If he had been paying any attention to his surroundings, he might have noticed that he had made it all the way to Viridian Forest.
The forest, named after the town on its southern border, was a popular training location for budding Pokémon battlers from the Kanto region. It also had a reputation for its large supply of bug Pokémon. Some trainers had found the denser part of the woods to be terrifying after dark. Others had prepared for such circumstances.
It is common knowledge that psychic Pokémon are vulnerable to insects. This didn't bother the Pokémon that was currently teleporting his way through the woods, quickly choosing destinations where the foliage would conceal his form. If he was less experienced, they could have posed a risk to him. But this was not the case. The true threat was the dark Pokémon that continued to pursue him, lobbing waves of dark power in his direction.
Dark Pokémon are also known to be vulnerable to insects. Their environment did not give either one a clear advantage.
He hated to admit it, but Mewtwo was starting to become tired. He didn't want to be here. He didn't like thinking of himself as the underdog in a fight. He didn't like to think of himself as being in a fight at all. He just wanted his opponent to leave him alone. And yet, for some reason, this was insufficient to get Darkrai off his back.
Why are you doing this?, the psychic transmitted via telepathy in his somber baritone.
Why not?, the scratchy distorted voice responded in kind. Do we always need a reason for what we do?
Mewtwo had tried everything he could think of to escape. It hadn't helped. Darkrai had continued to follow him even after his lengthiest teleports. His body was immune to psychic attacks, and his mind was closed off to suggestion. Mewtwo's keen mental senses weren't even capable of detecting his adversary.
That is, unless his adversary wanted him to do so.
The single glowing blue eye, floating in the black void that rested between its wispy hat-like growth and the red scarf around its neck, stared at Mewtwo from less than a foot away. There's nothing to explain. Do you realize just what you have done to me? How much your actions have hurt me?
Mewtwo's own purple eyes returned the glare. I have done nothing to you.
You have done nothing to me, the raspy voice repeated in a mocking tone. You sicken me. With the wave of a single appendage, it charged a void of dark power and prepared to unleash it in the direction of its enemy.
The enemy was no longer there. Mewtwo had teleported himself five yards behind Darkrai. Thinking quickly, he levitated off the ground and started heading in another direction at the fastest speed he could manage.
And that was why he was surprised when the dark void struck him in the back. Admittedly, Darkrai would have been foolish to think that he wouldn't try something like this.
It was super effective.
Mewtwo fell forward to the ground in a state of repose, his arms barely able to cushion the fall. Darkrai slowly floated toward him as it charged another dark spell in one hand.
...you have won... that is enough... leave me be...
The single blue eye blinked. Still conscious, even as you sleep. It placed the dark-charged hand on Mewtwo's back, just below the secondary tube. It does not matter. You are powerless.
As the dark energy flowed between the two, Mewtwo's slumber became deeper, beyond the point of consciousness. Finally Darkrai rose into the air again, its task completed.
Sleep well, psychic. I will not intrude on your nightmares tonight. Darkrai turned and floated into the distance. Compared to tomorrow, you may find them pleasant.
Mewtwo regained consciousness the next morning to find himself surrounded by darkness.
This annoyed him. He had hoped that Darkrai would have lost interest in him after delivering that one-sided trouncing the previous night. But apparently that was not enough for it. It had seen fit to cover him in a veil of darkness, unable to use his senses to see the very world around him, leaving him trapped...
Mewtwo opened his eyes, and the darkness lifted slightly to give him a limited amount of vision. A small comfort, he decided.
A close-up view of the leaf-covered ground awaited him. He mentally winced to himself. He had been sleeping facedown on the ground the entire night, and his chest was feeling rather uncomfortable as a result. Shaking his head slightly, he tried to lift himself to an upright position.
His eyes widened. He tried again, to no avail. The third time wasn't effective, either. He started to panic as he realized that he was paralyzed and unable to...
...no, he corrected himself. He had shaken his head earlier. He had no problem doing so. The problem had to be something else.
Specifically, he noticed, the fact that he had no body at all.
Even when surrounded by this void on almost all sides, he should have been aware of his own physical form. But he couldn't perceive it at all. This meant that he must not have had one. No arms, no legs, no chest...
...then why did his chest hurt?
He tried to stretch out one of his arms. He succeeded. Now he could see it, a three-fingered white hand resting upon the pile of leaves directly in front of him. He moved it up and down slightly. The hand in front of him did the same thing. He moved it to the side. It disappeared from his senses.
He was starting to catch on. Slowly and with a small amount of discomfort, he turned his head to the side. There was the hand again, floating in midair as the world rotated around him, revealing a sideways view of the forest where he had spent the night. The pile of leaves disappeared into the aether as the rest of the forest came into view.
Mewtwo's eyes widened in horror again. He was trapped in this almost complete sphere of darkness, covering his view from all angles except for a section of visible light in front of his face.
In front of his eyes.
He was seeing out of his eyes.
And anything that was not in front of his eyes, he couldn't see.
He slowly bent his body at the waist and tried to lift himself to a seated position. That part was easy. Now he could see a vast panorama of the forest in front of him. As long as it was in front of him, he could see it, as long as there was nothing in the way.
There was something in the way. A large number of trees, and he couldn't perceive anything past them. For him to see beyond those trees, he was going to have to move.
Moving cautiously in an effort to retain his balance, he managed to bring his legs under his body to support him. The dry leaves crackled under his two-toed feet. And he was starting to understand that they would continue to be there for the immediate foreseeable future.
He couldn't levitate. He couldn't teleport. For him to be able to travel anywhere, he was going to have to start moving his legs such that they could bear his weight and move him in the direction of his choice.
And if he wanted to take a closer look at those leaves, he was going to have to bend forward and look down at them.
And if he wanted to take a leaf along with him on his trip, he was going to have to use his fingers to grasp one and use his arms to support its weight.
He no longer had any psychic abilities to speak of.
Silently, he cursed Darkrai's name.
As he started moving through the forest, resigning himself to his fate and trying to put up with his sudden handicap, he started to wonder exactly what he did have...
Mewtwo was lost.
He hadn't seen any evidence of a path. He didn't know enough about this area to know which direction would lead him out of this forest and into a town. He wasn't even sure if he should have been heading to a town.
What was he supposed to do, anyway? For the past few years, he'd been moving from city to city, observing the humans and Pokémon from the shadows, and occasionally making sure that the clones that he had once protected were still doing well as they mingled with Pokémon society as a whole.
That was more enjoyable when he was able to move silently and out of the sight of others.
Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last, he wanted his psychic abilities back. If he had them, he would have been able to reach a city almost instantaneously. He wouldn't have to walk in random directions hoping to find help.
He was aware that most Pokémon routinely had to do what he was doing. Then again, he thought, they had more practice at it.
A flock of Pidgeys passed overhead. The first thing Mewtwo noticed was that he couldn't read their minds, and thus couldn't tell where they were headed. The second thing he noticed was that he could still understand them.
"Our nests are this way." "Stick together!" "If any of you are captured, we won't be coming back for you."
Mewtwo immediately tried to ask for directions. He failed. Of course, he thought. He had been using telepathy his whole life. Without that ability, all he had was...
He opened his mouth. A few seconds later, he shut it again.
What was he doing? Why couldn't he say anything? He had to have a voice. Everyone did. He had never met a Pokémon that was incapable of speech. So why was he having such difficulty?
This was going from bad to worse. It was bad enough that he lost his latent abilities. It was worse that he couldn't justify his complaints about what he was going through; after all, every other Pokémon had to live this way. But to not even be able to communicate with any of them, as they chirped and roared and squeaked to each other fluently...
What was wrong with him?
Is something wrong? Meowth got your tongue? Or am I thinking of a Mew?
Mewtwo looked around quickly for the dark Pokémon who was subjecting him to these torments. He couldn't see it. Of course not. It was bright daylight out, even under the canopy of this forest. It wouldn't make itself visible any time soon.
And it was watching him. Mocking him. Enjoying the nightmare that it had given the former psychic.
Understand this, psychic. You are not dreaming. It would be a pity if you could simply wake up from this.
Mewtwo fumed. Why was this happening to him? Why would Darkrai do this? Even someone like it would have to have a reason. Otherwise, it wouldn't continue to talk to him.
Am I talking to myself? Do you have a voice or not? Or have you just been hiding behind your psychic facade all this time?
Mewtwo opened his mouth again. Still nothing.
I should not be distracting you. Continue as you were. I will be content to watch. I look forward to seeing what you think you can do...
There was a bright blue light, resembling a single eye, directly in front of Mewtwo's face.
...and what you actually can.
The forest became quiet again. After a lengthy pause, Mewtwo resumed his unguided journey.
After a few more hours of walking, Mewtwo started to feel hungry.
He checked around his environs. This was a forest. If he looked hard enough, there would probably be nuts and berries available. Perhaps fruit, if he was particularly lucky.
In under a minute, he had located a tree with discarded nutshells around it. He was starting to understand his limitations a little better, so he decided to resort purely to brute force. After a few seconds of shaking the branches, a number of nuts fell to the ground. His task complete, he leaned down to pick a few of them up.
"I've never seen you before."
Mewtwo turned to face the source of the voice. Shortly afterward, he was returning the gaze of a small yellow mouse that had been staring at him with a curious look.
A Pikachu, of course. He had met a number of them in his life. Some were better trained than others. This one looked young and naive.
"Are you a good kitty or a bad kitty?"
He rolled his eyes. Even if he could respond, how was he supposed to answer that question? He continued to look at the Pikachu while using a single hand to crack the nutshell held within.
"It's not nice to not answer."
Mewtwo was beginning to lose his patience. He tossed the nut into his mouth, dropped the shell, and knelt down before the Pikachu in a menacing manner, his body looming over the small mouse. His fingers dug into the ground, leaving a few trace lines of...
...the ground was soft. It was easy to make markings upon it. Inspiration struck. At least, he hoped it was inspired.
Using a single finger, he started tracing lines in the ground. He had not actually done anything like this before in his life, but he was familiar enough with the human language to be able to trace something resembling its letters. The Pikachu looked curiously at what he was writing.
WHERE AM I
"Those scratches are pretty."
He looked at the mouse slowly, and then shook his head in frustration. It was too much to expect a young Pokémon to be able to read. If he wanted any help, he was going to have to find someone else. Someone who spent more time in the company of...
"You want to see more scratches like those?"
The Pikachu still looked confused, yet his expression was eager. Mewtwo decided to humor him, lacking any other leads at the time. Trying his hardest to give a friendly smile, he stood up and gestured at the mouse. The mouse returned the look briefly, and then started to scurry off. Mewtwo followed closely.
A few minutes later, they arrived at their destination. Mewtwo could tell that the ground he was standing on had been flattened and well-traveled, and he would be surprised if this wasn't a regular thoroughfare.
"See? Up there on the wood."
Mewtwo had seen it before the Pikachu had pointed it out to him. A signpost, with arrows pointing in two directions. One read "VIRIDIAN". The other, "PEWTER". Those were names of cities, he recalled. If he followed the arrows, he could finally get out of this accursed forest.
The mouse had saved him. In the circumstances, it was only right to thank him for his help. He wasn't sure if he could. With few other options available, he knelt down before the Pikachu and held out one of the nuts that he had gathered. The Pikachu looked at him, then at the nut, and then snatched it with his small paws quickly. "Good kitty!"
Mewtwo couldn't help but smile at this. Despite everything that was happening to him, he felt like he was doing something right. He placed a second nut next to the Pikachu as it worked its teeth away at the first one, and then headed in the direction of the arrow marked PEWTER.
VIRIDIAN reminded him too much of Giovanni.
Even on the beaten path, it was not a short walk.
None of the wild Pokémon had attacked him, Mewtwo noticed. He wondered what would happen if they did. On one hand, he was considerably stronger than most of the specimens in this forest. On the other hand, even small bugs had a good chance of hurting him, and he didn't know if he even possessed any means of attacking them.
That was a... Squirtle? Mewtwo looked in the direction of the voice to find a young boy looking at said reptile. It looked injured. The Pidgey that was lying flat on a nearby log looked even worse.
"I'm sorry", the boy said. "I only have one potion. We can't get more until we get some more money. These trainers have bugs... a flying type is our only chance." He recalled the reptile into one of his Pokéballs. "I can't let you fight. I don't want you to end up like Caterpie."
"I'm tired... I need to rest..." the Pidgey barely managed.
The boy gave it the potion. "I'm counting on you, Pidgey."
Mewtwo couldn't help but wince. He didn't like the idea of Pokémon training. He didn't like seeing Pokémon battle each other to the point of unconsciousness. And he especially didn't like it when a human was incapable of understanding what his Pokémon was trying to tell him...
The boy looked up with a start. "Who's there?" Seconds later, he was staring directly at Mewtwo. "Leave me alone! Please! I don't have any more money for you! I don't want to capture you! My Pokémon... they..." He immediately grabbed his other Pokéball and recalled Pidgey. "Go away!"
...then again, the boy had fallen on hard times. He would rather risk himself than let his Pokémon suffer any worse injuries. He wasn't aggressive enough to attack Mewtwo on sight. And...
...he was a human... and humans could read.
Mewtwo knelt to the ground and started tracing his finger in the dirt. GO TO TOWN
The boy looked at his writing, then up at Mewtwo. "You can wr... what are you? What do you want?"
Mewtwo wrote again. HELPING
"But... no, I can't. I need the money. They need to get stronger. If I... I need to stock up on items... so they can survive... I don't know..."
PIDGEY NEEDS REST
"But... I gave it the... it's my only chance... what am I supposed to do?"
Mewtwo shook his head impatiently. With his other hand, he underlined his earlier line. GO TO TOWN
The boy frowned. "I can't make it. There are too many wild... they already got Caterpie... I can't let Squirtle..."
Before he had even given it a second thought, Mewtwo's finger was moving. I WILL ESCORT
"You... you will? Thank... what are you?"
Mewtwo hesitated. What could he tell this boy? He didn't want to give out his name. Calling himself a psychic Pokémon would be... misleading... at this time. And...
...in these circumstances, perhaps he needed a human more than the human needed him...
Mewtwo tried to conceal himself as much as possible as he stood near the back wall of the Pewter City Pokémon Center. He didn't like being out and about in town before sunset. It made him too visible.
One of the windows slid open. As he glanced up, he saw what appeared to be a bedsheet dangling from one of the windowsills. He smiled. That was the signal that the boy had suggested earlier.
Unfortunately, that meant that the boy was several stories higher up than Mewtwo would have liked. Once again resigning himself to his fate, Mewtwo started to climb up the wall, using his fingers to find the best handholds that he could.
Thirty seconds later, he was lying flat on his back and in a small amount of pain. This was more difficult than he had expected. He was starting to wonder if it would have been a better idea to simply walk into the building and let everyone see him.
The second try worked. Almost. He lost his grip just shy of the bedsheet, and only managed to avoid falling by pitching backward and seizing the linen with his tail just in the nick of time. A few seconds later, the boy was pulling him through the open window by his hindquarters.
"I don't... you shouldn't sneak in like this", the boy said hesitantly. "Why can't you just... you know, go in?"
Off the top of his head, Mewtwo could think of three reasons to not answer that question. He continued to rub his hands over his tail, trying to soothe the pain.
"Are you shy?"
Mewtwo decided to nod in the affirmative to that question. Claiming that kind of social weakness appealed to him more than admitting that there were hundreds of humans in the world who would love to get their hands on him, and force him to obey them, and perform even more experiments on...
"I've got another Pokéball, actually. If you'd prefer that, that is..."
That was only slightly more acceptable than the experimenting, he considered.
The boy sat down on the bed heavily. "Well, here we are. We're in town. Just like you told me. The nurse says the others will be feeling better tonight. And I'm... still broke. Now what?"
A very good question, Mewtwo thought. He had suggested this trip largely because he knew that the boy's Pokémon could not withstand another fight. That didn't leave the boy with a lot of options, though. It would probably make sense to stay near the border of the town, allowing the Pokémon to gain some more battle practice against wild specimens, such that they could just go back to town and rest for free when they needed it. Once they were stronger, maybe...
...ugh, he thought. Why would he even think of sanctioning this cruel bloodsport? The boy deserved what he got. Maybe next time he'd know better than to force innocent creatures to fight.
...more importantly, what was he going to do about himself? Where should he go? Should he start building a new life for himself as a non-psychic Pokémon? What would such a life entail?
Or maybe... there was a way to set things right again. Was there some way to take back what he had lost?
There was a small pad of paper and a pen next to the video phone in the room. Complimentary, it said. This would suffice. Mewtwo did his best to grip the unfamiliar instrument in a comfortable manner, and then started writing on the notepad.
I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT DARK POKÉMON
The boy took a look at the Pokémon's words and then shook his head. "Sorry. I don't know that kind of stuff. I guess I'm still new at this."
Mewtwo thought for a moment. WHO DOES KNOW?
The boy shrugged. "I'm not sure. Actually, I hear there's a museum here. They might know something. Maybe you should start there?"
The pen started moving immediately. I DON'
"...oh, yeah. I guess you can't do that if you're... um... a coward, right?"
The pen dropped from Mewtwo's fingers immediately, the better to allow his hands to grasp the boy's shoulders as he glared angrily at him. The boy looked up at the furious purple eyes, and his voice struggled to speak again. "I... I mean... I didn't mean it like... it's just... you know, you're not going to... uh... get too far in life if you... you know, you're always shy like that... ow... please, my shoulders hurt..."
Mewtwo released him and bent down to pick up the pen again. I CA
He didn't finish. He wasn't sure what he wanted to write. It was so much easier to make a compelling argument when you knew what the other person was trying to say, and could compose your statements to address that. Without that direct connection to the boy's thought processes, he simply couldn't seem to explain himself as well as he should.
He once again cursed Darkrai's name to himself. Once again, he was going to be left to his own devices.
Just like every other Pokémon.
Without his ability to read minds, he would just have to hold a normal conversation. One in writing instead of speech, and directed at a human instead of a Pokémon, but a normal conversation nonetheless.
Without his abilities, he was just an average Pokémon. Just like everyone else.
And none of the other Pokémon were in hiding...
Mewtwo scratched out his earlier letters and surrendered himself to his logic. WILL YOU GO WITH ME
"Sure, no pr..." the boy started, and then corrected himself. "...there's an entry fee. I'm sorry. I forgot about it. I don't have enough to get us in."
There was a short pause as the Pokémon thought.
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED
The boy stood on the outskirts of town, looking innocent yet alert.
"Hey, kid. Fancy a battle?"
The new arrival was a slightly older teenager wearing a jacket. He held a Pokéball in one hand and kept a pair of backups on his belt. His expression was that of undying confidence.
"I don't know", the boy said. "My Pokémon are hurt... I've only got one left."
"One's enough for a battle", the teen finished. "Come on. I'll make it quick."
The boy sighed in an overdramatic manner. "Fine." He turned to look at the trees behind him. "I choose you."
That was the cue. Mewtwo emerged from behind the foliage and walked up to the teenager. His eyes were filled with contempt for the trainer, and his posture betrayed the amount of innate power that he still retained, even after his ordeal.
The teenager's jaw dropped.
Mewtwo and the boy sat outside the Pokémon Center, waiting. The boy had an angry expression on his face.
"Why did you do that?" he admonished. "You could have taken him!"
At first, Mewtwo had been hesitant to believe that. After all, even in a battle, he had always been reliant on his psychic attacks and mind-altering abilities. Without them at his disposal, he wasn't sure if he could do anything against such an opponent.
That was before he realized that he still had at least one attack at his disposal. A barrage of energy stars, formed from some type of inner power that was decidedly not mental, had emerged from his body and struck the teenager's Rhydon at a high velocity. He didn't have a name for this attack; he never thought that such things were necessary. The boy had described his assault as "swift", but hadn't explained why.
The attack was more than enough. The Rhydon had collapsed almost instantly, forcing the teenager to choose another Pokémon. A Butterfree. A sad-looking Butterfree, most likely brought up from the Caterpies in the forest. If his attack had taken down the Rhydon so quickly, the Butterfree would be even simpler.
And then it would have collapsed in a great deal of pain, just like the Rhydon had. And in the end, the trainer would have been left with considerably fewer funds and a number of unconscious Pokémon. Pokémon that had done nothing to deserve their fate, except follow the orders of the human who forcibly captured and commanded them, and called himself their trainer. And the mental image of a fundless trainer and his unconscious Pokémon reminded Mewtwo too much of the way he had found this boy, when he had first taken pity on him and assisted him...
He had been unable to bring himself to do it. Mewtwo had left without finishing the match.
It would be so much easier to rationalize this, he thought, if Pokémon were allowed to beat up the opposing trainers and take their money, leaving their Pokémon unscathed. Then again, the Pokémon training business would quickly dry up under those conditions...
"We're not going to make any money that way!"
I SAID I WAS SORRY
The door opened behind them. The teenager came out; the Butterfree perched on his shoulder. "Your Pokémon there really did a number on Rhydon. He'll need till tomorrow to recover."
Mewtwo exhaled sharply. He had been expecting the worst, so this outcome was oddly relieving.
The boy tensed slightly. "Look... about that, um..."
"Can we go back in?" the Butterfree asked in its high-pitched buzz. "They had food in there."
"It's no biggie", the teen said. "Can't be a trainer without accepting some losses, ya know?"
"I guess so", the boy replied.
"Speaking of which..."
"Please? I haven't eaten yet today."
"What Butterfree's trying to say", the teen continued with a smirk on his face, "is that you forfeited."
The boy started. "What? I didn't tell it to..."
"I won, right? Can we please get food now?"
"Even when it's because your Pokémon doesn't listen, it's still a loss." The teen pulled out a Pokédex. "That's the rules. I don't make them up."
"No buts, kid. Pay up."
The Butterfree was getting anxious. "And then food, right?"
The boy looked glumly at his feet. "I don't have any money", he admitted.
"What? You don't? So what were you doing, challenging me?"
"I didn't think it mattered if I won!"
The teen took a step forward. "But you didn't, did you?"
The boy turned to the side and gave Mewtwo a dirty look. Mewtwo didn't notice. He was too busy writing something on the notepad, his mouth twisted in annoyance.
"Look, if there's anything..."
"I can't believe this! If you don't have anything to wager, you shouldn't be battling trainers! Don't you know anything?"
"...I mean, if the gym finds out you're doing this, you could lose your right to be a trainer."
"WHAT?" the boy shouted in disbelief. "You can't be serious! After everything I've been through, you think..."
There was a loud ripping sound. As the boy trailed off, his train of thought interrupted, Mewtwo took the torn page from the notepad and held it out impatiently in the direction of the teenager. The teenager, equally surprised by the noise, looked at it.
BUTTERFREE IS HUNGRY
"What? What do you mean..." He trailed off as he looked at the insect on his shoulder. "...no... I haven't given you food yet today, have I?"
"Look", the boy said. "You're right. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have..."
"Hold off on that for a bit. I need to... uh... what's the name of your Pokémon?"
The boy shrugged. "It never said."
"Well... um..." the teenager stumbled over his words, looking at Mewtwo. "You, you understand Butterfree, right? Well, could you tell him... um... I need to run a quick errand at the Pokémart, and then I'll make sure he gets enough to eat?"
The boy scratched his head. "I don't know if it can. It never said a word to any of my..."
Before he finished, Mewtwo was holding the notepad up. NO, it read. With a slight hint of a smile on his face, the Pokémon turned it over to reveal the other side. YOU JUST TOLD HIM
Indeed, the Butterfree was visibly acting calmer and more content than before. The teenager smiled briefly. "Oh, I did, didn't I? Well..." He trailed off, turning his attention to the boy again. "Anyway, thanks for that. I don't know what I would have done if... look. I'll call it even. You're new at training, right? Consider this a friendly warning. Don't ever fight a wager match unless you have a wager, okay? I mean, it's not much fun if there isn't something to be gained, right?" He looked at the Butterfree again. "Look, I gotta go. Thanks again." And with that, he headed off in the direction of the Pokémart. Mewtwo watched him leave with a look of concern.
The boy breathed a sigh of relief. "That was bad", he said. He glanced over at Mewtwo. "I'm just glad you were able to work everything..."
The two looked up to see a middle-aged woman holding what appeared to be a Zubat in her arms. She had an unusual look on her face. "I couldn't help but overhear... sorry to intrude... are you saying your Pokémon can translate?"
The boy blinked. Several times. Mewtwo, he noticed, had a thoughtful look on his face. After a few seconds, the Pokémon nodded in her direction.
"Oh, good. See, Batty here has been noisier than usual lately, and I can't help but get the feeling that it's trying to tell me something. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you..."
The boy interrupted. "I'm sure we can help you, ma'am." He glanced at Mewtwo once more, and then back at the woman. "For a small fee."
The good news, Mewtwo reflected, was that he was inside the museum, free to figure out his next course of action, and the boy who accompanied him had enough spending money for a few useful items.
The bad news was that, once word of mouth had spread and the mad rush to take advantage of his service had ensued, almost every human in town had gotten a good look at him and figured out that he wasn't an ordinary Pokémon. And he couldn't do anything significant to change this.
Then again, he had yet to convince himself that he could find out anything here. Maybe it was a good idea to earn that kind of reputation, just in case he was forced to build himself a new life. In this situation, he really couldn't do much more than handle every moment as it occurred.
"Not much about dark Pokémon here", the boy said from across the room. "They're not too common around Kanto."
Disappointing, Mewtwo thought. He walked to the child's position, writing as he moved. WHAT ABOUT GHOSTS
"Ghosts? Um... yeah, they have a few things on those. Why?"
THEY ARE RELATED, Mewtwo wrote. To be honest, he wasn't sure about that, but he tended to associate the two groups with each other nonetheless. Both preferred the night, both were obsessed with dark colors, and both were highly annoying to meet when you were a psychic.
"It says there's a town called Lavender where ghosts have been seen a lot."
WHERE IS LAVENDER
"Uh... I don't know. I've never heard of it."
Mewtwo couldn't decide what annoyed him more: the fact that this boy didn't possess the amount of knowledge he expected people to need to be able to survive out in the wilderness long enough to become Pokémon trainers, or the fact that he hadn't bothered to learn the geography of the world himself. Teleportation tended to make such matters extraneous, after all.
"Still, I think this place has... yeah, I got a map. It's gotta be on there, right?"
That would do. Mewtwo took a look at the document. It resembled a small labyrinth of roads that wound through the Kanto region and connected the cities that littered the landscape. Lavender was easy to find; it was the furthest city name to the east.
Most of the towns had smaller names under them. Lavender did not.
WHY NO NAME
"Oh, that's a reference for trainers. I guess Lavender doesn't have a gym. See, they give you the name of the gym leader next to each town name." He started pointing down the map in a manner that Mewtwo found annoyingly condescending. "Cerulean has Misty, Saffron has Sabrina, and Vermillion has Surge. You get the..."
Before he could finish, Mewtwo had grabbed the map away from him and was scribbling notes onto his pad. Every few seconds, his eyes darted toward the map, then back at the notepad. "Um... what are you writing?"
Mewtwo didn't answer. He looked at the notepad thoughtfully, and then drew a few more lines. He glanced upward for a moment and then made another note. This completed, he held the map in the direction of the boy with a smile on his face.
The boy took it hesitantly. "Well?"
Mewtwo turned the page and started writing again. I HAVE AN IDEA. He flipped back to the previous page and pointed at what he had drawn.
A quick reproduction of part of the map, complete with roads. A few arrows over certain parts. As the boy looked, the arrows led past a town marked Celadon and led directly to Saffron.
Next to the town, the word "SABRINA" was written. And circled. Several times.
Night had fallen upon Pewter City. Mewtwo stood at the window, looking out from the Pokémon Center upon the gym that was situated nearby. A few trainers were leaving at the time. Whether they had succeeded or not, Mewtwo couldn't tell.
Sabrina would be living in a similar gym. And it was nearly impossible to be a psychic Pokémon without knowing about Sabrina.
This was not common for gym leaders. For instance, the gym Mewtwo was watching was led by a man named Flint. (This contradicted the map, which claimed that it was still being run by Flint's son Brock, but not all reference materials were expected to be timely.) Flint was known as an expert with rock Pokémon, and his gym was considered the Kanto authority on them. Still, there were still many rock Pokémon who had never met or heard about him.
By contrast, the very instant that a trainer of psychic Pokémon started developing such abilities herself, every psychic in the immediate area knew about it. Such minds were able to sense each other, after all.
The fact that she was a caretaker of psychics alone wouldn't have convinced Mewtwo to seek her out. But she had successfully trained her mind to a level surpassing that of many Abras, and she had even started training other people to harness the same potential. And she was a human. Humans weren't born with those kinds of abilities. Even if she didn't know how to cure his condition, Mewtwo had reason to believe that she would be able to teach him to use them again. From scratch, if necessary.
That was, if she would even give him the time of day. Mewtwo had always tried to hide his existence in the past, and when it came to psychics, that meant forcibly breaking the connection every time her mind started to become aware of him...
The room's door opened behind him. The boy entered quietly, three Pokéballs and a bag tightly held in his arms. "The nurse says they're feeling better now." He sat on the bed. "Did I thank you for helping me yet? I can't remember."
Mewtwo looked away from the window only long enough to pick up the notepad and pen again. Fixing his gaze on the gym again, he started writing.
"I'm starting to wonder. Maybe they're not ready for their first gym battle yet." He checked his bag. "Maybe these potions will be enough. Then again, I don't want to use them up too soon. What do you think?"
Mewtwo handed him the notepad. WE LEAVE TOMORROW
"Oh, yeah," the boy said as he nodded. "I forgot. You don't like battling." A brief pause. "So... uh... you'll be going to see Sabrina, then? I don't know why, but..."
He stopped, realizing what had been written. "We?"
Mewtwo turned to face him again and held out the pen, writing on the pad as the boy continued to hold it. ONLY TRAINERS CAN ENTER GYMS
"I think that's the rule, yeah." The boy looked at Mewtwo oddly. "You want me to be your trainer?"
The question hadn't been posed for even a second before Mewtwo wrote his succinct reply. NO
Before the boy could manage anything more than a surprised stare, Mewtwo continued writing in a more patient manner. I ONLY NEED TO GET INSIDE TO SPEAK WITH HER
"So... you want me to lie to a gym leader for your sake."
The pen did not move. The Pokémon continued to stare at him, giving him the distinct indication that it was exactly what he was asking him to do. "I shouldn't. I'm just a new trainer. Maybe someone else..."
I SAVED YOUR POKÉMON. I EARNED YOU MONEY. REPAY ME.
The boy glared at him as he wrote. "If I knew you were gonna do this, I wouldn't have let you help me."
Mewtwo was getting annoyed quickly. If he had retained his abilities, this wouldn't have been such a big deal. He could have simply mind-controlled the kid and forced him to do what he asked, and he wouldn't have complained...
He hesitated. When he thought about it in those terms, it really did make him sound cruel.
The boy was adamant. Perhaps it was time for a different approach. One that would prove that he wasn't trying to take advantage of him.
LET ME EXPLAIN. The boy read this, nodded, and handed the notepad back to Mewtwo. The Pokémon took it, smiled, and started writing. Every few seconds, he paused in thought, making sure that he was phrasing his words in an effective manner. A few minutes later, he clicked the pen again and handed the notepad back to the boy.
I AM A PSYCHIC POKÉMON. A DARK POKÉMON ATTACKED ME AND TOOK AWAY MY ABILITIES. I WISH TO RECLAIM THEM. I BELIEVE SABRINA CAN HELP, BUT I CANNOT MEET HER WITHOUT A TRAINER.
The boy read it again, just to be sure. "That's a hard story to believe", he noted as he looked up again.
Mewtwo had taken a seat on the floor, looking unhappily at his legs. He couldn't believe that he had convinced himself to do that. People didn't need to know any part of his life story. People didn't need to know that he was a psychic. And most importantly, people didn't need to know that he was imperfect and capable of failure. Writing something like that was practically an invitation for them to capture him against his will and take advantage of his abilities.
"...you're serious", the boy eventually decided. "But I... I just don't know if I should do this."
Mewtwo sighed. He had written that much already. He should have just abandoned subtlety entirely.
WHEN I RECOVER, I WILL REWARD YOU. A pregnant pause. A GRATEFUL PSYCHIC CAN BE VERY USEFUL.
It was close to midnight now.
The boy was fast asleep in the room's sole bed. Mewtwo had recommended that he get as much rest as possible. They would be leaving at sunrise tomorrow, and it would be a very long walk even at a reasonably fast pace. He wanted to make it to Saffron before the gym closed, after all.
He simply didn't trust the night.
The night wasn't giving him much of an option. As he looked up from his seated position toward the closed window, he could see the sinister form of Darkrai floating behind the glass. Its single eye remained focused on him, yet the dark Pokémon said nothing.
It didn't need to. The implication was clear. It was watching him. His actions were of interest to it. And he would be unable to do anything to take it by surprise.
He wished that it would imply other things. For instance, that he could set foot outside the building at night without fear of being attacked. If not for the fact that Pokémon Centers were designed to keep hostile Pokémon out, it might have already tried to do so.
Mewtwo finally decided to put his faith in the building's design and managed to fall asleep. If nothing else, he hoped that Darkrai would be able to witness his dreams through the window, while being completely unable to affect them himself.
It would serve him right.