The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)

Chapter 11: The Lizard and the Mantis

Mark was starting to feel uncomfortable again when they waited for their Pokémon to be healed. Nurse Joy had informed May that thankfully, Lapras and Skarmory would recover.

This Pokémon Center, like the one in Cleanwater City, had a pink furry carpet and red couches scattered around randomly. As Mark sat motionlessly in one, he drifted into sleep.

The dream was just a very short flash of scythes, eyes with slits for pupils, green reptilian heads, forty centimeter-long blood-covered fangs, death and a bit more blood. Then he snapped back awake, breathing rapidly.

Mark calmed down upon realizing that he was in the Pokémon Center. May was just bringing his Pokémon back.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, attaching them to his belt. “Hey, I think I’m going outside for a bit… I guess I could use some fresh air, and maybe I’ll introduce Scyther properly to my Pokémon.”

She nodded, and Mark stood up, walking outside. The sun was slowly sinking into the horizon in the far west. The air was comfortably cool, although it couldn’t exactly be called fresh.

“Go, Charmeleon, Sandshrew, Eevee, Dratini.”

The four Pokémon materialized on the ground and cried out their names.

“Um… did you know that you were stolen?” Mark asked.

“Yes, we know the whole story,” said Charmeleon. “But we’re back with you now, so does that really matter?”

“Well, you see… I’ve gotten a new Pokémon…”

Mark felt one of his Pokéballs wobble a bit; then the two halves separated. A beam of red shot out of it and took shape into Scyther right next to Mark. As the mantis Pokémon formed, the four smaller ones backed away.

“Mark…” asked Charmeleon hesitatingly, “isn’t that the thief’s Scyther?”

“Yeah,” Mark said. “He joined us.”

Charmeleon stared at him for a second, but then asked: “Erm… what the heck happened to your common sense?”

“What?” Mark asked, confused.

“Well, isn’t it obvious?” Charmeleon snapped. “You’re opening the door wide to a Pokémon that was going to kill you just half an hour ago!”

“He wasn’t going to!” Mark objected. “He even refused to battle for the Mew Hunter!”

“Who says that isn’t a part of the plan too?” said Charmeleon, eying Scyther suspiciously.

“I…”

“I can’t force you to trust me,” said Scyther just, “and really, I can’t blame you for not trusting me. I’m not used to being trusted.”

“Oh, come on,” said Mark annoyed, “just give us your word that you aren’t going to hurt anybody.”

“I don’t make promises,” said the mantis calmly. “Not to you, not to somebody who won’t believe it anyway, and not to anybody else. Breaking a promise is painful, and the only way to avoid the pain is not to make the promise.”

Mark was starting to feel a bit more skeptical about Scyther’s company now, but he didn’t want to admit defeat right away.

“See?” Charmeleon snorted. “At least he has the decency not to go behind his words – by not giving any words to go behind!”

“Let Mark decide,” said Scyther expressionlessly. “He’s heard both sides of the argument, and it’s him who we’re trying to affect. Let him be the judge.”

“Guys,” Mark said decisively towards his Pokémon, “I want all of you to come over here and accept Scyther as one of you.”

The mantis offered his right scythe for a handshake, but Mark’s four much smaller Pokémon just flinched, apart from Charmeleon, who glared at Mark like he couldn’t believe this. Nobody moved, until finally – much to Mark’s surprise – Sandshrew walked nervously forward. He glanced anxiously at the raised scythe, but decided not to come near it so he just nodded and sat down.

“Great. Anybody else?” Mark asked, smiling.

He was even more surprised when Eevee tilted his head and approached the giant bug. He even raised his right front paw to touch the top of Scyther’s blade. He smiled faintly, moving his arm slightly. Eevee jumped, but showed no signs of regret when he took place beside Mark.

Dratini then slithered forward. His black, beady eyes looked curiously up at the bug’s reptilian head, and what could only be a cute little smile appeared on his face. Scyther nodded slowly, and the dragon crawled to Eevee’s side.

Now only Charmeleon was left, and he showed no signs of being about to come over. He just gave Scyther a nasty glare, folded his arms and then turned his back firmly towards the rest of the Pokémon, flicking his tail flame.

“Fine,” said Scyther matter-of-factly. “We’ll have it your way, then…”

And he also crossed his bladed arms and turned his back towards Charmeleon in the exact same manner.

“Oh, come on,” Mark sighed, but the two Pokémon didn’t move.

“Mark!”

May came out of the Pokémon Center and eyed Scyther and Charmeleon curiously before turning to Mark.

“Hey, there’s supposedly a decent, cheap restaurant in town called The Gamesharked Skarmory. I’ve been given directions, and I’m going there now. Are you coming?”

“Yeah, sure,” Mark said, recalling his Pokémon and trying to act like there was nothing wrong. He was thankful that May wasn’t the type of person to ask questions.

-------

After the meal, May told Mark that the Pokémon Center offered cheap accommodation for trainers. Mark noticed that she seemed to be obsessed with everything being cheap, but didn’t mention that. They just walked back to the Pokémon Center and checked in.

Once Mark was alone in his room, he undressed, put on his pajamas and, after a bit of thought, sent out his five Pokémon small enough to fit in the room. He noticed Charmeleon starting to growl at Scyther, but interrupted quickly:

“Hey, now we’re just going to sleep, all right? No arguing, insulting, attacking, or anything of the sort.”

Scyther and Charmeleon nodded, and lay down on the floor with the other Pokémon. Mark made carefully sure that they weren’t going to do anything before closing his eyes.

Scyther suddenly leapt at him, his scythes raised. Mark gasped, only to discover that the mantis was lying peacefully on the floor, fast asleep.

“Stupid dream,” he muttered, turning around.

Fangcat snuck up on Charmeleon and prepared to sink her fangs into his unsuspecting body; he was turned around with his arms folded and didn’t see her…

Mark woke with a start, finding that this was also a dream.

“Darn it,” he mumbled. He dug his face into his fluffy pillow. Suddenly, he had no face and was throwing a black and red Pokéball at Mew…

Knowing in the dream that it was a dream, he broke out of it by forcing his eyes open. He screwed them shut again, staring at the blackness on the back of his eyelids. Two bright yellow eyes opened in the dark and he woke up yet again, his heart stinging uncomfortably.

He waited, and waited. Mew started laughing manically, threatening to kill Eevee. Mewtwo² lay dead in a pool of blood on the floor, but the Mew Hunter was trying to resurrect him by muttering old sayings. Mark ordered Scyther to kill May because she was trying to steal Charmeleon.

Mark knew it was all a stupid dream, but let it all happen in his head without waking up. It was somehow relieving to let all of this day’s happenings mix up into something insane.

-------

A young man stared out of the window at the stars. His gray eyes reflected their light.

“Emotions…” he muttered out of the blue. “Strong ones… fighting to keep them inside… interesting…”

He blinked.

-------

Charmeleon lay on the floor, pretending to be asleep. Mark wasn’t mumbling in his sleep anymore; he had most likely fallen into deep sleep.

Mark is being stupid, he thought grimly. Does he have any idea what a Scyther could do in the night? Especially one who can break out of Pokéballs by himself…

And that bug is acting all arrogant, trying to be the wise one, trying to look good… but I see right through him… if Mark doesn’t want to believe me, fine…

I’ll show that overgrown mantis one day… I’ll show him…

With a grin, he closed his eyes. He dreamt not the happenings of this day, but a plan for the future.


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