The Quest for the Legends (ILCOEp)
Chapter 35: Suicune
And with the northern wind, Suicune arrived.
Mark shivered as an icy chill blew past them and a being of unimaginable grace dashed by through the forest, eerily close to where he was hidden. He watched the slender blue creature slow down and walk calmly towards the lake, tossing his head so that the billowing purple cape streaming out from his neck swished back in a peculiar, rippling motion.
He was gripped by a weird feeling of immense respect, something he had not felt for Thunderyu since he was not one of the creatures he had been reading about since he was a kid. Something about seeing Suicune so close gave him a sensation of thrill and, in some bizarre way, honour. He bowed his head as the legendary Pokémon approached the bank of the lake, feeling somehow that it was wrong to watch Suicune perform the purification while sneaking up on him.
“Look at him, damn it!” Chaletwo hissed in his mind. “Remember you’re seeing for two!”
Mark forced himself to look up as Suicune bent down on the bank of the lake, extended his paw and touched the surface.
“NOW!” Chaletwo’s voice shouted, and all of a sudden, Spirit and Vicky popped into existence on either side of Suicune. The legendary looked quickly up, but both of their eyes were already glowing with an eerie red color. As Suicune attempted to dash back into the forest where he had come from, it was as if he were hit by an invisible wall in mid-air and thrown backwards from the impact. Blood red ripples formed momentarily in the seemingly empty space where the Pokémon had rebounded.
“Go send out your Pokémon! Quick!” Chaletwo ordered frantically. Mark sprang up from his hiding place; he saw Suicune look at him in surprise and then at May and Alan who were sending out their Pokémon on the other side.
“I’m sorry, Suicune,” Mark whispered. Somehow he felt slightly better having said it, even knowing Suicune couldn’t hear him. He took a deep breath, grabbed his Pokéballs (at first he took Gyarados’s as well but realized his mistake at the last moment and hurriedly replaced it on his belt) and threw them.
The Pokémon’s cries filled the air as eleven Pokémon materialized on the ground. Dragonair and Charizard immediately took off into the air to make it more difficult for the earthbound Suicune to attack them; meanwhile, the legendary crouched down in a defensive position and shook his cape. Suddenly, dark clouds gathered in the air above them, and with a roar of thunder, it began to rain heavily.
“Spirit, assume the weak spirit form and keep it up as long as you can!” May ordered quickly through the sound of the raindrops falling onto the leaves of the trees. “Pupitar, Rock Slide! Raichu, Thunderbolt! Damn, why didn’t I teach you Thunder sometime?”
Spirit began to fade slowly away while Raichu started charging up electricity in his cheeks. Meanwhile, however, Suicune picked Pupitar out as the easiest target, and while large rocks were heaving themselves up from the lake, the legendary Pokémon fired a high-pressure jet of water at the pupa, who was immediately blasted into a tree. The rocks dropped back into the lake with a splash of water that sprinkled all over the Pokémon on top of the rain as May recalled the fainted Pupitar.
“Raaiiiichu!” Raichu cried as he crouched down on all fours and released a bolt of electricity that flew straight at Suciune. The legendary only shuddered slightly as he was struck by the blast of electricity, but seemed otherwise dismayingly unharmed.
“Just being offensive won’t get you anywhere!” Chaletwo shouted irritably. “Confuse him! Paralyze him! Put him to sleep! Strategy, guys, strategy!”
Lapras let out a loud cry and released a small light from her mouth that started dancing around Suicune to distract him, but the legendary Pokémon forced his eyes away from it.
“Thunder Wave, Raichu!” May yelled. The mouse Pokémon quickly crouched down and began to sparkle with electricity.
“Racko, Leaf Blade!” Alan shouted. “Diamond, Stomp! Slash, Pamela!”
Raichu fired a wave of paralyzing electricity at Suicune. The legendary howled in pain as his body stiffened up; meanwhile the Grovyle leapt at him with a screech, the leaves on his wrists glowing, and slashed across Suicune’s body just as Pamela raked her claws across his other side.
“Sui…” growled the deep voice of the legendary Pokémon as Suicune lowered his head, closing his eyes in concentration.
“Calm Mind…” May muttered to herself. Then: “Physical attacks, everybody! Quick! You too, Charizard, since it can’t break its concentration by attacking you!”
Charizard glanced once doubtfully at her, his mortal fear of the water shining clearly through, but then dived. Wow, Mark thought with a bitterness that made him feel slightly mad at himself. Even my Pokémon are willing to bet their lives that she’s always right.
Charizard smacked his wing powerfully into Suicune’s head, but the legendary Pokémon didn’t defend himself; he let the blow push him harshly to the side so that he only barely stayed on his feet. Meanwhile, Jolteon jumped at him with a cry and sank his fangs into Suicune’s slender paw. Eerily, he didn’t even wince: the legendary’s eyes were still closed in deep concentration.
The other Pokémon attacked Suicune more or less all at the same time, using whatever physical measures they had for inflicting damage. Suicune’s eyes snapped open and he appeared to be trying to move, but the paralysis kept him rooted on the spot.
“Ice Beam, Lapras, quick, before it can move again!” May yelled. “Spirit, try a Shadow Ball! Thunderbolt, Raichu!”
“Jolteon, help Raichu!” Mark called and then figured he might as well give some other orders to his Pokémon. “Try another Wing Attack, Charizard,” he added. “Slam, Dragonair! Sandslash, Slash him! And Letal, use Take Down!”
Meanwhile, Alan gave some orders as well, and all the Pokémon sprang into action during those few seconds when Suicune was fully paralyzed. Charizard and Dragonair dived down together and Charizard beat Suicune with his wing while Dragonair smashed his tail orbs into the legendary’s head. Letal rammed her body powerfully into Suicune’s side just before Jolteon and Raichu sent a joint Thunderbolt and a beam of ice from Lapras struck the crystal formation on Suicune’s head. Meanwhile Racko kept slashing with his leaves, and Spirit and Vicky both faded to material form as they together charged an orb of shadow energy. Diamond stabbed her horn into Suicune’s side, creating a bleeding wound, while Pamela and Sandslash ran up and slashed him.
Finally Suicune regained the ability to move. He wrestled away from his attackers, leaping gracefully over their heads to the bank of the lake where he faced them. Suicune’s crystal glowed and a tidal wave rose up from the surface of the lake behind him, rushing towards the bank.
“Look out!” Alan shouted stupidly while the Pokémon scattered. They tried desperately to get out of the way, but the wall of water quickly crashed down upon them and submerged the area completely, neatly avoiding the trees where the trainers were hiding.
“How does Suicune know Surf?” Mark called, directing his question at May. “Isn’t it an HM move?”
“I don’t know,” she just answered, shaking her head while staring fixedly at the scene of the battle. “It is a legendary Pokémon…”
The water flowed back into the lake and the Pokémon scrambled to their feet – all except Sandslash and Diamond, who the water seemed to have gotten the better of. Mark and Alan silently recalled them while May continued to shout orders to the Pokémon. Mark watched with worry how Vicky flickered in and out of visibility, clearly getting too tired and hurt to keep it up. Spirit had apparently managed to escape it entirely by staying in her spirit form.
“Dragonair, try a Dragon Rage,” Mark quickly told his Pokémon, who was now circling above the scene with Charizard. Dragonair nodded, took a deep breath and breathed crimson fire down towards Suicune, but the legendary Pokémon had heard Mark’s command and was already prepared. Mark watched, stunned, as the crystal formation on Suicune’s head apparently absorbed all the fire and then, after a moment’s pause, sent a blue, somehow liquid-looking mirror image of the attack right back at Dragonair. The dragon squealed in pain as he was hit by the blast, but managed to recover his position in the air.
“It has Mirror Coat! Don’t use special attacks unless Suicune is immobile!” May yelled.
Suicune growled, raising his head, and then blasted a rainbow-colored beam of ice crystals up towards the dragon, who was still regaining his composure. Hit by the super-effective blast, Dragonair was thrown a few feet backwards and then hung still in the air momentarily before dropping down into the lake.
“No!” Mark quickly ran towards the lakeside with Dragonair’s Pokéball. It was lucky the lake was so clear; he could see the light blue, snakelike body even as it sank. He hoped the beam would reach as he pointed the Pokéball towards it and pressed the button. A red beam of light penetrated the water’s surface, hit Dragonair’s body and zapped back towards the Pokéball in a zigzag motion.
“Look at Suicune!” Chaletwo hissed.
He quickly turned his head and realized that Suicune was looking silently straight at him, the legendary’s expression inscrutable. Again, he was overcome by guilt over what he was doing to the creature. He heard May command his Pokémon as if they were her own and the thought to just stand back and watch rather than participate in this dreadful battle seriously occurred to him.
“No, you don’t,” Chaletwo said coldly. “You’re who I picked out from that crowd. Don’t disappoint me by standing there being useless while letting those two nobodies do all the work.”
A hateful thought flashed across Mark’s mind; he hopelessly realized that Chaletwo would be able to detect it, even if he didn’t say it aloud.
“You self-absorbed moron,” he found himself suddenly having the courage to mutter. “I’ll do it, but for the sake of preventing the War of the Legends, not to make your idiotic method of picking people to help you with it look good.”
He clenched his fist until it hurt, not getting any answer, and then looked back at Suicune.
“Jolteon, Thunderbolt!” he shouted. “Another Take Down, Letal! Charizard, use Slash!” He looked at the legendary and added in a whisper, “I’m sorry, Suicune, but I’m hoping some good will come from this.”
For a moment he thought he saw Suicune nod, but then realized that he was just preparing for another Calm Mind. Jolteon released a bolt of lightning but it didn’t seem to harm the legendary Pokémon as much as it should have.
Charizard used the opportunity while Suicune was concentrating to dive down and rake his claws across the legendary’s body, and he narrowly managed to escape to a greater height before Suicune’s eyes opened again. The legendary Pokémon eyed Racko darting at him with the leaves on his wrists glowing and turned towards him. Suddenly the air around Suicune’s mouth filled with vapour before he fired another, considerably more powerful-looking rainbow-colored beam of ice crystals. It hit the Grovyle squarely in his chest; the reptile staggered backwards, gasping for air, and then collapsed on the ground.
“Return!” Alan shouted and recalled his Pokémon into the Pokéball.
“Mark! Look at the lake!” May yelled. He quickly looked around to see that Suicune was raising another tidal wave on the water’s surface, dangerously close to his own rather stupid location right at the bank. He stood there panicking stupidly for a second, but then ran for it towards the forest. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the wave was rising much, much higher than the one before…
“Lapras, Ice Beam it!” May shouted.
The wall of water froze in place just as Mark got to safety behind the trees. He couldn’t help looking at Suicune and finding it rather bizarre that he had been standing in the same place taking all the other Pokémon’s attacks for the whole battle and he still didn’t look hurt at all. He had, of course, read about Suicune’s amazing defensive powers, but never realized he could be this hard to take down.
Suddenly, Suicune lifted his head and blasted a jet of water towards Charizard.
“Look out!” Mark cried as the dragon dived, but the Hydro Pump followed just behind his tail flame. Mark could see the fear in his first Pokémon’s eyes as he tried desperately to go faster and swing his tail flame out of the way, but Suicune’s attack followed. Mark wondered with dread whether Suicune might just kill one of them to make the others leave.
He saw that underneath the frozen wall of water, both Spirit and Vicky seemed to be too tired to keep up their immaterial forms. And even while Jolteon, Letal, Raichu and Pamela were still joining their efforts to attack him, Suicune ignored it almost completely, only wincing slightly when Pamela’s claws tore into his flesh and Letal rammed into his body – in fact, Letal was just now collapsing from exhaustion after her futile efforts with the multiple recoil attacks. Mark recalled her, still focusing on Charizard who was already tiring out after flying as fast as he could muster. He was flying very low now and looked at Mark as if to ask to be recalled just as he was approaching where the frozen wave still towered over the lake.
Suddenly, Mark realized what Suicune was trying to do.
As Charizard was just in front of the giant wall of ice, the legendary Pokémon turned his head suddenly and a moment later a jet of high-pressure water hit the Fire Pokémon’s body and threw him straight at the ice.
It took only seconds of Charizard roaring in pain for the heat of his body combined with the pressure to make the base of the ice wall melt halfway through. During that second, Mark managed to take out Charizard’s Pokéball and recall him before he would be fatally pushed into the lake, but during that second the ice wall collapsed straight onto Lapras.
“Return!” May shouted, recalling the Pokémon through the block of ice as Suicune began to raise yet another tidal wave from the water. “Spirit, try to get back into spirit form, quick! And Vicky too!”
They tried. Spirit gritted her teeth as she tried to summon the energy to make herself insubstantial and Vicky flickered.
But the Surf came crashing down first.
The water enveloped the whole lakeside, running smoothly past the trees as if there were an invisible wall in front of them. The clarity of the water allowed Mark to see plainly how the water enveloped Spirit and flurries of bubbles rose up from her thick fur, how Vicky floated around like a piece of cloth, how Jolteon, Pamela and Raichu were drifting upwards. All of them had fallen unconscious from the sheer force of the wave when it crashed down on them. He saw the others recall their fainted Pokémon and did so too while the water began to flow back into the lake. They had lost.
“All right,” said Chaletwo, speaking for the first time since Mark had snapped at him. “Remember what I said. Just get away now.”
May and Alan were already getting ready to run for it. All that stopped Mark was a momentary desire to have a look at Suicune one more time, from a little closer. It was an extremely stupid desire, he realized, but he wasn’t obsessed with legendary Pokémon for nothing.
The water cleared away and he ran a few meters towards the lake, staring at Suicune. The legendary’s eyes met his, and Mark wondered momentarily why Suicune wasn’t either attacking them or running away.
Then he realized that one of his Pokéballs had popped open.
May and Alan looked back to see what was going on and all three of them stared as the blinding beam of the Pokéball materialized into the looming shape of Gyarados. He faced Suicune with a twisted smile.
“Finally,” he growled in his language. Mark realized it was the first time he had heard Gyarados speak Pokémonish. Suicune took a step backwards.
“Scared of me, are you?” Gyarados snarled. “I knew they would lose if I didn’t take part and then I’d be able to face you alone.”
Suicune just looked at him, the legendary’s expression as inscrutable as ever.
“Why do you do it?” Gyarados spat. “Why do you go around ‘choosing’ random Pokémon for some selfish purposes of your own? What do you want with us? Were you hoping I’d be as brainwashed as that dumb Ninetales and become overjoyed at the news, prancing around and thinking I’m special? You don’t even tell us what you want with us, goddamn it! What if I don’t want to be ‘chosen’ and would prefer not to have been put through your idiot ‘test’? Why do you do it?”
Suicune looked up at Gyarados, straight into his eyes, but said nothing, his expression unchanging.
Gyarados started to laugh. “You’re not going to tell me, are you? There is probably no reason. You’re probably just doing it to feel like a high and mighty legendary Pokémon, then, aren’t you? Or is it just something so grand and secret that I can’t be in on it?”
Suicune didn’t move.
“Answer me, damn it!”
The two Pokémon looked into each other’s eyes for a few seconds. Then Suicune looked down and ever-so-slightly shook his head.
“Fine,” Gyarados replied, closed his eyes and began to turn gray. “Fine!”
Mark quickly reached for Gyarados’s Pokéball.
“Don’t,” said Chaletwo quickly. “If he weakens Suicune, you have a chance to try to go for the capture. Wait.”
Gyarados opened his eyes and blasted a bright red Dragon Beam straight at Suicune. He didn’t even try to dodge; it hit straight into the crystal on Suicune’s head, causing the legendary to stagger backwards slightly. Suicune closed his eyes in concentration.
Thin blue bands of what appeared to be electricity suddenly shot from Suicune to Gyarados. For a moment Mark thought Gyarados was surely done for, but then realized that he didn’t appear to be in any pain. In fact, if anything, his attack was growing stronger.
“What’s going on…?” Alan whispered as more and more of those strange blue lightning bolts connected the two Pokémon. Gyarados’s beam was steadily growing brighter and brighter and blue sparks circled all around Gyarados, enveloping him completely in blue and white until it looked almost like he was evolving. Mark shielded his eyes from the brightness, still wondering what on earth was happening; he could see Suicune, with his eyes closed, straining against the power of the now-white Dragon Beam. It was first now that Suicune showed any signs of being hurt.
Then it stopped. Suicune staggered backwards a couple of steps before collapsing on the ground.
“Yes! Throw the ball!”
Mark didn’t want to obey. He looked at Gyarados, who was still enveloped with white energy although it was fading away, and wanted to see if he would be all right. But he grabbed an Ultra Ball anyway and threw it at the fallen legendary Pokémon.
It bounced off as if he’d just thrown it onto the ground. As if Suicune weren’t even alive.
Mark’s mind went completely numb. All he could do was stare as Alan ran towards Suicune and touched him, first carefully and then pushing him roughly. He checked for a pulse at Suicune’s neck and looked up, horrified, shaking his head slowly.
Suicune is dead. Gyarados murdered Suicune. Oh, God. Oh, God.
He looked quickly back towards Gyarados and watched as the white faded away, but something was wrong.
“Was…” May hesitated. “Was Gyarados this light-colored before?”
It was as some of the white light had seeped into him permanently. Instead of his previous unusually dark color, his scales were now unusually light for his species.
But what had caught Mark’s attention were the three gems, two smaller and one bigger, that now seemed to have embedded themselves into one of the sea monster’s upper segments to form a pattern.
Gyarados, after taking a quick look at Suicune’s body, looked at them. “What do you mean, light-colored?” he asked sharply.
Mark just pointed, and Gyarados looked down to see the gems.
“It’s the same pattern as on Spirit’s necklace,” May muttered, and Gyarados seemed to have realized the same. He raised his head hatefully towards the dark night sky and roared. Suicune had placed the mark on him, taken him to the next step of ‘chosenhood’ – as if it had all been planned. As if Gyarados had killed Suicune for nothing.
“Well,” Chaletwo said finally after a long silence, “I suppose we’re one step closer either way.”
His telepathic voice was shaking, but Mark hardly noticed it. There was no joy of victory, no feeling of triumph or relief. There was only dull silence as he recalled Gyarados and they dragged Suicune’s body into the forest where it hopefully wouldn’t be found.
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