The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)

Chapter 15: Darkness and Poison

When the two kids reached the Scorpio City Gym again, it was locked. Gyms were only supposed to be locked when the Leader was away or if some kind of a task was to be completed to collect the key, meaning that Mitch had apparently left while they were at the police station.

“Why did he just leave?” May hissed, clearly still upset about the whole encounter with Taylor and Officer Jenny.

“Really, May, nothing says he can’t leave whenever he wants,” Mark said, rolling his eyes.

“Well, I’m going to find him,” she said determinedly. “I’m not going to wait for him for ages.”

“Fine,” said Mark, shrugging. “You’ll just bring him back here, right? Then I don’t need to come.” He was getting slightly skeptical about hanging around with her too much, which was why he would rather wait.

“Whatever,” said May, turning around and storming downtown.

Mark looked after her, not sure what he would do while she was finding Mitch. He didn’t have to wonder for long.

“Fancy a battle?”

He quickly turned around to find a very creepy-looking boy, most likely around thirteen or fourteen. He was wrapped in a wavy, pitch-black cloak, matching his long black hair. Contrasting with that, his face was rather pale.

“So?” asked the boy with a smile. Mark assumed from his expression that he was just a normal Pokémon trainer, even if he dressed funnily.

“Yeah, sure,” Mark said, shrugging. “It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do.”

“Great,” the boy purred. “Let’s make it a one-on-one. I want to test out the Pokémon I just caught.”

He picked a Pokéball from somewhere under his cloak. Mark noticed that it was a black and yellow Ultra Ball; the most powerful ball apart from Master Balls. The boy held it in his hand and looked affectionately at it as if in a trance.

“Challenger sends out first except for Gym battles,” Mark pointed out.

“Sure,” said the boy, looking back at him. “Precious, I choose you!”

He hurled the ball forward. Mark expected something big, high-leveled and ferocious – after all, the boy had wasted an Ultra Ball on it – but he was surprised to see that the red orb of energy started taking shape into something tiny. He watched curiously as it faded to reveal an extremely cute, fluffy black kitten.

The boy looked at it, grinning from ear to ear with an expression of fascination. “Isn’t it lovely?” he asked.

“Mewww,” the kitten meowed, and then added like in a cough, “tark!”

The Pokémon looked adorably at Mark with its big, yellow eyes. He couldn’t help smiling. It was probably that boy’s favorite Pokémon, since he had wasted an Ultra Ball to catch it, named it ‘Precious’ and was now looking at it with the confidence of somebody whose Magikarp had just evolved.

“Go, umm…” Mark thought for a second. Sandshrew needed some training, and he couldn’t help not feeling like hurting ‘Precious’ too much. “Err, Sandshrew.”

As the yellow armadillo materialized a short distance from the kitten, the boy grinned even more.

“Never seen Mutark before, I take it?” he asked.

“No,” said Mark, confused.

“Well, that was to be expected… Mutark is rare…” the boy muttered, more to himself than Mark. Then his grin still widened.

“Great. Then you’ll be surprised.”

Mark didn’t like the way he said that, but it was too late now.

“Um, Sandshrew, try a Scratch.” He considered using Earthquake, but in case the boy was just overestimating Mutark’s strength, he didn’t want to hurt it too much.

Sandshrew moved in to scratch the kitten. It didn’t move or make any attempts to dodge or retaliate; neither did its trainer command it to. It just let out a meow when Sandshrew’s sharp claws sliced up the skin on its side, and as the armadillo backed away, the kitten painfully twisted its body around and started licking the scratches miserably. For a second, Mark felt sorry for it. Then he watched in amazement as it seemed to stiffen up; its eyes took an eerie, red glow, and it grew to double its original size in a few seconds. It wasn’t as cute anymore; the noticeably lengthened claws and fangs probably did it.

Sandshrew was clearly startled too, as he curled up into a tight ball. The Mutark jumped at him and started rolling him around like a ball of yarn.

Then the incredible happened. The scaled sphere started emitting a bright white glow. Mutark backed away in surprise as the ball grew and got spiky. The glow faded, and the newly evolved pangolin-like Pokémon uncurled. Sandslash attempted with little success to see the brown, pointed scales on his back that formed into his spikes.

“Oh, I never asked you if you wanted to evolve!” Mark realized suddenly.

“I don’t mind,” Sandslash replied. “I quite like this form, actually…” he added thoughtfully, examining his new, much more powerful claws.

And he did something that Mark had never thought he’d see him doing: he faced the Mutark and got his claws ready in attacking position.

“Interesting…” the creepy trainer said softly.

Precious, however, didn’t like this turn of events, and started hissing at Sandslash. He retaliated by slashing the Mutark with his huge claws. For a moment, the cat Pokémon backed away and licked the cuts slightly once at a safe distance; then it stiffened again and grew, and now reminded Mark more of a black Fangcat than the little kitten it had been just a minute ago.

Mark saw that obviously, this change had something to do with Mutark licking its wounds.

“Sandslash, try…” he began, but was cut short:

“Precious, Bite,” the boy ordered. The Mutark leapt with amazing agility straight towards Sandslash’s white underbelly, managed to push him onto his back and as he was sprawled helplessly on the ground, the cat Pokémon sank its fangs into his body. He screeched in pain.

“I forfeit,” said Mark quickly, recalling Sandslash to the Pokéball in a beam of red light.

“Nice Pokémon,” said a familiar voice. Mark turned around to see that May had returned.

“Did you find Mitch?” he asked.

“Yeah, he was just getting himself something to eat,” she said, blushing slightly. “I was in a bad mood earlier…”

Mark turned back to Precious and the boy. The Mutark was now starting to shrink rapidly, back to the cute kitten that it was at the beginning of the battle.

“I like that Pokémon,” May said, directing her words at the Mutark’s trainer, who was now recalling it. “What is it called?”

“Mutark,” the boy replied. “It’s a favorite of mine too.”

“Native to Ouen, I assume?” May asked.

“Yeah,” said the boy. “And really rare too,” he added with a hint of pride. “The only way to lure it out of hiding is to have a Dark Pokémon.”

“You’ve got more Dark types?” May asked, clearly very interested.

“Yep,” the boy said proudly. “They’re my specialty. I only train Dark Pokémon.”

That explains the cape, Mark thought.

“Will a Tyranitar work?” May questioned.

“Should do,” said the trainer.

“Thanks. I’m May; you?” she asked.

“Victor,” said the boy, smiling. “I’m glad I could help.”

Mark couldn’t help thinking in horror to the moment he’d have to battle May with one of those things. With his luck, his only Pokémon left would probably be Scyther or something.

“Hey, let’s go to the Gym, shall we?” May said to Mark.

Mark shrugged and followed her towards the Gym.

“Bye,” May called to Victor. “Can I battle Mitch first?” she then asked Mark.

“Whatever,” he just replied. “Oh – I need to get Sandslash to a Pokémon Center.” He looked anxiously in the direction of the Pokémon Center a short distance away.

“You don’t mind me starting my battle while you’re there, do you?” May just asked.

“No,” Mark answered. “See you in a minute, then.”

They parted, and Mark ran to the Pokémon Center. It was smaller than those of Cleanwater and Alumine; the interior was also rather simple, with a crimson tiled floor and two benches along the walls. A few people sat there; he noticed the worried expressions on two young girls’ faces. They had probably had a nasty encounter with some Scorplack.

He went straight to the desk and handed Sandslash’s Pokéball to Nurse Joy. She bowed without words and went into the back room to examine him. It wasn’t long until she returned.

“I’ll have to keep him for the rest of today,” she explained. “But don’t worry; he will be fine.”

“Thanks,” Mark muttered. Now he didn’t have a Ground Pokémon to use versus Mitch, but he would at least get to watch May’s battle first and see what Pokémon Mitch used, which would somewhat make up for it.

He wandered into the Gym and took the left corridor, the one with the sign that said TO THE BATTLE ARENA. He turned to the right and entered a large room which was the battle arena. May, who was at his end, was in a sticky situation, to say the least.

Her yellow rodent was tangled in a net of silky, white thread. A huge, orange, spider-like Pokémon with black markings and six legs striped in vibrant yellow and violet clicked its pincers a small distance away, watching the helpless Pikachu in the web.

“Ariados, Poison Sting,” said Mitch calmly.

“Thunderbolt!” May hissed. Pikachu started charging voltage in his cheeks as Mitch’s spider Pokémon leapt into the air, turned its abdomen towards Pikachu and fired a small dart from the stinger on its backside. It hit the mouse Pokémon, and he let off a bolt of lightning in retaliation. Ariados ran to the side with surprising agility, dodging it.

May looked at Pikachu. His cheeks were sparkling weakly.

“Poisoned,” she muttered and plucked a Pokéball from her necklace. “Pikachu, return.”

She paused, seemingly in doubt. Finally, she took one of the Pokéballs and maximized it.

“Go, Larvitar!”

The small green dinosaur May had caught at the Lake of Purity materialized as she threw the ball into the arena. Larvitar looked determinedly at the spider, muttering his name.

“Rock Slide!” May shouted, clenching her fist. The little dinosaur’s horn glowed bright white, and then rocks started firing from it into the air. They levitated there for a second.

“Larvii!” The rocks pummeled down towards Ariados and crushed the spider under them.

“Return, Ariados,” Mitch said expressionlessly, picking a new Pokéball from his belt. “Venomoth, you have my trust.”

He hurled forward a Pokéball, which exploded into a flash of red light that formed into a lavender moth-like creature with big, shiny blue eyes on its spiked head.

“Larvitar, another Rock Slide,” May said icily. Her Pokémon obeyed, firing another array of rocks into the air and hurling them at the moth. It narrowly avoided them.

“Sleep Powder,” said Mitch slowly.

“No!” May exclaimed as the Venomoth flapped its wings eagerly, releasing a cloud of golden dust. Larvitar’s eyelids started dropping as the powder engulfed him.

“Don’t fall asleep!” May hissed through gritted teeth. Larvitar’s eyes snapped open, but dropped again before he lolled to the side, fast asleep.

“Darn it,” May said loudly, kicking the air.

“Venomoth, Psybeam,” said Mitch.

Venomoth’s eyes glowed as the Pokémon fired a multicolored beam of energy towards the little dinosaur. Being asleep, he just rolled slightly to the side.

“Now, Larvitar, just WAKE UP!” May hissed, but her Pokémon just lay there and slept.

“Another Psybeam,” Mitch ordered, and his moth Pokémon’s eyes took a glow again before firing another beam at Larvitar.

“Return,” May muttered, recalling her sleeping Pokémon and taking another Pokéball from her necklace. “Go, Skarmory.”

Mitch nodded with a faint smile. “You know what you’re doing.”

“Damn right,” she replied, giving Venomoth a glare. “Skarmory, Drill Peck it into oblivion!”

The steel vulture gave a metallic cry in response, took off and darted towards the moth Pokémon, spinning at high speed. As he hit the Venomoth, it was thrown into the wall, but still with plenty of energy left.

“Sleep Powder,” Mitch said. The moth released a cloud of golden powder again.

“Whirlwind,” May spat. Skarmory started flapping his wings at high speed, producing a gust of strong wind which blew the powder back at Venomoth. The moth, having no eyelids, simply got a strange dazed look in its eyes as its wings flapped slower and slower. Finally, it started falling.

“And now, Drill Peck it while it’s defenseless,” May ordered. Her Skarmory dove down and nailed the sleeping moth Pokémon against the wall with his beak.

“Return,” Mitch said slowly, recalling his Venomoth. “Beedrill, I choose you.”

Out of the ball he threw came a bee-like Pokémon with two cone-shaped stingers on its forearms. It tilted its head, staring at Skarmory with red, compound eyes.

“Drill Peck,” said May, smirking.

“Agility,” Mitch countered. As Skarmory dove down to attack Beedrill, it zoomed out of the way. It then started circling the arena at amazing speed that the metallic bird could never keep up with.

“All right then…” May said thoughtfully, “try flying up somewhere in the middle of the arena.”

Skarmory swooped upwards, and hovered there high above the bee Pokémon.

“And now…”

“Beedrill, Fury Attack.”

“SWIFT!”

As Beedrill started buzzing up towards Skarmory, he released a flurry of metallic feathers that bombarded the bee on the way up. It was thrown downwards, being very light and delicate, and got pinned down by feathers.

“Beedrill, return,” said Mitch as May also recalled her Skarmory. Handing May a small object, he turned to Mark.

“Your turn.”


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