AUTHORS' NOTE : Yes this update comes with as much a surprise for myself and NightMarE as it probably does for everyone. After exactly one year of abandonment/hiatus hanging over this fic, we have decided to update it. Or rather, the voters on our Patre0n channel decided to vote for a Legend update and bring it back to life.
Before you move on to reading the chapter, we just want to clarify some things.
The writing style has changed significantly, as has the way I used to write plots back when I was writing Legend. Regardless of how pleasurable a read it might have been, there will probably be some retconing of plots from the previous chapters in an attempt to make the story flow better. Of course, that is a matter for the future.
Well, that is pretty much it.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the chapter
The Past is entombed within the Present.
Despite being the grand-daughter of the world-famous Blaine, Giselle had always been more interested in her mother's side of the family.
Owners of the Lands of Mamor, a group of islands in the Orange archipelago, and the priests of the Great Old One that slumbered beneath the ocean floors.
As a young girl, Giselle and her younger sister Melody had been extensively trained in the arts of psychometry and contagion, skills that would one day allow them to take up the mantle held by their ancestors for as long as they could remember. Of how the world was its own enduring monument, and that which is true of its physical construct, is also true of its spiritual development and history.
Sometime after her eighth birthday, her father had decided that she needed a 'real education' and sent her to the Pokémon Tech Academy despite her personal wishes. She hadn't been too happy with it, but in time, she had grown to enjoy working with pokémon. She had grown from the inexperienced student into a successful apprentice breeder, but her heart still lay in the unexplainable facets of the mystic arts taught to her as a child.
And that was how she had been drawn into the current state of things, or rather, the person.
Officially, the weirdest person she had met so far.
People were shaped by their experiences. Not just mentally, but spiritually as well. The Law of Contagion stated that once two entities or objects have been in physical or spiritual contact, a bond was formed between them. A skilled psychometrist could feel these connections and piece together the events of the past, at the grand and tragic annals of its history.
Put more simply, every action one took, every movement one made, every meeting one made… all of those left marks upon the soul.
Marks that could be studied and understood.
His very soul showed that the abyss's he gazed into… they looked back.
He was a wonderful object to be studied.
But where was he? Giselle didn't know. It had only been a few hours since he had left the compound. Surely he couldn't have gotten that far. Right?
She continued to run.
From their initial moment of physical contact, Giselle had been able to feel the echoes left upon his soul.
This was unusual because she wasn't even trying to read him.
Curiosity won over caution and she had reached out to figure out the mystery that was Ash Ketchum.
Doing so had nearly killed her.
The boy— Ash —had witnessed Legends. Beings so powerful they changed those around them simply by existing.
Left echoes upon their very souls.
And she… she had the misfortune to touch upon the frost in his soul.
It had been for the barest fraction of a second and yet she nearly lost her mind in trying to comprehend the impossible. Her entire body felt as if pierced by countless shards of ice, and felt her mind and soul experience a complete and utter lack of entropy.
A cold, dead world.
And in its center, stood Winter.
Before her mind could even begin to comprehend what she had just felt, she had been pulled to the next echo. And as her mind was being shredded, all she could perceive was a psychic storm so vast and endless that she could neither determine the beginning nor the end.
No, she simply floated aimlessly in an endless ocean of power.
It was then that her mind was engulfed with the final echo. One that represented calmness and serenity. Which was lucky, because if not for that she would likely have been dead.
Just how many Legendaries had Ash interacted with? The mere memory of what she had felt was probably going to give her nightmares for weeks.
Just what the hell was Ash Ketchum?
It had started out with curiosity… a mere touch.
But now it was different.
Now he was interesting.
Too interesting, too vague, and too experienced to be ignored.
She hadn't really envisioned things to turn out like this. A little manipulation and charm had been enough to push him into her little charade. She had assumed that the confident trainer she had met early on would make a re-appearance.
That hadn't happened at first.
She wasn't sure if he had any ulterior motives of his own, or had simply been infatuated with her beauty like any warm-blooded teen of his age, but regardless she had found nothing remarkable about him throughout the initial discussion. While her interest had been sparked when she found out that he had been touched by those above them all.
And yet from their conversation, Giselle would admit she had gotten a tad disappointed. Perhaps it had simply been a matter of chance that he had been marked so deeply by the Great Old ones?
Her curiosity began to wane and if not for the strange creature that took the form of a human girl she might even have considered the discussion a waste of time.
She had ended up dragging him through the entire episode with Drew to draw that out— and had inadvertently used Ash's own love for his pokémon as a lens to vent her personal grievances against her former boyfriend.
And that was when he changed.
Something must have clicked in him while the battle began. Gone was the laid back, easy-going boy that she had been easily able to manipulate into doing her bidding. Instead, it was almost like she was in the presence of an all-encompassing aura that threatened to smother her completely like a flower petal in a storm.
The first battle showed signs of being analytical. This one? It seemed to thrive on bouts of extreme craziness. Giselle had tried to find some logic behind his random, unmediated jumps between ever-changing movesets.
It was like trying to catch the wind.
It made no sense whatsoever, but that made it all the more interesting. Intoxicating.
Like an addiction.
And seeing how she had simply left the convocation ceremony midway and left to look for Ash Ketchum, the attraction she felt was maddening. She didn't know how or why, but one thing was sure.
The moth would continue to dance to the flame.
All she needed to do was find him.
I really need to stop jumping into things without thinking.
"But that would just be boring." The ancient ninetales that was his friend and partner spoke in his head.
Or maybe had she just allowed her unfiltered thoughts to be heard? It was really difficult to differentiate between the two at times.
Aoi, now back in her normal form, sighed as she curled on his lap, spreading her luscious nine tails all over the place.
Clearly Kaz had been a bad influence on her. How else would a proper and graceful creature such as herself commit to using sarcasm so much?
"It's called cultural osmosis, I believe."
He sighed at her antics. "Boring or not, it'd have made things less difficult. Both for myself and everyone close to me. Because of my…" His tone turned bitter, "brazen stupidity that has put us all under a time limit."
Aoi's eyes flashed with an undecipherable expression. "Oh, that."
"Yes," Ash groaned, cursing himself. "That."
As much as he wanted to pretend differently, the truth was that he was on the clock, and it was ticking. It had been around three months since he had that unfortunate encounter with Mewtwo. An encounter that had forever changed his life.
Ash Ketchum was a marked man.
One year to prove your worth. Then, I'll come for you.
Ever since he had heard them, those lines had haunted him for nights on end. Try as he might to pretend that everything was alright, the truth was that as days and weeks passed, he had a suspicion gnawing in the back of his mind— a rising fear that spoke in sweet words, promising how he'd lose everything to that monster.
And this time, there'd be nothing he could do to protect himself.
It'd not be an exaggeration to claim that he had gotten even more brazen in his activities after that fateful encounter. The visit to the forest of illusions had been just the beginning of it all. He had risked having a murder-happy dusclops under his belt, and deal with the idiosyncrasies of an enraged trevenant, often at the cost of putting his own life in danger.
All of that because of a single thing.
Mewtwo was a psychic.
Ghosts, in general, had an added advantage over the psychic type. The visit to Agatha had only supplemented his understanding of the otherworldly ones and yet…
And yet he couldn't see himself getting much further. He was stronger than before, but what did strength mean against the providence of a God?
"I just… I just don't see how gaining strength can help me defeat what basically amounts to a god."
"The one you speak of is no god," Aoi muttered.
"You only say that 'cause you haven't met anything like that before."
"I don't. But I digress. What are you going to do next?"
Ash looked away. Frankly, he had no idea. A part of him still retained the childish belief of securing all eight gym-badges, proving his worth as a trainer and challenging the League Conference. Surely he'd be able to gain strength then? Sylvi was slowly gaining more control over the more… esoteric aspects of her nature. Metagross had gotten some tutelage with the ancient colony, but he still had miles to go. Salamence and Magnus… they were strong and would in time, develop into truly fearsome creatures for sure but…
But would that ultimately matter?
"If I need to fight a Legendary, I need something that can kill one. To get my hands on something that powerful, I need to go searching for it."
"Searching for what?"
Ash looked down, his eyes firmly on the ground. "Back then, Bill told me an interesting story. About the seven dragon kings of old, who were able to defeat and seal a Dark God. A creature of antiquity, even among Legendaries from what I understand. " He paused for a moment, "I know that at least one of them lives but he might not answer my call a second time."
"You'd dare to call upon an ancient creature, hoping it would fight another?" Aoi questioned, no trace of humor in her tone. "I don't know whether to call you arrogant or foolish."
"Just desperate." Ash chuckled mirthlessly. "What else can I do?" He glanced at the blue and crimson dragon flying high up in the skies with Pidgeot, the two flying around and around like some kind of ritual.
"Someone I look up to once told me that only a pseudo-legendary has any chance against a legendary. But after seeing and knowing what I do now, I'm not sure if he's right. I'm running out of time and most of the options seem so…."
He palmed his face in frustration. "Just look at me. Here I should've been challenging the Cinnabar Gym and training my team, and yet all I can do is sit here and cry over past decisions."
"Technically you don't need to go there. Not really."
"Ash scoffed. "I need help to take care of things. I can only hope that the gym-leader Blaine sees things my way."
"Somehow I doubt that."
Aoi said nothing, only twisting her neck towards his right.
There on the edge of the field, stood Giselle.
Aoi was pissed.
Now for an entity that could literally tear realities in and out of existence, that was a dangerous thing to be. Unfortunately enough, the current state of things was so convoluted that a world-shaper such as herself had no other option but to lay down on her belly and pout like an adorable five-year-old while that sly creature did her maximum to ensure that Ash's attention was focussed on her.
With the threat of a monster coming for him, she'd have thought that he'd focus his time on improving himself, perhaps even acquiring certain… relics that could have helped him attain strength the likes of which were unknown to the modern world. Being in service to an immortal Great Old One had taught Aoi several things that were best left forgotten. About the Orbs that kept the leviathan sunk beneath the ocean. About a certain the dewdrop filled with the essence of elder dragons in them— there was so much Aoi knew.
Unfortunately, those secrets weren't hers to share.
At least not until the moment he decides.
She had felt the echoes of the monster her master feared, and she knew, even with her wide range of powers, she'd fall short when facing a monstrosity of such power. But against her Lord, it was nothing.
For the devourer of worlds, for the power that only existed to consume everything in the universe… even this Mewtwo was nothing.
But the rules couldn't be broken.
He'd have to decide on his own. He'd need to break the seal, and when it happened, eternity would be his.
What monster could touch him then?
So no, Aoi was not afraid. A part of her wanted to quell her master's fear, but in the end, she did not. After all, nothing motivated growth than a fear of being annihilated.
It was a rule of the cosmos.
No, it was better to ignore all of that and focus on the present. Or more specifically, on the jezebel that was vying for her oblivious master's affections.
"It's really not that difficult to understand," she heard the vixen comment, "I merely told my grandfather about how you now have the pokémon he gave me."
"You mean the one you forced ion me."
"Oh come on," The sly female went on, "that's a prehistoric pokémon you're being casual about. What kind of trainer does that?"
"The kind of trainer that doesn't want to get his ass kicked by a former Elite Four member."
Giselle flushed, her cheeks pink with embarrassment, as Ash continued to glare at her.
"So what do we do now?" Ash questioned.
Aoi didn't need to read his mind to see how frustrated he was becoming with the conversation. Apparently, not only was this fiery bug thing a rarity in the modern world, but it was also the only one of its type that was currently out of its natural volcanic environment. And apparently the girl's grandfather had gotten super angry at her for doing… well, whatever she did.
Frankly, she couldn't care less, except…
Except now Ash, as the new trainer of this baby, would need to go to Cinnabar, and that too in haste, because an angry Elite Four had demanded it out of him. And from the way Ash had been pushing the pokéball into the vixen's hands, it was clear he wanted no part in this madness.
Of course, that didn't really help anything— as the girl took great pleasure in pointing out— since Blaine had apparently asked her to bring Larvesta's present owner with her to Cinnabar as well.
Aoi looked away, smirking at the girl's attempts to somehow latch on to her master. Their brief moment of exchange had allowed her to have a peek into the girl's psyche. She hadn't been able to truly understand the girl's abilities, but it was given that she had been blessed by paranormal powers. The important thing though, was that the girl was clearly attracted to her master and seemed to want something from him.
A part of her almost wanted to go along with the plan, if just for curiosity.
She was a fox after all.
It's the same thing, one after another. Ash mused with a frown. The initial attraction he had felt for Giselle had dragged him into a fight, which after everything considered, hadn't exactly been a bad deal. He had kicked the other boy's ass, and regardless how he saw it, he had gotten his hands on a rare pokémon, albeit one that came with the sort of baggage he really didn't want to deal with at the moment.
And now he'd need to go to Cinnabar because of the girl's mess. Again, not exactly a bad thing considering he had been planning to go to Cinnabar anyway. But to be involved with Giselle and her inability to care for a rare breed— that was something he really didn't want to get tangled into.
And now he'd need to show himself to a former Elite Four to deal with all the insanity.
He considered Giselle again.
"Tell me," he began as softly as possible, "what exactly do I stand to gain by agreeing to go with you?"
Giselle pursed her lips as if considering his words. "What do you want?"
"I'm to understand that your grandfather, Blaine, would want this larvesta back." Ash held up the pokéball, realizing that he had yet to see the pokémon in question. It felt odd.
Just when had the feeling of bliss from seeing a new pokémon for the first time vanished from his life?
"Well, he did want it back, at least at first."
Somehow, Ash knew what she was going to say after that.
"Then I mentioned your name."
I knew it.
He knew that after the entire affair at SS Anne and with Mewtwo, his name had been splattered all over the League. He had been able to conclude that much from his conversations with Steven over the last several months. The fact that he had spent weeks at Lavender Town being taught about ghosts by the most dangerous Elite Four in history, swiftly followed by the strange prophetic lines Sabrina had shared with him… it was only a matter of time before the other gym leaders learned about him too.
"—and grandpa asked me to fetch you as well, especially considering you were Larvesta's new trainer."
"Just like that?"
Giselle pursed her lips again as if choosing her next words carefully. "I'll admit I was just as surprised as you were. Does Grandpa know you or something?"
Ash shrugged, deciding that it was best to keep the girl from prying too much into his personal life. "The world's a small place, but I've yet to meet him in person."
"I suppose one could say that," Giselle replied, "but weren't you— anyway," she crossed her arms across her chest, "what do you want?"
Ash frowned. "Is it true that the Reese Fire Reserve is a chief exporter of feed to the Charicific Valley of Johto?"
"Normally I'd wonder how an ordinary trainer has access to that kind of information, but I suppose it's a moot point. Yes, it is."
Ash had a lopsided grin on his face. He knew that the Reese Fire Reserve of Cinnabar Island was one of the largest exporters of fire-type pokémon feed across the Kanto-Johto continent, but he needed to be sure. Besides, where else would the Charicific Valley turn to for its food production?
Still, it was merely a hunch, but Giselle had confirmed it for him.
"Never mind how I know that. I've been itching to go there for quite some time but I know the appointments take months."
"So you want me to help you arrange a quick appointment to the Valley for training? I didn't know you had a Charizard too."
"...something like that." There was no point in pointing out the flaws in her judgment at the moment.
"I see," Giselle scrunched her face. "I don't think it'd be a problem, but then I want you to have a little detour with me before you leave for Charicific Valley."
"A detour? To where?"
"Oh you know, just a bit here and there. I promise it'll be interesting." Giselle beamed. "So, do we have a deal?"
Ash sighed. Something told him that this detour wasn't going to be as irrelevant as Giselle was making it out to be. But if he could get a chance to train at the Charicific Valley, it would accelerate Magnus's growth and he could try gaining some information about the other dragon kings.
The King Dragonite had been able to fight Mewtwo.
His life was marked and he was on a ticking-time-bomb. He'd have to chase every lead he could if he wanted to survive.
"Fine, we have a deal."
"It's a date then," Giselle beamed.
"...that's not what I said."
This was supposed to feel better.
His wings extended out, Salamence soared upwards, feeling the warm air rush against his thick hide. Leading a prisoner's life, trapped inside that shell had been nothing short of a nightmare for him. Limited in movement, limited in power, limited in speed and precision. After his years of being a bagon, the transition state had felt less like metamorphosis and more like imprisonment.
The fact that he had probably brought it on himself because of an urgency to gain power didn't help either.
But that was the past. Now, he was free. All that power and potential that he had felt brimming inside him, it was all his to explore, to use, to show off. He had evolved from that walking-talking contraption into a monstrous form that was easily thrice as big if not larger. With his long tail and crimson wings, he looked every bit of the regal dragon he was supposed to be.
There was but a tiny problem.
He had spent most of his time as a shelgon coming off as a broody and bad-tempered fellow. The growing distances between himself and his trainer certainly didn't help matters. But now, after his sudden evolution and more importantly, now that he had begun mending the differences between Ash and himself, a part of him wanted to indulge the suppressed child in him— the bagon that had always dreamt of flight.
He really wanted the newer members to look up at him and squeak in terror, and at the same time, he wanted to yell out in happiness at the fruition of his oldest desire.
To be able to finally taste flight.
And yet, after all this time, the fruit of my labor escapes me.
The dichotomy between the two extremes had ended up with him gaining the reputation of being a moody and short-tempered behemoth that loved to tower over others and torment them for fun. Salamence had no clue how that had happened, and all Pidgeot would do was laugh.
He had a sneaking suspicion that the strange ninetales might have had something to do about it.
It was driving him crazy.
"Still bothered about your place in the team?" Pidgeot cawed, swerving downwards from an elevated point to fly beside him. "I thought you'd have grown a brain after evolution."
She threw a side glance to his voluptuous form.
"Or was it spent in getting a longer neck and tail?"
Salamence growled in annoyance, flapping his wings faster as he nosedived downwards, wanting to avoid the meddlesome bird. Unfortunately, Pidgeot swooped right after him, reaching by his side before he knew it.
No surprises there.
Even as a tiny pidgeotto, her skill, and maneuverability was second to none. Ever since she had gained her new form, the bird had spent almost every waking moment in the air. Salamence might have dreamed of having wings, but Pidgeot was born to swim through the sky.
There was simply no competition.
Pidgeot screeched again, attracting his attention.
"You aren't going to stop this, are you?" He growled, flapping his wings in annoyance.
"Why would I do that?" She screeched out, "It's getting boring, watching you pretend to be the big bad dragon with the rest of them. You know they'd welcome you, right?"
Salamence looked away, snorting out tiny embers of flame through his nostrils. "I'm not unaware of what they think of me. They call me a betrayer. They saw me attack Ash."
"Something you've felt bad about."
"Magnus won't see it that way."
And that was true. For Magnus, Ash was nothing short of a father. Unlike himself who had become prone to bouts of extreme jealousy, Magnus had always been content with whatever little attention he got from Ash. Hell, there were entire nights when the excitable charmander would go on and on babbling about what their trainer— his father— had taught him and how he'd make him proud.
Attacking him was possibly the worst kind of crime in the young dragonling's mind.
And Salamence had committed just that.
Salamence glanced down at the rest of the team. Metagross and Magnus had apparently decided to spar with each other and were fighting at the edges of the cliff, with the psychic floating in the air and the black dragon using the rocky walls to keep coming back and forth and attacking him with incredible accuracy.
The iron-leg pokémon was doing his best to deflect Magnus's high-speed attacks, using his supercomputing mind to draw out patterns and ready himself for a strike when it came. The black dragon on the other hand, was using his powerful limbs to leap past greater and greater distances and shooting towards the steel-type with maximum momentum.
"You wouldn't understand," He turned his head back to Pidgeot. "And Metagross does not forgive."
"Yes, Metal has his share of idiosyncrasies. As do you."
Salamence rolled his eyes. Pidgeot had addressed him as bonehead ever since they had encountered each other in the Viridian Forest. For some reason, she seemed to find endless amusement in coming up with strange names for everyone in the team. Magnus was crybaby, and Metagross— Metang back then —was Metal.
"I see your penchant for names hasn't gone yet."
"One must never lose good habits."
Salamence chortled at that. So much had changed over the time they had known each other. He was no longer the excitable baby dragon, stubbornly jumping down cliffs in hopes of flying. Pidgeot had ceased being that tiny, squeaking little thing. Metagross had stopped being an absolute bastard—
Wait. That wasn't right.
The iron-leg was still a bastard. He had just become more… formal.
Him, Magnus, Metang, and Pidgeotto— the original four— they had a strong bond, despite having been weaklings themselves. Now they were strong, but the bond between them had been shattered.
And it was all his fault.
"Staying away from them won't mend your differences, it's your arrogance that is holding you back."
For once, Salamence had nothing to say. Was he simply acting out of pride all over again?
"Look," Pidgeot cawed in surprise.
"Leave me alone for a—"
"No, just look."
"At what?" Salamence growled in annoyance.
The blue and crimson dragon stared down at the ground. Towards Ash who was standing next to the other human and the ninetales and strange red flower-bug while the forest was burning in the background and—
His thoughts screeched to a halt.
We hope that you enjoyed the chapter. If so, please fav/follow us, and more importantly, do review. Feedback gives us the motivation to write.
If you have something to share with us, or just want to talk to us about our stories, join us at our Discord Server - discord .gg/hqWqhtW (Remove the space).
You can also support us and our work on Patre0n at patre0n.c0m/theBlackStaffAndNightMarE (replace the 0 with o). Here you can vote for the story you want to see updated next and also support our original works.
Thanks once again, and we hope you continue to enjoy our stories.
~The BlackStaff and NightMarE~