Chapter 22 – Sesquizygotic
Fate laughed the entire trip. Torok flew fast and hard towards Cerulean City. He could still see the building. He could still see the address. He was still under the effects of the ghoul’s dust. His psychic powers were still enhanced. Lacerta was alive. Lacerta was alive. Lacerta was alive. … … was Orion alive?
Fire trailed off Torok like the tail of a comet as he flew over Cerulean City. People stopped and looked. Children pointed and cried out in excitement. A Charizard in the Kanto Region? It had to be a civil transporter. But it was traveling far to fast to allow any human to safely travel with it. The humans looked up in concern and alarm. What was wrong with that Charizard? Where was it going in such a damn hurry?
A police officer takes note of the Charizard and dispatches his Pidgeot. The bird struggles to keep up with the reckless speed of the seemingly wild Pokémon. The Pidgeot proudly bares the blue lines of the Cerulean Police Department on his wings, the ink having been injected into his feathers to make it permanent. He calls out to the Charizard, declaring his authority and his concern in equal measure. “You are going too fast! You will hurt yourself!” He says, but the fire lizard does not listen. It travels onward towards a row of houses near the Pokémon Center.
Torok lands in front of a house with a loud boom. A wreath of flames leaves a circle of burned grass at his feet. His heart pounds. His tail whips around angrily. He roars as loud as he can, rattling the windows and shaking the very foundation of the home with his voice alone. He doesn’t notice the Pidgeot arrive. His focus is on the door, which opens slowly.
Lacerta stands in the doorway. Without fear, he looks up at the raging lizard in front of him. It has been years of time. But he recognizes the Charizard all the same.
“Torok. Je t’aime.” He says calmly. Torok barely hears him over the sound of Fate’s screaming laughter. Through gritted teeth, Torok managed to spit out the only thing left in his shattered mind.
“Where. Is. Orion.” He demands. The words are sharp and accusatory, like knifes. Yet despite of how pointed they are, it is Lacerta’s response that cuts deepest.
“You killed him, along with Cyprès, Fornax, and Canis.” He says. His words are calm and factual, but he prepares himself, taking a defensive stance and bracing for the inevitable conflict.
“Stop this! Stop all this now!” Comes a new voice. The Pidgeot says. He hovers in the air between the two, flapping his wings angrily. He turns to Torok. “You need to calm down!” He says. He then turns to Lacerta. “You can’t fight-” But he is unable to finish. A twisted, writhing cord of dark energy shoots out of Torok and into the back of the Pidgeot. The bird turns towards Torok, flinching. As soon as their eyes meet, A haunted stillness creeps through the bird. His wings stop moving and he falls out of the air. He is asleep before he hits the ground. Torok steps forward, standing on one of his wings. While it looks like nothing is happening, Lacerta can feel the third attack. He sees dark lumps of something split off from the head of the bird’s shadow, they travel along the ground, invisible save for the absence of light. They all flow into the mouth of Torok’s shadow, which gleefully consumes them, despite the fact that Torok is still snarling madly at the Pidgeot. The bird has now gone from asleep, to fully unconscious.
“Dark Pulse… Hypnosis… Dream Eater...” Lacerta says. A pearl of blue energy forms in his hand. His hand then balls to a fist and covers itself in a sheath of ice. “What have you become Torok?” He asks, knowing full well the dragon can’t hear him. Torok’s claws cover themselves in dark energy. He lunges forward, poised to strike the Scrafty down. He pauses. He stops. He stares. There are two figures behind Lacerta. They heard the noise and came out to see what it was. The first, to his left, was a Scraggy, barely a year old. The second, equally young, was a Treeko. His skin was blue… His tail red. He looked up at Torok in fear. They both did. Torok hesitates. The Treeko is shiny. A thought cuts through Torok’s rage. “Hide your tail.” He says softly to himself. He is still staring at the Treeko’s red tail, as Lacerta’s fist slams into his head, and knocks him out.
Torok wakes up on a couch that is almost to small for him. His head aches. There is a dull throbbing that crescendos into a sharp spike every time he moves. He looks about. There is water and food sitting on the end table next to him. He takes the water and drinks, before sitting up.
“Torok… Je t’aime.” Lacerta says.
Torok looks over to see him sitting on a chair opposite the couch. The Charizard sits up fully, then he quietly responds.
“Lacerta. Je t’aime.”
“This is not how I wanted to meet you again Torok.” Lacerta says. He continues speaking before Torok can respond. “I am guessing you don’t remember anything from that night.” He says. Torok Grumbles and grabs a bit of toast sitting next to him.
“You said Orion is dead.” He states solemnly. He wants the lizard to deny it, to state that he misheard. His heart drops into his stomach as Lacerta nods.
“I saw them myself Torok. Cyprès. Fornax. Canis. Orion. All dead. All four were either crushed or burned when I got to them. Noctua fled immediately, and you were already in the hands of the Fire Department.” He says.
“And where were you?!” Torok roars. He catches himself and takes a deep breath, before repeating his question. Lacerta sighs and points at a picture next to him. It is old and faded. The upper left corner is burnt, but the image is still visible. There is Sèbastian Cyprès standing next to a man Torok doesn’t recognize. At their feet are two Pokémon, a Sceptile, and a Scrafty.
“That is Professor Sycamore, and Fleurir. Cyprès trained under Sycamore before moving to Kanto to complete his work study and thesis. During that time, Fleurir and I were lovers. She laid four eggs by the time we left. Sycamore kept two, and we took the others. He had them incubating and intended to hatch them, until he found you and Orion.” Lacerta explains. Torok shifts uncomfortably, but before he can question the lizard, Lacerta continues.
“The rule is that he can only have six Pokémon. He wasn’t a professor yet, and was still bound by the rules of the Pokémon League. Once he caught you two, he took the eggs out of incubation and placed them in stasis. When the fire started, they were my top priority. Once I had them, I came back for you, but you were already taken by the fire department. I checked on Orion. He was gone. I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t save any of them, so I ran before the building collapsed.” He says. Finally, his tone cracks, as guilt seeps into his normally calm and factual voice. “I can’t and won’t judge you for what you did to Cyprès. After what he did to you. After what he did to all of us, I don’t blame you. I just ask that you don’t blame me for saving my sons.” He say solemnly.
Torok sits for a time. He sits for a long time in silence. “Then the scraggy and treeko?” He asks.
“Kris and Rick.” Lacerta confirms. “I had no choice but to hatch them myself. And that is what leaves me stranded here.” He says. He gestures to the coffee table. A device sits there. It takes a moment for Torok to recognize it. Sitting on the table is the scanner that the police use to check Pokémon tags.
“I belong to Sèbastian Cyprès, even after his death. If I am found I will likely be deported back to Kalos, and then I will be the property of the National Pokémon League, or perhaps I will be given to Professor Sycamore. Either way I will be back in my hometown.” He says. Torok nibbles on some of the provided food and wags his tail once. “But your sons…” He begins.
“They are natural born. They are not tagged, so as far as the NPL is concerned, they are wild Pokémon. Any trainer can come along and catch them. Furthermore, since they were born in Kanto then they are Kantonian natives. Or at least imported. If I get sent back to Kalos, they will not be coming with me. They will likely end up with the Kantonian branch of the NPL or maybe Professor Oak. Purhase the Cerulean Pokémon Center will take them in. But they will not be with me.” He says solemnly.
“Speaking of tags, yours has changed as well. You now belong, or rather you used to belong to Kerra Kuroi, a wealthy psychic trainer.” He says. Torok finally finds his voice.
“The NPA gave me to her after the fire.” He explains. “for… Rehabilitation.” He adds.
“And now that she is dead, you successfully filed for emancipation.” Lacerta says. There is a small twinge of acid in his voice. “You have all the rights of a human. You can go where you want and do what you want. You can own property. You could even own another Pokémon. You could even own me.” He says, clearly bitter this time.
Lacerta points to Torok’s arm. The silver bangle baring the Kuroi House Sigil gleams up at them.
“That’s a mega stone. A Charizardite Mega Stone. Professor Sycamore was studying them back in Kalos. Mega Evolution technology is a new field and barely sanctioned by the NPL. There is no way you own that stone legally. There is no way you are sanctioned to use it. In fact, I doubt that anyone in the Kanto region knows what that is, save for Professor Oak, some high-ranking members of the NPL, and probably a few Pokémon Veterinarians.”
“She did that.” Torok counters. “To protect me and the rest of her Pokémon from the NPA. She gave us these stones and had us emancipated.”
“The National Police Acadamy? Not the National Pokémon League?” Lacerta clarifies. “What have you gotten yourself into Torok? What have you become?” He questions.
“What do you mean?” Torok asks, not understanding.
“You show up at my door in a building I have been hiding in for the last two years. There are no records tying me to this place, and I am very careful not to leave any trace. You just show up, having found me, seemingly on a whim. A police Pokémon trails you here. You fight and effortlessly beat a trained police officer in single combat using three moves that Not only are not sanctioned for a Pokémon of your type, but also should be impossible for you to learn. Dark Pulse, Hypnosis, Dream Eater. A dark and two psychic moves. Let alone that you are a Fire/Flying type, but you shouldn’t have the ability to use psychic attacks. You have access to cutting edge technology that isn’t legal for sale in this region, which means you either got it from Professor Sycamore himself, (doubtful because you didn’t recognize him) or you acquired it illegally. You are emancipated, which is literally the hardest thing for a Pokémon to do, let alone a Pokémon of your class.” He says. Torok looks at the scrafty, bewildered. Before the fire lizard can respond, Lacerta continues.
“And I bet you don’t remember any of it. The Pidgeot, the fight, I doubt you even remember how you got here. Do you?” He asks finally. After a small silence, Torok shakes his head.
“You are raging to the point where you black out. You probably didn’t even recognize me or realize what you were doing. You are using abilities that should be impossible for you to use, and you are hurting those around you. I don’t know what happened to you in the years since the fire, but you are dangerous Torok. You are a danger to yourself and everyone around you.” He says. “And as glad as I am to see that you are safe. I don’t want to be around you, and I do not want you around my kids.” He says finally. This finally makes Torok speak.
“You weren’t THERE! You don’t know what HAPPENED to me! What I went Through! Kin’iro is dead Lacerta and I wasn’t there to help-” He stops. Torok stops. He is on his feet. His tail is burning. He can taste turpentine in the back of his mouth. The mega stone glows faintly. He stops. He stops and sits back down. “I… I’m sorry. I…” He sits. He sits. He calms down.
“That… Is dangerous.” Lacerta says. “You need to sort your life out Torok. You need to get your self in order. If you don’t more people will get hurt.” He stands and walks to the door. “I want you to leave Torok. I want you to leave me and my kids out of your life. I am going to move again. That pidgeot will report what happened eventually. I need to move before they find us. Get help. Get yourself back together, and then come find me.”
Torok stands again. He leaves without protest. Before he walks out.
“Tu es mon frère.” Lacerta says in Kalosian, as Torok leaves. “Je t'aimerais pour l’èternitè.”
Torok stops for a moment. Finally, he says. “Je reviendrai. Je promets” And then he was gone.
Torok flew home. He needed time to think. He needed time to understand what was said, and what had happened. He needed quiet. He needed solitude. His head was a miasma of terrible thoughts that needed to be dealt with. He needed clarity. He needed focus.
He needed more ghoul’s dust.