The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)
Chapter 20: The Warning
“Huh?” Mark asked stupidly.
“I said, I think we should talk. I really do,” the boy emphasized.
“Who are you, anyway?” Mark asked, puzzled.
“Oh, sorry,” the boy apologized. “My name’s Alan Ketchum.”
“Ketchum?” Mark suddenly remembered why the boy’s face was familiar. “As in Ash Ketchum?”
“Er,” said Alan and went beet red. “Yes, kind of.”
“Cool! You’re related to him?” Mark asked excitedly, forgetting all about a murderous Chaletwo.
“Well, yeah,” Alan admitted.
“How are you related to him?” Mark immediately questioned.
“Well… he’s kind of… my father. Err…” Alan’s gaze darted awkwardly around; Mark barely noticed it as his mouth fell open.
“You’re his son? You’re Ash Ketchum’s son?” Mark stared open-mouthed at Alan, not sure if it would be appropriate to ask for an autograph or not. Several people heard him and turned around. Alan screwed his eyes hopelessly shut and looked like he wanted to sink into the floor, then grabbed Mark’s shoulders and steered him out of the Pokémon Center.
“What’s wrong?” Mark asked as they came out onto the sidewalk. Alan released him and sighed.
“This happens every time I meet somebody…”
“Oh,” said Mark blankly. “Sorry.”
Alan shrugged. “Well, it’s not your fault. Dad’s famous; of course everybody thinks it’s great to be his son and get a ton of attention.”
“Sorry,” Mark apologized again. “Man, I would love to be his son,” he added after a short pause.
“I doubt it,” Alan just said. “I’m sure having a famous father sounds nice, but when you’ve had a famous father for your whole life, you’re getting very sick of it.”
Mark didn’t answer. After all, he had no experience of it. “Where are we going?” he then asked, noticing that he had been following Alan as he walked down the street.
“Home; we’ll have peace there,” Alan replied.
“Home? You mean to your house?” Mark asked wide-eyed.
“Yes,” Alan answered.
“Your house? As in the one where your father also lives? And Pikachu?”
Alan sighed. “Yes.”
“Wow!” Mark exclaimed, amazed. “Can I see them?”
“Well, Dad is probably working right now – he’s one of the guys organizing the Pokémon Festival. But I suppose Pikachu might be at home, if he was too lazy to come with Dad...”
“Can I pet Pikachu?” Mark interrupted eagerly.
“…because of all the kids asking to pet him,” Alan finished, rolling his eyes. “Look, no offense, but you’re kinda predictable.”
Mark blushed. “Sorry… I just always dreamed of meeting Ash Ketchum…”
“Everybody does,” Alan muttered. “When people meet me, all they want to talk about is him. When people ask me about something, it’s always ‘Why did you stop Pokémon training after two years?’ or ‘Why didn’t you compete in any leagues?’ or ‘Is it true that Pikachu isn’t one of your favorites?’ or something else in the direction of ‘Why aren’t you an exact replica of your father?’… And everybody thinks I like to have people stare at me just because my father is famous…”
Mark didn’t answer; he felt annoying and stupid.
“Anyway; we’re here.”
Alan stopped in front of a rather normal-looking house aside from being bigger than most of the other houses in the area. He stepped up to the door, dug into his pocket to find a key, and inserted it into the lock. After wrestling with the door for a few seconds while muttering some swear words under his breath, Alan opened the door and invited Mark inside.
Mark looked curiously around. The house was somewhat messy, but not exactly a garbage dump either. White walls, mostly green and blue furniture. A ton of photos were hung on the walls, some depicting Ash, some his wife, some Pikachu, some Alan. Both the quality and quantity of the furniture was a bit above what the average person could afford, but not much.
“Here, come on.”
Alan showed Mark into the kitchen, turned the lights on and inviting Mark to sit down at the table. He hesitatingly took the chair while Alan opened the refrigerator.
“Would you like something?”
“Er… I don’t really need…” Mark replied, mainly just for the sake of being polite.
“Something to drink? Coke? Pepsi?” Alan asked, perhaps feeling that tone in his voice.
“Uh, coke, thanks.”
Alan took out a bottle of coke and fetched two glasses. After pouring the drink into them, he sat down opposite him.
“Anyway…” Mark started after taking a sip of his coke.
“Chaletwo.” Alan finished for him.
“Yeah, did he really kill four kids?”
“Yes.” Alan nodded sadly. “I watched them all.”
“Huh?” Mark asked. “Why the heck did you keep coming back too see an evil, murderous Legendary Pokémon stare somebody to death?”
“He isn’t evil!” Alan protested.
“Killing four random kids sound evil to me,” Mark said.
“Once you see him, you’ll change your mind,” Alan assured him. “You’ll just know it. It’s impossible that he’d kill those kids just for the sheer purpose of being evil.”
“How do you think you know?” Mark argued.
“It’s just… a fact. I’ve been there to see him every year since I was born. If there is anything in this world I know, it’s that Chaletwo isn’t evil. Trust me.”
They were distracted by a low purr. A big, creamy yellow catlike creature with three stiff whiskers on each side of its muzzle and a gleaming red gem on its forehead trotted into the kitchen. The Persian rubbed itself against Alan’s hand; he scratched its ears in return.
“This is Pamela; she’s my pet Persian. Pamela, this is... uh, what’s your name again?”
“Mark,” he said. Pamela looked suspiciously at him.
“She has a thing about judging people,” Alan explained. “Either she hates you, and will hiss if you come anywhere near her, or… uh oh, I think she likes you. Prepare to be sniffed.”
Pamela walked over to Mark and started sniffing at his shoes. She gradually went up his legs, and then put her front paws on the chair to be able to reach his upper half. After looking him in the eyes for a few seconds with a hypnotizing stare, she lowered herself down again and wrapped her tail around his legs, giving him a “Pet me” look. Alan laughed.
“Umm, yeah,” Mark said in an attempt to start their conversation again as he stroke Pamela’s fur, “what were you going to tell me about Chaletwo?”
“See… oh, hi, Vicky.”
What looked like a black, floating head drifted through the ceiling. First it freaked Mark out; then he realized that it must be a Ghost Pokémon.
The head floated down and started circling Mark, observing him with curiosity. The Pokémon had long black hair that hovered behind her in uneven, wavy strands, each tipped with red. Red pearls formed a necklace around her neck, which wasn’t connected to a body. Her big, red and yellow eyes twinkled.
“This is my Misdreavus, Victoria or Vicky. Vicky, this is Mark,” Alan introduced them.
“Misdree!” squealed the ghost happily. Mark smiled; there was something just funny about a head floating in mid-air looking both creepy and cute.
“Oh, we get no peace…” Alan groaned. Mark turned to see what he was looking at. A Vaporeon, like the one Marge had, was walking into the kitchen. Following it was a green raptor with a bright red belly and dark blue leaves on its hands and head, and a nervous Charmander.
“Um, this is Mist, my Vaporeon, my Grovyle Racko, and Charlie, who was my starter. Guys, this is Mark.”
The Grovyle walked right up to him and grinned.
“Grov,” said the Pokémon in a greeting of some sort, offering his clawed hand. Mark shook it carefully so he wouldn’t cut himself. The Vaporeon started sniffing at his feet like Pamela had, but stopped fairly quickly and curled up on another chair. The Charmander just stood near the wall like he didn’t want to get himself noticed.
“You kept your Charmander unevolved?” Mark asked. “Was it because of your father’s Charizard, or did he himself just not want to evolve?”
To his surprise, both Alan and Charlie blushed.
“Er… not exactly,” Alan muttered. “Charlie… uh, just… show him…”
The lizard took a deep breath, faced Mark and closed his eyes. He immediately took a bright white glow and started growing. In a matter of seconds, he changed into a Charmeleon. He smiled awkwardly and then started glowing again; as quickly as before, he changed back into a Charmander.
“Wow,” he breathed. “Can he become a Charizard like that too?”
Alan nodded, still blushing.
“Was he born like that or what?” Mark asked curiously.
“No,” said Alan miserably. “It’s a long story… oh, and that’s Pikachu.”
Mark watched open-mouthed as a well-known yellow rodent stepped inside. Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu. Mark couldn’t believe it. One of Pikachu’s long, black-tipped ears stood straight up, but the other was almost horizontal, indicating slight surprise. He looked between Mark and Alan, seemingly puzzled.
“Pika?” he asked quizzically. Pamela, who had been sleeping on the floor, looked grudgingly up and walked out of the kitchen with her tail in the air. Pikachu sneered after her.
“Erm, Pikachu, this is Mark,” said Alan. “Mark, this is Pikachu.”
“I know this is Pikachu!” Mark replied, still staring at the yellow mouse Pokémon. “What do you think I am?”
Pikachu stepped closer to him and tilted his head. Mark reached out with his hand, not really thinking; he just wanted to get to touch the most famous Pokémon in the world…
“Mark,” Alan whispered, “you smell of Pamela.”
Mark didn’t realize his point until it was too late. Upon smelling his hand, Pikachu released an electric shock from the red pouches on his cheeks. The electricity coursed through Mark’s body; he stiffened up for a second and managed to fall out of his chair.
“Pikachu!” Alan scolded, still unable to contain his laughter. “Shocking people is rude! When are you going to grow out of it?”
Mark crawled back onto his chair. “Ow…” he muttered. “That… hurt…”
“Piii,” said Pikachu, scratching his head.
“Sorry about that,” said Alan laughing. “He’s never liked Meowth, so he wasn’t very happy when Dad bought a pet Meowth for me. Then she evolved, and now they’re fully-fledged rivals. Hate anything having to do with each other.”
“Oh.” Mark paused. “What were you saying about Chaletwo, anyway?”
“Oh, yes… see… the four kids had something in common.” Alan was slowly getting back to the dark expression he had worn in the Pokémon Center.
“What?” asked Mark.
“They wanted to catch him.”
Mark choked on his coke. “What?” he spluttered out. “You go around saying Chaletwo is oh-so-nice, and next thing you tell me is that he kills people for something that isn’t even conscious? You’re contradicting yourself.”
“I said that was the reason I went back to see him all those years and will do the same now. You, on the other hand, apparently like Legendaries, and looked very taken aback when you saw the poster, so you are definitely within the risk-taking group. Can you tell me honestly whether you want to capture Chaletwo? Just whether you want it, irrelevant of the fact that it’s impossible and all that?”
Mark considered this question with a knot in his stomach. He couldn’t deny it to himself.
“I’d want to catch any Legendary… but I still think it’s wrong to do so…”
Alan grinned. “Look who’s contradicting himself now.”
“It’s not the same!” said Mark frustrated. “I’m not contradicting myself; I’m saying that my conscious and subconscious minds don’t agree!”
“Well, either way,” said Alan, now serious again, “I suggest that you don’t watch Chaletwo if you don’t want your name on the poster next year.”
Mark gulped down some more coke. He really wanted to see Chaletwo. After all, he had thought Suicune was a crazy killer… but Chaletwo was a real one…
“Is there any way I can see Chaletwo without the danger of getting killed?”
“Not really,” said Alan. “What kills is supposedly not looking into his eyes, just having him direct his eyes at you. Nobody knows whether Chaletwo can kill through video cameras, and nobody has wanted to test that so it’s not aired on TV anymore. But of course… you can probably make yourself a bit safer by concentrating on the risk and not allowing yourself to want to catch him.”
Mark still felt uncomfortable about this, but something made him really want to try, however crazy it was – it was like something pushed away his fear and told him that he had to see Chaletwo, no matter the cost.
“I think I’ll try that,” he heard his mouth say.
“I really, really think you should just forget about it, though,” said Alan worriedly.
“Nah, I’ll be fine,” Mark said, more trying to assure himself than Alan. “I don’t even really want to catch him that much. Just see him.” He wasn’t sure if this was true. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.
“Well…” Alan sounded nervous, “good luck.”
“Thanks for telling me all this,” Mark said. “Oh, yeah,” he mentioned, looking at Charlie, who was still standing by the wall, “what is that long story of Charlie?”
“Er…” Alan blushed yet again, “do you know about Molzapart?”
“Well… er, see, I guess it all started when I was nine. I had a dream one night where Molzapart was talking to Dad. I didn’t hear what Molzapart said, though. I told Dad about the dream, and he told me that he had also dreamt Molzapart, and Molzapart had talked to him. I asked what Molzapart had said, but he told me that it was a secret and he mustn’t tell anybody, not even me. So basically, I just forgot about it. Well, then I started my Pokémon journey when I got ten, Dad gave me a Charmander, I named him Charlie and headed out. I caught… erm, a Pokémon, and then one day Charlie evolved. He didn’t want to evolve, but we couldn’t stop it so he evolved, and… um, well, then I was training with… er, my Pokémon, and… well, Molzapart appeared to me. And he said that… er, he needed my Pokémon for something, and in return he would devolve Charlie. So he did, but Charlie ended up with that ability. So… yeah.”
“Huh?” asked Mark, confused. “I didn’t get one word of that.”
Alan sighed. “You know, Rick? The Cleanwater City Gym Leader? His first Legendaries were Raikou, Entei and Suicune. He made an attempt to clone them and modify their genes, crazily trying to fuse them into one. The embryo apparently died, and Rick… well, threw it out.”
Mark nodded. He remembered hearing a vaguer version of this story sometime.
“Well, ‘Rainteicune’ either wasn’t dead or was somehow brought back to life.”
“Wait a minute,” asked Mark in disbelief, “you’re saying you caught a Raikou, Entei and Suicune super-clone fuse?”
“Well,” said Alan, blushing yet again, “not super-clone. Just a slightly more powerful clone. And he was just a cub, really,” he added. “Well, either way, I took him to Dad – he was really cute and I didn’t know what he was – and naturally Dad was freaked. He took him to Gary Oak to do some research on him, but then he was already attached to me, so they asked me just to keep him.
Well, then, a while later, Charlie fainted in a battle. When I took him to the Pokémon Center, he regained consciousness when nobody was with him and started to evolve, and because he was still really weak and hadn’t gotten any medicine, he couldn’t resist the evolution. Because he didn’t want to evolve, he got a bit depressed – well, very depressed – and I started keeping him more and more inside his Pokéball, using Rainteicune instead. When people asked me what he was, I just claimed he was newly discovered and nobody questioned me further because, well, after all I am Ash Ketchum’s son. Only time that’s done me any good, but anyway…
Then, one day, I was training in the mountains, and I saw Molzapart. He flew to me, and naturally I was really scared and all, but he told me to wait so I stopped. Molzapart explained that Rainteicune was a Legendary even if he was man-made and should be wild – he was pretty grown up then, too – but because I really loved Rainteicune, he offered to devolve Charlie instead. In order to do that, he needed to get energy for his technique Devolution Beam, and this energy had to be gotten from another living creature. He therefore used something called Power Drain on Rainteicune – which must have been horrible; he was in real pain – and then used Devolution Beam on Charlie, but it turned out that because Rainteicune was a modified clone fusion, it didn’t have the effect it was supposed to have. Instead, it made his form unstable so that he started to randomly evolve and devolve at the unlikeliest moments, but we didn’t find out about that yet since it appeared to have worked.
Anyway, I released Rainteicune, who was very hurt from that Power Drain thing but Molzapart said that he would be all right, and he went away with Molzapart. Then we discovered Charlie’s instability, and first I thought it would be even worse, but Charlie started gaining control of it after a few days, and now he can evolve and devolve as he wants. So yeah, that’s how it happened.”
There was a long silence after this story. Mark, naturally, was amazed. Charlie appeared to have found something very interesting about the wall. Alan just sat there awkwardly, every now and then lifting his glass to drink. After a while, Mark looked at his watch.
“Um, my friend went to the Gym and she must have finished the battle by now… thanks for the story, though. And the coke.”
Alan suddenly seemed to snap out of a trance. “Wait!” he said worriedly. “I’ve told you way too much – I don’t even know you – you won’t tell anybody about Rainteicune or anything, will you? I might just have saved your life and all.”
“Of course I won’t,” Mark said simply. “Oh, yeah – thanks for the warning too.”
Alan smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“Bye,” said Mark as he stood up before leaving the house.
He was deep in thought.
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