Spruce the Pidgeot picks the brains of his friend/servitor, Martial the Nidoking.
Spruce: Martial, can I, um… can I ask you something?
Martial: Of course, my friend. What troubles you?
Spruce: So… when you say you would die for me, because of your… life debt or whatever… that’s like a metaphor right? I mean, you wouldn’t actually jump in front of a Hyper Beam or something for me. Um. Would you?
Martial: On the contrary; it is absolutely literal. If it were not for your actions, my life would be over. If I should complete my service to you with my life still intact, this would be good fortune beyond what I have any right to expect.
Spruce: Oh. Gosh.
Spruce: When… when will your, uh… “service” be over?
Martial: When my actions have saved your life, as you saved mine.
Spruce: But you’ve been fighting with us for weeks; you must have saved my life, like, six times by now!
Martial: That does not satisfy my honour, or the principles of my order. In any of those battles, you would perhaps have still been victorious without me. The circumstances must be… more clear-cut, if you will.
Spruce: So… so I have to actually be, like… in a Gyarados’ mouth, about to be bit in half, when you step in with a Thunderbolt or something?
Martial: In that situation, my attack would pose as much risk to you as to our enemy. I would likely attempt to wrestle our foe and prise his jaws open by physical force.
Spruce: …right. Of course.
Martial: If it is any consolation, now that I have come to know you, I would gladly risk my life for yours. As I would for any innocent.
Spruce: Well, that… I guess that does help a bit, but… don’t you still have a quest of your own that you were on before we met? Isn’t it more important for you to get back to that?
Spruce: I know you didn’t want to talk about it, but-
Martial: I… am to hunt down a traitor to my order. A vicious criminal, who is… no longer wanted alive.
Martial: I have told you that my honour forbids me from placing my own mission before my debt to you, but that is… not the only reason I have kept this from you. Despite your strength, you are a gentle bird at heart. When I face my enemy, whatever the outcome, I… would not wish for you to see it.
Spruce: You’re… you’re afraid, aren’t you? You want to stay with us so you’ll never have to…
Spruce: I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have-
Martial: No, it- it’s all right. I have killed before, but… I have never entered battle intending to kill. Even if I should have the chance to offer mercy, the order has already made its decision… I am to be their executioner.
Spruce: Well… do you trust them? I mean. Your order wouldn’t ask you to do something that was wrong. Would they?
Martial: I have faith in the commitment of my seniors in the order to justice and honour, certainly. But they are not the ones who must carry out the sentence.
Spruce: You don’t talk about them much.
Martial: We are secretive… fighting evil by moonlight, winning hearts by daylight. But I suppose you, at least [glances suspiciously at Ruby], have earned some openness.
Spruce: Who… are you, anyway?
Martial: It depends who you ask. The order has no central base of operations. Our command structure is fluid. But most would tell you we are a network of Pokémon who draw power from the moon – Lunatone, Vileplume, Musharna, many different Fairy-types – and who work together to preserve the ideals of truth that we all hold in common. According to legend, the order was founded long ago by the mythical Pokémon Cresselia, the light of the full moon, and Darkrai, the shadow of the new moon. Our powers are strengthened by devotion to the codes they laid down.
Spruce: Is that like Fisher’s powers? He says his fossil gods give him his abilities – the… Helix and the Dome? Are Cresselia and Darkrai your gods?
Martial: Not in the way you mean, but I suspect there is much that the priest and I have in common, nonetheless… Cresselia and Darkrai were Pokémon like any other. It is faith in their principles, their creed, that gives us the will to gain new powers. Fisher, perhaps, draws strength from the Helix Fossil and the Dome Fossil in much the same way.
Spruce: I… I don’t get it.
Martial: Think of yourself. Where does your strength come from? When you fight, what drives you to be strong?
Spruce: Well, I… I want to help people. I want to keep my friends from being hurt, I want to stop Team Flare from… uh… doing… whatever it is they’re doing!
Martial: And when you think of those things in the heat of battle…
Spruce: …it’s like you and your honour?
Martial: So you see why I cannot compromise those values.
Spruce: And you think Fisher, when he talks about chaos and freedom and creativity… that that’s where his powers come from?
Martial: He has spoken to me of his meditations on the Helix Fossil, and the sensation of empowerment he describes is… familiar. Still… I can only suspect. The witch claims that his kind is unusually receptive to the influences of mysterious powers… that magic can come to them from places they do not understand or control.
Spruce: That sounds… um… dangerous.
Martial: Then let us hope that she is wrong.