Death. War. Destruction. The world of the future lies in ruins. I got the chance to go back and stop it from ever happening, only to discover that I was the cause. This is how I destroyed the world.


46. Pretence

Forever and ever, the scars will remain
I'm falling apart
Leave me here forever in the dark 
~ Benjamin Burnley


"For better or worse, death will change you. Although your own will only result in you decaying."

- Anon. (Unknown date)


"Police are still investigating the terrorist explosion that occurred in a Pathorgonix facility near Lilycove City in Hoenn. For now, they believe that the culprits are a team of individuals seeking revenge for the Hoenn assassination of Aaron Mattheis, an assassination which they still vehemently deny.

"Following our report is a list of names released by the Hoenn government, detailing the names of those killed and identified in this act, with permission of the local authorities and the respective families. At the moment, it is believed that there were no survivors."

I pulled my coat up around myself as I watched the news report. It took a little while, but I saw it there, in black and white.

Mia-Louise Lawson.

One of the casualties.

One of my best friends.

Killed by my hand.

I sighed and watched my breath turn to fog, even inside the pokémon centre. I knew it was risky being there, but I figured a different country wouldn't have police looking for me.

It turned out Sinnoh was, in fact, cold enough for me to like. Snowpoint City held colder temperatures than I'd ever encountered. While I might not have been able to run around in a tank top in the snow, I still relished the lack of heat blazing down on me from above.

Three weeks had passed since I blew up the labs. It took me three days to escape Hoenn. I snuck on a transport ship from Lilycove and spent the next few days hiding in amidst the cargo, hiding from as many people as I could.

It was hard to hide my pokémon too, but somehow, we managed it.

The boat arrived in Canalave. From there I caught another boat up towards Snowpoint. It was the most remote part of Sinnoh that still had a civilisation to it.

Two weeks after I'd blown up the labs, the problem with the poké balls had been fixed. There still was no official statement as to what went wrong. They released a new line of poké balls that supposedly couldn't be broken in the same way. They charged five times the normal price for each ball.

People were whispering it was a government conspiracy to make more money out of the trainers.

I had other thoughts about it. The girl from Fallarbor claimed to be from the future too. The infamous kid with the girafarig – Gemini's offspring – had been too.

I figured poké balls breaking world-wide had to be something to do with a celebi. I wanted –needed- to find out what the creatures had been planning.

Gemini snorted a little by my side. [Three weeks and we have not seen a flicker of what we hunt.]

I shot her a glare and tucked my hands under my armpits. "We'll find it. We've searched the forests here. It's not here. It hasn't been here yet. We know it travels to forests – it visited Lacey's old clan before. That damned thing has known every step I'd make so far. If we're here, it would have visited the pokémon here. So we find out what group it visited."

Her ears flicked at me. [And if it hasn't visited any of these pokémon?]

I shrugged as best I could. "Then either it hasn't been here yet, or something's lying. If the former; we wait it out. If the latter; we find out just why they'd need to lie about it."

She appeared pleased by my answer. I waited until my other pokémon were fully healed and retrieved them off the nurse at the desk. There were hushed whispers as I turned away and left.

Every day I went back to the pokémon centre, with my pokémon all in various states of exhaustion. The younger trainers all thought I was abusing my pokémon. The older ones saw what I was doing and pretended not to notice.

Pushing your pokémon as hard as you could was one of the things people pretended didn't happen. They seemed too happy to go along with the idea that being friends with them and battling other pokémon helped them to grow.

It took hard work and graft to get results. The ones that realised it either quit being trainers and kept them as pets or pushed everyone to their limits. A few tried to continue training by being friends. More often than not, they all ended up dead.

Pushing them hard got results. Every trainer did so. They just all hid behind a cloud of friendship and camaraderie when they were in public. They ignored and whispered things about me because I didn't do that. I wanted results and I didn't care anything for maintaining an image.

After all, what was the point in making friends with them? With anyone? With no friends, there'd be no pain when they died. If my pokémon hated me, it just meant they wouldn't hurt if I eventually did die.

I got out of the town and into the snow-covered routes around it. Harsh blizzards were wrapping around the town and Snowpoint itself was nearly half covered in snow. I'd left Hoenn-summer for Sinnoh-winter.

Gemini wittered a little as she struggled to walk through the snow. I ignored her and carried on trudging through the freezing climate. She still refused to allow herself to be captured. It was her decision, so she could live with the consequences.

I was one to talk about that.

I stopped at a random point some distance from the town and let out Scar. Heat evaporated off him and melted some of the snow around his feet. Little bits of snow turned to water and then steam under the temperature of his tail.

There were little protrusions on his back, like bones slowly growing out of his skin. His wings were starting to grow. The horn on his head seemed to be splitting into two and slowly moving to his temples. It'd still take a few months, but he was beginning to become a charizard.

He looked at me.

I glared back at him.

He understood the message and set about his drills. Loki and Lacey fell into practiced habit almost instantly. Scar had become almost like the unofficial leader of them all. If he was training, they did so too. Lacey took a moment to adjust herself to the cold – even as she began running, I could see her still shivering.

I let out Erra last. Her front legs were growing into something resembling pincers. She was growing an extra wing on each side that I knew would have a single red eye pattern. It would make it look like there were three magnemites all stuck next to each other. There would still be a while until she became a magneton, but it would happen soon. The harsher drills were making them more powerful too – Erra had managed to take down an enraged piloswine on her own.

"You need to train too," I said to Gemini.

The girafarig stepped carefully through the snow and shot me a frustrated look. [As I have continually told you; my skills in defensive abilities make this form of training useless.]

I turned around and settled her with a flat look. "And as I've told you; if you're part of this team, you train with them too. If something can shatter those barriers of yours and is resistant to your psychic attacks, you're pretty much dead. Now, train."

She snorted. [I don't think so.]

I snapped my gun out of my pocket, flicked the safety off and shot the ground right by her foot. She leapt nearly a foot into the air and glared back at me, her eyes shining bright blue.

[Fool!] she shouted into my brain. [How dare you!]

I held her gaze and pointed the gun at her unflinchingly. "I told you to train."

Her front legs were spread wide, her back arched and her tail spitting venom. She was angry.

I was apathetic.

[Do not think you can bully me into chasing invisible lines! I meditate and train my abilities! Your weapons have no use when I can crush your brain with a thought!]

Her eyes were misting the psychic blue glow. In the wind it seemed like the light was leaking from her eyes and swirling around her. At any other time, I might have recoiled from the danger.

I was broken. I didn't care. If she did kill me, all she'd be doing would be ending my torment.

"Crush my brain then," I said without any bravado. "But the last thing I do will be put a bullet in your second head. Tell me; how well do girafarig function when their instincts are taken away?"

She didn't move an inch. [You are as much a cretin as The Celebi.]

"Train," I repeated emotionlessly. "You want to be strong enough to beat it? You get stronger. You think something that can travel through time will be in danger from your barriers? You'll be lucky to get up a single one before it crushes your brain."

Our standoff lasted another ten seconds. Then with a deep growl she stood back up, glow vanishing from her eyes. She held her head up high and tried to maintain all the dignity she had as she fell into line and started running drills alongside my other pokémon.

I watched them all for a moment. Running around in the snow would help them. Their leg muscles would get stronger – they'd be able to run faster after it all. Cold attacks would hurt them all less by being in such harsh climes. They might not like having to do it all, but it would make them all stronger.

They might not like me because of it, but it was the safest way. Compassion got you hurt. Compassion got you killed. It was safer - easier - with such methods.

My ears perked up at the sound of snow crunching underfoot. It was different to my pokémon's – slow, methodical, with purpose. Not that they didn't want me not to know they were there, but that they weren't afraid of what I could do.

I rolled my eyes and stuffed my hands into my pockets as I turned around. I only knew of one person in Sinnoh that could have such bravado – Candice.

Sure enough it was her walking towards me. Her black hair was pulled into two braids either side of her head and she wore a bright blue winter coat and snow shoes. Her legs were bare and almost the same colour as her clothes.

"I've been looking for you," she said.

I shrugged. "I've been avoiding you."

"Don't get funny with me! What do you think you're doing out here?"

Her face was nearly in mine. I shrugged again and turned to face the distance. "Training. What does it look like?"


I rolled my eyes again and glanced back at her. "Like you don't do anything similar. Look at you; out here with a miniskirt. Most people think you're an idiot. But you're training yourself, aren't you? The less you wear, the more you feel the cold. For someone that's ice-adapted, you can make yourself a lot more resistant to the cold temperature."

Her cheeks burnt red and she tried to hide her blue – nearly purple – legs under her coat. "So? That's just me, not my pokémon."

"Taking icy pokémon into a sauna?" I asked her. "I might not know much about pampering, but I know that's near-torture for them. Your pokémon in that heat is just similar to my pokémon in this weather."

She started at that. "How did you-"

"Know?" I finished for her. I smirked and moved my hands from my pockets to my armpits. "People talk, Candice. Top trainers like those at the gym know how harsh training really has to be. Just because I'm upfront about it to the parents and kiddies that think it all to be sunshine and rainbows doesn't mean you can act like a hypocrite."

She blew out a breath and looked up at me. "You know what it's like. There wouldn't be nearly enough new trainers each year if they didn't think it was a good experience. It weeds out the strong from the weak."

I turned away from her with a scowl. "So what about everyone that dies then?"

I caught her shrug out of the corner of my eye. "The world's overpopulated. Surely you've noticed that. For every house, there's at least a hundred families. It's easier this way – more people become nomads, training and not needing somewhere permanent to live. The ones that die… well, they're not going to be making the overpopulation problems any worse, are they?"

"That's not the way most gym leaders think."

I heard the flick of a lighter and smelt the acrid smoke of a cigarette on the wind. "I'm not most gym leaders," she said. She took a drag and just stared at me. "And you're not a child trainer that sees the world through rose-tinted glasses. You're an adult – you know how the world really works. If things were really good as the government claimed, would people like The Rockets and Team Galactic have been able to do what they did? Would the news currently be running such an anti-Hoenn propaganda fest?"

One of my eyebrows raised of its own accord. "So you've noticed that, huh?"

She snorted. "Me and every other gym leader in Sinnoh!" Second hand cigarette smoke blew over my back and acted like a brief gaseous, warm hug in the cold. "Hoenn has the largest amount of natural gas reserves under their country. Sinnoh has the most amount of fossils buried miles underground. Hoenn and Sinnoh have been trying to control the other for years now. It's all about money. Electric pokémon can only provide so much power."

I saw her knees constantly knocking together from the corner of my eye. I sighed and dug in my bag until I found a spare pair of insulated bottoms. "Here," I said and tossed them to her. "Put these on. You're not training much by standing still in this weather."

She barely managed to catch them with her free hand.

"So why's it all kicked off then?" I asked her.

"Aaron," she said with a shrug. "He was running recon in Hoenn. He could have had all the insects over there under his control. One day they all attack the populace. He gets called in to calm them all down, but as part of the bargain, Sinnoh gets a large hold over Hoenn's gas reserves." She took another pull of her cigarette and stepped closer to me. "It's all about money. The dark, seedy parts of government that no one wants anyone else to know."

I snorted. "And you know because?"

"Because I'm a gym leader," she said with a shrug. "We play a little bit of the politics game. While the government might have full control, they still need to run certain things past us. If we disagree, we can always just use our pokémon, start a rebellion and take control of parliament. It's a fine line we all tread on."

I sighed. "And there's only four official Elites in each country to keep everything in line, right?"

"Sort of," she said. "The officials aren't actually all native to their country. Take Sinnoh – we've got Bertha, who's native to Kanto and Aaron, who was from Johto. With our battle frontier, one of the leaders there was from Unova – she went back there when she got the job as an Elite over there."

I watched as she flicked her spent cigarette into the winds. It zoomed into the distance faster than I could follow it. "Then how many unofficial Elites does every country have?"

She shrugged. "As many as possible. It's like stockpiling for a war – you're going to want something powerful enough, if you ever need to use that. It's all just politics – they all smile and shake hands with each other as they hide a knife in their other hand."

I glanced back at my pokémon to make sure they were still running their drills. "So how comes you're telling me all of this?"

She sighed. "I'm a gym leader, it's my job to know all of this. And you're my best student. At this rate, you're gonna be in charge of your own gym soon enough. Once you get and train a specialised-type team."

I shrunk into myself and wondered if that would ever happen. If I was lucky, I wouldn't die, but I'd have to avoid Hoenn police for the rest of my life. If I wasn't, I'd just be dead… or something worse.

"Are you even listening to me, Warren?"

It took me a moment to register the name she'd used. Near Snowpoint, on my second day in Sinnoh, I'd found the remains of a man. He looked like he'd been gored by a mamoswine. In his pack were a few things, among them, an accepted application to work at Snowpoint's gym.

It took a lot of bluster and a number of lies, but I managed to bluff my way into getting a job there. I figured I'd be in Snowpoint for a while, waiting for the celebi. In the meantime, I realised I could probably help train myself by working with people that knew and understood the adaptation I shared with them.

A resistance to cold, the ability to see better during hailstorms and fog and the ability for my body to be more effective at storing and using the water it contained. It came with the downside of suffering heat more than most, being prone to having brittle bones and hurting more from any sort of physical blow.

It was all I'd learnt about my adaptations. But they'd taught me the best way to use them on a daily basis, as well as the best ways to cope in hot temperatures or in a fight.

"I want to recommend you to the League, to have your own gym," Candice continued. "You wouldn't get it for a few years, you'd have to pass a number of tests and maybe hold a champion title, but you've got some of the strongest pokémon I've seen. You've only got a half-adaptation, but you handle yourself far better than those that have the full adaptation. You think outside the box too; the league needs that.

"Part of the skillset required for being a leader is being able to handle dangerous situations. I don't know how, but you seem to have the mind-set of a soldier." I barely stopped a snort at that. "That you can break things down into the best way to attack them… that skill's needed. Too many people rely on one set of tactics or pure, dumb luck when they're battling. Most of them are even worse when they're presented with a real-life scenario."

I shrugged. "Maybe they're just too naïve to everything."

"Exactly!" She grabbed my shoulder and spun me around to face her. "The exam yesterday? If a town came under attack from pokémon? Everyone else said they'd get people out of the town as quickly as possible and take a team of trainers to battle the pokémon. You're the only one who said to have some trainers guard the people, then arm everyone old enough with pokémon or weapons to defend themselves. That's why I say you're good for the job; because you understand that in a crisis, we're not the only chance of hope everyone has, no matter the public opinion."

I shrugged a little self-consciously. "It's just common sense."

"Common sense that none of my other students seem to have," she shot back. "Sure, you might not be the easiest person to talk to. Sure, you might act like a complete asshole to anyone, but I've seen you work with people. That kid that came in yesterday?"

I scratched my cheek and knew who she was talking about instantly. "The one with a psyduck he'd barely had for five minutes?"

Candice nodded. "Yeah, him. Anyone else would have taken him to one side, told him to train for a little while and then come back when he thinks he's strong enough. You didn't. You showed him he wasn't strong enough, then told him in the nicest, bluntest way possible exactly what he was doing wrong and how he could improve."

I snorted. "And everyone hated me for it."

"But it gives the best results!" she said. "Think about it; if he'd been mollycoddled, he would have gone out, thinking he still had little work to do. You showed him exactly how harsh the world really is. Maybe he'll give up training. But if he doesn't, he knows now almost exactly what to expect. A gym leader has to do what needs doing, no matter what other people think. You're the only student I have who not only doesn't care what others think of him, but doesn't care what I think of you."

I sighed and turned away from her. "Thanks, but, it just isn't gonna happen."

"Why?" she asked, spinning me to face her again. "Because your pokémon died?"

I flinched and glared back at her. "How?"

"Your application had a complete list of your current team," she said slowly. "Piloswine, delibird and a nearly-evolved sneasel." She raised an eyebrow and peeked around me to glance at my own team. "Call me crazy, but none of them look like any of those I just listed."

"Yeah," I mumbled, panicking slightly. "They died on the way. A few strokes of bad luck. This is the team I had in reserve; I thought I needed specialised pokémon to get the position."

She smiled. "Good thing your dad was available to get them back off, huh Warren?"

I froze. Her eyes were piercing mine, scrutinising me for every detail. I considered killing her then and there, in case she could reveal everything. I told myself to try and talk my way out of it. I was already wanted in Hoenn, I didn't want to have to hide from murder charges in Sinnoh too.

"Yeah," I said slowly. "The connection was a little shoddy in the pokémon centre, but I managed to get through alright."

"That's good," she said. Her hands fell silently into her pockets and she looked up at me with a perfectly straight smile. "So tell me, how did your dad manage to come back from the dead?"

I was knocked off my feet by an explosion of white. I fell flat on my back and found myself staring up at a sunken, icy face. Two deep-set yellow eyes stared back at me from an exposed, frozen skull.

"Call your pokémon off," Candice instructed me coolly. I inched my head to see her with what seemed to be a giant snowflake creating a brilliant green barrier, shielding her from my pokémon. "That frosslass has created a bond of destiny between you and me. Anything your pokémon do to me, you're going to feel."

I glanced at her, not believing a word she said. I found the frosslass' haunting eyes staring back at me and felt the ripples of wind hit my body as they struck Candice too.

"Stop!" I barked at my pokémon. They froze instantly, turning slowly to look at me as if I was mad. I shook my head, waiting until I could get them to attack the frosslass.

At least I didn't kill Candice, I told myself. The frosslass hadn't come from a poké ball. That meant Candice had planned the entire encounter out.

"What happened to the real Warren?" she asked me. She walked across the snow and glared down at me. "Did you kill him?"

I gave her the best flat, fearless look I could. "No," I told her, honestly. "He was dead when I found him. Gored by a mamoswine. I buried his body near where I found it."

Her eyes flickered in the distance, following the direction I pointed to. "You expect me to believe you buried him?"

I nodded. "Burning it would be too obvious in this cold. You'd be able to see where the ice and snow had melted. I could have left him for scavengers, but I don't know this area well." I tried my best to lean on my elbows, but the frosslass on my chest hissed and shoved me back down on the floor. I sighed and turned my head to Candice. "So what gave me away?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Aside from talking about a dead dad as if he's real?" She laughed. "For one, your team is completely different. That rang alarm bells instantly. But you gave good enough answers; they were completely believable."

"Oh," I said. At least that was something good to know.

"But your accent, it's Hoennese." She frowned at me. "Warren – the real Warren – supposedly spent his whole life in Twinleaf. None of his family have even been to Hoenn, apparently."

I chewed on that thought. I had no idea how to hide my accent – something I planned on learning how to do, once –if- I escaped.

"The one thing that really gave it away though?" she folded her arms behind her back and leant in close. "His mother rang today."

"Oh," I grunted.

"'Oh'," she echoed. "Apparently Warren didn't ring at all yesterday. Most boys at least ring their mother on her birthday. Apparently 'Warren' forgot. It rang alarm bells when she said she hadn't heard from him in a month. I asked her to send a picture of him through." She sighed and stood back up again. "Gotta say, the real Warren… looks nothing like you. It was almost enough to make me laugh."

I sighed. "So is this the bit where you pin me down and gloat as you ring the police?"

She rolled her eyes. "I'm not stupid. I rang them as soon as I found out."

"Oh," I whispered.

She smiled. "That's becoming your favourite word, isn't it?"

"It's pretty apt for this situation."

"Perhaps." She shrugged and put her hands in her pockets. She glanced at my pokémon quickly, made sure they were still behaving themselves before she leant back down to me-

-and offered me a hand up.

She saw the complete confusion on my face as I accepted her hand.

"Tell me," she said. "If you didn't kill him, why did you take his place? Couldn't you get a position in the ice gym in Hoenn?"

I shook my head. "I just… needed to escape for a while. One of my pokémon – my starter – died. Then another of my pokémon left because of it, then one of my best friends died. I just… needed a holiday from my life."

"Why Snowpoint?" she asked.

I glanced at Gemini. "I got a lead that somethi-someone I know might be coming here soon."

Candice gave me a small smile. "And here I thought you were going to tell me you're a mass-murdered or something."

I laughed nervously at that.

She sighed, glanced back towards the town and then nodded towards the distance. "Go," she told me.

I blinked stupidly. "Go-what?"

She shook her head at me. "Are you stupid? Go. I've worked with you for three weeks, pretty much twenty-four seven. You're angry, arrogant and totally closed off from the world, but you're a damn good trainer. It'd be a shame to see you behind bars and your pokémon released, given away or put down."

My body told me to take her offer, but my brain forced me to stay. "But, why? I could have done anything?"

She shrugged. "Whatever you've done, you're beating yourself up about it. Besides, I know a thing or two about being somebody you're not."

"I-what?" I said stupidly. "You?"

"I'm not the real Candice," she said with a shake of her head. "The real Candice died about a year ago. No one knows how. There's a few guesses – rabid pokémon attack, bad luck, one guy even reckons she got attacked by dragons. Either way, no one really knows."

"'Dragons'?" I echoed.

"Yeah." She nodded. "Dragon skin makes for really tough, weather-resistant armour. Their bones are used in quite a lot of weaponry. Arrows, daggers, swords. There's a lot of people out there who prefer those methods, rather than using modern-day warfare. Dragons are weak only to other dragons or cold. Most time when they're being hunted, the team will bring along an ice specialist. Plus, you know garchomp eyes are apparently high class jewellery."

"Right," I said, digesting the information. I was tempted to poke her face, just to see if it was a mask. "So… why are you here?"

She hugged herself. "It was an Unova representative who found her. Members of the Unova government moved quickly, extracted her body and replaced her with a lookalike – one that was adapted to ice and could pass herself off as the real Candice."

"You," I said needlessly.

"Me," she confirmed. "I have to dye my hair and wear contacts, but I'm doing what needs to be done. This way, Unova's got someone on the inside of Sinnoh's darker secrets. The funny thing about politics – every country's going to have at least one spy quite high-up in their ranks.

"So I was pretending to be Candice by phoning the police." Her eyes met mine and she nodded just a little. "But I'm being me by telling you to disappear. If the police find you here, they'll start asking questions. The more questions they ask, the closer they get to finding out the truth about me. So for my sake, and for yours; go."

I nodded and recalled my pokémon. I waved for Gemini to follow me and managed all of two steps away from the fake-Candice. "So who are you anyway?"

She smiled a sad smile. "If I told you, I'd have to kill you."

I didn't doubt her for a second.

It took me a few days to escape the area of Snowpoint. I tried my best to remain around there, in case the time pixie showed up. Instead I received nothing. Lacey's frequent information-gathering missions came back with no results either. It was almost like there was nothing that concerned the celebi in Sinnoh.

I doubted that. More than anything, I just figured that something was lying to us. It was the only explanation that made sense.

I growled to myself and aimlessly kicked a stone. It flew off into the distance and landed near a foraging chatot. The little bird squawked angry little chirps at me before flying off and attacking a fruit-bearing tree.

[So it seems this entire trip was useless, doesn't it?]

I fought the urge to punch a girafarig in the face. "It wasn't useless. I've learnt things about myself. We've found out that the celebi hasn't visited anywhere up here. That means whatever happens here obviously isn't that important to whatever future it wants. No results is still a result."

Gemini snorted and narrowed her eyes at me. [That is nothing but the excuse of a failure.]

I glared at her. "Really? So then does this mean you've got results? Please, feel free to show them to me Gemini." She just snorted and turned her head away.

"See?" I hissed at her. "Don't complain at me if you've got no results here! You told me that you want that celebi's guts, yet it's hard to believe that when you're doing nothing to get there!"

[Killing something that is near-invincible takes careful planning,] she retorted. [We can't just accidentally blow it up and kill it.]

I flinched and pointed a finger at her. "Don't you dare joke about that!"

[Why not?] she responded flatly. [Your life is becoming one long one. Imaginative memories and an anger complex – whatever god designed you wasn't having a good day.]

"Why don't you mind your own?" I growled and turned away from her. "If you've got a problem with everything, why don't you just do me a favour and leave?"

She snorted. [Believe me, I wish I could. But, although it pains me, you are my best hope of tracking down the creature.]

"Oh, please, spare me the happiness I feel right now," I muttered. "So how is a celebi immortal anyway? I thought you could kill it by severing it's time-travel abilities and it's life in one."

She seemed to shrug. [They're stronger than that. Celebi can die, but that is not what matters. They have a special pool, created and blessed by the gods. It allows the healing of all wounds. Supposedly Celebi were pure when they were given such a gift – they could heal closed hearts and inspire joy. Something changed.

[They saw the future, they went mad with power or insane through the inability to die. If a Celebi is killed, another appears soon after. It teleports the dead Celebi back to the healing pool. It takes maybe a year, but it is enough to bring it back to life.]

I just blinked. "Do you think we could use that?" I asked, with the tiniest bit of hope sparking in my chest. "Could we find that healing pool?"

[I doubt it.] She rolled her eyes and stared out towards the snow-covered distance. [No creature has ever found it. I can only assume it exists in another time. I came across an aerodactyl once. It had somehow been revived from a fossil. It was old enough to remember a time before humans. Supposedly something managed to permanently injure a Celebi then.]

I felt myself move closer to her. "Really? How?"

She seemed to shrug again. [It said it looked like it's eye had been ripped out. Whatever enables Celebi to track each other and possibly other things seems to be behind their left eye.]

I thought about it to myself. "The brain?" It was hard to try and remember what I knew about killing such a creature. Of course – why would it bring me to the past if it knew I could kill it?

"Well, at least you've got some useful information then," I said as I walked away from her. "I was beginning to think I'd be better off leaving you stranded somewhere. There's only so much hatred against humans I can take. We're bastards. We're idiots. It's pretty much all you ever say."

She seemed to sigh from behind me. [It's not hatred.]

I stopped and felt myself smirk. "Really?" I asked, laughing disbelievingly. "What the hell could it be then?"



She nodded. [Psychic pokémon… we harbour a jealousy towards humans. We know so much. But humans, you understand instead.]

Unsurprisingly, I was lost. "Start speaking sense," I told her.

[Psychics know. We know instinctively to drink water, because it cures our thirst. But humans, you understand why you need it. You discovered exactly what it does, exactly why you drink it.]

"Okay," I said. "So why should I care about that? We figure things out. Big deal."

[Figuring things out is one thing a pokémon does not have a drive for,] she said. [We know things. It is only when we are presented with something that questions our knowledge, do we seek to see why our knowledge is wrong. Humans are constantly searching, disproving and proving everything. It is a level of intelligence most psychics feel would benefit us better. We can read minds, see the future and even sense a person by their psychic imprint.]

I paid attention then. "What's a 'psychic imprint'? Is it like fingerprints or something?"

She nodded. [It is a specific signal – a wavelength emitted from your brain that is unique to every person.]

Psychics could track down people from that. I remembered being told that the celebi could hunt people down when they were finished with that task. I never paid any attention to it before then.

"Can you find someone's imprint, even if the person isn't there?" I began drawing aimless shapes with my finger. "Like, leftover energy or something?"

[It is possible. If the person was experiencing a surge of emotions.]

I think she said something else. My mind was elsewhere. It was already planning out a new course of action.

If psychics could track people, it meant I could find someone else that had been tasked by a celebi. If I could find them, I could probably find their time baron.

"We're going back to Hoenn," I said to Gemini. "Time we take the offensive."

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