Chapter Eight—The Phone Call
“Are you sure about this?”
“Well, I’m not. I want down.”
“You’re teaching me so many things. Why can’t I teach you something?”
It was quite an early morning, yet Whimsy found herself up and going despite her hatred of ungodly hours. She also found herself stuck near the top of a very tall tree, courtesy of Nando’s Altaria, who was perched on the other side of the trunk. Nando stood at the bottom with Glaze, Darkrai, and his Roserade, waiting patiently for Whimsy to make the expected move: jump.
“Come on, Whimsy! We’ll catch you!” Glaze assured her.
“I don’t believe you,” she droned.
“This is your problem: you have a huge trust issue,” Nando decided. “You need to learn to trust.”
“I trust my Pokémon!” Whimsy snapped.
“But not people.”
As she shifted to face away from the trunk, a twig snapped out from beneath her foot, causing her to yelp as she clung even tighter to the trunk.
“Are you all right?” Nando asked.
“No! A lunatic bard stuck me in a tree and wants me to jump! I AM NOT ALL RIGHT!”
“I guess we should help her down,” Darkrai sighed.
“No, she can do this,” Nando told him. “She needs to know that I won’t abandon her if something else happens to us.”
“But don’t you think jumping from a tree is a bit…much?”
“Trust me, I wouldn’t have done this if I thought she couldn’t do it.”
Darkrai examined the bard for a moment, and then looked back up to Whimsy.
“I think you should jump,” he called up.
“YOU’RE INSANE!” the magician roared.
“Come on, Whimsy,” Nando smiled. He reached his arms up towards her. “I’ll catch you. I promise.”
She stared down at him in disbelief, her heart throbbing in terror. Still, she knew there was only one way to end the whole ordeal. She gulped.
And leaped from her branch.
Nando tried to hide his groan of pain, even as his back throbbed from being smashed into the hard ground. Whimsy lay on top of him, white with terror, but completely unscathed.
“Rose roserade?” Roserade inquired, poking a bouquet at Nando’s head.
“We’re all right,” he coughed. He sat up with Whimsy and beamed down on her. “See? I told you I’d catch you.”
No reply. Darkrai helped them to their feet and dusted them off.
“Now that that’s out of the way,” he said, “why don’t we return to the hotel for breakfast?”
Despite Whimsy’s terror, she exchanged glances with Nando, and they nodded in agreement.
Nando was an enigma to her. Most trainers would shy away at her strength, or treat her bitterly if they had already crossed paths. Some would call her out on her legendary companions, calling her selfish or a lying cheater. She had never had the chance to be able to explain anything to anyone before things would sink to rock bottom.
But then there was Nando. No matter what she told him, what Pokémon she had, or how distant she was, he did not shy away. And when trouble had started barking at their heels, he did not run away or abandon her.
“Hey, Nando?” she finally spoke as they headed back to the hotel.
“Yes?” Nando cheerfully sang.
“I think I should make that call for you before we eat.”
Whimsy seemed nervous as she dialed a number on the machine. The screen was blue with a rotating hourglass in the middle for several moments, and then it went white.
The man that appeared on the screen was pale and thin with shoulder-length silver hair and sharp purple eyes. He was clad in a black Metal band shirt and a gray apron soiled with clouds of flour. A tall Gallade was dusting the shelves of a living room behind him; when it saw Darkrai and Glaze through the screen, it waved, and they waved back.
“Hey, Klaus,” Whimsy said.
“Who’s that beside you?” the man asked. “Are you getting along with everyone?”
“This is Nando,” Whimsy answered. “He’s my friend, and I owe him an explanation about the family.”
Klaus gave her a strange look. “That’s quite a topic.”
“I know, but he’ll understand better once he knows. Is Uncle Von home?”
“Actually, he left yesterday morning after the mail ran. He’s looking for you.”
Just then, Nando felt a presence creep up beside him. He instinctively turned and found a regal man standing beside him with his eyes glued on Whimsy and clinging a long, large box behind his back; he was much taller than Nando with lustrous platinum hair so long it reached the back of his knees. He was dressed in handsome aristocratic black and purple clothes and had an air of magic and wonder about him. He caught Nando’s eye, put a finger to his smiling lips, and winked.
“How come he’s looking for me?” Whimsy was asking Klaus.
“Why don’t you ask him yourself?” Klaus shrugged with a playful smirk.
Whimsy was immediately baffled, so Klaus pointed in the stranger’s direction. As soon as she laid eyes on him, she cried out in shock and threw her arms around him.
“I missed you too,” the man laughed as he managed an arm around her in a tight hug. “So, who’s your friend?”
Whimsy let him go. “This is Nando. He’s a Pokémon bard, and we’ve been traveling together.”
“I see,” the man smiled, and he held his hand out to Nando. “Pleasure to meet you, sir. Most call me Von. I’m Whimsy’s uncle.”
“How did you find me so quickly?” Whimsy asked as the men shook hands.
“I used a tracking spell,” Von answered. “Your package arrived yesterday.”
Whimsy looked as though she would burst through the roof with excitement as Von handed her the box he had so playfully hidden behind his back earlier.
“We were just about to have some breakfast,” Nando jumped in as Whimsy hugged her box tight. “Would you like to join us?”
“I’d love to,” Von replied.
In the cafeteria, the three humans fixed some plates for the Pokémon, gathered some muffins and bacon for themselves, and chose a table, and Whimsy immediately set to work cutting her box open.
“Oh!” She pointed her pocket knife at Von. “I was wanting to ask you something.”
“Of course,” Von smiled. Nando snickered to himself as he crunched down a piece of bacon.
“I owe Nando an explanation,” Whimsy began. “I was wondering if you could explain to him what we are and how we can do what we do.”
Von frowned suspiciously. “Whimsy…”
“I know, I know,” Whimsy sighed. “Our family history is sacred. But I made a promise, and I owe Nando a lot.”
Von turned to Nando with a mysterious expression. Behind his twinkling eyes, there seemed to be gears turning and cranking in deep consideration. Nando nervously dropped his own eyes down to his plate.
“All right,” Von finally decided. “If my niece thinks we can trust you, then that’s good enough for me.”
Whimsy smiled as Nando leaned in a little to make sure he caught every single word. Von also leaned close and took a breath.
“Several generations ago,” he began in a quiet voice, “our family was a small band of travelers looking to simply understand the world of Pokémon. How can one creature, no matter the size, possess so much power and talent? So, they picked a deep, flourishing forest and built a little cottage inside it small enough to keep from disturbing the natural order. From there, they observed the Pokémon for a very long time without interfering in anything, good or bad.
“Soon, a child was born among the villagers, and they began to raise this child in their ways. This peaceful life went on for thirteen years, and they learned countless things about the Pokémon around them. Then, on the child’s thirteenth birthday, they discovered something incredible.”
“A secret?” Nando guessed, his voice barely above a whisper. Von smiled.
“A power. On the child’s thirteenth birthday, a Pokémon of great darkness and terrifying power wandered into their area. Many of the other Pokémon were so frightened of it that they began to attack it. No matter what they did, no matter how badly it was injured, it would not leave. Soon, it was far too hurt to be able to leave. When the child saw all the harm being done, she suddenly ran to the strange Pokémon’s aid and blocked it from all of the other Pokémon’s attacks.”
“Was she hurt?!”
“Yes, very badly. But all of the attacks, all of the fighting just…stopped. The strange Pokémon, though weak, managed to carry her into her house, and the child’s parents tended to her wounds. The child was saved, but no one cared for the Pokémon; that would be interfering with nature, but even after the child was able to get out of bed the next morning, it would linger near. So, the girl took it upon herself to sneak the Pokémon into her room and begin caring for it. As she cared for it, she learned that her generosity, her tenderness, and something stirring deep within her soul was helping the Pokémon to heal faster than what nature would usually allow.
“This went on for two weeks in secret, but it wasn’t long before the child’s parents found the Pokémon. This infuriated them…but they gave the child a chance to explain. Though it took a few days, she managed to convince everyone that this Pokémon was good deep down, and they all soon understood that they didn’t have to just sit and watch Pokémon: they could interact with them. And?”
“And help them,” Nando realized. “Did they become healers?”
“They became so much more,” Von whispered. “They became the first generation of Pokémon Wizards, or Pokémon Magicians in this day and age, as the child discovered even more special powers within herself; she began to teach the adults to find their own hidden powers, realizing that they weren’t too different from the Pokémon. Our family has been training in both magic and the ways of Pokémon for centuries, Nando, and our link with Pokémon is very powerful. That’s why Whimsy is so good with Pokémon. That’s why Pokémon are so attracted to her. And to top it all off, she is the most powerful wizard to date in our entire family.”
Nando gaped in disbelief. “So magic is—”
“Very real,” Von finished. “And very special. What most other ‘Pokémon Magicians’ strive for these days are merely parlor tricks with Pokémon involved in the act while somewhat upholding the art of potion-making in their own way. But true wizards can access vast wells of magic in all forms, from wand-waving to full-blown spells that could shatter the very earth.”
There was an abrupt rip of tape. Whimsy was finally getting deeper into her box and digging through packing peanuts while Darkrai was throwing away some Styrofoam padding for her.
“Story time is over for now,” Von decided. “I hope that cleared some things up.”
“Yes, several things,” Nando beamed. “I do have one question, however.”
“What was the strange Pokémon the child had rescued?”
Von’s face was then washed over with a strange look of reluctance. For a long time, he examined Nando up and down, again making Nando feel nervous. Beside them, Whimsy had stopped digging through her box and was watching them intently, also slightly nervous.
“It was a Darkrai,” Von finally answered. “A lone Darkrai far too strange to the other Pokémon in the area. His Nightmare ability scared them all so much that they attacked him in hopes of making him leave. Something, however, had drawn him there, so he was determined to stay.”
“Darkrai…” Nando mumbled to himself, already looking to Whimsy’s Darkrai, who was gently rummaging through her box.
“Well, I must be going,” Von announced as he stood. “Thank you for having me, and it was wonderful meeting you, Nando.”
“And you as well. Thank you for the story.”
Glaze and Whimsy exchanged smiles as the men shook hands again.
“Seems like Nando is already on their good side,” Glaze snickered.
“I hope so,” Whimsy sighed. Darkrai patted her shoulder.
Before he could leave, Whimsy gave her uncle a big hug and thanked him for delivering her package, and they all watched him disappear into the hotel’s busy crowd.
“So,” Nando said as they finished breakfast, “what’s in the box?”
“A few more blank dolls,” Whimsy answered. “I had some ideas a couple of months ago and ordered them online so that I could try the ideas on them later. I’ll show you once I get some clothes picked out for them.”
Once breakfast was over, Whimsy packed her new dolls wrapped in bubble wrap and cloth into her bag, and then she and Nando looked over a map and began to discuss their next destination. However, they were in no hurry, for Nando also needed to earn his ribbon as well, and the contest wasn’t for another three days.
“I think, between your training and the contest,” Whimsy reasoned, “we should try to find out what we can about Malice while we’re here.”
“Agreed,” Nando nodded, “but where do we start?”
“Well, we might check the library, but the pickings could be slim seeing as how small it is. However, if it has a computer, we might find something.”
“But what if Malice was clever enough to cover his tracks on the internet?”
“We won’t know until we look,” Whimsy shrugged. “I suggest we start with Team Rocket; a lot of thieving groups sprouted from them.”
Nando scribbled the last of their “to do” list into a notebook and stuffed it into his satchel.
“Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” he smiled, lightening the mood a bit. Whimsy raised an eyebrow at him. “What’s a sixteen-year-old Pokémon Master like you doing still wandering the world? You’re quite successful in so many—”
“Sixteen?” she stopped him, her eyes suddenly dark. He gulped.
“Y-You are sixteen, correct?” he asked. Glaze, who had been happily sipping his juice beside them in silence, abruptly ducked under the table, snickering. Darkrai rolled his eyes with a grumbling sigh.
“I’m twenty-two,” Whimsy told him. “What made you think I’m sixteen?”
Nando stammered for an answer, but she got up and began to walk away. He scurried after her.
“Whimsy! Wait, I’m sorry!”
“I know that now! It was an honest mistake!”
Glaze burst out laughing as Darkrai dragged him along to follow the humans.