The portal opened into the cool, crisp air of the Sinnoh Region. Three beings stepped out of the darkness of the Underworld and squinted as their eyes worked to adjust to the light of day. The road was deserted except for the new arrivals. Snow-capped mountains loomed in the distance. Tall, majestic pine trees stood to either side of the dirt path. There was a strange sense of peace about the land that Sunset Shimmer couldn’t quite explain. It was hard to imagine that such a place relied on something as horrible as Infinite Energy.
“I’m still not sure it was wise to send my human friends off with Korish,” Sunset said. “It’s not that I don’t like her, but…”
“She gave her word,” Charles said, dismissively. “She won’t harm them. They hold less of a resemblance to the humans of our world than those on Battleworld. She understands that and she respects it, even if the difference is only skin deep.”
“I hope so,” Sunset replied, slightly reassured but still not quite convinced by Charles’ words.
“Will it truly be ok if I fly?” Fluttershy asked as she hovered just above her companions. “I know I’m supposed to be a Keldeo, but won’t the humans find it strange?”
“Most humans have never seen a Keldeo. So long as Sunset’s illusion is hiding your wings, they won’t know the difference.”
“I’m also a bit unsure of this ‘tour’ method,” Sunset Shimmer said. “No offense, but I figured we would be infiltrating the Devon Corporation first. That’s where Infinite Energy is made, isn’t it?”
“It is,” Charles said as he began walking down the path. The ponies quickly followed after him, still taking in the majesty of their surroundings. “But Infinite Energy is but one part of our world. You and your friends are the mediators on this journey. If you’re going to understand us, you must see where we came from first. Only then will you know how we have come to this crossroads.”
The group eventually left the road and entered the forest. Wild Pokémon watched them from the trees and bushes. The sky was partially cloudy now, and the wind was growing colder. In the distance, some miles off, a storm was brewing. Sunset Shimmer was beginning to believe that something was wrong with this place. Fluttershy had said that she could feel the mood of the Pokémon around her, and hear their whispers from time to time. Even though she couldn’t see them through the dense flora, she could tell that there was an anxiety in the air. In the hour that her friend had told her this, Sunset Shimmer had begun to feel it, too.
“Sinnoh is a land of fading traditions,” Charles said as a group of Pachirisu scurried into some bushes a few feet ahead of him. “The humans are busy making more traditions, of course. They have their extravagant contests these days, where they freely show off their Pokémon partners, and themselves.”
“I’ve heard that the Pokémon battle one another at these contests,” Fluttershy said, softly. “I just can’t understand why they would fight for sport. It sounds so… violent.”
“God’s Breath has its own contests,” Sunset Shimmer said. “Aren’t the rules for these contests similar to those the humans use, Charles?”
“They are the exact same,” Charles said. “Though the Pokémon of God’s Breath compete alone.”
“Perhaps it’s just in the nature of Pokémon to battle one another? They do it often enough in the Nature Zones.”
“Hundreds of battles take place everyday in God’s Breath. The fact that Pokémon battle alongside humans isn’t the reason why we are here, for Pokémon battles are sacred to both sides. The question we must answer is, why do humans sacrifice us for the sake of their energy needs when we hold such a special bond with one another?”
“Why do you think that is?” Fluttershy asked.
“Because that bond is built on a lie.”
The group fell silent for several minutes. There were murmurs in the trees as the wild Pokémon discussed Charles’ words in their own language. Unlike the citizens of God’s Breath, these Pokémon weren’t raised to speak in human tongues. Thanks to her magic, Sunset Shimmer was able to understand them almost as well as Fluttershy. A third of their words were still unintelligible, but she could follow their conversations well enough to understand their opinions. To her surprise, many of the Pokémon still seemed unsure of this strange Mewtwo and his disturbing news.
“Well,” Sunset Shimmer said after a moment. “I still don’t know if the bond of trust between humans and Pokémon is built on a lie or not. Time, and the fruits of our investigation, will reveal the truth.”
“We should at least give the humans the benefit of the doubt,” Fluttershy said, softly.
“We always give humans the benefit of the doubt, Goro,” said a long-suffering voice from the bushes. An elderly Pangoro walked forward, leaning on a wooden cane. He wore a black bowtie with a golden pin in the shape of an Eevee on it. A small, well groomed young Eevee followed after him. “That is the only reason we do not currently have anarchy, courtesy of the messengers from Destroyer’s Grace.”
“I was wondering when we would bump into you, Sebastian,” Charles said with a soft growl of frustration. “I see the House of Eevee was quick to track us down.”
“As the progeny of the king’s species, you are an adopted member of that sacred house, Lord Charles,” Sebastian said with a bow. “I am here as much for your benefit as that of Lady Lucy’s. I live to serve you both, Goro.”
A loud yell echoed through the trees and everyone in the surrounding area stopped to look.
“It came from the west,” Fluttershy said. “And it sounded scary.”
“It sounded like a Pokémon battle,” the tiny Eevee said as he peeked his head out from behind Sebastian’s leg.
“Don’t worry, little one,” Fluttershy said, calmingly as she approached the Eevee and lifted him with a gentle wing. “I won’t let that nasty old battle anywhere near you.”
“I like battles, though,” the Eevee said, cheerfully. “I’m not big enough, or strong enough to do them myself, but I love watching them! And you should see how they’re handled when a human is involved… for your research, of course. Can we go see them, please?”
The child looked to Sebastian with an eager expression on his face. The old butler turned his head to the sounds of fighting, trying to discern their threat level.
“I suppose showing them the nature of Pokémon battles is a part of our mission,” Sebastian said, as he smiled indulgently. “Then we must be off to the manor house, Lord Sachi. Your father will want to see his guests before they leave Sinnoh.”