Fluttershy's heart pounded in her chest as Leon fiddled with his Pokéball. Okay Fluttershy, calm down. Just believe in yourself, she thought. Understanding all kinds of creatures is your special talent! I’m sure Pokémon aren’t any different from the animals back home. Just trust yourself and everything’ll be fine...
“Alright Cynders, let’s see what you actually have to say,” Leon said, pressing the button on the red-white capsule. A white light beamed from it to the floor, materializing into the familiar blue-yellow animal Fluttershy had come to know as “Cynders”.
He looked around his new environment, and yawned. “La?” he said lazily.
“Hey buddy. Take a power nap?” Leon asked.
“Va!” Cynders said, shaking his head in annoyance.
Leon arched an eyebrow, smirking. “Oh really?”
Cynders looked away. “V-va,” he said, resisting the urge to burst out in a sheepish smile.
Leon continued to stare his companion down, then chuckled. Cynders stared back at him, then joined him. The two both shared a laugh, both oblivious to Fluttershy’s inner turmoil. “Okay Fluttershy, you ready?” Leon asked. Getting nothing in response, he turned around to see Fluttershy lost in thought. “Fluttershy?" He waved his hand in front of her. "Hellooo?”
Fluttershy blinked. “Hm?” She said. “Huh? Oh! I-I’m sorry Leon, I got lost in thought. What was it you said?”
“Heh, no worries. I asked if you’re ready. Me and Cynders just got finished with our little ‘chat’,” he said, smiling.
“Chat? Like, talking to each other?”
“Sure. At least, as close as talking to each other can get. I’m Cynders' trainer, after all. See, trainers and their Pokémon tend to share a special kind of connection that lets them communicate on a different level than just normal speech. At least, that’s what I’ve always been told, and now that I have one, I’m starting to learn first-hand what they mean.” Leon explained.
“Oh. So you can’t actually talk to each other?” Fluttershy asked.
Leon shook his head. “No, not really. I wish, though. It’d be awesome to know exactly what my Pokémon were saying. Speaking of which, we gotta see if you can do just that!” he said.
“R-right…” Swallowing her anxiety down, she spoke, “Okay, let’s get this over with.”
“Okay! Hey Cynders, you mind helping us test something out?” Leon asked.
“La?” Cynders asked, tilting his head.
“Well, you see, our new friend Fluttershy says she’s not from around here. She’s apparently from a far-away region called, um… Equestria!” he shouted, snapping his fingers. “Equestria, right?” Leon asked, turning to Fluttershy.
Fluttershy nodded. “Mm hm.”
“Yes,” he whispered. “Anyway, she says she’s not human either, and that she’s actually a pegasus pony from, uh… Ponyville?” he asked. Fluttershy nodded again. “Yeah, Ponyville. Anyways, she says that she has some kind of special talent, which is being able to communicate with animals and, if this works, Pokémon! I’m not gonna believe it till I see it, so could you help prove if it’s true?” he asked.
Cynders tilted his head in confusion. “...La?” he said.
Leon grinned. “Knew you’d wanna help! ‘Kay Flutters, he’s ready!”
“O-oh,” she said shakily. “Good…” C'mon Fluttershy, get ahold of yourself, she thought. It's best to face this now... E-even if you don't want to… She breathed, trying her best to maintain a calm state. “Well, l-let’s get this over with.”
“Right. ‘Kay Cynders, Fluttershy wants to talk to you now. Be polite,” he said in a playful tone.
“Laaaaa…” Cynders said dumbly. He was still trying to process Leon’s explanation of Fluttershy’s past.
Fluttershy cleared her throat and, kneeling down to greet Cynders, said, “Um, hello. As you may know, I’m Fluttershy. So you’re Cynders? You’re awfully cute.”
“...” Cynders stared at her. “Laa!” he suddenly said, smiling at Fluttershy, only to her, it sounded like a “Thanks!”
Fluttershy blinked at this. She suddenly realized just what had happened, and silently said, “...I heard him.”
“Huh?” Leon asked.
“I heard him,” she said, louder. “I heard him! He said ‘Thanks!’. Leon, I heard him!” she gleefully shouted.
Leon arched an eyebrow, and said, “Sorry to say, Fluttershy, but it's gonna take more than "hearing" a thanks to show me proof that you can understand him. I'm not trying to sound mean or anything. It's just that, well, "thanks" isn't that hard to interpret from Pokémon.”
“O-oh…” Fluttershy muttered, her newfound joy diminishing at his words. Quickly recovering, she nodded, saying, “Right! Well, let’s see… Um, Cynders?”
“Yeah?” Cynders said.
Fluttershy stared at him. Haah… Haah… I DID HEAR HIM! No, focus! She shook her head, and said, “Cynders, Leon wants me to ask you something. As you may know, you two have been doing your best to train to beat Whitney, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough, you know?”
“Oh, yeah…” he said, beginning to sulk.
“Hey, I wanted you to talk to him, not make him depressed!” Leon said.
“O-oh my goodness, I’m so sorry!” Fluttershy said. “Cynders, I didn’t mean to make you upset! What I’m trying to say is, Leon is trying his hardest to figure out a way to beat Whitney, and he wanted me to ask what you think should be done about this!”
“Ask me? Why? Even if I told him what I think we should do—which in my honest opinion isn’t that different from what we’re doing now—he can't understand me. Wait, why am I saying all of this? Not even you can understand this...” he said , staring at the ground.
Fluttershy stared at Cynders for a while, then smiled. “But Cynders, I can understand you!” she said, softly touching his head.
“...What?” He said, looking up. “What!? Y-you heard me? You know what I said?” Cynders asked, shocked.
“Of course! It’s my special talent,” she said, still smiling.
Leon stared at Fluttershy. “What?”
“Hm? Oh, Cynders was just wondering how I could understand him.” Fluttershy said, beaming with joy. It worked! It really did work!
“You know what Cynders said, huh?” Leon stretched his arms behind his head. “So what’d he tell you about the situation with Whitney?” he asked.
“Oh, well he said his ideas of what you two should do aren’t that different from what you’re doing right now.”
Leon let out a long sigh, “Of course he did.” Fluttershy frowned. Noticing, Leon went on, saying, “Look, no offense, but that’s not a lot to go by. I mean, anyone could say that about what a Pokémon said to them, but you need to show me real proof that Cynders just talked to you.”
“Oh…” Fluttershy looked down, once again deflating from Leon’s disbelief.
“But I did just talk to her! I still don’t know how, but I did!” Fluttershy looked to see Cynders standing up for her, ‘talking’ to Leon.
“Cynders, what’s wrong?” To Fluttershy, it looked like Cynders was trying to convince Leon of the truth. To Leon, though, it seemed like Cynders was yipping nonsense at him.
“Leon, please, you have to believe her!”
Fluttershy stared at Cynders, and smiled. “He’s saying you have to believe me.”
Leon looked at Fluttershy, then back at Cynders, still standing by her side. Contemplating what was happening, he asked, “Is that really what you’re trying to say?”
“La!” Cynders said, nodding.
Leon was confused for a moment, then shook his head. “Alright, I know for a fact I just saw you nod your head, but I’m still not entirely convinced. So,” he said, staring at Fluttershy, “Imma ask you something that only Cynders would know, and you’re gonna have to ask him what the answer is. Makes sense, doesn’t it?”
“Oh. Yeah, I guess that’s a good way to prove that I can hear him.”
"Alright then." Leon folded his arms, and asked, "What's the first Pokémon that we caught, and where did we catch it?"
Fluttershy tilted her head, turning to Cynders. "So um, what Pokémon would that be?"
Cynders smirked. "That's easy. It was Sentret. We caught her on the first route outside of New Bark Town."
Fluttershy smiled, and repeated, "He says that she was a Sentret and that she was caught outside of New Bark Town."
Leon's arms fell to his side. "No way..." he muttered.
"Yes way!" Cynders shouted. Fluttershy giggled.
Leon stared at Cynders for a moment, then let out a laugh. “You did not just tell her that.”
Fluttershy smiled and nodded. "He did."
He let out another laugh. “No way.” He scoffed. “This is unbelievable. Cynders, tell me she’s lying!” he shouted, still laughing.
Cynders shook his head. “Va.”
Leon laughed again, then went wide-eyed. Shaking his head, he said, “Oh man, I owe you an apology, Fluttershy. I never would’ve imagined that there’d be someone in the world who was able to communicate with Pokémon, let alone someone I’d meet on my travels! I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you. But…” he said, trailing off. He chuckled softly, and continued, “I mean… it’s just… unbelievable, you know? Look, I’m gonna be honest with you. When I first met you, and when you told me your story, I thought you were either crazy or suffering from amnesia and became delusional.”
Fluttershy grew confused. “What?”
“Hear me out!” Leon said, waving his hands. "I mean, think about it. I just stumble across a girl who’s much older than I am, and who knows absolutely nothing about Pokémon. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? Not to mention one of the first things you told me was that you used to be a pony. Am I supposed to believe that just because someone says it’s true? I mean, would you believe someone if they knew nothing of the world they were in?” he asked.
“I… guess not. No.” Fluttershy said.
“See? But now, I mean, now. Now!” he said, laughing. “You and Cynders just showed me actual proof that what you say is true… which brings me to this next thing. If everything you told me is true, then how did you get here?” he asked. “I mean, things are pretty different back in Equestria, aren’t they? How the residents are ponies and don’t have a clue what Pokémon are? I know for a fact that kind of place doesn’t exist anywhere on this world. So that means you came from another world. So my question is, how’d you manage to travel to a different world, pony-girl?”
Fluttershy began to remember everything before her black-out. “...Discord.”
“Discord? Isn’t that, like, when there’s a lack of harmony in something?” Leon asked.
“No. Actually, yes. Well, sort of.”
“I’m sorry?” Leon asked, confused.
“Well you see, Discord isn’t really a thing. I mean, he kind of is, but—”
“He?! Weren't we talking about Discord?”
“Well, we are but—” Fluttershy sighed. “It’s kind of a long story.”
“I’m listening. Honestly, now that we’ve justified that you’re not from around here, to put it modestly, there’s a lot I want to listen to. I’ve told you about the world of Pokémon. Now it’s your turn to tell me about the world of Equestria. Go ahead, tell me everything!” Leon said eagerly.
“O-oh, okay then.” Fluttershy said, a small smile displayed on her face. “Let’s see,” she began, “back in Equestria, ponies live in perfect harmony.” Most of the time, she thought, recalling countless feuds between the residents of Ponyville. “Through harmony, we discover the magic and power of friendship in our everyday lives.”
Leon immediately regretted his decision. This is so… girly, he thought. I thought she would tell me about some amazing adventures that she had back in Equestria! Not the magic and power of friendship. Guh, what did I get myself into?
Fluttershy went on, “With the power of friendship, my five closest friends and I were able to unlock and wield powerful magical artifacts called the Elements of Harmony.”
“Elements of Harmony, huh? So how do they work?” Leon asked, now more interested in Fluttershy’s story.
“Well, each of my friends and I are tied to one of the Elements, and when we join together in harmony, the Elements release powerful magic that… does a lot of different things, actually. But I think their main purpose is to defeat the evil forces that exist in Equestria.”
“Evil forces? I thought a land that’s all about friendship would’ve been peaceful."
"Well, not always.There are many malevolent or dangerous things in Equestria. They could be on a minor scale, like parasprites or timberwolves. Then there are those that get more serious, like runaway clones, ursa minors, dragons, hydras, and so on.” Fluttershy explained.
“Waitwaitwait—the dragons I can understand, but hydras?! Clones?!” Leon said, shocked.
“Well, yes, we’ve had experiences with them, but they’re not really much compared to the threats that have appeared and put the nation in danger.”
“Wait, there’s even worse? You’re kidding!”
“Not exactly. There have been a number of times when something appeared that was capable of putting several innocent lives in danger.” Fluttershy thought for a moment, and said, “There was the Summer Sun Celebration, where an evil mare named Nightmare Moon planned to plunge Equestria into an eternal night. She was actually Princess Luna, the ruler of the moon, who was transformed into an evil shell of herself from her feelings of hatred and jealousy toward her sister.”
Leon was baffled. “But I don’t… I just… What?!”
Fluttershy didn’t notice, and instead kept thinking. “Hm, what else? Oh! There was also the invasion of Canterlot, where the changeling army, along with their ruler, Queen Chrysalis, planned to overthrow the capitol and take over Equestria. The changelings resembled ponies, but had more insect-like features, and could also change their forms to impersonate ponies and feed off of the love they got from others.”
“Love-stealing shapeshifters." Leon said blankly.
“There was also King Sombra. He was a tyrant who used to rule the crystal ponies with an iron hoof. I don’t really know much about him, but I know that he was able to manipulate shadow crystals and was…” she gulped, “v-very terrifying up close.”
He sounds kinda boring… thought Leon.
“Oh, and remember how I said ‘things’ earlier? It wasn’t just because the enemies we’ve faced were several different species. Some of them were actually things! Most recently, there was the Attack of the Everfree Forest. It must sound weird at first, but the forest actually started to—”
“Fluttershy, at this point, nothing sounds weird. Believe me.”
Fluttershy stared blankly for a moment, then giggled. “I guess you’re right.” Suddenly, she gasped, realizing what had just happened. “Oh my goodness, I completely forgot!”
“Huh?” Leon said, puzzled.
“I only meant to tell you about one or two villains back in Equestria, not of all of them. Actually, I really only meant to tell you of one particular villain. Well… I don’t know if he’s a villain anymore.” Fluttershy said, a strange feeling flowing through her. Betrayal, maybe? Regret? Confusion? She couldn’t tell.
“Well, what do you mean by that?” Leon asked.
“Well, you see, he was definitely a villain at some point in time. But after a series of events, at the request of Princess Celestia, I had to find a way to reform him. It took a while, but I managed to do it and show him what it felt like to have a friend,” she explained.
“Uh huh. And I’m assuming ‘he’ is Discord?” Leon asked.
Fluttershy nodded. “Mm hm. And the thing about Discord..." She thought for a moment before continuing. "Well, like I said, he used to be a villain. Long ago, our rulers in Equestria, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, used to be miserable, along with all of ponykind. This was because of an evil draconequus who loved chaos."
“A dragoness?! I thought Discord was a guy!”
“Huh?!” Fluttershy quickly realized the confusion, and shook her head. “Nonono, a draconequus. It’s a mythical creature with the head of a pony and a body made of all sorts of animal body parts.”
“Ooooohhhh… Huh. Well, what is Discord made out of?”
“Oh, well, let’s see... He has a lion's forearm and eagle claw in place of his arms. For legs he has that of goat's and lizard's. He also has wings, one bat, one pegasus. His head, like I said before, resembles a pony's, and it has a deer antler and goat horn. He has a beard and hairy eyebrows, and his eyes are different sizes. He also has a fang. He has a tail, and his body reminds you of a snake. Can you imagine all that makes up one body?" Fluttershy asked.
Leon thought about the description he was just given, and shuddered, saying, "He sounds like he makes for an interesting villain."
That's putting it lightly, she thought. “Anyways, Discord has powerful, chaotic magic. He's able to create things from virtually nothing, and he can alter the forms of other things. He can also affect your personality, turning you into a reverse form of yourself, and negate some magics. He once ruled over Equestria, moulding reality to his own twisted image. He made the land his playground, until one day when Celestia and Luna confronted him. Using the power of the Elements—which at the time were recently discovered—they trapped Discord in stone and freed Equestria.
"A thousand years later, he managed to escape his prison and tried to rule again, but thanks to my friend Twilight, he was stopped and trapped in stone again. Months later, Princess Celestia came to Ponyville with a request for me: help reform Discord so that his magic could be used for helpful purposes. I still wonder why she decided to put so much faith in me, but I'm glad she did."
"Hold on," Leon said, taking in what he just heard. "You're telling me your princess decided to put you in charge of reforming this super-powerful draconequus? And no one had a problem with that?"
Fluttershy blushed. "Actually, most of my friends didn't believe that I'd be able to reform him. To be honest, I wasn't so sure that I was capable of reforming him. But in end, I somehow managed it, and he more-or-less became a good guy. We became good friends since that time, and we’d typically spend time together whenever he wasn’t busy. But on one of those days, the last one before I came here, something was wrong with him.”
“What do you mean?”
“He seemed normal at first, but then he started spacing out, and would ask if I could feel this… energy? He called it intense and said there was a lot of it. I still don’t know what he meant by that, but after a while, we just went on with our day. We went swimming and he left to get us,” she said, looking at Angel, “some food. That’s when…” she stopped.
Leon slowly twirled his hand. “That’s when… what?”
“That’s when we saw the light.”
“That’s when you died?!” Leon yelled.
“What? No! That’s when Angel and I saw a flash of bright light in the sky. Angel insisted I go investigate, and when I did, there was a weird, blue portal in the air.”
“In the air? Like, just floating there?”
Fluttershy nodded. “I know it sounds weird, but that's what it was: some weird, floating portal with a sort of golden border around it. It flashed again, knocking Angel off of my head. That’s when it started to take us in. It was sucking Angel into, well, wherever it was, and I tried to save him, but it ended up taking us both.”
“That’s… really weird. Are you sure you weren’t just born here with the supernatural gift of talking to Pokémon?” Leon asked. Fluttershy shot him a look. “Okay, okay,” he said, raising his hands defensively. “Sorry, I’m still coping. Okay, so lemme get this straight: there’s this huge flash of light in the sky, you go check it out, there’s this weird, gold portal that, after flashing more light, just sucks you two in?” he asked.
Fluttershy nodded. “Mm hm.”
“Alright. Then what?”
“Well, when we were sucked in, we were both knocked unconscious. I don’t know how long we were out, but when I came to, there was darkness everywhere,” she said.
Leon raised an an eyebrow. “Just darkness?”
“Yes. It’s weird to describe. I could see perfectly, but everything around me was completely dark.” She thought for a moment, and said, “I guess “black” is a better term.”
“So you’re saying the hole was all black on the inside?”
“Hmm… What else?”
“Well, after I came to, I saw Angel, still knocked out. I kind of floated to him, and we stayed there like that for a while. In that time, he tried to explain to me that he saw Discord and that Discord was responsible for us being in there.”
Leon was surprised. “Discord? But I thought he was your friend. Why would he do something like that?”
Fluttershy looked at the ground. “Well…”
Leon continued, “I mean, are you sure it was him? How do you know for sure?”
She sighed, “I don’t.”
Now it was Angel’s turn to be surprised. He looked at Fluttershy. “Bun?!” he exclaimed, saying ”What?!”
"Whoa," Leon said, "Angel looks ticked."
"Fluttershy, are you kidding me?"
Surprised at his sudden outburst, Fluttershy stammered. “A-Angel, I—”
“No!” Angel yelled. “Fluttershy listen to me. I told you what I saw. He opened that portal. He was messing with whatever energy he was talking about, and that’s why we’re here, the way we are now. He sent us here! If it wasn’t for him, we’d still be back in Equestria! It’s his fault! It’s all his fau—”
“Angel!” Fluttershy yelled. Both Leon and Angel were shocked. Leon had never heard her yell before, and Angel rarely witnessed her raise her voice. Tears in her eyes, she inhaled, and slowly said, “Look, Angel. If what you’re saying is true, then yes, Discord must've had something to do with it. But he’d never purposefully send us somewhere against our own will. He’s not like that anymore. There has to be a perfectly good explanation as to why we’re here right now."
"But Fluttershy..." Angel started. "I mean, you said it yourself.. you told me you believed Discord wasn't good after all. You cried about it. Seeing you cry, seeing the way Discord ended up hurting you... Well, that just made me furious. I’m trying to show you that Discord is a bad guy; not because I don’t like him, but because I don’t want you to get hurt. You’re the kindest pony I’ve ever known, and it takes someone awful to make you want to cry. I'm just trying defend you from someone like that."
Fluttershy smiled. She rubbed Angel's head, and said, "I know you're trying to protect me, and I'm very thankful for that, but I know Discord didn't do this on purpose. He may seem at fault right now, but it's just a major misunderstanding that he'll be able to explain once we... well, whenever we see him again."
"He still made you cry..."
Fluttershy's smile weakened. "I know." She picked up Angel, and looked him right in the eyes. "It's just that I was so scared when I woke up in that black space. I didn't know what to think, so when you told me Discord was the one behind it, I kind of just automatically blamed him for everything. That got me so mad, I couldn't think of anything to do but cry. I'm thinking clearly now, though, and I know Discord wouldn't do this. You just have to believe me, okay?"
Fluttershy scratched his chin. "Angel," she said, smiling.
He looked away. "...Yeah. I'll take your word for it. I just want to make sure my best friend is happy, y'know?"
She hugged Angel, kissed his head, and said, "I know." Angel hugged her back, and the two held each other like that for a while.
Leon stood there and, no longer wanting to feel awkward about his friend's touching moment with her Pokémon, finally said, "Well, this has been a wonderful moment in our lives. Yep, I can tell the two of you are closer than ever." Fluttershy gave him a look, which he replied with a sheepish smile.
She couldn't help but smile back. Letting go of Angel, she said, "Anyways, that's pretty much the history of Equestria's villains. That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. I'm sure my friend Twilight could fill you in on much more," she said.
Having only heard a small portion of his friend's world, Leon stared at Fluttershy in wonder. "Oh man, I gotta hear more. I need to meet your friend Twinight—"
"—Sorry, Twilight—and learn all about Equestria." He sighed, and said, "If only I could do the same. There's so much history about Pokémon, and I only know the basics. The only person I know who could do that—and who's probably this world's equivalent of Twilight—would be Professor..." Leon trailed off. "Wait a second..."
"What's wrong?" Fluttershy asked.
Leon surged with excitement. "Fluttershy," he said, "didn't you say that Discord was talking about some kind of strange energy?"
She nodded. "It kept on bothering him."
"Perfect!" Leon started up a strange celebratory dance, thoroughly confusing Fluttershy. "I think I just figured out a way that I can help you!" he said excitedly.
Now it was Fluttershy's turn to get excited. "Really? How?" Angel's ears perked up, and both he and Fluttershy eyed Leon excitedly.
"Oh... Who?" Fluttershy asked.
"Only the esteemed Pokémon professor of Johto!" Leon explained. "He's the guy who studies everything about Pokémon, day-in, day-out. But that's not how he can help us. Look, Professor Elm's also in charge of helping new trainers start their journey. He gives them their first Pokémon so they can safely go out with a Pokémon to battle others. That's how I got Cynders. Anyways, when I first went to see Elm, he started giving me this speech about Pokémon adventures and the wide world out there. He started droning on, though, and he soon started talking about some things about Legendary Pokémon."
" Legendary?" said Fluttershy.
"Yeah. Throughout time, people came across Pokémon that had much more power than normal ones. They were like gods among other Pokémon, and I say that because they could do things that others couldn't. I mean you've seen firsthand the amazing things Pokémon can do, yeah? Like make fire or control electricity, all that stuff." Fluttershy nodded. Leon went on, "Right. But see, Legendary Pokémon can do more than that. There's this Pokémon in another region, I think it's called Palkia... Anyways, that Pokémon can control space! It can travel throughout different portals in space! There's another one that controls time! Plenty of Legendaries can change weather, cause tornadoes, drought, earthquakes; some even have the power to destroy the world!"
Fluttershy gasped. "That's awful!"
Leon smiled. "It IS cool, isn't it?" He blinked. "Oh wait, um, no, never mind. Look, it's actually kinda scary, I know that. But the thing is, if they do have the power to do that, then why isn't our world in ruin by now? That's the amazing thing. Professor Elm told me about other Legendary Pokémon who always show up and stop the ones who try to destroy everything. He said it's incredible how they do it on their own free will and how they don't even have much of a reason to save us, yet they still do. Most people think it's because some Legendaries are evil by nature and they just wanna wreak havoc on us, but then there are those who are good and keep the evil ones in check to make sure that doesn't happen. Like some in Unova. Two Pokémon, Tornadus and Thunderus, are always trying to cause chaotic weather, but a third one, Landorus, stops them every time. It's absolutely incredible."
Fluttershy took all of this in awe. It really was amazing how these creatures protected others out of their own free will. Anyone, or anything, could do that, to be honest. But what made it so interesting was the fact that, according to Leon, those that protected others had the same amount of destructive power, if not more, that the bad Pokémon had. And yet they themselves never tried to do anything bad, if Leon's word really was anything to go by. At this, she couldn't help but think of Discord and how, at a certain time, he didn't bother to wreak havoc on others and instead just lived life like the other ponies, just going on, enjoying the day. He worked too. For the princess, even! So what caused him to change from the evil spirit that he once was?
Silly Fluttershy. She knew the answer. It was her. She'd been able to show Discord the light, to show him that what he was doing was wrong, at least in the eyes of others. While that didn't stop Discord from being a chaotic hooligan, it certainly helped him dial it down a lot. He genuinely improved himself, and she at least knew that what he was doing—turning himself around—was real, not some shady guise he was trying to pull off.
So then why had he sent her here? This question was the thing that bothered her the most about being in this strange new world. It upset her so much how she didn't know why she was here, why Discord, whom she was certain was responsible for this, had sent her here. Was it an accident? Was it intentional? Oh, why couldn't she just get back to Equestria and ask him herself? Wait...
Fluttershy snapped out of her thoughts, and she noticed that Leon, who didn't seem to notice that she stopped paying attention, was still talking about Legendary Pokémon. She half-smiled, assuming this is what he meant when he said that Elm kept talking about Legendaries.
"...Darkrai's something straight out of a nightmare! Can you imagine something that can control your dreams? That's just—"
"Leon?" said Fluttershy.
She shuffled awkwardly, slightly embarrassed for interrupting him. She may look different, but she was still Fluttershy. "Didn't you say something about Elm being able to help me?"
Leon looked puzzled, then blushed. "Oh... right. Heh, guess I kinda got carried away there, huh?" He cleared his throat, and said, "Anyways, through all of that, Professor Elm told me something strange. It was some kind of weird theory about Legendary Pokemon, how every time they battle, the clashes of their incredible powers leave some sort of residue." He stared directly at her. "A strange energy."
Immediately, Fluttershy's eyes widened. "Where is he?" she asked excitedly.
"He's back in New Bark Town, my home. I'm sure we can stop by his lab, but it'll take quite a while..." said Leon. He took notice of Fluttershy's excitement disappearing. He was being honest, though. It's not like there was much of a way past the Ilex Forest or the Union Cave. Or was there? "Hold on, now!" he said, not really sure of what he should do. "I'm sure there's gotta be a shortcut back to New Bark. Lemme see..." Leon pulled out his town map, looking at all of Johto. He spotted Goldenrod City, their current location, and took notice of the massive distance from there back to New Bark. They'd have to go through the Ilex Forest, into Azalea town, past Union Cave, all the way to Violet—
"Aha! I found us a shortcut!" Leon said happily.
Fluttershy smiled. "How long do you think it'll take?"
"Not too long. Certainly not as long as the usual route." Leon walked over to her, dragging his finger along the map. "We just have to head north and follow Route 35 into Route 36, which'll take us right into Violet City. From there we head south to Cherrygrove, then it'll just be a little ways east to New Bark! If we leave now we can make it to Violet City before dark. C'mon, let's go!" He folded the map, stuffing it into his backpack. He grabbed Fluttershy's hand, getting a surprised "Oh!" in response, and made his way to the front. "And don't worry. If we come across any trainers or wild Pokémon, I got your back." Leon turned, giving Fluttershy an excited smile. "Who knows," he said, "maybe you'll catch some on your way there!"