Transcendence

Shalour City at last.  It’s high time I got some answers.

Tower of Mastery

A fairly typical medium-sized Kalosian town on the region’s north coast, Shalour City is dominated by the Tower of Mastery, a monumental walled keep that sits a little way out into the harbour, connected to land by a sand bar.  Part fortress, part observatory, part cathedral, the tower’s asymmetric design hints at a long, storied history and decades, perhaps even centuries, of construction.  It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I have seen on my journey so far.  Staring at the tower, I almost forget what I’m really here for: learning about Mega Evolution and getting revenge on Korrina for slighting me.  According to Trevor and Tierno, who catch up with me in Shalour City, the tower is home to someone known as the Mega Evolution Guru, who should be able to help us.  Tierno also has a gift for me: an ‘intriguing stone,’ a strange round gem with bands of softly blended blue, purple, red and orange.  Tierno wants me to have this because I’m clearly a far stronger trainer than him – good; my inferiors should know their place.  He thinks it’s a Mega Stone, but it doesn’t look like the two Mega Stones I have already.  If anything it reminds me of a piece of Soul Dew, but the colours are much warmer.  I suppose I’ll find out what it does later.

We head for the tower and enter.  Inside, an enormous statue of a Lucario stands atop a pedestal in the middle of a circular chamber, a broad spiralling ramp hugging the wall.  The pedestal itself houses a room – the living quarters of the Mega Evolution Guru, where he is currently chatting with his granddaughter, Korrina.  He has been expecting our group, having been told about us by Professor Sycamore, and introduces himself, but notes that of course “Mega Evolution Guru” isn’t his real name.  Okay… so what is it?  He pretends not to hear me, and instead asks whether I’m the one who found the ‘intriguing stone.’  Well, no, Tierno gave it to me- but for some reason Tierno doesn’t want to be implicated in anything to do with the thing and protests loudly.  The stone was actually given to him as well, by… someone.  Don’t really know who.  Hmm.  Should I be suspicious of this thing?  It’s not going to blow me up, is it?  The Guru claims it’s “just an ordinary rock” but I don’t believe that for a second.  Ordinary rocks do not go in the Key Items pocket.  This is all he’s willing to say, until the rest of our group arrives – but, luckily, Serena and Shauna are apparently outside.  Once pleasantries are out of the way, he reveals his secrets: Mega Evolution is a sort of transformation that ‘transcends’ ordinary evolution, open even to some Pokémon that have already evolved twice, like Charizard – but not to all Pokémon, Korrina interjects (if there’s any rule or pattern to it, she doesn’t explain).  However, unlike normal evolution, it is temporary.  After battle ends, the Pokémon will revert to its previous form.  Mega Evolution also requires tremendous trust between trainer and Pokémon (so there’s a happiness requirement?), and although the Mega Stones are obviously part of the process, the trainer needs a special item too, since it’s the connection between trainer and Pokémon that matters.

Ah, so it’s Digivolution.  Why didn’t you just say so?  I know what that is!  Well, okay, sign me up for a Digivice!

…yeah, unfortunately, no.  Korrina and her grandfather would love to give a Mega Ring to each of us, but these things are unimaginably rare and powerful artefacts.  They can spare one.  Just one.  Tierno immediately bows out, since his thing is really dance, not battle.  Trevor, likewise, is more interested in research, and Shauna just wants to travel.  So… hey, Serena.  Serena proposes that we battle for the honour.  This seems reasonable enough, so I agree.  Come to think of it, this is the first time we’ve ever actually fought.  She’s gotten a lot stronger since our double battle against Team Flare in the Glittering Cave, and now has a blue and white bipedal cat Pokémon called a Meowstic (doubtless an adult Espurr), an Absol, and her starter, Braixen.  Meowstic is almost criminally easy to deal with, but Absol deals some serious damage before I figure out that I need something that can outrun this thing, and one-shot it with Tereus’ Aerial Ace.  Braixen puts up a good fight, but ultimately can’t damage Daphne faster than she can Wish away her wounds.  Serena gracefully accepts defeat, but apparently that’s not all I have to do to prove myself.  I need to fight the Mega Evolution Successor at the top of the tower – and I’m not allowed past the ground floor until I have Shalour City’s Gym Badge.  Which I would ALREADY HAVE if SOMEONE hadn’t been a HUGE B&%#$ about it the last time we battled.  Okay, Korrina, you’re going DOWN!

Like Grant’s, Korrina’s Gym revolves around her favourite hobby – roller skating.  Luckily, this is something I’ve gotten rather a lot of practice at since getting my first pair of skates in Santalune City.  It also doesn’t hurt that all but one of my Pokémon have some kind of advantage against Fighting Pokémon (Ilex and Cecrops are Poison-types and resist their attacks; Photia has a super-effective Psybeam; Tereus and Daphne, as a Flying-type and a Fairy-type respectively, have both resistance and super-effective attacks).  Even against powerful Fighting Pokémon like Heracross, Hariyama and Sawk, this is a recipe for success.  Korrina herself… well, her showing is kind of embarrassing.  Her first two Pokémon, a Mienfoo and a Machoke, each drop to a single Aerial Ace.  Her third and strongest fighter is a Hawlucha, who survives one Aerial Ace, but isn’t able to stop Tereus from finishing it with a second.  A delicious humiliation, in front of all her followers; my thirst for revenge is- wait, where are her Lucario?  I thought they were her strongest Pokémon; she isn’t using at least one?  No, apparently, this battle was for the badge – the Rumble Badge, a rather plain-looking plate of metal in the shape of two stylised fists, one red and one silver, clashing together – but now she wants another one, in the Tower of Mastery.  Wait; Korrina is the Successor?  Then why did we have to-?  Why couldn’t I have just-?  What?  Before I can shout at her some more, she departs the Gym.  Well, I guess I’m heading up the tower…

The spiral ramp that leads up the Tower of Mastery stops at a number of platforms, each with access to a room where certified trainers stay while studying.  I talk to the trainers living there, in hopes of learning more about this place, and find out some interesting things.  Apparently this tower was built in commemoration of the very first trainer to achieve Mega Evolution, right here in Shalour City.  His partner Pokémon was a Lucario, hence the statue.  Korrina is literally his successor; she and the Guru are his direct descendants.  Today, the Tower of Mastery is a place for people to train and be initiated into the secret ways of Mega Evolution.  It seems like I’m being fast-tracked, because of reasons.  Apparently Professor Sycamore was an initiate here once, when he was younger, but quickly came to feel it wasn’t for him, so presumably it’s his personal connections that have earned me this unusual opportunity.  Even more interestingly, the Guru’s real name is Gurkinn.  I always thought that was a kind of vegetable that people picked out of their hamburgers.

Finally, I reach the tower’s observation balcony.  Mega Rings are always passed on here, beneath the sky, Korrina says, supposedly to remind trainers to reach for the heavens.  She muses on this briefly, before handing over mine.  It’s not really a ring, exactly – I mean, I suppose it’s ring-shaped, but it’s really a bracelet, with a round blue-green gem set into it.  It doesn’t seem like it has to be a bracelet either; Korrina’s is a glove (I wonder if you can get different styles later?).  I think I’m just going to keep calling it a Digivice.  Anyway, Korrina wants a battle between two trainers who can use Mega Evolution.   What?  But you haven’t told me how the damn thing works!  And my Ivysaur hasn’t become a Venusaur yet!  Apparently, one of Korrina’s Lucario has anticipated the second problem.  It wants to fight with me against Korrina and the other Lucario.  Korrina seems a bit miffed that the Lucario she’s known for years apparently feels closer to me, but I guess I’m just that awesome a trainer.  Okay: battle time.  There’s a shiny new button at the bottom of Lucario’s move selection screen marked “Mega Evolution.”  Here goes nothing… touch the Digivice… pink light…

HOLY $#!T LUCARIO JUST EXPLODED

Mega Lucario

Okay, don’t panic, stay cool, Lucario’s fine, he’s just much spikier than usual and has a big bushy tail and red bits and HOLY $#!T THE OTHER LUCARIO EXPLODED TOO okay ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK DESTROY THEM BOTH SMASH SMASH SMASH wait it’s over already?

Whew.  That was… very quick and very close.  Both Lucario were throwing around powered-up super-effective Fighting attacks, so that battle didn’t last long.  I mean, I won, obviously, because I am me.  I have won Korrina’s respect – and Lucario’s.  He wants to join my team.  Well… I guess this is kind of another Fate thing, so… all right, Orion the Lucario, you’re in.  Daphne, you’ve been dragging your weight recently.  Evolve again and we’ll talk.

So… Pokémon (some Pokémon, anyway) can now Digivolve.  I evolve Ilex into a Venusaur as soon as I can so I can play around with him and Orion a bit more.  The results are… interesting.  On the one hand, it’s a new way for certain Pokémon to be awesome, and I am totally cool with that.  As far as the flavour of it goes, I think it’s great because it’s a fairly unambiguous statement that by working together with humans Pokémon can reach a transcendent level of power and enlightenment that they would never achieve on their own, full stop.  On the other hand… it’s a whole new level of evolution in exchange for an item slot.  The extra power they gain seems to be roughly commensurate with a level of evolution, except that their HP doesn’t increase, and they even seem to get new abilities – Venusaur gets to cancel his Ice and Fire weaknesses with Thick Fat (I’ll take that over Overgrow any day), and Lucario gets Adaptability, of all things (you know, the ability that makes Porygon-Z powerful enough to one-shot Blissey with Hyper Beam).  Even the transformation doesn’t take up a full turn; you can attack immediately afterwards.  I really hope there are limitations or costs to these transformations that just aren’t clear to me yet.  And it’s not as though these are only being given out to Pokémon that need them – I mean, Lucario is a pretty damn top shelf Pokémon already, and while a regular non-Dream World Venusaur isn’t that strong he’s still no slouch.  Korrina said that not all Pokémon can do this, and while I’m obviously not certain, I would guess that I’m not going to see Mega Delibird or Mega Luvdisc in this game.

And… oh good lord; a little while ago someone told me I should check out the current wi-fi Mystery Gift and I got a Dream World Torchic holding a Blazikenite.  Does this mean BLAZIKEN gets to Digivolve too?  SPEED BOOST BLAZIKEN gets to DIGIVOLVE?

I… I’m just going to go and hide now.

Ridiculous quote log:

“Know how your hair sticks out all over the place when you wake up?  Think Mega Evolution is like that?”
You’re right.  I’m sure that’s exactly what this mysterious phenomenon is.  A bad hair day of such epic proportions that it inspired legend and song.

“What’s the plan, Hitmonchan?”
Oh, just shut up, you putrid waste of food.

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