A Little Less Confrontation
Gotta get to Pallet Town, I thought, breathing hard, running as fast as I could through the Route 1 forest.
June was not too far behind me, trying to keep up.
My heart was tackling my chest, sweat pouring down my face, under my shirt, and in my pants. My cap and jacket were on, but I was in far too much of a rush to take them off. My energy was draining fast in the thick humidity, but I refused to stop. Only a couple more days left, I pushed myself. I have to make it! Time was up. If I stopped, I’d never get to the Pokemon League in time to compete in the competition. I just knew it. With that imbedded in my mind, my feet moved to carry me even faster.
Blurred visions of Pokemon ran past me, in front of my path or out of the way. The grass continuously rustled beside me.
June was gasping loudly, clearly ready to stop. She didn’t call out to me to slow down, or to assure me that we’d make it in time. She just continued to run.
I know we can make it. We will! We have to! My head began to flood with images of me at the Pokemon League, taking on Trainers and their powerful Pokemon.
Charizard using Flamethrower with all his might.
Primeape swinging the decisive blow to win the match.
Baltoy using a powerful Psychic attack to hold the opponent in the air.
Kingdra using Hydro Pump with full force.
Hoothoot using Fly from above to take down an opponent.
Robin, I thought with a smile. I could see our battle at the Pokemon League.
“Catherine! GO!” Robin yells, throwing her Poke Ball.
“Squirtle!” Catherine cries out excitedly, staring past my Charizard, directly at me.
“She’s still a Squirtle!!!” June shrieks dramatically from the stands, her hands pressed against her cheeks, her eyes wide in horror, shedding tears rapidly, mouth agape.
“Catherine, end this battle with Hydro Pump!” Robin orders.
“Squirtle!” Catherine ignores Robin’s order, runs past Charizard, and leaps into the air, arms outstretched, and wraps my neck in a hug with her little arms.
“Squirtle refuses to battle! Gary is the winner! The Pokemon League Champion is Gary from Pallet Town!!!”
The crowd cheers excitedly, rushing to me from the bleachers.
I thank everyone and sign autographs, holding Catherine in one arm.
Gorgeous, immodestly dressed, shapely women are fawning over me.
I turn to Robin and seeing him on his knees, head in his hands, crying miserably.
I closed my eyes and shook my head hard. NO! I yelled angrily in my head. That won’t happen. It won’t! Robin will give me the best battle possible. It won’t end like that! Not again! Never again! I was angry now, my eyebrows furrowed, and I ran even faster, pushed on by the urge to prove my thought of my battle with Robin, wrong.
From out of nowhere, a huge stream of fire hit the ground from the air above!
I yelled in shock as June screamed and we both stopped just several feet from the sudden blaze!
June tripped and landed on her face. She looked up fearfully and managed to get up.
A fire was blocking June and I, burning the grass beneath it.
I looked up at the source of the fire and choked, not believing what my gaping eyes were seeing. No... I thought. Impossible! A small smile was starting to creep over my mouth, but the shock of the situation held it back. This was incredible!
A large bird hovered in the air above us. Its body primarily featured the colors of gold and red. It looked down at us angrily.
June had noticed what was above us, too, her mouth an open box, her eyes the size of pancakes. She could only whimper repeatedly, unable to speak.
With a loud cry, the enormous bird opened its beak.
Without a word, I grabbed June by her arm and pulled hard, running.
“OW!” June stumbled after me.
We ran around the fire as the bird Pokemon sent another Fire attack at us.
June glanced behind her, which slowed her down, and I gave a hard tug, making her focus on the path. “GARY!”
“MOVE IT, JUNE!”
We ran together, even faster than we had been running previously.
The heat meant nothing to me as I heard the angry cry of the Pokemon chasing after us.
“Gary!” June yelled shrilly. “Is that a Ho-Oh?!?!”
“Looks enough like one!”
“What’s going on here?” June asked desperately.
“We’re being chased by a freaking Ho-Oh and it’s burning down the freaking forest! What else?!” I shot at her.
“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?!”
The Legendary bird Pokemon of the Johto region, Ho-Oh, screamed angrily and I heard the fire hit the grass behind us, burning it, smoke filling the air, making me choke.
“I don’t understand why there’s a Ho-Oh chasing after us!”
“We’re leading it right back to Pallet Town!” I realized. “We can’t let it get there!”
We kept running, but I looked behind me, trying to see where our threat was. I gasped.
The fire was gone!
I stopped running, hitting my chest hard with my fist as I coughed from the thin smoke. The grass was burnt where the fire had been, fading smoke rising into the air and spreading thinly through the forest. The grass now looked wet.
I looked up into the sky, the sun beaming down on me.
Ho-Oh was nowhere in sight.
“Where did Ho-Oh go?” June called from several feet behind me.
I turned to her and shrugged. “I dunno.” I slowly spun in a complete circle, scanning the area. “I wonder what put out the fire?”
“Maybe something that chased Ho-Oh away?” June suggested.
“What chases away a powerful Pokemon like a Ho-Oh...?” I questioned.
A loud cry from the skies seemed to respond to my inquiry.
I looked up, jumping from the startling sound. This can’t be, I thought, shaking my head.
“What the...?” June said in amazement.
“L-L-L-L-Lugia...?” I whispered
Another Legendary bird Pokemon from Johto, Lugia, hovering above June and I, its magnificent, silver wings spread wide, screamed viciously. A powerful stream of water headed from its jaws towards me!
“GAAAAHHH!!!!” I turned around quickly, running towards June who was staring at Lugia, dumbfounded. I grabbed her arm and pulled her with me and we ran together as the water hit the ground with tremendous force.
“Gary, this isn’t real!” June insisted.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, this can’t be real!” June said frantically. “Something is very wrong here!”
“I know, June! We need to get help!” I said breathlessly. “We need the police or something!”
“We’re not far from Pallet Town, right?” June asked.
My eyes widened in shock. Pallet Town... I thought.
Lugia screamed behind us and a large explosion tossed June and I off of our feet and into the dirt. A filthy cloud rose up, surrounding and blinding us as a loud commotion took place in the area. It sounded like bombs were going off! I was forced to rub at my eyes as dirt got into them. My eyes stung from whatever was in them and getting teary as I squinted to see. The cloud was clearing up as I looked up into the sky. “Oh, no!” Scrambling to my feet, I grabbed June, who was still laying on the ground, by her shoulders and pulled her up.
“Oh!” June shook her head. Her fall seemed to have disorientated her.
“Come on!” I yanked her as Lugia dive bombed from above towards us. “It’s coming!”
June put her hand to the side of her face, her eyes closed, and shook her head again. She looked up at me, and then further up at Lugia.
“MOVE!” I practically forced June from off of her feet as I ran, trying to get away from Lugia.
A huge rush of wind forced June and I forward as Lugia just barely missed us and flew high for the sky again.
“We can’t lead it into Pallet Town!” I insisted, taking a sharp turn through a more dense area of grass and trees.
“What are we gonna do?”
“We may have to battle that thing!”
“I’m not gonna lead it to my hometown!” I told her seriously. “We’ll battle it. You can help me or not, but I will not let it reach Pallet Town!”
“I’ll help, Gary!” June said uncertainly. “But where are we leading it to right now?”
“I don’t really know!” I stopped and turned around to face Lugia, reaching for one of my Poke Balls.
June stumbled past me a few feet before turning around.
Confused, I looked around. “Where is it?”
“No!” I shouted angrily. “Where the hell is it?” Could Lugia be headed for Pallet Town? I wondered. What about Ho-Oh? I have to get home, now! I can’t leave my town unprotected! They won’t harm my family! I started running, but before I’d gotten even three feet, I heard the rustle in the grass. By my third step, I saw it and stopped in disbelief. I stumbled backwards and tripped.
June screamed at the top of her lungs.
Why? I wondered in shock, staring at the familiar Legendary Pokemon, also from the Johto region.
Entei took a heavy step forward and growled threateningly.
What does it want? I wondered, shaking hard in place.
Entei opened its jaws.
I was helpless on the ground, unable to get away. With a whine, I raised my arm up feebly. My wrist was gripped and my arm nearly torn from the socket as I was pulled to my feet.
Entei roared and sent out a blast of fire at me!
“Come on!” June was now the one pulling me forward.
I ran with her, looking back as the Fire move hit a tree which immediately caught on fire. How many Legendary Pokemon are there out here? I wondered in a panic as I turned away. And why are they all here? Why Route 1? Something strange is definitely going on. What’s causing this?
June and I had been running for a few minutes before I noticed that I couldn’t hear Entei behind us, and I looked back.
Entei was nowhere in sight.
The fire was gone, smoke now filling the area.
Don’t stop running, I told myself. You have to get help. Just keep going. Head back to Viridian City. Call the police once you reach there. Just don’t lead them to Pallet Town. As I gazed through the trees, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t exactly sure where June and I were. What direction was Viridian City from here?
Before I could dwell on it any longer, the ground exploded several feet in front of June and I! We flew back and landed on our backs, screaming in terror.
I sat up fearfully as June remained on her back, breathing hard, her eyes closed.
What appeared to be a Pokemon stood before us. Or some kind of monster! It looked like it was made entirely of rocks. It had a strange pattern of dots on its face. One dot sat in the middle of two rows of three vertical dots. It made a beeping sound and the dots starting to light up in random flashes.
June groaned and sat up. “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it!”
“I don’t care what it is anymore!” I got up with June. “Let’s just get out of here!”
A ball of energy charged in front of the Pokemon’s face.
I shoved June out of the way and leaped to the opposite side as a white beam fired at us from the rock monster.
June screamed as she was pushed aside.
I hit the ground and scrambled into the trees.
“Gary! Where are you?” June called out to me.
I stood up, hiding behind a tree, and gazed around it.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!! An entire tree collapsed right where we had been standing. The bottom of it looked like it had been blasted apart from the remainder of it. Torn apart. I couldn’t see June anywhere and leaned back against the tree. “JUUUUUNE!”
“We’ve gotta lead it back to Viridian!” I told June.
“Where is that? I don’t know where we are anymore!”
“Me, neither! We have to find the way back!”
“What about the Pokemon League?”
I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I didn’t know what to say. The Pokemon League... I thought sadly. My teeth tightened. I can’t miss the Pokemon League... I thought of Robin, already at the Pokemon League Village, ready to compete. I can’t miss out on this competition. Me and my Pokemon have been through too much. This can’t stop me. I won’t break my promise to Robin. To Kiwi. To Aly... It’s all come down to me and Robin. Me and Robin... My eyebrows narrowed. “Me and Robin,” I muttered. “I have to battle and defeat Robin. I have to be the strongest Pokemon Trainer there ever was. I can’t keep running. No matter what the opponent is.” I grabbed Primeape’s Poke Ball. “I’m not afraid of you!” I shouted. I leaped out from behind the tree and faced the rock Pokemon.
It was gone.
My face fell in disappointment. Why do they keep doing that? Am I going mad?
June peeked out from behind a tree several feet away, wearing worry on her face. “Gary?” She looked around.
“It’s gone,” I said, replacing the Poke Ball back on my belt.
“Regirock left, too?” June asked, brushing her hair aside.
“Regirock?” I repeated.
“Yes,” June replied. “One of the-”
A loud cry interrupted June’s sentence, and in the next second, something huge shot past us, the wind from the creature knocking June and I over as if it were a blunt object. A huge birdlike being ascended into the sky. This creature was very beautiful.
“What is that?” I questioned.
“I don’t know this Pokemon,” June muttered, looking at it as it tore through the air at the speed of a jet, disappearing from sight.
“I really don’t think I want to find out.” I jumped up quickly.June also climbed to her feet. “I agree. I feel like something bad’s about to happen.”
“More like, something worse.”
Before we could turn around, we noticed something from above heading down towards us. June and I gasped as the red and white Pokemon returned. Its body’s lower half was red, including what seemed to be wings and feet. A blue marking in the shape of a triangle sat on its chest. Its arms were white and red. The upper half of its body was white, save for a red design on its face. Its face seemed gentle and calm.
There wasn’t a sound to be heard.
Not a rustling of the grass or trees.
Not a word spoken.
Not a cry uttered.
The calm look on the Pokemon’s face was suddenly replaced with anger.
“Oh, no,” I managed.
The Pokemon opened its mouth and a white ball appeared from it, glowing, a light mist encircling it. Before June and I could move, the ball flew forward and hit the ground right in front of us.
We both shouted out and were tossed back by the explosion.
Weak and groaning, I coughed in the midst of the now misty, dirty air around me but sat up, scrambling backwards. The mist faded and I could see clearly again.
The Pokemon was gone.
I’ve had enough of this! Swallowing hard, building up my energy, I pushed myself up to a stand. “June! We’re getting out of here, right now!”June’s eyes opened and she looked up at me. “Gary,” she said shakily. “I’m too scared! I don’t know what to do or think.” She slowly stood up and dusted her clothes. “I just want to leave this place!”
“Well, we’re not being allowed to for some reason! That Pokemon was probably a Legendary, too. We’re surrounded by Legendary Pokemon, all in the same spot. This kind of reminds me of Saffron City. Right before we got out of that forest and Kiwi and I were surrounded by those Psychic types. This might be the same thing. You said the Psychics were drawn there because of the ener-”
The ground quaked beneath heavy stomping, stopping my sentence and causing June and I to look around in horror. It didn’t take long to find where the location of the noise was coming from.
The creature stepped out from the trees and glared at us. The very sturdy, bulky Pokemon stood on its four feet. It was mainly gray in color. Two sharp, brown horns sat atop its forehead, pointing down past its face. Its teeth bared and it took another step towards us, quaking the ground.
“That thing looks mean!” June turned to run.
“Get to safety!” I urged her.
“What?” June turned back, still running away.
I kept my eyes on the Pokemon. “I’m sick of running away. If it wants to battle, then we’ll battle!” I reached for my Pokedex to learn more about what this Pokemon was.
The Pokemon instantly ran towards me. It picked up speed as its body was surrounded by a golden forcefield. Its body let off a bronze aura.
“Take Down...” I whispered, unable to move, my legs quaking, the ground rocking harder as the Pokemon charged at me angrily.
My shoulders were grabbed and I was pulled to the ground. I fell hard and gasped from the pain.
A loud CRUNCH! was heard.
I looked back and saw that the Pokemon had crashed into a tree. It backed up and the tree slowly started to fall over, finally landing with a loud BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!! that echoed.
I was pulled up suddenly and forced to run.
“You idiot! You were about to get killed!!” June barked at me.
“We can’t keep on running!” I argued, wanting to stop and turn around to face that Pokemon, but my heart was beating too hard, the fear pumping through my body too strongly to fight back and break away from June.
Moments later I looked behind me, seeing that this new Pokemon was now gone.
“Can I assume you know what that Pokemon was?” June asked as we ran.
“No! You don’t?”
“I’ve never seen that kind of Pokemon in my life!”
One thousand Pokemon... I thought to myself.
“I’ll become the greatest Pokemon Master. With my Charmander. And we’ll catch them all. All one thousand, mom. I promise.”
I remembered the words I’d told my mother right before leaving on my journey with Charmander. My eyes were becoming harder to see through as tears began to swell up in them. My promise, I thought as I ran. My promise to my mom. Myself. I’m running away from that promise. Why? I blinked away the tears in my eyes and angrily pulled my arm away from June.
June gasped and turned to me. “Gary, come on! Don’t stop!”
“No!” I snapped. “I made a promise to my mom before I left Pallet Town on my journey to becoming a Pokemon Master! I promised I’d defeat every Pokemon and Pokemon Trainer out there. I promised I’d capture every last Pokemon in existence. I can’t keep that promise by running away from powerful Pokemon. I refuse to run anymore, June! You should go get some help in Viridian City for me. I’m not leaving though!” I turned around to where the muscular, gray Pokemon had been at last and inhaled deeply, cupping my hands around my mouth. “HEEEEEEEEY!! ALL OF YOU LEGENDARY POKEMON!! I’M GARY! I COME FROM THE NEARBY LOCATION OF PALLET TOWN! IF YOU WANT TO BATTLE ME, I’M NO LONGER RUN-!!” My words were caught in my throat as something enormous appeared from the trees, stomping the ground hard, making it rock underneath it.
June shrieked as loud as possible and immediately took off running without me.
“WAIT FOR ME, JUNE!” I also took off after her.
“IT’S GROUDON!” June informed me.
“I KNOW THAT ONE!”
“WHAT HAPPENED TO BEATING ALL THE POKEMON AND NOT RUNNING AWAY AND CATCHING THEM ALL??”
Groudon roared from behind us, making me stumble.
I thought about June’s words for a moment. “JUNE! THIS ISN’T NORMAL! I think what scares me the most is that all of these Pokemon are here! And most of them, if not all of them, are Legends! I think something terribly wrong is going on here!”
“I know!! And why do they keep disappearing?!”
“Can’t you read these things?” I suggested. “Talk to them!”
“I’m a little too busy trying not die! I can’t focus under this kind of pressure! They’re furious!”
“Is that the only emotion you could pick up?!” I screamed sarcastically.
“If you wanna pick up something, how about picking up a Poke Ball and doing some of that battling and catching you were just talking about?” June shot back.
I growled, having no retort.
“Oh, my gosh!” June exclaimed happily. “Look!”
“Gary! The opposite direction is Viridian, but also back towards that Groudon!” June said as we kept running.
I know, I thought to myself. I know. But...
A dark, sparking ball shot right by my head, just barely missing me.
“WHOA!” I came to a stop and watched the ball fly out of sight through the jumble of trees, a loud BOOM! heard in the distance as it collided with something. “Now what?” I tossed my hands up in exasperation.
June had also stopped running and looked behind her. She froze. Her face went pale, her lips trembling hard.
I looked back to see our new threat. A loud gasp was inhaled into my throat and I tripped over nothing. My eyes remained on the Pokemon before us.
June tried to pull me up, but nothing could get me to turn away from what I was staring at now. She also ended up dropping at my side.
Tears ran down my cheeks at the sight before me. It was absolutely astonishing. I never thought I’d see the day...
June was breathing hard at my side. She shook her head quickly, not believing what she was seeing.
“M-M-Mewtwo...” I whispered.
There before us stood my most favorite Pokemon of all time. The very Pokemon who was on my jacket. The Legendary Psychic Pokemon of the Kanto region.
Mewtwo pulled back its hands and cupped them, glaring at us with a look that couldn’t be expressed in any drawings or descriptions I’d seen, read, and heard. It was beyond cold. It was beyond freezing. June and I were looking death in the face. A look so deadly, I dared to think the word, “evil.” Mewtwo prepared to throw another Shadow Ball at us.
I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. I was amazed. I was petrified. I was in awe. I was crying. I was overjoyed. I was out of words to fully express the mixed emotions swimming inside of me. “Mewtwo...” A slight smile crept across my face as tears continued to run down my cheeks.
A dark, sparking ball formed between Mewtwo’s hands and its eyes somehow hardened even further as it prepared to attack.
“WAIT A MINUTE!” June stood up. She walked past me, closer to Mewtwo.
“JUNE?!” I called out in shock, not sure if I was more surprised by the Mewtwo in front of us, or the fact that June was now walking up to it so easily.
June bravely stepped closer to Mewtwo, not taking her eyes off of it, squinting hard.
“June, what are you doing???”
June kept on squinting at Mewtwo.
She’s trying to read it? I wondered, trying to breathe through my heart clogging my throat, swallowing repeatedly. What does she see?
June continued to focus on Mewtwo.
Mewtwo angrily grunted as it threw the Shadow Ball at June.
June didn’t even flinch. She stood still and focused on Mewtwo as the Shadow Ball went past her face, ruffling her hair a bit, and disappeared into the trees, colliding with something loudly.
Mewtwo’s eyes widened in surprise and it looked much less intimidating now, staring at June in shock.
“You...” June whispered. “You...”
I squinted at June in confusion. What is she saying? I wondered. You? Why is she saying that?
“You’re...” June murmured. “You’re not real!” She pointed an accusatory finger at Mewtwo.
Mewtwo took a step back, stunned by June’s words.
“June, what do you mean??” I didn’t understand any of this!
“That’s not a Mewtwo!” June accused, still pointing at the Psychic Pokemon. “It’s another Pokemon!”
I stared at June in shock, and then turned to Mewtwo. A different Pokemon?
Suddenly, Mewtwo’s body gave off a bright, multicolored glow. Its body shrunk drastically and its silhouette started shifting around. The glow finally faded away.
June smiled and nodded.
“Ditto!” Ditto cried out happily.
“Ditto?!?!” I pulled out my Pokedex.
Ditto. The Transform Pokemon. It can copy any Pokemon and duplicate its known moves. They are rarely captured due to them usually transforming into weaker, more common Pokemon, fooling Trainers.
“It’s not a Mewtwo...?” I asked weakly.
“Ditto!” Ditto started to glow again, using Transform. When it was done, it turned into a Spearow and flew away into the sky.
I stared after it, disappointed, hurt, and completely let down.
“Well, that explains all the Legends,” June shrugged. “It was just a Ditto.”
I didn’t say a word, looking after the Ditto until it vanished from sight.
June turned to me. “Gary?”
I turned to June silently.
I looked down at the Mewtwo on my jacket for a moment. Standing up, I dusted off my clothes. I could feel my eyes watering again. I closed them and wiped at them for a bit before opening them again and smiling. “You know, I think I found the answer to a question I kept close to my heart for a year now.”
“Really?” June asked, smiling back.
“Yeah.” I looked up into the sky. “Before my journey as a Pokemon Trainer began, the same morning I was going to receive my first Pokemon from Professor Oak, I saw a Rattata. It had a strange glare in its eyes. It vanished and I saw something else disappear into the trees. I chased after it and found a Spearow with a suspicious look in its eyes, like Rattata had. I tried to grab it with my bare hands, but it got away. As it flew away, it did some kind of strange metamorphosis in the air, but I couldn’t see it clearly. It had gotten too far away. Ever since then, I wondered what that Pokemon was. I think I finally figured it out.”
“A Ditto,” June said gently.
I turned to her and nodded. With a snicker, I said, “A Ditto.”
June and I turned to look up into the sky together.
“I didn’t know Ditto could just Transform from memory like that,” June said wistfully.
“Memory?” I repeated, not looking away from the bright, afternoon sky.
“Yeah. If it kept on Transforming like that, it must have been going off of memory. All of those Legends weren’t really there for it to stare at and copy.”
“Hm...” I muttered, squinting.
“That Ditto has seen a lot of Pokemon in its lifetime,” June mused. “It’s seen Pokemon you and I haven’t encountered yet. A lot of Legendary Pokemon.”
I looked down at my jacket and stared at the Mewtwo embroidered on my jacket. My hand pressed against it and I turned to June solemnly.
June was lost in her thoughts, finally turning to me when she noticed me staring at her. “What’s wrong?”
“Ditto can copy anything, right?” I asked.
I pointed at the Mewtwo on my jacket. “Do you think it’s seen a real Mewtwo before? Or was it just going off of this on my jacket?”
June stared intently at the Mewtwo on my jacket for a while. Finally, she looked deeply into my eyes. She blinked a couple of times before smiling. “I don’t know, Gary.” She let out a light giggle and looked back up into the sky.
I returned my gaze there as well.
I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed by the fact that I had been fooled by a Ditto’s Transform.
I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed that I had ran away from Pokemon I had believed to be Legendary instead of trying to battle and maybe even capture one.
Despite this, I couldn’t help the smile that was spreading across my face as I relived what I’d just been through with Ditto.
As time continued to slowly run out before the Pokemon League began.