The Quest for the Legends (ILCOE)
How many innocent lives hasn’t this blade taken with its precise, lethal movements? Yet, moving it the last few inches across a much more deserving throat seems like an impassable task.
“You deserve it.”
The owner of the blade, a great, scythe-armed insect, whispers these words not as an announcement, but more for his own reassurance.
“You’re despicable,” he continues. “You’re pathetic.”
He draws a few more breaths, yet the scythe will not move.
“You’re afraid. You fear death.”
He closes his eyes and mutters between his teeth: “Death... is not... to be feared...”
With each word, he forces the deadly blade a little bit closer to the trembling neck it is meant to slit...
He is interrupted by a muffled voice, calling his name. He instinctively opens his eyes and points them to the small door of the room; pressing himself against the wall, he closes them again.
But he can’t. No matter his orders, the scythe stays in place. There is a careful knock on the door; his eyes reopen.
Do it now. Now!
Yet the blade betrays him again, and the door opens with a low creak.
As the bearded human he has gotten to know as his trainer steps inside, he closes his eyes again and lowers his arm in defeat, knowing well the expression that the human will have put up. He listens to the fast footsteps as the man quietly crosses the room. His trainer’s hand feels his neck; the human’s rapid breathing calms down. The touch of a light metal ball brings him into a blank, floating state for a second; then he reappears in a cold, small room.
“Have a drink.”
The trainer says it in a gloomy, surprising tone. Not having expected this, the insect looks around. His trainer is pouring fizzy golden liquid from a dirty can into a bowl and a glass. Pushing the bowl decisively towards his Pokémon, the human takes a big sip of his drink.
“Drink it. It will do you good.”
Hesitatingly, the Scyther leans down to dip his tongue into the bowl, seeing no other means of drinking the liquid. He cringes at the bitter taste.
“It gets better after you’ve had a bit,” the trainer comments helpfully, having already finished half of a rather big glass. The Pokémon slowly laps up a bit more and seems to be acquiring the taste; within long he has finished the contents of the bowl. His trainer immediately opens a cupboard and pours the bowl full again. After a bit more of this strange drink, the Pokémon appears to be feeling slightly better.
That is at least the meaning in the Scyther’s quiet growl; understanding it, the trainer nods.
“I thought you had maybe... succeeded this time.”
“I had almost done it, but lost my nerve when I heard you,” the Pokémon says bitterly, lapping up some more of the drink. “Pathetic, isn’t it?”
“Why, Scyther?” asks the trainer quietly without looking at the insect. The Pokémon ignores this question completely. It has been asked before and the answer has not changed: It is none of the human’s business.
A bit of silence follows. Then the man speaks again.
“I know how you feel...”
This comment seems to be the one with the most meaning to the Scyther; he abruptly looks up at his trainer’s rough face.
“Life is a pain sometimes,” the man continues in a low voice. “For every dream that comes true, ten are shattered. For every happy hour comes a nightmare. When you struggle a long way to a goal only to see it escape from your grip and all your work dissolve into nothing, you really start wondering if it’s all worth it...”
“It isn’t,” the Pokémon says shortly and laps up a bit more from the bowl. Surprisingly, this only induces an odd smile on the human’s face.
“No. But do you know what has kept me alive for all these years?”
He doesn’t need an answer; his Pokémon looks at him with a hint of curiosity, the drink forgotten.
“Who really gives a damn if it’s worth it? As much of a pain as it can be, it’s the only thing you have. When you’re dead, you’re stuck – you don’t want to watch all the opportunities you could have taken unfold into what could have been your future, knowing that you can never turn back, grab the opportunities, live that future. At least die knowing that you did everything in your power to die happy, even if the happiness never comes.”
He looks into the Scyther’s eyes. “What I’m trying to tell you is that if you die now, you know you’ll die unhappy. But if there is the slightest chance that your dreams could come true, that your life could get better – then you’re better off taking your chances.”
The Scyther doesn’t answer; he just stares at the bowl in front of him, deep in thought. Finally he starts lapping up the drink again.
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