Prologue Entei jumped over a boulder wildly, trying to evade his pursuer, but to no avail. With every step the masked man gained on him, how Entei did not know. He was nearing the point of exhaustion, considering just giving up. The masked man's Pokemon seemed to be immune to any attacks Entei had tried, and the man himself demonstrated advanced psychic powers. Just a ball of psychic energy had left Entei shaken and weak. The only thing pushing him onward was pure adrenaline. Entei sidestepped a tree, ducked under a fallen sapling, and scaled a cliff, but no matter what the mysterious masked man gained. I should be faster than him, he thought. He is only human, after all. This encouraged Entei and gave him another burst of energy to speed up. “You may as well give up,” the man shouted, his voice cold and raspy. “You're only making it hard on yourself.” This human isn't even winded! Entei thought. How can this be? I should be faster and stronger than any man alive! “I'm giving you one more warning before I attack again,” the man yelled. “You have ten seconds to stop running.” Maybe I can lose him in the volcano, Entei thought. I know I can survive the heat, but I doubt very much he can. So Entei shifted his direction towards the looming peak of the Mt. Ember. He climbed the mountain with every ounce of energy he could muster, running at breakneck speed. However, when he turned his head to see how much distance lay between them, he saw that the man was floating. What the hell? Entei wondered to himself. Who is this man that he can chase me with no more energy than lifting a finger? “Give up before I have to hurt you,” the man yelled. “I don't want you injured when I capture you.” Capture this, Entei thought to himself, leaping onto the peak of the volcano in a single bound. He landed and tripped over his feet, spraining his right foreleg's ankle in the process. Trembling, he slowly stood up and dragged himself closer to the pit in the top of the volcano. Barely making it to the depression before the masked man flew over the side of the peak, he glanced down. Entei's heart stopped when he looked down, and he was unable to believe his eyes. This isn't possible, He thought. There's no way this can be happening! Standing in front of him was Moltres, one of the legendary bird Pokemon of the Kanto region. Entei knew all about the bird Pokemon. They were supposed to live peacefully in the islands of thunder, ice, and fire. Tradition had dictated their lives for centuries, yet Moltres stood before him, glowing brighter than the lava below it. What is Moltres doing here? He wondered. Did someone drive him out? Or is there an imbalance in nature that baited him out? He was unable to ask Moltres this, however, because the man suddenly appeared behind him, a pleased look dominating his face. His eyes burned with sadistic joy at the sight of Moltres and Entei side by side. His mouth curled into a grin and his sharp teeth were bared at the legendary Pokemon. Entei shot the man a look of disgust and contempt, but the man did not seem fazed. “Ah, how very fortunate. Just the Pokemon I was going to search for next. I must thank you, Entei; I never expected this,” the masked man mused. "How very fortunate that you should join us, Moltres." The masked man's evil smile only widened when he said this,, as Moltres and Entei returned an annoyed stare mixed with rage and hatred. the masked man only laughed in response. "So you wish to defy me still? So be it." Moltres! We must fight together to stop this man from catching both of us! Fight with me![/I] Entei pleaded to Moltres, exasperated by the masked man's gloating. We can't afford to be caught by this man. Who knows what atrocities he will force us to commit once we are under his will? Okay, the combined power of our fire shall send this human into submission, Moltres said nobly. You appear injured, Entei. I shall heal you with some of my restorative fire. In that instant Moltres expelled a stream of fire from its beak onto Entei. It swirled around Entei for a few seconds, enveloping his body with its rejuvenating flames. The fire dissipated and Entei instantly felt revitalized. He now had his strength and stamina back. Thank you, Moltres. Now we shall end this humans terror once and for all! Entei said, feeling as if he were sentencing the human before him to an eternity in ****. He looked at Moltres with a new sense of reverence, as if healing him had made the Moltres holy in a way. An implied connection occurred between them at that moment; if either of them needed anything, no matter how big or small, the other would be there to help no matter the cost. “Nice little trick there, Moltres, but it is all for naught. Soon you will belong to me!” the man crowed with anticipation. "How can you possibly think that you can defeat someone as powerful as I? Or maybe I need to show you why I am unstoppable!" That said, the man threw off his mask glaring at Entei and Moltres with large eyes full of hate and rage. Entei stared at the face a split second before he realized who it was that faced him. His curiosity turned to sheer terror in less than a second. Before Entei could react, the man summoned a ball of dark energy in the palm of his hand and thrust it at Entei with enough force to send a semi flying. Entei instantly fainted, but was held in place by some power. Moltres, too, fell beside his comrade after the man threw another ball of energy at him. The man pulled out two Pokeballs seemingly from thin air and tossed them towards the two limp figures. He tossed his head back and laughed as the Pokeballs shook for the last time before remaining still. His laugh echoed down the mountainside and into the village sitting at the base of the mountain, where civilians heard it and shuddered at the tortured sound of the man's shrill laughter. He laughed for a long while before finally calming down. “Two down, eight to go,” the man muttered to himself while retrieving his Pokeballs. Twenty miles away, a young boy awoke in a cold sweat, jolted awake by nightmares of a man with no face and extraordinary powers. Back to back posts merged. The following information has been added: Chapter One: Our Hero It was a chilly fall morning. Zach was just getting up from bed, groggy from his recently interrupted sleep. He had been having strange dreams lately, ones that made no sense to him. Something about a man with a mask chasing him. Cornering him. Revealing his horrifying face. Knocking him out. He never remembered what the man's face looked like, he only remembered that it scared him half to death. Zach sat up, exhausted. His alarm clock beside his bed displayed a flashing 12:00 over and over. 'Great,' he thought. 'The power must have gone out last night.' Power failures had been common recently. Something seemed to be interfering with the flow of electricity in the area. What was causing such a problem was beyond the explanation of any specialist. At first leading scientists in the region thought that an increase in the population of Magnemites could have caused the recent power failures, but upon closer inspection of the surrounding area they determined that the Magnemite population had actually decreased. Electricians had tested every power line in the area, but none seemed to be faulty. It simply could not be explained. Strange things had been happening throughout the world since the first of March. Ice storms in tropical regions, thunderstorms in wintry places, and entire populations of cities passing out from agonizing headaches. No causes had been announced in the two weeks since the odd occurrences began, and scientists were no closer to discovering a hypothesis. Zach was sitting on his bed, thinking about these strange phenomena, when a cry of excitement was let loose outside. He jumped up as fast as he could and ran outside. He skidded to a halt when he saw his neighbor, Cassie glance towards him. He blushed uncontrollably and tried to shrink away so she would not notice that he had come outside wearing nothing but boxers. She did not seem to notice, however, and continued to stare into the sky. Zach looked skywards and instantly forgot his nakedness. Circling above them were two large birds of strange shapes. They seemed to be fighting each other, dodging special attacks and colliding occasionally. Zach gaped in astonishment while the two large birds fought. “Not everyday that you see something like this, huh?” Zach heard beside him. He glanced over and saw that the voice came from Professor Drake, his teacher and friend. “Pretty awesome sight, to tell the truth.” “Yeah. I mean, what are those things?” Zach asked. “If I am not mistaken, those are the fabled Articuno and Zapdos. As far as I knew they hadn't left their home in the Sevii Islands. Something must have flushed them out,” the professor said. “What could possibly have done so?” Zach asked in awe. “Another super powerful pokemon that hasn't ever been seen or heard of, or some natural disturbance. I cannot know for sure. But I do know one thing: Zapdos must have caused the power outages,” the professor reasoned. “Yeah, I can see how,” Zach replied. “The size of the bolts of lightning that... Zapdos... is creating are enormous!” “Yes, they are,” the professor said gloomily. “If I am correct, it also carries a dangerously high static charge with it at all times. The static would be strong enough to knock out power for several miles. I doubt very much that we are the only affected town.” “What can we do about this?” Zach asked, his eyes wide with apprehension. “Nothing,” Professor Drake replied. “None of the pokemon on this island are strong enough to face those pokemon. We'll just have to let them fight it out.” At that moment a bolt of lightning erupted from the heavens and struck the ground thirty feet away from Zach. Zach was hit by the shock wave and thrown five feet back. He hit the ground in a confused daze, unable to think or move. The wind was knocked out of his lungs when he crashed into the ground and he blacked out for a few moments. The next thing he knew Cassie was kneeling by his side, concern evident in her face. “Are you okay?” Cassie asked when it was clear that he was conscious. “I... I don't know. I feel like I was hit by a train,” Zach replied. “I don't know if I can get up.” “Here, I'll help you up,” Cassie said. She looked very worried. Zach noticed that she had a few small cuts on her usually flawless face. He felt a feeling of worry and regretted being unable to protect her. “Are you okay?” he asked. “You're bleeding a little bit.” “I'm better off than you are. Here, grab my hand and I'll help you up,” Cassie said. Zach grasped her hand and was able to stand up. Bad day for boxers, he thought. At least it's dark out. “I think I can get to my house now,” Zach said. “Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it. Go get those cuts checked out, they could get infected if you're not careful.” “You're so sweet,” She replied. “Take it easy. Don't push yourself too hard. You took quite a nasty hit.” They walked their separate ways, Zach walking carefully to his house and Cassie covering her face with a cloth she borrowed from a neighbor. His door burst open as he approached it and his mother came running out. “I saw what happened. Are you okay?” she asked in worry. Her eyes were wide with fear as she surveyed the damage done to her only son. “Yeah, I think I'll be fine. I feel like I just got hit by a bus right now though,” Zach replied. His eyes were half closed with exhaustion and he felt the urge to just lay down and sleep right there. “Then get inside and rest up. I want you to feel well by tomorrow,” his mom said. She began to turn but was stopped by Zach's questioning gaze. “What are we doing tomorrow?” Zach asked quizzically. He searched his mother's face for any betraying expressions, but her face revealed nothing but worry. Disappointed, he waited for her answer. “No need to go into detail,” she finally said after a moments hesitation. “I'll explain everything tomorrow when you should feel better. Just come in and go to bed.” She looked at the sky worriedly, as if she were afraid of something. The two bird pokemon had disappeared, however, perhaps taking their fight somewhere else. “I don't think we have to worry about them hurting anyone else,” Zach said. “They seem to be gone now.” “That's not what I'm worried about,” she said so softly that Zach barely heard her. He thought about pursuing the matter, but decided that she wasn't going to reveal any details until the next day. I wonder what she's so worried about , Zach thought. Must be something important. He tiredly made his way to his room, groping about in the darkness. He followed the wall and finally reached his room, collapsing on his bed instantly, breathing heavily with exhaustion and exertion. First thing in the morning I'm going to have my mom explain what's going on. But for now I need to sleep. And with that he drifted off into sleep to dream about the masked man and the terror he elicited in his victims. Back to back posts merged. The following information has been added: Chapter Two: The Lab Entei awoke, groggy and weak. He had barely enough energy to open his eyes to survey his surroundings. The light blinded him at first, but as time went on he became accustomed to the glare. He slowly turned his head. He was lying on a table, strapped with some material unfamiliar to him. The walls, floor and ceiling of the room were white, and a single man stood in the middle of the room. He wore a white lab coat and a surgical mask. Entei cringed for a moment at the idea of this man being his abductor, but he felt a different aura about this man. He had a kinder, yet still evil, aura flowing about him. The man glanced at Entei and, noticing that he had awoken, walked over to him. “It's good to see that you are up,” the man said. “We had thought for a moment that you would die from the attack my master unleashed upon you. Very few Pokemon have survived such a powerful blow. Consider yourself lucky.” Entei stared at the man with a look of contempt. “Jackson, has the specimen awoken?” came a powerful voice from the door. The voice itself was icy and chilled Entei's soul. He visibly shivered at the sound of the words, as did the man before him. “Yes, it has awoken. Shall we begin testing?” Jackson asked. “Let me see it first,” the man said. The man approached Entei slowly, as if carefully deciding where to place his foot with each step. Entei could sense the evil flowing through the man. It was as if the man were a reservoir of evil, absorbing the hate and anger around him to fuel his own power. Entei grew more fearful with every step the man took. “Hmm, not nearly as impressive as I thought it would be,” the man said. “It seems weak from my attack on it. Maybe when it recovers it will be much more worthy of my attention. I suppose even if it doesn't meet up to my expectations at that time then I could make an attempt to strengthen it.” “Very good idea, master,” Jackson said. What do you want with me? Entei thought, as he was sure the man would be able to hear him. This man obviously possessed great psychic abilities and may have been probing his mind the entire time, searching for clues of Entei's true power. Frightened by this thought, Entei closed his mind to the best of his abilities. “Jackson, could you leave the room for a moment?” the man asked forcefully. Jackson shivered in response. “Why yes, master, anything you wish,” Jackson replied, backing out of the room quickly. When Jackson was gone, the man turned to Entei. “You surprise me, Entei,” the man said. “You are much more intelligent than I first thought. I applaud you for concluding that my psychic abilities allow me to hear thoughts. To answer your question, I need you.” What do you need me for? Entei asked, confusion deep in his voice. “I have a plan to make this world better,” the man replied. “Do you not grow weary of trainers set upon catching what they believe to be one of a kind Pokemon?” Yes, of course, Entei said. What does that have to do with my abduction? I doubt you care very much. After all, you did hunt me down and capture me. I don't see how you're sympathetic. “What you have failed to notice is that I am a one of a kind Pokemon,” the man said. “There are plenty of Entei's in the world, as well as every other “legendary” Pokemon. There just happens to be very few in this area. Most others of your kind live in an island community in perfect harmony with other supposed legendaries. Well, at least they did.” A sick smile appeared on the man's face as he said this. “I'm afraid that recent events have severely limited the number of your kind and others in the world. As of now you and Moltres are the only Pokemon that have survived my attack.” You claim to be a Pokemon, yet you appear to be a human, Entei said. I cannot see how you are a Pokemon at all. “Obviously with my psychic powers I can conjure an illusion around me to throw off the suspicions of humans. When I hunted you, however, I did not bother to hide my true identity. Do you remember what you last saw before you blacked out? Or did my small attack do severe damage to your memory as well?” the man asked, chuckling to himself. I don't remember, Entei answered after a minute of strained thinking. “Think harder, Entei,” the man said. I told you, I can't remember! Entei snapped. However, there's something familiar in your voice. I think I have heard it somewhere. But where? “It's not that hard, Entei,” the man mused. “There are precious few Pokemon that have the ability to speak, and even less of those can match my power. Only one Pokemon in the world has withstood my attacks and lived. So, can you guess?” Wait... You're... You're Mewtwo! Entei said, suddenly even more terrified than before. “Heh, it's about time you figured it out,” Mewtwo replied, letting the illusion disappear and revealing his true form to Entei. “Maybe you're less competent than I thought.” I thought you went underground! Entei exclaimed. No one has seen nor heard of you since you fought Mew! “I did for a while, but now I am back,” Mewtwo replied dreamily. “A trainer found me and engaged me in battle. His Pokemon were trained to the extreme. I had never fought such a difficult battle. Unfortunately, I was forced to kill the trainer in the end. I could not risk being caught by some trainer and forced to submit to their will.” Mewtwo said all of this with no sign of emotion; no remorse or pity whatsoever. Entei was sickened by the heartlessness Mewtwo portrayed; he had never thought anything could be so evil. So you want to take your rage out on the humans? Entei asked. Why involve Moltres and I in this? “Oh, it won't only be you. Soon every other so-called legendary Pokemon will join you here. And when that happens... You'll just have to see. Why spoil the fun?,” Mewtwo said. What? What are you going to do? Entei asked. “I'm not going to ruin the surprise just now. I want you to be shocked when I reveal my grand plan,” Mewtwo said, an evil glint in his eye. What happens now? Entei asked worriedly. Mewtwo seemed to get colder and colder by the minute. Entei was concerned that he could be set off at any moment and wouldn't hesitate to end Entei's life right there. He had already done this to a trainer, a human, which violated the unwritten law of Pokemon: no matter how powerful the trainer or hopeless the battle, Pokemon were not to attack the trainer under any circumstance. It was a code of honor kind of thing. If caught, the offending Pokemon was usually the target of a dozen or so angry Pokemon determined to seek justice. Needless to say, very few attacks on trainers had ever occurred. “Right now?” Mewtwo asked. “I suggest you get some rest. I'm personally overseeing your training, and don't think that I won't run you to the ground just because I need you. If I find that you aren't working hard enough, I may feel inclined to just kill you and find some other Entei that isn't dead yet.” When do I begin this training? Entei asked. He shook with the weight of Mewtwo's words. It seemed that he would get no mercy just because he fit into Mewtwo's master plan. “Tomorrow. I will wake you up at six in the morning and we will train until five in the evening. Until then, Sleep...” and with that Mewtwo disappeared. Entei felt a new sense of dread along with a wave of nausea rolling through his body. He felt physically sick and wished that it were only a sick, twisted nightmare. But he knew that this was no nightmare, there would be no waking up. I'm trapped in this alone, Entei thought bitterly. There's no one in this world who can help me escape... Wait! Moltres is still here! If I can find him, we can plan an escape together. Maybe we have a chance at being free! Excitement gripped at Entei while he thought about his newfound hope. We have to get out of here and warn someone out in the real world what is going on here. I just need to find Moltres... Back to back posts merged. The following information has been added: Chapter Three: The Journey Begins Zach awoke to the sound of hushed voices somewhere outside of his door. He strained his ears but could barely decipher what the voices were saying. He caught bits and pieces, like “I never imagined this” and “our only hope”, but nothing particularly telling. He sat up in his bed and rubbed his eyes, gazing into the dark. The moonlight illuminated part of his room, revealing his computer complete with an item transfer accessory, his many Pokemon posters hanging on his wall, a bookshelf containing dozens of books about Pokemon, and a clock above his T.V. featuring a Charmander in the background. He had loved that clock since the day he had received it anonymously by mail, by some man from the mainland he had never met. The man must have known some things about him, however, as Charmander was his favorite Pokemon. He had asked his mom if she knew who it was, but she averted her eyes and said it was just an old acquaintance. Zach suspected the man was his real father. He squinted in an attempt to determine what time it was, but to no avail. He finally gave up trying to squint and staggered to his clock, half in pain and half in exhaustion. He could finally read the time when he was within five feet of it. It was four forty-seven AM. Sighing, he glanced at his bed, wishing he could indulge in the comfort of it for a little while longer, but his curiosity about the voices got the better of him, so he neglected his bed. Suddenly, as he was turning around, his back and leg muscles exploded in agony. Unable to stand the pain, he fell to the floor and waited it out. The pain finally subsided after several minutes of whimpering and he was able to stand again. Grimacing, he rose to his feet. He staggered to the door, holding on to the wall as he forced his body to move. He opened the door quietly and slowly slipped out of his room. As he made his way to the living room, he could hear his mom talking to Professor Drake. Once he was in plain sight, the thought occurred to him that they may not want him to hear them. However, before he could hide behind something, his mom glanced up and saw him. They immediately stopped talking and waited for him to join them. Zach slowly walked over to them and sat on the couch, savoring the sudden comfort relieving him from his pain. He shifted his gaze from his mom to the professor and sat silently for a moment. He realized that they were waiting for him to speak, so he said, “what's going on?” The professor was the first to answer. His voice sounded raspy and dry, but he was making an obvious effort to hide the fear in his voice. “You see, recent events have indicated that an imbalance has occurred somewhere in the world. I mean, it's not everyday that you see two legendary bird Pokemon fighting each other in the sky, especially in an area like this.” “Very few things could have caused something like this to happen,” Zach's mom continued. “The peace of the legendary bird Pokemon depends upon a delicate coexistence between the three elements: fire, lightning, and ice. Something must have happened to upset this balance.” “It's very possible that Moltres may have moved to another region, like Johto or Hoenn,” Professor Drake said. “Legendary Pokemon are known for their habits of relocating themselves whenever they decide their territory is becoming compromised by trainers. Another possibility is that it has died, in which case chaos will ensue until the remaining birds are caught or another Moltres emerges.” “The most likely thing that happened, though,” Zach's mom said.” Is that someone managed to capture Moltres. They could have either been simply lucky in finding it and wanted it all to themselves or the perpetrator premeditated the capture, knowing full well what would happen if Moltres were caught. Whether or not they meant to cause the battles between Articuno and Zapdos is unknown, but this is the most plausible explanation we have.” “Why are you telling me this?” Zach asked. “I'm just a kid. I don't even have a Pokemon yet, nor am I capable of fixing this mess.” “You're right. You are just a kid, and you don't have a Pokemon. Well, not yet at least,” Professor Drake said. “The professor and I have been discussing this matter intently for the past three hours and have decided that it is time that you get your first Pokemon. When you feel ready you will go with the professor to his lab and pick one of the Pokemon he keeps there,” his mom said. “What am I supposed to do? I don't even understand what's going on,” Zach said. "I've never left the island! ****, I've never even left our small town! How do you expect me to do this? There are plenty of kids in our town that could do it better than I." Zach's breathing became heavier throughout the outburst, and he was panting when he finished. His mother gazed at him with a worried expression on her face, as if saying I know what you're going through. “We need you to solve this mystery. Professor Drake, the excellent trainer that he is, is simply too old to journey to the Kanto mainland and unravel this tangled web of mystery. I would go in your place, but my Pokemon are needed here to protect the island from another battle, if one should occur. My health... isn't what it used to be either. That leaves you,” his mom explained. “How will I do this?” Zach asked, almost whispering. He could feel the terror growing in him. He began sweating profusely while contemplating the weight that was suddenly placed upon his unready shoulders. His mother's sad smile did nothing to alleviate the tension growing within him either. He just felt even more pressure build up. "I don't see how you can pin this all on me." “You'll do just fine. I taught you everything I know about Pokemon, which is no small amount by any means, and you are my son. You can do anything you set your mind to. All you need to do is believe,” His mother said confidently, although her calm voice betrayed a tone of fear and... remorse. Zach tried to ignore her tone, but nonetheless was frightened. If his mother, a world renowned Pokemon trainer, was scared of everything that was going on, Zach felt that he should be crying in fear, curled up into a ball in some desolate corner of his basement to escape the harsh reality of the world. Things were changing much faster than he liked. The fact of his young age seemed obscure in the events that were unfolding. I can do nothing to get out of this, Zach realized. “We also have reason to believe that you are... The Chosen One,” the professor said hesitantly. His voice faltered near the end of that ominous statement. His eyes, too, seemed to avoid contact with Zach's. A sad look befell both his mother's and Professor Drake's faces, as if they knew more. Zach wasn't sure what the professor meant by him being The Chosen One, but he wasn't comfortable with the way the professor said that, and certainly wasn't comfortable with the way his mother twitched at the sound of those ill-fated words. He almost thought he saw a tear form in her eye, but in the blink of an eye it disappeared. “The Chosen One?” Zach asked finally. His voice shook uncontrollably, revealing his own fear and uncertainty. His eyes darted left and right in a nervous fit, unable to focus on any one thing. He could feel the panic rising. He tried to suppress it, but was barely successful from doing so. He feared that the stress alone would kill him. I never did take stress well... he thought. “Yes,” his mom said, shooting Professor Drake a sharp look. She apparently didn't want him to know this yet. Not that it really mattered. “The ancient texts say When the Winged Gods fly no more, a Chosen One will reverse the fall of light. The texts say more, but damage has prevented us from translating any more than a few descriptions about the Chosen One.” She said this all gloomily, as if she herself were delivering herself to be sacrificed to end the chaos. It was that moment that Zach really knew how much she loved him. He felt sorry, in a way, although it was neither his nor her fault. Destiny had chosen him, and destiny alone was responsible for this terrible deed. If Zach could have served justice to destiny, he would have without hesitation. He felt it unfair to ruin so many lives only because a simple imbalance had occurred. “What do they say?” Zach asked unsteadily. Despite the fear he felt, he was curious now. The fear still existed, but it was manageable now. He felt more in control of himself than he had a few minutes before. Interested by the subject of the ancient texts, he rested his head on his hands and prepared for an explanation. The explanation, however, was by no means complete. “They say that the Chosen One will be born on an island dependent on no elements, that he will be born to a woman of notable reputation and to a man of mysterious origins, will grow up fatherless, and will be partial to the fire type,” Professor Drake said. “Our island is the only one of this region which has a name that does not stand for a pokemon type, your mother gained worldwide renown in her day by being the champion of the Kanto region, your father never spoke of his past in the time that we knew him, and ran off shortly after you were born, and your favorite pokemon is Charmander. Coincidence?” “Wow,” Zach said. “That's a perfect description for me.” He was now completely convinced that he was indeed The Chosen One. All doubts were now washed from his mind, but the fear remained, threatening to devour him as a wolf would gorge on a carcass. His stomach felt as if it were going to revolt, but Zach was able to contain his sudden urge to throw up before it got too bad. I just don't want to leave home! Zach thought. This is all I know of the world; this is all I want to know! “There is no other boy on the island who fits that description,” his mother said. “Destiny has chosen you to save the world. Are you ready to answer to your fate?” A serious expression dominated his mother's usually easygoing face. Zach knew that she was more serious about this than she had ever been about anything in her life, even more serious than she had been about training her Pokemon to become the legend she was. “I have no choice,” Zach responded, defeated. “If the world is really in danger, then how can I selfishly hide in my home, away from the mainland where surely things will accelerate much more quickly. I have to do this. I can't selfishly shelter myself from the chaos going on in the world while people and Pokemon out there are getting hurt or dying. If I do that then I am no better than the great thieves of Pokemon or trainers who abuse their Pokemon simply because they cannot win a battle. No, I do not want to do this, I don't want to leave my home, my friends, my family, but if it will save the world, then I will.” He dropped his gaze, unable to look his mother in the face and keep himself from crying at the same time. He felt her arms wrap around him into a hug, and he returned it sorrowfully, fully aware that he may never see her again once he left the island. His mind was made up, however, and there was no going back now. He could only move forward and hope to live through this ordeal. “Okay. If you feel up to it then you can come with me to pick out your Pokemon at my lab,” Professor Drake said. “I'm sure you will want to say good-bye to your mom before you go. Remember, we don't have a lot of time to waste getting you ready. While you are with me your mom will pack anything and everything you will need to survive. Packing for comfort isn't an option at this point since time is against us. Hopefully you can find somewhere to stay in your travels.” “Stop back here before you leave the island,” his mom said. “I want to see you one more time before you go, and you need to pick up your things.” “I will,” Zach replied. The professor nodded and headed towards the door. Mixed feelings of dread, excitement, and sadness overtook him at the same time. He hugged his mom once more before following the professor out the door and down the winding road to his lab, and into the destiny that awaited him. Back to back posts merged. The following information has been added: Chapter Four: I Choose Who? Zach stepped outside his house, eyes squinted against the bright rays of the rising sun. He lifted his left hand to shield his eyes from the blinding light. When his eyes adjusted to the sudden contrast, he looked around him. The town didn't seem much different from the night before save for a few patches of melting ice and burn marks scorched upon the ground. He saw a particularly large scorch mark where he guessed the bolt of lightning that had thrown him had hit. He limped over to the site, examining the ground around it in awe. Any grass within three feet of the scorch marks radius was dead, presumably killed by the heat of the lightning. Grass after that point also suffered some damage. Many blades of grass were torn apart as if someone had simply mowed the lawn. Small patches of bare soil dotted the area, a testament to the power of Zapdos. “How can anything possibly defeat these things?” Zach wondered aloud. “Not very many Pokemon can,” Professor Drake replied. Zach jumped, startled. He hadn't even heard the professor approach him. “How am I suppose to save the world, then?” Zach asked, narrowing his eyes. “There can't possibly be any Pokemon you could give me that would ever match up to these things.” “I wouldn't quite say that,” the professor said hesitantly. “Anyway, any Pokemon could potentially be that strong. All it takes is the right trainer.” “So if Zapdos or Articuno were to be captured and trained, they would become even more powerful?” Zach asked. Somehow he doubted that anything could surpass the power those Pokemon already possessed. “I cannot say for sure,” the professor said. “There must surely be a limit to their strength. There is no way they are invincible.” The professor looked away as he said this, seeming to be unconvinced of this statement himself. Zach realized that the professor wasn't going to be completely honest with him. “As I said, it would take the right trainer to increase the strength of these special Pokemon.” “To become as strong as them I will have to train for years!” Zach exclaimed, feeling overwhelmed by the implications of training. “How can I save the world if I am incapacitated by training?” Zach quickly calculated the odds of having enough training under his belt by the time he would be forced to face the legendary bird Pokemon, and decided he wasn't exactly thrilled by his chances. They seemed simply too strong for him to defeat. “There are numerous ways to improve your Pokemon's power. However, you must discover these yourself,” the professor informed. He seemed sincere in this regard, making eye contact with Zach with a somber expression evident in his face. “Oh, great, no help in this, huh?” Zach said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. He realized after saying this that perhaps the professor really couldn't help him, that perhaps he was just as clueless as Zach was about how to go about training his future Pokemon. “You must choose your own path,” the professor retorted. “I cannot dictate your actions for you. By doing things you will learn how to train quickly and efficiently. You must discover for yourself the secrets that have been kept for hundreds of years by the world's most successful families of trainers. There are many things that I know, but there are also many things I do not know. The knowledge I do possess I cannot give you, and any trainers you find on your journey will likely be the same way.” His voice was stern, with a steel in his voice that seemed to chide Zach for being so sarcastic. “I'm sorry,” Zach mumbled apologetically. “I just don't know what to do. I've never been a part of anything so serious in my life. I can't even imagine where to start.” “It's quite alright,” the professor remarked humorously. “Many trainers have mocked me for denying them my precious knowledge, but you are among few who have admitted the err of their ways. You are truly great for that.” “Thanks,” Zach replied. “That's a great compliment coming from someone as influential as you. Maybe you can tell me how to start this cursed quest?” Zach inquired, hope shining in his bright green eyes. Maybe he can set me on the right track, he thought hopefully. I can figure out what to do from there. “My suggestion?” the professor asked. “I always suggest to new trainers that they should go to the mainland and defeat the eight gyms of the region and the Pokemon league. I think you should do this as well since it will give you invaluable battling experience and will help train your Pokemon quickly. You can choose to do something else, but that is the best advice I can give you right now.” The professor said all of this with a serious edge to his voice, but appeared eager to help him in any way possible. “Thanks,” Zach said. “I appreciate your advice. I think I will take the gym leader challenge.” “Then follow me to my lab,” the professor said. “It is time for you to receive your first Pokemon.” ****************************** Zach and the professor arrived at the lab, which was situated at the top of the tallest hill in the town. The door opened and one of Professor Drake's lab assistants emerged from the entrance, a warm smile on his face. The assistant had red hair and black, beady eyes that didn't fit the rest of his face. Zach's first impression of the assistant's face was that it should belong to a Rattata, but upon closer inspection decided that it would be more fitting on a Raticate. “Hello Professor. I take it that this young man is going to receive his first Pokemon today?” he inquired. His gaze shifted from the professor to Zach, as if asking both of them at the same time. “Yes, Gareth. I wish to let him choose from my entire collection.” Professor Drake said with emphasis. “This young man here, Zach, is the one we have been praying for these past years. I would be disappointed if we didn't accommodate him to the best of our abilities.” Professor Drake's voice seemed strained, as if he were trying to conceal something from Zach. Whatever he was trying to hide, he did an excellent job of keeping hidden since Zach could glean nothing from what the professor said. Just that he was the one they had hoped for within the past few years, but he already knew that. “Very well, I will prepare everything. A young girl showed up an hour ago asking about you. She is waiting inside if you wish to see her,” Gareth said, his voice also strained. He looked at Zach with an expression of pity etched on his face, as if he knew exactly what Zach was to face. But there was something more to his look that alerted Zach. Gareth seemed to make little eye contact, as if he were expecting Zach to keel over and die at any moment. This behavior made Zach disconcerted and fearful of what Gareth knew about him that he didn't know. “Very well, I will speak to her while you get the Pokemon ready,” the professor replied. “It may be something important. I can't afford to dismiss any guests after what happened last night.” Professor Drake's eyes slanted in curiosity about what may have occurred to bring someone to his lab. They walked inside the lab and headed towards Professor Drake's office. The professor opened the door and stepped inside. Zach followed close behind and saw Cassie sitting in a chair at the professor's desk. Surprised, he tried to hide a blush and remained standing by the door, nervous and unsure of what he was supposed to do. He tried to act nonchalant, but he sensed that she knew what was going on. He felt like running out of the room. Heck, he would even prefer fighting the legendary birds at that very moment with nothing but his fists. However, he was curious as to her visit and resisted the urge to escape. “Hello, Cassie, I heard you wanted to see me?” the professor asked. He seemed bewildered as to why a girl of her age was waiting in the office. Zach could tell that he doubted that she had any useful information, or that she would be any help whatsoever. His impression was wrong, however. “Yes, professor,” Cassie said. Her voice shook a little at being addressed, but she possessed enough composure to continue. “I heard that Zach was going to be leaving soon on a journey, and I was wondering if I could go with him. I thought he might need some company and, well, we've been best friends since we were ten. Nobody else on the island knows him as well as I do and I think I could help him in whatever he's doing.” She seemed downcast, perhaps thinking that her request would be denied. “That's your decision, not mine,” the professor said. “There's something more to this, isn't there?” Surprised, Cassie raised an eyebrow above her sparkling blue eyes. Seeing those eyes always made Zach's heart stop. They were as blue as the ocean and seemed just as deep, if not deeper. Zach was sometimes afraid that he would get lost in them if he stared too long and would accidentally reveal his feelings about his childhood friend. “Yes,” Cassie responded. She looked at the floor. “I was just wondering if I could get a Pokemon from you. You know, so that I could help him if something happens.” Again, she seemed convinced that her request would be turned down. She was already blushing in embarrassment for asking such a question. “Well, of course you can have a Pokemon!” the professor said heartily. “You're at the age where trainers usually get their first Pokemon anyway, and what is a better time than today? You'll just have to wait for Zach to choose his, though. It's very important that he gets a choice out of every Pokemon I have in my possession.” Professor Drake smiled at Cassie when she looked up from the floor, happiness and surprise showing quite plainly in her face. She had a huge smile on her face, a testament to the immense joy that gripped her heart. Zach's heart flip-flopped in his chest, and Zach was deathly afraid of passing out. It passed, however, and he was only left with a lack of air. “I understand,” Cassie said excitedly, her soft blue eyes lighting up and shining with joy. Zach understood this joy; he was feeling the same way at that very moment. She was just much more expressive than he was, perhaps as a result of the surprise she had experienced. “I think my assistant should be just about ready,” the professor said. As if to prove the professor correct, a soft rap emanated from the door. The professor opened the door to see Gareth standing there, smiling his familiar smile and holding a small, red instrument. “The Pokemon are ready, professor,” Gareth said. “Okay, now follow me you two,” the professor instructed. They walked down the hall into one of the large side rooms of the lab. In the room were three large boxes overfilled with Pokeballs. Zach's jaw dropped in shock at the sight of all of those Pokeballs. He almost couldn't believe his eyes. There must be at least a hundred Pokemon here, he thought. “So, each of these holds a Pokemon?” Zach asked wondrously. “Correct. Why not grab one and see what's inside?” the professor asked. Zach picked up a Pokeball and pressed the middle button gently. A quick burst of light released a Pidgey from the Pokeball. Zach scrutinized the Pokemon carefully, deciding whether or not to choose it. “Take your time,” the professor said. “Make sure you see more than just that before choosing.” Zach picked up another ball and pressed the button on it. Out of this one came a Ledyba. More Pokemon Zach saw in the box included Remoraid, Trapinch, Bagon, Oddish, Pikachu, Cyndaquil, and many others. Zach was three Pokeballs away from the bottom of the third box when he found the Pokemon he wanted. The Pokeball it was in was marked differently than any of the others. It had three gold stars surrounding the center button, and the top half of the capsule was black rather than the standard red, with the bottom half a deep blue rather than the normal white a Pokeball had. He held it carefully, as if with the wrong movement the ball would shatter into a thousand pieces. He pressed the button in the center, and with a burst of light, released a black Charmander. “Interesting,” the professor muttered under his breath. Zach didn't pay attention, though, but marveled at the Charmander's jet black flesh, the sleekness of it's body and the intelligence in it's eyes. He stared at it for five minutes before saying anything. He could only think, It's just so beautiful. “I want this one,” Zach whispered, mostly to himself. He continued to stare at it, taking in it's undeniable beauty. His eyes followed every rippling muscle, every curve of it's flesh. Zach could almost feel tears come to his eyes. He had simply never seen anything so perfect before. It was just like the first time he had heard the Beatles. “Okay Cassie, it is your turn to choose a Pokemon,” Professor Drake said, smiling. Zach thought he saw a silver of a tear emerge from his eye, but in the blink of an eye it was gone. Cassie looked in the third box and pulled out one of the two remaining Pokeballs. She pressed the button in the center and out came a Totodile. Cassie smiled to herself and looked at Professor Drake. “I think I might want this one, but I want to see what the last Pokemon in the box is,” she said with emotion. “Okay, feel free to look,” the professor said. Cassie took out the last Pokeball in the box. This one, too, was different. It had strange symbols around it that looked like pictures, but made no sense whatsoever to Zach. Before Cassie could press the button, the Pokeball lifted from her palm and opened in midair, revealing a shape strange and unfamiliar to Zach or Cassie. The Pokemon that had emerged was rather small, about half of Cassie's height, and looked to be a light pinkish color. It had a long tail that seemed to be constantly moving along with large, intelligent eyes set in its feline head. It blinked and continued to hover in the air, staring at Cassie. Cassie stared back, wonder in her eyes. “I see Mew likes you,” the professor said, breaking the silence. “Nobody that has come to my lab has ever managed to open that Pokeball. I found it years ago when I was exploring an island in the tropics. I had no idea what it was and instantly began studying it. I tried everything I could to open it, but nothing worked. I decided that whatever was inside was waiting for the right trainer to come along and open the ball. I never expected you to be this trainer.” He was extremely startled by this, but did not appear upset. Instead, he seemed happy that the Mew had been summoned from its slumber. “I... I love it,” Cassie said softly. Her eyes shone with love and adoration. Oh how Zach longed to be looked at by Cassie like that. He felt as if he could melt on the spot. The Mew drifted towards Cassie and touched her arm. Her eyes opened wide and she touched the spot Mew had touched. She looked at Zach with a look of amazement in her eyes. In the spot Mew touched her arm was now a small, white oval. It glowed on her arm, and was whiter than anything Zach had ever seen. “I can hear his thoughts now,” she said. “It's so weird, I've never experienced anything like this before. They're not like our thoughts, either. They're clearer, more defined. They're... I can't really explain it. It's as if I see and know everything.” “Remarkable!” Gareth breathed. Both him and the professor looked shocked by this news. “This means that Mew is a psychic type after all, not normal type like we thought he was.” “This is amazing!” the professor exclaimed. “Nothing like this has ever happened before. Cassie, you have rewritten Pokemon theory.” She blushed and looked down in embarrassment. Mew, Mew Mew Mew, the Mew thought. Zach was amazed that he communicated like this to everyone. “He said that he is opposed to fighting,” Cassie translated. “Does that mean I get another Pokemon?” “Go ahead and keep that Totodile,” Professor Drake said. “You have more than earned it. I think that you, too, have a role to play in the events to come.” “Thank you, professor,” Cassie said, happiness showing in her eyes. “I will take good care of it.” “I'm sure you will,” the professor replied. “Please, before I forget, take these Pokedexes with you. They will prove valuable in your journey. Also, have these Pokeballs as well. You may need to catch some wild Pokemon to strengthen your team. I wish we could study Mew a little more, but we really are running out of time. I'm afraid that you must go now, for the ship to Pallet Town leaves in half an hour. When you get to Pallet, find Professor Oak. He will give you a map of the region and will give you some advice on Pokemon catching.” “Thanks,” Zach and Cassie said in unison. “I wish you the best of luck on your journey,” the professor said. “I do too,” said Gareth. “Put a stop to this chaos before something worse happens.” Back to back posts merged. The following information has been added: Chapter Five: Prison Break Entei awoke and found himself in the same lab he had been in the day before, strapped to the table in the same manner as before. In fact, the only thing that had changed about the room was the intensity of the lights, which were dimmed to be nearly off. Entei peered across the room, trying to make out distinct shapes, but could only identify a few things; a glass panel through which Entei could see lab coats displayed in racks, a cupboard in the wall bursting with safety goggles, and various stretchers littered throughout the room. Nothing seemed to be of particular use to Entei's cause, so he scanned over a vast majority of items in the room. His eyes finally rested on a display case in the far corner of the room, seemingly forged of solid gold and dully reflecting the little light that shone throughout the room. Entei decided that he needed a better look at that display case, if not only to see what it contained beneath its glass panel. Perhaps something in there can help me escape, he thought. Entei glanced down at his bindings, taking note that they seemed to be made of conventional leather. Shame on Mewtwo for restraining me with something so delicate, Entei mused. It will be child's play to break the bindings. Putting all of his strength into snapping the bindings, Entei managed to stretch them out far enough to slip through. He was surprised; he hadn't thought that the bindings were that strong. Some other power must have been at work there. Entei rose to his feet, stretching out its atrophied muscles with joy. He could almost taste the freedom he longed for; it was a sweet taste in the midst of the prevailing bitterness surrounding his capture. Testing his abilities to determine if he had been weakened by the captivity, he blew a small stream of fire from his mouth. Satisfied with the results, he made his way to the display case to see what lay within it. Entei's left hind leg was a little sore, so Entei had to limp slowly to the case, taking care not to put too much pressure on the injured leg. He could only move at three quarters of his normal walking speed in this manner, but slowly grew used to the awkward way he had to walk. His speed slowly increased as he made his way to the case. When he got to the case, he looked through the clear diamond cover on the top and gasped. Inside of the display case were trophies from Mewtwo's attacks on Entei's brethren in the hidden island communities. Many claws were lain out upon a violet cloth underneath them, along with other body parts scattered neatly throughout the showcase. Entei could make out a dismembered forelimb, some hairs from the mane of his brothers, a foot, even a head. Sickened, Entei turned away from the showcase, tears forming in his eyes. Maybe I am the last of my species, he thought soberly. It appears Mewtwo hunted down my entire species and murdered them. He began to feel the familiar anger that had gripped him as a small Entei, an anger that had taken decades to calm, an anger which had nearly ended the world. It was hot, like the boiling lava that sits in the crater of a volcano, like concrete on a sunny day. I WILL get my revenge, Entei thought, shaking with a mix of rage and sadness. Mewtwo cannot be allowed to go unpunished in the midst of this great crime. His days are numbered. Again, Entei surveyed the room, looking for a possible escape. A door on the opposite side of the room caught his eye. It appeared to be of normal strength to Entei, which meant that it would be easy to smash. A split second decision ended with Entei making his way towards the door, rage building with every step. When he reached the door, the rage was nearing his breaking point, threatening to take over and let Entei wreak havoc throughout the lab. He managed to suppress it, however, and took out his frustration on the door. With one clean swipe of his mighty paw, the door flew off its hinges and smashed the wall opposite him. Almost instantaneously an alarm sounded throughout the building, alerting everyone of his escape attempt. Entei didn't care; he would destroy anything and everything in his path. Such was the power of his anger. Stepping proudly into the corridor and roaring with pure hate and rage, he began his escape. His first objective was to find Moltres to build firepower. He looked left and right, trying to decide which way would be best, and finally decided to turn right. He kicked in any door he found in the wall in hopes of finding Moltres, but he was unsuccessful in doing so. The building turned out to be circular in shape, and Entei neared the room just before his. Moltres must be in there, Entei thought. I've searched the rest of the building. There is no other possible place he could be. Pausing before the door, Entei listened for any hints as to what could be waiting for him on the other side of the closed door. He could hear nothing, however, so deftly kicked the door in. Before he could react, something tackled him to the ground. Entei's body slammed into the floor, knocking the wind out of him and leaving him lying limp on the ground. Sore, Entei climbed to his feet and glanced at his opponent. He froze when he realized who it was that was facing him, although he could not believe it. So, trying to escape, Entei? Moltres asked. Entei could not believe his eyes. The very Pokemon he had spent the past half hour searching frantically for now opposed him, fighting for the monstrosity that was Mewtwo. Entei felt sickened and confused, unable to figure out why Moltres would suddenly fight for evil rather than against it. His heart pounded vigorously in his chest, threatening to explode outward if nothing kept it in check. His blood pressure was much higher than normal and Entei was sure that his veins would explode if he couldn't gain control of his blood pressure. Why would you fight with the abomination? Entei asked Moltres, a hint of hysteria in his voice. Do you not know what he has done to Pokemon all over the world? Have you seen the dismembered remains of your brethren? Of your brothers and sisters, parents, friends? No matter how hard he tried, Entei could not keep a small amount of fear from creeping into his voice. Moltres only laughed. Yes, I have seen these things. But Mewtwo has promised me power, and has already begun to give me some so that I might fight alongside him in the battle to come. He told me that you might attempt to escape and that you would certainly try to rescue me as well, so I have waited for you for the past day in hopes that I might have the privilege of capturing you or killing you, whichever one was more convenient. He said he didn't need you anyway, since you're weaker than he would like you to be anyway. So I might just feel inclined to kill you. Moltres' facial expression did not change throughout this except to sneer at Entei after his little speech. Entei noticed that Moltres' eyes seemed empty and void of awareness. He has you brainwashed, Entei thought urgently. You must fight the control he has over you! He purposely let a touch of fear into his voice now, hoping that it might snap Moltres out of the daze he was in. It did not work, however, and Entei was answered by a burst of fire from Moltres' great beak. Stop your nonsense. I choose to be in this state so that Master Mewtwo can advise me if I needed such help. I doubt I will need to call on him, however, since you are so weak and I am so strong. Now, I have a way for you to live and serve Master Mewtwo without suffering for attempting to escape and destroying half of his great lab. Moltres' blank stare seemed to mock him, enraging Entei to the extreme. Still, Entei was curious to the terms of his unpunished surrender. What do you demand? Entei asked with no intention of giving up. Humor me. Moltres glared at him at these words, obviously thinking that Entei did not deserve humoring. He gave in, though, and described what would happen if he chose a particular decision. Master Mewtwo wishes that you praise him and swear fealty to him. If you do so, you can return to your room and train with us unharmed, Moltres said. You must also beg me not to kill you as well. I am very tempted to do so right now. You have no idea how easy and satisfying it would be to dig my beak into your neck, cutting off your blood flow to your brain by severing all major arteries in your neck. I will give you two minutes to make up your mind, then you must tell me what you have decided. Moltres was deadly serious, and Entei could see that he was eying his neck eagerly, licking his beak in anticipation of maybe ending Entei's life. Entei already knew that he was not going to give up, but he wanted to use the time he was provided to formulate a rough plan on how to incapacitate Moltres. He did not want to kill him since he was most likely under the power of Mewtwo, but he could not afford to let him stay conscious if he hoped to escape. He glanced fervently around the corridor and was struck by an idea. He thought it out further and decided that it could work. He tried to plan it out better, but knew that time was running out. He needed only a few more minutes, just to fool-proof the plan he had in mind. So if I decide to deny you and Mewtwo, then I will surely die? Entei asked. He was trying to stall a bit longer to throw off any suspicions Moltres had of his intentions. It seemed to work as Moltres thought for a moment before responding, as though choosing his words with delicacy. Yes, and I cannot guarantee that I will make it quick and painless either, Moltres thought with a sick smile. So what have you decided? Live or die? Entei felt uneasy, knowing that Moltres was more than willing to kill him and that he would certainly become Mewtwo's slave if he decided to stay. How will I benefit by joining Mewtwo? Entei asked, still stalling. I want to be sure that I will get something from this other than just my life. Entei continued analyzing his plan and how he would have to time it as Moltres thought. He didn't have long to think, however, as Moltres responded almost immediately. Negotiator type, are you? Moltres said, impressed. Maybe you aren't so stupid after all. I will train you alongside Moltres to allow you to gain more-, Moltres began, but immediately saw his mistake. Entei saw through the disguise clearly at that moment, as Mewtwo had referred to Moltres by name through Moltres' mouth. Entei was now certain that Mewtwo was controlling Moltres. It seems I was right, Entei mused. In that case, I have no desire to be a puppet and I reject your offer. With that, Entei surprised Moltres by jumping towards the wall and pushing himself off, hurtling himself towards Moltres. He collided and pinned Moltres against the wall, knocking the wind out of him and injuring one of his wings as well. Entei swung his mighty paw at Moltres' head and connected with enough force to shatter stone, but Moltres, being powerful as he was, was merely knocked out. Moltres slid to the floor as Entei pushed himself away. He stood there for a moment, surveying his work, before moving the unconscious Moltres. Filled with sadness, Entei pushed Moltres into the room he had emerged from and blocked the doorway with doors he had destroyed. Satisfied with his work, he turned to leave. It took Entei another ten minutes to find the exit to the building, but he found it. He had never been so happy in his life, yet he had also never been so sad. Although he, Entei, was free, Moltres was still a prisoner, unable to even control his own actions. Moltres' imprisonment suppressed Entei from expressing his joy of escape physically, but he nevertheless celebrated in his mind. He walked a few hundred meters away from the cursed building before turning around. He stood still for a time, letting the implications of what had happened sink in. I will rescue you, Moltres, Entei promised. I don't know when or how, but someday, you will be free. His silent vow made, Entei turned away from the laboratory and began walking, knowing full well that Mewtwo would pursue him and would not stop until Entei was either his or dead. This knowledge eating at him like a worm, he walked on.