moving over to the right page.
THE COLOR DRAGONS
The legend says that an ancient, powerful dragon Pokémon named Vaxil, the Dragon of the Rainbow, laid six eggs and hid them where no living creature could harm them. One she dropped into the crater of a volcano, one she hid at the bottom of a deep lake, one she secured in a dark cave, one she buried in snow, and two she took with her to her own cave, filled with gold and treasures.
The first egg to hatch was one of the eggs that Vaxil had taken with her. As the other eggs would later, it hatched into a Lidreki. He was greedy and loved nothing more than burying himself in his mother’s gold.
The second egg to hatch was the one in the volcano. That Lidreki was female, and she loved the lava, fed on it and never felt the need to leave the volcano’s crater. The third egg was the one in the dark cave. It was a male, and he fed on poisonous Pokémon that lurked there in the dark, without ever finding out that there was anything outside the cave.
The fourth egg that hatched was the one in the snow. The young Lidreki was a female, and slowly became oblivious to the cold. The fifth egg was the one at the bottom of the lake. A male, he adapted to underwater life, hunted fish and rarely went out of the lake.
Finally, the sixth egg hatched – the other egg that Vaxil had taken with her. It was a female, and a deep rivalry immediately started between her and her older brother. They hated each other, and one day, he fought her out of the cave, and she sought her brothers and sisters to help resisting him.
She went to her sister in the volcano and to her brother in the lake. She went to her brother in the cave and to her sister in the snow. She lived with all of them for a while, and told them all – because Vaxil had told her – where the other ones were hidden, and asked them to come and help against her oldest brother. They agreed, more to see their mother than to help their sister, but as they traveled, they developed a deep hatred for each other, and upon their arrival in Vaxil’s cave, a fight broke out. The oldest brother fought the youngest sister, the sister from the volcano fought her brother from the lake, and the brother in the cave fought his sister in the snow. Vaxil attempted to stop them, but they merely fought her back, and in the end Vaxil threw herself off the cliff to her death. The siblings were horrified, each blaming another, but slowly they became enveloped in a white glow and evolved, each to one of the Color Dragons depending on their habitats from birth.
Due to their mother’s death, they decided not to keep fighting and let each other leave in peace, and supposedly they still lurk out there, desiring only superiority over the opposite sibling.
All of them have special abilities. Raudra, Dracobalt, Puragon and Venoir have immense powers of fire, water, ice and poison respectively, but Dragoreen’s attacks are independent of the target’s weaknesses or resistances, and Preciure’s golden scales can repel any attack well and effectively.
Mark turned past some pages consisting of the few things he already knew, interviews with people who claimed to have seen them and some old paintings of the Color Dragons, and finally reached the next chapter.
The left page again had a watercolor illustration. It showed the unicorns all together, dashing towards the viewer. The first one, Waraider, was white with a bony, swirled horn and broad, feathered wings extending from his shoulder blades. Emphire, to Waraider’s left, was also white but had a flaming mane and tail, a golden horn and fiery wings of some sort flapping at her sides.
Next was Seasar, who was dark blue in color. He didn’t appear to have a tail or mane at all; instead, a stream of water flowed smoothly down his neck, along his whole back and then gracefully dropped down behind him like a waterfall, only to dissolve into thin air before reaching the ground. Although hard to see, he had wispy, formless, vaporous wings.
Electhrone was the fourth one, to the left of Seasar. He was whitish-yellow, but sparks of electricity appeared to replace his mane and tail. The horn was a bit crooked; odd, very straight, pointed feathers formed his two wings.
Natruler was next; her fur was off-white, but where the mane and tail should have been, grass and leaves sprouted right out of her skin. Long, feather-shaped leaves formed into her thin wings, and the horn looked almost wooden. At Natruler’s side was an icily bluish-white one, Freezaroy. Her silky mane and tail produced snow that spiraled after her, blown away by the flapping of her giant wings. The wings were made of thin icicles rather than feathers. So was the horn on her forehead.
The last two were Mysticrown and Darkhan. Mysticrown’s tail and mane were magenta, and a big, purple gem replaced the horn. Similar smaller ones glistened in various places on her body, most noticeably on all of her white wing feathers. Darkhan, on the other hand, was pitch-black with leathery, bat-like wings and some sort of thick black smoke forming his mane and tail.
Mark turned to the information page.
Waraider the Normal-type leads the group of his special-typed counterparts; unlike the Color Dragons, all of them supposedly keep close together wherever they go. According to the legend, their being together keeps the world balanced, and should they ever be separated, chaos will reign until they reunite.
There have been unusually many reported sightings of the herd, but neither photos nor Pokédex data exist to prove any of them.
Mark skipped past a lot of pages, just for the sake of finding out what he was the most curious about: why Mewtwo was in that book. He thought he remembered one more legendary – if he knew correctly, one of the Ouen legendaries was in fact confirmed to be real – but the name escaped him at the moment.
He looked at the illustration first as he had done before. Again, its eyes were closed in that creepy ‘watching’ manner that had been on the cover picture. Mark couldn’t help wondering why it was drawn like that, though. He would’ve believed Mewtwo’s eyes would usually be open.
The answer was on the right page, where the title – partially – explained it:
“Oh, yeah,” Mark muttered to himself. “That was the name.” He definitely remembered Chaletwo as one of the legendary Pokémon – however, he didn’t believe he had ever seen any pictures of it. At least he thought he’d remember if there was an Ouen legendary that looked exactly like Mewtwo.
He started reading the text.
Chaletwo is the only one of the Ouen legendaries whose existence is definite and confirmed. He appears every year at the exact same time and place: 4:26:45 PM on the 25th of May, just outside Green Town. It is thanks to the tourist attention that sprouted from Chaletwo’s annual appearances that Green Town became so big.
The first time that a human witnessed him, he supposedly said telepathically: “Do not fear. I am Chaletwo and do not intend to harm you nor any other living thing. I only wish to come here once a year and have a quick look around the world.”
Nobody knows why he bears such a striking resemblance to Mewtwo, who is in fact a Kanto legendary (although that is arguable, considering that he is man-created).
Well, at least it wasn’t just something that Mark had never found out.
Due to Chaletwo’s limited availability, Mewtwo has been asked about this by a reporter.
“Do you think I wouldn’t like to know?” he answered before teleporting away. “He said he didn’t wish to tell, least of all me. He wouldn’t reveal anything else. Stop asking.”
People wonder whether Chaletwo might be another super-clone, backing that up with the name he after all introduced himself with (which ends in the trademark “-two” of a genetically modified Pokémon clone), but experts doubt it.
“He’s not just a simple second Mew clone,” Ash Ketchum explains. “I’ve studied both of them carefully, and I’m telling you that every last hair on their bodies is the exact same. Technically, Mewtwo’s creators could have made an additional one with almost the exact same genetic code, resulting in a clone that’s the same, but face it, according to all sources we have, Mewtwo destroyed the lab and everything in it, which would have had to include another embryo if one had been there.”
Chaletwo differs from Mewtwo in two aspects: his eyes will destroy or kill anything they are pointed at except his own eyelids, and Pokédexes record a Dark element in him in addition to the Psychic that Mewtwo has. Pokédexes also classify him as the most powerful Pokémon in the world, tied with the Kanto legendary Molzapart.
Molzapart. Mark, obviously, could have recited many books’ worth of information about it if he wanted. It was not confirmed to exist, but said to have been created when Mew found the legendary Mist Stone, which was rumoured to have the power to evolve any Pokémon at all, whether it could naturally evolve or not. Mew made a decision to attack the stone in order to prevent Pokémon from stumbling across it and evolving into scarily powerful creatures, and called the Legendary Birds of Kanto for assistance. But even their attacks combined could not destroy such a magical object, and instead they found themselves facing the “evolved form” of their attacks: a large, magnificent, golden bird with a burning flame on its head, brightly blue wing feathers, a long, dark blue tail feather, huge bright orange talons, and the psychic powers to severely injure its accidental creators with one blast. Then Molzapart flew away and trained until his power had no match.
Apart from Chaletwo, apparently.
Mark checked his watch, discovering for how long he had been reading, and jumped up, quickly returning the book to the shelf as he ran down to meet up with Charmander again.
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