Chapter Fifteen – Past and Present
He stood alongside his best friend and battle partner at the cave’s mouth and watched a metal door slam shut at the gaping entrance, securely covering it whole. A city overlooked the river behind them and it’s hubbub filled the air alongside a gentle breeze which rippled the water’s surface.
“Ready?” his friend said. He was a tall man with a stern face and jet black hair and for once was not wearing a lab coat, but a white shirt flecked with dirt and grime. It had been a tough fight.
“We did it, Samuel,” he said in astonishment. “We saved Kanto.”
“Then we must make sure this never happens again. We seal the cave.”
“You sure it will hold? The metal door, I mean?”
“It must. With the power of technology and the three legendary Pokemon. It must.”
He watched Samuel place three large feathers into three slots in the metal door, one yellow trimmed with black, one an icy blue and the other a flame orange. The slots turned from vertical to horizontal like a lock when the feather was first entered, and then consumed by the door.
“So the feathers are the keys?” he asked Samuel.
“Indeed they are. To open this door again a person will need a feather from the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.”
“We need to be sure no one will ever obtain those feathers.”
“We do, my friend. But we are the two greatest trainers in this land and we shall protect this cave until the day we die. Together.”
“Thank you, father.” he responded to his future father-in-law, Professor Samuel Oak.
“No need for courtesies, especially when you haven’t even married my daughter Aria yet,” Oak said then chuckled.
“Soon,” he promised.
“You said you’d propose when this was all over,” Oak said sternly. “Don’t put this off, my friend.” He chuckled again.
“I’m not!” he said defensively.
“The great Giovanni getting nervous,” Oak jested with him.
“What happened to Lyra,” Giovanni said to quickly change the subject. “She controlled the beast in there, or at least directed its power.”
“Disappeared,” Oak mumbled as if he didn’t care about her. “She doesn’t matter. What matters is that creature is inside this cave now.”
“And Lord Raven has been brought to justice,” Giovanni said and smiled. His manufactured super weapon safety contained within the cave. Lord Raven ruled both Kanto and Johto as the Raven family had done for over a hundred years, but the current head of their family had a lust of control and power and the regime had become more corrupt with every passing day.
“So,” Oak began and paused for a moment to stare at the sturdy metal door. “How did it even get to this stage?”
“Raven had been trying to manufacture a super weapon for a long time now.” Giovanni knew the answer from intelligence reports gathered from their own small resistance force. “Splicing together Pokemon and alien stones and trying to combine all the most powerful objects and creatures known to man until he had created this being. This, ‘Mewtwo’.” Oak continued
“And with Mewtwo he had vanquished anyone who opposed his tyrannical rulership of Kanto and Johto.”
“Until we stopped him,” Giovanni said proudly. “You and I. Vanquishers of tyranny and evil.”
“And my daughter. Our little intelligence gatherer that you have so conveniently fallen in love with.” Oak said and Giovanni felt himself blush at the comment.
“So what now?” Giovanni attempted to change the subject once more.
“You propose. As much as I value you, you do not leave my daughter waiting.”
“Alright, alright,” Giovanni said then laughed. “Now Kanto is at peace and Lord Raven expelled from our region and the corruption gone with him, I suppose it’s time.”
Moonlight illuminated the room as its rays slithered through the enormous glass pane which overlooked a lamplit Saffron City. Tears clouded the eyes of Blue’s pale white face as his father’s smile beamed at him from the other end of the marble table. Ethan stood in a puzzled silence, unable to contemplate the enormity of the situation whilst Leaf stood in shock when she had previously been glaring at Giovanni.
“Did you say, Lyra?” Leaf asked.
“That was twenty-five years ago now,” Giovanni said after finishing his tale and ignored Leaf.
“You’re the devil. You and Oak. You sealed Him away but you have told us His name,” Ethan cut in.
It made sense to Leaf now. The Servants hunted their three ‘Angels’, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, for their feathers to use as keys to unleash their Lord, Mewtwo, upon the region once more. Lyra had been Lord Raven’s ally and now looked to release their super weapon one final time.
“So you and my mother married,” Blue was next to speak. “And had Daisy and me.”
“Correct, Okaido,” Giovanni replied.
“So why did Gramps take me and Daisy away from you. Why has he never mentioned this? I had to find out from your brother, Sakaki. Why?” Blue was clearly angry and his emotions were causing his body to tremble viciously.
“You cleared a region of corruption and tyranny,” Leaf said. “Then became corrupt and tyrannical yourself. Why?”
“So many questions. So little time,” Giovanni responded, talking to all three of them.
“Yes and none of this matters,” Leaf snapped. “All that matters is we take you down like you did to Lord Raven many years ago. And you don’t have a super weapon.”
“Oh but I do,” Giovanni replied. “But it’s not yet ready. Our Project Union is more powerful than Mewtwo and I will die before it’s stopped.”
“What’s Project Union?” Leaf asked but once more an important question was cut out by one of Ethan or Blue.
“You know where the last Angel, Moltres, is don’t you?” Ethan said.
“You’ve been helping me through this tournament all along, haven’t you?” Blue asked.
“Always, Okaido,” Giovanni chose to answer his son. “You have always been my favourite, my chosen heir. My grunts drained the pools in Cerulean to help you beat Misty. You’ve been handed easier matchups throughout the tournament and I’ve made sure you haven’t faced Leaf incase you allow her to beat you.”
“So everything I’ve done,” Blue whimpered. “Isn’t down to me at all.”
“My son,” Giovanni said softly. “Take your rightful place at my side and join me. Become my heir and see through Project Union. You shall rule this world after I die. That is my gift to you and I hope it makes up for all the suffering I have caused you, Okaido.”
“My name is Blue!” he snapped.
“Oak refused to allow you to be called Okaido after Aria’s death,” Giovanni said and Leaf saw the pain in his face when he spoke of Aria. “He refused to allow you to keep any part of you that came from me. So he called you Blue. That’s why I named my two other sons as Silver and Grey.”
“Grey?” Leaf said, remembering one of the Rocket members who perished to Courtney in the room below.
“The most worthless of the two,” came the cold reply. “Silver has plenty of potential. But is too rash and angry.”
“I will join you,” Blue said to Leaf’s surprise. “On two conditions.”
“Firstly you disband Team Rocket and we leave Kanto-”
“No,” Giovanni said firmly before Blue could finish.
“Secondly,” Blue carried on regardless. “Release Erik and let him live freely. Same goes with Leaf, let her live freely.”
“No,” Giovanni said again.
“Where is Erik?” Leaf growled.
“In our final base of operations with Silver.”
“Where’s that?” she pressed.
“I see we cannot reach a deal,” Giovanni ignored her and spoke to Blue.
“I’ve kept quiet for too long,” Ethan said and all of a sudden fighting started again from the floors below. “She’s here.”
“Your Servants’s leader,” Giovanni said matter of factly.
“Yes and she shall destroy you unless you give us the location of the last Angel.”
“You do realise what will happen if you obtain three feathers and release Mewtwo?” Giovanni said.
“We do. And in the years since you sealed him our leader has been developing a Megastone for Him.”
“You fools,” Giovanni snapped then thought for a moment. “But Mewtwo will fall to Project Union, even with enhanced powers.”
“What is Project Union?” Leaf demanded but was ignored by Giovanni and Ethan.
“We offer you a deal,” Ethan spoke to the Team Rocket boss. “Your life and guaranteed safe passage out of the building for the location of the last Angel, Moltres.”
“Don’t!” Leaf shouted to Ethan and Blue echoed her pleas with a “No”.
“Cinnabar Island,” Giovanni said instantly. “In the volcano there.”
“Come with me,” Ethan said to him. “I’ll lead you safely out.”
“You can’t!” Leaf pleaded but Ethan simply shoved her aside. Giovanni smiled at the shaking Blue as he left the room.
“What now?” Leaf asked her friend.
“I don’t know,” Blue replied. “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
“You’re Blue Oak,” Leaf said fiercely. “A Resistance fighter and one of the best trainers I’ve ever known.”
“I’m going to see Gramps,” Blue decided. “And find out the truth. Of everything.”
“And I must stop the Servants. If they plan to unleash this ultimate weapon, I must stop them getting the final feather. But what about Giovanni?”
“What about him?”
“Project Union?!” Leaf raised her voice. “Team Rocket?! Archer? Erik-”
“Okay, okay,” Blue stopped her. “I get it. So what you gonna do?”
“The most immediate threat is the Servants getting that last feather,” Leaf said. “So I will go to Cinnabar Island and stop them.”
“So the Servants have switched from allies to enemies,” Blue muttered to himself as he stormed towards the large building which was the hamlet’s centrepiece. “Giovanni, my father, is still at large and despite us lot taking down Rocket’s chief base of operations, they’re still as dangerous and powerful as ever.” Blue stopped before the doorway and took a deep breath to collect his thoughts before he charged into the building. “And all I care about is myself right now,” he said then sighed. “I don’t even know what to call myself. Blue, Kai, Okaido? I don’t know.” He pushed open the door and the sight of the two people who stood at the far end of the laboratory filled him with resentment.
“Blue!” the first said, a young female. “You’ve come home!”
“It’s Okaido,” he said fiercely and looked to the elderly man next to her. “Isn’t that right, Gramps?” he said to Professor Oak and saw his sister, Daisy, taken aback at his fury.
“You’ve encountered your father then, at long last.” Oak nodded then closed his eyes thoughtfully.
“He was going to tell you when you were ready,” Daisy spoke for her grandfather.
“So you knew too?!” Okaido questioned his sister.
“For about a month now, yes. Grandfather decided that I was ready to know but wanted to wait until after you’d finished your war with Team Rocket to say.”
“Why?” he spoke to Professor Oak.
“Because I feared you may wish to reunite with Giovanni.”
“You have that little faith in me?”
“No. I have too much respect for Giovanni’s persuasiveness and charisma.”
“Little brother,” Daisy interrupted them. “Please understand.”
“How can you understand?! How can Giovanni be our father. I was told a little while ago but I didn’t truly believe it until I met him for real. Why would our mother be with such a man? Why would you be best friends with him?!” he said with a pointed finger at his grandfather.
“Because the man he was isn’t the man he now is,” Oak replied. “Allow me to explain,” he said in response to his grandson’s confused expression. “Giovanni and I took down a tyrannical ruler of Kanto named Lord Raven twenty-five years ago as we battled against a Pokemon named Mewtwo, a superweapon controlled in battle by his greatest trainer and most trusted lieutenant, Lyra.”
“I’ve heard all this before,” Okaido snapped.
“We were the greatest of friends,” Oak continued. “Despite me being a few years the elder. We were such good friends in fact, that I allowed the marriage of himself to my daughter, your mother, Aria Oak. The two had fallen in love unbeknownst to myself at first. You should’ve seen the look on their faces when I revealed I knew of their love for one another,” he said then chuckled. “They married shortly after we vanquished Mewtwo and sealed the creature inside Cerulean Cave. The union between Giovanni and Aria lasted eight years and bore two children but the now Team Rocket boss made a fatal mistake. He had a secret affair with a woman known as Courtney and Aria eventually found out because a child had been born of this affair. Silver..”
“How could he?” Okaido growled.
“He was weak willed back then. He let his lack of control and his desires lead him. When Aria found out she couldn’t take it, your mother was always a fragile thing, constantly plagued by poor health and illness and once she discovered the affair then the trauma, stress and heartbreak led to her becoming extremely unwell.”
“So Giovanni killed her,” Okaido said.
“In a way, yes. She failed to overcome the illness and eventually passed away and all that is left of my daughter are the two of you.”
“I never understood what happened after that,” Daisy said. “Did you take us away from Giovanni as punishment?”
“I took you away from him because the death of his wife lead him off the rails. He vowed never to allow a lack of control and his weakness to affect him ever again. He became obsessed with power, control and dominance. By this time he had become the second most powerful trainer in the region after myself and the best politician. He founded a secret criminal organisation known as Team Rocket and set up casinos and more to launder money and make himself rich. His twin brother, Sakaki, would provide cover for him out in the open whilst he managed all the dark underground activity to rise through the ranks of the government system with hordes of money where he would eventually install Archer, a close friend and trusted ally of his, to power.”
“Why not Sakaki?” Daisy asked.
“Because he never fully trusted his twin brother. He wanted him kept under his control, and making Sakaki the governor of Kanto would hand his twin too much power.”
“Paranoia,” Daisy said.
“An unnecessary paranoia, his brother had always been faithful.”
“What happened with us,” Okaido asked. “And Courtney?”
“I took you and renamed you Blue,” Oak said. “I had already gotten attached to the name of Daisy but you were still so young, Okaido, so young that your very name reminded me of what happened to your mother,” he said wistfully and Blue saw the pain in his eyes. “Giovanni and I struck an agreement. I could take and raise the two of you and you’d both never have to see him, if only I stay clear of his ambitions. He saw me as the only person powerful enough to stop him and I was too broken from the death of my daughter to refuse.
“I’m sorry,” Okaido blurted before it all had become too much for him. The revelation of his parents, how helpless he suddenly felt and the foreboding feeling of loneliness that swamped him. He burst into tears. Daisy swiftly followed him as tears streamed down her face.
“No, it is I who should be sorry,” Oak comforted the two of them and embraced each of his grandchildren in either arm. Okaido could feel his grandfather trembling but it wasn’t through sadness. “How could I allow you two to reach this state. I’ve sat on the sidelines and allowed my grandchildren to suffer. I refuse to do so anymore. Now there is nothing keeping me from helping the Resistance fully. Now I will do what I should’ve done so many years ago and destroy Giovanni with my grandchildren at my side.”
The ancient winged Pokemon soared through the skies above the ominous island and screeched a high pitched scream from above Leaf. Its gaping mouth showed her a set of sharp teeth along the lower jaw and its long, arrow-headed tail slithered and writhed behind it.
“Incredible,” she whispered as the Aerodactyl landed and allowed his trainer to run her hand along his ridged spine. “But I’m afraid you’re going to have to go into storage now.” She already had a full team of six: Dino, Belly, Club, Stomp, Heiko and Loch so the newest addition to her team, Saur, would have to join the sole Pokemon she had in storage, a Venomoth named Venom.
Saur looked disappointed after having waited possibly hundreds or maybe even thousands of years to be bought to life. Leaf had arrived upon Cinnabar Island, a quaint and small section of land detached from mainland Kanto that lay to the south. The island lay home to a former Gym and a few homes but it was the history of the place which shrouded over the land like a curse. It was covered in sand from top to bottom aside from the enormous volcano which lay to its northeastern tip.
Cinnabar Island was Lord Raven’s former refuge and the home of all his experiments, failed or otherwise. Leaf stood at the island’s south where a large Pokemon laboratory and research facility made its home. In the past, Lord Raven had used the complex to perform all sorts of experiments on Pokemon but nowadays the lab had a friendlier purpose; to resurrect fossils of ancient Pokemon and bring them back to life. Which is why Leaf had visited the complex in the first place and used the old amber she had received from Miguel in Mt. Moon which now seemed so long ago. The fossil he had given her had birthed Saur from the advanced machine the scientists used within. The laboratory had other uses, such as a healing centre for injured Pokemon and a training facility and Pokemon nursery, but Leaf had no interest in those.
The island had two other places of note and she ventured to one of those now, the Pokemon Mansion. Her main purpose for coming to the island was to stop the Servants from finding their last Angel but the lure of the laboratory had proved too strong. Now she had finished her business within, the hunt was on and she had seen no sight nor heard no sound of the fanatical group since her arrival. Giovanni had mentioned the volcano, but Leaf thought to check the mansion first because of its dreadful history.
“You don’t wanna go in there young’un,” an elderly gentlemen said to her as she approached the building. The mansion was a burnt skeleton full of collapsed brick and charred wood and the citizens of Cinnabar avoided the ruin as if the fires that destroyed it still burned.
“Why do you take such care in avoiding it?” she asked the man. She noticed that each person that walked the sands of the island took an extremely wide berth of the mansion which sat directly in Cinnabar’s centre.
“Respect for the ghosts of the past,” he said. He was a bright man with a thick white moustache and wore a same colour bowler hat. Despite the waning sunlight he still wore sunglasses and walked with a cane. Leaf recognised him as the former Gym leader of the island, Blaine. A man which Okaido had knocked out of the Pokemon Tournament.
“It’s haunted?” Leaf asked, thinking of ghost type Pokemon which may lurk within the building’s skeletal remains.
“Not physically, but metaphorically,” Blaine replied. “This is where Lord Raven’s greatest weapon was conducted. Where Mewtwo was birthed and where its Megastone was later created.”
“Mewtwo did this?” she asked, pointing at the ruin.
“Raven’s greatest scientists created the monster within the mansion and then tried to control it. In response to their efforts, the beast known as Mewtwo used psychic powers to not just kill his creators, but torture their minds and souls with visions as some sort of sadistic punishment for bringing him into this world.”
“Because Mewtwo was an abomination that never should have happened. You try to play God over nature and it’s only going to end badly.”
“Do you guard this place?” she asked of him, remembering that the instant she approached the mansion he had walked over to stop her.
“In a way,” he replied. “Something is happening as if the mistakes of the past were never learned and will only be repeated again.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mentioned a Megastone being created for Mewtwo. As if having a superweapon wasn’t enough, as if the Pokemon wasn’t out of control as it was. Someone has tried to make the ultimate evil have godlike powers.”
“I tried to stop her some time ago, but she just shoved me aside and entered the ruins despite the ghosts.”
“Who?” Leaf repeated.
“There’s only two people so stupid. Maybe three if you count Courtney but Giovanni has her on a tight leash,” Blaine repeated, showing he had advanced knowledge of the happenings within Kanto. “And Lord Raven wouldn’t have dared entered Kanto at the time.”
“So that leaves?” Leaf said patiently.
“Lord Raven’s lackey and his greatest trainer. Lyra.”
“No,” Leaf gasped and a loud explosion emanated from the volcano and rocked the entire island. The Servants were within, and were battling with the last Angel to retrieve its feather and then release Mewtwo back into the world, powered up by a Megastone. It would be unstoppable. But that’s not why Leaf stood trembling with a face as pale as snow. It was because Lyra was leading the Servants and would be her greatest opponent now, maybe even greater than Giovanni. And Lyra was the name of her mother.