A/N - WARNING: Gore. Not in the actual chapter, just in a description in the chapter. Even better, it's pretty random and doesn't serve that much of a purpose (meaning that I could easily have made the chapter without the gore). I just felt like it. Also, it contains something slightly political, but don't kill me for it, OK? Actually, the whole chapter doesn't serve much of a purpose unless you are very interested in reading more stuff about Scyther written mainly out of my love for him. Well, there is a bit that matters at the end.
Chapter 35: The animal world
“Nightmare? Is that Scizor’s name?” Mark asked.
“Nickname,” Scyther just said.
“What’s her real name, then?”
“Pokémon don’t give each other real names.”
Scyther sighed. “Our language doesn’t allow just combining random sounds that flow nicely together and making it into a name. We need to use actual words or some combinations of them. Then we use nicknames that we find to fit the pokémon in question in some way or another, and that may not be the same for everybody. My friends called my Razor, but everybody called me by the names they thought to be fitting.”
“Should I call you Razor?”
“No,” said Scyther as they came out of the forest and into the open. “Your name for me has always been just plain Scyther, when pokémon introduce themselves to somebody they usually just refer to themselves as just another member of their species, not under a name. Fury was an exception, of course, because he’s mainly around humans and that’s the way they do it…”
“Should I call her Nightmare, then?”
Scyther shrugged. “If you want.”
“Oh, man,” Mark groaned and stopped. Welcoming them out of Ruxido was a gigantic patch of tall grass they were forced to go through. “I’ll bet there are wild pokémon all over that thing…”
Scyther, however, looked astonished.
“Wow… I’ve never seen so much tall grass in my life…”
He swept the kids away with a swing of his scythe which Mark narrowly avoided.
Scyther narrowed his eyes towards the grass blades waving gently in the wind, leaned backwards and then suddenly darted forward with his scythes raised.
Grass blades flew in all directions, in less than ten seconds Scyther had cut a clear path through the tall grass and was already back at their side.
“Whoa…” Alan breathed. “That was FAST.”
Scyther smiled at the compliment.
“How did you…?” May asked. Mark just stared.
“It’s easy, it’s the very first thing we learn to use our scythes for,” Scyther said casually. “Let’s go on…”
They started walking through the path Scyther had cut.
“You learn this before hunting, then?” Mark questioned.
“Yup,” said Scyther. “It’s important to learn this first, we’ll do it for fun and practise for our reflexes for the rest of our lives, if we learned to hunt first, this would just be boring and that might result in everybody hunting for fun…”
“We don’t what?”
“I just…” Mark already regretted having opened his mouth, “I… kinda thought Scythers did kill out of boredom…”
“Oh, yes, don’t we?” said Scyther in a record-breakingly sarcastic tone. “And while we’re at it, why don’t we just take over the world? I mean, it’s not like we couldn’t chop up every living being we come across, kill everything in our path, what’s there to stop us? We can do it, then of course we’ll do it at first chance!”
“Scythers are some of the most dangerous pokémon in the world, Mark,” said Scyther, seriously this time, not looking at Mark but instead straight forward. “We’re equipped with some of the most powerful weapons in the pokémon world from birth. We have the speed to strike before the far majority of our opponents. All adult Scythers have locked everything called pity for a victim in the cupboard long ago and don’t intend to take it out again. If all of us teamed up to take over the world, we’d be able to do it easier than blinking an eye. So why don’t we? Because we know better. Everybody should know better. Creatures with the brains to be greedy should know better than being greedy at someone else’s cost. That’s why life has survived. It has only happened once that a takeover of this kind was made…”
Scyther’s voice died out and he looked up into the air for a few seconds, then suddenly turned to Mark.
“Do you know about the animal world?”
“Yeah,” said Mark.
“That was there,” Scyther continued. “The humans thought they were higher than the rest of the inhabitants… they chopped down the rainforests for their own good, polluted the oceans, hunted millions of species to extinction, spent way too much of their time inventing ways to kill each other... over here pokémon have always been superior and humans have never gotten cocky even if their imagination is stronger than ours. Over there humans were absolutely dominant, and it went to their heads.”
“Well, you see, the humans evolved in different ways. Here, their survival was built on pokémon’s co-operation, meaning that the importance of friendship and treating others like you want to be treated grew on them from birth. There, there was no such thing. They multiplied like rats, were in competion about the food, divided into many nations that hated each other so much that even their languages developed into completely different things. When the portal between the worlds was opened, people here were amazed by how war-loving they were. Kept trying to sell guns, nuclear bombs and heaven knows what over to the pokémon world, although thankfully the government refused and told them politely not to spoil our beautiful world with their tools of killing. They knew they should never let a pokémon into their world, but they sold animals over to keep as pets, and the people here were of course relieved that they wouldn’t be forced to eat their friends the pokémon anymore. They shared technology, most of ours wouldn’t help them, of course, because it was mostly something that was only possible with pokémon, but they brought us tons of neat stuff like computers, televisions, video game consoles, all that stuff which we’ve never really known enough about to evolve much further. But then World War III started…”
“World War three?” Mark interrupted, amazed. “Are you trying to tell me they were stupid enough to make three world wars?”
“Yes,” said Scyther. “And, well… do you know who Einstein was?”
“Yeah, some smart guy who discovered something in the physics of the animal world…”
“Exactly. He once said that if World War III would be fought with nuclear, World War IV would be fought with bows and arrows. But he was wrong. There never was a World War IV. After way too much of the planet had been blown up and the risk of getting cancer had skyrocketed, people were fed up, around a billion people moved to the pokémon world and became one with the nature like the rest of the people in the pokémon world. The rest were either already dead or died from cancer a few years later.”
“Now the animal world is a wasteland of radiation, cancer combined with the unbalance that now dominated killed all the animals sooner or later. Only some radiation-resistant bacteria live there now.”
After a few seconds of silence, Scyther suddenly started talking again.
“Isn’t this ironic?”
“I’m an extremely dangerous creature, it would take me half a second to cut your head off, but yet we’re walking here in a friendly conversation.”
“Come to think of it,” Mark muttered, “it is a bit weird.”
“I mean it, aren’t you ever afraid of me? I’ve threatened you once, I’ve almost killed you twice, doesn’t that increase your awareness?”
“I’ve never thought of it that way,” said Mark, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.
“It’s not a bad thing. It’s a symbol of how much trust humans and pokémon bear towards each other. But seriously…”
Scyther chuckled. The sound made a chill run down Mark’s spine; an old instinct was kicking in.
“I could kill you, Mark,” Scyther said slowly, with his eyes closed. “I could sneak up on you in the middle of the night, dash forward when you’re looking in the other direction, knock you down, swing my scythes at your friends so they run for it, cut your throat, rip open your ribcage, tear your lungs apart for the sheer pleasure of it, eat you, I wouldn’t even need to be hungry, because killing gets fun when you’ve done it your whole life, the smell of blood makes your heart pound, it becomes a pleasure to rip the meat off the bone, just the color red alone gets you high… am I disgusting you?” he suddenly added, looking into Mark’s face again.
“Just a bit,” Mark said, when in fact he felt totally sick. What bothered him more than the gory description itself was that Scyther had said all of this in a certain tone of voice that made it sound more like a memory than something made-up.
“Sorry,” said Scyther. “I got a bit carried away…”
They walked on for a while, and while Mark tried to act as normal as he could regardless of the suspicions that were now nagging him, Scyther certainly noticed something as he kept glancing anxiously at Mark.
“You weren’t just making that up, were you?” Mark finally said quietly.
Scyther took a deep breath.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” he muttered, looking in the other direction.
“Was it a pokémon or…?”
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Scyther repeated and sighed. But that was enough of an answer to both of his questions.
“When was it?”
“Long ago,” Scyther just answered.
“Why did you kill a human?” said Mark slowly.
“First prey,” Scyther replied. “When young Scythers are considered capable of hunting on their own, they have to prove it by finding prey and killing it, all by themselves, but there are witnesses hiding somewhere to make sure they actually did it without help. Before somebody goes on their first hunt, they usually make a bet with their friends about how often they’ll need to attack a creature before being able to actually kill with their own scythes. The average is somewhere between four and five tries – we’re born just as innocent as other species, you know. Me and Stormblade were both under average, I’m very proud of my score, one try, and Stormblade’s three tries aren’t too shabby either. But Shadowdart – what a laugh me and Stormblade had. He’s a year younger than me – wanted to tie, but failed miserably – you heard when we mentioned it, he let eight small pokémon get away before managing to kill one. He made up for that by training incredibly well – he was very skilled just a month later and easily the fastest in the swarm for his age.”
“Why a human?” Mark repeated.
“Because three kids walking were the first thing I came across, and I had been searching for a long time and was getting impatient,” Scyther sighed. “Can we talk about something else?”
Mark was about to ask more about it, but realized that he really didn’t want to know anything else, so they walked on. Meanwhile, May and Alan had been chatting and probably hadn’t heard any of Scyther and Mark’s conversation.
But what made Mark forget about Scyther for a second was that as they stepped over the next hill, they could see Stormy town. It was pretty small, the houses were all pretty small too, except for a big building Mark presumed was the pokémon gym. As it had supposedly been for the last twenty years, dark clouds hovered gloomily over the town and the mountain near it.
A lightning struck the top of the mountain. Four seconds afterwards, the roar of the thunder reached their ears.
“Come,” Alan said and they sped up a little bit, looking forward to reaching the town.
Coincidentally, Mark looked at the dark shadow under a large rock they passed halfway to the town. He stopped.
“What?” asked May, who came over.
“I just thought… I saw something… red eyes…” Mark muttered.
“Red eyes? You must be seeing things, there’s nothing there,” said May.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” said Mark and turned around.
Nevertheless, it was May who stared at the shadow under the rock for a few seconds before she went after the boys.