Chapter II: A Near-Death Choice
There was something different in the Mayors voice when he announced that the Pokémon would be taken to Professor Cherrys laboratory. He left a feeling of, perhaps fear, transpire while he spoke to the people. His eyes had an unusual shine that demonstrated some sort of anxiety:
Mayor: The Pokémon will be taken to Professor Cherrys laboratory. A proper analysis of their genetic information will be done to help on her investigations. The legend says three people will be chosen by the new species. We dont know who will be chosen or when it will happen, so wed like to ask you to meet us in the Mythos Building tomorrow at noon. For now, good evening, my friends.
As the sunset approached, the people started leaving the Sanctuary and going back to their usual lives. Mike, Lily and Bob, however, had a passion for the history of Slympou, and every year they were always the last ones to leave the forest. They wanted to stay all the time they could near the Sanctuary. Tonight they were sitting by the lakeside, watching the new Pokémon play.
Lily: *Sigh* I wish we could enter the sanctuary. I really want to see those inscriptions closer. And sit on that throne
and the essence of Aesthis power is stored there
Bob: Well, you could swim there.
Lily: Dont be dumb! You know anybody who is fool enough to dive in the lake never gets back. You are pulled down to the darkest depths of the Seas.
Mike: Well, the little horse seems to do pretty well there. Its my favorite one out of the three of them. What about you guys?
But before they could answer, somebody arrived. A really beautiful girl with long dark hair came up to them and started talking:
???: Dont even think about it! Youd never be chosen. In fact, I will get the three of them.
Lily: Oh, hi Vittoria, nice to see you too. And you know thats impossible. They choose different people.
Vittoria: Humph, just stories. My father will get me the three of them. They dont get to choose the people. And even if they did, they would obviously choose me. Who wouldnt love me?
Bob: Oh my god, I think Im going to vomit. Seriously, Vic. Just because youre the mayors daughter, it doesnt mean that theyll choose you. The newborns are above you or your father.
Vittoria: Thats what you think! And I already told you to stop calling me Vic! I hate it! My name is Vittoria! With a double T! There isnt even a C in it! And just you wait. As soon as my dads and profs scientists manage to attract those things to the building, they will catch them for me!
Mike: Yeah, yeah, we know it. Why dont you go dream elsewhere? We were having a nice chat until you came here. Your father must be looking for you, go away.
Vittoria was the mayors only child. A very spoiled and stubborn girl, she always had everything she wanted. Her father, being rich, would buy her anything and everything. She had already visited the whole world, and her favorite place was the mall at Kallone City, the city built in honor to Ephrotida. She would always get really upset when things didnt go the way she wanted.
Vittoria: Ill help them get the Pokémon to come here. They sure will want to come when they see me. See you, losers.
They kept quiet while the girl was getting away, and when she was far enough, Lily was the first one to talk:
Lily: Ugh, I cant stand her. Shes so idiot! If she tries to steal the Pokémon
oh I dont even want to think on what Id do!
Mike: Calm down, sis. Theres nothing she can do. They just wont go with her.
Bob: Hey, you know what? She actually gave me an idea. Lets try our chances with the Pokémon too. Who knows? We might or might not be the chosen ones, but they dont seem to be going to leave there until they find the ones they trust.
Mike: Yeah, sure, why not? Lets go!
The three of them then got up and walked to the stage, where the Mayor and Professor Cherry were trying to draw the newborns attention. Vittoria was just talking to her father, without helping at all.
Vittoria: Please, dad, please! You will get them to me, wont you?
Mayor: Ill do my best, honey, but they need to choose you!
Vittoria: Im sure they will! Oh, but if they dont? Dad! Please!
Professor Cherry: Oh, hey kids. Did you come to help us? Weve been trying all day, but they just look at us and turn their backs.
Mike: Yeah, we wanted to give it a shot. Theres no problem if we try, is there?
Vittoria: Of course there is! They are mine! Go away!
Angry, Vittoria strongly shoved Mike away, definitely a little too strong. The boy was standing near the lake shore, and fell in the lake, splashing water everywhere. The fish started shining brighter and were swimming in Mikes direction while, outside the water, a desperate Lily yelled at Vittoria as Bob tried to stop her from jumping at the lake to try save her brother.
Lily: YOU IDIOT! Look what you did! Mike! Mike, come on! You can swim! Come here, brother! I know you can get out of here! Bob! Let me go! Ill save him! I can save him! MIKE!!
Lily, Bob, the Mayor and Professor Cherry were all trying to rescue Mike without falling in the water, but he was too deep already and they couldnt reach him. Vittoria was sitting in a corner crying desperately and yelling, but she wouldnt help them.
Underwater, Mike was starting to lose consciousness. When he first fell, he tried to swim back, but it was like a strong current was pulling his legs and his arms downwards. He couldnt reach the surface no matter how hard he tried. His eyesight started getting blurry, everything was getting white he didnt know, but it was actually the fish which were getting close to him, ready to attack.
When everything seemed lost for the poor boy, the unexpected happened. When Mike was closing his eyes and got ready to take his last breath which would fill his lungs with water and terminate his life earlier than it should, he saw a shadow overcoming the bright fish and coming into his direction. He didnt know what or how, but something didnt want him to end like that. Some sort of animal bit his T-shirt and started pulling him to the surface. In an always increasing speed, the animal, which was stronger than its size would suggest, managed to successfully bring Mike back to the surface and save his life. Even though being able to breathe again, Mike didnt stand the accident and fainted. The last thing he saw was the starry sky over his head and the light coming from Aesthis fireplace.
When Mike finally woke up, he was in a room he had never seen before. It seemed like a hospital, but he knew it wasnt it; the hospital had white walls, while this room had them gray. Everything had a metallic feel. The place was quiet and extremely clean. Nobody else was in the room. Mike was lying in something that wasnt a bed, it seemed like a table. He sat up and looked around. There were lots of computers and screens showing graphs and charts he couldnt decipher. The wall behind of him had a huge mirror, in which he could see he was now wearing pajamas somebody must have had changed his wet clothes so he didnt get sick. Feeling a little dizzy and unsure about where he was or what had happened earlier, he got up and was about to leave the room when the door itself opened and revealed Professor Cherry with a big smile on her face.
Professor Cherry: Hello little chosen one. Did you know youre really lucky?
Mike didnt understand at first, but then flashbacks ran through his mind: Vittoria was angry, he fell in the lake, fish got close, a black shadow, then the sky. The sky was the only thing he seemed to remember well. It seemed like it was laughing at him. A mysterious laughter that showed, at the same time, entertainment and satisfaction. Something had played with his life and he had not enjoyed it. Either way, Mike tried to move the bad feelings away and concentrate on Professor Cherry, who had guided him back to the bed/table he had been sleeping on and now looked at him entertained with his confusion, but still smiling fondly.
where are us?
Professor Cherry: Were in my lab, in the Mythos Building. When you fainted we brought you here so I could take care of you. Phil suggested me to take you to the hospital, but I thought it would be safer to bring you here. The Home Lake has unknown toxins which the hospital dont have antidotes for, but I do, as Ive been researching the lake for quite some time now. Youre probably still confused about what happened. Ill let you talk to your family and theyll tell you.
Professor Cherry kindly messed Mikes hair and left the laboratory, coming a few moments later with Mikes parents and sister. Upon seeing her brother awake, Lily started crying and ran to hug him.
Lily: Mike! Oh Mike, Im so relieved youre ok! You have no idea of how much we were worried about you! And about that idiot, shell never get close to us again! Never!
Mom: Oh, honey, Im so happy to see youre ok! Dont you ever get close to that place again, you hear me?!
Dad: Hey son! Great to see youre awake. Ready for another one?
Dad: Hey, just kidding! Seriously now, Mike. Are you alright?
Mike: Well, I guess I am
but, what exactly happened? I dont remember very well.
Lily: You fell in the lake! That stupid Vittoria did it! When you were there, you were being pulled down by some strange force, but then
he saved you. Mike, Sepodions creature chose you! He saved your life! You are the first chosen one.
Mike: What? Youre telling me I was chosen? Out of everybody?
Lily: Yeah! Its a really smart Pokémon. Im sure it recognized how great of a person you are. It is said that only the ones with a pure heart can be chosen. Thats why Im afraid I never will
I wanted to do to Vittoria what she did to you
I dont have a pure heart
Mike: Hey, dont say that. Of course you will! Come on! If it was you who had fallen, I would have felt the same way! Cheer up, little sis! There are still two more!
either way, when you were brought back to the surface, Professor Cherry brought you here. Youve been asleep for hours. She said there are way more toxins in the lake than she thought. Its a miracle youre alive. By the way, your new Pokémon is waiting for you outside. Dont you want to say hello to him?
Mike: heck yeah! Lets go!
When Mike and his family left the laboratory, they met Professor Cherry, the Mayor and Bob waiting for him. There was no sight of Vittoria. They were sitting in chairs in what seemed like a waiting room, but as soon as they saw him, everybody got up.
Bob: Mike! Youre ok, dude! Man, what a shock that was! Never do it again, ok?!
Mayor: Mike, my friend. Id like to apologize for my daughter. What she did was unforgivable, thats for sure. But Id sincerely want you to not keep any resentment. I only want the best for the citizens of Lasa Village, and if I knew that Vittoria would do something like that, Id never let her come to the lake today. Be sure that she will be punished for her acts.
Mike: Well, thank you mister Mayor. I wont keep any resentment against you, but dont expect me to be friends with your daughter or anything like that. It will be really hard to me to get over it.
Mayor: Its understandable. Once more, Im sorry.
Professor Cherry: So, enough with sad talk, right? Mike, do you want to meet your new friend? Ive already made an analysis of him and he was added to the Pokédex. In fact, I believe you deserve to keep your own Pokédex, here it is.
The Professor landed the boy a small gadget: a small rectangular red instrument with a touch screen with information. In the screen could be seen a photo of a blue horse. Next to it, the number 007, a name and a description: Equide, the tide Pokémon. With its incredible force and speed, it can control currents and waves. Water type.
Can I see him now, professor?
Professor Cherry: Sure, lets go, hes in the next room.
As Professor Cherry guided Mike to the next room, her eyes met the Mayors and sparkled severely. She didnt need to say a word, but the Mayor knew what she was thinking. And he was afraid of it. Nobody else seemed to notice this.
Mike was completely surprised when he went through the small door leading to the room where hed meet his savior. He entered a huge room, many times bigger than the waiting room they were before. This new room had no ceiling, so he could see the sky, it was still dark outside, but it was almost dawn the sun was slowly starting to enlighten the sky. Right in front of them were dozens of Pokémon, most of which were birds or rodents. However, one Pokémon contrasted with the others. The blue horse which Mike had seen be born in the fireplace was playing around with some other species, but it stopped as soon as it spotted the boy. With a neigh of happiness, it ran in Mikes direction and jumped on him, knocking him to the floor.
Mike: Hey buddy, Im happy to see you too! Uh, thank you for saving my life!
Equide neighed once more and started running around Mike as the boy got up.
Professor Cherry: He only came with us to follow you. He wouldnt come if you werent with us. The other two Pokémon remained there. We tried everything we could, but, unfortunately it seems that they will only come with the chosen ones.
Professor Cherry had a serious air whenever she talked about the legends of Slympou. As she talked, the Mayor entered the room.
Professor Cherry: Oh, hey Phil. I was telling Mike something more about the legend. I was about to tell him the part about the Sanctuary.
Mayor: Oh, the Sanctuary. Indeed. This part is rather interesting. And not many people seem to know about it. You know, my friend, that humans are only allowed to go to the Sanctuary once a year, in the Aesthi day, right?
Mike: Yeah, I know, but now its past midnight. We cant go there anymore.
Mayor: Right. But Shades and Uzes gifts are still there. And theyll only leave with their chosen ones, right?
Mike: Yeah, but how can the chosen ones get there? Theyd get lost in the forest forever. And more, we dont even know who the other chosen ones are.
Professor Cherry: The legend says that gods creatures can guide their trainers through the forest. You have free access to Home Lake, Mike. And more: you can go there with two people you trust.
Mike: Seriously? Well, I think I already know who to take there then.
Mayor: However, must I add, that if the people you take there arent the other chosen ones, the gods will punish the three of you, take back their creatures and youll be lost forever. Mike, Id like to ask a favor of you.
Mike: Uh, yes sir?
Mayor: Mike, Id like to ask you to take Vittoria with you. I know its hard for you to even hear her name after what happened tonight, but please, its really important to her, and its really important to me too. I helped save your life tonight, Mike, do this little favor to me.
Mike: What? She tries to kill me and you want me to trust her? Im sorry, mister mayor, but, as Professor Cherry said, I can go there with two people I trust. I dont trust your daughter, I never will, and Im sure the gods dont either. Ill bring the two people who I really feel that could be chosen.
Professor Cherry: Yeah, Phil, youre asking too much from the boy. It was a near-death experience, and Vittoria was responsible for it. Lets just let Mike rest for tonight and he may go in the afternoon, right, Mike?
Mike: Yeah, right. I just want to be with my family and my friends for now. Lets go, Equide.
The horse showed its happiness by neighing again and followed Mike as he left the room, without letting the Mayor say anything. Phil knew that this favor he had made hadnt pleased Mike nor Cherry, and he knew there would be consequences to his unwise request.
That night, Mike couldnt sleep very well. First of all, because it wasnt night. By the time he got home it was already morning, but he needed some sleep before going into the forest again. He had already decided who were the ones to deserve his and the gods trust. The teenager had terrible nightmares while he slept. Dreams with the lake pulling him to the darkness and not being able to get back, the laughing sky turning into Vittorias face, then everything would get white and he saw the Big Three cursing him for choosing the wrong people to come with him. Figures that made no sense to him hunted him in his dreams, always trying to kill him, and when they were about to be successful, he would wake up. By noon, he decided to get up. Mike had a mission in which he couldnt fail.
Downstairs, Mike met his family and Bob, visiting them
Mom: Good morning honey, are you feeling better?
Mike: Yeah, kind of, mom. Everyone, I have to tell you something.
Lily: Whats it, Mike?
Lily had been sad ever since the night. She was sure she would never deserve to be chosen by the gods. The girl had had terrible thoughts with Vittoria, in which tortures ten times worse to drowning would happen to her. Mike hadnt told anybody about his mission yet. He had decided to rest before doing so.
Mike: Last night, when I was in the Pokémon room in the Mythos Building, prof Cherry and Mayor Phil told me something about the ancient legend that not many people know. I want to tell you all.
While Mike told the story, his parents, Lily and Bob were getting agitated and anxious for his announcement, which, his mom, knowing him very well, already knew what would be.
Mike: Lily, Bob, I want you two to come with me. Youre the only ones I trust enough for this.