Scyther's Story - Part VI: Obsession
It was an ordinary afternoon, and Rob and Razor were together on a short shopping trip to Cleanwater City.
During the course of the three years since Razor had been caught, he had gotten to know Rob and his other Pokémon better than he had ever known his Scyther friends, drunk a hell of a lot of beer, and, albeit unknowingly, swiped a world record as the Pokémon most frequently kicked out of a bar for being drunk and swinging his scythes around too carelessly for comfort.
He had taught Kabutops the rules of a Scytherian friendly duel, and although the fossil Pokémon did not have the reflexes to match a Scyther, he made up for it by having a rocklike hide that made him much harder to bring down. Razor had yet been unsuccessful in trying to get Kabutops to spend as much time as he did sharpening his scythes, but he was working on it.
Fangcat had stopped staring at him, too, instead moving on to ignore him like she ignored the other Pokémon. Razor was happy with that.
He had also, although he hadn’t especially noticed it himself, become strangely humanlike in behaviour, from developing a habit of greeting people and Pokémon with a handshake to his unmatched talkativeness, at least when he’d had a little to drink.
But now he was walking down a Cleanwater City street with his trainer – for he had long ago accepted the notion of having a human trainer – after buying some necessary potions and other goods from the Pokémart in town, and they were about to head back to Alumine. He was still not too fond of Pokéballs, which was why he wasn’t in one. Rob never made him do anything he didn’t like, and so he only used Pokéballs when it was absolutely necessary – although Razor had also learned a few tricks such as how to break out of a Pokéball, and discovered how to keep himself fully conscious in the ball so he would be able to think, which was just a simple technique that most Pokémon acquired after only being recalled into a Pokéball a few times. Three years were a long time, after all, and in a long time, the times when being in a Pokéball is absolutely necessary can be very many.
But just as they were walking down the street and Razor was thinking about that, Rob suddenly jerked his head upwards.
Razor instinctively looked up as well, and saw something that filled him simultaneously with joy and dread.
“Did you see that?” Rob whispered.
Razor nodded. He had, clearly and vividly. It was definitely no hallucination – but how could it be?
“And did you see the boy?”
Razor nodded again, because indeed he had, and he was still looking at him: it was a young, dark-haired kid standing on a balcony in the building above them, which was incidentally the Cleanwater City hotel. The boy leant forward for a second, but then turned back inside.
Razor looked back at Rob. The man’s gaze flickered strangely.
“And did you hear what he said?”
As Rob put up a strange, twisted smile that Razor had never seen before, the Scyther nodded yet again.
‘Well, I know where you’ll be,’ the boy had called to Mew just before it teleported away.
Rob resorted to an emergency meeting in a quiet alley nearby. After sending out all his Pokémon, he needed only say three words:
“Mew is here.”
His Pokémon all looked at him, immediately understanding the gravity of the situation.
“But how?” asked Kabutops in puzzlement.
“Where?” asked Sandslash.
Rob chuckled insanely. “We were walking right here below the hotel – and then a boy standing on a balcony at the fourth floor releases Mew from a Pokéball like any common Pokémon! And they speak… the boy asks if they’ll meet again, Mew presumably replies telepathically… and the boy says he knows where Mew will be.”
His gaze darted from one Pokémon to another. “He knows Mew’s whereabouts… We must find him and persuade him to tell me…”
Scyther sighed. “I thought you had gotten over Mew,” he muttered, but it wasn’t entirely truthful. It had been more of a distant hope, already contradicted many times.
Rob looked sharply at him. “Do you think, if you saw your Nightmare standing in front of you, back as a Scyther, that you would simply walk away?” he whispered.
But he sighed anyway, because he had a bad feeling about this. He didn’t really know why.
“All right, we’ll go out there, find the boy and make him talk,” Rob said with twisted excitement in his voice. “And then we’ll go to the location and find Mew…”
Rob recalled the Pokémon, all except Razor.
“Are you with me or not?” he asked simply.
“With you,” Razor answered, but not without a hint of doubt.
“Good. Then you’ll have to help with the persuasion. Let’s go and watch the hotel.”
Razor’s stomach churned uncomfortably. He couldn’t help thinking that “helping with the persuasion” sounded dangerously like a violation of the last law of the Moral Code that he had yet to break.
But if there was one thing he had changed in over those last three years, it was that he took Rob over the laws and traditions of the Scyther. Always.
When they approached the hotel, they found that the boy was just exiting it, together with a blue-haired girl. Both of them looked only maybe eleven or twelve years old. They didn’t appear to be speaking, but they walked beside one another anyway.
The good part was that they seemed to be too busy not looking at one another to notice that there was a man and a Scyther following them.
“The girl complicates things,” Rob muttered as the kids suddenly began to argue when they had just entered Rainbow Woods. “It’s hard to get to the boy easily when she’s there…”
Razor didn’t answer. They watched the kids battle and then continue walking, always following some distance behind them.
“If I get him,” Rob said in a low voice, “you’re going to have to threaten him. Make it clear to him that you’re going to kill him if he doesn’t tell me everything he knows. Okay?”
Razor just nodded as the boy and the girl disappeared into the Rainbow Café near the southern edge of the woods. They sat there for a few minutes as Rob shifted restlessly around.
“Perhaps his Pokémon know it too,” Rob suddenly said. “They’d be a lot easier to kidnap, wouldn’t they?”
Razor said nothing.
“I’ll be back,” Rob whispered and walked casually into the café. It was only minutes before he returned, holding six minimized Pokéballs.
“Let’s get out of here,” he told Razor as he stuffed the balls in his pocket. “It’s best to return to the Gym. Look normal.”
They walked in silent tension out of the forest and into the dirty city of Alumine.
“I’m not sure I like this,” Razor muttered.
Rob suddenly stopped and looked at him. “I’m sorry, but it looks too suspicious to be walking beside a Scyther. I can’t draw attention to myself. Get back in your Pokéball.”
And for the first time ever, Rob plucked Razor’s Pokéball off his belt and recalled him without absolute necessity or consent.
Razor could have broken out, but he didn’t feel like it. He couldn’t help thinking that Rob seemed like a different man now all of a sudden. Everything except Mew had vanished from his mind, from his concern for his Pokémon to his basic sense of morality. His other Pokémon may have been used to it, having been with him before Rick caught Mew – but Razor was not.
And to see his trainer in this state filled him with sadness.
But what else did he have to turn to?
Rob had only barely taken his coat off when there was a loud knocking on the door. When he reopened it, there was a boy standing outside.
He was short and thin with dark hair, big green eyes and a distinctly familiar face.
“You…” Rob said hoarsely, stunned, before grabbing the boy’s collar and half-throwing him inside.
Rob locked the outside door with a quick movement, opened the door into the battle arena and shoved the stunned boy through it, where he fell down flat on his face.
“WHERE IS IT?” Rob bellowed insanely without explanation. The boy raised himself up and rolled over onto his back, crawling backwards in terror as blood leaked out of his nostril. “I… what? Where is what?”
“You know what!” Rob shouted. “The place! My life! My dedication! Mew!”
The boy looked profoundly puzzled. “Mew?”
“Yes, Mew!” Rob snarled. “I’ve spent my entire life searching for it, and you know where it is! I saw you in Cleanwater City!”
Realization crossed over the boy’s face and then turned into panic. “You misunderstood! I don’t know…”
“Liar!” Rob roared. “Tell me where it is!”
“I’m telling you I don’t know!” the boy shouted. “Where are my Pokémon?”
Rob put up a twisted smile. “Sounds like you need some convincing,” he said. “I have a friend who is very good at that…”
The boy stared at him in horror and began to quickly attempt to stand up as Rob took out a Pokéball. “Scyther, according to plan!” Rob hissed as he threw the ball and Razor began to materialize in the air. With a Scyther’s quick reflexes, he immediately leapt straight at the boy, knocking him into the wall before quickly adjusting his grip on him so that he couldn’t move. He positioned his right scythe quickly and precisely in front of the boy’s throat.
“Want to tell me now?” Rob asked coldly.
“I… I don’t know!” the boy blurted out desperately, all the color more or less drained from his face.
“Yes, you do!” Rob barked. “I’ll give you five minutes to think about it. When I get back here you make your decision.”
And Rob strode towards the door to his back room, leaving Razor alone with the boy.
He felt sorry for him.
Although Rob didn’t, Razor couldn’t help thinking the boy was telling the truth when he said he didn’t know it.
He felt the boy’s drumming heart and rapid breathing. The kid was scared out of his life.
The boy looked momentarily into Razor’s eyes, but then closed his eyes. He made a small strangled sound, but said nothing.
“Scared?” Razor asked him.
The boy didn’t answer. It was a rhetorical question, anyway.
“You shouldn’t be,” Razor went on. “‘Death is not to be feared, for it is the only thing that we all have in common…’”
He saw the boy’s puzzled look and smiled slightly.
“Scyther have said that since the beginning of time,” he explained. “It’s pointless to be afraid of what is inevitable; it’s actually the one thing you should not be afraid of. Fear the uncertain, not the definite.”
He could tell the boy found this more disturbing than comforting, but there wasn’t a lot else he could do.
“So…” the boy said shakily, “if he told you to… you’d do it?”
Razor chuckled. “It’s not about me, kid. If I didn’t, he could just ask Kabutops, and that’s worse for you because he doesn’t sharpen his scythes as much. More pain, you know.”
The boy’s face was white as paper. He swallowed; Razor saw the human’s vulnerable throat nearly touch his scythe.
And suddenly, it slipped out of him in a bitter, spiteful tone:
“It’s him that won’t do it.”
The boy’s wide, scared eyes looked at him. “Who?”
“Rob,” Razor said. He knew he was betraying his trainer’s trust, but he wasn’t sure he minded so much anymore. “It’s all empty,” he went on. “Psychological torture, if you will.”
The boy looked blankly at him; Razor chuckled. What the hell, he thought.
“I’ll be honest with you, kid,” he said. “The thing is that he’s damn obsessed. For as long as he remains convinced that you know something about Mew that he doesn’t, he wouldn’t kill you if he were paid for it. Heck, he’d murder to keep you alive, just for that faint chance he’ll manage to drag it out of you. Trust me, you’re one of the safest people on Earth right now. The smartest thing you can do if you’re worried about death is keep your mouth shut – as soon as you tell him what he wants, your presence becomes unnecessary, and not only that, but very inconvenient.”
Razor watched the boy ponder this. He didn’t really expect the human to trust him; he was, after all, holding a scythe to his throat while a supposed timer of five minutes to his death was ticking away. And technically, this was nothing but Razor’s own guesswork, but it was fairly good guesswork. He had known Rob for three years, after all. He knew his way of thinking and the way he talked about Mew.
Razor chuckled. “Damn it, why am I telling you all this?”
The boy didn’t answer at first. “But,” he finally asked, “assuming he did tell you to… you would? I mean… what about your conscience?”
Razor couldn’t help laughing. “Conscience? You’re the first person I’ve talked to who looks at a Scyther and assumes he has such a thing as a conscience.”
The boy looked at him. “But well… do you?”
Razor thought about it. He thought of the human he had killed as his First Prey. He thought of the many small Pokémon he had killed for food. He sighed.
“Of course we have a conscience,” he finally replied. “But predators have no business letting pity control what they do. You’re probably a nice kid and all, but there are many things a great deal more important to me than your life, and Rob’s happiness is one of them.”
The boy looked severely freaked out, and Razor assumed that from what he had seen of Rob, the kid would have a very difficult time grasping why Razor was so loyal to him. In fact, Razor was beginning to have difficulty grasping it himself.
But he couldn’t follow that train of thought any longer, because now Rob barged back into the room.
“All right, your five minutes are up!” he growled. “Telling me or not?”
The boy shook his head – only very slightly, of course, since he still had a scythe positioned just by his throat, but with a very clear implication of “no”.
Rob stared at him with a clenched fist, opening his mouth but not giving an order. Razor smiled to himself. He had been right.
Then Rob suddenly had an idea, reached into his pocket and took out the boy’s Pokéballs.
“Want these?” he asked with a twisted laugh, holding them tauntingly forward. “Well, if you don’t want to have to watch them die, you better speak now! Scyther, get over here.”
Razor let go off the boy and stood up.
But then he stopped.
“No,” he said and shook his head. “This is too much. Stop it, Rob. He doesn’t know anything.”
Rob stared at him in astonishment, but Razor stood his ground.
“If you touch his Pokémon, I’ll have no choice but to fight you,” he said shakily as Rob fiddled with the Pokéballs. “I’m sorry, Rob, but this is wrong. I can’t take part in it anymore.”
Rob looked at him with unprecedented coldness. “Traitor,” he then growled and took out one of his own Pokéballs. “Kabutops, kill him!”
The words came like searing pain as Kabutops materialized on the floor, looking at his trainer with a puzzled expression.
Razor slowly positioned himself to fight for his life. “What happened to the Rob I knew?” he asked quietly.
Rob never replied to that.
“Kabutops, attack him with Ancientpower!” he barked.
“I… I’m not going to kill him…” Kabutops said unsurely. “He’s my friend…”
“Are you with me or with him?” Rob asked, narrowing his eyes as Kabutops looked at Razor in confusion.
But he never had to answer that question, because all of a sudden a loud clattering echoed through the room as the grid covering the nonfunctional air vent in the top corner of the room dropped to the floor. A metallic cry filled the room as a large steel vulture materialized in the air and the blue-haired girl that they had seen with the boy earlier crawled out of the pipe, jumping onto the Pokémon’s back.
“May!” the boy blurted out in relief.
“All right, game over!” the girl shouted, jumping off her Skarmory as he landed, rather clumsily, on the floor. “Give Mark his Pokémon or we’ll have to take them by force!” Looking at the boy, she quickly added, “Sorry I didn’t come down earlier! I just thought that Scyther might… do something.”
Rob stared at the girl who had just entered so dramatically for a second, and then threw all four of his remaining Pokéballs out with a roar of anger. “Kill them! All except the boy!” he snarled. “Make sure they can’t exit the arena!”
May threw four Pokéballs as well, her eyes wide. “Defend us! Don’t get yourselves killed! And that Scyther is with us!”
All of Rob’s Pokémon seemed a bit doubtful at this turn of events except one. It came as no surprise to Razor when Fangcat approached him with a low growl.
“I’ll handle her,” he said to May’s terrified Pokémon. “Don’t hurt the others too much, all right?”
“What levels are they, Scyther?” May shouted as Rob’s Pokémon prepared to attack hers.
“Forties,” Razor replied shortly, still looking at Fangcat, who was circling him dangerously. Out of the corner of his eye, the boy’s horrified expression told him that May’s Pokémon were hardly anywhere close to the forties yet.
As a chaotic battle ensued all around them, he focused on the saber-toothed feline circling him like tasty prey. He raised his scythes and tuned his senses, trying to eliminate all the distractions of his surroundings from his brain.
Razor saw no better option than to quickly kick himself off into the air and fly upwards. He felt the claws on his feet stroke Fangcat’s forehead as she barely missed him; he looked down to see that she was already back in the air for another pounce.
It was unexpected, and she managed to reach him with her front paws. Hard, sharp claws tore painfully across Razor’s back and ripped into his wings. He half-crashed, but managed to pull himself up again as Fangcat prepared for yet another jump with an intimidating growl. His wing muscles were tired already.
This time, Fangcat jumped at him from the front.
She managed to slice her claws into Razor’s shoulders, sending them both crashing towards the ground. He roared in pain as her claws pierced through his exoskeleton, but slashed at her as well as he could with her positioned the way she was – he managed to tear considerably into her sides, but got no decent angle to inflict fatal wounds from. But he wasn’t sure if he’d have killed her if he had been able to.
Then, just as she was about to hit crash into the ground on her back, she prepared her fangs to strike.
Unexpectedly, without warning, she stabbed one of them into his torso.
He writhed in pain as he felt the long fang run him all the way through and burst through his exoskeleton on the other side, just as her head crashed into the floor and she was knocked out cold.
“Fangcat, return!” he heard Rob shout. The feline dissolved into red energy, which only amplified the pain as the fang was no more and he was instead left with a wide hole all the way through his upper body.
Razor gasped for breath, rolling over onto his back, but realized with an ironic, wheezy chuckle there was nothing that could save him now.
He used his last powers to close his eyes before allowing himself to slip into the warm embrace of death.
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