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Thread: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

  1. #1

    Default Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Dragonfree productions presents...

    With motivation from NaNoWriMo 2006...

    Scyther's Story
    Death is not to be feared

    So yay. Yeah, this is my NaNo. It never became 50,000 words (finished it before midnight, though - it just wasn't material enough for more than 31,026 words), but what the heck. I love it to bits anyway.

    It is composed of forty numbered but untitled "chapters", but as those "chapters" tend to be awfully short (the shortest is about half a page), are not really proper chapters in that they do not always contain a story of their own, and posting them one at a time would take ages, I will not do that. The story is also divided into seven "parts", each of which constitutes a number of chapters, and they are both longer and much more suitable units for posting in general, so it is those that I will be posting.

    It is a backstory of Scyther from The Quest for the Legends, but you don't need to read The Quest for the Legends before reading this (although it contains spoilers), nor do you need to read this before reading The Quest for the Legends.

    However, there are some notes to make.

    First off, please note that this is NaNoWriMo, the epitome of rushed writing. I do edit the parts before posting them, but they are not to be expected to be awfully well-written nonetheless.

    Secondly, this fic often hardly describes Pokémon at all. Unfortunately this includes a couple of fake Pokémon as well. I will probably try to insert a little when I edit those parts, but to go into any extensive detail would wreck the style, sorry.

    Thirdly, it is not entirely consistent with The Quest for the Legends version ILCOE. This is most prominent near the end where it is actually telling events from that fic from a different point of view and there are notable differences in what happens, but there are also minor insignificant ones before that point. You do not need to point them out unless there is something that falls into neither category which I appear to have missed. It should, on the other hand, be entirely consistent with the one-shot/extra Guilty, and, once I write the relevant chapters of that version, the IALCOTN (not posted here).

    Fourthly, this is an entirely character-driven work. It does not really have a continuous plot structure, and leaves a whole bunch of things unexplained. Those are up for The Quest for the Legends to tie up.

    Fifthly and lastly, this fic is rated R (or, if you prefer Fiction Ratings, M) for containing various things that could disturb sheltered children such as violence, blood, gore, disturbing imagery, self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts, extremely vague sexual implications, consumption of alcoholic drinks, and the F-word.

    Now, time for the actual fic. Moving on to Part I. Sorry about the rather abrupt ending.



    The young parents were clearly not much troubled by caring for their egg, as they were fast asleep when it began to make quiet clicking sounds.

    The egg wobbled slightly, the sounds growing louder. A small crack formed in its surface, bright white light shining through it.

    The father, sleeping close by, opened one reptilian eye.

    “Wake up, Silver,” he muttered and lightly prodded the female by his side. “The egg is hatching.”

    The male crawled to his clawed feet, watching the egg. There was no visible affection in his expression, though perhaps there was a hint of fondness in the depths of his black eyes.

    “Sharp?” the female asked, a rift finally opening between her eyelids. “The egg... what?”

    Her gaze traveled slowly over to the oval shape that was now rolling on the ground. Quickly she stood up to watch her egg by the side of her mate.

    The eggshell was green with fine streaks of yellow, although the colors were difficult to see in the dusk and tinted by the red glow of the approaching sunrise. Grass blades coated with morning dew stuck to the shell here and there as the egg rolled over and hit a small rock in the grass.

    Cracks spread rapidly around the egg’s surface, each one opening a way out for the blinding light within. Silver shielded her eyes with the curved blade on her arm, which was perhaps just as well because now the eggshell exploded, hurling sharp pieces in all directions and leaving a small glowing white shape sitting on the ground instead.

    Sharp brushed a shard of shell off his rounded shoulder, his face still showing only calm dutifulness as the white light of the small body on the ground faded away to reveal its true colors.

    “Welcome to the world, young Descith,” the father muttered, a hint of a smile crossing his face for a second.

    “He looks adorable,” the mother said softly, betraying more emotion than her mate. “Come, little one. Try to get up,” she added encouragingly to her newborn son.

    The small creature looked up at her with large, attentive eyes. The small Descith had a head similar to that of his parents, but much bigger in proportion to his body. He looked hesitantly at his nearly cone-shaped feet and at the useless arms, already with the precise curved shape of the adults’ scythes, but the blade itself missing.

    He shifted around in an unsuccessful attempt to rise to his feet. He opened his mouth and let out a miserable wail.

    “Go on,” Silver said softly. “Stand up.”

    The hatchling looked at his arms, one at a time, and carefully poked the grass with them. Discovering its solidness with curiosity, he managed to push himself a little upwards.

    It took a few attempts, but eventually he managed to stand up.

    The Descith swayed unsteadily on his feet, his sense of balance still underdeveloped for the precision of the biped. After keeping himself upright for a few seconds, he collapsed forwards, shrieking with fear and instinctively moving his arms in front of him to absorb the fall.

    His eyes opened again after being squeezed shut in preparation for impact. The impact had never come.

    His deformed arms sank into the ground precisely where they gave him balance.

    Catching on, the little Descith yanked both of his undeveloped scythes out of the soil. He took a deep breath and let himself fall again – and again, sharp instincts saw to that his arms came down in precisely the right place.

    He smiled widely at his new discovery, laughing childishly as he let himself fall again.

    “He’ll never learn to walk like this,” Sharp said, amused in spite of himself. His mate just chuckled.

    “He acts just like you,” she said adoringly.

    “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

    They watched their son experiment with letting himself fall backwards. His arms automatically took the fall, always. It didn’t matter what he did. The instinct was extraordinarily powerful.

    This seemed to eventually take the fun out of it for him and the young Descith began to attempt to stay steady on his feet, using his arms for slight support.

    It would be a while before he managed that. It always was. And indeed, his story started out in such a way that it could have been any Scyther’s story.

    But this was only one particular Scyther, and his story, though beginning like any other, was decidedly unique.

    But no one in the swarm would know until many years later.


    “A new member of our swarm was hatched this morning,” announced the Leader to the swarm late in the evening. Every eye was fixed on his illuminated form, except, ironically enough, those of the subject of his speech, which were darting curiously between the different members of the swarm, oblivious to the importance of the ritual that their owner was now unknowingly taking part in.

    The Leader looked at the small Descith sitting on the flat rock below him. He hated performing the acceptance ritual. To devote such attention and in fact weaken himself to someone who did not recognize him as Leader – indeed, someone to whom the concept of a Leader in itself was decidedly alien – caused his sense of potential threat to tingle uncomfortably.

    But it was a necessary evil, and after all, if no new members were taken into the swarm, he would have no swarm to be Leader over, which would, for obvious reasons, completely defeat the point. And more importantly, the ritual was tradition, and breaking it would be sacrilege. Such said the Code.

    He looked back up and continued. “Let this young Descith be a member of our swarm to the day of his eventual return to the soil. Let him grow and flourish, become a Scyther and develop scythes and wings as the rest of us. Let him follow the Code and respect his duties. Let him be honored tonight!”

    He raised his right scythe to the soft joint on his left arm and made a clean, sharp cut across it.

    “By the blood of the Leader…” he began, feeling only a light trickle as dark Scyther blood dripped onto the hatchling’s head. The Descith twitched and shrieked in surprise, raising his right arm to his eyes to observe the blotch of bluish-black liquid on it.

    “…the Father…” he continued, looking towards the Scyther standing by his left side. The father stretched his arm slowly outwards, and the Leader raised his scythe for a second cut. Sharp winced slightly as his blood trickled down on his son as well.

    “…and the Fresh Prey,” the Leader finished as he looked to his right at the newborn’s mother and the struggling female Nidoran she was holding in her mouth. As the little rabbit eyed him raising his scythe again, she struggled even harder and let out a piercing scream, but he silenced it with a quick cut across her throat.

    The Nidoran’s body went limp. Crimson blood was sprayed onto the rock, almost covering the squirming Descith, who was already beginning to lick the liquid off his exoskeleton. The little one was already gaining a taste for blood, the Leader thought.

    Sometimes he daydreamed about the ability to cripple the young ones before they could challenge his leadership. But it was against the very most sacred section of the Code, the Moral Code. It explicitly stated the immorality of inflicting unnecessary torture on another being. And whenever he found himself in such thoughts, he became afraid.

    Occasionally, when he was feeling more rebellious, he wondered just what it was that he was afraid of. Nobody knew what was going on inside his head and nobody ever would. He could think all the immoral thoughts he wanted, and the other Scyther would never know. While the implication was that a godly being of some sort had originally created the Code, there was no such being seeing to that the Code was followed in thought as well as action. He could as well, he realized. He could as well think it.

    Sometimes, thanks to this rebellious train of thought, he became afraid that one day he would in fact be tempted to act upon it.

    But that day was not today.


    The young Descith sat in the grass. His parents were out hunting, although he did not know what it was they were doing. He did not know, either, that many species obsessively protected their young. It never crossed his instinct-driven mind to miss them while they were gone. Indeed, he would have felt discomfort if he had found himself alone, but evolution had never needed to give Scyther and Descith a parental bond when it came to protection.

    No one attacked a Scyther swarm. That was just the way it was.

    Therefore, he did not for a moment wonder whether or when his parents would be back. He simply looked around curiously, still taking the world in through his senses and experimenting with what his own body could do. For example, he had already discovered the undeveloped muscles connected to the knobs on his back that would one day become wings. Of course, he did not know that, either. He just knew he could contract some tiny muscles in his back, and that it didn’t seem to do anything so he quickly lost interest in it.

    The buzz of a fly caught his attention. His eyes scanned the air with natural skill and found their tiny target a few meters off. He stood up carefully, something telling him he should not make any sound.

    The young Pokémon’s eyes followed the fly as he became tenser with every passing moment: the fly was approaching. Using his arms for support, he stood deathly still except for his flickering eyes, following their target.

    Just as the fly was at the closest point it would be, he pounced.

    Had he been a fully-grown Scyther, the precision of his aim would have been enough to make his blade cut the fly in half. Instead, he clumsily missed it by an inch and it bonked into his forehead before flying frantically off.

    He made a sad sound as he landed on his arms and legs on the ground, looking longingly at the fly. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to catch the fly. He just did. And in his young mind, he didn’t need any more logical reason than that before doing things.

    He looked around again and saw a short tree. He wondered if he could get up into it.

    Slowly and carefully, he made his way towards the tree, again using his arms for support. He looked it up and down as he arrived next to it, not sure how to get up it. He poked the tree with the tip of his arm to see if it was solid. It was.

    He brought his foot onto the trunk, but hesitated. Something told him he would fall if he just tried to walk up it like he walked on the ground.

    He walked around the tree, observing how the trunk also had another side that he couldn’t see from each particular point of view, no matter how he tried. When one bit came into view, another always disappeared off the other side. Strange.

    After experimenting with this for a few minutes and realizing that this rule appeared impossible to trick, he noticed that there was a low branch only inches above his head. He poked the branch. It was solid too.

    He raised his curved arm shape above the branch and pulled it back down so that it hooked onto the branch. He pulled it experimentally down a few times before coming to the conclusion that this might be the way up.

    He whipped his other arm over the branch and began to try to pull himself up, but it was difficult and his arms were not curved enough. He tried it again a few more times with little further success.

    “Scith,” he sighed in disappointment. It had no particular meaning at this time, neither to him nor to anybody else. It was simply a random sound that his vocal chords could handle.

    But he was too stubborn to give up. After a couple of boring minutes, he turned back to the tree and examined the bark of it better. He prodded it harder than before with his scythe. It was somewhat soft.

    He drew back and swung the sharp end of his undeveloped right scythe straight towards the tree trunk. It sank ever so slightly into the tree.

    Happily, the little Descith hooked his left scythe onto the branch and began to scratch himself upwards with his clawed feet. At first he made no progress, but eventually he figured out how to get a good grip with his claws.

    After an exhausting climb, he finally got onto the lowest branch. Hugging the tree to keep his balance, he rested for a short while to gather his breath. He looked up, and he looked down.

    He felt very proud of himself.

    It was only seconds before he eagerly resumed the climb up to the next branch, and to the next. At one point he nearly fell down, but narrowly pulled himself up again.

    From the branch above him hung a sleeping green pupa, immobile as its inner body was going through the final steps of transformation into a beautiful Butterfree. Of course the young Descith had no idea that it was called a Metapod or that it was metamorphosing. In fact, he did not initially assume it was alive. He poked it curiously with his scythe and watched it with glee as it swung back and forth. He prodded it more powerfully to make it swing farther.

    The Metapod, awoken from its sleep, opened its eyes sluggishly. Not that it could do anything about the situation it was in. It couldn’t. Except for hardening its shell.

    Which, in an interesting twist, did turn out useful, since just then the Descith managed to cut it off the branch it was hanging from.

    The cocoon dropped to the ground, bounced off it once and then rolled in a semicircle before finally coming to a halt.

    The Descith was about ready to get down from the tree when he saw the cocoon begin to shake. Curiously, he watched it as it twitched for a few seconds and then suddenly ripped in the middle, revealing shining white light.

    He flinched, but was still curious; he squinted at the cocoon from the safety of the tree as a dark, crumpled shape crawled out of it and spread its thin white wings for the first time. Its two fine black antennae quivered as the newly-evolved Butterfree flapped its wings experimentally, finally taking off with a high-pitched cry of “Fweeee!”

    The young mantis watched, fascinated, as the Butterfree practiced its flight with a few circles and loops, and finally fluttered off over the plains.

    The Descith watched it until it was too far away for him to see it. He looked sadly back at the tree he was standing in. He wanted to go down now.

    But nature had already instilled in him a fear of heights.

    He whimpered, clutching the tree trunk tightly with what would later become his scythes. The sight of the few meters down made him feel dizzy and discomforted. He turned his head quickly towards the trunk, where he couldn’t see the ground, and closed his eyes, unable to think of anything to do other than wait for someone else to save him.


    It was nearing sunset when his mother returned from the hunt, carrying a dead Pidgeotto in her mouth.

    At first she did not regard the small green shape in the tree as anything out of the ordinary; in fact, the last time she had looked at that particular tree, there had been a Metapod hanging from one of the branches, and she just assumed that was it. The absence of her son did not seem worrisome. There were always guarding Scyther who would make sure that no hatchling would walk away on his own, and after all, no one ever attacked a Scyther swarm.

    However, just while she was trying to cut the skin and feathers off her prey to make it easier to eat, she heard a quiet moan coming from the tree.


    She stopped what she was doing, turning her eyes towards the direction of the sound.


    She rose up and walked over to the tree. “Somebody there?”

    The Descith looked quickly at his mother with big, scared eyes that begged her to help him down. She sighed and walked up to the tree, raising her scythes into the air so that her son could use them to climb down.

    He hesitated at first, but then carefully turned away from the tree trunk, crouched down, hooked his arms around the branch he was on and let himself descend a little. He unhooked one of his premature scythes and placed it onto his mother’s scythe instead, reaching for the other one with his foot. Finally he let go and allowed his mother to gently put him down.

    Unlike some other species’ babies, the young Descith did not need to be comforted. As soon as he was down from the tree and out of all danger, he did no longer need or particularly desire his mother’s company. But she stayed with him anyway, affectionately feeding him some of the softer bits of the Pidgeotto and attempting to make him realize some of the complicated principles of the Pokémon language.

    It is, after all, beneficial to help furthering one’s genes, and while natural selection did not care whether one’s genes were furthered with the help of a parent, it did indeed care whether one’s own offspring survived. And thus, she felt more affectionate towards him than he would ever feel towards her in the Scyther’s family-less community and individualistic mindset.

    She was what the norms of her kind would call ‘weak’. To love someone meant fear of death, the inevitable end to one’s time knowing them, and fear of death was the number one sin. Ideally, a Scyther was without social bonds, above them, and it would indeed have been frowned upon had, say, the Leader shown personal affection towards another being. But in the end, the Scyther were social creatures, and in spite of the unfortunate implications of their moral code, most of them formed bonds of family and friendship in some form anyway.

    Such was simply the way of nature.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Um, since I already proofread Part II, I guess I might as well post it now. Part II is the shortest part after Part VII both in word count and number of chapters, and in general it's not really my favorite, but meh.

    This part contains references to my fanmade Pokémon naming conventions, and doesn't explain them in a lot of detail, so this is the basic idea for those curious or confused:

    Pokémon don't have names as we know them, but nicknames of a sort given to them by other individuals who feel that they need a word to address them by. Thus, giving someone a name is generally a sign of respect and friendship. Because of the way Pokémon speech works, the names are always simply words (sometimes two or more stuck together) that the namer associates in some way with the namee. When they do have a name, they don't introduce themselves by that name or expect anyone other than that particular person to call them by it, except that in tight intimate groups of two or more, they like to all agree on using the same name for each member of the group, at least when more than two of them are together, to avoid confusion. Otherwise Pokémon are perfectly content with being referred to by the name of their species only, and that is how they address strangers.

    Now, on to Part II.



    The young Descith was a year old. He had now learned many things about the world. He could communicate with the other Scyther in the Pokémon language. He knew the difference between a Scyther and a Descith. And his scythes had begun to grow – they were still made of the same soft yellow stuff as his joints and would be until he evolved, but it was a start.

    But he was still young, and this was the first time that he experienced an acceptance ritual at an old enough age to realize what was going on and what was being said.

    The process had not been described to him. His parents had only told him that he would be seeing the acceptance ritual and that the same had been done to him when he was accepted into the swarm. He was both excited and curious, with little to even hint to him what he would be seeing.

    The Leader walked up to the rock and all the Scyther and Descith fell silent.

    “A new member of our swarm was hatched this morning,” the Leader said. He was illuminated by the pale moonlight so that he looked more intimidating than he was during the day. A short distance behind him loomed the forest of Ruxido, every tree seeming like a sturdy soldier in his personal army.

    It was no wonder that times like these made the Scyther’s hearts fill with fearful respect and obedience towards their Leader.

    While the Leader said his traditional speech of acceptance, the Descith that was its subject shrieked innocently, receiving disapproving glares from the swarm. The one-year-old didn’t yet fully understand the Code or why the newborn must be so quiet, but he imitated the adult Scyther anyway.

    His expression betraying disgust for a fraction of a second, the Leader raised his left arm. “By the blood of the Leader, the Father and the Fresh Prey,” he finished as blood from two Scyther and a Rattata showered over the small Descith on the rock. He let out a piercing cry of fear, attempting to crawl away from the blood to more disapproving looks from the swarm.

    He did not yet understand this either, neither the young one’s fearful reaction nor the adults’ disapproval, but what could he do but ignore it?

    The ritual was finished awkwardly by forcing the newborn’s face into the puddle of blood, and then it was over.

    The year-old Descith watching it would never know that this was what would later be one of his best friends.

    His other best friend he would meet the next day.


    It was a rainy morning.

    The Descith knew all about rain. He knew that it was the blood of the clouds. The clouds were a species of Pokémon that lived all of its life high up in the sky. Ordinarily they were white and shifted their shapes into various different ones depending on what they were thinking, but sometimes they died, and then they turned gray. And after they had turned gray, their blood rained down onto the ground to provide necessary water to the Pokémon down below in the endless circle of life.

    Sometimes the clouds had great wars and so many of them died that the entire sky turned gray. And every morning, the clouds attacked the sun so that the sky turned red with the sun’s blood, but the sun climbed further up than the clouds ever went so that in the middle of the day they couldn’t reach her anymore. And when she descended in the evening, the clouds attacked her again, but then she buried deep underground where they could not reach her either.

    One day the clouds would wear the sun down, she would be unable to climb or dig away from them in time, and they would shed all of her blood and kill her like any other Fire Pokémon.

    And then there would be no more sunlight, and the moon would stay still in the sky at all times because he would no longer have to chase the sun always. Some of the older Scyther told of how once the moon had caught up with the sun and nearly extinguished her fire, but she had gotten away narrowly and the eternal race had continued.

    And the sun had once had children with the moon, the stars. And the stars came out in the night because they wanted to distract the moon so that he wouldn’t catch the sun.

    He knew this because that was what his parents had told him, and what their parents had told them, and what their parents had told them, and so on. And the Leader confirmed it.

    It had to be true.

    Of course, it wasn’t. Scyther’s wings weren’t built for high flight, and no Scyther had ever flown high enough to prove the worth of even the easiest to verify of these stories, namely the one about the clouds being Pokémon that became gray when they died. They would have realized that the clouds were just vapor.

    But they could not fly that high, and as such they never felt any need to question those stories. What did it matter to them, anyway, whether they were true or not? As long as the sun rose in the morning and the clouds did rain, who cared whether all the specific details were true?

    The funny thing was that they did not especially need those stories. Humans were curious creatures who could never be satisfied with a “We don’t know.” They needed something to believe, truth or not. But the Scyther were not that way, nor were any other Pokémon. They were perfectly content with knowing something could be relied on to happen, and didn’t need to know why it was.

    It simply happened to be so that certain individuals had more of this tendency than others did.

    The humans called it ‘creativity’. The Scyther called it ‘unnecessary wondering about trivial things’.

    The only reason those stories began to be passed on was that some Scyther long ago, instead of speaking of these stories as the made-up speculation they were, decided to pretend they were fact in order to avoid being shunned.

    And thus, the evolution of the species slowly ground to a halt, because they had grown intelligent enough to cheat natural selection for their own views, which mostly involved being the same as they had always been or pretending to be the same.

    The older Descith that he was talking to was one of those who did unnecessary wondering about trivial things. His exoskeleton was a particularly light green, which had immediately caught the younger one’s attention. Having nothing else to do, they had engaged in conversation under a large tree that shielded them somewhat from the pouring rain, and currently the older one was managing to thoroughly confuse his conversational partner with his alien views.

    “Why do you think it rains?” he had begun this topic, staring out at the falling raindrops.

    “I know,” the younger Descith had said. “The clouds are Pokémon high up in the sky who turn gray when they die and then their blood…”

    “I don’t think rain is the blood of the clouds,” the other had interrupted. “I don’t think they’re Pokémon at all. How do you know they are?”

    The younger had looked at him in puzzlement. “All the Scyther say so, so it must be true.”

    “But how do they know?” the older had countered. “Scyther can’t fly up there. Once I saw a flock of Pidgey flying, and they flew through a cloud. Like it wasn’t even solid.”

    “The others are older and know it better than you,” the younger Descith had stubbornly said. The other had sighed and stopped talking about it. Now they were sitting in silence and watching the rainfall.

    “You know how to evolve faster?” asked the older suddenly.


    “Mock duels.”

    The younger Descith looked at the older. “You can’t do mock duels until you’ve already evolved and your scythes have hardened.”

    “You can,” insisted the other one. “You just have to be careful not to break them. It won’t really be a problem for you, since they’re still so small. I’ll have to watch out, though.” He looked at his own scythes, about half the area that they would finally have, but still yellow and vulnerable.

    “You want a mock duel with me?” the younger asked, puzzled. The older nodded.

    “I’ve never done it before,” the younger Descith said hesitantly. “I don’t know how to…”

    “You don’t need to know it,” the older interrupted with a smile. “It’s all there already.”

    And with that, he stood up, motioning for the younger one to do the same, which he did.

    It was all very sudden when he leapt menacingly at the other. He instinctively ducked and slashed away with his premature scythe.

    “See?” the older one said. “It’s not too hard.”

    “It isn’t,” the younger agreed, astonished. He suddenly leapt at the other Descith with his blades aloft, to have them blocked by the green edge of the older one’s left scythe. The older laughed and kicked him off.

    “Can I make a name for you?” he asked.

    The younger Descith looked at him in disbelief. To make a name for someone meant respect – something not too common for a one-year-old Descith to have.

    “You can,” he replied in excitement. This would be his first real name. His parents only referred to him as Son.

    “I call you…” The older Descith paused. “Razor.”

    And the younger Descith grinned from ear to ear. “Can I make a name for you as well?”

    “Of course,” the older replied, his eyes twinkling with glee.

    “I call you…”

    The newly-named Razor looked out at the rain and then at the other Descith.

    “Stormblade,” he finished with conviction. “That is your name.”

    Stormblade laughed. “Thank you.”

    And then he leapt at Razor with raised scythes.


    Another year passed.

    Stormblade and Razor continued to be friends. They dueled at every opportunity, excited to trigger each other’s evolution. Both of their scythes grew, Stormblade’s to full size and Razor’s to what Stormblade’s had been when they had first met.

    And one day they met a tiny year-old Descith with a particularly dark armor.

    This was the subject of some amused staring, as dark armor generally indicated that its owner was a female.

    “What are you looking at?” asked the young Descith defensively, raising his scythes up in front of him. He had large, paranoid eyes, but a strangely powerful voice for his size.

    “You,” Razor replied honestly.

    “What is so interesting about me?” the little one asked coldly.

    “Your armor is darker than average, isn’t it?” Stormblade answered.

    “And so?” the little Descith asked stubbornly.

    Stormblade laughed. “Should we settle this in a duel?”

    Whatever reaction he expected, it was not what really happened, namely that the tiny little Descith growled and leapt straight at Stormblade with his barely-existent scythes ready to slash.

    Stormblade recoiled in surprise, but quickly raised his own blades against the attack, throwing the much smaller Pokémon a few meters away in one swing. The newcomer took a few tumbles in the grass, but rose immediately back up and attacked Stormblade fiercely again.

    Stormblade fought back with all his might, and indeed his size and age gave him the advantage. In the end, the small Descith lay in the grass, defeated, under Stormblade’s entire weight.

    “Damn, you’re good,” Stormblade panted. “Can I give you a name?”

    It was difficult to see which was more astonished, the beaten Descith or Razor.

    “Y-yes, I suppose…” the Descith stammered, assuming this had to be some kind of trick, perhaps to give him an offensive name – uncommon, but not unknown – but not in any situation to say no.

    “Shadowdart shall be your name,” Stormblade said with satisfaction, rising up and nodding. “This is Razor, and I am Stormblade.”

    The only situation in which Pokémon ever introduced themselves and each other by name was when the one being spoken to was being invited into a tight-knit group of mutual respect, and the hesitant Shadowdart was well aware of this.

    It would be difficult to make it into a joke from there on.

    Shadowdart nodded and stood up. “Thank you.”

    He looked between his two new apparent friends, and still did not understand it any more than Razor did.

    “You have potential, kid…” Stormblade said faintly before his eyes rolled backwards into his head. Shadowdart stared wide-eyed at him, wondering if he had killed him or something, but then Stormblade’s body was taken over by a bright white glow.

    “He’s evolving!” Razor gasped, and indeed he was. Stormblade’s pure white shape began to grow. His height doubled in just a few moments, more spikes appeared on his head, his upper body appeared to split in the middle and the halves to bulge apart, his leg joints morphing into round segments…

    When the glow faded away, Stormblade was a full-grown Scyther with shiny, metallic scythes.

    He grinned.

    “You two are next.”
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Okay, here is Part III. It is considerably longer than both of those before it, but pales in comparison with what is to come, heh. It is one of my favorite parts, although it probably comes after Parts IV and V, and this is where the fic starts to get a lot darker. Warning: not for sensitive people.



    Yet another year passed.

    After a Descith evolved, he had to spend until the spring after his evolution learning the Code by attending special lessons with the Leader and all the other newly-evolved Scyther who had never killed. Stormblade was no exception.

    The Leader was all the more fond of this ritual – if one could call a series of lessons a ritual – than of the acceptance ritual. This time he was not accepting potential threats into the swarm. On the contrary, he was taking all the potential threats and reducing them to obedient non-threats with months of beating laws into their heads, and he enjoyed it immensely.

    “The Code,” he had warned on the first lesson of that year, “is sacred. Nothing, nothing is more important than the Code. Choosing between anything and the Code, you should not hesitate before choosing the latter. Should you ever break it, you will be banished from Scyther society forever, your blood will be tainted and you will be forever worthless. If you break it, the only thing that will save your honor is immediate suicide - the ultimate realization of the wrong that you have done, and showing that you do not, after all, fear your own death. But if you fail to do that –” he had here glared over the group at this point to emphasize it, “you are disgusting failures, and your eventual death – because yes, you will all die at one point, whether you accept it or not and whether you face it fearless or not – will be forever the end of you. No one will speak of you or remember you again, except perhaps in a negative context. This life you have is your only chance to make a name for yourselves, and the only purpose in it is to be immortal in the memory of generations to come. This is something you do not want to fail at, but if you did want it – the quickest way would be breaking the Code.”

    The young Scyther had watched him in stunned silence, and he had looked at them with satisfaction. The more silently scared they became, the better.

    And thus the lessons had continued throughout the year, and it was made perfectly clear to every growing Scyther through rigorous repetition and conditioning that to disrespect the Code, the ancient rules of the Scyther, was a horrible, horrible thing.

    So now, after learning of its significance, Stormblade was preparing for his First Prey. It was, the Leader had told them, an essential ritual that would prove their Scytherhood and their respect for the first rule of the Moral Code. It would be the young Scyther’s first ever hunt, to be performed entirely on their own with two witnesses to follow.

    And it would be their first kill.

    The young Scyther had no reason to be nervous about it. No one told them it was a nerve-wrecking experience, and they would not tell anyone either after discovering the reality of it, for fear of being considered cowards.

    None of them were aware of the irony of it all.


    While Stormblade went out for his First Prey, Razor and Shadowdart had yet another one of their mock duels. Razor’s initial lack of respect for the younger Descith had slowly dissolved – for the most part, anyway – throughout the year, and now their focus was to work on evolution.

    The bad part was that Descith evolved through battling experience, almost always in the spring or early summer for unknown reasons most likely having to do with hormones. And their battling skills were quite pathetic for a very long time after their birth, majorly hindering their ability to trigger their evolution and slowing them down.

    The average age for evolution was around three years as Stormblade had been, so Razor was anticipating his own evolution any moment. Shadowdart, however, feeling dully impatient, was day by day growing less enthusiastic about the mock fights.

    “Come on,” Razor egged him on. “You need to try hard for your own evolution to happen as well.”

    “I won’t evolve until in a year,” Shadowdart said emptily.

    “Maybe you will,” Razor replied eagerly. “I heard that our Leader evolved in the middle of the winter.”

    Shadowdart’s interest seemed to be awakened. “He did?”

    “That’s what I heard.”

    The younger Descith leapt at Razor with an eager growl. Razor quickly jumped out of the way and brought his own scythes down towards Shadowdart’s back, but he also dodged it with a quick roll and slashed across Razor’s face.

    The older Descith growled in pain and retaliated with another slash which managed to hit Shadowdart right in the rift between the left and right parts of his upper body.

    Shadowdart did not scream in pain often, but this time he did.

    “I… are you okay?” Razor asked carefully, his eyes wide.

    “Yes,” Shadowdart growled and dealt Razor a slash to the middle cleft as well.

    Caught by surprise, Razor fell back into the grass. He couldn’t breathe. This was the Descith’s weak spot where any nasty cut would deal horrible pain. Evolution would expand the upper body to the sides at this rift, simultaneously strengthening the armor in it. Before evolution, however, the Descith were very vulnerable at that particular spot.

    But as Razor lay there, the hormones of fighting tension flowing through his body pushed him over the edge that they had been attempting to reach for so long.

    Shadowdart watched with incredulity as a white glow enveloped Razor.

    “No!” he exclaimed, realizing that what he had meant as revenge had actually turned into a great favor.

    But Razor was indeed evolving, and he felt exhilarated as his vision faded into pure white. His brain pumped out endorphins while his exoskeleton bulged out like an inflating balloon, which Razor had admittedly never seen or heard of in his life.

    Shadowdart punched his scythes into the ground as Razor’s growth came to a halt, the white light faded off his body and where a Descith had stood a moment before there was now a full-grown Scyther in his place.

    “Wow!” Razor said in astonishment, slightly surprised by his deepened voice. “Thanks, Shadowdart.”

    But Shadowdart turned his back to him and walked away.

    Razor sighed and sat down in the grass, hanging his head.

    But only for a few minutes – he had a swarm and a Leader to tell about his evolution.


    Stormblade returned later in the afternoon with a dead Pidgey. He was quick to find Razor again, but Shadowdart was nowhere to be seen anymore.

    They were not much bothered by it. It had happened before. Their general conclusion was that Shadowdart was just a bit of a sore loser, which was nothing to worry about – not while he was still a Descith having mock duels, anyway.

    “It was harder than I thought,” Stormblade admitted quietly to his newly-evolved friend, sitting under the very same tree as two years before when they had first discussed whether the clouds were really bleeding, although that particular fact had not yet crossed their minds. “I… I felt… I caught this Pikachu but… oh, it doesn’t matter,” he finished hopelessly. It was difficult to get any words around it without explicitly showing fear of death, one of the most horrible sins that a Scyther could commit.

    And even though Stormblade was the type who wondered unnecessarily about trivial things like whether the clouds were really bleeding or whether the Code really made sense, he had learned enough now from his four-year life in a Scyther swarm to know that generally it was not a good idea to voice such thoughts out loud.

    Razor didn’t ask, or even particularly wonder what it was that Stormblade had been trying to say. He would find out what it was like on his own in a year, after all.

    “So there’s going to be a ritual this evening,” Stormblade said.

    “I know.” Razor had witnessed the First Prey rituals before; every year had them and they had lost their novelty already. They had been going on for a few days that year, too. It would nonetheless be more interesting now, since now it was someone he knew who would be recognized as an adult.

    In the evening, the Scyther gathered by that familiar rock in front of the Leader. All except Stormblade, who stood behind him, and two other Scyther by the Leader’s sides, who Razor knew were the witnesses. Razor couldn’t make out Stormblade’s features in the dark, but he knew it was him, and with that confidence he felt proud of his friend.

    “Tonight,” the Leader announced, “we witness this Scyther join the ranks of the adults of our swarm. He has shown his ability to hunt and kill his prey without fear of death! Let him join the swarm with full privileges, be eligible for true duels of life and death, and hunt on his own!”

    The Leader took a deep breath and swallowed. “Let him be able to challenge my Leadership, should he be more fit for it than I. Let him now honor the Code, since he now understands it, and be a valuable member of the swarm. Step forward, Scyther.”

    Stormblade stepped forth, carrying his Pidgey in his mouth. He placed it on the rock.

    “I offer the meat of my First Prey to our Leader,” he said, bowing his head in the Leader’s direction. The older Scyther bowed back, stepped up to the rock and tore a bit of raw flesh off the little bird’s body, swallowing it.

    “To… to my friend Razor,” he continued. Razor had been half-expecting it and was thus not surprised when he stepped up to the rock himself, bowed to the Leader and Stormblade, and tore another piece of flesh from the Pidgey. It would not satisfy anyone’s hunger; it was just a ritualistic meal.

    “And… if he is here… to Shadowdart,” Stormblade said quietly. Razor looked at him. To offer the meat of a First Prey to an unevolved Descith was rather unconventional, although it was not expressly forbidden.

    Stormblade looked around the group of Scyther. For a few moments there was no movement, but then a small Descith stirred near the back and walked slowly up to the rock. Razor saw the Leader glance darkly at Stormblade, but he didn’t care; he just looked relieved as Shadowdart came up, ate a bit of the Pidgey’s flesh and nodded ever so slightly in his direction.

    “Then,” said the Leader after a short silence, “he is accepted.”

    All three of them bowed to the Leader and then walked down from the rock to blend in with the rest of the swarm again.


    Razor’s first lesson in Scytherhood was at the beginning of summer, when the wave of Descith evolutions that year finally ground to a halt.

    He left Shadowdart’s training to Stormblade and walked to the rock, where the Leader was already standing and watching the nervous young Scyther gather around. He waited patiently for all of them to arrive without saying a word. Razor sat down quietly, not sure what to expect from this.

    “So,” the Leader finally said as the last of the Scyther seemed to have settled down, “you’re becoming adults. With your evolution, you entered your adolescence. Right now you are in a very difficult stage of your lives, because you are physically capable of so many things that you weren’t before. You can duel. You can fly. You can mate. I understand that all of these things sound very exciting to you – mating especially so…” He stopped, silencing the nervous giggling that had ensued with a sharp glare. “But, unfortunately for you, that won’t happen for another year or so.”

    The Leader looked nastily over the group. “You may feel like adults, but you’re not. You still have very many things to learn, and those things are what you will be learning here. Do not miss these lessons, unless you plan to postpone all your ‘fun’ to two years from now.”

    He paused for some dramatic effect and looked over the group again. “Now, I hope that you are not such pathetic little worms that you don’t know what the Code is. You’ve all heard of it, right? You know what it is. However, I will still clarify it, because if one of you has forgotten, I think it would be best for my sanity never to find out.”

    The Scyther looked up at him, but none said anything.

    “The Code,” the Leader began, “is an ancient set of morals and laws passed down from Scyther to Scyther for generations that regulates how we should act, think and feel. Sometime in the murky past, the Scyther accessed these laws. We do not know where they came from, but they are sacred and more important than anything else.”

    “But,” muttered a nervous Scyther in the back, “if we don’t know where it came from, then how do we know it’s sacred?”

    The Leader glared at him. “This group is already not leaving me the slightest bit impressed. What does it matter where the Code came from? We know it is sacred because that is what we have always found it to be. What purpose is there in questioning it? Would it help anyone? The Code is right and all adult Scyther will be in agreement that all it says is absolutely justified. The Code is not to be questioned. Is that clear?”

    “Yes…” the questioner muttered, clearly not satisfied with the answer. Razor was distinctly reminded of Stormblade, but said nothing.

    “Now,” the Leader went on. “To other things. Death. To cease to exist forever. Think about it. Is it a frightening thought?” He paused to look around. “Is it a frightening thought?” he asked louder. None of the Scyther answered.

    “Judging from your silence, it is,” the Leader continued. “It shouldn’t be. We are predators. We kill. We tear families and friends apart – families and friends generally being a large part of our prey’s social structure. It is a nasty thing to do, but we have to do it anyway to survive. That’s life. We can’t treat death like the ultimate evil. We’ll die one way or another, and so will our prey. Death is not to be feared. And thus we come to the Moral Code, the most important section of the entire Code! There are five rules of the Moral Code, and you must know all of them. The first, do you know what the first is?”

    There were some quiet mutterings in the back.

    “Apparently not,” the Leader said with clear disdain. “Well, I told you only seconds ago! Death is not to be feared, for it is the only thing that we all have in common. That’s the rule. Death will come to us all one day. It is inevitable, and exactly for that reason, we should not fear it. Fear is a natural reaction to uncertain things that you wish will not happen; but death is not one of those uncertain things. It is the greatest certainty of all. You should find comfort in the thought, and until you do, you are failures as Scyther. This is why you need the First Prey: to kill, to inflict death, without a nagging conscience or uncomfortably drifting to the thought that at one time you, too, will cease to breathe: you must face death to understand it and at the same time become officially recognized as individuals who can survive on their own. Your First Prey is the most important event in your lives after your birth and your death. I hope I am making clear just how vital this particular ritual is.”

    The young Scyther looked nervously around.

    “No, don’t look nervous!” the Leader snapped. “You are fearing your First Prey! You are fearing death! Stop it or you will all be doomed to die in shame!”

    The pupils stared at him. Many of their eyes showed unquestionable fear.

    The Leader shook his head. “Is there no end to how pathetic you can be? Go. This lesson is discontinued. I shall continue tomorrow when you have hopefully overcome these unnatural feelings and are ready to learn.”

    The Scyther would not overcome the feelings. They would, however, learn to hide them.


    The lessons continued.

    Razor always felt a little uneasy at them, but wasn’t sure why. It was just a tradition, after all. It happened to everyone. There was nothing he should be uneasy about, should there?

    He still was.

    For obvious reasons, he did not speak of that.

    “So,” said the Leader sometimes, “how do you feel about your upcoming First Prey?”

    The Scyther would roar in unison, “We look forward to it!”

    With more power each time it happened.

    And sure, Razor believed it. All the others looked forward to it; it took just a little effort to convince himself that he did as well. Why would he be any different?

    “You have improved quite a lot since the first lesson,” the Leader announced one day. “I am very satisfied about that, because at that time I was afraid the next generation of Scyther would be composed of wimps and cowards. Things are looking better now. Now let me see if you remember the Moral Code! What is the first rule?”

    “Death is not to be feared, for it is the only thing that we all have in common,” the Scyther chanted in unison.

    They knew the rest by heart as well. Do not disgrace the swarm with your life if you are not worth it. If a Scyther is in danger, it is your duty to assist. Every individual to his own: do not manipulate or be manipulated, control or be controlled. Sharpen your scythes, for while death is inevitable, pain is unnecessary.

    Their conditioning had been successful thus far. They really did cringe at the thought of breaking the Code now. But there was much work to be done. They were, after all, not supposed to cringe. They were supposed to feel the urge to slit their own throats.

    “Stormblade is getting boring,” Shadowdart confessed to Razor one autumn day after the lesson. “He’s spending less and less time training with me, and more and more time hunting, sitting around or looking at females.” He cringed in disgust. “Why would anyone want to look at females?”

    Razor chuckled. “You’ll find out when you evolve.”

    “I want to evolve now,” Shadowdart said stubbornly.

    “Fine,” Razor said and rolled his eyes. “One nice training session now, okay?”

    And he swung his scythe.

    Shadowdart was always alert and immediately jumped out of the way, slashing back at Razor. The disadvantage of evolution was that being bigger meant being an easier target. On the other hand, a Scyther’s exoskeleton was quite a bit stronger than a Descith’s, so Razor hardly felt Shadowdart’s frail, not-so-sharp premature scythes scratch across his torso.

    “That was pretty pathetic, old friend,” he taunted, raising his scythe and slashing it at Shadowdart’s back. The Descith was thrown down onto the ground with his back bleeding, but rose quickly up again and countered by dashing behind Razor and slashing into his wing.

    “Ow!” Razor groaned, instinctively kicking into Shadowdart’s body with his foot before turning swiftly around to slash. He drove his scythe at the Descith lying on the ground in front of him, but instead chopped into the ground as Shadowdart darted out of the way.

    “Damn, you’re too small for this,” Razor grumbled, looking around for the Descith in the tall yellowing grass. Caught unawares, he yelped in surprise as Shadowdart leapt onto his back and brought his blunt premature blade to his throat.


    Razor sighed. “Yeah, yeah, all right, all right. Get off me.”

    Shadowdart didn’t get off him. Razor felt a strange exhilarating heat on his back and glanced at the scythe threatening to cut his neck, discovering it was being enveloped in a white glow.

    “Whoa, you’re evolving already!” he said in astonishment before realizing that the scythe was slowly expanding and sharpening.

    “Get off me! Get off me!” he screeched in panic before finally managing to push Shadowdart’s arm away from his neck with his own scythes and throwing his evolving friend off his back. He watched Shadowdart lie in the grass, his shape growing rapidly as he gained his adult form.

    “Congrats, mate,” he said and grinned as the glow faded away and left Shadowdart in his new body. “Too bad you still look like a girl,” he commented snidely, noticing Shadowdart’s still darker-than-usual color.

    The only reply was a nasty glare.


    It was no surprise that the Leader would not have Shadowdart catching his First Prey that spring. While he would most likely have been able to learn all the same things as the other Scyther that year, it would be against tradition to give him special lessons. He would have to be an adolescent Scyther, evolved but without the rights of an adult, for a year and a half.

    “Cheer up,” Razor told him one winter day. It was snowing and yet again they found themselves under that same tree for shelter against the falling frozen cloud-blood while the ground was slowly covered with a blanket of white. “For now you’re no worse off than I am.”

    “For now,” Shadowdart replied dully. “But your First Prey is coming up in the spring, and then I’ll be the only one who can’t mate and hunt and do everything.”

    Razor couldn’t deny it. And as much as he’d have liked to think otherwise, he knew that Stormblade at the very least found adult life so exciting that they hardly talked anymore at all. Razor had no reason to believe he wouldn’t be the same.

    “Well,” he finally said, “it’s only a year from then before you get to do everything with us again.”

    Shadowdart shook his head, stood up and walked off into the snow, leaving only depressing footprints behind.

    Razor just sighed.

    He thought back to that day in the spring when he woke up one beautiful morning and realized that this was the day of his coming of age.

    He got up and looked around. He knew how this was supposed to happen; they had all been lectured on that. However, he was the first Scyther scheduled to have his First Prey this spring, and this made him a little more nervous than otherwise.

    “Oh, so you are up?” the Leader asked as he reached the rock overlooking the plains.

    “Yes,” Razor just said.

    “Good,” the Leader replied shortly. “I despise Scyther who don’t take their First Prey seriously enough to wake up in time for it. Now, we should name witnesses, shouldn’t we? Better get this over with.”

    The Leader may have noticed the hints of nervousness in Razor’s posture or voice. In any case, the older Scyther repeatedly glanced suspiciously over his shoulder at his pupil as he walked aimlessly through the swarm with the soon-to-be adult on his heels. Finally stopping near a random sleeping Scyther, the Leader turned to Razor.

    “You don’t know him, do you?”

    Razor shook his head. The Leader touched the stranger with his clawed foot.

    “I name you witness to this Scyther’s journey to adulthood,” he said with his powerful voice as the Scyther sleepily opened an eye. “Come with us.”

    The Scyther yawned, but did not object. He stood up, blinked and greeted Razor briefly. It did not take them long to find a female witness to join in as well. Together the group of four walked back to the Leader’s rock.

    “All is ready,” the Leader declared, standing on top of the rock. “Scyther, you may proceed to find your First Prey. Do not pay attention to the witnesses, but do not shake them off. May you face death bravely and be ready to perform your first kill.”

    Razor nodded, feeling numb. After glancing nervously at the two expressionless witnesses, he dashed off deep into the forest, knowing they would follow.

    It was a fine morning, but perhaps a little early; the nocturnal Pokémon were already asleep, but the diurnal ones were not quite awake yet. For a nerve-wrecking while, he wandered around without finding anything at all to kill. Occasionally he thought he heard a twig break or the rustling of some leaves, but as soon as he glanced in that direction, whatever had been there was gone.

    Finally he saw a black shape move under a bush.

    His heart beating fast, he crouched down, watching the bush intensely. What would it be like to kill it? Was he afraid of death?

    He saw the shape move again. Something seemed to gleam momentarily in the morning sun. Razor peered at the shape. Now it moved again, out from underneath the bush…!

    But just as he prepared to jump out, he realized it was just a Sneasel that darted across the forest floor. He sighed. He should have figured that a Ruxido-Sneasel would be the only creature around at this time of day. Not good prey at all – too skinny to be worthwhile, too agile to chase, and fellow predators in any case.

    That was when he heard voices.

    He stood deathly still as only a Scyther could, his sharp eyes darting around to locate the source of the sound. There it was again. It was a language he had never heard spoken before and did not entirely recognize, but had heard about and understood.

    Human language.

    In perfect silence maintained by his hunter’s instinct, Razor crept in the direction of the voices. He could see where they came from – it was the Ruxido road, an area that the Scyther generally kept away from because of the danger of being captured by the many human trainers who passed by there.

    Coming closer, he could now see the humans that he had been hearing. There was a young boy with two girls by his side, chatting and laughing, blissfully oblivious of the danger they were in.

    Humans tended to be overconfident in the universality of Pokémon not attacking human trainers.

    Razor was struck with some doubt. Humans? He had never heard of any Scyther killing a human as his First Prey. For one thing the largest Pokémon he had witnessed any Scyther bring as his First Prey was a Nidorino, much smaller than even a human child. And for another, all of them had been Pokémon.

    But what was there to say he couldn’t kill a human? The thought excited him in a strange way. Large First Prey meant more hunting talent, didn’t it?

    He crept closer to the road. The humans were still talking, unaware of the Scyther watching them. He quickly picked out the boy as the easiest to take down (not least because according to what he had heard of humans, the females were more likely than the males to be struck with panic at the sight of a Scyther, meaning they would be less likely to attack him) and positioned himself behind a bush, waiting for the target to approach.

    The humans were just in front of it when Razor leapt out of the bush with a piercing hunter’s cry.

    The kids screamed, frozen in their footsteps for a fraction of a second before sprinting off as fast as they could.

    Which was not very fast on a Scyther’s scale.

    Razor chuckled at their pathetic running and zoomed after them, using his wings for additional speed. It was only seconds before he managed to knock the boy down to the ground. The girls looked over their shoulders with wide, fearful eyes before running away even faster, perhaps in some naďve hopes of being able to find help.

    The boy crawled desperately to his feet, never ceasing to scream for help at the top of his lungs. Razor quickly leapt on top of him to hold him down to the ground, knocking the wind out of him in the process. Now Razor was starting to feel slight panic; he was realizing just how many things could so easily go wrong.

    “No…” the boy panted weakly. “Gr-Growlithe, I choose…”

    And he reached for a Pokéball with his hand, but Razor noticed it in time. He had no time to do anything but the first thing he could think of – which was, predictably, to slash in the direction of the human’s arm. Razor closed his eyes as he did it.

    The boy screamed again, louder than before if anything. Razor opened his eyes. He had slashed roughly across the boy’s forearm below his wrist. He had not quite chopped it off, but through the oozing blood he could see that it was close. Of course, it looked rather ordinary to him. It just made him feel hungry.

    A just over fist-sized ball rolled out of the boy’s limp hand and stopped by the roadside before it popped open on its own accord, releasing an orange, furry puppy. He yelped at the sight of his trainer lying in a pool of blood, first backing away but then growling nervously at Razor, unsure if it would do any good to unleash a Fire attack when it would most likely hit his trainer as well.

    Finally the puppy went with jumping onto his trainer’s chest to defend him, sinking his small fangs into Razor’s arm, but the Scyther simply flung the Growlithe to the ground where he, with another yelp, fell unconscious.

    He turned back to his prey.

    “No… please, n-no…” the boy’s broken voice sobbed between irregular breaths. Razor looked at his face. The strange human features, smudged with tears and blood, were distorted into an expression of pure terror.

    “P-please let me go…”

    The horrified human opened his wide, tearful eyes and looked into Razor’s cold, empty ones.

    “Please…” he whispered.

    Razor felt his stomach coiling into a knot. The boy’s terror almost made him feel bad about killing him.


    He raised his scythe as the boy closed his eyes again with uncontrollable sobs. Razor looked at the boy one more time with a twinge of guilt before making the final sharp cut across his quivering throat.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Yay for Part IV. It's one of my favorites, although after some consideration I think Part V must be considered my absolute favorite. Part IV is still nice, and it marks an important turning-point at the end as you'll see.

    It's longer than Part III, too - seventeen pages, ten chapters. (Part III was thirteen pages and six chapters.) So reserve some time to read.

    Warning: This is where the fic begins to contain mild sexuality and swearing.



    A year later, it was finally time for Shadowdart to take the final step into adulthood.

    “I’m going to see the Leader now,” Shadowdart told his friends as he walked past that familiar old tree. It was in full blossom, just like the wild flowers growing below it which Razor was currently practicing his accuracy by beheading. Cut petals were scattered all over the ground around him.

    “If I were you,” Razor commented without looking up, “I’d have been there already. The Leader likes when you’re there on time.”

    Shadowdart’s expression betrayed a hint of nervousness for a second. “I’m not that late – you guys were just up ridiculously early.”

    Razor didn’t reply to that. “How many tries do you think you’ll need? Six? Seven?”

    Shadowdart never responded well to taunts of that sort. He looked even more nervous for a second, but then replied with surprising confidence, “I’m going to match you. First creature I’ll find, I’m going to kill. Well, actually,” he added snidely, “I’m going to top you, because that creature is going to be edible.”

    Razor shrugged. It was true; his human the previous year hadn’t tasted very good at all, although the swarm had seemed somewhat impressed by the size, and the Leader had actually looked proud when the witnesses testified that the human had been the first thing he had attacked.

    “So what’re you planning to catch, anyway?” Stormblade asked casually. “I’m curious.”

    “A Tauros,” Shadowdart said stubbornly, reminding Razor all too much of Shadowdart Descith self.

    Stormblade chuckled. “Now… isn’t that aiming just a little bit high?”

    “I’ll… I’ll show you, both of you,” Shadowdart just said before storming off in an attempt to look determined.

    Stormblade sighed.

    “Think he’ll actually do it?”

    “Him? Not a chance. Hey, look at those females over there…”

    He pointed with his scythe in the direction of two female Scyther talking some distance away from them. Stormblade peered at them.

    “What about them?”

    “See the one to the right? I’ve had my eye on her for a while. Look at those scythes!”

    Stormblade glanced at her. “Yeah, she’s nice,” he agreed with a shrug. “Not the greatest around or anything, of course, but nice…”

    “Well, she is one of the better ones, don’t you think?” Razor asked without taking his eyes off the female. His slitlike pupils had widened to circles.

    Stormblade peered better at the female. “I guess so.”

    “I actually mated with the other once a while back. Never really got to know her, though. Didn’t know they knew each other,” Razor said before he looked back at Stormblade. “Come on. Let’s go talk to them.”

    The older Scyther rolled his eyes, but followed him anyway towards the two females. They looked uninterestedly up as the males approached.

    “What do you want?” the one that Razor had his eye on asked shortly.

    “Hello there, ladies,” Razor said, trying to sound attractive. Stormblade giggled behind him.

    “So who are you? Newly-evolved freshman?” asked Razor’s target. “Sorry, but we’re off-bounds.”

    “I had my First Prey a year ago,” Razor said defensively. “I was the one with the human,” he added for the opportunity to gloat a little.

    A look of familiarity crossed the female’s face. “Ooh, that was you?” she asked with a giggle. “Most ridiculous First Prey the swarm has ever seen, wasn’t it, Sickle?”

    The other female, the one she had addressed as Sickle, nodded with a smug grin.

    “It was the biggest in a long while,” Razor countered, a little sore that Sickle hadn’t made any attempt to stand up for him.

    “Ha! Size doesn’t matter!” the mysterious female answered with an emphasizing swing of her scythe. “It’s strength that matters. Humans are some of the most pathetic creatures around, you know.”

    Sickle looked at Razor and then glanced unsurely at her friend. “To be fair, humans carry other Pokémon with them, and they might be strong.”

    Razor didn’t jump up to catch this opportunity to redeem himself, mostly because knocking out a Growlithe wasn’t the most impressive thing a Scyther had ever done. He hadn’t even really had the heart to kill the puppy – well, at least to the point that he had had no longing to finish the job after the boy was done with, so he had left the Pokémon on the road. That wasn’t anything to be particularly proud of, and in the end, he didn’t want to lie. Not to her.

    “What did you catch, anyway, since you’re so wonderful?” he asked instead, beginning to feel more competitive.

    “Stantler,” she replied calmly.

    His eyes widened. “A… a Stantler?” he asked, dumbfounded.

    “Yeah, a Stantler,” she said with a short glance at him. “What about it? It was just a calf, but a Stantler all the same.”

    “Oh,” Razor just said. Stantler were often hunted by Scyther, but very rarely as First Prey. He didn’t know exactly how small a calf it was that she had caught, but it couldn’t have been particularly much smaller than his human.

    “Aww, the poor guy is devastated that he’s not as special anymore,” the female mocked, addressing Sickle. “Well, surprise for you. You’re not special. You’re a typical, pathetic, shallow, idiotic male.”

    The insults bounced off him.

    “Can I give you a name?” slipped suddenly out of him before he could stop himself. The female now looked at him, raising an eyebrow at the bizarre suggestion – arguments were generally not the time Scyther decided to give one another names – before folding her arms.

    “Go ahead.”

    “I call you…”

    He had a name in mind already; no, he didn’t have it in mind – it was just the first word that crossed his mind when he looked at her and seemed only more appropriate now.

    Beautiful, but dangerous, frightening; terrible but fascinating. Negative – which was always a dangerous thing when giving someone a name – but so very fitting he couldn’t resist.


    She showed no particular reaction to the name in her expression – it was still the same one of disdain, mild amusement, superiority. Perhaps only because she found that it was still appropriate.

    “Well, then I’ll have to give you a name as well, won’t I?” she said calmly but with poison dripping off every word. She thought for only a fraction of a second before proceeding in a low, malicious hiss:



    Shadowdart was not doing well enough at all.

    He had been wandering around for a while and seen quite a few small Pokémon, but they had all disappeared before he had had the chance to even begin to approach them. And in spite of himself, he felt utterly miserable and, undeniably, scared and nervous as hell.

    This fact only made him feel more useless and pathetic, which did not help.

    A Raticate snuck across the ground a few meters off. Raticate were very common First Prey – there was nothing awe-inducing about catching them. He didn’t really want to have a try at it, what with his rash promises to catch a Tauros earlier. Razor and Stormblade would laugh at him.

    Although to do it in one try was still a formidable feat, large prey or not, and the Leader would be happier with some tender Raticate flesh than with that disgusting, sinewy human of Razor’s.

    He had just made the decision to catch it after all when he realized that it was already gone.

    Shadowdart sighed, glancing at the witnesses lurking in the bushes behind him. He crept silently along the forest floor, searching for another opportunity.

    And that was when he eyed the small, plain, white mammal wandering confusedly around a short distance ahead.

    Immediately, he crouched down so it wouldn’t see him. Leta weren’t the largest prey around, but they were difficult to catch thanks to the powerful Letaligon always watching over their young, and to boot, their meat was excellent. He kind of wanted his mouth to water at the sight of it, but it didn’t. Looking at it alive didn’t make him hungry at all; it just made him squirm uncomfortably.

    The Leta looked carefully around; its behavior gave him the feeling it was a female. He guessed she had fallen behind and lost the herd. Her mother would most likely come looking for her before long. He would have to attack soon.

    Shadowdart approached her with great caution, taking care not to alert her of his presence. So far he appeared to have been successful: even when the Leta ran her large orange eyes past the bush he was hiding behind, she didn’t seem to become the slightest bit suspicious. Finally she decided to walk quietly off in a random direction – which, by a miraculous stroke of luck, was the direction of Shadowdart’s bush.

    Instinct told the Scyther to hold his breath while his target proceeded cautiously straight towards him. He could almost feel the hormones burning in his blood, fine-tuning his senses for the hunt and filling him with tense exhilaration. He even managed to momentarily forget that just earlier he had been a nervous wreck as the prey drew closer and closer…

    He leapt out at precisely the right moment, just when the Leta was closest, before she would have seen him and dashed off. The small mammal let out a terrified shriek, fatally frozen in fear during the last fraction of a second that she had to escape before Shadowdart struck her to the ground and held her down where she struggled desperately, still shrieking at the top of her lungs.

    “Prepare to die,” Shadowdart hissed, drawing his blade and positioning it by the little Pokémon’s throat.

    It stayed there.

    Shadowdart would later tell himself that it was just the hypnotic power of the Leta’s eyes, but deep down he always knew it wasn’t true. The Leta was too scared to think about trying to hypnotize him. What happened was simply that the precise flow of hormones that had granted him the instinctual ability to catch her had ceased, and now he suddenly felt scared and alone, about to murder an innocent little Leta that was scared out of her life and didn’t want to die.

    He looked at her and couldn’t help empathizing with her. He saw himself in her place with a bigger, stronger Scyther (in his mind it was Razor, although that was to him not the point) holding him helplessly down, preparing to slit his throat.

    He cringed.

    He couldn’t do it.

    You’re a Scyther, he thought desperately to himself. You’re a predator! Get a grip already and just kill the stupid thing like your species has always done!

    Poor little thing…

    Shadowdart closed his eyes. The Leta’s scream was still piercing through his eardrums. He would just have to move his scythe a little bit… just a tiny little bit…

    He opened his eyes hopelessly. With the edge of his left scythe that he was using to hold her down, he felt the Leta’s heart beating rapidly.

    Do it.

    He tried again, but his scythe just wouldn’t move, no matter what he told it. He felt increasingly awful with every passing moment. The witnesses were probably snickering behind him.

    Just do it already, damn it!

    But he couldn’t.


    Only a Scyther could grasp the extent to which she had just insulted him.

    “Take that back,” Razor growled as Stormblade hissed menacingly. Even Sickle seemed shocked, but Nightmare stood her ground with a nasty glare at Razor.

    “Why? You’re very much like one, as far as I can see,” she said mockingly. “You call those scythes? And you have just this pathetic Scizorlike clumsiness. All you need is the red coloration…” She smiled, clearly enjoying this enormously. “Oh, but it looks like you’re growing kind of red in the face already, aren’t you? I’m witnessing an evolution! I feel so greatly honoured!”

    “You… you…” Razor began, nonetheless at a loss of words to express his fury. “We’ll see who’s clumsy and pathetic!” he finally shouted. “I challenge you to a true duel, right here and now!”

    The last word had barely left his lips when he realized what a dumb move that had been. A true duel ended in death, and given that her elegant movements, quick reactions and beautiful way of handling her scythes had been what had made her stand out to him in the first place, he had very little hope of winning.

    But he couldn’t take back a challenge.

    Nightmare’s face broke into a grin. “A true duel, with you? Hah! Somebody’s suicidal! Been breaking the Code, now, have you?”

    He ignored the taunt. “We’ll see who gets killed.”

    Stormblade looked nervously at him, his gaze spelling out “This is not a good idea.” Razor ignored him as well, despite knowing he was right.

    “Well,” Nightmare said and folded her arms, “since you’re serious, I’m all yours. You two can be witnesses to the duel.”

    Stormblade and Sickle exchanged nervous glances and stepped back in opposite directions, allowing them to watch the duel from two different angles.

    “Position yourselves, then…” Stormblade began, his voice not as calm as it perhaps should have been. Razor and Nightmare each took a few steps back and crouched down to the ground, watching one another carefully.

    They had learned all the procedures of a duel backwards and forwards in their lessons with the Leader, so despite this being Razor’s first true duel, he knew exactly what he was supposed to do. His many friendly duels with Stormblade helped as well for confidence – otherwise he would most likely have been a nervous wreck.

    But he would hardly have been more of a nervous wreck than Shadowdart was at that very moment.


    Shadowdart, indeed, was in a state of such extreme despair and panic that if there ever was a moment in his life during which he wanted to break down and cry, it was this one.

    The Leta he had caught had already been struggling and screaming for what seemed like hours on end but was in fact closer to fifteen seconds, and he still had not been able to bring himself to kill her.

    It would perhaps have been of comfort to him to know that in fact this happened to nearly every young Scyther who went out on his first hunt, which was why cases such as Razor, managing to kill the first creature they caught, were exceptional. But he did not know that, and assumed, like most other Scyther except those who wondered unnecessarily about trivial things like Stormblade and those who had been witnesses to the most extreme cases, that this was simply because prey could escape easily from the arms of such an inexperienced hunter. Of course there was a gap in the argument – namely that in fact a Scyther’s hunter instincts had a much bigger part to play in the ability to keep the prey once it had been caught than ever did experience – but none of them ever thought about that, and they saw no good reason to start wondering about it. Shadowdart, at the very least, did not, and thus it was his assumption that the fact he was troubled was something particularly dirty, something that was majorly wrong with him.

    This, of course, did not help him gain the confidence to finish his task.

    It was almost a relief when he was snapped out of his despair by the roar of a Letaligon. As a huge armored mammal sprinted towards him, he was all but overjoyed to have a good excuse to release the Leta. As the baby dashed behind her mother, the adult leapt at Shadowdart, ready to swing the metallic blade at the top of her head. The Scyther was quick to leap out of the way and make it clear to the Letaligon that he was not planning to attack them again; resentfully, she trotted off with her child.

    Shadowdart glanced at the male witness waiting close by, closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. He had blown it on his first catch, all right. His only chance of outclassing Razor in those terms was lost.

    But he could still beat Stormblade, who had according to rumour gotten his First Prey in three tries. He could get it in two. And he could get something much larger – a Pidgey was pretty pathetic after all! The thought cheered him up a little bit. He looked around and caught a glimpse of a Nidorina not too far off. He tried to concentrate, but his mind refused to stop worrying that it would only be the same.

    He took a few more deep breaths.

    Feeling slightly calmer, Shadowdart approached the Nidorina slowly, letting his armor blend in with the color of the thick foliage for camouflage. She was digging into the ground for food, far too concentrated on that instead of keeping an eye out for lurking predators. She was a woefully easy target.

    He mentally prepared himself and jumped.

    Within a bit of a second, the Nidorina was struggling on the ground with Shadowdart holding her still and fighting to get his blade up to the throat. They had been taught to kill their prey by slitting the throat, that supposedly being the ‘purest’ way to die, but it really made things more difficult. Finally he got his scythe into position, but hesitated for a moment.

    That moment, he also unfortunately happened to lose some of his muscle power, and this allowed the Nidorina opportunity to squeeze out from underneath him and sprint into the nearest bush, disappearing.

    Shadowdart sighed. He had failed again.


    Razor was the first to strike.

    He knew that generally one didn’t want to be the first to strike, and striking too soon was a sign of rashness and immaturity, but she did not seem like the type to let herself be struck with such a label, and he was getting nervous and wanted to get the duel over with.

    He dashed towards Nightmare, keeping his scythes in a defensive position anyway in case she counterattacked while he was still moving, and finally raised them for a slash as he was just reaching the female.

    She jumped into the air, slashing gracefully at him so that he only barely managed to block it, and landed skillfully behind him. Razor quickly turned around with his scythes ready to block, which was just as well because another slash was already heading his way. The sound of clashing scythes got his blood pumping even faster than before. He concentrated, aimed and slashed, but was unsurprised when Nightmare effortlessly raised her own scythe to block it.

    She spun around to attempt to slash him with both of her scythes, but he quickly blocked it with both of his as well. As he pushed her away, she pushed back.

    They wrestled like this for a couple of seconds, neither gaining the upper hand, but then she unexpectedly kicked his leg, causing him to falter backwards. It took her only a fraction of a second to make use of this; she quickly pulled her own scythes back and then swung them powerfully towards the middle joint between his torso and abdomen. He was very nearly cut in half, but managed at the last moment to block it with the blunt edge of his left scythe before stepping backwards for a breathing break.

    He quickly examined the deep cut on the green scythe edge. This was one of the hardest parts of a Scyther’s exoskeleton; to cut through it was a formidable feat in itself, but she seemed to have sliced into it as easily as a hot knife into butter. He had hardly felt any pain at all, but merely a sharp tingling sensation before noticing the blood.

    She had no cuts at all yet. In fact, she didn’t look tired either. She had taken a couple of steps back as well, but had her arms folded and her expression mocking as before, her breathing stable and calm. It was clear that the situation did not look good for him at all so far.

    “Giving up yet?” she taunted.

    Razor pulled himself together, rose up and darted towards her in an attempt to catch her at least somewhat by surprise.

    He watched, awestruck, as she jumped into the air with unnatural speed, dodging his slash, and swooped back down at him with the utmost precision before he had even managed to stop moving. It was only very narrowly that he managed to duck and block. She jumped gracefully backwards, landing steadily on her feet and ready to defend.

    “Fine, you’re better than you look,” she admitted. “Not that that’s saying much.”

    This time it was she who attacked, and unlike him, she did manage to take him by surprise: he was still taking in her words when she knocked headfirst into him, causing him to fall backwards onto the ground with her on top of him.

    He desperately used the momentum to keep them rolling, hoping he would end up on top, but she had much the same intentions and a great deal more skill to carry them out with. Within seconds he was lying helplessly on the ground, unable to move, with her scythe tightly by his throat.

    And he knew that this was it, that she would now kill him. It struck him again what a stupid idea it had been to challenge her, because it would either mean his own death, or having to kill the most beautiful, accurate and fast Scyther with the sharpest scythes in the world…

    But what a perfect way to die, by the scythe of such a goddess.

    He smiled and closed his eyes, waiting for death to sweep him away.


    But death never came.

    Razor opened his eyes after a few seconds. She was still there, exactly where she had been before, her scythe still only an inch from killing him, but she didn’t move it.

    He looked into her eyes, not sure what the meaning of this was. It came to mind that it had to be some sort of a joke.

    She looked back.

    Her expression changed to one of bitter pity.

    And slowly, right before his astonished eyes, she removed her scythe from his throat and stood up.

    She looked at him with an inscrutable expression, then turned her head, closed her eyes and walked away. Her friend Sickle, after looking oddly at both of them, followed.

    Razor stood up in astonishment.

    Stormblade came over to him with a puzzled expression. “Why – why did she spare you?”

    Razor shook his head, looking after her. “I don’t know…”

    Stormblade looked at him and then away. “Then… well, you lost, so… you know the Code…”

    Razor nodded absent-mindedly. He knew it only too well. To lose a true duel made your life worthless. He should not still be alive, and it was up to him to fix that.

    “But why did she do it? There has to be some kind of a loophole in this. Some exception… something that changed the duel. Why else would she have…?”

    Stormblade shook his head. “I doubt it…”

    “The Leader will judge it tonight if I’m not already dead by then, won’t he?” Razor asked a little louder, finding to his horror that his voice was shaky.

    Stormblade nodded. “I guess so.”

    Razor could have told him how scared he was. Stormblade would have understood it and perhaps made him feel better. But Razor had no reason to believe that his fear was anything but unnatural, and so he kept quiet and pretended to be cool with his fate.

    He was not.


    Shadowdart was getting consumed by despair.

    Seven Pokémon he had caught now, only to have them escape thanks to his hesitation or some silly mistake. And the more Pokémon that escaped, the more desperate he got, and the more mistakes he made. He was beginning to have panicky thoughts of spending the whole day and whole night – which was the maximum technically allotted time for First Prey, although never as far as the oldest Scyther could remember had anyone needed it – but still failing, and being condemned to exile and starvation. He had even noticed now, to his horror, that even the precise balance system that ordinarily allowed a Scyther to stay still as a statue was failing him now, giving in to his terror: he was trembling, something that he was very grateful the judges were too far away to notice.

    The day he had dreamt of for a year and a half was becoming a nightmare.

    He looked around, taking a few fast, desperate breaths. All hope was leaving him; if he hadn’t managed to kill the first seven he caught, why would he manage the eighth? He eyed a Caterpie sitting on the trunk of a tree – some of the lousiest First Prey in existence, but what did it matter now that his reputation was just about unredeemable already? He didn’t bother to be cautious at all and just ran over with his scythes aloft. He cried out in some mix of frustration and despair, driving the blade carelessly into the tree trunk just above the Caterpie’s head.

    He had missed.

    As the little bug crawled, terrified, up the trunk and disappeared into the thick roof of leaves, Shadowdart jerked his scythe out of the tree and collapsed on the ground.

    What was wrong with him? Why was he so pathetic and weak that he couldn’t even bring himself to aim properly before attacking a Caterpie?

    He had a strange burning feeling in his eyes, but didn’t know why. He stared at the soil below him, then closed his eyes and breathed in the earthy smell to calm himself down.

    Slowly, he rose back to his feet.

    He knew there were most likely Metapod in the trees somewhere, but they were hardly edible and he would most likely be even worse off catching a Metapod than nothing at all.

    He’d have to keep searching.

    Shadowdart fixed his gaze in one direction and walked in it as quietly as he could, trying to exclude all his previous attempts from his mind. The forest was thick in these parts, allowing him easy cover from potential prey, but it also made it more difficult for him to find anything to catch.

    He thought he heard something.

    Staying as still as he could with the slight trembling, he listened for more. He heard it again. His eyes scanned the forest floor carefully, and finally he detected a movement in a shadow near the roots of a huge tree.

    He crouched down, still trying to fill his mind with everything other than his previous failed attempts. He wondered what Stormblade and Razor were doing, what species of Pokémon it was that he had heard and seen, what time it was anyway, how the other Scyther who would be having their First Prey in the coming days would do, whether it would rain…

    He saw movement again. Instinct fixed his eyes on it and caused his muscles to tense up. He focused his mind absolutely on the movement, preparing to strike…

    A tiny purple rat Pokémon emerged from underneath the tree, looking quickly around.

    He forcibly ejected all disappointment and the knowledge that Rattata were also pathetic First Prey out of his mind before he jumped.

    The Rattata let out a piercing shriek, but he managed to bring his foot down on its tail just before it ran away. The little rat shrieked again in despair, scratching the ground in futile attempts to pull itself loose.

    “It will all be over now…” Shadowdart whispered, turning the Rattata over and pinning it down with the blunt edge of his left scythe. He was still trembling, all right – but he would do it anyway.

    He closed his eyes before silencing its cries of terror for good.


    It was drawing close to sunset when Shadowdart returned with the dead Rattata in his mouth.

    He was surprised to find both Stormblade and Razor still sitting under that familiar tree, saying nothing and staring emptily at the ground. They were equally surprised to find him trembling, down and miserable.

    “Why are you so late?” asked Stormblade.

    Shadowdart sat down in the grass beside them and shook his head. Stormblade hadn’t really needed to ask, however, because he already had an idea why it was.

    “Shadowdart, how many tries did it take you?”

    At first Shadowdart didn’t answer, but finally he opened his mouth.

    “Nine,” he whispered.

    Razor chuckled. Stormblade looked at him in surprise; he hadn’t made a single sound for hours.

    The chuckling became hysterical, ironic, joyless laughter.

    “Nine fucking tries?” he finally chortled in the middle of it. “God, that is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard. It takes you nine tries to kill some tiny fucking rodent? Go away. Cut up some grass field. Get the fuck out of the tattered remains of my life before I snap and cut off your head.”

    And he turned towards the tree, curled up in the fetal position and continued laughing hysterically.

    Shadowdart looked at him for a second.

    “Fine,” he whispered, stood up and walked away. Stormblade looked doubtfully between the two, but then walked after Shadowdart.

    He glanced back at Razor. He was still chuckling uncontrollably.

    Or perhaps crying.


    “Tonight,” boomed the Leader’s mighty voice, “we witness a young Scyther’s journey into adulthood come to an end. He has faced death, conquered and inflicted it – though, as I understand it, with some difficulty…” He narrowed his eyes at Shadowdart, but made no more of it. “Let him join the swarm with full privileges, be eligible for true duels of life and death, and hunt on his own! Let him be able to challenge my Leadership, should he be more fit for it than I. Let him now honor the Code, since he now understands it, and be a valuable member of the swarm. Step forward, Scyther.”

    Shadowdart stepped forward and looked nervously around before proceeding with his part.

    “I… I offer the meat of my First Prey to our Leader,” he began with a casual nod in the Leader’s direction, placing the Rattata on the rock. The Leader nodded suspiciously back and tore a piece of flesh from the rodent.

    “And to my only friend, Stormblade,” Shadowdart said quietly. He had been filled in on what had happened in the duel. Razor was not eligible for any honours such as to be offered the meat of a First Prey – although Shadowdart doubted he would have done it even then. If he had, it would only have been repayment because Razor had offered his to him.

    Stormblade stepped up. His expression was still troubled, but he bowed respectfully to Shadowdart and ripped some meat off the Rattata’s corpse to eat.

    “Then he is accepted,” the Leader said calmly, but with a hint of disdain. Shadowdart nodded towards him again, picked up the Rattata in his mouth and walked down into the swarm with Stormblade to finish eating it.

    “Now let us turn to more serious matters,” the Leader said coolly. “I understand that a true duel took place today… I would like the Scyther involved to step up.”

    His eyes scanned through the swarm for movement and found it. Razor walked slowly up to the rock and stopped to face the swarm by the Leader’s side, his face empty.

    “Where is the other?” the Leader asked sharply.

    “She has left the swarm,” said a voice that Razor recognized as that of Sickle.

    “I see,” the Leader replied shortly. “Let us hope she had the decency to kill herself unlike this pathetic swarm member I am unfortunate enough to be standing beside.” He spat the last words, glaring at Razor with resentment. Razor didn’t respond.

    “Well,” the Leader began, turning back to the swarm, “to clarify the details, as they were told to me…”

    He glanced at Razor, but then looked at the swarm again.

    “This Scyther and the one who has now left had a fair true duel this morning. When she had defeated him, however, she failed to do as tradition dictates and kill her opponent, out of cowardice.”

    “She’s not a coward,” Razor muttered, but the Leader ignored him.

    “And then, apparently, after she left him alive, he failed to carry out his fate on himself, also out of cowardice.”

    Razor did not protest this time. He just looked away.

    “So now,” the Leader said, a little louder, “he is – I hope – going to correct this stupid mistake before he reduces himself to anything more pathetic than he is already, hm?”

    He looked at Razor with disdain. Razor looked expressionlessly back at him.

    “I guess so,” he replied emptily.

    Razor hesitantly raised his scythe. He stared at it for a second, then looked up to expose his neck and jerked it up to his throat.

    “Well?” the Leader said impatiently. “Do I need to help you?”

    “Oh, shut up,” Razor mouthed inaudibly. The words caused his throat to quiver just enough to touch the sharp blade very, very lightly, not enough to cut through the skin.

    It was a horrible, creepy feeling.

    Razor took a few deep breaths. The Leader considered assisting him with public suicide ‘help’. It seemed just too ironic.

    He closed his eyes with another deep breath. His scythe didn’t want to move.

    And a certain female crossed his mind…

    “No,” he said and slowly lowered his scythe. “No,” he repeated and shook his head.

    To the astonished looks of the Leader and the swarm, he turned towards the forest and dashed off towards nowhere in particular.

    Incidentally, it was the same direction as Nightmare had dashed off in a couple of hours earlier.


    “Wait, Razor!” he heard a familiar voice shout behind him.

    He stopped and turned sharply around. Stormblade was flying after him at great speed in order to catch up; Shadowdart was following doubtfully, but apparently he hadn’t known where Stormblade was off to when he decided to follow him, because as soon as he saw Razor, he turned back.

    “Shadowdart, I’m sorry!” Razor shouted. “I didn’t mean that! I was just feeling like crap, okay?”

    But Shadowdart either didn’t hear him or pretended not to; he walked slowly back towards the swarm.

    “Razor,” Stormblade panted. “What… where are you going now?”

    “After her,” Razor said, his voice shaking but this time with exhilaration. “I can smell her pheromones. I’ve picked up her trail. I’m going to follow her.”

    Stormblade looked blankly at him. “Why?”

    Razor’s eyes were shining as he looked back at his friend. “Because damn, she’s the fastest, most amazing Scyther with the sharpest scythes in the world, and I can’t live without her.”

    Stormblade blinked. Then he chuckled.

    “Ooh, Razor is in love.”

    “Yes,” Razor replied excitedly. “Yes, I am.”

    Stormblade looked sadly at his friend.

    “Well, you can’t exactly return to the swarm from now, can you?”

    “I don’t give a damn about the swarm!” Razor shouted, grinning widely.

    Stormblade smiled. He couldn’t help it.

    “Good luck, Razor,” he said softly. “Perhaps we’ll see each other again one day.”

    “Take care of Shadowdart,” Razor answered. “It’s been great knowing you.”

    “Goodbye, Razor.”

    “Goodbye, Stormblade.”

    And Razor turned around to follow the faint trail of feminine scent that was the only thing in the world that he cared about anymore.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Whew, Part V. Just as my watch draws rapidly closer to eight AM. I don't know why I felt this urge to get this part out now, but I did.

    This is my favorite part for various reasons - mostly because of the character development that takes place throughout it and because some of my favorite chapters are in this part. (I think my absolute favorite is chapter XXXIII, which is incidentally also that shortest one which is half a page.)

    It is also, I might note, the longest part by far, and in fact the longest thing I've ever posted in one piece: it is neither more nor less than 34 pages (well, admittedly with page breaks after each chapter), and more than 11,000 words, i.e. it constitutes more than a third of the entire fic! I didn't think I'd ever beat chapter 32 of The Quest for the Legends in terms of length, but it looks like I have. So make yourself very comfortable before you start...

    And now we are officially approaching the finale of the fic, as Part VI is after all kind of the last; Part VII is more of an epilogue.

    So enjoy, Part V...



    It was late in the night and he was deathly tired when he finally caught up with her.

    She was sleeping in the shadow of a tree near the southern edge of Ruxido. The subtle scent led him all the way to her – had it not been for that, he would not have seen her lying there.

    It was a good hiding place, but the smell had given her away.

    He approached her carefully without making any sound at all so she wouldn’t wake up, and then stopped only a couple of meters away from her.

    He watched her sleep. She was curled up on the ground, tightly by the tree. Her breathing was calm and deep.

    She was beautiful.

    And – understandably, considering what he had been thinking and smelling all day – he wanted her so bad that he could die.

    But something kept him from approaching her further or waking her. He walked to another tree close by and curled up on the ground himself, glancing at her one last time before closing his eyes for some much-needed sleep.

    It was a beam of sunlight falling on his face that woke him up the next morning. He opened his eyes sleepily, at first not sure where he was. When he remembered, he rose quickly up and looked over to the other tree.

    She was still there, still sleeping, still shielded from the sun by the shadow of the tree.

    He was about to walk up to her – his plan didn’t go a lot further than that at the moment – when he faintly heard the sound of approaching footsteps on grass.

    He quickly hid behind his tree, peeking past the side of the trunk to see.

    It was a tall human boy with dark red, bushy hair and large eyes. He was walking casually towards the forest, completely oblivious to the fact that there were two Scyther just ahead of him.

    Razor hid himself better.

    The boy approached the approximate spot where Nightmare was still sleeping. Razor knew he should do something, attack the kid or wake her up, but somehow he was frozen in the same spot, unable to bring himself to do anything but watch. After all, what would she do if she now found out he had been following her? Perhaps she would just kill him…

    The boy suddenly noticed the Scyther lying under the tree just by his side. He jumped, visibly afraid before he realized that she was asleep.

    Razor watched him relax and look at her for a moment before picking a Pokéball from his belt.

    “No…” Razor whispered. He wanted to jump out and kill the human before he could do what he was planning, but he was frozen in terror.

    The human threw the ball carefully at the sleeping Scyther and then stepped away in case she broke out.

    Nightmare’s form dissolved into translucent red light that was zapped into the ball within a second. The ball closed and began to wobble.

    Break out of it! Break out of it! Razor thought desperately. You can break out of it and kill him!

    He was wrong.

    The ball stilled, the red glow on the button in the middle of it fading away, and a little ping indicated a successful capture.


    The boy picked up the ball. “Whahey, I caught a Scyther!” he exclaimed happily, attaching the Pokéball to his belt. He paused only momentarily before sprinting back towards where he had come from.

    Razor followed him while dread built up in his mind.


    There were two reasons why the Scyther despised, loathed, abhorred the idea of being captured by humans.

    The first one was that to be caught was both defeat, which Scyther society never particularly approved of, and directly breaking the fourth law of the Moral Code: allowing oneself to be controlled. To be captured, therefore, was a sign of weakness.

    The second one was that humans had discovered the species of Scizor, and for some bizarre and utterly absurd reason preferred it to its pre-evolved form.

    Oh, how they loathed the Scizor.

    Scyther cherished two things beyond everything else. The first was their speed – few Pokémon if any had their quick reflexes and speedy run. The other was their beautiful, curved scythes, sharper than razors, the mirrors of the soul.

    The speed and the scythes were what made all the difference between victory and defeat in a duel, between being attractive and ugly, between a successful hunt and an empty stomach. They were the two things that made Scyther what they were.

    To be caught meant to be evolved, and to be evolved meant to lose them both.

    Few things were scarier to a Scyther than evolution.

    This was why Razor was now deathly afraid: he felt certain that this was the fate that awaited his beloved Nightmare.

    And a scary thought it was indeed.

    He knew he should just kill the human before it was too late, but he was terrified that the human would notice him and catch him as well. He knew he was wrong to be afraid, but he was.

    He followed the trainer as he entered a small, secluded Pokémon Center a short distance away, and found himself a large window on the side that he could look in through.

    He saw the boy enter and walk straight to the machine in the corner. Razor felt his blood pumping violently through his veins. The human was really going to do it.

    It crossed his mind for a second that the reason he was standing there watching but not doing anything about it was subconscious mind punishing him for breaking the Code by torture.

    He watched the human place his bag on the floor and take out a shiny metallic coat – his stomach churned at the sight of this horrible item he had heard spoken of in horror stories as a Descith – before letting it touch Nightmare’s Pokéball. The Metal Coat was sucked into the ball as well.

    “Oh, please, no!” Razor whispered desperately by the window as the boy placed the ball under a tube on one side of the machine he was standing by, and another ball under a tube on the other side.

    The boy pressed a button.

    The two balls were sucked into the tubes. The deed was being done. When the balls came out again, she would be a filthy, slow, pincered Scizor, and nothing could reverse the process.

    It was this thought that finally gave him the power to do something. With a roar of blind hate and fury, Razor drove himself headfirst through the window and landed on the floor of the Pokémon Center in a shower of glass shards.

    Panic arose immediately. The humans screamed at the sudden invasion as Razor slashed blindly at nothing in particular; a boy reached for a Pokéball but grabbed thin air as his Pokémon were being healed in the back room of the Pokémon Center. The Scyther flew across the floor towards the trainer by the trading machine, hardly even thinking about what he was doing. The claw on his foot accidentally struck a little kid on the way; he hardly noticed. He randomly slashed at the arm of a boy who was running away, but missed.

    He was about to reach the cornered trainer by the machine when he eyed the screen. The silhouette of a Scizor was just disappearing off the screen on the right side, and the two Pokéballs dropped back into their original places through the tubes.

    She had evolved.

    All his power was suddenly drained away. Razor crumbled down to the floor in despair.

    “I’ve got a gun! Stay back!” he heard a voice say. He looked up, finally feeling like himself again, and saw an old, paranoid-looking man with a long black object aimed at him.

    He realized he’d better get out of there.

    Razor quickly got up and flew out back towards the window he had come in through, but felt tiny burning pellets pierce into his back just as he was reaching it. He lost his balance of flight, crashing into the sharp glass shards left in the window frame before managing to crawl out.

    He didn’t manage much more. As the horrified cries of “Why did you shoot at it? It was leaving!” and “Oh my God, he’s bleeding!” faded away, he managed to run a short distance towards the forest and just barely into it before he collapsed in a heap on the forest floor, unable to move.

    His last conscious thought was that justice had found both of them after all: her a Scizor and him left to bleed to death far away from home.

    Then his awareness drifted away and he was left alone and dying in a strange place, having lost all that was worth anything to him.

    That was how a bearded man with wild blue eyes found him later that day.


    Razor blinked.

    He couldn’t remember anything at first; it was all cloudy and disorganized.



    A female named Nightmare…

    His surroundings were dark. He blinked again with difficulty. On second thought, there was some light there by the side.

    A strange smell wafted through his nostrils.

    He heard breathing.

    Razor’s eyes jerked wide open and he turned his head towards the mysterious light source. It was a small candle on a dirty wooden table. Through the dim light he could just see the walls: he was trapped in a small room.

    An adult human with a black beard and small, shining blue eyes was sitting on a chair by the table and watching him without saying a word.

    Razor squeaked in surprise, rising immediately to his feet. His first reaction was to press his back against the wall, trying to stay as far away from the human as possible. He felt too weak to attack.

    The human’s eyes moved along with him, but otherwise he was completely still and quiet.

    Razor looked frantically around for a possible escape route, but lack of experience with buildings did not make the door he was pressing up against stand out as a way out. Anyway, although he did not know that, the door was locked, although he would probably have been able to slash it apart.

    But he did not think of attempting to slash it apart. He was too scared and confused, and too busy keeping an eye on what the human would do.

    Finally the man spoke, still sitting still in his chair.

    “Hello, Scyther.”

    “What is this place?” Razor asked. He was not sure if he was expecting an answer; the wise Scyther did not agree on whether humans could understand Pokémon language. The Leader had said he doubted it, but one of the most respected Scyther in the swarm, one who had been around more than any other member of the swarm, insisted that he had seen humans talk to their Pokémon.

    Apparently he had been right and the Leader wrong, because the human gave a calm, unsurprised answer:

    “This is a back room in the unofficial Gym of Alumine, run by me. You are here because I caught you a couple of days ago to be able to treat your wounds and nurse you back to health. I think I’ve succeeded.”

    “Release me!” Razor shouted fearfully. “Let me go!”

    “I’m afraid I caught you fair and square,” the human said simply. “And I’m afraid I caught you in a special Pokéball of my own creation that prevents you from ever getting too far away from it…”

    “No!” Razor screamed. “Let me out! I don’t want this!”

    He leapt towards the human, but in mid-air he felt himself disintegrate. In horror he watched his vision fade into red, and then to nothing.


    The next time he was properly aware of himself, he was in a much larger room, lit by the daylight shining through the many large windows on one wall. Although he did not yet know that, he was in the battle arena of the same Gym that he had been in before.

    The human was standing in front of him.

    “Don’t try anything, Scyther,” he began. “If you try to attack me now, I am ready to recall you back into the Pokéball you were in just earlier. I only want to help you. Understand?”

    “Help me?” Razor replied and chuckled hollowly, curling up in a sitting position by the wall. “How do you think you can help me? You have no idea what I’ve been through. If there is anything being captured by a filthy human to be evolved does not do, it is help.”

    “Evolved?” The human looked at him, mildly amused. “I wouldn’t dream of it. Trust me, I like your scythes the way they are. Every bit as much as you do.”

    Razor looked up at him, for the first time genuinely surprised. The human’s expression did not change.

    “But that is not what I took you here to discuss,” he just said. “I wanted to introduce you to my other Pokémon.”

    “I’m not yours,” Razor said quietly.

    The human shrugged indifferently. “Call it what you like.”

    He took five Pokéballs off his belt with and dropped them on the floor.

    “Come out.”

    Five white shapes emerged on the floor before the light faded away and left their true colors showing. The first one that caught Razor’s eye was a brown, skeletal Pokémon with a flat head and, astonishingly, a pair of scythes very much like his own on his arms.

    There was also a sand-colored pangolin with brown spikes layering his back and two oversized claws on each front paw; he had seen a couple before in the forest, and knew they were called Sandslash. The Sneasel he was also familiar with. The large blue bipedal alligator with the intimidating lower jaw, on the other hand, he had never seen before, nor the sleek tan feline that looked resentfully at him from the back. She had huge, protruding fangs that appeared to be splattered with blood and crimson markings reminiscent of the slash of some huge clawed Pokémon on her shoulders. Although all of them looked somewhat intimidating – not that a Scyther felt particularly intimidated – Razor couldn’t help feeling she was the most vicious-looking.

    “Kabutops,” said the human, indicating the creature with the scythes. “Sandslash, Sneasel, Feraligatr, Fangcat. Guys, this is Scyther. He finally completes the team.”

    Kabutops nodded, raised his right scythe up into a horizontal position and pointed it at Razor. He looked blankly at it.

    “Kabutops, he doesn’t know how to shake hands,” the human said with a slight smile. Razor, of course, had no idea what he was referring to.

    Kabutops lowered his scythe apologetically. “Sorry, I forgot.”

    “Scyther, will you let me approach you?” the human asked hesitantly. “I just want to tell you he was trying to do. If you attack me, my Pokémon will defend me. Understand?”

    He did not understand. He looked at the five Pokémon, especially the Fangcat who was growling protectively as to emphasize his words, and could not possibly imagine why they would defend him.

    But he couldn’t feel motivated to take his chances with that.

    “Yes,” he simply answered.

    The human walked up to him slowly, uncomfortably close in fact. A Scyther generally liked to have plenty of empty space around himself. But he did not complain.

    “When humans meet one another,” the human said calmly, kneeling down, “they do this thing called a handshake.”

    He held his right hand forward. The hairy human arm was muscular and thick, as were the fingers. Razor didn’t like it; hands like the frail hand of the boy he had caught as First Prey looked pathetic and harmless, but this one did not.

    “Now, what you do is to move your right scythe forward too. You don’t have fingers, but that’s all right. You just allow me to grab your scythe. Try it.”

    Razor doubtfully held his scythe forward so that the end was close to the human’s outstretched hand. The human smiled and touched the green edge gently, watching him carefully all the while.

    “That wasn’t so hard, was it?” he asked simply before suddenly grabbing hold of the scythe with his fingers.

    Razor twitched. He felt vulnerable in this position, with one of his scythes held hostage by the human’s muscular hand. He could probably have jerked it away if he had needed it, of course, as the grip wasn’t very tight, but it was still very uncomfortable for a creature so accustomed to having free arm movement.

    The human shook the scythe slightly up and down a few times. Then he released it, and Razor withdrew it as quickly as he could.

    The human smiled. “You’ll get hang of it.” He stood up and looked at the other Pokémon. “Now, why don’t you Pokémon talk a little and get to know each other?” he said, turned around and began walking towards a small wooden door on the wall.

    “Why do I need to know a ridiculous human greeting?” Razor couldn’t help asking.

    The human turned back towards him, smiled and gave a cryptic answer:

    “You don’t need to if you don’t want to, but neither did they.”

    And with that, he exited the room, leaving Razor alone with the other Pokémon.


    The Pokémon all seemed very used to this, but Razor was still confused.

    Fangcat glared at him once and then walked slowly off to a corner of the room from which she observed the others darkly. None of the other Pokémon were at all surprised or bothered by this, either. They just kept looking at him, apparently waiting for him to say something.

    “Who is that human?” Razor finally asked.

    “Rob?” Kabutops said, seemingly slightly surprised by the question. “He’s … our trainer?”

    Razor closed his eyes and laughed hollowly. “Why do you submit to him? Why do you let him enslave you? Why aren’t you breaking that window and running off? Did he catch you in these strange Pokéballs that keep you from going too far away, too?”

    Kabutops looked positively puzzled at the suggestion. “Why would I want to leave? Rob is my best friend. There is nothing for me out there.”

    As much as he’d have liked to protest, some little voice in Razor’s head couldn’t help pointing out that there was nothing for him out there either.

    Razor sighed. “But to be under a human’s absolute control, being forced to fight your own kind for him? What sort of life is that?”

    “We’re not under his absolute control!” Kabutops replied incredulously. “What can he do to force us to do anything we don’t want to? We’re the ones with scythes and claws and fangs.”

    Razor looked blankly at him. This was a very strange concept indeed. He still could not imagine why a Pokémon would willingly do anything that a human told him – especially because it was directly against the teachings of the Code. He reminded himself that other Pokémon species didn’t have the Code, but the thought just seemed too absurd.

    “Then why do you fight for him?” he finally asked.

    “We enjoy it,” Kabutops simply said. “It’s fun! And myself, I like Rob’s company. Trust me, you’ll like him when you get to know him! We all thought like you at first.”

    “Rubbish,” Razor replied darkly. “I’ll sooner die than submit to a human’s control.”

    Kabutops shook his head and turned to the others. They talked in hushed voices, apparently agreeing to leave him alone, and then walked off into the middle of the room where they started killing time with mock fights of some sort.

    Razor slumped down against the wall and closed his eyes. Was he to be brainwashed into obedience like that poor Kabutops, too?

    His thoughts wandered back to the events of the day he had left the swarm. And to Nightmare. He realized he hadn’t even managed to touch that trainer who had caught her in his rash assault on the Pokémon Center.

    And it hit him harder than ever that he had lost everything. The swarm, his reputation, his freedom, Nightmare…

    He tried to remember what she smelled like, but couldn’t recall it properly.

    He recited the laws of the Moral Code to himself.

    He had feared death.

    He had failed to commit suicide after losing his duel.

    He had failed to help or alert Nightmare when the human had come to catch her.

    He had been caught.

    He looked at his shiny scythes. They were still sharp, and he had not subjected his prey to torture before killing it. But that was all he had left. It was the only law left unbroken.

    Razor raised his scythe to his throat. There was no thought of Nightmare to stop him now. He deserved to die. He could do it this time.

    But no, he couldn’t. Some spark within his mind still wanted to live and paralyzed his scythe, no matter what he did.

    It just wouldn’t move.

    Bitterly, he curled up by the wall and cried.


    He lay there the entire day, lost in thoughts of his own misery. Time meant nothing for those hours. He wasn’t sure whether he fell asleep at some point; at least he was dimly aware enough of his surroundings to realize suddenly that the other Pokémon were gone, without having any idea when or how they had disappeared. But he didn’t particularly care either.

    It was very late when he heard the little wooden door creak open. A few slow footsteps. The door quietly squeaked shut.

    He heard a deep sigh and more slow footsteps.

    “Scyther,” said the human’s voice finally.

    Razor didn’t move or respond.

    He heard the human walk all the way up to him, to being uncomfortably close. It struck him that now his Pokémon weren’t there to protect him anymore and he could take him by surprise and kill him – but somehow, mysteriously, he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to do anything except lie there completely still and be miserable.

    The human laid a hand on his shoulder.

    Razor twitched, but found a strange comfort in it. For some reason it brought back hazy memories of his mother being affectionate towards him after he had gotten scared from climbing a tree as a Descith.

    He didn’t feel as alone anymore.

    “I know you hate me,” said the man slowly. “Kabutops told me you don’t like humans and have been lying here all day refusing to talk or move…”

    Razor still didn’t answer.

    The human sighed. “Please eat something. I don’t want you to starve.”

    He could smell the faint scent of fresh meat. It made him realize just how hungry he was: he hadn’t eaten anything at all for days. He felt like he was somehow making a point by lying there absolutely still without reacting to anything, and in a way he wanted to keep doing it, but his growling stomach convinced him otherwise. Reluctantly, he sat up and turned to face the man. He was holding a slab of raw meat of some sort.

    “It’s very difficult to find Pokémon meat for sale, I’m sorry,” the human said. “And Pokémon usually find the taste of animal meat strange for the first few times – but I hope it’s not too bad.”

    Razor smelled it better. It did smell unfamiliar – but the closest thing he had smelled was the human he had caught for First Prey. He grimaced. The human had been awful, after all.

    “Please at least try it.”

    His hunger overcame everything else. Razor bit into it, tore a strip of meat off it and swallowed.

    It wasn’t as bad as the human. Not the best thing he had ever tasted, but quite edible.

    He finished it, one bit at a time. The human stayed there in patient silence while he finished.

    Rob, Kabutops had called him…

    “How did you like it?”

    “It wasn’t too bad, I suppose,” Razor muttered.

    Rob smiled faintly. “Well, I’m glad.”

    Razor curled up and faced the wall again.

    “You didn’t like being in that Pokéball, did you?” Rob asked quietly.

    Razor shook his head.

    “It’s okay. I won’t put you in there again if you don’t want it. You can stay here tonight. Try to get some sleep.”

    Razor was very tired, but hazily surprised by what this human was turning out to be like. He couldn’t help thinking he was actually fairly nice.

    “Good night, Scyther.”

    “Good night, Rob,” Razor mumbled back.

    Had he turned around, he would have seen the human smile as he exited the room.


    After a month with Rob, Razor had made a few observations.

    Every day, the Pokémon were let into the room for training, where they freely battled against one another to train their skills. Once a week, they had supervised training where Rob watched them and made suggestions for improvements to their technique or commanded one of them against the others. The Pokémon never minded this; in fact, he sometimes got the feeling they enjoyed it all the more when Rob was ordering them what to do.

    Every evening, Rob would ask him if he felt like being alone or if the other Pokémon could sleep in the large room, which Rob called the “battle arena”. Razor always had the final say. He had begun to let him release the other Pokémon to sleep there as well, although Razor always kept a short distance away from them.

    One evening every week (on Fridays, more specifically), Rob came in at the end of the training session, recalled his Pokémon into Pokéballs and took them somewhere. They all then returned late in the night, sometimes behaving a little strangely.

    The exception from everything was Fangcat. She always liked to stay a bit secluded from the others, she never took part in the unsupervised mock fights, and she never came with the others on Friday nights. Generally she just sat in a corner and licked her paw, often watching him with suspicion. When Rob was there, she would fight if, but only if, he suggested it, and then she would be a very powerful fighter who clearly took immense pleasure in the battling, but was noticeably more violent than her teammates – she was the only one who had ever seriously injured one of the others for as long as Razor had been there, at least. She had stabbed her fangs so deep into Sandslash’s body that Rob had had to cancel the training session and rush with him to the Pokémon Center. But Rob had nonetheless immediately forgiven her. In fact, he often took her alone with him into the little back room while the other Pokémon were training, and they would talk quietly for hours on end. Razor had not quite gone as far as listening at the door, but he could hear the faint echo of their voices through it.

    Razor had not taken part in the training sessions, the less asked where they were going every Friday night, anyway, but he was starting to feel a certain longing to do it.

    He realized it was only a matter of time when he would be tempted to go ahead and act on it.

    And when he had those thoughts, an old sense of duty made him attempt suicide again. He would sometimes sit for a couple of hours alone in the Gym with his scythe raised to his throat, his eyes closed and his mind screaming Do it! but always, invariably, finding himself unable to take his own life.

    He was having those thoughts now, as Rob walked into the room to put an end to a training session.

    “It’s Friday, guys… get in your balls…”

    Razor always felt a little unnerved on Fridays. Rob would leave him alone in the battle arena with only Fangcat for company, and she would sit in the corner, often glaring at him continuously for the hours that they were away. Sure, she never did anything – but he always felt a little uncomfortable alone around Fangcat for some reason. She creeped him out.

    “Scyther… would you like to join us?”

    Razor looked up. Rob had asked him every Friday if he wanted to come with them, but he had always automatically said no. Now he wasn’t sure. Perhaps it would be interesting to see what it was they were doing, anyway – and how could it hurt?

    He stood up. “Okay.”

    Rob smiled and took out Razor’s Pokéball. It was different from the others, he noticed; the upper half of it was bright purple and had a small white M in the middle. But by the time he had finished thinking that, he was already dissolving into immaterial form.

    When he came out of the ball again, they were in a strange place.

    The room was, at a glance, full of people. At a second glance, it was full of people and their drinking glasses. Rob and his Pokémon were standing by a long counter, behind which a bald man stood and wiped a glass with a cloth.

    Although Razor did not know that, they were in a bar.

    Razor looked around at the people. Most of them were watching the Pokémon with suspicion and hostility. Especially many of them paid special attention to the Scyther.

    “Rob…” the bartender sighed, leaning closer to Rob. “Do you really have to bring your Pokémon here every time? I’m dead serious, I’m losing customers for it. They’re not approaching the counter with a Scyther standing there, and honestly, I can’t blame ‘em.”

    “They’re harmless,” Rob replied sternly. “If people choose to make judgements because Scyther happens to have blades on his arms, it’s their problem, not mine.”

    The bartender sighed again. “I’ll put up with it, Rob, but only because you guys are regulars.”

    Rob ignored the comment. “Beers for all of us, please.”

    He waved some bills in the bartender’s face, which the bald man reluctantly accepted.

    “Honestly, though…” he muttered. “Last time Kabutops nearly caused a serious accident. You better be taking care of that. Pokémon are way too quick to get seriously drunk.”

    “One beer is fine!” Rob insisted. “He was well into his second.”

    “Only one per Pokémon from now on, then,” the bartender said firmly. Rob just shrugged.

    A couple of minutes later, the bartender placed a glass bowl full of a strange, fizzy golden liquid in front of each Pokémon, including Razor. Rob got an ordinary glass.

    Razor smelled the drink suspiciously. He wasn’t sure he liked the smell. He looked at the other Pokémon; they were all eagerly slurping it up from the bowls already. Rob was taking a sip from his glass; eying Razor, he put the glass down, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and leant closer to Razor.

    “If you don’t want it, I can drink yours.”

    Razor just nodded. He really didn’t like the smell of that liquid.

    For some reason that puzzled the Scyther, they all seemed to become gradually more talkative as they finished their drinks. By a very confusing thread of conversation, Kabutops began talking about the strange flashes of ancient memories that kept bothering him because, according to the bits that Razor could piece together, Kabutops was actually an ancient fossil that had been resurrected millions of years after its death.

    He didn’t really get it, but that was the basic gist of it.

    After they had all finished their drinks and talked for a long while about Kabutops’s memories, Rob finally said they should get going. Despite some mumbled protests, he recalled the Pokémon to take them back to the Gym.

    Well, now he knew what they did on Fridays.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006


    A few days later, a challenger appeared at the Gym.

    There was a training session going on – Razor was just watching as usual – when he faintly heard someone knocking on the front door of the Gym. He looked up in the direction of the larger door of the battle arena, a door which led to the tiny entrance hall, as Rob stepped out of the little side room.

    “All right, we have a challenger!” he shouted, causing all the Pokémon to look up. “Get in your balls!”

    He held forward five Pokéballs, and five Pokémon dissolved into red energy and were beamed into their respective balls.

    Rob looked at Razor, came over to him and knelt in front of where he was sitting.

    “Scyther… you’re not ready to start fighting battles for me, are you?”

    Razor shook his head. A part of him was thinking it probably wouldn’t be very long before he would be. The rest of him was only all the more determined for it never to happen.

    “It’s okay,” Rob just said. “You can watch. I’ll ask for a five-on-five. Just stand by the wall over there so you won’t get hurt.”

    Razor nodded and walked over to the wall at the far end of the arena as another harsh knock on the door was heard.

    “I’m coming!” Rob shouted with sudden cold annoyance, hurrying towards the door as Razor leant against the wall and watched. He saw Rob tear open the first door, stride into the entrance hall and open the outside door.

    “What do you want?” Rob asked somebody in an intimidating voice very much unlike the one he used when talking to his Pokémon. Rob’s huge shape and the only half-open door into the entrance hall made it impossible for Razor to see the challenger.

    “Uh, I’m sorry, sir,” said a boy’s voice. “I was just hoping… I mean, this is the unofficial Gym, right?”

    “What else would it be?” Rob asked rudely back. “So it’s a battle you want, then?”

    “Well, yeah,” the challenger answered.

    “Okay, get in,” Rob said, turned around and opened the door to the battle arena up more as the boy stepped doubtfully in and shut the outside door.

    As Rob entered with the challenger on his heels, Razor finally got a good look at the boy. He was a tall, lanky teenager with a very pale face and dark hair, a somewhat timid look on his face, but some likeable flare in his eyes. He was wearing a tidy white shirt and black pants, his six Pokéballs visible along his beltline as he held his hands behind his back. He eyed the Scyther by the wall but didn’t look anywhere near as intimidated by the Pokémon as by the man he was about to battle.

    “My Scyther is not up for battle right now,” Rob explained shortly. “I hope you don’t mind if we make this a five-on-five?”

    “No, of course not,” the boy replied. “Should I be on that end or…?” he then asked, indicating the exit-side of the arena.

    “Yes,” Rob said simply, walking over to Scyther’s side. “A recalled Pokémon counts as fainted,” he then clarified. “Whichever one of us is first to recall his fifth Pokémon loses. And since you are carrying six, I want to see you pick one Pokéball you won’t use and put it aside before the battle begins.”

    The boy shrugged. “Fair enough.”

    His hand drifted towards one Pokéball, then to another, and then back to the first one. He detached it from his belt and looked questioningly at Rob. “What should I do with it?”

    “Just put it on the floor.”

    The challenger shrugged again, knelt slowly down and placed the Pokéball on the floor without ever looking off Rob. After making sure it wasn’t rolling away, he rose up again.

    “Right. You send out first,” he said.

    Rob reached for a Pokéball.

    “Go, Sneasel!”

    He hurled the ball forward so that it burst open in mid-air and revealed a white glowing shape that formed into the black catlike Pokémon. Sneasel landed securely on the ground, narrowing his eyes and looking at the boy.

    The challenger picked a Pokéball. “Wartortle, go!”

    He threw the ball, and out of it came a lavender-colored tortoise Pokémon with white, frilly ears and tail. He bared his fangs at Sneasel, striking a pose.

    “Faint Attack!” Rob said quickly.

    “Prepare for a Bubblebeam!” the boy countered.

    Razor watched both Pokémon get ready to perform their attacks. Sneasel raised his clawed arms up into the air and spun around, doing a little dance, before seemingly vanishing into thin air. Meanwhile, Wartortle took a deep breath, withdrawing slightly but not entirely into his shell as he knew what was about to happen.

    Sneasel popped back into existence, surrounded by an aura of purple energy, just by Wartortle’s side before proceeding to slash his sharp claws across the tortoise’s belly, where they formed two visible, red scratches.

    Wartortle cringed with pain, but not for long. “Take this, loser!” he shouted and sprayed a flurry of watery bubbles from his mouth, straight at Sneasel’s face. Razor heard Sneasel screech in surprise somewhere within the huge cloud of foam.

    “Slash the bubbles away!” Rob growled, but he wouldn’t have needed to; Sneasel appeared to have just had the same idea. He danced around with his claws in the air, popping the bubbles with ease one after another while gleefully shouting something in the direction of “DIE!” at each bubble.

    “Get ready for a Skull Bash,” the boy ordered his Wartortle.

    The Pokémon immediately crouched down and drew his head into his shell just as Sneasel popped the last bubbles.

    “Sneasel, Slash!” Rob called.

    But just as Sneasel jumped towards Wartortle, the tortoise suddenly leapt at him, popping his head out of his shell and hitting the cat squarely in the chest with it.

    Sneasel screamed as he was thrown to the ground, but Wartortle landed with a grin on his face. “Serves you right, punk.”

    “Who are you calling punk?” Sneasel hissed and sprang up at the tortoise with his claws in attacking position. Wartortle retaliated with a quick high-pressure spurt of water from his mouth that hit Sneasel in mid-jump and blasted him quite a few meters towards the wall.

    Razor watched and couldn’t help thinking this looked a little fun. He had never gotten to fight a very wide variety of Pokémon back in the wild, after all – and the only ones he had regularly gotten to have any real fight with were Scyther. The others were prey that he had killed in a few seconds. An ancient instinct was making him excited at the sight of true battling of wits and skill – but at the same time he knew how wrong it was to feel that way.

    Sneasel got up and dashed back towards his opponent on all fours.

    “Wartortle, Protect!” the challenger yelled. Just as Sneasel jumped into the air again, Wartortle’s head and limbs shot into his shell, and when the black cat Pokémon’s claw came down, it hit only the rock-hard back of the tortoise’s shell.

    “Ow,” Sneasel said, rubbing his claw as he stood up again – but right then, Wartortle came out of his shell again and smacked his fist into the cat’s frail body. Sneasel was thrown backwards with a shocked expression and didn’t stand up again.

    “Good old Brick Break,” Wartortle said gleefully as his trainer grinned. Rob silently recalled Sneasel.

    “Kabutops, I choose you.”

    From his Pokéball emerged the ancient brown fossil-monster, who stretched his scythes and locked his gaze on Wartortle.

    “You’re going down,” Kabutops hissed menacingly. Razor couldn’t help detecting a sense of humour in it.

    The challenger looked thoughtful. “Try another Brick Break, Wartortle,” he ordered after a short pause.

    “Coming up,” Wartortle replied before running towards Kabutops.

    “Kabutops, Mega Drain!” Rob barked.

    Kabutops hissed again and stabbed both of his scythes into the floor. A bright green glow enclosed his body, and similarly with Wartortle; the tortoise attempted to run faster, but that caused him to trip on his stubby legs and be thrown harshly into the ground. He cringed in pain as orbs of green energy ripped themselves loose from his body and flew through the air towards Kabutops.

    “Don’t give up, Wartortle!” the boy yelled. “Finish the attack!”

    Just as the green glow faded away from both Pokémon, the tortoise raised himself to his feet and dashed at Kabutops, smashing his fist into the fossil Pokémon. Kabutops shuddered and recoiled, but then retaliated by slashing powerfully across Wartortle’s chest with his scythe. The tortoise cried out in pain and then collapsed.

    “Return, Wartortle,” the challenger said as he held the Pokéball forward and watched its red beam suck the tortoise Pokémon into the ball. “You did great.”

    He paused for a second to think before picking his next Pokéball. “All right, I choose Victreebel.”

    He threw the next ball. Razor smiled at the sight of the pitcher plant Pokémon that emerged: there was a familiar sight. They lurked in quite a few areas of Ruxido.

    “Victreebel, Razor Leaf!”

    “Kabutops, defend by slashing the leaves!”

    The yellow plant turned its gaping mouth towards Kabutops and spat out a flurry of sharp leaves that darted at the fossil Pokémon. Kabutops raised his scythes and in a few swipes managed to slash at least half of the leaves away, but the rest went on to stab their razor-edges into his rocklike hide and embed themselves there to make him groan in pain. Razor shook his head; the young Scyther used to play games by provoking some Pokémon such as Victreebel to Razor Leaf them and then slash all the leaves away to walk away unharmed. He could really teach Kabutops a thing or two.

    “Rock Slide!” Rob growled.

    “Vine Whip, Victreebel!” the boy cried out.

    Kabutops’s eyes glowed white as huge chunks of concrete ripped themselves up from the floor, levitated in mid-air for a second and then, as Kabutops swung his scythe, hurled themselves towards the plant Pokémon. Victreebel shut her mouth with her leaf and screwed her eyes shut to brace herself for the impact; within seconds she was buried under a pile of rocks which then melted away into the floor. Razor quickly looked over to Kabutops and realized in astonishment that the floor was magically whole. He hadn’t seen Rock Slides performed before, having lived in and just outside a forest his whole life.

    Victreebel now countered by extending a pair of long green vines from her back. The vines shot towards Kabutops; one grabbed him tightly so that he couldn’t move and lifted him off the ground, and the other slapped him across the head a few times.

    “Ow – ow – ouch – stop it –” Kabutops chortled between being hit. Razor couldn’t help laughing.

    Rob didn’t laugh. He took out Kabutops’s Pokéball and held it out:

    “Kabutops, come back!”

    Relieved, the fossil Pokémon dissolved into red energy, fading from Victreebel’s grasp, and was beamed back to his Pokéball.

    “Okay, then… I choose Fangcat.”

    Rob threw out Fangcat’s ball, and the saber-toothed feline materialized on the floor, hissing.

    The challenger whistled. “A Fangcat? Nice.”

    Rob ignored him. “Fangcat, attack!”

    Fangcat dashed across the arena with her red-stained fangs bared.

    “Victreebel, use a fast Razor Leaf and then a Sludge Bomb,” the boy ordered quickly.

    Victreebel aimed and fired. Her second flurry of leaves in the battle was all the more successful, as Fangcat was not even trying to really defend herself against it. She did make a half-hearted attempt to dodge to the side, but the range of the attack was too great and the tiny, sharp leaves sliced into her skin, causing her to roar in pain.

    “Keep going, Fangcat!” Rob urged.

    She didn’t need to be told to. The attack only prompted her to run the last few meters faster, and then she leapt gracefully at her target, just as Victreebel spat out a splatter of the slimy green ooze that was its digestive juices.

    Fangcat managed to close her eyes before it hit her, but her fur was sizzling with acid when she landed on Victreebel’s body with her claws firmly out and her fangs ready to strike.

    She stabbed her fangs straight into Victreebel’s body. It was as simple as that.

    Victreebel let out a bloodcurdling scream of pain, more acids gushing out of her mouth and the wound. Her trainer looked at her with worry. “Victreebel, return!” he shouted quickly, letting the Pokéball dematerialize her into red light.

    The trainer looked quickly at Rob before picking his next Pokémon while Fangcat shook herself violently in an attempt to get rid of the green acid burning through her skin. She was only moderately successful, but at least she had the sense not to attempt to lick it off.

    “Haunter, go!”

    The next Pokéball the trainer threw released a strange, purple creature that looked most like a disembodied head and hands floating in the air. He looked down at Fangcat, smiled twistedly with his red, jagged mouth, took a few loops in mid-air and laughed.

    “Here, kitty, kitty!”

    Fangcat growled and jumped up, but Haunter simply let himself float a little higher up where she couldn’t reach him. He gleefully stuck out his tongue at the acid-covered feline as she landed on her feet on the floor.

    “It’s no good, Fangcat,” Rob just said. “You can’t harm a Ghost. Return.”

    Fangcat was reluctantly recalled to her Pokéball. Razor recalled the status of the battle: Rob had lost Sneasel, Kabutops and Fangcat, so he had two Pokémon left, but the other trainer had only lost two of his, Wartortle and Victreebel.

    Rob sighed. “Go, Feraligatr.”

    The challenger paused thoughtfully at the sight of the bulky blue alligator materializing from the ball. “Haunter, use a Shadow Ball.”

    The ghost Pokémon grinned widely as he held his disembodied hands with a short distance in between them. In the middle formed a swirling purple orb of darkness, which Haunter then threw down at Feraligatr.

    “If it comes closer, use a Crunch,” Rob ordered. “If not…”

    Haunter giggled and levitated farther into the air where Feraligatr could definitely not reach him.

    “…Hydro Pump.”

    “Surprise,” Feraligatr said with a grin before opening his huge mouth and spraying out a jet of high-pressure water straight towards the ghost Pokémon.

    “ARGH IT’S COLD IT’S COLD!” Haunter screamed, blasted into the ceiling by the force of the Hydro Pump. After the last drops of water had hit him, the Ghost Pokémon dropped down like a bird that had lost its wings, but after dropping below a certain height, it was as if he had landed on an invisible trampoline and he bounced back upwards. Haunter quickly recovered and positioned himself again.

    “Okay, use a Night Shade,” the boy said. “And if he uses another Hydro Pump, try to avoid it.”

    Haunter nodded and all of a sudden, all light seemed to flee from the room, disappearing out the windows. Within seconds it was absolutely dark.

    “Where did you go?” Feraligatr growled. Razor could hear him swing his head around to try to find light.

    “Right behind ya!” came Haunter’s playful voice, and Feraligatr jumped. The light slowly began to return as the alligator attempted to catch the poltergeist in his powerful jaws, but failed as Haunter floated away yet again.

    “Ice Beam!” Rob ordered, and Feraligatr drew back his head as an orb of icy energy began to form in his mouth.

    “Look out!” the boy cried, but it was too late: just as Haunter turned around, a magnificent beam of ice struck him in the face and he floated lazily down to the ground, knocked out.

    Feraligatr was getting weak, however. He bent over to catch his breath as the challenger recalled his Haunter. The score was even, but probably wouldn’t be for long…

    “Okay, do it, Murkrow!” called the trainer, throwing yet another ball into the arena. The Pokémon that emerged from it was a small, scrawny, black bird with a slightly dorky expression and a peculiar crest of feathers on his head that looked oddly like a hat.

    Murkrow were not known to be powerful – there were a few of them around in Ruxido at night – and as he looked at it so dwarfed in size compared to the huge alligator, Razor couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Rob was about to win this after all.

    Rob, unlike Razor, had experience with “weak” Pokémon and the kind of strategies that their trainers could come up with, and therefore knew enough not to underestimate his opponent.

    “Feraligatr, use a Screech.”

    “Taunt, Murkrow!” the boy shouted.

    The little crow was faster. He positioned himself in mid-air so that he was facing Feraligatr and remained mostly steady.

    “Heya there, dumbass!” he croaked and made an impolite gesture at the alligator. “Catch me if you can!”

    Feraligatr growled. Ignoring Rob’s orders, he took a deep breath and fired a jet of water towards the small bird – a very unwise move, because being small and light, Murkrow was easily agile enough to swoop down out of its way.

    “Oh, come on! Can’t do any better than that?” the crow said, flying only a few meters away from the alligator. Feraligatr’s claws glowed as he prepared to slash, but just as he stepped forward, Murkrow flew backwards as well. The alligator growled again with annoyance, snapping his jaws towards the crow, but again Murkrow evaded it with laughable ease.

    “Rage!” Rob barked.

    Feraligatr’s eyes flashed red as he converted his anger into power and made some further attempts to slash Murkrow. All of them failed.

    “Too slow for me… Too slow for me…” Murkrow cooed, flying in especially annoying circles around the alligator with fancy mid-air loops just for the effect. Razor couldn’t help smiling.

    “Shadow Ball, Murkrow!” the bird’s trainer shouted.

    The crow suddenly flew back and up, his eyes glowing a sinister purple as he charged an orb of shadows in front of him. He pushed it gently with his beak, and it swooped downwards straight into Feraligatr’s face. The alligator roared, flailing his arms around for a second, but then collapsed on the floor, too exhausted to keep going.

    “Nice job, Murkrow!” cheered the boy as Rob resentfully recalled his Pokémon.

    “All right… I guess it’s time for my last,” he said. “Sandslash, go!”

    Razor saw the boy grin widely. Sandslash were, of course, Ground Pokémon, and not at all the fastest around – just the winning combination for Murkrow, as displayed earlier.

    He was stricken with sudden slight guilt – if he had agreed to participate in the battle, he would have been able to bring Murkrow down. He was fast, agile and could fly. Rob’s seemingly inevitable shameful 2-0 loss – something that he as a Scyther cringed at the thought of – might have been avoided if he had taken part.

    But then he remembered that Rob was a human and he should not be sinking any lower than he had already.

    “Sandslash, Sandstorm!” Rob ordered, and a vortex of sand whipped itself up in the middle of the arena, shrouding both Pokémon so that it was only possible to see their faint silhouettes.

    “Murkrow, Whirlwind the sand away and then try a quick Taunt!” the boy countered.

    This failed rather miserably. The bird was too small and weak to be able to put the entire sandstorm to an end with a Whirlwind. The flow of sand did stir, but Murkrow quickly gave up on that part before realizing that Sandslash simply couldn’t see or hear him in the middle of the sandstorm. Razor could hear some faint cawing within the plume of sand, but there was no way to take it offensively. Rob smiled.

    “Now, Sandslash, try to Slash it!”

    “Confuse Ray!” the challenger cried.

    A ghostly light, only just visible through the sandstorm, began to circle Sandslash mysteriously, distracting him from the command. This gave Murkrow’s trainer another opportunity to act.

    “Okay, Murkrow, this is ugly, but we have no choice! Perish Song!”

    Even the noise of the sandstorm beating the floor and walls was not enough to cover up the most awful sound that the world had ever heard. Horrible, hellish wailing and screeching filled the room; the boy covered his ears, but Rob just looked worriedly between Scyther and the silhouette of Sandslash in the vortex of sand.

    “Fine,” he called out as the Perish Song mercifully ended; Razor actually felt physically ill after it, although he didn’t understand why as he had never been subjected to a Perish Song before. “I forfeit.”

    Rob recalled Sandslash and then, after a pause, looked apologetically at Razor and let the Pokéball suck him in as well.


    The next time Razor was aware of himself, he was lying on a soft bed in the back room with Rob sitting by the bedside with his head resting in his hand. It took him a second to realize that his trainer was half-asleep.

    It took him another second to realize with a horrible feeling of dread that he had just thought of Rob as his trainer.

    “Rob…?” Razor asked carefully. The man awoke with a start, looking quickly around before realizing where he was.

    “Oh, it’s you,” he said with a certain tone of relief.

    “Why am I in here?” Razor asked him quizzically.

    “The Perish Song can be pretty hard on Pokémon who have never heard it before,” Rob just said. “I thought I’d stay up for you to recover.”

    “Oh,” Razor said emptily.

    “Yeah,” Rob just replied. “Well, you’re okay now, so I hope you don’t mind if I go to sleep.” He gave Razor a forced smile that could not hide the tiredness evident from his bloodshot eyes.

    Razor stood up from the bed and prepared to leave the room.

    “Good night, Scyther.”

    He didn’t reply.

    He opened the door into the battle arena, curled up by his wall and took his mind off things by sharpening his scythes.

    It may have been the only law he had yet to break, but he didn’t plan to break it.

    He wondered how sharp they were now, anyway. He turned his right blade around so that the moonlight outside flashed in it, and felt a longing to look at the outside world that he hadn’t really seen for what seemed like a lifetime.

    He stood up and looked out through the window. There was a street just below, houses all around. It was all unfamiliar. But then his eyes traveled up the street to the shining metallic building at the end of it, and it reminded him of scythes and duels. And his eyes traveled even farther up, to the full moon and stars, and it reminded him of the sacred rituals that had taken place under those very stars, and which he had now blasphemed against by breaking the Code. He thought back to his First Prey and the cold, dead stare of the human boy’s eyes that had aroused a strange feeling of sadness in him when he had offered the meat of his First Prey to Stormblade and Shadowdart. He could even dimly remember sitting on the Leader’s rock as a Descith licking sticky, sweet blood off his premature scythes.

    He looked at his scythes again. They were sharp by now, the kind of sharp that would hardly hurt at all when they cut. It would be a small prickle, a little sting, but that would be all. He would hardly even feel the touch of the blade.

    He held his scythe to his throat yet again and thought back to the many times he had attempted it before. Rob had even stopped him a couple of times when he happened to barge in on him.

    He wasn’t sure what he was afraid of. It wouldn’t be painful. He would probably lose consciousness within seconds. It sounded so awfully easy and non-problematic, but he couldn’t do it anyway.

    Perhaps he should test them.

    He looked at the soft yellow segment that constituted his left upper arm and raised his right scythe up to it.

    He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth before making a short, precise cut.

    He couldn’t even feel it at first. He was dimly aware of some liquid trickling down his arm, but only reason told him it was his own blood. He opened his eyes again and smiled. Just how it should be.

    Strangely, he felt comforted by the sight of his dark-colored blood, by the light feeling of it trickling down his arm, by the punishment it seemed to be.

    He wondered if his left scythe was that sharp too.

    There was only one way to find out.



    He opened an eye. He felt hazy and numb. Comfortably so.

    Rob was running towards him from the back room. He realized the room was light. He heard some birdsong outside. It must be morning already.

    He realized vaguely that he was lying in a pool of his own blood, but couldn’t get himself to care.

    “Fuck…” Rob muttered as he grabbed Razor’s limp scythe and saw the cuts on his arm. He picked the Pokémon up and carried him hurriedly into the back room where he laid him down on the bed and rummaged through some cupboards.

    He found a few bottles of potion and sprayed them quickly on the cuts before sitting down.

    “Why?” he asked quietly after a few seconds.

    “Just wanted to test them…” Razor said faintly.

    Rob said nothing as Razor drifted back into unconsciousness.


    It was Friday.

    When Rob had asked Razor if he wanted to come with them, he had said no. He hadn’t found it too interesting the last time, after all, and wasn’t quite getting the greatness of drinking some stuff and whining about things.

    Rob had eyed him with some more concern than usual, but not attempted to persuade him. That was one of the things he liked about Rob. It was actually one of the very few things he could admit to himself he liked about Rob without feeling the urge to slit his own throat for it.

    And so, now Razor was alone.

    Well, Fangcat was there too, but after staring at him for a few minutes, she had walked slowly into the back room, presumably to sleep on Rob’s bed. She did that sometimes.

    So there was no one to disturb him in the battle arena.

    He was not going to cut his arms that severely again. It didn’t kill quickly enough, so Rob would find him alive and save him. He hated to see that worried look on Rob’s face. He’d rather either look fine or be dead by the time Rob came back. The plan, as always, was to be dead, but he was starting to have little hope for its success. Now Rob and the others had only just left, at least. They couldn’t be back too soon.

    Razor took a few deep breaths. He sharpened his scythes so carefully that he lost track of time; perhaps he had been doing it for a couple of hours when he was finally satisfied. He tested each scythe twice, making sure to make the cuts shallow enough not to bleed too much. They were still perfect; he felt hardly a trace of pain. Just that little prickle.

    He sat back against the wall and tried to relax. He looked up at the ceiling. He moved his right scythe blindly up to where it almost touched his throat.

    He breathed a few times.

    “You deserve it,” he whispered bitterly to himself. “You’re despicable. You’re pathetic.”

    He tried to detach himself from it and imagine it was someone else he needed to kill. He took some more calming breaths.

    “You’re afraid,” he chuckled. “You fear death.”

    He closed his eyes and concentrated on the first law, eliminating everything else from his mind. “Death… is not… to be feared…” he said through his teeth, but his scythe still refused to move.

    He forced it to anyway. Just a tiny bit closer. A tiny little bit.

    He felt a slight prickle on his neck which caused a cold shiver to spread through his exoskeleton. It had touched. He had almost succeeded. He felt himself grinning.

    He most likely would have accomplished his task at last had he not been interrupted by the slamming of the outside door.

    Rob was back already.

    “Scyther?” he heard the muffled voice from the entrance hall. He opened his eyes and looked quickly at the door before pressing himself against the wall and screwing his eyes shut again.

    Do it.

    But the knowledge of Rob’s arrival had paralyzed his scythe absolutely again.

    He heard Rob knock carefully from the entrance hall. In despair, he opened his eyes and stared at the door.

    Do it now. Now!

    His scythe betrayed him again. It wouldn’t budge.

    The door opened with a low creak.


    Razor sighed, closed his eyes and lowered his arm from his throat. He could see Rob’s worried expression in his mind’s eye as he heard the man’s quick footsteps. He felt Rob’s hand on his neck, heard the human’s breathing calm down a little.

    He had failed again.

    He felt himself be dematerialized and sucked into a Pokéball, then rematerialized inside the familiar back room.

    “Have a drink,” Rob sighed. Razor was surprised. This was not what he had been expecting at all.

    Rob was pouring the same kind of golden liquid that they had been drinking at the bar into a bowl on the table. After half-filling it, he poured the rest into a glass, pushed the bowl towards Razor and took a large sip from the glass himself.

    “Drink it,” Rob said, seeing Razor look suspiciously at the drink as he had done the first time he had been faced with it. “It will do you good.”

    Razor hesitantly moved to the table, examined the bowl and dipped his tongue into the liquid. It tasted bitter and strange. He cringed.

    “It gets better after you’ve had a bit,” Rob commented, halfway through his drink already. Razor couldn’t think of anything to do other than simply obey and begin to lap up the strange drink in spite of himself.

    He was right. It did get better after a few times.

    Razor finished what was in the bowl to an encouraging look from Rob, who immediately refilled the bowl. Razor drank some more and realized he was actually feeling a little better, although whether it was thanks to the drink or not, he wasn’t sure.

    “I failed,” he said finally, quietly.

    Rob nodded slowly. “I thought you had maybe… succeeded this time.”

    “I had almost done it, but lost my nerve when I heard you,” Razor said bitterly and lapped up a little more of the drink. “Pathetic, isn’t it?”

    There were a few seconds of silence.

    “Why, Scyther?” Rob asked quietly, staring at his empty glass.

    Razor didn’t answer. He just chuckled slightly. Rob had asked it many times already. He had no reason to expect an answer now.

    There was more silence.

    “I know how you feel…” Rob said suddenly in a very quiet voice.

    Razor abruptly looked at him. How could he know anything?

    “Life is a pain sometimes,” Rob went on. “For every dream that comes true, ten are shattered. For every happy hour comes a nightmare. When you struggle a long way to a goal only to see it escape from your grip and all your work dissolve into nothing, you really start wondering if it’s all worth it…”

    “It isn’t,” Razor replied shortly and lapped up some more of the drink. It was getting quite good now.

    Rob smiled. “No,” he agreed. “But do you know what has kept me alive for all these years?”

    Razor looked at him. He found it odd to imagine Rob with similar thoughts to him, but somehow it made perfect sense at the same time.

    Momentarily forgetting about the drink, he became curious.

    Rob chuckled. “Who really gives a damn if it’s worth it?” he said. “As much of a pain as it can be, it’s the only thing you have. When you’re dead, you’re stuck – you don’t want to watch all the opportunities you could have taken unfold into what could have been your future, knowing you can never turn back, grab the opportunities, live that future. At least die knowing you did everything in your power to die happy, even if the happiness never comes.”

    Rob suddenly looked straight into Razor’s eyes. “What I’m trying to tell you is that if you die now, you know you’ll die unhappy. But if there is the slightest chance that your dreams could come true, that your life could get better – then you’re better off taking your chances.”

    Razor didn’t answer. He wasn’t entirely sure there was a chance everything could improve. But what use would it be dying now while so utterly miserable? Did his life perhaps have a slightest chance of getting better?


    He was feeling too cloudy to think; he just bent over his bowl again and continued lapping up his drink.


    Then he began to talk.

    It was like a dam had suddenly burst and released an uncontrollable flood of Razor’s entire past, his feelings and thoughts.

    He told Rob everything about his childhood, how he had met Stormblade and Shadowdart, how they had had mock duels with one another to evolve. He told Rob about how he and Shadowdart somehow never really got along properly and he didn’t understand why. He told Rob how fun it was to just slash away at a patch of tall grass. He told Rob about the Leader’s First Prey lessons and the immense pressure put on the young Scyther. He told Rob about how he had caught a human as his First Prey (at which point Rob didn’t even cringe, which he was very glad for).

    And most importantly, he told Rob about Nightmare, the perfection that was her. He described their duel and what a strangely exhilarating feeling it had been when she had cut his scythe. He talked for a while about how he had been ready to die at that one moment, pure and untainted by his later breakings of the Code, but she had refused to do it.

    He told Rob about how horrible he had felt while waiting for Shadowdart with Stormblade, his attempted public suicide, his sudden decision to follow Nightmare, his concerns that Shadowdart would never forgive him his final words. He told Rob, bitterly, everything about how he had not dared to help when the trainer had come and evolved her into a Scizor and about his frenzy at the Pokémon Center that had ultimately led to Rob finding him.

    And after telling him all this, Razor felt exhausted like he hadn’t slept for that entire month, but immensely, wonderfully relieved.

    In return, as Razor had lain down in Rob’s bed and curled up to rest, Rob told him the story of himself as well.

    Rob had been an ordinary boy born in the region of Johto. He had begun his Pokémon journey as a kid, picked a Totodile as his starter and traveled with him across the region, but his interest in the journey had quickly died down with the novelty.

    However, he had always been fascinated by the one Pokémon that apparently possessed the genes of all the rest – Mew, the most mysterious of the legendary Pokémon. And while giving up on his League dreams, he had acquired much greater ambitions, ones of capturing Mew itself and earning its trust as he had always had a knack for when it came to Pokémon.

    He had planned it with immense care. He had caught certain Pokémon that he was fond of because of the sharp weapons that nature had equipped them with. He had run off with some of his parents’ money and founded an unofficial Gym in a much-visited town in Ouen for the profits after spending all he owned on turning an old warehouse on the verge of collapse into a Gym. He had spent sleepless nights dissecting and studying Pokéballs. He had earned enough to buy himself a Master Ball back in the day when the number of Master Balls existing in the world could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and used his knowledge to modify it so that the Pokémon captured within would be unable to escape a certain distance away from the ball. He had been planning to use it on Mew.

    He had closed down the Gym and gone to search for Mew. He had searched for years without ever finding it. And he had caught wind of another man who sought the legendary Pokémon, a teenager who had recently opened a Gym using cloned, brainwashed legendaries, and realized that he must find Mew before him, or Mew would be enslaved and treated like any other piece of recyclable garbage.

    As it turned out, they had both found Mew.

    Rob described how he had at last found the pink legendary lying in the shadow of a tree in a forest, but just as he had drawn his ball he had realized that Mew had been beaten down in that way by his competitor’s own brainwashed clones. And he had thrown his ball, but so had the cloner Rick of Cleanwater City – and Mew had briefly regained consciousness and stirred, moving out of the way of Rob’s ball and into that of Rick’s.

    Mew had chosen Rick.

    And Rob had gone home in shock, knowing that Rick would abuse Mew like any other underling. He talked about how it still haunted him to that day why Mew would have chosen such a fate, but it had.

    Rob had gone through a period of depression, wondering what he could be if he was worse than Rick, but had found no answer. And he had then blamed himself for not finding Mew before, figuring that Mew must have made some sort of a mistake or simply not known what it was dooming itself to.

    But in the end he had gotten over it, realized that Mew was gone but the best he could do was live in the dim hope that it would somehow escape from Rick, and reopened his Gym. He had even reluctantly used the ball he had intended for Mew on an injured Scyther.

    But, he said, he still found himself lying awake in the night thinking about Mew, or wondering if Mew might one day really escape. And he probably would for the rest of his life.

    After hearing this story, Razor realized that they were not too unlike one another after all. They both had an obsession with something that, partly thanks to their own mistakes, was lost forever. They were both outcasts of their species. And most importantly, they both knew exactly what it was like to find one’s life worthless but be unable to end it anyway.

    And Razor dimly realized, just as he was about to fall asleep, that Rob was the best friend he had ever had.


    By the way, cookies for anyone who knows where they've seen the boy that Rob battled in this chapter before. He has a minor role in The Quest for the Legends - version IALCOTN only, though.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    Fweeness, I finished editing Parts VI and VII yesterday. If you still haven't read Part V, don't worry - this fic will stay here, after all, however long it takes you to read it, and it's not like you're falling permanently behind or anything, since Part VII is the end. (Well, I was a little inaccurate in calling it an epilogue, but it's just one chapter as I've said, so it's short.) Part VII will most likely be posted tomorrow, since it's so short anyway.

    Unfortunately I'm not quite as fond of Part VI as I could have been, probably because of the fact that this is where the fic gets a little confusing for those who have not read The Quest for the Legends version ILCOE. The reason for this is that this part is where the two fics actually intersect, and as Scyther doesn't know what has been happening in The Quest for the Legends up until this point or what the characters are doing while he's not looking at them, this fic makes no attempt to make the reader understand the whys and hows of it. The fic can still stand on its own for what it is actually about - but if you haven't read The Quest for the Legends, prepare for a lot of "Huh, where did [insert character here] come from?" and such moments. I am willing to explain it briefly if it is profoundly confusing you, and in that case, just post.

    For those who have read The Quest for the Legends version ILCOE, this is where everything becomes confusingly unlike what you've been reading there. This is the version of the events that will hopefully be in the IALCOTN once I write the relevant chapters there, and it differs notably from the ILCOE as I've found for a long time that the ILCOE doesn't make quite enough sense there. Unless you've forgotten most of how that chapter went exactly, you're going to be thinking "Huh, but wasn't it different before?" every ten seconds. Don't worry about it; you're right in it being different, and that's how it's supposed to be. (Conveniently, this is a kind of 'test-run' of that version - if what you read here doesn't seem to make quite enough sense or you used to really like something that's been taken out, you can comment.)

    Now, instead of blabbering on like this, I should get to the point.



    It was an ordinary afternoon, and Rob and Razor were together on a short shopping trip to Cleanwater City.

    During the course of the three years since Razor had been caught, he had gotten to know Rob and his other Pokémon better than he had ever known his Scyther friends, drunk a hell of a lot of beer, and, albeit unknowingly, swiped a world record as the Pokémon most frequently kicked out of a bar for being drunk and swinging his scythes around too carelessly for comfort.

    He had taught Kabutops the rules of a Scytherian friendly duel, and although the fossil Pokémon did not have the reflexes to match a Scyther, he made up for it by having a rocklike hide that made him much harder to bring down. Razor had yet been unsuccessful in trying to get Kabutops to spend as much time as he did sharpening his scythes, but he was working on it.

    Fangcat had stopped staring at him, too, instead moving on to ignore him like she ignored the other Pokémon. Razor was happy with that.

    He had also, although he hadn’t especially noticed it himself, become strangely humanlike in behaviour, from developing a habit of greeting people and Pokémon with a handshake to his unmatched talkativeness, at least when he’d had a little to drink.

    But now he was walking down a Cleanwater City street with his trainer – for he had long ago accepted the notion of having a human trainer – after buying some necessary potions and other goods from the Pokémart in town, and they were about to head back to Alumine. He was still not too fond of Pokéballs, which was why he wasn’t in one. Rob never made him do anything he didn’t like, and so he only used Pokéballs when it was absolutely necessary – although Razor had also learned a few tricks such as how to break out of a Pokéball, and discovered how to keep himself fully conscious in the ball so he would be able to think, which was just a simple technique that most Pokémon acquired after only being recalled into a Pokéball a few times. Three years were a long time, after all, and in a long time, the times when being in a Pokéball is absolutely necessary can be very many.

    But just as they were walking down the street and Razor was thinking about that, Rob suddenly jerked his head upwards.

    Razor instinctively looked up as well, and saw something that filled him simultaneously with joy and dread.

    “Did you see that?” Rob whispered.

    Razor nodded. He had, clearly and vividly. It was definitely no hallucination – but how could it be?

    “And did you see the boy?”

    Razor nodded again, because indeed he had, and he was still looking at him: it was a young, dark-haired kid standing on a balcony in the building above them, which was incidentally the Cleanwater City hotel. The boy leant forward for a second, but then turned back inside.

    Razor looked back at Rob. The man’s gaze flickered strangely.

    “And did you hear what he said?”

    As Rob put up a strange, twisted smile that Razor had never seen before, the Scyther nodded yet again.

    ‘Well, I know where you’ll be,’ the boy had called to Mew just before it teleported away.


    Rob resorted to an emergency meeting in a quiet alley nearby. After sending out all his Pokémon, he needed only say three words:

    “Mew is here.”

    His Pokémon all looked at him, immediately understanding the gravity of the situation.

    “But how?” asked Kabutops in puzzlement.

    “Where?” asked Sandslash.

    Rob chuckled insanely. “We were walking right here below the hotel – and then a boy standing on a balcony at the fourth floor releases Mew from a Pokéball like any common Pokémon! And they speak… the boy asks if they’ll meet again, Mew presumably replies telepathically… and the boy says he knows where Mew will be.”

    His gaze darted from one Pokémon to another. “He knows Mew’s whereabouts… We must find him and persuade him to tell me…”

    Scyther sighed. “I thought you had gotten over Mew,” he muttered, but it wasn’t entirely truthful. It had been more of a distant hope, already contradicted many times.

    Rob looked sharply at him. “Do you think, if you saw your Nightmare standing in front of you, back as a Scyther, that you would simply walk away?” he whispered.

    Razor wondered.

    He wouldn’t.

    But he sighed anyway, because he had a bad feeling about this. He didn’t really know why.

    “All right, we’ll go out there, find the boy and make him talk,” Rob said with twisted excitement in his voice. “And then we’ll go to the location and find Mew…”

    Rob recalled the Pokémon, all except Razor.

    “Are you with me or not?” he asked simply.

    “With you,” Razor answered, but not without a hint of doubt.

    “Good. Then you’ll have to help with the persuasion. Let’s go and watch the hotel.”

    Razor’s stomach churned uncomfortably. He couldn’t help thinking that “helping with the persuasion” sounded dangerously like a violation of the last law of the Moral Code that he had yet to break.

    But if there was one thing he had changed in over those last three years, it was that he took Rob over the laws and traditions of the Scyther. Always.


    When they approached the hotel, they found that the boy was just exiting it, together with a blue-haired girl. Both of them looked only maybe eleven or twelve years old. They didn’t appear to be speaking, but they walked beside one another anyway.

    The good part was that they seemed to be too busy not looking at one another to notice that there was a man and a Scyther following them.

    “The girl complicates things,” Rob muttered as the kids suddenly began to argue when they had just entered Rainbow Woods. “It’s hard to get to the boy easily when she’s there…”

    Razor didn’t answer. They watched the kids battle and then continue walking, always following some distance behind them.

    “If I get him,” Rob said in a low voice, “you’re going to have to threaten him. Make it clear to him that you’re going to kill him if he doesn’t tell me everything he knows. Okay?”

    Razor just nodded as the boy and the girl disappeared into the Rainbow Café near the southern edge of the woods. They sat there for a few minutes as Rob shifted restlessly around.

    “Perhaps his Pokémon know it too,” Rob suddenly said. “They’d be a lot easier to kidnap, wouldn’t they?”

    Razor said nothing.

    “I’ll be back,” Rob whispered and walked casually into the café. It was only minutes before he returned, holding six minimized Pokéballs.

    “Let’s get out of here,” he told Razor as he stuffed the balls in his pocket. “It’s best to return to the Gym. Look normal.”

    They walked in silent tension out of the forest and into the dirty city of Alumine.

    “I’m not sure I like this,” Razor muttered.

    Rob suddenly stopped and looked at him. “I’m sorry, but it looks too suspicious to be walking beside a Scyther. I can’t draw attention to myself. Get back in your Pokéball.”

    And for the first time ever, Rob plucked Razor’s Pokéball off his belt and recalled him without absolute necessity or consent.

    Razor could have broken out, but he didn’t feel like it. He couldn’t help thinking that Rob seemed like a different man now all of a sudden. Everything except Mew had vanished from his mind, from his concern for his Pokémon to his basic sense of morality. His other Pokémon may have been used to it, having been with him before Rick caught Mew – but Razor was not.

    And to see his trainer in this state filled him with sadness.

    But what else did he have to turn to?


    Rob had only barely taken his coat off when there was a loud knocking on the door. When he reopened it, there was a boy standing outside.

    He was short and thin with dark hair, big green eyes and a distinctly familiar face.

    “You…” Rob said hoarsely, stunned, before grabbing the boy’s collar and half-throwing him inside.

    Rob locked the outside door with a quick movement, opened the door into the battle arena and shoved the stunned boy through it, where he fell down flat on his face.

    “WHERE IS IT?” Rob bellowed insanely without explanation. The boy raised himself up and rolled over onto his back, crawling backwards in terror as blood leaked out of his nostril. “I… what? Where is what?”

    “You know what!” Rob shouted. “The place! My life! My dedication! Mew!”

    The boy looked profoundly puzzled. “Mew?”

    “Yes, Mew!” Rob snarled. “I’ve spent my entire life searching for it, and you know where it is! I saw you in Cleanwater City!”

    Realization crossed over the boy’s face and then turned into panic. “You misunderstood! I don’t know…”

    “Liar!” Rob roared. “Tell me where it is!”

    “I’m telling you I don’t know!” the boy shouted. “Where are my Pokémon?”

    Rob put up a twisted smile. “Sounds like you need some convincing,” he said. “I have a friend who is very good at that…”

    The boy stared at him in horror and began to quickly attempt to stand up as Rob took out a Pokéball. “Scyther, according to plan!” Rob hissed as he threw the ball and Razor began to materialize in the air. With a Scyther’s quick reflexes, he immediately leapt straight at the boy, knocking him into the wall before quickly adjusting his grip on him so that he couldn’t move. He positioned his right scythe quickly and precisely in front of the boy’s throat.

    “Want to tell me now?” Rob asked coldly.

    “I… I don’t know!” the boy blurted out desperately, all the color more or less drained from his face.

    “Yes, you do!” Rob barked. “I’ll give you five minutes to think about it. When I get back here you make your decision.”

    And Rob strode towards the door to his back room, leaving Razor alone with the boy.

    He felt sorry for him.

    Although Rob didn’t, Razor couldn’t help thinking the boy was telling the truth when he said he didn’t know it.

    He felt the boy’s drumming heart and rapid breathing. The kid was scared out of his life.

    The boy looked momentarily into Razor’s eyes, but then closed his eyes. He made a small strangled sound, but said nothing.

    “Scared?” Razor asked him.

    The boy didn’t answer. It was a rhetorical question, anyway.

    “You shouldn’t be,” Razor went on. “‘Death is not to be feared, for it is the only thing that we all have in common…’”

    He saw the boy’s puzzled look and smiled slightly.

    “Scyther have said that since the beginning of time,” he explained. “It’s pointless to be afraid of what is inevitable; it’s actually the one thing you should not be afraid of. Fear the uncertain, not the definite.”

    He could tell the boy found this more disturbing than comforting, but there wasn’t a lot else he could do.

    “So…” the boy said shakily, “if he told you to… you’d do it?”

    Razor chuckled. “It’s not about me, kid. If I didn’t, he could just ask Kabutops, and that’s worse for you because he doesn’t sharpen his scythes as much. More pain, you know.”

    The boy’s face was white as paper. He swallowed; Razor saw the human’s vulnerable throat nearly touch his scythe.

    And suddenly, it slipped out of him in a bitter, spiteful tone:

    “It’s him that won’t do it.”

    The boy’s wide, scared eyes looked at him. “Who?”

    “Rob,” Razor said. He knew he was betraying his trainer’s trust, but he wasn’t sure he minded so much anymore. “It’s all empty,” he went on. “Psychological torture, if you will.”

    The boy looked blankly at him; Razor chuckled. What the hell, he thought.

    “I’ll be honest with you, kid,” he said. “The thing is that he’s damn obsessed. For as long as he remains convinced that you know something about Mew that he doesn’t, he wouldn’t kill you if he were paid for it. Heck, he’d murder to keep you alive, just for that faint chance he’ll manage to drag it out of you. Trust me, you’re one of the safest people on Earth right now. The smartest thing you can do if you’re worried about death is keep your mouth shut – as soon as you tell him what he wants, your presence becomes unnecessary, and not only that, but very inconvenient.”

    Razor watched the boy ponder this. He didn’t really expect the human to trust him; he was, after all, holding a scythe to his throat while a supposed timer of five minutes to his death was ticking away. And technically, this was nothing but Razor’s own guesswork, but it was fairly good guesswork. He had known Rob for three years, after all. He knew his way of thinking and the way he talked about Mew.

    Razor chuckled. “Damn it, why am I telling you all this?”

    The boy didn’t answer at first. “But,” he finally asked, “assuming he did tell you to… you would? I mean… what about your conscience?”

    Razor couldn’t help laughing. “Conscience? You’re the first person I’ve talked to who looks at a Scyther and assumes he has such a thing as a conscience.”

    The boy looked at him. “But well… do you?”

    Razor thought about it. He thought of the human he had killed as his First Prey. He thought of the many small Pokémon he had killed for food. He sighed.

    “Of course we have a conscience,” he finally replied. “But predators have no business letting pity control what they do. You’re probably a nice kid and all, but there are many things a great deal more important to me than your life, and Rob’s happiness is one of them.”

    The boy looked severely freaked out, and Razor assumed that from what he had seen of Rob, the kid would have a very difficult time grasping why Razor was so loyal to him. In fact, Razor was beginning to have difficulty grasping it himself.

    But he couldn’t follow that train of thought any longer, because now Rob barged back into the room.

    “All right, your five minutes are up!” he growled. “Telling me or not?”

    The boy shook his head – only very slightly, of course, since he still had a scythe positioned just by his throat, but with a very clear implication of “no”.

    Rob stared at him with a clenched fist, opening his mouth but not giving an order. Razor smiled to himself. He had been right.

    Then Rob suddenly had an idea, reached into his pocket and took out the boy’s Pokéballs.

    “Want these?” he asked with a twisted laugh, holding them tauntingly forward. “Well, if you don’t want to have to watch them die, you better speak now! Scyther, get over here.”

    Razor let go off the boy and stood up.

    But then he stopped.

    “No,” he said and shook his head. “This is too much. Stop it, Rob. He doesn’t know anything.”

    Rob stared at him in astonishment, but Razor stood his ground.

    “If you touch his Pokémon, I’ll have no choice but to fight you,” he said shakily as Rob fiddled with the Pokéballs. “I’m sorry, Rob, but this is wrong. I can’t take part in it anymore.”

    Rob looked at him with unprecedented coldness. “Traitor,” he then growled and took out one of his own Pokéballs. “Kabutops, kill him!”

    The words came like searing pain as Kabutops materialized on the floor, looking at his trainer with a puzzled expression.

    Razor slowly positioned himself to fight for his life. “What happened to the Rob I knew?” he asked quietly.

    Rob never replied to that.

    “Kabutops, attack him with Ancientpower!” he barked.

    “I… I’m not going to kill him…” Kabutops said unsurely. “He’s my friend…”

    “Are you with me or with him?” Rob asked, narrowing his eyes as Kabutops looked at Razor in confusion.

    But he never had to answer that question, because all of a sudden a loud clattering echoed through the room as the grid covering the nonfunctional air vent in the top corner of the room dropped to the floor. A metallic cry filled the room as a large steel vulture materialized in the air and the blue-haired girl that they had seen with the boy earlier crawled out of the pipe, jumping onto the Pokémon’s back.

    “May!” the boy blurted out in relief.

    “All right, game over!” the girl shouted, jumping off her Skarmory as he landed, rather clumsily, on the floor. “Give Mark his Pokémon or we’ll have to take them by force!” Looking at the boy, she quickly added, “Sorry I didn’t come down earlier! I just thought that Scyther might… do something.”

    Rob stared at the girl who had just entered so dramatically for a second, and then threw all four of his remaining Pokéballs out with a roar of anger. “Kill them! All except the boy!” he snarled. “Make sure they can’t exit the arena!”

    May threw four Pokéballs as well, her eyes wide. “Defend us! Don’t get yourselves killed! And that Scyther is with us!”

    All of Rob’s Pokémon seemed a bit doubtful at this turn of events except one. It came as no surprise to Razor when Fangcat approached him with a low growl.

    “I’ll handle her,” he said to May’s terrified Pokémon. “Don’t hurt the others too much, all right?”

    “What levels are they, Scyther?” May shouted as Rob’s Pokémon prepared to attack hers.

    “Forties,” Razor replied shortly, still looking at Fangcat, who was circling him dangerously. Out of the corner of his eye, the boy’s horrified expression told him that May’s Pokémon were hardly anywhere close to the forties yet.

    As a chaotic battle ensued all around them, he focused on the saber-toothed feline circling him like tasty prey. He raised his scythes and tuned his senses, trying to eliminate all the distractions of his surroundings from his brain.

    Fangcat jumped.

    Razor saw no better option than to quickly kick himself off into the air and fly upwards. He felt the claws on his feet stroke Fangcat’s forehead as she barely missed him; he looked down to see that she was already back in the air for another pounce.

    It was unexpected, and she managed to reach him with her front paws. Hard, sharp claws tore painfully across Razor’s back and ripped into his wings. He half-crashed, but managed to pull himself up again as Fangcat prepared for yet another jump with an intimidating growl. His wing muscles were tired already.

    This time, Fangcat jumped at him from the front.

    She managed to slice her claws into Razor’s shoulders, sending them both crashing towards the ground. He roared in pain as her claws pierced through his exoskeleton, but slashed at her as well as he could with her positioned the way she was – he managed to tear considerably into her sides, but got no decent angle to inflict fatal wounds from. But he wasn’t sure if he’d have killed her if he had been able to.

    Then, just as she was about to crash into the ground on her back, she prepared her fangs to strike.

    Unexpectedly, without warning, she stabbed one of them into his torso.

    He writhed in pain as he felt the long fang run him all the way through and burst through his exoskeleton on the other side, just as her head crashed into the floor and she was knocked out cold.

    “Fangcat, return!” he heard Rob shout. The feline dissolved into red energy, which only amplified the pain as the fang was no more and he was instead left with a wide hole all the way through his upper body.

    Razor gasped for breath, rolling over onto his back, but realized with an ironic, wheezy chuckle there was nothing that could save him now.

    He used his last powers to close his eyes before allowing himself to slip into the warm embrace of death.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 7th January 2007 at 04:45 PM.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Scyther's Story (Death is not to be feared), NaNoWriMo 2006

    It's Part VII time! This is the final part, so yes, the fic is over after it. It's only one chapter, as I've said before, so it's very short. To know what happened after that, you need to read The Quest for the Legends if you haven't already. Now, because it's the final part, I would like to encourage everyone who has been closet reading to come out and comment. It doesn't matter if you can't think of anything interesting to say. Just say something, anything, about how you thought I pulled it off, any questions or concerns you have, pointing out something wrong or confusing or badly worded, anything. It being finished doesn't mean I don't want to hear how it could be improved. You know how I am with rewriting.



    It is such a shame when the young die…

    Especially when one knows that when it comes right down to it, it is one’s own fault.

    It was such a beautiful voice. He wanted to listen to it speak forever.

    Razor was vaguely aware of himself, but he couldn’t sense anything. There was only the voice in its heavenly beauty, existing somewhere inside his mind.

    He felt so comfortable, so hazy. If this was death, he should have committed suicide long ago…

    Your life was meant to be longer…

    The voice…

    It was so beautiful…

    He realized he was hearing something else now, truly hearing it, not in his mind like the voice. It became clearer with every passing moment.

    It was Rob, and he was weeping.

    Razor wanted to talk to him, comfort him, but he didn’t know where he was.

    He felt cold air. He smelled sweat and blood. He felt a sharp sting of pain in his torso.

    He gasped for breath, opening his eyes. He found air.

    He could breathe again.

    The world spun around before his eyes before clicking back into place. He was in the Gym. He was alive.

    “I’m back…” he whispered hoarsely and looked at his upper body. There was no sign of a wound anymore.

    He crawled to his feet and looked around.

    The window was broken. Shards of glass littered the floor below it.

    All the Pokémon, in the middle of battle, had stopped dead to stare at one thing, which Razor looked at as well, tracing their gazes to a couple of meters above him.

    Floating there in the air was a pink, plain-looking Pokémon with a small, furred body, stubby triangular ears, a long, narrow tail and deep, sapphire blue eyes.

    It was Mew.

    And Rob was watching it from the other end of the room, stunned in disbelief, his eyes filled with tears. Lying on the floor around him, Razor could see the broken remains of his Pokéball.

    Everything began to piece itself together now in Razor’s mind… he had died, Rob had regretted ordering him killed, broken his Pokéball in remorse, and then, inexplicably, Mew had arrived and given him a second chance…

    “He knows nothing that is of any worth to you,” said the beautiful voice to Rob, and Razor realized it was Mew’s. “I am never for long in the same place, as you should know! Let him go and return his Pokémon. In return, they will not report you to the human authorities.”

    Rob dropped to his knees, looking as if he was about to burst into tears again, the boy’s Pokéballs falling out of his hand and rolling around the floor.

    “As for me…” Mew continued with a playful twinkle in its eyes, “catch me if you can.”

    The legendary’s sapphire blue eyes looked meaningfully at Rob before it vanished into thin air.

    Rob’s gaze turned to Razor.

    “Scyther…” he breathed weakly. “You must help me get Mew now…”

    Razor looked at him, that pitiful victim of irrational obsession, and could only shake his head.

    “You’ve changed,” he said softly. “With Mew around, you’re not the Rob I’m willing to fight for. Your obsession poisons your mind. I could stay with you if you gave up on Mew, but you won’t. I can’t stand this.”

    Rob looked at him, the understanding that Razor had always linked to him returning to his eyes. The man sighed and looked down. Neither of them noticed the two children make for the exit with the boy’s Pokéballs.

    “No,” he replied quietly. “You’re right. I’m pretty fucked up, you know? I have to search for Mew. I can’t live without it, any more than you could live without chasing your Nightmare if she were a Scyther again. I’m sorry.”

    “Then I wish you the best of luck,” Razor said, hearing his voice tremble. “Goodbye, Rob. We might see each other again one day.”

    “Goodbye, Scyther,” Rob whispered. “I hope your life changes for the better.”

    Razor glanced at his trainer with grief for the last time before bitterly forcing his gaze away. He took flight again on his recovered wings and buzzed out towards freedom through the broken glass.

    He flew at the highest speed he could muster over the city, overcome with grief. He eyed Rainbow Woods on one side and tall mountains on the other. What would he do now? Where would he go? What was there for him out there? Where was Nightmare now?

    The last question pained him. He slowed down and finally landed on the flat rooftop of a tall building to sit down and think about what to do now.

    What was there for him out there, indeed? He was a failure as a Scyther. He could never return to the swarm. Nightmare was already coming back to plague his thoughts.

    Death had been so comfortable…

    He realized that the only thing that had given him purpose for the past three years was Rob, battling for him, doing his best for him. Without a trainer, he had nothing to live for.

    He looked down at the city. He saw the Pokémon Center, and two familiar children approaching it in a hurry.

    Mark, she had called the boy, hadn’t she?

    Razor thought back to the conscience question and chuckled. He hadn’t seemed too bad.

    The Scyther stood up, feeling the cool wind stroke his body. He walked slowly to the very edge of the roof and looked down at the street below – and the Pokémon Center at the other end of that very street.

    Smiling to himself, he took a deep breath, prepared his wings for fast, straight flight, and jumped.
    The Quest for the Legends

    Chapter seventy-seven, THE END, up!

    Also check out the spin-off, Scyther's Story, as well as its sequel, The Fall of a Leader.

    Winner of six 2008 Silver Pencils, including Best Fiction Overall and Best Plot
    Now concluded with chapter fourteen!

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