The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)
Chapter 14: Thief and Victim
Mark woke up feeling very refreshed. He scanned through his memory, but didn’t remember dreaming anything at all. Well, that was relieving. The ‘nightmare phase’ seemed to be over.
“Had a good rest?”
He jerked his head upwards to find Mitch still sitting in the couch. Mark looked sleepily out of the window; judging from the bright sunshine, he had fallen asleep sometime in the night, despite having had some coke to keep him awake. Charmeleon stood on the coffee table, seemingly healthy, and while May was lying motionless on the sofa, her chest was rising and falling as it should.
“Yeah, pretty good,” Mark said, stretching.
“Any… dreams?” asked Mitch, suddenly looking into Mark’s eyes. The question had to be a coincidence, but the way Mitch looked at Mark gave it some more of a meaning.
“No, not that I remember,” he mumbled, turning away.
“Good…” Mitch said softly, also turning to look out of the window. Nobody said anything for a long time. Then finally, May’s eyes opened.
She blinked a few times and sat up. “What place is this?” she asked confusedly, looking around.
“You are in the Scorpio City Gym,” said Mitch. “The poison in your bloodstream has been neutralized, and your body will handle cleaning it up.”
“Oh.” She paused, observing Mitch for a second. Then she turned to Mark.
“What happened after we flew away on Skarmory?”
“Well,” Mark began, taking a deep breath, “we flew over here, Skarmory crashed out of exhaustion, I recalled him for you and then Mitch, the Gym Leader, appeared out of nowhere and gave you a shot with some antidote.”
“Oh,” May replied. After a few seconds, she turned back to Mitch. “Thanks.”
“It’s my job,” said Mitch and smiled that faint smile again.
“What time is it?” asked May, turning towards the window. Suddenly, she froze, and then pulled Mark’s sleeve.
“Quilava!” she hissed, before suddenly dashing out through the door. Mark shot an apologetic glance at Mitch and then followed her.
Taylor held his Blaziken Pokédex in his right hand, observing the Ouen map on the screen. Absent-mindedly, he sat down on a bench.
He had teleported to Scorpio City the day before and taken on the Gym Leader. His brother, Rick, had lent him the prototype Abratwo to get there. Taylor would have loved to keep it – after all, it had been very impressive – but Rick had always been obsessed with only giving him the best of the best. That was sometimes nice, but often irritating because Taylor wasn’t as much of a perfectionist as his brother. He just wanted something decent, and would rather not wait ages to get something absolutely flawless.
Then again, it didn’t matter now. He had just received the ultimate replacement.
Taylor broke into a grin as he plucked his three Pokéballs off his Pokéball belt and placed them beside him. He picked up one of the two Clone Balls, looking at it. Clones were strong. His first clone, Pikatwo, contained in his other Clone Ball, had never lost a battle.
Taylor sighed, shooting a quick glance at the normal Pokéball. He couldn’t help wondering if he should really have tricked that Quilava out of the girl. He had never even had the need to send it out. Which he was deep down thankful for, because he wasn’t sure Quilava would like him too much. After all, he had broken the Agreement by taking a Pokémon from its trainer without consulting it first – admittedly the girl hadn’t had anything against that either, but he didn’t want to risk getting scorched by Quilava’s Ember.
Ah, well, now he had two clones. Maybe he’d never have to send it out of its ball.
He smiled at the Clone Ball and attached it back to his belt, focusing on the Ouen map again.
“What are you doing?” Mark yelled while trying to catch up with May.
“Rick’s brother!” she hissed. “The guy with my Quilava! Taylor, you said he was called.”
“What about him?” asked Mark confusedly.
“I saw him, of course,” said May like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “He sat down at that bench over there.”
She pointed. At the end of the street they were running along, a boy with long, red hair was sitting on a bench, bent over something in his hands.
“What are you going to do?” Mark asked, puzzled, as May crouched down behind some bushes near the sidewalk.
“I’m going to get Quilava back, of course.”
Mark watched in disbelief as she crawled towards the bench like a predator to its prey. Very slowly, she extended her hand, grabbed one of the Pokéballs beside the boy and then quickly withdrew it. Mark saw her crawling back towards him.
“Whoa,” he said blankly. “You just went and stole it?”
“It’s not stealing if she’s mine,” she said coldly.
“Well, technically,” Mark commented, “you traded her away.”
“But he tricked me into it,” she argued. “And Quilava never agreed.”
“You weren’t exactly thinking about that when you traded, were you?”
May’s eyes flashed. “She’s my Quilava! Professor Elm gave her to me! And I never agreed to trade her for some lousy level five lizard!”
Mark felt like he had just received an Ice Punch, but just glared at her and breathed very fast.
“Well, aren’t we going to battle Mitch?” May said, still in an angry voice. “Don’t know about you, but I’m going to get myself some Antidotes in case my Pokémon get poisoned.”
Mark reluctantly followed her as she started walking firmly towards the Pokémon Market across the street.
Taylor folded his Pokédex back together and clipped it to his belt, looking to his side. He started when he saw only his two Clone Balls there. He picked them up and attached them to his belt as he examined the sidewalk to see if his Pokéball was there. Seeing no traces of it, he looked up. Just a short distance away, he saw a familiar girl and a boy he had never seen before with her.
He didn’t know exactly what had happened, but immediately got a pretty good idea of it. He watched the two enter the Pokémon Market, and an idea formed in his head.
He grabbed his new Pokémon’s Clone Ball and smirked.
Mark and May, after stocking up on things at the market, walked outside to be greeted by a well-known figure: one of the Officer Jennies. She wore a police uniform, had long, teal hair, and folded her arms strictly. Beside her, slightly behind, stood Taylor.
“This boy tells me you stole one of his Pokéballs,” she said accusingly.
May turned beet red. Then suddenly she roared “THAT QUILAVA IS MINE!” as she jumped at Taylor in what was clearly an attempt to at least punch him if not bite him too. Officer Jenny grabbed her jacket and held her back.
“Quite the temper you’ve got,” she said shortly.
May tried to break loose, but Officer Jenny had a firm grip on her. She glared murderously at Taylor.
“Also,” the policewoman added thoughtfully, turning to Taylor, “Quilava? Didn’t you say it was a Charmeleon?”
“Yeah,” said Taylor, slightly nervously. Mark wondered why he hadn’t just said it was a Quilava; this way his story sounded a lot more suspicious.
“Come with me, guys,” said Officer Jenny, walking towards the police station next door and dragging Mark and May with her. Mark felt a strong burst of anger flare up in his heart; what had he done?
“I didn’t do anything!” he shouted.
“Congratulations, you’ve just used the oldest excuse known to mankind,” said the officer sarcastically as they entered.
Inside, it was rather dark. A desk with a lit lamp on it was on the other end of the room, covered in papers. Mark would’ve looked around better, but Officer Jenny pushed him inside. Then she picked up a small device from the desk.
“Your trainer license?”
“Trainer license?” Mark was stunned – of course he should know that a trainer had to get a trainer license. What had he been thinking when he set off? He had been training illegally for a while, and magically gotten away with it. One of the first thoughts that shot into his head was that the Pokémon League’s trainer identification system had to be very flawed, since he hadn’t even been making an effort to hide it.
“I… I don’t have one,” he stammered.
“No license?” Jenny raised her eyebrows. “Your eye, please,” she said to Mark. He stepped up to her and she held the tool she had picked up earlier up to his eye to scan his iris.
“Mmmh,” she said. “Never done anything before, though… so apparently you didn’t get it removed… but that doesn’t change that you’re still training without a license. You’ll get away with a warning this time, but I suggest you go get a license before you get in more trouble – provided, of course, that you did not steal the boy’s Pokémon.”
Officer Jenny turned to May, who was holding forward a trainer card. “Valid,” said Jenny after surveying it for a few seconds. “May I have your eye, please?”
May allowed her eye to be scanned too, although she clearly hated it. A loud beep was heard.
“You, on the other hand…” said Officer Jenny slowly, “you’re on record.”
“Surprise,” May sneered sarcastically. Mark’s heart suddenly realized it had some catching up to do and started pumping like crazy.
“Hmm… ‘assaulting a police officer’… ‘refusing to cooperate with the police’… ‘breaking and entering’…” Officer Jenny read from the device. Mark felt sick.
The policewoman laid the tool back on the desk. “When was that?”
“You,” said May with disgust, “you think a nine-year-old can’t have anything to say that you don’t know. You think that a nine-year-old’s accusations must be based on personal grudges. You think little girls with bad tempers can’t possibly be right. Something is stolen from a girl and she knows who did it, but you think her knowledge sounds too absurd and claim that the real thief will never be found. She goes on her own and takes again what is hers, and all you do is putting it on some bloody record as ‘breaking and entering’.”
She jerked this all out very fast, and Mark didn’t really get the whole thing, but from how it looked, somebody had stolen something from May when she was nine, she knew who it was but the police didn’t believe her and just forgot about it, so she took matters into her own hands, broke in and stole what had been stolen from her again. The question was mainly whether the thing that had been ‘stolen’ from her had been about as ‘stolen’ as Quilava.
“Interesting,” said Officer Jenny simply. “Tell me… did you steal the boy’s Charmeleon?”
“No,” May spat.
“Well, we’ll see about that,” the policewoman said. “Your Pokémon, please.”
May handed her Pokéballs to Officer Jenny.
“You too,” Jenny insisted, turning to Mark. He gave his Pokéballs to her too. She took a Pokédex from her belt and scanned all the Pokéballs, picking out two of them afterwards.
“Okay, this one contains a Quilava and this one contains a Charmeleon. Which of them was stolen?”
“Charmeleon,” Taylor said firmly.
May opened her mouth, but Officer Jenny stopped her before she said anything.
“Of course, to make sure we’re not making a terrible mistake here, we’ll do a check of original trainers and ID numbers on them both.”
Mark suddenly realized what Taylor was up to saying that Charmeleon had been stolen – while a simple ID check on Quilava would prove her as May’s, Charmeleon had originally been given to Taylor and never been registered as traded. Unofficial trades were essentially illegal, partly because that way there was no way to prove the change of trainers, as the trade would never be on official records.
“No!” he blurted out.
“No? Why not? You obviously have something to hide,” said Officer Jenny suspiciously. She pressed a button on the Pokédex.
“Quilava is registered to you, it seems,” said Officer Jenny to May, giving her the Pokéballs back. “But Charmeleon…” Jenny scanned the Pokéball and read off the Pokédex.
“It’s registered to the boy who reported the theft, Taylor.”
Mark looked at May. She was staring expressionlessly at him, and clearly understood who Charmeleon was now.
Officer Jenny put Charmeleon’s Pokéball on the desk.
“You can have it in a minute,” Jenny said to Taylor. “But first, I need to record that…”
Taylor couldn’t help feeling slightly guilty as she said that. If he was getting that Charmeleon, which the boy had thankfully evolved, however he originally got it, he didn’t want to get him into any trouble, because the boy certainly hadn’t done anything to him.
But luckily, he was prepared for that.
Speed her up a little bit, he thought, looking out of the window where his new Pokémon was waiting for orders, Mewtwo².
Suddenly, Officer Jenny stopped in her tracks. Her eyes went all funny, reminding Mark somewhat of (he shivered a bit) Rick’s Legendary clones.
“Here,” she said, taking the Pokéball off the table. Mark stared miserably at it as she handed it to Taylor.
“Please,” he pleaded, “you’re making a mistake! That boy, Taylor, he…”
But Jenny ignored him completely. She then almost mechanically shoved Mark and May outside, closing the door. There was nothing more he could do.
They walked silently back towards the Gym. May had taken a funny interest in her fingernails as she held them close to her face and examined them. Mark just felt horrible.
“Taylor has Charmeleon,” he muttered miserably, not exactly expecting an answer.
“No,” said May after a moment of silence. “He has Quilava. I switched the Pokéballs on the desk.” She opened her palm to reveal a minimized Pokéball she appeared to have been clutching since she took it.
“You going to take him back or something?” Mark said in a horribly shaky voice.
“No,” she answered, handing the Pokéball to him while staring in the other direction. “I… threw him away… he’s not mine…”
Mark took the Pokéball, covered in sweat from May’s hand, and attached it back to his own belt. He knew both of them were thinking about the same thing: Officer Jenny’s eyes.
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