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TEEN: The Meaning of Ambition

Chapter 1: Wavering Emotions
Nov 29, 2012
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Two royals from different eras and with opposing ideologies,
both at just one step from accomplishing their ultimate goals.
However, when destiny has its say on the matter,
their determination and beliefs are pushed to the very limit.
This is how a warlord and a king met each other.

A crossover story of Pokémon Conquest and Pokémon Black & White,
featuring Nobunaga, Bianca, Cheren and N.


Rating: Teen

Content Warnings:

• Moderate Violence
Fighting scenes that will involve mauling and sparse amounts of blood will be present in future chapters.

• Mild Swearing

A couple of instances of characters dropping the "Damn!" bomb.

Table of contents:
  • Chapter 1: “Wavering Emotions” (this chapter)
  • Chapter 2: “Noblesse Oblige”
  • Chapter 3: "A Dragon Out of Den”
  • Chapter 4: “Illusions and Links”
  • Chapter 5: “Rallying the Allies”
  • Chapter 6: “Road to Conquest and Victory”
  • Chapter 7: “Truths, Ideals and Ambitions”
  • Epilogue

The Meaning of Ambition

“Ambition is not what man does… but what man would do.”
– Robert Browning

Chapter 1: Wavering Emotions

☯ ☯ ☯

The moon glowed above the mountains, signaling the start of the dead of the night. Nary a cloud was in the sky, allowing a spectacular view of the cosmos and the infinite flickers that were the stars. A long shadow obfuscated the moon, its yellow marks shining in the darkness and radiating great power and magnificence. Its black body blended perfectly with the night sky, permitting the entity to oversee the ground without being spotted.

No human was around at that late time, allowing the shadow to descend toward the ground without worry. It flew in loops around the main plaza to survey the area, before stopping right in front of the enormous castle. The purple roofs reflected the warm glow of the torches surrounding the palace, making the sharp pinnacles glisten in the darkness. The appearance had the vague reminiscence of a giant maw of a dragon. Even though the shadow wasn’t particularly impressed by the architecture, it still appreciated the love and admiration that humans of that kingdom showed toward its brethren. It was a very flattering feeling.

Turning its back to the castle, the shadow flew through the foliage of Dragnorian mountain maples, raising a soft powdery musk and star-shaped leaves with its strong gusts. Many Duskulls and Zubats began flying erratically when the entity trespassed their territory with impunity, the currents making it harder for them to stay airborne. Not too far from them, a colony of Dratini and Dragonair was resting peacefully by a nearby lake, when the entity glided above the surface of the water. Startled by the intrusion, the dragons immediately hid underwater. They stared curiously at the passing being from below the water veil, slowly emerging as soon as the shadow soared away.

Every single creature in the kingdom recognized the keeper of the skies when they saw it.

Dragnor Castle

Standing atop the highest balcony of Dragnor Castle, a man was staring at the moonlit sky. He had long black hair, tied tightly above his head with a cloth hairband, that matched perfectly with his short mustache and beard. He was wearing a purple and black hitatare, adorned with a set of black shoulder pieces and long gloves. His whole appearance was a symbol of his uppermost nobility and importance, with sharp eyes brimming with all the knowledge and experience obtained on the battlefield.

That man was none other than Lord Oda Nobunaga: Warlord of Dragnor, Master of Dragon-type Pokémon and the strongest Warrior of all the region of Ransei.

Right behind the man, a hulking black beast scrutinized their surroundings with its fierce red eyes, its whole physique giving it the aspect of a living gargoyle and its aura radiating a tremendous electric power — Zekrom. It stretched its sturdy wings outward and yawned, while blue electricity flowed within its generator tail and made it flicker with several azure shimmers. It felt relaxed and at peace, enjoying the fresh breezes and scents coming from distant lands.

Unfortunately, the truce didn’t last long.

“Lord Nobunaga, I’ve brought a message from our patrols.”

Both warlord and dragon turned to the voice: a young man with black hair and white clothes ran into the balcony, holding a rolled scroll in his hands. Besides him rushed a Lucario, his aura sensors rigid and upright. The narrowed stare and flickering aura in his paws was a reflection of his human partner’s turmoil and restlessness. The sight made Zekrom frown, but Nobunaga didn’t seem fazed at all.

“Ha. Ranmaru. Is there any news?” asked Nobunaga.

“…There is, my lord, but I am afraid it isn't good,” responded Ranmaru, sounding nervous and holding the scroll in his hands tightly. “It’s about… Lord Mitsuhide.”

Nobunaga looked at Ranmaru inquisitively, his eyes silently urging the page to tell more. “Hm? What about him?”

Ranmaru stayed silent for some time, fearing how his lord would react at the news. He felt his Lucario placing a paw on his shoulder, sending a reassuring wave through their auric link, which was enough to give him the courage to relay the news. “He… He has been… defeated by the Warlord of Aurora,” he responded all at once, releasing a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Nixtorm is now under Lord Hiro’s domain. Our kingdom… It’s the only one left.”

Silence fell on the balcony, as Nobunaga narrowed his eyes and assimilated the information. Lord Mitsuhide, the renowned Master of Ice-type Pokémon and the Warlord who had come the closest to defeating Nobunaga… had been defeated? This Lord Hiro was shaping himself to be quite the unstoppable threat, despite his tender age.

“Ha… How interesting.”

Everyone stared at Nobunaga in surprise: the warlord was smiling. No, more than that, he seemed almost elated by the news.

“Even Mitsuhide has fallen under the might of Lord Hiro.” A smug smirk appeared on the warlord’s face, as he started laughing. “Hehehe… Hahahaha!” He crossed his arms, appearing very intrigued. “So, this is it. We are now approaching the final battle.”

“Hm, Lord Nobunaga… Aren’t you worried about that?” asked Ranmaru in astonishment, staring at his lord with wide eyes. His Lucario seemed surprised as well, having sensed a wave of thrill and intrigue radiating from the warlord’s aura.

“No. I had grown tired of waiting for some valid opponent, Ranmaru. Finally there is someone worthy of challenging Nobunaga,” replied Nobunaga, totally confident of his skills and hitching at the idea of fighting someone of his caliber. “Besides, everything is going according to plans. Did you do as I have told?”

Ranmaru nodded. “Yes. Everyone is in place and just waiting for your orders.”

“Very well. Then you are dismissed,” responded the warlord, turning around to look again at the sky. “Nobunaga needs some time to reflect on the incoming battle for Dragnor.”

Ranmaru stayed in place for quite some time, wondering what his lord was pondering about. However, he simply bowed in respect, with Lucario doing the same. “…As you wish, my lord.”

As soon as the page and his Pokémon left, Nobunaga afforded himself to smirk. He could feel his excitement pumping at the prospect of facing the Warlord of Aurora. Finally a true challenge!

“At long last, the day is nearing, Zekrom.”

Zekrom’s pupils darted toward the man, its head shifting slightly while the rest of the body stayed immobile, almost as if made of stone.

“The day in which Ransei will be finally united, and all fights for power will cease. I have been waiting for this moment all these years.” The man held his arms behind his back. “But Nobunaga cannot stop these conflicts alone. Your help will be required to succeed. To take the final step.”

Zekrom released a guttural growl in response, letting the warlord know that he had its support. The dragon could sense it very clearly — a great determination radiated from the man’s spirit, a powerful desire to change things for the better. The wish to give peace to all people and Pokémon, who were weary of all the fights and the darkness that had surrounded them for far too long.

That sheer willpower was all Zekrom needed to place its trust and lend its power to the Warlord of Dragnor. Together, they had the power to revolutionize Ransei. To rekindle hope in their world.

“And to bring all of Ransei under my domain, all that is left to do is defeat Lord Hiro…” Nobunaga narrowed his eyes as his voice suddenly soured. “And… Oichi.”

Zekrom turned completely to the warlord, studying its partner very closely. That grave voice, that tense posture, that storm in his heart… it had seen some humans behaving like that, centuries ago.

…Yes. It was sure of it. That was the same tension that surfaced between those two twin kings that reigned that faraway land many centuries ago. Zekrom could only wonder what kind of thoughts were plaguing the warlord’s mind. By what it could detect through their auric link, those were confusing and rampaging feelings, that were carefully hidden beneath a stoic mask.

Nobunaga shook his head, refusing to let his swirling emotions chip away at his determination. “It does not make a difference, however. If I must fight my own flesh and blood to achieve my goal, then so be it.” He clenched his fists. “I will not let anyone get in my way. Not even my sister.”

Zekrom growled and leaned forward, wordlessly asking the warlord if he was willing to do that. Nobunaga just stared back at Zekrom, his eyes showing not a single ounce of doubt or hesitation — only unbridled resoluteness. He had worked so hard and for so long, he wouldn’t let all his efforts and sacrifices go to waste just because of two rebellious youngsters.

A soft gust blew on the balcony, and Nobunaga and Zekrom both looked upwards. They instantly recognized the yellow marks of the shadow floating idly above them, its colossal body stopping the moonlight and its golden eyes fixated on the warlord. It descended toward the balcony until its head was on the same level as Zekrom’s. The latter regarded the shadow with a welcoming grunt, which was quickly reciprocated.

Nobunaga showed a smug smile. “…Rayquaza. There you are, you sly girl.”

Rayquaza replied with a happy growl, doing a few loops in the air and showing a cheerful gaze. She lowered her head toward Nobunaga, allowing the warlord to place a gloved hand on top of it. They instantly felt their auras pulsate and connect, allowing both warlord and dragon to read their respective spirits and emotions. Rayquaza narrowed her eyes, having detected the unpleasant residues of the thoughts that were swirling the warlord's mind just a minute ago. Meanwhile, Nobunaga sensed serenity coming from the dragon — not a single soul had trespassed his kingdom. And by taking Mitsuhide’s defeat in consideration, the Warlord of Aurora was probably camping somewhere down the mountains of Nixtorm. Hiro’s army wouldn’t have been able to reach and attempt to seize Dragnor until the following day.

Nobunaga lowered his hand and smiled at Rayquaza, appearing pleased. "Very fine job, Rayquaza. You did excellent, as always."

Rayquaza nodded subtly, but she didn’t seem too happy. She glanced briefly at Zekrom, who seemed to have had detected the same unrest in Nobunaga’s spirit, before staring at the warlord suspiciously. Soft hisses came from the depth of her throat and her tail began swaying in erratic patterns — an evident sign of unease.

Nobunaga seemed to have read the dragons’ minds and shook his head. “I am aware of what you two are thinking. Rest assured, however, as I have everything under control.” He walked toward the door of the balcony, the dragons following every step with their stares. “This is what must be done. There is no other way. Soon, Ransei will be under one domain — Nobunaga’s domain.” He turned around, facing the dragons with eyes filled with determination. “We cannot afford to relent now. This is not the time for mercy or second thoughts. It is time for conquest.”

Rayquaza and Zekrom looked at each other, trading worried gazes, before both let out deep resigned grunts. They knew well they wouldn’t have been able to change the warlord’s mind, no matter what. His mind was pretty much made up, and he had a point regarding the situation in Ransei. Things needed to change, even if that meant resorting to drastic measures. So, the least they could do was giving him their full support.

However, Rayquaza felt that she could find a way to cheer her partner up and make him loosen up a bit. She pondered about what to do, before curling her mouth into a smile while her markings started glowing brightly. Smiling wasn’t something that her kin normally did, but she had learned how to do that by observing very closely humans and Pokémon throughout the centuries. Zekrom looked at the other dragon, immediately understanding what she was planning, and took a few steps backward, placing its tail on the border of the balcony.

Nobunaga stared at the electric dragon in puzzlement, and before he knew it, he released a startled grunt when he was pinned to the floor by a great force. Rayquaza released many soft purrs, rubbing her muzzle delicately onto Nobunaga’s chest and giving him affectionate licks with the tip of her tongue. On the sidelines, Zekrom showed an amused smirk and produced something that resembled a heavy snicker, while the warlord found himself defenseless against the serpent’s shower of love.

Knowing that he couldn’t fight off the overly affectionate Rayquaza, Nobunaga just sighed in defeat, more resigned and embarrassed than anything. “Pah. Of all Dragon-type Pokémon I had to have the perfect link with…” he grumbled to himself, struggling hard to maintain his stoic attitude. Even if he didn’t want to admit it openly, he actually enjoyed Rayquaza’s unique antics and personality, and both dragons knew it. If all, the tension and confusing emotions swirling in the warlord’s spirit had greatly diminished thanks to her spontaneous gesture.

But suddenly, a white flash filled the night sky, so intense that it covered the whole kingdom with a faint glow. The event was so startling that Rayquaza immediately shot her hear upwards, her cuddles completely forgotten. She hissed loudly at the light, in part angry because it interrupted their beautiful moment and in part because she was concerned by what was happening. Zekrom turned its head toward the light, releasing a deep growl and its tail shining in alert, while Nobunaga slowly stood back up with confusion in his eyes.

“What is going on?” he wondered, holding a hand in front of his eyes to shield himself from the light. Neither dragon truly answered, aside from releasing some guttural growls.

After not too long, the light dimmed significantly, allowing the warlord to see once again with clarity. He walked toward the border of the balcony, before his eyes widened at what he saw: a massive pillar of light, shooting to the sky with all its mystical splendor and revealing the presence of an ancient elusive building.

Infinite Tower, the mirage tower.

“It cannot be!” shouted Nobunaga in disbelief.

Rayquaza hissed at the distant pillar as her whole body produced several loops in a frenzy, while Zekrom growled and released countless blue sparks from its tail. Everyone knew what the appearance of that tower meant: the legendary Pokémon had returned.

“Rayquaza!” said Nobunaga with an authoritative tone, obtaining the instant attention of the serpent. “Take me to the ancient tower!”

Rayquaza nodded and lowered herself to the floor, allowing Nobunaga to climb on her neck. The warlord secured himself under the lower horns of the dragon while using the upper horns as a handle of sorts. Once he was comfortable on her neck, Rayquaza gained altitude, getting ready to fly away at any given second.

Nobunaga looked at the other dragon, a scowl present on his face. “Zekrom, survey the entire perimeter. Nobody must infiltrate Dragnor in Nobunaga’s absence!”

Zekrom replied with a nod and an affirmative grunt, before spreading its wings and activating the engine in its tail. Both dragons took flight, a blue trail and a black blur directed toward their respective locations.

Infinite Tower

The journey toward Infinite Tower was as fast as it was silent. Rayquaza stared intently at the black building ahead of them, feeling anxious at the prospect of encountering whatever entity was waiting for them there, while Nobunaga was completely lost in his thoughts. The tower was connected to both pleasant and unpleasant memories: It was there where Nobunaga had met and linked with his loyal partner Rayquaza, but it was also there where it had seen the other legendary Pokémon for the first time.

Arceus. The instigator of all the conflicts of the whole of Ransei and the catalyst behind the desires of power and greed corrupting his people.

Nobunaga hoped to be wrong, that the tower reappearing was nothing more than a fluke, a mere coincidence. However, if that wasn’t the case, he was ready to resort to some solution. A permanent solution.

Rayquaza began her descent toward the building, feeling her anxiety skyrocketing. A really powerful aura of unknown origins was radiating from the depths of the tower, a mystical force of such raw power that it was able to unnerve even a millenary Pokémon like her.

Nobunaga detected her turmoil through their link and gave her a couple of rubs on her neck to give her confidence and courage. “Do not hesitate, Rayquaza. There is no alternative.” He glared fiercely at the tower. “We must do this. For the sake of all of Ransei.”

Rayquaza felt somewhat bolstered by Nobunaga’s determination and aura, but she could also detect something… off coming from the warlord. She couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was, but there was no doubt that it was tied to that tower. Still, she did her best to steel herself: surely the warlord knew what he was doing.

The duo reached the top of the tower, and Rayquaza allowed Nobunaga to disembark from her. The warlord started walking around, with the dragon floating closely behind him. They studied the area very cautiously, readying themselves for any possible assault. Among the weirdest phenomena, they noticed how the normally pitch-black obsidian tiles were glowing with a mystical golden light. Nobunaga placed a hand on a wall, immediately feeling a surge of energy flowing through his arm.

Surprised by that, the warlord hastily removed his hand from the wall and looked intently at it, seeing some faint sparks flickering on his glove. He frowned, unsure of what to make off of that phenomenon. “Is this… the work of the legendary Pokémon?”

Rayquaza unleashed a deep growl and thumped her tail on the floor to attract her partner’s attention. The warlord looked at the dragon, seeing how her gaze was fixated on a spot. Upon following her stare, he saw that the center of the tower was still unleashing the beam of light toward the sky. By squinting his eyes, he spotted something hiding inside of it. That was… a golden wheel, with various Unown swirling around the beam.

Nobunaga froze. There was no doubt about it: the legendary Pokémon was right there. He could recognize that unique wheel among thousands.

“So, you are back…” growled Nobunaga, staring at the entity in front of him with palpable fury and resentment. “Why are you back?!”

The entity didn’t reply. Green astral eyes were shining from inside the pillar, their gaze so intense that they could pierce through the warlord’s spirit like a Flamethrower through a Shedinja. A very soft humming sound resonated around the area, but whether that sound came from the Unown or the entity was unknown to both Nobunaga and Rayquaza.

While frustrated by the lack of a response, the gears in the warlord’s mind started spinning rapidly. The legendary Pokémon was there. He could end things in a fell swoop, end what he had left unfinished years ago. His goal was within his reach, and he wouldn’t waste this chance. Not at all.

“Rayquaza! Strike, black as night!”

With a sharp glare, Nobunaga motioned toward the entity with his head. Picking up the command through their auric link and throwing caution out of the window, Rayquaza unleashed a primordial roar, her markings glowing with a blood-red shimmer. She glared at her target and sped forward, propelled by strong currents and aiming at the entity like an invisible cannonball. A breakneck Extreme Speed.

But Rayquaza wasn’t fast enough.

Before the attack could even connect, the glowing entity and the Unown unleashed a massive explosion of light, so powerful that it made the whole tower shake violently. The tremors were of such magnitude that Nobunaga lost his balance, grunting when he found himself sprawling unceremoniously on the floor. Caught off guard, Rayquaza crashed head-first into the white sphere. Her roars of shock steadily faded as the light overwhelmed and engulfed her. She cried out for Nobunaga, desperately urging him to run away, before vanishing into thin air. The light continued undeterred its race toward the downed warlord, growing in intensity and splendor with each second.

Too dignified to scramble and too proud to flee from battle, Nobunaga shielded his face with his arms, shutting his eyes to block the incoming light. He could feel a sudden warm sensation pervading his whole body, which was replaced by an immediate… sense of weariness and tiredness. If he wanted to open his eyes now, he wouldn’t have been able to — for some reason, they had become very heavy. Black and white flashes clouded his vision, while the noises of the shaking tower and the humming creatures grew more and more distant and distorted.

However, amid the cacophony of swirling whiteness and blackness, a dominating voice resonated in his mind, as clear as a bell.


I know you have been looking for me all this time. Fear not, you will get the chance to face me in a fair fight very soon.

Your heart is mostly in the right place. I can sense that you greatly care about Ransei and its inhabitants. All your hard work and your conquests have been done for everyone’s sake. And for that, you have my respect and gratitude.

But your spirit… I can detect many turbulent sensations and feelings you are refusing to acknowledge and elaborate on. So many things you still cannot grasp and must first witness and experience with your own eyes. So many important things that you have forgotten during all these years.

Also, is what you are envisioning the ideal world you are seeking? Is your will strong enough to face any truth lying ahead of you? What
is your ambition?

Allow me to aid you in the search of the answers you need… by showing you a glimpse of the future.

And with those words, Nobunaga’s world faded to nothingness.

☯ ☯ ☯​

Nobunaga grunted and stirred in his sleep, the daze slowly melting away and his senses starting to flow back to him. He tried to open his eyes, but was forced to shut them again when he was blinded by a downpour of intense light. He covered his face with an arm and squinted his eyes. Was he still in the middle of the mysterious attack?

…No, that didn’t seem to be the case. He didn’t feel that strange sensation of lethargy anymore. By judging the comforting warmth on his skin, it was sunlight from above that was pouring all over his face, while a pleasant gust blew gently through his hair.

Nobunaga blinked repeatedly to adjust to the light. It was daytime already? Had he really passed out for so long?

Confused by the lapse of time, Nobunaga sat up and took a glance around. To his horror, not only the entity was nowhere to be seen, but the same applied to the tower. The obsidian floor and walls were gone. In their place, a grassy field and woodland of an unknown location welcomed the warlord, while the happy squeaks of a group of Emolga playing together filled the air.

Where was he?

Suddenly, Nobunaga felt something flat brushing on his chest, before being dragged backward and against some smooth surface. This startled Nobunaga — had some wild Pokémon caught him? However, his shock was instantly replaced by relief when he looked downward: a familiar set of black and red fins was coiled around his torso, which was connected to a very long black tail. Following the tail with his gaze, Nobunaga spotted the sleeping figure of Rayquaza, appearing unscathed. Her whole body was sprawled across the grass, slightly curled up on herself in a peaceful doze. Despite the imposing aspect of the legendary, she looked almost… adorable, in that pose.

Nobunaga attempted to pry the tail off of himself, but the only thing he accomplished was making Rayquaza tighten the coil around his chest and curl up further, with her head brushing against his leg. Nobunaga huffed and shook his head in annoyance. Luckily for him, nobody was around to see him in that condition, especially his subordinates. His reputation would be in shambles if someone witnessed the fearsome Rayquaza cuddling with the ruthless warlord like a Growlithe with its child.

“Rayquaza!” exclaimed Nobunaga, shaking the muzzle of the Pokémon. However, the only response he got was a soft snore on his face, which made him release a frustrated growl. “Will you not wake?”

Seeing that he was pretty much trapped in Rayquaza’s sleepy bind, Nobunaga decided to adopt another strategy. He took a deep calming breath, and once his mind had been cleared completely, he closed his eyes and focused on the auric link he shared with Rayquaza. He could feel his energy resonating with his partner’s power, and with another deep breath, he channeled his energy and sent it to Rayquaza in the form of a dark purple wave. The flame-like aura enveloped Rayquaza completely, who woke up instantly when she felt the surge of power. Growling darkly, she lifted her head and looked frantically around, searching for any nearby threat, and inadvertently tightening her grip on Nobunaga.

With his breath knocked out of him, Nobunaga tried once more to loosen the tail. “Ray… quaza…!” he wheezed, hoping to attract his partner’s attention.

Rayquaza blinked a few times at realizing that there was no threat, before looking down and noticing the struggling warlord. The dragon loosened her grip and yelped happily, glad to see that her partner was safe and sound, and her markings began shimmering with a warm yellow glow. She pulled the man toward herself and lowered her muzzle, giving him a gentle boop on his chest and growling softly to express her glee. Nobunaga just rolled his eyes in response, reluctant to reciprocate the affectionate gesture.

“Rayquaza… we have other concerns at the moment. Not now,” he said assertively, making it clear that it was no time for games.

Rayquaza pouted in disappointment, her tongue hanging down and her markings flickering like a dying light-bulb. However, she respected her partner’s boundaries and wishes and unwrapped her tail off the warlord. She slithered backward and slammed her tail on the grass, summoning a tiny twister to lift herself off the ground. Cuddles would have to wait.

“First things first. This place…” Nobunaga motioned toward the surrounding forest. “Does it look familiar to you?”

Rayquaza peered at the forest, then at the faraway mountains. That place certainly wasn’t the Infinite Tower anymore, nor did it look like Dragnor at all. The trees looked different, the mountains looked different, even the surroundings felt different. Some quick flickers of her tongue confirmed her suspicions: the air was slightly hotter and richer in oxygen, from what she could detect. Also, she spotted several flocks of Braviary flying in the sky, their proud cries reverberating through the ether. Perhaps the duo had been teleported in some area close to Avia? She couldn’t say for certain. The air didn’t quite taste like Avian air, either.

Nobunaga stared at the dragon, frowning upon realizing that his partner was as confused as he was. “So, even you do not know?”

Rayquaza released a soft hiss, while her tail whipped constantly the air. A clear negative answer.

“…I see.” Nobunaga looked up at the sky. “In this case… Rayquaza, reconnaissance.”

Rayquaza nodded, and with a burst of speed, she soared away and into the deep blue. Nobunaga stared as his partner faded in the sky, and while he waited for the dragon to return with some news, he deemed it productive to explore his surroundings. With a quick nod to himself, he marched through the woods.


It took Rayquaza mere seconds to reach the highest clouds, barely below the upper layer of the troposphere. While for humans it would have been impossible to breathe and withstand the pressure, Rayquaza could handle the rarefied air and radiations coming from space without any issue. However, as soon as she approached the ozone layer, she noticed… something very off about the air. It was incredibly dry and hot, more so that she last remembered. Also, some rare embers of unknown origins danced in the air, giving to the winds a faint orange glow.

This unusual weather puzzled the black dragon, but she didn’t let that thought bother her too much. With a mighty swing of her tail, the dragon dispersed the hot air and embers, clearing the skies in an instant. Satisfied with her tail-work, she looked toward the ground to pinpoint the location. What the dragon saw took her by surprise.

Ransei was no longer there. In its place, there was a region whose name escaped her memory, no matter how much she tried to remember. For humans who lived there, that region was known with one name only: Unova. Rayquaza could very clearly discern the unique shape of the faraway coasts and the giant island-like strip of land in the center, with high and cold mountains surrounding the region.

Now really curious, Rayquaza memorized the location of the settlement where she left Nobunaga — which the dragon identified as 9th Road — and glided through Unovan skies. She descended at almost bird’s-eye altitude to study the landscape more accurately, flying through the darkest thunderclouds to avoid being spotted.

Thanks to her legendary prowess and speed, Rayquaza quickly reached Lacunosa Town. She could see how it was still surrounded by the great wall to keep a certain legendary Pokémon away. But had the whole area grown much colder…? Rayquaza slowed down when she was flying above the Giant Chasm, golden eyes peering through the snow-covered land. But as she didn’t see anything that piqued her interest — aside from an abnormal number of Absol packs, which were more common than usual — she decided to not waste more time than required and carried on with her task. Besides, she never really liked the cold.

Soon enough, she reached Lentimas Town, switching from thunderclouds to volcanic fumes and ashes as her camouflage. She gave a quick look at the desert, not noticing anything out of ordinary, when an unknown assailant with rigid wings rushed in her direction, not giving any sign of steering out of the way. The dragon was forced to dive-bomb hastily, shrieking in shock at the sudden attack. She turned to the fleeing being, hissing angrily. Did a Latios just try to attack her? Or was that a Latias?

Rayquaza chased the assailant for an explanation, mildly miffed by the scare, but halted in surprise upon seeing what it was — Some kind of gigantic metal thing, roughly eight times bigger than she was, expecting streams of air from its wings. That strange… bird… left behind a mixture of white smoke and petroleum, which stunted Rayquaza’s senses momentarily and forced her to take some distance. Just what was that thing?

Not knowing what to make of that encounter and not wanting to deal with a creature far bigger than her, Rayquaza put aside the issue and resumed her mission. She decided to fly a bit higher, in case there were more of those air-making demons.

Much to her relief, White Forest was as verdant as ever, if not even more widespread and beautiful. She descended toward the enormous white tree and relished in the fresh scents, waving a friendly paw at a flock of Pidgey and Starly roosting nearby. They chirped hesitantly at the dragon, afraid of enraging her by mistake, but she released a soft growl to let them know she meant no harm. This seemed to do the trick as the birds relaxed visibly, and once assured that the situation was stable, she turned to leave…

Until her attention was attracted by something not too far from the forest, which prompted her to investigate the new anomaly.

This time, the surprise was in the shape of blinding neon lights, outlining a city with tall towers made of black steel and obscured glass, and filling the place with clouds of stinky smoke. A very sharp contrast with the much cleaner White Forest.

The dragon sped toward the tallest tower, before taking a peek into one of the windows. She saw dozens of humans wearing identical clothes and sitting in front of some kind of… cubic boxes? A blue glow was projected from those cubes, right into the eyes of those humans. Those gazes made them look like they were in some sort of hypnotic trance. Also, their fingers were tapping constantly and rapidly on some flat things with buttons, making countless clicking sounds.

…Were they even humans? They looked like humans, but didn’t behave like humans. They resembled more… machines. Machines in human form. That was really creepy.

Unnerved by that scene, Rayquaza sped away from the tower as fast as she could, not even looking back. By then, several confusing thoughts were swirling inside Rayquaza’s mind, who was trying to piece everything together and make any sense of what was going on. All those changes were so drastic: did humans in Unova change the landscape and progress so much during those few years in Ransei? That was… impressive. Terrifying, but impressive.

But it was when the dragon reached Desert Resort that she got the biggest shock, strong enough to make her stare at the area in horror. The magnificent Resort Castle, one of the homes of her fellow dragon Zekrom and a dear place tied to its fondest memories… was now gone.

How was that possible? Did something happen while she was traveling around the world and helping out Nobunaga with his conquests? But… how? It’s been only a century or two since she last saw the desert. Perhaps even three centuries or four. She had never been good at keeping track of time.

Recovering from the initial stupor, Rayquaza decided to investigate the area at a much closer distance. She needed an answer.

As she descended in a spot devoid of humans and Pokémon, she channeled her power on the currents to control the raging sandstorm. A dust twister surrounded the black dragon, who employed it as a protection from prying eyes. With this little setup, she flew in the direction where she recalled the castle used to be, but sand and a few Maractus were the only visible things that reigned in that place.

Just when she was starting to think the glorious castle was gone forever, she spotted many blue statues on the northern region of the desert — Darmanitan, who used to guard the entrance to the castle in ancient times, according to Zekrom’s stories. Could it mean…?

Rayquaza swooped toward the location of the statues, quickly finding a hole surrounded by stone walls. That was it, the entrance! So the castle had simply been run aground. Probably once humans and Pokémon left the kingdom, for reasons she didn’t know, the sandstorm buried the whole building. Speaking of that sandstorm, upon thinking about it, that too was unusually powerful: it was almost like the weather of the whole region had gone wack. She started wondering if that was the work of some legendary Pokémon — she knew from experience that some of them were very grumpy, or bored, or both.

Curious to see how the castle looked like, she stirred up a massive dust devil and sent it into the entrance. The wind seeped through the many underground holes, blowing away copious amounts of sand and uncovering more and more of the ancient building. Rayquaza looked inquisitively at the castle, thrilled at the idea of seeing her companion’s old home, before blinking in surprise. Did she see… burns and electrical damage on the walls? That was odd, didn’t Zekrom love that kingdom? There were also some signs of something having rammed into the walls and having made big dents. Probably it was the work of some powerful Pokémon, like a Warrior Pokémon from a rival kingdom. Though, there was no way for her to confirm that.

She descended to check out more of the castle and try to uncover it further, when…

“Hey! What’s going on?”

“Agh! Who has thrown sand in my eyes?!”

“Quick! Everyone out of here!”

Humans. Rayquaza didn’t want to face the humans who surely had suffered the effects of her dust devil, and soared upwards to avoid being yelled at. With a swift glance behind, she saw some puzzled people exiting the castle and looking wildly around them. Among the group, a young boy with dark hair rushed out of the building, cleaning up his sand-covered glasses with a handkerchief. Everyone began shaking the sand off of their clothes, but before they could even spot the dragon, she had already disappeared in the sandstorm.
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- Do like the intro to Nobunaga
- Besides him rushed a Lucario <- Typo, beside him? Unless you meant that besides him there was a Lucario.
- Man that feel when as unfortunate a name as Hiro, though I think it's canon?
- Is him referring to himself in the third person something that happens in the games too? Never got beyond the second set of opponents after the fire/grass/water ones.
- Oh dear, we're using common nouns.
- Smiling wasn’t something that her kin normally did <- Like this implication there's more than one Rayquaza.
- Also, daww? That is not something I ever expected to see a Rayquaza written to do but it is adorable.
- tfw Nobunaga is tsun
- Heh, like that you're explictly penning Arceus as an evil entity here, more or less, at least in Nobunaga's eyes. Instigating conflicts and instilling dark desires in people.
- However, if that wasn’t the case, he was ready to resort to some solution. A permanent solution. <- This reads a bit off as it gives the implications he'd had conflicts with it before and done some temporary solutions. Dunno if that was the point.
- before vanishing in thin air <- Should be _into_ thin air here.
- Black and white flashes <- I see what you did there
- Well this god does not speak like one.
- Air Lock in action, yo! It's an interesting way to show that things have changed over time, and that perhaps this weather going on isn't natural.
- So in this fic, Unova was around in the distant past, or Nobunaga's present, and now this is their future. Hm!
- Like the concept of being very confused by modern technology to the point of thinking the humans are technology.
- An abrupt place to end it though, have to say.

One thing I noticed here: tone seems to fluctuate a lot. At points it reads about as I'd expect, formal powerful narration to match the characters, situations, and setting. Other times the writing is a complete shift to fully casual in tone. If that makes any sense, hard for me to really describe. Like compare the first scene or Nobunaga's introduction with the scene after they get warped. Not hindering my enjoyment, but it did feel a bit strange.

Timeline is slightly confusing too, but if I'm getting it right, it went Era of the Black/White Heroes -> a bunch of time -> Nobunaga's time -> a bunch of time -> Present time for the main series games. Getting that right?

Well, do know what this concept is about from your talking of it, so it'll be cool to see it in practice! Especially the presence of that airship framing things.
Hey, thanks for posting your review, System Error! This is very much appreciated. :D

So many questions, so many incoming answers. Let's get started.

- Do like the intro to Nobunaga

Ah, excellent. I'm very pleased to hear that, I wanted to introduce him properly since he is such a cool character. :3

- Besides him rushed a Lucario <- Typo, beside him? Unless you meant that besides him there was a Lucario.

I meant that a Lucario was running by his side, and entered the balcony alongside Ranmaru. I'll see if I can make this part a bit clearer.

- Man that feel when as unfortunate a name as Hiro, though I think it's canon?

It's as canon as it can get, as the player character is only known as Hero/Heroine. So, I picked a name that was the closest to those "names".

- Is him referring to himself in the third person something that happens in the games too? Never got beyond the second set of opponents after the fire/grass/water ones.

Yup! 100% canon.


- Smiling wasn’t something that her kin normally did <- Like this implication there's more than one Rayquaza.

This is because there are. In fact, there will be another Rayquaza (sort of) next chapter, even if he won't have an active role in the story. Don't want it to steal Blackquaza's spotlight, after all.

- Also, daww? That is not something I ever expected to see a Rayquaza written to do but it is adorable.

Haha, yeah! She's definitely not your usual Imma-Fire-My-Hyper-Beam Rayquaza. I really wanted to go with something unique with her, since all Rayquazas portrayed in the various stories are often shown as territorial jerks, and it's not every day you meet an enormous affectionate flying snake, after all. ;p

- tfw Nobunaga is tsun

Yep. Very tough outside, but actually a bit of a softie inside. Just like with Rayquaza, I wanted to avert the standard portrayals, especially the Demon King Nobunaga trope. This will be one of his most positive portraits you'll ever see, but don't underestimate him. When he gets mad, he really gets mad.

- Heh, like that you're explictly penning Arceus as an evil entity here, more or less, at least in Nobunaga's eyes. Instigating conflicts and instilling dark desires in people.
- However, if that wasn’t the case, he was ready to resort to some solution. A permanent solution. <- This reads a bit off as it gives the implications he'd had conflicts with it before and done some temporary solutions. Dunno if that was the point.

Both these points are taken from canon.

In one of the post-game stories, Nobunaga actually meets Arceus at some point. However, out of fear of what would happen if his people found out about it, and not wanting to add extra fuel to the already raging war, Nobunaga asks Arceus to leave the world. Somehow, Arceus is convinced and leaves.

But as the main story reveals, the conflicts to find Arceus restart at some point, forcing Nobunaga to try to stop the fights by conquering the whole region and by taking a very drastic decision: destroy Arceus. If Arceus were to be truly gone, there would be no reason to fight to gain its power. Hence the "permanent solution".

- before vanishing in thin air <- Should be _into_ thin air here.


- Black and white flashes <- I see what you did there

Ooh! Foreshadowing!

- Well this god does not speak like one.

It's Farceus, obviously.

- Air Lock in action, yo! It's an interesting way to show that things have changed over time, and that perhaps this weather going on isn't natural.

Aah, yeah! Glad you noticed that. :D

- So in this fic, Unova was around in the distant past, or Nobunaga's present, and now this is their future. Hm!

Pretty much. This is like Back to the Future, but reversed. So Back to the Past?

One thing I noticed here: tone seems to fluctuate a lot. At points it reads about as I'd expect, formal powerful narration to match the characters, situations, and setting. Other times the writing is a complete shift to fully casual in tone. If that makes any sense, hard for me to really describe. Like compare the first scene or Nobunaga's introduction with the scene after they get warped. Not hindering my enjoyment, but it did feel a bit strange.

Hmm... yes. There is a slight tone shift because their whole placement in time and space shifts as well. There is basically a jump from the Japanese Middle Ages, where there was a lot of emphasis on respect and power, to the more casual and "international" vibe of modern America. The style is supposed to mirror that somewhat, which will be a bit evident with some flashbacks in future chapters.

Timeline is slightly confusing too, but if I'm getting it right, it went Era of the Black/White Heroes -> a bunch of time -> Nobunaga's time -> a bunch of time -> Present time for the main series games. Getting that right?

That's correct. The timeline I'm following is Twin Kings Era -> 2,500 years -> Ransei/Nobunaga's Era -> 500 years -> Unova/N's Era

Well, do know what this concept is about from your talking of it, so it'll be cool to see it in practice! Especially the presence of that airship framing things.

Ah, yeah! I really can't wait to get the plot rolling and get more into the whole "past vs. future" comparisons. Things will become much more interesting from now onward, I can assure you that.

Once again, thanks for your review. Until next chapter, if you'll stick around! ^^
Chapter 2: Noblesse Oblige
Chapter 2: Noblesse Oblige


A herd of Whimsicott was floating lazily in the air, carried above Lostlorn Forest by a pleasant breeze. In the middle of the herd, there was a group of young Cottonee huddled together, kept safe from wild winds by their bigger and stronger parents. Soft giggles came from the flock of wind-riding fae, who were scattering their balls of fluff and spores above the trees while thinking about their next mischiefs.

Suddenly, a strong gale blew through the herd, separating one of the smallest Cottonee from the rest. The small Cottonee squealed in fright, finding itself unable to fly against the current and heading straight toward the fast-approaching trees. It covered its eyes with its leaves, terrified by what was to come.

Just when it thought it would hit some sharp branch, something caught it in midair, holding tightly onto it and its fluff. Cottonee cried out, its voice a mix between shock and uncertainty, as it didn’t know just who or what was holding it.

“Are you alright?”

That voice… that was a human, no doubt. Cottonee uncovered its eyes and looked up to see who had rescued it. Who it saw was a young man with green hair, wearing a dark gray beret and a white shirt. Pale green eyes looked intently at the little Pokémon, with all the innocence and kindness of a human much younger than his age. Still jittery about the whole event, Cottonee just released a short series of coos, expressing its gratitude and relief.

The man showed a warm smile, his eyes becoming brighter and more expressive. “You’re welcome. I’m glad to hear you are feeling fine.”

Cottonee just stared at the man in puzzlement. Did he just understand what it had said? That was strange, it had never heard of humans understanding Pokémon language.

“Now, what do you think if I get you back to your family? They must be so worried about you,” said the man, before looking ahead of him. “Reshiram, follow those Whimsicott and Cottonee floating above us.”

A loud growl was the response, and Cottonee wiggled in the man’s grasp to follow his gaze. It was then that it realized that they were on the back of an enormous wyvern-like Pokémon, its entire body covered in white dawn and feathers. Reshiram turned its head, exchanging quick glances with the man, before its gaze fell on Cottonee. The little fairy felt even smaller under those imposing blue pupils, but the dragon released a soft whistle and gazed at its passenger with gentle and reassuring eyes. Cottonee began feeling more at ease, but still pressed against the man for comfort.

In just a few seconds, Reshiram reached the rest of the flock, reducing its wingbeats to a minimum to avoid scattering the smaller and much lighter creatures around. The herd let out a series of surprised squeals, mildly unnerved by the enormous dragon.

The man looked at the Cottonee in his arms, smiling brightly. “There. Rejoin your family, little friend,” he said, lifting the creature in his arms and toward the others. “Everyone is waiting for you.”

The Cottonee released a grateful squeal before jumping off of his hands and catching a ride on a nearby updraft. It floated toward the rest of the flock, releasing many happy coos. Upon seeing that the Cottonee was safe and sound and understanding that the man and the dragon meant no harm, the herd began releasing many happy cries in response and floated toward the approaching Cottonee. A Whimsicott floated faster than the others toward the Cottonee, before hugging the smaller Pokémon with its stubby arms and sharing many overjoyed squeals and cuddles.

Touched by the reunion, the entire herd began scattering around a fine pink powder from their fluff. The powdery mist began glimmering in the air, before being arranged by the whirlwinds into a shapeless cloud and with a texture that resembled cotton candy. After this show of happiness, the herd floated into a new air current and resumed their migration toward distant lands.

The man watched silently as the pink cloud faded away and the floating Pokémon disappeared in the horizon, his heart overflowing with joy and relief. Nothing made that young man happier than seeing Pokémon being happy.

“See, Reshiram? Pokémon being free and happy… This is the world I am envisioning. The future I would like to turn into our present,” said the man, running his hand on Reshiram’s neck. “And with your help, I’m sure that will be possible. Can I count on you?”

Reshiram turned its head to the man, showing a serene expression. He released a series of growls, indecipherable for any common human… except for that unique man.

«Of course, N. I will help you in any way I can,» said Reshiram, showing a neutral smile. «I had promised to help you and I shall hold to that promise until the bitter end. This much I can assure you.»

N nodded in gratitude, before rubbing the dragon’s neck and ruffling slightly its feathers. Reshiram reacted to the caress by releasing many pleased murmurs, while the wisps on its head began glowing with a faint orange light. With a powerful wingbeat, Reshiram adjusted its body and aimed at the trees, before ejecting a stream of hot air from its tail and gliding toward the woodland below them.

N closed his eyes, enjoying the pleasant breeze blowing on his face and this fleeting moment of peace. This sensation of freedom, coupled with the reawakening and bond with the legendary Pokémon, was doing wonders to his spirit and state of mind. All those accomplishments gave him great hopes and confidence for the future; a future where Pokémon would be free from the control of humans and be able to return to their original roots. Finally, they would become perfect beings.

That sounded like the perfect scenario. But then, the memory of what happened in Accumula Town flashed vividly in his mind…

Memory Link: “A Big Crowd, A Small Voice” ☯​

N was standing among the crowd, watching as Ghetsis — his father — recited the carefully crafted speech to the inhabitants of Accumula Town, with some members of Team Plasma standing diligently behind him. Father’s voice was an excellent balance between timbre and vocal resonation, with a calculated, persuasive and mildly admonishing tone. A voice worthy of a teacher, a leader, an inspiration, compelling people to dedicate their entire attention on him.

The young man had heard Father rehearsing those same words so many times he knew them by heart, so he mostly focused on studying analytically the reactions of the humans.

Most of those reactions were what he expected to see: confusion, puzzlement, wonder, shock, disbelief… and scorn, the most despicable of them. N couldn’t help but feel indignant toward those humans in particular, as they surely cared more about their selfish and greedy interests than what was in the best interest of their Pokémon. The simple notion made his stomach twist and churn in painful ways, but he tried to ignore that sensation. Soon enough, that wouldn’t have been a problem anymore.

As soon as Father concluded his speech and left the plaza with the rest of Team Plasma, he observed how the humans’ expressions and moods shifted in different ways. A few of them seemed to understand Father’s message and were even considering his words, but most of the others were incredibly quick at dismissing his entire speech.

“Liberate Pokémon? That’s not even possible!”

“What a load of nonsense!”

“We’ve just wasted our time! Let’s go!”

“They don’t know what stupid propaganda to invent nowadays…”

N felt disheartened by what he was hearing, as a tiny part of him hoped that humans would have been open to new ideas and perspectives.

However, what he saw proved that Father was right: humans are unreasonable. They don’t care about Pokémon; they care only about themselves and their glory, treating their Pokémon like their personal servants and tools that could just be broken and replaced ad libitum. And whenever someone points that out to them, they refuse to listen and keep doing as they please.

N shook his head in disappointment and prepared himself to leave, refusing to stay among those monsters and feeling utterly disgusted to belong to their same species. But then, he heard a little voice in the middle of that heartless cacophony, which got his instant attention.

«Liberate…? Does that mean that I’ll be separated from you, Hilda? Is that what it means?»

N turned to the voice, his eyes ignoring the irrelevant shapes of walking humans and laser-focusing on the speaker. What he saw was a Tepig looking at the spot where Team Plasma was standing mere seconds ago, held in the arms of a female teenager with dark brown hair and blue eyes. A Trainer, by judging her attire, who was talking to a boy with dark hair. They were surely talking about the speech, but he heeded them no attention as he focused entirely on the Pokémon.

The Tepig snorted out a small column of black smoke and began nudging Hilda’s face with his snout—a clear sign of sadness and distress.

Why was it sad? Didn’t it hear that it would be free soon? Or was it sad because that Hilda refused to let go of it?

Hilda blinked and looked at the Tepig in her arms, her face showing a confused expression when he squealed loudly at her. However, she tilted her head and smiled brightly at the Tepig, before holding it closer to her chest. “Don’t worry, Emil. I won’t let them take you away from me,” she said, before winking reassuringly. “I promise!”

The Tepig named Emil looked intently at Hilda, becoming instantly calmer as he saw her serene and confident smile. His ears lifted slightly, and he snorted again. This time, a small puff of white smoke exited from his nostrils, which surprised N. That new sign meant…
happiness and relief?

Why was he happy and relieved? She had just told him they wouldn’t take him away from her. That he wouldn’t be free!

«Good. I trust you, Hilda!»

N kept staring at the scene, unable to fathom and comprehend what was going on, his beliefs too ingrained into his mind to even consider the possibility of a Pokémon trusting a human. Not without being back-stabbed at a later point, that’s it.

«Because I want to stay with you!»

Emil… wanted to stay with her? Why? Wasn’t he repulsed at the thought of being forced to stay with that human, maybe for all his life?

… It didn’t seem to be the case. He began huffing on Hilda’s face, squealing happily and his tail wagging subtly, while the Trainer giggled in amusement. That was a sign of upmost trust and happiness, a silent desire to stay with that human. There was no mistake about that: body language didn’t lie.

But… Why? He didn’t understand!

N couldn’t keep his curiosity in check anymore and walked toward the Trainers, stopping at a fair distance from them while staring at the happy Tepig. What was so special about that girl? He needed answers, and there was just one way to find them.

“Your Pokémon… Just now, it was saying…”



The Tepig—no, the Emboar who wanted to stay with his Trainer. The one who had a human as his best friend and who displayed an unparalleled level of loyalty toward her.

At the beginning, N believed that it was just a glaring case of capture-bonding, a terrifying psychological condition. According to Father, that was the result of a manipulation from the Trainer toward their Pokémon, which made the Pokémon develop positive and empathetic feelings toward its captor as a coping mechanism to defend itself emotionally.

But those feelings weren’t sincere. They were irrational. Unnatural. Paradoxical. Toxic.

N knew that Pokémon’s hearts were brimming with empathetic power and they were incredibly easy to manipulate and subjugate, so he believed that Father was saying the truth and Emil was just one more victim of that odious business surrounding Trainers and Poké Balls.

However, the more he met and fought against Emil, and the more that theory lost more and more credibility. In fact, that theory began shattering when N met Emil for the second time…

Memory Link: “About Battles and Syncs” ☯​

N was studying the most important exhibit of the Nacrene Museum, as suggested by the Seven Sages: a giant skeleton of a mysterious Dragon-type Pokémon, rumored to have braved against raging waters to traverse the world. Some rumors said that there was a connection between the Fossil and the legendary Pokémon, and that it hid some clue about their whereabouts. Though, whatever this clue was, nobody knew for certain.

N sighed sadly as he stared at those lifeless bones. He wondered what kind of magnificent creature they used to be centuries ago, back when Pokémon were still connected with nature. It would have been lovely if he was born in that period and got the chance to talk to it when it was still alive…

But that was not the time and place to ponder about such infeasible scenarios. Pushing those thoughts aside, N crossed his arms and walked around the fossilized skeleton. Nothing about it stood out to him, aside from its impressive size and the unique horn on its skull. He diverted his gaze from the Fossil, and his sight lingered curiously on a black round stone collocated on a nearby exhibit. An ordinary stone found in a desert, or so said the assistant director of the museum.

And yet, there was something peculiar about that stone. It looked so… alluring, almost as if it was trying to reach out for him. Which he found very odd: it was just a stone with beautiful patterns, right? However, N felt compelled to approach it and began walking in its direction…

Loud ringing; vibration; from his pocket.

N gave out a startled gasp, before reaching out for the item tucked inside his pocket. He produced a pager, which displayed a simple message:

«Meeting with Team Plasma at hiding spot in Castelia City. Rood»

Attached to the message was a series of instructions about how to reach their current location, with a blinking Poké Ball-shaped dot showing N's position.

N nodded to himself after memorizing the directions and stored the pager away, before marching out of the museum. He looked back at the black stone, staring intently at it on his way out, when he bumped into someone who was rushing into the museum. He winced in fright, not appreciating the sudden physical contact, while the person who bumped into him released a loud gasp.

“Ah! I-I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to—” said the other person, before pausing and taking a few steps back, still staring at him with a shocked expression. “Oh! It’s you! N, was it?”

That person was none other than Hilda, the one who kept Emil hostage. The Tepig was there, too, showing some concern toward the young Trainer. A misplaced concern.

Hilda smiled sheepishly at N, but he stared back at her with a distant glare. That Trainer was just like the others who aimed to complete the Pokédex and confine many creatures in Poké Balls. She deserved nothing more than a cold reception.

“Sorry for bumping into you like that! I just got a bit too excited about my incoming battle against the Gym Leader and didn’t see where I was going, haha!” exclaimed Hilda amicably, holding her hands on her hips. “And you? Are you here for some research at the museum or you came here to battle the Gym Leader as well?”

N didn’t respond at first, unwilling to talk to a human that trapped innocent Pokémon in those dastardly Poké Balls. However, he had learned from the Seven Sages that it was rude to disregard others when they asked you a question, so he forced himself to walk forward and respond. At least, he would have showed to be better than other humans in that regard.

“I... want to see things no one can see. The truths of Pokémon inside Poké Balls. The ideals of how Trainers should be. And a future where Pokémon have become perfect... Do you feel the same?”

Hilda showed a puzzled expression at his response and traded gazes with Emil. He seemed equally confused by that statement, and they both looked back at the young man.

“Hmm… Yes?”

What a predictable and false response. If N was some other person, he would have sneered at her.

“That so? I think my friends and I should test you to see if you can see this future, too.”

“Oh? So you wanna battle?” asked Hilda in surprise, before smirking at the young man. “Sure! I’m always up for a nice fight!”

And so the battle started.

Everything happened in front of N like a big blur, similar to a fast-forwarded movie. He commanded his friend Pidove to attack Emil with a series of Gusts, but Emil proved to be stronger that the bird and took it down with a couple of Embers.

As water beats fire, he sent out Tympole, who released a loud war cry. However, Hilda recalled Emil and sent out a Pansage, which she had nicknamed Simon. He thrilled in excitement and hopped on his spot, doing a few somersaults before clapping his hands excitedly.

Another victim of hers… N’s expression grew darker.

It was another easy victory for Hilda—a Scratch and a well-aimed Vine Whip from Simon was all it took to defeat Tympole.

Growing slightly frustrated, N sent out his last friend: Timburr, who flipped his plank with a single hand as a testament of his sheer force. Hilda recalled Simon and sent out Emil once more, who snorted out some bright embers as a sign of challenge, before he and Timburr charged at each other.

N shouted various commands, his whole intent being overpowering Emil and eventually free him from the Trainer’s clutches. Hilda, however, wasn’t fazed by his strategies and easily countered most of his moves.

N shot a fleeting gaze toward Hilda, noticing something about her that he would never forget: an intense expression on her face, the sheer determination and focus of a Pokémon Trainer. Those blue eyes were so fierce that they looked almost… angry, making N feel somewhat nervous and, surprisingly, quite intrigued.

However, when he focused again on the battle, he noticed another peculiarity that shocked him even more: Emil showed that exact look, expressing the same determination, confidence and desire to win the battle.

The pair looked almost… like they were in perfect sync. There was no other way for N to describe the impression he was getting from seeing the coordination of his opponents’ attacks and strategies, especially when compared to his own. He may have forged strong bonds with all his Pokémon friends, but they had yet to reach that level of sync.

And then, he got another clue of their bond when Timburr unleashed a strong Bide, which had been powered up by a couple of Embers. Timburr sent the big wave toward Emil, striking him with all its power and sending the Tepig flying across the plaza with a sharp squeal. However, before it could hit anything, Hilda rushed forward and caught Emil in her arms, ending up tumbling on the floor with a pained gasp.

N froze when he witnessed that, while Timburr began apologizing profusely to the other duo, feeling guilty about that accident. The young man would have never expected that Trainer—or any human, for that matter—to risk themselves to protect their Pokémon like that. He observed in stunned silence as Hilda sat down, wincing and wrapping her arm around her chest. Emil looked at her in concern, squealing frantic and rapid-fire sentences.

«Are you okay, Hilda!? Oh my gosh! Why did you do that!? You’re hurt! I’m so sorry, Hilda! I’m sorry! I didn’t want to to end up hurt! It’s my fault! I should have dodged that move! Why didn’t I dodge that move!?”

Despite being in pain, Hilda mustered a faint smile and patted Emil on his head to reassure him. “I-I’m fine, Emil. Don’t worry about me. You know I’ve gotten worse injuries than that,” she responded, releasing a soft chuckle for good measure and hugging Emil tightly with her free arm. “At least
you’re alright…”

N couldn’t believe his own eyes. What he had just seen was… an act of selflessness. From a
human toward a Pokémon. Were his eyes tricking him?… No, he was very lucid, this much he could say for certain.

So, that meant… that Emil’s and Hilda’s bond was the real deal. There was no capture-bonding in play. Hilda loved Emil unconditionally, just as Emil loved her in the same way.

Hilda placed Emil back to the ground and stood back up, albeit a bit shakingly. She didn’t let that hamper her enthusiasm, however, and she reached out for the brim of her hat, showing a confident smirk. “So, where were we?” she taunted, while Emil added to her defiance by showing a smirk of his own and blowing out strong embers from his nostrils.

N couldn't say for certain, but he got the strange sensation that something powerful pulsated deep into the Trainer and her Pokémon.

Was that… their aura?

It was then that N realized something that blew his mind: not
all humans were irredeemable and unreasonable. Hilda had just proved that humans could be true friends and partners with Pokémon, which he didn’t believe was possible… until then.

Timburr seemed reassured by their challenging stances, and got ready to resume the battle, feeling pumped and eager to keep fighting against such strong opponents. N allowed himself to show a thin smile and nodded at Hilda and the Pokémon, signaling them to continue the battle despite his mind being elsewhere.

Maybe, just maybe, there could have been a way to convince Hilda and many other Trainers, and make them join his cause. And who knows? Perhaps they could even become… friends.

Now, there was a faint glimpse of hope for things to potentially and realistically change for the better. All N needed was to apply a little extra push to make sure that humans veered in the right direction, and he just knew what he needed to accomplish the task.

Trainers and other humans understand things better through battles and shows of power, he figured out… Then N would have gotten a power so immense that every single human would have been able to understand and follow him.

The power… of a legendary Pokémon.


N sighed with nostalgia as he recalled that memory, before looking at Reshiram with a fond smile.

He had succeeded. He had received the power and blessing of the legendary Reshiram. He had received the mark of a hero and was at just one step from accomplishing his goal. He could lead Pokémon and humans alike toward a brighter future, where black and white are distinct and separated.

… But then, why did everything feel so wrong?

If he took that final step and ordered all humans to liberate their Pokémon, what would happen to Emil? And to Hilda?

The answer was as obvious as it was painful. If Emil was forced to leave his beloved Trainer, and Hilda was forced to leave her beloved Pokémon, they both would become so unhappy and heartbroken, and so would many more Pokémon and humans who live happily and in harmony with each other. The thought of having to shatter those beautiful bonds, the friendships that gave him some faith toward humanity, broke N’s heart in little pieces.

Reshiram sensed his nagging doubt through their auric link and turned its head to look at the young man. «Is there something troubling you, N?»

“… Yes. Quite a lot, actually,” was N’s despondent response.

«Do you want to talk about that?» asked Reshiram, looking at the man with a frown on its face. The myriads of saddened feelings that its link was picking up were worrisome for the dragon.

“Well, a lot of contrasting thoughts have been plaguing my mind recently, especially thoughts about my role of king and Team Plasma’s goal,” admitted N, his eyes obscured by the brim of his cap. “I have been wondering: Is ordering all Trainers to release their Pokémon the right thing to do? I know that there are many humans who treat Pokémon like tools and many Pokémon who are suffering because of them. But during my journey, I have met so many Pokémon and people happy to be with each other. Pokémon and people who have become friends. Emil and Hilda are proof of that.” N looked toward the forest, spotting a pair of humans with orange and black clothes sharing some berries with a Trubbish and an Emolga. Pokémon Rangers, or guardians of the environment and wild Pokémon, as he had learned during his travels. “If I were to become the Champion and give my command as the king and hero of Unova, then I would end up hurting those Pokémon, instead.” He sighed and shook his head. “I’m so close to seeing my future realized, after so many years of work. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if that future is the correct one…”

Reshiram nodded, understanding the man’s dilemma. «So, you are afraid of hurting those Pokémon.»

“Yes, that’s my main concern. How can I consider myself a hero if I hurt the creatures I’m aiming to save and protect?”

«… I understand your plight.» Reshiram closed its eyes as it evaluated the issue at hand, relying on its years of experience as a royal adviser to help its chosen hero in his time of need. «So, there are two choices here: Either you keep things as they are and leave those hurting Pokémon to suffer because of bad humans, or you go until the very end with your goal and break the hearts of those Pokémon who live in harmony with good humans. Is that what you’re saying?»

“Yes. It doesn’t matter what I choose, there will be someone who will suffer because of me and my choice.” N sighed and shook his head again. “I’m so torn.”

«Hmm… Well, there is something I have been told by my previous two partners, many centuries ago.» Reshiram stared at N with a serious gaze. «When you can't satisfy opposing sides simultaneously, you must choose which side should take the fall for the benefit of the other. As displeasing as this may sound, at times sacrifices are necessary.»

“But… I don’t want to sacrifice anyone…” murmured N nervously, not appreciating the implications.

«I’m aware of that. Notwithstanding, if you truly have only two choices, then you should focus on one thing only—the choice that would benefit the majority,» replied the dragon, before looking ahead. «How many bad humans are in Unova compared to good humans? How many Pokémon are suffering because of humans compared to Pokémon not suffering because of humans?»

“… Well, according to the Seven Sages, there are far more Pokémon suffering under human control,” responded N, rethinking about his lessons.

«And where does that knowledge lead you?»

“To… liberation.” N frowned, starting to feel less and less adamant about this scenario. “I don’t want to separate those Pokémon who live in good terms with humans, but I suppose separating them would be a necessary casualty. Right?”

«Whether that is right or wrong, it would be the unfortunate consequence if you choose to do so,» responded Reshiram flatly.

“… I’m not sure if I’m strong and resolute enough to take this decision. It’s a huge responsibility.” N paused, unconsciously clutching his necklace. “This is in part why I would like to confront Hilda again, as soon as she awakens Zekrom.” N looked again at Reshiram, his eyes showing faint traces of hope. “She seems a good human with her heart in the right place. If she proves herself and awakens the other dragon, she could show me her convictions as a Pokémon Trainer. And then, perhaps, everything would become clearer to me. She might be the last variable that could help solve this unresolved equation.»

Reshiram stared at N in silent thought, before looking ahead of them and gaining altitude to avoid some trees. «That’s fair. If facing that Trainer once more is the help you need to clear your mind and take a decision, then I’ll gladly fight alongside you and against my sibling.»

“Even if that meant that you and my friends would get hurt? Maybe even gravely?” asked N, his voice unable to mask his nervousness and concern.

«As I have said, at times sacrifices are necessary. If being hurt now means that nobody will get hurt later, then so be it.» The dragon looked again at N and showed a tiny smile, exposing its fangs. «You have your friends and all those members of Team Plasma willing to fight by your side. Don’t let your doubts make you falter and lose focus of what truly matters. I know you have a good heart and the power to change the world, N, and I trust you will take the right decision. We all have faith in you, all you need it’s having more faith in yourself.»

“… Thank you, Reshiram. That’s what I needed to hear.” N showed a small smile and rubbed Reshiram’s neck once more, earning a joyful coo. “I can’t say to be happy at the prospect of potentially hurting my friends or other Pokémon, but we must do what we have to do. For our future and for the sake of all Pokémon in the world.”

Reshiram didn’t reply to that, aside from giving to the man a supportive nod. Feeling reassured and more at ease, now that the man’s doubts had been laid to rest, the dragon ejected some flames from its tail and increased the flight speed, directed toward their destination.

Lostlorn Forest ☯​

«Lostlorn Forest. The forest of a thousand tricks, where many unwary travelers ended up lost because of the deceiving nature of these woods. King Albus told me many stories about this place…» commented Reshiram, staying airborne above a plain clearing in the middle of the forest. «So, this is where you grew up as a child, am I correct?»

N sighed nostalgically, his gaze and mind going far off as he recalled his life in the woods. “Yes. I have so many fond memories of my life among Pokémon. We were—no, we are family.”

He closed his eyes as he recalled those peaceful days, still as clear as if they had happened just a few days ago.

The days spent with Zorua and other wild Pokémon playing many games, especially hide-and-seek. Despite losing often because of his sense of smell being worse than his Pokémon friends and giving him more trouble looking for the others, he still enjoyed playing that game as he got more and more creative with his hiding spots and became more clever at following the traces left behind by the wild Pokémon.

And then, the afternoons spent by restocking the supplies with Woobat, who always found the freshest berries thanks to his sonar while N carried the food around in his arms. He always loved when Woobat gave him ripe Pecha berries, his personal favorites. No matter how many Pecha berries he had tasted from different places and towns in Unova, the ones cultivated by humans paled when compared to the Pecha berries found by Woobat, the ones who grew up wild and free.

And last, the nights spent in Darmanitan’s warm and welcoming embraces, shielding him from both the cold and the winds. While Team Plasma had given him a soft and cozy bed and a small Darumaka doll to make him feel more comfortable in the castle, even the warmest bed and the squishiest plushies felt cold compared to Darmanitan’s cuddles.

N opened his eyes once more, the memories and happy expressions of his friends fading from his sight. He held onto Reshiram tighter as the dragon descended toward the clearing, having found a suitable landing spot.

«And did you want me to take you back to your childhood home, or…?»

“It’s in part that, but what I’d like the most is visiting some good friends of mine.” N looked downward, narrowing his eyes as he scrutinized the forest beneath them. “Their den should be around here.”

Reshiram leaned back and began beating its wings faster, getting ready to land close to a nearby river. A Pansage, a Pansear and a Panpour were relaxing beside the water, enjoying the clear and warm weather and chittering with each other. They became alert immediately when they noticed the enormous shadow projected above them, and they looked upwards. When they saw the descending dragon approaching them, they reacted by releasing a soft scent, small embers, and drops of water, respectively. Intimidated by the unknown Pokémon, they ran into the depths of the forest, not looking back even once.

Reshiram landed beside the stream with a loud thump, raising a small cloud of dust, blades of grass and mist. The dragon lowered its neck to allow N to disembark from it, before spreading its wings and tail for a nice stretch. It moved a wing toward its head and started licking it, readjusting the feathers to their original position and cleaning them of any filth stuck in-between. Much to its chagrin and annoyance, the air of the modern era was slightly dirtier compared to five centuries ago and clung to its feathers in the shape of greyish disgusting spots, turning a normally pleasant maintenance activity into something far less enjoyable.

While Reshiram groomed itself, N took a longing look at the forest that used to be his home. He grinned when he detected the sweet scent of yellow lilies, the thick aroma of wild geraniums and the delicate fragrance of violets, mixed in a delicate floral harmony.

Harmony. Harmonia. How ironic that surname sounded to him now. His feelings and thoughts were anything but harmonious.

But that wasn’t his concern at the moment. A good visit to his old friends would have surely helped clear out his mind off of his new responsibilities. At least temporarily.

However, there was one last thing he needed to do before going toward the den…

N knelt down, before slowly and carefully taking off one of his shoes. He placed his bare foot on the grass, smiling in delight when he felt the fresh grass tickling his skin. “Ah, what a wonderful sensation. Feeling the blades of the grass touching your skin and being more in contact with nature… Why must humans sacrifice the most simple yet beautiful things?”

Reshiram growled contentedly as it looked at its clean wings, before flapping them slowly to test them. «Well, from what I've heard, shoes and boots are fashionable and useful. You can walk on uneven terrains and sharp hazards without worry by wearing those things,» replied Reshiram, looking at the young man.

N shook his head, taking off the other shoe. “I never really got into or understood fashion. If it was for me, I would have never invented clothing. Or at least, I would have never invented shoes.”

«Now that would be a tad excessive, don’t you think? You humans lack fur on most of your bodies and don’t have claws, pads, and hooves. Your ancestors invented clothing to compensate for those shortcomings, from my understanding,» pointed out Reshiram, while folding its wings close to its chest.

N mulled over that response for a while, before giving a quick nod. “I suppose that’s fair. Still, I think humans could walk around without the need of shoes. Our feet aren’t that weak, I know that from experience. Besides, there are some humans who walk barefoot on a regular basis, like a certain… Huh, Maylene from Sinnoh, was it? I think that was her name…” N stood back up, holding his shoes in one hand. “I wish I could just walk around without shoes, especially when I have to walk through forests or at the beach.”

«Then why don’t you just do that?» asked Reshiram, tilting its head in confusion. «What’s stopping you?»

“Father…» responded N flatly, his eyes becoming downcast in an instant. «He says other humans wouldn’t take me seriously if I never wore shoes. They would consider me… Um, what was that term?… Ah, a savage or a hippie.” N sighed sadly, clutching his necklace with his free hand. “It would ruin Team Plasma’s reputation if people saw their ‘king’ going barefoot. We are very close to accomplishing our goal, and any little wrong action would just jeopardize things. So I have to… tolerate wearing shoes for now, at least publicly.”

Reshiram had to suppress a growl at the mention of ‘Father’. The dragon had met the leader of the Seven Sages only once, but that single meeting was enough to give it a faint idea of what human he was: An ambitious individual with a very distorted and confusing aura, very reminiscent of the dark aura radiated by King Albus’s descendants. There was something wrong about that man, it was sure of it.

«Hmmrg… I see,» muttered Reshiram, shaking itself as it felt its feathers bristling and its wisps burning. «Why am I not surprised?»

“… I know you don’t like Father much, but give him some time. He’s a nice man, who has taught many important things and took great care of me and my sisters, with the help of the Seven Sages. For that, they have my gratitude.”

Reshiram had high reserves about the goodwill of ‘Father’, but it didn’t voice them aloud. N had a very high esteem of that man and seemed totally sold on his lies and manipulations. The dragon could have tried crushing that esteem in all its entirety by spelling out the blunt truth, but the human psyche wasn’t its forte. It didn’t know what kind of impact its truth could have on an innocent soul like N.

How could it free N from that Galvantula-web without hurting him in the process? That was the big unresolved question.

While it worked on some plan to accomplish the task, Reshiram gave itself the mental note of monitoring both N and ‘Father’ constantly. Nobody knew what ‘Father’ would be willing to do, nor to what extent.

«I… shall try…» grumbled Reshiram halfheartedly. It looked at the surrounding trees, reminding itself why they had traveled to Lostlorn Forest. «So, where are those friends of yours?»

“Ah, they live deep in the forest. We only need to follow this river,” responded N, motioning toward the stream, “as the den is in its proximity.”

«… Deep in the forest? That means… we have to walk?» said Reshiram, furrowing its nonexistent brows.

“Yes, but it’s not too far. It’s at only a few minutes from here,” replied N, before turning to the dragon and beaming a smile. “I know this side of the forest like the back of my hand. Just follow me,” he concluded and began walking toward the woods, feeling in very good spirits.

Reshiram looked at the trees ahead of them. It could see dark shadows projected on the shrubs and underbrush of the forest, which was a clear indicator that hardly any light filtered through the foliage. That meant that it would have been difficult to follow N from above tree level by resorting to sight alone, unless it flew at a lower altitude and crashed into multiple trees and branches to follow the young man, or it burned down the whole forest. Needless to say, none of those options were workable.

The dragon grunted with displeasure, staring at its slightly bent legs. Between itself and its sibling, the wyvern was the one who had received the short end of the stick in terms of structure of the legs. It always felt very uncomfortable walking on them, as they weren’t built for that purpose. They served only to stand upright while having its enormous tail as a counterweight.

… But it had no choice. The woods were very thick, and flying was out of the question. So walking it was.

Reshiram bent slightly its wings, keeping them both close to its chest and almost parallel to the ground. In this way, they occupied less space and it would have been easier for the dragon to maneuver among the various trees and bushes. After that, it leaned slightly forward, to keep its center of gravity to the middle. The tail was very heavy; it needed to push as much weight forward as it could.

With this setup, it was time to walk after N and into the woods. Reshiram lifted slightly one leg and stretched it forward while keeping the other leg rooted to the floor. It touched the grass gingerly with its claws and talon, before stomping the floor with its foot. Reshiram felt itself losing some balance as the tail almost bumped into it, but it held its ground by leaning slightly back. It repeated the process, slower and more carefully, and this time it endured the recoil of the tail without a hitch.

Awkward step after awkward step, it finally found its footing, even if it didn’t appreciate having to wag its hips and tail so much. Doing so ruined its mystical aura, and it knew Zekrom would chuckle loudly if it saw that ridiculous waddle.

… It was a good thing that its sibling wasn’t there.

Reshiram’s wisps and tail began glowing with a warm light to clear away some darkness, before it looked down at the young man leading him, who was marching through the woods with uncanny confidence and having some fun at walking in the fresh water of the river. From the dragon's knowledge, N had always been terrible at navigating, so seeing him traveling without a guide — like his inseparable pager — was almost startling for the dragon. But again, the forest used to be his home, so it made perfect sense that he could navigate through it with no issue.

«So, if you dislike shoes, you must utterly dislike Pokémon footwear, I suppose,» said Reshiram, as its gaze fell on its partner’s bare feet.

N nodded furiously, perhaps a bit too furiously. “Oh, absolutely! Clothing, footwear and other accessories for Pokémon will be one if the first things I’ll outlaw as the new king, alongside Poké Balls and training,” declared N, looking back at Reshiram with a displeased stare. “You Pokémon already have your magnificent and unique pelts, why must humans ruin your natural beauty with those tasteless clothes?”

«… In all fairness, I have seen a cape and shoes worn by a Golurk during a court ballet that looked… quite dazzling,» commented Reshiram as its eyes shone in admiration and its wisps glowed with a warmer light. It lifted one of its feet and looked at it, opening and closing its claws and talon. «I wonder if they would fit…»

N narrowed his eyes for a long time, before gawking at the dragon with eyes filled with shock and disbelief as soon as everything clicked. “Don’t tell me you would wear a cape and shoes!”

Reshiram stared at N in awkward silence, before tilting its head and releasing a soft coo. It imagined itself wearing a bowtie, a cape and fancy boots, with elegant blue flames dancing around and some energetic music playing in the background. Everything sounded so tantalizing and fascinating. «… Would your opinion of me change if I gave an affirmative answer?»

“Are you serious, Reshiram?” N blinked repeatedly in dumbfound, struggling to believe what he had just heard. His eyes widened further when Reshiram gave him a sheepish nod. “I… Just why?”

«I love them! What can I say? I’ve always loved watching theatrical shows with Lord Hideyoshi, and marveling at all those colorful costumes and spectacular choreographies of humans and Pokémon alike,» retorted Reshiram with a sharp squeal, spreading slightly its wings while its tail glowed brightly—a sign of happiness. «That was one of my partner’s favorite hobbies, alongside collecting rare purslain teapots created with noborigama kilns. We would often drink some freshly brewed tea and eat Ponigiri while watching those shows. It was so much fun!»

N lowered an eyebrow, appearing confused. “Noborigama…?”

«That’s a type of dragon kiln, used by potters to create refined ceramics,» explained Reshiram.

N lowered his other eyebrow, still confused. “… And that is?”

Reshiram sighed, exhaling a small jet of hot air from its mouth. «… An oven used to create pottery.»

“Aah…” N snapped his fingers, having finally grasped the concept. “You mean like the appliance used to bake bread and cookies?”

«Well…» Reshiram ran a claw across its cheek as it pondered about the question. «Huh… Yes, sort of.»

“Ah, I get it. But what are Ponigiri?”

«They are a specialty in Ransei. A food made of rice and berry jam, which was great to refill some energy after a successful conquest. Warriors and Warlords often gathered by a Ponigiri Shop to discuss different matters and spend some nice time together. It was almost like a tradition for all of us.»

“That sounds lovely. Having some fun together, I mean,” said N, smiling at the dragon. However, he soon diverted his gaze, while his voice became more serious. “Reshiram… Do you miss your previous partners? You seem to enjoy talking about them a lot, I’ve noticed.”

Reshiram stayed silent for a moment, as the glow of its wisps and tail dimmed significantly. «… I sure do. Learning so many things about astronomy and tactics from King Albus… Challenging Lord Hiro and his army alongside Lord Hideyoshi to become stronger and stronger… Those were moments and experiences that I’ll never forget. And… there are times I wish I could talk to them again…» The dragon closed its eyes in reminiscence, before shaking its head. «But the past stays in the past. The limited lifespan of humans is something I have to deal with, regardless of what I think about the matter.»

“So, that means… You will suffer because of me? As soon as… I…” N trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence, before looking away. “… Maybe this is further evidence that Pokémon and humans shouldn’t stay together. Probably it would have been for the best if we never met each other, so you wouldn’t suffer from another heartbreak…”

«Absolutely no! I don’t regret meeting you, and you shouldn’t regret it, either!» yelled Reshiram, its wisps and tail shining bright red and with renewed fervor.


Reshiram placed its claws on N's mouth, shushing him instantly, and showed an empathetic smile.

«Listen, N. Life and death are both fundamental parts of existence. We can’t do anything about them, they have always existed and will always exist. Xerneas and Yveltal can vouch for me on that,» started explaining Reshiram, its glow going back to a more subdued pale orange. «Is it sad that I always have to part ways with my partners someday? Yes, definitely. And I will be sad that we will have to take different paths at some point, too. However,» it said as it smiled reassuringly, holding a wing on top of N’s head and running its feathers on his hair to comfort him, «we shouldn’t let that ruin our future moments. We ought to be happy about the things that happen day after day and appreciate every single moment of our friendship. I’m so glad I’ve got to meet you, N, and it would hurt me way more if we spent all of our limited time moping about an inevitability that won’t happen for the next several years. We would arrive at the end of our journey with nothing more than sad memories and past regrets.»

Reshiram paused and let everything sink in. N didn't respond, his gaze transfixed on the dragon as he silently urged it to go on.

«Besides, it wouldn’t have made a difference if you were a Pokémon instead of human; even by swapping that variable, the result wouldn’t have changed.» Reshiram lowered its head, before purring and licking N’s across his face. «I don't want you to worry about that, N! Let’s reach the end of our travel and be happy about the experiences we have shared and we will share, rather than be sad about things ending when the time will come. That will make living through everything so much worth it.»

N stayed completely motionless for a few minutes, astonished by what Reshiram had just said and unable to find words to respond to all of that. Then, some tears of joy started cascading from his eyes and he hugged the dragon tightly around his neck, relishing in the pleasant feeling of soft feathers and dawn tickling his cheeks. Reshiram purred louder, reciprocating the hug by wrapping its massive wings around the young man while its feathers glowed more brightly.

“I’m… so happy I've got to meet you, too…” whispered N with a soft voice, enjoying the comforting warmth of the dragon. He felt very lucky and grateful to have found such an amazing friend. “Really, I am! You’re… my best friend, Reshiram.”

«And you are my best friend, N.»

The duo stayed locked in the warm embrace for several minutes, with only the quiet shaking of trees and the glow of Reshiram’s feathers as their witnesses and company.

If only all humans knew the joy of forming that kind of bond with Pokémon and treated each other as equals, there wouldn’t be any reason to separate them. Everyone would live in the ideal world.

If only there was a way to make that utopia become true while hurting no one.

If only…


“Well, we've arrived,” declared N, stopping at what seemed to be their destination.

Reshiram halted behind the young man, narrowing its eyes and scrutinizing their surroundings. In front of them was a dead end of trees and vines, so thick and intertwined with each other that it would have been impossible for either of them to squeeze through the vegetation. It could also hear the cries of some distant Pokémon, but to its surprise they were nowhere to be seen.

«Hmmm… Do I have to clear the path with my claws?» asked Reshiram, holding its wings toward its face and its claws starting shining with teal draconian energy. «I can do that with just a few swipes.»

N gasped and rushed in front of Reshiram, waving his hands in front of his face. “Oh, no! That won’t be necessary,” he responded hurriedly, flashing a small smile. “We only need to walk forward and on a straight line.”

Reshiram dispersed the energy in its claws and stared oddly at N, almost as if it had just heard the words of a rambling madman. «… Pardon me?»

“It’s very simple. We just do this.”

N walked toward the trees, not stopping even when he was about to collide into on them. Reshiram was about to reach out for N to grab him, when it saw the young man phasing through the trees in a pinkish glow and disappearing from sight, like a ghost through a wall. The dragon took a step back, its feathers bristling slightly in surprise.

«What…?» murmured Reshiram, before looking again at the trees. They were wobbling in bizarre ways, similar to a weird a mix between gelatin and a distorted reflection of an object on water, while glowing with a dark pink hue. It suddenly dawned to it what was happening. «Ah. That's an illusion. Impressive, I had never seen one so well-crafted.»

N poked his head out of the illusion, looking at Reshiram with a happy grin. “C’mon, Reshiram! Let’s go!”

Reshiram snapped out of its marvel and nodded at the young man. «Oh, yes. I’m coming,» it said, starting walking after N.

However, the dragon froze when it sensed something strange in the air. It looked toward the sky and peered through the clouds, having detected an unusual, albeit familiar, powerful aura.

Then it spotted something bizarre: A rapid black line zipping across the skies, rearranging the positions and shapes of the thunderclouds with its high speed. Strong gusts blew through the woods, making the foliage of the trees shake with unusual vigor. Reshiram’s eyes widened as it instantly recognized the power of its aura.

«Could it be…?» whispered Reshiram to itself.

N turned around, appearing confused by the dragon’s behavior. “Reshiram? Is there some problem?”

«… It’s nothing,» responded Reshiram, before looking again at the young man and showing a thin smile. «Let’s go forward.»

N nodded and disappeared again through the illusion, prompting Reshiram to follow him into the fake dead end. As it walked through the illusory woodland, Reshiram thought again about that aura. The dragon knew who that presence was.

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All right, it's out, I got sleep last night even if daylight and my cat were trying to prevent me from doing so. And I'm firing up some random game soundtrack involving yokai disco whose individual video got over two million views because of numerous memes to read this and drown out the noise of games and streamers from the other room. Let's go, C2!

- Fae? Uh-oh. Fae are a-holes. Or so it is a meme, particularly among my tabletop group.
- Must be some wild rescue if N just happened to be there on his big dragon who could accurately fly him to where the Cottonee was flying. Like, just swooping in and catching it right out of nowhere. Just a strange mental image.
- Ascending whirlwind is kind of a funny descriptor as it gives the impression the whirlwind itself is flying upwards. I'm guessing you meant to say it was an updraft or something, which might be a better descriptor.
- Well that thank you was a fluffy sequence, in a literal way. Good establishment for N at worst.
- Hm, seen marking flashbacks done before in fics, but this is smoother way of directly doing that. Memory links. Forgot that feature even existed, although then again, I only played Black2 in Japanese and didn't get very far at all in White2.
- You know, unrelated to the fic but it randomly occurs. N was pretty dumb that he didn't consider people other than himself could befriend Pokemon. I write this and you come up with an explanation: he is, in fact, dumb. Horribly blinded to the truth. Which uh, kinda makes it weird he's aligned with Reshiram. Of course, that's kind of a mess anyway, unless you twist it to mean his truth.
- It would have been lovely if he was born in that period… <- I see where this is sort of going! Or at least the connection in how N would want to be involved with Nobanuga. Even though this was said in regards to a fossil.
- Dang, pagers. Haven't heard of those since several Grand Theft Auto games. And one of those had a good reason for using them. Guess N is too backwards a person to use anything like a cellphone let alone voodoo tech like a XTransciever though.
- That sudden bumping into made me initially think it was Bianca at first.
- That Trainer was just like the others who aimed to complete the Pokédex <- Interesting implication from this sentence, whereupon it says in this world all trainers are given Pokedexes and are expected to catch'em all. Which also makes me wonder as an aside...why can't these be shared from multiple sources? Why does the player character have to do all the work? Because it's a game, I know, but still.
- Uh the pig asks a good question. Why did she do that? I have a lot of questions about the legality of a trainer interfering in a battle to dampen a Pokemon being knocked away. It was hurt less because of it!! Lucky for her, N doesn't seem to care overly much about that.
- Well Reshiram certainly talks kind of how a god(-like entity) might, though something feels a bit off. There doesn't seem to be much about truth or ideals here, aside from Reshiram once using the word 'truly' and the general theme of making a choice because the truth hurts.
- We all have faith in you, ; all you <- Some sort of mistake with that misplaced semicolon?
- It's not technically correct to call what the monkeys did perking up, because that means to become cheerful. And they proceed to run the hell away from the big dragon.
- The scene where Reshiram argues the benefits of shoes with N is so dumb in the endearing sort of way.
- Though with this I can sort of see how you're writing it with Truth - it's bringing up all sorts of points to N. That said, it would make more sense if N was Ideals with how you're writing him. Though I guess that'd ruin the parallel of Nobunaga and his Zekrom. Or at least take things in a different direction.
- “Father,» <- Wrong endquote. And similarly, the wrong beginning quote. -> «He says other
- And yeah, there we go. Outright saying it's speaking Truth.
- It's almost humanizing to see Reshiram worrying about little things like image. Which leads to the bizarre situation where the big powerful Pokemon is probably more human than N is, present time at least.
- like its inseparable pager <- Describing N as an it???
- will be one if the first things <- Typo.
- Okay, as hilarious and adorable as that is, where did Reshiram even get to see a Musical before? Ohhh okay, in ancient times. It's a bit consistent since you capitalize key terms (see: Fossil) so with how you're writing it it's technically clear it's not a Musical, but still can be confusing.
- Well we're getting meta now, but indeed, Reshiram was around back then. Nice tying it into its owner in Conquest as one of its masters back then.
- comfort him, «we shouldn’t <- Missing caps
- That last part of the scene seems unintentionally romantic. Perfect link has a meaning, but with N just throwing it out there without any context that he knew the term, it comes across as a euphanism. Then again, he probably would do that given his views on humans.
- A bit strange that Reshiram had problems with damaging the forest before, but nearly went to do it here before N stopped him.
- And ending on an ancient name.

Now we have the other side of the introductions. A few takeaways here. Main one being the aforementioned constrast between Reshiram and N. It kind of makes you go as far to consider that Pokemon and humanity are actually very similar. Still, why it chose N is a question that lingers on my mind.

This chapter was mostly expository - or more specifically, establishing - but hey. Gotta do that sometimes, no getting around it. Do get the tease at the very end of the real meat of the plot starting to start, though. The tone got a bit better here, mostly consistent throughout without any strange shifts, especially mid-scene. Serious, but with a bit of light-heartedness. Though am left wondering. The airship in C1 seems to point to being during BW2, but this is setting it up as BW1. Though the latter might make a bit more sense.

Guess that'll be answered soon enough though, since you said C3 is coming right along. Sticking around and standing by until then, then!
'I won't mind at all'.
Aha. One thing, then.
Gimme a picture of Oda resting peacefully against Rayquaza with some serene background. PLEASE!

When I first looked this up, I thought it's too lengthy and big, but looking up the actuall wordcount it's only about a thousand words more than DE's new prelude, which is on a fanfic scale very little, I guess? GOD, I really should read more fanfiction and just prose in generall.
I liked his characterization quite a bit. Ambitious (GEDDIT?!) characters tend to be very entertaining to follow and sit through with, and Oda wastes no time showing off just how much clear goalls and motivations matter in characterization - He wants to unite Ransei, and he will go to any length to fulfill that goall.
He is, however, quickly put into a position where he can't activelly pursue it, but even then, he's portrayed as a man with a plan. That's not to say there's no problem with doing it, though - since he now can't technically pursue his originall goal, there has to be something to make up for it, you don't want him to feel formless and uninteresting during the Unova segment. I assume you're planning on developing something between him and N, so I'll give the fic the benefit of the doubt. gay romance wtf

Speaking of relationships...
Her interactions with Oda are the highlight of the first chapter to me. I wouldn't say their dynamic is enough to carry the plot and make it entertaining alone, but it's incredibly sweet and just goddamn kawaii!

It also made me laugh when she saw humans... I think they were playing console videogames, if I get the implication? And ran away like 'that's creepy', just really hillarious. I mean, overall the section where she's flying around Unova has a very well written POV, and I enjoyed it.

That's it, Zerkrom has too short of a presence for me to really judge his character... I guess he's respecting Nobunaga and Rayquaza, had some past in Unova and that's... All?

One thing I like about this fic is how you keep describing groups of wild Pokemon and how that adds to the overall feeling that the world is alive, and reacting to the events around it.

I have a small criticizm that pertains to the Rayquaza segment - I enjoyed it, yes, but I really couldn't picture the Lacunosa and Lentimas Towns, they were described very briefly and before I got a view of them, Rayquaza was already spinning off to a desert or flying across the Giant Chasm.
Maybe write people reacting to how she camouflaged herself? Some description of architecture, maybe? It doesn't have to be much, just anything more than 'City'.

As for the rest, I... Didn't find a typo or anything too clumsy, language here is very solid, really.
There is only one line that made me raise an eyebrow:
'Strike, black as night'.
It sounds... I dunno, cringy? Like straight out of a children's cartoon.
(Oh, wait...)

I don't think I have anymo... Oh, wait, I do. It's a big one, actually.

So, we're led to believe that Nobunaga has visited the Infinite Tower at least once in the past, and yet the way his visit to the tower is described makes it seem like he's experiencing it for the first time. Did the Tower have a diffirent appearance the first time around, which is why he was seemingly in suprise upon touching the obsidian stone? I mean, it is unusuall, but if Nobunaga has visited the tower once before, he should be able to recognize the glowing obsidian. Also, if the beam of light was constantly shooting towards the sky, he should've noticed it on his way to the tower, or at any other point before Rayquaza points to it, really.

... Right?
It's a very interesting opener. The characters are likable, the language is incredibly solid and most descriptions are genuinelly intriguing and nice to read.

I'll stick around for more Rayquaza pet dog shenanigans and... Oh, wait, next chapter focuses on N and he doesn't encounter Nobunaga in it just yet. Huh...

Guess I'll review that one, too, maybe? One day? I dunno. 7/10.

Have a good day and keep writing! (Bc yes kitty, if you're reading this, I did not miss that cheat sheet you send me up on chat. Even if I don't always reply to everybody, I'm always reading and listening... NO POST, NO COMMENT SHALL ESCAPE MY POWER, FOR I AM GOOOOOOOD!!!!
... The quarantine made me loose my marbles.)
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