It’s been a long time since the incident at Dragonspiral Tower. We’ve arrived in Opelucid City, staying at a B&B hired out by the Pokémon League themselves for us. After the incident we were advised to undergo battle training in the warded off, and dare I say smelly, Challenger’s Cave. That’s been our daylight since leaving Icirrus, while our evening life has been our continued effort to understand N’s cryptic instructions as well as our understanding of the Legendary Dragon Pokémon.
In that time, Volm, our little Joltik, evolved into a peppy and fierce Galvantula, becoming one of the research team’s most valued fighters thanks to his innate vigour. Orla’s gotten used to her new quadruped form, and though we’re still trying to figure out a way for her to write to me again, she’s as determined as ever to fight and lead the charge, alongside Drayn and Volm. Warren’s been great at team morale, alongside Elle who has been taking it upon herself to check in more with everyone. Finn has been verifying everything still, and bestowing their Victory Star on us while training.
We came to Opelucid alone, awaiting the arrival of the Dark Stone upon Aurea’s behest.
“Lill! Lill!” Elle tugs at my jumper as I write, breakfast’s ready. Her and Warren have prepared porridge for us.
“Cheers, I’ll be over in a sec.” Everyday I’ve been checking the delivery of the Dark Stone, and asking the locals of Opelucid what they know of it. Today I have a meeting with a young girl named Iris, we’ve been talking online and she’s told me her mentor would tell me everything he knows of the Legendary Dragon.
I sit alongside my team to eat, preparing ourselves for the day ahead of us.
“She said to meet us around here, right?” Myself and Finn stand at a crossroads in the rural town. The pavement beneath us overgrown, yet dispersed enough to give the illusion that it’s looked after. The verdant breeze from the acres protecting this town is refreshing, healing. But we’ve been standing here for twenty minutes and she still hasn’t shown up.
“Want to go on a walk? It’s been a while since we’ve just hung out on our own, Finn.”
“Nii!” They lay on my head, cute. As we make our strides away from the street corner, a pull on the back of my jacket.
“‘Scuse me, Mr. I’m lookin’ for a Galarian guy with tacky gold bangs. Have you seen him?” I turn around. “Oh! You’re Alec!” I try to hide my discomfort at being described so callously...this is certainly Iris though.
“Nice to meet you properly.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, Mr. Hero!”
“I’ll explain! Follow me to Uncle Drayden’s! He’ll tell you everything!” I follow her, but she still has a grasp on my jacket…
When we arrive at the large cottage, we’re welcomed in by a tall, muscular man with arguably the most impressive beard I’ve ever seen.
“Iris, this is Alec, right?”
“Good girl, there’s some cookies over there, play with Axew for a bit while I talk to our guest.” She runs off into the garden where small dragon Pokémon are playing, the man pulls out a chair at the dining table, calling for me to sit in it. He sits opposite me.
“Iris told me everything you’ve been talking about online. She knows a lot for her age, but I must ask that you not contact her again after this business with Reshiram is over. She’s too young.” I nod, respecting his decision. “As you know, I am Drayden. Mayor and part time Gym Leader of this beautifully ancient city.”
“Pleasure to meet you, sir. My name is Alec, as you know. This Victini is Finn.” He smiles at Finn, asking them if they want to join Iris and the Axew: which of course he does.
“I must ask, when will the Dark Stone be arriving?”
“Then we can’t partake in small talk, unfortunately. You seem like a very brave and intelligent young man. Exactly the kind Zekrom would choose as it’s patron.”
“I’m sorry. What’s Zekrom?” Drayden stands from his chair, walking over to his bookshelf, finicking with the spines as he explains to me.
“Zekrom is the twin of Reshiram, and understandably the lesser known of the two. For it’s my family who has attempted to retain it’s identity and safety for the past thousand years.” He picks out a large black and white book, flicking through the pages. “Your Victini, Finn. They truly are the Victini the Unovan heroes met with, and now they have chosen you as a companion as well. This is no coincidence.” He sits back down, laying the book down. Inside are ancient drawings I’ve never seen before, depicting a creature I recognised as Reshiram, but another one. Deep black and rigid.
“Is this what Zekrom looks like?”
“Yes. As you know, and as superstition says, Reshiram is the Pokémon known for granting and exposing truth. But you cannot have truth without the conviction and moral compass of what must remain uncovered: this is why Zekrom exists, the scion of ideals. The people of Unova have been protected from this truth, for example.”
“Because once there really was only one Legendary Dragon Pokémon. One not even my family knew the name of, as well and truly it was a nameless creature every Unovan respected, revered, and feared. Only two men were ever able to understand this creature, them being a hero who understood the unjust nature of the society he lived in: Remil. The second hero applied all he had learned, dedicating his life to liberating Unova from its war-driven monarchy: Zehn. These heroes won every battle they’d ever fought with the assistance of Victini, as you know, but with such incredible power came the ability to tame the Legendary Dragon.” I begin to flick through the pictures, photographs of ruins I’d never even heard of. Nobody had. Drayden continued.
“The heroes were not of the same mind, but they were of the same mission. They succeeded, demolishing the monarchy that had ruled over Unova since its conception. The people of this region respected nobody more than the twin heroes who had brought democracy to this land. After being revered by the country, though, this began to cause plenty of friction between the heroes.” Drayden examines a drawing himself, one of Reshiram.
“What happened? They asked the Dragon to pick a side?”
“Exactly that. But it was impossible. The internal conflict was so polarising that the creature had managed to split itself: giving birth to what we know as Reshiram, the follower of Remil, and Zekrom, the follower of Zehn. The Scions of Truth and Ideal.” He laid down the drawing next to the sketch of Zekrom. “The two creatures and heroes battle for over a year, until the twin heroes pass away. Their dying breaths leaving Reshiram and Zekrom with one command: rest. There is where the stories end, and where I theorise is where Reshiram and Zekrom respectfully reverted into the forms we in Unova have found them in over the past fifty years: the Light and Dark Stones.”
“So...why can Reshiram listen to N? It’s not because of his conviction, surely. Does that mean that he’s right? That what he says is the truth?” Drayden shakes his head.
“The young man that flies atop Reshiram today: it is not the truth that summoned the Dragon, but I’d imagine that it is the fact that to him, there is nothing else but his truth.” He carefully places the drawings back into the book. “While you, Alec, are not his opposite, but his equal. The other Gym Leaders have told me a lot about you. You’re a man who understands his place in this world, and knows what is just. Not unlike Zehn, don’t you think?” I consider it, twisting my hair as I ponder.
“So if we’re completely correct, because obviously part of this is just hearsay and going off of history and thesis. I need to summon Zekrom, like N did for Reshiram.” Drayden nods, placing the book back on its shelf.
“You’re going to need these if you want to go to the Pokémon League, I’ve already informed the institution about the circumstances. Thousands of citizens have sighted Reshiram and more Team Plasma members than ever before en route and overrunning the Pokémon League. We shall all escort you and the Dark Stone.” I nod. “Are you ready, Alec?”
“We leave tomorrow night. Prepare your Pokémon for the journey.”