The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)

This is an author's commentary intended for readers who have already read the entire ILCOE. My retrospective comments on the chapter are in bold below, with some remarks within the text and then some overall thoughts at the bottom. The commentary will contain significant spoilers! Do not read the commentary on your first read-through!

(The commentary is in progress; there are a fair few chapters left still uncommented. Check the Quest Blog for progress information!)

Chapter 20: The Warning

January 9th now, so five days for this one. I guess this one was quick because it's pretty much all conversation - no battles, descriptions or transitions to figure out.

“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.

Bwahaha.

“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.”

Alan had quite possibly the most pronounced characterization of any character up to this point in the previous versions; he was just as obviously sick of being recognized mainly for his relation to Ash as he is here. But there was something of a change in emphasis; where Alan here reads as mostly awkward and embarrassed by the attention that comes with fame, original Alan was more pained and annoyed, especially when it came to his father's achievements:

“My name’s Alan. Alan Ketchum,” he said and smiled. “Nice to meet you.”

“Ketchum?” Mark suddenly remembered what famous person the boy had reminded him of. “You’re not in any way related to Ash Ketchum, are you?”

“He’s my father,” Alan said with a painful expression that told Mark he got that question all the time and hated answering it.

“Your father? You’re Ash Ketchum’s son?” Mark said in disbelief. “You know, that is just so cool. I mean, his Pikachu...”

Alan rolled his eyes.

“...and he saved the world I-don’t-know-how-many times...”

“Uh, what is your name again?” Alan asked to change the subject.

“Mark Greenlet. And then he...”

“Mark, please, I know even more about everything he has done than you, if that’s possible, so there’s no need to tell me. OK?”

I'm really tickled by how consistent original Alan is with the whole much later revelation that he's beset by this inferiority complex about not being able to live up to everything Ash has done - that's absolutely what he sounds like here, but that actually significant aspect was then kind of toned down in the ILCOE.

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.”

Mark's being pretty obnoxious continuing to go on about his dad after Alan has made it very clear he doesn't like it, but he is eleven and starstruck, so I think he can be forgiven.

“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.

Alan sure is open about his issues to this random kid. I guess Mark invited it a bit by asking what was wrong earlier.

“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.

Alan's way grumpy in this chapter, wow.

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.

Another fourteen-year-old typo preserved for all eternity.

“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.

The reference to real-world brands here is a bit dubious - but the point I was trying to get across with it is the fact they have both, continuing the theme of how they're sort of 'mundanely rich', no real obvious excess or extravagance but just a sort of casual lack of concern for money, where they'll carry two different brands of cola in their fridge to let visitors pick even though most people would just take whichever's available. I do kind of like that, and it'd be hard to make the same suggestion without the brands since fictional brands wouldn't carry the connotations I was actually making use of, but since it's not like this is a crucial point, I don't expect to include this in the next revision. Alas.

“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.”

This is actually the first time Alan brings up Chaletwo, but Mark acts like he knew exactly what they were going to talk about. Just an authorial slip there.

“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.”

This is so bizarrely suspicious. Surely if you find yourself watching somebody (who has psychic powers) murder children but concluding well they can't be evil because you just know, this should ring a lot of alarm bells - if not for you, then at least for anyone who listens to you explain it in so many words. But nobody has apparently noticed how extremely ominous this is.

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?”

I kind of like that Mark guesses Alan didn't want to have a Charizard because his father had one, although this is really minimizing Charlie's own agency - surely if he did want to evolve, it wouldn't be okay for Alan to just stop him anyway because he's got issues with his dad.

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.

Mark stared.

“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.”

This sure has been a comic digression about Alan's Pokémon and Ash's weirdly out of character Pikachu in the middle of discussing a legendary Pokémon murdering children.

It's weird how I was writing Ash's Pikachu here; it sounds almost like a character-bashing fic where this one canon character is suddenly portrayed as being snotty and obnoxious, but I really don't recall disliking Pikachu in any way whatsoever at any stage (it was even my favorite Pokémon when I was a kid). Ash's Pikachu doesn't just randomly shock people or hate Meowth just because they're Meowth; heck, Ash's Pikachu isn't even particularly hostile towards Team Rocket's Meowth. Maybe it's just that at this stage I still just hadn't seen that much of the anime? The first thing I think of now when I think of Pikachu and Meowth interacting outside of situations where Meowth is actively participating in dastardly plans they're trying to stop is the eighth movie (best Pokémon movie, please watch it), but that wasn't out yet, so all I'd seen was still the first fifty-two episodes and the first five movies. That still really should've been enough to figure out Pikachu doesn't spend his time shocking anyone he doesn't like for petty reasons, honestly, but here we are.

In the previous versions, this whole scene played out very similarly, apart from how I squeezed more significant bits of Chaletwo conversation in between the Pokémon appearing, while here I just got the introductions out of the way pretty much all at once.

“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.

I love that you can tell I pretty much knew how awkward this tonal shift was and just kind of did it anyway.

“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.”

At least Mark is decidedly not buying this "but he just is good" thing. Though he really should be going "This is clearly some sort of brainwashing, and that's definitely evil."

“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!”

This whole thing is so weird.

Wanting to catch legendary Pokémon, even subconsciously, should not actually be a remotely normal thing in this world. Legendaries don't want or need trainers and would certainly not willingly submit to the will of a random human kid who throws a ball at them, and they're generally regarded as being important and having important roles to play in the world. Seriously, why is this a thing. Mark sounds like some kind of creepy alien when he admits to just having this unconscious urge to try to capture this legendary who clearly isn't interested. This is pure video game thinking and I do not understand how I didn't see how off this is by this point in time.

I'm sure in this world kids dream about traveling with legendary Pokémon all the time, mind you - but they'd dream about it happening because the legendary befriends them or thinks they're special and gives them a super-important quest, not because they catch them. Pokémon captures are a ritual way for wild Pokémon to test the skills of a trainer before joining them, with the assumption that if the trainer can weaken the Pokémon enough it can't break out of a ball anymore, they're strong enough to be able to make them stronger on a journey. None of this is ever going to apply to a legendary Pokémon. It just does not make any sense without the assumption that capture somehow makes the Pokémon obey and fight for you and that this is fine and legitimate, which is not what I ever wanted my world to be like. I really should have been able to think about this for two seconds and understand this. Ugh.

“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.

This sounds like more of the ~destiny~ thing, but I really thought I'd snapped out of that at this point; this is, after all, shortly after I edited the first couple of chapters to tone down and remove most of the stuff suggesting destiny at work. Maybe I just pulled it out again because really, it's pretty hard to justify why Mark would ever want to do this. You get to see a legendary Pokémon, only then it murders you dead! Awesome deal, right.

“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?”

“Yeah?”

There it is. "Do you know about Molzapart?" "Yeah?" After I'd removed Molzapart from chapter two. So weird.

“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.”

That sure was a summary of Molzapart and Rainteicune!

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?”

I think you mean fusion, fourteen-year-old me.

“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…

That's hilarious. "Why... do you have a Pokémon that looks like a Raikou/Entei/Suicune fusion?" "...It's newly discovered." "But-" "ASH KETCHUM IS MY FATHER"

Also, wow, Alan, Charlie's depressed so you just start keeping him in his ball all the time? Somehow I doubt that helped. You could've been supporting him and helping him come to terms with it, but nope. Great job.

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.

Originally, Alan refused to let Rainteicune suffer through that and insisted Molzapart use it on him instead, and the reason Charlie was rendered unstable was that using human energy screwed with it, which makes a bit more sense than just the fact Rainteicune is a clone fusion. I guess the reason I changed this was probably that by this point I'd decided the sort of power that Molzapart is draining is something that humans normally just don't have at all, but it was actually pretty sweet that Alan would rather have it done to himself than let Rainteicune suffer, and to this day I don't get why I didn't here at least have Alan mention that he asked to have it done to him instead but Molzapart said it was impossible.

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.”

Nice lampshading. Yeah, you really have been remarkably talkative with this random eleven-year-old you just met.

“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.

Well, that sure was a thing.

In the original, Alan actually retold the entirety of the actual story portion of Molzapart and Rainteicune here, including the lengthy detour about how Alan obtained Pamela and Aaron the Arcanine, where a random trainer he meets had obtained a Growlithe in a trade, only to have forgetten he was supposed to eventually give him back and evolved him into an Arcanine. (This time, though, even in the original, rather than stating that evolving a Pokémon in general is just like killing the original Pokémon, he just said it had changed his personality because it wasn't strongly established enough beforehand - which means, by the way, that that's actually apparently where this version of the evolution headcanon originates, not the HMMRCIG like I thought). And then this amazing paragraph happens:

“Then he asked again what he could do with Aaron. And well, because I really, really wanted a real pokémon that could battle, I told him: “You should just tell the trainer that Aaron hated you so much he ran away, and then you can catch a Fire pokémon and give him instead. And I’ll take Aaron as a pet, Pamela likes him.” Pamela was licking Aaron’s face, trying to get him up again, you see. And then I added, to sound less selfish: “I’ll ask Dad if there is any way to devolve pokémon and get their old personality back.” Of course I knew there isn’t. He thanked me and asked me when my birthday was. I told him it was September the ninth. He also asked if I was nine years old, and I said yes. He asked if I would start training pokémon then, and I said yes. He asked me to give him his phone number and be his friend, and I said yes. That was how Peter became my friend and I got my hands on Aaron...”

Are you sure you're Peter's friend, Alan. Are you sure. (Later, after Molzapart shows up and offers to devolve Charlie, Alan asks him as an afterthought to devolve Aaron too and give him back to Peter so he could lie to his old trainer about him having just mysteriously turned up. Gee, that sure turned out fine! Nothing dubious about this at all!)

Other fun tidbits from the original version of this chapter include retconning the bit from Molzapart and Rainteicune about how Molzapart can know five attacks at a time by saying actually he's since discovered he can know any number of attacks at the same time; one of his attacks being "Wildness", which makes a Pokémon wild again after being caught (apparently just releasing them is not enough); and the fact that Wildness hurts, because of course it does.

The bit about Rainteicune being a clone fusion created by Rick and thrown out was new here, and it does make a lot more sense than him having just happened when Raikou, Entei and Suicune clones created and then released by some random dude just crashed into each other at the same time on Route 46. Given I was going to keep Rainteicune in there, this is probably about the best I could do, and next to some of the other stuff from the original that I tried to make work, it's really downright reasonable.

In fact, though, there wasn't actually any good reason to keep Rainteicune. There are exactly two places in the story where Rainteicune has anything to do with anything: First, in chapter 26, Chaletwo agrees to take Alan along in Ash's place because him finding Rainteicune might sort of maybe be a sign that he has the same vague legendary-attracting quality that Ash had. This is pretty ludicrous, both because giving Ash an actual explicit mysterious legendary-attracting quality is just silly, and because finding one legendary fusion cub in a dumpster is hardly an indicator of anything like that, and because this in no way makes this fifteen-year-old who never took part in a League just as helpful as a thoroughly experienced adult star trainer - none of this should be here. Secondly, while Mark and May go to the League, Alan is out on the lookout for Rainteicune - but Alan explicitly can't come with them to the League because he doesn't have the badges, and he's also supposed to be on the lookout for other legendaries, so nothing would change if I just said Alan's going to be out continuing the general search for legendaries instead of for Rainteicune specifically.

Amusingly, my original chapter outline for chapter 75 actually had Alan send out Rainteicune to help fight Mewtwo², pretty much just to give him something to do! But obviously, it didn't happen. The next revision will definitely cut Rainteicune. It will also definitely cut Charlie's unstable evolution thing, which I also painstakingly explained here - it's the point of Alan's entire story about Molzapart and Rainteicune! - when it will not matter in any way whatsoever and Charlie spends the vast majority of the fic just being a Charizard.

With whatever I end up doing with Chaletwo, I'm not sure exactly how Mark would end up meeting Alan in the next revision, but either way it wouldn't involve him launching into a story in any way derived from Molzapart and Rainteicune. What a strange, strange chapter. It must be wild to be reading the fic for the first time and get here.


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