Anonymous asks:

Hey apparently I can’t post links here so if you click on the reddit page for Pokémon conspiracies, there’s a great read called “Pokémon Cults, Infinite Energy, and how it shaped the Pokémon world”. There’s part one and two. I hope you enjoy the read!

(oh god there’s been a third part in the time since you sent this question in; that one deals with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which I haven’t played yet, so I’ll stay away from that for now)

Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3

I feel like this is going to be one of those things where a detailed response/discussion would take me hours, so let’s… try and just see what I think of the main points, shall we? Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Are you going to talk about the final two episodes Pokémon Generations at any point? I already have an idea as to how you might like them…

…the final two episodes of what now?

…oh f#%& that’s right I was doing that whole thing

and then I started playing Moon version and forgot about it

uh

Let’s give ‘em a paragraph each now! Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Reconciliation

Professor Sycamore has organised a parade.

I learn this from Diantha as she enters me and my Pokémon in the Hall of Fame.  This must be the ‘surprise’ he mentioned preparing when we last met in Couriway Town.  Well, what better way to announce my newfound supremacy to the peasants of Kalos?  When we arrive in Lumiose City, vast crowds are lining the main boulevards, cheering for the ‘defenders of Kalos.’  A red carpet has been laid out for me and my rivals, leading to a shining white stage where Professor Sycamore is waiting.  He delivers some saccharine bit of oratory about the wonder of our achievements in defeating Team Flare, for which the crowd goes wild, of course, and presents me (and only me, I note with approval) with a red, white and blue medal: the Honour of Kalos.  Sycamore’s influence never ceases to amaze.  As far as I can tell, he has closed down several major Lumiose City streets, convinced several thousand people to show up for the parade, and arranged for me to be awarded a prestigious national honour, pretty much on a whim.  I remember why I’m here, and prepare to launch into a speech of my own, but the words freeze in my throat.  There is someone else on the red carpet.  AZ.  “Battle me,” he requests.  “I want to know what a ‘trainer’ is.”  I respectfully submit to him that it’s really not that difficult a concept, but agree anyway.  What’s the harm?  I wasn’t aware AZ even had any Pokémon, having lost his partner so long ago, but apparently he’s actually quite powerful, with a high-level Torkoal, Golurk and Sigilyph (sensible choices, in his position – Torkoal are very long-lived, while Golurk and Sigilyph, I suspect, are biologically immortal).  Of course, I just defeated the Champion, and although AZ has millennia of experience, he’s a little worse for wear.  My Pokémon overcome his with little difficulty.  He seems satisfied though, and smiles for the first time since I met him, saying that the delight of our battle has finally allowed him to overcome the sorrow of his terrible crimes.  Well, fair enough.  Three thousand years is an awfully long time to regret something.  There is sudden a flash of light in the sky, above AZ’s head, and something floats down towards him.  I squint against the sunlight, and the vague shape slowly resolves into a diminutive humanoid, holding an elaborate staff, or… a flower.  AZ’s eyes widen as he recognises his Floette descending on the wind.  She comes to rest in his outstretched hands and smiles at him, and before the eyes of the whole city, the ancient king begins to weep with joy.  Professor Sycamore waxes lyrical about how returning AZ to his old self made his partner come back to him, and the crowd cheers.  Well.  So much for my parade.  Upstaged by a hobo and a halfway-evolved Fairy Pokémon… sometimes I wonder whether this region deserves the glory of my conquest…

As the parade disperses, I wander around Lumiose City for a while.  I am kicked out of a sushi restaurant for being a ‘greenhorn’ and told to come back when I’m a ‘high roller.’  I vow to destroy them and ban sushi in my empire.  I instead exploit my newfound Champion status to have dinner at the acclaimed and highly exclusive Restaurant Le Wow, which reminds me why I have always found Kalosian cuisine utterly terrifying, even if it is considered a national treasure.  I run into Professor Sycamore, who gives me a pass for the train to sunny Kiloude City, which is Lyon.  Lyon houses the regional elite battle facility, the Battle Maison, which is run by four sisters known as the Battle Chateleines, responsible for single, double, triple and rotation battles, respectively.  It works much like the Battle Tower or Subway, but streamlined – you earn battle points after every battle (thank the gods – earning enough points in the Battle Subway to do almost anything worthwhile had come to be such a chore), and can take a break at any time, rather than having to complete a series of seven matches.  I note these little courtesies with approval, and spend an afternoon there, earning the notice of the youngest Chateleine, Nita, and defeating her in an introductory battle.  The city is also home to a curious little area called the Friend Safari – given how late I am to the party, my readers are doubtless all familiar with the wonders of this attraction already, but an explanation cannot hurt.  The Friend Safari is a checkerboard of paddocks where wild Pokémon can be battled and captured – one area for every friend you have registered, each with two or three different species of wild Pokémon, some of whom (if the locals are to be believed) may have their Dream World abilities.  If you’ve bothered to read this much of my inane prattle, then you are surely a loyal minion, and worthy of my ‘friendship,’ if so it can be called, and so my code is as follows: 2036-6563-2537 (I have no idea what my Friend Safari area contains, but doubtless someone will tell us all in the comments).

Serena challenges me to a battle once again, promising me I’m in for a surprise – and I am!  Not only does she now have six Pokémon, she’s been working hard, and their levels are even higher than mine!  I have Orion use Calm Mind to boost up against her Meowstic and knock it out with a Shadow Ball, before coming face to face with a Clefable.  Fighting back my instinct to whack it with an Aura Sphere, I use Shadow Ball again, but its almighty fatness is too much; it survives with more than half of its health remaining (albeit with a special defence penalty) and finishes Orion with Focus Blast.  I have Xerneas wrap things up with a Moonblast, and then decide to go for a Geomancy against Serena’s Jolteon.  Her second Thunder attack misses, and I find myself in a very happy position indeed.  Even Serena’s mighty Delphox, with its resistance to most of Xerneas’ attacks, cannot stop his Moonblasts, and Altaria finds itself similarly imperilled.  Finally, out comes Absol, and- what’s this?  Serena has a Digivice!  Her Absol explodes with light and sprouts angelic wings – before being blown away rather anticlimactically by another Moonblast.  Evidently Mega Absol doesn’t gain anything that confers resistance to Fairy attacks.  I sigh.   It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously used a legendary Pokémon – I’d forgotten how dramatically they tip the balance of battles.  For the first time, I feel a little bit unsporting about crushing Serena with every ounce of my power; she has clearly been training a great deal.  She doesn’t let this get her down, though; in fact, she even hands over a spare Absolite she found.  “Maybe it will help show Lysandre there’s something to be hopeful for.”  Okay, so we’re definitely saying he’s alive, then?  That’s definitely what’s going on here?  She declines to expand on her statement, simply informing me that Professor Sycamore is in Anistar City and wants to talk to me about my Digivice.  Well, much as Anistar City unsettles me, with its illusionary Gym and impossible sea, this is probably important… I stop by the Kiloude Pokémon Centre, retrieve Tereus, and fly there at once.

I find Sycamore waiting for me in front of the Anistar Sundial.  He has some exposition for me: after further study, he has come to believe that the Mega Stones were created by the light of the Ultimate Weapon when it was first used, three thousand years ago, and may have been evolutionary stones originally, that have taken on their new powers by being irradiated with Xerneas’ energy.  The mysterious sundial crystal has some relationship to the stones as well, but he doesn’t quite understand what yet.  Due to my experiences in Geosenge Town and subsequent attunement to Xerneas, I should possess some of the same energy – which will do something interesting if I touch the sundial.  Without hesitation, I reach out with the arm I wear my Digivice on.  There is a flash of brilliant light, and Sycamore gives a satisfied smile.  My Digivice has been upgraded, he tells me, and can now sense buried Mega Stones – but only for an hour each day, while the sundial is glowing with the light of the setting sun.  I shrug.  I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth – power is power, restricted or no.  Professor Sycamore leaves me to my thoughts.  A bit listless now, I fly back to Lumiose City for another look around… and immediately get a call on my holo-caster.  Someone wants to meet me.

Ridiculous quote log:

“Meow, meow, I can haz battle, meow? (Ugh, I really sound like a fool, don’t I?)”
…are we really going there?  Really? (And yes, yes you do.)

“We begin with a vintage 3000-year-old Rare Bone, boiled for 100 days in pristine snow melted from Kalos’s fine Frost Cavern.”
…uh… look, not to sound ungrateful, but I really don’t want to eat that… and… hey, where the hell did you even get a 3000-year-old Rare Bone?  There is no way this is legal.

“…a pristinely prepared item in a light velouté sauce harvested from-”
Look, sorry, I’m going to cut you off right there – item?  I am not taking one bite of this until you tell me what the hell you just served me!

Life and Death

I have Tereus drop me off in Geosenge Town and take a look around.  The ultimate weapon is really quite spectacular: a glassy blue-green flower, several stories high, with three long triangular petals that seem to have knocked over several buildings as it bloomed.  I head for the megalithic structure to the northwest of town, which is almost certainly the entrance to Team Flare’s secret base, and enter the building with Serena to confront Lysandre.  The elevator drops us in a sort of control room, where there are a few Team Flare members standing around, apparently uninterested in fighting, and some scientists performing last-minute calculations.  We overhear some of their discussion – the weapon is powering up, drawing energy from the hundreds of Pokémon they captured using stolen Pokéballs, but most of its power is coming from inside the facility itself.  We approach the front of the control room, where Lysandre is staring intently through a plate glass window at a chamber several levels below us.  At the bottom is… a tree.  An old, dead, white tree, hooked up to a complicated machine.  Xerneas’ tree.

Lysandre greets us as we approach him.  Serena defiantly proclaims our opposition to him, to which he restates his position: there are too many people in the world, and not enough resources; the only way for everyone to be happy is if there are fewer people.  People don’t share, Lysandre says – even Serena and I couldn’t share my Digivice.  “When there is only one of something, it can’t be shared.  When something can’t be shared, it will be fought over.  And when something is fought over, some must survive without it.”
“What about Pokémon?” Serena cries.  Wait, that’s a good point, actually.  Lysandre pauses.  He seems to be struggling to speak.  Finally, a tear rolls down his cheek and splashes on the floor.
“Pokémon… shall no longer exist.”

Wait WHAT!?

As long as there are Pokémon, Lysandre explains sorrowfully, people who can control them will use them to conquer and steal from others.  It’s better if they all go now.  He shakes his head briskly, as if to clear it, and walks towards us.  If it’ll take another battle to keep me and Serena from interfering with the ultimate weapon, so be it.  Lysandre’s Mienfoo and Murkrow have evolved now, into Mienshao and Honchkrow, which complicates things.  Odysseus and Pan have to tag-team Mienshao, and Pan is knocked out by its Acrobatics (I admittedly have… something of a blind spot for Flying attacks), but I manage to heal Odysseus and finish Mienshao, as well as Honchkrow.  Gyarados flattens Odysseus with its Outrage, and I switch to Orion, but this Gyarados isn’t falling for the same trick twice; he fights through his confusion and defeats Orion with a powerful Earthquake.  I have Photia turn his incredible strength against him with Foul Play, which brings Gyarados down in a couple of turns, and out comes Pyroar, who finishes Photia with a mighty Fire Blast.  Finally, I send in Pytho, dampen Pyroar with a Rain Dance, and drown it in Muddy Water.  Lysandre sighs heavily and asks why I bother.  “What are you really protecting?” he asks.  “A tomorrow that will only end up being worse than today?”  I glare at him, and something inside me snaps.

“You just don’t get it do you?  You think you’re some great visionary who’s seen the only way to peace and prosperity with your ‘how can I possibly save everyone?’ fallen hero bull$#!t, but you’re just taking the easy way out!   Any barbarian can unleash death to destroy a civilisation; it takes true greatness to build an empire of new life!  You think that as long as Pokémon exist, people will use them for war and theft?  Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet, bub!  So I’ll tell you what’s going to happen.  I am going to go down there.  Your ridiculous little paprika-flavoured goon squad are going to try to stop me, and they are going to fail.  I am going to attune to this precious legendary Pokémon of yours.  Then I am going to take a large, rough, jagged object the size and approximate shape of a Farfetch’d and his leek, and wedge it deep within your most private crevice, and when I have done that my Pokémon and I are going to conquer this silly backwards little region and rule it together, because that is what trainers and Pokémon do.  We destroy our enemies, protect our friends, and enslave our inferiors to build glorious monuments to our own greatness!  Now what is wrong with that?”

Lysandre and Serena are both staring at me, jaws hanging open.  In fact, so is practically everyone else in the control room.  I look around, shrug, and lunge at Lysandre.  He flinches, and I seize the moment to run for the stairs to the lower levels, cackling maniacally as I go.  Serena looks toward the stairs, then at Lysandre, then back to the stairs, then at Lysandre again, throws up her arms in defeat, and follows me.  Together, we fight our way through several Team Flare grunts and admins defending the stairwells and passages leading down to Xerneas’ chamber.  About halfway down, we are joined by Shauna, who… wants to cheer for us, I guess?  I grudgingly agree to let her tag along; she’s made it this far without being killed, after all – and she even manages to help out.  When we last saw Clemont, the Lumiose City Gym Leader, he gave Shauna a machine for solving puzzles, which she uses to hack into the security door at the bottom of the last stairwell and get us inside.  That… is an incredibly powerful and potentially mischievous piece of technology she’s been toting around all this time.  Too bad it breaks after one use.  As we step through the door and behold the ultimate weapon’s power system, pulsing gently as it leeches energy from Xerneas’ tree, a group of six Team Flare admins materialise from nowhere and attack us.  Shauna panics and flees, chased by two of them, and Serena runs to help her, leaving me to deal with the other four.  Photia hardly breaks a sweat turning their minds inside out, and they flee to gather reinforcements, leaving me alone with the tree.  I call to Xerneas, and it cries out in response.  The tree glows with a brilliant light, and the rainbow stag bursts forth in all its glory, shattering the machine binding it.  It doesn’t want to be enslaved to Lysandre.  It wants my help – but first, as always, we have to battle.

Xerneas, the embodiment of life, is an extremely powerful Fairy-type mixed attacker with an ability, Fairy Aura, that gives Fairy-type techniques like Moonblast additional power.  Like many legendary Pokémon, he comes with a signature move: Geomancy, a two-turn boosting technique that raises special attack, special defence and speed by two levels (slap on a Power Herb and this thing is Quiver Dance on steroids!).  I command Ilex to wear him down with Nature Power and disable him with Sleep Powder, then start throwing Pokéballs.  It doesn’t take long for one to stick.  I walk over to the Pokéball lying on the ground, dismissing Photia back to the PC network, and pick it up… and everything changes.

I’m… alive.  Xerneas’ power is intoxicating; his presence makes me feel like a veil has been lifted from my eyes, almost like I’m seeing colour for the first time.  Xerneas can see and feel life itself, vibrant and glorious, and his supernatural senses are flooding my mind.  Although my back is turned, I know that Serena and Shauna are back in the room – I can feel their lives, radiant amongst the glimmering pinpricks of the microbes in the air.  I feel like if I focussed I could feel every living thing in Kalos.  I decide to try.  Dimly, I hear a voice.  “What a startling development!  I never would’ve thought you were really a chosen one!”  It’s Lysandre.  He has built his own Digivice in the form of a finger ring, powered by some monstrous contraption – three buzzing metal insects, tethered to a brass gauntlet, all wired up to an electronic visor.  None of it is breathing, none of it is alive; I quickly lose interest and return to my attempts to expand my mind.  Lysandre continues talking – he is disgusted with Xerneas for wanting help from a mere human, and seems to be unwilling to admit defeat yet.  I pay little attention, still curiously testing the limits of Xerneas’ senses, trying to touch the lives of absent friends… until he says one thing: “I’ll be taking the Legendary Pokémon back now!”  Wait… what?  My mind snaps back to the room we’re in, focussing once more on my physical senses.  He wants to take Xerneas away from me?  Oh, dear… what a stupid man.

I thought I knew what it was like to work together with a Pokémon, but the sheer joy of fighting with Xerneas is something else.  He seems to respond as much to my thoughts as to my words, striking down Lysandre’s Mienshao with Moonblast before it can take a single step.  As he calls on his Honchkrow, I command Xerneas to tap into a nearby ley line with Geomancy.  I feel the sting of Honchkrow’s Steel Wing as it slices at Xerneas’ hide, threatening his concentration, but he fights through it and blows the bird Pokémon away with another Moonblast.  Pyroar’s fire repels the lunar onslaught for only a moment before he suffers the same fate.  Finally Lysandre calls upon his Pokémon partner, Gyarados, using his technology and their bond to let it Digivolve into an even more monstrous and terrible version of its former self – to no avail.  One final Moonblast finishes it.  I walk forward to stand by Xerneas and rest my hand on his flank as we return to dreaming of the life of Kalos.  Somewhere in the background, I am aware of Serena and Shauna’s voices.  They are encouraging Lysandre not to give up on his old life, to go back to helping people and build a better future for everyone.  I’m no longer sure it matters.  Joy, suffering… it’s all still life, isn’t it?  Isn’t life all that’s important?  Or… is that Xerneas talking?  I shake my head, trying to clear it.  Lysandre is still speaking.  He wants to use the trickle of Xerneas’ energy left in the weapon.  “Let us live forever… that’s right!  I shall grant you eternal life!  I’ll give you the pain of endlessly waiting for a beautiful world to finally be built!”  That… that doesn’t sound so bad, actually… An eternity basking in the radiance of life with Xerneas, my mind floating amongst all the living things in the entire world… I ignore Serena and Shauna’s protests and let myself drift off.

Hands, dragging me… pulling me onto Xerneas’ back… carrying me away… up and out…

Some hours later, I wake up in Geosenge Town.  There is a huge crater where the ultimate weapon used to be.  Left and Right are standing over me in their superhero masks, along with Shauna, Tierno, Trevor and Serena.  While Serena, Shauna and I were below, the others had been fighting to free the Pokémon connected to the Geosenge menhirs.  Lysandre is nowhere to be seen.  Did he succeed in making himself immortal?  Or did he die in the collapse of the hideout?  Is he down there, buried beneath the rubble, broken but unable to die?  I can’t feel his life anymore; Xerneas’ magical perception has left me.  Once the others are satisfied that I am once again relatively sane and in no immediate danger, they disperse, suggesting that we all pick up where we left off in Anistar City.  Once I am the only one left, AZ approaches me.  He’s free at last, and means to return to his search for his missing partner.  I wish him luck as he trudges away.  Will the poor guy ever find his Pokémon?  Will we ever find out what happened to Lysandre?  And what the hell is this ‘intriguing stone’ Tierno gave me back in Shalour City?

As for me, the dizzying high of my first exposure to Xerneas has left me, but the world somehow seems brighter, more magnificent than ever before – making me more determined than ever before to conquer it, with my new legendary partner Pokémon by my side!

Ridiculous quote log:

“You fools!  You don’t even have suits!”
…yeah, because those white Team Flare suits make you look so classy.

“Not having a ton of money is really stressful, you know…”
Oh, I feel your pain, dude; it must be really hard to be a leader in an organisation with a ¥ 5,000,000 membership fee…

The Liberator of Men

I get the call as I stand outside the Anistar Gym.  It’s time for the main event.

Lysandre has sent out a broadcast to all the trainers of Kalos via their Holo-Casters: as leader of Team Flare (Gasp!  Can it be true?  He seemed so nice!), he is putting into motion their plan to create a beautiful new world at last.  This plan involves the annihilation of Kalos’ entire population in a conflagration of epic proportions from which only Team Flare will be spared.  Well, that… is a bit more extreme than I thought he would be aiming for, I admit; I was anticipating something of a more ambiguous John-Keats-Ode-on-a-Grecian-Urn-perfection-through-stasis kind of deal but hey, it wouldn’t be a Pokémon plot if we didn’t have to prevent the apocalypse, right?  Okay; let’s get this show on the road, people!  To Paris!

Luckily, Lysandre is the least subtle person in the world and is putting his plan into motion from the laboratory which shares his name, beneath the café in Lumiose City which also shares his name.  The wait staff at the café are members of Team Flare, and try to stop me from entering, which goes about as well as might be expected.

“Oh no!  He’ll find out the password to the hidden door in this café is ‘open sesame’!”

…okay, well, I was going to torture it out of you but I guess this works too.  Y’know, as long as we’re all disappointing me today.  I enter Lysandre Labs through the secret door, and Lysandre himself appears.  That’s… refreshingly direct.  Lysandre explains that he once wanted to save everyone, but is no longer concerned with that – the world has only so much in the way of resources and space, and too many people are too willing to squander it, so he’s just going to wipe out everyone who isn’t in his club.  He still seems open to the possibility of my joining him, but I shake my head and sigh that he just doesn’t get what I’m all about.  Lysandre challenges me, opening with a Mienfoo who loses to Odysseus, but not before delivering a pretty brutal Hi Jump Kick which leaves him wide open to Lysandre’s next and strongest Pokémon, a powerful Gyarados.  Gyarados locks itself into Outrage while finishing my Clawitzer, giving me the opportunity to send in Orion to weather its attacks, take advantage of its confusion to grab a Calm Mind boost, Digivolve and blow away Lysandre’s remaining Pokémon – a Murkrow and a Pyroar (the first male Pyroar I’ve seen – and a very impressive one it is too; it matches his hair very nicely).  Far from being upset, Lysandre is delighted at my skill and invites me to invade his lab, challenge his scientists for possession of an elevator key, and join him below in the basement to stop him if I can.  If nothing else, he’s certainly one of the most polite villains I’ve ever met.

Lysandre Labs is a very traditional Team Rocket-esque warp panel maze.  Here I meet all four of the Team Flare scientists.  Aliana just seems excited to battle me again.  Celosia and Bryony (are these two, like, a thing?  I feel like these two are girlfriends or something) have apparently forgotten me but are nice enough to explain after being defeated that the menhirs of Geosenge Town are the graves of Pokémon whose life force fuelled the ultimate weapon the last time it was used, three thousand years ago (what did I tell you?  Ritual!), and will fuel it again today.  Mable, finally, claims that since both my Digivice and Lysandre’s ultimate weapon maximise a Pokémon’s power, we really want the same thing.  Well, not exactly; I feel there are certain important differences, like how the ultimate weapon destroys all civilisation while my Digivice makes Pokémon go pink and sparkly… which makes me feel rather inferior, when you put it that way.  I take out my frustrations on Mable, who coughs up the elevator key when defeated.  I also run into Left and Right, doing their superhero thing, and apparently searching for a mysterious tall man, also sought by Team Flare for purposes unknown.  They are doing this on the instructions of Professor Sycamore, who is trying to stop Lysandre using his “network of acquaintances.”  Professor Sycamore… who is one of Lysandre’s closest friends.  Ouch.  I wonder how he’s taking all of this.  As I muse on this, I stumble upon what appears to be Lysandre’s research library.  Well, I am kinda busy… but on the other hand, books and backstory… The ultimate weapon, as we know, was created three thousand years ago by a Kalosian king.  This king, I learn here, was named AZ (yes, with a capital Z), who was “both the beginning and the end,” and united Kalos with his futuristic technology.  The famous war was between AZ and his brother (Lysandre’s ancestor, if memory serves), who wanted to conquer Kalos, and resulted in the death of AZ’s Pokémon partner, which sent him into a deep depression and caused him to use the ultimate weapon to end the war.  AZ’s brother changed his mind about his conquest after seeing the devastation this caused, and buried the weapon, while AZ himself disappeared, taking the device’s key with him.  The texts describing the weapon conclude: “that is something to be used by sophisticated powers, not by humans.  Human beings must create a world where such a weapon is unnecessary…”  Indeed, Lysandre’s own notes on the subject decide that “this is something best not left to man… I must use a tool of higher power.”  He’s got quite an ego on him, acknowledging the significance of the powers he’s tampering with but doing it anyway.  Do I detect just a hint of a messiah complex here?

Back at the elevator, I descend to the next floor, where I find Lysandre standing in front of a prison cell.  Inside is… the old guy!  The one from outside Lumiose City, who was looking for the ‘flower Pokémon’!  I had totally forgotten about him!  Only the… thing from around his neck is missing… the… thing that looked kind of like a… key…

…uh-oh.

Lysandre confirms that this is, indeed, AZ (well, Lysandre only says that he has the same name as the ancient king, but let’s face it, it would hardly be the weirdest thing that’s happened this week if it were really the same guy).  He tells his story, accompanied by a series of colour images.  Apparently the ultimate weapon wasn’t originally a weapon at all – it was a resurrection machine, created to bring back AZ’s partner, a shiny Floette like mine, but whose flower was a unique black tulip (ah… “the flower Pokémon that was given eternal life”…).  It succeeded, at the cost of the lives of hundreds of other Pokémon, and AZ’s rage subsequently made him twist it into a weapon that slaughtered countless more.  His partner, saddened by his actions, abandoned him – and he’s been looking for her ever since, the weapon’s power having rendered them both immortal.  Well, there you go.  Trying to cheat death does not end well; just ask Orpheus, or Gilgamesh.  Lysandre doesn’t seem interested in taking AZ’s advice to leave the weapon buried, but has an intriguing suggestion: he’ll leave it up to me whether the weapon is used or not.  My interest piqued, I follow him to the next floor of the building, where a fifth and final scientist, a rotund red-haired man in goggles named Xerosic, who seems to have wanted a mohawk but had difficulty committing, is waiting for us.  Lysandre explains his terms: beat Xerosic, who wants a battle to test my skill, and I can decide what happens next.  He then leaves me in the scientist’s capable hands.  Xerosic is stronger than the other scientists, but his Crobat and Malamar still fail to defeat Odysseus and Pytho, so he gleefully explains the game: I can press either the red button or the blue button.  One will activate the ultimate weapon, and the other will shut it down.

But this is so simple!  All I have to do is divine from what I know of Xerosic – is he the sort of person who would have the ultimate weapon be triggered by the blue button or by the red one?  Now, a clever man would have the blue button trigger the weapon, because he would know that only a great fool would press the big red button.  I’m not a great fool, so I clearly cannot press the blue button.  But after all I’ve done to thwart Team Flare he must have known I’m not a great fool – he would have counted on it, so I clearly cannot press the red button.  But then again, blue is the colour of sadness and sorrow, the sorrow that would be brought by the activation of the weapon, so I clearly cannot choose the blue button – and he must have suspected I would have known this, so I clearly cannot press the red button either!  I’ve defeated Team Flare’s minions and his own Pokémon, so Xerosic knows I am exceptionally powerful, and he could have set the red one to trigger the weapon, trusting in my overconfidence to make me push the big red button, so I clearly cannot press this one.  But he is also a genius scientist, which means he must have studied, and in studying he must have learned that red is a colour of warning which my instincts would lead me to avoid, and connected the weapon instead to the blue button, so I clearly cannot press that one either!  Xerosic just smiles serenely at me as I explain all of this, like he thinks he’s keeping his secrets, but he’s given everything away; I know which button activates the weapon!  He’s fallen victim to one of the classic blunders!  The most famous is “never get involved in a land war in Ransei,” but only slightly less well known is this: “never go in against a Pokémaniac when the fate of the world is on the line!”  I stride confidently up to the blue button- and spin around suddenly, pointing towards the stairs behind Xerosic.
“Good lord!” I exclaim, “is that a shiny Chansey?”  He turns and squints in the direction of the stairs, as I dash quickly to the other side of the room, smack the red button with the palm of my hand, and run back to the blue button before he can see me.  Xerosic turns around again and smiles.
“You guessed wrong.”  I throw back my head and cackle gleefully.
“You only think I guessed wrong!  I ran across and pressed the other button while your back was turned, you fool!”
“No,” Xerosic says, “no, you actually did guess wrong.  Just look.  The poisonous flower has bloomed!”  He points at a big monitor hanging on the wall, where the ultimate weapon, an enormous crystal flower, is emerging from the ground beneath Geosenge Town and beginning to gather its dread energies.

…whoops.

Slowly turning back to Xerosic, I smile sweetly at him and ask “Best of three?”

Ridiculous quote log:

“The warp panels transport both happiness and sadness in equal measure.”
I guess that’s true – happiness for me; sadness for you.