Part 35: Day 16 - Hugs Team Base
The following update has been proven to cause in men as old as 35 years. You have been warned.
The day started normally enough.
I went out to the base, said hi to Jake, checked the mail for rescue jobs.
None today, surprisingly, but I figured we'd check the board in town. We had business there anyway, what with all the rewards we got for yesterday's work.
That's when I noticed a disturbance in the square. It seems some new rumor was making the rounds...
Yeah, I'm kind of shocked.
I always thought it was only a legend.
But could it be true? I'm having a hard time believing it...
...and like an idiot, we both walked up.
Hey, what's up?
Well, you know the Ninetales legend? That old story?
The Ninetales legend? What's that?
What, you don't know? You know, it's that old fairy tale. How you'll get cursed if you ever grab one of Ninetales's tails.
All this time, everyone thought it was just a legend. But lately, it's been rumored that maybe it really happened.
Well, it is still a mere rumor. I wouldn't put too much stock in that story if I were you. Personally, I don't believe in rumors of that sort.
If you want to know more about the Ninetales legend, you should go see a Pokémon named Whiscash. He knows the story well. Whiscash is uh... you know, in his pond. You should visit him if you want to know more.
Well, Jake wanted to hear the story, so as soon as we were done in town, we went to see him. Caterpie and Metapod were there, of course.
Whiscash told us folklore from long ago. It was fun.
The folklore was fun and interesting. Whiscash is very wise.
What was that? You wish to hear the Ninetales legend?
Knowing what I know now... I wish he'd never told it.
Hohoho! Fine, then. Let me recount the tale. There once lived a Pokémon by the name of Ninetales. Now, Ninetales had many tails, all of them imbued with psychic power... It was said that anyone so foolish as to touch a tail would be cursed for a thousand years. But there was someone so foolish as to grab a tail. And it was a human.
Yes, a human. As one might expect, the human that grabbed the tail was subjected to a thousand-year curse. However, just when the curse was cast, a Pokémon named Gardevoir shielded the human and sacrificed herself to absorb the curse.
Why? Why would that Pokémon, Gardevoir, take the human's place?
To Gardevoir, that human was her partner. There exist strong bonds between humans and Pokémon.
...All right. But humans... aren't there good ones and bad ones too?
Correct. Taking pity on Gardevoir, Ninetales asked the human this... "Do you wish to save Gardevoir?" it asked... but the human had already abandoned Gardevoir and fled. Ninetales became disillusioned with the human, and it made this prediction: "That human will one day be reborn as a Pokémon..."
What?! A human turn into a Pokémon?
"And when the human becomes a Pokémon, the world's balance will be upset..." And that is how the legend ends. Well? Did you find it interesting?
Ah-hah! You found it so interesting, you're at a loss for words? Hohoho. There's no need to wear such a serious expression. Certainly some rumors say that the legend may actually be true... but it is only ancient folklore, nothing more.
If you feel the urge to hear my tale again, come see me. Hohoho.
I didn't know what to think. I could easily believe Jake would be so eager to hug a Ninetales that he wouldn't think twice, even if he'd heard about the curse. But to abandon a Pokémon? After what I'd seen him do for Kyosuke? I couldn't believe it... but I let myself doubt.
Want to knock off for today? I can't seem to get into it...
And I began to wonder if his arrival as the disasters started was more than a coincidence...
But I just can't get into it. I guess it's because I heard that story. Ahahaha... I'm going to call it a day and get some sleep. I'll see you tomorrow.
I started doubting you a little...
But I've made up my mind. I'm going to believe in you. Because you're my friend. An important friend. Yes, a really important... friend...
All right, Jake! Let's get back to doing our best tomorrow!
I told him I believed in him... but did he believe me? And was I right to do so? The Jake I knew would never do something so awful... but he'd lost his memory. Could he have been a different person... before? All I know is, I doubted, and I think he doubted too...
Otherwise, maybe we could have stopped what happened next.
Day 17 - Hugs Team Base
I had another dream last night.
It was the same one I'd had before.
But this time, it changed.
...It's that dream again. I always see this silhouette... Who could it be? Oh? It's saying something! But... I can't quite make it out... It's clearer than it was before, but... I'll try talking to it. Hello. Please, tell me. You... who are you?
...I am... I am Gardevoir.
I finally got to meet you...
...? Finally met me...? You knew me from before? What about me?
I am your...
And then she was gone.
Oh! Wait. Just a little longer...
I want to know more... no... it's fading...
When I woke up, I remembered the story Whiscash told us. The story of the human who was cursed by the Ninetales, and the Gardevoir who saved him... and how he ran away. And I thought... what if that was me? What if I did such an awful thing?
Sheldon believes in me... but why? I can't prove it wasn't me. I don't remember anything...
...Huh? You look pale. What's up with you?
Well, anyway. Let's give it our best like always!
When I was on the way here, I think there was a commotion at Pokémon Square. I wonder if something happened...
So we went to see what was wrong...
Huh? The town's atmosphere feels different somehow...
Maybe something's happened. Jake, let's check it out!
Look! Why's everyone gathered over there? Hey, what's up?
Let me tell you, I was amazed! It really was true!
What are you talking about?
The Ninetales legend! I never believed the rumors, so you can bet I was shocked to learn the truth!
Oh, hi, Caterpie!
Even you came out, Caterpie?
Ssh! Quiet. That guy there's telling us. Keep it down.
Hah? Who's doing the talking?
...So I went up to the Hill of the Ancients. And that's where I saw it! It was shocking stuff, I tell you! Kekeh!
This certain Pokémon was getting advice from Xatu.
That Pokémon... it looks like an ordinary Pokémon...
But get this! It was originally a human!
It really existed... a human that turned into a Pokémon.
There's more. Xatu told the human that how the human became a Pokémon has a lot to do with how the world's balance is upset.
Wait a second... That's exactly like the Ninetales legend!
Kekeh! Don't be too shocked yet. There's more.
You all know how there've been many natural disasters, correct? According to Xatu, those disasters are caused by the world's balance being upset. And if the world's balance isn't restored soon...
The unthinkable will happen to the world! That's what Xatu said! Kekeh!
The world... The unthinkable's going to happen?
What are we to do?!
That Gengar...! He's getting everyone worked up...
Now, now, people. There's no need to panic. Why, I think there's a way we can do something about this. Kekeh!
Wh-what can we do?
Oh, it's quite simple, actually. If the world's balance is upset by a human becoming a Pokémon...
Then, if that human is gone, then everything should return to normal, correct?
When you put it that way... maybe you're right.
Kekeh! And that human is the rotten coward that abandoned Gardevoir, correct?
I don't think the human can complain about anything if we get rid of it.
...Isn't that right, Jake?
Wha... What?! It... it can't be!
Y-you... you were that human?!
Is that true? Hey!
W-w-whoa... This is, like... We can explain...
We're not asking you. We're asking Jake! Hey! Jake! So what is it?!
Kekekekekekeh! Looks like you have nothing to say in your defense, Jake!
That's how it is, fellow Pokémon.
Let's get rid of Jake and regain peace. Kekekekekeh!
E-everyone, hold up. What's with you? What are you going to do?
Jake, forgive me!
Wah! What the...? Waaaaah! Jake, run!
Serves them right! Kekekekeh!
Gasp, gasp... Wow, that was a real shock!
I never expected everyone to attack us like that.
But, hey, Jake.
Why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you say it's not you?! Why didn't you say you're not the human that appears in the legend of Ninetales?
Hah? What's up?
I'm tired of this...
Hah? You're tired? What are you saying?
...I don't deserve to be on your rescue team...
...Hah? What's wrong with you?! Why are you saying that? It's not like you at all, Jake! What happened to you?!
...I had a dream... and Gardevoir was in it... and that made me think that maybe I was that human after all...
...so that's what it is. That's what happened...
Hey, Jake! That doesn't mean you remembered what you were like as a human, does it? So you don't know what actually happened!
I.. You know that I believe in you, Jake, right? So...
After that scene in Pokémon Square, we held a town meeting on what we must do to save the world... and we arrived at a consensus. We must get rid of you.
Wh-what did you say?!
I was incredulous too... I had hoped it would not come to this, but... It is unfortunate. We will... defeat you with all of our might!
(W-we're fighting here...?)
We will give you tonight.
Pack your supplies and get out of here. Come tomorrow, rescue teams of all sorts will take up the chase and attack you without hesitation. And not just you. Anyone that goes with Jake will be considered an enemy. The trackers will attack without mercy. That goes for us too. We will join the hunt to be rid of you. Against all odds, you must run. Run, run... and survive. You must run till you uncover the truth.
There will be no mercy the next time we meet. Farewell.
Jake... in their own way, Alakazam's team believes in you too. Didn't I say this before? I'm not going to doubt you anymore. Whatever happens, I'll always believe in you, Jake. I won't be scared, even if other rescue teams attack us.
So what's all this about not believing in yourself, Jake?
Jake... I made a promise, remember?
That we would make a rescue team base here. That I would join your rescue team when I grew up. Jake... don't give up. You're a hero to me, Jake. I believe in you too, Jake.
So, what do you say, Jake?
...Okay! I won't give up!
That's right! That's the spirit! That's what I wanted to hear! That's the Jake we all know!
We'll have to leave here for now... but we're going to come back, make no mistake! We're going to find the truth!
Next time on Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Hugs' desperate bid to stay alive begins!