Profanity: None that would be censored
Other: Contains excessive consumption of alcohol.
Chapter 30: The Dragons of Ouen
Stormy Town had once been a normal town that happened to have somewhat frequent thunderstorms. It had been lively and populated as shown when its formerly unofficial Gym was given official status. ‘Stormy Town’ had in fact only been a sort of nickname affectionately given to it by its resident Gym leader.
However, around twenty years before the three soaked kids made their way towards the flickering neon lettering they could just barely read through the thick sheet of rain as “P.C”, the thunderstorms had begun to get more frequent. No one had been able to explain why. Scientists had claimed that it was just a period that would pass, but it never did, and as the city only got fewer and fewer hours of calm weather, the inhabitants had eventually given up. They had started referring to it as Stormy Town themselves, the rest of Ouen following. Many had moved away; a few had stayed but more or less stopped going outside. The Pokémon League had offered to move the Gym’s badge elsewhere, but the leader had promptly refused, saying that he would stay loyal to his city forever as long as the lightning did not strike him. He and later his son had fought to let the town keep its city rights, and the son had gotten Nurse Joy of Stormy Town to team up with him. Gradually the two of them had then taken over all services in the city. But despite their attempts, Stormy Town was now only visited by trainers who got their badges and then left as quickly as they could. The sad fact was that Stormy Town was dying.
Bells chimed as the door to the small Pokémon Center burst open and Mark, May and Alan quickly squeezed themselves into the warm lit room despite that the desk by the opposite wall was abandoned. The door closed behind them as Mark threw himself panting into a red sofa, appreciating the pink Pokémon Center carpet like he never had before. Alan and May sat down too as the bell chiming died away, leaving the rain’s beating on the windows, the distant thunder and the kids’ breathing as the only sound in the room.
“Good evening,” came a soft, polite voice. Mark looked up, eying the face of a red-haired nurse as she closed a door to a back room quietly and walked behind the desk. She gave a small bow. “Would you like me to heal your Pokémon?”
Mark felt too exhausted to stand up, so as May and Alan prepared to hand theirs over, he simply detached his minimized Pokéballs from his belt and gave them to May. She rolled her eyes but didn’t object.
After putting the Pokéballs into the healing machine, Nurse Joy sighed. “This building is in bad shape. Soon we’ll have to move the Pokémon Center services into the Gym too…”
Mark nodded, not sure how to answer. May did not appear to be listening; she was raising her eyebrow at an advertising poster of some sort for the Stormy Town Gym, which bore the caption ‘LET THE SPARK OF YOUR MIND LEAD YOU THROUGH A SHOCKING EXPERIENCE’.
“Well, either way,” Nurse Joy went on, “the Gym has free accommodation for trainers if you’re looking for that, and also a rather cheap restaurant. Sparky is a lovely cook.”
May snorted. “The Gym leader’s name is Sparky and he trains Electric Pokémon?”
The nurse giggled. “He sees the humour in it. He’s quite an odd fellow, but you’ll like him. Everybody does.”
May didn’t look convinced, but Alan ignored her, standing up. “Well, it’s more or less dinnertime, so we should probably head over to the Gym, shouldn’t we?”
The Gym was an extremely lively building and in such contrast with the look of the rest of the town that it almost seemed like a spaceship or gateway into another, happier world; the outside was painted in neon pink and blue while warm yellow light flooded through the large windows on the many floors. Of course, given how depressing Stormy Town was overall, something to cheer it up had to be a good thing, even if it was a bit extreme.
The pink tiled floor made a slight squashy sound as the kids stepped on it and the automatic door closed behind them. Mark eyed a large door just ahead of them, set with navy blue letters that said, “CAUTION: BATTLE ARENA – DO NOT ENTER WHILE A BATTLE IS TAKING PLACE.”
“Are you looking for food or just hurrying to battle and get out of here?”
A short, thin man was walking down a staircase to the right while looking at them through stylish silver shades, wearing a blue T-shirt and shorts. The electric blue, wavy hair and small blue goatee looked dyed, but Mark wasn’t quite sure. A gleeful, friendly expression filled his young face.
“Food for now,” Alan replied. “Sparky, right?”
The man smiled. “Who else could it be?” His voice was the kind that seemed to constantly sound like he was in an internal laughing fit of some sort; it had that giggly element to it and sounded like he found everything highly amusing. “So are you going to battle later, or just coming to say hi?”
“Maybe tomorrow?” Mark suggested, looking forward to getting to bed. May shrugged.
“Tomorrow, why not,” Sparky replied cheerfully. “Shouldn’t you change your clothes, though?”
“Eh, right,” Mark muttered, looking down at his waterlogged jeans. Alan nodded too. May merely gave a “Mmmh.”
Sparky smiled. “Follow me,” he said, turning back towards the staircase he just came down.
“Well, that guy was creepy.”
“Creepy?” Mark asked. “Maybe a bit weird, but not creepy.”
“He’s creepily weird,” May insisted.
“I found him nice,” Alan just said, shrugging.
They were walking back down the stairs from their rooms after changing. Sparky seemed to have disappeared for the moment, but when they came back into the entrance hall they caught a glimpse of him behind a half-closed door marked “RESTAURANT” at the other end of the room and hurried into it.
Mark was surprised by the sudden change of atmosphere; the restaurant was rather dimly lit and cozy, with wooden furniture and not as much as a speck of the neon colors of the main Gym. Even Sparky himself had put a white cooking hat on his head and taken down his shades.
“Sit down,” he offered, pointing them to a table by the right wall and reaching for a small notebook on a counter in the corner. “Would your Pokémon like to have something too? As long as they fit in here, of course,” he added. “You’ll get their food free – Pokémon aren’t very picky in my experience.”
“Eh… our Pokémon?” Mark asked as he sat down. “Do Pokémon usually eat at restaurants?”
Sparky smiled. “Usually not, but we can always make exceptions, can’t we? Especially since you’re the first staying guests in quite a while. Most trainers come here and run off as soon as possible like they fear being struck by lightning.” He giggled, like the notion of being struck by lightning in Stormy Town was absurd.
“Um… All right.” Mark sent out all his Pokémon except Gyarados, shortly followed by Alan and then May. They quickly explained what was going on, but when it came to ordering, the Pokémon doubtfully asked for either raw meat or raw salad with nothing, the only exception being Scyther, who sat uninvited down on the chair beside Mark and ordered beer.
Sparky raised his eyebrows. “Are you quite sure?”
“I’m used to it,” Scyther just said.
“And how are you planning to hold the glass, if I may be so bold?” Sparky asked, his eyes twinkling in amusement.
“If you’ve got a large bowl or something… I’d like a lot of it…”
“I see,” Sparky replied, scribbling it down. May and Alan both looked at Mark, who merely answered with a freaked-out expression, having no idea what to say.
“Well, your food will be ready soon,” Sparky said, looking over them again and disappearing into the kitchen.
It wasn’t long before the Gym leader returned with the drinks for the kids and then what looked like a big kitchen pot, putting it in front of Scyther.
“Don’t drink too much of it all at once,” he said cheerfully before walking back into the kitchen.
May and Alan stared at the pot; Mark subtly peeked into it to see it was around three-quarters full of a golden, fizzy drink. Scyther smelled it and smiled before plunging his whole head into it. Mark jumped, edging slightly further away from Scyther in his seat.
“What the hell were you thinking?” May hissed at Mark, leaning forward across the table. “You should have stopped him from ordering it!”
Mark glanced anxiously at Scyther, who still had his head completely subdued. “I just didn’t know how… And Scyther is used to that stuff, isn’t he?”
The mantis’ head emerged from the pot; he shook his head, sending droplets of beer flying at the kids. May moved backwards from the table in disgust.
“Refreshing,” Scyther mumbled. Mark looked at him; the Pokémon’s eyes had already lost some of their normal alertness, which was slightly worrying. Scyther’s head dropped back into the pot.
When he came out again, he was actually getting slightly cross-eyed. “This reminds me of back when Rob and I used to go to the Gamesharked Skarmory… Great place, that… Crunchy… Caterpie…”
He reached dizzily out with his scythe in a much too careless manner, coming very close to knocking down a candle. The mantis didn’t appear to notice this, continuing to lap up the drink for a second before looking at Mark.
“Love is fake,” he announced randomly. “It’s all just a bunch of hormones that want you to have sex and kids… Sickle was nice… but love… it’s not…”
The mantis closed his eyes. “Mmm… delightful… if you want a piece of advice from an adult, kids, don’t ever fall in love… Not worth it… Yes, very enjoyable… killing is kinda fun when you’ve been doing it for your whole life, you know…”
“Scyther, you’re drunk,” May said bluntly.
Scyther looked stupidly at her for a few seconds. “Whatever,” he then mumbled and collapsed on the table.
“Oh dear,” Sparky said, entering the room with the kids’ food. “I guess Pokémon are rather sensitive to alcohol. One more lesson in running restaurants, isn’t it?”
He turned to Mark as he gently laid the plates down on the table. “If I were you, I’d recall him.”
Mark nodded and touched Scyther with his Pokéball to absorb him in, feeling slightly guilty for letting this happen. He mentally smacked himself. Stop being so responsible… It’s his problem…
Scyther still stayed in the front of his mind during dinner.
Mark decided to let Jolteon, Sandslash, Leta and Dragonair sleep outside their Pokéballs. Jolteon curled up on the end of the bed and Leta followed suit; Dragonair and Sandslash curled up on the floor.
He lay down in the bed, pulled the blanket over him and was quickly fast asleep.
Mark stood in the grass outside Green Town, people counting down all around him. All of a sudden, Chaletwo’s grayish shape stood in the middle. Two immeasurably bright eyes opened and the world turned black as horrible pain took over him…
Jolteon knew he was unbeatable. He wouldn’t have to worry about the Dugtrio and its menacing three heads, glinting evilly at him with six small eyes.
The heads started moving up and down, gaining speed until the ground trembled. Jolteon suddenly felt weak and powerless against it and his eyes hopelessly snapped open. He blinked, discovering that the earthquake had only been the movement of the blanket as Mark flailed around and mumbled in his sleep. Jolteon looked at Leta; she had not noticed it and was still fast asleep. He quietly stood up as his trainer stopped moving, tiptoed over to his head and gently touched his forehead; it was cold and sweaty.
Jolteon stroked his fur against Mark’s hand, hoping to give him some comfort. He was soon fast asleep again.
Chaletwo’s eyes slowly shut again as the pain faded away. The colors of the world returned to normal, but they were no longer outside Green Town, but on top of the mountain above Stormy Town. Black clouds loomed over them, releasing bolts of lightning every now and then that lit up the town far below.
Chaletwo stared down at the city, his expression showing fear and regret, bordering on despair.
“I sense power,” said his telepathic voice emptily.
“The thunderstorm?” Mark said as Chaletwo showed no signs of being about to continue. The legendary shook his head.
“No… It is a Pokémon’s power… But yes, it is what is behind this thunderstorm.”
“Raikou? Zapdos?” Mark suggested.
“Rick has them captured,” Chaletwo replied, still staring down at the town.
“What is it then?”
“It could only be a Pokémon nobody knows exists…” Chaletwo said softly. Mark was about to say something when the legendary added in a whisper, “It’s Thunderyu, the first Dragon of Ouen.”
“So you know of it?” Mark asked blankly.
“Of course I know, I created it!” Chaletwo suddenly snapped, looking at Mark.
“Er…” Mark paused. “What?”
Chaletwo sighed. “I was naïve… Way back when Mew and I were creating the Pokémon, Mew wanted to create all the legendaries… and I thought it was unfair…”
The legendary shook his head hatefully. “Kanto, Jotho and Hoenn all had three elemental legendaries… so I made three for Ouen on my own, three dragons who loathed each other more than they loved life itself…I sealed them away and put them to deep sleep where Mew could not find them, and intended to bring them out later and show Mew that I could create and be in control… that I could rule the world without Mew… but I never woke them up, and in all the hassle about preventing the War of the Legends, I forgot that my powers that were keeping them asleep were fading… and as soon as they are fully conscious, they will break out of their chambers and do whatever it takes to destroy each other…”
Chaletwo looked down at the mountain they were standing on. “Thunderyu is right under our feet, and he is waking up… and the worst part is that there is no way we can reach him until he breaks out…”
He looked at Mark again. “Ouen is in grave danger.”