He is given dratini when he is very small and dratini is small too. Dratini winds himself around Lance's arm and whispers softly, mine/ours. Lance strokes the skin tenderly, and says back, mine/ours.
Mine, speaks the caterpie as it hangs from the tree, and above it the butterfree say back, ours. Across the walls of trees, a weedle says mine, and the beedrill say back, ours. Mine, say both, and then ours.
Mine says the caterpie and means I as I am/ as I hang/ as the air around me/ as my thread. Ours, say the butterfree, and mean We as we are/ as we flutter/ as the air around us/ as our wings. Mine, says the weedle, and means I as I am /as I crawl on the branch/ as the air around me/ as my stinger's point. Ours, say the beedrill, and mean We as we are/ as we buzz /as the air around us /as our wings.
Ours, say the caterpie and the weedle with the butterfree and the beedrill, We as we are/ as the air around us /as the trees we live by/ as the dirt and the water/ as the forest called home.
Us/ ours is the language that all pokemon share and that outsiders never can know.
"What is good?" he asks a pidgey. The sun's out, lazy in the sky.
Much fruit / much trees/ spearow far/ warm wind/ no cold.
"What is bad?"
Fruit gone/ tree gone/ spearow gone/ home gone/ ours gone.
We are scyther-warriors, the leader of the pride tells Lance, his blade by his throat. I am scy- scyther! Wing, up/down. Slash, high/low. You are no scyther-warrior. But you are a dragon-guardian. You will have place-under-tree.
The scyther shred their prey and gorge themselves with stained wings. Kill-for-hunger is not wrong, the scyther tell him. And if others roam too close, the scyther buzz into the air, slashing and slashing. Kill-for-place/home/ours is not wrong. And when one scyther has her wings pierced by a beedrill, the tender gauze torn, she stands in the center of the home-space and shrieks a warrior's song. The leader stabs her, and when the boy cries they tell him, "Kill-from-the giving of fruit (mercy) is not wrong."
They tell him this, sharpening their blades and facing the sky.
Here is a crime for which the world must answer: a dratini choking on the oil of the river. Despoilment, betrayal. The home-waters have become foe.
The creatures will cry, "The home-waters are safety. They cannot be foe."
The great gyrados that watches the waters (home-water guardian, dragon) glides up to him. "Who to tear, to rend, to devour? Who to incinerate, to boil? Who to crush, destroy? There is no foe."
Behind the watcher-dragon they gather, the ones for whom the river is place/home/ours. The goldeen do not feast on the magikarp that float close by, only ask. The silence, the question is absolute. Place/home/ours. "How can we save the home-waters?"
"Foes," he tells them, brokenly, after his sobs have worn his voice into a choking rasp. "Foes poison the home-waters. Outsiders/not-ours."
"I will rend them," roars the dragon. Those behind nod. To kill for the home-waters is not wrong.
"I will take you," the boy says. "I will help you."
"Their hunger is not the hunger of fruit or of flesh," says the great gyrados. "It is not the hunger of the dirt for the water or the trees for the water. It is not the hunger of the rushing river or of the tearing wind. Their hunger is not mine but ours, it is mine/mine/mine. It is frozen river in warm-times – wrong."
"It is, it is, it is," murmurs the boy. He says as if discovering it, "I hate them."
"Hate – against one who spoils fruit when we are hungry."
"Hate," he repeats, and redefines it. "Against those who destroy the home-space/ what is ours."
Flame in the forest is the blessing of Celebi, says the wizened ninetails. Fires burn low and build high. Fires grow blossoms, fires make homes.
What if Celebi does not make the fire? What if it there are no blossoms from it, no homes?
Then the blessing is not a blessing but a curse, whispers the ninetails. It is a curse to the one that has made it. A curse that must destroy them. Mark me, I know of curses.
You are a dragon.
I am a dragon?
Watcher/ guardian/ ours of us is ours of yours.
He heals until his legs tremble, but he cannot heal the hunger, the trees, the water. He heals, and healing is never enough, the waters grow darker and the trees sicken. He heals and thinks each time of how many are dying, how many. He cannot heal enough, not ever.
Dragon, dragon, come the calls, where ever he walks, where ever he is. Tree gone/ my tree gone/ our tree gone/ soil kills/ air kills/ water kills.
And it is no crime to kill for place/home/ours.
"Not-ours," he will tell his army, and watch a city burn.