As we sit in the B&B, waiting for Drayden’s call, I think about all the flashbacks I’ve ever experienced. Most recently with Drayn’s evolution, and this ominous comfort his presence gives me, and all the way back to when I first interacted with the Dark Stone in Nacrene Museum. I take a moment to think.
Volm sleeps at my feet, while Elle entertains the rest of the group.
When I was little, I used to play in the fields more than any other kid on my street. I used to run around and play with any Pokémon I could find. Even when I wasn’t allowed out because of the weather, my father...my father...he always used to let me play with all of his. They were big and scary when I was tiny, but I got to know them just like any other. One was a towering, strong Pokémon the people of Galar respected: a Runerigus. I look onward to Drayn, a coincidence I suppose that we’ve gotten Yamask evolutions, me and Dad. He smiles, ready for the journey inbound. I smile back.
There was always this one kid I’d play with though, a weird one who never talked about parents, his home, or any friends either. He always wore this tunic, and some shorts sewn from cheap wool. So one day I asked him if I could be his friend, and all of these Pokémon I’d never seen showed up. A Zorua, a Woobat, and a Darmanitan that wasn’t cold and smiling. It was crazy. The kid explained that they were his oldest friends, he’d been asked to not talk about them, and that if I wanted to be his friend I had to be friends with them too. Of course I said yes, what little boy would say no to seeing more of what he hasn’t. We all got along so well, spending the whole night in the forest.
That’s all I can remember from childhood. The next memories I have are when I was a teenager, going to school, getting my grades.
“Samurott.” Orla nuzzles her face against me, comforting me as I think. Finn is sleeping on her back. I hear Warren making tea in the kitchenette.
Where did these flashbacks take place? Suddenly my father wasn’t in the picture anymore. Mum stopped talking about Dad, but I never asked why. Why didn’t I ask why? She never gave me an answer...she never gave me an answer...why wouldn’t she give me an answer...my head hurts.
Orla looks up at me, my face is blank and unable to react. It hurts. Not again, not again, not again. Not while I’m on the verge. She panics, calling on everyone to come and help me. I’m muttering, I’m calling, I’m shouting.
“Warren! Refresh! Please!” Seeing my Pokemon surrounding me, Drayn looming over me the most, I feel the warmth of his arms as I drift into another flashback.
I’m a child. There’s the boy behind me. The friend I once made. There’s the body on the floor, with Yamask’s mask. There’s the beast towering over us.
This beast. This Dragon. It’s...not Reshiram. It’s not Zekrom.
I stutter. I fumble. I scream.
“Who are you!? Why did you hurt him!? He didn’t do anything! He was trying to save -!” I can’t say it. I can’t say the name.
But I know it. I know the name.
What is his damned name?
When I come to, Drayden is carrying me. I see my Pokémon around us, Finn chirping as they see me open my eyes.
“Ni! Nii!” Drayden looks down, welcoming me back to consciousness.
“Good afternoon. I understand you had another one of your episodes. I’m afraid you don’t have much time to divulge the details. The Dark Stone is here, and we must make haste towards the Pokémon League.” He places me down, letting me lean on his arm for support. Drayn gives one of his arms as well.
“Thank you. Sorry for worrying everyone.” I notice that a Haxorus, probably Drayden’s, is carrying a large crate in their arms.
“Is that the Dark Stone?” Drayden nods, escorting me into a large black van. Inside, we sit down with the Dark Stone between us. We both return our Pokémon to their Poké Balls as the driver asks us to do up our seat belts.
“We must hurry. The Dark Stone is still dormant for now, but we can’t know for how much longer.”
As the engine starts running, a wave of fear hits. Drayden puts his hand on my shoulder in consolidation.
“You’ll be okay.”