Pokémon PI (Part 4 of 5)

This is a fanfiction. Pokémon is the intellectual property of Gamefreak. I am simply writing an original story in their world.

This fanfiction is rated PG-13 for mild language, frightening imagery, and scenes of violence.

I hate unsolved puzzles.

As a little girl, I did a lot of puzzles to pass the time. I would sit down and methodically put together the border before working to the center, just like my parents taught me. This method of puzzle-solving worked well for me until the day I lost a puzzle piece. I turned the entire house upside-down to find that one piece. Tables were overturned, drawers were emptied, and I even interrogated my parents. Had we had visitors? Would those visitors take my puzzle piece? Despite my best efforts, I never found it, and I cried. A few days later, I tried to search again. I was determined not to let the puzzle go unsolved.

Today, I’m doing the same thing. Crying is out of the question, of course. But I will overturn everything that I have to in order to find the real truth of this case.

Narcissa was not kidnapped by the gothorita. I know that for certain. I still have no idea what “violet eyes” means, but the fact that both the psychic and Sissi referenced them in that same way means something. I am determined to find out what.

Lee isn’t so convinced.

“Milli,” he says, “you just have to accept that I win this round. Making up some crazy conspiracy theory isn’t going to suddenly reopen the case.”

“Lee, you know that I’m always the first person to doubt the supernatural element in a case,” I remind him. “As many paranormal things as I have seen, I always dismiss them until they are the last possible option. It’s the only way not to see ghosts around every corner. But I’m having a very hard time of finding a non-supernatural explanation for what’s taken place here.”

Lee shakes his head. “There is no non-supernatural explanation. The one we have just isn’t satisfying to you.”

We’re standing outside of Cora’s house as we argue. Ebony and Slim are standing to the side, the massive pangoro staying distant and disinterested as per usual. Ebony is pawing the ground and her eyes look eager, as if she wants to jump into the conversation. She has seen the same things I have, and she wants to back me up, to show that I’m not just trying to sensationalize. Inside, Cora and Sissi are baking. The young girl wanted cookies after her ordeal, and her mother was happy to oblige.

“Why don’t we talk to Narcissa a little more?” I suggest. “She’s feeling better now and she might have some valuable information for us.”

“Sure,” said Lee, scoffing. “Let’s listen to her talk about violet eyes again. I’m sure this time it will actually mean something.”

We head inside and join the family in the kitchen. The cookies are done and Narcissa is happily munching on one. She’s sitting on Cora’s lap, wearing pajamas now instead of the pink dress covered in bows. They’re pikachu pajamas, the yellow electric Pokémon smiling all over them. I’ve never understood the pikachu fad, but kids everywhere love these silly things. Cora had changed out of her cocktail dress for the search, now wearing jeans and a navy sweater. Her makeup is more conservative, and she looks much better now that she’s not trying to paint herself up for Detective Lee.

“Hello, Detectives,” she smiles. “I have to thank you both. Lee for finding my daughter, and Milli for stopping my kidnapper. Later when Sissi is in bed we can discuss your fees, but for now I would be honored if you’d spend the rest of the evening with us.”

“Of course, Cora,” Lee says. “We’d love to stay.”

I take a seat next to Narcissa and her mother. I look at Cora. “We were hoping you would let us talk to Sissi about the case now that she’s feeling better. Just to make sure we’ve tied up all the loose ends.”

Cora frowns. “I’m not sure I want to make her talk about it.”

“It’ll be quick,” I promise, “and we won’t push her out of her comfort zone.”

Narcissa is munching on another cookies, crumbs falling all over her pajamas. Lee asks the first question.

“Sissi, can you tell us one last time who or what made you go into the Winding Woods? We just need to be sure.”

She holds up a finger as she finishes chewing her cookie. Odd; most kids would just talk with their mouth full. She drinks a sip of milk and then answers. “All I saw were violet eyes. They told me to come play in the Pokémon Village.”

I jump in. “What did they tell you to play?

“Well,” Sissi begins, “they wanted me to draw and sing by the cave. So I did.”

“What did you draw? And sing?”

“Whatever they told me to,” she said. “I can’t really remember.”

“That’s okay, Sissi,” Cora said. “You don’t have to remember what that monster asked you to do.”

I interrupt her. “Are you certain you didn’t see any Pokémon? One that looks like a little girl with a pretty dress and bows?”

“I didn’t see that,” Narcissa answered. “I saw some fletchling and furfrou out in Pokémon Village.”

I nod at that. “Okay, that’s going to be it for now. Lee, can I please talk to you outside?”

He sighs and makes a great show of standing up from his chair. As we leave the kitchen, one last question pops into my head. I take out my Pokédex and bring up a recent entry: the gengar I faced the other day. I show the picture to Narcissa.

“Sissi, can you tell me what color this is?”

She smiles and answers instantly. “Purple.”

“Thank you.”

Lee and I walk outside to rejoin our Pokémon. Ebony happily walks over to me and rubs against my legs. I bend down to pet her as I speak to Lee.

“Did you hear that, Lee? She said purple. Every little kid says purple. So why would she call the eyes that led her out violet eyes?”

Lee shrugs. “Maybe it’s a different color. Maybe the eyes she’s seeing are a different color of purple and she calls that color violet. Gengar is a pretty dark Pokémon.”

I shake my head. “We haven’t gotten to discuss this, but I talked to the psychic who warned Cora that Narcissa would disappear. He said that violet eyes told him that they would take her away. Just the same way Sissi is saying it. Violet eyes. That can’t be a coincidence.”

“Maybe not,” says Lee, “but an attack by a gothorita still explains everything perfectly.”

“Except for the fact that gothorita has blue eyes!” I remind him. “There’s no way that little girl can’t tell blue from purple. Gothorita did not kidnap her.”

“Then tell me this,” Lee says. “If that gothorita didn’t kidnap Sissi, then why did it attack you in the woods? If you’re right and something else is responsible, then that Pokémon would have no reason to be aggressive towards you.”

I balk at his question. It’s crossed my mind as well, but at this point I don’t have any good explanation. He smirks at his apparent triumph.

I sigh as I begin speaking again. “Look, I don’t have an explanation for that yet. But can’t you at least see that there are holes in this story? That pieces don’t add up? Surely that plants a seed of doubt that there are still things about this case that we don’t know.”

“I don’t expect every detail to fall perfectly into place,” Lee shrugs. “Life is messy and sometimes things don’t make perfect sense. But that little girl is home safe and you defeated the Pokémon responsible. Let’s both take credit where it’s due, get paid, and then go on with our lives.”

As we’re talking, someone comes up behind us. Ebony turns to regard the person but does not go on the alert, so there’s no need to feel threatened. I turn to see who it is. The person is a teenage girl with long dark hair and dark clothes. She’s clutching a book to her chest and mostly looking down. She’s walking straight towards us, and I suddenly realize who she is.

“Branwen,” I say. “We haven’t met yet. I’m Detective Milli, and this is Detective Lee. We just brought your sister home.”

“That’s good,” Branwen mumbles. “Care to let me inside? It’s cold.”

I nod. “Been hanging out with your friends?”

Branwen laughs at that. “I don’t have any friends.” With that, she heads inside. Her words get me thinking.

After the door closes, Lee notices my expression and fakes a dramatic gasp. “Cora told us that she has lots of friends. That must mean that Branwen is the kidnapper! Or Cora is. I’m not sure how your mind works, to be frank.”

I frown. “It doesn’t mean anything for the case. It just means that Branwen’s own mother doesn’t know her.”

I motion for Ebony to follow me and head inside the house. I walk up the short staircase in the living room to head upstairs. The room shared by Branwen and Narcissa is on the right. I knock on the door.

“Branwen? This is Milli. Do you care if I come in and talk to you for a few minutes?”

“Come in.”

I open the door. The room is very clearly divided into each sister’s side. Branwen’s side is dark, her bed a massive pile of black sheets and blankets. Books are lying open everywhere, along with crumpled sheets of paper that either contain failed attempts at writing or drawing. Narcissa’s side is full of dolls and dollhouses. The little girls made of cloth or china all stare at me with empty black eyes, and I shiver. Dolls disturb me.

“Creeps me out too,” Branwen says, noticing my discomfort. “So you need to talk about the case or something?”

I motion towards her bed, asking to sit down. She nods and I join her, Ebony leaping up into my lap and settling in.

“That’s a cool Pokémon,” Branwen says. “Umbreon, right? What’s her name?”

“Ebony,” I answer. “We’ve been friends since I was your sister’s age.”

“I wish I had a Pokémon,” she frowns. “But my mom doesn’t really want them around. Says they’re messy and dangerous.”

“You can pet her if you like,” I offer. Branwen carefully reaches her hand towards Ebony’s head. The umbreon leans into the motion as the girl pets her head, her rings glowing softly with pleasure. Branwen smiles and continues to pet Ebony for a few minutes.

“So are they poems or sketches?” I ask, looking at the crumpled papers.

“Dreams,” Branwen answers. “I’ve been trying to keep a dream journal, but when I write them down…well, I just get gibberish. I guess I’m too tired in the mornings to write anything clear.”

“May I?”

Branwen nods. I pick up one of the papers and open it up. What I find is worse than gibberish. It’s not even in a recognizable language. However, the designs look too organized to be random pen scratches made in the dark by a half-sleeping girl. They look like runes, the kind of arcane symbols you’d see on a magician’s book in a movie. I’m unable to make anything of them, so I sit the paper down.

“So did you really not notice anything the night your sister disappeared?” I ask.

Branwen shakes her head and frowns. “No. I feel awful about it. But she left so quietly, and she even managed to shut the window so the cold wouldn’t get in. At least, I guess she went out the window. No way she could walk downstairs with Mom awake.”

“I don’t know,” I say. “You’re mother doesn’t notice very much.”

Branwen gives a quiet nod. “She’s a little self-centered, I guess.”

“So if you’re not out with friends, what have you been doing during the nights?”

She withdraws her hand from Ebony and becomes silent. Ebony steps out of my lap and places a careful paw on Branwen’s leg. When the girl looks up, she’s crying. I reach into my coat and pull out a small pack of tissues. She takes it and opens it up, blowing her nose and then freeing one hand to wipe the tears from her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m just…Mom never even asks me, you know? It’s like you’re the first person I’ve talked to since…”

“Since your father.”

She nods. I put a careful hand on her shoulder and rub it reassuringly.

“I understand how you feel. How when you lose one parent, it seems like the other one is gone too. They’re consumed by grief right when you need them the most.”

Branwen keeps crying, and I let her. She needs to let it out.

“I don’t even know what happened to him, not really,” she says. “I just came home one day from school and my mom was crying at the kitchen table. She said Dad had an accident at work, and that he was gone. We’d never see him again. All of a sudden I didn’t have a dad. There was no warning, you know? He wasn’t sick, he was just gone. And you’d think Mom would be the one person who could understand what I was going through, but…”

“I know,” I tell her. “When a spouse dies, your child can be the biggest reminder of what you’ve lost. And some people can’t stand to be reminded.”

“Yeah,” Branwen nodded. Suddenly, I feel an itch on the back of my head. Branwen is looking at me quizzically, and then she asks: “which parent was it?”

I wait a long time before I answer.

“My mother,” I say. “I lost my mother.”

We’re silent for quite some time after that. I finally break the silence with a question.

“Branwen, are you psychic?”

She blushes. “You could tell? I didn’t mean to pry. Most of the time…most of the time it’s an accident. I can’t really control it.”

“You did it right,” I offer. “I’m just a hard egg to crack. Are you self-taught?”

“Yeah,” she says. “You asked what I do at night? I’ve been doing research. Trying to learn more about what I can do, and investigating…some of the things I’ve seen.”

A notion is beginning to form in my mind. I’m starting to see the beginnings of a connection, but I need a lot more information to work with. “What kinds of things? What have you seen, Branwen?”

She shifts uncomfortably. “I see…well, I see eyes. They’re watching me. Watching the whole city. And the forest, too. And whoever those eyes belong to is a powerful psychic. I can feel his mind everywhere.”

I can barely contain myself. “What color are those eyes, Branwen? What do they tell you to do?”

My questions are starting to make her uncomfortable. “They’re violet. Violet eyes. As far as what they want, I…I don’t really know. I’m sorry.”

She’s clearly disturbed now, and I realize that I need a different approach. “It’s okay, Branwen. I’m sorry for pressing you so hard. But the things you know might be important to your sister’s case. Did you know that she sees violet eyes too?”

“She does?” Branwen asks, amazed. “No, I had no idea. I guess it makes sense that we’d both be sensitive to psychic energy, though. It can be trained, but the natural talent for it is genetic.”

That stops me in my tracks. “Is your mother a psychic?”

“No. But my dad was pretty sensitive. Just before he died he was talking about training me. He said that it’s important to know how to use our gift. That all minds are connected in a psychic maelstrom, even the minds that have left this world. He said that if we can’t control our powers, we might connect to minds that are dangerous.”

There it is. The puzzle piece.

“He called it a psychic maelstrom?” I ask. “Those were his words?”

“Yeah,” she says. “I’ve never read it anywhere else during all my research.”

My mind goes back to my encounter with the psychic in the abandoned house. To his final words when he slit his throat.

‘My mind must join the maelstrom.’

Branwen’s father didn’t disappear because he died. He disappeared because he snapped.

I wonder if Cora knew.

Now I have everything. Branwen and Narcissa are sensitive to psychic energy – to the psychic maelstrom – because they inherited the potential from their father. There’s an intellect in that torrent of minds that has zeroed-in on this family, that is trying to reach out to them. The mind behind the violet eyes. I know the how now. All I need is who. And why.

“I just have one more question, Branwen. In all your research, surely you investigated the violet eyes. Do you have any theories at all? Any idea who they could be?”

She nods carefully. “Yeah. I read something tonight that got me thinking. An old legend about Snowbelle City that I had completely forgotten about.”

Branwen begins petting Ebony, the Pokémon crawling into her lap and curling up. Her presence seems to give the girl comfort, and she begins her story.

“According to legend, all Pokémon have one genetic ancestor. A single Pokémon that spawned all the rest. One day, humanity stumbled upon that creature. They could capture it, but they managed to capture a small sample of its DNA. The medical applications of such a sample were limitless. If the Pokémon’s cells could be cloned, cells with the genetic potential to become anything – we’re talking cures for cancer, perfect replacement organs, extended lifespans, everything. A golden age for humanity. Unfortunately, the cloning process went awry, and instead a whole new Pokémon was born.”

I’m familiar with the legend she’s speaking of. I speak the creature’s name.

Mewtwo.”

She nods. “The clone was imperfect and very violent. Tales of his psychic power say that he could rip entire cities off of their foundation and smash them into rubble in the skies. He can read any mind, bend the elements themselves to his will. All attempts to stop it ended in failure, save one.”

“A group of hex maniacs gathered together and devised a ritual. The ritual would seal Mewtwo away so he wouldn’t be able to harm the world any more. But the cost would be high, as all of the hex maniacs would be sacrificing their lives to make the ritual succeed. And there was always the risk that the seal might be undone. Despite that, they performed the ritual and sealed Mewtwo away in a cave.”

“That cave is the one in the Pokémon Village.”

The puzzle is done. If Branwen’s right and the violet eyes are Mewtwo, I already know the rest of this story. I know why Narcissa went to the village, I know what she did there, and I know that this case is about to take a very dark turn.

“Branwen, do you know how to break the seal?”

She frowns. “According to the legend, you have to perform the ritual again. But breaking the seal doesn’t need as much power as forming it. The breaking ritual only requires three people. Three to write out the words in the arcane tongue, two to speak the ritual aloud, and one to make the ultimate blood sacrifice.”

My mind is racing now. There were so many factors and coincidences that had to add up. Was the psychic writing the ritual when he was drawing in his saliva? Had Branwen unwittingly spoken the words aloud while Narcissa sang them to herself at the cave? Did everything have to happen at the same time, or could the ritual be staggered over a twenty-four hour period?

Is Mewtwo truly free?

I reach over to the floor and grab up one of Branwen’s crumpled papers. Rushing down the stairs, I arrive in the kitchen. Lee, Cora, and Sissi all jump in surprise. Branwen thunders down the stairs after me. I unfold her paper and sit it on the table in front of Narcissa.

“Is this the picture that the violet eyes asked you to draw?”

Narcissa smiled and nodded.

“Yes, that’s the one! I drew the picture and sang the song just like the eyes said.”

Branwen gasps behind me. “You don’t think?”

I sigh and look at her.

“I don’t think. I know. Mewtwo has been freed.”

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