Chapter 21: Alan

When Mark started feeling normal again, he went back to the gym.

“I would like a one on one battle this time, if you don’t mind... I don’t really feel like using all of my pokémon,” he said blankly.
“Of course,” said Marge. “Go, Feraligatr!”
“Go, Gyarados! Dragon rage!”
“Feraligatr, Hydro pump!”
The two attacks clashed in the middle.
“Feraligatr, Ice beam!”
Feraligatr formed a beam of ice in its mouth and shot it towards Gyarados. Gyarados fired a blast of water to counter it. When it came in contact with the Ice beam, it froze and turned into some sort of an ice spear that then fell on Feraligatr’s head. Feraligatr shook its head and tried to use a Thunderpunch, but Gyarados fired another blast of water at Feraligatr, soaking it and causing the electricity to damage it instead. Gyarados finished Feraligatr off with a Dragon rage. Marge recalled Feraligatr, handed Mark a Surf badge and Mark went out to the pokémon center and waited for May.
She turned up pretty soon along with an Exeggcute. “Oh, there you are, Mark. I borrowed this Exeggcute here to Teleport us to Green town. That’s a good idea, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a long way to Green town from here, it would take ages, and we might miss the festival...”
Good old May. Mark was relieved that he wouldn’t have to walk one step to get to Green town.
“Ready? Come and touch Exeggcute with me...” Mark grabbed one of Exeggcute’s eggs, May took another, and suddenly they were inside a different pokémon center. They let go off Exeggcute and it teleported back. Then Mark looked around. There was a clock on the wall that said:

May 13th, 6:47:33 PM

The seconds moved on, of course. Mark also saw a big poster about the pokémon festival on the wall, which May also seemed to have noticed since she was walking up to it already. Mark followed.



May 20th
The Pokémon Frenzy Tournament! More info on May 15th, 2 PM.

May 21st
Evolution day! Got a stone-evolving pokémon, but can’t afford a stone? Get it evolved for free along with entertainment! More info on May 15th, 4 PM.

May 22nd
Attack approval! Ever wanted to make your and your pokémon’s unique battling technique official and allowed in the pokémon league? Now is your chance! More info on May 15th, 2:30 PM.

May 23rd
Trainer’s market! Buy rare items, including Master balls, HMs, Itemfinders, Focus bands and more, at less than half price!

May 24th
Starter pokémon giveaway! Anyone ten years or older who hasn’t gotten a pokémon yet can pick one here from a wide selection! More info on May 15th, 3 PM.

May 25th
The big day! Chaletwo’s appearance! Come to the grass outside the city at 4:26:45 PM to see the strongest pokémon in the world!

All these activities except Chaletwo’s appearance itself take place at the pokémon stadium in Green town at two o’clock PM. Note that the Green town pokémon gym is closed during the festival. It reopens on May 26th.

“Um, Mark?” May said after she read the poster. “I sort of want to challenge the gym now, since it’s closed during the festival...”
“Yeah, just go,” Mark said, “I’d rather challenge the gym after the festival.” He knew the Green town pokémon gym was a Grass type gym, and the pokémon he had intended to use for it were Scyther and Charmeleon. He really didn’t feel like having another gym battle with them for a while.
May looked at Mark like she wanted to say something, but then just went out. Mark walked to the counter, where Nurse Joy greeted him.
“Welcome. Are you here for the festival?”
“Yeah. And a gym battle after the festival.”
“What brings you to the festival?” she asked. “The trainer’s market? The evolution day? Chaletwo?”
“Chaletwo,” Mark answered. “I’m a legendary collector, or well, I meant to be one, but I’m not sure, I mean, Chaletwo is impossible to catch, right? And that one called Molzapart... I read about them in a book called Old and new legendary pokémon and pokémon-related things...”
A boy of around fifteen who had been looking in the other direction suddenly looked at
Mark, walked up to him and said: “We need to talk.”
“Huh?” Mark asked, a bit confused.
“I said, we need to talk. Come, I live right next door...”
He walked out and Mark followed. Green town was really big, but unusually clean and beautiful for such a big city. The boy went to the door of the house beside the pokémon center and turned around. He reminded Mark of some famous person he had seen photos of, but he couldn’t make out who that famous person was.
“Come on,” the boy said, opened the door and went in. Mark came after him.
“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?”
“But have you seen his Pikachu?”
“Of course I have. He lives in this house, you know... oh, hi, Pam.”
Alan turned to the staircase, where a Persian was coming down, watching Mark closely.
“That’s Pamela, my Persian. Pam for short. She has this odd thing about judging people from distance... either she hates you and will hiss if you come anywhere near her, or she likes you and has to find out if you smell the same everywhere. It’s hard to find which is the better one... uh oh, I think she likes you. Prepare to be sniffed.”
And sure enough, Pamela came down and started sniffing at Mark’s shoes. Then she went gradually up his legs and made a few attempts to stand on her hind legs for his upper half. When that didn’t work, she just wrapped herself around his legs, covering them in hairs, and purred.
“Er... let’s sit down, shall we?” Alan said and sat down at a large table. Mark took the seat opposite him.
“Well, what was that you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Yes. That book you read – I know what book it is.”
“Cool! So you’ve read it too?”
“No, not exactly...” Alan said. “Did you read the author’s note? It mentioned a person...”
“...who told the author everything about Molzapart and Rainteicune,” Mark finished for him.
“Yeah. That’s me. I am the person.”
“I am the trainer who owned Rainteicune and saw Molzapart.”
There was dead silence until from the top of the staircase peeked a head with frilly fins around the neck, on the cheeks and on the top of the head; a Vaporeon. It came a few steps down, followed by a Charmander that seemed nervous and a Grovyle that looked everything but nervous. And through the ceiling floated a Misdreavus. They all stared at Mark.
“Oh. We don’t get any peace...” said Alan. “Well, meet Mist, my Vaporeon, Charlie the Charmander, my Grovyle, Racko, and my Misdreavus, Victoria. She’s called Vicky.”
“Are they all yours?” Mark asked.
“Yeah,” Alan answered. “And then there’s also Diamond...”
“She’s a Rapidash, you understand that we couldn’t keep her inside.”
“Don’t they have pokéballs?”
“Of course, but I’m not really a trainer anymore. My first journey was eventful enough... they’re just pets, really. And friends. Pamela was always a pet; I got her from a pet shop as a Meowth before I became a trainer, and she evolved while battling an Arcanine unexpectedly... it’s a long story.”
The pokémon came down and watched Mark and Alan from a safe distance.
“So you kept your Charmander from evolving?” Mark asked. Much to his surprise, Alan wore the same painful expression as before and said: “Well... not exactly... eh... Charlie... just... show him...” Alan looked away from Mark. He seemed to hate attention more than anything else. Charlie walked nervously forward, closed his eyes and suddenly glowed white. He got larger and a horn formed on his head; he had somehow evolved into a Charmeleon just like that.
“Wow! That’s amazing!” Mark said in disbelief as Charlie glowed white again and changed into a Charizard, then back to Charmeleon and then Charmander again.
“Well, he’s not born like that. It’s a long story...” said Alan, looking at Mark again. “It’s not like he’s a unique mutation or something like that...”
“So what? It’s still cool!” said Mark and stared at Charlie like a miracle. Charlie didn’t appear to like attention much more than Alan; he turned around and saw something very interesting on the wall he just had to examine from behind the Grovyle, Racko.
“Well, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you for. You said you’re a legendary collector. Do you want to catch Chaletwo?”
“It’s impossible, isn’t it?” Mark asked. “Catching Chaletwo? So I can’t... and I’d need to have a Master ball and...”
“I’m not asking whether you can catch him; I’m well aware that it’s impossible. I’m asking: Do you want to catch Chaletwo? If it was completely your choice, would you want to?”
“Uh...” Mark didn’t really know where Alan was going, “of course I’d want to, but it’s not completely my choice and if you think...”
“No, I don’t think anything!” said Alan annoyed. “I was just asking if you wanted to catch Chaletwo, and you do, so then you should know what the four trainers had in common!”
“What four trainers?” Mark asked, confused.
“The trainers Chaletwo killed.”
This sentence was followed by a silence.
“Did Chaletwo kill some trainers?”
“Yes, of course. Didn’t you hear about it? All newspapers in Ouen were full of it... some people even started saying Chaletwo is evil...”
“If Chaletwo killed four trainers, that sounds evil to me...” Mark said.
“No. Chaletwo isn’t evil. You don’t know, you’ve never seen him, but I’ve gone with Dad every year since I was born, and it’s just... a fact. Chaletwo isn’t evil. You won’t know until you’ve seen him...”
“Well, what then?”
“Well, all those four years, those people started saying Chaletwo is evil and that public shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the place and time, and it at least drew a lot of people away fron Green town in late May. But the third year, one of the heads of the “Chaletwo is evil” club missed it out that all those three trainers had one thing in common: they bore a desire to catch Chaletwo in their hearts which Chaletwo felt, and... apparently didn’t like. So Chaletwo detected them among the crowd, and opened his eyes... I saw it all those times. Chaletwo killed them and then teleported. The bodies were like stone, cold and completely frozen along with clothes, pokéballs, everything, with a look of terror. Not a pretty sight. It happened again last year, but it was no one’s surprise that she – it was a girl then – wanted more than anything else to catch legendary pokémon. The thing is: if you want to catch Chaletwo, you could be next.”
“Oh... I see,” Mark said, still deep in thought about this. “So is there no way I can see Chaletwo without being in danger of... getting killed?”
“Without being in danger, no,” said Alan. “If you can see Chaletwo, Chaletewo can see you – Death stare you, that is. But you can reduce the danger to almost nothing by thinking enough about what I’ve told you and maybe you’ll no longer want to catch Chaletwo by the big day...”
That seemed to be a very good idea. At least the thought of the two strongest pokémon in the world, both murderous and ready to kill anyone who dares wanting to catch them, wasn’t very comfortable. And thinking of Molzapart...
“How – why did you see Molzapart?” Mark asked.
“Uh, it’s a long story...” said Alan.
“That’s the third time you say that! What about just telling me that long story of yours, I’ve got plenty of time. My friend is battling the gym leader, you see.”
“Yes, that’s the other thing I wanted to tell you,” said Alan. “Brace yourself for a long story... it started way back when I was starting my pokémon journey... no, it was before that, it was when... no, no ,no! I guess the very start of it all was when Dad had a dream...”
They were disturbed again. Another pokémon’s head was peeking down from the staircase: a yellow one with red cheeks and long ears with black tips.
“Oh!” Mark said. “Is that... is that...”
“Yeah, that’s Dad’s Pikachu,” Alan muttered and turned away again.
“Oh wow,” Mark said. “Oh wow. The most famous pokémon in the world!”
“Pika?” said the Pikachu and came down. It looked at Mark, then slowly came towards him. “I’d never have dreamed about this...” Mark whispered, holding out his hand. The Pikachu came and started sniffing at it.
“Uh, Mark... I wouldn’t do that if I were you... you smell of Persians...”
But it was too late; Mark had already received a nice Thundershock that caused him to fall of his chair in a weird pose unable to move. Alan laughed.
“Pikachu! It’s rude to shock guests!”
“Pika...” said the Pikachu and scratched its cheeks. Meanwhile, Mark crawled back up on his chair.
“Sorry, Mark. He does that often – he used to shock Dad all the time...”
“Really?” Mark asked. Alan nodded.
“Yeah, Pikachu’s always had this little attitude problem...”
But he didn’t get any farther; an angry “Pika!” came from under the table and Alan got a shock at least as strong as Mark’s.
“Pi pika pikachu!” said the Pikachu and went back up the stairs, looking seriously offended.
“He shocks me a lot, too...” said Alan, getting back on his chair. “He basically hates being insulted in any way and has always been a lot against all Meowths and Persians... shocks them automatically.”
“Well, you were telling me a story, weren’t you? You can go on with it...”
“Yeah, let’s finish it off...”

Now that you've read the actual chapter, go and have a go at the funny version, will you?

Chapter twenty-two

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